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Posts from — April 2018


Many milk products can cause gastric issues in our pets, but not all milk products contain high amounts of lactose, which are usually the cause of these problems. Fermented-type milk products like yogurt are in a class of their own. An excellent source of bioavailable calcium, protein, potassium and magnesium for both dogs and cats, your pets will love yogurt!

What can yogurt do for furry friends?

• Pro-biotics – with over 37 billion “good” bacteria to strengthen our pet’s tummies and can help with digestive upset;

• Yogurt will repopulate healthy bacterial flora in their digestive systems;

• Yogurt can help with the distress of a gassy pet;

• Yogurt can clear up life-ailing yeast infections depending on the severity in just days or weeks;

• If you have a pet that itches, scratches or bites at their paws, skin and ears with no reports of infection from your vet, then yogurt may help cure and relieve the yeast overgrowth if fed daily;

• Yogurt helps with picky eaters if added to their diet.

There are enormous health benefits to introducing yogurt to your pet’s feeding regime. A white all-natural or organic, plain (NO SUGAR) low fat yogurt like Greek or Kefir. Greek has up to 18g of protein, because it requires 3 times the amount of milk. Kefir contains over 37 billion bacteria per 100ml and is considered the champagne of the pro-biotic milk world!

Like all new things that you introduce to your pet’s diet, please start off slowly. A good rule of thumb is: 1 tablespoon for small dogs, 2 for a medium breed and 3 for large breeds.

April 30, 2018   2 Comments

Behavior Training Take Away

I’d like to thank Donna Poudrier for taking time out of her busy day to come talk to us today about dog behavior.  I learned some new things and confirmed we are doing some things right!

Donna is the owner of Think Like A Dog and holds training events at Pepper’s Pet Pantry in Calvert, Home Elements in Leonardtown, and soon to Wag N Wash’ in California.  Fosters Families, you can take your foster dog to a class for FREE.  These are a good way to boost your foster dogs confidence. 

Donna gave us a presentation on a word, I don’t know I’ve ever heard “Anthropomorphism.”  Most of us are probably guilty and don’t even know what it means. Anthropomorphism is “the attribution of uniquely human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts.” Look no further than the proliferation of the term “pet parent” versus “pet owner.” In fact, a full 83% of pet owners now call themselves their pet’s mommy or daddy. 

However, this misguided view of putting human feelings and thoughts to your dogs actions has given rise to undesirable behaviors.  Dogs need rules, boundaries, limitations, consistency and reliability. 

Other tips we covered were:

*Not to be “Jekyll and Hyde” with your own behavior.  For example, when you are dressed in jeans and a t-shirt its ok for your dog to jump on you, but when you come home from work in your business suit you get mad and scald your dog.  Your dog doesn’t know the difference between your two attires.  You need to be consistent, is it ok jump or not. 

*Your dog is not being stubborn and not listening, you are just not providing sufficient motivation for them.  You need to find what motivates your dog wither a squeaky ball or high value treats.  When your dog is motivated they will want to make you happy.

*Dogs are opportunistic feeders, they are foragers and scavengers.  Some folks, have their dogs work for their food and use their nose.  You can put their food in a toy that releases the kibble, you can hide the food so they have to find it, or even throw treats out in the yard and have the dogs find them. 

*Dogs need stimulation or they will get bored, which leads to trouble such as barking, chewing, digging, or trying to escape.  Try to find ways to keep your dogs brain busy such as hide n seek in your home, getting enough daily exercise, frozen kongs, puzzles, throwing the ball or Frisbee, agility ect..  Find what your dog enjoys and do it often.

We covered several questions attendees asked.  My main take away is what ever behavior you are trying to change, IT TAKES TIME!  Weeks, months, maybe a year.  You have to stay consistent especially for an adult dog.    

Thank you to the folks that attended today!  Please feel free to add any of your take-aways as well! 

April 28, 2018   No Comments

Help Your Dog Overcome These 3 Common Allergies…

By Dr. Becker


There are safer ways to relieve your dog’s symptoms than pharmaceuticals while you and your vet work to discover the root cause of the allergic reaction.

Relieving symptoms without addressing the source of the problem is a short term fix to what can become a lifelong health problem. And certain drugs used to stop the allergic cycle have significant, potentially very serious side effects.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)

Flea allergy dermatitis, which is actually sensitivity to flea saliva, is a very common condition in dogs. It’s not the bite of the flea that causes most of the itching in dogs with FAD, it’s the saliva.

The saliva causes irritation way out of proportion to the actual number of fleas on the pup.

Lots of dog parents assume if their pet isn’t infested with fleas, the itching can’t be caused by fleas. But if your dog has FAD, the saliva of just one or two fleas can make him miserably itchy and uncomfortable for many weeks (long past the death of those two fleas).

Suggestions for flea control:

  • If you suspect or know fleas are a problem for your dog, I recommend you comb her at least once daily, every day during pest season with a flea comb. Do this on a white towel or other light colored cloth so you can see what’s coming off your dog as you comb. Flea ‘dirt’ (actually flea feces) looks like real dirt, but when suspended in a little rubbing alcohol or water will dissolve and release a red color (blood) allowing you to discern real dirt from flea dirt.
  • Bathe your dog often. A soothing bath will kill any fleas on your dog, help heal skin irritation, and make her feel more comfortable and less itchy. Also, clean animals aren’t as attractive to fleas. Pick a non-grain (no oatmeal) herbal shampoo.
  • Make liberal use of an all-natural pest repellent like Natural Flea and Tick Defense during flea season.

Food Allergies

If your dog has an allergy to something he’s eating, it may show itself not only as digestive upset (gas, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.), but also as one or several of these symptoms:

Itchy or oozing skin Coughing or sneezing; asthma
Red, irritated eyes Inflamed ears
Nasal discharge Swollen paws

If you suspect your dog is sensitive to something in her diet, there are a number of things you can do to learn the source of the allergy and solve the problem:

If your dog is over a year old, consider using Dr. Jean Dodds’ Nutriscan saliva test to determine if your pet is allergic to beef, corn, wheat, soy, eggs and/or milk (the most common antigens for dogs). Dr. Dodds will be adding additional antigens to the test in the near future.

If your pet has been eating the same food every day for months or years, there’s a good chance she’s developed an allergy to it. Contrary to what you’ve probably been led to believe, pets need diversity in their diets just like humans do. She might be sensitive to the single source of chemically-laced protein she’s been getting (chances are the meat is loaded with antibiotics and hormones causing immune system over-reaction). She’s also probably grown sensitive to certain allergenic ingredients in the food, typically grains and other carbohydrates.

Work with your holistic vet to develop an allergy elimination diet to help pinpoint the source of the problem. I recommend a three-month diet, which is longer than what many vets suggest. I like to give adequate time for an animal’s body to clear the allergenic substances, detoxify, and clean out cellular debris.

At the end of the elimination diet, new foods are added back in slowly, one at a time to gauge your dog’s response. It’s not uncommon for pets to be able to re-incorporate previous problem foods or clean proteins into the diet once the body is detoxified and the GI tract is healthy again.

Your holistic vet should also suggest natural supplements to help with detoxification, allergy relief and immune system support during and after the elimination diet.

To be optimally healthy — which includes avoiding food sensitivities and building resistance to all types of allergies — your dog should be fed a balanced, species-appropriate diet. The diet I recommend is preferably raw, either homemade (again, as long as it’s balanced) or commercial. Rotating the protein sources your dog eats is extremely important, as is strictly limiting or eliminating grains.

Environmental Allergies

In addition to flea saliva and certain foods/ingredients, your dog can also be allergic to an infinite variety of irritants in the environment. These can be outdoor allergens like ragweed, grasses and pollens, as well as indoor irritants like mold, dust mites, cleaning chemicals and even fabrics like wool or cotton.

As a general rule, if your dog is allergic to something inside your home, he’ll have year-round symptoms. If he’s reacting is to something outdoors, it could very well be a seasonal problem.

Also, your pet’s immune system is partly genetic, so he can actually inherit a tendency toward environmental allergies.

Finding the root cause of this type of allergy is extremely important, because what usually happens is the more your pet is exposed to an irritant, the more his sensitivity and reaction to it grows.

Some suggestions for finding and resolving environmental irritants:

Clean up your pet’s indoor air environment. Don’t allow smoking around your pet. Switch to non-toxic cleaning products. Consider investing in an air purifier to control dust mites.

Make sure your dog’s drinking water is high quality and doesn’t contain fluoride, heavy metals or other contaminants.

Don’t allow your dog to be over-vaccinated or over medicated. Vaccines rev up your pet’s immune system – too many vaccinations can send it into overdrive. An over-reactive immune system sets the stage for allergic conditions.

Antibiotics wipe out good bacteria right along with the bad guys. Since the majority of your pet’s immune system is in her GI tract, the right balance of gut bacteria is crucial for her health. There’s also the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in pets.

Steroid therapy (prednisone, for example) is often prescribed for pets with allergies. What these drugs do is turn off the immune system so it stops creating the allergic response. It does work for symptom relief, but unfortunately, the side effects make this a very serious, potentially dangerous drug.

Bathe your dog. If your pet has irritated skin, bathing will rinse the allergens away and make her feel better immediately. Don’t be shy about how often you bathe your pet, especially if she suffers from allergies that itch and irritate her skin.

If you suspect something outdoors is irritating your dog, in between baths, do foot soaks. Chances are the allergen is coming inside on your pet’s feet. She can’t escape it, and she’s spreading it around indoors to every room she visits.

April 27, 2018   No Comments

Upcoming GRRSM Dog Park Days

Saturday, May 12th at 10AM Calvert County Grays Road Dog Park located at 2695 Grays Road Prince Frederick, MD 20678

If it is rainy we will cancel.  No make up days at this time; we will reschedule for the fall.


April 26, 2018   No Comments

Behavior Training This Saturday!

From 1-2 pm at the Charlotte Hall Library; we have invited Donna Poudrier, Certified Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT) and owner of Think Like a Dog to do a 30-minute talk on “What a Trainer Wants Dog Parents to Know” and then do 30 minutes of questions and answers with us providing questions in advance.

We will get answers/ advice/ tips to questions like:

1)      Why does my dog mouth grab everyone?

2)      Best techniques for introducing a new dog to your home.

3)      Best strategy for managing a dog reactive dog when you know they will likely see other dogs…..on walks, vet’s office, etc.

4)      How to deal with thunderstorm anxiety.

5)      Ways to manage resource guarding.

6)     How do I get my dog to tolerate getting in the car?

7)      My dog barks and everything and everyone; how can I make them stop?


Hope to see you Saturday!  1pm sharp!


April 25, 2018   No Comments

Hemp Oil for Pups

Vet recommended source Hemp Oil for Pups

April 24, 2018   No Comments

Biggest Loser Tip #2 Walking Your Dog

#1 – A daily walking routine keeps both you and your pet healthy.

Dogs need exercise in order to stay healthy in the long run, and the same is true for people. Regular walks can help reduce destructive behavior, maintain a pet’s healthy weight, and help your pet stay mentally happy and healthy.

#2 – Walks are a great way to bond with your pet and get them the exercise they need.

Walking with your pet helps solidify the bond you have and allows you to experience new environments together. Dogs that are walked in new places meet new people and experience new things, which makes them a better socialized and good canine citizens.

#3 – A daily walk lets you and your pet get the social interaction you both need.

Both dogs and people are social beings that need to get out regularly. Some dogs can benefit from spending time with other dogs, and an occasional trip to a designated dog park can be a great way to socialize. Pets are also a good icebreaker when meeting new people.

#4 – Walking reduces stress and relieves anxiety in both people and pets.

Walking a pet has been shown to reduce blood pressure and boost the immune system. In addition, petting a dog or cat can calm frayed nerves and alleviate stress. Pets also benefit mentally and physiologically from some exercise and time spent outside.

April 24, 2018   3 Comments

Fridge Snacks

April 23, 2018   No Comments

Welcome Max

Max is a one year old golden boy given up by his family because they did not have a big fenced yard for him to run and play and because he was alone a great deal. He needs to be neutered and will need a young canine playmate and a large physically fenced yard when he is available for adoption.

Max was transported by Becky Minnich and it looks like MJ Minnich helped from this photo of Max eager to get his new life started! Please join me in welcoming Max to the GRRSM family.

April 21, 2018   4 Comments

April 28 and 29 EVENTS!

Hope to see you at one of our events!

SATURDAY, April 28th:

  • From 1-2 pm at the Charlotte Hall Library; we have invited Donna Poudrier, Certified Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT) and owner of Think Like a Dog to do a 30-minute talk on “What a Trainer Wants Dog Parents to Know” and then do 30 minutes of questions and answers with us providing questions in advance.  Please respond if you are attending and also post any questions you have.

  • Maryland DogFest 10AM – 4PM GRRSM will have a table setup at the Charles County Fairgrounds.  Please respond if you are able to help staff our table.  Even if you can only stay an hour, that will give another volunteer time to take a break.  You can also bring your dog to be GRRSM ambassadors.

 If you are attending DogFest, please stop by the 4 Pet’s Sake Table.  Terri Robinson, GRRSM member and owner of 4 Pet’s Sake, will have a 50/50 Raffle with proceeds going to GRRSM.  Thank you so much Terri for doing something special at DogFest for GRRSM!!!


SUNDAY, April 29th:

  • Another day at DogFest same information as Saturday. 



April 21, 2018   1 Comment