How to Safely Store Your Pet’s Medicine and Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has great food and drug safety tips for humans, but did you know they also have a whole section on pets?  It’s important to store your pet’s medications in a secure place to avoid the hazards of an accidental overdose.  Your pet’s food and treats should also be stored properly to avoid spoilage and contamination.

Here are a few practical tips on pet food and drug storage from the FDA:

Pet Medications

  • Keep pet medications in their original containers with their original labels. This is important for drug dosage and identification information, as well as pet ID in a multi-pet household.
  • Keep pet medications safely out of reach. Remember that cats can jump onto high places and dogs have a good nose for flavored meds.
  • Child-proof drug containers are not necessarily pet-proof, especially if your dog is a chewer.
  • Store pet meds in a completely different place than human meds to avoid an accidental mix-up.
  • Keep medications for other animals such as horses and pocket pets away from dogs and cats.
  • Dispose of expired or unused pet medications in the same way you dispose of human drugs. Mix them with an unappealing substance (used kitty litter or coffee grounds), and place in the trash in a sealed bag.

Pet Food and Treats

  • Store your pet food in the original container. You will need the information on the container in the event of a pet food recall.  Having the lot number is especially important in a recall.
  • If you use plastic containers to store kibble or treats, it’s a good idea to store it in the bag, or at least keep the bag around so that you have the important information on the label.
  • Storage containers for pet food should be clean and dry, with a tightly-fitting lid.
  • Wash and dry the container before you add another bag of food. Fat residue can become rancid.
  • Store all pet food in a cool, dry place. The temperature should be under 80 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid spoilage.
  • Refrigerate or throw out uneaten wet food.
  • Wash and dry pet food and water bowls (and utensils) daily.
  • Keep food and treats in a safe location so your pet won’t get into it and binge.

 

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New Study Finds BPA in Canned Dog Food May Harm Pets

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In recent years, we’ve become much more aware of the toxins in our everyday environment. One that has gotten a lot of attention is Bisphenol A, aka BPA, a chemical found in common items like plastic water bottles, thermal paper, and can linings. BPA is described as an endocrine disruptor and it also mimics estrogen. It’s been linked to a wide range of health issues, including various reproductive-related problems and cancer.

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A recent study suggests that the canned food our pets eat may contain unsafe levels of BPA as well. Researchers conducted a study of 14 dogs who regularly ate bagged dog food. They were then fed canned food (even a so-called “BPA-free” brand) and their blood was tested. The results showed that, even after just 2 weeks on the canned food diet, their BPA levels almost tripled. The researchers were able to link the BPA to changes in the dogs’ metabolisms and in microbes in their digestive systems.

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Besides the health issues that our pets themselves might be experiencing, the researchers note that animals are also very good indicators of the health risks humans face from the various environmental contaminants that we are exposed to on a daily basis.

Check out the full story, including a link to the study, on the Time magazine website.

 

What Will Be the Top Pet Industry Trends for 2017?

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When it comes to caring for our dogs, cats, and other pets, many devoted pet owners will do just about anything to make sure that our fur kids lead healthy, happy, and pampered lives. Trends in the pet industry reflect our continuing interest in providing the best food, products, and care for our four-legged friends.

What will be the hottest trends in the pet business in the coming year? Industry experts predict the pet industry will continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Here are the top projections:

Natural Pet Products

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Consumers will continue to be aware of the safety and sustainability of the products they buy, and that goes for pet food and other supplies. More and more of us will be seeking out natural pet food, cat litter, flea and tick products, grooming products, and toys.

Specialty Pet Services

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We also will continue to provide our pets with the best care we can. The market for upscale pet services will continue to grow. Areas include training, grooming (and other “spa” services), behavioral consulting, photography, and boarding/pet sitting.

Pet-Friendly Business

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Other pet trends to watch for include the growth of mobile dog and cat grooming services, more businesses like stores and restaurants that welcome pets, pet-friendly travel and hotels, and the growth of pet health insurance.

 

Sustainability in the Pet Products Industry: How Your Pet Can Go Green

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It’s getting easier to incorporate good sustainability practices into our lives as consumers. More and more of us are recycling waste, buying products in eco-friendly packaging, and bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery store. Pets can be eco-conscious too, thanks to innovative practices in the pet products industry. The organization Pet Sustainability Coalition seeks to implement environmental and social sustainability in the pet industry. Here’s a list of things you can look for when you go shopping for pet food and other products, courtesy of the PSC website:

  • Pet food and treats with natural, minimally processed ingredients, made with sustainable manufacturing processes and eco-friendly packaging.

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  • Pet hygiene and bath products made with healthy, natural ingredients, also manufactured and packaged in sustainable ways.
  • Environmentally-friendly and (of course) pet-friendly household cleaning products and pest control products.
  • Pet product brands that use locally-sourced ingredients to minimize the negative impact of long-distance transportation of materials.
  • Cat litter box filler that is all-natural and biodegradable in landfills.

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  • Pet bedding made from upcycled textiles, both the covering and the filler materials.
  • Bowls, toys, litter boxes, and leashes made from post-consumer recycled materials, such as recycled inner tube rubber.

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  • Bird and small animal products made from recycled, fair-trade, and organic materials.

 

Science Explains Why Cats are Finicky Eaters

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Remember those 9 Lives commercials back in the 1970s featuring a big orange tabby named Morris the Cat? Morris was a notoriously finicky cat who turned up his nose at all kinds of tempting foods…except 9 Lives cat food, of course.

Why exactly are cats such fussy eaters? According to a new British and Australian study, while cats may be drawn to food that tastes and smells good to them, they also instinctively choose foods with the optimal protein to fat ratio.

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Scientists gave 50 domestic cats meals that were flavored with fish (positive), rabbit (neutral), and orange (negative). Researchers varied the protein to fat ratio in the differently flavored foods over the course of the study. As expected, the cats preferred the flavor of the fish, followed by the rabbit, and disliked the orange.

Despite their flavor preferences, overall the cats seemed to consistently self-regulate their protein to fat intake to the appropriate levels for a good feline diet. The cats naturally consumed 31-32 g protein and 13-14 g fat across 3 control groups.

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Not surprisingly, cats prefer fish flavored foods that are high in protein. But left to their own devices, they will choose to eat foods that contain the right amounts of nutrients as opposed to choosing things that simply taste good.

So if your cat is a finicky eater, chances are it’s more about nutrition than just taste. Be sure to choose a high-quality, well-balanced commercial cat food for your favorite feline!

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