Brachycephalic Dogs….and Heat!

Most people are not familiar with the term “Brachycephalic,” but if you own a Pug, Boston Terrier, Pekingese, Boxer, Bulldog, Shih tzu or any one of the other breeds with “pushed in” faces, you should become familiar with this word. The word comes from Greek roots “Brachy,” meaning short and “cephalic,” meaning head.

Brachycephalic dogs have been bred so as to possess a normal lower jaw, that is, one in proportion to their body size, and a compressed upper jaw.

HEAT STRESS – Because of all these upper respiratory obstructions, the brachycephalic dog is an inefficient panter. A dog with a more conventional face and throat is able to pass air quickly over the tongue through panting. Saliva evaporates from the tongue as air is passed across and the blood circulating through the tongue is efficiently cooled and circulated back to the rest of the body.

In the brachycephalic dog, so much extra work is required to move the same amount of air that the airways become inflamed and swollen. This leads to a more severe obstruction, distress, and further over-heating.

BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS ARE THE MOST
LIKELY CANDIDATES FOR HEAT STROKE.

Altogether, the upper airways of the brachycephalic dog compromises his or her ability to take in air. Under normal conditions the compromise is not great enough to cause a problem; however, an owner should take care not to let the dog become grossly overweight or get too hot in the summer months. Be aware of what degree of snorting and sputtering is usual for your individual pet plus, should your pet require general anesthesia or sedation, your vet may want to take extra precautions or take radiographs prior to assess the severity of the syndrome.

 

Thanks to marvistavet.com for the above information!

Golden Retriever Adoption Event Saturday June 27

We are excited to remind everyone that we have a Golden Retriever Rescue coming to join us on Saturday, June 27 from 11AM-2PM. We will be posting available dogs as soon as we get a list of the ones coming. In the meantime, check out their website at www.ragom.org. See you next Saturday!!

Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota is a 501(c)(3) all volunteer, non-profit organization operating in…

Short Primer on Amino Acids for Dogs and Cats

If you read the “Digestive Tidbits on Dogs and Cats” that we put up here recently you may recall that food passes fairly quickly through their systems.    They have short digestive systems and therefore do not have the benefit of billions of microorganisms along their gastrointestinal tract synthesizing amino acids for them.    They therefore require these to be fed to them.    There are now 22 amino acids identified (when I was in college there were 20) of which 10 are considered “essential” meaning they must be obtained from their diet.    You can add one more (taurine) for cats.    The others can be synthesized internally as long as the necessary “pieces” are present and are called “non-essential”.   That’s not exactly an appropriate term because all the amino acids are necessary for a healthy sustainable life.   It’s just that some of them do not have to be fed directly.     Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which plays a critical role in almost all biological processes.

      Amino Acids Utilized by Dogs and Cats

 

“Non essential” (not required in the diet)

Alanine

Asparagine

Aspartate

Cysteine

Glutamate

Hydroxylysine

Glycine

Glutamine

Proline

Serine

Hydroxyproline

 

“Essential” (is only obtained via the diet)

Arginine

Histidine

Isoleucine

Methionine

Phenylalanine

Tryptophan

Threonine

Valine

Leucine

Lysine

Taurine (cats)

 

A holistic diet will utilize all natural biologically appropriate sources of the essential amino acids in it’s recipe(s).     While we ourselves are not nutritionists at Wholesome Pet Essentials we do business with companies that utilize extensive research in nutrition to satisfy your pet’s needs.    Because of the relatively short period of time your pet’s food is in their digestive system it’s important that it be a nutritiously balanced product.          Of course there’s a lot more to it than amino acids….more later.

Digestive Tidbits on Dogs and Cats

In the future we’ll be presenting more specific nutritional information on dogs and cats.   But first here is a short primer and interesting tidbits on their respective digestive systems:

Dogs are classified as carnivores and are well adapted to eating meat.   However, they can consume and manage on a diet of an omnivore.   Still, the more meat the better.    There sense of smell is estimated at 10,000 times more sensitive than humans.   Therefore an appetizing aroma on their meals is important and why small amounts of hot water on kibble will tease their appetite.    They have 42 teeth designed for cutting and tearing.   They have fewer taste buds than humans.    They have very little salivary amylase (an enzyme) so therefore very little pre-digestion of carbohydrates occurs unlike humans.    They have a very expandable stomach adaptable to eating large meals.   Their stomach ph is more acidic than humans to assist in digestion of small bonelike substances and to protect against harmful bacteria.   The time food spends in the digestive tract is 12-30 hours compared to humans which is usually considered 30 hours to 5 days!

 

Cats are classified as obligate carnivores.  They absolutely have to have meat in their diet.   They have 30 teeth designed for cutting and tearing and have no sideways movement of the jaw at all.   They have even fewer taste buds than dogs and cannot taste sweets.   They have NO salivary amylase.   Their stomach is relatively small and designed for several small meals per day.   Which is why you can leave food out for the cat….unless your dog can get at it!    Like the dog the stomach is a more acid environment than humans.   Transit time through their system is 12-24 hours.   Their small intestine is well suited to digesting proteins and fats.   They need a protein rich diet.  Thus protein levels in cat food exceed the protein level in  dog food recipes.

 

The most essential nutrient for both is of course WATER!   Water can be obtained through drinking of course but also through their food.    Feeding a cat canned food will result in a very noticeable reduction in the amount of water they drink.   Canned foods are about 80% water.

Lotus Brand Dog Food

If you have a fussy or picky eater in your furry friend we’d invite you to try our Lotus Brand dog food.   The holistic formula is BAKED rather than extruded and I can personally testify that our very picky Teddy Bear “Murphy”  loves this food!!!  In the near term we will be expanding our varieties.

Another idea for a fussy eater is to moisten the kibble with HOT water.   It probably only takes a teaspoon per 1/2 cup of kibble to really release the tantalizing aroma of the food.

Is Your Pet “chipped”?

What happens if your family pet suddenly turns up lost?    You may have a tag on them and the finder may decide to do the decent thing and contact you.    But what if that tag has been lost  (they frequently are)?   There’s a good chance there is no tag.    Regardless, a microchip provides permanent identification that cannot fall off, be removed or become difficult or impossible to read.    A microchip may just serve as the conduit to reunite you and your pet.   Dog or cat.       A microchip is not a GPS.   It’s not a tracking device.   They are instead a radio-frequency identification implant that does not require a power source.   There is no battery in it.   The microchip gets power from the external scanner and then transmits the number to the scanner.    Veterinarians and rescue centers all have scanners that can read the chips.    The microchip is inserted under the loose skin between the shoulder blades with a sterile applicator.   It only takes a few seconds as though it was a simple vaccination.    The chip has been compared to a grape seed.    Once microchipped the number needs to be registered with a pet recovery service.   If your pet is recovered by any of the multitude of rescues, etc. out there they will scan for a chip and report the number to the recovery services which will then contact you.

Bonus benefits of microchipping your pet

Some microchip registries offer additional services for your pet’s care:

  • Specialists available 24/7 to assist with advice and support if your pet is lost
  • Travel assistance for pets found far from home
  • 24/7 Emergency Medical Hotline
  • Lost Pet Alerts sent to a network of animal shelters, veterinarians, and concerned citizens around where your pet was lost.

Remember as long as there are pets, even those belonging to the most responsible parents, they will go missing.   That is why we are happy to sponsor a microchip clinic at the store on June 6 from 1-5 pm.    The cost is just $25 for the chipping and all proceeds will go to the Animal Protection and Education Charity.  

Grain Free…No corn or wheat!

 

Probably 75% of the product we have in dog and cat food kibble is totally grain free.    Now let’s discuss what grain free means.    Or perhaps more importantly what it does not mean.    In the case of dog and cat food kibble some starch is needed to make the extrusion process work.    That is the process that very quickly heats under steam and pressure and expands the product which then is cooled and contracts to form a hard kibble.    That’s a very simple description but generally accurate.    That starch has traditionally come from rice,  pearled barley and occasionally oat groats in the best quality foods.    These are ingredients that rarely cause any issues for your pets.    And they provide a source of carbohydrate (energy) as well.   Good recipes limit their inclusion rate and rely on meat for protein (amino acids).   They do NOT have corn or wheat!    Grocery store and big box store brands will frequently utilize corn or corn by-products and frequently wheat as well.   Not good stuff in that their inclusion at high levels in these brands creates all kinds of issues with potential allergens as well as amino acid balancing challenges which can provide your pet sub-par nutrition.    Remember that article on skin issues and rough hair?    True grain-free foods still (in most cases) utilize starch in the process.    But they turn to potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils and/or tapioca as starch sources.   Hence they are labeled “grain free” as they do not even utilize rice or barley.      Their protein level is typically higher.   And the dog will in most cases leave you with less poop to deal with.   And much more limited chance of an allergic reaction.    They are the “best” of the best.

We also carry a large selection of totally grain free treats for dogs and cats.    There is absolutely NO WHEAT in any of our treats.    Not what your dog or cat needs!

Alternative Chew(s) and a Recall

Synthetic chew bones have either been praised or cussed by veterinarians. The recent recall by the FDA of the Nylabone Puppy Starter Kitdog chews due to the risk of salmonella infection to both the dog and the owners punctuates the latter. No current health issues have been reported but the company identified the presence of
salmonella in one lot during some recent testing. Nylon bones were introduced as a practical replacement for rawhide chews which had their own share of issues including potential obstruction in the digestive tract. They are designed to slowly granulate and pass through the dog’s digestive tract. However, there have been reports of dogs able to break off chunks of the synthetic bones and these pieces accumulating in the digestive system and ultimate require surgical removal. Porkchews have been an attractive alternative as they are more highly digestible than rawhide but unfortunately a large number of them come from China. Antlers, although a bit pricey, have been the gold standard for chews because of their long lasting characteristics and few if any side effects. However, there have been limited reports of dogs with less than perfect teeth experience some tooth breakage with antlers.
Enter…..

RUFF ROOTS
Ruff Roots are 100% natural dog toys that serve as an alternative to rubber or plastic toys. Ruff Roots originate from the roots of shrubs or trees in the Mediterranean Heathlands. All Ruff Roots are hand-harvested and eco-sustainably sourced from Spain. Only the tuber of the root is harvested which then sprouts again. Ruff Roots are great chew toys for furniture chewers like Rufus or any dogs that love to play with sticks. Unlike sticks or furniture wood, Ruff Roots do not splinter. They serve as a natural toothbrush and help decrease plaque on teeth as well. Ruff Roots are also great teething toys for growing puppies! Ruff Roots are best for keen and powerful chewers. They are extremely long-lasting.

And we have them at Wholesome Pet Essentials!

 

Celebrate Earthweek….Plant Trees with Earthborn Holistic

UPCs for Trees

You can build forests around the world and help reduce harmful greenhouse gases when you participate in the Earthborn Holistic®UPCs for Trees program.

While most greenhouse gases are essential for maintaining our earth’s temperature, too much greenhouse gas can damage our climate. Planting a tree is a simple way to help remove excesses of the most common greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2 ), from the environment. That’s because in its lifetime, a typical tree can absorb nearly a ton of CO2.

Send in your Earthborn Holistic® UPCs and we’ll have a tree planted. It takes only 1 UPC from a 28 lb. dog bag, 2 UPCs from 14 lb. dog bags, 3 UPCs from 5 lb. dog bags or 4 UPCs – 7.5 oz. EarthBites Treats = 1 Tree or 1 UPC from a 14 lb. cat bag or 2 UPCs from 5 lb. cat bags to plant a tree.

  1. Purchase any Earthborn Holistic® product.
  2. Collect the UPC codes from the Earthborn Holistic® product package.
  3. Mail in the UPC codes.
    Earthborn Holistic® Natural Food for Dogs
    P.O. Box 972958
    Dept. 100
    El Paso, TX 79997

Then sit back and we’ll do the rest! We’ll have trees planted in areas that have been affected by deforestation. Check out the Tree Locatorto see where trees are being planted now. Imagine the impact we can make by working together through UPCs for Trees.

Love Your Dog. Love Your Planet.

What’s With this “Holistic” thing?

The “holistic” word gets batted around a lot these days in the pet care world.    There is no “scientific” or “legal” definition of the term particularly as it relates to pet nutrition.   Several of the brands we carry do indeed use it in their names.    Holistic of course generally means “of the whole” or focused on the whole.    To us it means a few things of importance and in our opinion includes at the very least the following:    1.  The use of natural ingredients and no chemicals or artificial ingredients.   No antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, dyes, etc.     2.   Grain-free does not necessarily constitute a holistic diet and a holistic diet does not have to be grain-free.  3.  Fruits and vegetables contribute the lions share of non-protein supplementation and there are no  processed “parts” or by-products of the meat/rendering industry.   4.  The ingredients chosen are there to benefit the dog or cat….not to make for a least cost recipe to benefit the manufacturer’s profits…..(common among big box and grocery store brands.)    5.  Fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of natural antioxidant protection and vitamins and minerals.    6. Zero potentially harmful ingredients.     I would encourage you to visit the various websites of the brands we carry to learn about the natural/holistic ingredients that are used.    Their websites are all linked on our nutrition page.

 

Does “holistic” mean “organic”?   No.    We do carry several foods produced with 100% certified organic raised meat protein and fruits and vegetables.      Per the USDA Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.  Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

Categories of USDA-Certified Organic Foods 
Label statement and USDA requirements for organic certification of human foods*

100% Organic
Can be labeled “100% organic” and display a Certified Organic seal on the front of the package.

Organic
Must be 95% to 99% organic ingredients; can display the Certified Organic seal on the front of the package.

Made with Organic Ingredients
Must be 70% to 94% organic, can say “made with organic ingredients” and can list up to three such ingredients on the front, but cannot display the organic seal anywhere on the package.

Less than 70% Organic
Can list organic ingredients on the information panel, but cannot use the word “organic” on the front of the package or display the organic seal.
Source: USDA National Organic Program