Posts Tagged ‘Tricks’

  • 5 Important Things to Teach Your New Pup

    Bringing home a new dog is a huge responsibility, no matter how old they are. One of the most important things you can do is ensuring your dog develops the behavioral, social, and physical skills needed to live a good life in our world!

    How you train your dog can dramatically shape their personality and future. At Petland, we’re huge fans of training our dogs through positive reinforcement using any of the scrumptious training treats we carry in our store.

    In order to make sure you’re setting your tail-wagger up for success, here’s a checklist of 5 crucial training and behavioral tips using dog treats to get you started.

    1. Basic commands

    Sit, Stay, Come, Leave It: These are the golden commands that can make your life so much easier. “Sit” and “Stay” help teach your dog patience and these two commands come in handy when you know you’re dog is in a state of excitement. “Come” is one of those commands that will help you get their attention and serves as a good command when you need to distract your dog from what they’re doing. “Leave it” is best used for when they fixate on something, whether it’s destroying your shoe or trying to steal a treat off the streets.

    2. Learning about their space in your home

    It’s important for your dog to love their bed/crate and know that that’s their space to claim. Having consistent spots in the house helps them feel secure since they have a natural instinct to den. Some dogs take to this more naturally while others need more coaxing, especially if it’s a crate or a bed placed in a spot of the house that’s not their favorite. The best way to get them to like their nook is to reward them with a treat when they are in the bed/crate. Soon enough they’ll begin to develop a positive association with the area and automatically go their designated spots!

    3. Teaching them about boundaries

    Dogs respond well to boundaries as long as they have been clearly defined. If your dog isn’t allowed to chew shoes, make sure you say a stern “No” and swap the shoe for one of their toys so they know what’s acceptable. Similarly if your dog isn’t allowed on the couch, gently push them off and when they stay down, reward them with a tasty treat and tons of praise. But make sure you stick to these rules. If you allow them on the couch sometimes and don’t at other times, it’ll confuse your dog and make it harder for them to know what’s ok and what’s not.

    4. Go Potty

    Older adopted dogs, are usually house-broken but that doesn’t mean that they won’t have accidents while they try and get used to their new environment. The best way to train a puppy or dog to go potty in the right places is to deliberately walk to the spot when you know they need to go and when they do go reward them with praise and treats. By constantly reinforcing the behavior you’ll be able to get them on a steady routine where both you and the pup know when it’s time to go!

    5. Teaching them to be ok with being home alone.

     If you’ve managed to train your pup to like their crate then leaving them home shouldn’t be too difficult. But for those of you who don’t crate, the best way to get your pup to not worry when you leave is to stagger the amount of time you’re gone and reinforce the good behavior with treats. First you can start by leaving them for 5 minutes. Come back and reward them if they don’t howl. Gradually increase the amount of time you’re gone. With some patience and time your dog will eventually learn that when you leave it doesn’t mean you’ll never come back. This a great way to also build trust between you and your dog. Once they start to trust they’ll be more at ease.

    Here at Petland, dog training is a big part of our everyday lives. We specialize in helping customers with tips and tricks for all sorts of training concerns and questions. We also send each of our new puppies home with training sessions in our store with the option for in-home training as well from the training company we work with. Having a solid foundation of training, no matter how old your four-legged family member is, will not only make you happy, but your pet as well! We also stock everything you would need for successful training from treats to crates, correction collars and so much more! Swing by and let us help you today!

     

     

  • 4 Training Mistakes You Could Be Unintentionally Making with Your Pooch!

    There are several things we as puppy parents unintentionally do that mess with our dogs’ emotions. No matter how hard we try in our effort to be perfect, some of our human ways can lead to one confused pup. And sending mixed signals to our pups will make them more likely to misbehave. But is it really bad behavior, or just bad communication?

    1. “COME HERE NOW!”

    How many of you have called to your dog and a wild west standoff ensues? Well, what exactly are you calling them for? We often expect our pups to come even when they know there’s no incentive to do so. Instead, ensure that “come” works every time by rewarding your dog with a puppy party every time they obey this all-important command. The key-word here is reward. Puppy parties should involve anything your dog finds rewarding–a nice belly rub, a yummy treat, their favorite toy, etc. Never punish your dog for coming when called. Even if your dog is coming back after an hour-long escapade through the neighborhood, they still get a puppy party. Remember to always issue a recall command with a pleasant tone and a smile on your face; no dog wants to come running to an angry tone and a scowling face.

    2. Back Talk

    Petting, talking to, playing with, and even scolding a barking dog, reinforces the dog to bark. Do not give a dog attention while they’re barking. The best remedy to a Barking Betsy is the good ole’ cold shoulder. And don’t forget to praise the peace and reward Betsy when she is being quiet! Remember, barking can be inherently rewarding for some dogs, especially for many smaller breeds. Make sure the reward you give your dog is more rewarding then the barking itself. You may have to test out several treats and toys to find out what your pup goes absolutely bananas for.

    3. Chew On This, Not That!

    Dogs don’t just have a desire to chew, they have a need to chew! Providing your dog with plenty of chew toys is the first step, but unfortunately not the last. Dogs need constant reminding of what is okay to chew and what isn’t. Keep anything you don’t want your dog to chew off the floor! If you do catch your dog chewing on something off-limits, redirect him with a few cues (sit, down, touch), and then replace the item with one of their chew toys.

    4. Nipping Enabler

    Mouthy puppies can be sweet and funny when they are little, but nipping can become dangerous fast. Don’t allow your dog to make teeth-to-skin contact with anyone, ever. When dogs first learn how to play, their litter mates and mother teach them what an acceptable mouthing pressure is, and what kind of wrestling is tolerated among other dogs. As a puppy parent, it is your job to teach your dog the appropriate way to play with humans. Even if it’s a playful accident, let your dog know that nipping isn’t okay by exclaiming “OUCH!” and by walking away. Don’t play with your pup for fifteen to thirty seconds. Your dog will soon figure out that if they don’t play appropriately, the game will end.

    We hope this blog was helpful to any who might be making some training missteps and not even realizing it! At Petland, we also pride ourselves on being a fount of information when it comes to properly training a new puppy as well as continuing that training into doggy adulthood! Stop in today if you’ve got a training issue to tackle, we’ve got the knowledge, treats and toys to help you on your way to becoming a better pet parent!

     

  • Why Dogs Are Still at Risk for Sunburn, Even Though They Have Fur?

    Ah summer, the wonderful season filled with beach days, weekends at the cottage, and picnics in the park. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful it’s also the season, of blotchy, red, irritating sunburn. We know that sunburns are a serious summertime issue for humans, but what about dogs?

    As it turns out, despite their fur coats dogs can suffer from sunburns just like humans. While some pups are more susceptible to burns than others, all dogs have vulnerable areas on their bodies.

    Unsurprisingly, hairless breeds such as the Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzcuintli are at the greatest risk for sunburn. With limited or no fur to act a barrier of protection against the sun, they can suffer the same burns people do when they go outside without sun protection.

    Having fur doesn’t guarantee sun protection, however. You know how a white t-shirt only provides SPF coverage of about 7? The same goes for white fur.

    Dogs with white fur have very fair skin under it that is susceptible to burns from UV rays.

    What about dogs with thick, dark coats? Even dogs that fall in this category have parts of their body that are at risk for sunburns. Areas where their fur is thinner, such as the stomach or ears, or even their nose or pads of their feet can become burnt with prolonged sun exposure.

    If dogs can suffer from sunburns just like humans, what we can do to protect them from the sun? The best thing you can do to keep your pooch from getting sunburn is to keep them out of direct sunlight. If you’re going to outside for an extended length of time, bringing an umbrella for shade or setting up under a big tree is a good idea.

    If you’re going to in an area without shade, it might be a good idea to pick up some dog-friendly sunscreen. There are a few different sunscreen brands available on the market, but talk to your veterinarian about which would be best for your pup. When applying the sunscreen, make sure you get the areas that are most susceptible to burns, such as ears, nose, belly, and anywhere else where fur is light.

    If your dog does get sunburn, you can use the same treatments as you do on yourself, such as taking an oatmeal bath and applying cooling aloe vera gel. Just remember to keep an eye on your pup to ensure they don’t lick off the product. If your dog does not seem to be feeling or looking better in a few days, contact your veterinarian.

    Just because dogs can get sunburn doesn’t mean that they will. Taking the steps to protect your pup from the sun will ensure that there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying your summer adventures to the fullest!

     

  • 10 Must-Haves for Your New Puppy Checklist!

    You are now the proud caregiver of a new puppy! Over the next several weeks, months, and years you’ll come to learn and experience so many wonderful things. But one of the keys to success is preparation. Make sure you have these puppy checklist items on hand before you’re distracted by a licking, happy ball of fur in the house.

    1. Dog Food

    Growing puppies need a dog food that is specially formulated for their developmental stage— the “puppy” life stage. Puppies need certain nutrients to grow strong bones and muscles, to feed their developing brains, and to build their immune systems without overdoing it on the calorie count. Look for large breed puppy foods for puppies which will be 55 pounds or more once fully grown as an adult.

    2. Dog Treats

    Dog treats are the highlight of a puppy’s day. They can make dog training a snap and improve the human-puppy bond through a positive reinforcement program. However, because it’s easy to overdo, make sure dog treats are small enough to be a tiny bite of flavor … not a meal replacement. In fact, treats should not account for more than 10 percent of your puppy’s daily calories.

    3. Dog Toys

    Teething puppies have an intrinsic need to chew. If you don’t have an adequate supply of dog chew toys on hand, you can kiss your shoes, purses, and furniture goodbye. Inappropriate chewing is annoying, expensive, and possibly even dangerous, so set your puppy up for success with dog-appropriate chew toys.

    4. Bedding

    Puppies should have a safe, comfortable, clean spot to sleep. Many owners find crate training an indispensable tool in the house training process, and this solves the problem of both house training and a designated slumber spot.

    5. Dog Gates (or Pens)

    Dog gates are an excellent way to block doorways to rooms you’d like to keep off-limits to your puppy. Some may even be configured as a personal play pen.

    6. Cleaning Supplies

    Puppies are messy, no two ways about it. They rip things up. They have “accidents” (hint: enzymatic cleaners are very helpful in these cases). They sometimes vomit on the rug. A good supply of cleaning supplies is indispensable. However, choose cleansers that are designated “pet safe” to ensure that even if Fido sneaks a lick, it won’t be a problem for him or for you.

    7. Grooming Supplies

     Your puppy will certainly be in need of a bath at some point. You will need one specific to dogs, as their sensitive skin is easily irritated by the stripping cleansers in shampoos designated for people. Have a good brush on hand as well to get your puppy used to being groomed and to keep their puppy coat in tip top shape. Brushing helps keep the coat shiny and healthy by spreading the oils in their skin through the coat.

    8. Leash

    Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash. Training them to get used to a dog leash (and collar) early is an essential socialization skill. For young dogs still learning manners, make sure your leash is short enough that they will be in your control and save the long leashes for when they are a bit older. If you have a small dog — under 20 pounds — you may also want a travel carrier.

    9. Collar

    Dog collars should be snug enough that your puppy dog can’t back out of them, but large enough for 2-3 fingers to slip comfortably underneath. Remember, a growing dog will need a new collar several times during the puppy stage as he or she gets bigger.

    10. Dental Care

    People often don’t think about starting dental care at the puppy stage, but it’s really the only time to start! Getting your puppy used to brushing their teeth and/or using water based tarter control is much easier than getting an adult dog to let you root around in their mouths! And having a set routine for your dog’s dental care will only save you money and time in the future by not having expensive teeth cleanings or (eek!) tooth removal at your veterinarian’s office.

    Well, that will about do our essential puppy checklist! Here at Petland, we specialize in making sure you have everything you need to be successful for your new puppy as well as all the extra supplies they need as they grow into adulthood. And you don’t have to purchase a puppy from us to be able to enjoy how knowledgeable and friendly our Pet Counselors can be when it comes to all things four-legged (or feathery!) So come on down to our store today!

     

  • Are You and Your Pooch Good Neighbors? Check Out These 5 Tips for Making Sure!

    Sure, you and your dog are perfect housemates. You give Fido food, and the pooch gives you snuggles. Sounds like it all works out. But are you and your pup good neighbors? If you’re not sure if the folks on your block would say yes, then check out this list and see if you do these things.

    1. “No poop left behind” should be your mantra.
    Never ever leave your dog poop just lying around, like little smelly minefields waiting to find shoe victims. Not only is it bad for the environment, but not cleaning up after your dog is just a crappy thing to do and sure to get you on your neighbor’s naughty list.

    2. Teach your pooch some manners!
    You’re bound to pass some people on your walk who love your dog and want to say hi. But not everyone does (though we don’t understand why). Teach your dog not to bark, growl, jump on, or hump passersby. Consider an obedience school. A little training goes a long way.

    3. Stay in bounds.
    For the love of dog, don’t let your canine roam the neighborhood. Also, if you use a retractable leash, don’t let your dog get too far from you. It will be harder to properly supervise if Fido isn’t nearby.

    4. Keep the peace.
    There could be a lot of reasons why your dog barks all day, but none of them are going to please your neighborhood when they have to listen to it. Assess the situation and act accordingly. If you have a high-energy dog, you might need to take longer walks or hire someone to walk the dog walk you’re away. If your pooch has separation anxiety, talk to your vet and trainer about the best way to handle the situation. Consider a doggy daycare.

    5. Introduce yourself and your pooch.
    When you make an introduction, you’ll be able to find out how your neighbor feels about dogs and if they have any concerns. And should your dog ever escape, you’ll have another set of eyes in the neighborhood. Assure your neighbor they can come to you at any time with concerns.

    Don’t forget that Petland works with the best dog training companies around! If your pooch needs a little extra (or a lot extra!) training to keep you in your neighbors good graces, never hesitate to stop by and let us give you tips or refer a trainer. We also carry a ton of training treats or toys to keep your pet occupied while you’re away, we’ve got what you need! Good luck, and may your neighbors give your pooch lots of belly rubs!

  • Summer Bathing, Are You Doing It Right?

    For most of us, taking a shower or bath is usually a calming experience. For our pets, however, bathing may be anything but relaxing. Between the water, the noise, the confinement, the scrubbing and the suds, it’s no wonder why your cat or dog may sprint in the other direction of the tub. Unfortunately, grooming our pets is a necessary evil. It minimizes shedding, keeps your pet’s coat healthy, reduces allergies, decreases chances of infection and diminishes the spread of dirt and germs throughout your home. While your dog or cat may never willingly jump under the faucet, you can make bath time as positive, easy and fast an experience as possible by avoiding these common mistakes:

    Wrong Water Temperature
    Shoot for lukewarm water, says Jocelyn Robles, a professional groomer at Holiday House Pet Resort, a veterinarian-owned pet resort and training center in Doylestown, Pa. Water that’s too hot or too cold will create a negative stimulus for your pet, which may turn them off of bath time for the long haul. So how do you know it’s the right temperature? Spray the nozzle on your forearm first, just like you would if you were giving a baby a bath, Robles says. The area of skin is more sensitive to temperature than your hands.

    Harsh Spray
    The easiest way to bathe your cat or dog is with a handheld shower head or faucet nozzle in a tub or sink (if you have one, there’s no need to fill the tub or sink with water when you bathe your pet), but the sound of the loud running water combined with the water pressure may frighten and upset your pet. Instead of spraying the water jet straight on to his fur, try to keep your pet calm by letting the water hit the back of your hand first as you move the nozzle across your pet’s body, Robles says. Your dog or cat will feel your comforting touch as opposed to the pounding of the water. Once he is at ease, you can move your hand away—just make sure you get his entire coat wet.

    Wrong Shampoo Selection
    Don’t automatically grab your own shampoo—even if it’s an “all-natural” solution or a mild baby shampoo, Robles says. “A pet’s skin has a different pH balance than humans,” she added. “Your shampoo will be drying to them.” Your veterinarian can help you with product recommendations, but you’ll generally want to look for brands that are specifically formulated for cats or dogs and follow the directions for shampooing on the label. Oatmeal-based shampoos are a gentle option. Medicated shampoos are an essential part of treating many skin conditions. Ask your veterinarian which might be right for your dog or cat. If your pet has sensitive skin, test the shampoo on a patch on the back of his leg first, and then look for any signs of irritation a couple days before a bath.

    Poor Soap Application
    You may want to apply soap to your pet’s fur and then let it “soak in” for a couple minutes, but you won’t remove all the dirt and oil that way, Robles says. You need to agitate the shampoo to trap the grime and wash it away. Actively massage the soap into your dog or cat’s fur with your hands and fingers for four minutes. Start with your pet’s legs and work your way up to his face (the most sensitive area), Robles says. Clean his face with a cotton ball or washcloth and be careful to avoid his eyes. Wash the outside of his ears with a tiny bit of shampoo on your fingers, a washcloth or a cotton ball. Tilt your pet’s head down before rinsing (for instance, if you’re washing his left ear, angle the left side of his head down) to keep water from going into the ear canal and to prevent ear infections, Robles says. Pay extra attention to your pet’s paw pads, too, as these areas can sweat and trap odor. Then rinse away the shampoo with the shower nozzle, reversing the order in which you shampooed. Start with your pet’s head this time and then work your way down to his legs. That way, if any soap got in your pet’s eyes, they’ll be rinsed first. Make sure the water runs clear of suds before you finish.

    Bad Brushing Technique
    You should brush your dog or cat before and after a bath, but only if you regularly brush him at least three times a week, Robles says. Brushing can be painful and uncomfortable if there are matts or knots in your pet’s fur. “This can turn grooming into a negative,” she says. “You can’t just brush them out.” If your dog or cat has tangled fur, take him to a professional groomer first, then start a regular brushing routine. This will not only keep your pet’s coat shinier and tangle-free, but also keep him cleaner between baths. For breeds with double coats that shed (such as Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds), you can brush your pet while he is shampooed to help remove some of the excess undercoat, but for all other breeds, make sure your pet is as dry as possible after the bath and before brushing, Robles said. If his fur is too saturated with water, you’ll only create mats. You can even wait until the next day to brush. A slicker brush and/or long-tooth comb will work best for most breeds. Some de-shedding tools and undercoat rakes have been known to knick the skin and cause infections, so double check all tools with a professional groomer or veterinarian you trust before using them, Robles says. A groomer will also be able to demonstrate the proper way to brush your pet from head to paw.

    Hasty Drying Technique
    Make sure you have towels ready to go before the bath (the last thing you want is a soaking wet pet sprinting through your home!) and, if you own a dog, have a few towels on the floor and one ready to drape over his back in case he wants to shake off during the bath. After a bath most pet owners quickly towel down their pet, but you should try to get the fur as dry as possible, Robles says. Use a towel to gently squeeze the fur and pull out as much water as possible, she said. By the end, your pet should be damp but not dripping wet. You’ll want to leave using a blow dryer or any other type of drying tool to the professional groomer, Robles says. It’s difficult to regulate the temperature of the airflow, which increases the risk of burning your pet’s skin. Plus, most animals are scared of the noise, which may put a damper on the end of an otherwise positive bath time experience.

    Bathing Too Often
    Dogs and cats naturally groom themselves, so you probably don’t need to bathe your pet more than once a month, Robles says. Too many baths can actually strip away the natural oils in your pet’s coat and cause skin irritation. Speak with your veterinarian to determine the best grooming schedule and best type of shampoo for your pet’s breed and activity level.

    Here at Petland, we have a wide variety of shampoos, conditioners, spritzes and grooming tools to help you help your pet happy and healthy this summer! Stop by today!

  • What to do When Your Dog Just. Won’t. Go.

    We’ve all had those mornings. You know the ones – the alarm didn’t go off, your hot water took forever to heat up, you couldn’t find those pants you wanted to wear today and all of a sudden you’re soooo late and all you need is for your dog to stop sniffing around outside and go to the bathroom! Yeah, like I said, we’ve all had one of those. Well, hopefully the tips below will help your pooch get down to business when you need him to. But there’s nothing you can do about the dreaded “nothing goes your way” days!

    1. Make sure your pup’s reluctance to go potty is not a sign of a medical condition. Dogs are smart. They often figure out that once they poop, the walk’s over. But before you accuse your pup of being a manipulative little genius, find out if they’re holding it in because of something more serious. Urinary tract infections are a common cause of urinary retention, and constipation might be stopping up your dog’s bowels. Get the opinion of a trusted vet before you trying any of the methods below.

    2. Find a quiet area and make it a habitual potty spot. Like us, pups prefer to go #1 and #2 in peace. Your dog might be uneasy relieving himself in an area with lots going on. It’s kind of like when you go to the bathroom and someone talks to you through the door and suddenly find yourself with a weird case of bathroom stage fright.

    3. Tummy massage. Never underestimate the power of a gentle tummy rub. Your pup will think he’s just getting a normal belly rub for being a good pup, but soft clockwise motions might help get things moving, if you know what I mean.

    4. Use a command. Most people use “Go poop,” but feel free to get creative. I have also heard of people who say, “Do your business” and “Go potty.” The important thing is that your pup knows it’s go time when you say the magic words so you’re not walking up and down the same street for an entire hour because your pooch thinks you’re just going for a normal walk.

    5. Get that cute booty moving! When housetraining, owners are advised to take their pup outside or to a fresh puppy pad immediately after playtime, because all that horsing around encourages your pup to let loose! Taking a quick jog around the neighborhood or playing a game of fetch might be just what your dog needs to finally go.

    We hope that these tips will be effective the next your pup needs to hurry things along because you need to get out the door! Let us know any tips or tricks that you might have for “potty time” with your puppy, we are always looking for good advice to pass along! Thanks for being a loyal reader of our blogs!

  • 5 Litterbox Mistakes You Could Be Making, Yikes!

    It’s come to my attention that we need more blog posts about our other favorite four legged friends – the kitty cats! While they are not quite as popular a pet as the dog, that doesn’t make them any less special to the owners that love them. Cats, however, are typically easier to take care of that their dog counterparts and require very little for their day-to-day upkeep. But that being said, there is the dreaded litterbox to contend with! Does this situation sound familiar? You head to your kitty’s litterbox to scoop it out and discover that she’s decided to go to the bathroom elsewhere. How frustrating! But don’t blame your cat just yet. She might have a medical condition that needs attention. In fact, the first thing you should do if she’s improperly eliminating is take her to the vet to rule out any medical problems. If it turns out that the issue isn’t health related, then look at other potential reasons. In fact, you might be the cause of her litterbox issues. Oh no! Here’s a list of common mistakes that happen with having a litterbox trained kitty.

    You’re not cleaning her litterbox enough.
    Many cats won’t use the litterbox if it’s not in pristine condition. We know it’s probably not your favorite chore, but you should scoop it out at least twice daily and add more litter as needed. Clean the actual box with baking soda or unscented soap once a week. To make your life a little easier, make a litterbox kit with all the essentials (litter, bags and scoop), so you have everything handy.

    It’s in a less than ideal location.
    Place your cat’s litterbox in an area that’s quiet and away from her resting areas, as well as her food and water bowls. If there’s too much foot traffic or if it’s too close to where she eats, she might opt to go to the bathroom somewhere else. Also consider how much privacy the location offers and how easy it for your cat to access it.

    You don’t have enough litterboxes.
    For many cats, having just one litterbox to use is not going to cut it. Instead follow this general rule: one litterbox per cat plus one. So if you have one cat, you’ll need two litterboxes; two cats need three litterboxes. More boxes might be necessary if your house is large or has multiple floors.

    It’s not big enough.
    When it comes to litterboxes, size matters. A 2014 study conducted by veterinarian and behaviorist Norma Guy found that cats tend to prefer big litterboxes to small ones. Ideally, the litterbox should be at least one and half times the length of the cat’s body (not including the tail). Additionally, cats are not always fans of covered litterboxes, so you should try leaving it uncovered.

    You’re not addressing your cat’s stressors.
    If your cat is missing the litterbox, it could be a sign that she has anxiety. Common stressors are when there is a move or a new baby or new pet in the household. If you have multiple cats, one of them could be bullying your kitty and preventing her from using the litterbox. The stressor could even be more subtle than that. For instance, she might be stressed that you changed to a new type of litter, moved her litterbox to a new location or that the depth of litter has changed. If you’re not sure what’s causing your kitty to miss the litterbox, talk to your veterinarian, who may refer you to a veterinary behaviorist.

    Petland Kennesaw also has a variety of different litterboxes, as well as different foods to try or calming supplements if anxiety is stressing your beloved feline out. Or if we don’t have what you need, ask one of our Pet Counselors if we can special order it for you. We can also be very knowledgeable about cat food and how different brands can affect your cat’s delicate system. That’s all for now, thanks for staying up to date on our blog!

  • 6 Steps for Choosing the Right Dog Food for Your Dog

    6 Steps for Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog
    We all want to be responsible pet owners and a big part of caring for your dog is seeing to its nutritional needs. Our beloved four-legged family members cannot tell you want they need, so it’s up to you to be able to navigate the every-growing sea of dog food brands. Keep in mind that no two dogs are exactly the same and differences in age, growth, activity level and reproductive status all play a role in which dog food might be right for your dog. And while there are many good dog food options with regards to nutrition, there is no one “best” dog food and these steps should help you evaluate the most important needs for your individual pet. So let’s get started!

    1. Your pet’s age and activity level. These categories are very important when deciding on a dog food. A growing puppy needs more calories than an older pet would, just as a high energy breed of dog needs more calories than a breed that prefers to laze around the house.

    2. Evaluate the specific nutritional needs of your dog. You should ask the question of whether your dog is in healthy shape. Can you see a discernable waist and feel the dog’s ribs with your hands? It can be fairly easy to see if your dog is a little on the thin side or if he has been packing on the pounds and this should factor into your dog food decision.

    3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When comparing dog foods inside a pet supply store, allow the employees to help you by asking questions about each dog food you’re considering. They are usually pretty knowledgeable about the dog food they stock and can help point you in the right direction or give suggestions based on your pet’s individual needs.

    4. Talk to your veterinarian. If you’re worried about your pet being at its optimal weight or if it has very specific health problem that is affected by diet, then your first resource should be your veterinarian. You should be able to discuss options and develop a plan that’s right for your pet. Typical diet related health problems can include dry/irritable skin, chronic loose stool and diabetes.

    5. Check the list of ingredients on the label. After you’ve narrowed down your pet’s nutritional needs, now it’s time to make sure the dog food fits those needs. Many people don’t realize, but dogs are omnivores that can eat a variety of vegetables, meats and grains. The thing to be on the lookout for is the first listed ingredient, which should be the protein source or the meat that you want your dog to have. Stay away from foods that have a grain or vegetable listed first, unless you are specifically looking for a vegetarian diet, and beware of foods that have “meat by-product” or “beef or chicken meal” listed first.

    6. Check the protein and fat analysis on the label. This gives you a starting point for deciding if it’s right for your dog. Also important is the adequacy of the food for your pet, does the bag say that the food is appropriate for “all life stages” or is it specifically for “adult maintenance”? These are all things to consider with choosing a dog food.

    The key element here is that doing a little research can go a long way to picking the perfect dog food for your pet. Here at Petland Kennesaw, we have landed on Health Extensions brand dog food and it is what we feed and recommend in our store. Health Extensions is an American made dog food company that is family owned and operated, which is an important factor with us as we are family owned and operated ourselves! It has several protein sources to choose from, organic chicken being the most popular, as well as formulas for senior, weight management, small breed specific and grain-free. And if that doesn’t fit your needs, we have many other high-quality dog foods for you, and your four-legged companion, to choose from!

  • 6 Homemade Treats We Think Your Pooch Will Love!

    6 Homemade Treats We Think Your Dog Will Love!
    Are you looking to spoil your little furbaby with some homemade treats, but don’t know where to start? Well, we’ve got some recipes here that are sure to be a hit! It’s important to make sure that everything that goes into homemade treats are safe and palatable for your four legged friend.

    1. Peanut Butter, Oatmeal and Banana Dog Treats:
    Ingredients:
    • 1 egg
    • ⅓ cup peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
    • 1 cup whole wheat flower
    • ½ cup oats
    • 1 mashed banana (1/2 cup)
    Directions:
    • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
    • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and knead until a dough ball forms. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.
    • Roll it out on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. (I use the cap of spices for tiny circles, since he’s itty bitty.)
    • Place the cutouts on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes
    Via: http://thecozycook.com/peanut-butter-oatmeal-banana-dog-treats/

    2. Spinach, Carrot and Zucchini Healthy Treats:
    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
    • 3 cups whole wheat flour, or more, as needed
    • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
    • 1 zucchini, shredded
    • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
    Directions:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
    • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat pumpkin puree, peanut butter and eggs on medium-high until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
    • Gradually add old fashioned oats and 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, beating just until incorporated. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky. Add carrot, zucchini and spinach, beating just until incorporated.
    • Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
    • Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
    • Let cool completely.

    Via: http://damndelicious.net/2015/06/10/spinach-carrot-and-zucchini-dog-treats/
    3. Oat and Apple Pretzel Dog Treats:
    Ingredients:
    • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour
    • 3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
    • 1 free range egg, beaten
    • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce

    Directions:
    • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
    • Beat egg and set aside.
    • Combine applesauce, oat flour, and rolled oats in a large bowl. Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the egg over the mixture and set aside the remaining 1 tablespoon of egg.
    • Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until a dough forms. The dough should be tacky but not overly sticky. Add a bit more or less flour if necessary.
    • Take a two tablespoon sized piece of dough (approximate) and roll into a tube. It should be about 10 inches long and about the width of a pencil.
    • Take each tube and make into a U shape, then twist the ends together and fold back to the top. This makes the pretzel shape. Pinch the ends in to make sure they’re secure.
    • Place the pretzels onto the baking tray. Brush the top of each pretzel with the remaining egg.
    • Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until they’re slightly browned and become crispy. The pretzels should be pretty hard, just like pups love them!
    • Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.
    • Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

    Via: http://www.thecookierookie.com/oat-and-apple-pretzel-dog-treats/

    4. Chewy Cheddar Puppy Puffs:
    Ingredients:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • ½ cup evaporated lowfat milk
    • 1 large egg

    Directions:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Mix all of the ingredients together until well combined.
    • Drop the dough by teaspoons full onto a greased cookie sheet.
    • Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden.
    • Remove from the oven, cool and store in an airtight container

    Via: http://bitzngiggles.com/chewy-cheddar-puppy-puffs/

    5. Doggie Breath Mints:
    Ingredients:
    • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, (optional whole wheat flour)
    • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 cup of water, plus 1 teaspoon
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (unrefined extra-virgin is best)

    Directions:
    • Preheat the oven to 325° F
    • Add oats to a blender and pulse to a flour like consistency. In a large bowl whisk together diced parsley and mint, egg, water, and oil. Add oat flour and stir to combine. Knead dough a few times then turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
    • Using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten dough to about 1/8″ thick. Using a cookie cutter or knife cut out approximately 40 (1-inch mints) mints. Place mints about 1/4-inch apart on a parchment lined or non-stick cookie sheet. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
    • Allow mints to cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.

    Via: http://skinnyms.com/diy-doggie-breath-mints/
    6. Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Bone Treats:
    Ingredients:
    • 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour (can substitute whole wheat flour if you know your dog is okay with wheat)
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (can substitute mashed sweet potato, thinned down with a little water)
    • 1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter (no sugar added)
    • 2 large eggs
    • Pinch of salt

    Directions:
    • Preheat oven to 350f.
    • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin puree, and peanut butter until smooth. Add the flour and salt and mix with a rubber spatula or your hands to form a stiff, dry dough. (If the dough is too dry to hold together, add a few drops of water, or a little more pumpkin puree, as needed).
    • Dust your counter or work surface with a little more flour and dump the dough out. Knead the dough into a rough ball, and roll between 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Use any cookie cutters you like to make the biscuits. Re-roll and cut any scraps. If you’d like, use the tines of a fork to poke indentations about half-way deep into each biscuit.
    • Place biscuits onto an un-lined baking sheet (they can be spaced as close as you like, since they won’t spread at all) and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tray and flip each biscuit over – return to the oven and bake for another 10-20 minutes, or until completely dry. Let cool before treating your pup!

    Via: http://www.willcookforfriends.com/2012/12/pumpkin-peanut-butter-dog-biscuits-tummy-friendly-treats.html
    Make sure before adding or changing your dog’s diet that you consult your veterinarian if they have any food allergies or you think they might have food allergies. Also, make sure not to give too many treats at one time as they can upset your dog’s stomach, everything in moderation!

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