Find Out What You Really Need for Your New Puppy

Find Out What You Really Need for Your New Puppy

By:  Debbie Reynolds, DVM

There is so much to love about new puppies!  The puppy breath, the long naps, play time, all the energy and tail wags!  They are such a joy.  

There are a few down sides - like potty training and teething, but those are short lived.  If you just got a new puppy or are getting ready to introduce one into your family - let us help you prepare!

Most puppies should arrive in their new human family home around 8 weeks old.  This is variable upon each circumstance but it is important for them to stay with their mom and siblings until this age.  

To prepare for your new bundle of joy, you will want to choose what puppy food you want to feed your dog and have some ready.  If the breeder or shelter was feeding another kind, ask for some of it so you can mix them together and transition over to the desired food in a week or so.  After the puppy is weaned, milk isn't such a good idea anymore and can cause diarrhea.  Water is best at the point of weaning.

You should think about whether you want to potty train your new dog outside or inside on puppy pads.  If outside, select a designated "potty area" and if not, get a supply of puppy potty pads.  

Your puppy will be teething until he is about 6 months old.  You should buy about 5 or 6 teethers and rotate them in and out so he has new ones each day.  If he is chewing on something inappropriate, just redirect him to his teether.  You can watch and see if he likes chewing on soft toys or wood or harder textures.  Antlers and buffalo horns, or even ruff bones are great for wood chewers.  Hugglehound toys, or binky teethers and such are great for dogs who like softer toys.

You should also get them used to having their nails touched and perhaps even file them or trim the sharp tips off so this is something they will easily except throughout their life.  

You will also need to see your veterinarian to begin the series of puppy shots, deworming, selecting safe flea control, and a good overall checkup.  

Soon after you get your new puppy the socialization period begins in which you need to expose your puppy to all the things they may see in life.  This includes different ages and colors of people, different noises such as vacuums, clapping, car engines and such.  All this should be done in a way that is not scary and it will acclimate your puppy to all of these outside world influences for his years to come.  

During this socialization period is the perfect time to introduce your puppy to having his teeth brushed.  You can get dog toothpaste and use a toothbrush or finger brush (here are a few options).  Starting them out young makes this just a routine thing for them and NOTHING will help keep your dog healthier than having clean teeth!

Puppies are worth every minute of trouble they may cause in the beginning.  You will have a best friend for life, none more loyal and loving, completely devoted to you.  Those puppy months are very short lived in the span of their lifetime so enjoy all the adorable moments spent with your new puppy.

Please comment if you have any questions for me!



The Natural Chemical Free Alternative To Repel Fleas, Ticks & Mosquitoes

The Natural Chemical Free Alternative To Repel Fleas, Ticks & Mosquitoes

By:  Debbie Reynolds, DVM

My initial reaction to natural bug repellents for dogs and cats was that I didn't think it would take off.  I know people don't like putting chemicals on their pet, but I didn't think people would be committed enough to apply a spritz of essential oil to their pet every day or before they go outside.  

Turns out, I was wrong.  People DO want to go to that effort to avoid putting chemicals on their furry family members.  As the trend shifts in humans - steering away from DEET and other chemicals - so it does in animals.  It is even more important for animals as they groom and ingest what is on their fur.  

The product that we use the most of is an essential oil made by AnimalEO called "Away".  It has a light lemony scent and doesn't smell harsh in the least, it is quite fragrant.  A spritz on the feet and belly as they go outdoors is enough to keep bugs off.  There are other options available for natural bug repellents, but this is the one I know and trust.  It is made by Melissa Shelton, DVM and it has been out there long enough that we know it works and we know it is safe.  

Away essential oil is water based so it is not oily and contains Eucalyptus citriodora, Catnip (used in a lot of human applications as a bug repellent), Citronella, Lemon Tea Tree, and White Cypress. 

Several unique ingredients in Away increase its ability to eliminate odors and repel insects.  Eucalyptus citriodora (also called Lemon Eucalyptus) is an essential oil from Australia, which carries well known constituents that repel insects, including PMD (p-Menthane 3,8 diol).  Catnip oil is also showing great interest in the world of insect repellents, however both essential oils carry properties that are rivaling DEET!

Essential oils do not last as long as the chemicals we have found to be so convenient.  But, what price do we pay for that convenience?   Many of my patients and clients come to me for alternatives to traditional medicines that were causing harm to their animal friend.  It is a scary thought that we apply toxic chemicals in the name of convenience to our family member that often sleeps in the same bed with us!  Natural protection is not perfect, but nothing out there really is.  One of the benefits is that applying essential oils to your dogs actually makes them healthier and not many products can boast of that!

If you are a person dedicated to natural ectoparasite care for your fur baby, just establish your routine, tweak the dose according to the time of year and the bug load and don't give up.  It will be worth it in the long run!  

Click here to purchase Away Essential Oil Spray.

One Simple Step to Increase Your Dog's Life Span!

One Simple Step to Increase Your Dog's Life Span!

By:  Debbie Reynolds, DVM

The most important thing you can do to add years to your dog's life is to keep their teeth clean.  This is so important in order to keep your dog healthy.  Tartar builds up daily on your dog's teeth.  You can even sometimes see the tan/brown buildup at the gum line caused by layers of bacteria.  

This leads to gingivitis or gum inflammation/infection.  When this occurs - the bacteria in the tartar have access to your dog's capillaries under the gum line.  Once this bacteria is flowing through the bloodstream it starts wreaking havoc.  The two places that it loves to "lodge" is in the tubules of the kidneys and on the valves of the heart.  This is why we often tell patients and clients that not cleaning the teeth can cause heart or kidney problems.  

The next stage is periodontal disease and this occurs when more time goes by with no dental cleaning.  It leads to bone loss and loose teeth.  Needless to say, the breath gets pretty bad at this point.  Chewing and eating become more difficult and even painful.  

Most of my dog and cat patients need their teeth cleaned professionally about once a year.  Some pets can go a bit longer and some cannot go that long.  In general, shorter nosed dogs have more crowded teeth and develop tartar more quickly.  Genetics also play a role - same as in people.  

In between the cleanings you should be providing routine dental care at home.  Ideally, their teeth should be brushed daily.  Even if you get a professional cleaning by a veterinarian, tartar starts rebuilding in 24 hours.  Brushing eliminates the problem faster than anything else.  You will need to use toothpaste made for dogs, and any toothbrush will do.  Human toothpaste has some dangerous ingredients for our pets and the dog toothpaste is made to be tasty for our pets with meat or peanut butter flavors. 

Short of that, there are a plethora of dental products on the market.  Not all of them work well and some pets refuse certain products.  There is everything from bones & chews to water & food additives or even goo you can put in the mouth. At Veterinary Home Healthcare and The Blessed Pet Shop we have a few favorites.  

For the more natural minded person, we recommend frozen Primal marrow bones.  These bones are fresh and frozen and full of marrow.  The marrow contains natural enzymes to inhibit tartar buildup.  The small pieces of meat on the outside of the bone encourage chewing in such a way that it mechanically scrapes the surfaces of the teeth.  We recommend one fresh bone per week.

For the more medically minded person, we use Oravet Chews.  These chews are given once daily.  It will take most dogs about 5 minutes to ingest one of the chews.  Oravet works in two ways - the chewing action works to loosen and dislodge plaque to help it break away from teeth.  In addition, it also protects by forming a barrier to help protect against the bacteria that leads to tartar buildup for a cleaner mouth and fresher breath.  This is because Oravet Dental Chews contain a special ingredient, delmopinol, which works to form a preventive barrier that blocks bacteria, and the future formation of plaque and tartar that builds up over time.  OraVet Chews are the first and only dental hygiene product for dogs that contain delmopinol.

In addition, we recommend that you add "Dog Breath" every other day.  This is an essential oil you place on the gums, on a favorite chew toy, in with their toothpaste, or even in their water.  It has a holistic approach of improving oral health the natural way.  Dog breath contains a combination of essential oils including copaiba, helichrysum, peppermint, myrhh and coconut.  These oils have a variety of properties including antimicrobial, deodorizing and anti -inflammatory.  

In short - 

1.  Make sure you are cleaning your pet's teeth, as best as you can.  Choose the method that works best for your lifestyle. 

2.  Flip that lip - move your dog's lip up and look along the gum line.  Especially on the teeth in the very back.  If you see brown discoloration - it's time to see your vet for a dental cleaning.

3.  Schedule annual dental cleanings with your veterinarian.  No matter how much you brush, this is still a much needed procedure. Same as in humans- we brush twice a day and still make sure to get our teeth cleaned professionally.  

A healthy mouth is of the utmost importance for your pet to live a happy, healthy, thriving life.  

Please leave me a comment below if you have any questions.  


Find Out What You Really Need For Your New Puppy

Find Out What You Really Need For Your New Puppy

By:  Debbie Reynolds, DVM

The best part of being a veterinarian?  First puppy visits!  I absolutely adore seeing new puppies, especially as a house call veterinarian.  This means we get to play with them at their house.  We have time to sit down with the owners and casually and carefully address every question and concern they have about owning a new puppy.  My hope for this blog is for you to be a part of this conversation.  There are so many things to know about new puppies and I don't want you to miss a thing!


One of THE most important things to cover is socialization.  You have a very short window of time in which to socialize your new puppy.  Ironically, you also have to protect your puppy from exposure to potentially deadly illnesses at this same time!  So, how do you guard your puppy from illnesses and expose them to social situations all at the same time?  It can be done.  

The socialization period will close at about 12 weeks old.  You need to get your puppy around all kinds of situations including people and noises during this time.  It must be done in a positive way, never causing fear.  Pause to think about your life and what your puppy will be exposed to in the future.  Sports games?  Horses? City noises?  Make sure your puppy sees and hears these things during this time to make him or her acclimated for a lifetime of happiness.  Some things are universal such as different ages and colors of people, delivery people, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, car engines, etc.  

There are some breeds that this will be incredibly easy for such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Pugs, and other naturally friendly dogs.  Some breeds this will require much more work - such as Chihuahuas, Dachshunds,  or German Shepherds.  For very nervous breeds, you may use some natural anxiety relief such as Rescue Remedy.   Mixed breeds can come either way.


There are a few things to consider when owning a new puppy:

Parasites are an early concern and most puppies begin the deworming process as early as 2 weeks old.  If they are born to a well-cared for mother, this is less of a concern, but that is not always the case.  A fecal exam by a veterinarian can determine if there are intestinal worms which can be easily treated.  Please be cautious with flea and tick control in young puppies as most of the commercial products are not safe until at least 9-12 weeks of age.  Natural remedies, such as Away spray or Flea & Tick Soap Bar, are safe for young puppies.  

Puppies have a series of vaccinations, usually a set of 3, beginning from 6 to 9 weeks of age depending on each individual puppy's circumstance.  Your veterinarian will examine your puppy and give appropriate vaccinations depending on your pet's lifestyle.  This is a great time to show up with a list of questions about your puppy.

The diets you choose will play a vital role in your puppy's growth. You should feed puppy food for the first year of life.  If you have a large breed dog, you should feed "large breed puppy food".  Adding an omega 3 fatty acid supplement to your puppy's food is a great idea.  This will help with brain development with the DHA contained in omega 3's and with the training period.  It also has components to help with skin and coat health.  


Potty training is always at the top of the list!  You can accomplish this by scheduling feedings instead of leaving food down.  Pick 2 (or 3) times a day that work with your schedule and put the food down for 10 -15 minutes and then pick it up.  It won't be long before your puppy learns to eat when the food is given.  Then immediately go outside to the "potty spot", the same spot, every time.  Use the same command "go potty" or whatever you choose.  When your puppy is successful use praise and a training treat (such as Beef Nibs).  As soon as your puppy eats or chews, the reflex to poop kicks in, so make sure not to waste time in getting to the potty spot.  Other times to target are after waking from a nap, or chewing on a chew toy.  Basic obedience training would be beneficial to start at this young age as well.

Speaking of "chew toys", you are going to need plenty!  Your puppy will be teething for about 6 months.  You will want to keep plenty of options and rotate them out to keep things fresh and new.  Use the distraction method when your puppy begins to chew on something inappropriate and redirect them to an appropriate toy.  Please make sure not to use rawhide chews (see blog post about dangers here).

Some breeds such as retrievers will enjoy balls and retrieving toys, some terrier breeds will enjoy tug and pull toys, herding breeds and shepherds will enjoy interactive thinking toys, and all puppies will love teethers.   

I hope this will help you have a well adjusted and happy puppy for many, many years to come!


Is Your Dog Genetically Predisposed to Allergies?

Is Your Dog Genetically Predisposed to Allergies?

By:  Debbie Reynolds, DVM

Let's begin here by talking about the word "allergies".  If your dog has allergies, or if you have owned one, you know about the symptoms.  Many people are not aware of how different dog allergies are from human allergies.  As a veterinarian, I often am called on for an "itchy dog" appointment.  They are very surprised to find out that dog allergies = itchy dog.  You know, the dog that goes thump-thump-thump in the night.  The dog that keeps you up licking and chewing on their feet while you try to sleep. 

The medical term for dog allergies is "atopic dermatitis" or "canine atopy".  Using these words as search terms on the internet will yield you much better results.  I trust the website "Veterinary Partners" and recommend them quite often to my clients who like to research. 

The subject matter of this particular blog is to help you realize if your dog may be genetically predisposed to allergies.  This way, you can practice intervention early, or be vigilant in watching for the symptoms.  The breeds listed below are commonly known to have allergies, and different breeds are more affected in geographical locations of the United States.  

Golden Retriever

Labarodor Retriever

English Setter

Irish Setter

American Hairless Terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier

Boston Terrier

Bull Terrier

Cairn Terrier

Fox Terrier

Scottish Terrier

Miniature Schnauzer

West Highland White Terrier

Wheaten Terrier


Bichon Frise


Brussels Griffon

English Bulldog

Chinese Crested 

Chinese Sharpei

Cocker Spaniel




German Shepherd

Lhasa Apso 





Shih Tzu

(White dogs of any breed)

CANINE ATOPY is for life.  Once you have it, it never goes away.  It is managed.

If you have one of the above breeds I would recommend that you look into pet insurance.  It is a good idea anyway, and will be a huge help financially throughout the life of your dog and you can choose whatever treatment you deem best without cost playing a factor in your decision.  We use Nationwide Pet Insurance at our practice, but there are hundreds of pet insurance companies to choose from.  One of the great things is that you can use any DVM anywhere with any of the pet insurances.  

What symptoms should I watch for? The primary symptom we see is paw licking or chewing on any or all four paws.  Itching can be anywhere and everywhere on their body - tail-based, underarms, flanks, back, head, chest, literally - anywhere.  Sometimes they itch and their coat looks healthy.  Sometimes they have rashes, crusty areas, flaky skin and even bald spots.  Ear infections and puffy or runny eyes sometimes accompany this itch.  It is a pretty miserable condition for the dog.  It is the itch that you can't scratch away. 

What causes canine allergies?  There are three categories of allergens that can make your dog itch: (1) Environmental (2) Insects and (3) Food. 

Environmental allergens are things such as grasses, trees, pollens, or anything your dog is in contact with in the environment.  I've had some patients, after testing, come back allergic to human dander!  One of my patients was even allergic to cat dander. 

Insects commonly are fleas and household dust mites.  This doesn't mean your dog is infested with fleas or you have a dusty house.  Just one flea bite can set off a nasty hypersensitivity reaction to make your dog itch for weeks!  It is actually the flea saliva that they react to and it just takes one bite to do it.  Household mites are everywhere, even in the cleanest homes - some dogs just react to them when many do not.  

Food can also cause an allergic reaction. There has been a trend towards grain free foods recently, but I find that pet owners still end up feeding grains to their pets, unknowingly, in the form of treats. Pizza crust, oddly enough, is also a commonly given treat.  

How do you treat allergies in dogs?  Ideally, you could alleviate your dog's allergy by avoiding the allergen.  This is difficult because most people don't know what the allergen is and even if they do it is usually impossible to avoid.  So, we as veterinarians do the same thing that people with allergies do.  Give "allergy medicine".  For dogs this is usually steroids or other pharmaceuticals.  But there is a way to avoid allergy pills for life.  

Immunotherapy is the gold standard for treatment of allergy dogs.  This is done by finding out what your dog is allergic to.  You can inject the allergens into the skin, find out what is causing the allergies, then make a vaccine for it.  This is normally done at a specialist - a veterinary dermatologist (this is why insurance is a great idea).  You inject the vaccine at tapering doses and then your dog builds up immunity to the allergens and you don't have to give medicine for life.  

Prednisone is not something you want your dog to take for any length of time due to the side effects which include increased thirst, increased hunger, increased urinations or bloating. In some cases it can even create diseases such as Cushing's and liver disease.  Newer medications such as Apoquel and Atopica are effective with less side effects but are expensive to take, especially for life.  Most dogs are diagnosed at age 1-2 so they have many years to go.

What can I do to help?  What we like to do at our practice is start hitting the supplements hard if we have a breed that is predisposed to allergies.  Here are some ideas if you have an allergy dog or a genetically predisposed breed:

1.  Shampoo at least once weekly.  You need to wash the pollens and dander off of your dog's fur.  Especially if you have a long haired dog.  At LEAST once weekly.  Use a non medicated soothing shampoo such as oatmeal or eucalyptus.  If your dog is itchy, don't give a warm bath.  Heat makes the itch worse so use a slightly cool temperature.  

2.  Omega 3 Fatty Acids added to the diet daily is an amazing way to supplement your dog's itchy skin.  We use Grizzly Salmon Oil and you can read about all the amazing benefits of this oil on our prior blog post here.

3.  Dermoscent 6 is a topical essential oil that is applied in one spot on the skin once weekly to help re-establish the broken skin barrier.  It helps to keep the allergens from affecting the skin.  

4.  Boost in a Bottle essential oil is used topically 2-3 times weekly.  There is a blend of 22 essential oils to make this an effective way to replace steroids and medications.  You can read about all of it's benefits on our prior blog post here.

5.  Raw diets are incredibly helpful in helping keep your dog's immune system at its top level.  This food is made for your carivorous dog and can enhance their health in many ways and make them thrive!  We use The Honest Kitchen and Primal diets, but there are many to choose from.  Raw diets are so easy these days - buy a bag - measure the amount- and add water.

The Blessed Pet Shop can be your one stop shop for any and all of these products.  

Whether you choose immunotherapy, medication, or want to strictly try holistic support, I would encourage you to try any or all of the above.  All of these have to be used on a consistent basis and it can take 4-6 weeks to see results, so hang in there.

There is not much more frustrating to you, me and the poor dog than allergies.  As a veteriarian, I hate to diagnose canine atopy.  Since this condition is for life, we will be life long partners with the patient and their families to help them get through this.  Often, the medications become less and less effective over time.  It a difficult and often miserable condition to be in for everyone involved. 

However, don't be disheartened if your dog has allergies or if you have one of these breeds.  They can be successfully managed for life with persistent care.  You can have a happy, healthy dog, it just requires family support.  Please consider starting supplements if you have one of these breeds or if you have noticed that your dog may have some of the symptoms.  

If you have any questions - please comment below!


The ONE essential oil that does it all!

The ONE essential oil that does it all!

By: Debbie Reynolds, DVM

Boost in a Bottle. The name pretty much says it all. I mean, who doesn’t need a “boost”? Best of all- it’s an essential oil! Anyone who owns a dog can appreciate the no pills part. Even better - it is applied by PETTING. So this supplement is definitely dog approved. Two paws up!

The “boost” we are referring to is made possible by combining 22 essential oils in one bottle. That’s right - TWENTY TWO. This is not done in someone’s backyard or bathroom. This is carefully studied, and well thought out by Dr. Melissa Shelton of AnimalEO. She has done all of the research and work needed in making sure each oil is correctly sourced and perfectly blended.

I am certified in animal aromatherapy and have studied essential oils quite extensively. I have read books, attended seminars, webinars and conferences on top of the training and education I received for my certification. This boost in a bottle is quite an accomplishment. You can’t just mix any two oils together. Dr. Shelton has cracked the code on how to efficiently blend the right oils together, to ensure the synergy and chemistry of each oil works most effectively.

I found essential oils out of necessity and now I use them because they are amazing. I needed to help my daughter with special needs who could not take many pharmaceuticals. Out of desperation, I began using essential oils on the humans in my family. It wasn’t long before I wanted my patients to start using this amazing, God-given, natural, plant-based medicine!

So the “boost” is a huge one! It covers almost every body system you can think of. It works as prevention, treatment and builds up the immune system. I would say the main reason I reach for Boost in a Bottle is to help a patient with a chronic condition. Let’s say - atopic dermatitis - you know, the itchy dog. That poor dog that licks their paws all night and their leg thumps in the night because they are scratching incessantly- keeping everyone awake. This is one of the supplements I prescribe for a dog with allergies. I place them on a raw diet if possible, such as Primal; omega 3 fatty acid supplement, such as Grizzly Salmon; and Boost in a Bottle, which is also used as a steroid replacer. Sometimes we add topical Omega 3’s, such as dermoscent and weekly shampoos to get the pollens out of the dog’s fur. I love it when an allergy dog stops itching with all natural, healthy supplements.

I also love to use Boost in a Bottle with senior aged patients whose body conditions are declining and need additional support with their joints, emotions, and immune system. It’s good for dogs that frequent kennels, groomers or day care to improve their overall health and immunity. It is excellent for multi-pet households and allows for harmonious family dynamics. I use it for ANY patient with a chronic illness such as diabetes, hip dysplasia, kidney disease, liver disease, chronic urinary problems, chronic ear infections and on and on. You get the idea! It really is so easy- there is no reason not to use it!

Below, we have the details of Boost in a Bottle for those that need the details. There are a lot of details and we are happy to answer any questions you may have about this product if you want to comment on our blog post below.

What can Boost in a bottle be used for?

Boost in a bottle can aid in conditions such as arthritis, tick borne diseases, autoimmune conditions, allergies or itching, chronic bacterial or yeast skin infections, or be a replacement of steroid drugs! It can also give added support if already infected with Pneumonia, cancer, parasitic infections, inflammatory bowel disease, viral infections, or neurologic conditions! Boost in a bottle is THE Go-To essential oil in animal aromatherapy to treat or prevent a variety of illnesses and disease.

How should you apply Boost in a bottle?

You can apply Boost in a bottle easily using the raindrop technique. Simply drip 4-6 drops down your dog’s back beginning at the shoulder blades and ending at the base of the tail. Use a petting motion to rub the oils into the fur! EASY! There really is no wrong way to apply this oil! This technique follows the natural flow of your dog’s energy field along the spine, known in Chinese Medicine as the meridian. You do not have to know about energy fields or Chinese medicine for this technique to work for you! Just simply drip- and pet! If you have a dog with sensitivity to the drips, you can always apply the drops to your hands first, and then pet them onto your dog.

How do essential oils work?

Essential oils work best transdermally when applied to skin and fur, to quickly enter the bloodstream for fast and effective results. They also work through inhalation and are safe to ingest if licked. How often should you apply Boost in a bottle? The application amount will vary depending on what you are using the oil for. For general health and supplementation, you can use the oil at least monthly. In other conditions, you would apply it every 1-3 days initially and use your judgement on how often to apply based on the results you get and what you are trying to achieve.

What oils are in Boost in a bottle?

Ingredients: Fractionated Cocolut Oil, Essential Oils of Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis), Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea), Marjoram (Origanum majorana), Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), Tangerine (Citrus tangerina), Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Oregano (Oreganum vulgare), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Ginger (Zingiber officinalis), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Helichrysum (H. italicum), Melissa (Melissa officinalis), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Anise (Pimpinella anisum) Juniper (Juniperus communis), Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) Blue Cypress (Callitris intratropica), Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin).

So what are you waiting for? Try Boost in a bottle today!

The Truth About Rawhide

The Truth About Rawhide

By:  Debbie Reynolds, DVM

We all know that dogs love rawhide.  Dogs love a lot of things that are NOT good for them, don't they?  I cringe when I see a dog chewing on rawhide.  As a veterinarian too many times I have seen terrible illnesses, unnecessary surgeries and death due to chewing on rawhide. 

We've all seen it.  They chew and chew and chew.  This piece of rawhide gets bigger and bigger and bigger.  They try to swallow it and choke, gag and sputter. Sometimes it stays down, often they vomit or have diarrhea, and sometimes they end up at the veterinary clinic.  

If that doesn't ring familiar, let me tell what rawhide is and how it is processed. Producing rawhide begins with the splitting of an animal hide, usually from cattle. The top part is tanned and made into leather products, while the inner portion, in its “raw” state, goes to make rawhide for our pets. Since there are no hairy rawhides, hair is removed using a highly toxic process  called sodium sulphide liming.  The hides are washed and whitened by using hydrogen peroxide.  Residues of arsenic and formaldehyde routinely show up in rawhide.  Since the FDA does not consider rawhide food, these chemicals can be used on them.  Sometimes artifical color is added as well as glue to make unique designs or twists.  

Wait a minute - if the FDA doesn't consider rawhide food, WHY are we feeding this to our sweet dogs?  

Thankfully, there is a wonderful alternative!  Did you know there is a digestible alternative to rawhides?  They are "no-hide" chews.  They look and feel just like rawhide but they are completely digestible. The protein flavors (beef, chicken, salmon or pork) are all human grade and sourced in the US from humanely-raised animals. The salmon is wild-caught. The ingredients – olive oil, brown rice, eggs, gelatin and the naturally-derived enzymes from banana and pineapple (bromelain) – are mixed together with the protein flavor. In Earth Animal's proprietary cooking process, the mixture is hand-rolled into its shape, hand-basted with a slurry of the protein flavor (chicken, beef, pork or salmon) and individually air-dried to form the long lasting, tasty chew.   They come in 4 inch or 7 inch chews, and also rawhide sticks for small dogs - click here to purchase.


The secret on how to stop tear stains - forever!

The secret on how to stop tear stains - forever!

By:  Debbie Reynolds DVM

What the heck causes tear stains, anyways?  They really can change the way your dog looks quite drastically.  Tear stains are easy to spot. They’re that brownish-red line of stained fur that trails from the inner corner of the eye, and it’s most noticeable on white dogs because of the contrast between the natural fur color and the stained fur.

Any dog or cat can have tear stains, but it’s more common in short-nosed dogs/cats, and more noticeable on lighter furred pets.

So what are tear stains, and what can be done about it? Tear staining results when tears spill out of the eye. This typically occurs for one of two reasons:

  • an excess production of tears (the medical term is epiphora), or
  • decreased drainage of tears

So it is important to make sure there isn't some medical problem causing your pet's eyes to have excessive tearing.  Oftentimes, there is nothing wrong medically.  The comformation of some pet's eyes just allow excess tearing.

So, if it’s just tears, what’s with the brown staining? In cats and dogs (and other pets, too), saliva and tears contain porphyrins, which are products of the breakdown of red blood cells. Because of the iron content of porphyrins, tears and saliva can turn the fur brown. This is what makes allergic dogs who chew their feet noticeable immediately—salivary staining on their paws!  

Thankfully, there is an all natural way to remove this staining - with Vet Classics Tear Stain Supplement.  Not only is it all natural - but it is 100% guaranteed!  We love working with companies like Vet Classics because they simply stand behind their product.  It is safe for your dog to use long term - and if it doesn't work, you get your money back.  

Please do note, however, that you must trim the currently stained hair, it won't remove the stains that are there.  It just protects hair from being stained.  

Give this product a try!  You have nothing to lose, and your pet's pretty face to gain!  Click here to purchase.



Everything you should know about PROBIOTICS and how they benefit your pet.

Everything you should know about PROBIOTICS and how they benefit your pet.

By:  Debbie Reynolds, DVM

Most people know about probiotics.  They are the opposite of antibiotics.  ANTIbiotics kill bacteria.  PRObiotics replenish bacteria.  The good ones, that is.  It is well known that we humans need probiotics.  The same is true for our companion pets.  They need probiotics, too!  

Good bacteria are crucial for the health of your cat or dog’s gut. But they also support the brain, digestion, assimilation of nutrients and – best of all –  the immune system. Boosting your pet’s immune system is probably the most important role of probiotics.

Our favorite product for getting NATURAL probiotics combined with digestive enzymes is The Honest Kitchen's Pro Bloom Goat's Milk.  It is convenient, cost effective, and a treat your dog will love.  There are endless ways to use it:  as a stand alone drink, poured over dog food, frozen in ice cube trays, and dogs and cats absolutely love it.  Pro Bloom is immune and digestive support with a whopping 5 billion active probiotics and digestive enzymes, so it’s good for your pet and their gut. 

Immune System

As much as 80% of your pet's immune system is based in the gut. Different probiotics pair with almost every different part of the immune system that we know of.  Viruses and bacteria enter the body through the mouth and probiotics are present starting in the mouth and throughout your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Maintaining the good bacteria keeps pathogens in check and is your pet’s primal immune system.  A good balance of probiotics helps reduce inflammation throughout your dog or cat's  body – and that lowers susceptibility to illness and chronic disease.


The most common use for probiotics in people is to help with gastrointestinal issues.  The same is true for our pets!  It can help with diarrhea or constipation, nausea, frequent bowel movements, or just about anything that is out of whack with the gut.  Replenishing the good bacteria makes things work better.  


The flora that lives in the gut is in charge of producing neurotransmitters and neuropeptides needed for brain health. The gut is filled with nerve cells so probiotics in the gut can also support brain function.  Probiotics also make some important hormones that are needed in the body.  

Digestive Enzymes

These are added to Pro Bloom and just about every dog or cat can benefit from them. They simply allow your pet's food (whatever it may be) to be digested to the full!  They will benefit from as much nutrition as possible from their current diet.  These enzymes (amylase and lipase) make it easier for your pet's pancreas to digest their food.  Especially if your dog or cat eats dry kibble, this will be of benefit.  Dry kibble has about 30% starches and carbohydates which your pet's body wasn't meant to try to digest.  These added enzymes will help.  


The bottom line:  a healthy gut prevents disease, improves digestion, aids in better nutrient absorption and boosts the immune system.  If you want your pet to live a long healthy life, be proactive!  Supplement with probiotics and digestive enzymes daily.  Or at least a few times weekly.  Try Pro Bloom Goat's Milk by The Honest Kitchen, it has everything you need in one convenient product that has a long shelf life and can be given in different forms of treats - anything from warm milk to frozen treats!  Your dog or cat will be happy and healthy!  


The natural and safe hairball solution your cat will LOVE.

The natural and safe hairball solution your cat will LOVE.

By:  Debbie Reynolds DVM

When we find an amazing product that solves a common problem - we get excited about sharing it!  

Cocotherapy is a family owned business who we partner with at Veterinary Home Healthcare and The Blessed Pet Shop.  They do everything from growing and harvesting their own coconuts in the Phillipines to making and packaging the products.  When you have a relationship like this, you have something important - trust.

We know they make high quality products and they stand behind them.  That's why we were thrilled when they launched a new product just for cats.  This product is called Cocotherapy Hairball Plus.  Cats love it so much more than the standard laxatone products, and it is much more healthy and natural for them.    

LET ME EXPLAIN HAIRBALLS (they're not what you think):

By the time you see a hairball, the problem is really bad!  Don't wait to see one before you treat your cat.  Cats groom.  Period.  They ALL ingest hair.  They groom, they ingest.  Hair gets in the stomach.  If all goes according to plan, the hair comes out in the stool.  If they groom excessively or have long hair or have a plumbing problem, the hair starts to build up in the stomach.  If it can't pass through the intestines and out via the stool, then it starts clogging up the system and your cat will start coughing.  If they gag and wretch until they cough up a hairball, that hair has been in there a long time.  

You should supplement your cat with something like this intermittently if you don't think it's a big problem; and daily if you think you have a hairball problem.  

CocoTherapy CAT HAIRBALL PLUS is made with only one ingredient, high-fiber organic coconut. It contains NO artificial ingredients, preservatives, and fillers, so you can feel good giving it to your kittens and cats -- even those with sensitive stomachs or food allergies! Coconut fiber passes through the intestines and has a much greater impact on intestinal transit time. It increases stool bulk to help waste (including hair) pass through more efficiently. 

Not only is it beneficial for managing hairballs; it also benefits your cat in several ways:

Helps your cat pass hairballs more easily by adding moisture and bulk to his/her stool
 Unlike other hairball formula treatments, this one does NOT contain phytic acid, which depletes your cat of vitamins and minerals
 Contains Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) to support healthy immune response
 Supports healthy skin and coat. This means less shedding!
 Supports digestive health and gastrointestinal tract function
 Supports healthy weight
 Safe for kittens and pregnant cats
 Safe for long-term use

If you have a cat, and your cat grooms, this product is for you!  Click here to purchase!  



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