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Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine’s

Does This Food Make Me Look Fat? P. 20

Spring/Summer 2016


Owning an Exotic Animal

P. 26

Crate Training Your Dog P. 29

The Declawing Dilemma


P. 8

The Benefits of In-Home Veterinary Care P. 25

Why Does My Cat Need Dental Care? P. 27

Okanagan Pet Health Magazine

Pet Photo Contest

Check out these entries so far...


Ponch o

Bro dy

Lun a


Gus Gus


Waffle s

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Ha rmony

Submit your best amateur photo of your pet from now until July 31, 2016 Enter at: ohwmagazine.com/okanagan-pet-photo-contest/ Closing Date: July 31, 2016 Prize: Basket of Pet Goodies valued at approx. $150.00 a Feature in the Fall/Winter 2016 Issue of Okanagan Pet Health Magazine


Spring/Summer 2016 Volume 3 Issue 1

NATURAL HEALTH 8 The Declawing Dilemma How does this surgical procedure affect cats, and are there alternative solutions to the scratching problem? 10 The Missing Piece When it comes to dog training, one element can make or break your success. 12 Equine Metabolic Syndrome Learn about a concern that is fast becoming an epidemic in the horse population, for the same reasons that we have an obesity epidemic in people. 13 How Essential Oils Can Help Your Pet Ways to safely integrate essential oils into your pet’s daily routine, helping them to achieve optimal health. 15 Tellington TTouch for Your Pet Taught by over 2000 licensed practitioners around the world, this method is the first truly holistic training program for all animals. 16 Probiotics for My Pet? A daily dose of an effective probiotic supplement can do wonders for your pet’s overall health.

Why the Leash Walk Matters Pg. 18

NUTRITION 19 Dog Food Then and Now How commercial dog food came to be, and why you should use caution with Internet recipes. 20 Does This Food Make Me Look Fat? By far, obesity is the number one nutritional problem that small-animal veterinarians see.



22 Advice from a Professional Dog Groomer Answers to some commonly asked questions about the grooming process.

18 Why the Leash Walk Matters A well-mannered dog points to a relationship built on mutual respect and trust.

23 Fun in the Sun Tips for keeping your pet safe in the vehicle, around water, and during hot weather.


25 The Benefits of In-Home Veterinary Care When a vet makes house calls, both you and your pet reap the benefits. 26 Owning an Exotic Animal: Exciting or Just Plain Wrong? The exotic pet trade is second only to the drug trade in terms of illegal activity and dollars generated. 27 Why Does My Cat Need Dental Care? Without a doubt, proper dental care and good dental health help our pets lead healthier and longer lives. 29 Crate Training Your Dog One of the best things you can do for your dog is to teach him that the crate is a positive, safe place to be. 30 Buyer Beware Advice from the BC SPCA on finding a reputable breeder and recognizing a disreputable one.

Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 3

From the OHW Team

OHW Magazine

Okanagan’s Own Health & Wellness Magazine

PUBLISHER LMR PUBLISHING Leanne Christie info@ohwmagazine.com EDITOR Dianne Steinley editor@ohwmagazine.com ADVERTISING SALES Leanne Christie 250.503.7472 info@ohwmagazine.com Dianne Steinley 250.503.7723 editor@ohwmagazine.com Georgia Wilson 250.938.2314 georgia@ohwmagazine.com DISTRIBUTION & SOCIAL MEDIA Georgia Wilson 250.938.2314 georgia@ohwmagazine.com Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine published four times a year Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine published twice a year Okanagan Pet Health Magazine published twice a year All rights reserved. No part of OHW Magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising material. The views expressed in OHW Magazine are those of the respective contributors and not necessarily those of the publisher or staff. Although all reasonable attempts are made to ensure accuracy, the publisher does not assume any liability for errors or omissions anywhere in the publication or on the website. OHW Magazine reserves the rights to ads produced for advertisers. Publication Agreement #42490022 Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine is owned and operated by LMR Publishing. Return undeliverable to LMR Publishing, 5816 Tern Place, Vernon, BC V1H 1R2. Phone: 250.503.7472 Email: info@ohwmagazine.com Website: www.ohwmagazine.com Subscription: For your free copy send your mailing address to info@ohwmagazine.com or visit the website at www.ohwmagazine.com

Leanne Christie Owner/Publisher Advertising Sales


Dianne Steinley Editor Advertising Sales

wner, guardian, parent. However we label ourselves, our “other” family members occupy a special place in our hearts. It is dogs who are commonly referred to as “man’s best friend,” but whatever the species of pet in our home, or in the field or stable, it falls upon us to keep them safe and well. Pick any article in this magazine and you are sure to find something that perhaps you didn’t know before. Why, for example, is obesity becoming a significant problem in the pet population? What is equine metabolic syndrome? If they’re so skilled at taking care of themselves, why do cats need dental care? And when the natural urge to scratch has them eyeing your furniture, are there alternatives to declawing? Read about the benefits of probiotics and essential oils, and discover how a veterinarian’s house calls can make a difference to both you and your pet. With shocking accounts of puppy mills making the headlines recently, learn how to distinguish between reputable and disreputable breeders. Have you ever stopped to consider the convenience of commercial dog food and how it came to be? You can find out the history here. As well, you may be surprised by the statement that you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet regarding

Georgia Wilson Distribution Social Media/Sales

homemade pet food recipes. (Or, more likely, you’re not surprised at all.) Four separate articles address different aspects of dog training, yet all share the common theme of understanding the dog’s perspective of the world. Continuing that theme, another article will also give you a better understanding of the grooming experience from both the groomer’s and the dog’s point of view. The lineup is rounded out with a Q&A on horse leasing, BC regulations for exotic animal ownership, and summertime safety tips for your pooch. As always, our article contributors and advertisers deserve sincere thanks for helping make this magazine possible. Please thank them for their support by supporting them in turn. On a final note, we’re excited to announce our first ever Okanagan pet photo contest, and we encourage you to enter! Between now and July 31, 2016, submit your best amateur photo of your pet for the chance to win some great swag and be featured in the Okanagan Pet Health fall 2016 issue. Full contest details are available at http://ohwmagazine.com/ okanagan-pet-photo-contest/. We will be posting photos regularly on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ OkanaganHealthWellnessMagazine) so be sure to check often for a healthy dose of cuteness! n

Stay Connected with OHW Magazine

Cover: Pet obesity has become the number one problem that small-animal veterinarians see.

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ohwmagazine.com www.ohwmagazine.com


Letter to the Editor Dear OHW Magazine, Our puppy is a few months old and her coat has grown in nice and thick. Now that the weather is getting warmer we want to take her to a groomer but we don’t know how to choose the right one for our pup. Everyone we talk to has a different opinion. What exactly can we expect, especially when the whole grooming experience is new for our dog as well as for us? Larry, Salmon Arm Dear Larry, Just as with personal care for us humans, it’s not unusual to hear a range of answers when we ask for recommendations, but do ask anyway. Ultimately you will find a groomer who is the right fit both for your dog and for yourselves. Our Spring/Summer issue of Okanagan Pet Health tackles this topic with answers from a professional groomer to some commonly asked questions such as yours. After reading the article you will have a much better understanding of how things work from both ends of the brushes, clippers, and blow dryers.

Michelle Bell owns Indulgent Doggilama Bakery & Boutique in Kelowna. She became a certified animal nutritionist through the University of New South Wales, Australia, graduating with extensive training in all aspects of pet nutrition. Michelle is also a certified executive chef for humans. With this combined knowledge she brings a high level of care and skill to the table when producing products for your dog. Visit www.indulgentdoggilama.ca or phone 778-4841434.

Cheryl Canning has been grooming for over 20 years and has owned Yuppie Puppy for the last 10 years. One of the longest running grooming shops in Kelowna, Yuppie Puppy has earned a fantastic reputation with a wonderful clientele. Your pet’s needs always come first. Cheryl is also a certified veterinary assistant and has a degree in animal sciences. Call 250-860-2656 for an appointment.

Moira Drosdovech, DVM, graduated from veterinary college in 1987, worked in Vancouver and then in 1990 moved to Kelowna, where she purchased a vet practice. In 1997, her practice philosophy took a holistic turn. She sold the Rutland Pet Hospital in 1998 and took a professional course in veterinary homeopathy. In 2000, Dr. Drosdovech started Pawsitive Veterinary Care, a practice focused on holistic care, which she is passionate about. For more information on her holistic approach, visit www. pawsitivevetcare.com.

Aileen & Dan Hall, after extensive careers in construction distribution sales, took a leap into a passion they both hold near and dear, the pet specialty industry. The Halls are blessed to have been pet guardians to six dogs, five cats, four birds, and more fish than you can imagine. Their latest family member, Tonto, is a handsome, delightful, and energetic addition. Aileen and Dan wish to thank everyone who has supported them during their first year as the new franchisees of Pet Planet in Vernon, and invite you to stop by their Vernon Square location.

Did you know you can subscribe to any of the following magazines: Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine Okanagan Pet Health Magazine Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine It’s easy - go online to ohwmagazine.com/subscribe Subscription options include: Mailed to your door step, an online link sent to your email or call 250-503-7472. www.ohwmagazine.com

Carey Keith, DVM, completed her Bachelor of Science degree at UBC and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University. She began her veterinary career in Vancouver and within a few years moved with her husband and children to the Okanagan. Dr. Keith purchased Central Animal Hospital with Dr. Trinity Smith in 2009. In 2015 they designed, built, and moved into the new home of Central Animal Hospital at 1901 Kalamalka Lake Road, Vernon. This state-of-the-art hospital allows them to grow and build the practice to its potential. Dr. Keith’s special areas of interest include oncology, soft-tissue surgery, and internal medicine.

Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 5

Contributors Shelly Korobanik, certified personal trainer and professional dog trainer, is the owner of Pooch Partners®, a business that combines her passion for fitness and her love of dogs to promote outdoor activities for people with their pooch. Need help training your dog? Pooch Partners offers in-person obedience session and, starting this spring, will also offer online obedience training options so you can train your pooch at your own pace in the comfort of your home! Visit www.poochpartners.ca or email bark@poochpartners.ca.

Stephanie Royston, DVM, worked in veterinary clinics in Kamloops, Chase, and Lake Country before buying The Visiting Vet in September 2015. She really likes getting to know her furry clients and their owners better, using the house-call approach to veterinary medicine. She enjoys meeting people and their pets all over the North Okanagan. Dr. Steph lives in Silver Creek and is owned by five rescued cats: Oreo, Koala, Runty, Arrow, and Ninjie. Go to www.thevisitingvet.ca for more information.

Andrea Lee-Lauridsen owns Healthy Spot Pet Nutrition & Supply with her husband, John. She has had a personal interest in pet nutrition for over fifteen years and has volunteered with many animal welfare groups in Vernon, BC and Alberta and worked for many years at the Cochrane & Area Humane Society. For pet health solutions visit Healthy Spot at 3115 48th Avenue in Vernon or online at www.healthyspot.ca.

Amanda MacCormack has been in the equestrian industry for over 20 years. She has competed successfully at the provincial level in the hunter and jumper divisions. She and her husband, Mac, have a busy life with horses and their four daughters aged 7 to 16 years. In 2006, Amanda and Mac built Cattail Creek Farms, a Kelowna boarding, training, and lesson facility. They strive to have a nurturing and confidence-building atmosphere at the barn, creating a welcoming place that can take you from never having been on a horse to a confident, successful competitor. Visit www.cattailcreekfarms.com.

Debbi McArthur is a Certified Balanced Dog Trainer who specializes in aggressive and reactive dogs. Owner of Prairieburn K9 Academy in Kelowna, she has worked with over 600 dogs and had the opportunity to work with some of the top dog trainers in North America including Cesar Millan, Heather Beck and George Cockrell. Debbi is a professional member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and Canadian Association of Pet Dog Trainers and provides workshops, private training, board and train rehabilitation programs for families and much more. Visit www.prairieburn.ca or phone 778214-6964. Britt Mills, DVM, graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1989. She has also completed the Veterinary Acupuncture course, the Canadian Animal Chiropractic Certification Program, as well as other programs in craniosacraltherapy, applied kinesiology, prolotherapy and Tui-Na (a form of physiotherapy). Dr. Mills has the unique ability to combine the best of traditional and alternative medicine to provide the highest level of care possible for her patients. She can be reached at Mills Veterinary Services in Armstrong, at 250-546-8860 or through www. millsvet.com.

Do you have an idea for a story? Are you a health professional who’s interested in contributing to Okanagan Pet Health Magazine? If so contact us at info@ohwmagazine.com

6 Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine

Christine Schwartz knew during her first Tellington TTouch clinic with Linda TellingtonJones in her native Germany almost 40 years ago that this was how she wanted to interact with animals. She has been working at the Icelandic Horse Farm and Tellington TTouch Training in Vernon BC since 1979 and expanded her knowledge from working with horses to dogs and cats. With her canine companion Benson, Christine has pursued an interest in dog agility, animal communication and helping dogs to become good canine citizens through understanding and addressing their needs. Tahn Towns grew up in her father’s veterinary practice where common sense and supporting the body’s natural healing mechanisms were first and foremost. After owning a holistic clinic and massage business for many years, she became interested in probiotics for animals and has been studying this area since 2004. For more information visit www. mypetprobiotics.com.

Brigitte Thom, a certified Quantum-Touch® practitioner, is passionate about helping her clients attain optimal health. QuantumTouch® is the most simple and effective way to run energy with amazing results for humans and animals. Brigitte provides relief from headaches, sciatic, back, and general pain, increased relaxation, reduced need of pain medication, reduced anxiety and stress, enhancement of spiritual development, and more. Her studio is on 30th Avenue in Vernon, above the Towne Theatre. Free consultations are available. For an appointment, call or text 250-503-6493 or email b_thom@ telus.net. Brigitte also offers events and information about moringa oleifera and Améo essential oils, 100% clinical grade. Watch for upcoming events at www.facebook.com/ QuantumHealingStudio.


Your Questions Answered

Local experts answer our readers’ questions...


What does it mean to lease a horse?

By Amanda MacCormack


he leasing arrangement is a formal rental agreement between an owner and a rider for a horse’s use. The rider pays to the owner either a fixed fee or a portion of the horse’s expenses in exchange for riding time on that horse. In the typical full lease, the rider takes over all of the horse’s expenses and care responsibilities, and in a typical partial lease, the owner remains primarily responsible for these items. Leasing allows a rider to pursue equestrian interests without making a full-time, long-term commitment. Why lease instead of buy? Leasing allows you to experience the joys and responsibilities of horse ownership without having to incur the significant cost outlay of outright purchase and without having to deal with certain liabilities. During your scheduled lease times, you will be responsible for grooming, riding, and caring for the horse as if it were your own. A lease gives you a chance to hang out at the stable, get to know other riders, and get in some much needed riding time without the restrictions of formal lessons. What is the difference between a full and partial lease? A full lease means that you are the only one riding and working with the horse, and you will typically have access to the horse and stable six or seven days a week. In a full lease you treat the horse as if it were your own, and are responsible for all of the boarding costs along with routine veterinary and farrier care. While the financial burden may seem like a downside to leasing, it gives you a chance to see what these types of services will cost you when you do buy a horse. A partial lease allows you access to the horse on set days of the week. Partial leases are common in lesson barns, where the leased horses are used for lessons on the days not included in your lease. The share-lease situation is less expensive than leasing a horse completely, but still allows you three days per week to work with the horse. In the part lease, boarding expenses are split in exchange for the lessee caring for and riding the horse 50 percent of the time. What costs are involved? Costs will vary from stable to stable, but typically range from approximately $400 a month for a partial lease to approximately $800 a month for a full lease. Some discounts may be available if you wish to clean your own paddock and if your horse is outside board only.


What kind of commitment is required? Whether you decide on a full or partial lease, you will likely be asked for a minimum six-month commitment. If leasing from a lesson barn, you may also be required to take a program of one to two lessons per week (highly recommended to see to best improvement of skills and confidence in the rider). What age or skill level is required? If your child demonstrates a sustainable interest in horses and you find that weekly riding lessons do not provide enough “horse time” for your child, consider a full or partial lease of a horse. Ask your child’s instructor or trainer to recommend an appropriate horse or pony and suitable leasing situation for you. There are many safe and suitable horses and ponies to lease. If one is not available at the barn, your instructor will look outside the barn to find one. Children under the age of 10 must have a parent present to help supervise with grooming and tacking up the horse and to keep an eye on them during riding time. n

CATTAIL CREEK FARMS Kelowna’s Premier Boarding & Training Facility Mac & Amanda MacCormack 3830 Casorso Rd. Kelowna, BC Tel/Text: 250-718-3585 www.cattailcreekfarms.com

Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 7

Natural Health

The Declawing Dilemma

Faced with destructive scratching, cat owners may consider this to be a once-and-for-all fix. But at what cost to the cat, and are there other, more humane answers? By Dianne Steinley (adapted with permission from information provided by Lindsey Veterinary Hospital) ats make great pets. They love the body to be picked up by members need to leave his mark by scratching, to play, they love to cuddle of the same species, causing them to and the most usual target is your when you’re watching TV or alter their behaviour. furniture. sleeping, and they purr for no reason Cats secrete pheromones from Faced with this problem, many people other than being near you. But they superficial glands in the skin of the consider declawing surgery. Many also love to scratch. Unfortunately, the paws through the process of kneading. veterinarians believe declawing is a things they love to scratch are often The message is invisible to all painful and unnecessary surgery and the legs of your antique table, your creatures and is undetectable unless refuse to do it for humane reasons. upholstered sofa, or your expensive you have the right equipment (a super- Instead, they advocate training your stereo speakers. And no amount of sensitive nose) and are close enough. cat to use a scratching post. However, reprimanding or pulling out your hair in A competitor coming up to the site will some veterinarians still believe frustration seems to make them stop. see the scratch marks and then smell declawing is a safe procedure. But don’t despair; there are some the message: another cat has already things you can do. claimed this place. One thing’s for Declawing Facts Scratching is easier to deal with if sure; the signal is not a friendly one. • The surgery. The procedure for you understand why cats scratch in Scratching has additional functions, declawing involves more than the first place. In the wild, cats scratch too. You might think your cat scratches just removal of the nail. It involves around their immediate environment to sharpen his claws, but more likely removing the first digit—which is to signal their presence to other cats it provides your cat with a form of equivalent to amputating a human and to claim the area in question. The physical therapy for the muscles and finger at the first joint. marking takes two forms: visual and tendons of his paws. It also assists in • Intensity of pain. Many cats olfactory. The visual mark is in the form shucking off old nail husks. recovering from this surgery of clawing marks and is so obvious that suffer from extreme pain as they even we humans can recognize it (not The Domestic Situation wake up. In fact, declawing is that we appreciate its significance). Healthy and natural to your cat, considered such a painful surgery The olfactory mark is more subtle, scratching can become a real problem that it has been used in studies to involving the release of pheromones. for the owner. Even your fairly secure investigate methods of pain relief. These are substances secreted from housecat will occasionally feel the • Duration of pain. In most cases


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Natural Health

the pain appears to subside after 24 to 36 hours. However, during that time your cat may have difficulties walking and using the litterbox. In other instances the pain lasts considerably longer, especially if there are surgical complications. Adverse consequences. Some cats are still hobbling around years later, though the majority eventually return to normal, as far as we can tell. Litterbox use after the surgery. Your cat might find the litter painful on his tender paws. Vets often recommend putting torn-up newspaper in the litterbox to prevent litter particles from adhering to the wounds. This practice sometimes leads to litterbox aversion and subsequently inappropriate elimination of urine and/or feces. Behavioural change. Cats may be more likely to bite instead of swat with their paws once they have been declawed. There have been many reports of an increase in aggression.

Alternatives To Declawing There are several good options to declawing. These take the form of training your cat to use scratching posts, deterring them from areas they frequently scratch, trimming the nails, or using nail covers. Scratching Posts To persuade your cat to use a scratching post, you have to understand some basics: • Keep one extra scratching post in the household. If you have four cats, keep five posts. Once the problem is under control, those posts that are not being used can be removed. • Each scratching post should be tall enough for your cat to stretch up to its full height without being able to reach the top—about three feet high. • The scratching post should be steady. No self-respecting cat will entertain the thought of using a post that rocks or falls over. • Use the correct material. One of the essential functions of scratching is www.ohwmagazine.com

to leave a visible mark. Fabric that doesn’t tear or fray will be of no use. Burlap or rope is a favourite with many cats. Choose a location that is attractive to your cat. Most people try to hide scratching posts from view. This completely negates the whole purpose of scratching for the cat. Position posts in obvious areas at first, preferably near scratching sites that your cat has selected for himself, then gradually repositioned to less obvious places later.

Deterrents Several deterrents are available and may help. • Physical. If a particularly valuable piece of furniture must be protected during training, doublesided sticky tape or heavy gauge plastic sheeting can be applied to furniture to alter its texture and to serve as a deterrent. • Pheromonal. Feliway®, a pheromone-containing proprietary spray, has been touted as a repellent for furniture-scratching cats. The idea is that the

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Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 9

Natural Health

pheromone, a natural scent signal and, in this case, an extract of feline facial secretions, will alter the significance of the previously scratch-marked area. Environmental measures. Territorial stress may aggravate marking. If there are squabbles between cohabiting cats, or if a dominant or anxious cat is constantly aggravated by neighbourhood intruders, you should address these territorial issues first.

The Missing Piece

Nail Covers

A few years ago an excellent product was introduced to humanely reduce damage from furniture scratching. Soft Paws™ (or Soft Claws) are plastic nail caps that can be super-glued to a cat’s claws following a preliminary nail trim. The results are often spectacular, with damage to furniture practically nonexistent while the nail caps remain in place. The manufacturers recommend a complete replacement every month or so, but replacing lost nails individually as they fall off also works (and involves far less work). Nail Trims Damage to furniture can be reduced if the cat’s nails are kept well trimmed. It helps to learn how to do this yourself and to have a sharp pair of nail trimmers made specifically for cats (don’t use human trimmers). It is sufficient to remove the sharp points so that the nail ends are squared, but take care not to cut into the “quick,” the vascular, pink and sensitive part of the nail. Ask your veterinarian or technician to teach you how and to recommend some good nail clippers. n

Energy is a combination of intentions and emotions, and the state of mind we project will determine our dog’s behaviour. By Debbi McArthur


og training draws on many great tools and techniques. However, one very important piece of the puzzle is missing—one that can make or break your success. What is this missing piece? It’s our energy. Every time we interact with our dog, we are teaching him and telling him who we are. This is done on a verbal level (sit, down, stay) and, more importantly, on a non-verbal level through our body language and energy. The biggest question I receive, though, is: What is energy? Energy is a combination of your intentions and emotions. For example, if you want to take your dog for a walk (intention) but you are nervous and anxious because the neighbour’s dog may be outside (emotions), then your energy will be unstable and so will your dog’s behaviour. Your dog may pull, lunge, or bark on the walk. If, on the other hand, you want to take your dog for a walk (intention), and you feel confident and calm (emotions), then your energy will be stable and so will your dog’s behaviour. Your dog will feel safe and protected so he won’t feel the need to lunge and pull on the leash to protect you. To him you are a team, but if he doesn’t feel you

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Natural Health will lead and protect the team, he feels forced to step up into the leadership role and protect the team himself. This is unfortunately where dogs make the wrong decisions because most are not programmed to lead. Everything begins with us; it’s not about the dog. We are the source of our dog’s calm state of mind, which includes how we approach our dog, our energy, and our own state of mind. If our energy is anxious, fearful, nervous, angry, frustrated, or any other negative, your dog will reflect that energy. As well, if you are inconsistent with rules and structure, your dog will test you to see what he can get away with. If your energy is calm and confident and you are consistent with teaching your dog, you will earn your dog’s respect and trust. Your dog will then follow you and look to you for guidance.

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Everything begins with us; it’s not about the dog. We are the source of our dog’s calm state of mind which includes how we approach our dog...


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So where do we start? First, we have to respect our dog for being exactly that—a dog—and understand that dogs see themselves as animals first, then species (dog), then breed, and then name. As humans, we see our dogs as name first, then breed, then species, and lastly animal. If we can shift our thinking toward our dogs in this aspect, we’ll come a long way in understanding them. As animals, they communicate through energy. That is why you see videos online of different species hanging out together that you would never expect to see. They share the same energy and are drawn toward each other. Next is species, where you’ll see animals together in packs or herds with their own kind. The breed really doesn’t matter to dogs; however, you’ll notice that certain breeds share characteristics. The German Shepherds may be herding sheep, where a Terrier may be hunting. The name doesn’t matter to them and it’s really just a noise that they hear from their owner to get their attention. The good news is that dogs are never too young or too old to be helped so that they can live a calm and confident life with their owners. It’s natural for a dog to live in a calm state of mind—and it’s important for us to remember that it’s entirely within our control. n www.ohwmagazine.com

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Natural Health

Equine Metabolic Syndrome As is the case with many health conditions, the key is to focus on prevention. By Britt Mills, DVM


quine metabolic syndrome is fast becoming an epidemic in the horse population, and it’s for the same reasons that we have an obesity epidemic in people in North America. Modern horses get too many calories, too many simple carbohydrates, and too little exercise. Unfortunately for horses, that’s a bit of a deadly cocktail because it can make them more susceptible to laminitis, a serious and potentially fatal inflammation of the feet. To understand metabolic syndrome a bit better and to get an appreciation for why it is becoming more common, it is necessary to look at the ancestral diet and exercise patterns of horses and compare them with modern horse management. Horses evolved as grazers that travelled up to 80 kilometres per day, feeding up to 16 hours per day on up to 50 different species of native grasses. Contrast that with confinement to pastures, paddocks or even stalls— much less exercise for the horse and much more psychological stress. Add in concentrated processed feeds

Signs of metabolic syndrome include unusual fatty deposits on the neck, rump, and above the eyes.

(the horsey equivalent of Big Macs) and pasture that has been sown with grass species designed to maximize weight gain in cows, and you have the perfect recipe for metabolic problems. The signs of metabolic syndrome are fairly easy to pick out, even for a beginner. The horse is usually an “easy keeper,” meaning it gains weight on much less food than expected. They are often but not always fat and have unusual fatty deposits on their necks, rump and above their eyes. If they have had episodes of laminitis, the growth rings on their feet will be wider at the heels and their feet may have an abnormal shape with an excessively long toe. These horses are suffering

Is Your Pet Having… Issues? Gassy • Frequent vomiting • Picky eater • Low energy Difficulty passing stools • Eats feces or lots of grass Diarrhea • Chronic skin problems • No appetite Difficulty holding weight • Smelly • Rough coat Doesn’t travel well • On antibotics or other drugs —Your pet might benefit from digestive probiotics— Turn to page 16 to learn about pet probiotics www.mypetprobiotics.com 12 Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine

from insulin resistance. Excessive consumption of sugars found in forage grasses and grains causes a hormonal cascade that results in the inflammation and severe hoof pain characteristic of laminitis. Signs of laminitis most often affect the front feet and include lying down a lot, shifting weight from one front foot to another, a stiff-legged slow gait, rocking back onto the hind feet, especially on turns, and reluctance to pick up the feet. The inflammation in the hooves can reduce the soft tissue support for the coffin bone within the hoof, allowing it to rotate downward. These symptoms are a veterinary emergency and prompt veterinary care can reduce the chances of permanent lameness or even death. Typical veterinary care for an episode of laminitis would involve taking the horse off pasture, using medications to manage pain and inflammation, and providing thick, soft bedding. Taping builder’s Styrofoam to the hooves can make the affected horse much more comfortable. Corrective trimming or shoeing is usually called for. Given how serious this condition is, it makes much more sense to focus on prevention. Lots of exercise will promote a trim figure and improve insulin sensitivity. Most of these www.ohwmagazine.com

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How Essential Oils Can Help Your Pet

Horses with metabolic syndrome are susceptible to laminitis, a serious inflammation of the feet.

horses cannot have unlimited access to green grass. Certain conditions cause grasses to store excessive sugar. If you remember that plants store sugars for their own use for reproduction, growth, and to help them survive in times of stress, and that they make sugars from the action of sunlight on the leaves, it is easier to figure out when sugars will be high and pastures may be unsafe: • Sugars are lower in the morning before daybreak and increase during the day, so limited early-morning turnout is best. • Sugars are high when the seed heads are developing, so early lush spring grass can be a problem. • Grass that is stressed by drought or frost will store sugars, resulting in surprisingly high sugar levels in late summer and early winters. • Hay that is cut in the early morning will have lower sugars. The hay can be another source of sugars and the only way to determine the sugar level in your hay is to have it tested. Many labs will do this for a reasonable fee. Soaking hay in water for an hour before feeding can reduce sugars dramatically. Avoid grains and processed food for these horses; hay and mineral only will do. Don’t forget that carrots and apples can be a significant source of sugars! Using mesh slow feeders and grazing muzzles can reduce calorie intake while still allowing grazing time. Weight loss is important but crash diets can make your horse really ill. Herbs and supplements that can help with insulin resistance are magnesium, chromium, vanadium, cinnamon, and rhodiola. Herbal supplements for an acute episode of laminitis can include meadowsweet (used for pain but don’t use if your vet puts your horse on painkillers), gynostemma, AAKG (arginine alpha ketoglutarate), L-glutamine, fenugreek, and gingko. Homeopathic remedies can be helpful but should be tailored to your horse’s individual needs and constitution, so consult with a trained homeopath. Acupuncture can be very helpful to reduce pain and normalize circulation in the hooves. Metabolic syndrome can be frustrating, but attention to diet, supplements, exercise, and integrative veterinary care can create a rewarding and successful outcome. n www.ohwmagazine.com

Providing your animals with quality essential oils can show that you care for their wellbeing and can provide you with peace of mind. By Brigitte Thom t’s common for us to go to the veterinarian when there’s something wrong with our pets, and in many cases, this is the right action to take. However, essential oils may be used to address some common pet problems. These oils offer a natural alternative to many commercially produced remedies, some of which have not-so-pleasant side effects. Did you know that there are safe ways to integrate essential oils into your pet’s daily routine, helping them to achieve optimal health? If you are considering this treatment option, it is recommended that you discuss with your holistic veterinarian the essential oils you are planning to use.


Never Use Undiluted Essential Oils with Your Pets Essential oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil or sunflower oil. External application of undiluted essential oils can lead to skin sensitivity, inflammation, and dermal damage. If swallowed, undiluted essential oils can irritate the lining of the mouth and throat as well as the stomach and intestines. Ingestion over a prolonged period can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and in some cases, kidney and liver damage. To avoid accidental ingestion through licking, always keep bottles out of your pet’s reach. A Word about Essential Oils and Cats Cats are particularly at risk for reactions to essential oils. Because they use a different system in their liver to detoxify, they are extremely sensitive to essential oils that contain polyphenolic compounds. These are so-called hot oils like cinnamon, oregano, clove, wintergreen, thyme, and birch. Avoid using these oils, as well as melaleuca oil, with your cat. How to Use Essential Oils with Dogs The key to using essential oils successfully is to understand your dog’s responses. If you work with an aromatherapist for animals, they will make a list of essential oils that suit the symptoms and problem Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 13

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Essential Oils for Arthritis Arthritis is as painful to dogs as it is to people, so be gentle if treating this condition. Dogs generally love to be massaged, and a dog with arthritis will both enjoy and benefit from the following treatment: 4 drops of rosemary 2 drops of lavender 3 drops of ginger Dilute the essential oils in 15mL of fractionated coconut oil or sunflower oil; depending on the size of the dog, you may have to make more than one batch of the mixture to accommodate

the larger breeds. Try to get the oil onto the affected joints by working through the coat and into the skin. Starting at the back, massage the oil into the muscles in rhythmic movements. Cover the legs and the vertebrae with the essential oils mixture. Don’t worry about being messy, as your dog will soon lick off the excess oil, but the right amount of essential oils will have penetrated the skin to get into the affected tissue and bones. There is an added benefit through the licking, as it will also reach

Mix all ingredients well and sprinkle powder onto the blanket that they sleep on, or onto a sheet they rest on in a car, or alternatively, if you are gone for a while, put it on a t-shirt of yours. The calming effect of the oils and the smell of your t-shirt may relax your pet and assure them you will come back.

Lavender oil along with other oils can help with arthritis and anxiety.

the digestive system, which will help them to heal from the inside out. Essential Oils for Anxiety The following treatment is great for calming dogs that have separation anxiety, fear of new places, or of other animals or people. 7 drops of frankincense or vetiver 8 drops of lavender 4 drops of clary sage 3 drops of sweet marjoram

The Difference in the Quality of Essential Oils There is a big difference between clinical grade and therapeutic essential oils. The biggest problem with essential oils is that they may contain contaminates or adulterants that give rise to more serious issues. For this reason, you should only use essential oils from reputable companies and verify the quality of oils before using them. n Please note: All the information in this article is strictly for education purposes only and is not intended to replace the professional advice or treatment of your pet by a certified veterinarian.

Dilute the essential oils in 120mL of fractionated coconut oil or sunflower

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oil. Take three drops of the essential oil blend between your hands and apply it on the edge of your dog’s ears, between toes or under the “armpits.” Use this blend topically only. You can also make a calming essential oil powder, combining eight drops of oil with one cup of your favourite powder mix (rice flour, baking soda, or cornstarch): 3 drops of lavender 2 drops of bergamot 2 drops of clary sage 1 drop of ylang ylang

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you are describing to them. The aromatherapist will then let the dog smell the different oils and observe which oils your dog is most attracted to. You can also try this yourself. Offer the scent of each oil separately to get the best results. Dilute one to three drops of the selected oil in about 5 mL of fractionated coconut oil or sunflower oil. Never allow the dog to lick undiluted oil off the bottle; instead you may put a little diluted oil on your hand and allow them to lick it off. The dog will choose the oil that benefits them the most. Do not use an essential oil that causes your dog to move away from you or out of range— such response could be a sign of discomfort. Always respect your animal’s wishes when it comes to scents. If your dog doesn’t like the smell, don’t use that particular essential oil. It is the same for us humans. Imagine being sprayed with a fragrance that offends us with no other way of cleaning it off except by licking. Remember, a dog’s sense of smell is hundreds of times better than ours.


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Tellington TTouch for Your Pet This training method respects the animal as a sentient being and acknowledges the connection between physical, mental, and emotional balance. By Christine Schwartz


he Tellington TTouch Method is one of the few, and certainly the first, truly holistic training programs for all animals. It was developed over 30 years ago by world-renowned horsewoman Linda Tellington-Jones as a training method for horses, but expanded to dogs, cats, humans, and other animals soon afterwards. While some people may have the perception that it’s just bodywork, the reality is that TTouch is a whole system of bodywork, leading exercises, and philosophy that has been used by amateur pet owners and professional trainers, groomers, and veterinarians to improve performance, behaviour, and overall well-being, all while enhancing their relationship and trust. Tellington TTouch respects the animal as a sentient being and acknowledges the connection between physical, mental, and emotional balance. Two common expressions among instructors are “Change your mind, change your dog” and “Change the posture, change the behaviour.” This seems abstract or perhaps basic; however, it reflects how behaviours are interpreted and how difficult it is to remove a label once it is applied. Philosophically, the Method is more interested in looking to root causes of behaviour rather than labelling the individual issues. Once a label of “stubborn,” “dominant,” or “aggressive” is placed, it can be very difficult to remove and is completely unhelpful. It is also important to consider context whenever we think about an individual. A dog that may act dominant in one situation may be completely different in another one that he is not as familiar with. Improving their balance, or selfcarriage, generally means dogs feel


Even cats are happy TTouch recipients. Slow and steady ear strokes help with digestive issues, stress and shock.

safer. When they feel safer they can practise self-control, and when they have self-control they can go beyond their instinctive reflexes and act, instead of react, to new situations. Tension patterns, which are changes in the dog’s coat, swirls that suddenly appear, different muscle development from one side to the other, changes in the way the dog carries its tail or holds its ears, are strong indicators of discomfort in the dog’s body that students are taught to notice. The bodywork and leading exercises complement and support one another. Along with each

component is a philosophy of mutual respect, awareness, understanding, and compassion that guides every exercise. To the passerby, the bodywork may look similar to massage and stretching, but it is actually a very gentle, non-invasive set of exercises that can make profound and lasting changes. Instead of directly affecting the musculoskeletal system, as one would with massage, it affects the nervous system, working down to the cellular level. Incorporating inspirations from the Feldenkrais Method®, all of the exercises look to reduce tension, bracing and fear of pain through simple, non-habitual movements of the limbs and skin. As any animal goes through life, injury or circumstance will create patterns of bracing or holding that are not in ideal function. These compensation patterns become normal habit long after the event that created the need for it. TTouch bodywork is an excellent tool to help dogs release and find more functional ways of posture and find overall balance. It is not always enough to simply release tension; you also need to change the habits that

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Natural Health created the tension in the first place. This is why the groundwork exercises are so important. The groundwork exercises and leading positions are designed to support a bio-mechanically healthy posture through specific, mindful movements. A healthy posture goes a long way to reduce behavioural issues and increase a dog’s self-confidence. A harness with two points of contact helps to keep the dog in balance and breaks the pulling patterns. Body wraps bring awareness to the dog’s hindquarters, raising confidence.

Ground exercises teach the dog to move in balance and with a more relaxed posture. The handlers are giving the dog lots of space to help him regain his self-confidence.

From these leading positions, groundwork utilizes the “playground for higher learning,” a series of simple obstacles that encourage balance, coordination, concentration, and trust. The “labyrinth” is an example of one of these exercises—walking through the labyrinth activates all four hemispheres of the brain for both dog and handler. Other configurations of poles, bridges, tires, and different surfaces are all part of the playground. One of the most important aspects of using these obstacles is how we approach them when a dog is not comfortable or willing to navigate them. When dogs are pushed to a point of extreme stress, learning is blocked. By keeping a training session low stress, without pain or fear of pain, a dog is better able to think and retain information, reducing the need for repetition and copious treats. Tellington TTouch is taught by over 2000 licensed practitioners around the world and the Canadian headquarters are right in the Okanagan, just outside Vernon and run by the founder’s sister, Robyn Hood. n

Probiotics for My Pet?

What is a probiotic … and why does my pet need it? By Tahn Towns he term “probiotic” is used to refer to organisms that support a biotic (biological) community. To clarify what “pro”biotics are, it helps to take a look at what they are not. The opposite of probiotics would be “anti” biotics (anti-microbials, anti-bacterials, disinfectants, and fungicides). A good-quality digestive probiotic supplements organisms that nurture the microbes found in a healthy digestive tract. But why is this important? Many beneficial micro-organisms (plant yeasts, bacteria, fungus) are abundant in a healthy, natural environment and form Mother Nature’s digestive probiotics. Animals are continually ingesting these organisms as they dig in the dirt, drink from puddles, munch on grass, and eat freshly caught food. Problems can begin when our pets are kept indoors, raised in kennels, eat unnatural diets, and are exposed to many things that disturb the healthy gut microbes. These microbes, commonly referred to as gut microbiota, are important. The latest research shows that


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keeping the gut microbiota healthy is paramount. Unhealthy gut microbiota means an unhealthy animal. Current research has divided the gut microbiota into two groups. The first microbial group is formed in the first few months of the baby animal’s life and starts with the trip through the vaginal canal at birth. After the birth, baby animals continue to populate their gut microbiota by licking and chewing on things, physical contact with their parents, littermates, and other animals, eating weeds, grass, and dirt, drinking water from puddles and streams, eating live food (mice, grasshoppers, and the like), and nibbling on other animals’ stools. Nursing and not being rushed to eat processed food also helps create stronger gut microbiota. Milk supplies specialized microbe food, and its composition is continually changing as the baby animal ages. This ensures that the transfer of nutrients to the gut microbes keeps pace with the baby’s maturing gut microbes. All of these things contribute to building the baby animal’s healthy gut microbial profile www.ohwmagazine.com

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and new research shows that even proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole) negatively affect the healthy microbiota populations in the digestive tract. The gut microbes that do recover from drug bombardments take weeks and sometimes months to repopulate their colonies Certain events such as weaning, mental stress, diet changes, travel, antibiotic or anti-inflammatory therapy, as well as deworming, can seriously compromise the healthy balance of gut microbes. Many pet foods contain probiotics; however, the processing required to make the pet food and keep it from spoiling kills most of these delicate probiotic organisms. Scientist now tell us that gut microbiota are crucial to virtually every function in the body to facilitate a healthy digestive process: manufacturing vitamins and proteins, generating

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better nutrient absorption, maintaining immune function, regulating hormones, stimulating mucosal lining production and preventing leaky gut, as well as ensuring a healthy gut brain link for healthy mental function. The growing list of illnesses that can be directly linked to unhealthy gut microbiota includes allergies, skin irritations, asthma, diabetes, obesity, leaky gut, diarrhea, and chronic inflammation. Even anxiety, aggression, depression, and dementia can have one of their major causes traced back to unhealthy gut microbiota. Research is showing that many health issues can be successfully addressed simply by ensuring that our pets have access to a high-quality natural diet, get ample and regular exercise, and are administered a daily dose of an effective probiotic supplement. n

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that will, hopefully, be with it for the rest of its life. The second group of gut microbes, referred to as probiotics by some researchers, is composed of naturally occurring micro-organisms that animals continuously ingest when they are in their natural environment. This group of microbes has been shown to be an integral part of the digestive process of mature animals, because this second group works in concert with the first group of acquired microbes. This may mean that allowing a dog (or cat) to hunt real food or dig in the dirt from the time it is young could be the healthiest way to raise a pet. It also explains why many kennel-raised, indoor, rescued or malnourished pets exhibit continual health problems, including mental health issues. Much of the nutritional and diet information we have been taught in the past is being re-evaluated and revised based on what is now known about the gut microbiota. It is time to pay less attention to what Fido wants to eat and more attention to what the gut microbes need to be healthy, since the gut microbes determine Fido’s health status. Natural foods contain special microbe food, while much of the processed food does not keep gut microbiota healthy. Drug therapy such as antibiotics, particularly when given long term or repeated, has been shown to devastate the gut microbiota, sometimes wiping out entire strains— permanently—without any outward physical signs that there is anything wrong. NSAIDs (non-steroidal antiinflammatories) also compromise the microbiota in the digestive tract,

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Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 17


Why the Leash Walk Matters When a dog has learned good leash manners, everyone benefits. By Shelly Korobanik


s a professional dog trainer, one of the most common problems I am contacted for is a dog that pulls on leash or has very poor leash manners. What most people don’t understand is that from the moment you attach a leash to your puppy or dog’s collar, you have started training them on what is acceptable behaviour on a leash walk. Whether you realize it or not, letting your eight-week-old puppy have free rein to pull and go wherever she wants when leashed is reinforcing in her mind that it is perfectly fine to act this way. Months later, that same behaviour is no longer acceptable to you and now the work to teach your dog proper leash manners must begin. Often it can be a frustrating process because of the bad habit you have allowed your dog to develop. It does take time to train your dog to loose-leash walk and display good leash manners around other people and dogs. Frankly, some people simply don’t want to put in the effort to resolve the problem and instead allow their dogs to run loose, regardless of laws and with no thought to how their actions are affecting others. Besides their complete lack of respect for the laws and other people with or without dogs, they lose out on a tremendous opportunity to truly connect with their canine companion. With most dog guardians, the only training they will ever do with their pooch is basic obedience, and leash walking is the only activity they will ever experience where they are physically connected to their dog. More often than not, when you see people walking their dog on leash, it can be evident exactly what kind of relationship they share. A calm person with a calm dog on leash—one that recognizes it is not good behaviour to run out to meet every person or dog Obedience Canicross Hiking Fitness Weight Pulling Learn to Run & more! l





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they encounter—suggests a relationship built on mutual respect and trust. When taught using positive clickertraining techniques, the person does not tighten their hold on the leash because they trust their dog is not going to act inappropriately. The dog does not pull on the leash because she has learned through positive reinforcement that it is not the desired behaviour. So why does the leash walk matter? Firstly, unless on private property, Crown land, or in an off-leash dog park, your dog must by law be leashed. Noncompliance to dog-specific laws only serves to ruin the privilege to have our leashed dogs with us in places such as city or provincial parks. Laws exist for a reason, and regardless of whether you agree with them or not, failure to comply with them will only lead to further restrictions on where people can enjoy their dog’s companionship. In addition, there are many people who don’t like dogs, fears dogs, or are out working with their own dogs and really don’t appreciate having an unleashed dog approach them. Whether or not you think your dog is friendly is completely irrelevant; the fact of the matter is that by not having your dog leashed you are not respecting the rights of everyone else out walking in the same area. Secondly, leash walking is the easiest and most common physical activity a person can do with their dog. Dogs require daily exercise for both their mental and physical health, just as humans do. With a leash-trained dog, both dog and human can enjoy and benefit from a couple of daily brisk walks and/or runs together. Thirdly, when your dog is properly trained to walk on your left-hand side, you ensure he is safe when you follow proper rules of the road and walk facing traffic. On your left side, your dog is never exposed directly to vehicles, and drivers are less stressed worrying whether he is going to bolt out into their lane of traffic. If everyone walked their dog on the left side, when passing on sidewalks a dog-todog meeting is avoided, thus eliminating any unfavourable interaction. Commit the time to properly train your pooch to have good leash manners—it benefits you, your dog, and the communities that you both enjoy walking around in! n www.ohwmagazine.com


Dog Food Then and Now Readily available commercial dog food—and now Internet recipes—may seem convenient and economical, but are they really as healthy for your pooch as you think?

By Michelle Bell


pening a bag or can of food is an easy way to feed your pets. Simply pick those bags or cans from the hundreds of brands displayed on the countless aisles at the pet store, superstore, or feed store. This convenience has all happened in a very short period. You may be unaware that prior to World War II, feeding commercial pet food was not the normal way for many people around the world. The First Dog Biscuits In 1860 an Ohio salesman named James Spratt ventured to England to extend sales of lightning rods. While in London, he noticed British sailors throwing “hard tack” to stray dogs along the docks. Hard tack is a biscuit made of flour, water, and salt. It was a staple food for long sea voyages and military campaigns. As if struck by lightning himself, Spratt sought the help of a baking firm and his “dog cake” became the first dog biscuit. With the success of his product among English country gentlemen, Spratt introduced his product to wealthy American dog owners in 1895. In 1907 an American competitor produced a biscuit in the shape of a bone. Until 1922 these two biscuits defined commercial dog food. The Roaring ’20s and the Great Depression Although pets were still fed primarily raw meat and table scraps supplemented with what they could forage or hunt, a variety of dehydrated


meals, pellets, and canned foods made from meat and grain mill scraps became available for those wealthy enough to purchase pet food. Initially, these products, especially the canned, featured horsemeat. Public and congressional sentiment soon ended that practice, and other meat scrap sources were found. The Great Depression significantly impacted the commercial pet food industry. However, the lack of regulation during this period allowed virtually anyone looking for an income source to brand a canned or bagged pet food. World War II The war years were not kind to our pets. With the start of the war, metal and glass became precious commodities for weapons production so their use was rationed. Because pet food was classified non-essential by the government, the canned pet food industry was wiped out. Table scraps were limited due to food rationing and female heads-of-households producing weapons rather than meals. Families that could afford pet food relied on the dry foods or biscuits that were available. The Post-War Boom The years following World War II saw the greatest economic expansion. The success of firms that had fuelled the war effort and the host of warrelated innovations provided massive employment opportunities. As families moved to the suburbs, the corner grocery store was replaced by

supermarkets teeming with processed foods and meat counters with greater selections. Today’s superstores have magnified demand. The fast food industry that developed with this new wealth and lifestyle created an even greater consumer demand, resulting in vast quantities of agricultural scraps from slaughterhouses, grain mills, and processing plants. Rather than waste these scraps on fertilizer, commercial pet food companies saw unlimited opportunity. In the late 1950s, a major pet food company discovered a method for taking the hot liquid soup of meat, fat, and grain scraps and injecting them through another heat process that “popped” the fluid into light, kibbled dry food of any shape. The dry food preference started during the war now had a mass-market capability. The convenience and economy of dry food made it the most popular pet food choice for pet owners. Now hundreds of dry foods crowd pet food aisles in a mass confusion over which is the best possible choice. Don’t Trust What You Read A growing problem facing animal nutritionists and veterinary professionals is that many people are now going to the Internet to source out food and cookie recipes that are not complete or have no benefits to the animal or its health. Just because someone made a cookie and the dog ate it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good for them. Ingredients that are good for one are not necessarily good

Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 19

Nutrition for another. I have seen and spoken to a lot of people in the short time I have had my business in Kelowna, and I find that they are not up to date on what they should or shouldn’t feed their dog. Many foods and treats that are on the Internet contain seeds, wheat products, dairy, sugar, and salt. These are not what dogs need to have a healthy life. If a pet food manufacturer touts its product as “veterinarian approved,” don’t be fooled! It turns out that “veterinarian approved” is not a term allowed on pet food labels. Veterinarians do not approve labels or products; only regulatory agencies can do that. Pet food manufacturers can, however, use the terms “veterinarian recommended,” “veterinarian developed” or “veterinarian formulated” if the company meets specific criteria set out by the association. Familiarize Yourself with Fad Diets What many owners don’t realize is that dogs are of the carnivore species but are omnivores in their eating habits, so complex carbohydrates are actually necessary for normal stool formation. Obesity, often thought to be a problem with high-carbohydrate foods, is actually more of a concern with highfat diets. Some vets recommend vegan diets for dogs. This is extreme—dogs are not vegans; they are carnivores and omnivores and need a mix of both vegetables and meats in their diet. Please consult an animal nutritionist on this, as many dogs have become very ill as a result of their owners’ misguided choices. In Conclusion At the end of the day, it’s what you feed your pet to make them healthy. You wouldn’t eat fast food every day, so why should your pet eat regular unhealthy choices? Healthy choices in the end will cost less money and time at the vet’s. Don’t be fooled by pet stores and advertisements that say that something is the best. Years of education through veterinary science show that not everything being preached through the Internet as well as on the television is true. Please research all you find on the Internet before making a mistake that could prove deadly for your pet. n

Does This Food Make Me Look Fat?

Pet obesity is on the rise. Read on for an explanation of the causes and how you can combat this health problem. By Moira Drosdovech, DVM Are you the guardian of a canine couch potato or a cat whose belly hits the floor as they waddle to their food bowl and back to their favourite sleeping place? Does it seem like no matter what food you try, you cannot get that extra weight off? It can be especially hard to stick to that recommended diet food when they look at you with those sorrowful eyes, perhaps a little drool leaking from their mouths. Or how about when your cat jumps like a ton of bricks onto your chest in the wee hours of morning, a gentle reminder that she is not happy with being “cut off”? By far, obesity is the number one nutritional problem that smallanimal veterinarians see. Close to 30 percent of pets in North America are considered to be obese, with many more that are just overweight. Pets actually should have a “waist”

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from both the top view and the side view. Square pets are not in good condition! Overweight pets have the same health risks as do overweight people for developing conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, liver problems, constipation and others. If we use the example of an average Cocker Spaniel, a breed of dog that typically weighs 25 pounds, and put an extra 5 pounds on its frame, we have an obese dog. We are talking only 5 pounds over the ideal weight, but 5 of 25 equals 20 percent! This is equivalent to a person whose ideal weight is 150 pounds and they tip the scales at 180. Not good. Why is this phenomenon increasingly happening in our pet population, and what can you do about a pet that is just too fat? Well, overfeeding of inappropriate diets www.ohwmagazine.com

Nutrition plays the biggest role. There are also certain medical conditions that predispose a pet to obesity, such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid), but these are nowhere near as common as people just giving in to those begging eyes and persistent meows. Lack of exercise is also a huge factor for obvious reasons, but even animals that exercise minimally can be kept slim by feeding fewer calories. Whatever energy pets consume in the form of food, they must use. The excess will be stored for a rainy day, which for most never arrives. Fairly simple math. So what exactly is it that we are overfeeding, even when we are restricting their intake? Proteins? Fats? Carbohydrates? All three of these are required, but I am going to pick on carbohydrates. Most people think that fat creates obesity. There are bad fats and good fats. Anyone who has read Udo Erasmus’ book Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill will already know that good fats themselves do not contribute much to obesity. Bad fats, on the other hand, cause harm by their toxic nature. It is the excess carbohydrates consumed that are to blame for excess storage of fat. As Udo says, you either burn them or wear them! This brings us to the pet foods that most people consider adequate—dry kibble foods. Dry foods are by their very nature based mainly on grain. Grains contain protein, but are mainly carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are fattening if not burned. Are you beginning to get the picture? If you look at the list of ingredients on the bag of pet food in your pantry, of the top five ingredients, there are usually three grain products. On a dry-matter basis, which is taking the moisture content down to zero, grain probably accounts for well over 50 percent of the nutrition in most bags of dry food. Dogs and cats are not grain-eating ruminants; they are carnivores and should be fed according to that classification. More and more, dry foods are becoming available that contain no grain and use a starch source such as potato instead. These may potentially be a better choice for “Chunky Charlie.” For example, Timberwolf Organics and Innova EVO are two foods that follow this philosophy in their choice of starch quantity and type. It is easy to forget about the fact that dry foods contain very little moisture. In order to bring it to the moisture level of non-dehydrated food, we would have to add almost a cup of water to every cup of dry food. That means that you are really feeding two cups of “food” to your 12-pound cat when you scoop one cup into his bowl every day. If you weigh 150 pounds, that would be equivalent to you eating 24 cups of the moistened product every day. You might get fat too! In order to lose weight, most pets should be on a diet that has very low levels of grain or none at all. An option for the obese pet is to completely stay away from dry food, at least until the weight is back to the ideal. And that includes all of www.ohwmagazine.com

the “diet low-calorie” foods in addition to the milk biscuits and any other dry baked treats that have grain in them. For every VitaBone your dog eats, that would be equivalent to you eating several slices of bread! So what to feed instead? Well, a good quality canned diet may be okay or restricted amounts of low carbohydrate dry food, but perhaps even better is a raw natural diet customized for your pet. While not for everybody, or for every pet, raw diets have increasingly shown themselves to be extremely beneficial for a large number of pets with a wide range of problems. If your pet is doing fine on a dry diet and is in good condition, then perhaps the only thing that needs changing is to include a variety of dry diets and some fresh veggies and fruit added in. But if they have compromising health problems, including obesity, the raw way is worth checking into. On average, a pet can lose 10 percent to 15 percent of their body weight over a three-to-four-month period. So we would not expect 50-pound Charlie to lose 10 pounds in two months. That is too much too fast. Regular weigh-ins to keep tabs on weight changes are beneficial for both owners and pets. It is always encouraging to see even small yet steady losses. What is even better is seeing the change in the attitude and energy levels of previously obese pets. That alone is worth it. A common client comment is “My dog is like a new dog!” With canned, dry, or raw diets, the pet must have something to gnaw on to help keep their teeth sparkling white and free of tartar. A common misconception amongst pet owners is that dry diets act as toothbrushes. This is a myth which, if true, would mean vets would rarely have any teeth to clean. But the fact of the matter is that teeth cleaning accounts for a significant percentage of veterinary surgical procedures. Anyone ever watching a dog eat kibble will see that most just wolf it down, bypassing the teeth completely! What does keep teeth clean is gnawing on good-quality chews and crunching on raw bones (never cooked). Even cats will chew through a raw wing tip or other poultry part if encouraged. n *This article is based upon opinions of the author and is not intended to replace a one-to-one relationship with a qualified pet health care professional nor as medical advice.

Holistic and Integrative Veterinary Medicine serving all makes and models of canines and felines! Dr. Moira’s Keys to Vibrant Health:

Raw diets | Vaccinations only if needed | Regular exercise Lean body condition | Regular checkups Regular chiropractic care | Supplements

Call or email for more info: 250.862.2727 l pawsitive@gmail.com l www.pawsitivevetcare.com

Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 21


Advice from a Professional Dog Groomer Regular grooming is an important part of responsible dog care. Not only does it keep the coat and nails neat and tidy, but it also provides an opportunity to spot any skin issues. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about professional grooming services. By Cheryl Canning What services do groomers provide? Each shop is different, but typical services include full grooming (bath, blow dry, groom whole dog, nails) or a bath and tidy (bath, blow dry, trim feet, face, bum and nails) or just a bath and nails. Many groomers also do walk-in nail trims or feet or face trims. Do groomers deal with anal glands? This has been a controversial issue over the years. Some feel that it is acceptable for a groomer to perform the service, while others feel that it is strictly a veterinary procedure. Each province is regulated individually, and the College of Veterinarians of BC considers it acceptable for groomers to express anal glands ONLY if done externally. I believe groomers should not be asked to express anal glands, as it is a medical issue that should be left for the vet to deal with. Like skunks, dogs empty the anal glands to admit defeat or to show that they are afraid. Therefore, if groomers are squeezing a dog’s glands, other dogs can now smell the anal glands—signalling

fear—so it causes them to think they also need to be scared when in fact they do not need to fear grooming. How do I know when it’s time for my pet to be groomed? It is all personal preference. Once a month would be a fantastic option, but people who cannot afford that should be sure to brush their dog daily and not let them get matted. Monitor the dog’s comfort level in different temperatures. Neglecting the dog’s coat is irresponsible, and it can cause so many issues and put your dog in a lot of discomfort—it’s just plain wrong! How do I choose a good groomer? In my opinion, the best way is to go with experience. Pop-up shops come and go, but not everyone is qualified to groom dogs, so do your due diligence. It’s also a good idea to ask your friends and family who they go to. What should I do if I suspect the groomer mistreated my pet? This is a great question, and from my experience, chances are that nothing

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bad happened to your dog at the groomer’s. For example, a dog I had groomed for years, without any issues, had a yeast infection in his skin. It was raw and irritated, and impossible to see under all the fur prior to grooming. When the parents picked him up, they assumed the cracks in the skin on the bridge of his nose were slices from careless grooming. The moral of this story is to always ask questions before jumping to conclusions of mistreatment. That being said, as in any profession, there are people who really shouldn’t be in this line of work; however, I would say most of us are great people who are doing this job because we truly love dogs. Trust your instincts but, as I said, ask questions before assuming the worst. Is it normal for my pet to act differently (hide, lick area, etc.) the first few days after grooming? Absolutely! We are creatures of habit, and no one likes change. Think about it: they are used to their big, furry coats and when they get groomed, they are all of a sudden not www.ohwmagazine.com

Wellness as warm, they can move better, and yes, their “bits” have been shaved so everything feels different. It is just how dogs behave. Do you have any final words of advice? If I were to give advice about the whole grooming procedure, this is what I would say: • Expose your dog to grooming as early as possible. As soon as you get your puppy, bring him in for even just a quick nail trim or a bath. This helps him to become familiar with the groomer and see the groomer as a friend. Do not wait till he is six months old and matted solid. • Trust your groomer to do what is best for your dog. Who cares if you have to go shorter—it is fur and it will grow back. • Do not rush your groomer—it is the worst thing you can do. Rushing us stresses your dog, stresses the groomer; and since we use very sharp scissors and clipper blades, taking our time is the safest thing to do. • Do not call constantly asking if your dog is ready yet. There are so many reasons it takes the time it does to groom a dog; let us do our job in the way we need to do it, and understand that your dog is fine. Relax and enjoy your day and let your dog do the same. • Respect the rules of your groomer’s shop and treat your groomer with respect. Your groomer can be your best ally and can see if something is wrong with your dog before you do. I have discovered tumours and infections the parents did not know about; I have found fleas, lice, ticks, wounds, ingrown toe nails, abscessed teeth—all sorts of problems that I was able to alert the parents to, at no extra charge. I have been able to help my customers avoid medical expenses by doing simple little things like fixing a broken or ingrown nail or suggesting a change in diet. • Finally, remember that groomers are human and we have feelings. Do not mistreat us or accuse us of things we haven’t done. Talk to us, communicate with us the issues you are having, and do not assume the worst. We love your dog and just want to do what is best for him. n www.ohwmagazine.com

Fun in the Sun

Summer in the Okanagan means lots of outdoor activity for you and your pet. Here are a few safety tips to keep your fourlegged friend happy and healthy. Submitted by Dan & Aileen Hall Vehicle Safety Your dog can be one of the best travelling buddies, but keeping him safe is just as important as picking your next destination. Properly securing your dog into your vehicle will keep him, and you, safe. If you are injured in an accident, emergency personnel won’t have to worry about getting past your dog to help you if he is crated or secured by a seat belt. Another important factor to consider is that a crate or safety harness can actually prevent accidents by keeping your dog from moving around in the vehicle which can interfere with your driving. Like a harness or crate, a mesh or tubular metal vehicle barrier that physically separates your dog from the driving compartment will prevent him from moving around and distracting you from driving. In case of an accident, a barrier can also prevent your dog from becoming a projectile and being thrown from the vehicle. Vehicle barriers are especially important if your car has front air bags. Dogs, like small children, should never be allowed in the front seat of vehicles with front airbags, as they can be killed or injured if the bag deploys. The Wind in Their Fur We’ve all seen dogs hanging their heads out the car windows or riding in the back of a pickup truck. Although it looks like fun, it can actually be dangerous. Dust and other airborne debris travelling at the speed of a moving vehicle can cause a lot of damage to sensitive eyes and ears. Worse, dogs sometimes jump or are thrown from a window or a truck bed. If they are very lucky and land safely, they could potentially be struck by another vehicle or run away and become lost. Water Safety A common misconception is that all dogs can swim. Unfortunately, even dogs that can swim may not be great swimmers, and if your dog falls overboard or injures himself in the water, he may not be able to avoid exhaustion or hypothermia before help arrives. You can better protect your pet by putting him into a life jacket. Here are some ways a good life jacket can help: Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 23

Wellness • Keeps your pet warm in cold water, thus preventing muscle fatigue and cramping that could lead to drowning. • Keeps your pet buoyant, which will help him stay above water in fast currents, and can provide opportunities for rest when swimming long distances to safety. • Protects your pet from water impact injuries associated with falls or jumps. Playing By The Water Water play can be a great bonding experience, not to mention great exercise! Fetch toys are a great way to engage your pet. Here are a few tips and suggestions to keep in mind: • While branches and sticks are common items for a dog to fetch around water, they can pose some major safety concerns. Your dog can be seriously hurt if a stick lands in the sand or grass sticking upwards, or if he dives into the water and lands on the stick. • The safe alternative to sticks is a ball; just make sure it is large enough so your dog can’t swallow or choke on it. Heatstroke Heatstroke occurs when your dog loses the ability to regulate body temperature. When we get hot, our bodies sweat to cool us down. Panting is a dog’s response to overheating. Unfortunately, panting is not the most efficient cooling option and dogs can suffer from heatstroke. Normal body temperature is less than 103°F (39.4°C) but once it exceeds 105°F (40.5°C) it becomes even more difficult for a dog to regain control. If body temperature exceeds 108°F (42°C), cellular damage can occur in a number of organs including

the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, heart, and brain, leading to lifethreatening emergencies and potential long-term health issues. Signs Of Heatstroke Early warning signs include laboured breathing, warm, dry skin, anxiety, and abundant saliva flow. If not treated, animals can become lethargic, developing a glazed look, and may become unresponsive to external stimulation. Their tongue and gums may turn bright red and animals may develop an accelerated heartbeat. If left untreated, heatstroke can cause weakness and eventual collapse.

Treatment Immediate emergency care at a veterinary hospital is required for an animal suffering from heatstroke. Call ahead and ask what steps you should take before and while you are transporting your animal. If you are unable to speak to a vet or vet technician right away, put your dog in a bathtub filled with cool (never cold) water. If a tub is not available, you can hose your dog down or wrap in cool, damp towels. THE WATER SHOULD BE COOL BUT NOT COLD. If the dog is responsive, small amounts of cool

Thank you for your community support during our first year as new owners! Dan & Aileen, Pet Planet Vernon Square

Pet Planet Vernon Square 4400 32nd Street, Unit E380 | Tel: 250.558.5514 24 Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine

water should be offered to drink. Even if your dog appears to be recovering, you should still take him to the veterinary hospital, as intravenous fluid therapy is often required for animals who have suffered heatstroke. Prevention Preventing heatstroke is always preferable to treating it. Here are several simple ways that you can protect your dog: • Make sure that fresh, cool water is always available. • Pay extra attention to grooming during the summer. Removing loose hair and keeping your dog’s coat free of tangles will help him feel more comfortable when the weather is hot, particularly when your pet is shedding. • NEVER leave your pet in an unventilated area, and remember that this can include a house or apartment without air conditioning as well as a vehicle. An outdoor doghouse or kennel should be well ventilated and located in the shade. • Allow your dog access to a child’s shallow wading pool filled with an appropriate amount of clean water. This is an excellent method for keeping your pet cool during the hottest parts of the day. • Overexertion and intense exercise should be avoided during the middle part of the day. Long walks and heavy exercise should be reserved for the early morning and later in the day, when the temperatures are cooler. • When taking your best friend for a walk, remember that paws are sensitive and can burn easily on hot asphalt. This and other hot surfaces should be avoided. • Before you decide to take your dog along for a car ride, be sure that he can go with you when you leave the car. In only a few minutes, the temperature in a closed vehicle can climb high enough to kill your dog or cause permanent brain damage, even with the windows partially open. NEVER leave your dog inside the car! The table on this page shows you just how quickly the temperature can rise in a parked car, even with the windows down. Keeping these tips in mind will help make sure that summer is a safe and enjoyable season for everyone. n



The Benefits of In-Home Veterinary Care

The holistic approach to pet care is well served when the veterinarian is able to visit, assess, and treat the patient at home. By Stephanie Royston, DVM


sing a house call veterinary service can provide a number of benefits for both you and your pet that you don’t typically get with traditional veterinary clinic

care. Your pets will benefit from house calls, as these visits reduce or eliminate much of the fear and anxiety associated with being transported to and examined in a traditional veterinary office setting. For cats especially, the sounds, smells and sight of other animals, particularly dogs, can be extremely traumatic, often causing them to lose bladder or bowel control or even hide for extended periods of time after they come home. As a result of this behaviour, owners may decide not to take them in to the veterinarian, which might mean they silently suffer from illnesses or conditions that could readily be treated or managed. Likewise, many dogs get nervous and uneasy with the many scents and sounds of other pets that are unknown to them. Veterinary care in their own home eliminates these external stress factors, making for a much calmer and more relaxed experience. At home, the veterinarian is just a friend who stopped by to give them treats and spend some time with them. It also allows the veterinarian to see how they normally behave. This is especially helpful in multi-pet households to better understand the dynamics between pets. Pet owners benefit from house call services in terms of time and stress savings. No more hassle of having to round up your pets, transport them to the clinic, wait to see the vet, spend time in the exam room, wait to settle up the bill and then transport your pet back home. Instead, the veterinarian comes right to you. This makes the visit much more personalized and one-on-one without the interruptions and stress of a traditional clinic. Also, house call consultations are generally longer than clinic appointments, allowing time for much more discussion and better understanding of problems and medical plans. As a veterinarian who has worked at vet clinics and now does house calls, I can say that there are several situations when owners and their pets especially appreciate me coming to them instead of having to go to a veterinary clinic. The most obvious one is for cases involving euthanasia. It is hard to say goodbye to a beloved family member, and so to be able to do that at home, where everyone is most


comfortable, is so much nicer. The pet feels much more relaxed at home than at a vet clinic since often they are suffering from mobility or pain issues. Just being able to choose the place where your pet will spend their last moments can sometimes bring a sense of comfort and relief—whether it’s in their beloved bed or under the shade of their favourite tree in the backyard. Being at home also allows the family to grieve privately and eliminates the need to drive home while upset. Some of my favourite clients are seniors and people with disabilities who often do not have transportation. Because they are home more, they spend much of their time with their furry companions and develop very strong relationships with them. People who work from home or have young children also really like that I can come to their home to care for their pets. As well, large dogs with mobility issues often benefit from the veterinarian coming to them, as getting into a vehicle can be a difficult and painful experience. There are, of course, some limitations to what can be done at home, for example x-rays and surgeries. Sometimes the pet may require more medical care than can be administered at home and will therefore need to be hospitalized, but the majority of the time we can accomplish quite a bit at home. The best part is that often pets don’t even realize they have seen the veterinarian; they just think they have made a new friend. n

Dr. Stephanie Royston BSc. DVM Compassionate veterinary care in the comfort of your own home www.thevisitingvet.ca Phone: 250.558.6700 drsteph@thevisitingvet.ca Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 25


Owning an Exotic Animal: Exciting or Just Plain Wrong? The BC SPCA explains why exotic animals need to be protected and their possession prohibited. Editor’s note: The following article is adapted with permission from the BC SPCA website (www.spca.bc.ca). The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Its mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm, and wild animals in BC.


ost people recognize that wild animals such as grizzly bears and cougars should never be kept as pets, but many do not make the connection that the exotic animals they see in pet shops and on exotic breeder websites are, in fact, wild animals. The exotic pet trade is second only to the drug trade in terms of illegal activity and dollars generated. Even the legal capture and import of certain wild exotic animals is sanctioned in Canada under permits. The BC SPCA is opposed to the keeping, breeding, sale, and trafficking of exotic animals, which lead to poor animal welfare and negative environmental consequences. How is owning an exotic animal different from keeping a companion animal? An exotic animal is a wild animal taken from its natural habitat or bred in captivity. Although it might be sold as a companion animal, it can never truly be a companion to a human. Domestic animals, however, have been bred over thousands of generations and thrive as companions to humans. Our society has also evolved to understand the needs of companion animals such as veterinary care and specific dietary requirements to ensure their wellbeing. Many people buy exotics as “status” pets or as a novelty. Unfortunately, when the novelty wears off and the reality of the high care costs, lack of interaction, increased size and overall care responsibilities becomes unmanageable, the animals are either abandoned or surrendered to a shelter or refuge.

Originally purchased as pets and then released into the wild, red-eared slider turtles are disrupting the natural balance of the local aquatic ecosystem and damaging native turtle and amphibian populations.

Exotic animal welfare concerns More than half of all captured animals die before becoming pets. Their deaths involve great suffering from dehydration, starvation, hypothermia and hyperthermia, stress, overcrowding, injury, and attacks by other captive animals in severely confined conditions. In captivity, many exotics will die because their physical care and habitat needs are not adequately met as it is difficult to source their exact dietary

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requirements and environmental stimulants. Further suffering occurs when exotic animals are released into the environment once they lose their novelty or become too big to care for. They will either die because they lack the physical attributes necessary for survival, or they thrive and wreak havoc and suffering on native wildlife. The red-eared slider turtle is a perfect example of an exotic species that thrives in our local ponds—an inexpensive and popular exotic pet that www.ohwmagazine.com

Wellness quickly loses its novelty and even becomes aggressive. Released into the environment en masse, their populations are out of control in many areas as they disrupt the natural balance of the aquatic ecosystem and damage native turtle and amphibian populations. Most exotic animals tend to mask signs of illness or injury, a characteristic needed to protect themselves from predators in the wild. By the time guardians realize their iguana or hedgehog is sick it is often too late to save them. Another cruel aspect is that most exotic animals are denied the opportunity to express normal behaviours that promote their own wellbeing such as travelling to procure a mate, foraging for food, or being able to seek solitude. Often these highly intelligent creatures selfmutilate or go into a state of depression—referred to as zoocosis. Animal cruelty BC SPCA cruelty investigators have seen firsthand the neglect and abuse many exotic animals endure. The first known cruelty seizure of primates in Canada was the 2002 seizure of 103 exotic, farm, and domestic animals, including 15 primates, in Kaslo. Sadly, many more exotic animal cruelty cases have since been reported, spurring the BC SPCA’s push to regulate the private ownership of exotics. The BC SPCA does not support the keeping of exotic animals as pets nor for the purpose of entertainment such as the film industry, birthday parties or roadside attractions. Exotic and wild animals should only be in the care of those trained as animal technicians, veterinarians with specializations, ethologists and other animal experts in accredited institutions. These individuals have a demonstrated knowledge in the care, handling, socialization, and keeping of such animals. Environmental concerns Fragile ecosystems around the world are disturbed as people invade the natural environment to capture wild animals, threatening the species’ population and overall survival. We must strive to nurture an attitude of respect for all wild creatures and their natural habitats, insisting that animals be left in the wild, so the demand for exotic pets will decrease significantly. Public health and safety The 2007 death of a woman at a remote Bridge Lake “zoo” near 100 Mile House reminds us of the grave risks of keeping exotic animals. One of three tigers kept there reached from inside its cage and grabbed the woman by her leg as she stood outside to say goodnight to them as she did every night. Tragically, it was a fatal blow and she died in view of her children. The 12-foot-by-12-foot chain-link enclosures were fastened with a mere padlock. From this devastating event the BC Ministry of Environment developed new regulations in 2009 prohibiting the possession and breeding of certain dangerous exotic animals. Although the owner had been investigated by the BC SPCA since 2005 and issued orders to improve the living conditions for the tigers, with no provincial or federal legislation prohibiting their possession before 2009, the BC SPCA’s hands were tied. High-profile deaths and injuries grab public attention but it is the unreported bites and illnesses that pose the greatest risk. Acting on their defensive instincts and predatory nature, exotic animals can transfer serious diseases to humans such as salmonella, chlamydia, giardia, herpes, hepatitis A, rabies, ringworm, tuberculosis, measles, monkey pox, dermatophytosis, candidiasis, and a host of other diseases and viruses. For more information on exotic animals, legislation, and owner restriction, visit www.spca.bc.ca/animal-issues/wildlife/exotic/. n www.ohwmagazine.com

Why Does My Cat Need Dental Care?

Annual examinations can identify problems before they become painful and expensive to treat. By Carey Keith, DVM


ats need dental care for the same reasons that we do! Cats can get dental problems that can be very painful and lead to a decline in their overall health. In the past, our role as veterinarians was really only to intervene when the problems in our feline patients became so serious that teeth needed to be extracted. Now, through the use of innovative diets, preventative dental care at home, and routine dental cleanings, we can prevent a lot of these issues before they affect the health of our cats. When I examine my feline patient’s mouth I am careful to look not only at the teeth but at the gingiva as well throughout the entire oral cavity. Some cats can get quite severe gingivitis and you can recognize this as a redness in the gingiva at the gum line. Just like in humans, plaque builds up on your pet’s teeth, and the bacteria in the plaque

Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 27


Far left: A feline dental chart shows placement of teeth in a healthy mouth. Centre: Anesthesia is necessary to evaluate and treat problems below the gum line.

irritate the gums. These irritated gums can then bleed, allowing bacteria from the plaque to enter the bloodstream. Daily brushing can make a huge impact in your pet’s oral health. By removing the plaque daily, it prevents it from mineralizing into tartar. Let’s face it. For some of our feline friends, brushing is just not a reasonable option. Fortunately, there are other tools that we can use at home to help keep our pet’s teeth clean. There are veterinary diets

Above right: X-rays help detect dental issues that would have been missed in a visual examination.

available that have been proven to protect against gingivitis and fight bacteria in your pet’s mouth. For some cats, cleaning at home is not going to be enough to keep their mouth in good health. These cats are particularly sensitive to the bacteria in plaque and can have quite painful irritation from it. They would definitely

Animal Dentistry l Pain Management l Orthopedic and Soft Tissue Surgeries Ultrasound l Emergency Medicine l Internal Medicine Cases We Now Offer Certified Veterinary Acupuncture!

Dr. Keith and Dr. Smith welcome Dr. Autumn Pulfer to their practice. Dr. Pulfer shares our goals of exceptional and compassionate care to patients and clients. Dr. Keith

Dr. Pulfer

Dr. Smith


1901 Kalamalka Lake Rd. Vernon, BC

w w w. c e n t r a l a n i m a l h o s p i t a l . c a 28 Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine

benefit from routine professional dental cleanings by your veterinarian. In addition, if you see signs of oral pain in your cat (drooling, dropping food from their mouth, reluctance to eat, pawing at their face) it is really important that you take your cat in for an exam. Perhaps you may notice that your cat has foul breath, or has been losing weight. In many cases, we will need to anesthetize your cat to properly evaluate the issue, and to thoroughly clean the teeth. Anesthesiafree dental procedures are not able to clean beneath the gum line to prevent periodontal disease, nor are they able to look beneath the gum line to identify problems before they become painful and expensive to treat. To do the best job possible, we must radiograph the teeth to look for problems existing below the gum line. Cats are prone to getting resorptive lesions, which are painful cavities that can be difficult to identify without radiographs. With my x-ray machine I often discover dental issues that need to be addressed that otherwise would have been missed! We now know, without a doubt, that proper dental care and good dental health help our pets lead healthier and longer lives. Preventative health care is so important in all aspects of medicine—for both ourselves and our pets! Cats need to have annual exams so that we, as their doctors, can help recognize problems early as well as identify other potential health issues. n www.ohwmagazine.com


Crate Training Your Dog With a little patience, you can help your dog to learn that a crate is a safe and secure place to be. By Andrea Lee-Lauridsen


etting your dog accustomed to a crate can be positive in so many ways. Here are just a few of the benefits of crate training: • Can assist with house training • Can teach your dog to learn to settle and be calm when alone • Can prevent destructive chewing • Can help prepare your pet for future travel • Can keep your puppy or curious dog safe and away from things that could be harmful Introduce your dog to a crate in a way that doesn’t create trauma and therefore an aversion to the crate. The following steps will help accustom your dog to a crate in a positive way: 1. Put the crate in a high-traffic area and keep the door open (maybe even remove the door to start). 2. Occasionally toss treats into the back of the crate for your dog to find on his own. 3. Feed your dog’s meal inside the crate. 4. Tie a high-value toy to the back of the crate so that your dog must lie inside to chew on it. 5. After a few days, begin introducing a cue. Say a cue like “kennel up” and toss the treat inside. Praise your dog as he eats the treat and then cue him out with another phrase of your choice (do not reward your dog for coming out of crate and keep this low key). 6. Repeat step 5 numerous times until your dog enjoys going into the crate for the treat. 7. Start to cue your dog and encourage him to go in on his own.


Once he is in, reward with a treat. Ensure you cue him to come out. 8. If he is hesitant to go in on his own, wait it out. Do not repeat the cue! 9. If your dog still will not go in, end the session without saying anything more. 10. Try again at a later time. If your dog does go in, give a really big reward such as a handful of treats! After your dog will go into the crate on cue, begin to shut the door when he goes in. Be sure to continue to give lots of treats while he is in the closed crate and only do this for short increments of time to start with. Begin increasing the duration by keeping yourself busy nearby while your dog is in the crate. Go back and reward as needed when your dog is being quiet. Be sure not to treat or let your dog out of the crate if he is crying. He needs to learn that he only comes out when he is quiet. You can then start going out of the room for short periods of time and build this up the same as the previous steps. As your dog begins to use the crate more, ensure you are not just using it

when you leave the dog home alone. Your dog may begin to pair the crate with isolation and create a negative association. It can’t be stressed enough that you must always teach your dog that the crate is a positive, safe place to be! Donate a Crate Program: Do you have a dog or cat crate you don’t need? Donate a crate and help animal welfare groups in Vernon and area. Here’s how it works: donate a clean, good condition, used crate of any size at Healthy Spot Pet Nutrition & Supply. They will put the crate up for sale in the store. When a used crate is purchased, 100 percent of the selling price will go to animal welfare groups in Vernon and area. When a new crate is purchased at Healthy Spot, $10 from that sale will go to animal welfare groups in Vernon and area as well. n Thank you to the Cochrane & Area Humane Society for sharing their crate training resources with us to assist us in writing this article.

Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine 29


Buyer Beware How to recognize a reputable breeder when choosing a furry family member. Editor’s note: The recent discovery of a puppy mill in Langley reinforces the need for caution when adding a puppy or kitten to the family. The following article is reprinted with permission from the BC SPCA website (www.spca.bc.ca). The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Its mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm, and wild animals in BC.


dding a new furry friend to your family is a big decision. The BC SPCA encourages pet guardians to adopt from BC SPCA shelters or other rescue organizations, but recognizes that British Columbians often buy from breeders. If purchasing a pet from a breeder, there are several ways to ensure you’re choosing a reputable source, and not a breeder who runs a puppy or kitten mill, where animals are usually kept in horrible conditions. “If the breeder agrees to sell you a puppy or kitten without meeting you, or requests that you meet in a shopping mall or somewhere away from their breeding facility to get your new pet, this is a clear indication you are dealing with a disreputable source,” says BC SPCA general manager of community relations Lorie Chortyk. “Reputable breeders will happily show you their home or facility and often belong to a breed group or organization where members adhere to a strict code of ethics.” Signs of a reputable breeder include: • Has no more than two or three breeds or species • Has a clean and spacious home or facility with the opportunity for animals to receive regular exercise outside of their kennels/cages • Gladly shows you their entire home or facility where animals are kept and introduces you to all their animals – adults and offspring, including the mother of the pet you are considering adopting • Is able to provide veterinary records that show the animals are healthy • Openly discusses positive and negative aspects of the animal/breed • With puppies and kittens, does not breed females who are too young or old. Generally, dogs and cats should not be bred at less than 18 months and should only be bred

Did you know that spending only a few minutes cuddling either a cat or dog will greatly reduce stress and anxiety? At the BC SPCA we understand purr-fectly! Visit our Shuswap branch, website or Facebook page.

5850 Auto Road SE Salmon Arm BC www.spca.bc.ca 30 Spring/Summer ‘16 - Okanagan Pet Health Magazine

once in every two heat cycles. Maximum breeding age for female dogs ranges from five years in giant breed dogs to 10 years in toy breeds, but breeders should be attentive to the overall well-being of the breeding female and not just her ability to breed • Raises puppies or kittens indoors (not in barns or outbuildings), where they are exposed to various household noises, are handled gently by many different people and are kept clean, warm and well fed • Won’t let puppies go to new homes before eight weeks of age and not less than 10 weeks for kittens • Asks you many questions about your lifestyle and experience with animals to ensure you’re a good match • Is a member of a breed club where possible – many breed clubs require members to comply with a code of ethics • Is knowledgeable about heritable disorders in the breed and discusses how they breed to avoid such disorders • Provides, at no extra charge, valid paperwork for registration and vaccine certificates for the animals • Never sells animals to a pet store or companion animal dealer • Has a contract for you to sign that lists your responsibilities to the animal you are purchasing as well as their responsibilities, and outlines their health guarantee for the animal • Will often require you to spay or neuter the puppy or kitten and require you to return the animal to them if it does not work out Common characteristics of disreputable breeders include: • Agrees to sell you a puppy or kitten without meeting you (i.e., over the phone) • Doesn’t allow you to come and meet them and/or their animals before purchase • Sells their animals to pet stores or brokers • Does not ask you questions about your lifestyle and experience with animals • Has rundown or crowded facilities • Is reluctant to show you their facilities • Has dirty, unhealthy and/or unsocialized animals • For dogs kept in cages, is unable to show you their outdoor exercise area in use • Sells animals without vaccinations, veterinary check or guarantees against health problems including genetic defects • Charges extra for kennel club registration and/or pedigree • Will not take the animal back should a problem arise or will try to simply offer you another animal should the first one get sick, rather than helping with your vet bills. n www.ohwmagazine.com


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HOME IS WHERE THE PET IS At P r e d a t o r R i d g e , w e k n o w t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f p e t s i n o u r l i ve s a n d t h e r o l e t h e y p l a y a s m e m b e r s o f t h e f a m i l y. T h a t ’ s w h y o u r p e t f r i e n d l y c o m m u n i t y o f f e r s o u r r e s i d e n t s a n d guests a wide variety of amenities that cater to your four legge d frie nds, including: • Golf With Your Dog Sundays

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Profile for Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine

Okanagan Pet Health Magazine Spring-Summer 2016  

Welcome to the Spring-Summer 2016 issue of Okanagan Pet Health Magazine. Packed full of great articles on health and wellness for your pet!

Okanagan Pet Health Magazine Spring-Summer 2016  

Welcome to the Spring-Summer 2016 issue of Okanagan Pet Health Magazine. Packed full of great articles on health and wellness for your pet!