Top Human Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets

Most all pet owners can agree our pets are members of our families. We become so close to our pets we sometimes forget they aren’t actually humans. The majority of the time, this is innocent – until it comes to our pets’ diets. It’s important to know a number of foods that are harmless to us humans have proven to be toxic to our pets. Thankfully, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has put together a list of the top toxic human foods to avoid feeding our pets.

Alcohol: Under no circumstance should your pet be given alcohol or food products containing alcohol! Alcohol poisoning in pets is very rare as the taste is unpleasant to them – for the most part. When it comes to toxicity, the smaller the animal, the more likely they will experience side effects ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to difficulty breathing and even death.   

Avocado: Avocados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. Mildly toxic to dogs and cats, the ingestion of persin can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even pancreatitis. When it comes to pets such as birds and horses, the consumption of avocado is much more severe including sudden death.

Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine: Most all pet owners know that chocolate is poisonous for dogs and cats, but what many don’t know is why. Chocolate, coffee and caffeine all contain cacao seeds which contain substances called methylxanthines. When ingested, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and even death. Note: the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous.

Coconut and Coconut Oil: Like the majority of foods, when ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut oil are not likely to be seriously harmful to your pet. With that being said, it’s important to be aware that coconut and coconut water contain high levels of potassium – too much can cause hyperkalemia in dogs. The fresh milk and flesh of coconuts also contain oils which can cause upset stomachs and loose stools.

Grapes and Raisins: With the exact toxic substance within grapes and raisins still being unknown, it’s important to avoid giving food containing them to pets. The ingestion of grapes and raisins can cause severe abdominal pain resulting in kidney failure. Because of this, it’s best to avoid them even in small amounts. 

Milk and Dairy: While cats are often seen enjoying a small bowl of milk, it is particularly toxic to dogs. Just like us humans, dogs can be lactose intolerant. Dogs lack significant amounts of lactase – the enzyme used to break down lactose in dairy products – so, ingesting large amounts of milk and dairy can lead to diarrhea and other digestive problems. 

Nuts: Containing excessive amounts of fats and oils, nuts – including almonds, pistachios, pecans and walnuts – can cause stomach-related issues and potentially pancreatitis. Macadamia nuts specifically contain a toxin that can lead to neurological issues including tremors and hyperthermia.

Onions and Garlic: Onions contain thiosulphate – which is toxic to both dogs and cats. Whether they are raw or cooked, ingestion of onions can damage red blood cells. Garlic on the other hand is said to be about five times as toxic to pets as onions. Consumption of both onions and garlic – and even chives – can cause lethargy, abdominal pain and elevated heart rate.

Salt: Hefty amounts of salt can produce extreme thirst, urination and even sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, coma and – in extreme cases – death. This can come from salty snacks, table salt, rock-salt, deicers and seawater. If you suspect your pet has salt poisoning, call a vet or poison control immediately.


Xylitol: A sugar substitute in many products including candy, gum, baked goods and toothpaste – consumption of xylitol can be extremely toxic for dogs in particular. When ingested, insulin is quickly released– leading to low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and even death. 

Yeast: When yeast is ingested by pets, their stomachs serve as the perfect place for yeast organisms to grow. With yeast dough in particular, the dough can rise inside their stomach, pressing against respiratory organs. Not only is this painful, but it can make it hard for our pets to breathe – becoming a life-threatening emergency.

The above list contains few of many toxic human foods for our pets. Although unlikely to see side effects from small doses – it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, next time you’re considering giving your pet the remnants of your food, be sure to think twice and confirm it’s a safe treat.

If you suspect your pet has ingested poisonous food, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.


September Sale – Petcurean & Steve’s Real Food

Take advantage of big savings on kibble and raw pet food at the Barkery. Our September Special includes Steve’s Real Food and Petcurean dog & cat food.

Petcurean Now Fresh & go!

  • $10 off large bags of dog food
  • $7 off medium bags of dog food
  • $5 off small bags of dog food
  • $8 off large bags of cat food
  • $6 off medium bags of cat food
  • $4 off small bags of cat food

Click here to shop Petcurean!

Steve’s Real Food:

  • $4 off Steve’s Freeze Dried Dog Food
  • $4 off Steve’s 13.5lb and 9.75lb raw dog food
  • $3 off Steve’s 5lb raw dog food
  • $1.50 off Quest raw cat food

Click here to shop Steves, or here for Quest cat food.

5 Reasons to Add Collagen to Your Pet’s Diet

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, otherwise known as the “glue” that holds everything together. It’s one of the most prominent components of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, bones and skin. Just like us humans, when our pets begin to age, their collagen begins to deplete making them much more prone to injuries, arthritis, and poor coat/skin health.

Although the deterioration of healthy collagen during the aging process is a natural process, lost collagen can be replaced through supplementation for both humans and their furry family members. Below are five reasons to start giving your pet collagen today to help eliminate problems as they begin to age.

Improves Joint Pain: Joint and soft tissue pain is frequently experienced as our pets transition into their elder years. Often leading age-related diseases such as degenerative disc disease and arthritis, giving your furry friend a collagen supplement will help aid to the natural loss of collagen and decrease the risk of pain.

Prevents Injuries & Stabilizes Joints: For dogs specifically, collagen makes up 70-90% of their muscles, ligaments and tendons. As collagen begins to decrease, dogs become more likely to have a joint or muscle injury. The sooner you add collagen to your dog’s diet, the less likely they are to have joint/muscle injuries in the future.

Aids to Healthy Coats & Skin: Although our pets aren’t concerned about their appearance like the majority of us humans are, collagen provides a shiny, soft coat and conditioned, healthy skin. Collagen makes up 70% of the protein found in the skin of dogs specifically and also aids to strong nails that are less likely to split as they grow.

Promotes a Healthy Appetite: Collagen is the most effective when it’s consumed through supplements or other collagen-rich foods. The most collagen-prominent food source comes from the ingredients found in bone broth. When bone broth is heated, it turns into a gel-like substance as it hardens. The gel texture comes from the large amount of collagen protein within this super food. Lean meats, eggs and dairy are great sources of collagen as well.

Supports Digestion: It’s no surprise what our pets put into their bodies plays a huge role in digestion. Ingesting collagen helps sooth the lining of the gastrointestinal tract by breaking down proteins and forming connective tissue. Collagen also contains the amino acid, glycine, which has healing properties promoting a less irritated and healthier digestive system.

Ready to start implementing collagen into your pet’s diet? Come by either Barkery location today and ask one of our experts about the collagen supplements we carry!


Dog Owners: Beware of Toxic Blue-Green Algae

For many, a day at the lake is the perfect way to spend a hot summer day. Tragically, this recently hasn’t been the case for an increasing number of dog owners. The alert over toxic blue-green algae is spreading after multiple dogs in the U.S. have died suddenly after going for swims. Toxic blue-green algae can be found all over the U.S. – including Missouri.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just lakes you have to watch out for. Pet Poison Helpline explains, “Cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) are microscopic bacteria found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and brackish water ecosystems.” Continuing, “They can produce toxins (such as microcystins and anatoxins) that affect people, livestock and pets that swim in and drink from the algae-contaminated water.”

According to Pet Poison Helpline, “While most blue-green algae blooms do not produce toxins, it is not possible to determine the presence of toxins without testing. Thus, all blooms should be considered potentially toxic. Very small exposures, such a few mouthfuls of algae-contaminated water, may result in fatal poisoning.”

GreenWater Laboratories – a private, full-service lab focusing strictly on cyanobacteria and the toxins they produce – states on their website, “The most sensitive individuals to algal toxin poisoning are those that ingest cyanobacteria when they are in the water. Many times, those individuals are dogs, since they are entering and exiting algal blooms at shorelines. It is a good idea to keep pets out of the water when cyanobacteria may be present.”

Sadly, there is currently no cure for the toxins produced by blue-green algae. If you believe your dog may have been exposed, immediate veterinary care is crucial. Contact the Pet Poison Helpline at first signs of exposure for guidance.

Common symptoms to watch for include:

  • Lethargy/loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and/or Diarrhea
  • Collapse/Inability to walk
  • Pale or Jaundice (yellow) gums
  • Seizures/Tremors
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Hyper-salivation

Your friends at The Barkery recommend avoiding all areas where your furry family member may be exposed to blue-green algae. Be aware, use caution and keep your dog safe!

Poisonous Plants for Cats – What to Avoid

Flowers and plants are often used to bring added life into homes. As all cat owners know, cats love to climb, explore and chew on plants – but did you know some plants are toxic to cats? If you want to keep plants in your home, it’s important to know which are poisonous to your furry family member.

According to Pet MD, some common plants toxic to cats are:

  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • Castor Bean
  • Crysanthemum
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils, Narcissus
  • Dieffenbachia
  • English Ivy
  • Hyacinth
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lily
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Oleander
  • Peace Lily
  • Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
  • Sago Palm
  • Spanish Thyme
  • Tulip
  • Yew

Toxic doses vary greatly from plant to plant. Depending on the case, ingesting a small amount of a poisonous plants can have tragic results, while others may need to be exposed to large amounts before symptoms develop.

Many toxic plants result in inflammations or irritation. Because of this, the most common symptoms of poisonous plant ingestion are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing/drooling
  • Irregular heart beat

The best way to protect your cat from poisonous plants is by keeping them indoors, removing such plants from your home or by closely supervising your cat when exploring the great outdoors.

If you suspect your cat has ingested a poisonous plant call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 or Animal Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435.


Success of Barkery & Bath’s Online Store Featured in KC Business Journal

Barkery & Bath Co-owner Delena recently sat down with the Kansas City Business Journal to discuss all things Barkery, but most importantly, the online store.

If you’ve been a long-time customer of the Barkery, you may remember when the first online store was launched several years back. While some aspects of the online store were great, it just wasn’t exactly where we wanted it as far as functionality and the ability to compete with big box stores and online competitors. But if you’ve visited our new online store, you’ll find it chock-full of products, auto-ship options with discounts and even the ability to have your pet’s food delivered locally for free!

Highlights from the article:

The new e-commerce site integrates with the company’s point-of-sale system, and it sells only to customers in the Kansas City area. The Barkery invested in a van and uses existing employees to make area deliveries.

Since the February launch, online sales have increased every month. By June, online sales were up 49.4% compared with May. The new offering is attracting existing and new customers, and it’s leading to automated, recurring orders, Marketing Coordinator Courtney Klitzke said.

The new site was worth the investment and the risk, Stout said.

“It’s been phenomenal,” she said. “It brings excitement back to you that you can stay and continue the growth and satisfy the needs of pet parents.” 

View the full article here with your KCBJ login

Choosing the Right Brush for Your Pet

Whether pet hair is driving you crazy this summer or you’re just looking for a great way to bond with your pet – brushing them regularly is both a great way to keep your home free of hair and to spend a little quality time with your furry friend. You might not know that different types of dogs require different types of brushes, so we’ve gathered a few simple tips to help you choose and use the right brush for your dog.

Slicker brushes:Typically used on medium to long, curly haired dogs like Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers and St. Bernards, the slicker brush has fine, short wires close together on a flat surface that helps remove mats in the fur. Always be gentle when using this type of brush as too much pressure can cause discomfort for your pet.

Rakes: Shaped like a razor with one to two rows of tightly spaced pins, the rake brush should be used with minimal pressure and is designed to penetrate your pet’s thick coat and remove any dead undercoat near the skin. This GroomNinja brush sold at either Brookside Barkery locations or online is great for breeds like German Shepherds Malamutes, Chow Chows or long-haired cats.

Bristle Brushes: Usually used on short-haired, smooth coated dogs that tend to shed often. Clusters of tightly packed bristles remove loose hair and can be used on breeds like Pugs, Italian Greyhounds, and Jack Russel and Boston Terriers.

Pin Brushes:  Pin brushes areoval-shaped and have loosely-arranged flexible wires with pins on them – much like brushes that us humans use. The pin brush will even pick up loose hair before it falls off completely, but doesn’t benefit your pet much otherwise. This brush is best used when finishing off the grooming process to provide fluffiness to the coat.

While some fur types shed more than others, virtually all cats and dogs shed during the summer. While we can’t prevent shedding completely, hopefully these tips will make combating unwanted pet hair a more manageable task this summer. If you’re unsure about what type of brush to use on your pet or how to use it, please do not hesitate to contact us or chat with any Barkery employee when you stop in to either our Brookside or Lee’s Summit stores.

August Special – Fromm Freebies!

Fromm Family Pet Foods is on special this month! This family-owned brand has supported neighborhood pet retailers for decades, and is committed to quality, healthy ingredients in each and every recipe.

With a huge variety of grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas for both dog and cat, our staff can help you select the best recipe for your pet. This month at the Barkery:

Buy any Fromm dry dog recipe, and get a FREE bag of Crunchy O’s Dog Treats!
Buy any Fromm dry cat recipe, and get a FREE can of cat food.

This special is available in-store only.

Why You Should Never Store Pet Food in a Plastic Container

It’s easy to see why so many pet owners purchase plastic food containers for their pets’ food.

They’re convenient, there is an assumption the food will stay fresh longer, and there’s typically a pour spot to make food distribution easier. Plus, plastic pet food containers are available at pet stores, big box stores and of course, online. However, using these food storage containers can result in serious pet health issues.

Because we have grown up to often store food in plastic containers like Tupperware, we typically don’t give it a second thought when we do the same for our pets’ food. However, with the amount of research that has been published on eating food out of plastic and the potential health issues it can create, the era of using plastic food storage containers has changed dramatically. Families are ditching the plastic and switching to safer alternatives.

But what about our pets? Are they receiving the same consideration when it comes to food storage? According to research, not so much.

How Animals Become Sick from Plastic Containers
When the fats and oils of kibble make contact with the walls of a pet food container, they begin to oxidize.

In other words, over time, the residual fats and oils that have settled along the inside of the storage container start to grow rancid and develop invisible molds that can wreak havoc on your pet’s health. Each new batch of food poured into the containers also grows rancid due to not washing the container.

The Problem with Plastic Pet Food Containers
Research has proven that certain plastic containers leach chemicals into food. Chemicals in plastic like BPA have been shown to have hormone-like, estrogenic and cancer-producing properties. But BPA has been removed from some plastic storage containers and replaced with a different chemical called bisphenol-S (BPS), right? Wrong. According to scientific research, BPS appears to be just as toxic (if not more so) than BPA. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch discovered that even minute concentrations—less than one part per trillion—of BPS can disrupt cellular functioning back in 2013. Metabolic disorders like obesity, diabetes, and even cancer, are potential ramifications of such disruptions.

But the Problems with Plastic Pet Food Containers Don’t End There
Phthalates, which are used as plasticizers, including pet food storage containers, have shown to “Disrupt the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts, and infertility in polar bears, deer, whales, and otters, just to name a few.” – Doctor Karen Becker

What are My Options?
• Keep the food in its original bag – recommended
• Keep the food in the bag and place inside of the plastic container
• Switch to a glass food storage container and wash regularly
• Don’t buy a bag larger than a 30 day supply for your pet

If you have questions regarding the storage of your pet’s food, please do not hesitate to contact us or chat with any Barkery employee when you stop in to either our Brookside or Lee’s Summit stores.

Why Do Cats Love Cardboard Boxes?

No matter how extravagant the cat toy, it’s a known fact that cats are more interested in one thing – the cardboard box it came in. But, why is this? The cat lovers at Brookside Barkery have gotten to the bottom of why our feline friends are drawn to their cardboard castles.


For cats, boxes are a stress reducing safe zone. When hiding in their box, they can observe their environment while eliminating the option of a predator sneaking up on them. Us humans and other pets have to come directing into their field of vision – so no surprises are in store. When cats get spooked, their initial reaction is to run and hide. The perfect safe space? A cardboard box!


Cardboard boxes make for great insulation! The combination of cardboard’s insulation and the small space of a box makes for the perfect area for your kitty to curl up and relax. Whether your home is hot or cold, the insulation of a cardboard box help regulate your cat’s body temperature – creating the perfect temperature for a cat nap.


Cardboard is the perfect texture for your cat to scratch and bite. Cats love the feeling of digging their claws into a cardboard box while stretching or simply just to play. Many cat owners find their cats have shredded their cardboard box to bits after all of their biting and scratching. To your kitty, a simple cardboard box is interesting enough to keep them entertained for days.

While all of these reasons make up why cats love cardboard boxes, they all seem to have one thing in common – cats love confined, enclosed spaces. So, the next time your kitty doesn’t acknowledge the fancy toy you bought them and goes straight for the box, remember they are safe, cozy and entertained.