Take Your Dog Outside!

Taking your dog outside should be more than a quick bathroom break. Sharing the great outdoors with your canine companion is vital to having a healthy and happy pet. 

The more time you spend outside together, the more opportunities you’ll have for mental stimulation, physical exercise, socialization, and training opportunities. 

Fresh Air & Sunlight

Even with bad weather and shorter days, getting outside does wonders to improve your dog’s health. 

In most places, outdoor air quality is better than indoor. Our homes are generally full of toxins off-gassing from plastics, carpets, and household cleaners. Fresh air helps minimize your dog’s exposure to this indoor chemical cocktail.

Since we also share much of the same brain chemistry with our dogs, we each use sunlight as a natural antidepressant. As winter days get shorter, our brains produce less serotonin, which can have an adverse effect on our moods. Outdoor sunlight — not filtered through glass — stimulates our retinas, which cue the brain to produce more serotonin, elevating our mood.

A study from the Norwich Medical School found that dog walkers were more physically active. Even on the coldest, wettest, and darkest days, they spent more time outside than non-dog owners did on long, sunny, and warm summer days.


Regular activity burns calories and is an excellent way to keep the pounds off — for you and your pet. Daily walks with your dog are effective and fun ways to combat a sedentary lifestyle and boost overall health. Research from Michigan State University shows that people who owned and walked their dogs were 34 percent more likely to meet federal benchmarks on physical activity.

As our dogs age, immobility becomes a health problem. Your dog’s joints need to move to stay lubricated and healthy. Walking, running, or playing outside is the perfect opportunity to keep your dog mobile.

Regular outings also help your dog regulate her digestive system. Most dogs like to stay on a consistent bathroom schedule. Giving your dog routine trips outside to relieve herself can prevent constipation and bladder infections. 


Like humans, dogs do not like to be bored. They are curious explorers. Getting outside with your dog is the perfect constructive release for his pent-up energy. 

Walking and playing outside allows him to channel his interest in a positive direction and helps build trust and confidence in you and their surrounding environment. 

Regular outings can also reduce behavioral problems like barking, digging, chewing, and excessive licking. 

Mental Health

Getting outside to explore new trails, meet new people and dogs, and sniff new smells is excellent mental stimulation for your dog. 

Another benefit to sharing that outside time with your dog is the mental hygiene it provides to the human. A study by the University of Liverpool revealed that dog owners are motivated to take their dogs on walks because it makes them feel happy, not because of other health and social benefits. 

Walking with dogs meets the emotional needs of both owner and dog alike.


We are typically the focus of our dog’s life. All activity — food, rest, walking, playing — is controlled by us. What better to strengthen the bond with our pets than actively engaging with them in outdoor fun? 

Going on walks is also a great time to alternate exploration with training. You can work on commands such as “heel,” “sit,” and “stay.” One of our favorites is teaching a release command like “OK” or “break.” This teaches your dog that he is under control on the leash until you say “break.” Then he is free to go explore and sniff the environment. 

Your dog is the perfect outdoor buddy. Always willing to go with you, rain or shine. 

Engaging in active play with your dog will help you both stay healthy and mentally fit. Plus, it may just be the best way to express to your dog, “I love you.”

If you have questions about leashes, harnesses, collars, or our favorite dog toys, please chat with us at the shop. We’re passionate about helping you, and your pup get outside!


 1. Yu-Tzu Wu, Robert Luben, Andy Jones. Dog ownership supports the maintenance of physical activity during poor weather in older English adults: cross-sectional results from the EPIC Norfolk cohort. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, July 2017 DOI: 10.1136/jech-2017-208987

2.  Mathew J. Reeves, Ann P. Rafferty, Corinne E. Miller, Sarah K. Lyon-Callo. The Impact of Dog Walking on Leisure-Time Physical Activity: Results From a Population-Based Survey of Michigan Adults. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2011; 8 (3): 436-444 [abstract

3. Carri Westgarth, Robert Christley, Garry Marvin, Elizabeth Perkins. I Walk My Dog Because It Makes Me Happy: A Qualitative Study to Understand Why Dogs Motivate Walking and Improved Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2017; 14 (8): 936 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph14080936

Our Four Best Immune Support Supplements

Our pet’s immune system is the foundation of health. It wards off infections, parasites, bacteria, and viruses and supports overall well-being. 

If our dogs and cats don’t have a robust immune system, they are more vulnerable to illness, allergies, arthritis, and even chronic inflammatory issues.

Fortunately,  there are readily available supplements you can add to your pets’ diets that act as immune system boosters.

Here are our four favorite supplements to strengthen your pet’s immune system and improve all-around health.

1. Medicinal Mushrooms

Mushrooms are nature’s medicine cabinet. While not all mushrooms are medicinal, most edible ones have medicinal properties. To regulate the immune system, we recommend mushroom supplements containing turkey tail, chaga, reishi, and maitake. 

Turkey tail mushrooms have high concentrations of essential sugars (beta-glucan polysaccharides) that help the body activate the immune system. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary  Medicine even found that a compound from turkey tail lengthened the survival time of dogs with cancer. 

Chaga mushrooms can both boost and slow down the immune system. This means they have properties that can help reduce inflammation but also help regulate overactive immune responses to arthritis.

Reishi mushrooms are reported to have anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and immune-stimulating effects. This mushroom is high in antioxidants that can help nourish, detoxify, and protect the liver. This critical organ detects, captures, and clears bacteria and viruses. 

Maitake mushrooms have been shown to have compounds that may enhance the immune system and provide anti-inflammatory properties, including tumor-fighting abilities against specific types of tumors.

We recommend Super Snouts Super Shrooms and Adored Beast Turkey Tail supplements.

2. Pre- and Probiotics

We have always been staunch advocates for including pre- and probiotics in your pet’s diet! Nearly 80 percent of the immune system resides in the gut, so keeping a healthy microbiome is essential for whole-body health.

We strongly encourage you to add pre-and probiotic foods to your animal’s bowl at every feeding. Or better yet, find a supplement that provides both. Make sure to rotate through the supplements for optimal benefit. For example, use Adored Beast Love Bugs for a month, switch to Fido’s Flora the next, and then to Gut Soothe.

You can also support your pet’s gut microbiome with bowl toppers like raw goat milk and kefir. 

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fat is an important component of your pet’s diet. Omega-3 is an “essential” fat that your dog’s body can’t produce on its own. That means she needs to consume them through food or additional supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids strengthen cell walls, including the membranes of the body’s immune cells. One of these cells includes the white blood cell (macrophage), a critical immune system “enforcer” that seeks out and destroys pathogens in the body. 

It’s important to choose a quality omega-3 supplement. We recommend Nordic Naturals. Alternatively, you can add a healthy source of omega-3 fats to your pet’s diet with toppers like Primal Sardine Butcher’s Blend or Market Mix. 

4. Antioxidants

Thousands of substances act as antioxidants, including the commonly known ones like vitamin C, manganese, selenium, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Generally speaking, antioxidants can help slow the aging process and boost the immune system by minimizing free radical damage. Free radicals are damaged cells created by your pet’s metabolic process. If a damaged cell is missing a molecule, it will try and repair itself by taking that molecule from another cell. This action can damage the cell’s DNA and will make the host (your dog or cat) more susceptible to disease.

Antioxidants act as a natural “off switch” for free radicals and stop the chain reaction of cells cannibalizing each other for spare parts.

Our go-to antioxidant supplement is Phyto Synergy. This liquid is made from 100% pure marine phytoplankton that is high in antioxidants and easily absorbed in the gut. Antioxidants are also abundant in fresh or frozen berries, which are easy to incorporate into your pet’s meals. 

Supplements are just that – they enhance your pet’s diet but will never replace a well-balanced nutrition program. Stop by the store if you would like to discuss your current feeding regimen or explore a new one – including whether supplements may be appropriate for your pet. We’d love to help you improve your pet’s health through better nutrition.

Nature vs Nurture

How much does your dog’s DNA determine friendliness or aggressiveness? The latest research may surprise you.


You Don’t Want to Miss This One


This Holiday Season, When You Give a Little You Get a Little

Get a FREE $20 gift voucher when you purchase $100 in gift cards!*

*$20 gift vouchers are eligible to be redeemed February 14-18, 2022. Valid for in-store purchases only. Not valid for purchases of frozen raw pet food.

What Can My Pet Eat on Thanksgiving Day?

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, it is important to discuss and understand which foods are okay to feed our furry friends.

Many foods that we eat on Thanksgiving day are easily shareable with our pets but there are some foods that should be avoided. Let’s discuss the foods to give and when we should avoid sharing:

Foods that can be shared PLAIN:

These foods can be shared raw or gently cooked by baking, boiling, or steaming without added fats, sweeteners, or seasoning.

  • Baked or boiled mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Turkey (white or dark meat)
  • Cranberries
  • Pumpkin
  • Apples

Foods/Ingredients to Avoid:

  • Gravies contain a decent amount of sodium
  • Certain seasonings contain a decent amount of sodium
  • Certain broths contain high sodium content and vegetables that dogs should not eat (like onions)
  • Bones because cooked bones can splinter and cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract
  • Skin of the turkey is very fatty and can lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Stuffing(s) contains onions and is also made primarily of highly processed carbohydrates (containing high levels of sodium) and onions can cause damage to red blood cells leading to anemia in your pet
  • Cranberry sauce is typically high in sugar
  • Carrot and green bean intake should be limited as they contain decent amounts of sugar
  • Pumpkin pie and apple pie both contain loads of sugar

Why should we avoid foods high in sugar and sodium?

Foods that are high in sugar tend to cause upset stomach, weight gain, and impact multiple organ health. Foods that are high in sodium can lead to dehydration, vomiting/diarrhea, muscle tremors and even seizures. Sodium is necessary in a pet’s diet but only a very small amount and too much sodium can be harmful. Natural sugar (through our fruits and vegetables) is okay for our pets, but artificial and processed sugars (such as those found in our snack foods) or too much can cause these issues. 

Golden Paste: How and What For?

Have you heard of “Golden Paste”? It’s a healthy and easily digestible paste made from turmeric that can help reduce inflammation, and skin irritations, and improve gut health in dogs and humans alike. 

Best of all, Golden Paste takes only minutes to make with ingredients most of us already have in our kitchens.  

Golden Paste is typically made with a combination of ground or fresh turmeric, coconut oil, and black pepper.

Turmeric, an herb belonging to the ginger family, contains several compounds, collectively known as curcuminoids. The most well-known is curcumin, which gives turmeric its orange color. Curcuminoids are known to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and possible anti-cancer effects.

Adding a small amount (½-1 tbsp) of Golden Paste to your pet’s bowl at meal time can aid in:

  • Reducing inflammatory processes, including pain
  • Relieving gastrointestinal distress, including diarrhea
  • Improve heart and liver function
  • Minimize seasonal allergies

Golden Paste Recipe

  • 1-½ cups filtered water
  • ½ cup turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger powder (optional)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1-½  tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine the water, and turmeric in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until well combined. Continue stirring until the liquid begins to thicken (about 15 minutes).  Do not let the paste boil.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool until warm to the touch.
  3. Stir in coconut oil and black pepper. 
  4. Store the mixture in an airtight container for up to four weeks.

Like any new food or supplement, we recommend gradually introducing Golden Paste into your pet’s diet. Turmeric has a very potent taste, and sometimes dogs will not want anything to do with it. Therefore, it is important to slowly introduce the new flavors to their palate. Once a dog has become accustomed to the paste, the recommended dosage is:

  • Dogs weighing less  than 20 lb s: ½ tbsp
  • Dogs weighing more than 20 lbs: 1 tbsp

Possible Side Effects

Turmeric paste can have some minor side effects and it is important to monitor your pet for any negative reactions.. If improperly dosed, dogs may experience gastrointestinal distress. If you notice your dog is showing any negative symptoms —like loose stool or diarrhea— decrease the dose and follow up with your veterinarian.

If you think your dog’s health may benefit from Golden Paste, give this easy recipe a try!  Even though your dog won’t experience instant results, you should see some positive changes in a few weeks!


  1. Simple Turmeric Paste (Golden Paste). Alphafoodie. Published July 2, 2020. Accessed October 20, 2020. https://www.alphafoodie.com/simple-turmeric-paste-golden-paste/
  2. Curcumin, An Active Component of Turmeric (Curcuma longa), and Its Effects on Health.National Library of Medicine. Published September 2, 2017. Accessed October 20, 2020. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26528921/

The Perks of Pumpkin for Pets

Pumpkin is a commonly recommended supplement for dogs and cats for everything from loose stool to constipation to an occasional bowl topper or a regular supplement. But what is it about pumpkin that makes it so great for your pet? Let’s find out what makes this sweet treat a favorite among vets and nutritionists! 

Reasons You Should Consider Adding Pumpkin to Your Dog’s Diet


Pumpkin is rich in dietary fiber – both soluble and insoluble. 

  • Soluble fiber helps with weight management, lowering fat absorption, stabilizing glucose levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and feeding healthy gut bacteria. 
  • Insoluble fiber assists in preventing constipation and lowers the risk of diverticular disease. 

Because pumpkin contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, it can essentially help to normalize your pet’s stool, whether it’s too loose or too firm. It’s a win-win situation! 

As a preventative, pumpkin is an excellent source of prebiotics that feed the good gut bacteria- probiotics. This is a wonderful addition for any pet with a sensitive stomach as it can aid in the digestive process. Also, since roughly 80% of your pet’s immune system resides in their gut, a happy belly can mean a healthier pet!


Pets need food that allows them to consume all their vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin is packed with essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A and Zinc help strengthen your pet’s immune health, promote clearer skin and a healthier coat, and improve overall eye health. 
  • Vitamin D helps to grow and maintain strong bones by regulating and balancing the retention of calcium and phosphorus. It also works to reduce inflammation. 
  • Potassium is vital to pet health! It assists in the functioning of the heart, nerves, and muscles by aiding in transferring energy from the nutrients. 

Not only is pumpkin a great source of vitamins and minerals your pet needs, but it also assists with the absorption of these nutrients to improve many functions of their body.


Kibble-fed pets often live in a mild state of dehydration, as the body pulls moisture from itself to digest the dry food. Therefore, adding moisture to your pet’s kibble is essential. Adding moisture-rich pumpkin can help to keep your pet well hydrated. Added moisture is crucial for not only the digestive process but also… 

  • Weight control – Pumpkin is high in moisture and fiber, which helps your pet feel full. As a result, your pet is less likely to overeat and will be satisfied longer!  
  • Hairballs– Lack of moisture can lead to more frequent hairballs. An addition of pumpkin to your pet’s kibble will keep them well-hydrated, which means fewer hairballs for them and less clean-up for you. 
  • Low in glycemic index– Glycemic index is a measurement of the blood glucose response to carbohydrates. Low GI foods (such as pumpkin) contain carbs that are digested slowly, so energy is sustained for an extended period of time. 

Pumpkin is super versatile for your furry friends. You can include it as a treat, bowl topper, or toy filler. Pumpkin is worth the hype! With the holidays right around the corner, include your pet in the holiday festivities and try incorporating more pumpkin into your pet’s diet! 

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to provide medical advice or replace the advice of a qualified veterinarian.

Is Your Pet’s Healthy Food Being Served in a Toxic Bowl?

Pet Parents are spending a great deal of time and money to ensure they are serving the healthiest foods to their pets.  However, when it comes time to select a bowl or feeder, most Pet Parents report that they choose the cheapest bowl or one that matches the décor of their home.  However, did you ever consider if your pet’s food bowl is actually safe?  Have you checked to see where your food bowl was manufactured or what materials it is made of?  Can you trust the labels on the package that sometimes provide this information?  Think about it…these food bowls are in constant contact with your dog’s mouth and tongue multiple times each day.

Let’s start out with the country where your pet’s food bowl is being manufactured.  Why should this matter?  Because you want to be sure that it is in a country that follows “GMP” or Good Manufacturing Processes.  The most important assurance of GMP is to provide quality control and safety.  Simply put, the manufacturing people are properly trained; working in a properly cared for facility; following a standardized process; producing consistent products, and guided by procedures that guarantee quality and safety.  Pet products made in the United States are most likely to be manufactured within these guidelines whereas those manufactured in China are least likely.  Pet Parents should especially be concerned about pet bowls, feeders, and lick mats made in China because there are no guarantees that the materials or manufacturing process are safe and free of harmful toxins. Of course, it is more expensive to manufacture under GMP because of the additional time and cost involved in the manufacturing process.

It is worth noting that just because a food bowl is manufactured in the U.S., it doesn’t mean that the materials were also sourced in the U.S.  The cost of quality materials can compel manufacturers to find cheaper materials sourced from other countries and have them imported.  So, you have to look at both where your pet’s food bowl is manufactured as well as where the material is sourced from.

Petfood Bowl Materials and Factors to Consider

The next factor to consider is the material of your pet’s food bowl.  Typically, pet food bowls and feeders are made of either stainless steel, plastic or silicone but not all of these materials are created equal.  Let’s consider each of them:

  1. Most Pet Parents automatically think that stainless steel food bowls are a ‘safe choice’ because they associate it with medical tools used in the health and dental fields.  However, these are not the sterilized tools used in the biomedical field which mandates a different manufacturing process.  Instead, all stainless steel requires the use of ‘cutting fluids’ which shape metal and are extremely difficult to get off of the surface.   Cutting fluids are highly toxic and continue to leach out over time.  There is a variety of cutting fluids and their safety is probably dependent on where the food bowl is made.  In order to reduce the chance of leaching, caustic cleaners and high temperatures (repeated dishwashing) must be used.
  2. Most Pet Parents are confused about how to think of plastics.  The single most important factor to consider is whether the plastic is recycled or not.  Recycled plastics are extremely problematic because of raw material contamination.  Recycled plastics can come from either used consumer products or used industrial products.  Post-consumer recyclates are improperly cleaned and can cause cross-contamination. (China was previously the biggest importer of plastic waste which created landfills and destroyed communities making them uninhabitable.)  Likewise, some post-industrial recyclates can contain industrial chemicals and cleaners which can be carcinogenic.  Unfortunately, except for some industrial recyclates, there is no way to trace their source to assess their toxic composition.  As such, many of these recycled plastics represent potentially serious health hazards to your pet.
  3. Silicone is a relatively new but popular material because it can easily be made into any shape and is fairly durable.  However, because it is a more expensive material, many silicone products contain chemical fillers to reduce material costs—especially those made it China.  These unknown chemical fillers could cause adverse side effects on your pet’s health.  Additionally, silicone products cannot be recycled and end up in landfills because they are in their final form—not particularly friendly to the wellbeing of our planet.  Finally, since silicone is a young material, there are few studies on the safety and long term health effects especially with daily use and contact with the material.  Use care and caution in assessing the quality of your silicone feeders.

Why should we care?

The reason we should care about the food bowl we choose for our pets is the dramatic incident of cancer.  I want to be forthright in saying there is no mandatory reporting to a universal database that allows the scientific tracking of this disease.  However, the Animal Cancer Foundation has recently provided estimates that roughly 6 million new cancer diagnoses are made in both dogs and cats each year in the United States (out of a 65 million dog and 32 million cat population).

Always check labels and ask questions

What can Pet Parents do to check on the quality and safety of their pet’s feeding devices?  First, check the label to see the country where it is made, where the material was sourced and the type of material used.  Beware of products that do not state where it is manufactured as well as those that say ‘globally sourced materials’—there is no way to ascertain if it is a safe or reliable feeder.  Also, if it says, “Designed and tested in the U.S.”, dig deeper to find out where it was manufactured and where the materials were sourced—this statement has nothing to do with the quality or safety of the feeder.  Also, as a last resort, contact the manufacturer and ask them to provide this information!  You have the right as a Pet Parent to work around the ‘disinformation’ to ensure the health and wellbeing of your pet.

So, the next time you are purchasing a pet food bowl or feeder, invest the same time and money you would in choosing their food.  It is the one item in the household that your pet interacts with multiple times each day.  And now you can rest assured that you are truly serving them a safe and healthy meal.

About the Author: Carol Smeja, Ph.D

Carol Smeja’s career has focused in the area of psychology and sociology which led to her earning a Ph.D.  She applied these roots in understanding the psychological and social dynamics of eating while working in marketing/research with the U.S. and global food companies and improving health & diet with U.S. government agencies.  More recently, she has applied her extensive research and diagnostic training in understanding the eating behaviors of our dogs & cats by studying the natural and instinctive behaviors of their ancestral roots.  She has conducted comprehensive ancestral reviews and integrated information from wildlife specialists and professional research/observational programs.  She volunteers at zoos to continue to gain knowledge on our pet’s dietary needs and feeding habits in addition to improving conservation efforts.  Lecturing at both professional events and pet organizations, Carol seeks to educate Pet Parents on the importance of how you feed your pet to improve their health & wellbeing. She is also the co-creator of the Original Mine Pet Platter. Made with an innovative and sustainable material naturally sourced from plant life that is safe and non-toxic. 100% designed, sourced, and manufactured in the USA, the mine Pet Platter is food and dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, eco-friendly and recyclable. The Mine Pet Platter is safe for pets and the planet.