THE FAQ GRAB BAG: ANSWERS TO 5 OF OUR FAVORITE QUESTIONS
I think you all know this already, but we love our customers.
So many of you have become such regulars in our Calvin & Susie lives that when we don’t see you for a week or a month, we genuinely start to worry! So many conversations in the back room begin with, “Have you seen (fill in the pet or pet parent) lately? It’s been a few weeks, I hope everything’s okay…”
Beyond the fact that we are all crazy animal people here and we are truly protective of our 4-legged customers, we love that those 4-legged customers have such smart and discerning parents who shop at our store.
We are proud that the “culture” of Calvin & Susie is one of customers who are not willing to settle for “good enough” for their pets, and who are not afraid to ask us lots of questions.
Over the almost three years that we’ve been open (hooray!), we’ve noticed that many questions tend to pop up consistently — some from regular customers, some from new.
So here are five of the most common questions we get at our store. Maybe one of them was yours!
Should I switch up my pet’s food once in a while, or should I stick with the same food for most of his/her life?
When asked this, I often respond with a question, “Would you want to live on chicken and only chicken for the rest of your life?”. The answer is always, “NO”.
Then pay your pets the same courtesy. Not only does it keep them more interested in their food, and guard against cultivating a picky dog or cat (though some of them are just born that way), but it also helps prevent them from becoming food-sensitive, even allergic to a specific food source.
If a dog eats, for example, only chicken (the most common protein allergy, and not coincidentally, the most prevalent protein used in highly-processed commercial pet foods) for years and years of his life, he may develop an allergy. And yes, dogs, like humans, can develop new allergies.
Sometimes allergies cannot be helped, but in order to keep your pet as happy and healthy as possible, we recommend rotating your pet’s protein sources regularly.
Which is better: with grain or grain free pet foods?
The answer is, neither.
Some pets can eat grain, some pets cannot. To use another human analogy, some people can eat gluten, some cannot. It does not mean that gluten free food is better or worse, it just means it’s different and suits different needs.
The same goes for with and without grain foods and your pet.
If your pet is doing well on a food with grain in it, then by all means, stick with it. “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke”. If you want to see if they would do even better with grain-free, feel free to switch it up and see what happens. We see dogs who do remarkably better after switching to grain-free, and we also see dogs with no discernible change.
Common reasons many pet owners, particularly dog owners, switch their pets to grain free foods are:
because their pet is allergic to some types of grain and is exhibiting symptoms (itching, biting their body, bumps on the body, hot spots, tear stains, among others)
their pet needs to lose weight (carbohydrates in foods with grain can attribute to weight gain)
their pet has a yeast problem and high-sugar, low quality grain must be removed from the diet (ie. wheat, corn).
The most important thing to remember in the Grain/Grain-free debate is the quality and the amount of the grain used in the food. If you feed your pets grain, it should be whole grain. But no matter how whole the grain is, it must be balanced by a good quality protein and fruits and vegetables. Every pet is different, and this is why you shop at our store! Because we are always happy to listen to your needs and discuss food with you to find the right one for your specific pet.
Which of your foods/treats are made in China?
NONE OF THEM.
We are VERY picky about what we bring into the store, and we refuse to stock anything that is not made AND sourced in reliable countries with strict food regulations. Currently in the store, we have foods made in: USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Holland. Most of those countries have even more stringent food regulations than the USA, so we feel comfortable about foods that are made and sourced there. We always choose to err on the side of caution.
People also ask why we do not carry a certain brand of food. Sometimes it’s because we do not have the shelf space and we had to make a choice. But more often than not, it is because it did not pass our proverbial smell test.
When should I switch my puppy to adult food?
Generally speaking dogs are considered to be adults at about one year, with smaller breeds maturing faster than larger breeds.
Even though they are still full of that goofy puppy energy, they are usually ready to eat as adults by 1, and you can transition your dog to adult food around the 11-13 month mark. If you are feeding an “all life stages food” it is around this time that you can transition your dog to eating the adult sized serving portions (many “all life stages” foods have you feed more food to puppies as they need more calories and nutrients to grow). When starting a new brand of food, we advise our customers to start at the lowest-end of the recommended serving size on the bag, and increase as needed. Be strong and don’t be fooled by those cute faces wanting more food. We all have been there. Use your dog’s activity level to guide you in determining the portion size, and always make sure your dog has a nice waistline. We don’t want to see them lose their nice figure!
Are you Calvin or Susie?
For the record, Calvin and Susie are dogs. The owner’s dogs to be exact.
If you look to the big picture over our register, they are the owners Golden Retrievers: Susie, Calvin, Emma and Tommy. Emma and Tommy are Calvin’s grown-up pups, and Susie’s niece and nephew.
If you’re ever in the store, and a big friendly Golden with a cowlick on his head comes over to say hello, you’ve just met Tommy!
This is Tommy!
Keep the questions coming! Never hesitate to ask us when you’re in the store. If we don’t know the answer right away, we will do our research or find a reliable source who does!
Say “hi!” to your furry friend for us!
~Your Loyal Calvin & Susie Blogger
As always, check with your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet or body care. The Calvin & Susie Blogger always researches to the best of her ability, but she is not a vet. This blog is not in any way meant to replace veterinary advice or care. When in doubt always ask a vet.