Please accept our apologies

I’m writing you today with the very disappointing news that we won’t be open for Fremont Fest. We did not come to this decision lightly. We’re upset when we picture our regular customers trying to get to us for their pet food, having parking trouble amongst crowds, and then finally arriving at the store only to find that we’re closed. Being closed will be a very big economic blow to us, both from the sales we’ll lose and the loss of exposure to folks attending the festival who haven’t been in our store, but that’s not our primary concern.
Our biggest concern is for the safety of our employees.

Oregon Covid numbers are raging. It did seem to make sense months ago that a summer event would likely have less risk, but Delta says “no”.
Oregon numbers are remarkably high, and 10 of the 55 deaths in July in Oregon were vaccinated people (that’s a much bigger percentage than what was happening before Delta took over). Almost 1,100 people in Oregon could be hospitalized with COVID-19 by mid-September, according to new modeling released Tuesday, nearly doubling the record from last winter’s surge. 

Cases (verified by genomic sequencing) in Australia show that the Delta variant can be spread to others with even fleeting contact.

We already see up to 200 people on a Saturday, so adding more exposure is worrisome. Our worries are compounded by the fact that we have a few seriously immune compromised people in our fold. One has so few T-cells that she might not be able to generate immunity from the vaccines she’s gotten. Even if she takes that day off, the next day she’d have to work with coworkers that may have contracted the virus and don’t know it, which could result in dire consequences for her if she were to get sick. The second situation is an employee who lives with her boyfriend and his family. In that household is a person with a very serious case of cystic fibrosis which means that he may not live through a respiratory infection, especially with the threat of increasing challenges finding beds for respiratory patients. Another person in that household has cancer and is on chemo and radiation. Third, three employees have unvaccinated children. We feel we have a responsibility to protect these vulnerable members of our little Green Dog family, and frankly none of our employees feel all that comfortable with the idea of crowds right now.

We did bring our concerns to the Beaumont Business Association and were impressed by their thoughtful response: 

“Dear Mike and Christine, I wanted to reach out personally to thank you for speaking up and sharing your concerns. This is something that I feel is so important for us to do not only as a community but also as an association. Your concerns are valid and we all agree that things are not going in the right direction and it is frustrating. Having said that, the board came together to discuss whether or not to move forward and have decided to stay the course on Fremont Fest.

While one of our vendors has decided not to participate due to Covid, we have not had any others back out of the event. Some of these folks do not have brick and mortar locations to support them and events like these are paying their bills. Our “Marketplace” is determined to support our local economy and Fremont Fest Marketplace could help keep them afloat during these unsure and scary times. There is a large showing of BIPOC and Queer vendors this year and I feel strongly about providing this support for them. None of us wants to create a super spreader event or cause anyone harm, which is why this years event is has been VERY different from the beginning. Vendors are spaced 10ft apart on one side of each of the 9 blocks with no-one on the other side, as to prevent any clustering of humans in any given area, and we limited the number of vendors (current booth count is around 85). Outdoor markets are running strong and I feel that we are doing things better and more responsibly than most.

We all understand and respect the choice for anyone on the street to make the difficult decision to close the day of the event in order to keep themselves safe. You are such amazing supporters of Association and your business brings life to our street and neighboring businesses that is priceless. I have personally put a lot of thought and effort into this event, with the amazing support from our wonderful new board, and will take any ire or criticism to heart. I take this pandemic very seriously and have been as safe as possible over the last 18 months but have had to make the choice to bend that in order to make a living and support my family, it has not been easy for me and I think a lot of folks are doing and feeling the same.

I am always available to chat over the phone or on video, if you’d like to talk further. Your support is so important to all of us AND we understand that this occasion does not have that. Again, speaking up and using your voice is vital to community, conversation and making change so thank you so much for that.

Take the best of care,
Wesley Callaway
BBA Board President”


We are impressed that they’ve created ways to try and mediate the crowding, and we know that if you

come, you’ll have a good time! We wish that circumstances could be different, as you might know that we’ve been a major player in every

Mike and Christine at our first Fremont Fest in 2004

Fremont Fest for the past 17 years, planning and coordinating the Parade, etc. We did support the event this year in the form of a big sponsorship.
There are new businesses on the street that would love you to come exploring and find them!



We do want to tell you about a potentially valuable resource we’d like to share with you. We’ve donated our booth to Force Free Oregon,”A safe, reliable place for Oregon communities to find credentialed animal care professionals who use scientifically-proven force-free training, behavior modification, and animal handling techniques”. Trainers will be staffing the booth, including the amazing Lorena Jasis-Wallace, a trainer at Synergy Behavior Solutions, a veterinary behavior practice and training facility in NW Portland. They specialize in reactivity, aggression, phobias, anxieties, and other behavior issues. Another trainer, Hayley Martinez, owner and trainer of Nakama Dog Training will also be there. She works with puppies, newly adopted dogs, adult dogs in need of basic manners, as well as some reactivity and shy dog cases. There may even be other Force Free member trainers that spend some time in the booth.
They’ll all be there to answer questions and help people learn about how very effective modern training methods are, and to make sure your relationship with your dog is based on trust. So many Portland households have gotten new dogs in the past year and a half, but so few classes have been available. We thought it would be great to have some great trainers on hand to help you find good resources if you need them. As Force Free says, “Choose a trainer that doesn’t need to use pain or fear inducing electronic tools. Look for someone who has experience in modern, positive, science-based techniques, who attends continuing education” like these great force free trainers or others like our favorite Doggy Business or others listed on the Force Free list.
Thank You For Your Kindness and
Understanding about this decision

Cool New Product – “Digest”

Do you have an older dog?

Does your dog eat a heat processed food diet like kibble or cans?

Does your dog have a history of pancreatitis?

Does your dog have trouble digesting his food or frequent flatulence?

Does your dog have acid reflux or a rumbly tummy?

Digest might be for you!

Digestive enzymes are proteins that help break down food molecules into smaller pieces.

Enzymes help digest your dog’s food and kick-start most of the metabolic processes in your dog’s body.
Your dog can produce many of his own enzymes … but if he’s eating cooked/heat-processed food, he may not make enough which can ultimately strain the pancreas. If a dog consumed food in the wild like wolves and coyotes, its diet would be loaded with beneficial enzymes. But today, most heavily processed commercial dry or canned dog foods lack enzymes.
Enzymes are heat sensitive and deactivate easily when exposed to high temperatures. Adding digestive enzymes to your dog’s meals can help support his pancreas, organs and immune system.

          Veterinarian Dr PJ Broadfoot said in a 2018 paper:

“Supplemental enzymes are needed to replace those destroyed by cooking and processing food. Processing and cooking at any heat of approximately 118°F to 129°F (48°C to 54°C), for as few as three minutes, can destroy virtually all enzymes, which results in very little pre-digestion taking place in the stomach. Thus, what’s left of the food mass enters the small intestine largely undigested. This puts the pancreas and other organs of the endocrine system under tremendous stress, since they have to draw reserves from the entire body in order to produce massive amounts of the proper enzymes.”

Commercially made raw foods can contain more active enzymes than kibble or cans, but also could benefit from supplementation. Note: Fermented raw foods (like the Answers brand foods or their fermented goat’s milk, cow kefir or fermented turkey or fish broths) are richer in digestive enzymes and probiotics than typical raw food diets, and make a great addition to a processed food diet.

When a dog has had a case of pancreatitis in the past, it’s often helpful to supplement with digestive enzymes. If the pancreas isn’t working properly, it’s not going to produce the digestive enzymes your dog needs.

The pancreas is the main digestive organ of the body. While a small percentage of the pancreas produces hormones that regulate blood sugar; around 95% of it produces enzymes for digestion. When dogs have chronic pancreatitis (not the acute form, but continued symptoms of discomfort that come and go), they might benefit from digestive enzymes.  Over the course of years the inflammation caused by chronic pancreatitis can even lead to irreversible damage to the pancreas, including to the cells that secrete pancreatic digestive enzymes and the cells that produce insulin, which could lead to diabetes. It can also lead to Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI).

Digest contains grass-fed New Zealand bovine pancreas, the purest source of enzymes. It’s a pure and natural source of the enzymes protease and trypsin (they break down proteins), amylase (which helps to digest carbohydrates; Dogs can make some amylase, but don’t make a lot of it because in the wild they wouldn’t have eaten starchy food), and lipase (digests fat).

Digest can also support the liver. It contains organic broccoli sprout powder, a natural source of sulforaphane, a powerful source of enzymes that trigger liver detoxification pathways.

 Digest o alshas the addition of a blend of soil based probiotics and natural prebiotics to make Digest a complete digestive aid for dogs of all ages.Other ingredients:

Organic Alfalfa juice powder: This green powerhouse is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and contains eight essential amino acids. It can support health conditions from detoxification to digestion, and can boost the immune system. It can also help to aid in the assimilation of protein, fats and carbohydrates in the body. It’s made by first juicing alfalfa grass which removes the cellulose that dogs don’t digest well, then making it into a powder.

Betain HCl: This nutrient and a source of hydrochloric acid is a naturally occurring chemical in the stomach that helps digest food by breaking up fats and proteins. It facilitates nutrient absorption, stimulates the flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes, and helps prevents bacterial and fungal over-growth. Essentially, it makes the stomach a little more acidic which makes it do its job better.

Nettle leaf powder: Nettle is abundant in fiber, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamins A and K.

Bromelain: is a group of enzymes found in the fruit and stem of the pineapple plant. A review of clinical studies found that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties also make it an effective treatment for the pain, soft-tissue swelling, and joint stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.

Invertase: an enzyme that assists the breakdown of sucrose.

Nettle leaf powder: Contains many nutrients, minerals and amino acids. Also contains flavonoids, Beta-carotene, lutein, luteoxanthin and other carotenoids (which have beneficial anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, protecting cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease).

Ox Bile powder: Bile is a complex, vital, and unique fluid produced by the liver to aid in the digestion of fats in the small intestine.

Papain: This is an enzyme found naturally in the fruit of the papaya plant (Carica papaya). The enzymes help break down proteins. In alternative medicine, papain is touted as a natural pain reliever. It also may aid in the treatment of allergy, diarrhea, and indigestion.

Cellulase: an enzyme that breaks down the cell walls of plants. Cellulase is an enzyme that dogs can’t manufacture themselves. Because of this, dogs and cats are inefficient at digesting grains or plant materials.

Bacillus coagulens, Bacillus subtilis: these are probiotics. Bacillus strains are best at surviving stomach acid and making it to the large intestine.

With any new supplement, we always encourage starting with a pinch, and slowly building up to the proper dosage

Cool New Product – “Gut Guard” Probiotics

Does your dog have itchy skin and frequent ear infections?
Do they lick their feet?
Does your dog have an odor to them that smells somewhat like Fritos, especially in these irritated areas?
Have you had to use steroids or medications to help these symptoms? Do you have to keep switching foods to keep inflammation at bay, or have you gone on to expensive prescription hydrolyzed proteins?
Read On!

The primary use for this product will be for chronic yeast infections of the ears/skin and for food allergies. Yeast problems and reactions due to food sensitivity are likely systemic, so treating just the ears or the skin won’t easily eliminate it. Eliminating yeast may be a long term project, and is most effective when supplements are combined with changes in diet. This is largely due to the fact that starchy carbohydrates feed yeast, so a carbohydrate-rich diet like kibble will definitely work against you.
Problems like yeast are often intertwined with damage to the lining of the gut, often referred to as “Leaky Gut”. Also called “increased intestinal permeability”, leaky gut is a digestive condition in which the delicate lining of the small intestine is damaged. This lining is of course designed to be permeable already, as this allows digested nutrients to enter the bloodstream. This lining is constantly being repaired by the body, but toxins, stress, etc can increase the normal amount of damage, resulting in larger partially digested proteins being able to “leak” through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream. These proteins are recognized as invaders by the immune system which then mounts an immune response that can result in inflammation and a continued sensitivity to that protein. This is what’s happening with food “allergies”.
Your vet might encourage you to switch to a new protein which may actually result in a temporary improvement in allergy symptoms. However, the same mechanism is still in place if the gut wall hasn’t been repaired, resulting in the same process as before, allowing undigested proteins from the new food to again enter the bloodstream and a “new allergy” is in place.
Dog owners often find themselves in a cycle where eventually there are no more novel proteins to use. Hydrolyzed protein prescription kibbles can similarly reduce symptoms for a time, but it absolutely is not designed to enable healing, leaving you dependent on a prescription food. The first ingredient is often corn starch (which would feed yeast), and the lack of any quality whole food ingredients isn’t ideal for long term feeding, in our opinion. (We often see new nutritional problems the longer customers are on them, yeast infections being one of them).
Yeast is able to flourish under these damaged conditions and get more deeply established, and the inflammation can result in terrible skin and ear infections, discomfort, painful joints and fatigue. Unfortunately, mainstream medical professionals do not recognize leaky gut as a real condition. However, there is quite a bit of scientific evidence that leaky gut does exist and may be associated with multiple health problems, especially food sensitivity. This formula is designed to help repair the lining of the gut, reducing inflammation and encouraging healing. This can eventually help a great deal with food sensitivities and reduce the overgrowth of yeast and its resulting symptoms. 
We also strongly recommend switching off of starchy highly processed food (ie: kibble, which is very high in starchy carbohydrates that feeds yeast, and processed with high heat and pressure that damages heat sensitive amino acids that are critical for healing. Getting rid of dry foods also eliminates many ingredients that might be more difficult to digest and could contain contaminates (like corn which likely contains glyphosate residue and aflatoxins.) We recommend switching to a fresh whole food diet, or at least replacing a percentage of your kibble with fresh. Raw diets in our freezers are safe, nutritionally complete and a wonderful way to eliminate inflammatory ingredients and add ingredients that are rich in important naturally occurring amino acids, digestive enzymes, and human quality ingredients that are often more humanely raised. Setting up your dog with this sort of diet would be an ideal way to support even faster healing when you use “Gut Guard”


Gut Guard Ingredients:
– L- Glutamine is an amino acid that plays an important role in immune function and repairing the lining of the gut. .However, during illness or injury, the body may not be able to produce enough of it. It is an important energy source for intestinal and immune cells, and can help to repair and fortify the damaged intestinal barrier.

– N-acetyl glucosamine possesses a unique range of anti-inflammatory activities that can help inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colitis and other chronic intestinal issues.

– Licorice Root Extract is a fast acting and effective anti-inflammatory, similar to the effects of corticosteroids, helping to relieve pain and inflammation. It’s also an immuno-stimulant (and good for the liver).

– Organic Aloe Vera extract is useful for healing injury and irritations of the digestive tract. It’s also antibacterial, antioxidant, and an immuno-stimulant.

– Organic Marshmallow root soothes irritation of the mucous membranes and provides a soothing, lubricating, protective barrier between mucous membranes and substances that cause irritation. It also has antimicrobial and immune stimulating properties.

– Organic Slippery Elm is a soothing, protecting, and lubricating demulcent (relieving inflammation) and a general astringent (causing the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues.), tightening digestive mucosa. It’s also very nutritious, containing A, B complex, C, and K, and high amounts of calcium (which is good for reducing inflammation in joints) and magnesium (low magnesium may contribute to chronic inflammation and joint issues and it’s also an important part of collagen synthesis.)

HumicSure –  contains more than 70 micro nutrients in biologically available form. The deficiency of minerals and micronutrients block the function of enzymes and vitamins responsible for transforming nutrients into energy and biochemical building molecules. Humic substances were formed during the decomposition pathway of plant biomass over millions of years. Humic acid cannot be absorbed from the intestinal tract but plays a very important role in buffering the pH, in the absorption matrix preventing the absorption of toxins, bacteria stimulation, and nutrient uptake. In short, Pure Humic Acid is very effective at cleansing the colon, where the Humic acid blocks the absorption of toxic materials into the body.

– Organic Chamomile is anti-spasmodic, expels intestinal gas, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, heals wounds, and can expel worms.

– Organic Dandelion Roots are a great way to strengthen your dog’s liver. It is also good source of magnesium, (low magnesium may contribute to chronic inflammation and joint issues. It’s also an important part of collagen synthesis.) It also contains calcium (which is good for reducing inflammation in joints), iron, and zinc (to help collagen synthesis). It’s also a good prebiotic.

– Organic Burdock Root  contains active ingredients in its root system that can remove toxins from the bloodstream. Studies show “potent inhibitory effects” on cancer growth caused by cancers like pancreatic carcinoma. Another study found burdock root significantly interfered with cancer cell growth. It’s also a great source of trace minerals and is a good prebiotic.

– Organic ginger root has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, according to research. For instance, it may help reduce oxidative stress, which is the result of having an excess amount of free radicals in the body. It can also help treat chronic indigestion and nausea
With any new supplement, we always encourage starting with a pinch, and slowly building up to the proper dosage.

– It’s an excellent idea to pair this probiotic with Bifido for Fido, or to go through one of them and then alternate to the other. Bovine Colostrum is also an amazing gut repair tool.
– For serious long term systemic yeast issues, 4 leaf Rover makes a “Yeast Free Fido” kit with three products meant to be used together. It’s a significant savings over purchasing them separately.
– Read the reviews about Gut Repair on their website click here and scroll down towards the bottom.

The other two probiotics that Four Leaf Rover makes are neat for other reasons:

  1. Does your dog suffer from occasional or chronic loose stool?
    Does your dog eat dirt?
    Does your dog eat poop?
    Has your dog been on antibiotics or metronidazole recently?
    You might need “protect” soil-based probiotics! Read More Here
  2. Does your dog have chronic digestive upset?
    Does your dog have frequent constipation?
    Does your dog have chronically poor gut health?,
    Does your dog have chronic bowel diseases like IBD?
    You might need “Bifido for Fido” probiotic/prebiotic blend. Read More Here

Cool New Product – Bifido For Fido Probiotics

This is the second post about a new probiotic we’ve brought in from Four Leaf Rover called “Bifido For Fido”.
Does your dog have chronic digestive upset?
Does your dog have frequent constipation?
Does your dog have chronically poor gut health?,
Does your dog have chronic bowel diseases like IBD?
Read On!

The proper balance and amount of gut bacteria are both critical to your dog’s health. “Bifido For Fido” is a veterinary formulated blend of probiotics and prebiotics designed to promote a healthy gut and immune system. It’s proven to promote diverse gut colonies. Each probiotic strain in BFF is carefully chosen for its ability to survive the stomach acid and reach the gut. Plus, they’ve added Saccharomyces boulardii, a special yeast that can battle Candida. It’s good for chronic issues such as chronic digestive upset, frequent constipation, chronically poor gut health, or chronic bowel diseases like IBD.  It should help during occasional loose stool issues. (Chronic loose stool issues might be better managed with “Protect” probiotics.

FOS: Fructooligosaccharides – a prebiotic. Prebiotics help fuel probiotics. Prebiotics are insoluble, indigestible fibers. When your dog eats these fibers, they travel to the colon and the bacteria that live there eat them. (or technically ferment them). That’s why prebiotics are so important. They feed the probiotics in your dog’s gut. This helps grow, restore and maintain a healthy gut flora. Without prebiotics, probiotics are less effective and can eventually die off. 
Metabolites are created during fermentation (when probiotics eat prebiotics), the most important of which are short chain fatty acids, which inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, act as an energy source for colon cells, keeps cells lining the gut close together to prevent leaky gut, preserve electrolyte and fluid balance, form the protective layer of the gut, build up the immune system, reduce inflammation, protect against food allergens, and help the body absorb nutrients. They also create functional proteins like Enzymes, Peptides, Polysaccharides, Cell surface proteins, and organic acids.  All these things are why it works well for chronic digestive issues. They also help with the immune system and leaky gut.

Organic Inulin from Jerusalem artichoke – Jerusalem artichokes, otherwise known as sun chokes, are not related to artichokes. They are a good source of vitamin C, an excellent source of iron, and contain high amounts of the prebiotic fiber inulin known for gut health.

Probiotic blend with 14 different strains (including both Bifido and Lactobacillus along with others) which can Produce B vitamins and vitamin K for improved health, Promote immune function,  Produce digestive enzymes for better digestion and promote digestive health.
Though lactobacillus strains shouldn’t be used right after antibiotics, they are very helpful in other situations. They can Inhibit growth of harmful bacteria, benefit immune cells, increase population of good bacteria in the gut, help regulate mood and emotions, improve colon health, and reduce IBS.

With any new supplement, we always encourage starting with a pinch, and slowly building up to the proper dosage

 Note: Bifido for Fido Probiotics can be added to or used alternately with Protect Probiotics and/or Gut Repair formula.

Introduce Bifido for Fido slowly to let them adjust to the soluble fiber.

All probiotics are better protected by storing in the refrigerator.

Read the reviews about Bifido for Fido here (scroll down towards the bottom)


The other two probiotics that Four Leaf Rover makes are neat for other reasons:
1) Does your dog suffer from occasional or chronic loose stool? 
Does your dog eat dirt?
Does your dog eat poop?
Has your dog been on antibiotics or metronidazole recently? You might need “protect” soil-based probiotics! Read More Here

2) Does your dog have itchy skin and frequent ear infections? Do they lick their feet? Do they have an odor to them that smells somewhat like Fritos, especially in these areas? Have you had to use steroids or medications to help these symptoms? Do you have to keep switching foods to keep inflammation at bay, or have you gone on to expensive prescription hydrolyzed proteins?
You might need “Gut Guard” a probiotic healing blend! Read More Here


Cool New Product – “Protect” Probiotics

Does your dog suffer from occasional or chronic loose stool? 
Does your dog eat dirt?
Does your dog eat poop?
Has your dog been on antibiotics or metronidazole recently?
Read On!

We’ve recently discovered an amazing company that sells unique products for dogs called Four Leaf Rover. They’ve made fabulous choices when it comes to ingredients that can truly help dogs heal from or prevent chronic health issues. I will introduce you to some of our favorites in separate blog posts so you can get acquainted with them and learn about why they might work for your dog.
Everyone knows that probiotics can be useful to dogs, especially after having to be on antibiotics or drugs like metronidazole that can damage the gut flora and lining of the gut. We’ve brought in 3 formulas of probiotic, each designed to support dogs in different ways. This one is the first that I’d like to tell you about: “Protect” Probiotics.

The basics:
Protect is an ideal daily probiotic. It’s perfect for using after a round of antibiotics, and is actually excellent for use DURING a course of antibiotics to protect the gut from antibiotic damage. It’s useful for intermittent or chronic loose stool. Additional ingredients are excellent for detox to get rid of free radicals and toxins. It’s perfect for dogs who eat dirt and poop.  Here are the details of how it can do all of those amazing things:

Cool things about Protect Probiotic:

Our friend Dr. Keith Weingardt DVM says that when dogs eat dirt, they’re not actually seeking minerals (though there may be benefit in those) but their bodies are likely craving soil based probiotics. The most common bacteria in soil based probiotics are Bacillus species. Bacillus strains have been shown to support both human and animal microbiomes. About 90% of your dog’s immune system lives in their gut. So these colonies are the foundation of your dog’s immune system, protecting them from disease. Humans benefit from soil based probiotics as well, but humans have largely moved away from being involved in food production and therefore aren’t exposed to as many natural ways to access these soil based organisms that might ride along in trace amounts of soil still adhered to vegetables. As a kid I remember popping pea pods into my mouth as I picked them, or pulling up a carrot, brushing as much soil off of it as I could and eating that carrot on the spot. My aunt and uncle had a cow and later some goats that they’d milk. Nowadays our food system has had to deal with more food born pathogens, resulting in the sterilization of our produce, as well as treating them with chemicals to reduce pests and weeds. Soil-based microorganisms are no longer living in the dirt of most farms. These practices have distanced us from the possibility of interacting with and ingesting small amounts of healthy soils from chemical free regenerative farming methods. Studies have shown that children that grew up on farms have stronger immune systems than kids that didn’t. Dogs do find ways to play in mud and interact with dirt, but compromised dogs can benefit from supplementation with specific Soil Based Organisms, unadulterated by lawn chemicals, etc.

“Protect” Probiotics contain two Bacillus species of soil based probiotic organisms.  Research confirms Bacillus species can produce nor-epinephrine and dopamine to support healthy brain function.
Bacillus strains in soil-based probiotics play especially important roles in the immune system, including strong antibacterial action, potent antioxidant to repair cellular damage, and Immune cell regulation.
Feeding soil-based probiotics also helps the immune system build antibodies. Studies show soil-based probiotics increase production of immunoglobulin A (IgA), which helps repair pathways protect your dog’s gut lining. In the livestock industry, they’ve even found Bacillus can boost pigs’ immune function by improving intestinal mucosa structure and tight junctions. So, soil-based probiotics can help prevent immune-damaging leaky gut.
Soil-based organisms are especially useful if you’ve given your dog antibiotics or vaccinations. You should also feed SBOs during stressful times like travel or competition.

Note: It’s important for animals not to take probiotics that have lactobacillus right after having had antibiotics. Lactobacillus has great benefits at other times, but when they’re given during or after antibiotic use, Lactobacillus probiotics can delay the microbiome’s recovery. This can leave your dog susceptible to even worse health problems.
“Protect” can actually be fed at the same time as antibiotics as Bacillus spores actually shield them from antibiotic damage! So you can give them to your dog at the same time as antibiotics … without worrying the antibiotics and probiotics will interfere with each other! This practice can help to reduce damage to the gut from antibiotics.

Bacillus’ antioxidant support helps your dog’s body fight cell damage from oxidation. Oxidation leads to premature aging and a weakened immune system. But SBOs (Soil Based Organisms) can help repair damaged cells. Research has found that certain Bacillus strains can promote intestinal tissue repair and antioxidant activity.
Soil-based probiotics are potent tools against inflammation. Research on rats showed that SBOs can protect against and manage rheumatoid arthritis. Systemic inflammation can lead to cancer, IBD, etc. Researchers have found anti-cancer effects in many Bacillus strains. One study showed novel Bacillus strains inhibited ovarian and colorectal cancer cells, and Bacillus subtilis can also inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells. Soil-based probiotics have also been shown to improve the benefits of other nutraceuticals given at the same time. That means your dog will get the most out of all of their cancer supplements. Even if your dog does not have cancer, the fact that 50% of all dogs will have some sort of cancer in their lifetimes should make us focus on prevention.

Free radicals in the body can come from toxins your dog gets exposed to. Your dog can be exposed to toxins from all kinds of things in their life, like:
Vaccines (some of which may have heavy metals)
Heavily processed dog food (acrylamide)
Flea, tick and heart worm preventives (pesticides)
Yard chemicals (herbicides and pesticides)
Household cleaning products
Radiation treatments or radiation in the environment (radon)
Dioxins found in the air, fish and dairy products (fish can also have other contaminates)

Other cool Ingredients in Protect 
(many of them are aimed at detoxing the body from these toxins):

—Blueberries have the most antioxidants of any fruit. They’re full of vitamins like A, C, E, K, folate and choline. they deliver some minerals too … like manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium. They help to fight free radicals that can lead to cancer, etc and Studies show that blueberries control inflammation, which reduces the risk of chronic disease, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Studies show blueberries have strong effects on brain health and memory, eye health, and have found that blueberry supplementation can improve the gut microbiome … and even help heal leaky gut syndrome! Anthocyanins are part of the reason for this effect … because of their anti-inflammatory properties. In one study, sled dogs ate blueberries to boost antioxidant levels and they discovered that they could recover faster after competition, as blueberries helped reduce post-exercise oxidative stress.

Bentonite clay Bentonite is a negatively charged, highly absorbent clay. It can help digestive    disturbances like constipation, bloating, gas, Skin and allergy issues, and recovery from vomiting     and diarrhea. Its effectiveness is due to its negative charge. This allows it to pull positively charged toxins from the body. Then together they are eliminated through your dog’s stool.

Chlorella is a single-celled, freshwater green micro algae that is getting a whole lot of attention from researchers. And that’s because chlorella has been linked to a variety of potential health benefits.Chlorella is an immune booster, detoxifier, gastrointestinal aid and more. Researchers looked at the effects of chlorella on blood lead levels. It reduced toxicity by 66.03% when supplemented during exposure. Other studies looked at chlorella’s effect on cadmium and mercury. In both studies, chlorella helped reduce the amount of heavy metals stored in the body. In 2001 researchers extracted chlorophyll (plant pigment) from chlorella. The chlorophyll effectively stopped the absorption of dioxins and increased their removal. In 2016, researchers successfully used chlorella as a detoxifier for radioactive strontium. 
Chlorella is a prebiotic that feeds good bacteria so they can restore and maintain a healthy gut. And according to one study, it can help increase the growth and survival rates of probiotics. Chlorella contains a powerful compound called CGF (Chlorella Growth Factor). CGF contains nucleic acids in the form of RNA and DNA ,which support cellar regeneration. When your dog eats food rich in nucleic acids it helps protect your dog’s RNA and DNA. This protects his cells so that they’re better able to fight off disease and illness. We should all be ingesting more micro algae like Chorella!

Dandelions are a great way to strengthen your dog’s liver. They are also a good source of magnesium, (low magnesium may contribute to chronic inflammation and joint issues. It’s also an important part of collagen synthesis.) It also contains calcium (which is good for reducing inflammation in joints), iron, and zinc (to help collagen synthesis). It’s also a good prebiotic.

Burdock root contains active ingredients in its root system that can remove toxins from the bloodstream. Studies show “potent inhibitory effects” on cancer growth caused by cancers like pancreatic carcinoma. One study found burdock root significantly interfered with cancer cell growth. It’s also a great source of trace minerals and is a good prebiotic.

HumicSure  contains more than 70 micronutrients in biologically up-takable form. (The deficiency of minerals and micronutrients can block the function of enzymes and vitamins responsible for transforming nutrients into energy and biochemical building molecules). These Humic substances were formed during the decomposition pathway of plant biomass over millions of years. Humic acid cannot be absorbed from the intestinal tract but plays a very important role in buffering the pH, in the absorption matrix preventing the absorption of toxins, bacteria stimulation, and nutrient uptake. In short, Pure Humic Acid is very effective at cleansing the colon, and blocking the absorption of toxic materials into the body.

Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast – It helps fight diarrhea and yeast infections and unlike other probiotics, it can’t be killed by antibiotics. That means it can be given during antibiotic treatment.

– Bacillus coagulans & Bacillus subtilis which are the actual Soil Based Organisms/probiotics

With any new supplement, we always encourage starting with a pinch, and slowly building up to the proper dosage

Protect Probiotic can be used together or alternated with Bifido For Fido and Gut Repair.

All probiotics are better protected by storage in the refrigerator

Check out the reviews about Protect Probiotic on their website here (scroll down towards the bottom)

Tips For July 4th!

By Green Dog Pet Supply

Photo Copyright 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 the larger illegal fireworks that are so easy to get, it’s often a complete nightmare for people whose pets are terrified of the noise. Some people choose to go camping in remote areas with their dogs, and one customer routinely gets in the car with her dog on the 4th and just drives and drives for hours, around and around the city’s highways to avoid the stress of the night. Here are a few tips that we hope can help if you’re staying at home this 4th of July.


Community Solar in Oregon – A win/win for customers and the planet!


You too can have solar power, even if you can’t afford to put panels up!
Oregon has a wonderful new program that supports the development of solar energy and also saves you money on your utility bills! We know that about 75% of carbon emissions come from extracting and burning fossil fuels, and that generating clean renewable energy with solar panels is a great way to curb these heat trapping emissions, but very few of us have the money to put solar panels on our houses! The good news is that this program allows us to fill out a quick form and “receive” the energy coming from solar panels that will be constructed in the coming year. You’ll be enabling this project that will provide new solar energy that will go into the grid, directly supporting clean energy. The best thing is that it will reduce your power bill by at least 5%! 

The credit you’re “buying” will be tracked right on your regular bill, but there’s nothing to buy or install. In fact, you won’t see “charges” until your solar project is up and running, and then, you’ll instead be seeing credits that offset your charges and in fact should show you a savings on your bill of 5% or more.
I’m excited by this plan, as it seems like a win/win No-Brainer! No extra charges, and savings when the project starts producing energy. Whether you rent or own your home or business, you can sign up for this program, and there’s even a program for low income subscribers. If you move locally, your community solar credits and savings move with you! If you move outside of the utility service area, you can transfer your credits to someone else or cancel the subscription. 
We’ve signed up Green Dog of course, and will sign up at home as well. It’s part of our bigger plan to slowly transition to cleaner, more efficient utilities at home that will ultimately save us money. Mike and I are having to replace a water heater soon, and we’re excited to sign up for Community solar and further support clean energy by switching our gas water heater to a cleaner electric heater that will also save us money in the long run and keep our indoor air cleaner too. 
Find out more about community solar here!

Belated Earth Day Post: Orca Conservation

Happy Earth Day!
We had an amazing turnout for Raffle Tickets, raising $1302 for the Orca Conservancy. If you missed the raffle, we’re here to tell you that there are certainly other ways you can help! First, learn more about orcas:

If you were designing a t-shirt using artwork representing iconic symbols of the Pacific NW, you might choose an evergreen tree, Mt. Hood, perhaps a beer stein, and almost certainly an orca and a salmon. All of these things (minus the beer) are in need of protection, but none more than our orcas and our salmon. Did you know orcas are not actually whales, but are in fact the largest species of dolphin? They are are the most widely distributed mammals in the world (aside from us and maybe rats) living in every ocean around the world in every sort of climate. Orcas are apex predators, at the top of the food chain. No animals hunt orcas (except for humans).

They are remarkably intelligent, and live in groups called pods, each pod with their own unique culture and vocalizations. Each pod is genetically and behaviorally distinct from other killer whales. Though orcas have the ability to eat a variety of animals, pods all over the world have each specialized on specific prey species. Some eat mammals like sea lions, some even focus on whales larger than themselves (the nickname “killer whale” actually is a derivation of their original nickname, “whale killer”). Some, like our “Southern resident” orcas have specialized on salmon.
Defenders of Wildlife says, “Due to declines of their primary prey, the endangered chinook salmon, the southern resident population has been decreasing for years. Large dams, like those on the Snake River, and the destruction of salmon habitat have caused salmon stocks throughout the Northwest to either plummet or vanish, leaving orcas with less and less to eat. Today, these orcas are slowly starving to death. We all had our hearts broken a few years ago when a mother orca (Tahlequah) lost her baby due to malnourishment and she carried her body with her for 17 days. On a collision course with extinction, southern residents are also dealing with noise from ship traffic and toxic pollution. Underwater noise from boats disrupt the orcas’ echolocation and pollution from old vessels and stormwater runoff contaminate the salmon that the orcas eat. As the whales eat these polluted salmon, they accumulate toxic chemicals in their bodies, which can make them sick.”
You can help!!
Advocate for the removal of the Snake River Dams to help restore this critical salmon population: 

Chinook salmon are the largest of the PNW salmon, measuring up to five feet with some weighing more than 100 pounds. In their 3-6 year lifespan, some populations if Chinook remain in rivers, and some have an ocean phase where they spend an average of 4 – 5 years,  eventually returning to rivers to spawn.
Salmon are an iconic species of the Salish Sea. They play a critical role in supporting and maintaining ecological health, and are a part of the social fabric of First Nations and tribal culture. Salmon fishing has a $100 million economic impact annually.  Only 22 of at least 37 historic Chinook populations remain in this ecosystem. The remaining Chinook salmon are only 10% of their historic numbers, with some populations as low as 1% of their historic peak. Large dams, like those on the Snake River,have caused salmon stocks throughout the Northwest to either plummet or vanish, making Chinook  the least abundant of all of our North American salmon. Many populations are threatened or endangered. The Orca Conservancy says, “About 70 to 80 percent of juvenile salmon mortality occurs within 1 mile of a dam. Removing the Lower Snake River dams could result in an additional 15 million juvenile Chinook reaching the sea. The restoration of the lost salmon habitat and return of both salmon and steelhead to the Snake River would also fulfill treaty obligations related to tribal fishing rights in the Columbia Basin that have been ignored for decades”. Contact your Representatives and tell them to support this plan.
Watch out for plastic:
– Try to cut your use of plastics.
– Recycle plastics that are actually recyclable (Don’t put plastics in the bin that aren’t approved or it could result in big loads of recyclables being thrown away due to contamination).
– Dispose of plastics responsibly so they don’t wind up in the streams and rivers which then bring plastic to the ocean.
When boating, stay away from marine mammals – give them space.
Be mindful of the seafood you buy:
It’s important to buy good seafood from the right sources that are practicing good sustainable methods in the ways they gather their seafood from the ocean. Overfishing is a huge problem not only for the Southern Resident killer whales, but it depletes the nurseries which are vital to sustain the genetic diversity of our wild fish populations. By supporting sustainable seafood brands and taking a few moments to research what you’re eating and providing for your family you are in a better position to purchase sustainable brands before you hit the market.
Make a Rain Garden (great project for kids too!):
Rain gardens are bowl-shaped gardens that that collect and absorb storm water, allowing the soil to naturally filter pollutants out of rainfall. Furthermore, rain gardens play an important role in storm water attenuation by pooling rain during times of heavy flow to reduce the volume of runoff reaching waterways. Storm water attenuation can lessen local flooding issues as well as protect salmon habitat in creeks, rivers, and streams from erosion. By installing more rain gardens, we can help to clean stormwater and protect critical salmon habitat, thereby protecting our Southern Resident orcas.This page for Tacoma students has a great explanation and educational graphic that illustrates how this simple system works.
Here’s another (from this link):
Support the work of good non profit organizations that are working hard to advocate for Orca and Salmon conservation:

Alternative Ways To Maintain Dental Health

In our last blog post, we discussed the benefits and risks of many of our favorite chews. Chewing/gnawing is how our dogs and cats have evolved to keep their teeth clean. However, some of our animals (some seniors, some with a history of extractions, etc) aren’t able to chew and gnaw as easily as others. This post is a discussion of other ways to provide oral care. 

We want to begin by reminding you that unfortunately, eating a kibble diet does not count as “chewing”.
A carnivore’s teeth are designed to tear and shear meat. Their jaws are designed to move the jaw up and down, but not side to side for chewing or grinding. The shape of our little carnivores’ teeth have not changed one bit in their evolution from their wild ancestors. Our dogs and cats, like coyotes, wolves, tigers and leopards (and even saber-toothed tigers), have specialized carnivorous molars called carnassial teeth designed to shear flesh and bone like scissors. At best they crack and swallow kibble diets, but the outer surfaces of those molars and the surfaces of the teeth along the gum line aren’t being scraped by the crunchy kibbles. The way they have evolved to clean their teeth is to chew through meat and bone and connective tissue with these back molars, which stimulates the gum line and scrubs those back teeth of the biofilm that can accumulate and turn to plaque.

Another problem with kibble that contributes to dental trouble is its high starchy carbohydrate content. Just like with humans, these simple carbohydrates can linger in their mouths and then break down into simple sugars. Bacteria feeds on these sugars and produces acid, which causes tooth decay. No one would argue that humans could clean their teeth simply by eating a lot of crunchy pretzels, but many do argue that dogs and cats should eat dry food to clean their teeth.

The best diet for overall health and dental health is a whole food diet with meat, organs and a few veggies, skipping the starchy carbs. See below in the cheese section for some of the benefits. This kind of diet doesn’t need to be an “all or nothing” proposition – even one 1oz nugget per day, or one on each meal can make an impact on their general health! The brands we carry are very safe to feed, and are often cheaper than feeding canned food!

Here are some additional products, tricks and tips that will help all animals to keep their teeth and gums healthy:


No doubt, we know the most important thing humans can do to keep our teeth and gums healthy is brush, and the same can be said for our pets. I can hear you moaning from here…. I know that this isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do with some animals, but it’s worth working on!

For those of you with puppies and kittens, now is the easiest time to desensitize them to this sort of activity. A puppy’s mouth is changing rapidly, and vigorous brushing is not recommended when they have their baby teeth, but getting them used to you looking into their mouths and inspecting their teeth and gums is incredibly important, especially later in life. What if your dog has chewed a stick and you can’t check if a splinter of wood is lodged in the gum? What if your cat isn’t eating well and you’re accusing her of being picky, when actually she’s in pain from inflamed gums? If your senior dog was developing a tumor in her mouth, would you be able to catch it early? Being able to check the color of the gum tissue can also really help to assess an animal’s hydration and alert you to medical problems – the gums can change color, becoming pale from anemia or yellow from liver issues, red from heat stroke or blue from lack of oxygen. They can also be a good indicator of shock: when you press on the gum tissue and the circulation returns to that spot within a second or two, all is well.

Any animal might learn to accept more inspections of the mouth and eventually allow brushing, but the key is not to just jump right in there and start scrubbing the first day.
Start by gently lifting the lip/jowl to take a peek and immediately reward with a tasty treat (perhaps a lick of an enzymatic toothpaste from your finger could be a good reward if they love the flavor. Never use human toothpastes, which are not meant to be swallowed). 
The next step might be to rub a bit of that toothpaste along their gumline with your finger. The yummy toothpaste left behind can be a good immediate reinforcer for this step of the process. When desensitizing any animal to new handling routines, respect any small signs that the process is stressful, like seeing the whites of their eyes, tucking their tail, or trying to get away. You want them to enjoy the process, so go backwards to a version of the activity that doesn’t make them uncomfortable and just stick with that for a while, rewarding every time. Build up more slowly to your goal, and only make it a little harder when they’re happy with the activity. Even if you can only get as far as being able to regularly look at the teeth and gums, consider it a win!

You could progress from using your finger to rub their gumline to using a piece of gauze with toothpaste on it (dog toothpaste only- never toothpastes for humans), to perhaps a finger brush with bigger animals. If they’re leery of the toothbrush coming at them, you can choke up on it at first so your index finger is on the back of the brush where the bristles are, to hide the look of coming at them with a big tool. 

When brushing it’s not important to focus on the front teeth or to brush the insides of the teeth – your main goal is maintaining the outer surfaces of the back teeth and gums.

A few tips: You can brush facing them head on, or you might be more successful being right behind them, lifting their chin and brushing downward towards their back teeth. For cats and very small dogs you might check out the drug store for a product called Wisp, which is supposed to be a tiny quick travel toothbrush for people, but MAKE SURE to remove the little hard blue bead of toothpaste that it comes with.

If you’re brushing, perhaps call them into the bathroom with you and brush their teeth after you brush yours. This will help you remember to do it, and to give them a cue that it’s time for their yummy peanut butter or chicken toothpaste activity. If you forget to call them, they might hear you brushing and come running in for their turn. Even if you don’t get as far as brushing, if you can rub enzymatic toothpaste along their gums you’re going to be doing something positive for their oral health.

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 would let Otis chew on the brush facing up, and then facing down.

It’s worth working on. Tooth and gum problems are expensive! Tooth brushing is just about free…

Other Products to Help You:
What a tremendous help this supplement is!! We’ve carried it for nearly the entire 16+ years we’ve been open, and have seen amazing results. It’s a granular powder made from a certain kind of kelp, which according to clinical trials helps to break down the biofilm (the slimy buildup of bacteria that forms on the surfaces of teeth and hardens into plaque). It helps to prevent plaque buildup and breaks down the bond between the plaque and the tooth so it can more easily be removed with chewing action.
Within 2 weeks we see better breath, and within 6-8 weeks we see visible changes in the amount of plaque on the teeth. The dose is small, and it doesn’t taste like much (sort of like sushi wrapper) so it’s easy to hide.
A bit of impressive trivia: The makers of Plaque off for pets also makes a human version (it’s the exact same powder, in capsules). Customers had sometimes remarked to us that it had worked so well for their pets that they wished they could be on it too, so we brought the human version in. No one bought it (part of the fun of retail when you take chances on a new product) but Mike and I started taking it (later I just put the pet powder into empty capsules). We both had a cleaning before we started taking it, then 6 months later when we went back to our dentist, both of our numbers for gum health were better! Later, during a time I felt lazy about putting the powder into capsules, we were off it for a time, and both of us saw those numbers get worse. We stay on it now.
The only animals that should not take it are those with hyperthyroid disease (which unfortunately mostly occurs in cats). See the last blog post for suggestions for cat chews. The reason for this is that kelp naturally contains iodine, which can stimulate the thyroid gland. If the gland is already overactive in animals with hyperthyroid disease, you wouldn’t want to over stimulate it. Animals without hyperthyroid disease should be jut fine on it, as a little bit of kelp has its own nutritional benefits! The small jar is $23.99 and should last about a year for a cat or a small dog. We have another version aimed at cats that has brewers yeast included for greater palatability. This would also be fine for picky dogs to use. Bigger containers of the original formula are available as well. 


These and the cow’s milk kefir cheeses are truly some of our favorite products, but they admittedly are a sleeper for us as they’re kept fairly out of sight in our freezers. First of all they’re delicious. When we’re sampling them out at the counter, I have trouble leaving any in the box for the dogs to try! They come in many organic flavors (goat = Cherry, Blueberry, Ginger, Turmeric, Cranberry. Cow = Cumin, Turmeric with black pepper, and garlic (my favorite). These are raw cheeses made with the milk from pastured, certified humanely raised, organically fed goats and cows, flavored with nutrient-rich flavors.“Cultured” means they are fermented like your yogurt might be (all of Answers brand foods, treats, milks, broths, and chews are fermented). The benefits of the fermentation are vast (we should all be eating more fermented foods!) Fermented, raw foods are loaded with enzymes that can improve circulation, help speed tissue repair, and reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation —all helpful in healing gingivitis and gum disease. Answers products use fermentation to propagate probiotic bacteria. These good bacteria inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that cause oral disease (and also those bad bacteria that might cause safety problems!). By maintaining a healthy oral microbiome, these fermented foods help the mouth’s natural disease-fighting systems stay fully functional. Also, when the probiotics reach the gut, they improve the function of the systemic immune system which further helps to maintain their health, both oral and overall.

Cheeses that have been shown to help in decreasing the acidity in plaque (for humans too! Google which cheeses are best for human dental health). Cheese can also increase saliva flow, therefore helping wash away acids, sugar and bacteria on the teeth. Calcium and phosphates in milk and other dairy products help put back minerals that teeth might have lost due to other foods. Casein and whey protein also help rebuild tooth enamel.
The fact that they’re made with raw milk is key: Pasteurization or heating milk destroys most of its nutritive value. Heating destroys beneficial bacteria in raw milk. It denatures the natural digestive enzymes (when people have a milk sensitivity, they take lactase, an enzyme that is naturally found in raw milks but is destroyed by the pasteurization process). Heat processing also destroys the chemical make-up of calcium and other important nutrients to render them less absorbable.
Raw milk is rich in Vitamin K2, which assures proper placement of calcium. All these factors work together synergistically to keep the teeth and jaw bones strong and healthy. (Answers fermented bone broths also contain glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which help repair compromised gum tissue and strengthen the ligaments that hold each tooth in place).

When pets bite into the cheese treats with their back teeth, they’re putting those amazing enzymes and probiotics (good bacteria) right where it needs to be to fight that bad bacteria.
Check out this silly video we made about goat cheese.



• Made from tear-resistant rubber, Bristly is safe and pretty durable.
• Bristle-lined grooves that brush dog’s teeth down to the gum line
• Toothpaste reservoir below the bristles.
• Flavored & Scented for a yummy brushing experience
• Durable easy-to-hold nylon paw pads with brushing nubs.

We think that it would be ideal to give it to them each day (so it becomes a daily routine) for a supervised chew (these seem very durable, but no chew is indestructible)



Mad About Organics is an Oregon company dedicated to making a variety of pet care products made with safe natural ingredients. These oral care products include a liquid water additive that helps keep pets’ mouths clean and fresh (16oz/32oz), and a powdered form (4oz) which can be added on a daily basis to dry or wet food. The powder also has added immune support, and has been proven to reduce plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums (depending on diet and how long the plaque has been there), showing results in 2-8 weeks. It contains kelp and like the Plaque Off, shouldn’t be used for animals with hyperthyroid disease. We’ve also heard stories from M.A.O. and from our customers that the powder really helps to repel fleas as well! Both the liquid and powdered form are safe for both cats and dogs. Start small and increase to proper dose to acclimate them to the flavors (especially cats). You don’t want them to refuse their water if they feel like it tastes funny.  🙂
For years, store dog Sophia has eaten Answers brand fermented raw foods, raw fermented milks and regularly chews raw bones and bully sticks. As a result she has strong, sparkly white teeth!

Try to build oral care into your daily routine. For your pets that can chew, give them a little something to chew, even if it’s just a quick Whimzees stick for dogs, or a freeze dried chicken heart for cats or small dogs.

A Discussion About Chews For Dogs (And a Few For Cats)!

This is a two part article written for our newsletter for February, dental health month. This first part discusses the pros and cons of some of the chews we carry.

There are certainly a lot of safety considerations to be made when you’re choosing any dog chew. You have to factor in how tenacious and destructive your chewer is to make sure she doesn’t break off and swallow big pieces, whether she’s the type that needs to be supervised so that she doesn’t choke on or gulp down something that she’s softened up, and how healthy her teeth are, etc. 
The truth is that every chew has some sort of risk, as dogs can be so “creative” about how they approach and handle each item. Any hard item could damage a tooth if the dog were to bear down and try and crush or break it instead of steadily gnawing away at it. Anything that they can soften can become a swallowing or choking hazard, as are things that are too small for their mouths. Other toys like frisbees can wear their teeth down over time making them more vulnerable to damage by harder chews. 
Older dogs may also have weaker teeth.

The big thing that people don’t often realize is that dogs that eat dry food their whole lives often have weaker teeth, for two reasons related to processed food diets: 1) All kibble requires the use of starchy carbohydrates to bind the food and make those little nuggets. These simple carbs can linger in their mouths and then break down into simple sugars. Bacteria feed on these sugars and produce acid, which causes tooth decay. 2) These carbohydrates also contain phytic acid found in many plant based foods (grains, peas, lentils, rice, etc) which can inhibit the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, all minerals necessary for oral health.

The takeaway here is NOT that you shouldn’t provide chews to dogs because you fear risk. Chewing is an essential activity for dogs, and those that don’t provide appropriate chews might quickly find their dogs becoming destructive to furniture or shoes, etc. 

Chewing can be a very calming activity to anxious dogs, helps to dissipate extra energy that would otherwise distract you from your work at home (it can even wear a dog out as much as a big walk), provides enrichment that helps to alleviate boredom, and most importantly helps to keep teeth cleaner and gums healthier. Coyotes, wolves, etc keep their teeth plaque free with their natural diet of meat, organs and especially crunching through little bones and cartilage, and gnawing the meat and marrow from bigger bones. 
The key to safety is choosing something that suits your dog’s chewing style, knowing the risks associated with each type so that you can supervise your dog to make sure that they’re chewing appropriately. Once you feel confident that you know which chews your dog does well with, you can leave them more unsupervised with their favorite chews. Generally, the larger the chew, the safer it is as less of it can fit into their mouths at a time. Hard chews that are flat generally carry a larger risk of fracturing a tooth than round hard chews, as they can’t bear down as easily on those. Remember that humans who have a tooth that’s on the verge of breaking anyway might find it happening on a piece of popcorn!

Here are some of our favorite chews:

Buffalo Scapula And Trachea Tubes!

Edible chews like a buffalo scapula and trachea tubes are eaten away as they chew, so they’re unlikely to hurt a tooth and big enough not to be swallowed whole. We don’t carry pig ears due to the difficulty of finding a supply that isn’t from factory farmed pigs, but a buffalo scapula (pictured on the right) is like a larger and more durable version of pig ear (we carry Great Dog brand). They’re not as long lasting as a bully stick, but definitely a good little project, whereas a pig ear is often gone in a flash. Bison Tubes(thicker material) and Beef trachea Tubes (the ones we carry are thinner but longer) are another good little project . They’re hard and crunchy and rich in nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin, which are supportive to your dog’s joint health. (also from Great Dog brand)

For smaller dogs, we have single small slices of trachea pieces which are a good little project for puppies. These small slices can also be purchased in one pound bags, which is a really good deal. These bags are actually a wonderful thing for bigger dogs as well. Of course they’re not a big project, but we were surprised to find they take some minutes to work on for many dogs, which can buy you a little time and create a moment of calm for the dog at a good price. Using them every day is a good habit for benefiting dental health as well. Daily chewing arguably gives more benefit than a once a week bully stick. Once you’re happy with how they do with them, they’d be a great treat to give them as you go out the door to make that moment positive for them, or to reward a great recall.

Bully Sticks!

Bully Sticks are a great standby chew. They take some dogs a very long time to chew (especially puppies) and for other dogs it’s quite a bit faster. The upsides are that they’re great teeth cleaners that get way back there to the molars and soften as they chew so can help “floss” a bit. They’re high in protein and low in fat, and are very high value to dogs. The downsides are that they are fairly spendy if you have a super fast chewer and could become a little floppy or stringy depending on your dog’s chewing style. The other potential risk could be swallowing the last piece. We have a few devices to help hold a bully stick or other long chew like Himalayan cheese sticks, but the best strategy is to supervise until you know for sure how your dog manages any chew. Holding one end while your puppy chews the other can be a nice way to watch TV together, and and a good way to work on “Drop It”.
When shopping for bully sticks, know that not all of them are smelly. A really smelly bully stick might mean that the raw materials weren’t cleaned or dried properly. Well cleaned bullies have a natural smell, and that’s OK – you wouldn’t want one that was bleached. We get ours from Natural Cravings.
We like our beef and bison products to be from the USA (South American cattle are responsible for significant deforestation and habitat loss) and raised without feed lots. Bisons used to be guaranteed pastured, but nowadays feed lots are sometimes used.


The longest lasting chew are Elk Antlers. Antlers are very humane as they are naturally shed by deer and elk every year and sold as dog chews. (In nature, forest creatures like squirrels like to chew them too!) They come in a variety of sizes. The upsides: Nothing outlasts them, and they don’t splinter or stink. Usually they provide months of chewing, so they offset what appears to be a big sticker price. Most antlers are fairly round, which means dogs teeth slip off the sides, encouraging safer gnawing. There’s nothing to ingest so they’re a good thing for crates (unless they’ve worn the antler down small, so be smart about throwing them away if this happens). The downsides of course are that it’s a hard chew, so could hurt a tooth if the dog is intent on trying to break the antler. Vets do worry about this as they are of course the ones that see the instances where teeth are damaged, but honestly we’ve sold thousands of antlers in our 16 years of selling them and have only had 3 or maybe 4 reports of tooth damage (two were older dogs, one with cancer, and one was a puppy). Smaller softer puppy teeth might conceivably be damaged by hard chews, though to be honest we’ve only see that happen this once. This doesn’t mean a risk doesn’t exist, but it hasn’t been often. They’re generally a good choice as there are few other ways they could have trouble with them and don’t carry the risks of swallowing or making them need to potty in a crate like a Kong full of food might, but all chews are a judgement call on your part. There are a few dogs out there that can really burn through an antler quickly, which isn’t ideal. Those dogs probably shouldn’t have them, as they might be wearing their teeth down more quickly. In our opinion those dogs need more exercise to burn off their energy! The flip side is that some dogs are frustrated by not being able to make headway with antlers, so they don’t even bother trying…

Poultry Necks!

Some of the very best teeth cleaners are chicken necks, duck necks and turkey necks (suiting 3 sizes of dog). It’s very true that COOKED poultry bones are very dangerous to dogs, as they can be sharp and splintery. Raw necks are different. The bones in the neck are tiny and crunchy and surrounded with connective tissue and cartilage. They’re safe to chew through and very supportive nutritionally. Our favorite holistic vet recommends three raw poultry parts a week in place of commercial joint supplements, due to the high levels of natural glucosamine and chondroitin and other joint supporting nutrients in the collagen and connective tissues of bone in a highly bio-available state.. As they eat them, their teeth and gums are also getting a great flossing! The enzymes in the raw meat help to fight bacteria in the mouth. Dogs love them, and many cats love chicken necks too (either whole, which is often a young cat’s game, or in 1/2 inch slices). This was Otis the cat’s favorite treat! Check out the video in this blog post and turn on the sound!
Necks have another nice benefit for dogs with anal gland issues – several chicken necks a week can make nice hard stools that help to express the anal glands more effectively.
Most dogs and cats eat necks by chewing it as they go, but I could conceive of a situation where a dog might gulp a whole neck and choke, but I’ve never heard of it. Remember that dogs and cats are designed to eat something like a bird, squirrel, or rat as well as shearing meat from even larger bones. It’s very enriching for them to work away at it and enjoy it. I also think that a neck would be very digestible if they did swallow a larger piece. Dogs are also designed to bring up a piece of meat that’s too big and re-chew it to give it another go. (Gross, but efficient and natural behavior) Try to choose the appropriate size for your dog and like anything, watch them as they eat them. We carry Primal and Northwest Naturals brands of chicken and turkey necks, and Duck necks from Oma’s Pride.

Raw Meaty Bones!

 We also carry raw meaty marrow bones (beef and bison) in a variety of sizes. (We carry Primal and Tucker’s brands). Ideally for safety any recreational bone or chew would be as big as their head, so they can’t bear down on any hard surface, but those aren’t available for us to buy. (In Portland, Gartner’s maybe? Ask your local butcher if they have big knuckle bones). Perhaps you might choose the larger of the sizes we have so they can’t fit as much between their back teeth. Stripping the bone of the stuff on the outside and emptying the marrow from the center (like a natural Kong!) is the valuable project. Shorter bones will give them more access to the marrow. Enzymes in the raw meat help to fight bacteria in the mouth and working around all of the surfaces scrubs the teeth. You can leave them to gnaw on the cleaned-out bone, or you might want to chuck it in the curbside compost bin (in Portland, bones are allowed in there), especially if they’ve eaten kibble for years or have a history of tooth problems. Some dogs will even work away to consume the bone itself – our raw fed dogs on staff often do this and their teeth are sparkling. If they’ve never had a raw meaty bone before, it might be a good idea to introduce it slowly to avoid digestive surprises, either by allowing 15 or so minutes with it and putting it back in the fridge for tomorrow, or cleaning out some of the marrow before giving it to them so they consume less at first (It could be a little rich). Like for our own food, raw meat should be discarded after 3 days in the fridge. FYI for our customers: The Primal 6pk of bones has a frequent buyer program!

Chew Sticks For TheTeenie Weenies!

When puppies are super young, they need chews that are softer and smaller than those for older dogs. These Whimzees puppy sticks are so useful for this purpose! They come in 2 sizes: XS/S for puppies as little as 5lb (30 chews gives you a whole month of chews for $9.99), and MD/L for puppies 20lb and up.  Many of you with adult dogs already like the potato based Whimzees sticks, alligators, hedgehogs and toothbrushes (available in big and small sizes) for their simple ingredients. They’re gentle on teeth but seem pretty effective at keeping them clean. They’re also great for sensitive tummies, dogs with pancreatitis, protein allergies, etc. and available in a variety of sizes. We’re happy to have these new little puppy versions for the youngsters.

Big Bones For The Big Guys!

Customers love the 4-5 inch “Split Shins” for dogs that need a project. The downside could be that it’s another hard bone, but the upsides are that they’re very durable and even more importantly, they can create another sort of chewing style. They’re covered in dried connective tissue, so dogs have a different sort of project to try and strip the outside off. People love them for their big chewers, and also for smaller dogs who like the stripping project. They’re too big to swallow which is nice. They also have a small marrow end that the dogs might spend time trying to lick out. We’re very happy to have recently found the 9-10” Full Shins too! These have the knuckle on both ends and lots more “project” material on the outside.
No Hides!

Earth Animal has created a nifty product for those of us that refuse to by rawhides. Rawhides are typically manufactured with multiple rounds of chemical treatments, some of which can be toxic. Various coatings and dyes are used to make it look and smell attractive. These treatments can contain carcinogenic dyes like red 40, and studies suggest that preservatives like sodium benzoate may increase their risk of inflammation, oxidative stress, obesity, ADHD, and allergies. It may also convert to benzene, a potential carcinogen. That’s not the worst of it though, as rawhides are not digestible when swallowed, and larger pieces can create dangerous blockages that may require surgery.
No Hides by Earth Animal are plant based recipes that look and chew much like rawhide, but are 80% more digestible than rawhide. They’re basted in yummy flavors (the animal proteins are certified humanely raised) and come in packs of tiny sticks for tiny dogs, and larger 4″, 7″, and 11″ sizes for bigger dogs.
Knee Caps!

Knee caps are smallish but have quite a bit of yummy dried stuff to work on on the outside. Ours are USA pasture raised and pasture finished buffalo – we try hard to avoid beef products from feed lots, or that are raised in South America, where forests are suffering because of the pressure from the beef industry. As always, It’s a good idea to supervise dogs with smaller chews they haven’t had before. Some big dogs do great with these, some might be tempted to swallow the bone when all of the good stuff has been gnawed off. They’re definitely a great project for little dogs.

Cat Chews!

Cat chews are hard to find – Don’t miss the the section above about chicken necks with a video of Otis chewing a big piece! These products are great for little dogs as well.

Freeze Dried Chicken Hearts!

These treats are a great size as cats need to use their back teeth to bite into them, and their teeth are scrubbed as they do it. (Kind of like those prescription T/D things that scrape the teeth but have ingredients we would certainly not recommend feeding as meals). 
 You can easily cut these with a paring knife if elderly cats need a slightly smaller snack to introduce the concept. Chicken hearts are packed with naturally occurring Taurine, an important amino acid for dogs and cats that supports their hearts, brains and ability to retain muscle mass.
Fish Skin Chews!

Honest Kitchen makes a dehydrated fish skin chew that’s super safe and delicious. Made with MSC certified fish, these chews come in two lengths, but you can cut any of them to smaller sizes with kitchen shears. These are a one-ingredient, human grade, high protein, keep-them-occupied chew that’s a natural and healthier alternative to rawhide. Each chew is packed with Omegas to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. A great chew for all dogs, even seniors and puppies. Extra bonus – many cats love chewing on these as well!!
Don’t forget: all new chews should be supervised the first few times they have them. Remember that puppies that aren’t strong chewers will get stronger and more experienced with their chews, meaning they also might become more capable of running into risks or eating too much of something that upsets their stomachs, etc. Once you feel comfortable that the size is right for them and they’re chewing them appropriately, you can leave them alone with their chew while you get things done.
Remember: Daily chews are financially much less money than dental extractions. Read more from veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker here.
Don’t miss part two of this discussion, which will introduce you to unique products and strategies for helping their dental health in ways that don’t involve chewing.