The Benefits of Grain-Free Dog Food

Guest Post by Olivia Williams

ID-10049938Dog-lovers everywhere simply want the best for their pooches. And when it comes to providing our four-legged, furry friends optimum nutrition, many of us would rather choose grain-free dog food for a variety of reasons, many of which are tied to the benefits of grain-free dog food. Here are some of them:

  • More nutrients per gram of dog food

 Ancestral dogs always preferred meats over any other type of food. However, today’s dogs aren’t necessarily carnivores; in fact, they are omnivores like you and me.

Sadly, with the commercialization of dog food, companies sometimes minimize production costs. Instead of putting high-quality ingredients in sufficient amounts into dog food, some companies use ‘fillers’ in the form of wheat, corn, and other cereal grains for the simple fact that these are generally ‘cheaper’ than protein like beef or chicken. That is why low-quality dog foods will have a greater proportion of these so-called ‘fillers’ that do not necessarily contain all the right amounts of nutrients needed by your pooch.

But when you give your dog grain-free food, you are almost certain that the ‘fillers’ have been significantly replaced with more nutritious ingredients such as wholesome grains, vegetables, and fruits as well as more protein like chicken, beef, turkey, and others. This simply means you are giving your dog more nutrients for exactly the same amount of dog food.

  • Less incidence of food allergies

 Wheat, corn, and soy, as well as other cereal grains, are considered allergenic. Chicken, pork, and beef as well as any other food that has protein in it can also be allergenic. The good news is that the digestive system of a dog is naturally designed to digest proteins from animal sources a lot more efficiently than they do proteins coming from cereal grains. This leads to fewer incidences of food allergies and other forms of allergies in dogs. The reason is simple. Because an allergic reaction is triggered by the exposure of a protein molecule to immune system cells, digesting large proteins into peptides and amino acids eliminates this antigen-recognition capability of immune system cells.

 Since dogs are able to digest animal proteins into amino acids, they experience less stomach upsets and other symptoms of food allergies. On the other hand, since they cannot process cereal grain proteins into amino acids that efficiently, some of the undigested proteins are ‘sensed’ by the immune system of the dog, triggering an allergic response.

  • More energy to support your dog’s lifestyle

 It is important to distinguish the difference between a grain-free and carb-free dog diet. Dogs, like us, rely on carbohydrates for energy. This is especially true if you’re the type of dog-owner who goes on a trek with your pooch on the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains or even the Great Smoky Mountains. They will need energy for the adventure. While cereal grains are a good source of carbohydrates, these are not the only sources. For instance, sweet potatoes and rice, often found in grain-free food, are excellent sources of carbohydrates for your pooch. They’re generally friendly to the tummy, too. This can help support your dog’s active lifestyle.

  • Healthier skin and coat

 Trekking in the Blue Ridge Mountains means exposing your dogs to the elements, not to mention objects and particles that can irritate its skin and make its coat frizzled. Since a grain-free dog diet has more nutrients that come from healthier grains, fruits, and vegetables, you can feel more confident about promoting healthier coat and skin for your pet. This is the function of antioxidants that are mostly found in many fruits and vegetables. As such, dog foods that are rich with these kinds of nutrients can help improve the condition of your pet’s skin and coat.

  • Less shedding

 Because your dog’s coat is naturally healthier brought about by the various nutrients that are supplied to every hair root, your pooch will have lesser incidence of shedding. Your dog will still shed its fur, but this will be significantly less than if your pet were on a dog food that contains cereal grains. This can also translate to easier cleaning of your upholstery and carpet at home.

There are many other reasons why pet parents today would want grain-free dog food for their beloved pets. You only want to give your dog the best nutrition possible, just like any responsible parent would give to her kids.

Olivia Williams is mum of 2 and a true animal lover with 3 dogs, 2 cats and a parrot called Charlie. Heading up the content for amongst a busy family schedule, her goal is to try help people all around the world become better pet owners.

Image: Aopsan,

Do You Sleep with Your Dog?

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 4.35.23 PMAbout half of U.S. pet owners sleep with their pets, and about 45 percent of dog owners sleep with their dogs.

Do you sleep with your dog? If so, you are definitely not alone! But there are some things that you should know about sleeping with your dog. There are health benefits and health risks, for example, and there are tips to make the experience more enjoyable for both of you.

The folks at, whose aim is to to improve sleep hygiene, health, and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free resources, have put together "Sleeping with Pets." This informative guide answers a lot of questions about sleeping with your dog, including one all dog owners wonder about: "Is snoring normal for dogs?"

You'll find this free guide here:


How to Perform CPR on Your Dog

ID-100238757It's a scary scenario: Your dog chokes, stops breathing, or is unconscious. You know you need to get your dog to the vet or emergency animal hospital, but you can take some simple steps first that may save your dog's life.

In an article that originally appeared on and was republished with permission by, you'll find detailed instructions for performing CPR on your dog. Three specific actions are recommended:

  1. Perform 100-120 chest compressions per minute
  2. Perform a compression to mouth-to-snout ventilation ratio of 30 compressions followed by 2 breaths
  3. Perform cardiac massage / chest compressions according to the different chest types and sizes of dogs.

The article includes illustrations as well as a video that will be very helpful in applying these techniques properly. Performing CPR on your dog is not unlike performing it on humans -- and it could make the difference between life and death.

Find the article here:

Image: Photokanok,

Why Adopt a Shelter Dog?

AngelinaLitvin-unsplash.comTo some dog lovers, answers to the question, "Why Adopt a Shelter Dog?" are obvious. But there are still plenty of people who are uncertain about adopting from a shelter or even have a negative perception about it. has come up with an informative online guide that not only answers the question, it presents you with "20 Astonishing Shelter Dog Facts." Did you know, for example, that:

  • About 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebred
  • Many shelters perform behavioral testing before releasing dogs for adoption
  • Mixed breed dogs tend to be generally healthier than purebred dogs
  • Adoption fees typically cover a range of services adopters would normally have to pay for on their own, including spay/neuter, worm and parasite medication, standard vaccines, and microchipping.

 There's lots more to know about adopting a shelter dog, and it's all in an easy-to-digest format here:

Image: Angelina Litvin,


Oil Diffusers can be Dangerous to Dogs

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 3.49.32 PMThis is an alert from the ASPCA...

"If you have been on social media lately, you may have seen articles or posts concerning essential oils, oil diffusers and the potential danger they may pose to your pets. Essential oils have been, for a long time, a popular home remedy for a number of maladies including nasal congestion, anxiety, sore muscles and skin conditions, among others. With the sudden popularity of oil diffusers—an easy way to release these oils into your home—there has been an emergence of alarm about how these oils may affect animals in the home.

"In their concentrated form (100%), essential oils can absolutely be a danger for pets. Dogs and cats who have either walked through oils, gotten some on their coat or had oils placed directly on them can develop health concerns.

Symptoms include:

  • Unsteadiness on the feet
  • Depression
  • Low body temperature (in severe cases)

 If a pet ingested concentrated essential oils, you may see vomiting, diarrhea and depression, as well."

For more information about the possible dangers of oil diffusers, go to:

Is a Toy Dog Breed Right for You?

Guest Post by Lilly Andrews

StuartMiles-fdpToy dogs have become very popular pets over the past years and are slowly becoming top choices of dog lovers. As a matter of fact, the American Kennel Club has listed six toy dog breeds in the top 25 of the recent most popular dog breeds in America. The top 25 list includes Poodles (7th), Yorkshire Terriers (9th), Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (19th), Shih Tzu (20th), Pomeranians (22nd), and Havanese (23rd).

Many people are looking to take in small dog breeds because of their adorable features, and perhaps, thinking that there will be fewer responsibilities and lesser work to expend. But toy dog pets go beyond their charms. Even with the popularity of these toy dog breeds, there are still some people who wonder if they make good pets at home. To help you decide, here are pros and cons of taking care of toy dogs.


Because of their cute size, toy dogs can easily adjust and fit into small and big living spaces. Whether you live in a one-room apartment or a mansion, you are assured that your little pooch has plenty of room to move around. They only require a short walk to get their needed amount of exercise per day.

When you go out or travel, you can easily bring your pet along. You can place them inside your shoulder bag or tote bag and not worry about carrying a load. Moreover, these dogs eat less, need fewer exercises, and their routine vet visits often cost less. Toy dogs show a great deal of love and affection to their owners as well, a common characteristic of all types of dogs. Although it depends on a number of factors, smaller dog breeds tend to live longer than big dogs.


Small dogs can sometimes have obnoxious personalities. They can be aggressive to larger dogs and responsible for starting fights. Toy dogs feel that they are in charge of the household. They may disobey their owner and feel that they need to be served all the time. They can also be difficult to train, but you, as an owner, should set the tone that you are the boss, being firm yet still showing affection.

In addition to those points, not all small dogs are good around children. If a dog is not taught the proper behavior when they are still a puppy, the owner can experience a number of behavioral issues.

Popular Breeds

There are several popular breeds of toy dogs to choose from. Here are a few options you can consider:

  • Yorkie. The Yorkshire terrier originated in England, and they were used to kill vermins. They are known to have a very strong personality.
  • Poodle. Originally a water dog, the poodle was used to hunt game. They are very intelligent and are easy to train.
  • Shih Tzu. This toy dog breed has its roots in China. It is one of the oldest breeds in existence.
  • Pug. The pug is also from China. This dog has become very popular for their small size and cute features.
  • Chihuahua. A dog breed from Mexico, the chihuahua may have been used in religious ceremonies by ancient tribes.

The Importance of Toy Dog Breed Choice

Before getting a toy dog, it is important to research the different breeds and their specific needs. Don’t rush. Take the time to look at the needs of the dog and figure out if that certain breed fits into your lifestyle. You should also consider your finances since the prices of small dogs can be high, especially if they are purebred. Keep in mind that you can often obtain a small dog at a much more reasonable price from an animal shelter, humane society, or rescue organization. In addition, small mixed breed dogs may have less behavioral and health problems than purebred toy dog breeds.

The bottom line: Try to find out as much information about the breed that you want to have. Once you have finalized your choice, it is important to make sure that you are capable of taking care of it.

Image: Stuart Miles,

Last Minute Holiday Gifts? That's a Wrap in Waynesville, NC!

ID-100116673If you're still sniffing out that perfect holiday gift, get on over to Mast General Store on Main Street in Waynesville. Why? Not just because you'll find some great merchandise, but you can get your gift wrapped by volunteers from Sarge's Animal Rescue Foundation. Just go to the gift wrap station in the store lobby and Sarge's will do up your purchase just right -- and your gift wrap donation will go directly to Sarge's to help save the lives of Haywood County animals.

Sarge's gift wrapping is available at Mast General Store, 63 North Main Street in Waynesville only during regular store hours until December 24, so hurry on over!

Image: Theeradech Sanin,

Free Guide to "50 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the World"

ID-10044688There are plenty of factors determining a breed’s popularity relative to others. However, the only statistic that actually measures breed popularity is the number of dog registrations per breed. So this tells us what is popular without explaining why it’s popular.

A review site,, has published a free guide to the fifty most popular breeds in the world. For each breed, you'll find the dog group it belongs to (herding group, sporting group, toy group, etc.), temperament, training, key facts about the breed, and celebrities who own dogs in that breed.

This handy guide will give you a quick overview of dog breed characteristics. You can find it here:

Image: Happykanppy,

ASPCA's Holiday Survival Guide

ID-10034507The holiday season may be a wonderful time for getting together and celebrating family and friends but, sadly, it can also be a time when we overlook holiday hazards for our pets.

The ASPCA has published a brief "holiday survival guide" that outlines some of the primary hazards, including unsafe medications, holiday goodies that are "baddies" for pets, and holiday plants that can cause illness. Also included are the "Big 5 Holiday Dangers" according to the ASPCA Poison Control Center.

Keep all of your pets safe this holiday season. Download this handy one page survival guide below at the link below (PDF).

Download HolidaySurvivalGuide

Image: Photostock,

New Canine Nutrition Resource

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The Pet Food Institute (PFI), whose members make 98 percent of all U.S. pet food and treat products, recently launched a new series of interactive infographics showing the ways the key nutrients found in a complete and balanced dog food recipe help our pets. The new web resource, 'Nutrition from Nose to Tail,' provides fast facts about the essential nutrition that fuels our dogs' growth and supports their body systems, as well as non-essential nutrients that can also serve important functions. 

 "PFI's new 'Nutrition from Nose to Tail' resource was designed to assist pet lovers in understanding how a carefully formulated recipe will help their dog," said Cathleen Enright, PhD, president and CEO of PFI. 'Nutrition from Nose to Tail' shows the ways that the essential nutrients support pet health, for example by providing energy or promoting vision or healthy joints, and also reviews other important non-essential but functional nutrients such as carbohydrates. 

Check out this free resource here:

ReTail Scene: "The Goody Pet" Website Reviews Doggie Products

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Looking for the best chew toys for puppies? Or how about the best dog shampoos and conditioners for dogs? You might even want to find the best boots for your doggie to wear this winter.

Now a website reviews all sorts of doggie products so you don't have to. "The Goody Pet" is a pet product review site that buys products at full retail prices and does not accept sponsored items. Pet lovers research the products, often by speaking with veterinarians and pet owners. Then they summarize their findings for other pet lovers and post reviews on the site.

Whether it's the best hands-free dog leash, the best vacuums for pet hair, or the best pet odor eliminators, The Goody Pet covers a wide variety of pet products, compares and contrasts product features and prices, and makes objective recommendations.

Check it out:

Everything You Need to Know About Pet Insurance

More pet parents today than ever before are showing interest in pet insurance due to the rising cost of pet care. The first pet to be insured in the USA was a female Rough Collie dog and TV star Lassie, back in 1982. As the number of pet owners increase, there has been a huge upsurge in the number of companies offering pet insurance, particularly in North America.
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An APPA (American Pet Products Association) study estimates that in 2017, veterinary care in the US cost $16.62 billion to pet owners, and they paid $14.93 billion for over-the-counter medicine for their cats and dogs. Today,an estimated 1.8 million pets are insured in the United States with annual premiums averaging between $163 per pet to $496 per pet, depending on the insurance plan.
Pet insurance can be very helpful in saving money on routine check-ups, medicine and vitamins, and surgical bills. But the problem many pet owners face is the abundance of choices, with different rules and regulations, and every company’s plan being slightly different. So do you pick a pet insurance plan that’s right for you and your four-legged companion? 
It all comes down to asking the right questions and comparing the most important aspects of each pet insurance policy. magazine has put together an infographic with a large list of pet insurance tips and sample questions you can ask your future insurance provider that will help you narrow down the best choices.
You'll find this helpful resource here: 

Helpful Etiquette Tips When You Travel with Your Dog

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 1.15.50 PMIt's always a challenge to take a trip with your dog if it involves an overnight stay. The good news is more hotels now accommodate dogs, and you can even find private vacation rentals that allow pets as well., the largest and most complete accommodation search engine, offers several helpful "pet etiquette tips" when you travel with your dog. Recommendations include doing research beforehand on dog-friendly accommodations, monitoring behavior, cleaning up after your pet, and more. Read the article here:

In addition, if you or anyone you know is planning a trip to the Westminster Dog Show, held in New York City in February 2018, AllTheRooms offers a handy listing of dog-friendly accommodations, including hotels and private rentals, near the show: 

Image: Pixabay

Pet Loss Support Groups in November

PupinframeAsheville, Wednesday, November 1: A pet loss support group meets at 6 PM on the first Wednesday of each month. Location: Jefferson House, 21 Edwin Place (next to the Unitarian Universalist church), Asheville. Donations accepted. Call (828) 254-6001 for additional information.

Waynesville, Wednesday, November 15: A pet loss support group meets from 6 to 7 PM on the third Wednesday of each month. Location: Kimball Counseling, 258 N. Main Street, Suite A, Waynesville. Donations accepted. Registration required. For additional information and to register, call Susan Kimball, LCSW, at (828) 226-7366.

Image: Whittaya Phonsawat,

How Accurate are TV and Movie Depictions of Dog Breeds?

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As a dog lover, you probably notice that dogs are often shown in TV shows and movies. Not surprisingly, the way dogs are depicted by the media, especially when it comes to their breeds, can affect the perception a TV viewer or moviegoer might have. This leads to stereotypes that may be widely accepted but not always correct., an authorized DirecTV reseller, has created a nifty, informative online guide to dispel common dog breed stereotypes found in TV shows and movies. For each of 15 breeds, the guide compares and contrasts the stereotype with the reality and has some good, specific advice if you choose to adopt any of these breeds. Keep in mind, of course, that a mixed breed dog may exhibit characteristics of a number of different breeds. Also included in the guide are links to trailers for movies in which dogs are featured.

You can find the guide here:


Free Pet Safety Guide

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Whether you just got a dog or you've had one for some time, it's important to know that there can be hazards around your home that could be dangerous to your pet's well-being.

That's why you'll find a free online "Pet Safety Guide," courtesy of ADT Security, to be useful. This online, interactive guide allows you to click on various rooms in a typical home and find out how to pet-proof them. There are lots of important tips about what to look out for in such common areas as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, plus valuable information about maintaining a safe home exterior.

The Pet Safety Guide also includes a handy "Pet Home Safety Checklist" you can download, along with a comprehensive list of supplies you may need as a pet owner.

Check out the Pet Safety Guide here:

In addition, during medical emergencies and times of need, some owners may not have the financial means to cover the high cost of emergency vet bills. To ensure every pet gets the help they need, the following state by state guide provides a list of the resources and organizations in each state that are offering financial assistance for pet owners in need:


Moving? What About Your Dog?

JesseSchoff-unsplash.comMoving is always stressful for people -- but it can also be stressful for pets. A recent article in The New York Times, "How to Move When You Have Dogs and Cats," offers some good tips to make sure your dog can handle the move.

Writer Matthew Haag discusses preparing for the move, whether to drive or to fly, and how to help your pet acclimate to a new home. Two interesting points Haag makes about move preparation relate to the way you approach the move. First, he writes, "Set an example by staying calm," because dogs and cats can channel human stress. Second, he advises packing over several days instead of all at once to avoid making your pet anxious.

As for acclimating to a new home, Haag advises, "Unpack their belongings first and set them in an area of the house that can be all theirs," and "Introduce your dogs to the area with walks, allowing them to stop and sniff around the neighborhood."

Haag also shares a number of good tips for driving with dogs, including websites that can be helpful, and he provides a rundown of air travel rules and regulations.

If you're planning a move, this article is well worth reading. You can find it here:

Image: Jesse Schoff,

Does Your Dog Connect with You on an Emotional Level?

AngelinaLitvin-unsplash.comPeople who have owned dogs for a long time are likely to share a very special bond with those pets. Many dog owners may even believe that dogs read and react to their emotional state. Now an emerging field of science called "emotional contagion" -- the spread of emotions between animals and people -- is helping to confirm that dogs really can connect with their owners on an emotional level.

A recent article in The New York Times, "The Empathetic Dog," shares the story of Benjamin Stepp, an Iraq war veteran whose service dog, Arleigh, senses Stepp's emotional distress and takes action to calm him. According to the article, "The dog senses when his agitation and anxiety begin rising, and sends him signals to begin the controlled breathing and other exercises that help to calm him down." This is just one of countless examples of ways in which dogs help humans by understanding their emotional state.

Some of the research being done on the emotional connection between animals and humans is fascinating. For example, one study cited in the story exposed dogs and humans to a baby crying, a baby babbling, and radio static. The babbling baby and radio static did not elicit much of a reaction from either humans or dogs. "But the sound of a baby crying produced a drastic response. Cortisol levels spiked in both people and dogs," according to the article.

So that deep emotional connection you think you have with your best furry friend? It could be very real!

Image: Angelina Litvin, Unsplash


ReTail Scene: ThunderEase, New Line of Natural Anxiety Relievers

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 11.32.52 AMEver heard of ThunderShirt? It is a product made by a Durham, North Carolina company, ThunderWorks, that is proven to reduce anxiety in many dogs. Now ThunderWorks has introduced a product line that naturally relieves anxiety in dogs and cats called ThunderEase.

According to the company, ThunderEase replicates feline and canine pheromones — naturally providing a sense of comfort and security during a wide variety of stressful occasions and situations.

“Both dogs and cats emit natural pheromones to help them feel safe and communicate in their environments," said Phil Blizzard, CEO of ThunderWorks.  "For dogs and cats, mothers emit them during nursing. ThunderEase mimics those comforting pheromones and, in turn, provides a very natural solution to treating anxiety and many other behavioral problems in cats and dogs.”

Like ThunderWorks’ other products, ThunderEase is a drug-free and veterinary recommended solution. The pheromones are effective in treating uneasiness in a new home or environment, fear of loud noises like thunder or fireworks, urine spraying and scratching, stressed caused by change, multiple cat tension, anxiety when visiting a veterinarian office or while boarding, and much more.

The ThunderEase diffuser kits, refills and sprays are now available for dogs, online at and will soon be available at pet retailers across the country. ThunderEase Collars for dogs will be available this fall.

“ThunderEase has been proven to be over 90% effective for many anxiety cases ,” said Blizzard. “Pheromones are highly recommended by veterinarians as an alternative solution to treat fear, anxiety and stress in pets without the need for a costly prescription.”