How to Brush Your Cats Teeth

When introducing your cat to having its teeth brushed, patience is key. Ensuring that the experience is pleasant for you and your cat will require time, trust, and rewards for your feline friend. Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure you have all your supplies ready.

Your local experts at Feeds’ n Needs will help you find everything you need to start brushing your cat’s teeth!

What You’ll Need

  • Cat toothbrush or finger brush
  • Pet safe toothpaste
  • Q-tip or cotton bud
  • Your cat’s favourite treats
  • Towel or blanket (optional)

Cats respond well to routine, and they may benefit from having their teeth brushed at the same time every day. Choosing a time of day when your cat is typically calm or hungry can make them easier to work with, as they will likely be more eager to accept treats and gentle pats as a reward for their cooperation.

How to Brush Their Teeth

Step 1:

  • Choose a quiet time and place, such as a small room where the door can be closed to prevent your cat from escaping. You can place your cat on a countertop or table covered by a towel or sit with them in your lap. With the cats back toward you, ensure you can keep a gentle but firm hold on them. If your cat is particularly nervous, you may wrap them in a towel or blanket and have someone hold them to make sure they’re secure while you brush their teeth.

Step 2:

  • Introduce your cat to the feeling of having their mouth touched by gently moving their lips and running your finger along their teeth and gumline. If your cat tolerates this well, reward them with treats and some gentle scratches if they enjoy it.

Step 3:

  • Once your cat is familiar with your fingers touching their mouth, introduce the pet-safe toothpaste by placing a small amount on your finger and letting them lick it off. If the cat refuses to lick it from your finger, you can try putting a bit on the tip of their nose; they should instinctively lick it off.

Step 4:

  • Using a Q-tip with a small amount of toothpaste on one end, gently rub the applicator tip along the outer surface of the cat’s teeth. Starting with the back teeth and working forward, rub the toothpaste into the teeth using circular motions. Your cat will likely only tolerate a few seconds of this at first, so focus on only a few teeth during your sessions until your cat grows more comfortable. Reward your cat’s cooperation with lots of treats.

Step 5:

  • Introduce the toothbrush to your cat by allowing them to lick a bit of toothpaste from the bristles. To ensure you have a secure grip on your cat while brushing their teeth, spread your hand wide and place your palm over the top of your cat’s head towards the back of their skull. Your thumb and second finger will grip around the cheekbones just under the eyes, allowing the cat’s mouth to fall open gently. Ensure your index finger is lifted to avoid covering the cat’s eyes. Now that you are holding your cat securely, use the same circular motions working from the back towards the front, and begin to gently brush the outer side of the cat’s teeth. As your cat gets more comfortable with each session, you can increase the time spent brushing each side until you can brush for 30-45 seconds per side.

Tooth brushing is unnatural for cats and can be stressful for them to adapt to, so be patient and do not rush the process. Taking as many days as necessary to get your cat comfortable at each step, reassuring them in a soothing voice and rewarding them with treats throughout is essential to helping them form a routine and making each experience a positive one.

Stop in at your local Feeds’ n Needs to pick up some well-deserved treats and toys for your cat, and be sure to ask our experts any questions you may have about your cat’s dental health!

For more information and resources about pet dental health, check out some of our other blogs:

Valentine's Pet Safety Tips
Valentine's Pet Safety Tips

Valentine’s Pet Safety Tips

Valentine’s Day is almost here, a day you can also celebrate with your pets. Give them a special toy or treat, take them for a long walk, or cuddle them on the couch. However you choose to celebrate, be aware of the possible Valentine’s Day hazards. Check out our tips to help keep your pets safe this love day!

Xylitol: This sugarless sweetener is in many candies and gums and is toxic to pets. It can cause hypoglycemia.

 

Chocolate: Do NOT feed your pets anything with chocolate. It can be very toxic to them!

 

Flowers: Certain flowers are deadly to pets. All Lilies are fatal to cats. Roses can cause punctures to the mouth and paws and possible bawl obstruction if swallowed. Keep them away from your furry friends!

 

Decorations: Tape, ribbons, bows, balloons, and wrapping paper can become a choking hazard. Dispose of them before your pet finds them!

 

Candles: Candles can become a fire hazard around pets. They can also burn themselves accidentally. Never leave candles or a fire unattended with pets.

 

Cocktails: A small amount of alcohol can cause illness, coma or death. Keep cocktails away from pets and wipe up any spills ASAP!

A safe home is a happy home during festivities! Keeping these tips in mind can help avoid emergency trips to the vet. 

 

Have a safe and happy Valentine’s Day from Feeds’n Needs!

Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season
Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season

Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season

We love including our pets in holiday celebrations, but there are some holiday hazards to look out for to make this season safe and fun for everyone!

Here are some holiday pet safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Secure your Christmas Tree – Always observe dogs and cats around the tree. If possible, set it up in a room your can easily close off when you’re not home to avoid them trying to jump onto or into the tree.
  2. Don’t let your pets drink the tree water – Pet parents with a real tree at home should ensure the water inside the tree stand is NOT easily accessible to dogs and cats as it can sometimes release toxic sap into the water.
  3. Keep Christmas light away from your pet s- Christmas lights and cords can cause electrocution, internal injuries, or intestinal blockage if your curious pet decides to chew on them. Fasten your lights to your tree and place cords out of reach.
  4. Make sure ornaments are out of reach – Chewing on ornaments can cause cuts in you rpet’s mouth, throat and digestive tract. When eaten, decorations such as garland and tinsel can also result in gastrointestinal blockages.
  5. Pick pet safe Christmas plants – popular decorative plants like holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can be poisonous for pets if ingested.
  6. Keep gifts and candy/chocolate out of reach – Gift wrapping, candy and chocolate can threaten your pet’s health if ingested.

A safe home is a happy and festive home this holiday season. Keeping these tips in mind can help avoid emergency trips to the vet, which means the whole family can celebrate a joyful holiday season.

Have a safe and happy holiday from Feeds’n Needs!

Pet Obesity Awareness
Pet Obesity Awareness

Pet Obesity Awareness

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day takes place every year in October. It is a day to remind people to keep their pets healthy. Obesity is the #1 health risk for pets. Now is the perfect time to start focusing on your pet’s weight. When your cat or dog starts to look a little plump, you know it is time for a few things – more walks, fewer table scraps, and perhaps even an additional visit to your vet. Here is why it is important to maintain your pet’s weight and why it should be your number one priority!

Pet obesity is well-known for causing the following:
– Chronic inflammation
– Reduced life expectancy
– Weakened immune system
– Cardiac diseases
– Joint problems
– Diabetes
– Respiratory disorders
– Cancer
– Metabolic disorders
– Kidney dysfunction
– Poor quality of life

You can use several strategies if your cat or dog has put on some weight.

  • Portion Control: Measure your pet’s food.
  • Calorie Deficit Diet: Prefer feeding a low-carb, low-fat diet.
  • Fibres: Add more fibres to their diet to help keep them fuller for longer.
  • No Unhealthy Treats: Give only healthy and natural treats such as Crumps Sweet Potato chews – available at your local Feeds’n Needs.
  • Regular Exercise: More walks and exercise help burn extra fat.
  • Dry Food/Wet Food: Wet pet food has a higher water content, which promotes feeling full.

If you’ve tried all these strategies and your pet is still not showing any signs of losing weight, visit or call your veterinarian for the best suggestions.

Use the charts below to help you recognize pet obesity. If you think your pet might be overweight, visit your local Feeds’n Needs and ask our Experts what treats and food might be best for your furry friend!

New Pet Essentials

Are you a new pet parent?! Congratulations on your new best friend! Be sure to start off on the right paw by stopping into your local Feeds’n Needs with your new pet. Our Experts are here to help you. Whether it is training tips, toy recommendations, or choosing the perfect food to suit your pet’s needs, you can count on our team at Feeds’n Needs to happily help you every step of the way for your new pet essentials!

During your next visit to Feeds’n Needs, ask us about our Free Pet Food Loyalty Program – Yes, FREE! Your pet deserves the best, which is why we have a large variety of quality brands to suit every need throughout your pet’s life. For most of our brands in-store, every 12 bags of pet food purchased, you will receive the 13th FREE. Ask our Experts how to sign up and start saving today because it’s not just your pet who deserves to be treated!

Be prepared. Have essential supplies on hand before your new pet arrives if you can. The first few days with a new pet is the best time for bonding and forming good habits. Here are some of the essentials we recommend having for your new pet:

  • Food
  • Treats
  • Bowls
  • Pet Tag
  • Collar
  • Leash
  • Crate
  • Pet Bed
  • Brush
  • Tick Spray

Let your new pet take the time to explore their new surrounding without any other pets or people around to help them adjust when you first arrive home. It’s important to introduce pets in a safe and controlled way. Let pets get used to each other through a baby gate or with the new pet crated. Keep their initial interactions short and supervised until they get used to one another.

If you have a new pet, visit your local Feeds’n Needs and ask us about our New Pet Parent brochure and savings! We are here to help get you and your furry friend off to a great start!

Importance of Your Pet's Dental Health
Importance of Your Pet's Dental Health

The Importance of Your Pet’s Dental Health

Dental care for pets is often overlooked. We teach our children about the importance of oral health care, so why do we neglect our pets? Our pets rely on us to keep their mouths clean and healthy. Good dental hygiene is directly tied to overall health and longevity for our pets. As pet parents, we want our pets to have healthy mouths. Here are some reasons why good dental care is so critical to our pet’s overall health:

  1. Preventing Tooth Loss: Good pet dental care will ensure the structures supporting a dog and cat’s teeth stay healthy and keep their teeth in place.
  2. Preventing Bad Breath: Bad breath will not be a problem when your pet has a healthy mouth and teeth.
  3. Preventing Oral Pain: Dental disease can become painful for dogs and cats. Keeping their teeth and gums healthy will prevent any pain.
  4. Preventing Organ Damage: Bacteria in plaque buildup can actually enter your pet’s bloodstream and spread to their heart, kidney and liver. This spread of bacteria, called bacteremia, can damage organs and make your pets quite sick.
  5. Preventing Worsening Dental Disease: So many pets have dental disease by the time they are three years old. Good dental care can prevent dental disease from becoming severe. It is essential to take preventative measures when your pets are young to avoid dental disease.

Preventative measures against dental disease should begin when your pets are young, but it is never too late to get them accustomed to teeth brushing! Here are some good reminders and tips to ensure the well-being of your furry friend’s oral hygiene:

  • Regular exams are important. It is recommended to visit the vet once a year.
    • Check your pet’s breath monthly. Bad breath can indicate gum disease.
    • Dogs can often disguise how much pain they are truly in. Regularly monitor eating and chewing habits to look for signs of oral distress.
    • Check for red, puffy gums and yellow or browning tartar on teeth as signs of concern.
  • Supplements and diet play an important role.
    • Dental-specific kibble and dental treats can help reduce plaque and tartar.
    • Daily oral chews can help improve dental health.
    • Look for Veterinary Oral Health Council-approved products.
  • Daily brushing is essential in preventing bacteria build-up.
    • Use a pet-specific toothbrush or a soft child toothbrush.
    • Use pet-friendly toothpaste only.
    • Start slow and work up to longer brushing.

Oral care is health care for our furry friends. Feeds’n Needs has a variety of specialty treats, chews and more to help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. Ask our Experts in-store about our favourite oral health care products and what will best suit your pet’s needs!

For more dental health tips for your pets, check out our other blogs:

Dental Health Tips for Your Dog
Dental Health Tips for Your Cat

Source:

5 Reasons Why Dog Dental Care Is Important | PetMD

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

Raw food diets for cats and dogs are becoming more popular! Many people are choosing to feed their pets a raw diet because it is more natural and less processed than kibble. Others feed raw due to the many health benefits of a raw food diet. Here are some of the top reasons you should make the switch to raw:

    1. Joint and Bone Health
      The best way to support bones is with bones! Real crushed bone is a natural source of calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen and marrow. These components result in healthy growth in puppies and maintain superior joint and bone health for your dog throughout its lifetime.
    2. Immune System Support
      Raw meat is highly bioavailable and contains live bacteria/enzymes that support digestion and help to absorb almost all the immune-boosting nutrients. Raw food is also naturally rich in moisture, which supports organ health.
    3. Less Stool
      Having a diet of highly digestible ingredients for your pet is that more of what goes in is absorbed and utilized within the body – meaning less comes out the other end. Carbohydrates and filler ingredients such as soy, potato, corn and rice take longer to digest and do not fully absorb within your pet’s body. These ingredients can lead to larger stool volume with a heavy odour. Most raw diets contain no fillers and are low in carbohydrates, resulting in less waste passing through and decomposing faster.
    4. Healthy Skin & Coat
      Raw diets contain many ingredients that support skin and coat health, one of the most notable being omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy omega fats play a significant role in supporting healthy skin and a soft coat. Some common ingredients that provide essential omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, chia, and flax seeds. After switching your pet to a raw diet, you’ll notice a difference in their skin, coat and even how much less they shed!
    5. Reduced Body Odour
      When pets consume food high in fillers, additives, and preservatives, it can lead to unpleasant odours. A raw food diet better supports your pet’s digestive system, which often decreases or eliminates gas.
    6. Weight Management
      A raw diet is a natural way to help manage your pet’s weight and improve its overall well-being. Kibble contains carbohydrates and sugars that are harder for your pet to burn off, most times causing weight issues.
    7. Cleans Teeth Naturally
      Poor dental hygiene in your pets can sometimes be caused by a poor diet, especially if their diet is heavily processed or high in carbohydrates. Kibble and canned food can often get stuck in your pet’s teeth, leading to plaque, tartar and bad breath. Raw, meaty bones are well-known for helping them get into those tricky places between their teeth and removing plaque.
    8. Reduction in Allergies
      A pet’s diet is the most common cause of allergies. Many fillers used in kibble are not biologically meant for pets to digest and can cause stress on their digestive system and compromise their immune system. Common allergic reactions include rashes, itchy paws, ear infections, and digestive and joint issues. Healthy omega fats provide anti-inflammatory benefits, perfect for dogs with allergies or inflammatory skin diseases. A raw food diet can help reduce and sometimes even eliminate your furry friend’s allergy symptoms.

These are just some of the many benefits of a raw food diet for your pet. Our Experts here at Feeds’n Needs recommend Big Country Raw for your pets! There is something on their menu for dogs and cats of all breeds, sizes, and ages! Chat with one of our Experts in-store for more information on getting your furry friend started on a raw diet. We are here to help!

Sources:

Health benefits of raw feeding – Guides | Big Dog Pet Foods

The Top 10 Benefits Of A Raw Diet For Your Pet – Top Dog Food & Supply (topdogfoodandsupply.com)

Pet fire safety
Pet fire safety

Pet Fire Safety

National Pet Fire Safety Day takes place every year on July 15. It’s a day to learn how to keep your pet safe during a fire. Pets are part of the family, so it makes sense that we would dedicate a day to keeping them safe during one of the scariest situations we can imagine.

It is important to have a plan for your pets and your entire family, along with making your home “fire safe” for everyone! Make sure you have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to protect your whole family. Take these eight additional steps to help keep your pets safe:

1. Prevention:

Never leave your pets unattended around an open flame such as a candle or fireplace. Consider replacing your candles with flameless ones. If your dog knocks it over or your cat’s tail brushes it, they’ll be safe. They offer the same ambiance as a real candle, with fewer hazards. It may be best to eliminate the unnecessary open flames in your home entirely.

If you have a fireplace, be sure to watch your pets around them. Most will stay away, but some are curious and may get too close. Toys or other flammable items can accidentally be pushed too close to a fire which could quickly ignite.

2. Keep Your Pets Away From Hazards:

Cooking equipment is a major cause of pet-originated fires. Pets who jump on counters can hit a stove knob, turning the gas on or turning up a flame. If you have a curious pet or one who climbs on top of your counters, consider using knob covers or remove the knobs when you are not around to monitor your pet safely. Keep young or untrained pets away from potential hazards by crating them or securing them in a safe area with a baby gate.

If you know your pet tends to chew on things, make sure to hide loose wires that could potentially cause a fire, and turn them off and unplug them entirely when they are not in use.

3. Make Sure Emergency Responders Know You Have Pets:

A pet alert sign near each entrance to your home is an important pet fire safety step. It tells emergency responders that one or more pets are in your home and might need help. If you crate pets when you are away or sleeping, keep them near a door, so it’s easy for firefighters to find them after entering your home. You can also keep your leashes by the front entrance so they’re visible to first responders who may enter.

4. Make A Pet Fire Safety Evacuation Plan:

Every family should have a fire evacuation plan and do a practice fire drill at least twice a year. Include your pets in your fire evacuation plan and have leashes or carriers at easy access.

5. Consider Monitored Smoke Detectors:

For pet fire safety you may want to think about upgrading your smoke detectors. Consider using monitored smoke detectors. They are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you’re not home or at least send your phone a notification.

6. Know Where Your Pet Is Likely To Hide:

In case of a fire, your pet will probably be scared, especially if a loud fire alarm goes off. Know where your pet is likely to hide inside your home.

Unfortunately, if you can’t find them quickly, get outside and leave the door open for your pets to follow. Call for them to help them find their way and let firefighters know that pets are still inside.

7. Make Sure Pets Aren’t Lost During Evacuation:

A fire is a scary situation, and pets may run off. Another important pet fire safety step is ensuring your pets have a microchip before an emergency and that the information on the chip is up to date.

8. After A Fire, Watch Your Pet Closely:

If your pet acts lethargic or has trouble breathing, it could be a sign of smoke inhalation. See your veterinarian as soon as possible for any needed follow-up care.

Following these tips could help you prevent a fire or even save your pet’s life if an emergency occurs. Preparing ahead of time for pet fire safety can go a long way toward reducing risk. Spend some time this week developing your pet fire safety plan!

Sources: Pet Fire Safety: 8 Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe (bettercitiesforpets.com)

Springtime garden safety for your pets
Springtime garden safety for your pets

Springtime Garden Pet Safety

Gardening season is upon us, and for us pet owners, that means we need to be aware of how to keep our pets safe from hazardous spring plants! There are few effective treatments for toxic plant ingestion, so it’s important to know the potential dangers spring plants can have on our furry friends.

Most common toxic spring plants:

  • Tulips, Daffodils, Narcissus, and Hyacinths – The skin at the bottom of bulb flowers is dangerous to both dogs and cats, but they are especially toxic to dogs. Make sure your dog isn’t digging up the bulbs in the garden! If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling.
  • Lilies – These are highly toxic to cats. The pollen, leaves, stems, and even the water in a vase can cause kidney failure, even small ingestions such as 2-3 petals or leaves.
  • Irises – These are considered toxic to both dogs and cats. All parts of the iris contain harmful components, but the bulbs are the most dangerous part. If your pet ingests an iris, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling.
  • Begonias – The underground stem can cause severe mouth irritation for both dogs and cats.
  • Buttercups – These flowers can cause your pets to have an upset stomach if ingested.
  • Crocus – The spring Crocus may cause gastrointestinal upset like vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling if any part of the plant is ingested by dogs or cats.
  • Lily of the Valley – This plant can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, and possibly seizures.

It’s also important to be mindful of fertilizers as these often contain bone, blood or feather meal which ingesting in large quantities can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Next time you visit your local Feeds’n Needs store, be sure to ask our Experts for advice on safe fertilizers to use as a pet owner! You can also keep your curious furry friend away from the garden by fencing it off.

Educating yourself about these springtime hazards will help you, and your pet enjoy your backyard with no worry!

Sources:
Springtime Hazards: Protect your Pets From Toxic Plants | 24Petwatch
Spring Dangers To Pets | Pet Poison Helpline

Dental health tips for your cat
Dental health tips for your cat

Dental Health Tips For Your Cat

How often do you brush your cat’s teeth? It is suggested that owners should brush their companion’s teeth after every meal, or at least once a day to keep their dental health in check. Did you know that once a cat reaches the age of three, they’re more likely to experience issues related to their dental health? Check for signs of bad breath, drooling, lack of appetite or repetitive shaking and pawing at their mouth for signs of a potential issue. If left untreated, poor dental hygiene can lead to more serious conditions, including kidney and heart disease. Many owners find that putting anything in a cat’s mouth to be a tricky, squirmy process, so here are a few tips to keep in mind when thinking about your furry friend’s dental health.

It is important to get into a habit of checking your cat’s teeth and gums for problems – the sooner you start, or earlier in your cat’s life you establish these habits, the better and more cooperative and patient they’ll be during teeth brushing and check-ups. Start by gently lifting their upper lip to check for red, swollen gums, or tartar build up on their teeth for indications that it’s time for a check in at the vet.

Use a pet-safe, cat-friendly toothpaste. Let one of our experts help you find a toothpaste in-store that will keep your cat interested and distracting during the brushing and cleaning process.

When it comes to selecting a toothbrush for your cat, opt for a human baby-sized or pet toothbrush, or a rubber finger slip that goes over your finger that allows you to graze over their teeth.

Reward with some catnip throughout the process to make it a pleasant experience for your kitty. We carry many great brands that are specifically formulated and coated to clean your pet’s teeth while chewing. Greenies Dental Treats are a great option for this, as they freshen breath while the treats’ textured surface helps remove tartar buildup. Ask our Experts in-store which treats they recommend!