Kidney Disease in Dogs and Cats

Have you ever watched your pet eat its meal and thought, “Wow, did they even taste it?” Though some pets require more energy than others, it is important to know your pet’s normal eating and drinking habits so you are more likely to detect any dietary abnormalities. Being familiar with your pet’s standard schedule of urination and defecation is also important, as any continuous irregular activity could be a sign of an illness. Modern Dog Magazine will take us though what kidney disease is and what causes it.

One of the most common ailments in dogs and cats is kidney (renal) disease, a broad term that applies to any disease process that leaves the kidneys unable to effectively filter toxins out of the blood and maintain water balance in the body. In acute kidney disease, signs can occur quickly and can be very severe, while chronic renal issues include non-specific signs and the disease develops slowly.

Dr. Johanna Heseltine, clinical assistant professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains how being familiar with your pet’s normal diet can come in handy. “In the early stages of kidney disease there are often no clinical signs. The earliest clinical signs of kidney disease are non-specific and often include increased thirst and urination, decreased appetite, and decreased energy levels,” she said. “As the kidneys begin to fail and toxins build up in the bloodstream, other signs can develop, such as vomiting and loss of appetite.”

So what exactly causes kidney disease? According to Heseltine, there are many sources of renal issues. “Causes of acute (sudden onset) kidney injury include toxins (like lilies in cats and grapes in dogs), certain infections (such as bacterial urinary tract infections that spread to the kidneys or leptospirosis), and underlying health problems (like high blood calcium levels or shock),” Heseltine said. “In many patients with chronic (long-standing) kidney disease, the underlying cause cannot be determined.”

Although older pets are especially affected by kidney disease, dogs and cats at any age are susceptible to renal issues. Blood and urine tests are used by veterinarians to determine if there is a kidney infection present and what the primary cause might be. “When possible, we treat the underlying cause,” explained Heseltine. “For example, if there is a kidney infection, an appropriate antibiotic is administered. It is important that patients with kidney disease stay well-hydrated, so some patients require IV fluids. If needed, we give medications to control nausea and vomiting,” she continued. “Some patients with chronic kidney disease benefit from being fed a prescription diet designed for pets with kidney disease. Other therapies are tailored to the individual patient’s needs.”

So without treatment for kidney disease, can a dog or cat suffer from complete kidney failure? According to Heseltine, the answer is yes. Kidney failure can occur in both acute and chronic kidney disease, depending on the severity of the case. Heseltine emphasizes the importance of the kidneys in the body and explains that a lack of filtration can lead to deadly consequences. “The kidneys have many important roles, including filtering toxins from the body. When the kidneys cannot filter adequately, the toxins build up in the bloodstream and make the pet sick,” she said. “We assess this by measuring urea and creatinine concentrations in their blood. These increased lab values do not occur until approximately 75 percent of kidney function has been lost. Patient outcome depends on how high the lab values are, how sick the pet is, whether the underlying kidney disease can be treated, and how quickly the kidney damage is progressing,” she continued. “Some patients with chronic kidney disease live for many years, while for other patients, decisions about quality of life have to be made.”

Though kidney disease is fairly common in dogs and cats, there are ways pet owners can help prevent renal issues. Since many acute kidney disease cases are caused by toxic substances, be sure to keep poisons and pesticides away from your furry friends, as well as any specific foods or plants that can cause harm. Feeding a balanced diet is always important, but consider looking into specialized pet food that aids in preventing kidney disease. Lastly, remember to take note of your pet’s normal behavior so you are more likely to notice even the slightest change in diet, urination or defecation. Make an appointment with your local veterinarian if you notice a change in behavior that lasts several days.

Although pets of all ages are susceptible to kidney disease, older pets are at an even higher risk. By monitoring your pet’s behavior and attending regular veterinary check-ups, you can help prevent kidney disease and preserve your pet’s quality of life.

Help Your Dog Have a Good Experience at the Groomer’s

It’s time to take Fido to the groomer. Between his anxiety and yours, it can be a stressful situation. Here are 5 tips from to help your dog have a good experience at the groomer’s:

1. Take him to go potty before going in. Your dog will be in a different or new environment for possibly several hours. Do him (and your groomer) a favor by letting him go potty before you get there.

2. Walk confidently with him from your car into the shop. Don’t keep telling them, “I know this is scary, but you’ll be ok.” Dogs pick up on your nervous-ness. They read your body language. That is often why they become nervous themselves. Take a deep breath and release a long exhale, relax your arm if you have them on a leash. Most groomers became groomers because they love animals. Find a groomer that you feel cares about you and your dog and connect with them a little before and after grooms so that you feel comfortable leaving your dog in their care for several hours. Initiate a feeling of calmness (not necessarily excitement) within yourself and I guarantee your dog will feel that.

3. If he is nervous, do not coddle him. (i.e., hugging to your chest, holding them and telling them it’s going to be alright, giving them treats) This one is the hardest to do. I see owners doing it all the time and even I find it tough to do with my own dogs. But I have to see it as leading by example and doing the best for them. It’s like leaving a child at daycare. If you start to cry when they cry, they will only feel more scared and panicked. When a dog shows he’s nervous at the groomer’s (i.e. trembling, not wanting to go inside), by coddling and hugging and giving treats, in a dog’s mind, you are rewarding this behavior. You are telling them that this is how you want them to act. They are thinking, oh, if I shake a bit, I will get a treat or a pet and this must be what my owner wants. Act calm and confidently hand the dog (or the leash) over to the groomer. Show the dog that you are comfortable with this. Give any treats you may have to the groomer to give to the dog once he is in a calm state.

4. Bring some of his treats from home. Which leads to my next tip. In my shop, I always have treats for dogs. I love to give positive reinforcement, especially for dogs that are very food motivated and are nervous about nail clippings. I also like to give every dog a treat (if they’ll accept) when the groom is finished. That way they have a positive association with the grooming and with my shop before they leave. Many dogs are excited to come back here. If your dog is a picky eater, or has dietary restrictions, try to bring some of their own treats from home. If you know your dog has an affinity for a certain type of food, such as chicken thighs or carrots, cut up a bit of it and put it in a baggie to hand to the groomer when you get there. I’m a big fan of positive associations and reinforcement.

5. Give him a few drops of Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Pets. Also, a drop of lavender oil placed on the pad of the paw or the inside tip of the ear. These can be administered at home before getting in the car to go anywhere, so that by the time you get to the shop, they have had time to take effect. Both of these are options I offer at my shop; they are all-natural ways of lessening stress and anxiety for your pet. I have seen amazing results with just a few drops of the Rescue Remedy and if I know a nervous dog is coming in, I’m sure to put a few drops of lavender oil in my aromatherapy diffuser and on my grooming table.

Just remember to do what’s best for your dog and find a groomer that you and your dog connect with. Good luck!


Summer Fun with Your Dog

Here are 4 way to have a lot of fun with your dog this summer from

Did you know dogs can get sunburns?

Their noses are particularly susceptible but dogs with little or no fur can easily get sunburned all over their bodies. Epi-Pet makes a broad-spectrum FDA-compliant sunscreen formulated especially for dogs that is safe even if licked!


Make your dog the ultimate summer treat! Get a container of your choosing, one matching your dog’s size. An empty yogurt or ice cream container is ideal but a bowl will totally do. Now get creative! Toss in all manner of treats and toys to thrill your dog: a squeaky rubber ball (not so small it could be swallowed, of course), a few blueberries, a small handful of little liver treats, bits of hot dog—the only rule of thumb is nothing that will get all soggy, like wheat-based treats. Then fill with water (you can add a bit of low-sodium beef or chicken broth if you’d like), pop it in the freezer, and wait until a hot afternoon to take it out. Briefly run the container under warm water to release the surprise-filled ice treat you’ve created then give it to your dog—outside of course!

Cool Runnings

Keep your hot dog cool on warm days. Take a regular bandana (cut it down to size if your dog is small) and run it under the tap before wringing it out, smoothing it into a triangle and placing it in the freezer. Leave it in there until it’s nice and icy cool or until the next hot day rolls around, then fasten around your dog’s neck for a welcome cool down!

Take to the water

The newest craze to hit lakes and oceans near you? SUP or Stand Up Paddle Board. Not only does this sport offer you a glorious vantage point from out on the water, it’s a lot of fun, and offers the bonus of abdominal strengthening as the balance it requires engages your core. But best of all it’s dog friendly! The large board is perfect for bringing along your water-happy dog! She can sit on the board as you paddle about. You’ll definitely want to outfit your dog with a lifejacket.

Cat Litter Safety Concerns

Terry Hurley from Love to Know Cats shares important information about cat litter safety

Safe Cat Litter: The Clumping Clay Cat Litter Controversy

For many years, there has been an ongoing debate over the safety of clumping clay cat litters that use sodium bentonite as their clumping ingredient. The controversy began with an article written by Marina McInnis in 1994 and still goes on today. To read the article in its entirety, scroll down on the website.

Sodium bentonite is natural clay that swells to 15 times its size when liquid is added, similar to expandable cement. The concern of many cat caretakers is the health dangers posed when the clay particles are ingested as a cat licks its paws and fur while cleaning itself. There’s also concern that cats might breath in the dust when scratching in the litter box. Young kittens are often curious and may taste the litter when they are first introduced to the litter box. Those who are opposed to this type of litter claim it expands inside the cat or kitten and turns into a gummy, clay mass that can harden in the gastrointestinal tract causing illness and even death.

The Other Side of the Debate

On the other side of the controversy are the manufacturers that claim that clumping clay litters are safe and do not pose a danger to the cats that use them. To date, there have been no studies conducted on this issue. It should be noted that the evidence presented against clumping clay litter is only anecdotal and has not been proven.It must be noted that according to information found on, the director of the Feline Health Center of Cornell University believes that cats do not face any health dangers from clumping clay cat litters. Many cat caretakers feel that this type of litter poses no danger to their pets and feel it is completely safe to use.

Additional Concerns About Clumping Clay Litter

Other concerns regarding clumping cat litter include:

  • Dogs eating litter and having the same health problems as cats
  • Litter dust causing respiratory problems in people and pets since it contains crystalline silica particles
  • Environmental concerns about the volume of clumping clay litter being discarded since it is not biodegradable
  • Environmental concerns about clay strip mining

Organic Biodegradable Cat Litter: Safer Alternatives

Many people feel that organic, biodegradable cat litter is the safest type of litter for their cats, the environment and themselves. There are many cat litters of this type on the market, and new brands are being added as more companies realize the need for this type of product.Alternative cat litters are made from various biogradable materials including:

  • Corn
  • Corncob
  • Citrus scraps
  • Grains
  • Wheat
  • Paper
  • Various types of wood shavings

Generally, these cat litters are made from materials that are recycled by consumers or byproducts from different industries.

Corn Litter

  • Called the World’s Best Cat Litter, this litter is made from whole kernel corn and has a fresh clean scent. It is free of chemicals, clays, silicas, perfumes, bentonite or synthetic ingredients. This litter clumps naturally when it absorbs liquid, but the clumps fall apart if they are exposed to water, making this biodegradable litter safe to flush.

Wheat Litter

Made from naturally processed wheat, Swheat Scoop is clay, chemical and fragrance free.

Wood Litter

  • One of the most popular cat litters is Feline Pine. Made from 100% recycled material, Feline Pine is available in clumping and pellet varieties.

Recycled Paper

  • Made from recycled newspaper, Yesterday’s News cat litter is composed of paper pellets that have a soft texture many cats enjoy.
  • PaPurr Scoop is made from recycled paper in tiny granulated form.

Final Word About Safe Cat Litter

Caring for our feline companions means we have the responsibility to keep them safe and healthy. This article offers the current facts about cat litter, but it is up to each cat caretaker to make the decision about which litter they believe is safest for their pet.

Customer Blog: Cat Food Case Study

Greetings fellow Barkery patrons!

My name is Amanda and I have a 10-year old black, domestic, medium-haired cat named Marcello. Marcello has been with me since he was about 6 months old. He is very loving and has the loudest purr you’ve ever heard, but that is sadly due in part to his feline viral rhinopneumonitis (FVR).

FVR is one of the most common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats, and causes Marcello to sneeze, have congestion, and watery eyes and nose. I’ve spent countless dollars at the vet trying to find something he can take regularly to help with this issue, but it always seems to come back.

Recently, his sneezing was out of control, so back to the vet we went. I was given two different (and expensive) medicines to try, which helped temporarily, but then I was back at square one. My vet also mentioned trying a grain-free diet. Thankfully, I had recently discovered the Barkery and went to the experts for help. I left with a new flavor from the Fromm line: “Beef Livattini Veg” – a grain-free dry cat food entree.

The first thing I did when I arrived home was compare the ingredients on the two bags of food. Here’s what I was comparing:

Purina One Beyond – Salmon and Brown Rice 

Salmon, chicken meal, whole brown rice, soybean meal, whole barley, whole oat meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soy protein isolate, dried yeast, dried egg product, dried beet pulp, natural flavor, fish oil, phosphoric acid, caramel color, calcium carbonate, whole cranberries, dried tomatoes, dried spinach, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, taurine, calcium phosphate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.   B-4261

Fromm Beef Livattini Veg 

Beef Liver, Whole Dried Egg, Salmon Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Dried Tomato Pomace, Pea Protein, Pea Flour, Russet Potatoes, Beef, Pork Fat, Turkey Liver, Sweet Potatoes, Salmon Oil, Wisconsin Cheese, Flaxseed, Olive il, Carrots, Celery, Parsley, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Spinach, Zucchini, Eggplant, Salt, Chicory Root Extract, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Vitamin A acetate, Vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamin E supplement, Vitamin B12 supplement, choline bitartrate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, L-Ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, riboflavin supplement, thiamine, mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganous sulfate, mangesium sulfate, copper sulfate, cobalt carbonate, calcium iodate, sorbic acid (preservative), ferrous proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, magnesium proteinate, cobalt proteinate, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product

When comparing the main ingredients (that the average person can identify) I noticed that only three ingredients were the same in the Fromm food, and one is questionable since it is a “whole dried egg” vs. a “dried egg product.” What concerned me about the Purina food (which I thought seemed ok at the time of purchase) contains three whole grains – brown rice, barley and oatmeal – items I’m certain cats aren’t meant to ingest. I was also surprised to see that Marcello was getting a few different meats from the Fromm meal: beef liver, salmon, beef, pork and turkey liver. There are also three vegetables in the Purina vs. eleven in the Fromm meal.

And so, I have fed the Fromm to Marcello for over two weeks now and I am happy (as well as he) to report that not only does he LOVE the Fromm (he literally used to spit bits of the Purina out) but his sneezing has gone from out of control to a sneeze here and there. He also begs for Fromm now, something he’s never done before! I also like that it is in smaller pieces and easier on his adult teeth.

In conclusion, I’m a believer in grain-free all natural food. Just as I feel better and have more energy when sticking to protein and fruits and vegetables, my sweet kitty is the same way. I’m so thankful I found the Barkery and would highly suggest that any pet owner stop in and see the difference in their pets’ lives.

Downtown Dog Day – April 5th

Downtown Dog Day is coming up and it’s not too late to register online or by mail!

This will be the most fun W-A-L-K of the year!

Join us on Saturday, April 5 for pre-registration and t-shirt pickup beginning at 8:00 a.m. and then walk at 9:00 a.m.

Brookside Barkery will be in our tent under the Farmers’ Market, so STOP BY AND SEE US!

This one-mile walk will tour Downtown Overland Park, leading from the Farmers’ Market pavilion through 80th street, around Santa Fe Commons park and down Santa Fe. The event is full of festivities including live music, doggy bags full of special offers and treats, puppy adoptions and giveaways. Be sure to dress your doggies up, as judges are eager to hand out prizes for the best dressed dogs. While we love dogs in Downtown Overland Park, they’re not allowed in the Farmers’ Market pavilion on market days so we’re excited to let them have it all to themselves!

This event will support the Great Plains SPCA, Kansas City Metro’s most comprehensive animal welfare organization. They believe that a cat or dog, no matter what, deserves a long, happy, and healthy life.

As a reminder dogs are required to be on non-retractable leashes, and please be courteous and pick up after your dogs. Please do not enter a business with your dog unless there is signage inviting them in.

Register here

FREE Dental Xrays from Mariposa Veterinary Wellness Center


During the month of February, Mariposa is offering free dental xrays (a value of up to $115!), and free application of Ora-Vet, a plaque prevention gel, with the purchase of an Ora-Vet take-home kit.  Anesthesia is necessary for a dental cleaning and oral health assessment. In order to receive free dental xrays, the pet must receive a complete oral health assessment and cleaning under anesthesia. Call us for details regarding how much this costs, as it varies for dogs/cats and depending on age. This is an amazing opportunity to have your pet’s mouth thoroughly evaluated for any source of pain. 

Call Mariposa today to schedule an appointment for your furry family member! 



Barkery Owner Delena Stout on the Streetcar Project

Street Car ProjectA recent KMBC 9 interview highlights the possibility of a street car that would make its way into the Brookside neighborhood, and channel 9 stopped in at The Barkery to discuss the development. The project could include a line that runs from Union Station a full nine miles into Waldo, set to launch in 2019 if the vote is passed.

Delena Stout, owner of Brookside Barkery and Bath believes there is “a lot of potential” for the streetcar project, especially because of a lack of parking in the area. It could also mean easier access to natural pet foods for thousands of Kansas City residents, and of course, easy transportation through the heart of the city.