Brookside Barkery

Caring for Your Aging Pet

At Brookside Barkery, we know pets aren’t just pets — they are a part of the family. As your pet ages, it is important to consult your veterinarian for help providing the proper care for your senior pet’s changing needs.

Every animal is different, so the senior life stage occurs at different ages in different pets. For instance, dogs are typically considered seniors at seven years old, but large dogs age more quickly than smaller dogs. Cats can be considered mature at seven years and seniors at 11 years old. Breed and species aside, your pet’s genetics, nutrition, health and environment will ultimately determine when your pet is considered a senior.

One of the telltale signs of increasing age in pets is a decline in physical activity. For instance, previously active pets may not play as much, and both dogs and cats may need assistance climbing on and off the bed or couch. Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), explained when pet owners can expect this transition into senior pet behavior. “A decrease in physical activity depends on the breed, size and genetics of the pet,” she said. “However, some older pets are still quite active in their senior years.”

In addition to a decrease in physical activity, older cats and dogs tend to develop more degenerative health problems. Brookside Barkery “Chronic degenerative disorders like heart and kidney disease are common in older pets, and so is cancer,” Eckman said. “In cats, kidney, heart and thyroid disease are the most common aging conditions. In dogs, different breeds are more prone to certain conditions. For example, some breeds are more likely to see a dramatic increase in cancers as they age.” A visit to the veterinarian every six months can help determine what is normal for your pet so that any changes in behavior or health can be detected early.

Aging cats and dogs are also prone to arthritis, dental disease, loss of sight and hearing, and a decrease in mobility. Just like humans, pets may need more assistance getting around and taking care of themselves. Despite this change in mobility and physical activity, it is important to keep your dog and cat active to slow the progression of joint pain and arthritis. In addition, a healthy diet that adequately nourishes your pet is also key in reducing your pet’s risk for obesity, which can also contribute to joint pain. “The single most important aspect in helping your pet stay as happy and healthy for as long as possible is maintaining a healthy weight throughout their lifetime,” Eckman said. “A healthy weight should be coupled with regular exercise and activity.”

The Barkery has everything you need to keep your older pet happy and healthy! Everything from all natural pet food, to dental care, supplements, joint treatments and more! Stop by either our Brookside or Lee’s Summit locations and pick up everything you need to keep your older pet feeling young.

*Thanks for the advice!

Brookside Barkery

What To Do If Your Pet Gets Hurt

There’s nothing worse than coming across an injured animal, whether it’s one that you’ve stumbled upon or your own pet.  Here at the Barkery, we know it’s important to be aware of what to do when you find yourself in a situation with an animal that is hurt. We’ve found an article that explains how to approach an injured animal, and what to do next.

Because injured pets could be in pain, scared, or confused, it is important to act appropriately to ensure they see a veterinarian and get medical help. Dr. Medora Pashmakova, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), offered some insight on what to do if your pet is injured.

“Pet owners should be careful not to be bitten by a pet, even one that has no record of biting anyone before. They may do so when injured,” she said. “Typically, this means immobilizing the animal until you’re able to get it to a veterinarian. You can also purchase a commercially made muzzle or fashion a homemade muzzle out of gauze or a leash to prevent the animal from biting while being transported to veterinarian’s care.”

Brookside BarkerySometimes pets can be in pain with no obvious or visible wounds. In this case, Pashmakova recommended looking for key signs of internal pain, such as abdominal pain. “Pets can be in pain when they show signs of guarding a particular area of the body to prevent anybody from touching that area. They may also avoid bearing weight on a limb,” she said. “Abdominal pain in particular can occasionally cause the animal to get in a praying stance position with the forelimbs down and the rear limbs up. Animals will also often vocalize when in pain, be reluctant to touch, have a fast heart rate or breathing rate, or they may hide from their owners. Cats are especially good at hiding signs of pain and often just become reclusive and detached.”

In emergency situations, such as when a pet is hit by a car, the animal may be seriously bleeding. In such critical situations, it is important to act fast to slow blood flow.

“Just like a person, a tourniquet can be applied to a proximal part of the limb in the case of a bleeding limb injury until blood has slowed down to a trickle,” Pashmakova said. “It’s important not to completely occlude blood flow so that the limb can preserve some blood supply. Applying external pressure is also often a good idea. A towel can be used to apply pressure over a bleeding site until the pet is able to be seen by a veterinarian. In cases where a bleeding vessel is clearly visible, the bleeding can be held off with fingers or another gentle but firm device, such as a hemostat, while the pet is transported.”

*Thank you for the tips!


Afraid to Trim Your Dog’s Nails?

Have you ever been cutting your dog’s nails and gotten too close to the nail bed? It can be scary because none of us want to hurt our dogs! Most dog lovers know that cutting canine nails is a tricky process. It can be hard to know where to stop trimming. As a result, some people may feel a little nervous or even avoid nail trimming, but proper nail care is essential for your dog’s comfort and even his health.

  • Brookside BarkeryFirst, determine if your dog’s nails need a trim by taking a look at the length. They should be fairly short and ideally they should not be touching the ground on a firm, flat surface.
  • If they are long, you can start by trimming bit by bit, only 1–2 millimeters at a time. Dog nail clippers should have a U-shaped blade on the top and bottom because it conforms to the shape of your dog’s nail and won’t squish the nail and cause discomfort when you cut. This is why it is important not to use human nail clippers. If you do not have dog nail clippers, Brookside Barkery and Bath has all of the tools you need to make this a painless and simple process.
  • If your dog’s nail profile is U-shaped when you make the first small cut, then it is still too long. For dogs with
    black nails, you can tell they are too long when it has an upside down U with a dark margin and lighter center. Continue clipping until you start seeing a small darker center surrounded by lighter nail.
  • Regardless of the tool you’re using, keep your dog happy and at ease during a nail clipping session by having good quality, natural treats on hand. Swing by the Brookside Barkery and Bath today to pick up a variety of healthy all natural treats for your pooch. When it comes to nail trimming, bribery is definitely allowed!

Following this simple routine every two to three weeks, you can assure your dog will be moving comfortably. Still too nervous to attempt cutting your dog’s nails? That is completely understandable. At Brookside Barkery and Bath we are happy to trim your pets’ nails during a scheduled grooming session with one of our expert groomers.

*Thanks to Modern Dog Magazine

Brookside Barkery and Bath

5 Tips for Better Leash Manners

Do you feel like you are water skiing every single time you try to take your dog on a walk?! We’ve all been there, and it is exhausting. Even if you have a small dog, it is embarrassing to be tied around a tree, tangled up with another dog, or heaven forbid, the leash comes lose and you are chasing your dog down the block! Be ready to impress your friends next time you are out and about with your dog after trying these 5 tips for better leash behavior.

  • Adjust Your Attitude– First, ask yourself: “What would I like him or her to do differently?” Instead of teaching a dog to stop pulling, think of it as teaching your dog how to walk nicely beside you.Brookside Barkery
  • Train Your Dog to Go When You Say So– One thing that can help is to train your dog to “go potty” on command. If your dog has already gone before the walk begins, he won’t feel the need to frantically pull and sniff on the walk.
  • Walk Your Dog the Way You Drive your Car– As the driver, you are the one in control. As pack animals, dogs love to play follow the leader. If your dog pulls, keep the leash loose, calmly pivot, and start going the opposite direction. In a happy voice say “heel” or “let’s go” to teach your dog to follow you.
  • It’s All About Rewards– One of the easiest ways to get your dog’s attention and teach him to walk properly on a leash is to reward him. The trick is to use very special treats at first. When your dog walks calmly beside you, or looks up at you, encourage this behavior with rewards.

Your dog will love our special treats from Brookside Barkery and Bath. We proudly offer a wide variety of healthy and natural treats that are sure to make this learning process a fun and rewarding one for your dog.

  • Use the Right Tools– If your dog has developed an engrained habit of pulling on walks, switch things up by trying a different type of leash or collar. Consider trying a front clip harness or a slip collar. At Brookside Barkery and Bath we offer a huge selection of collars and leashes sure to fit your pet’s own unique taste and style.

Just remember, it takes time, patience and practice to teach your dog good leash manners. So celebrate each step in the right direction -and walk over to visit us at Brookside Barkery and Bath today!

*special thanks to Pet360 and ModernDog for these expert tips.


Brookside Barkery

What Does Your Body Language Say to Your Dog?

We know that we humans can be slow at responding to the non-verbal signals that our dogs may be sending us. However, your dog pays very close attention to every single move you make! Try this experiment to focus on the signals you’re sending your dog – intentional or not. This will help you identify the non-verbal cues your dog has grown accustom to responding to.

Barkery KCBe sure you and your dog are away from the normal hustle and bustle in your home. Go to a quiet room where there are no distractions.  Stand still and relaxed as you ask your dog to “sit.” The hardest part about this is making sure that no other body parts are moving, even tilting your head a little or raising your eyebrows can be seen very easily by your dog and may possibly act as a clue for them to sit. You can also sit down on the floor and, without moving, ask them to sit. Then, try leaving the room and asking your dog to sit (you can peek to see what they do)!

Then, ask your dog to sit the way you normally do. Move freely – tilt your head or raise your eyebrows the way you have always done. Now that you’re aware of your own behavior, you can try and determine a pattern as to the body language and non-verbal cues your dog has learned to respond to. You’ll probably find out that your dog pays just as much attention (or more!) to your body language as he pays attention to your voice!

After all that sitting, your pup needs a treat! Everything at the Barkery is 100% guaranteed all-natural, so be sure to stop by either our Brookside or Lee’s Summit locations and pick up some healthy rewards for them!

3 Tips for Owning an Indoor Cat

Although it’s safer for cats to stay indoors, it can be difficult for them to cope with being an indoor cat, particularly if they have a lot of energy or have previously spent time outside. That being said, there are tips that can make cohabitation easier for everyone involved when owning an indoor cat.  Here are three ways to keep indoor felines happy, healthy, active, and entertained.

Microchip your kitty.

If your cat doesn’t go outdoors, it probably doesn’t wear a collar. However, despite your best efforts, the more adventurous cat may still manage to escape. To make a happy reunion all the more likely, have your kitty outfitted with a microchip. The tiny—but critical—tech can be implanted during a routine visit to the vet, without anesthesia. (If you’re adopting from a shelter, it’s often included as part of the whole package.) It hurts only as much as a typical vaccination, lasts a lifetime, and can be scanned at a shelter or vet to reveal a unique ID number that—through a registered database—can connect kitty back to (a hugely relieved) you.

Set the stage for Cat TV.

Frankly, cats aren’t quite as street savvy as we are. Indoor cats have a significantly higher chance of being hurt or killed if they venture outside. However, they’re intrigued by motion and smell, so a securely screened window (aka Cat TV) can give them a taste of the outdoors and provide hours of entertainment for watching birds, squirrels, trees, cars, and pedestrians. (Don’t have a screen or need to shut the window for heat or the AC? Just pull aside the curtains or blinds; a closed window will do just fine.)

Think vertical.

Brookside BarkeryCats love climbing and chilling at high levels. You can set up deluxe shelves, walkways, and perches for your cat to climb on.  Also be mindful of how you arrange furniture, as you can create “steps” for your kitty to go safely from one item to another (say, from a low cabinet to a taller dresser), especially if one perch would otherwise be too tall to jump to without an intermediary. Brookside Barkery has plenty of towers and perches that cats love, including our very own store cat, Willow!

It’s not required for your cat to go outside for a happy lifestyle! Be sure to play with your feline regularly and keep them entertained as much as possible. Stop by either our Lee’s Summit or Brookside locations and check out our cat toys, towers and scratching posts! Making sure your cat gets the exercise and entertainment they need is the key to owning a happy and healthy indoor cat!

*Thanks for the tips on living with a kitty in the city!

Brookside Barkery

Keep Your Dog Safe in the Summer Heat!

Many people take advantage of the warm weather by making resolutions to get themselves and their pets in shape for summer. However, when participating in outdoor activities like walking or running during these high temperatures, extra precautions need to be taken to ensure your pet’s safety.

Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says that humans are not the only ones who need to be cautious when exercising during higher than average temperatures. “Animals do things they normally wouldn’t do to stay cool, which is an important thing to remember when outside,” Stickney said. “If they are all riled up and having a good time, they may forget how hot it is, so it is important to always monitor them.”

Anytime you are outdoors or doing something active during the summer, it is important for youBrookside Barkery and your pets to take plenty of breaks. Although you may be used to handling the heat and are aware when you need to stop and rest, your pet, especially if they have a thick coat, may not fare as well in the summer months. “Keep in mind that if you’re thirsty, your pet is most likely thirsty,” Stickney said. “Animals need plenty of access to fresh water. You can even try putting ice cubes in it to make it colder and more refreshing.”

However, the warm summer temperatures don’t mean you shouldn’t participate in outdoor activities with your pets. If you and your pet enjoy long walks to the neighborhood park, for example, just be sure that he has access to plenty of water throughout your trip. Bringing along a water bottle and bowl for him to drink from is always a good idea. “Also keep in mind that pavement can get very hot in the summer,” Stickney said. “If your dogs don’t have thick foot pads, they could develop burns on their feet. Letting them walk on the grass instead of the concrete can help keep their foot pads from blistering.”

Any summertime activity that involves the water is good to partake in with your pet. Getting adequate exercise, while also being able to cool off in the water, is a perfect outdoor activity. However, keep in mind that they will still need to have clean drinking water available, as well as a shady place to rest once out of the water. Swimming for a long time can be draining on a dog not used to that type of physical exertion. “If your pet does accidentally overdo it in the sun, there are signs you can watch out for,” Stickney said. “Panting, unresponsiveness, red whites of their eyes, and bright reddish gums can mean that your dog is overheated and needs a break.”

If you notice that your dog is beginning to exhibit any of these symptoms, stop activity immediately and allow them to get a drink and cool off indoors or in the shade. Overall, be smart and safe when going on outings with your pets during the warm summer months. Monitor your pets closely, and be prepared to step in at the first sign of heat stress. They may be enjoying your time together so much that they don’t realize how hot and tired they really are!

*Thanks for the tips!

Brookside Barkery

The Benefits of Cat Ownership

We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” But have you ever considered interacting with your pet as another way to prevent doctor visits? Many people are experiencing the social and health advantages of interacting with their four-legged friends. The proof is not only evident in happy pet owners’ faces, but also in recent studies. Professionals and researchers have found specific benefits in cat ownership.

For many people, cats offer social companionship without the fear of judgment. Having a cat around can prevent loneliness and depression and even improve your mood in general. Companionship through a cat is especially beneficial to those who live alone or are widowed. Dr. Jonathon Lidbury, assistant professor in the feline internal medicine department at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains the key advantages of owning a cat.

Brookside Barkery“Cats offer companionship, which is especially beneficial to people who are socially isolated due to various reasons,” he said. “Cats also offer stress relief and light exercise if you play with them.”

Besides social interaction and a reduced risk of suffering from social diseases like depression, cats also offer many health benefits. In fact, the positive emotions you experience from playing or cuddling with your feline can help boost your immune system. Cats can also sense when their owners are sick and often offer them company. This can help you feel better even sooner.

Although it is common to find someone who is allergic to cats, studies show that young children or infants who are exposed to cats often develop fewer allergies. Early and frequent exposure to cats may also prevent future upper respiratory problems in children as well.

For many people, interacting with their cat provides a sense of comfort and relief from everyday stress. Caring for another creature and being sensitive to their needs can help distract cat owners from their daily struggles, worries, and negative emotions. By lowering stress levels, cat owners may experience lower blood pressure as well as less anxiety. Cats are smart and independent animals that are also naturally clean, making them a great choice for a pet. Combined with their many health benefits, the low maintenance aspect of cat ownership creates a great opportunity for companionship.

“Cats offer a great balance between being easy to take care of but at the same time being very good companions,” Lidbury said. “They are playful, intelligent and engaging pets that are very fun to take care of.”

*Thanks for the tips!

Brookside Barkery

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

If you are a cat owner, you’ve probably gazed at Whiskers on the couch and asked, “Why does he sleep so much?” The answer is very simple, says a noted Texas A&M University animal behaviorist: It’s in their DNA.

Bonnie Beaver, a veterinarian at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and a former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, says cats are natural sleepers – and they are very good at it. When it comes to sleep, the news about cats is hardly out of the bag. Many cats sleep 16-20 hours a day, more than any other animal, and they are not picky about choosing a place for their cat nap – on top of a car or a roof, in a tree, their favorite chair or just about anywhere they can curl up for 40 winks or more.

“Let sleeping cats lie,” goes a French proverb, and it’s advice cats have taken to heart. “Over the thousands of years that cats have evolved, so have their sleeping habits,” Beaver explains.
“Early on, they had to hunt for food to stay alive, and that desire for food can require a lot of energy. So sleeping Brookside Barkeryhelped cats conserve their energy, and even though the common housecat does not have to hunt for its next meal, a cat is still conditioned for sleep. “House cats sleep a lot more than feral cats do, because they don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for food.”
That’s not to say all of that sleep is purr-fect sleep, either.  A lot of that time – maybe as much as 40 percent – is spent resting and not in deep sleep, Beaver adds.

So with all of that sleeping, do cats dream like we do? “We know that dreaming occurs in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and cats very much have an REM phase of sleep,” she notes.“They also exhibit movements during REM sleep, so it is possible they can dream.  What are they dreaming about?  Since we can’t ask them, we really don’t know.” She adds that if a cat’s whiskers or paws twitch during sleep, it’s very possible it is dreaming.

And while dogs are known to snore almost as loud as your Uncle Fred, cats tend to be quiet sleepers, Beaver points out.  “Most cats don’t snore because they don’t have a loose, soft palate like many breeds of dogs do,” she says. There’s also the flip side – if Fluffy appears to sleep very little, it may not be a true cat-astrophe, but it could be a sign that something is wrong. “Cats are like people – each one is different,” Beaver adds. “Each cat is unique, so if it does not seem to sleep much, it may be its normal routine.  It is more important to note changes in behavior.

Your cat will thank you – once it is fully awake, of course. Or then again since it’s a cat, maybe not.

*Thanks for letting us know why cats sleep so much!

Brookside Barkery

Cat Tail Wagging and What It Means

A tail can tell us so many things. “Everyone has an image of a super friendly dog wagging his tail so hard he looks as though he might be able to take flight,” says Dr. Karyn Collier, DVM, Chief Medical Officer at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. “In this instance the message is clear—that dog is happy.”

There are times, though, Dr. Collier continued, where the message isn’t quite so obvious. “Especially when it comes to cats, tail posture and movement are not quite as easy to interpret,” she said. “They are still, however, sending a message.”

So just what does it mean when Penny’s tail starts thumping the second I begin to pet her? I was eager to find out…

“Behaviorists have logged many hours of research observing cats’ posture and body language during their interactions, both with other cats and with dogs,” says Dr. Collier. “The facial expression, position of the ears and the tail can tell a great deal about the state of mind of the cat. Although the tail position will be discussed, tail position is not relied upon as a single indicator of the cat’s state of mind.”

The Tail Flick

A cat that is holding its tail lower, extended rigidly and is flicking it back and forth is showing signs of offensive aggression. “This is not a happy cat,” says Dr. Collier. “This is encountered frequently during veterinary visits. The cat that is flicking its tail on the exam room table is letting everyone know it does not want to be there.” Brookside Barkery

In contrast, a cat that is relaxed and simply surveying the environment may also have the tail lowered, but will leisurely move it and is generally much more content.

The Vertical Hold

A cat that is holding its tail in an upright, vertical position can be considered in a playful mood. “There may be motion back and forth that constitutes a greeting,” says Dr. Collier. “That cat is open to interaction.”

Other times, that upright tail that is quivering back and forth in a cat that has backed up to the wall or furniture could actually be spraying or urine marking. “And yes, female cats spray urine as well as male cats,” Dr. Collier confirms. “A tail that is held upright, but concave, is more of a defensive position or defensive aggression. That cat does not want to interact.”

And of course, a cat with her tail tucked between her legs is showing submission or fear.

The Arched Tail

Arched back. Pinned ears. Erect tail. “This cat is ready to react in either a defensive or offensive manner,” says Dr. Collier. “It will do whatever it deems is necessary, and is signaling to the other parties that he or she is ready to react.”

The takeaway? “Cats are very expressive creatures, and often use their body posture, the position of their ears, their facial expression and the position and movement of their tails to convey their feelings and intentions,” says Dr. Collier. “Unlike the aforementioned dog who is frantically wagging his tail, if a cat is ‘wagging’ his tail back and forth, it is very unlikely that the emotion he or she is expressing is joy.”

*Thanks for the great tips on cat tail wagging!