Tag Archives: health

Natural Dog Joint Health Supplement – Velvet Antler

Just as we take supplements to stay healthy, our dogs need nutritional supplements to help prevent the damage caused over time to joints, bones, and cartilage and to improve mobility, flexibility, and promote overall energy and well-being.

Most dogs who are diagnosed with arthritis or hip dysplaysia are prescribed non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Many of these drugs actually prevent the growth of collagen in joints, causing further cartilage degeneration. These drugs can also produce other serious side effects such as deterioration of the gastrointestinal tract lining, liver and kidney damage, even death.

There are many “natural” joint care supplements on the market with the main focus being on glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate which, conventionally is derived from swine, cattle, and shark cartilage and shellfish remains and requires the destruction of the animal. Velvet antler, however, is an all natural supplement derived from the antler of the male elk. Velvet antler contains 40 key compounds that research has shown rebuild cartilage and bone, build cells and boost energy, reduce infection and inflammation, and protect blood cells, the heart, liver and lungs.

Elk have an amazing ability to heal their own broken bones and to recover quickly from damage to muscles and tendons and even to recover from poisonous snake bites in a matter of days. This same ability is what allows the animals to produce huge antlers every year.

Velvet antler is harvested from domestic elk under conditions that ensure the comfort and safety of the animals. The antlers are harvested when they are in the soft or “velvet” stage. It is at this stage when the antler has the most nutrients. After the velvet antler is harvested it is wrapped and frozen. It is then taken to a special facility where the whole antler is freeze-dried and made ready for processing. Male elk regrow a new set of velvet antler every year making it the only renewable source of glucosamine and chondroitin, essential nutrients for cartilage and joint support.

For more information on velvet antler as an all natural joint health supplement for dogs visit www.bonusvelvetantler.com.

How To Travel With Your Dog

It happens every year. Millions of vacationing and moving families face the question of “what to do about their pet.” If on vacation, should you take him or leave him? As a member of the family, your pet is entitled to share the fun of travelling. On the other hand, some pets can take all the pleasure out of a trip. Think before you decide. A week or two in a clean, well-run boarding kennel might be your dog’s idea of a perfect vacation!

A dog should be thoroughly familiar with riding in a car before you consider taking him on a long trip. After a few rides around town most dogs overcome their motion sickness and begin to enjoy riding with the family. If you pet does not travel well and continues to get sick or restless, consider a boarding kennel. Don’t take a sick or unhappy dog on a trip. Both you and your pets will be miserable.

But suppose you decide to take him along. Keep in mind these important tips when travelling with your dog:

Be sure to make your hotel reservations well in advance, advising that you will have a dog with you. This could save much time and aggravation. Automobile clubs and hotel/motel guides often list facilities that accept dogs.

Take along your pet’s own bowl. Use it for water and mixing his food. He will have an added feeling of security using his regular bowl. Try not to feed your pet for six or more hours prior to traveling. Most dogs travel better on this feeding schedule. Also take along a square of old blanket or his sleeping pad. This is your dog’s travel bed in the car and motel. After you’ve shown him a few times, he’ll understand.

You dog should wear two collars: One light chain-choke collar and a leather collar, rolled or flat. Put an identification tag on one and your local dog license on the other. Even if one collar is lost, he could be identified with the other.

A can of flea powder is a must. Your pet may start out without a single flea, but he could pick some up along the way. You don’t want fleas in your car, and the hotel or motel doesn’t want them either.

Some dogs insist on hanging their heads out the window. Don’t permit this, as bits of grit may be driven into the eyes. In any case, the dog may get nasal and eye passage inflammation just from the wind. Keep him in his place and close the windows part way to discourage him.

If you will be traveling between several states or provinces, check with your veterinarian or humane society to find whether health certificates and proof of rabies vaccination are required. Most states and provinces require some form of health certificate.

Wherever you go, remember that you are responsible for your dog’s conduct. The impression you make on hotel and motel managers will determine their attitude toward all dogs and dog owners. By planning ahead and observing the rules of courtesy, you can take your dog with you anywhere. If your pet enjoys car travel, you and your family can a expect a most enjoyable trip.

M Adley

Your Dog’s Health: The Basics

The first rule in taking care of your dog is: When your dog is sick, take him to a veterinarian! Use with caution advice of friends or people who are supposed to be “old, experienced dog breeders.” Only a veterinarian is qualified to diagnose trouble and prescribe treatment.

However, it is your job to keep your dog from getting sick. Let us assume you start with a puppy. You should know something about “shots”, worm medications, flea powders, and poisons.

While a puppy is nursing, it may receive protective antibodies in its mother’s milk. As soon as the puppy is weaned, this natural immunity will begin to disappear and may be gone within two weeks. Many puppies are susceptible to diseases at this young age. Your veterinarian may prescribe a vaccination program beginning at 6 to 8 weeks, so it is important that you contact him/her immediately.

Distemper, hepatitis and leptospirosis are common and serious diseases which destroy many pets each year. Rabies is also a threat which should be guarded against in rural as well as metropolitan areas because of the possible chance of exposure to bites of infected animals.

The only satisfactory method of protecting your dog is by vaccination. Your veterinarian may want to give your puppy immediate temporary protection at the time of purchase or adoption with a “puppy shot” of antiserum which contains antibodies against distemper, hepatitis and leptospirosis as well as some of the other common diseases. Vaccinations provide long term immunity and most puppies will be started on a series of vaccinations on their first visit to the veterinarian. Booster vaccines are then advisable on a regular basis for adult dogs, to maintain his overall health for years to come.

By M Adley

How to know when your dog is sick

Most dog owners will notice any sudden or odd changes in their dogs normal behaviour but it is useful to know the specific symptoms to watch out for.

If you dog shows symptoms of excessive drinking, sudden loss of appetite, continual vomiting or diarrhoea, or unusual lethargy then these should be obvious enough to raise your concern.

Discharge from the eyes or inflamed eyes, a shallow or rapid breathing pattern or perhaps persistent coughing can all be signs of something serious.

Typically when a dog is sick or ill they will show a raised temperature, indicated by a hot, dry nose. If your dog has a high temperature or even a very low temperature you should seek professional advice from your veterinarian.

Do be aware that a dog’s temperature will be raised after strenuous activity or excitement and will not therefore be a reliable indication to its health.

If you are unsure you can take your dogs temperature yourself and this is taken rectally with a suitable thermometer. A dogs normal resting temperature is 101.5F, although if your dog is a hairless breed their temperature could be one or two degrees higher.

To take your dogs temperature choose a time when your dog is calm. You will need to ensure your dog is firmly held to prevent them from sitting down onto the thermometer. Smear the thermometer with vaseline or suitable lubricant and insert it into your dogs rectum about an inch.

Any reading above 102.5F or any reading below 100F should be regarded with concern and veterinarian advice should be sought.

If you known or feel your dog is ill make sure you keep them calm and display a reassuring manner until you get them to the veterinarian. Dogs can be very sensitive to your tone of voice and will pick up any worry or anxiety in your voice and manner.

Understanding your dogs needs and keeping a watchful eye for symptoms of sickness and ill health will ensure you can take swift action and ensure you dog is cared for sooner than later.

Your Dog or Puppy Will Thank You If You Read This Guide to Canine Parasites and Diseases

Even if you give your pet the good things he needs such as a good amount of physical activity and good foods for him, you need to realize that your pet can still become sick. The best way to help you pet is to make sure that as soon as you notice something wrong that you take care of it. For example, the symptoms that you may feel yourself when feeling sick, such as diarrhea, lack of appetite or a look of being out of it can be a sign that he has a bug. But, on the other hand, if the symptoms last more than a few days, it’s time to call your vet. They may have something more serious such as parasites or an infection.

One of your first concerns should be when you pet has diarrhea. This is very important to notice especially in puppies. Again, it may seem like he just has a bug, but it can also signal that there is something more wrong such as a virus, parasite or bacterial infection. While a change in the type of food the dog eats or just the stress he is under can cause it, it’s important to take steps to protect your animal when he has diarrhea. You need to insure your pet, especially your puppy, does not dehydrate. If the condition lasts for more than a day or so, you should call your vet. You may need to collect a sample for the vet so that he or she can figure out what the problem is and how to treat it.

What about a dog with what looks like a cold? Dogs that are coughing or have discharge coming from their nose are often suffering from a URI (Upper respiratory infection.) These are caused by a virus or bacteria that are lurking in the air. It is important for you to realize what is happening with your dog, for your sake and the pets. What they have is something they can pass on to you and your family as well. Some pets can develop dehydration or even develop pneumonia. Dogs that are exposed to a shelter like situation can also contract other respiratory diseases such as Bortadella or kennel cough. Rest and some proper care can have the dog over this disease within a few days. You can have your dog vaccinated for this condition which is a great thing to do for anyone who uses a doggie daycare of needs to use boarding shelters for when you travel.

Most municipalities will require that all dogs receive a certain number of vaccinations. These are very important to your dog’s health. They help to prevent more deadly diseases from affecting your pet. For example, parvovirus, distemper and rabies are diseases that can be vaccinated against. Your dog will likely need to have a booster vaccine every year or so to protect them continuously. Doing this protects you and the dog as well as other dogs in the area.

Parasites can also attack and harm a dog. For many dogs, there are a number of parasites that can affect them. In order to monitor for this, your dog will need to be seen by a vet regularly and the vet is likely to need you to provide them with a sample of fecal matter. A good thing to watch for is small rice sized granules in the dog’s bedding or near its anus. This is a sign of worms and your pet needs to be seen by a vet to help stop the problem.

But, that’s not all of the parasites that can infect your dog. On his skin there can also be parasites. For example, mange and sarcoptic mites are critters that like to live here the hair follicle and on the skin of the pet. Ear mites live inside the pet’s ear. They can really cause your dog pain and should be taken care of. You may not be able to see them, either. If your dog is uncomfortable or is scratching quite a bit, even skin biting, there are most likely parasites that need to be taken care of. Of course, there are also fleas to contend with.

You should always consult a qualified veterinarian if you are concerned about your pet’s health.

The Horrors of Commercial Pet Food: What Every Dog and Cat Owner Should Know

Copyright 2006 Sylvia Riley

Some of the ingredients that end up in commercial pet foods are truly shocking. What’s more, many of these will not appear on the label and others are hidden under umbrella terms such as ‘meat meal’ and ‘meat by-products’. How can this happen? The pet food industry is highly unregulated. As Ann Martin, author of Foods Pets Die For, writes in her article The Pet Food Industry and its Questionable Practices, ‘Governments in the USA and Canada regulate the labeling of the food, the name and address of the company, the weight of the product, and whether it is made for a dog or cat – nothing more.’

The meats used in pet food can be extremely low grade and unfit for human consumption. Summarized as the ‘4 D’s’ (dead, diseased, disabled and dying), these can include roadkill, zoo animals and infected and cancerous meats.

At the rendering plants ingredients are highly heated and processed, destroying nutrients and enzymes, with strong preservatives added which do not appear on the labels. These include fat stabilizers such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytolulene), both of which are known to cause liver and kidney dysfunction and Ethoxyquin, a suspected cancer-causing agent. Semi-moist dog foods may also contain propylene glycol, a relation to ethylene glycol (anti-freeze), which can destroy red blood cells.

Pets in your pet food

Though reportedly not the case today, it is well recorded that dogs and cats have ended up in dog and cat food. In his 1990 article How Dogs and Cats Get Recycled Into Pet Food, John Eckhouse, an investigative reporter, wrote: ‘Each year, millions of dead American dogs and cats are processed along with billions of pounds of other animal materials by companies known as renderers. The finished products — tallow and meat meals — serve as raw materials for thousands of items that include cosmetics and pet food.’

Doctor of weterianry medicine Wendell Belfield in Foods Not Fit For a Pet (Earth Island Journal, 1996), reports that ‘federal and state agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and medical groups such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and the California Veterinary Medical Association, confirm that pets, on a routine basis, are rendered after they die in animal shelters or are disposed of by health authorities, and the end product frequently finds its way into pet food.’

Toxic Grains

The very use of grains in pet food is questionable as grains are ill-suited to the digestive physiology of carnivores. This is especially so for cats who are obligatory carnivores and meet their glucose requirements through amino acids in their diet. Further, the grains used in dog and cat foods may contain mycotoxins, fungi that can cause chronic conditions and even death in both humans and animals. As the grains used in pet food are low grade, they are dealt with last in the handling process and because of this are often left in storage where insects, mites and mycotoxic molds can grow.

The consumption of dead mites can cause skin allergies. If your pet has skin allergies, change their diet first before turning to steroids which can be seriously detrimental to your pets health.

Alfatoxin poisoning, a common mycotoxin that grows on corn as well as other foods, has been reported for over 50 years. Vomotoxin is another mycotoxin found in wheat products. Where large doses of mycotoxins can cause cancer and even rapid death, small continuous amounts may suppress the immune system and damage organs over time, leading to long-term chronic health conditions.

Just recently at the end of 2005, over 100 dogs were killed in the United States because of alfatoxin found in pet food, with some 19 brands of Diamond dog food being recalled. It is likely there were many more deaths than those reported, and as alfatoxin attacks the liver it is likely surviving dogs may develop chronic liver disease or liver cancer in the future.

Toxic Chemicals

The toxin sodium pentobarbital, a chemical is used to euthanize animals and pets, has been found in commercial pet foods. The US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine performed two studies (1998 and 2000) to test for pentobarbital. Of the 74 samples analysed, over half were found to contain pentobarbital. What’s more, none of the 43 brands and product lines that tested positive warned of its presence on their labels.

The FDA researchers also tested the food for the presence of dogs or cats but reported none present. It was believed the pentobarbital residues were entering pet foods from euthanized, rendered cattle or even horses.

The FDA say the small amounts of the drug found in these foods were harmless, but not all veterinarians agree. Long-term continual doses, even at small levels may be increase the onset of chronic and degenerative diseases.

Aside from the toxins and base ingredients of commercial pet foods, these harshly processed and high-carbohydrate products in no way match the natural diets dogs and cats would have eaten in the wild. They are species-inappropriate and ill-suited to canine and feline physiology. I recommend healthy, homemade, raw diets or optimum natural, holistic alternatives for the health and well-being of your dog and cat. Before embarking on a raw food diet (otherwise known as BARF ‘biologically adequate raw food’), thoroughly research the area first as nutritional balance is essential.

Canine Diabetes; is Your Dog at Risk?

The classic early warning signs of diabetes were all present when I brought my canine companion of twelve years into the Veterinarian’s clinic. Muffy was lethargic, unsteady on her feet, drinking large amounts of water, and experiencing incontinence for the first time in her life. I knew something was seriously wrong.

After blood work and a physical examination, the veterinarian said that Muffy had developed type-two canine diabetes. After a brief discussion, we decided to try and regulate her blood sugar level with diet modification and insulin twice daily.

At first, it was rough going. Weekly checkups revealed Muffy’s sugar levels continued to bounce from one extreme to the other. Determined not give up, I monitored her urine samples at home for sugar content and adjusted insulin injections as necessary. Gradually, we began to see improvement.

After just a few months Muffy was once again her frisky self. You would never know by watching her race about that she had a serious health problem. A special diet, proper amounts of insulin and regular exercise have worked together with Muffy’s routine veterinary care to turn the tide. As a result, I can look forward to many more happy years with my little dog.

Wyoming veterinarian Mary Flitner, who recently moved her practice to New Mexico, received her D.V.M. degree at Colorado State University and an award for excellence in large animal surgery in 1997. Flitner states that diabetes in dogs and cats is more common than most people realize. According to Flitner, a pet’s chance of developing diabetes will increase with age.

“This is especially true in overweight, less active dogs.”

Besides weight and age, diet is another significant factor. Dogs given table scraps without discrimination are particularly at risk. The importance of diet cannot be over emphasized, warns Flitner.

“A high fiber diet, low in fat and sugar, is vital. And an annual checkup by a qualified professional is also an important part of proper pet care, as early detection of health complications increase successful management of the problem and helps prolong the quality of life for that pet.”

Flitner notes many pet owners mistakenly feel caring for a diabetic pet would be too difficult for them, an assumption that complicates the decision making process at a critical time.

“A diagnosis of diabetes in a family pet is hard enough to handle without misconceptions compounding the problem,” said Flitner thoughtfully.

For instance, a pet owner might opt to euthanize a pet diagnosed with diabetes because they feel incapable of managing the problem. However, with proper instruction and guidance, that same pet owner could gain the confidence necessary to properly follow the care plan developed by the veterinarian, and enjoy many more quality years together with their pet.

“People need to know by regulating their pet’s diabetes, that pet can still live to their full potential,” said Flitner, acknowledging most care givers consider their pet an important part the family and struggle to make right health care decisions for them.

Flitner notes grocery store quality pet foods are not good choices for diabetic pets because of added fillers and sugars used to improve the taste.

“Some grocery store brands of cat food actually have trace elements of antifreeze in them, because cats are attracted to it. These type foods often have a high content of sodium, which is also unhealthy for the pet.

“A healthy well-balanced diet is important for any pet, but especially for those diagnosed with diabetes.”

Early warning signs that might indicate diabetes in your pet include: an unusually high consumption of water, increase in appetite, incontinence, lethargy, extreme changes in eyes (i.e. cataracts), lack of coordination, and vomiting. Care givers who note such changes in their dog should promptly call a qualified professional, because examination by a veterinarian is important and necessary for proper diagnosis.

Flitner also acknowledges the temptation to remove the water bowl from the pet’s reach if incontinence is a problem.

“But, this is not the correct thing to do,” instructs Flitner.

In the case of diabetic canines, drinking large amounts of water is the dog’s attempt to flush glucose out of the kidneys which has spilled over from the blood. If the glucose doesn’t get flushed out, serious damage to the kidneys and other organs can develop.

The best preventative measures against serious health problems in the family pet remain simple and practical: regular veterinary check ups, and a healthy diet. Exercise is also very important. Among other benefits, exercise helps increase the body’s effective use of insulin.

For more canine health information, information on a special dog food formulated specifically for diabetic dogs, or other dog products, visit the Savvy Dog Lover web site .

Do You Know How To Best Look After Your Dog’s Health?

As a loving pet owner, you want your dog to live a great life. You can do this thanks to the many advances in veterinary medicine. Dogs can live longer and healthier. And, the quality of your dog’s health is all about how well you and your vet work together to make it so.

Your first vet visit should be within the first ten days that you own her. In this time period, the vet will get measurements and weights for her. They will also check the blood and stool of the animal to insure there are no health concerns there. It is also important for you to get some basic education on modern pet care from your vet during that first appointment. The vet will be able to tell you how to brush the dog’s teeth, how to clean his ears as well as how to clip toenails. Just ask.

The next thing that you should keep in mind is your dog’s food. A well balanced diet will include foods that are good quality and in the correct amounts. Your dog needs the right nutrients to sustain a healthy lifestyle. You can always ask your vet which is the best food for your dogs as well as understanding how much to feed them. You don’t have to purchase the highest priced product on the store shelves either. Some of the most costly are not even that good for your dog. There are great inexpensive choices for you as well.

You need to give your dog exercise. It helps to strengthen muscles and keeps her weight under control. It helps with the immune system of the pet as well. You may actually have to encourage your dog to be active. If a dog seems to be a couch potato type animal, you need to find a way to get them moving. Other dogs are naturally active. You should put some time each day aside for the exercise of your pet.

Your dog will need to be seen by the vet at least once per year. This will allow the vet to insure the dog’s health as well as test for parasites that may be there. Blood and stool samples will be used for this. It is important to do this so that the vet can spot and treat problems before they threaten your dog’s health severely. You should also mention anything different that your dog is doing during this time. For example some pets will lick paint or will eat strange substances. These are signs that something is medically wrong and you should bring it to your vet’s attention.

Also important during this visit is that the vaccines will be updated. This is very important to your dog’s life. And, in some areas, it is required by law to have them done.

Lastly, you’ll need to know how to choose a vet. Do it the same way you would choose your own doctor. They should be someone that you trust and feel comfortable talking with. The vet should encourage your questions and support your needs.