Happy Valentine’s Day from our homes to yours!
In this issue of Bites and Barks, we’re going to look at some of the questions we’ve been asked recently about supplementing your pet’s diet as well as some of the exciting new products we are carrying at the store.
Is Garlic bad for my pet?
We often get asked about garlic since it is a member of the onion family and as we all know, onions are toxic to our pets! But garlic, like many things in life, can be either good or bad. Garlic has medicinal properties for your pet. It contains over thirty compounds that can be valuable for a variety of conditions from skin disorders to cancer. On the other hand, too much garlic and the frequency with which it is consumed can result in problems.
So what’s safe? For a dog to develop health problems, he would have to eat over 0.5% of his body weight in onions. For example, a 60 lb. dog would have to eat a whole 5 ounce onion or several cloves of garlic to become compromised and would have to consume that much on a repeated basis to cause permanent harm. Garlic is not safe at all for pets with pre-existing anemic conditions or those scheduled for surgery.
There are differing recommendations about garlic intake. One author says that 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder per pound of food three to 4 times a week would provide great health benefits for your pet. Another suggests one clove of fresh garlic per 10 to 30 lbs. of weight per day will boost the immune system and support cancer prevention. One thing to remember is that like all whole foods, garlic loses its medicinal properties with high heat.
ADDING RAW EGGS: Are you serious?
When we suggest adding raw eggs to your pet’s diet as a nutritional boost, many people are surprised. I often tell wary customers that my mother, a public health nurse, made us eggnog many times as we were growing up and we lived to tell the tale!
Generally, any from animal sources improves the quality of an animal on a commercially processed diet. It is important to remember a couple of things when adding real food to an existing diet: reduce your pet’s meal proportionately to accommodate the extra calories, and, alternate a variety of “boosters” like sardines, meat scraps, etc.
Next to green tripe (which we love as you might recall!), raw eggs are one of nature’s most wholesome foods. Eggs are not just economical, but they are one of the most complete and nutritious foods available. Eggs are a nearly complete source of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and contain lots of vitamin A, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12, iron, selenium and fatty acids. Finely ground egg shells combined with the egg provide a perfectly balanced source of phosphorus and calcium, making the egg a nearly complete source of nutrition for your dog.
If you can, choose eggs that are hormone or antibiotic free and from pasture raised chickens. They give a far bigger nutritional hit.
Can too many eggs be a problem? Most sources I have found address this in relation to calories. Large eggs are about 70 calories each. The yolks contain most of the fat (about 5 grams) which is not a huge issue for most medium to large dogs but may be too much for smaller animals. One suggestion is to add in two whites to every yolk. Alternatively, if you choose just to feed the whites, consider cooking them. Whites are more easily digested when cooked while yolks retain more nutritional value if fed raw. If you have a number of smaller dogs or cats, an easy trick is to hard boil the eggs and divide them, providing a portion each day, or spreading the joy among multiple pets. If you find your pet develops diarrhea or any other digestive problem, try feeding the two different types of food at different times of the day and remember, there are some animals who do better with foods that are cooked.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition has been annoyed by consumers making product choices based on ingredients “rather than on the over all promise of superior nutrition backed by clinical research”. As a result, Hill’s has recently and apparently, reluctantly, reformulated some of its Science Diet lines. How unsettling it must be for Hill’s to have consumers who want quality ingredients!
A winter project for your dog and child! A Minnesota pilot project called PAWSitive Readers found that trained therapy dogs helped ten of 14 grade school participants improve their reading skills by one grade level. Another study at the University of California found that children who read to the family dog improved their ability by an average of 12%.
Central heating can cause dry skin and dander. To help, give your cat or dog fish oil and brush weekly! You could also try Earthbath’s deodorizing spritz’s which come in scents like vanilla and almond, lavender and mango tango. These products are designed to condition and have ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe and vitamin E. We also have foams and wipes to freshen up your pet.
In the next week or two, we will have Red Dog Blue Kat raw dog and cat food in stock. Red Dog Blue Kat is a British Columbia company, founded by a group of friends who used their combined sixteen years of experience in feeding raw, researching and consulting with veterinarians, to produce a quality raw pet food. 100% of the meat used in their products is non-medicated and hormone-free. They are commitrted to choosing suppliers who ensure humane, sustainable and healthy practises both in the rearing and slaughter of animals. Portions come in vacuum-sealed packaging and represent a typical daily serving portion. We have been asked about carrying this food for a number of years and we are very excited to finally have it in sight!
All dog meals contain 25% organic juiced veggies (tripe meals have 15-20%), 75% animal protein (tripe meals contain 80-85%) made up of 10% organs, 10-20% bone (poultry and fish meals only), 25-30% tripe (beef & salmon meals only) and 60-90% meat goodness. Cat meals contain 98% animal protein (tripe meals contain 80-85%), 20% heart organ (taurine source), 10% liver organ (vitamin A source) and 70% muscle meat and 2% organic juiced beggies, wild salmon oil and egg yolk. Red Dog Blue Cat has unique proteins for dogs such as venison, herring, kangaroo and wild boar as well as buffalo tripe and whole herring. For cats, we will have buffalo, venison, turkey, kangaroo and rabbit. Their juiced veggies vary according to the product but might include green chard, lettuce, green kale, sweet potato, squash, zucchini, bok choy, red chard or arugula.
We will announce the arrival on our facebook page but in the interim, please check out their web site for more information: www.reddogdeli.com.
other new store products…
Dry dog food
For dogs with allergies, a new limited ingredient alternative: Natural Balance Potato and Rabbit.
Nature’s Variety Raw Boost: Chicken or Duck & Turkey. This kibble has freeze dried meats added to the bag!
We’re so excited about the new Orijen treats! One of our customers crumbles these treats on top of her dog’s food and her fussy dog gobbles up her food! Just look at the ingredients and their order…
Black Angus Beef (Angus beef liver, boneless Angus beef, beef tripe)
We are still waiting for Orjien’s freeze dried food so watch our Facebook page for that info as well!
Beef Patties from Spring Creek Farms in Manitoba. Spring Creek also supplies beef to Stella’s for their hamburgers. These are packages of four 8 ounce patties (2 lbs.) of organ meats and beef and retail for $7.50. Without bone in, they can be cooked. Great nutritional boost for homemade diets or any raw diet rotation.
We are constantly adding to the menu of products available
Chilly Dog Coats
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Facts about pet foodThe vitamins and minerals listed on dry and canned pet foods are synthetic and added to the food after the heat processing to try to make that food complete.All dogs share virtually the same DNA and because of that, all breeds and sizes first and foremost require healthy food not specialized food.Dry pet food does not clean teeth.If fed an exclusive dry food diet, rotate the dry foods at least 3 to 4 times per year so your pet has access to different formulas and different levels of vitamins and minerals.Whole ingredient supplements or whole food vitamins, low-fat yogurt, fish oil, eggs, sardines can enhance your pet’s nutrition.Ingredients such as grain and corn are NOT healthy for cats.Real food, and in particular, raw food diets are the least heat processed pet food, followed by dehydrated foods, then canned food and finally, dry foods.There is no perfect singular food for every dog – what may work well for one dog may not benefit another.Canned pet food tends to have more meat including organ meats in their ingredients.Variety is the most important nutritional gift for your pet.All ingredients in pet foods are important and are listed in descending order by weight.Real food – especially muscle & organ meats and ground bone – is a perfectly natural diet for pets.Grain has no nutritional value for dogs.Wet food diets for cats are much healthier than dry food diets.
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When you take your dog for a walk, both of you should dress for today’s weather: