Local Vendors

Local Vendors

Other than Princess the Parrot, our most favourite things in the shop are our local vendors. The Sea to Sky is filled so many talented people and we are so grateful that many of these folks have crafted specialty items for pets. This month we wanted to feature local dog treat vendors. If you haven’t heard about these yummy and healthy treats read on…

Pet-Pep makes non-medicated organic beef liver treats that will support you and your pet throughout their lives. The owner, BJ, provides a line of high value treats that satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. She is located in Squamish and has been making these treats since 2014. What is great about Pet-Pep is there are no fillers, no additives and no hormones; nothing but the best! BJ started making treats when she found out her rescue pups had allergies. So what would any pup loving mom do? Well…make her own treats and share it with the community. Since then Pet-Pep has made a name for itself. Healthy and irresistible and a go to high-value treat for all types of dogs.

Another one of our favourites is from Pemberton and they are Wow Treats and More. The owners, Tina and Constantine, are a dynamic due that also started making beef treats out of necessity. Their dog, Uma was struggling with intense itchiness and significant hair loss. They soon realized it was their food choices that were affecting Uma. So what did they do? They made their own healthy and nutritious treats and Uma has never been the same. Unique to them is that they work with local farmers in Pemberton and make in-season treats such as Pumpkin, Kale and Carrot. Other flavour staples are Hemp Seed, which is rich in omegas, and Egg Shell for added calcium. A great way to reward and train with treats rich in nutrients.

Though physically no longer in Squamish, Kanine Kookies dog treats will always have a place among our local favourites. Kim was one of the very first local vendors at O’Brien’s. Kim is the founder of Kanine Kookies and crafts her cookies in small batches using only fresh, human-grade, whole food ingredients, without the addition of additives or preservatives, salt or sugars. The most popular are the Flower Power Kanine Kookies made with pumpkin to help with digestion, and with turmeric for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Also good to try are the Outback Snack treats made with kangaroo, one of the most hypo-allergenic meats, with pumpkin for digestion and blueberries for antioxidant.


I think my dog has allergies?

One of our most frequently asked questions is “ I think my dog has a food allergy, what can I do?” When people discuss food allergies, they are most likely meaning their dog has a food sensitivity or food intolerance. Food sensitivities, unlike true allergies, do not involve an immune response and are instead a gradual reaction to an offending ingredient in your dog’s food, for example to beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, or soy.

Dogs with food sensitivities can present themselves with several symptoms, often including gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhea, or dermatologic signs like itchiness, poor skin and coat, and chronic ear or foot infections.

If the symptoms are concerning, please consult your vet. They may recommend an allergy test to sort out what the offending allergen is. Other options can also be an elimination diet or improving your dog’s gut health.

Switching Foods and elimination diets

The elimination diet can be a long process as it involves avoiding the suspected offending food. We have seen a good success if you stay on the same brand of food but simply change the protein. Often a protein that is not as common such as lamb or pork will do the trick as chicken and beef are common allergens to dogs. The key to the elimination diet is only changing one thing at a time and making sure you eliminate it in all that your dogs eats (including treat) .

Unfortunately, it can take up to 4 to 6 weeks for food allergies to clear up so one cannot expect immediate results. Patience is needed here. Keep you dog comfortable an apply hot spot spray or other topical treatments to areas that may be itchy or that fido has been chewing on while you are waiting to see if there is a change.

We recommend only changing on thing at a time rather than moving to completely different food if you want to try to determine what the allergen is. So, if you have been on the new protein for 4-6 weeks and still no change in symptoms then something else is the culprit. A good next step is moving to a limited ingredient diet. These foods are exactly that. Less ingredients so instead of oats, rice, and potato it may just have rice.

Can a raw diet help with allergies?

Switching to a raw diet is also an effective way to eliminate allergies. As they are limited ingredients diets and are easy to get with just one pure protein. It is a great option to control exactly what your dog is eating. Raw meals do not have grains so this can also help clear up any allergies to grain.

Something else to consider is your dog’s gut health. Human studies are starting to reveal that properly and fully digesting food may play an important in allergy response. Probiotics added to a dog’s diet will not only improve and restore balance to bacteria levels in the gut. Improving gut health will also improve their immune system. Because of this it is said that probiotics can help with dog allergies.

Figuring out allergies with so many different brands to choose from can be daunting. If you need help navigating all that is out there we encourage you to come by O’Brien Pets and we will be more than happy to help you through this.

raw diet

Raw Diet

If you have decided that the raw diet is right for you but have questions on how to begin, we hope that we can help guide you. The recommended guidelines for raw (BARF diet) consists of 70-80% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 5% offal (kidneys, pancreas, or spleen), 5% liver and vegetables, fruit and supplements. Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be as many of the the raw food brands make a fully balanced raw meal. So you don’t need to worry about adding the proper proportions to your pupper’s meal. We recommend starting off with a balanced raw meal. They key is to read the ingredients and look for the following.

  • – Protein
  • – Bone or Egg Shells
  • – Liver and Offal
  • – Vegetables, fruit
  • – Omegas (oils)
  • – Mineral Supplements (kelp)

There are raw foods out there that are made for owners that like to supplement their own veggies, offal, oils and minerals. These meals will usually say “base” or “pure”. These blends are can be the just the protein and bones or even just the pure protein. We suggest to read the ingredients list on these “base/pure” blends so you are aware of what needs to be supplemented.
The size and portions that raw comes in may be the most confusing part of the transition. You will find medallions, pucks, patties, bricks, blocks and even pillows of raw. This variety is great for owners as everyone will be able to find a serving portion that fits their pet’s daily requirement and the owner’s needs. If you like to make your own food and save money then the larger bulk pillow or bricks will be perfect. Recommended for larger dogs over 75lbs. The smaller portions such as medallions are meant for the smaller dog or if you want to thaw the raw quickly. You need only to remove the portion you need a couple hours before feeding time. The downside is generally the more proportioned the raw the higher the price point.

How to Transition your dog to raw.

Fast/Cold Turkey vs Gradual Method

There are two ways to transition your dog to a 100% raw diet. The Fast/Cold Turkey method is the easiest and less fuss method. Great for dogs that have a tolerant stomach or are not fussy. For dogs that have sensitive stomachs or are more finicky the gradual method may be the way to go.

The fast method is just that.

  • Fast your dog for 12 hours overnight. This ensures that all the kibble is out of the system, and you will also have a hungry dog eager to eat. Thaw your raw food during this time too.
  • Feed ½ daily serving of raw to your pup. If they reject the food take it away and reintroduce it 5 minutes later.
    You can also add pumpkin or probiotics such as raw goat’s milk or tripe to help your dog transition. The probiotics are bacteria that will help with digestion.
  • Feed the second ½ of your dog’s daily serving in the PM.

The Gradual Method

In this method you replace a portion your dog’s daily meal with raw over the course of 1 or 2 weeks. This is a good method if you have a dog that is prone to diarrhea at the slightest change in diet. It is recommended to feed your dog on kibble in the AM and replace the dinner serving with raw. Over the week(s) and every 2 or 3 days you increase the amount of raw and decease the amount of kibble.
Example if your dog should eat 2 cups of kibble/day or 1 lb of raw/day. The transition will look like the following. (This is hypothetical and just for you to visualize please replace with your timeline and recommended daily feeding amounts)
Day 1-3 AM meal 1 ½ cups of kibble PM Meal ¼ lb of raw
Day 4-5 AM meal 1 cup kibble PM Meal ½ lb of raw
Day 6-8 AM meal ½ cup kibble PM meal ¾ lb of raw
Day 8-10 Am meal ½ raw PM meal ½ lb of raw you are fully transitioned
In this method adding probiotics can help too. Again, you will be on poop watch. If the stools are solid and firm then it’s safe to move to the next increase.