Paws for Thought

Bunnies- are they the right pet for you?

Posted by on Apr 18, 2012 in Excercise, Eyes, Ears & Teeth, Health & Wellness, Paws for Thought, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Proper Bunny Care Bunnies.  They are small, cuddly and warm and for many families a welcome addition right around Easter.  In fact, bunny sales spike during this season…as Spring and bunnies go hand in hand. Rabbit rescues are very busy during this time of the year as well.   Many families acquire bunnies with the best of intentions but often children lose interest soon after the Easter festivities end….not to mention, bunnies need far more than a cage and carrots to be happy. Rabbits can make great pets.  They are intelligent, have unique personalities and have a lower cost of entry than a dog (approximately $65 or less).  Many people say they have cat like and dog like traits, can be litter box trained and Vet bills are typically lower as they do not need annual vaccines, although yearly visits are recommended. General health:  Not every vet works with rabbits so do your homework to find a vet in your area.  Common health concerns would be misaligned teeth and hairballs.  Bunnies shed every three months.  Besides grooming your bunny regularly, ensure your bunny has access to high quality hay which will help the hair pass through their digestive track.  Regular exercise will help with hairballs as well.  Spaying or Neutering your pet is very important and will help with aggression, spraying and chewing.  Their lifespan is 7-10 years and some rabbits live into their teens.  Diet:  Their diet consists of pellets, high quality hay, water and green leafy veggies.  In fact, carrots should not be a large part of a rabbit’s diet.  Only carrot tops!  Carrots are high in sugar and should be fed as a treat only.  A good rule of thumb for non leafy green veggies is 1 tablespoon per 2lbs of body weight a day. Crate:  They do need a cage at least 3-4ft in length and need to exercise outside of their pens at least a couple of hours a day.  In fact, the House Rabbit Society recommends 30 hours of cage free time a week. You will learn very quickly that their play area needs to be bunny proofed as they will chew on anything!  Children:  Bunnies are sensitive to being held and it is advised that only older children that have learned the proper technique and adults pick up the bunny.  Bunnies are prey animals and if they are picked up incorrectly could feel like they are in danger. Are two better than one?:  The vast majority of bunnies do crave companionship of their own kind.  Rabbits truly bond with their mate when they are introduced correctly.  If you choose to have two, make sure they meet in neutral territory and are altered.  This will assist with positive introductions. If all of this sounds good to you, please consider adoption! Rabbit resources:,...

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Pet food- what is the right choice for my pet?

Posted by on Mar 22, 2012 in Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Paws for Thought, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Have you purchased that same green bag of pet food for the past 10 years?   If you are asked the brand of your pet’s food or if it is made with chicken, beef or other protein would you know the answer?  Or, do you feel like taking a double dose of headache medication when you cruise through the pet food aisle thinking “Too many choices…where do I begin?”   No matter your pet food knowledge, the bottom line is there are options a plenty.  After many years of studying pet food and working in the industry, I have seen the effects of good food and, unfortunately, the results of feeding the wrong diet.  I know one thing for sure; there is not one food solution for every pet.  How do you know which nutritional choice is right for your dog or cat?  The first questions to ask are:  1.      What is my pet’s age and energy level?  2.      How much exercise does my pet get a day?  3.      Are there any underlying health conditions?  (if so, ask your veterinarian for pet food advice) 4.      Does my pet suffer from seasonal or annual allergies?  Once you know these answers, you are on the right road.  The next two questions will help narrow your search:  5.      What am I comfortable feeding my pet (dry food, canned food, raw food, a combination thereof)? 6.      What can I afford to spend on pet food? A few food trends right now are:  natural, holistic, large breed, small breed, grain free, limited ingredient and more.  All can be found as either dry (kibble) or wet (canned) and some foods are offered as a raw diet as well.  To begin this conversation there needs to be clarification on probably the biggest trend…feeding a natural and holistic diet.  Natural– A natural pet food typically means a food that has no artificial ingredients, dyes, artificial preservatives or chemically synthetic products. Words to avoid on the pet food label are:  Propylene Glycol and BHA, or butylated hydroxyanisole.  These are two common examples of chemically synthesized ingredients found in some pet foods.   Holistic– Holistic diets treat the whole pet and not just the symptoms.  With that in mind, feeding a high quality diet is the first step to a healthy pet.  Usually, when a food is marketed as “holistic” the ingredients are of a higher quality and usually there is more true meat protein in the diet rather than grain.  Chicken or chicken meal as a first ingredient rather than corn is one good example.  Products are natural, easy to digest, nutritionally packed and today often include ingredients like berries and leafy greens which are antioxidant and vitamin rich. Food panel examples (top four ingredients): Natural/Holistic diet:  Chicken, Chicken meal, barley, brown rice Non Holistic diet:  Corn, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat Recommendation:  By all means, pet owners should feed their puppy, adult dog, senior dog, and kitten or cat a “natural” diet.  We all know that chemicals can have harmful effects on the body and oftentimes lead to disease. There are many natural foods on the market and price levels vary.  You might be surprised at how affordable a natural diet can be. I have seen tremendous results when a pet parent switches from a non-holistic diet to one that is holistic.  Shinier coat, brighter eyes, “more life,” healthier weight and reduced itching are a few examples of the positive outcomes.  I highly recommend a holistic diet and again, there are many affordable options on the market. Typically, you will feed your pet less food on a holistic...

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Cats are crazy for Global Pet Expo

Posted by on Mar 5, 2012 in Excercise, Health & Wellness, Paws for Thought, Products, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Whew…I absolutely love the whirlwind that is Global Pet Expo.  I was only able to spend two days at the event but was able to pack so much into that time including time to  identify a few new cat products for the store. Cats will be so very happy with me 🙂  I kept my cat customers in mind constantly as I walked up and down the aisles.  A few things really excited me and I decided to add them to Wag’s mix of natural and holistic products.  Cat customers!  Check out the following: For the catnip crazed…you will have an entire rack full of the famous Ducky World products…and yes… there will be plenty of purrrrrmuda triangles! I also loved the cat scratcher from Scratch Lounge and the live pet grass from Bell Rock Growers. What I might be most excited about are the cat houses by Catty Stacks!  Can’t wait for these to walk through my door.   They are recycled, recycleable and are colored with vegetable based ink! Finally, Kind Kollars are purrfect for the cat on the go.  Personalized, stylish, non stink…this  i.d. collar is just the answer for your indoor or outdoor kitty. Please let me know what you think of these new products soon to be hitting the shelves at...

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Global Pet Expo Day One

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in Events, Paws for Thought, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I love the pet industry.  I love the people I have met along the way.  Everyone from my fellow pet lovers,  distributors, manufacturers and my store owner cohorts…what better industry in which to find ourselves.  Global Pet Expo happens each year in Orlando and is a great time to find new products for my store and to network with people who are just a little bit pet crazy…just like me.  The morning began with an industry breakfast, a time to celebrate stores across the country who were awarded best in Marketing, Customer Service, Community Outreach and Best in Show.  Then it was off to meet with the CEO and CMO of   You should definitely check out their site.  Such great information about pet health, nutrition and behavior, written by veterinarians and experts in the industry.  And…look out this Summer….PetMD’s parent company Pet360 will launch a new site; one that is sure to be your GO TO url for all things pet! Then, it was off to the races…a full day of walking up and down the aisles at the Orange County Convention Center…on the look out for new all natural foods/treats and a few new toys  to add to the mix. (yes, feet are barking, back is whining but attitude is top dog!) Favorites of the day were:  Katie’s Bumpers, Huggle Hounds, Lincoln Bark, Wholistic Pet, Wild Chewz, Darford and FROBO! Who won the most interesting person of the day?  Karen Macdonald, buyer for the Marine Core base stores.  She is in charge of buying for 12 departments (including pet items) for 120 base stores in the U.S.  Pretty interesting. What made me say AWWWWW!!!  Jack Hanna was on site with a baby kangaroo and a South American penguin.  Absolute cuddliness…from afar…the penguin although cute did not like to be touched 🙂 I ended the day by sipping cocktails with my friends from TAGG (a MUST HAVE for every pet owner…it can literally save your pet’s life) and then a delicious dinner with fellow store owners from the Tampa Bay area. Whew…what a day…please enjoy learning about the products above and hopefully you will see them at Wag soon!  This dog is off to bed.   Global day two begins bright and early....

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Abe’s Big Day

Posted by on Feb 22, 2012 in Excercise, Hips and Joints, Paws for Thought, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Tomorrow is Abe’s big day.  Just a little less than one month before his eighth birthday, he is going under the knife for ACL repair surgery.  My poor boy.  He has no idea that he is in for a 12 week recovery…no running, no chasing squirrels and certainly…no tennis ball action. Our consultation with Dr. Hay, Abe’s surgeon, was February 3.  That morning, I told Abe to get his big boy pants on and get in the car.  He wore his very tough neon green rubber spike collar for the consult, fell asleep in the car on the way there, got lots of love at the office and then enjoyed an icecream on the way home.  Dr. Hay is a nice man….I should have asked how many of these surgeries he does a week/month/year.  It seemed like a rotating door of ACL patients.  Dr. Hay explained the procedure and his recommended surgery at a fairly high level.  I was happy that I  had researched beforehand, or I would have been most likely been lost in medical jargon.  But, everyone who has had their dogs operated on by Dr. Hay holds him in high regard. Out of the available surgery options, Dr. Hay recommended the TTA or Tibial Tuberosity Advancement.  He said that he performs this surgery 90% of the time and  the end result.  Abe should have 90%+ use of his leg when it is fully healed.  That is good news for Abe. Tomorrow our journey begins and by Friday afternoon, Abe will be snug as a bug catching zzzz’s in his bed.  Can’t wait to spoil my...

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A Good Man Down

Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in Excercise, Health & Wellness, Hips and Joints, Uncategorized | 0 comments

My seven year old dog Abe is an athlete.  I say this with the utmost confidence because he is among the lucky and talented dogs that can catch a ball anytime, anywhere.  It is amazing to see just how fast he can pluck a ball out of mid-air after spinning around and doing a few acrobatic moves.  My husband and I are always saying “did you see what Abe just DID?”  All of this talent has finally caught up with him though.  After limping around for a few days too many I took him to his veterinarian.  A couple of x-rays later, what I hoped wouldn’t be true came to fruition…he has torn his ACL in his right hind leg.  What is an ACL tear?  ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament which crosses in the joint from the femur to the tibia.  A ligament is a fibrous band of tissue and can be torn or partially torn.  In Abe’s case, we believe it is fully torn. Now, you see, I knew this would most likely happen.  But how do you keep an All Star on the bench?   Many of my customers’ similarly skilled dogs have had this surgery.   I have talked many people through the 12 week recovery period and loved on many cone headed muzzles. Abe and I go to his consultation with orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Hay, on February 3.  It will all begin that day, more x-rays, choosing which surgery option, coming to terms with paying anywhere from $1,800-$2,600 and learning about the recovery period. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you some of the warning signs, breeds who are at risk, how an ACL is torn and what you can expect from recovery.  I do hope that your dog will not have to go through this…but if he/she does, you will have an idea of what you and your dog can expect. Warning signs:  Sudden limping, swollen knee, holding the foot of the affected leg off the ground, dog may start using the let again but lameness often returns. How is it diagnosed?  A veterinarian can diagnose an ACL tear by manipulating the knee joint.  X-rays are also used to assess the problem and to determine if arthritis is present. How does it happen?  A tear can occur if a dog is overweight therefore putting too much pressure on the joint.  Commonly, the ACL is torn when a dog twists on his hind leg.  This is what Abe does as he catches his ball or slips on our floor when running through the house.  Usually, a tear happens gradually over time and sudden lameness is the result. Breeds:  Some breeds are more prone to ACL tears than others: the  Labrador, Rottweiler, Bichon Frise, St. Bernard are among them.  Post Surgery:  After the surgery, dogs must be controlled and can only take low impact walks and/or swim as directed by a veterinarian.  Overweight dogs must lose a few pounds to take off the excess stress on the leg.  Recovery time is 8-12 weeks. So it begins, Abe’s three month procedure.  Watch out for him this summer though…he will be better than before and leading our pack around Davis Islands. We will keep you updated on our visit with Dr. Hay and our surgery...

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