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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Taurine is one of those things you’ve probably seen mentioned all over the place lately but when you go to research, every article you find is written in medical gibberish. Fear not, pet parents, we’re here to break down exactly what it is and why your pet needs it–no dictionary required!

In a nutshell: Taurine is an amino acid that is exclusively found in animal-based proteins. It works to keep our pets’ bodies functioning properly, especially for normal vision, heart health, digestion, and reproduction.

Why it matters: While cats and dogs naturally can produce taurine, dogs just barely produce what they need and cats are physically incapable of producing enough to ensure healthy functions. While this might sound a little alarming, your furry friends can get more taurine through their diet!

Where does taurine come from: As mentioned above, taurine only naturally occurs in animal proteins, which is one of the many reasons it’s crucial for your pets to get as much meat as possible! Hearts are especially jam packed with it, but there are also supplements available. Most pet food brands are conscious about the amount of taurine in their recipes and add in additional taurine if necessary.

How to make sure your pet gets enough taurine: Feeding fresh is almost always the answer when it comes to boosting your pet’s health! Even if they only eat two fresh meals a week in addition to their current diet, you’ll see a world of difference in everything from your pet’s coat, energy levels, poop (it’ll become less smelly and smaller!), and, of course, taurine levels. Fresh food is the closest you can possibly get to what an animal would eat in the wild without actually releasing them in the woods to catch their own dinner–that means it has optimal nutritional benefits!

Another option is to start including fresh or freeze dried treats into your pet’s routine. Remember how we said that hearts are one of the best sources of taurine? You can actually feed freeze dried hearts as a yummy snack! Some of our personal favorites are the Freeze Dried Chicken Heart Bites by Fresh Is Best. It’s a single-ingredient snack that’s 100% American-made. They’re even so tasty that both dogs AND cats love them! You can check them out in our stores or order them online here.

You can also easily add daily supplements to your pet’s diet. There are quite a few good ones available but our go-to and most trusted is Herbsmith’s Taurine Boost powder. It’s as simple as adding a spoonful to your pet’s bowl and giving it a quick stir!

 

In conclusion: Taurine isn’t as complicated and scary as the internet makes it out to be!  Remember: if you still feel unsure, confused, or have questions, reach out to us. We aren’t kidding when we say we could talk about pet wellness all day!

Have you caught the Bowl Boosting Bug? Check back with us every Tuesday to learn more little ways to add big nutrients to your pets’ bowls!

If you read our last blog, you’ll already know the basics about what to expect when you’re trying to get your pets through TSA security and on the plane. If you missed it, you can check it out here (x).

Keep in mind, knowing what’s expected of your pets by airports and airlines is only half the battle. Yes, you need your pets to be in carriers, but what type of carriers? What about leashes? Harnesses? I.D. Tags? It all seems overwhelming, especially since you don’t want to bring “the wrong thing” and get denied entry. Here’s the good news: it’s not as hard as you think.

The Right Leash

Remember that no matter what size your pet is, at some point they’ll need to be on a leash to make it through security; even if they’re in a carrier. With all the extra stimuli airports have, you need to be especially cautious about things that could spook your pet–the last thing you want is your furry friend running wild through an airport! The key is having something reliable and short so you have firm control at all times. Do not use a retractable leash. You can check out our blog about why we never recommend them, but the shorthand is this: they’re at a higher risk of breaking, and also there is no reason to allow your pet to have “extra space to roam” when keeping them close to you needs to be a top priority.

That might sound a bit harsh, but we cannot stress enough that this is way different from a walk in the park. As we said before, your pet could bolt, but also keep in mind that despite your dog being friendly and harmless, there could be people who are afraid of them or simply don’t know how to properly greet a dog. Not only are leashes a matter of safety, but common courtesy, as well.

We’re proud to say that all of the leashes we carry are safe and dependable. For this specific situation, we love the “Flat Out Leash” by Ruffwear because it’s strong, durable, and the perfect length for keeping tight control over your dog. It can be held like a regular leash or buckled around your waist for hands-free control. This option also has a short traffic handle that can be used when you need to keep your pet extra close. We also have a great selection of leads by Up Country and The Worthy Dog with fun patterns and matching collars to travel in style! Which brings us to our next point…

Harnesses and Collars

A harness, in general, is great for taking your dog out. Since it wraps around the chest and torso, it relieves pressure on the neck vs. using a collar and leash alone. In short: you have more control and your dog feels comfy, it’s a win-win for both of you!

Remember that just because your dog is in a harness doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a collar as well. It’s crucial for all pets to have a collar since that’s what’ll hold the I.D. tag, which should have your pet’s name, address, and best phone number to reach their “pawrents”.

Don’t let the name fool you–Worthy Dog also makes cat collars!

Carriers

When finding the right carrier, always make sure it’s “TSA Approved”. Typically, this is going to be a collapsible carrier that gives your pet enough room to stand up, lay down, and turn around. This allows for easier storage on the plane under the seat–plus, it can be a little more comfy for your furry friend! When in doubt, look for the “TSA APPROVED” seal of approval when you’re out shopping and always check the guidelines of your specific airline.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever traveled with your pet and how it went! And be sure to check back next Wednesday for our final installment of Surviving Airports With Pets!