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Guardianship is a journey, and at Pet Planet we understand that there may be times when we all need a little help navigating the road. As an education-based retailer, we believe that understanding what our pet's need to thrive is the key to health. We welcome you to use this resource center to find information to help your pets with what they need for their longer, happier and healthier life.


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Anxiety in Dogs and Cats    

Dr. Al Townshend Anxiety is an all-too-common natural condition in our cherished pets, just as it is in humans. It has been estimated that up to 75% of dogs and 20-25% of cats have had anxiety issues at some point in their lives. It can be a short-term emotional experience resulting from a brief encounter […]

My Dog Just Got Skunked!!     

Dr. Al Townshend The age-old adage “curiosity killed the cat” can also hold true for our canine companions. Skunks are somewhat friendly until another animal comes too close, and then all hell can break loose.  The skunk has two glands around the rectum (similar to the anal glands of a dog or cat) that have […]

Food Intolerances Are Not Allergies     

Dr. Al Townshend Unlike food allergies, food intolerances; are not immune responses, so there is no general, whole-body reaction. are as a result of irritation. Something in the diet is causing inflammation and irritation. are often associated with vomiting and diarrhea more commonly than skin issues. can be to any ingredient in the food recipe […]

Weight Management: Gaining Weight     

Dr. Al Townshend Before we go any further, how do you know your pet us underweight? Many Guardians have the notion their pet is too thin when actually they have a normal, slightly lean body conformation.   How Do You Know Your Pet is too Thin? One way to tell is to look at the […]

Older Cats and Hyperthyroidism    

Dr. Al Townshend Hyperthyroidism is caused by an increase in the production of thyroid hormones. It is seen in about 10% of cats ten years or older. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and is difficult to see normally. Feline Hyperthyroidism produces an enlargement.   What Causes Hyperthyroidism? In almost all cases, the cause […]

Palliative Care and Hospice for Pet     

Every pet Guardian is aware that there are three stages in the life of our cherished pets: puppy/kitten, adult, and senior. There is another phase in every life that we often fail to realize until it is upon us: the “end-of-life” phase. For some, the end-of-life is the point a pet dies, but for most, […]

Fleas and Ticks – And All-Too-Common Problem for Pets and Their Guardians      

Dr. Al Townshend Both fleas and ticks are a world-wide problem for many different species of animals including beloved pets and their human Guardians. They are much more than an irritation or nuisance. Both fleas and ticks are carriers of some of the most serious diseases seen in humans and pets.   Fleas Fleas are […]

What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids and What are the Benefits of Supplementing?     

Dr. Al Townshend Today, Guardians are aware of the importance of the nutrition they provide for their cherished pets. It is a primary factor in encouraging a long and healthy life. Making sure a pet’s diet is easily digested and includes optimum nutritional levels that promote health and well-being is the goal of everyone committed […]

The Gut Microbiome and Those Essential “Good Bacteria”     

Dr. Al Townshend A microbiome is generally described as a community of microorganisms living together in a particular habitat. Many are not aware that animals and plants have microbiomes both internally and externally. Two examples of animal microbiomes are the skin and gut. There are millions of microscopic organisms that live a natural coexistence on […]

The Importance of Good Manners     

Dr. Al Townshend Good manners are an essential part of getting along in society. We all need to get along and respect one another. Our pets need good manners for the same reasons; however, dogs and cats need good manners to get along with humans, and they need a different set of manners to live […]

Between Annual Veterinary Visits    

 Dr. Al Townshend The veterinarian is a trusted advocate for the health and well-being of every pet. They have the training, knowledge, expertise, and tools to examine an animal on the outside and the inside. They recommend vaccination schedules, check for parasites, and draw blood to ensure all organs and bodily functions are working efficiently […]

Enriching a Cat’s Life    

Dr. Al Townshend The feline species has been around for some 25-35 million years. It has only been within the last 10-12,000 years that cats began their relationship with humans, and a short 70-80 years since cats have been inside the home. Living indoors is a much more secure and safe environment than fending for […]

Going to the Bathroom Outside the Litter Box   

Dr. Al Townshend Pet Guardians are committed to the health and happiness of their cherished canine and feline companions. Bathroom protocol for most dogs generally requires regular trips outside to do their business. Cats are mostly inside and require an appealing litter box that encourages them to perform their natural scratching and dancing to get […]

Managing Feline Hairballs    

Dr. Al Townshend No one likes to hear the hacking and regurgitation sounds that occur when a kitty is bringing up a slimy hairball. We hate to have our treasured feline experience such distress, and cleaning up after a hairball is no fun for the Guardian. Because cats are usually fastidious groomers, and their tongues […]

Why is a Pet’s Behavior so Important?     

 Dr. Al Townshend Our pets often become one of our best friends, and it makes sense. They shower us with their love, affection and devotion. After a hard day’s work, when coming home, who is at the door ready to great us with a gracious welcome as if we have been away for an eternity? […]

A Pet’s Behavior Needs Direction     

Dr. Al Townshend Helping to shape a child’s behavior is a part of being a good parent. Our canine and feline family members also need guidance in proper behavior to become an accepted and valued part of the family. The famous humorist Will Rogers said it best; “Dogs were placed on this earth to please […]

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease Prevention   

Dr. Al Townshend Urinary problems in cats are an all-too-common and costly condition. It has been estimated that once a veterinarian has diagnosed a feline, there is a 50% chance the condition will reoccur. Doing all the Guardian can do to prevent the problem from initially occurring and warding off a reoccurrence is essential for […]

Eyes, Ears, and Smell Keep Our Pets Safe     

Dr. Al Townshend Our canine and feline companions have evolved as predators. Sharp eyesight, a keen sense of smell, and acute hearing were essential for survival. While the domestic dog and cat no longer rely on these senses for survival today, they are still critically dependent on them. Vision, smell, and hearing are essential for […]

Pet Cancer and the Guardian     

Dr. Al Townshend According to The Veterinary Cancer Society, cancer is the leading cause of death in 47% of dogs, especially dogs over age ten, and 32% of cats. It has been estimated that approximately 6 million dogs and almost 6 million cats are diagnosed with some form of cancer each year. For most, the […]

Slippery Elm, One of Nature’s Best Remedies     

The Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) is a tree native to North America. The inner bark has been used for centuries and is a soothing medicinal remedy.     The Elm’s inner bark contains substances that become a thick gel when mixed with water. When taken orally, it coats, soothes, and protects the mucus lining of […]

Eco-Friendly, Green Cleaning Recipes    

Did you know that many household cleaners available at the grocery store contain harmful chemicals that can compromise your health and the health of your pets? At Pet Planet, we offer a selection of pet-friendly cleaners to help you with your every day cleaning needs. Some of our cleaning solutions include options that help with […]

Holidays and Celebrations can be Stressful for Pets     

Dr. Al Townshend Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, Thanksgiving Day, Halloween, birthdays, and anniversaries are all exciting times for us all, but how do your pets react to these festive times? Planning Ahead These events and how we celebrate them often take considerable planning and preparation well in advance to be successful and a joy […]

What Comes Out the Rear is Just as Important as What Goes in the Mouth    

Dr. Al Townshend The butt of a dog or cat is not the typical discussion Guardians have about their pets, but it can be an important consideration for their health and well-being.   A Little Anatomy The rectum and anus control the removal of fecal waste from the body.  Numerous nerve endings around the rectum […]

Helping Cats as They Age    

Dr. Al Townshend Aging is a process that begins the moment we are born and continues until the day we die. The same is true for every plant and animal on the planet. Starting early to slow the aging process is the key to a long and happy life for all. Thanks in part to […]

The Senior Period in a Pet’s Life is Special     

Dr. Al Townshend We are all aware that we begin to age the day we are born. Our pets are no different; they go through three different primary stages as they age.  Puppies and kittens grow and develop. Their body grows, and the tissues become more efficient and more robust. The brain begins to learn, […]

Skin and Coat Problems Can be the First Sign of Bigger Problems     

Dr. Al Townshend The skin is the largest organ in the body and one of the most important when it comes to protecting the body. The skin and hair are good indicators of the health of a pet. The hair should be shiny and smooth, and the skin should be supple and clean. Selective breeding […]

Feline Diabetes    

Dr. Al Townshend Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas. The pancreas is a vital organ that has two primary functions. Some of the cells of the pancreas produce the enzymes essential for the digestion of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The other cells of the pancreas, beta cells, are responsible for making insulin that […]

Canine Diabetes    

Dr. Al Townshend Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas. The pancreas is a vital organ that has two primary functions. Some of the cells of the pancreas produce the enzymes essential for the digestion of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The other cells of the pancreas, beta cells, are responsible for making insulin that […]

Cancer: Understanding the Risks and How to Combat Them     

Dr. Al Townshend According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 1 in 4 dogs, and over 50% of dogs over 10 years of age are likely to develop some form of Cancer. Additionally, Colorado State University estimates that 1 in 5 cats will be diagnosed with Cancer in their lifetimes. Guardians understand that their […]

Joint Health: Prevention is Key to a Long, Happy and Healthy Life     

Dr. Al Townshend The domestic dogs and cats we know today evolved as predators. They are designed for stealth, agility, and in the case of the dog, endurance. Their ability to survive depended on these abilities. Fortunately, our four-legged companions don’t need those characteristics to survive today; however, they didn’t lose their desire to be […]

Treats     

Dr. Al Townshend It seems that we are all spending more time with our pets these days, and it has enhanced the appreciation we have for our relationship and the benefits for both pet and Guardian.  Many Guardians have experienced the improved health that comes with more time with pets. More exercise walking and playing […]

Pancreatitis is a Serious Medical Condition in Dogs and Cats     

Dr. Al Townshend Pancreatitis is a medical condition caused by inflammation of the pancreas. It is an all-too-common problem for dogs and cats that can be life-threatening. While the symptoms are similar in both the canine and feline, the causes and treatment are different. Part of the pancreas is concerned with controlling blood glucose and […]

Do You Feed Your Pet to Satisfy Their Appetite?     

Dr. Al Townshend For most pet Guardians, the time we spend feeding our pets is a pleasing and positive experience. For the dog it has been that way since man and canine first developed a relationship some 15,000 years ago, and it led to the wild dog (wolf) being the first species that man domesticated. […]

Environmental Allergies can be a Challenge     

Dr. Al Townshend An environmental allergy is an abnormal reaction by the immune system to a substance in the environment. Pets can become exposed to the offending substance (an allergen) by inhaling it, swallowing with food or through exposure to the skin, eyes or nose. Most environmental reactions are to plant, animal and insect proteins, […]

Dental Health is Critical for Long-Term Wellness     

Dr. Al Townshend The health of the teeth is a critical factor in the long-term health of every animal. When veterinarians, doctors, and dentists talk about dental health, they are referring to the whole mouth and not just the teeth. Oral health encompasses the teeth, gums, tongue, throat, the lining of the mouth and cheeks.  […]

Exercise and Play are Key Factors in the Health and Happiness of Every Pet    

Dr. Al Townshend Exercise is an essential and critical factor in a pet’s health, both socially, mentally, and physically. The type of exercise we provide our pets can come in several forms, all of which can have specific benefits for the pet and their Guardians. The form or type of exercise we provide can depend […]

Fighting the War on Pet Obesity is Crucial for Long Term Health     

Dr. Al Townshend Pet obesity and the effects of a pet being overweight can significantly impact its long-term health. The 2018 survey of veterinary clinics by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Dr. Ernie Ward, the association’s founder, […]

Tis the Season     

Dr. Al Townshend The holidays are a time of peace, joy, and goodwill to all. Families come together to celebrate their faith, their bond to one another, and their friends and community. The family pets will often be included in many of the events in the home this time of the year. It is the […]

Nutritional Considerations for Our Feline Companions    

Dr. Al Townshend What we today call the domestic cat descended from the North African Wild Cat. Unlike the domestic dog, the cat we know today has changed very little physically, physiologically, or behaviorally from their ancient relatives. They remain skilled predators that depend on a diet that is prey-based or animal protein-focused. Keeping in […]

What’s Important When it Comes to Feeding a Cat    

Dr. Al Townshend      The dog evolved as a hunter and scavenger, consuming large, infrequent meals of fresh or decaying tissue. Whereas cats in the wild are prone to smaller, more frequent meals comprised of fresh nutrients to support a more sensitive digestive system. The domestic feline we know today has evolved as a […]

Diabetes in Dogs and Cats     

Dr. Al Townshend Diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a condition that can occur when the body cannot utilize glucose. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the cells of the body. Insulin, which is produced by the cells of the pancreas, is necessary for the transport of glucose into the cells of the body. […]

Keeping Your Pet Cool During the “Dog Days” of Summer    

Dr. Al Townshend What has become known as the “Dog Days of Summer” are those hot July and August periods often associated with excessive heat, drought, and thunderstorms. The phrase is actually a reference to the fact that, during this time, the sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star […]

Anticipating the Potential Stress of Holiday Celebrations     

Dr. Al Townshend Canada Day and Independence Day have long been traditionally celebrated outdoors with parades, fireworks, family- and community gatherings, good food, and cheer. All have the potential to be extremely stressful on many pets. Anticipating potential stress-threats and preparing for them can avert disaster and help your pet survive the day and possibly […]

Cancer and the Litter Box    

Dr. Al Townshend Commercial cat litter has been around for about 70 years. Before 1950, cat Guardians commonly used sand, dirt, or even ashes in the litter box. Today, commercial litter is made from an almost unlimited number of substances. When it comes to cancer in cats and the Guardians that care for them, the […]

Sensitive Stomachs 4: The Yin and Yang of Nutrition     

By Dr. Al Townshend Digestive problems that occur relatively infrequently (once a month), such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, excessive gas, growling stomach, and depressed appetite, are often referred to as signs of a sensitive stomach. Most of the time, the issues are frustrating but not dangerous or life-threatening.  In light of this, many Guardians have […]

Sensitive Stomachs 3: Medical Concerns     

The challenges and symptoms of “Sensitive Stomachs” can be frustrating for both Guardians and their pets as they can be inconsistent, symptoms may vary, and the triggers can change over time. In saying this, not all symptoms of a sensitive stomach have a simple solution that can be resolved quickly. Some sensitive stomach signs are […]

Building a Better Bowl     

When it comes to feeding the family, a parent’s goal is to provide healthy and nutritious family favorites in a pleasing variety for everyone. The same is true for the family pets. Filling the bowl with very palatable (pleasing) and nutritious recipes encourages a long, happy, and healthy life for all pets. Traditionally, pets are […]

Sensitive Stomachs 2: External Stimuli     

Sometimes a sensitive stomach may be a result of an external stimulus, condition, or impact. Understanding what the impacts are, can help Guardians to identify if a sensitive stomach is symptomatic of large issue. Issues That May Impact Stomach Sensitivities: Food Allergies Most allergies, found in our pets, are reactions to proteins in the diet. […]

Sensitive Stomachs 1: Concerns     

One of the most common concerns that prompt Guardians to take their pets to the veterinarian are digestive issues. Veterinarians often hear from Guardians that their pet has a sensitive stomach.  Most would agree that the term “sensitive stomach” is most commonly used to describe digestive symptoms that tend to reoccur once a month or […]

What is Integrative Veterinary Care?    

Dr. Al Townshend Today, humans and their companion animals are living longer than ever before. There is much to be thankful for when it comes to modern medicine for both humans and animals.  Increased interest in living a more natural way of life may also play a significant role in extending the lives of humans […]

Prevention and Your Veterinarian    

Dr. Al Townshend Veterinarians today are extremely dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of animals and humans. The role of a veterinarian is varied and includes public health, human and animal research, teaching, animal welfare, careers in industry, the military, and the general care and welfare of all animals. When it comes to the […]

Saying Goodbye Part 2     

Pets today are living longer than ever before, and that’s a good thing! A long, happy life for our pets is the goal of every Guardian. The longer our pets live, and we enjoy a positive relationship with them, the closer and tighter the bond becomes. We depend on them, and they rely on us.  […]

Preventing Cancer   

Dr. Al Townshend There are two primary reasons why our beloved pets’ life-span is longer than ever before; science and the intense human-animal bond. Over the last few decades, veterinary medicine has improved, and as a result, we have learned to recognize and treat common problems much more successfully. Likewise, the more hectic lives we […]

Preventing Cancer: Lifestyle   

Dr. Al Townshend The lifestyle choices we make in the way we live our lives and the lives of our pets can have a powerful impact on the health and well-being of every member of the family. Making the best lifestyle choices for ourselves and our pets is essential in reducing risk and preventing many […]

Preventing Cancer: Genetics   

Dr. Al Townshend The reason one pet develops cancer and another pet does not is complex. There is no one answer to the question. It primarily involves the environment, diet, genetics, and how these three items interact with individual animals. Previous articles have discussed the role that lifestyle, the environment and diet can play in […]

Preventing Cancer: Food    

Dr. Al Townshend When it comes to cancer prevention, the foods, treats, and supplements we fed to our pets can have a tremendous impact on the long-term health of our beloved canine and feline companions. Hippocrates, the Father of Modern-Medicine, said it over two thousand years ago, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine […]

Preventing Cancer: Environment   

Dr. Al Townshend The association between the environment and cancer was first recognized in the 18th century when physicians began to notice an increase of certain cancers in chimney sweeps due to constant exposure to coal and the tar that accumulates in the chimney. Since then, it has become apparent that there are many environmental […]

Canned Cat Foods are All the Same    

Dr. Al Townshend Have you ever heard someone say, “don’t waste your money, all canned cat foods are the same,” well, “nothing can be further from the truth.” Not to get too carried away with famous sayings; “we are what we eat” is also frequently written in articles about human nutrition, and the saying is […]

Pet Hygiene and Health   

By Dr. Al Townshend We define the word hygiene as the practice of maintaining health and preventing disease, primarily through cleanliness. Our pets are no exception, their health and happiness are, in large part, dependent on hygiene and the sanitation of their environment. Keeping our pets clean and healthy is also an essential factor in […]

Personal Hygiene for Both Dogs and Cats    

Dr. Al Townshend When it comes to the hygiene of dogs and cats, understanding the importance of addressing proper hygiene issues begins with a basic understanding of the significance of each item. Oral Hygiene Oral Hygiene is an essential part of the care for every pet. The mouth is a gateway to the body. Diseased […]

Oral Hygiene and Fresh Breath   

Dr. Al Townshend Dental health is really about the overall health of the mouth, or what is known as oral health. It is just as essential in the pet’s health as it is for their Guardians. Can you imagine how your mouth would look and feel if you never brushed your teeth or used mouth […]

Nail Trimming   

Dr. Al Townshend Like our nails, the claws of dogs and cats grow, and if they are not worn down or trimmed, they will cause problems. Without regular care, a pet’s claws can alter an animal’s ability to walk comfortably. Eventually, they can grow into the pads of the feet, causing pain, infection and lameness. […]

Do I Need to Clean My Pet’s Ears?   

Dr. Al Townshend It is estimated that approximately 20% of dogs have some form of ear disease. Fortunately, cats have far fewer issues with their ears. The most common ear problems for dogs and cats is infections. Preventing problems begins with your daily observations of the pet and regular inspection of the ears. Dogs Problems […]

Ways to Keep Your Pet Active During the Winter Months     

By Dr. Al Townshend Winter, especially in Canada and the northern United States, can bring extremely cold weather that can put a pet at risk. It is still essential that pets get enough exercise, even with the colder temperatures. Even though many northern states and Canadian provinces experience winter temperatures far below freezing, pets still […]

How Cold is Too Cold for your Pet?     

Generally, if the outside temperature is 45°F (7.2°C) or above, cold weather protection is not a concern. Once the thermometer begins to drop and approaches freezing (32°F or 0°C), some considerations should be taken into account before going outside with a pet. Cats in the north generally prefer being inside in the winter. A cat […]

The Dietary Needs of Senior Pets    

Today, dogs and cats are living longer than ever before. That’s due, in part, to improved veterinary care and the much closer relationship Guardians have with their pets than 40 years ago. Guardians are better educated, regarding the welfare of their pets, and they are willing to go the extra mile to assure long and […]

Senior Pets: Supporting the Change with Vitamins and Minerals   

By Dr. Al Townshend As our beloved pets begin to age, there is always a concern. Over the years, the strong bond that forms between Guardians and their pets becomes more profound and cherished. Understanding that dogs and cat do not live as long as we do can create concern. The Golden Age of a […]

Weight and Your Senior Pet   

By Dr. Al Townshend Today, in North America, over half of the household dog and cat population is overweight, and a good portion is obese. Carrying excess weight is a significant stress on a pet’s body and encourages an increased risk of poor health, a lower quality of life, and even a shorter life span. […]

Catnip   

Many Guardians are aware of the attraction that most cats have to the Catnip, but many don’t know why cats are attracted to the plant. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial plant in the mint family. There are many varieties, and some can grow to three feet in height. They have beautiful flowers and can […]

Redirecting or Adjusting Scratching Behavior   

By Dr. Al Townshend Cats love to scratch. It is a natural and necessary exercise for the physical and mental well being of every cat. Unfortunately, the scratching can become destructive, and if allowed to continue, it can ruin the relationship a Guardian has with their feline companions. Understanding why cats scratch and their scratching […]

What to Do If Your Cat Sprays/Marks?   

By Dr. Al Townshend Despite a cat’s reputation for cleanliness, house soiling is the number one challenge cats, and their Guardians can experience. Urinating outside the litter box can damage furniture, create offensive odors that are hard to locate and can require constant searching and cleaning for the Guardian. Many believe inappropriate urination is exclusively […]

Introducing New Cats to Your Home   

By Dr. Al Townshend Cats have become one of the most popular pets. There are more household cats than dogs in the US. The average cat family has more than two cats. There are many reasons why Guardians love cats: they’re relatively low maintenance, do well in apartments, and they’re just plain adorable! In the […]

Cats and the Unavoidable Litter Box   

By Dr. Al Townshend An estimated 95 million live in US households, and another 8 million reside in Canadian homes. Approximately 68% of US and 38% of Canadian households have at least one cat. The vast majority of cats are kept inside or spend a significant amount of their time in the home. Statistics suggest […]

Spending Time with Your Pet    

By Dr. Al Townshend The most important reason to spend time with your pet is that it is quality time for both you and your pet. Dogs have long been called “Man’s Best Friend”. Today, studies suggest that all pets are our best friends. That includes men, women, and children. It’s been estimated that over […]

The Importance of Fun and Play    

By Dr. Al Townshend Dedicating time during each day to play with your pet is essential for the health of the pet and for your relationship with the pet. Both dogs and cats have evolved as active, intuitive animals. They need physical and mental stimulation to maintain their physical and mental health. Inactivity and boredom […]

Loving Your Favorite Chewer     

By Dr. Al Townshend Dogs love to chew, and it’s their instinct to spend time doing just that. The impulse to chew begins early, and it is crucial to direct the chewing away from the furniture and other inappropriate items. Like human infants with teething toys, puppies frequently chew as their baby teeth fall out, […]

Integrating a New Pet into the Household  

By Dr. Al Townshend There are many reasons why families get a pet. It may be the first pet for the family. There may have been the loss of a cherished pet, and for most Guardians, it’s hard not to have a pet. That’s why over 60% of North American homes have pets. Many families […]

Caring For Your Senior Pet     

Aging is a process we will all experience. Unfortunately, our beloved pets will age much faster than we do. Many Guardians wonder how much time their pets have left and how they can slow down the process of aging. By ages 7-8, Veterinary Medicine considers most dogs a senior, and cats a senior by age […]

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) 

By Dr. Al Townshend Pet Planet Staff Veterinary Released: 07/12/19 On June 27, 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued their third update on the issue of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) and a potential link with specific diets. The investigation began in 2014 but picked up in 2018 when an increase in the number […]

Finding the Right Leashes, Collars and Harnesses for Your Pet

By Dr. Al Townshend When bringing a new pet into your home, a leash, collar, and harness are essential. It’s the first thing you put on your pet, that set the tone to welcoming your pet home, and starting your journey together. The right leash, collar and harness will also be key in teaching your […]

Tummy Trouble     

By Dr. Al Townshend Our pets, like their Guardians, are known to suffer from digestive issues. Causes can range from a simple digestive upset to serious medical conditions. According to statistics compiled by Embrace Pet Insurance in 2018, gastrointestinal issues were the most common reason why pets went to the veterinarian. The average cost was […]

Things You Can do to Help Your Pet’s Digestion     

By Dr. Al Townshend Today, Guardians understand that quality nutrition and proper digestion are keys to a long, happy and healthy life for their beloved pets. They are also aware that the cost of better, natural nutrition is significant, especially when compared to lesser quality foods often marketed through multiple media outlets. Guardians that want […]

The Benefits of a High Meat/Low Carbohydrate Diet   

By Dr. Al Townshend The domestic dog and cat we know today have evolved from their ancestors in the wild, the Grey Wolf and African Wild Cat. Their evolution has also been influenced by man for some 20-40 thousand years. Man, through selective breeding, has created the variety we see in both dogs and cats. […]

Prebiotics and Probiotics are Essential to Your Pet’s Digestive and Immune Health    

By Dr. Al Townshend The term Probiotics refers to the live microorganisms (mostly bacteria) that inhabit the digestive tract of all animals. They are the specific microorganisms that can exert benefit when in the proper levels in the digestive tract. Many refer to them as the “Good Bacteria” because they are so important to the […]

Why Rawhide is Bad for Your Pet?    

By Dr. Al Townshend The canine species has evolved as a predator. As such, they use their powerful jaws to hunt and consume their prey. Chewing keeps their teeth clean and their gums healthy, so they can effectively capture and kill. While the domestic dog of today no longer needs to hunt for its food, […]

Traveling Safely (How to Keep Your Pet Safe)     

By Dr. Al Townshend Having your pet along when you travel can bring even more pleasure to the trip and to the experiences at your destination. That all sounds fine but unless one plans well in advance the experience can be a disaster for the Guardian and for the pet. Even taking your pet on […]

How Hot Is Too Hot for Your Pet?   

By Dr. Al Townshend Summer is almost here and it’s time to think about getting outside. Depending on where you live, the warmer weather that summer brings can be a welcome relief from the chills of winter, or it can be a potential threat to your pet’s health and safety. In the southern portion of […]

The Environment and Cancer in Your Pets   

By Dr. Al Townshend It is becoming clear that the environment is one of the biggest concerns when related to pet cancer. Every day our pets can be exposed to a multitude of potential cancer-causing agents. The real challenge is that it is almost impossible to prevent exposure to some of these dangerous substances. Minimizing […]

Cancer Prevention Begins with Genetics   

Dr. Al Townshend As with humans, we are learning that genetics can play a significant role in reducing the risk of your pet developing cancer. Before you even get a pet, it is important to consider genetics in the pet you might consider. We know that certain breeds have a greater incidence of cancer: Rottweilers, […]

Cancer and the Common Warning Signs   

Dr. Al Townshend Cancer is one of the major concerns of all Guardians. It has been estimated that 6 million dogs and nearly 6 million cats will be diagnosed this year. The cause of death in 47% of dogs, especially dogs over ten years of age. 32% of cat deaths will be the result of […]

What Can You Expect During Cancer Treatment?   

By Dr. Al Townshend There are potential side effects to any treatment and cancer is no exception. The ultimate goal is to always try and maintain the best quality of life for the pet. No matter the treatment, there are some common side effects to consider: pain management, nutritional support and maintaining a positive environment. […]

Improving Your Pet’s Mental Health

Dr. Al Townshend The mental and emotional health of your pets is just as important as their physical well-being. Neglecting their needs can create stress and we all know that stress encourages all sorts of both physical and mental issues that will have a significant effect on a pet’s quality of life and even life […]

Can a Pet’s Diet Affect Their Behavior?   

By Dr. Al Townshend One of the most common reasons Guardians give up their pets is due to bad behavior. While diet is not the only cause of behavior issues, what we feed our pets and how we feed them can have a significant impact on their behavior. Common pet behavior issues include: Aggression Mood […]

Can a High Protein Diet Affect A Pet’s Mood and Behavior?   

Dr. Al Townshend Guardians are aware that most dogs, and especially cats, do better when the bulk of their total daily nutrition comes from protein and fat, not carbohydrates. However, some question whether a high protein recipe affects a pet’s mood or behavior. The internet frequently comments on this high protein discussion, specifically as it […]

Tips on Training Your Pets     

Dr. Al Townshend When it comes to our pets, many consider training to be what we once referred to as obedience training. Today we know that training should go far beyond just learning a few commands. Everything begins before the pet comes home. What are the house rules? Is getting on the bed or other […]

Pets are Part of the Family  

By: Dr. Al Townshend According to a Harris Poll,  Americans have always had interesting relationships with their pets. Three in five Americans today (62%) have a pet. Among Guardians, seven in ten people have a dog (69%), while half have a cat (51%). Out of the Guardians surveyed nine in ten (91%) considered their pet to […]

The Benefits of Rotational Feeding for Pets   

By Dr. Al Townshend Rotational feeding means feeding your pets a variety of foods rather than the same food all the time. This can mean varying the type of animal-based protein (chicken, beef, lamb, etc.) in the type of food you feed or varying the type of foods you feed such as kibble, wet, raw […]

What’s the Scoop: Your Pet’s Poop Can Tell the Story   

By: Dr. Al Townshend As responsible Guardians, we are constantly on the lookout for signs of health in our pets. One clear sign of our pet’s everyday health is their poop (veterinarians often refer to poop as stool). We have to clean the litter boxes and/or take our dogs out for walks on a regular […]

How To Read An Ingredient Panel   

By Dr. Al Townshend The number of pet foods available in North America is overwhelming, and each one is claiming they are the very best. Without doing a little bit of homework, it is almost impossible to decide what foods might be best for your pets. Certainly, the staff at all Pet Planet stores are […]

Benefits Associated with Food Categories   

By: Dr. Al Townshend When it comes to feeding our pets, dry pet foods come to mind for most Guardians. Kibble has been the traditional way of providing a daily diet for dogs and cats, ever since commercial pet foods were developed. Today, the choices go well beyond just kibble to include a variety of […]

The Importance of A High Protein Diet    

By Dr. Al Townshend The domestic dog we know today evolved from their ancestors, the wolf. There is some controversy as to when that happened. Most agree that it began some 20 to 40 thousand years ago. Like wolves, dogs evolved as carnivores or meat eaters. During their domestication process dogs have gained a better […]

Beyond the Brush – Other Factors of Pet Dental Health   

By: Dr. Al Townshend As with humans, regular brushing of your pet’s teeth is considered the best and most effective way to maintain pet dental health. That said, not everyone is willing or able to brush their pet’s teeth every day and still want to do all they can to slow the onset of dental […]

How to Tell If Your Pet Has a Dental Issue   

By: Dr. Al Townshend Dental Issue Prevention The first step in avoiding a dental issue is examining your pet’s mouth regularly. Your veterinarian will do a thorough examination of the mouth as part of its annual exam. However, catching problems early is important as dental issues can happen, if not dealt with immediately. Exams are […]

How to Brush Your Dog or Cat’s Teeth   

Like human dental hygiene, the best way to slow the process and delay dental cleanings is to brush your pet’s teeth. For instance, The American Veterinary Dental College says; “Brushing your dog’s teeth is the single most effective means to maintain oral health between professional dental examinations”. According to Dr. Morgan Deramus, associate veterinarian at an […]

Why is Dental Health So Important?     

Dr. Al Townshend Do you brush your pet’s teeth daily? Because it turns out – many of us don’t! According to the American Veterinary Dental College, by age 3, many dogs and cats will develop dental disease. As with humans, dental health for our pets is one of the essential things we Guardians can do to […]

The Right Food for Your Pets: Carbohydrates & Fiber   

By Dr. Al Townshend The Good and the Bad Basic Ingredients There is no doubt that protein and fat are the most important ingredients in a diet designed for a carnivore. There are other ingredients that are essential not only to provide a complete and balanced recipe but to go beyond just meeting the basic […]

The Right Pet Food for Your Pets: Protein & Fat   

By Dr. Al Townshend The Good and the Bad Basic Ingredients Have you thought about finding the right pet food for your pet? With hundreds of pet foods available today, every brand advertises their food as the right pet food for your pet. But the truth is there is no one food that is right […]

The Right Pet Food for Your Pets: Ingredients   

By Dr. Al Townshend The Good and the Bad Basic Ingredients Now that you have a basic understanding of the food groups in every pet food, it is also important to take the next step and dive a bit deeper into what makes a good pet food recipe. The best information is on the packaging […]

The Right Pet Food for Your Pets: Vitamins and Minerals   

By Dr. Al Townshend The Good and the Bad Basic Ingredients Vitamins and Minerals are some of the most important nutrients that every pet requires. We at Pet Planet place great value on recommending the best levels of vitamins and minerals for dogs and cats. Every function that occurs in the body depends on vitamins […]

Breath Mint? How To Know If Your Dog Has Bad Breath, Or Something Worse   

They don’t call it “doggy breath” for just any reason. Many of us have leaned over our dog’s faces and experienced the hot breath smell we just wish we hadn’t. But is there any cause for concern over bad breath? Or could bad breath be a sign our dog’s need more help with their pearly […]

Avoiding Obesity – How You Can Keep Your Pet Fit      

The numbers speak for themselves – America has a weight problem. Rather, 53% of dogs in America and 58% of cats are considered either overweight or obese, while in the U.S, currently about ⅓ Of American Adults are also considered obese. It’s clear we are not taking enough steps to tackle the fat – so […]

Why Does My Cat Like High Places?   

Do you ever feel like your cat is avoiding the floor? We all know cats like to be up on things, and they enjoy running around the room as much as possible. Is there a reason they like hopping from the kitchen table to the top of the fridge? Cats Like Vertical Space First of […]

Food Allergies and How They Affect Our Pets   

Just like humans, pets can develop allergies to just about any food or substance in the environment. Unlike the typical human response to allergens — coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and in rare cases, anaphylactic shock — the most common signs of allergies in pets are skin irritations such as itching, scratching, digging, and gnawing at […]

Environmental Allergies – Diagnosing and Treating Atopy   

Allergies to a variety of substances in the environment such as weed, grass and tree pollen along with dust mites and mold spores will cause a skin condition — in genetically predisposed dogs — called atopy. Susceptible breeds include Dalmatians, Golden Retrievers, West Highland White Terriers, Shar Peis, Labrador Retrievers, Cairn Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih […]

4 Dog Food Allergy Myths   

There are four allergy myths that many Guardians believe… Myth #1: Food allergies most often produce gastrointestinal symptoms because it’s the intestinal tract that is exposed to the allergen. Fact: The most common symptom of a food allergy is itchy skin. Myth #1: My dog’s symptoms can’t be the result of a food allergy because […]

Camping Safety – Heading To The Great Outdoors   

Most dogs undoubtedly love camping. A few extra precautions will help make sure that it is a safe and enjoyable experience for them. Be very careful around the campfire. Many dogs are unfamiliar with fire and can easily get burned or hurt. Never leave your dog in the camper or tent while you are out. […]

Litter Safety – Making An Educated Choice    

Understanding Litter Safety When it comes to cat litter, not all are created equal. There are many different cat litter types on the market so it’s crucial you know which ones are safe for your cat to use and those to avoid. Cat litter can pose a danger to your cat in two ways. When […]

Vehicle Safety – Feeling The Wind In Their Fur   

The safest way for any dog to travel is in a secure crate or specially designed seat belt/harness. A crate or safety harness will protect your dog from injuries on impact and keep him secure in the aftermath. If you are injured in an accident, emergency personnel won’t have to worry about getting past your […]

Water Safety – All Dogs Can Swim… Right?   

Life Jacket Safety If you take your dog around a large body of water and/or in a boat, it’s best to err on the side of caution and put him in a life jacket. A common misconception many Guardians make is assuming that all dogs can swim — that’s not the case. Other reasons for […]

Top 5 Ways To Prevent Cancer In Pets     

Cancer is the most common disease that occurs in pets. It reduces their quality of life and shortens their life-span. Beginning early in a pet’s life to reduce the risks can have a huge impact on the time and quality of life a pet has with their family. #1 – Choose Your Puppy or Kitten […]

Five Ways To Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy   

Nutrition 1 – Feed your pet nutritious food that is species appropriate — high in quality protein and low in carbohydrates. Two good choices are grain-free and raw. 2 – Give your dog raw bones or high-quality dental chews to help keep plaque and tartar from forming on their teeth. Do not feed dogs cooked […]

Joint Health Treatment     

Fortunately, there are myriad ways to treat joint problems in pets. Below is a list of some conventional treatments and complementary therapies that can help relieve pain, get your pet moving again and keep their joints healthy and strong. It’s always advised to talk with your veterinarian to help determine the best course of treatment […]

Joint Health Prevention     

Dogs and cats are born to run, jump and play, free of pain and joint problems, but some still develop joint and mobility issues that can seriously affect their quality of life. The good news is that many joint issues are not part of the normal aging process and are preventable if addressed early on. […]

List of Ingredients   

Animal fat is a by-product of meat processing and is obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial process of rendering or extracting. Animal meat (turkey, chicken, beef, fish, etc.) is the clean flesh derived from the slaughtered animal. Animal meat meal and by-product meal is the clean, rendered remainder of a […]

Propylene Glycol   

Are you giving your pet dangerous Propylene Glycol? If you are buying him soft treats from the grocery store, then you probably are! What is Propylene Glycol? Propylene Glycol is a synthetic chemical preservative and flavour enhancer linked to kidney damage. It is also used as a less-toxic version of the sweet-tasting chemical found in […]

Premium vs. Grocery Pet Foods   

Why do Pet Planet Ambassadors spend much of their time discussing and educating customers on the benefits of premium pet food? Because what our pets eat, the quality of nutrients & proper supplementation are the foundations for their health and longevity. Domesticated pets have acquired many problems such as allergies, skin conditions, behavioral issues and […]

Digestive Enzymes     

Digestive enzymes are substances that nature put into the bodies of our pets (and our own) to unlock the nutrition contained in food. Enzymes are also found in plants and raw foods in their natural state. Almost every process that goes on in the body requires enzymes. Nobel-prize winner Dr. James B. Sumner suggested many […]

What is Catnip?   

Catnip, or Nepeta Cataria, is a perennial plant that grows in North America and Europe and belongs to the herbs’ mint family. Its flowers are white with crimson dots, and the scent of the herb can be smelled from several yards away. Outdoor plants can grow to well over three feet tall. Catnip plants have […]

Declawing Your Cat   

Your couch and your nerves are in tatters. You’re scolding your cat, knowing all the while that it’s futile. This is one of nature’s most pragmatic and self-sufficient creatures. “Why the Fuss?” they seems to say. “I’m simply doing my thing – what’s with you?” You’re at an impasse. What to do? What Do Veterinarians […]

Top 10 Reasons to Rescue  

Written by Mary Clark at Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc. Permission granted to freely reprint and distribute this document with credit to LRR, Inc at http://www.lrr.org/ With most family members gone during the work week for 8 hours or more, housetraining a puppy and its small bladder can take a while. Puppies need a consistent schedule […]

Pets as Gifts    

Are you thinking of giving a pet as a surprise gift, you might want to reconsider. To many people, a puppy or kitten is the perfect symbol of the true spirit of giving. They represent wonderment, innocence, exuberant energy, unconditional love, and hope for the future. While pet Guardianship is undoubtedly rewarding, getting a pet […]

Making The Right Choice   

Finding A Responsible Breeder For A Purebred Puppy The Canadian Kennel Club When you have narrowed your breed choices to a shortlist and are about to move to the next and most crucial step – the dog’s actual purchase – it is imperative that you locate a reputable breeder. As with any expensive purchase, buying […]

Embrace Guardianship  

Pet Planet’s vision is a world in which animals are treated with respect for the unique individuals they are… a world in which consideration is given for an animal’s needs and quality of life…a world void of animal exploitation, abuse, and neglect. It is because of our passionate dream that we are happy to partner […]

What is Colostrum?

Life’s perfect first food, colostrum is the pre-milk fluid produced by all female mammals prior to giving birth. Naturally rich in immune and growth factors, colostrum helps insure the health of the newborn. Animals of all ages can benefit from taking colostrum because it has applications for every stage of life and it’s never too […]

The Genetic Link to Cancer   

This is Kali in 1997. She died May 5, 2003 of Hemangiosarcoma. So did her brother, Czar, in 2004 and her sister, Bailey, in 2006. There is a lot of speculation about the causes of the epidemic rates of cancer in our dogs today. One area that warrants in-depth research is breeding practices. With cancer […]

The Dangers of Rawhide for Dogs    

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, […]

The Canine Biting Louse – Trichodectes Canis    

Trichodectes Canis Is your dog scratching a lot? Are they having trouble sleeping (restless)? Is the coat dry and “scruffy” looking? They may have Alberta’s most prevalent canine parasite – lice! Canine Biting Lice are very common in Alberta, especially during the winter and spring months. Recent years have been especially ‘good’ years for lice, […]

Pet Health Myths     

Pet Planet believes good health starts with superior nutrition, which is why we choose the foods we carry with great care. Responsible pet Guardians make decisions for the animals in their care based on advice they receive from professionals in the pet industry. Occasionally, the nutritional information from one source may contradict the information provided by […]

Possible Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats and Options for Treatment     

The Possible Signs of Cancer The rate of cancer in our animal companions is alarming. Recognizing the signs that THE disease may be present in your pet is the first step in helping. With many illnesses, early diagnosis and treatment are key to favorable progress.  The signs of cancer are varied and can be seen […]

Weight Loss Q&A      

My significant other says our dog is fat – I think they’re just fluffy. How can we tell? What should we do if they are overweight? Between 25 and 40 percent of dogs are overweight, but Guardians often don’t know it until they take their dog to the veterinarian for another reason. You can judge […]

Understanding Raw Diets   

Raw Diet At Pet Planet, 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 […]

The Glycemic Index   

What is the Glycemic Index? Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale that ranks the carbohydrates in food by how much they raise the blood glucose levels compared to sugar Carbohydrates break down to form sugar which gives your pet energy. After eating, blood-glucose levels rise. Low GI foods provide more consistent energy levels throughout the […]

Nutrition Q&A   

The primary line of defense in nutritional disorder prevention and immune system maintenance is a sound nutritional program.   Why doesn’t Pet Planet carry some of the most common brands of pet food? As the pet food industry became big business, so did the marketing campaigns of some products. The focus was not on the […]

Food Safety    

Pet food recalls are not uncommon these days making it more and more difficult to trust that the food we feed our pets is safe. Here are a few criteria Pet Planet follows when choosing our product lines. First, we look for pet food companies that own their manufacturing facility. They should source all of […]

Food Dish Safety   

Food Dish Safety For Our Pets Did you know plastic food and water dishes pose a risk to our pets? Plastic bowls are more prone to bacteria build-up. Bowls that have been scratched or chewed are particularly bad because bacteria thrive in the hard-to-clean cracks and crevices. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in […]

How to Choose a Dog Daycare    

Today, Guardians have a closer relationship with their dogs than ever before. They want the best for the pet every day and all day. However, a heavy work schedule and being away for long periods during the day can impact the emotional and physical well-being of a dog. Canine daycare provides love and attention, tons […]

Head Halters for Dogs     

The Problem with Head Halters by Suzanne Clothier Copyright 2000 Suzanne Clothier. All rights reserved. Used by permission. www.flyingdogpress.com Head halters, like ALL training equipment, need to be used carefully. They are NOT appropriate for every dog. Humane trainers need to be aware of and carefully consider the ramifications of any training equipment. NO training […]

Destructive Behavior    

Too many dogs are abandoned to the backyard, or given up for adoption because of destructive behavior. Accepting the responsibility for a dog’s behavior means being prepared to deal with such situations, and to make an effort to change or improve the pet’s behavior. Two reasons why a dog may engage in destructive behavior are […]

Understanding Grooming Scissors    

When grooming your dog at home, your most important tool is a pair of scissors. Scissors are to a groomer what a paintbrush is to an artist. Scissor style, quality, size, weight, cutting ability and tension vary, and each variation results in a different “feel” in your hand. When contemplating the purchase of scissors, consider […]

The Shedding Challenge     

Does your dog or cat shed like mad? Is hair all over your house, your car, and your clothes? Let’s face it, pets shed. At least once a year, dogs and cats “blow” their coats, losing old hair and growing new. Female pets often blow their coats following a heat cycle, pregnancy, or nursing. Many […]

The Importance of Grooming     

All pets require regular grooming for their comfort and well being. Each pet’s coat type will determine the amount and frequency of grooming, but some elements are common to all pets, such as nail trimming, tooth brushing, ear cleaning and brushing. Monitoring Health through Grooming Regular grooming also has some less obvious but no less […]

Should I Spay or Neuter?   

By Jane Johnson of Bluegrace Portuguese Water Dogs Reprinted with permission It’s quite a common question that gets asked, and it is important that you ask it. In our society, breeding dogs is not a right. It is a privilege that far too many people take for granted. We are the guardians of our dogs, […]

Saying Goodbye Part 1     

Eventually, as their pet’s age, many Guardians are faced with making final decisions for their pets. A decision concerning euthanasia may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make for your pet, but it may become necessary for the animal’s welfare. Your decision is a personal one, but it need not be […]

Poison Hazards     

Dogs and cats, especially puppies or kittens, can get into everything! Be aware of the plants you have in your home and yard. The ingestion of azalea, oleander, castor bean, sago palm, Easter lily or yew plant material by an animal can be fatal. Household Dangers Never allow your pets to have access to the […]

Grooming Tips for Winter    

Hair Care There is a common misconception that your dog needs to keep all of its hair for warmth in the winter. However, most of our canine companions don’t need this protection from the cold, as they spend a majority of their time inside where it is warm, with us. For those times when your […]

Common Grooming Supplies    

Here are some common grooming supplies that you should keep close for your pet. Ear Cleaner Be sure to use cleaners that are specifically made for your dog or cat’s ears. Do not use alcohol, which can dry and irritate the delicate skin inside the ear, or mineral oil, which can create a greasy mess […]

Common Grooming Equipment    

Combs There are many types of combs, with or without handles, teeth widely spaced or close together, long or short teeth, etc. While many of these are acceptable for home use, the comb most recommended is the steel half fine, half coarse comb. It is durable and can be used for all stages of grooming. […]

Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears    

By Dr. Al Townshend Signs of a Problem Your dog’s ears should be free of debris, dirt, or excess wax with no odor, sores, or inflammation. A quick inspection of your dog’s ears can rule out any surface area issues. If your dog is shaking his head, tilting his head, or rubbing the ears, it […]

Choosing a Hairstyle to Suit Your Lifestyle    

There are four basic categories of grooming styles, and most dogs will belong to one of these. When getting an idea of what you would like your dog to look like, keep in mind the amount of at home maintenance each clip requires, your dog’s health and attitude towards grooming, and the amount of time […]

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth    

Poor oral hygiene can cause serious or sometimes even life threatening problems for your dog, yet it is often overlooked. Having your pet’s teeth brushed only at the groomer’s is not enough; the onus is on the conscientious Guardian to maintain their dog’s teeth with regular brushing. Regular dental care can not only add years […]

The Basics of Bathing Your Dog    

Bathing your dog at home can be an adventure, especially if you are ill-prepared. This article can offer a few useful tips to help you along the path to a cleaner companion. Water Temperature Water temperature plays an integral part in the safety and enjoyment of bathing your dog. Unlike humans, dogs cannot tolerate hot […]

Alternatives to Toxic Cleaning Products   

The variety of cleaning products on the market today is overwhelming. There are products for every possible cleaning need, do you really need all of them in your home? Are they really safe for you and your pets? Hazardous Chemicals in Toxic Cleaning Products Many cleaners contain hazardous chemicals that can cause health effects ranging […]

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