The Canadian pet food industry is vast. In 2017, dry pet food was responsible for 32% of the total revenue of the entire industry, amounting to more than $100 million in revenue. 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Obesity is one of the most common health concerns for dogs and cats nationwide. There are many factors that contribute to excess weight gain in pets, but in the end, it comes down to calories in vs calories out, pets eating too much and exercising too little. The most prominent concern with obesity is the numerous health problems for which obesity is a precursor. Orthopedic disease is the biggest risk for overweight canines, whereas diabetes is the biggest risk for overweight felines. In addition to these, obese pets are also at higher risk for urinary tract disease, dermatitis, oral disease, pancreatitis, respiratory complications and renal disease.
Preventing obesity by closely monitoring body condition and feeding only as much as is required by the pet is extremely important. Note that feeding directions on pet food packaging is only a guideline and some dogs may require less than the recommended daily amount. Another thing to be aware of is that most household pets do not fit into the “active” or “highly active” category. We must be realistic about the exercise our pets are doing. Exclusively indoor cats do not tend to engage in intense activity. Dogs that go for a couple walks a day and perhaps to obedience or agility class once per week are considered moderately active. We also must be aware of the condition our pets are in. The majority (60-70%) of owners with overweight pets underestimate the body condition score of their pets. This means they score them as less overweight than they really are. Learning how to properly body score and being honest about your pet is imperative to their health. Feeding programs should also be regularly evaluated and adjusted. Pets may become less active as they get older, or during certain times of year, and food should be reduced accordingly. Unfortunately, in many cases, weight gain is not monitored closely enough, and feeding programs are not adjusted regularly. It is therefore important to know how to create an effective weight loss plan.
Simply switching to a weight management food is not always the answer. We have to pay close attention to the calories and where they are coming from. Some weight management diets are lower in fat and/or protein but not lower in calories. These diets provide a higher proportion of calories from carbohydrates, which is not beneficial for weight loss. A diet that is higher in protein and fat is advantageous for weight loss.
If you would like to learn how to create an effective weight loss plan for you pet, continue reading.
Creating a Weigh Loss Plan
Step 1: Body Condition Scoring
Accurately body score the pet and decide how much weight they need to lose. Every increment above “ideal” on the body condition score (BCS) scale accounts for 10-15% additional body weight due to excess fat deposition. Below is the 1-9 Body Condition system. This is the most accurate BCS system.
Example: We have a female Rottweiler that weighs 50kg. We assess her body condition and rate her a 7 on the BCS scale (5 is ideal). This means she needs to lose 20-30% of her body weight, which is 10-15kg. Based on her size, we estimate her ideal weight to be 40kg, so she needs to lose 10kg.
Step 2: Diet History and Adjustment
Catalogue daily food intake and calculate total calories consumed. This includes meals, treats, chews, table scraps and anything else the pet eats. Based on calories consumed and weight loss goal, decide on the level of caloric restriction. Calories can be reduced by 10-40% depending on the weight loss goal. Larger pets and pets with more weight to lose can tolerate more aggressive calorie reductions than small pets with less weight to lose.
Example: Our female Rottweiler needs to lose 10kg (20% of BW). She is consuming 4 cups of food (a total of 1620 calories) per day, plus 1 large dental chew (140 calories) per day. She is consuming a total of 1760 calories per day. We decide we want to reduce her caloric intake by 30% since she is a large dog with quite a few kgs to lose. We decide to reduce her food to the recommended amount for a less active 40kg dog, which is 2 ¾ cups according to the guideline on the package. We want to continue giving her one dental chew daily. This brings her calorie intake to a total of 1254 calories per day. This is approximately 29% calorie reduction. We did not need to make any big changes to her diet; she is eating the same food, just less of it.
Step 3: Exercise
Catalogue daily exercise and decide, based on the ability of the dog and the household, how to implement extra physical activity.
Example: We take our female Rottweiler for a 30 to 45-minute walk twice a day and we go to obedience class once per week. She is young, with no mobility restrictions, so we decide to replace one of her walks with a 1-1 ½ hour visit to an off-leash dog park where she can run.
Step 4: Re-evaluation & Adjustment
Every 2 weeks or so, the plan should be re-evaluated and adjusted if needed. Weight loss should progress at a rate of approximately 1-2% of body weight per week. For larger dogs with more weight to lose, a steep calorie reduction could result in quicker weight loss at the beginning of the program. If at any point in the program there is no weight loss observed for more than 2 weeks, the program should be adjusted by further reducing calories or increasing exercise.
Example: We should expect our rottweiler to weigh in at approximately 48-49kg after the first two weeks of the program, and the program should continue for 10-20 weeks until desired body weight is reached. At her first weigh in, she has dropped to 47kg. The program is working, so we continue! After 14 weeks, she weighs in at the goal weight of 40kg.
Step 5: Weight Maintenance
Once ideal body weight is reached, it must be maintained. The weight loss program should be continued after the ideal weight is achieved. If weight loss continues beyond the desired weight goal, calorie intake should be increased slightly until desired weight is maintained. Calories required for maintenance might be slightly higher than were required for weight loss. This maintenance step entails regular monitoring and adjustment.
Example: Our rottweiler has reached the goal weight of 40kg. We assess her body condition and are satisfied that she has reached a body condition score of 5 – the ideal score. We continue the same program for two more weeks, and at the next weigh-in, she is still at 40kg, so we will continue the same program to maintain her here. We continue to regularly weigh her and evaluate her body condition and make adjustments whenever necessary. With continued assessment, we should successfully maintain ideal body condition for the rest of her life.
For more information or for assistance creating a weight loss plan for your pet, visit your local Global Pet Foods store or submit a question or comment through our contact page.
Play Behaviours of Domestic Cats
Observing feline playtime can be quite entertaining; a statue still, low crouch followed by a tail swish and a butt wiggle, leading up to a most dramatic pounce! It is adorable and maybe even comical to watch. But what do all these actions mean, and what is their purpose? They are all predatory behaviours – yes, even the cute little butt wiggle is the act of a ravenous hunter!
Hunting Behaviours of Feline Predators
For a successful ambush, a predator lies in wait in a concealed spot that prey are likely to wonder by. They must be perfectly still in order to avoid being detected, and driving prey out of reach. While stalking, a predator follows their prey in a low, silent crawl until they are in the optimal position for attack. In preparation for the pounce, the hunting feline must be sure their targeting is accurate. Sometimes prey are also very still and it is difficult to lock in on their location. A slight tail swish can catch the attention of the prey, causing small movements, giving away their exact position. Next, the feline squares up their hind legs by rocking their weight side to side (the butt wiggle), giving them maximum pouncing power! These behaviours are exhibited by wild cats and domestic house kitties alike. The difference being that our house pets are often going after toys or dust bunnies and not actually hunting their food source.
Why do Well-Fed House Cats Exhibit Hunting Behaviours?
The hunting instinct ingrained in felines is not driven by momentary hunger; rather it has been established by thousands of years of evolution as a mechanism of food acquisition. Felines, as obligate carnivores, have evolved as predator animals, and an important part of a predator’s lifestyle is hunting. Being at the top of the food chain comes with a lot of responsibility. Acquiring food depends on hunting – it is a much more involved process than scavenging for others’ leftovers or grazing across an open plain and it requires a very high level of motivation. But why do we still see this instinct in our domestic house cats? If you give a cat a meal, their hunger will be satisfied, but the urge to hunt still lingers. Why, when the need is eliminated, does the desire persist?
To better understand our pet cats, we should better understand how they became our pets in the first place. The process of domestication involves genetic alterations affecting physiology, appearance and behaviour. The transition from a wild animal to a domesticated animal can result in traits lost or gained, depending on which are beneficial in the domestic lifestyle. The domestication of cats began with humans and cats living symbiotically – in a mutually beneficial scenario. The most common theory of feline domestication involves the stored grains during early agriculture attracting small rodents (prey), which in turn attracted small wild cats (predators). Wild cats that were less wary of humans had access to an abundance of prey, and in turn they provided humans with effective pest control. Early in the domestication process, hunting was still the primary manner of food acquisition, so success of the animals relied on a strong motivation to hunt. Even though our house kitties are fed meals in a bowl and no longer need to hunt for food, the instinct is still present, and we must ensure they receive appropriate stimulation in order to preserve a positive state of well-being.
Enrichment for Indoor Cats
Outdoor cats have the opportunity to hunt real prey – the ultimate stimulation; but for those that live exclusively indoors, we must provide the stimulus. Strings tipped with feathers fly through the air like darting birds; toy mice unknowingly wait to be ambushed; bouncing wires dance like hopping insects. There are so many enriching toys available that are engaging and satisfying for our cats. Perhaps the most satisfying are products that allow felines to actually hunt for their food. Available at Global Pet Foods is the indoor hunting feeder from Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co. This product allows your cat to hunt for kibble-filled mice that you’ve hidden around the house. It satisfies their instinctual desires, gives them plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and enhances overall well-being of your beloved feline.
An under stimulated feline may exhibit destructive behavior; frustration may build up and lead to misbehaviours such as going outside the litter box; a lack of physical exercise can lead to unhealthy weight gain; a lack of satisfaction can prevent relaxation and increase stress. When we provide enrichment for our indoor cats, we provide them with an outlet to express all their natural behaviours, satisfying the deeply ingrained urges they maintained through domestication. In doing this, we prevent them searching for other, less desirable outlets, and most importantly, we make them happy.
Visit your local Global Pet Foods to see all the most innovative feline enrichment products available!
With over 160 Global Pet Foods stores across Canada, we see firsthand as to just how much joy pets bring to our customers (and to us!).
From the way that people pick out the “right” bed for their dog, a new toy for the cat, or ask the common question of our Healthy Pet Care Specialists, “Is this the best food for my pet?”, we know that our customers want the best for their pets. And we are more than happy to help because we want the best for your pets too.
We love to see the joy your pets bring you. It’s one of the key reasons why we love what we do.
The bond between people and their pets is really unlike no other bond. Yes, children bring their parents and extended family joy too. But children grow up and, in most cases, lead independent lives, whereas our pets depend on us for their entire lifetime. We are their sole providers and caregivers.
There’s no question of the tremendous pain that people go through when their pets are ill or have passed over the “Rainbow Bridge”. It is the same pain akin to losing a spouse or a child. For most people, they cannot imagine their lives without their pets. Our pets bring joy to our lives.
But how? And why?
Our pets do not discriminate. Our gender, race, appearance, wealth (or lack thereof), where we live, what we do, or how we dress means absolutely nothing to our pets. They just love us – plain and simple – unconditionally. Unconditional love is very difficult to find in humans.
Our pets are forgiving. There is rarely a conflict among packs of animals. They solve their problems and move on. They don’t hold grudges or worry about what happened yesterday. Yes, dogs and cats may have excellent memories, but veterinarian and animal behaviourist,
Alexandra Horowtiz states that the cerebral cortex in a dog’s brain, the part responsible for higher-order though functions and language, is not sufficiently developed to support human-like conceptual thinking. The same anatomical feature which makes our dogs incapable of feeling guilt also allows them to forgive easily because they don’t have the framework of language to help them structure and retrieve memories in any detail.
Our pets teach us to live for today. As humans, we wish for things that we don’t have, or spend time regretting what we have done or not done. We spend a lot of time worrying, don’t we? Our pets? They live for today! Every day is a new day and they simply live it and they love living it with us, whether it’s curled up beside us or sitting on our laps, or going for a walk. What a great world it would be if we lived like our pets!
There isn’t a better feeling than when we come home and our pets are so excited to see us. Our pets greet us every day as if we have been away for days or years. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?
Watching our fish tank at night relaxes us. Petting our ferret, rabbit, hamster, lizard, puppy or dog, kitten or cat, calms us.
Our pets love us unconditionally. And that brings us joy.
While many cats are “house” cats, they still require some special attention during the summer months in order to keep them healthy, safe and content. Visit your Global Pet Foods store for product recommendations and more tips.
Water, water, everywhere!
Your cat needs to drink lots of water when the temperature heats up. Please ensure that there’s always fresh water available in several different shaded spots throughout your home, and on your porch or in the backyard if your cat spends time outdoors.
If your home is not air-conditioned, and you’re away during the day, freeze a plastic dish of water overnight, and put it out in the morning, in addition to the regular water dish. This way, your cat will have a continual source of cool water throughout the day. A water fountain with an add-on reservoir is a great alternative to a water bowl and it does a better job of providing your cat with a constant source of fresh water.
It’s extremely important to keep senior cats hydrated as they tend to have compromised kidney and thyroid functions. Since they tend to nap a lot, this means they’re not eating or drinking as often as they should. Ensure that you or someone in your household encourages them to drink and eat a few times through the day.
On really hot days, wipe your cat down with a cool washcloth or towel, especially if your home is not air-conditioned.
Cool place to rest:
Make sure that your cat has access to areas with tile floors or rooms that don’t get much sun. Cats will naturally gravitate to the most comfortable sleeping area that they can find and a bed that’s comfortably cool can really hit the spot. Make a “cooling” bed by placing a packet of frozen peas under a blanket or your cat’s bed cover. Your cat will enjoy this cool spot.
Shedding is considered a sign of health in cats, and your cat will shed to remove dead hair from her body. Since dead hair can cause skin irritation, it needs to be removed. It’s also important to ensure that your cat’s fur does not mat since matted fur traps in heat, which can cause her great discomfort in the summer. Grooming your cat daily will help to prevent fur from becoming matted and also allows air to flow freely through it, keeping her cool in the summer months. This is very important for long-haired cats. Regular grooming of your cat is also key to the prevention of hairballs. Signs of a major hairball problem and possible impaction are: retching, inability to poop, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or a swollen abdomen.
See your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your cat is impacted.
Playtime and exercise:
Cats need daily play and exercise. If your home is not air-conditioned, their exercise time should take place during the cooler hours of the day, early morning and evening. This is especially important for young kittens and seniors, both of whom are very vulnerable to heatstroke. Please be sure to give your cats time to digest their food before you engage them in exercise.
Keep tabs on your cats during the hot weather and monitor them for signs of heatstroke. Heatstroke is life-threatening, and learning proper first aid can save your cat’s life. The symptoms of heatstroke in cats can include:
If you suspect that your cat is a victim of heatstroke, take her temperature. It should be between 100.5 and 101.5 F. A temperature above 104 is a definite warning sign of hyperthermia. If you believe that your cat is suffering from heat stroke, you must quickly take steps to cool her down. Move her to a cool area immediately and try to lower the temperature by wetting towels with cool or lukewarm water, and wipe her down. Then increase air movement around her with a fan (low setting). You need to take your cat to a veterinarian right away.
NOTE: Using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Cooling your cat too quickly, which may result in lowering his body temperature too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions. Allow your cat free access to cool water but don`t force feed your cat, as they may inhale it and choke. Snub-nosed breeds (like Persians and Himalayans) are especially vulnerable to heat stroke.
Recently, many pet foods manufacturers are promoting the probiotics in their pet food, which is more commonly found in dog food. While we certainly support the use of probiotics in pet food, we recommend that you give your pet a probiotic supplement instead. Probiotics are sensitive to moisture and heat so if they’re added to pet food (especially kibble) they will have little effect by the time they make it into your pet’s digestive tract. The bacteria in a probiotic must be live and be able to reproduce in order to provide your pet with any health benefit.
Probiotics can be used for the following:
First of all, what are probiotics, anyway? Everyone knows they help optimize our gut flora (the bacteria occurring naturally in the intestine), but really, what are these things? Where do they come from?
Probiotics are living microbes which have a beneficial effect on the host animal by contributing to its intestinal microbial balance. Acidophilus and bifidobacteria are the most common types of microbes used as probiotics, but there are over 30,000 species of microbes that interact to maintain a healthy intestinal environment! Probiotics tip the balance in the gut toward friendly bacteria and away from pathogenic bacteria which can cause gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, skin and coat problems and other illness. They’re great for helping dogs and cats recover from most digestive disturbances, both chronic and acute.
Although there are lots of commercial products on the market in pill and liquid form for high retail prices, probiotics are naturally found in foods such as fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, and kimchee) and sprouted seeds, for example. These are proven to be, by far, much more effective than the lab-made strains available in bottles.
Why? Because science cannot imitate the naturally complex relationships of all of the species of microbes that interact in the gut to maintain a healthy intestinal environment. Neither has science yet discovered all the ways the body interacts with each of these species to produce the beneficial effect. But most importantly, recent research shows that if the probiotic microorganisms are allowed to establish their own symbiotic environment prior to being ingested by the host body, they are ‘hardier’, more able to re-establish their dominance, more able to withstand the heat and acid environment of the gut.
And finally, commercial probiotics are created by isolating individual strains of microorganisms which are then artificially stimulated to reproduce in a laboratory. In the final product, the selected probiotics have been separated from their intrinsic supporting microbes that were present in the original natural state. These supporting microbes are critical to the survival of the selected strain, so the absorption and use of the finished probiotic by the body will be greatly and significantly reduced.
This means that when a native probiotic found in food is ingested while still in its natural host environment it remains supported by the full range of original microorganisms that allow it to function. It will stay healthy, viable and be much more bio-available for absorption within the animal’s intestine. Now that’s something to toot about!