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October 1, 2014

Dogs

Owning a dog is a big commitment. It is a pet owner’s responsibility to care for a dog and keep it healthy. However, owners are not alone. Retailers can help customers make the right decisions about their dog’s health and lifestyle.

“Pet ownership and adoption are long term commitments and prior to committing owners should look at both the financial and emotional obligations,” said Denise Eaton, BFRP, BFRAP and Nelsons education manager.

What are some common health concerns and issues facing dogs? There are quite a few.

Ever play a joke on a friend and ask them what is the biggest organ in the body? Their response is usually something like liver or intestines. Then they are shocked to find out the answer is the skin.

Skin accounts for the largest organ in the body of dogs as well. Therefore, it is not without its own health problems.
Skin and coat problems are very prevalent among dogs, explained Dr. Vijay Sasi, DVM at Vets Plus, Inc.

“The skin is the single biggest problem,” said Daniel Farrington, founder of HomeoPet. “Allergies, flea allergies, food allergies, environmental allergies, it’s the single biggest cause of discontentment among pet owners.”

According to Farrington, with a dog, the airborne allergies go in through the nasal passages and it overwhelms the system and comes out through the skin.

Joint issues have become increasingly common in dogs due to a longer life span.

“As our pets are living longer, we are seeing more age-related problems such as arthritis, macular degeneration and cognitive disorders,” said Dr. Sasi.

“We all have joints and they all wear out,” said Janis Gianforte, owner of NUPRO. “The more you pound them, the more you are squeezing the cushion that’s in there.”

However, younger dogs can also have arthritic issues.

“We have many cases of young dogs already suffering from arthritis,” said Carolina Hernandez, marketing director at ChondroPaw.

Obesity is a huge health problem, not only in the human world but for dogs as well.

According to Dr. Sasi, two-thirds of pets are overweight.

The reason behind obese dogs may come as a surprise.

“The biggest health concerns affecting dogs today are largely linked to lifestyle choices; not the dogs’ choices, but our choices for our dogs,” said Krista Wickens, owner and CEO of PetZen Products and president of Ball Dynamics International. “Many of the chronic conditions and diseases reported by veterinarians in dogs such obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cruciate ligament injury and cancer can be prevented with better nutrition and exercise choices.”

According to Wickens, APPA reported that more than half of dogs are left home alone every day. This adds up to eight to ten hours that they spend alone.

“That is a long time for a social animal to be confined without interaction. It’s not surprising that this number is also similar to the number of obese dogs,” she said.

This lifestyle is likely to contribute to obesity in dogs but also other diseases such as allergies and joint disease.

Anxiety can also be an issue for dogs.

“When an animal is brought into a new home, the animal has to succumb to a new living environment that is out of their nature,” said Eaton. “They are forced to learn behaviors that may not be normal to them; what is considered normal to them may not be acceptable in the household. These adjustments can bring about behavioral problems, for example obsessive acts, anxiety and dominance.”

According to Farrington, four out of ten dogs have an anxiety condition.

“They have some form of noise-based phobia,” he said. “Most of those are untreated because the owner doesn’t fully understand why the dog is behaving the way it is.”

Dogs can sense change.

“A dog might jump into a bathtub and the owner can’t figure out why, it’s because there’s a thunderstorm coming,” said Farrington. “A dog’s instinct is to flee but it doesn’t want to abandon its owner so it might go into a bathtub.”

So what can retailers and pet owners do to help dog owners combat these health issues?
According to Farrington, the biggest income generators for skin products are flea and tick allergy products that retailers can carry in their very own stores.

“Flea and tick bites are our biggest concern because they are causing animals to itch, scratch and chew,” he said. “We sell a product for skin and itch and we also have a product for bug bites. We take the flea saliva that causes the itching, we dilute it down and give it to a pet and it stops the itching. It’s nature’s natural cure.”

There are a remarkable number of options for pet owners who want their dog to shed a few extra pounds.

“Implementing a health strategy that includes good food and daily exercise choices can be key to managing chronic health conditions and diseases for afflicted dogs to give them a better quality of life,” said Wickens. “Developing a program that incorporates all areas of fitness – endurance (cardio/aerobic), strength (resistance/anaerobic), balance (core/stabilizers), flexibility (range of motion) and mental exercises all contribute to the total animal/body health.”

According to Wickens, dog owners must incorporate all these fitness approaches.

“Leave out just one of those blocks and the foundation is compromised,” she said.

Pet professionals can work together to develop an exercise plan for an overweight dog.

“Pet product dealers, veterinarians and trainers all have a unique opportunity to highlight the benefits of dog fitness and teach your clients how to get their pets moving, as well as boost your bottom line,” said Wickens.

It is also important to make the right choices with dog food.

“Obesity may require a weight control formula and exercise to reduce body weight thereby reducing stress on the animal’s joints and vital organs,” said Dr. Sasi. “Nutritional supplements are often beneficial in combination with pharmaceuticals as advised by your veterinarian.”

Wickens offers advice to retailers to help pet owners make the right decision for prevention and treatment for an obese dog.

“Develop informational signs that offer tips to increase fitness and locate them near your canine conditioning equipment, dog toys, food and treats and leashes,” she said. “Your tips can include providing regular exercise on a treadmill, walking and playing daily, and offering the right amount of high-quality food and treats.”

According to Wicken’s, education is key.

“Distribute educational materials to busy shoppers so they can read about the benefits of canine fitness and health at their leisure,” she said.

She also stresses the importance of communication.

“Talk to your manufacturers and distributors about pre-made materials, or create them yourself with information from reputable sources like the American Veterinary Medical Association or Pet Obesity Prevention Organization,” said Wickens.
According to Wicken’s, store displays can also encourage pet owners begin a fitness regiment.

“Cross merchandise fitness-related products in various sections of your store,” she said. “For example, display healthy pet food and supplements near interactive dog fitness products; add food puzzles in your dog food section; or place an outpost display of colorful tennis balls in your leash and collar aisle.”

Hosting exciting events at a retail store is also extremely helpful.

“Host a fun and educational event that will teach your customers about canine fitness as well as draw traffic into your shop,” said Wickens “Partner with your local veterinarian and ask her to give a presentation about obesity prevention.”

As far as joint health, there is a wide array of supplements to get a dog moving again. Starting them on supplements at an early age has lots of benefits.

“Joint supplements should be fed as support for healthy joint flexibility and mobility at an early stage,” said Dr. Sasi. “Waiting until the pet starts to show symptoms of joint pain, stiffness, decreased mobility, it is often too late for supplements to be most effective. Proper treatment requires having the right diagnosis from a veterinarian, and supplements should be given in conjunction with a specific therapy.”

NUPRO has a joint supplement that helps maintain the health and resiliency of joints.

“You need things to help you feed your animal right,” said Gianforte. “Not everyone is going to go out and buy kelp, or flax seed or all of these wonderful things that will help. We put it into a supplement with our Joint and Immunity Support Supplement.”

According to Hernandez, ChondoPaws supplement for joints is fast acting and simple.

“It works in as little as 96 hours,” she said. “There are no side effects. It can be given with any other treatment.”

For anxiety, RESCUE Remedy Pet can help put dogs at ease.

“RESCUE Remedy Pet treats emotional signs of stress in your animal that can trigger unwanted behaviors such as barking, scratching or biting,” said Eaton. “Conventional medicine often recommends a tranquilizer, however RESCUE Remedy Pet can address many of the same issues naturally, without the side effects.”

HomeoPet has numerous products to help curb anxiety in animals. There are different products for different situations.
They offer a product for firework anxiety, storm stress and even travel anxiety.

“People don’t realize that a lot of dogs will have travel anxiety,” said Farrington. “It’s called visually induced sickness. We have a product that deals directly with that.”

Cats

Cats share a lot of health concerns with dogs but they also have a few of their own. It is wise to know about common health issues facing cats to be able to provide customers with the right products to fit their needs while also encouraging veterinary care.

“Urinary tract infections are a common concern for cats,” said Dr. Vijay Sasi, DVM of Vets Plus, Inc.

He also mentioned chronic kidney disease.

“A vet may recommend a specific diet and supportive supplements targeting kidney function to treat a cat with a urinary tract infection,” said Dr. Sasi.

There is a long list of symptoms for urinary tract symptoms that a customer must be made aware.

“The most common urinary signs that cats exhibit are straining to urinate and blood in the urine,” said Dr. Donna Spector, veterinary internal medicine specialist at Halo, Purely for Pets. “All cats with urinary signs should undergo a thorough veterinary examination that includes a urinalysis, urine culture and x-rays (or ultrasound). These tests help to eliminate the possibility of bladder stones or bladder infection.”

For retailers, it is best to carry specialty products when customers come in with specific vet-advised diet needs.

Zuke’s carries a treat for cats with cranberries to support urinary tract health. The G-Zees are Z shaped because cats prefer food and treats with angles and edges.

Zuke’s Natural Purrz treat line also contains cranberries and comes in the Z shape as well.

Wapiti Labs Inc. carries two products, Vital and ReVitalize that address kidney issues, liver issues and spleen issues in the daily life of a cat.

“Most cats, about 79 percent of cats die of renal failure,” said Deb Hanson, vice president of sales at Wapati Labs. “There are a couple reasons for that. Some cats have that genetically built into their codes and they can’t get the necessary nutrients that they could get from killing wild animals.”

According to Hanson, by using this product, customers are providing what their cats needs for healthy liver, spleen and kidneys on a daily basis.

“We use our elk velvet antler that we source from our own ranch so we have complete control of that,” said Hanson. “We also have all the documentation from the National Animal Supplement Council. It says that our product works and that we adhere to the highest standards of the industry.”

Like other pets, cats also suffer from joint issues due to longer lifespans.

NUPRO offers a supplement specifically designed for cats filled with essential vitamins and minerals. The Health Nuggets for Cats is designed to boost a typical diet using nutrient rich ingredients and is easy to administer.

“I made it into nuggets for cats because a lot of people like to feed dry food because cats like to munch,” said Janis Gianforte, owner of NUPRO. “So now people can feed it as a treat or put it out with the hard food and the cats will eat it.”

Tomlyn also has a joint and hip chew that has high levels of glucosamine and other nutrients for muscle support. Designed for owners to give one chew daily, these supplements also feature easy administration.

Conjunctivitis can also be prevalent among cats.

According to Hanson, every single rescue she has ever run into has had conjunctivitis.

“It’s when their eyes are goopy, their nose is snotty and they drool more when you pet them and love them,” she said.
Hanson says Wapati Lab’s Chest product for cats works perfectly for that.

“It also works on upper respiratory problems that they might have from being over kenneled or over traveled,” said Hanson. “There are often times that feral cats are caught and then moved to a different part of the country for adoption. That three day trip is traumatic for them. The Humane Society orders this product and they love the Chest product.”

As far as cat obesity is concerned, retailers should carry a variety of foods to help customers combat and prevent obesity-related illnesses.

“Prevention starts with quality food that is fed in the right amounts according to the label directions,” said Dr. Sasi. “It is important that treats and chews are fed in moderation and in an amount appropriate for the activity level of the animal. Good food, quality supplements and adequate exercise will help in maintaining the healthy weight of your pet.”

Wellness offers its Complete Health Healthy Weight dry food that focuses on the nutrition that overweight cats need to remain healthy with less caloric intake.

Nutro Natural Choice Weight Loss cat food cuts unneeded calories and features real chicken to promote strong muscles and lean body mass.

These are just a couple brands that offer customers a healthy alternative to other dry cat foods.

There is also a common concern in cats of dental problems. According to Dr. Sasi, dental health is a major problem in cats.
Carrying cat chews that benefit feline dental health can help customers keep their cats happy.

Petstages offers a few products to promote dental health as well as freshen breath.

The Catnip Plaque Away Pretzel features a net overlay that flosses teeth end helps remove soft tartar while the cat is chewing. It also contains catnip to attract and keep the cat’s attention.

There is also Catnip Dental Health Chews that have the same netting but also offer knotted streamers at the ends for added fun.

To help combat bad breath, Petstages offers the Fresh Breath Mint Stick that is filled with mint and covered in netting that will not unravel.

Petstages also features Pressed Mint Leaves that are the perfect size for batting and chasing and freshen breath as the cat chews.

Aquatics

Almost all of the health problems of fish relate to either – or both – the conditions in the tank or nutrition. Educating customers on good fish-keeping practices is one of the best ways to support the health of pet fish.

Obtaining and selling good, healthy stock is also key.

“Fortunately we are seeing much healthier fish available for sale these days,” said Tim Plafcan, senior product manager consumables, United Pet Group Aquatics. “Breeders and wholesalers have made significant advances in fish husbandry and are shipping very healthy fish to retailers. My biggest recommendation for the end consumer after purchasing a fish is providing healthy aquarium water and quality nutrition.”

The best practice is to always be proactive and start with optimum water quality by making sure your aquarium has a healthy bio filter, said Plafcan.

Tetra SafeStart is a patented mix of aquatic filter bacteria to quickly remove pollutants,” he said. “Next on my recommendation list is EasyBalance to regulate pH, lower phosphate and replenish beneficial vitamins and minerals.”

Retailers may provide excellent education to their aquarist customers, but it’s inevitable that not every fish keeper will be able to keep his or her aquarium in top condition all the time. That’s when the fish will have health problems, and, most likely, the aquarist will come to your store looking for a fix.

“The most common health problems seen in fish are ich and fungus,” said Aaron Kline, general manager at Acurel.  “Ich is by far the most common issue seen in fish. Ich is a parasite that actually is always present in an aquarium, but only strikes if the fish’s immune system is weakened. Just like humans when our immune system is weak we get a cold, or even something more serious like pneumonia. When fish are being overfed, or they are in an overcrowded tank their immune systems can weaken and give the parasites in the water their chance to strike.”

According to Kline, fungus becomes a problem when a fish’s protective slime coat is damaged.

“If a fish is being nipped or bitten by other fish, or it is being kept in poor quality water, or if there is ammonia in the tank, its slime coat is at a huge risk of being affected. Once the slime coat is down, it opens the door to bacterial or fungus infections. “

Kline agrees with Plafcan that hobbyists should be proactive with their fishes’ health. He recommends using products that “pre-emptively keep the fish from losing their slime coat so they do not get sick in the first place,” including Acurel BodyGuard treatments, which include vitamin C and aloe vera to boost the immune system and promote the health of the slime coat.

To actually remedy fish diseases, there are a number of products available. Acurel Knockout BF combats bacterial and fungal problems and Acurel Knockout IP treats ich and protozoans.

Tetra offers Lifeguard, a broad-spectrum treatment for ich, fungus, flukes, fin rot and more. The Tetra Water Care App makes it easy to discover any water quality issues that may be behind a customer’s fish health woes.

When consumers and retailers think of the health problems of aquatic animals, they are usually thinking about fish. But, the health of aquatic invertebrates should not be ignored.

The keeping and captive reproduction of corals has exploded in the past decade. With that surge in popularity has come a growing understanding of their needs and health issues.

“Corals that have been grown by recreational aquarists and propagated for sale generally have higher rates of survivability in captivity than corals collected and transported from long distances,” said Chris Brightwell, president of Brightwell Aquatics.

“However, there are a number of coralivorous pests that have become a problem among the reef-keeping community, which tend to be introduced into aquaria as stowaways on propagated corals, and these organisms must be protected against, else entire coral assemblages in an aquarium can rapidly perish. Utilizing intelligent acclimation procedures that include the use of a dip to eliminate these pests is, for all intents and purposes, a requirement at the present time. We offer a product that is utilized to create a dip for new acquisitions of corals and their allies (excluding true anemones) called MediCoral.”

MediCoral helps halt tissue damage in injured corals and discourages the presence of pathogens and parasites.

Brightwell Aquatics also offers several other products to promote the health of these beautiful invertebrates. These include CoralAmino, an amino acid supplement that encourages new coral growth, and Restor, a nutrient supplement for corals stressed by sudden changes in temperature or lighting. Restor aids the healing of injured tissues, such as when a coral has been fragmented.

Birds

The good news about pet birds is that, in general, they are living longer, happier, healthier lives than ever before. The bad news is that the pet industry still has a ways to go on educating consumers about a number of care issues, including diet, stress reduction, and behavioral enrichment. Any one of these can lead to health problems.

“Probably the number one issue facing pet birds today is an improper or inadequate diet, one deficient in active vitamins and macro and trace elements,” said Dan Wake, general manager at Nekton USA. “Add to this, stress caused by molting, breeding, re-caging, illness and/or medical treatment puts the bird’s body in an even greater need for support provided by these vitamins, macro and trace elements.”

Retailers play a crucial role in preventing dietary problems in pet birds.

“Dietary education needs to start with the retailer when a bird is going home with the new owner,” said Wake. “By providing the knowledge of what constitutes a suitable diet and having quality foods and supplements on their shelves, the retailer is the first line of defense against poor nutrition in pet birds.”

Nekton has a wide range of vitamins and supplements to ensure birds are getting excellent nutrition.

“Nekton S is a daily vitamin that increases a bird’s resistance, and improves overall well-being,” said Wake. Nekton S is enriched with vitamins, amino acids, and minerals to promote excellent health in pet birds.

“Nekton Bio is used for feather growth due to it containing 18 different free amino acids, in addition to necessary vitamins and minerals for feather growth,” said Wake, making this a good product to give to molting birds.

To ensure owners provide excellent nutrition to their birds, consider supplements that address the needs of different types of birds.

“Nekton also has three tonics that are specifically designed for seed-eating, fruit-eating and insect-eating birds,” Wake said.

“These tonics compliment normal diets with their balanced combination of the particular vitamins and proteins required by each diet type.”

Without a veterinary examination, it can be difficult to detect nutrition problems in birds. One potential sign are stress marks or stress bars. These are abnormal lines that run across the shaft of the feathers. They are easiest to see on molted feathers and in the long tail feathers.

“If you see stress marks on the bird, it’s often a nutrition problem, often a vitamin D problem,” said Mary Wyld, owner of Wyld’s Wingdom, one of the nation’s largest wholesale pet bird supply distributors. “You can use supplements or lighting to help with feather health.”

For vitamin D issues, full-spectrum lighting is often a good answer. The key is that the bulb provides the UVB waves of light.

Zoo Med’s Avian Sun 5.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent bulb and the FeatherBrite 15w Full Spectrum Bulb are two good choices for bird lighting.

Obesity is another dietary health concern for birds.

“Some species, like Amazons, tend to get obese,” said Wyld. “They don’t get enough exercise. The more you can keep them moving around the cage, like with different toys, the better. And get them out of the cage to walk around. It’s good for obesity and related problems like heart problems and diabetes—birds can become diabetic although it’s not common. You can get them to flap wings on command and give them more active playtime to keep down weight.”

Smart retailers can promote toys, play gyms and training accessories as methods to keep parrots at a healthy weight. Also, larger cages allow birds to move around more.

Stress is also a problem for birds. Whether the stress comes in the form of environmental change, medical treatment, or some other cause, it has a big impact on a bird’s health.

“For birds in extreme stressful situations Nekton offers Nekton Q and Nekton B-Komplex,” said Wake. “Each formula emphasizes a different set of vitamins to address different requirement brought on by stress.”

Nekton Q contains high levels of vitamin K as well as vitamins A and E, making it a great product for birds undergoing antibiotic treatment. Nekton B-Komplex provides the B vitamins and is useful when birds need a metabolic boost, such as when they are sick or breeding.

Wyld also recommends a unique dietary product to promote the general health of pet birds.

“Herb Salad by Twin Beaks Aviary is a combination of 22 medicinal herbs you put in a side dish,” she said. “The birds pick out the ones they want and need to stay healthy. It’s a 100 percent organic product. I’ve had breeders order this in buckets.”

According to the Twin Beaks Aviary website, the product addresses a variety of health issues safely with no risk of over-supplementation.

“Feather plucking is one of the most commonly seen problems by retailers because it’s so obvious,” said Wyld.
Feather plucking is a complicated problem with many possible causes.

“A good avian person may be able to notice some things, but leave the diagnosis to an avian vet,” said Wyld.
Among the causes are inadequate nutrition, hormone imbalances, boredom and emotional problems. Because feather plucking (and other forms of self mutilation) can have so many different causes and be so serious, retailers should always recommend owners take plucking birds to a veterinarian, preferably an avian specialist.

However, there are some products that help plucking in some cases.

“I’ve had people tell me they have good results with red palm oil for feather plucking—it’s got good vitamin A levels,” said Wyld.

Another product to address feather plucking is Pluck No More from King’s Cages.

“I’ve had a lot of people tell me they have success with this product,” she said. “Releaves, made by Harrison’s Bird Foods, is a whole-food source of carotenoids for birds suffering from suspected hormonal imbalance such as chronic egglaying, some feather plucking, and some behavior problems. It has CoQ10, red raspberry leaves, and raspberry extract.”

“You see parasites sometimes, like scaly face or mites, and there are products for those problems. A product we stock is Dyna-Mite Natural Mite and Lice Repellent Spray by Mango Pet Products.”

Dyna-Mite relieves a bird’s itchiness with soothing oils while killing the pests with bird-safe diatomaceous earth.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Many of the most common and best-selling reptiles today and even many relatively rare species are captive bred, resulting in healthy stock being readily available. Some of the more common amphibians are also regularly captive bred. That said, there are still some fairly common health problems that retailers are bound to encounter.

As with aquatics, the most important factors in keeping reptiles and amphibians healthy are species-appropriate keeping conditions and excellent nutrition. Most of the problems seen in herps (reptiles and amphibians collectively) come down to these two issues. The retailer plays a key role in preventing many herp health problems by educating the customer on the right way to house and feed his or her pet.

“The most common problem in reptiles is metabolic bone disease, which is becoming less common as pet owner practices and reptile products improve,” said Pam Morisse, associate brand manager at Zilla.

This problem is caused by a lack of calcium, ultraviolet lighting, or both. It’s most common in day-active lizards and turtles, but other species can get it too. “Zilla offers a variety of products that can help with prevention of this disease by providing vitamin D and calcium,” said Morisse.

The products include Zilla’s fluorescent bulbs that provide UVB and are available in various wattages and bulb types. “UVB lighting is essential for the health of reptiles in that it regulates the synthesis of vitamin D,” she said. “Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption and metabolism of calcium.  Proper amounts of UVB lighting and calcium are required for adequate bone strength and health.”

Other bulbs that produce UVB include Zoo Med’s PowerSun UV and Exo Terra’s SunRay.

Proper diet plays a large role in the prevention of metabolic bone disease and other health problems. New from Zilla is the Reptile Munchies line. It’s available in vegetable and omnivore mixes, both with calcium in vegetable mix and omnivore mix varieties.

Zilla Calcium Supplement spray can be misted directly onto any type of herp food. For insect-eating herps, Zilla Gut Load Cricket & Insect food can be fed to crickets, increasing their longevity and effectively providing supplements to the pet.
Although more attention gets paid to calcium and vitamin D, other vitamin and mineral deficiencies occur in herps.

“These animals are prone to a variety of vitamin and mineral deficiencies,” said Dan Wake, general manager at Nekton USA. “For example lack of vitamin A can lead to eye issues. Low vitamin B can result in paralysis and skin disease.”  Vitamin A deficiencies seem especially common in turtles.

“Nekton-Rep and Nekton Rep Color are both dietary supplements made up of the necessary vitamins and minerals needed by most reptiles and amphibians,” said Wake. These two supplements are designed for the carnivorous and omnivorous reptiles and amphibians. Nekton Rep Color also helps enhance the colors of herps with natural caratenoids.

Nekton Tonic R is for those nectar-feeding reptiles such as crested geckos and the day geckos. “This tonic is easily absorbed when ingested, which makes it ideal for animals under stress and acclimation,” said Wake. It supplements a daily diet with carbohydrates, fats and proteins in addition to the necessary vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Nekton Iguana is similar to Nekton Rep but was developed for green iguanas and herbivorous reptiles.

Snakes and lizards frequently have shedding problems. This is almost always due to inadequate humidity in the enclosure. To help the animal shed any retained skin there are several shedding aids, including Zoo Med’s Repti Shedding Aid and Zilla’s Shed Ease. The long-term solution is to educate the customer on how to keep his or her herp at the proper humidity.

Mites are blood-sucking arachnids, similar to ticks but smaller and plaguing a reptile in droves. To get rid of these pests, Allen Both, owner of Reptile Kingdom, recommends Provent-a-Mite spray. “It works great on corn snakes, kingsnakes and most other species. I don’t recommend it for emerald tree boas, green tree pythons or mountain kingsnakes.”

Small Animal

Among the small animals, the popularity of ferrets is on the rise. Ferrets are different from most other small mammals because they are carnivores in the weasel family, not herbivorous rodents. Because of their growing numbers, ferret health issues – especially dietary ones – are attracting attention.

Adequate nutrition for ferrets goes a long way in preventing their health issues. For your ferret-owning customers, always recommend a good, ferret-specific diet, such as Marshall Pet Products Premium Ferret Diet.

Even with a good diet, supplements may be necessary for some ferrets. For these pets, NUPRO All-Natural Ferret Supplement will be helpful.

“It does so many different things: skin, coat, immune system health, digestion,” said Janis Gianforte, owner of NUPRO. “It’s really an all-in-one supplement. The consumer doesn’t have to buy a bunch of different products.”

When a ferret is sick with a respiratory or other illness, the first step is always to seek veterinary care. But there are a number of products that can support the ferret’s well-being to help it recover.

Marshall Pet Product’s Ferret Rx is a 100 percent safe and natural way to relieve respiratory symptoms such as runny nose and congestion.

Some ferrets contract a condition called megaesophagus, which makes it difficult for the animal to swallow food. “Owners of these ferrets can make NUPRO as a gravy and give it in a syringe so they get nutrition as they fight this disease,” said Gianforte.

Another product for nutritional support during times of illness is Uncle Jim’s Duk Soup from Marshall Pet Products. It is easy on the digestive system and stimulates the appetite while naturally strengthening the immune system.

Ferrets can have various skin and coat issues. Fleas and ticks are the first things to rule out. Marshall Pet Products Ferret Tea Tree Shampoo is specially formulated for ferrets. It helps repel fleas and ticks while benefiting the skin and coat. Furo-Tone, also by Marshall, is a supplement designed to keep a ferret’s skin and coat in top condition.

-Rebekah Harrison and Tom Mazorlig

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