Archive for the ‘Dogs Health’ Category

The Amazing Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Another natural remedy that’s crossed over from humans to canines, apple cider vinegar for dogs offers a number of health benefits. Not only can this liquid be used to improve your dog’s digestion and to clear skin infections, but it can also help to repel fleas and other biting insects. There are many ways to use apple cider vinegar for your dog and his health.

Potential Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs

Apple cider vinegar can be used in a number of herbal remedies for dogs as well as humans. Some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs include:

  • Improving digestive health
  • Clearing urinary tract infections and preventing kidney/bladder stones
  • Treating bacterial and fungal skin infections
  • Repairing flaky, dry skin
  • Repelling fleas, ticks, and other biting insects
  • Increasing the body’s alkalinity to prevent bacterial and viral diseases
  • Improving ability to tolerate cold temperatures
  • Restoring health skin and coat appearance
  • Cleaning ears and preventing ear infections

Tips for Using Apple Cider Vinegar

Giving your dog apple cider vinegar orally can help to repel insects, to improve digestion, and to restore his body’s pH balance. To start treating your dog with apple cider vinegar, begin by giving him one teaspoon daily mixed with his food. This is the dosage for a 50-60 pound dog – for a smaller dog (10-25 pounds), a half teaspoon is sufficient, while for a larger dog (75 pounds and over), you can double the dosage to two teaspoons.

To use apple cider vinegar to treat skin infections or to improve your dog’s skin and coat, you can apply it directly to your dog’s skin as a spot treatment. For larger areas, mix apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and work it into your dog’s skin and coat by hand during his next bath. To repel fleas and ticks, or to deal with an existing infection, bathe your dog then apply a solution of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar.

Using apple cider vinegar to improve your dog’s health is as easy as adding a teaspoon or so to his food once a day. Apple cider vinegar itself is not particularly rich in nutrients, but it contains compounds that increase the body’s ability to absorb and assimilate other nutrients. For example, acetic acid can help to increase the ability of your dog’s body to absorb calcium. Apple cider vinegar also provides antiseptic benefits – it will help to prevent the growth of pathogenic viruses and bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract which will also boost the immune system.

Apple cider vinegar for dogs is a simple but effective natural remedy for a variety of conditions and health problems. Before you start using it for your dog, however, you should check with your veterinarian to make sure it’s right for your pooch.

Do you already use apple cider vinegar with your dog? Have you seen any changes or improvements? Let us know in the comment section below.

Article reposted from:
http://www.petguide.com/health/dog/the-amazing-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar-for-dogs/
By Kate Barrington

How to keep your dog from dying of cancer?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

As a veterinarian, I’ve seen lots of cancers: lymphoma. Melanoma. Osteosarcoma. Hemangiosarcoma. Mast cell tumors. Wait, those are just my own dogs I’m talking about. When I factor in my clients, I think I’ve seen it all.

Dogs get cancer, at very high rates: about 50% of senior dogs die of it, if the statistics are to be believed. Why? Well, if you read overly simplified, graphics-intensive websites by people who really don’t know what they’re talking about, they will tell you that they know why cancer happens: GMOs. Preservatives. Kibble. Microwaves.

I wish it were that simple. It’s not. And the reason that line of thought drives me nuts is that it has sent so many lovely people into spirals of depression when their dog dies and someone on the internet convinced them it was their fault because they, the owner, did something terrible like feed their dog kibble or use a plastic bowl. People end up in therapy because of things like this.

Cancer is not a singular diagnosis; the type and breath of neoplastic disease means there’s often little resemblance from case to case; a transmissible venereal tumor bears very little resemblance to a splenic hemangiosarcoma. If we could pinpoint cancer to one cause, we’d all be rich. And yet, with all this secret knowledge, overall cancer rates aren’t budging.

Because I love a breed known for having one of the highest rates of cancer (is it the fact that Golden Retriever owners feed worse food overall? Or is it genetics?) I watch Brody pretty closely. Knowing that 60% of Goldens get cancer in their lifetime, I spend a lot of time inspecting him for lumps. As we speak, the largest observational study of its kind is currently underway to help us better understand what’s going on. In the meantime, you do the best you can but truthfully, there’s not a whole lot of ability to predict and prevent cancer. Even for the people who home cook organic food (sorry. Do it because you want to, not because it will make your dog live forever.)

You can save money (and life expectancy) by doing some simple things:

Knowing he is an at-risk breed, I do what I can to try and keep Brody healthy. When he gained too much weight on his food, I got the weight off. Obesity is thought to be a risk factor for cancer. Just as importantly, I get his bumps evaluated and when I find one, I don’t mess around.

The dog eats like a king; I give him the good stuff because I care about quality ingredients, though not enough to condemn people who can’t afford it. But even with his high end diets, at age 6, he’s on his second cancer. The first one, a melanoma, was excised two years ago and has yet to recur- because we caught it early. And now we have this: a little teeny ear lump.

I thought it was no big deal, but I got it evaluated anyway. See? We vets do it too. A lump is a lump is a lump. Until you get it microscopically evaluated, you just don’t know. I just got the call last week: it’s a mast cell tumor.

I’m thrilled we got this diagnosis

Am I thrilled Brody has a mast cell tumor? Of course not. They stink. Despite the fact that the visible mass is only half a centimeter, this type of tumor has tons of microscopic disease and is notorious for requiring huge surgical margins for a complete excision. For that little tiny tic-tac mass on his ear, he is very likely going to need to lose his entire pinna. (I’m getting a surgical consult this week.)

However, losing an ear is minor compared to where these things end up when people wait. You can lose an ear, but you can’t lose an entire head, for example. This is small beans compared to what lots of pets need to go through later in the game when masses grow. If we get a complete excision, this should be a closed case. And guess what? It’s so much cheaper than tons of radiation and chemo and massive surgeries. Win-win for the dog and your wallet. I’m not happy he has it, but I’m happy I know now, early.

Why wait? Aspirate that shizz!!

What one thing can you do to guarantee your pet won’t get cancer? There isn’t one.

What you can do is maximize their chances of survival and recovery: Don’t mess around. Dr. Sue Ettinger, veterinary oncologist and all-around brilliant person, has an initiative called Why Wait Aspirate that is as simple as can be: when a vet tells you that a lump is ok to “just watch”, what does that mean? When do you do more than watch it? Here’s Dr. Sue’s guidelines*:

ASPIRATE OR BIOPSY IT!

Easy peasy, no pun intended. Of all the things you can do to help your pet live long and live healthy, none matters more than early detection.

Article reposted from:
http://pawcurious.com/2015/07/how-to-keep-your-dog-from-dying-of-cancer/
By Dr. V
*Photo Credits: Calendar by Michael Hyde, Flickr Creative Commons license; Peas by Isabel Eyre, Flickr Creative Commons License

Beat the heat with pet safety tips

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Sunny, warm days bring the opportunity to change up your routine and spend more time outdoors with your pets. However, soaring temperatures bring risks from heat and sun exposure, making your furry friends rely on you to help keep them healthy and safe.

Make these warm-weather adjustments to keep your pets in top condition and ready to enjoy all the season has to offer with these safety tips from PetSmart experts:

  • Keep them hydrated. Dehydration and heatstroke can be fatal to pets, so access to a clean water bowl both inside and outside is critical in the summertime. While you’re on the go, be sure to bring water for your pet in a suitable drinking container.
  • Serve up healthy meals. Warmer weather invites opportunities, such as enticing picnic spreads, for pets to nab tasty treats. Protect your pet’s health by preventing them from ingesting food intended for humans, and opt instead for food and treats that fit their special needs and preferences.
  • Never leave your pet in a parked car. Studies show that on a hot day, the temperature inside a car can reach more than 160 degrees in five minutes. Leaving the windows cracked for fresh air or parking in the shade don’t keep temperatures from soaring in record time, either. Leaving pets in the car “just for a minute” is never a good idea.
  • Groom regularly. One of the best ways to keep a dog’s coat healthy and help prevent matting and summertime skin irritation is regular grooming. The right grooming tool can dramatically reduce shedding by removing the undercoat and loose hair without sacrificing the healthy top coat.
  • Provide skin protection. Just like humans, dogs can experience sunburn and even skin cancer. To prevent sunburn, apply a sunscreen where hair is thin and skin lacks pigment (nose, ears and sensitive areas) every day your dog is outside.
  • Avoid hot surfaces. Dogs’ pads may seem tough, but sidewalks, pavement and sand can get so hot in the summer that dogs’ feet can burn and blister. To prevent this, schedule walks for the morning or evening, when sidewalks are cooler, or purchase protective boots designed just for dogs.
  • Practice smart snacking. After exercising and in between meals, a sensible snack can provide a boost of energy. Treats such as Dental Chews do double duty by giving a little help with oral care between brushing.
  • Provide outdoor relief. The best spot for your pet to cool off in the yard is a shaded grassy area because grass releases moisture and keeps your pet cooler than concrete, dirt or gravel. For added comfort, provide a raised bed that increases the flow of cooler air underneath the bed mat to help your pet beat the heat.
  • Keep water safety top of mind. Even if you consider your dog a good swimmer, a life jacket is very important if you take him with you on the boat or trips to the beach.

Article reposted from:
http://greertoday.com/greer-sc/beat-the-heat-with-pet-safety-tips/2015/07/30/
Source: PetSmart

How long do dogs live and common dog health problems

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Almost a quarter of British households own a dog – man’s best friend indeed. With such variation of types, breeds and sizes, we feel owners should be able to find out how long their dog may live, and what health problems they could encounter in their lifetime.

That’s one of the reasons why we’ve funded an important VetCompass PhD project to collect information on inherited diseases and dog life expectancy.

The following infographics reveal how long our dogs may live, and identify the most common conditions that dogs in England experience today.

How long will your dog live?

The fact is, every dog is an individual. Some dogs will live way beyond the average life expectancy for their breed, whereas sadly, some can fall short. This can be for many reasons, often beyond an owner’s control.

The study hasn’t only uncovered the average life expectancy of breeds such as labrador retrievers, collies, jack russells and chihuahuas, but it reveals the main causes of death in elderly dogs, and also reasons for death in young dogs under three years old.

We’ve also revealed the answer to the age-old question: do crossbreeds tend to live longer than purebred dogs? Take a look at the infographic for the answer and tips to help your dog live longer:

(Click image for larger view)

Common dog illnesses

Understanding common dog health problems is important for pet owners. Essentially, knowing what dog illnesses could lie ahead will help you take preventative action, or spot the symptoms sooner, so that your dog can live a longer, happier and healthier life with you.

Of a sample of almost 4,000 dogs, over 75 per cent had at least one disorder diagnosed. What’s more, although it varied between individual breeds, three of the top 20 disorders were more common in purebred dogs .

The huge variation of health concerns for our beloved family pets makes it even more apparent how vital it is to protect our dogs with pet insurance – because frankly, we never know what might happen to them.

To see the most common diagnoses for our dogs and some health care tips, check out the infographic:

(Click image for larger view)

These new infographics were created as a result of working alongside the Royal Veterinary College, and the University of Sydney in collaboration with the Medivet Veterinary Partnership.

Article reposted from:
http://blogs.rspca.org.uk/insights/2015/07/23/how-long-do-dogs-live-and-common-dog-health-problems
Posted by RSPCA Official

Four common types of pet cancer

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
  1. Mammary gland cancer. Mammary gland or breast cancer is common in both dogs and cats. It is the most common tumor found in female dogs and the third most common in cats. One of the presumed and much-touted benefits of early spaying of female pets is a decreased risk of mammary gland cancer. However, a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Small Animal Practice found that insufficient evidence exists that spaying at any age reduces the risk of mammary cancer.
  2. Lymphoma. Lymphoma is an incurable cancer of the lymph system, which is part of the immune system. In cats, one in three cancer diagnoses is lymphoma, most often of the GI tract. Dogs also develop lymphoma. To avoid contributing to your dog’s or cat’s lymphoma risk, make sure your pet isn’t exposed to cigarette smoke or lawn pesticides, especially those applied by professional lawn care companies.
  3. Mast cell tumors. The most common type of skin cancer in pets is mast cell tumor (MCT). MCT is much more prevalent in dogs than in cats. In cats, mast cell tumors are most often seen in the skin of the head or neck, but they can occur anywhere in the body. Cats with these tumors are usually middle-age or older. Unfortunately, kitties with mast cell tumors on the inside of their bodies — typically in the GI tract or the spleen — carry a much poorer prognosis than tumors occurring on the skin. In dogs, mast cell tumors are most often found on the trunk, limbs, and in between the toes. Prognosis depends on the tumor location, the extent of the tumor, the grade, and the type of treatment given. Mast cell tumors of the skin are very different in dogs than cats. Surgery to remove the tumor is less invasive in cats, and the prognosis for a full recovery is much better in cats than in dogs. Mast cell tumors with generally poor prognosis are those on the muscle, around the mouth or in internal organs, in the bloodstream or bone marrow, and ulcerated tumors. Mast cell tumors that cause GI ulceration or are large, fast-growing, or recurring also carry a much poorer prognosis.
  4. Bone cancer (osteosarcoma).Osteosarcoma is a common and aggressive bone cancer that invades the long bones of large and giant breed dogs. Even with amputation of the affected limb and chemotherapy, which is the current standard of treatment, the average survival rate is only about a year.

10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Pets

According to the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, the top 10 warning signs of cancer in pets are:

  1. Unusual swellings that don’t go away or that grow. The best way to discover lumps, bumps, or swelling on your dog or cat is to pet him.
  2. Sores that won’t heal. Non-healing sores can be a sign of infection or cancer and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.
  3. Weight loss. Illness could be the reason your pet is losing weight but isn’t on a diet.
  4. Loss of appetite. Reluctance or refusal to eat is another sign of possible illness.
  5. Bleeding or discharge. Bleeding can occur for a number of reasons, most of which signal a problem. Unexplained vomiting and diarrhea are considered abnormal discharges, as well.
  6. Offensive smell. An unpleasant odor is a common sign of tumors of the anus, mouth, or nose.
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing. This is a common sign of cancers of the mouth or neck.
  8. Reluctance to exercise or low energy level. This is often one of the first signs that a pet is not feeling well.
  9. Persistent lameness. There can be many causes of lameness, including nerve, muscle, or bone cancer.
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating. These symptoms should be evaluated by your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Tips for Reducing Your Pet’s Cancer Risk

  • Don’t allow your pet to become overweight. Studies show that restricting the amount of calories an animal eats prevents and/or delays the progression of tumor development across species.Fewer calories cause the cells of the body to block tumor growth, whereas too many calories can lead to obesity, and obesity is closely linked to increased cancer risk in humans. There is a connection between too much glucose, increased insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and oxidative stress – all factors in obesity – and cancer.It’s important to remember that fat doesn’t just sit on your pet’s body harmlessly. It produces inflammation that can promote tumor development.
  • Feed an anti-inflammatory diet. Anything that creates or promotes inflammation in the body increases the risk for cancer. Current research suggests cancer is actually a chronic inflammatory disease. The inflammatory process creates an environment in which abnormal cells proliferate. Cancer cells require the glucose in carbohydrates to grow and multiply, so you want to limit or eliminate that cancer energy source. Carbs to remove from your pet’s diet include processed grains, fruits with fructose, and starchy vegetables like potatoes. Keep in mind that all dry pet food contains some form of starch. It may be grain-free, but it can’t be starch-free because it’s not possible to manufacture kibble without using some type of starch. Cancer cells generally can’t use dietary fats for energy, so appropriate amounts of good-quality fats are nutritionally healthy. Another major contributor to inflammatory conditions is a diet too high in omega-6 fatty acids and too low in omega-3s. Omega-6s increase inflammation while the omega-3s do the reverse. Processed pet food is typically loaded with omega-6 fatty acids and deficient in omega-3s. A healthy diet for your pet – one that is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer – consists of real, whole foods, preferably raw. It should be high in high-quality protein, including muscle meat, organs, and bone. It should include moderate amounts of animal fat and high levels of EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids, such as krill oil), a few fresh cut veggies and a bit of fruit. This species-appropriate diet is high in moisture content and contains no grains or starches. I also recommend adding a vitamin/mineral supplement and a few beneficial supplements like pro-biotic, digestive enzymes, and super green foods.
  • Reduce or eliminate your pet’s exposure to toxins. These include chemical pesticides like flea and tick preventives, lawn chemicals (weed killers, herbicides, etc.), tobacco smoke, flame retardants, and household cleaners (detergents, soaps, cleansers, dryer sheets, and room deodorizers). Because we live in a toxic world and avoiding all chemical exposure is nearly impossible, offer a periodic detoxification protocol to your pets.
  • Allow your dog to remain intact (not neutered or spayed), at least until the age of 18 months to two years. Studies have linked spaying and neutering to increasing cancer rates in dogs. A 2002 study established an increased risk of osteosarcoma in both male and female Rottweiler’s neutered or spayed before the age of one year. Another study showed the risk of bone cancer in neutered or spayed large purebred dogs was twice that of intact dogs.
  • Refuse unnecessary vaccinations. Vaccine protocols should be tailored to minimize risk and maximize protection, taking into account the species, breed, background, nutritional status, and overall vitality of your pet.

Article reposted from:
http://www.kspca-kenya.org/four-common-types-of-pet-cancer/
by Lawrence

Ten Healthy Fruits That Are Suitable For Dogs

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

The natural diet of the dog is generally composed of mainly protein from meat, but many complete dog foods also contain a range of fruits and vegetables too. Even in the wild, dogs can and do eat fruit and veg as part of their diets, which can provide a wide range of health benefits and ensure that all of their nutritional needs are met.

However, not all fruit is suitable for dogs, and some fruit including grapes and raisins are actually toxic to dogs. Other fruits may not be toxic per se, but can be too rich for many dogs, leading to stomach upsets and diarrhea. If you are wondering what fruits your dog can eat and what might be good for them, look no further than this list of ten healthy fruits that are suitable for dogs, and which dogs will often enjoy. Read on to learn more!

Blueberries

Blueberries are a superfruit, which are packed with healthy antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins. Making up cookies or biscuits that are suitable for your dog and throwing in a few blueberries can give them a real boost, and frozen blueberries can be added to your dog’s water bowl for a cool summer treat.

Apples

Apples are a good treat or supplement for dogs, and should be ripe and soft rather than hard and green. Apples are rich in potassium and vitamin C among other things, and can really boost your dog’s diet. Spreading a little peanut butter on a slice of apple can help to encourage your dog to give it a go! It is important to note that dogs should not eat the seeds or core of apples.

Pears

Soft, ripe pear is a lovely treat for your dog, and provides a whole range of health benefits too. Vitamins A, C, B1, B2 and E are all checked off the list, as are fiber, potassium, pectin and folic acid. Pears are slightly softer and sweeter than apples, and so can prove to be more appealing to your dog!

Melon

Melons are made virtually entirely of water, making them an excellent way of getting some extra fluids into your dog in hot weather. Steer clear of smaller melons that are very sweet in favor of watermelon and larger melons, and slice them up into sections to give your dog something to gnaw on. Like blueberries, watermelon slices can also be frozen for a cooling summer treat.

Strawberries

Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits for people, and many dog also greatly enjoy them as well. Strawberries are rich in fiber, magnesium, potassium and folic acid, as well as multiple vitamins and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t overdo it with the strawberries however, or you may risk giving your dog the runs; half a handful of smaller strawberries for a medium sized dog is plenty.

Cranberries

Cranberries are another superfruit, which are equally good for dogs and people! They are rich in fiber, manganese and vitamin C, and are an excellent supplement for both perfectly healthy dogs and those that are prone to UTI infections.

Cranberries can have a rather sharp taste to them, and so if your dog is particularly underwhelmed when offered a handful, try baking them into some dog treats instead.

Raspberries

Just four or five raspberries added to your dog’s bowl now and then will provide them with valuable antioxidants, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamins C, B and K. Raspberries that are very ripe will tend to be less tart than younger ones, and so these are the most likely to be palatable to your dog. Again, if your dog is having none of it, try baking some into their treats!

Banana

Banana is a very versatile fruit that is rich in fibre, carbohydrates and potassium, and most dogs enjoy the taste of them. You can mash a little banana into your dog’s food, or offer slices of banana as a treat. Around 1/3 of a medium sized banana is perfectly adequate for dogs, and feeding more than this can lead to the runs, as well as being rather high in calories.

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is a similar fruit to melon, but tends to be more flavorful and tasty. It is rich in a wide range of vitamins including A, B and C, as well as containing plenty of fiber, potassium and magnesium, and beta-carotene for good eyesight. A small slice of cantaloupe cut into segments is enough for your dog.

Oranges

Oranges are juicy, tasty and delicious, although when it comes to feeding oranges to your dog, sticking to larger, less sweet oranges is better. Half a segment of orange daily will provide your dog with phytonutrients, vitamins A, C, B1 and B6 and iron, and makes for a tasty and refreshing treat in hot weather. Remember to remove the pips and the skin first!

Article reposted from:
http://www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/ten-healthy-fruits-that-are-suitable-for-dogs.html

How to help your dog avoid canine influenza

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

The American Veterinary Medical Association says canine influenza is spreading through the United States and Columbus veterinarian Hank Hall says owners should consider having their dogs vaccinated.

Infographic: www.sugarthegoldenretriever.com

“More cases have been reported the last three years,” said Hall of Northside Animal Hospital in Columbus.

The flu is a highly contagious infection caused by an influenza A subtype H3N8 virus first discovered in 2004.

Hall said a form of the virus originated in horses many years earlier and that the virus can cause “severe distress.”

In the mild form, the most common sign is a cough that persists for two to three weeks. However, some dogs can develop signs of severe pneumonia, such as a high grade fever and faster breathing. Other signs in infected dogs include nasal or ocular discharge, sneezing, fatigue and refusing food.

All dogs are susceptible to infection and the AVMA says virtually all dogs exposed to the virus become infected.

The virus can be fatal, but those instances are rare. Most dogs recover in two-three weeks.

Hall said dogs already a little weak are at greater risk.

It was in 2009 that the United States Department of Agriculture approved the first vaccine for H3N8 and trials have shown while it may not prevent the infection it can significantly reduce the duration of the illness including the incidence and severity of damage to the lungs. There is no vaccine yet for another strain of the virus H3N2.

The flu can be spread by direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs, and by contact with contaminated inanimate objects such as water bowls, collars and leashes. On surfaces, the virus is alive and can infect dogs for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours and on hands for 12 hours.

Hall said there is no evidence the virus can be transmitted from dogs to humans, but people who have been around dogs may transfer the virus from what they are wearing to their pet.

According to the AVMA, there is no evidence of the virus being passed from dogs to cats, horses, etc.

Hall said the flu spreads in kennels, grooming salons and day care centers but is not suggesting people keep their dogs away from such places.

The AVMA suggests people who board their dogs at kennels should ask whether respiratory disease has been a problem there and whether the facility has a plan for isolating dogs that develop respiratory disease and for notifying owners if their dog has been exposed to dogs with respiratory disease.

The AVMA says dog owners whose dogs are coughing or exhibiting other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to them.

Treatment for the flu can involve an antibiotic or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. In some cases, intravenous fluids are needed to maintain hydration.

Hall said if a dog shows any signs of a respiratory illness, the owner should not hesitate to take their pet to a veterinarian. “Don’t wait. Sick dogs need to be seen,” he said.

Article reposted from:
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2015/06/30/3792386/how-to-help-your-dog-avoid-canine.html
By Larry Gierer

10 Ways to Support Your Pet's Natural Immune System

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The immune system is an intricate biological protection system responsible for determining what belongs to and in the body versus what does not belong and requires elimination. It defends the body against infection, disease and foreign substances. Keeping your pet’s immune system in good shape will go a long way in preventing ill health and chronic disease. A high quality, natural diet is the most important component in building and supporting a healthy immune system.  Along with a top quality diet, exercise, minimal exposure to toxins and a low-stress living environment are of utmost importance to the health of your companion.

Here are ten specific ways to support your animal companion’s immune system and optimal health.

1. Feed raw, minimally processed food. Fresh, raw food contains enzymes that aid in digestion.  Fresh vegetables contain antioxidants and vitamins in their natural, more absorbable form.  On the other hand, highly-processed food, such as dry kibble, loses some amino acids, most of its vitamins, and all enzymes and probiotics during the manufacturing process.  Manufacturers try to replace some of these vitamins and minerals with artificial additives but they are typically artificial forms of these nutrients which can be harder to absorb.

2. Go organic as much as possible. Pesticide and herbicide residues are found on over 50% of produce and even higher percentages of grains.  These are chemicals designed to kill living organisms – we want to minimize our pets’ exposure to such compounds.  In multiple studies, organic foods have been shown to have higher nutrient values than their conventional counterparts as well.

3. Clean, fresh water. Depending on where you live, the tap water can be anywhere from almost acceptable to fairly toxic.  The fluoride and chlorine add stress your companion’s elimination system.  Filtered water is best, followed by bottled water and spring water.  Dogs, and especially cats, that eat a raw food diet receive a good deal of the moisture they need from their food.

4. Avoid Chemical Insecticides & Flea Treatments. Chemical insecticides should be avoided in your home and yard for your companion’s sake.  Animals are much closer to the ground and breathe in whatever chemical residues are on the floor and furniture.  They also come into contact with chemicals used on the yard or local park, then groom these residues from their coat and paws.  There are natural alternatives to the chemical products used by exterminators and used in lawn and yard care (a simple internet search on natural pest control or weed control is a good place to start). Chemical flea treatments such as spot-on insecticides are absorbed into your animal’s system adding stress to the liver and kidneys as well as the digestive system.  Natural flea control options are widely available and are effective without negatively affecting your companion’s immune system.

5. Keep a Healthy House, Free of Toxins. Household cleaning products are another source of toxins to your companion.  Many cleaners, air fresheners and laundry detergents contain bleach, ammonia and other chemicals that our companions breathe in, walk on and lick from their paws.  Keeping the floors clean is important since the dirt tracked in from outside likely contains heavy metals and other toxins, but using more natural cleaning products will keep the household healthier.  Plug-in air fresheners are another source of indoor pollution – they may smell nice, but the petrochemicals that carry that scent offer a constant dose of toxins to your companion.

6. Limit Vaccinations. Many holistic veterinarians agree that over-vaccination is a significant contributor to the rising rates of chronic disease and cancer in cats and dogs.  A limited vaccine program is highly recommended– and is especially important if your pet belongs to any of the breeds known to be more susceptible to cancer and chronic disease.

7. Medicate Wisely, and Minimally. Antibiotics and steroids are necessary tools in any veterinarian’s trade, but they are quite often overused.  Repeated rounds of antibiotics to address chronic urinary tract issues, or steroids to treat itchy skin and allergies, tax the immune system – sometimes leaving the animal susceptible to greater health problems than it started with.  A natural approach to chronic health issues begins with a natural, raw diet and involves supporting the animal’s system in its healing process from within, avoiding suppression of symptoms with medications as much as possible.

8. Exercise. Moderate exercise has been shown to improve immune factors in humans and animals.  Natural light is also important, so walks in the great outdoors are the best option for dogs and outdoor cats.  Indoor cats should be provided with plenty of toys and climbing structures.

9. Control Weight. Keeping your pet’s weight under control is also key – overweight animals are much more susceptible to chronic and acute diseases and infections. A healthy diet of raw, minimally processed food (point 1 in my previous post) often helps animals maintain a healthy weight.

10. Minimize Stress. Stress affects animals the same way it affects us – weakening the immune system.  Dogs and cats with anxiety issues of any kind need assistance in moderating their fears.  Flower Essences, Homeopathic Remedies and Herbal Remedies can be highly beneficial for animals with anxiety problems or that are under stress.  Behavioral modification training is essential for dogs with anxiety; and environmental alterations such as separate territories for cats that do not get along well, or additional litter boxes and cat trees or safe resting areas can make a big difference for anxious cats.

Article reposted from:
http://www.darwinspet.com/ten-ways-to-support-your-pets-natural-immune-system/
By Melissa Grosjean

10 tricks to give your dog the X-factor

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

With a little time and patience, all pet dogs can learn tricks to give them a little ‘X-factor sparkle’. Teaching tricks can also improve the bond between you, reduce boredom, and decrease the risk of injury as your dog becomes more flexible and develops body awareness.

Here are 10 easy tricks to teach. As with any new activity, if your dog is not 100 per cent fit and healthy it is worth checking with your vet to ensure your dog is physically able to do these tricks before you start.

A few tips…

  • Keep training sessions short. You really can teach a lot in the time it takes for a kettle to boil! Always end sessions on a good note with lots of play and verbal praise.
  • Dog training should be kind and positively reinforced. Rewards can be small pieces of high-value food, such as sausages, cheese, chicken, or liver cake.
  • Toy orientated dogs may prefer playing with a tuggy, ball, or squeaky toy, kept specially for your training sessions.

Tip from the top

Lucy Heath, head animal trainer at the Company of Animals and winner of the ITV Show ‘That dog can dance’ with her collie Indie, said: “When you have done quite a few repetitions of these tricks with your dog, remember to slowly work on removing the need for a lure or hand signal so the dog can perform the tricks on just a vocal cue. This will give him the real wow factor!”

Click it!

  • Clicker training encourages dogs to think, as they associate a click with a reward.
  • The sound of a clicker is always more consistent than your voice, but some people use a clicker word, such as ‘Yes!’, which can be very useful if you don’t happen to have a clicker with you.
  • There are lots of good books about clicker work such as ‘Superdog’ by Mary Ray and Andrea McHugh. You can also research training tutorials on YouTube, or ask friends to recommend a good trainer.

Trick 1: Twist and twirl

Teach your dog to spin around on command in either direction. Once he can do this you can try variations, such as spinning together as you walk! Begin with your dog in front of you and bend forwards slightly, holding a treat next to his nose. Slowly lure his head round towards his tail. You can click and treat if he moves his front feet just a single step. Keep practicing until you can lure him in a full, tight circle. Click and reward when he is back in the starting position.

Eventually he will do this in one movement. Add the word ‘Twist’ for one direction and ‘Spin’ for the other. Soon you will be able to do this standing up and without hand signals.

Trick 2: Dressage trot

If your dog can walk nicely to heel, try to get him to lift his head and do a fancy high trot to really show off his paces. Teach this by holding a toy or a tasty treat next to the dog’s nose then walk with him in the heelwork position. Walk quite quickly so that he picks up the pace and gradually hold the treat or toy higher so that his head comes up. Click and reward for even the slightest high step and then gradually build up the distance. Eventually you should be able to dispense with the treat and your dog will lift his head to follow your hand.

Trick 3: Round and round

With the help of some tasty treats or a toy in each hand you can lure your dog to walk around you. Start with him standing at heel on your left side and with the reward and clicker in your right hand slowly lure him around to your right side. As he gets to the back of you swap the reward to your other hand and when he arrives back at the heel position, click and reward. Practice several times and gradually build in the word ‘Round’ and fade out the toy or treat.

Trick 4: Shake on it

Teaching your dog to give a paw can form the basis of many tricks. Begin with the dog in a sit and kneel down in front of him. Hold a treat in your closed hand so the dog can smell it. Now move your hand slightly to the side of the dog’s body so he shifts his weight a little. He will usually lift a paw to touch your hand and try to get the treat. Click and reward for this. Practice on both sides, using a different command, such as ‘Touch’ and ‘Tap’. If your dog doesn’t offer a paw, lift it gently and click and give him the treat. He should get the idea and begin to offer a paw on his own. Soon you will be able to simply show him your open hand and he will lift a paw to try and touch it.

Trick 5: In reverse

Asking your dog to walk backwards can look impressive, and you can then add on some other tricks, such as sit or roll over! There are several ways of teaching this, but one method is to hold a treat in front of the dog’s nose and then take a step towards him. Click and reward as soon as he moves back.

Keep practicing and gradually increase the number of steps, building in the command ‘Walk back’. Eventually you will be able to ask him to walk back and throw the reward towards him.

Trick 6: Pole dancing

Try sticking a pole in a cone or an umbrella in a stand and teaching your dog to circle round it. Begin by keeping your dog on your right and hold a toy or treat out to lure him around the pole. Click just before he completes the circle and then reward. Practice in both directions, adding in a different command for each way, such as ‘Pole’ or ‘Circle’.

Eventually you will be able to reduce your hand movements so that they are hardly visible. Ultimately you can impress your friends by asking your dog to circle around them on command.

Trick 7: In the doghouse

A dog that will go to his mat or crate on command is a joy to be around. Begin by throwing some treats on the mat or in the crate and encourage your dog to find them. Give the word ‘Mat’ or ‘Crate’ as you do so. Eventually you can say the word and your dog will go to the mat or crate and wait for you to throw him his reward. You can gradually build up distance and your dog should happily run to his mat in anticipation of a reward.

Trick 8: Wicked weaves

Just as you lured your dog to walk around you in a circle you can also lure him to weave through your legs. Begin with your dog on the left and lure him with a treat through your legs in a figure of eight movement. Click and reward when he gets back to the starting position. Gradually stand up straighter and reduce the food rewards until he just follows your hand signals and build in the command ‘Weave’. Most dogs get the hang of this quite quickly and can build up a lot of speed.

Trick 9: Jump to it

If your dog is over 12 months old you can teach him to jump over obstacles such as a hoop or through your arms. Once you have taught your dog to go round you, he can even circle you and then jump through your arms. Hold a child’s hoop at ground level then lure your dog to walk through it. Click when he’s halfway through and reward when he’s all the way through. Gradually raise the height of the hoop and use the command ‘Through’. When he is confident you can put him in a ‘Sit and wait’ and throw the treat or toy through the hoop and encourage him to get it. Soon your dog should jump through hoops without any verbal encouragement.

Trick 10: Fancy footwork

This clever trick involves your dog standing between your legs and balancing his paws on your feet as you walk together. Lure him to stand between your legs, teaching him the ‘Middle’ position and clicking and rewarding as he stands there. Once he understands ‘Middle’, stand pigeon-toed and lure him until he puts both paws on your feet. Click and reward for even the hint of a paw on your foot. When he is confident about balancing on your feet, make a tiny movement with your foot and click and reward him for staying in position.

Ultimately you will be able to stand up and walk along together, using a command of your choice such as ‘Feet’ or ‘Shoes’. Very cute!

Article reposted from:
http://www.yourdog.co.uk/Dog-Activities/10-tricks-to-give-your-dog-the-x-factor.html

One third of cancer deaths in people and dogs are preventable through diet changes

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

One out of three cancer deaths in humans as well as dogs can be prevented by simple, natural diet changes. That’s the conclusion of research presented by Demian Dressler, DVM, at the 2010 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Chicago, Illinois.

So how could so many fatal cancers be stopped? Dr. Dressler, known as the “dog cancer vet” because of his work in unraveling the intricacies of canine cancer, said the key is severely limiting snack foods for humans and dogs that contain ingredients rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s (found in cold water fish such as salmon and other foods including flax oil and walnuts) and omega-6s (found in meats and some widely used vegetable oils such as corn oil) are essential fatty acids (EFAs) that must be consumed for the body to function properly. Omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation, blood clotting and cell proliferation, while omega-3 fatty acids decrease those functions of the immune system. The problem is that the typical American diet — for people as well as their pets — tends to be overloaded with omega-6s and deficient in omega-3s.

In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research reports that the current ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids eaten by most Americans is about 15-to-1; however, a healthy ratio is closer to 4-to-1. This is a serious problem because, as NaturalNews has previously reported, scientists have linked this imbalance to autoimmunity, allergy, heart disease, arthritis, asthma and cancer

The glut of omega-6s comes mostly from vegetable oils, such as soy oil, which are used in most of the snack foods, cookies, crackers, sweets, fast foods and — in the case of dogs’ diets — doggie treats and many commercial dog foods. The result is an eating pattern that promotes inflammation. That, Dr. Dressler stated, creates an environment conducive to cancer in dogs and people.

Another important way to reduce fatal cancers in humans and their canine companions is to keep weight at a healthy level. Dr. Dressler noted studies show obesity in both dogs and humans limits the production of a hormone dubbed adiponectin that inhibits the growth of cancer cells. He recommended reducing calories and especially staying away from sugar — not only because it contributes to obesity, but also because it is now known to feed cancer cells and spur their growth.

A panel meeting at the 2010 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo panel encouraged pet food manufacturers to consider the health implications of their products in order to improve animals’ health. According to the media statement, Kelly S. Swanson, associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggested the ideal blend of fiber for dog food is about 75 to 80 percent insoluble and 20 to 25 percent soluble. What’s more, adding quality prebiotics to pet foods could also enhance dogs’ health

Article reposted from:
http://www.naturalnews.com/029291_cancer_diet.html#
By Sherry Baker
For more information:
http://www.ift.org/Newsroom/News-Releases/2010/July/20/Cutting-Fat-and-Calories-Can-Lower-Cancer-Risk-in-Dogs-and-People.aspx