Brookside Barkery

Pet hair driving you crazy?! 4 tips for keeping your pet’s hair under control.

The summer weather is officially here and with it the dreaded summer shedding. No matter
the type of coat, pets typically grow a heavy coat in the winter to help insulate themselves and then shed the extra hair in the summer.  While many pet owners look to this season of cleaning pet hair with trepidation, shedding need not be feared with the help of a few simple tips to make pet fur more manageable.

  • Brush your pet! Regular, even daily, brushing is the best thing you can do to keep your home free of hair. Brushing will also make your pet’s coat softer, cleaner, and less likely to shed. Don’t have the right type of brush? Stop by Brookside Barkery and Bath to choose from a variety of pet brushes designed specifically to help combat shedding.
  • BarkeryMake sure to feed your pet an appropriate pet food. A pet’s coat is often a reflection of what they eat. Feed your pet a high quality food with good digestible
    protein sources. At the Brookside Barkey, we offer Kansas City’s largest selection of natural pet food. Our knowledgeable staff can help you pick out the right type of food for your dog’s dietary needs.
  • Cover your furniture and car seats. Upholstery is a magnet for pet hair, and removing pet hair from furniture or car seats can be a tedious task. If you allow pets on your furniture or bed, you would be wise to invest in a few furniture throws. Throws will keep your furniture looking (and smelling) better and make your home more inviting to guests. Car seat covers will keep your car seats nice even with your frequent trips to the dog park.
  • Bathe your dog more frequently during the summer. A clean dog will have a healthier coat, and frequent bathing helps wash away the hair before it can work its way into your upholstery. Make your appointment at the Brookside Barkery and Bath and let one of our groomers pamper your pooch with one of our specialty spa services, like a relaxing message with essential oils to help sooth achy joints. Or you take advantage of our self service bathing stations which includes access to clean towels, silicone-free shampoos, a dryer and sanitized grooming tools.

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.

*special thanks to Drs. Foster and Smith Educational Staff for these tips on controlling pet hair.

Brookside Barkery

Is your pet fighting “the battle of the bulge”?

Many dogs and cats are overweight and unfortunately, many owners aren’t even aware that their pets need to lose weight. When your pet has a few extra pounds, that puts stress on their joints – increasing the risk of developing arthritis and taking years off their life. In order to give our pets a happy and healthy life, it’s very important to help them maintain a healthy weight. Use these 3 tips to help if you suspect that your pet is overweight – and to get them into a healthy lifestyle!

  • The first step is identifying if your pet is overweight. Your vet can tell you for certain if they are overweight, but there are some signs that you can look for on your own. Your pet might need to lose weight if they have an oval shape when you look down from above, you can’t feel their ribs, you can’t feel the bones near their pelvis, or you can see excess fat on their abdomen, hips and neck.
  • The next step is to change their diet. Get rid of any low calorie or “diet” pet foods. They won’t be getting the nutrition they need with these foods and is not the proper way for your pet to lose weight. Stop by Brookside Barkery & Bath and pick up an all-natural organic pet food that will help provide the nourishment your pet needs – while losing weight in a healthy way!
  • Make sure they get exercise daily. After your pet’s diet has been changed, be sure to take them out for exercise every day. This should include at least 20 minutes (60 minutes is better) of consistent aerobic activity. 

Of course, there are variety of ways to begin and maintain a healthier lifestyle for your pet. Brookside Barkery & Bath has assisted pet owners with trained expert advice about their pets’ health and wellness for over 10 years now! From the Barkery’s 100% guaranteed, all-natural dog food and organic pet foods to pet supplies and full service grooming facilities, the Brookside Barkery & Bath is your one stop shop to ensure your pet lives a happier, healthier life!

Brookside Barkery

5 Signs Your Pet Needs Dental Treatment

Pets can experience dental problems just like people do. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates that 80% of dogs and cats older than 4 years have moderate to severe dental disease. It doesn’t have to be that way, though! Brookside Barkery has found a list of signs that could mean your pet needs dental treatment. Check to see if your dog or cat shows any of these 5 signs.

#1: Bad Breath. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not “normal” for your pet to have bad breath. It may be common in pets, but that’s typically because the pet doesn’t get regular tooth brushing and dental cleaning. Bad breath is the most frequent sign of looming dental problems, and if it smells similar to rotting eggs it could indicate the presence of periodontal disease. Even if it’s only mildly bad, it means bacteria is trapped in the pet’s mouth. A professional dental cleaning and examination can make the world of difference!

Brookside Barkery
#2: Stained Teeth. Yellow and brown stains on the back of the pet’s teeth and around the gum line are signs of tartar build-up. These go hand-in-hand with bad breath and bacterial infections, but can usually be removed by a professional cleaning before they become problematic. Of course, if you’re brushing your pet’s teeth daily you can avoid this happening in the first place. The Barkery has everything you’ll need for at-home dental care, be sure to stop by and pick up some of our oral care products to help prevent bad breath and bacterial infections!

#3: Eating Difficulties. If you see your dog or cat having difficulty chewing her food or she suddenly loses interest and appetite, she might need pet dental care urgently. These symptoms can indicate oral infection or inflammation, which may be caused by pet gum disease or gingivitis in dogs or cats. If she refuses hard foods in particular, this may be a sign that she’s finding it hard to chew.

#4: Problem Gums. When your pet develops inflamed, swollen or bleeding gums, this is often a symptom of a bacterial infection. The inflammation can cause her significant pain and discomfort, but can often be reversed by having a professional dental cleaning or removing a specific offending tooth.
Brookside Barkery

#5: Loose and Broken Teeth. You might think it’s normal for your cat or dog to lose teeth as she gets older, but loose and broken teeth are often signs of a more serious pet dental care issue. If bacteria has eaten away the binding that holds the tooth in place, an infection probably exists or is in the process of developing. A loose tooth can also be caused by chewing on something too hard, which might open the root of the tooth and result in infection. Any oral bacterial infection can spread to the rest of your pet’s mouth, and eventually to the rest of her body.

Just like humans, your pets can have dental problems that can cause pain, and overall effect their quality of life. There’s plenty you can do to make sure your pet’s teeth are being taken care of. Brookside Barkery has everything you’ll need for at-home dental care! We have everything from toothbrushes and toothpaste, to oral cleansing gel that requires no brushing! Be sure to stop by either of our Brookside or Lee’s Summit locations and pick up those supplies to keep your pet’s pearly whites healthy.

*Thank you for the tips on pet dental health

4 Secrets You Should Know About Your Cat

Understanding your cat’s body language, needs and inner secrets can be pretty tricky. We’ve found some helpful tips about cats and why they act the way they do, along with some products from Brookside Barkery that can keep your cat happy and healthy! Watch for these four behaviors cats do that could mean they’re trying to tell you something-

1. Just because I am purring doesn’t mean I’m happy. Purring can signify contentedness, but it can also mean your cat is in pain, nervous or is just trying to manipulate you into feeding him. Kelly Morgan, DVM, clinical instructor at the Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine in Chicago, likens it to smiling. People smile when they’re happy, but also when they’re uncomfortable or when they want something. Likewise, purring can indicate a variety of internal states.Brookside Barkery

2. I get a lot of my moisture from food. Cats don’t have the same drive to hydrate themselves as other animals because their wild ancestors got the majority of their liquid through their food. To make sure your cat is adequately hydrated—a challenge, to be sure—have them eat their liquids: serve them wet food and high-water-content frozen treats, such as ice cubes made from no-salt beef stock. Brookside Barkery has many different choices for wet food, be sure to check out our selection next time you’re in! (Of course, make sure plenty of fresh clean water is always available.)

3. I’m not as hungry as I tell you I am. Cats are amazing at pretending to be hungrier than they are. They know they have you wrapped around their little paws; experience has taught them that. But where food is concerned, your devotion to indulging their wants is not in their favor. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than 50 percent of U.S. cats are obese or overweight; that’s over 47 million fat cats—and they’re not feeding themselves. Despite overweight cats becoming the norm, feline obesity is no joke. It can cause diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer. Consult your vet in determining proper amounts of food to feed and stick to your guns.

Barkery tips

4. I don’t just like to scratch, I need to. (And I’m definitely not trying to ruin your stuff.) Cats need a proper scratching post. As the Humane Society of the United States notes, the purpose behind scratching is multifold: cats scratch to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and a scent (they have scent glands on their paws), and to stretch their bodies and flex their feet and claws. They scratch when they’re excited, like when you come home from work, after naps, and to claim their space. Fail to provide an approved-by-you outlet for this natural and necessary behavior and your cat will find somewhere else to exercise this instinctive action—like your couch. Stop by Brookside Barkery and pick up one of our Scratch ‘n Pads, it protects your furniture, keeps claws healthy, and cats love it!


*Thank you for the secrets our cats want us to know!

Brookside Barkery

Keep Your Dog Safe in the Summer Heat!

Many people take advantage of the warm weather by making resolutions to get themselves and their pets in shape for summer. However, when participating in outdoor activities like walking or running during these high temperatures, extra precautions need to be taken to ensure your pet’s safety.

Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says that humans are not the only ones who need to be cautious when exercising during higher than average temperatures. “Animals do things they normally wouldn’t do to stay cool, which is an important thing to remember when outside,” Stickney said. “If they are all riled up and having a good time, they may forget how hot it is, so it is important to always monitor them.”

Anytime you are outdoors or doing something active during the summer, it is important for youBrookside Barkery and your pets to take plenty of breaks. Although you may be used to handling the heat and are aware when you need to stop and rest, your pet, especially if they have a thick coat, may not fare as well in the summer months. “Keep in mind that if you’re thirsty, your pet is most likely thirsty,” Stickney said. “Animals need plenty of access to fresh water. You can even try putting ice cubes in it to make it colder and more refreshing.”

However, the warm summer temperatures don’t mean you shouldn’t participate in outdoor activities with your pets. If you and your pet enjoy long walks to the neighborhood park, for example, just be sure that he has access to plenty of water throughout your trip. Bringing along a water bottle and bowl for him to drink from is always a good idea. “Also keep in mind that pavement can get very hot in the summer,” Stickney said. “If your dogs don’t have thick foot pads, they could develop burns on their feet. Letting them walk on the grass instead of the concrete can help keep their foot pads from blistering.”

Any summertime activity that involves the water is good to partake in with your pet. Getting adequate exercise, while also being able to cool off in the water, is a perfect outdoor activity. However, keep in mind that they will still need to have clean drinking water available, as well as a shady place to rest once out of the water. Swimming for a long time can be draining on a dog not used to that type of physical exertion. “If your pet does accidentally overdo it in the sun, there are signs you can watch out for,” Stickney said. “Panting, unresponsiveness, red whites of their eyes, and bright reddish gums can mean that your dog is overheated and needs a break.”

If you notice that your dog is beginning to exhibit any of these symptoms, stop activity immediately and allow them to get a drink and cool off indoors or in the shade. Overall, be smart and safe when going on outings with your pets during the warm summer months. Monitor your pets closely, and be prepared to step in at the first sign of heat stress. They may be enjoying your time together so much that they don’t realize how hot and tired they really are!

*Thanks for the tips!

Brookside Barkery

The Benefits of Cat Ownership

We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” But have you ever considered interacting with your pet as another way to prevent doctor visits? Many people are experiencing the social and health advantages of interacting with their four-legged friends. The proof is not only evident in happy pet owners’ faces, but also in recent studies. Professionals and researchers have found specific benefits in cat ownership.

For many people, cats offer social companionship without the fear of judgment. Having a cat around can prevent loneliness and depression and even improve your mood in general. Companionship through a cat is especially beneficial to those who live alone or are widowed. Dr. Jonathon Lidbury, assistant professor in the feline internal medicine department at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains the key advantages of owning a cat.

Brookside Barkery“Cats offer companionship, which is especially beneficial to people who are socially isolated due to various reasons,” he said. “Cats also offer stress relief and light exercise if you play with them.”

Besides social interaction and a reduced risk of suffering from social diseases like depression, cats also offer many health benefits. In fact, the positive emotions you experience from playing or cuddling with your feline can help boost your immune system. Cats can also sense when their owners are sick and often offer them company. This can help you feel better even sooner.

Although it is common to find someone who is allergic to cats, studies show that young children or infants who are exposed to cats often develop fewer allergies. Early and frequent exposure to cats may also prevent future upper respiratory problems in children as well.

For many people, interacting with their cat provides a sense of comfort and relief from everyday stress. Caring for another creature and being sensitive to their needs can help distract cat owners from their daily struggles, worries, and negative emotions. By lowering stress levels, cat owners may experience lower blood pressure as well as less anxiety. Cats are smart and independent animals that are also naturally clean, making them a great choice for a pet. Combined with their many health benefits, the low maintenance aspect of cat ownership creates a great opportunity for companionship.

“Cats offer a great balance between being easy to take care of but at the same time being very good companions,” Lidbury said. “They are playful, intelligent and engaging pets that are very fun to take care of.”

*Thanks for the tips!

Brookside Barkery

Keep Your Dog Poolside Safe this Summer!


School is out, the temperatures are rising, and the days are getting longer. For children and pets alike, this makes taking a dip in your backyard pool seem more attractive than ever. Although your children may be competent swimmers, do not assume that your pets are. Preventing pool accidents for your pets takes adequate planning and careful supervision.

Limiting their access to the pool is an easy and effective way to prevent accidental fall-ins. “A good gate will be the best way to limit pet access to the pool,” said Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Keeping the door closed at all times is important for children and dogs alike, as is only allowing them to be in the pool area supervised.”

Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are efficient swimmers. This common misconception can be life threatening to your pet. “The dogs that are considered to be brachycephalic, such as English bulldogs, American bulldogs, and French bulldogs, are notoriously bad swimmers,” said Barr. Therefore, it is smart toBrookside Barkery teach these dogs how to swim and exit the pool safely to prevent drowning.

Another popular concern among pet owners is whether it is safe for Fido or Fluffy to drink pool water. Dr. Barr explains that while it typically is not safe, there are some pool waters that are worse than others for drinking. It is also important that your pool’s chemical balance is correct, as algae can be disruptive to pets’ health.

“The typical chlorine pool could be quite irritating to the gastrointestinal tract and could cause some electrolyte issues if enough is drunk,” said Barr. “Saltwater pools, although not as salty as seawater, can also cause electrolyte problems if enough is consumed.”

Though your pooch may be eager to splash into the pool on a hot, summer day, there should be set limitations for dogs of certain ages or medical conditions. You should always consult with your veterinarian before allowing your dog to swim.

“By far, the most common reason why a dog drowns or nearly drowns in a pool is because they suffer from dementia or are blind or both, fall into the pool and are unable to get out,” said Barr. “Otherwise, safety depends on your dog’s ability to get in and out of the pool.”

While there are many effective ways to ensure your pet’s safety when near a pool, the most important precautionary measure is adequate supervision. Just like with children, leaving them unattended around a pool can lead to unnecessary injury. This, along with teaching Fido how to swim and correctly exit the water, can keep the pool area a fun and safe environment.

*Thanks for the great tips!

Brookside Barkery

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

If you are a cat owner, you’ve probably gazed at Whiskers on the couch and asked, “Why does he sleep so much?” The answer is very simple, says a noted Texas A&M University animal behaviorist: It’s in their DNA.

Bonnie Beaver, a veterinarian at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and a former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, says cats are natural sleepers – and they are very good at it. When it comes to sleep, the news about cats is hardly out of the bag. Many cats sleep 16-20 hours a day, more than any other animal, and they are not picky about choosing a place for their cat nap – on top of a car or a roof, in a tree, their favorite chair or just about anywhere they can curl up for 40 winks or more.

“Let sleeping cats lie,” goes a French proverb, and it’s advice cats have taken to heart. “Over the thousands of years that cats have evolved, so have their sleeping habits,” Beaver explains.
“Early on, they had to hunt for food to stay alive, and that desire for food can require a lot of energy. So sleeping Brookside Barkeryhelped cats conserve their energy, and even though the common housecat does not have to hunt for its next meal, a cat is still conditioned for sleep. “House cats sleep a lot more than feral cats do, because they don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for food.”
That’s not to say all of that sleep is purr-fect sleep, either.  A lot of that time – maybe as much as 40 percent – is spent resting and not in deep sleep, Beaver adds.

So with all of that sleeping, do cats dream like we do? “We know that dreaming occurs in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and cats very much have an REM phase of sleep,” she notes.“They also exhibit movements during REM sleep, so it is possible they can dream.  What are they dreaming about?  Since we can’t ask them, we really don’t know.” She adds that if a cat’s whiskers or paws twitch during sleep, it’s very possible it is dreaming.

And while dogs are known to snore almost as loud as your Uncle Fred, cats tend to be quiet sleepers, Beaver points out.  “Most cats don’t snore because they don’t have a loose, soft palate like many breeds of dogs do,” she says. There’s also the flip side – if Fluffy appears to sleep very little, it may not be a true cat-astrophe, but it could be a sign that something is wrong. “Cats are like people – each one is different,” Beaver adds. “Each cat is unique, so if it does not seem to sleep much, it may be its normal routine.  It is more important to note changes in behavior.

Your cat will thank you – once it is fully awake, of course. Or then again since it’s a cat, maybe not.

*Thanks for letting us know why cats sleep so much!

Brookside Barkery

Cat Tail Wagging and What It Means

A tail can tell us so many things. “Everyone has an image of a super friendly dog wagging his tail so hard he looks as though he might be able to take flight,” says Dr. Karyn Collier, DVM, Chief Medical Officer at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. “In this instance the message is clear—that dog is happy.”

There are times, though, Dr. Collier continued, where the message isn’t quite so obvious. “Especially when it comes to cats, tail posture and movement are not quite as easy to interpret,” she said. “They are still, however, sending a message.”

So just what does it mean when Penny’s tail starts thumping the second I begin to pet her? I was eager to find out…

“Behaviorists have logged many hours of research observing cats’ posture and body language during their interactions, both with other cats and with dogs,” says Dr. Collier. “The facial expression, position of the ears and the tail can tell a great deal about the state of mind of the cat. Although the tail position will be discussed, tail position is not relied upon as a single indicator of the cat’s state of mind.”

The Tail Flick

A cat that is holding its tail lower, extended rigidly and is flicking it back and forth is showing signs of offensive aggression. “This is not a happy cat,” says Dr. Collier. “This is encountered frequently during veterinary visits. The cat that is flicking its tail on the exam room table is letting everyone know it does not want to be there.” Brookside Barkery

In contrast, a cat that is relaxed and simply surveying the environment may also have the tail lowered, but will leisurely move it and is generally much more content.

The Vertical Hold

A cat that is holding its tail in an upright, vertical position can be considered in a playful mood. “There may be motion back and forth that constitutes a greeting,” says Dr. Collier. “That cat is open to interaction.”

Other times, that upright tail that is quivering back and forth in a cat that has backed up to the wall or furniture could actually be spraying or urine marking. “And yes, female cats spray urine as well as male cats,” Dr. Collier confirms. “A tail that is held upright, but concave, is more of a defensive position or defensive aggression. That cat does not want to interact.”

And of course, a cat with her tail tucked between her legs is showing submission or fear.

The Arched Tail

Arched back. Pinned ears. Erect tail. “This cat is ready to react in either a defensive or offensive manner,” says Dr. Collier. “It will do whatever it deems is necessary, and is signaling to the other parties that he or she is ready to react.”

The takeaway? “Cats are very expressive creatures, and often use their body posture, the position of their ears, their facial expression and the position and movement of their tails to convey their feelings and intentions,” says Dr. Collier. “Unlike the aforementioned dog who is frantically wagging his tail, if a cat is ‘wagging’ his tail back and forth, it is very unlikely that the emotion he or she is expressing is joy.”

*Thanks PetMD for the great tips on cat tail wagging!

Brookside Barkery

Why You Should Be Aware of the Latest FDA Compliance Policy

The FDA has released new information in relation to prescription pet food. Veterinarians and those that buy prescription pet food should make themselves aware of this new FDA compliance policy.  For years, the FDA has not allowed any food to claim that it may cure or treat illnesses the way that a drug can.

The FDA has recently allowed all prescription pet food brands to claim that they can help cure or treat illnesses or diseases, without having to actually prove that they do, or even that it’s safe for your pet to consume.Brookside Barkery

Some common ingredients in prescription pet food are whole grain corn, animal fat and animal digest. Whole grain corn, surely a GMO and comprised of glyphosate (a possible carcinogen) is believed by the FDA to cure or treat kidney disease. Animal fat and animal digest are believed by the FDA to do the same, even though the animals that they sourced from were diseased or non-slaughtered/dead animals (a federal law violation – the same laws the FDA should be enforcing).

To make it even worse, the FDA doesn’t require these companies that produce the pet food to prove that the food is even safe for your animals to consume. They make Veterinarians responsible for learning the definition of each ingredient – some of which are linked to cancer, intestinal lesions, ulcerations, and malignant tumors.

Vets should take some time to read the latest FDA Compliance Policy about prescription pet foods.