Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Cherrybrook DCM Update & Recommendations

An Ongoing Look at DCM and our Recommendations
regarding the recent FDA DCM Update:
As promised, we are continuing to dig into the recent FDA update on the possible connection of certain diets to a rise in the incidences of DCM.

To recap, the FDA DCM update provided some quantitative data that helped bring perspective to the issue. Although the update answered some questions, and perhaps allayed some of our fears and misconceptions, many questions remain unanswered. In the weeks since the update it seems that everyone with an opinion has offered one. We have heard from the pet food companies, veterinarians, the media, social media groups, neighbors, family members, friends at the dog park, etc.
Many large breeds are known to have genetic predispositions to DCM. Our team at Cherrybrook, as experienced pet owners and breeders, have experienced the pain of untimely loss from DCM.

DCM is not new, it existed long before grain-free foods.

We are all concerned that the rates of DCM appear to be rising, but it is important to point out the FDA investigation has found no causal link between grain free diets and DCM, we are encouraged that the food companies, veterinarians and the FDA are working together in the spirit of collaboration. Hopefully this will lead to actionable solutions.

We go to great lengths to ensure that the foods we carry are healthy options for all pets, including our own. We believe that most grain, particularly corn, wheat and soy are not appropriate sources of nutrition for a carnivore.

Many years ago, we decided to remove foods containing corn, wheat and soy from our shelves and began offering grain free and raw options.

Grain free and raw diets are helpful in alleviating food sensitivities which cause digestive issues and hot spots. In addition, grain free and raw diets are beneficial in mitigating and combating a host of chronic health conditions and diseases including obesity, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer. We all understand that these health conditions are sharply on the rise. We have seen health conditions improve when pets are fed grain free diets.

While grain free diets are helpful to many pets, they are not a solution for every pet. Though we do not carry foods containing corn, wheat or soy; we do have many grain inclusive foods available on our shelves. The grain foods we carry contain wholesome grains such as oatmeal, tapioca, millet, rice, brown rice, quinoa and other whole grains. Many of the brands we carry offer both grain inclusive and grain free options.
When we looked closely at each of the DCM cases in the FDA Investigation, we observed that many of the formulas fell into the Limited Ingredient or single animal protein diets. This brings us to our first recommendation: rotate the formulas you feed your dog. This will allow your dog to have access to a broader amino acid profile from different animal proteins, and animal-based proteins provide the best source of amino acids and taurine.

Rotating formulas, including rotating proteins, is particularly important if you are feeding a limited ingredient diet.

Pack some amino acid power into your dog’s day by incorporating freeze dried organs like duck heart, chicken liver or mussels as a treat. Organ meat provides a rich source of taurine.

This may be the right time to consider raw. We have several raw frozen and freeze-dried food options available in our stores. These foods contain the highest percentage of animal-based protein and are an excellent source of nutrition for your pet. If you don’t want to make a full transition to raw food, you can supplement your pet’s diet with a raw or freeze-dried patty added to their current diet.

If your vet has recommended, or you think you would be more comfortable on a grain-based diet, we encourage you to come in and talk to us. Once again, there is no “one-size fits all” solution. We have a large selection of both grain and grain free options and additional resources available in our store to help you make the best choice for you and your pet.

Link to the FDA June 26, 2019 Update

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a directory of responses from our brands on this issue. Find your brand below to learn more:









As we dig deeper into the FDA update, Cherrybrook will be providing more information in the coming days and weeks. We will continue to update you with any developments, via our Facebook page and weekly emails. Our Store team members are always available to help answer your questions regarding pet food choices. 

Cherrybrook Update on the DCM Investigation

Latest Update From Cherrybrook on
The FDA DCM Investigation:

At Cherrybrook your pet’s health and well being is our highest priority. Today the FDA issued a long awaited update on their ongoing Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) Investigation.  There has been much discussion about DCM and diet in the “dogverse” this past year, we are talking with customers, pet food industry experts, veterinary nutritionists, and food companies about this very topic on a daily basis. The update by the FDA was anxiously awaited by all of us.

This update provides a good deal more information than the initial alert issued in July of 2018 and the first update the FDA provided in February of 2019. The data provided is welcome because in the absence of data and facts there has been much speculation and misinformation disseminated over the last several months.
Here are some of the data highlights from the update:
·     There have been a total of 524 reported cases of DCM between Jan 2014- April 2019
·     There have been a total of 119 DCM related deaths between Jan 2014-April 2019
·     The update provides a listing of the breeds affected by DCM, the largest group with 92 reported cases are Golden Retrievers 
·     Dry Kibble was the most common type of pet food with a 452 reported cases having fed kibble
·     The update lists 16 brands of pet food frequently named 
·     Chicken was the most common animal protein fed in the reported cases
·     90% of the diets were "grain free" with some combination of Peas, Lentils and Potatoes
There is a good deal of information provided in this update. But the data does not provide answers. This is a just the beginning. The most important take away from the FDA update is that there is still much work to be done before they can fully determine a casual link between DCM and “grain free” diets:
“Based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.

We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating “grain-free” labeled pet food. The FDA is using a range of science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about this emergence of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients.”
As we dig deeper into the FDA update Cherrybrook will be provide more information in the coming days and weeks. We will continue to update you with any developments, updates will be posted on our Facebook page and sent via our weekly emails. Our Store team members are always available to help answer your questions regarding pet food choices. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Meet Casper Milan

Casper Milan Cassarino, a second generation Afghan hound breeder, has been grooming since he was 11 years old.  Though born in New York, Casper spent many years living and studying in Italy, returning to Brooklyn, NY as an adult. He worked in the medical field, while maintaining his passion for dogs and pet grooming. Casper was actively grooming dogs, showing dogs and raising Afghan hounds. A proud accomplishment, Casper opened his own grooming salon, Pimp My Pooch, to pursue his passion full-time. Recently, Casper realized he needed more room for his 8 Afghans to play, and decided to move to NJ. Brooklyn's loss is Cherrybrook's gain.

Some of Casper's Grooms:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Important Announcement About Raw Goat Milk

We have just received notice from our Pet Food Distributors that they will no longer be able to ship any Raw Goat Milk products to our stores, because it is unpasteurized. The state of New Jersey has issued a cease and desist to our distributors citing Title 24 - Sections 10-57.17 and 10-57.18 Food and Drugs Statutes listed below:

24:10-57.17. Pasteurization required
No person shall sell, offer for sale, or distribute to the ultimate consumer any milk or cream that is not pasteurized.

24:10-57.18. Milk and fluid milk products; pasteurization
No milk products nor fluid milk products shall be manufactured, shipped, transported, or imported for use or sale within this State unless the milk and fluid milk products used in the manufacture of such food products are pasteurized before or during manufacture into milk products or fluid milk products, provided, however, that this shall not apply to cheese which has been kept for at least 60 days after manufacture at a temperature no lower than 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

We have received word from other holistic independent pet supply stores that they have been visited by members of their municipalities Departments of Health and have had their stock of Raw Goat Milk removed from their freezers.

Please be assured that Raw Goat Milk is safe and healthy. This is not a recall based on any reports of adverse health issues with our Raw Goat Milk supply. There is no evidence that any pets in NJ have ever been sickened or had their health compromised by adding Raw Goat Milk to their diets. In fact, we have many testimonials to the contrary. We at Cherrybrook believe in the holistic and healing effects of Raw Goat Milk so firmly that many of our team members feed it to their own pets daily.

This cease and desist affects our ability to sell the following products:
  • Answers Raw Goat Milk
  • Answers Cow Kefir
  • Answers Goat Cheese Treat
  • Primal Raw Goat Milk
  • Steve’s Chia Freeze
We have identified alternatives to the Raw Frozen Goat Milk. Freeze Dried Goat Milk products are available as the state of New Jersey and the FDA consider Freeze Drying a pathogen elimination step. There are also frozen and dehydrated alternatives to Raw Goat Milk.

Alternatives Available at Cherrybrook:
We will continue to keep you updated and advise you immediately if we are once again able to sell Raw Goat Milk products.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Is There A Link Between Grain Free & DCM?

Attention valued customers!

We have spoken with many customers, pet food companies, and nutrition experts over the recent weeks since the national news that the FDA is investigating a possible link between the feeding of grain free foods and Dilated CardioMyopathy (DCM) heart disease in dogs.

To help ease some of your concerns here is some more detailed information on this issue.

What is Dilated CardioMyopathy (DCM)?
DCM is a heart disease that has been genetically associated with certain large breed dogs. DCM is linked to a deficiency in the essential amino acid Taurine.

Why are Grain Free foods being linked to DCM?
Grain free diets often contain legumes like soy, potatoes, lentils, as well as certain beans and peas. Legumes are a nutrient dense source of carbohydrates and fiber and are a substitute for low quality grains and grain fragments. However, legumes also contain phytoestrogens.

Phytoestrogens can block the uptake and synthesis of Taurine, which is why it is being considered as the link to DCM.

What is Taurine and why does my dog need it?
Taurine plays a vital role in the maintenance of cardiac muscle as well as eye and skin health. Taurine is considered to be an essential amino acid. Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized naturally by humans or by our pets. Therefore, we must get all essential amino acids from what foods we eat.

Are all legumes bad?
Not all legumes contain the same amounts of essential amino acid blocking phytoestrogen. Soy is among the legumes with the highest levels of phytoestrogens. Potatoes, lentils, and peas contain fewer phytoestrogens by almost 10-fold.

How do I know if I’m feeding a Grain Free food that is high in legumes?
The first ingredient in a food should ALWAYS be a named animal protein, like Chicken or Chicken Meal, Beef, Lamb, Salmon, or Pork. Taurine is best metabolized when it comes from the amino acid profile of animal protein. Foods where a named animal protein is NOT the first ingredient are suspect. Foods that list soy high on the ingredients list should also be avoided.

My breed is susceptible to DCM. What should I feed?
You should avoid any food that contains soy or uses legumes as a first ingredient. You may want to consider feeding a raw diet or a kibble with a high meat inclusion.

Let Us Help!
Our knowledgeable team at Cherrybrook can answer any questions you have regarding pet food and is happy to help you make the best, nutritionally sound choices for your pet.

We are continuing to monitor and research this important topic and will provide updates as more details emerge from the FDA and our pet food partners.

Kindest regards, 
Claudia Loomis
Executive Vice President
& Customer Care Officer

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

One of the Least Savory Aspects of Pet Ownership That You May Not Know About

By Dr. Becker

There's a not-so-pleasant aspect of pet parenting that most of us are familiar with (and wish we weren't!) — the dreaded intestinal worm infestation. There are actually several types of worms that can wriggle their way into your dog's or cat's GI tract, including the hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm and whipworm.

How Do I Know If My Pet Has Worms?

The short answer: it can be challenging. Some intestinal worms can be seen with the naked eye; others can't. Dogs and cats with worm infestations may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea that may or may not be bloody
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Poor coat condition
However, sometimes the presence of intestinal worms causes no noticeable symptoms. The worms can also lay dormant in your pet's body for long stretches. The following is a short primer on four common types of intestinal worms.


Hookworms attach to the intestinal wall and suck the blood of the host. They're much more common in dogs than cats.
Hookworms are primarily transmitted fecal-orally to animals, meaning your dog or cat may eat contaminated feces or dirt, or he might walk through contaminated soil, then lick his paws and ingest the eggs. Puppies and kittens can acquire hookworm from an infected mother's milk.
A puppy or kitten who acquires hookworms can become lethargic, weak, malnourished and anemic. It isn't uncommon for young pets to die from a hookworm infestation.
Infected adult pets may show symptoms of poor appetite and weight loss. Chronic hookworm infestation is a common cause of illness in older dogs.
Humans can also acquire a hookworm infection, typically by picking up the eggs or larvae on the skin from soil contaminated by infected wild animal or pet poop. Hookworm larvae have the ability to penetrate human skin, and they aren't visible to the naked eye.
To prevent a hookworm infestation, it's important to get rid of any potentially infective feces from wild or stray animals around your property that might tempt your dog or cat. It's also a good idea to keep your pet away from the poop of other animals while you're walking outdoors or hiking.


Roundworms are large and spaghetti-like in appearance, and they can create a full-blown infestation in your pet before you even know they're there. By the time you see signs of roundworms in your dog's or cat's feces or vomit, he's overrun with them.

It's important not to wait until you actually see the worms to alert you to an infestation. If you suspect your dog or cat has been exposed, you should collect a stool sample and drop it by your veterinarian's office for analysis.
Pets typically acquire roundworms by eating infected feces. The infection can also be passed from a female to her unborn litter across the placenta. The pups or kittens develop their own infection while still in the uterus and are born positive for roundworm.
Puppies and kittens with roundworm often have potbellies and poor growth. If not treated quickly, a severe infestation can block the intestines and cause death. That's why I recommend checking fecal samples at 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks of age.


Tapeworms are flat-shaped, with a head, neck and many body segments called proglottids. The head has suckers and hooks that allow the tapeworm to deeply embed into the walls of the small intestine. The worms can range from under an inch to several feet (yes, feet!) in length.
Tapeworm segments are often seen near the anus of an infected pet, and segments that have been recently passed out of the body may still be moving.
Your dog or cat can acquire a tapeworm infestation by eating part or all of an intermediate host (e.g., birds, fish, reptiles and rats) carrying tapeworm eggs, larvae or cysts. Fleas and lice also harbor tapeworm eggs.
The most common method of transmission is through ingestion of adult fleas, birds, rodents, rabbits or through scavenging.
Free-roaming pets with access to freshly killed wild or domestic animals are at increased risk of acquiring tapeworms, as are animals with heavy lice and/or flea infestations.
Pets with tapeworms often show no signs of discomfort. When symptoms do occur, they can include itchiness around the anus, licking of the anal and perianal area, butt scooting, weight loss without loss of appetite, increased appetite without weight gain, poor coat or skin condition, distended or painful abdomen, diarrhea, lethargy and irritability.
Rarely, a heavy infestation of adult tapeworms causes partial or complete intestinal blockage, which is a true medical emergency. These parasites can be difficult to diagnose, and sometimes the only noticeable symptom is what looks like grains of white rice (tapeworm segments) stuck to or crawling through the fur around a pet's rear end.


Whipworms are more common in dogs than cats, and pets can only be infected by ingesting whipworm eggs from soil or other substrates containing eggs. In the small intestine, larvae hatch from ingested eggs and burrow into the mucosal lining. From two to 10 days later, they move on to the cecum and grow into adult worms.
The eggs are not infectious when passed in feces. They need several weeks in soil to develop into infective larvae inside their shells. A dog or cat eats contaminated soil or objects in the soil and the cycle of infection begins.
Adult whipworms look like tiny pieces of thread, with one end enlarged. They are rarely seen in in feces. Many pets show no signs of illness with a whipworm infestation. Symptoms when they do occur can include bloody diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, anemia and even death in severe cases.
Re-infection with whipworm from contaminated environments is a significant concern. The eggs are extremely resilient and resistant to most cleaning methods and even freezing temperatures. They can be dried out with strong agents like agricultural lime, but the preferred method is to replace contaminated soil with new soil or another substrate.
Regularly picking up poop from your yard and other areas your pet frequents will help reduce the risk of further contamination of soil.

Choose Targeted Treatment and Avoid Combination Dewormers

As with any illness in your dog or cat, the earlier an intestinal worm infestation is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. Many veterinarians include a stool check as part of the wellness exam. If yours doesn't, you can request it. It's important to note that tapeworms can be difficult to diagnose with routine stool sample tests, so be sure to keep an eye out for the appearance of "rice" either in your pet's poop or in the fur around his rear end.
It's very important that your veterinarian identifies the precise type of worm that has invaded your pet's intestinal tract. I recommend avoiding combination treatments that claim to kill and/or prevent a variety of worms and other internal parasites. They are typically prescribed for monthly use.
More is not better when it comes to drugs for your pet. If your dog or cat has whipworms, for example, treat the whipworms specifically, and only long enough to clear the infection. Some integrative veterinarians offer natural dewormers for certain kinds of intestinal worm infestations. I have tried them all and unfortunately, sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't.
For instance, food-grade diatomaceous earth kills tapeworm segments, but not the deeply embedded head, so you may think you've killed the entire worm, only to find out later that your pet is chronically infected, which can lead to chronic GI inflammation and dysbiosis.
It's fine to try natural deworming first, but making sure these resilient parasites are truly eliminated, regardless of what you use, is of utmost importance to avoid chronic, avoidable GI problems.

This pet-friendly article was brought to you by Dr. Karen Becker, Mercola Healthy Pets resident proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. For more pet care tips and to stay up to date with her latest recommendations, visit HealthyPets.Mercola.com where you can also get your FREE Homemade Treats for Healthy Pets E-book today!

Friday, June 16, 2017

How To Clean & Remove Hair From Dog's Ears

When it comes to maintaining and cleaning dog's ears some breeds require a bit more effort than others. Generally dogs with "hair", as opposed to fur, require removal or "plucking" of hair from the ear canal prior to cleaning. "Plucking" ear hair in dog breeds like Poodles, Bichons, Lhasas, and Schnauzers is necessary because these breeds have hair that grows inside the ear. These ear hairs regularly need to be removed in order to provide for better ventilation of the ear canal, preventing wax buildup and ear infections.

Removing Ear Hair

The hair growing inside the vertical ear canal is dead and relatively easy to remove so "plucking" the hair is not painful. It is best to "pluck" before using ear cleaning solution. Just remember not to pinch the inside of the ear wall and to remove a little bit of hair at a time. Be careful not to insert Q-tips or tools beyond the end of the vertical ear canal. The ear drum sits at the end of the horizontal ear canal so it is protected and out of reach.

There are special tools to aid with removing hair from the ear canal.

How to "Pluck" Ear Hair:

1. Separate the hair that is outside the ear canal from the hair that's inside the ear canal.

2. Sprinkle ear powder inside the ear to coat the dead hair inside the vertical ear canal; this will absorb some of the waxy coating of the hair and make it easier to grab the hair.

3. Grab small sections of the dead hair between your fingers or with the hemostat and pull it out gently. Hair around the outside of the ear canal can be easily removed with your fingers. Hair growing into the vertical ear canal is best removed using a hemostat.

4. This is dead hair and should come out easily not causing any pain for the dog.

5. Continue to pluck the hair in small sections until the ear canal is clear of any hair.

6. Once hair is removed you can proceed to cleaning the ears.

Watch the video on how to pluck ears below.

Clean the Ears:

Breeds with fur, those who generally shed, include most short haired or double coated breeds. Shedding dogs do not usually require "plucking", so maintaining and cleaning the ear canal requires only a couple of steps.

When cleaning the ear you will need the following items:

• Cotton Balls

How to Clean the Ears:

1. Squirt a generous amount of ear cleaning solution into the dog's ear.

2. Massage the base of the ear from the outside, about where the vertical canal meets the horizontal canal, to distribute the cleaning solution in the ear canal to dissolve the wax. Give the solution a couple of minutes to work.

3. You can let the dog shake any excess ear cleaner out, if they are so inclined.

4. Use a cotton ball to help wipe and remove dissolved wax and be sure to wipe wax away from the inside folds in the ear.

Note! If you detect redness and/or odor when you begin "plucking" and cleaning this is a sign your dog may have an ear infection and you should consult your veterinarian.

By: Claudia Loomis