Friday, August 29, 2014

Dog 101: Crate Training

How to Crate Train your Dog in 3 Steps

Crate training makes housebreaking simpler, and will be the foundation for obedience training that follows. Without crate training it is possible for your pet to develop destructive behaviors such as chewing household objects. By following these 3 steps, your pet will become confident, outgoing, and obedient. Crates represent a den environment which is instinctively comforting to dogs.

Step 1: Buy the crate

Clearly, these two would require slightly different sized crates.
It is important when selecting the crate to purchase the proper size of your fully grown dog. Crates come with dividers that allow you to increase the available space inside of the crate as your puppy grows. You should also purchase the crate well in advance of bringing your puppy or dog home for the first time. Introducing a pet into your home can be chaotic; having a plan simplifies the process. Many people choose metal wire crates. Wire crates offer the most visibility and are the easiest to clean. If you need to clean the crate bottom, the crate pan slides out.

Plastic kennels are also used to crate train dogs. Vari Kennels are the only type of crate approved for airline travel. If you will be travelling via car or plane, consider this type of crate. Vari Kennels best resemble the dens dogs slept in while in the wild.

Tip#1 Send your breeder a small blanket to use with your puppy and its littermates. When you pick up your puppy, use the blanket inside of the crate. Your puppy is less likely to cry at night with the familiar smells of home.

Tip #2 If you buy a wire crate and want to create a better den like structure, you can buy crate covers. These are cloth covers that drape over the crate to darken the inside.

Step 2: Accessorize the crate

A comfortable crate mat can make all the difference!
A plain crate is unappealing for a dog. When shopping for your crate, pick up accessories that will make the crate more comfortable. The first thing you should buy is a crate mat. A crate mat is for dogs, as mattresses are for humans. Crate mats are available in numerous sizes and colors, and are machine washable.

Beyond the crate mat, don’t forget to furnish the crate with toys and chews. No one would enjoy sleeping in an empty room with just a mattress. Your pet can’t have your iPad, but should have plenty of durable toys and chews. The brands Kong and Nylabone both offer toys appropriate for all sizes of dogs, and all levels of chewing.

Step 3 “Kennel Up”

Before your pet ever enters the crate, decide on the command you will use to begin the process. A typical term is “Kennel” or “Kennel Up”. Set up the crate in a common room then allow your pet to investigate. Rather than forcing your pet into the crate, allow your pet’s curiosity to explore the new crate. Strive to develop a positive association with the crate by hiding treats and toys inside.

To begin formal crate training, give the command “kennel” and open the crate door. When your pet enters the crate, treat or praise your pet. Keep your pet inside for only a few seconds at first, then give a release command such as “here”. The universal truth of obedience training is consistency. Always use the same commands or you will confuse your dog.

Once your pet is comfortable in the crate, gradually increase the length of time inside of the crate. Do not expect your pet to withstand 6+ hours inside of the crate. If you work and no one can walk your dog during the day, purchase an Exercise Pen that attaches to the crate. An Ex Pen allows your pet an additional 4’x4’ space to stretch and lie down during the day.

 Last Thoughts

Crates should never be confused with cages.  You should NEVER punish your pet by locking it inside of their crate. You should NEVER force a dog into the crate.  Cages are prisons. Crates mimic dens that dogs naturally seek out and sleep in.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Raw Diet: The Perfect Pet Food That Helps Break Down Your Pet’s Tartar

By Dr. Becker
Many pets today have significant tartar build-up on their teeth. Fortunately, a growing number of pet parents are becoming aware of the problem and want to know how to maintain their furry family member’s teeth in good condition.

Tartar is plaque that has hardened. It irritates the gums, which become inflamed, causing a condition known as gingivitis.

Tartar can also build up under the gums, eventually causing them to pull away from the teeth. This creates small pockets in gum tissue that attract bacteria. The result is irreversible periodontal disease that is painful for the animal and can result in abscesses, infections, loose teeth and bone loss.

Clearly, the best approach to preserving your pet’s oral health is to proactively manage the plaque and tartar that accumulates on his teeth.

Controlling Tartar Build-up

Diet can play a significant role in the development of tartar on your pet’s teeth. Wild dogs have strong, healthy teeth partly because they eat raw meaty bones.

Raw diets – even prepared, ground raw diets – help control tartar. Raw ground bone is a gentle dental abrasive, acting like fine sandpaper when chewed, which helps remove debris stuck on teeth. The meat contains natural enzymes, and in addition, raw food doesn’t stick to teeth, unlike starchy kibble. Dry pet food is promoted as helping to keep teeth clean, but it’s a myth. Kibble is no better for your pet’s teeth than crunchy human food is for your teeth. It would never occur to you to eat a handful of peanut brittle to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. The idea that dry food keeps your pet’s teeth clean is just as silly!

For dogs and cats, chewing also plays an important role in removing plaque and tartar from teeth. Even though there are plenty of toys and food products on the market that can be of some help (providing your pet will chew them), raw bones are really the best option, and few dogs will turn them down.

It’s important the bones are raw, because cooked bones can splinter and do serious damage to your pet’s GI tract. The size depends on the size of your pet and whether she’s such an eager chewer that she risks injuring herself or even breaking teeth. Your dog should always be supervised when she’s working on a bone to minimize the risk of choking or tooth damage, and raw bones should be refrigerated between chewing sessions.

Certain Pets Are Predisposed to Excessive Tartar Build-up

Some raw fed pets that also chew raw bones still accumulate tartar on their teeth. Brachycephalic (short-nosed) and toy breeds are often predisposed because their teeth don’t have normal alignment, and in the case of tiny dogs, there’s often a crowding problem. No matter how vigorously these dogs chew, it doesn’t remove all the plaque and tartar from their teeth.

Pets with chronic health conditions also seem to collect more tartar on their teeth. This could be due to less vigorous chewing, or it could be the result of changes in saliva quantity, gum health, the pH in the mouth, or other causes.

Many cats are also predisposed to have more tartar on their teeth, and kitties can present a special challenge because they don’t typically gnaw on bones like dogs do. Offering a skinless chicken neck may entice your cat to chew more, and provide enough mechanical abrasion to keep her teeth free from plaque build up.

Daily Tooth Brushing Is the Best Way to Insure Your Pet's Oral Health

With a gentle hand, patience and persistence, most pet owners can teach their dog or cat to submit to daily tooth brushing, which is the ideal way to insure tartar doesn’t form on your pet’s teeth.

One of the secrets to successful tooth brushing is to progress slowly and gently, allowing your pet to adapt at his own pace. Start with your finger rather than a toothbrush and get your pet familiar with having your finger in his mouth. Gently rub the top front teeth and all the way to the back teeth. Then do the same on the lower teeth. Praise your pet often and keep these sessions short.

Once your pet is accepting of the presence of your finger in his mouth, wrap a very thin damp cloth or piece of gauze around your fingertip and rub the teeth. You’ll probably be stunned by the amount of gunk you wipe off with just a piece of gauze.
The next step is to use a safe, natural dental cleaning product designed for pets and apply a small amount to the gauze before you rub your pet’s teeth. Once your pet gets used to this, you can progress to either a finger brush or a soft toothbrush the right size for your dog’s or cat’s mouth.

If your pet is highly resistant to having his teeth rubbed or brushed, there are products available that when applied to the teeth go to work to break down plaque and tartar without brushing. However, the more rubbing and brushing your pet will allow, the more quickly you’ll see results, and the easier it will be to maintain your pet’s oral health.

For Some Pets, Professional Dental Cleanings Are Unavoidable

If you’re vigilant about your pet’s dental home care and she doesn’t have any special situations that predispose her to tartar build-up or other dental issues, she may never need a professional cleaning by a veterinarian.

However, pets with extreme tartar build-up, badly inflamed gums, or oral infections need extra help. Digital dental x-rays can only be accomplished with sedated pets, and needless to say, tooth extractions must be done under anesthesia. Dental procedures performed on inflamed or infected teeth and gums are extremely painful for the animal, which is why anesthesia and pain management are necessary.

Despite the growing popularity of non-professional dental scaling (NPDS), it has limited application and the results can be misleading for pet owners who don’t understand that the most serious problems in a pet’s mouth usually occur below the gum line. In addition, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), as of November 1, 2013, requires all its accredited veterinary clinics to anesthetize and intubate patients for dental procedures.

With all that said, there are situations in which it may be entirely appropriate for a qualified technician to scale your pet’s teeth -- for example, if you practice good home care, you take your pet for regular veterinary wellness exams, and your dog or cat has only a mild amount of tartar accumulation. In my practice, I occasionally remove plaque and tartar from a pet’s teeth without using anesthesia. I only do this with pets for which I have a dental history, and I don’t do it in lieu of a thorough dental exam. But if, for example, I have a patient with a large chunk of tartar causing irritation in his mouth, I’ll remove it without anesthesia if I can do it easily and without stressing the patient.

*Re-posted with permission from Dr. Becker. To see more of her blogs, find her at :

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why we continue to carry California Natural and other Natura Products:

Though we have reduced the number of varieties and the amount of shelf space in our stores for the Natura Brands, we have decided to continue to offer California Natural and make Innova and Evo available via special order for our customers who want to or need to feed one of the Natura Brands. We have taken several factors into consideration in making this decision:

·        California Natural is one of a small number of foods with a single source of protein. Foods with multiple proteins can be more taxing on a dog’s digestive system. Any dog with a sensitive digestive system, or dogs with food allergies require an easy to digest limited ingredient diet. California Natural was the original limited ingredient diet and in some cases it is the best choice for some pets who have struggled with other brands. In addition, California Natural recently introduced a number of grain free formulas, again with single sources of protein that have benefit for pets who have allergies to rice or potato. One of the grain free formulas is Kangaroo and Lentil. For pets with protein allergies looking for a novel protein, Kangaroo is a good choice. 

·        Prior to the Natura recalls, Natura introduced their “See Beyond the Bag” campaign. This was the first public initiative to highlight the sourcing for all the ingredients in their brands. “See Beyond The Bag” answers the first round of ingredient sourcing questions Cherrybrook asks all pet food companies. It was encouraging for us to see a pet food company respond to the questions about ingredient sourcing and make public where their ingredients come from. 

·        We have experienced several rounds pet food brand recalls as well as the response to the recalls from manufacturers, and have found that Natura handled their recall in the most professional and transparent manner. Natura quickly initiated a full recall of all brands, and did not prolong the process by adding to the list of foods recalled daily. In addition, they immediately communicated how they wanted the recalled product handled; they picked up every bag and took care of safely disposing of the product themselves.

·        Natura has also responded to the recall by enhancing their manufacturing and product testing procedures. They have detailed these changes on their website as part of the commitment to transparency. You can find details of how their manufacturing and testing has been improved by visiting .  We were encouraged by Natura’s response to the recalls by making significant changes to their physical plant, manufacturing and testing procedures.

Many of our customers have successfully switched from the Natura brands they were feeding before the recalls, and for most there is no need to switch back because their pets are happy and doing well on one of the many other all natural foods we carry at Cherrybrook. However for some of our customers who need a single source of protein diet or who have found that their pets do better when fed a Natura brand, we will continue to offer them the opportunity to purchase Natura products from Cherrybrook.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Introduction to Raw Diets Part V

 Raw Bones

Throughout this introductory series on raw diets, we have covered the basics of selecting and feeding several different forms of raw diets including raw frozen, freeze dried, and air dried. We have discussed the differences and the unique benefits associated with each type of raw diet. In this fifth blog, we will focus entirely on the benefits of feeding raw bones to your pet.  

While your dog may appear drastically different
from this wolf, genetically speaking they are nearly identical.

Why are raw bones important for my pet?            

While raw frozen diets are the core of any raw feeder’s program, raw meaty bones might have the most far reaching health benefits of any particular aspect of feeding raw. What is more natural than a dog chewing on a bone? A dog chewing on a raw bone! Before kibble, domestic dogs ate table scraps and  scrounged up raw dead animals to feed on. Whether they were hunting and eating small vermin, or whether they were feeding on leftover carcasses of already dead animals, chewing on and through raw meaty bones was integral to their overall health and well being. On the very simplest level, it kept their teeth and gums clean and healthy. After all, there were no dental treats for dogs back then. The raw meaty bones also provided many nutrients that they otherwise may not have gotten such as calcium, phosphorous, and other vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

 Fast forward to present times, and it seems that people have forgotten the benefits of raw meaty bones for their pets (yes, even cats and ferrets will benefit from raw meaty bones). While people willingly give their pets cooked, sterilized, or smoked bones without question, there is hesitancy in trying a raw bone. Why is that? Part of the reason may lie with the anti-raw community at large making accusations about the safety of feeding raw and raw meaty bones to your pets. Numerous groups have come out and stated the following dangers of feeding or supplementing raw meaty bones:

·      Fractured teeth
·      Intestinal obstructions
·      Esophageal perforations
·      Intestinal perforations
·      Choking
·      Bacterial contamination

So are these actual dangers of feeding raw bones? Yes and no. These dangers are shared by cooked, smoked, sterilized, and raw bones alike, as well as bone alternatives such as the common hard plastic bone shaped toys that are available. You may think that raw bones would have a higher chance of causing a bacterial contamination but the opposite is true. More cooked, smoked, and sterilized bones have been recalled than any raw bones on the market to date. As far as your pet experiencing any of the other dangers listed above, there are slight risks to feeding raw bones. These minor risks are outweighed by the positive dental benefits.  Dental health directly affects the overall health in our pets, and raw bones directly affect their overall dental health in a positive way.  
Examples of recreational bones (top) and RMB's (bottom).

Are there different types of raw bones?   

There are two types of raw bones, and they are vastly different. The first type of bone is a raw meaty bone. While there is no formal definition of raw meaty bones (often seen as RMB's for short), for our purposes it means this:  

A bone that is surrounded with a significant amount of meat, tendons, and fat  so that if fed, your pet would experience an adequate meal.

Again, while this isn’t an exact definition, it does present two significant clauses that are agreed upon by the raw community. One, that there is a significant amount of meat surrounding the actual bone. Two, that if fed it would provide an adequate meal. Raw meaty bones are meant to be incorporated as part of your pet’s raw diet and not meant to be used as a treat or reward. The reason raw meaty bones must be incorporated into the raw diet is because they provide a significant source of protein, fat, and calories. If you were to simply feed raw meaty bones in addition to what you currently feed, your pet would begin gaining weight over time.

Let me give an example on how to incorporate RMB’s into your pet’s diet.

                        Say your dog weighs 100lbs. You are currently feeding 2% of your pet’s body weight in raw food per day. This equates to a total of 2lbs per day. If you wanted to then integrate raw meaty bones into the diet, you would then scale back the total portion of raw. To start, you might want to try 85% raw, and 15% raw meaty bones to see how your dog reacts to the new diet. Thus, you would then be feeding 1.75lbs of raw, and a quarter pound of raw meaty bones. This can all be customized to you and your pets liking.

There are many types of raw meaty bones available within the modern pet supply store. The most common  within pet supply stores are typically chicken backs, chicken necks, and turkey necks. All three of these are readily available, are pretty inexpensive to feed, and are the most user friendly for people just getting into feeding RMB’s.  

Raw recreational bones are the second type of raw bones available today, and are the most commercially available through pet supply stores.  Again, there is no definition but for our purposes we will take these to be:  

A bone surrounded with little meat, tendons, and fat that can be given as a treat, that could not be considered adequate enough to be fed as a meal. 

 The most common type of raw recreational bones would be beef marrow bones sometimes referred to as soup bones. These are typically 2”-6” cut pieces of beef bone, that contain rich marrow. In general, recreational bones have very little meat surrounding them. You can also find recreational bones from bison, lamb, and venison pretty easily through retail pet stores. We recommend that you rotate between them, as feeding just beef marrow bones may be too rich for your pet. These bones are considered a treat, so feeding too many may result in your pet gaining weight. If you aren’t treating your dog with biscuits or other types of treats, you can give your pet a bone every day. You may not want them to eat or chew the entire bone in one day, so you can take the bone and re-freeze it a suitable packaging (original packaging, freezer bags, etc) and give to your pet the next day. This way you can manage how much of the bone they can actually chew in a given day, limiting their overall caloric intake. 

What are the benefits to feeding raw bones?                

Raw bones are nature’s toothbrush. If you start your puppy (raw bones are puppy safe) on raw bones you will have far less plaque build up over time even if you do not feed a raw diet. When you pair a nutrient dense raw diet with raw bones, your pet will be even better off. People who have fed raw bones generally agree that the following improvements have occurred with their pet:

  ·      A decrease in overall plaque across the teeth.
Even cats benefit from raw meaty bones!
  ·      A loosening of plaque off of the teeth.
  ·      A decrease of inflammation in the mouth, especially the gums.
  ·      Better smelling breath.
  ·      Overall healthier, cleaner teeth and gums (less prone to disease such as periodontal disease).
  ·      Stronger jaw muscles.
  ·      A content, entertained pet that is less likely to find their way into trouble. (Puppy people, we are talking to you!)
  ·      A natural source of calcium and phosphorous.

Raw meaty bones are rich in digestive enzymes that pets cannot get while eating a kibble or canned based diet. Raw bones are a great introduction to the raw movement, and are user friendly. To feed a raw bone,  you remove the frozen bone from the packaging and feed as is. There is no need to thaw out the bone.

Using tarps allows easy clean up after dinner or snack time.

Are raw bones messy?

Many people do not feed their pet raw bones because they believe the raw bones will make a mess. Having fed hundreds of raw bones throughout the past several years we can attest that this simply isn’t the case. Raw bones are typically less messy than cooked and smoked bones which tend to be extremely greasy. We recommend feeding them frozen, so when they thaw it will drip moisture. There are precautions that you can take to feed them in a sanitary manner.

·      Take the bone out of packaging and place it on a clean towel, or plastic tarp.
·      If the dog picks up the bone and removes it from the designated area, use your command (“Give” is used often), and have your pet release the bone.
·      Place the bone back on the towel or tarp.
·      Continue this through the first several times that you give your pet a raw bone, and this will condition your pet that they can only have the bone where you allow them to have the bone.
·      After your pet has chewed the bone, wash the towel with hot water, or sanitize your tarp.

It is also a good practice to take away their bone with the use of a command periodically, because you don’t want your pet to begin guarding their bones.. Always give it back to your pet, or replace it with something else that makes them happy so the exchange is a positive instead of a negative.

Some people choose to feed raw bones on their tile floors, and this is fine but you will need to sanitize the floors after every feeding. The only concern with tile floors is it is possible for a large bone to crack the tile if dropped from a significant height.

Other people will only give their pets raw bones outside of the home. Of all of the options, this one should only be done in a special circumstance. Giving a raw bone outside presents several issues, most of which come down to safety. Raw bones thaw very quickly, and in warm temperatures they will begin to spoil exposing the bone to much more bacteria. They might also attract insects such as ants and flies, and can even attract larger wildlife such as coyote, bear etc. Obviously all of this is dependent upon where you live, but even in NJ the threat of a bear, coyote, or fox finding their way to the smell of a bone isn’t out of the question. Furthermore, you don’t want the bone to find its way into any urine or feces that may be present outside.

Are raw bones safe for pets of all ages?
Raw bones are excellent snacks for all ages of dogs, puppies included!

This is one of the most frequently asked questions from customers that are interested in trying raw bones. Many people are afraid or unsure whether they would be appropriate for a puppies, kittens, or elderly pets. Without any question, raw bones are appropriate for all ages of pets. Whether you choose to feed or treat your pet with them is a personal decision, but they are safe enough to do so. Feeding raw bones to puppies has other benefits as well. Not only does this keep their teeth clean and healthy, but it satiates their appetite to chew, saving countless socks, shoes, and furniture legs. Raw bones are also safe for older dogs, but we recommend feeding more raw meaty bones rather than raw recreational bones to anyone whose pet suffers from dental problems. Raw meaty bones will help cushion their teeth while still allowing them to chew and tear. Recreational bones tend to be too hard, and to a pet who has dental issues you are much more likely to encounter problems.

In the next blog of this series, we will discuss Advanced Raw Concepts. Topics such as prey model raw diets, raw meaty bone diets, wolf diets, tripe, and gorge/fast principles will be discussed. These topics are not for the novice raw feeder, but for those more advanced pet parents who are looking for the next step. We will also discuss designing a menu, and how rotation diet principles play a pivotal role in overall nutrition.

Introduction to Raw Diets Part IV: Air Dried Raw

Ziwi Peak's Air Dried Raw Diet

To recap this series on raw diets, in parts one and two we covered the most frequently asked questions and the basics needed to get started feeding raw diets.  In part 3 we showed the benefits and versatility of freeze dried raw diets. In this fourth blog we will discuss a relatively new form of raw diet that is available today; the air dried raw diet. Ziwi Peak (a New Zealand based company) is leading the air dried, dehydrated, raw food market place. Air dried products are unique and as they become more widely available they will be another convenient tool for the raw feeder.

What is an air dried raw diet?

Air dried raw diets and freeze dried raw diets are very different in processing, texture, and the end result. Freeze drying results in products having a very dry, brittle texture that is best suited for crumbling or reconstituting with water. Air dried raw has a higher overall moisture content, and the end result is a flaky, semi moist product that is similar to a dry jerky. Air dried food does not need to be reconstituted and is best served as is. Air drying has long been used as a natural way to preserve food. In essence, you are simply dehydrating the product, lowering the moisture level to prevent spoiling. It is an easy in theory,  but to accomplish it while still retaining a raw, shelf stable end product is very difficult. Air drying is a gentle way to remove the water without heat. The process used by Ziwi Peak took three years to perfect.  Here is what takes place:

·      First, the raw product is cold formed into very thin sheets. Cold forming is a manufacturing process whereby the product is blended, and spread onto sheet trays without the use of heat to aid the process. This fail-safes that the product remains a raw product. This is done so that when they begin air drying the product, that the moisture is removed in an even manner. This ensures consistency so that parts of the product are not more susceptible to spoiling than other parts, which would ultimately ruin product when left in the bag.

Ziwi Peak's unique semi moist flakes.
·      Next, the product is moved into the drying chamber. The drying chamber is a room where large commercial fans gently circulate air over the product. This process takes upwards of 8 hours to achieve because no added heat is being used to speed the process.

·      Lastly, during the final minutes, the room temperature is raised slightly to a level that will kill any pathogens found within the food.

 What are the benefits of feeding air dried raw?

Your pet will experience benefits while on a raw diet. The benefits of feeding air dried raw are the same as if feeding any other form of raw diet. Some of the more common benefits to feeding raw diets include:

·      Better smelling breath
·      Glossy, healthy skin and coat
·      Consistent stool
·      Improved energy
·      Weight loss or weight gain

For more detailed information regarding the benefits of a raw diet, see the first blog in this series here:
Introduction to Raw Diets Part 1

Ziwi Peak sources 100% of their ingredients from New Zealand. Since New Zealand is an island, all ingredients are locally sourced and the freshest possible. Ziwi Peak contains 90% meat from lamb, venison, or venison and fish. All three of these formulas also contain green lipped mussels which is a natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega 3 fatty acids. The remaining 10% of the food is made up of vitamins, minerals, select carbohydrates, and kelp. The carbohydrate content in Ziwi Peak comes from green tripe, chicory, and parsley. Kelp is a known super food, and aids in stabilizing many functions within the body. For dog fanciers, kelp is  a natural product used to bring out the dog’s vibrant coat color and to increase pigmentation in the dog’s nose. As you can see, this air dried raw diet is packed with quality, nutrient dense ingredients.

Similarly to freeze drying, the air drying process leaves a shelf stable product. Ziwi Peak recommends using the food within eight weeks once opened. While this is the general recommendation as a maximum, the food is best when used within two-four weeks once opened. The reason behind this difference is that once the food is opened, it is exposed to oxygen and over time, this exposure will begin to degrade the food.

One advantage the unique air dried food has over freeze dried food is that you do not need to reconstitute the food; it can be served as is out of the bag. While at home, this may not sound like the biggest convenience, but for pet owners that hike or travel with their pets, or for pet owners that board their pets, it is certainly a welcomed bonus. Ziwi Peak is lightweight, easy to pack, and can be fed at a moments notice. It is also far less cumbersome than packing kibble.

How do I transition to air dried?

We recommend switching your pet to any new diet gradually, between three and seven days. Start by just using the new air dried raw as a topper over the current kibble or canned meal. Continue this for two days and watch for any transition issues that may arise. Catching a problem sooner will allow you to scale back the transition over a greater length of time without compounding the issue. If your pet is responding well to the new diet you can begin incorporating more of the air dried food. Most pets have no problems transitioning to the new air dried raw by Ziwi Peak.

If problems do arise during the transition, there are certain steps you can take. We always recommend a good digestive supplement that will help boost the good bacteria in the gut. These supplements can be used daily (highly recommended) or as a spot treatment during times of stress or change. They will help settle the stomach, and eliminate loose stools. We covered two very good digestive supplements in our 2nd blog of this series which can be found here:Introduction to Raw Diets Part 2

How much do I feed?

The one caution we have with Ziwi Peak (the same caution we have with all raw foods or premium kibble) is to watch overfeeding. Canine and feline obesity, diabetes, and other weight related diseases and conditions are more common today than in any time in the past. You have to be very diligent by starting with the manufacturers recommendations, and then adjusting if your pet is gaining weight (while not routine in any way, you should watch for weight loss as well) over time. The manufacturer recommendation is just a guideline, and every pet is different. This is especially important with raw diets, and even more so with Ziwi Peak.

This air dried raw food is high in protein, fat, and overall calories. Because the food is packed with nutrients and is not inclusive of much water content, one serving of Ziwi Peak is equivalent to three servings of fresh raw meat. It doesn’t take much Ziwi Peak to nourish your pet. Many pet owners will look at the serving size and think that it is not an adequate portion and will want to add more food. To help your pet adjust to the smaller portion size for Ziwi Peak, you can add water to the bowl, enough to equal the volume lost from your previous diet. This is only a transitional change; you should back the amount of water you add each day until you are feeding just the Ziwi Peak.

Can I feed Ziwi Peak as my pet’s sole diet?

You can absolutely feed air dried raw as the main portion of food or the entire portion of  food for your pet. . The air dried raw by Ziwi Peak is approved by the pet food regulatory body AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) as having met their nutrient profiles for a complete and balanced diet. There are some people who will not be able to feed just Ziwi Peak to their pet though. The food (like all raw foods) is more expensive than most kibble diets. For many pet parents that have numerous pets, or very large pets, feeding air dried raw is cost prohibitive as the dog’s sole diet. These people would be best feeding a combination of premium kibble or canned diets and the Ziwi Peak. People that feed raw frozen can also mix this with their current diet, or alternate between air dried raw and raw frozen. 

You can read more about Ziwi Peak on their website,

In our next blog, we are going to cover raw bones, and explain the two different types and how each can be used with your pet both as part of the diet, and as a treat.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cherrybrook Becomes Exclusive Sponsor of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Online Store


New Jersey Retailer Solidifies Position as “Top Dog” in Show Industry

(Bedminster, N.J.--April 18, 2013) -- Cherrybrook Premium Pet Supplies, Bedminster, N.J., the leading provider of show dog products, has become the exclusive sponsor of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Online Store. Under the arrangement, AKC online shoppers are directed seamlessly to Cherrybrook’s storefront offering more than 27,000 quality items for pets and their owners. 

Cherrybrook, an award-winning retailer, has catered to show dog handlers, groomers and pet owners since its founding in 1969, and is frequently recommended by breeders to their puppy clients. Cherrybrook’s mobile retail booth is a regular feature at the most exclusive dog shows, including The Westminster Kennel Club in New York City and The AKC Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando.

“AKC dog lovers have always relied on Cherrybrook to help them reach their goals, whether in the show ring, at a trial or just relaxing at home. Since 1969, Cherrybrook has been providing grooming tools, toys, treats, supplements, and a wide selection of high quality products," says Daphna Straus, AKC Vice President of Business Development. "We are delighted to have Cherrybrook as sponsor of the AKC Online Store, and we are grateful for Cherrybrook's ongoing support."

Cherrybrook and the AKC will work closely together to bring the best in dog supplies to their audience, and will regularly provide special offers through AKC publications like Your AKC, AKC Breeder, and Family Dog. AKC shoppers, like all Cherrybrook customers, will be automatically enrolled in a buyer rewards program called The Cherrybrook Champions Club, which provides rewards certificates, coupons and other savings incentives as well as a free subscription to the company’s monthly e-newsletter.

“This AKC Online Store will allow Cherrybrook to further deepen our relationships with the AKC community,” says Roy Loomis, President of Cherrybrook.  “For decades, our business has been deeply connected to the AKC constituency at all levels. We have always prided ourselves on serving their needs with quality products, expert staff and dependable customer service. We are really pleased to bring all of these elements to the AKC Online Store.”
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Cherrybrook Premium Pet Supplies sells products online at, at AKC shows and at retail stores in Bedminster, Garwood and Washington, New Jersey. The company serves dog show exhibitors, breeders, groomers and caring pet owners all over the world, with an overarching commitment to pet health and customer satisfaction. For more information about Cherrybrook, visit

The American Kennel Club, founded in 1884, is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function.  Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 20,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Companion Animal Recovery, the AKC Museum of the Dog and the AKC Humane Fund.  For more information, visit

AKC, American Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club seal and design, and all associated marks and logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks of The American Kennel Club, Inc.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Introduction to Raw Diets Part III

Freeze Dried Raw Diets

This is part III in our seven part series on everything Raw Diets. In Part I we addressed many of the frequently asked questions associated with feeding a raw diet. In Part II we answered more questions and discussed the pro's and con's of HPP processing. In Part III we will address the benefits and issues for those feeding or wanting to feed freeze dried raw as an alternative or as a compliment to raw frozen diets.

Typical freeze dried raw patties before adding water.
 “What does freeze dried mean?”

Commercial freeze drying has existed for many years and it is no wonder that raw dog food manufacturers have adopted the practice. These companies produce a highly volatile product that spoils easily. The freeze drying process allows manufacturers to take their established raw frozen diets and extend the shelf life dramatically without causing major nutrient damage. The process of freeze drying eliminates between 97% and 99% of the moisture content after the product if frozen and the surrounding pressure is reduced. This allows the moisture to be eliminated as a gas, rather than turning back to a liquid. What is important to note is that the product is still a raw diet. They do not apply any excessive heat to the product so no cooking takes place.

“Why should I feed a freeze dried raw diet to my pet?”

If you had to choose between a raw frozen diet or a freeze dried raw diet, you should choose both! Freeze dried raw diets are much more versatile than raw frozen diets. From a beginner’s perspective, freeze dried raw is a near perfect first step into feeding a raw diet. The simplest method of incorporating raw into your pet’s current diet is to use the food as a topper. To do so, either grate the patties or crumble them with your hands and place over top of the current food. It is a low cost, low stress way to introduce a raw diet to your pet. It is also a fair palate test as well, although some pets prefer freeze dried raw diets in a reconstituted form. To feed the food in a reconstituted form, soak the food with the manufacturer’s recommended amount of water. You can also add more water if you want it to be a looser mixture with liquid gravy. This method is also good for those pets that are particularly finicky.

The major advantage to freeze dried raw is how shelf stable it is. For example, look at Hurricane Sandy. This particular storm was devastating for many people including those who feed their pets a raw diet. In such a hectic situation a person already accustomed to feeding a freeze dried raw diet wouldn’t have to worry about how to transition their pet from a raw frozen diet over to a kibble or canned based diet in an emergency. If a person feeding raw frozen didn’t have freeze dried on hand as a back up they would be forced to go out in a very dangerous situation to get food for their pet, and even if they managed to get kibble or some cans it is very possible the dog would experience gastrointestinal problems after being on a raw diet for some time.

Financially speaking, we know people that lost hundreds of dollars in raw diets and raw bones as a result of that storm and the extended power outages that followed. While you couldn’t prevent all of that loss, we do know a select few that purchased freeze dried raw instead of raw frozen the week before the storm in preparation of what could, and eventually did happen. This saved them both the headache of changing foods and money lost in spoilage.   

Another big advantage to freeze dried raw diets is that it travels very well. It is easy to pack; and it is convenient for those people that need to feed their pet raw while on a vacation, while traveling to and from a dog show, or while staying with a friend or family member. It also eliminates the need to find a local raw retailer or a constant supply of ice or access to a freezer.

For smaller dogs, niblets are a great choice!

There are several different convenient forms of freeze dried raw diets. It is available in the typical patties, in smaller niblets, and even in powder form.  As far as preparing a freeze dried raw meal, it is a much bigger convenience than raw frozen diets. It is pre-portioned for you (and not frozen together) and you only have to break it up into a crumble or reconstitute it. It is far cleaner then raw frozen diets which can definitely be messy at times. You do not need a dedicated cutting board or space in your freezer. If your pet does not eat all of the meal, you can refrigerate the reconstituted portion for up to a few days, although I wouldn’t recommend going beyond three days. The longer you refrigerate the portion, the more you can expect air to damage the nutrient content and you run the risk of spoilage. For those accustomed to feeding raw frozen diets, the biggest convenience comes from not having to plan your day around pre-portioning and defrosting your pet’s food.

“Is freeze dried raw healthier than kibble or canned diets?”

Freeze dried raw is healthier from a strict nutritional sense. It is healthier for the same reasons that raw frozen diets are healthier. Raw foods are more vibrant, and generally contain higher quality ingredients and fewer preservatives than either kibble or cans. When dealing with manufacturers of kibble and cans you have to really inspect their ingredient panels with care, as some ingredients listed on the label can represent many different quality levels within that same ingredient terminology. You have to ask a lot of questions to become familiar and confident in a company. Feeding freeze dried raw diets will have the same health benefits as feeding raw frozen diets. You can read the full list of benefits found here in part one of the raw blog series.

 “Is freeze dried raw safe?”

Yes, freeze dried raw diets (as well as raw frozen diets) are safe, but there are a few precautions you should take while feeding this particular type of diet though. You may want to avoid freeze dried raw if your pet is prone to bloat. Different recipes expand at different rates and to different sizes in the stomach once moisture thoroughly soaks into the food. If there is any concern with your pet experiencing bloat, I would not recommend feeding a freeze dried raw diet without consulting your veterinarian, your breeder, and the manufacturer. Some products expand to several times the original size while some remain nearly the same. With something potentially deadly such as bloat why risk the chance? For pets that are susceptible to bloat, raw frozen diets and air dried raw diets may prove to be better options. Always seek professional assistance when dealing with life threatening complications with your pets.  

Let me also remind you that while the food isn’t frozen, the food is still raw and you still need to treat it accordingly. Wash any surface where the raw food comes in contact with. You should wash your hands after handling the food as well. With that said, there is good news. Most pets do well on a freeze dried raw diet and there are more options to choose from now more than ever!

“How do I transition to a freeze dried raw diet?”

When transitioning to a 100% freeze dried raw diet, care should be taken while introducing the new food. We suggest following all of the recommendations on the label by the manufacturer. Most recommend that you mix the freeze dried raw with the food you are currently feeding your pet over a period of five to ten days.  If you did not want to feed freeze dried raw as the sole meal to your pet you would mix small portions into your current food. Freeze dried raw breaks apart very easily, and our customers have had great success using it to entice finicky eaters. When feeding freeze dried to cats we recommend thoroughly reconstituting it with water per the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you choose not to reconstitute it ensure that your cat has an abundance of clean, available water and drinks thoroughly.

If you experience problems while transitioning your pet to freeze dried raw, you may need to prolong the transition period that was recommended by the manufacturer. Every pet is different, and every pet will transition differently and at different speeds. One thing that can help during the transition is a good digestive supplement. You can read more about these and why they are beneficial in the previous blog, “Introduction to Raw DietsPart II”

                                                                “Are freeze dried diets for me?”

Look how happy raw diets make this little guy!
You have to answer that question based on your situation and your pet’s overall health.  Some pets have dietary restrictions or sensitivities that will not allow them to eat freeze dried raw diets. Some freeze dried raw diets are too high in protein or fat for some pets that are less active, overweight, prone to becoming overweight, or with more serious underlying health problems. Most freeze dried raw diets are more expensive than kibble based diets and raw frozen diets as well, and in this economy not everyone can afford to feed medium or large size pets this type of diet. The higher price point is due to the concentration of nutrition found in freeze dried. You aren’t paying for moisture content, so there is more substance in a bag of freeze dried raw. You are also paying for the conveniences that freeze dried diets afford you to take advantage of.  For smaller pets, or if you are feeding it as a topper for larger pets, freeze dried raw diets are one of the many options you have in your raw food arsenal.

 In part 4 of this Introduction to Raw Diets blog series, we will introduce another type of raw diet, the air dried raw diet. We will explain the process of creating this unique product type, and will compare it to both raw frozen diets and freeze dried diets. Ultimately, you will see how it is yet another option in the raw feeder’s repertoire.