Products We Love: Medicinal Mushrooms

by Christine Mallar


In each of our newsletters I’ve started to write a little piece called “Amazing Things You’re Not Buying”, featuring a product that we love. We have a number of products that are truly amazing, and that we wish so many more pets could have access to, due to their ability to support their good health, or ability to help with common chronic health issues. But, too many customers buzz in and out of the store to pick up their bag of food without taking the time to explore some of the other ways they could be supporting their pet’s health and longevity.  I’ve been reticent about posting specific products on the internet, as we don’t have the time to support online sales on our website. However, I would be happy if more pet owners everywhere used these products, and I know you’ll be able to ask your local independent pet supply stores to order them for you, or you can find them online. Of course there are many resources for other products containing medicinal mushrooms – the one featured is a good one, but not the only one! Don’t forget, these same benefits can be found for humans who might supplement with medicinal mushroom blends for people.

Today’s feature – medicinal mushrooms:

Medicinal Mushrooms are amazing. Many cultures around the world have used mushrooms for centuries for medicinal purposes. Modern research has shown us what ancient healers and scientists have learned through this practical experience – studies indicate that medicinal mushrooms have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor properties. Some mushrooms contain compounds that stimulate the immune system, activating the pet’s natural defenses and healing response. They can assist the healing of the liver, kidneys, and heart tissues. They can also support healthy digestion and support flexibility and ease of movement. The most impressive results we’ve seen in our store have been with dogs that have been diagnosed with cancerous tumors – many customers swear by the Bixbi Immunity mushroom blend for helping to slow down or shrink tumors and say they’re convinced it gave them longer survival rates and better quality of life. This is big stuff in our world!
We also have two other blends that deserve consideration if your dog has joint pain and stiffness, digestive issues, or if your dog has chronic skin issues. The Bixbi Skin and Coat formula is worth a try for dogs or cats with skin issues that don’t seem to resolve with diet changes, or if your pet seems to continue to develop allergies to increasing numbers of things in their environment. The reason for this is that allergies are often tied to the function of the gut, where much of the immune system lives. The amazing thing about medicinal mushrooms is their ability to modulate the function of the immune system, calming an overactive system or stimulating and underactive one. With allergies, supporting the immune function could really be the missing piece of the puzzle to calm down a pet’s reactivity to its environment.

The Bixbi Digestive Formula is for pets with occasional gastrointestinal disturbances, including gas, bad breath or loose stool due to environmental stress or changes in the diet.

The Bixbi joint formula pairs medicinal mushrooms with Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM), which contains a unique blend of chondroitin sulfates and hyaluronic acid, plus collagen that does not contain shellfish. NEM® is clinically proven and tested on humans to benefit connective tissues and cartilage while helping to improve range of motion and flexibility to keep your pets active and healthy.
Each container has a 60 day supply for a 50lb dog and approximately a 120 day supply for a cat. We recommend introducing them slowly and building up to the dosage – this is a good rule of thumb for any new supplement, to help avoid digestive surprises. Read more about medicinal mushrooms from holistic vet Dr. Karen Becker here. She wrote another good article about mushrooms used in a dog cancer study here.


Caution! Hot Pavement!

Safety Tip For Dogs in Summertime:

Please remember, if you bring your dogs outdoors during a hot summer day, as the day gets hotter pavement heats up much more than the air. Today it’s almost 100 degrees – we measured the pavement temperature and it was 141 degrees! This temperature can easily cause pain and blistering for dogs and verges on the temperature that could result in permanent damage to the pads (120 degrees can cause pain, 140 degrees can cause permanent damage after 1 minute of contact, and 150 degrees can cause instant damage). Please remember that the darker road temperature can often be hotter than the lighter sidewalk, but not by much – the sidewalk can be almost as hot, or in some places hotter. Bring dogs out in the earlier part of the day for their exercise, and keep an eye on their feet. Reach down and feel the pavement – leave your hand on it for a minute – can you leave it there? They might have slightly tougher feet than we do, but heat is heat, and tissue damage can occur. Blistered paw pads are no fun for either of you to deal with! A pair of boots wouldn’t be the worst idea if you know you have to be on hot pavement with them.  Here’s a good article that mentions the device we use to measure pavement temps, and discusses this issue in greater depth. One tip from this link: the temperature of car seats can be very hot as well – he measured his at 150 – this is hot enough to cause damage. Make sure to travel with towels or a blanket to throw onto hot seats when traveling with a dog.

You might even want to pick up a surface temperature reader for yourself to know when conditions are safe. You can find them for as little as $14.99 on Amazon.

July 4th Tips!!

Photo Copyright Green Dog Pet Supply

Photo Copyright Green Dog Pet Supply

By Green Dog Pet Supply

The 4th of July is a bad time for many pets around the country, but in places like Portland where people seem to be very big fans of fireworks and the larger illegal fireworks are so easy to get, it’s often a complete nightmare for people whose pets are terrified of the noise. Some people choose to go camping in remote areas with their dogs, and one customer routinely gets in the car with her dog on the 4th and just drives and drives for hours, around and around the city’s highways to avoid the stress of the night. Here are a few tips we hope can help if you’re staying at home this 4th of July.


Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 2.31.05 PMAre your ID tags current? Make SURE that every pet, perhaps even your indoor cats, are wearing their tags – fearful animals can often bolt for the door or out of a gate, and so many pets are lost every year! There might still be time to order a fresh ID tag from us, but I’d recommend doing it very soon to ensure you’ll get it in time. Many big box stores have machines where you can get tags engraved on the spot. If nothing else, a piece of duct tape wrapped around a collar and a sharpie will get the job done.

If you have a new dog, please don’t make plans to bring them to a fireworks display. The crowds and the very big noise and smells of the explosives can all be very overwhelming to a dog, and could create a fear of fireworks or loud noises where they might not have had one before.

As people generally start setting off a few fireworks in the days leading up to July 4th, you can use these IMG_2636intermittent pops and bangs as opportunities!
Keep some very high value treats nearby and when you hear a pop, act like that’s a really great opportunity for your dog for fun and treats. Many dogs will start to feel more tolerant of noises if they predict good things for the dog. If nothing else, at least don’t act like you’re worried that they will be frightened by the noises, or they might pick up on that and be frightened. Best to either ignore the noise or act like you think it’s fun and treat-worthy.

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 2.34.52 PMWe do have a variety of calming treats in the store that are certainly helpful to many pets. We’ve had great results with each of them, but each pet responds differently to different formulas – now’s the time to try them to see how they affect your pets, so you have time to return one and try another if it didn’t help during these pesky “warm-up” days where people start setting fireworks off in the evenings before the 4th. It doesn’t happen often, but some calming herbs like valerian can actually have the opposite effect and make them more anxious. It’s an amazingly effective ingredient for almost all pets, but you don’t want to find out you own that rare pet when fireworks are exploding outside your windows.

Our favorites are (in no particular order): Happy Traveler by Ark Naturals, Calming Chews by Pet Naturals, Animal Essentials’ Tranquility Blend, Homeopet TFLN, which stands for Thunder, Fireworks and Loud Noises, and Cannapet or Holistic Hound CBD biscuits.
Very frightened dogs may do well with a multi-pronged approach; one of our managers uses Cannapet, Tranquility blend and a Thundershirt (see below), with a healthy dose of exercise in the afternoon for Dundee (the dog in the photo at the top of the page) and he does pretty well!

NOTE: do NOT use the sedative Acepromazine for noise phobias as it heightens noise sensitivity! See this video for more information.


Thundershirts can be a very useful tool. These snug wraps can really help to calm and reassure dogs in stressful situations. Click here for a blog post about the Thundershirt, how it works, with a few great testimonials.

On July 4th day:

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 2.49.52 PM – Make sure to get all of your pets lots of exercise (don’t forget to play with the kitties). Getting them tired will help them not to be so amped up over noises. Burn off that nervous energy! Keep them inside – don’t leave them outside as they can panic and run off, or be injured accidentally or purposely by people playing with fireworks.

Offer dogs something new and exciting to chew on that night – chewing often helps dogs deal with stress and gives them something to distract them from the strange noises.

Close the blinds and do what you can to minimize the intensity of the stimulus. Turning on some white noise or music, a movie on the TV, or even the clothes dryer or a noisy dishwasher they’re already used to hearing all the time can be helpful to drown out the fireworks noise. (Be careful about the stereo and TV that they’re not broadcasting fireworks noises themselves!) There are even recordings out there that are designed to calm dogs, such as  “Through A Dogs Ear” CD’s for soothing any animal – available on iTunes. Let us know if you try them and whether it makes a difference

Consider staying home that night – your presence does a lot to calm and comfort your pet. It’s OK to 10388217_803182376070_7026452719631730471_nhold your pet if she needs comfort, as long as you are very calm and happy as well. A few of our customers have told us that they’re already feeling anxious about the 4th – your pets will pick up on that! Make sure you do things to calm yourself like exercising that afternoon, drinking chamomile tea that evening, or taking some Rescue Remedy yourselves. Be positive!

If you’re having a barbecue, be careful of allowing pets to interact with matches, tiki torch oil, lighter fluid, charcoal, the fat traps on a grill after use, sparklers and insect coils, or you may face a trip to the emergency clinic. Make sure they’re not able to get into the garbage and gorge on meat scraps or corncobs, etc. Keep glow sticks away from dogs – they may want to chew them.

If you must go out that night please make sure your pets are in a secure location without access to the outdoors.

– Check your yard the next day for used fireworks before letting your pets outside. They may contain toxins like arsenic and potassium nitrate that can make your pet sick if consumed. Don’t let them interact with the BBQ grill after it’s used – a major cause of summertime pancreatitis is when dogs get into the grease trap.

Here’s wishing you a fun and safe Fourth of July!

Giardia Recovery Tips

Friendly Reminder: spring is Giardia season! It’s important to try and prevent dogs from drinking from puddles and slow moving water. Giardia and other diseases that can be transmitted through contact with animal feces are prevalent this time of year (snow and ice is melting, releasing accumulated deposits, and the rain rinses fecal matter down into streams and puddles). We’ve really noticed swampy spots at local dog parks like Fern Hill (lots of dog poop is being washed down the hills into the gullies!) and we see dogs playing in these little “ponds”. We also have a handful of customers who have recently reported their dogs have tested positive for Giardia.

Giardia is tricky to eliminate and is unfortunately also tricky to test for. Symptoms can take several months or more to begin because they are caused by gradual changes in the lining of the intestine. It’s possible to get a negative test result if the sample didn’t contain a spore, so multiple stool samples may need to be collected and tested. Symptoms can persist for some time after treatment, as the lining of the gut may need repair. Here are two tips:

‘Tis the Season For Fleas!

We’re coming up on a time of the year when fleas start to become more active. Here are a few quick tips to stay ahead of fleas (and ticks) effectively without harmful chemicals:

Protect your yard

  • Nematodes: When soil temperatures rise above 45 degrees for at least 2 to 3 weeks (spring, summer and fall in most areas), apply nematodes to your yard to minimize flea populations. Nematodes (microscopic worms) eat flea larvae and do not hurt beneficial insects. They can be found at many plant nurseries. (Portland Peeps: they stock them at Garden Fever right down the street from us).
  • Diatomaceous earth – sprinkle in the yard where dogs spend the most time, especially if they have regular “resting spots”.
  • Keep it Clean and Dry: Fleas like shady, sandy, and moist areas, so be sure to remove yard debris, and keep grass mowed short in shady spots.

Protect your House


Green Tip – Why You Should Avoid Farmed Salmon

Seafood Watch Guide to Salmon

When we are evaluating a pet food or treat to sell at the store, there is an (ever-expanding) list of ingredients that we will not carry, and farmed salmon is definitely one of them. Some items we don’t like because the ingredients are harmful to the environment, some because practices are inhumane or these animals are fed things that might remain in the meat, and some because they are harmful to the animals that consume them. Farmed salmon has the special distinction as being all of these things.

Farming salmon is factory farming at its worst – it’s devastating to the environment, large overcrowded pens require massive amounts of antibiotics and pesticide usage to combat health problems, contagious diseases and escaped fish are a big risk to wild populations of fish, and the resulting product is high in PCBs and other chemicals.


Bone Broth – Part Two in Our Toppers Are Important Series

Bone Broth

photo from

This is the second segment in a series covering the benefits of whole food toppers.  We try to source the very best dry pet foods on the market, but the truth is that all kibble diets are highly processed foods.  Multiple heat processing steps during production damage valuable nutrients like amino acids, enzymes and vitamins, and can create chemicals like acrylamide .  Adding small amounts of  whole foods to your dry food as toppers can provide valuable nutrients that can help to support their health.  It’s amazing how often adding whole foods to processed food diets can help to clear up nagging chronic health problems like itchy skin and other irritations.  Don’t miss the introductory blog post in this series.

Chicken soup isn’t just good for the soul: slow cooked bone broths of all kinds have legitimate healing properties for our own bodies and for our pets.  These broths are staples in the traditional diets of all cultures throughout history and for good reason.  Slow cooking bones in water takes the valuable parts that can’t be directly consumed and turns them into more food.  They create an incredibly nutritious and very inexpensive elixir that can be eaten on its own or become the base for soups, stews, and sauces.  For our pets, broths can be a handy mix to any diet for hydration and appetite stimulation, as well as helping a picky animal think their food is delicious!  Many people use expensive canned foods to mix into their kibble, but broths have big advantages over this – broth is far less expensive than cans, and cans come with some downsides such as trace amounts of BPA or other hormone disrupting chemicals in their linings (regardless of what a company might claim ). It also takes a great deal of energy to create and then recycle these cans, as well as fossil fuels to transport them.

What is bone broth?
You can make broths with meat and water, but the real magic lies in the use of the bones.  Combining bones with water and ideally some veggies (avoid onions for pets and people with chronic digestive issues), and a splash of cider vinegar.  Let it all cook over low heat or in a crock pot for a long time–this extracts valuable minerals and other nutrients as well as breaking down connective tissues which releases collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, and valuable amino acids that greatly improve the health of the joints, skin, and gut lining (where the immune system lives).

Check out some of the amazing benefits of bone broths:


Pet Friendly Ice Melting Products are Still Problematic

This time of year in Portland we seem to be prone to ice storms, which are not only an inconvenience to everyone, they pose a risk to dogs when de-icing products are used on slippery sidewalks and roads. The trouble is, even the products that say eco-safe or pet friendly may not be entirely safe for your pets to interact with.

Here are some common ingredients and their concerns:

Salts (any ingredient that contains the word “Chloride”) are very important to avoid. Products like Earth Friendly brand of Ice Melt has magnesium chloride, a safer and less corrosive salt than the more common sodium chloride or potassium chloride, but any salts can be dangerous for pets to ingest, and can burn the skin on their paws, especially if it gets stuck in between their toes. Salt doesn’t just burn because it’s an irritant – it actually heats up when it comes in contact with moisture. You can check it out for yourself by putting a Tbs of salt and enough water to get it wet in a baggie – you’ll feel it heat up. It can get as hot as 170 degrees, and if that is salt that is wedged between their pads it can really burn. Then when they try to lick it off of their paws they’ll be ingesting it. Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal distress in small amounts and in larger amounts can cause hemorrhagic vomiting, diarrhea or death. Until recently, Portland hasn’t used salt on roads, but as of this winter, they have begun to use it on major roads here.

Calcium Salts (calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, and calcium magnesium acetate): are also very important to avoid. They cause similar problems to chlorides (above) – severe gastrointestinal distress is possible and local skin irritation.


Whole Food Toppers are Important

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 11.04.27 AMWe try to carry the best dry foods on the market, but it’s important to realize that even the best ones are still a heavily processed food. Some ingredients are put through multiple layers of processing, and the whole batch is baked or more often extruded, which can damage nutrients, enzymes, and valuable amino acids that have important jobs to do in the body.

Most pet owners find one kibble that works and just stick with it, but this really limits the number of nutrients available to your pet. Some pet food companies say you should never ever  switch your dog’s food, but that doesn’t make much sense (they just don’t want you to feed someone else’s food!). Why should you sometimes switch your pet’s food? No matter what, even the best brands of kibble are highly processed foods that lack whole food nutrients and enzymes that can help their bodies thrive. Topping off their kibble diets can make a huge difference for their health! Even the nicest raw food diets can be lacking nutrient diversity – no matter how thoughtful and knowledgeable we are, we couldn’t make a single meal for ourselves that we could eat every single day of our lives and not have a deficiency or excess of something for our personal nutritional needs. We can certainly say the same for our pets! Variety over time creates nutritional balance. Adding whole food toppers are a great to help to round out their meals, especially if you rotate through different ones!   Just like for people, a diet for pets made entirely of processed foods with no fresh whole food nutrients is a recipe for chronic illness. With the rapid rise in chronic illnesses like cancer, we should (in our opinion) be doing everything we can to boost the diets of our precious, short lived pets to try to take advantage of whole food nutrients. But what to give?


Green Tips for Portland Holiday Recycling

Holiday Recycling Tips & Why Some Items Can’t Go In:

Portland allows us to recycle a lot of things curbside, including plastic plant nursery pots, empty spray oil cans, motor oil (next to bins in a clear milk jug) and food waste. (In fact, in 5 years of curbside composting, we’ve been able to turn food waste into over 400,000 tons of finished compost, which is enough Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 3.45.12 PM compost to cover 2,400 acres of farmland, (about 4 square miles). That alone is a lot of volume kept out of our landfills!


Unfortunately it’s easy to contaminate our curbside recycling bins with well-intentioned attempts to recycle things we wish they would take, or with little things that we don’t realize can ruin the ability to recycle the rest of the material.