If your dog has diarrhea or digestive issues, you may want to stop in the Barkery for some Flora4.
Flora4 Ground Sprouted Seeds Food Topper simplifies the chore of learning how to effectively supplement live probiotics, plant enzymes, phytonutrients and whole food vitamins and minerals that are lacking in an all-meal diet.
This beneficial supplement adds enzymes and probiotics that can help a wide range of issues, including:
- During and after treatment with antibiotics
- To correct intermittent diarrhea and soft stools
- To aid digestion when transitioning a new food
You can add Flora4 to every meal to supply all your dog’s non-meat nutritional requirements. If you already mix foods like tripe, green leafy and root vegetables into your dog’s raw diet, try using Flora4 every couple of days to “fill in the gaps.” That way, you can be sure you’re not missing any essential vitamins and minerals in your homemade recipes.
Your cat can also benefit from the intense nutrition in Flora4. Be sure to add healthy sources of taurine such as organ meat – pork liver and duck liver are two excellent examples. Try adding some of Farm Fetched Single Ingredient freeze dried treats, which can also be found at the Barkery.
Flora4 is extremely versatile. It can be sprinkled into raw, home-cooked food or commercial kibble to boost nutrition and complete the diet. If your main pet food contains vitamin/mineral additives (like kibble and canned foods), you should consider supplementing Flora4 every day or two, to make sure your pet is getting really bio-available nutrients from food, not just synthetics. Testing has shown that dogs and cats love the mix of flavors from meat and the sprouted seed blend. Flora4 gives raw feeders the convenient whole food supplement they’ve been waiting for – no need to use bottled synthetic products again!
Flora4 contains guaranteed levels of live probiotics (18 billion cfu/kg) and enzymes (1 million U/kg); effective doses of 26 essential vitamins & minerals; and high levels of Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids – all from raw food- that combine to provide a variety of health benefits for both dogs and cats.
Consider supplementing Flora4 when transitioning your dog or cat to a different food to prevent digestive upset. Once you see what Flora4 can do for your pet, you’ll be glad you did!
For those that don’t know, goat’s milk has been hailed as one of the most complete, natural food sources known to man. Raw, unpasteurized goat milk is full of vital nutrients, enzymes, vitamins, electrolytes, protein and fatty acids, and it’s more digestible than cow’s milk.
Not only is it safe to give your dog or cat goat’s milk, it’s also incredibly good for them. Even dogs who have a hard time digesting diary products derived from cow’s milk can do extremely well on unpasteurized goat’s milk.
Here are just a few reasons why you should supplement your dog or cat’s diet with goat’s milk:
1. It’s Great for Digestion
Raw goat’s milk is perfect for dogs who suffer any number of digestive issues. Some dogs just have sensitive stomachs, or aren’t able to properly digest food. This can mean gas and loose stools on a regular basis. Goat’s milk is full of natural probiotics, which strengthens your dog’s gut by repopulating the bad bacteria with good bacteria. This makes it invaluable for dogs with sensitive digestive tracts, and also for dogs that have been subjected to various antibiotics.
2. It’s an Immune Booster
By strengthening your dog or cat’s gut, you’re also strengthening the immune system. By virtue of the amount of vitamins, trace minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids, the overall health of your dog is greatly enhanced. Raw goat’s milk has been shown to help fight common ailments such as kidney issues, cancers, liver disease, diabetes, colitis, IBS, heart disease, ulcers, and various brain and nervous system disorders.
Whether you’re feeding a raw, cooked, or kibble diet, supplementing raw goat’s milk can help your best friend to be healthier and happier.
3. It Alleviates Allergies and Itching
The probiotics in raw goat’s milk fight off yeast. It also contains high levels of caprylic acid, which is a natural yeast destroyer. Believe it or not, dogs can get yeast infections in their ears and other parts of the body, including their paws. Your dog’s paw or ear itching could very well be from yeast or allergies, and goat’s milk can help stop the itching once and for all.
4. It Relieves Arthritis Symptoms and Joint Pain
The same enzymes that help with digestion are a natural anti-inflammatory, and can help with pain in the joints. It also helps improve circulation, which can reduce or eliminate arthritis symptoms.
Other research has shown that carotene found in the milk can also prevent cancer, while the fat known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is believed to shrink cancerous tumors in some cases.
How to Feed Goat’s Milk
Most animals can’t get enough of goat’s milk, so give it a try even if you have a picky eater on your hands. When you’re feeding goat’s milk, make sure you’re adding it to a good, healthy diet. Although goat’s milk is a great benefit to your dog’s health, alone it won’t carry enough nutrients to help your dog thrive on its own. Pouring milk over your dog’s meal is the easiest way to supplement, whether you’re feeding raw, dehydrated, kibble or wet food.
The Barkery carries a variety of goat’s milk options. Stop in and ask a nutritionist how goat’s milk can help your pet today!
For more on goat’s milk, visit Dogs Naturally.
There’s a popular medicinal herb you can give your dog these days, and it’s called cannabis. Dog owners are using it to help their pets with a wide range of ailments, from anxiety to cancer.
Are dogs going to pot? Not exactly. The cannabis dogs are taking his hemp, not marijuana. Dogs Naturally explains the differences between marijuana and hemp, and how CBD can help your pet.
Marijuana Vs Hemp
Marijuana and hemp both come from the plant Cannabis sativa (though marijuana also comes from another member of the Cannabis family, Cannabis indica).
The cannabis plant has over 60 chemicals called cannabinoids. The two main types of cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBDs are therapeutic cannabinoids, whiles THC is the cannabinoid that makes you high.
Marijuana’s THC content is usually between 10-15%, but hemp must have a THC content of 0.3% or less. At this level, cannabis has no intoxicating effect for people or dogs. Hemp is higher in CBD, the substance that provides therapeutic effects.
How CBD Works
Humans and other mammals have specific cannabinoid receptor sites. These sites are primarily in the brain and central nervous system, and in the peripheral organs, especially immune cells. They make up what’s called the endocannabinoid system.
Studies show that many cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory effects, and can help with pain, tumors, seizures, muscle spasms, skin conditions, appetite stimulation, aggression, anxiety and neurological disorders.
How CBD Hemp Can Help Your Dog
CBD hemp can help with both chronic and acute disease. Among chronic conditions, it can help with:
- compromised immune systems
- stress responses
- digestive issues
There are also studies underway into CBD’s effects on Type 1 diabetes, organ diseases and cancer.
Veterinarians are also finding CBD hemp can be useful in treating acute ailments like:
- strains and sprains
- torn ligaments
- bone breaks
CBD can even help during post operative care to reduce swelling, pain and stiffness.
If your dog is taking conventional drugs for any of these conditions, CBD hemp pay make it possible to lower doses of the drugs to achieve therapeutic effects. Since conventional medicines do have side effects, this is a useful benefit of CBD.
How Quickly Does It Work?
As with any herbal medicine, for most ailments you may not see an immediate effect. You’ll need to be patient. Your dog may feel some pain relief in a few hours, but other symptoms like inflammation may take a few days to show improvement. CBD is most beneficial when given on a consistent basis.
Because of the low THC, CBD hemp won’t make your dog high. The most common side effect of CBD is that your dog may get a little drowsy – about the same as if you gave him a Benadryl.
On rare occasions, side effects have included excessive itchiness or mild vomiting, but these sensitivities are few and far between. If your dog reacts with these symptoms, you should stop giving him cannabis.
Australian holistic veterinarian Dr. Edward Bassingthwaighte says he’s been amazed at the success he’s had treating dogs with cannabis. Here are a couple of cases he’s referred to:
- One is a senior Staffy who had a fast-growing tumor about 6cm in diameter in her mammary gland. Chest x-rays showed there might be mestatasis. Dr. Bassingthwaighte treated her with CBD oil and some other herbal medicines. The tumor shrank away to nothing over three months, and she’s still going strong six months later with no recurrence. She’d had multiple tumors surgically removed over the years, but it was the CBD oil that really helped her.
- The other case is a little old Jack Russell with a severe heart murmur and painful arthritis. He received a whole plant extract containing CBD and in this cause also some THC, diluted in 10ml of cold pressed hemp seed oil. After a month of this medicine, he was much happier and more active, wanting to go for long walks, and his heart murmur was much less severe. Dr. Bassingthwaighte says, “I simply can’t explain the improved heart murmur. They normally don’t get better.”
Dr. Bassingthwaighte suggests working with your holistic vet if you think cannabis would help your dog. It’s a power medicine, so at least let the vet know how you’re using it.
Where Can You Get CBD?
The Barkery sells the best quality CBD products in multiple forms for both humans and dogs. CBD comes in the form of tinctures, capsules, or treats. If you’re looking to start taking advantage of the many therapeutic benefits of CBD, talk with a Barkery nutritionist today about what is best for your best friend.
For more on CBD benefits, visit 10 Things You Didn’t Know About CBD for Dogs.
Sadly, estimates are that over half of kitty companions over the age of 10 suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is also referred to as chronic renal disease or chronic renal failure. There are many causes of CKD in cats, but one of the most common and preventable influences is a dry food diet.
Cats are designed to meet most or all of their body’s moisture requirements through their diet, not at the water bowl, so they don’t have the desire to drink water the same way other species do. Kibble provides a very small percentage of the water cats need in a daily diet.
Kitties fed an exclusively dry diet suffer chronic mild dehydration that causes significant stress to kidneys over time. As Dr. Lisa Pierson, a feline-only practitioner and cat nutrition expert, writes at her fabulous CatInfo.org website, “It is troubling to think about the role that chronic dehydration may play in causing or exacerbating feline kidney disease.”
Dr. Pierson’s Big Three Nutrition Messages for Cat Guardians
Dr. Pierson realizes that feline nutrition can be overwhelming for cat guardians, and tries to keep things simple. Her recommendations are based on what a cat would eat in the wild – a mouse, bird, lizard, or some other small animal.
- Feed a diet that’s high in moisture.
Dry food (kibble) is cooked to only maintain 5-10% moisture, whereas a bird or mouse is around 70% moisture. When a cat is fed a dry food, they don’t make up that deficit at the water bowl.
Now, many people say, “but my cat drinks a lot of water.” Studies of cats on all-canned food diets vs all-dry food diets show that cats eating canned food (which has a very high water content) rarely went to the water bowl, yet they consumed double the amount of moisture as cats eating kibble. The kibble fed cats did not demonstrate a high enough thirst drive to make up the water deficit at the water bowl. A water-rich diet, like canned or raw food, is the first key to a healthy diet.
- Feed your cat a diet that’s animal-protein rich.
Cats are obligate carnivores, and must get their dietary protein from animals, not plants. When we look at a can of cat food, we want to see that the protein is coming from animals – chicken, beef, etc. – and not from plants like corn, wheat, soy, or rice.
- Avoid carbohydrates.
Cats aren’t designed to eat carbohydrates. A bird or a mouse is a very high-protein, moderate-fat meal, with maybe a percent or two of carbs on a dry matter basis. So diets containing more carbs aren’t appropriate for cats.
It’s also important to remember that although high-protein, low carb dry cat foods are flooding the market these days, they are inappropriate diets for cats because they’re water depleted. Many cats suffer from Urinary Tract Disease, and it is caused by urethral obstructions from a water-depleted diet. Cats on water-rich diets can develop UTIs as well, but it’s extremely rare.
What’s the Scoop on Prescription Diets?
Once a cat is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, many veterinarians recommend a prescription “renal diet,” many of which are dry kibble. These formulas do not meet the dietary hydration requirements of cats, especially kitties who are losing large amounts of water due to worn out kidneys.
“I must say that I find it truly amazing when I hear about the very large numbers of cats receiving subcutaneous fluids while being maintained on a diet of dry food,” writes Pierson. “This is an extremely illogical and unhealthy practice and every attempt should be made to get these cats on a diet that contains a higher moisture content.”
Prescription renal diets also typically have reduced levels of protein, which is not ideal for cats, who are obligate (strict) carnivores requiring high levels of quality animal protein for optimal health. According to Pierson:
“Renal diets restrict protein to the point that many cats – those that are not consuming enough of the diet to provide their daily protein calorie needs – will catabolize (use for fuel) their own muscle mass which results in muscle wasting and weight loss.”
Pierson also points out that interestingly, there’s no FDA oversight of prescription pet diets. They oversee drugs, but these diets are marketed as “prescription,” when there’s nothing in them that requires a prescription. Clinical trials aren’t performed before these foods go on the market, and could be formulated in a far healthier manner if these “prescriptions” underwent much closer scrutiny.
Why Veterinarians Recommend Prescription Diets
Dr. Pierson focuses on helping cat owners formulate diets that are customized to that cat’s individual needs. She says that it’s extremely common that people are hesitant to feed a wet food rather than the “prescription” food another veterinarian recommends. Her clients are commonly led to believe that the only diet option for a kidney sensitive kitty is a prescription diet.
Pierson says that unfortunately, veterinarians are extremely busy trying to keep up with their continuing education, and nutrition is typically not very interesting to most of them. It’s much easier for a vet with a feline kidney patient to simply grab the “prescription” diet off the shelf. There isn’t a lot of critical thought going into nutrition for pets.
Switching Your Cat to a Better Diet
The transition to wet or raw food from kibble can be surprisingly difficult. Cats that have eaten dry food for most of their lives can become addicted to it. And cats, unlike dogs, will literally starve themselves if you aren’t feeding what they prefer.ca
Dr. Pierson refers her clients to the page on her website called Transitioning Dry Food Addicts to Canned Food. She encourages cat guardians to have patience, as it took her three months to get her own kibble addicts to switch to canned food.
If you’re first getting started, try a variety of proteins and textures in wet food. See if you can get your cat to respond positively to one or more, and gradually transition to an all-wet diet. And remember – patience, patience, and more patience!
There’s a lot to consider when you vaccinate your dog or cat, such as…
- Does my dog really need this shot?
- What are the risks of vaccinating vs not vaccinating?
- What ingredients are in my dogs vaccine?
You can find a lot more on the Dogs Naturally website about adverse reactions and hidden vaccine ingredients, but there’s more to this story, meaning there’s more to worry about when it comes to vaccines.
There will always be reasons to be cautious when it comes to vaccinating your dog. But as a dog owner, you call the shots. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet questions and do a little research before visiting. You are the caregiver, and if something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t be afraid to speak up! Dogs Naturally explains the top 5 dangers in vaccines that no one is talking about:
1. Rabies Baits Bite Back
The governments of the US and Canada drop rabies baits across rural areas in both countries in an effort to prevent rabies in wildlife. These oral rabies vaccine baits are coated with fishmeal to entice animals to eat them, and packaged in little cubes or sachets then dropped from planes and helicopters every year.
You may think this is a good idea, as nobody wants rabid wildlife hanging around their neighborhood. But there are risks with these baits. The USDA claims that they’re safe for more than 60 different species of animals, including domestic dogs and cats. They say that if your dog eats the baits, he may get an upset stomach but “no long-term health risks.”
The main risk of the oral rabies baits is that they contain live virus vaccines. If the animal who eats the bait is healthy, his body should form an immune response to the vaccine and he’s vaccinated against rabies. But if the animal is in a weakened state when he eats the bait, its quite likely that either the vaccine will fail, or it will create the disease it was intended to protect against. To make matters worse, the genetically engineered virus can jump species and can be spread by aerosolization, meaning no bite is needed for these infected animals to spread disease.
2. Virus Shedding is Virus Sharing
Many vaccines given to dogs are modified live virus (MLV) vaccines. MLV vaccines are used because they stimulate cell-mediated immunity better than killed viruses. Examples are distemper, adeovirus-2 (hepatitis, canine respiratory virus), parvovirus, intranasal bordetella, intranasal coronavirus and parainfluenza.
These vaccines can be shed in feces and urine for two weeks after vaccination. Studies on dogs vaccinated with CPV-2 parvovirus show that the virus can remain in the bloodstream and be shed for up to 3-4 weeks after vaccination.
This means that these diseases can be spread through shedding vaccines. If a dog gets a bordetella shot a few days before staying at a boarding kennel, he will be shedding the disease and exposing other dogs to that virus.
3. Retroviruses Can Be Deadly
Retroviruses in vaccines can have lethal effects. Retroviruses occur because viruses in vaccines are grown on living tissue, and they’re often from other species. That’s how monkey viruses are passed on to humans through vaccination, and the same can happen to dogs.
Canine parvovirus suddenly appeared around the world in 1978 and is now widely considered to have come from feline panleukopenia virus (FPV). At some point, the distemper vaccine was grown on cat kidney cells from cats infected with FPV. The distemper vaccine was injected into dogs and the numbers of parvovirus cases began to explode.
4. Virus Mutation Spreads Disease
Viruses can mutate, allowing them to spread more easily. One example is the CPV-2 canine parvovirus, the most common form of parvo seen in dogs. Dr. Patricia Jordan explains:
“There are two canine parvoviruses: canine parvovirus-1 and canine parvovirus-2. CPV-2 is the primary cause of the puppy enteritis that we commonly see. Over the years, parvo has mutated from CPV-2 to CPV-2b to CPV-2c. It seems that dogs may be getting the ultimate revenge on cats: the CPV-2c strain is now crossing species and infecting cats with another brand new virus.”
5. Vaccines are Unpredictable
One problem with vaccine manufacturers’ claims of efficacy of their products is that vaccinated populations don’t live in a sterile lab where their testing is done.
In the research lab. vaccines appear to be very effective. Unvaccinated puppies die of parvo in research labs where vaccinated puppies live. In the field, vaccines are much less predictable. Dr. Michael Fox offers some illustrations of what can happen in the field:
“Wildlife biologist Dr. Roger Burrows noted that lions in Serengeti National Park, followed by those of the Masai Mara of Kenya, died like flies in 1994 from a new strain of canine distemper.”
It turned out that the same strain of distemper found in the lions was also in experimental vaccines on dogs in the area during a rabies vaccination trial. The same strain was also found to have caused death in most of the captive colony of wild dogs in Mkomzai Game Reserve in Tanzania in 2000-2001. This suggests that the rabies vaccinations caused immunosuppression, creating increased susceptibility to distemper.
All five of these dangers highlight the risks you take when you vaccinate your dog. Think carefully and do research before you vaccinate. Dogs Naturally offers a Vaccination Schedule that you may find helpful in deciding when or if you should vaccinate your pet.
If you do decide to vaccinate your dog, watch for any adverse reactions, even chronic illness that can appear weeks or months down the road may stem from your dog’s vaccinations.
Vaccine side effects can often be treated successfully by a homeopathic veterinarian. Find one at theavh.org (many will do phone consults, so they don’t have to be local). Or you can ask a Barkery associate about products that can help your dog with vaccinosis.
Sometimes our dogs don’t do what we ask them to do. Annoyed, we might repeat a cue several times – louder and a little more sternly each time. Often, our dogs are then labeled as “stubborn,” or he “just won’t listen.”
Well, there are better explanations as to why this happens, and your dog being stubborn or willful isn’t one of them. This article from the Whole Dog Journal explains the three most common reasons your dog may fail to listen.
1. The dog isn’t aware he’s being asked to do something.
We often assume that when we utter a cue, our dogs know it’s meant for their ears. You can let your dog know you’re addressing him by offering direct eye contact before speaking and saying his name before the cue. Say his name, wait for confirmation he’s heard you, then give your command.
This is an especially handy habit to get into if there are multiple dogs in your household. Saying the dog’s name first lets that dog know that what follows is intended for him.
If your dog appears to be particularly distracted by something and you want to call him over to you, say his name first. Wait for confirmation that he heard you, and then give him your recall cue.
2. The dog doesn’t understand what you want from him.
This means exactly what it sounds like. Your dog simply doesn’t know the cue as well as you think he does.
If you ask your dog to do something and he gets it right some of the time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s deliberately choosing not to do it the rest of the time. It’s entirely possible that when he got it right, he was just guessing.
This is easy enough to fix with some fun training sessions. Even though you may think your dog “knows” a certain behavior, start as though you are teaching your dog the behavior for the very first time.
Here’s an example of a training plan for teaching “down” to your dog:
a) With your dog sitting facing you, take one treat and hold it to your dogs nose with your palm facing down.
b) Without saying anything, slowly lower your hand toward the floor in a straight vertical line, luring your dogs snout to follow it. Your dog’s butt should remain on the floor. If he stands up, you may be moving your hand too quickly. Have him sit and begin again, more slowly.
c) When your hand reaches the floor, slowly move it along the floor horizontally and toward you. You will have shaped the letter “L” from snout to floor, and your dog’s body toward you. The idea is to get your dog to keep following the treat with his nose, bend down toward the floor, and then, while following your hand on the floor, stretch his front legs out to lie down.
d) The second his elbows touch the floor and he’s in a down position, “mark” the correct behavior with the click of a clicker or a verbal marker (such as the word “yes!”) and deliver a treat to him on the floor between his front legs. Giving the treat on the floor rather than directly into the dog’s mouth encourages him to hold the down position.
e) Repeat this sequence 2-3 more times, and then quickly follow up with the exact same exercise, but without a treat. When he reaches the down position, say “Yes!” before you reach for a treat and deliver it to him between his front paws.
f) Repeat this sequence with an empty hand several more times. You’re teaching him the body language/hand signal for the down behavior.
Note that you have not yet given a verbal cue of “Down,” you’re just using a hand gesture at this point. Even if it seems like too simple of an exercise for your dog, remember that you are starting fresh with this exercise. Only when your dog is consistently following your hand gesture is it time to add a verbal cue.
g) Say our dog’s name, followed by the word “Down” (or whatever word you’d like to use as a cue). After you’ve said his name and given your verbal cue – and not until you’ve finished saying it – do your hand gesture, from snout level to floor. At this point, you might not need to slowly move your hand horizontally to illustrate the bottom part of the letter “L.” Once you’ve moved your had to the floor, pause and wait to see if your dog will lie down. Give him a moment to think about it, if necessary. Keep your eyes on the floor in front of him (don’t stare him in the eye).
It’s important not to say the cue and do the gesture simultaneously. You want your dog to build an association between the verbal cue and the hand gesture that he already knows.
When he lies down, say “Yes!” and deliver the treat on the floor between his front legs. Repeat this sequence several more times.
h) Now, say his name followed by your cue – “Charlie, down” = but don’t use your hand gesture. Keep your eyes on the floor in front of him, and give him a few moments to think about it. If he hasn’t made a move after 10-15 seconds, silently offer the hand gesture. Reward him if he lies down. Don’t repeat the verbal cue. Keep trying this sequence until he lies down with just the verbal cue, and reward him each time he succeeds.
i) Once he’s got the verbal cue down, it’s time to start changing the context. Change rooms, try outside, try asking him to lie down when you’re sitting on a chair or couch instead of in front of him. Try asking while you’re standing, holding grocery bags, or a laundry basket. Continue to reward him with a treat each time he gets it right, because you’re still in the training phase.
Soon, when you’re sure he understands the cue in different contexts, you can start offering him “real life rewards” instead of treats. Ask him to lie down for a belly rub or before serving his food bowl.
The message remains the same for any behavior you think your dog “knows” but doesn’t do consistently.
3. The cue has been “poisoned.”
A poisoned cue is one that has come to mean something unpleasant to your dog. Your dog used to respond happily to a cue, but now he pins his ears back and slinks away. What happened?
Sometimes we inadvertently cause a dog to form a negative association between a cue and an event he finds aversive or scary. It may be because we’ve rewarded him with something he doesn’t like (such as a pet in the wrong spot), or because cues in a particular environment predict an unpleasant event.
The easiest way to fix this behavior involves simply using a new cue. You can teach the new cue by following the above instructions with the new word. Since you’re starting from scratch, make sure you consistently use the new cue and don’t revert back to the old one.
National Holistic Pet Day (August 30) comes once a year, but pet owners should take measures to prioritize the health of their pets from a holistic perspective on a year-round basis. Dr. Patrick Mahaney VMD, CVA, CVJ shares his perspective on some holistic ways to promote your pet’s best quality of life.
Prevent Obesity by Employing Caloric Restriction and Daily Exercise
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) reports that 98 million pets (54% of dogs and cats) living in the United States are overweight or obese. Obesity has a variety of potentially irreversible health consequences, but the condition is preventable with a holistic wellness strategy.
When pets maintain a healthy weight on a lifelong basis, health conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disorders can be avoided or minimized. Dogs consuming calorie-restricted diets have been proven to live two years longer than those lacking calorie restriction, and are less prone to developing conditions related to inflammation, like arthritis.
During a pet’s annual wellness exam, owners should become aware of their pet’s Body Condition Score and have their veterinarian determine an appropriate weight-loss or maintenance plan. Exercise burns calories, provides behavioral stimulation, and satisfies a pet’s need for interaction. As a result, weight loss or maintenance benefits both pets and people.
Feed Whole Foods Over Processed Pet Diets and Treats
Nature creates food for people and animals in a format that maintains the structural integrity of the nutrients. Humans process nature’s ingredients to create diets for dogs and cats that can be conveniently dispensed from a bag or can.
Most pet foods and treats are made with feed-grade ingredients that have been unfit for human consumption and are permitted to have a higher level of toxins, such as mold-produced mycotoxins. Only small amounts of mycotoxins need to be ingested to damage the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, liver, and immune system, and are even cancer-causing.
A variety of chronic ailments correlate with the regular consumption of grain and protein ‘meals and by-products,’ artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, and other ingredients found in many commercially available pet foods and treats.
Human-grade, whole-food, commercially available or home-prepared diets having undergone minimal refinement should replace processed diets as often as possible. A quality diet is the best health insurance you can buy for your pet.
Reduce Your Pet’s Need to Consume Medications with Potentially Serious Side Effects
Many medications are prescribed to treat infection, reduce inflammation, minimize pain, and kill cancer cells. As we strive to cure, the potential exists for side effects to occur, so it’s crucial to reduce your pets’ reliance on prescription medications.
When a holistic approach to whole body health is taken, many ailments can improve or resolve. For example, pain from arthritis, trauma, surgery or cancer can be managed by taking a multimodal approach:
- Environmental modification (making your home, yard, and car ‘pet-safe’)
- Healthy weight management (dietary modification, exercise, calorie restriction)
- Supplements such as omegas, joint support, antioxidants, and probiotics
- Physical rehabilitation (massage, stretching, acupuncture, laser treatment)
When whole body health is maintained, medication requirements can be minimized regardless of a pet’s age or history of illness.
Vaccinate Judiciously and Pursue Antibody Titers
Health consequences can be associated with vaccine administration, and more so when a vaccine is administered unnecessarily. Even a single vaccination can cause a Vaccine-Associated Adverse Event (VAAE), including:
- hypersensitivity (‘allergic’ reactions)
- worsening of inflammatory conditions (skin, digestive tract, etc.)
- emergence of immune system diseases (immune-mediated disease, cancer, etc.)
- organ system failure
- seizure activity
Dr. Mahaney recommends that owners take a judicious approach to the administration of canine and feline vaccination so our pets incur less risk for VAAEs, including:
- Only vaccinate when an animal is healthy and exhibiting no detectable signs of illness on physical exam or diagnostic testing
- Administer vaccines individually, in case of a VAAE
- Perform blood tests called antibody titers to determine if a pet’s current level of immunity produced by previous vaccinations. When antibody levels are sufficient, your pet will likely be able to fend off future infections.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “revaccination of patients with sufficient immunity does not necessarily add to their disease protection and may increase the potential risk of post-vaccination adverse events.” More resources on antibody titer testing can be found at Dr. Becker’s website and Protect The Pets.
Our animal companions’ health isn’t guaranteed for life. Therefore, owners should take a holistic approach from the beginning to promote longer, healthier lives.
According to the most recent estimates, over 47 percent of US households include at least one cat, and the total number of pet cats is over 94 million. That means nearly half the families in the US are sharing living space with an animal whose behavior can, at times, seem impossible to interpret. If you have a cat at home, you’ve probably scratched your head a few times at his or her behavior. If so, you might find Dr. Becker’s answers to common cat parent questions helpful.
Why Does My Cat Seem to Avoid Eye Contact With Me?
Looking one another directly in the eye is a type of human greeting that doesn’t come as naturally to other species. Have you ever wondered why cats seem to gravitate toward the only people in the room that don’t like them? It’s probably because those people aren’t looking at them!
Gazing directly into the eyes of another creature may be considered a way of asserting dominance, so it’s possible your kitty feels threatened by prolonged eye-to-eye contact.
Every kitty is different, but as a general rule, once a cat is settled into a new household and is given consistent care and a dependable daily routine, he’ll learn to trust and bond with at least one family member. On the flip side are cats who follow their people around, demanding attention in the form of eye contact and petting.
If your kitty isn’t confident or comfortable in his environment, staring at him can make him feel anxious. A better approach is to glance away when a cat meets your gaze to show that you aren’t a threat.
Why Does My Cat Blink Slowly at Me?
Has your cat every done the slow blink with you where she looks at you, blinks in slow motion and then (sometimes) looks away? Interestingly, just as a voiding direct eye contact is normal for cats, so is the slow blink.
“Cat Daddy” Jackson Galaxy calls this the “I Love You Blink.” It’s a slow, intentional blink, and it’s your one and only way to meet your kitty at the “communicative fence.” According to Jackson, when your cat closes her eyes in your presence, she’s saying, “I allow myself to be vulnerable to you, a potential predator.”
To share the “I Love You Blink” with your cat, look at her with your eyes open, close, then slowly open. This is your way of telling your cat that you love her with your eyes. You’ll notice that your cat will return the slow blink to you.
Why Does My Cat Seem to Hate Being Held?
Cats are natural predators, but they’re also prey. Predators restrain prey animals, which is why your kitty needs to maintain his ability to move freely and escape. It’s also why your cat may feel stressed when you hold him, even though you’re being affectionate.
Cats like to have all interactions on their own terms, so it’s best to let your kitty come to you. Of course, some cats love to be cuddled, but many do not, and can only tolerate it for brief periods.
The right way to pick up an agreeable cat is with one hand under the chest and other supporting the back legs. Hold him gently against your upper body so he feels secure. If he pushes away, looks toward the door, flattens his ears or twitches is tail, that’s your cue to put him down quickly and gently.
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