Titer Testing: An Alternative to Annual Vaccinations

For those of us that share lives with our pets, preventative health care, including vaccinations, is typically at the top of our lists. Our veterinarians send us post cards recommending that our pets be vaccinated annually for rabies, parvovirus, distemper, and MLV (modified live virus).

Here’s what your vet doesn’t tell you:

  • Over-vaccinating can cause diseases.
  • Vaccines do NOT improve the immune system.
  • Annual “booster shots” are a BAD idea.
  • Many breeders choose no vaccinations.
  • Over-vaccinating can trigger cancer.
  • Many blame pet allergies on results cause by over-vaccinating.

Many responsible pet owners simply aren’t aware of the possible dangers inherent in immunizations. Since vaccinations stay in your pet’s body for much longer than the 1-year recommendation by vets, over-vaccinating is a common mistake made by pet owners. Giving your pet a vaccine when your pet is already immune doesn’t increase its immunity, but does increase unnecessary risk to your animal and can cause a variety of health risks and fatal diseases, including:

  • Vaccine-induced sarcomas
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Thyroid disease
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Tumors
  • Seizures

For those of you who now have questions about what is best for your pet, you have an alternative choice by asking your vet about antibody titer testing. Titer tests can prove that your pet does not need to be vaccinated, and that the old shot is still doing its job just fine. Titer tests measure the amount of antibodies to a certain disease that are currently in the blood. By doing this test, you will learn your pet’s current immunization levels and thus have a better understanding of what vaccinations are truly “necessary,” as recommended by your vet.

No one in town cares for your pet’s whole health like the Barkery. That is why we challenge you, on your next annual vaccination visit, to request a titer test and see the results for yourself. The alternative test is the same cost as your vaccinations, so you have nothing to lose other than the overall wellness of your pet by over-vaccinating.

 

For more on antibody titer testing, visit veterinarian Dr. Becker’s article here.

Puppy Love: Study Explains the Bond Between Human and Dog

Have you ever looked into your dog’s eyes and wondered, “why is my dog so charming?” What is it about your dog’s adoring gaze that makes it so powerful? A new study by Japanese scientist Miho Nagasawa seems to have found the answer, and it has to do with something called the cuddle chemical, love hormone, or oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a substance in the blood that encourages bonding. Levels of oxytocin increase, for example, when a mother feeds her newborn baby. High levels of the “love hormone” have also been observed in couples in the first six months of a relationship. According to Nagasawa’s study, levels of oxytocin can also go up when we look deeply into the eyes of a dog.

The Cuddle Chemical/Love Hormone

Humans and dogs have been working together for nearly 30,000 years. In order to better understand how the love hormone worked between dogs and humans, Nagasawa and his team conducted an experiment. They tested levels of oxytocin in dogs and humans, and learned that oxytocin levels in both humans and dogs were higher after interaction with one another. The same was not true for wolves and their human handlers.

The results of this study tell us a lot about the history of the bond between humans and dogs. Over time, dogs that have interacted with humans have become more loyal to their human partners. So loyal, in fact, that they are capable of releasing a “love hormone” just by gazing into our eyes.

As expected, puppy love is just as powerful as love from other humans. The bond you form with your pet is remarkably similar to the bond you form with your child or significant other. This Valentine’s Day, make sure you share the love with your pet too!

Read more about puppy love here.

Find out how to share the love this week at Brookside Barkery.

 

 

5 Benefits of Feeding a Raw Diet

When you believe that fresh is best, that belief makes it into every meal – including your pet’s! As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your pet’s needs are being met, including a healthy diet. The quality of your pet’s diet will have a direct impact on his general health and wellbeing, and can seriously impact your dog’s lifespan in general.

What is a Raw Diet?

A raw food diet for your pet is exactly what it sounds like – a diet made up of fresh, raw foods. While there are different ways to create a raw food diet for dogs, the most popular and beneficial options consist of mostly raw meat and bones, fortified with some fruits and vegetables or supplements to ensure nutritional balance.

Dogs are carnivorous animals, which means their bodies are adapted to gaining nutrition from animal-based protein. This mean that meat should be the primary focus in a dog’s diet.

The Benefits of Raw Diets

  1. Improved Nutrition – Raw diets are not cooked, so the original nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients is preserved. Synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements added to commercial dog and cat food are not necessary since the diet is fresh and never cooked.
  2. Healthy/Regular Digestion – Both dogs and cats have short digestive tracts which limits their ability to digest fibrous plant foods. Sine raw food is largely meat based, it requires less energy for your pet to digest, which in turn makes the digestive system work more smoothly and regulary – and results in fewer, firmer stools.
  3. Cleaner Teeth – The process of chewing raw meats and raw bones provide dental benefits by helping to scrape the plaque off the surface of your pet’s teeth. The chewing process also massages your dog’s gums, increasing circulation.
  4. Shinier Coat – A diet that consists of fresh, natural foods will give your dog the nutrients it needs and help to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat. Raw food diets include essential fatty acids which are key to optimal skin and coat health.
  5. Relief from Food Allergies/Sensitivities – The more dogs are exposed to potential, unnatural allergens such as corn, wheat, and soy, the more likely they are to develop a reaction. Raw food diets are typically grain-free which reduces the risk for allergic reactions.

In the end, it is completely up to you what to feed your pet. Because your pet’s diet has a direct impact on his well-being, it is important to choose a diet that provides for his nutritional needs in a healthy, wholesome way.

There has never been a better time to start feeding raw, or simply substituting a raw meal here and there. Huge savings are available this month at The Barkery on OC RAW DOG frozen/raw dog food. Stop in and ask a Barkery Associate how feeding a raw diet can benefit your furry friend.

 

Read more on raw diets here.

Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fats: Dietary Supplement or Dietary Dilemma?

A recent article surfaced on social media from an anonymous dog owner that noticed her three-year-old Neopolitan Mastiff became terribly lame after eating 8 fish oil tablets a day. One day, her dog had trouble rising and it was discovered that he was suffering from Vitamin E deficiency. She immediately stopped giving him fish oil supplements and switched to Vitamin E, and within a week, her dog was completely back to normal.

Should You Supplement Fish Oil for Your Pet?

In today’s modern world, supplementing your dog’s diet with omega-3 rich foods like fish oil would be a good idea, right? Well, yes. But instead of mindlessly supplementing our dog’s diet with fish oil, shouldn’t we first look at the reason why they might need it? Because, as one Neopolitan Mastiff owner found out, the descent into fish oil and omega-3 supplementation can be a slippery slope indeed.

How Do Dogs Get Omega Fats?

Sources of omega-6 fatty acids include vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. Hopefully a small part of you thought “well that shouldn’t matter because my dog doesn’t eat vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.” Hopefully, you’re beginning to see that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids aren’t all that natural for dogs.

We all know that dogs are carnivores, right? We know that dogs don’t have any nutritional requirement for grains. Just as modern diets have caused chronic health issues in  people, they’re doing the same to our dogs. There is one really big reason why dogs need fish oil in the first place: processed dog food contains omega-6 rich plant oils and grains.

Instead of feeding our dogs fish oil, wouldn’t it be really good idea to feed them what they’re supposed to eat – and then perhaps they wouldn’t need the fish oil? Slapping a fish oil Band-Aid on a poorly constructed, processed diet certainly isn’t the best thing you can do for your dog’s health, because there are some real concerns with feeding fish oil in the long term. In the meantime, here are some important diet changes you should make for your dog before reaching for the fish oil tablets:

  • Feed your dog a meat-based diet, free of grains.
  • Avoid vegetable oils of any kind. They’re loaded with omega-6 fats and your dog doesn’t need them.
  • Look for grass-fed meats whenever possible. These will have a better balance of polyunsaturated fats.
  • Look out for vegetable oil in disguise (many ingredient lists can disguise vegetable oil as other ingredients).

 

To learn more about supplementing fish oil, click here to see the full article by Dogs Naturally Magazine.

Dental Products That Will Change Your Pet’s Life!

Dental care is a major part of your pet’s overall health. At age 3, 80% of dogs show signs of dental disease. Fortunately, there are easy-to-use products that make dental care much more convenient as a pet owner. AND since February is dental health month, all of these products are 25% off the entire month!

Dental Care Products

  • Thorvin For Animals – Thorvin is a mineral rich powder harvested from sea plants. It delivers a wide array of nutrients essential to your animal’s wellbeing, including thyroid health, shinier coats, clearer eyes, and dental health. Sprinkle this affordable powder on your pet’s dinner, and watch your animal thrive.
  • PlaqueOff Powder – Used for dogs and cats, this powder can also be sprinkled on your pet’s food to prevent bad breath, tartar, and plaque. This powder contains no additives, sugar, or artificial preservatives, so you can be sure you are doing what’s best for your best friend.
  • Maxi/Guard Oral Cleansing Wipes – These wipes combine a professional neutralized zinc formulation with textured and easy to use wipes. They provide a gentle mechanical cleansing of plaque and odor-causing bacteria. The embedded taste-free solution naturally freashens the breath and safely cleanses the oral cavity for dogs and cats. These wipes eliminate Halitosis, reduce plaque and tartar formations, extends time between dental cleanings, and are easy to apply.
  • Seadent for Dogs – Another Organic Kelp and enzyme rich powder used to control plaque and tartar buildup. Support your pup’s healthy teeth and gums by adding to his/her food once daily. Contains no artificial color or preservatives.
  • PetzLife Complete Oral Care Spray – This oral spray contains 100% natural ingredients and comes in many flavors. It can be used to remove plaque buildup or as a preventative to help remove plaque and tartar, control bacteria and freshen breath. It is completely safe to use on both dogs and cats.
  • PetzLife Complete Oral Care Gel – A 100% natural flavored gel that is applied directly to the pet’s gumline to prevent and remove plaque buildup. No brushing is required, but recommended for best results.

Dental Care Treats

  • Flavorit Chew Toys – These bone-shaped toys come in many different flavors, and contain little flavor cells that you fill with your dogs favorite spreadable flavor, such as organic peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, pumpkin, banana, or applesauce. The bone has a no-mess, concave design, and your pup will love the flavorful way of cleaning his/her teeth. Three different sizes are available, depending on the size of your furry friend’s teeth.
  • Brushless Toothpaste by Ark Natural Pet Products – A chewable treat, no brushing required! These all-natural treats are helpful for plaque, tartar, and bad breath and are veterinarian formulated and recommended. These treats contain fresh flavors, ridges, and toothpaste in the center for control of plaque and tartar.
  • Super Breath Dental Care Dog Bone – These bones are made with kelp, parsley, alfalfa and other natural ingredients. Giving one of these bones to your dog once a day will help reduce plaque and massage your dogs gums while at the same time cleaning teeth.
  • ILIO Dentals Teeth Treats – A delicious taste dogs love, combined with a unque shape that allows dogs to chew easy and helps prevent choking. Teeth Treats are easy to digest, and the patented nubbed design slows chewing, ensuring better cleaning of the teeth and gums. These treats are gluten, corn wheat, and soy free.
  • Zuke’s Z-Bones – Edible grain-free dental chews with several delicious flavors. Support a clean mouth and fresh breath with these textured bones that help polish the teeth and keep healthy gums.

How To Care for Your Dogs Dry & Cracked Paws

Dry and cracked paw pads can come from a variety of elements. Usually you can give your dog relief from dry or cracked paws at home, although in certain cases vet care may be necessary.

Interesting Facts about Paw Pads

  • They absorb shock, which spares joints from too much pressure.
  • Dogs sweat through their paw pads, which is why bandages may not stick or may have to be changed frequently.
  • Some dogs have overly sensitive paw pads. Booties may be a requirement, and not a fashion accessory.
  • If you use harsh cleaners on your floors, this may be affecting your dog’s paws. Remember that your dog is licking whatever you use on your floors directly off his/her paws.
  • Excessive paw licking could be due to a pH imbalance, resulting from not enough protein in his/her diet.

Dry Paws

Dog paw pads can become dried out and cracked the same way our feet can. Wintertime and salt on sidewalks commonly causes paw pads to dry out quickly. The best thing to do for dry paws is to apply a moisturizing substance, such as Pawmagik by Muttluks. This roll-on moisturizing balm helps heal and soothe paw pads, and protect them from salt, snow, ice, hot pavement, hot sand or abrasion. Pawmagik is available at both Brookside and Lee’s Summit locations!

Overall Care

Keep the area on your pups feet clean and moisturized until the pad has healed. Once your dog’s paws are healed, cut back on the moisturizing. It is better for dogs to have rough paw pads then soft, tender ones, which could lead to further problems.

When to Seek Medical Treatment

If your dog’s paw is cracked, keep the area clean, moisturized, and bandaged at all times. If it is bleeding, add an antibiotic ointment under the bandage. If your dog doesn’t heal within the week, or becomes very swollen and infected, you should seek veterinary help.

 

The True Reason Dogs Eat Poop & How to Make Them Stop

Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?

“Coprophagia” is the scientific term given to act of consuming excrement. As pet owners, it is likely you have caught your dog eating a random pile of poop and felt thoroughly disgusted. However, it’s best to keep an open mind because your dog may be trying to tell you something.

“…[M]ore often than not, when animals engage in this behavior, they’re not trying to repulse us – but to communicate something vital about their health and biology.” – Jacob Brogan, writing for Smithsonian.com.

Beyond the disgust factor, many dog parents who catch their dog in the act jump to the conclusion that something is wrong with their pet. This behavior is actually your dog’s way of trying to make things right. By eating poop, their bodies are prodding them to correct an insufficiency or imbalance in the digestive process. Your dog doesn’t think it’s yummy, but rather its body is urging itself to ingest something that may be missing from their diet.

Coprophagia can also be a behavioral issue. Some dogs, especially those in kennel or puppy mill situations, may eat poop because they’re feeling anxious or stressed, or because there are no other options as far as nutrients (puppy mill dogs). Research also suggest dogs who are punished for inappropriate elimination believe that pooping itself is bad, so they hide the evidence by eating it.

Tips to Help Correct Your Dog’s Nasty Habit

  1. Feed your dog a nutritionally balanced diet containing protein and supplement with probiotics and digestive enzymes to prevent your dog from searching elsewhere for less appetizing enzyme sources.
  2. Pick up your dog’s waste immediately.
  3. If your dog favors litterbox snacks, make sure the box is out of reach for your dog.
  4. Make sure your dog has toys and activities that stimulate the brain and alleviate boredom.
  5. Consider experimenting with some over-the-counter coprophagia deterrent products. Make sure to avoid products that are toxic or contain monosodium glutamate (MSG).

To read more on poop-eating animals:

Click here!

Or here!

 

 

January Is Walk Your Dog Month

At Brookside Barkery, we believe in doing what is best for your best friend! Walks are part of your pet’s overall health and provide many long-lasting benefits for the both of you. In honor of walk your dog month, here are some tips for a safe, healthy, and fun outing with your pup.

  • Be the pack leader. It is important to be in charge when you walk your dog. Use confident body language and don’t let your dog walk in front of you. Your dog should be next to you or slightly behind you. Don’t wait until your dog pulls ahead of you, reinforce his/her good behavior with treats along the way.
  • Practice leash lessons. Many of us live in cities or neighborhoods where a leash is a necessity. Stop in the Barkery at Brookside or Lee’s Summit and ask an associate which leash is best for your pet. You should get a leash that is comfortable for you to hold, and one that is short but not too tight. This will encourage your pet to be comfortable at your side without wandering and you will be able to maintain control. Until your dog knows how to walk without pulling, view your walks as training sessions, and keep them short, frequent, and low stress.
  • Bring the necessities. Be prepared on your walk to make it pleasant for you and your dog. Always carry bags for cleaning up and disposing of doggie poop. Don’t forget to hydrate! Don’t forget to carry water for yourself and for your dog, especially during warmer weather. And last but not least, bring treats for your best friend to give rewards for good behavior on the walk.
  • Change it up. Don’t take your dog on the same path all the time. Give your dog some adventure by taking a different route or walking to a different location, such as the dog park or a friends house (preferably a dog owner!). You can also try walking with a buddy or bringing along a friend’s dog.
  • Know how far to go. Healthypet.com says that every dog’s exercise needs are different. Factors to consider are the size of your dog, the length of its legs, breed, age, general health, and the walking environment and temperature. Watch your dog while you walk. If your dog starts slowing down or panting heavily, it is time to stop.
  • Enjoy your walk with your best friend. You’ll be glad you took the time to bond with your pet. Remember – you are providing an outlet for your dog’s energy while at the same time creating a more confident and stable dog!

Pet Wellness Assessment Kit

Many pet owners come to the Barkery for advice regarding their pet’s food allergies and environmental sensitivities. Eating the wrong food or being in the wrong environment can put stress on your pet that leads to itchiness, redness, dry skin, sneezing, vomiting, paw chewing, and more.

Changing your dogs diet could improve its quality of life. We all know how important it is to get our pets on the right diet, but how do we know what specifically causes your pet to react to food and environmental triggers?

We Have the Solution! Pinpoint Your Pet’s Food Intolerances

Dogs can be sensitive to a variety of elements, and Brookside Barkery now has the solution that pinpoints EXACTLY what stresses your pet and PRECISELY what causes allergic reactions.

With the new Pet Wellness Assessment Kit from Glacier Peak, you can look at no fewer than 300 food and environmental factors that may disturb your pet’s homeostasis. That means you will be able to craft the perfect diet for your pet, reduce stressors and allow your pet to live the longest, healthiest life possible.

The Pet Wellness Assessment Kit involves mailing in a couple of swabs with your pet’s saliva, and a bit of their hair.  Within days, you’ll have the results!  Take a look at the results here.

Once you test your pet, the Barkery will provide a free Nutrition Consultation to work with you and with the results of the test, guiding your selections on food, treats, and supplements to make sure we’re giving your pet exactly what they need.

We are offering the Wellness Assessment Kit at a special rate of $75.  Only $75 to give your pet the perfect diet AND eliminate allergens!

Customer Testimonial

Theodore is a prime example of the relief a Pet Wellness Assessment Kit can bring to your pet.

“We had tried every food out there and couldn’t find relief for our pup. The staff help us find some relief by getting Theodore tested for food & environmental sensitivities and stressors. We have peace of mind knowing we are feeding our dog food that doesn’t cause a reaction! Thanks Brookside Lee’s Summit!”

– Kelly B.

Read more customer testimonials here.

Lawsuit Against “Prescription” Pet Food Companies

“Prescription” pet diets not only contain cheap, biologically inappropriate ingredients similar to many other processed dog foods on the market, they also are extremely overpriced. Low quality ingredients and their high cost combined should be reason enough to avoid these diets; not to mention the fact that the majority of them contain no ingredients that even require a veterinary prescription.

If you’ve ever purchased one of these overpriced “prescription” foods for your pet, you may be surprised to find out that a group of pet parents recently filed a class action lawsuit against several pet industry companies, alleging they engaged in price fixing of prescription dog and cat food in the U.S. in violation of anti-trust and consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court of North Carolina by several pet owners that had purchased prescription diets from several companies asserting they conspired with each other to falsely promote “prescription” pet food. The specific pet diets mentioned in the complaint include:

  • Hills Prescription Diet
  • Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet
  • Iams Veterinary Formula

The complaint points out there’s no reason for the foods to require a prescription, since they contain no drug or other ingredient not commonly found in non-prescription pet diets. There is no reason for veterinarians to hand a written “prescription” for dog food that is taken elsewhere to purchase the food. Taking advice from veterinarians is common for any pet owner concerned about their pets health. The lawsuit further alleges:

“Retail consumers, including Plaintiffs, have overpaid and made purchases they otherwise would not have made on account of Defendants’ abuse and manipulation of the ‘prescription’ requirement.”

Hopefully you haven’t been deceived by any of these con artists! To read more about the lawsuit, click here.