Shared Blog Post – All About Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds – They’re NOT!

< Updated 16JAN22 >

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Many people desperately want a dog in their life but have allergies. There are dog breeds advertised and promoted as being “hypoallergenic.” This would seem to imply that if you get one of these dogs, you will not have an allergic reaction. Sadly, the very suggestion that a dog is “hypoallergenic” is disingenuous. As noted in this recent blog post by Embark, “Being called hypoallergenic means the dog is less likely to cause someone to have an allergic reaction. However, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic.”

If you are searching for a “hypoallergenic” dog, I encourage you to read this blog post from Embark. It provides detailed, scientific information on dog allergies and which breeds may be less of a concern than others for a person that has dog allergies. However, the fact remains no dog will be 100% allergenic.

Embark – All About Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

If you are thinking about buying a dog from someone telling you that the dog is “hypoallergenic,” I suggest you talk to other breeders, rescues, and pet professionals before making a financial commitment. At least, ask yourself, “What else have they told me about this dog that might not be true?” The following article from my blog may be helpful as you look for the right dog for you and your family.

Adopting A Pet – Finding the Right Dog for You and Your Family

Pet Health & Wellness – How Hemp-Derived Phytocannabinoid Nutraceuticals May Help Your Pets

< Updated 11JUN19 >

< A version of this article was published in the July 2018 issue of Downeast Dog News >

< You may listen to a podcast on this topic which aired on The Woof Meow Show at – >

You may have noticed that the use of marijuana and hemp-based products are being promoted for medical and health reasons for

Muppy & Don 2017

both people and pets. Research indicates that phytocannabinoid nutraceuticals can be very useful in helping with allergies1, anxiety2,11, arthritis3,4,11, behavioral issues5,11, depression2, epilepsy and seizures5,6,11, inflammation7, joint health3,4, digestion, joint mobility11, nausea8,9, and pain relief and management10,11. Anecdotal evidence indicates cannabinoids may also be useful in increasing appetite, improving digestion, slowing tumor growth, and providing end of life comfort. A scientific report in the Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) reviewed how 631 pet owners used cannabinoids with their pets12. Commonly reported benefits of cannabinoids were; provided pain relief, aided with sleep, helped relieve anxiety, offered nervous system support, reduced inflammation,  reduced seizures or convulsions, reduced vomiting or nausea, helped suppress muscle spasms, aided digestion, helped with thunderstorm or fireworks phobia, inhibited cell growth in tumors and cancer cells, and helped with skin conditions.

What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

While hemp and marijuana are both plants in the Cannabis family, they are not the same. The appearance of these two plants are very different, as is how they are cultivated. Most importantly, the chemical makeup of marijuana and hemp is very different. Marijuana is probably best known for containing a cannabinoid called THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana which can cause one to “get high.” Marijuana has a high THC content (5 to 35%) while the THC content of Hemp is less than 0.3%. THC content is critical as THC can be moderate to severely toxic to dogs13,14. Common signs of THC toxicity are: severe depression, walking drunk, lethargy, coma, low heart rate, low blood pressure, respiratory depression, dilated pupils, coma, hyperactivity, vocalization, and seizures.

What are phytocannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are substances that occur naturally in both hemp and marijuana. There are 66 different types of cannabinoids. One is THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Cannabidiol (CBD), is the most abundant of the cannabinoids and can make up as much of 45% of the resin extracted from the cannabis plant. CBD is believed to have anti-anxiety effects and may counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. Since there is now a CBD based drug undergoing clinical trials, the term PRO (Phytocannabinoid Rich Oil) is being used for phytocannabinoid nutraceuticals instead of CBD.

How do phytocannabinoids work?

All animals have an endocannabinoid system that works with the bodies physiological, neurological, and immunological systems. Our bodies produce endocannabinoids which fit into specialized receptors throughout the body. In the dog, CB1 receptors are found in the brain, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, muscles, reproductive organs, and vascular system. CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in the bone marrow, brain stem, gall bladder, liver, and pancreas. CB2 receptors are found in parts of the brain, bones, skin and the spleen. Cannabinoid receptors in your dog’s brain play a role in the Cerebral Cortex (memory, thinking, awareness, and consciousness), the Hypothalamus (metabolic processes, appetite), the Amygdala (regulation of emotions), the Hippocampus (memory and recall), the Basal Ganglia (motor skills and learning), the Cerebellum (muscle control and coordination), and the Brain Stem (reflexes, heart rate, blood pressure, pain sensation and muscle tone). Producing adequate numbers of endocannabinoids is essential to good health. When the body does not produce enough endocannabinoids due to poor health, we can supplement them with phytocannabinoids derived from hemp.

Are phytocannabinoids right for your pet?

Whether or not phytocannabinoids are right for your pet is something that only you can decide, and I would suggest you do so only after discussing their use with your veterinarian. At the end of 2017, the World Health Organization issued a report15 indicating that CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential, and in several clinical trials has been shown to effectively treat seizures. Research suggests that CBD/PRO nutraceuticals may be useful in treating a number of other medical conditions and have a good safety profile.

Buyer Beware!

The buzz over CBD/Pro products is enormous, so it is a “seller’s market.” Whenever that happens, it is not uncommon for some unreliable companies to get into the business. Before adding these products to our offerings at our store, we did a great deal of due diligence to select a company with a known track record and a commitment to quality and education. I would advise you to spend some time doing your own research before you buy a product or, talk to your veterinarian or a pet care professional you trust. Whatever you do, do NOT use marijuana you are growing yourself or that you buy from the couple down the road. You could kill your dog.

Footnotes and References


1 Cannabinoid receptor type 1 and 2 expression in the skin of healthy dogs and dogs with atopic dermatitis

2 Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa

3 The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis

4 Involvement of the endocannabinoid system in osteoarthritis pain –

5 Cannabidiol exerts anti-convulsant effects in animal models of temporal lobe and partial seizures –

6 The cannabinoids as potential antiepileptics

7 Cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and related analogs in inflammation

8 Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis and its synthetic dimethylheptyl homolog suppress nausea in an experimental model with rats

9 Cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic component of cannabis, attenuates vomiting and nausea-like behaviour via indirect agonism of 5-HT(1A) somatodendritic autoreceptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus

10 Non‐psychoactive cannabinoids modulate the descending pathway of antinociception in anaesthetized rats through several mechanisms of action –

11 The Effective Pain Treatment Your Vet May Not Want to Talk About – In this post from June 9th, Dr. Karen Becker discusses studies on the use of CBD oil (Phytocannabinoids) for the treatment of osteoarthritis, epilepsy, and pain management. –

12 Scientific Report – Consumers Perceptions of Hemp Products for Animals. AHVMA Journal, Volume 42, Spring 2016 –

13 Pet Poison Helpline – Marijuana

14 Veterinarians see more cases of pets ingesting marijuana – News Center Maine –

15 World Health Organization Report on Cannabidiol (CBD)



Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( )


Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show ( )

Other Trusted Resources

JAVAM News – Veterinary marijuana?, With pet owners already using the drug as medicine, veterinarians need to join the debate, May 13, 2013 –

VIDEO: Dr. Gary Richter, of Holistic Veterinary Care in #Oakland, discusses medical benefits of cannabis CBD treats for dogs

Pot for Pets: Medical Uses of Marijuana in Companion Animals – Dr. Karen Becker interviews Dr. Rob Silver




Medical Marijuana and Your Pet: The Definitive Guide by Dr. Rob Silver, Lulu Publishing Service, 2015, –


Web Sites




Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( ) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at Don also writes about pets at his blog: He is committed to pet care and pet training that is free of pain, force, and fear. The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©15-Jun-18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Pet Nutrition – Zignature Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Green Acres Kennel Shop is pleased to offer Zignature Dog Foods; nutrition formulated with limited ingredients.

< Updated 3JUL17 >

You might want to consider Zignature if:

  • Your dog has allergy issues like skin sensitivity, itchiness, and stinky ears
  • Your dog is overweight
  • Your dog is diabetic
  • Your dog has the scoots and needs more fiber
  • You want to be able to be able to easily rotate your dog’s diet among various protein’s
  • You want a dog food with a frequent buyer program
  • You want to feed your dog both dry and canned food
  • You are currently feeding; California Natural, Canidae Pure, Natural Balance, or Merrick Limited Ingredient dog food

Allergy Issues – What Makes Zignature Different

Food allergies or intolerances are a serious problem with some dogs and are usually triggered by the protein source. Zignature does not use chicken in any form (chicken, chicken meal, chicken fat, or eggs), in any of its diets because consumers are concerned that dogs are becoming allergic to chicken due to the overuse of chicken in dog foods. It is a fact that chicken has been the predominant protein and fat source used in dog foods for many years. Another reason Zignature refuses to use chicken is the reality that most of the chicken that ends up in dog food comes from large commercial farms where the chickens are raised using significant amounts of antibiotics and hormones. By avoiding the use of chicken, Zignature is protecting your dog from overexposure to antibiotics and hormones.

Dogs with allergy or food intolerance issues need a limited ingredient diet, in fact, the fewer ingredients in their food, the better it is for them. With Zignature, the first two ingredients are ALWAYS protein: animal protein from a single source backed by the same protein in the form of a meal. Zignature offers a wide variety of protein sources; Catfish, Duck, Kangaroo, Lamb, Pork, Salmon, Trout, Turkey, Venison, and Whitefish.

Weight Management – What Makes Zignature Different

Like humans, dogs have a weight problem. Approximately 50% of all dogs are overweight, and about 1 out of 500 dogs are affected with Diabetes.

Zignature is one of the only grain free dog foods that does not use high caloric carbohydrates with a high glycemic index in their foods. You will not find potato, tapioca, corn, or wheat in any Zignature formula. Instead, Zignature uses low glycemic legumes such as whole Chickpeas which promote stable blood sugar and provide valuable dietary fiber. This means that Zignature diets have a low glycemic index, making them an ideal choice for dogs that are overweight or that have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Zignature formulas are one of the few dog foods that have been certified by the Glycemic Research Institute as being a “Certified Low Glycemic Canine Food.” The Glycemic Rating for several Zignature formulas is noted below.

Formula Glycemic Rating
Zignature Turkey 9.8
Zignature Lamb 10.4
Zignature Trout 10.6
Zignature Kangaroo 11.9
Zignature Duck 12.0
Zignature Whitefish 12.1
Zignature Zssential 12.5

Zignature uses Garden Peas and Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans as Low Glycemic binders in their dry food formulas. The advantages of those ingredients are noted below.

Garden Peas (15 on the Glycemic Index)

Peas are a great source of Vitamins B, C, and A, fiber, and vitamin K. Peas are one of the few plants that can use nitrogen from the air which helps to reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers used by farmers.

Chickpea or Garbanzo Beans (33 on the Glycemic Index)

Chickpeas are a grain-free, gluten-free starch source. This nutritious ingredient is made from a leguminous plant – Garbanzos – Chickpeas contain vitamin C, A, E, D and K, riboflavin, niacin. pantothenic acid and B vitamins.

Itchiness – What Makes Zignature Different

Many dogs do not itch because of allergies but because of yeast infections. Symptoms of excess yeast can include; ear infections, skin infections, paw irritability, and odor. A contributing factor to Candida yeast infections is the high carbohydrate content of dry dog foods. Potato, Tapioca, and Gluten are all high in sugar, a food source for the yeast infecting your dog. Zignature uses carbohydrates like Garden Peas and Chickpeas which have a low glycemic index, which means they contain less sugar to feed the yeast.

Protein Sources and Levels – What Makes Zignature Different

Your dog is a carnivore, and that means they need and benefit from high-quality protein in their diet. Zignature has a higher percentage of meat protein than many other dog foods.

Formula Percent Protein
Catfish 32%
Duck 27%
Kangaroo 26%
Lamb 28%
Pork 31%
Salmon 29%
Trout 30%
Turkey 31%
Venison 27%
Whitefish 29%
Zssential 32%

Ingredients – What Makes Zignature Different

  • Zignature is one of the only grain free dog foods without potato, tapioca, chicken, chicken fat, or eggs.
  • The first two ingredients in every Zignature formula are ALWAYS protein: animal protein backed by the same protein source as a meal
  • All dry kibbles need to use non-protein and fat sources to bind their food. Zignature uses peas, chickpeas, alfalfa mean, blueberries, carrots, cranberries and flax seed to bind their kibble.
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits & vegetables:
    • Cranberries: Powerful antioxidants, natural acidic properties that may support urinary tract health.
    • Blueberries: “Super foods for Dogs” Dogs with blueberries in their diet have been known to have lower fat cholesterol and triglycerides.
    • Carrots: A great source of necessary vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids to help support immune and digestive health. May also support proper skin and eye health.
  • Flax Seed: Contains higher levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than fish oil, and contains omega-6 fatty acids. Flax seed oil has been used for years to maintain a healthy skin and coat in pets.
  • Alfalfa: One of the richest mineral foods on earth, promotes proper digestion and fresh breath.
  • Sunflower oil: This oil is exceptionally high in Linolenic an omega-3 fatty acid and helps dry skin and promotes a healthy coat.

Fiber and the “scoots” – What Makes Zignature Different

Zignature is higher in fiber, 4.5% to 6.5%, depending on the formula, than most dog foods. The increased level of fiber makes for healthier anal glands, and more importantly, a higher fiber percentage helps to clean out the colon, reduce toxins and helps keep our dogs regular. Zignature uses higher quality sources of fiber (alfalfa meal and flaxseed), as opposed to some food companies that use powdered cellulose (sawdust) or peanut hulls.

Physiologically Tuned™ Diet – What Makes Zignature Different

Zignature describes their food as being Physiologically Tuned™. What that means is this; meat or fish is always the first ingredient, and they do not use troublesome staples such as Chicken, Corn, Wheat, Soy, and Potatoes. “The result is optimal hypo-allergenic, low glycemic nutrition. We build on this natural foundation by adding vital supplements such as antioxidants, essential fatty acids and a complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals for holistic pet food that goes beyond nature to become your pet’s signature food for life.”

Dietary Rotation – What Makes Zignature Different

Green Acres has been discussing the benefits of rotating your dog’s food for many years. Quite simply, if you have a healthy dog and change protein sources on a regular basis, your dog is less likely to become sensitized to a protein and develop a food intolerance. Zignature makes dietary rotation easy with their vast selection of protein sources; Catfish, Duck, Kangaroo, Lamb, Pork, Salmon, Trout, Turkey, Venison, and Whitefish.

Canned Food – What Makes Zignature Different

If you wish to feed your dog canned food or canned food plus dry food, Zignature has a matching canned formula. Zignature canned foods never use any gums (Carrageenan, Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum) in their canned formulas. These gums can contribute to inflammation and irritable bowel disease.

Frequent Buyer Program – What Makes Zignature Different

Green Acres Kennel Shop is pleased to offer a frequent buyer program for Zignature. We keep track of your purchases in the store, and when you have purchased twelve bags of Zignature, you will qualify for a free bag.

What Users of Zignature are saying on Facebook

John Steph Real

LOVE your food! These are photos of Myles’ transformation on your diet. Now my other five dogs are on your food and I am seeing results as well! Look at it in a large format,you can see the reduction of staining in 4 months!

For more customer reviews of Zignature, visit the Zignature testimonial page at

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet?

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gus

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 2 – In the Spring 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon! –

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 3 – Look for this article in the Summer 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon! –

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (

Podcast – Zignature Limited Ingredient Pet Food

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harrington


©19JUN17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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