Lactose Intolerance in Dogs

Lactose intolerance is one of the most common canine digestive disorders. It’s a disorder that involves an adverse reaction to milk and dairy products, and can cause dogs discomfort if not adequately treated when it first begins to impact their health. Within this blog, we’ll review the symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs and highlight effective ways to care for dogs with lactose intolerance.

The Causes and the Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

Cow and goat milk contains, on average, 4.5-to-5% lactose. This compares with 3.1% lactose in dog’s milk. This milk can be a great source of calcium in dogs whose systems can tolerate lactose. However, the higher level of lactose within dairy products can overpower a dog’s digestive system, especially in younger puppies. Lactose intolerance is largely related to a lack of the enzyme lactase, which is critical for puppies in milk digestion.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs include the following:

  • Abdominal sensitivity
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Drinking excessive amounts of water

In cases where your pet appears to be suffering from one or a number of these symptoms over a period of days, it’s important to take them to a vet as soon as possible for analysis and treatment.

Caring for a Lactose Intolerant Dog – Listen to the Vet & Consider Lactose-Free Treats

One of the many challenges for those caring for a dog with lactose intolerance is that their diets must be carefully monitored to ensure no contact with dairy products.

Under certain circumstances, owners may be able to feed their dogs products such as cheese and unpasteurized yogurt, which usually have the lactose removed before being sold in stores. However, it remains exceptionally important to speak with a veterinary professional before making assumptions on a lactose intolerant dog’s ideal diet.

Fortunately, there are a number of high quality lactose-free items that all dogs can enjoy. Speak with your local area vet today if you feel your pet is suffering from lactose intolerance. Proactive owners can protect their pets against long-term physical issues. Working with your vet will allow you to create a regimen that offers optimal nutritional support to your dog for the long-term.

Dog Foods: The Coolest (Technologically-Enhanced) Ways to Feed your Dog

When it comes to dog foods and dog feeding—there are a number of elements to consider apart from just the ingredients. Your options of how you feed your dog have changed…it isn’t just putting down the typical metallic dog bowl anymore….

Dog Foods: The Coolest (Technologically-Enhanced) Ways to Feed your Dog

There are a number of dog foods and dog-feeding technologies that can truly improve how you feed your beloved, pampered pooch. These technologies include the following (which are a selection of our favourites)…

1. Ruffwear Dog Packs

While the Ruffwear Dog Packs might not seem like the highest-tech of dog-feeding devices…it does offer a sensational benefit. The Ruffwear pack offers your dog the opportunity to carry—and EARN—their food by carrying it on a high-tech rucksack on their back. You can load the device with up to 30% of the dog’s weight, a weight that allows your pooch to ‘earn their keep’ while primordially pleasing you (which is an important element to your dog’s happiness).

2. WaterDog Automatic Drinking Fountain

The WaterDog water fountain uses sonar detection to determine when your thirsty pooch comes into proximity of your drinking fountain. Once your dog enters within 3 feet of the fountain it will turn on, and provide your pooch with the fresh water they need to stay well hydrated. This technology empowers you to offer your dog fresh water, even if you aren’t available to refresh the bowl.

3. Pet Feeders
Properly managing a pet’s diet may sound cumbersome…but not if you have the right technology. All the enhancements you’ve long-wished you could offer your pet, are available with technologically-enhanced pet feeders. So, to take a techno approach to your pet-feeding strategy by buying a pet feeder that allows you to control your pet’s feeding schedule…even if you aren’t available.

4. Products

OK—so the available dog-feeding technologies are great…but—how does this fit in to your dog’s overall diet? Dog technology is great, but they should be used in combination with a varied—and exciting diet—to keep your dog interested in food. After all…how interested would you be in eating kibble 365 days a year for the rest of your life?  So, look for products that can break the boredom, like Bowser’s Dog Beer. This non-alcoholic treat is a delicious flavoured drink that offers your dog a flavour feast. Or, look for the latest and greatest (healthy) treats, like ours—Greenbark Gummies!

For more tips on dog foods and how to improve your dogs nutrition—and their life!–stay tuned to the Greenbark Gummies blog!

Dog Food and Treats: Fat vs. Protein—the right combination

Our dogs are incredibly versatile creatures that have a penchant for exercising, even if it’s disguised as “play time”. When they’re running around in a park with other dogs, or even when they’re playing with you, they rely on the abundant amounts of energy that they store by eating nutritious meals that contain the right amount of fat and protein. When the meals aren’t balanced, it can lead to your dog  becoming overweight, which can lead to fatigue, low energy, and poor health. Your pet needs to eat right and get enough exercise, and it’s up to you to make sure that he has a healthy lifestyle.

Dog Food and Treats: Fat vs. Protein—the Rght Combination

Our furry companions rely on us to feed them a proper diet that can help them live a long, happy life. Listed below are some interesting details on the fat and protein needed in their diet.

Fat: Fat is vital in a dog’s diet – after all, fat provides them with the energy that they rely on daily, and it also adds a flavor to their food that they LOVE to taste. Certain fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and 6, can help provide these beautiful creatures with a shiny, healthy coat while helping them maintain healthy skin.

Protein: Protein is formed from amino acids, which are required to form muscles and repair body tissues. A dog will typically be able to produce half of the required amino acids that they need, while the other half, known as essential amino acids, need to come from the food that they eat. This is why a dog’s protein intake is very important for their health, and why respected dog food brands contain a fair amount of protein in them.

Experts say that a beneficial combination needed for a healthy adult dog’s diet is 10-15% fat and 18-25% protein. If you follow this guideline, it can help your dog stay healthy, active, and full of energy.

For a nutritious and delicious snack for your dog that contains a healthy mix of protein and fat, be sure to try out Green Bark Gummies, which can be found in three varieties: Skin & Coat, Healthy Digestion, and Hip & Joint. Check out their website at greenbarkgummies.com!

The Top Health Benefits of Chia Seeds for your Dog or Puppy

The health benefits of Chia seeds, an ancient seed from Mexico, have been touted in recent years as a superfood—but did you know that it’s as good for your dog as it is for you?

Chia seeds offer numerous nutritional benefits to your pet….life-saving, nutrition-boosting elements—like those we’ve listed below…

The Top Health Benefits of Chia Seeds for your Dog or Puppy
Chia seeds can benefit your dog’s nutrition and digestion in a number of ways…

  • Omega Fatty Acids

One of the biggest and most important health benefits of Chia seeds is the omegas they contain. Chia seeds contain a large amount of omega fatty acids, including the ever-critical omega 3 and 6 nutrients. These nutrients help support, build and maintain healthy cellular function, a healthy immune system, your dog’s skin and coat, joint care and to aid in healthy growth functioning.

  • Fibre

A large amount of commercial dog foods may advertise that they have ‘antioxidants’, ‘protein’ or other important food elements—but chia seeds actually deliver…and beyond the ‘nice-to-have’ vitamins. Chia is also extremely high in the dietary fibre that helps support good digestion and proper bowel movements.

  • Vitamins, Protein & More

Chia seeds are rich in a large variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Just to give you an idea of some of the more important vitamins and benefits that chia seeds can offer your dog…they include:

  • A range of B vitamins
  • Skin and fur support
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Protein
  • Digestion and immune system support

Just in case you needed more convincing, Chia also has nutrients that helps your dogs’ brain and immune function, while supporting their blood-sugar levels, weight management, skin, joints, vision, immune systems, digestion and more.

So—chia seeds are obviously a healthy product for your dog. Great. But, how do you add Chia to your pets’ diet? The instantaneous way is to incorporate food and treats that already contain Chia, like Greenbark Gummies. Another way is to sprinkle it into your dog’s wet dog food (as it won’t stick to dry and the expensive Chia will end up in the bottom of the bowl).

Now that you know the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the health benefits of Chia seeds….go forth and be Chialicious!

Dog Food and Treats: How to Improve your Dog’s Digestion

Dog food and dog treats can help—or harm—your dog. Unfortunately, many dog food and treats on the market are manufactured for profit and not for optimal health. Foods filled with fillers and preservatives damage your dog’s body and digestion, just as it can damage your own health.

If you’re sobbing into your dachshund right now—never fear. You can fix this! To improve your dog’s digestion…and therefore overall health (since up to 70% of your dog’s health depends on their digestion)…simply follow the tips below.

Dog Food and Treats: How to Improve your Dog’s Digestion

There are a number of ways to improve your dog’s digestion and overall health:

1. Good Bacteria

Your dog’s stomach, like yours, has healthy bacteria in it that helps them break down and absorb the nutrients in their food. Managing this bacterial health is critical, which is why you need to feed them probiotic and prebiotic foods like bananas, honey, rye, wheat, raw oats, soy, beets and inulin.

2. Fibre

If you’ve ever gone a week without sufficient fibre intake then you know exactly what happens—you cut down your trips to the bathroom…and you bloat. Dogs need fibre too, so add fibre-rich foods to their diets. This includes: Chia, flax, oats, sorghum, barley, beet pulp and vegetables.

3. Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Many dogs eat far too fast for healthy digestion, so try to slow that down. So, if your dog is a rapid eater, slow things down a bit. When giving your dog their dog food and dog treats, do so in smaller quantities, doled out over time. There are also some great feeding technologies that can slow your dog down, like the Spiked feeding bowl.

4. Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are important to maintaining healthy digestion, but—unfortunately—are found in foods that dogs don’t generally gravitate towards. Phytonutrients are found in the skin of raw fruits and veggies, which can be added to your dog’s diet by mixing in grated fruit and veggies with your dog’s food. If you have a particularly fickle eater then try combining shredded raw fruits and veggies with meats.

If you can incorporate the above 4 tips you will improve not only your dog’s digestion—but also their overall health. For a healthy snack that will aid your dog’s digestion while offering them the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that will keep them happy—and healthy—then consider feeding your beloved pup our Greenbark Gummies for their ‘treats’.

Dog Nutrition: What you Don’t Know about Dog Treats

It is our goal in life to ensure that the dogs that love us dearly are well taken care of—from the inside out. Unfortunately, the advertising industry encourages us to buy dog food, dog treats and other dog nutrition that isn’t actually beneficial for their disposition.

Many of us with dogs put extreme care into the decisions of what we put into our furry friends’ bellies and bodies, but the sad truth is that few of us put the same care into dog nutrition treats. So—what are the healthiest and most delicious treats? Well, we can tell you what they aren’t (then we’ll tell you what they ARE)…

The Rawhide Debacle

Rawhide is a common dog treat that is only just now being exposed for how dangerous it truly is. These dangerous treats made of cow—or horse—hide have high risks for contamination, and contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals from the processing of the hide (which over time build up in your dog’s body) and it can irritate your dog’s digestive tract. The biggest concern however is that many dogs can choke on rawhide, or the hide can become lodged and cause a damaging blockage in the throat, stomach or intestines.

So—rawhide is out. What else is there?

Dry Dog Cookies
The typical dog cookie we think of is a small brick-like object shaped into a bone form. This is the iconic dog treat—but it isn’t good for your dog as dry dog biscuits are primarily made of gluten (flour), sugar and preservatives.

Jerky
Jerky treats are popular step-up from dry biscuits, as they have dogs salivating at the mouth. But—many jerky treats are unhealthy as well. The low-cost options are generally made from flour, sugar and meat-flavoured chemicals. The higher-cost options have meat as one of the (many) ingredients, but these have come under fire for contamination in recent years for making dogs sick. Most recently, Time Magazine published an article about illness caused from imported jerky that caused illness in over 3,600 pets (primarily dogs), and another 600 deaths.

So—Now What?
What this means, is that to ensure you are giving your dog(s) safe, healthy and nutritious dog treats you should make your own—so that you know the ingredients. Or, if you don’t have tons of free time to waste—go with Greenbark Gummies—boutique dog treats from a company that cherishes its healthy ingredients like a teen girl treats lip gloss, or a child covets candy. Our all-healthy, all-natural products are not only 100% healthy—but also 110% delicious!

Dog Treats: What to Look for

Walking down the food aisle of any pet store can be a confusing experience, with the hundreds of different dog food and dog treats options all fighting for your attention—and of course their fancy labels don’t help. They all have  smiling dog faces on the package and all promote their ‘awesome’ ingredients—but, which one is best?

To help you demystify the process of dog treats selection, we’ve narrowed down the selection by giving you the top ingredients to look for (and some to run away from!).

Dog Treats: Ingredients to Look for
We’ve created a list of ingredients to look for, because looking at fancy-shmancy packaging won’t get you anywhere. Without further ado—here are the ingredients to look for (and as a general rule of thumb—the fewer ingredients the better and the more ingredients you recognize the better!)….

  • Meat & Fish

Meat and fish is always the best ingredient for dogs—but look for real sources and not ‘meal’, meat by-products, bone or ‘bone meal’ products. In our opinion fish is a leaner protein source that offers more health benefits, but any high-quality meat ingredient will do.

  • Moisture

OK—’moisture’ isn’t exactly an ingredient, but look for dog treats that have a reasonably-high moisture content, ideally 12% or higher. After all, how would you like to munch on Wheaties as a ‘treat’.

  • Fruits and Vegetables
    This includes: peas, carrots, kelp, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Spices

When dog treats use spices for flavour, like garlic, rosemary, ginger, etc., they avoid using sugars, salts and artificial flavours. So, stick with foods and dog treats that use spices over sugar and chemical flavours.

  • Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a dog-friendly superfood that offers a nearly endless list of health benefits. The health highlights include being high in protein, all 3 omega-3 fatty acids, lipids, fibre and more. They are also a great source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc—and they help with detoxification while supporting joints, bones and muscles.

Dog Treats: Ingredients to Avoid

  • Artificial colours and flavours
  • Preservatives
  • Imported meats
  • Meat and bone by-products
  • High quantities of grains
  • Sweeteners
  • Artificial humectants
  • Low-quality grain products or un-named grain products

When sourcing high-quality, delicious dog treats that your pet will love, look for dog treats with the above ingredients. OR—take the guesswork out and go with our boutique dog treats, Greenbark Gummies, and let our chia seeds do the nutritional work.

Raw Dog Food: Yay or Nay?

The raw dog food diet is contentious amongst dog owners, vets and feeding experts. It is highly debated as it can be extremely healthy—but also dangerous. In raw dog food testing, of 196 tested samples they found 15 instances of salmonella and 32 instances of listeria monocytogenes. The same testing company tested 190 samples of dry exotic dog food, 190 samples of jerky treats, 120 samples of semi-moist dog food and 120 samples of standard dry dog food. In all those tests they didn’t find a single incidence of either forms of bacteria (in the same testing there was 1 instance of salmonella in dry cat food).

Opponents of the raw dog food diet point to these studies and the danger that these common forms of bacteria pose to dogs and recommend people stay away from raw food for dogs. Proponents of the diet however think that its nutritional value far outweighs the possible dangers of the raw ingredients—which are mitigated when the owners treat the raw ingredients with adequate care.

Raw Dog Food: How to Eliminate Food-Borne Illnesses and Bacteria

If you are one of the many people who simply can’t overlook the nutritional benefits of raw dog food (and the benefits are huge), then be sure to follow these tips below to ensure the food’s safety:

Be careful not to infect yourself as you make the dog food, which can happen if you accidentally ingest it or contaminate a surface, object or clothing in your home with the bacteria. Also, wash your hands thoroughly after handling food, for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Clean your dog’s bowl between each use, with hot water and soap. Use a safe disinfectant after washing for optimal results.

Buy your food’s ingredients from reputable stores.

Wash and disinfect your ingredients prior to use and then ensure they don’t come in contact with other ingredients that haven’t yet been disinfected.

Use a natural disinfectant for surfaces and ingredient cleaning, by mixing a solution of vinegar (which kills 80% of germs) and hydrogen peroxide.

Keep all your meat ingredients frozen until immediately before use—and then thaw them in your sink or microwave (not your counter).

If your pet doesn’t eat the entire serving, refrigerate and cover the remaining food and ensure it is eaten with the next food serving.

Follow the above tips and you’ll keep levels of dangerous bacteria down, while encouraging proper nutrition for your dog.

As a final note: support your healthy raw dog food diet with equally-nutritious snacks, like our Greenbark Gummies—which are filled with nutritious ingredients like fish, chia seeds and other all-natural ingredients.

Dog Treats: Which Ones are Nutritious AND Delicious!

Dog treats are readily available in your corner store, major pet store, boutique pet shop and/or via online retailers. You can literally buy them anywhere. But—where should you buy them—and which ones should you purchase?

Unfortunately million-dollar marketing and branding campaigns, and fancy packaging hide the real facts about dog treats…

Readily-Available, On-the-Market Treats
Many treats available at retail stores and pet food stores are the McNuggets of the dog treats world. This means they’re delicious, but not nutritious (actually—they offer negative nutrition). For example, raw hide treats have high incidences of bacteria and wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive tracts, dry dog biscuits (you know—the ones that are shaped into bone-looking patterns) are just wheat, sugar and preservatives—and jerky treats have high incidences of poor ingredients and contaminated ingredients.

So—Which Dog Treats are Nutritious AND Delicious?
The simple answer is that small, boutique treats are the most nutritious and delicious options available on the market. And on top of that pile of treats is Greenbark Gummies. We use carefully-selected ingredients that are high-value nutrition for your dog. Our top-quality nutrition comes from using the following high-value food ingredients:

  • NutriChia—our own blend of high-quality Chia seeds that packs a huge nutritional punch.
  • Omega-rich fish and fish oils
  • Nutrient-rich peas
  • Kelp
  • Natural flavourings, including: rosemary, ginger, and garlic
  • Green tea extract
  • Alfalfa
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • Chlorophyll
  • And more…

All of our treats are specially formulated for your dog’s specific health. This factor is important when you consider that companies put hundreds of millions of dollars into specific dog food formulations—while still entirely bypassing the dog treats market. Our special formulations include: a skin & coat formula, a blend for healthy digestion and a formula for dogs suffering from hip & joint issues.

The Nutritious AND Delicious Dog Treats

Greenbark Gummies are both nutritious and delicious—just ask your furry friend. Our treats are scarfed down quickly, but they still provide nutritional support for hours. For more information on our dog treats, check out our tab above for our proprietary Chia seed formulation and/or our product listings.

Best Dog Food: Homemade Dog Food vs Store Bought

The best dog food for your furry friend has become a major debate in the last few years, with dog owners torn between homemade dog food vs store-bought varieties. So—which IS better?

The Best Dog Food: Homemade vs Store-Bought—the Showdown
Making rash generalizations about whether homemade dog food or store-bought dog food is a mistake. There are poor homemade dog food recipes that aren’t nutritionally-complete, and there are store-bought brands that offer the high-quality, meat-based ingredients that your dog needs. Then there is everything in between.

When comparing homemade vs store-bought dog food you should be considering the following:

1. Humidity/Moisture

You wouldn’t be a fan of chowing down on dry food (think cereal without milk) for every meal…and neither is your dog. A higher moisture and humidity content is desirable for Fido, so look for store-bought varieties with the highest moisture content. Homemade food however, naturally has more moisture, as it doesn’t have to be stored for months or years as it can be refrigerated or frozen.

2. Variety

Just as you wouldn’t like dry corn flakes for every one of your meals, you also wouldn’t enjoy eating the same thing every meal, every day of the week. Variety is truly the spice of life, so whether you opt for store-bought or homemade dog food—shake things up. Buy a few different foods or ingredients and mix them up regularly to avoid kibble boredom.

3. Nutrition

Nutrition is the most important decision when deciding which type of food to serve to your dog. The best dog food nutrition that pet stores sell can often be sorted by price—but look at the ingredients before you buy. Price isn’t the only measure of quality. When buying store-bought food you need to look for real meat sources (not ‘bone’ or ‘meal’) to be in the top 3 ingredients. The higher on the ingredients list it is, the better. When making your own dog food you can opt for the best ingredients and can include as much meat as you’d like or can afford in your budget (keeping in mind your dog desperately needs vitamins and minerals only available in high-quality veggies).

4. Cost

Buying top-shelf dog food can be expensive, but buying top-shelf ingredients and cooking them can cost as much—or more. Preparing your budget for the type of dog food you decide on (homemade or store-bought) isn’t difficult though. If you can’t find an affordable store-bought brand with the high-quality, meat-based (and grain-reduced or grain-free) ingredients, then opt for homemade. By leveraging frozen fruit and veggie sales, and buying bulk whole grains you can reduce your overall costs for homemade food. To reduce your meat costs have a talk with your grocery store’s butcher (if you go on off-peak hours they’ll kindly oblige a short conversation) about the best-quality meat you can buy on a budget for your dog. You’ll be amazed at the variety, quality and price they can come up with!

While you’re considering smart choices for the best dog food—don’t forget treats. A dog’s nutrition can be entirely thrown off by high-calorie, high-gluten snacks. So, instead—consider supplementing your dog’s healthy diet with a treat like our chia-filled snacks Greenbark Gummies.