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The Tails 12 Days of Christmas Sale… Day 1… 25% off all Dog & Cat bowls!

13 Dec

Every day starting December 13th, we reveal a new deal in store, until December 24th!

Starting December 13th, all dog and cat bowls are 25% off their regular price, but some are an even better bargain!  We have a selection of stainless steel, ceramic and porcelain bowls… non-slip, slow-feeders, funky and fun!  Serve your furry friend’s Christmas dinner in style…

Why the FDA report on DCM in dogs has more bark than bite

14 Jul

The thought that dog foods could be causing heart conditions is a terrible thing to consider.

Recently, the media has been reporting on the fact that the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) is investigating a potential dietary link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and dogs eating certain grain-free dog foods. The foods of concern are those containing legumes such as peas or lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes listed as primary ingredients.

I’d like to ease your mind about this.

When I read the FDA report, I found that most of what we’re seeing in the media is either a simplistic interpretation or just outright wrong.

Most critically, the FDA report does not say there is a direct link between any food and a dog developing DCM.  It’s simply one possibility that they are looking at, along with genetics and other environmental factors.  Exploring whether there is causality is not the same as there being causality.

Second, the reports in the media make it seem like there are an awful lot of dogs developing this issue, when the percentage of dogs in the US that have been reported to have it is actually 0.00065%, which includes dogs that are already predisposed due to breed and age.  Let’s put that in numbers.  There are estimated to be about 5.9 million dogs in Canada.  That means that of our 5.9 million dogs, if we saw the same percentages as in the States, we would see 38 dogs develop this issue.

Finally, the reports in the media seem to indicate this is becoming a very rapidly growing problem.  Again, if you look at the FDA report, we see that isn’t the case.  In fact, the rapid increase in cases being reported is not due to increased number of dogs with DCM, but an increase in reporting as a result of this issue being released to the public.  The “cases” themselves are varied and include not only legitimate, thorough reports from vets and owners, but also those that think their dog or cat may have or have had DCM with no data provided (such as food source, breed, age or other vital information) to make their report valid or useful.

Let’s recap.

  1. The FDA report is looking into if there is causality between grain-free dog food and heart conditions.  It hasn’t determined if there is a direct link as of yet.
  2. This is being portrayed as impacting lots of dogs, whereas the percentage is actually quite low, something like 1 in every 153,000 dogs.
  3. Media reports that stress how this is becoming a very quickly growing problem are confusing increased reporting of potential cases with an increase in actual cases.

It is certainly important to monitor your dog for any signs of distress, heart-related or otherwise, but I urge you to not jump to a conclusion that what you are feeding is causing any issues you’re experiencing with your pet.  It’s worth considering and discussing of course, but it is heart-breaking to see caring, diligent dog owners who have been doing what they think is best for their pets, suddenly feel like they have in fact been causing health problems.

My advice, as it has always been, is to feed as varied a diet as possible.  Change up the proteins, carbohydrates and fat sources.  Feed a brand of food that has a history of open communication, rigorous product testing and healthy results and keep your dog active and happy.  Just like in our own lives, if we have a varied diet, stay active, and minimize chemical contact, the odds are in our favour to live happy and healthy lives.

Help us do some Spring Cleaning & save up to 50%!

13 Apr

We’re trying to make room for some fresh, new & exciting products, so we’re asking you to help us and save money at the same time!  We have a huge assortment of items on sale, including dog apparel, toys, crates, collars & leads, beds, and many other items!  All red tag items are great deals, and as always, if you are a member of our loyalty program, you can get even greater discounts on any green tag item…  This sale is on until the end of April!

Doggy teeth cleaning at Tails!

21 Mar

Tails is proud to announce that one Sunday every 6 to 8 weeks, we are hosting Happy Hounds cosmetic teeth cleaning!

A one-hour session results in sparkly teeth for your dog with no sedation… only gentle and natural methods are used! Some dogs are so relaxed during the session that they fall asleep!

Call Tails today for an appointment! 647-436-2529

We love St. Patrick’s Day, and so will your pet!

13 Mar

Every year, in the week leading up to that magical day, March 17th, we have a fun sale!  After you make a purchase in the store, you are invited to randomly draw a poker chip out of a festive hat… and depending on the colour of the chip, you get a discount of up to 30% off your next purchase!  No expiry!

So bring your lucky charm, and come earn a discount on your pet’s favourite item!

What can I do to help my dog lose weight?

02 Mar

First off, if your dog is severely overweight, you need to check with your vet and see if there are any complications that will alter how we approach losing weight.  These guidelines are for an otherwise healthy animal, and will help your dog lose some weight and prevent the ideal dog from gaining.

Feed an appropriate amount of food

This seems obvious, but the feeding guide on your bag of dog food is designed for an average dog with an average metabolism.  In other words, it’s just a starting point.  Feed according to the weight your dog SHOULD BE, and cut back a little to accommodate for any treats you give throughout the day.  Check periodically your dog’s weight and tweak the amount fed based on your dog’s needs.

Let your dog fast if it wants to

A healthy dog should only want to eat as it’s energy reserves dictate.  It fits nicely into our routine to feed our dogs twice a day, but they don’t need the same amount all the time.  My suggestion is to put out a serving, and if it’s not eaten in 10 minutes, put it away for the next meal.  Likewise, if your dog is at a good weight and wants more, that’s ok too.  Some dogs shift their eating cycle to once a day, and that works for them.  As long as their weight is maintained at a good level, there is no need to stress out about the timing or exact amount of food given.

Many owners make the mistake of thinking that if their dog isn’t interested in eating it’s food, that it doesn’t like it.  So they dress it up with different toppings, trying to make it more appealing.  In order to explain how silly this is if the dog just isn’t hungry, I offer this analogy:

Imagine that twice a day you were given a bowl of spaghetti, your favourite, but on this one occasion you just didn’t feel like eating it.  Maybe you had a lazy day and just don’t feel like eating right now.  So I add some freshly ground parmesan cheese to the spaghetti.  Will you eat it now?  You’re still not hungry, although the gesture is appreciated.  Maybe you take a second look and a sniff, but still, you’re just not hungry.  Now I’m upset, and think you MUST eat your dinner!  What if I add some meatballs on top?  Will you eat it now?

No matter what is loaded onto that plate, it doesn’t change whether you are hungry.  Same goes for your dog.  It’s healthy to fast for a day, and don’t forget that dogs are clever.  You dress up the food once, and you will get those puppy eyes every time you offer the food with no toppings.  Stay firm.  You’re in charge.

Feed a food that has a proper balance of fats, carbs and protein

Be wary of foods that emphasize only one of these aspects.  If all they talk about is how high the protein level is, then they may not be looking at the whole picture in terms of a nutritional balance.  If there are all sorts of pictures of fruits and veggies on the bag, but they are actually listed at the bottom of the ingredient panel in amongst the vitamins and minerals, then that’s just a marketing ploy.  Likewise, don’t feed just raw chicken breast and think that’s a complete and balanced diet.

Just like us, it’s difficult for a dog to lose or avoid gaining weight if the food is heavy on the carbs.  Diets for us have shifted from the “low fat is healthy” mantra, to emphasizing healthy proteins, healthy fats, and lower glycemic carbs.  Unfortunately the pet industry hasn’t caught up completely.  There are still “lite” or “weight management” formulas out there that are low in protein and carb-heavy.

Come by the store, and we’ll help you sort through the differences in formulas and find a perfect diet for your dog!



My cat isn’t fat, it’s just fluffy, right? Wrong!

01 Feb

First off, before you say that your dog is merely big-boned, or your cat is just a chunky monkey, let’s review some of the health risks of your pet being overweight:

  • diabetes
  • arthritis
  • bladder & urinary tract disease
  • liver disease
  • thyroid problems
  • torn knee ligaments
  • kidney disease
  • asthma
  • back problems
  • heart problems – including high blood pressure & heart failure
  • gall bladder disease

In short, a lot of the same risks a person has with regards to their weight, also affects dogs and cats.  Being underweight is also not good, and can be a symptom of an underlying problem.  In the quest for your pet being the best it can be, let’s figure out where your dog/cat fits on the obesity scale.

It’s not always easy to look at your dog objectively and be able to tell if your dog is at the ideal weight, especially if it’s really hairy, but it’s very important for their health that you are aware and willing to address it.  This picture shows you how to identify an overweight or underweight dog…

Looking from above, you should be able to see a waistline, but no ribs, and you should definitely not be able to see the bumps of the spine!  If the waist is equal or bigger than the chest, your dog is overweight.

Looking from the side, you should see a bit of a tummy tuck.  If the line of the tummy is flat across from the chest or is larger, your dog is overweight.

And what about your cat?  Is it on the tubby side?

Similar to dogs, you should not be able to see ribs, but still a waistline, and that swinging paunch is definitely a sign your cat is obese.

So what should you do if your cat or dog is overweight?  Or underweight?  Stay tuned!  Or come see us at Tails, 1035 Coxwell Ave, East York for a personal (non-judgmental!) consultation.

January… nail trims monthly – an easy and essential New Year’s Resolution!

07 Jan

You may not think of your dog’s nails at this time of year, but we do!  With winter comes long nails.  There’s salt on all the sidewalks, so if your dog goes bare-footed this winter, chances are it’s doing it’s best to walk only on snowy lawns and in parks.  This means the nails aren’t being ground down on the pavement as they usually are, so nail trims in the winter are crucial.  Any dogs wearing boots are likewise not getting that pavement grinding.

Regardless of the weather, there are many good reasons for maintaining your dog’s nails at the right length.  Here are some them:

One reason for a good nail grinding in winter is to preserve those boots!  The boot-wearing dog saves it’s little tootsies from the ravages of salt, snow and ice, but those nails aren’t hitting the pavement anymore, so the nails are getting really long, and wearing out those boots really fast!  Plus, with really long nails, the boots just don’t fit the same, and can be uncomfortable.  Short, smooth nails are the best option.

Long nails also snag on EVERYTHING!  The carpet, their sweaters (and yours), and we’ve seen some pretty nasty broken nails just from racing around outside having fun!

Dogs that always have long nails can also adjust their gait over time, resulting in potential joint issues.

Long nails mean less traction on hardwood floors and ice which is a challenge, but also a potential danger for those dogs that already have joint or ligament concerns.  You may think nails would add to their grip, but without full contact of the pads to the ground, they have less surface touching the ground, and less feel for their footing!

We’ve also seen nails that have been so overgrown, that they’ve curled and started growing right into the pads!  This is understandably very painful, and difficult to trim.

So how do you know when your dog should have a nail trim?  Ideally once you hear the tapping of the nails on the hard floor, or every month.  The dew claws (up on the side of some feet) always need a trim since they don’t ever make contact with the ground, and the other nails never wear evenly.

A dog’s nails have a vein inside that is called the “quick”.  As the dog’s nail grows, so too does the quick.  This means that if your dog’s nails are very long, the quick is very long.  We will do a nail trim just to the tip of the quick, preventing bleeding and pain.  When the nail is trimmed, this quick recedes a bit away from the tip.  Our best recommendation for dog’s with nails that are too long and aren’t to their ideal length after one trim is to come in every 2 weeks until they are back to a good length, and then you can carry on with a trim once a month.

Just to help make sure your New Year’s Resolution is off to a good start, we’re offering a nail trim & grind for the same price as a regular nail trim for the month of January 2019!  Drop by or call 647-436-2529 to book!  And of course nail trims & grinds are included with every grooming service including a bath!