Play Games With Your Dogs for Science!

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 1.25.08 PMFun idea! You can play games with your dog and contribute data to the science of dog cognition at the same time. Ever wonder how your dog measures up to other dogs in the way they think and problem solve? This program’s evaluation component could be a fun thing to see!
For more info, check out this link

Why we Discontinued the Sale of Retractable Leashes

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Forward by Christine Mallar:
This is a blog post written by Dr. Karen Becker, DVM. She’s a veterinarian with an active blog discussing many aspects of pet health and behavior. This article sums up the issues we had with these leashes so well that I thought I would paste it here for your benefit. When I was a trainer teaching classes I quickly banned them from class time, as dogs can suddenly dash into the space of another dog that might have social issues. This has continued to plague us at the store, as many dogs are reactive on leash or simply overexcited by other dogs. Some dogs are painfully frightened of being in a store to begin with, and being in close space with other dogs nearby can exacerbate this. When another dog on a retractable leash can quickly rush into their space, fights can break out. Stopping a fight is very difficult and dangerous if you can’t pull them out of the situation with their leash, and reaching in to remove the dog on a retractable leash would put the human in danger of being bitten. This also creates an unfair disadvantage for other people that are carefully trying to train dogs with social issues, as their ability to manage their dog’s space to keep their dog comfortable is destroyed easily by a dog that is suddenly 16 feet away from their owner and in that dog’s space. It can be a huge training setback for these people who are trying to provide positive experiences for their dog in a place that contains other dogs within sight range.
Another problem for us is that when people are distracted by shopping, they may not notice when their dog is getting into trouble, eating treats on counter displays or marking our antique furniture (old wood is so porous!).
I do think there are some times that a retractable can add to the fun of an outing while still being “on leash” for safety, such as on the beach, or on a hike in areas that are not busy with people and other dogs, but please be aware that dogs leaving a trail at all in some habitats can damage fragile vegetation, etc.

The safety concerns for dogs and people are many when you use a retractable leash in a populated area. Even if your dog is tiny and wouldn’t break a leash, wouldn’t it be terrible if an off leash dog attacked your little dog and it was 16 or more feet away from you when it happened? Please read these ten reasons below before deciding to use a retractable leash. Remember: if you use a retractable leash, keep it retracted and locked so it is as short as or shorter than a regular leash in places with other dogs and people. When you are in an open space, you can give them more room to explore. If you are looking to buy a retractable leash for trips to the beach, find one with a “belt” or “tape” instead of a cord. This can be safer for your skin.

 

Why I Don’t Recommend Retractable Leashes retractable-leash-NO
June 11, 2014
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/06/11/retractable-dog-leash.aspx?i_cid=retractabledogleash-rb-pets
By Dr. Becker
A retractable leash is not so much a leash as it is a length of thin cord wound around a spring-loaded device housed inside a plastic handle. The handles of most retractable leashes are designed to fit comfortably in a human hand. A button on the handle controls how much of the cord is extended.
Retractable leashes are popular primarily because they aren’t as confining as regular leashes, allowing dogs more freedom to sniff and poke around on walks. But unfortunately, there are many downsides to this type of leash.

10 Reasons Not to Use a Retractable Leash

1.  The length of retractable leashes, some of which can extend up to 26 feet, allows dogs to get far enough away from their humans that a situation can quickly turn dangerous. A dog on a retractable leash is often able to run into the middle of the street, for example, or make uninvited contact with other dogs or people.

2. In the above scenario, or one in which your pet is being approached by an aggressive dog, it is nearly impossible to get control of the situation if the need arises. It’s much easier to regain control of – or protect — a dog at the end of a six-foot standard flat leash than it is if he’s 20 or so feet away at the end of what amounts to a thin string.

This graphic is from Flexi's page on safety, outlining the risks of cuts and burns, finger amputations and fractures, eye and face injuries and falls. http://www.flexi-northamerica.com/us/operation/

This graphic is from Flexi’s page on safety, outlining the risks of cuts and burns, finger amputations and fractures, eye and face injuries and falls. http://www.flexi-northamerica.com/us/operation/

 

 

3. The thin cord of a retractable leash can break – especially when a powerful dog is on the other end of it. If a strong, good-sized dog takes off at full speed, the cord can snap. Not only can that put the dog and whatever he may be chasing in danger, but also the cord can snap back and injure the human at the other end.

 

 

 

 

4. If a dog walker gets tangled up in the cord of a retractable leash, or grabs it in an attempt to reel in their dog, it can result in burns, cuts, and even amputation. In addition, many people have been pulled right off their feet by a dog that reaches the end of the leash and keeps going. This can result in bruises, “road rash,” broken bones, and worse.

 

5. Dogs have also received terrible injuries as a result of the sudden jerk on their neck that occurs when they run out the leash, including neck wounds, lacerated tracheas, and injuries to the spine.

6. Retractable leashes allow dogs more freedom to pull at the end of them, which can look like aggression to another dog who may decide to “fight back.”

7. The handles of retractable leashes are bulky and can be easily pulled out of human hands, resulting in a runaway dog.

8. Along those same lines, many dogs – especially fearful ones – are terrorized by the sound of a dropped retractable leash handle and may take off running, which is dangerous enough. To make matters worse, the object of the poor dog’s fear is then “chasing” her, and if the leash is retracting as she runs, the handle is gaining ground on her – she can’t escape it. Even if this scenario ultimately ends without physical harm to the dog (or anyone else), it can create lingering fear in the dog not only of leashes, but also of being walked.

9. Retractable leashes, like most retractable devices, have a tendency to malfunction over time, either refusing to extend, refusing to retract, or unspooling at will.

10. Retractable leashes are an especially bad idea for dogs that haven’t been trained to walk politely on a regular leash. By their very nature, retractables train dogs to pull while on leash, because they learn that pulling extends the lead.

If your dog is well trained, gentle mannered and smart enough to master a regular leash and a retractable leash without being confused, you could be one of the rare guardians that can walk your pooch on any kind of leash without increasing risks to either one of you.

Cat Nutrition

IMG_5020_2By Green Dog Pet Supply

Nutrition can be the key to keeping your kitty healthy, avoiding chronic illness and ultimately saving lots of money at the vet. We might be called Green Dog, but the owners and staff of Green Dog are actually made up of some pretty serious cat people. We know there’s a lot of info in here, but after 10 years of serving the cat community of Portland, our hearts are often heavy from the overwhelming numbers of cats with chronic illness, much of which we feel could have been prevented with better nutrition. Whether you’ve gotten a kitten or an adult cat, we hope that these tips will come in handy for you:

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Happy Halloween – a Few Tips

By Green Dog Pet Supply

Happy Halloween!10626878_10152327038381761_2622935969487730386_n

Fun Stuff
check out this link to cute dog breed stencils for your pumpkin carving! Each one can be downloaded by clicking a link under the description

Beware of Toxic Things on Halloween

Don’t forget to be on guard for dogs getting into that Halloween Candy stash! Chocolate isn’t the only thing that’s toxic to dogs; macadamia nuts, raisins, and the sweetener xylitol are all on the list of things that can be very poisonous to dogs, but the wrappers and other decorations can also cause problems when ingested. Check out this link to other common household items that are toxic to dogs, and what to do if your dog gets into them.

Behavioral Tips

Make sure that if your dog is stressed out by strangers to have him in a secure area of the house where he won’t be plagued by constant scary monsters ringing the doorbell. Conversely, if you’re up for it this is a great time to work on door manners with a dog that isn’t frightened, just excited. The doorbell rings, dog on leash sits, door opens, dog and costumed kid both get their own treats. Lots of repetitions available on Halloween equals lots of chances to practice how to act when people come to the door.
Hints:

-Practice this a day or two beforehand with someone familiar that rings the doorbell, rehearsing the routine 8 or 10 times of sit quietly while the door opens (the first time is hard, then it gets easy as it’s the same person over and over. This lets the dog get better and better at the behavior because you’ve removed the novelty of someone at the door)
- work on a leash for control, but reward the sitting calmly without lots of yanking. The familiar person can hang out on the step for a few minutes while you work on achieving a sit before you open the door.
- on Halloween, have two people work the door, one for kid treats and one for working with the dog
- when the doorbell rings, don’t jump up. Walk calmly to the door.

If you have a new puppy this can be a good socialization exercise: monsters = good treats for puppy! First put on masks or hats several times in the few days before Halloween, but don’t act scary, just be yourself and encourage your puppy to come get treats and interact with you in this strange get-up. Do multiple repetitions at different times until your puppy isn’t reacting fearfully. On Halloween night, encourage them to say hi to the funny monsters, but don’t force them into it – you want socialization exercises to be positive. Offer your puppy really delicious treats like bits of cheese while they interact with the people in costumes, and if you feel like it’s safe, have the monsters offer the puppy some yummy dog jerky or pieces of cheese. Soon the puppy will think people in costumes are a good thing!

Other things to keep in mind:

- Make sure all of your pets are wearing i.d. tags, even your indoor cats. That door is opening and closing many times during that evening, giving opportunities for your pets to slip out.

- Watch out for candle flames – often there are decorations that might be novel to the pet who wants to investigate them.

- Keep indoor/outdoor cats inside for the night – you do hear strange and terrible stories sometimes of cats who are the victim of cruel treatment on this night.

Foods We Carry at Green Dog

Here is a list of the current foods we carry at Green Dog Pet Supply DSC01177

Some of our guidelines for pet foods:
Our criteria for foods are that they all be made from human grade ingredients. None of our foods have corn, wheat or soy and are naturally preserved. We also make every effort to evaluate the safety standards of the company that manufactures the foods, seeking transparent companies that have 3rd party inspections with excellent marks for manufacturing safety and quality control. We also want to ensure that ingredients like fish meal are not pre-preserved with chemical preservatives that would not be on the label, and that they are making an effort at sustainability with sourcing. We try hard to avoid factory farming of meats (especially battery cages for poultry, feedlots (CAFOs) for cattle, and gestation crates for pigs). We are opposed to the use of farmed salmon in foods and treats. Our treats and foods contain no chemical preservatives, nitrates, propylene glycol, carrageenan or artificial flavors/colors. Note: We can often special order foods for you that are not stocked on our shelves.

Check out our blog posts on how to read a pet food label and learn which ingredients to avoid (and why):

Your Bag of Kibble Might Have Pretty Pictures, But Do You Know What’s Inside?
A Discussion of Sustainable Choices in Foods for Pets
Cat Nutrition – Please read this if you have a cat
Tips for New Puppy Owners
Claiming Raw Foods Are Dangerous Isn’t Backed Up With Data
Why Dry Pet Food Isn’t The Best For Your Cat
Carrageenan and our Quest to Change the World One Ingredient at a time
Just Say No to Soy in Pet Food

Raw Foods:
Rad Cat
Answers Foods (cat and dog), Cultured Goat’s milk and Cultured Fish Stock
Small Batch (cat and dog)
Primal foods (cat and dog) and bones
Nature’s Variety (cat and dog)
Northwest Naturals (breeder bars for dog and some bones)
Max Meal Food Topper (dog)

Freeze Dried/Dehydrated Foods:
Honest Kitchen (dog)
Sojos (dog)
Pureformance (dog)
Stella and Chewy’s (cat and dog)
Orijen (dog)
Ziwi Peak (dog)

Kibbles:
Nature’s Logic (cat and dog)
Orijen (cat and dog)
Acana (cat and dog)
Open Farm (cat and dog)
Nutrisource Grain Free (dog)
Pure Vita (cat and dog)
Natural Planet Organics (dog)
Pulsar (dog)
First Mate (cat and dog)
Nature’s Variety Prairie (dog)
Nature’s Variety Instinct (cat and dog)

Cans:
Nulo (dog)
Cocolicious (dog)
Nature’s Logic (cat and dog)
Lotus (cat and dog)
Evanger’s (cat and dog)
Hound and Gatos (dog)
Nature’s Variety Prairie and Instinct (cat and dog)
Tiki (cat)
Weruva (cat and dog)
Tripett (dog)
Wellness (stews for dog)
Wild Calling (cat and dog)

 

Raw Foods Unfairly Treated (Again) By the FDA

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 2.27.36 PMThis is an excerpt from the Truth About Pet Food’s article about this issue. We at Green Dog are frustrated by
the lack of logic that seems to go along with pet food safety warnings. Saying raw foods are dangerous implies that kibbles are inherently safe, but kibble recalls are far more frequent for bacterial contamination. This is frustrating, as no warnings are ever issued warning people of the dangers of salmonella in kibble, which had 400% more incidents in the past 12 months than raw foods. Even more upsetting is that even though more than 1000 dogs have died and many many more sickened (many with permanent kidney damage) from eating Chinese chicken jerky, there has never been a warning issued by the FDA suggesting it could be unsafe to feed it. Why is there a warning against raw foods when they refuse to issue a warning against these treats which have killed so many? It just doesn’t make any sense!

FDA Warns Against Raw Pet Food (Again)

July 2, 2014 9 Comments

FDA “suggests consumers carefully consider the risks of feeding a raw pet food to their pets”. This is not only a bias against raw pet foods, it is a lack of understanding (on FDA’s part) of lightly processed pet foods. Here’s the story and what our consumer association asked FDA regarding this bias.

In a not so surprising FDA press release, the FDA again tells consumers that raw pet foods are a risk to not only your pet’s health but a risk to human health as well. In a very strong statement (strongest I have noticed yet) the latest press release from FDA says…

FDA does not believe feeding raw pet foods to animals is consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks.

The FDA’s Dr. Burkholder states “Feeding raw foods to pets increases the risk that both the pet and the people around the pet will encounter bacteria that cause foodborne illness, particularly if the products are not carefully handled and fed,” Burkholder says. “This is certainly one factor that should be considered when selecting diets for your pet.”

In the past twelve months…

  • There have been five recalls for bacteria contamination of dry/kibble pet foods – in total 37 different varieties of kibble pet food recalled.
  • There have been 3 recalls for bacteria contamination of various dried jerky treats, 5 varieties of pet treats recalled.
  • There have been 2 recalls for bacteria contamination of raw foods – 9 varieties of raw foods recalled.

Statistically – based on number of products recalled during the past 12 months, a consumer has had a 400% higher chance of exposing their family to a bacteria from kibble than it has with raw pet food. Where is the FDA warning that ‘Consumers should carefully consider the risks of feeding a kibble food to their pet’ – ?  There is no such warning against kibble pet food – the FDA did not issue a warning against kibble pet food.

Where is the FDA statement ‘FDA does not believe feeding jerky treats imported from China to animals is consistent with the goal of protecting pets from significant health risks’ – ? There is no such warning against jerky treats from China.

Jerky treats imported from China have killed and sickened thousands of pets for more than seven years – yet the FDA has never once warned consumers to ‘carefully consider the risks of feeding jerky treats from China to their pet’. The agency has issued “alerts” sharing that the agency continues to investigate the treats – but never a warning. The strongest FDA stance on jerky treats from China has been “Pet treats are not a necessary part of a fully balanced diet, so eliminating them will not harm pets.”

Clearly, the FDA has an unfounded bias against raw pet foods. Actually, I believe the agency is biased against any pet food that does not come in the form of kibble or can and that is not made with typical ‘feed grade’ ingredients. This is a significant problem for all educated pet food consumers (not only to raw pet food consumers). FDA’s bias hurts us all. Read more of this article, including Truth About Pet Food’s letter to the FDA in response to this warning

Read more – Green Dog’s Christine Mallar wrote a blog post last fall detailing this strange discrepancy in recalls – check out all of the salmonella recalls for kibble in the past few years, including a few that have sickened fairly large numbers of people. There have been no documented cases of humans sickened by raw pet food…Why doesn’t the FDA warn about the dangers of handling all pet foods? Why isn’t there ever a warning about the safety of feeding kibbles, when they are more commonly recalled for Salmonella?

Tips for New Puppy Owners

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By Green Dog Pet Supply

(This was written as a handout for customers, and we thought it might be useful to others as a blog post. If you share it, please give credit to Green Dog Pet Supply. Thank you)

Congratulations on your new puppy!DSC01291

What a fun time you’ll have! We very much want your new baby to live a long, healthy, happy life, so we thought we’d compile some of the nitty-gritty dos-and-don’ts of puppy care. We want to be a resource for you as you take this journey, so please don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have them, and if you live nearby feel free to visit often just to say hi, get treats and love from our staff, and to socialize your puppy – we love to see you!
Here are a few tips that we hope will come in handy for you:

 

it's very nice when big dogs get low to meet puppies. Hold the adult dog in one place on a leash and allow the puppy to approach and retreat as they gain confidence.

It’s very nice when big dogs get low to meet puppies. Hold the adult dog in one place on a leash and allow the puppy to approach and retreat as they gain confidence.

Socialization is of utmost importance. Though we realize that it’s important to keep your puppy physically healthy, there are definitely also big behavioral risks to keeping your puppy away from the world for too long. Puppies only have about a 4 month window of opportunity for their primary socialization to occur. Beyond that, it becomes harder to convince them that the world is a fun and inviting place. One of the primary reasons that dogs are given up to shelters is for difficult behavioral issues. Fear aggression towards strangers, reactivity around other dogs, and trouble relating to children are issues that may be prevented with better socialization early in life. Well socialized dogs are a pleasure to bring out into the world and lead calmer, less fearful lives. If you’ve adopted an older puppy and they’re a little nervous about the world, don’t worry – significant strides can be made with positive reinforcement training! Your major goal with all new dogs is to try and create as many positive experiences with new things (or with things they already find worrisome) as you can, and to not push them into anything they don’t feel comfortable with. Be their cheerleaders and they’ll gain confidence.
We strongly recommend a puppy class, whether this is your first or your 10th puppy. Classes are a wonderful way to expose this new puppy to the many other shapes and sizes of dogs, and give them early positive playtime experiences with other dogs under the watchful eye of a trainer in a clean environment. If you do a class together as a family, everyone in the household gets to hear the same instructions (which is great for preserving family harmony) and everyone can work together as a team to work on new behaviors (great for kids to have a mission). Best of all, you have access to the same trainer for the duration of the class – a great resource for the little problems that can pop up. A class also gives you the unique opportunity to work on behaviors in a distracting environment (if they can practice focusing on you with puppies and people all around them, they can learn to do it anywhere!) Most puppy classes allow a puppy to enter class by about 10 weeks of age as long as they are current with their vaccinations for their age, and we say the sooner the better. It’s far easier to prevent problems than to try to fix them later, and it’s often a big help to have the advice of a trainer in the early weeks where patterns of behavior in the home are being established. Ask us for referrals to great classes in our area. There are also a few places in town that have socialization play groups just for puppies!

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Dental Health for Dogs and Cats

FinalBy Green Dog Pet Supply

February is Dental Health Month, so it seems a good time to address the health and maintenance of your pet’s mouth.

Dental health is so important to the health of your pets, and if you’re doing a good job maintaining healthy teeth and gums, your pet’s life could be extended. Gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream, causing damage to organs, so just like us, pets need regular checkups and occasional cleanings. Luckily, there are definitely other ways to maintain the health of the teeth and try reduce the number of cleanings necessary.

Diet: A fresh, species appropriate whole food diet goes a long way towards keeping the teeth cleaner. Foods whose proteins are primarily derived from grains are high glycemic (quickly releases sugars into the bloodstream)  and high carb diets put weight on your pet. They also are hard on the teeth, as the starches adhere to the teeth, becoming plaque if they aren’t cleaned off. Grains are also high in phytic acid, which inhibits mineral absorption during digestion – the minerals that are needed to maintain healthy teeth and bones.  Raw foods do not have all of the starches that can adhere to the teeth, they aren’t generally sources of phytic acid, and they contain natural enzymes that help to break down bacteria in the mouth. Check out what happened when this veterinarian realized that “Since he had become accustomed to seeing drastic improvements in dental health with the change from kibble and commercial pet foods to a raw diet, he wondered “How quickly will healthy dogs start to deteriorate if we feed them ‘junk food’ ?” It’s alarming, but not surprising, as we see the differences every day in dental health between dogs who are kibble fed and those that are raw fed and include meaty bones.

It’s a myth that kibble cleans teeth – First, because cats and dogs are carnivores, their teeth are not designed for chewing or grinding like ours are; they’re designed to shear through meat, bone and organs like scissors. The best they’ll do is crack a kibble and swallow it, which does not clean the teeth. Even though we humans have teeth that chew and grind, really crunchy human foods don’t clean our teeth either, actually.

No matter what, we have to help our pets keep their teeth clean, and the best ways to clean them is with chews and brushing. There are also a few supplements worth mentioning, but manual removal of the biofilm (the sticky layer of bacteria that turns into plaque) that forms on teeth is critical to maintaining a healthy mouth, for us and for our pets.

Chewing
All puppies need to chew, but throughout a dog’s lifetime chewing remains an important activity for both physical and behavioral reasons. Chewing helps to keep teeth and gums healthy and clean, and is a form of exercise that comes in handy on bad weather days to keep boredom at bay and relax a hyper dog. Coyotes and bobcats eat a diet that’s mainly meat, bones and organs. Their teeth are scraped clean by crunching through little bones and shearing meat and tendons with their back teeth. Coyotes and other canids (dog type animals) also gnaw on larger bones after their main meal is done. We can replicate this to a degree with many kinds of recreational chews available for pets.

We have come to realize that all forms of chews for dogs have some kind of benefit, and they all carry some type of risk. Risks depend on not only the quality of the chew, but also the dog’s chewing style. All hard chews are more durable, long lasting and less likely to be choking hazards, but do carry the risk of a weak tooth breaking if a dog is trying to break the chew instead of just gnawing it. Senior dogs are even more at risk of breaking a tooth. Chews that soften as they chew and are ingested as they go (like bully sticks, tendons, and rawhide) are very beneficial for gum health (as they soften and get in between the teeth) but carry the risk of choking and in some cases (like rawhides) impaction if they were to swallow too much at one time. The general rule of thumb is that you need to watch dogs (especially puppies) with every new thing that you give them, and realize that they’ll become more proficient at destroying things as they get older. Throughout a dog’s life, it’s important to supervise them the first few times they get a new kind of chew. Once you feel comfortable that they’re handling the new item well, then you can make the judgement call to leave them alone with it.


A Few Chews for dogs we like:

* Bully sticks – Bully sticks are natural beef chew sticks that are like a thick tendon that softens and is eaten as they are chewed. They are valuable because they are so much more digestible (safer) than rawhides when swallowed, they soften and get between teeth like floss so help to keep gums and teeth healthy, and they are apparently super delicious, so they hold a dog’s attention. They can get a little stringy, and you probably don’t want them to swallow a big piece at the end of the stick, so we recommend using bully sticks and other tendons while you’re with your puppy, perhaps while you want them to relax while you watch a movie. You can even hold one end while they work on the other. Some bullies are stinky and some are not, depending on the store’s standards for sourcing. Other types of tendons (like achilles) have similar benefits and might come smaller than bully sticks if you have tiny dogs.

* Raw Meaty Bones – Raw meaty bones from the freezers of retail pet supply stores (safest, as they were produced and handled with the intention of animals eating them raw) or very fresh from a good butcher can keep a dog very busy for a long time, can have nutritional benefits, and can be very effective at cleaning teeth. Enzymes from the raw meat help to break down bacteria in the mouth, and the bones help to scrape it away. Raw bones are generally not as hard as smoked bones and so are less likely to splinter or to break teeth, though teeth can be broken on any hard chews if the dog is prone to trying to break it instead of gnawing it. Starting puppies earlier on raw bones gives them more experience with how to handle them. As a rule, recreational bones are best if they’re bigger – ideally for safety (bearing down on a hard chew causing tooth damage) it would be a knuckle bone the size of their head, as they’d be less likely to be able to fit it all the way between their back teeth. Marrow bones are the hardest (as they are weight bearing bones), and you want to pick one that has no chance of fitting over their bottom jaw/lower canines when emptied of marrow (we don’t think it’s at all common, but we have seen a photo online of a dog with one stuck this way). Marrow and knuckle bones are fairly easy to find, not that expensive, and aren’t as messy as you think they might be. Good tip – some owners teach their dogs to chew bones on a blanket or towel by making a rule that if they leave the blanket, they lose the bone. Marrow can be a little rich at first, so you can either thaw a marrow bone and give it to your dog for 15 or so minutes and then put it back in the fridge for the next day, or you can scoop some of the marrow out at first until you know they do well with it digestively.

* Chicken necks, duck necks, and turkey necks can be very good teeth cleaning chews as well, and though they don’t last as long as a marrow bone, they are safer for the teeth, and are packed with nutritional and behavioral benefits. It is true that cooked poultry bones can be very dangerous, but raw poultry necks have lots of collagen/cartilage (and therefore a great natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin) and have more pliable bones than weight bearing bones. Check the Green Dog Blog for a post called, “Chicken Necks for Cats and Dogs” for videos of both a cat and a dog eating necks and for more tips and info.

NEVER FEED HOME COOKED BONES OF ANY KIND – THEY COULD BE SPLINTERY AND DANGEROUS! (Slow smoked knuckle and marrow bones in pet stores are less likely to splinter than home cooked bones, but they do become extra hard when cooked, and could conceivably splinter).

* Antlers: Antlers are interesting – they’re fairly sustainable, as they’re naturally shed every year and they regrow, and even people who are vegan that have trouble with the concept of animal chews can rest easy with these as the animals are unharmed. They don’t stink or stain the carpet, and they’re less likely to splinter than bone. They also won’t be consuming anything that would stimulate their need to potty (like a full Kong might) and as long as an appropriate size is chosen, they won’t be able to choke on or swallow one, so we feel these make safe appropriate chews to leave alone with a puppy in a crate. They’re an animal product, so they are very interesting and hold their attention much better than something like a Nylabone. They’re also a great value, as they last such a very long time compared to any other chew. They wear away slowly and should be discarded when small enough to swallow. Though this is another hard chew, we’ve sold thousands of antlers in the last 10 years and have heard only 2 or 3 reports of cracked teeth. We believe that split antlers (cut longwise to expose the “marrow”) are great for gentle chewers, but carry a greater risk of slab fractures than round (whole) antlers, due to the flat surfaces on a split antler that are easy to bear down on with the back teeth.

* West Paw Zogoflex toys: Though rubber doesn’t generally clean the teeth as well as some other chews do, sometimes for allergy reasons or damaged teeth, they start to become one of the only options. These USA made rubber toys are far more durable than any other we’ve found – they often stand up to dogs that can chew up Kongs. They come in good shapes – especially the Hurley (stick) and Tux (has a hole for stuffing), and best of all are guaranteed against chewing damage. There’s no toy or chew that’s invincible though, so if you have a dog that can get a piece off, you can bring it straight back to the store and we’ll swap it out for something else (or send it back to the company). Best of all, we mail the pieces back to them and they melt them down and make new toys.

Beams: These dried fish skin chews are also great for puppies, older dogs and those with a history of tooth damage. Remarkably, these chews seem to be well chewed even by dogs who usually gulp things (they sort of chew them like gum, switching sides with a big piece in their mouth). Even if they’re gulped, they are very digestible.

Chews for cats: There aren’t as many options for cat chews, but our favorites are one inch pieces of raw chicken necks (some cats might even do well with whole chicken necks if they’re good chewers). Remove the skin before giving, as it’s very high in fat. Pieces of chicken gizzard are also abrasive and chewy. Check out the blog posting about chicken necks for a video of our cat Otis eating a piece of chicken neck. Otis generally chews a chicken neck piece about 40-80 times before swallowing it. We’ve also known a few cats that will chew dried fish skin treats like Honest Kitchen’s “Beams”.

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
People sometimes seem intimidated by brushing a dog’s teeth, or think that it’s a little silly. Brushing is a very good way to help keep plaque at bay, and can save you big money at the vet as a result. (Nothing’s silly about that). And it’s not that hard! Luckily doggie toothpaste is yummy and makes the job easier.

Some Tips:

* A puppy’s mouth is changing rapidly, and vigorous brushing is not recommended, but now is the time to get them used to the routine and getting them used to you investigating their mouths and and touching and rubbing their teeth and gums. First, get them used to you opening and looking at their whole mouth. This will be very valuable to you later in life, where noticing changes in the color of the gums, or noticing a new spot that has developed could be the key to catching a developing condition. Perhaps each night when you brush your teeth, you call the puppy in for an inspection of the mouth and then reward them with a little treat. This will help you to set up a routine with them for brushing later.

* For any dog, to get them used to brushing, start with letting them have a lick of the toothpaste. It’s important not to use human toothpastes, as those are designed not to be swallowed (dogs won’t spit). They come in yummy flavors like chicken, peanut butter, and vanilla to help you make the experience positive for them. Once they’re loving the taste, you can simply rub your finger with toothpaste over their gum line on the outside (most plaque builds up in the back on the outsides of teeth). Once they’re OK with this, wrap a piece of gauze around your finger and rub the teeth along the gum line – even this will help to remove food particles and starches that adhere to the teeth. As the dog gets older you can move on to finger toothbrushes and then when adult teeth are in place, a doggie toothbrush will do the best job.

* A few customers have told us that brushing the dog’s teeth at the same time of day that you brush yours helps them to keep a routine – brushing for everyone!

Tips for brushing your cat’s teeth:

It can be done! If you have a kitten, we’d recommend following the steps for puppies outlined above. Take it slowly and do not force them into anything. Reward it well, and you might just be able to do more than you think. Check out this great post by Dr. Karen Becker, DVM on how to brush a cat’s teeth. Note: some cats who won’t allow brushing (like our Otis) might very well be willing to just bite down on the bristles of a toothbrush with kitty toothpaste pushed into the bristles. We let Otis chew on the brush facing up, and then facing down.

Supplements:

Plaque Off – We like supplements like Plaque Off which use a species of kelp that has been proven with clinical trials to reduce plaque in the mouth. When ingested each day, it changes the saliva a little bit to make food less likely to adhere to teeth (it interrupts the biofilm). Within 2 weeks we see better breath and within 6-8 weeks we often see noticeable changes in the amount of visible plaque on the teeth. They have a human version as well, which Mike and I both use – we definitely had measurable results at the dentist after 6 months of being on it. It’s pretty economical as well, the smaller 60g size sells at our store for $23.99, and lasts a cat or small dog over a year. The only animals (or people) that shouldn’t be on it have hyperthyroid disease, as kelp naturally contains some iodine, which can stimulate the thyroid. If it’s already over stimulated, it’s not advised to eat foods high in iodine. Otherwise, sea vegetables have nice nutritional benefits for healthy animals and people.

Petzlife – a gel or spray that can be applied topically to reduce tartar build-up. We think it works but haven’t had too much luck with palatability, as they’re all pretty minty, but they’re worth trying.

DentaTreat from Wysong – a cheesy powder that pets generally looove the taste of has lots of digestive enzymes and probiotics that help with bacteria in the mouth, and apparently some cheeses have unique properties that help to prevent tooth decay. Check out the link at the bottom of that page that says “product monographs” for an excellent description of how diets and tooth decay are intertwined, as well as a good description of each component of DentaTreat. Makes a good food topper for picky animals and makes a really nice “toothpaste” – dip your brush into the powder and use it to brush the teeth. Yummy!

Remember, visiting the vet for preventative care, including occasional dentals to check for damage and clean below the gum line are important, but if the dog’s nutrition is solid, they’re chewing a lot, and their teeth are getting brushed, you can avoid a lot of extractions and the expense of frequent surgical cleanings and treatments. And it’s not that hard!

Claiming Raw Foods are Dangerous Isn’t Backed Up With Data

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By Green Dog Pet Supply

The FDA and the AVMA seem to have mounted a significant campaign against raw foods for pets, and we’d like to speak to that, as sometimes their information seems strangely skewed.

Last August (2012), the AVMA issued a statement warning against the safety of feeding raw food due to the risk of salmonella. The biggest problem we have with this is that this implies that there are no risks of salmonella exposure with other pet foods like kibbles. In fact a remarkable number of kibbles, chews and treats for dogs have been recalled for salmonella contamination.

Most concern about salmonella contamination is for the health of the humans involved, as humans are more susceptible to illness from handling salmonella contaminated food than the pets who eat them. What is never acknowledged is that to date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have no confirmed cases of human illness linked to raw pet foods. In stark contrast to this, the same year that the AVMA issued this warning, one of the largest salmonella recalls for kibble occurred in Gaston SC at the Diamond Manufacturing facility, shutting down the production of at least 15 brands of pet food, and resulting in 49 confirmed human cases of Salmonella Infantis linked to kibble pet food manufactured at Diamond’s facility. At least 10 of these people were hospitalized, though reporting is poor for this, so it may have been more.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in the journal Pediatrics that an outbreak of salmonella in 79 people between 2006 and 2008 was caused by contaminated dry pet food. The infections, half of which struck children, were the first known human salmonella cases linked to dry dog and cat food (from Mars Pet Care)

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Safety Warning for Dogs in the Northwest

IMG_0018 photo and article by Green Dog Pet Supply

This time of year the weather is wet and mushrooms pop up constantly in our yards. Dogs who investigate them and nibble on them are at great risk of liver damage. This silver mushroom I found might attract your attention, but there are some really poisonous mushrooms (one called the death cap) that look like all the other little brown mushrooms you might just overlook if you’re not being vigilant (see link below for a good photo). We’ve had many customers with dogs that have had close calls with mushrooms, and even a death. Dr Heidi Houchen of VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists, an emergency clinic in Clackamas, says she sees 1 or 2 cases of mushroom toxicity a week during the rainy season. Keep an eye out for mushrooms and pluck them as they pop up, to keep your dogs safe. If you do see your dog eat a mushroom, grab a sample if you can and bring it with you to the vet. Better safe than sorry! Read more here