By Cailla, Customer Service Specialist and Mama of Rico
I became a Mom this summer, a proud Mama of an 80-pound stray Pit Bull mix whom my boyfriend and I affectionately named Rico. Estimated to be about 2-3 years of age, Rico is in his prime teenage years full of endless energy, a tinge of mischief, and so much LOVE.
Not having been a dog owner since I was a child, I spent last spring reading up on animal diets, healthy supplements, local obedience classes, and the newest exciting toys so I could be as prepared as possible. Of course, most of this went out the window as soon as we picked him up from the pound as he came with his own personality, wants, and needs (yes Cailla, it’s not all about you).
What I took away from all my research was the same philosophy I have adopted for myself: The importance of a balanced diet of clean, wholesome foods and a limit of chemicals and synthetic materials as much as possible.
The health conscious and eco-friendly consumer market is enormous and growing faster than ever. Fortunately, the same holds true for natural pet products. A recent search on Google came up with approximately 123,000,000 results!
Here at Cambridge Naturals we’ve curated a small selection of treats, vitamins & supplements, toys, and hygiene products that we felt stood out among the rest and surpassed our standards of good clean ingredients, made with the upmost quality and care.
These are a few that we have tried, been happy with, stock at the store and are Rico approved!
• One local dog treat line that is a consistent customer favorite is Chomper’s Chews by Tricky Triskuts. Made in New Hampshire with gluten-free, human grade ingredients such as sweet potatoes, rice, carrots, beans, and protein, these baked treats are specifically made with the canine digestive tract in mind. You won’t find fillers, corn, or other chemicals in the ingredients list, just wholesome food full of high quality fats, protein, and fiber.
• Another popular line of treats is Zuke’s. Owned and run by pet aficionados, this small company offers nutritious snacks for both cats and dogs. Being conscious of the fact that Rico’s breed is susceptible to hip dysplasia, the Hip & Joint treats, with added glucosamine and chondroitin, is a staple in our house (they make one for cats too). Zuke’s offers grain-free options and their flavors range from lamb, salmon, beef, to peanut butter.
• For the active dog, I recommend Power Bones, made with ingredients that provide an extra boost of sustained energy, perfect for long hikes in the woods.
• Another favorite of ours are the Mini Naturals, small blueberry-sized treats that are packed with antioxidants. They are the perfect size for obedience training while still maintaining a healthy calorie intake.
Within a weeks’ time, we quickly learned that Rico is a cuddler, a socialite, a drooler, and a chewer. Oh yes, the infamous chewer. Oh Joy!
We recently brought a line of pet toys, into Cambridge Naturals, made by a small company in Wisconsin called Honest Pet Products. Made from 100% hemp canvas and sheep’s wool, these dog and cat toys are durable, eco-friendly, and support some great causes.
• The Eco Fetcher is our favorite, strong enough for Rico’s big mouth and endless strength, but nontoxic and washable so I feel good about it. And thus far, to my glee, he has opted to nibble on this rather than our record and book collection!
Coming off the street and into the shelter, Rico had quite a bit of dandruff when we took him home. With the guidance of our vet, we started to supplement his diet with omega fatty acids. His dandruff disappeared quickly and his coat has improved tremendously (not to mention the other benefits they provide).
• Another supplement we use is Green Foods’ Barley Dog. Made by the same company that produces Green Magma for us humans, this product is 100% natural barley juice powder. We decided to use this when Rico developed a love for sneaking off to my neighbor’s garden and having a feast whenever my back was turned. Not having to worry about the pesticides and chemical fertilizers as well as my carpet and friendly neighbor relationship, we sprinkle this on his food to ensure he’s getting the sufficient vitamins and minerals he may be lacking.
Our next adventure will be in dental hygiene as lately his breath could peel paint off the wall. Brushing has been our first line of defense, but it’s a constant battle.
• I think we will try some of the Breath-less Toothpaste Chewables by Ark Naturals or their Breath-less Plaque Zapper Powder that you can easily mix into your pet’s water bowl. Highly recommended by my coworker who uses it for his cats, this formula is odorless, tasteless, and helps fight plaque buildup, bad breath, and dental decay.
In addition to the products mentioned above, our pet section at Cambridge Naturals provides multivitamins, anxiety/stress support, digestive enzymes, and skin salves. We also offer a small section of wet and dry food, catnip in our bulk herb section, and shampoo for that lil’ stinky of yours.
I can’t stop Rico from eating “who knows what” off the sidewalk, nor from rolling around in something else just as vile found along the bike path, but I can ensure his nutritional needs are met and he’s provided with safe nontoxic toys, baths, and bedding. There are so many options today in the land of pet ownership and really what you choose should resonate with you and your pets’ needs.
I encourage you to try something new, so that kitty cat purr is endless and that doggy tail keeps wagging until everything in your house is knocked onto the floor!