Celebrate National Holistic Pet Day

National Holistic Pet Day (August 30) comes once a year, but pet owners should take measures to prioritize the health of their pets from a holistic perspective on a year-round basis. Dr. Patrick Mahaney VMD, CVA, CVJ shares his perspective on some holistic ways to promote your pet’s best quality of life.

Prevent Obesity by Employing Caloric Restriction and Daily Exercise

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) reports that 98 million pets (54% of dogs and cats) living in the United States are overweight or obese. Obesity has a variety of potentially irreversible health consequences, but the condition is preventable with a holistic wellness strategy.

When pets maintain a healthy weight on a lifelong basis, health conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disorders can be avoided or minimized. Dogs consuming calorie-restricted diets have been proven to live two years longer than those lacking calorie restriction, and are less prone to developing conditions related to inflammation, like arthritis.

During a pet’s annual wellness exam, owners should become aware of their pet’s Body Condition Score and have their veterinarian determine an appropriate weight-loss or maintenance plan. Exercise burns calories, provides behavioral stimulation, and satisfies a pet’s need for interaction. As a result, weight loss or maintenance benefits both pets and people.

Feed Whole Foods Over Processed Pet Diets and Treats

Nature creates food for people and animals in a format that maintains the structural integrity of the nutrients. Humans process nature’s ingredients to create diets for dogs and cats that can be conveniently dispensed from a bag or can.

Most pet foods and treats are made with feed-grade ingredients that have been unfit for human consumption and are permitted to have a higher level of toxins, such as mold-produced mycotoxins. Only small amounts of mycotoxins need to be ingested to damage the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, liver, and immune system, and are even cancer-causing.

A variety of chronic ailments correlate with the regular consumption of grain and protein ‘meals and by-products,’ artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, and other ingredients found in many commercially available pet foods and treats.

Human-grade, whole-food, commercially available or home-prepared diets having undergone minimal refinement should replace processed diets as often as possible. A quality diet is the best health insurance you can buy for your pet.

Reduce Your Pet’s Need to Consume Medications with Potentially Serious Side Effects

Many medications are prescribed to treat infection, reduce inflammation, minimize pain, and kill cancer cells. As we strive to cure, the potential exists for side effects to occur, so it’s crucial to reduce your pets’ reliance on prescription medications.

When a holistic approach to whole body health is taken, many ailments can improve or resolve. For example, pain from arthritis, trauma, surgery or cancer can be managed by taking a multimodal approach:

  • Environmental modification (making your home, yard, and car ‘pet-safe’)
  • Healthy weight management (dietary modification, exercise, calorie restriction)
  • Supplements such as omegas, joint support, antioxidants, and probiotics
  • Physical rehabilitation (massage, stretching, acupuncture, laser treatment)

When whole body health is maintained, medication requirements can be minimized regardless of a pet’s age or history of illness.

Vaccinate Judiciously and Pursue Antibody Titers

Health consequences can be associated with vaccine administration, and more so when a vaccine is administered unnecessarily. Even a single vaccination can cause a Vaccine-Associated Adverse Event (VAAE), including:

  • hypersensitivity (‘allergic’ reactions)
  • worsening of inflammatory conditions (skin, digestive tract, etc.)
  • emergence of immune system diseases (immune-mediated disease, cancer, etc.)
  • organ system failure
  • seizure activity
  • death

Dr. Mahaney recommends that owners take a judicious approach to the administration of canine and feline vaccination so our pets incur less risk for VAAEs, including:

  • Only vaccinate when an animal is healthy and exhibiting no detectable signs of illness on physical exam or diagnostic testing
  • Administer vaccines individually, in case of a VAAE
  • Perform blood tests called antibody titers to determine if a pet’s current level of immunity produced by previous vaccinations. When antibody levels are sufficient, your pet will likely be able to fend off future infections.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “revaccination of patients with sufficient immunity does not necessarily add to their disease protection and may increase the potential risk of post-vaccination adverse events.” More resources on antibody titer testing can be found at Dr. Becker’s website and Protect The Pets.

Our animal companions’ health isn’t guaranteed for life. Therefore, owners should take a holistic approach from the beginning to promote longer, healthier lives.

Why Your Cat Doesn’t Want to Be Held

According to the most recent estimates, over 47 percent of US households include at least one cat, and the total number of pet cats is over 94 million. That means nearly half the families in the US are sharing living space with an animal whose behavior can, at times, seem impossible to interpret. If you have a cat at home, you’ve probably scratched your head a few times at his or her behavior. If so, you might find Dr. Becker’s answers to common cat parent questions helpful.

Why Does My Cat Seem to Avoid Eye Contact With Me?

Looking one another directly in the eye is a type of human greeting that doesn’t come as naturally to other species. Have you ever wondered why cats seem to gravitate toward the only people in the room that don’t like them? It’s probably because those people aren’t looking at them!

Gazing directly into the eyes of another creature may be considered a way of asserting dominance, so it’s possible your kitty feels threatened by prolonged eye-to-eye contact.

Every kitty is different, but as a general rule, once a cat is settled into a new household and is given consistent care and a dependable daily routine, he’ll learn to trust and bond with at least one family member. On the flip side are cats who follow their people around, demanding attention in the form of eye contact and petting.

If your kitty isn’t confident or comfortable in his environment, staring at him can make him feel anxious. A better approach is to glance away when a cat meets your gaze to show that you aren’t a threat.

Why Does My Cat Blink Slowly at Me?

Has your cat every done the slow blink with you where she looks at you, blinks in slow motion and then (sometimes) looks away? Interestingly, just as a voiding direct eye contact is normal for cats, so is the slow blink.

“Cat Daddy” Jackson Galaxy calls this the “I Love You Blink.” It’s a slow, intentional blink, and it’s your one and only way to meet your kitty at the “communicative fence.” According to Jackson, when your cat closes her eyes in your presence, she’s saying, “I allow myself to be vulnerable to you, a potential predator.”

To share the “I Love You Blink” with your cat, look at her with your eyes open, close, then slowly open. This is your way of telling your cat that you love her with your eyes. You’ll notice that your cat will return the slow blink to you.

Why Does My Cat Seem to Hate Being Held?

Cats are natural predators, but they’re also prey. Predators restrain prey animals, which is why your kitty needs to maintain his ability to move freely and escape. It’s also why your cat may feel stressed when you hold him, even though you’re being affectionate.

Cats like to have all interactions on their own terms, so it’s best to let your kitty come to you. Of course, some cats love to be cuddled, but many do not, and can only tolerate it for brief periods.

The right way to pick up an agreeable cat is with one hand under the chest and other supporting the back legs. Hold him gently against your upper body so he feels secure. If he pushes away, looks toward the door, flattens his ears or twitches is tail, that’s your cue to put him down quickly and gently.

The Upcoming Solar Eclipse and Your Pets

Many of us are counting down the days to the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st. Knowing how important it is to protect your eyes by wearing certified solar eclipse glasses may have you questioning if your pets’ eyes need to be protected too.

Does my dog need glasses?

Dogs experience the same burning feeling we do when looking at the sun, so it’s unlikely they would ignore their instincts and stare at the sun. Still, it is theoretically possible that a dog may decide to look at what everyone around them is looking and pointing at. You should use your own discretion about whether or not you feel it’s necessary to protect your dog’s eyes from the eclipse.

Dogs are creatures of habit, and will most likely be confused by the schedule of daylight on Monday. Some pets may mistake the solar eclipse for a storm or nighttime, which could cause your dog some anxiety or discomfort.

While dogs and cats may be confused by the eclipse, they’re more likely to be anxious about the crowds gathered to marvel at it. To avoid this possibility, and the possibility that your dog may look into the sun, we recommend just keeping your pets safely inside during the eclipse.

Since total solar eclipses are rare, there hasn’t been much reported research about how animals react. If you’re interested, the California Academy of Sciences is encouraging people to record eclipse-related animal behavior using the iNaturalist app.

To read more on what has been observed in animals during previous solar eclipses, you can check out this article and this news story.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About CBD for Dogs

Holistic vets have been sending some interesting reports about the benefits of CBD oil for dogs in their care…

A senior Staffordshire Terrier had a 6cm mammary tumor and metastasis that disappeared in 3 months and didn’t come back…

A Jack Russell Terrier had a severe heart murmur and painful arthritis and, after a month, he wanted to go for long walks and his murmur was much improved…

These are two examples of how Australian veterinarian Edward Bassingthwaighte discovered how CBD oil could be a critical part of his holistic veterinary practice. This article from Dogs Naturally Magazine explains ten things you might not know about CBD oil for dogs and humans alike.

1. CBD Is Not Psychoactive

CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. THC is the compound found in cannabis that gives marijunana its psychoactive properties. Most CBD oils are the beneficial CBD without the THC, and typically come from hemp, not marijuana. This means you/your dog won’t get “high” from CBD oil, just the relaxation without intoxication.

2. CBD Oil Reduces Anxiety

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety or noise phobias? CBD has been extensively studied for its effect on stress and anxiety. In humans, it’s been found to

  • reduce anxiety caused by public speaking
  • Reduce anxiety in both healthy people and people with anxiety disorders
  • Be effective for panic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders

3. CBD Can Fight Cancer

CBD has been found to have an anti-tumor effect. It’s even been shown to stop cancer cells from growing and increased tumor cell death.

  • CBD helps the immune system’s killer cells to cause cancer cell death.
  • CBD kills cancer cells by blocking their ability to produce energy.
  • CBD’s anti-tumor properties slow and inhibit glioma cell growth.
  • CBD can help increase the efficacy of conventional cancer treatment.

4. CBD Can Treat Seizures and Epilepsy

Most dogs with seizures are put on drugs such  as phenobarbital and potassium bromide. While they may help control the seizures, they can be extremely harmful to your dogs liver and other organs in the long term. The drugs don’t work in all cases.

CBD has been shown to work well in drug-resistant epilepsy. In one study, 7 of 8 patients with epilepsy that was resistant to drugs saw a definite improvement within 4-5 months of taking CBD.

A survey of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy found that 84% of the children taking CBD had a reduction in frequency of seizures.

5. CBD Relieves Pain

The cannabinoids in CBD work so well for pain that scientists are considering it as a new class of drug for treatment of chronic pain. Studies show CBD is effective for:

  • Decreasing nerve-related pain
  • Decreasing impact of inflammation on the oxidative stress (which causes degeneration and premature aging)
  • Decreasing inflammation in acute pancreatitis
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing intestinal inflammation (associated with irritable bowel disease)

6. CBD Can Help With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Animal studies show that CBD can prevent colitis (IBD) and restore normal gut mobility in inflammatory bowel disease.  CBD also has antibiotic properties.

7. CBD Reduces Chronic Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease

CBD has been shown to decrease production and release of inflammatory cytokines that can cause allergies, hypersensitivities, and autoimmunity. It also inhibits the production of inflammatory macrophages and decreases chronic inflammation, in addition to being a powerful antioxidant.

8. CBD Can Protect the Nervous System and Help with Neurodegenerative Diseases

For dogs suffering from degenerative myelopathy and other spine and nerve issues, CBD shows a lot of promise. It’s been shown to help patients with Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease by protecting brain cells from toxicity.

For senior dogs, CBD has been shown to protect the brain from cell death caused by free radicals and toxins.

9. CBD Increases Appetite and Helps With Nausea

If you’re having trouble getting your dog to eat, CBD may help. The National Cancer Institute reports that CBD increases appetite and  helps with vomiting and nausea, even when they’re the result of toxins and drugs.

10. CBD Promotes Cardiovascular Health

Just as Dr. Bassingthwaighte discovered, CBD has been linked to heart health. Studies show it can reduce the damage from damaged blood vessels and irregular heart rates, protect blood vessels from damage and dilate the arteries, and reduce heart rate and blood pressure associated with stress and anxiety.

Bonus: CBD Oil is Legal and Safe

The most encouraging result is that CBD appears to be safe, even when taken in high doses and over extended periods of time. It can decrease activity of liver enzymes used to metabolize many prescription drugs, so check with your vet before using CBD if your dog is on medication. For more on choosing a good CBD oil for your dog, visit DNM Blog.

Free Delivery Zones Extended!

Don’t let a busy schedule keep you from getting the best pet food in Kansas City direct from our store to your pet’s dinner dish! Brookside Barkery & Bath now offers free pet food delivery with 10 miles of our stores with a purchase of $50 or more. Save time and call in your next purchase, and it will be delivered by the next business day. Now that’s doing what’s best for your best friend!

  • Deliveries can be placed over the phone, by calling 816-333-2275, or online by form submission. A Barkery Associate will call to confirm payment and delivery.
  • If you’re unsure what you got last time, a Barkery Associate can look up your history!
  • All deliveries placed will be delivered by the next business day.

 

3 Reasons to Give Your Dog Hemp

Why We Think You Should Give Your Dog Hemp

Hemp is one of the oldest and most versatile plants, dating back to the 28th century BC. Today, hemp is used in foods and textiles, but in the pet world, we’re most interested in hemp seed and the oil it produces.

You may be thinking, “Hemp is a variety of cannabis, I’m not giving that to my dog!” If you are, try and open your mind to the many health promoting properties that nearly every dog could use.

Unlike fish oil, hemp seed oil contains the perfect ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, the essential fatty acids that your dog can’t produce and needs in his diet. A good balance of these Omega oils is critical to your dog’s health, because they work synergistically in the body. Hemp seeds are high in an essential Omega-6 fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA). There are some really good reasons to boost the GLA in your dog’s diet:

1. It Fights Cancer

Researchers at the American Cancer Society say there’s evidence that people with cancer, diabetes, and skin allergies don’t make enough GLA, and these issues are incredibly common in dogs too. While GLA is considered a conditionally essential fatty acid (which means most dogs can make enough of it, mist of the time), there are plenty of circumstances (hard exercise or stress) where dogs can’t make enough GLA and supplementing becomes important. And, because the GLA is perfectly balanced with Omega-3 fats, hemp seed oil will help reduce inflammation in your dog and strengthen the immune system.

2. It Reduces Joint Pain

Researchers in The Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatology found that the GLA found in hemp seeds reduced arthritis symptoms by 25% compared to a placebo at 4%. Once again, this is because the balance of fatty acids helps to reduce inflammation naturally.

3. It Improves Skin and Coat

Hemp seed has long been used in cosmetic products and soaps because the oil can penetrate the inner layers of the skin and promote healthy cellular growth. The fatty acid balance also plays an important role in reducing inflammation associated with common skin issues, including atopic dermatitis, pruritic skin disease and granulomas.

How Hemp Seed Oil Works

Your dog has substances in his body called prostaglandins. These are line hormones that circulate around the body, helping smooth muscle contractions, control inflammation, regulate body temperature, and other vital functions. The GLA that’s abundant in hemp seed is a building block for prostaglandins. Researchers are currently looking at GLA supplementation as an important component to proper hormone and health development.

A Word of Caution!

Before you start adding hemp oil to your dog’s meals, there are a couple of things you should first know:

  1. Hemp seed oil is a polyunsaturated fat, which means the oil is unstable. If you cook your dog’s food, you won’t want to add hemp seed oil to the food while cooking as this can cause the oil to become rancid and cause health issues.
  2. If your dog is eating a poultry-based diet, adding hemp seed oil may cause an imbalance in his diet. This is because chicken is already quite high in polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid. According to Steve Brown, author of Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, flaxseed oil is a better choice for chicken-based diets. But if your dog is eating a diet rich in beef and other ruminants, hemp seed oil is a great way to balance the diet.

How Much to Give

Now you may be wondering how much hemp seed oil to add to your dog’s red-meat diet for an added health boost. Steve Brown recommends adding a teaspoon for every 1 to 1 1/4 pounds of food.

Cannabis sativa actually means “useful hemp” in Latin. Try adding some to your dog’s diet and see for yourself why this ancient superfood is making such a huge comeback.

For more on hemp oil, visit our friends at Dogs Naturally Magazine, or ask a Brookside Barkery & Bath associate on your next visit in!

August Special – Lotus & OC Raw

This month features two brands that were featured at our last Barkery U Seminar – Lotus & OC Raw!

Lotus Natural Pet Foods is a unique line of holistic, oven-baked dry foods & wholesome canned foods, all created for the long, happy life of your favorite dog or cat. This month, try Lotus’s delicious, high quality recipes and get:

  • $7 off large bags of dog food
  • $5 off medium bags of dog/cat food
  • $3 off small bags of dog/cat food
  • Dog & cat cans – Buy 2 get 1 free

OC Raw Dog is a premium raw line using only all-natural, ethically sourced ingredients. You will find zero indirect or direct preservatives, chemicals, fillers, or grains. OC Raw has a wide variety of options for your dog, from treats to complete and balanced diets. This month only:

  • 20% off all OC Raw Dog products – raw bones, sardines, goat’s cheese, goat’s milk, freeze dried, and raw frozen.

 

Keep Your Pets Safe in the Heat

The summer months can be uncomfortable, even dangerous for pets and people alike. This post from the Humane Society shares tips to keep your pets safe and cool this summer. Follow these tips to make sure your entire family stays comfortable when the heat is on, even when the power isn’t.

Practice Basic Summer Safety

Never leave your pets in a parked car.

Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. For example, on an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degress within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Learn how to help a pet left inside a hot car by taking action or calling for help.

Watch the humidity.

It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, pets are simply unable to cool themselves. Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there’s a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should never be above 104 degrees.

Limit exercise on hot days.

Be cautious when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration in accordance with the temperature. Consider limiting exercise to early morning or late evening hours, and avoid hot asphalt to prevent your dog’s paws from getting burnt. Always bring water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

Don’t rely on a fan.

Pets respond differently to heat than humans do, and fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people. Make sure your dog is in a comfortably cooled environment to prevent him or her from overheating.

Provide ample shade and water.

Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from the heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cool water. In heat waves, add ice to the water whenever possible. A dog house does not provide relief from heat – in fact, it makes it worse.

Cool your pet inside and out.

Homemade frozen dog treats can be a great way to cool your dog down on a hot day in addition to cool water. Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat.

Watch for signs of heatstroke.

Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Warning signs are heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. Some breeds of dogs have a harder time breathing in extreme heat, such as boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles. Beware that risk of heat stroke is higher for animals that are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have a heart or respiratory disease.

How to treat a pet suffering heatstroke:

Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest, or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes and take her directly to a veterinarian.

Prepare for power outages.

Before a summer storm takes out the power in your home, create a disaster plan to keep your pets safe from heat stroke and other temperature-related trouble.

Brookside Barkery

5 Ways to Boost Your Dog’s Immune System

Hotspots. Diabetes. Ear Infections. Cancer.

What do all of these prevalent pet diseases have in common? The immune system, or more accurately, an unbalanced immune system. Holistic medicine views these diseases as part of a larger picture to be addressed as a whole, based on proper immune system function.

Since the immune system is such a major player in the world of true health and vitality, we should think about boosting it as much as we can, rather than using suppressive medications such as steroids that further suppress the immune system.

How can we boost it?

Will Falconer DVM recommends the following immune boosters that can help with immune intelligence, which means the immune system not only knows what to attack and when, but it knows when to stand down and return to its quiet state of alertness.

5 Ways To Give Your Dog a Boost!

  1. Transfer Factors
    These are tiny proteins in the cytokine class, purified from colostrum, egg yolk and other sources that confer immune intelligence to those taking them. These proteins increase recognition of invaders as well as rapid attacks on them. They’ve proven invaluable in autoimmune disease down regulation as well.
  2. Echinacea
    Ecinacea is an herb known for its effectiveness in treating acute infections illnesses. Falconer recommends MediHerb’s Echinacea Premium, which can be found at your local organic grocery store.
  3. Reishi
    The reishi mushroom is known for a host of immune system benefits, including inhibiting tumors, and analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral activities. It also helps with liver detox.
  4. More Mushrooms
    There are several more mushrooms with immune enhancing effects, including:
    Cordyceps enhance stamina and potently boost immune system.
    Agaricus blazei is a known cancer fighter.
    Shiitake comes in handy for viruses, and is often available fresh & could be added to food for taste and medical benefits.
    Maitake boosts immunity, helps with obesity and contains a host of vitamins.
  5. Olive Leaf Extract
    Olive leaf extract checks cell proliferation in tumors and hastens cancer cell death. It also has antimicrobial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties.
  6. A Whole, Complete, and Balanced Diet
    Feeding your dog a whole, completely, and balanced diet as well as keeping your dog’s gut healthy is the most fundamental way to boost the immune system. Immune system health starts with the gut, so a compromised gut means a compromised immune system.