Keeping Your Dog Healthy


We advocate grain-free natural kibble or raw. Stay away from kibble with fillers, corn and chemicals. Spending just a few extra dollars can keep your dog healthier, with less allergies and intestinal issues down the road and also feeding a more pure food provides smaller stools as the more pure the food, more is actually absorbed by the dog's body. Good news! raw can now be found pre-made for you. Pet Club and Pet Planet offers several choices sold frozen and ready for use. 

Dry grain-free kibble formulas we advocate:
  1.  Earthborne 
  2. Orijen
  3.  Acana
  4. Canidae
  5.  Taste of the Wild
  6.  Blue Buffalo
  7. Victor Super Premium 
Understanding Raw Diets
We are often asked to explain the difference between raw pet foods and more traditional forms of pet food. Raw diets consist of bones, ground meat vegetables, fruit and other whole foods. The theory behind feeding raw food is that our pets' ancestors ate raw meat and bones, and that raw food represents a more natural diet for our pets
It is also believed that cooking your pet's food may also kill many of the nutrients that they require.
There are many versions of raw diets available today that range from complete thaw-and-serve diets to individual component products. When selecting any diet for your best friend, careful research is key; choosing the correct raw food regime is no exception.

Why should I consider a raw diet for my dog?

Our domestic dogs are descended from canis lupus, the wolf. Despite evolution, the dog has reached its present state with a digestive system that undoubtedly makes it a carnivore. Although domestication has changed the dogs' external appearance and temperament, the digestive system and nutritional needs have not changed from those of their wild relatives.

What advantages are there to feeding a raw diet?

You may see many advantages when feeding a raw diet such as:
  • Cleaner teeth and a healthy, odorless mouth
  • Low stool volume
  • Healthy skin
  • Shining coat
  • Fewer arthritic symptoms
  • Improved urine acidification
  • Improved circulation
  • Consistent quality of food compared to kibble

Raw diets are also sometimes used as a form of treatment for certain diseases, as they are grain free and have a low Glycemic Index. Raw diets also carry little to no risk of renal damage.

What diseases have been known to respond well to raw diets?

Raw diets, with additional Vitamin A are an important treatment for cancer. Cancer cells feed on carbohydrates which are not present in a raw diet and Vitamin A is thought to prevent the growth of cancer cells. The liver in raw offal (entrails and other organs present in a raw diet) is an excellent source of Vitamin A.

Most kibble fed dogs have a tendency to develop oral disease. Dogs do not produce the enzyme amylase, normally present in human saliva, which helps break down carbohydrates. Because of this, tartar and plaque are more likely to develop in a dog's mouth. A raw diet, without carbohydrates minimizes the possibility of oral disease. Other diseases that respond well to a raw diet are: Diabetes, Obesity, Epilepsy, Allergies and Bowel Disease

How much raw food should I feed my dog?

The amount to feed will vary from one dog to another depending upon age, activity level and size. Generally you will feed adult dogs 2 to 2.5% of their body weight, active dogs 3% and puppies 5% per day. Overweight or senior dogs need 1.5 to 2% of their body weight per day. Let your dog's activity levels, appetite and body condition be your guide!

Do raw foods cause health problems due to bacteria?

Proper handling is an important key to raw food safety. Raw pet food is, in essence, no different than the food you prepare for your human family. Human quality, raw pet foods handled appropriately by both the manufacturer and at home are safe and pose no bacterial threat to your pet or your family.

What about Salmonella?

Poultry meats can contain Salmonella strains that may infect humans. Studies show that dogs, even those being fed raw food, are not a source for Salmonella infection in humans. Salmonella does not colonize in most dogs and even when it does, bacterial shedding is rare. In addition, it would be difficult for your pet to be a source of infection since there is no likely mode of transmission between humans and dogs. The Salmonella organism is fragile, and disappears quickly from the environment after shedding. It is also well known in veterinary and human pathology that casual contact with the Salmonella organism will not cause a Salmonella infection. The infectious dose for humans is approximately 1 million organisms. Such numbers would rarely be reached through casual contact with your pet.

What about dog treats?

Treats are not a necessary part of your dog's nutritional requirements, but most people enjoy giving their dog an occasional treat. Healthy treats can be given providing they remain a small part of the overall diet. Try these suggestions:

  • Low fat plain yogurt
  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Premium low grain biscuits
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Raw bones

Will my dog become aggressive if I feed it raw meat?

No. Feeding a raw diet will not change your dog's basic personality, and will certainly not turn a laid back pooch into an aggressive, "blood thirsty" dog. However, because most dogs desire their natural diet of raw meat more than kibble, if your dog is naturally possessive or has a tendency to guard his food, a raw diet may intensify or bring out these traits in your dog. In this case Pet Planet recommends a focus on training your pet to correct these behaviors, rather than a diet change.


Ah, the dog days of summer! Just because we humans enjoy the heat, does not mean our canine companions do. When we get hot, our bodies sweat as a mechanism to cool us down. A dog cannot sweat as we do, so they pant to cool themselves down. Unfortunately, panting is not the most efficient means of cooling an overheated body. To prevent heatstroke, never leave your dog in a parked vehicle. On an 85 F day, the temperature inside your car, even with the windows open a bit, will climb to 102 F in 10 minutes! After half an hour, it will go up to 120 F or even higher! On a 90 F day, temperatures in that car can top 160 F faster than you can walk around the block. 

Exercising in hot weather is another common way heatstroke can occur. As with humans, older dogs, over-weight dogs and or dogs with heart or lung ailments are much more likely to suffer from heatstroke than younger or healthier dogs. Do not push your dog to exercise on very hot or humid days. Your dog needs a nice, cool, place with plenty of fresh water to drink. 

Heatstroke occurs when the dog's ability to regulate its body temperature is lost. When the respiratory tract cannot evacuate heat quickly enough, the body temperature rises. Normal body temperature is less than 103 F, but once the temperature goes over 105 F, it becomes even more difficult for your dog to regain control of its temperature. At this time, oxygen delivery to the system cannot keep up with rapidly elevating demand. If the temperature exceeds 108 F, cellular damage starts to occur in a number of organ systems including the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, heart and brain. 

The extent of the cellular damage depends on the magnitude and the duration of the temperature elevation. Clearly, this can be a life-threatening situation, but for those animals that survive there is the possibility of long term problems after the occurrence. There are a number of predisposing factors for heat stroke. Some of the most significant are: heat, humidity, muscular activity, high body mass, anxiety, poor ventilation, dehydration, obesity, antihistamines, short-nosed breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs, and increased age.

Heatstroke can lead to rapid death. Symptoms of heatstroke must be recognized and treatment must be initiated immediately. 

Early symptoms of heatstroke are labored breathing, warm dry skin, an anxious attitude, and profuse salivation. As the condition progresses, the animal develops a glazed look, and is somewhat unresponsive to external stimulation. Looking inside the mouth, the tongue and gums have a bright red appearance. The heartbeat of the animal increases and if left untreated, he becomes weak and eventually collapses. 

Immediate emergency care is required for an animal suffering from heatstroke. The animal should be placed in a bathtub filled with cool water. If a tub is not available, the animal should be hosed down or wrapped in cool damp towels. The water used to cool down the animal should be cool, not cold. If the pet is responsive, small amounts of cool water should be offered to drink. When the animal is cooled down, he must be taken to a veterinary hospital. Intravenous fluid therapy is required for animals with heatstroke. 

Obviously it is much preferable to prevent heatstroke than to treat it. There are several simple ways that you can protect your dog. Firstly, fresh, cool water must be available at all times, making sure it is in a non-spillable container. Secondly, pay extra attention to grooming during the summer. Removing loose hairs and keeping your dog's coat free of tangles will help him feel more comfortable when the weather is hot, particularly when your pet is shedding. NEVER leave your pet in an unventilated area, and remember that this can include a house or apartment without air-conditioning as well as a vehicle. An outdoor doghouse or kennel should be well ventilated and located in the shade. Allowing a dog access to a child's shallow wading pool, filled with an appropriate amount of clean water, is an excellent method for keeping your pet cool during the heat of the day. Overexertion and intense exercise should be avoided during the middle part of the day. Long walks and heavy exercise should be reserved for the early morning and late afternoon. When taking your best friend for a walk, remember that he does not wear shoes. Dogs' paws are sensitive and burn easily on hot asphalt. This and other hot surfaces should be avoided. 

Help make your pet's summer a safe one. With a little care and awareness of the dangers of hot weather, you can insure that your pet will be able to enjoy the season safely and in good health.

Please take a moment to read up about Bloat. All large deep chested, large breed dogs are susceptible. Its best just to familiarize yourself. BELOW  click the link to learn about Bloat.


Take a moment to read up about vaccines. Be careful not to "over vaccinate"


The Dangers of Rawhide

It is natural for all dogs and especially puppies to chew - that's one of the ways they explore and learn. Rawhide is one of the most common items given to dogs to chew but beware as it is also the most dangerous.

What is Rawhide?

  • Rawhide is the tough inner layer of bull, cow, water buffalo and horsehides - a by-product of the meat industry
  • The flesh side is scraped clean of all remaining meat, membrane, fat, etc.
  • The hair is removed in either an Ash-Lye solution or a Lime solution. The Lime solution is the quickest and most often utilized by manufacturers. This process is highly caustic but the most efficient for mass production
  • To remove all traces of the lime solution and to sanitize the rawhide product, commercial makers then rinse the hides in a bleach solution

Why is Rawhide Dangerous?

  • Rawhide can swell up to four times its original size in your dog's stomach, risking the formation of life threatening blockages
  • Dogs can and will chew off and swallow large pieces of rawhide which can get stuck in their esophagus, stomach or intestines. This often requires surgical removal
  • Rawhide is not considered a food item and is therefore not covered by any labeling, processing or content laws
  • Rawhide contains chemical preservatives and has been treated with other chemicals in processing
  • Arsenic, ethoxyquin, formaldehyde and other chemicals such as BHA and BHT are commonly used as preservatives
  • Other dangerous additives can include antibiotics, lead and insecticides.
  • Rawhide chews can cause acute pancreatitis, which can vary from mild gastrointestinal upset to collapse and death

So What Should I Give My Dog to Chew?

The most common and much healthier alternative to rawhide is 'beef chews', because:

  • They have no preservatives - even natural preservatives such as salt or smoke that are not beneficial to the health of your dog
  • They are fat free - many other chews are high in fat and a low fat diet for your pet will contribute to the wellness of your dog
  • They don't splinter like some bones may - which can damage your dog's gums or teeth and may be fatal to puppies or older dogs
  • They also have high nutritional value and are completely digestible if swallowed
  • Other things your dog can chew safely are real bones, either smoked or raw, or nylon chews which come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, flavors and densities

Here are just a few safe chews to consider:

Merrick has an extensive selection of high-quality dog chews which are 100% digestible and offer a great alternative to rawhide. The Merrick line of products includes stuff ed hooves, beef and lamb lung, pumpers (pork heart), toothpicks (beef tail), "flossies" (spiral beef tendon) and much, much more.  We advocate Nylabones as well.