Who Will Be the Pet of the Year?

Zoey (June)
 Who was your favourite Pet of the Month for the year 2010? Cast your vote by writing the pet’s name on our Facebook page wall! The pet with the most votes by New Year’s Eve will win four fabulous custom designed pet ID tags from The Tag Studio (one for each season or major holiday!!!) Plus, the title of “Pet of the Year!” Trust us, these stylish tags are GREAT, but if you don’t believe us learn more about them here! So what are you waiting for? Tell your friends and vote today! And the nominees are…. 

Junior (July)
Bailey (August)
Snuggles (September)


Charlie (October)
Brandy (November)
So quickly! Cast your votes today for one of these adorable canine companions! And psssst! All you cat owners out there, please be sure to send in your photos for future “Pet of the Month” contests! You can’t let dogs have all the fun! 
(Please note, only votes cast on our Facebook page will be counted and only one vote per person will be included in the final count.)

The Tag Studio is IT for Stylish Pet ID!

Photo Courtesy of The Tag Studio
There can be no denying that pets have unique personalities, so why not treat them to an ID tag that truly fits not only their name, but their character too.
Founded online in 2008, The Tag Studio offers an extensive range of ID tag options to reflect the individuality of each pet. Equipped with a collection of 15 different shapes composed of the finest anodized aluminum and all available in 8 bold colours, this Montreal family business presents a custom software interface so that you can personally design your tag with the simple click click click of a mouse.
Choose from a over 50 fun fonts and 100 different graphics, as well as all sorts of interesting backgrounds and layouts. There are even clever holiday and Halloween designs available, including snowmen, reindeer, ghosts and goblins! The Tag Studio thinks of everything when it comes to efficient and stylish tag design, even offering a unique “Medical Condition” parameter for pets’ important medical information, further enhancing their safety when away from home. High resolution icons indicating cell phone numbers, home numbers and microchips can also be included at no additional cost. And the best part, you can fully preview your tag’s design every step of the way, as well as have the option of receiving PDF proofs for approval before your order is finalized.
Usually processing within 24 hours and delivered to your doorstep by Lettermail or Xpresspost with tracking, these little laser engraved gems are the perfect holiday gift for your beloved pet. The Tag Studio is it when it comes to creating a beautiful product that will help your pet find their way home in style.
Remember to cast your vote for your favourite “Pet of the Month” and help them win not only the “Pet of the Year 2010″ title, but also four of these fabulously stylish pet tags too!

Healthy Hearty Holiday Treats

By Liz Bradley
 While the irresistible scents of roasting turkey, warming shortbread and frothing eggnog linger in the air, so too does the perpetual worry of packing on a few too many holiday pounds. But what about the holiday weight put on by your pets? Although it tis’ the season for splurging and spoiling, when it comes to dishing out decadent pet treats, a lot of owners are barking up the wrong Christmas tree.
Rather than feed your beloved pooch treats containing unnatural preservatives and additives, which can be harmful to digestion and general nutrition, why not consider going to an all natural pet-bakery and getting some healthy gourmet goodies?
Founded by Carol Elliot in 2004, on beautiful Vancouver Island, Pet Treat Bakery creates high quality, natural ingredient, sweet treats fit for any furry friend.
To make a long story short, a little SPCA rescue dog called Spike is the reason behind Pet Treat Bakery. Spike refused to eat usual commercial treats, so one day Elliot’s daughter-in-law suggested baking for the fussy little dog. The resulting banana biscotti was wolfed down in two seconds flat.
Elliot continued baking for Spike and a few canine chums, using only wholesome chemical free ingredients, until something reminiscent of the “Twilight Bark” from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians happened. Demand for Elliot’s delicious pet savvy treats sky-rocketed and before she knew it, a bakery was born. Today, Pet Treat Bakery’s products are sold in 35 different shops and five veterinary clinics – and Spike is the company’s president. 
“A lot of junk goes into typical pet foods and treats,” says Elliot sadly. ““When you’ve got a dog or a cat, you have to look beyond the price point, as you would with your children, and take a real look at what you feed them. If you wouldn’t put it on the table for yourself, don’t put it in your dog’s bowl.”
The philosophy behind Pet Treat Bakery is threefold. Firstly, treats have to be all natural. “Peanut butter has to be just peanut butter,” Elliot insists. “No chemicals that you can’t pronounce.” Secondly, treats have to be tasty. Spike always lends a paw with this process, although sometimes a difference of opinion occurs between official taste-tester and chief baker. “I hate liver pate, but he loves it,”chuckles Elliot, who guarantees Pet Treat Bakery’s products are safe for human consumption. And finally, treats have to be affordable.
Nowadays a lot of dogs have developed environmental and wheat allergies, so Elliot has modified several recipes to suit these otherwise treat deprived pups. The sumptuous ‘Sweet Potato Pie,’ for example, is made with no grains, no eggs and no dairy, so dogs with allergies can indulge. Dehydrated beef, bison and pork liver is also allergy friendly and contains no cholesterol.
Elliot warns,, however, that although her pet products are safe for human consumption, not all human foods are safe for pets, like chocolate. Onions can also be lethal to dogs, grapes, currants and raisins harm the canine kidneys, and some dogs have trouble digesting peppers.
“People should be especially careful about giving their dogs Christmas dips with an onion base or leaving chocolates on tables this time of year,” says Elliot. She recommends instead trying your hand at making some tasty Christmas Twisters.

Emily Ho never dreamed she would start an all natural pet bakery, but while attending university a chocolate lab led her from paramedic studies to an entirely different path.
“This poor dog had every allergy in the book,” recalls Ho. “Including horrific ear infections.” When it seemed that all hope was lost and the poor fellow was going to have to be put down, Ho switched his food over to a raw diet and in just two weeks saw a significant change. “He used to have black tar leaking from his ear all the time, because of the infections,” Ho says. “But it cleared up after being on the raw food.”
A friend and Ho then came up with the idea to not only make dog treats look good, but to keep them healthy too. In 2006, Bon-A-Pet-Treat (BAPT) Bakery opened in Calgary Albeta.
Everything is made from scratch, with the freshest ingredients. “We try to keep our treats looking good, but we don’t slather things in yogurt or over do it,” says Ho, a great believer that the taste should speak for itself. Entirely vet approved, BAPT’s products bring pet feeding back to basics. “It’s a whole food concept,” reveals Ho. “People are always looking for better ways to eat for themselves, so it only makes sense that we do that for our pets too.”
BAPT offers a wide range of unique products from the oh-so popular ‘Cheese Hydrants,’ ‘Peanut Butter Banana Bones,’ and ‘Honey Apple Bears,’ to a variety of Pup-Cakes, including mud-pie, carrot and brownie flavours. BAPT also produces adorable specialty gift baskets for milestone events in a pooch’s life. For example, there’s the “Nut’s I’ve Been Neuteured,” or “Congratulations on Your New Puppy” baskets – both filled with wholesome drool worthy delicacies.
When it comes to knowing what is good for your pet and what is harmful, Ho says, “just read the label. You should know what you’re getting and what you’re giving. You should be comfortable in knowing what is in a product, that cheese is actually cheese and not some flavour filled chemical.”
BAPT creates different novelty treats for every holiday and is sure to have an abundance of stocking stuffers in store this season.

What is Rachelle Jandard’s secret to spoiling dogs rotten and keeping them healthy? Slow baking.
“Every biscuit we make is baked slowly to retain the nutrition of the ingredients,” says Jandard, owner and founder of Spoil the Dog Bakery, in Guelph, Ontario. “Most large companies can’t take the time to bake slowly and instead blast their biscuits at about 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which cooks a lot of the nutrition right out of the product.”
Jandard bakes at an even 300 degrees Farhenheit, no higher, no lower. She also does not grind the flax seed she uses (an excellent source of Omega-3, which is great for the skin and coat), once again preserving as much of the fundamental nutrition and flavour as possible.
Jandard was inspired by her now nine year old dog, Moka and a desire to give her canine companion only the best, after realizing she had no idea what the majority of ingredients were in typical dog treats.
A great deal of research and trial and error later, Jandard developed a few recipes and started giving them out amongst friends. A few months later Global Pets caught a whiff of what was cooking and propositioned Jandard about wholesaling. Spoil the Dog Bakery now supplies 100 locations with hand-made gourmet, nutrition packed pet indulgences.
Spoil the Dog Bakery refuses to bake with corn, wheat, soy, salt, suger or any artificial preservatives, preferring to use as many organic ingredients as possible for increased flavour and nutrition, and to support farmers who are attempting to help the environment. The primary base in Jandard’s culinary concoctions is the humble chickpea, very high in calcium and low in calories, and safe to eat for wheat allergy sufferers.
Fashioned into cute little shapes, including stars, maple leaves, flours and donuts, these gourmet treats pack quite the nutritional punch, winning praise from veterinarians, pet owners and, of course, the pets! Spoil the Dog Bakery also cooks for the fussy felines of the world, and, as of this year, horses too!
There are even some simple healthy snacks you can start feeding your dog today right at home. Carrots are a terrific low-calorie snack, as are apple slices. Oatmeal is easy enough to whip up and provides essential amino acids, while being a great source of fibre and iron. Even garlic can be chopped up and given as a rewarding tid-bit, to help cleanse the blood, prevent pesky fleas and boost the immune system.
So this holiday season, why not treat your pet the way you would want to be treated? With a delicious mouth-watering snack, that also happens to be good for you.
By Laura L. Benn

Duncan the Lab-Mix

Courtesy of Hopeful Hearts Rescue
 We’d like you to meet Duncan — an adorable and exuberant young man with a true zest for life and a love of snow. Approximately 15-months-old, this happy young fellow made his way to Hopeful Hearts when his time was up at an overcrowded shelter. He is an absolute dream with older children (he loves little kids too, but his large size and bouncy nature make him more suited towards a home with older children) and is a very loving boy with a huge heart to give. He’s eagerly awaiting his forever home and will be oh-so happy to see you! Click here for me information.

Saving O Tannenbaum

By Stephanie Heim
Cats climb trees so it should come as no surprise when they want to climb the only tree that’s available this time of year. Unfortunately, this just happens to be your Christmas tree decorated from top to bottom with your grandmother’s priceless antique ornaments. Instead of fighting with Kitty this year, why not try anticipating trouble before it happens. Here are some tips to make sure that you, Kitty and your family heirlooms all remain safe.

 Claim the tree as your territory. No, this doesn’t mean chasing your cat through the house growling and hissing. Simply set up the tree and leave it undecorated for a few days. Most of the time, the cat will explore and then get bored and leave it alone. But take that time to let your cat know that the tree belongs to you. Whenever they approach it, use your handy-dandy water bottle and give Kitty a quick spritz. But note, an undecorated tree is key with the water bottle method, since you obviously don’t want to electrocute your cat.
  To help your cat develop an aversion to the tree, leave orange peels around the bottom. Cats don’t like the smell of citrus, which can be used to your advantage. If you get tired of having dried out orange peels lying around your tree, then pick up some Bitter Apple. It’s a repellent to pets so spray the whole tree with it while it’s still undecorated. Since the apple scent dissipates quickly, you can refresh every couple of days, as long as the lights are unplugged. Keep it safe, people.
  Maybe you want a more decorative option for keeping your cat away from those shiny baubles. So, pile pine cones under the tree, because cats absolutely hate walking on them (who knew?) Spray the pine cones with some citronella or bitter apple and the cats will stay away for good while still earning your house a spot in the Martha Stewart magazine.
  There’s always the chance that your cat has stopped climbing the tree but continues to sit underneath it to enjoy a nosh on the lower branches. I have a cat that doesn’t even care if it’s real or fake before he starts chewing. To avoid this behaviour, just put a small dab of Tabasco sauce on the lower branches. It’ll be a spicy surprise for your furry friend and chances are will keep them from coming back for seconds.
Other helpful ways to keep your tree from crashing down include use fishing wire to secure the tree to the wall. Hang the most expensive or nicest ornaments at the top where Kitty probably won’t be able to reach them. Try using plastic ornaments at the bottom, so if they do get knocked off there’s little chance of breakage. And most importantly, despite whatever urges you might have, don’t play with your cat while you’re decorating the tree. If you make it a game, then the tree will become their playground. And for the love of cats, avoid using tinsel. It’s bad for your cats to begin with if they ingest it, and it’s shiny sparkly constitution unavoidably attracts a cat’s curious nature. Besides, tinsel is just a hassle anyway, so do yourself a favour and leave it off this year.
In my own experience, cats tend to grow out of the tree climbing. They either lose the kitten spryness or their youthful curiosity. However, cats are also creatures of habit, so once in a tree chances are they may always try at least once every year to return to the bushy branches and hide away. Even though Kitty might look gosh darn cute while he’s in there, remember hanging out in a Christmas tree can be dangerous, so follow these tips and keep him purr-fectly safe!
By Allison Vorstenbosch