National Pet Dental Health Month- Our Favorites!

Dental

We are in the last week of National Pet Dental Health Month.

To celebrate we have put together a list of some of our favorite Doggie Dental products (from toys to chews and more).

Also there have been some really terrific posts during this month- you can find a roundup of our favorites below!

  1. Toys that clean? Yes please! We love dental chew toys which pack a double whammy of entertainment & health. The rubber and gently rounded dental nubs that help clean teeth plus control plaque & tartar build-up. Nylabone has a great selection 
  2. There are lots of treats out there that also help combat tartar control, plaque and bad breath, but the C.E.T chews are a top pic (and extra plus they are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
  3. One of the simplest year round products are water additives. We like HeatlthMouth’s products which are free of all synthetic or artificial and made with 10 natural antioxidants, vitamins, and natural flavorings. They have also conducted clinical trials with impressive results!
  4. For a more hands on approach we use Oral Care Gel. We like the all natural PetzLife Pepermint Gel (believe us you’ll want the big bottle)

And check out these great posts:

Wags Ahoy, DIY Doggy Dental Care

Sugar the Golden Retriever, Brushing Up on Dental Health- Guest post by Dr. Jules Benson

Ottowa Valley Dog Whisperer, Dental Care for Dogs and Cats – Natural, Herbal DIY Remedies, Treatments

To groom, not to groom, and to over groom

Over grooming

When is it grooming… and when is it just too much?

The other day I was walking in NYC (more like freezing in NYC). It’s always a sight to see people walking their dogs when the temperatures drop below freezing. You can see the reluctant walkers being dragged by their parents, the thick coated dogs jumping in the snow and slush, and then I did a massive double take. Was it just me or did I see a poodle with a green Mohawk.

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve been some.. well let’s call it “creative grooming” (who can forget leaving Ms. Soufie with friends only to come home and find they decided to ‘punk her out’):

souf2

And yes it was adorable, but it made me think. Is it ok? Is it too much? Some are staunch against using dyes on dogs citing health risks from the toxins and even potential psychological ramifications.

And we are not even getting into the whole aspect of dog shows- and grooming contest.

Personally we prefer a natural look and we think it’s best of the health of the dog. But check out some of the scary, crazy and more pictures below and tell us what you think?

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Dog Food Made in the USA

MADEIN THEU.S.A

Here at Hachiko we love local, independent and small batch producers. It’s about living greener, supporting our communities and making sure our pets get the same love and care we put into our food.

There are a few companies out there that have amazing products- and just in case you are not yet familiar with them, here are a few of our favorites USA made Dog Food companies (please tell us yours in the comments!)

  1. Small Batch– Grown and made in California, Washington and Oregon they are a small family owned business using only organic, free range and raw ingredients. They have a great line for puppies on their website
  2. Froom Family Pet Food– A 5th generation family owned business based in Wisconsin. Follow their guide to find the perfect food for your dog
  3. The Honest Kitchen– Prepared in the USA, with ingredients carefully sourced from around the world Honest Kitchen prepared FDA approved Human Grade Pet Food. The have a large line (including grain free, whole grain and base mix)
  4. Abby’s Choice– If you are in the NY and fans of a raw food diet it’s worthwhile to take a look at Abby’s Choice. The frozen meals are made weekly in small batches, and usually are made to order
  5. Munster Milling Co– A family owned company based out of Munster Texas, who aim to source their ingredients locally from farms only 20-30 miles from their plant
  6. Nulo– An Austin, TX based company which makes and distributes in small batches of domestically grown pet food and promises to always be grain free, high meat protein, Glycemacare, probiotic and without any artificial preservatives, colorings or flavoring

To get more tips on great local and small vendors follow the blog or sign up on Hachiko’s website to get stay up to date

Moving With Your Dog

Moving . With your dog

Moving. That word can send a shiver up our spine like no other. Packing everything into boxes, hauling it across town (or even worse across country). It’s exhausting just thinking about it. But you also know the silver lining. The new house, new town- and in the end it’s worth it.

You dog, however, has no idea what’s going on.

So as you are planning your move and trying to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, don’t forget to make sure to take extra precautions to make the move as simple as possible for your pet.

  • Before the move – Build a checklist of things to take care of- be sure to include:
    • A visit to the vet- If you are moving far and you are leaving your vet go in for one last visit. Use this time to:
      • Get refills on all medications
      • Get any vaccines you need
      • If you are traveling long distance it may be worth getting a sedative
      • Ask for a copy of your dog’s medical history and vaccination records
      • Also always worth checking with them if they have a recommendation for a vet in your new area
    • Visit your groomer- here again if you are moving far then it’s worth a last to your favorite groomer. This is especially useful if you are going to travel by car because clipping those nails and a little trim can help keep your car looking spiffy.
    • Build a travel plan- You may just be moving a few streets down, but if you are moving farther away make sure to think out your travel plans
      • If you are flying to your new home double check the airline requirements- you may need a health certificate or an updated vaccine record
      • If you are driving to your new home be sure to plan the trip in advance:
        • Look at dog friendly hotels, restaurants and plan plenty of pit stops
      • Update your dog’s microchip- We The night before you leave update your dog’s microchip information with your new address
      • If you are moving close it’s worth to take your dog there ahead of time to start exploring the area
  • Packing:
    • Order your packing supplies (boxes, tape, etc.) and have them arrive a few days in advance so your pooch can get used to them
    • Involve them in the process. Let them sniff the boxes and poke about so they are not surprised when everything is packed away
    • Be reassuring and give a little more attention than usual (extra treats and snuggles)
    • But also try to maintain your normal routine- normal walks, feeding schedule and no special treatment like sleeping in your bed!
    • Pack your pooches belongings (bed, toys, etc.) last

More after the jump…

Continue reading

Be Mine? Spoil your pooch this Valentines’

PuppyLove

Happy Valentine’s Day guys!

Single or attached- you are never alone if you have your dog with you. So make sure to treat them to a little something extra today.

Our favorites are:

  1. Spa day! Take your pet to the groomers for some R&R
  2. Bake them some homemade goodies- check our favorites
  3. Or buy them some delicious treats. We love the ones from Bocce’s Bakery
  4. Let them feel your loving embrace all year long with this pawsome heart shaped bed
  5. Extra quality time. Take a long hike together, or spend a few hours playing in the dog park. At the end of the day all they want nothing makes them happier than being with you.

Have a great day everyone!

Hachiko Debate: Supplements- when are they necessary and when are they a waste of money?

SUPPLEMENTS

Dog’s that are in good health and eat balances diets should not need supplements. In fact sometime supplements can also do harm- so before you decide that your dog needs them take a moment to look at the real need.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association from 2006 the most common supplements given are multivitamins, fatty acids (to improve coat shine), Probiotics (for gastrointestinal problems), supplements to support arthritic joins and antioxidants (to counter aging effects such as cognitive dysfunction).

Now it’s estimated that one third of every dog in the US receives some kind of supplement, and we are talking about a 1 Billion dollar market, that has little scientific evidence behind it. The FDA and many vets believe that pets receive a balanced diet when they are feed commercially processed dog food, while others think they are a good way to improve health.

There are a few general rules of thumb when considering  adding supplements to your dog’s diet:

You may consider adding supplements (after consulting with your vet!) if:

  • You feed your pet a homemade diet
  • You dog as particular health needs

You probably don’t need supplements if:

  • When you dog is in good health
  • If you feed them a store bought pet food diet (they usually contain the ingredients you are looking to supplements and adding more may have adverse effects)

Why is this such a big issue? Well overdoes of vitamins can be very bad. According to vets excess calcium can cause bone problems, too much Vitamin A or D can lead to vitamin toxicity with effects such as dehydration, joint pain, muscular atrophy and loss of appetite.

If, after consulting with your vet, you do decide to add supplements then here too you need to do your research and choose carefully! The National Animal Supplement Council checked joint support products on the market, and found that 25% didn’t really contain what they claimed on the label. When ConsumerLab.com tested thee probiotic supplements they only found one with enough dosage to be effective.

What to look for when looking at pet supplements:

  • Know exactly what ingredient you are looking for and check the label
  • Look for brands that have commissioned clinical studies
  • Gauge their expertise- look for brands that specialize in one area, or contact them directly to understand how the product was formulated and how long they have been in business
  • Look for certifications from third parties (such as the National Animal Supplement Council)
  • Do not give your pets human supplements. There are ingredients that are harmful to dogs!
  • Don’t fall to false promises- if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Supplements promising to alleviate cancer, parvovirus or hip dysplasia? Move along…

What do you think? Do you give your pets supplements? Why? Tell us in the comments!

Additional Reading:

Pets WebMD supplement guide

Pet MD Supplement guide

Top 10 supplements and do they work

Life with Beagle- are supplements worth it?

Our top 10: Tastiest USA Made Organic Dog Treats

Organic Dog Treats

It’s cold and it seems like it’s only going to get colder. So we are going to spend this upcoming weekend spoiling ourselves with good food and good company. And of course we provide treats for all our guests… four legged ones included! We have trouble choosing between all these delicious looking, organic and natural treats! Our top ten list:

  1. Plato organic Salmon Strips– Single source protein treats. Salmon Real Strips have NO added sugars, artificial preservatives, by-products, artificial colors, protein-meals, soy, wheat, corn, fillers, or freeze-drying. All Plato treats are made in the USA.
  2. Wet noses Peanut Butter & Molasses Treats– Rich in calcium and Vitamin B this is Wet noses’ original recipe. Contains no wheat, soy or corn. All their products are made in Washington State.
  3. Max and Ruffy’s Strawberry and Carob flavor– Made from scratch in Maryland, this treat is full of antioxidants and superfoods, with an extra dose of coconut oil for a shiner coats and healthy skin. Did we mention it’s also low fat and delicious!
  4. Meyer Country Farms Beef bites– These yummy bites are made in the USA and contain no preservatives, additives or dyes.
  5. Grandma Lucy’s Organic Blueberry Treats– Looking for dog treats baked in a bakery? Look no further. Grandma Lucy’s treats are made fresh in Irvine California and are all natural, human grade and of course 100% organic.
  6. Only natural American made twisted Bully– Made with USA sourced, free range, grass-fed cattle. They are gently cooked with only one ingredient. No chemicals or preservatives to be found!
  7. Greenies Dental Chew Dog Treats– These chews are not only delicious, but also proven to clean dog’s teeth and will fight plaque and tartar buildup while improving your dog’s breath and gum health. Sounds amazing to us! Greenies are made in Kansas City, Missouri.
  8. Sam’s Yam’s Sweet Potato Dog Chew– Looking for a veterinarian raw-hide chew? This treat should fit the bill. Made in a special drying process these human grade yam’s get extra chewy. All the yam’s are sourced from the USA and made and shipped from Wisconsin.
  9. Northwest Naturals Freeze-Dried Liver Treats– These treats are 100% freeze dried liver made in Portland Oregon, and are naturally rich in protein, vitamins A, D, C and B- complex, iron, calcium, copper and phosphorus.
  10. Evanger’s Nothing But Natural Chicken Jerky Dog Treats– Using organic fed and raised Chickens and combining them with farm fresh veggies, this is a low-calorie guilt-free and grain-free treat that should get you extra tail wags. Made in the USA.

We love finding and sharing great products, made in the USA from small and local vendors. Be sure to follow our blog or signing up on our website to get all of our latest finds!

Also check out our list of our favorite USA made Dog Food!

Which treats are your favorites?

Love is in the air… but that doesn’t mean your dog likes it

Introduce your dog to your new

There is nothing like the love between an owner and their dog. It’s a special bond that not everyone can understand and there’s nothing like it. So what happens when you find a new significant other?

Jealousy does not look good on anyone- dogs included. However when you introduce a new component into your ‘pack’ your dog is going to digest this information, and that may take time.

When it comes time to introduce your new SO and dog there are a few tricks that can make this process go smoother:

  • A dog’s home is their territory, and they can be over protective of perceived ‘threats’. Why don’t you make their first meeting be somewhere neutral
  • Try not to introduce too many changes at once. A new SO is a big enough challenge for your dog, so make sure their space remains safe and familiar
  • New relationships can sweep us off our feet, but if your new SO drastically cuts into your quality time with your pet- don’t expect them to warm up too quickly. Try and stick with your schedule as much as possible and involve your pooch. Go on an afternoon picnic, or go for a long after dinner stroll all together
  • Bribes bribes bribes. You want your dog to associate your new SO with a positive feeling, so keep a few treats by the door and have your SO give one to your dog when they come in. And then maybe give them a few more during their stay
  • If your dog starts acting out (barking, chewing, aggressive behavior) you should address it at once, do not forgive bad behavior due to the circumstances, but also try and adjust your behavior to give your dog the attention they need.
    • If your pooch is specifically acting out by destroying your SO’s belongings it may be easiest to keep them out of reach for a while
  • Give them time to bond- ask your SO to look after your pooch for a few hours. Some one on one quality time will go a long way
  • Also don’t forget that your SO can get jealous of your relationship with your pooch. Make sure you still give each one of them enough one on one time to feel special. And then take a moment to remember how lucky you are!

And in case you were wondering, this is what a jealous dog looks like. (Read: “pay attention to meeeee”)

I'll just lay here until you notice me..

Additional Reading:

7 tips to get your dog to like your boyfriend

Introduce your dog to your new partner

My dog hates my valentines

How to prevent a green pooch

Hachiko Debate: Dogs in apartments- what’s the big deal?

A friend called me the other day with a common concern- she wants to adopt a dog but has a smallish apartment with no outdoor space.  And it seems she’s having a problem with dog shelters (which apparently is not a new problem).

So let’s look into this- is it really such a terrible thing to have a dog in a small apartment (hint, no it’s not).

Putting aside the fact that there are far too many dogs looking for loving homes, let’s turn to the experts.

The main consensus seems to be that it’s not the dog itself, or the size, but rather the breed that matters. Some breeds are just more adapt to smaller spaces. This is linked to energy levels and what we’re going to call barking potential.

Dogtime has a listing of breeds that adapt well to apartment living (from big to small):

  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Boston Terrier
  • French Bulldog
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • English Bulldog
  • Basset Hound
  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • Greyhounds
  • Great Danes

This isn’t to say that other breeds won’t suffice. And each dog has their own personality and quirks. You can have the most energetic pooch in small place- just make the time to make sure they get plenty of energy.

If you are making the leap, or already have here are some top tips for cohabitation with your dog:

  • Establish a routine to minimize ‘accidents’
  • If you have behavioral issues (such as barking or chewing on furniture) get a good trainer to help
  • Hire a dog walker to give you some peace of mind
  • Place a chair or bench by a window to allow your pup to jump up and look outside
  • Create a space that’s theirs, with a comfy bed and their toys
  • And of course, if you are renting don’t forget to double check with your landlord!

Further reading:

More tips

More about breeds here and here

Dog Food Guide: The Basics

A dog’s gotta eat. But what should you feed them?

There are so many options and possibilities, and after writing about raw diets (in case you missed it check it out here) which require a lot of time and effort, we also wanted to look at other options.

Whole Dog journal has a great starting point.They recommend why starting by assessing your dog’s health. Start a list with write out health problems (such as bad breath, dental issues, itchy paws, gas, thinning coats, etc.) and health assets (clean ears, good breath, high energy etc.).

If the health assets are greater than the problems you may already be feeding your dog a great diet. If however there are more a lot of problems then it may be time to change your pooches diet.

Once you understand the dietary and health benefits you are looking for it’s time to dig into the different options out there. (Should you want to address specific problems l this is also a great time to have a conversation with your vet.)

Here are a few helpful guidelines to consider when looking at dog food options:

  • First ingredient: Look for quality sources of protein
    • Avoid any generic descriptions such as “meat”, “poultry” or “animal” and look for “turkey” “lamb” “beef” etc.
    • General rules to remember: if it says Beef dog food, it’s a minimum of 95% beef. If it says dinner then it’s 25% (Beef dinner for dogs). If it says with (Doof food with Beef) it’s 3%. And it if says flavor it’s it has minimum to no amount of beef. (more info on this can be found on Pawcurious)
  • The second ingredient after protein should be a meat source with the word meal (i.e. Turkey meal, beef meal etc.)
  • Next two ingredients should be vegetables, ideally whole grain or while fruits.

Try and avoid:

  • Anything containing corn, cornmeal or soy.
  • Ideally avoid wheat and look for barley, rolled oats millet quinoa or brown rice
  • Anything with by products (especially when the source is not specified)
  • Anything with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners. Namely avoid: BHT, BHA ethoxyquin and propyl gallate. (In stead look for foods preserved with Vitamin E or C)
  • Avoid labels with “splitting”- in these cases the main ingredient such as rice may be spilt into white rice, brown rice, rice bran etc. so it can be written lower on the ingredients list (more info on that here)

What food do you buy, and how did you choose it? Tell us in the comments below!

And don’t forget you can always make you own food and treats

Additional sources:

Check out Dog Food Analysis to compare different kinds of food

Dogster guide on how to choose healthy dog food

Good overview on The Bark

Check out other yummy blogs

Part of Tastey Tuesday Blog Hop