Sheepie Snack Sunday: Asparagus

Sheepie Snack Sunday: Asparagus

You can tell Spring has definitely arrived; the husband has put asparagus on my plate almost every night! I had never even tried asparagus until I met him, even Riggs loves asparagus!

Asparagus is full of so many phytochemicals, maybe that’s why it is so tall!

Asparagus also is full of saponins which reduce blood cholesterol and inflammation; quercetin that protect your pet from cancer and allergies; kaemferol, including antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant benefits; rutin has anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cognition-protective properties; lastly, asparagus contains glutathione, which helps detoxify the body, break down carcinogens, and prevent the development of cataracts, containing more glutathione than any other vegetable.

Inulin, the soluble fibre that enables asparagus’ form, also acts as a prebiotic, which feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut and inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria. The amino acid (similarly named) asparagines, acts as a natural diuretic and is also essential to cognitive function.

Most importantly, asparagus contain a lower amount of pesticide residues, so conventionally farmed produce may be suitable but always take precaution before serving.


On your plate:

To make a salad dressing: (R. Woodford)

  • Combine 1 cup of steamed asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon each of:
    • lemon juice
    • Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • A couple of grinds of fresh pepper in a food processor


Blend until smooth.


In Your Dog’s Bowl: (R. Woodford)

  • The tougher, lower portion of asparagus contained the highest levels of rutin, so do not through them out; finely chop, then steam or roast them at 425F for 15 minutes.
  • Asparagus tips can be fed raw.

Asparagus should be cooked until very tender and/or chopped finely to help the dog digest it.

Recipe 2: Shards of Spears (R. Woodford).


  • 10 spears asparagus or a mixture of spears and stems
  • ½ cup water or chicken stock


  • Split each asparagus stem lengthwise, and then chop into fine pieces. Or use a food processor to chop by pulsing 15 times.
  • Bring the water to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan.
  • Add the asparagus, cover, and lower the heat to low.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the asparagus is very soft and the liquid has evaporated.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Nutritional Information:

Key Nutrients:

Calories 1%

Protein 3%

Total fats 0%

Carbohydrates 2g

Potassium 6%

Iron 9%

A 20%

B9 (Folate) 25%

K (88%)

Antioxidants 16%


1 spear of asparagus has a mere 3 calories, equivalent to about less than a teaspoon of commercial dry food.

When you are adding anything extra to your pet’s bowl (RDA), such as treats, don’t forget to omit to make up for those extra calories:

10-lb dog: 2 tablespoons

20-lb dog: 3 tablespoons

40-lb dog: 3 tablespoons

60-lb dog: 1/3 cup

80-lb dog: 1/3 cup

100- lb dog: 1/3 cup


All of our Sheepie Snack Sunday blogs & recipes can be found on our Facebook page in our album here.

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assist, Professional Dog Groomer, Canine/Feline Nutritionist.

Sheepie Snack Sunday – Additives in Processed Pet Foods

Additives in Processed Pet Foods

“Any food that requires enhancing by the use of chemical substances should in no way be considered a food.” ― John H. Tobe

Additives and preservatives are added to commercial pet foods to enhance the taste, stability, characteristics or appearance of the food. They provide no nutritional value and can even have serious consequences.

There are many different additives in processed pet foods. There are emulsifiers to prevent water and fat from separating, antioxidants to prevent fat from turning rancid and artificial colours and flavours to make the product more attractive to consumers and more palatable to the pets. There are also chemicals and preservatives. Even more preservatives are then added by suppliers and others by the manufactures in order to make certain that the product has a long shelf life and is edible after shipping and purchasing. Chemicals such as cancer-causing agents BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin are permitted at relatively low doses.

Additives in Processed Pet Foods Include:

  • Anticaking agents
  • Antimicrobial agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Colouring Agents
  • Leavening Agents
  • Curing Agents
  • Drying Agents
  • Emulsifiers
  • Firming Agents
  • Flavour enhancers
  • Flavouring agents
  • Flour-treating agents
  • Formulation aids
  • Humectants
  • Lubricants
  • Nonnutritive sweeteners
  • Nutritive Sweeteners
  • Oxidizing and reducing agents
  • pH control agents
  • Processing aids
  • Sequestrants
  • Solvents, vehicles
  • Stabilizer, thickeners,
  • Surface active agents
  • Synergists
  • Texturizers

How can such harmful ingredients be included in your pet’s food, you ask? Lack of regulation. The pet food industry is a big business, it is up to the consumer to be an informed, educated buyer, and I am here to help.

What else is in your pet food? Where do the protein sources come from? Do by-products offer a good source of nourishment for our animals? Are by-products and “meals” safe for the pet? Vomitoxin; aflatoxin and mycotoxins. All information you, the consumer should know. Check back often as we will provide you with what you need to know to keep your pets happy, healthy and thriving.

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assistant, Professional Pet Stylist, Canine/Feline Nutritionist.

Find all our recipes on our Facebook page in our album here.

May 1 is National Purebred Dog Day!

May 1 is National Purebred Dog Day!

“I don’t love Old English Sheepdogs because I have a Riggs, I have a Riggs because I love Old English Sheepdogs ”. – Danielle McLean-German, Pet Care Professional.

All dogs should be valued, whatever their ancestry, but the purpose-bred dog and the predictability of its breed is to be cherished and preserved. Over 400 dog breeds exist in the world today, but many are at risk of vanishing forever in our lifetime. ~ National Purebred Dog Day

May 1 is National Purebred Dog Day! It was founded by Susi Szeremy, writer and Puli fancier in 2013. Its purpose is to celebrate the heritage, diversity and predictability of the purpose bred dog through education, and to bring balance to the national dialogue about responsible dog ownership and choice.

While one may argue the infamous, “Adopt, don’t shop”, shopping keeps dogs from needing adopting. Purpose bred dogs from a reputable, responsible breeder are statistically the most likely to stay in a permanent home and the least likely to end up in a shelter.

“10 Reasons I’m Going to Buy a Purebred Dog”

Why do I want a purebred dog?

  • Because I want a puppy whose parents have been carefully selected for health—and who have gone through a series of genetic tests to ensure that the dog I get has the best possible chance of being healthy and well-adjusted.
  • Because when looking for my puppy, I get to work with a breeder, who loves the puppies like they’re her own children and is available to answer all of my questions, give advice, or just happily accept a flood of photos of my puppy growing up. I get a healthy puppy, yes, but I also get a friend for life.
  • I’ll be able to predict my dog’s size, care requirements, temperament, and more from 100-plus years of traceable pedigrees. Also because I have a personal relationship with the breeder, she’ll be able to match an individual puppy’s temperament perfectly to my individual lifestyle.
  • When training my dog, I’ll have the advantage that the process has already been started for me. My puppy has been handled from the start and has already begun to be socialized, which greatly affects how well-adjusted he’ll be as an adult.
  • Furthermore, my puppy will have gotten top-notch expert care from day one. Perfect nutrition, the best medical attention, and ample supervised playtime—all the ingredients for a happy, healthy adult dog.
  • If something should happen to me, my family won’t have to scramble to find a caretaker for my dog because the loving breeder promised in writing to take him back from the start.
  • There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a dog’s natural instincts that have been carefully, expertly bred into him come to life. Watching a pointing breed aiming his muzzle at a bird even though he’s never hunted a day in his life? Watching a Border Collie herd ducks around the yard? Fascinating.
  • And it’s so satisfying to cultivate those instincts into earning medals and titles for my dog in fun sports, like lure coursing, herding, and more. Doing this will also building an unbreakable bond with my dog as we work together as a team.
  • With that new puppy comes a whole community of people who love their breed and their breeders. The American Kennel Club offers a huge network of dog lovers, available to give me advice and invite me to sports and play sessions
  • I’ll be taking time to research a breed that fits my lifestyle and personality perfectly. And by doing that, I’ll be practically guaranteeing that the bond with my dog will be like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I’ll have a partner in crime—a friend who will never judge me and who will share my happiness and my tears for years to come. Who will break my heart when he passes away because he’s been in my life since he was a baby—and even so I know I’d do it all again for him. ​

That’s why I’m buying a purebred dog.


The Disappearing Breeds:

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Sealyham Terrier

Field Spaniel


Sussex Spaniel

Smooth Collie

Skye Terrier

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Irish Red /White Setter

Dandi Dinmont Terrier

English Toy Terrier

Irish Water Spaniel

Lancashire Heeler

Smooth Fox Terrier

Manchester Terrier

Norwich Terrier

**Data from UKC

To find reputable, registered breeders…

within Canada Contact the Canadian Kennel Club:


The American Kennel Club


The UK


BUYERS BEWARE: BYB, Pet Stores, & Puppy Mills.

Choosing a companion for life should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, certain breed fads and buying impulses are becoming a problem and contributing to backyard breeders (BYB) and puppy mills. Breeding is for the betterment of the breed, and not for monetary gain.

When buying a puppy, one should take into careful consideration where they are getting their puppy from and do extensive research into their breed. A puppy should never be bought on impulse.

Backyard breeders (BYB) are the single greatest cause of the pet overpopulation problem. Backyard breeders are motivated by profit, or out of ignorance. This includes irresponsible pet ownership of not getting their pet spayed/ neutered, or the mentality that their children should “experience the miracle of birth”, or they think their pet is a “good dog and should have puppies”. Backyard breeders breed any two pets together regardless of their health and quality, having done no proper genetic health testing. Backyard breeders could be your friend or family member, having seemingly good intentions as they treat their breeding stock as family pets. However, even though they’re “treated like family”, breeding animals without proper health testing to produce litters for profit jeopardizes the animal’s health and wellbeing. They are not knowledgeable on how to breed responsibly, such as screening for genetic health defects.

These dogs are often sold locally through newspaper ads or online. The responsibility of the breeder ends once the purchase is made.

 Puppies coming from backyard bred dogs are a gamble:

  • The parents likely have not been screened for health problems
  • Puppies typically are not sold with contracts and no future support
  • The breeders are not in it for the long haul
  • You have no guarantee on the
    • Health
    • Temperament
    • Appearance
    • Lineage
    • Life Span

Red Flags when Buying from a Backyard Breeder:

  • The seller has many types of purebreds or “designer” mixes being sold
  • Dogs are being sold at less than 8 weeks old.
  • Breeders who are unwilling or hesitant to show buyers the entire premises animals are being bred and kept.
  • Breeders do not ask a lot of questions of potential buyers – there is no screening process: first come first serve deposits.
  • No health guarantees-responsible, reputable breeders are committed and will take back the pet at anytime during the animal’s life, no matter what the reason.

Avoid buying puppies from pet stores. People also buy on impulse as they feel sorry for the dog and feel they “just couldn’t leave the dog there”. That’s exactly what the pet stores rely on to sell their “merchandise” – is your impulse. There is a very good chance that the pet store puppy will develop a health issue that will cost you a lot of money. It is also very unlikely that the puppy’s parents were screened for genetic diseases and that they won’t be passed down to the puppy. Every breed has their issues, but a reputable breeder takes the time and the expense to detect these genetic problems in order to preserve and improve their breeding program.

You may also know what your breed is supposed to look like, but without having met both the parents, there is no guarantee that your puppy will fit breed standard. In addition, there is no guarantee that the parents fit the standard, either. A good breeder will be willing to discuss both strengths and the faults that each of their dogs possess.

If the pet store claims the puppy is registered by the Kennel Club, that it guarantees the puppy will be healthy and a good representation of the breed, this is not true. The only thing that these papers may possibly certify is that the puppy is a purebred and possibly produced out of registered parents. Even this can be false. The parents of pet store puppies may be unhealthy or carrier of debilitating or deadly health defects which they may have passed to their litter. Frequently the pedigree of pet store puppies is also dubious due to poor records, meaning the pup may not even be purebred even though the store is advertising registered papers.

Reputable, responsible breeders do register their puppies with the AKC/CKC, but it takes much more than that.  It is also against the Canadian Kennel Club’s Code of ethics for breeders to sell dogs through pet stores. You are not getting a responsibly bred, healthy dog when you buy from pet stores.

That brings me to the next type of breeder. Almost all puppies that are sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. A puppy mill is exactly what it sounds like, a mass produce of puppies with money as the primary motive. The breeding dogs are often kept in very deplorable conditions. The dogs are often malnourished. The dogs are almost never tested for genetic health diseases and they may not receive vaccinations. The dogs are commonly bred every heat cycle until they can’t produce anymore and are worn out. Every time a puppy is bought from a pet store, the breeding practices from the appalling conditions of puppy mills is encouraged.

How can you be so sure that your puppy came from one of these places? Because no reputable responsible breeder would ever sell a puppy to a pet store. Good breeders screen homes before they will place their puppies with just anyone. They are concerned for their wellbeing, their future, and any problems that may arise through the life of the pup. Backyard breeders, pet stores, and puppy mills have no interest in your puppy’s future.

Remember, if you feel sorry for the puppy in the pet store, by purchasing him, you are supporting the puppy mill and backyard breeding businesses, therefore opening another spot for a puppy.  If there is no more demand, there will be no supply.

Before you make the commitment of bringing a new family member into your home, become an educated buyer. Research the breed, attend shows, and speak to breeders – many are happy to share their knowledge. Ask questions, ask what genetic testing is performed and proof of tests. Know your breed, the history and genetics that come with it. A common excuse is “I just want a puppy, I’m not showing”. Reputable breeders still produce pet quality companions out of each litter.

How to be a Responsible Puppy Buyer:

Be a responsible, informed buyer -if you do buy from a breeder, go to a reputable one who:

  • Will happily show you where the dogs spend their time.
  • Introduces you to the puppy’s parents.
  • Explains the puppy’s health history, including vaccines, and gives you their veterinarian’s contact info.
  • Doesn’t have puppies easily available, they often keep a waiting list for interested people.
  • Intake form: Asks about your family’s lifestyle, why you want this dog, your future care and training plans for the puppy.
  • Doesn’t use pressure sales tactics.
  • Adopt from a shelter or breed-specific rescue group
  • Support laws that protect animals from puppy mill cruelty- there needs to be more! Speak up, animals need a voice. Cap the number of animals a person can own and breed, establish care standards for exercise, housing, access to food and water and regular veterinary care.
  • Encourage pet stores to promote shelter animals for adoption instead of replenishing their supply through questionable sources. – Local to Huron County area is Stratford’s Ruffin’s Pet Store.
  • Donate pet supplies and your time to local shelters to help those rescued from the puppy mills and many other animals in need. Please support Kathi Newell-Nicolson Adoptapet Petrescue Lucknow Ontario Canada

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assistant, Professional Pet Stylist, Canine/Feline Nutritionist.

Sheepie Snack Sunday: Bananas for Bananas

Sheepie Snack Sunday: Bananas for Bananas

If you’re looking for a fresh, easy snack, we’ve got one for you. It was garbage day, and these bananas were looking a little too ripe so we decided to throw them on the dehydrator (this can make a great training treat!). Other options include freezing or giving as is (without the peel, of course!) *Eric’s tip: add vitamin C first to avoid oxidizing.

A canine mouth does not secrete the same type of enzymes a human mouth does. All the fancy work to digest the food happens after your pet swallows their food. The stomach is acidic, and the food is combined in the stomach with enzymes broken down into components that the body begins to absorb as the food enters the small intestine. The function of enzymes in a pet’s body is used for cellular processes, digestion, and absorption of dietary nutrients dependent upon the proper enzymes.

The pancreas, liver, and gallbladder have extremely important roles to further break down food, and the absorption of the nutrients. The role the pancreas plays in enzyme production is essential for the digestion of nutrients in the diet. Once they are properly digested by pancreatic enzymes, the dietary nutrients can be absorbed by the animal.

Unprocessed foods (i.e. a fresh, raw diet) contribute to digestion with regard to enzymes by containing a number of chemicals including enzymes not found in processed foods. Whereas processed foods are depleted of important nutrients and enzymes through the heating process.

Back to bananas, the digestive system has so much work to do, and adding something so simple like bananas contain quickly absorbed glucose and slowly absorbed fructose to provide your pet with energy in several ways. Bananas have a low glycemic index, which is very beneficial to pets with diabetes, and they are also filled with soluble fibre and pectin, which only becomes richer as bananas ripen. Bananas also offer potassium, which helps balance the animal’s stomach acid with an alkalizing effect. Other chemicals stimulate the production of the stomach’s protective mucus layer. The inulin in bananas feeds the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine.

One banana has 105 calories; equivalent to about 1/3 cup of commercial dry food

10-lb dog: 1 tablespoon chopped banana

20-lb dog: 1/5 banana

40-lb dog: ¼ banana

60-lb dog: 1/3 banana

80-lb dog: ½ banana

100-lb dog: 2/3 banana


All of our Sheepie Snack Sunday blogs & recipes can also be found on our Facebook page in our album here.

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assistant, Professional Pet Stylist, Canine/Feline Nutritionist.

World Veterinary Day Celebrates the Value of Vaccination.

April 27th is World Veterinary Day

World Veterinary Day Celebrates the Value of Vaccination.

Riggs had his annual check-up with his favourite vet, Dr. Lori at Main Street on Thursday. We ran a blood panel for heartworm season, CBC, and titered! Dr. Lori is an integrative vet; using the best of both worlds of Western medicine and alternative therapies with the most gentle, understanding and compassionate nature you will ever have the pleasure to be so lucky to experience.

It just so happens that the last Saturday in April is World Veterinarian Day celebrated by the global veterinary community. This holiday was created by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Veterinary Association (WVA), first celebrated in 2000. Its goal is to achieve public awareness about the important roles veterinarians take on, promoting animal health and welfare.

World Veterinarian Day is a day to recognize all the hard work and dedication our veterinarians (and all other veterinary professionals that help them), play in our pet’s lives that sometimes they don’t receive acknowledgement for. Without them, our pets cannot thrive and be the healthiest, happiest pets they can be!

Each year in order to do so, they choose a different theme. This year’s theme is The Value of Vaccination.” Vaccinations protect your pet from serious and fatal diseases as a means for preventive veterinary care, support of animal health and welfare, and reduce the risk of the exposure for humans to zoonotic pathogens.

Working in the animal field, a common misconception is “vets are only in it for the money “and unfortunately pets are being withheld the basic veterinary care – neglect – due to this mindset.  Veterinarians and people in the field alike, want to see your pet live an optimal life and to have the best opportunity to stay happy and healthy. Owning a pet is a choice and a privilege, resulting in a mutual loved relationship. With that relationship comes responsibilities including preventative and therapeutic health care for the life of your pet. Did you know the suicide rate among veterinarians is a growing problem? According to a study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical, veterinarians are up to 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than members of the general population. Compassion fatigue and burnout are very common.

How are you celebrating? Use the hashtag #AVeterinarianIs 

American Veterinarian® encourages veterinary professionals and pet owners alike to take to social media and share their thoughts about what being a veterinarian or having a veterinarian in their lives means to them.

I would like to thank all the veterinarians and their staff that has helped me over the years – past and present – to learn and grow – throughout my career and have been so caring throughout all my pets’ lives. Riggs and I are tremendously grateful. A special shout out to Dr. Lori Van Haren and her team at Main Street Veterinary Services (featured Photo). You go above and beyond for your clients and patients. I truly do hope you know how much you are appreciated. We owe so much to you!

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assist, Professional Pet Stylist, Canine/Feline Nutritionist.

Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinics Return 2019

Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinics Return

The Huron County Health Unit, in partnership with Blyth Veterinary Services, is planning to help protect your pets and families from rabies.

They’re hosting a low-cost rabies vaccination clinics at two different locations this spring.

“Clinics will take place at Blyth Veterinary Services’ 234 Queen St. location on Friday, April 26 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Protecting your pets from rabies also helps protect you and your family.

Blyth Veterinary Services, in partnership with the Huron County Health Unit, is hosting low-cost rabies vaccination clinics at two different locations this spring.

Clinics will take place at Blyth Veterinary Services’ 234 Queen St. location on Friday, April 26 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Another clinic will be held at St. Helen’s Community Hall on Friday, May 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

No appointment is needed for any of the clinics.

The cost to vaccinate your dog or cat against rabies is $30, cash only. Please bring dogs on leashes and cats in carriers.

Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system of animals. Rabies spreads from infected animals to people or other animals by saliva. Cats, dogs, and people may become infected with rabies when bitten by a rabid animal or when a rabid animal’s saliva comes into contact with broken skin or moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes.

Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal in animals and humans. The best way to protect your pet and your family is to have your pet vaccinated.

Make sure that all dogs and cats, including those in the barn, are vaccinated against rabies. Pet owners are required by law (Regulation 567/90) to have all cats and dogs three months of age or over immunized against rabies. Failure to provide proof of vaccination to a Public Health Inspector investigating a biting incident may result in a charge being laid and a fine of up to $5,000 for the pet owner.

Dogs and cats often get into fights with wild animals. If you witness a fight, or if your dog or cat comes home with injuries from a fight and you believe it may have been bitten or scratched by a rabid animal:

  • Don’t handle your pet as there may be fresh saliva from a rabid animal on its coat.
  • Isolate your pet.
  • Contact your local veterinarian.

For more information, contact the Huron County Health Unit at 519-482-3416 or 1-877-837-6143.


  • If you or someone in your family makes direct contact with an animal that may have rabies, contact your family doctor.


For more information:


Here are the Ontario laws you need to know regarding Rabies Immunization

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assist, Professional Dog Groomer, Canine/Feline Nutritionist.


Sheepie Snack Sunday – Easter Edition

Keep your Pets Safe this Easter

While Easter is an enjoyable time to spend with family and friends, for our pets, it could quickly turn into an emergency. There are many dangers when it comes to your pet around Easter time, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some helpful tips I have created for pet parents to be aware of this weekend.

Do not let your dog consume any chocolate treats. Find all those hidden eggs before your pet does! Chocolate contains the ingredients of caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. This mixture is toxic as it stimulates your pet’s nervous system. Cocoa powder can have up to twice as much theobromine as other types of chocolate. The onset of theobromine poisoning is typically manifested by severe hyperactivity. If consumed in large amounts, theobromine can produce seizures, muscle tremors, irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or even death. Call your veterinarian and drive your pet to the clinic immediately if you suspect they have consumed chocolate.

In addition to chocolate, any sweets containing xylitol (which is an artificial sweetener) is one to look out for. Xylitol is very harmful and can be toxic to pets, even in small amounts. If your pet happens to snatch some sweets, look out for vomiting, lethargy, lack of coordination and seizures. If any of these signs appear, contact your vet ASAP.

If you’re planning on having a big Easter dinner, steer clear of any cooked bones. Cooking destroys the structural integrity of bones (whether it be beef, turkey, chicken, etc.) which makes them more likely to fracture. While dogs love chewing on bones as they’re mentally stimulating and a tasty snack, cooked bones can cause serious dangers. The problem with all types of bones is that they can splinter; fracture your dog’s teeth, cause a choking hazard, perforation or an obstruction in the digestive tract that can require emergency surgery.

Many people save the leftovers such as skins, gravy/juices in the pan and feed to their pets, all in which are extremely high in fat and dangerous for your pet. An overload of fat can cause acute pancreatitis and inflammation.

Easter Lilies are extremely toxic to cats. The petals, stem, leaves, and even the pollen – all parts of the Easter lily plant, are poisonous. If they ingest in just a few leaves or pollen while grooming their fur, early symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite and dehydration; some cats may stagger, experience disorientation and seizures. This can later cause cats to suffer severe kidney failure. Lily poisoning does not occur in dogs, though, if ingested in large amounts, it may result in mild GI issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

To finish, our last threat is Easter grass – (the fake “stringy grass”, often very colourful in Easter baskets). When your pet ingests something “stringy” like this, it can become fixed around the tongue or lodged in the stomach, causing it unable to pass through the GI tract. As result, this can cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, commonly requiring surgery.

Remember that your pets will be interested and want to be involved in any Easter celebrations that may be going on around them, too! Keep them safe and happy. Enjoy!

All of our Sheepie Snack Sunday blogs & recipes can also be found on our Facebook page in our album here.

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assistant, Professional Pet Stylist, Canine/Feline Nutritionist.

Sheepie Snack Sunday – Ayurveda Proverb

“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” – Ayurveda Proverb

Sorry my blogs have been discreet and low key right now. My focus and any spare time I have has been dedicated to my nutritional studies. However I feel leaving one with a quote to ponder is just as educational. This is an Ayurveda proverb and it is not wrong.  It could not hold more true for Riggs’ story (some day I will have time to finish school, work, and publish Riggs’ story — it must be told!) It is not just us, but diet is important for every individual and I hope that you can make the change for better health, too.

Right now we are revisiting herbal remedies for pets, anyways! The portion of my nutritional studies that I gravitate towards the most has always been the holistic elements. Who am I kidding, I love every bit of nutrition studies!

I love alternative medicine. I have great respect for alternative medicine. It will forever hold a place in my heart. Sometimes people use it as a last resort when all else fails, as I did, and now here I am studying it and understanding it when I can tell you, I was scared, maybe even a little bit skeptical, but mostly just uninformed. If it were not for alternative medicine, Riggs would not be here today.

Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest holistic forms of healing. It originated more than 3,000 years ago in India

Ayurvedic medicine focuses on recognizing the metabolic body type of an individual, (doshas). In Ayurvedic medicine, the first action in healing is to discover the specific strengths, vulnerabilities and trends of the patient from a broad standpoint, while taking into account the individual as a whole being; mind, body and spirit. This is what makes alternative medicine stand out from conventional medicine.

Herbs and diet, or other mechanisms may then be applied to bring the foundation of the individual back into harmonious balance within the mind, body, spirit and the environment once these are identified.

All of our Sheepie Snack Sunday blogs & recipes can be found on our Facebook page in our album here.

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assist, Professional Dog Groomer, Canine/Feline Nutritionist.

Sheepie Snack Sunday – Slow-Cooked Chicken & Barley

Slow-Cooked Chicken & Barley – R. Woodford

It’s the perfect time of year to pull out the slow cookers!

Your dog will love how the chicken flavour has a chance to blend into all the other ingredients while everything cooks together in a slow cooker. Approximately 10 minutes of prep, just set your slow cooker on low and carry on! Keep curious noses away. Cooking the barley for a long period of time will make it plump and soft, which allows for a generous serving size. This is a low-fat, high-fibre meal that is great for dogs on a diet!


  • 2 ½ cups pearl barley
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 2 cups finely chopped beans
  • 2 large carrots, diced or shredded
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or safflower oil
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (I always say optional)


  • Combine all of the ingredients in the pot of a 6-quart slow cooker and stir well to combine and evenly distribute the ingredients.
  • Set the temperature to low and cook for 8 hours.
  • Turn off the cooker and allow the stew to cool prior to mixing in any supplements.

Yield: 14 cups; 240 calories per cup

Daily Portion

Divide into two meals, or serve one-half the daily portion per day with one-half the normal amount of dry food.

10-Pound Dog:

1 to 1 1/3 cups

20-Pound Dog

1 2/3 to 2 1/3 cups

40-Pound Dog

3 to 3 ¾ Cups

60-Pound Dog

4 to 5 ¼ cups

80-Pound Dog

5 to 6 1/3 cups



All of our Sheepie Snack Sunday blogs & recipes can be found on our Facebook page in our album here.

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assist, Professional Pet Stylist, Canine Nutritionist, Feline Nutritionist

Sheepie Snack Sunday – Catnip

If you have a cat, I’m sure you’ve given catnip before and have experienced the “crazy” side effects it involves. Have you ever wondered what’s going on? Why does my cat do that? What is actually in catnip, what are some of the benefits and is it ok for my cat? Here’s what you need to know!

What is Catnip?

Catnip is a perennial non-toxic, non-addictive herb, belonging to the mint family. It is also known as catmint, which includes oregano sage, and basil. Catnip was indigenous to the Mediterranean, now grown commonly across North America.

An essential oil called nepetalactone is the active ingredient found in the stem and leaves (named after the town of Nepete in Italy, and Cataria thought to have originated from the Latin word for cat. The active ingredient found in the stem and leaves induces a psychosexual response in both male and female felines.

When it is breathed in, it is believed it causes a “hallucinogenic high” comparable to LSD in a human, enduring 5 to 10 minutes. When eaten, however, it works as a sedative. Both male and female cats have the same reactions; humans are not affected, and some cats are also not affected by it. It can make cats hyper.

How does Catnip Work in Cats?

Catnip works through a chemical reaction through the olfactory system which cats have a specific response for; a receptor for the nepetalactone molecule, which is located in the vomeronasal (Jacobson’s) organ. This is a structure positioned above the palate that is present in many mammals. It is believed to copy the results of a pheromone effect in which it causes a range of different behaviors in cats.

When a cat approaches the catnip, sniffing it allows a reaction. Some cats go crazy over catnip, roll, purr loudly, and then run off. Some cats drool, eat it and look intoxicated for 5-15 minutes. Following the “high”, most cats are calm and sleep off the effects. Remove the cat nip for an hour before a second dose is effective.

Cats that have reactive personalities or are too young may not respond to catnip. First reactions to catnip are often shown between three to six months of age. Senior cats may no longer take effect. Cats may need a stress free home before enjoying catnip. Lions, pumas, and leopards can also enjoy catnip.

Is All Catnip Safe For All Cats?

No, not all catnip is safe for cats. Not all catnip plants are equally created and different plants have different amounts of nepetalactone. Catnip pellets can be 50% stronger than leaves, for example. Vomiting and diarrhea can occur if a large amount of fresh catnip is consumed.

The Benefits of Catnip:

Catnip has other benefits besides use for the cat.

Catnip is beneficial as a natural cockroach repellant. It can also keep unwanted insects away such as aphids, mites, caterpillars, ants and beetles when planted in the garden. Nepetalactone has been tested more effective than DEET; and also works on flies.

Catnip is also known to repel mice and rats.

Catnip is very interesting! Now you know the next time your kitty is perhaps “bouncing off the walls” what is going on.

All of our Sheepie Snack Sunday blogs & recipes can be found on our Facebook page in our album here.

Making the fur fly,

Danielle & Riggs

The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assist, Professional Dog Groomer, Canine/Feline Nutritionist.