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Timely bits of current information to help "Empower the Holistic Pet Parent Consumer" . . . scamper over and retrieve past articles from our Just Pets archive.

Friday, April 18, 2014

About Diets for Senior and Geriatric Pets

If you have a senior or geriatric dog or cat that has been fed only commercial pet foods and has not been on a natural premium pet food program, or if someone suggests to you that you should be changing to natural, organics or grain-free foods, please DO NOT CHANGE DIETS. In some cases, you may “ADD TO” existing diets for seniors but with “CAUTION”. With geriatrics “NO”.

Older dogs and cats, even healthy ones, may not tolerate dietary changes, to natural ingredients or higher quality proteins other than those their systems have adapted to. Removing grains and carbohydrates may bring on serious consequences for aging pets. Such dietary changes can directly cause intestinal upsets, tripping over aging digestive systems. Natural, higher quality ingredients are foreign to their systems and can initiate sudden “DETOX” when combined incorrectly with commercial pet foods. Grain-free foods are not appropriate for all dogs or cats. Such changes may develop into previously non-existent medical issues and become a costly mistake for you and your pet.

Medical conditions may necessitate a dietary change for your senior or geriatric pet. Consult with your veterinarian to discuss your options and make them responsible for the dietary changes suggested. Be sure to have them explain the true value and their office return or exchange policies regarding prescription foods purchased, in the event your dog or cat will not eat them. If you choose to “make a change to natural foods because of a medical condition, seek out qualified advice. Some retailers are just retailers. Talk with someone who has the experience in pet nutrition and will coordinate with your veterinarian.

© Purely Pet Care 2003-2014 - Disclaimer. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian before starting any supplement regime or diet change protocol. Information presented in this workshop is provided as general public knowledge and holistic, medical theory. Statements have not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and are not intended to replace or substitute qualified professional veterinarian health care advisement on product usage or diet protocols for specific conditions.

Veterinary Prescription Diets and Pets

If you are feeding Rx diets as prescribed by your veterinarian please DO NOT MIX or BLEND proprietary formulations with any other foods or food ingredients. These Rx dietary formulations are specifically made to interact with diagnosed medical conditions. Using these Rx foods is no different than using a prescription medication for a medical condition. 

By adding premium foods, or treats, vegetables or fruits, chicken or meats, you may unwittingly create additional nutritional and medical imbalances that can seriously affect the outcome of the medical condition your veterinarian is trying to resolve. You may even compromise your pet’s health.

If you are not satisfied with the results of the Rx food program, or if your pet will not eat the Rx food, immediately talk to your veterinarian or contact the manufacturer of the Rx diet and speak with a nutritionist for advice. Do not attempt to make dietary changes on your own. A qualified independent nutritionist specializing in pet care or a pet store retailer will not suggest dietary changes, but will advise you to contact your veterinarian first. 

Veterinary Pet Food Diets are Serious Business and Critical to your companion pet’s health. When in doubt question your veterinarian first or contact the manufacturer.

© Purely Pet Care 2003-2014 - Disclaimer. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian before starting any supplement regime or diet change protocol. Information presented in this workshop is provided as general public knowledge and holistic, medical theory. Statements have not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and are not intended to replace or substitute qualified professional veterinarian health care advisement on product usage or diet protocols for specific conditions.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Nose Knows

"According to legend, God bestowed cold, wet noses on dogs for saving Noah's Ark from sinking. As the story goes, two dogs were on patrol when they discovered water pouring through a hole in the hull of the Ark. One quick-witted dog stuck his nose in the small hole to keep water from flooding in. The second dog ran off to alert Noah, who quickly repaired the hole to keep the Ark from sinking. The dogs saved the day. For their noble actions, God made a cold, wet nose the symbol of good health for a dog."

This is often true, but it is not the best barometer for measuring your dog’s health and should not solely be relied on. Most people say a healthy nose should be "cold and wet," but it is actually more appropriate to describe it as moist. A wet, runny nose is a sign of trouble and should be checked out by a veterinarian. A normal moist nose does not always mean a dog is healthy.  If your dog has a moist nose but seems lethargic, or in discomfort or pain, consult your vet. Conversely, a dry nose doesn't always signal illness. Dogs just waking from sleep often have a warm, relatively dry nose. And, some dogs, like bulldogs, just have dry noses that even chap and crack.

Despite what many people think, you cannot determine your dog's temperature by feeling his/her nose. A warm nose does not mean your dog has a fever. Only a properly used thermometer can tell you that. So remember, if your dog shows discomfort, lethargy or loss of appetite, or if you see a nasal discharge, swelling, or detect unpleasant odors emanating from your dog's nose, or if he/she has difficulty breathing, you'll need to have your local veterinarian examine him/her, regardless of the condition of the nose. 

About the Feline Nose  

Cats have 200,000,000 odor sensitive nose cells compared to 5,000,000 of their human counterparts. Cats identify friend and foe in the environment by their keen sense of smell and not by their visual acuity. The Feline world of sensory perception is completely different from ours. Humans place little value on scent in human relationships and environment. For cats, it may cause significant and inexplicable behavioral activity. 

Cats may mark (spray urine, rub or scratch) new and unfamiliar household items such as a new piece of furniture; become agitated when their companion returns home from visiting a friend with a dog or cat; or refuse to use a new litter because the perfume scent of the litter is repulsive to their sensitive nose. 

With all foods, the enticement to a cat is from the aroma or smell; they have a superior sense of smell. Cats will sniff the food first before taste testing it. Unlike dogs, if a food smells bad, the cat will walk away, whereas the dog will chow down when hungry or not.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Grains, Oatmeal and Dogs

Dogs have shorter digestive tracts and cannot easily digest undercooked, raw, or unprocessed grains. The key is to overcook the grains and rinse well with water after cooking. Always fully, cook grains before feeding to your canine connoisseur.

Always use more water than suggested on the package and increase the cook time when cooking grains, rice, gluten free pastas, or regular pastas for dogs. 

Always rinse with clean water all grains, rice, and pastas after cooking. It is best to use a colander for the water rinse to allow full drainage of the rinse water. Shake colander to remove excess water. Rinsing reduces the sticky, tacky, starchy residue.

Organic grains, whole grains are preferred carbohydrates. Do not use Genetically Modified (GMO) or Irradiated grains. For variety, try amaranth, bulgur, kamut, quinoa, spelt, or rye flours or grains. Refrain from using corn, cornmeal, wheat, or whey, if your dog has an allergic response to those ingredients.

Soaking whole grains overnight will reduce your cook time.

Use a large pot with a cover to cook grains. Sprinkle grains slowly into actively boiling water. The water should continue to boil as you add the grains. Reduce heat to a lower temperature, cover pot, and continue cooking. Stir the grains frequently but do not over stir, as it will cause a mushy grain.

Oatmeal is a valuable soluble fiber.

From puppies to seniors, all dogs can benefit by adding oatmeal to their diets at one time or another. Bowel irregularities, soft stools, occasional diarrhea respond well to oatmeal an excellent source of soluble fiber. Oatmeal is an alternative for dogs with wheat or grain sensitivities. Oatmeal enhances probiotics when used together.

When using a quick oats product for convenience, be sure to add more water than listed on the package instructions and cook until product is moist and creamy, stirring constantly. Never feed uncooked oatmeal to your dog. Do not add sugar, salt or other flavorings to the oatmeal. 

Bowel/Stool issues generally respond within 24 hours. The weight and age of your dog will determine the amount of oatmeal to use. Ask your veterinarian or pet nutritionist for the correct dosage for your individual companion. 

Some medications interact poorly with some nutrients. Making incorrect dietary changes can cause vitamin and minerals upsets. If your dog is on any medications, be sure to check with your veterinarian BEFORE making major changes to your dog’s diet.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Colors of Poop

The following Colors of Poop are a home reference guide. Consult with your veterinarian for specifics.

When everything is in balance, the stool should have the look of a color range of light to dark browns, anything from ocher to mahogany. A complex mix of healthy digestive secretions color feces this way. Stool produced by a dog on a raw diet will vary more in hue than will that from commercial food.
Be aware that dyes used in some foods or treats can stain feces almost any color.
Fresh-ground raw beets may innocently stain poop a deep red that can look and ooze almost like blood, whereas commercial diets that contain beet pulp probably won’t have the same effect.
Yellow, hard stool often results from a diet that contains a lot of bone meal and is generally of lesser quality food ingredients.
Soft yellow stool can indicate a serious problem like a viral infection, especially if it is yellow diarrhea, with or without vomiting.
Pumpkin may add an orange color to the stool and that is normal.
Green may not always indicate there is something wrong, but it can indicate imbalances. These may be momentary and caused by something the dog recently ate or reflect development of longer-term problems such as parasites or an organ issue.
White or very pale and hard stool is often produced by dogs on a raw diet containing bone meal. It may appear in one feces but not in another on the same day. It may be slightly difficult for the animal to pass, as it can be comparatively hard, but is not usually a cause for concern. Consider removing bone meal from the diet and replacing it with a form of calcium gluconate with vitamin D. The addition of good quality vegetable fiber to your dog’s diet can help to ease or soften the situation. Some raw food advocates maintain that harder solids such as bone meal or undigested bits of carrot in the stool help keep the dog’s anal glands healthy by stimulating them to express the poop on its way out.
Bloody red stool is an emergency situation. It could have been caused by the dog having swallowed something that is causing damage in the Gastro Intestinal tract, or by a severe food allergy. It can also signify other problems, such as cancer. Red blood or red blood mucus that looks like raspberry jam can indicate a life-threatening disease. When you see bloody stool, have your dog seen by your veterinarian immediately.
Tarry or black stool, resembling coffee grounds, or flakes is an emergency situation and may signify bleeding from the stomach or from high in the small intestine. Blood from high in the Gastro Intestinal Tract gets digested on its way through the system, which is why it comes out black.
Caveats:  a meal of raw organ meats, such as brain or spleen, may also produce black feces in healthy dogs on raw diets. Pepto-Bismol can cause very dark stool if you have recently administered it. None of these will produce the appearance of coffee grinds, just black stool.
If you cannot identify a possible cause, take your dog immediately to the veterinarian.
Your dog’s poop tells a wonderful story and that story can ultimately save your dog’s life. You can learn much about what is going on in your dog’s life while providing you guidance on the best way to support the health of your beloved companion.
Dig in and explore the world of poop, learn to read the signs. Your dog will love you for taking that extra interest in what he/she leaves behind. Remember, the poop is generated from the foods, treats ingested – high quality ingredients going into your dog will generate high quality poop coming out!
Always make the effort to “Take A Look See” it is important and you may be surprised!
Visit Just Pets - Purely Pet Care Archives (located on the right side of this page under Search) for more articles from the Pet Helper.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

About Bee Pollen

Dogs, cats, and birds benefit greatly from organically harvested bee pollen granules  . . .

HOWEVER, before you begin any add-on supplement to your companion pets' diet, we suggest that you first check with your veterinarian. Many adults, children, and some pets may present an allergic response (sensitivity) to bee pollen. Use caution and if you know of any sensitivities to bee pollen or related products AVOID BEE POLLEN COMPLETELY. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT FOR YOUR PET NOR YOUR FAMILY.

Bee pollen is considered a perfect Whole Body Food because it contains 40% protein and almost every nutrient needed for survival and natural healing. Bee pollen is rich in essential and non-essential amino acids, vitamins C, E, B complex, minerals and trace elements, hormones, carotenoids, carbohydrates, more than 100 enzymes and d-coenzymes and several growth regulators. 

Bee pollen promotes overall health, digestion, and reduces the effects of inhalant allergens. Research finds that pure bee pollen helps to reduce a dog’s sensitivity to airborne allergens. Bee pollen has shown that it can slowly help your dog’s immune system build or rebuild its own natural immunity to such allergens, resulting in a decrease in allergy symptoms and physical reaction in particular to ragweed and grass pollen. It takes time for your dog to build natural immunity so it is best to begin a bee pollen regimen at least 8 weeks before the onset of the main ragweed season. 

Bee pollen helps to increase energy levels, stimulate, and rejuvenate body organs while improving the quality and longevity of life. Bee pollen comes directly from Nature and when combining this vital single nutrient compound with Omega 3 Fish Oil the benefits increase considerably. 

Bee Pollen is an excellent nutrient that can easily be added to a pet’s diet. It benefits raw feeders, and home food cookers and pets fed commercial premium, average or below average kibble. If your pet is on a veterinary proprietary diet, ask your veterinarian about the benefits of adding bee pollen to that prescription diet. See article on Fortified Foods.

Bee pollen is best sourced from organically managed hives without additives, preservatives, or GMO’s. The cost for wildflower organic bee pollen will of course be more but well worth it for the higher level of product integrity. Many companies sell bee pollen supplements. Avoid the highly commercialized high volume producers and seek out smaller producers. We have personally used and recommended Bee’s Best Organic (PurelyPetCare) Freeze-dried for years with much success. We would like to also mention that Wholistic Bee Pollen (Wholistic Pet Organics) and LocalHarvest.org provide fine bee pollen products. We receive no compensation for our reference of these products.

Directions for bee pollen use will vary by species. As with all natural supplements, a little goes a very long way so follow the directions carefully. Someone has figured out the amount of bee pollen appropriate for your pet. Just because you see results with a little does not mean that by adding more, the benefits will increase.

Bee Pollen may be well worth a try for pets with compromised immune systems, or as a preventative support nutrient for all others. One tablespoon of bee pollen equals three servings of fruits and vegetables. Try to get any pet to eat that quantity of produce!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Scratching the Itches and Your Dog

What may cause a dog to suffer from painful, itchy hot spots, the moist red bacterial skin infections moist that are the painful result of the dog's uncontrolled itching and scratching. In veterinary terms often referred to as acute moist dermatitis.
Many causes contribute to such localized skin irritations. Environmental allergies, food intolerance, food sensitivities, other allergies, parasites in warm climates, inadequate grooming, and even anal gland disease may be culprits to this painful and irritating condition. Whatever the trigger, the dog scratches, chews and licks the area to get relief and by so doing causes further damage to the skin tissue, increasing irritation and causes an ongoing cycle creating a “hot spot”.
As a pro-active holistic pet parent try to pay attention to your dog for developing hot spot skin irritations. The sooner you become aware of a problem the easier it may become to resolve. There are many alternative methods available to treat the early stages of such skin irritations. Be careful when trying to use Internet information from non-verified sources because each dog is different, and each condition is also different so what may work for one cyber dog may not work for another. 
Using vinegar to adjust the pH or cabbage leaves may not be appropriate for all hot spots. Many alternatives work extremely well when correctly selected for the condition. Alternative methods take more time to produce results however, if the hot spots do not show improvement within a reasonable time (2 weeks) or  should you begin to notice hair loss, or the development of lesions, red or moist draining from the irritation, changes in appearance such as the formation of crusty scabs or the spread of the irritation to other parts of the body, make an appointment to visit your veterinarian. The condition cannot be managed by alternative methods without veterinary intervention.
Though not appealing to most holistic pet parents, the use of antibiotics or prescription medication may be necessary to provide relief for the suffering dog. Do not accept an undefined response from your veterinarian. Doctors are able to determine (or best guestimate) the cause or at least be able to isolate the cause of the acute moist dermatitis. In many cases, the cause streams from a medical condition and once the condition is treated, the skin irritation is contained. Though some skin irritations may never be fully controlled, they can be managed to provide a discomfort free lifestyle for your dog and your family.
Holistic pro-active pet parents must understand that not all conditions can be self-treated.

Be sure you have a clear understanding with your veterinarian that whenever possible, alternative methods should be incorporated into your companion’s treatment plan. The importance of diet should never be minimized. If you are feeding premium, natural foods be sure your veterinarian knows the difference between quality, standard, sub-standard and veterinary proprietary food ingredients. Knowledgeable veterinarians will provide alternatives or advise you where to obtain such information. If your veterinarian is resistant to the use of alternatives, and you have made your choice clear, seek out another veterinarian.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

About Cleavers and Your Pet

Cleavers, an invasive weed, or pasture plant recognized by its clinging leaves and sticky seeds. It grows freely in North America, Great Britain, Germany and Europe.
Cleavers harvests before it blooms in early summer. It is odorless with a slight bitter taste. Cleavers may be organically grown. Cleavers are also known as Galium aparine, Clivers, Goose grass. Bar weed, Bedstraw, Catch weed, Cleaverwort, Coach weed, Eriffe, Everlasting Friendship, Galium aparine, Goose bill, Gosling Weed, Grip Grass, Hayriffe, Hayruff, Hedge-Burs, Hedgeheriff, Love-Man, Mutton Chops, Robin-Run-in-the-Grass, Scratch weed, Stick-a-Back, Sweethearts. The above ground parts of the plant, dried and chopped are used in herbal medicine. Cleavers are related to Sweet Woodruff and Quinine. Its constituents are chlorophyll, citric acid, rubichloric acid, and tannins.
Cleavers may be used as an herb, a mild astringent and diuretic tonic for your dog’s lymph system. Cleavers have also been used for dry skin eruptions, psoriasis, and as a remedy for tumors and ulcers. Cleavers help improve lymphatic action by cleansing the body tissue.
Avoid free-growing cleavers. Purchase fresh or dried cleavers from health food stores or herbal online providers. Seek out organically sourced cleavers for best results. 

Cleavers are generally used as a tea tonic but can be eaten or ground fresh.
How to Use Cleavers and Cleaver Cubes:
Finely chop or mince fresh cleavers and add it to your dog’s food. Begin with small amounts and gradually increase to about 1 Tablespoon per 30 lbs. of body weight in divided doses per day.
It is best to store fresh cleavers in the freezer. Puree the herb in a small amount of water. Place in ice cube trays and freeze. After the cleavers are frozen, remove cubes from tray and transfer to an airtight freezer bag. Remove a cleaver cube as needed.
Cleavers Tea
Pour 1-cup boiling water over 2 tablespoons fresh or 2 teaspoons dried cleavers, cover, and let stand until cool. Add the tea to your dog’s food at the rate of 1-teaspoon tea per 10 pounds of body weight. Store unused cleavers tea in closed container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Cleavers are often combined with other herbs such as elderflower, rosemary, dandelion leaf, peppermint, cinnamon, Echinacea leaf, and red clover, to provide gentle detoxification support and can be brewed and used in the same manner.

Be sure to detoxify wild-picked and free grown Cleavers. See October 9, 2011 blog recipe.
Consult your veterinarian, herbalist or nutritionist as to the appropriate use of cleavers for your pet.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease; is for informational purposes only; and has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Photo reprinted with permission Wikipedia.