Children get more satisfaction from relationships with their pets than with their brothers or sisters, according to new research from the University of Cambridge. Children also appear to get on even better with their animal companions than with siblings.
The research adds to increasing evidence that household pets may have a major influence on child development, and could have a positive impact on children’s social skills and emotional well-being.
Pets are almost as common as siblings in western households, although there are relatively few studies on the importance of child-pet relationships.
”Anyone who has loved a childhood pet knows that we turn to them for companionship and disclosure, just like relationships between people,” says Matt Cassells, a Gates Cambridge Scholar at the Department of Psychiatry, who led the study. “We wanted to know how strong these relationships are with pets relative to other close family ties. Ultimately this may enable us to understand how animals contribute to healthy child development”
This study, published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, was conducted in collaboration with the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, part of Mars Petcare and co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of a larger study, led by Prof Claire Hughes at the University of Cambridge Centre for Family Research. Researchers surveyed 12 year old children from 77 families with one or more pets of any type and more than one child at home. Children reported strong relationships with their pets relative to their siblings, with lower levels of conflict and greater satisfaction in owners of dogs than other kinds of pets.
”Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings,” says Cassels. “The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely non-judgmental.
“While previous research has often found that boys report stronger relationships with their pets than girls do, we actually found the opposite. While boys and girls were equally satisfied with their pets, girls reported more disclosure, companionship, and conflict with their pet than did boys, perhaps indicating that girls may interact with their pets in more nuanced ways.”
“Evidence continues to grow showing that pets have positive benefits on human health and community cohesion,” says Dr Nancy Gee, Human-Animal Interaction Research Manager at WALTHAM and a co-author of the study. “The social support that adolescents receive from pets may well support psychological well-being later in life but there is still more to learn about the long term impact of pets on children’s development.”
Reprinted from http://healthypets.mercola.com/
By Dr. Becker
I frequently discuss “prescription” pet diets here at Mercola Healthy Pets in terms of the cheap, biologically inappropriate ingredients they contain, much like most other processed pet foods on the market.
I typically don’t talk as much about the high cost of these diets or the fact that there’s nothing in the majority of them that requires a prescription, because my focus is usually on the low-quality ingredients instead.
But if you’ve ever purchased one of these “special” dry or canned diets for a pet, you know how expensive they are, and you might be interested to learn that a group of pet parents recently filed a class action lawsuit against several pet industry companies, alleging they engaged in price fixing of prescription dog and cat food in the U.S. in violation of anti-trust and consumer protection laws.
Defendants Include 6 of the Biggest Pet Industry Players
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California and lists the defendants as Mars Petcare, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Nestlé Purina Petcare, Banfield Pet Hospital, Blue Pearl Pet Hospital and PetSmart. Read the full complaint.
The plaintiffs, pet owners who purchased prescription diets from one or more of the companies, assert they conspired with each other to falsely promote “prescription” pet food. The specific pet diets mentioned in the complaint include:
- Hill’s Prescription Diet
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet
- Iams Veterinary Formula
The complaint points out there’s no reason for the foods to require a prescription, since they contain no drug or other ingredient not commonly found in non-prescription pet diets. The lawsuit further alleges:
“Retail consumers, including Plaintiffs, have overpaid and made purchases they otherwise would not have made on account of Defendants’ abuse and manipulation of the ‘prescription’ requirement.”
Lawsuit Accuses Big Pet Food of Abusing Their Dominant Position in the Marketplace
Mars PetCare is the largest supplier of pet food in the world. Nestlé Purina Petcare is in second place, and Hill’s Pet Nutrition is No. 4.
PetSmart is the largest pet supply chain in the U.S., Banfield is the largest veterinary clinic chain and Blue Pearl is the largest veterinary specialty and emergency care chain.
The lawsuit argues that these companies abuse their position as the biggest players in the industry to promote “prescription” diets for dogs and cats.
Veterinarians actually hand pet owners written prescriptions for a certain kind of pet food, and the pet owners go to PetSmart or another location to purchase the prescribed food. These pet guardians, according to the complaint, are typical of people who consistently follow the advice and direction of medical professionals.
Why Is a Pet Product Containing No Drugs or Other Controlled Substances Being Sold by Prescription Only?
However, the “prescription” dog and cat diets manufactured by Mars, Purina and Hill’s are not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because they don’t contain drugs or other controlled substances. According to Tim Wall, writing for PetfoodIndustry.com:
“The case document states that the American public reasonably expects a prescription requirement implies that a substance is medically necessary, contains a drug, medicine or controlled ingredient, has been FDA evaluated and legally requires a prescription. The plaintiffs allege that the prescription pet foods do not meet these criteria.”1
The lawsuit asserts that the prescription requirement allows the defendants to “… market and sell Prescription Pet Food at well-above market prices that would not otherwise prevail in the absence of the Prescription Authorization.”
There are legitimate reasons why “prescription” diets for specific medical conditions should not be fed to healthy animals.
For instance, feeding a diet intentionally lower in protein and phosphorus may be warranted for end-stage kidney disease patients, but it would be a poor choice for healthy or growing animals.
The deception about “prescription” ingredients in the foods, for the most part, is legitimate. There is one exception. One human-grade, fresh pet food company producing medical diets that actually do contain therapeutic ingredients, such as Chitosan to bind phosphorus in their kidney formula.
‘Defendants Are Engaged in an Anticompetitive Conspiracy’
The complaint further asserts that the positioning of the pet food as “prescription” is effective in part because all the defendants work together to promote it. The veterinary clinic defendants write the “prescriptions” for the food, which is made by the pet food company defendants, and sold by defendant PetSmart.
Many people are unaware that Mars owns 79 percent of Banfield. Guess who owns the remaining 21 percent? PetSmart (which is why many Banfield clinics are located inside PetSmart stores). Mars also owns 100 percent of Blue Pearl. According to the complaint:
“Defendants are engaged in an anticompetitive conspiracy to market and sell pet food as prescription pet food to consumers at above-market prices that would not otherwise prevail in the absence of their collusive prescription-authorization requirement.”
The lawsuit alleges that selling the pet food as “prescription” is unfair and deceptive under California consumer protection laws. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for activity on this class action lawsuit and update you when there’s progress.
Meanwhile, if your own veterinarian is in the habit of recommending “prescription” pet food for your dog or cat, I encourage you to ask for balanced, homemade recipes instead. Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of money for poor-quality pet food that will not improve your furry family member’s health in the long run.
Living in a Winter Wonderland?
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones living in one of the balmier states, you’ve felt the cold chill of winter arrive. For some of us, cold weather is regarded as a mere nuisance; for others, it’s a fun time filled with snowboarding, skiing and other winter joys; and still others will find this time of bone-chilling weather and huge piles of snow a veritable nightmare to endure.
Whatever your viewpoint on winter, one thing remains the same for all of us with pets: it’s a time when our beloved babies need a little extra care. Luckily, PetMD has compiled a list of tips to protect your pet from the dangers of winter.
1. In or Out?
Does your pet spend most of the time in the backyard? You might want to keep her indoors during the freezing months, especially if you live in bitterly cold areas. No one wants an icicle for a pet — they’re simply not that cuddly.
2. Bare Naked Truth
If you must keep your pet outdoors, consider this: Would a fur coat alone (even if it is faux mink) keep you warm against the elements? No? Well, your pet’s fur coat isn’t enough protection for your pet during winter, either. Be a pal and provide your dog with a warm, dry, and draft free shelter outside; the shelter should also comply with any state laws that apply.
3. No More Frozen Dinners!
Because it takes more energy to stay warm when it’s cold, outdoor animals eat more during the winter. Likewise, fresh, running water is vital for maintaining your pet’s health. Keep an eye on the water bowls and make sure they haven’t turned into little skating rinks for fleas (boo, fleas!). While ice pops might be a fun treat, your pet really doesn’t want to have to lick a frozen lump of ice to get his water.
Indoor animals, meanwhile, have different dietary needs. They conserve energy by sleeping more in the winter. Dogs and cats also exercise much less when they do go outside, so you may need to adjust the amount of food accordingly. After all, no one wants an overweight pet.
5. Frosty the Biting Snowman
We’re not talking about the latest horror movie offering from Hollywood. Frosting is a serious problem during winter, especially for paws, tips of tails, and ears. This makes it even more important in keeping your pet warm, especially if they’re an outdoor pet. Get special booties, coats, and maybe a hat for your pet during her walks, and look for early warning signs of frostbite such as firm, waxy skin and blisters.
6. The Deadly Drink
The worst of all the wintertime chemical spills is antifreeze, which often leaks from a car’s radiator. It may taste delicious to your cats or dogs, but it is extremely deadly — even the smallest sip can be fatal. If your pet starts acting “drunk” or begins to convulse, take him to the vet immediately. Better yet, keep all pets away from the garage and clean up any accidental spillage. You should also not let your dog wander too far during his walks. Who knows what dangers lie in your neighbors’ driveways?
7. Salty Solution
Do you live in an area with cold and icy winters? Then you are probably accustomed to salt on the sidewalks and roads. However, the types of salt (typically calcium or sodium chloride) used to melt ice and snow and keep it from refreezing are somewhat harsh on delicate paws — not to mention they corrode concrete and damage the beautiful vegetation. Protect your pet’s paws, and keep him warm during walks, by outfitting him with booties.
8. Joy Ride
Cars are particularly attractive to animals in the winter-time, especially frigid cats that love to climb up under the hood and curl up on the warm motor. This, as you can imagine, has led to many mishaps when motorists start their car … ouch! Avoid such accidents by tapping your car’s hood before starting the vehicle. Sure, you may wake Kitty from her deep slumber, but she’ll thank you in the long run.
Wintering with your pet is mostly common sense. If you’re cold, your beloved pet will most likely be cold too. So snuggle up, keep your pet warm and safe, and sooner than you can say “Jack Russell,” we’ll all be hitting the beaches for some summertime fun.
Wholesome Pet Essentials
M-F 10:00 am-7:00 pm
Saturday 9:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday 11:00am- 5:00pm
Phone (515) 289-2006
Lots of new products are arriving on our shelves.
Outward Hound toys – multiple squeakers, bottle crunch
toys; new kitty litter boxes and mats; food dishes and
New treats are coming in weekly: Charlie Bear,
Fruitables for cats, Give Pet dog treats.
Spot Farms Pork Bacon is made from IOWA Pigs!
Come in and check out what’s new!
Mid Iowa Pet Expo – October 22-23, 2016
We will be attending the Mid Iowa Pet Expo, held at the
Varied Industries Building on the State Fair grounds in
DSM. All pets are welcome: dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs…
Bring the fur kids… We would love to see them
Come See The Wholesome Pet Essentials Crew!
We’ll have great deals and grooming demonstrations.
$1 off coupon available on the website
Saturday, October 22 10:00am-6:00pm
Sunday, October 23 10:00am-4:00pm
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Pet of the Month
NOVEMBER: to be announced
To enter your pet: email a
picture and a short bio to
October: 22-23rd -Mid Iowa
October 30th- DMV, Abby’s
November 23rd- OPEN
November 24th –
Thanksgiving: Store Closed
We are in search of
customers who have a story
to tell about how a product(s)
or service that has changed
there pets experience and
their health . Please email
What makes our grooming different than others? Here at
WPE, our groomers deliver personalized services with a
gentle touch, one-on-one attention and we give you the
opportunity to speak directly to your pets groomer. We
only use the highest quality, all-natural options in our
We care for you pet(s) as much as you do!
Rebook Discount! If you rebook your pet for their next
full groom when you checkout from the current
grooming session, we’ll apply a 10% grooming discount
on that next booking.
Don’t Forget to Schedule Your Holiday Grooms!
We are filling up fast for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Call and Schedule Today: (515) 289-2006
We have appointments available 7 days a week!
Does your pet suffer from
allergies; food or
We have options for your
pet(s) for both environmental
and/or food allergies!
Stop in today with any
questions and we can help
you find a solution.
Here at WPE, we offer a
self-serve pet wash station.
No appointment needed, stop
in any time with you
shedding or dirty dog. We
supply towels, a basic
shampoo, and a dryer for you
use. All for just $15.
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The makers of Beneful have made some minor changes and launched a new marketing campaign:
Raw meat is allowed to be added to the ingredient panel in it’s wet weight. So by weight it frequently can occupy the first place on the ingredient panel. However, once included the product dries down in processing and falls way down the list. Looks like the rest of the ingredients look pretty much like they used to:
So even though they now include a little bit of meat in the diet you will find an ingredient list that includes whole corn, chicken by-product meal, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, beef tallow, soybean meal, poultry by-product meal and my favorite…..egg and chicken flavor. So grain and grain by-products still constitute the majority of the dry product composition.
It’s all about marketing to these folks.
Excerpted from the Pet Health Network
#1. Watch out for ticks in fall
Just because fall is here doesn’t mean that ticks aren’t still lurking. In fact, according to the University of Rhode Island, many species of ticks are active even into the winter and can survive the first frost. Here are some tips to keep your pet tick-free this fall:
- Don’t let ticks cozy up. Eliminate their favorite environments, such as leaf and garden litter, where ticks can sometimes survive even into winter.
- Check for ticks frequently.
- Continue using tick control and repellent products, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors with your pet enjoying activities like hiking, camping, or hunting.
- #2. Beware rat poison and other rodenticides
Fall is the time of year when mice, rats, and other rodents start to scurry for warmth.
- Be careful when it comes to mouse traps and rodenticides like rat and mouse poison. Nobody wants an infestation of mice, but many poisons that are currently on the market can be very harmful to dogs and cats. Direct ingestion can be deadly.
- Even if you don’t have a rodent problem or choose to deal with mice and rats humanely using live traps, you never know what methods your neighbors are using. The carcasses of rodents that have been killed by rodenticides can also be dangerous, so if you see the telltale tail dangling from your pet’s mouth, make sure he drops it and keep an eye on him, and if you think your pet has eaten any of the rodent, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- #3. There is a fungus amongus!
In some regions of the country, fall is just as wet as spring. That means that more mushrooms dot backyards and forest floors. While most mushrooms are perfectly safe, there’s a small percentage that are highly toxic to our furry friends (and to us!).
- #4. Feed your pet right
It’s getting colder out there, and cool temperatures mean more energy is needed to stay warm. You’ll probably need to feed your pet a bit more food – food generates body heat, so pets who spend a lot of time exercising outdoors need to eat more than in the summer.
- #5. Watch out for antifreeze toxicity
In preparing for the winter months ahead, people tend to use fall to winterize their cars. This often involves changing fluids such as antifreeze, which can be deadly for pets. Consider this: one to two teaspoons of the stuff can kill a 10-pound dog! Less can kill a 10-pound cat.1
- Part of the problem is ethylene glycol, a substance in antifreeze that has a sickly-sweet smell that entices pets to lap it up. That’s why it’s important to clean up spills immediately and make sure your pets steer clear of the garage while you’re working on your vehicle.
- #6. Beware chocolate and hearty foods
The fall and winter parallel our holiday seasons, when we ramp up our intake of hearty, heavy foods and sweets. It’s important to make sure your pets don’t get into any foods that can make them sick; for dogs, this means chocolate, grapes, and raisins are off limits because they are toxic.
- Just because some foods aren’t technically considered toxic to pets doesn’t mean they’re safe. Rich, high-fat foods can cause stomach problems such as diarrhea andgastroenteritis and even more serious conditions like pancreatitis.
- #7. Be careful with decorations
Holidays mean decorations! But be careful about leaving irregularly shaped objects and trinkets around the house. While you might like to get into the seasonal spirit, dogs and cats do too – in the form of sampling, say, decorative gourds or other fall props. Eating strange objects can be dangerous and lead to foreign body obstruction.