Trying to pinpoint an allergy in your pet can be quite challenging. Any one of the following symptoms could be pointing to an allergy: Constant itching, red skin, chronic eye, ear or skin infections, lack of an appetite, nausea and/or diarrhea and the list goes on.

Allergies can be both seasonal and food-related. Unfortunately, symptoms are frequently the same, which makes it hard to tell what your pet is battling. Both outdoor and food-related allergies can cause the same symptoms.

Is it a true allergy or an intolerance?    The bottom line for your pet is that it doesn’t really matter.   The ‘fix’ will be the same.   So we start on a process of elimination.   We typically begin with elimination of foods since that is an easier process than eliminating the great outdoors!    Common offenders in dogs are the grains….wheat, corn, and soybean meal.    Another common offender is the most commonly used protein source across the pet food industry….chicken. One additional that might surprise would be potatoes.   And potatoes are a common ingredient used in many ‘grain-free’ kibble as starch is needed to produce a kibble.   There are alternatives, however.

We usually recommend a switch to a grain-free formula with a unique protein and we have several to choose from like duck, rabbit or venison.  Of equal importance is to remember that the treats you give your pet are a key part of this process as well.   If you switch to a chicken free and grain free diet it doesn’t make much sense to give them those treats full of chicken.

Give your pet 3-4 weeks on the new food to determine any digestive or skin changes. Changing to a grain-free formula should clear your allergy-ridden pet from yeast buildup, digestive irregularity, lack of energy and skin troubles. Over the course of a few weeks, their symptoms should improve. Your pet’s body needs time to detox, just like our bodies.  GIVE IT TIME. You won’t see 100% of a change in just one small bag or a week.

Probiotics are usually recommended for pets that appear to be affected by environmental allergens.    Probiotics are designed to strengthen the immune system, control yeast and candida, improve digestion and reduce inflammation of the skin. They contain healthy bacteria that can survive within the stomach and intestines to correct imbalances. Probiotics also feed healthy bacteria growth and regulate bowel movements and enzymes that reduce inflammation.

Several of our product lines include the ability to switch among several nutritionally matched foods for different flavors and experiences. An example of this is the Fromm 4-Star Nutritionals.   This also can serve to help prevent your pet from developing an allergy over years of the same exact food….ie., everyday the same chicken based diet.    While ‘rotation’ feeding is not necessary for nutritional reasons, it can help prevent an immune reaction from long term exposure if your pet is at all disposed to such a reaction.

Acana, Orijen, Nutrisource, PureVita and Fromm Are HERE!!!!!

With the recent acquisition of by Petsmart three major quality manufacturers have announced they will no longer supply product to Chewy.    Champion Pet Foods, NutriSource/PureVita and Fromm have all either already or will soon be severing ties to the online retailer.   This means Acana, Orijen, NutriSource, PureVita and Fromm pet foods will not be available through that channel.     Wholesome Pet Essentials is proud to be a retailer for all of these lines and we carry an extensive inventory of all three at very competitive prices and we pride ourselves on our customer service.    Plus we have a frequent buyer program on all these products which is not available from most on-line sellers!    For those not in the Ankeny anutrisource-logorea we can also offer shipping at a minimal cost.   


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The Appropriate Harness

  1. Back-Clip Harness

Back-clip harnesses attach to the leash between shoulders. This type of harness is very comfortable and easy for your dog to walk in, and it is a great option for small dogs and those with throat issues. Another great perk of back-clip harnesses is that the leash is less likely to get tangled under your pet’s feet and it is easy to put on. These are also great for older dogs who may need a little “lift” now and then. Back-clip harnesses are probably most common but can actually cause more pulling effort by some dogs, especially large ones.

  1. Front-Clip Harness

Front-clip harnesses attach to the leash at the front of the dog, at its chest. This type of harness is commonly used for training dogs to walk on a leash and they restrict pulling and certain movements. This  harness gives the owner more control over the movements of the dog and allows for redirection, but the leash can sometimes become tangled while walking. Although this harness offers more control for training, for dogs with aggression issues it may require additional training tools.

  1. Tightening Harness

These types of harnesses come in both front-clip and back-clip options, but have a space that tightens as the dog pulls providing pressure and “reminding” the dog they are pulling. The slight tightening is uncomfortable and for dogs that have almost mastered the art of walking on a leash, this is a gentle reminder. With this type of harness the objective is to apply gentle pressure.

Getting the Right Fit

Here are some tips when fitting your dog’s harness.   We frequently have customers try their harness on in our store!   Note that we have all three types of harnesses at Wholesome Pet Essentials!

  1. Get the Stats. Your pet’s weight, chest measurements and neck measurements are essential when picking their new harness.
  2. Check the harness. Harnesses will tell you what size is best for which weight and measurements. Choose a size that your pet falls mid-way in the scale. If your dog falls in the overlap of two sizes, go with the bigger size.
  3. If your dog is hard to fit, try to choose a harness with many points to adjust the sizing.
  4. When adjusting the harness use the “2-finger rule” as with collars. The harness should fit tight enough that the dog will not be able to escape or pull their legs through, but loose enough that you can fit 2 fingers between the harness and your dog.

How can you tell if your dog’s harness doesn’t fit?

If your dog can wiggle out or pull its leg through the harness it will need to be tighter. If the harness is too tight then you may notice hair loss or chafing on contact areas, commonly across their back or under their arms. A sign that the harness style might not be right for your dog is rotating while being worn, or if your dog is resistant to walking but has walked fine in other harnesses.


Facts on Bully Sticks

#1 fact about bully sticks– They’re 100% Digestible!

Bully sticks are made from a single, natural ingredient that is 100% digestible. In fact, in the United States, the USDA regulates the production of bully sticks to ensure they’re made from all-natural ingredients and free of pesticides, dyes and chemicals. The treat is purely beef pizzle; in other words, it’s 100% meat. Bully sticks are one of the only fully digestible chew treats on the market.

#2 reason we love Bully Sticks – They’re Healthy

Aside from being made from a single, all natural ingredient, bully sticks are full of other health benefits. They are very high in protein and low in fat, making them a suitable choice for dogs trying to lose weight. Because they’re low fat, you can offer them more often without worrying about adding excess fat to your dog’s diet. Beef is also an excellent source of amino acids, magnesium and calcium to promote your dog’s skin, coat, muscle and brain health. Bully sticks are much less likely to cause a blockage like rawhide because of their digestibility and they don’t splinter or break into chunks.

#3 Fact about Bully Sticks – They Promote Dental Health

Bully sticks are an excellent way to promote dental health in dogs. Since periodontal disease is increasingly common in our canine companions, combating it can be difficult. Although they won’t replace regular dental cleanings by your veterinarian, the chewing and gnawing required to work through a bully stick scrapes off plaque and tartar before it sticks to your dog’s teeth.

#4 Fact about bully sticks – They’re Good For All Dogs

Bully sticks come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, which means there’s a perfect bully stick for every dog – whether you’ve got a 2-lb. Chihuahua or a 200-lb. Great Dane. There are regular bully sticks, braided bully sticks and extra-thick bully sticks. They also come in various twists and shapes to spice things up a little bit (mostly for the owners, as the dogs seem to love them all the same). Trial and error will determine which bully sticks are best for your dog and it will depend on how heavy a chewer your dog is and how long the treats last. They are all packed with the same health benefits regardless of shape or size.