Whole Food Toppers are Important

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 11.04.27 AM(updated 9/18)

We try to carry the best dry foods on the market, but it’s important to realize that even the best ones are still heavily processed food. Some ingredients are put through multiple layers of processing, and the whole batch is baked or most often extruded, which is a high heat, high pressure process that 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 with a little whole food 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 individual nutritional needs. We can certainly say the same for our pets! Variety over time creates nutritional balance. Adding whole food toppers are a great way 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!

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…)

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.
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– “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

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