Brookside Barkery

Plants to Avoid for A Pet-Friendly Garden

Spring is the season for being outdoors. For many that means slipping on their rubber boots and gloves, grabbing their shovel, and planting seeds in the hope of an ample garden in the near future. While preparing your plot, it’s important to take steps to ensure that it’s safe for your pets to enjoy as well.

“When planting your garden, it is important to note that there are numerous house and garden plants which can be toxic to animals,” said James Barr, Assistant Professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Some include brunfelsia, oleander, and even lilies.”Brookside Barkery

Brunfelsia, also known as the “yesterday, today & tomorrow” plant, causes convulsive seizures in dogs, while cycads, low growing palm trees used indoors and outdoors, are toxic to the liver of dogs and they tend to chew on the roots.

“When the liver is contaminated, the dog’s body stops producing the normal clotting factors and the dog starts bleeding excessively. This can progress to the point where the dog bleeds to death,” said Barr.

While brunfelsia and cycads have not been known to cause problems in cats, lilies are especially harmful to them. Once ingested, cats develop symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, depression, and will stop eating altogether.

“Once ingested, the cat must be treated by a veterinarian, preferably within 24 hours and not later than 48 hours,” said Barr. “The toxin(s) present in the lilies are very toxic to the kidneys.”

Kolanchoe is a house plant that is known to be toxic. It contains a chemical which is similar to the human heart medication, digoxin.

“The garden plant oleander also contains digoxin-like compounds. Both kolanchoe and oleander can be toxic to all animals, including dogs and cats, if ingested,” said Barr.

Spring is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. Taking the time to make sure that everything you put in your yard is safe for your pet will ensure this time is special for the entire family.

Thanks for these great tips on pet safety and gardening

Brookside Barkery

10 Signals Your Dog is Stressed

It’s easy to get swept up planning for parties, running to the store for S’mores ingredients and arranging plans to view fireworks. But during the seasonal festivities, keep in mind that dogs feel differently than you do. It’s common for them to be frightened by changes in routine like loud booms of thunder or fireworks and crowded party atmospheres.

There are many things you can do to help ease your dog during a stressful time. It begins with recognizing your dog’s body language and behavior. When a dog is stressed, be their pack leader. When your pooch can’t identify the alpha, she can become anxious and insecure.

“You will see signs often in conjunction with each other,” says Darlene Arden, dog behaviorist and author of over a dozen books including The Angell Memorial Animal Hospital Book of Wellness and Preventive Care for Dogs. “It is important you remain calm. If you’re anxious, your dog will pick up on that.”Brookside Barkery

To help identify stress, Arden said to look for the following signals:
– Excessive licking of paws, nose or lips
– Panting that isn’t heat related
– Pacing
– Trembling
– Pinning back ears and cowering
– Hiding
– Refusing treats
– Diarrhea or vomiting
– Whimpering
– Clawing at walls, doors or gates trying to escape

Ways to Soothe Your Stressed Dog
“Drawing the curtains helps to keep out flashing lights that may startle your pets,” Arden says. “And if you plan on being out, leave a few lights on. That can also help ease a dog’s mind.”
If you have a dog that suffers from separation anxiety, make sure all doors and windows are locked before you leave the house, so the dog can’t run off. Play noises your dog is familiar with like the TV, radio or CD player and encourage your dog to hang out in her “den”—a crate or other private area with soft blankets or pillows, favorite toys and a treat-release toy or puzzle game filled with kibble.
Taking your dog for long walks, playing fetch, or spending some time learning new tricks are other ways to help relieve pet stress.


And for the ultimate stress relief, consider a soothing essential oil treatment at the Barkery.  Low in cost but high in relaxation, it can help aching joints or calm a nervous, stressed-out dog.

Thank you PetMD for the great tips on how to tell if your dog is stressed out.

Brookside Barkery

4 Simple Tips to Make Your Cat Smile

Having a cat with its own personality is one of the many perks of owning one. However, sometimes that personality can be a little grumpy. The positive side is your cat’s cranky mood is probably temporary. Here’s a list of things you can do to bring out that charming smile-

1. Provide the appropriate number of litter boxes—one per cat

Cats greatly prefer not to share litter boxes. By providing a litter box for each cat (and cleaning them regularly!), you’ll reduce the chance of litter box mishaps. Cats eliminating inappropriately (read: outside of their litter box) is one of the top reasons cats are surrendered to shelters. Prevent the frustration of bathroom “accidents” by giving your cat his own place to go.

2. Brush your cat every day

This accomplishes several things: bonding, the loosening of hair and thus the prevention of hairballs, and it allows you to check in with your cat and note any changes or sore areas so you can alert your vet, if need be. If, at first, your cat isn’t super keen on brushing, have some treats on hand to sweeten the deal and make sure they associate grooming time with something good. Bonus: brushing will significantly reduce the amount of cat hair adhered to surfaces and blowing around your home! Stop by the Barkery and pick up Brookside Barkery a brush that both you and your furry friend can enjoy using!

3. Set aside time to play with your cat every day

Spending time actively engaging with your cat every day will cement your bond and keep your cat mentally and physically active. Many people think their cats don’t like to play, but chances are they’re just doing it wrong. Try out different playing styles (both up high and slithering along the floor, as well as an assortment of toys. If you have more than one cat, separate them, then play with them one at a time. Cats sometimes won’t play with another cat present. The good news is, Barkery has plenty of cat toys to choose from that will surely keep you and your cat entertained for hours on end!

4. Clean the litter box daily

Would you want to use a filthy bathroom? ‘nuff said.

Your cat does a lot for you, so make sure you’re giving them the best care you can! The best part is, Brookside Barkery is your one stop shop for everything you’ll need. You’ll find everything from toys, the finest brands of food, and your cat’s favorite treats! Stop by our Lee’s Summit or Brookside location and talk to our staff about getting them exactly what they need!

*Thank you to Moderncat for these tips.

New Dog Parent? 15 Things You Need to Know!

Before welcoming a dog into your home and heart, chances are, much like an expecting parent, you daydream about what having a dog in your life will be like. Visions of long walks, training your dog to do all sorts of cool tricks, and coming home to a warm and wonderful greeting every night will fill your head. Dream on.

No doubt, having a dog is going to be a fulfilling and awesome experience, but there are a few things that you might not know about being a dog’s pet parent.

1. Your Dog Will Introduce You to New Flavors

Though, they may not actually be to your taste. Your new buddy may have a craving for things that just aren’t up your alley, but may be found in an alley, like old banana peels, old tissues and other dog’s poo.

2. Your Dog Will Make You Feel Things You Have Never Felt Before

And what you are feeling won’t always necessarily be an outpouring of overwhelming love and pride (though you will definitely experience those feelings as well). What you’ll be feeling is your fingers reaching into your dog’s mouth to pull out that old banana peel, a used tissue or another dog’s poo.

Brookside Barkery3. Your Dog Will Take You on Long Walks

Sometimes at midnight, 3AM or during the season finale of your favorite TV show. When nature calls or your dog has an upset stomach after eating a yummy something that you just couldn’t fish out of his mouth, it may lead to an upset stomach. Thus, you will take a long walk with your pooch during hours that may not be convenient. Enjoy the scenery. Look at the stars. Give your friend a little privacy and consider what a bonding experience this really is.

4. Your Dog Will Take You to Uncharted Territory

There will come a day when you take your dog for a long off-leash walk and she may decide that the path you are on is not quite what she had in mind; so she’ll run in a different direction. Fast. And, a direction you probably aren’t familiar with. Hopefully, you have on track shoes, because your walk just turned into a run.

5. Your Dog Will Teach You About Proper Behavior & Training

As a new parent you will more than likely engage in some sort of training class so your dog is well behaved and a well mannered member of society. Don’t be fooled. Your behavior and training efforts are training you in addition to your dog. Moreover, once your dog finds what a quick study you are, the training will really begin. When to distribute treats. When to play ball. When to take him on a walk.

6. Your Dog Will Introduce You to New Scents

“What is that smell?” you’ll ask yourself. More than likely the smell is coming from your dog or was brought into your freshly scented home by your dog. Smells are one of the things you and your dog will have to learn to agree to disagree on, because what makes you go “Yuck” makes your dog go “Yum”.

7. Your Dog Will Teach You a New LanguageBrookside Barkery

Once your dog comes into your home you will learn a new language. A language that is somewhere between baby talk and a free flowing stream-of-conscience that only you and your pup understand. The language will be your own and has absolutely nothing to do with the series of commands that you will teach your dog (and that your dog will sometimes obey).

8. Your Dog Will Teach You the True Meanings of Words

You may think that “fetch” means retrieve that ball I just threw. You may think that “come” means move from where you are sitting toward me. Your dog considers these command words as mere suggestions. Fetch, in actuality sometimes means “Let me chase you,” and come, depending on the instance, may in actuality mean “Sit frozen in place and stare at me.”

9. Your Dog Will Believe in Free Love

At one time or another, your dog may take a shining to another dog and decide that the nasty deed must be done then and there. No romantic overtures, no subtle moves. Usually your dog’s amorous intentions will take hold exactly when you don’t want them to, like when your in-laws are visiting for the first time or you’re chatting up your latest crush outside your apartment building.

10.Your Dog Will Organize Your Schedule

Dogs are creatures of habit. On Saturday morning after a long week of work and a Friday happy hour with friends you may want to sleep in and catch a few Zs. Think again. Your pup may have a different thought on this particular plan. Mostly, because sleeping in is not what your dog usually does. Sleeping in is for cats.

11. Your Dog Will Always Be Ready with a KissBrookside Barkery

Even when you have the worst morning breath ever your dog is there to give you a little smooch and share the love. Remember, what smells offensive to dainty human noses is pure bliss to a canine’s nose. Even better, your dog is completely unaware of her own offensive breath and expects a big kiss on the smacker right back. Muwah!

12. Your Dog Will Always Be Ready to Listen (or Pretend to Listen)

When no one else wants to listen about your bad day, porcelain cherub collection (all 317 of them), or about that time you met a D list celebrity at the convenience store, your dog is absolutely enthralled with every detail. What? You don’t collect porcelain cherubs?

13. Your Dog Will Provide You with Great Excuses

“I have to go take the dog for a walk.” “My dog needs to be fed.” Come on. Admit it. Chances are you have heard these reasons from your pet parenting friends for leaving your party. Well, now as a new dog owner you too can use your dog as an excuse to leave a party or to get off the phone when your chatty best friend is going on about her porcelain cherub collection. The tail wags both ways.

14. Your Dog Will Keep All Your Secrets

You never have to say to your dog, “Don’t tell anyone,” because you know all your deepest darkest secrets are safe and sound between those adorable and cute fluffy ears. Even better, your dog does not care what your secrets may be, unless, of course, you are hiding a secret stash of treats or the cat’s litter box.

15. Your Dog Will Define the Word Unconditional

Your dog will love you unconditionally. No matter your mood, no matter how you look, no matter how corny your jokes. Your dog thinks you are the most awesome person in the universe. No one compares to you and no one ever will. As your dog’s bestie, you will try to match your dog’s unconditional love, and you may succeed sometimes, but don’t worry if you occasionally fall short. After all, you are only human.


Your pup does a lot for you so make sure you are giving them the best! Brookside Barkery
is your one stop shop for all things pet related. You’ll find the finest brands of food that Benji will love, comfy dog beds, scrumptious bones, the best toys, and Benji’s favorite, TREATS! Stop by our Brookside or Lee’s Summit location today to talk with our well trained staff and get exactly what Benji needs!



*Thank you to PetMD for these tips.

April 27th is Stella & Chewy’s Consumer Night in Brookside

Stella & Chewy’s is one of our most popular foods. Many of our customers feed their frozen or freeze-dried varieties, and with good reason. It’s absolutely packed with natural ingredients for one of the most nutritionally-dense foods you can give your pet.

On Wednesday, April 27th, two Stella & Chewy’s representatives will be at our Brookside store from 6 to 8 PM to talk about animal nutrition in general.  We’ll have wine and appetizers, and there’ll be goodie bags, discounts, and a gift basket to win!

So please consider joining us in Brookside to learn about pet nutrition from some true experts.  It promises to be a fun (and informative!) evening.

5 things to do when you adopt a new pet

The first few weeks you and your new dog spend together will shape your future relationship and forge the lifelong bond between you.

To make the most of these crucially important first days and weeks, it’s very smart to do some advance planning, including the following steps.

#1 – Hold a Family Meeting

Taking excellent care of a pet requires time, energy, and commitment. To avoid either neglecting the new dog, or battles over who didn’t do what to care for him, it’s best to set everyone’s expectations ahead of time.

Before your new pet arrives, sit down with all members of your household to discuss the many details involved in becoming dog guardians.

For example, decide what family members will be responsible for which pet care chores. Often, children ask for a pet and their parents oblige without realizing a child’s desire for a pet doesn’t always translate to a desire to take care of a pet. Also, children need help to learn how to care for a pet properly.

Even the adults in the family, if chores aren’t assigned ahead of time, can assume it’s the responsibility of someone other than them to, for example, pick up the dog poop from the backyard.

Additional considerations:

  • If everyone in the house leaves for work or school every day, who will come in and care for the puppy?
  • Who’s on potty walk duty? How about when your new furry family member needs to go out in the middle of the night?
  • Who will feed and exercise the dog? (Meals, exercise and playtime should happen on a predictable schedule each day.)
  • Who will take him for his veterinary wellness exams?
  • Who will be taking care of trimming nails, dental care, and brushing and bathing the dog?

Dogs thrive on routine and consistency, so there are household logistics to consider, for example:

  • Where will your new dog eat her meals?
  • Where will her bowls of fresh water be placed?
  • Where will she sleep – in your bedroom? Will she sleep with you or in her own bed?
  • Will the dog be gated off from certain parts of the house? If so, how?
  • If you plan to crate train, where will you keep it?

I’m an advocate of crate training, especially for puppies, but also adult dogs. If you haven’t already, take a look at my videos on crate training, which offer a step-by-step guide to getting your dog used to his crate.

I consider crating a very important part of keeping your dog safe when you’re not at home or can’t keep a constant eye on him. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of a crate, keep in mind that dogs, by nature, are den animals. They crave being in a small, safe, dark spot.

Have the crate ready when your pet comes home. If he’s allowed to sleep in your bed with you for several days and then you move him to a crate, he’ll likely have a more difficult time adjusting. This is because your dog will have learned his nighttime sleeping spot is your bed.

#2 – Stock Up on Pet Supplies

I recommend purchasing all necessary pet supplies before you bring your new dog home. This includes a leash, collar, non-toxic food and water bowls, ID tag, toys, biodegradable potty bags, non-toxic bed, crate – everything you’ll need to be well-equipped when the new addition arrives.

I also strongly recommend you keep your dog on the same food she’s been eating, even if it’s poor quality, as you transition to a healthier type of food. Your home may be a blessed improvement over what your dog been used to, but her body will still interpret this wonderful change in circumstances as stressful. Change, whether good or bad, gets translated as stress in your pet’s body.

Puppies, in particular, experience a lot of stress because they’re being separated from their mom and littermates for the first time. They’re also changing environments – often both indoor and outdoor environments – which can bring new allergens that affect their immune system.

Your new dog has a brand new family of humans and often other four-legged members as well. The last thing her body needs right now is a brand new diet that might cause tummy problems.

That’s why I recommend you continue to feed whatever diet your pet is currently eating, and then slowly wean her onto a better quality diet after she settles in.

#3 – Dog Proof Your Home and Yard

This is definitely something you’ll want to do before bringing your new dog home with you. You might not think of everything you need to do right off the bat, but at a minimum, you should move cords out of reach, plus plants and other hazardous temptations.

If you’re bringing home a puppy, you’ll have a built-in incentive for keeping a neat, clean house, because if it’s been lost or left behind, puppy will find it!

Pet-proofing your home before your new canine companion arrives is the best way to prevent choking, vomiting, diarrhea or another crisis during those important first few weeks.

If your dog will be in your yard off-leash, you’ll want to insure there’s no way he can escape. You’ll also want to avoid using herbicides or pesticides, make sure there are no potentially toxic plants growing, and clear away any brush and debris that could harbor pests during the warmer months of the year.

#4 – Arrange for Your New Dog’s Schooling

Whether your new canine companion is a puppy or an adult dog, you’ll want to get her socialization underway as soon as you bring her home, along with basic obedience training. The best time to start puppy play groups is at 8 weeks of age, then moving on to puppy kindergarten, beginning, intermediate and advanced obedience classes. These are essential elements in raising a well-balanced dog.

What I tell new dog parents is if you bring home a dog but don’t plan to socialize or educate her properly, it’s a lot like having a child and deciding not to allow her to make friends, have adventures, or attend school. And starting puppy class at 6 months of age is like beginning to parent your child on her 14th birthday; there will be some behaviors that will be hard to correct.

Puppies and dogs are educated about the world through socialization early on with other people, dogs, cats, and environments outside their houses. Dogs that don’t get out of their home environment long before 6 months of age often wind up with developmental or social difficulties later in life.

There’s a period of time in every puppy’s life, typically from 6 to 12 weeks of age, during which mental and social development is most achievable. If your pet isn’t socialized during that time, it can set the stage for problems years down the road.

If you adopted your dog from a shelter or rescue organization, she may have some behavior problems, fears, or lack basic training. Many dogs abandoned to shelters weren’t given the best care, and staying in a shelter environment for any length of time can also have an effect on an animal’s behavior.

Because your dog may come to you with emotional or behavioral baggage, you should be prepared to put in the time and effort required to help her succeed in her new life with you. Behavior modification using a positive reward system is the key to encouraging good behavior.

You may be able to accomplish this on your own, or you may need the help of a veterinarian or an animal behavior specialist. Most importantly, you may correct one training issue only to find another fear or phobia pop up 4 months later; hang in there with positive behavior modification until you see the desired results.

There’s a wonderful program I recommend to all new parents of adopted or rescued pets that helps dogs adjust to a new home in the least stressful manner. You can find it at A Sound Beginning, and you can immediately begin using the book’s tips and tricks and the calming music CD on your dog’s first day home.

#5 – Give Your New Dog Time to Adjust and Lots of Positive Attention

I always recommend that dog guardians take at least a few days off from work – preferably a week – to properly welcome a new pet home. It will take some time for your puppy or dog to get acclimated to his new environment and into a consistent daily routine.

If you’re gone from home for several hours most days, I also recommend arranging for a regular dog walker or doggy daycare a few days a week. Most dogs have difficulty spending hours alone every day with no one around and nothing to do. This goes double for new canine family members, and triple for dogs who have just come from a shelter environment.

The more time you’re able to spend with your new canine companion giving him lots of positive attention and teaching him the rules and routines in his new home and life, the better the outcome for both of you.


November Special at the Barkery

The November special is on one of our very best kibble-type foods: NOW FRESH by Petcurean.

So what makes it different?  Well start with 0% grains, gluten, wheat, beef, chicken, corn or soy. Then throw in 0% rendered meats, by-products, added growth hormones or artificial preservatives.  In other words, what’s in your dog or cat’s bowl is Natural with a capital N.

There’s also a huge variety for dogs AND cats.  All proteins.  All life stages.  NOW FRESH is especially good for pets with food allergies.  So ask a Barkery associate!

Meantime, all November long, we’re offering great discounts on this great food:

$2 off of small bags (dog or cat)

$4 off of medium bags (dog or cat)

$6 off of large bags!