Summer 2012 Newsletter

It’s our 10th anniversary!

June 2012 marks ten years since It’s Raining Cats and Dogs opened on Academy Road.  It astonishes me that a whole decade has passed since Jamie and I (and at the time, Quincy) greeted our first customer.  We have seen and heard so many nutritional miracles, welcomed new four-legged customers and grieved the passing of others, celebrated birthdays, puzzled over perplexing health issues, delighted in solutions.  There have been super great times at our little store as well as difficult, rough patches.


I have been blessed with remarkable staff throughout the years:  Su-Sheela, Rhonda, Michelle, Tammy, Lori, Christina, Melissa, Joanne, and Evelyn.  Every one has willingly shared their experience, expertise and knowledge and enriched my life as well as the lives of hundreds of cats and dogs.  And let’s not forget our 4-legged greeters:  Jamie, Quincy, Stanley, Sadie, Sully, Milos, Kinte, Bella, Shadow, Daisy, Terra, Turtles, & Lacey!  I’m not going to even try to estimate the number of treats consumed while they were “on duty”!


To celebrate our 10 years, beginning in September, we will be sending store coupons to your in-box.  These coupons will offer you discounts on store products which we hope you will enjoy and which may just help your budget!


I want to personally thank you and your four-legged family for your business over the years.  It has been a remarkable journey of learning and sharing and assisting you has been an absolute pleasure.

SUMMERTIME and the livin’ seems full of ticks!

Joanne and I spent a good half hour in May picking ticks off Stanley’s chest.  I’ve never seen so many in such a small area!  And several times, I woke up to find one crawling around on my body.  Yuck, yuck and yuck.
Many people turn to flea and tick medications during tick season to avoid this creepy insect altogether.  But the topical preparations are laden with pesticides that can harm your dog in more ways than one.  They deplete the immune system and compromise overall health.  In fact, they’re so toxic that people shouldn’t come in contact with them at all – plus they cost a lot of money.  Flea and tick medications contain chemical pesticides that leach directly into your dog’s body and can cause terrible long-term damage to the liver and other organs.
Lucy Postins (owner of The Honest Kitchen), in the January/February 2012 issue of Dogs Naturally,recommends adding brewer’s yeast and garlic to your companion’s meals or using an essential oil combination to repel unwanted bugs.  She notes that Pennyroyal is also an excellent herbal repellent (though it should never be used around pregnant pets or pups) and that boric acid is great for reducing flea infestations in the home.  Not surprisingly given her expertise in pet nutrition, she observes that pets who eat healthy, whole food diets are much more resistant to flea infestations.
I started Stanley on the GRRR-Licks we sell at the store and as a natural way to avoid these guys, I think they worked!  GRRR-Licks are a garlic “treat” with all natural ingredients.  You break off a piece and feed it to your dog every day for a month before (so the manufacturer claims) it is fully effective. 

 Travelling? Food & Tips for the Road!

Healthy, convenient nutrition is important for your pet.  There are lots of good quality packaged foods and treats to take on your travels but those who want to feed real food might find themselves wondering what they can bring with them that is consistent with the diet they traditionally feed.
There are numerous dehydrated foods that are light and compact and easy to take on the road and just require water!  Most include meat as the major ingredient.  For dogs, It’s Raining Cats and Dogs carries NRG in chicken, beef, bison and salmon selections (; Sojo’s in turkey and beef (; and The Honest Kitchen ( in chicken, turkey and fish.  The Honest Kitchen also has cat foods in either chicken or turkey.  These companies provide great options for your pet and all three use only fresh, human-grade ingredients.
If you’re into making your own, here’s another option!
Choose a protein: 4    eggs (raw or cooked)
                            1 ½ cups of fish (e.g. canned wild salmon)
                            1 ½ cups raw or cooked meat (e.g. chicken, beef, turkey)
Choose a carb:     3    cups sweet potato, rice or cooked barley
                           4 ½ cups cooked oatmeal
Start with the carb, add your choice of protein, mix in ¼ to ½ cup pureed fruits or vegetables (the brighter colour, the better!), and 1 tablespoon fish or vegetable oil.
Water, water, water!

Many dogs stress and will not drink while traveling so it’s important to ensure that he stays hydrated throughout your trip to keep those kidneys functioning properly.  Keep an eye on his water intake and add extra to his food if you have concerns.
And finally, if your pet shows anxiety while traveling (for example, motion sickness, drooling, panting/restlessness), you might want to try Homeopet’s Travel Anxiety, a natural homeopathic remedy that is fast acting and non-sedating.

 Did you know…

A cat has five more vertebrae in their spinal column than a human does.

Dogs have sweat glands in between their paws.

I need that!


Pet Kelp Skin & Coat 2-in-1 Supplement

Good nutritional support is the foundation of healthy skin and coats for pets.  Pet Kelp’s Skin & Coat formula delivers an optimal ratio of 3:1 Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats through the addition of organic flax seed to their excellent kelp supplement.  Pet Kelp hand harvests their nutrient-rich kelp from pristine Nova Scotia waters.  Kelp continuously filters and bio-accumulates nutrients from the surrounding cold productive ocean water, and contains over 70 vitamins and trace minerals.  The unique combination of trace minerals from kelp and the omegas from the flax seed provides a supplement that benefits overall health as well as your pet’s skin and coat.

Plantain: is it a weed or a secret remedy? 

Have you given much thought to that weed growing in the crack of your walkway?  Plantain is often maligned as an invasive and common week.  But guess what?  It is high in vitamin C, A and K and studies have shown that it is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Plantain contains allantoin, an anti-inflammatory phytochemical that kills germs, speeds wound healing and stimulates the growth of new skin cells.  It can be used topically to treat minor cuts and a wide range of skin disorders as well as bug bites. Plantain also has lubricating, astringent, emollient, soothing and blood-clotting abilities.

In the digestive tract, plantain functions much the same way as slippery elm.  It can reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, relieve diarrhea and symptoms of chronic bowel disease.  Plantain seeds and husks are also a source of dietary fiber and work well as a laxative.  European research supports the use of plantain as a treatment for bronchitis, sore throat, and cold symptoms in humans so think of it when you hear of Kennel Cough!
To make fresh plantain juice, run the entire plant through your juicer or blender with a small amount of warm water.  You can strain the liquid or use it as is (it will keep in your fridge for a week or two).  For internal ailments, give your dog a teaspoon for every 20 pounds of body weight with his meals daily.  If you are uncertain about if your dog is predisposed to plant allergies, apply a little to the skin before giving it to your dog internally.


Stormy Weather

I wrote about Jamie’s fear of storms last year and here we are, entering our 13th season of fright and stress.  Thankfully, we had few thunderstorms last summer.  We may not be so lucky this year.  Here’s a few more new (and some old) tips for survival:
DO try to create a safe place from the storm, such as an interior room or basement where the dog can’t see lightening or hear thunder.  A machine playing white noise can also help.
DON’T pull a fearful dog from his hiding spot.  He’s there because that’s where he feels safe.
DO talk to a frightened dog in a calm, reassuring voice.
DON’T crate a dog who is clawing at the doors or walls in an attempt to prevent him from being destructive.  Confining him may only cause him to panic more and he could get hurt trying to get out.
DON’T punish a dog who has destroyed something in a panic.
DO give your dog positive attention by massaging the ears, playing ball, giving him a body massage – anything that will help him relax.
Products that can help:

Like an anxiety wrap, Thundershirts apply slight, maintained pressure around a large portion of an animal’s body.  The gentle pressure indirectly affects the central nervous system and this raises the dog’s anxiety threshold.  This means that more stimuli would be required to cause the dog to react.   It is similar to swaddling a baby.  The Thundershirt website has great videos showing the effect this clothing can have.
Homeopet TFLN:
This is a 100% natural homeopathic pet remedy that provides relief from thunderstorms, fireworks, wind, loud noises, gunshots, restless, anxious and unwanted behaviours.  It is fast acting and non-sedating.
I would recommend starting either “treatment” early in the season.  I have found with Jamie that if I am consistent in applying the TFLN, by the end of the thunderstorm season, she is significantly calmer.

Sully the lifeguard patrols for trouble in the water

Some people actually laugh out loud when it’s been suggested they consider a life vest for their canine friend when out on the lake in the summer.

“All dogs can swim!” they say. Or, “He’s in and out of the water all day long, I don’t need to worry about him!”

The truth is there are many dogs who CAN’T swim…at least not well enough to save their own lives should they become stranded in the middle of a lake after a boat capsizes, or if they fall overboard. If all dogs were built like retrievers we might not have to worry, but selective breeding, while creating all the wonderful breeds of dog we enjoy today, has left many dogs at a disadvantage.

Bracycepahlic breeds, or all those cute, squishy faced dogs like pugs and boston terriers and boxers and mastiffs, can have difficulty breathing and taking in enough oxygen for daily activities, let alone a lifesaving swim. Deep chested dogs are also built at an awkward angle to sustain any amount of swimming. Dogs with short tails, or tails that have been docked, lack a rudder for direction. Dogs with small paws lack the ‘paddles’ needed to sustain their strokes. Many dogs have never spent any amount of time swimming, and so lack conditioning and general knowledge of how to swim. These dogs can and do panic.

The number one reason to put a life vest on your dog when out in the open water is fatigue. Think about it….if your vessel capsizes you will be dealing with a great many issues at once-rounding up family members and belongings. Your dog will be expected to stay afloat on his own until you can reach him…many dogs will panic and tire from the exertion. If the dog spends any extended amount of time in the lake or worse drifts off or attempts to swim to shore, fatigue is certain.

A life vest provides buoyancy and can at least keep your dog’s head above water if he tires. Hypothermia can also affect dogs who are working hard to stay afloat in a cold lake. A life vest does not necessarily provide a great deal of warmth but it will allow them, again, to stay afloat. Visibility is another factor. It is much easier to see a dog who is wearing a bright yellow or orange vest with reflective tape bobbing in the water, along the shoreline, or even in the bush around the lake should your dog make it ashore and become lost.

ID tags can also be attached to the life vest should you and your dog become separated for any length of time. As well, a life vest is something to grab onto your pet with, almost like a handle. A wet, paddling dog can be hard to grab hold of, especially if you are reaching down from your boat. A life vest can be grabbed or hooked onto and make lifting your pet to safety easier.

Let’s face it, summers are short in Manitoba and there is nothing we Manitobans love more than getting out into the season with our dogs at our side. And what dog doesn’t love being on the boat, standing right on the bow, ears blowing back in the wind like Jack and Rose on the Titanic? As guardians, we must ensure their safety as well as their enjoyment. Please consider investing in a life vest for your dog (or other boatriding pets!) this summer.

“Thank god I have my floatie vest on, it’s deeper than I thought!”

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