How to Safely Satisfy Your Cat’s Hunting Instincts

By Ann Brightman, Animal Wellness Magazine 

As carnivores and predators, cats are natural hunters. Unlike his wild counterparts, our kitty doesn’t need to kill other critters in order to survive, but that hunting instinct is still a strong part of his makeup. How do you satisfy that instinct without letting your cat go outside to kill wildlife? Luckily, there are lots of ways to cater to your kitty’s inner hunter without harming songbirds, butterflies and other wild species that are important to our eco-systems.

  1. If your cat doesn’t like staying indoors all the time, there are ways to get him outside while keeping local wildlife safe. An outdoor cat enclosure with a fine mesh covering will give him some fresh air and opportunities to watch birds and butterflies without catching and hurting them.
  2. Another alternative is to train him to a harness and leash (this is most successful with a kitten or young cat) and take him for “walks”. Be sure to supervise him at all times when he’s outdoors. Never tether a cat to a tree or post and leave him in the yard alone – he could hang himself from his leash, or be at the mercy of a neighborhood dog or other larger carnivore.
  3. Situate a bird feeder within easy viewing distance of one of your cat’s favorite windows. This will give him the chance to at least partly satisfy his desire to hunt by watching the birds from indoors (while making that signature “chattering” sound that cats make when they’re stalking!).Kitten Cat Jumping
  4. Some cats enjoy watching birds, fish, and other small animals on the TV or computer screen. You can get DVDs, or download apps for your tablet or other mobile deice, and let your cat stalk and “chase” the images.
  5. Interactive play that allows your cat to chase and catch toys is also important. They key word here is “interactive.” Cats like things that move and soon get bored with objects that just lie there. Feather toys are a particular favorite, as you can use them to mimic bird behavior. The traditional catnip mouse is another good standby – tie it to a string or ribbon and pull it around the house so your cat can chase it. Add challenge and variety to interactive play by going around corners and up and down stairs, or by having the toy “hide” in a box or under a chair. Be sure to let your cat actually catch the toy from time to time, to give him the satisfaction of a “kill.” Buy quality products, and keep in mind that soft toy surfaces give the cat a chance to sink his claws and teeth into his “prey.”
  6. When you can’t be around, leave out toys that will encourage self-play. A puzzle toy or interactive feeder with some healthy treats inside will prompt your cat to “hunt” for something to eat.
  7. Give your cat access to high places in the house (or his outdoor enclosure). Being up high not only gives him a sense of security, but also helps to satisfy his inner hunter by giving him a wide “birds-eye” view of his environment.
  8. Cats love knocking things off tables and shelves, not just because they’re trying to get your attention, but also because the objects move rapidly as they fall to the floor. If the object bounces or rolls after it hits the floor, that’s even better; you’ll notice that many cats will jump down after knocking something over to investigate its movement. Again, this activity goes some way to satisfying feline hunting instincts. Rather than discouraging this behavior, keep valuable or breakable items out of reach, and put some of his toys on a shelf or table, so that he can knock those down instead. 

A happy cat is one who has the scope to satisfy some of his natural instincts, and hunting is one of the big ones. Taking steps to appease your kitty’s inner hunter, without harming local wildlife, is easier than you think!


Introducing Primal Bone Broth

Bone Broth is a wholesome addition to any feeding regimen. When served on its own, added to commercial pet food, or along with any raw or freeze dried formula, Bone Broth adds necessary moisture and beneficial nutrients into your pet’s diet. With key benefits including digestion and liver support, hydration and moisture, joint health, and more, supplementing with Bone Broth is an easy way to keep your pet hydrated and healthy.

Primal Bone broth is available in four delicious proteins, and is appropriate for dogs and cats at all stages of life.


Bone Broth can be incorporated into your pet’s diet in many different ways, and the reclosable pouch makes for easy pouring and serving!

Learn more about the benefits of Bone Broth and how to prepare it in our in-store video demo:

This month only, get a FREE Primal Bone Broth with the purchase of any small bag of Fromm Pet Food!

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet’s Health

A new year means a new resolution for many of us. As you’re thinking of ways to better yourself, you should also consider the life and wellbeing of your pet. Would you feed a different food? Would you give your dog more exercised attention? Here are the top five steps to improve your dog’s health in one year, from Dogs Naturally Magazine:

1. Feed a Raw Diet

One of the best ways to immediately improve your dog’s health is to toss that bag of kibble in the trash and begin feeding a fresh, raw diet. There’s nothing magical about what’s in the raw diet, but more importantly is what’s not in it.

Kibble needs to contain at least 30% starchy carbohydrates to hold together. Some kibbles contain as much as 60% starch, and kibble manufacturers aren’t required to say how much is in the food. Starch is a problem for a few important reasons:

  1. Mycotoxins – Starch is a breeding ground for molds, which produce a by-product called mycotoxin. Mycotoxin can contaminate crops before they’re harvested or after your dog’s food is made. Mycotoxins are extremely harmful to your dog and one mycotoxin in particular, aflatoxin, is the most potent carcinogen (cancer-causing compound) found in nature. A 2015 study in Animal Feed Science & Technology found that nearly all pet foods were contaminated with mycotoxins.
  2. Antinutrients – Antinutrients are naturally occurring or man-made substances in food that can interfere with the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and with digestive enzymes. The most common sources of antinutrients include grains, beans, legumes, and nuts.
  3. Glycemic Load – The glycemic load of foods is an indication of how quickly it raises the blood sugar. A small, steady amount of carbs or starch in the diet is fairly harmless, but when large amounts are added, this can cause obesity and insulin resistance. Over time, your dog will become less sensitive to insulin and his pancreas will have to work harder to produce more insulin and can become exhausted, which can lead to pancreatitis and diabetes. Insulin resistance can also increase the risk of thyroid disease, obesity, and some types of cancer.

2. Replace Dewormers With Herbs

For most dog owners, tapeworms, whipworms or other parasites can mean a trip to the vet. Conventional chemical dewormers contain really harmful ingredients that can have dangerous side effects. Here are some of the most common:

  • Fenbendazole – can cause vomiting, lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, inflammation, even death
  • Pyrantel – can cause vomiting, weight loss, depression, even death
  • Prazinquantel – can cause lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, even death

Many of the most widely prescribed dewormers contain these ingredients in combination with other drugs, often making them even more risky. As a part of your plan to improve your dog’s health, you can skip these and replace them with herbs and other natural dewormers. Hopefully you’ll find a good holistic vet to help you out, but you can try these on your own to get started:

  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE) – Food grade DE can reduce the number of worms in your dog. Feed small dogs a teaspoon per day and dogs over 55 pounds up to a tablespoon per day. Make sure it’s well mixed in his food, as inhaling DE can irritate your dog’s lungs. You can pick up DE at your nearest Brookside Barkery.
  • Oregon Grape – Oregon grape is an anti-parasitic, so it’s a perfect natural dewormer. Give it as a tincture, using 12 drops per 20 pounds. It’s also an effective antibiotic and liver tonic. Note: Don’t give this herb to dogs with liver disease or to pregnant dogs.
  • Chamomile – Chamomile is great for preventing and getting rid of roundworms and whipworms. In glycerin tincture form, give 0.25 ml to .50 ml per 20 lbs of body weight twice daily, placed in your dog’s mouth or added to water.

Along with herbs, there are many foods you can give to prevent and get rid of worms. Remember that a healthy gut is unattractive to worms, so a raw food diet is a really good start in preventing them. Fermented veggies, pimpkin seeds, pineapple, papaya, grated carrots, watercress, fennel, and cucumber are all great ways to help your dog fight worms.

3. Replace Fish Oils with Healthier Oils

Although fish oils are loaded with healthy fats, fat is where fish and other animals store toxins… and oceans are becoming more and more polluted by the minute. Heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury can end up in fish oil, along with toxic compounds like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and furans. These can cause nervous system disorders, cancers, liver and kidney damage, and skin problems.

Instead of fish oil, try hemp oil. It’s a good Omega-3 oil if you feed your dog a diet made primarily of meat from ruminants (like beef, goat, lamb, bison, venison). To add help oil to your dog’s diet, give 1 tsp of hemp oil for every 1-1.25 lbs of food.

If you’re feeding poultry, hemp oil can lead to too much polyunsaturated fat in the diet, so you should choose something different. Options include flaxseed oil or chia seed oil plus canned sardines (in water or olive oil). Add 1 tsp of oil along with 1/4 can of sardines for every 1-1.25 pounds of lean chicken, turkey, or duck you feed.

Phytoplankton is also an excellent source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, along with important trace minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Phytoplankton is absorbed by the body as soon as it gets in your dog’s mouth, so it delivers key nutrients without your dog having to digest first.

Coconut oil is another healthy oil to add to your dog’s diet. It’s not an omega-3, but a medium chain fatty acid and has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It’s a good idea to rotate into your dog’s diet to help with skin issues, allergies, and immune support. We recommend giving up to 1 tsp per 10 pounds of body weight.

4. Feed the Gut (Not the Dog)

Bacteria that live in your dog’s gut form 80% of his immune system. These friendly bacteria also produce your dog’s vitamins, help him digest food and more. But these friendly little bugs can easily be damaged by starchy carbohydrates, which feed the harmful bacteria in the gut and crowd out the friendly bacteria colonies. Here’s how you can replace the friendly bacteria in your dog’s gut:

  • Feed Probiotics
    You can boost the number of good bacteria in your dog’s gut by adding a probiotic supplement, or adding probiotic foods such as fermented vegetables, raw goat milk, or kefir. Probiotics assist in digestive help by keeping the gut healthy and full of good bacteria.

Remember, when you introduce probiotics to your dog’s diet, it’s best to do it slowly. If your dog is new to probiotics, they can cause a die-off of the harmful bacteria, which could cause gas, loose stools, and stomach rumblings. Go slow if your dog has a history of digestive upset.

5. Avoid All Unnecessary Vaccines

Here’s an important tip. Most vaccines your dog gets are unnecessary!

Over-vaccination costs you more than just money, it can seriously harm your dog. Vaccine reactions are more common than you think, and they’re well documented. Vaccine damage can range from minor reactions (lethargy, hair loss) to moderate (chronic allergies, lameness, respiratory diseases), to severe (seizures, myocarditis, death).

And there’s actually no need to put your dog’s health at risk…

Research shows that core vaccines (parvovirus, distemper, and adenovirus) your dog gets as a puppy protect him for at least 7 to 1 years. That means he’s covered for most, or probably all of his life after his puppy vaccination. It also means that anything more than those first puppy shots is overkill, which means your dog is getting all of the risk and none of the benefit.

Even though your vet wants you to vaccinate your dog every year or every three years, there’s no research showing this is necessary. Nearly every dog who’s vaccinated at or after 16 weeks of age has been shown to be protected for life.

If you’re worried about skipping your dog’s vaccines this year, you can check to see if he’s protected before vaccinating. Ask your vet for a titer test, which is a blood test that measures the level of protective antibodies your dog has to certain diseases.

Getting a titer test is one of the most important things you can do to stop over-vaccination for your dog. Learn more about titer tests on Dogs Naturally.

Note: Some conventional veterinarians may charge much more than a vaccine cost for a titer test. Stop in the Barkery for information about affordable titer testing before paying hundreds of dollars for this simple blood test!

AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) vaccine guidelines have been updated to say a positive titer can replace vaccination for the core vaccines, so if your vet presses you to vaccinate, you can refer to these guidelines. Don’t just give in and vaccinate, your dog’s life might rely on that decision!

Start the year off right with these five simple changes. We can virtually guarantee they will seriously improve your dog’s health and reduce risk of disease!


December Sale – Petcurean NOW Fresh Recipes!

“Fresh.” It sounds good when you say it.

And tastes good when you eat it. It’s no surprise that dogs and cats love the freshness of NOW. It’s packed full of nutritious ingredients like 100% market-fresh meat or fish, 100% fresh omega 3 & 6 oils from coconuts and canola.

NOW FRESH™ grain & gluten free recipes are made to match all life stages of cat and dog, including puppy, kitten, adult, and senior – as well as breed size variation in dog recipes.

December – NOW FRESH™ small bags* are BUY ONE GET ONE FREE (and you can mix & match cat and dog recipes)!

It’s the perfect time to try Petcurean NOW’s unique, nutrient rich pet food. Stop by your nearest Brookside Barkery to take advantage of this sale for the entire month of December.

*Small bags are 6 lb dog recipes, 4 lb cat recipes.

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

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

The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dogs

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

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

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

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

Reasons You Should Supplement Raw Goat’s Milk

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

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

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

1. It’s Great for Digestion

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

2. It’s an Immune Booster

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

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

3. It Alleviates Allergies and Itching

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

4. It Relieves Arthritis Symptoms and Joint Pain

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

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

How to Feed Goat’s Milk

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

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

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


Brookside Barkery

3 Ways to Treat Your Dog’s Arthritis Naturally

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

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

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

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

*Thank you for these great tips!

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

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.