Supporting Black Owned Businesses In the Pet Industry: Part Two.

Last week, I wrote a post highlighting some amazing Black owned businesses in the pet industry for you to like, follow and financially support. Today, I would like to share more amazing businesses:

Beaux and Paws: Founder and Owner, Sir Darius Brown, is a 13 year old Entrepreneur (yes, 13) who makes hand made bow ties and donates them to shelters around the US to help dogs get adopted. I don’t think I could love him more if I tried. If you need me, I’ll be very patiently waiting for some bow ties to come back into stock. @sirdariusbrown

Pet Parent Allies: Owner, Curtis Kelly, is a positive reinforcement dog trainer based out of Philadelphia. Along with working with other people’s dogs, Curtis is also a dog dad to two super cute dogs, Dochas and Vista. Not in Philly but want to work with Curtis? Well, he offers virtual online training. I think I need to look into some classes for Max and his excessive barking and Dolly’s lack of recall. @petparentallies

Brixxy & Co: Owner and Maker, Alissa Maree, makes the cutest hand made bandanas that were inspired by her super cute pup, Brixxy Bordeaux. I’m just trying to decide and narrow down which ones I want to order because they are all so adorable. @brixxyandco

Simply Sage Dog Treats: Owner, Chole Clark, makes all natural and plant based treats and herbal paw balms for dogs with allergies, mild medical conditions and sensitive stomachs. Given Dolly’s allergies and how much of a mess her paws are at times, I’m definitely looking into the Calming Paw Balm for Dolly. @simplysagedogtreats

Enjoy-A-Bowl: Owner and Veterinarian, Joe J. Owens, created Enjoy-A-Bowl after seeing many patients of his getting sick because of their diet. Enjoy-A-Bowl works by placing good smelling food in the bottom tray, then placing your dog’s food on top and uses a divder to separate the two. The bottom food’s aroma helps to stimulate your pet’s appetite. It’s perfect for picky eaters, diabetic pets, pets on prescription diets, pancreatitis or hanging you pet’s obesity. I think I might purchase a few for the animal rescue organization I volunteer for. @enjoyabowl_products

Little L’s Artisan Dog Treats: Owner, Lenny Forde, makes the freshest of treats with all locally sourced ingredients. And to ensure top quality control, all treats are tested out by his two adorable pups, Lulu and Lilly. I know my dogs drool whenever I eat waffles, so I know the Woofles (dog waffles), would be major hit with them. @littlesnyc_dog_treats

East New York Dog Lovers Inc: Founder, Maria, created East New York Dog Lovers to help families and individuals diagnosed with an illness, facing homelessness or hardship to avoid permanent separation from their pets. She helps provide a positive experience to people facing difficult times. @enydoglovers_1

BlackDVM Network: Founder, Tierra Price, created the BlackDVM Network to help connect Black veterinarians, nurses, technicians, and clients across the nation. Their mission to help create a safe place for veterinary professionals and help promote diversity in vet medicine. @blackdmvnetwork

I hope you all enjoyed reading! If you have any other businesses you would like me to feature, let me know.

At the end of the day, it’s important to keep conversations going and remember that the pet industry is for everyone!

Supporting Black Owned Businesses In the Pet Industry: Part One.

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Trayvon Martin. And there are so many more.

It’s impossible to ignore to ignore what is going on and has been going on for centuries, and that is Black people are dying from systemic racism.

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with animal rescue? Why is a page devoted to pets talking about this?

It’s not that hard to look at many industries on social media and see nothing but white dominated accounts, and the pet industry is no different. That needs to change, and I want to help change that.

So, I want to share some amazing Black owned businesses in the pet industry for you to like, follow and financially support:

Ava’s Pet Palace: Owner, Ava Dorsey is such a superstar! At 12 years old (yes, you read that correctly), Ava runs her own organic pet treat company. I can tell you that at that age, I was still playing with Barbies. My dogs are going to be so excited when their treats arrive. @avaspetpalace

The Bark Shoppe: Founder and CEO, Melissa Mitchner, runs a premium pet care facility in New York. She offers daycare, boarding and grooming. Not in NYC? Well, Melissa has variety of really amazing grooming products, t-shirts and Pride Boxes for purchase. Can’t wait for my t-shirt to arrive! @thebarkshoppe

Trill Paws: Owner and Founder, Rachel, offers a variety of adorable and fun pet tags, toys, collars & leashes and stickers (perfect for your laptop). You can even get your pet’s name engraved on the tag. What did I order? You’ll have to wait and see. @trillpaws

Sir Dogwood: Creator and Owner, Chaz, offers high quality and very fashionable dog wear and accessories for your pup. It doesn’t matter if your dog is 10lbs or 130lbs, Sir Dogwood has something that will for the most fashionable dog out there. How cute would Dolly be with a velvet leash? @sirdogwood

Bark First Avenue: Founder and CEO, Deana Evans, believes in seeing pets living their best lives and looking fabulous while doing it. It can be challenge finding fun clothes and accessories for larger breeds, so Deana decided to change that. I’m trying to decide what to get Dolly. @barkfirstavenue

House Dogge: Owner and Designer, Angela Medlin, wanted to find quality and sustainable dog products for her dog, Wubbi, so she created House Dogge. Angela is no stranger to creating top quality products as she is a Former Nike Design Director. I know some people who got a puppy, so I think a new toy would be a good gift. @housedogge

ScotchandTea: Owner and Creator, Khrys Nikole Solano, has been busy making not only collars and bandanas, she has also been making hand made masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also been working hard on making and donating masks to Black Lives Matter protests happening. I think the dogs and I could use some matching masks and bandanas and I’m looking at the ice cream one. @scotch.tea

Homescpe Pets: Owners, Nana and Marcus, created their own hemp & CBD based products after a medical emergency with their dog, Beau. And to ensure quality control, their two adorable pups, Quinn and Minnie test and use all of their products. Does your dog have anxiety like Freckles? Look at some CBD. @homescapepets

BrockNBone: Owner and Creator, Elyssa Jenkins, was inspired by her adorable pup, Cavapoo Brock, to create and make her own line of bandanas as well as matching headbands. I mean, who doesn’t love matching with their pup? I think Freckles and I would look cute in matching accessories. @brocknbone

LeelaRyan: Owner, Vanessa Malzahn, created her own line of vegan dog treats after finding that most treats on the market either smelled like liver factory or were full of junk. Her treats are made form limited ingredients and have no artificial flavours. I know my dogs would likely drool at these. @leelaryan

Smart Bitch Dog Training: Owners, Jio and Taylor, are certified force-free Professional Dog Trainers. Even though they based out of New Orleans, they do offer online training classes. So if you are looking to work with an awesome force-free trainer, check them out! I think I have to look at some training classes for Max and his barking. @smartbitchdogtraining

Stay tuned for Part Two where I feature more amazing Black owned businesses in the pet industry!

Protecting Your Dog Against Ticks

As the weather warms up, that means more time outside with your dog. But, with the warm season, also means the return of something else: ticks

Ticks are found specifically in longer grassy areas and in bushes. Even though many people think of them as insects, they are actually arachnids which are similar to spiders and mites. Ticks are parasites that feed off of the blood the host they attach themselves to. Those hosts can be can a human or an animal. Ticks do not care and yes, they are very gross.

The biggest problem with ticks is that they are carriers of disease, specifically Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be very serious if not treated, with symptoms including a fever, loss of appetite, pain, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, swollen joints and shifting lameness from one leg to another. If not treated, it can cause serious damage to your dog’s heart, nervous system and kidneys.

If you suspect that your pet has Lyme disease, take them to their vet as soon as possible. Your vet will want to do a blood panel to be sure and then start your dog on antibiotics right away as Lyme disease is a bacterial illness.

This is why it’s extremely important to do a tick check any time your dog has been outside, specifically if they have been in long grassy areas (such as the river valley) or in bushes. The most common places where ticks like to grab on to and most pet owners miss are your dogs ears, between their toes and arm pits.

What do you do if you find a tick on your dog? The safest way to remove a tick is by using a pair of fine tipped tweezers. Do NOT touch the tick with your bare hands as bacteria could be transmitted to you. So wear gloves or use a paper towel if you don’t have gloves. Grab the tick as close to the skin surface as possible so this reduces the chances of the head detaching. Pull the tick out with steady and even pressure. It may take a minute or two, so be patient. Once the tick has been removed, find a container and take it your vet so they can send it off to a lab to be inspected. Write down the time and place where the bite occurred. This helps vets and scientists know and understand if that tick carries Lyme disease.

Once the tick has been safely removed, it’s very important to disinfect the bite area and your hands as soon as possible.

So, what can you do to prevent your dog from getting ticks? Talk to your vet about what they recommend as there are many different options out there. There are monthly topical treatments that can be applied to your dog that are effective at keeping both ticks and fleas at bay. If your dog attends daycare, most daycare require proof that your dog is having it applied. But be cautious about using any random tick treatment you find at a store as they are not all created equal.

There are also oral medications, shampoos and even homeopathic/natural treatments. Like anything, talk to your vet to find the best course of preventative action.

Also, make sure you check yourself over if you have been out with your pet in high risk areas for ticks. You don’t want to take your chances.

COVID-19 And Your Pets

It goes without saying that we are all living in uncertain times. It’s impossible to escape what is now the current reality and that is that COVID-19 is impacting everyone across the world.

From everyone now working from home (unless you are working in an essential service), kids being home schooled, all sports and social gathering being cancelled or banned, it’s a very stressful time for everyone.

The one bright spot for many people is being able to spend time with their pets. Depending on where you live, you can still go outside for a walk with your dog (as long as you are not living where there is a mandatory lockdown or you are not in mandatory quarantine, so please follow orders as hard as it may be). Please also respect distancing guidelines when you are out with your pet, especially at places like dog parks (and if they are closed, stay out). No one is exempt from this. No one.

But can you get it from your pet or can pets transmit it? As of right now, there is no evidence to suggest that and The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has some excellent information regarding that on their website.

There’s been a lot of inaccurate and false information and articles out there, so please only read and share information from credible sources. I know there is a lot of fear out there, but please try to be mindful of the information you choose to share as it could lead more confusion and anxiety that many people are already feeling.

As per recommendations by health officials, vets and pet stores are considered to be essential services, but have all had to make adjustments. Many vets are by appointment only and if you are sick or symptomatic, you will not be allowed to enter the building. Vets clinics will also either have people wait outside in their vehicle while your pet is being examined or only allow on person at a time in the exam room.

Many vets also have policies regarding pick up of any medication your pet needs where you will have to call to pay over the phone and call when you arrive so things can be set outside for you to avoid any unnecessary contact right now.

Along with vets, pet food stores have also implemented policies regarding the number of people that are allowed in the store at one time. Almost all pet food stores are now offering curb side pick up or free home delivery of your order.

We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of this. We all want to get back to some form of normalcy, but we have to be patient. So, please wash your hands, stay at home (unless it’s absolutely essential) and spend some time with your pets.

And I want to end this by saying an absolutely massive thank you to everyone working on the front lines right now. To anyone working front line health care (doctors, nurses, receptionists, cleaning staff), pharmacists, EMS, police, grocery store clerks, truck drivers delivering essential goods, vets, postal workers and anyone doing delivery services right now, we salute you! Thank you for everything you are doing!

Dental Care For Pets

When you were growing up, how many times as a kid did your parents tell you to brush your teeth? From a young age, we were taught the importance of dental care and how it plays a major role in our overall health. The same goes for your pets.

Dental care for your pet is extremely important and not taking care of your pet’s teeth could not only end up costing your pet some teeth, it could end up costing you lots of money in the long run. 

So why dental care so important?

There is nothing worse than sitting beside a dog with really bad breath. Along with bad breath, a few signs that your dog needs their teeth checked are excessive drooling, inflamed gums, bleeding gums, reduced appetite, discolouration of teeth, visible tartar build up and any loose teeth. 

Pets can wear teeth down and in some cases, break a tooth if their dental health is not being maintained. They can also end up developing dental diseases such as gingivitis 

 In some severe cases, dogs and cats can wind up with an infection that can spread into their jaws and surrounding tissues, causing your pet to be in more pain. Dogs can also develop dental diseases such as gingivitis. In both cases, extractions become necessary. 

What can you do to take care of your pet’s teeth?

Like humans, one of the best ways to take care of your pet’s teeth is by brushing them. As many pet parents know, this is sometimes easier said than done. 

Try to make it a positive experience for them rather than something they see as punishment. Use positive reinforcement by offering praise and rewarding with treats. Start slowly by only brushing for a couple of seconds, and gradually increase the amount of time brushing their teeth. 

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There are a couple of different options for brushes. You can get a brush that is like a brush used for children or you can get a brush that goes on to your finger. For toothpaste, do not use human toothpaste for your pets. Instead, get a good quality pet toothpaste. These are created with ingredients that are safe your pet to swallow and will generally contain enzymes to break down plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth. There will also be flavours that will be much more appealing to your dog such as chicken or beef if they are not fans on mint, which in turn make it much easier to brush your pet’s teeth if they like the taste of what is in their mouth.

Another option can be to use dental wipes for your dog, that you can purchase at any local pet store. While they aren’t as good as brushing, they can be a great option if trying to brush your dog’s teeth is a challenge and they are great to use on the go.

One way to keep plaque and tartar from building up on your pet’s teeth (specifically dog’s) is by them chewing. By chewing, it helps naturally scrape the plaque off of your dog’s teeth. 

One of the best things to give your pet to help their teeth (and keep them occupied) is giving them raw bones (never give them cooked bones as they and easily splinter and break off). You can also give your dog treats such as bully sticks as that will not only help their teeth, bully sticks are a good high protein treat that any dog will enjoy. As with anything, make sure to supervise your pet giving them any sort of chews. 

There are many people who give their dogs deer antlers to chew one, but they are not recommended as they are extremely hard and dogs can break teeth if they chew too hard. That is not a vet bill that anyone wants.

Professional Vet Cleaning

All pets, just like humans, should have their teeth checked annually by their vet. Vets are able to see things like plaque and tartar buildup on their back teeth, just like when human goes to the dentist. Unfortunately, brushing will not be able to get rid of tartar build up once it’s already there. 

Also like humans, all dogs should get their teeth professionally cleaned by their vet. Many people worry about their pet being put under anesthesia, but it’s not something that should be worried about. It’s standard that a bloodwork panel will be done prior to any anesthesia given and if there is a concern, the vet will call you. Vets will not put a pet under anesthesia if they feel there is any sort of risk to them.

While under anesthesia, vets are able to take any x-rays deemed necessary, do a full cleaning and extract any teeth need that need to be removed.   

A big issue that many pet owners face is the cost. Cleaning and tooth extractions can cost anywhere from $600 to over $1000 depending on how extensive the work is. With that, most vets will give you a breakdown of costs prior to performing any procedures and some will give you a full estimate of costs prior to booking your pet’s dental appointment. 

With cost being a big issue for many pet owners, many vet clinics are able to offer payment plans. With that being said, cheaper isn’t necessarily better but some vets do charge more than others. The good thing about living in a city as big as Edmonton is that there are many different places for pet owners to go to. 

February is National Pet Dental Health Month and many vets are offering dental services at a discounted rate, so if you have been holding off on getting dental work such as a cleaning done for your pet, this would be a great month to do it. 

Maintaining good dental health for your pet is vital. It’s as important as getting your pet vaccinated and spay/neutered. Healthy teeth and gums equal healthy pet. 

Happy brushing, everyone!