Coffee Time With Holistic Vet, Dr. Ashley McCaughan

On Saturday, April 14th from 12:00pm to 2:00 p.m. we’re delighted to welcome holistic veterinarian Dr. Ashley McCaughan to our store for a good old-fashioned Meet & Greet. Join us for complimentary coffee and snacks, plus informal Q&A time* with Dr. Ashley. She recently opened Marina Village Veterinary Clinic where she offers a full range of services and integrative veterinary care including acupuncture, chiropractic, Chinese herbal medicine, and non-anesthesia dental cleanings. If you’ve ever wondered what a ‘holistic vet’ is, or are curious how acupuncture, herbs, and chiropractic care might help your pet, this is the perfect chance to ask your questions.

*Please Note: This event is not a formal veterinary consultation for you or your pet. Q&A time with Dr. McCaughan may be limited depending on the number of people who wish to speak with her. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to seeing you!

Our 3 Point Plan for a Peaceful Holiday Season

We Wish You A Peaceful Holiday Season! Here’s Our 3 Point Plan to Help You Make It Happen. 

#1: Stocking Stuffers With Benefits. Need a small gift for your furry kids or for the pet-lovers in your life? We’ve got a full selection of toys and holistic treats that you can trust. And for every KONG toy you purchase we’re donating one to Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS). That’ll make a lot of kitties and doggies very merry.

#2: Local Delivery Service. Is your holiday schedule running you ragged? Use our Alameda-only daytime delivery service so you don’t run out of kibble, kitty litter, flea meds, chew toys, poop bags, or other important supplies. Just give us a call at (510) 523-7768. For a $50 minimum order, we’ll deliver whatever you need to your street-level Alameda doorstep. For FREE!

#3 Donate Food for Displaced Pets. For just $7 a bag you can amplify year-end giving to Hopalong & Second Chance Rescue with your purchase of Tender & True Organic pet food. This high quality, grain-free product is a huge boost for the cats and dogs that Hopalong has pulled from multiple disaster areas. We’re matching these special donations through December 31st. Buy a bag or two or more. We’d love to see the whole inventory go to them! Check out to make sure that the place you are staying at is pest-free.

Thank You for Shopping Local and Helping the Pets in Our Community.
— The Animal Lovers of Alameda See Spot Run: Jen, Anna, Kelly, Amanda (photo top row) and Karen, Trish, Cynthia (bottom row)

Help Your Pets Live Longer With Good Dental Care

If we could wave a magic wand, we’d make all cats and dogs brush their teeth before bed every night. Why? Because regular dental care is one of the top things we can do to help our pets live longer. This becomes imperative especially after knowing Why dogs eat cat poop. If you want to learn the best way to brush their teeth subscribe here for some tips and tricks.

dog with toothbrushAnimals build up tartar, develop gingivitis, and get rotten teeth just like people do; and that leads to debilitating and often expensive health conditions, especially in older pets. Prevention is totally do-able and has two parts.

1. Schedule periodic cleanings at your vet’s office. This is key because ONLY trained professionals can clean under the gum line and handle serious dental situations like tooth removal. We know it’s not cheap. But it’s so important you don’t want to put it off either. Fortunately, February is National Pet Dental month and many clinics offer discounts during that time. So talk to your vet about what schedule is appropriate for your pet and start budgeting for it.

2. Make regular maintenance part of your pet’s routine. That’s where good products make things easier. Visit us for a wide selection of chews, gels, water additives, and other items to reduce tartar and keep teeth in good condition (this page talks about the topic in detail). If you want to learn how to teach your dog to actually enjoy tooth brushing, watch this 6 minute step-by-step YouTube video from Vancouver dog trainer Donna Hill.

Cheap Shots Mobile Vaccine Clinic Every Month

mobile vaccine clinic

The Cheap Shots mobile vaccine clinic team in action.

Does your pet need a vaccine updated? The Cheap Shots mobile vaccine clinic visits our store on the third Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Their affordable, high quality service is veterinarian-supervised, and they have been serving the bay area for over a decade. So bring your pet(s) by for a vaccine update, or stop in to meet the nice animal-loving folks who staff the mobile clinic. They’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Visit the Cheap Shots website to learn more about their fees and services. To find out exactly which Saturday the clinic is scheduled for each month, ask our staff or sign up for our short & sweet monthly newsletter the next time you visit our store.

In Praise of Senior Pets

November is national Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month, and there are many good reasons to consider a more “mature” pet for your family if you’re looking to add one. If you already have a senior dog or cat in your life, here’s some excellent resources to help you support the more mature members of your furry householdold dog pic:
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue’s Resource Page
The Grey Muzzle’s Health & Wellness Page
The Senior Dogs Project’s FAQ Page
Cat Behavior Associates Senior Cat Page
American Association of Feline Practitioners Senior Cat Page

The Cat Chat – Thursday 6/19, 6:30 to 7:30pm

Join us for a summer evening discussion about feline behavior and all things cat-related on Thursday 6/19 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This FREE event will be moderated by Hopalong & Second Chance Rescue’s in-house cat expert, Katie Carney and is part of our ongoing education series. Space is limited, so please contact us to reserve yours: (510) 523-SPOT or email Free parking is available in back of the store.

Kat with Ambassadors


Everyday Cat Enrichment

We have two store kitties, Sailor and Griffen, pictured here with their heads poking through the opening in their cat tree. These boys enjoy a fantastic lives as indoor cats. It does help that they have each other for company.

cat enrichment

Our two store cats getting into two-headed mischief on their cat tree.

I wanted cats my entire life, but I’m allergic and can’t have them at home (I actually tried to make it work twice!). I saw these two cats on Craigslist and thought they would be perfect store companions for several reasons: they were mature at 4 1/2 years old, so no kitten energy, no kitty training to use a litter box; they were neutered brothers from the same litter; they had never been outside, giving us a better chance of keeping them inside; and they needed a new home. Plus, they came with their own cat tree, litter box, and everything else I needed—all for free!

We had a couple rough months early on with the cats not wanting to be hugged. Griff actually scratched several kids who pushed him too far. I did some research and quickly realized that they needed more “cat enrichment” such as high cat scratching posts from Time for Paws and perches to retreat to, plus better managed social contact.

Sailor and Griffen have quite a following and many people stop in just to see them and pet them.  The boys sleep in the pet room with the rabbit, the guinea pig, and the birds. Yes, I said ‘birds’. I think that keeps everyone on their toes. No one has been injured, or even close to it.

We get a lot of questions from customers about cat behavior and why our store cats seem so easygoing. Based on the behavior work of experts like Pam Johnson-Bennett, we know that many so-called problems are often due to a lack of cat enrichment, which is a fancy way of saying everyday entertainment that uses their natural skills. This can come in the form of food puzzle toys, interactive toys, vertical space, hideaways, and all kinds of scratching objects. Sometimes the best cat deterrent is the only way out. We usually spend the time dressing them up in a cute pirate costume for cat and recreating our favorite movie scenes.

The key is to find the activity or toy that suits your kitty’s preferences. For some cats, it’s a good round of chase with the cat dancer; for others it’s as simple as providing them a comfy window seat so they can enjoy “Cat TV” every day.

Sailor and Griff are quite lucky because our store provides them with a lot of daily stimulation. But even they can be naughty: they have mastered the art of breaking open boxes of dog/cat food samples that have been taped shut with packing tape and they are not picky. Despite this, we love these boys and wouldn’t trade them for anything. They enrich many lives, especially ours.

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