Is It True That Dogs Can Smell Cancer?

It is common knowledge that dogs have a particularly strong sense of smell. They can smell scents that the human nose is unable to pick up. It’s the reason that police use dogs when searching suspects for narcotics. And it’s the reason that enforcement teams take bomb-sniffing dogs out when investigating a dangerous area. And many leading researchers are hoping to put the animal’s innate sense of smell to use in medical care. Within this blog, we’ll look at whether dogs truly can smell cancer within people.

Studies Show Dogs Can Succeed in Sniffing Out Cancer

Research, including a new study by the experts at the Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan, has shown that dogs can sniff out cancer cells with exceptional accuracy in humans. The Humanitas Research Hospital study comprised of two German shepherds attempting to identify prostate cancer cells within urine samples from scent alone. During the study, one of the dogs showed an ability to correctly identify cancer cells with 100% accuracy. This figure is far higher than the average detection success rates with other scientific testing methods. The study is an example of the latest research showing dogs have a profound ability to recognize cancer cells.

There is still debate on how the animals detect cancer cells within human samples. However, the general consensus is that dogs have advanced olfactory senses which allow them to identify VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) associated with certain kinds of cancer.

How the Data is Being Used to Save Lives

The latest studies now show that dogs can potentially detect the presence of cancer cells in the human body. These studies show that we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of uncovering the value that dogs can bring to our lives.

They will require comprehensive training to hone their innate sense of smell. But with practice and with the further integration of dogs within medical analysis processes across the country, they could play a high value role in saving the lives of those with cancer. To discover more on this evolving subject, speak with one of our team members today!

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.

Are Dogs Really Colorblind?

It’s the age-old question we ask when thinking about our dogs and their experience of life. Are dogs colorblind? The question has now been answered by specialists and the answer provides important insights into dog behavior and their reaction to lighting conditions. Read on as we discover the truth about how dogs see the world.

The Truth is Dogs CAN See Color

Despite past theories that dogs can only see in black and white, they can actually see in certain degrees of color. The major difference between a human’s eyes and a dog’s eyes is the number of color-detecting cells (otherwise known as cones) within their eyes. Humans have three cones within each eye, which helps us differentiate between colors and shades. However, dogs only have two cones within each eye. This means their visible wavelength light spectrum is minimized.

What Do Dogs See?

Recent experiments have shown that a dog’s perception of their environment is similar to that of red-green color-blind people. Like those with red-green color blindness, dogs perceive color differently than humans with full color vision. This means that what most people see as red will appear as dark brown to the dog. And the colors green and orange each look yellow to varying degrees. An object that appears blue to humans while take a gray appearance when viewed through the lens of a dog’s eye.

Number of Light Receptors Higher in Dogs than Humans

However, while the amount of cones and the depth of color perception are limited in dogs, they do have superior light and motion detection capabilities. That’s because dogs have a higher ratio of photoreceptors (also called rods) to cones within their eyes than humans. This high concentration of rods allows dogs to see better in environments with limited light. Dogs also have a reflective membrane behind their retina, known as a tapetum, which reflects the light not captured by the rods and cones directly back into the dog’s retina. This enhanced light perception also allows dogs to quickly detect motion and empowers their greater nocturnal hunting abilities.

While dogs might be limited in their ability to see color, their lack of perception is more than balanced by their abilities to detect light and motion. Take this information into consideration the next time you enjoy playtime with your pup! To learn more on color perception in dogs, contact our team today!

Dog Games to Increase Mental Acuity

You give proudly offer your dog a healthy and nutritious diet, ensure they have a long walk every day (well—a long walk almost every day, because none of us are perfect) for ample exercise—but what about their mental health from dog games?

We feed our dogs healthy diets for proper nutrition, and we give them exercise for physical health—but this isn’t enough. Consider this—even if you ate broccoli all day while running on a treadmill, you still wouldn’t be ‘fulfilled’ at the end of the day. You’d be tired—and full of fibre, but not fulfilled.

Your furry friend needs fulfillment too. They need mental exercise to accompany the physical, to stimulate their brain and offer them a break from the boredom of sitting around the house for 23+ hours a day. But, they don’t only need to break the boredom, they also need mental stimulation and exercise to stave off deteriorating health as they age, while increasing their overall mental acuity. Dogs who are regularly stimulated through dog games—on a regular basis—are also happier and have lower stress levels (yes—dogs do experience stress, just look at the quiver of chihuahuas for proof).

Dog Games and Exercises to Increase Mental Acuity

1. Hide the Treat

Use our delicious Greenbark Gummies treats for nose-stimulation games by hiding them around the house or your yard. When you begin this exercise the dog will likely need some direction to the general area they are hidden within, but as their acuity and nose become more finely-tuned they will be able to find the treats on their own without guidance.

2. Obstacle Course

If you have a big enough yard, setup an obstacle course in your backyard that will offer your dog physical exercise accompanied with mental stimulation. This combination of stimulation will encourage your dog to be ‘on the ball’, over the long-term. Obstacles can include tunnels, ramps, jumps—and can include elements like treat-finding, fetching and tricks. Vary the activities over time as your dog will become accustomed to the course.

3. Clicker Training

Using a ‘clicker’ can help you train your dog to perform certain behaviours and tricks on command. While this seems demeaning to some, know that this activity fulfills your dog’s deep-rooted desire to please you. It will also encourage them to learn the new activities they need to remain smart as a whip.

4. Classes

If the idea of sitting around with your dog teaching your old dog new tricks, or setting up an obstacle course doesn’t sound thrilling to you, then consider joining a doggy class. Some cities have dog obstacle courses available locally, while other will offer group doggy classes. These activities provide a social element to the stimulation they need. This means they will be social, activate their nose—all the while being physical and learning new behaviours.

For more dog games, doggy tricks and tips—bookmark our blog! We’re releasing new blog every week on ways to improve your dog’s diet and overall health!

Dog Behavior – 6 Tips to Understand their Often Misunderstood Social Cues

Though we can’t have a long winded, engaging conversation with man’s best friend at a restaurant, it doesn’t mean that we can’t effectively communicate with our dogs: They can sit when we ask them to, they can ask for something by whimpering and giving us their paw, and they can easily read our emotions and act accordingly.

Dog Behaviour – 6 Tips to Understand their Often Misunderstood Social Cues

We’ve compiled a list that details six tips that can help us further comprehend some of their harder to understand social cues. We all continue to learn from these beautiful creatures every day, and though our iPhones can’t translate what each bark means, these tips can certainly help us understand our dogs a little more.

Barking – Similar to other forms of communication, each bark can be interpreted to have a different meaning, which is signified by their tone and pitch. A high-pitched bark can be translated as a vocalization of excitement and a way to express their happiness, while a low-pitched bark has an overtly aggressive tone that can be interpreted as a threat. Their main form of communication, our fuzzy friends also bark to vie for our attention, and to engage other dogs that may even be barking from many blocks down the road, due to their superb hearing ability.

Whining – Very similar to when we “whine”, dogs do this when they are frustrated – it’s their way of blowing off steam!

Howling – Think of it as a distress signal – it’s their way of trying to locate you another dog. When one dog howls, others will usually join in.

Whimpering – Even though they also use this tactic to get their way (we’ve all seen it when we won’t give them a treat and they try to give us those puppy-dog eyes!), whimpering typically occurs when our dogs are anxious or hurt.

Grunting – Muttering in a low tone is typically a way that our furry friends greet other dogs, or even humans. It can also be interpreted as a way for them to get your attention when they want something, whether it’s a treat, your affection, or even a nice walk outdoors.

Growling – This is their most aggressive vocalization to communicate that they want you (or others) to keep their distance. It can be heard when other dogs (or sometimes people) are near their food. Just be sure to tread with caution when you hear their warning!

We hope that these tips were informative enough for you to further understand your dog’s social cues. If you want to spoil them with a healthy treat that’s delicious, nutritious, and non-GMO, let them try some Green Bark Gummies! You can learn more about these healthy treats at greenbarkgummies.com!

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.

Pet Stores: The Pet Treat They’re MISSING!

Pet stores stack their aisles with hundreds of dog treats, each with its own flavour and ingredients, pressed into fun dog-friendly shapes and patterns. But—there is a dog treat that many pet stores (especially the largest chains) don’t stock, that is free of filler ingredients. And, dogs prefer its natural ingredients to the wheat-filled alternatives that give them on-going stomach pain and digestion problems.

The Chia-Filled, Vitamin-Packed Treat Pet Stores Don’t Sell Enough Of…
Here at Greenbark Gummies we grow all-natural, vitamin-packed, nutrient-rich treats that are more delicious than the fake bacon-flavoured, wheat-filled (if you doubt this—check the labels of the most common dog treats). Our dog treats are easier for your dog’s intestinal track and gut to process—and absorb—which means that the naturally-sourced vitamins they’re packed with go into your dog’s system.

Our dog treats are packed with the following high-quality ingredients:

1. Our Proprietary NutriCHIA™

Chia seeds are an ancient superfood from the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. We leverage the power of these seeds by using our proprietary sprouted-growth chia, NutriCHIA™, to ensure high-quality chia each and every time. Our chia is chocked full of things like all three omega-3 fatty acids (ALA, DHA and EPA), high-quality proteins and lipids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and fibre. And this is all from a natural, plant-based source. These vitamins and nutrients replace the empty fillers in other food and treats, while supporting digestion, detoxification from human food, joint functions, bone density (important to keep your dog healthy as they age) and for their muscular health.

2. Alaskan Pollock

This wild, Pacific-bred fish is a natural protein source that adds additional omega 3’s to your pets diet, in addition to the protein it offers.

3. Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a plant rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc,…AND in Vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D, E and K.

4. Kelp

While seaweed might not sound appetizing it is rich in iodine, which your dog needs for proper thyroid functioning and cellular functioning. Iodine is rarely found in dog food or treats, making it a critical element.

5. Green Tea

Did you know that green tea is as beneficial for dogs as it is for your own well being? The anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties are especially beneficial for older dogs and/or dogs who are overweight.

6. Chlorophyll

This algae-based green food offers the healthiest benefits of green veggies, in powerfully-small punch. As an added bonus it gives your dog fresh, minty breath.

For the healthiest snacks on the market that many pet stores don’t sell, and to make a smart health decision for your best furry friend—pick up Greenbark Gummies treats. They’re conveniently available in the area your dog needs help with the most, whether it be skin & coat, digestion or hip & joint support. 

Dog Beds: How to Make a Top-Notch Dog Bed

DIY dog beds are a phenomenal way to get a swanky and comfy new bed for your dog, without breaking the bank. It is also the best way to get a pad for your pooch that matches your interior design.

If you’re thinking that DIY dog beds is a great concept but would be difficult to execute—think again! The truth is, anybody with a slightly crafty eye, scissors, a sewing kit and a little time can do it. The process is as easy as…

DIY Dog Beds: A How-To
We said this was easy, and it is because this set of DIY instructions is super-simplified, and offers a step-by-step process…

Step 1: Stuffing
Depending on how truly craft—and messy—you want to get, your first step is to decide on the filling you want to use. Your options are cotton batting, existing pillows, micro beads, feathers and/or memory foam. Some fillers are cheaper than others, some comfier—and some messier to work with. We highly recommend using existing pillows as it cuts down on the difficulty of these DIY dog beds considerably. When opting for pillows you can select ones with the filler of your choice, if you don’t have any laying around.

 

Step 2: Filler Encasing
If you didn’t opt for pillows then you will need to sew an encasing for your filling. If you went with pillows then this step is already done for you.

Step 3: Cover
The next step is to create the cover. For this, you need to measure the diameter and width of your pillows/encased stuffing—then add at least 8 inches of additional fabric to the edges, for (errors in) cutting and sewing. Once you know how wide a swath of fabric you need to cover your pillows you can head to the fabric store and pick out a pattern to matches your decor perfectly.

Step 4: Sewing
Now that you have the pillows and the fabric you need, the next step is to sew it in a two-side-pocket, envelope pattern that has an opening in the middle to insert the pillows or stuffing. You do this by pinning the edges and then sewing them with a sewing machine or by hand. Note, that where the fabric meets in the middle you’ll need an overlap in fabric, by at least 5 inches, to provide the extra space to insert the pillow, and to keep it in place. Using this envelope pattern will give you the ability to wash the cover and the pillow separately—and without adding a difficult sewing task like a zipper (which isn’t comfy for your pooch anyways!).

Step 5: Finish
All that is left to do now is insert the pillow, and add any decorative embellishments. To give your dog bed an entirely different look you can add decorative elements, like putting it in a decorative (and stationary!) low-to-the-floor wagon, a decorative drawer  or old-school suitcase to place the pillow in, a fancy basket or on a spruced-up fruit crate or skid (a coat of dark stain on a discarded crate or skid looks gorgeous).

For more pet-friendly advice for your pooch, including must-have food ingredients, new doggy accessories and other dog-owner information—follow our blog. And, of course, for the healthiest, chia-filled dog treats that your dog will spin in circles for—pick up a package of our Greenbark Gummies.

Dog House Ideas: DIY Dog Houses

When it comes to dog house ideas—DIY dog houses ideas abound. From cathedrals for Cocker Spaniels to castles for Chihuahuas, there is an abode for every dog. The great news is that these abodes can be created for little dough, if you’ve got a little elbow grease to spare.

To help you with your DIY dog house ideas and inspiration, we’ve come up with a number of helpful hints…


Dog House Ideas: Inspiration for your DIY Dog Houses

1. Furniture-Based

By leveraging a piece of old furniture you no longer need you can create a DIY dog house. Use an no-longer-needed furniture, like a set of drawers, to create a super-modern dog house that your neighbour’s dogs will be envious of.

2. Log Home

A traditional log home-style abode is a classic Canadiana approach to a dog house, and it can be achieved rather modestly with some rough-edged logs.

3. Insulated Dog House

This DIY favourite might not be the most stylish—or the easiest—but your pooch will be appreciative if you insulate your dog house for those cold winter months.

4. Under-the-Deck Dog House

If you have an overhanging deck then you already have the architecture in place for an under-the-deck DIY dog house. Simply add some walls and a comfy floor to create a spacious home for your pup. These houses can be easily embellished, immediately—or over time, to create a lovely home-away-from-home for your dog.

5. A Double Decker

If you’ve got an on-the-lookout dog who is constantly on guard protecting your yard from evil then a double-decker home might be just the ticket. These homes provide a sleeping area on the bottom level, and then an additional resting area up top—and/or a great lookout area for them to wage war on the neighbourhood squirrels.

6. Portable

Our Great Canadian North weather is temperamental at best. If your dog loves his or her dog house, despite inhospitable weather, then consider a portable model that you can bring inside during super-cold weather. If your dog is crated when you leave the house, then a dog crate/dog house double may be just the ticket for the ultimate in pet comfort.

If these DIY dog houses ideas sparked your creativity—then continue your creative vibe by checking out our post on DIY dog beds (which could conveniently fit in your new dog house!), or skip on over to our nutrition tips to keep your furry friend healthy.