Sunday, March 29, 2015

A healthier, greener, organic lawn for a healthier dog!

There are few things better than watching a dog romp in their wonderful lush green lawn, playing, chasing, herding and enjoying the great outdoors.

But what is the cost of that lush green chemically treated lawn?

To some dogs it may mean risking their health. Over the years several organizations have provided invaluable research and information that shows chemical exposures to a variety of lawn chemicals (including pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers) may be putting your dog at risk for canine malignant lymphoma, bladder cancer and more.

To learn more about the dangers of commercial chemical laden lawn care companies check out these links:
  • In January of 2012 year a published study was released (Abstract of Environmental Health 112(1): 171-6 (Jan. 2012), that shows a link between chemical exposures (including lawn chemicals) and the risk of canine malignant lymphoma.
  • A respected report and DVD "The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Lawn Chemicals," funded by the Newman’s Own Foundation, contains a lot of information for you to learn about the dangers and effects of lawn chemicals on your pets, including the use of herbicides, insecticides and other chemicals, and the resulting effects of seizures, tremors, vomiting, respiratory failure and more for dogs.
  • BeyondPesticides.org studies have found that dogs "exposed to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens can double their chance of developing canine lymphoma. And these dangerous chemicals may also increase the risk of bladder cancer in certain breeds by four to seven times."
  • You can read more about the dangers of lawn chemicals in our 2012 post, 'Is Your Lawn Killing Your Dog.'
  • new study, released in May of 2013 and published in the July 2013 issue of Science of the Total Environment, indicates that exposure to herbicide treated lawns has been associated with significantly higher bladder cancer risk in dogs. (Read more).
Many of the lawn chemical companies, and providers of lawn chemicals, may say their products and services are perfectly safe for dogs, even going as far as including pets in their marketing. But the reality is that there is proof that these chemical laden lawns are having a dangerous affect on dog's health.

So what is a green dog to do? Go organic and healthier, that's what!

When we lived in Indiana, we grew an entire lawn from seed at our new home organically. It was a process and we didn't see that lush green lawn immediately. But the second year, we had a wonderful, green, healthy, very safe lawn for our dogs to play, enjoy and even eat a little now and then.

So how did we do it?

Spring is one of the best times of the year to start new lawn practices to keep your dogs safer and healthier. Here are our tips for creating and developing a healthier, safer, lush green organic lawn:

Start by...
  • Cleaning up all the poo after the spring thaw.
  • Raking up any leaves and debris.
  • Mowing if needed.
  • Wait for a good rain, and then pull any unnecessary weeds, as this is the easiest time to get those weeds from the root so they won't come back again and again.
Once you've done the clean up:
  • Put down a good quality, organic, weed preventer that includes corn gluten before or during the blooming of the Forsythia. Distributing this type of product on your lawn before weed seeds begin to germinate is key to cutting back on crabgrass, dandelions and other unwanted weeds throughout the year. But remember corn gluten will prevent all seed from germinating so...
  • Wait approximately one month and then overseed your lawn with a good quality uncoated grass seed that's appropriate for your area. Uncoated seed is important as coated seed is many times treated with a non-organic fertilizer or other growth hormones that may be harmful for birds, rodents and other small bodied living things, including your dog.
  • Wait a few days and then spread a good organic fertilizer, like spray Fish Emulsion, or Worm Poo (these fertilizers won't hamper the growth of new grass seed). We like sprays because they are not as attractive to dogs once they have been on the lawn for a few hours. You can also look into a good organic fertilizer that's pellet based, like Lawn Restore, or Espoma Brand organic foods. Even though these are perfectly safe for dogs, some dogs, like my sis Gracie, just can't help herself from sniffing the pellets prolifically which gives her a runny nose, so we use a spray organic fertilizer.
  • Continue to pull unwanted weeds after each good rain.
  • If your lawn is in very poor shape, continue to reseed until the hot parts of summer and fertilize with a safe organic fertilizer every 6-8 weeks. You can even fertilize with a healthy fertilizer during the summer months without worrying about it burning your lawn like those chemical-based products do.
That's it! We hope these tips help you have a wonderful, safe, healthy lawn this year and many years to come.



Google

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Join us tonight for Earth Hour!

Tonight is a special night!

At 8:30 PM tonight, wherever you are, it's Earth Hour, a wonderful time to take one hour, turn off the lights, and take time to join millions of people in uniting to protect our planet.

Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement and is organised by WWF. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues,

Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.

In honor of Earth Hour, I've taught both of my older dogs how to turn off the lights. It's a fun way to honor the day, learn some new tricks, and spend some quality fun time with my dogs.

Gracie learned to turn off the wall lights, since she's a larger dog and can reach the switch.



Johann is smaller so I taught him to turn off a lamp that has a floor switch.



Enjoy the night, and join us in celebrating, honoring, and contemplating our wonderful planet Earth!




Google

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Top tips to help dogs live in harmony with wildlife.

It's Spring, finally! With Spring many of you, like us, are getting out and enjoying the nice weather, taking longer walks and hikes.

It's great to get out there and enjoy nature again after a long Winter. But while you are out enjoying the nice weather, so are the critters that live around your home, and frequent the areas where you hike and walk your dog.

We live in the mountains of North Georgia and there is no shortage of wildlife here. We've learned a lot about living with the multitude of wildlife here over the years and how we can live more in harmony with nature's critters, keep our dogs safe and healthy, and keep our environment healthier as well.

We've encountered a wide variety of 'critters;' from bears and mountain lions, to snakes, toxic toads, ticks, possum, wild pigs, wild turkey, raccoon, venomous spiders and more. And in some areas of the country alligators and crocodiles can be a problem, although we don't encounter those where we live.

Since we've learned some tips and tricks to help us stay safer around wildlife we wanted to share our Top Tips to Help Dogs Live in Harmony with Wildlife. All year around we take precautions relating to these specific species:

Bears - We never leave our trash outside, or a bird feeder out in our yard. Trash and bird feeders are magnets for wildlife including bears, mountain lions, raccoon, possum and more. Every Tuesday on trash day, we put our trash out near the road just one hour before our pick up is scheduled to keep critters at bay, especially bears.

Yes, that's a bear under our car.
I don't know if you knew this, but you can actually smell most bears (if you are down wind) from about a mile away, at least the Black Bears where we live and hike. They smell exactly like a dirty, wet dog with poop on it's butt. I know that is a bizarre description, but if you keep this fact in mind you will know the minute you smell a bear, we have!

Bears really aren't interested in engaging and harming you unless they are protecting their young. If this is the case, then watch out. We keep very aware of any bear scat when we hike and if we see it we can tell just about how 'fresh' it is and keep our nose and eyes open for any dangers.

The best things you can do is keep your dog leashed, all your food in secure locations, and always be alert and aware with your nose and your eyes when out walking/hiking. Another good tip is keep bear spray with you at all times when out hiking. If you encounter a bear, here is a good link with more tips to keep you safer.

Baby birds can attract snakes.
Fleas and Ticks - Tick diseases can be very dangerous for you and your dog, and fleas are a pesky problem.

To keep the ticks and fleas out of our fenced in yard around our cabin, we take precautions early in the Spring. Over the winter these bugs aren't usually a problem, but come the first sign of good weather, they show up in droves.

Just a couple of weekends ago, on the very first really nice day, we spread food grade Diatomaceous Earth (which is safe for dogs) around the perimeter of our fence. This will help keep the ticks from entering our fenced in yard, which Mum calls our 'safe haven.' In addition, when we're out hiking, Mum will spray a bandanna with a good, high quality, effective essential oil spray with a base of neem or cedar to repel ticks and fleas from sticking to us on our adventure hikes.

Snakes - We've encountered a lot of snakes in our fenced in yard, and a few while out hiking. There are good snakes and bad snakes, and it's important to know the difference about the snakes where you live. Good snakes, like black rat snakes, will get rid of food sources for bad snakes and that's a very good thing. So remember to not harm any good snakes. Bad snakes (like Copperheads and Rattlesnakes) are a very different story.

What we've learned is that snakes are often around homes looking for food. They love mice, toads and baby birds, and we have some of those around our cabin. Another thing we've learned is that snakes don't like sulfur. So we have worked to get rid of the mice and toads in our yard through relocation, and also this weekend at the first sign of warmth we sprinkled organic sulfur (which is safe for dogs) in the areas where snakes like to hide, between rocks and under our deck. In addition, we don't allow any birds to make nests in our 'safe haven' because baby birds and bird eggs are a sure encouragement for snakes.

Yes, that's a copperhead.
Toxic Toads - The toxic toads around our home are a lot less dangerous than the toxic toads that frequent areas like Florida. But they are still toxic.

My dogs have all learned very good 'leave it's' that help greatly when encountering dangerous critters, especially toads and snakes.

Get familiar with the toads in your area and find out if they are toxic. These types of toads like to come out early in the morning and later in the evening; so many times during high toad season I will scan the yard for toads before letting the dogs out for their early morning pit stop. And if I miss one, I use the leave it command and my dogs come running to me for safety, as 'leave it' means stop what you are doing and come to Mum.

If you do have a dog that gets some of the toxin from a toad please be aware of the symptoms your dog may exhibit and what you should do.

Mountain Lions - I remember the first time I saw a mountain lion on our mountain. I was driving one of the mountain roads and saw what looked liked a very big cat ran across the road. The second time I was enjoying the weather on my back deck, looked to the left and saw a mountain lion running down the ridge next to the cabin. Big cats really aren't interested in engaging unless they too are protecting their young; and they hate loud noises. If you do have a close encounter with a mountain lion (which is very, very rare) take these tips into consideration.

Raccoon and possum - Raccoon and possum are on our mountain, but we don't see them very often. That's because we don't keep pet food or treats, or trash outside to attract them. They love nothing better than scavenging trash around homes.

When we do encounter one of these critters, the one thing we never do is corner them. That's when they want to defend themselves and become aggressive. And raccoon especially carry some nasty diseases like distemper, roundworm, rabies and leptospirosis. So it's best to make sure you have your dog leashed when out and about to keep them safe.

One night, at about midnight, I was doing my usual quick check of critters in the yard before letting the dogs out for last potty and saw two eyes shining in the light of my flashlight. It was a possum. So how was I going to get it out of our fenced in 'safe haven?' I gingerly started walking toward the possum and spoke softly as I opened the fence gate. Turned out that he was right near a tree and climbed right up waiting for me to go away. So I let my dogs out, keeping a good eye on the possum in the tree, and they never knew he was there.

A Saddleback Caterpillar, packs a nasty sting.
Alligators - These strange creatures can be found mostly in Florida, but are also all along the SE US. They can be found in lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, swamps, and even man-made canals.

Alligators primarily hunt at dusk or during the night so these are the best times to keep an eye out. The best thing for your dog to stay safe around alligator country is to keep them leashed. That way you can keep a watchful eye and prevent any encounters. It's also important to not let your dog swim in waters that are known to inhabit alligators. Here is a link for more information.

Coyote and wolves - We hear coyote on the mountains around here often at night, but there is only one time that we've seen one. The dogs and I were outside in our fenced in area, working on some training. We all looked up and saw a coyote running down the road. The dogs started barking and the coyote ran even faster.

They are sleek, very agile runners and wanted nothing to do with my dogs and their barking, as they hate loud, harsh noises; and generally don't want anything to do with humans. Some tips we've learned about living near coyotes and wolves is, again, keep all trash and foods inside only; and keep your dogs leashed when hiking. Visit this site for additional tips in living around coyote; and this one for wolves.

Turtles - We've encountered turtles often on our hikes, especially near water and after big rains. Since we're not that familiar with the varieties of turtles I've always kept my dogs away from them. Why? Because snapping turtles which are found all over the country have very strong jaws and can be very aggressive with a nasty temper, if provoked. I allow them to look at them, and use the turtle encounters for training time for their 'leave it.' It's a fun game my dogs love.

Fox - When we lived in a cabin about a mile from our present cabin, we had a fox den about 300 feet from our front door. Fox, by nature, are not interested in humans or large animals, unless they are protecting their young or their den. Fox are most active in the early morning and at night; and we would hear their 'screams' at night occasionally. Generally speaking, we kept our distance from the fox den, kept the dogs leashed when outside their fenced area, and that was enough to keep them safe.

Wolf Spider
Spiders, scorpions and other creepy crawlies - We've encountered a wide variety of creepy crawlies around our cabin, from wolf spiders to small scorpions to caterpillars that pack a nasty sting. Many of these we didn't know about when we saw them the first time, but took precautions to stay away until identified. Good thing we did because Gracie found a Wolf Spider (which can leave an ouchy bite if provoked) last Fall, and I found a Saddleback Caterpillar (which packs a nasty sting) one day under the back deck.

It's always a good idea to have your dog first aid kit on hand for any emergencies while at home or away. For these bugs, especially scorpions, spiders, stinging caterpillars, bees and wasps, some of the regular items we keep on hand are hydrogen peroxide for cleaning (I took a little to clean out YoYo's mouth and gums after encountering a toxic toad) and Children's Benedryl (1 mg. per 1 lb. of body weight for dogs) which we've used for stings and copperhead snake bites, and Traumeel Cream after to reduce swelling and pain. But remember when something like a sting or snake bite happens to your dog, get to your vet immediately to be sure your dog doesn't go into shock from the sting or bite.

Now that you have a ton of information on hand you can keep aware while still enjoying the great outdoors this spring.

Have fun! Google

Monday, March 23, 2015

Welcome Balcony Pets to the Raise A Green Dog Partner Pack!

Raise A Green Dog is very proud to welcome Balcony Pets to the Raise A Green Dog Partner Pack!

I remember very well back in the late 80's, (before dogs even!) my two kitties, Wolfie and Wiggy, loved going out on the balcony of our apartment.

They would want to go out there all times of the day, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall; and it was a very safe place for them to enjoy.

And I remember well that when I would leave the sliding glass door open during the warmer months the bugs would fly in; and in the colder months having the door open would really affect the thermostat.

I sure wish we would have had this solution back then!

The Balcony Pets Apartment Pet Door™ is a revolution in pet doors for apartment dwellers or anyone with a pet, a sliding glass door, and a need for an easy, lightweight, non-invasive pet door solution.

It’s modular, goes up without tools or expertise, and easily stores or travels with you. This pet door is lightweight, portable, and allows your pets to go in or out with total freedom!

The door installs in only five minutes and the flap is lightweight, which is much more accommodating to cats and smaller dogs.

If you have a secure yard for your dog or cat, we highly recommend trying the Balcony Pets Apartment Pet Door. Not only will it make your life easier, but it will keep your heating/cooling bills in check, while providing a wonderful, easy way for your pets to go in and out and enjoy the outdoors.

Balcony Pets Apartment Pet Door is currently available through their Kickstarter campaign, which runs through April 12th.

For a pledge of $99 or more you will receive the Balcony Pets Apartment Pet Door from their reduced price of $150 if funded.

Enjoy!













Google

Monday, March 9, 2015

Kiosk in Turkey helps both stray dogs and the environment.

Earlier this year a Turkish company introduced an interesting product that helps feed stray pets and helps the environment!

Pugedon developed this product because in Turkey over 150,000 dogs and cats are living on the streets without food. In addition, drinking water from the tap isn't as safe as it is in the US, so bottled water is very popular, providing an overabundance of plastic water bottles that contribute heavily to their landfills.

With Pugedon these bottles can be recycled to help the stray dogs all over Istanbul. It's a metal kiosk that works with an integrated solar system.

Individuals place their old water bottles in the machine and it recycles them into dog and cat food, dropping down food when the bottles are placed in the unit. They can also pour some of their water into the kiosk and provide needed water to dogs and cats, as well.

The Pugedon Smart Recycling Boxes operates at no charge to the city, and the recycled bottles cover the cost of the food, creating a kiosk that dispenses help for both the environment, and cats and dogs.

What do you think?

Google

Thursday, February 26, 2015

GMO apples and potatoes coming to a store near you!

If you like apples as much as I do, you will want to know this!

Very recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the commercial planting of genetically engineered apples that are resistant to turning brown when sliced or bruised.

This is the first GMO apple to be approved. The apple will join several other genetically modified fruits and vegetables already approved including papaya, corn, potatoes and soy beans.

The so-called 'Arctic' apples, available in only the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties at this time, are genetically engineered in a way to suppress the production of an enzyme that causes browning when cells in the apple are injured, from slicing, for example.

The apples are genetically altered by manipulating the apple's own genes rather than adding genes from another species into the apple's DNA, which is how most GMO crops are altered.

Under the law, approval for GMO fruits, vegetables and even meats is based on whether a genetically modified crop (or animal) poses a threat to another plant or animal. The USDA determined that the apples posed no such risk, which is why it was approved.

Within the approval process there is no basis for consideration of whether the genetic alteration of the plant or animal poses a health risk to humans or other animals. In Europe and the US there are some studies that have been done that have shown health risks, including infertility, changes/damage to organs in tested animals and more.

I'm not a potato eater, but another significant event you should know about...in November 2014, the USDA approved a genetically engineered potato developed by the J.R. Simplot Company that uses a similar technique that alters the potato’s DNA to create less of a chemical called acrylamide, which is suspected of causing cancer in people. This chemical is produced when the potato is fried or baked at high temperatures. The potato is also modified to aid the potato in resisting bruising which creates waste in the food industry.

It will take a few years for 'Arctic' apples to be widely available because trees have to first be planted and then become mature enough to produce fruit. By 2016 approximately 5-10,000 lbs of apples are expected to be ready to provide samples to potential buyers with the product expected in the stores in small quantities in 2017.

Right now there are no plans to label the apples as altered, although they will be called 'Arctic' apples. Currently, three US states require GMO labeling. Connecticut and Maine have both passed such laws, but they contain provisions that state the labeling can't be implemented unless several other states approve similar labeling laws. Vermont, however, has passed a labeling law that will go into affect in November 2016.

As we've discussed before, many pet food manufacturers source their meats from a wide variety of farms across the country, with many of them sourcing from factory farms. The main feed for cows and chickens in non-organic factory farms is corn and soy. In the US, 90% of the corn and soy grown is genetically modified..

What this means is that through the food chain, unless your dog is eating an organic source of kibble or raw meat, they are effected by GMO's in their food, which is passed on through the meat source, i.e., cow, chicken, pork and other highly utilized meat source.

Read more about the potential health risks of GMO's.

What can you do? 

Stick with organic, or a food for your dog that contains meats, fruits and vegetables that aren't sourced from factory farms that feed the meat sources with GMO corn and soy.

And, we always recommend if you feed snacks like apples to your dog, go organic to avoid GMO's, pesticides, insecticides and more.

NY Times
NY Times
USDA Google

Monday, February 23, 2015

That's right...biodegradable bags don't really biodegrade in landfills. So what do you do with your dog's waste?

Dog poo, it's inevitable and it's prolific!

For years we've been discussing how you can best dispose of your dog's waste to be more environmentally friendly and healthy. And for years we've always recommended just two ways:

- Flush it if you live in the city.
- Compost it if you live in the country.

Why?

If you live in the city and flush your dog's waste, it goes into your cities waste management system and is treated for health and safety just like your waste.

If you live in the country and are not on the cities waste treatment system, you really don't want to fill up your septic tank with your dog's waste (especially if you have a large dog or multiple dogs). In this case, the most environmentally friendly way is to compost your dog's waste with a purchased or homemade composting system.

If those aren't two good enough reasons, these methods are first recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency and by several large city governments (which maintain their city waste treatment systems).

For years, we've received comments and recommendations to use biodegradable dog waste bags and we have always said that they don't really biodegrade. Now the FTC is agreeing with us, finally!

In early February, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent a letter to marketers of 20 manufacturers of dog waste bags, saying that the “biodegradable,” “compostable,” and other environmental claims in their marketing may be deceptive.

Biodegradable bags need air, water (rain) and light (sun) to biodegrade. This is what creates the process of biodegradation.

If you add your dog's waste in a biodegradable bag to your weekly trash pick up, the bags end up in a landfill, with tons and tons of other trash, and may never see the light of day. In this scenario, biodegradability may never occur.

Over the years the marketing claims of biodegradable dog waste bag manufacturers have developed and developed to the point of potential false and unqualified advertising claims the FTC indicates. "Based on the FTC’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (the Green Guides), such a claim without any qualification generally means to consumers that the product will completely break down into its natural components within one year after customary disposal. Most waste bags, however, end up in landfills where no plastic biodegrades in anywhere close to one year, if it biodegrades at all."

Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection says, "Consumers looking to buy environmentally friendly products should not have to guess whether the claims made are accurate. It is therefore critical for the FTC to ensure that these claims are not misleading, to protect both consumers and honest competitors.”

She goes on to say,"Don’t be surprised if they (biodegradable poo bags) are harder and harder to find. If they can’t substantiate their claims (of biodegradability), they need to stop making them,” says France. “We’ll circle back.” If manufacturers don’t change their deceptive advertising, (the) FTC will open an investigation, file a complaint and they will ultimately end up in court."

The FTC advised the companies that they should review their marketing materials and contact agency staff to tell them how they intend to revise or remove the claims, or explain why they won’t.

What's the most environmental way to take care of your dog's waste?
  1. The most important thing you can do is pick up your dog's waste. If left in the environment, it can contaminate ground water, streams, lakes and ponds; not to mention, it's disgusting and potentially unhealthy to find other dog's waste on your dog's walks or hikes. And in some places, it's against the law.
  2. The second most important thing you can do is flush your dog's waste if you live in the city and compost it if you live in the country for the reasons we described above.
  3. The third most important thing you can do if you are travelling and away from home, pick up your dog's waste and flush if you can. If you don't have the ability to flush, utilize a biodegradable bag to pick up and deposit your dog's waste in the trash as a last resort.
Doing these three things will help keep our environment healthier and cleaner, keep our two and four leggers healthier and happier, and keep millions of tons of dog waste out of landfills.

If you'd like to learn how to make your own dog waste composting system. visit our Hub for more information.

Sources:
EPA
FTC
Science Learn
Salt Lake County Engineering
City of Albuquerque

Google

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Will you be my Valentine? Homemade treats you can make for your dog this Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner!

For guys and gals, there is no need to go without a pawsome date for the big day. Dogs make amazing Valentine's Day dates!

When they slobber it's not gross. They don't interrupt you when you're talking. You don't have to go all out, spending a lot of money...dogs like the simple things in life. You don't have to dress up, dog's love day old sweatshirts. And there are few things better than cuddling on the couch, sipping your favorite beverage and watching a great movie with your four-legged best friend.

So why not make some pawsome treats for your favorite four legged Valentine to enjoy the day!

Here are two of our favorite Valentine's Day Dog Treats that you can make quickly and easily with little ingredients.

Sweet Potato Cookie Crisps

Ingredients:
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 2 eggs
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake sweet potato until cooked (this is a good time to make some for yourself too!).
  • Once cooked, scoop the sweet potato flesh out of the skin and mash.
  • Add one cup of sweet potato to a mixture of the whole wheat flour, applesauce and eggs.
  • Mix until it forms a dough then roll out the dough about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Cut out into desired shapes (dogs, hearts, paws and more) and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake until crisp for about 35 to 45 minutes, cool on a wire rack.
Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com.

Red Kisses Dog Treats

Ingredients:
  • Organic Strawberries
Directions:
  • Clean and trim strawberries.
  • Slice.
  • Lay out strawberries without touching on either your dehydrator trays or on a baking sheet with parchment paper for your oven.
  • Dehydrate in your dehydrator for 3-4 hours, or in your oven at 140 degrees for 3-4 hours until they are no longer sticky, but still bendable. Check often.
Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day!

Photos courtesy of Tnkntx, Wellsphere, Google

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Learn how you can keep your green dog's teeth healthy for years.

February is National pet Dental Health month, a great time to focus on keeping your green dog's teeth healthy and strong.

Believe it or not, I am going to be 11 years old in June of this year.

Not once in my 10+ years have I had my teeth cleaned - knock wood. And not once in all those years has a vet told me I needed my pearly whites worked on.

My teeth aren't perfect, I have a couple of insignificant chips, one on my front tooth (you can see in the photo) and one on one of my back molars. But overall, I have really, really healthy teeth.

So how do we keep my teeth so healthy, strong and clean?

Many talk about the importance of brushing your dog's teeth, and yes, we believe that it is really important; especially if you feed kibble (hopefully if you are feeding kibble (we eat it sometimes) that it's super high quality).

I do get my teeth brushed on occasion, but because I eat raw food part of the time, I don't need my teeth brushed nearly as often.

Raw meaty bones are what keep my pearly whites clean. Yep, that's right....gnawing and chewing and grinding away at those chicken backs, chicken necks and chicken feet 3-4 days per week have kept all the plaque, tarter and yucky stuff that decays teeth away from us!

Oh you can see a little yellow on a few of my teeth, but I'm due for my raw food this week as I haven't had it in at least five days, oops....bad Mum!

Here is one of the chicken backs (organs included) that Mum cuts up and divides for me and Gracie!


Mum says there is nothing better than the sound of me crunching away at all the bone, meat and cartilage, so natural. Oooooo....Mum....raw chicken feet? Let me at it!


Remember, it's important if you feed raw that you do your research! We suggest visits to Dr. Karen Becker's blog and do a search for raw dog food to learn the ins and outs. Also, you can visit Dog Food Advisor to learn about prepared raw dog foods; and RawLearning.com for more information.

We believe, it's also very important that if you do feed raw that you purchase organic, all-natural, hormone and anti-biotic free meats....so as not to add those nasty chemicals and drugs to your dog's diet.

Puppy Rach is getting in on the raw. Mum remembers when he first came to live with us, how quickly and eagerly he devoured his first raw chicken neck about a week after he came to us. Now when he eats raw, since he's such an eager eater, Mum makes sure he gets ground raw - meat, bone and organs, until he gets the hang of it.

video

If you'd like to give your dog a little raw, you can start like we did by adding some chicken necks (you can order them at your local organic grocery or butcher), then graduate to other items like backs, feet, other protein sources and more.

If you don't feed raw, but feed a super high quality kibble, it is very important to brush your dog's teeth frequently. We recommend at least 3-4 days a week.

Happy eating, healthy smiles! Google

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar for dogs.

Over the years we've used Apple Cider Vinegar for our dogs in a wide variety of ways.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?

Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar made from crushed apples (preferably organic). Over time, the sugar from the apples is converted through yeast fermentation into acetic acid. Many believe it is the acetic acid which is responsible for all of the health promoting benefits of ACV.

The most potent form of cider vinegar is unpasteurized or organic ACV, which contains the “mother” of the vinegar – a cobweb-like appearing substance that makes the vinegar look slightly congealed.

We are very selective about which Apple Cider Vinegar we use. Our preferred brand is Bragg, because it contains the amazing 'Mother of Vinegar' which occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules. It is unfiltered, unheated and unpasteurized. It is made from organically grown apples and processed and bottled in accordance with USDA guidelines. It is Certified Organic by Organic Certifiers and Oregon Tilth; and is also Kosher Certified and Non-GMO Certified.

So how do we uses ACV for our dogs?

Itchy feet?

We have never encountered this, but some of our friend's dogs have had itchy feet, If your dog bites at his feet they may have yeasty feet. Give your dog's feet a good sniff. Do they have a yeasty smell (a little like Fritos)? If so you're dog may be a great candidate for a good ACV foot soak to stop the itching and biting. We recommend dipping your dog's feet in an ACV solution (start with 1 tbs. to 1 cup of filtered warmer water) and dab dry. Leave the solution on their feet to help it work more effectively, and continue this process twice a day for at least a week.

Dandruff and itchy skin?

Over the first months that we had new puppy Rach (photo above), he had a lot of dandruff, little bug like bites on his inner thighs and a lot of flaky, scaly skin on his spine and rump. A few treatments of an ACV rinse (1 tbs. to 8 oz. of filtered water) on the affected areas and he was so much better and all healed! We still occasionally give him a little ACV rinse to keep the condition from returning.

Got fleas?

Fleas, and perhaps even ticks, hate the smell of ACV. Even though you may only smell it on your dog for a very short time, fleas and ticks are more sensitive to the smell. We don't utilize an over the counter flea treatment as they can be harmful to your dog, so we keep a spray bottle of diluted ACV (same recipe as above) near our front door and give the dogs a good spray before heading outside during flea season. It's keeping the fleas from jumping on our dogs and keeps our home and our dogs flea free.

Dirty ears?

Some of the ear cleaners on the market have a very strong smell, even the holistic, healthier ones; which made ear cleaning time very unpleasant for our dogs. So we've started using ACV as our mainstay ear cleaner, and have used it for years now. With all the dust and sandy dirt we have around our cabin, dirty ears are a staple, so we clean our dog's ears every week during nail trims and feet fur trims. We dip a cotton ball into a 1/2 ACV, 1/2 filtered water solution and gently swab out the inside of the ear. We use as many cotton balls (with solution) needed until there is no more dirt or wax.

Yeasty ears?

On very rare occasions YoYo will have a little head shake when he barks. That's a true indicator of the potential of an ear infection. So what do we do? We get out the ACV, make a nice ear rinse (1 tbs. to one cup of filtered warmed water) and treat YoYo's ears with it daily for a few days. I utilize a syringe (we purchase them in bulk and use them for a variety of things), 'inject' about 1-2 ml of solution into each ear, then fold down his ear flaps and massage his ears while giving him big kisses to distract him and make the process a little more tolerable. Then after about a minute or so, I allow him to shake it all out. Poof, no more head shaking and we've most probably headed off an ear infection. This is not a fun thing for dogs, but beats an ear infection by far; and overtime YoYo has become used to it; especially since he gets lots of treats after.

A few words of caution:

  • Make sure to keep ACV or an ACV solution from your dog's eyes.
  • Do not use on open wounds or cuts as it can burn.
  • If your dog's skin, ear, foot or flea problem is more severe or these little remedies don't work, please consult your holistic vet and get your dog checked out.

Some people believe that adding a little ACV to your dog's diet may be very beneficial to their health. We've never done that, even though little Rach loves to lick up the ACV when I'm treating his coat. If you want more information about the good side and bad side of adding ACV to your dog's diet, be sure to read this article first from Whole Dog Journal.

Oh and don't forget...it's great for humans too! Google
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