Happy Earth Day from The Happy Beast: Celebrating the Lafayette Green Business Program

Happy Earth Day: Celebrating the Lafayette Green Business Program

In honor of Earth Day, we’re thrilled to announce The Happy Beast has received gold certification as part of the 2017 Lafayette Green Business Program!

This is our third year in the program, and along with 93 other Lafayette Green Businesses, is one of the ways we work to exemplify the best of Lafayette, help shape a vibrant green economy, and champion a more sustainable future for our customers and residents. Overall, the sustainability upgrades Lafayette businesses have made are saving over $50,000 per year on utility bills and are equivalent to taking 100 cars off the road.

Click here for a full list of participating Lafayette businesses and remember to support them by shopping locally.

At The Happy Beast, we are extremely proud to achieve the highest award for waste diversion, water conservation, and energy efficiency, and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing customers! You can read more about our dedication to sustainability on our blog, but here’s a quick list of our current initiatives:

  • Environmentally-Friendly Purchasing Policy: Toys, treats, and foods made from reputable manufacturers with high environmental standards as well as eliminating products containing palm oil, which contribute to deforestation
  • Recycling: Cardboard, paper, and plastic single-stream recycling
  • Composting: Food waste and scraps
  • Zero Waste Boxes: Customers are invited to bring empty pet food packaging back to The Happy Beast for recycling through our partnership with TerraCycle
  • Water Efficiency: Low-flow aerators on faucets and upgraded dog wash sprayers with efficient flow and auto-off functionality
  • LED Lighting: Replaced old incandescent lights with new LED lights acquired through Xcel Energy and PACE rebate programs
  • Reusable Shopping Bags: Provide $.10 bag credits and reusable shopping bags for purchase
  • Smart Electronics Policy: Smart power strips and automatic sleep functionality for all computers
  • Energy Efficient Appliances: EnergyStart certified washer and dryer and automatic thermostat programming
  • Pet Food Donations: Reusing and donating pet food items for local animal shelters and rescues

In addition to these efforts, to further support the Lafayette Green Business Program, I’ll be leading two Green Business Marketing Workshops on May 1 at Confluence Small Business Collective. See below for more info or contact matt@thehappybeast.com to learn more.

Lastly, thanks to all of the organizations who collaborate to help make this program happen: the City of Lafayette, the Lafayette Energy Sustainable Advisory Committee (LESAC), the Lafayette Waste Reduction Advisory Committee (WRAC), Xcel Energy, and Boulder County’s Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) have partnered to offer the recognition opportunity.



How To Choose the Right Bone for Your Dog or Cat

We believe strongly in the benefits of chewing on bones for both cats and dogs. Your animal’s mouth is her greatest tool, so it is important to take good care of it! Chewing bones is a great way for them to exercise their jaw muscles, clean their teeth, and provide mental stimulation. (Check out our previous blog posts on the benefits of bones for dogs and cats!)

However, chewing on bones does carry risks, such as breaking a tooth and/or choking. It is important to be aware of the risks and how to safely choose a bone to maximize the benefits and reduce the potential risks.

In order to minimize the risks of chewing on bones, you should take into consideration size, density, and chewing tendencies of your animal:

  • Size: Bones should be large enough that the dog or cat cannot fit the bone entirely into their mouth. If it is too small, the animal could choke on it.
  • Density: Stronger chewers should stick to bones that are more dense or stronger, such as a shank bones, antlers, goat horn, and beef or bison femur bones. Less aggressive chewers may be safe with less dense bones such as lamb or pork bones.
  • Chewing Tendencies: Bones are intended to be gnawed on over a long period of time, not crushed and swallowed. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, and can break large pieces of bone off, then it is important to take the bone away and discard the pieces.

In addition, you should always supervise your animal when she is enjoying a bone just to make sure that she is chewing properly and there are no choking risks.

Finally, if you are ever unsure of what the right bone may be for your cat or dog, please ask us and we’ll be happy to walk you through the various options.

Understanding Puppy Food

What’s different about puppy foods?

Dog food for puppies, or any food labeled for “growth and gestation” are required by the FDA to have higher levels of protein and fat than foods labeled for adult dogs. More specifically, puppy food must have a dry matter minimum of 22.5% protein and 8.5% fat, compared to minimum 18% protein and 5.5% fat for adult dogs.

Many dog food brands will cut the amount of protein and fat in their adult formulas because nutritionally-dense ingredients are expensive. These companies can use less expensive ingredients and still meet the FDA requirements. However, just because dogs can survive with these nutrient levels doesn’t mean they will thrive.

Instead of taking this approach, at The Happy Beast, we recommend quality brands and foods for puppies that are labeled for ‘All Life Stages,’ meaning the diet is appropriate for dogs from puppyhood all the way through their senior years. Instead of replacing high quality meat with less expensive fillers for adult dogs, the brands we recommend choose to promote a high protein diet in line with the nutritional requirements of a canine for the entire life of the dog.

Special Consideration for Large Breed Puppies

The term ‘large breed’ is generally used for dogs that are at least 70 lbs when they are full grown. Conservatively, we can lump puppies who will be 50 lbs or more into this group when we look at feeding requirements. The most up-to-date research tells us that we need to control calorie and calcium intake to make sure these puppies don’t grow too quickly. While many hip and joint problems are caused by genetics, slow and consistent bone growth throughout puppyhood is thought to reduce the severity of conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis, and developmental orthopedic disease.

If you have a large breed puppy, carefully regulate how many calories are consumed on a daily basis, including bones, chews, and treats. Check your puppy’s weight frequently. You should be able to feel his ribs without using too much pressure when you run your hands over his sides.

Fresher is always better!

Incorporate as much fresh food into your puppy’s diet as possible, which will naturally include a variety of beneficial nutrients and enzymes, which help promote digestion. There are a variety of fresh food options, but a few of our favorites include:

  • Treats: Air-dried or freeze-dried like The Real Meat Co, Smallbatch, and ZiwiPeak
  • Raw Goat Milk: Bark n’ Big, Pure, or Answers
  • Meal Toppers: Rehydrated Sojo’s or Grandma Lucy’s

In summary, puppyhood is a critical time for your dog to develop a healthy digestive system, which helps build and strengthen your dog’s overall immune system. While there can be a lot of hype around “puppy food” labels, we recommend you simply choose a balanced, raw food (frozen, air-dried, or dehydrated) as a simple way to ensure you’re giving your puppy everything he needs to live a long, healthy, and happy life.

Got a new puppy at your house? Stop by the store to talk more and we’ll help you figure out the best option for your pup.

Giving Back: How We Became Foster Dog Parents

Chelsea and Pi - The Happy BeastAfter my dog’s sudden death this summer, I found myself incredibly lonely. My best friend, who I spent hours walking with every morning, who I rushed home to after work, who kept me company in the kitchen and kept my feet warm at night, was suddenly and very unexpectedly gone.

Fortunately for me, my life is saturated with animal lovers. After Pi died, a friend came over and helped me pack away all her things. I kept a couple bowls, her leash and collar and a few toys. Everything else went in boxes for the shelter where another friends works. The next week, I drove to Adams County Animal Shelter (ACAS) in Brighton to donate Pi’s things. That’s where I met Mila. She had just been surrendered to the shelter for the third time in her short life and her sweet little face melted me.

The next week, I went back to the same shelter with toys donated for a group of dogs pulled from an overrun shelter in Texas. This time I got to go to the ‘Texas Dog’ playgroup. In Texas, these dogs had been living in overcrowded kennels with little human interaction. At ACAS, they were given their own spaces and they were spending time every day with volunteers. Later, I met a springy Dalmatian puppy brought in as a stray and a very sweet but very sad bulldog who had been surrendered by his family of six years. I was torn between wanting to give all of these dogs a home and knowing that I wasn’t really ready to have a dog of my own yet.

Brownie - Foster dog at The Happy BeastUnderstanding how I felt, my friend who works for ACAS gave me a foster family application. A few weeks later, our home was approved and soon after that, my boyfriend and I went back to meet a few dogs who needed a temporary home. Brownie came home with us that afternoon. We took him for a walk through the park that evening, and that was the first time since Pi died that I felt really happy. Brownie needed time as a foster because he was a little nervous around men and the shelter needed more information on what his behavior was like in a home. After a couple days of slow introductions every time we entered the house, Brownie became very comfortable with us. He proved to be an excellent snuggle-buddy to my boyfriend and the perfect hiking partner for me. After his time with us, Brownie went back to the shelter and a few weeks later, we got the amazing news that he found his new family!

Antonio - Foster dog at The Happy BeastWe just finished up with our second foster dog, a sweet and goofy blue pit bull named Antonio. In the shelter, he was anxious around the other dogs. He spent most of his time hanging out in staff members’ offices, but he still lost weight from the stress. In our home, he was a happy, snuggly, lump on our couch. Wherever we were, he liked to bulldoze himself between us. My boyfriend likened sleeping with him to cuddling with a rock. He quickly stole our hearts and we seriously considered keeping him, but were hopeful he’d find another home. With that hope in mind, after his two weeks with us, I returned him to the shelter. Dropping him off absolutely broke my heart. That guy did not want to be surrounded by barking dogs. He wanted to be in our bed. But less than 24 hours later, Antonio was on his way to his forever home with his perfect family and that felt really good.

This is what I’ve learned about fostering dogs so far:

  1. Fostering is flexible.
    Different organizations have different needs, as do the animals they serve. The program at Adams County Animal Shelter allows us to take dogs short term based on our schedule. Keeping an animal for a week or two gives them a break from shelter life while allowing us to gather more information on how the dog does in a home environment. For our situation, foster care is a mini vacation for the dogs. Other dogs from ACAS may need a home to stay in until they find a permanent home and many rescue groups operate solely out of foster homes. Those animals typically need a place to stay in until they are adopted which could mean a longer commitment.
  2. Fostering is free.
    Well, kind of. The shelter provides us with beds, toys, a crate and food, (but I can’t help myself from bringing home extra treats from The Happy Beast!) Any medical care is handled by the shelter veterinarian and the shelter covers the bill.
  3. Shelter dogs are amazing!
    Because we are dog-savvy people in a mellow household with no small children, we can host dogs that may have a few quirks or need additional training. So far, our fosters have been incredible, and we joke that if these are the ‘challenging’ dogs, the other dogs in the shelter must be pretty darn perfect.
  4. Giving them back is really hard, but totally worth it.
    It’s hard to communicate to a dog that this home is temporary (it’s also hard to convince ourselves that we can’t keep all of them) so taking them back can be difficult. I remind myself that our role as a foster home is to be a stepping stone to their forever home. We can work on behaviors like leash walking and impulse control and help determine what kind of home they would do best in.
  5. ‘Foster Failure’ is actually a really good thing.
    While the term may seem negative, ‘Foster Failure’ only means the foster family decided to keep the animal forever. Foster Failure = Adoption Success!

While not without challenges, this experience has helped me heal from losing my dog and has already brought so much happiness back to my life. My time with Pi showed me what it means to really love and respect an animal. She taught me all about dog behavior and training and now I can use everything I learned from her with each dog that comes into our home.

If you are interested in fostering with Adams County Animal Shelter, visit http://www.adcogov.org/volunteer-program

Many shelters and rescue groups, including our friends at Mother Gaia Animal Rescue are also always in need of foster homes. If you are looking to foster in your area, check with different organizations to find the one your lifestyle fits best with!