Bone Broth – Part Two in Our Toppers Are Important Series

Bone Broth

photo from https://www.canva.com/

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:

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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, here are 4 things you should do:

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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.

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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 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’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 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. 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 carcinogenic preservatives. Pests like fleas were only 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’re fairly certain that 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, though those things I listed above still exist, 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…)