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The term "Limited Ingredient Diet" is becoming more and more prevalent in the pet food universe these days, but what does that term really mean?

Simply stated, Limited Ingredient Diets are pet food formulas that focus on core nutrition rather than "bells and whistles."  These recipes were originally developed by companies like Natura and Natural Balance to help to address a few common problems that sensitive pets encounter when eating "prepared" foods, but are now mainstream dry, wet, and raw options that work well for a wide range of dogs and cats.

The hallmark of a "LID" diet is a very short ingredient panel, often with a single source (or type) of meat protein and a single source of carbohydrate.  While these recipes are very simple, it is important to note that they are carefully formluated and tested to make sure that they supply all of the daily nutritional requirements required for canines or felines, respectively.

So how do these diets help your pet?  Some dogs or cats have digestive sensitivities leading to loose stools or chronic gas when they eat foods that don't agree with them.  A simpler formula can be easier to digest, so cutting the label down to essential ingredients can reduce the chance of digestive issues occurring or lessen their severity.

This same logic applies to pets that have chronic food-related allergies, which can manifest in visible skin conditions like open "hot spot" sores, excessive eye goop, or chronic ear infections.  The classic way of addressing an allergy to a food ingredient is to feed an "elimination diet," or one that removes non-essential things from daily consumption that may cause the immune system to overreact.  Limited ingredient formulas perform this role perfectly, as they immediately reduce the variety of what is being consumed, including sources of potential allergens.

On a side note, pets with normal immune or digestive systems can do just fine on limited ingredient foods, too!  This is especially helpful in households in which one pet has an allergy or senstivity and another doesn't.  Everyone can still eat the same food, which helps simplify mealtimes through easy preparation and reduction of food bandit behaviors (i.e. - I like your food better than mine!).

If you suspect your pet might benefit from a limited ingredient diet, visit us at one of our stores or give us a call (in Eagle, ID at 208-939-8119 or in Meridian, ID at 208-392-1049).  We love to chat with you about our selection of awesome pet foods with simple recipes and can help you compare them to your pet's current diet.  We also have free samples of many formulas available that your pet can try out, too!

Comments | Posted in Pet Nutrition By Del Peterson


While the benefits of fish oils and Omega-3 fatty acids have been long established for dogs and cats, more people are becoming increasingly familiar with the numerous health benefits offered by a unique group of fats found in coconut oil.

Coconut oil is packed with antioxidants like Vitamin E and is one of only a few vegetable sources of saturated medium chain fatty acids, which can benefit pets when used either as an internal health supplement (when used alone or rotated with fish oils) or a topical aid applied directly to the skin, paws, ears, nose or mouth.

Coconut oil contains about 64% medium chain fatty acids (or MCFA's), the most abundant of which is lauric acid. The other well-known natural source of lauric acid is breast milk, which is effective in nourishing and building the immune system by protecting infants against illnesses and infection. Pet parents who add coconut oil to their dog or cat's diet have reported a notable increase in overall skin and coat quality, and a reduction in "doggy" smell. There is also evidence that MCFA's support immune system, circulatory system, and metabolic (thyroid/weight maintenance) health when ingested.  Importantly, medium chain saturated fatty acids derived from coconut oil are easily broken down for energy production, are linked with decreased cholesterol levels, and do not lead to a greater risk of heart disease like saturated animal fats.

Most pets love the taste of coconut oil, so giving it to them as a dietary supplement is usually quite easy!  Just spoon some onto their meal or let them lick it off your fingers.  Recommended dosing starts at 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight or 1 tablespoon per 30 pounds of body weight daily. Start slowly (about a quarter of the recommended amount) and increase gradually to avoid diarrhea or greasy stools while the body adjusts to the oil.

When used as a topical aid, coconut oil can help soothe and heal hotspots, dry skin, and cracked paws or noses.  Beyond its moisturizing benefits, the MCFA's in coconut oil have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties that can help speed wound healing and prevent infection.  Use your fingers to massage the oil into the skin or a dropper to apply to the ears, mouth sores, or even onto your pet's toothbrush!

Not all coconut oils are created equal. Virgin coconut oil is an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids that provide the health benefits described above.  Our favorite at Northwest Pets is CocoTherapy Organic Virgin Coconut Oil sourced from the Philippines. Virgin oil retains most of the nutrients found in fresh coconut, is not hydrogenated, and is very stable under room temperature storage.

By the way, Dr. Oz and a number of human physicians are catching on to the benefits of coconut oil for people, too.  You just might want to start sharing some with your pets!

Comments | Posted in Pet Nutrition By Del Peterson

Pet Urine Burn

We people get nothing but unconditional love from our dogs, but our lawns - not so much!  Everyone likes to have green and healthy grass to play on during the warmer months, but it can be a real challenge to have a great looking lawn when a pet's potty habits wreak havoc on even our best landscaping efforts!

Urine burn on your lawn is caused by the chemistry of your pet's urine.  Without subjecting you to Chemistry 101 (who wants to go back there?), dog pee contains a varying amount of concentrated nitrogen resulting from protein digestion and the presence of compounds in your pet's drinking water.  But wait, you say, "nitrogen is a key component of the fertilizer I buy to apply to my lawn!"  While your assertion would be 100% true, too much nitrogen delivered in a rapid burst kills the grass in the center of the pee spot (which is especially true for larger and female dogs).  The more dilute concentration of nitrogen on the outside of the spot is something the grass can handle - and even enjoys - thus giving the "green ring" around the center clump of dead grass.  When we apply our own fertilizer to our lawn, and then your dog adds to the fertilizer load in concentrated blasts, the damaging effect on the lawn can be even greater.  It's a classic case of "too much of a good thing!"

Consistent damage to your lawn from dog urine can become both unsightly and costly to repair, but there are some proven ways to reduce or even entirely eliminate the issue!

1) Train your pet to eliminate in a specific area in the yard.  This is a method I use with all of my dogs because it costs little to set up and does not require any changes to your dog's diet.  First, designate an area of your yard that is the "target" area for your pet to pee in.  I use river, or "pea" (no pun intended) gravel in my dog run area, because it gives your dog a visual and textural reminder of where the pee zone is.  A flower bed substrate like mulch or bark (again, no pun intended) works fine, as well.  The area should be at least big enough for your dog to "circle around" and squat in.  Erring on the larger size is better than too small.  Male dogs might like something "vertical" to be placed in the area, too, for more fun and target practice while lifting their leg (my pee zone happens to be next to a fence, which my doq Quincy likes)!

Start out by taking your puppy or older dog on a leash to the designated area.  Softly repeat a command phrase like, "hurry up" or "go potty" until your dog eliminates in the proper spot.  Once they do, give them a ton of praise and an occasional treat.  Your dog will need to be supervised on their potty breaks for at least a few weeks until they get into the new routine.  Once they are trained to a particular spot, you can walk out a few steps with them off leash to see that they go to the proper area and reinforce them with praise when they do!

2) Increase your pet's water intake.  If you can't train your pet to pee in a specific, "safe zone," try to increase the content and quality of water that your dog drinks.  There is some debate as to whether the nitrogen content or the pH of pet urine is the "killer" ingredient that does the most damage to your lawn.  In either case, increasing the amount of water your pet drinks will dilute their urine to a greater extent and make it easier for your grass to handle the pee (especially if you water on a daily basis).

ALWAYS have cool, clean water available for your pet to drink, especially in the warmer months.  For some pets, adding "wet" food in the form of canned or raw food can significantly increase the quantity of water in their system.  A pet fountain, that moves and filters water, can also tempt some pets to drink more liberally.

A growing number of our customers have also found success with "Dog Rocks," a product made from a special type of rock mined in Australia that sucks up nitrogen from tap water that can add to the nitrogen load of the urine and increase lawn damage.

3) Modify or supplement the diet.  If all else fails, changing your pet's diet to a better quality food or adding a supplement might be your best bet to prevent lawn problems.  Higher quality foods contain better protein sources, like real meat, that are far more digestible than cheaper proteins derived from filler grains like corn, wheat or soy.  If more protein sticks in the dog during the digestive process, less damaging nitrogen waste products end up in your pet's urine.

There are also a number of supplements available that you can offer your pet to digest nitrogen and bind it up in the urine.  Grass Guard liver flavor chewables for dogs contain a unique blend of natural probiotics, digestive enzymes, amino acids and botanicals to help prevent lawn burn and yellow spots on grass.  However, the success of a supplement may vary from one pet to another and consistent use is required to offer your lawn continuing protection.

Take heart!  With these approaches to managing pet urine burn, you don't have to wince every time you let your dog out to potty.  If you have had success with any of these methods or have one of your own, offer up your comments below!

Comments | Posted in Pet Care Tips By Del Peterson


At Northwest Pets, we continously scout the pet products landscape to bring you new and exciting products that can make life with your pets easier, more economical, more fun, and more fulfilling.  Our quest to find the best new products brings us to this month's product spotlight on TICK-SR, a safe and simple way to remove ticks from your pets!

By now, most people realize that ticks are more than just gross and nasty little creatures - they can carry and transfer debilitating conditions such as Lyme Disease.  TICK-SR (or Safe Release) is a new product that dissolves the glue-like substance that helps the tick attach to your dog or cat.  TICK-SR also pushes the blood away from the tick's feeding tube, also known as the hypostome, and mouth parts. After removing the food supply and dissolving the glue, the tick can be easily removed. TICK-SR also destroys bacteria and helps to prevent infection.

TICK-SR is very easy to use!  Just apply a pre-moistened wipe or a cotton ball saturated with TICK-SR solution to the attachment point of the tick while gently pulling as close to the mouth parts as possible.  Most ticks, even those that have been attached for periods of 24 hours, can be removed in 5 minutes or less.

Whether you choose TICK-SR in bottles or pre-moistened towelettes, it is super easy to take along with you during travels near and far.  The wipes are especially convenient to throw in your pocket or pack when you are camping, hiking, or simply on an outing to the local park.

Perhaps the best thing about TICK-SR is that it is made from safe and proven ingredients like Denatured Alcohol, Purified Witch Hazel, Salicylic Acid, and Benzalkonium Chloride.  Salicylic Acid is commonly found in skin care products - it breaks the bond that helps the tick attach to a dog. Witch hazel is an astringent extracted from plants - it pushes blood away from the surface and removes the tick's food supply. Benzalkonium Chloride is a common ingredient found in disinfectants such as Bactine - it destroys bacteria, cleans the puncture wound, and helps to prevent infection. Denatured Alcohol acts as a solvent and as an antiseptic.

For a great demonstration of how TICK-SR works, check out this YouTube review of TICK-SR by Nikki Moustaki, author of a noted pet products blog.  Nikki shows just how easy it is to remove ticks from your pet with TICK-SR without ever having to touch the tick!

TICK-SR is available now at Northwest Pets store locations in Eagle and Meridian, Idaho or at  Buy soon and take 10% off your purchase of TICK-SR during our Fight the Bite promotion through the end of April!

Comments | Posted in Product Information By Del Peterson

NW Pets Eagle

Northwest Pets Recognized as 2013-2014 Retailer of the Year Award Winner for Outstanding Business Management by Pet Product News International

The Northwest Pets team is excited to be selected as a Retailer of the Year award winner “out of a multitude of applicants,” by Pet Product News International, a global pet industry trade magazine serving retailers, product manufacturers, and distributors.

“It is very encouraging to see a small business with Idaho roots get recognized at an international level in the dynamic pet industry,” stated Del Peterson, President of Northwest Pets.  “Winning this award is only possible because of the hard work of the dedicated group of pet-loving people that we proudly employ at Northwest Pets.  Our team gives their very best to create a fantastic guest experience for our two and four-legged customers, and we have built a loyal following and a successful enterprise in the midst of tough economic times as a result.”

Founded in Eagle, Idaho in 2005, Northwest Pets’ goal is to enhance the lives of pets and their people by providing dogs, cats, and small animals with only the highest quality natural pet food and exceptional supplies.  Northwest Pets employs a team of 14 people at retail store locations in Eagle and Meridian, Idaho and features nearly 2,000 products for sale on its ecommerce platform.

Northwest Pets is also an active supporter of the Treasure Valley community and local pet-related charities, including Simply Cats and the Idaho Humane Society, through event sponsorships and collection of cash donations through its Points “4” Paws Program.

Comments | Posted in NW Pets News By Del Peterson

Welcome to our Northwest Pets Blog!

Mar 21, 2014 8:01:00 AM

NW Pets Meridian


Welcome to the all new Northwest Pets Blog!

We hope to stimulate your brain - and some good conversation - by posting here from time to time about topics of interest to you and your four-legged friends.   We'll include our take on frequently asked questions from our customers, store news, promotions, and events, pet care tips, pet nutrition topics, and more.

If you have any questions or topics you would like to see addressed, please leave us a comment below.  Thank you for being a valued Northwest Pets customer and don't forget to check back with us!

Del & the Northwest Pets Team

Comments | Posted in NW Pets News By Del Peterson
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