Monday, July 27, 2009

A little about alternative healthcare options for dogs!

Whether you are an agility dog like me, an active dog, senior dog, or a pup just living life; sometimes you need some special care. That's me getting a massage at a dog event a couple of years ago. Love those massages!

When I need special care or just a tune up, my Mum helps me by finding health care alternatives that can be beneficial to my overall health, in addition to the care provided by my primary holistic veterinarian. A few of the health care alternatives I've had over the years are massage, acupuncture and chiropractic. They help me keep in tip top shape for agility, and they also provide great benefits to my overall health.

Alternative health care options aren't just for agility dogs, then can provide great benefits to any dog! Here's a little about the three alternative health care options that I receive regularly and on occasion:

Canine Massage: When I started agility, I got sore muscles. So my Mum looked into canine massage to help ease my soreness and help me be more flexible, healthy and fit. The benefits of massage are great. It can promote good circulation and flexibility, and alleviate arthritic pain. Other benefits include aiding in surgical recovery, helping pets heal from emotional or physical traumas, and improving muscle tone.

Mum has picked up some massage tips from our practitioner and continues to massage me frequently, especially after training and competition; or just when we're relaxing and watching TV. It's definitely helped me over the years.

Canine Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a deep, internal therapy that works by inserting tiny needles into various identified points on a dog's body. It originated over 3,000 years ago as part of a holistic healing system called Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Chinese medicine holds that all animals (and humans) have a "life force" called qi that moves through the body through pathways called meridians. Specific points on these meridians, located close to the surface of the body, can then be accessed via small needles or lasers to re-establish balance in the movement of the qi.

Some of my friends have benefited greatly from needle and laser acupuncture treatments to help in healing.

Canine Chiropractic: According to Wikipedia, veterinary chiropractic, also known as animal chiropractic, is an emerging sub-specialization for Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVMs) and Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) to provide spinal manipulation, manual therapy and other holistic and conservative techniques for animals.

In concert with conventional veterinary care, use of veterinary chiropractic reflects the use of complementary and alternative veterinary medicine which continues to grow within the veterinary community. Proposed benefits of animal chiropractic include, enhanced performance, function and quality of life.

If you are interested in learning more about these amazing alternative health care options, click on the links of each alternative modality for more information, and how to find a practitioner in your area.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Checking out K9 Yard Patch!

The nice folks at K9 Yard Patch sent us a bag of their new lawn seed that's amazingly safe for pups.

What we've discovered over the past few years, is that a lot of grass seed that you may purchase from your local garden shop is coated seed.

And what's it coated with? Many times it's coated with bad stuff, like chemical fertilizers, urines and other chemicals which are designed to help it germinate more quickly and deter the birds from eating it. But many of these coated seeds are bad for us pups. Because you know us pups, we'll put pretty much anything in our mouths, and sometimes what the seed is coated with may be the exact thing that encourages us to eat it.

But the K9 Yard Patch is completely uncoated, and it's mixed with 100% organic gypsum, which they say helps neutralize the PH of the soils where you may be repairing a high traffic 'pee' spot, and it helps the seed retain more moisture to help it germinate more quickly.

Gypsum is a mineral compound found in the earth. It's also used and spread on lawns to strengthen soil weakened by too much clay. We've used Gypsum on our lawn to help break up some of the areas in our backyard where there is very heavy clay, and Gracie and I haven't had the slightest bit of interest in it.

One bag of their K9 Yard Patch covers 250 square feet of damaged area. They also have this patch for any region of the US to repair lawn and turf that is damaged by dog urine, salt, disease, heavy traffic, or just plain neglect.

It's July here in Indiana where we live, and not the best time to repair spots in our lawn. But you can bet we will be spreading the K9 Yard Patch around come this fall to repair some spots in our yard!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We're a guest on Dog Sport Magazine's website!

Over the next couple of months, Mum and I are going to be guest blogging over at Dog Sport Magazine.

We are super honored to be able to share some green dog tips and information with some of the most elite dog sports enthusiasts in the country!

Our first blog post - What is a Green Dog - was posted just yesterday. So head on over and take a look. And if you're into dog sports - rally, obedience, disc dog, dock dog, dog agility and more - check out some of the other articles on the site for great info!

In the coming days we hope to be able to offer Raise A Green Dog readers a discount for a subscription to the magazine, so stay tuned! And in the meantime, check out a free issue!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Calculate your carbon pawprint!

We found this cool little carbon footprint calculator and wanted to share it with you!

With this tool you can calculate your carbon footprint (or in the case of us dogs, pawprint :) from transportation, housing, food, goods and services....everything you consume! Compare yourself to others in your city, region, or to households with similar size and income. And play around with it to see how reductions of your usage can effect the life of the environment.

(Note: We've installed a small version on the side of our blog, so come back anytime and test out your pawprint!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Testing out Ark Naturals new toofer products!

The other day Ark Naturals sent us some pawsome new products to help our toofers (that's teeth for the humans :).

We received their BREATH-LESS Brushless-Toothpaste and their BREATH-LESS Plaque Zapper!

The BREATH-LESS Plaque Zapper is a patented formula that they say maintains saliva natural balance and helps disrupt growth of plaque & tartar. It's odorless, colorless and tasteless. All you have to do is add the packet of powder to your bowl of fresh water about 1-2x per week for 4-6 weeks to support dental health and control plaque, tarter and bad breath (not that I have any of those things, BOL!)

The BREATH-LESS Brushless-Toothpaste is a little treat that is effective on it's own or can be combined with the Plaque Zapper. It's a tasty little thing for pups 12 weeks or older. It's a rice based little bone on the outside and pet toothpaste in the center that they say controls bad breath, growth of plaque and tarter.

So we tried them out this morning. And they are yummy. And the best part is they are filled with all kinds of good for you stuff like: Papain and natural enzymes, chlorophyll and more. Neither one of them contains wheat, corn, soy, animal protein, by-products, artificial colors or flavors.

We'll be anxious to see what the effects are on our toofers in the coming weeks. Interesting new products!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Food, Inc. - an important film for you and your dog!

A very important film is showing in select theaters nationwide. It's called "Food, Inc."

Once you see this film, you will never look at food the same way again. Why is this film important to pups? Because the foods that we feed our dogs come from our nation's food supply. And what effects these foods have on us, also have the same, or even more drastic, effects on our dogs. So don't miss this film and find a theater near you, it's important for you and your pup!

From the website:

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

Check out all the new organic and eco-friendly Raise a Green Dog items!

We've added a bunch of new organic tees and SIGG bottles in five different designs to our Raise a Green Dog line of merchandise!

Help save the planet while you rehydrate in style with an eye-catching BPA-free water bottle from SIGG. Made from a single piece of aluminum, it's ultra-lightweight yet rugged and crack-resistant. To minimize unwanted tastes and scents, the inside is lined with a water-based, non-toxic epoxy resin that exceeds FDA leaching requirements.The SIGG bottles hold 1.0L, are recyclable and reusable, BPA-free and have a lifetime warrenty.

Our eco-friendly organic tees are soft and good looking, and they come in several colors for men, women and children. If you are looking for eco-conscious apparel but unwilling to sacrifice comfort, look no further than these 100% organic cotton t-shirt from Econscious. Soft against your skin yet durable enough for everyday wear, this earth-friendly tee looks great and helps save the planet.

Be sure and check out all the great designs and eco-conscious products in our CafePress shop and show off your eco-ness!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dog smoothies!

Everypup was just flipping over our Homemade Frosty Paws recipe, so we decided to come up with a few Doggie Smoothie recipes you can try.

You know what that means? You don't have to wait for a nice cool Summer treat to freeze, you can enjoy it right away :)

You know how much I love yogurt, and Mum and I also love the amazing health benefits of this super great food. For our smoothies we decided to use Kefir - it's kind of like yogurt on steroids.

We first heard about Kefir (pronounced KEE-fur) from our Auntie Bonnie, our vet. She recommended that I have some Kefir when I was down with a bout of mild gastroenteritis and had a real upset tummy. It really helped heal my tum, tum. So Kefir became something I have with my food on occasion to keep everything flowing nicely, if you know what I mean :)

Here's a little about Kefir (which, by the way, you can make at home!). Kefir is a cultured product with amazing health attributes (for dogs and humans). It contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.

It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

So with that, here are a few dog smoothie recipes we thought you would enjoy as much as I do:

Fruit Smoothie - ingredients needed:

  • 1 cup kefir - low-fat, plain, organic is best
  • Splash of organic apple juice
  • 2 small handfuls of fresh (organic is best) blueberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp of organic peanut butter
  • 1 orange slice (no seeds, K?), or 1 small pineapple slice, or a small chunk of watermelon (again, no seeds, K?)
  • Topping: Sprinkle with a broken up organic doggie cookie, a couple of blueberries and a small spinach leaf.

Veggie Smoothie - ingredients needed:

  • 1 cup kefir - low-fat, plain, organic is best
  • A few oz. organic, unseasoned chicken stock
  • 1/4 lightly steamed organic (large) carrot
  • A small handful of lightly steamed green beans
  • A dollop of canned (unseasoned) pumpkin
  • Topping: Sprinkle with a broken up organic doggie cookie or a sprinkle of crushed flax seed and a small spinach leaf.

Protein Smoothie - ingredients needed:

  • 1 cup kefir - low-fat, plain, organic is best
  • A few oz. organic, unseasoned chicken stock
  • A nice slice of cooked liver
  • 1/4 Lightly steamed organic (large) carrot
  • A small handful of lightly steamed green beans
  • Topping: Sprinkle with crushed flax seed and a small spinach leaf.

Instructions:

Throw everything into a blender (except the sprinkles, add those after) and mix well. Serve immediately in a stainless steel dish, or chill for an hour in the fridge for a cooler treat. Refrigerate any small amount of leftovers and use within 24 hours.

Remember, you don't have to use all the ingredients, the basics are the Kefir, fruits, veggies or meats. Don't forget to check what foods are safe for us pups if you decide to vary the recipes. And as with all things - moderation is key, so start your pup out with a smaller portions to begin with (about 4 oz.). And enjoy your doggie smoothie!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hey pups..show off your 'greenness'!

When we expanded Raise a Green Dog we added something super cool hidden just under your paws!

It's Johann's Green Dog Club, and it's a great opportunity to brag about how you live a green lifestyle, for a healthier, happier pup and environment.

We have some super cool pups that have already joined my Green Dog Club. Check out these cool pups, they're green and proud of it!

Zena

What are you waiting for? Submit your pup to my Green Dog Club, take the Green Dog Pledge, and show off your 'greenness'!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let's talk food!

Ahhh...food! Being a dog, I love food. What dog doesn't?

Unfortunately, I don't have a choice in what food I get, unless of course I get an occasional prey from the backyard, when my Mum isn't looking. (Oops, probably wasn't supposed to confess that, anywho...)

Because of this, I have to trust my Mum to feed me the healthiest diet possible. Believe me, she has thought a lot about the food I eat. And she has learned a lot about dog food, doing all that research she's done over my five young years of life.

So we're gonna share some of the things we've learned about dog food over the years to help you make the healthiest choices for your dog. Read on!

What you feed your dog is a very personal choice, and sometimes, unfortunately it's an economic choice.

Also, unfortunately, you can't always believe the information you hear from the massive advertising claims you encounter day in and day out about dog food. And, you sometimes can't even take your veterinarians word for the best food for your pup, because they may have a vested interest in selling the foods they provide through their practice.

Our best overall advice to you is to learn, read and research to find the best food you can afford for your dog to live the healthiest, happiest and longest life possible.

Below we've put together some tools, links and information we've discovered over the years to help you make the best decision possible about what to feed your dog:

What kind of foods are available for dogs?

There are basically four types of foods to feed your dog:

Raw Food

Cooked Food

Ultra and Super premium canned and kibblep

Grocery store brand kibble and canned

What are the differences of these foods?

Raw Food - Raw foods include fresh raw meats, bones, organ meats (preferably meats raised without antibiotics or hormones, and/or organic). Some individuals supplement with small amount of fresh vegetables, and vitamin/mineral and fish oil supplements. Sources of raw foods can come from the direct purchase of the meats from your local market or butcher. And, there are also sources for purchasing prepackaged raw foods and dehydrated raw foods for convenience.

Cooked Food - Fresh cooked meats and organ meat, mixed with small amounts of fresh vegetables. Some include vitamin/mineral and fish oil supplements. Cooked foods are cooked at home, or you can now purchase some cooked meals shipped freeze dried direct to your door from suppliers.

Ultra and Super premium canned and kibble - Ultra and Super premium dog foods are considered to be the highest quality kibble and canned foods. These products are mostly human quality meats, are usually grain-free, contain no by-products or chemical enhancements or preservatives, and are very low in carbohydrates. Some are also organic and you can purchase in specialty pet food stores and online.

Grocery store brand kibble and canned - These products contain very little meat and the main ingredient is water or by-products. They also contain a large amount of grain and grain by-products. The rendered meat used in these products often comes from condemned animals, i.e. – animals that were deemed unfit for human consumption. These products normally contain artificial colors, flavors and chemical preservatives.

Note: There are hundreds of brands of kibble and canned foods on the market that would fall between the Ultra/Super premium foods and the grocery store brand kibble, all with wide variations in ingredients. This is where research is most important.

So how do you decide what food is best?

Start with this thought: Dogs are carnivores. And as a carnivore, we've been eating a diet of primarily meat since before domestication roughly 15,000 years ago. Even though we're now domesticated, we're still carnivores, and so we need to eat a diet made up of mostly meat. Also remember that the freshest, most wholesome meat is always the healthiest.

That's why two of the veterinarians that I respect the most, Dr. Richard Pitcairn and Dr. Marty Goldstein, recommend feeding a raw diet with vitamin/mineral and Omega essential fatty acids supplements. You can read more about Dr. Pitcairn's and Dr. Marty's feeding recommendations. They both have the incredibly informative books that are staples in our library: Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats and The Nature of Animal Healing for Dogs and Cats.

So how do you feed a raw diet? How do you find the healthiest kibble? How do you find resources and suppliers for the foods you want and need?

Here's our list of our favorite dog food related sites to help you make the best decision possible for your pup:

  • Overwhelmingly our favorite site for researching and understanding dog food and the wide varieties and types available is DogFoodAnalysis.com. The site evaluates ingredients of all major brands of dog food, has information on the different types of feeding programs, and includes resources for further study.
  • Want to know if your pup's food was affected by the Pet Food Recall in 2007? Visit this site.
  • If you're looking for detailed information about certain food ingredients and need help comparing dog food brands and finding a better one, DogFoodReview is a great resource.
  • Here's a great article to learn about how kibble is made (you would be surprised), and to learn more about what's really in pet food.

What do we eat?

We subscribe to the practice of 'variety is the spice of life'. Rather than feed just one "best" food, we've chosen at least two or three different types of wholesome foods, using different protein sources, and rotating between them. That way, we feel, any potential deficiencies in any one brand or type will most probably be overcome.

We have a very active, busy and travel heavy lifestyle, so we eat a mix of ultra, super premium kibble that Mum rotates often, combined with raw and cooked foods. We supplement with a high quality vitamin/mineral supplement. And since we are agility dogs, Mum has added in a Glucosamine/Chondroitin supplement to our diet. as well for prevention. We make sure that the sources of our foods are free of any and all preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, insecticides, pesticides and other chemicals that could be harmful.

This type of diet may not be for everyone, but the most important thing we've learned over the years is that not all dog foods are created equal. It's important to feed your dog the highest quality, freshest and most wholesome food you can afford. And by doing your research, understanding labels and ingredients, comparing and learning about the different types of foods and products you can potentially feed your dog, then taking necessary action to improve their diet, will ultimately have a positive and lasting effect on the health, wellness and happiness of your dog.

If you're looking for suppliers for some of these items, head on over to RaiseAGreenDog.com to check out our food, treat and health & nutrition sections.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Check out the Pawsby, it's green and it has everything!

Now this is something to bark about! Check out the Pawsby PooPatroller. Its green and it has everything!

Pawsby PooPatroller contains all of the elements needed for enjoyable, safe and responsible dog walking but Pawsby is more than that. Pawsby is earth friendly. Pawsby is not another piece of plastic and nylon eventually taking up space in our landfills for several hundred years.

  • Pawsby is made in the USA from recycled plastic.
  • Pawsby recommends using only biodegradable and compostable waste bags.
  • Pawsby’s recyclable leash is made from 100% hemp, which is grown without pesticides and is biodegradable and compostable in green landfills.
  • Pawsby’s five LED crank flash light never requires bulb or battery replacement.
  • Pawsby’s packaging and brochures are printed on recycled paper.
  • Pawsby’s “Be Responsible” embroidered hats and silk screened shirts are made from 100% USA organic cotton and printed with organic dyes.

Pawsby’s “Leave No Paw Print Policy” further commits to responsible recycling. When you no longer have a need for Pawsby, pass Pawsby along to a friend and Pawsby will donate $3.00 to the ASPCA. If you mail Pawsby back to us we will properly recycle him.

Functional Features:

  1. The Art Design Unit replaces the plastic grocery bag as the visible symbol of responsible dog guardianship. Manufactured in the USA from recycled plastic with the EcoPure™ additive that allows the plastic to biodegrade in a landfill.
  2. The Ergonomic Handle provides for comfortable and efficient control of your dog during the walk.
  3. The Recyclable Leash and matching Collar are made from 100% hemp. The leash attaches to the unit and the collar of the dog. The leash is 48 inches long to comply with leash laws.
  4. The rainproof attached high intensity Crank Flashlight requires no replacement bulbs or batteries and protects the dog and guardian during early morning and evening walks. One minute of cranking provides twenty minutes of bright light.
  5. The concealed Shielded Waste Scoop covered with a biodegradable bag collects the dog waste in a sanitary and hygienic manner. The unit includes 30 bags.
  6. The Removable Water Bowl and Storage Compartment for extra bags and dog treats complete the unit.

The unit provides discrete transport of waste out of public view to a responsible disposal site.

In case of emergency most cell phones can be charged by using the cord and adaptor stored beneath the cap. Attach cord to port on left side of crank flashlight and to cell phone. Crank for charging. This is not recommended for daily charging of cell phones.

How cool green is that!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fluoride in dog food?

My good friend Eddie at Pets for the Environment, gave me a heads up the other day about a new study he and the Environmental Working Group have just released. Here's the news:

An independent laboratory test of popular dog food brands, commissioned by Environmental Working Group, revealed that the food we buy for our pets contains high levels of fluoride, a contaminant that may put dogs' health at risk.

Eight major national brands marketed for both puppies and adults contained fluoride in amounts between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum legal dose in drinking water, and higher than amounts associated with bone cancer in young boys in a 2006 study by Harvard scientists (Bassin 2006). All 8 brands contain bone meal and animal byproducts, the likely source of the fluoride contamination.

Scientists have not studied the safety of high doses of fluoride for dogs.

Fluoride levels ranged between 7 and 11.2 milligrams (mg) of fluoride per kilogram (kg) of dog food, with an average of 8.9 mg/kg in the 8 contaminated brands. In contrast, 2 dog food brands, one with vegetarian ingredients and one made by a small manufacturer, did not contain detectable levels of fluoride.

While scientists have not determined how much fluoride is safe for dogs, they have found that people who consume excessive fluoride often develop mottled teeth (dental fluorosis) and weakened bones, leading to more fractures. High fluoride consumption is also associated with reproductive and developmental system damage, neurotoxicity, hormonal disruption, and bone cancer (NRC 2006).

Most of the fluoride contamination in dog food comes from an unsavory mix of bone meal and various meat byproducts added to dog food. The 8 high-fluoride brands list ingredients that include chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, chicken meal, beef and bone meal; these are basically ground bones, cooked with steam, dried, and mashed to make a cheap dog food filler. A smaller amount of fluoride in dog food comes from fluoridated tap water used to prepare the food at pet food plants.

The report goes on to discuss the dangers of flouorides to children and pets, and how you can help your pup avoid those dangers. Click here to read the full report and gain valuable information.

UPDATE 7-7-2009 - Pet Food Industry Magazine responds to study of fluoride in dog foods done by the EWG. Read more.

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