Recent Posts




4 Ways Omega Fatty Acids Can Benefit Your Pet

Filed Under: Nutrition,Pet Care at 4:43 pm | By: Paula Fitzsimmons
dog and cat

Omega fatty acids play a pivotal role in companion animal health and may help relieve symptoms related to skin disorders, arthritis, allergies and a variety of other conditions. While more research is needed before omega supplements are considered a mainstream treatment option for cats and dogs, many veterinarians are open to recommending them.

Read on to learn what omega fatty acids are, how your canine or feline friend can benefit from them, and what to look for in a quality supplement. And of course, any discussion about supplements and diet changes should start with your vet.

What Are Omega Fatty Acids and Why Do Pets Need Them?

Omega fatty acids are a type of fat required for normal body functions, explains Dr. Deborah Mitchell, medical director and practice manager at Knollwood Hospital for Pets in Schaumburg, Illinois. “These include building the membranes of our pets’ cells, helping blood clot normally and muscles move properly, and for fighting inflammation of all kinds in our pets’ bodies.”

Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids that play a role in optimal health. “Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the most important for dogs and cats because their bodies can’t make them; they have to come from diet,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary writer, editor and consultant based in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The three main types of omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found in marine sources, like fatty fish, while ALA is found in plant sources, such as nuts and seeds.

Omega-3s are incorporated into cell membranes, especially in the brain, the retina and sperm, says Coates. “The body also uses omega-3s and omega-6s to form signaling molecules (called eicosanoids) that have many different functions in the heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system and hormonal system. Increasing the amount of omega-3s in the body relative to omega-6s may also reduce inflammation, which could have a beneficial role in functions like cognition, heart disease and reproduction.”

Omega-6 fatty acid deficiencies are not seen very often, but might be a concern if your pet is on an extremely low fat or calorie-restricted diet, says Coates. Although rare, signs of omega-6 deficiency include: “skin problems like hair loss, scaly skin, and a tendency to bruise easily,” Coates says. “Reproductive problems can be seen in breeding animals, and young animals may grow poorly if there aren’t enough omega-6 fatty acids in their diet.”

Where Do Omegas Come From?

Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water fatty fish (especially salmon) and oils from fish, krill, algae and flaxseed, says Dr. Nancy Scanlan, executive director of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation.

Flaxseed oil is not an ideal source of omega-3s for dogs, Scanlan explains, because dogs are not very efficient at converting ALA into EPA and DHA. Cats cannot convert ALA at all, so they would require one of the other omega-3 fatty acid sources, she says.

Foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) include flaxseed, grapeseed, borage, evening primrose and black currant seed oils, Scanlan says.

4 Ways Omegas Can Benefit Your Pet

1). Improved Skin and Coat

The most obvious sign of an omega deficiency in pets is a dull, dry or greasy coat with dandruff, says Scanlan. “They itch a lot, even without any signs of fleas. Skin allergies are worse when they need more omega oils.”

Omega-3 fatty acids help the skin by reducing inflammation associated with allergies in dogs when used with other therapeutic agents, says Dr. Susan Jeffrey, a veterinarian at Truesdell Animal Care Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. “Dogs with less inflammation are less itchy and thereby more comfortable.”

In one study of 16 dogs with itchy skin, researchers tested the benefits of a high-dose EPA fish oil supplement to treat symptoms (1). Pups receiving the fish oil capsule (versus corn oil) showed significant improvement.

2). Relief from Arthritis Symptoms

Omega-3s have been found to slow the progression of arthritis, says Jeffrey. Researchers created one study to determine if pet food containing a high level of omega-3s (using fish oils) would relieve symptoms in dogs with osteoarthritis (2). The team studied 127 dogs from 18 separate, privately-owned clinics.

Dogs fed a diet containing 31 times the amount of omega-3s than found in a standard pet food diet significantly improved in several areas, including in their ability to rise from a resting position, play and walk, according to pet owners.

In a separate study of 16 cats, those whose diets were supplemented with fish oil reportedly experienced a higher level of activity, including less stiffness, an increase in walking up and down stairs, and more interaction with their pet owners than those fed the (corn oil) placebo (3).

3). An Option for Heart Health

“Some studies show fish oils can decrease the progression of dogs with heart disease as well as help dogs with abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia),” says Jeffrey, whose professional interests include preventative care.

One of these studies looked at whether fish oil would reduce the occurrence of arrhythmia in Boxers with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, a disease that impacts the ventricles of the heart (4). The findings showed that a six-week course of fish oil supplementation may be useful in reducing arrhythmias in dogs with this disease. Dose and duration still need to be studied further, however.

Additionally, Jeffrey says dogs with heart disease have been found to have lower plasma fatty acid levels than healthy dogs. “Fatty acid supplements such as fish oil will result in plasma fatty acid concentrations equal to healthy dogs.”

4). A Potential Aid for Certain Cancers

There’s some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to slow down cancer growth (5). “There has been a study in dogs with lymphoma (a type of cancer that usually attacks the spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes) who were given omega-3 fatty acids,” Jeffrey says. “They were found to have longer survival times compared to those who didn’t receive the supplement.”

They also help with chronic weight loss and poor appetite seen in cancer patients, which can result in a better quality of life, she says. “Omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease the amount of inflammatory mediators that will inhibit appetite and increase the rate of muscle catabolism.” (Catabolism is a metabolic process that breaks down complex molecules into smaller ones).

What Type of Omegas Should You Feed Your Pet?

Feeding your dog or cat the correct type of omega fatty acid is critical, says Dr. Patrick Mahaney, owner of Los Angeles-based California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness. “As most pets have conditions related to inflammation for which owners seek improvement, I recommend that when providing an omega fatty acid supplement, owners should focus on omega-3,” he says. “Ideally, pets should consume a combination of omega fatty acids from animal and plant sources in their diets. Omega-6 fatty acids are still needed to promote healthy body structures, so do not eliminate them from your pet’s diet.”

For supplements, he recommends omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil (that are formulated for pets). “Deep-caught, fresh-water fish are my recommended source for fish oil and supplements should be free from heavy metals, pesticides, radiation and other toxic substances.” (Animal-based omega fatty acids satisfy their dietary requirements more efficiently than plant sources, he says.)

To ensure you’re purchasing quality supplements, look for products with the United States Pharmacopeia (UPS) seal or verified mark, advises Coates. “The USP sets quality standards for health care products that are sold in the U.S.” Jeffrey recommends looking for products labeled with the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), “as it works with the FDA to ensure safety and quality control standards.”

Proportion is also essential. “Too much omega-6 oil can cause inflammation, especially if the amount of omega-3 is low in the diet,” says Scanlan. Vets recommend an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 10:1 to 5:1. In one study, researchers fed 18 dogs with pruritis (itchy skin) a commercial diet with a fatty acid ratio of 5.5:1 (6). The pruritis was controlled within seven to 21 days of the diet, but returned within three to 14 days after the original diet was re-introduced.

Ask your vet about dosage and duration of omega fatty acid supplements, especially if your pet has a health condition. “Extremely high doses can cause gastrointestinal upset and possibly problems with the immune and blood clotting system, so it is best to only use fatty acid supplements under the direction of a veterinarian,” Coates advises.


How to Use Hemp and CBD in Dogs

Filed Under: Health Aids,Pet Care,Supplements at 12:38 pm | By: Paula Fitzsimmons

Living with a dog suffering through a health or behavioral problem can be a struggle. You hate seeing your canine companion in distress and naturally want him to receive immediate relief. Pinpointing an effective treatment is not always straightforward, however.

Pet parents have a number of available treatment options, and cannabis-based products like hemp and CBD are becoming increasingly popular. But do they work, are they safe and, most importantly, are they right for your dog?

Hemp for Dogs

Hemp is essentially the same plant (Cannabis sativa) that marijuana comes from, says Dr. Gary Richter, a veterinarian who practices at Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. “Except legally speaking, hemp plants are only allowed to contain, at most, 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC is the compound that triggers euphoria). So there are effectively no issues as far as drug abuse.”

“Hemp seeds are incredibly nutritious,” adds Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary writer, editor and consultant based in Fort Collins, Colorado. “They are rich in essential fatty acids, particularly in the form of hemp seed oil, and hemp seed powder is an excellent plant-based protein source.”

“The essential fatty acids in hemp seed oil may be helpful in the management of some skin problems and possibly also with diseases like osteoarthritis that benefit from a reduction in inflammation,” Coates continues.

Hemp is also added to products containing other supplements meant to treat a variety of conditions, but Coates stresses that more research is needed into the use of hemp in pets.

CBD for Dogs

While hemp oil is made from hemp seeds, CBD oil is made from the flowers, stems and leaves of the hemp plant, which is where cannabidiol (CBD) is concentrated. According to Richter, “CBD can have a very positive effect as it pertains to stress, anxiety and a number of other medical conditions. It’s a pretty good pain reliever, too.”

Most of the research for veterinary use is in its infancy, he says. “We’re just starting to see some studies come out looking at the use of CBD to treat arthritis in dogs (1), but with regards to studies for stress and anxiety, there’s all types of evidence when it comes to humans, but not just yet in the vet field.”

Despite the lack of research, experts say CBD is generally safe for pets. “There really is no such thing as CBD toxicity,” Richter says. “Worst case scenario is if a dog gets too much, he might get too sleepy, and every once in a blue moon you might see a dog with a tummy upset, and they may have vomiting and diarrhea. And if that happens, you just stop giving it and they get better.”

When it comes to problems related to anxiety, what CBD can do is make behavior therapy easier to administer, Richter says. “You cannot medicate an anxiety disorder away. At best, a medication or supplement like CBD will calm dogs down enough to where they can pay attention to training and behavioral modification, and in many ways that’s what you’re hoping to do,” he explains.

When Should I Give My Dog Hemp or CBD? 

As with any supplement or pharmaceutical, hemp and CBD are not cure-alls. “They may be effective on their own for some dogs or for some conditions, or work better in combination with additional treatments in other cases,” says Coates.

Experts strongly recommend giving dogs hemp and CBD only under the guidance of a vet. The challenge here is that vets can seem evasive on the subject, and with good reason. The DEA—the agency that licenses a vet’s prescription-writing ability—classifies all cannabinoids, including commercially-available hemp and CBD, as Schedule 1 substances, says Dr. Casara Andre, founder of Veterinary Cannabis – Education and Consulting, based in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

These legal concerns can be confusing. A company that’s certified to grow hemp in its state can produce a product as long as it remains at or below .03 percent THC, Andre says. “Tracking the ‘correctness’ of this is often difficult, but it does take advantage of loopholes in the law and differences between state and federal regulations,” she says.

In multiple places, the policy contradicts itself. “However, between written policy and verbal stances by the DEA, no veterinarian can prescribe or recommend any cannabinoid,” she says.

Vets can provide education, however. “Vets can absolutely educate pet parents to promote harm reduction,” Andre says. If you’d like to consider giving your dog hemp or CBD, still talk to your vet, but be aware that the information you receive may be limited by necessity.

If you keep your expectations about hemp-based products for pets realistic, your furry family member may benefit. Whether or not hemp or CBD is suitable for your dog and situation is a decision that should be made with your vet.


This article has been edited for accuracy by Jennifer Coates, DVM. 


5 Surprising Places Probiotics Are Popping Up  

Filed Under: Health Foods,Immunity,Personal Care,Pet Care at 11:01 am | By: Stephanie Eckelkamp

Got diarrhea? Take a probiotic. Irritated skin or acne? Again, probiotics. Bad breakup? Why not try a probiotic!?

There’s no denying that probiotics have a cult-like following. They’ve been taking over the supplement aisle for the past few years, thanks to a surge in research revealing the massive extent to which the health of our gut microbiome influences pretty much every other aspect of our health—from our mood to our digestion to our weight to our skin. Problems in these areas may arise when the “bad” bacteria in our gut start to outnumber the “good.” But some studies—and plenty of anecdotal accounts—suggest taking a probiotic supplement can ease health woes such as diarrhea, yeast infections, urinary tract infections and weight gain by fortifying your gut with good bugs and restoring balance.

But now, probiotics are extending their reach beyond supplements and into the snack, beauty and pet food aisles. Which begs the question, do you really need a probiotic face cream or granola? Or, uh…does your dog? Here, we reveal some of the more surprising new places that probiotics are popping up—and whether they live up to the hype.

Probiotic-Enhanced Snacks

Consuming probiotics via food used to mean opting for naturally fermented stuff like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and yogurt. But now, they can be found in everything from granola to popcorn to chocolate. Essentially, probiotics can be added to anything edible.

Nearly all probiotic-enhanced packaged foods today contain GanedenBC30, which is a proprietary preparation of the probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans (1). The good news: Research has shown that this type of probiotic protects itself in a spore-like casing that allows it to withstand (at least to some extent) the manufacturing process, time spent on a shelf and the acidic conditions of your stomach (2). Meaning, it actually stands a chance of reaching and colonizing your gut.

But does it help you once it gets there? After all, not every probiotic strain treats every ailment. Some studies suggest GanedenBC30 has promising digestive benefits and can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including gas and bloating (3and diarrhea (4). But still, it’s very difficult to know just how beneficial these probiotic-enhanced foods actually are in reality, says Jen McDaniel, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A lot of that depends on whether there’s enough present in the food to begin with (1 billion CFUs is a good minimum number to aim for, she says). But because many foods don’t list a probiotic quantity on the nutrition label, it’s often a bit of a gamble.

Probiotic Waters and Teas

When you think of a probiotic-packed drink, you probably think of kombucha, which naturally contains gut-friendly bugs. But now, you can find probiotics in beverages like flat and sparkling waters, and even in tea bags.

Like probiotic-enhanced foods, many (if not all) of these drinks contain the probiotic strain GanedenBC30. So the benefits are likely to be the same. However, based on our research (aka scrutinizing lots of labels), bottled drinks are more likely to list the number of probiotic CFUs on the package than foods or tea bags, with counts ranging from 2 to 4 billion CFUs at time of manufacture. If you do opt for one of these drinks, just be sure it’s not loaded with sugars, artificial sweeteners or any other questionable ingredients that could counter the probiotic health benefits.

Bottom line: Both foods and drinks containing added probiotics could potentially be beneficial, but probiotic supplements and foods or drinks naturally rich in probiotics likely offer more bang for your buck, says McDaniel.

Probiotic Face Creams and Body Lotions

Turns out, our skin has its own microbiome that’s teeming more than 1 trillion bacteria, many of which are beneficial and help keep your skin clear, vibrant and healthy. But if your skin’s microbiome is out of whack (say, from harsh cleansers or a poor diet), this can compromise your skin’s natural barrier, which could result in painful and embarrassing skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema, according to Whitney Bowe, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center and the author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin (5).

Bowe believes that increasing the variety of healthy bacteria species on the skin can help reduce inflammation and minimize these conditions, and that one way to do this is via quality probiotic-enhanced skincare products (6). A few beneficial bugs to look for in skincare products: Streptococcus thermophilus, which may help retain moisture (7); Bifidobacterium, which may help reduce skin sensitivity (8); and Lactobacillus plantarum, which may help prevent acne (9). Just make sure that the other ingredients in these products are gentle and preferably natural—no harsh chemicals, which will only compromise your skin’s barrier further.

Probiotic Deodorants

So, if probiotics are good for your face, are they good for your pits? There are a bunch of new probiotic deodorants on the market promising fresh underarms without the chemicals. How it supposedly works: The good bacteria in the deodorant fights off the bad, odor-causing bacteria in your armpits, leaving you fresh as a daisy (or something like that). Unfortunately, there are no studies proving this benefit, and the strains of bacteria used in these deodorants (typically Lactobacillus acidophilus) aren’t naturally found on the skin—so, odor experts say, their deodorizing effects would likely be very short-lived (10). And who wants to reapply five times a day? If you’re looking to use a more natural deodorant, that’s cool…there’s just no obvious reason to make it one that contains probiotics.

Probiotic Supplements for Dogs

Probiotics for dogs are a thing now, too. And the research is promising. In a 2016 study, dogs given a probiotic supplement containing various strains of Lactobacillus bacteria maintained their appetite and recovered faster from a bout of acute diarrhea than dogs given a placebo (11). There were also fewer pathogens in the feces of the probiotic-treated dogs, making them less likely to pass on this harmful bacteria to other dogs. In another study, dogs with diarrhea that received a specific strain of Bifidobacterium animalis recovered faster and were less likely to need antibiotic treatment compared to the placebo pups (12). Many vets agree that probiotics are harmless for dogs and likely offer some digestive benefits (13).


7 Best Vegetables for Dogs

Filed Under: Home,Pet Care at 2:39 pm | By: Jessica Remitz

Whether you’re trying to eat more veggies (and, let’s face it, we all probably should), or you’ve got a few extra carrots hanging around in the fridge, it’s natural to wonder if it’s safe to share a few of your favorite vegetables with your four-legged bestie.

Fortunately, there are a number of safe vegetables for dogs. Learn more about the health benefits of vegetables for dogs and how to serve them, below.

Vegetables for Dogs: Green Beans

Full of fiber and low in calories, green beans make a great, vitamin-packed snack for dogs, says Dr. Antje Joslin, veterinarian at Dogtopia daycare in Phoenix.

Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and potassium, adds Dr. Jennifer Coates, author of “Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian.” She recommends keeping a bag of green beans in your freezer for a crunchy treat.

They can also be served to dogs chopped, steamed, raw or straight from a can, Joslin says. Just be sure to get no-sodium beans if you go the canned route.

Vegetables for Dogs: Spinach

Spinach contains large amounts of vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene and roughage (which is great for stimulating your dog’s digestive track), Joslin says.

As with humans, vitamin A is important for vision and immune system function, while vitamin K helps blood to clot and antioxidants help prevent cancer and other types of cellular damage to the body’s tissues, says Dr. Jennifer L. Summerfield, certified dog trainer and author of “Train Your Dog Now!”

Joslin suggests chopping and steaming spinach first before serving it to your dog.

Vegetables for Dogs: Sweet Potatoes

Loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber, sweet potatoes are a dog-safe vegetable. They should be pureed in a blender or juicer for best nutrient absorption.

“Dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans, and don’t digest plant material very efficiently,” Summerfield says. She adds that, in general, vegetables should be given to dogs in small amounts or as a supplement to their regular diet. They should make up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s overall diet. 

Vegetables for Dogs: Asparagus

Another low-calorie treat, asparagus provides vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C, which helps build and maintain connective tissue in the body, such as skin, bones and blood vessels, Summerfield says. Asparagus also has folic acid and dietary fiber.

Like sweet potato, asparagus should be pureed before serving it to your dog, she adds.

Vegetables for Dogs: Brussels Sprouts

Believe it or not, Brussels sprouts aren’t exclusively reserved for food bloggers and trendy restaurants.

“Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, these little power balls are great snacks for dogs,” Joslin says. “The best way to serve Brussels sprouts to your pup is by steaming, boiling or microwaving them. Don’t serve them raw, as they will be too hard for your dog to digest.”

Vegetables for Dogs: Broccoli

Broccoli is another dog-safe vegetable that is high in fiber, which is important for regular bowel movements and can help dogs feel more satisfied after eating, Summerfield says.

Broccoli should be served to dogs in small quantities and broken down into bite-sized pieces, either raw or cooked. As with all vegetables, broccoli should be served plain, without any added seasonings or oils.

Vegetables for Dogs: Carrots

Carrots make a great, crunchy snack that can help keep your dog’s teeth clean and can lower the risk of heart disease, Joslin says.

Carrots are also high in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body after consumption, Summerfield says.

Before adding any vegetables to your dog’s meals, speak with your veterinarian about which vegetables are safe to add to her diet. And remember, onions, garlic and chives are toxic to dogs and should never be given to them.


5 Best Fruits for Dogs

Filed Under: Home,Pet Care at 12:49 pm | By: Jessica Remitz

We micro-manage our pets’ diets almost as much as our own, and it can be confusing to determine which foods are safe for dogs to eat. Sure, it’s common knowledge that chocolate is a no-go, but what about fruit?

Fortunately, there are a variety of fruits that are perfectly safe to share with your dog—and make a healthy, nutritious snack for you both.  These are our favorite fruits for dogs:

Fruits for Dogs: Cantaloupe

This sweet summertime fruit is loaded with vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, beta-carotene and folic acid, says Dr. Jennifer L. Summerfield, certified professional dog trainer and author of “Train Your Dog Now!” As in people, vitamin A is important for vision and immune system function in dogs, while vitamin K helps blood clot, Summerfield says.

Cantaloupe can be cut into small pieces and given to your dog as a treat (just make sure to remove the rind first). In general, fruits should be given to dogs in small amounts as a treat or supplement to their regular diet, she adds. Fruit should make up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s overall diet.

Fruits for Dogs: Apples

Packed with antioxidants and dietary fiber, apples are another fruit that’s safe for dogs.

“Dietary fiber is important for regular bowel movements and can also help dogs (like humans!) to feel ‘full’ or satisfied after eating,” Summerfield says. “Antioxidants are beneficial because they help to scavenge free radicals in the body and prevent cancer and other types of cellular damage to the body’s tissues.”

In addition, apples have both phytonutrients and flavonoids, two plant-specific types of antioxidants that serve as anti-inflammatories and help boost the immune system, Summerfield says.

Like cantaloupe, apples can be cut into small pieces (without seeds or core) and fed raw as a treat.

Fruits for Dogs: Watermelon

Your perfect warm-weather snack also happens to be a great choice for dogs too.

“[Watermelon] contains more water than do some other fruits and so can help prevent dehydration,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, author of “Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian.” “It’s also a good source of potassium, which may improve recovery from exercise.”

In other words, feel free to share a few bite-sized pieces of cold watermelon on a hot day—bonus points if it’s after a trip to the beach.

Fruits for Dogs: Pumpkin

Yes, pumpkin is a fruit. And a dog-safe fruit, at that!

“If your dog could stand to lose a little weight or has certain types of digestive problems, adding pumpkin to the diet might help,” Coates says. “Pumpkin’s high fiber content makes dogs feel full without adding many calories and can also be used to treat constipation, diarrhea, and anal sac problems.”

Pumpkin also contains beta-carotene, vitamin A, iron and potassium, says Dr. Antje Joslin, a veterinarian at Dogtopia daycare in Phoenix, and its nutrients can help add moisture to a dog’s skin and fur.

Consider adding a scoop of canned pumpkin (just pumpkin—no seasonings) to your dog’s meals and be sure to talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s digestion.

Fruits for Dogs: Blueberries 

High in fiber, blueberries help control blood sugar, support healthy digestion and prevent cell damage, Joslin says. They can be fed to dogs raw or frozen as a treat or snack.

“Blueberries are a wonderful treat for dogs,” Coates says. “They contain a lot of vitamin C and manganese, both of which help the immune system function properly. Also, flavonoids, the compounds that make blueberries blue, are excellent antioxidants.”

Many other berries can be given to dogs in moderation, including strawberries and cranberries, Summerfield says. These have similar health benefits as the other fruits on this list.

Finally, keep in mind that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and should never be given to them.


3 Reasons Your Pet Needs Probiotics

Filed Under: Pet Care at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak

Probiotics are considered one of the best supplements for your health, and it’s no different for your pets! They offer many health benefits to dogs and cats and are a great addition to their diet. If you are not sure if your pet really needs it, let’s review 3 reasons your pet needs probiotics.

Intestinal Health

Many pets have chronic intestinal disorders such as IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), colitis, and bacterial gastroenteritis. The intestinal tract normally contains billions of “healthy” bacteria but, during times of stress, disease, or use of antibiotics, the amount of bacteria can change leading to an unhealthy or depleted microflora. The most common symptoms of unhealthy bacteria in the gut are diarrhea and vomiting. Probiotics can provide “good” bacteria to the gut leading to improved intestinal health.

Probiotics reduce gas, bloating, diarrhea, and loose stools as it helps remove harmful bacteria inside the digestive system. Plus, probiotics help reduce constipation, making it easier for your pets to expel all of the toxins inside their digestive tract and thus expelling the harmful bacteria as well.

Immune System

Probiotic supplements can help enhance your pet’s immune system. Probiotics help in the production of vitamin K, vitamin B, and short chain fatty acids which are essential to protect against pathogenic (bad) bacteria. Probiotics are known to improve intestinal immune system which has been shown to decrease the incidence of allergies, chronic respiratory disorders, and other illnesses.

Reduce Side Effects of Antibiotics

Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria but, just like it happens in humans, when your pet takes an antibiotic, it also kills off the “good” bacteria in the gut and this is a common cause of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal side effects of antibiotics. It’s highly suggested that if your pet start taking antibiotics, start giving a probiotic right away and you may be able to prevent a variety of side effects. Be sure to check with your veterinarian first prior to starting probiotics with your pet.


4 Ways Owning a Pet can Improve Your Health

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Pet Care at 9:39 am | By: Jessica Justh

There are few joys in life that are comparable with providing a safe and loving environment for a homeless or unwanted animal. Local and national agencies like the ASPCA and are great resources for locating shelters that can help match you with your ideal companion. And don’t forget — by saving their life, you’re also greatly improving yours, too. Here’s a few ways how…

1. Blood Pressure
Research from SUNY has shown that the stress responses of dog and cat owners who’ve been prescribed blood pressure medication is roughly half that of non-pet owners.

2. Anxiety
This is a no-brainer. It’s widely accepted that our cute and cuddly companions can help alleviate depression, anxiety and other mood issues. The simple act of touching or petting an animal has proven therapeutic qualities and is a simple and enjoyable way to lift your spirits (and theirs!).

3. Heart Health
Australian National Heart Foundation revealed that people who own pets, especially men, tend to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Also, devoting daily quality “outside time” with your pet is another easy way to build up cardiovascular health

4. Reduce Allergy Risk
Forget the Claritin – owning and being exposed to pets at a young age is one of the greatest factors in helping live an allergy-free life. In research conducted on young adults, those who had a pet in their home during infancy were approximately 50% less likely to develop an allergic reaction to animals.


New Brands Showcase: PetAlive

Filed Under: Pet Care,Supplements at 8:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Lucky Vitamin is happy to present a new brand of pet products to our customers: PetAlive.

PetAlive’s mission is to inspire more people to embrace a natural approach to complete family wellness. This unique line of homeopathic medicines is made using 100% natural ingredients and are free of added gluten, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, and are never tested on animals.

PetAlive ensures quality by selecting whole herbs, wild crafted whenever possible, and use the Full Spectrum method of extraction to create the most effective supplements. All homeopathic medicines are manufactured according to the highest pharmaceutical standards, in FDA registered facilities, according to the principals of cGMP in certified facilities.

Additionally, the company wants to educate customers on the benefits of holistic living and the dual modality approach, using herbal and homeopathic remedies together, while providing unbiased, factual, and useful information to help you make informed decisions about ailments and remedies.

PetAlive partakes in a hands-on approach to complete wellness, from incorporating natural remedies into our own daily routines to encouraging others to adopt a holistic approach to health.

You can save even more when you shop PetAlive products at No code needed at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand as savings are automatically applied.


5 Natural Remedies for Dogs

Filed Under: Pet Care,Supplements at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Dogs are just like us. They enjoy living a healthy and active life and want to avoid vets and medicines just as much as we want to avoid doctors and medications. However, there is one difference: we control our own diet as well as our need for assistance while our dogs depend heavily on us to eat healthy and get help in case of any health issue. Supplements can help your dogs and are a more affordable and natural way to keep your dog healthy. As veterinarians can be quite expensive, we present you 5 natural remedies for dogs.


Just like humans, dogs can greatly benefit from acidophilus as it can balance the good bacteria in the dog’s intestines, expelling the bad bacteria out. Puppies are prone to yeast infections and plain yogurt can be a great snack to be added to their diets.


If your dog was vomiting or had diarrhea, electrolytes can rehydrate and restore proper fluids in your dog’s stomach. Electrolytes can be particularly helpful for your dog after a long illness.

Apple Cider Vinegar

A simple, homemade remedy can help minimize itching. When the skin becomes itchy, dogs tend to scratch or lick their paws so much that may result in a hot spot. Apple cider vinegar can be applied directly onto the spot and this will dry up the area within 24 hours and keep you from having to shave the area in order to treat it.

Joint Formulas

Joint problems can become an issue as your dog ages. Supplements are being designed to help improve and maintain joint health for pets and the majority of these products contain two important ingredients: glucosamine and chondroitin.

Vitamin E

A simple way to improve skin condition and minimize itching, vitamin E oil can be applied directly to the skin or added to water when you bath your dogs. You can also give vitamin E orally but check with your vet on the recommended dosage for your specific dog breed.


What You Feed Your Pets Is Important Too!

Filed Under: Pet Care at 6:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak
B15 PCYour pets’ nutrition is important too. Every owner wants their pets to be happy and active but, in order to accomplish that, it is essential that pets eat a healthy diet too. Just like us, pets need a complete and well-balanced diet which contains all the essentials such as vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, carbohydrates, and fresh water: lots of water.

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has set nutritional standards that provides the complete source of nutrition required for your dog or cat. This information is extremely important for manufacturers of pet food as every single product should be manufactured in accordance with AAFCO standards to provide complete nutrition for your pet.

Extensive research goes into the development of pet food. Manufacturers are always working to increase their knowledge of pet nutrition, ensuring food is palatable, healthy and completely meets the nutritional requirements of your pet.

Table scraps do not offer the nutrition that most pets need and may add unneeded calories to their diet. While it may seem safe and nutritious to prepare your own pet food, there are a number of important factors to consider. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs than humans and it may be quite difficult for pet owners to know and to meet these requirements. Additionally, improperly prepared food may become contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella which can make your pet sick.

Natural and organic pet foods represent the safest and most balanced food choice for pets. It’s important to remember that the most appropriate choice of food should be made in consultation with your veterinarian, taking into account your pet’s lifestyle, age and overall health.


New Brand Spotlight: TurboPUP

Filed Under: Nutrition,Pet Care at 7:22 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak
TurboPupLucky Vitamin is happy to introduce a premium brand of nutritional bars designed especially for pets to our customers: TurboPUP.

TurboPUP is a unique brand that offers a complete line of canine meal bars on the go. The company has crafted nutritional bars made with only all-natural, top-quality ingredients. These compact meal replacements are perfect for your dog wherever you go.

TurboPUP bars provide all the nutrition needed for active dogs as they have been formulated to exceed AAFCO standards for all stages of life for dogs with added vitamins, minerals and omega-3s. Packed with 28 grams of protein, these unique bars are the ideal meal on the go. Each TurboPUP bar has 250 calories and are baked with 93% pure whey protein isolate, a highly digestible form of protein with a complete profile of amino acids. Using isolate is very important for dogs as lactose, which can be problematic for dog’s sensitive stomachs, is filtered out when it is made. Just like humans, dogs are unable to make all the amino acids needed for repairing muscle and tissue but whey protein contain all the essential amino acids needed for this process.

Additionally, TurboPUP is the official dog food of the National Association for Search and Rescue and the company donates 5% of all profits to organizations supporting veteran and canine causes.

You can save even more when you purchase TurboPUP products at Just enter the promotional code NOV15NEW15 at checkout to save 15% on all items of this new brand.


Does Your Pet Need Joint Supplements?

Filed Under: Pet Care,Supplements at 7:30 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Pet JointJoint pain can really impact your pets’ quality of life. Arthritis is a common joint issue for dogs and cats normally affecting hips and elbows. Joint supplements developed specifically for pets can be very helpful to minimize the pain and promote a better life for your pet.

Just like in humans, pets feel pain in the joints when production of the fluid filling the space between the bones is low or not lubricating the joints properly. Aging is the problem as, just like us once again, joint fluid production decreases with the years creating more friction between the bones. Each bony end is covered in a smooth cartilage, which protects the joint from damage. Articular cartilage contains a high concentration of nerve fibers, and when anything touches the cartilage, your pets will feel pain. So, it is essential to maintain enough fluid around the cartilage to prevent joint issues.

Natural joint supplements designed specifically for pets can be a great way to provide nutrients to minimize the lack of this fluid. The majority of products contain three nutrients that can help lubricate your dog’s joint fluid and can even repair damaged joint cartilage. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid are found in a good number of joint supplements for humans as well as pets.

Pets supplements are available in chewable tablets, wafers or snack, treats making it easier for your pets to absorb its contents. Lucky Vitamin is now having a special Natural Pet Sale. Click here to check out all the products of this very special offer.


5 Tips for Holistic Pet Care

Filed Under: Green Living,Pet Care at 5:46 pm | By: Jessica Justh



  1. Quality & Quantity of Food – If YOU eat organic shouldn’t your furry family members, too? Look for foods that are grain-free – studies have linked grain-based diets to a host of feline health issues – as well as lacking artificial colors and preservatives.
  2. Bond with some Omegas – Boost your pet’s health with Omega-3 fatty acids. Supplementing Omegas in your pet’s diet helps them maintain healthy skin, coat, joints, and overall development. Our tip: Rub a dollop of coconut oil between your hands and let your pet lick 2/3rds of it off. Work the remaining oil through your pet’s fur for a sleek, shiny coat.
  3. Natural Alternatives for Pain – Like us, as dogs and cats age their joints lose mobility, and in some cases, can lead to chronic pain. Glucosamine, MSM and Chondroitin are easily absorbed natural substances that may stimulate the production of proteoglycans which help maintain the health and resiliency of joints and connective tissues.
  4. Travel Easily – For both cats and dogs, travel can be an exhausting experience. For an upset stomach try ginger, peppermint or catnip. For anxiety, try skullcap or valerian. Other holistic remedies include Bach’s Rescue Remedy or two pellets of Arnica Montana 30C, taken 30 minutes prior to travel.
  5. Exercise – The obesity epidemic hasn’t been limited to just those of us with two legs. Our four-legged friends have been hit just as hard. Sunshine fresh air and at least 20 minutes of exercise are imperative for your most pet breeds, especially dogs. If your access to the outdoors is limited, try to keep your pets physically and mentally stimulated by introducing new and challenging toys and games on the regular.


Not Just For Humans?

Filed Under: Pet Care at 8:00 am | By: Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND & Lead Wellness Advisor
pet health


Did you know that LuckyVitamin is not just for humans?  While you are shopping for your supplements, protein powders, snacks, and personal care needs, don’t forget about the important dogs, cats, birds or other animals in your life.

For the dog lovers out there, LuckyVitamin carries many all-natural products to keep that special pup in your life feeling great. We offer a wide array of all natural dog treats, dog foods and dog bones to spoil your dog with. You can also shop our site for your dog’s entire grooming needs. Shampoos, teeth cleaning  and coat care products are just some of the items you can find to keep your dog looking its best.  Concerned about your dog’s joint or hip problems? Don’t worry, we have a large selection of joint and hip formulas to help support your dog’s needs. Worried about taking your dog in the car on that long road trip? LuckyVitamin has that covered too! We carry many formulas, such as Rescue Remedy to keep your pet calm throughout the trip, as well as eco friendly pet clean up bags.

But maybe you are more of a cat person. No worries since LuckyVitamin also has an assortment of cat treats, catnip, cat foods that are all-natural and organic. We sell a variety of hairball formulas like the Pet Naturals of Vermont Hairball Relief supplement that helps remove hairballs and minimize hairball formation and shedding. While on our site you can also shop products to help keep your cat calm with products like King Bio Natural Pet Anxiety and Stress Relief for Felines.

LuckyVitamin has something for almost all of the animals in your life. Check out our Equine formulas and other pet products here.  We’ve thought of everything, including those products that help get rid of the unwanted smells that pets can sometimes make. Try this link and see what products we have to help keep your home smelling like a home. This holiday season don’t forget to take care of and spoil all the animals in your lives.


Lucky Vitamin Presents: Lumino

Filed Under: Environment,Pet Care at 4:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak

Lucky Vitamin is happy to introduce Lumino products to our customers. Lumino offers a unique line of environmentally friendly pet products to promote health and well-being naturally and at affordable prices.

Many pet owners are looking for all-natural solutions and Lumino pet products are the perfect alternative to toxic chemicals, keeping dogs and cats happy and healthy. Lumino’s pet product line comes from the experience of using Lumino Spa Origins skin and body care products on pets. These spa-quality products are created with natural and organic ingredients, and contain no toxic chemicals, synthetic preservatives, parabens, or petroleum by-products.

So, Lumino has made some minor formula changes to ensure that all the ingredients used are absolutely safe for dogs, cats, birds, and horses. Many pet owners are turning to all-natural solutions rather than pharmaceutical drugs to deal with their pet’s stress-related emotions and behavior.

Lumino Diatomaceous Earth is an environmentally friendly alternative to toxic commercial flea and tick treatments. It contains a fine powder composed of the crushed fossilized exoskeletons of microscopic diatoms. This is a remarkable substance that actually dries out the waxy outer layer of fleas, causing them death by dehydration. In tests performed by the USDA, as well as a number of consumer trials, diatomaceous earth has proven to be an effective non-chemical insect control.

Diatomaceous Earth is pure organic food grade it is a pleasure to use, with no chemical odors or harsh feelings on your hands. Using only all natural ingredients, Lumino products are a great value for the money and much superior than cheap products produced with petroleum by-products and an array of potentially harmful chemicals.