Pet Food Rotation Guide

The Essential Guide to Rotating Your Pet’s Meals

Food rotation is one of our best suggestions to improve your pet’s nutrition. We dove in to answer all your questions about when, why, and how to change up your pet’s food!

Rebecca Eble Willow River Dog Training

Provider Spotlight: Willow River Dog Training

Meet Rebecca: 20+ years transforming lives through dog training

2 Simple Tips for Mental Enrichment: Straight From a Dog Trainer

As everyone is going back into the office or back to school, our dogs will soon be home alone and left to…

Can Your Dog Really Have Too Many Toys?

Dear NPP,

I love spoiling my dog with new toys. I bring home new ones for him all the time but he gets bored of them so quickly. Nothing really holds his interest for longer than a couple of days. What can I do to keep his interest?

Sincerely,

Drowning in Dog Toys

Giving toys to your dog is a great way to encourage play, enhance mental stimulation, and increase bonding. However, like with everything good in life, moderation is key.

NorthPoint Pet Tips

  1. Lump your dog toys into groups. Each group should have at least one toy for each type of play: tug, fetch, puzzle, and chew. You can customize these categories for your dog’s favorite activities like outdoor play, swimming, etc. You can determine how many toys is appropriate, but 4-5 should be plenty. Put each group of toys into their own basket or storage container. One toy group may include: Mammoth rope toy for tug, a Kong tennis ball for fetch, a West Paw Toppl for mental enrichment, and a Benebone for chewing.
  2. Put away all but one collection of toys. Each week, swap the “old” toys for a new group of toys. At any given time, your dog should have access to just one of those collections of 4-5 toys. When you dig out those new toys, offer them with as much excitement as you would if you brought home a brand-new toy.

Pro Tip: When exchanging toy collections, inspect them for damage that may be hazardous to your dog. If the toy can easily become a choking hazard, discard the toy immediately.

This is also the perfect time to give those toys a good cleaning! Some rubber and plastic toys are dishwasher safe, but most can safely be cleaned with mild dish soap and warm water. Most plush toys are machine washable.

Why It Works:

Having a huge assortment of toys can actually have an adverse effect on your dog. He can easily become overwhelmed and overstimulated, resulting in a lack of excitement around playtime. By removing the “old” toys and replacing them with some that he hasn’t seen in a few weeks, you’re refreshing his play drive with a brand-new variety for him to engage with.

dog outdoor health

Take Your Dog Outside!

Taking your dog outside is more than a bathroom break. It’s vital to their health and happiness.

What’s a Boredom Bag?

Our pets need stimulation and engagement when we’re not home or can’t spend time with them. Let us create our best-selling Boredom Bag for your pet. Each bag is lovingly built with your pet’s unique needs and tastes in mind.

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Is it Safe to Feed Your Dog a Raw Meaty Bone?

The topic of feeding meaty bones tends to drum up some controversy. Is it safe to feed your pet a raw meaty bone? Is it even beneficial to your pet? How do you know which bones are safe to feed? Let’s address some of these questions.

Raw meaty bones (RMBs) are safe to feed as long as they meet certain safety parameters:

  1. Meaty bones should be purchased from a reliable source with safe handling practices in place and that regularly tests their products for harmful pathogens. Use only RMBs sold specifically for pet consumption. In the U.S., a zero-tolerance policy for raw pet food products ensures that the product has not tested positive for pathogens such as E. Coli or Salmonella. In other words, you should not give your pets RMBs from a grocery store.
  2. Choose the appropriate size/type of bone for your pet. Small RMB’s like chicken necks are perfect for small dogs and cats, whereas turkey and duck necks are better suited for medium to large dogs. As a general rule, it is appropriate to feed a bone the size of your dog’s head. Most dogs, when fed an appropriate size bone, will chew the bone well before swallowing. However, if your dog is a “gulper” or is likely to try and swallow large things without chewing, a RMB may not be an ideal choice for your dog. If you have questions, our staff can help you decide which bones may be appropriate for your dog.
  3. As with all toys and chews, always monitor your dog when feeding bones. Although dogs usually know what to do with a bone, it is important to ensure they are not going to swallow it whole.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’S)

I give my dog marrow bones. Is that the same thing?

No. Marrow bones are known as ‘recreational bones’ because your pet should not be able to chew and consume the bone itself, but rather the tiny bits of fat, tissue, and cartilage left on the bone, as well as the inner bone marrow. ‘Raw meaty bones’ generally refer to bones that have more ‘meat’ on them and less bone, such as turkey and duck necks.

Do they eat the whole thing, bone and all?

Yes. Since RMBs are mostly thin bone, tissue, and cartilage, they are easy for your pet to break up, chew and swallow.

Do I let it thaw? 

No. It is not necessary to thaw your raw bones before feeding. However, some dogs and most cats prefer to have their bone thawed to soften the frozen tissue prior to feeding. If you must thaw the bone, leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours, or submerge it in cool water inside a plastic baggie to thaw it faster.

Should I cook it?

No. Never feed a cooked bone. Cooked bones can splinter, which can cause intestinal obstructions and perforations (not good!).

Which types of bones are safe to feed?

Do not feed weight-bearing bones of heavy animals. What does this mean? When you think of a large animal such as a cow, weight-bearing bones are those that allow the animal to stand properly, which can be too hard on your dog’s teeth.

Why should I offer my dog raw meaty bones?

Bones are an excellent addition to our pet’s diet, and here’s why:

  • They’re an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, and glucosamine.
  • They can help with firmer stool.
  • They can help maintain cleaner teeth and better oral health.
  • They offer mental and physical enrichment for an overall happier (and less bored) pet.

How often should I feed my dog raw meaty bones?

Bones should be fed intermittently as a compliment to your pet’s regular diet. Feeding frequency will depend on your pet’s size, age, and activity level. While they can occasionally be fed in place of a meal, they should not be fed every day.

kittens sleeping together

4 Lessons I Learned from Adopting Two Kittens

After our senior cat Timmy passed away in April of 2021, I decided to adopt two female kittens from a local rescue to join our family. That July, we adopted 14 week old Kiwi and Nala. We were only going to adopt one kitten, but the rescue said we had to take both. Of course I couldn’t say no! Caring for these little ones has been quite the trip for me and my family as we all had to adjust to having not one but two tiny fuzzy troublemakers rambling around the house. Here are some things we learned through the last few months! 

The Lessons I Learned from my Kittens

1. Kittens are constantly with each other and absolutely inseparable! If Kiwi can’t find Nala, she will cry out for her until they find each other. Every time I see them, they are either grooming each other, cuddled up sleeping together, or finding mischief together. They even use the litter box one right after the other!

Lesson Learned: Cats create incredibly strong social bonds! I’m so glad we chose to adopt Nala and Kiwi together so they can keep each other company.

2. Nala and Kiwi have a ton of kitten energy, but they burn off most of it around 3 am! We were completely surprised to hear them running laps around the house in the middle of the night – like it’s the Indy 500 – every night! They chase each other, galloping full speed up and down the hallway, occasionally knocking over picture frames and two cats on counterglassware from tables and counters.

Lesson Learned: If you want to sleep at night, engage cats in playtime during the day to let them burn off some energy! We knew cats are naturally nocturnal, but I really underestimated exactly how much energy they would burn off in the early morning hours without daytime play sessions.

3. Both kittens LOVE to hunt! I first noticed this behavior when I saw them watching the birds and bugs outside our window. They sit on the back of the couch and make a ‘chittering’ noise whenever they see something move outside. Then we saw them do it again when we played with the red laser toy! They really do look like their stalking and hunting prey, like a wild cat!

Lesson Learned: Cats – even kittens and indoor cats – are hunters at heart. They have strong natural instincts to stalk, chase, hunt, and catch their ‘prey’, even if it is just the little red laser dot. 

4. We really weren’t expecting the kittens to have such voracious appetites. We feed them small meals several times a day, but they are always hungry! We’ve caught them stealing food from our plates right in front of us. When they eat they shake the food with their mouth, like wild cats!

Lesson Learned: With high-activity kittens comes a high food drive and ravenous appetites. Kittens need many small meals each day – more than an adult cat – to stay satiated. Watch out because they’ll eat your dinner, too! 

Rules to Live by: Leash Etiquette in Public

Keep your dog safe with leash training and body language understanding. Follow leash etiquette, advocate for your dog, and use effective tools when necessary.”

Tina’s Guide to a Great Hiking Spot