Tips to Help Dry Skin in Pets

Dry, flaky skin is a common problem for humans in this drought-ridden desert state, and dogs and cats suffer from it too.  As unattractive as it may be, it’s not just a cosmetic concern, especially for our pets.  Dry, itchy, irritated skin is more prone to bacterial and fungal infections, and also makes your pet more susceptible to parasites such as fleas and ticks.  Here are some things you can do to combat dry skin in pets:

Feed a Good Quality Diet

Skin health and coat quality are often the first to suffer when a pet isn’t getting its nutritional needs met.  Feeding an all-natural, species-appropriate diet made with quality animal-based proteins instead of cheap fillers will help ensure your pet is getting easily assimilated nutrients for building and maintaining supple skin and soft fur.  Pet food ingredients to always avoid:  corn, wheat, soy, by-products, unnamed meats, high fructose corn syrup and other added sugars, propylene glycol, BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives.

Make Sure Your Pet Is Well Hydrated

Fresh water should always be available for your pet.  Encourage drinking by placing multiple bowls around the house, and consider investing in a fountain to keep water as fresh and enticing as possible.  Increase water intake by including high-moisture foods such as canned food, raw food, and rehydrated freeze-dried food in the diet.  This is especially important for cats, who don’t have a strong thirst mechanism and can be subclinically dehydrated if fed only dry kibble.

Supplement with Fish Oil

Iceland Pure and Nordic Naturals fish oil for pets

Iceland Pure and Nordic Naturals fish oil products for pets

Fish oil helps to condition and moisturize the skin from the inside out.  Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of cell membranes, and strong cell membranes are needed to maintain the water content of cells and tissues.  Please note that it is important to give your pets fish oils rather than plant-sourced oils (such as flax or olive) because dogs and cats do not efficiently convert the long-chain fatty acids in plant oils into the beneficial forms (DHA and EPA) they can utilize[Our highly recommended fish oil brands for pets:  Iceland Pure and Nordic Naturals.]

Add Body Guard Food Supplement to Meals

Protec Body Guard

Protec Body Guard food supplement for dogs and cats

Protec Body Guard is chock-full of fantastic ingredients to improve any pet’s diet and overall health, but two ingredients in particular support skin health:  lecithin and choline chloride.  Lecithin is a dry source of fatty acids and phospholipids that help maintain cell membrane integrity.  Choline is an important building block in many cellular molecules, and is a component of the structural phospholipids that are abundant in cell membranes.

Be Gentle to Your Pet’s Skin

Use only gentle, all-natural shampoos and conditioners that are free of harsh chemicals and detergents, which can strip natural oils from the skin, leading to dryness and irritation.  Look for products that contain natural moisturizers such as oatmeal, aloe, or neem.  Too-frequent bathing can overdry the skin, so use grooming wipes or waterless shampoos to remove surface dirt from the coat as needed.

Support Team Boofy’s in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (Dogs and Cats Get It Too)

Breast Cancer:  Not Just a Human Disease

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising walk

Support Team Boofy’s Best for Pets in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising walk on Sunday, 4/28/2013.

One in 8 women will get breast cancer.  One in 1,000 men will get breast cancer.  But did you know our furry family members can get breast cancer too?

Mammary tumors are the most common tumors in dogs, and about 50% of them are malignant.  One in 4 unspayed female dogs will get mammary tumors, but spaying greatly reduces the risk of development.  In cats, almost 90% of mammary tumors are malignant, and mammary cancer is the third most common cancer in cats.  As with dogs, spaying before the first heat cycle significantly reduces a cat’s chance of ever developing mammary tumors.

Carmela C-Biscuit Snickerdoodle, fallen feline breast cancer warrior

Carmela “C-Biscuit” Snickerdoodle, fallen feline breast cancer warrior

Having lost a rescue kitty to mammary gland cancer (Carmela “C-Biscuit” Snickerdoodle*), we at Boofy’s understand the importance of supporting comparative oncology research.  We are hopeful that by participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising walk we can help eradicate this disease for everyone, whether they have two legs or four.

Join Team Boofy’s Best for Pets on Sunday, 4/28/2013, for a 5-mile walk along the Rio Grande near Cottonwood Mall.  Cool event t-shirts are available for a limited number of team members.  If you can’t join us, then please make a donation to help us achieve a world without breast cancer!

*All the critters knew Carmela was a major killah.  She didn’t let a breast cancer diagnosis prevent her from keeping the toy mouse population under control.  We miss you and your yodeling, Grandma Scary!

Over 70% of Dogs and Cats Show Signs of Oral Disease by Age 3

Start Adding Years to Your Pet’s Life During Pet Dental Health Month!

Pet Dental Health Month at Boofy'sPeriodontal (gum) disease is the most commonly diagnosed health problem in dogs and cats.  In fact, veterinarians estimate that 70-80% of dogs and cats have some degree of gum disease by age 3.  As in humans, chronic oral infections are linked to serious and even life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and organ failure.

Apart from damaging your pet’s health and longevity, chronic oral disease damages your wallet:  dental cleanings can cost hundreds of dollars, and dental extractions can run into the thousands.  Why spend all that money for treatment when there are less expensive ways to prevent oral disease?

If you’ve been relying on dry food to keep your pet’s teeth clean… DON’T.  Dry pet food — which is essentially a meat cookie — contains a high percentage of carbohydrate to hold the kibble shapes together, and this leaves a starchy film on the teeth that bacteria thrive on.  Additionally, kibble typically shatters into small pieces when initially chewed, and these tiny pieces do not provide the mechanical abrasion necessary to remove plaque and tartar from teeth.  (Think about it:  If your teeth were feeling dirty, would you eat a cookie to clean them?  Of course not!)  For true abrasive action, give your pet “nature’s toothbrush”:  a raw meaty bone!

Whereas cooked bones can easily splinter and should never be given to your pets, raw bones are flexible and are generally safe with proper supervision.  Gnawing on raw bones helps scrape off accumulated plaque and tartar, and any attached meaty bits provide some natural flossing action.  Raw meaty bones are available from many animal sources and in a variety of sizes suitable for dogs or cats, and should be matched to the mouth size and chewing style of your pet.  If you are uncomfortable giving your pet raw bones, consider slow-smoked or sterilized bones, naturally-shed antlers, buffalo horns, or natural chews such as bully sticks, pig ears, or hemp ropes instead.

Other ways to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy:

  • Regular Brushing:  Brush as frequently as your dog or cat will allow (daily if possible) with a toothbrush, finger toothbrush, or gauze-wrapped finger.  The three-headed brush from PetzLife cleans all surface areas of the tooth with just one stroke, reducing the amount of time it takes to brush the teeth of a less-than-cooperative pet.  Use an enzymatic or natural toothpaste formulated just for pets — human toothpaste is not designed to be swallowed and may make your pet very sick.
  • PlaqueOff:  Adding a tiny amount of this seaweed-derived product daily to your pet’s food helps prevent formation of the bacterial biofilm on teeth, thereby reducing bad breath, plaque, and tartar.  Within several weeks you’ll be seeing cleaner teeth and recommending PlaqueOff to all your friends!
  • Animal Essentials SeaDent for Dogs:  The power of kelp is augmented with five naturally occurring enzymes — lysozyme, amylase, cellulase, protease, and papain — that have been proven to fight plaque and bacteria in the mouth.  Add to food daily to reduce oral bacteria and to help break down food particles trapped between the teeth and under the gum line.
  • PetzLife Oral Care Spray and Gel: PetzLife’s oral care products contain natural extracts and oils that break down plaque and tartar, work under the gum line to help heal gum tissue, and kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.  Just spray or apply gel twice daily for best results. No brushing is required, but the gel makes an excellent toothpaste to speed up benefits.
  • Ark Naturals Breath-Less Chewable Brushless Toothpaste: These ridged chews contain a patented bacteriostatic “toothpaste” in their center that disrupts plaque and tartar formation, slows the growth of oral bacteria, and fights bad breath.
  • Ark Naturals Breath-Less Plaque-Zapper:  This fizzy water additive is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, and suitable for cats and dogs.  Plaque-Zapper helps neutralize the pH level of saliva, deters the growth of bacteria, and controls plaque, tartar, and bad breath.
  • Edible Dental Chews and Dental Bones:  When made with quality, all-natural ingredients, dental chews can help clean teeth, freshen breath, and satisfy your pet’s physical and psychological need to chew.  Some of our favorites:  Indigenous Dental Health Bones (fortified with kelp, probiotics, and Omega 3); Pegetables Dental Chews (grain-free,  gluten-free, and full of natural vegetables); and Whimzees (gluten-free natural chews in fun shapes like alligators, hedgehogs, and toothbrushes).
PetzLife Complete Brush for Pets

The three-headed brush from PetzLife cleans all surface areas of the tooth with just one stroke, reducing the amount of time it takes to brush the teeth of a less-than-cooperative pet.