July Special at the Barkery

We’re offering some great savings this month for dog and cat guardians! Orijen and Acana pet foods are made from fresh, regional ingredients and are designed to nourish your dog or cat in a biologically appropriate way. These protein-rich, carbohydrate limited diets are sustainably & ethically sourced, and guaranteed to give you peace of mind while keeping your companion happy, healthy, and strong. July is a great month to try Orijen and Acana with these amazing savings:

  • Dog food: Buy a large bag, get a small bag free!
  • Cat food: Buy a medium bag, get a small bag free!
  • New Orijen or Acana customers – buy a small bag, get a small bag free!
Brookside Barkery

Facts About Heartworm

“To judge by your local veterinarian’s stern insistence on regular heartworm pills for your dog, you’d think we’re in the midst of a brutal epidemic, leaving piles of the dead in its wake. I think there’s an epidemic too, but of a different sort: of disease-causing toxicity instilled in our pets by heartworm preventative pills.” – The Nature of Animal Healing by Martin Goldstein, DVM

Every spring, vet clinics put up heartworm signs and insist on testing and preventative treatment. This article from Dogs Naturally Magazine takes a closer look at heartworm disease to guide you in determining whether the risk for heartworm is worth all the hype, or is it just about the money?

What Is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm is a parasite transmitted by some types of mosquitos. Once they enter the host, these worms circulate in the bloodstream and can grow up to 14 inches long. When the worms reach maturity, they migrate to the heart and pulmonary arteries, where they can cause lung, heart, and organ damage. This serious disease can cause a dog to suffer from:

  • Aneurysms
  • Blood clots (embolism)
  • Fluid accumulation in the lungs
  • Lack of oxygen in the blood
  • Heart failure
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Coughing
  • Nose bleeds
  • Pneumonia

The Heartworm Life Cycle

Heartworms go through 5 larval stages of growth (L1-L5). Each stage requires different environments and conditions. Heartworms reproduce when adult male and female heartworms mate and create live baby worms called microfilariae. If a dog is bitten by a pregnant female mosquito, her microfilariae are released into the circulatory system and they wait their for a new mosquito to bite the dog again.

This is the only way microfilariae can begin to develop into adult heartworms. They must be picked up by a second mosquito to develop into the second and third larval stages of growth. They do this while they’re in the mosquito’s body and this can take a few weeks to occur. If the temperature falls beneath 57°F, they’ll die off.

How Dogs are Affected

If the microfilariae are lucky enough to be hanging around an area that the dog is bitten by a second mosquito, and that mosquito lives long enough with a high temperature, the microfilariae can develop into L3 larvae. If the L3 makes it into the dog, they can develop into L4 and this takes up to two weeks to happen – if the dog’s immune system doesn’t find and destroy the L3 first. Special white blood cells can seek out and destroy heartworms and their larvae.

If the L3 and L4 survive the immune system, L4 will reside in the dog’s skin for about 3 months while it develops into L5 or adult heartworm. At that point, the heartworm leaves the skin and moves to the circulatory system, and eventually into heart and arteries. Adult heartworms can reproduce there and create microfilariae that can develop into adult heartworms in about 6 months.

What is the Real Risk For My Dog?

The American Heartworm Society is an organization that keeps track of heartworm cases. Keep in mind who sponsors the Society (a bunch of pharmaceutical companies who sell heartworm drugs).

Here is the incidence of US heartworm cases for the last 5 years:

As you can see, the nationwide average (which includes high and low prevalence states) is 1.19%. Data taken from HeartwormSociety.org.

Most pets infected with heartworm are homeless for some period. Therefore, they are often also dealing with other immune-compromising issues such as poor diet, mange, group diseases or infection.

Heartworm Prevention

Conventional heartworm drugs are usually advised by your vet all summer, or all year round. Those drugs don’t actually “prevent” anything, they just kill any heartworm microfilariae or larvae that may already be in your dog by paralyzing the heartworm larvae.

If they can kill the heartworm larvae, they can also harm your dog. There are many reports of dogs suffering adverse reactions after taking heartworm meds, including:

  • Depression/lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Convulsions
  • Allergic reactions
  • Difficulty breathing

How Often To Give Heartworm Drugs

If you choose to give your dog heartworm meds, it’s important to know when and how often. Since heartworm can only be transmitted by mosquitos, the first meds should be given 30 to 45 days after weather warms up enough for mosquitos to appear. You can stop giving them after the first frost.

Most heartworm drugs come with instructions to give them every 30 days. But according to many holistic vets, the monthly drugs are just as effective if you give them every 45 days, and 99 percent as effective if given every 60 days.

Preventing Heartworms Naturally

The foundation of protecting your dog from heartworm lies in a healthy immune system. Your dog’s immune system is his first defense against any kind of disease, including heartworm. Taking these steps will help strengthen your dog’s immune system:

  1. Feed a fresh, whole food diet
  2. Minimize vaccines
  3. Avoid commonly prescribed drugs like antibiotics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
  4. Avoid chemical pest control products (like spot-on products) and dewormers
  5. Don’t use pesticides or herbicides on your lawn
  6. Use natural cleaning products in your home

Regular testing for heartworm disease is a good idea for any dog – at least once or twice a year. To learn more about heartworm and treatment options, visit Dogs Naturally Magazine.

Barkery Rewards Program

Brookside Barkery & Bath appreciates our customers, and have programs to reward them for purchases and visits to any location, as well as incentives for referring others to us. See more details about our Loyalty Program and our Referral Program below to learn how you can be rewarded for making your pets part of the Brookside Barkery pack!

Loyalty Program

Brookside Barkery & Bath has been here for more than a decade and a big reason for that is the loyalty of our customers. Without you, we wouldn’t be here! To keep you coming back, we’ve got a terrific points-based loyalty program. The program is simple and can help you with immediate savings on Kansas City’s largest selection of natural pet food.

Here’s how it works: For every purchase you make, you accrue points. Our computer keeps track of every point you earn. We do all the work, and you get the savings. And here’s the best part: You can cash in your points anytime to save money on any purchase you like!

And, like they say, the more you spend, the more you save. Save your points up for big purchases, or just knock a couple bucks off of a smaller purchase. They’re your points, use them however you like!

Here are a few ways you can earn points:

  • Every dollar spent at the Barkery = .01 cents back
  • Large bags of dog food = 2x points
  • Self service baths = 10x points
  • Canned food = 5x points
  • Refer a friend = 300 points
  • Note: Loyalty points cannot be redeemed on grooming services

In addition to earning spending points, nearly all of the pet foods we carry (plus some of the treats) are eligible for a frequent buyer program. We keep track of the number of bags you buy, and once you reach 12, you get one free. Stop in the Barkery & save on all your favorites today!

Need Your Pet Bathed/Groomed? Here’s What You Should Know!

Brookside Barkery & Bath takes pride in being Kansas City’s favorite pet grooming facility. Our wide variety of services range from self-service bathing to full-service grooming and everything in between! If you are looking to schedule an appointment with us, here are some things you should know:

  1. You must call our store to schedule a full service bath or grooming appointment.
    The Contact Us page online is not a guaranteed way to schedule a grooming appointment. Since we have more than one location, it is best to call your nearby Barkery & Bath store and speak directly with one of our associates to schedule your appointment.
  2. Full Service Grooming and Bathing are two different services.
    The main difference between grooming and bathing: grooming involves cutting your dog’s hair. If your dog does not need a haircut, request a full-service bathing appointment.
  3. Booking recurring grooming appointments is the best way to guarantee a spot on our schedule.
    Our groomers are consistently booked, and rarely do cancellations occur. During “wet dog” season, scheduling recurring grooming appointments is highly recommended.
  4. We cannot bathe or groom dogs with wounds or stitches.
    To reduce risk of infection and discomfort to your dog, please wait until open wounds are fully healed and stitches are removed before scheduling an appointment.
  5. Self Service Bathing is available by walk-in only.
    Since they are first-come first-serve, it is not necessary to call and reserve a time to use our self-service wash stations. We encourage you to call your local Barkery & Bath store to check on current wait times.

Our Bathing & Grooming Services

  • Full Service Grooming includes bath, dry, comb-out, haircut, nail trim, ear cleaning, and expression of anal glands (by request). Grooming prices are based on breed, weight, coat & condition.
  • Full Service Bathing includes bath, dry, brush-out, and ear cleaning. Available add-ons include nail trims with paw balm, teeth brushing, or shampoo upgrade. Bathing appointments are 1-hour and must be picked up within 30 minutes upon completion due to lack of kennel space. Bathing prices can be found here.
  • Self-Service Bathing includes access to our mess-free stainless steal bathtubs, shampoo and conditioner, and professional drying equipment. Pricing can be found here.
  • Furmination Furmination is a multi-step process to reduce your pet’s shedding. We use a furminating shampoo solution to loosen the undercoat, completely dry the coat, and finish by using thorough brushing tools to remove any excess fur. Furmination appointments take two hours and must be picked up within 30 minutes of completion. More information, including pricing, can be found here.

Bathing & Grooming Add-Ons

The following services can be added on to any bath or grooming appointment:

For questions regarding Brookside Barkery & Bath services, feel free to contact us!

Are Probiotics Good for Your Pet?

Probiotic supplements are everywhere. You may be taking one. But is it necessary to give probiotics to your dog or cat?

Probiotics are nutritional supplements that contain live microorganisms (bacteria and/or yeast) that aim to improve health and digestion. They are typically used to improve the gastrointestinal tract.

Consider a dog with diarrhea, for example. The cause could be stress, dietary indiscretion, or infection. Whatever the case may be, the diarrhea will sometimes persist even after the initial cause is resolved. The blame often lies with an imbalance between two categories of gut microorganisms:

  • those that promote normal, healthy gastrointestinal function
  • those that secrete toxins or are otherwise disruptive when they are present in larger than normal numbers

Probiotics are essentially a way of boosting the number of “good” microorganisms present in the GI tract, which helps them to out-compete the “bad” ones. It also appears that probiotics can improve canine health in other ways, including beneficially modifying an animal’s immune function.

Studies have show that probiotic supplementation can help treat infections outside of the GI tract as well as some allergic and inflammatory diseases. This isn’t too surprising, considering a large portion of the body’s immune system is associated with the gut.

One of the downsides of probiotic supplementation is the fact that the microorganisms aren’t able to effectively stay and reproduce within the GI tract for a long period of time. Noticeable benefits of probiotics tend to diminish once supplementation is stopped. For chronic disorders, probiotics often need to be given continually to maintain the benefits.

If you do have a pet with chronic issues, here are some strategies you may find helpful:

  • Many people have found that when taking probiotics themselves, they can eventually move to an every-other-day or less frequent dosing schedule. The same is most likely true for dogs. PetMD recommends following instructions according to the probiotics for the first few months, then trying a less frequent dosage.
  • Consider adding a prebiotic supplement to your dog’s diet. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients that support the growth of probiotic microorganisms.  Prebiotics are a way to feed the “good”microorganisms in the gut, giving them a potential advantage in their competition with the “bad” microorganisms.

Good bacteria are crucial for the health of your pet’s gut. They also support brain, digestion, assimilation of nutrients, and immune system. These reasons alone should be enough to start supplementing probiotics into your pet’s diet!

10 Fresh Foods to Share With Your Pet

At the Barkery, we believe in feeding your pet a fresh, carefully balanced diet. The wonderful thing about homemade diets is being able to pick your own ingredients. You pick the quality of meat and veggies because you select the food yourself.

Research shows that offering any amount of fresh food to your dog is beneficial. Maybe you can manage two or four fresh food meals out of 14 in a week. However you choose to do it, the important thing is to take small steps toward providing the best diet you can afford for your canine companion.

Raw food enthusiast Dr. Karen Becker provides us with this helpful list of 10 fresh foods you can add to your dog’s diet starting today:

  1. Pumpkin: Fresh pumpkin, either steamed or boiled (or canned 100 percent pumpkin) is relatively low in calories and high in soluble fiber, which is beneficial for dogs with gastrointestinal upset. Pumpkin helps regulate bowel function, which relieves diarrhea and constipation.

    Raw pumpkin seeds are rich in minerals, vitamin K and phytosterols. They contain L-tryptophan and are a good source of zinc, vitamin E and B vitamins. They may help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stones, reduce inflammation caused by arthritis, and support prostate health. We can’t think of a single reason not to feed pumpkin.

  2. Blueberries: Blueberries are available all year and make a great training treat for dogs. These berries are loaded with phytochemicals and antioxidants, and are also a good source of fiber, manganese and vitamins C and E. A good rule of thumb is two to four blueberries as treats for every 10 pounds of dog food a day. Replace processed treats with fresh or frozen blueberries to increase antioxidants in your pet’s diet.
  3. Kale: Kale is a dark green cruciferous veggie loaded with vitamins K, A, C, iron, and antioxidants. Kale is a great way to detox the liver and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Add 1-3 tablespoons of minced or chopped kale to your dog’s food daily, depending on body weight, as a great source of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants.
  4. Kefir: Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains beneficial probiotics that support the immune system. Although pasteurized cow’s milk can irritate your dog’s GI tract, fermented milk is different. One of the best and least expensive ways to add healthy bacteria to your pet’s diet is to convert raw milk to kefir yourself.

    All you need is one-half packet of kefir starter granules in a quart of raw milk (preferably organic), which you leave at room temperature overnight. Then add 1-3 teaspoons of this super probiotic to your dog’s food 1-2 times daily for overall improved GI defense.

  5. Mushrooms: Some mushrooms are poisonous, but beneficial varieties include shiitake, reishi, maitake, lion’s mane, king trumpet, turkey tail and himematsutake mushrooms. All mushrooms that are safe for people are safe for pets.

    This food can help regulate bowel function and contain anti-cancer properties and immune system enhancers. You can either lightly cook the mushrooms in a small amount of olive or coconut oil before adding them to your dog’s meal.

  6. Broccoli: Broccoli supports detoxification processes in your dog’s body; contains healthy fiber to aid digestion; is rich in beneficial nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and vitamin C; has anti-inflammatory properties; supports eye health; helps repair skin damage; and supports heart health. Your dog may prefer broccoli steamed, although many eat it fresh with no problem.
  7. Sardines: Fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to your dog’s well-being. Dr. Becker suggests using sardines packed in water if you are supplementing these into your pet’s diet.
  8. Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and antioxidants, and high in vitamins A and C. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may lower the risk rom heavy metals and oxygen radicals.
  9. Fermented vegetables: Fermented foods are potent detoxifiers and contain very high levels of probiotics and vitamins. Beneficial gut bacteria provided by probiotics break down and eliminate toxins from the body. Adding 1-3 teaspoons of fermented veggies to your pet’s diet each day is a great way to offer food-based probiotics and natural nutrients.
  10. Chia: Chia seed is a source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds don’t need to be ground. They also provide fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, and zinc. Try sprinkling some chia seeds on your dog’s meals, or mix with some coconut oil for a nutrient-dense bedtime snack.

Always remember to slowly introduce new foods to your pet to prevent GI upset. It’s a good idea to check first with your veterinarian if your dog has any digestive issues or other health concerns.

Mixing Kibble with Raw? Here’s the Problem…

There are a bunch of reasons to feed both kibble and raw at the same time. Maybe you’re switching your dog to raw, but need to mix both together to avoid digestive upset. Maybe 100 percent raw isn’t in your budget. Haven’t you heard that a little fresh food is better than none?

Mixing these two foods together can set your dog up for some unhappy, and even dangerous consequences. Fortunately, you can limit the downside with  just a few tweaks.

This article from Dogs Naturally Magazine explains the dangers of combining kibble and raw.

How Your Dog Digests Food

Inside your dog’s digestive tract are little proteins called enzymes, which are responsible for digesting your dog’s food and turning it into energy. Protein will also be used to build structures in the body while fat will be used to build the walls of your dog’s cells.

Some digestive enzymes are found in the stomach, where food is predigested, and the rest are released from your dog’s pancreas. These pancreatic enzymes are released into the small intestine, where they complete the digestive process.

The stomach doesn’t just digest food, it also protects from bacteria or other harmful organisms that might be eaten along with his food. It does both of these jobs by secreting hydrochloric acid from its walls, which keeps the pH of the stomach around 2 (very acidic, the same amount of pH as vinegar).

How Acid Digests Bone

If you place a bone in vinegar, and let it sit 2-3 days, you’ll find you can easily bend the bone as if it were rubber. The acidic stomach and intestinal tract do the same when your dog eats a bone.

To summarize, the acids in your dog’s digestive tract:

  1. Release enzymes in the stomach to predigest food
  2. Inhibiting the growth of dangerous bacteria
  3. Release enzymes from the pancreas for further digestion
  4. Absorb minerals from your dog’s meal (like calcium, magnesium, zinc and manganese)

If you plan on mixing raw food with kibble, this changes.

How Starch (From Kibble) Alters Digestion

One of the main differences between kibble and raw is the amount of starch (or carbohydrate) they contain. While most raw foods contain 0-15% carbohydrate with no starch, kibbles need starch to hold them together. Many kibbles are 30-60 percent starch.

When you feed your dog kibble, it alters digestion by:

  1. Interfering with digestion
  2. Increasing risk of illness from salmonella and other bacteria
  3. Can trigger allergies and immune disorders
  4. Can cause digestive upset
  5. Can cause mineral deficiency
  6. Can cause bowel obstruction

The starch in kibble will increase the pH of the stomach. The enzyme pepsin is responsible for breaking down protein in your dog’s meal, but it’s only released when the pH is below 2.

When the pH of the gut is increased (less acidic), then pathogenic bacteria like E coli and salmonella are more likely to survive and cause digestive upset or illness in your dog. Dogs are carnivores, and as such, have evolved to handle the bacteria in raw meats, but this is not always true if we change the pH in their digestive tract.

If undigested food enters the colon, it can disrupt the friendly bacteria and cause inflammation, which can cause diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. If the stomach isn’t acidic, the bones he eats will not be properly digested either. Minerals he needs from the bone pass without being absorbed, and he is at greater risk for bowel obstruction.

Make Kibble and Raw Combinations Safer

If you can control your dog’s pH, you can do a better job of transitioning your dog to a raw diet without diarrhea, vomiting or obstruction. And if you want to feed him both kindsd of foods, it will reduce his risk of getting sick from bacteria or having undigested bone stuck in his digestive track. Here are two simple solutions:


Adding probiotics to your dog’s meals carries two benefits. First, adding friendly bacteria will help crowd out harmful bacteria. Second, probiotics can actually lower the pH of the gut. Adding probiotics or fermented foods to your dog’s meals will help reduce the risk of combining kibble and raw.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic apple cider vinegar can also help lower the pH in the gut and this will make the food safer and allow your dog to absorb more important minerals from it. In fact, vinegar has the same pH as your dog’s gut when he’s fed raw and, like his gut, vinegar can kill 80-99% of the harmful bacteria in his food.

Just add a tsp to Tbsp for every 50 pounds of body weight.

Click here for more on apple cider vinegar.

Tips for Combining Kibble and Raw
  • Add probiotics to lower pH
  • Add organic apple cider vinegar to help absorb minerals
  • Probiotics and apple cider vinegar will help digest bone and prevent obstructions

Double Coated Dogs: Manage Shedding Without Shaving

It’s hot and sticky this time of year, and many of us are swapping out our winter wardrobe for summer wardrobe. If you own a fluffy, double coated dog, you may be thinking, “should I do the same for my dog?” Shaving your fluffy dog may be your go-to solution, but this is one thing you should never do!

Dogs with double coats boast and undercoat and an outer coat. In short, their coats are made up of long, guard hairs under which there is a denser, woollier and usually much softer undercoat. The denser the undercoat happens to be, the fluffier a dog’s coat tends to be and the more grooming they need to prevent tangles and mats from forming.

The outer guard hairs serve to repel any moisture and they help get rid of any dirt whereas the softer undercoat acts more as an insulation that keeps dogs warm during the colder winter months and cooler when the weather is hot in the summertime. As such, a double coat should never be shaved. Double coated dogs include:

    • Akita
    • Alaskan Malamute
    • Australian Cattle Dog
    • Australian Shepherd
    • Basenji
    • Chow Chow
    • Collie (smooth coat)
    • Corgi
    • Husky
    • German Shepherd
    • Great Pyranese
    • Labrador Retriever
    • Pomeranian
    • Saint Bernard
    • Shiba Inu

Reasons NOT to Shave a Double Coated Dog

  • Double coats provide a natural cooling system
  • Double coats protect dogs from damaging UV rays
  • Shaving double coated dogs DOES NOT prevent shedding
  • Shaved coats may not always grow back

The best way to maintain summertime shedding with double coated dogs is to brush your pet regularly. This is especially important for long-haired dogs to prevent uncomfortable matting. The first key to maintaining your double-coated dog’s coat is to use the correct equipment! There are two essential brushes needed for double coated dogs:

  • A gentle slicker brush – These brushes contain hundreds of soft, short, bent wires mounted in a firm rubber backing. The slicker brush is used to comb out the long, soft top coat.
  • A comb – The comb is used to brush through and comb out the dense undercoat. A solid metal comb with combination coarse and medium teeth will do nicely. Using this comb regularly will effectively prevent matting.

Brushing is essential to a healthy, glowing coat. It terminates mats and tangles, removes dead hair, dirt and burrs, and distributes the natural oils, producing a healthy skin tone.

Mats, Tangles, and Burrs

Mats, tangles and burrs should be worked in small sections, separated with your fingers if necessary. Begin with the coarse teeth of the comb. After the coarse teeth slide through an area of fur, use the medium teeth to finish. Anti static grooming sprays, coat conditioners and powders can reduce coat breakage; however, use these items with caution around the eyes. Serious mats are best left to the groomer’s expertise.

The Brushing Begins

Take your pet’s head in your hand and begin by gently, but thoroughly combing whiskers, ears and head. Look your pet in the eye and say a firm “no” if your dog begins to misbehave. Through this exchange, you can gain an understanding with your pet that will last through the brushing session.

Now move to the legs. The legs are probably the most neglected part of the home grooming process. Alternate the comb and brush operation so you can locate the little snarls that quickly turn into big ones.

Brush up or down, but work in small sections and work down to the skin. A serious fault of the pet owner grooming is the overworking of the top coat and neglecting the hair closes to the skin. Lift the leg towards you and get at the inner leg. Proceed to the tail and back.

Long-coated breeds should be finished by combing in the direction of hair growth. And don’t forget to give him or her a special treat upon completion! If you find that you just don’t have the time or desire to brush your pet, more frequent professional grooming is recommended to prevent matting. Brookside Barkery & Bath is here to assist you in making the best decision for you and your pet!


June Special at The Barkery

We’re offering major savings this month for both dog and cat guardians!

Zignature Dog Food

Zignature recipes contain quality ingredients sourced worldwide with your pet’s best interest in mind.  Zignature’s limited ingredient philosophy results in optimal hypo-allergenic, low glycemic nutrition with animal protein first. Your dog is sure to love one or more of Zignature’s delicious recipes, and now is a great time to try with these amazing savings:

  • $2 off small bags of kibble
  • $4 off medium bags of kibble
  • Free small bag with purchase of a large bag of kibble
  • Cans: Buy 3 get one free
Fussie Cat

Cats are notoriously fussy when it comes to their food. It’s not just to test your patience, it’s biological. Cats are true carnivores, Fussie Cat’s market fresh recipes are created with the freshest and finest ingredients starting with meats rich in complete protein. These recipes are tailored to taste great based on actual feline feedback to ensure it’s equally delicious. Try Fussie Cat this month and get:

  • $3 off 4 lb bags of kibble
  • $4 off 10 lb bags of kibble
  • Cans: Buy 4 cans get one 2 lb bag free