Let’s Do Some Cat Wrangling! Our Review of GPS Pet Trackers for Cats

This post is definitely a work-in-progress, kind of like our efforts to keep tabs on Fax, our eight-year old, 20-pound tabby cat who fancies himself king of the neighborhood. Fax has been known to walk in our neighbors’ garages, backyards, and cars so we thought it would be good to see more of what he was up to.

Whistle is our latest attempt at keeping tabs on Fax. We’ll let you know how it goes, but they get tons of great reviews for dogs. Cats can be a little trickier and Whistle’s helpful customer service rep advised us to just use our own cat collar rather than buy one of the small dog sizes they have available online.

If you ‘re looking for a deal, you can save $20 on the Whistle GO by clicking on our banner.

Or if you’re looking for even more bells and whistles (excuse the pun!), you should check out the Whistle GO Explore Ultimate Pet Health and Location Tracker, which includes a built-in light.

Black Lab Getting a Dog Bath - The Happy Beast

How To Help Your Dog Love Baths

Bathing and grooming a dog are important bonding and hygienic experiences for owner and pup. But for some, grooming and bathing our dogs is not always an easy task even for our water-loving friends. In the past, I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside a few wonderful groomers and have bathed countless dogs myself. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get your pup to enjoy a bath (or at least tolerate it)!

  • Start young: Dogs are creatures of patterns and habits so it should come as no surprise that if you begin doing baths regularly (every other week), especially when they are puppies, the process will become easier as they grow older. Desensitization or positive association to certain events or stimulus can act to protect your dog from becoming anxious about a bath.
  • Don’t underestimate a good treat: If possible, bring another trusted companion with you and have that person feed your dog her favorite treat and pet her if you’re dealing with high anxiety.

If you’ve adopted an older dog from a shelter with bathing anxiety, and have little to no background on her prior experience with baths, the next few solutions may prove even more helpful to you.

  • Small steps: Sometimes just the sounds, energy, placement, and surroundings of a bath can create anxiety for dogs. If you are using our tubs at The Happy Beast and have an anxious dog, I always suggest bringing in your pup to inspect the surroundings before giving her a bath. Letting your dog understand that she’s safe and there is no need for fear can sometimes be a great step to lessen anxiety.
  • Treats, treats, treats: While giving a bath, make it short and sweet. Then, over time, slowly work up to a full bath, using our blow dryer, additional brushing, etc. Sometimes small experiences increase the success of the larger experience. We want our dogs to associate the experience with either a neutral result or a positive result. A small treat provides a quick, positive stimulus for most dogs because they’re food-motivated animals.
  • Getting over the evil, loud, blow dryer: It’s also no surprise that most dogs absolutely hate the blow dryer (which is the most effective way to get all that pesky undercoat hair dry). Once again, gradual desensitization and more treats can help most dogs learn to tolerate the dryer. A few other tips:
    • When blow drying a nervous dog, always take off the nozzle on the dryer. This lowers the noise significantly and allows for a more “even” feeling on their skin, which feels more like wind than a dryer.
    • Never begin with your dog’s face or close-up. Start a few feet away from your dog with the dryer and blow directly at her midsection. As your dog becomes more comfortable, you can bring the dryer closer and move it slowly back and forth.
    • Avoid any known sensitive areas and do in small increments over time to allow your dog to get more comfortable.
  • CBD and anti-anxiety treats: For some of us dog owners, no matter how much positive reinforcement or treats we give, our dogs will still panic when it comes to baths. As someone who strongly believes in the use of CBD for anxiety (see our blog post about CBD for more information), this is an underrated tool that can help make any stressful situation safer and less stressful for you and your dog.
    • At The Happy Beast, we carry a wide variety of CBD and natural anti-anxiety treats. CBD acts as a safe way to lower the anxiety response and allow the bath experience to be less stressful. Always give your dog the recommended dose for her specific weight and what the situation calls for. Administer the dose about an hour before you come in for a bath.

To summarize, baths are an important part of upkeep for your dog’s skin and coat and helps reduce excess hair and dander around your home. Although all dogs react, interact, and learn differently, I hope some of these suggestions help guide you to an easier and more fun experience bathing your dog.

Have any questions? Feel free to call, email, or stop by the store to try out our self-serve dog wash. We provide the tubs, shampoo, conditioner, towels, blow dryer, and treats – all for just $12. Or take advantage of discounted washes for $10 on Wash Day Wednesdays.

Self-Serve Dog Wash | The Happy Beast
DCM Heart Disease in Dogs | The Happy Beast

What to Know about Grain-free Diets & DCM

Over the last year, and especially ramping up over the last couple of months, we have had a lot of discussions with customers regarding grain-free diets, and concerns about their potential of causing heart disease in dogs – more specifically, canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). We feel it is important to address this topic and review new research with an open mind by looking at all the information and facts available.

What is the issue? 

The concern being raised by some in the veterinarian community is that the legumes and/or potatoes in grain-free diets are either interfering with the absorption of taurine, or that these diets simply do not have enough taurine in them, which is leading to diet related Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). However, not all dogs that develop DCM are taurine deficient and the causes of DCM can also be hereditary or unknown. At this time, the research is inconclusive and the information that is available is rather difficult to navigate. 

What is DCM?

Canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a heart disease in dogs that is characterized by weakening of the heart muscle, which leads to a decreased ability of the heart to pump, and if untreated, to cardiac failure. 

This article, “DCM in Dogs: Taurine’s Role in the Canine Diet” in Whole Dog Journal is another great resource if you’re looking for more background information.

What is Taurine? 

Taurine is an essential amino acid found in meat, fish, and in smaller concentrations in dairy products. It is an essential building block of protein. From our perspective, the current debate shouldn’t be about Grain-Free vs Grain-Based, but what happens when we feed a carbohydrate-based food? All kibble is produced with a heavy amount of carbohydrates. Making kibble is like baking –you have to have a flour source, whether that is grain, potatoes, or legumes. All companies add a synthetic vitamin and mineral pack to their kibble diets in order to compensate for the lack of fresh ingredients, especially meat, in order to meet minimum nutritional requirements. Because kibble is so heavily processed, there could be other factors affecting the levels of taurine found in the food and how it is absorbed in the body. 

What should I take away from all this? 

We feel there are valid reasons to question the nutritional completeness of all kibble formulas; not just grain-free diets. It has always been our motto to incorporate as much fresh, less-processed food into your animals’ diets as possible. 

We need to broaden our considerations when it comes to the food we traditionally feed our animals. For example, asking, “What happens when we feed our dogs one diet for most of their lives?” “Can any one brand, protein, or flavor meet the nutritional needs of every animal on an individual basis?” “If humans cannot thrive on a fortified cereal for our entire lives, why do we expect our animals to be able to?”

Long story short, we recommend: 

  • Adding fresh, unprocessed meat into the diet. Taurine is an essential amino acid derived from meat, so if the concern is that these animals are developing DCM from a taurine deficiency then we conclude that adding meat is the solution.
  • Use kibble for additional calories and a budget buffer and consider fresh food as your animal’s nutritional foundation.

Other Resources

Easy Tips for Low-Waste Living

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”  – Anne Marie Bonneau

This year, in honor of Earth Day, we’re once again taking the opportunity to review our sustainability efforts and find ways to improve. The planet needs us and there are lots of ways that we can help. The problems and solutions can often seem overwhelming and unattainable. However, the reality is that small changes in our awareness, attitudes, and lifestyles can have huge impacts on our environment and make a world of difference. Movements start with people (and now our pets!), and we want to encourage everyone to join us in our efforts to reduce waste and become more sustainable in everything we do. Because the choices we make matter.

We’re also working on a new Sustainability page on our website, which will help keep track of our efforts and share everything we’ve learned to date. We’ve also a compiled a list of resources that have helped us reduce our waste and make choices that put the planet first. We are nowhere near perfect, but try to make  progress everyday, and are encouraged by all the wonderful information and resources available on low-waste living.

From a business perspective, we have a lot of exciting goals for 2019 and beyond. So far this year we have:

  • Stopped using printed receipts in favor of emailed receipts
  • Stopped offering single-use shopping bags in favor of reused boxes or reusable shopping bags
  • Offset 100% of our electricity use with Xcel Energy’s Windsource program
  • Continued to expand our partnership with Eco-cycle and Terracycle in responsibly disposing of our customers’ plastic pet food packaging.
  • Significantly expanded our bulk food and treat options, including The Beast Feast, our own line of dehydrated treats for cats and dogs.
  • Started working with the City of Lafayette and Boulder County to implement dog waste composting at The Great Bark Dog Park.

Stop by the store during Earth Week for special deals and stay tuned for our “Sustainability” page for a full list of our existing efforts and a list of our friends and partners. For now, we’re including a list below of some of our favorite sustainability-related websites and experts.

Lastly, we always welcome your input and commitment to helping us achieve our sustainability goals – let us know if you ever have any questions or ideas on how we can keep getting better. Happy Earth Day everyone!


A Greener Beast

We’re preparing for a greener 2019 and we can achieve our sustainability goals with your support:

  • Beginning January 1, 2019, we will be eliminating paper shopping bags in the store and encouraging the use of reusable tote bags and boxes instead. If you have a stockpile of reusable tote bags at home, please consider donating them to our bag “lending tree.”
  • To decrease packaging, we will be offering more treats in bulk. We are also requesting our vendors to use less plastic and styrofoam.
  • When selecting beef products, we are choosing more grass-fed and finished sources. Anderson’s Natural Pet Food, The Beast Feast, and Answers all use responsibly sourced beef.
  • Members of The Happy Beast Team are working diligently at home to reduce plastic waste and make more informed decisions as consumers. Check out some of our favorite resources: