Not all pet dental products are created equal. Some are downright dangerous. Consider NATURAL RAW BONES.

According to a recent Packaged Facts report, U.S. sales of pet oral care products reached $775 million in 2015.  A large chunk of that $775 million came from the sale of oral care dog biscuits and treats.

On one hand, it’s great news that pet parents are becoming more aware of the need to focus on their animal companion’s oral health. But the not-so-great news is that the quality of mass marketed oral care dog biscuits and treats leaves a lot to be desired.

In 2014, Pedigree Dentastix was the top-selling oral care dog treat. Newer products such as Milk Bone Brushing Chews and Purina Beneful Healthy Smile Dental Twists have also been flying off store shelves.

Before You Buy Dental Care Treats, Read the Ingredient List!

All three of the products above are remarkable for their lack of species-appropriate nutrients, as well as the sheer number of synthetic additives and preservatives that appear on the ingredient list.

The Milk Bone and Beneful treats even contain the synthetic toxic preservatives BHA (Milk Bone Brushing Chews)3 and BHA + BHT (Purina Beneful Healthy Smile Dental Twists).4

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are used to prevent fats and oils in food from turning rancid.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program has identified BHA and BHT as cancer-causing agents that consistently produce certain types of tumors in laboratory animals.5

Unfortunately, the FDA still permits use of these chemicals as preservatives in food, deeming them “generally recognized as safe” in low doses.

The problem is that pets are often fed the same processed food and treats day in and day out for months, years, or a lifetime. This can result in cumulative exposure to substances known to cause cancer.


Recreational Bones Can Be An Excellent Alternative to Processed Dental Treats

Since it can be very difficult to find store-bought dental care biscuits and treats that are nutritious, species-appropriate, and safe, have you considered offering your dog raw recreational bones?

Recreational bones are the big beef or bison bones filled with marrow. They don’t supply much nutrition (because they should be gnawed on only, not chewed up and swallowed), but they do provide great mental stimulation and oral health benefits.

When your dog chews on a raw recreational bone, especially a meaty one with cartilage and soft tissue still attached, his teeth get the equivalent of a good brushing and flossing. This helps to break down tartar and reduces the risk of gum disease.

Gnawing and repetitive grinding are the chewing actions that wear down plaque and tartar on teeth, which means big recreational bones or chews that are meant to be worked on by your dog over a period of time.

Smaller treats that are chewed and swallowed in a matter of seconds or minutes provide no real dental benefit for your pet.

There’s a big difference between treats that your dog chews and swallows almost immediately, and big bones or chews that require effort and can help control plaque and tartar in your dog’s mouth.


10 Rules for Offering Recreational Bones to Your Dog

  • Before you give a recreational bone to your dog to chew on, you should be aware of the following 10 important guidelines:
  • Dogs who are aggressive chewers can and frequently do chip or fracture their teeth on raw bones. Veterinary dentists have many clients who blindly offered raw bones to their dogs, and wound up with a bill for expensive dental work.
  • Edible bones are the hollow, non-weight-bearing bones of birds (typically chicken wings and chicken and turkey necks). They are soft, pliable, don’t contain marrow, and can be easily crushed in a meat grinder.
  • Edible bones (whole or coarsely ground) are a good alternative to recreational raw bones for aggressive chewers.
  • Bone marrow is fatty; it can add lots of calories to your pet’s daily caloric intake and should be avoided if your pet has pancreatitis.
  • Marrow can also cause diarrhea if consumed by dogs with sensitive stomachs. My recommendation is to scoop out the marrow until your pet’s GI tract has adapted to the higher fat treat.
  • Another alternative is to offer bones with no marrow if your pet is battling a weight problem or needs a low fat diet. You can also replace marrow with fat free pumpkin and freeze.
  • Raw bones are usually sold frozen. When they thaw and your pet chews on them, they can be seriously messy. Many people offer bones outside, in crates, or on a surface that can be mopped afterwards.
  • When it comes to the right size bone for your dog, my advice is to match the bone size to your dog’s head. There’s really no such thing as a “too big” bone, but there are definitely bones that are too small for some dogs.
  • Bones that are too small can be choking hazards and can also cause significant oral trauma.
  • If your pet breaks off large pieces of raw bone, I recommend removing them before she has the opportunity to swallow them.
  • Never cook raw bones; cooked bones splinter and are dangerous.
  • Always supervise dogs when you’ve given them raw bones.


Don’t Forget to Brush Those Teeth!

Even if you offer dental chews or raw recreational bones, it’s still important to brush your dog’s teeth regularly to reduce the bacteria that build up on enamel. With patience and persistence, most pet owners can teach their dog to submit to daily tooth brushing, which is the ideal way to insure tartar doesn’t form on the teeth.

One of the secrets to successful tooth brushing is to progress slowly and gently, allowing your dog to adapt at her own pace. Start with your finger rather than a toothbrush and get her familiar with having your finger in her mouth. Gently rub the top front teeth and all the way to the back teeth. Then do the same on the lower teeth.

Praise your dog often and keep these sessions short. Once your pet is accepting of the presence of your finger in her mouth, wrap a very thin damp cloth or piece of gauze around your fingertip and rub the teeth.

The next step is to use a safe, natural dental cleaning product designed for pets and apply a small amount to the gauze before you rub your dog’s teeth. Once she gets used to this, you can progress to either a finger brush or a soft toothbrush the right size for her mouth.

If your furry companion is highly resistant to having her teeth rubbed or brushed, there are products available that when applied to the teeth go to work to break down plaque and tartar without brushing. However, the more rubbing and brushing your pet will allow, the more quickly you’ll see results, and the easier it will be to maintain her oral health.



Walk with the Barkery in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!


Be a part of a Brookside tradition and walk in the St. Patrick’s Warm up Parade with the Brookside Barkery! Spend a beautiful, spring afternoon with your dog and the Barkery on SaturdParade-'16-FBay, March 12th at 2 p.m. and make some wonderful memories! We will be walking again this year, so  all dogs should be well-behaved and of course on a leash. The $20 registration fee will include:

  • T-shirt for you (purchase ONE extra for $10)
  • Bandana for your dog (one bandana per entry)
  • Free Self-serve bath
  • Cookies and more!

You and your pup are sure to have fun with us this St. Patrick’s Day!

Pay online and pick up your PAWrade packet March 9th so you and your pup will be ready on parade day with your T-shirt and bandana!

The Time to Think About Fleas is Now.

Integrated Pest Management is a nontoxic way to effectively control fleas.

Today, spot-on flea products are advertised in every sort of media available to animal guardians and veterinarians, and are touted as safe and effective. However, as we discussed last month (“Are Spot-On Flea Killers Safe?”), the safety record of these products is not as spotless as the manufacturers would make us believe. After all, they contain pesticides, which are poisons, and they also contain toxic ingredients.

The danger presented by these products is apparent in the hundreds of incident reports that sit in the Environmental Protection Agency’s files – not to mention the manufacturers’ own animal laboratory studies. These logs indicate hundreds of deaths and illnesses of cats and dogs who have been treated with these products by their guardians and veterinarians.


Fortunately, we have safe alternatives – effective, nontoxic methods to keep our companion animals and households free from fleas and their irritating and sometimes debilitating impacts. The safest and most effective way to eliminate fleas utilizes an approach called “integrated pest manage-ment” (IPM).

IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests. Pest control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human and animal health, beneficial and nontarget organisms, and the environment.

The first step in any IPM program is to learn everything we can about the target, in this case, the flea. Who is the flea, and what are his habits? With this knowledge, we can implement an effective, nontoxic approach – and the knowledge that everyone in our household and surrounding environment is safe from the ravages of pesticides.


In order to control a flea infestation with IPM techniques, it is necessary to treat not only your dog, but also the indoor and outdoor environments surrounding your dog. In discussing all of these, we’ll start at the center: The dog.

  • Improve the dog’s health. “The most important measure you can take for flea control is similar to that with any illness, and that is to strengthen the overall health of the animal,” states Don Hamilton, DVM, author of Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small Doses for Small Animals. “In general, given the same environment, healthier animals suffer less from fleas. It all comes back to good food, lots of love, and minimal stress.” Dr. Hamilton prescribes a human grade food, preferably a raw meat diet for dogs, along with supplements, a clean indoor air environment (see “No Room to Breathe,” WDJ October 2001), and no vaccinations. Carolann Mancuso, one of Dr. Hamilton’s clients living near Tampa, Florida, has used this protocol for keeping her dog family healthy and flea-free for over a decade.

A healthy dog is less likely to be the target for fleas. Fleas seem to know which dogs are ill in a household. If you are not already feeding a raw meat, homemade diet or human-grade food, this is the time to shift gears. A healthy immune system will make your dog less tasty to a flea. Consult a holistic veterinarian to help boost the health of your dog’s immune system. Some complementary therapies that are useful include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, homeopathy, and nutritional therapy.

  • Use supplements. There are numerous dietary additives reputed to be helpful in repelling fleas. Unfortunately, their effectiveness varies from dog to dog. Some people have found the following remedies to be effective for their dogs. If, after giving your dog any of these supplements for a month, you see no improvement in the flea population, consult your holistic veterinarian for further direction.

Garlic: One clove per day of crushed organic garlic for a large dog, half for a medium-sized dog, and a quarter for a small dog. Or, use a capsule of cold-pressed garlic oil; adjust the canine dosage from the human dosage on the label (assuming a 150 pound human dose).

Vitamin B complex (with vitamin B1): Use a plant-source vitamin B complex, and again, adjust the dose for your dog’s weight. Some people simply add brewers yeast to the dog’s diet for its vitamin B1.

  • Some people have success with natural topical preparations. Again, the results vary widely. What works well for some dogs may not work at all for others. Desist if these suggestions do not work within three to four weeks.

Essential oils of cedar, tea tree, citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, and pennyroyal (the last two are toxic to cats): Mix 10 drops of certified organic essential oil to one tablespoon of olive oil. Spray on your dog as a repellent.

  • Combing the dog daily with a flea comb will help you determine the effectiveness of your efforts. Comb around the dog’s tail, stomach, and face, where they tend to collect in greater quantities. Look for fleas, as well as flea eggs (tiny white specks) and flea feces (slightly larger black specks). Drop anything you find into a glass of water; it will drown the eggs and fleas. Flea feces is comprised largely of your dog’s blood, and will turn the water reddish brown, confirming the presence of fleas even if no adults are found.
  • During the height of infestation, bathe your dog weekly with a noninsecticidal soap; reduce this frequency as the flea problem diminishes, because over-frequent bathing can dry out the skin. Rinsing the dog completely to remove all soap will help prevent drying the dog’s skin, as will increasing the essential fatty acids in the dog’s diet. For dogs who are being bathed frequently, using a nonscented hypoallergenic shampoo, such as Logona Free Shampoo and Shower Gel (800-648-6654), will be less irritating to their skin.



Outdoor flea populations can be controlled quickly and easily. Again, the focus here is on the 99 percent of the flea population: the nonadult stages of the flea.

  • Keep grass cut short, and rake leaves to prevent piles where flea eggs, larvae, and pupae can harbor.
  • Apply a mixture of water and food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) – a calcium dust ground from single-cell, ocean organisms – to your lawns, walkways and planting beds (anywhere your dog frequents). In wet, humid climates, apply every other month; in drier climates, you can apply this less frequently.

This application works as an abrasive and desiccant, physically drying out and destroying the adult fleas’ breathing organs as well as drying out and killing flea larvae. This process is inexpensive, and the flea cannot develop resistance to DE. Use a mask whenever handling DE; the dust can irritate the lungs.



Indoor environment control is relatively simple, and like your outdoor control efforts, should focus on the largest part of the flea population – the nonadult stages.

  • Wash floors frequently. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are attracted to cracks and joints in floors.
  • Remove area rugs during the flea season. If you are considering a remodel or new construction, choose alternatives to wall-to-wall carpeting, such as cork, wood, ceramic, or linoleum (not vinyl) flooring.
  • Vacuum carpeting daily during most intense infestation, cutting back to once or twice a week when it is under control. Seal the vacuum bag each time and put it in a freezer to kill the fleas before reusing.
  • Wash your dog’s bedding at least once a week in hot water and a mild detergent, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide (a whitening agent).



So far, all the indoor approaches we discussed are nontoxic. The methods we’ll discuss next have some toxic properties. However, properly used, these are very safe – far safer than pesticides.

  • There are several chemically inert desiccant dusts, including diatomaceous earth (DE), that can be applied to your carpeting to effectively kill fleas in all their life stages. Use only food grade (natural) DE – avoid swimming pool grade. Use care when applying; keep animals out of the rooms being treated. Dusts can cause breathing problems in humans and animals and exacerbate asthmatic conditions. Do not use if any household members have asthmatic or upper respiratory conditions. Wear a mask when handling and apply close to the carpet surface (avoid creating airborne dust).


Sometimes the answer to our problem is very simple, but takes the one thing we seem to struggle with daily – time. Time to understand the full impacts of the flea product you are considering using, and time to create a healthy environment for your dog during the flea season, and year-round.


It does take more time for an IPM program to work than it would if you used pesticides. But it is important to understand that pesticide use can be dangerous to your family’s health. In her book Designer Poisons – about the dangers of pesticides – Dr. Marion Moses minces no words: “When we share metabolic or neuro pathways with insects, we are impacted by these chemicals. The difference is only in amount – just because it doesn’t kill humans or animals doesn’t mean it is not having damaging health effects.”

-via The Whole Dog Journal


Wiener Dog Stampede on Super Bowl

Our resident dachshund at the Barkery, MiliIMG_1775, wasn’t so sure when she heard about this commercial. Fortunately it looks like none of her fellow height-challenged brothers and sisters were hurt in filming of this commercial for Heinz.

If your own crew of Dachshunds (or other favorite breed!) is about ready to stampede, stop by Brookside Barkery & Bath. We’ve got the food and treats they crave –  great taste, and great for them.
Now about those hot dog buns…

Cats vs. Dogs – Who Loves you More?

The cats vs. dogs debate has been around for hundreds of years, sides get taken, and things get personal. Ever wonder if there is any truth or reason behind the affection you pet gives you? Brookside Barkery & Bath discovered a new study done by researchers for a BBC documentary, “Cats vs. Dogs,” has concluded there’s five times more love generated in a dog when it sees its owner than a cat.

Our love is chemical, say scientists, so that’s how they measured it. When dogs see their owners, they feel oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates pleasure in our brain and helps us bond with our offspring.

Researchers tested pets for the “love hormone” before and after they saw their owners. Ten cats and ten dogs were swabbed for saliva, then played with their owners for 10 minutes. After, the saliva was tested again. While the oxytocin levels were elevated in both animals, dogs showed an increase of 57.2 percent of the hormone compared to 12 percent in the cats. (One dog’s hormone actually went up 500 percent!)

“I was really surprised to discover that dogs produced such high levels of oxytocin,” neuroscientist Dr. Paul Zak, who worked with the documentary’s results, said. “It was also a nice surprise to discover that cats produce any at all. At least some of the time, cats seem to bond with their owners.”

Whether you are on Team Dog or Team Cat, we can all agree that our pets enrich our lives in many ways. Brookside Barkery & Bath is the first to agree with the joy animals can bring to our lives! No favor is paid to one side or the other at Brookside Barkery & Bath, making it the PURR-fect place to pick up everything your pets need! Stop by either of our Kansas City locations in Brookside or Lee’s Summit and be sure to bring in your own beloved pooch for expert grooming – and go ahead and show the house kitty some love to by picking up some new cat treats for Nibbles while you’re at it!



Did you Know These 25 WEIRD Dog Facts?

There are hundreds of official dog breeds in the world and even more mixes and mutts than we can count. Each dog has his own unique set of characteristics and personality. But one thing is certain – these lovable and wonderful companions are fascinating creatures. Check out some of these interesting and far-out facts about dogs from And when you need the best natural and organic food for your own best-friendly pooch, stop in and talk to the canine experts at Brookside Barkery & Bath!

1. Is it a duck…or a dog? The Newfoundland breed has a water resistant coat and webbed feet. This dog was originally bred to help haul nets for fishermen and rescuing people at risk of drowning.Barkery Pekingese1904

2. It pays to be a lap dog. Three dogs (from First Class cabins!) survived the sinking of the Titanic – two Pomeranians and one Pekingese.

3. A Beatles hit. It’s rumored that, at the end of the Beatles song, “A Day in the Life,” Paul McCartney recorded an ultrasonic whistle, audible only to dogs, just for his Shetland sheepdog.

4. Wow, check out those choppers! Puppies have 28 teeth and normal adult dogs have 42.

5. Chase that tail! Dogs chase their tails for a variety of reasons: curiosity, exercise, anxiety, predatory instinct or, they might have fleas! If your dog is chasing his tail excessively, talk with your vet.

6. Seeing spots? Or not… Dalmatian puppies are pure white when they are born and develop their spots as they grow older.

7. Dogs do dream! Dogs and humans have the same type of slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) and during this REM stage dogs can dream. The twitching and paw movements that occur during their sleep are signs that your pet is dreaming

8. No night vision goggles needed! Dogs’ eyes contain a special membrane, called the tapetum lucidum, which allows them to see in the dark.

9. Pitter patter. A large breed dog’s resting heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute, and a small dog breed’s heart beats between 100-140. Comparatively, a resting human heart beats 60-100 times per minute.
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10. If your dog’s acting funny, get out the umbrella! According to a Press poll, 72% of dog owners believe their dog can detect when stormy weather is on the way.

11. It’s not a fever…A dog’s normal temperature is between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

12. Is something wet? Unlike humans who sweat everywhere, dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet.

13. Here’s looking at you. Dogs have three eyelids, an upper lid, a lower lid and the third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw,” which helps keep the eye moist and protected.

14. Americans love dogs! 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 million homes

15. Move over Rover! 45% of dogs sleep in their owner’s bed (we’re pretty sure a large percentage also hog the blankets!)

16. Why are dogs’ noses so wet? Dogs’ noses secrete a thin layer of mucous that helps them absorb scent. They then lick their noses to sample the scent through their mouth.

17. Yummy! Dogs have about 1,700 taste buds. Humans have approximately 9,000 and cats have around 473.
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18. Watch that plate of cookies! A Dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 – 100,000 times more acute as that of humans.

19. It’s not so black and white. It’s a myth that dogs only see in black and white. In fact, it’s believed that dogs see primarily in blue, greenish-yellow, yellow and various shades of gray.

20. Did you hear that? Sound frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz). The higher the Hertz, the higher-pitched the sound. Dogs hear best at 8,000 Hz, while humans hear best at around 2,000 Hz.

21. Express yourself. Dogs’ ears are extremely expressive. There are more than a dozen separate muscles that control a dog’s ear movements.

22. Growing up. No, it’s not just to make themselves look adorable. Dogs curl up in a ball when they sleep due to an age-old instinct to keep themselves warm and protect their abdomen and vital organs from predators.

23. Why do they do that?
When dogs kick after going to the bathroom, they are using the scent glands on their paws to further mark their territory.
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24. Growing up. While Chow Chow dogs are well known for their distinctive blue-black tongues, they’re actually born with pink tongues. They turn blue-black at 8-10 weeks of age.

25. Breathe easy. In addition to sweating through their paw pads, dogs pant to cool themselves off. A panting dog can take 300-400 breaths (compared to his regular 30-40) with very little effort.

Lots of interesting facts and figures! Stop by Brookside Barkery & Bath to learn more about your favorite breed!