Celebrating International Assistance Dog Week

Some heroes don’t need capes– they have four paws, a tail and a vest to signal their commitment to helping others. They can navigate busy crosswalks for those with low vision, alert a diabetic when their blood sugar is low or assist in other everyday tasks like taking in the groceries or retrieving keys. These are just a few ways assistance dogs act as valuable additions to the lives of their human partners.

Here at Precise, we want to celebrate the important work of assistance dogs with International Assistance Dog Week, starting on Sunday. This year’s celebration will go from Aug. 6 – 12, and we want to take the opportunity to honor the dedication of these canines and educate others on the importance of assistance dogs and their training.

A large part of raising awareness for assistance dogs involves educating others on the responsibilities of these animals. An assistance dog can work under various categories and be a guide dog for a person with low vision, hearing alert dogs for those with partial or total hearing loss, or service dogs which assist people with mobility-related tasks.

Two other types of assistance dogs operate in the field of medical assistance and are labeled as seizure/seizure response dogs and medical alert/medical response dogs. Seizure alert/seizure response dogs alert or respond to conditions like seizures, heart attacks, diabetes, epilepsy, strokes, post-traumatic stress, anxiety attacks and panic attacks. A medical alert/medical response dog is responsible for alerting a person of any oncoming medical conditions previously listed.

Acting as well-behaved helpers and best friends, assistance dogs go through an extensive training process that ensures they’re able to work diligently and attentively for their human partners. Their basic areas of training include manners, task training, obedience, and proofing or public access skills. Assistance dogs wear an official vest, jacket, backpack or harness that allows them to enter any public space such as a store or restaurant alongside their owners to provide them assistance as needed.

Interested in learning more? Check out these personal stories illustrating the heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs and their transformative impacts.

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Five Household Dangers That Could Turn Your Fur-ever Friends into ‘Sick Puppies’

One of the greatest joys of having a pet is the unconditional, non-stop love and affection that they give. For most of us, we consider our pets to be like our children — and, just like children, they require a lot of TLC to keep them safe from harmful dangers that lie around the house.

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Here are a few potential household items that you should keep an eye out for while your furry friends are around, in order to avoid the “uh-oh’s” and “oh-no’s” that accompany being a pet parent:

1. Human medications

While this may seem like a no-brainer, if cats and dogs are able to reach your prescriptions, most of the time they will do whatever it takes to get their paws into trouble, which could cause serious life-threatening harm. Be aware of the placement of any type of medication as these are toxic and could harm your animals — ie. NSAID’s, birth control, sleep aids, acetaminophen, and more. To avoid the risk of consumption, place medicine into cabinets where animals are unable to access; make sure that medicines are not left on the counter and are always closed properly.

2. String, yarn, rubber bands

Although cat’s love playing with strings and other types of bands, be sure that you remove these items from their reach when you are done using them. An unattended pet with these small items could result in a choking hazard. Place these items in containers and drawers that are impossible for your pet to open while they are unsupervised.

3. Plants

Your guests aren’t the only ones who admire your indoor and outdoor plants—pets seem to enjoy them as well; whether that be for entertainment, or as a post-dinner chew toy. However, some plants are known to be be toxic — ie. oleander, hyacinth bulbs. To avoid the possibility of ingestion, try hanging plants where your pets cannot reach, place fences around outdoor gardens, or simply avoid purchasing these items.

4. Cleaning Products

Be aware of where you store cleaning products and if they are easily accessible to your pets. Keeping toilet bowl cleaner on the bathroom floor, for example, could seem like a curious chew toy for some pets, when in reality, it contains harmful toxins that could result in serious injuries for your animal. Try storing your household cleaning items on a shelf in your laundry room, or underneath the kitchen sink (if the cabinets are secure).

5. Leftovers 

Most of the time, it’s hard to resist the tableside begging for your leftover dinner scraps. Though it takes a lot of willpower, be aware that there are many ‘people foods’ that are harmful for animals to ingest. Some of these include: chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, and even bones. To keep your canine safe, try to resist those big eyes and stick to their kibble, or dry food diet. We strongly advise against feeding your animal from the table, but if you just can’t resist, keep some Healthy Habits® treats around to pacify your playful pet while you attempt to eat in peace.

In the case that your pet happens to ingest any of the items above, be sure to call poison control for precautionary steps to ensure your pet’s safety.

General rule of thumb: if it’s hazardous for you to consume, it’s more than likely harmful for your pet to consume. Do you have any of these items at-bay for your pets’ curiosity to take over? Try keeping these tips in mind in order to keep your little (or big!) fur balls happy and healthy.

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6 Tips to Keep Your Pet Cool During the Dog Days of Summer

It’s hot out there. As the temperature rises, so does the amount of potential dangers for our pets — sunburn, dehydration, and heatstroke, yikes! So the Precise team has compiled six tips for keeping it cool in the summer heat and humidity. Let’s get the sprinklers going:

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Add some ice, ice, baby

In addition to always making sure your pet is staying hydrated, add in a few ice cubes to their water bowl to help cool them down. Another option is to make your pet a yummy iced popsicle to treat and cool them. Might we recommend making catsicles out of your Precise Naturals canned food?

Hang inside between 10 and 2

The midday sun shines the brightest and burns the hottest. To prevent dehydration and possible heatstroke, keep your pet out of the sun during this hottest time of the day. Bring your pet indoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Play with your kitten or walk your puppy in the morning or evening in order to keep their core temperatures down while exuding strenuous activity.

Walk on grass, not asphalt

A dog’s paw pads are both adorable and sensitive. When the temperature is high, the hot asphalt can quickly become too hot and burn your pup’s paws. Have your dog walk on the grass and not the cement to prevent any damage.

Keep it breezy in the shade

If your pet has to be in the sun and hot weather, provide lots of shade for them to relax in. Trees and tarps are the best providers of shade because they allow for a breeze to blow through. Doghouses are actually not good options for pets to escape the sun because they don’t allow wind circulation to filter through, retaining the warmth.

Prevent your pet from feelin’ the burn

Dogs and cats can get sunburned too. However, human sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, like the white lotion lifeguards slather on themselves, are toxic to dogs.  Sunscreens with salicylates are also dangerous for cats. Instead of sunscreen, put your pet in a hat or rash guard with UPF protection built in.

Never leave your pet in the locked car

This is one of the biggest precautions to take in order to prevent your pet from overheating this summer. When it is 80 degrees outside, it can reach 99 degrees in a locked car within 10 minutes. Leaving a pet in a car in the heat can cause heat stroke, irreparable organ damage, and even death. In some states, it is actually illegal.

The dog days of summer are upon us. If you follow the advice of these six tips, you and your furry friend can have fun and stay safe in the summer heat!

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Binge-Watch these Seven Movies on Netflix with your Pet

When the long summer days get a bit too hot or the rain starts pouring down, it’s time to settle in on the couch and have a Netlix day with your pet! These seven titles are sure to be a hit during you and your furry friend’s quality time together:

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Hachi

Bring on the water works! This heartwarming tale of a pup’s undying love for its owner will have everyone in happy tears. Keep the tissues close for this one, it will remind you how much you love your furry companion and how they love you. Cuddling is strongly advised.

A Cat in Paris

This hand-drawn animation is a true work of art. It’s a fascinating tale about a cat leading two lives (as opposed to nine). The story features suspense, drama, love and laughter. The film was even nominated for Best Animated Feature in 2012, and it is sure to be a winner for you and your pet!

Airbud

Cuteness overload! This talented retriever is that star of his own series of movies, until his pups grab the spotlight all on their own. Netflix features four of the classic Airbud movies. Want some sports to gear up for the Olympics? Check out, Air Bud: World Pup, Air Bud Spikes Back, or Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, and of course Air Buddies. Are you really missing the snow on a sweltering day? Check out Snow Buddies. With all the Airbud choices these movies alone could keep you entertained for an entire day indoors.

Scooby-Doo

As a childhood staple, you know Scooby and the gang drum up a lot of trouble and even more laughs. This hungry and lovable animated pup stole your heart back in the day and is here to do it again. Netflix has two seasons of the cartoon version and the live-action film available to watch. There is certainly enough Scooby Snacks here for a day full of mystery that will have you seeking adventure with your own furry friend.

Beginners

This movie has both laughter and drama, and lots of love. After his father passes away, Oliver takes his Dad’s pup, Arthur, and forms that special bond every pet owner cherishes. Again with the water works!

Garfield

Everyone’s favorite big orange cat! With that huge appetite, big belly and adorable antics, what’s not to love? Netflix offers three options, two seasons of the Garfield Show, two Volumes of Garfield and Friends, and the movie Garfield’s Fun Fest. Yes, please.

Charlotte’s Web

A farm-filled touching story with a great message. We all remember this iconic story from our childhood, so why not reawaken the nostalgia? It’s perfect for nuzzling on the couch with your furry friend!

So, grab a big bowl of popcorn for yourself and some Healthy Habits Treats and let the snuggling and binge watching begin!

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Fourth of July – Here Comes the “Boom,” Ready or Not:

We know our American friends are anxiously awaiting Monday’s festivities, along with our furry companions. Let’s make sure friends four-legged and two are prepared for an amazing night with no surprises. Picture this. It’s the 4th of July:

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All of your friends and neighbors are over, you have an amazing feast laid out–complete with your famous pigs in a blanket, and everyone is having a great time. Of course, Fido is looking as adorable as ever, and patiently waiting for something to drop so he can have a taste of the celebration too. Naturally, all of your guests find him as irresistible as you do, and keep asking to feed him food right off of their plates, but you are strong, you don’t give in. You know already that people food can wreak havoc on your furry friend’s tummy. To avoid the puppy dog pout, let your guests give him some food made especially for him, like our Healthy Habits Treats. Also, be sure to have a water bowl at-the-ready so your pup can rehydrate in between performances.

As kids are running around the yard, friends are shuffling in and out, and fireworks are in “boom,” it’s no surprise that more pets get lost on the 4th of July than any other holiday. Make sure you’re prepared. Ensure that all of your pets have up to date tags and IDs on their collar, and make sure that the information in the microchip database is current in case they wander off in the mix of excitement. Be aware of when your neighbors intend to set off fireworks if your dog is frightened by them, and have a quiet room set up in your house with some soft music or the television on for your pet’s comfort. If your pet get super anxious when they hear a big boom, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about medications that may help them relax.

Sparklers are also a staple at any Fourth of July celebration, but they can easily spell danger for pets. Piles of sparklers, fireworks and lighters or matches can seem like fun new toys to your curious pet, but there can be pretty severe side effects from eating or inhaling them. Be sure to keep fireworks, sparklers, glow sticks and lighters out of your pet’s reach to keep the merriment of the evening going.

Ready for Monday? Us too. Be sure to dress your pet in their best patriotic gear, and don’t forget to let us in on the celebration by sharing your photos with us! Your furry friend and their patriotic paws might just break the internet.

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Seven Hurricane Safety Tips for Your Pet

It’s June, and you know what that means—summer sun, days outside with your furry friend, and…hurricane season. But instead of worrying about these severe summer storms, prepare for them! These seven tips will help to get you and your pets get ready for the possibility of a hurricane.

Hurricane Season

  1. Make sure your pet’s ID and shot records are up to date

Check to make sure your pets’ tags have your correct address and cell phone number, in case you need to evacuate your house, and move to a more secure location. Make sure you have documentation of your pets’ recent shot record, as many pet shelters will not admit pets without a rabies shot.

  1. Make a pet emergency kit

Be sure to include food, water, fist aid supplies and waste cleanup supplies for your pet. Keep a leash, ID collar, rabies tag and your pets’ medications inside. Instead of scrambling to pack everything up in a panic, you’ll already have the necessities ready to go.

  1. Have a kennel or cage on hand

This will help transport your furry friend if they’re confused or frightened. A kennel will also help if the shelter you’re bringing them to requires a solid carrier, or if there are many pets at the shelter during an emergency.

  1. Bring your pet with you

Unless you’re out of town, it’s always better to bring your pet with you. If your area is evacuated, you may not be allowed to return home, even if your pet is there.

  1. Keep a picture of your pet with you, or on your phone

In case you lose track of your pet, and they don’t have a microchip, you can track them down more easily with a current photo.

  1. Stay calm

This is probably the most important tip. Pets can sense your demeanor, and they can tell if you’re upset. No matter what you do, keeping your composure is one of the best ways to ensure that your pet will be comfortable and cooperative in your evacuation.

By following these seven tips, preparing for hurricane season will be a little less stressful. Have any questions? Leave us a note in the comment box below! We’re happy to help.

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Plan Your Pet-Cation 2016

Summer. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and a getaway adventure is calling your name—and your pet’s! Grab your pet’s leash, favorite formula, and get packing; the Precise team has sought out the world’s top-petcation destinations just for you:

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Key West, FL

If you’re in the mood to unwind by the coast, Key West, FL is the place for you and your furry friend. Not only are three three pet-friendly beaches at your fingertips, there are also a variety of activities that you can add to your itinerary too. If you and your pet love the water, Lazy Dog Kayak can supply you with a paddleboard or a kayak! To wind down the evening, head over to Island Dogs Bar for delicious bar food!

Gatlinburg, TN

Want to hit the trail? Head to the Great Smoky Mountains with your furry friend in tow, but make sure to bring their leash! Dogs are allowed to explore the camping grounds, picnic areas, and paved areas. Following your trek, you and your pet can shop ‘til you drop at Paws & Claws Pet Fashion and Simply Animals! When your day comes to a close, grab a burger at Howard’s out on the patio!

Tahoe City, CA

If you and your furry friend like a bit of variety with your adventure, you’ll enjoy Tahoe City. Head to Truckee River Rafting for self-guided rafting trips along the 5-mile stretch of river; be sure to bring some snacks and water for this 2-4-hour excursion, and some Healthy Habits Treats for your pup! When you’re ready to test out your land legs, head to Tahoe Cross Country for more than 8 KM of bike trails. Though your pet won’t have wheels of their own, racing down the trail along your side will be even more fun for them!

Alexandria, VA

Alexandria is filled with rich history, and plenty of dog trails! The former homeland of George Washington features a variety of outdoor tours like Alexandria’s Footsteps of the Past Walking Tour, that your pet can join in on for free! If you’re in the mood for a stroll, head to Old Town where you’ll find free treats and water bowls set out for your pet to enjoy!  With canine cruises, and more, this place seems to be a dog’s paradise. And get this, you’re not too far from Washington, D.C. where your furry friend can give the First Pets of the U.S. a howl!

Catch a wave, explore new terrains, or blaze the trail for your own adventure, all with your number one companion at your side. Where do you see yourself and your furry friend this summer?

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Earth to Pet Owners: Reduce Your Carbon Paw Print

We’re sure you know the importance of reducing your carbon footprint, but what about your pet’s?  Yep, your beloved companion has an environmental impact, too, and it might be bigger than you think.

Earth Day

So, in honor of Earth Day, we’ve got some tips to help you become a more eco-friendly pet owner and reduce your carbon paw print. It’s time to get your green on! 

Feed Your Pet Properly

Fill your pet’s food bowl with holistic, organic or sustainably sourced food (queue  Precise) they’re great for your pet and for the planet!  Chicken and fish based products especially tend to have lower environmental impact.  Try to buy in bulk when you can to reduce packaging waste, and purchase from your local retailer to eliminate pollution from long distance shipping.

Do Your “Dooty”

When nature calls, it’s your job to pick it up! Pet waste can be a hazardous pollutant- especially to nearby water sources (check out our last blog post for more info). Make an effort to use biodegradable or flushable doggie bags for poo pick up that aren’t harmful to the environment, and even consider composting your pet’s waste.  Composting is nature’s way of recycling, and, believe it or not, pet waste can be an effective ingredient for compost that can be used for fertilizer!  Just make sure you don’t use it for plants or crops meant for human consumption.

Kitty Litter

Unfortunately, the majority of cat litter is clay-based, which is strip mined and non-degradable.  Next time you’re out, reach for the litter that’s made with sawdust, pine pellets, or other biodegradable ingredients.  To save money, you might even consider making your own at home!

Eco-friendly Accessories

Look for toys and accessories made with organic or recycled materials to keep playtime eco-friendly.  Before throwing out old toys that your pet no longer loves, donate them to your local animal shelter instead.  After all, one pet’s trash is another pet’s treasure.

Spay/Neuter

This is probably your most important responsibility as a pet owner.  Spaying or neutering your pets is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent further overpopulation.

As pet owners, we know it’s your priority to keep your furry friend happy and healthy, so why not throw Mother Nature a bone while you’re at it?

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“Bowl” Appétit!

Ingredients are key. Wholesome nutrients are essential. But what about the object that we serve up these wholesome goods in? That’s right, the pet bowl. You may be surprised to know, that this seemingly overlooked object is incredibly important based on your furry friend’s unique diet habits. The Precise team has done a bit of research on finding the right pet bowl, for your furry friend:

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Elevated Feeders:

Let’s get ready for the big breeds. If your pet is “like Mike,” you may want to invest in an elevated feeder. This can improve the comfort and posture of your pet, and minimize the risk of joint damage. Elevated feeders are also incredibly helpful to pets that are recovering from surgery or are three-legged. Pet parents will also be happy to know that these bowls help prevent spillage! 

Steep Sided Bowls / Narrow Bowls:

Our long-eared pups need special bowls too! If your hound often struggles to chow down due to it’s long ears winding up in the bowl, have no fear. Steep sided bowls feature a narrow opening which will prevent your hound’s ears from falling inside. Let’s keep those ears from taking on water.

Shallow Bowls:

These bowls benefit smaller breeds, and puppies and kitties alike! Shallow bowls make it much more easy for our baby pets to reach their food, eliminating pressure against their throat.

Slow Feeder Bowls:

Many awful things can happen when you chow down too quick: choking, bloating, even obesity. Let’s take that down a notch with a slow feeder bowl. Not only do these bowls help slow down your pet’s eating, it also improves digestion and nutrient absorption!

Deep Bowls:

For our long nosed critters, eating can be a bit uncomfortable when faced with a shallow bowl; deeper bowls allow more nose room, making dinner time a wholesome and filling experience!

The material of your pet bowl also plays a factor. If you have a pup that likes to chew, avoid plastic bowls. While they are the cheaper alternative, your pup may get a bit excited, and ingest small hard pieces. Vets recommend stainless steel bowls thanks to their quick sanitation ability; and ceramic bowls are a great stability option for pets that tend to push around their food! And as always, be sure to sanitize your pet’s bowl regularly to avoid harmful bacteria!

Interested in giving your pet an upgrade? Check out these different pet bowls and feeders for your dog or cat and fill up with a nutritious bowl of Precise Holistic Complete!

Image Credit: Pixabay

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ANTIOXIDANTS

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Are you confused about the role of antioxidants in pet foods? Well, you are not alone. Below we explain what antioxidants are, what their purpose is, and why we put them in our pet foods.

Everyone knows that like us, our pets need oxygen to survive. But it also causes oxidation, which is a process by which chemicals in the body are altered and become what is known as free radicals. Free radicals are generated when the body turns food into energy, and they are also a result of exposure to environmental factors like sun exposure, pollution, cigarette smoke, etc. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all share a voracious appetite for electrons, stealing them from nearby cells. This electron theft can radically change the structure and function of the cell, leaving it unable to complete it’s job properly. This can result in an increased risk of infection and disease, and accelerate the aging process in the body.

Antioxidants are the free-radical fighters that are produced by the body, or derived from the healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, which are consumed. Precise calls them cell protectors. Antioxidants can protect and often reverse some of the damage caused by oxidation. They fight free radicals by generously giving electrons to the thieves, satisfying their voracious appetite. Essentially, they are electron donors.

There are hundreds of substances that can act as an antioxidant but the most familiar ones are vitamins A, C and E, lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene and selenium. These are found in many foods, and they are also available as dietary supplements. Some of the sources of antioxidants that Precise uses in our pet foods are apples, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, carrots, peas, sunflower oil, eggs, brown rice and citrus fiber.

The best way to ensure that your pet gets plenty of antioxidants is by providing a diet that contains some vegetables, fruits and whole grains. A variety of sources is also important as each antioxidant plays a slightly different role. There is good evidence that eating a diet with lots of different vegetables and fruits is beneficial because they not only supply antioxidants to your pet, but also provide a package of healthy substances like vitamins, minerals and fiber as well, that promote health.

In conclusion, antioxidants promote a healthy immune system and thereby increase the potential to lower the risk for certain diseases. Precise thinks that is good reason to celebrate antioxidants, because we all want our pets to live long and vibrant lives.

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