Solve Your Pet’s Shedding Problem with Probiotics

As the first frosts decorate the windows, you curl up on the couch with your pet ready to snuggle up and drink hot chocolate only to find that your couch is covered with fur, and your favorite cozy blanket is full of pet hair no matter what you do to try and get rid of it.

Brookside Barkery and Bath is here to help this holiday season. Pet owners do not have to settle for dog hair in their blankets or strands of cat fur in their cups; there’s a big difference between a bit of seasonal shedding and the excessive shedding you may find happening in your home!

You may understand the important role that probiotics play in balancing your internal health, including keeping your own hair in place and healthy. But did you know that your pets are no different? Excessive pet shedding occurs when there is an internal imbalance, often caused by nutritional deficiency.

Alex Strawder, manager at our Brookside location noted, “EVERYTHING starts in the gut. When you see issues topically, it is almost always stemming from an unbalanced gut. That’s the first place we like to start when we see an issue. Healthy gut = healthy body.”

We carry multiple lines of pet-focused probiotics, designed to help stabilize and enhance your companion’s gut health, including:

  • Adored Beast offers several great products for gut health, including their Gut Soothe for cats and dogs. Helps to rebalance and cultivate proper growing conditions for friendly digestive flora destroyed by antibiotics and toxins. Aids in the digestion of food and supports a healthy immune system, thus improving overall skin health.
  • FLORA4 This nutritious mix is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes, and probiotics. Sprinkle onto food to add super nutrients to help with managing occasional diarrhea and indigestion. It can also be added to your pet’s daily meal as a whole food supplement to help improve skin and coat, breath, digestion, and immunity.
  • Animal Essentials We carry the plant-based enzyme and probiotic powder, healthy guy, daily digestion, and colon rescue powder and tincture.
  • View additional products for skin health in our online store

Alex also recommends rotating products to give better balance to your pet’s internal system, but also adds, “Some dogs and cats do best on just one formula and that is if that’s what the animal needs.” The Barkery team can help you choose the right probiotic for your pet – just be sure to ask!

It’s time to pay attention to the wafts of hair around your house and make a change! Your pet’s coat may not be sending season’s greetings, but rather a distress health call! Drop by and ask about probiotic options for your pet. We are here to help you and your pet experience a happy, healthy, less hairy holiday!

 

 

 

Apoquel Users Beware: The Anti-Itch Drug That’s a Nightmare in Disguise

Did you know that allergy and itch issues are the #1 reason pets are seen at the vet?

It’s true. And if you happen to be a pet owner that has a four-legged friend that suffers from allergies, itching and inflammation, you’re all too familiar with the endless vet trips, creams, medications, etc. that go hand-in-hand with this unfortunate problem. And how many times have you resorted to Benadryl? Your pet has likely also been given one of the following diagnoses for the cause:

  • Flea allergy dermatitis
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Food allergy dermatitis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Sarcoptic mange
  • Demodectic mange

And in 2014, Apoquel comes onto the scene and is initially touted as a miracle drug for itchy dogs. Hooray! But not so fast – isn’t it true that anything deemed a cure-all is usually proven otherwise over time?

How it Works (and Doesn’t)

The immune system is vital to our, and our pets, survival. When we experience an immune event, AKA “cascade”, a series of chemical messages and events occur that help us recover and get back to healthy, much like when we have a virus and our immune system goes to work to help us bounce back. Cytokines are one of the groups of immune messengers at play. These small molecules signal cells to address infection, activate chemicals, etc. In short, they help us heal.

Side Effects

Now, guess what happens to be an immunosuppressant? You called it: Apoquel. Apoquel essentially shuts cytokines down. Now apply this knowledge to your itchy pet. If you’ve given your dog Apoquel, have you noticed any of the following issues?

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • New cutaneous lumps
  • New subcutaneous lumps
  • Increased lipase and cholesterol
  • Pneumonia
  • UTIs
  • Skin infections
  • Ear infections
  • Histiocytomas
  • Increased aggression
  • Development of polydipsia

Here are some of the long-term serious issues that have been reported due to use of the drug, taken from Dogs Naturally Magazine:

  • One dog was euthanized after developing abdominal ascites and pleural effusion of unknown etiology after 450 days of APOQUEL administration.
  • Six dogs were euthanized because of suspected malignant neoplasms.
  • Two dogs each developed a Grade II mast cell tumor after 52 and 91 days.
  • One dog developed low grade B-cell lymphoma after 392 days.
  • Two dogs each developed an apocrine gland adenocarcinoma (one dermal, one anal sac) after approximately 210 and 320 days.
  • One dog developed a low-grade oral spindle cell sarcoma after 320 days.

So Now What?

So, how can you give your itchy pup some relief?

Diet

Food allergies don’t end with humans. Sometimes simply changing your dog’s food can make a world of difference for their allergies. Check out our Pet Wellness Assessment Kit to pinpoint your pet’s food intolerances or ask any Barkery team member for advice on what might help make a difference for your dog when stop in!

Bathing Regularly

Regular baths will help to reduce symptoms associated with allergies. And of course, we can definitely help you with this at the Barkery!

Flea Protection

A single flea bite can cause an allergic reaction that will drive your pup insane! We highly recommend trying a natural flea allergy remedy as conventional flea medication has a slew of potential adverse reactions for your pup. Check out our online store for some more natural treatment options.

Probiotics

Animal gut health is also crucial to keeping your pup happy – and hopefully itch-free. Check out our supplement options here.

CBD 

CBD oil supports pups with sensitive skin – helping them maintain calmer skin. We offer a wide range of CBD oils for dogs – stop in to browse our selection and find out which one will work best!

Now that you’re up to speed on treating your pup’s itchiness with natural remedies instead of a medicine with a dark side, time to get your pup some relief!

 

Reset Your Dog’s Gut Health in 5 Steps

So, your dog hasn’t been feeling well. Maybe he’s getting sick frequently. Maybe he’s constantly gnawing on his legs. And you’ve been to the vet with little explanation or solution for what’s happening. It’s highly possible that your dog’s gut health needs a restart. Check out these five tips on restoring gut health from Dogs Naturally Magazine, written by Jenny Elwell-Gerken.

1. No Grains
Grains are definitely not for all pets, and they’re certainly not the best source of protein around. Grains lead to inflammation of the gut. Once eliminated, it’s highly likely some of the symptoms your four-legged friend is experiencing will be reduced.

2. Add Pre- and Probiotics
Probiotics help keep our gut healthy via good bacteria. Inflammation kills these bacteria and leads to problems such as diarrhea and constipation. But there’s more – probiotics also help with overall skin health. Could adding these to your pet’s diet help with all that itching? It’s worth a shot! You can also try:

  • Fermented vegetables – buy organic or make your own. Start out slowly by adding them to your dog’s food daily or feed as a snack.
  • Raw goat milk – buy organic and feed it daily according to body weight.
  • Kefir – buy organic, unsweetend kefir or you can make your own. You can use water or even coconut milk.

Along with adding probiotics to your pup’s diet, also consider adding prebiotics – a source of food for those beneficial bacteria. Try bananas or dandelion greens.

3. Gelatin and Bone Broth
Your dog’s intestines break down food so that the body can absorb needed nutrients while leaving the junk behind to be passed as waste material. Simply put, the walls of the intestines ensure that water and nutrients are used by the body, while toxins and pathogens get stuck inside the intestines until they move out.

Along with helping boost fur and nail strength, gelatin can help to heal up leaky gaps in the intestines, creating a healthier gut system. When the system works the way it’s meant to, the health of your pup’s whole body is improved.

4. Variety
Add variety to your pup’s diet by feeding vegetables and fruit as well as switching up the protein sources on a regular basis.

You can achieve this by adding variety in several ways. Try feeding real food to dogs rather than kibble. You can add variety by feeding vegetables and fruit as well as switching up the protein sources on a regular basis.

Remember: An animal has to be exposed to something to be allergic to it, and allergies usually come from something they’ve been eating for a long time. So just because you haven’t changed their food doesn’t mean they don’t have a food allergy! In fact, they may be more likely to have one!

5. Things to Avoid

  • Avoid antibiotics whenever possible. When taken by mouth, antibiotics kill off many of the good bacteria in the gut (and everywhere else), as well as the bad bacteria. Therefore, if you have to give your pup an antibiotic, make sure you give a probiotic at the same time.
  • Skip the NSAIDs. We also know that many of the medications given for pain and inflammation can affect the gut. For example, the most common side effects of most non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are diarrhea and vomiting. However, we’ve learned that the effect on the gut is more dramatic than that. NSAIDs can actually contribute to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Therefore, it’s worth considering other options to replace or, at minimum, supplement long-term pain control.

Restoring Gut Health Takes Time
Remember: it takes time to improve. The longer the problem has been going on, the longer it will take to heal. Weeks to months, sometimes more. The healthier you can keep his gut, the healthier you can keep his entire body.

 

Do Cats Dream?

When you see your cat twitching her whiskers and toes in her sleep it’s very likely she is revisiting that bowl of salmon she had for dinner or that backyard bird expedition from earlier in the day. Cats’ sleep patterns, just like ours, involve periods of dreaming and it turns out a cat’s dreams are not random.

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, an animal behaviorist and director at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, says that during sleep the mammalian brain needs to flush out and organize images from the day.

“All day long information is going into the brain, some of it is temporarily suspended on neurons. It’s like sorting at the post office,” he says. “When your cat is sleeping, its brain may be closed but the brain is sorting mail into different boxes. It conjures up images of the day. Reliving those moments may help to reinforce what happened or be helpful for the next day.”

Matthew Wilson, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences and associate director at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, says the process is somewhat similar to a director working on a film.  During non-REM sleep, a slow wave or lighter sleep phrase, your cat’s brain takes pieces of images from her day and reworks or edits them to create the finished product.

“It’s like playing a video on a VCR in snippets. Memories are replayed in brief episodes, often going forward or reverse in memory,” says Wilson. “It’s an editing process with shorter sequences put together in little chunks. The content reflects experiences your cat had during his recent waking period.”

The movie watching portion of your cat’s sleep occurs during REM sleep, in which the body essentially shuts down or is paralyzed because its serotonin system is turned off.

“Serotonin’s main function is to control the large muscles that enable you to do things like back flips or throw a football,” Dodman says. “These muscles which enable you to stay upright, are limp. But fine motor control is still there. That’s why you may see your cat rotate its eyeballs or move its ears, whiskers and toes.”.

Wilson equates it to strapping a three-year-old into a car seat. “You’ve restrained him or her so they can’t express or complete movement. But the brain is still sending commands to muscles. They’re just not being listened to,” he says.

Throughout his career Wilson has studied the brain activity of rats—whose brains are similar to cats and humans—during their sleeping and waking hours. In one experiment, Wilson tracked rats while they ran through a maze as their hippocampus, the part of the brain that governs memory, was monitored with electrodes. He found that some of the patterns that their brains produced matched up with patterns observed during sleep.

“When the rat went to the left side of the maze or the right side of the maze the hippocampus recorded a pattern that it replayed during the dream state which indicated where the animal was,” explains Wilson. “We found that the hippocampus replayed sequences of spatial patterns so we can determine where the animal is dreaming of running through when it’s sleeping.”

Wilson’s research also shows that particular sequences in patterns are unique to an animal’s experience. So, if, for example, your cat experienced a particular sequence pattern of a flower, a sunset and a bear, it’s very likely it is a replay from an experience she had in her waking hours.

“If you can match patterns, then you can argue that the brain makes patterns,” says Wilson. “You might not be able to say the patterns mean anything but those things either recreate what animals already have done or predict an experience. There’s a selection process we don’t understand yet but it’s not random, some memories are selected over others.”

Short of just asking our felines about their dreams, Dodman says it’s hard to say with certainty that cats dream. But he doesn’t doubt that they do.

“Cats’ brains are similar in looks and function, both anatomically and physiologically to our brains. They also live comparable lives to ours,” says Dodman. “They’re walking around all day. They’re looking for food. They rest. They experience tiredness. We just don’t have the ability to ask. All we’re going to get is ‘meow’.”

from Pet360

Pavement is scorching! We can help those paw pads!

Dog’s feet and pads are tough, right? Most people are aware that foot pads can be injured by stepping on something sharp, but what about something hot? Dangerously hot pavement and metal surfaces are hard to avoid in the heat of summer. Walking or running on hard pavement is tough on feet, too.

Pavement, metal or tar-coated asphalt get extremely hot in the summer sun. We remember to wear sandals, walk on the grass and not sit down on these surface in the heat of the day (most of the time — I know that I have been surprised a time or two).

Harder to remember is summer heat and our dog’s feet. Unlike the obvious wounds such as lacerations, foot infections (fungal, bacterial), or foreign bodies such as cheat grass), burned pads may not be apparent to the eye, at least initially.

Paws need help?  Look no further than the Barkery!  With our great selection of products from Natural Dog Company, we can help paws beat the heat.

How more than half of dog owners could make their pets ill this Christmas

Dogs are given human food at Christmas by 56% of owners even though they know the treats can make them ill. More than half of dog owners will give their pets Christmas treats that they know can make them ill, a survey shows. Turkey and gravy – fed to dogs by 71% of owners – can cause vomiting and diarrhea and fruit in pies can damage kidneys. Some 49% said they gave human food over Christmas because dogs were “part of the family”. It led to a trip to the vet for 15%, the pet food firm survey found.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 6.34.47 PM

Millions of dogs owners will put their pets at risk this Christmas by feeding them harmful food, a worrying new study reveals. The research shows 61 per cent of owners will let their dogs join them round the table for Christmas dinner. Shockingly, 56 per cent will feed their pet potentially harmful human foods – despite knowing it can be severely damaging.

The survey quizzed dog owners about feeding their canines indulgent foods over the festive season. It found an alarming 15 per cent have taken their pet to the vet over Christmas because it has fallen ill from eating human food.

The research reveals 71 per cent admit feeding their dog turkey in gravy and 28 per cent give them stuffing – both of which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.Half of owners (49 per cent) say they feed them human food at Christmas because they feel their pet is “part of the family.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 6.52.37 PM

 

It seems people don’t want their four-legged-friends to miss out on mince pies at Christmas either. One-in-ten (nine per cent) ‘treat’ dogs to a mince pie unaware the raisins or sultanas in it can result in kidney failure for their pet. An alarming one-in-five feel it’s acceptable to feed pets human food because “Christmas is a special occasion.”

Some festive treats that should avoid the dog’s food-bowl are stuffing, gravy, raisins, and a stocking favorite – chocolate.

Source: News360.com

Dogs: Safe vs. Dangerous “People Food”

Top 10 Foods to avoid

1. Chocolate

Chocolate is a big no-no. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous, but any chocolate can kill a dog, even white chocolate.

2. Sweets, chewing gum and diet foods containing Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free foods such as sweets, chewing gum and diet foods. The Xylitol content of these products can vary widely but significant amounts can cause acute and life threatening low blood sugar as well as liver failure.

3. Grapes and Raisins

I have seen people use grapes and raisins as treats for their dog but that is a very bad idea, as a handful can be fatal.

4. Caffeine

One or two laps of a drink containing caffeine are unlikely to be poisonous but an ingested tea bag may cause death in a small dog.

5. Macadamia Nuts

Never feed macadamia nuts or foods containing them as they are toxic to dogs. Eating as few as six nuts is enough to make your dog ill.

6. Alcohol

Dogs are much smaller than humans, and so the amount of alcohol it takes to cause harm is much less than for a human. Keep it well out of their reach.

7. Fruit pips and seeds

Pips and seeds contain cyanide and can cause digestive blockage. Large pips such as avocado stones can get stuck in the oesophagus, stomach or intestinal tract.

8. Table Scraps

I have no problem with sharing table scraps that are safe and healthy for your dog, but often they contain high levels of fat. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis and obesity, which can be life threatening or have long-term consequences.

9. Cooked bones

Cooked bones should never be fed to your dog as they can perforate the oesophagus, stomach or intestines and cause blockages along the digestive tract.

10. Onions

Onions contain a chemical that can damage your dog’s red blood cells and cause anaemia, weakness and breathing difficulties. Don’t ever give your dog raw, powdered, dehydrated or cooked onions or anything containing onions.

There are some foods that are great for your dog. Here’s my top 10.

1. Egg

A boiled egg is a great source of very digestible protein, especially for dogs prone to digestive upset.

2. Fish

Oily fish is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids which boosts the immune system and can be beneficial for allergies, skin and coat.

3. Kale and Spinach

Kale and Spinach are both excellent sources of antioxidant and help the liver detoxify the body.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is loaded with vitamins and nutrients but only feed your dog a small amount, no more than 5% of their daily diet.

5. Carrots

A crunchy source of antioxidants and other nutrients, carrots are the most underrated vegetable. Carrots contain an array of vitamins that will help your dog’s heart function, reduce the risk of cancer and support eye health.

5. Sweet potato

Sweet potato is full of antioxidants, promotes a healthy heart and keeps your dog’s immune system strong.

6. Ricotta cheese

This is low in lactose and has a good ratio of calcium to phosphorus which is great for your dog’s health.

7. Blueberries raspberries and blackberries

These little berries are filled with great antioxidants, can aid heart function, help fight cancer and have anti-inflammatory benefits.

8. Apple

Packed with nutrients apples are thought to protect against some types of cancer but make sure you don’t feed your pet the core.

9. Quinoa

This little gluten free seed is a powerhouse of nutrients and a great replacement for grains.

10. Banana

Feeding a small piece of Banana to your dog can sooth their gastrointestinal tract and can also be used to treat a minor upset.

Source: HuffPost

Safe Canine Weight Loss Tips

Information excerpted from an article by C.C. Holland

To start your dog back on the road to slimness, start by aiming for a 10 percent weight loss – or a rate of about 1 percent of his body weight per week. A slow approach is recommended both because it allows for a more gradual change in feeding, and because studies show that rapid weight loss can increase a loss of lean body mass, which in turn can contribute to weight regain. (Lean body mass, which includes organs, are the primary drivers of basal metabolism and burn energy at far higher levels than fat mass does. Reducing the amount of lean tissue can create diminished energy requirements, so a dog can regain weight even if he’s eating less.) In other words, forget the idea of crash diets for your dog; slow and steady wins this race.

The first step: weigh your dog. Next, calculate how much your dog actually eats. Begin by listing all the food your dog gets every day, including treats and table scraps, and add up the total calorie count. Some commercial foods carry calorie information on the label; for others, you may need to take the initiative and contact the manufacturer for more details.

Make sure you take portion size into account. If the recommended ration of your kibble is two standard cups a day, but if you’re using a 16-ounce Big Gulp container to measure out the food, you’re actually feeding your dog twice the allowance – and twice the calories.

How to Curb Cat Separation Anxiety

Strange cat behavior could mean anxiety

You’ve likely heard plenty about canines with separation anxiety – but what about felines? Cheryl Lock from Pet MD explains.

Jump to Calming Cat Products in the Barkery Store

It might be hard to believe, but that independent cat who snubs you when you try to pet her could, on occasion, suffer from separation anxiety.

“Classically defined, cats with separation anxiety exhibit distress and behavior problems when they’re left alone,” said Mark Newkirk, BS, MS, VMD, veterinarian at Saint Francis Veterinary Hospital.

According to Dr. Newkirk, the most common behaviors in cats with separation anxiety include:

  • Biting the owner
  • Howling or crying
  • Urination and defecation outside the litter box
  • Over grooming

Unlike dogs, cats with separation anxiety may become either excited or depressed, and could act out in opposite ways. For example, your cat may follow you from room to room whenever you’re home, or she could hide from you. She could display effusive greeting behavior towards you when you come home, or she may remain aloof.

Often these behaviors occur whether they are left alone for short or long periods of time, and the behaviors could continue even when you’re home. “It’s not fully understood why some cats suffer from separation anxiety and others don’t,” said Dr. Newkirk. “But it’s important to realize that biting and house soiling that often occur with separation anxiety are part of a panic response. Your cat isnot trying to punish you for leaving him alone.”

The following are common scenarios that could trigger separation anxiety in a cat:

  • You change the type of litter, the position of the litter pan or you do not have enough litter pans
  • A new cat is introduced to the household
  • A cat suffers a traumatic event (from his or her viewpoint), such as spending time at a shelter or boarding kennel
  • There’s a change in the family’s routine or structure, or the loss of a family member or other pet

The first step in tackling behavioral issues is to rule out any underlying medical problems that might be causing the cat’s behavior. “For example, if your pet is urinating in the house, he might be suffering from a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, diabetes or kidney disease, all of which can cause urinary incontinence in cats and change behavior,” says Dr. Newkirk. “So see your vet first.”

If you finally do determine that your cat is suffering from separation anxiety, there are a few things to do:

  • Don’t make a big deal out of arrivals and departures. For example, when you arrive home, ignore your cat for the first few minutes, if he’s an effusive greeter, and then calmly pet him. If he’s aloof, do not seek him out.
  • Many cats can tell when their owners are about to leave, and they’ll get anxious or prevent your departure altogether. One way to tackle ‘pre-departure anxiety’ is to teach your cat that when you pick up your keys, or put on your coat, it doesn’t always mean you’re leaving. For example, put on your boots and coat and sit down and watch TV instead of leaving.
  • Consider using an over-the-counter calming product, like Pro quiet or Bach flowers, to reduce fearfulness.

More severe problems could require the use of a behavioral anti-anxiety medication, but your veterinarian would determine when/if that’s necessary.

One important thing to keep in mind: punishment is not a good idea. “This is not effective, and can make the situation worse,” says Dr. Newkirk. “Getting your cat a companion cat won’t work either. The anxiety cat’s get results from his separation from you, not just the result of being alone.”