Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Booked Up


We are booked up for the holidays!


Wishing everyone and their special animal friends
 
a wonderful Christmas and a 

happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Beth and Clifton
Cozy Critters

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Give the Gift of Living Water


Give the gift of a lifetime this Christmas to not only your pets but to the whole family! The gift of Sacred Structured Water is the best thing you'll ever do for yourself and your pets.

Structured water is unlike any other water you've ever had. You're familiar with all the different filters or systems available for water, I'm sure. Structured water is not filtered water. Structured water has a different molecular structure than other waters. When water is poured or run through a structured water unit (made by Natural Action Technologies), it

goes through an array of mathematically calculated geometries inside the unit. There are no moving parts. Nothing to replace. The technology employs multiple, spherical flow forms that are spaced in specific geometric patterns, which cause the water to vortex equally in all directions. When water is spun, it causes anything that is of a different density than water to separate out. And there is only one thing that is the same density of water in this world, and that is water. Because of this, everything else that is in the water becomes structured onto itself.

When water is structured, it is alive, full of energy and free of memory--  like water is meant to be. We are water. We are energy. So are the animals. 


Experience the difference of structured water and you will never drink any other water again. I've always known water was important to drink but I never liked to drink water. That all changed with structured water. I drink it all the time now. I want it. I enjoy it. I rarely drink anything else. I have never felt better in my life!  Just check out some of the things I have experienced or noticed so far after drinking and showering in it for over a year and a half now:


The water is soft
More energy
Softer, clearer skin
No dry, itchy skin in the winter
Healthier nails and hair
Clearer thinking
Scar on my knee disappeared
Better circulation
Sprayed on mosquito bites stops the itching
Sprayed immediately on a burn and it stopped the pain and healed quickly
My eyesight improved significantly in mid-life (have worn glasses since elementary school)
My husband started doing things without being asked  :)
Fruits and vegetables rinsed or soaked in it stay fresher longer (less waste)
Foods or other drinks sprayed with it taste better
My mom's hair is changing from completely gray back to her natural color
Plants, the garden and trees grow like crazy
All kinds of birds have been showing up in our yard
Pets love it and choose structured water over any other water
Pets drink more and they ask for it

(and there's more!)

Discovering and buying a structured water unit is the best thing I have ever done! It's the best investment I have ever made for myself and my family -- including our pets' health. And there's nothing else to buy -- ever! No moving parts, nothing to replace. Try it for yourself! There's a 30 day satisfaction guarantee or 100% money back AND a lifetime warranty! What have you got to lose?
 AND
For a limited time you can receive a discounted price on the units along with free shipping and bonuses by clicking on this link or click on the water icon on the right side of this blog.





Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving


We are booked up for the week of Thanksgiving. Time to make your Christmas and New Year's reservations if you haven't already!

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! We at Cozy Critters will be giving thanks for all of our many blessings!



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kittens Need Homes

  










A client of mine is looking for good homes for two special kittens.  Here is their story in my client's own words:

A lady in my neighborhood is a “hoarder” who collects stray cats.  She does not get them spayed / neutered, no shots, no medical care, nothing. The ordeal with this woman that has being going on for decades.  Even though she supposedly “cares” for the cats, they are left to fend for themselves, and are never brought into the house.  So during storms, freezing weather and EVEN HURRICANE IKE, the cats are left to the elements. 
 Long story shorty, the neighborhood and the HOA have tried everything over the years to address the issue, but to no avail.  These cats meet horrifying ends -- if they are not hit by cars, they die a very slow death from their illnesses.  It is very, very heart breaking to all of us in the neighborhood. So, because we can’t do much, we try to find homes for the kittens that we can catch.  They are feral, so sadly, we are not able to catch many (even using traps). 
However, the latest patch of kittens includes two of the cutest, sweetest cats ever.  One is gray and white tabby with brown streaks and the second is a little black kitten with white mittens and boots.  We have no idea if they are male or female, but we are estimating their ages to be about 5 months. The little gray tabby is so adorable, so full of life and has the LOUDEST purr.  But does not meow loudly.  It literally does a little prance / dance kind of thing when it runs, and it is SO happy to see people.  We have taken to calling this kitten “Prancer”, although if it turns out to be a girl, several in the neighborhood think it should be called “Dancer”.  Regardless, it is ADORABLE! 
 The second kitten is a much shyer, but with some coaxing, has started allowing some people to pet it.  We are currently calling it “Audrey / Bond”.  If it is a girl, Audrey after Audrey Hepburn, and if a boy, Bond after James Bond (OK, so it is very elegant looking with its little mittens and boots).  It is a sweet, shy little kitten that with TLC will become a very loving little thing.  The picture above is the only one I have been able to catch, but it is slowly coming around. We are desperate to rescue these kittens from their fates.  Due to the ongoing nature of the issue, everyone in the neighborhood has already adopted what cats they can.   We have no idea what diseases these cats will have, but we are pretty certain it is best if these kitties go to homes that do not already have cats.  We also need someone who has the money to pay the vet bills. There has to be people out there who are willing to take on the challenge of adopting these cats.  These kittens are simply too adorable to meet the slow, horrifying deaths that await them. Please, we need two homes willing to adopt these cats, or if there is a true angel out there who is willing to take on both, GOD BLESS YOU! 
 Please call MARI at 713 / 782-9100.  Please call, and I will somehow get these sweet babies to you!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Watch the Global Premiere of Origins the Movie


From November 13th through November 22nd, watch the feature-length movie Origins for FREE from filmmaker Pedram Shojai. #OriginsFilm @Well_Org

A great movie everyone should watch!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Inspiring People (Part 2)



Here's part two of the conversation between Dr. Becker and Steve Brown; two very passionate people making a difference in the health of pets! If you missed part one click here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Inspiring People



Speaking of inspiring people.... another one is Dr. Karen Becker, DVM. I just love her! She inspires me and gives me hope for the future. 

Here is part one of an interview she does with who she calls "THE Authority on Optimal Nutrition for Dogs", Steve Brown. Even if you have cats and no dogs, I think you will find this conversation very interesting and informative. Watch part two here.

They bring up the reasons why I recommend keeping your pet food in the bag.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Inspiring People


Cozy Critters takes care of mostly domestic animals but we love ALL animals. As I've mentioned before, one of my favorites is elephants. I have been a supporter of The Elephant Sanctuary in TN for many years. This sanctuary was co-founded by Carol Buckley in 1995. Carol then set her sights on something larger, and founded the nonprofit Elephant Aid International which was established to create a paradigm shift that will foster change in beliefs and approaches to the care of elephants worldwide. Carol has and is making such a big difference in the lives of so many elephants. She, and the work she has done on behalf of elephants, is so inspiring.  Watch the short video below to get a glimpse of what I'm talking about.You can find out more about Carol and her work here.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Special Offer on Structured Water Units




I am now a proud affiliate of The Wellness Enterprise, a distributor for Structured Water Units, manufactured by Natural Action Technologies! Structured water is something that I am passionate about after experiencing it for myself for the first time over a year and a half ago. I have written more about it here.

In celebration, I have a special offer for you through my affiliate link here. Order your structured water unit through this link and receive 20% off the regular prices, plus four free bonuses (worth $500 retail), while supplies last. They also offer great support for any questions you may have. This is a great deal! Check it out here.


Once you experience structured water, you will never want anything else. It's unlike any other water available. There is no comparison. The structuring devices mimic nature in their design to create water as it was intended to be. Water that supports life and well-being.


Once you buy a structured water device, you never have to buy anything again! No more plastic bottles, no more water pitchers or replacement filters. There are no moving parts. Nothing to replace! Ever! There is a 30-day money back guarantee and a 20 year warranty. What have you got to lose? There is so much to gain! The animals know! They love structured water and are searching for it when they run out.

Click here to order yours now. What a great Christmas gift it would make too!






Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Arsenic in Rice



Did you know there is arsenic in not only rice, but some other foods as well? Did you know that the FDA actually recommends that you only eat rice on a limited basis and suggests you eat a variety of grains to "minimize potential adverse health consequences from eating an excess of any one food"?

In 2012, Consumer Reports did an analysis and report on arsenic in foods. Here is another article posted earlier this year by the New York Times on their Well Blog. (There are many helpful links in this article for more information on the subject.) You can also Google arsenic in rice and get over two million hits.


I mention this because I think if people were more aware of this they would not be giving it to their dogs, especially on a regular basis. Animals are much smaller than we are. If we shouldn't be eating rice on regular basis, even according to the FDA -- then animals certainly shouldn't be either. Personally, I think it is absurd that we eat any food or drink that has any arsenic in it at all! We are not meant to consume poisons. Neither are animals. 

I recommend avoiding giving rice to your dog all together. Not only because of the arsenic but because dogs and particularly cats do not need grains in their diet. This is another reason why I suggest grain-free foods for pets. In a natural, species appropriate diet the grains they would receive would be at a minimum, and they would be predigested contents inside of their prey. 

This is a far cry from all the grains they put into commercial foods, which also include grains that are genetically engineered (GMO). Just look at all the foods they add rice to. Our pets are little beings -- much smaller than us --  who are being fed this on a regular basis -- typically every meal, day after day, month after month, year after year.

Instead of buying food with grains, go for the grain free. Instead of adding rice or grains to your pet's meals, try some veggies like green beans or pumpkin or better yet -- try adding cooked meats like chicken or turkey -- preferably organic. (I do not recommend processed lunch meats which contain ingredients that become carcinogens after consumed.) Dogs and cats are first and foremost carnivores. They were designed to eat meat. Not grains. Not GMOs. Not poisons.

Another way to help rid yourself and your pets of toxins: Drink structured water.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Secrets of Living Structured Water



Here's a great YouTube video with an introduction to the nature of crystalline structured water as a living, vital, and enlivening force that is essential to the health of all living organisms. (Excerpts from Dr. Emoto, The Water Mystery Movie, and What the Bleep Do We Know?! )

I have written an in-depth article explaining structured water here.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to observe many animals on the structured water for over a year and a half now. Animals don't lie. They don't have beliefs, ideas or thoughts that get in the way. They are in tune with nature and they know healthy water when they smell & taste it. Once they have structured water, they don't want anything else but that. They know that this is how water is supposed to be.

I've had several clients tell me that their pet has become a little "funny" or obsessed with their water. It's because they are looking for the structured water if they ran out!

We water all of our plants and garden with it and it attracts all kinds of animals and birds. They all come for the structured water. Just in the last few months we've had parrots, parakeets, a blue herring and a wild duck -- among all the usual doves, crows, blue jays, etc. show up in our backyard. The animals know!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Taking a Vacation


I will be taking a vacation from Oct. 18th through Oct. 26th, 2014. (I added one more day than originally planned.) Clifton will be doing all scheduled visits during this time, including all regular dog walks. Any reservations for these days must be made before Oct.17th.  Messages received during my vacation will be replied to after my return. Thanks!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tara the Hero Cat Saves the Life of a Little Boy


Have you seen this short YouTube video of a cat saving a little boy from a dog attack?

Tara the Hero Cat Saves the Life of a Little Boy

It's amazing this was caught on video. This doesn't surprise me though. I know first hand cats can be as protective as dogs. Many years ago when I had two dogs and three cats, which were all indoor pets, some friends came over and brought their Labrador Retriever with them. As soon as the dog entered the house and one of my cats saw it, she attacked it. She did not want a strange dog coming in her house. We had to get their dog out of the house. It took my cat a couple of hours to calm down after we removed the dog. Cats can be territorial and protective too.

Just recently I was pet sitting two indoor cats, a male and a female. I was supposed to give the female some medication and as soon as I attempted to do so, the male came after me aggressively, letting me know I was not to mess with his sister! I can't give a cat medication while trying to fend off an attack from another one. This is why you have to be very creative sometimes when it comes to dealing with cats.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why I Don't Use Retractable Leashes

I have been wanting to write about this subject for some time. As a professional pet sitter, my first and foremost concern of course are the pets -- their safety and well-being. When I'm walking someone else's dog(s), as well as my own, safety for the dog, others and myself is a priority. Having an enjoyable experience is also important for all involved!

Over the last twelve years, I have either experienced or witnessed all kinds of situations and scenarios while walking dogs. I have had someone else's (otherwise friendly) unleashed dog attack and almost kill the dog I had on a leash. I've had dogs come charging out of an open door or gate while walking by with a dog so many times I can't begin to count them. I've had small children come running at me (with parent near by), wanting to pet the dog I'm walking, which is not friendly and doesn't like to be around children. There have been times I have turned around and run the other way with the dog to avoid situations. 

Just recently I passed someone walking their dog on the other side of the street and she wanted to bring her dog over to say "hi" to the dog I was walking, which was 1) not my dog, 2) not dog friendly and 3) was barking and displaying aggressive body language that was obvious to me, but was not understood by her. She got mad or offended when I said it wasn't my dog and declined! 

 I've had dogs pull out of their collar. I even had a dog back out of her harness once (which was obviously fitted too loose). I've had collars break, leashes break. I mean, when you do something long enough, you will experience just about everything that can happen while doing it. And as you go along, you learn by experience what kinds of things or situations to avoid. So for safety's sake, my rule of thumb is stay away from all others -- people and other dogs.

Another thing that I have learned along the way to avoid are retractable leashes. They are anything but safe. If you want to use one while walking your own dog, that is your choice. But as a pet sitter in a big city, I don't use them walking other people's dogs. I don't use them to walk my own dogs either. For many reasons:


  • They are easily pulled out of your hand. A sturdy loop that is around your hand and wrist can't be beat for control and control of the dog is of the utmost importance.

  • They allow dogs to get too far away to have reasonable control if something occurs to warrant quick action. Six feet away is long enough. I have seen people use retractable leashes with prong choke collars, which is an oxymoron.

  • They can break or snap unlike a regular leash (that is the correct size and strength for your dog).
  • They can cause burns, cuts and worse -- amputations.
  • They are dangerous in that dogs can easily jerk their necks or cause spinal injuries while behaving like the animals they are, and charging after something full speed, or just running and not realizing when the end of the line is coming.
  • They actually teach dogs to pull. Dogs learn that to get a longer extension, or to go where they want, all they have to do is pull hard enough and they get it.
  • To have any dog, especially a large dog, essentially on a string/thin cord/thin ribbon is not a good means of control. When I see children walking their dogs on these, I just cringe.
  • They are just harder to manage, especially if walking more than one dog and picking up the poop, which in most places is the law.
  • They can malfunction and won't retract.

  • They can frighten dogs (especially fearful ones) if they are dropped, and then are injured due to running to try and get away from the handle that is chasing them.

  • I don't know of a good positive reinforcement dog trainer that recommends them.
While I was in the process of writing this I had to take one of my pets to the veterinarian. While we were waiting to be seen, a young mother with two small children, a boy and a girl, and two small dogs came in. The dogs were on retractable leashes. The mother originally had the leashes but as she was standing at the counter filling out paperwork, her children kept asking to have the leashes. She gave in and I watched as these two small children under the age of five got themselves and the dogs all tangled up to the point that the little girl was totally wrapped up in the leash and couldn't move. After the mother got them untangled and took control of the leashes again (still filling out paperwork), she was oblivious to the fact that one of the dogs still had the thin cord of his leash wrapped around his front leg and he kept hopping around trying to pull his leg out of the loop, which he finally managed to do after several tries. 

This is a perfect example of why I cringe when children use them. I have either experienced, witnessed, read or heard about so many different instances in which people and/or pets have gotten injured or worse while using a retractable leash. 

So if you are a client and you set out the retractable leashes, they will not be used. I (we) have my (our) own preferred equipment that provides the control and safety that I require. And if someone walking a dog sees you coming towards them and they go the other way, don't be offended. I'm just playing it safe and keeping it fun!

I want to thank Karen Becker, DVM, for recently writing an article on this subject, which inspired me to finally write about it too. Read her article here: 

Dr. Becker: 10 Reasons Not to Use a Retractable Leash


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Structured Water


Not only are we a professional and passionate pet sitting service, we are also progressive. We like learning about the newest leading-edge technology, inventions, products, services, discoveries or otherwise -- especially if it benefits animals. When I'm not pet sitting, I spend a lot of my time reading, researching, attending classes, workshops, and seminars about pet related subjects as well as other subjects.

We live in an exciting time right now. There are new discoveries and inventions every day. Most of which you don't hear about in the main stream media. Things are constantly changing and evolving. One of these exciting new things that I discovered over a year ago is Structured Water (SW). 

It wasn't until recent years that an inventor by the name of Clayton Nolte, after researching and working with mathematics, physics and the properties of water for forty years, invented a device that mimics nature and creates structured water -- the way water was intended to be and is supposed to be; the way nature creates water. It's water that has a different molecular structure.


After learning about and using this water myself, structured water has become another passionate subject of mine! And so to explain it in detail I created a whole page on this blog dedicated to just that. Please click on the structured water tab at the top of this blog for much more detailed information.

I have not only been drinking and showering in it for over a year myself, but so have other family members, our pets and our plants. If you are a client and I have pet sit for you within the last year, your pets received structured water while I was pet sitting. This is where I really notice the change. Animals don't have any judgments, beliefs or thoughts that get in the way of experiencing. They just know that once they get a drink of this SW, they really like it! What I have observed so far is that in the beginning, the animals seem to drink more water, but only at first. Once they get properly hydrated -- probably the best they have ever been in their entire lives -- then it tapers off to drinking less water, or normal amounts. They tend to feel better and have more energy. They seem to become more communicative as well. These aren't dramatic changes, they are more subtle. (I am able to pick up the subtleties. I have seen the difference it makes in people and plants too!)

People that are more sensitive to energies that start drinking it notice the energetic difference in the structured water compared to other water.



Unfortunately, once the pet sitting assignment is over and the pet's water gets changed out, the structured water goes away. This makes me sad because I want all pets to be able to always have SW. This is why I have written about it in great detail so that more people become aware of it and can get it for themselves and their pets. Awareness is everything. I am doing what I can to get the word out (along with others). I want every person and every pet to have and to experience structured water! Order your water structuring device by clicking here. You'll be glad you did! (You'll also get four free bonuses with your order while supplies last!)







Thursday, May 22, 2014

Neighborhood Lost and Found Pets


More and more neighborhoods here in the Houston area are starting their own websites and rescue groups in order to take loose, lost or abandoned dogs and cats off their streets and place them in foster homes until they are returned to their guardians or found new homes. These neighborhood rescue groups are run by animal loving volunteers -- your neighbors. I think this is a great idea. If each neighborhood had it's own website and/or contact list and group of volunteers when it came to lost or found pets, and everyone was made aware of one central place to look for or report lost or found pets in their area, pets could be found and returned quicker or kept from wandering the streets. Neighborhoods could also check with the surrounding neighborhood contacts (if in place) as well. Neighbors helping neighbors, helping the pets. That's what it's all about..

For those of you in the Westbury  and Willowbend (Houston) neighborhoods, there is a rescue organization called CARE (Compassionate Animal Rescue Endeavor), which posts information of their activities on https://westbury.nextdoor.com, a private social network for neighbors in Westbury and Willowbend. 

CARE is a new nonprofit, but the organizer is doing a great job of taking strays (mostly dogs) off the street and getting them into foster homes. The animals' veterinary care and food are usually covered by donations from neighbors or from organizations like Homeless Pet Placement League. CARE also works with RPM (Rescued Pet Movement) based in Houston to transport some of the dogs to Colorado, where reputable nonprofits take in the animals and get them adopted. The other dogs are adopted through local adoption events and online profiles. 

CARE is in great need of foster homes for these dogs. One of my clients is currently holding two dogs, a beautiful male black lab and his sister, a 25-lb. mix, that were abandoned by their owners (they need a foster or a permanent home).  Animals like these need help and I am hoping that dog-loving people in the Westbury or Willowbend areas will step forward and volunteer to foster, either short term or long term. Interested individuals can contact Kerry Adams, the CARE organizer, at kerryadamsart@yahoo.com. She would be grateful for any assistance people can offer. She is providing a tremendous service for dogs in need in these areas.

For those of you in the Braeswood Place neighborhood, BPAL (Braeswood Place Animal Lovers) have a website at http://braeswoodpets.com/ . They are a group of volunteers who are willing to display Lost/Found signs in their yards. What a great idea! They help neighbors find lost pets and find the homes of found animals. They will find a safe, loving home for found pets whose guardians cannot be located. Their Lost/Found page will feature pets who are currently lost or have been found in the Braeswood Place neighborhood. If you would like to join in this worthy endeavor please check out their website, give them a call, email or sign up on their email list. Membership is free, all you need is a caring heart.

The City of West University Place provides information and photos of pets that are picked up by Animal Control, picked up by other residents, and reported lost by their owners on their website at www.westutx.gov/index.aspx?page=148. Residents are encouraged to report both lost and found pets by posting on the city's website using their online form.

For those who live in Bellaire, you can check to see if your lost dog is in the Bellaire Animal Shelter by going to www.ci.bellaire.tx.us/index.aspx?nid=1039. Then click on "dogs currently in our shelter" to see photos of the animals. Dogs are kept for only 72 hours. They do not pick up cats. You can also do an internet search for lost and found pets in Bellaire and there are various websites that list lost and found pets for a number of areas.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Indoor Air


Along with water being essential to all of life, air is another basic essential element. I have noticed many people do not give much thought to the indoor air they are breathing. Being a pet sitter, you might think I'm talking about pet smells, and sometimes that can be a problem, but I want to talk about other air pollutants -- ones that are maybe not so obvious.

I'm sure you've heard how even as polluted as our outdoor air may be (especially in the cities), indoor air is even worse. Studies done by the EPA indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor pollutant levels. Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. The problems they cause can be subtle and don't always produce easily recognized or immediate impacts on health. 

For instance, if you have cats you know that cat litters are not created equal. Some brands, especially the less expensive brands are so incredibly dusty that if I just gently scoop the box while wearing my contacts, I have to take them out to rinse them off afterwards because they get coated with a layer of dust. If I wear my glasses, I have to wipe them off as well. You can see the dust as it settles on everything nearby. If you have to add litter: pour and run for air -- from the huge cloud of dust! Now I hate to think about all that cat litter dust that I have inhaled into my lungs over the years. I have used some of these excessively dusty brands in the past myself. It's worth the extra money not to have to inhale so much dust. As a pet sitter, I have experienced just about every kind of cat litter imaginable over the years. They are continuously coming out with new ones too. I mean, have you ever seen so many kinds of cat litter? 

I buy the least dusty scoopable cat litters I can find that are unscented. So far, I've found Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract or Precious Cat scoopable cat litter to be one of the least dusty (99% dust free and it's true!) that works well and doesn't have any odors. I recently received an advertisement for another new 99% dust free litter so I'm sure there are more, I just haven't tried them all. Cats' sense of smell is more sensitive than ours and I know being sensitive to odors and chemicals myself, that if a cat litter's scent is over bearing to me, it surely is overwhelming to the cat. Cats prefer the closest thing to what they would naturally use, which is dirt or sand. Now I'm not saying use dirt (although I think the cats would appreciate it). I'm saying dirt doesn't smell like all these over powering scents they add to the litters to appease us. The cats are the ones who have to use it. Scratching around in dirt doesn't give them a lung full of dust either. Buy litters that have the least amount of dust. Not only are the cats breathing it in, so are you and I. Cats get the dust on their fur and end up licking it off as well. If you buy scented litter, try buying unscented and using baking soda instead. The cats will appreciate it, and so will I.

While writing this article, I had a client whose cat developed a cough. After being checked out by a veterinarian and unable to find a cause, it occurred to my client that maybe the cat litter dust was the culprit. A couple of weeks after changing to a much less dusty cat litter, my client noticed her cat's cough not only got better but it's almost completely gone.

Sometimes the cleaning products that are used in homes can be harmful to breathe for us and our pets. Do you use environmentally safe cleaners in your home? If you use a housekeeping service, do you know what cleaners are being used around your pets? When we have pets we have to be more conscious of the products we use around them. Pets are always closer to the ground where everything in the air settles. Plus, their sense of smell is way more sensitive than ours. Cats sense of smell is around fourteen times greater than ours, while a dog's is 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute. I have experienced walking into homes after housekeeping has been there and the smell of cleaners is so powerful, it's nauseating. I know it also has to be for the animals. 

Remodeling projects are another powerful culprit of noxious fumes. Keep pets out of these areas and be sure to air the rooms out with fresh air as much as possible until all the fumes are gone before allowing them back in those areas.

Of course if you have birds, all the above can be deadly for them. Not to mention other things that can be deadly to birds such as using non-stick Teflon coated cookware. You have to be extra careful what is used around birds. They are the most sensitive. I stopped using Teflon (or similar type) coated cookware years ago. If the fumes kill birds, what is it doing to us? 

The biggest indoor air problem for me has become commercial air fresheners. In an effort to mask or prevent unpleasant odors inside their homes, or just to smell a pleasant aroma in the environment, people are inadvertently filling the air in their homes with toxic chemicals. Our home is where we spend the majority of our time, other than at work -- if you work outside the home. I have the benefit of working from home, and so all my time is spent at home, outdoors or in other people's homes. 




There are so many kinds of air fresheners these days. There are ones that plug in and even battery operated ones that spray every few minutes automatically. I have walked by them and been sprayed. I have seen them placed so that the spray lands in the pet's bowls or the pets themselves get sprayed. We really have gotten carried away with air fresheners. I have become more sensitive to them and can usually smell if there is one air freshener in the house. When people have multiple air fresheners, it is overwhelming and I can't stay long without starting to get a headache. Is it any wonder? If people knew what these commercial air fresheners actually contained and what studies have been done, or lack thereof, on the effects to our health, I don't think they would continue buying them. The majority of them contain toxic chemicals. Do you use commercial air fresheners? See how the ones you use rate when tested by EWG (Environmental Working Group) by clicking hereHere you can also view what products are safer and received an “A” rating and would be healthier alternatives.



The problem is a lot of people don't think about what they are putting in their air (or on their skin, or in their body) or their pet's. So if this article makes just one person be more consciously aware of the products they are buying and putting into their indoor environment -- the air they breathe, and the air their pets breathe, and that I breathe -- then it has served its purpose. There are other alternatives to using toxic commercial air fresheners and toxic cleaning products. There are healthier products available now than ever before and there are more resources for finding them. Even the city we live in gives us a page full of recipes for alternative homemade natural cleaners when they deliver our garbage bags. Here are some helpful tips on improving the quality of your indoor air.

Before starting our pet sitting business, my husband and I both worked for many years in the air conditioning wholesale industry. We are not only familiar with, but also sold the many products and equipment available to help clean and improve your indoor air quality, like electronic air cleaners, filters, ion generators/ozone transmitters and other products. There are things you can use to help clean your indoor air without using toxic chemicals.

We are inundated with chemicals, pollutants and toxins everywhere we turn -- in our foods, our pet's foods, our water, our earth, our bodies, and in our air. Even a significant percentage of pregnant women's breast milk, placentas and umbilical cords have been tested and found to have many chemicals in them. Isn't it time we became more conscious of the products and foods we are using and consuming? And those we are exposing and giving to our animal friends as well?


One alternative to chemicals I have enjoyed for the last twenty years or so are essential oils and essential oil products. I used to make essential oil products as a side business before I started my pet sitting business. As I got busier with pet sitting, I drifted away from that; but in the last couple of years, I've gotten back into it again. There has been a lot of progress made (and continues to be made) with studies done in the area of essential oils and pets, which I'm really excited about. I am proud to own the first of its kind -- The Animal Desk Reference for Essential Oils for Animals written by holistic veterinarian Melissa Shelton, which was just published in 2012. (More on this later!)

 I use H2EO Ultrasonic Diffusers in our home for diffusing essential oils and have for years. I love them! Click here for a short video to see how the H2EO Ultrasonic Diffuser works. Not only are essential oils safe if used properly, they have many therapeutic benefits. I use essential oils from Young Living Essential Oils. (This is the brand recommended and tested by Dr. Shelton.) 

I also recently made my own essential oil air freshener. Not only is it completely natural and safe for you and the environment, it's safe for use around pets! Go to our Shop page to read more about it or to purchase some for yourself using PayPal, the secure and easy way to shop.

Note: If you're a current client and would like one delivered on our next pet sitting visit, please click on the local pick up only button and note your request with the order. (If you prefer not to use PayPal you can email us your order.) Thanks!



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Friday, May 2, 2014

Dusty's Organic Catnip



A few years ago we started a garden in our backyard, growing our own vegetables, fruits and some herbs including catnip. I love eating fresh organic food out of the garden. The flavor and nutrition can't be beat! Our cats LOVE eating their fresh organic catnip out of the garden too! Our cat Dusty takes his catnip garden seriously. He guards it and doesn't like to share, not even with Chloe!  (It has attracted some neighborhood cats!) Even when I am harvesting some of it, he has to come and see what I am doing. He just loves his garden! He has a routine of eating a few fresh leaves every morning, rubbing on it, and then sometimes he likes to sit or lay in it. Our crop this year is doing so well he can sit in it and I can't even see him. I've never seen catnip this big before. Like they say...everything is bigger in Texas!
Dusty (6)


Chloe (17)


Because our catnip crop is doing so well this year, it's more than our cats can consume and even dishing it out to all the cats we pet sit for once it's dried, we still have more. And Chloe just turned 17 in April, and this month (May) is Dusty's birthday. He is six years old. So in celebration, he's willing to share some of Dusty's Premium Organic Catnip. Home grown, hand picked, naturally cured and then sealed for freshness in 1/2 ounce packages! It's got Dusty's cute face on the label. There is no comparison to any store bought brand, including the organic ones. Cats that like catnip will go crazy for this stuff!  Available for $5 each. Only while supply lasts. Quantities are limited. Check out our Shop page for more information.


Texas size catnip!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dog Chews


There are so many choices when it comes to dog chews or bones these days. Some can be a serious choking hazard. There have been several occasions over the years where we pulled dog chews out of the throats of choking dogs. Some dog chews may also cause intestinal blockages if large pieces are swallowed, while others can be a dental hazard and fracture teeth. Which ones are the best for your dog? Dr. Karen Becker, DVM offers us great advice on how to choose the right dog chews or bones for our dogs in these two short videos.






Tuesday, April 8, 2014

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month


April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Do you have a pet first aid kit? Do you know what to do in case your pets are exposed to poisons? Is your home and yard pet proof? My clients will be receiving a free Pet Owner's Poison Prevention Guide put out by The Texas Poison Center Network that has helpful tips, guidelines on what to do if your pet is exposed to a poison, and a handy fold out reference poster of many plants that are toxic to pets.

Did you know...

  •  The Texas Poison Center Network handles pet calls 24/7 for FREE by calling 1-800-222-1222

  • Poisonous plants are found in many homes and should be put out of reach of pets and children

  • Some things can be safe for humans, but deadly for animals



Also known as a Sago Palm, all parts of these plants are deadly for pets with the berries/nuts being the most toxic. I know someone whose dog died from eating the berries/nuts. Keep these and other poisonous plants away from pets. It's not worth the risk.




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Feed Your Way to a Healthy Pet

(Note: An updated version of this article can be found on the Pet Foods tab at the top of this blog.)

Thirteen years ago, before I started my pet sitting business, I began reading about and researching what it takes to keep our pets living long, healthy and happy lives. Animals and especially dogs and cats, are a passion of mine and have been since I was a child. 

Now, after pet sitting professionally for many years and with what I've observed with my client's pets and my own pets, in addition to the books, videos, classes and research, I have noticed some common trends between what pets eat and the illnesses they tend to get.

First of all, we need to remember that well-being is our natural state as well as our pets' natural state of being. We/they are meant to be healthy. The problem is, there are not as many pets in their natural state of well being any more (as with humans). Why? For several different reasons but it's the same reasons for pets as it is for us. One of the major culprits is what is put into the body. The majority of pets are over weight and/or sick and on medications, or are destined to become ill after continuously consuming diets that contain ingredients that are known to be not just unhealthy, but cause illnesses and diseases. Things have gotten totally out of hand. We need to get back to the basics of what it takes to be and remain in our and our pets' natural state of well-being. We have to be more conscious of what we are doing and the every day decisions we make. 

Nutrition is just one facet of a holistic approach to health, but it's an important and fundamental basis. The more I learned about pet nutrition and what the ingredients actually are in most commercial pet foods, the more disturbed I became. Each time I learned about an ingredient I didn't want my pets to consume, I would change the foods I bought for my own pets accordingly. I learned how to read labels and choose pet foods based on the quality of ingredients, not based on the name, the packaging or the advertising. These big pet food companies have plenty of money to spend on convincing you to buy their products

Just like with my own diet and the food I choose (or not) to put in my body, given what I know, I got more selective and particular on what I buy and feed my pets. I see more and more people doing this. (And remember, you make a statement with every dollar you spend!)  This is why the larger pet supply stores started stocking more higher quality foods, (where I live Petco stocks more of a selection than Petsmart) and why the smaller natural pet supply stores like Natural Pawz are growing like crazy. There's another natural pet food store that just opened here locally in Houston called Kriser's. I stopped by the other day and they said business has been really good. These types of stores will only grow in popularity as more people become more pet food savvy.

Another reason you need to read the ingredients is because everything nowadays is labeled "natural" and yet it could be the farthest thing from natural. These short funny video clips from OnlyOrganic.org explain what I'm talking about. You can't count on government agencies such as the FDA to protect your pet from harmful ingredients (or you!).  Here is a slide show of ten of the most ridiculous ingredients or regulations that are allowed in pet food.

I wrote about a few of the books that I have read on the subject of pet food  back in 2010 and 2011, such as Food Pets Die For; Shocking Facts About Pet Foods by Ann N. Martin, Not Fit for a Dog! The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food written by three veterinarians, and Buyer Beware - The Crimes, Lies and Truth About Pet Food by Susan Thixton. More people are speaking up about pet foods than ever before. Here is a recent article by a canine nutrition expert.
Another great resource on choosing better quality pet foods is Susan Thixton's website TruthAboutPetFood.com. There, she has a lot of helpful information and she keeps up with all pet food or treat recalls. She has done so much research and work on her wonderful pet food review database PetsumerReport.com, which for less than $18 a year, you can have access to reviews on over 2,500 pet foods and treats! Get the nitty gritty on what's in your pet's food! She makes it easy! She adds new ones every month so it's always growing. A great resource and well worth the money! 

Susan is our crusader when it comes to demanding healthier and safer pet foods. She holds advisory positions on two AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials – those that develop pet food regulations) committees – the Pet Food Committee and the Ingredient Definitions Committee.  She and fellow pet food safety advocate Mollie Morrissette (of PoisonedPets.com) and Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veterinarian, founded the Association for Truth in Pet Food – a pet food consumer advocacy group of which I am a proud member.  They are working towards developing regular meetings with the FDA. They have made great strides already. As a life long pet lover and parent as well as a pet sitting business owner and advocate for better pet foods, I am grateful for all their hard work and determination!

For the dog lovers, I have also previously written about another wonderful resource on natural dog care, training and nutrition called The Whole Dog Journal. Every year they give their list of the best rated dog foods based on quality ingredients (and they explain what their criteria is). They even go so far as to visit the manufacturing plants. Though they only deal with dog foods, you can get a good idea on the brands that are better quality for cat foods as well.

One of my favorite holistic veterinarians, Dr. Karen Becker, has excellent advice and tips on the best and worst pet foods to buy and on feeding cats in particular, in these short video clips. She also has great advice on how to shop for healthy pet foods and talks about the ingredients in the foods. Though she doesn't mention GMO ingredients (see below), she does bring up other subjects I discuss later in this article such as what exactly certain ingredients like "meat meal" consist of, and about staying away from treats made in China. These are excellent videos!

When you have forty minutes, this video taped conversation between Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Barbara Royal, President of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), is full of little pearls of wonderful advice and guidance on how to improve the health of the animals in your life. 

(Special Note: You may have seen Dr. Mercola on Dr. Oz's television show. He has been on several times. I am a big fan of Dr. Mercola, who is controversial. Thanks to him I was made aware of a cure for basal cell carcinoma which was discovered by a cancer biochemist, Dr. Bill Cham in the UK.  I cured not one, but two basal cell carcinomas on my face without surgery by using Curaderm (along with thousands of other people), a cream that contains BEC5, which is the compound that actually seeks out and destroys cancer cells such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and keratoses without harming healthy cells. More than likely, you won't hear about this from your dermatologist. Mine knew nothing about it and didn't seem too interested in learning. (It means no profit for her or the surgeon she refers me to.) You can read more about this in his book The Eggplant Cancer Cure. Though it's written by a scientist, it is very easy to read and contains a lot of photos. Learn more about Curaderm here. Someone else who has used Curaderm made a documentary video to share here.I just had to mention this. Now back to pets....

What I also love about Dr. Becker is she openly discusses the fact that veterinarians don't know much about dog and cat nutrition. Shocking? Did you know that many nutrition courses offered at U.S. veterinary schools are not taught by nutritionists… they're taught by representatives of major pet food companies? It's obviously a major conflict of interest, and as a result most veterinarians graduate without having any unbiased nutrition information. This is why your veterinarian may have told you to only feed your pet a certain "prescription" diet, or to avoid offering "people food" (even if it's healthy, species-appropriate food for your pet).  Dr. Becker states "Veterinarians are graduating totally incompetent and unable to effectively talk about foods outside of what they learned from pet food manufacturers. If they did receive any nutritional counseling, it was archaic…" They are graduating not only with a lack of knowledge about pet nutrition, but also with a skewed perception of what whole nutrition really means." She goes on to say "Veterinarians, oftentimes, become pretty defensive – as do medical doctors – when they're confronted with these issues, because they don't have enough knowledge to be able to confidently defend their position. They weren't given a whole lot of nutrition training."  

This is sad but true. Just as our medical doctors aren't trained in nutrition and how to stay healthy, neither are veterinarians. They are taught and trained in and know about illnesses, diseases, (and how to treat them medically) and medications. (We have disease care systems -- not health and wellbeing systems.) Don't get me wrong -- I love doctors and veterinarians! I am grateful we have them. We need them and they have their place. But they were not trained in what it takes to prevent these problems to begin with and the basis of health and wellbeing begins with diet, and what substances go into the body. The body -- whether human or animal -- is the sacred, temporary vehicle we are given through which the soul experiences this life. Isn't it time we became more mindful of how we treat our bodies -- animals included?

Another issue I have in this regard is the fact that pet parents often look to their veterinarian to recommend a food for their pets, especially when they develop an illness. Veterinarians only sell prescription foods. The same companies that make these prescription foods are the same companies that give them their training in nutrition. I think that's a little biased, don't you? I know I am not the only one who has a problem with this.(Click here for another article on the same subject written by Susan Thixton.) One pet food consumer shared some interesting information she found regarding this subject as well, and asks the question: Is this ethical? In my opinion, no -- I don't think it's ethical. We're not talking about office products here. We're talking about the foods our beloved pets eat every day. 

Most, if not all holistic veterinarians that are educated in nutrition do not recommend prescription diets. On Dr. Becker's list of best to worst pet foods for example, prescription foods were number 8 and 9 out of 13 -- 13 being the worst. These special diet foods contain ingredients you want to avoid. Most pets do not like prescription foods. That should tell you something. Every time I read the ingredients of these foods that pets are forced to eat day after day, I cringe. Corn is a major ingredient in the ones I typically see. Corn is GMO. Not to mention its an allergenic. How are carnivores supposed to thrive on primarily a grain, especially when that grain is genetically engineered and has shown to wreak havoc in animal's bodies? It's madness.

One of the biggest problems in the majority of the commercial pet foods these days -- of which the symptoms are usually subtle and progressively get worse over time -- is the same big problem we have with our food supply, and that is genetically modified ingredients (or genetically engineered); otherwise known as GMO ingredients. We have only just begun to see the health effects from consuming GMO ingredients. We as humans, along with our animal companions and farm animals, are experiments in the consumption of ingredients that are so far from anything our bodies should consume that when tested and given the choice, even squirrels and birds will not eat such foods. Why? Because animals inherently know what is good or healthy for them. GMOs are anything but natural or good for them or us. They are called frankenfoods for a reason. And if GM crops are causing monarch butterflies and bees to disappear, what do you think these ingredients are doing to your pets, eating them day after day? If you want to learn about what GMOs are all about (if you don't already know), you will have to do your own research because you won't hear what is really happening in your typical controlled media. The powers that be want you to keep consuming their products. They don't even want us to be able to know that these ingredients are in our or our pets' foods. There is a documentary on GMOs called Genetic Roulette. I highly recommend it. Awareness is the key. We can't change anything unless we are first aware of it. I have noticed there are still a large number of people who know nothing about GMO foods. My intention is to spread the word and help educate. "Education-not Medication". The Center for Food Safety has a downloadable True Food Shoppers Guide to Avoiding GE Food and apps as well. Another good resource to learn more about GMO foods is at OrganicConsumers.org.

What foods are GMO? Currently commercialized GMO crops in the U.S. include soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres). Also any products derived from the above, including oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others. (Yes, that's right: if you consume sodas that contain high fructose corn syrup -- which most of them do -- you are consuming a GMO ingredient. Not to mention diet drinks, which contain aspartame -- a GMO, neurotoxin and carcinogen!)

Does your pet have any of these problems?:
  • Itchy Skin, Hot Spots, Chewing of the Feet 
  • Ear Infections
  • Gastrointestinal Upset (diarrhea, colitis, irritable bowel) 
  • Vomiting
  • Other Chronic Illnesses (from a weak immune system)
Check the ingredients in their food! (And treats! Don't forget the treats! So many treats are loaded with GMO ingredients and toxic preservatives.) If there is any corn, soy or beet pulp or any ingredients derived from cotton (cottonseed oil) or canola, try slowly transitioning them (over a week's time, longer if needed) onto a grain free food without any of these GMO ingredients. Rice and wheat are not currently GMO but they have their own problems. Dogs and cats do not need grains in their diets. Particularly cats. It's best to avoid them. GMO ingredients wreak havoc on their immune systems among other things. We are doing a great dis-service to the animals by feeding them foods that contain these ingredients (not to mention ourselves). I have witnessed the improvements in my own and my clients' pets (and humans too!) that have been transitioned off of all grains and GMO ingredients. And dogs or cats that are transitioned from dry foods to can foods (at the very least) have remarkable improvements in their health. They need moisture-rich diets.

Does your pet have Urinary and/or Renal problems? This is also another common problem with dogs and cats who eat dry foods. These highly processed, extruded kibble diets are not biologically appropriate for dogs and cats like we have been led to believe (by the pet food companies). They contain nowhere near the moisture levels of these animals' natural prey or what they need to be consuming. In fact, they are so devoid of necessary moisture that some pets become chronically dehydrated and are more prone to urinary tract problems, especially cats. Cats need a diet high in moisture and they are not naturally big drinkers. Our pets need diets closer to 70% moisture and dry food is 10 - 12%. Not even close. (Another problem is cats can become addicted to the additives in some foods, including dry foods.)

Other ingredients that you want to avoid are artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives, especially those known to be carcinogens such as  BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin and propyl gallateAlso walk away from formulas containing by-products, especially those that don’t specify the type of meat in the meat by-product. Believe it or not, meat by-products – especially those not specified as a certain kind of meat – will contain parts of beaks, feathers, feet, hooves, hair and even tumors that have been ground into the mix during processing. Although some by-products may provide some nutrition, such as spleens and other organ meats, because they are all lumped together it’s best to avoid them.

Another big huge (disgusting!) problem with some ingredients are they could (and do) include euthanized cats and dogs. No, I didn't make this up. (read more about this here) According to the FDA: "There appear to be associations between rendered or hydrolyzed ingredients and the presence of phenobarbital in dog food. The ingredients Meat and Bone Meal (MBM), Beef and Bone Meal (BBM), Animal Fat (AF), and Animal Digest (AD) are rendered or hydrolyzed from animal sources that could include euthanized animals." ( as stated on their website here.) Yes -- that includes dogs and cats that are euthanized in shelters. If that doesn't make your stomach turn, I don't know what will. (Dr. Becker talks about this in one of her videos about pet foods, which I link to above.)

As you will discover, a large proportion of the foods available (and treats!) have one or more of the ingredients listed above (in bold) to be avoided. Some of the foods are full of these ingredients. But by being an educated and informed pet guardian and selecting your pet's food based on quality ingredients, you can make all the difference in the world in your pet's health and wellbeing. Give it a try and see for yourself. A  lot of times people see an improvement within just a few weeks. And believe me, I know that cats in particular can be very finicky and difficult to transition onto better foods. They will refuse to eat if they don't like something and that isn't good either. Don't play hardball with a cat. (It took me almost a year to transition a picky cat from dry to can food.) You have to have patience, persistence and remember that they depend on you to know what's best for them. Our animal friends can't read the ingredients, but you can. Their only choice is what you give them.

When considering foods containing fish, look for manufacturer assurance on the label (or on their website) that states the formula contains NO artificial preservatives (like ethoxyquin which is frequently used in fish). Look for foods preserved with vitamins E and C, often called tocopherols instead. Another thing is that some fish (especially tuna) is contaminated with mercury. You may think it's just a small amount but think how small the animals are and if they are eating fish on a regular basis....not a good thingEven the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against excessive tuna (and other fish) consumption due to mercury contamination. Farmed fish are fed genetically engineered food. Not only that, but genetically engineered fish may soon be heading to the market. Get your downloadable Guide to Avoiding GE Fish here.

Another good reason to avoid feeding fish to your cats is because in a recent study of 112 different cat foods, which included over-the-counter and prescription foods in cans, pouches and dry formulas, it showed dramatic fluctuations in the iodine content in the foods. These results suggest the inconsistency in iodine concentrations may lead to development of clinical hyperthyroidism, especially in cats that are first fed iodine-deficient diets, and then later in life are fed diets containing excessive iodine. It's impossible for one to know if the iodine in the food is in a balanced proportion or not. Not to mention that seafood is a very rich source of iodine and cats aren't designed to process a lot of iodine. (Besides, seafood is not a natural food for cats.) Soy products have also been linked to thyroid damage. Studies have also linked PDBE's (flame retardant chemicals) in house dust to the growing problem of thyroid disease.

If all that I have mentioned isn't enough, it has been discovered that the high heat processing that occurs in the manufacturing of dry kibble actually creates two carcinogens -- acrylamide and heterocyclic amines. These won't be listed in the ingredients of the food of course because it is created in the process itself and is not an ingredient. That's just great, isn't it? The very process of making dry pet foods creates carcinogens in the food that the pets are consuming. They call them carcinogens for a reason  -- they cause cancer. And without dragging this post on for several more pages about the details of what these are and the studies that have been done (or not), I'll let you do your own investigation if you'd like further information on the subject. Knowing that dry foods contain carcinogens and that carcinogens are known to cause cancer and seeing all the pets I see die of cancer....well, that's enough for me.

Remember those dog jerky treats that were made in China and were just recently pulled from store shelves after killing 600 dogs and making many more ill? You know -- the same treats they have been investigating for the last seven years with still no answer as to what the cause was. Well, guess what? Those same treats are coming back to the store shelves. In fact, they are probably already there. What's changed? Nothing. They can't even figure out what about them caused the deaths and illnesses of thousands of dogs. Here are some tips on avoiding toxic pet treats from Dr. Becker. My advice is (and has been) do not buy any treats that are made in China. You have to read the packing. It's usually in small print at the bottom.

(May 1, 2014 - Update on jerky treats from China: Over the past six months (since October 2013) the FDA has received reports of an average of 6 sick or dying pets a day related to jerky dog treats imported from China.  This means approximately 1200 more pets have become sick or died linked to jerky treats imported from China in just the last six months.  When will this madness end? Read more about this here.)

(Aug. 29, 2014 - Update with some good news regarding the jerky treats. As of May 1, 2014, the FDA has received reports involving more than 5,600 dogs and 24 cats, and included over 1,000 dog deaths -- all linked to chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats imported from China. Three humans, two of them children, also became ill after ingesting the treats. The good news: Petco and Petsmart announced they will no longer sell treats made in China! Woohoo! Finally! This will take effect at the end of this year for Petco and in March 2015 for Petsmart. Send them a "thank you", will you? Read more about this here.)

Although I link to and mention Dr. Karen Becker, a holistic veterinarian in Illinois, most frequently in a lot of my writings including this one, she is not the only source that I get my information from. It's just that she has made sharing information easy because she writes articles and posts videos frequently and they are easily found for reference on healthypets.mercola.com

This article is full of links to more articles and information and resources. I hope you will come back and check them all out and become a more informed pet food consumer. At the very least, I hope you will watch Dr. Becker's videos about pet foods and the documentary Genetic Roulette (links above). You and your pets can only benefit from it.

Our pets are living, breathing, sentient beings who depend on us for their care. Just like us, the foods they ingest play a major role in their health and wellbeing. For decades we have been dumping highly processed, dry foods in their bowls as we rush about our busy lives. It's convenient and we have been led to believe it's what our pets need to be healthy. Now, just like with the human population, we have created a population of sick and overweight animals. It's time to rethink what we are feeding our beloved pets if we want to keep them healthy and around as long as possible. Nutrition and diet is the foundation. You CAN feed your way to a healthy pet!

Don't think you can afford to feed better quality foods? Better think again....it's either spend the money on the food now or spend the money at the vet's later, plus at the cost of your pet's health. If you actually sat down and figured out how much a day it would cost you to feed a better food versus how much it will cost if your pet gets one or more illnesses (as listed above) due to what he/she is consuming on a regular basis, you may be surprised. Not to mention your pets will be healthier and happier. Just move up one place on the pet food scale if that's all you can do right now, as Dr. Becker describes in her video. It's the difference between thriving and surviving. It's about prevention. There is truth in the old saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We have lost sight of what it takes to (reclaim and) maintain our and our pets' natural state, which is health and well-being. Instead of taking a medication for every and anything......as Hippocrates wisely said "Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food".

Update (4/25/14): In a new article by Dr. Becker titled Five Health Tips for A Long-Lived Pet , she offers excellent advice on how to not only extend the quantity of your pet's life, but also the quality. 

Update (5/19/14): Recently, one of the best studies that has ever been done to document the dangers of GMO foods revealed significant information. Of course, this study was not done in the U.S.


Update (5/23/14): Exciting news! Susan Thixton of TruthAboutPetFood.com began a campaign (in April)  to raise $10,000 to start testing pet foods for dangerous toxins. I've had the thought of...if only we had our own lab and scientists to test pet foods ourselves! Well, that's exactly what's happening! Pet food consumers (including me) have banded together and not only raised the $10,000 rather quickly, but surpassed that amount and it is continuing to grow. Won't you join us in our great cause? Go here to learn more.

Update (6/23/14): "A commercial pet food company in Canada recently produced a "white paper" titled The Biologically Appropriate Food Concept and the Dietary Needs of Dogs and Cats. While white papers produced by businesses are typically informational marketing pieces, this report contains a lot of good information that can be very useful for pet guardians interested in understanding their dog's or cat's nutritional needs" says Dr. Karen Becker. I have to agree. You can download the full report and read more about it here.