New Grooming 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.     Includes only the regular grooming charge and does not include a discount for any “add on” services.      The discount will not be taken if the appointment is rescheduled within 7 days of the originally scheduled date.


Gluten — Beware This Inferior Dog Food Protein Impostor

Hey, nobody likes an impostor. Am I right?

Dog Food Protein Impostor

Yet you may have already come face-to-face with this unexpectedtrickster and not even known it.

You see, in the world of dog food, protein truly is the Holy Grail.

Dogs crave it for survival. And companies market it for profit.

All things considered, the higher the protein content of a dog food, the greater its perceived value.

It’s Not Just the Amount
of Protein That Counts

But the amount of protein only tells half the story. It’s a protein’s digestibility and its biological value that matter more.

And that’s the problem.

You see, protein can come from just about anywhere — even from non-nutritious sources like leather, hair, feathers, chicken beaks.

Or that mysterious meat substitute — gluten.

Basically, gluten is what’s left over from certain grains — like wheat, barley, rye and other wheat-type cereal grains — that’s had all its starchy carbohydrate (the good stuff) washed out of it.

The rubbery protein residue that’s left is the gluten.

Think of gluten as a sort of plant-based protein concentrate and meat substitute.

Now, although corn gluten meal is the most common form of this AAFCO recognized phrase found on a dog food ingredients list, this item isn’t technically a true gluten.

Yet because it’s more commonly known by its colloquial name, corn gluten meal is still considered (on this website) to be similar enough in its protein-boosting capacity to true glutens to be red-flagged as such on every dog food ingredients list we publish.

The Two Most Common Problems
with Gluten Ingredients

In any case, here are the two most important things to know about gluten ingredients…

1. Glutens are less nutritionally complete than meat based proteins. They’re low in some of the ten essential amino acids dogs need to sustain life

2. Glutens can raise the protein reported on a food label. So, manufacturers frequently add them to a recipe to make a product look better than it really is

The Bottom Line

Whenever you discover gluten on a dog food ingredients list, you should always question the true meat content of the product.

Reasons to ONLY Purchase Your Pet Food from An Independent Pet Food Store


Reasons To ONLY Purchase Your Pet Food From An Independent Pet Food Store

Do you want an expert to personally monitor how your pet is doing with a particular pet food? Sort of like your own personal pet food dietician? Shop ONLY at an Independent Pet Food Store.

Petco has recently announced a new campaign – “What we feed them matters”. Petco’s press release states they are providing “nutrition education” in-store and online. On the Petco Food Matters webpage it states things like “There’s a difference in what we offer. Because some ingredients, like preservatives, can be harmful to pets, we carefully select the brands offered on our shelves.”

It sounds good, but…walk into any Big Box pet food store or message an online pet food store and ask these questions:“Which pet food sold here is made with USDA inspected and approved human edible ingredients?” and/or “Which pet food sold here is made with no ingredients from China?” and/or “Who manufactures this pet food?” I’ve done this – many times. Each time I’ve gotten the deer in the headlights look (or the standard non-response email that all our pet foods are quality). They don’t have a clue about what they are selling.

Now here is what happens in many Independent Pet Food Stores…

You walk in – and the store is tiny compared to the Big Box store. You look around and there might only be 15 different brands of pet food in the store (by the way – that’s a good sign! – more below). You ask the same three questions…

“Which pet food sold here is made with USDA inspected and approved human edible ingredients?” “Which pet food sold here is made with no ingredients from China?” “Who manufactures this pet food?”

In most (not all) Independent Pet Food Stores – 100% of the pet foods sold are made with human edible ingredients (food ingredients not feed ingredients). Many will not carry a feed grade ingredient pet food – if they wouldn’t feed it to their own pet, they won’t sell it to you.

At the risk of losing customers – many Independent Pet Food Stores will not carry one pet food that contains any ingredient sourced from China. I know several store owners that are completely China free – food, treats, toys, beds. This isn’t easy – and it isn’t cheap. Most are not interested in selling cheap products – they want to sell quality products.

And Independent Pet Food Stores that I am familiar with, know exactly who manufactures (and where) each food they carry – in most cases store owners have had lengthy conversations with the pet food owners (not sales reps – owners) before a new food is even brought into their store. You have a question about a pet food they don’t know the answer to – they will call the pet food owner and ask for you.

And why are the Independent Pet Food Stores only selling a few different brands? If you ask them why, you’ll probably learn it has nothing to do with shelf space. It has everything to do with quality – most will ONLY sell real food from companies their experience tells them are quality and safe. Most want to carry more brands – but they won’t sell their souls or risk your pet’s health for sales of iffy pet foods. I consider it a good thing (a great thing) to walk into a pet store and not be bombarded by hundreds of brands and varieties.

(Most) Independent Pet Food Stores…

  • Provide ongoing monitoring of your pet’s nutritional health for no additional fee.
  • Are the front line of defense against problems with an ingredient change of a food that could affect your pet.
  • Are constantly gathering feedback from other customers on each brand they sell. Very beneficial to each of their customers.
  • Know the quality of ingredients, country of origin of ingredients, where and by who the pet food was manufactured by, and recall history of every product they sell.
  • If they don’t have answers, they will get answers for you directly from the manufacturer.

But here is what I consider to be the best benefit of shopping only at a Independent Pet Food Store…

Personal attention. Not just someone to answer your questions, but personal attention to how your cat or dog is doing a particular pet food. With each return visit, most Independent Pet Food Store owners ask how your cat or dog is doing on the food, and if things aren’t just right – they will steer you towards a brand that might be better suited for your pet. A slight change of ingredients or perhaps even a different ingredient supplier in another brand might be the best your your individual pet. (Most of) These people have the experience with their brands and know how to direct you. It’s like having your own personal pet food dietician for no extra charge.

I have lost count of the conversations I’ve had with Independent Pet Food Store owners where a pet food consumer came in with a sick pet. Sick to where everyone else had given up hope the animal could be healthy again. The store owners knowledge and experience of what bad nutrition can cause and what good nutrition can cure – has guided countless sick pets back to health through good food.

Small miracles happen everyday in these little stores. Please support these people – buy your pet food from them. I know so many of these folks, believe in what they do, and learn from them. I hope all of you get to know your local Independent Pet Food Store too.


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible

Dogs Get Back on Feet wtih Assistance from ISU College of Veterinary Medicine

Rudy increases his pace on the treadmill, a stoic expression on his face. On the other side of the room, Lucy is having a blast as she moves her legs through the water to reach the other end of the pool. Nearby, Larry concentrates as he begins a warm-up routine incorporating balancing exercises using the stability ball.


Is this the Lied Recreation Athletic Center? No… The Sports Medicine Department? You’re getting closer… It’s the Iowa State University Canine Rehabilitation Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine.


Every day dogs perform a range of activities in the clinic, located in the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital, under the supervision of certified rehab practitioner Joanna Hildreth and Dr. Mary Sarah Bergh, Iowa’s only board-certified canine sports medicine and rehab specialist. “We offer therapy for patients who have orthopedic or neurologic injuries, as well as rehab for obese, arthritic, or geriatric patients,” Hildreth said.


The rehab facility has an in-ground pool, therapeutic ultrasound, land treadmills, stability balls, cavaletti rails, stairs, grass, and offers neuromuscular electrical stimulation. The facility also has two underwater treadmills. “The first patient to use our underwater treadmill was one of the Des Moines K9 Officers who was shot in the line of duty,” Hildreth said. After surgery and post-operative therapy, he went back to active service for many years until he retired. “We have helped several service and therapy dogs get back to their jobs,” she added.


Patients receive customized therapy plans to help improve their particular condition. In some cases, it may be to recover from spinal surgery or ligament damage incurred by a sporting dog, or improve an arthritic condition of an older patient. Whatever the situation, these dogs receive lots of encouragement to do their exercises from the veterinary technicians and students.


Did you know? The Canine Rehabilitation Center sees nearly 1,000 animals each year. In addition to dogs, cats and even a miniature pony have rehabbed at the facility.


K9A K9 Officer exercises in the underwater treadmill
at ISU’s Canine Rehabilitation Center.