Winterize Your Home for Senior Cats

The days are growing shorter and the nights are growing colder. And as many of us know that can mean more aches and pains. Not just for ourselves, but for our elderly feline companions as well. Fortunately, there are options that can help us make the chilly weather more comfortable for our dear ones. Supplements, including Canna Companion, that help your cat maintain both joint and overall health are just one of many ways you can ease their discomfort.

One of the most obvious options, clothing, also seems like it may be the least likely to work. After all, cats are notoriously fussy about what they will or will not tolerate. Believe it or not, there are some cats who have to wear sweaters year round in cooler climates. There are plenty of others who won’t mind, especially those snuggler cats who burrow under every blanket.  Senior pets are often more slender and need that extra warmth the most. Choose soft material that won’t inhibit movement.  

Another excellent option is to offer a heated cat bed. There are many different options here, but the most important thing is going to be taking your cat’s own preferences into account. If they like to hide themselves when they sleep, try to get something that has a cover so that they may do so. Always look for heating pads designed specifically for animals. There are a number of different varieties available from ones that go in the microwave to electric ones that only heat up when they have weight on them. 

Additionally, even without a heat pad, there are ways to make their rest more comfortable. Elevate their beds so that they are away from cold floors, using stairs and ramps for older cats where needed so they can readily access favorite sleeping spots. Make sure they have access to what sunny spaces are still available. And double check their favorite perches to ensure that any nearby windows aren’t drafty. Doing this can also help your heating costs.

A few final precautions include keeping litter boxes out of cold basements or garages. In fact, there are a number of other good reasons to restrict access to garages. Antifreeze and deicers are both very toxic to cats. A little work and a lot of love can help your feline friend have a safe and comfortable winter.

8 Benefits of Adopting a Senior Dog 

 

The month of November is “Adopt a Senior Dog Month” and the Canna Companion family would like to make sure that our fellow pet parents know some of the benefits to look forward to when adding a furry friend to the family.  We all know that puppies are very cute, fun and may be around a lot longer than an older dog. However, there are several reasons why you should look for a senior dog to adopt rather than a rambunctious energy filled puppy.  An older dog has its own special characteristics and there are benefits in adopting an older pet that we cannot overlook.

 

  1. Temperament: Senior dogs already have established their personality and are less energetic than a puppy. By adopting an older dog you have a good idea of the type of dog you welcome into the family.  Whether you adopt a purebred pup or a mixed breed friend, make sure you consider how well that dog will fit into your family.  

 

  1. Training: Many senior dogs already have some basic training behind them, so very little training is required to get them on the right track and adjust to your home.  Adopting an already-trained dog will save you a lot of time and energy that you’d normally have to dedicate towards training a young dog the basics.

 

  1. Older dogs make instant companions: Unlike a puppy, which requires leash training and time to bond with a human pack, an older dog is ready to accompany you on a long walk and already knows how to integrate with humans.  An adult dog will make a great workout partner, a loyal companion, and a great snuggle buddy.

 

  1. You can teach an old dog new tricks: Dogs can be trained at any age and older dogs are just as smart as younger ones. Older dogs have a greater attention span than a puppy, which make them easier to train, especially with fun tricks.

 

  1. You become an instant hero.  Adopting an older dog may save its life: Many people are quick to adopt puppies and younger dogs, often overlooking dogs over the age of five. Shelters are overcrowded and unfortunately, older dogs are among the first to be euthanized if they aren’t adopted in a timely manner. By adopting a senior dog, you are not only providing it with a better life but are also saving it from being put down.

 

  1. They are independent: Senior dogs love to be by their humans’ sides, but they have also mastered the art of amusing themselves. Unlike puppies, you can trust older dogs to play safely on their own when you are occupied, especially once acclimated to their new home. While puppies get into the trash or shred your newspapers, senior dogs happily chew a bone or find a nice cozy spot for a nap.

 

  1. They Have Lots of Love to Give: Senior dogs may bear a few scars – both physical and emotional – but they don’t let their pasts keep them down, no matter how dark they may have been. Dogs have a way of forgiving, forgetting and living in the present. If you give your love to an old dog, you can be sure he will devote the rest of his life to loving you back.

 

  1. They Never Stop Expressing their Gratitude: When you gaze into the wise and worldly eyes of a rescued senior dog, you will see an animal who knows they have been saved. They don’t care where you live, what you look like or what you do for a living; they will dedicate the remainder of their lives to thanking you. 

 

If you’ve been considering adding a new member to your family, let that member be a senior dog.  Adopt one from your local shelter this month to celebrate national Adopt a Senior Dog Month.  And if that new friend needs a little help adjusting to their forever home, consider Canna Companion CBD pet supplements.  Contact us today for more information — or to just tell us how wonderful your newly adopted senior dog is getting along!

Benefits of Veggie Caps for Your Pet

Why use vegetarian capsules, like hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), over traditional gelatin capsules? There are several reasons, including allergies, gastrointestinal absorption and environmental concerns, but first let’s discuss some differences between vegetarian and gelatin capsules.  

Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) capsules are made from plant material, typically the fibers of pine, spruce or poplar trees. HPMC capsules have a significantly lower moisture content (2-5%) than gelatin (12-15%), which means they are less brittle in colder weather and are at lower risk of deforming with warmer temperatures and humidity. 

Gelatin is traditionally made by boiling down hoofs, bones, and connective tissue from bovine (cattle) and occasionally, porcine (pig), until it is a gel like substance. Gelatin’s moisture content allows for faster degradation of capsule contents, whether or not exposed to sunlight and major temperature and humidity changes. 

Allergies to various meat proteins in our pets is another point to consider when choosing a capsule. The veterinary professionals who created Canna Companion hemp supplements have both clinical and personal experience with pets who live with food and/or environmental allergies. 

Canna Companion’s veterinary technician, Lisa, had a dog named Zack Thomas who experienced both environmental and food allergies, including red meats, such as beef and venison. After these meats were eliminated from Zack Thomas’ diet, he continued to have dry, itchy and red skin on his belly and feet. Zack Thomas, who had many health problems was taking several specially compounded medications that were stored in gelatin capsules. It was discovered through a process of elimination his sensitivity to beef was so high the gelatin capsules were causing allergic skin. After all bovine was removed from Zack Thomas’ diet, including supplements and prescription medications his allergic skin improved. 

It is important to understand gastrointestinal absorption and breakdown of HPMC vs gelatin capsules. HPMC capsule shells dissolve evenly and at the same rate across the whole shell. Gelatin capsules dissolve first from the shoulders, then later across the whole body. Powdered products filled in an HPMC capsule will completely dissolve earlier. HPMC capsules also should not pose problems with respect to drug absorption and bioavailability. If the contents of the stomach are at body temperature both capsules will dissolve at relatively the same rate. However, gelatin capsules will take longer to dissolve and will swell and gum up, if the stomach contents are cold.

We also need to consider environmental concerns with the use and production of gelatin. Cattle expel, via burp and flatulence, major amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that is dozens of times more potent than carbon dioxide. They produce significantly more methane than pigs, chickens or turkeys. The manure used to grow feed for cattle also releases methane. Nitrogen, from fertilizer runoff, can harm rivers, lakes and bays, causing oxygen-depleted zones called “dead zones”. The use of irrigation water can be a major issue, especially in the West where there are droughts, like currently in California. 

Lastly, we understand gelatin capsules were not made from cattle specially raised for the purpose of making the capsules and the plant (trees or cotton) fibers used to create HPMC capsules was not specifically cut down or grown for that purpose. Both are made using excess parts. It is difficult to truly assess the energy required and environmental impact each may have when being created. Each type of capsule has it’s pro’s and con’s. However, we know the overall environmental impact of the abundant cattle being raised, no matter their intended purpose and use of the whole animal in various industries, is a serious problem for our planet. 

Winterize Your Home for Senior Dogs

Slowly, the autumn breezes are turning to a winter chill. Every day brings a greater risk of waking up to frozen car door locks. With the colder weather comes discomfort for elderly joints, including in those of our canine companions. There are many options for keeping our senior dogs comfortable and at ease during cold weather, including supplements like Canna Companion which support joint mobility. 

Keeping them warm is one of the best things you can do for your senior dog, so providing some blankets for them in their beds is always nice. Additionally, there are heated beds made specifically for pets. There are both microwavable heating pads or electric beds. As long as you make sure you follow the instructions, these are all very safe.

If your dog gets in and out of the car frequently, or if they are allowed on the furniture, they may struggle more with getting to those spaces. We advise providing a ramp or stairs to help them get to those areas a bit easier. Pet slings can help pets who need a little help but don’t need a full set of stairs.  This will help to ease joint strain while also allowing them to get up off the floor, where it is colder.

Some dogs may not like it, but other dogs rather enjoy sweaters, jackets, and other items of clothing that will keep them warm on cold days. Try a number of different fits and textures, because not all dogs will like the same things. Additionally, if you are taking your dog out for a walk, consider a waterproof coat, booties, and a longer warm-up time. This will help your dog acclimate much more quickly.

A few further ideas include keeping dogs out of the garage to protect them from poisons such as antifreeze and deicer, and, perhaps best of all, cuddling with your pups whenever you have a chance. Together, we can help make this winter far more comfortable for your senior dog.

National Cat Day

NATIONAL CAT DAY: October 29, 2019

Celebrate all things cat and spoil your fur baby a little more on National Cat Day.  We cannot say enough about our love of cats and all the wonderful things they bring to our lives: unconditional love and companionship in the form of fur, purrs, cuddles and the occasional bit of mischief.  Buy them a new toy; give them something extra delicious to eat; or just set aside extra time to spend with them. In other words, love your cat as the human servant you are! That love can be the most powerful tool you have to keep her happy, and recent studies show the bond which develops is no different from human children to their parents. Domesticated cats crave human attention and crave receiving it from their pet parents. 

Often the most effective way of keeping your indoor cat happy is to just lavish attention. Snuggle pet, and play with your cat every day.  This not only strengthens the bond between you two, it also helps you watch out for any changes in behavior which could indicate something is off. Plus, keeping your favorite feline on her toes helps prevent boredom and weight issues from lack of activity, and it goes a long way towards reducing emotional stressors.  If you do notice something amiss, hemp supplements like Canna Companion, may help get your kitty back on track. 

 

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR INDOOR CAT HAPPY AND HEALTHY.

  1.       An active cat is a happy cat.  It is easy for an indoor cat to go stir crazy if they cannot get out internal energy. There are toys that look like mice, toys with feathers, battery-powered toys with flashing light and sound, laser pointers, toys that move and the simple toys on strings.  Watch what your kitty pounces on most, and get toys which mimic that behavior. Rotate the toys to keep her even more entertained.  
  2.       Help your cat model some of their natural hunting instinct by hiding their favorite treats around the house. Use special cat treat toys which make your cat work to extract the reward thus offering hours of mental stimulation.  Play toss the treat using dehydrated meats and watch your cat skitter down the hallway in hot pursuit. 
  3.       Consider getting a second cat as a companion. Having a buddy to run and play with can go a long way in keeping indoor cats happy and stimulated.  This tip is usually best limited to younger cats who need another set of teeth and claws to play with, or for those extreme extroverts that could tire a toddler. 
  4.       Spay and Neuter.  Always spay and neuter your cats as hormones can be drive them to try to escape outside to try and find a mate.  By spaying and neutering, this added stress is eliminated while at the same time eliminating any chance that it could contribute to the unwanted cat population.  Removing those hormones also drastically reduces some forms of cancer; breast (mammary gland) cancer is one whose risk drops dramatically in spayed and neutered cats. 

National Pit Bull Awareness Day

National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) is October 26, 2019.  This is a day of appreciation and education designed to change perceptions and stereotypes about pit bulls and their responsible owners. NPBAD was established to educate and foster positive communications and experiences in the communities in which people and their dogs live, and it is an initiative dedicated to restoring the image of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

 We all can make a difference in our own way. We all can and should play a part in correcting false information and changing the perception of these incredible dogs. We are their voice, and they are depending on us to educate the public (not only about the breed in general, but with respect to responsible ownership practices), to dispel the false information out there, and to restore their reputation as a great American icon. Leading by example is a great place to start!

Extending the National Pit Bull Awareness celebration to year round education is a great opportunity for shelters, breed clubs, and rescue organizations to spotlight the breed with adoption, education, and responsible ownership events in multiple communities and venues!  Since its designation in 2011, we’ve been thrilled to see so many shelters and rescues across the country hosting events during the entire month of October, with the hope that the spirit of National Pit Bull Awareness Day is carried all year through.  

Through education and compassion, we will bring about a positive change for these incredible dogs!

Food Safety in Manufacturing

2011 FDA FSMA Regulations: From Response to Prevention

 

Prior to the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) enactment in 2011, regulators were reacting to instances of foodborne illness in the United States, and playing clean up, attempting to contain the rising public health problem. Essentially, consumer safety — human and pet alike — was only a concern after a foodborne illness was already present in the food system.  Luckily, Congress and the FDA agreed changes needed to be made in order to protect the United States’ food system and economic well-being. The change from previous food safety regulations to FSMA largely involves providing oversight to manufacturers of food to prevent food borne illness before it happens, shifting the attention from reaction/response to prevention.  

With FSMA, the FDA outlined 7 major rules growers, producers, harvesters, and processors must be in compliance with in order to manufacture food in the United States. These rules encompass supply-chain to farm to fork and ensure every aspect of production is reviewed for its potential as a public health hazard. FSMA ensures consumers that manufacturers have food safety systems in place to protect their product and consumers from foodborne illness. In short, foodborne illnesses pose significant risk to pet and public health; the good news is foodborne illnesses are largely preventable under FSMA statutes. Because the FDA is forcing regulatory obligations on all growers, harvesters, processors, and transporters of food, you can sit comfortably knowing that your food — and your pet’s supplements — have undergone a variety of steps to prevent any foodborne illnesses.  

FSMA is also intended to protect human dietary supplements and dosage form animal health products such as Canna Companion products. The FSMA rules have major implications for manufacturing companies across the United States. Companies must provide evidence to regulating agencies such as the FDA that they are putting controls in place within their manufacturing facilities in order to protect the safety and quality of their products for the consumer.    

At Canna Companion, we take your pets’ health seriously, and instituted a variety of protocols including:  

  • Third-party testing on all ingredients and final products including microbial, pesticide, and heavy metal analyses; 
  • Yearly food safety training for all production employees whereby employees who make your pets’ hemp supplements receive the same certification as WA-state food workers;
  • Cleaning and environmental procedures designed to prevent microbial growth using eco and pet-friendly means.  

Halloween Hazards for Your Furry Friends

Halloween is fast approaching with all its attendant delights, treats, and scares. There are a number of things we can do to enjoy this holiday while keeping our pets safe. 

 

Most of us are familiar with the fact that chocolate is hazardous for both dogs and cats, but that isn’t the only thing in your treat bag you need to keep away from them. Many peanut butters, gums, and sugar free candies are sweetened with xylitol, which is highly toxic and can cause precipitous drops in blood sugar, among other issues. And don’t even think of passing off those raisins that you didn’t want. They can cause acute kidney failure in both dogs and cats. The bags or pails themselves can also be a hazard. Some pets will get caught in them and can get scared or risk strangulation. And some will ingest the bags, leading to possible foreign body obstructions. Best to get your furry friend their own treats and make sure to keep all of yours well away from them.

 

Be sure to keep your pets inside. All pets, but particularly black cats, are at risk for cruel “pranks” on this day. It is unfortunate and hard for many of us to believe, but it does happen. Also darker colored pets are at greater risk of getting run over on a night when many are out and about. The best option is to keep them indoors. However, even indoors there are things to watch out for. Be careful with all decorations, especially open flames, food items (jack o’lanterns and corn), and webbing. Make sure to keep these elevated and away from where an excited or nervous pet might get caught in them, eat them, or knock them over. Anything that isn’t a normal part of their environment can be a potential hazard, including wires and cords. Keep your pet in mind when planning your decor.

 

If you dress your pet up, there are a number of things that you should be wary of. First, give your pet time to adjust to the costume in advance. If it’s making them unhappy, don’t do it. Make sure all parts of the costume fit properly, nothing can be chewed off, and that it doesn’t interfere with their normal movement. Never leave your pet unattended in their costume, and make costume sessions brief. Get a few quick photos or walk them through their local pet supply store for a treat, then remove the costume and put it away.

 

If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of trick-or-treaters, or even if you don’t but know your pet is sensitive to unfamiliar people or sounds, it is best to keep them somewhere safe and away from the front door. Strangers, especially small ones, can quickly overwhelm nervous pets, and the constant opening and closing of the door provides a lot of escape opportunities. Give your pet a safe space, similar to what you might offer on the 4th of July or New Year’s. Keep a comfortable bed in there, a blanket or piece of clothing that smells like you, a white noise machine, and plenty of water. Canna Companion can also help support your pet on this stressful day.

 

Lastly, ensure your pet has identification (even multiple forms if possible). That way, if they do get out, they are more likely to find their way back to you. Double check their tag has your current contact information at least 2 weeks prior to the holiday so you can update it if you need to. If they are microchipped, it is also very important to check and make sure the information connected with that microchip is correct and up to date.

 

A few simple precautions can help ensure a Happy Halloween for the entire family!

Human Foods and Your Pet

 

We all sneak our pets bites off our plates, give them a fry when we’ve gotten takeout, or are too busy laughing to stop them from stealing some of the popcorn out of the bowl. But do you know what is safe for them and what can be dangerous? 

 

Sometimes those two things can fall very close together. For example, many of us use peanut butter as a high value treat for training dogs. This is fine in moderate quantities, but be sure to check the ingredients first, for several reasons. Many peanut butters have added ingredients and too much sugar or salt isn’t healthy for anyone. Also, some peanut butters now contain xylitol, which is extremely dangerous for dogs. Xylitol does not appear to be as dangerous to cats, but it is still best to keep it away. Natural peanut butters, with peanuts as the only ingredient, are best.

 

While peanuts and cashews are safe for dogs to eat in very limited amounts, most nuts are not. Almonds (unsalted, of course) may be okay in limited quantities, but pose a choking hazard. Walnuts and pecans are toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis. Their high fat content can cause GI upset in cats as well. Macadamia nuts are highly toxic to both dogs and cats; contact your vet immediately if your pet eats these.

 

There are a wide variety of other foods that can be extremely problematic. Things like alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, grapes, and raisins are commonly known. Other things to keep a careful eye on are salt and fat content. Dairy is okay for some dogs and cats, but not okay for others. You can get additional information from both the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control and the Pet Poison Helpline.

 

By now, you may be wondering, “What  foods can I share?” The first thing to note is that some animals have food sensitivities.  For example, eggs are generally safe for dogs and cats, but sensitive pups will vomit if only a small amount is ingested. Second, it’s important to always be careful about the amount of calories you are feeding. These extra treats can quickly increase your dog or cat’s weight if you’re not paying close attention. With those things in mind, here are some items you can share with your furry companion:

  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato (one of my dog’s favorites)
  • Banana
  • Carrots
  • Berries (we pick blackberries as treats on our walks)
  • Cheese (in small quantities)
  • Chicken or turkey (cooked, deboned, no skin, plain)
  • Plain yogurt
  • Low-sodium broth

 

Always use caution when giving anything new to your pet. If you are uncertain whether an item is safe, you can look at the above resources or contact your veterinarian.