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Is it time to switch your pet’s food?

If your pet isn’t thriving on his current food, it’s time to switch to something better. Know what signs to look for.

For those of us in the pet care business who are advocates for animal health and happiness, it’s frustrating to see how many animals are being fed mediocre or poor quality foods, with the expected poor result.

And it’s not only grocery or mid-priced foods that can fail to make your pet thrive. Even some high-quality pet foods can be wrong or become wrong for your individual pet. A food that’s working well on one pet may not be the right choice for your own companion. “One size fits all” does not work when it comes to pet food.

Check out the list of indications below that the food and treats or dog or cat eats aren’t working for him as they should. Any of these reasons from Animal Wellness Magazine is enough to consider kicking your food to the curb, but if your pet suffers from more than one, it’s definitely time to switch it up.

Signs that can signal the need for a food change

1. Food rejection or finicky behavior.

Your dog or cat starts being picky or even completely rejects a food that he’s eaten heartily in the past. A little fussiness isn’t reason to dump a food that has worked well, but if your pet constantly rejects the food, it’s time to consider a change.

2. Skin & coat problems

If your pet experiences any of these negative changes in skin and coat results, a change in food could solve the problem:

  • Hair loss or excessive and constant shedding regardless of the season.
  • A dull, lifeless, “stiff” or greasy coat.
  • A sudden case of the “itches” that has him scratching all day and night.
  • You start to see “hot spots” and other skin irritations, sores or patches of dryness, and your animal becomes obsessed with chewing and scratching these spots.
3. Energy dips and spikes
  • Decreased energy levels – this could be food-related or signal more serious health problems.
  • Excessive energy – yes, we want our pets to have high spirits! But if a dog or cat’s personality seems to change from “spirited but manageable” or “laid back and mellow” to “hyper and hard to control,” you need to examine and potentially reconsider your food and treat choices. High levels of carbohydrates from grains and other sources are not optimal energy sources for carnivores such as cats and dogs. High carbs in pets can cause the same hyperactivity as sugar in kids.
4. Stomach and stool problems

The draining symptoms of alternating diarrhea, constipation and vomiting are all potential signs of canine or feline irritable bowel disease (IBD). Pets experiencing IBD lose energy and vitality, and if it goes on for too long, it’s tough for affected animals to bounce back.

No food should cause these serious digestive problems. Less serious, but not to be ignored, are loose stools or changes in the color, size and consistency of the stool that persist more than a few days. This could indicate that something has changed in the food you’re using, or in your pet’s tolerance and proper digestion of the food.

What to know if you see any of these signs

Your food may be a mediocre quality, high carb food, in the category of most popular grocery brands. High carb foods are just not the way our carnivores are meant to eat. It ignores the carnivore’s innate biology. Replace low end grain- or carb-heavy kibble with meat-based foods and you’ll see a major improvement in your pet’s overall health, energy, appearance and maybe even his behavior. Putting only good things in your pets body helps bring out the best in him.

The pet food you buy may have been changed by the manufacturer. Foods can “change out from under you” because  manufacturers may make changes to their product without updating the label for up to a year or longer. Some companies that are more concerned with their bottom line than your pet’s health may include the same, but lower quality ingredients. If the manufacturer switches to a lower grade, you won’t be able to tell by reading, only by feeding and seeing the results.

Your dog or cat could have developed a food allergy or sensitivity to one or more ingredients. A dog or cat can eat the same food for years and do well with it, but then start showing signs of sensitivities or allergies to the protein source or other ingredients. If a food that’s always worked well begins to cause skin and coat reactions, hot spots, or other allergic reactions, your animal may have developed an allergy. This is why we always recommend rotating your proteins!

Your animal is changing, not the food. Changes in your dog or cat’s body chemistry, metabolism, and digestive efficiency as they enter different life stages can also be the trigger that makes yesterday’s food wrong for tomorrow. Pay attention to the rhythm of your pet’s life stages, with particular attention to the transition between puppy or kitten and adult, and later in life from adult to senior status.

 

 

If your when your dog or cat’s food isn’t fulfilling his needs, it’s probably time to switch it up and find a healthy new partnership! Start by visiting Brookside Barkery & Bath. We’ll help you choose the diet that’s right for your pet, and you’ll soon have a healthier, happier companion.

White fluffy poodle dog heatstroke

Can Dogs Get Heat Stroke?

You’d better believe it! Heatstroke in dogs is far too common in the summer months, and it’s our job as pet parents to be fully attentive to our furry friends’ physical limits.

According to Dogs Naturally, your dog’s normal temperature is between 100 degrees and 103 degrees F. A dog will start to experience heat stroke at 105 degrees F. Any higher and organ damage is at risk.

These are common signs of heat stroke:

  • Panting heavily
  • Dry or bright red gums
  • Thicker drool than normal
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of balance
  • Collapse

If you notice these symptoms…

  1. Move your dog to a cool place.
  2. Wipe her down with a damp rag or drape a cool, damp towel over her body.
  3. Pay attention to her inner thighs and stomach where there are more large blood vessels, and on the pads of her feet.
  4. Try to get her to drink some cool (not cold) water, but slowly. If she gulps down too much too fast, she may vomit, which won’t help the situation.
  5. Once she’s cool, take her to see your veterinarian for an exam to ensure that there’s no internal damage.

It’s easy to assume that just because you’re comfortable, your dog is too. Most of our dogs can’t handle the heat as well as humans, so just keep an eye out during extreme weather to ensure your dog isn’t overdoing it.

Some dogs are at higher risk than others.

If your dog is older, overweight, short nosed, thick-coated, low-energy, out of shape, doesn’t drink enough water, and/or has underlying diseases, he or she is at a higher risk for heatstroke. In addition, the following breeds tend to be at greater risk:

  1. English Bulldog
  2. Pug 
  3. French Bulldog
  4. Boston Terrier 
  5. Shih Tzu
  6. Pekingese
  7. Boxer
  8. Chow Chow
  9. Overweight Golden Retrievers
  10. Overweight Labrador Retrievers 

Tips to keep your dog cool

  • Keep your animal indoors if possible.
  • Your pet should never be left in your car for any length of time.
  • Walk early in the morning or later in the day when it’s cooler.
  • Make sure there’s a shady area if she’s outside playing in the yard.
  • Remember that her paws aren’t protected from the hot asphalt, so choose grassy surfaces if you can. If the pavement is too hot for your hand, it’s definitely too hot for your dog’s paws.
  • Keep your house cool. Leave windows open, ceiling fans going or the A/C on.
  • Walk with water and let your dog drink as you go. Let her take frequent breaks to cool down, and make sure she has access to cool water when she’s in the yard.
  • Provide your dogs with access to water at all times.

 

 

 

Introducing GivePet Treats

 

 

GivePet is a local company that sells super premium treats for dogs. There are four different grain-free formulas, and they’re the only biscuit-style treat we sell in bulk. For each bag that’s sold, 10 shelter dogs receive treats. Healthy treats are a true need at animal shelters, and are often used for training to ensure they will do well in their new homes. This short video of our Lee’s Summit store manager, Annette, shows that your dog will love the treats as much as we do.

GivePet treat are available at Brookside & Lee’s Summit locations. GivePet’s goal is to give millions of shelter dogs a little lovin’, and it all starts with you.

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.

 

Free Food Delivery Zones Extended!

Free Food Delivery Zones Extended!

Brookside Barkery is bringing what’s best for your best friend to your doorstep! In order to serve you better, we have extended our FREE delivery zone within 5 miles of our Brookside and Lee’s Summit stores. If you live within these zones, you’re in luck!

To place an order, just call your local Brookside Barkery & Bath store and our experts will have it to your front door in 24 hours! Click here to learn more about our FREE local delivery service!

The Secret to a Happier, Healthier, Longer-Lived Pet

We Are What We Eat: Good Food Is the Foundation for Good Health

Dr. Susan Klein, a veterinarian based in Colorado, spent several years in a conventional veterinary practice after graduating from Colorado State University. She now runs Alpine Meadows Animal Clinic, an integrative practice in the Vail Valley.

Dr. Klein’s passion for nutrition started about 15 years ago with a patient who had severe, chronic gastrointestinal (GI) problems. Her patient’s condition prompted her to begin investigating commercial pet food, since she had received no useful nutrition training in vet school.

One of Dr. Klein’s first adventures in nutrition was learning just how important a species-appropriate, real food diet is. She quickly learned that this is the foundation of good health.

If You’re Upgrading Your Pet’s Diet, the Change Should Be Gradual

For an animal that is sensitive (GI tracts, skin, or other sensitivities), switching the diet to raw will take some time. Starting with a grain-free and potato-free kibble is the first step before adding in some cooked foods that are easy to digest. Gradually work toward less cooking of the food, understanding that a pet who is in an extreme state of sympathetic nervous system stimulation may have a difficult time with a raw diet.

It’s important to understand that if you or your pet can’t seem to tolerate a diet of fresh, whole foods, there’s a problem in the body. The answers as to “why” can be found in nutrigenomics, but it’s a fairly new concept and interested veterinarians are trying to learn it on the fly.

Most Treatment Protocols Should Start With a Food Change

In her practice, Dr. Klein has to learn which patients need to make dietary changes in baby steps, and which can make faster transitions. She usually begins a patient’s treatment protocol with a food change. Many veterinarians, especially conventional practitioners, never address the diet at all.

No number of supplements or probiotics will be effective if the diet is not also addressed. Supplements are not bad, but should be used for specific reasons. Feeding your furry companion, a diet that creates disease in his body and then trying to fix the problem with supplements is not a good approach.

How Pet Food Creates Disease

Dr. Klein explains to us how commercial pet food can create diseases. From a nutrigenomics perspective, everything in the body runs on a protein-based metabolism. This means it’s very important that the body is taking in proteins it can recognize and use in an efficient manner.

Dr. Klein tells mentions that commercial pet food is sourced from ingredients unfit for human consumption, including remains of dead, dying, diseased, and disabled animals. The process involved in making the average dry pet food involves heating ingredients at high temperatures, which causes the core nutrients to be destroyed. They are then added back in synthetically, and they are foreign to pets’ bodies.

The food is then dried, pressed into cute shapes, and placed in bags with shelf lives up to two years. From a nutritional perspective, there is nothing living in that food anymore, but we’re putting it into living bodies. If we want to transcribe for healthy genes, we have to have healthy, live proteins.

Pet food contains a number of byproducts as a result of the manufacturing process. The most significant is advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Simply put, this means there’s way too much sugar in the food that is coating the proteins in the in the food in such a way that the body doesn’t recognize it as a food source. It also coats the tissues of the body such that the immune system doesn’t recognize them, and we start down the path of autoimmune disease and cancer.

Pet Parents Must Continue to Push for Change

The veterinary profession is the only healthcare profession that advocates feeding entirely processed foods versus fresh foods. Veterinarians are also the only healthcare profession with practitioners that tell clients fresh food could be risky and harmful to animal companions.

Because this information is difficult to replicate in a research setting, it is unlikely it will be taught in vet school, because where would the funding come from? This is why pet parents should be the ones to push for change. If it’s good for human’s, why isn’t it good for pets?

Good Food Is Good Medicine! Pass It On!

The bad news is that most people rely 100 percent on what their veterinarian tells them. When it comes to nutrition, misinformation about processed pet food will be perpetuated. In addition, there’s a lot of money being made by the processed pet food industry.

For the foreseeable future, it looks as though information about the importance of a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet will have to continue to travel by word of mouth from people who have experienced the tremendous healing of fresh, whole food.

Click here to watch Dr. Becker and Dr. Klein’s full discussion on nutrigenomics.

10 Signs Your Dog is Stressed Out

Summer is exciting. It’s easy to get swept up planning for parties, running to the store for S’mores ingredients and arranging plans to view fireworks. But during the seasonal festivities, keep in mind that dogs feel differently than you do. It’s common for them to be frightened by changes in routine like loud booms of thunder or fireworks and crowded party atmospheres. This article from Pet360 lists signs of anxiety and how to help your dog through it.

There are many things you can do to help ease your dog during a stressful time. It begins with recognizing your dog’s body language and behavior. When a dog is stressed, be their pack leader. When your pooch can’t identify the alpha she can become anxious and insecure.

“You will see signs often in conjunction with each other,” says Darlene Arden, dog behaviorist and author of over a dozen books including “The Angell Memorial Animal Hospital Book of Wellness and Preventive Care for Dogs.” “It is important you remain calm. If you’re anxious, your dog will pick up on that.”

To help identify stress, Arden said to look for the following signals:

– Excessive licking of paws, nose or lips

– Panting that isn’t heat related

– Pacing

– Trembling

– Pinning back ears and cowering

– Hiding

– Refusing treats

– Diarrhea or vomiting

– Whimpering

– Clawing at walls, doors or gates trying to escape

Ways to Soothe Your Stressed Dog

“Drawing the curtains helps to keep out flashing lights that may startle your pets,” Arden says. “And if you plan on being out, leave a few lights on. That can also help ease a dog’s mind.”

If you have a dog that suffers from separation anxiety, make sure all doors and windows are locked before you leave the house so the dog can’t run off. Play noises your dog is familiar with like the TV, radio or CD player and encourage your dog to hang out in her “den”—a crate or other private area with soft blankets or pillows, favorite toys and a treat-release toy or puzzle game filled with kibble.

Taking your dog for long walks, playing fetch, or spending some time learning new tricks are other ways to help relieve pet stress.

Bonnie Brown, founder of Dog Trainers Connection, recommends trying a popular pet product to reduce anxiety. “Use a Thundershirt,” she says. “Maintained pressure helps calm the dog’s sensory receptors.” Think of it as swaddling a baby to encourage a feeling of security. “The wrap helps to minimize the dog’s involuntary shivering, which in itself can help your dog feel calmer,” says Brown. Securing a T-shirt or towel around your dog can also have a similar calming effect.

There are several options available at the Barkery to help with anxiety such as aromatherapy mist, calming supplements, and therapy coats. Not sure which is the best option? Ask one of our pet experts by calling 816-333-2275

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