Dogs Played a Key Role in Human Evolution

Dogs are thought to be the very first animal ever domesticated by humans, and the only large carnivore to ever be domesticated. The first undisputable evidence of domesticated dogs dates back over 14, 000 years – this evidence being a dog buried with humans. There is some other evidence that may suggest domestication as far back as 36, 000 years ago.

Interestingly, a key event of human evolution dates back to a time just prior to evidence of early dog domestication – the disappearance of the Neanderthal species. Neanderthals were thriving in Europe before homo sapiens ever arrived there, but somehow, homo sapiens managed to outcompete their evolutionary cousins, resulting in their extinction, around 40,000 years ago. It is the theory of Pat Shipman, PhD, that cooperation with canines allowed homo sapiens to be much more successful than Neanderthals during climate change, a time of extreme vulnerability. Early humans shared similar social structures and cooperative hunting strategies with canines, allowing the two species to coexists in a mutually respectful relationship, eventually leading to emotional bonds.

Dogs and humans have been evolving side by side for thousands of years. We not only see this through archaeological evidence, but through gene analysis as well. A study in 2014 identified that both species underwent similar changes in genes associated with digestion and metabolism as well as in brain processes, like transport of serotonin. It has also been seen through scientific study that levels of oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” increase in both dogs and humans when they engage in physical contact, just as it does when interacting with individuals of their own species.

Dogs and humans have influenced the evolutionary path of one another and shaped the social world both species live in today. The similarities in gene patterns and hormone activity is not seen with wild wolves, only domesticated dogs that have been our evolutionary partners.

We may not know exactly when, or exactly how, dogs came to be human’s best friend, but we sure are grateful they did.

The SKINNY on Omega-3 FATS!

Omega oils are a popular supplement for both people and pets. Most of us are aware of some of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but the extent of the support they offer is much greater than what is typically known. Omega-3 fatty acids offer a variety of benefits to the body including:

Omega-3 fats are a family of essential fatty acids; there are 3 main types that are necessary for health and must come from the diet, as they cannot be synthesized within the body. These three fatty acids are ALA, EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are the active forms of omega-3.

Because ALA is not converted very well to EPA and DHA, dogs and cats should be supplemented with a marine source of omega-3 fatty acids for the greatest impact. Oils with the highest concentration of omega-3 come from sources that are further down the food chain. Algae oil, krill oil and oil from small fish, such as herring or anchovy, have higher concentrations of omega-3 than larger fish, like salmon.

When choosing an omega-3 supplement, it is important to ensure you choose a product that is fresh and pure. Guaranteed quality oils and third-party lab testing are sure-fire indicators of a superior product.

Baie Run Pet Products Inc. creates canine and feline marine sourced omega-3 supplements that are human grade – 100% fit for human consumption – and each batch is tested for purity at a third-party lab – every test result is available for viewing online.

Learn more about Baie Run Pet Products Inc. here.

Visit your local Global Pet Foods to find the ideal omega-3 supplement for your pet.

Feline Urinary Health Solutions

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a broad term that refers to a variety of urinary tract complications. These include urinary tract infections, struvite and calcium oxalate crystals, urethral obstructions and inflammation in the urinary system.

One of the most common forms of FLUTD is urinary stones, more specifically struvite crystals (magnesium ammonium phosphate crystals). These crystals form most easily when the urine is concentrated and of alkaline pH. There are a few things we can do as cat owners to prevent the formation of these crystals, but the most important is to promote acidity of the urine.

Lower Urine pH

Feline urine is naturally slightly acidic, but the diet can alter this pH to be more alkaline, therefore increasing the risk of crystal formation. The most effective way to maintain acidic urine is a diet with a high meat content and limited carbohydrate content. Ingredients to note that help maintain proper urinary health are DL-Methionine and sodium bisulfate, which lower urine pH to a more natural level.

Limit Minerals

It is important to prevent excess intake of magnesium and phosphorous, as these are the minerals that form struvite crystals. However, this is secondary to maintaining acidic pH; studies have shown that crystals can form even when these minerals are low if urinary pH is too high.

Urine Dilution

Sufficient moisture consumption is extremely important for preventing crystal formation. Moisture consumption through food is the most effective way to improve hydration, since cats are notoriously bad drinkers. Incorporating canned food, raw food or rehydrated freeze-dried food to the diet is an excellent strategy for adding moisture. When it comes to drinking water, cats tend to prefer water sources that are slightly acidic; providing more appealing drinking water may encourage higher rates of consumption. Remember that moisture requirements increase as temperatures increase, so it is especially important to encourage consumption during warmer weather.

There are many diets on the market that can effectively support urinary health. Choose a diet that is high in protein, with significant protein coming from meat, and low in carbohydrates. Look for DL-methionine and sodium bisulfate in the ingredient list and always incorporate moisture into meals.

Controlling the source of drinking water is not quite as easy. Tap water is typically alkaline and contains unknown mineral levels. Bottled distilled water contains no minerals but it may also be alkaline. Cat Water is bottled, distilled water that has no minerals and is also pH balanced to be slightly acidic. This water source is ideal for maintaining natural urine pH and encouraging water consumption. When feeding a complete and balanced diet to your cat, they are consuming all the essential minerals they need, and it is not necessary for these minerals to be in their drinking water.

Cat Water is a feature product this month at Global Pet Foods. Visit your local store to find out more!

What you need to know about pet food regulations

The Canadian pet food industry is vast, dry dog food alone amounting to more than $700 million in revenue per year. Canadian households view their pets as part of the family, and it would be assumed that such a large, important industry would hold the same values and be tightly regulated. However, this is unfortunately not the case.

Canadian Pet Food Regulations

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will inspect imported ingredients and imported products for disease contamination only, to prevent animal diseases being introduced to Canadian livestock. Pet food that is manufactured here in Canada is not inspected.

Other countries have imposed much more comprehensive regulations.

United States Pet Food Regulations

The FDA mandates that pet food be safe to consume.

European Union Pet Food Regulations

Even more impressive are the regulations that the European Union (EU) have put in place. The EU has imposed regulations that encompass ingredients and ingredient sourcing, and manufacturing facilities’ hygiene, equipment and environmental impacts.

Why You Should Purchase Canadian Pet Foods

Supporting Canadian manufacturing should be a priority for all Canadian shoppers and choosing brands with high standards sets the bar for all Canadian manufacturers. There are many Canadian pet food brands that go above and beyond to uphold high manufacturing standards. By becoming aware of the different manufacturing policies and making a point to only purchase from brands with strict protocols, the industry is pushed towards putting in place strict regulations. Consumer awareness is the key to regulation development.

What to Look For

Research the brands you are interested in or contact their offices to ask about their protocols. The staff at your local Global Pet Foods are very familiar with many brands so are also a great source of information.

Look for brands that:

Nature’s Harvest is a brand that is made in a Canadian facility that is certified compliant with European Union standards. Click below to learn more about the Nature’s Harvest story and products.

Canadian Made

Environmental Allergy Management

Allergies are on the rise, and we see them more this time of year, not just for us but for our pets too. Incidents of dermatitis in our pets is increasing and our first instinct is to assume a food sensitivity. While food sensitivities are certainly becoming more common, we can’t forget about environmental sensitivities. It is important to note that environmental allergens not only affect the exterior of the body (skin, feet, ears) but also the digestive tract. Environmental pollutants and allergens are inhaled and inevitably swallowed; the gastrointestinal lining responds to these allergens just as the exterior skin does. It is possible that an environmental allergy will contribute to, or present as, a digestive sensitivity along with digestive responses.

We can’t control what is in the environment, unfortunately, so we have to do our best to manage the irritation our pets are dealing with this time of year.

Environmental allergens get trapped in our pets’ fur and cause constant irritation. It is important to clean these particulates away by bathing regularly with gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo. In between baths, good daily practice is to wipe the areas on our pets that are most exposed and that they are most likely to lick (licking will result in allergens being ingested). The ground contains the most concentrated irritants; this is where they all end up as they fall from the air. Rinsing or wiping our pets’ feet when they come in from outside can significantly reduce their exposure to these irritants and limited their ingestion. Bare bellies are also at high risk of irritation and should be wiped each day to prevent licking and hot spots.

When animals are dealing with allergies, it is very important to support the immune system, and all essential body functions. When the immune system is active, the body is under physiological stress and nutritional requirements may increase in these instances. Ensuring we are providing quality proteins and fats in sufficient quantities along with bioavailable vitamins and minerals is particularly important for supporting the health of the whole body.

Calcium For Large Breed Puppies

When we think about what makes strong bones, we intuitively think calcium. So, this makes us think that growing large breed dogs need more calcium than growing small breeds, because they must put together considerably bigger bones. However, it is in fact the opposite. Large breed puppies require lower levels of calcium per the same number of calories.

It is true that large breed puppies have a lot of growing to do, and a lot of bone mass to build, much more so than small breeds. It is unrealistic to think that large breeds should do more growing, in the same amount of time; it takes much longer for large breeds to grow to their adult size. Issues arise when the growth process happens too rapidly. Rapid bone growth can be caused in two main ways: excess energy intake and excess calcium intake.

Large breed puppies can end up consuming too much energy if they are over fed or fed a diet that is very calorically dense (high fat). Body condition for growing puppies should be maintained at ideal condition (5) or slightly leaner than ideal (4). *See body scoring chart below.

Excess dietary calcium can result in rapid, uneven bone mineralization. Puppies, unlike adult dogs, do not have mechanisms in place to regulate how much calcium is absorbed and deposited into the bones; excess calcium in the diet results in excess calcium deposit in the bones. This causes a deficiency of phosphorous in the rapidly growing bones, leading to skeletal abnormalities. Calcium and phosphorous should be provided to large breed puppies in a very tight ratio from an even 1:1 ratio up to 1.3:1 calcium to phosphorous.

When looking for a puppy food for your growing large breed, you will want to look for lower calcium levels to prevent excessive intake. Most food ingredients contain smaller amounts of phosphorous so a food with less calcium is also likely to give a closer ratio of calcium to phosphorous, but it is a good idea to check this ratio before purchasing.

If you would like more information, please contact us!

Is free feeding your cat the best option?

Free feeding cats is a very common practice in many households, but just because it is common does not mean it is the best option.

Indoor Cats are typically not Highly Active

Typical indoor cats are not considered “highly active,” rather they are more often a moderate or low activity level. Living indoors simply does not provide the space or stimulation that cats are adapted to. In an environment that lacks stimulation, cats will often eat when there is nothing else to occupy them. Free feeding makes it easy for indoor cats to consume more calories than they are expending, leading to weight gain and possible obesity.

Cats are not natural Grazers

When food is always available, you may see your cat eating at a variety of times throughout the day. Although it seems like your cat is grazing all day, picking out just a few kibbles here and there, in reality they are eating meals. Having a full bowl of food available 24 hours a day allows cats to eat many full meals in a day, often more meals than they should based on their energy expenditure.

Food Intake is an important Indicator of Health

Cats are very stoic and often do not present signs of illness that are obvious to us. A loss of appetite or reduced food intake can be a helpful early indicator of disease. Early detection of illness increases the chance of successful treatment. When cats are free-fed, it can be difficult to see when consumption has declined.

Cats prefer Fresh Food

When we set food out in a bowl, the oxygen in the air begins to degrade (oxidize) the fat in the diet. Cats are very sensitive to oxidized fat; even a slight breakdown in the structures decreases palatability, leading to a less enjoyable eating experience for cats.

Weight management relies on proper Measurement

When free fed cats begin to gain excess weight, creating a weight loss plan can be tough because it is difficult to know how many calories the cat has been consuming each day making it a challenge to restrict calories. When weight management diets (lower calorie diets) are free fed, cats will typically consume a higher volume of food, resulting in minimal, if any, calorie reduction.

Tips for transitioning to Meal Feeding

When cats are accustomed to having food always available, they end up on their own schedule which might not align with yours.

Measure out half of the day’s food and set it out in the morning, allowing the cat to eat on their own schedule. In the evening, serve the other half of the day’s food.

Adding canned food to the meal can encourage consumption right away and your cat will get use to the new schedule.

Engaging in play stimulates feline appetite, so spend some time interacting with your cat prior to meal time.

Meal feeding promotes Health

Feeding meals instead of free feeding can increase your cat’s health and prevent things such as obesity, which is a precursor for many feline diseases. Feed your cat fresh, appropriately sized meals to enhance their enjoyment and health.

Litter Box Woes: 3 ways a higher quality diet can help!

We love our cats, but we don’t love the litter box.

There are a few different ways our litter box griefs can be resolved such as choosing the right type of litter or locating the box in the optimum place in the house. Another very effective solution is choosing a high-quality food.

Here are 3 ways switching to a higher quality diet can solve your litter woes.

1. Reduce Volume and Cost of Litter and Supplies

High quality diets are very digestible and result in less waste in the litter box. This reduces the volume of litter used and keeps the litter box cleaner for longer. Quality, digestible ingredients can lead to better stool consistency, making clean-up simple and easy, with less litter removal with each scoop. When using poop bags for disposal of litter and waste, you will also obviously also use less of these when disposing of less waste.

2. Reduce Litter Odour

High quality diets support optimal gut health with highly digestible ingredients as well as prebiotics and sometimes probiotics. Improved gut health can limit the offensive odour of the stool.

Some higher quality diets also include ingredients that work specifically to reduce litter box odour. Yucca Schidigera extract is an ingredient that supports the growth and function of beneficial gut bacteria for enhanced microbial fermentation, more complete digestion, less waste and less odour.

Other gut health support ingredients to look for are: chicory root, pumpkin, spinach, cinnamon, kelp, milk thistle, probiotics and digestive enzymes, among others.

3. Prevent Urinary Crystals

Urine crystals are a painful litter box issue for cats so urinary support is very important. Often, urine pH for cats is too alkaline; a more natural pH is slightly acidic. High quality diets contain high proportions of meat which keeps urine pH at the proper level. Diets also may contain support ingredients that acidify urine to prevent crystals. Cranberry and DL-methionine are examples of this type of support ingredient.

Bonus Tip!

Your cat’s drinking source can also play a part in urinary health. Many tap water sources are slightly alkaline and contain a variety of dissolved minerals, that may end up forming crystals in the urinary tract.

Cat Water is a bottled water source designed specifically for cats, with urinary health in mind. Cat Water is distilled water with virtually no dissolved minerals and an ideal pH of 6.2-6.4. This water source limits mineral intake and helps keep urine pH at the perfect, slightly acidic level. The slight acidity of this water is also more appealing to cats than more alkaline sources, which will encourage cats to drink more water. Increased water consumption is a great prevention for crystal formation.

Cat Water is now available at Global Pet Foods!

 

Spring Preparation for Pet Parents

Although it may not look like it, it is officially spring. We are at the beginning of the season filled with fun activities, outdoor adventures, and rain and mud and lots of clean-up to do!

Cleaning Up the Yard

When the snow melts, it often reveals a mine-field of poop in the yard, and unless you want it all over your dog, your shoes and your house, you need to get out there and clean it up. The best way to dispose of dog poop is to bag it and dispose of it either in the garbage or compost (if your city allows that). With so much to pick up all at once, I’m sure we all want to make the smallest environmental impact possible by using poop bags that will break down, or that we can throw in the compost. Earth Rated original poop bags are available unscented or with a pleasant lavender smell and will biodegrade in a landfill in 24 months. Also available are the Earth Rated compostable poop bags that are made with 100% corn and are very durable despite the thin eco-friendly material. The Canadian company operates a zero-waste factory where there are no scraps – all bag scraps are reworked into production. Earth Rated gives us the best of all worlds with environmentally friendly products that are tough enough to stay between fingers and feces.

Dealing with Dirty Pets

Even after all the waste is picked up out of the yard, it’s still a mess! Mud is inescapable this time of year, so we are left just having to deal with it. We’ve all done the baseball catcher stance, towel in hand, trying to grab hold of our dogs or cats as they run in from the yard, soaked up to their bellies in dirt. The mud saturates their fur, gets in between their toes and they are most impatient with us as we wipe, rub and pick at them in the doorway. There must be a better way! As it turns out, there is a better way. Let’s be real, it’s never going to be easy or fun but it can be much less frustrating if we just have the right tools. Your everyday hand towel or even bath towel is no match for our messy mutts. Thankfully, Messy Mutts really gets it and has created products that put up a good fight against dirty dogs and crusty cats. Arm yourself with microfiber matts, mitts and towels that hold 7 times their weight in water, and then you’ll have a chance at winning the fight against filth.

For scrubbing betwixt the toes, a towel or mitt is not your best tool – for this you need the Dexas Petware MudBuster dog paw cleaner – add a bit of water and the soft silicone bristles gently and effectively scrub all the nooks and crannies of your dog’s feet. The clean paw then just needs to be dried off with a towel and your floors are saved.

Going on Adventures

Although there are obvious struggles that come with spring, it really is an exciting time of year. We are all itching to get out and do things, and now we finally can! We can shed our parkas, double layered gloves and heavy insulated boots. We can go on adventures and do activities, any excuse to be out in the fresh spring air. Your dog will love to go out in the yard or down to the park to play with all the new interactive toys you will bring home from your next visit to Global Pet Foods! Balls and frisbees for fetch, ropes for tugging and floating toys for swimming; plus, all the gear you need for your escapades – leashes, collars and harnesses, treat pouches and poop bag dispensers.

Taking on New Challenges

Maybe this spring you and your pet are taking on new challenges. Perhaps you signed up for agility or rally obedience classes or have decided to teach your cat how to skateboard! A new training challenge calls for tasty training rewards. There are all kinds of soft and chewy treats at Global Pet Foods that have a taste and texture that is super motivating and they are easy to chew and consume so they won’t distract too long from the task at hand. Find the perfect training treat for your pet and feel confident that they are healthy and nutritious!

Finding Time to Relax

If your style is more relaxed and you just want to spend time outside enjoying the fresh spring air with your pet, hanging out in the yard, you can find everything you need at Global Pet Foods. Pick up a tie out harness for your exploratory cat, or a cot for your tranquil dog. Toys and treats for chewing help your pet relax and relieve stress.

No matter what you like to do with your pet, this spring you can find all the essentials at Global Pet Foods.

Treats can be a Valuable Source of Nutrition for your Pet

When it comes to deciding how to feed our pets, we make it our mission to find a formula with the highest quality ingredients, in the right form for our pets – whether it be kibble, raw, freeze dried or canned. We heavily research the company that makes the food and the regions from which they source ingredients. We watch our pets closely on each new formula, assessing their energy, weight, coat condition and stool quality. We become dietitians, dermatologists and gastroenterologists all in the name of love – for our animals. We love to see them wag their tail and lick their lips, shake a paw and get up on their hind legs dancing in joy! We want to thank them for being our companions, confidants and cherished friends with the most delicious, tempting treats we can find!

 

But treats don’t just have to be delicious. “Treats” can become part of the diet that you have so carefully chosen or maybe even cooked up yourself. Considering treats, not just as a tasty morsel, but as a functional part of the diet, you can ensure the health of your 4-legged family members is always optimized. Lots of pet parents are already making a great effort to choose healthy treats, but it is possible to go even deeper and choose the right treats for what your pet specifically needs – a treat that is the perfect complement to the pet food you have chosen.

Single ingredient treats are a simple addition that you can be confident in selecting. Only one ingredient means you have complete control over what you are adding to the diet. If your pet has dietary restrictions, it can be a hassle reading through the list of ingredients in many biscuits or chewy treats. There is a wide variety of single ingredient treats including meats, fruits and vegetables.

Dogs love the taste of liver, so liver treats are a highly motivating reward. Not only are they delicious, they are high in protein, low in fat and a rich source of vitamin A – essential for skin & coat, eyesight and mobility; and B vitamins – essential for the function of multiple body systems, including energy generation, immunity and gut health. Chicken jerky is also a tasty, lean protein treat that contains B vitamins and Selenium – an important antioxidant. These treats are a great choice for weight conscious pets or pets that would benefit from extra protein or vitamins.

Fish skin is a high-quality source of omega fatty acids as well as other nutrients that support skin structure and function including B vitamins, selenium and amino acids. Beef fillets also contain omega fatty acids as well as zinc, a very important mineral for skin and immunity. These treat options are healthy and tasty for pets that need dermatological and immune support.

Many vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals as well as complex carbohydrates that help regulate blood sugar and provide prebiotic fiber to enhance gut health. Air dried sweet potato is a palatable, low calorie treat that is low glycemic with fiber to support digestive health. Sweet potato contains vitamin B6, which also helps regulate blood sugar as well as support the nervous system and many other body functions. Vitamin C and manganese in sweet potatoes are both involved in antioxidant activities in the body.

With so many nutritious treat options, you are able to complement and enhance your pet’s diet with the most suitable additions, while enjoying quality time bonding with your pet.

 

This month at Global Pet Foods we are highlighting three new single ingredient treats from Nature’s Harvest: air dried Chicken Jerky, Beef Fillets and Pork Cracklings. Crispy cod skins and sweet potato chews are also available from Nature’s Harvest.

Visit your local Global Pet Foods to see a full selection of healthy treats from a variety of trusted brands.