Podcast Launch Celebration

Win a 6 month supply of NutriSource Pet Food.

Being “The Mom” To Your Cat.

To live in greater harmony with your cat, do what tiger and domestic cat mothers do:

Teach what “No” means. I know – you may be thinking, “Are you kidding? This is a cat we’re talking about, not a dog. They can’t learn that. They do whatever they want, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Right? Nope, don’t let your cat fool you. They can learn “no”, just like dogs do.

Cat mothers teach proper conduct and rules of behavior by conveying “no” by the sounds she makes or with her body language. If the tiger cub gets too excited and bites her too hard, or does something wrong, mom will hold him down and if he still acts up, a snarl is her next way of saying a harsh “no!” shutterstock_375826186

Rarely will the mom cat, big or small, take the next step of nipping or biting at her young and she is careful to not overly reprimand the very young kittens, yet becomes stronger in her discipline as they mature. This all has meaning for you, as you are your cat’s substitute mom whether you are male or female.

You need to make your kitten or cat care about and understand the word “no”. This should be your response to a negative action by your cat and the word must be used correctly to get the point across. Used incorrectly, or not at all, and discipline will go right down the drain. So here’s how to teach “no”.

First – Never yell or scream the word. Just use your normal speaking voice. Do put enough tone into it to get the cat’s attention, but say it quietly enough not to startle your cat. Cats hear very well – we think we must yell to get the point across, yet all it will do is make your cat want to flee. I once yelled a loud NO, STOP THAT! at Willie, when he was just a few months old to stop him from biting me and all that happened is he crashed off the bed as fast as he could and ran crazed, all over the place for 5 minutes. Not the reaction I was looking for, no lesson learned and I felt just terrible.

What you want, is for the cat to acknowledge you and then stop what it’s doing, like clawing and biting your arm. Also be consistent with the word and tone of voice. Changing from “no”, to “stop”, to “don’t do that” is simply confusing to your cat. Stick to a simple “no” said the same way each time.

Second – Get the timing right – To be effective you must use “no” precisely when the kitten or cat is in the act you want to discourage. Like when it first jumps up on the kitchen counter where the package of chicken is defrosting. A delayed ‘no’ has very little meaning to your cat. Rest assured, your cat will give you more than enough chances to practice saying “no” at the exact right time.

shutterstock_171964502

Third – Always praise or give positive reinforcement to your cat when she has stopped misbehaving. It is common for us to get good at noticing the unwanted behavior and saying our “no’s” yet we forget to praise them for obeying us and stopping. The word, ‘no’ will never work, unless you consistently follow it up with reinforcing praise. When your cat stops tearing the toilet paper off the roll, for example, praise her in a gentle voice.

shutterstock_201925021

Fourth – very important – make sure every human member of the household is helping the cat to follow the same rules by using the word “no” for the same unwanted behaviors and all are being consistent. If you don’t allow the cat on the dining room table but your children do, it’s confusing to the cat and “no” loses its meaning. Before you know it, one night, when your back is turned, she’ll land in the middle of the pot roast on the table and what do you have….a gravy soaked, sick cat and disappointed, hungry guests.

The Tiger On Your Lap

Are you aware that besides the difference in size, the markings of the fur and the sounds they make, a wild tiger, (the largest member of the cat family) and your pet cat is the same animal in many ways? Biologically, the tiger shares 95.6% of its DNA with the domestic cat, but let's talk about similar behavior because that's more fun. And by understanding your cat's actions that are instinctually rooted in its "wild cat" heritage, you can learn things to do with your cat to live in greater harmony and comfort.

Let's start with similarities. A 500 lb Bengal tiger and your  8 lb. tabby, stalks prey just the same. Of course, the prey your cat may be hunting is the toy mouse or aluminum foil ball on your floor. Wild cats in play spend a good deal of time practicing their hunting skills. Participating in and encouraging playtime with your cat is just as important – by making sure she is practicing her hunting skills, it keeps her muscles and heart strong as well as maintaining good mental health.   

Somalian cat and computer mouseFor both animals, its coloration and markings act as camouflage, allowing the cat to blend into its surroundings. A new born tiger cub already has its markings and stripes and each striped pattern is as different and permanent as our fingerprints. Speaking of that, your cat's nose print is just as unique to the individual as your human fingerprint.

Back to camo, a light underbelly on a cat helps it fade into shadows and the stripes break up the contour of the body.  In domestic cats, with all the breeding, we've introduced colors not found in the wild, however, if your cat's fur has stripes, is marbled or patchy you may have seen it disappear into the background while outside.    iStock_000003738250XSmallbengalcamo

Both animals are true carnivores and must eat meat to survive. Even though tigers do like to be in water more than many of our pet cats do, they do not drink a lot of water, obtaining the moisture they need from the prey animals they eat.  If your cat was fending for itself and hunting for dinner, the average prey animal would be a mouse, lizard or small bird, whose bodies contains approximately 75 percent water. The average percentage of water in dry kibble is much less. This is why we at NutriSource, also recommend feeding your cat canned food. It has more moisture. You may love the convenience and cost of dry food, but at least, try to feed a combination of dry (adding water to it) and some wetter, canned food. This can help with the common problem of dehydration in cats.

In all of our lines, NutriSource, Pure Vita and Natural Planet Organics, we've got some great, grain free, canned cat food flavors. Ask your local, independent, family owned, pet supply stores for them.

So, as your cute kitty is somewhat a tiger in miniature, a wild tiger can act just like your pet feline. They are not only the powerful and aggressive hunters we think they are, they can also be extremely playful when interacting with each other,  will roll around on the ground, sleep in the same silly positions as your cat and do some of the same comical things.

Bengal cat on white backgroundAmur Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) Rolls in the Snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiger mothers teach their cubs what is acceptable behavior and what is not. No matter if you are a man, woman or child, being a better "mother" to your cat can make a big difference for living happily together.  Next blog – Find out how.

End of Winter. Let’s Get Ready!

Nothing like romping outside with your dog on a warm spring/summer day. Going for car rides together, doing those errands together…… whoops. Wait, stop right there, the best way to run car errands with a dog – is to NOT. Doesn't matter if you crack open those car windows, if it's hot outside, leave your dog home, or do what I do.

shutterstock_171589748My dog Rosy travels with me a fair amount and if I must stop somewhere for a few minutes, I always have an extra set of car keys so I can leave the car on, locked, with the air conditioning running. 

Here's what you may not know. When you leave your dog in a shut off car on a hot day – it may seem fine upon your return, you may notice some heavy panting but still you think, it is okay.  The reality is on a warm/hot day the inside of a car acts like an oven and the temperature can increase to 150 º F within 15 minutes and this can result in permanent brain or organ damage that you may not know about until it's too late. Your dog might not survive or could require lifelong treatment. It's just not worth it!  When a dog is exposed to high temperatures, inside or outside, heat stroke can result.  

Here are the signs of heat stroke.

Uncontrollable, vigorous panting.

Tongue and gums initially bright red and then as pet gets worse becoming progressively blue or gray.

Rapid heart beat.

Foaming at the mouth.

Tacky or dry gums.

Lying down and unwilling/or unable to get up.

Vomiting, dizziness or disorientation.

Increased rectal temperature.

A dog's normal body temperature is 100.4º – 102.5º.  In hot weather, a dog's temperature that reads 103 – 105 and above can be a sign of heat stroke, so taking its temp is the fastest, surefire method to determine if your dog may be experiencing heat stroke.

Learn how to take your dog's temperature if you don't already know.  Now, don't be squeamish. It's easy to do and really doesn't bother your dog. Get a digital thermometer and some lubricant, like vaseline. You just need a little on the end, hold onto your dog – not too tight, ( I kneel to the side of Rosy, wrap my arm around her rib cage to keep her still) and insert the thermometer in its anus just about an inch. It just takes a moment to register. (By the way, a rule about these thermometers, "Once a rectal, thermometer, always a rectal thermometer". Make sure you label it with your pet's name.)

You also need to be mindful of overexposure to the heat when you are playing or walking your dog when it's really hot outside. Certain types of dogs such as obese ones or short nosed breeds like, Pugs, Bulldogs and Pekinese are more sensitive to heat. My dog Rosy, (none of those breeds), gets hot very fast, but luckily she self monitors and leads me single-mindedly to the closest shady place she can find to lie down until she is cooled off and ready to carry on. I'm glad she does this.   

317443418What to do if you suspect heat stroke:

1. Move dog out of the heat away from sun right away.

2. Begin cooling dog by placing cool, wet rags, washcloths or towels on the body, especially the foot pads and around the head.

3. DO NOT use ice or very cold water. Extreme cold can cause the blood vessels to constrict, preventing the body's core from cooling and actually causing the internal temperature to further rise. Making it worse!

4. Offer your dog some cool water – but do not force it into its mouth.

5. Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Remember, internal damage may have happened and may not be obvious to the naked eye.

To protect your furry family member in summer weather, do these things. Carry that extra set of car keys and have a digital thermometer for your pet at home and keep one in the car's glove compartment.

If caught early, some dogs can recover fully from heat stroke. Don't assume that just because your dog keeps playing fetch non stop in 90 º F. that it's fine and the heat can't hurt her, It can. You must be the keeper of caution for your beloved canine in hot weather.

 

 

 

Cats Stand For Health.

All of our pet foods, dog and cat, have the Good 4 Life system in them, which are nutritional products added to help maintain health and well being. We were talking about cats in the last blog, and how they have two of the same beneficial Alltech products that our dog food contains, the minerals and prebiotics.  

But now it's time to tell the cats from the dogs – cats have 2 different supplements in their feline Good 4 Life system.

One has to do with how your cat relieves itself.  

My dog, Rosy, (below) does not pee into a box (does yours?) but my cat, Willie, did for 19 years.

397300_498452910174513_709604955_nDo guests come over and tell you your house smells like a giant litter box?  If so, you might want to try our cat food if you don't already. That's because we have another great Alltech product called DeOdorase™ in our food.  This is made using the extract from the yucca plant and yucca is known for it's ability to reduce ammonia arising from your cat's waste.  Here's the story of what we smell when we change that litter box.  

Since cats are true carnivores requiring high protein diets of animal origin, that protein is excreted through urea in urine; therefore cat's waste produces a lot of ammonia. I'm sure you agree that this is a fairly strong odor, but it doesn't stop there, decomposition of animal feces by bacterial activity also releases ammonia and other noxious gases. Pee-uuu!  

De-Odorase™ takes care of overall fecal odor, including ammonia, and, university studies have reported that De-Odorase™ can promote a 30 to 50% reduction of gases released from feces of companion animals.

So, by adding De-Odorase™ to your cat's diet by feeding our cat food, litter box ammonia odors are reduced. Phew! You can breathe easier now.

z68-summ-kittyJust so you know, our ingredient panel does not say, Alltech's De-Odorase™. If listed this way, no one would know what it was and all ingredients on pet food must be transparent to you, the consumer. Find yucca schidigera extract on our ingredient panel. There it is!

Young kittens experience many stresses during early stages of life and a good diet can be the difference between a healthy start and a more challenging one. The last of the 4 products in cat's Good 4 Life, can help. We include, NUCLEO-SACC™ which is functional protein that contains essential and functional nutrients that supports development in the early stages of life, such as enhancing muscular, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract development.

Best of all, from your cat's perspective is, it enhances the flavor of the pet food.

Here's why. Let's talk about our tongues first. So do you remember the four different tastes that our taste buds can detect?   Did you recall, sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness? There are actually 5!  The fifth taste identified is called umami.  What? I know, it's an unusual, surprising, word. It's Japanese that basically means pleasant, savory, taste. So umami is a full, rounded, savory taste. The umami taste can be found in meats and vegetables and in nutritional yeast. That is what NUCLEO-SACC™ is. Functional, nutritional yeast that has a savory taste. (For you scientific types, it's the glutamates in the different foods that gives it the umami taste) Cats taste savory as well so the food is more appealing and palatable to your tiny tiger.

Bottom line to remember, we take the health and well-being of your cat seriously, and all of our cat food brands, NutriSource, Pure Vita and Natural Planet contain these four great ingredients that makes our cat food so Good 4 it's long and healthy life.

 

 

Good 4 Life For All “Nine” Lives.

Even if it is just our perception of how lucky and resilient cats are, taking their health seriously is no joke and so all of our cat foods have our Good 4 Life system in them.

shutterstock_19301941

That's four, Alltech made patented, trademarked, nutritional products packaged together for our cat food that is EXCLUSIVE to our company. Look up the company, Alltech. They care about animals, you and the environment.

Just like in our dog food, all of our cat brands have Bioplex® minerals. 

Let's review minerals 101. Trace minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, manganese and cobalt play a crucial role in pet nutrition. In order to help maintain a healthy coat and skin, balanced growth and optimum disease resistance, pets require a consistent, available and active mineral supply.

To get this, one wants really good minerals that withstand the pet food formulation process and can get through the cats volatile GI (gastrointestinal tract.) We've got them. Alltech's Bioplex® brand organic trace minerals are unique in that they are protected by multiple amino acids and peptides which gets them safely through the volatile GI environment to absorption sites, which prevents loss of these essential trace minerals.
And, it gets better.  Bioplex®, trace minerals are proteinated which means they are easily absorbed from the intestine, and more highly retained by your cat's body. This establishes adequate tissue reserves that support disease defense and overall nine "live"ly-ness. New made up word!!

Number "2" supplement in our cat's Good 4 Life, is the same cool prebiotics, that we use in our dog food.

It's called Bio-Mos® and is a natural (derived from the cell wall of a select strain of yeast) solution to intestinal health issues. It promotes good bacteria and builds natural defenses there by maximizing animal performance and profitability.  Bottom line, means good gut health.

But now it's time to tell the cats from the dogs – the other 2 supplements in our feline Good 4 life system are different from the canines. I'll give you a hint about one of them.  Hate that strong ammonia smell coming from your cat litter box?

shutterstock_89351725

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have a solution. Find out in two weeks – next blog.   

A healthy Gut – Another Way To “Good 4 Life”.

There are two more nutritional products besides the minerals I spoke about in the last blog, in our Good 4 Life system for dogs, which helps maintain optimal health and well being. They are prebiotics and probiotics.  You may be familiar with probiotics which are healthy living bacteria, if you eat yogurt or take them in pill form.  While you may be aware of the benefits of PRO-biotics, PRE-biotics are less known but just as important.

A prebiotic is a non-living, special type of dietary fiber that provides the environment in the gut for the living bacteria, the probiotic, to survive. Both are needed and both have great health benefits for your dog. So what do they do? In a nutshell they provide good gut health for your pet. 

Here's why this is important.  

Did you know that the interaction between the bacteria that lives in your dog's digestive tract and the rest of its body is one of the single biggest factors that dictate your pet's health? Extensive research in digestive health has proven that most disease situations originate from a compromised immune system, which you probably already know, or the malfunctioning of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract, which I didn't know.   

This means the GI tract (the gut) needs to be in a state of stable balance between good and bad bacteria. When there are more beneficial bacteria in the gut, they suppress the activity of the negative or pathogenic, bacteria present. When an imbalance occurs, the opportunistic “bad” bugs can overcome the number of desirable microbes reducing their beneficial effects – typically resulting in disease or symptoms such as diarrhea.

shutterstock_370981034

Having Bio-mos®, the special Alltech pre-biotic in our pet food combats the negative microorganisms in the gut and actually attracts these undesirable bugs to its surface and traps them. Then these bad strains of bacteria, e-coli as one possible example, are reduced dramatically in the gut, as they are ‘washed out’ in the animal’s droppings. Pretty cool for a little bit of fiber.

Our probiotic, (the good living bacteria) helps with the absorption of nutrients, improves digestion of  the nutrients in the stomach and helps maintain an environment that doesn't allow bad bacteria to grow. Big job for good little bugs.

And, to retain the integrity of the living probiotics, at KLN family brands we spray them on the kibble after it has been cooked.  

Next blog, Good4life for cats, and remember the Good4Life system is exclusive to our brands. 

Want Food That’s Good For Your Pet’s Life?

One of the things that really make us different from other pet foods is our Good 4 Life System. See the little blue and orange symbol on our bags?

good4life

Here's what it means.

There is another family owned company, called Alltech, (www.alltech.com) a very cool company from Kentucky that makes nutritional products for animals using real ingredients from the earth, (not synthesized drugs).

KLN family brands wanted to make sure that the minerals and pre and probiotics used in their pet foods would be highly effective ones so they approached Alltech and together, they created the Good 4 Life system. This is a combination of Alltech nutritional products designed to maintain the health and well being of your pets. Its 4, patented, trademarked, nutritional products in our dog food and four in our cat food that maintains gut health, assists reproduction and supports the overall immune system which is needed to fight off disease when challenged.

We'll start with discussing two of the items in our dog food.

Let's talk minerals.

You probably know that the immune system in both our bodies and in our dogs is the first line of defense against infectious disease.

What you might not know is to maintain a properly functioning immune system a dog's body requires optimal nutrition and minerals play a key role.

During times of stress and disease, the body draws on its mineral stores in the tissues in order to increase the efficiency of the immune response. So having top notch minerals is crucial. We've got them! The Bioplex® organic trace minerals (copper, iron, manganese, zinc,) in our food made by Alltech, are 100% proteinated minerals. These are organic minerals that are attached to natural protein amino acids, causing them to act like a protein which results in more efficient use of the regular trace minerals. For your dog, this means they are better absorbed and used by the body and most closely mimic the green leafy vegetables from Mother Nature.

But there's more. Before this process happens, Alltech takes the minerals mined from the United States and puts the minerals through some heavy duty testing, to make sure they are not contaminated by any heavy toxic metals, dioxins, or PCB's. You may be surprised to learn that a fair amount is rejected due to contamination. So, then the pure minerals are proteinated and sent along to KLN.

Wanting to provide the highest mineral status we can get for optimal health, we also are using organic selenium. Selenium is another very important mineral that we and our dogs need. Here is what selenium does: it plays an essential role in metabolism, orchestrates normal growth, aids reproduction and supports the immune system, to name just a few of its benefits.

Sel-Plex® is Alltech's proprietary organic form of selenium, manufactured to again, mimic Mother Nature, and is better absorbed, stored in the body and utilized more efficiently by your dog than inorganic selenium. (The inorganic type goes by the name sodium selenite on most other pet food bags).

On our ingredient panel, you will see Sel-Plex® listed as selenium yeast and it is the most researched and proven form of organic selenium and is also the only FDA reviewed and first EU approved source of organic selenium. The point is, our selenium does what it is suppose to do.

Take a look at this part of our ingredient panel on all our dog food.

Ingredients:
Minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast),

We are one of the few pet foods that have 100 percent proteinated minerals and organic selenium! We take the health of your pets seriously and want to make sure our pet food is good for supporting your dog's life and longevity.

happy frisbee dog photo_301003535

 

And remember, because KLN family brands and Alltech created the Good 4 life system, for our foods, it is exclusive to our brands!

Next time, find out about how the Good 4 Life system provides for good gut health – something that every-body, human and furry needs.

Why Does My Cat Eat Grass?

If you spend time with your cat outdoors, you have probably noticed that your kitty enjoys munching on grass  and then….weirdly, vomits.

Poor thing. Seems to be a hard time, if you’ve watched your cat upchuck. So, why on earth would they eat something if it makes them sick, right?

Actually, it is believed that your cat is eating  grass in order to vomit. What? Who’d want to do that? First of all, know that your cat is not sick, but since it’s body cannot digest the plant, (grass is mainly fiber and cats lack the necessary enzymes to break it down) therein lies the beauty of the dilemma. Since it can’t be digested, back up it comes and whatever else that may have been sitting in the cats stomach. Vomiting the grass then becomes a way of ridding their digestive tract of something that is unpleasant or inedible.

For example, when cats groom themselves, since their tongues are equipped with little hooks, they wind up scooping up and swallowing loose fur.  Hair is not digestible either and it can bundle up in the stomach to create hairballs. You’ve seen them before on your floor or may have stepped on those wet little clumps. Ick. Wait, this is a good thing. They need to get them out, so that they don’t become a problem in the cat’s body.

In addition, grass nibbling may be of particular importance to outdoor cats who eat prey.  Since cats tend to swallow a mouse or bird whole, once the meat has been digested,  the hair, feathers and bones remain in the cat’s stomach. Problem – getting  those undigested mouse or bird parts out so that the cat doesn’t have to pass the spikey little bones through their intestines that could puncture or block their gut. Solution: eat some grass, it will wrap around those mousy parts and voila, back up through the mouth it all comes.

Another theory is that grass juices contain folic acid,  which is an essential vitamin for a cat’s bodily functions, so a cat may benefit from this nutrient and its possible that they even may enjoy the taste.

So, ingesting grass is a good thing for your cat. Be aware however that the lawn your cat is grazing from may have been treated with chemicals and your cat could accidently ingest pesticides or herbicides. You can make sure your feline has clean grass by buying a small indoor tray of it and many pet food stores sell special little containers of cat grass.

This is helpful for stopping your cat from wanting to eat other household plants, many of which are toxic to your feline.

 

Ever notice this symbol on our pet food? Wonder what it means? Check out our next blog. It’s the key to what makes our pet food different from all the rest.

 

 

 

Why Feed Your Cat Grain Free Food?

Because your cat is the obligate or “true” carnivore. This means that eating meat is biologically essential for their survival.  It is highly important that meat and not grains, makes up the majority of your cat’s food.

Some cat foods contain a majority of plant proteins, such as corn, wheat or soy as the leading ingredients. These plants do not contain all the necessary amino acids present in meat, that are critical for the health of your cat. (Amino acids are the chief components of protein.) Cats also can’t digest plant-based foods efficiently, nor do plant-based foods provide the nutrients felines require. Cats can consume a small amount of plant material, (we’ll talk about why your cat likes to eat grass next time) but the less carbs, the better – for optimal health!

The quality of the protein you feed your cat is also important. Better quality proteins have higher biological values, meaning they are easier for the body to digest, absorb, and make use of.  NutriSource and Pure Vita cat foods are made with high quality proteins, have no meat by-products and meat is the leading ingredient in the food. There is no corn, wheat or soy in any of our cat foods and the grain free kibble contains only peas as the starch that is needed to form the kibble.

Did you know that your domesticated kitty cat is very similar biologically and behaviorally to the wild cats, i.e. lions and tigers?

Cats in the wild don’t normally drink a lot of water, they obtain the moisture needed from the prey animals they eat, so if you are feeding dry kibble, make sure your cat drinks a good amount of water and/or feed canned food. Canned foods contain more moisture.  We’ve got great, canned, grain free cat food in three flavors, chicken, turkey and beef.

So if cats do not normally eat plants, why do they occasionally munch on grass? Find out more in our next blog post!

How To Get You And Your Dog Moving!

All dogs must get exercise for their physical and mental well-being. You know this…. but like many others, perhaps you don’t like walking your dog when the weather is awful, or may not have a large home or backyard for the dog to run around. Do you feel guilty that you are not providing enough activity for your pet?

Here’s a really fun solution that will get both you and your dog moving and working together. Try Dog Agility!

Dog agility is a popular canine sport where you, as the handler, direct your dog through a variety of obstacles such as a tunnel, weave poles, hoops, an A frame, standard jumps, etc.

You can go at your own pace with your dog, moving slower or faster through the agility course and do it simply for the sheer fun and exercise it provides. However if you and your dog are fast and agile moving through the obstacles, you may discover that you want to take it to the next level and start competing. During competitive agility events, handlers attempt to navigate dogs through a course as quickly and as accurately as they can.

There are some really great benefits of agility training for your dog.

1. It fulfills your dog’s natural instincts. 

Evolving from wolves, dogs are natural hunters, with the instinct to chase and run after a variety of prey. Their natural behavior is to pursue a possible meal. While in pursuit of food, dogs must often follow rabbits and foxes through a forest and navigate through a variety of barriers. Their natural instincts involve jumping over fallen logs, climbing up steep slopes, and squeezing through bushes and vegetation. Since the end goal is to catch up with prey, time is of the essence and the faster a dog runs, the better their chances of ending up with a satisfying meal. Agility courses are designed to mimic these types of natural scenarios and fulfill the hunting and chasing desires of your dog.

2. Agility is great exercise for your dog.

Agility is a great way to get rid of your dog’s excess energy. Running through a course that involves passing over and through a variety of obstacles will challenge your dog’s mind and body. Involving your dog in agility will help to strengthen his muscles, improve coordination, keep him fit, and increase endurance.

3. Agility will help you get in shape, too!

As the handler, you will be running alongside your dog, and assisting him with soaring over jumps, weaving through poles, and crawling out of collapsed tunnels. While you and your dog compete to swiftly finish the course, you will be treated to a heart-healthy cardiovascular workout.

4. It helps strengthen the bond between you and your dog

Agility courses are set up so that dogs would not be able to complete them without the help of the handler. As the dog must rely on the verbal and hand instructions from the handler in order to navigate the course, the trust between owner and dog will be increased. Helping your dog to pass through agility obstacles will help reinforce basic obedience commands, improve dog/owner communication, and ultimately help to improve your dog’s behavior outside of the agility course.

Find out more about the sport and where you and your dog can learn how to do it, by looking up “dog agility” on your computer or by researching it at your local library.

Next time, we’ll talk about cats. No, we haven’t forgotten about them.