Canine Flu Vaccine: Is It Necessary?

Veterinarians across the country are encouraging pet owners to vaccinate their canine companions for the flu. Is your dog at risk? And if so, is the vaccine going to prevent that risk? We’re here with help from Dogs Naturally to cover this popular topic to help you decide what is best for your best friend.

What is Canine Influenza Virus and What Are the Symptoms?

The first US strain of canine influenza virus (CIV), H3N8, was identified in racing greyhounds in Florida in January 2004. In 2015, a second strain, H3N2, was identified in Chicago. Since that time, cases have been reported across the States and a few, more recently, in Canada.

Symptoms include:

  • sneezing
  • dry coughing
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • restlessness
  • watery eyes, runny nose
  • fever (one of the things that makes it different from kennel cough)

Is Your Dog at Risk for Canine Flu?

The media, many conventional vets and especially vaccine manufacturers would love for us to believe that the canine flu is a major epidemic, that our dogs are seriously at risk at that every dog needs the canine flu vaccine.

This is not the case!

The canine flu is not widespread. In fact, most dogs never come in contact with the virus. While the number of dogs exposed to the virus who will get canine flu is around 80%, the mortality rate is very low. And those dogs that do become critically ill from it are typically those who have other health issues to begin with.

There’s more.

According to the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University, the first strain of canine influenza virus (H3N8) isn’t common among household pets in the US, with studies showing the level of the virus in the population at less than 5%. In some areas, exposure rates have been low even in pets who participate in high risk environments such as training or agility events.

So maybe its the second strain, H3N2, that’s the problem? Here are some numbers from Dogs Naturally to help put it into perspective:

So, on the extremely off-chance your dog gets the flu, what can you do?

How to Treat the Canine Flu if Your Dog Gets It

Just as with humans, the treatment for a dog with the flu is largely supportive. Because it’s a viral infection and not bacterial, antibiotics won’t help. Here are some of the best things you can do to nurse him back to health:

  1. Keep a close eye on him to make sure he’s eating and drinking. Fluids are important to avoid dehydration.
  2. Check his diet. A fresh, raw diet packed with vitamins and nutrients will help your dog fight back against the flu.
  3. Add some immune boosting supplements like turmeric, Echinacea, goldenseal, oregano, and garlic to his food.
  4. Give him lots of rest. Exertion causes the cough to become more intense, so limit it.
  5. Clean up. The virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and hands for 12 hours, so do a thorough cleaning using white vinegar, which is an effective bacteria and germ killer.

Most healthy dogs get over the flu easily within 2-3 weeks. Since symptoms are generally mild, it’s usually best to let nature run its course. This will also help your dog build up a natural immunity to this and future strains.

Remember – the virus is contagious, so keep your dog away from other dogs to prevent the virus from spreading.

 

What You Need to Know About the Canine Flu Vaccine

So, you understand it’s highly unlikely that your dog will get the canine flu, and if he does, the symptoms will probably be mild, but just in case you’re still thinking about giving your dog the vaccine, there are a few more things you should know.

The canine flu vaccine is a killed vaccine.

The worst vaccine you can give your dog, rabies, is also a killed vaccines. Leptospirosis and Lyme are also killed vaccines. There are countless studies showing the adverse reactions caused by these vaccines, from allergic reactions to death.

A killed vaccine contains a killed form of the virus. Manufacturers do this because they don’t want the live virus to spread.

Supporters of killed vaccines say they’re safer because the virus isn’t live. What these supporters don’t mention is the fact that this also makes it hard for these vaccines to trigger an immune response. So, to make them more effective and longer lasting, manufacturers have to add adjuvants (added chemicals) to them.

Adjuvants are dangerous for your dog. Here are some of the most common ones and why they’re so dangerous:

  • Aluminum is the most commonly used adjuvant in vaccines and it’s a neurotoxin. It messes with your dog’s brain and nervous system, and can cause inflammation in the brain, as well as dementia and seizures. It’s also a known carcinogen.
  • Formaldehyde. Yes, one of the chemicals used to preserve dead bodies is a common vaccine ingredient and also a known carcinogen.
  • Thimerosal is a mercury-based additive that’s meant to preserve a vaccine. It has been proven to cause tissue cell death and neurological disorders. It’s especially toxic to your dog when combined with aluminum.
  • Phenol is another preservative commonly used in vaccines. It’s a highly poisonous, corrosive substance that comes from coal tar.
  • Animal tissue. Most disease micro-organisms are cultured on animal tissue, and when manufacturers make a vaccine, it becomes impossible to divide the two. This tissue is put into the bloodstream, where the white blood cells have to fight it, making it harder for them to fight the other, more dangerous foreign substances.

Not only is the canine flue vaccine a killed vaccine, it hasn’t even been proven to prevent an infection. So you’re risking your dog’s health with something that may not even prevent it! Another risk is that, as manufacturers modify these vaccines to fit different strains, the viruses become resistant, making it so that your dog needs to keep getting these toxic drugs because the old ones won’t work (even though they may not work to begin with!).

So, what are the most important things you need to know about the canine flu vaccine?

  1. It isn’t widespread and your dog is unlikely to come into contact with it.
  2. If he does get it, the symptoms are usually mild and it’s best treated with supportive care at home.
  3. The canine flu vaccine is not the answer. It’s a killed vaccine, it’s toxic, may not work, and is causing the flu to become resistant. Skip it!

 

13 Winter Care Tips for Your Dog

Does your dog love winter, or would she rather cuddle up on the couch under a cozy blanket? Either way, you should be prepared to protect her when she ventures out into the elements this season.

Many dog owners live with the misconception that because their pets have a coat of fur, they can tolerate cold better than humans. This isn’t necessarily the case. As you explore the winter landscape with your faithful four-legged friend, please keep these winter care tips from Dog’s Naturally Magazine in mind!

1. Beware of the temperature.

Some dog breeds are blessed with thick fur that keeps them warm naturally, even in very cold temperatures, but dogs with thinner coats may need a sweater or coat when out for winter walks. A good coat should reach from the neck to the base of the tail and also protect the belly. But remember – coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet, or tail…so even with a cozy coat, you shouldn’t keep your short haired dog out too long in freezing temperatures.

2. Go outside when the sun shines.

If your dog feels the cold, try to walk her in the late morning or early afternoon hours when temperatures are a little warmer, and avoid early morning or late evening walks. Spending time playing outside when it’s sunny brings the added benefit of providing both you and your pet with vitamin D.

3. Limit outdoor time in winter.

Your pet may love to spend time outdoors, but in winter even the furriest dog can get cold. Ears, paws, and tails are all susceptible to frostbite. A good rule is to go out with him, and when you’re ready to come in, he probably will be too.

4. Make sure your dog has cozy bedding.

Choosing the right bedding is vital to ensure your dog stays warm, rather than sleeping on a cold floor. Warm blankets, raised beds, and heated beds can help keep the stiffness out of aging joints. Place your dog’s bed in a warm spot away from drafts and uncarpeted floors, preferably in a favorite spot so that the area doesn’t feel unfamiliar.

5. Protect your dog from heaters.

Dogs will often seek heat during cold winter weather by snuggling too close to heating sources. Avoid space heaters and fireplaces if at all possible. Or be sure to create a pet=proof system to keep your dog out of harm’s way.

6. Moisturize.

Dry and cold weather can do a number on your pet’s skin. Help prevent dry, flaky skin by adding a skin and coat supplement to her food. Coconut oil is a good natural moisturizer that can keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy. You can also use it topically as needed for ears, paws, or tail when dry or cracking.

7. No overfeeding please!

Although many dogs need an extra layer in winter, make sure it comes from a coat and not a layer of fat. Cold temperatures may bring on lazy behavior and the need for fewer calories. Be attentive to your dog’s activity level and waistline, and adjust your feeding guidelines accordingly.

8. Keep your dog hydrated.

Dogs can dehydrate just as quickly in winter as summer. Although many dogs eat snow, it’s not an adequate substitute for fresh water. If your dog spends time outdoors in your yard, make sure she has access to a water bowl, and be sure to check it often and break ice that forms on top.

9. Groom your dog.

Your dog needs a clean, well-groomed coat to keep her properly insulated. This is especially important if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors. After bathing, dry your dog thoroughly, especially before allowing her outside.

10. Paw care is a must.

Just as we tend to develop foot cracks in winter, dogs can also suffer from cracked pads. If your dog has furry feet, trim the hairs that grow between the pads to prevent ice build up. Winter salt on city sidewalks can also burn and is toxic, so try using booties or rinsing your dog’s paws to remove any salt – you don’t want her licking it off. For areas around your home, we recommend using a paw-safe ice melt,  available at your local Barkery.

11. Avoid exposure to toxins.

With winter comes antifreeze. Antifreeze tastes sweet and dogs (as well as some children!) will readily lick or drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and just a small amout can be fatal. Keep your dog out of the garage and off the driveway where she may encounter antifreeze or other harmful chemicals.

12. NEVER leave your dog unattended in the car, no matter what the season.

Just as cars get dangerously hot in summer, freezing cold temperatures are equally dangerous for your dog in winter. Leaving the car running involves additional risks, so it’s best to leave your dog at home when you go out to run errands.

13. Use special care for seniors.

Cold weather will often aggravate existing medical conditions in dogs, particularly with arthritis. It’s important to maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, but be mindful of slippery surfaces and make sure your dog has a warm, soft rest area to recuperate after activity. If you don’t already use a natural joint supplement, you may want to consider adding one in winter. Just like people, dogs are more susceptible to other illnesses during winter weather.

Harsh winter weather brings a wide variety of concerns to responsible dog owners. Paying special attention to your loyal friend’s wellbeing during the winter season will ensure that each of you enjoy it to the fullest.

Keep these winter care tips in mind, and don’t forget that winter cuddles with your canine buddy are a great way for everyone to keep warm!

15 Ways to Ensure Your Dog Gets Quality Meat

When it comes to feeding your pet, it’s not always easy to tell where ingredients come from or how they’re cooked. Even the numbers on the label aren’t as helpful as they could be, making comparisons hard.

Expect quality pet food to cost more, but make sure you’re actually getting your money’s worth. Remember, good quality dog food companies don’t make it difficult to find things out. They’re proud of what they make, and want you to know that.

The product labels on quality dog foods will have more detailed information rather than just fancy marketing. Their website should get even more specific. Of course, you’ll see the results in your pet’s health as well. Here’s a closer look at how you can ensure your dog gets plenty of meat that is actually of good quality and beneficial for his health, from Top Dog Tips.

1. Look for a biologically appropriate diet.

We should all know what a diet of processed food does to health and the growing obesity epidemic in both the human and canine world. Dogs and cats didn’t evolve to eat corn, rice, soy, wheat, and potatoes – never mind the artificial preservatives and other unnatural ingredients in today’s commercial products.

So why are these ingredients so common in dog food? It’s because they’re cheaper than high quality meat. Of course, that doesn’t mean dogs and cats shouldn’t have any fruits and vegetables. Wild carnivores eat the stomach contents of their plant-eating prey, after all.

A biologically appropriate diet is about the right balance, avoiding foods that pets are sensitive to, and using foods with a healthy glycemic index to maintain blood sugar levels.

2. Make sure commercial dog food brands are complete and balanced.

There are minimum guidelines set up to help you when picking dog food brands. If your pet food says “complete and balanced” on the label, that means:

  • passed Feeding Trial Protocol(s) with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)
  • it meets AAFCO Dog or Cat Food Nutrient Profiles
  • or, it’s part of a line of products with AAFCO approval.

It means the product has enough nutritional value that it can be used as the only source of daily nutrition for your pet, not just a snack or a treat. Any other specific uses stated on the label are suggestions set by the company. For example, some foods are intended for seniors, but there are no official guidelines.

Be aware, AAFCO standards are minimum standards, so it’s just a starting point.

3. Provide enough moisture, and know its role when calculating the percentage of protein.

Many owners look at the level of crude protein on the label. When comparing labels from kibble to canned food, it may seem like canned food is a waste of money – canned dog food brands have much less crude protein because they have more moisture than kibble. 

More moisture is a good thing for dogs, because prey animals are about 70 percent water (just like humans). That means wet dog food is closer to what our now-domesticated canines evolved to eat, and there might be more meat than you think.

As a quick rule of thumb, multiply the crude protein in regular canned dog food by 4 to get an approximate idea of how much protein there actually is.

4. Understand dog food descriptions and types.

The best dog food companies are more than happy to tell consumers exactly how much meat is in their products either on the packaging or on their website.

There’s also more information in how manufacturers describe their products than meets the eye – if you know where to look. For example, if dog food sells itself as “Beef for Dogs,” it has to be 95 percent beef. If the type of meat is just mentioned in the name, it might just be beef flavored, with as little as 25 percent beef according to the regulations.

These kinds of products also need some other kind of descriptive term, like dinner, platter, entrée, menu, or formula. Since consumers often choose dog food by looking for a particular protein source, it would be nice if the label told us everything we want to know, but it doesn’t.

The clearer the company is about the kind of meat used, with specific number values, the better a product usually is. Any vagueness in the marketing should make you immediately suspicious of the company, the manufacturer and the dog food brand itself.

5. Find out where the animals used as a meat source came from.

Quality pet food companies will always tell you where the ingredients are sourced, and how they were raised or harvested.

The closer the source of the ingredients are to where they are used, the fresher they probably will be. Quality pet food manufacturers must carefully monitor every stage of their supply chain, so they know the quality and source of everything.

Ethically raised meat animals are a growing trend in the pet food industry, as well as GMO-free and organic dog food brands. Some labels require certification by third-party organizations, which can give you even more security.

Always look for the country of origin with all ingredients and for words like free-range, grass-fed, human grade, cage-free, non-GMO, certified organic, wild caught, and hormone/antibiotic-free.

6. Rotate named protein sources.

In proper dog nutrition practices, there’s a thing called rotation feeding.  

Regularly changing your dog to different, high-quality protein sources reduces food sensitivities in the dog. It’s more than just good for your pet’s appetite, it also makes sure that your pet gets all the nutrients it needs – including amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.

7. Understand what makes a protein source digestible for dogs.

Not all protein in dog foods is equally digestible, meaning the body can’t actually use and get the nutrients it needs. That’s why a numbered percentage can’t tell you everything you need to know.

Eggs are the most digestible kind of protein, followed by fish and fishmeal. Lamb and chicken are more digestible than beef, but quality processing is key. The more natural the meat ingredients are, the more digestible they’ll be.

8. Look for shorter lived fish, lower on the food chain.

Fish is very digestible, but can be high in heavy metals and mercury. The longer a fish lives, the more they pick things like that up.

The same goes for predatory fish, like tuna, Mahi-Mahi and swordfish that quickly get contaminated by the smaller fish they consume on a regular basis. Shorter-lived, smaller fish are safer for dogs – like jack mackerel, herring, sardines, and catfish.

9. Know what meals are and their quality.

Meat, in its natural form, is high in moisture – about 75% water. Meat meals only have about 10 percent water, and a lot of the fat is removed too.

According to its definition in the AAFCO Official Publication, blood, hair, hide, and other scraps, even manure, stomachs and their contents can go into “meat meal.” Exactly what’s in your dog’s food depends on the company, which is why it’s better to look for meat meals that clearly say what kind of animals are used and their quality.

10. Grain-free isn’t automatically lower in carbohydrates or higher in protein.

Dry pet food from grocery stores is usually between 40 and 60 percent carbohydrates. Grain-free dog food can be just as high, sometimes replacing nutrient rich whole grains with starchy vegetables, like tapioca and potatoes.

Peas, grains, beans and seeds are often added because they contain protein, so they can raise the crude protein percentage more cheaply than meat. Don’t be foold into thinking that number always shows how much meat is in the product.

11. Don’t rule out the right amount of fat.

Low fat sounds healthier to many consumers, but fat is actually a vital energy source with more than twice the energy found in carbohydrates.

Some fats, like fish oil containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) provide extra essential nutrients that benefit our pets’ skin, hair, and brain. It’s also one of the most well-researched supplements with effectiveness proven in clinical trials.

Fat, in the right amount, keeps our pets immune systems healthy and properly regulated. The younger the animal, the more fat they need to fuel their activity and growth. Even weight control dog food usually has about 5 percent fat. Somewhere between 5 and 10 percent is suitable for adult maintenance foods. You can also supplement your dog’s diet with the right amount of fish oil.

12. Avoid hydrolyzed dog food products.

Hydrolyzed protein dog food is a newer trend in the pet food industry, often marketed toward pets with allergies or sensitive digestion.

For the uninitiated, hydrolyzing agents are applied to the meat ingredients, and they’re cooked and ground with special additives. Then, they’re steam cooked again under high heat and pressure to form a slurry or powder.

When it arrives at the pet food plant, these meat ingredients are often cooked again with other ingredients. Almost any animal byproducts and protein can be used, including feathers, because everything is broken down into amino acids.

However, the result will always have less bioavailability than natural animal muscle meat and organs, which decreases the value and nutrition of the dog food. Research shows that very little of the hydrolyzed protein can be used by our pet’s bodies. 

13. Avoid unnamed meat byproducts.

Rendered meat is usually made from the inedible garbage left over from human-grade meat, or it’s often very low quality in the first place.

However, the same cannot be said for organ meat from named animal sources, like livers, hearts, kidneys, and tripe, which are absolutely great and nutritional for dogs.

If a pet food manufacturer doesn’t even name its meat and bone meal sources, they can change them according to what’s available. Meat byproducts can contain stomachs, udders, hair, horns, teeth, and hooves. When these products don’t come from USDA-inspected rendering plants, it might not even be from cows, pigs, or chickens. Basically, it could be anything.

Remember that honest, quality pet food manufacturers will tell you exactly what’s in their dog food and name all the meat and bone sources, as well as specific organs.

14. Consider making homemade dog food.

Making your dog’s meals means you’ll know exactly what’s in it. However, you need well-balanced homemade dog recipes, otherwise you risk making your dog or cat sick, or worse yet, making them malnourished.

You’ll probably need to add additional vitamins and mineral supplements to make sure they get all the nutrients they need. It’s best to work with your holistic veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to create a list of homemade dog food recipes that will meet your pet’s individual needs.

15. Consider feeding a raw diet.

Raw dog food products are advantageous in many ways. Regardless of point of view, raw is the fastest growing sector in the pet food market. The first change you notice when feeding raw food is improved stools. This is due to its superior digestibility. Raw food is also extremely palatable and pets tend to like it. In addition, feeding raw has the following benefits:

  • No preservatives
  • No wheat, gluten, or fillers
  • Clean teeth
  • Fresh breath
  • Shiny and healthy coats
  • Less shedding
  • Fewer allergy symptoms
  • Firm, hard stools
  • 70% less poop

Remember, a good nutritious diet is the best health insurance money can buy. Ask a Barkery nutrition specialist about the type of raw diet that is right for your pet.

January Sale – Tuckers & Petcurean GO!

This month marks the start of an awesome promotion your four-legged friends are sure to appreciate! Tucker’s Raw Frozen & Treats and Petcurean GO! are both on special this month!

Tucker’s offers a variety of raw frozen complete and balanced diets, raw bones, dehydrated food, bones, and treats. Your pet is sure to love the fresh taste of Tucker’s in all shapes and sizes! This month:

  • $4 off 6 pound frozen Tucker’s recipes
  • $2 off 3 pound frozen Tucker’s recipes
  • 20% off Tucker’s treats, Carnibars, raw bones, and dehydrated bones

Petcurean GO! is a premium kibble line with limited ingredient, nutrient-packed recipes that your cat or dog will drool over! Whether you’re feeding GO! already, or just looking to try a new kibble, now is a great time with:

  • Buy one get on FREE on all small kibble bags (4 lb cat/6 lb dog). Mix and match cat and dog recipes!

Additional January Sales

  • 50% off existing stock of Bravo Pet Foods
  • 20% off all coats & sweaters

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet’s Health

A new year means a new resolution for many of us. As you’re thinking of ways to better yourself, you should also consider the life and wellbeing of your pet. Would you feed a different food? Would you give your dog more exercised attention? Here are the top five steps to improve your dog’s health in one year, from Dogs Naturally Magazine:

1. Feed a Raw Diet

One of the best ways to immediately improve your dog’s health is to toss that bag of kibble in the trash and begin feeding a fresh, raw diet. There’s nothing magical about what’s in the raw diet, but more importantly is what’s not in it.

Kibble needs to contain at least 30% starchy carbohydrates to hold together. Some kibbles contain as much as 60% starch, and kibble manufacturers aren’t required to say how much is in the food. Starch is a problem for a few important reasons:

  1. Mycotoxins – Starch is a breeding ground for molds, which produce a by-product called mycotoxin. Mycotoxin can contaminate crops before they’re harvested or after your dog’s food is made. Mycotoxins are extremely harmful to your dog and one mycotoxin in particular, aflatoxin, is the most potent carcinogen (cancer-causing compound) found in nature. A 2015 study in Animal Feed Science & Technology found that nearly all pet foods were contaminated with mycotoxins.
  2. Antinutrients – Antinutrients are naturally occurring or man-made substances in food that can interfere with the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and with digestive enzymes. The most common sources of antinutrients include grains, beans, legumes, and nuts.
  3. Glycemic Load – The glycemic load of foods is an indication of how quickly it raises the blood sugar. A small, steady amount of carbs or starch in the diet is fairly harmless, but when large amounts are added, this can cause obesity and insulin resistance. Over time, your dog will become less sensitive to insulin and his pancreas will have to work harder to produce more insulin and can become exhausted, which can lead to pancreatitis and diabetes. Insulin resistance can also increase the risk of thyroid disease, obesity, and some types of cancer.

2. Replace Dewormers With Herbs

For most dog owners, tapeworms, whipworms or other parasites can mean a trip to the vet. Conventional chemical dewormers contain really harmful ingredients that can have dangerous side effects. Here are some of the most common:

  • Fenbendazole – can cause vomiting, lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, inflammation, even death
  • Pyrantel – can cause vomiting, weight loss, depression, even death
  • Prazinquantel – can cause lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, even death

Many of the most widely prescribed dewormers contain these ingredients in combination with other drugs, often making them even more risky. As a part of your plan to improve your dog’s health, you can skip these and replace them with herbs and other natural dewormers. Hopefully you’ll find a good holistic vet to help you out, but you can try these on your own to get started:

  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE) – Food grade DE can reduce the number of worms in your dog. Feed small dogs a teaspoon per day and dogs over 55 pounds up to a tablespoon per day. Make sure it’s well mixed in his food, as inhaling DE can irritate your dog’s lungs. You can pick up DE at your nearest Brookside Barkery.
  • Oregon Grape – Oregon grape is an anti-parasitic, so it’s a perfect natural dewormer. Give it as a tincture, using 12 drops per 20 pounds. It’s also an effective antibiotic and liver tonic. Note: Don’t give this herb to dogs with liver disease or to pregnant dogs.
  • Chamomile – Chamomile is great for preventing and getting rid of roundworms and whipworms. In glycerin tincture form, give 0.25 ml to .50 ml per 20 lbs of body weight twice daily, placed in your dog’s mouth or added to water.

Along with herbs, there are many foods you can give to prevent and get rid of worms. Remember that a healthy gut is unattractive to worms, so a raw food diet is a really good start in preventing them. Fermented veggies, pimpkin seeds, pineapple, papaya, grated carrots, watercress, fennel, and cucumber are all great ways to help your dog fight worms.

3. Replace Fish Oils with Healthier Oils

Although fish oils are loaded with healthy fats, fat is where fish and other animals store toxins… and oceans are becoming more and more polluted by the minute. Heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury can end up in fish oil, along with toxic compounds like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and furans. These can cause nervous system disorders, cancers, liver and kidney damage, and skin problems.

Instead of fish oil, try hemp oil. It’s a good Omega-3 oil if you feed your dog a diet made primarily of meat from ruminants (like beef, goat, lamb, bison, venison). To add help oil to your dog’s diet, give 1 tsp of hemp oil for every 1-1.25 lbs of food.

If you’re feeding poultry, hemp oil can lead to too much polyunsaturated fat in the diet, so you should choose something different. Options include flaxseed oil or chia seed oil plus canned sardines (in water or olive oil). Add 1 tsp of oil along with 1/4 can of sardines for every 1-1.25 pounds of lean chicken, turkey, or duck you feed.

Phytoplankton is also an excellent source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, along with important trace minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Phytoplankton is absorbed by the body as soon as it gets in your dog’s mouth, so it delivers key nutrients without your dog having to digest first.

Coconut oil is another healthy oil to add to your dog’s diet. It’s not an omega-3, but a medium chain fatty acid and has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It’s a good idea to rotate into your dog’s diet to help with skin issues, allergies, and immune support. We recommend giving up to 1 tsp per 10 pounds of body weight.

4. Feed the Gut (Not the Dog)

Bacteria that live in your dog’s gut form 80% of his immune system. These friendly bacteria also produce your dog’s vitamins, help him digest food and more. But these friendly little bugs can easily be damaged by starchy carbohydrates, which feed the harmful bacteria in the gut and crowd out the friendly bacteria colonies. Here’s how you can replace the friendly bacteria in your dog’s gut:

  • Feed Probiotics
    You can boost the number of good bacteria in your dog’s gut by adding a probiotic supplement, or adding probiotic foods such as fermented vegetables, raw goat milk, or kefir. Probiotics assist in digestive help by keeping the gut healthy and full of good bacteria.

Remember, when you introduce probiotics to your dog’s diet, it’s best to do it slowly. If your dog is new to probiotics, they can cause a die-off of the harmful bacteria, which could cause gas, loose stools, and stomach rumblings. Go slow if your dog has a history of digestive upset.

5. Avoid All Unnecessary Vaccines

Here’s an important tip. Most vaccines your dog gets are unnecessary!

Over-vaccination costs you more than just money, it can seriously harm your dog. Vaccine reactions are more common than you think, and they’re well documented. Vaccine damage can range from minor reactions (lethargy, hair loss) to moderate (chronic allergies, lameness, respiratory diseases), to severe (seizures, myocarditis, death).

And there’s actually no need to put your dog’s health at risk…

Research shows that core vaccines (parvovirus, distemper, and adenovirus) your dog gets as a puppy protect him for at least 7 to 1 years. That means he’s covered for most, or probably all of his life after his puppy vaccination. It also means that anything more than those first puppy shots is overkill, which means your dog is getting all of the risk and none of the benefit.

Even though your vet wants you to vaccinate your dog every year or every three years, there’s no research showing this is necessary. Nearly every dog who’s vaccinated at or after 16 weeks of age has been shown to be protected for life.

If you’re worried about skipping your dog’s vaccines this year, you can check to see if he’s protected before vaccinating. Ask your vet for a titer test, which is a blood test that measures the level of protective antibodies your dog has to certain diseases.

Getting a titer test is one of the most important things you can do to stop over-vaccination for your dog. Learn more about titer tests on Dogs Naturally.

Note: Some conventional veterinarians may charge much more than a vaccine cost for a titer test. Stop in the Barkery for information about affordable titer testing before paying hundreds of dollars for this simple blood test!

AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) vaccine guidelines have been updated to say a positive titer can replace vaccination for the core vaccines, so if your vet presses you to vaccinate, you can refer to these guidelines. Don’t just give in and vaccinate, your dog’s life might rely on that decision!

Start the year off right with these five simple changes. We can virtually guarantee they will seriously improve your dog’s health and reduce risk of disease!

 

Let the Sales Begin!

We hope you had a wonderful Holiday! Now, let the sales begin…

While supplies last, stop in your local Brookside Barkery for:

  • 75% off ALL holiday items!
  • 40% off  regular toys!
  • 30% off all outerwear!

Joyful season, dangerous plants!

Animals will often chew plants to get some roughage. For dogs this is because they are omnivores and actually enjoy plant foods. Plant roughage can be a good source of vitamins and can be helpful for passing food through the intestines. Cats are strictly carnivorous, but eating plants can benefit them by helping to bind hair in the stomach and carry it back out when they hack the hair out through their esophagus and mouth. However, animals also eat leaves for reasons we do not always understand. This is especially true for pets that are kept indoors most or all of the time, since they have not learned which plants taste bad and should be avoided, or they do not have enough access to plants and will chew on whatever is accessible.

There are some types of decorative plants that are toxic to dogs and cats. In some cases, only mild indigestion and discomfort will result, in other cases, the toxicity can lead to more severe health problems, and even fatalities. If you are planning to bring holiday foliage into your home this year this season, you will need to know which plants are safe, which should be kept out of your pet’s reach, and which should be avoided entirely.

Poinsettia Plant Basics

A lot of people have been led to believe that the poinsettia plant is deadly for pets and children, but this is actually an unlikely occurrence. The poinsettia plant’s brightly colored leaves contain a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth and esophagus. If the leaves are ingested, they will often cause nausea and vomiting, but it would take a large amount of the plant’s material to cause poisoning, and most animals and children will not eat such a large enough amount because of the irritating taste and feel from the sap.

However, if the plant has been treated with a pesticide, your pet could be at risk of becoming ill from ingesting the pesticide. The size of your pet and the amount of ingested plant material will be the determining factors for the severity of the poisoning. Young animals — puppies and kittens — are at the highest risk. Severe reactions to the plant or to the pesticide it has been treated with include seizures, coma, and in some cases, death.

Holly and Mistletoe

Holly and mistletoe are also popular holiday plants. These plants, along with their berries, have a greater toxicity level than the poinsettia. Symptoms of illness form ingesting these plants include intestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain.

Mistletoe contains multiple substances that are toxic to both dogs and cats, including toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin. Mistletoe is well known for causing severe intestinal upset, as well as a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, and even hallucinations (unusual behavior). If a large enough amount of these plants are ingested, seizures and death may follow. The leaves and berries of holly and mistletoe plants, even the dried plants, should be kept well out of your pet’s reach, or kept out of the home altogether.

Lilies and Daffodils

Both popular gift items at this time of year, plants in the lily and daffodil can be toxic to pets. In cats, Lilium and Hemerocallis genera lilies are the most dangerous. Eating even a small amount of the plant will have a severe impact on a cat’s system, causing severe symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues, arrhythmia, and convulsions. Daffodils are also toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.

Amaryllis

The beauty of the flowering Amaryllis is matched by its toxicity. The Amaryllis contains Lycorine and other noxious substances, which cause salivation, gastrointestinal abnormalities (vomitingdiarrhea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain), lethargy, and tremors in both cats and dogs. The bulb of the plant is reputed to be even more dangerous than the flowers and stalk. The Amaryllis also goes by other names, including Belladonna, Saint Joseph Lily, Cape Belladonna, and Naked Lady.

 

The Christmas Tree

There are other dangers to consider with the good ol’ Yule tree other than lights and ornaments. The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to a pet’s mouth and stomach, causing excessive vomiting or drooling. The tree needles, meanwhile, may cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction and puncture.

Additionally, the water used to nourish Christmas trees can be noxious. Bacteria, molds, and fertilizers can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few laps.

Playing it Safe

If you do choose to bring any of these plants into the home, or place them near the entry way where your pet can reach them, be very careful about where you are placing them. Cats, especially, need to be considered, since they can jump to high shelves. If your cat is a known plant chewer, you will probably be better off choosing imitation plants over the real things. But, if your dog or cat does manage to ingest any part of these holiday plants, call your veterinarian or poison control immediately to find out what you should do to minimize the damage.

 

From PetMD

 

 

8 Ways to Keep Indoor Cats Happy & Healthy

Indoor cats live safer, longer lives than their outdoor counterparts, but an unstimulated cat can lead to destructive behavior, excessive sleeping, or unhealthy weight gain. These tips from Animal Wellness Magazine will ensure your kitty stays fit and happy, both physically and mentally.

1. Feed her a high quality, meat-based, grain-free diet, and don’t free feed.

Raw diets are the most biologically appropriate, followed by wet food diets. Having food available 24/7 encourages indoor cats to eat out of boredom, which can quickly lead to obesity. Feed your cat at set times during the day, and if the food isn’t eaten within half an hour, remove it. An interactive feeder will challenge your cat to work for her food, and make mealtimes more mentally and physically engaging.

2. Make sure she has fresh, clean water available all the time.

The air inside your home can get dry, especially during winter. If your cat doesn’t drink much water, consider buying a pet water fountain. Not only will it encourage her to consume more water (cats like moving water), but it will also give her something to watch and play with.

3. Play with your cat.

Interactive play is one of the best ways to keep your cat physically active. Just 15 minutes a day can make a big difference, and it can also help satisfy her natural hunting instincts. Encourage your cat to chase toys or laser lights to keep her active. Cats also love jumping into empty cardboard boxes, so a few of those will also peak her interest!

4. Make sure she has at least one durable scratching post.

Preferably one that is big enough for her to stretch full length along, scratching is an excellent exercise for cats, and will also prevent her from shredding your upholstery. Cat trees or cat condos are another great option to keep your kitty occupied, as many cats enjoy having a birds-eye view of their surroundings.

5. Try a feline window seat for your cat.

Indoor cats love to look outdoors, and a soft, comfy platform near a spacious, sunny window will soon become one of her favorite spots. Make the view even more captivating by situating a bird feeder on or next to the window ledge outside. Barkery kitty Willow loves the Kitty Window Bubble, available at your local Brookside Barkery!

6. Try giving your cat her own pot of cat grass.

You can also get these grass kits to grow on your own at the Barkery. Cats love fresh greens, and cat grasses such as oats, wheat, barley, and rye provide extra nutrition for your cat in the form of chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Your cat will love nibbling on the fresh blades!

7. Cat videos provide hours of entertainment.

Cats love to watch videos of birds, fish, insects, rodents, and other small critters. If you have an iPad, download one of the many apps for cats; they’re games that generate everything from virtual fish in ponds to mice in boxes, with or without sound effects. Load the game and put the iPad on the floor to provide loads of interactive fun for your kitty.

8. Give your cat some quality time every day.

Some people believe cats aren’t as affectionate as dogs, but most kitties love one-on-one attention from their favorite people. Take some time to stroke your cat, talk to her, or brush her. Make eye contact and slowly blink at her – in feline body language, slow blinking signals trust. You’ll find that spending quality time with your cat will relax you and strengthen your bond.

 

CBD For Dogs

Like responsible pet parents that we are, we just can’t stand watching our furry friends being in pain or suffering in any shape or form.

Every since cannabis has become so popular among humans for treating a number of medical conditions, holistic veterinarians started wondering if this magical herb can also help our pets.

As it turns out, dogs seem to respond very well to this one specific chemical in cannabis – cannabidiol. CBD for dogs has become a new occurrence, and as it seems our furry friends are loving it.

However, when it comes to marijuana for dogs, pet parents have to be extra careful. Unlike CBD, the most famous cannabis compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is toxic and dangerous to dogs. In fact, dogs are very sensitive to it, and you should avoid it at all costs.

On the other hand, CBD seems to bring forth a feeling of calmness and balance in all mammals, including dogs. It’s not psychoactive like THC, and what’s also interesting, it fits perfectly in our dog’s bodies through its positive interaction with an endocannabinoid system that very much resembles our own.

Here are just a few health benefits CBD can have for your dog:

  • helps with allergies and skin issues
  • reduces anxiety
  • reduces learned fears and phobias
  • reduces aggressive behavior
  • boosts appetite and relieves digestive problems
  • helps with arthritis, joint, and mobility issues
  • helps dogs battle cancer and tumors
  • helps heal glaucoma
  • relieves seizures and epilepsy

This infographic from the Greencamp Blog is a fantastic guide for pet owners who are considering trying CBD for their own furry family member:

CBD for dogs

If your dog is in need of a natural way out of a medical condition, stop in the Barkery and let a nutrition specialist find the best CBD hemp product for your pet.

 

How to Repurpose Raw Bones

The holidays are a wonderful time of year! Family, food, and friends, and entertaining guests means taking time to entertain your dog as well.

In this video, Alex and Delena will show you how to upcycle raw marrow bones by turning them into delicious treat nooks that will keep your dog engaged and away from your feet during dinner time. Featuring Primal Pet Food, on special this month:

  • Primal 3 Pack $10 – includes a small or medium raw beef marrow bone, 1 pint Primal Goat Milk, & one Raw Pronto Trial Bag.
  • Primal 2 Pack $15 – includes one 5.5oz bag of Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets and 1 pint of Primal Goat Milk (used in the video)