Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The ultimate flea guide for the green dog!

Fleas. They are pesky little things.

I'll never forget when Mum brought me home from the shelter where she adopted me at 12 weeks old and immediately discovered that I had fleas. But she didn't panic. She gave me a little bath and voila, fleas were gone!

Sometimes it's that easy to get rid of fleas on your dog, especially if you catch them early. Sometimes it's not so easy, as we found about 8 years later, when Gracie and I picked up some fleas at an agility trial. Mum didn't immediately notice we brought them home and they quickly migrated to the kitties and throughout our home.

We spent the next week treating the cabin, treating the kitties, treating me and Gracie, and treating our yard to get rid of the nasties, and within just a few days everything was back to normal. Whew!

Getting to know fleas

There are well over 2,000 different types of fleas in the world, but it's the cat flea and the dog flea that are the most problematic to us dogs.

Fleas go through four life stages - egg, larva, pupa, and imago (adult). Eggs are laid in bunches of 20, usually on the host itself. A female may lay up to 5000 or more eggs over their lifetime. Flea larvae emerge from the eggs to feed on things like dead insects, feces, and vegetable matter. At the larvae stage fleas can't see, avoid sunny areas and hide in cracks, corners and crevices. If they are allowed to feed well they weave a little cocoon in about 1-2 weeks and in another week or so they emerge as a full fledged adult.

As an adult, the flea's primary goal in life is to feed (on blood) and then reproduce. Fleas live in ideal conditions including the right temperature, humidity and food supply for up to 1.5 years. In less than ideal conditions they may live only 2-3 months, and without a host they may only live a few days.

According to the West Virginia University Extension Services, "adult fleas thrive at temperatures between 66 degrees and 84 degrees F and at relative humidities between 70 and 90 percent. Flea eggs don’t hatch if the temperature is below 40 degrees F. A temperature below 46 degrees F for 10 days or 37 degrees F for five days will kill flea eggs. A relative humidity of less than 50 percent will reduce egg hatch by 20 to 60 percent." So, in many parts of the country it's important to keep fleas from your pets year around.

Fleas attack a wide variety of warm-blooded animals including dogs, cats, humans, chickens, rabbits, squirrels, rats, ferrets, and mice.

Diseases fleas give dogs

Some dogs are allergic to flea bites and may get Flea Allergy Dermatitis. When a dog is bitten by a flea for its blood meal, some of the flea’s saliva is injected into the dog’s skin layer. Flea saliva is what causes the skin allergy in susceptible dogs and may form a small bump, or areas of redness and be very itchy for dogs, creating lots of scratching and patches of hair loss and redness.

In addition, when a dog ingests a flea, from licking their fur when infested, they can get tapeworms. Once inside your pet, the tapeworm hatches and attaches itself to your dog’s intestines. The parasite can then cause weight loss, vomiting, and irritation. Signs of tapeworms include little moving white (rice size) objects on your dog's skin, rump or in their stool.

Anemia may also result from flea bites in extreme circumstances.

Signs of fleas

In many cases you may not even see a flea on your dog, however in more prolific infestations you may see a flea jump off your dog when your cuddling on the couch in the evening.

Scratching is one of the first signs of fleas, and lots of scratching may also cause rashes, loss of fur and even hot spots.

You may see signs of flea dirt on your dog. These are little specs of dirt that are usually black in color and when water is added to the flea dirt it will show signs of blood, as flea dirt is actually feces of fleas that have fed (sucked blood) from your dog. You may find flea dirt on your dog, or on places where they lay, like their beds or your bed.

Frequent use of a flea comb can help determine if your dog has fleas. This is our favorite flea and tick comb, as it's white and makes it easier to see the fleas. It is very strong, and has a handy little groove on the opposite side that is handy for removing ticks on the body of your dogs. This comb is also great for combing out dead undercoat on your dog during 'blow coat' season.

Fleas like to congregate on the belly and butt area of dogs, as well as the ears and neck. Sometimes it's just as simple as giving a good belly rub or ear scratch to determine if your dog has fleas, checking quickly as fleas like to hide!

How does your dog get fleas?

Fleas are actually everywhere, and your dog can get fleas from other dogs, dog facilities, other animals like squirrels, mice, birds and more, or by just taking a nice walk in the park. Fleas jump from animal to animal and in the right weather conditions can lie in wait and jump on your dog as it walks by. They can also be found on materials such as bedding, carpets, rugs, clothing and more. If you acquire these items used, it's best to wash them before bringing them into your home.

What if my dog has fleas?

If you suspect your dog has fleas quick action is warranted to prevent the spread to other animals in the house, and an infestation of your home, carpets, cracks and crevices.

When we got fleas a year or so ago, from picking up a few from an agility trial, here's what we did:
  • The first thing we did was get out the vacuum. We swept the entire home, the carpets, the hardwood floors, underneath all the furniture, upholstered furniture, in the corners, cracks and crevices of the baseboard and cleaned the hardwood with a mixture of water and white vinegar. 
  • Then we spread some diatomaceous earth (food grade only) all along the baseboards, in the trash bag that we emptied the dirt from the vacuum, under the furniture, and rubbed into the carpets. Once that was done, we headed outside to treat the yard with d-earth, spreading it all over the yard, under the deck and outside of the fenced in area.
  • Once we treated inside and outside, we gave Johann and Gracie a nice bath, first utilizing a flea comb to get any stray fleas off, dumping them into white vinegar (or you could use soapy water) to kill them. And we threw all their bedding, area rugs and my bedding into the wash.
  • Then we checked Johann and Gracie frequently with a flea comb, picking up any strays and killing them along the way. Within about three days our home and the dogs were free of fleas.
Quick action is the best course of action even if you find just one flea.

How to naturally treat your yard, home and dog for fleas

Outside:

Believe it or not there is one very simple way to keep fleas out of your yard for years. Flea nematodes are tiny, microscopic parasites (of the good kind) that can control flea larvae, as well as the larvae of other damaging bugs like japanese beetles and more. About 10 million nematodes can cover about 2,000-3,000 square feet of your lawn, yard, or property and they last for years.

If nematodes aren't for you, you can actually spread diatomaceous earth (food grade only) around your yard to control fleas and ticks, chiggers and no-see-ums. Just remember that d-earth will kill any bug, even the good, beneficial ones.

Inside:

To treat the inside of your home, you may want to also use d-earth (food grade only). You can sprinkle it around the baseboards of your home, in closets, rub into the carpet, onto the bedding for your dog and more. It's very effective.

Your dog:

Preventing fleas from getting on your dog in the first place is the best course of action in preventing a total flea infestation.

You can use several products from our Raise A Green Dog Partners that will work very, very well including: Flea Repellant Collars and Herbal Flea Repellent Sachets from Garden Delights, and DERMagic's Flea Combo which includes a great flea shampoo bar and the popular DERMagic Flea Dust (with food grade d-earth), with its handy sprinkle-top. It safely kills fleas in the pet’s bedding, carpet, furniture, and wherever your pet hangs out. You can even put it directly on your pet! Sometimes something as simple as these products will work for you.

If you need something a little stronger or your going to be out and about with your dog in areas where you think fleas may be, you can turn to Earth Heart's Buzz Guard and Wondercide's Evolv. With both of these products, I only need to spray one or two sprays on my palm and rub on ears, legs, belly and neck of YoYo (Johann) and Gracie for the products to be effective. That way I don't have to spray on them directly. I also spray their harnesses on long hikes for both fleas and ticks.

If you have a massive infestation, or you live in an area where fleas are year around, you may want to turn to something a bit stronger. When seeking out all options, we always turn first to Green Paws for evaluating flea medication and natural alternative flea product ingredients.

If after you've tried the natural alternatives and they just aren't working for you and your dog, you can utilize the Green Paws site to help you determine other alternatives, like Sentinel (prescription required), which is primarily a heartworm (and other types of worms) monthly medication, but also includes Lufenuron which can prevent most flea eggs from hatching or maturing into adults and thus prevents and controls flea populations by breaking the life cycle. With this product you can prevent heartworm and fleas.

And if your dog has a very bad infestation you could look at Capstar Flea Treatment Tablets which will kill more than 90% of adult fleas within 4 hours on dogs and 6 hours on cats. Both of these products are rated with a very low risk level and may be helpful when natural methods aren't working for you and your dog.

We hope this information is helpful to you in making more informed decisions for your dog relating to fleas. Remember, we are not veterinarians, and the information we share is information we've discovered, learned and found that has worked for us over the years. It's always best to consult your own holistic veterinarian whenever making decisions for your dog.

If you'd like, feel free to share your all natural success stories in combating fleas, so that you may help others get more ideas that they can discuss with their holistic veterinarian.

And if you are looking for information in battling ticks, healthily and safely, be sure and check out our 'Ultimate Tick Guide for the Green Dog.'

Now go out there and enjoy the great outdoors!

Images courtesy of kat m research
Sources: Library of Congress PetMD

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Welcome to new RAGD Partner Green Dog Pet Accessories!

A big, big, welcome to Green Dog Pet Accessories, as they are the latest company to join the Raise A Green Dog Pack!

Kelly and Bodie (the dog) believe in doing everything they can to protect the planet. It was from Kelly's passion for the environment and her love of furry friends that Green Dog Pet Accessories was started, with her dog Bodie right there testing every single Green Dog product to unsure they meet his stringent "fun and function" standards.

From their Cotton Duck and Burlap Babies toys, to the earth friendly and safe Green Dog All Surface Cleaner to get up those occasional messes, to the Doggie Day Mat made out of repurposed terry cloth, to the 100% help dog leashes, Green Dog Pet Accessories packs a lot of fun into their products, and their company.

Be sure and visit Green Dog Pet Accessories the next time you're looking for fun, unique and function for your green dog!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The ultimate tick guide for the green dog!

This year, here at our cabin and many parts of the country, the ticks are much more prolific than they've been in past years. And there's a reason for that.

According to Susan E. Little, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVM, “there has been an increase in tick populations over decades, but in the last 10 years, they have really exploded.” The Regents professor and Krull-Ewing chair in veterinary parasitology at Oklahoma State University, goes on to say, “and it is not just more ticks, it is more ticks in more places.”

Recent warmer winters, along with an increase in population and migration of migratory birds, deer and coyotes have allowed ticks to survive beyond what they have in the past.

Michael W. Dryden, DVM, Ph.D., university distinguished professor in veterinary parasitology at Kansas State University explains, “it has to be really cold to kill a tick, at least 10 degrees F, and it has to stay that temperature for some time. All it takes is temperatures of around 40 degrees F for ticks to be active. If it just drops overnight and then warms back up, that doesn't help.”

Understanding ticks

Ticks go through four developmental stages - egg, larvae, nymph, and then adult, and they can spread several diseases to dogs if those ticks are infected, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiois, Anaplasmosis, Lyme and Ehrlichosis.

We've learned over the years that just because your dog has been bitten by a tick, it doesn't always mean that they will acquired a tick born disease. But it's always recommended that if you find a tick on your dog that you remove it promptly, which can decrease the odds of disease transmission if that tick is a carrier.

Many veterinarians believe that it takes up to 18 or more hours for an infected Deer Tick, or Black Legged Tick to transmit Lyme, but it may only take one hour for the American Dog Tick to transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to your dog.

Exploring the various ticks and diseases ticks can carry

American Dog Tick - transmits Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The female American Dog Ticks looks very different than the male American Dog Tick and can be found in most states east of the Rocky Mountains. It is also commonly found in California, Idaho and Washington, as well as Canada. This is the only tick we are finding here on our mountain in Georgia.

The Lone Star Tick - transmits Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and, like the American Dog Tick, the female and male look different. This tick can be found in Texas, and surrounding states. We've also seen this tick in Tennessee.


American Deer Tick - transmits Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. This tick is most commonly found in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic and upper midwestern regions of the United States.

Western Black-legged Tick - transmits Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis and can be found mostly throughout California, but can also be found in other western states along the coast and inland, as well as in Canada.

Brown Dog Tick - transmits Hepatozoonosis, Canine Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis and is found widely throughout the US and Canada.

Gulf Coast tick - transmits Canine Eepatozoonosis. While most commonly found in the eastern US with most populations in the middle-southern region, you can also find it in Virginia, and west to Oklahoma and Kansas, even Canada.

About tick diseases and potential symptoms in dogs

Lyme - Lyme disease is an infection of the tissues that often leads to lameness. Generally speaking symptoms in dogs can be difficult to detect, and consequently Lyme (as well as other tick diseases) is often misdiagnosed. Dogs may appear with symptoms several months after being infected and the symptoms may appear as intermittent lameness, from mild to severe, lethargy, and general reluctance to move.

Ehrlichia - Different strains of Canine Ehrlichiosis are found throughout the United States and Canada. This disease infects the white blood cells of dogs that can eventually affect bone marrow function, including production of blood cells. Symptoms may include lack of energy, loss of appetite, runny eyes and nose with discharge, bruising and lameness and joint pain.

Anaplasma - There are two different strains of Anaplasma, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Anaplasma platys. Anaplasma platys is an infection of the blood platelets and presents with bruising on the gums and belly, and spontaneous nosebleeds. Anaplasma phagocytophilum presents more like Lyme disease with lethargy, loss of appetite, lameness and neck pain.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - This disease may be one of the most severe in its onset. It appears very suddenly with a high fever and overall body pain. Your dog may collapse because of severe arthritis-like stiffness when walking and show neurological abnormalities like stumbling, as well. Immediate veterinary medical attention is warranted.

Canine Hepatozoonosis infection - This disease also comes in two forms. Hepatozoon americanum is transmitted by the Gulf Coast tick, and Hepatozoon canis is transmitted by the Brown Dog tick. Hepatozoon canis may not show symptoms, but may through loss of appetite, weight loss and lethargy. Hepatozoon americanum affects the muscle cells, is very debilitating and usually fatal if not treated. A dog infected with Hepatozoon americanum will typically show severe symptoms that occur intermittently, including depression, general pain, loss of muscle mass, weight loss, and perhaps eye discharge.

Babesiosis - This tick borne disease affects red blood cells, and can make a dog anemic. Symptoms include lack of activity/lethargy, weakness, vomiting and weight loss.

These are the most identified tick born diseases for dogs, although the CDC is finding more and more tick diseases affecting humans. We fully expect it will be found that more/additional tick diseases will affect dogs, as well.

Find out which tick diseases are most prominent in your area so that you can understand what symptoms to look for with your dog.

How a tick gets a tick disease and spreads it to others

Most ticks live 2-3 years and go through a variety of stages in their growth as we've discussed  - egg, larvae, nymph, and then adult.

In the larvae stage is when most ticks pick up a tick borne disease, usually and most often from a mouse or other outdoor vermin. Once they have consumed the needed blood for their meal, they move on to the second stage of life, the nymph.

If you've never seen a nymph (also known as a seed tick) tick, you may not even know it's a tick. They are very small, about the size of a pin head. If your dog gets into a seed tick nest they can actually pick up hundreds of ticks very quickly. As nymphs, the ticks move on to their second meal (usually smaller dogs, small mammals, mice and other vermin, birds and even lizards and snakes, sometimes even humans) which if they've been infected in the larvae stage, will pass on a tick borne disease to their host.

Once the nymph is done feeding they drop off and molt into an adult tick. Again, if infected, and they find their third and final host (usually a larger host like a person, deer or dog) and latch on, they have the ability to transmit a disease. If an adult doesn't find it's third host, it may actually winter over and wait for that third host in the spring.

If at any of the three stages of feeding the tick does not become infected, it does not transmit a tick borne disease to your dog.

After the adult tick has finished it's third and final meal it will then mate, lay it's eggs and then die. A tick can lay a whopping 8,000 to 22,000 eggs.

How does a tick find a host?

Hard ticks, which are the ticks we are discussing here, find their hosts (and meals) through 'questing.' They sit on a blade of grass, a leaf or weed, stretch it's limbs out and wait for a host to pass by that they can hang on to.

Contrary to popular believe, hard ticks don't jump and they don't drop down from trees, they actually have to briefly come in contact with a potential host to latch on. In their quest, they will crawl to find their host, as in the case the other day as I was sitting here writing and a tick crawled from the carpet up my leg. You can bet I dropped everything and started up the vacuum, hitting every inch of the cabin.

But how did that tick find me as a potential host? It waited patiently until it 'sensed' a host nearby and then made it's move. Interestingly, some ticks have eyes that can sense color and movement; and many ticks detect carbon dioxide from up to 65 feet away, which is what dogs and humans give off when exhaling.

How does a tick transmit a tick born disease?

When the tick finds a host, it inserts it's mouth parts into the skin and begins to suck the host's blood and engorge. As this occurs, tick saliva makes it's way into the tick bite wound and it's that saliva that carries the infectious disease if that tick is a carrier, transmitting it to the host.

Tips if you find a tick on your dog

We've found ticks on Johann and Gracie, and on me! It's never fun, and it's always frustrating, but it happens.

We perform tick checks several times a day during tick season after spending more than a few minutes outside for a quick 'do your business.' Ticks prefer the ears, around the eyes and mouth and neck of dogs for attaching; although you may find ticks anywhere on your dog as they crawl to their preferred location.

On the rare occasion when we do find ticks, and those ticks are latched on here's, what we do:
  1. The first thing I do is work to remove the tick utilizing rounded tip tweezers (round tip tweezers actually work better for me than flat ended tweezers in getting the entire tick off). 
  2. Before I pull the tick, I actually 'tease' the tick by flipping it in one direction and then another several times, which seems to 'confuse' the tick, loosening it's grip just a bit, making it easier to remove the entire tick, head and all. I grab as close to the skin as possible where the tick is attached and pull. Using this method I've never had a situation where the tick head was left on my dog.
  3. Secondly, I put the tick in white vinegar in a jar with a lid to preserve it. I want to know after I treat my dog's bite what kind of tick I'm dealing with so that I can watch for potential symptoms of tick disease, and the white vinegar preserves the tick for days, even weeks.
  4. I then get an alcohol swab and clean the tick bite area thoroughly, and follow that up with some homeopathic Traumeel that works to fight potential infection. Then I watch the tick bite, cleaning it again every day and adding some Traumeel, until the tick bite is completely healed.
  5. I identify the tick and review the potential symptoms and diseases that that tick can potentially transmit, make a note and watch my dog carefully for any symptoms - whether it be five to seven days for Rocky Mountain (which are the ticks most prevalent in our area) or months after for Lyme.
General tips we've learned over the years to combat ticks and how to protect your dog naturally (and what do you do when natural just isn't cutting it.)

First and foremost, keep the ticks from wanting to bite!

Begin by finding an all natural method for repelling ticks by checking out some of our Raise A Green Dog Partner's products including Flea Repellant Collars and Herbal Flea Repellent Sachets from Garden Delights, and DERMagic's Flea Combo. Sometimes something as simple as these products will work for you.

If you need something stronger, what we've found that works best in repelling the ticks on Johann and Gracie are products that contain neem. While suggested by Green Paws (our go to source for evaluating tick medication and natural alternative tick product ingredients) that neem isn't the safest natural repellent on the market, it does work for us when milder natural ingredient products have not worked. And neem is much safer than the dangerous and toxic chemical preventatives in which the tick actually has to bite the dog to die.

There are several good products on the market from our RAGD Partners that contain neem  and cedarwood in safer doses including Earth Heart's Buzz Guard and Wondercide's Evolv. With both of these products, I only need to spray three or so sprays on my palm and rub on ears, legs, belly and neck of YoYo and Gracie for the products to be effective. That way I don't have to spray on them directly. I also spray their harnesses on long hikes.

Work to keep your dog's yard free of ticks! Clean up any leaf matter and mow your lawn low. Ticks don't like open dry areas and this can help dramatically in keeping your yard free of ticks.

You can also treat your yard, lawn and land with all natural methods to repel ticks. We've had a lot of success in keeping the ticks (and chiggers and fleas) out of our fenced in area in the deep forest of north Georgia, by putting down diatomaceous earth (food grade) early in the spring, and leaving it down for several, rain free days. During very rainy years like we've had this year, we've had to do this several times. But it's working.

Some individuals swear by spraying their yard with an all natural garlic spray like Garlic Barrier, and it's what we'll be utilizing if this rain keeps up! This type of application can cover acres of land and can last up to four weeks, even with rain.

After a trip to tour an organic garden a few years ago, we learned that Guinea hens are superb in keeping down a tick population on large lots of land. Once grown and safe from predators, guinea spend their days pecking away and eating ticks, fleas and chiggers, as well as other bugs and weed seed. This could be a great alternative if you have a large lot of land, and you'll only need to train your dog to leave them to their job.

Keep your home clean and sweep often. We've actually found ticks crawling around our home in the carpet that were on the dogs, but didn't like them as a host. That means the natural repellents we are using are working, but you just don't want those nasties in your home that can crawl on the humans or the kitties.

We keep areas like the couch and bed covered with a white sheet or blanket, especially during tick season. It really helps to get a better handle on what's coming off Johann and Gracie, whether it be a flea, tick, chigger, or just plain dirt.

If natural methods just aren't cutting it to keep your dog safe, you may want to turn to other methods, as we found when we lived in the mountains of Tennessee. Every single (and we used countless products) natural product we utilized when we lived in TN did not work to repel the ticks on Johann and Gracie. So, we turned to GreenPaws.org to help us determine the least traumatic chemical product and settled on Frontline spray, which worked great to keep them safer. Then as soon as possible we moved out of Tennessee to Georgia where there are many less ticks to deal with.

GreenPaws.org is a fantastic site to not only determine the dangers of over the counter flea and tick medications, but it's also a great resource for us green dogs who are looking for natural, healthier methods. It lists a wide variety of natural oils and rates their potential toxicity, as many of you know even natural methods can present some dangers. It's all about weighing the risks for the health of your dog.

If you've got deer and mice or other vermin in your yard or on your land, there is a very, very good chance you've got ticks around. While deer are gorgeous creatures, every time I see a deer I cringe and think TICKS!!! Get away!!!

We hope this information is helpful to you in making more informed decisions about your dog in regards to ticks. Remember, we are not veterinarians, and the information we share is information we've discovered, learned and found that has worked for us over the years. It's always best to consult your own holistic veterinarian whenever making decisions for your dog.

If you'd like, feel free to share your all natural success stories in battling ticks, so that you may help others get more ideas that they can discuss with their holistic veterinarian.

Stay happy and healthy and enjoy the great outdoors!

Sources:
Tick Populations to Explode in 2013
Dogs and Ticks
Minnesota Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control

RAGD is proud to welcome Clear Conscious Pet as a new Partner!

If you've been looking for a healthy and safe (key word being safe) treat for your dog, take a look at new Raise A Green Dog Partner, Clear Conscience Pet®.

Clear Conscience Pet was founded in 2010 with one mission in mind; to create healthy, clean, and incredibly tasty treats for dogs, cats, and ferrets that are made and sourced in the US from free-range, grass-fed, or organically raised sources.

Their treats are grain-free, gluten-free, and ultra low in carbohydrates. Clear Conscience pet is a family-owned and privately-held business that has well over 30 years of combined experience in the development, marketing, and manufacturing of natural and holistic pet food and treats and we are proud to announce they are a new Raise A Green Dog Partner.

Their chicken and beef Sliders, with no grains, gluten or glycerin, makes this snack safe for dogs with common allergies. Made from real chicken and vegetables, this treat has added nutrition from concentrated spinach, tomato, carrot & flax and is a high-value treat perfect for training exercises or just a nice reward. Sliders are made in the USA, with responsibly-sourced ingredients from family-run farms.

Another great treat from Clear Conscience Pet are the Lamb Trachey Chewz™ with roasted whole lamb trachea that has been enhanced with the company's award-winning, patent pending Organic SuperVeggie coating. Their Chewz™ also in Beef and Bison, are grain-free, gluten-free, and ultra-low in carbohydrates.

The company also offers SuperGravy™ that contains bison liver, organic beef liver, beef liver, organic beef heart, cold milled chia seed, dried organic spinach, dried organic pumpkin, dried organic carrot, ascorbic acid (natural preservative & source of vitamin C) to help entice those picky eaters an provide additional proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Be sure and visit Clear Conscience Pet and check out all their amazingly healthy treats just made for green dogs! They are paw approved by Raise A Green Dog and featured on our website.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our top 10 list of documentaries that may affect your dog's life.

Being green, eco-friendly and organic, we've watched a lot of films and documentaries over the years.

These films are very powerful, shocking and overwhelmingly education-packed with information that can help you make more informed decisions to help your dog live a healthier, happier life.

Here are our top 10 documentary films that may just affect the life of your green dog.

Food Inc.

If you are unaware of what happens to your food before it appears on your plate or in your dog's bowl, this is the film to watch. Many dog food companies acquire their food from the corporate controlled food industry that also fuels the human food supply. This well rounded and broad documentary shares the shocking, unknown, destructive, inhumane and unhealthy evidence of just how dangerous factory farming is to animals and to people.

Gasland

A brilliant and eye opening documentary by Josh Fox exposes the dangers of 'fracking,' the technology used in the largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history. Fox undercovers the trail of secrets, lies and injustice that's leaving a wealth of water and environmental contamination in its wake.

Bag It

If you've ever re-used a plastic bag to pick up and dispose of your dog's waste, this is the film for you. As Americans continue to use thousands of plastic bags every five minutes, 'Bag It' examines where all those bags go and and at what cost they are bringing to our environment, marine life and human health. 'Bag It' follows "everyman" Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic filled world.

Super Size Me

Day after day, millions of dogs eat poor quality dog food, just like millions of Americans who eat poor quality human food from fast food restaurants and drive thrus. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you only ate food from fast food restaurants, three meals a day, seven days a week for a month? While taking a look at the influence of the fast food industry on the health of Americans, Morgan Spurlock personally explores the consequences of his own health by consuming a diet of only McDonald's food for one month in 'Super Size Me.' It's sometimes sickening, however very enlightening, in providing you insight into the affects of an individual's (and perhaps a dog's) health on just one month of poor quality, fattening, overly processed, chemically and sugar laden foods.

Trashed

If every week your dog barks at the trash man, this is one you'll want to see. Perhaps not as powerful as many of the documentaries on this list, 'Trashed' investigates and educates you about one of the fastest growing industries in America...the garbage business. Not only does it dive into what happens to what you throw out for the trash man, but dives into the consequences of nearly half a billion tons of trash that Americans produce annually, then showcases individuals, activists, corporate and advocacy groups working to affect change and reform the current model of our trash laden society.

The World According to Monsanto

Chemicals are so prevalent in our society, and more and more are becoming aware of the dangers of those chemicals on our health, our dog's health and the environment. There is no company more dominant and responsible for some of the most dangerous chemicals on the planet than Monsanto. In 'The World According to Monsanto' French filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin takes you on a journey discovering how Monsanto got started and how it has grown to strive to dominate the world's food supply.

An Inconvenient Truth

This documentary may be seven years old, but it's still the most thorough and educational documentary on our environment as a whole. Al Gore for many years has had a calling; to bring attention to the increasingly desperate crisis of global warming. 'An Inconvenient Truth' makes the compelling case that global warming is real, man-made, and its effects will be cataclysmic if we don’t act now.

Fresh

Fresh, healthy, organic, local food...what we all want for us and for our dogs. 'Fresh,' a documentary by Ytit Chauhan, outlines the vicious cycle of our current food production methods, while also celebrating the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are reinventing our food system for our health and for our environment.

Blue Gold: World Water Wars

Water, it's the basis of a dog's life and one of our most precious resources. Clean, fresh water may seem like a right, but to many it's a commodity and to others a privilege. 'Blue Gold' is the story of how corporations have been battling to privatize our water supply - and succeeding.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed

This list wouldn't be complete without a documentary about dogs. In 2008 the BBC aired a very controversial program entitled 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed.' The documentary showcased the level of inherited disease and other welfare concerns in man's best friend, and the surprising (to some) historical factors that have contributed to problems in some breeds, while exploring what might be done to tackle these serious and debilitating health issues. Individuals, companies and welfare organizations rallied to the point that the documentary eventually brought change in a positive direction as The Kennel Club (UK) consequently revised 78 of it's breed standards to help promote healthier dog breeds. This program will enlighten any dog lover to the affects of the long term consequences of irresponsible breeding of man's best friend.

Welcome to Life of Ryley, a new Raise A Green Dog Partner!

Raise A Green Dog is proud to welcome Life of Ryley to our list of pawsome partners!

Life of Ryley is committed to bringing together unique new products and social features that reflect how much they love our happy dogs. From how we decorate our homes to the clothes we wear and the accessories we use, they help us let the world know that our dog is family.

They have a nice selection of green products perfect for green dogs. From the Hive Dog Bed made of cotton canvas that's locally milled in USA, to their stylish Bamboo collars, to the Calm Dog Aromatherapy Candles, to the Organic Dog Shampoos.

Be sure and visit 'Ryley' and check out some of their great green products!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Saving the bees, one dog at a time!

I'll never forget the day I got my first bee sting. I was sniffing at a beautiful blooming cone flower, when zap; the bee that was pollinating that very flower, stung me right on the nose.

My nose swelled up to the size of a golf ball, which is pretty big for a sheltie size snout like mine. The good thing is that the swelling went down pretty quickly and the next morning I woke up and you couldn't even tell something had happened to me. ~Johann The dog

Despite the sting that bees can dole out...."(bees are) the world’s most important pollinator of food crops," according to Sustain Web. "It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees."

While bees are very important to our food chain, there are a wide variety of dangers that plague bees; so much so that the the declining bee populations are now posing a threat to global agriculture.

In June of 2013 in Oregon, 25,000 bees were found dead in a Target parking lot, spurring environmentalists to claim the incident as 'one of the largest mass deaths of bumblebees in the western U.S.' Since the occurance, representatives from the Oregon State Department of Agriculture state that tests on bees and foliage showed the deaths are "directly related to a pesticide application on linden trees" that was meant to control aphids."

While pesticides and insecticides can be blamed for many of the world's bee population decline, there are other dangers lurking for bees, including the nasty bee disease American Foulbrood, which, along with other diseases, plagues our bees.

According to the Colorado Beekeepers Association, "American Foulbrood is probably the most feared of all bee diseases. It's a highly contagious and is spread through the use of contaminated equipment and through robbing of the diseased hive by other bees, caused by the Bacillus larvae bacteria. The bacteria feeds on the larva and kills them in their pre-pupal and pupal stages. American Foulbrood has a distinct odor. Most beekeepers will notice the odor before they will notice the rest of the symptoms."

Because American Foulbrood gives off a distinctive smell it makes it a perfect disease to identify and treat early for further spread and destruction.

Bazz, a black lab and also a beekeeper's dog, has been working tirelessly to help prevent the spread of this dreaded disease, but not without protection.

Josh Kennett, a beekeeper in Australia, and dog dad to Bazz, has outfitted him with an amazing dog beekeepers suit, designed to allow Bazz to sniff out the disease while staying safe.

The process of training his dog and developing the suit has been an attempt to find a better way of controlling American foulbrood.

How can you help bees? Here are several ideas:
Happy Beekeepinging!

Photos courtesy of Dustin and Jenae, tombayly13 and Josh Kennett.
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