Cool New Product – Bifido For Fido Probiotics

Photo By Christine Mallar

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.

Photo courtesy Four Leaf Rover

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)


Photo courtesy of K. Luna

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)

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


Photo courtesy of www.Choose

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

Image courtesy The Orca Conservancy

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!!

Image courtesy The Orca Conservancy

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:

Photo by Christine Mallar

– 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):

Image courtesy The Orca Conservancy

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.
Check out the similarity of the tiger and the house cat teeth, and between the Wolf skull and the dog’s teeth below it. You can always tell what any animal is designed by evolution to eat by studying the shape and size of their teeth. Compare the tiger and house cat photos, and compare the wolf skull and dog teeth below:

All images licensed from Adobe

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 (more for dogs than cats), and skipping the starchy carbs completely. 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! (More info on feeding raw here)

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 didn’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 for 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 your teeth, 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 daily, 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. (Note: Dr Becker is no longer associated with Dr Mercola.)

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

Other Products to Help You:


Photo from Proden Plaque Off

What a tremendous help this supplement is!! We’ve carried it for nearly the entire 18+ 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. 


Photo By Green Dog Pet Supply


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. 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.


Photo by Green Dog Pet Supply

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.  🙂

Photo By C. Miltenberger

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)!

Tilly’s photo was gifted to us by one of our very first customers

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 they’re the type that needs to be supervised so that they don’t choke on or gulp down something that they’ve softened up, and how healthy their 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, corn, soy, 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

Photo by Green Dog Pet Supply

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. 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 crunchy flash. Bison Tubes (pictured in the left photo), are a thicker material and Beef trachea Tubes (the ones we carry are thinner but longer than the bison tubes) 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.

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!

Photo by Green Dog Pet Supply

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

The “Bonehead” is made by Himalayan Pet and is made to hold a chew by using a screwdriver to tighten its hold (photo by Himalayan Pet)

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”. I recently saw a funny idea to attach a pair of vice grip pliers to the end of the stick to prevent the last bite from being eaten. It’s not the worst idea.

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 that have been handled like food products instead of waste material do have a natural smell, and that’s OK – you wouldn’t want one that was bleached.
We also 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. Bison used to be guaranteed pastured, but nowadays feed lots are sometimes used.


Photo by Green Dog Pet Supply

The longest lasting chew are Elk or deer 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 and rabbits like to chew them too!) They come in a variety of sizes. The upsides: Nothing outlasts them, and they don’t generally 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. (we don’t love the flat “split” antlers, as dogs can more easily bear down on them an hurt a tooth. 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 before 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). Note: Smaller softer puppy teeth might conceivably be damaged by hard chews. We don’t hear of it often, but this doesn’t mean a risk doesn’t exist. Some puppies are soft chewers and some are voracious. Hard chewers could even damage the adult teeth that are waiting to come in right behind the smaller puppy teeth. The upsides for puppies are that there are few other ways they could have trouble with them. They 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… It all comes down to choosing chews  that match their chewing style and age, and supervising to see how they handle any new chew.

Poultry Necks!


Photo by Green Dog Pet Supply

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. 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 fairly 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 or cat and like anything, watch them as they eat them.

Raw Meaty Bones!

Photo by Green Dog Pet Supply

 We also carry raw meaty marrow bones (beef and bison) in a variety of sizes. 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!

Photo from Whimzees’ website

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

Photo by Green Dog Pet Supply

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. The split shins 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!

Images provided by Earth Animal

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. 80% is definitely significantly better than rawhide’s digestibility, but you must remember that swallowing any large piece of No Hides could still create a blockage. Choose the size that’s less likely to be swallowed whole and watch your dogs to see that they’re working on it and getting only small bits at a time as they chew. The texture is such that it does have good tooth cleaning benefits, and the basted flavors are popular with many dogs.

Knee Caps!

Knee caps are smallish but have quite a bit of yummy dried stuff to work on on the outside. Ours are

Photo by Green Dog Pet Supply

USA pasture raised and pasture finished buffalo. 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

Photo by Green Dog Pet Supply

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 are forced 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-for-a-bit 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.
 Most Importantly: Daily chews are financially much less money than dental extractions. About 80 percent of dogs over the age of 3 have oral disease, typically gum disease, and gum disease has been linked to heart disease in dogs.
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.

Which Covid Products Can Be Recycled?

Many of us are using more cleaning and personal protective items these days and it can be confusing which items go in the garbage and which can be recycled.

Here’s a quick guide

Face masks and face shields
Used facial tissues and paper towels
Plastic gloves
All wipes (even those labelled flushable or biodegradable) and wipe bags and boxes
Empty hand sanitizer bottles smaller than 6 oz

Make sure all garbage is bagged and securely tied to avoid litter to protect the safety of waste collectors and the community.

Cardboard boxes from tissues, soap and gloves
Cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper rolls
Plastic bottles from cleaning supplies (empty, rinsed)
Plastic hand sanitizer bottles larger than 6oz. (empty, rinsed)
Plastic cylinder shaped wipe containers (see picture). Discard the lid for extra points

For hand sanitizer and hand soap, consider buying a larger bottle and refilling the smaller bottles you use every day. This prevents packaging waste and can save money.

Have a question about an item that’s not listed here? Ask here: or 503-823-7202.


The “Come!” command is one of the very most important things we can teach our dog. A reliable recall is imperative to get them quickly to safety, to recover them if they happen to get out the door, and to proactively remove them from a situation at the dog park that might evolve into trouble. It’s also a wonderful luxury when you are in a safe quiet place to be able to have your dog off leash and know you can get him right back when you want to.
Green Tip – please be very conscious of the negative environmental impact of off-leash dogs in some habitats (forests, dunes, etc) Read more here

Like the command “Drop It!”, it’s easy to accidentally make mistakes when training this behavior that can undermine your success. Let’s look at what might commonly happen:

*Let’s say your dog doesn’t really like bath time. He’s chewing on a bone and you say “Come!” and you remove him from his chew and bring him straight to the bathtub.
*Your dog is playing at the park with his buddies, and you decide it’s time to go. You say “Come!” and drive him away from the park – playtime is over.
*Your dog gets out the door. You’re very frightened when you see it happen as your dog darts right out to the busy street. Nightmare pictures flash in your mind of your baby hit by a car. You’re shouting at your dog to come, but he doesn’t listen. By the time you catch him you’re beside yourself and you’re very angry with him, and you tell him he’s bad and drag him back to the house and put him in time out.
See a pattern? From your dog’s perspective, that word “come” is becoming a pretty bad word. When he hears it, his heart might sink. He thinks, “Bad things might be starting, “My fun might be ending”, or “I’m about to be punished”. You don’t want him to hear that word and weigh his options, or worse, you don’t want to say that word and have him take off on you in the other direction! Don’t “poison” your cue. Protect this word!

Here’s your best road to success:
You want that word come to be the very most awesome thing your dog hears from you. “Come!” means opportunity, you’d better hurry over! “Come!” means dinnertime! “Come!” means you might have a fun new toy for him! “Come!”means good things are starting! “Come!” means his favorite friends are here to see him! “Come!” means delicious things are possible! You want his heart to LIFT when he hears that word. You want him to hurry over to see what it is so he doesn’t miss out!

Here’s How To Start:
First, keep your recall command consistent (I’ll be referring to it as “Come!” but it can be whatever you like), and of course ONLY use it for good things (for now). And remember: always end training sessions on a high note!
Start by inviting him to come to you from a foot away inside the house when he’s not occupied with anything exciting. Say “Come!” and then pat your legs, get lower to the ground, make kissy noises, or whatever will prompt him to come closer and when he does, say “yes!” And give him a great treat. Back up a few feet and do it again. Show him a treat, say “come” and run a few feet away from him, getting him to run along with you a little. When he does, say “yes!” and give him a treat and a party. What fun! If it’s dinner time, use the word “come!”. If you have a new toy you bought, don’t waste the opportunity – maybe tuck it into the back of your pants, call him to “come” and when he gets there, say “yes!” And give him a party, whipping out the new toy as a surprise bonus! Wow! Cool! What a fun word!

On leashed walks when everything is calm and boring, suddenly get animated and bouncy and say “Benny, come!” And get him to run for a few yards with you while you’re unexpectedly fun. Reward him with pets and a treat, then let everything get boring again. When he’s forgotten about that, do it again. Having a little fun starting up during a quiet time and running along with you are both reinforcing for this behavior.

If you have a helper or three, recall games are fun for everyone! Start somewhere like a hallway indoors or a big room. First have one person hold your dog by his leash. You get a good treat and let him sniff it. Then while your helper continues to hold him, you run 10 or 15 feet away, then turn back around and enthusiastically say, “Benny, Come!” The person holding him releases him right away when you say that command and you continue to cheerlead him the whole way to you. When he gets to you, reach towards him under his chin, gently take his collar with one hand and and give him the treat with the other hand (with big praise).
-The reason that person holds him until you stop running and turn around to call him is to build up anticipation – they love to chase!
– The reason you take his collar when he gets to you is that by making it a regular part of the recall, you’re sure to have him securely when he is frightened or startled in the real world and might dash away. He’ll also be so used to it that he won’t be startled if someday a stranger takes him by the collar.
-The reason you have him drag his leash and you vocally cheerlead/encourage him as he comes to you is that the world is a distracting place. When you move this game to new places, you’ll want the whole thing to be fun and keep him engaged in the game. If he stops and sniffs stuff or spots a squirrel, you can say “Oops!” and get his leash and encourage him to finish running along with you the rest of the way on the leash and reward that.

Step Two: As he gets better at this game and is pretty reliably racing towards you indoors, bring him out to the yard. 
A long line is an incredibly handy thing to have for outdoor exercises – these are light leashes that are 20 or more feet long. If you don’t have one, have him drag his leash. You’ll especially want a long line later when you start  to work in more distracting areas like a park. “Come” should always be positive and fun, but it shouldn’t be optional. This does not mean anything about punishment but it does mean something about follow-through. You don’t want to inadvertently reinforce a chase game if your dog decides to ditch your game and run off! Getting him to finish the task and get the reward is an important step. If he does get distracted, work in an easier area with fewer risks of distraction and for shorter periods of time. End with a successful run to you before it becomes any sort of chore. You want this to be a fun game that he wishes wouldn’t stop!
Note: (IF for some reason he is collar-shy, work on that issue separately for now. Slowly desensitize it in a quiet setting by reaching towards him, perhaps towards his chest at first but not touching him and rewarding this until it’s not scary, then scratching him under his chest for a reward with the other hand, working slowly with good treats closer to gentle touches to the collar, etc. Watch for stiffening of his body or a glimpse of “Whale Eyes” and go back to what was easier.

Third Step: Practice the same indoor chase-me exercises outdoors, with better treats.
Then if you have a third person (or more), space out in a rough circle, not too far away from each other, and take turns calling the dog to come, so he’s bouncing from one person in the circle to another. Remember each time to use his name, call him to come and cheerlead him as he comes, and take his collar and give a treat. Then the next person does the same.
Sometimes when he does a really good recall, take a break and play a game as a reward. Fetch is good if he’s into that, or a have a game of tug. Fun things happen when you come!

Forth Step: if you have three people, have a person be a (minor) distractor. Use better treats, and perhaps have your dog drag his leash or be on a long line. If you and one other helper are calling him back and forth, have the third person stand to the side of the recall path while he runs by, or casually walking across the path. Reward well for ignoring that distractor. Then maybe that distractor does something slightly playful: hop from foot to foot nearby, or stand holding a ball, bouncing it lightly in your hand. The person calling should be animated. If the dog is distracted, the caller should scoop up his leash and encourage him to run along with them to the end point, and get a little reward. Don’t increase the challenge until he does well ignoring that level of distraction. If the dog does well, the next step will be to make the distractions harder. Tossing a favorite toy into the air, or running across the path, etc. If he veers, the caller could use a marker word if you already have one “Oops!, or “nope!” Or “Uh-uh” and see if you can cheerlead him to bring him back on course. If you’re able to convince him with your enthusiasm to change course back to coming to you without having to use the leash, make a big deal out of it. Give him a jackpot! Jackpot means you give a series of treats, one at a time with a slight pause between treats. This feels like a lot of treats to a dog (as opposed to a handful of treats, which = ONE handful.) What you’re showing him is that he gets the best/most rewards when he makes the decision to ignore a distraction.
Another good addition is making “Sit!” be part of the recall. As he approaches, stand tall and ask for sit, perhaps with a slightly exaggerated hand signal if you’ve got one, then take his collar and reward well.

Almost There! Once he’s a rockstar in your yard, bring him to a more public park and use your long line. Start closer together at first in a quieter area, and work up to a more distracting area. Remember to end on a good note!

Work on Calling Him Away From Fun: Once you’re doing well with the park, a very good exercise if you happen to frequent an enclosed dog park is to go with a few treats in your pocket. When your dog has already been playing and then it’s one of those quiet moments maybe just sniffing the ground, call his name from a short distance away and if he even looks towards you, say “Yes!” and give him a treat and then tell him to “Go Play!” again. Then wait a bit and call him to “Come!” during another quiet-ish moment, and cheerlead him as he comes. Reward this very well, maybe even with a jackpot moment, and then tell him to “Go Play!” again. This is a great way to show him that “Come” doesn’t necessarily mean fun is over, and also works on coming with distractions around. Maybe when you leave you can use the “Want to Go For A Ride?” or “Want to Go To Green Dog?”  to continue the fun instead of just ending it.

Important Tip: 
If in real life he decides not to come in the face of something too exciting, try not to punish him when you do get him back. Remember that a reward or a punishment is always associated with what happened right before, meaning punishing him when he lets you finally catch him will be punishing him for getting caught/coming to you. These are things you don’t want to discourage.

Instead: Try to see if he’ll come to you as you run away a bit, like your exercises. Reward it very well if he comes!  A strange but effective tactic that works on many dogs in an emergency is if you drop to the ground, perhaps making a high pitched noise. If you’ve ever watched Funniest Home Videos, you could make a drinking game out of the number of people falling and then a dog racing right to them from off screen! Even getting on your hands and knees and pretending to look intensely at something in the grass can be irresistible to some dogs. Try it in your yard! 

If your dog is off leash and doesn’t come to you, go back to using a long line for a while. Don’t let them have too much practice ignoring this cue – just go back a step or two and work near distractions on a long line to  better solidify the behavior.
You might ask:
“But what about all those other times I listed in the beginning of this article where I want to call him away from something he’s enjoying or towards something that’s not so fun?”  The good news is that the English language has loads of great words, like “Bath time!” “Let’s Go!” “Want to go for a ride?”, etc. Make sure you reward these words well too, especially early in life, and work on making those experiences more positive.
For example, if bath time is scary, can you come up with ways to make it less so? You could put a rubber mat in the tub to make it less slippery, you could smear peanut butter along the inside edge of the tub (or we have rubber textured licking surfaces that adhere to the tile or tub that they can lick stuff off of to distract them from the activity), you could have a second person holding a frozen treat to lick, or you could try to do it outdoors on a hot day. Bath time (or other un-favorite activity) could also always end in a super awesome favorite treat/chew that is reserved for bath or grooming sessions, (or is hidden in the car for when he came away from the dog park fun) making it at least a begrudging acceptance of the task in anticipation of that great thing.

Happy Recall, Y’all!

By Christine Mallar, Co-owner, Green Dog Pet Supply. Christine has 30 years of positive reinforcement training experience with dogs, cats and captive exotic animals.

Other articles in this puppy series:

Tips for New Puppy Owners
Congratulations on your new puppy! What a fun time you’ll have! We very much want your new baby to live a long, healthy, happy life, so we thought we’d compile some of the nitty-gritty dos-and-don’ts of puppy care. Socialization, nutrition, our favorite chews, tips on potty training, etc!

Raising a Puppy (Or Any New Dog) During Covid19
All of us feel frightened and unsure of how long we’ll be living in this strange, suspended, frightening reality. A new dog is not just a delightful distraction from boredom- that little soul can really be a life raft for your psyche. But, this new-puppy-during-quarantine situation does come with a few unique challenges. How to work on socialization and help to prevent separation anxiety once you go back to work.

What Do They Want? How Should They Get It? (Foundational Thinking For Creating Good Behavior in puppies and kittens! Part One) Often we hapless humans try our best to tell our puppies (and kittens) what we want them to do or especially not do, yet the bad behaviors increase and we struggle to get them to be what we wish they would be, especially when it comes to attention-getting behaviors. I’m here to offer a few rules of thumb for most any behavior you don’t like.

To Treat Or Not To Treat?  (Foundational Thinking For Creating Good Behavior In Dogs Part 2 : Choose Your Methods of Training Carefully, especially with Reactive/Fearful Dogs.
This is the second article in the series that I call “foundational thinking”, as once you understand how dogs think and learn, and the concepts behind why you use certain methods, you can train just about any behavior you like! I think this article contains what I believe to be some of the most important information I can give you about why we use positive reinforcement, and the dangers of using dominance theory and aversive methods especially when dealing with situations that are uncomfortable for dogs.

Do I Always Have To Use Treats? (Foundational Thinking For Creating Good Behavior In Dogs Part Three) A lot of people worry about training with treats.
* Do I have to keep giving them treats for everything for the rest of their  lives?
* Aren’t I bribing them?
* I want them to do things because they want to please me.
* I want them to do things right away and I don’t want to have to show them a treat to get them to listen.
 These are all good questions. Here’s how to help your dog be able to do what you ask of them the first time you ask, while continuing to build a good relationship.

Drop It!
We’re continuing our puppy series with discussions of common training challenges. It’s so easy to accidentally create a dog that runs away from you when they get a hold of something they shouldn’t have. Wouldn’t you rather they spit something out of their mouth when you approach? You can do it!

Drop It!

Note: this is an article in a recent series of puppy training articles – see the bottom of this page for links!
We know many people during Covid may lack a lot of options when it comes to puppy classes. They do exist in Portland, but these days they are often filled up too quickly, as there are SO MANY  new puppies right now.  Even if you can find open classes, maybe you don’t feel that comfortable about leaving the house right now. Whatever the reason, I’m hoping to help you along with some specific handy behavior basics. Stay tuned for more!

Drop It!

A recent customer brought home his 8 week old puppy, and was shocked the second day when he went to take something from her and his tiny little angel growled at him. He came straight into the store very worried that he had adopted a Cujo puppy with a vicious streak. I want to reassure you: protecting resources is a very natural behavior for dogs, and actually for all animals including people. Lions aren’t keen on hyenas stealing their hard-won meal. Think about how much you have to actively teach and remind your toddlers to share – it doesn’t exactly come naturally. Even though our mommas might have taught us well, think about how you might react if a stranger walked by your table in a restaurant and took a handful of your french fries! However, don’t despair, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t teach your new puppy to happily surrender what’s in their possession to their humans!

First I’d like you to consider what normally happens: The puppy (who naturally puts absolutely everything in her mouth that she encounters) chews on something like your shoe. You gasp and run over, yank the shoe away and leave her with nothing. Then she’s chewing on an absolutely delicious bully stick but you notice it’s getting floppy and short enough to swallow, so you approach her hastily and take it away.  Hmmm. Not so fun. Maybe next time she finds a sock and as you rush over to take it away from her, she runs away with it. She’s starting to understand that if she has something and you rush over saying “no”, you’re going to take it away for sure, and maybe she doesn’t want to lose that fun thing.  As she runs away with it, you chase her around (perhaps pretty fun, actually) and when you get the sock in your hand she tugs against it (really fun!) And then she loses it. (Boo. Game over. No fun at all.) 
You are in fact actively teaching her not to let you get something she wants to keep, or perhaps that if she’s bored, grabbing something that elicits a chase and tug game is a pretty great idea. If you’re ripping away her most delicious chew, she’s very much NOT going to be motivated to give that up next time, and may even start to get defensive about you “stealing” it away from her. She’s no dummy. She can see patterns in your behavior and learn from them, but unfortunately you might be inadvertently teaching her behaviors that might infuriate you.

Here’s the recipe for success:

Instead of teaching her that “drop it” means she always loses things she likes, make it a neat opportunity for a reward. The strategy is to start frequently removing easy things that she ultimately doesn’t lose. You’ll just be borrowing them for a moment and giving them back. You’ll want to do many of these tiny exercises a day.

Tip: During this time you’ll want to manage her environment tightly, keeping things like shoes and socks, etc very well put away.

Step One, choose your command and your reward marker. Your command can be anything that you choose such as, “Can I have it?” “Can I borrow this?” “Drop It”. Your reward marker could be “Yes” or “thank you” or “good”. Whichever words you choose should be something that easily springs to your mouth, and it should stay consistent.
Then for this first exercise, lets say she’s laying on her bed and a ratty stuffed toy that she’s not playing with is laying next to her. (You want to start with low value items in calm situations). Get a yummy treat, calmly approach her and put it right to her nose, asking her, “can you Drop It?” or whatever your command is. (With your other hand, casually take the item from the bed, say “yes!!” Or “thank You” (whatever reward marker you have chosen) and give her the treat while you’re holding the toy. When she finishes the treat, praise her and give her the toy right back. 
Try to find excuses to practice this very easy exercise a lot, as  you’re just establishing a pattern. You can also do random exercises where you present her with some toy that’s hers (that’s not that exciting) and ask her if you can have it right back with the command you’ve chosen, showing her a treat if she leaves the toy laying next to her or perhaps putting it right at her nose if the toy’s in her mouth, calmly removing the item you just gave her, rewarding her with that treat, returning the toy and walking away. If she tries to make a tug game with it, just say “Oops”, drop the toy and walk away with your treat. (If you want to play tug in a different circumstance, present the tug and invite her to get it. You don’t want her to try turn other situations into tug games like when you’re folding laundry).

Tip: You want to show her that 99 times out of 100, when you approach calmly and ask her if you can have what she has, she gets a reward and she also gets the thing right back. Starting with easy things first lays down a valuable precedent. This exercise takes all of 30 seconds, so try to sprinkle it in throughout the day.

Step Two: You can start to try this same exercise with a lower value toy that she’s actively enjoying, whether it’s in her mouth at the moment or not. Work it in a lot of times a day.

Step Three: When she has something of medium value in her mouth, get two really good treats, calmly approach her and press one treat right up against her nose, while you’re calmly reaching for the toy that’s in her mouth with your other hand, asking her with your command to give it up. When she drops it to get the treat, say your reward marker, give the treat to her, and then give her the second treat, praise her, and give her her toy right back into her mouth and walk away. Practicing this a lot with low and medium value toys will likely start to turn your dog into someone that when she has a toy in her mouth and you approach, she’s going to spit it out in anticipation of a treat. If she does release it before you’ve even asked, praise her heartily, ask her with your regular command if you can have it and go through the regular motions, treating and returning her toy to her. You’re almost there!

Step Four: Next, you’re going to present her with something really exciting and ask for it back for just a moment. Get a higher value chew like a bully stick (something that’s easy for you to hang on to for a minute and that you plan to let her have at the end). Be ready with a high value treat. Present her with the bully stick and invite her to “Take It”, but continue to hold it while she chews it a little. Then put your high value treat right up to her nose and ask with your command for the drop it. Ideally she’ll release it to get her treat, and you should also praise her well and give her the bully stick right back, leaving her alone to chew it. You’re showing her that it’s safe to give up even a really good thing for a moment. For a little while, this is how you might present all things to her that she loves – hand it to her, ask her for a quick drop it for a treat and then give it back to her and leave her with it. You’re really showing her that it’s safe to let someone take things, even good things, and that it doesn’t mean she’ll undoubtedly lose it forever.
Step Five: Taking away a high value item that she’s been working on for a while: This exercise gets harder when they’re really “dug in” to a high value chew. Before you ever progress to step Five, you should feel confident about her being happy with the steps so far (especially step 4) and they have become easy. You’ll want to escalate to a crazy good treat that she never gets (a real piece of meat, or biggish cube of cheese, a piece of deli ham, or whatever would blow her mind) to reward her with for the first time you try, and do return the chew to her right away and leave her be. Getting her solid on this exercise will help you with real life situations.

Real Life : Sometimes she’ll get an object that you have to take away. Hopefully you’ve used management to prevent these incidents with household items, but life happens, like the stringy floppy thing she might choke on, or whatever she’s found in the world that might be dangerous to her if she ate it. Do NOT get worked up and run towards her to take it. Remember that you’ve created a great precedent of calmly approaching her and removing something, so keep a cool head and recreate this exercise. Keep a Tupperware container handy in common areas containing really good special treats and something delicious to trade for the item that you can leave her with handy in common areas for just such an occasion (it’s an excellent bully stick opportunity).  Remember: don’t make a fuss, no matter whether she’s decimating something you love (just whack your own nose with a rolled up newspaper for letting her have access to that valued item). Just calmly approach, put the good treat right up her nose (Of course I’m not suggesting you put anything actually up her nose, but by pressing it a bit against her nose, sometimes it distracts her from the fact that she’s letting something go to be able to take that treat), ask for and take the item as you praise her and instead of returning the item to her, this one time out of a hundred she’s going to get something else instead. Give her that bully stick and I doubt she’ll be too affected by the loss.

Tip: Remember, 99 times out of 100 when you approach and ask her to drop it, she gets a reward and gets the thing right back. Why wouldn’t she want you to borrow things from her? It’s a cool deal. If you’re doing these exercises several or more times a day, she’s going to feel incredibly secure about you taking stuff from her.

Tip: Remember, that one time out of a hundred where she has something she shouldn’t have is a valuable moment that shouldn’t be squandered. Be prepared for it, be calm and reward it well, and trade the item for something else (hopefully something good).

Tip: Be practicing this outdoors too. On a walk, bring your treats and one good trade just in case. if she picks up a stick, calmly ask if you can have it, with a treat at her nose, give her the treat and return the stick right back to her to carry. Or if she loves to fetch it, throw it for her after the drop it. This is a good way to phase out the lure (the treat at the nose thing), as the start of a game is great reinforcement for a good drop it. If it’s something she shouldn’t have and is exciting (ie: dead squirrel) make sure your good treat and good trade is handy. Getting her to be good about drop it can be a lifesaver for her in the future if she gets something dangerous. Rewarding it well is a good way to solidify the behavior. Eventually of course she’ll be so secure with the drop it that you won’t always need the lure or the reward, though it’s always a good idea to randomly reinforce behaviors you like to keep them strong.

Note: Resource guarding between dogs is a bit more tricky. If you have multiple dogs, management is important. Perhaps separating the dogs is a good idea when there are valuable items they might squabble over (raw bones, etc). Make their crates a great spot to get high value chews. Practice rewarding the crabby dog for leniency when it comes to the puppy. If they’re both sitting in front of you for treats, give crabby dog the first one, then give the puppy a quick treat and immediately give crabby dog two treats, one at a time. If crabby dog gets paid for allowing puppy to get treats, you’re helping crabby dog to develop more patience and impulse control when it comes to the puppy getting things. If crabby dog blows it, he should be calmly but efficiently removed from the opportunity. “Too bad!”. You don’t want to be unfair to crabby dog for the way he feels, so separation before high value food stuffed toys or bones are presented might be kinder in these situations, so he isn’t made anxious about losing his stuff.

You Can Do It!










Tips for New Puppy Owners
Congratulations on your new puppy! What a fun time you’ll have! We very much want your new baby to live a long, healthy, happy life, so we thought we’d compile some of the nitty-gritty dos-and-don’ts of puppy care. Socialization, nutrition, our favorite chews, tips on potty training, etc!

Raising a Puppy (Or Any New Dog) During Covid19
All of us feel frightened and unsure of how long we’ll be living in this strange, suspended, frightening reality. A new dog is not just a delightful distraction from boredom- that little soul can really be a life raft for your psyche. But, this new-puppy-during-quarantine situation does come with a few unique challenges. How to work on socialization and help to prevent separation anxiety once you go back to work.

What Do They Want? How Should They Get It? (Foundational Thinking For Creating Good Behavior in puppies and kittens! Part One) Often we hapless humans try our best to tell our puppies (and kittens) what we want them to do or especially not do, yet the bad behaviors increase and we struggle to get them to be what we wish they would be, especially when it comes to attention-getting behaviors. I’m here to offer a few rules of thumb for most any behavior you don’t like.

To Treat Or Not To Treat? Foundational Thinking For Creating Good Behavior In Dogs Part 2 :  Choose Your Methods of Training Carefully, especially with Reactive/Fearful Dogs.
This is the second article in the series that I call “foundational thinking”, as once you understand how dogs think and learn, and the concepts behind why you use certain methods, you can train just about any behavior you like! I think this article contains what I believe to be some of the most important information I can give you about why we use positive reinforcement, and the dangers of using dominance theory and aversive methods especially when dealing with situations that are uncomfortable for dogs.

Do I Always Have To Use Treats? (Foundational Thinking For Creating Good Behavior In Dogs Part Three) A lot of people worry about training with treats.
* Do I have to keep giving them treats for everything for the rest of their  lives?
* Aren’t I bribing them?
* I want them to do things because they want to please me.
* I want them to do things right away and I don’t want to have to show them a treat to get them to listen.
 These are all good questions. Here’s how to help your dog be able to do what you ask of them the first time you ask, while continuing to build a good relationship.

Drop It!
We’re continuing our puppy series with discussions of common training challenges. It’s so easy to accidentally create a dog that runs away from you when they get a hold of something they shouldn’t have. Wouldn’t you rather they spit something out of their mouth when you approach? You can do it!

The “Come!” command is one of the very most important things we can teach our dog. A reliable recall is imperative to get them quickly to safety, to recover them if they happen to get out the door, and to proactively remove them from a situation at the dog park that might evolve into trouble. It’s also a wonderful luxury when you are in a safe quiet place to be able to have your dog off leash and know you can get him right back when you want to. Like the command “Drop It!”, it’s easy to accidentally make mistakes when training this behavior that can undermine your success. Here’s how to succeed in training a reliable recall.

Study Finds No Link Between Grain-Free Diets and DCM in Dogs

This article is reprinted from Pets Plus Magazine because we think they worded it well:

A new study failed to find a definitive relationship between grain-free and legume-rich diets and dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs.

A group of veterinarians, veterinary cardiologists and animal nutritionists from BSM Partners, a pet care research and consulting firm, examined more than 150 studies for the analysis.

“Additionally, the FDA’s reported cases of DCM include incomplete information, making it impossible to draw any sound conclusions from this data,” according to a press release from BSM.

The peer-reviewed article, which appears in the Journal of Animal Science, is an exhaustive literature review regarding the causes of DCM, and the first research resulting from BSM Partners’ long-term DCM research effort.

“We wanted to gain the best understanding of this issue, so we examined the results of more than 150 studies, which taken together did not support a link between grain-free and legume-rich diets, and DCM,” said Dr. Sydney McCauley, an animal nutritionist and the article’s lead author. “What the science does make clear is that DCM is largely an inherited disease.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year issued an update on its investigation into reports of DCM in pets eating certain commercial foods. The FDA included a list of “Dog Food Brands Named Most Frequently to DCM Cases Reported to FDA,” including many favorites of independent pet stores.

The new article details published research highlighting a number of other factors that could contribute to the presence of DCM. These include nutrient deficiencies, myocarditis, chronic tachycardia and hypothyroid disease.

“We believe that further research is needed in order to reach sound conclusions with respect to the relationship between diet and DCM,” said Dr. Eva Oxford, a veterinary cardiologist and an article coauthor. “This is why BSM Partners has initiated multiple original research projects that will shed additional light on this topic.”

BSM researchers also stated that while the FDA has referenced many reported cases of DCM in dogs eating grain-free or legume-rich diets, the majority of these cases contained incomplete information.

“For example, integral data such as the dog’s complete diet history, age, or the presence of concurrent conditions were often missing,” according to the press release. “Additionally, some of the reported cases were of dog breeds with a known genetic predisposition to DCM, which further confounds the claim of a dietary role.
Original link to the Pets Plus Magazine article here

Please see Green Dog’s previous posts on this matter, explaining the ins and outs of this issue, simple things you can do to support your dog’s health if you choose to feed any kibble diet:

Attention Kibble Feeders: New Health Problem Reported.
Note: This was the article we posted when the first news of the alleged link between grain free foods and heart disease. It has since been proven that there is no link between grain free foods and cardiomyopathy. That being said, we still feel this article has valuable and important information about processed foods such as kibble, and how they are in fact still compromised nutritionally when it comes to the fragile amino acids that dogs and cats rely on for a healthy body. Educate yourself about how some companies “cheat” when it comes to proteins, and easy and inexpensive ways to amend your pet’s diet to ensure they’re getting these amino acids and other nutrients that will support their health and longevity.

When Vets Tell you To Switch From Grain Free Kibble To Grains
You may have heard something online or from your vet about the issue of dogs eating grain free foods sometimes showing low levels of taurine in their bloodwork. Since then, we’ve had a number of customers that come saying their vet told them to switch to a food containing grains. One local vet in our area sent out an email about heart disease, urging their customers to use foods containing grain, and also advocating for the use of  “Meat By-Products” in pet foods, and we’d like to address both of these topics to help you learn more and make educated decisions. One thing that we feel is important to point out is that some of the diets with grain in them do contain harmful ingredients. Not all grain is bad, of course – we carry a few foods with grain that we like, but there are a few ingredients in other products that we’d never allow in the store. Read why.