Animal Wellness V22I5 (Oct/Nov 2020)

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For a long, healthy life!
















OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 Display until November 16, 2020

$6.95 USA/Canada




Animal Wellness

Animal Wellness


CONTENTS October/November 2020




Understanding pet food labels

Health and nutrition apps for your dog or cat


Ensuring your dog or cat is eating a healthy diet means being a pet food label detective, and learning how to understand ingredient lists and terminology.

14 Features 14

O besity in dogs and cats

The obesity epidemic in dogs and cats is still with us. Why is this the case, and what can you do if your own dog or cat is on the heavy side?

26 Is your dog digging up your yard?

Why dogs like digging holes, and how you can help prevent Fido from turning your yard into a moonscape.


H ome-preparing food for your dog or cat

Home-preparing food for your animal has never been more accessible. But ensuring he’s getting a balanced diet means understanding key points about canine and feline nutrition.

he benefits of sharing your life 72 Twith a dog or cat

All animal lovers know that being a dog or cat parent comes with countless advantages. But what do the studies have to say?


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Keep track of your dog or cat’s health status, seek dietary advice, monitor her activity and more with a health and nutrition app!


How much exercise does your cat really need? The idea that cats don’t need a lot of physical activity is a misconception. Find out how much exercise your kitty really needs, and how to prevent him from being a couch potato.



Could your dog or cat have a pH imbalance?

A pH imbalance impacts your animal’s well-being, and is associated with a variety of conditions. Here’s what to look for, and what you can do to help support his pH health.


Diagnostic imaging for dogs and cats

From CT scans to ultrasounds, there are several ways to see inside your dog or cat’s body. Here’s how these diagnostic imaging techniques differ, and the pros and cons of each.

38 FELINE HEALTH Your cat’s microbiome



We still have a lot to learn about the feline microbiome, but what we do know can help us take important steps to improving and maintaining our cats’ gut health.


ACUPRESSURE Boost your dog’s immunity with acupressure

Maintaining a strong Immune system in your dog is one of the keys to keeping him healthy. Learn how a simple acupressure session can help support his immunity.


Including your dog in your exercise routine

Whether you’re a jogger or cyclist, including your dog in your exercise routine also means taking his abilities and safety into account.


60 58 CAT


Dry foods that are healthier for cats

Losing your dog or cat — ways to get through the grief



Many cats are “dry food addicts” — a problem if the food is poor quality. More cat food companies are factoring the importance of wholesome feline nutrition into their dry foods.

For many people, losing a beloved animal companion is as heartwrenching as losing a human loved one. Here are some resources to help you through the grief.



Why your dog should eat fruits and veggies

Fresh food meal kits for dogs and cats



Meat needs to make up a large percentage of a dog’s diet. But fruit and veggies are also beneficial to canine health and well-being.

64 EATING WELL Taurine toppers for cats and dogs

82 NEWSWORTHY Separation anxiety in dogs a concern post-pandemic

As COVID-19 restrictions loosen and people return to work, many claim their dogs’ separation anxiety has become worse.

This popular trend is expanding into the pet food world, with companies offering nutritious, fresh food meal kits for dogs and cats that are delivered right to your door.


An important amino acid, taurine is vital to your cat or dog’s health. This article explains why, and offers recipes for tasty taurine toppers to add to your best friend’s meals.

Departments 8 From the Editor 12 In the news 21 From the NASC

43 To the rescue 44 Product picks

78 Must reads 79 Marketplace

29 Training tips

55 Let's get social 63 Fall favorites

33 Business profile

67 Wellness resource

— Wholistic pet Organics

Social Media

80 Classifieds 81 Events


Tips, contests and more! AnimalWellnessMagazine

News, events, and tips! @ AW_magazine

Tips, pet photos, and more! AnimalWellnessMagazine

Crafts, laughs, and more! AnimalWellness

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For a long, healthy life!



EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Managing Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Content Editor: Emily Watson Senior Graphic Designer: Dawn Cumby-Dallin Senior Graphic Designer: Alyssa Dow Social/Digital Media Manager: Jamie McClure Editorial/Multimedia Specialist: Lucas Graham Web Design & Development: Lace Imson Cover Image Courtesy of: @kayatheshepherd COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sally Bahner Suzi Beber, honouris causa Bill Bookout Christine Caplan, RVT Nicole Ellis, CPDT-KA Sarah Griffiths, DCH, CPN Jodie Gruenstern, DVM, CVA Junior Hudson Ingrid King Carissa Links Shawn Messonnier, DVM Judy Morgan, DVM, CVA, CVCP, CVFT Sandra Murphy Laurie Riihimaki Karen Shaw Becker, DVM Amy Snow Tonya Wilhelm Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION & SALES President/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley Accounting: Susan Smith Circulation & Office Manager: Libby Sinden Subscription Services/Marketing & Administration Associate: Brittany Silloats


SUBMISSIONS: Please email all editorial material to Ann Brightman, Managing Editor, at We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. You can also mail submissions to: Animal Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8. Please direct other correspondence to

ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager/Editorial Associate: Kat Shaw, (866) 764-1212 ext. 315 Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr, (866) 764-1212 ext. 221 Multimedia Consultant: Britt Silver, (866) 764-1212 ext 226 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING: Libby Sinden TO SUBSCRIBE: Subscription price at time of this issue is $24.00 in the U.S. and Canada, including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: Phone: (866) 764-1212 ext 115 US MAIL: Animal Wellness Magazine, 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL: Animal Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8 Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Redstone Media Group Inc., publisher of Animal Wellness, does not promote any of the products orservices advertised by a third party advertiser in this publication, nor does Redstone Media Group Inc. verify the accuracy of any claims made in connection with such advertisers. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues. DEALER INQUIRIES WELCOME: Animal Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at (866) 764-1212 ext 100 and ask for dealer magazine sales, fax us at (705) 742-4596 or e-mail at



Three guesses as to what Kiko’s favorite things are. If you guessed food as one, you’re right. This Finnish Spitz puppy from New Zealand is full of personality and also loves to hang with her siblings, and to play, run and bark. She’s here to tell you how important a good diet is to canine (and feline!) health and happiness, and that’s what this issue is about!


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Animal Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1710-1190) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2020. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: August 2020. proudly supporting

improving the lives of animals... one reader at a time.



to an unfinicky feline

Left to right: Katy always enjoyed her own pot of fresh wild catnip every year!; Katy, Summer 2020. RIP Kate. We love you!


hen food was involved, our cat, Katy, identified as more of an opportunistic canine than finicky feline. In addition to raw, home-cooked, high quality canned or kibble diets, she enjoyed a wide variety of veggies and fruits, including steamed asparagus, green beans, broccoli, carrots, and applesauce. She stole a cucumber off the counter on more than one occasion, and this summer even snacked on watermelon, which she thoroughly enjoyed. There were times her voracious appetite got her into trouble. A couple of months ago, I bought a lovely lemon loaf from a bakery and left it, wrapped and in a Ziploc bag, on the island in the kitchen. At the ripe old age of 18, Katy had some arthritis and no longer jumped on the counters, so it didn’t occur to me that the loaf would be in any danger. How wrong I was to underestimate Katy’s love of food! I came home to find the center of the loaf completely devoured. Unfortunately, about a week ago, our beautiful Katy suffered a vascular episode, which left her paralyzed. A couple of days later, we had to make the very tough decision to let her go. Through our tears and devastating grief over the last few days, we have found comfort in telling each other stories about her incredible palate. She was truly one-of-a-kind. It seems especially poignant that I’m writing this editorial for our annual nutrition issue. Our vet observed that Katy’s advanced age was probably partly related to her extraordinary diet. So if you’re on a journey to a healthier dog or cat, the best place to start is with a high quality diet made from natural, whole food ingredients.

This issue will get you off on the right foot with lots of advice and tips. Knowing how to understand pet food labels is key to choosing the best food for your animal, so be sure to check out our article on this important topic. We also include features on battling obesity; the benefits of vegetables and fruits in your dog’s diet; how to ensure your four-legged friend is getting enough taurine, along with some great recipes to try; and the growing selection of higher quality dry diets for cats (important for those whose kitties are kibble addicts)! If you’re considering home-preparing your best friend’s meals, you need to ensure you’re giving him a nutritionally-balanced diet — we have an article to help you with that as well. And find out more about your cat’s microbiome, and what you can do to help keep it functioning optimally. Last but not least, explore the option of pet food kit delivery services, a great way to give your dog or cat fresh, healthy food as the COVID pandemic drags on. There’s plenty more in this issue to “whet your appetite”, so as the days get shorter and the weather chillier, why not curl up on the sofa with your furry friend and read on! Wishing you a happy and stress-free fall,

Dana Cox Editor-in-Cheif

Visit our facebook page at 8

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CONTRIBUTORS Veterinarian Dr. Jodie Gruenstern graduated from UW-Madison in 1987. She is a certified veterinary acupuncturist and food therapist by the Chi Institute; is former VP of the Veterinary Medical Aromatherapy Association (VMAA); and a member of the AHVMA and AzVMA. She authored Live with Your Pet in Mind, and founded Dr. Jodie’s Natural Pets, Integrating People for Animal Wellness (iPAW) and Dr. Jodie’s Integrative Consulting, PLLC. She was former owner of the Animal Doctor Holistic Veterinary Complex. Visit or email p 18 Veterinarian Dr. Shawn Messonnier wrote The Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs and 8 Weeks to a Healthy Dog. He’s the pet care expert for Martha Stewart Living’s “Dr. Shawn — The Natural Vet” on Sirius Satellite Radio, and creator of Dr. Shawn’s Pet Organics. His practice, Paws & Claws Animal Hospital (, is in Plano, Texas. p 34 Veterinarian Dr. Judy Morgan graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984. She earned her certification for Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation in 1995, then earned certifications for Acupuncture and Food Therapy from the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Morgan is a nationally-renowned author, speaker and holistic veterinarian certified in acupuncture, food therapy, and chiropractic care for dogs, cats and horses. She has authored four books on holistic pet care and feeding, and has over 700 educational videos on Facebook and YouTube ( p 40 Veterinarian Dr. Karen Shaw Becker received her degree from the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine. She owns/operates Natural Pet Animal Hospital, Feathers Bird Clinic, TheraPaw Rehabilitation and Pain Management Clinic and Covenant Wildlife Rehabilitation in Illinois. She co-authored Real Food for Healthy Pets and hosts a holistic animal wellness website ( p 14 Dr. Suzi Beber has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for two decades. She founded the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer


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Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research. She is the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and received the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College. The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund is the recipient of the “Pets + Us” Community Outreach Champion Award. p 64 Christine Caplan is a Certified Vet Tech, and a long-time PR veteran and content marketing expert who brings her unique understanding of social and digital media to connect dog lovers to brands both on and offline. She lives with three hounds – two “doxies” and a beagle/basset hound mix — who constantly teach her about life and companionship ( p 69 Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of ACU-DOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure, ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure and ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources, which offers books, manuals, DVDs, apps, meridian charts and many more acupressure learning tools. Contact or p 48 Sarah Griffiths is the Animal Nutrition Specialist for Red Dog Blue Kat, as well as a feline and canine nutritionist, and a classical homeopath. She has over five years of clinical experience with holistic veterinary clinics, where she provided nutritional consultation and other veterinary support services. She also has over ten years of experience in the raw pet food industry. Sarah is currently completing a Clinical Pet Nutritionist program from the Academy of Natural Sciences (CPN Certification). p 30 Sally E. Bahner specializes in cat-related issues, specifically nutrition, holistic care and behavior. She has offered her services as a feline behavior and care consultant and gives classes on cat care. Sally is the resident cat behavior expert on Tracie Hotchner’s Cat Chat radio program, and a member of the Cat Writers’ Association and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. p 22

Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager and author of five cat books, including Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher and Tortitude: The BIG Book of Cats with a BIG Attitude. Her blog, “The Conscious Cat”, is an award-winning resource for conscious living, health and happiness for cats and their humans ( Ingrid writes for magazines and websites around the world. p 38 Tonya Wilhelm is a dog training and cat care specialist who promotes positive ways to prevent and manage behavior issues. Named one of the top ten dog trainers in the US, she has helped thousands build happy relationships with their dogs using humane, positive training methods. She wrote Proactive Puppy Care; offers dog training classes; provides training and behavior services; and does workshops at pet expos ( p 26 Junior Hudson is a Canine Dietary and Integrative Wellness Consultant. Specialising in nutrition, behavior, and holistic health, he integrates a multidisciplinary approach to canine wellness, incorporating both conventional and holistic methodologies, through his practice, Heal The Dog. p 60 Laurie Riihimaki is a full-time freelance writer and editor covering a range of topics from animals and holistic medicine to fitness and personal development. Her theatre background in Boston, London, and New York City has helped her create a fun voice that she utilizes in her writing. When not writing for work, Laurie puts time into developing novels, poetry, and personal essays. And when she isn't writing, she is directing, acting, painting, exploring nature, reading, or spending time with her family and dog. p 52 Sandra Murphy lives in St Louis, Missouri. When she's not writing, she works as a pet sitter. p. 74

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IN THE NEWS NEW BILL WILL HELP SHUT DOWN PUPPY MILL PIPELINE Many dogs and cats sold in pet stores come from puppy and kitten mills, which are renowned for their conditions of abuse and neglect. On July 21, in an effort to help shut down the puppy and kitten mill pipeline in New York State, which has one of the highest concentrations of animal-selling pet stores in the US, the State Senate approved S.4234-A, a bill that would end the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores across New York. “With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for pet stores to sell animals that predominantly come from abusive puppy and kitten mills,” says Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), who sponsored the bill. “Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities.” As of this writing, the bill is heading to the Assembly for their consideration. If approved, New York will join other states and more than 350 localities in taking a strong stand against puppy and kitten mill cruelty.

PROTECTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS — AND THEIR ANIMALS Up to 89% of female animal parents entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers threatened, harmed, or killed a family dog or cat. Additionally, as many as 48% of domestic violence survivors with animals delay seeking safety, fearing what would happen if they left their animals behind. To make matters worse, domestic violence cases have risen since the start of the pandemic. The good news is that Florida has joined more than 30 other states that have enacted public policies to safeguard humans and their animals from violence in the home. On July 1, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed C.S./S.B. 1082, which will help keep victims and their animals together by ensuring the latter can be included in orders of protection from domestic violence. “Under normal circumstances, adults, children, and pets living in an abusive home often face major obstacles to escape harm’s way,” says Jennifer Hobgood, senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA, Southeast Region. “Unfortunately, the necessity


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of staying at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has made this situation substantially more dangerous. This lifesaving law now makes it clear that courts may include family pets in temporary restraining orders.”

AMERICANS VALUE THEIR ANIMALS MORE THAN EVER A new study conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reveals some interesting insights into consumer attitudes and behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results show that animal guardianship is holding steady, and a majority report that their spending has not been influenced by the current economy. “This initial study reaffirms that people are appreciating the benefits of pet ownership now more than ever, which is incredible to hear,” says Steve King, CEO of APPA. o f animal parents agree that spending time with their animals is reducing their stress and increasing their sense of well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data is being continually measured in real time as a way to keep people up to date on the effects of COVID-19 on shopping trends, financial impact, and other factors.

72% 70

re spending more time with their % aanimals while they practice social distancing from people.


say the extra time spent with their % animals makes them feel closer/more bonded with them.

MIXED BREEDS NOW MORE POPULAR THAN LABS AND GOLDENS This past summer, released its second annual “Canada’s Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2020” report, ranking the top 20 most popular dog breeds across the country. The first place winner? Mixed breeds! “As we've seen since the start of the pandemic, Canadians are adding to their packs by opening up their homes to new dogs,” says Toronto-based veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Greenstein.

Here’s the list of the top ten:

q Mixed breed w Labrador retriever e Golden retriever r Shih tzu t German shepherd y Chihuahua u Goldendoodle i Yorkshire terrier o Poodle a French bulldog For the full report, visit

Rover looked at the ten largest Canadian cities, including Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver, to find the most popular dog breeds.

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D gs Cats

By Karen Shaw Becker, DVM

The obesity epidemic in dogs and cats is still with us, even though most of us now realize that overweight animals are at higher risk of health problems. Why is this the case, and what can you do if your own dog or cat is on the heavy side?

If your dog or cat is overweight, it’s cause for concern, although you’re far from alone. In 2018 (the most recent year for which data was collected), an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the US were overweight or obese. Since the pet obesity epidemic has been trending upward for several years, we can assume those numbers are the same or even worse now. This article looks at why the obesity epidemic is still in full swing (see sidebar on 17), and provides helpful suggestions for getting plump pets down to a healthier weight.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR DOG OR CAT IS OVERWEIGHT Because so many animals are overweight now, many people can no longer tell the difference between a fat, chubby, and normal dog or cat. If you’re not sure about your own animal, look down at his body from above as he’s standing or walking. Does he have a tapered-in waist? If not — if he’s shaped more like an oval or rectangle — he’s probably too heavy. You should also be able to feel (but not see) his ribs, as well as the bones near the base of his tail. If he’s obese, you’ll see obvious amounts of excess fat on his abdomen, hips, and neck.


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Compare your dog or cat to the body condition charts provided by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) at Body-Condition-Score-Dog.pdf or uploads/2020/01/Cat-Body-Condition-Scoring-2017.pdf. The goal is a body condition score of 4 to 5 for dogs, and 5 for cats.


DON’T free feed. Providing round-the-clock

access to food is a mistake that goes hand-in-hand with feeding ultra-stable, ultra-processed dry foods, because they’re the only types of food you can safely leave out at room temperature 24/7 for days on end. Free feeding is the perfect way to create an overweight or obese dog or cat. A constantly available food source turns your carnivorous hunter into a grazer, which ultimately creates metabolic diseases, including diabetes and immune dysregulation.

DO this instead: Separate your animal’s daily rations into several small portions and place them in different locations around the house for him to find. Make use of food puzzle toys for dogs, and indoor hunting feeders for cats, which

View these charts full-size at: uploads/2020/01/BodyCondition-Score-Dog.pdf uploads/2020/01/Cat-BodyCondition-Scoring-2017.pdf

encourage natural behaviors and provide mental stimulation unless he has mobility problems that make stairs difficult. Also consider putting food bowls at the tops and bottoms of stairs to encourage muscle-building exercise throughout the day. Alternatively, you can feed two portion-controlled meals a day, aiming to get all calories into an eight- to ten-hour window. This effective strategy means your animal is practicing intermittent fasting, which has been demonstrated to extend the lifespan of all mammals.

DON’T feed too much. Most people who feed ultra-processed, shelf-stable, commercial kibble follow the suggested feeding guidelines printed on the package, which often isn’t the best approach. These recommendations typically use overly broad weight ranges such as “under 20 pounds” when clearly, a 15-pound dog requires significantly more calories than a fivepound dog. Feeding instructions on these packages also use wide

serving ranges, such as “feed ½ to 1½ cups”. These suggestions obviously can’t take into account, for example, an animal’s activity level, and they tend to be short on other important details, such as whether “feed ½ to 1½ cups” is a daily or per-meal guideline.

DO this instead: Decide (with the help of your veterinarian, if needed) what your dog or cat’s ideal weight should be. Then use the following formulas to calculate the precise number of calories he needs to get down to his or her ideal weight and maintain it. Continued on page 16. Animal Wellness


Continued from page 15.




HEALTH? Extra weight triggers

inflammation, and what science calls an “adipokine storm” inside the body. Adipokines are

As an example, consider a beagle mix that weighs 30 pounds, when his ideal weight is around 22 pounds. Daily calories (canine) = (Body weight (kg) x 30) + 70 Convert his ideal weight of 22 pounds (not his current weight) from pounds to kilograms (1 kg = 2.2 lbs), and divide the result by 2.2. Since 22 divided by 2.2 is 10, this dog’s ideal weight in kilograms is 10. Now the formula looks like this: Daily calories = (10 (kg) x 30) + 70 Do the math, and you get this result: Daily calories = 370

signal proteins produced by fat cells that create or contribute to hundreds of damaging inflammatory processes throughout the body. Each fat cell in an overweight animal’s body produces hundreds of

This means an “average” 22-pound beagle needs about 370 calories a day (assuming he’s not doing agility or has extenuating medical circumstances). For dogs that need to lose more than 10% of their body weight, I recommend reducing calories in small increments. So in this case, first calculate how many calories the beagle needs to get to 28 pounds; once he achieves that goal, recalculate daily calories for 26 pounds, until he achieves his ideal weight. “Slow and steady” is the name of the weight loss game.

potentially toxic compounds; in obese pets, it can be millions or billions. Many diseases develop as the result of too much weight and dangerously high levels of inflammation, and include:

The formula for cats is modified slightly to account for the sedentary lifestyle of most kitties these days: Daily calories (feline) = (Body weight (kg) x 30) + (70 x 0.8)

NOTE: These are resting energy requirements for “average” animals, which is why it’s important to work with a veterinarian if your dog or cat has

• Osteoarthritis • Diabetes • Cystitis or urinary tract disease • Intervertebral disc disease • Hepatitis or hepatopathy • Chronic renal disease • Hypothyroidism • Congestive health failure • Cruciate ligament injury • Hypertension

extenuating circumstances.


DON’T feed starchy, carb-heavy, processed pet food.

A very big contributor to the animal obesity epidemic is the carbs found in ultra-processed pet food. Many dog or cat parents overfeed, but very often the problem is the type of macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins) — i.e. where the calories are coming from. A calorie from protein acts very differently in the body then a calorie from starch (sugar). Many commercial dry pet foods are loaded with carbs (30% to 50% of total content in some cases), which can lead to blood sugar fluctuations, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. A carb intake above 20% often activates internal enzyme factors that store the excess as body fat, unless your dog is very active.

• Asthma

DO this instead: Calculate the carbs you are feeding by looking at the

• Gallbladder disorder

guaranteed analysis on the side of the bag, then doing this simple equation:

• Cancer

Carbs in food = Fat + Protein + Fiber + Ash (estimate 6% if not listed) + Moisture – 100


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Despite all the animal health information and education at our fingertips these days, many people aren’t aware their dogs and cats are overweight; or if they do, they don’t realize their animals’ health is being compromised. Others, sadly, are simply not concerned, and are ignoring warnings about obesity even though they know it’s unhealthy for both people and animals. Some practice an optimistic bias by believing that the debilitating effects of obesity won't happen to their own dogs or cats; this is a way of coping, but it's also a way to avoid making crucial lifestyle changes.

Dogs and cats need food high in animal protein and moisture, with low to no grain or starch content. A high quality fresh food diet is the best choice for animals who need to lose weight. It’s important to adequately nourish their bodies with great quality protein as weight loss occurs, making sure their requirements for key amino acids, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients are met. My own recommendation is a homemade, nutritionally balanced, fresh food diet of lean meats and healthy fats, along with fibrous vegetables and low glycemic fruits as the only sources of carbohydrates. If you can’t make food for your dog or cat, many companies offer great quality, species-specific (low carb) foods.

DON’T feed too many treats. Overfeeding treats on top of daily food intake will result in an obese animal, and overfeeding treats while underfeeding balanced meals will result in nutritional deficiencies. Treat size is also a big factor. Treats for all dogs and cats should be the size of a pea: bigger animals just get more pea-sized treats than smaller ones.

DO this instead: Limit treats to rewards for training and good behavior. For a dog, use treats to practice a “sit”, or as a “time to get in your crate” enticement. For cats, a small treat before bed can be a good bonding ritual. Keep treats at or less than 10% of your animal’s daily calorie intake, which means offering very small amounts, very infrequently. Consider replacing commercial cookies with small amounts of fresh human foods. such as tiny bits of cooked chicken breast, blueberries, other safe fruits (e.g., tiny pieces of melons and apples), chopped string cheese, frozen peas, or raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

DON’T ignore the need for exercise. You’ll never see fat canines or felines in the wild because they follow their natural instincts, which include the drive to be physically active, and the need to move a lot to catch food. Given the opportunity and incentive, our dogs and cats will enjoy walking, running, playing, chasing things, rolling in the grass and just being the natural athletes they were born to be. It’s up to us to provide these opportunities.

DO this instead: Consistent daily exercise, including at least 20 minutes (preferably 60) of aerobic activity will help your animal burn fat and increase muscle tone. Animals that are very overweight or obese may not be able to endure extended periods of exercise at first. Ask your veterinarian or an animal rehab professional what exercises are safe for your animal to do now, and which you need to avoid or put off until he’s in better condition. You dog or cat doesn’t have to be an obesity statistic. By making a few lifestyle changes, he can get back on track to a long and healthy life, and help bring those numbers down!

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PET FOOD LABELS Ensuring that your dog or cat is eating a healthy diet involves more than just switching brands. It means being a pet food label detective, and learning how to understand ingredient lists and terminology.

By Jodie Gruenstern, DVM, CVA

If you’re like a lot of people these days, you want your dog or cat to eat a healthy diet. To succeed at choosing a safe, nutritious, quality food for your animal companion, however, you need to become adept at reading pet food labels and understanding some of the terminology manufacturers use in their ingredient lists. This article will get you on the right track.

INGREDIENT ORDER AND DEFINITIONS — DECIPHERING THE FACTS Always look at the back of a package of pet food for the full ingredient profile, listed in order of weight. Don’t rely on cursory lists of ingredients on the front, next to splashy photographs of fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables.


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Ideally, we want to see a specific meat, such as pork or beef, listed first. If it is, this means it has been weighed with the water still in it. This makes it heavier and brings it to the top of the list. However, the water is removed during processing, meaning there is a lower weight of actual meatderived protein in the end product.


converts waste animal tissue (not human grade meat) into stable usable materials like yellow grease, choice white grease, bleachable fancy tallow, and a protein meal such as meat and bone meal, or poultry by-product meal. It contains no hair, hoof, hide, or extraneous materials. By definition, while up to 9% of the crude protein in the product may be pepsin indigestible, the product would be more protein-dense than its clean flesh counterpart weighed with water included.


If a meat product is followed by more than one grain or starch, there may be more grain or starch than meat by weight, even though the meat is listed first. A common marketing trick is to list a grain, for example corn, broken down into corn gluten, corn

By-products are non-rendered and include organs, fat, and entrails, but no hair, horns, teeth, or hooves. Byproducts can be healthy, but we don’t know the quality based on a label listing. Carnivores do need to ingest organs for good health. A meat “meal” means the tissue has been rendered. This process


starch, corn middlings, etc. This puts the corn versions below the meat source — unless you add them all together. This is called ingredient splitting. Corn is not a natural food for a carnivore diet. And unfortunately, American corn is contaminated with mold and aflatoxins, which are potentially carcinogenic. Most corn is GMO unless stated otherwise, which means it won’t die when fields are sprayed with glyphosate herbicide to kill the weeds. But the corn does incorporate the glyphosate into its cells. The cattle eat the corn, and the glyphosate becomes incorporated into the food web. Humans, livestock, and companion animals ingest the contaminated corn and/or the contaminated meat.


After the starches on a label, a fat is listed along with how it is preserved. Avoid animal fat preserved with BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin. These artificial preservatives have been shown to be carcinogenic; in fact, ethoxyquin

is banned in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Look for mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E, and/or rosemary extract as preservatives.


Avoid added sugars such as corn syrup, molasses, and beet sugar. These are not useful nutrients. They entice an animal to eat the food and become addicted to it. Why? So you keep purchasing it! Just because your dog or cat likes it, does not mean it is good for him.


Salt should not be too high on the list, although this is often the case with commercial canned foods. Like sugar, salt is also addictive.


If vitamins and minerals are added, look for those that are chelated, which improves absorption (they’ll be listed as a chelate or proteinate). However, do be aware that this chelation is not “natural” and often occurs by combining a mineral with soy proteinate, which is most assuredly



Keep in mind that most grain-free diets are not starch-free. The grain is commonly replaced by starchy potato, tapioca, or legumes such as chickpeas. To make kibble, there must be a source of starch, and processed carbohydrates create inflammation. As well, grain-free diets may or may not be higher in protein. While you may think that these diets contain more meat protein, this is not necessarily true. Meat is a complete source of protein and also offers absorbable amino acids that are critical to good health. Many animals suffering from allergic dermatitis or inflammatory bowel disease do improve on unique protein and unique carbohydrate diets, while others don’t. Improvement is also often short-lived, and is simply due to a change in ingredients. Just don’t make the mistake of shifting a dog or cat who improved on a grain-free diet back to a diet containing grains; rather, shift toward a fresh, species-appropriate, balanced raw diet. Animal Wellness



The three crucial parameters of digestibility, quality, and safety cannot be easily determined by reading pet food labels. It’s not just what your dog or cat eats, but rather what he absorbs that’s most crucial to his good health. This point was recently driven home to us by ongoing investigations into spikes of canine dilated cardiomyopathy cases. Many of the diets tested were found to contain taurine, methionine, and cysteine levels consistent with AAFCO recommendations — yet many dogs consuming those same diets lacked adequate taurine in their blood. You may already know that digestibility is important and that a high protein content is not enough. (Leather meal, made from animal hide, is very high in protein, but completely indigestible.) The higher the moisture content, the lower the protein content will appear — but this protein may be of much higher quality than in a food whose analysis panel states a higher protein percentage. The guaranteed analysis protein percentage is actually an archaic measure of nitrogen, a relic from the livestock feed industry, and not a measure of quality meat protein at all. Nitrogen can also come from plants. It can even come from toxic melamine; we have learned that unscrupulous manufacturers can artificially elevate “protein” levels in their foods to mislead consumers, and that animals can die from this hidden ingredient.


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GMO. Remember that GMO seeds result in crops laden with pesticides, allowing these chemicals to be incorporated into our animals’ (and our own) gut microflora. The best pet foods contain enough whole food sources of vitamins and minerals, so synthetic versions need not be added.


Avoid canned foods that contain carrageenan as a thickener. This ingredient has been found to have a link to inflammatory bowel disease.


Can liners may contain BPA, a known endocrine disruptor. Looks for companies that don’t use BPA in their cans.


Some grocery store foods, many treats, and dental chews still contain dye. These artificial colorings can be carcinogenic. If a food contains dye (e.g. Red Dye 40), put it back on the shelf! Better ingredients can be utilized, such as blue-green algae, which also provides great antioxidant properties.

broccoli, dried kelp, hemp seed, and others. Some foods, like chicory root extract, are prebiotics that promote gut flora health. Prebiotics feed probiotics, the good bacteria in the gut. You may also see prebiotics listed on the label as inulin, which can come from chicory root. Be aware that added probiotics may not be as viable as those you add to the food yourself when serving it. Taking control of what you’re feeding your dog or cat involves knowing what’s in the food you’re buying him. Learning something about how to read and understand pet food labels is an important step to ensuring that your animal companion is eating a diet that’s as safe and healthy as possible.


Small amounts of the best, healthiest, and most expensive ingredients are usually last on the list! These look like real foods. You may see blueberries, cranberries,

Cancer and obesity — their link to commercial foods

One out of two dogs and cats is now dying of cancer, and obesity is also endemic among these animals. Some seemingly innocuous ingredients may be a culprit — foods that contain corn, soy, and excessive sugar sources may be partially to blame for the cancer and obesity epidemic. Additionally, many commercial kibbles and canned foods are processed at high temperatures. Cooked starch produces carcinogenic acrylamides, while cooked meats produce mutagenic heterocyclic amines. Sugar (glucose) also fuels cancer cells.

From the NASC

What to know before starting your dog or cat on a supplement By Bill Bookout

There are two reasons to add a supplement to your dog or cat’s health regimen. One is to support his diet nutritionally. The other is to provide specific ingredients for a particular health benefit. In either case, let your veterinarian know you’re starting the supplement, especially if your animal is on prescription medication that could potentially interact with the supplement’s ingredients. Some supplements may either increase or decrease the effects of a medication your veterinarian has prescribed. Your veterinarian will be able to look up the ingredients of the supplement and compare the product’s purpose to your dog or cat’s specific needs. Some people may think there is no possibility of an adverse reaction when giving a “natural” product to their animals; however, although reactions may be less common, they are not impossible. Some dogs and cats can be sensitive to natural supplements that are well-tolerated by the majority of the population. To help avoid a potential reaction, more cautious veterinarians may recommend gradually starting a dog or cat on a new supplement, introducing it at a smaller amount than

recommended on the label, and gradually increasing it over a week’s time. If you do suspect your dog or cat has had a reaction to a supplement, contact your veterinarian immediately, with the product package in hand, so you can communicate the supplement name and its ingredients. Also report the reaction to the company that supplies the supplement by using the contact information on the product label. (Be sure to locate the product lot number on the container before calling, as the manufacturer will likely ask for it.) Before adding a nutritional supplement, you should have a solid understanding of what is in your dog or cat’s normal diet and whether the nutrients in the supplement will exceed the recommended daily amounts. Some ingredients found in nutritional supplements may already be included in your dog or cat’s food, which could result in too much of a certain nutrient. For example, adding an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement when the animal is getting adequate fat from his diet could lead to weight gain over time. Finally, even though many human dietary supplements have similar ingredients to

animal supplements, and in some cases even similar-looking labels, it is generally not recommended that you give your dog or cat a product intended for humans. Some human supplements contain ingredients that may be harmful to dogs or cats. Plus, animals metabolize differently than we do, so choose supplements formulated specifically for your animal’s species, and appropriately administer them according to his size. Always remember to look for the NASC Quality Seal when buying supplements for your dog or cat. This tells you the product comes from a responsible supplier that has passed a comprehensive facility audit and maintains ongoing compliance with NASC’s rigorous quality standards, which include strict guidelines for product quality assurance, adverse event reporting, and labeling standards. Visit for a complete list of NASC member companies that have earned the Quality Seal. Bill Bookout is president and founder of the National Animal Supplement Council. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the animal health industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences from the University of Wyoming, and a master’s degree from the Pepperdine University Presidents and Key Executives MBA program. Animal Wellness






REALLY NEED? By Sally E. Bahner

The idea that cats don’t need a lot of physical activity is a common misconception. Find out how much exercise your feline friend really needs, and how to prevent him from being a couch potato.

Cats differ from dogs in many ways, but one thing they have in common is a need for regular exercise. Although our kitties can sometimes appear lazy, and may seem more content to curl up on the sofa than run around and play, they need daily physical activity in order to stay fit and well, and to prevent unhealthy weight gain. This is especially true for indoor cats, who often become couch potatoes. Find out how much exercise cats really require, and how you can provide adequate physical activity for your own feline friend.

CATS SHOULD BE ACTIVE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES A DAY Most experts agree that cats need about 30 minutes of exercise a day. Kittens and young cats need one to two hours. If you have a pair of kittens or younger cats, they’ll generally look after their own exercise needs by playing, wrestling, and chasing each other around the house. Solitary cats, however, and those that are getting into middle age, tend to become more sedentary and may need some encouragement to get moving — although even these cats will often do some of their own exercise. Witness the “zoomies”, when a cat tears


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through the house for no particular reason (although this often coincides with a successful visit to the litter box!). Or the self-amusing bottle cap chase. Even stretching and giving the scratching post a workout exercises a cat’s muscles. But these activities on their own won’t add up to enough if your cat spends the rest of his time sleeping or watching birds out the window. In order to ensure your cat gets enough daily exercise, he needs to be engaged in interactive play on a regular basis. If playing with your cat for an hour or so every day doesn’t fit into your schedule, break it down by scheduling a few shorter sessions throughout the day. This is a good idea anyhow, since cats prefer short bursts of activity; your kitty will be happy with short exercise sessions and may even learn to anticipate them if you do them at consistent times. Just be sure the sessions add up to a total of at least 30 minutes a day. Short periods of exercise are also better for older or overweight kitties.

TOYS HELP MAKE EXERCISE FUN Getting your cat to move keeps her mentally and physically stimulated and builds a bond between you. Making exercise fun helps encourage physical activity; and since play and exercise are usually intertwined when it comes to cats, it’s easier than you might think to ensure your feline friend is getting her daily workout. Not surprisingly, toys play a big part in engaging your cat in interactive exercise. START SIMPLE If you’ve lived with cats long enough, you’ll notice they have their favorite toys — the milk ring, the catnip banana, the sparkle ball, the little furry mouse. Cats also like things that move, so

ADDITIONAL EXERCISE IDEAS FOR FELINES • Agility training is usually thought of as a canine sport, but it’s gaining popularity among cats too. Felines can even compete in International Cat Agility Tournaments. Agility courses can tap into a cat’s natural ability to sprint and jump, and to learn quickly. The website offers lots of info on how cats are enriched by agility and which kitties are best suited. You can also build a simple agility course for your cat at home — a great solution for the pandemic when so many events and activities have been cancelled, and for cats who wouldn’t do well in the competition spotlight. Just a few boxes, chairs, or books set up along a hallway or in the basement can be used as a simple but fun agility course for your cat. • Walking the dog is considered great exercise for both of you…but when it comes to cats, it takes a special kind of feline to make leash walking work. While cats can be acclimated to a leash and harness, especially if they’re started when they’re kittens, I’ve seen very few cats walking briskly down the sidewalk with their person in tow. However, a leash and harness is a great way to allow a cat to explore the great outdoors safely, and offers a change of scene, even if she just moseys along sniffing the grass and shrubs.

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determine which toy is your kitty’s fav, and try throwing it for him to chase down the hall or up a set of stairs. Chances are, you’ll have to retrieve it from him to throw again, but some cats will play fetch and bring the toy back to you to throw again. GO FISH Few cats fail to be intrigued by a fishing pole toy — but it’s what’s on the end that makes the difference. In our household, there’s always one of these toys within reach. The Galkie Kitty Tease from years back (we still have a couple) was a pioneer fishing pole toy, and featured just a simple scrap of cloth as the “tease”. As simple as it is, this toy has given our cats many hours of entertainment, plus it’s easy

to replace the scrap — or even make one yourself. Another longtime interactive favorite is the Cat Dancer, with little cardboard tubes attached to the end of a bouncy wire. Others, such as Neko Flies, have interchangeable ends, including a furry mouse and various bugs. Da Bird is, as the name suggests, bird-like and provides kitties with a realistic prey experience. LASER BEAMS Laser toys are great for a feline workout, but can be controversial because they do not offer the ultimate satisfaction of a catchand-kill, the way real toys do. It’s recommended that you offer your cat a treat reward to avoid frustration when he “catches” the laser light. It’s also vital that you don’t shine the light in your cat’s eyes (or anyone else’s). TURNING WHEEL The allure of a cat wheel can be epitomized by the image of an

Kittens and young cats need one to two hours of exercise a day.


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energetic Bengal running at warp speed! It can be a pretty pricey investment, however, costing from $800 to $1,000, depending on the manufacturer. But it could be cheaper than a new sofa if you have a high-energy kitty on your hands. Toys aren’t the only way to engage your cat in exercise (see sidebar on previous page). Experiment and change things up to find out what your cat likes doing most. The more she loves the activity, the more willing she’ll be to do it. By combining your cat’s natural athleticism with at least half an hour of daily exercise, you’ll keep her trim and mentally stimulated, while strengthening your bond of love and companionship.

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Is your dog

How much exercise do cats need?


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Why dogs like digging holes, and how you can help prevent Fido from turning your yard into a moonscape. By Tonya Wilhelm

If you’ve spent a lot of time and money turning your yard into a beautifully-landscaped oasis, you’re bound to feel frustrated if your dog’s favorite pastime is digging unsightly holes in your flower beds and lawns. Stopping this behavior includes understanding why he’s doing it, then redirecting the digging toward less destructive activities.

3 REASONS WHY DOGS DIG There are a few possible reasons why your dog is digging up your yard. It’s important to do a little detective work to find out which one applies to your own dog. 1. For entertainment and the pure joy of digging. Dogs can be silly creatures that like to have fun at every turn. If your dog is left alone in the yard for long periods, he’s likely to get bored. You may think your yard is the perfect place for him to watch the neighbors, run around, or lie in the sun, but he may find this boring after a few minutes and start resorting to less favorable activities to pass the time. And the fact is, dogs enjoy digging. You may think this is strange, but you’ve probably seen children digging big holes in beach sand just for the fun of it. Dogs are often regarded as having the mental capacity of a human toddler, and this can be seen in the way they respond to their environment. In short, digging is just plain fun! What to do: Instead of trying to teach your dog not to dig, teach him where and what to dig. For example, sandboxes aren’t just for children; dogs can learn to love them, too. Purchase a child’s sandbox, kiddie pool, or make one from scratch. Place it in a shady location or purchase a shade sail to place over the sandbox. Fill it with natural, non-toxic sand and train him to use it (see sidebar on page 28).

Gradually, increase the distance at which you are placing the prize until it’s just out of sight. At this stage, your dog is still watching where you place the toy or treat; but once he’s a champ at this part, start hiding the items when he’s not looking and tell him to “find it” as you encourage him to hunt for the toy or treat. Once again, reward him for his successes and play a quick game. When your dog understands this concept, you can hid various toys and/or treat-filled toys around the yard and ask your dog to “find it” when you let him out. This will give him an appropriate activity to engage in instead of digging up the yard. 2. He’s trying to stay cool or warm up. Dogs also dig holes in an effort to get warmer or cooler. If a dog is left outside in summer heat, he may learn that the deeper he digs, the cooler it gets. In the winter, it’s the opposite; the deeper he goes, the warmer he feels. In this situation, your dog’s digging is simply caused by a desire for more comfortable temperatures. What to do: The solution to this digging problem is simple. Bring your dog indoors when the weather is too cold or too hot for him. Additionally, in warm sunny weather, make sure he has access to shade, fresh water, toys filled with frozen food, or even a child’s pool to splash in. In the colder weather of fall and winter, provide him with cozy dog apparel such as a coat or warm sweater, and a set of doggy boots — but be sure to keep an eye on him when he’s outside so he doesn’t get his garments caught on anything. Continued on page 28.

If you aren’t able to create a special digging spot for your dog, hide his toys instead of burying them. Start with your dog on a “stay” behavior as you place a favorite toy or treat 5' away from him. After you set it down, tell him to “find it”, and encourage him to get the prize. Once he grabs it, reward him with a bonus treat and play a short game. Repeat this process. Animal Wellness



Dogs can be silly creatures that like to have fun at every turn.

Take your dog to his new sandbox, insert his favorite toy halfway into the sand, and help him dig it out. Cheer him on as he starts digging it up. Repeat this process with other toys. After a few days, it's time to surprise him. Instead of showing him you are inserting the toy into the sand, do it on the sly, when he’s not looking. If he doesn’t find it right away, however, help him do so. Continue this exercise, and start burying the toys deeper and deeper as he learns there are prizes to find in the sandbox.

Continued from page 27. 3. He’s hunting critters. Even our smallest lapdogs love a good hunt-and-dig game. Dogs are known for their incredible sense of smell, which is estimated to be at least 10,000 times better than ours. So you may notice your dog with his nose to the ground, moving back and forth across your yard. Before you know it, he’s digging furiously at the dirt until he’s up to his elbows. If he’s a good hunter, he may retrieve a chipmunk, mouse, or even a beetle, toss it up in the air, and possibly roll on it or even eat it. While he is super proud of his accomplishment, you stand there staring at the mess he has created! What to do: There are a few ways to rectify this issue. First, depending on the critters your dog is hunting, one option is to humanely trap and remove them from your yard. Do not use any kind of poison — remember that poisons don’t distinguish between “pests”, dogs, cats, and children. If this is not an option, calmly redirect your dog to a more appropriate game, such as the “find it” game mentioned above. If he is obsessed with his hunt, you may need to leash walk him for a little while, possibly in another part of the yard. This will likely be temporary as the critter moves along and your dog forgets about the scent. Whether your dog is bored, feeling too cold or hot, or is on the hunt for the chipmunk family nesting in your yard, it’s important to narrow down the reason for his digging so you can find ways to stop it. In many cases, preserving your hard-earned landscaping is as simple as ensuring your dog is comfortable, has enough to keep him occupied, and isn’t spending too much time in the yard by himself!


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too fast? By Nicole Ellis, CPDT-KA

You’re probably familiar with the expression to “wolf down” food. The saying is an old one — it goes back hundreds of years, at least — and even though not many of us have ever seen an actual wolf, we all know that “wolfing down” means to eat ravenously, at alarming speed. Is this starting to sound like we’re talking about your dog?

do this, so you’ll be able to find one that works with your dog — or mix it up and switch between them.

While some dogs carefully chew and enjoy each bite of food, others inhale it so fast you have to wonder if any chewing was involved at all. Unfortunately, having your dog eat this quickly can be dangerous.

• Hand-feed your pup. This way, you control the speed of intake. This is also a great way to add some training into feeding time, using food as a reward for simple behaviors. Over time, handfeeding usually results in a dog that eats more slowly when fed from his bowl.

Some of these dangers are obvious. Like us, dogs can choke if they eat too fast, or cause themselves vomiting and stomach pain. But with dogs, rapid ingestion of food also increases the risk of a serious medical condition called bloat. This is a life-threatening issue that comes on suddenly when the abdomen expands from food intake. The enlarged stomach can twist and require hospitalization and surgery. There’s no better time than the next meal to start slowing down your pup’s eating habits. There are lots of ways to

Photo courtesy of Sleepypod

Dogs that eat too fast are at risk of choking, stomach problems, and bloat. Here are five ways to encourage your dog to eat his meals more slowly.

• Place a tennis ball in his food bowl. A food-motivated dog is usually too busy focusing on his dinner to even think about the ball. But because he has to eat around the ball, it slows down his eating.

• Freeze your dog’s food. (This will also help keep your pup hydrated.) You can freeze his food in certain types of bowl to make it easier. I like to freeze my own dogs’ food in Sleepypod Yummy bowls. This is also a great way to bring his food along if you travel together. If you’re feeding kibble, mix in some water, goat’s milk, or bone broth to freeze it. • Put his food in interactive puzzle games and toys. Providing mental enrichment during feeding time is a great way to tire out that busy mind while making him

eat slower. I also like stuffing a Kong with food the dog has to work for. Toppl toys by West Paw work for this as well. • Use a slow feeder bowl. These bowls feature grooves and different shapes that spread the food out and prevent your dog from taking massive bites. I have a lot of fun switching up mealtimes with these techniques, and hope you and your pup give them a try. Remember, slower eating is better for your dog’s health and well-being.

Nicole Ellis is a pet lifestyle expert, certified professional dog trainer and co-author of Working Like a Dog. She has appeared on The Today Show, NBC, Fox and MSN as well as Mashable, Pet360, Travel+Leisure, Huffington Post and more. Nicole’s dogs, Maggie and Rossi, are animal actors and appear in campaigns for Shiseido, AT&T, Neiman Marcus, Target, Uber, Oh Joy!, iFetch, Jax & Bones, Benjamin Moore and more. Animal Wellness




By Sa rah G rif fit

N A L A B M I pH

hs, DCH, CPN

A pH imbalance can impact your dog or cat’s health and well-being, and is associated with a variety of conditions. Here’s what to look for, and what you can do to help support his pH health.

D gs Cats

Whenever your dog or cat is under the weather, the first thing you do is take him to the vet for a checkup. One of the things you might not take into consideration when trying to determine what’s wrong with your furry friend is his pH levels. Several common diseases that occur in dogs and cats can be


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associated with a pH imbalance. This article looks at how these imbalances can manifest, and how you can support your animal’s pH health.

RED FLAGS TO WATCH FOR A pH imbalance can generate a range of symptoms. Areas of the body that

may be affected include the digestive and urinary systems, as well as the blood. Digestive signs can include diarrhea, vomiting, itchy skin and anus, yeast infections, and bad breath. Animals with urinary pH imbalance may experience increased thirst and frequency of urination, an urgency to

urinate, hematuria (bloody urine), or inappropriate urination. Hematological pH issues are usually caused by metabolic disease; common symptoms include chronic vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, dull coat, dehydration, and lethargy. Of course, these symptoms can have many different causes, but know that a pH imbalance can sometimes be involved.

1. DIGESTIVE IMBALANCE The most common illnesses associated with gastric pH imbalance include dysbiosis (leaky gut), systemic yeast infections, or other chronic infections, food intolerances, and irritable bowellike symptoms. Healthy digestive pH: 1-2 during digestion and 4-5 when resting. Testing: The above signs and symptoms are the best way to determine if there is a pH imbalance in the gut, along

with an investigation into any other pH imbalances in the body.

2. URINE IMBALANCE A urine pH imbalance is a common cause of urinary dysfunction, including infections and urolithasis (crystals or stones). Healthy urine pH: Approximately 6.2 to 6.5. Testing: A urinalysis can be done at your vet’s office to determine the animal’s urine pH.

3. BLOOD IMBALANCE A pH imbalance of the blood often occurs with underlying metabolic diseases. The most common are acidosis caused by renal failure, and ketoacidosis caused by unregulated diabetes. Other causes include overzealous use of corticosteroids, poisoning and urinary blockages (urolithathis).

Healthy blood pH: Just over 7. Testing: This can be done at your vet’s office to determine the state of your animal’s glandular function, urine pH and blood pH.

DISEASES ASSOCIATED WITH PH IMBALANCE Urinary tract infections, crystals and stones (urolithasis): Infections of the urinary tract are usually caused by bacteria such as e coli, staphylcoccus, streptococcus and proteus. These bacteria can thrive if urine pH is not correct. Infections cause the smooth muscle linings of the urethra and bladder to become inflamed and weakened, and can cause permanent damage if left unattended. Chronic infections are particularly common with urinary pH imbalance. Crystals in the urine can occur for several reasons, in any part of the

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Diet and supplements for pH health and related disorders* Diet: The more biologically appropriate the diet, the better your animal’s chances of naturally stabilizing and maintaining pH balance in his body. High quality, freshly prepared foods are a must. Cranberry extract: It’s high in antioxidants that support immune function, and phytochemicals that may prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. It acidifies urine to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Supplement for urological syndrome: There are vitamin/mineral supplements on the market designed for cats or dogs who need assistance generating and maintaining an acidic or alkaline urine pH to promote crystal dissolution. Talk to your vet about which ones might be best for your animal. Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that boosts immune function and can also inhibit bacterial growth in the urine by making it more acidic. Supergreens: Kelp, chlorella, spirulina, moringa leaf and olive leaf can help stabilize urinary, digestive and blood pH. They are packed with antioxidants to help fight infection and inflammation in the body. The addition of steamed or juiced green vegetables to the diet is beneficial too. Glandular supplements: These are useful for supporting glands that may be functioning incorrectly. There are glandular supplements to support kidney, thyroid, liver, adrenal, pituitary and pancreatic function, all of which can have effects on maintaining a healthy pH. Raw apple cider vinegar: Acidifies digestive pH, aids in digestion and provides protection against the overgrowth of yeast.

* Discuss all dietary and supplemental changes with a holistic or integrative veterinarian before starting your animal on anything new.


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urinary system. Commonly occurring crystals include struvite, cysteine, oxalate and urate. Some are caused by low urine pH, others by high urine pH. A urinalysis will determine the exact mineral formation of the crystals or stones. When uroliths grow to macroscopic sizes, they can interfere with the flow of urine from the kidneys to the bladder and from the bladder to the urethra. This can cause irritation and inflammation of the mucosal membranes and may lead to stranguria (slow and painful urination), dysuria (pain), hematuria and acidosis (blood acidity). Renal disease: Kidney disease generally takes years to develop and has devastating effects, including blood acidosis. Proper hydration, high quality protein sources, and low dietary phosphorus are keys for maintaining animals suffering from kidney dysfunction. Additional treatment will vary greatly based on the animal’s state of renal function, age, breed and diet. Diabetes: Unregulated diabetes causes a condition called ketoacidosis, which can be determined by blood test. Correcting and stabilizing blood glucose levels is essential to reducing the risks associated with ketoacidosis, which include increased thirst/urination, lethargy, increased or decreased appetite, vomiting and weight loss. Yeast infections and dysbiosis: Yeast infections of the gut and other digestive illnesses are often associated with dysbiosis (leaky gut syndrome), a condition of the intestinal tissue in which holes form in the digestive lining, causing an increased risk of bacterial infection and other digestive-related illness. Whatever your dog or cat’s health issue, balancing his pH levels can help him. Switching him to an appropriate diet and adding some specific balancing supplements (see sidebar) are important ways to get his pH back on an even keel.




is dedicated to helping animals enjoy longer, healthier lives From left to right: Ryan, Russell, Sandy and Jack Phillips — the driving force behind the company.

Since its founding more than 20 years ago, Wholistic Pet Organics has specialized in natural, organic, high quality foods and supplements for dogs, cats, and horses.


or the Phillips family, animals have always been more than just pets — they’re family members. For decades, the Phillips were also involved in the dog and horse show world, and raised and bred championship Dobermans. With this shared passion for animals, along with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, and animal health sciences, John (Jack) and the late Alexandria (Sandy) Phillips were among the first to identify the need for true holistic pet foods and supplements. Though they wanted nothing but the best food for their animal companions, there was nothing on the market that met their standards. Realizing there was a desperate need for a new way of thinking about pet health, using natural, wholesome, and healthy diets, the animal-loving duo set out to develop their own line of holistic and natural alternatives to fill the void. In 1998, Jack and Sandy founded Wholistic Pet Organics®, during a time when the words “holistic” and “organic” weren’t common in the pet industry. From its inception, the company’s mission has been to help animals live happier, healthier lives free of avoidable

health problems. “We believe there will continue to be a movement away from chemical-laden, inferior quality pet products towards healthy, all-natural alternatives,” says Ryan Phillips, COO of Wholistic Pet Organics. “Our animals depend totally and completely on us; they deserve the very best we can give.” It’s no surprise that quality is the foundation of the company. Their products contain only natural and organic whole, raw foods, without any fillers, synthetics, GMOs, or artificial ingredients. “Our products are pure and more potent — they are also naturally great-tasting!” says Ryan. Thousands of customer success stories confirm that these one-of-a-kind products have improved their animals’ quality of life and longevity. “When your pets are family, you will do anything and everything to spend just one more day with them,” Ryan says. “Because of this, we put our whole heart and soul into what we do.” The Phillips family and their team continue to go above and beyond to ensure their customers are provided with only the best when it comes to health products and supplements for

their animals. Each of their products undergoes rigorous testing, and bears the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Quality Seal — an indicator of the company’s dedication to the highest standards of quality. “As animal lovers, we also use our platform to further help animals that are not fortunate enough to have loving families,” says Ryan. “We plan and host adoption events with local shelters, and donate to many different animal care and protection organizations. We also host major events with cookouts, raffles, games, music, and more! All our efforts help animal rescue groups who sacrifice their time to find forever homes for abandoned animals.” Wholistic Pet Organics continues to be a true family endeavor of love and passion, promoting health for all beloved companion animals. Although Sandy passed away several years ago, her lifelong commitment will be continued by her family and their work through the company — and legacy — she helped create. Animal Wellness



D gs Cats


From CT scans to ultrasounds, there are several ways to see inside your dog or cat’s body. Here’s how these diagnostic imaging techniques differ, and the pros and cons of each. Along with lab work such as blood and urine testing, your dog or cat may sometimes require imaging studies to look at the deeper tissues of his body. Depending on his condition and the suspected problem, diagnostic imaging can include radiography, ultrasonography, a CT scan, and/or MRI scan. This article examines each of these modalities along with their pros and cons.

RADIOGRAPHY This form of imaging uses radiation to produce energy (x-rays) that penetrate the body to show underlying structures such as bones and soft tissues (organs). It is a common imaging modality and is available in most veterinary hospitals. Radiography is one of the “standard” tests I often use to assist me in making a diagnosis and formulating a treatment plan.


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Pros • Inexpensive compared to other imaging techniques (typically under $500). • Easily performed. • Allows for quick imaging. • Often gives a diagnosis for many diseases (fractures, heart failure, bladder stones, some types of cancer, etc.). • Minimal levels of radiation exposure.

• May not reveal every problem (e.g. brain tumors, prolapsed spinal disks, etc.), necessitating the need for different imaging modalities. • Most animals need to be sedated to minimize the number of radiographs and allow perfect positioning, and to minimize radiation exposure to veterinary staff.

Cons • Uses ionizing radiation. While generally safe, the more radiographs a dog or cat receives over his lifetime, the greater the risk of side effects, such as cancer. Also, there’s a lifetime radiation exposure level that shouldn’t be breached; however, it’s unlikely this level would ever be closely approached unless the animal receives large amounts of radiation for cancer treatment.

ULTRASONOGRAPHY/ ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY Ultrasonography is a popular diagnostic tool that looks inside your dog or cat’s body via the use of sound waves. Ultrasound examinations are most useful for diagnosing conditions that could be missed or not easily defined using a typical x-ray examination. These can include bladder stones, tumors of abdominal organs, and free abdominal fluid (as in the case of a bleeding tumor).

placed on cardiac medications without echocardiography being used to make a diagnosis (see sidebar on next page).

Echocardiography is an ultrasound examination of the heart. It is commonly used to look for heart-based tumors such as hemangiosarcomas and, more often, for examining the heart in an animal suspected of cardiac disease. While radiography can show heart and blood vessel enlargement (a snapshot of the heart and vessels), echocardiography shows the heart and its parts (valves) in motion (i.e. a motion picture of heart muscle movement and blood flow). In my opinion, with extremely rare exceptions, no dog or cat should be

Pros • Inexpensive compared to other imaging modalities (typically under $600). • Like radiography, it’s easily performed, allows for quick imaging, and often provides a diagnosis for many diseases (heart failure, bladder stones, some types of cancer, etc.). • Uses safe sound waves. • Most animals do not need to be sedated. Cons • May not reveal every diagnosis, especially very small tumors, necessitating the need for different imaging modalities. • Sedation may be needed for fractious animals. • Echocardiography won’t reveal pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), which may require separate testing such as radiology.

CT SCAN Computerized tomography (CT scan) uses x-rays to create the image. However, instead of using a single x-ray, as in a standard radiograph, CT scans combine numerous x-rays taken from different positions, and use advanced computer technology to create more detailed images of the patient. It’s easier to see more detail of a body part when it’s viewed from multiple angles. Think of the difference between a 2D image and a 3D image, and you’re on the right track. CT scans pick up many of the same things as simple x-rays do, but in a more detailed and precise manner, making them particularly useful for detecting small tumors and internal bleeding. Pros • Often gives a diagnosis for many diseases not easily visualized by traditional radiography or ultrasonography. Continued on page 36.

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Echocardiography — essential for diagnosing heart disease Recently, I saw a dog that had been placed on three cardiac medications more than a year ago by another doctor who diagnosed “heart disease” just by hearing a heart murmur. No diagnostic testing had been done, and now the dog had increased kidney values on blood testing. I performed a complete cardiac evaluation, including echocardiography, which showed two things: there was no primary heart disease, but the heart was showing negative changes due to the improperly prescribed cardiac medications. The cardiac drugs were also negatively affecting the kidneys. Once we had the correct diagnosis and stopped the unnecessary medications, the dog improved!

Continued from page 35. Cons • More expensive compared to other modalities (typically $1,500 to $2,500). • Requires referral to a specialty center. • Scan takes longer (one to two hours) than a traditional radiograph. • More radiation exposure than with traditional radiography. • Uses ionizing radiation. •M ay not reveal every diagnosis (e.g. brain tumors, prolapsed spinal disks, etc.), necessitating the need for an MRI. • All animals need to be sedated/ anesthetized.

MRI Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), like ultrasonography, doesn’t use radiation to produce an image. Instead, it relies on a combination of magnetic force and radio waves.

Pros • Often gives a diagnosis for many diseases not easily visualized by traditional radiography or ultrasonography, or even CT scan. • No radiation exposure, making it a very safe imaging modality.

Although MRIs are occasionally used to diagnose knee, nerve, and other issues in dogs, the vast majority are used to examine problems with the brain and spinal cord, especially if tumors or bleeding are suspected. An MRI is ideal because it’s particularly good for imaging soft tissue (brain and spinal cord) and it gives more detail than a CT scan. It does this by reading the differences in tissue density to reveal tumors and lesions that CT scans might miss.

Cons • Like CT scan, MRI requires referral to a specialty center, the imaging takes one to two hours to complete, and all animals need to be sedated/ anesthetized. • More expensive compared to other modalities (typically $2,500 to $3,500). • While excellent, no test can reveal every cause of disease, and even an MRI may not reveal every diagnosis. Diagnostic imaging has progressed greatly in veterinary medicine, and it’s exciting to have all these modalities available for our dogs and cats. Keep in mind that the more advanced the modality, the higher the cost, so it’s wise to consider pet insurance before one of these diagnostic imaging techniques is needed. While basic radiographs are adequate for getting to the root of most medical conditions, ultrasonography, CT scans, and MRI scans can help diagnose problem early on — and that can be lifesaving in many cases.


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Your dog or cat’s

skin and coat

health starts from

within Skin, coat, paws and nails are external factors you can use to judge the health of your dog or cat. If he has dry itchy skin, a dull coat with excessive shedding, or brittle nails, it could be a sign he needs nutritional support. Rather than reaching for a new shampoo or cream, take a look at how you can support his skin, coat, and nails from within. Too much grooming can cause more harm than good. Over-washing strips the skin of its protective and moisturizing oils. Excessive grooming can also disrupt the skin’s microbiome and weaken its barrier against irritants. Instead, focus on providing the nutrients your dog or cat needs to make healthy tissues.

HEALTHY FATS These are an essential part of a dog or cat’s diet. Unfortunately, many commercial pet foods do not provide enough healthy fats. Fish oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and lecithin are great pet-friendly sources. They provide Omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent the skin irritation and inflammation contributing to rashes and hot spots. Omega-3 improves the skin’s protective barrier by locking in moisture and keeping out irritants that cause dryness, redness, and itchiness.

By Carissa Links

Providing your animal with healthy fats speeds wound-healing by providing him with the essential fatty acids and vitamins his tissues need to regenerate. You’ll also see a shinier coat and less shedding. Antioxidants found in olive oil and flaxseed oil help his skin age gracefully.

VITAMINS AND MINERALS These are the building blocks of many processes and tissues that contribute to your dog or cat’s health. •V itamin A is critical for keeping skin smooth and rejuvenated. When vitamin A is low, skin becomes irritated, dry and scaly. •V itamin D3 is a must for healthy coats as it helps create new hair follicles. When there isn’t enough vitamin D, hair becomes brittle and growth slows. When looking for a vitamin D supplement, we recommend D3 over D2, as it’s better absorbed. • Vitamin E is used in the formation of collagen fibers. And since collagen is involved in the growth and formation of hair and skin, it’s foundational. •S ilica is one of the most abundant trace minerals in your animal’s body. It is essential for synthesizing the collagen and enzymes that strengthen skin and enhance elasticity. A diet rich in silica results in less hair loss, and a

brighter, shinier coat. Our favorite form of silica supplementation for animals is diatomaceous earth. It’s high in silica while also providing many digestive health benefits. By improving digestive health, your animal will better absorb the nutrients required for healthy hair, nails and skin.

ADDITIONAL HEALTH BENEFITS Healthy joints, ligaments and muscles, better eyesight, improved brain health, improved wound healing, and excellent digestion are just some of the many other health-promoting benefits you’ll see when nourishing your animal with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

SOURCES OF HEALTHY FATS, VITAMINS, AND MINERALS Dr. Maggie Skin and Coat includes the perfect balance of Omega-3s, Omega6s, DHA, and EPA from anchovy fish oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and lecithin. It also includes vitamins A, D3, and E. NaturPet’s Intesti Care provides foodgrade diatomaceous earth plus other digestive-supportive ingredients.

As Brand Manager for NaturPet and Dr. Maggie, Carissa Links brings together her experience in natural health and her passion for animals. She loves educating dog and cat parents with tips and information on how to best care for their animals naturally. Animal Wellness



Your cat’s

microbiome By Ingrid King

We still have a lot to learn about the feline microbiome, but what we do know can help us take important steps to improving and maintaining our cats’ gut health. Over the last decade, researchers have gained a better understanding of the human microbiome and its importance to health and well-being. We now know that the trillions of bacteria living in and around our bodies contribute to health or disease, and even change how our brains function. We also know that each individual has a unique microbiome that changes on a daily basis. More recently, researchers have begun looking at the microbiomes of animals, including cats, and are finding some of these same characteristics. Let’s look at the feline microbiome, and what you can do to help support your own cat’s gut health.


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WHAT DOES “MICROBIOME” MEAN? The microbiome is a community of bacteria and other microbes that inhabit living organisms and impact overall health in many different ways. While we generally think of bacteria as the organisms that make us sick, the microbiome is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria that help digest food, shape the immune system, and maintain a healthy weight. A cat’s gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of organisms that can be affected by many factors — including

diet, underlying biology, and the development of his microbiome (i.e. the environment he was raised in, and the food he grew up eating). For this reason, there can be a lot of diversity between the microbiomes of different cats.

THE FELINE MICROBIOME — RESEARCH IS ONGOING • AnimalBiome is a company that has been testing thousands of cat microbiome samples over time. “We have used this data set to understand the core microbiome in healthy cats, and to explore how the microbiome differs in cats with chronic enteropathies

(often referred to as inflammatory bowel disease), gastrointestinal lymphoma, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV),” says CEO Holly H. Ganz, PhD. • Dr. Ryan Honaker, Director of Microbiology at Nom Nom Now, is an expert in microbiome manipulation, infection therapeutics, and microbial community profiling. “Scientists are just beginning to understand some of the immense complexities of the human microbiome, and there have been far fewer studies done on cats,” he says. The company has been collecting microbiome data since the end of 2018. “There’s so much we don’t know, but such a potential to make an impact on feline health across a variety of illnesses,” says Dr. Honaker. “We know there’s a large degree of variability between cats, and their microbiome is complex, which means we need a lot of data to be able to make sense of it.”



A minimally-processed raw or gentlycooked diet made from whole food ingredients is key to keeping your cat’s microbiome as healthy as possible. “Both raw and gently-cooked diets are excellent for overall gut health,” says Jodi Ziskin, a Certified Pet Nutrition Consultant. “There are more bio-appropriate foods available now than ever before, making it easier for people to provide an excellent real food diet to their cats.” Jodi also stresses the importance of avoiding byproducts, rendered ingredients, fillers, and artificial additives and flavorings, as these can disrupt the gut microbiome.


Adding a good probiotic supplement, under the guidance of a holistic or integrative veterinarian, can also help. “Probiotics can benefit all cats, but especially those with existing gastrointestinal issues,” says Jodi. “It is important to offer a product that’s formulated to withstand the feline’s stronger stomach acids. Probiotics regulate gut flora, help the body absorb and assimilate nutrients, strengthen the immune system, and help keep the digestive tract in working order.”


Prebiotics also play an important role in restoring and maintaining gut health. They nourish and support the growth of good bacteria, which in turn help to control the bad bacteria. “We are increasingly aware that prebiotics — substances that promote a healthy environment in the gut for the good bacteria — are probably as important as the bacteria themselves,” says holistic veterinarian Dr. Andrea Tasi. Again, it’s important to work with your own vet when choosing and using a prebiotic product.



MICROBIOME One of the biggest threats to your cat’s microbiome comes from antibiotics. Abundant research in human medicine shows that antibiotics destroy healthy gut flora. Unfortunately, the indiscriminate use of these medications has long been a problem in both human and veterinary health. “Several studies have shown microbial imbalance secondary to antibiotic use in children,” says Dr. Tasi. “I feel that every effort should be made to avoid antibiotic therapy, especially in young cats.”


For cats with severe microbiome imbalances, a fecal transplant using a procedure called Microbiome Restorative Therapy (MBRT) may be the answer to restoring gut health. While this therapy is fairly new to veterinary medicine, a growing number of integrative vets are offering it. AnimalBiome’s KittyBiome Gut Restoration Supplement is a non-invasive alternative to surgical fecal microbiota transplants. “This oral fecal transplant capsule reintroduces beneficial microbes from healthy cats,” says Dr. Ganz. The state of your cat’s microbiome can have far-reaching effects on

her general health, which means any imbalance can significantly impact her well-being, triggering anything from chronic diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, or IBD, to skin issues or even behavior problems. Taking steps to balance your cat’s microbiome will help keep her balanced and healthy overall! Animal Wellness


D gs Cats By Judy Morgan, DVM, CVA, CVCP, CVFT

Home-preparing food for your dog or cat _WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Thanks to animal cookbooks and internet recipes, home-preparing food for your dog or cat has never been more accessible. But making sure he’s getting a nutritionally balanced diet is trickier, and requires understanding some key points about canine and feline nutrition. Are you attracted to the idea of home-preparing your dog or

the whole prey animal, not just the muscle meat. Many people

cat’s meals? Many people have gone this route because it’s a

get squeamish at the idea of feeding organs, eyeballs, intestinal

way to take some control over the foods and ingredients their

contents, and hair to their dogs and cats; not to mention, most

animals are eating, thereby helping to ensure a healthier diet.

of these body parts are impossible to find in the grocery store!

But to be successful, you first need to know something about

Yet they provide trace vitamins and minerals not found in

canine and feline nutrition, and how to prepare balanced meals

muscle meat, so a replacement source must be added to home-

that meet your companion’s needs. Otherwise, your dog or

prepared meals (more on this below).

cat could end up becoming deficient in some nutrients while ingesting too much of others. In this article, we’ll look at some key points you need to be aware of when home preparing meals for your dog or cat.





While you should strive to do your best to provide your dog or cat with all the essential nutrients he needs, keep in mind that home-preparing food for animals is not an exact science. Charts describing the nutrient composition of individual foods

Home-prepared diets can be either raw or cooked, depending on

and ingredients are useful, but each batch of meat or vegetables

preference. Just keep in mind that wild canines and felines eat

will have different levels of vitamins and minerals, depending


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on their growing conditions, their age at harvest, and many other variables. You can compensate for this by offering plenty of variety to your dog or cat, as well as adding in some supplements (again, more on this below). By doing this, it’s not so difficult to feed your animal high quality food that will enhance his health and longevity.



No matter how well-informed you are on home-preparing food for your dog or cat, it’s always a good idea to have your veterinarian examine and do lab work on him at least twice a year, just to make sure he isn’t suffering from any nutritional deficiencies or excesses. Such issues will not be immediately

A brief look at the past Before the advent of commercial pet food, all dogs and cats were fed DIY diets consisting mostly of scraps and leftovers from family meals. Nowadays, however, many people, along with their dogs and cats, eat highly processed foods that are nutritionally barely adequate. As well, because fewer household dogs and cats roam free than they did 50 or 100 years ago, they have little to no ability to forage for foods that would provide them with any nutrients that might be missing from their diets. This means it’s up to us to ensure our dogs and cats are getting the nutrition they need to thrive and stay healthy.

apparent since dogs and cats are resilient and will survive for long periods, even years, on diets that aren’t wholly balanced. However, cats can develop ill health more quickly than dogs when fed diets that lack essential nutrients. Provide the vet with a printed list of the ingredients you use to make your animal’s meals. Try to work with a holistic or integrative veterinarian if you can — many mainstream vets are not well-versed on the formulation of homemade dog and cat food and may even warn that it is impossible to make your own balanced pet food.



nutritionist or food therapist to ensure your dog or cat is receiving complete and balanced nutrition.

• Calcium and phosphorous Dogs and cats require more calcium than phosphorous in their diet, with a ratio of about 1.2 to 1 being appropriate. However, meats are high in phosphorous and low in calcium, the inverse of what is needed. Green tripe (the first stomach in ruminants such as cows, sheep, and goats) is a good protein source with balanced calcium and phosphorous, although the smell puts a lot of people off.

The following is a list of four ingredients that are commonly

Calcium is generally added to the diet in the form of bone meal,

missed in home-prepared pet food recipes. Use this information

ground eggshells* (½ teaspoon per pound of meat in the recipe),

as a guideline; you may also want to consult with a veterinary

or 10% to 15% ground bone in raw diets. Approximately 500 mg

of calcium need to be added for

• Trace minerals

every pound of meat in the recipe.

Selenium, zinc, copper, iron, and manganese are important nutrients for skin, blood, tendon, immune system, and

Contrary to popular belief, milk and

ligament health. When not provided in adequate amounts,

dairy products do not supply anywhere

animals may suffer from poor hair coat, anemia, decreased

near enough calcium for home-prepared

wound healing, poor immunity, and ruptured ligaments.

canine and feline diets. Most general vitamin supplements also do not contain enough calcium. Look for supplements made specifically for balancing home-prepared meals for dogs and cats.

Many of these trace minerals are found in animal organs. Feeding your dog or cat liver, heart, pancreas, and kidney will provide minerals not found elsewhere. Organs can be difficult to find and many people don’t like handling them, but the diet

*Use a coffee grinder or food processor to ensure

will be incomplete without them.

the eggshells are as finely ground as possible. Chlorella, spirulina, and kelp are good plant sources of trace

• Vitamin D

minerals. They do not replace organ meats, but feel free to

Unlike humans, dogs and cats cannot

include both plant and animal sources in your dog or cat’s diet.

convert sunlight to vitamin D.

Mussels and oysters are also fairly good sources of trace minerals.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) must be

Feeding one mussel or oyster each day should be adequate.

supplied in the diet. This fat-soluble vitamin is found naturally in egg yolks and fish. Diets that contain one of these ingredients daily will come closer to providing appropriate vitamin D levels to your animal. I do not recommend using cod liver oil as a source of vitamin D as it is also very high in vitamin A,

• Vitamin E The quantity of unsaturated fatty acids in the diet will determine the required level of vitamin E. Diets high in fish, or fish and plant oils, will require more vitamin E. Average requirements are around 25 IU to 50 IU of vitamin E per pound of food per day.

which can be toxic in large amounts. Alfalfa meal, ground sunflower seeds, and wheat germ are good Vitamin D helps regulate the calcium and phosphorous

sources of vitamin E, while milk and dairy products are not.

balance, and assists with bone growth and density as well as immune system function. It also aids in cancer prevention.

When collecting recipes for your dog or cat, make sure they are

However, excess vitamin D will lead to toxicity, causing

complete and balanced, and/or that you are well-versed in the

kidney and bladder stones and possibly kidney failure.

supplements needed to make them complete. While it is not

Human vitamin D supplements are too concentrated for

imperative that every single meal is balanced, it is imperative that

animals. The average requirement is 227 IU of vitamin D

every essential nutrient is provided over the course of each week.

per pound of food. Home-preparing your dog or cat’s food can be very satisfying, Vitamin D testing should be performed at least twice

and as long as it’s done properly, can contribute a great deal to

a year for any dogs or cats fed a home-prepared diet.

his health and longevity.

Any fresh food is beneficial If you don’t want to commit to home-preparing all your dog or cat’s food, you can still enhance his diet — and his health — by adding fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables to high quality prepared pet foods. This practice increases the food’s palatability and nutritional integrity, and can even contribute to longevity. In a 2005 study at Purdue University, researchers found that simply adding fresh vegetables to kibble diets prevented and decelerated bladder cancer cell growth in dogs by 70% to 90%.


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Photos courtesy of Furever Freed Dog Rescue

Furever Freed Dog Rescue

Animal Wellness will donate 25% of each subscription purchased using promo code FFDR to Furever Freed Dog Rescue.

Clockwise from left: Happy and Robin were both rescued from bad situations and given a chance to live happy, healthy lives with their adoptive families. Furever Freed rescues at-risk dogs from Korea and flies them back to Canada where they're adopted into loving homes.

LOCATION: Langley, British Columbia YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2013 NUMBER OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS/OR FOSTER HOMES: This non-profit rescue group is 100% volunteer-run. They currently have 30 volunteers with a variety of duties. TYPES OF ANIMAL THEY WORK WITH: “Our passion and mission is to rescue dogs that have been abandoned, abused, or neglected,” says founder Lisa Eeckhout. “We want to save as many dogs as we can from high-kill shelters in Korea and California, as well as several areas in Mexico and Iran, and our own local rescues when needed.” To date, Furever Freed has saved the lives of over 3,800 canines, including blind and deaf dogs, seniors, and dogs with seizures, cancer, severe injuries, and behavioral problems. FUNDRAISING PROJECTS: Furever Freed does most of its fundraising through social media, and has online auctions periodically throughout the year. “We receive monetary donations from our Facebook members and adopters,” says Lisa. “On our website, those who wish to help can set up a one time or monthly donation. Supplies are often donated by local pet stores and distributors. When unexpected veterinary treatment and surgery is required, we reach out for help using GoFundMe to help cover these costs.”

FAVORITE RESCUE STORY: Happy, a three-year-old male Lab mix, was found wandering the streets of Tijuana, Mexico. He had an unusual gait – when he walked, his back left leg would fold under him and sometimes collapse. “The vet in Mexico concluded that Happy had a possible fracture, from being hit by a car, that incorrectly healed on its own,” says Lisa. “This left him with a permanent disability. He could not support his hindquarters when urinating or defecating, so would soil himself.” Furever Freed was determined to give Happy a better life. He arrived in Canada on June 13, 2020, and x-rays determined that a spinal cord injury was putting pressure on the nerve in his back leg area. Unfortunately, surgery was not an option. Despite Happy’s disability, a woman named Isabel met and fell in love with him at first sight. On July 3, she adopted him. Furever Freed helped cover the costs of acupuncture treatments which, in conjunction with regular exercise, has helped improve Happy’s mobility and strength. Isabel also intends to sign him up for some water therapy treatments. “We are so happy for Happy!” says Lisa.

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What we love:

Their ergonomic shape is especially adapted to the feline silhouette.

Optimize her digestive health Your animal’s digestive health affects her entire well-being. Wholistic Digest-All Plus™ features a concentrated, potent blend of digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics that support a healthy balance of normal gut flora. It helps your animal unlock valuable nutrients in her food, leading to an optimally functioning and balanced digestive system.

What we love:

Contains ten billion colony-forming units (CFU) per ¼ teaspoon.

Cat scratchers with style A good quality scratcher is a must if you share your home and life with cats. For stylish, elegantly-designed cat scratchers that stand up to plenty of use, myKotty is an excellent choice. The company’s Lui and Vigo scratchers feature streamlined designs that blend in well with home décor, and are also durable and long-lasting.

Learn about animal bodywork Want to learn more about animal bodywork therapies, such as massage, Reiki, craniosacral therapy, kinesiology taping, and more? Angel’s Animals offers a range of online courses perfect for fall study! Use coupon code WELLNESS for 20% off all course enrollments. Your dogs, cats, and horses will thank you!

What we love:

You can start learning at any time and work at your own pace.

What we love:

This product is gentle enough for kittens and puppies as well as adult animals.

Nix bugs with cedar oil Depending on where you live, fleas, ticks and other pests can remain a problem well into the fall and even the winter. Goodwinol Shampoo contains cedar oil, a naturallyoccurring insecticide. It helps alleviate itching, flaking and excessive scratching, and leaves coats shiny and lustrous.


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For the little ones Transporting a cat, small dog, or toy breed to the vet or elsewhere requires a carrier that’s suited to his size, as well as being both safe and comfortable. The Sleepypod Mini features the same design as the company’s mobile pet bed — but miniaturized. Just zip on the lid and you’re both ready to go.

What we love:

What we love:

Reduces stress by allowing your animal to travel safely in the comfort of his own bed.

Proceeds support GREY2K’s campaigns to end the cruelty of dog racing.

Sparkle for greyhounds Look stunning in Montana Blue and Clear Swarovski crystal bead jewelry while helping a “greyt” cause! Both earrings and necklace feature delicate Tibetan Silver greyhound pendants alongside shimmering beads with an Aurora Borealis coating for even more dazzle! Made exclusively for GREY2K by Kathryn Rothfield of Kasaro Designs.

Keep him healthy all season! Fish oil offers your dog many benefits — it helps keep his coat shiny, his skin healthy, and his joints comfortable. It may even boost his immunity and reduce inflammation. Iceland Pure provides the highest quality pharmaceutical grade fish oil products sourced from Norway and Iceland.

What we love:

Bone broth extraordinaire

All the company’s recipes are crafted and cooked in the US.

Bone broth makes a nutrient-rich and palatable topper for your dog’s meals, and also adds moisture to his diet. Merrick Grain Free Beef Bone Broth is made with human-grade ingredients. It’s also supplemented with superfoods and cinnamon, and is a natural source of minerals and jointsupporting compounds.

What we love:

Oils are extracted at very low temperatures to keep fatty acids intact and rich in nutrients. Animal Wellness



D gs Cats



FOR YOUR DOG OR CAT Keep track of your dog or cat’s health status, seek dietary advice, monitor her activity and more with a health and nutrition app!


By Emily Watson

hances are, you’ve used a mobile application (commonly known as an “app”) at some point. Whether you’re tracking your steps, playing games, checking your online banking, or scrolling social media on your smartphone, apps are everywhere — and they’re undeniably handy! So how can you use this technology to benefit your dog or cat? Health and nutrition apps for animals are abundant, and they’re a convenient and effective way to keep on top of his well-being. Let’s take a closer look at these apps and why they’re all the rage!


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SIMPLE, HELPFUL, AND ACCESSIBLE In short, health and nutrition apps for dogs and cats make animal parenting easier. While they’re not all created equal (see sidebar on page 47 for tips on choosing the right one), most well-designed options offer countless features that help you monitor, track, record, and learn about your animal’s diet and health status. In most cases, simple interfaces offer ease of use for even the least tech-savvy. All you need is a smartphone and a few minutes to learn the ins and outs of your app of choice.

FEATURES GALORE! Monitor his activity — Perhaps one of the most popular reasons people download apps for their animals is to monitor their activity levels. This structured approach to exercise is an ideal way to help dogs and cats shed pounds, or to prevent them from becoming overweight in the first place. Activity tracking apps also come in handy for diabetic animals, or those that are prone to seizures. Because they allow you to monitor heart rate, movement, and other vital signs from anywhere, you’ll always know when something isn’t right.

Get expert advice — Have specific questions about your dog or cat’s diet or health? Plenty of apps offer resources and live chat and video features that provide an easy way for you to get answers from veterinarians and animal nutritionists. Certain apps also allow you to connect with other animal parents who might be able to address your concerns based on first-hand experience. Log data — Whether it’s vaccination records, medications, insurance details, weight history, or miscellaneous data, many apps let you store information that can help you keep track of your animal’s health and share it with his healthcare team. Some even sync with your calendar and will issue reminders about his care. You can also use apps as a digital logbook to record what your dog or cat eats, which can help rule out possible allergens

and reveal other insights into his dietary needs. Get help fast in emergencies — No matter how closely we monitor our dogs and cats, emergency situations can still occur. Apps such as the Pet First Aid American Red Cross app are a one-stop resource where you can quickly get information about your animal’s symptoms, learn first aid, and take quizzes on animal health and safety. This particular app can even locate the nearest emergency veterinary clinics so you don’t have to waste time searching. In this day and age, the ability to maximize your dog or cat’s health is right at your fingertips. Why not take advantage of it? Download a health or nutrition app for your fur babe and see for yourself how it enhances his life — and yours!

Choosing the right


There are literally hundreds of animal health and nutrition apps that all claim to do the same thing. So how do you know which one is best for you and your dog or cat? Do your research — A quick online search using keywords like “top health and nutrition apps for pets” will bring up plenty of hits. Read a few articles to learn more about the most popular options — just be sure to avoid biased and unreliable sources. Check the ratings — Once you’ve pinpointed a few apps that sound intriguing, visit the Google Play Store (Android) or Apple App Store (iOS) and check to see how many stars each one has been given. If it has lower than 3.5 stars, move on. Read the reviews — Good features? High ratings? It’s time to see what other people have to say! If you scroll down in the app store, you’ll find reviews from other users who’ve tried the app — a great way to get a better grasp on its performance, usefulness, and other pros and cons. Ask questions — Still unsure if a certain app is right for you? Reach out! Contacting the app developer directly is the best way to get answers to your questions.

Activity trackers tha t attach to your pet's collar record and send da ta to an app, where yo u can keep track of it all in one place!

Try it out — A lot of health and nutrition apps are free, so you can try them for a while with no strings attached to see how you like them. Even if there is an associated cost, most apps offer a free trial period.

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BOOST your dog’s IMMUNITY with ACUPRESSURE By Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

Maintaining a strong and balanced immune system in your dog is one of the keys to keeping him healthy. Learn how a simple acupressure session can help support his immunity.


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It’s not an exaggeration to say that your dog’s immune system is everything. His health depends on how well it protects him from infectious disease, as well as other pathogens and toxins lurking in the environment, in food, and even in your home. Any breakdown in the immune system means your dog’s health can easily be compromised. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to support his immunity — including this simple acupressure session you can do at home. The immune system has a huge job to do. Your dog is constantly being bombarded with allergens and toxins from plants, bugs, fertilizers, and household chemicals. Trips to the dog park or doggie daycare expose him to bacterial and viral pathogens. When his immune system is strong — great, no problem, he stays healthy. In fact, a moderate level of daily exposure to

The Thumb Technique works best on larger dogs and on the trunks and necks of medium-sized dogs. Gently place the soft tip of your thumb on the acupoint, count to 20 very slowly, then move to the next point.

The Two-Finger Technique is a good choice when working on small dogs or the lower extremities on medium to large dogs. Place your middle finger on top of your index finger to create a little tent; lightly put the soft tip of your index finger on the acupoint and slowly count to 20.

allergy-causing irritants and other pathogens can actually make his immune system stronger. Your dog’s natural resistance builds when challenged by exposure to pathogens. Health issues arise when the dog’s body is not able to resist pathogens because his immune system is weak. Allergies, respiratory problems, digestive issues, inflammation, and other immuno-

mediated diseases are all due to a compromised immune system, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

TCM IS ALL ABOUT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM In TCM, every health issue goes back to the body’s ability to resist external pathogens and maintain internal balance. The key word here is “balance”. Health is maintained when chi, the essential lifepromoting force, flows in a harmoniously balanced fashion throughout the body. Any disruption to the smooth and balanced flow of both chi and blood interrupts the balance of the body. When there’s an imbalance of chi and blood, the health of the animal is compromised. Chi is unable to vitalize the body, and blood can’t moisten and nourish it. This, in turn, leads to an inability of the internal organs to

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In TCM, every health issue goes back to the body’s ability to resist external pathogens and maintain internal balance. function properly. A domino effect occurs in which the immune system becomes weakened and your dog becomes vulnerable to pathogens. Chinese medicine practitioners focus on restoring and supporting a balanced, harmonious flow of chi and blood. Chi and blood flow along energetic pathways, or meridians, throughout the dog’s body. Along these meridians are pools of energy called “acupoints”. We can influence the flow of chi and blood by stimulating specific acupoints. For instance, the Lung is responsible for creating and dispersing Protective or Defensive chi, also called Wei chi. Protective chi is immune system chi and defends the dog from external pathogens, such as Cold or Heat, that can enter the body and disrupt the balanced flow of chi and blood. We can select certain acupoints, known after thousands of years of clinical observation, that enhance the Lung’s capacity to perform its role in strengthening the immune system.

IMMUNE-STRENGTHENING ACUPRESSURE SESSION The only difference between acupressure and acupuncture is that in acupressure you don’t use needles to stimulate acupoints; you can use your thumb or index finger. By following the accompanying acupressure chart for


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Immune System Strengthening, you can support your dog’s health, help him maintain a balanced flow of chi and blood, and benefit his immune system.

energetic properties; one is to benefit immuno-stimulation by energetically building Protective Wei chi while also clearing the Lungs of excess fluids.

Each of the four acupoints selected for this session are commonly used to boost the immune system. Remember to stimulate these points on both sides of your dog’s body.

Stomach 36 (St 36), Zu San Li, Leg Three Miles – St 36 also has a tremendous number of properties and is the go-to acupoint for metabolic issues as well as enhancing Lung function and Protective chi.

Lung 7 (Lu 7), Lie Que, Broken Sequence – Regulates and supports Lung function, enhancing Protective Wei chi in benefiting the immune system. Large Intestine 4 (LI 4), He Gu, Adjoining Valley – This point is known to directly boost the function of Protective chi. Large Intestine 11 (LI 11), Qu Chi, Pond in the Curve – LI 11 has many

These four acupoints are powerful allies for making sure your dog’s immune system is up to the job of protecting him from illness. Regular acupressure sessions, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, means you can relax and enjoy yourself when you’re out and about with your dog, because you know his body is strong and healthy.

SUCCESSFUL SELF-REGULATION: how NASC bridges a gap and elevates the standard for quality in dog and cat supplements By Bill Bookout

Millions of people give animal health and nutritional supplements to their dogs and cats. Sometimes it’s to address a specific concern, to proactively support good health, or provide targeted nutritional benefits. No matter the reason, supplements can be an important part of your dog or cat’s wellness regimen.

Consumers often take it for granted that if a product is available for sale then it is being produced and supported by a responsible company. But sometimes this isn’t the case, and products of questionable quality may reach store shelves. So where does this leave you, and how can you trust products?

Animal health and nutritional supplements are overseen and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM), and in many cases by individual state regulatory agencies as well. What consumers may not understand is that unlike pharmaceuticals, supplements for animals (and people) do not require FDA approval to be manufactured or sold. There is no law that requires supplements to be evaluated before their release, nor are label claims required to be proven accurate or truthful prior to marketing.

This is where the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) comes in. Made up of supplement manufacturers and suppliers who are competitors in everyday life, NASC member companies have banded together to collectively address issues and affect important change, which ultimately elevates the industry and results in better practices, procedures, and products.

It is only after a supplement is introduced for sale that this all changes. The FDA and state regulators then have legal authority to review the product, its label claims, and any reported adverse events. They can pull a product from shelves if a problem is discovered; the product is not properly labeled; or the company is acting irresponsibly. But even then, dog and cat supplements are typically not a high regulatory priority unless a major issue arises.

NASC members are responsible manufacturers and suppliers of animal health and nutritional supplements, and are committed to quality, vigilance, and embracing a philosophy of continuous improvement within their own companies and the industry at large. The NASC Quality Program provides strict guidelines for product quality assurance in written, consistent raw material sourcing and manufacturing standards, adverse event reporting, and labeling requirements that are within the guidelines provided by the regulatory agencies. To earn permission to display the NASC Quality Seal on its products

and marketing materials, an NASC member company must pass a comprehensive facility audit every two years, maintain ongoing compliance with rigorous NASC quality standards, participate in annual continuing education facilitated by NASC, and pass random independent testing of their products to ensure they are meeting label claims. Consumers can have confidence in products with the NASC Quality Seal because they come from reputable suppliers that meet NASC’s demanding requirements. No single person or company can change an entire industry. But when a group of companies that represents over 80% of their industry share a vision for a system of transparency, collaboration, and the implementation of best practices, the result is successful self-regulation that bridges the gap between what the law requires and what consumers demand. This benefits the ultimate stakeholders — the millions of dogs and cats that are given supplements by those who want them to live their best lives.

Bill Bookout is president and founder of the National Animal Supplement Council. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the animal health industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences from the University of Wyoming, and a master’s degree from the Pepperdine University Presidents and Key Executives MBA program. Animal Wellness



By Laurie Riihimaki


EXERCISE ROUTINE Whether you’re a jogger or a cyclist, exercising with your dog is a great way for you to bond and enjoy physical activity together this autumn. But including him in your exercise routine also means taking his abilities and safety into account.


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Now that fall’s here and the weather is cooler, you may be getting back to your exercise routine. Just walking your dog helps ensure you’re getting some physical activity, of course, but many people have gone a step further and are incorporating their dogs into their own exercise regimes. Having a workout buddy helps keep us accountable, and dogs need exercise as much as we do. But it’s important to know just how much activity your dog needs, if he’s fit enough to participate, and how to exercise together safely.

CHOOSING AN ACTIVITY The first step is to choose a form of exercise that’s going to work for your dog as well as for you. Naturally, there are certain types of exercise dogs shouldn’t participate in. You wouldn’t take your dog to an aerial yoga class, for example. Additionally, some activities might be great for one dog but bad for another, depending on his breed, and any health limitations he might have. “The breeds that are best to exercise with are dolichocephalic dogs,” says veterinarian Dr. Sarah Wooten. “Dolichocephalic means they have long noses. Short-nosed breeds, like pugs or bulldogs, have a much harder time because the anatomy of their noses limits airflow.” Because of this, short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs don’t make good exercise partners.

WALKING, JOGGING AND RUNNING It’s fine for long-nosed dogs such as golden retrievers, German shepherds, or border collies to enjoy three of the most popular forms of exercise — walking, jogging or running — with their people. But running and jogging, and even long challenging walks, can be dangerous or even lifethreatening for a pug, Boston terrier, or Shih tzu. If you have a brachycephalic dog, restrict your mutual workouts to something simple, like a short and steady walk. If you’re a jogger or a long-distance walker, this may not be the kind of workout you desire, but here’s a tip: go for your jog or walk before or after you take your dog out — this way, walking your pup can serve as a warm-up or cool-down for your own workout. You get to spend time together, while both still receiving the level of exercise you need. Continued on page 54. Animal Wellness




With all exercise routines, it’s important to first make sure your dog is healthy enough to join you on your fitness journey. According to a licensed veterinarian, Jessica Kirk, “The best way to know if your dog is fit enough for the exercise you have in mind is to ask your veterinarian to give him a physical exam,” says veterinarian Dr. Jessica Kirk. “After your vet examines your dog’s heart, lungs, body condition, and other factors, he or she can help you decide what types of exercise are right for your dog and how rigorous the workout should be. Your vet can also help you come up with a plan to help ease your dog into the exercise routine without doing unintended harm to his health.” Natalie Buxton of Operation Kindness, a no-kill shelter in North Texas, underlines the importance of easing a dog into an exercise regime. “Warming up before beginning any exercise is something that humans practice, and the same can be applied to dogs,” she says. “Determine an activity that can be paced. Allow your dog time to warm up to these activities by being gentle and starting off slow; this can help encourage him to participate more. Limiting the amount of exercise in the beginning to about ten or 15 minutes at a time helps reduce the risk of the dog being overwhelmed, and gives him time to get into the groove of the new activity. This is especially important for dogs who are just starting out. With time, endurance and stamina can be built up for long periods of activity.”

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Continued from page 53.

BICYCLING WITH YOUR DOG Biking is another popular option among dog parents, but it can be tricky for both dog and human, as there are obvious safety concerns involved. • One of these concerns is the speed at which you are traveling. We bike faster than we walk or jog, and not all dogs, even if they are superb runners, will be able to keep up with our personal best. If your dog seems to enjoy the adventure, however, make sure to stop regularly to give him a breather and some water. This will help him avoid exhaustion, and overheating in warm weather. • A nother safety concern with biking is the threat of the leash getting tangled in the tires of the bike, and causing injury to both you and your dog. Using a regular leash is not a chance you want to take; that’s why you can buy bike leashes made specifically for cyclists and their pups.

We bike faster than we walk or jog, and not all dogs, even if they are superb runners, will be able to keep up with our personal best. • W hen bicycling with your dog for the first time, start small and slow. Try going up and down the driveway first, then along the street a short way, being absolutely sure that you’re following road safety regulations for bicycles. Once you both have the hang of it, you can start going further afield, although it’s always best to stay away from busy streets and roads. No matter how you and your dog exercise together this fall (and beyond!), be sure to consult your veterinarian first (see sidebar at left), take the necessary safety precautions, and make the time to ease your dog into the routine. Once these bases have been covered, you’ll be free to enjoy your workouts while reaping the benefits of physical fitness together!




Animal Wellness is gearing up to enjoy the cooler days filled with changing leaves and pumpkin spice.

Take a photo and tag us on instagram to show us how you enjoy fall! If you’re lucky, your photo might be featured in our next issue.

Check out @hernoblestory on instagram for more adventures of this cutie and his friends!



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Tag us for a chance to be featured.

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What does it take to make the BEST pee pad on the planet? Years of market research, innovative thinking and experimenting — that’s what! With a focus on sustainability and social responsibility, WizSmart repurposes unused baby diapers as raw material for their dog pads. The result? A unique formula and exclusive blend of materials that come together for an all-in-one premium product like no other.


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Leak Proof Traditional dog pads leak around the edges, rendering them useless. With the addition of lateral barriers and sealed edges to stop leaking in its tracks, WizSmart pads have become the leak-proof solution pet parents were seeking to keep their floors clean and dry.

Most Absorbent Why not make a pad that behaves like a high-end diaper? This “aha!” realization led to the creation of WizSmart’s unique blend of materials — a mix of virgin fibers and material from unused, reclaimed baby diapers that achieves superior absorption and fast drying.

Odor Control A dog pad that doesn’t stink? Really? Really. Because WizSmart pads absorb liquids so quickly, they’re able to better trap and eliminate unpleasant aromas. Finally, a clean option that doesn’t interfere with the comfort and cleanliness of your home — or your pet!

Eco-Friendly More than 240 million unused diapers are saved from landfills each year thanks to WizSmart’s innovative design. Recently, they added Eucafluff to their blend — an absorbent material made from eucalyptus trees grown by companies committed to Certified Responsible Forestry. The renewal cycle for eucalyptus trees is around 6-7 years, making Eucapet one of the most sustainable fibers.

Stay Put Tabs Another common problem with most pee pads is that they don’t stay put! They slip and slide, resulting in injury and mess. After much research into adhesive types and where to position them under the pad, WizSmart devised their patented “Stay Put Tabs” — an extremely effective adhesive that secures the pad to the floor.




Dry foods

that are healthier for cats By Ann Brightman

A lot of cats are “dry food addicts” ­— which is a problem if the food they’re getting is low in quality and nutritional value. The good news is that many cat food manufacturers are now factoring the importance of wholesome feline nutrition into their dry foods.

In an effort to switch our cats to healthier diets, many of us run into a roadblock when it comes to transitioning them away from commercial dry foods. Kitties that have been eating dry food all their lives tend to be particularly averse to trying anything new, especially if it’s not in kibble form. But that doesn’t mean giving up. A growing number of pet food manufacturers are producing high quality meat-based dry cat foods that provide much higher levels of nutrition than those low-end grocery store kibbles. Let’s look at what’s out there.

THE MOVE TOWARDS BETTER NUTRITION Thanks to consumer demand for healthier pet foods, and improved


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manufacturing technologies, many dry cat foods have made big strides in recent years and are much healthier and more nutritious than they used to be. But poor quality kibbles still exist, so you need to be a smart shopper to ensure you’re getting something that will keep your cat properly nourished. Read product labels. The best dry diets will contain ingredients such as real meats, fish oil, fresh veggies, fruit and herbs, and no grains, soy, cheap byproducts or fillers. Red flags include vague terms like “animal fat” and “poultry byproduct meal”, which can cover a wide range of often questionable ingredients. To learn more about becoming a savvy pet food label reader, turn to page 18.

SUPERIOR INGREDIENTS High quality kibbles are also free of all those synthetic colors and flavorings — because they don’t need them! They also have a higher nutrient density and are more digestible; and because they contain fewer cheap ingredients like corn gluten, they are lower in Omega-6s, which when consumed in high quantities can contribute to inflammatory problems such as allergies and arthritis. Importantly, a growing number of these newer and better dry foods source their ingredients more carefully, turning to domestic farms rather than importing from countries where food quality standards are much lower than they are

Shopping list r Here are a few companies that offe

high quality dry cat food.

e formulas for This company’s N&D Prim armina Pet Foods (farm F ting all stitu Delicious) are grain-free, sub cats (N&D stands for Natural & al high quality foods feature 70% anim cereals for animal proteins. These and les etab b, and boar, along with veg ingredients, including chicken, lam le, blueberry, spinach and carrot. fruits such as pomegranate, app mium dry cat ): Offers several selections of pre etcurean ( P NOW ified organic free-run chicken. The foods. Gather is made from cert and h meat or fish, along with fruits Fresh line boasts 100% market-fres ! GO the allergies can benefit from veggies. Picky eaters or those with include pany’s SUMMIT Original recipes SOLUTIONS line, while the com les and etab b, and salmon, along with veg ingredients such as chicken, lam other grains, gluten, artificial flavors and Omega oils. All diets are free of unwanted ingredients. -protein Raw Their premium, high tella & Chewy’s (stellaan S The Raw ze-dried raw chicken or salmon. Coated Kibble is coated with free zefree le kibble with pieces of who Blend recipe combines raw-coated duck, in cage-free turkey, chicken and dried raw meat, and is available first the as tuna. All recipes have meat or wild-caught cod, salmon and colors and soy, and contain no artificial ingredient, are free of wheat, corn or preservatives.

in North America. Some even go a step further by ensuring their ingredients are GMO-free, organic, or humanely-raised.

NEWER PROCESSING METHODS RETAIN NUTRITION Most kibble is manufactured using an extrusion process. Newer methods help retain more of the ingredients’ nutrient value than in the past. Traditionally, companies used very high temperatures when producing pet foods, which meant a lot of the nutritional value of the ingredients was destroyed, necessitating the addition of synthetic vitamins and minerals. However, more manufacturers are now cooking their dry foods at lower temperatures and for shorter periods, so vital nutrients

are preserved while harmful bacteria are killed. Whether your cat is a dry food junkie, eats a part-kibble, part-wet diet, or only indulges in dry food when you’re away overnight, it’s now easier than ever to find a good quality, meat-based, lowto-no-carb food, without by-products, grain fillers, synthetic colors and flavors.

WHY POOR QUALITY DRY FOOD IS BAD FOR CATS Cheap dry cat food is high in empty carbs, low in quality protein, and loaded with all kinds of artificial additives and fillers. These ingredients can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. Additionally, although these foods are often touted as a way to keep a cat’s teeth clean, they can actually have the opposite effect. Cat kibbles are usually very small, which means kitties find them hard to chew. This means the food is often swallowed whole, bypassing the abrasive effects the food is meant to have on the teeth. The carbohydrates in many of these foods also interact with the cat’s saliva and end up sticking to his teeth, contributing to plaque and tartar build-up.

High quality kibbles are also free of all those synthetic colors and flavorings — because they don’t need them!

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fruits & veggies Most people think of dogs as meat-eaters — and of course meat needs to make up a large percentage of their diet. But fruit and veggies are also beneficial to canine health and well-being.

By Junior Hudson

When it comes to including vegetables and fruit in the canine diet, people have different opinions. Some think it’s unnecessary; others feed small amounts (up to 10% to 15% of the total diet); while still others give their dogs plentiful quantities. While vegetables and fruit may not be classified as “essential” for dogs, they’re clearly very beneficial. Evidence suggests they can provide the same benefits to dogs as they do to humans, and can help prevent cancer, cardiovascular problems, autoimmune diseases, metabolic issues, and more. Vegetables and fruit contain an abundance of valuable nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients, and antioxidants.


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Let’s look at the role of vegetables and fruits in the canine diet, and how you can add them to your own dog’s meals.

DOGS ARE “FACULTATIVE CARNIVORES” Although dogs are generally recognized as carnivores, like their wolf ancestors, they are actually what are called “facultative carnivores”. This means they can and will utilize plant matter as part of their predominantly meat-based diet. A study on wolf scats collected between 1992 and 2005 reported a content of up to 7.8% plant matter during the summer months. This plant matter included vegetation and berries and was believed to come from intentional consumption.

ADDING FRUITS AND VEGGIES TO YOUR DOG’S DIET While dogs can’t digest cellulose, the main substance in plant cell walls (see sidebar on page 60), they do digest vegetables and fruit and will readily eat them. And the benefits of the phytonutrient antioxidants provided by these foods are significant. Studies have shown that dogs with certain cancers have reduced antioxidant levels. Antioxidants have also been found to prevent cognitive decline in aged dogs. Additionally, phytonutrients can slow down oxidative damage and other effects of aging.



Although dogs diverged from wolves around 38,000 years ago, their digestive systems haven’t changed that much. All this means that vegetables and fruit (preferably fresh and organic) are an invaluable addition to a dog’s predominantly meat-based diet. Quantities will depend on the individual dog, his breed, and particular health concerns. Start with small amounts and experiment with different fruits and veggies to see which ones your dog likes best. • Vegetables can be fed raw, but I usually recommend lightly steaming them, particularly when it comes to cruciferous vegetables, which contain goitrogenic compounds that may disrupt thyroid hormones. Lightly steaming these veggies helps deactivate these compounds. • It is advisable to remove pips and pits from fruit, and caution is also recommended with some of the skins or tough rinds found on some fruit and vegetables. • Always keep in mind that not all vegetables and fruit are safe for dogs.

In particular, onions, grapes, and raisins should be avoided.

TOP 8 VEGETABLES AND FRUITS FOR DOGS Broccoli: A cruciferous vegetable, packed with phytonutrients such as sulforaphane and isothiocyanates, yielding cancer preventive properties. Rich in vitamin C, also contains vitamins A, B complex, K, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and manganese.

However, a few factors indicate that dogs have evolved to consume and benefit from a more varied diet than their ancestral wild counterparts. The extent of these changes can vary slightly between breeds. For example, adaptations to genes AMY2B, MGAM, and SGLT1 have resulted in an increased capacity for starch digestion, with some breeds, such as huskies, remaining less adapted.

Asparagus: A perennial plant, and a moderate source of fiber. Contains vitamins A, B complex, C, E, K; and minerals, particularly copper and iron, lesser amounts of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. Purple sweet potato: A root vegetable, and a good source of fiber, rich in vitamin A, and also containing vitamins C and B6. Rich in potassium; other minerals include calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Contains flavonoids such as anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory and cancerpreventive properties. Continued on page 62.

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Continued from page 61.



­— BUT NEITHER CAN WE! Just because dogs can’t digest cellulose doesn’t mean they shouldn’t eat fruits and vegetables. The truth is, humans and most other mammals can’t digest cellulous either! In fact, the indigestibility of insoluble fibers like cellulose carries some benefits; cellulose fibers improve fecal quality, aid digestion, eliminate toxins, and improve anal gland issues in dogs. Insoluble dietary fiber can also help lower and regulate blood glucose levels, helping with diabetes. Studies have shown that dogs with fiber in their diets have improved gut microbiome diversity, in comparison to those fed all-meat diets. Pureeing and cooking the vegetables and fruit can help break down the cell walls, but even when I don't serve vegetables using those methods, I very rarely see visibly undigested content in my dogs' stools. Some vegetables, such as carrots, do have tougher cellular walls, which is often why raw carrot will be visible in stools.


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Kale: Leafy green vegetable from the cruciferous family. Good source of fiber, and packed with phytochemicals such as sulforaphane, along with indole-3-carbinol, which can exert anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventive properties. Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and also contains some B complex vitamins. Mineralrich, particularly in copper, and also provides good quantities of calcium, iron, phosphorous and manganese. Blueberries: Packed with antioxidant phytonutrients, including anthocyanidin compounds, chlorogenic acid, tannins, myricetin, and quercetin. The benefits of this wonderful fruit are plentiful, and it offers preventive properties for numerous diseases, including cancer. Good source of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B complex, C, K, and manganese. Apples (avoid core and pips): Antioxidant, phytonutrient, and flavonoid-rich, including quercetin and epicatechin. Good source of vitamin C, also containing A, B complex, E, and K. Mineral content includes iron and phosphorus. Pineapple: Phytonutrients include bromelain a proteolytic enzyme with anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, and cancer-preventive properties. Rich in Vitamin C, also containing B complex and E. Mineral content includes a

good amount of manganese, copper, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Pear: Good source of fiber, and rich in antioxidant phytonutrients and flavonoids for disease prevention. Good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, K, and copper. One of the least allergenic fruits. While good quality whole meats should continue to form the basis of your dog’s diet, adding in these vegetables and fruits — and others! — will give him an important boost of extra nutrition, help prevent disease, and go a long way toward keeping him in optimal health.


Favorites Delight your dog!

Is your dog a picky eater? Does she leave food in her bowl? Watch her appetite bounce back with Dr. Dalton's Delightful Dog Meal Topper. Made in the US with real 100% beef or chicken, and containing 80% protein, with no fillers, chemicals or preservatives, this product is irresistible to dogs. Just sprinkle it over her food and watch her dig in.

The ultimate grooming tool

Improve your dog’s grooming experience as he grows in his winter coat. The StripHair Gentle Groomer for Pets allows you to remove loose hair, dirt, and dander while massaging his muscles and keeping grooming-induced stress at bay. Because it’s soft and extra flexible, it’s ideal for grooming the face and legs.

Optimize his immunity

Give his immune system a boost before the winter sets in. I’MYUNITY® for Dogs is a proprietary medicinal mushroom extract to help boost immunity, reduce pain and fatigue, and improve energy levels, mobility and appetite. It features polysaccharopeptide (PSP), which can only be isolated from the Coriolus versicolor mushroom.

Superior joint support

Do your dog or cat’s joints seem to bother him more in the cold weather? NOW® Pets Joint Support is a supplement formulated by veterinarian Dr. Barbara Royal. It’s made with glucosamine and MSM, along with a variety of other joint-supporting ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, curcumin, yucca and cayenne.

Amp up his antioxidants

Wild krill from the pristine waters of Antarctica contain high levels of an inherent antioxidant called astaxanthin. Grizzly Krill Oil is a super antioxidant product for dogs and cats that contains up to eight times more astaxanthin than krill oil for humans. A powerful choice for those wanting to protect their animals from the harmful effects of free radicals.

Helping people and animals

Switching him to a healthier diet this fall? Here’s a food that helps people as well as animals, thanks to the Scott family, creators of RAWZ Natural Pet Food. After both their sons experienced and recovered from life-changing injuries, the family pledged to donate 100% of the profits from RAWZ to five non-profits that help people with disabilities. Animal Wellness



Taurine toppers

for cats and dogs By Dr. Suzi Beber, honouris causa

An important amino acid, taurine is vital to your

D gs Cats

cat or dog’s health. This article explains why, and offers recipes for tasty taurine toppers to add to your best friend’s meals.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our dogs and cats need them for vision, digestion, heart health, and immune health. There are 22 amino acids — one of which is taurine. While taurine itself is not used for protein synthesis, it’s found in many of the body’s tissues — the nervous system, retinas, muscles, heart, and even the blood platelets — and is crucial to many metabolic processes. This means dogs and cats need sufficient taurine in their diets — cats especially must have it supplied in their food because their bodies can’t synthesize it on their own. While high quality pet foods usually contain adequate taurine, lower-end products may not. The healthy taurine toppers presented in this article will help ensure your cat or dog is getting enough of this important amino acid.


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HOW TAURINE NEEDS DIFFER IN DOGS AND CATS Cats: As mentioned above, a cat’s diet must be supplemented with taurine because their bodies have a limited ability to convert methionine and cysteine to taurine. They also lose taurine through the secretion of bile acids. Cats require daily dietary taurine to stay healthy, so it is essential that this amino acid is included in their diet. Research has found that if a cat does not get taurine for six weeks, he may develop an enlarged heart; after a long-term deficiency, retinal degeneration can occur and may even lead to permanent blindness. Dogs: Unlike cats, dogs have the ability to synthesize taurine from methionine and cysteine. However, as we have learned over time, especially with all the news about dilated cardiomyopathy in some breeds, even though they have the ability to synthesize taurine, some dogs need more taurine in their diets, either through a supplement or through the addition of certain whole foods, including organ meats like heart and liver, muscle meat like turkey (dark meat), beef, lamb, and seafood (e.g. krill, sardines, salmon, whitefish). For something really simple, add canned sardines (packed in spring water) to your dog or cat’s diet. Goat’s milk provides a little boost of taurine as well. Have fun with the taurine topper recipes that follow. They are simple to prepare and will add an extra blast of flavor, as well as taurine, to your dog or cat’s diet! See recipes on page 66.


— another good source of taurine Nori (Porphyra yezoensis) is a sea vegetable that contains a significant amount of taurine. It’s also rich in protein, vitamins A, B, and C, minerals such as magnesium and potassium, and arginine, another amino acid typically found in animal protein. Additional amino acids found in Nori include alanine and glutamic acid, to support the gastrointestinal tract and aid in the digestive process. Nori sheets are low in sodium, but boast high levels of dietary fiber. Try spreading Nori sheets on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, and bake them in a preheated 300°F oven for five to ten minutes. Cool, and sprinkle some on your animal’s food before serving. Nori can also be dry roasted on your stovetop for a crunchy treat. Animal Wellness



Choose organic ingredients whenever possible.

Fish Cakes

Ingredients 1 lb ground whitefish (e.g. pollock, cod) or salmon 2 eggs* 1 carrot 1 teaspoon sea kelp 4 tablespoons oatmeal 1/4 cup first pressed olive oil 3/4 cup filtered water Instructions Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients, except the fish, in a food processor or blender. Turn out into a large mixing bowl, add fish, and combine thoroughly. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper. You can make large cakes for your dog by using an ice cream scoop; if you want smaller cakes for a cat or small dog, try using a fruit scoop, like those used for making melon balls. Place the cakes on the cookie sheet and flatten them with a fork. Bake for approximately one hour. Remove fish cakes from the oven and cool completely before serving. These should be tored in the refrigerator or freezer. *Eggs are another great way to add taurine to your animal’s diet.

You’ve Gotta Have Heart

Ingredients 1 cup chopped raw heart (liver can also be used; e.g. use ½ cup heart and ½ cup liver.) 2 tablespoons filtered water or broth 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder Instructions Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Gently sauté on medium heat. When all the “pink” is gone, the dish is done. Cool to room temperature before serving. This recipe takes less than five minutes to prepare. It can also be whirled in a food processor or blender and served as a sauce, or even as a raw topper.

Cat Call Sauce

Ingredients 1 lb ground turkey 1 lb beef heart, sliced in small pieces 1/4 oz beef liver, sliced in small pieces 2 cups oatmeal 1/4 cup zucchini, chopped 6 cups filtered water Instructions Combine all ingredients in a Crock-Pot or other slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker, simply combine all the ingredients in a big pot, bring to a gentle boil, then turn down to simmer for two to three hours, stirring from time to time so the ingredients don’t stick to the bottom. Note: This recipe provides a week’s worth of food for a 9 lb cat. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, or other oil of your choice, on your cat’s food just before serving.

Barking Fresh Stew

Ingredients 1 lb ground turkey 1/4 oz beef liver 2 /3 cup whole brown rice, whole barley flakes, oatmeal, quinoa, or teff 1/2 cup green vegetables, chopped (e.g. broccoli, green beans, zucchini) 1 s mall red apple with skin, chopped with core and seeds removed; or 1/4 cup blueberries 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 4 cups filtered water Instructions Combine all ingredients in a Crock-Pot or other slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for three to four hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker, simply combine all the ingredients in a big pot, bring to a gentle boil, then turn down to simmer for two to three hours, stirring from time to time, so ingredients don’t stick to the bottom. Note: This recipe can also be served raw. Simply leave out the grains or cook them up as a side dish or base for your raw ingredients.


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D gs Cats

By Christine Caplan, CVT

L os ing your dog or cat

WAYS TO GET THROUGH THE GRIEF For many people, losing a beloved animal companion is as heart-wrenching as losing a human loved one. Here are some resources to help you through the grief.

“Gone” is the word I was afraid to say out loud the week our dog, Bruiser, passed away. Overwhelmed by grief, and in need of finding ways to cope, I started doing some research on pet loss and was impressed and inspired by how many resources I found. From support groups to grief counselors to death doulas, there are a variety of places and people to turn to for help and comfort when you’re mourning the loss of your dog or cat.


Everyone’s support system will look different, depending on your

beliefs, needs, and comfort levels. Along with sympathetic friends and family members, your support system might also include one or more of the following: your veterinarian, an animal communicator, a chaplain or pastor, a grief counselor or support group, a Reiki practitioner or other energy worker, or a death doula (an individual who assists in the dying process, similar to how a midwife helps with birthing). There are grief counselors who work with vet hospitals and emergency vet clinics, and who are trained in “death and dying”

as well as grief coping strategies. Online assistance also abounds in the form of pet loss forums, websites, chat rooms, Facebook groups, and more. When it comes to family and friends, just keep in mind that some may not comprehend the connection you had with your dog or cat, and might not get why you’re so upset; comments such as “It was just a dog” or “You can always get another pet” will only add to your pain. If you feel any of your friends of family members won’t be understanding or sympathetic Animal Wellness


about your loss, don’t include them in your grief support system.

How do you know WHEN THE END IS NEAR?

In many cases, dog and cat parents innately “know” when it’s time to say goodbye. However, the veterinary industry also offers a “Quality of Life Scale” to help you determine when it’s time to let your companion go. Developed by veterinarian Dr. Alice Villalobos, it’s also called the “HHHHHMM Scale” and features questions and considerations relating to seven categories, including Hurt (pain and breathing), Hunger (appetite and feeding), Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, and More Good Days than Bad. Because your emotions will run high during the end stages of your dog or cat’s life, it’s important to have an objective list to work from when assessing his quality of life, to help you make the right decisions. With Bruiser, for example, when his “bad” days started to outnumber the “good”, I knew it was time.

Bruiser, a stubborn miniature Dachshund, was my partner in crime, and I wanted to honor him. In my case, because I’m not religious, a pastor wasn’t going to be part of my support system. Instead, I found a death doula and several pet grief counselors who helped me cope. I also joined a pet loss support group at our local veterinary emergency hospital, led by a trained grief counselor.

PLANNING AHEAD CAN HELP MAKE THINGS EASIER If you know your dog or cat is moving into the end-of-life stage, it’s a good idea to have some plans in place before he passes. “You might want to have phone numbers, references, and other information ready ahead of time, such as pricing for euthanasia, cremation, after-hour services, and in-home veterinary services,” says Ute Luppertz, a death doula in Portland, Oregon. Researching animal grief counselors and having them lined up for a call will help as well when the time comes. In fact, part of the job for animal grief counselors and death doulas is to offer some ideas and suggestions to dog and cat parents dealing with end-of-life care for their animals.

Some sample quality of life questions to consider include: • How much pain is your animal in? • Can he breathe normally? • Can he see and hear normally? • Are his hygiene and grooming needs being met? • Is he able to perform his favorite activities? • How much control does he have over his body and mobility? • Is he able to eat and drink normally? • Does he seem comfortable and content? • Are you both able to sleep? Is your dog or cat sleeping all the time? • Is he able to socialize normally, or is he isolating himself, visibly anxious, or depressed? • Is he able to think, communicate, and behave normally, or does he seem disoriented, confused, or stressed?


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Calling your vet should also be on the list, even if your animal passes at home, as he or she can provide you with resources to help with your grief. If you originally adopted your animal from a local shelter or rescue, they may have resources to assist you too. Some areas even have pet cemeteries where you can have your dog or cat buried, if you wish. We adopted one of our own dogs from the Oregon Humane Society in Portland, and their cemetery is a beautiful place to visit.



Memorializing your beloved animal companion can help give you comfort and a sense of closure. These rituals and activities can be as simple or as detailed as you wish. Here are just five ideas: A simple picture of your dog or cat, surrounded by candles, is something you can see and enjoy every day.


A small party with friends, family, and special animal caretakers is a good way to celebrate your animal’s life and share happy memories.


This is my favorite — a letter to your dog or cat telling him how much you love him and that you’ll always remember him.


If you have your dog or cat cremated, consider adding some of his ashes to a piece of jewelry. Quite a few companies now offer these services.


Journaling about the animal’s life, and including all your adventures together, is a wonderful way to remember him — I often refer to the “Pet Remembrance Journal” that I filled up in the days and weeks after Bruiser passed. A scrapbook with photos, artwork, quotes, and thoughts is another alternative.


At our home, I have wind chimes hanging on both the front and back porches as a reminder of Bruiser.

They feature Dachshund and bone motifs in beautiful colors. We share a close bond with our dogs and cats, so it’s only natural to grieve when they’re gone. Honor the process, take comfort from knowing that there are a lot of resources to help you

through your sorrow, and reach out for help if and when you need it. Also be sure to take as much time as you need to accept your loss, even if it takes 12 months or more. Bruiser passed away over a year ago, and we still talk about him all the time. We focus on his life, and not his death.



If you have more than one dog or cat, keep in mind that the one/s left behind will feel the loss as well. They may seem depressed, or may engage in behaviors such as hiding or vocalizing. Spend time with them for mutual comfort, and to help keep them busy and distracted. New routines take some time to get used to, and your remaining dog or cat will need your support and guidance.

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The BENEFITS of SHARING YOUR LIFE with a dog or cat All animal lovers know that being a dog or cat parent comes with countless advantages. But what do the studies have to say?

By Emily Watson

• Easing stress • Reducing heart rate • Lowering blood pressure

• Offering social support • Helping them stay active • Improving mental health


STRESS REDUCTION In 2019, scientists at Washington State University demonstrated that programs allowing college students to interact with dogs and/or cats have stress-relieving physiological benefits. “Just ten minutes can have a significant impact,” said Patricia Pendry, an associate professor in WSU’s Department of Human Development. “Students in our study that interacted with cats and dogs had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone.” doi/10.1177/2332858419852592





A 2019 study involving a group of 48 stockbrokers with high blood pressure found that those who lived with a dog or cat had lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without. All study participants were being treated with lisinopril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used to treat hypertension. Results showed that ACE inhibitors keep blood pressure steady during non-stressful situations, but don’t prevent it from rising in times of heightened stress. That’s where a furry friend comes in handy! doi/full/10.1161/hyp.38.4.815 Animal Wellness

A study by Allen et al. measured the cardiovascular benefits of companion animals. The researchers examined the influence of having friends, spouses, and animals in 240 married couples, half with animals and half without. They found that dog and cat parents had lower heart rates and blood pressure at rest, and recovered faster from stress.

Dogs are great conversation starters! According to Nadine Kaslow, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, our canine companions can help ease people out of social isolation or shyness. “People ask about breed, they watch the dog’s tricks,” she says. “Sometimes the conversation stays at the ‘dog level’, and sometimes it becomes a real social interchange.”



• Enhancing brain development • Increasing immunity


D gs Cats

The relationship between animals and people is mutually beneficial — and that’s a fact! Dogs and cats have been shown to help their caretakers by:






PHYSICAL ACTIVITY A survey of 191 “dog owning adults” (DO), 455 “nondog owning adults” (NDO), and 46 children, living in 385 households in West Cheshire, UK, was conducted in 2015. The results were clear — DO were far more likely than NDO to report walking for recreation, and for longer periods per week. The odds of DO meeting the World Health Organization’s physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week were four times greater than for NDO. Children with dogs reported more minutes of walking and free time (unstructured) activity. In a cross-sectional 2019 study, 111 young women of mean age 21 ± 1.2 years filled out a physical activity questionnaire to assess their exercise levels, supplemented with a question about whether they had an animal and what kind. Participants with animal companions generally reported higher PA levels than those who do not. articles/10.1186/s12889-019-7962-z



MORE EXERCISE. IMMUNITY The unique microbes that dogs and cats carry mean that children who grow up in households with animals have a lower risk for developing autoimmune illnesses. A 2017 study conducted at the University of Alberta confirms this. Results showed that babies born into families with animals (70% of which were dogs) had more microbes associated with lower risks of allergies and obesity. This may result from exposure to dirt and bacteria (such as that found on an animal’s fur and paws) shortly after birth, or through indirect microbiome exchange from animal to mother to unborn baby during pregnancy.





Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Evan MacLean, an assistant professor of anthropology and director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, stated that dogs could ease negative mental health impacts during times of limited social interaction, such as lockdowns.






MENTAL HEALTH A meta-analysis from 2018 compared the results of controlled studies evaluating the effects of dogs on depressive symptoms in the aging population. It confirmed that animal-assisted intervention (specifically visiting dogs) reduces depressive symptoms in institutionalized and non-institutionalized older adults. academic.


A systematic review conducted in 2017 demonstrated an association between animal guardianship and educational and cognitive benefits in children. For instance, perspectivetaking abilities and intellectual development was higher in children who lived in the same household as an animal. The review cites a mixed methods thesis paper, which found that ten- to 14-year-old students with a stronger attachment to their animals had higher levels of validated social-cognitive development scores in comparison to students with a weak attachment to their animals. ncbi.nlm.; open_access_etds/159/ Animal Wellness





— delivered right to your door D gs Cats By Sandra Murphy

For those who want to eat healthy but don’t have time to make meals from scratch, fresh food meal kit delivery services are the answer. This popular trend is also expanding into the pet food world, with companies offering nutritious, fresh food meal kits for dogs and cats that are delivered right to your door.

Fresh food meal kit delivery services have become all the rage over the last few years. Ideal for those who want a healthy diet, but don’t have the time to plan and make meals from scratch, these companies deliver meal kits made from fresh ingredients right to your door. All you have to do is order the meals you want (and there’s usually lots of variety to choose from), assemble and cook the pre-portioned ingredients when they arrive — and voila, you have a delicious and nutritious meal. Not surprisingly,


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this trend has also expanded to include fresh food meal kits for dogs and cats. And with the COVID-19 pandemic keeping us at home more, having your animal’s meals delivered to your door along with your own is an extra boon.

WHAT’S IN A FRESH FOOD MEAL KIT? Typically, meal kits for people arrive as boxes of fresh, raw, pre-measured ingredients that you assemble and cook using the accompanying instructions. Ice

packs are included in the boxes to keep perishable ingredients such as meat from spoiling. Meal kits for dogs and cats are similar, made with fresh, human-grade, ingredients (raw or lightly cooked) that arrive cold or frozen, to be served from the fridge or at room temperature. “Our ingredients are lightly-processed, contain no carbohydrates or byproducts, and are 99% chicken, turkey, or beef, with a few vegetables included,” says Matt Michaelson, founder and

Photo courtesy of A Pup Above

Photo courtesy of Smalls

Photo courtesy of My Ollie Foods

CEO of Smalls, which focuses on meal delivery kits for felines. “We work with nutritionists to develop healthy recipes for cats.”

HOW TO GET STARTED After choosing a service (more on some of these companies below), you will need to fill out a profile online about your dog or cat. Questions you’ll be asked include his name, age, size, activity level, likes, allergies, and health issues.

You’ll then receive recommendations for which of the company’s food might be best for your dog or cat, along with the amount to feed him per meal, based on your answers. There is no shaming for not feeding fresh at every meal, or for mixing fresh food with dry! Next, just place your order and wait for delivery. Dry ice and cold packs keep the food cold or frozen during transit, and on your doorstep if you’re not home when it arrives.

Once you’ve received the order, open the box and store the food portions in your fridge or freezer.

A SAMPLING OF SERVICES Fresh food meal kit delivery services for dogs and cats are springing up all over. Here are some examples: A Pup Above (formerly Grocery Pup): Beef, turkey, and pork make up the menu. Cooked sous vide in BPA-free vacuum-sealed bags; cooked at a lower Animal Wellness



• You can order the food online for regularly-scheduled and flexible delivery dates. • The meals are personalized to your animal’s profile and preferences. • They contain recognizable, human-grade ingredients. • Smaller batches, made more often, ensure freshness.

CONS • It can be pricey, although companies emphasize it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You have the option of incorporating fresh food meals just a few days a week if you wish. Another alternative is to use small amounts as a topper on your dog or cat’s regular food. • Because the food has to be kept cold or frozen, it takes up extra space in your fridge or freezer. • Because everything is delivered in boxes and bags, going this route may be less eco-friendly.


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Photo courtesy of The Farmer's Dog


temperature, meats retain more moisture, protein, and flavor, says co-owner Ruth Stedman. Arrives frozen. Evermore Pet Food: Beef, grainfree turkey, grain-free lamb, chicken recipes. “We’re obsessive about testing,” says co-owner Hanna Mandelbaum. “Using pastured eggs, we don’t have to supplement choline, an essential nutrient, like most companies do. Omega-3 levels went up when we opted for 100% grass-fed beef.” Includes wild Maine blueberries, which are naturally protected, and dandelion greens, a powerhouse food high in vitamins and minerals. Meals for cats are in development.

minimal plastic packaging. For dogs, choose from beef, pork, chicken, or turkey, delivered weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Ollie: Select from three different plans, including Some (25% of the dog’s diet), Mostly (50%), or All (100%). A starter pack lets your dog choose his favorite from beef, chicken, turkey, or lamb. Lids for leftovers and a serving scoop are provided. Store in the freezer, thaw in the fridge. Smalls: Healthy, real food meals formulated for cats from fresh chicken, turkey, or beef. High in protein and moisture content, and made from top quality ingredients.

The Farmer's Dog: Choose from turkey, beef, or pork for dogs. Custom-portioned and packed in dissolvable cornstarch insulation and dry ice; food stays cold until about 11 pm the day of delivery. If you have more than one dog, their names are included on each bag to prevent mixups.

Spot and Tango: Offers turkey and red quinoa with apple, egg, spinach, carrots, peas, and parsley. Beef with millet has similar ingredients plus cranberries, while lamb and brown rice includes blueberries. Meals are frozen, arrive on a flexible schedule, with an email reminder three days prior in case a change is needed.

Nom Nom: Recipes are developed by board-certified veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Justin Schmalberg, also the chief nutrition officer at the company. Pre-portioned meals, shipped cold, for both dogs and cats,

If you’re looking for a quick and convenient way to feed your dog or cat nutritious fresh food meals without having to leave home to shop, a meal kit delivery service might be for you.



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Title: Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life Author: John Gray Stress and anxiety are a regular part of our daily lives, causing many of us to forget what it feels like to be truly present and content. In his new book, Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life, philosopher and criticallyacclaimed author John Gray suggests that when it comes to releasing mental tension and living in the moment, cats are our greatest teachers. For centuries, philosophers have tried to find ways to make life less torturous. Spinoza emphasized self-determination as the path toward happiness, while Berdyaev — himself a cat lover — saw individuality as humankind’s greatest burden. Luckily for them, cats don’t have these concerns! They’re guided through life purely by their senses, and Gray believes we should aspire to be more like them. Feline Philosophy shares these ideas and more, emphasizing the message that cultivating a deeper relationship with our cats teaches us to not only love better, but to live better! Whether you love cats or philosophy (or both!), this new title (available in November) will make the perfect addition to your literary collection. Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Title: The Dog Lady of Mexico Author: Alison Sawyer Current Rose and Brad were enjoying a month-long honeymoon on a tropical island in Mexico, aware of the stray dogs but accepting them as part of the backdrop. But by some twist of fate, Rose soon found herself assisting with the creation of the island’s first spay and neuter clinic. Such is the start of Rose’s story, told so eloquently by Alison Sawyer Current in The Dog Lady of Mexico. This autobiographical book, in fact, follows Alison herself as depicted by Rose, on a journey to save as many neglected cats and dogs as possible. Eventually, these small but valiant efforts grew into the non-profit, Isla Animals — a clinic that offers free spays and neuters and low- to no-cost veterinary care, arranges adoptions, and runs educational initiatives to help whittle down the number of stray animals. Readers of The Dog Lady of Mexico will experience a world very different from their own, and will see firsthand the blood, sweat, tears, and yes, even laughter, that accompany such massive rescue efforts. To date, Alison has spayed or neutered more than 20,000 animals and promoted adoptions in Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Publisher: Alison Sawyer Current


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Be sure to visit event websites for updates regarding COVID-19.

EVENTS Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Online Course On-demand — Online Course What is energy, how does it affect us, and how can we use it to benefit animals and their people?

G​ ain business insights that you can put into practice tomorrow. Network and learn from other retailers. Connect with vendors to see the latest products your customers will want. New this year...more education for independent retailers!

This course teaches students the human and animal energy systems and how they are different. Students learn how to be present and grounded and to assess the energy system of animals and people through step-by-step instructions provided for each of the 12 techniques. These techniques are designed to clear, balance, stabilize and strengthen the energy system. Students watch and learn how the body responds to this energy therapy and how that impacts the health and well-being of animals and people.

Join us online for two days of in-depth conference programming for retailers and pet professionals to help grow your business.

This five-hour training includes: • 30 instructional videos • Complete 120-page comprehensive, interactive Level 1 workbook (delivered in a digital format) • Corresponding workbook reading sections noted with each video • Open book knowledge and understanding questionnaire • Electronic certificate of completion • Once the Level 1 online course has been completed, you will be eligible to move on to the Level 2 in-person course.

The Great Indy Pet Expo welcomes anyone who loves animals. Whether you’re a current pet parent or just thinking about bringing a companion animal into your home, the Great Indy Pet Expo is for you. It’s a great event for family entertainment, and as the largest pet-related trade show in the state, it’s a must for your holiday shopping list!

For more information: (303) 470-6572

For more information: Great Indy Pet Expo October 24–25, 2020 — Indianapolis, IN

For more information: National Pet Show 2020 October 31–November 1, 2020 — Birmingham, AL

C.A.R.E. 4 Paws’ 12th Annual Wags n’ Whiskers Festival October 5–11, 2020 — Online/Virtual This event — the largest animal festival on the Central Coast — features adoptable dogs and cats from close to 25 animal shelters and rescue groups, and showcases a wide range of local pet service providers and animal welfare groups. Festival-goers enjoy a great mix of activities, such as a “best in” show, a pawparazzi photo booth and red carpet, face painting, awesome raffle prizes — including a Disneyland escape for four — and performances by search and rescue heroes and many other local pets. Due to COVID-19, this year's event will be hosted virtually, but will be back with a live event on October 9, 2021. For more information:

Home of the cute and cuddly and the weird and wonderful! Whether you like dogs, cats, rats, rabbits, reptiles, ponies, fish, chickens or chinchillas (and lots more animals!) — the National Pet Show promises to be a great day out for any animal lover. See animal experts and celebrities, and get up close and personal to find out more about your favorite pet and how to take care of them. For more information: St. Louis Pet Expo October 31–November 1, 2020 — St. Charles, MO Come enjoy tons of exhibitors and demonstrations as well as free nail trims! There will be prize giveaways and live entertainment. You can adopt from one of the many rescue groups and also learn about pet care, volunteerism, grooming, training and much more!

Pittsburgh Pet Expo November 6–8, 2020 – Pittsburgh, PA Come out for the Pittsburgh Pet Expo and experience all the fun this event has to offer, including the Rescue Me, Rodeo Round-Up Grooming Competition, North American Diving Dogs Competition, National Dachshund Races, Luring 101, Steel City Reptile Expo, That Guy With The Birds, Santa Paws Pet Photos, Ask the Vet, and more than 200 vendor booths featuring fantastic pet products and services. For more information: Healing Touch for Animals® Level 1 Course November 13–15, 2020 — Denver, CO Introduction to Healing Touch: Friday / 6:00pm – 10:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Small Animal Class. Small Animal Class: Saturday / 9:00am – 6:00pm This class is a prerequisite of the Large Animal Class. Large Animal Class: Sunday / 9:00am – 6:00pm This class is required to apply to become a Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner. Working with the horses' large energy systems benefits students with greater energetic awareness and well-rounded experience. For more information: Darla Dayer (314) 566-4559 Novi Pet Expo November 13–15, 2020 – Novi, MI The Suburban Collection Showplace is proud to present the Annual Novi Pet Expo! This super fun family event is a celebration of all furry, feathered and finned family members, featuring a wide variety of pet rescues with adoptable pets from across the region. For more information:

Be sure to check out other Amazing Pet Expo events all year round at

Pet Expo Connections October 13–14, 2020 — Online/Virtual The pet industry gathers at Pet Connections Expo to buy and sell products, pitch and exchange ideas, meet with partners, and so much more. This is a trade-only event for pet professionals.

For more information: (800) 977-3609

Email your event to: Animal Wellness



SEPARATION ANXIETY IN DOGS IS A COMMON CONCERN POST-PANDEMIC As COVID-19 restrictions loosen and people return to work, many claim their dogs’ separation anxiety has become worse.

Extra time at home due to COVID-19 restrictions has meant more time to spend with our dogs. But what happens as we go back to work? A survey conducted by of 500 Canadian dog parents revealed that half have a canine companion with separation anxiety — and 10% say their dogs’ separation anxiety levels have increased since lockdown. On the bright side, 40% of respondents say they bonded even more closely to their dogs during lockdown, and one in three found their dogs helped them with pandemic-related stress. This isn’t surprising, given what we know about the positive impact of animals on our mental health. A closer bond is a beautiful thing, but it can also make leaving your pup at home even harder. And while 50% of respondents would love to take their dog to work, only 8% are lucky enough to have a dog-friendly workplace. So what’s a dog parent to do when returning to work? Certified dog trainer Nicole Ellis offers the following tips for alleviating separation anxiety in dogs: Start slow. Spend short periods of time away from your dog each day, starting with two or three minutes and slowly building up to longer times.


Animal Wellness


of dog caretakers have canines with separation anxiety


say their dogs’ separation anxiety levels have increased during lockdown

Don’t make a big deal when you leave or come home. By fussing over your dog when you leave and return, you’re potentially creating extra stress for the next time you leave. Keep it casual. Help your dog stay stimulated. Use toys, puzzle games, treats, and other things that help keep your dog stay mentally busy. Offer pleasant distractions. Play some music, white noise, or the TV to create noise in your house. Have it on when you leave. Animal-loving dogs may enjoy watching DogTV, which has the colors adjusted to attract dogs to the images on the screen. Try calming pheromones. Consider using a DAP diffuser, which releases dog-appeasing pheromones in the air. These don’t work for all dogs but may have a positive impact. Stick to a schedule. Before you go back to work, get your dog on a schedule that will be similar to when you actually return. This includes walks, mealtimes, and attention.

Feline Wellness



Feline Wellness

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