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!
Sharing your life with a cat is a rewarding and enriching experience. Cats have so much to offer including love and companionship. Some people view cats as being aloof and not needing a lot of attention. But just like dogs, there is great responsibility in caring for a cat’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Cats will get sick from time to time, but there are ways to reduce the chances of this happening.
Below are some suggestions.
There are many great products to combat parasites these days, including topical ones which are easier to apply than powders and sprays. Before you treat your cat for parasites, visit your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store. The Healthy Pet Care specialists will be able to advise you on the best product to use for your cat. A visit to your vet may be in order.
Other common dangers include: poisons, hot stoves, toilets, washing machines and tumble dryers, string, ribbon, electrical cords and more. You should know where your cats are at all times if they are at risk to be injured.
Cats are fascinating animals. They are fun, loving and intuitive, but they can also be temperamental and unpredictable.
A bored cat may become destructive and aggressive, and result in excessive grooming or inappropriate litter box use, ie. urinate in other areas of your home.
Caring for a cat is a big responsibility as it’s difficult to keep them healthy in the same manner as dogs, who head outside for walks every day. Many pet parents keep their cats indoors for safety reasons (it helps to reduce death, injury and disease), which can pose other health risks for them if they’re not receiving enough physical and mental stimulation.
Cats need more than just the basic – food, water, litter pan. While your cat may do a great deal of sleeping it`s critical that you provide regular mental stimulation and exercise, which will enhance their living environment and help them live a happy and healthy life.
The onus is on you, and/or other members of your family, to help indoor cats keep their minds alert and sharp. Failure to do so may cause your cat physical and emotional stress which in turn can lead to physical health issues.
Keep your cat active by creating a stimulating environment with these tips below:
And finally, the greatest stimulation that you can provide your cat is simply spending time with them each and every day. This special time will improve your cat’s quality of life. Research shows that spending 30 minutes of quality time with a cat can calm your nerves and boost your mood. Time spent with a cat can increase your body’s production of serotonin, a chemical that boosts feelings of well-being, and decrease your cortisol levels. Like high pressure, cortisol is caused by stress which may lead to high cholesterol and hypertension. Not only will the quality time spent with your cat keep you healthier, but your cat will benefit greatly from the time spent with you too!
Many people visit Global Pet Foods stores across the country asking for help with their pets who are itching, biting, scratching, or licking. In most cases, an allergy is the culprit. Just like humans, pets can be allergic to foods (or the ingredients), dust, plants and pollens. Dogs and cats have different reactions to some of the same things we’re allergic to, and reactions can range from minor sniffling, sneezing, itching/biting to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Grass pollen, for example, can make dogs sneeze, give them watery eyes, and have them biting or licking itchy paws or skin.
Depending on the type of allergy, your pet may exhibit different symptoms. Although pets occasionally will have watery eyes and some sneezing, the most common reaction is scratching. Constant scratching may lead to loss of hair, open sores, and raised and infected welts. Many dogs also suffer from ear infections as a result of allergies.
Pets affected by allergies may suffer their entire lives and symptoms generally worsen as they age. There are things that you can do to manage your pet’s pain by understanding the signs of allergies and the products that can help to alleviate their suffering. There are many types of allergies that can affect your pet, as detailed below:
Food allergies are the most common for pets. If your pet is scratching all year long (and not just during the spring season), a food allergy is most likely the source of the problem. Pets can be allergic to grains, proteins and/or preservatives, and the symptoms will resemble those of seasonal allergies. Pets with food allergies commonly have itchy skin, chronic ear infections or sometimes gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting.
To address the problem pet, we recommend a “food trial” which includes limiting the pet to a unique animal protein source such as duck, venison or fish, and a vegetable. A Limited Ingredient Diet will typically include only one meat and one vegetable. You’ll have to restrict all treats and table food until the allergy source can be determined. Over time, you can reintroduce your pet to other proteins, using the process of elimination to determine the allergy source.
Common Symptoms of Allergies:
There is no cure for allergies in dogs and cats, and identifying and treating the source of an allergy can be tricky. However, the majority of allergies can be effectively controlled with diet change, supplements, or other types of treatments. A licensed veterinarian may need to be consulted for extreme or ongoing cases, while the Healthy Pet Care Specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store can assist with product recommendations in many other cases.
Buying a pet bird is an exciting experience. Pet birds range from singers such as canaries, smaller parrots such as parakeets, cockatiels, lovebirds, and conures, and larger parrots such as cockatoos, amazons, and macaws. Speak with your Global Pet Food Healthy Pet Care Specialist about helping you choose the bird most suitable for you. or your family
One of your first priorities is the selection of the cage and environment. In general the cage should be large enough for the bird to be comfortable. However very active small birds such as canaries and finches do best in a longer, shorter cage as they are more mobile and tend to fly from perch to perch. Parakeets do well in taller or round cages. Cockatiels are active climbers and prefer taller square cages with a few perches or tree branch. The larger parrot species need plenty of room and very large cages. Don’t forget to have adequate perches and some artificial branches to exercise feet and keep them healthy. It’s critical to provide birds with toys. Provide ones that offer your bird different types of activities, both physical and mental, and rotate them regularly. Most importantly, remember that a clean cage is a healthy cage!
The single most important element for a bird’s health is a fresh supply of water and good nutrition. Your Global Pet Foods Healthy Pet Care Specialist can direct you to the proper food. The best diets have a proper mixture of seeds, grains, and pellets fortified with vitamins and minerals that meet the nutritional needs of the individual species. Birds generally need additional sources of calcium. Most good diets are calcium fortified but it is recommended to have a cuttlebone or mineral stone to supplement. Feed birds in the morning with fresh food and water in clean bowls. One of the most fun aspects of pet bird care is sharing human foods and spending mealtime together. This requires some education and research first but if done correctly adding fresh fruits, vegetables, pasta, beans, and even pizza can be a fun way to add diversity to the bird’s diet and really bond with your new pet. And yes, they even like chicken.
If you’re reading this article there’s a good chance that you’re either a pet owner or thinking about becoming one. It’s well known that pet ownership can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, anxiety, and promote an overall healthy lifestyle. While cats and dogs work hard at this every day and deservedly enjoy most of the spotlight we want to take a few minutes to talk about one particular category of heroes – the sometimes humble pet bird. Many of our feathered friends can talk quite well and they have asked that we remind everyone that they too are looking forward to owning a human someday. If you’re not ready to have a dog or a cat and you feel that you can manage caring for a bird, we do recommend that you start with sharing part of your life with these fascinating animal companions.
Whether you own a pet (or find yourself being owned by one) there’s no doubting the strong relationship that forms between pets and humans. This is especially true among pet birds – most notably parrots – who like to remind us they are among the most intelligent of all the creatures in the animal kingdom. It is this level of intelligence that creates a special kind of companionship. With all due respect to our four legged companions, most pet birds could walk circles around them in many fields of study. If you doubt this fact watch a bird that has fresh newspaper placed on the bottom of his cage. Yes, it will soil the paper as much as a puppy would, but the bird will do so only after reading the really good articles. While this is purely speculation, it does make you wonder, doesn’t it?
A significant percentage of parrot owners consider their birds to be children and due in no small part to the birds’ constant efforts to bond and interact with us as members of their flock. It is this activity that makes them such a rewarding source of enrichment and entertainment. The end result of this is not pet ownership at all but the inclusion of the bird into the family.
Deciding to add a pet bird to the family should be no small decision. The selection of every pet should be taken seriously and thought should be given to the amount of time that can be spent with the animal, both short term and long term, and management of the workload that the pet entails. The good news is that most pet birds are extremely forgiving as a companion pet. For the most part birds are very affordable to own and care for and don’t require large amounts of our time. There are certainly exceptions to this but almost certainly there is a species to fit with your “flock.” When it comes time to choosing a bird, you will most likely be asked lots of questions to make sure that the bird is placed into a family structure that best matches its needs. Don’t take offense and keep an open mind. This is a relationship that is going to last many years so a little “compatibility” check may be in order. Truly the best part of pet bird ownership is the companionship that they provide. While some birds will learn to talk, there are no guarantees. Some are very pretty, some are not, and some are, quite frankly, a little bit goofy. Listen to the advice of people who know and do a little research and you’ll end up with a feathered friend for life.
If your child wants a pet and you’re not sure that your family is ready for a dog or a cat, you may want to start ‘small’ and add a guinea pig, hamster, or a rabbit to your family. Small animals make great companions for both young children and adults. The Healthy Pet Care Specialists at Global Pet Foods stores can help you with adopting a small animal.
While it may seem that small animals are easier to care for than dogs or cats, small animals still need daily care.
It’s important that your small animal gets used to you and other members of the household as soon as you bring them home. They also need to become accustomed to being handled. If your child is going to be the ‘primary’ caregiver, ensure that they are involved with the pet right from the beginning.
Feeding your new pet a small treat is a great way to have them warm up to you. When they’re comfortable with that, you can carefully pick them up with one hand supporting the bottom, the other over the back. Hold him for a short time at first, and then gradually increase your time with him.
The best way to safely approach rabbits is to start by stroking the top of their head. Do not offer your hand to a bunny to sniff in the same way that you would to a dog, because most seem to find this gesture offensive and may attack (lightning fast lunge with a snort). Most bunnies don’t like to have the tips of their noses or chins touched. Their feet also tend to be ticklish.
Teach your child to be very gentle with their new pet.
We often overlook the importance of providing daily activity for small animals – guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and rabbits – because they seem to enjoy the comfort of their cages. But they need companionship and activity for their overall health and wellbeing too. If you have multiple small animals, they will enjoy playing together. Small animals will also provide great entertainment when they start moving outside of their cages.
All small animals should partake in both physical and mental exercises every day. Most of the activities will relate to their burrowing and chewing instincts. A running wheel is the most important piece of equipment to ensure that hamsters or guinea pigs get daily exercise. Hamsters typically run a distance of about eight miles per night.
TIP: Buy a running wheel without an axle if your pet has a long tail.
Another popular toy that provides great exercise, mental stimulation and entertainment is a polycarbonate plastic ball. Your small animal will love the freedom and exercise as their legs give the ball motion to roll around the room. This allows them to be outside of their cage, and ensures they can’t escape! Your pet can overexert itself, so give them a rest after 15 or 20 minutes of being in the ball.
Small animals have natural burrowing and tunneling instincts, so a great option to facilitate this is tunneling equipment.
Although cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels can be used, they will end up being shredded quickly. Buy a cage that is equipped with tunnels. Even ferrets are very curious and will love playing in tunnels (appropriately sized, of course!). Please ensure that the diameter of the components is the right size for your pets. It’s also important that the components are easy to remove and reassemble because you’ll need to clean and disinfect them on a weekly basis.
Some small animals, such as ferrets and rats like to climb. Adding bird perches, bird swings and climbing branches to their cages will encourage this. They may get chewed up, but that’s part of your pet’s play too!
Gnawing is a favourite activity for small animals. To help maintain your small animal’s dental health, ensure that you provide chew toys. There are vegetable flavoured or plain wood chew toys in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes available, as well as hard alfalfa cubes. Some pets, like bunnies, guinea pigs and chinchillas must chew. Their teeth keep growing just like your hair and fingernails do. Gnawing is how they keep their teeth trimmed. With trim teeth, they can keep chewing their food. Without chew toys they will chew on the food bowls and even on their cages. Hamster’s teeth grow continuously, so your pet will need to chew – a lot – to keep their chompers in tip-top condition.
Harnesses and leads work well with ferrets. Even bunnies and guinea pigs can be harness-trained when they are young. Harnesses and leads allow you to take your pet outside and keep them from getting away from you and from getting into things. Most harnesses can be adjusted to fit the size of your small animal.
Be sure to provide the appropriate food for your small animal and water every day. Check the cage for chewed or damaged areas, where your pet could escape. Remove any old food and check the toys to be sure they are still working and in good condition. Your small animal’s cage should be kept in a safe and comfortable area in your home; cages should not be placed in drafty areas or in direct sunlight.
Global Pet Foods has a wide variety of products suitable for small animals. We can help you select the right products that are appropriate for your pet and provide you with guidance on caring for your small companion.