Monday, September 9, 2013

Free Pickin's with Op Barks!

Stop by for some wine, cheese, chocolate and PICKIN' ON LEIGH! **

Ok, ok, you can't actually pick on her, but you CAN pick her brain!

Leigh Siegfried, Certified Pet Dog Trainer and owner of Opportunity Barks will be at BONeJOUR 
talking dogs - bring your questions and bring your pooches. From house training to jumping on guests- barking and lunging on leash to separation anxiety, no question is off limits!

This is our second "Yappy Hour" with Leigh, and the first one was super fun. It's super informal - just stop by on your evening walk, feel free to bring your pup, and hang out with us for a little bit - please don't make us eat all the cheese and chocolate, and drink all the wine ourselves. Leigh knows everything about dogs. Seriously, bring your dog questions and she will help you out.

You can even win our MYSTERY prize raffle just for asking a question, so come prepared!!

See you next Tuesday!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Verus gets a makeover! (Probiotics rant below... be warned!)

Some of you may have noticed the stickers on the ingredient panel of Verus dry cat food, and if you haven't, you should check it out! Basically, they added more chicken, egg, and probiotics, and eliminated potato and corn gluten meal (yay!). If your cat turns her nose up at it, wait her out. She'll come around. Don't be surprised if you see a day or two of tummy upset as well - nothing to be concerned about. It should pass in a week at most.

As far as the canine formulas, they are also getting some upgrades, and this is big. All the dog formulas now include therapeutic levels of a freeze-dried live probiotic. If you've talked with me about probiotics, you know that I think they are probably THE most beneficial supplement to support all-over health - for dogs, cats, and people. Verus adds their freeze-dried probiotics to the kibble AFTER cooking, which means that rather than being killed by the high-temperature processing, 90% of the probiotics are effective when it hits your dog's bowl.

Probiotics are getting a lot of attention in human medicine lately - I recently read an article about a new project that's trying to map the "typical" adult human probiotic population. Probiotics (beneficial bacteria living in our body) interact in/with our bodies in so many positive ways, ways we are just beginning to understand. We've become so used to doctors and vets prescribing antibiotics for every little thing, but we haven't thought much about the effects of our good bacteria getting killed along with the bad stuff. Some researchers are saying that many of the "modern" health issues (autism, heart disease, allergies, etc) may be caused by lack of the beneficial bacteria that humans have relied on for centuries. It's really interesting - try googling it!

Anyway, apply this to pets - common pet ailments such as allergies, cancers, diabetes, urinary issues and digestive issues show up more now than they ever have before. It's possible (probable?) that the lack of good bacteria contributes to these as well. When we think of probiotics, we think of yogurt commercials and gut health, but it's actually a whole body supplement that has benefits in almost every system.

Ok, enough about the miracles of probiotics. Just trust me - it's something your pets need. If you're not supplementing it, maybe you should think about it, or just switch to Verus!

(By the way, most premium pet foods contain probiotics. The problem is that after the kibble-making process, they are rendered almost useless. Unless they're added later, it's not likely that your dog or cat is getting too much out of them.)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Urine Trouble

Urinary problems in our dogs and cats are so common, and sometimes can be tough to deal with. Both males and females of both species can get urinary tract infections, crystals, and stones. Some animals seem to be genetically prone to chronic infections, and owners will need to learn to monitor and prevent reoccurence as much as possible. My own dog, Auggie, is one of those animals, and I am now able to help keep his urinary tract healthy without constant vet visits - holistically. I know pet UTIs are common among my customers, so I wanted to share some of the info I've learned about prevention.

How do I know if my dog or cat is having urine trouble?

  • urinates more often than normal, often in small amounts
  • urinates places they don't normally (indoors for dogs, outside the litterbox for cats)
  • blood in urine
  • strains to urinate (We call this "the long pee")

This sounds like my pet! What do I do? 

Urinary problems can sometimes be serious emergencies that threaten a pet's life. They also get worse with time. Don't procrastinate - see a vet!
  • If this is the first time your pet shows these symptoms, TAKE THEM TO THE VET! Your vet can do a sterile urine culture to check for bacteria, crystals, and/or stones, a pH test to determine if your pet's urine is too acidic or alkaline, and check whether the urine is too concentrated or dilute.
  • If an infection is present, the vet will prescribe antibiotics. It's important to start your pet on antibiotics ASAP to prevent formation of scar tissue, making your pet more at-risk for reoccuring infections.
  • The vet may also recommend a prescription food (such as Hills C/D).

What if my pet gets another infection? How can I prevent them in the long-term?

Sometimes we think we've "cured" our pet's urine trouble, but then it comes back! Reoccuring urinary issues are very common in pets. There are a lot of reasons for reoccurence, and they can differ for each pet. 

Medication and prescription diets can serve as a "band-aid" in treating chronic/reoccuring health issues. When used long-term, they can actually create problems of their own! For example, the first 5 ingredients in Hills C/D are corn, pork fat, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, corn gluten meal. Junk food! It does have lower levels of the minerals that can cause crystals/stones, but when you look at the problems that come from long-term feeding of low-quality, cheap ingredients like these, it's pretty much cancelled out. Prescription diets are by no means the only way to deal with chronic/reoccuring urinary issues. You can prevent them holistically, using high-quality diets and supplements, which are much safer & healthier in the long-term.

(The following suggestions are PREVENTION tips. If your pet already has an infection, they should see a vet. The following suggestions will not cure an existing infection, but will prevent subsequent infections from occurring.)
  • Focus on the specific reasons your pet is having trouble. Your vet should go over the results of the urine tests with you - find out the pH of the urine, whether crystals (struvite or oxalate), bacteria/infection, or anything else was present. You can also use pH strips at home to check whether the urine is chronically too acidic (low pH) or alkaline (high pH). Normal pH should be slightly acidic, around 6.0-6.5. Pets with alkaline urine are more prone to infections (which can cause struvite crystals), while pets with very acidic urine are more prone to oxalate crystals. Alkaline urine and struvite crystals are the most common type, and respond best to holistic prevention methods, so we will focus on them here.
  • Dilute the urine. Even if a pet's pH is high or low, when urine is diluted crystals are less likely to form. People often tell me, "but he drinks a lot of water..." and my answer is - not enough! Add water to their diet in any way you can. Mix water or broth in with their food, feed canned food, give dogs frozen broth "popsicles", make sure water is always clean, fresh and available. Some people even add a pinch of salt to their diet to make them thirsty! (Use natural sea salt rather than table salt.) 
  • Acidify the urine. Supplement with cranberry extract (for pets with normal pH or alkaline urine). Cranberry prevents bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall and causing infection. Apple cider vinegar, methionine, and meat products also acidify the urine. (Citrus, veggies, and dairy make it more alkaline!) Feeding a grain-free, primarily meat diet is recommended. Working with your vet or using pH strips are important here - you want to bring pH to 6.0-6.5, no lower!
  • Boost your pet's immune system. This is where a high-quality diet is so important. Adding anti-oxidants like vitamin C and E, as well as echinacea, supports healthy immune function. Probiotics are also recommended (especially after taking antibiotics) to help restore the good bacteria.
  • Prevent exposure to bacteria. Bacteria can travel into the urinary tract from the outside. Keep the area around the genitals cut short and clean. Use crystal litter and clean the cat's litterbox often. Overweight pets often squat lower when urinating, which exposes them to bacteria, so keep your pet's weight in check.

What products do you recommend for my pet?

  • Solid Gold Berry Balance (dogs and cats) - Cranberry, blueberry, and vitamin C as a powder that can be sprinkled on/mixed into food.
  • Pet Naturals Feline UT Support soft chews - Cranberry, plus enzymes/vitamins to support the lining of the urinary tract in an easy to give cat treat.
  • Pet Naturals Daily Digest soft chews - Probiotics treats for dogs and cats.
  • High quality meat-based foods - Merrick/Purrfect Bistro Grain-free formulas, Orijen, Acana are a few options. Consider adding canned food, or freeze-dried raw formulas to kibble to increase water consumption. (If you need help finding a high-quality food with specific levels of protein, fat, carbs, or phosphorus, please ask. We can help!)
  • Dr. Elsey's Senior Litter - Crystal litter that absorbs urine on contact and traps it inside the crystals to keep the cat's genital area clean and prevent infections. It's also white so you can see blood in the urine and act quickly to treat your cat before the problem becomes acute.
(Note on oxalate crystals: Unfortunately, unlike struvite crystals, oxalate crystals are more difficult to treat with diet and pH adjustments. If your pet has acidic urine and/or oxalate crystals/stones, do not use cranberry or other acidifying supplements. You should, however, work on diluting their urine and boosting their immune system with neutral supplements such as echinacea.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Keep Calm and Use Pet Naturals!

My dog, Ramona, has a love-hate relationship with summertime. She loves being outside all the time, going to the lake, the beach, and hiking in the woods. But she HATES thunderstorms, fireworks, parades, car rides, baths, and lots of other summery things. Pet Naturals Calming Soft Chews are getting a lot of use in our household this time of year. I think if it wasn't for these supplements and her Thundershirt, she would spend the entire summer shaking, panting and drooling, poor girl!

 If you're considering asking your vet for tranquilizers to get through the season, you should give these a shot. They help alleviate stress-related behavior without affecting your pet's personality or energy level - UNLIKE tranquilizers. They make a big difference for both Ramona and my little yapper, Auggie. His anxiety manifests in barking and general reactivity, so when something in his environment is making him uncomfortable, he makes sure everyone hears about it! He used to drive me nuts in the car, losing his mind anytime he saw another dog out the window. I wouldn't say he is a perfect passenger yet, but we are working on it, and Pet Naturals Calming seems to takes the edge off so he can focus on our training.

Pet Naturals make a few calming formulas for cats and dogs (small/medium, large, and XL) and they're all easy-to-feed chicken liver soft treats. They contain the Colostrum Calming Complex, L-Theanine, B Vitamins, and Lecithin which all work together to keep your dog or cat stress-free. (More detailed info about the all-natural ingredients and how they work here.) If your dog or cat has a hard time with all the summer fun, try them out!

HUGE Natura Recall - Dog and Cat food and treats

Well surprise, surprise, there's yet another Natura recall, and this one is BIG. I can't help but post about it, even though we no longer carry any Natura products (thank goodness!). I feel really justified in my decision to discontinue Evo, Innova, and California Natural back when Natura was bought by Procter and Gamble - if you haven't made the switch yet, it might be time to give it another thought. If you feed your dog or cat Evo, Innova, or California Natural and are sick of the drops in quality and recalls, stop by or shoot me an email - I'd be happy to help you find a comparable premium food made by an upstanding company that actually cares about our pets.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Old City Pet Owner's Guide - Philadelphia

We consider ourselves the go-to spot for Old City pet owners - we try hard to keep up on neighborhood pet "gossip", and we always want to help our neighbors out however we can. We prepared a hand-out for newcomers to our neighborhood, and thought we'd post it up here too. Do you have something we should add/change? Please let us know!

Welcome to Old City!
Old City is one of the most pet-friendly neighborhoods in Philadelphia. BONeJOUR has been Old City’s Original Pet Boutique since 2002, and we want to welcome you and your fur-family to our ‘hood.

Dog-friendly shops/restaurants:
  • Most of the independent boutiques on 2nd, 3rd, and Market St allow leashed, well-behaved dogs. Some of them even have dogs that “work” there!
  • Although none of the neighborhood restaurants allow dogs indoors, most allow dogs at their outside seating areas -Cafe Ole (147 N 3rd), Wedge & Fig (160 N 3rd St) and Franklin Fountain (116 Market St) are just a few of our favorites.
  • PNC Bank (400 Market St) allows leashed, well-behaved dogs.

Neighborhood Pet Professionals

Neighborhood Parks & Dog Parks
  • Although many Old City neighbors let their dogs play off-leash at the parks below, please be aware that Old City is a high-traffic urban area and can be dangerous. Also, please know that Park Rangers occasionally write $75+ tickets for having dogs off-leash.
  • Christ Church Park (2nd and Church)
  • Wood St Park (Wood St from 2nd to 5th St)
  • Independence Park (4th and Arch)
  • Irish Memorial Dog Park (Front and Chestnut) - large grass/mulch fenced in area
  • Orianna Hill Dog Park (900 N Orianna St, NoLibs - members only)

Good to Know
  • Scoop the Poop Campaign provides poop bags & trash cans all over the neighborhood - Please be a good neighbor and pick up after your dog!
  • PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society - 2nd and Arch) is a local no-kill shelter. They do great work for homeless dogs and cats in Philly, and always need volunteers!

BONeJOUR Services
  • Free Holistic Food Consultations
  • Free Special Orders (food and other supplies - if you don’t see it, just ask! We can usually get it.)
  • Deliveries
  • Bathing Services (including nail trims, etc) & DIY Dog Wash

We would love to help you and your fur family get settled in Old City!  If you have any questions please feel free to ask. We’re so glad you’re our new neighbors!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ultra Oil - the best Omega Supplement

If you keep up with my blog, you know that dogs and cats really need an Omega supplement. Even the best kibble probably doesn't have the levels of Omega Fatty Acids your pet needs, and the high-heat kibble-making process of extrusion usually renders these oils unavailable to our pets' digestive systems. Most people know Omegas are important for a healthy skin & coat, but they also do a lot for the Immune System at the same time. In other words - make sure your pet is getting them!

We've carried Salmon Oil for a long time, and it is a wonderful source of Omegas, but the main complaint I've always had with it is it kind of stinks - it is fish, after all! This doesn't bother the dogs & cats (yum!) but it bothers me when they try to give me fishy salmon kisses after dinner. I know, I know, this is a superficial reason not to give it, so I have used it for years, but I've always kind of kept my eyes open for something better.

So when we found Ultra Oil, we were really excited - it's a mix of Hempseed, Flaxseed, Grapeseed, and Fish Oil and it doesn't stink! It provides Omegas 3, 6, and 9 in the perfect proportions, and is non-GMO. It's great stuff!

So the next time you come by to replenish your salmon oil supply, consider replacing it with Ultra Oil - it's just as great (if not better than) plain Salmon Oil, and it makes the post-dinner doggy and kitty kisses much more pleasant.