Friday, March 13, 2015

5 Quick Tips If Your Pet Becomes Poisoned

By Dr. Becker
In 2013, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) processed nearly 180,000 cases of pets potentially exposed to toxic substances.
The APCC has compiled a list of five important tips for handling a pet poisoning emergency in your own household.

5 Quick Tips for Dealing with a Pet Poisoning Emergency

  1. Be Ready
    Before you ever need them, make sure your veterinarian’s phone number, the number of the closest emergency veterinary hospital, and the number for a pet poison center are saved in your phone. The APCC number is 888-426-4435; the Pet Poison Hotline is 800-213-6680.
    And remember that you may be able to provide important, even life-saving initial treatment at home if you have a pet first aid kit ready and easily accessible in an emergency.
  2. Keep Your Cool
    Maintaining your composure when faced with a pet emergency can be hard to do, but it’s really important if you want to insure your furry family member gets the help he needs. If you stay calm, you’ll be better able to provide first aid, as well as vital information to the people treating your pet.
  3. Evaluate Your Pet’s Condition
    It’s important to make a clear-eyed observation of your pet’s condition. Is she behaving abnormally? Is she bleeding? Is she having trouble breathing? Is she having convulsions or seizures? Is she unresponsive? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, your pet needs immediate medical attention. Call your vet or the nearest emergency animal hospital and alert them that you’re on your way.
  4. Be Prepared to Answer Questions
    What is the toxic substance you know or suspect your pet ingested? Either pack up the substance itself (this is ideal), or write down the exact name of the product or medication. You’ll also want to write down the strength (typically in milligrams) of the drug, the concentration of active ingredients in herbicides or pesticides and the EPA registration number, and any other information you think might help the veterinarian who will be treating your pet.
    When did the poisoning happen? Did you catch your pet actually ingesting the substance? Has your pet vomited? If so, did she vomit up any of the poison or packaging?
  5. Be Proactive
    If you know or suspect your pet has ingested a poison, don’t wait for symptoms before seeking help. Time is of the essence in preventing the poison from being absorbed by your pet’s body. The faster you are able to treat your furry companion at home (with guidance from your vet or a pet poison hotline), or get her to a veterinarian, the better her chances for survival and a full recovery.

Dr. Becker is the resident proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian of You can learn holistic ways of preventing illness in your pets by subscribing to, an online resource for animal lovers. For more pet care tips, subscribe for FREE to Mercola Healthy Pet Newsletter.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Coconut Oil: Why Your Pet Needs this Superfood

For centuries now, people around the world have been using coconut oil and now it is one of the trendiest supplements you can give to your dog or cat. While coconut oil is being studied as a cure for many different ailments and diseases around the world, people are starting to give it to their pets for the many well known health benefits.

Coconut oil is easily added to food, or applied topically. Unlike some fish oils, coconut oil has a pleasant smell and is highly palatable. You can even use it to get your finicky dog or cat to finish their food. Pure coconut oil below 75degrees is a solid, and above it a liquid. You should try giving both versions to your pet to find out their preference. Here are the five most important reasons you should give your pet coconut oil.

The Top 5 Reasons to Supplement Coconut Oil
  1. Digestion and Nutrient Absorption:   Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids or MCFA's and these are digested differently than other fats. While the science is very complicated, in short these fats are broken down easier than other fats, and this causes less strain on the digestive system. They are also absorbed easier than other fats, which mean that the nutrients are almost immediately available for fuel.

    This dog clearly doesn't like his new low fat food.

  2. Weight Loss and Increased Energy:   For dogs that need to lose weight, many people put their dog on a low calorie diet. While it works, it is an unnatural process as dogs need fats in their diet. Rather than buy a low fat food, you can supplement coconut oil. The MCFA's mentioned above do not get stored, as they are transported directly to the liver to be burned for fuel. This triggers the metabolism to increase beyond what is sent to the liver, and your pet loses weight naturally, through the use of GOOD fat. On a side note- it is much tastier than low fat pet food, so your pet will thank you!

  3. Brain Health:   The main benefit coconut oil will bring your pet is improved cognitive function. Our brain cells need fuel, or they die. Most of the time the brain uses glucose as a fuel source, but the conversion process can create problems and inefficiencies within the cells. By using coconut oil which contains medium chain triglycerides, it allows the brain to use ketones as an alternative fuel source, repairing damage and boosting cognitive function. This is very important for pets of all ages, but especially the young and old.

  4. Dental Health:   Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. By adding coconut oil to your pet's diet, or by brushing your pet's teeth with coconut oil, you will eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath and gum disease. If the idea of brushing your pet's teeth doesn't appeal to you, there are some other things to try. For dogs, smear the coconut oil on their favorite chew. You can dip the ends of antlers in coconut oil to make an all-natural toothbrush, fill hollow marrow bones, or even just let them lick if off of your fingers.
    This dog has a lustrous skin and coat, look at it shine!

  5. Skin and Coat:   Above all else, the most common reason people supplement coconut oil is to improve the skin and coat of their pet. Whether they want to alleviate dry, itchy skin, or if they want to cure hotspots or yeast infections, coconut oil is the perfect supplement to help. Coconut oil is one of the best natural moisturizers for your pet's skin and coat. To eliminate dryness and itchy skin, add coconut oil to the diet, and also use it topically on scabby areas. By adding the coconut oil topically, you will help to reduce itching by eliminating the inflammation that causes it. This will start the healing process. The look, feel, and smell of your pet's coat will improve with coconut oil. You can even apply it to their pads during winter to avoid cracking.

    It is also great for skin care as it can help treat and cure hotspots, yeast infections, or acne. The same anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties that help with dental health, also helps with these common skin problems, and because it is natural you don't have to worry about them licking it off.

How to Select your Coconut Oil

Now that you know why you should be supplementing coconut oil, you need to know what to look for when you go to buy your pets supplement. Not all supplements are created equal, and without careful consideration you might not be getting the desired health benefits. There are several keywords on the packaging that will clue you in on what type of quality is included in the jar. Here is a list of the most important keywords to look for:

These island cats know the value of eating coconuts.
    • Extra Virgin
    • Cold Pressed
    • Organic
    • GMO/GE Free 

The packaging will probably include many other marketing terms, but those have little value to you in your decision making process. The two most important keywords on this list are extra virgin and cold pressed. Extra Virgin coconut oil is the only coconut oil you should be buying. If you are buying virgin, or unnamed coconut oil it has been processed several times already, and the product is no longer as nutrient dense as it was previously. On top of that, there isn't much of a savings between the two. Similarly, Cold Pressed coconut oil ensures that they are not treating scrap coconut pieces with heat to extract the very last little bit of oil. The nutrients in this oil will not be as bio-available because of the extra processing.

Looking for coconut oil? Buy Now: Wholistic Pet Coconut Oil

How much should I give?

This is the standard dosage, although you can alter it.
With coconut oil, you should give enough coconut oil to maximize the health benefits without causing digestive upset or loose stool. Generally speaking you should give 1 teaspoon for every 10lbs and 1 tablespoon for every 30 lbs, although you know your pet better than I. If your pet is experiencing stress, use less. If you are supplementing to improve certain conditions, and your pet has a healthy digestive system, use more. When using it topically, you can apply it as needed throughout the day.

Fish Oil or Coconut Oil?

Customers always ask us which type of supplement they should add to their pet's diet. The short answer is both. By including both or by rotating between both types of supplements you truly maximize the nutrition you are giving. Whether you give coconut oil one day and fish oil the next, or simply rotate once you run out of one, it shouldn't matter. Each supplement is better for some conditions versus the other, but both are better than not giving any at all. The one area coconut oil shines over fish oil is in purity. Unfortunately, fish oil can contain contaminants and toxins from where the fish were harvested and how it was preserved. If you are looking for an omega supplement but are concerned about heavy metal toxins, mercury, artificial preservatives or sustainability- than coconut oil is for you. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Salt in a Wound Can be a Good Thing! of the most important but sometimes forgotten aspects of being a pet owner is first aid.  When adopting or purchasing a pet for the first time, the necessary items that come to mind include: food, treats, bowls, a collar and a leash.  But what happens when a pet gets a scratch or scrape or bug bite?  A trip to the vet may not always be necessary and being prepared for an injury at home can be simple.  So what first aid items are necessary and which are all natural?  With the ever growing list of products out there, you need to be sure you are choosing the right one.  Cherrybrook is here to help!

Two first aid wound treatment products we recommend are Vet-Aid Sea Salt Wound Care Spray and Vet-Aid Sea Salt Wound Care Foam.  Both are all natural products used to accelerate the healing process and treat and prevent infections.  They differ from other first aid products because they are formulated with a special ingredient called Lysozyme.

Lysozyme is an enzyme that helps prevent bacterial infection.  It attacks the protective cell walls of bacteria.  Bacteria cells have a delicate membrane but are high in osmotic pressure.  Bacteria walls build a tough skin of carbohydrate chains, interlocked with short peptide strands that protect the cell membrane against this pressure.  Lysozyme works by breaking the carbohydrate chains and destroying the structural integrity of the cell wall.  The bacteria then burst under their own internal pressure.

Sea Salt, another key ingredient, is a natural anti inflammatory and antibiotic. Sea Salt for treating wounds seems contrary to the expression we often hear about rubbing salt in a wound.  Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go rub a pile of sea salt into an open sore…the appropriate formulation and quantity is important when used for healing.  Sea salt works by entering the wound and forcing the moisture out of the cells that are causing swelling.  By removing the moisture, the cells shrink taking the bacteria with them.

Vet Aid is an all-natural product that was created to clean and heal wounds without using antiseptics and disinfectants.  Antiseptics and disinfectants kill bacteria, but they are also harmful to healing tissues.  Vet Aid products kill microbial invaders and provide essential minerals to enhance cell growth and repair resulting in a faster healing time.

Vet Aid SpraySea Salt Wound Care Spray can be applied, then wrapped under bandages or left open.  The spray can be used on the following:

  • Topical cleansing
  • Cuts
  • Scrapes
  • Burns
  • Surgical incisions, and post operative infections
  • Skin infections, including pyoderma and hot spots
  • Sun burn and insect bites
  • On or around mucous membranes including lesions in the mouth, nose, eyes and genital areas. 

Vet Aid Wound Foam
Sea Salt Wound Care Foam differs from the spray because it also contains a silicone ingredient that creates a protective coating over more mature wounds to help protect as it accelerates healing.  It can also be used under bandages or left open but should not be used on mucous membranes.  It is intended for wounds that are further along in the healing process.  The foam can be used in conjunction with the spray or by itself on wounds that are not open.  It is best for treating the following:

  • Sunburns
  • Insect Bites
  • Coat Loss
  • Dry Cracked Skin

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pet Dental Health Starts at Home

It is well known that oral care is vital for general health among humans, but did you know that it is just as important for your furry friend? Just like us, our pets can develop tartar and plaque build up. This not only causes bad breath but can also lead to more serious problems such as Periodontal Disease, Endodontic Disease, and more. Periodontal Disease is the most common clinical condition in pets even though it is preventable. If left untreated, these diseases can spread to the heart, kidneys, and other important organs and become life threatening. Don’t let this preventable problem affect your pets, practice routine dental cleanings in the comfort of your own home.

 Cleaning your pets’ teeth does not need to be a difficult process; starting at a young age and associating positive feelings with this daily routine can make the experience enjoyable for both you and your pet.

Take the time to look at the many different options available for your pets’ oral health. From toothbrushes to dental bones, the pet industry has a wide array of options to keep your pets’ teeth and gums healthy.  Using these oral health products will not only benefit your pets general health but will also benefit your wallet.

By cleaning your pets’ teeth daily you can prevent a costly problem. According to a 2013 analysis by VPI Pet Insurance, “the average cost to prevent dental disease in pets is $171.82, but it costs $531.71 to treat dental disease.”

The oral health of our pets is important in more ways than one. Prevent disease and dent in your wallet by cleaning your pets teeth everyday.
Check out Cherrybrook's dental products now!

References: “Dog breath? Get ‘em to the vet to prevent a costly problem” “February is National Pet Dental Health Month”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't Brush This Off: the importance of proper brush cleaning and maintenance

Many brushes wear out over time because of a buildup of styling product, debris and oil which degrades the rubber pad causing pins to loosen and repostition. Cleaning your brush after each use will protect the investment of these essential grooming tools.

Here are a few easy steps for proper brush cleaning:
  • Begin cleaning by using your fingers to gently remove as many of the woven strands of hair from your brush as you can.
  • Once most of the hair has been removed from the brush, draw a dry bristle brush cleaner several times across the pin brush from end to end to remove any remaining hair and debris from the brush. We like to recommend the Chris Christensen Brush Cleaner packed with 37mm nylon bristles.
  • Next, apply a bit of waterless bath to the bristles of the brush cleaner. We recommend Chris Christensen OC Magic Foam. This waterless bath makes a fantastic brush cleaner. This "magic" foam breaks away build-up and gives easier control of the application. The foam also greatly reduces the amount of moisture your brush is exposed to. Excess moisture will degrade the rubber pad of your brush over time. It is important to apply the foam to the brush cleaner and not directly to your bristle, pin or slicker brush. Draw the brush cleaner (with the foam) gently over the pins of your brush from end to end to loosen and remove any remaining debris.
  • Shake your brush to remove any excess moisture and set the brush face down to dry completely, so that any remaining moisture will dry and drain away from the pad.
  • Shake your brush cleaner and set it to dry face down as well.
We hope that by following these steps you will enjoy your grooming brushes for years to come. By the way, you can use these exact steps to extend the life of the brushes you use on your own hair as well!

The Importance of Interactive Play with Cats

Caitlin, our Bedminster Store Manager and her feline friend Gadget, have written an article on the importance of cat play.

There is a common misconception that cats are low maintenance pets needing little attention, play or exercise. All you have to do is feed a cat and clean the litter box, right? Wrong! This is the kind of misguided information that can lead pet parents in the wrong direction and encourages cats to be the common stereotype of unfriendly, aloof and even nasty in some cases. Cats are actually very complex animals and need just as much tender love and care as other pets do. You already know that they need to be fed and cleaned, but one important cat care factor which is often left out, is interactive play.

Cats are naturally curious creatures
Cats are easily bored if there is nothing to challenge them on a daily basis. Boredom leads to depression and bad behavior such as marking and unwanted scratching. To avoid these behaviors, interactive play is key. One great and simple way to instigate interactive play is to purchase a cat teaser toy with a lot of feathers or ribbons and dangle it around for your feline friend. Catnip infused teasers are also great if you have a cat that is resistant to play.

Cats need exercise too 
Cats are natural hunters. In the wild they have plenty of time to burn off their last meal by hunting the next one. Our domestic furry friends, however, don't always have that opportunity, aside from the occasional bug. Playing with your cat and getting them to run and jump is essential to keeping them healthy. Cat towers, scratchers and tunnels are good furniture to purchase that will encourage climbing and jumping. You can bring that teaser back into play as well by having your cat chase it up the tower and through the tunnel.

Cats get anxiety
Maybe you just moved, got a new pet, work long hours or even recently had a baby. All of these things can stress your cat. Interactive play is especially important during these times to release anxiety and reduce stress. Playing with your cat for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night can help keep them happy. It can even use up some of their extra energy so they spend their down-time sleeping instead of scratching on your new sofa.

Cats are part of our family.
What better reason to play with your cat than to create a lasting special bond? Interactive play creates special bonds between us and our furry feline friends leading to a happier you and a happier kitty.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Supplementing your Pet's Diet: Omega Fatty Acids

How to Choose an Omega Supplement for your Pet

Though pet nutrition has advanced and there are many holistic options available, there has been an influx of information over the past few years about the need to add supplements to our pets' food in order to meet their "specific" nutrition and health needs. Your pet will greatly benefit from added supplements, like omega fatty acid. Pets, like us, require omega fatty acids to help ensure good health, and they aren't necessarily getting the correct amounts or ratios from their pet food. Follow these three steps and you will be able to choose the appropriate supplement for your pet.

Step 1:  Evaluate your pet's health
Is the food you feed your pet rich in the essential omega fatty acids?

All pets can greatly benefit from an omega supplement as not all foods provide omega fatty acids, and not all foods provide the optimal ratio of them. There are some definite tell tale signs that your pet is experiencing a deficiency in omega fatty acids. You will typically notice the following:

  • Dull coat color, lacking a radiant sheen
  • Dry, flaky, cracked skin
  • Suffers from allergies
  • Experiences joint stiffness and joint pain

 Many people only supplement omega fatty acids for skin and coat health, but the benefits are far reaching. Omega fatty acids are critical to proper brain function, retina function, a reduction of harmful inflammation throughout the body, and the daily maintenance and production of cell walls.

Step 2: Learn the difference between Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s

One of the most important things you need to know is that omega-3’s produce an anti-inflammatory response within the body, while omega-6’s produce an inflammatory response within the body. This is why the ratio between them is so important, and should be taken into consideration when choosing a product to supplement.  Many pets (and humans) suffer from an omega-3 deficiency. This leads to inflammation within the body, which can increase the prevalence of disease throughout the body.

How can you tell which fatty acids are omega-3’s and which are omega-6’s? The majority of manufacturers list them on the packaging, and you will see them under their appropriate abbreviations. EPA, DHA, and ALA are all omega-3 fatty acids.

LA, AA, and GLA are the most commonly listed omega-6 fatty acids. The most important omega-3 fatty acids to pets are EPA, DHA, and ALA. All of these are essential for life, but they come from different sources. The omega-3 fatty acid ALA comes from the ingestion of seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils. The health benefits of flaxseed oil are largely credited to the ALA that is naturally occurring within the seed.

However, the beneficial ALA that is obtained from flaxseed oil must be converted into either EPA or DHA, and pets are not efficient in the conversion process. This means that some of the benefits are never realized. This is the primary reason fish oils have surpassed flaxseed oil as the most commonly used omega supplement for pets.

Now knowing that pets are most often deficient in omega-3’s, you want the product to contain as much of these fatty acids as possible, while minimizing the amount of omega-6’s. There isn’t an exact ratio to seek out, but you should look for products that contain a ratio of 8:1 or more. By doing so you ensure that you increase the omega-3’s while decreasing the amount of omega-6’s to achieve balance within the body. Omega-6’s are still essential for healthy living, because of the helpful inflammatory responses to injury, sickness, and disease.

Step 3: Choose your source of Omega Fatty Acids

Now that you know what the omega fatty acids are, and where they come from, you can select which supplement you need, and how you want to administer it to your pet. Below is a list of the six most commonly used omega supplements, and their benefits.

  1. Flaxseed Oil:  Rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, flaxseed oil is a good skin and coat supplement. The anti-inflammatory properties helps regulate skin conditions such as allergies, while also benefiting dogs that suffer from joint problems. This is a good supplement to rotate into your pet’s diet, but because ALA must be converted, you will need to supplement other products that contain EPA and DHA.

  2. Soybean Oil: Soybean oil contains the omega-3 ALA, as well as the omega-6 LA. Linolenic acid helps optimizes skin permeability to fight off bacteria and infections. It will also have the same anti-inflammatory properties as flaxseed oil. You should note that if your pet is allergic to soy, they are also likely to be allergic to soybean oil.

  3. Cod Liver Oil: This is one of the newer oils on the market for pets today. Cod Liver Oil contains high quantities of the omega-3’s DHA and EPA. This concentrated source of omega-3’s helps relieve joint stiffness, improved cardiovascular health, and helping with wound repair with the skin and coat. While not as popular as salmon oil, Dr. Ian Billinghurst, creator of the BARF diet, recommends that you give this over any other omega supplement.

  1. Pollock Oil: This oil contains both omega-3’s and omega-6’s, but the ratio between them is around 13 or 14: 1, which is amongst the highest ratios in all natural fish oils. The benefits of pollock oil are numerous. It is the best oil to supplement for improved skin and coat health. It also helps maintain cardiovascular health, the nervous system, eyes, and a high fertility status.

  1. Coconut Oil: This oil lacks the essential omega-3’s, but contains a lot of omega-9’s and omega-6’s. Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, and contains antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-fungal compounds. It is also the richest source of lauric acid, which naturally fights yeast infections and parasitic infections. This product can be consumed, or used topically directly on your pet to help heal wounds, and relieve itching.
  2. Salmon Oil:  Salmon oil is the most widely available omega supplement for pets. It contains a high ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s. Many people use this as a skin and coat supplement, but it is a better brain supplement. Fish is brain food for humans and pets. You want to seek out wild caught, cold water salmon oil from Alaska if possible. This will ensure that it isn’t contaminated, and the omega-3 levels will be much higher than farm raised salmon oil. 

 Final Thoughts

This is a great example of a dog with a healthy coat. 
 Your pet will greatly benefit from an omega fatty acid supplement, but like anything related to the health of your pet, please consult your veterinarian or nutritionist before doing so. Along with supplementing one or more of these oils, you should also look to include whole food sources that contain essential fatty acids where possible.

A healthy coat should have sheen, and the skin will not be dry, cracked, or brittle. One of the most obvious times to supplement more omega fatty acids is during winter. During winter your pet is often kept indoors, and the heating in your house will cause a dull coat and flaky skin. This is a time where you should be boosting the amount given. As a general rule you should supplement between 20-55mg of omega fatty acids per pound of body weight for dogs and cats. While you may only supplement 30mg /lb for most of the year, your pet will benefit from a 15-20mg boost during winter.