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?

This is where whole food toppers come in handy. Most kibbles rely heavily on synthetic vitamins and minerals to make sure that valuable nutrients that are damaged by cooking are not missing. However, whole foods have valuable qualities that trump any single synthetic vitamin. For example, a carrot has valuable Vitamin A, but to quote http://www.whfoods.com, “carrots actually contain a fascinating combination of phytonutrients like betacarotene and other carotenoids (especially alpha-carotene and lutein); hydroxycinnamic acids (including caffeic, coumaric, ferulic); anthocyanins (in the case of purple and red carrots); and polyacetylenes (especially falcarinol and falcarindiol). Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids). In addition, they are a very good source of biotin, vitamin K, dietary fiber, molybdenum, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. They are a good source of manganese, niacin, vitamin B1, panthothenic acid, phosphorus, folate, copper, vitamin E and vitamin B2″. WOW! Just trying to isolate single vitamins makes you miss out on the incredible complexity of nutrients that were designed to work together.  So, we don’t recommend getting a supplement made from synthetic vitamins, we recommend rotating through a variety of Whole food toppers one at a time to help to cover all of their nutritional bases.

We’ve decided to create a tag called “Whole Food Toppers”, and to add a series of articles about our favorite whole food toppers for pets. Some will be things you can make or just add from your own fridge, and some will be our favorite ready-made commercially available toppers that you can look for at your favorite local pet supply store. Most will be for dogs, but we’ll point out what would be appropriate for cats of course.

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 11.05.10 AM

photo from www.greenjujukitchen.com

The most awesome thing would of course to switch entirely to a fresh, minimally processed diet. Over and over we see chronic illnesses and conditions solved by doing this. However, many people are not able to do this for themselves, let alone their pets. There’s a lot to be said for the convenience and price effectiveness of kibble. But as I always say, whole foods don’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. Any amount of whole foods in our own diet is a good thing, and the same goes for our pets.

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Important Tips:

- Introduce all new things slowly. If your dog is tiny (and of course this goes for cats), start very small and build up to the suggested serving size. It’s a good rule of thumb for all foods and supplements. What if your pet had an allergy you didn’t know about and you heaped on something new? You can’t “un-give” it if they’ve started to show a reaction to it. What if your pet’s digestion is affected by something new? No one likes a blowout.
- Use something for a few weeks to get a sense of its long term benefits, and then rotate into something new. Or if it’s a fish oil, try a new kind of fish for your next bottle. (Been on salmon oil for a while? Try anchovy or sardine.)
- Always try one new thing at a time, so you can see whether it does or doesn’t agree with your pets- Watch your portions. If more than 20% of their meals are something you’re adding, you may need to consider if it’s balanced. Variety does help to create balance over time, but regularly adding even a little whole food to your kibble will create benefits. Sprinkle stuff on. If you normally add a few spoonfuls of canned food for variety and flavor, that’s great. Maybe try to introduce other things in the same amount to your dog’s kibble. Added perk: they’ll almost always be less expensive than canned foods.

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Featured Topper!!
Here’s a great product that we love. We sell a ton of Answers brand raw goat’s milk from our freezers, but these have added nutritious benefits and travel well when you’re on the road with your dogs

FREEZE DRIED RAW GOATS MILK FROM STEVE’S

Group-with-BottleThese are supercharged with Mother Nature’s most powerful superfoods! 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 knowledgable 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 like these (or the Green Juju we featured in the last newsletter) are a great to help to round out their meals, especially if you rotate through different ones!
Each freeze dried goat milk enhancement made by Steve’s Pet Food is packed full of carefully chosen superfoods that are designed to alleviate specific health issues. They package it in a reusable glass milk bottle, so all you need to do is fill it with water, shake, and pour over your pet’s food, or give it to them as treat or bedtime snack. When you run out, you can buy their 8 oz. refill containers and reuse the milk bottle to make another batch of your favorite enhance product. Here is a description of the three amazing flavors:
CannaGurt is a raw cannabis product that takes raw goat milk yogurt and infuses it with high-quality hemp oil. With 2.9 mg of CBDs per oz, CannaGurt is designed to help to dogs (or cats) with seizures, anxiety, pain, cancer, cognitive disorders and a suppressed appetite. CannaGurt has three simple ingredients that pack a big nutritional punch. First, the goat milk, which is incredibly nutritious and healthy for pets. They have added hemp protein which is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also high in fiber, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes and maintains energy. The bonus is that hemp is a sustainable crop that thrives without pesticides, and purifies and enriches the soil around it. The third ingredient in our powerhouse CannaGurt is Hemp Oil. Hemp  oil contains Cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not alter the mind but safely contains incredible medicinal benefits.
DogNog is a recipe that takes raw goat milk and boosts it’s health properties by infusing it with whole, freeze dried eggs. They then add turmeric and yucca to heighten the anti-inflammatory powers, making it ideal for pets with mobility issues, allergies, or pets with inflammatory diseases such as IBD. It supports the urinary tract by providing high levels of Vitamin C coming from both Yucca and Cranberries. Cranberries also contain flavonoids comprised of a complex profile of anthocyanins and pronthocyanidins.  They perfect the enhancement by adding bromelain, a protein extract derived from the stems of pineapple, which acts as a binder to help with the absorption of the turmeric & yucca and also provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
CarnaForage is a super green smoothie that is perfect for dogs with digestive issues. It is packed with a wide variety of  greens that provide high levels of L-glutamine, a conditionally essential amino acid that the body uses in large amounts. L-glutamine is primarily responsible for digestive health and can ease symptoms of IBD, diarrhea and leaky gut. We compliment the tummy soothing raw goat milk with liver supportive dandelion, known for its high levels of Lecithin and Vitamin A. We finish this digestive enhancement with milk thistle, cilantro, and spirulina to strengthen and protect the liver from toxins, making it perfect for those pets with a sensitive stomach, chronic indigestion, pancreatitis, or GI tract inflammation.
read more here

 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-12-04 at 4.11.32 PMFor example, lids are almost always made of a different plastic than the bottle or tub they’re sold with. It’s too work-intensive for workers to remove them (too few people, too much recycling to pick through quickly, and everything still needs to get washed and processed or packed up to be processed elsewhere) and the plastic in the lid is a very different plastic, with a higher melting point than bottles and processed an entirely different way. Things like plastic bags and caps can also jam machinery when they get into the mix accidentally, so can cause damage and make them more likely to toss “contaminated” recycling instead of sorting it. A light bulb might be made of glass, but their different melting points and chemical compositions will ruin new glass bottles. If a buyer of glass sees a light bulb at the top of a load of glass, the entire load could be rejected for recycling. This kinds of hopeful recycling often means that all of our good intentions are foiled. When in doubt, leave it out!

Here’s a list of some common things that are mistakenly added to recycling, but could in fact be recycled elsewhere:

  • - Soft plastic bags can’t go into curbside,  but can be recycled at both Whole Foods and New Seasons (just not hard and crinkly bags like chip bags – those go in the trash).
  • - Plastic “clamshell” containers like spinach or to-go boxes can’t be recycled curbside, but can be recycled at both New Seasons and Whole Foods, as well as plastic things like yogurt/deli lids and coffee lids. (The coffee cups go in the garbage, because they contain waterproofing additives).
  • - Any paper made to contain frozen foods or takeout containers must go in the garbage. It also contains additives to make them waterproof and these additives make it non-recyclable.
  • - Any paper with decorative foil has to go in the garbage (though all other wrapping paper, tissue paperScreen Shot 2016-12-05 at 1.17.09 PM, cards and envelopes can go in, minus the ribbons).  Set up two collection bags ahead of time when it’s time to unwrap gifts. One for wrapping paper, tissue and cards, and the other for ribbons and foil. It can be fun for kids to be in charge of things, so make one little elf in charge of bringing presents to people to unwrap, and another little elf that can be in charge of grabbing that wrapping paper and getting it into the right bag. You’ll be amazed at how much tidier the livingroom looks after present opening! Don’t forget: Those foil covered papers and ribbons are great for kids’ craft projects.
  • - Packaging peanuts and styrofoam
 cannot go in curbside, but other places will reuse them. Places like the UPS store and Fedex are often happy to take your clean bagged styrofoam peanuts – call your local store and ask. Excess cardboard boxes and packing peanuts can be posted on Craig’s List or Next Door. People who are moving might appreciate them or small businesses in the neighborhood might use these for shipping and come take them off your hands.
  • - Styrofoam blocks are a challenge at the time of this writing. Check out this link for your options http://www.oregonmetro.gov/tools-living/garbage-and-recycling/find-a-recycler
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  • - When you take a toy out of a formed plastic insert, bring them to Whole Foods. They have a bin labeled “non-curbside plastic” which is good for caps, lids and other misc hard plastics (when you take a toy out of a formed plastic insert, for example).

- Corks can’t go in curbside, but they recycle them at Whole Foods.

 

Interesting things from your Holiday dinners that you can include in the compost bin:

  • - meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, bones
- coffee filters, coffee grounds, tea bags
- paper towels, paper   napkinsScreen Shot 2016-12-04 at 3.34.14 PM
  • -pizza delivery boxes
  • - pumpkins
  • - greens from wreaths and even your tree, cut down into 3ft. lengths and free of wire, tinsel, etc. (you might have to break it up over a few pickups as it can’t be sticking up out of the bin, but it’s a good way to have it picked up for free)
  • Stuff That Can’t Be in Compost:
  • - Cat litter, even the plant based ones we sell cannot be added to curbside compost (the fact that it clumps makes it so it can clog up machinery that’s used to process it)
  • Ashes from the fireplace can’t be composted curbside
  • - To-go boxes, parchment paper, or plastic bags and cups that say “compostable” are generally not allowed in our compost. Bummer, but true. Here are a few brands of approved compost bags you can use to collect food waste that have been proven to break down quickly in their facilities: BioBag  “Certified Compostable”, EcNow Tech  “Compost Me”, EcoSafe “6400 Line”, Glad “Compostable Kitchen”, Natur-Tec “Natur-Bag Compostable”. Everything else that says compostable must go into the garbage.
  • - Note: You may not put pet waste in compost, even if it’s in one of the bags mentioned above. Compost is meant to be appropriate for food crops, and fecal bacteria could pose a risk.

 

Resources:

Don’t forget – The greenest ways to handle waste are to choose products that come with less packaging, fix broken things when possible, and reuse items instead of recycling or tossing them into landfill.

Think about it like this:

  • When you buy a poop bag, resources and energy were both spent in creating and shipping that bag
    Check out this pretty mosaic made from soda bottle lids! Kids and adults alike can have fun turning waste into art!

    Check out this pretty mosaic made from soda bottle lids! Kids and adults alike can have fun turning waste into art!

    to the distributor who then ships it to the store (possibly traveling around the globe in the process). Reusing a bag that already exists, like the plastic bag your sliced bread came in, the Oregonian plastic wrapper, or the produce bag that you got from the grocery store, takes no energy or new resources at all. (Far be it for us to discourage you from buying poop bags from us though. It’s still more important to scoop the poop that contaminates our rivers when it washes down the storm drains than to boycott poop bags!)

  • Throwing away a small appliance creates landfill, recycling it uses energy and manpower to disassemble the recyclable components and ship them to their new purpose (perhaps to the other side of the world). The same elements come into play for every material then needed to build your new appliance and ship it to the store’s distributor, then to the store, and then to your house. Check out a free fix-it fair! Fix-it Fairs are free events where you can learn simple ways to save money and stay healthy at home this winter. Workshops are available in English and Spanish. led bu local experts about water and energy savings, home and personal health, food and nutrition, community resources, recycling and yard care, lead testing and more. There’s a free repair cafe at each fair for simple sewing and small appliance repair, staffed by Repair PDX volunteers (check that Repair PDX link for upcoming repair opportunities!)

At Green Dog, our mission statement can be boiled down to this: We believe that living sustainably does not have to mean making drastic changes in our lives. Simply considering where things come from and where they go when we’re finished with them can be a big step towards living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Safety First – A Reminder When it Comes to Pet Food

We really try very hard to carry products that we trust from companies who have rigorous safety protocols for their manufacturing facilities and who source good ingredients. These pet food companies are pretty big companies though, providing a lot of product nationally to a great number of pets. Problems are fairly uncommon, though they are still possible. Remember, we can’t report problems to the company unless we have the date codes and lot numbers. If your pet’s food seems to have changed, or your pet suddenly doesn’t want to eat something they usually like, or you open a new bag and your pets suddenly start having issues:

- Bring it back and let us know about it. It really might not be the food causing the problem, but why take a risk? Also, if your pet supply store starts to hear the same problems from multiple customers, it lets them see a pattern they might not be able to notice otherwise. There are of course many reasons pets might not want to eat or have sudden GI problems, but what if others are seeing the same thing? We’d like to alert the company and ask them if they’ve been hearing any reports of issues.

- If your pet is ill, take them to the vet. More importantly, If your vet strongly suspects a problem with the food, ask them to report it!

- Whenever you start a new bag of food, hang on to the bag for a little bit. Many people use storage containers and immediately discard the bag, but there is no way for a company to respond to a problem if they don’t know which batch to test.

- Report it! The internet is overflowing with people saying they’ve had problems/illnesses associated with all sorts of pet foods and medications, but when you ask the companies they often have had no reports, or even when you look up FDA reports of illness there is very little reported. Message boards and comment section complaints are not a good way to make sure problems are addressed. Here’s a new effort to encourage reporting of pet food problems: Please read it and share this link widely! http://truthaboutpetfood.com/report-it-please/

Here’s the quick link to the safety reporting portal of the FDA

Safety Alert! Xylitol is deadly for dogs

 

We just wanted to remind everyone to be very careful with products with Xylitol around your dogs! It’s a sweetener used more and more in things like candies and gum. Though safe for humans, even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. We recently spoke to a customer whose little dog somehow ate a stick of gum with xylitol (they didn’t have any in their house, and they figure the dog hoovered it up on a walk and they didn’t see it). The owner saw his dog in the yard a short time after their walk and she was swaying and drooling. She was rushed to the emergency hospital where they were able to remove the gum (less than an hour from ingestion), which was lucky, as if it had been in her stomach longer, it could have been a fatal dose. They have a protocol where a dog has to be then boarded for 3 days so it can have its liver values tested regularly, as it’s common for dogs to continue to have a risk of crashing in that time period. This event also cost him $1600. Shortly after, one of our employees’ dog got into some gum in the house and they were also very lucky to find her quickly and discern the problem, but her little dog’s liver values were very seriously high. Please share this information, reminding your dog owning friends and family to be very vigilant about keeping your dog away from this very dangerous substance for dogs. More info here

Be Ready for Emergencies and Disasters – A Few Tips

(* = items we sell or can order for you)

Remember – if it’s not safe for you to stay in your home, it’s not safe for your pets. When in doubt, bring them with you. There is a chance that if conditions worsen, you may not be allowed to return to your home to retrieve them later.

Pro Tip: Use the buddy system. If you can, make arrangements with a nearby neighbor to try and helpthe-buddy-system-519x180-500x173 each other if the time comes to evacuate. Trade keys now and give instructions on where your pets and medications/supplies are. If you are out during an emergency event, your neighbor may be home and able to get your pets out when you cannot (and vice versa).

pPETNA-5193963_main_t300x300Containment: One of the most important things to own are crates*, (especially for cats). If your house is damaged, your pets might be very frightened and disoriented, and panicking pets are hard to keep safe. Crate them to protect and transport them. You may also have better chances to find shelter elsewhere if you have a means to contain your pet.

Drinking Water: Make sure you and your pets are prepared at home with 5 days of water for each of you. Humans should have 1 to 1 1/2 gallons per person, plus more to cook with. A gallon should last a petwater-images-clip-art-clipart about 3 days. Keep an extra gallon to rinse pets that might have become exposed to flood waters or other contaminates. Buy water in sealed containers, or wash and disinfect your own. To prepare other containers appropriate for holding water (such as 2 liter soda bottles, or check New Seasons for 1 gallon and 5 gallon BPA free water bottles. Do not use milk jugs), wash the inside and outside of each container with soap and hot water. Next, sanitize containers with a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented household bleach per quart of water. Finally, rinse thoroughly with plain clean water and fill. Store in cool dark place away from chemicals. A water filter used for camping is also a very useful purchase. You can also use the bleach to purify drinking water: 8 drops of bleach for clear water – 16 drops for cloudy per gallon, let sit for 30 min. Iodine tablets can also be purchased to help purify water for drinking.

Honest-Kitchen-Revel-ChickenPet Food*: Store enough pet food for 5 days. Check expiration dates of foods before you buy. Cans traditionally have the longest expiration dates. Other products for dogs include Honest Kitchen* and Sojo’s* (for both brands, a 10lb bag makes 40lbs of food). These options are much more portable than kibble, and would be suitable for feeding dogs on a raw diet. If you’re storing kibble, make sure the bags remain unopened and in a waterproof container until use. No matter what you choose, make a calendar reminder for yourself to use and replace food that is in storage before it expires.

I.D. Tags: Make sure your contact info is always up to date on your pet’s01-PP-DB_01 i.d. tags. If your indoor cats don’t wear a collar, keep a collar* and tag* handy for emergencies. Emergency i.d. tags could also include a number for a friend or relative outside of the immediate area. Take a photo of you with each of your pets and put it with your emergency supplies in case they are lost, and to prove that they are yours once you find them. Consider microchipping your pets. You may want to keep medical records with proof of any vaccinations and any critical medications in a waterproof container (again, make a calendar reminder for yourself to use the meds before their expiration and restock them). Write up a list of their dietary, medical and behavioral needs, your veterinarian’s contact info, and friend or family contact info in case they suddenly have to be left in foster care or boarding.

dc859oMgiAssemble a first aid kit:  
You can buy one for humans and add a few things for pets, buy a pre-made first aid kit for pets*, or assemble one yourself. Put it in a backpack or tote bag in order to be able to grab it and go. Include phone numbers of your veterinarian and for local emergency clinics (with directions). Here’s a list of first aid kit items compiled by the Humane Society: Gauze, Vet wrap* (self cling bandage), Muzzle* or strips of cloth to prevent biting (important if your dog is in pain, but don’t use this if your pet is vomiting, choking, coughing or otherwise having difficulty breathing), Absorbent gauze pads, Adhesive tape, Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray*, a foil emergency blanket, Cotton balls or swabs, Gauze rolls, Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert), ice pack, Non-latex disposable gloves, k-y jelly (to lubricate the thermometer), Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F), Scissors (with blunt ends), Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages, Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies), Tweezers, Tick Twister*, Ear cleaning solution*, Benadryl (ask your vet about dosages ahead of time), Neosporin, Nail clippers*, Penlight/flashlight, Styptic powder*, Splints (paint stirrers, rulers, and tongue depressors are all ideas), Extra leash*. A pet first aid book* can be very useful. Talk to your vet about ideas for your pets’ specific medical conditions. Check these items once a year for expired products.  

Other useful items: towels, newspapers, plastic garbage bags, poop bags*, kitty litter* and clean litter pan* to take with you if you evacuate, potty pads*.

Keep them Safe: During an event that could damage your house or if your house is already damaged, do not allow your pets to roam loose – keep them leashed or crated.

Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets.

Covering your bases and being prepared will give you peace of mind!

Pongo Fund Food Drive Update!

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 7.25.25 AMGreen Dog Pet Supply is gearing up to deliver the second half of our annual pet food drive to The Pongo Fund pet food bank. The Pongo Fund has called this donation “The BIGGEST single store, premium quality pet food drive in America”.

We do a pet food drive every December for the Pongo Fund. We offer a bag of dog food for customers to purchase (at our cost) for donation, and we’ve always matched each of them. Both our distributor (Animal Supply) and the food manufacturer (Nutrisource)  also matched one bag for each 12 sold. This resulted in a VERY large donation this year,  one we had to break into two deliveries to be able to afford to do it, which is why this update comes to you in July.

This delivery brings the total number of pounds of food donated to 15,550 (that’s more than 7 tons of food with a retail value of more than $21,000). Our food drives have always been impressive (last year’s was about 11,000 pounds) but this year, customers donated 183 bags!

We had to break it up into two parts, as this sort of donation isn’t easy. Green Dog is a local independently owned store. We believe in taking good care of our staff – we provide a living wage, and full time staff receive benefits. We have sacrificed most of our advertising budget to help support local pet rescues. The owners make the same salary as our senior employees. We exist to help people keep their precious pets in their lives as long as they can, and we work tirelessly to become the best resource for holistic pet care that we can possibly be. We donate over 200lbs of food a month plus additional supplies (many of which are donated by our fabulous customers) to local rescues and other causes, including Meals on Wheels (for seniors to feed their pets when they couldn’t otherwise afford it), Dignity Village via Safe Dogs by the River, Underdog Railroad Rescue, and Angel’s Eyes Dog Rescue (a small rescue operating on a shoestring), among others.  We think this donation is a very exciting event – we are honored to be able to help the Pongo Fund.

Many cities have a food bank for humans, but a pet food bank of this size and scope is a very unique thingThe_Pongo_Fund_Pet_Food_Bank_Grid7 in this country. There is quite a bit of conversation these days about the homeless situation in Portland, and the things that are and are not being done to help. This amazing service makes a big impact for families facing food uncertainty, both for themselves and their pets. Sharing your only meal with your pet is a sacrifice many people are willing to make. The stories told by Larry Chusid, the founder of The Pongo Fund are always touching, regularly posting stories in his blog of people who have found themselves in terrible situations yet stay hopeful due to the presence of the pets in their lives. His stories do a valuable service, humanizing the people who are homeless or food challenged and reminding us all that this problem is not faceless. The Pongo Fund is critical to help keep pets with their families and out of the animal shelters when their families are homeless or having a Homeless-FB-11-16-13-2-5-14-12-29-15-1175274_694978047197679_731477717_ndifficult time finding the money to feed their pets. People can visit the pet food bank in Portland, but the fund also delivers food to distribution points in other parts of Oregon. They also have an Emergency Veterinary Care fund, (read the great blog post about this fund in this link and a wonderful story about one dog that really needed it here ). He often calls us to help a pet owner with tricky health issues, and we and he both donate products and money to help people get the supplements, etc that they might need. The Pongo Fund also has an Emergency Pet Food Response Team, a Spay and Neuter program, and provides high quality and nutritious pet food directly to many other social service and emergency food organizations that in turn provide that food to their own clients.

We are proud that our customers helped us to make this delivery of what is likely to be the largest ever pet food donation by an independent pet supply store, and proud to support the Pongo Fund in the endless work they do to support homeless and low income pet owners.

Read the super nice article they wrote about us when the first half of the food was delivered!

Some Tips for the 4th of July

 

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 camp 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’shighways 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.

BEFORE JULY 4th:

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 2.31.05 PM- Are 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’s still 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 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 PM- We 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. 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 CBD biscuits.

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

thundershirt

- 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 http://throughadogsear.com

- 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 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, 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!

Reducing Your Pet’s Carbon Pawprint

Photo by Elizabeth Manley

By Christine Mallar.

When we go grocery shopping, many of us have learned to make choices that are both healthier for the planet and healthier for our bodies. We look for organic, locally grown produce, non toxic cleaners, and paper products made with recycled materials. But how many of us realize that we can apply these same sorts of good consumer choices when we’re shopping for our pets?
In the not too distant past, choices for holistic, earth-friendly pet products were few and far between. Food and treat choices were limited to ingredients that were simply waste products from the human food industry – grain fractions and condemned meat made more palatable by the addition of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. Pests like fleas were controlled with the use of toxic chemicals. Leashes, collars and beds were often only available from big chain stores and were made of the cheapest materials, with no regard for toxicity, durability, or wastefulness of resources. Many might have asked, what does it matter – they’re just animals, right?

Luckily, times are changing. Our animals have moved inside and become an integral part of our family unit. We respect and depend on the positive roles our pets have on our emotional and physical health; many studies have shown an increase in the quality and even length of our lives through mechanisms like the reduction of our blood pressure when we’re touching them. Greater awareness of global climate change has resulted in a significant increase in the range of available sustainable pet products. Furthermore, the demand for better products for our beloved furry friends has supported a veritable boom in the number of independently owned, holistic-minded pet supply stores. We did a lot of research before we opened, and we believe we were the first environmentally friendly pet supply store in the nation when we opened in 2004! Many other stores have followed suit, and now it is so much easier for people who care about the health of their pets to also make choices that are good for the environment. (more…)

Recycling Tips for Portland Folks

(and some handy links at the end for everyone!) images

 

Happy Earth Day Month!!

We’re continuing with green tips this week to help people find simple ways to live more sustainably.

 

Amp up your recycling!

Portland helps us recover a lot of our waste at curbside. Curbside composting really has decreased the amount of waste in our landfills; in fact, a report released in January showed that more than 63 percent of what businesses and residents threw away in 2013 was recovered through recycling, composting or energy generation, which was a new record. Do you recycle reuse, repurpose, or compost 60% of your waste? Maybe not, but as far as recycling goes, there are good ways to increase the amount of non-curbside waste you can recycle without too much effort – our friends at Whole Foods in Hollywood (who are sponsoring the Fremont Fest Parade again this year) have a wider array of items that can be recycled than you’d expect.

- In the parking garage, there are bins for both “soft clear plastic” and “non-curbside plastic”. Soft clear plastic are things like clean clear (not colored) plastic bags, bubble wrap, shrink wrap and cling wrap. (Crinkly crunchy plastic like potato chip bags aren’t considered soft). It’s important it is rinsed – food contaminates plastic recycling and could make a facility reject and landfill the entire load.
Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 1.19.09 PM
- “Non curbside plastic” are things like clamshells and the flexible lids that come on tubs like yogurt, cottage cheese or deli items. Our curbside only allows plastic tubs (like cottage cheese), plastic buckets (like for kitty litter) or plastic containers with necks (like a water bottle), but these other items are not allowed. New Seasons also has a bin for clean clamshells and flexible lids as well.

- You can also bring hard bottle caps to Whole Foods. They have a little collection bucket in their dining area, or you can bring them to the customer service counter. Wine corks (real cork only) are another thing you can easily recycle there.

- The other interesting thing at Whole Foods is the bin (looks like a dumpster) in the parking garage where you can recycle clothes and fabrics. Wearable items will be donated and unusable fabrics will be recycled. This makes it a one stop solution for many of your household recycling needs, and it’s convenient to drop things off on your way in to do some shopping.

- Do you have other things like styrofoam, TVs or other electrical appliances, batteries, or CFL bulbs? Metro will help you find a place to bring them! There are many nearby options (a few right on Columbia Blvd) that will take them for free or for a small fee.
Springtime cleanups are a great way to unload a lot of waste easily.

 

Neighborhood Clean-ups are plentiful this month
shirleysmyth_smThe Cully Cleanup takes place on April 23rd! Check out the list of accepted items as well as tips on where to bring items they can’t take

There are actually over 40 neighborhood cleanup events scheduled around Portland in April and May to give residents a chance to remove unwanted clutter from their homes, basements and garages. Keep your eyes open in your neighborhood for signs advertising cleanups.

You can recycle computers and electrical gadgets at Free Geek - they accept “nearly everything that plugs into a computer or uses electricity (including smart phones, tablets, e-readers, video game systems and any old gadget you can think of) whether or not it’s in working condition. We are happy to accept your printers (including extra ink and toner), scanners, routers, UPS, digital cameras, PDAs, cell phones, and a whole lot more!”  Link here

Things we take or give away at Green Dog:

We save packing materials that come to us (cornstarch and styrofoam peanuts, etc)  and donate them to people who have needs for them. If you have a local business and would like us to call you when we have bags of peanuts or other items you might be looking for, let us know!

Cardboard Boxes – are you moving? Check with us for loads of boxes of different sizes. We normally have a lot of them to give away, unless the recycling truck just picked them up.

Paper Shopping Bags – Bring them to Green Dog! We love reusing clean paper bags with handles.  We don’t mind if it has a logo from another store on it, it just lets people know we like to reuse things!

Good links for folks everywhere:

Recycle your empty pill bottles to benefit this charity

Recycle any old sneakers at a Nike Store! They have a bin labeled “Old soles never die”

Here’s a good list of many ways to recycle common household items that you may not have thought of before. Click Here

Recycling Guide from Earth 911 has even more nifty tips

Apple is doing an amazing job with recycling and other sustainable practices these days. They’ve invented a new robot that can quickly disassemble something like a phone and recover even every tiny screw and recycle or reuse them. They’re growing their own forests for paper as well as other initiatives. Check it out here  (as well as a nifty video of the robot in action).  They often have programs where you can bring your Apple products to the Apple store for recycling and in turn you can get a better deal on a new item.

Note: From now until April 24th, go to the Apple App Store and look in the Featured app section. You can choose from different causes and 100% of the proceeds from those participating apps will go towards that cause.

It should go without saying that the greenest things you can do are to reuse things (the bag that sliced bread comes in makes a good poop bag!), re-purpose things – a jar with a lid makes great food storage, a smoothie to go cup, or transport for bulk foods), or better yet, choose a product that comes with less packaging waste to begin with, and tell that company why you skipped buying it!

Colostrum for digestive health and immune system support

whol_cancolostrum_rgb300For the first few days after giving birth, all mammals produce something called colostrum in their milk. This amazing substance is critical for the early development of newborns, as it serves as a concentrated source of proteins, growth factors, and antibodies. Its properties have been revered for thousands of years across many cultures, as it is a powerhouse of nutrition and tools for healing and protecting the body.  Many human health benefits have been attributed to bovine colostrum including: increased energy levels, lower risks of upper respiratory illnesses, reduced risk of intestinal damage from anti-inflammatory drugs, increased ability of the body to burn fat and increase muscle, and the acceleration of injury healing. 

The immunoglobulins in colostrum have specific immune system activity against many common pathogens such as E.coli, Cryptosporidium, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Rotavirus. Another of the many beneficial attributes in colostrum is that it is rich in “Proline-Rich Polypeptides” or PRPs, which are specifically designed to modulate the activity of the immune system, stimulating its activity when needed to fight off an infection or quelling its activity to prevent tissue damage once the infection has been defeated. PRPs have also been shown in studies to be potent stimulators of natural killer (NK) cell activity (cancer fighters).
One of the most important things that colostrum can do is to help seal the lining of the gut. The gut lining (ours and those of our pets) is fragile, and can be damaged easily by the many stresses of life which include a poor diet, chemical exposure, vaccines, medications (especially NSAIDS), and adrenal stress. The lining is naturally permeable to allow tiny nutrients to enter the blood stream, but when the lining is damaged, larger gaps are created, allowing things like toxins, microbes and waste materials to travel into the blood stream. The immune system is designed to spring into action to prevent these things from hurting the body, but when this condition is chronic, it can cause the immune system to become over reactive. Holistic vets and Naturopathic doctors believe that it can lead to a host of symptoms, such as seasonal allergies and asthma, skin issues, yeast overgrowth, chronic problems with stool quality, food intolerances, and IBD.  Colostrum has a unique ability to help to seal and heal the lining of the gut and calm and support the immune system. It also helps probiotics to work more efficiently, preventing their loss through that leaky gut, and providing the soil for the seeds of probiotics, so to speak. 

Colostrum can also be used topically! On the VCA Hospital’s website it says that it’s “useful for accelerating the healing of insect bites, wounds such as abscesses or ruptured cysts, warts, and surgical incisions”.

Photo by: Magnus Rosendahl

The good news is that the benefits of colostrum are not species specific – the colostrum produced by cows is just as beneficial to humans and pets as it is for cows. When cows are born, their needs are met first, as calves will likely die or have serious health issues without colostrum in the first hours of life. Luckily, the mother continues to produce enough extra colostrum that it can be collected for use in supplements.  The other piece of good news is that colostrum has been proven to be safe and therapeutic. Colostrum is food and should be thought of as such. There have been no significant side effects from supplementation with bovine colostrum reported in the abundant literature. It is best taken on an empty stomach with liquid – you could also add it to a small spoonful of food, like yogurt, cooked sweet potato, etc, or even better, added to Answers brand of probotic-rich goat’s milk! When shopping, look for colostrum that is from grass fed cows, ideally organically raised. Read more about colostrum here