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wellness For a long, healthy life!
45+ Unique gift Ideas
How to keep tabs on his well-being
Safe or toxic for dogs and cats?
The healing effects of acupressure for seniors
TherapEutic Dog Beds
Mad How to teach your
Would your dog benefit?
dog to quiet down December/January Display until Jan. 19, 2009
VOLUME 10 ISSUE 6
contents Features 20
Brush up on health
While grooming your buddy, keep tabs on his well being by giving him this simple home check-up
Consider his comfort and safety when taking him for a stroll in the snow
Does your dog make too much noise? Instead of alienating your neighbors, learn to help him quiet down
From gutter to glory
Toast the season with turmeric
Deck the halls
For sound sleep
A new vision
Hard to swallow?
Brighten up his holiday with these simple gift ideas
How a stray cat found celebrity status
This favorite spice is good for your companion – here are two recipes to try!
You don’t have to give up holiday decorating if you have a dog or cat, but you may have to make some compromises
Does your dog have trouble getting comfy while resting? A therapeutic bed might be the answer
If you’re going away this festive season, flower essences will ease her separation anxiety
Don’t panic if your dog loses his sight – with some adjustments, he can live a safe and happy life
A home filtration system ensures his next drink (and yours!) is as clean and healthy as possible
Are these fruits and their oils safe for dogs and cats?
Once considered a death sentence, canine megaesophagus can be managed with alternative therapies
Help your senior cat through her golden years with the healing effects of acupressure
Dec 2008/Jan 2009
Click on this icon to visit featured links
Dr. Martin Goldstein
Warm & fuzzy
The tail end
Photo Courtesy: Hazel Moore
Wellness resource guide
Classifieds animal wellness
Introducing…the hip, cool and healthy magazine for cats
Feline Wellness Magazine
Subscribe today! New from the publishers of Animal Wellness and Equine Wellness comes Feline Wellness, the trendiest natural cat publication on the market today! Each issue is packed with fun, informative articles on everything from health care, diet and grooming, to the latest in toys, furnishings, and accessories.
Coming up in our next issue: • Top supplements for kitty • The latest in cool cat carriers • Acupressure for your cat • A look at vaccines • Cat agility
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Photographer: Rechitan Sorin
Our cover Winter’s here, and this spunky Siberian husky pup is enjoying every moment of it. Captured on film by Russian photographer Rechitan Sorin, this happy little guy is the epitome of a striking and hardy northern breed whose thick coat is especially adapted to cold and snow. Other dogs don’t like the chilly weather as much, so even if it doesn’t snow where you live, be sure to keep your canine companion’s comfort in mind when you’re outside together this season -- see page 26 for more tips.
Animal Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1710-1190) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2008. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: November, 2008
Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Managing Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Stephanie Wright Graphic Designer: Leanne Martin Cover Photography: Rechitan Sorin Columnists & Contributing Writers Sue Becker Kim Bloomer, VND Audi Donamor Martin Goldstein, DVM Marlene Keel Tessa Kimmel Sandra Malasky Marcia Martin, DVM Shawn Messonnier, DVM Lisa Murray Barbara Nefer Laureen Osborne Paul Owens Lorraine J. Smith, BMsc Amy Snow Debbie Swanson Nancy Zidonis Carol Lake Administration & Sales President/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley Office Manager: Lesia Wright Circulation & Communications Manager: Jamie Conroy Operations Director: John Allan IT Manager: Rick McMaster Marketing Assistant: Daniel Gazley Administrative Assistant: Libby Sinden
• Hairballs...stop the hacking!
…and lots more!
Volume 10 Issue 6
Submissions: Please send all editorial material, advertising material, photos and correspondence to: Animal Wellness Magazine, 107 Hunter St. East, Unit 201 Peterborough, ON, Canada K9H 1G7. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in transparency or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. Email your articles to: firstname.lastname@example.org. National Sales Manager: Lesley Nicholson (866) 764-1212 email@example.com Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr (213) 793-1867 firstname.lastname@example.org Canadian Regional Manager: Anne Gibson (416) 504-4310 email@example.com Classified Advertising: Lesia Wright firstname.lastname@example.org To subscribe: Subscription price at time of this issue is $22.95 in the U.S. and $24.95 in Canada, including taxes for six issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: www.animalwellnessmagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 US Mail: Animal Wellness Magazine, PMB 168, 8174 S. Holly St., Centennial, CO 80122 CDN Mail: Animal Wellness Magazine, 107 Hunter St. E., Unit 201. Peterborough, Ontario, Canada K9H 1G7 Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary prac titioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Redstone Media Group Inc., publisher of Animal Wellness, does not promote any of the products or services advertised by a third party advertiser in this publication, nor does Redstone Media Group Inc. verify the accuracy of any claims made in connection with such advertisers. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues. Dealer Inquiries Welcome: Animal Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call 1-866-764-1212 and ask for dealer magazine sales, fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail at email@example.com.
editorial Celebrating the season
or years, my daughter has been pestering us for a tiny dog; one who will curl up on her bed at night and snuggle in for a hug whenever it’s needed. She understands that, for us, buying a dog is not an option. She knows we adopt bigger dogs because they’re less likely to find homes than the smaller guys. But sometimes fate takes a hand. This summer, by accident, I discovered Loyal Rescue, a group in our small city that rescues dogs from kill shelters in various states and provinces, as well as breeder dogs from puppy mills. They are part of an “underground” (absolutely legal) network that transports dogs hundreds of miles to their new foster homes. My daughter went online and immediately spotted a young Shih-Tzu/poodle cross who looked just like her favorite stuffed animal. We put in an application, were eventually approved and within a couple of weeks, added little Muffie to our family. Sasha, our German shepherd/husky, who had no social skills when we first adopted her, accepted little Muffie like one of her own. She takes everything her little sister dishes out, including having her legs and neck gnawed on. Sasha good-naturedly retaliates, gently grabbing Muffie by the black beard under her chin. Sometimes the little one rolls over on her back and Sasha pushes her around the hardwood floor like a mop, collecting dust bunnies as she goes. The two have even figured out a way to overcome Muffie’s lack of height. The
little one simply jumps up on the bed and then they can play face-to-face. But the funniest incident happened just the other day before we all left for the office. No sooner had I put on Sasha’s leash than Muffie, who was lying in her big sister’s bed, grabbed the handle between her teeth. Sasha took off across the room, with Muffie “bed surfing” behind her. When she got to the other side of the house, the two looked at each other like “that was fun, let’s do it again!” With the holidays upon us, I have only to watch these two furry beings to appreciate the best the season has to offer – acceptance, patience, compassion, and joy. Our animals can be a great source of inspiration. So let’s celebrate the gifts they bring us at this special time of year. In this issue, you’ll find some neat ideas for stocking stuffers, tips on animal-friendly decorating, and seasonal recipes containing turmeric, a healthy spice ideal for festive cooking. Also be sure to read our articles on winter walking safety, flower essences for separation anxiety, and therapeutic beds to soothe stiff joints and keep your buddy warm and comfy. Have a happy, healthy holiday!
Dana Cox Editor-in-Chief
2 1 5
1. Veterinarian Dr. Marcia
Martin is a holistic veterinarian practicing at Calusa Veterinary Center in Boca Raton, Florida. Her treatment modalities include classical homeopathy, acupuncture, non-force chiropractic and herbal medicine. She is also the author of Quit Your Belly Aching, a homeopathic guide to colic treatment in horses. In this issue (page 71), Dr. Martin and Lorraine J. Smith, BMsc show you how to live with a blind animal.
2. Amy Snow and Nancy
Zidonis are the authors of Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure, The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide To Canine Acupressure and Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute, which offers Practitioner Certificate training programs worldwide, plus books, meridian charts, and videos. Call 888-841-7211, visit www.animalacupressure. com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For their article on what acupressure can do for senior cats, see page 94.
3. Dr. Kim Bloomer is a veterinary naturopath, host of the online radio show Animal Talk Naturally, and a proficient blogger and writer on natural animal health. She is also co-author of the book Whole Health for Happy Dogs. Dr. Kim worked in traditional veterinary medicine for many years and continues to do extensive research into natural health care for dogs and cats. Turn to page 86 for her seasonal tips on using citrus oils around animals.
4. Veterinarian Dr. Shawn
Messonnier is author of the award-winning Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and 8 Weeks to a Healthy Dog. He is also the pet care expert for Martha Stewart Living’s program, “Dr. Shawn – The Natural Vet”, on Sirius Satellite Radio. His veterinary practice, Paws & Claws Animal Hospital (www.petcarenaturally.com), is in Plano, Texas. For his advice on megaesophagus, see his article on page 90.
Sue Becker is an animal communicator, a registered practitioner for Bach Flower Remedies and Tellington TTouch, and does intuitive distance healing. She has helped thousands of animals and their people in countries worldwide and receives numerous veterinarian referrals. Sue teaches for organizations at animal-related events and also through private consultations, workshops, telecourses for long-distance learning, written articles and individual mentoring. Find out how communication can help your animal cope with holiday stress on page 80.
6. Tessa Kimmel has over 20 years’ experience in animal care and for nearly ten years was employed as a veterinary technician. She owns MedPet & Cozy Critters Pet Care Services, a Toronto-based business specializing in providing care for animals with medical conditions and special needs. She shares her home with her husband and four rescue kitties. For this edition, Tessa provides winter walking tips for your and your dog – turn to page 26.
7. Paul Owens is the author of
The Dog Whisperer, A Compassionate Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training, also available on DVD (www.dogwhispererdvd.com). Certified by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and endorsed by the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, Paul is the director of Raise with Praise, Inc., based in Burbank, California. Check out his article on page 30 for what to do about excessive barking.
8. Barbara Nefer is an animal lover and freelance writer living in Celebration, Florida. She shares her life with three cats, two horses, and a Quaker parrot. In this issue, she profiles Ziggy, the famous painting Pekingese – see page 88.
9. Laureen Osborne,
NCMG, is the author of three books on dog grooming, including The Pet Owner’s Guide to Dog Grooming (www.Larkspurpublications. com). She has written articles and conducted seminars for the pet groom-
6 7 8
ing industry and is the Editor of Canadian Groomer magazine. Her first cookbook Vegetarian for a Day will be published next year. Laureen lives in Ottawa with her husband Rick and two dogs. On page 20, find her tips on performing a monthly health check while grooming your animal.
10. Audi Donamor has been creating special needs diets for dogs and cats for a long
time. Following the loss of her beloved golden retriever, Blues, she founded The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund through the University of Guelph’s Pet Trust. She is the only two-time recipient of the Golden Retriever Club of Canada’s Silmaril Kennel Trophy for the Human/Animal Bond. In this issue (page 48), she writes about the health benefits of turmeric.
Marlene Keel is a qualified flower essence therapist
living in Australia. Her passion is combining flower essences and animal work. She has also studied various components of natural health such as TFH 1-3, natural animal health, and sound engineering. Marlene is director of the Flower Essence Center, which also produces a range of products for animals (www.floweressences.com. au/pets.htm). See page 64 for Marlene’s article
on flower essences for separation anxiety.
Debbie Swanson is a freelance writer living near Boston. She contributes regularly to many animal magazines, and lives with her family and a collie named Duncan. For this issue, she presents an article on the benefits of therapeutic beds for dogs and cats – turn to page 60.
Introducing a product that redeﬁnes the muzzle with colorful fabrics and cheery patterns (415) 861-4724 for sizes and patterns, go to www.doginthecity.net animal wellness
mail bag Just finished reading the current issue of Animal Wellness and really liked “Mind Your Manners” (Aug-Sept ’08). Leash walking, as the article says, can be a treat for both you and your dog, or a dreaded experience. The importance of having a dog that can walk politely on a leash was brought home to us several years ago when my husband Ron had bypass surgery. The doctor asked if he had a dog and he said yes. The doctor then advised against his walking the dog until he was completely healed. Ron, however, has a lovely little mixed breed he rescued from abandonment and who has always walked like a perfect lady by his side. Because of Barbie-Q’s good manners (Ron found her abandoned under our barbeque at the cottage, hence the name), she never had to miss a single walk with her beloved master. I’m sure other people recovering from surgeries would appreciate a well-trained dog. Gail MacMillan via email
Editors’ note: Another excellent reason to have a dog that walks well on a leash. Older people, and/or those who have health problems, sometimes rely on their animals for companionship. A well trained dog that encourages them to get out and exercise is even more of a bonus, and good for both dog and person. I was reading your Aug-Sept issue and seeing the things about cats and what may help keep them alive longer. I myself have four cats, all rescues. A few things that I have learned over the years (through education as a vet tech, cat behaviorist, having my own cats and working at a shelter) about keeping your cat happy and healthy:
1. Keep your cat indoors. On average, an outdoor cat lives to be one or four years old and an indoor cat lives to be 15 to 30. Things that can threaten an outdoor cat include vehicles, unfriendly dogs, predators, diseases, fleas, ticks and other parasites, sickness from eating garbage or other contaminated morsels, harsh weather and getting lost.
2. Spay or neuter your cat -- the positives are endless.
They’re less likely to roam, less aggressive, and it helps control urine marking and decrease problems like testicular and prostate cancer.
3. Take about five minutes a day to play and talk with
your cat. One-on-one times with your cat will be priceless and produce a strong bond.
4. Take your cat for check-ups at the vet at least once a year. Something can creep up on her that you may not notice.
5. Leave toys out for her to have something to play with if you are not around or asleep. Also some climbing frames and scratching boards for her to stretch and do what I like to call “cat yoga”. Carrie Austin via email Editor’s note: These are all great suggestions. Add healthy nutrition and minimal vaccines, and you have a good recipe for a long and healthy life. For more on the numerous benefits of spaying and neutering both dogs and cats, see “Smart surgery” in our Oct-Nov issue. I just read an article in another magazine about organic pet foods. The authors of this article say that “organic” means nothing in respect to pet foods because organic pet foods
are not regulated at all. Because I know for a fact that certified organic pet foods have to follow the same requirements, exclusions, inspections, and regulations set by the USDA (“NOP”) as certified organic foods for humans, I am pretty taken aback by this article. I hope you will never write anything like this about certified organic pet foods in your publication. Thank you for your great magazine. Rodie via email Editor’s note: A lot of confusion surrounds the word “organic”. “Certified” organic ingredients used in pet foods are regulated by the USDA’s Natural Organic Program or NOP. The key word, of course, is “certified” so be sure to read labels carefully. Correction: In our article “Ten Tips for Good Health” (Oct-Nov 08), we omitted the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (ahvma.org) in our resource sidebar, “To find a holistic veterinarian”. As veterinarian and Animal Wellness contributor Dr. Jean Dodds points out, “This group is considered by most of us to be the ‘parent’ group of holistic veterinary medicine, and has a complete directory of all national and international members.”
we want to hear from you! Address your letters to: Editor, Animal Wellness Magazine, and send to: us: PMB 168 8174 S. Holly St., Centennial, CO 80122 can: 107 Hunter St. E. Unit 201, Peterborough, ON K9H 1G7 or by email to: email@example.com www.animalwellnessmagazine.com
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yakkity yak Star quality
Red carpet for Rover It’s an award ceremony for the animals of celebrities! On November 6, the North Shore Animal League (NSAL) is hosting its third annual DogCatemy Celebrity Gala in New York City, inviting animal-loving celebrities to submit their own home videos starring their animal companions. This year, the organization will present its Crystal Collar Award to creative filmmakers in categories like “Best Dogumentary”, “Best Pawformance”, “Best Tail-Waggin’ Comedy” and more. Celebrity attendees include Richard Belzer (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Katie Lee Joel (Iron Chef America, Top Chef) and model and TV host Beth Ostroksy. All proceeds go to NSAL. AnimalLeague.org/Gala08
Is he really for you?
It’s not just the average dog or cat who supports the Rabies Challenge Fund. The landmark study has also earned the endorsement of canine celebrity Rin Tin Tin. The world’s most famous German shepherd is donating 1,000 free 8”x10” black and white original limited edition autographed photos for anyone who gives $100 or more to the study. Rin Tin Tin isn’t alone in his support – doggie star Benji has also given his endorsement to the Fund. rabieschallengefund.org.
This past summer, moviegoers flocked to see the big screen adaptation of Sex and the City. The movie focuses on the bond between four female friends, but also features another variety of ‘best friend’ – dogs. Although the four breeds featured in the film (King Charles spaniel, border collie, Yorkshire terrier and Parson Russell terrier) look cute, they’re not the ideal breeds for everyone. The American Kennel Club reminds moviegoers to research breed characteristics and requirements before getting a dog. akc.org
Bear and Lady are currently the most popular names for dogs. American Kennel Club Photo: CBS Broadcasting Inc.
Parson Russell terrier
Photo Courtesy: PMC
Portia De Rossi, Ellen DeGeneres, and Frances Hayward (founder of BeKind Foundation) spoke out against the inhumane treatment of farm animals at the Prop 2 fundraising event.
Farm animal fundraiser As carnivores, dogs and cats must eat meat to survive. But what about the well being of the farm animals that go into making the food? On September 28, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi (Nip/Tuck) joined other celebrities at an exclusive fundraiser sponsored by HSUS in support of Prop 2 (Proposition 2 – Standards for Confining Farm Animals) which will appear on California’s November 2008 ballot. If passed, these standards will prohibit the confinement of farm animals in a way that doesn’t allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. More than 400 guests and celebrities joined Ellen and Portia to help raise over $1 million for the campaign. yesonprop2.com.
Biodegradable bottles? Yes, it’s for real! Environmentally friendly bottles made almost entirely from plants may soon show up on store shelves. Formulated from natural polymer fibers and a plastic-like substance derived from corn, the EarthBottle is the brainchild of Danny Roberts and David Gangemi of Clemson University. The bottles are recyclable, biodegradable and petroleum-free. Inhibitory agents rich in naturally occurring antioxidants and antimicrobial properties are added to protect the products inside. earthbottle.com. animal wellness
yakkity yak Katrina memorial Rescue workers saved over 50,000 animals from the destruction and devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina, but thousands of other animals tragically lost their lives in the storm. To honor them, the first ever memorial dedicated to animal victims was presented to the City of New Orleans by the American Humane Association on August 29.
Washington Humane Society staff member Diana Foley works with soldier Matthew Foster and a canine friend as part of the organization’s Dog Tags program.
The memorial was commissioned by the Humane Society of Louisiana. Created by artist Richard Chashoudian, it features a life-size bronze statue of a dog and cat on a piece of 150-year-old Louisiana cypress. The accompanying plaque reads: “They will never be left behind again”. Over 150 local dignitaries, animal rescuers, and directors of animal charities and humane societies attended the presentation event.
Injured soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center now have access to a innovative new program called Dog Tags, thanks to the Washington Humane Society. Twice a week, participating soldiers visit the WHS Behavior & Learning Center (just across the street from the medical center) to learn and study animal training and behavior. “Our training certification program allows the soldiers the opportunity to heal while working with the homeless animals in our care,” says WHS President and CEO Lisa LaFontaine. washhumane.org.
Animal politics Shortly before Canada’s federal election on October 14, the WSPA launched a website that focuses on where the country’s leaders stand on animal welfare issues. The leaders of the five main political parties were asked about their positions on strengthening animal cruelty laws, improving transportation conditions for farm animals, whether or not they support a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, and more. Read what they said at voteforanimals.ca. Presented to the City of New Orleans, this bronze memorial honors the animals who died in Hurricane Katrina.
yakkity yak A bored or lonely dog may engage in destructive chewing –be sure to give him plenty of attention and toys. The Real Answer your Pets Deserve for
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How can a license plate help animals? The Maine Adoption Leaders Team (MALT) is a partnership of Maine private businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies working on behalf of the state’s animals. Formed this past May, MALT has designed a brightly colored “Adopt”
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license plate to help homeless animals. The organization has already successfully pre-sold the required 2,000 plates to Maine citizens in order to propose a bill for the 2009 legislative session. Proceeds will be used to benefit the State of Maine Animal Welfare Program. It’s hoped the plate will be available by the summer of 2009.
animal-friendly ciTies Looking for the best place to live with Fido or Fluffy? Find out which of North America’s urban centers are going out of their way to make life better for dogs and cats. by ann brighTman
e know you love your animals. But how does the community you live in feel about them? Animal lovers make up a big percentage of the population nowadays. Many urban centers are listening to their constituents and creating more animal-friendly environments that offer better wellness and lifestyle opportunities for dogs and cats. For our 10th anniversary issue, we thought we’d revisit a
report we conducted several years ago to see how cities in North America with populations of 100,000+ rank on animal wellness issues. We used a dozen different criteria, including numbers per capita of integrative vets, pet sitters, dog parks, animal-friendly accommodations and retailers carrying premium pet foods. We also looked at other important factors such as air quality, anti-cruelty legislation, Rabies vaccine protocols and the incidence of heartworm. Was your city in the Top Ten? Read on to find out!
© Jeff Gynane | Dreamstime.com
fort lauderdale, florida
Sun, sand, surf, and all the pet-friendly amenities a dog or cat could dream of! Ft. Lauderdale performed strongly in all categories, making it the clear winner in our Top Ten list. It has excellent air quality and a pleasant climate, so you’ll be able to enjoy lots of outdoor activities with your furry friend, year round. You’ll find plenty of retailers selling good quality pet food, and the city is home to
several integrative vets and practitioners, including animal acupuncturists and chiropractors. When you have to go away, it’ll be easy to find a pet sitter to care for your companion, and there are lots of shelters so you’ll be spoiled for choice when you’re ready to adopt a new friend. And even heartworm is not much of an issue in this southern coastal city, unlike other parts of Florida.
photo: Ken Kinder/Wikipedia
There are more integrative vets, natural pet food retailers and pet sitters per capita in Boulder than in any other city we ranked, so if you want a holistic lifestyle for your companion, this is a prime destination. Boulder also has good air quality and a relatively low heartworm risk, so you and your dog can enjoy the area’s open spaces, hiking trails and off-leash parks with few worries.
Boulder is right on top of things when it comes to animal welfare issues. Eight years ago, the city passed legislation to replace the word “owner” with “guardian”. And the state of Colorado carries the stiffest penalties for animal cruelty in North America, with a maximum $500,000 fine and up to six years in jail for offenders. In fact, the only big drawback about Boulder is Colorado’s vaccine laws, which require animals to be vaccinated for Rabies every year, instead of having a three-year option, as most other states and provinces have now adopted.
city’s off-leash parks. You’ll have no trouble finding natural pet food for your dog or cat, and there are lots of pet sitters and shelters. Quite a few integrative vets practice in Seattle, and travelers have a choice of animal-friendly lodgings, so if you want to check the city out before moving, you’ll be able to bring your dog with you!
© Heather Hood | Dreamstime.com
Oregon is another state with stiffer-than-average anti-cruelty legislation – offenders can be fined as much as $100,000 and/or spend up to five years in prison. We found Portland to be the most animal-friendly city in the state with its relatively high number of integrative vets per capita, good air quality, and low incidence of heartworm. It has a gorgeous mountain backdrop and boasts thousands of acres of parkland, including over half a dozen off-leash areas, so you won’t run out of places to exercise with your buddy.
Located near the Pacific coast on Puget Sound, Seattle is another urban center with superior air quality, and the mild climate means you can take maximum advantage of the
Though a lot smaller than Portland, Eugene also has your dog or cat’s welfare at heart. With a population of less than 150,000, it has the second highest number of integrative vets and animal shelters per capita on our list. It also has
Top 10 animal-friendly cities…revisited A big thanks to AW readers for all your feedback about our article on the most animal-friendly cities in North America (Oct-Nov ‘08)! Most was positive, but some of you were surprised that Denver, Colorado made the list.
While Denver scored well in terms of animal cruelty penalties (the entire state of Colorado carries the highest penalties in North America, according to HSUS and SPCA) our research did not uncover the breed ban policy the city enacted in 2005. The legislation resulted in many pit bulls (and even dogs that look like pit bulls) being confiscated and destroyed. Since AW does not support breed specific legislation, we’ve disqualified Denver from our top ten list. The revised list is as follows: 1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 2. Boulder, Colorado 3. Seattle, Washington 4. Portland, Oregon 5. Eugene, Oregon 6. Minneapolis, Minnesota 7. Vancouver, British Columbia 8. San Francisco, California 9. Raleigh, North Carolina 10. Oakland, California
Brush up on health Regular veterinary exams are vital to your dog’s wellness. In between visits, you can keep tabs on his health at home by giving him this simple 9-step check-up during grooming sessions. by Laureen Osborne
© Eastwestimaging | Dreamstime.com
ust as your dog depends on you for food and shelter, he also depends on you to safeguard his health. The easiest way to monitor his well being is to add a quick health check-up to his grooming routine. All it takes is ten minutes, once a month.
While you brush your dog, examine his coat, skin, teeth and eyes. Knowing what he looks like in good health will help you quickly identify any changes. Detecting health problems early on will help your dog live a long and happy life.
1. Start by weighing him. Your vet can tell you what the normal weight range should be for your dog. Try to keep him within that range. You may not notice his weight creeping up, so weigh him when you do your monthly check up. If you have a smaller dog, weigh yourself first, then pick up your dog and weigh both of you together. Subtract your weight from the total. The difference is your dog’s weight. If he’s too big to lift, drop by your vet’s office and
ask to use their “walk-on” scale. Record his weight and compare it to last month. If he’s overweight, he may need more exercise and/or a change in diet.
2. Look at your dog’s coat. One of the biggest indicators
of health is coat condition. Is the hair shiny or dull? Shine indicates oil – a good thing, although too much can mean a problem. A dry, dull coat with brittle hair may point to poor nutrition or a mineral deficiency. Dogs require certain amino acids, minerals and the right amount of protein in their diets to produce and maintain a healthy coat.
3. Every dog benefits from regular brushing. If you estab-
lish a regular grooming routine, you’ll notice any changes in the quantity of hair your dog sheds. His particular breed may be subject to “seasonal shedding” during the spring and fall. If he starts shedding more frequently it could indicate a change in health.
4. While you’re brushing, take a look at your dog’s skin.
Check points Each time you examine your dog, keep these tips in mind.
• You are looking for anything
unusual; something that wasn’t there the last time you checked
• Not every change signals a
problem. Some are part of the normal aging process.
• If you have any questions or
concerns after you’ve finished, consult your vet.
Photo Courtesy: Hazel Moore
Is it dry and flaky with dandruff? Dry skin can result from over-bathing or allergies. Is the skin hot or red in areas? If he has a thick heavy coat, he may have “hot spots”. Dogs may also get a rash if the skin is damp for a long time.
5. As you examine your dog’s skin, keep an eye out for
any lumps or abscesses. Don’t panic if you do find a lump. It’s very common for dogs to develop lumps as they age or if they’re overweight. Many lumps are lipomas, which are harmless fatty tumors. It’s always a good idea, though, to have any lump checked by a vet. An abscess will look red or swollen and may have a
discharge of pus. It can be caused by a foreign body penetrating the skin (your dog may have been scratched by a cat, stung by a bee or have picked up a thorn). Things like lumps and abscesses can be difficult to see if your dog has a thick coat so it’s best to “let your fingers do the walking”. Use your fingers to gently feel the entire length of your dog’s body. If you feel anything you’re not sure about, part the hair and have a look at his skin.
Does your dog scratch a lot? It could be a sign of dry skin or allergies. More and more dogs are becoming sensitized to allergens and environmental irritants. Your vet can help you determine if it’s an allergy and pinpoint the cause. It’s not normal for a dog to scratch continuously. It’s a sign that something is wrong.
The next area to examine is your dog’s mouth and teeth. His gums should be a healthy pink color and not red or swollen. The teeth should not have any tartar buildup. Plaque and tartar will eventually weaken the tooth’s struccontinued on page 24...
ture and cause decay. Once the tooth is compromised, bacteria can enter your dog’s bloodstream and cause kidney or liver problems. Dental decay can also give your pet “doggie breath”.
around the eyes or lids. Many dogs suffer from seasonal allergies just as people do. Redness or tearing can also be caused by an injury to the eye or an ingrown eyelash.
Veterinarians are now recommending regular tooth brushing as part of your dog’s overall care. It’s never too late to start. You can buy specially designed toothbrushes, toothpastes and other dental health products formulated for dogs. Don’t use human toothpaste as it may cause stomach upset.
ears. If he’s scratching his ears compulsively, there’s a problem. Get in there and take a look. If your dog has upright ears you may only need to check periodically. But if your dog has floppy ears that hang down over the ear opening, you need to look in on a regular basis (especially if he’s had ear infections before).
Knowing what he looks like in good health will help you quickly identify any changes.
Some chronic ear infections are caused by allergies. Your dog can also have very small ear canals that don’t allow ear wax to drain properly. The ear should not have a strong odor, the skin should be a healthy color and texture, and there should be no colored discharge.
8. Now let’s take a look at your dog’s eyes. Watch for excessive tearing (you may see wet patches running down either side of your dog’s muzzle from the corners of his eyes). Depending on the breed, some tearing may be normal. What’s not normal is a colored discharge or redness
9. One of the most overlooked areas on your dog is his
Once you get used to doing this monthly check-up, it’ll become second nature. And the more you do it, the more you’ll know what’s normal for your dog and what might signal a change or problem. Your dog will thank you for it!
Photo courtesy: Karen Barefoot
Checking your dog’s teeth and gums regularly helps you catch problems early.
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Winter walking Looking forward to going for a stroll in the snow with your dog? Don’t forget to take his comfort and safety into consideration before you head outdoors. by Tessa Kimmel
or those who live in northerly climes, there’s something exciting about the first snowfall. It awakens and refreshes the senses and beckons us outside to enjoy a brisk walk with our dogs. Before setting out on your first winter adventure together, remember to think about your canine’s well being. You can bundle up in a cozy coat, gloves and boots, but what about him? Will he be comfortable, and safe? The following ten winter walking tips will help both of you enjoy the colder weather, wherever you live.
Your dog’s breed and coat have an influence on how
long he can stay outside in cold, wet or snowy weather. Those with thick double coats such as the Alaskan malamute, Siberian husky and great Pyrenees can withstand being outside in harsh conditions for quite some time before calling it a day. But single-coated breeds such as boxers and greyhounds don’t have an insulating undercoat and can start feeling the cold much sooner. They lose body heat very quickly and are at a higher risk for hypothermia. Single-coated small or toy breeds fare worse still. Their smaller body mass means they lose heat more quickly than larger dogs. On very cold days, it’s best to keep walks short for a small and/or single-coated dog,
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or else buy him some protective outerwear (see next page).
Ailments such as hypothyroidism reduce a dog’s ability to tolerate cold. Arthritic dogs will also feel more discomfort from damp or cold air, while their limited mobility increases the risk of falling on slippery ground. Dogs with heart conditions such as mitral valve disease may suffer a life-threatening event if overexerted while negotiating difficult walking conditions.
Older dogs and young puppies don’t retain body heat the way adults in their prime do. They should be brought indoors after about ten minutes.
More dogs get lost in winter than in summer. They can become disoriented in blizzards and the falling snow quickly covers the scent of their tracks. Many older dogs have reduced hearing, vision and cognitive function, so it’s best to always keep them on a leash when it’s snowing.
A dog of any age should be leashed if you are walking near a frozen pond, river or lake. In his haste to chase the brazen rabbit who dares cross his path, he could dash onto thin ice and fall into the frigid water.
Winter wear for canines A great way to protect your dog from the elements is to buy him a coat or snowsuit. Outerwear for dogs has evolved in leaps and bounds over the last few years as manufacturers recognize that not all breeds can use the same “one size fits all” garments. A Labrador retriever may need an extra layer of warmth on a particularly cold day, but a down-filled snowsuit wouldn’t be the best choice. For a greyhound, a snowsuit is a welcome invention! Not only does it keep his legs and joints warm, but it protects his torso and internal organs as well. Make sure the outerwear you buy is matched to your dog’s specific needs and fits properly. Choose a durable good quality product that’s wind and waterproof but also made from material that breathes. Doggie boots provide traction on slippery surfaces and are a fantastic way to protect sensitive paws. Boots prevent snow from collecting between toes and protect against sharp ice, road salt, wetness and cold. Most dogs will adjust quickly to wearing boots. After a few sessions of the “Lipizzaner stallion dance” they’ll accept the boots and come to learn they make their feet feel good! Photo courtesy: Muttluks
Many dogs love to eat snow. This isn’t an issue in itself, but what’s underneath the snow might be. It’s been mentioned before but it’s worth another reminder: antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is one of winter’s most ominous finds for both dogs and cats. Its sweet smell and taste will draw them to sneak a sample, and even a few licks can make your animal seriously ill or even kill him. Signs of antifreeze poisoning are lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, increased urine production and thirst. Carefully supervise your dog when walking near parking lots, driveways and garages, and don’t let him eat snow or lick ice in these areas.
Depending on where you live, road salt can be a major issue in winter. It can burn your dog’s pads and cause significant discomfort. Avoid heavily salted areas, wipe your dog’s feet with a damp cloth when you get home, or invest in a set of dog boots (see sidebar).
The thermometer doesn’t need to drop below freezing for a dog to get chilled. Even cold wind and rain can cause hypothermia in some breeds. Hypothermia is the loss of core body temperature. A temperature even a few degrees lower than 99ºF can be life threatening. Shallow breathing, shivering, weakness and lack of coordination are all signs of hypothermia -- dogs that have passed the shivering stage are in a critical state and need medical attention immediately.
Frostbite is a risk during very cold weather, especially if it’s windy. Frostbite describes skin tissue damaged from exposure to sub-zero temperatures. Signs include swelling, irritation and pale-colored skin. Veterinary treatment is necessary so the tissue can be warmed slowly without causing further damage. Although exposed, a dog’s nose contains many blood vessels and is least likely to get frostbitten. But upright ear tips, paws and even tails can freeze. If the forecast warns of wind chill, be mindful how long your dog remains outside.
Even the hardiest of breeds can be at risk during really extreme weather. During severe storms, and/or when the thermometer dips below zero Fahrenheit and conditions are at their harshest, keep walks short or stay inside until the weather is more favorable. As long as you understand your dog’s needs, and respect the elements, you and your canine companion can safely enjoy everything Mother Nature throws at us this winter!
Barking mad © Moswyn | Dreamstime.com
Does your dog make too much noise? Instead of running the risk of alienating your neighbors, find out how you can help him quiet down. by Paul Owens
love dogs, but I really get upset when the woman next door leaves her Jack Russell out all night to bark at everything he hears,” says Brenda. “It’s very frustrating not to be able to get a good night’s sleep because of all the noise.” Like Brenda, I also love dogs – and I also have little patience for people who allow them access to the neighborhood airwaves at night.
Why do dogs bark?
• We like them to bark to show how much they love us when we return home, yet we don’t want them to bark when guests walk in the same door.
Barking dogs in themselves are not the problem. The problem is when, where, and how long the dog barks. Dogs bark because Mother Nature tells them that’s how they’re supposed to communicate. But we humans, intelligent, intuitive, and compassionate as we are, simply refuse to live in “dog country.” We refuse to learn their language. We want dogs to speak the Queen’s English or else shut up. On behalf of the world’s dogs, I say, “Grrrrr!” Dogs bark when they’re happy, but also when they’re scared and bored. They bark when they’re expressing aggression, or to tell us to open the door because they have to pee. Often, they bark just to tell their pals on the next block that the telephone lines are open and working swell. So how do we all just get along? Education!
Excessive barking usually springs from a failure to correctly communicate with the dog. For example: • We want our dogs to warn us of intruders, but hate it when they bark at strangers while on walks.
• We enjoy hearing them bark while they’re chasing balls, but get offended if we think they’re taking control and telling us to throw the ball.
Three training tools The positive trainer doesn’t try to stop a dog from barking. He figures out why, when, where, and how long the dog barks, and then uses one or more of the following tools:
Prevention and management are used to keep the trigger away. In other words, the thing that causes the barking is either removed or blocked from the dog’s view. This is done with the proper use of tethers, baby gates,
and/or crates. Bottom line: no trigger, no barking.
Counter-conditioning changes the way the dog feels about whatever is triggering the barking. For example, he gets a treat every time the mail carrier appears. With this approach, the dog falls in love with the mail carrier and stops barking. Unless, of course, the dog starts barking because he now loves the mail carrier, in which case the trainer would use the third tool!
Tool #3: Operant conditioning teaches the dog a substitute or incompatible behavior. If the dog barks when the mail carrier appears, he’s taught to run to his bed, grab a toy, or simply lie down instead. Hence, no barking.
Trigger troubleshooting The first order of business with any problem behavior is to make sure the dog is healthy. Rule out any health factors that may be stressing him and influencing the barking behavior. If he’s physically okay, then he’s probably barking for one of three reasons: excitement, fear, or a need for attention.
1. Barking for attention
© Nicholas Rjabow | Dreamstime.com
Ignore it and only acknowledge him when he’s quiet. Then reward him with petting, praise and treats. If the dog barks incessantly and for long periods, that’s a different issue. In cases like these, consult a professional trainer.
2. Barking due to fear If the dog is barking because he’s nervous or afraid, identify the specific cause. It’s normally one or more of the following:
• Movement: skateboarders, joggers, cars • Noise: fireworks, pots clanging, sirens and
other loud sounds • Touch: being restrained, groomed, examined by the vet, or confined
To deal with fear-based barking, use: • Counter-conditioning to help the dog change the way he feels about the scary thing. This is done by associating the scary thing with a primary reinforcer like high-valued treats. It’s similar to Pavlov giving food whenever a bell rang. • Systematic densensitization gradually gets him used to the scary thing. Use successive approximations or baby steps, such as asking him to lie down and stay while the scary thing (like a child on a skateboard) is very gradually introduced. Systematic desensitization is most often linked with counter-conditioning. Each step calls for proper timing, consistency and communication, so it’s useful to call a professional trainer to demonstrate how it’s done and set up a behavior modification program.
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• Operant conditioning teaches the dog to do something else whenever the scary thing happens. If a dog knows what to do in any given situation, the scary thing becomes less scary. For example, teach him to “sing” (bark) on cue, but only when you ask. He can also be taught to be “quiet”.
Excessive barking usually springs from a failure to correctly communicate
with the dog. 3. Barking due to excitement If your dog is barking because he’s excited, use operant conditioning. Teach him a behavior that is incompatible with barking, like lying down or getting a toy. Keep in mind that to successfully solve any barking issue, your dog must receive plenty of quality time for exercise, employment, massage, and play. Certain herbal and homeopathic remedies can also be helpful until the problem is resolved.
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The case against punishment
• Sterilization by medical autoclave
Many aversive tools are sometimes used for barking problems. They punish the dog in order to decrease the probability of barking. These tools include squirt guns and citronella collars that squirt the dog whenever he barks, and shock collars that send a mild to severe electrical pulse every time the dog barks.
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Punishments are different from distractions. A distraction, such as clapping your hands, whistling, or using shake cans and low volume airhorns are used
© Triggerjoy | Dreamstime.com
continued on page 34...
What about debarking? In my 35 years as a professional dog trainer, I have never recommended debarking. This surgery involves removing tissue from a dog’s vocal chords. The sound
to startle, not frighten. The dog’s attention is then redirected to the trainer who teaches him a behavior that’s incompatible with the barking.
the dog makes after this operation is akin to a rasping whisper. This is supposedly a last resort in cases where the dog has to be re-homed or euthanized if the barking isn’t stopped.
get this surgery done, they have the money to hire a competent trainer to help resolve the issue, soundproof their apartment, or re-home the entire family. That being said, there are certainly situations where moving is not an option. Time and finances are real-life factors, sometimes making it impossible to get an extremely verbose dog to be quiet. In these rare cases, finding another home for the dog is the best option.
A calm and happy dog doesn’t bark too much. Making sure your canine companion is getting the care and attention he needs, while training him with the methods outlined in this article, will help keep him quiet – at night and any other time.
© Homestudiofoto | Dreamstime.com
Personally, I feel that if someone has the money to
As a positive, reward-based trainer, I rarely use aversives for any problem. I have probably resorted to a squirt gun once for every 400 dogs, and an airhorn once for every 800 dogs. And I am not a fan of shock collars, nor have I ever recommended their use.
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Holistic Veterinary advice
Dr. Martin Goldstein
Dr. Martin Goldstein has been practicing holistic veterinary medicine for 30 years. Based at Smith Ridge Veterinary Center in South Salem, New York. Dr. Goldstein is the author of The Nature of Animal Healing, published by Random House. You can also hear him on “Ask Martha’s Vet with Dr Marty” on Sirius Satellite Radio network channel 112 every Monday at 8PM EST (www.sirius.com). Send your questions for Dr. Goldstein’s column to: Dr. Martin Goldstein, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Marty responds to questions in his column only. We regret he cannot respond to every question.
Q. Three weeks ago, I had my seven-year-old Chihuahua
vaccinated and immunized to obtain the mandated city license for animals. Now he is fighting for his life, diagnosed with Addison’s disease. He has always been a healthy dog and I suspect the onset of the disease and the vaccinations are linked. Is this possible? What would you suggest I do for future shots? Can I legally refuse to immunize? I have five Chihuahuas and a cat that are required to be registered and immunized but I want to stop the unnecessary vaccines.
A. You have touched upon my number one platform and mission: exposing the truth concerning standardized vaccination techniques in veterinary medicine. Not only is the answer to your question “is this possible” an affirmative; I would venture to say “it is most probable.” And I’m sorry you had to learn this the hard way.
The documented period of delayed immunological adverse reactions that occur after vaccinations is between seven and 45 days. The one-size-fits-all dosing means the vaccine your Chihuahua received is up to ten times the potency needed to challenge the immune system of a giant breed dog. Only the rabies vaccine is legally mandated, so if your dog received others or you are told he needs others in the future, that is not true. Lastly, every vaccine comes with an insert stating that it is intended for use in healthy animals only. With this history, and knowing your dog has Addison’s, you should strive with your veterinarian
for legal exemption from vaccinating for life. Go to RabiesChallengeFund.org to see what is already in place to eventually handle this situation for your other animals.
In October of 2007, I domesticated a male feral kitten. In November, Vincent developed a high fever, severe drooling, and mouth sores on his gingivae and tongue. He was clearly in severe pain, since he couldn’t eat or drink. It seemed he became ill within hours. With the help of my vet, we turned him around very quickly: he responded to oral Clindamycin best. He had tested negative for every bad disease when I first took him in, and had already been neutered. Due to the severity of the lesions, my vet performed an oral biopsy, which turned out benign. He quickly improved and everything went back to normal. Last March, our five-year-old Persian developed identical symptoms for the first time in her life. She is otherwise completely healthy. Her severe drooling was not immediately associated with oral lesions, but they developed while being hospitalized with my vet. She too responded very well to oral antibiotics, and was discharged on a lysine supplement. The vet recommended lysine powder be added to all our cats’ food (we have five) to help prevent further outbreaks if this should be a virus. Then, not long ago, Vincent became suddenly hot with fever, and was drooling profusely. There were no oral lesions. Since I keep a bottle of Clindamycin “in stock”, I immediately administered it. He improved within several hours.
I am not a fan of antibiotics. I would very much like to know what else we can do.
A. Antibiotics – especially Clindamycin – are indicated
during the acute phase of these conditions. But the recurrence proves they are not curative. Even if a virus is associated, it is probably not the causative agent, since antibiotics only address bacteria. Conditions like this usually points to immune deficiencies as the underlying cause. I like the use of lysine. I could also recommend a good fish oil supplement and digestive enzymes. Diet is key in these situations and you should strive for grain free, high quality, meat based foods either from a can or home prepared, with raw being your ultimate goal if possible. The naturally occurring antibiotics olive leaf extract (Olivet by Vetri Science) or propolis can be used more long term. Please make sure that vaccinations were not a coinciding factor weeks before these illnesses, and question the need for future vaccines with your veterinarian.
Q. I have an 11-year-old female cocker in remission from IMHA. Her first case was in 2000, and her second within eight months of the first. She was not put on a high enough dose of medicine the first time. She is now on a maintenance dose of prednisone: half a 5 mg tablet every three days. Her vet has tried to take her off the prednisone completely but her pvc do lower slightly. She also takes levothyroxine for a low thyroid.
She also has severe skin problems that are hard to control. She has lost the hair on her chest. I use zymox medicated shampoo on
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her two to three times a week. I also think she has food allergies. She is on a cooked homemade organic diet. I do give her a 1/4 cup of raw meat a day. I have been told not to. Could you please suggest and guide me towards the supplements I could give her to help strengthen her immune system as she ages? Would she need a special diet? She has acupuncture treatment. I have her on basic daily supplements and organic milk thistle for the liver.
A. IMHA stands for immune mediated hemolytic anemia. It’s a suddenly occurring autoimmune disease where the body’s own red blood cells are attacked and destroyed.
In my practice, we have been quite successful in eventually getting animals off all medication backed by supplementation for a long term. We do not have one set protocol for dogs with this disease since we treat each on an individual basis and prescribe supplements based on their own blood results. Conditions of this potential severity should be treated hand in hand with an experienced integrative veterinarian. With this said, here are several of my favorite supplements we use for this disease: Betathyme by Best for Your Pet; Reconciling Tablets by Seven Forest; a good fish oil (we use wild salmon oil by Bravo); and Homeopathic Inflammation by BHI. We also try to replace the synthetic steroid with natural hydrocortisone by Pet Health Pharmacy (available through a veterinarian) and then attempt to wean off that. As with the two prior questions, this condition has been demonstrated to be directly related to vaccines.
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Q. My 11-year-old Siberian husky has chronic dry eyes. My holistic vet prescribed Optimmune. Will these help increase his tear production? Do you know of anything natural that will work for this condition?
A. I have seen several cases of confirmed dry eye revert
back to normal. These were all cases where the dry eye was not the primary condition. They were all secondary to more severe degenerative illnesses, and the dry eye happened to resolve as overall health was re-established. In Oriental philosophy, there is a relationship between liver and eye function; and in acupuncture, the initiating acupuncture points of the gallbladder meridian are around the eyes. So when dealing with dry eye, treat the whole being and pay attention to the liver. For the eye itself, Visioplex by Progressive Labs is an excellent supplement. One of our most commonly used topicals is homeopathic Similasan eye drops – primarily the one for dry, irritated, red eyes, or their other product if you feel allergy was the initiating cause. I am not adverse to the continuing conjunctive use of Optimmune since it addresses autoimmune processes that are believed to be the causative process. I will leave that decision to your veterinarian.
“...there is a relationship between liver and eye function; and in acupuncture, the initiating acupuncture points of the gallbladder meridian are around the eyes.”
Q. We have a 2½-year-old Pomeranian. For two years he was a
very furry dog but in the last six months he has lost a lot of hair. He has spots with almost no hair. Most of his black hair is going gray. The vet checked the skin and couldn’t find any problems. He thought it may have been his harness. Then he suggested it may be the food. I gave him Wellness and now I’m feeding him Fromm. He is still losing hair. We spoke to the breeder and there are no problems in his background. He is normal, healthy, and active. His only medication is Revolution which we have continued every month for last 18 months.
A. This sounds like a condition inherent to several
breeds of dog, the Pomeranian being one of them. It goes by a number of different names, but the most common is Alopecia-X. I advise that you research it and especially discuss this possibility with your veterinarian. By doing
so, you will find all the appropriate information, both causative and therapeutic. Doing so here goes beyond a magazine column, and I would not like to give you recommendations for the symptoms with this condition being the cause.
Q. My three-year-old Lab mix has megaesophagus. He cannot
eat or drink without vomiting. He is very hungry because the food cannot reach his stomach. He even eats on highchairs but this does not seem to help. What should I do?
A. My best advice for you, and especially your veteri-
narian, is to consult a book very recently published named Integrating Complementary Medicine into Veterinary Practice. It was edited by my brother, Dr Bob Goldstein, and contains a very comprehensive treatment protocol for megaesophagus. Outside of this, some of my recommendations would be Glandular Stomach by Miller Pharmacal, magnesium, glutamine, vitamin E and lecithin supplementation. I also advise working with a veterinarian trained in Oriental medicine for proper herbal and especially acupuncture treatment.
Editor’s note: For more on megaesophagus, turn to page 90 in this issue.
Q. Is there a holistic approach to treating Cushing’s disease in dogs? I am concerned with the conventional methods which seem to me to be harsh.
We have successfully treated many Cushing’s patients at my facility using complementary medicine and nutraceuticals. Many of these patients didn’t require any conventional medications throughout. Please keep in mind that in using the correct holistic approach you are not treating the disease but rather supporting the patient, preferably based on their own blood results. Then you can add in disease-specific supportives. There are several forms of Cushing’s disease and it’s advisable to know which one your dog has. Here, in general, are the more common supplements we typically prescribe for Cushing’s patients: an adrenal, pituitary and liver glandular (many company sources available), Adrenal Drops or Pineal Pituitary Hypothalamus Drops by Professional Complementary Health Formulas, phosphatydal serine, and Humanofort by Dogtor RX. If this is atypical Cushing’s, we’d use melatonin.
Q. I have a four-year-old Maltese. He was diagnosed with hypo-
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SMALL = 10 lb Food LARGE = 60 lb Food MEDIUM = 30 lb Food GIANT = 90 lb Food
How much food Will a bag make?
small = 10 lb food larGe = 60 lb food meDIUm = 30 lb food GIanT = 90 lb food
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thyroidism a month ago. He has been put on a low dose of synthetic hormone. About three weeks into his medication, he decided he no longer wanted to eat his dog food. We change his protein source once a week so he is not bored with just chicken or lamb, etc. He is on a raw diet. My vet is not a supporter of the raw movement and has been trying to steer me to another type of food. So I really can’t contact my vet for advice. I broke down and bought several sample bags of dry food from our specialty pet store. He is now eating this without issue and looks forward to mealtime again. Is it possible that the medication has changed the way food tastes? I can’t imagine that a dog would walk away from a raw diet.
A. You are starting with a dis-
ease, hypothyroidism, that affects basic metabolism. Then you add a synthetic to re-regulate the body. So yes, there are considerable changes that could possibly shift how your dog perceives food. With that said, and as much as I feel a raw diet is the best choice, not all animals acclimate to it. I have also seen animals love raw for a period of time, then shy away from it. I’d rather an animal eat a high quality food he likes than force him to eat something theoretically better. But dry would not be my second choice. I’d choose home-prepared, and next, high quality canned. Before committing to the synthetic for life, keep in mind that hypothyroidism can be more naturally and effectively addressed, controlled, and even reversed by working with a good integrative veterinarian.
Q. I just looked up “microchips and
tumors” on Google, and there were convincing articles and studies saying that up to 10.2% of animals developed malignant tumors because of “RFID”
microchips. Are these the same microchips used to ID pets? The article implied it, but I am not sure they are the same. What is your stand on microchips for pets (ID type), and are there any that are safe?
A. Yes, these are the same or sim-
ilar microchips. There are already reports of tumor formation in dogs at the point of the microchip, and for that reason I would normally be highly opposed to their usage. But there is more to look at with this situation. Just as shoveling snow does not cause heart attacks but may be an instigating factor to an already diseased heart, many other factors play a role in suppressing the immune system and leading to a cancer condition. Among these are poor diet and unnecessary and overvaccination. This means the microchip could be the instigator and not so much the sole cause. Depending on situations, many more lives can be saved or returned to harmony when proper health factors are observed. I won’t advise in either direction but recommend you continue to research, become educated, and let that affect a wise decision.
Send your questions to: Holistic veterinary advice. email: firstname.lastname@example.org Our veterinary columnists respond to questions in this column only. We regret we cannot respond to every question. This column is for information purposes only. It is not meant to replace veterinary care. Please consult your veterinarian before giving your animal any remedies.
Stocking stuffers Brighten up his holiday with these simple gift ideas by Charlotte Walker Making a stocking for your dog or cat really stimulates your creativity! Clockwise from left: Dog boots from Neo-Paws, Treat gift basket from Barbara’s Canine Catering, Bach Rescue Remedy for animals, engraved collar tags from Big Paw Designs, collars from Cat Connection, silver/ healing stone collar from Smiling Blue Skies; HopeBrown clip-on crystals for collars; Kong catnip mouse and dog toy.
© Mafoto | Dreamstime.com
ur family used to buy holiday stockings from the local pet store so our dog and cat could share in the fun of opening presents on Christmas morning. But we found that a lot of the items in pre-packaged stockings weren’t suitable for our animals. So we decided to start stuffing our own. It costs a little extra, but it’s a lot more fun. This year, why not stuff your own stocking for Fido or Fluffy? Here are some great ideas to get you started!
This time of year, you can buy stockings just about • anywhere; at some outlets, you have the option of getting them personalized with your animal’s name. If you’re creative with a needle and yarn, you could also use a large wool work sock with the animal’s name stitched on it. Treats probably top the list of stocking stuffers for • dogs and cats. Be sure to choose premium products made from ingredients that are as natural as possible.
Avoid the semi-moist commercial treats and low-end dog biscuits often found in pre-packaged pet store stockings – they have very little nutritional value and are loaded with artificial additives. Read ingredient labels. Around holiday time, some manufacturers of high quality treats offer special gift packages that are ideal for stockings, and are good for your companion too. Toys are another favorite for stockings. Be sure to • buy sturdy products made from safe, non-toxic materials. For dogs, a Kong is a perfect choice (and will fit nicely into the toe of the stocking!). Natural rubber bones and balls are other alternatives. For cats, catnip toys are ideal. Priscilla’s and Plain Brown Tabby are just two companies that offer quality catnip toys. If buying chew toys, make sure they’re quality products that are as natural as possible. Be careful with rawhide toys, and avoid products that are bleached.
comfortable for the animal to wear, and leashes need to be easy for you to hold onto. Hemp collars are a favorite nowadays. For collars and harnesses, make sure you measure your animal first to get the right fit. If your animal already has a good collar and leash, • why not dress it up with some animal jewelry? Personalized sterling silver charms or healing crystal collar tags make wonderful gift items for a stocking. If you have a small dog, you might be able to tuck • in a cozy doggie coat or set of boots to protect his feet from ice, mud or road salt. Shop for high quality fabrics that are warm and waterproof, and make sure you measure your dog before buying a product. Flower essences and an animal communication DVD are great additions to the stocking.
Collars, leashes or even harnesses for cats or small • dogs can also fit nicely into a stocking, and come in all kinds of trendy styles and colors. Look for quality as well as appearance – they should be made from strong, durable materials. Collars and harnesses should be photos courtesy: Lynn McKenzie
To keep your companion occupied during the post• holiday winter months, how about adding a CD of relaxation music composed especially for animals? Or a DVD filmed just for canine or feline entertainment? Dog DVDs often feature puppies or other dogs running and playing, while felines enjoy watching and “stalking” birds on TV. Both may find sounds and images from nature soothing and diverting. Consider topping off the stocking with a couple of • bottles of flower essences or nutritional supplements. Flower essences are great stress-busters and a simple, non-toxic way to deal with other emotional issues. Talk to a holistic or integrative vet before starting your animal on any new nutritional supplements so you’ll be sure to get the right product and dosage for your dog or cat. Use your imagination, and you’ll probably be able to come up with even more gift ideas. Who knows – maybe he’ll need two stockings for everything you’d like to give him!
From gutter to glory After finding a loving new home, Tushtots shoots to celebrity status. by Carol Lake
He might look like a tough Tom, but Tushtots has won the hearts of fans worldwide.
n 2001, we rescued a five-yearold tabby Persian cat who was almost at death’s door. He was one solid mat of fleas and fur, his jaw had been broken and allowed to set crooked, his teeth were shattered, his throat was choked with fur, and his ribs stuck out. He was also being terrorized by a big dog that his person had brought into the house.
would walk up and down the street meowing at strangers, desperate for them to pick him up and cuddle him so he could close his eyes and feel safe and loved, even if only for a fleeting moment. But he was in such wretched condition that no one would touch him. He would creep through other people’s cat doors in search of food, only to be shooed off.
He was desperate to be loved and
We did not want another cat. But it
broke our hearts to see his wretched condition, so we “bought” him for a bottle of cheap champagne (all we had in the house at the time). It turned out he had come from a rescue centre where he’d had to have his fur shaved off because he’d been so neglected during the first years of his life. Unfortunately, his new person didn’t groom him either, had no idea how “high maintenance” Persians can be, and soon lost interest in him. He
was turned out on the street to fend for himself.
“But his fame has spread even further than the immediate neighborhood. A lot further!”
Despite his sad beginnings, Tushtots has become something of a celebrity. He goes out for walks on a harness and all the neighbors come and talk to him. The local Rottweiler is in awe of him. He drinks milk from a bottle and the whole house is run around his whims and fancies. We are the love affair of the century!
After being shaved of all his fur yet again, and having to wear a romper suit because it was so cold, he came to live with us at Tom Cat Towers. We named him Tushtots, because that’s what he seemed to say when our vet asked: “What’s your name, young fella?” His broken teeth were so clogged with fur it was the only sound that came out!
But his fame has spread even further than the immediate neighborhood. A lot further! Our house was already home to Willi Whizkas, a Maine coon who joined us two years earlier. He’d been overlooked as a show cat because of his ginger coloring, but he has a true star quality that soon rubbed off on Tushtots. My husband John and I were so enamored with them both that we were inspired to start writing a series of books about their adventures. At the time, we wrote these stories purely for our own enjoyment. We Now healthy, happy and never expected they loved, Tushtots has plenty of were good enough time to relax and enjoy life. to be published and were simply happy For the first three months, he was that our friends loved them and so depressed he wouldn’t even were passing them around. But look at us. Then one day, as if a to our amazement, our first book light switched on, he came and Willi Whizkas – Tall Tales and Lost gave me a kiss – a huge “mog- Lives made it into print and is snog” on the nose – and made now available not only here in the career decision he wasn’t an the U.K., where we live, but also unwanted cat anymore. He had in North America. Never in our humans (who adored him utterly) wildest dreams did we think our to supervise! cats would go global!
The author’s other cat, Willi Whizkas poses with the book that made him and Tushtots famous.
From being a cat nobody wanted, he has hit the jackpot and is now known and loved on both sides of the Atlantic, along with his “brother”. Tushtots and Willi Whizkas are as bowled over by the book’s success as we are, but are taking their celebrity status in stride. They have been featured on Animal Radio, reviewed on global websites and get fan mail from all over the world from people who have read the book and see their own rescued cats in the tales we’ve written. We’re just glad that people are enjoying it and having a good laugh. That’s why it was written – for fun. We’re also glad beyond measure
that Tushtots has enjoyed such a dramatic change in his fortunes. From being a cat nobody wanted, he has hit the jackpot and is now known and loved on both sides of the Atlantic, along with his “brother”. We certainly can’t imagine life without him. We’re also hoping his story will inspire others to adopt unwanted cats – they might turn out to be diamonds in the rough, just like Tushtots! For more information on Willi and Tushtots, visit: thedailymews.com/ Williwhizkas/introwilliwhizkas.htm.
Toast the season with turmeric This favorite spice has a lot going for it. It adds flavor and color to dishes, and packs a healthy punch that’s good for your animals too. by Audi Donamor
as a powerful antioxidant to protect the body from free radicals and tissue damage through oxidation. In Herbal Medicine, Healing & Cancer, Donald R. Yance Jr. writes that that some of the most powerful anti-mutagenic foods are garlic, ginger, burdock, citrus peel – and turmeric. Special enzymes found in these herbs and foods can help repair cells damaged by oxidative stress. We can share those herbs and foods with our companion animals. A sprinkle a day of turmeric is all it takes!
BB King, the author’s 8½-year-old golden retriever, gets ready to sample some fresh coconut curry cake (see opposite page for recipe).
Studies carried out at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston demonstrated the beneficial properties of curcumin against a wide range of cancers. A current study is looking at its ability to block neurotensin, a brain and gastrointestinal peptide related to the production of an inflammatory protein that plays a critical role in the growth and proliferation of cancer cells.
Additional benefits Here’s what else turmeric can do:
• Supports the liver by promoting the secretion and
movement of bile
urmeric is not your typical “mellow yellow.” Not only does it grab attention with its vibrant yelloworange hue, but it also has a very long history and was used for health and healing as early as 250 BC.
• Supports the cardiovascular system and lungs • Helps treat digestive problems like gastritis • Aids in healing skin problems such as “the itchies” • Great for minor wounds
A member of the ginger family, turmeric is a rhizome that grows underground. To prepare the yellow powdered spice we’re most familiar with, the rhizomes are boiled for several hours and dried in hot ovens before being ground into a powder.
Curcumin for cancer
Turmeric has natural antiseptic and antibiotic properties and is widely used as a remedy for bacterial infections and even eye disorders. It has also long been regarded as a powerful anti-inflammatory and is good for a variety of arthritic conditions. The combined anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help provide relief from the pain of arthritis and other joint issues.
What makes this popular Indian curry spice so special? It’s all in that deep yellow pigment, which comes from a powerful compound called curcumin. This compound acts
Any time I prepare something with turmeric, my dogs come running. Try one of the following recipes and you’ll find out why!
Coconut curry cake with wild salmon
Coconut curry cake with wild salmon
4 cups coconut flour (see page 50) 4 cups filtered water 1 /3 cup olive oil (+ olive oil for cookie sheets) 2 eggs 2 tins wild salmon 1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic 1 teaspoon ginger Dried cranberry essence or finely minced unsulphered sun-dried cranberries Antarctic sea salt and kelp Catnip leaves and flowers
SAVE $5.00 e Enter cod
Looking for advice about
Instructions Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease two cookie sheets with olive oil. Combine all ingredients in a mixer or blender. This recipe also whips up easily by hand! Split the mixture between the two cookie sheets, then pat down so the dough has a flat surface. Gently score with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Look for golden edges. Let the cakes cool completely before removing from cookie sheets. Be extra careful, as these cakes are like the finest holiday shortbreads – use a spatula. Before serving, sprinkle with cranberry essence, Antarctic sea salt and kelp, or catnip leaves and flowers. Cakes freeze well and also store well in containers. This recipe can easily be split in half and coconut flour used in combination with other flours.
Natural Medicine? Holistic Pet Info can help. HPI provides high quality products and accurate information so that you can make informed decisions about your pet’s healthcare.
www.holisticpetinfo.com animal wellness
Liver licks sauté
/2 cup raw liver, chopped 2 tablespoons filtered water 1 tablespoon potato flour 1 clove garlic, finely minced 1 /2 teaspoon turmeric 1
Liver licks sauté Instructions Combine all ingredients in a small cast iron pan. Gently sauté on medium heat. This recipe takes less than five minutes to prepare, but make sure it has cooled right down before serving.
Coconut flour is made from coconut meat fiber after most of the oil has been removed. It is very different from other wheat alternatives. Along with being gluten free, it is naturally low in digestible carbohydrates and high in fiber and protein. Coconut flour contains four times more fiber than oat bran and three times more than ground flax seed. It is also certified organic and not treated with sulfites. To learn more, check out Dr. Bruce Fife’s Cooking with Coconut Flour: A Delicious Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Alternative to Wheat, first published in 2005.
Holiday gift guide Boston Baked Bonz Send our inspired gifts to all the dogs in your life! We freshly bake our organic treats and carefully package and send them the same day. Make holiday giving easy and rewarding for your furry friends – Boston Baked Bonz is your headquarters for healthy holiday gifts and goodies. www.bbbonz.com
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Bloom and Bark Dog Bakery Sweet Potato, Carrot and Apple Chews are organically grown on our farm, hand cut and dried. Chews are made with high quality produce, nothing more. The drying process brings out the natural sweetness that dogs love. A great chew for your dogs’ teeth and health. Online shopping offers free shipping. www.bloomandbark.com
Aunt Jeni’s Home Made Dehydrated Treats Holiday stocking stuffers your pet will adore! Dehydrated, all-natural, grain-free, and preservative-free. 100% sourced and manufactured in the USA. Choose from Sweet Potato, Apple, Chicken Feet, Chicken Breast, Goat Liver, and Ostrich Medley. Free Shipping within the US! Great gift idea! 1-800-9-AUNTJENI www.auntjeni.com.
Bark Berry Pets
i Love Dogs Veterinarian formulated to meet the specific health and wellness needs of your dog. The polyphenols in green tea enhance immunity, protect against free radical damage, and help to reduce the incidence of disease. i Love Dogs GREEN TEA enhances the overall health of any dog and provides added support for dogs that are under stress, overweight, chronically ill, or undergoing ongoing medical treatment. www.ilovedogs.com 888-456-8966
Bark Berry Pets aromatherapy candle tarts and skin care products. Bursting with “Berry” goodness, designed especially for pets’ sensitive skin and nose. They’ll work wonders for Mom too..! While relaxing to the soothing scents, try our other natural products. Pets are “Berry” crazy for them! “SNIFF” us out at www.barkberrypets.com
Messages From Your Animal Companion by Angelica del Mar Easy-to-use deck of 55 beautiful cards featuring photographs of adorable animals. A tool for strengthening your bond with your best buddy and sharing meaningful information in a light-hearted way. Topics include: emotional state (happy, afraid), health (healing, vet visit), grooming (brush me, nail trim), needs (diet change) and desires (playtime, exercise). www.angelicascards.com Wholesale: AngelicasCards@yahoo.com animal wellness
Holiday Chillybuddy Chillybuddy Dog Engineered Gear is about dogs and their needs. We are in the business of making dog gear that is functional, effective and innovative. Our goal is to make dogs comfortable and happy no matter what the weather looks like, using the best engineering and materials. Available in nine sizes; from Super-Petite to XX-Large. www.chillybuddy.com email@example.com 1-888-762-8149
Cherbey’s® Tilapia Fish Jerky for Dogs and Cats
Dogs life tee collection Wearable art silk-screened on a fantastic range of designs. We feel that these designs are timeless; every generation can enjoy and appreciate wearing this dog themed art logo.The dogs life tee collection is for anybody, anywhere, who has ever loved a dog! The t-shirts make great uniform tops for your employees, perfect gifts for the holidays, birthdays or just to brighten someone’s day! Look us up on the web www.maxamillianshouse.com 866-568-2711
This delicious, pure protein treat is made of 100% dehydrated tilapia. Each 3 oz bag is dehydrated from a pound of raw human-grade tilapia. That’s it—NO Preservatives, Additives or Chemicals, just pure fish goodness! Proudly made in Seattle! www.cherbeys.com
Comfy K9 The Greenest Bed on the Market! Never wash another pet bed when you own an “Easy Care” Pet Bed or Crate Pad. Just slip the machine washable cover off, wipe down the waterproof bed and place the cover back on. It’s that easy!! Check us out at www.ComfyK9.com
Armarkat pet bed Armarkat pet bed will put your cat/dog into a sweet sleep, provided by the extremely soft pillow and/or hugged by strong, cozy bolster. Your pet will be fully energized to greet you home. The entire pet bed is machine washable. Perfect GIFT for your Dog or Cat Lover Friends www.catbedandtoy.com www.pussycatfurniture
DryFur - Pet Travel Products Offers the Perfect gift for traveling pets. NEW Designer Kennel Hardware Kits Add Style & Security to your Pets’ Travel Carrier or Kennel. Replaces worn out, missing or standard plastic kennel attachments. SOLID METAL, Easy to install, 1 size fits ALL. Available in 3 fun colors: Chrome, Sapphire Blue, HOT PINK Call 888-250-4824 or order online at www.DryFur.com
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Espree Pamper your pet with The Doggie Spa Collection by Espree Animal Products. Luxurious shampoos, conditioners and colognes devoted to pampering your pet. The Doggie Spa Collection is a natural spa experience promoting health and beauty. Treat your Good Girl or Bad Boy to a day at the spa! Available through fine Pet Boutiques, Salons, Spas and Specialty Stores. Call 800-328-1317 for a location near you or visit www.espree.com
InstinctsTC InstinctsTC powdered premix for making homemade cat food by the Feline Future Cat Food Company was developed as a foundation supplement for daily nutritional support to complete fresh, raw meat as a cat food. The resulting cat food mimics the nutritional composition of a mouse. 2008 marks the 10-year anniversary of InstinctsTC - backed by 13 years of research. www.felinefuture.com or call 1-877-9FELINE
The Litter Chest Litterbox Containment Furniture – by Fat Cat Creations. With its clean lines & classic style only you & your cat will know what’s inside. Suited to fit into any décor, the Litter Chest is the litterbox solution you have been looking for. Visit us at www.bigfatkittycat.com or call 604-756-0267.
Feline Solution Rx:
EzyDog EzyDog is the Manufacturer of the Original Shock Absorbing Leash. Building on this ingenuity, we’ve put together a line of Unique Products with Safety, Comfort, and Durability in mind for both you and your pet. All EzyDog Products are designed to maximize an owner’s and their four-legged friend’s experience. Happy Shopping! firstname.lastname@example.org
Kittyslicker Kittyslicker - Discovered by Kitties for Kitties! The Kittyslicker™ is a one-of-a-kind fun tool that helps stimulate bonding and nurtures a beautiful, sable soft coat by emulating a kitty’s sand papery sticky little tongue. Starting or maintaining the bonding process helps form a strong, inseparable, loving and rewarding friendship for life. Visit Kittyslicker.com for more information.
A veterinary approved 100% natural alternative to costly vet visits for the relief and management of a host of feline ailments. Effective first aid support for surgical incisions and wounds, flea dermatitis, dry skin, scratching, itching, acne and skin rashes. Great for odor neutralizing and sanitation. Significant improvement generally noticed within 24 hours. Available in PetSmart and other fine pet retailers. Earth’s Balance, Inc. 7035 West 65th Street, Bedford Park, IL 60638 www.earthsbalance.com 877-364-6648
Evanger’s Looking for a healthy and kosher way to spoil your pet? Try Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food premium canned dinners. Any king canine will love to dine on Evanger’s Twin Whole Chicken Thigh meal. F elines are sure to savor Evanger’s Organic Turkey with delicious butternut squash. Visit www.evangersdogfood.com for more selections. All Evanger’s products are made in the United States. animal wellness
Found naturally in all living organisms, hyaluronic acid provides the elastic shock absorbing properties to support healthy joints for your pet. Proven to maintain proper joint fluid viscosity, HyaFlex compensates for your pet’s depleted ability to produce HA with age by restoring lubrication and healthy movement. Hyalogic toll-free 866-318-8484; www.hyaflex.com
Purr-fect Fortune Cookies Jake & Micah™ Lucky Organic Catnip Fortune Cookies are purr-fect for cats to carry, toss around and sleep with. Offered in a variety of styles to suit any taste, these unique toys are handmade complete with feline felicitous fortunes and sure to appeal to the hippest of cat owners. Available at www.jakeandmicah.com.
Treat your dog to good health!
A perfect gift – your furry friend’s name custom-printed right on the package! Our healthy treats are fresh-baked by hand in California with Love, not Sugar. These doggie-delicacies are made with human-grade ingredients. Not sold in stores. For good dogs only! www.HealthyDogDesserts.com, 949-646-3449
WackyWalkr Finally a leash that makes walking your four legged friends fun again. So sensible, utilizing the same s-t-r-e-t-c-h harnessed by the fitness industry…it’s a new leash on life! So unique in its simplicity yet guaranteed to make a difference. Your arms, neck and spine as well as that of your pooch will thank you. “We won’t jerk your chain!” www.wackywalkr.com
GET SERiOUS!® Odor, Stain & Pheromone Extractor Keep holiday spirits high with the “perfect gift” for new pet parents! GET SERiOUS!® handles their 2 biggest challenges! Speeds-up “Potty Training” & “Cleans-up” completely! Unbeatable Stain, Odor, and most importantly, the “only” Pheromone extractor – all in one application! Pets aren’t “confused” and soiling stops! Everyone’s cheering GET SERiOUS!®. Read reviews & more: www.PetSmart.com | www.getseriousproducts.NET
Kats’n Us Tube of Cat Toys, a Party in a Tube! An Assortment of Kitty Favorites all packaged together. A perfect Gift for that Special Cat Lover. Choose from a variety of options sure to entice & entertain cats of all shapes, sizes and stripes. Hours of fun for you and your cat! 503-650-5184, email@example.com, www.katsnus.com
The Haute Hound Pet Boutique The Haute Hound has expanded to carry Nina Ottosson interactive puzzle dog toys and a variety of eco-friendly pet products: organic dog clothes, toys, beds, and treats. Winner “Best Pet Supplies” Palm Beach A-List. FREE STANDARD SHIPPING! PROMO CODE: wellness08. TheHauteHound.com Check out Eco-Hound.com too!
gift guide The 40-Year-Old Dog Did you know that dogs are capable of living 40 years or more? And did you know that the average lifespan of man’s best friend is less than 20 years? Considering the close and loving relationship developed with our canine companions it is surprising that more time and effort isn’t spent enhancing and extending the quality and length of their lives. What would we give to have 10 extra years with our favorite furry friends? We believe we have the answers not just for dogs but for cats and horses too. www.phporder.com
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Laughing Dingo Studios One-of-a-kind artwork, featuring your loyal companion. WHIMSICAL & HUMOROUS. Our fine art portraits, created from your photographs, are colorful & expressive. Less realistic...more FUN! Laugh with the Dingo and stop by our gallery today. www.laughingdingostudios.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Plain Brown Tabby Gourmet catnip, honeysuckle and valerian cat toys. Natural wool toys, plus classic toys like the Kittybird. Comfy beds, our unique Tabby Take-Out and other gift baskets. Certified organic & premium catnips. All-natural cat treats including Whole Life, WildSide Salmon, Grandma Lucy’s. Free sample with order. USA only. www.catniptoys.com, 877-886-3917
Animal Communication Journeys Audio CD Guided by Marla Steele –The best gift for animal lovers! You will learn how to send and receive telepathic messages with these easy to follow, step-by-step guided meditation journeys. Deepen the bond with your pets as you feel their energy, understand a behavior, connect with an animal in spirit and more. Available at www.MarlaSteele.com 707-328-4997
Pet Stickers Plus
PRECIOUS COMFORT PET BEDS
Precious Comfort Pet Beds feature an earth-friendly, pressure-relieving, hypoallergenic, four (4) inch 100% natural and pure orthopedic latex rubber comfort core plus an odor-protected cover (not shown) made from a soft and renewable bamboo fabric. Wonderful for dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis. Order factory direct, starting at $199. www.PreciousComfortPetBeds.com 1-877-2-PRECIOUS (1-877-277-3246)
At PetStickersPlus.com the possibilities are endless. You upload a picture of your pet, and with their online Sticker creator you can choose a shape and add colorful text and borders for $8.99. They print your design on a reusable outdoor vinyl sticker that can be used over and over. Visit www.petstickersplus.com or email email@example.com
Imprints Jewelry Honor and immortalize your loved one. Their actual paw print is miniaturized in a personalized custom pendant. Included is our EZ-to-Use Imprint Kit for you to take an imprint of their paw. Keepsake mold is returned to you. Keep your companion close to your heart forever. www.ImprintsJewelry.com or 866-729-7769 animal wellness
Holiday Solay Salt Crystal Lamps Great for people, pets and the planet, Solay salt lamps produce healthy ions which gently clean the air of odor, dust, airborne bacteria. Creating a soothing ambiance, these one of a kind creations are 250 million years old, fair trade and last indefinitely. $29.95. 90 day guarantee. Visit www.solaywellness.com or call 866-497-0274
Animal Massage Instruction Based in the beautiful foothills of Colorado, Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage offers a wide range of animal career programs including massage, acupressure, Reiki, animal communication and more. Visit www.rmsaam.com or call 1-866-903-6462. HOLIDAY SPECIAL 15% OFF TUITION AND PRODUCTS THROUGH 12/23/08. CODE: EW08
Pet Mementos© Pet Mementos© Keepsake Kits include gift certificate, ordering instructions, and a Tales Memory Book© for special stories and photographs. All in a brushed metal tin for holding other keepsakes. Celebratory & memorial Pet Mementos© keep your beloved pet “always close to your heart”. To order: 1-866-910-5436 or petmementos.com.
Solo Pet Doors Give your animal his freedom while keeping stray cats and wildlife out. Solo Pet Doors are automatic, motorized, locking security doors for dogs and cats. They’re activated by a sensor on your animal’s collar and are self-latching, draft free, and save 15% on energy. Includes one-year warranty. 1-877-766-3900 or www.solopetdoors.com
Sleepypod was created with the active pet owner in mind. It is a mobile pet bed significant for its versatility with three functions in one product: everyday bed, convenient carrier, and safe car seat. Sleepypod-Mini is a smaller version that can be stowed beneath an airline seat. www.sleepypod.com or 213-341-1088
Smoochy Poochy “Don’t get caught unleashed this Holiday Season! Smoochy Poochy offers the most versatile optional hands-free lead in the market. Durable nylon webbing or luxurious waterproof leather-like construction. The perfect lead for leisurely walking, training, shopping, visiting. Endless possibilities…U.S. customers contact www.barkz.com or 425-822-0292. Canadian customers contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-407-8898.
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Make your dog happy and healthy with a brisk hike! Trails that are safe, welcoming and legal for dogs are presented with distance, hiking time, clear driving directions, and more. Plus tips on trail etiquette, canine first-aid and more. There are 16 regional titles in the series. $16.95, www.mountaineersbooks.org
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Deck the halls Worried your dog or cat might eat the mistletoe or break your heirloom tree ornaments? You don’t have to give up holiday decorating – but you may have to do some compromising. by Ann Brightman © Rita Jayaraman | Dreamstime.com
or several years, we decorated our tree with those tiny colored twinkle lights. Then along came Renny and Robin, our mischievous domestic shorthairs. One December morning, as I was putting the finishing touches on the tree, I saw Renny hook the light string with his paw and take one of the tiny glass bulbs in his mouth. That did it. The twinkle lights came down, and we replaced them with plastic LED lights. We made sure the bulbs were too large to comfortably fit in a cat’s mouth. And since they’re unbreakable and stay cool to the touch, we feel confident that even if Renny does try a nibble, he won’t be injured. We also ensure the cords are well secured to the tree, with no dangling loops that a playful cat could get his neck or leg tangled in. When you share your home with animal companions, it’s important to take their safety into consideration as you’re decorating for the holidays. It doesn’t mean you have to forgo your
lights, ornaments and greenery, but you may have to make some changes in order to keep your dog or cat from getting hurt or sick.
Make sure live greenery swags and wreaths are hung out of your animal’s reach, and check them regularly for fallen berries, needles or cones.
Staying green There’s nothing like the fragrance of a live tree, but the needles and tree water can be toxic if ingested. A lot of people balk at the idea of an artificial tree, but the newer models look quite realistic. We’ve had one for quite a few years, and although it doesn’t have that lovely evergreen scent, it looks just as nice as a live one once it’s decorated. Most importantly, the “needles” are non-toxic and fireproof,
which means they’re a lot safer for people and animals. You can still use live greenery swags and wreaths, but pine, spruce, hemlock, holly and other seasonal greens can be harmful if eaten by a dog or cat. Make sure such decorations are hung out of your animal’s reach, and check regularly for any fallen berries, needles or cones. Get rid of greenery once it dries out and start to drop profusely. Holiday plants such as poinsettias, amaryllis, Christmas cactus, cyclamens and potted Norfolk Island pines are popular gifts this time of year, but should also be kept out of your animal’s reach. Hanging baskets work well for some of these plants. As with live greenery, check them frequently for dropped leaves or flowers.
Animal friendly ornaments If you have breakable glass Christmas bulbs and other decorations,
Avoid hanging edibles on your tree, unless you want your canine companion stealing cookies and candy canes while your back is turned. hang them near the top of the tree and reserve the bottom boughs for plastic and wooden ornaments. True, your tree won’t look perfectly decorated, but it’s better than having to rush your companion to the vet because he has shards of glass in his mouth or throat. It also preserves your more valuable ornaments from breakage. Avoid hanging edibles on your tree, unless you want your canine companion stealing cookies and candy canes while your back is turned, and upsetting his stomach into the bargain. Popcorn strings
Candle cunning The holidays wouldn’t be the same without candles. But what kind are you burning? Paraffin candles emit toxins, including carcinogenic smoke. Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum and therefore not a healthy thing to be burning inside your home. Popular alternatives include beeswax and soy candles. In fact, burning beeswax candles can actually clean the air in your home by producing negative ions that help remove dust, allergens and odors. Remember to keep candles well out of the way of waving tails and inquisitive noses or paws, and never leave burning candles unattended.
are a no-no if you have a dog who eats anything – including the string the popcorn is hung on. If you just can’t give up edible decorations, use them to adorn out-of-reach swags and wreaths. The same applies to tinsel, which can cause severe in-
testinal problems if swallowed. By making a few compromises and taking some extra care, you’ll find that dogs, cats and holiday decorations can co-exist happily and safely.
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For sound sleep Does your dog have aches and pains or find it difficult to get comfy while resting? A therapeutic bed might be the answer to his prayers. by Debbie Swanson
Memory foam beds help relieve pressure and enhance blood flow. Photo Courtesy: Buddy Beds
hat could be more comforting than seeing your dog or cat curled up in blissful sleep? Both species spend almost half their day engaged in some form of sleep. But not all find it restful: older animals, those with muscular or joint issues, or very active dogs will often pace or relocate frequently. If your companion fits into one of these categories, he might benefit from a therapeutic bed. These specialized products offer support and comfort unlike regular beds or an impromptu sleeping spot. Regardless of age and health, a good bed promotes muscular-skeletal health and offers additional rejuvenating and healing benefits. Many types of therapeutic beds are available. Some use space-age materials while other draw on ancient healing modalities. Start by asking your veterinarian for a recommendation, particularly if your animal has a specific medical condition. Here’s a look at just a few of today’s choices.
A good memory When Debbie Holte’s cat began suffering from arthritis, she wanted to make him more comfortable. “I had a memory foam bed for myself, and thought, why not one for animals?” To help her kitty sleep more soundly, she came up with Buddy Beds, a line of patented memory foam beds. “He’s now 21, and he loves his bed.”
Originally created by NASA to reduce pressure on astronauts during space travel, memory foam has since been used widely in medical settings to help eliminate pressure problems in patients with limited mobility. “While an animal is resting on memory foam, he experiences better blood flow than when lying on a regular mattress,” explains Debbie. “It’s like oiling a car – if you keep the blood flowing to the animal’s joints, he won’t wake up stiff and aching.” Debbie points out that not all memory foam is created equal. It comes in three grades – 3 lb, 4 lb, and 5 lb – which vary widely in quality as well as price. Before purchasing, find out the grade, and avoid buying anything made of shredded foam. Also look at the overall design of the bed; memory foam alone may not be enough to provide adequate support. “You want to avoid a situation where the animal just sinks and sinks into the bed – referred to as ‘bottoming out’,” says Debbie. “We use a special layer of supporting foam that prevents this.” Another important factor in choosing a memory foam bed is sanitation. Because foam is porous, it absorbs liquids which contribute to stains and odor. To protect your companion and preserve your purchase, be sure the bed includes a waterproof, breathable liner.
Support system Does your animal seek strange, out-of-the-way places to sleep? Many love to curl up inside caved-in sofas, pillows or other nooks. Animals instinctively look for safe retreats, particularly when distressed or not feeling well. One product that appeals to this instinct is the Bella Bed, which provides support using a cave-shaped design. “The baffled design balances out the animal’s body weight, providing support for the muscular-skeletal system,” says Michelle Hedges of Bella Creature Comforts, LLC. In addition to providing support, these beds appeal to dogs and cats with sensitive skin. “Many animals suffer skin related issues due to harsh chemicals or finishes on furniture and fabrics,” says Michelle. “Our bed is made from eco-friendly, recycled 100% cotton fibers. The result is soft and comfortable on the animal’s skin, has no harsh chemicals and is breathable and washable.” Another product that offers superior support is the Precious Comfort Pet Bed. It’s ideal for dogs with hip dysplasia and arthritis because it features a thick, allnatural orthopedic latex rubber comfort core that relieves pressure on the dog’s joints. It’s also hypo-allergenic and covered with an odor-protected soft bamboo fabric.
The Bella Bed caters to an animal’s nesting instincts.
Look for these safety features in any bed • The bed and bedding should be washable. • The mattress should be puncture proof and protected by a removable cover. • Any bed that uses electricity should feature a chew-resistant, removable cord; look for the UL Approved logo on the package and sewn into the bed. Make sure the bed is fully UL approved, and isn’t just using UL approved components. • With a heated bed, the maximum temperature should not exceed 102ºF. • The bed frame should be durable and chew-proof. • Never use a human heating pad in your animal’s bed.
Magnetic attraction The use of magnets for healing dates back thousands of years. Magnetic therapy has been proven to reduce pain and swelling, improve circulation, increase energy and vitality. When veterinarian Dr. Jody Kincaid of the Anthony Animal Clinic & Holistic Healing Center in Texas performed a study on magnetic therapy for animals, he found that dogs experienced an average 17.9% increase in general vitality after using a magnetic mat, while cats had a 26.5% increase. Magnetic beds incorporate healing magnets into the material and are a safe and natural way for an animal to benefit from this healing. “Earth is a giant magnet,” says Eva Navratil of Serenity 2000, makers of magnetic pet products. “Animals as well as people need magnetism to recharge. Many people buy our beds because they purchased magnetic beds for themselves, and found their animals kept jumping on them even though they never jumped on the bed before.”
The Fauna Sauna uses infrared energy for healing warmth.
Temperature control A temperature controlled bed can relieve many sources of discomfort, as well as provide added climate control on a chilly (or warm) day. Larry Cobbs of K&H Manufacturing uses a heated bed for his active 11year-old Doberman. “She still runs two to three hours a day. When she comes in, she’ll go right to the heated bed. It’s made quite a difference in her life, and helped us avoid treating her with medicine as much as possible.” A heated bed works with your animal’s body temperature. “Without an animal on it, the bed should feel just warmer than room temperature,” explains Larry. “When the animal rests on it, the bed shouldn’t exceed his body temperature.” The beds sold by K&H are very low voltage, and designed to be left plugged in so warm relief is always available to your animal. “Even when plugged in 24/7, they use less electricity than a night light,” says Larry. The Fauna Sauna from Wavemaker LLC uses far infrared heat in its products. Infrared energy penetrates up to 2” into the animal’s skin, reaching his skin, tissue and joints,
stimulating circulation and increasing metabolic activity. It helps reduce swelling, inflammation and pain, and speeds healing by stimulating cells to regenerate more quickly. “Infrared is completely safe and is the most soothing, comforting and healing heat there is,” says company co-founder Timothy Jahnigen. With another winter on the doorstep, a therapeutic bed could be the best holiday gift you could get your four-legged friend!
Resources Bella Beds bellacreaturecomforts.com Buddy Beds buddybeds.com Fauna Sauna faunasauna.com K&H Manufacturing khmfg.com/products/heatedDogBeds.htm Precious Comfort Pet Beds PreciousComfortPetBeds.com Serenity 2000 store.serenity2000.com/ magnetic-pet-products.html
A heated bed soothes stiff muscles and joints.
Photo Courtesy: K&H Manufacturing
Concerned your dog or cat will stress out when you go away to visit family or friends? Flower essences are a simple and effective way to ease his separation anxiety.
by Marlene Keel
The holidays! They bring with them the welcome prospect of time off work and get-togethers with loved ones. Yet their appeal can be dampened by the thoughts of leaving your dog or cat behind when you go visiting, whether it’s for two days or two weeks. Many people don’t like the idea of boarding their companions at a kennel or leaving them with a pet sitter because they know only too well the distress this separation and disruption can cause.
Animals often experience stress and confusion when their human companions go away. It’s easy to imagine the thoughts they may entertain when finding themselves separated or in new or unfamiliar surroundings: Where have they gone? Are they coming back? Why did they leave me? Where am I? Fortunately, help is at hand. Flower essences are all-natural remedies that address emotional and behavioral im-
balances or problems. They can be given to animals experiencing emotional difficulties while living apart from their human companions. They can also address behavioral problems arising from separation anxiety. The table below provides you with a variety of essences to help with the emotions and states surrounding separation anxiety. Essences are generally easy to admin-
Flower remedies for separation anxiety Issue
Anxiety and tension
Chamomile (Matricari chamomilla)*, Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Lavender (Lavendula officianalis), Bach’s Rescue Remedy (blend)
Severe anguish or trauma
Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa), Warratah (Telopea speciosissima)
Recurring, stressful thoughts (e.g. “Where are they?!”)
White Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum.)
Lack of courage
Borage (Borago officinalis), Mountain Pride (Penstemon newberryi)
Trouble adjusting to change (strange location, people)
Walnut (Juglans regia)**
Fear of confinement (e.g. in a pen)
Corn (Zea mays)
Fear and sadness “caught” from other kenneled animals
Pink Yarrow (Achillea millefolium- pink), Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), Buchu (Agathosma serpyllacea)
Depression and grief
Gorse (Ulex europoeus), Wild Cherry (Prunus avium), Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)
Sense of alienation
Forget Me Not (Myosotis sylvatica)
Feelings of rejection or abandonment
Evening Primrose (Onenothera hookeri)
English Hawthorn (Crataegus Oxyacantha)
Flower essences are all-natural remedies that address emotional and behavioral imbalances or problems. ister. They can be placed in any food or water that is soon to be consumed. It is often a good idea to start the treatment a few days before you actually depart, as many animals have a way of knowing “something is in the air” and can become uneasy before you even leave. Of course, many people also experience distressing emotions when separated from their animal friends and will miss and worry about them. Remember that you can also take flower essences to help ease these tensions! In fact, you may end up organizing several essence blends to ensure all parties experience as little stress as
possible while you’re separated.
article, only the relevant qualities are stated.
Natural, practical and non-toxic, flower essences are wonderful for easing emotional upset. This holiday season, why not treat yourself and your dog or cat to this special healing gift?
Note: The information in this article is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, prevent, treat or cure disease or injury. Please see your veterinarian for any medical advice.
* Some plant species have a number of varieties. With flower essences, it’s important to understand that the qualities belonging to different varieties can have slightly different properties. When ordering an essence, it’s important to check the botanical Latin name too. ** Many flower essences have multi-healing qualities. For the purposes of this
Nature’s Solutions Flower Essences, floweressences.com.au/pets.htm Canadian Forest Tree Essences, www.essences.ca
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A new vision What should you do if your dog loses his sight? Don’t panic. With some knowledge and adjustment, you can help him live a safe and happy life. by Marcia Martin, DVM & Lorraine J. Smith, BMsc
© Chanyut Sribua-rawd | Dreamstime.com
rawford went blind quite suddenly when he was 14. “I’d lie in bed at night listening to him trying to find his way through the house, and coming up against walls when he thought he was going through doors,” says his person, Lucy. “I was afraid I’d have to have him euthanized.” Luckily, after doing some research, Lucy learned ways to help Crawford cope with his vision loss and enjoy his remaining years in comfort and safety.
Causes of canine blindness Blind dogs come in two basic types: those born that way, and those that acquire blindness though accident or disease. While congenital blindness does occur, by far the majority of cases are caused by injury or illness.
• Don’t fall into the habit of coddling a blind dog. By avoiding socialization and the necessary “bumps” along the way to learning independence, you prevent him from ever becoming fully functional.
Head trauma can lead to blindness either through direct damage to the eyes or through loss of the visual cortex in the brain. The retina is a film of tissue within the eye that sends visual messages to the brain through the optic nerve. Detachment of the retinal tissue is a common cause of sudden onset blindness. It can occur secondary to head trauma or high blood pressure. Other causes of acquired blindness include diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal degeneration, and bacterial or fungal infections. All dogs that lose their sight should receive a thorough examination by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
• Dogs born blind actually provide the biggest challenges. Walking in circles and head swinging are two common behaviors associated with blind puppies. Socialization is key! Exposing your visually challenged pup to new situations under close supervision allows him to gain confidence. As his mental map expands, his self awareness in relationship to walls and other objects will also expand, decreasing the circling behavior.
Adapting to vision loss A blind dog can lead a happy and healthy life, but will require some adaptation on your part.
• Talk to him in a calm and firm voice. Teach him some commands that will help him navigate his world, such as “step”, “watch” and “OK”. “Step” lets him know that stairs are near. “Watch” alerts him to obstacles in his path, while “OK” means the coast is clear. Start with a small familiar area and as he becomes more secure in strange situations, gradually increase the size of his world. animal wellness
Emotional issues Animals that suddenly or gradually go blind tend to adapt fairly well depending on their original levels of socialization and adaptability. A dog that was previously calm, relaxed and social will most likely adapt to blindness well. But a dog that was skittish and nervous while sighted may not. Either way, routine is important. Moving the furniture, changing homes, or adding new animals or people to the family may be unnerving for them. Separation anxiety can be a real problem in blind dogs because they depend on their people more than most sighted dogs. Other fears such as noise or storm phobias often intensify when an animal loses his sight. While most dogs do adapt to blindness, some do not. Independent dogs who spend their days outdoors often become depressed following the loss of freedom that blindness brings. Nervous, skittish dogs may become fearful and aggressive. The holiday season can be especially hard on a blind dog. Be patient, try to stick to a routine, and avoid exposing him to unnecessary stress or change.
• Startle aggression can be a problem in any blind dog. Talk or make other soothing noises as you approach the dog to alert him you are near. Don’t come up too fast or grab at the dog, and never allow others to do so either. Instead, allow the dog to introduce himself to new people at his own pace. Puzzle toys with treats hidden inside are ideal for blind dogs.
Photo courtesy: Pet PDC
• Just like sighted dogs, blind ones need mental and physical stimulation. Toys that make noises are good choices as they are easier for the animal to find. Puzzle toys filled with food can keep a dog occupied for hours; the touch, smell and food reward allow the blind dog to engage his other senses. • When out in public with a blind dog, a doggie jacket or shirt that says “I’m blind” can help alert people to his disability, thereby discouraging unsolicited contact. Blind dogs are more likely to bite than their sighted counterparts if startled or frightened. • Leash walking is not out of the question depending on his level of adaptation. Insecure animals who have spent the majority of their lives indoors may decompensate when removed from familiar surroundings. But calm dogs who were “bomb proof” prior to losing their sight will often enjoy a leash walk. • Blind dogs should never be allowed off leash in an unenclosed area such as a dog park. If your dog enjoys being outside, stick to supervised periods off leash in a well enclosed yard. All dangerous objects must be removed from the area prior to removing the leash. It is often surprising how quickly a blind dog will learn his way around a familiar yard.
Safety for sightlessness Safety is a big concern. Many blind dogs have drowned after falling in the family pool, even if they were avid
swimmers prior to their loss of sight. You should take the same precautions around water as you would do for a young child. Pool fences and alarms are a must when a blind dog lives in the household. Inside the house, baby gates can be a big help, especially blocking off stairways where falling may be a problem. Electrical cords must be put up out of reach. Blind animals explore their surroundings through touch, primarily with the mouth. Chewing an electrical cord can result in severe burns and even death. Sharp corners on furniture pose another risk. Any baby supply store will carry various types of corner covers. Outside doors need to be kept closed as blind dogs are at the mercy of circumstance once they leave their comfort zone. Once a diagnosis of blindness is made, it’s your job to take on a new role. Your dog will depend on you to keep him safe, although realize you won’t be able to protect him from every bump and scrape. Help him learn to walk on his own through the house and yard – don’t carry him. The more he is able to do for himself, the more confident and well adjusted he will become. “It took time for Crawford to adapt, and we both had to be patient, but now he can find himself around without any problems,” says Lucy. “I keep the door to the basement stairs closed at night, and I always make sure he knows where I am. He feels happier, and so do I.”
Water works You know fresh water is vital to your animal’s well being. A home filtration or purification system can help ensure his next drink is as clean and healthy as possible. by Ann Brightman
hen our neighborhood was connected to a municipal water system a few years ago, it felt great to no longer rely on a well that ran dry every summer. But we worried about the chlorine in our new water supply, not to mention other potential chemicals or toxins and the effects they might have on our health and that of our animal companions. The truth is, clean, pure water is becoming increasingly scarce the world over. No matter where we live, our water sources are being contaminated with a growing number of toxins, from pesticides and fertilizers to cryptosporidium cysts and heavy metals. Home water filtering and purification systems use a variety of technologies to help clean our drinking water and make it safer and healthier. Not all these systems are the same; some only remove chlorine, for example, but don’t do anything to get rid of toxic metals, while others kill bacteria and parasites but don’t nix pesticides or other inorganic compounds. So before investing in a product for you and your dog or cat, it’s important to understand what technology it uses and how much it will actually purify your water. It’s also a good idea to have your water tested to give you an idea of what you’re dealing with in the way of contaminants. Visit the National Sanitation Foundation website (nsf.org) to find out which systems and products have been certified to reduce or eliminate specific contaminants; it’s important to invest in a good quality product that does what it’s supposed to do.
Which system is for you? Here’s a look at the five of the most common water purification technologies currently on the market.
1. Carbon filter How it works: The water passes through a charcoal filter where impurities are removed. Some of the filters include nano-silver to give them enhanced bacteria-killing capabilities. Filter cartridges must be replaced regularly to keep the unit working properly. Product/installation types: Pitchers, countertop containers with spigots, and faucet mounted models are available. Pros: Inexpensive and easy to install; filters out chlorine, lead, organic chemicals, radon, some parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium, bad odors and tastes. Cons: Won’t filter out heavy metals, arsenic or nitrites. Products vary in what they can do – some only get rid of bad tastes and odors so do your homework before making a purchase.
Visit the National Sanitation Foundation website (nsf.org) to find out which systems and products have been certified to reduce or eliminate specific contaminants.
2. Distillation How it works: The water is heated until it boils and turns into steam, then it’s cooled and condensed back into liquid form. Unwanted particles and solids are left behind, and microbes are killed by the heat. Product/installation types: Distillation systems are commonly installed at the kitchen faucet, but can also be put in at the point where the water enters your house. Pros: Rids the water of all impurities, including pollutants such as lead, mercury and trivalent arsenic. The boiling process kills microbes and bacteria. Cons: A lot of energy is consumed by the heating and cooling process. Distillation removes the good minerals along with the bad, and many people believe this can affect the balance of these minerals in the body and may even have a negative influence on metabolism and immunity. Distilled water can taste flat.
3. Ceramic filter How it works: Usually made of highfired diatomaceous earth, which is composed of the cell walls of billions of microscopic algae. When water passes through the tiny pores in the ceramic, particles as small as 0.2 microns are caught. Ceramic filters are often combined with carbon filters and may have nano-silver incorporated into them.
Product/installation types: Ceramic filter systems come in both countertop and under-the-sink models. Pros: Remove parasites and bacteria as well as asbestos and unwanted sediments. Combined with carbon filters, they’ll also remove lead and other materials. The inclusion of nano-silver controls the re-growth of bacteria trapped in the ceramic pores by releasing neutralizing positive metal ions. Cons: The ceramic filters are delicate and need to be cleaned regularly.
4. Reverse osmosis How it works: The water is pushed through a very fine semi-permeable membrane that traps particles, bacteria, pollutants, minerals and sediments. The unwanted materials stay on the other side of the membrane and are flushed away. Product/installation type: Can either be installed under the sink or at the point where water enters your home. Pros: Removes most pollutants, parasites and bacteria, nitrates, perchlorate, industrial chemicals, chlorine, arsenic, asbestos, and dissolved ions and metals that other filters can’t catch. Cons: Reverse osmosis systems use a lot of water – in fact, they consume more than they filter. They won’t remove radon or all pesticides. animal wellness
5. Ultraviolet light How it works: Unlike filter systems, these use a high-frequency UV light bulb to disinfect water by killing pathogens. Product/installation type: Come in under-the-sink models, or can be installed where the water enters your house. Pros: Gets rid of bacteria, viruses and protozoa, including giardia and cryptosporidium. Cons: Only kills living organisms and doesn’t get rid of unwanted minerals or metals, so you need another type of filter system to work in conjunction with it. UV systems are expensive and can start at $500 or more. They also use electricity continuously. Once you’ve done your homework and made your choice, you’ll know that you and your family – human and animal – will have access to safer, cleaner drinking water from now on. And that’s a lot better for everyone’s health!
The price of convenience It used to be that bottled water was regarded as the ultimate in purity. Not any more. Studies have shown that a lot of bottled water is no better than the water that comes out of your tap. Concerns have also arisen about the chemicals that may leach into the water from the plastic. And bottled water is environmentally unfriendly. A lot of resources are used in the bottling process, and recycling depots and landfills are filled to overflowing with plastic water bottles. There’s no denying bottled water is convenient, and it can be a godsend in a pinch, but you shouldn’t rely on it on a regular basis, for either you or your animal. Filtered tap water is a better way to go and is also less expensive in the long run. If you need water “for the road”, buy a stainless steel or phthalate-free plastic bottle that you can fill at home. You can even buy reusable water bottles for dogs.
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Seasonal stress? Want to help your dog or cat cope with holiday hustle and bustle? Sit down and talk to him! by Sue Becker
is the season to be jolly. For us, that is. Our animal friends may not share our sentiments. What with everything going on this time of year, how is a respectable cat or dog to make sense of it all? Adding your own stress to the mix can easily overwhelm or even traumatize your sensitive animal friends. But take heart – an awareness of your dog or cat’s viewpoint and a little basic animal communication may be all that’s needed!
A little change goes a long way Photo courtesy: Tammy Gould
Most cats and dogs thrive on routine. It makes them feel safe and reassures them. Familiar food at regular mealtimes, walks at the same time each day, and some predictability in your comings and goings keeps stress away and helps your animal relax. Understanding this vital fact explains why your dog or cat may become upset and even act out or have behaviorial lapses at holiday time. Besides disruptions in routine, other unsettling holiday changes may include frequent visitors, music and dancing, vacations, not to mention strange objects coming into the house, each having a new and different scent: gifts and decorations, wrapping paper and presents, new and different foods, wreaths and Christmas trees. Even extra cooking, baking, cleaning and furniture moving can disconcert your animal companion. His territory might be invaded if family and friends bring their own animals with them on visits. All this can feel very threatening and scary. Aside from some very enthusiastic individuals, most dogs and cats absolutely hate surprises. Think about it: wouldn’t it be hard on you too, if you were suddenly wak-
ened from a sound sleep by the doorbell and the unexpected appearance of several guests? It can be downright terrifying for timid or anxious animals already upset by holiday-triggered changes in the household routine. Even sociable dogs and cats can become overexcited, nervous and cranky from too much stimulation.
Tell him what’s happening You can remove the element of surprise and help reduce stress by communicating with your animal friend and letting him know what to expect.
1. Sit down with him and try your best to clear other matters from your mind.
2. Spend a moment admiring your cat or dog, and feel the love you share.
3. When you feel clear and calm, talk to him just as if speaking to another human. Animals are telepathic and understand so much of what we say – not from the language we use, but from the
images and emotions we form while speaking the words. We’re usually not even aware of these images and feelings, yet we form them nevertheless. And our animals can read them very well. Feeling calm and relaxed as you talk to your cat or dog is crucial. Any trace of anxiety on your part will send the message that you’re upset by the upcoming event and he should be as well. Our animals look to us for safety and leadership. Fear or stress in our lives is reflected in them and their behavior. It’s easy to understand why: our animals depend on us for their livelihood, and they interpret our anxiety as a cue that life is not safe.
More de-stressing tips • Don’t allow visitors to grab or handle unwilling animals. • Provide quiet, warm safe havens in out-of-the- way places – beds in bedroom closets, under desks, hidey holes. • Provide places where cats can get off the floor – they feel safest when up high. • Be mindful of extremely sensitive animal ears when playing music. • Check in with your animal every day to stay aware of his stress levels. • Many animals love to have their ears stroked – it calms and relaxes them. • Managing your own stress will help your animals reduce their stress. (Try exercise, yoga, meditation, Rescue Remedy.)
Say it out loud Speaking aloud will help you focus and clarify your imagery. Here’s an example: “After supper, Velvet, two nice women will ring the doorbell, come into the house and sit with me on the sofa and chair [picture this in your mind]. I have asked them to come and they are safe, pleasant people. They will love you. You may join us or go to another room as you wish [visualize this]. They will bring gifts for us [picture wrapped gifts] and there will be unfamiliar scents. I’m looking forward to their visit [feel pleasanimal wellness
ant anticipation]. You will be safe the whole time they are here [feel safe and relaxed].”
Emphasize the positive Phrase your ideas and words in positive ways. Animals don’t have a clear understanding of negatives. How can we picture a “don’t” or “not”? We can’t! If you were to tell your dog, “Don’t go near the Christmas tree!” and examine what image you’re projecting, it would probably be your dog doing exactly what you don’t want – approaching the tree. Negatives create a kind of energy void, and animals don’t pick that up well. So stay with the positives and instead ask, “Please stay away from the Christmas tree because it may harm you.” Providing a reason helps your request make more sense and can encourage cooperation. In the same way, you can request your animal to stay away from toxic plants, wrapped gifts and the turkey on the kitchen counter! You can also give him notice of the consequences for his actions if he disobeys – e.g. a scowl or a loud “no”. Be sure to fol-
low through. Like small children, animals live in the present, and if they are strongly driven to taste the mistletoe or grab that yummy-smelling drumstick, there’s no guarantee they’ll search their memories for your warnings. If your animal does do what you ask, be sure to thank him. By acknowledging him, you
recognize his efforts and encourage future cooperation. Putting yourselves in your animal’s place and using mindful communication is easy, and can work wonders in changing your dog or cat’s opinion of the holidays from “Bah, humbug!’ to “Peace on earth”!
Going away? You can do your furry friend a big favor by letting him know in advance of any trips you’re taking this holiday season. In words and pictures, tell him you’ll be away, who will be taking care of him and what to expect while you’re gone (meals, walks, playtime, companionship). Emphasize that he’ll be safe and that you will return. Picture yourself coming in through the front door, or into the boarding facility, delighted to see him and to take him home again. Repeat this over the few days prior to your trip. He may still not like the idea, but at least he’ll be aware of your intentions and will experience less stress because of it. While you’re away, think of him often and send telepathic greetings – don’t be surprised to receive a greeting back! Flower essences can also help with holiday separation anxiety – turn to page 64 to learn more. © Morozova Tatiana | Dreamstime.com
the scoop New organic shampoos Veterinarian and Animal Wellness contributor Dr. Shawn Messonnier has released a new line of certified organic pet shampoos. Dr. Shawn’s Pet Organics™ were created from his experiences in animal dermatology. “I treat a lot of animals with skin diseases, and there are very few high-quality shampoos,” he says. “Most contain a lot of chemicals and artificial ingredients that may damage sensitive skin and slow down the healing process.” Golden All-In-One Shampoo, Lemongrass and Neem Flea and Tick Shampoo, and Aloe and Lavender Itch Relief Shampoo are all designed as an aid in healing skin. petcarenaturally.com
Biscuits to beg for These treats will have your dog begging for more. Doggies Unlimited LLC offers a variety of scrumptious natural biscuits for your canine companion. Choose Maggie’s Apple Cinnamon Delights, made from organic whole wheat flour, apples, organic rolled oats and cinnamon. Or how about Harley’s Gourmet Doggie Biscuits, featuring organic whole grains, all-natural carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, zucchini and other healthful ingredients? All biscuits are free of artificial additives. doggies-unlimited.com
Raw convenience Here’s the ultimate in raw food convenience. Paw Naturaw has introduced a new line of shelf-stable, organic, raw freeze-dried diets for dogs. This unique product offers a wide range of feeding options. The medallions crumble easily and can be given as treats or training rewards, or used to supplement or garnish other foods. They also pack well and can be used to feed your dog when you’re traveling. Available in organic beef, chicken and turkey diets. pawnaturaw.com
Healthy jerky Most dogs love jerky treats, but commercial products are usually loaded with additives. Nothing But Natural Jerky Treats from Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company are different. They’re made from select cuts of naturally raised chicken, buffalo, pheasant or venison, along with blueberries, carrots, peas and other fresh, wholesome ingredients. Best of all, they contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, so you know you’re dog is getting something nutritious and healthy as well as tasty. evangersdogfood.com
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Citrus sensE Oranges, lemons and grapefruit are seasonal favorites for many, but are they and their oils safe for our animal companions? by Dr. Kim Bloomer
long with all the excitement and anticipation, the holiday season is associated with a variety of traditional scents and flavors. Many are of the citrus variety, whether it’s the bowl of tangerines on your sideboard, the orange-scented candles you decorate your house with, or the breakfast grapefruit you serve to your houseguests. While they smell and taste divine to us, you may be wondering if these fruits and the essential oils derived from them are okay for your dog or cat. I think the occasional piece of citrus fruit is okay as long as it doesn’t become regular fare for your animals. Some dogs will “ask” for a piece of orange or grapefruit. And one of my sister’s cats loves to occasionally grab the rind of a lemon or orange and munch on it (the peel is where the essential oil comes from).
Citrus flea repellent 8 oz purified water or hydrosol 4 drops lavender essential oil 3 drops peppermint essential oil 2 drops orange or lemon oil ½ dropper calendula tincture ¼ teaspoon vegetable glycerin Shake well before each use and spritz your dog as needed.
Citrus oils have got a pretty bad rap with animal use. Many people say they’re toxic, while others say they’re
The grapefruit question fine. The truth lies somewhere in between. Like other essential oils, they shouldn’t be used neat on cats. Used discriminately, however, and in the form of hydrosols for cats, they can be very beneficial. For example, depending on where you live, fleas can be an issue year round. A natural repellent made from essential oils can be a godsend to your dog (see sidebar on previous page). Before using citrus oils with your animal, here are some suggestions to keep in mind: •Know the source of your essential oils. Not all products are created equal. Neither are their suppliers. A so-called “pure” essential oil may contain chemical solvents and other impure ingredients. It’s essential to be certain of the therapeutic grade quality and source of your essential oils before using them on either yourself or your animals.
A lot of people get confused between grapefruit seed extract and grapefruit essential oil. While both are from the same fruit, they are different products. Grapefruit seed extract comes from the seed, while the oil comes from the skin. Both should always be used in a diluted state with animals, especially the essential oil. Grapefruit seed extract is often used as a natural antibacterial and can be used to disinfect raw meat. For one pound of meat, take six to eight ounces of purified water and combine it with four drops of grapefruit seed extract (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs). Pour the water over the meat. You can drain it off afterwards if feeding raw, or leave it as part of the recipe if you are cooking the meat.
•Listen to your animal – and his likes and dislikes. Just as each of us is unique and individual, so are our dogs and cats. No two are alike, even if they are the same breed. Many people who use the same essential oils I use and trust allow their animals to decide if a particular oil, including citrus, is okay for them. Animals can be very discerning. However, that’s not to say you can allow them carte blanche on anything they like. Chocolate is dangerous for dogs, for example, but they’ll try to eat it if you don’t keep it from them. Use your common sense. •My good friend and colleague, Dr. Jeannie Thomason, has a saying: “When in doubt, leave it out.” I agree. It’s always better to err on the side of caution, especially with citrus essential oils. With care, there’s no reason you can’t include citrus oils and fruits in your holiday celebrations. Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove in your animal aromatherapy use – and enjoy! animal wellness
warm & Fuzzy The painting Pekingese He may not have the stereotypical artistic temperament, but Ziggy’s passion for painting has won him worldwide acclaim. by Barbara Nefer
e’s only been painting since June, but an up-andcoming artist named Ziggy has already appeared at numerous art shows, built up a fan base that spans the globe, and sold several of his works. Not a bad start for a four-year-old Pekingese! Ziggy’s unique and burgeoning career sprang from an experiment carried out by his human family. Elizabeth Monacelli and her mother are both musicians, which means melodies are always drifting through their home in Fallbrook, California. “My father was a teacher,” Elizabeth says. “He often had his students paint to classical music because he said it helps you to feel and conjure up the picture.” One day, she wondered if music would spark canine creativity too. Ziggy loves to play with paper towel rolls, so she rigged up a canvas and attached a brush to one of the rolls. Against a melodic backdrop, and with some help and guidance from Elizabeth, her artistic little Peke started smooshing and sweeping the brush in a series of bold strokes. The result became his first work of art. It wasn’t just a fluke. Ziggy quickly learned to love painting. Just as many other dogs wait eagerly by the door for a walk, he stakes out his paint box each morning. “It’s kind of a ritual,” Elizabeth chuckles.
With the Yorba Linda Arts Festival in Orange County just around the corner, she had a sudden brainstorm. “Artists can apply to display their work, so I thought, ‘Hmm, why not?’ I decided to call the director to see if they were even remotely interested in featuring a dog artist. I told her ‘This is not a prank call. Please hear me out!’” Not only did the director listen, she also asked to see samples of Ziggy’s work. Impressed, she offered him a place in the exhibition. It turned out to be the break that propelled him on the road to fame. “I really didn’t have to do anything,” Elizabeth marvels. “Somehow the North County Times in San Diego found out, and that was the start. Then, boom! There was one hit after another with newspapers, magazines, and TV stations, including ABC and FOX 11 in Los Angeles.” Ziggy soon became a regular at local art exhibitions and other events. As his popularity grew, he proved to be a true renaissance dog. In addition to painting, he’s racking up an impressive resume of TV and movie roles. He just wrapped shooting of an independent film and is starting work on another movie. He’s also been making the rounds of local daytime TV and has aspirations to crack the national talk show circuit. Ziggy’s paintings recently earned him a spot as featured artist at Nadeua Imports, a high-end Asian furniture
retailer. He even kicked off a program that rotates work from local artists in Nadeau’s San Diego store, and created 20 works exclusively for the event. The little Peke’s success is also making an impact on less fortunate dogs. Elizabeth donates some of his paintings to silent auctions for charity, and when he sells pictures at exhibits, some of the money goes to Forget-Me-Not Peke Rescue in Palm Springs. Ziggy stays connected with his growing fan base through his very own website, (ziggythepaintingpekingese.com) and MySpace page (myspace.com/liondogart). Elizabeth also chronicles his daily adventures in a video blog. “Many of his MySpace friends are in Japan and they were begging to see more of him,” she says. “By watching the videos, they can be right there with him even though they’re far away.”
paintings ready for an upcoming exhibit. She could see that Ziggy just wasn’t enjoying his work. “Then I realized I had forgotten to put on the music!” As soon as it started, Elizabeth could sense his contentment as he settled into a creative groove. Like many other artists, Ziggy’s style seems to reflect this background. While it’s decidedly “modern”, you can sense a “far Eastern” flavor befitting the work of a lion dog whose ancestors might have sat in the lap of the Emperor of China himself. In fact, Ziggy’s ancestry has inspired one of Elizabeth’s fondest goals. “I would love to get his artwork into the Beijing Modern Art Museum.” It’s a desire close to her heart because, as she explains, “China is where his roots are.”
Even though he’s a celebrity, Ziggy is often the victim of mistaken Ziggy’s modern style appeals to many. identity. Because of his petite eightElizabeth titled this one “Summer Palace”. pound body and coloring, people Despite his fame, Ziggy is not a have mistaken him for a Himalyan temperamental artist. He shares his home with Elizabeth’s cat, an Angora rabbit, and even a stuffed toy. But Ziggy is four other dogs and loves simple activities like playing, all canine, a proud ambassador for dogs everywhere. sun bathing, and being chauffeured in the car. He’s also a devoted fly hunter, spending hours on the patio stalking Watching the precocious little Pekingese as he fills a his insect prey. canvas with a classical score swelling in the background, or sits back on his haunches and appears to admire his He does have one inspirational requirement, as Elizawork, you can’t help admitting that humans don’t have beth discovered one day while they were hustling to get the monopoly on artistic souls!
Photo: Francesca Antichi
Hard to swallow? Once regarded as a death sentence, megaesophagus can be managed with the help of alternative therapies. by Shawn Messonnier, DVM
t’s a tongue-twister, but megaesophagus literally means “big esophagus.” As most of us know, the esophagus connects the mouth and throat to the stomach. It’s normally in a collapsed state, but when you’re eating and swallowing, it enlarges to accommodate the bolus of food and transports it to the stomach within seconds. Megaesophagus is a condition that affects some dogs. A defect in nerve and muscle functioning makes it difficult for these animals to move food through the esophagus. Sometimes the food doesn’t even make it to the stomach and is regurgitated (not vomited). In fact, the most common symptom of megaesophagus is regurgitation, usually within minutes of swallowing (although sometimes not until several hours after eating). Because regurgitated food isn’t digested, it usually resembles its uneaten state. Sometimes it will be in a tubular or sausage shape.
Congenital megaesophagus is the most common form. Breeds
predisposed to this condition include German shepherds, Irish setters, great Danes, Labrador retrievers, Sharpeis, Newfoundlands, fox terriers and miniature Schnauzers. The cause is unknown but there appears to be a genetic component involved in some of these breeds. Puppies with congenital megaesophagus typically regurgitate as soon as they are introduced to solid food.
Acquired megaesophagus is very rare and usually occurs in older dogs. Common causes include hypothyroidism, organophosphate poisoning, Addison’s disease, and myasthenia gravis. It is crucial that the cause be investigated, as treatment of the underlying problem can cure the megaesophagus. In cases where a cause cannot be identified, the condition is called acquired idiopathic megaesophagus.
Managing megaesophagus Dogs with suspected megaesophagus should be evaluated thoroughly and promptly. The disease can be fatal, especially if aspiration pneumonia occurs.
Because no conventional medications are routinely effective in treating dogs with megaesophagus, we must instead rely on natural therapies. Definitive diagnosis is usually made with a barium study of the esophagus or a special radiographic evaluation called fluoroscopy, both of which would reveal an enlarged esophagus. In general, dogs with megaesophagus cannot be cured – but they can be managed. There are certainly exceptions to this; I and my holistic colleagues have successfully “cured” a rare number of dogs with this condition. In adult dogs with acquired megaesophagus, treating the underlying cause (e.g., supplying thyroid hormone to animals with hypothyroidism) is critical in preventing further damage to the esophagus. Early in my veterinary training, it was common to euthanize puppies with congenital megaesophagus, because it was felt there was no hope for them. Now, especially in cases where alternative therapies might be helpful, it
is always worth trying to save these puppies since many can live relatively normal lives. All dogs with megaesophagus appear to do better when fed small frequent meals, usually from an elevated position to allow gravity to move food through the nonfunctional esophagus. The “best” food will vary among affected dogs and is a matter of trial and error. Sometimes liquid or soft diets work best, while moistened dry or high quality dry kibble are better for other dogs. Drug therapy is usually not rewarding, although metoclopramide or cisapride may be administered. These prokinetic agents have a stimulating effect on the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract. Because the dog’s esophagus is made of skeletal muscle, these drugs generally do not work, although they may be beneficial in helping to relax the sphincter between the lower esophagus and the stomach.
combining acupuncture with homeopathics and whole food supplements. •The Heel Corporation recommends several supplements that may be helpful for dogs with megaesophagus (based on treatment for a similar condition called achalasia in humans). They include Ypsiloheel, Spascupreel, Atropinum comp, Nux vomica Homaccord, and Gastricumeel. •Whole food supplements may also be helpful and include the following from Standard Process: Organic Minerals, Cataplex B, and Paraplex. •Choline has a direct positive effect on nerves; my favorite is Choldin from MVP Laboratories. Megaesophagus usually can’t be cured, but choosing the best alternative therapy and diet helps may dogs enjoy relatively normal lives – and that’s reassuring news about a condition that was often fatal in the past.
Other symptoms of megaesophagus may include:
Because no conventional medications are routinely effective in treating dogs with megaesophagus, we must instead rely on natural therapies. But we may need to try several different approaches before finding the best solution.
•Acupuncture may be helpful for stimulating normal esophageal motility. •Chiropractic manipulation may remove any blockages that could disrupt nerve supply to the esophagus. •Various herbal, homeopathic and nutritional supplements might be effective. I have had some success
•Extreme hunger •Emaciation •Foul-smelling breath •Change in voice •Coughing may occur in dogs that aspirate food or liquid into their lungs (aspiration pneumonia, a potentially fatal complication of megaesophagus) animal wellness
Requiem for a pit bull by Sandra Malasky
er name was Louise. The first memory I have of her is as a strong, powerful package of energy and love running down a snow-covered road on a sunny winter day when the whole world seemed to glisten. She was a rescue dog who, along with her sister, had been dumped on the streets. The two girls on the run were taken to the local Humane Society
and christened Thelma and Louise. Thelma was adopted first but Louise languished for several months until the right person came through the door to give her a home. That person was my partner Jannette.
“Smiling Staffie” Some people have pets while others live with animals. Jannette is the latter and I had quite an adjustment to
One of Louise’s favorite pastimes was sunbathing.
make in this regard when I joined the pack. Louise and I had a rocky start, as she was fiercely loyal to Jannette and none too happy about this interloper on her turf. She would often sit straight and still in a chair giving me the “the look” as if intent staring would make me disappear. It didn’t work and I am the better for it. Like so many of her breed, Louise was a “Smiling Staffie” with a wide grin and an infectious enjoyment of being. One of my fondest memories is watching her lie on the garden walk on hot summer days. As she aged, the warmth of the stone soothed her joints and bones. She would eventually rise panting to walk to the cedar tree where she cooled herself, only to reemerge later for another treatment. As a young dog, Louise was an indefatigable Frisbee aficionado who could run for hours with steadfast determination and stamina. Nothing seemed to please her more than bringing the increasingly slimy plastic disc back time and again to receive the praise and acknowledgment of those she loved. She was a strong, confident, powerful animal and through obedience training and a life in which she
felt secure and safe, Louise became a solid canine citizen.
his poem “The Power of the Dog”, Rudyard Kipling wrote of the dangers inherent in “giving your hearts to a dog to tear.” But such is the risk we take when joining our lives with that of another creature.
Unfortunately, on August 29, 2005, Louise became a dangerous criminal in the province of Ontario. She Jannette and I strongly believe that had never done anything wrong, but inviting a dog into our home constiher breed status alone was evident- tutes a sacred covenant. We honor that covenant not ly enough to make only by purchasing grown men shudder good food and keepwith fear. For the last “...inviting a dog ing veterinary visits three years of her life, into our home up to date, but also in order to comply doing our best to help with the new Pit Bull constitutes a her live and die with Ban, she wore a pink leather muzzle with sacred covenant.” dignity and grace. We fulfilled that promise ceramic hearts as she on June 18, 2008. wobbled around our neighborhood on increasingly arthritic legs, catching up on the “pee mail” and stopping to permit all she met to admire and dote on her. Over the past several seasons, Louise began to slow down and show the wear of her 13 years. Her eyes became filmy with cataracts but still lit up when we walked in the house. She could still give us a big goofy smile and even do an abbreviated version of her biscuit dance, much to our delight. But we could feel and see that she was moving into the way station between this world and the next.
A peaceful end Making the decision to end another life is an awesome responsibility. It is never easy to determine whether our actions stem from the best interests of the animal, or result from our own inability to acknowledge the integral and inevitable part that death and loss play in our lives. In
Louise died at home surrounded by her family, and tenderly assisted by the veterinary staff that had cared for her over the years. We had made the decision to end her life before she was in crisis. We wanted her last vision to be of our faces, and the last sounds she heard to be our voices soothing her with words of love and gratitude for her loyalty and the simple joy of having her in our lives. I shall always treasure feeling the warmth of her fur and the relaxation signaling her peaceful departure from this world. Louise taught me that living with animals gives us so much more than companionship. It is a way we can better understand and honor our own animal nature and our kinship with all of creation. Because after all, despite our big brains, we too are finite, fragile creatures seeking love, safety, and a comfortable place to rest.
New book available now.
A poem about loss and reunion between people and pets
This book was created to bring peace and a sense of knowing, to those who feel that they have lost someone significant in their lives, that this is not the end.
Aging gracefully It’s simple, safe and effective. Acupressure can help your senior cat get more easily through her golden years by Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis
© Linqong | Dreamstime.com
ging isn’t for sissies. Just like us, our animal companions succumb to bodily changes as they get older: hearing loss, cloudy vision, teeth wearing out, creaky joints, lumps and bumps and aches and pains…a general slowing and winding down over time. But cats tend to age
well, especially with a little help from their human companions.
Is he getting older? Cats are often considered senior citizens by the age of ten, but many live into their 20s with ease. How soon a
cat begins to show his age is highly individual and depends on many factors such as general health, nutrition, activity level, and genetics. Some of the telltale signs include: • difficulty grooming because of lack of flexibility
• avoidance of physical activity • nails overgrowing • tooth decay • unable to curl into a tight ball to sleep • difficulty walking due to hindquarter weakness • obesity even when eating little, or the opposite… • appearing more bony with his spine being easy to see and feel As cats age, they can also fall prey to a number of illnesses. It’s wise to visit a veterinarian when anything sudden or suspicious arises beyond their annual check-up.
Acupressure and aging Acupressure is an excellent way to contend with the common ills of senior life. Like acupuncture, it’s based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and has been used as a healing tool for thousands of years. Acupuncturists use needles to stimulate certain points on the body, while acupressurists use the tips of their fingers to apply light pressure on the same points, thereby enhancing the flow of life-promoting energy called Chi (pronounced as “chee”). From a TCM perspective, the key to longevity and healthy organ function is based on the Original Chi of the body. The cat is born with all the Original Chi (also called Source Chi or Yuan Chi) he will ever have. This means we want his Source Chi to last as long as possible. If it was expended quickly, the cat would have a short life. We need to support the cat’s Source Chi by the following:
1. A good quality diet of proteins; felines
are protein obligates and need next to no carbohydrates.
2. Consistent and mentally engaging exercise. 3. A loving and healthy environment. 4. Bodywork, such as acupressure. When Chi is flowing smoothly and harmoniously through the body, the animal is healthy and happy. When there is any kind of blockage or slowdown of Chi flow, the animal can become ill or uncomfortable. The natural process of aging
presents a decline in organ function that can lead to chronic discomfort and ultimately specific illness. The goal in offering acupressure to a senior cat is to support his organ systems by maintaining a healthy metabolic rate and enhancing the flow of Chi.
Acupressure is safe, noninvasive, and always available. With little knowledge of TCM, you can work on your own cat with good results (see below).
will eventually wind down. But acupressure can postpone the effects of aging and extend your cat’s life for as long as possible. We all want to age gracefully – bet your cat does, too!
Time can’t be defied, and the body
Senior cat acupressure session
Ki 3 Lu 9 Liv 3 Medial
Every senior cat can benefit from an acupressure session that specifically enhances organ system function. The acupoints selected for this session direct Source Chi to four vital organs, thus providing a sort of “tune-up” for these systems. To do the session, place your middle finger on top of your pointer finger. Apply light pressure using the soft tip of your pointer finger on each of the acupoints indicated on the chart.
Kidney 3 (Ki 3), Greater Stream The Kidney organ system houses Source Chi. This means we have
to take great care in supporting the Kidney since it is responsible for all the Original Chi the cat will ever have. Ki 3 also increases the flow of Source Chi and strengthens the Kidney organ system itself.
Liver 3 (Liv 3), Greater Thoroughfare The Liver is thought to be responsible for harmonious flow of Chi through the cat’s body. Liv 3 benefits Liver function, helps relieve pain, and improves tendon and ligament flexibility. Spleen 3 (Sp 3), Great Brightness The Spleen is involved with the
Medial digestion of nutrients, the creation of blood, and the body’s ability to metabolize nutrients. Sp 3 enhances Spleen’s ability to perform its essential role in the body.
Lung 9 (Lu 9), Great Abyss Lung function affects the cat’s respiration, the health of his skin and coat, and circulation of Chi as well as all other vital body functions – without breath, there is no life. Lu 9 provides Source Chi to the Lung organ system, thus supporting its function.
Book reviews PhoDOGraphy Author: Kim Levin Title:
Who can resist a quality photo of a favorite pooch? Now you can learn to take your own with PhoDOGraphy – How to Get Great Pictures of Your Dog by noted animal photographer Kim Levin. Featuring over 100 stunning photos in color and black and white, this beautiful and practical volume reveals Kim’s techniques for capturing a dog’s personality with a camera. You’ll learn all kinds of useful tips and tricks, from how to view the world from your dog’s perspective to creating unique portraits by zeroing in on his eyes, nose, teeth or tail. Discover how to get your canine to tilt his head for those especially endearing shots, take the challenge out of photographing a black dog, and what you need to know about photographing indoors.
PhoDOGraphy is a gorgeous coffee table book and how-to guide rolled into one. A perfect gift idea for any dog lover and/or photographer on your list. Publisher: Amphoto Books
Because the Cat Purrs Author: Janet Lembke
“I am convinced that…intelligence, thought, and the ability to make choices are hardly restricted to humankind and our anthropoid kin but extend to other animals, like dogs, cats, parrots, elephants, and bees….” So writes Janet Lembke in the introduction to her new book Because the Cat Purrs – How We Relate to Other Species and Why It Matters. This fascinating book calls you to reflect on our interactions with all earth’s inhabitants, and to consider the idea that all creatures are conscious, aware, and experience both pleasure and pain. Janet explores a wide range of topics, including the evolution of human and animal interaction and how it can change our lives, why some animals can never be “tamed”, animal intelligence, and much more. Written in crisp, lyrical prose, this book is packed with intriguing information that makes it hard to put down.
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Book reviews Title: The
Ultimate Pet Food Guide Author: Liz Palika Animals help us through our most trying times, and are always on hand to give us unconditional love. In return, they deserve the best we can give them, including a healthy diet. Written by Liz Palika, an award-winning animal author and founder of therapy dog program Love on a Leash, The Ultimate Pet Food Guide -- Everything You Need to Know about Feeding Your Dog or Cat helps you steer clear of poor quality foods and guides you towards more wholesome nutrition choices for your companion. The book covers everything from the pet food recall to recipes for home-prepared diets, raw food, nutrition requirements, and tips for special needs animals. It also teaches you how to transition your animal to his new diet, and includes a handy appendix of food values.
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Title: Animal Author:
Give yourself and your animal a special gift this holiday season. Learn how to communicate with him! Guided by animal psychic and intuitive healer Marla Steele, Animal Communication is a comprehensive CD that takes you step by step through the process of learning to connect with your dog or cat on a deeper level. Through a selection of meditation journeys, you’ll discover how to receive a message, understand a behavior, and even contact an animal in spirit. One track features a chakra meditation while another gives you tips on how to dream a message. Marla’s teachings encourage you to engage all your senses when sending and receiving communications to and from your animal. With practice, you’ll be able to bond with and understand your dog or cat like never before.
Publisher: Marla Steele, HealingWithEnergy.com
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ALL proceeds to cancer treatment and research, and the building of Canada’s first cancer centre for animals, University of Guelph Pet Trust.
Bringing you the best in comfort and luxury for your pet
Looking for the “Purrfect” Gift Idea? We have a combination of festive and eco-friendly products for fussy felines and pampered pooches!
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Events November 23 – New York City The Unitarian Church of All Souls 1157 Lexington Avenue (at 80th Street) 8th Annual Thanksgiving Blessing of the Animals In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals, the service honors the kinship New Yorkers feel towards their animal companions. The service, performed by the Reverend Cheryl M. Walker, will be held in conjunction with several faith traditions. Special guest, Dr. Donald Smith, former dean and currently Professor of Surgery of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine will deliver the homily. Music for the service will be provided by the Rudolf Steiner School Fifth Grade Choir directed by Judy Bachleitner. The highlight of the service will be the Blessing of the Animals when congregants are invited along with their companion animals to be blessed. Participants are invited to bring a photo or stuffed animal for those pets that cannot attend the service. We request that all animals be either in carriers or leashed. The service is open to animal lovers of all ages and their companion animals. Admission is free. A freewill offering will be taken and donated to Angel on a Leash of New York City.
modalities used with animals; and, whenever possible, a visit to a shelter or rescue to work with the animals. For more information: Blue Sky School of Professional Massage email@example.com, www.blueskyedu.org 262-692-9500
December 9 & 16 – Online Teleclass EH107: Intro to Energetic Scanning Identifying disturbances or congestion in an animal’s energy field or physical body can give the communicator additional information or guidance in asking pertinent questions, and in helping the pet owner understand a situation more fully. For energy healing practitioners, the scanning process is an ongoing aspect of any session that provides practical information for the healing. In this teleclass we will discuss and practice methods of tuning into, connecting with, or scanning an animal’s energy to supplement telepathic information received from the animal.
For more information: 212-535-5530
For more information: Carol Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org http://animalspiritnetwork.com/ calendar/view_entry 815-531-2850
December 5-7 – Grafton, WI Evaluation & Ethics in Animal Massage This class includes evaluation of animals as athletes and as candidates for massage therapy; instruction in sports massage; an examination of practical business issues; an introduction to other holistic
January 16-18 – Versailles, KY Falling Springs Theater In-Depth Equine Podiatry Symposium (3 Day Rate) Join renowned veterinarian and farrier Dr. Ric Redden for a 2½ day in-depth teaching session designed to help farriers,
veterinarians and horsemen advance to a higher level of education concerning commonly occurring foot problems. Register early, as seating is limited. Topics covered during this 2½ day seminar will include: •Management of club feet from birth to the geriatric horse •White line disease •Congenital and acquired DDF contraction •Treatment of extensive canker •Evaluation, treatment and management of laminitis •How to enhance the healing environment with the rocker shoe •Case studies and more For more information: Shannon Redden email@example.com, www.nanric.com 877-462-6742
February 7 – Chicago 7:00 pm at Hotel Sofitel Water Tower, 20 E. Chestnut St. Spotlight Humane: Chicago! An evening of dancing, gourmet food, cocktails, music from the popular band Maggie Speaks, and a high-end auction to raise funds for End Dogfighting in Chicago. This program, designed to bite back against dogfighting rings, has received the support of the Chicago Police Department and Cook County Crime Stoppers. For more information: Jennifer Martin firstname.lastname@example.org www.spotlighthumane.com
Post your event online at: www.animalwellnessmagazine.com/events 104
Classifieds Animal Communicators LYNN McKENZIE, International Animal Intuitive, offers nationwide consultations in animal communication and energy healing. Create harmony and awareness in your relationships, restore health, improve behavior, enhance performance, resolve conflict, connect with animals that have crossed over. Workshops and lessons available. Coming soon, correspondence and internet training in Animal Energy Healing. www.animalenergy. com, email@example.com, (214) 615-6506, Ext. 8642. CAN WE TALK? Animal and Soul Communicator, Janice DeFonda says, “Yes! Bless your Hearts and Souls through the communion this connection can provide. Share your Love, laugh, cry, grow and expand the depth of your understanding with your Animal Friends. Extend your connection with those who are in spirit and Restore Harmony and Balance through energy healing.” Phone Consults (315) 329-0116 www.ark-angels.org INSPIRING ANIMAL MESSAGES - Allow your own animals, dolphins, whales, any species, alive or in spirit, to offer Inspired Guidance in your life. Personal coaching from animals sharing their Unconditional Loving Wisdom. Satisfaction Guaranteed Morgine 360-247-7284 firstname.lastname@example.org www.communicationswithlove.com SUE BECKER – Interspecies Communication, Registered Practitioner of Tellington TTouch and Bach Flower Remedies. Resolve problems and stress, improve behavior, deepen understanding and your relationship. Emotional healing. Consultations by phone/in person, lectures, workshops. Call (519) 896-2600 email@example.com WONDERING WHAT YOUR ANIMAL IS THINKING or feeling, experiencing behavior or emotional problems with them? Have concerns about their death or dying? To request a telepathic communication go to www.komfortkonnections.com. JANET DOBBS – WORKSHOPS AND CONSULTATIONS. Animal communication, Animal/human Reiki. Deepening the bond between animals and humans. For information about hosting a workshop in your area. firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 648-1866 or www.animalparadisecommunication.com SUSAN J. SQUITTIERI - Providing high quality cost effective Nationwide Consultations, Classes, and Workshops in Animal Communication and Reiki for People & Animals. For more information contact Susan at (845) 613-7774, email@example.com or visit www.spreadreiki.com SHIRLEY SCOTT - Internationally known Animal Communicator & Clairvoyant connects with your pets here or in spirit. She reads emotional/behavior/health problems, provides classes & workshops in animal communication & training. www.animaltalkhealing.com http://www.animaltalkhealing.com 509-526-5020
Animal Health NANNOSIL LIQUID COLLOIDAL SILVER & SILVER GEL - One of nature’s best natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal & general germ fighter available for all living things. 416-579-9314 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.harmonixtherapy.com BIONETIC BODY SCAN FOR PEOPLE & PETS - Non-invasive scan for over 10,000 substances using hair or fur sample: allergies, parasites, chemicals, metabolism, vitamin deficiencies, emotions, etc.
www.IntegratedAnimalTherapy.com. 239-560-6667.Return to balance for the love of your pet!
Associations INTERNATIONAL ASSN. OF ANIMAL MASSAGE & BODYWORK - www.IAAMB.org Professional association supports, networks and promotes complementary care for animals through continuing education, website, referrals, newsletters, insurance, conferences, lobbying and credentialing. Welcome practitioners of animal massage and bodywork. 800-903-9350
Books & Publications DOGWISE KNOWS DOG BOOKS AND DOG PEOPLE! - Thousands of dog books and videos online at www.dogwise.com or (800)776-2665 GOT DOGS? GET DOGS: FUNNY SIDE UP! A wickedly funny satire by Nola Lee Kelsey. Treat yourself to this year’s wildest read for domestic animal lovers. Also availabe the charming children’s read-aloud Let’s Go Visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Order from your favorite bookstore or online shop. Learn more at: www.DogsEyeViewMedia.com or www.NolaKelsey.com
Business Opportunities PET LOVERS WANTED - Join a team of home based business owners. Great tax deductions. Earn $700-3,000/mo. very part time. Not sales. Do what you already do. Call Michelle at 561 702 5459. www.oxyfreshww.com/michelle/ OFFERED FOR SALE - Newer Central Wisconsin Pet Resort. 40 inside kennels, indoor/outdoor play areas with large pool and agility for the guests. Also grooming room and retail area. Situated on 3+ acres w/small home. Steady incline in clientele with yearly kennel additions shows business growth. Fully staffed. A real must see investment at $450,000. Call Gerry at 715-422-0513 FASTRACK DISTRIBUTORS WANTED for the #1 direct fed canine and feline microbial in the world! Call 1-800-570-3782, Ext. 4330 or email email@example.com. ReturnMoiPets - The pet industry’s first global pet tag system and recovery service, needs sales representatives to promote its unique and durable security tags across the US. Send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
to our patients, including: Homeopathy, Hair Analysis, Herbal Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic, Computerized Organ Stress Immune Testing, Acupuncture, Therapeutic Nutrition, Reiki and Bach Flower Remedies. Dr. Paul McCutcheon (416)757-3569 Fax (416)285-7483 email@example.com www.holisticpetvet.com ESSEX ANIMAL HOSPITAL, REHAB & K-9 FITNESS CENTRE – Dr. Janice Huntingford, Dr. Glen Porteous, Dr. Yvonne Innes, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Conventional and Alternative Medicine and Surgery. Herbal Therapies and Holistic Medicine, Pet Massage, Physio and Rehab Therapy. Phone consultations available. 519-776-7325 Essex ON. firstname.lastname@example.org www.essexanimalhospital.ca GUELPH ANIMAL HOSPITAL - Offers a full range of conventional veterinary services as well as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, herbal and nutritional. Dr. Rob Butler is certified in veterinary acupuncture and is also trained in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine. By integrating conventional and complementary therapies, treatments can be tailored to the individual needs and preferences of the animal and client. Guelph Animal Hospital (519)836-2782 NEWKIRK FAMILY VETERINARIANS (FORMERLY MARGATE ANIMAL HOSPITAL) AND ALTERNATIVE CARE CENTER - Dr. Mark Newkirk, Chiropractic, Aquapuncture, Herbal, Homeopathic, Metabolic Nutritional Analysis, Ozone Treatments, Laser Pain Therapy, Bach Flower therapy, Applied Kinesiology, NAET (allergy elimination), Nutritional Supplement programs based on your own pets’ blood tests, Alternative Cancer Therapies. Phone consultations. www.alternativevet.com email: email@example.com phone: (609) 823-3031 NORTH-EAST NEWMARKET VETERINARY SERVICES – Dr. Autumn Louise Drouin, Veterinarian, Naturopath. Cozy outpatient office. Detailed history, physical examination, laboratory tests. Individualized treatment protocols suit patient’s condition and client’s needs. Homeopathy, Herbs, Clinical Nutrition, Bach Remedies, Physical Therapies. (905)830-1030 Newmarket, ON www.holistic-vet.ca
Paw Protection TAMMY AND TEDDY’S BOOTIES AND MORE - Custom made boots for healthy and special needs dogs. Highest quality available. Fit guaranteed. Hand crafted in the USA. www.tammyandteddys.com Phone number 860-749-6552.
Food & Treats ‘IT’S A DOGGIE ATTITUDE” - Doggies Unlimited created recipes with your pet’s health in mind. Organic, All Natural ingredients from the U.S.A. Fresh made biscuits, jerky, nutritional pet food mix. Biscuits, Fresh Bakes now being sold by large veterinarian corporation in Japan. www.doggies-unlimited.com
Healing Essences PETS HAVE EMOTIONS TOO! - Canadian Forest Tree Essences offers Vibrational Tree Essences for cats, dogs, horses, alpacas and other animals… Available for vets, animal communicators, retailers and individuals. Web: www.essences.ca, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 888-410-4325.
ANNIEO’S PET PORTRAITS - Specializing in oil painting for 31 years. Nationwide clientele. Portraits of any pet of your choice. Credit card, personal check or money order. 44 Church St., Tilton, NH 03276. (603) 524-3778 Website: www.petportraitsbyannieo.com
Holistic Veterinarians EAST YORK ANIMAL CLINIC - A variety of holistic healing services are available
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Pet Loss & Memorials SONOMA URN COMPANY - Where remembrance is a work of art. Quiet and dignified, these handcrafted ceramic urns offer a timeless beauty. American made. Order on line: www.sonomaurn.com. Catalog: 800-995-9553.
Rescues & Shelters YORKSHIRE TERRIER NATIONAL RESCUE, INC. - We do more than rescue Yorkies. Browse thru our Yorkie Rescue Boutique where we have many upscale items which will set your Toy Breed apart from the rest. See www.yorkierescue.com. For information and support groups, please visit: http://www.livershunt.com or http://www.collapsingtrachea.com
Schools & Training COMPANION ANIMAL TOUCH & THERAPIES Hands-on training for small animal massage therapy providers at locations in IL, WI, VA, and NC. Learn to work with animals safely, effectively, and professionally from an experienced instructor. email@example.com 847-782-1963 (voice) www.companionanimaltouchandtherapies.com 847-782-5725 (fax) PETMASSAGETM helps dogs create balanced “inner environments”. Learn how. Workshops/Home Study Courses New Children’s DVD’s, teach doggie massage, canine body language, safety. 800-779-1001 www.petmassage.com ANIMAL HEALING ARTS TRAINING & CERTIFICATE STUDY PROGRAMS – Animal Spirit Healing & EducationTM Network provides distance learning and on-site courses in Animal Communication, Shamanic Animal Healing, Animal Reiki, Grief Support Skills, Flower Essences, Species Behavior, Tellington TTouch, and Holistic Animal Health. Learn more at www.AnimalSpiritNetwork.com or contact Founder, Carol Schultz, 815-531-2850, firstname.lastname@example.org CANINE BODY WORKER AND EQUINE BODY WORKER CERTIFICATION – Serious hands on training from leading specialists and veterinarians for hands on work. Progressive certifications beginning at 250 hours to the Master’s series of over 2000 hours. CEU courses offered: advanced massage, MFR, CST, acupressure, anatomy, and more. USA and worldwide Visit: www.equinology.com and www.caninology.com Write: email@example.com or call 707 884 9963 TRAIN AT HOME WITH THE BEST TRAINING MANUAL FOR YOU & YOUR PET! Hi, My Name is Laura Lawrence. I am a professional Pet Trainer & Animal Behaviorist. I am offering my training manual to you for ONLY $95. Along with the manual, you will also have access to me by phone. So should you need to ask a question, I am ONLY a phone call away. This is an amazing offer! YOU can work with your pet in the comfort of your own home and BE ABLE to call me personally with any questions or concerns and I will walk you through the problems! Please send your M.O. or check payable to: LAURA LAWRENCE. Send it to: LAURA LAWRENCE 1939 WENTZVILLE PARKWAY #151 WENTZVILLE,MO. 63385
Travel DOES YOUR PET TRAVEL WITH YOU? You need a Pet Emergency Traveler Kit™ so someone will always know where your pet is located. www.PetTravelKit.com or (888) 833-7243
REIKI ENERGY HEALING and hospice support for the owner who wants the very best for their special fur baby. Phone (443) 983-1102
1-866-764-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Animal Wellness Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising submitted, make stylistic changes or cancel any advertising accepted upon refund of payment made.
Dog crazy by Lisa Murray
’ve become a dog nutcase. This was a middle-aged development. Oh, we had a family dog when I was a kid. I loved our dog. When she died of old age, I mourned. But I was “normal” back then. Our dog was a dog. She stayed in the garage at night, ate dog food once or twice a day, was usually in need of a good brushing, and lived on the floor. And only on the first floor, at that. Now I live with two dogs who have the run of the house. They have free range of all the furniture, every room in the house, and here’s the big one – they sleep in my bed. Yup. There it is. I have two dogs who sleep with me. How did I get here from there? I wasn’t very interested in animals in my 20s and 30s. Frankly, I couldn’t understand why anyone would tie themselves down with a dog or cat. What was it they saw in four-legged creatures that would make them become so…well, so lunatic, in my opinion? I loved our pooch of days gone by, but she was part of childhood, and I was an adult. That was all in the past. Then we got our first puppy – for the kids. And something unexpected happened: I fell in love. Big time. I was hooked. So a couple of years later, we got another one. Before long, the two dogs were regulars on my bed. How many people can wake up every morning to witness elation simply because it’s a new day? Those dogs practically go into delirium when I decide to let them know that
I am, in fact, ready to rise and shine. It’s a spectacular way to greet the morning. I used to look at people who had to sweep hair off their floors in exchange for having a dog and think they were nuts. Why would anyone put up with that, I wondered? I had forgotten, you see. I had forgotten about that carefree part of me that was more adept at experiencing joy – the joy that comes from sharing your life with animals who lavish you with (let’s face it, sometimes undeserved) loyalty and adoration. My animals eventually led me toward what I now do for a living. I’m part of a web-based company that helps injured, elderly or disabled animals live quality lives. Who knew there were people in the world who made wheelchairs for dogs and cats? But I’m not too old to learn a thing or two, with my animals often leading the way. I’m no longer surprised by how much I continue to grow through life with my furry friends. Perhaps their greatest lessons are what they teach me about unconditional love. Unconditional love. Think about it! What a concept. What a fantasy. I want to live out that fantasy. Why not? What have I got to lose? Dog crazy? You bet!
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Published on Mar 21, 2013