Why Can’t Fido Have Chocolate?

Why is Chocolate Poisonous for Your Dog?


Chocolate – is there anything better on the planet? It’s such a powerful force that kids will inhale the broccoli on their dinner plate so that they can prepare for dessert. Your dog loves chocolate too. After all, a pile of rocks is a delicacy for many breeds. We love our pets and will do anything to make them happy. Unfortunately, chocolate isn’t something we can share with them. Why is this?


What makes chocolate poisonous?


Per Petmd, chocolate is toxic for dogs because it contains theobromine; a chemical similar to caffeine. In large amounts, theobromine can be toxic for humans and dogs. However, toxicity is extremely rare in humans unless large amounts of chocolate are consumed. Unfortunately, dogs metabolize theobromine much more slowly than we do. This is the reason a relatively small amount of chocolate can be very bad for our furry friends.


chocolateAre all chocolates the same?


Different types of chocolate have varying amounts of theobromine in them. Generally, the more cocoa solids contained in a product, the more toxin present. The mg of theobromine present in different chocolates are:

  • Cooking or baking chocolate (dark) – 16 mg per gram
  • Dark chocolate – 5.5 mg per gram
  • Milk chocolate – 2.4 mg per gram
  • White chocolate – 0.01 mg per gram

While all chocolate is dangerous for dogs, the above information indicates that smaller amounts of dark chocolate are required for a severe reaction relative to lighter chocolates (less cocoa).


What should you do if your dog eats chocolate?


Signs of chocolate toxicity usually appear relatively quickly, usually within 2-4 hours. Some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Panting
  • Uncoordinated movement

chocolate-dessertsIf you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, call your vet immediately. The treatment will depend on the amount of chocolate consumed and symptoms present. Fortunately, the prognosis is favorable when the problem is addressed quickly. Often times a few spoonfuls of hydrogen peroxide will cause your baby to cough up (literally) all that unwanted chocolate.


Our pets tend to be spoiled. They get endless love and affection, as many toys as they can break, and a new outfit monthly. Unfortunately, one item we can’t spoil them with is chocolate. If your pup does manage to get ahold of some, all hope is not lost. A quick call to your veterinarian will provide the treatment they need. There is no doubt, chocolate is one of the world’s wonders – just not for our pets.


Diabetic Neuropathy in Pets

With diabetes becoming ever more common in our furry friends, it’s no wonder that we are seeing an increasing number of animals with more severe complications from this condition. What I’d like to discuss today is diabetic neuropathy.

diabetic neuropathy

What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes, usually in the long-term.


What are the symptoms?

“Neuropathy” literally translates to pathology of the nerves or nervous system. Diabetic neuropathy involves a staggering gait and severe difficulty walking. The animal will fall and tumble, often times unable to steady himself. Potty-ing can become an issue as well as they can fall backward into their business or into the litter box. Aside from the normal complications of diabetes, the high blood glucose levels will start to attack the organs as well.


diabetic catWhat can be done for diabetic neuropathy?

Recently we’ve had a great deal of success introducing chiropractic to animals dealing with diabetic neuropathy. Through nutritional changes and addressing the nervous system, both the neuropathy and the diabetes can be addressed. What once was such a damning diagnosis now has significant hope attached. When the nutritional component is addressed, the blood glucose levels often become regulated. As this occurs, the body is able to stabilize metabolically and maintain some sense of homeostasis. As the body no longer needs to focus such attention and energy on homeostasis, it is able to normalize.


Though neuropathy can be a very scary diagnosis, it is absolutely manageable going an alternative route. Quality of life can be improved as can overall health. Questions about your pet with diabetic neuropathy, neuropathy, or diabetes? Feel free to contact us for more information of what chiropractic can do for your fur baby!

The Pro-Arthritis Inflammatory Diet

Carbohydrates have been shown to be highly inflammatory, so why then are these specialized arthritis diets filled with them? This is a question I find myself asking time and time again. Excessive carbohydrates lead to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation in itself leads to arthritis, and more inflammation. Why on earth are we putting more and more carbs into our pets that are already suffering from arthritis?


puppy arthritisWhat to Feed and Supplementation for Arthritis:


Unfortunately, too many of our pets are not fed a species appropriate diet. What may be the best solution for a pet with arthritis would be to switch to a high protein and low carbohydrate diet. In addition, supplementing with Omega-3 rich oils (naturally anti-inflammatory), as well as putting some joint support into the daily regimen can make a world of difference. A species appropriate diet can be found in many different forms, starting with raw and ranging to high quality grain and corn free, non-GMO kibble. Whether you’re comfortable or not feeding a raw food doesn’t matter, as there are several other options that can fit the bill.


weight loss arthritisWeight loss:

A species appropriate diet will help keep your pets’ joints healthy in addition to keeping them at a healthy weight. A diet higher in protein tends to keep your pet at an appropriate weight, whereas carbohydrates tend to cause weight gain and water retention (much like it does with humans). Another huge issue when it comes to arthritis is the increasing amount of overweight animals. Pets on high carbohydrate diets tend to put on an excessive amount of weight, something that then puts unnecessary pressure on the joints.


puppy arthritisDevelopmental Years are Crucial:

Another early contributor to food-related arthritis has to do with feeding a high-carb diet during the early developmental years. An animal given too many carbohydrates tends to put on significant amount of weight in a very short amount of time. When an animal basically explodes with growth it can put a significant amount of stress on those developing joints. Cartilage will lag in its development and will ultimately experience deficits.


What else can you do?

  • Keep exercising your pet! The more your pet moves, the better those joints will feel. Movement inhibits the pain tract inside the body, thus those who move often feel less pain and stiffness.
  • Massage, massage, massage! Who doesn’t love a good rub down? Make an effort to give Fifi or Fido regular massages to keep the muscles nice and loose while also moving the joints and stimulating lymphatic drainage.
  • Acupuncture is AMAZING at pain relief and regulation. This therapy can do absolute wonders for a pet in pain.
  • Chiropractic treatments are imperative for those with arthritis and just as important for those hoping to prevent the condition. Chiropractic adjustments help to maintain proper alignment and joint motion, they can also relieve any secondary conditions that may pop up as a result of compensating for arthritis.
  • Supplement with Omega-3 and joint support products
  • Passive range of motion exercises are wonderful for your pet. Mimicking normal active range of motion movements will help stimulate the nerves and the muscles around certain joints, this can help to improve nervous system function and relieve pain.
  • Hydrotherapy is fabulous at encouraging range of motion exercises to strengthen the core and the joints while also allowing them to heal!

senior dog arthritis

If you even do a few of the above listed options, a pet with arthritis will thank you. Starting from infancy, feeding the right diet and then supplementing throughout development and adulthood makes a huge difference. I consider my own pets a testament to this, as my youngest has been eating a raw diet for years and he doesn’t have even a bit of arthritis. Our oldest has some as a result of being rescued late in life. He has bilateral luxating patellas and had been fed a high carbohydrate diet almost his entire life, while also being incredibly lazy because he had previously lazy owner. After taking him into our household this little man dropped excess weight, was switched to a high quality and grain free kibble that is high in protein, and has more energy than we can manage sometimes. Age is just a number; don’t let your pet’s arthritis tell him he’s a senior when really he has a lifetime left to live! If you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact us!

People Food and Our Overweight Pets

ObesityOverweight animals are 99% of the time their humans fault. Let’s take a moment and examine why…Feeding human food to our pets. We’re all guilty of it, a little chicken here, some potato chips there, a bit of scrambled egg in the morning. What starts out as a harmless action can quickly turn into one of the most detrimental things we ever do to our animals. I know, sounds crazy, but feeding table scraps to our pets is one of the absolute worst habits to pick up.


Human food has a different caloric content than pet food. Whether you feed raw, kibble, or canned food, the actual calorie count is quite different between species. It doesn’t stop there either. Ever wonder why so many dogs are just waiting to get into the cat food? Well the calorie content is much different, and often times these foods have a much higher fat content. While our pooches foods should focus on protein, our cats have different digestive requirements. Take that a step further and think about what a bunny might eat, much more foliage and of course lots of carrots! Each creature has different biological requirements, however one thing is certain,Obesity human food is not on that list.


Firstly, humans tend to eat much less healthy than our animal counterparts. Where a horse may go binge on some sweet green grass or delicious oats, humans often don’t think twice about delving into a colossal bag of potato chips or a king size Kit-Kat. A 21-ounce steak or three burgers is a standard American meal. What a human should be eating, however, is quite different. Perhaps cutting that steak down to 4-6 ounces with a side salad and some asparagus would be the healthier choice. To put things into perspective, our 45-pound dog eats 12 ounces of his food daily. If he were to eat like the average American, he’d be consuming almost four times that amount. With numbers like that no one would be able to afford to feed his or her pets!


obesityEach time we choose to slide our pet a few table scraps, we are adding unnecessary calories to their daily intake. Rarely, if ever, is this just a once in a blue moon sort of thing. More often than not those that give people food, continuously do so. One or two pretzels to us could be a big deal to a ten-pound dog. My thoughts on all of this: If you’re going to feed them people food, at least make it healthy. A few carrots, green beans, a bit of pumpkin or apples, these are all fine and dandy. Use them as treats and teach your pet some new tricks. Sit down with some hummus and a bag of celery to share with your dog. That way, you don’t feel like the worst fur mom in the entire world when you look into your babies eyes and can just tell…he’s definitely hungry.


Let me tell you something about that look, it’s all a ploy. Your pet is NOT hungry. In fact, he’s totally fine. My advice is to look away, run out of the room, hide in the restroom, anything to get away from that droopy eyed sad face that is begging you for food. If you are anything like me, you will succumb to his wishes if you do not excuse yourself quickly. Lesson learned- next dog will be taught NOT to beg…put it on the to-do list.


obesityFor now, however, keep telling yourself that you’re doing them a favor by not feeding them something that wasn’t meant for them. And perhaps, if it’s not something you should be giving your dog, maybe it’s something you shouldn’t be having either? My rule of thumb is simple, if someone gives my dog people food, I need to know about it, so I can either exercise him more or cut an ounce or two out of his dinner. Keeping that in mind has made feeding time a whole lot easier.


Why are we so strict in my house? For one, an overweight animal is an unhealthy animal. Obesity is not a joke and there are several conditions that are secondary to this.

For example:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Joint problems
  • Arthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory distress
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Diabetes


obesityAll can be linked either directly or indirectly to weight issues. Very rarely will you find a healthy weighted animal to be sick with any of the above listed conditions. Do yourself and your pet a favor, put the treats and table scraps away. There’s always space in the fridge for leftovers for YOU to enjoy, and maybe some carrots that Fido can munch on too.

Pet Treat Options

Adding Variety to Your Treat Options

Adding Variety to Your Treat OptionsObesity – not only has this become an epidemic in humans but also in our animals. One of the biggest issues I’ve come across working with animals is simply how easy it is for them to get far too chunky. Our pets are entirely dependent on us for their nutrition, so when their weight goes up the blame usually falls on us. Now the important thing to realize is that there is always an option to help our animals get fit. Where we may seem like a lost cause doing countless hours at the gym, some simple fixes in our pets lives can make all the difference in the world. Today I’d like to discuss some alternatives to the high calorie treats that line the cookie aisle.

When welcoming a new animal into our lives, it’s quite easy to shower them with love, kisses, and cookies. While the first two are not calorie ridden, the third can cause our tiny munchkins to blow up like a balloon right under our watchful eye. First things first, take a moment and look at what you are feeding. If you are feeding the correct amount, adjusting for age, size, and metabolism of your baby, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. My own pup suffers from anxiety and some seriously high energy. The recommendations for his body weight are actually nowhere near what he needs to be fed. Because of his activity level and emotional state, my dog gets double what is recommended. On the other hand, my family’s dog was pretty chunky when he was adopted, and even his recommended daily amount was a bit too high because he isn’t the most active little dude. That being said each animal is different, and with some trial and error you can easily find a good regimen.

Adding Variety to Your Treat OptionsNow that the daily feeding is under control, let’s talk about treating your fur baby. Often I find myself treating out of habit, simply because it’s what we’ve always done. Whenever they come in from outside, do well on a walk, or even sit on command, I tended to treat. The problem is that now my dog EXPECTS a treat when he does the most menial of tasks. In fact he will offer up an entire array of tricks just in hopes of getting that glorious cookie. I take full responsibility for this habit and am working hard to get it under control. While doing so I’ve found one of the best ways to help with weight control is to substitute the standard treat with a lower calorie option. For instance, green beans, carrots, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, sweet potato and even romaine lettuce or ice cubes have been a fantastic addition to the treat regimen. Rather than constantly feeding the standard doggy treats, I have a wide array of veggie options.

Pet Treat Options

My own animals LOVE all of their new treat options, however I realize not all fur babies of the world are as receptive to change or new flavors. I’d suggest doing a walk through of the produce aisle the next time you are at the grocery store and picking out a few different vegetable options to try at home. Even adding a splash of fishy smelling herbs can make any item more enticing. The best thing any animal owner can do is to try, that way your pet isn’t reliant on a high calorie treat for every good behavior he or she offers. Of course the pet store may have some lower calorie treat options, but if your budget or your sense of smell isn’t happy with what’s out there, know you have variety!

Photo Credit
Sorcerer Mickey and Olaf Candy Apple Treats! via photopin (license)
Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie, Burnaby via photopin (license)
Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie, Burnaby via photopin (license)
Limón via photopin (license)
88/365 – 1/4/2011 via photopin (license)

Homemade Bone Broth for Health

Homemade Bone Broth for Health!

Not only is she a naturopath-to-be, Erica is also a great home cook. Beyond the standards cupcakes, lasagnas, and bon-bons, Erica makes a mean bone broth. You may be wondering what on earth is a bone broth and why is it so very important for my pet. I’ll be honest, I was once in your shoes! It wasn’t until I made this very recipe and saw how my own pets (dogs AND pickiest cats alive) gobbled it on up. With how easy it is to make my own, this has become an essential part of my pets diets. They love how it tastes and it makes me happy knowing I’m boosting their health and immune system. Read more below to get the recipe and find out what some homemade bone broth can add to your pets regimen!

Why is Bone Broth Essential?

Homemade Bone Broth for HealthBy Erica Cook

There will always be something comforting about the smell of bone broth simmering on the stove as the weather dips into the single digits and we find ourselves at home, curled up with a good book with our pets in our laps. Bone broth is one of the most beneficial supplements we can add into our pets’ diets. This broth is so full of nutrients, that every animal and human should be consuming it daily. The Native South Americans once said that, “broth will cure anything,” and believed that, “good broth will resurrect the dead.” I know I couldn’t agree more.

What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is the stock that is created using raw bones, or bones that have been roasted. They are simmered over low heat in water and apple cider vinegar for six to 72 hours, depending on the type of bone used. This process allows the water and vinegar to extract all the minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients from the bones and marrow.

Why use Bone Broth?

Bone broth is one of the most nutrient dense foods ever. This broth contains amino acids such as arginine, glutamine, glycine, and proline. These amino acids are generally made by the body, however when the immune system is low or the body is under stress, they are not produced. Glutamine alone can heal leaky gut syndrome, which is the biggest contributor to allergies in our pets and us. Here’s how to works: glutamine goes in and seals the small micro holes that are formed over time in our small intestine. These holes allow bacteria and other pathogens to pass into the bloodstream.

Because of its long cook time, bone broth helps the body absorb and use nutrients. It also helps the body be better prepared for future nutrients.

Some other benefits to bone broth include:

  • Boosted immune system
  • Improved skin and coat
  • Improved nail structure
  • Reduced joint problems
  • Reduced allergies
  • Improved digestion
  • Toxin removal
  • Remineralization of the body
  • Improved brain health
  • Liver detoxification
  • Improved digestion
  • Connective tissue repair and support
  • Improved bone structure
  • Increased energy

How to Make Bone Broth

To make bone broth, you will need either a large stock pot or a slow cooker. You will also need:

  • 4 quarts of filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • Bones
  • Herbs (oregano, thyme, sage, tumeric, garlic, etc.)

Place the bones, water, and apple cider vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer in a pot or transfer to a slow cooker.

For chicken and fish, simmer the broth for 24 to 28 hours.

For beef, venison, and lamb, simmer the broth for 72 hours.

During the last eight hours of cooking, add herbs to the broth for added benefits:

  • Oregano – Helps with digestion and is an antifungal
  • Thyme – Helps boost the immune system
  • Sage – Helps with the skin, digestion, and is an antibacterial
  • Turmeric – Supports the digestive system and is an anti-inflammatory
  • Garlic – Boosts the immune system and is a wonderful antifungal and antibacterial
  • Ginger – Helps the whole digestive system, upset stomachs, and promotes healing

Don’t have time to make your own? As part of this month’s specials, we’re offering 20% off dehydrated bone broth in our store!

How to Serve Bone Broth

Bone broth can be served cold out of the fridge or warmed. Most dogs do well with a half cup to one cup daily, while cats average around a quarter to a half cup. Bone broth can be poured over your pet’s meals or served in a separate bowl. Don’t be afraid to feed the fat that has hardened on top as it is an amazing source of nutrients as well!

Humans can use the bone broth as a base for soup, stew, gravy, or warmed in a mug alone.

If you have an animal that just isn’t getting better no matter what you do, it is time to try bone broth. This one food is packed full of so many nutrients and amino acids that even the immune-boosting properties alone are worth the effort. This recipe is one of the easiest I have ever made, and also the most powerful.

Rotating Your Pet's Food

Rotating Your Pet’s Food, The Why Behind It & How To Do It!

Ever wondered if your animal is sick and tired of the same thing everyday? Whether that means kibble every meal or raw chicken, the same food can definitely get a little boring, not only to the tastebuds but also to the body. Imagine if you had to eat spaghetti for every meal, every day, for the rest of your life. To many toddlers this might be a dream, but to your average adult this would get old after about three meals. So what can you do to help keep the spice and excitement in feeding your animal? Simple. Rotating your pet’s food doesn’t have to be hard and because the options nowadays are abounding, even those pets with dietary restrictions can partake. Erica Cook of the Pet Beastro writes a detailed article on why it’s important and how exactly one should go about bringing new cuisine to the table (or floor!).

  • Rotating Your Dog’s Food

    Devoted woman kneeling and feeding hungry pet dogBy Erica Cook

    Many pet food companies use marketing to tell us that our dogs need to eat puppy food, adult food, and then senior food. What they don’t tell you is that your dog will be eating the same thing, every meal, every day. I don’t know about you, but if that was me, I would get bored and not want to eat.

    Benefits of Pet Food Rotation

    Besides offering our pets’ taste buds a variety, rotating their diet has a host of health benefits, including:

    More Balanced Nutrition

    Every food has a different nutrient profile. When we feed our dogs the same thing every day, we only give them one nutrient profile. However, when we change their food, we are able to give them different nutrients, making their nutrient intake more balanced.

    Decreased Risk of Food Allergies

    Animals fed the same thing over extended periods of time can develop sensitivities to those foods. When rotating foods, ingredients are not in your pet’s diet long enough to develop allergies or sensitivities.

    Improved Gut Health

    When fed the same thing over extended periods of time, our pets stop making the probiotics and enzymes needed to break down other foods. This can cause gastrointestinal upset when new foods are introduced. Over long periods of time, it can even cause sensitivity to environmental allergens. When we support enzyme and probiotic formation, we maintain a healthy and happy gut. Also, since most of the immune system is held in the gut, food rotation is a great way to increase the immune system function.

    Less Picky Eating

    By offering our pets a variety of food options, we are giving them a chance to try new things often. This helps with their food drive and reduces chances of them becoming picky eaters. Offering food rotation is also a great way to add excitement back into meal time!

    How to Get Started (an example using Orijen)

    Orijen, a pet food that we sell here at The Pet Beastro, offers us a great way to shake up our companions’ meal plans. They not only offer puppy, adult, and senior dog foods, but also three unique blends that are wonderful for every stage of life:

    • 6 Fish is a blend of fresh and saltwater fish that are caught wild in Canada’s Alberta region. 6 Fish is a low-glycemic, low-carb food that is high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid chains. These essential fatty acids (EFA’s) help to support the skin and coat structure of our pets.
    • Regional Red blends black angus beef, wild boar, Alberta lamb, heritage pork, and ranch-raised bison, along with fruits and berries for a taste of the open plains. All four of these meats are raised on local ranches in Canada. Regional Red is also low-glycemic and low-carb, offering a delicious blend that helps support proper blood sugar levels and optimal health.
    • Tundra, Orijen’s newest flavor, blends goat, venison, mutton, ranch-raised bison, arctic char, rabbit, duck, cod, sardine, and trout with a small amount of fruit and vegetables. This formula helps to maintain muscle mass by providing richly nourishing meats. Tundra fits Orijen’s low-glycemic and low-carb profiles.

    How Often to Rotate Foods

    How often you choose to rotate your animal’s food depends on both you and your pet. Most often we suggest grabbing a new flavor every time you pick up a bag of food for your pup. Orijen not only offers 6 Fish, Regional Red, and Tundra in kibble form, they also offer Regional Red and Tundra in freeze-dried form, too. This is a great option to add variety daily into your pet’s current diet!

    Depending on your pet and how long they have been on their current diet, they may need up to 14 days to transition to a new food. Each animal is different and some may need help when transferring to a rotational diet. Probiotics, enzymes, and raw goat’s milk are some great ways to help increase digestive function in pets. If you need more information, please stop in the store so we can help you get started!


Well there you have it! Not too difficult to do and can benefit your pet in the long and short run.

Goat’s Milk & It’s Many Advantages

Ever seen an older cartoon with a cat lapping up milk? I often wonder if that was a bowl of goat’s milk now that all of my animals are hooked. Raw goat’s milk has an amazing amount of nutrients and can satisfy more daily requirements than even fathomable. Take a moment and read one of The Pet Beastro’s blogs on this fantastic supplementary product and what exactly it can do for your pet!


If your animal suffers from digestive upset, we highly recommend giving raw goat milk a try. Raw goat milk offers a host of benefits, including:

Ease of Digestion

Raw goat milk requires no work from the digestive apparatus. It contains over 60 enzymes, including lactase, to prevent lactose intolerance. It has small proteins and fat molecules that make for easier digestion.


Raw goat milk is more buffering than over-the-counter antacids.

Wholefood Probiotics

The naturally occurring probiotics (good bacteria) and added probiotics in their natural growth medium found in goats milk provide a broad spectrum of nutrients, including enzymes and vitamins.

Probiotic Growth and Protection

According to Stanley E. Gilliland, Ph.D., Department of Animal Science, Food & Agricultural Products Center, Oklahoma State University, “Milk or milk products provide an excellent carrier for these probiotic organisms. Most of them can readily utilize lactose as an energy source for growth. Thus, an important requirement for the growth in the intestinal tract is provided by the milk. Milk proteins also provide important protection to the probiotic bacteria during passage through the stomach (Charteris et al 1998). Compared to cells suspended in buffered saline all cultures tested survived exposure to simulated gastric juice much better when milk protein was present.”


Bacteriocins, which are produced by the probiotics in the milk formula, are substances that can inhibit pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella, without harming good bacteria and body cells. A 2000 study led by Dr. Chitra N. Wendakoon of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, found fermented milk products can kill Helicobacter pylori, the ulcer-causing bacteria often associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

Reduced Biofilm

Biofilm is produced by microbes and cancer cells for protection. It can prevent probiotics from populating the gut and prevent proper absorption of nutrients. Raw goat milk has over 60 enzymes that can help to break down biofilm.

Improved Immunity

Gut flora includes the microbes, bacteria, yeast, viruses, and protozoas that naturally populate the digestive system. The type of microbes (good or bad) populating the gut is directly related to what the pet eats. Gut flora influences 84 percent of a pet’s immune system. The proper gut flora can produce not only necessary vitamins, but antibiotic, anti-viral, and anti-fungals required for the body to heal itself. Supporting a pet’s normal gut flora by feeding raw goat milk can help prevent, treat, and cure many ailments.

Plus, according to Dr. Mercola, probiotics provided by fermented food, like Answers Additional Goat Milk Formula, populate the digestive system 100 times better than probiotics in pill or powder form.

Veggies For Animals

Don’t Forget Your Veggies…Especially For Fido!

For years there’s been a debate on whether or not animals need a supplemental amount of roughage in the diet. We here at AAC give two huge paws and hooves up to vegetables and encourage all clients to hand down some carrots and apples when their furry ones are begging. Miss Rachel, a member of the Pet Beastro staff, takes a more in depth look on veggies for this lovely Fall season. Check out some options for your furry one that may satisfy both a sweet and seasonal tooth!

Importance of Fall Vegetables for Pets

by Rachel Witucki

Beagle In PumpkinFall is here! Along with the new season, we’re seeing different kinds of squash lining our grocery store shelves and decorating the tables of our local farmers’ markets. Most pet owners are aware that pumpkin aids digestive issues, but there’s so much more to this squash!

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkin boasts a long list of health benefits. In situations of mild diarrhea or digestive upset, pumpkin is a great addition to your dog or cat’s meal. Pumpkin is rich in soluble fiber, meaning that it coats and soothes an irritated bowel. This type of fiber slows down gastrointestinal transit times, which in turn can reduce the amount of diarrhea episodes your pet may be having.

Since pumpkin is a great source of fiber, it can also aid the slightly plumper pets. Fiber provides a feeling of fullness, so adding it to a diet may help with weight loss by reducing caloric intake.

If you have fresh pumpkins on hand, don’t toss those seeds! Not only are they high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, they are also an excellent source of beta-carotene, potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron. In addition, the seeds also act as a natural dewormer, especially in the case of tapeworms and roundworms. Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid ‘cucurbitin,’ which paralyzes parasites or worms before they are flushed from your pet’s digestive system. Simply dry the seeds from your fresh pumpkin or purchase an organic, raw, unsalted option from the grocery store. If your cat or dog doesn’t enjoy the seeds whole, you can try grinding them up and adding them in with their daily meals.

Other Fall Vegetables for Pets

For those pets that aren’t huge fans of pumpkin, you can also try squash or sweet potato.

Squash, much like pumpkin, can be a beneficial addition to your pet’s bowl at meal time. It can help with bulking up soft stool and soothing a sore stomach. This fall vegetable is also high in beta-carotene, which benefits the eyes.

Sweet potatoes are loaded with amino acids, which are essential to your pet’s diet as they build and maintain muscle and increase antioxidant activity in the body. Research has shown that sweet potatoes can help remove fatty cells from the liver and also helps keep organs healthy. Additionally, sweet potato is a great source of dietary fiber. According to the doctrine of signature for plants, the sweet potato also represents and supports pancreatic health.

Healthy Fall Pet Products

If you are not purchasing these fall ingredients fresh, make sure that any canned options you give your animals (especially pumpkin) are sugar- and/or flavoring-free. We also carry a wide variety of options at The Pet Beastro, including:

If you haven’t given these vegetables a try, you may want to consider adding them to your pet’s diet this fall!

Transitioning Your Cat To A RAW Diet

Transitioning Your Cat To A RAW Diet

Ever been curious on how to get your fussy kitty to switch to a raw diet? Our residential blogger of Handi-Cat Melanie Lusnak was certainly curious and decided to bust out the big guns and ask WWJTD (What would Jill Tack do?). See what she suggested and don’t forget to visit both www.handi-cat.com for more information!

By Jill Tack, Owner and Founder of The Pet Beastro
Transitioning cats is always a tricky situation. Have you even seen the “Shell Game” on The Price is Right? Well, that’s what I often equate the transition of a new food to for some felines. You have to offer them several “shells” until you guess which one has the hidden ball or magic food option. Like the players of this game, I find that many times cat owners give up before they find the shell with the hidden ball. But when it comes to improving our felines’ health, making the transition from kibble to raw food is definitely worth the effort.
Advantages of Raw Food for Cats
A raw diet can improve your cat’s overall health in so many ways. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider upgrading your cat’s food to a premium raw diet:
  • Silky, Soft Fur
  • Healthier Teeth and Gums
  • Species Appropriate Diet (Cats are obligate carnivores)
  • Less Stool, Digestive Improvements
  • Less Body Odor
  • Easier on all Organ Systems (especially the kidneys)
  • Less Urinary Issues (i.e. stones, crystals, etc.)
  • Weight Maintenance
  • Bioavailable Amino Acid Profiles
  • More Robust Immune System
  • And much more
Making the Change with Picky Eaters
Switching your cat to a raw diet can be much easier said than done. Cats can be finicky eaters for a variety of reasons. Cats often have a texture issue with food. Sometimes they even get addicted to the carbs and other fillers of dry kibble food, which also makes it more difficult to make the switch. With super picky cats, it helps if you offer food to them in several different ways and allow them to choose what they like best. It is also a good idea to offer several meal options and let them gravitate towards one, which then gives you the chance to manipulate the formula going forward for a more likely scenario of them switching foods. 
Below are some strategies that can be helpful in making the switch:
Ask Nicely
If I had the magical solution to get every cat to change, I would be a millionaire. What I do know is that most often the cat owner is the main component of the cat’s reluctance to switch, or even try, a new food. I often tell cat owners to go home and literally have an out loud conversation with their cat. Even though our feline friends don’t talk back, they certainly hear our voices and our messages loud and clear. After some blank stares and a few deer in headlight looks, the owners often return to the store to tell me that they followed through with this activity and that their cats have attempted the new food offered. I once heard from a feline veterinarian something that describes cats perfectly: “You can tell dogs what to do, but cats, you have to ask them nicely”. This has stuck with me because it is so true!
Mix It with Canned Food
A few simple tricks that we have found to work with upgrading a cat’s diet is to begin with canned food. It is always easier to start the transition with something they especially enjoy. Some cats won’t even change from a crappy, grocery store can of food to a high-end can of cat food. With these cats, it’s easy to mix the bad with the good until you can completely switch to the good one. Once you have made this transition you can begin to add small amounts of a raw diet to the canned food to upgrade to a premium raw diet.
Some cats will never eat more than half canned and half raw diet. There isn’t anything wrong with this way of feeding. Continue to have an open mind about your cat’s likes and dislikes. Some raw is better than no raw. With some cats this transition takes a few weeks. For others it can take months, even years, to get to this point. Each animal will be different and their accomplishments of switching may take some time. You, as the owner, can do nothing more than be patient and diligent with making the switch. Remember, you are doing it to improve your pet’s overall health, well-being and longevity.
Change Up the Temperature and Proteins
Another trick for a raw diet with cats besides mixing it with canned food is allowing it to warm up to room temperature before feeding. Some cats don’t care for the coldness of the food. You may also want to try different proteins. Don’t forget about the red meat options! There are many feline fanciers out there that disagree with feeding red meat since our domestic cats wouldn’t catch and take down large animals in the wild. However, many of our domestic felines have 96% of the DNA of their African big cat ancestors that would actually hunt these red meat animals. In fact, my own cats prefer beef, pork, lamb and venison over turkey or pheasant any day of the week. Don’t be so close-minded that you don’t allow your feline friend to make a transition to a premium raw diet. After all, cats’ digestive tracts are biologically set up for meat, not overly processed kibble.
Make a Schedule
Getting your cat on a regular feeding schedule can also work towards your benefit. Free feeding isn’t the best way to feed your cat. Cats in the wild hunt all day long, which means they eat several small meals throughout the day instead of gorging on two large meals. While dogs do much better with a fast and gorge type meal behavior, cats do not. 
Work Up an Appetite
If you can play with your cat 20-30 minutes before meal time, this will also make their meal offering much more satisfying. The play before eating releases hormones that mimic what would happen in the wild if they were on a hunt for their food. 
Note that if you have multiple felines, they should all have their own place setting and eating space away from the other cats.
How Much Raw Food to Feed Your Cat
As you begin to transition your cat to a raw diet, be sure that you’re feeding them the right amount. An average 10-12 pound cat should be consuming approximately 250 calories daily. With a raw diet, this is equivalent to 6 ounces of food. The daily calorie total includes all food (canned, raw, freeze dried) AND treats. We often forget about all the calories that we give our pets throughout the day in the form of treats but even those can contribute to obesity. Obviously if your cat is smaller or larger than average, you will need to adjust the calories to their weight. Kittens and pregnant Queens will need more food that the suggested average calories.
Choosing a Raw Cat Food
There are many raw food options to help with your cat’s transition. Maybe your cat is addicted to carbs and refuses to give up kibble. In that case, switching to a better dry food would be your first step in the right direction. Then you can begin to add canned food and start to reduce the amount of kibble. From there, you can begin to add raw food.
If you are a go-getter and your cat isn’t finicky, you may just want to take the plunge and jump straight into raw. Why waste any time, right? I find the Rad Cat is an easy switch for most cats because it has the texture and consistency of a canned food. 
At The Pet Beastro, we offer free Trial Packs of Primal Raw Pet Food. We also typically have samples of many other brands such as Nature’s Logic and Steve’s Real Food. When feeding multiple cats raw, Nature’s Logic and Steve’s Real Food are more cost effective since you can purchase them in large packages and they also offer frequent buyer’s programs
Last but not least, you can always make your own raw food recipe. This does take a bit more time and skill as well as balance to make sure that the diet has all the vitamins and minerals needed to avoid deficiencies.
Cats are definitely different creatures than dogs in many ways. But they are smart and talented. We can even teach felines tricks and clicker training, just like their canine friends. The key to working with your cat is to have an open mind. We can get them to change their foods and habits when we, the owners, change our habits and eliminate negativity about their likes and dislikes.
About Jill Tack and The Pet Beastro:

Jill Tack is a certified Natural Health Practitioner from the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education and is working toward becoming a Naturopathic Doctor in 2015.

She founded The Pet Beastro in 2003 to help people learn why alternative pet food options are better for pets. The Pet Beastro prides itself in offering the largest selection of raw pet food in Metro Detroit. They also sell dehydrated, organic and natural food, treats and supplements for dogs and cats through their store and online market. In addition to its alternative pet products, The Pet Beastro offers one-on-one counseling and group seminars to help provide pet owners with the knowledge they need to improve their pets’ well-being.