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The Benefits of Coconut Oil

People everywhere are discovering the wonders that coconut oil can create. From hair and skincare to digestive and immune health, coconut oil’s popularity is continuing to grow. You may be wondering – if coconut oil is good for me, is it just as good for my pet? Holistic Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker explains the benefits coconut oil can have for your animal.

The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

Coconut oil is a concentrated source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which may have positive effects on your pet’s cognitive function. This oil is also a rich source of lauric acid, which is a powerful antimicrobial agent. Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties as well.

Dogster provides a list of reasons why coconut oil benefits your dogs, which include:

  1. Coconut oil improves overall skin health, and clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis, and itchy skin.
  2. Coconut oil helps moisturize the driest skin and makes a dog’s coat gleam with health, whether you add it to her diet, shampoo, or both!
  3. Applied topically to the skin, coconut oil promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, bites, and stings.
  4. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil help reduce doggy odor and doggy breath.
  5. It helps prevent yeast infections, particularly candida.
  6. Dogs suffering from kennel cough may recover faster with coconut oil.
  7. It improves nutrient absorption and digestion (but may case loose stools, so moderation is crucial).
  8. It can help reduce your dog’s risk of diabetes by regulating your pet’s insulin levels. It may also moderate thyroid function and keep infections and heart disease at bay.
  9. Coconut oil promotes motility in arthritic dogs and those with joint issues.
  10. It can benefit brain health and may be helpful for senior dogs whose minds are starting to become “cloudy.”

Dr. Karen Becker recommends feeding one-quarter teaspoon for of 100% organic, cold-pressed, human-grade coconut oil for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for dogs (and cats). This can be added at meal time. It can also be applied topically for animals with flaky and itchy skin.

Raw Diets for Dogs: Are They Better?

The idea of feeding raw food to your pet tends to divide us into two groups – either it makes sense to you to feed a biologically appropriate diet, or it may strike you as completely unsanitary and borderline barbaric.

Regardless of your point of view, raw is the fastest growing sector of the pet food market. If you were to feed a raw diet to your pet, the first change observed would be 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

These are only a few of the benefits feeding raw can give you. Pet owners have been taught for many years that kibble is an acceptable diet for dogs, but processing kibble takes away many nutrients your dog actually needs.

The vast majority of pet food is cooked, primarily by the method of extrusion. This process produces a kibble and depends on a food containing 25 to 45 percent starch. Though digestible, this starch is of low nutritional utility for a carnivore. This Dogs Naturally article answers a few questions pet owners may have about the nutritional differences between kibble and raw.

Processing Away the Nutrients

Aside from excess carbohydrate (starch), there is the matter of what happens to an ingredient once it’s been cooked. Heat addition of any kind initiates the process of protein denaturation. It alters the nutrients and not necessarily for the better. Extreme heat destroys harmful bacteria, but today it is possible to assemble ingredients with a very low risk of pathogenic bacterial contamination.

The advantage of raw food is more than avoiding the diminished digestibility due to cooking. There are subtle but critical additional benefits. Natural enzymes and numerous beneficial bacteria are found in raw pet foods, undamaged by any heat application.

The Freeze-Dried Raw Option

A valid subheading of raw food is freeze-dried raw food. The freeze drying process removes moisture from the food without the damage of heat application. This process is widely appreciated as the most effective method of food preservation, because it allows a longer shelf life and least nutrient damage.

If you’re thinking about feeding raw, consider these advantages:

  1. Nutrient digestibility is superior to products that have been heated by extrusion (kibble) or boiling (canned).
  2. Natural enzyme activity is preserved, and vitamins remain undamaged.
  3. Friendly bacteria are allowed to thrive.

Understandably, raw food may not be an affordable option for a pet owner with more than one large dog. And compared to frozen, kibble is convenient and economical on a day to day basis. However, dry kibble simply isn’t the best nutrition for your pet. To the extent your budget permits, consider including raw or freeze-dried food in your pet’s diet. Your pet’s vitality will be louder and longer, and he’ll be happier and healthier.

Remember, feeding your dog a nutritious diet is the best health insurance money can buy. Ask a Barkery nutrition specialist about the RAW difference today.

Need Digestive Help?

If your dog has diarrhea or digestive issues, you may want to stop in the Barkery for some Flora4.

Flora4 Ground Sprouted Seeds Food Topper simplifies the chore of learning how to effectively supplement live probiotics, plant enzymes, phytonutrients and whole food vitamins and minerals that are lacking in an all-meal diet.

This beneficial supplement adds enzymes and probiotics that can help a wide range of issues, including:

  • During and after treatment with antibiotics
  • To correct intermittent diarrhea and soft stools
  • To aid digestion when transitioning a new food

You can add Flora4 to every meal to supply all your dog’s non-meat nutritional requirements. If you already mix foods like tripe, green leafy and root vegetables into your dog’s raw diet, try using Flora4 every couple of days to “fill in the gaps.” That way, you can be sure you’re not missing any essential vitamins and minerals in your homemade recipes.

Your cat can also benefit from the intense nutrition in Flora4. Be sure to add healthy sources of taurine such as organ meat – pork liver and duck liver are two excellent examples. Try adding some of Farm Fetched Single Ingredient freeze dried treats, which can also be found at the Barkery.

Flora4 is extremely versatile. It can be sprinkled into raw, home-cooked food or commercial kibble to boost nutrition and complete the diet. If your main pet food contains vitamin/mineral additives (like kibble and canned foods), you should consider supplementing Flora4 every day or two, to make sure your pet is getting really bio-available nutrients from food, not just synthetics. Testing has shown that dogs and cats love the mix of flavors from meat and the sprouted seed blend. Flora4 gives raw feeders the convenient whole food supplement they’ve been waiting for – no need to use bottled synthetic products again!

Flora4 contains guaranteed levels of live probiotics (18 billion cfu/kg) and enzymes (1 million U/kg); effective doses of 26 essential vitamins & minerals; and high levels of Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids – all from raw food- that combine to provide a variety of health benefits for both dogs and cats.

 

Consider supplementing Flora4 when transitioning your dog or cat to a different food to prevent digestive upset. Once you see what Flora4 can do for your pet, you’ll be glad you did!

Reasons You Should Supplement Raw Goat’s Milk

For those that don’t know, goat’s milk has been hailed as one of the most complete, natural food sources known to man. Raw, unpasteurized goat milk is full of vital nutrients, enzymes, vitamins, electrolytes, protein and fatty acids, and it’s more digestible than cow’s milk.

Not only is it safe to give your dog or cat goat’s milk, it’s also incredibly good for them. Even dogs who have a hard time digesting diary products derived from cow’s milk can do extremely well on unpasteurized goat’s milk.

Here are just a few reasons why you should supplement your dog or cat’s diet with goat’s milk:

1. It’s Great for Digestion

Raw goat’s milk is perfect for dogs who suffer any number of digestive issues. Some dogs just have sensitive stomachs, or aren’t able to properly digest food. This can mean gas and loose stools on a regular basis. Goat’s milk is full of natural probiotics, which strengthens your dog’s gut by repopulating the bad bacteria with good bacteria. This makes it invaluable for dogs with sensitive digestive tracts, and also for dogs that have been subjected to various antibiotics.

2. It’s an Immune Booster

By strengthening your dog or cat’s gut, you’re also strengthening the immune system. By virtue of the amount of vitamins, trace minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids, the overall health of your dog is greatly enhanced. Raw goat’s milk has been shown to help fight common ailments such as kidney issues, cancers, liver disease, diabetes, colitis, IBS, heart disease, ulcers, and various brain and nervous system disorders.

Whether you’re feeding a raw, cooked, or kibble diet, supplementing raw goat’s milk can help your best friend to be healthier and happier.

3. It Alleviates Allergies and Itching

The probiotics in raw goat’s milk fight off yeast. It also contains high levels of caprylic acid, which is a natural yeast destroyer. Believe it or not, dogs can get yeast infections in their ears and other parts of the body, including their paws. Your dog’s paw or ear itching could very well be from yeast or allergies, and goat’s milk can help stop the itching once and for all.

4. It Relieves Arthritis Symptoms and Joint Pain

The same enzymes that help with digestion are a natural anti-inflammatory, and can  help with pain in the joints. It also helps improve circulation, which can reduce or eliminate arthritis symptoms.

Other research has shown that carotene found in the milk can also prevent cancer, while the fat known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is believed to shrink cancerous tumors in some cases.

How to Feed Goat’s Milk

Most animals can’t get enough of goat’s milk, so give it a try even if you have a picky eater on your hands. When you’re feeding goat’s milk, make sure you’re adding it to a good, healthy diet. Although goat’s milk is a great benefit to your dog’s health, alone it won’t carry enough nutrients to help your dog thrive on its own. Pouring milk over your dog’s meal is the easiest way to supplement, whether you’re feeding raw, dehydrated, kibble or wet food.

The Barkery carries a variety of goat’s milk options. Stop in and ask a nutritionist how goat’s milk can help your pet today!

For more on goat’s milk, visit Dogs Naturally.

 

Brookside Barkery

3 Ways to Treat Your Dog’s Arthritis Naturally

Just like humans, dogs change as they age. As pet owners, we’re responsible to help them age gracefully. Here at Brookside Barkery we’re dedicated to educating our customers because we know that informed customers make better informed decisions. Arthritis is common in senior dogs and it can be challenging to keep your arthritic furry friend active and comfortable. Here are 3 ways to treat your dog’s arthritis naturally!

1. Fix Leaky Gut. Your dog’s gut lining contains millions of tiny little holes that allow digested foods and proteins to enter the body to be used as fuel. The tiny holes prevent larger, undigested proteins and toxins from entering the body and wreaking havoc with the immune system. These little wholes can stretch if your dog’s gut is damaged. This allows proteins, harmful bacteria and undigested food particles to enter the body – causing an immune reaction. Leaky guts can be caused by poor diet, drugs and other toxins, and over-vaccination. Step one is to eliminate processed foods, drugs, toxins, and vaccines as much as possible.

2. Fix the Fats. Fats are one of the most important ingredients in your dog’s diet … they affect every cell in his body … if he doesn’t get enough fat or gets the wrong balance of fats, things can go very wrong. Most dog food today is high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. This causes chronic inflammation which makes arthritis worse. To reduce inflammation, your dog should be eating grass-fed animals. Not factory-farmed or grain-fed animals. If this isn’t possible, just be sure that you’re adding in omega-3 fats to balance out the different types of fats he’s eating.

3. Add Antioxidants. Free radicals are atoms that can damage cells and cause them to die. Antioxidants can prevent cell damage that free radicals cause. They also have anti-aging effects, help prevent cancer, heart disease, eye problems, and immune issues.

*Thank you dogsnaturallymagazine.com for these great tips!

Free Food Delivery Zones Extended!

Free Food Delivery Zones Extended!

Brookside Barkery is bringing what’s best for your best friend to your doorstep! In order to serve you better, we have extended our FREE delivery zone within 5 miles of our Brookside and Lee’s Summit stores. If you live within these zones, you’re in luck!

To place an order, just call your local Brookside Barkery & Bath store and our experts will have it to your front door in 24 hours! Click here to learn more about our FREE local delivery service!

May Special at the Barkery

Fromm Family Pet Food has been manufacturing quality and wholesome dog and cat foods since 1949. As a family owned company, Fromm Family Foods focuses on what’s doing best for your pet! With Fromm’s wide range of recipes, you are sure to find one that fits your best friends needs, and your budget. May is a great month to give Fromm a try at the Barkery, with great discounts on both dog and cat kibble for the entire month of May:

Fromm Dog Food

  • $2 off small bags
  • $4 off medium bags
  • $6 off large bags

Fromm Cat Food

  • $2 off 2 pound bags
  • $2 off 5 pound bags
  • $4 off 15 pound bags

 

Brookside Barkery

9 Puppy Tips to Help You Stay Sane

March 23 is National Puppy Day! Puppy love is a wonderful thing, however, as well all know, plenty of stress comes along with the responsibility of a new four-legged friend in the house. Puppies require a lot of attention, training, and socialization to become confident, balanced dogs. Here are some puppy tips to help you navigate the first few months of pet parenthood.

  1. Bring your puppy to the vet as soon as possible for an exam. Regardless of where you acquired the puppy, you should make immediate arrangements for a vet exam. If you can, bring a stool sample to go ahead and test for internal parasites. It’s important to research the type of veterinary practice you would like your dog to visit. Ideally, your dog will have a lifelong relationship with the vet that you choose, so be sure that your vet’s perspective aligns accordingly. Ask your vet for their protocol on vaccinations, diets, and training. Find a vet that is inviting, friendly, and respects your concerns regarding your dog’s health.
  2. Crate/kennel train your puppy from the start. To new dog owners, crate training can seem cruel and lonely for your dog. However, when used properly, crates can be seen as a safe haven for dogs, and is a great place to retreat when situations are overwhelming or when your pup needs to relax and reenergize. Prior to bringing your puppy home, set up a size-appropriate crate with a soft pad and a few cozy toys. You and your dog both will be grateful to have this space available.
  3. Co-sleep with your puppy for the first few nights. Even if you don’t plan on having your dog sleep in your bedroom, consider making the first few nights an exception. The transition to a new home can be stressful, especially if your pup was just separated from his litter mates. Putting the crate next to your bed for the first few nights allows you to comfort him if he’s whimpering and will give a sense of security having you nearby. Once you have established trust, transition your puppy to the new designated space.
  4. Establish a routine. Just like humans, dogs tend to thrive on a schedule. Dogs build trust and understanding by learning to expect what is happening next. It’s a good idea to establish a little consistency as far as feeding schedules, potty schedules, walks, and bed time. Soon you will notice your puppy develop his own routine and fall into more predictable patterns, which is mutually beneficial.
  5. Create a puppy perimeter. A new space can be overwhelming for a small puppy. Before bringing him home, decide where you’d like him to spend his time so that he has the freedom to explore without the risk of getting hurt or getting into something he shouldn’t. Set up his kennel (unless you plan on sharing a bedroom with him long term), a soft bed, food and water, and toys in this space. Ensure you block off any potential escape points with baby gates or doors.
  6. Be a hands-on owner. Getting your puppy used to being handled is one of the best things you can do for him. A puppy that is used to being touched is much more likely to be comfortable being handled by the vet, groomer, children and adults once he grows up. Make it a habit of touching his paws, mouth, and tail gently so that he’s not caught off guard. It is also helpful to touch him while he eats to avoid food aggression.
  7. Nip bad habits in the butt. It’s undeniably sweet to cuddle on the couch with your 12 pound puppy, but will you feel the same when he’s tipping the scales at 100 pounds? If you don’t anticipate your dog carrying puppy behavior through adulthood, don’t let the behavior become a habit in the first place. Establishing guidelines and being consistent is much more difficult for the pet owner, but it is completely worth it down the road. Decide in the beginning what your plan is concerning dogs on the furniture, where the puppy sits in the car, how food is handled, and which areas are off limits.
  8. Socialize your puppy. Introduce your puppy to everything. You want your dog to feel comfortable around different looking people, other dogs, other animals, places, and noises. It is best to have yummy treats on hand for rewarding your puppy for remaining calm and comfortable in various situations. If your dog hesitates in a particular situation, let him make a step of sniff forward, and reward that by tossing a treat in front of him. Socialization goes a long way in making your dog fee confident and well balanced all around.
  9. Most importantly, feed your puppy a healthy diet. Educate yourself on the type of diet you want to feed your puppy before you make the decision to bring him home. Raw diets are undeniably the most natural and biologically appropriate diet for your pup, but may not be the most realistic depending on the dog owner’s lifestyle and income. Feeding a whole, balanced, nutritional diet will save you money and stress down the road. It’s important to remember that your dog’s diet should be rotated consistently to maintain good gut health. Different life stages will also affect the appropriateness of your dog’s diet.

Diarrhea Home Remedies

If you have a dog at home, the occasional diarrhea episode is to be expected. It’s not really a matter of if your dog will experience it, but when. Knowing what to expect when your dog has loose stools – and how to manage it – is good to have, especially before you need it. Dr. Karen Becker gives her recommendation to cure diarrhea episodes at home.

Causes of Diarrhea

There are many causes of diarrhea, but the most common reason by far is dietary indiscretion, which means your pet ate something he shouldn’t have and his body is trying to get rid of it as soon as possible.

If your dog eats a stick or a chew toy, diarrhea or loose stools are commonly the result. Just as your body is designed to eat different foods every day and not have diarrhea, so is your pet’s. If you feed your dog or cat the same food day after day, month after month, year in and year out, then suddenly switch to a new diet, a case of diarrhea is just about guaranteed.

It’s not the fault of the different food — it’s because your pet’s gut has been conditioned to process only one type of food, which is not ideal, nutritionally or physiologically.

Transitioning Your Pet to a Varied Diet

The goal is to diversify your pet’s diet to include a variety of foods with different nutrient contents, which ultimately fosters a diversified gut microbiome, and makes the digestive system strong and resilient.

Up to 80 percent of your pet’s immune system is located within the GI tract, so the more you focus on creating good gut health, the healthier your pet will be overall.

If you want to feed your pet a different food, you have to make the transition very slowly. A slow dietary transition means days to weeks for most dogs, and often weeks to months for cats. Start by feeding 10 percent new food blended with 90 percent old food for several days. Watch your pet’s stool and if all seems well, move to 20 percent new/80 percent old. Keep watching for stool changes and if none occur, move to 30 percent new food and 70 percent old, and so on, until you’re feeding only the new diet. The process should be slow enough that no bowel changes occur.

Treating a Pet With Diarrhea at Home

If your dog or cat is otherwise healthy and his behavior is normal, Dr. Becker recommends to withhold food — not water, just food — for 12 hours. A short-term fast gives the GI tract a chance to rest, repair and restore itself. Tissues can only heal when they’re resting.

Follow the 12-hour food fast with a bland diet. Dr. Becker recommends cooked, fat-free ground turkey and 100 percent canned pumpkin. If canned pumpkin isn’t available, you can use fresh, steamed pumpkin. If you can’t use either one of those, you can use cooked sweet potato or even cooked white potato.

Other Treatment Suggestions

Dr. Becker also recommends keeping some slippery elm on hand. Slippery elm is a neutral fiber source that works really well to ease episodes of diarrhea. It reduces GI inflammation and acts as a non-irritating source of fiber to bulk up the stool and slow down GI transit time.

Give your dog or cat about a half a teaspoon or a capsule for each 10 pounds of body weight with every bland meal. In addition to slippery elm, many pet owners have good luck with herbs such as peppermint, fennel or chamomile. These are especially helpful for the cramping and other uncomfortable GI symptoms that come with diarrhea.

If your dog’s diarrhea isn’t resolving or keeps returning, collect a sample of the stool and take it to your vet. Your vet can test it and do bloodwork to see if an infection is present. It may also be necessary to treat your dog for dehydration in the event that your pup has lost too much fluid.

 

Human Behaviors That Stress Out Your Dog

Your dog can become stressed for a variety of reasons. For example, dogs on leashes typically feel stress when they encounter another dog, especially not on a leash. This is probably because it’s difficult to greet the other dog in a natural fashion while being tied to its owner. But there are triggers by humans that most pet owners do not realize can create stress for their dog. The veterinary publication dvm360 has compiled a list of stress triggers for dogs, and some of them may surprise you.

10 Ways to Stress Out Your Dog

  1. Punish him for behaving like a dog. Your canine companion is a creature of opportunity, and the best way to prevent him from taking advantage of opportunities to misbehave is to not leave tantalizing items within his reach. Ensure the only opportunities you provide your dog are ones he can succeed at.
  2. Tell her “no” over and over. If your dog is doing something she shouldn’t be doing, telling her “no” will probably cause her to stop the behavior temporarily. However, saying no to a dog without offering an alternative turns your “no” into merely an interruption, not a request or demand. It is best to show your dog what you want her to do instead, so she doesn’t turn back to that behavior.
  3. Give her a variety of commands for a single behavior. Many pet guardians assume their dog speaks English, and use different phrases interchangeably as commands. Your dog may know you are commanding her, but isn’t quite sure what you want her to do. Train your dog with simple, preferably one-word commands and use only those words to communicate to prevent confusion.
  4. Tell him, “it’s okay.” Many pet guardians use this phrase in situations where your pet knows he is not okay. Trying to comfort your dog by saying “it’s okay,” will become a verbal cue to panic, rather than cope with an anxiety-producing situation.
  5. Pull his leash. A dog that is properly trained on a leash doesn’t typically do a lot of pulling, so if you are constantly yanking to redirect him, it may be time to refresh his leash manners. It’s important to understand that your dog will naturally stop and sniff as often as possible. Be patient with your pet and allow him a reasonable amount of time to smell-inspect his outdoor territory.
  6. Hold him while you hug or kiss him. Canines don’t naturally get these forms of affection and can be confused by them – especially when the hugger/kisser is a relative stranger. Dogs can feel restrained by being hugged or held and kissed, so it’s best to stick to stroking and petting, which dogs usually can’t get enough of.
  7. Stare at her. Most people are uncomfortable being stared at by other people, and the same can be true for your dog. Dogs view staring as a confrontational signal, which naturally triggers a stress response. There’s no need to stare at your dog unless you are returning her gaze.
  8. Point or shake your finger at her. The finger shaking stance is an automatic stress-trigger for dogs, especially since you are normally doing it while standing over her in a menacing posture and using a tone of voice that signals displeasure. Many guilty dog looks come from pointing your finger, but your dog may actually just be feeling confused and stressed.
  9. Tell him to “get down” when he jumps up. If you use the verbal cue “down” to ask your dog to go from a sit to a lie-down, it’s not going to work in a situation where he is jumping on a person or something else. Try training him to stop jumping by using the command “off” instead to prevent confusion and stress from trying to understand your command.
  10. Wake her up. Unless there’s a pressing reason to wake up your dog, try to avoid it. Being shaken or shouted awake is stressful for all of us.

 

For more on how humans trigger stress in dogs, visit Dr. Karen Becker’s article here.

Events

Adoptions in Brookside – Kansas City Retired Greyhounds as Pets

Stop by the Barkery in Brookside and meet the dedicated volunteers with Kansas City Retired Greyhounds as Pets! Whether it’s rescuing or fostering, they do everything possible to give homeless pets a great shot at a healthy life in a forever home. They’ll be bringing adoptable friends to the Brookside store for a meet and greet, and will be eager to help you find your perfect match when it comes to furry friends!

Adoptions in Brookside – Rescue K-911

Stop by the Barkery in Brookside and meet the dedicated volunteers with Rescue K-911. Rescue K-911 works diligently to find homes for pets who have been left with no other option. They will be bringing some lovable dogs that are looking to find an equally loving family. Let’s help these pets find their forever homes!