Author: Pet Supermarket (Page 1 of 24)

Tips & Facts for Pet Dental Health Month [Infographic]

February is Pet Dental Health Month and a good time to learn how to keep your pet smiling and healthy.

Tips & Facts for Pet Dental Health Month

 

It’s Pet Dental Month!

 

February is National Pet Dental Health Month! If left untreated, plaque and tartar buildup can lead to painful periodontal disease. As with many health issues, prevention is the best medicine.

Here are some ways you can take a proactive role in keeping your pet’s teeth healthy.

  • Brush their teeth! It might take patience and practice, and some treats or rewards, but eventually it can even turn into a bonding experience. Make sure to use toothpaste that’s safe for pets. Brush gently for 30 seconds on each side of their mouth at least every other day.
  • Dental treats, toys and food: While not as effective as teeth brushing, products that are specifically designed to promote oral health are a good alternative. Check for the Seal of Acceptance from the Veterinary Oral Health Council to ensure the product meets the standards for effective plaque and tartar control.
  • Regular dental exams: Just like humans, pets need to have their teeth and gums checked by a vet once or twice a year. A basic dental exam can usually be done without sedation, unless your pet becomes aggressive or they are in pain.
  • Diet: Overall health begins with a good diet, but many dental health problems can be caused by malnutrition. Ask your vet for recommendations if your pet has nutrition issues that need to be addressed.

Keeping your pet’s teeth and gums healthy has tremendous benefits—some studies have shown that maintaining oral health can add up to five years to your pet’s life.

Tips for Adopting a Cat

 

Shelters are full of wonderful cats who need loving homes. No matter how tempting it is though, you can’t take them all.

There are many factors to keep in mind before choosing your new feline friend. Here are some things to consider:

  • Consider your needs and expectations. If yours is a full-time working household, a low-key adult is a better choice than a kitten, who will need more time and energy. Will the cat be alone all day? Cats can become bored or depressed when left alone for long periods of time. In this case, consider a bonded pair of cats – cats who are buddies who can keep each other entertained while their owners are away.
  • Is this your first cat? If so, stay away from “excessive” cats – excessively shy, aggressive or demanding—they may be too challenging for your first feline experience. A better bet is the friendly outgoing cat who nuzzles and purrs and interacts with you. This is also a better choice for families with children younger than seven.
  • Do you have other pets? Your new cat must fit in with your other pets. Make sure to introduce them and see if it’s a fit before making a commitment.
  • Do you have children? Children should not chase or corner cats, and both cats and children should be supervised when together. Make sure your house is cat-friendly too – it needs high areas, such as shelves or counters that are inaccessible to children. Baby gates can also help create a safe space for the new cat. You’ll also need room for litter boxes, feeding stations and sleeping areas.
  • Consider a special needs cat—shelters are overflowing with cats, which means many elderly cats or cats with physical or behavioral challenges are the first to be euthanized. These special cats can make wonderful pets, and if you can accommodate their needs, it is well worth the extra effort knowing you’ve saved a cat’s life.

The wide diversity of cats in Pet Supermarket, local shelters and rescue groups ensures that with some patience and thoughtful consideration, you will find a kindred spirit. Many rescue organizations vaccinate, de-worm and test for feline leukemia before allowing cats to be adopted. Some spay/neuter before adoption as well. Ask for specifics on what is included in the adoption package.

Having a cat in your life adds companionship, humor and perspective. A cat can help teach your child responsibility and empathy for others. Once you make the commitment, your cat will enhance your life in ways only a furry feline friend can.

How Much Do You Know About Your Bunny’s Teeth? Here Are Some Interesting Facts!

  • A baby rabbit has 16 primary teeth.
  • Adult rabbits have a full set of 28 teeth. Those big front teeth are called incisors. There is also a pair of incisors at the front of the lower jaw.
  • Rabbits don’t have canine teeth, but they do have premolars and molars, also called “cheek teeth”.
  • Unlike our own teeth, rabbit teeth have no enamel and wear down quickly. Luckily, the nerves in rabbit teeth stop just below the gum line, so the constant wearing doesn’t cause any pain.
  • A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing throughout its life. All of a rabbit’s teeth have open roots, which enables their lifelong growing. Rabbits and rodents are the only animals with this type of tooth structure.
  • A rabbit’s teeth can grow 3 to 5 inches every year.
  • Rabbits have a strong instinct to gnaw, and pet rabbits should always be supplied with plenty of clean grass hay as well as wood branches or toys for gnawing, in order to prevent overgrowth of the incisors.
  • Rabbit’s teeth are made to wear down quickly, so an improper diet can cause problems with the teeth very quickly. Grass and other greens wear the teeth down much more than commercial pellets do. Pellets are chewed mostly with the cheek teeth, which only grinds part of the incisors and can result in tooth spurs that cause the rabbit a lot of pain and keep it from eating properly.
  • With a proper diet, a rabbit’s teeth won’t need much care, as the roughage in its diet will keep the incisors properly worn down and the chewing will keep the cheek teeth well aligned.

Healthy Treats For Your Bunny


Rabbits have a sweet tooth and love treats! Like most human children, they would choose sweets over healthy food if given the choice. While rabbits should eat a natural, vegetarian diet high in fiber, an occasional treat is ok as long as it is not full of sugar.

The best types of treats for your rabbit are natural sweet treats, such as fruit—a bite of banana or apple—or small bites of “sweet” vegetables, like carrots or broccoli.

Dried pineapple contains enzymes which help break down ingested fur. This should be given only in small doses due to its high sugar content. While fruit is considered healthy, it should still only be fed in small amounts. An approximate amount of fruit to feed your rabbit is a teaspoon per 2 lbs of body weight, daily—in one feeding or divided into multiple feedings. Pet Supermarket carries a variety of healthy treats for your rabbit. Some of our favorites include:

  • Kaytee Country Harvest Treat Blend: A delicious mix of wholesome fruits, nuts, grains & veggies
  • Vitakraft Rabbit Carrot Slims: Made with harvest fresh grains and carrots; easy to digest
  • Pets International Super Pet Apple Orchard Sticks: Real all-natural apple sticks, help keep your rabbit’s teeth healthy, clean and trim, made from sustainable tree sources

As a treat alternative, you can spoil your pet bunny with safe chewable toys. They’ll keep your bunny entertained and will last longer than a sweet treat. Pet Supermarket also has a wide variety of chew toys for your rabbit. You’ll be sure to find lots of options both in-store and online for keeping your bunny happy and healthy.

Importance of a Cat’s Diet


More than any other pet, what you feed your cat shows on the outside. Cats need proteins, fats, carbs, water, vitamins and minerals in their diet.

Read on to learn the nutritional fundamentals for keeping your feline friend healthy.

  • Protein: Just as protein is important to your own healthy diet, it’s essential for cats too, and should be the biggest part of your cat’s diet. It supplies essential substances for growth and repair of body tissue, and also produces the energy your cat needs to run, prowl, and play.
  • Taurine: Taurine is a very important amino acid for your cat, and deficiency can contribute to a variety of serious health problems, like blindness, heart disease, and developmental abnormalities. Maintaining healthy levels is a particular challenge because cats have a limited ability to create taurine and it is easily lost in digestive waste.
  • Fat: While consuming too much fat can lead to obesity, it is required to absorb vitamins and as a source of fatty acids, which are important for wound healing, reproductive performance, and for a healthy skin and coat. Fat is also a main source of energy, since cats are unable to convert carbohydrates into energy.
  • Water: Water is one of the most important nutrients in your cat’s diet. If your cat eats canned or wet cat food, that can contribute to her daily water intake, but she should also have access to a water fountain with clean fresh water at all times to increase hydration.
  • Carbohydrates: Cats are not able to utilize carbohydrates as an energy source. However, some veterinary prescription diets include high-fiber foods for weight loss or other benefits.

There may be other nutritional factors to consider, depending on your cat’s age. Kittens, adults, and senior cats all have different needs that must be taken into account.

A high-quality, well-balanced diet not only nourishes your cat, it also helps maintain overall wellness and prevents future ailments. To keep your feline companion energetic and healthy for years to come, make sure she’s getting the best food possible that meets all of his specific needs.

Starting The Year Off On The Right Paw


New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for humans! Your dog can also benefit from setting healthy goals for the new year.

Here are a few tips for starting the year off on the right paw.

  • Always measure your dog’s food. More than 50% of pets in the US are overweight and obesity in pets can lead to serious health issues. Check the recommended feeding guidelines on your dog’s food bag, or check with your vet for more help on figuring out how many calories your dog actually needs.
  • Introduce your dog to a new activity. It’s easier than ever for humans to incorporate their dogs into their exercise routine—hiking,”doga” (dog yoga), kayaking and jogging are just a few ideas! You’ll both benefit from being out in the fresh air getting exercise—it’s a win-win!
  • Schedule a vet visit. Annual examinations are essential and a great way to stay on top of your dog’s health. Many health conditions are much easier to manage and treat when they’re detected early, and when the vet sees your dog on a regular basis, he’ll be more aware of anything out of the ordinary.
  • Make grooming your dog a regular habit. Some dogs require less maintenance than others, but all dogs will benefit from regular grooming. Brushing removes excess fur from the coat and helps distribute oils which keep the coat shiny and healthy. As a bonus, it’s also a bonding activity and helps show your dog that you love him.
  • Make good dental hygiene a priority. Routine dental care can help keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy, and can help prevent painful and costly problems in the future. Brush his teeth regularly with dog toothpaste, provide dental chews, and schedule regular cleanings with the vet.
  • Keeping your dog’s brain active can make it healthier! Studies have shown that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. Teach your dog some new tricks, and regularly practice the ones he already knows. There are also a variety of interactive toys and puzzles that are engaging and offer treat rewards when solved.
  • Keep your dog’s ID info up to date. If any of your contact information has changed recently, make sure to update your pet’s tags and microchip. It’s the best way to ensure a lost dog makes its way home again.

Holiday Safety for Dogs

The holiday season is upon us! Most pet parents include their furry best friends in the festivities, which can be fun for everyone involved.

However, while you’re celebrating, there are a few dangers to be aware of so that the holidays can be merry for everyone.

Decorations & Plants

  • Secure your Christmas tree so there’s no danger of it falling on your dog. Also make sure they don’t drink the tree water—the stagnant water can contain bacteria that make them sick.
  • Keep mistletoe and holly out of reach—they can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in pets.
  • Don’t leave lighted candles unattended—dogs could burn themselves, or start a fire if they knock one over.
  • Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of reach.

Food Dangers

  • Avoid feeding your dog leftovers. Fatty, spicy and other human foods served during the holidays—especially bones—are dangerous. Be sure to keep an eye on unattended plates, as well as making sure the trash is secure.
  • Be sure to keep any chocolate safely out of reach, as it is dangerous for dogs. Xylitol is another ingredient that should be avoided.
  • Alcohol is definitely off limits! If ingested, your dog could become weak, ill and even go into a coma. Keep cocktails out of reach.

Party Time

  • If you have guests that are animal lovers, invite them to give your dog some attention with a walk or a petting session, especially if you’re busy preparing or entertaining.
  • Make sure all medications (yours and any your guests may bring into your home) are locked away and out of reach.
  • Make sure your dog has his own quiet space to retreat to, in case the party becomes too overwhelming.
  • As you count down to 2017, please be aware of the stress fireworks and noise poppers can cause to dogs. If your dog is one of the many who are terrified of the loud noises and booms, be prepared ahead of time with Pet Supermarket’s calming supplies. A Thundershirt works well for many dogs during fireworks (as well as thunderstorms). In addition, Pet Supermarket sells a variety of calming supplements and sprays—such as Head to Tail Calming—that can help your dog cope during times of extra stress.

Calming a Stressed Cat

Cats are creatures of routine, and can become very stressed when their environment changes. Due to their superior senses, even very small differences are detected and can cause stress. Here’s a thought to help put that stress into perspective—your home is your cat’s entire world.

Here are some tips to help keep your cat calm and stress-free.

  • Play with him. Physical activity can reduce stress and increase the hormones that cause happiness. A 10-15 minute play session can help you both feel better!
  • Use a pheromone diffuser (that releases scents into the air that cats can smell but humans can’t) or a calming supplement. Pet Supermarket carries a variety of these calming supplies, such as Head To Tail Calming Treats. These calming treats are suitable for all ages and breeds, and are an all-natural way to relieve stress without the risk of drowsiness, or impaired motor skills.
  • Try playing some music. Soft music with a slow rhythm can help relax your cat. Many people have had success with classical music, but almost any genre played at a low volume can help your cat de-stress.
  • Give your cat a box. Anxious cats need a space that feels safe. Small, confined spaces like a box, or even your cat’s carrier with the door left open, can provide a feeling of safety. A box also has the added bonus of giving your cat a lookout spot as well as a place to hide.
  • Try a cat tree—a cat’s condo is a special place where dogs and humans can’t fit. Having a place to climb up high allows for an escape as well as a perch to observe any perceived dangers or threats.

While it’s best to keep interruptions in your cat’s life to a minimum, changes are inevitable. But with a little preparation and time, you can help your cat adjust with minimal stress and anxiety.

Best Items for Beginner Fish Keepers

Looking for a gift that will last long after the holidays? Consider colorful fish – they bring comfort and delight and are perfect for most any living situation. Tanks come in a variety of sizes and fish add fun and activity to any room! Fish are also great for kids and adults alike.

If you’re new to the world of fish and fish tanks, you might be overwhelmed at all of the choices. We can help you narrow them down and choose the best items for beginners.

Start with fish that are hardy, easy to take care of, and small. Usually, small fish are easier to care for than larger fish. You also have a better chance of getting small fish to co-exist with one another, especially if you want to have a community tank with numerous amounts of fish. You’ll also need to decide whether you’ll have a cold water or warm water tank. While some cold water fish can be mixed with warm water fish, this isn’t ideal—this can cause stress for your fish.

Cold water fish:

  • Goldfish: Probably the most popular cold water fish bought today. They’re not picky eaters, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Their ideal water temperature is between 62-74 degrees (F). They produce a lot of waste though, so you’ll need to do a weekly water change.
  • Bloodfin Tetras: these extremely hardy fish are small with silver bodies and striking red fins. They are active and peaceful and prefer to live in a group. Their ideal water temperature is 64-82 degrees (F).

For heated tanks:

  • Danios: these small fish are hardy and do well in a variety of conditions. They are active and small and prefer to be in a group near the surface of the water. They do well with flake fish food and are not picky eaters.
  • Black Molly: another peaceful fish that does well in groups. They can adapt to fresh, brackish and even salt water, with their ideal range between 70-82 degrees (F). One thing to be aware of—if you have a male and female, you could end up with babies.
  • Black Skirt Tetra: does best in a pair or a large group. They’re great eaters and will eat almost any type of food. They’re a peaceful fish who prefer to swim in the middle of the tank and prefer to have rocks, plants or other hiding places.

Essentials Fish Foods:

Now available at Pet Supermarket! New Essentials Fish Foods are available in 5 varieties – Goldfish Flakes, Tropical Flakes, Color Flakes, Betta Bites, and Algae Grazers. These wholesome foods have been formulated to provide proper nutrition and promote consistent growth, all while not clouding your water. Essentials Fish Foods are a great value as well. Find them at your nearest Pet Supermarket.

Aquarium Kits:

Aquarium kits make a great gift and are perfect for beginners! They come with all of the basics: lighting, filtration, heater, and thermometer – just add decorations, fish, and water! Complete aquarium kits are available in four sizes: 10 gallon, 20 gallon, 29 gallon, or 55 gallon.

Your Guide to Dog Beds

Did you know that the average adult dog sleeps 12-14 hours a day? With all that time spent sleeping, it’s essential for them to have a comfortable bed. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a bed for your dog. Just like when you choose a bed for yourself, it can be overwhelming with all of the different options available. Here are a few guidelines to make the decision a little easier.

Small – Medium Sized Dogs
Generally the best bed for small to medium sized dogs is an oval or round one, with a lot of cushioning for them to rest their head and paws on. The sizing can be tricky, since dogs like to be cozy, but there should also be enough room for them to stretch out comfortably. The best way to get the size right is to bring your dog with you when you shop for the bed and try it out in the store.

Large Dogs
Comfort and quality are the most important factors to consider when choosing a bed for your large dog. You’ll want something extra comfortable to protect them when they lay down on hard floors. Larger dogs wear down the foam in beds faster than smaller dogs, so generally the higher the quality, the longer it will last. If your dog suffers from arthritis or any joint issues, look for a high-quality memory foam.

Cold Dogs
If your dog needs extra warmth or likes to be snuggled in blankets, you’ll want something super cozy and warm. A cave or nest bed will allow your dog to burrow themselves, with or without blankets. Beds like these help your dog to feel very secure. As a bonus, these beds can be great for cats too—though probably not at the same time!

Older Dogs
Discomfort associated with arthritis or aging joints in older dogs can sometimes make sleeping uncomfortable. A good option in this case is a memory foam bed. A thick memory foam bed will provide the essential firmness your older dog needs to sleep comfortably. These beds are usually machine washable, which makes it easy to keep them clean.

Litter Options

Having a pet cat can be wonderful for so many reasons. They keep themselves clean, they cuddle with you when they feel like it, and you don’t have to rush home to walk them to prevent accidents. That last one comes with a trade-off however: kitty litter.

Though generally dreaded, kitty litter is not the smelly pile of sand it once was. It seems like it’s just a mound of dirt, but there have been many advances made in the efficiency, odor control and environmental impact of litter. So there are several options so you and your cat are sure to find one that pleases you both.

A Litter of Options
There are so many types available, it can be overwhelming to decide which to choose. Ultimately, your cat will help make that decision. While some cats will use any type of litter, some are very picky—if she doesn’t like it, she won’t use it and there’s little you can do to change her mind.

Most cats can be convinced to use the litter you prefer, but transition slowly so it’s not a sudden change. Start by mixing in a tiny bit of the new litter with the old litter. With every litter change, gradually increase the amount of new litter added, until eventually there is only new litter being used.

The different types of litter are:

Clay

  • Original type of kitty litter, what most cats are comfortable using
  • Absorbent, cats like it because it’s good for digging
  • Easy cleanup and decent odor control
  • Produces a lot of waste, doesn’t decompose, can create dust

Pine/Corn/Wheat

  • Environmentally friendly—decomposes naturally and may even be flushable
  • Very absorbent, good odor control
  • More expensive than clay, but also lasts longer
  • Some cats never adjust to the texture and won’t use it

Newsprint

  • Made from pellets of recycled newspaper
  • Larger pellets won’t stick to cat’s feet
  • Good odor control
  • Size of pellets can be difficult for cats to adjust to

Silica

  • Low maintenance—pellets change color when litter needs changing
  • Lasts longer than other types of litter
  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Some cats don’t like the texture

Choosing Your Betta

It’s important to know what to look for when choosing your Betta fish. Here are a few basic guidelines and some factors to consider.

Color
Bettas come in many colors and types. Dark colors—blue and red—are the most common, but you might find some unique colors as well. A healthy Betta is brightly colored with no apparent discoloration, though stress can sometimes cause a Betta to temporarily lose some vibrancy in their color. Once you bring your Betta home and it has acclimated to its new surroundings, the color should return to full strength.

Receptiveness
Bettas can be very social with their owners. When you approach, do they swim around? Or do they back up and sulk at the bottom? Do not tap at the container, as this will agitate them and cause them stress. Gently put your finger on its container and slowly move it around. The more social the Betta, the more it will play along and follow your finger. However, if the Betta seems calm, that’s not a bad thing. They can sometimes be tired and resting.

Health
Purchasing an unhealthy Betta can be disastrous. These fragile fish do not recover easily from malnourishment or maltreatment. Choose a Betta whose fins are in good condition and are not torn or damaged. Check for lumps—a healthy Betta has scales that are flat and smooth. They should have clear eyes, flat and smooth gills, and be shiny in appearance.

Digestive Problems in Dogs

If you have a dog, you probably have experience with their digestive issues. Digestive problems can be caused by diseases, such as cancer, or by an obstruction in the digestive tract. However—and luckily—most digestive problems are much simpler in nature, with causes such as stress, a change in diet, a virus, or simply eating something that upsets their digestive system. Determining the cause of the gastric distress is the first step in treating your dog.

Dietary indiscretion
Inappropriate food sources—such as rich table food, cat food, garbage, and indigestible items from around the home and yard—are a common problem. Usually this will cause acute vomiting and/or diarrhea wiith a loss of appetite. Usually diarrhea is temporary, but when it lasts longer than 12-24 hours, you need to intervene in order to prevent dehydration. Early treatment is easy and will ensure quick recovery.

Overfeeding/people food
Overfeeding and/or feeding off the table can cause digestive issues. Stick to a normal feeding schedule, with a measured amount of nutritious food specially formulated for your dog’s needs.

Obstruction
One of the most preventable causes is foreign body obstruction. Pay close attention to your dog, especially on walks or while playing, to make sure your dog isn’t ingesting anything that would cause distress. Foreign objects can cause damage to and block the digestive tract, which often leads to surgery.

How to cope
It’s upsetting when your once happy, playful dog is suddenly lethargic, withdrawn, and possibly vomiting or ill with diarrhea. Because stress can cause digestive problems, try to keep your dog calm and well-adjusted. In times of high stress, you may notice your dog having more stomach issues. Find coping mechanisms that work for your dog, such as petting him or scratching his belly.

Early treatment is key
Although digestive problems are a normal part of life, they should not be ignored. Try to prevent digestive issues before they happen. When they do happen, early treatment will speed recovery and comfort to an uncomfortable family member. If your dog isn’t responding to typical treatment, the digestive problems may be caused by something more serious, like disease, parasites or a virus. If you even suspect that your dog is suffering from a serious digestive or gastrointestinal issue, contact your vet immediately.

Preparing Cats for Household Gatherings

Holidays can be a stressful time of year for cats, especially if you are an owner who frequently entertains at home. Large gatherings of new people, constantly ringing doorbells, and loud music can cause even the calmest of cats to become skittish or nervous.

Here’s how to make the holidays less stressful for your feline friends.

Before the party

  • Make sure there’s a quiet spot for your cat to hide out. Create a safe area in a separate area of the house full of your cat’s favorite toys, a bed, and a litter tray. Spend some time with your cat playing in this area to help them become familiar with it. Having a refuge to call their own will allow them to be more relaxed.
  • Decorate safely. Many party decorations can be hazardous to your cat—they look like toys! Set up the Christmas tree without decorations until your cat becomes used to it, then add the decorations high and out of reach. Avoid using glass decorations, and tape wires down or keep them behind furniture. Pine needles, holly and mistletoe are all slightly toxic to cats. Candles are another thing to watch out for—cats love to knock things over!

During the party

  • Keep an eye on your cat. Whether your cat is nervous and hiding, or the life of the party, make sure to check in with them from time to time. They can be spooked by the hustle and bustle, and the additional change in routine can add to that stress. Having a few moments with you, as she would on a normal night, can be calming.
  • Make sure your guests aren’t feeding your cat any party food nibbles or leftovers. Let your guests know that even if your cat looks interested, that they have set feeding times and diets and should not be offered any food. Also be careful of things like chicken bones in the garbage—these are serious choking hazards and can require an emergency visit to the vet.

Keep in mind, this is your cat’s house too, and she should never be forced to socialize. If, despite your best efforts, you see her getting tense or anxious, you may want to try a product that includes calming pheromones, such as Head To Tail Calming supplements. These are healthy treats that are specially formulated to help your cat de-stress and relax without causing drowsiness.

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