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Animal wellness

Animalwellness For a long, healthy life!

Living pawsitive!

Top 10 Homeopathic remedies


Vick’s Dogs

Food for the Road Simple recipes for when you’re on the go

As the convicted NFL star finishes his sentence under home confinement, what has happened to the dozens of dogs seized from his hideaway?

Setting up a

pet trust

Pet Services How they are enriching

Let’s go Camping!

our furry friends’ lives

Tips for taking your dog along

The importance of


Weathering the


June/July Display until July 21, 2009

How to get your dog over his fear of thunder

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animal wellness

animal wellness

animal wellness

Contents June/July 2009

Photo: Gary Kalpakov, Best Friends Animal Society


features 18 Take the heat off!

Canine hyperthermia can be a threat during the summer – help your dog stay cool and comfortable


22 Training wheels

The difference between an enriching and stressful training class hinges on choosing the right one and preparing your dog to succeed

26 Stormy weather

Does Rover start quaking when he hears thunder? Here are some ways to help him over his fear

30 Take care!

Want to introduce him to doggie daycare? Find the right facility -- and help him enjoy being there

32 Let’s go camping!

What could be more fun than spending quality time with your dog in the great outdoors? A camping trip might be just the ticket

36 Strapped for time?

Today’s busy lifestyles mean our dogs and cats may not get all the TLC they deserve – services geared for on-the-go animal lovers are ready to step in and help out

45 Scrumptious & sustainable

This company walks its talk by specializing in earth-friendly treats for dogs

animal wellness

46 Dog days

We often take water for granted, but it can be a lifesaver in hot weather; make sure he stays safely hydrated all summer long

50 Number crunching

How many pups get ear infections? Do only cats get UTIs? Here’s what we can learn from the statistics compiled by pet insurance companies

52 Top 10 homeopathic remedies

Check out the most common homeopathic remedies used in holistic veterinary medicine

56 True victory

Where are the Michael Vick dogs today and how are they faring? Here’s the happy ending to the story

64 E is for enzymes

What exactly are they, and why are they so important? Learning the ABCs of enzymes can help you understand what’s best for your dog or cat

70 Food for the road

Traveling with your dog doesn’t have to mean leaving home prepared goodness behind

75 Back to basics A long-time interest in holistic health led this entrepreneur to create a unique herbal supplement for dogs

78 On trust

What would happen to your animal if you passed away or were incapacitated by illness or injury? A pet trust can help ensure she’ll be cared for if the worst happens

84 Chain of love

Rescuing and re-homing dogs in a big city like L.A. involves a lot of networking and co-operation – follow Elfie on her journey from death row to her new home.

86 Clear as crystal

They’re beautiful, alluring and have healing powers... find out how crystals and gems can enhance your dog or cat’s well being

26 Columns 14


Yakkity yak

40 Dr. Martin Goldstein 62 Warm & fuzzy 76 Communication 82 Passages


90 Book reviews

8 Editorial

98 The tail end

12 Mail bag 29 Product picks 58 Wellness resource guide 68 The scoop 91 Ad spots


96 Events calendar 97 Classifieds animal wellness

Get your 3rd year for $1! Buy a 2-year subscription to Animal Wellness Magazine for $34 US ($44 CAN) and get the 3rd year for only $1!

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Living pawsitive!


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Winter WaLking

Health Check


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CiTrUs sense

How to keep tabs on his well-being

safe or toxic for dogs and cats?

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the healing effects of acupressure for seniors

tHerapeutic Dog BeDs


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6 VOLUME 10 ISSUE www.AnimalWellnessMaga

Topics include: disease prevention natural diets and nutrition natural health care

product recommendations integrative Vet Q & A gentle training, and so much more!

Call or go online today – your animals will thank you!


9am– 5pm E.S.T.

On the cover photograph by:

Gary Kalpakov, Best Friends Animal Society You wouldn’t guess from Meryl’s broad grin that she had a dark and unhappy past. This sweet and gentle pit bull mix is one of more than 50 dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s property in 2007. Meryl is now living at the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Kanab, Utah along with 20 other “Vicktory” dogs. Turn to page 56 for their full story – and its happy ending.

animal wellness

Volume 11 Issue 3

Editorial Department Editor-in-Chief: Dana Cox Managing Editor: Ann Brightman Senior Graphic Designer: Stephanie Wright Cover Photography: Gary Kalpakov, Best Friends Animal Society Tail End Illustration: Leanne Rosborough Columnists & Contributing Writers Sue Becker Audi Donamor Jessica Gale Martin Goldstein, DVM Fran Halter Julie Anne Lee Marcia Martin, DVM Lynn McKenzie Shawn Messonnier, DVM Barb Nefer Paul Owens Liz Palika Beth Rasin Jennifer Scalia Bob Stalick Debbie Swanson Janet Velenovsky Charlotte Walker Timothy Whiston

Advertising Sales National Sales Manager: Lesley Nicholson (866) 764-1212 Western Regional Manager: Becky Starr (213) 793-1867 Classified Advertising: Lesia Wright 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: 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

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 Administrative Assistant: Libby Sinden 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:

Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Redstone Media Group Inc., publisher of Animal Wellness, does not promote any of the products 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

Animal Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1710-1190) is published six times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2009. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: May, 2009.

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

animal wellness


The best of care S

ome people think because I don’t have children (apart from the furry variety, of course), my life can’t be that busy. But kids or not, I always seem to be racing against the clock to get everything done. I also have to make time for our two cats, Renny and Robin, whose daily high point (aside from mealtimes!) is being taken outside on their harnesses for an hour or so each evening to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. I always feel more than a little guilty whenever I deprive them of their outings because I have to leave right after supper for a class or meeting. I used to wonder what on earth we’d do if we had to leave the cats on their own for more than a day. Unlike a lot of kitties, Renny especially doesn’t like being left alone. But working on this issue, especially the article “Strapped for time?”, has set my mind at rest. I was amazed at how many services are available nowadays for busy animal guardians. From dog walkers to pet sitters to doggie daycares, there are all kinds of animal loving professionals to turn to when you don’t have the time to be there for your furry friend.

animal wellness

If you’re a busy animal guardian – and which one of us isn’t! – read about your options in this issue. You’ll also find some valuable tips on how to introduce your canine companion to daycare, what to expect at dog training school, and how to provide for your animal’s future with a trust or legacy in case something happens to you. There’s plenty more topical and seasonal information inside, including how to help calm thunderstorm-phobic dogs and guard against heat stroke and dehydration, what to keep in mind if you’re taking your dog camping, and recipes for nutritious treats that travel well on summer vacations. We also explore crystal healing, the top ten homeopathic remedies for dogs and cats, and what pet insurance statistics can tell us about animal health trends. And don’t miss our cover story on the Michael Vick rescue dogs, and how well they’re doing now. Have a happy and healthy summer!

Ann Brightman

animal wellness


Photo: Jennifer Osborn



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1. Veterinarian Dr. Shawn Messonnier authored the Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and 8 Weeks to a Healthy Dog. He is the pet care expert for Martha Stewart Living’s “Dr. Shawn – The Natural Vet” on Sirius Satellite Radio, and the creator of Dr. Shawn’s Pet Organics. His practice, Paws & Claws Animal Hospital (, is in Plano, Texas. For his article on why enzymes are so important, see page 64.

2. Paul Owens is author of The Dog Whisperer, A Compassionate Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training, also available on DVD ( Certified by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and endorsed by the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, Paul is also the director of Raise with Praise, Inc., based in Burbank, California. In this issue, he advises how to choose the right training school for your dog – see page 22.

3. Sue Becker is an animal communicator, a registered practitioner for Bach Flower Remedies and Tellington TTouch,


animal wellness

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. On page 76, she discusses a unique healing modality that can enhance animal communication.

4. 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. For this edition (page 71), Audi offers healthy canine recipes ideal for summer travel.

5. Lynn McKenzie is an Animal Intuitive and publisher of The Divine Mission of Animals newsletter. She specializes in helping others attune and awaken to the teachings and wonder that all sentient beings wish to share. Lynn offers

nationally available teleclass training on healing and communicating with animals and a selfstudy audio program on Crystal Healing for Animals; she can be reached at Turn to page 86 for Lynn’s article on crystal healing for animals.

6. Julie Anne Lee spent many years as a veterinary technician. After graduating from the Vancouver Academy of Homeopathy in 1997, she has worked alongside veterinarians nationwide to provide classical homeopathic treatment to animals. She is also an associate member of the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons. Both Julie Anne and David Ruish, DVM, work at Healing Place Veterinary Clinic in North Vancouver ( For their article on the top homeopathic remedies for dogs and cats, check out page 52.

7. Liz Palika is a Certified Dog Trainer and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She teaches dogs and their people through Kindred Spirits Canine Education Center in Vista, California ( She is also an award-winning writer with more than 55 books to her credit, such as The

Ultimate Dog Treat Cookbook and The Howell Book of Dogs. See page 32 for her advice on camping with dogs.

8. Veterinarian Dr. Marcia Martin is a holistic veterinarian practicing at the Center for Holistic Medicine 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 52), Dr. Martin discusses the importance of hydration in hot weather.

9. Janet Velenovsky is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Therapy Animal Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, certified through the Council for Certification of Professional Dog Trainers, and a Professional Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Her website is For Janet’s article on introducing your dog to daycare, turn to page 30.

10. Bob Stalick spent 30 years in the computer industry,




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most recently as CEO of a venture backed technology services company. A confessed autodidact and science dilettante, he developed the Chillybuddy cooling jacket for dogs after retreating to the mountains of Wyoming with Buddy, his adopted rescue Australian shepherd, who hates the heat and sun. See page 18 for Bob’s article on how to protect your dog from hyperthermia.

11. 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. To find out how to provide for your animal companion in case something ever happens to you, read her article on pet trusts (page 78).

12. Jessica Gale is a volunteer for Los Angeles Animal Services. She is committed to rescuing dogs at risk of euthanasia from municipal shelters. She is also committed to improving the relationship between people and their animals by promoting

responsible guardianship. When Jessica is not hiking or spending time with her two rescue dogs, Max and Willy, she is busy educating the public about the joys of sharing her life with one of the most loving, loyal and gentle dog breeds, the American Staffordshire terrier. Read her story about Elfie the rescue dog on page 84.

13. Beth Rasin is a writer and editor specializing in topics about animals and the environment. She and her husband own a farm in Virginia, where

they live with three rescue dogs, four horses and a cat. They are expecting their first child this summer. In this issue, Beth writes about how to help dogs with thunderstorm phobias (page 26).

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. On page 50, she sheds light on what you can learn from pet insurance statistics.

animal wellness


mail bag For s mutt sal” opau people, “men nal deficiencies can affect dogs? ed know how profoundly hormo

I just wanted to tell you how thrilled I was to get your Feb/ Mar issue and find the article “Menopausal mutts”. For the last few years I have been saying that I cannot stand what spaying and neutering does to the coat and that if it affects the coat so badly it has to be affecting other things as well. But nobody seemed to be able to tell me what.

neuter You also affect spayed and but did you know they can substitute is one answer. This natural HRT er, mD

© Keith Christy | Dreamstime.


by phil schoenwett

This means dogs have DNA with our dogs. cy? You of the same and suffer from a hormonal deficien platform” as we do oes your dog have the same “operating e abnormalities that canines can suffer disruptions. Hormon probably already know the same metabolic the species ces of the thyroid gland, ways depending on various in t manifes from hormone imbalan s. The bottom diabetes. But may same metabolic pathway ency associated with the insuffici share we insulin but or the different. and hully more alike than e problem in both dogs line is that we are genetica the most common hormon e deficiency. mans is sex hormon


of hormone loss

dog is most Symptoms you are a breeder, your to us and Think about it. Unless e loss (deficiency) does removes . In females, spaying Here’s what sex hormon likely spayed or neutered source), (estrogen/progesterone our dogs. the uterus and ovaries (testosterone testicles the removes increases appetite, while neutering males g into our 40s Metabolic – Decreases metabolic rate, survivin simply , (sound familiar?). source). As for us humans of decreasing go- food consumption and weight gain through the portals and and beyond takes us and bone mineral content ing sex hormone reserve Bone/joint – Decreases (degenerative nad function and diminish joint inflammation fixed”! strength. Increases we also ultimately “get deposits quantity. Yes, folks, abnormal bone matrix arthritis). Increases . Decreases and spinal stenosis think contributing to cervical you joint than of alike cause more leading We’re t/tendon strength (a compelling. ligamen largest cone deficiency is the on control is real and instability). Hormon The need for dog populati realize the adverse and degeneration and have been slow to to joint inflammation Unfortunately, we on on a dog’s tributor disrupti e hormon re aging. consequences of sex 82% to 84% prematu and activity. We share animal wellness lifespan, functionality,

In fact I had spoken to my vet over a year ago and told her that if I ever got another dog I would either want to spay and leave the ovaries or if I had to neuter a male then a vasectomy. So imagine my surprise to see this article in your magazine. 67

“Finding Copper” in the Feb/Mar issue is a terrific piece. I just have one criticism. The very emotional mood of the article, which had been building nicely, was jarringly brought to a halt by the line: “We girls went together and the men went on the outer corners.”

warm & Fuzzy

“Girls”? Is the author a child? Otherwise, why this sexist language in a magazine that is otherwise so progressive?

Finding Copper

First of all, I feel if a male is kept under control and on his owner’s property there is no reason to neuter. It is an unnecessary surgery and of course a risk.


Most of my bitches have been spayed at seven when eligible to be shown as veterans at specialties.

I’m sure racist language would never find its way into one of your articles; let’s not promote gender stereotypes by demeaning women and using the word “girls”. You’re a better magazine than that! Patricia M. White New York, NY 

by JenniFer ra y

Editor’s note: We truly never

ne night this past fall , Andre considered that the word “girls” a, Ch ad and their dog Copper were driving down an old some feathers! The forest roawould d whenruffle an anima l, possibly an elk, ste pped out in front of the car . Andre writer was trying to atsound a did wh her father always theytoldare her not to do. She swerved. She instan informal, similar to using tly theknew her mistake and told Chad: “Hang on, we ’re going over!”

term “girls’ night out”. Glad

What they didn’t rea lize wa My basic reason has been to prevent the dreaded pyometra. But s tha t “ov liked the rest ofer”the mearticle! ant a 150-foot cliff. After whyou at seemed like eternit y the jeep finally cam spaying and leaving the ovaries would prevent that, I believe, and to rest, upside dow e n. Andrea was unc onscious and covyet leave the much needed hormones. ered in blood, the win was missing.

dows were blown out

– and Copper

Copper fully recovered from his ordeal and is happy to be home again.

The next day, a car club got together and

spent four hours the wre But I would love to learn if the false pregnancies would continue ge from I have been a reader of your magazinepul forlinga up couple ofcka years. I am the gully below. No one saw Chad woke Andrea or heard Copper. Th and got ey brough and if there would be other drawbacks. Please thank Dr. Phil her out oftechnician, a certified veterinary 20 years experience witht squeaky toys and called the seatbelt,with and over they climbed back up for him days after the to the road, dazed, hur ident. Still nothing. Schoenwetter for a very thought provoking article. Well overdue. animals and have trecently my specialist acc certificaand desperreceived ate to find theirsmall dog. Chad went bac k down the cliff fou   times looking for tion in r,dentistry. I commend you ron Th the issue and its ey Feb/Mar posted on sev Coppe eral sites, hung flye but found not g. rs and even postAnn Marie Reed ed onl ine fouraware, mini-focus on dentalhin health. In case you weren’t days afteFebruary r the accident. Som eone saw the The couple sat on the posting and forwarde Jem Kennel English Setters is designated PetbuiDental Health Care Month by thedveterinary service roaas it to a group called d and lt a fire for the Anima Wags to Riches night, waiting for l Res daybreak. Again intention Sanctuary inof via email community. The to place a focus oncue theandimportance Union Gap, Washingt Chad wentisdow n to This group had on. the car and looked been involved in an for Copper. Again, he eerily similar rescue fou oral health and its effect on overall of the pet.   nd notthe hing. aftehealth r a rollove r car accident not 30 days before, and had No one stopped to found the dog alive help them, so Chad after ten days. and Andrea ended up hik ing Spaying and neutering remain the best are two articles written by veterinarians home. In Laterthis at theissue hospitathere l, they discovered tha Andrea had two bro t Wags to Riches con ken vertebby and three personnel. It is these articles that tacted An rae,non-veterinary ways to prevent dog and cat over-population and dreaI and told her: gashes in her head “Have and hope, we will find two lesions on her bra him in. .” Ch ad have a few concerns about. Several times, the use of raw meaty had thr ee cra cke d ribs . But homelessness, but as with anything else, there are prosall they could think of wa get out so theto bones sistoadvocated clean y cou ld the teeth. I have seen several injuries and cons. Knowing there are ways to help alleviate theto looking for Copper. He was, after all, their chi go back Four volunteers, including myself, set out on Sunday, five to the palate, the lips andld. oral mucosa, and of course, days the aftertongue the accide nt. We were told tha hormonal imbalances the procedures can cause is definitely t because no one numerous fractured teeth.  Plus, if they are raw, the possibility of

Editor’s note:

good news. We’re planning to include further articles 78onanimal wellness salmonella contamination is high. Not to mention, the inherent this topic in future issues, so stay tuned! danger if the bones are consumed.


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s w d

I worked emergency for several years and can testify to several instances of bones perforating through the stomach, intestines and causing colonic blockages. As a dental professional, we never advocate the use of raw meaty bones.  Another point is the risk of anesthesia. While there is always a risk with anesthesia, we do our best to ensure the safety of our patients. There are better drugs, better monitoring equipment and better trained personnel than there were ten or 20 years ago. I work at a university in the Dental and Oral Surgery service and we often see geriatric pets with organ disease and severe periodontal disease. We have never refused a patient due to age or concurrent disease.   Thank you for listening and please continue to offer articles on oral health.   Patricia March, CVT, VTS (Dentistry) via email

Editor’s note: Thanks for voicing your concerns. It’s true that even raw bones can sometimes splinter and crack and cause problems, which is why we advise people to supervise their animals when they are chewing on a bone, and remove it if it starts to break into sharp pieces. Much also depends on the type of bone – veterinarian Dr. Sharon Doolittle recommends marrow and knuckle bones. Check out our Aug/Sept 08 issue for an article on how to pick the right raw bone for your dog or cat. We have also covered the topic of anesthesia in past issues, and agree that it’s much less risky today than it used to be, especially for older animals. However, some people still feel uncomfortable about having their animals anesthetized for dental cleaning, and like to learn of options that will help them keep their dog or cat’s teeth and gums in good health.

Correction: In “The Scoop” column of our Feb/Mar issue, we mistakenly confused Natures Balance Care with Nature’s Balance Pet Food. Natures Balance Care ( specializes in natural products for insect control and itchy skin problems, not pet food, and is currently rolling back its prices to 1990s levels to help those affected by the current economic crisis.

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:

animal wellness


yakkity yak Winning streak

Photo: Long Photography

As always, this year’s Genesis Awards celebration in Beverly Hills was a smash hit. Along with Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Oprah Winfrey was a distinguished media honoree, receiving the Outstanding Talk Show award for highlighting the cruelty of puppy mills, dogfighting and factory farming on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Lab in the lead For the 18th year in a row, the Labrador retriever was the most popular dog in the U.S., according to 2008 statistics recently released by the American Kennel Club. The bulldog is climbing is popularity, having moved from tenth to eighth place last year after not making the list at all for more than half a century. “The playful Lab may still reign supreme, but the docile and adaptive nature of the bulldog is gaining ground as a family favorite,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. Here’s the full list:

1. Labrador retriever 2. Yorkshire terrier 3. German shepherd 4. Golden retriever 5. Beagle Canine actor Marley the dog (Marley and Me) shares the red carpet with Michael Vartan (Alias).

6. Boxer 7. Dachshund 8. Bulldog 9. Poodle 10. Shih tzu

Subaru goes orange Photo: Geoff Tischman

Other major winners included Walt Disney Pictures’ Academy Award-nominated Bolt, which scooped the Outstanding Feature Film category, Fox’s The Simpsons, snagging its 5th Sid Caesar Comedy award, and ABC TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, which picked up the Outstanding Drama award. In network broadcast news, ABC News took home the big prizes with 20/20 receiving the Outstanding TV News magazine – National prize, and World News With Charles Gibson winning the Outstanding National News Feature award. Additional celebrity attendees included Jennifer Coolidge (Best in Show), James Cromwell (24), Emily Deschanel (Bones), Jorja Fox (CSI), Persia White (Girlfriends) and Marley the dog (Marley and Me).

To remove a tick from your dog’s skin, place a drop of tea tree or lavender oil on it.


animal wellness

April was Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and to mark it the ASPCA held three Go Orange for Animals festivals in New York City, Austin, Texas and Venice Beach, California. The organization was thrilled when Subaru of America gave its support to the festivals. “We’re very happy to sponsor the good work of the ASPCA,” says Subaru’s Senior Vice President Tim Mahoney. “Subaru has a long history of supporting organizations that are good stewards of our environment – including our animal friends – so this sponsorship is a terrific fit with our ideals as a company. Earlier this year, the ASPCA was one of five charities that shared in a donation of more than $4.6 million by Subaru of America.”

Photo: DogTown

DogTown is back The hit TV show DogTown released ten new episodes this spring. This National Geographic Channel series chronicles Best Friends Animal Society’s ongoing work with abused and abandoned dogs and follows the transformation of rejected, misfit dogs into adoptable animals with a second chance at life.

Dr. Mike Dix examines Baxt the puppy in an episode of DogTown.

This season’s episodes focus on some the most challenging cases yet, including Aristotle, a scab-covered terrier mix rescued from a hoarding situation, an unpredictably aggressive chow mix named Waylon, and Rush, a traumatized shepherd mix airlifted from a Middle Eastern war zone. dogtown

Shelter within a shelter Having no place to call home is a tragic situation. To give people a place to shelter that also accepts companion animals, PAWS/LA has opened PETCO PLACE in Hollywood, California. This groundbreaking project allows homeless individuals access to emergency shelter and support services without having to part with their companion animals. The unique “shelterwithin-a-shelter”, sponsored largely by the PetCo Foundation, is located on the property of the PATH homeless shelter in Hollywood. or

Map reference If you’ve ever wondered which feline diseases are most prevalent where, wonder no longer. IDEXX Laboratories has launched a campaign to promote cat health nationwide. At its foundation is an interactive feline disease prevalence map at Use it to determine if your cat is at risk for common feline diseases, based on geographic region, cat’s age, living environment and other factors. The goal is to increase awareness, testing, management and prevention for three leading infectious diseases that can be difficult to detect: feline heartworm, feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). animal wellness


yakkity yak Reaching for the stars

Teen of the year Photo: Wire Image Photos

He’s only 13, but Benjamin Byrom of San Diego, California has been chosen 2009 Humane Teen of the Year by Humane Society Youth, a division of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The award recognizes a student in Grades 7 through 12 who has made a significant contribution to animal protection. Ben volunteered with the Animal Protection & Rescue League (APRL) to help spread the word about Proposition 2, which recently passed in California and stops the inhumane confinement of egglaying hens, calves raised for veal, and breeding pigs in small cages and crates. He helped his parents gather signatures to put Prop 2 on the ballot, mailed volunteer packets, worked booths at events, and eloquently made his case to voters. He also educated his classmates and called the opposition to discuss the issue. Ben is a vegetarian and has a dog named Stuart and two cats called Max and Bubbles.

Andie McDowell and Dr. Karen Halligan visit at VPI’s Pet Pad Venue.

A lot of celebrities have an interest in animal welfare. At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah this past January, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) introduced the Pet Pad, a first-ever animal awareness experience for celebrity guests at the event. Delivering a message of animal health and shelter adoption during the opening days of the festival, the Pet Pad offered invited guests an opportunity to visit with adoptable animals and ask for expert advice from veterinarian and celebrity spokesperson Dr. Karen Halligan. Actors Andie McDowell (Inconceivable), Kevin Sorbo (An American Carol), Chet Cannon (Real World) and model Christie Brinkley were among the many animalloving supporters who visited the Pet Pad. Each guest received a bag of goodies such as coupons for organic dog treats, oatmeal shampoo, magazines, luggage tags and animal bandanas.


animal wellness

Benjamin Byrom was chosen Humane Teen of the Year for his support of Prop 2.

Adding a bit of canned

pumpkin to your cat’s food can help reduce hairballs.

Think long term

On the wild side

Most of us are pinching pennies these days, but think twice before cutting back on your animal’s care. Pet Sitters International’s 2008 Pet Sitter of the Year, Robert Nager, recommends the following two ways to save money without sacrificing your companion’s well being.


Make sure he stays healthy – yes, regular veterinary checkups cost money, but preventative health maintenance helps avoid unexpected and more expensive health issues down the road.


Keep him in shape – If your dog or cat is not getting regular exercise and is gaining weight, he is at risk for critical illnesses that may require costly veterinary care.

Wild animals are just that – wild. The BC SPCA is applauding the provincial government’s announcement of new regulations to monitor the keeping and breeding of exotic wild animals in British Columbia. The Controlled Alien Species Regulation announced on March 17 by the Ministry of the Environment outlines specific animals that will be prohibited under the revised Wildlife Act. Members of the public can no longer breed, release or possess the animals on the list; individuals who already have a listed exotic animal will have to apply for a permit and adhere to government requirements for animal care and public safety standards.

animal wellness


Take the heat off! Canine hyperthermia can be a significant threat during the summer. Help your dog stay cool and comfortable by learning how to protect him. by Bob Stalick

Photo: ©Saniphoto |


e may love the heat, but it’s hard on our canine companions. Whether you live in Arizona or Alaska, your dog is affected by rising temperatures during the summer. And with global warming driving average temperatures up, the situation won’t get any easier for our four-legged friends. In an odd twist, people’s awareness and knowledge of canine heat issues seems to be inversely related to the average temperature of a particular region. We found that Canadians are generally very knowledgeable and concerned about the thermal welfare of their dogs; in some ways, though, those living in the southern United States are a bit more casual about it. You might say it’s the old story of familiarity breeding contempt.

Basic facts •Dogs have defective cooling systems. They lose heat


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only through respiration and their paws, and they don’t perspire like we do. Like any heat producing engine, they radiate heat to the environment. This is a great system for an animal that evolved for life in the taiga and the Ice Age, or cold deserts at night. It’s not so great for a sled dog living in Florida. •The equivalent of 1,250 calories per square meter of infrared energy strikes the Earth at sea level every hour – and that number is higher at greater elevations. This is approximately the energy requirement for a reasonably active 50-pound dog per day. •The normal temperature for a dog is 101ºF to 102ºF. •A dog is considered hyperthermic when his body temperature exceeds 106ºF (The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 2006, 20:38-46).

•The mortality rate for hyperthermic dogs treated immediately by qualified clinicians is only 50%, due to irreversible changes in blood chemistry (JVIM, Ibid). In short, summer is hot, dogs are already hot, and there isn’t a whole lot of room (4ºF to 5ºF) between “doing fine” and “likely to die”.

Doing the math In dogs, we are dealing with a system already overloaded by the elimination of normal heat caused by burning food for energy. In a walk lasting an hour, the average dog is exposed to almost as much energy as he consumes in a day from food. Even if he absorbs only 10% of the solar influx, he is adding significantly to his thermal load. The average fit 50-pound dog burns about 1,400 calories per day; that translates to an average of 56 calories of energy burn an hour. That rate goes up if the dog is out for a leisurely walk. Let’s say there are 100 calories of energy to be eliminated. A dog doesn’t occupy anything like a square meter, but is exposed to about a third of the total influx of infrared energy mentioned earlier (1,250 calories/square meter/hour), or about 400 calories per hour. Assuming the same 10% absorption referred to above (based on coat temperature measurements, this is probably a low number) the dog will absorb about 40 calories on an hour-long walk. That absorption is an additional 40% load on an already challenged heat elimination system.

idea to throw it for half an hour when it’s 95º outside. If you’re going to work a dog in warm weather, take a good cue from the best agility and search and rescue handlers: be prepared with lots and lots of water, a good cooling jacket that works properly, and perhaps a cool pond in which to quickly dissipate heat.


Provide shade whenever possible. My dog Buddy’s unwillingness to come out of the shade for a walk was what gave me a clue to develop my own cooling jacket. Shade represents reduced heat influx (though not entirely) and reduces strain on the dog’s system.


Air movement is good, and more is better. A breezy, shady spot on a warm day helps a dog even though he doesn’t perspire. Dogs can lose heat through radiation, helping offload some work from his primary cooling systems. Continued on next page.

Cool solutions


Water, water, water! Your dog should always have plenty of fresh cool water available. If you’re taking

Photo: ©Karinvanklaveren |

your dog for a walk, there are some very neat new devices for carrying water for your dog.


Don’t overwork him. Just because he goes nuts when he sees a tennis ball doesn’t mean it’s a good animal wellness


Knowledge is power

Busting the myths about dogs and heat. “My dog’s long coat protects him from the heat.” This has to be the number one myth and it comes in a corollary version too: “My dog is double coated so isn’t bothered by heat.” A fur coat is an insulator; two fur coats makes a better insulator. Yes, it’s true that longer hair helps reduce the heat transmitted from the surface of the coat to the skin. But the longer coat also creates a layer of air that insulates the dog. In this case, that air is heated by two sources: the dog and the outside environment. In the event that the insulating air mass exceeds the skin temperature of the dog, the heat transference will be reversed and flow back to the skin.

“My dog’s short coat protects him from the heat.” A short coat does help a dog radiate his own heat to the environment better than a longer coat – we all see that in the cold months. But the short-coated dog is that much more likely to absorb heat from solar influx, and a black short-coated dog is most at risk.

“My dog is tough.” Very popular among those with Dobermans, rottweilers, various American bulldog breeds, etc. A tough-minded dog has the same metabolism as any other canine, but is less likely to let you know he is suffering until he cannot carry on. Add to that the fact that many of these “tough” dogs are black and short-coated, and you have a problem since black attracts heat.

“I walk my dog at night.” Good, that’s a start. But if it’s 105ºF in Las Vegas at nine in the evening, you and the dog are still being bombarded by radiant energy. Your eyes say it’s dark, but the heat says the world is glowing with radiant thermal energy. If it’s hot, it’s hot. 20

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Give him a dip in a pool or stream. Water on the body allows for evaporative cooling. But that cooling mechanism works well only if airflow is plentiful and the heat being absorbed by evaporation comes from the dog, not the environment. One of the problems with older style towel wraps and chamois is that they turn into a sauna underneath because they emphasize water at the exclusion of air. Evaporative cooling is about 80% airflow, 20% water.


Watch for the slightest signs of heat stress. Keep in mind, though, that a dog may already be suffering from heat stress before these symptoms of distress appear.

Photo: ©Silverv |

a. Intense, rapid panting b. Wide eyes c. Excessive salivation d. Staggering and weakness e. Collapse

Just because he goes

nuts when he sees a tennis ball doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to throw it for half an hour when it’s 95ºF outside.


Use a good quality cooling jacket. I designed the Chillybuddy jacket for Buddy to deal with the real physics and biophysics of the dog’s circumstances. Try to find a product that addresses solar influx, provides enough airflow and/or emphasizes water over airflow. Remember this is not about what’s convenient or inexpensive for you. Protecting dogs from hyperthermia is mostly about prevention and common sense. Take the right precautions, and you and your companion can relax and enjoy the summer in comfort.

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Training wheels Not all training classes are the same. The difference between an enriching or stressful experience hinges on choosing the right class and preparing your dog to succeed.

by Paul Owens


remember the excitement of signing up for my first summer camp. The brochure said the camp offered archery, swimming, baseball, camping, and all kinds of stuff a ten-year-old boy like me wanted to do. The first day it rained. The indoor activities that looked so fun in the colorful brochure didn’t materialize. What did materialize were board games and reading. The next day the sun was out but we were told the archery field was closed. So we ran laps and did jumping jacks. We camped out one night – not in the woods, but behind our barracks. The campfire dinner consisted of gritty hamburgers and roasted marshmallows. The whole experience went downhill from there. Enrolling in dog training classes is a lot like summer camp. Sometimes the experience doesn’t live up to the brochure. If you’re enrolling in a dog training class for the first time this summer, keep the following five considerations in mind when making a choice.


What is the teacher/student ratio?

The rule of thumb is a maximum of eight students per instructor. If there are more than eight, you and your dog’s safety


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might be an issue. Either way, you’ll certainly receive less personal attention.


Where does the class take place?

Is the area clean and protected? A city park or neighborhood parking lot can be fine but a park that has dogs running around off leash or a parking lot with heavy traffic are unsafe. Some trainers present the first week of class without dogs in order to go over training theory without the students being distracted by their dogs. This means the first class might meet in a different locale – but it should still smack of professionalism.

I know a trainer here in California who meets the enrollees in a bar for a little hair-of-the-dog. Not the greatest first impression.


Are the handouts professional and easy to understand? Handouts


Are aggressive dogs allowed in class? Accidents happen, but having

are the instructor’s “face to the public.” You can get a feel for his/her attention to detail by reading what he/she is presenting.

yourself or your dog attacked cannot be one of them. No beginning class should allow aggressive dogs. Some advanced classes do, but they’re set up for safety and closely monitored with experienced handlers.


Does the teacher practice what he/she preaches?

These days, almost all dog trainers refer to themselves as “positive” trainers. After all, who would enroll in a class if the motto is: “I will teach you to physically punish your dog”? But positive means different things to different people. The term is used by trainers who use positive methods (treats, petting, praise, play, etc.) as well as those who use negative methods (leash corrections, pinning, hanging, biting, shocking, hitting, etc.). The difference between the two is this: positive trainers use the term to mean the training is proactive. The dog is managed by using leashes, baby gates, etc., so he cannot do something unwanted and then, step-by-step, he is taught to redirect his energy to desired behaviors. Negative training is primarily reactive. The dog is set up to do something undesirable and then punished for doing it. The dog is then rewarded (positive training) for the appropriate behavior.

Preparing for class So now you’ve chosen a good class that uses positive training methods. Before you and your dog head off to your first session, set yourself up for success with this pre-class checklist.

•Check your dog’s collar to make sure it cannot slip off. Keep the leash looped around your wrist so it cannot be pulled from your hand.

•Bring plenty of high quality treats and make sure your dog is acclimated to the treats you’re planning to use in class. Young puppies have sensitive digestive systems. If your dog is only used to kibble, using real chicken and cheese as rewards in a class can upset him. Don’t feed your dog before class; that way he’ll be more motivated by your treats.

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When to walk away If you’re uncomfortable with a trainer’s methods, it’s absolutely okay to say so and walk out. Here are two red flags: •The instructor should never shame you, tell you it’s “your fault” or that you aren’t being “dominant” enough. •Above all, never ever let an instructor use your dog to demonstrate something and then jerk, hit, bite, pin, hang, or yell at him. If that happens, stop the trainer immediately and leave. animal wellness


Exercise your dog before class. If he expends a little energy beforehand, he’ll be

less inclined to act out during the training session.

•Bring a bowl and water. •Bring a blanket or bed. Some classes are held outside and the parking lot can get pretty grungy. If held inside, the floors can be hard, cold and/or slippery. •Exercise your dog before class. If he expends a little energy beforehand, he’ll be less inclined to act out during a training session.

Photo: ©Elenathewise |

•When you first walk into the class, give your dog time to get used to the surroundings. Don’t ask her to sit, lie down or do anything. The newness of the situation will trigger a rush of adrenalin and your words will fall on deaf ears. •Be relaxed and friendly. Your dog feeds off your attitude, so take a couple of breaths if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. •Wear comfortable clothes. Put on shoes that won’t slip, avoid jewelry that jangles, and for the sake of both the dogs and other students, wear no heavy cologne, perfumes, or aftershave. •Keep your dog away from other dogs until the instructor says it’s okay and shows you how to do a meet-and-greet. Often, a well-meaning participant will show up in class with a newly rescued shelter dog, not knowing that he’s aggressive, especially around food. This can lead to problems. Training classes are meant to be fun for you and your dog. Use common sense, trust your intuition, and you’ll both have an enjoyable and educational experience.


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Stormy weather Does Rover start quaking when he hears thunder? Here are some ways to help him over his fear. by Beth Rasin


beautiful summer afternoon can take a terrifying turn for dogs with storm phobias. While some don’t turn a hair at thunder and lightning, others find it a frightening and stressful experience. Instead of letting your dog frantically pace, pant or try to hide under the bed, take some steps to ease her anxiety.

Behaviorial conditioning Dr. Suzanne Hetts, a certified applied animal behaviorist, starts to address a dog’s fears by determining which aspect of a storm frightens her the most – is it the thunder, the wind, a change in barometric pressure, or certain smells? If the problem is thunder, Dr. Hetts recommends a program of counter conditioning and desensitization. “Through gradual exposure, you create an easier version of the stimuli the dog is scared of, like a recording of thunder at low volume, paired with something that makes the dog happy, like a food treat, playing ball or petting,” she says. “You gradually make it more intense until it’s like the real thing. Then the real thing no longer elicits fear because you’ve replaced it with something good.” She adds that this method works best if you can prevent the dog from experiencing a real storm before training is complete. This means you need to start before storm season arrives and make a dedication to practice. “The time to work on this is not in the middle of storm season,” says Dr. Hetts. Photo: ©Jolita |


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Calming with flowers For another approach, veterinarian Dr. Mark Newkirk suggests Bach flower remedies. Aspen is the classic remedy for storm phobias. “If you’re going to work, you can put some Aspen in the dog’s water bowl, and even if the storm comes six hours later, as he drinks all day,

he gets it in his system on his own,” says Dr. Newkirk. “If you’re home and a storm is coming, you can give it orally.” Bach flower remedies are odorless and tasteless and come in liquid form. “You can give a few drops every few minutes for as long as it takes to calm a dog down,” says Dr. Newkirk. Aspen is just one of 38 Bach flower remedies. You may find a different one, such as Rescue Remedy or Mimulus, suits your dog’s needs better. Dr. Newkirk sometimes combines flower remedies with herbs such as valerian, skullcap or St. John’s wort to mellow a frightened dog without drugging him.

Emotional allergies Dr. Newkirk has also had success using Nambudripad allergy elimination therapy (NAET). This therapy works under the theory that most problems are caused by undiagnosed

Dos and don’ts DO try to create a safe place from the storm, such as an interior room or basement where the dog can’t see lightening or hear thunder. A machine playing white noise can also help.

DON’T pull a fearful dog from his hiding spot. “If he wants to hide in a closet or cage, he retreated there because he feels safe,” says Dr. Newkirk. “Don’t pull him out to sit on the couch with you.”

DO talk to a frightened dog in a calm, reassuring voice. “Don’t be overly anxious because your dog is,” says Dr. Newkirk. “If you’re afraid, you don’t want to be with someone else who’s afraid; you want a leader.”

DON’T crate a dog who is clawing at doors or walls in an attempt to prevent him from being destructive. “If he’s that fearful, confining him will only panic him more,” says Dr. Hetts. “He could get hurt trying to get out.”

DON’T punish a dog who has destroyed something in a panic.

DO give your dog positive attention. “If you can massage the ears, play ball, talk in a calming voice or give a body massage, that will help him relax,” says Dr. Hetts. animal wellness


Thanks to their sensitive

hearing, dogs know a thunderstorm is coming long before you do.

allergies, and that acupressure – developed for humans but adapted for animal therapy – treats the allergies. “Acupressure can change emotions,” says Dr. Newkirk. “Emotion is a phobia, and why should a noise cause you an emotional allergy? Through acupressure, you can reduce or eliminate that fear entirely.”

Wrap him up

some dogs relax, others sleep through storms wearing their Anxiety Wraps. It’s a wonderful sight to see thunder phobic dogs relaxed and sleeping through a storm.” Why do some dogs develop storm phobia while others hardly seem to notice the thunder and lightning? According to Dr. Hetts, research conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Shull at the University of Tennessee suggests there might be a genetic cause.

Relief for your dog may also be found through the use of an Anxiety Wrap, which applies slight, maintained pressure around a large portion of an animal’s body. The gentle pressure indirectly affects the central nervous system and this raises the dog’s anxiety threshold. This means more stimuli is required to cause the dog to react.

Dr. Newkirk believes there is also usually an environmental cause. “There’s usually some inciting thing going on,” he says. “The noise is there, yes, but something else has happened – a light flickered or the owner left and the storm started right afterward. It usually develops as a dog grows up. I’ve never seen it in a puppy.”

“Parents have seen this effect by swaddling their babies,” says Susan Sharpe, who created the wrap. “Swaddling is another form of ‘maintained pressure’ in action. While

Whatever the cause, rest assured there’s a solution to keep your dog from feeling scared during summer storms.


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The pain associated with inflammation or infection can really get your animal down. Bioprin from JBNI Biodrux is a human “naturaceutical” that’s proving effective for animals too. It incorporates a combination of herbal pain relievers including Foeniculi Fructus, Ligustici Wallichii Rhizoma, Sappan Lignum and Coptidis Rhizoma, along with all-natural anti-inflammatory herbs such as Trichosanthis Radix, Angelicae Dahuricae, Viola Herba and Lonicerae Flos. Bioprin addresses pain and inflammation while serving as a potent antibacterial agent, and causes no stomach irritation or other side effects. 90 capsules: $42.45

For furry feet

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Hot asphalt in summer can be as hard on your dog’s feet as road salt in winter. Tammy and Teddy’s Foot or Paw Protection for Animals offers a line of dog boots and other products that not only protect sensitive pads, but also provide extra support for dogs with degenerative myelopathy, spondylosis, arthritis and other clinical problems. Along with a selection of quilted or non-quilted heavy duty supportive leather boots for dogs, the company’s specialized products include the Corgi/Scottie Booties shown, which are especially designed to fit the foot shape of these breeds, and soft deer hide dog slippers for indoor use. $25.99 - $44.99 per pair

Maintaining your dog’s health naturally gets easier every day thanks to products like Whole Dog Daily from Greendog Naturals. This multi-purpose supplement works to unlock the nutritional value of food by optimizing digestion with enzymes; strengthening your dog’s natural defenses with live probiotics; maintaining glowing skin and coat with food-source Omegas; and supporting long-term health and vitality with antioxidant superfoods. Available in a powder or chewable tablets, this product contains 80% certified organic ingredients. 150g powder: $17.99 300g powder: $32.99 60 tablets: $19.99 animal wellness


Take care!

Want to introduce him to doggie daycare? Find the right facility – and help him enjoy being there. by Janet Velenovsky, CPDT, CDBC-TAC

Photo: Petopia

These guys obviously love spending time in the outdoor play center at Petopia in Toronto!


ou have a new dog and would like to take him to doggie daycare for exercise and enrichment while you’re away at work. Daycare is a wonderful outlet for an energetic, sociable canine, and gives him a great opportunity to play with other well-behaved dogs rather than sit at home alone all day. The first step is to do some research on local dog daycare facilities. Choose a place that always puts the dogs’ needs and safety first. There’s no need to pay for all kinds of extras, but you don’t want to skimp on basic care for your companion. Here are a few things you’ll want to check out at each daycare you visit: •It is essential that managers have training and experience in canine first aid and health issues, and in basic dog behavior and body language. Don’t be afraid to ask. Staff should be trained to recognize health issues like heat exhaustion, how to help a dog in respiratory distress, and to safely separate dogs who are not interacting well in order to avoid


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serious injury. Also ask what veterinary clinic they use for emergencies. •Ask to tour the facility. Look for cleanliness, organization, and how employees interact with the dogs. •It is important that the daycare play space is set up for easy cleanup of urine and feces to avoid any health issues. We all know “stuff happens”, but removing it quickly and doing daily disinfection is important. •Ask how many dogs play in each group and get the ratio between employees watching each group and the individual dogs in that group. It should be no fewer than one person per eight to ten dogs. •Ask how the staff decides which dogs are in which playgroups. Are they separated by breed, activity level and/or play style? Where do they think your dog will do best? Are you comfortable with their decision and reasoning? •Ask about the daily schedule. How long is each play

period? How long (and when) are the breaks? There should be rest periods for dogs to cool off, warm up, or calm down, depending on the weather and the size of the play group. •You might also want to ask if the facility offers boarding. If so, is there someone on site 24/7? If your dog likes daycare, being able to board him at the same location will make your vacations less stressful for both of you. •Once you’ve decided on a facility, be sure to give the staff accurate contact information and update it frequently. You would be devastated to find you missed an emergency call because you forgot to update your latest office or cell phone number. •Some time after your dog begins attending daycare, stop by unannounced one day to say hello and ask how he’s doing.

It is essential

that managers have training and experience in canine first aid and health issues, and in basic dog behavior and body language.

Size matters His first day On your dog’s first day at daycare, I recommend feeding him a light breakfast. Though dogs need energy to play, it may be a somewhat stressful day for him (remember your first day at school?). Lighter meals may avoid tummy distress. Ask, though, if you can bring a snack for the staff to give him during a rest period. Unless your dog is boarding, you don’t need to send toys along with him. Most daycares don’t allow toys in play areas because they can sometimes lead to disagreements between dogs. Keep in touch with the staff. Ask how your dog is interacting with the others, what his activity levels are like, and if they’ve noticed any unusual behavior. If he should receive a “bad report card”, ask for all the details. Not all dogs have the right temperament for daycare, so you’ll need all the information you can get to decide whether or not to continue or change your dog’s attendance.

If you have a small dog, you should know that more than a 50% size difference in dogs can lead to serious issues with predatory drift – an instinctive situation in which a small dog suddenly seems like prey to a larger dog. A good daycare will avoid such problems by setting up separate play spaces safe for all sizes and play styles.

If all goes well, you’ll enjoy one of the best benefits of doggie daycare – a tired, happy dog at the end of the day! Photo: ©Sparkmom |

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Dog photo: ©Isselee | Camping photo: ©Klikk |

Let’s go


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camping! What could be more fun than spending quality time with your dog in the great outdoors? A camping trip might be just the ticket. by Liz Palika


’m sitting on the ground with my back against a huge redwood tree. My American shepherd, Bashir, is by my side. The woods around us smell damp and although I can also smell some of the plants, I know he’s smelling much more because his nose is twitching vigorously as he inhales. About 30 feet behind us, the river is burbling as it moves over smooth, water polished stones. Overhead, through the treetops, I see a deep blue sky. Ahhh! I don’t think there is anything more peaceful. My husband and I both grew up in families that went camping two or three times every summer and now, years later, we still enjoy camping. We’ve camped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the California coastal redwoods, the mountains of Arizona, the hills of North Carolina, the beaches of southern California, and the plains of the Dakotas. We share our joy of being outside with our dogs, and a huge part of our camping fun is watching our dogs’ reaction to the world around them. Last year, we took Bashir for his first camping trip to the beach. He’s a well traveled dog, but had never been to the beach before. The sand was okay, and the dried seaweed got a good sniff, but he wasn’t sure about the waves. The first wave that wet his paws caused him to jump backwards about 20 feet, and I’m sorry to say, we did laugh at him. But over the course of an hour or so he got braver. Of course, I’m sure the fact that the older dogs were splashing in the water, retrieving thrown sticks, and just generally having a great time also gave him some confidence. Before we went back

to our campgrounds that day, Bashir was thoroughly wet and sandy and very proud of himself.

Photo: ©Robertsj |

Ahead of time Taking your dog camping will require some advance planning. First of all, not all campgrounds allow dogs and those that do often require reservations made well ahead of time. The internet is a great resource; find the campground you would like to visit and find out if it allows dogs and what their rules are – is a good resource. In addition, the American Automobile Association offers books with information on hotels, motels and campgrounds, and lists those that allow animals.

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Once you have reservations, it’s time to get your dog ready. Brush up on his training skills. Does he walk nicely on the leash? He will spend most of the camping trip on leash and if he’s constantly pulling, yanking and jerking you’re not going to enjoy his company at all. Does he come when called every single time? He needs to or he may end up lost in the campgrounds or woods. If you need some help, enroll in a dog training class prior to your trip. Tell your vet where you will be camping and ask if your dog will need anything in preparation. Depending on where you’re going, the vet may recommend a Lyme disease vaccine or heartworm medication.

Pack for your dog Your dog won’t need as many supplies as you will, but he does need some essential items. First of all, make sure he has a secure collar with identification on it. That should include the cell phone number you will be bringing with you; not your home number. He will need a walking leash and a longer leash so you can give him room to explore and play yet also keep him safe. Don’t forget a couple of toys. Grooming supplies are a good idea too, including a brush, comb, natural insect repellent

Bring enough of your dog’s regular food for the number of days you’ll be gone, plus a couple of extra days’ worth or some healthy treats. This will cover his meals in case your trip is extended, but your dog may also be hungrier than normal because he’s getting more exercise. If your dog has a sensitive gastrointestinal system, bring his water from home too.

While camping •Take things slowly the first day at the campground. Give your dog a chance to adapt, see where he is, and what’s going on. Our dogs are experienced travelers but we still plan hiking trips, sight-seeing adventures and other explorations for later in the trip. The first day or two is for relaxing and getting used to the campground. This is especially important if you’re camping in the mountains. Let your dog get used to the altitude. Slow gentle walks are good for both of you. •Make sure the two of you drink plenty of water, so you don’t dehydrate. •Camping is great fun for dogs and people as long as the dogs are not allowed to disturb other campers. Keep your dog within your camping site unless you’re going for a walk. Don’t allow him to bark either. If he likes to bark while playing, take him away from the camping area to play.

and a few towels in case he gets wet. A first aid kit is also a necessity. Make sure it contains bandage materials, scissors and tweezers.


animal wellness

•Don’t leave uneaten dog food around the campground; it will

attract wildlife. On our last Instead, pick them up and dispose of camping trip, our campground them properly. neighbors left out dog food and ended up begin visited by a gang •While camping with your dog, of very destructive raccoons in please observe all the posted rules the middle of the – and the rules of common courtesy. night. They not Be considerate and kind. It only takes only ate the one or two people who don’t observe Photo: ©Isselee | food, but tore the rules for those rules to change. I up the camping chairs and made a enjoy camping with my dogs and don’t huge mess. Before it gets dark, make sure you pick up want to see more campgrounds saying, uneaten dog food, toys and all your own belongings “Sorry. No dogs allowed!” too. A clean camp is always best. Camping with your dog does away with the worry of •Bring a supply of doggy cleanup bags, pick up after finding someone to look after your companion while your dog, and dispose of it in a trash container. Don’t you’re on vacation. It’s also a great bonding experience leave feces wherever they are deposited by the dog; – spending time together means you’ll both enjoy the even in the woods they are not natural. summer more!

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Strapped for time?

Today’s busy lifestyles mean our dogs and cats may not get all the TLC from us they deserve. Services geared for on-the-go animal lovers are ready to step in and help out. by Ann Brightman


fter Linda split up with her husband, she had to give up her home-based business and go back to work fulltime. She enjoyed the distraction, but her six-year-old retriever mix wasn’t happy. Breck was used to having Linda at home with him all day, so suddenly being left alone for hours on end was a strange and stressful experience for him. Linda came home at noon to take him out and spend half an hour with him, but it just wasn’t enough. “I could see he was anxious and lonely,” she says. “I felt really worried and guilty, but I didn’t have a choice.” Actually she did have a choice, as she found out later. One day, a friend told her about a local pet sitter who would come and stay with her dog while Linda was away. “I was skeptical, as I didn’t know how Breck would react, but it worked out really well,” she says. “At first, I paid Lizzie to stay with Breck most of the day until he felt more confident, then we scaled back to having her visit a few hours a day to walk him and play with him. Breck’s happier and I feel better knowing he’s getting attention and affection when I can’t be there.” What with career and family responsibilities, travel, and a long list of other commitments, most of us lead busy lives that take us away from our animals for hours and sometimes days at a time. Juggling a hectic schedule while trying to make sure your dog or cat gets the attention and love he needs just adds to the stress. But rest easy. A growing number of businesses and services are springing up to cater to the needs of busy animal guardians. These services are run by fellow animal lovers who have your dog or cat’s well being at heart, and who know it’s just not possible to always be there for your companion.


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Dog daycare To many people who work long days and have no one at home to look after their pooches, doggie daycares are the best thing to happen in a long time. They’re an excellent option for sociable dogs who thrive on being with other people and animals. Most facilities are quite flexible, and allow you to drop off and pick up your dog when it suits your schedule.

This is a big advantage because your dog will already be familiar with the environment and the people, and will feel less anxious at being left there for a few days. Just make sure the center has someone on site 24/7 and that the dogs aren’t left alone overnight.

Pet sitters

Dog walkers Photo: ©Thoth11 |

It’s important to choose the right daycare. Make sure the center is properly and safely run (turn to page 30 for more suggestions). Different facilities also have different requirements; some insist that dogs be annually vaccinated, for example, so you may have to shop around to find the most suitable place.

Your dog will need time to adapt to the daycare environment. You can’t just drop him off one morning without any preparation and leave him there. Most centers will want to know something about your dog before accepting him – for example, what are his traits, quirks and health issues, and how does he get along with other dogs and people? You might be invited to bring your dog in a few times to get used to the setting before you actually leave him there. Some daycares also offer boarding services for when you have to travel.

Photo: ©Petdcat |

Daycare doesn’t work for all dogs. Some get stressed or aggressive when put in a noisy, busy environment with a lot of others, and/ or may simply feel happier and more secure in their familiar surroundings at home. This is where a dog walker can help. Dog walkers are ideal for dogs who don’t mind being home alone during the day, but who need someone to take them out for exercise and, of course, to go to the bathroom at regular intervals. This is especially important if you have a breed that needs a lot of physical activity and/ or mental stimulation. These dogs can become destructive and stressed if left alone in the house for long periods with nothing to do. A lot of “badly behaved” dogs that end up at shelters wouldn’t be there if their guardians had simply found a way to provide them with more attention and stimulation.

If you need to be away for a few days, or just want someone to stay with your animal now and then while you’re at work, a pet sitter is another good option. Some pet sitters (though not all) will stay in your home the entire time and make sure your animal gets the same care and company he’d get if you

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were there yourself. Others will come in several times a day for 30 to 45 minutes to visit and care for the animal and make sure everything’s all right. Pet sitters are the perfect solution for cats, who are usually most comfortable in their own home environment and don’t always take well to being boarded. Pet sitters also frequently double as house sitters and will water plants, collect your mail and so on, giving you the peace of mind of knowing both your beloved companion and your home will stay safe and secure while you’re away. Many pet sitters offer dog walking services, and vice versa. Both often do additional tasks, such as giving medications, scooping litter or picking up dog poop, driving animals to vet appointments, or just spending quality time with them. Remember that dog walkers and pet sitters will need to have access to your home while you’re not there. This means hiring someone you know you can trust 100%. Word of mouth is a good way to find a walker or sitter you know will be reliable and responsible. Ask your local shelter or vet if they can recommend someone, and be sure to hire an insured, bonded individual. Pet Sitters International ( and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters ( are excellent places to start when looking for a pro.


Photo: ©Scantynebula |

All dogs and cats benefit from regular grooming. It keeps their skin and coats healthy, helps increase circulation and makes them feel better, physically and emotionally. Few of us have the time to brush our animals every day (although it’s good for both of you to make time for a grooming session once in awhile!) but a regular appointment with a professional groomer will ensure


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your companion continues to look and feel his best when you don’t have time to do it yourself. How often your animal goes to the groomer depends on his breed and coat length. Long-haired animals need a lot more attention than those with short coats. Left unattended, a long-haired coat may soon get dirty, matted and tangled. Hairballs can become a problem in long-haired cats, and may even be an issue in some shorthairs if they aren’t brushed at least occasionally. If you want natural care for your animal, look for a grooming salon that uses gentle, non-toxic products. Many shampoos and other grooming products contain harsh chemicals that can be hard on sensitive skin.

Mobile vets

Photo: ©Remsan |

A mobile vet or one who makes house calls can be a real boon for several reasons. Most animals, especially cats, hate going to the vet, so having a doctor who will come to the house for basic checkups and procedures minimizes everyone’s stress levels. It also means you don’t have to take extra time out of your day to drive your animal to the clinic and sit in the waiting room – an important consideration for those whose days are scheduled down to the last minute. It does mean, though, that someone needs to be at home when the vet comes to call! Here’s a word of warning…if you find yourself spending less and less time with your animal because there’s too much else to do, you need to take a deep breath and re-evaluate your lifestyle. While pet sitters, dog walkers, groomers and other animal professionals are a godsend, they shouldn’t take your place as your dog or cat’s primary caregivers. Remember – the main reason we share our lives with animals is because they give us joy, friendship and unconditional love. So it’s good for you, as well as your companion, to relax and spend time with him whenever you can!

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Holistic Veterinary advice

Talking with

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 ( Send your questions for Dr. Goldstein’s column to: Dr. Martin Goldstein, e-mail: Dr. Marty responds to questions in his column only. We regret he cannot respond to every question.

The cause of this condition is typically mechanical or anatomical in nature. It would be similar to chronic diaper rash, propagated by a fold that retains moisture. This leads to chronic inflammation and secondary infection. 

animal wellness

If the condition is as chronic as it sounds, the veterinarian may be correct. One surgical procedure to remove that deep fold could lead to years of relief.


In its early stages, I’ve had success using topical preparations such as hydrogen peroxide (it doesn’t sting dogs like it does us), medicated powders like aloe cornstarch or Gold Bond, propolis

Photo: ©Auntpittypat |


ointment, aloe vera or calendula gels. If infected, olive leaf extract or oil of oregano can help.

Any suggestions about protecting my one-year-old dog from lepto? My five-year-old dog died from it almost two years ago. He had four strains, and two had no vaccine. I run titers on my dogs. My 13-year-old dog has not had DHPP since 2002. I do a rabies vaccine by law. I feed the 13-year-old a raw diet, and the one-year-old is on a natural brand of dog food. What else can I do? This is a delicate situation to give advice on. Yes, there

Photo: ©Nickp37 |


For years, my mother’s seven-year-old Pekingese has had a condition called vulvafold dermatitis. The doctor prescribes cream for it but it never really goes away. It bothers her so much she constantly rubs her bottom on the floor and it sometimes ends up bleeding. The doctor said the only way to get rid of it is with surgery. Can you suggest a holistic approach?

are new strains of this illness for which no vaccines offer protection. I don’t know exactly which strains you are referencing above. Fort Dodge now offers the Duramune Leptospirosis vaccine that immunizes against L. grippotyphosa and L. pomona as well as L. icterohaemorrhagiae and L. canicola. I’m not a big fan of vaccinating for lepto, but then I do not practice in a very high-risk area. I have seen too many adverse reactions to the vaccine, including kidney failure and death. My general advice is to focus on health, as you seem to be doing already, along with avoiding potential exposure. Leptospira thrive in spring and autumn when wet soil conditions and moderate temperatures support their otherwise poor survival. Infection by contact with infected urine or ingesting urine-contaminated water is the most common means of transmission. So avoiding these scenarios is key in locations where lepto is reported. If the illness is suspected, early treatment with appropriate antibiotics is generally quite successful.

Q Photo: ©Ambpllc |

I have a redbone coonhound mix puppy that is one-and-a-half years old. When she was just a couple of months old, she had giardia and coccidian, so

solid bowel movements were few and far between for about a year. Since puppyhood, we have had to take her to the vet every two months to have her anal sacs emptied. Both sacs are filled every time. Are there any homeopathic remedies for something

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like this? We thought it would get better over time but it hasn’t. Is there anything we can do? 

In general, the higher quality the diet is, the better the chances to ultimately stop the problem. Adding fiber in the form of vegetables has also been shown to help. I have seen this condition remedied by switching dogs to an all-raw diet.  The only homeopathic I’ve had success with for this condition is a combination of Heel’s Hemorrhoid and Inflammation, and when indicated, their Infection remedy.


I have a 16-year-old part cocker and golden retriever mix. He is an indoor dog. Is it necessary to get bordetella bloodwork done, Heartguard pills, other vaccinations besides rabies, etc.? What is absolutely vital for him to have? I feel that giving a 16-year-old dog any vaccinations is totally unnecessary. Even with rabies, through it’s legally required in most states every three years, there is a fairly decent chance of getting a legal exemption due to age, especially if your dog is not due until he is even older.  There is no reason to get any vaccine related bloodwork performed, except for rabies, to help you get an exemption; if you do, it will most likely indicate ample protection. As far as heartworm prevention goes, that depends on where in the country you live and the true incidence there. You’ll need to do some local research to determine a more educated decision on that one.


Making definitive recommendations for bladder stones is highly dependant on knowing the exact stone type your dog has. I’m assuming that because the stone dissolved on this specific diet that it is a struvite stone.  As effective as some prescription diets can be in addressing a condition “scientifically”, they may not be the most nutritious for optimal health in the long run. We have had much success with different urinary stone types by simulating prescription diets but using whole food ingredients. Along with this, specific products we use are UT Strength by Vetri-Science Labs and homeopathic Urinary Aid by Professional Complementary Health. If this was a struvite stone, then acidifying the urine with a cranberry supplement or vitamin C in ascorbic acid form can also help, especially if these types of crystals show in follow-up urinalyses. I have also witnessed success with a number of different urinary stone types by using Seven Forests Pyrrosia 14.


I have a seven-year-old, 65-pound golden retriever in excellent health. He has developed four lipomas in the past six months, and I have taken him for a fine needle aspiration/ cytology each time, grateful to discover it’s a fatty deposit. I am questioning the necessity of having this exam done each time a lump appears. I feel compelled to have it checked out, but want to be sure I am doing the right thing. I know Continued on page 44.


animal wellness

Photo: ©Isselee |


First, realize that anal sacs are supposed to be somewhat full, not empty. In my experience, one of the practices contributing to anal sac problems is having them expressed too frequently. This creates a vicious cycle of inflammation resulting in an over-production of secretions and filling, which leads to a more frequent need to again be expressed.

My Bichon had a bladder stone which was dissolved using Hill’s Prescription Diet for four weeks. Now our vet has told us she will be eating Hills c/d diet for the rest of her life. This concerns me, as it seems inadequate and she does not like it very much. Any thoughts or comments?




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goldens are very prone to these lumps as they are to cancer. He has been on a homemade, cooked, mostly organic diet with supplements and very limited vaccines since he was three. 


You are correct in stating that lipomas are very common in retrievers. Your concern about goldens and cancer is also well founded.  Lipomas are typically very easy for an experienced veterinarian to differentiate from most other tumor types


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by using simple palpation. If there’s any doubt, it is not overly involved or painful/stressful for a veterinarian to aspirate a questionable mass. Aspiration material from lipomas, when spread across a glass slide, will reveal obvious fat, and sending it to a laboratory is in most cases unnecessary. To aid in lipoma control, I’ve had success using Mega Lipotropic by Best For Your Pet, Lipocomplex by Progressive Labs, and the herbal formulation Chih ku & Curcuma by Seven Forests.

Scrumptious & sustainable by Ann Brightman

Chris Roberts started Barkwheats by baking healthy treats for his Lab mixes.


s any dog lover knows, there are treats and there are treats. If you have your companion’s good health at heart, you want products that are natural and nutritious as well as tasty. Chris Roberts is helping to fill that niche. He’s the owner of Barkwheats Dog Biscuits, a company that specializes in wholesome, high quality dog treats – with a difference. “I’ve always loved to bake, so Barkwheats is just a natural extension of that,” he explains. “In 2007, after my partner Renée and I moved back to our home state of Maine, she encouraged me to bake biscuits for our dogs. We have two rescued Lab mixes, so I looked for ingredients I could source locally and would be beneficial to their health.” When holiday season rolled around, Chris put his biscuits online. To his surprise, he began getting orders on a daily basis. “Then we started getting phone calls from pet supply retailers around the country.” Realizing they’d hit on something, Chris and Renée started their own company, Barkwheats Dog Biscuits. Right from the start, good nutrition has been a key motivating factor. “We wanted a wholesome snack that actually helps treat common problems like bad breath, gas, anxiety, and more serious illnesses like cancer.” The biscuits are made from buckwheat (which isn’t a grain, but a berry, so it’s safe for dogs with grain allergies), as well as honey, free-range eggs and well water. There are currently two

flavors – Ginger & Parsley and SeaVeg & Chamomile – although Chris is adding two more to the line this fall. Barkwheats does more than bake biscuits. “We support small-scale agriculture by purchasing ingredients directly from farmers. We put a lot of stock in knowing where each ingredient comes from and who is responsible for producing it. We use ingredients from small scale, organic farmers because we know they will help sustain the land and soil structure. We use compostable packaging because it won’t add to the huge waste stream.” The company also uses renewable energy to power its operations. Because of their sustainable approach, Barkwheats recently became the first Certified B Corporation in the pet industry. And this summer, their Ginger & Parsley biscuits are due to become the very first Fair Trade Certified canine products on the market. “We are working directly with farmers in Toledo District, Belize through the NGO Sustainable Harvest International to grow our ginger,” Chris says proudly. “In fact, Renée and I spent some time visiting their farms this past spring.” It’s clear that Barkwheats is about much more than good nutrition for dogs. It’s also about caring for the future of the planet. “We believe everyone has a responsibility to be a good steward of this Earth,” says Chris. “As a business, we feel we have an even greater capacity to make a difference.” animal wellness


Dog days We often take water for granted, but for your canine companion it can be a lifesaver in hot weather. Make sure he stays safely hydrated all summer long. by Marcia Martin, DVM

Photo: ©Lecaro |


un in the sun with your four-legged friend is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But it can be a recipe for disaster if you’re unprepared for the dangers of exertion on a hot day. The biggest risk a dog runs while outdoors in the summer heat is dehydration. Left untreated, dehydration can rapidly progress to heat stroke and even death. But it’s easily preventable if you make sure you are well prepared when hiking or playing outdoors in warm weather with your dog, and if you learn how to recognize the warning signs and take appropriate action.


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Why is it an issue? Unlike humans and horses, dogs don’t sweat to cool off. They cool themselves primarily by panting. This means frequent access to fresh clean water is an absolute must. The environment a dog is playing in is also an important consideration. Overheating happens much easier in hot humid weather, for example, since humidity inhibits evaporation and slows body cooling. The minimum water requirement for a dog is half an ounce per pound of body weight. An active dog on a hot afternoon can easily consume three times that amount. So if you have an 80-pound Lab, you’ll need to provide the equivalent of between five and 15 eight-ounce glasses of water during his playtime.

What to watch for Monitor your dog closely for any signs of dehydration.


The first sign is a dry mouth. If you have a normally slobbery dog, a lack of slobber is a really easy indicator of hydration status. Dogs cool through the evaporation of saliva as they pant. Once your dog’s mouth becomes dry, he is no longer able to cool himself, quickly compounding the problem and leading to heat stroke. If you are unsure, simply feel his gums. They should feel wet. If your finger sticks just a little, the gums are tacky. Tacky gums indicate mild dehydration Solution: It’s time for a rest stop and drink of water.

Frequent smaller

drinks are the best way to keep your dog hydrated. Allowing a hot dog to gorge on water may result in vomiting.


The second sign is loss of normal skin elasticity. You can easily test this by pinching the skin on the top of the dog’s head into a little tent. If it snaps back quickly, that’s great. If it takes a few seconds for the skin to return to its normal position, your dog is dehydrated. Skin tenting and dry mucus membranes signals 5% to 7% dehydration. Solution: Stop your dog’s activity, provide water, and have him rest for a longer period.


If left unchecked, dehydration will rapidly progress to weakness, lethargy, trembling legs and sunken eyes. These are indicators of severe and potentially life threatening dehydration. At this animal wellness


Water with a twist

A number of companies now offer fortified bottled water formulated especially for dogs. As with anything else, you need to do your homework to make sure you’re getting a quality product made from pure water and safe, natural ingredients.

Among the latter is Our Hero Enhanced Water for Dogs from Century Foods (, a company that specializes in nutritional supplements. The company takes a scientific approach to canine hydration, using a triple-filtered, reverse-osmosis purification process to remove impurities and additives like chlorine and fluoride from the water. The water is then fortified with a variety of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, proteins and amino acids. It comes in three different formulas for hydrating and energizing active dogs, those with hip and joint issues (with added glucosamine and chondroitin), and older canines. It’s naturally flavored with beef to increase palatability among dogs that may not drink as much as they should. The products have been tested by independent labs to ensure they’re safe and effective. 48

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point, oral rehydration will not be enough to replace the lost fluid. Solution: Hospitilization and intravenous fluids are necessary to prevent organ damage or death.

On the trail or road I was recently hiking in Sedona, Arizona. Our guide told us not to leave camp without at least one gallon of water per person. You can see that if you are hiking with one or more dogs, you’ll need to carry a large quantity of water. As tempting as it may be to just allow your dog to drink out of lakes, streams and ponds, don’t. These water sources are often contaminated with a parasite called giardia that can cause nasty diarrhea. Carrying all the water yourself could be problematic, but many dogs can be fitted with specially designed dog packs for carrying their own water bottles. These lightweight packs can be purchased through many pet supply and sporting retailers. Collapsible water bowls for dogs are also available for easy packing. Remember to always carry water and a bowl when traveling with your dog in the car too. And be sure to bring a leash: any rest stops you make must include your dog. Temperatures in a parked car can rapidly exceed 100ºF on a warm day, and leaving a dog in this environment for even a few minutes can rapidly lead to heat stroke. Always take your dog with you on-leash whenever you leave the car. Give your dog regular opportunities to take a drink during long car trips, especially if you don’t have air conditioning. Yes, it’ll mean more bathroom breaks, but it’ll also mean a healthier, happier dog when you reach your destination!

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Number crunching E

ver wonder how many dogs have asthma? Or what scrapes cats most commonly get into? Those looking for answers to questions like these often turn to pet insurance companies for the stats. Every year, insurance companies process thousands of medical claims. Each contains one or more diagnosis codes that indicate the reason for the claim. By collecting these codes in a database, staff can run queries based on breed, region, age of animal and more.

How many pups get ear infections? Do only cats suffer from UTIs? Here’s what we can learn from the statistics compiled by pet insurance companies.

Data and demographics by Debbie Swanson

Pet insurance data is useful for analysis, but Dr. Carol McConnell, Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), points out that drawing disease-incident conclusions based on insurance statistics wouldn’t yield accurate results because they are derived from a relatively small cross-section of society. “Though it has been rising in popularity, only a small percentage of the population purchases pet insurance,” she says. “Our data covers approximately 470,000 animals currently, representing less than 1% of the pet population. The statistics don’t represent a broad demographic. “Our data serves as more of a confirmation, than to support trends,” adds Dr. McConnell. “For example, if we get a call from a researcher looking for information on different types of canine cancer, I would redirect them to a pathology lab. While we can generate this data from the claims we see, there are many backyard dogs that rarely see a vet, or others who don’t have insurance. We don’t have statistics for those dogs.”

Insurance claims indicate people are seeking a much higher level of care for their companion animals. Raising public awareness Photo: ©Jackryan89 |


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Despite this, valuable information can still be gleaned from the insurance industry. “Many people like to believe nothing will happen to their animals,” explains Dr. McConnell. “But dogs and cats do get sick, and by sharing what we’re seeing, we hope to raise public awareness.” For example, those who peruse VPI’s list of the top ten most expensive conditions might re-think how well they tidy up their homes, since

foreign body ingestion tops the list as the most expensive condition for a feline, and ranks fourth for dogs. The number one surgically removed culprit in dogs? Socks! Insurance data also sheds light on ways you can help prevent illness or injury, by alerting you to potential dangers. “The most common cause of eye trauma is face-first collisions with tree branches,” notes VPI in its list of the ten most common eye ailments. “Owners can prevent these by trimming bushes and keeping branches above pet eye level.”

Trends in animal care Veterinarian Dr. Jack Stephens, President and Founder of Pets Best Insurance, observes that the trends his company sees reveal that people are taking better care of their animals. “From ten to 15 years ago to today, there has been a dynamic shift in people’s minds,” he says. “Animals are no longer considered disposable, they are more like children, and people will do much more to keep them healthy.” Dr. Stephens says the most common claims received at Pets Best have not changed much in 30 years – they include those resulting from ear infections, skin dermatitis, cystitis and GI upsets. But other claims indicate people are seeking a much higher level of care for their companion animals. “There has been an increase in referrals to specialists,” says Dr. Stephens. “People are using surgeons, internal medicine professionals, oncologists, behaviorists and ophthalmologists. Specialist care such as this makes up 35% of claims paid over $500.”

Tidy up! Here’s a list of the ten most common items surgically removed from animals, according to VPI:

1. Socks 2. Underwear 3. Pantyhose 4. Rocks 5. Balls 6. Chew toys 7. Corn cobs 8. Bones 9. Hair ties/ribbons 10. Sticks Six yard problems for pooches From the claims they’ve received, Pets Best Insurance is in a good position to warn people of common backyard dangers.

1 2 3

Strychnine: a potent poison used to kill rats, moles, gophers and other rodents. Can be fatal if ingested.

Insurance statistics also provide insight to industry professionals, such as neutraceutical companies and university researchers. Dr. Stephens says Pets Best data is used by the North American Pet Insurance Association, a non-profit organization that shares statistics with pet food companies, supplement companies, and others in the industry.

4 5

Plant poisoning: many plants and shrubs can cause poisoning if ingested.

Take note next time you see a report of insurance statistics. You might pick up a tip that will prevent a costly trip to the vet!

Ice retardants: can cause skin irritation and problems when the animal licks his pads and ingests the chemicals after walking on treated areas.

Dr. Stephens has also seen a growth in cancer treatment, as well as claims addressing behavioral conditions. “People are more willing to find solutions and work with their animals. Overall, they are providing better care for them.”

Industry professionals benefit too

Snail bait: these products contain metaldehyde, another toxic poison.

Swallowed objects: dogs and puppies often swallow things while playing or when bored, potentially causing a bowel obstruction.

Sharp objects: cutting instruments, construction debris, broken glass, and nails extending from low places often result in lacerations.


animal wellness



Top homeopathic remedies

Homeopathy offers a host of solutions to a range of health issues and problems. These are some of the most common remedies used in holistic veterinary medicine. by Julie Anne Lee, DCH, RCSHom with David Ruish, DVM

Photo: ©Icefront |


ased on the principle that “like cures like”, homeopathy is a very effective healing modality that goes deep to the root of a problem, unlike many other forms of treatment. In our veterinary clinic, we have literally thousands of homeopathic remedies available to us. These remedies are used for everything from long term chronic conditions to behavioral issues and pathological conditions. Here are ten leading remedies for some of the most common acute conditions in dogs.

1. Aconitum Nepellus

The primary state we see when we reach for Aconite is fear and suddenness. It can be used as a fear remedy in a variety of situations. For example, dogs fearful of fireworks or being left alone can benefit from Aconite. It’s also helpful for fear arising from traumas such as an accident, dogfight, or fire alarm.


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Aconite is also helpful for the sudden onset of fever, or at the very beginning of disease when there are few symptoms. You may find yourself thinking something like: “He was fine ten minutes ago and suddenly he is lethargic, or his eyes are red.” Giving Aconite at the very beginning stages may help derail the process of inflammation. Aconite is extremely helpful for preventing shock in an emergency and can be life-supporting to give to your dog on the way to the vet. When you think Aconite, think fear and suddenness.

2. Apis Mellifica

This remedy is made from honeybee venom. It may be used for anything resembling a bee sting. Clinical

uses include bee and insect bites, hot spots, vaccine reactions, conjunctivitis and allergic reactions. When you think Apis, think swelling, shiny, burning, stinging.

3. Arnica Montana

Arnica is a very well known remedy and can be used at the beginning of almost any injury, but is particularly useful for blunt trauma. Along with limping or yelping, your dog may act as though he cannot find a comfortable place to lie down. It is also useful for older dogs, those that have chronic injuries or have over-exercised. It can be given as soon as you get the dog home and then two hours later to try to prevent stiffness. When you think Arnica, think pain, bruising and trauma.

4. Arsenicum Album

Photo: ŠSpbphoto |

This remedy is used for many conditions but mainly for vomiting and diarrhea. The dog is most often restless or very weak and may want to be covered or lie in a warm place. Arsenicum is often used for food poisoning; for example, if your dog has been into the garbage or eaten something disgusting on a walk. When he is ill with this sort of condition, he is usually thirstless and worse in the evening. Arsenicum is also commonly used for nasal discharge when the discharge can be irritating to the skin. When you think Arsenicum, think vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, chilliness, worse at night. Continued on next page. animal wellness


5. Hepar Sulphur

This remedy is mostly used for skin or gum infections. The patient will cry, scream, growl, snap or try to hide if the affected area is touched. Most of these conditions look inflamed and infected, although the wound may be more painful than you would expect compared to how it looks. Hepar is also wonderful for preventing abscesses from bite wounds; if an abscess has already formed, it is famous for fighting the infection. When you think Hepar Sulph, think extremely painful inflammation and skin, ear and gum infections.

6. Nux Vomica

7. Phosphorus The Phosphorus dog is usually Mister Social yet is often fearful of loud noises or simply has a high startle reflex. He will commonly vomit after drinking water; the vomit will often be yellow bile. These dogs can also vomit food soon after they’ve eaten. The diarrhea is usually watery and may be streaked with blood. The dog is often weak from the diarrhea and vomiting. Blood is a striking symptom: it may be in your dog’s vomit, stool, phlegm, or any other discharge.

Photo: Grover Schrayer

Phosphorus can also be used for aural hematomas, nosebleeds, coughs, bronchitis, post partum hemorrhages, post surgical nausea and pancreatitis. Phosphorus can also be life-saving when used for severe cuts and hemorrhaging on your way to the vet. When you think Phosphorus, think vomiting, diarrhea, coughing and blood.

8. Rhus Toxicodendron Dogs in need of this remedy can be looked at as “touchy”. They can appear aggressive with other dogs or people and can be extremely competitive. Nux Vomica is very often used to combat negative reactions from medication, or its overuse. It can treat vomiting that is often followed by retching or colic. We can also see diarrhea or constipation but in either case the dog will be straining. It’s often caused by food changes, or ingestion of fatty or rich foods. This remedy can also be life supporting if your dog has eaten a toxic substance; it can be given immediately and administered on your way to the vet. When you think Nux Vomica, think sensitive, irritable, nausea, vomiting, overuse of medication, constipation, diarrhea and toxins.


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Photo: Larry McCombs

This is a well known arthritis remedy for dogs that are very stiff on initial movement but better once they get moving. It can look like a case for Arnica, as the dog can be very restless from the pain, moving from place to place to try and get comfortable. Rhus Tox is also used for allergic reactions that cause great itching and restlessness. Joint and skin issues are usually always made better by warmth and movement. More clinical uses are for hotspots, conjunctivitis, arthritis, sprains and allergic reactions. When you think Rhus Tox, think restlessness, joint pain, allergic reactions, better by moving, worse in damp weather.

9. Ruta Graveolens

Sulph as it helps the body push out remaining debris or reabsorb in order to completely heal. When you think Silicea, think abscesses, cysts, foreign bodies and vaccine reactions.

This is a wonderful little remedy for ligament injury and sprains. If your dog has injured his knee, elbow or shoulder joint, it can be used after Arnica and before Rhus Tox. It is extremely useful after Arnica when a bone has been bruised.

Homeopathy is a complex subject, so it’s important to work with an experienced veterinary homeopath before giving your dog any remedies. But these top ten will give you a good overview of just what this valuable modality can do for your dog.


When you think Ruta, think injured ligament and sprains.

10. Silicea

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Helping Pets Maintain a Healthy, Fit & Trim Lifestyle Many homeopaths use Silicea as an anti-vaccinosin remedy, especially if a lump or swelling occurs at the injection site. It treats many skin issues and works very well with dogs whose skin does not heal easily. It’s also good for dogs with delicate skin that easily scrapes or festers in some way. It is wonderful for any kind of abscess or cyst, such as inter-digital cysts, as well as impacted anal glands, foreign bodies like a sliver, gum and tooth root abscesses, corneal ulcers and blocked tear ducts. These animals are often very sweet and yielding. For abscesses, Silicea is often used after Hepar

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Cover Story

True victory Animal lovers everywhere followed the case of Michael Vick and the dozens of abused and neglected pit bulls rescued from his property two years ago. Where are those dogs today and how are they faring? Here’s the happy ending to the story. by Ann Brightman


he’s a picture of happiness. With her twinkling eyes and wide goofy grin, Meryl (on our cover) has a sweet temperament, is wonderful with other dogs, and loves to climb into people’s laps and lick their faces. She lives at Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary in Kanab, Utah along with 20 other pitbull mixes originally rescued from NFL quarterback Michael Vick two years ago. “Meryl is great,” says Ann Allums, a Certified Pet Dog Trainer who has worked closely with the rescued dogs. “Every time you look at her she’s happy.” Most of us remember the Vick case, and the horror we felt when the football star’s dog-fighting ring came to light in 2007. We followed the news as more than 50 dogs used for fighting and breeding were seized from his property in Virginia. In December of that year, Vick was sentenced to 23 months of imprisonment after being convicted of federal dog-fighting charges.

What about the dogs?

Cherry and Handsome Dan share some quality time with Michelle Besmehn, the co-manager of DogTown, the dog area at Best Friends Animal Society. Michelle makes regular appearances on the National Geographic Television series DogTown, which chronicles the Society’s work with canines, including the “Vicktory” dogs.


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But what happened to the dogs? For the first six months after being seized, they were held in shelters while their fate was debated in court. Not surprisingly, most had not been properly socialized and were showing signs of extreme aggression and fear. Others were injured or ill. Some groups, including PETA and the HSUS, initially felt the dogs were beyond rehabilitation, would be unable to live normal lives, and should therefore be humanely euthanized.

In the end, the court decided to give the dogs a second chance. It ordered each animal to be evaluated on an individual basis using the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test. “This is probably the first time the court has ever done this, allowing these dogs to live,” says Ann. “The CGC test has been around for about 15 years, but the court was looking for anything they could use as a standard to get these dogs safe for society.” The test consists of ten skills that a dog must master, ranging from basic commands such as sitting and staying, to being able to walk in a crowd and accept strangers and other dogs. Once the Vick dogs were able to pass the test, the court said, they would be deemed safe.

The toughest cases The dogs were released from the shelters and sent to sanctuaries and rescue groups across the country, including Bad Rap in San Francisco and Recycled Love in Baltimore, Maryland, to be rehabilitated, placed in experienced foster homes, then adopted out permanently. The most difficult dogs were last to be let go, and arrived at Best Friends Animal Society in January of 2008. “We were contacted by the USDA after the dogs were assessed,” says John Polis, Manager of Public Relations at Best Friends. “They asked us to take 22 of the toughest cases.”

An aerial view of Michael Vick’s property and one of the compounds where the dogs were kept. Here, officials remove evidence during a raid in April of 2007.

Sanctuary staff members had their work cut out for them, but were ready for the challenge. “The biggest issue these dogs had was fear,” says Ann. “They were afraid of people, either because of a lack of socialization or because they’d had a lot of negative experiences with people – probably both. We focused the first whole month on just building their trust, showing them we weren’t going to hurt them. We used all kinds of calm, gentle approaches to show them we weren’t a threat.” Another of the first month’s challenges was to get the dogs physically healthy. “A lot of them were underweight,” says Ann. “We gave them all thorough health checks, and put them on the right type and amount of food and supplements to build up their weight and health. We also had to spay and neuter a lot of them.”

Fear factor Getting these particular dogs ready for adoption is taking longer, not because they’re failing to respond to training – far from it – but because fear Continued on page 89. animal wellness


Animal Wellness

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Janice DeFonda Can We Talk Fayetteville, NY USA Phone: (315) 329-0116 x1 Email: Website:




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ONTARIO   My Soul Impression Christina Codazzi Santa Maria, CA USA Phone: (805) 264-4611 Website:

LORI WRIGHT Animal Communicator Phone Consultations • Health & Behavioral End of Life • Pets in Spirit

707-489-2032 (Leave a message 24/7)



     Sue Becker     Kitchener, ON Canada Phone: (519) 896-2600 • 703-648-1866 Email:

DYANNA McCAIN, DVET HOM !"  #" "!" "


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Holistic Healthcare – Integrative Vets — Wellness Resource Guide




Coddingtown Veterinary Clinic





Holistic Veterinary Care Santa Rosa, California


Guelph Animal Hospital Guelph, ON Canada Phone: (519) 836-2782 Email: Website:

Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Massage, Therapeutic Nutrition, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Autumn Drouin, DVM, ND North-East Newmarket Veterinary Service Newmarket, ON Canada Phone: (905) 830-1030 Email: Website: Bach Remedies, Clinical Nutrition, Herbs, Homeopathy, Physical Therapies

Animal Wellness Centre Health is the Restoration of Balance & Harmony

Holistic & Homeopathic Medicine


Conventional Medicine Chiropractic




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Ballantrae Animal Hospital • 4942 Aurora Road, Stouffville

East York Animal Clinic Toronto, ON Canada Phone: (416) 757-3569 Email: Website:


Acupuncture, Bach Flower Remedies, Chiropractic Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Reiki, Therapeutic Nutrition


Chidiac Animal Hospital Waverely, ON Canada Phone: (705) 835-7005 Website:

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Essex Animal Hospital Janice Huntingford, DVM Essex, ON Canada Phone: (519) 776-7325 Email: Website:

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Boston Baked Bonz Needham, MA Phone: (781) 752-4040 Email: Website:








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holistic business inexpensively to

a targeted market! Our readers are looking for quality natural services and turn to Animal Wellness Magazine as the leading source for wellness information. If you provide a holistic service or product you are eligible to advertise in the WRG. For advertising information email: or call 866-764-1212

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warm & Fuzzy

A pooch’s presence by Jennifer Scalia

Bella enjoys taking the lead on woodland walks.


was walking a client’s dog the other day, a toy poodle who is always extremely grateful for her outings. As we strolled along, I noticed another small dog being walked across the street. His human companion was on her cell phone but had stopped to let him find a good potty spot on the grass. The little dog caught sight of us and gave a “I see another of my kind!” whine. He started pulling on his leash while his person continued to chat on the phone and tug him towards home. He kept stopping and crying out, gazing at us as my poodle friend stared back, waiting, whining, and hoping for contact. Sadly, the other dog’s desire to


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socialize remained unnoticed and he and his human quickly faded from view. I felt great empathy for both dogs being denied the opportunity to connect. But I also had to admit I’d often been in the same busy state while walking my own dog, forgetting there’s more to her life than just food, water and a good squat outside. It’s easy to rush through life wrapped up in our own thoughts, worries and activities, but my canine friends have taught me it doesn’t have to be that way. All I have to do is look at a dog and notice his presence – his ability

and willingness to stop, watch, listen, breathe, feel and enjoy – and I can start to do the same.

Revelation in the woods One weekend last year, during some very comfortable weather, I took a hike in a beautiful quiet wooded wonderland. Although I was surrounded by the serenity of nature, I had a three ring circus carrying on in my head. I really didn’t think I could pull myself out of my preoccupied mode, and kept drifting in and out of thoughts concerned with to-do lists and worldly affairs. But my dog Bella was leading the way, enjoying a good roll in the dirt and pausing to allow pleasant breezes to blow across her black furry face. Every now and then she would turn and look at me as if to say, “Hello! What are you doing back there?”

“What the heck have I got myself into?” I wondered, but the more I observed his dramatic behavior, the more I appreciated his great enthusiasm. He seemed “high” on being with potential new playmates while he investigated a different environment. He communicated his excitement by barking, running in circles, and lapping up our TLC. Later during his visit, we took a walk at the park across the street. When he tried jumping over a stream next to my dog, his back legs slipped right into the water but he still ran on like an Olympic champion. In many ways he was the exact opposite of Bella, yet they still played together, napped near each other, begged in unison for a spare bite of dinner, and shared the backyard. It was refreshing to see how they accepted each other and didn’t seem concerned about why things had changed. They were flexible and just adapted.

I started to really watch Bella as she made frequent entranced stops to sniff trees and rocks. Her face looked vibrant as she moved forward on what seemed to her a fulfilling adventure. I wondered what it must feel like to have her sense of smell and be surrounded by so much to sniff. I started to use my own senses more fully and began to really notice what nature had to offer. I discovered sounds, beauty and even smells that would never have been noticed by my chattering mind. During that hike, I realized that while a dog has the ability to fully enjoy being wherever she happens to be, a human usually takes all his or her worries with her, even into a paradise like this woods.

The joy of enthusiasm It isn’t always a relaxing Zen situation that makes me aware of an animal’s gift of presence. For example, I once had a very small but wildly vigorous ball of white fur arrive at my house for a pet-sitting weekend. He hiked his leg and marked a chair before his potty pads were down and then barked loudly that he was ready to rock and roll! My three cats looked shocked as he made a vibrating cartoonish sound while shaking his head so fast I thought he would propel himself to the ceiling.

Bella in the great outdoors.

I am grateful to the many four-leggeds in my life for showing me how pay attention and roll with the punches. Sure, they don’t have to pay bills or worry about a 401K plan, but they really know how to automatically appreciate the simple things each moment brings. They are my teachers as I watch them respond to the greeting of another animal, enjoy a hike in nature, chase a paper wad, gaze from a window, or sniff yet another tree trunk. My fur companions have helped me learn to quiet my mind, have a good laugh, or even lead the way to a new experience I might otherwise miss, by showing me what they already instinctively know – how to live in the present!

animal wellness



is for enzymes We’ve all heard of them, but what exactly are they, and why are they so important to health? Learning the ABCs of enzymes can help you understand what’s best for your dog or cat. by Shawn Messonnier, DVM


Photo: ©Franckito |

remember the professor of my undergraduate nutrition class teaching us about enzymes. He said enzymes are used in the body for just about everything, since they act as catalysts for so many chemical reactions that occur multiple times every minute in each and every cell. Since enzymes are so important, he told us that if we ever didn’t know the answer to a question on one of his tests, we should write the word “enzyme” and we would likely be correct! Many wonderful supplements can be used to enhance your dog or cat’s health. Common ones include omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, glucosamine, antioxidants – and enzymes. Of these, enzymes are the least understood, yet they possess several important health benefits for your companion animal.

What they are Enzymes are chemicals that the body uses for all cellular reactions. When we think of enzymes, we most commonly think of substances produced by the pancreas – such as lipases, amylases and proteases – that allow the body to digest and absorb nutrients from food. Each enzyme has a relatively specific activity: • lipases digest fat • amylases digest starches • proteases digest protein


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Enzymes contained in foods, specifically vegetables and fruits, also assist in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Examples of well known food-based enzymes include papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapples. Because cooking can deactivate the enzymes in foods, raw or gently cooked foods contain a greater amount of active enzymes.

Cancer – Enzymes can be used in animals with various cancers. They may be able to reduce the side effects seen with conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is also speculated that enzymes might be able to slow tumor growth and spread by removing cells associated with the tumor and/ or reducing the inflammation that contributes to the growth and spread of cancer.

Multiple uses

Allergies – Many animals with allergic skin disease will benefit when enzymes are added to their integrated treatment program. It’s believed that enzymes can remove the chemicals that cause inflammation, skin redness and itching.

As already mentioned, enzymes are critical in allowing people and animals to properly digest food and absorb nutrients. Animals (most commonly German shepherd dogs) that suffer from exocrine pancreatic insufficiency have a shortage or absence of digestive enzymes and are unable to properly digest food. Diarrhea and weight loss result from this inherited condition, and lifelong supplementation with enzymes (among other therapies) is needed. As with people, it is suspected that aging animals face a decreased production of digestive enzymes. Therefore, it may be prudent to supplement any older animal’s diet with enzymes. There are many other ways enzymes can benefit our animals.


Hairballs – I have found the use of digestive enzymes very helpful in cats that suffer from chronic hairball irritation. They can be especially helpful for those who prefer a natural remedy to this common problem, and don’t want to use petroleum-based laxatives.


Inflammatory bowel disease – Animals with IBD are unable to properly digest or absorb nutrition from food due to inflammation in the cells of the intestinal tract. Using digestive enzymes along with other natural therapies such as probiotics and glutamine can be very helpful. Long term use of these natural products often allows for a reduction or elimination in the chemotherapy drugs commonly used to treat this widespread condition.


Diarrhea – Even animals that do not have IBD but simply present with acute diarrhea can benefit from enzyme supplementation.

5 6

Arthritis – Arthritis is an inflammatory condition and many animals benefit when enzymes are added to their treatment protocol.


Post surgery – Enzymes appear to speed up postsurgical recovery time in humans.

Since enzymes are helpful in reducing inflammation, they can be used without harm for virtually any condition in which inflammation is an important part of the disease process. Even autoimmune diseases, conditions in which the body forms chemicals that attack its various parts, may benefit from the addition of enzymes. It is thought that enzymes might be able to modulate the immune system and prevent the formation of or aid in the renewal of immune complexes that can damage tissues in the body.

How to give them Choose a product that contains a variety of digestive enzymes. As a rule, the product should contain some form of amylase, lipase, and protease enzymes. Many products also contain cellulose. This enzyme, which digests the cellulose skeletal structure of plant materials, is not made by dogs and cats, so having it in the enzyme product you buy can increase digestion of fruits and vegetables and other plant materials. Enzymes generally come in either a powdered or tablet/ animal wellness


capsule form. The powders are easily mixed in with food, while tablets or capsules are given orally. When treating animals with gastrointestinal problems (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, acute diarrhea, IBD, colitis, etc.), enzymes are most useful when given with a meal. When treating animals with other conditions, a better response is usually seen if the enzymes are administered on an empty stomach or with only a tiny amount of food; otherwise, the enzymes will be used for digesting food rather than treating the specific disease for which they are administered.

As a rule, enzymes are very safe and usually devoid of side effects. Humans are recommended not to use them without a doctor’s advice if they’re taking acarbose (Precose) or miglitol (Glyset). It is also recommended that people taking warfarin (Coumadin) not use digestive enzymes containing papain without a doctor’s supervision. These drugs are rarely if ever used in animals, however, so it is unlikely that a dog or cat taking enzymes would have an interaction with any other supplements or drugs. Still, to be safe, it’s always a good idea to get your veterinarian to help you choose the best product for your animal, and ensure it is given safely. Enzymes are inexpensive, easy to administer, and useful for a variety of medical problems. They can also be used to maintain your companion’s wellness, ensure normal gastrointestinal health, and reduce food wastage and fecal output. It really makes good sense to add these multi-faceted nutrients to your dog or cat’s supplement regimen.

Resources Nzymes, Only Natural Pet Store, Prozyme, 66

animal wellness

animal wellness


the scoop Strike out homelessness You and your canine companion are invited to an afternoon of baseball while raising funds for Maine’s homeless animals. The Planet Dog Foundation and the Portland Sea Dogs are hosting Bark in the Park on June 7 at Hadlock Field in Portland. Along with the baseball game, the event also features adoptable dogs, a wading pool and canine watering station, concessions and games for dogs and their families. Tickets are available through the Planet Dog Company Store at 207-346-8606.

Holistic education More and more people are interested in holistic care for their animals, but many aren’t sure where to start. Thanks to animal herbalist and author Greg Tilford, and The Honest Kitchen’s founder Lucy Postins, a new organization dedicated to educating people on how to care for their animals holistically has been formed. It’s called the Alliance for Natural Animal Health (ANAH) and its goal is to teach people about alternative healthcare approaches for dogs and cats. The group includes renowned professionals such as holistic veterinarian Dr. Martin Goldstein.

Health times two Probiotics and Omega-3 essential fatty acids are both vital for your dog or cat’s well being. Now they’re available in a single supplement. Nutri-Vet’s new Probiotics Plus Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is a unique blend of ingredients formulated to help support healthy gastrointestinal function. Omega 3s from the salmon oil help maintain immune health, while probiotics provide live, naturally occurring microorganisms to balance normal intestinal flora. The product also contains digestive enzymes to increase nutrient assimilation.


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Covering all bases In case of emergency, it’s smart to have a sticker on your door to let people know there are animals in the house who need help. But what if you get in a car accident? To cover this eventuality, Pet Sitters International has created the Pets At Home Vehicle Window Cling. Made from highly visible bright red vinyl, the cling adheres to any clean glass surface on your car, and alerts emergency personnel that you have animals at home in need of care. It also provides the name and telephone number of an emergency contact.

Cameras out!

Smart gifting Animals given as gifts often end up back at the shelter, so it’s never wise to adopt a dog or cat for anyone, whatever the occasion. What you can do is give your loved one the option of adopting her own companion with a Pet Promise Certificate from The certificate covers all the adoption costs, but leaves the actual selection of the animal to the recipient.’s large online database of adoptable dogs and cats can help people find just the right companion for them.

Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company is now accepting photographs for the 2010 edition of its annual nationwide animal calendar. All entries must include your name, the photographer’s name, the names of all animals in the photo, and your address and phone number. The deadline for submissions is August 31. Winners receive a case of canned dog or cat food and a 16.5 lb bag of dry food – all products are made in the USA. Only high-resolution digital images (minimum 300dpi) can be accepted – send them as email attachments to contest@evangersdogfood. com. One tip – closeups are best!

Paws up! Last fall, Janine Franceschi and her Irish setter, Beau, the owners of PAW (Pet-friendly Accommodations Worldwide, set off on a 13,000 mile

A helping hand Times are tough for everyone right now, but animal shelters and rescues are really feeling the pinch as funding and donations drop. Wellness Natural Pet Food ( has helped make life brighter for a lot of needy dogs by donating 120 tons of food to the following shelters and rescues: •Blue Lion Animal Rescue, Yoder, CO •DAWGS N Texas, Dalhart, TX •West Valley Animal Shelter, West Valley, UT •Homeward Bound Shelter, Mechanicsburg, PA •Animal Rescue Food Bank Inc., Wellsville, PA •Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Kanab, UT •National Greyhound Adoption Program, Philadelphia, PA

Janine and Beau.

journey across the country to source, visit and review luxury animal-friendly hotels, resorts and inns. Here’s a partial list of their “Top Dog” accommodations in various categories: •“Top Dog” Luxury Pet-friendly Resort: Calistoga Ranch, Calistoga, CA •“Top Dog” Luxury Pet-friendly Hotel Chains: Westin Hotels and Kimpton Hotels •“Top Dog” Luxury Pet-friendly Hotel: Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica, CA •“Top Dog” Luxury Pet-friendly Hotel Best Pet Welcome Amenity: Woodlands Resort & Inn, Summerville, SC animal wellness


Food for the road

Traveling with your dog doesn’t have to mean leaving home prepared goodness behind. If you and Rover are going on a trip this summer, take these wholesome food and treat ideas with you. by Audi Donamor

Photo: Suzy Miller


ack in the early 1980s, a road trip for me meant anything from taking a busload of students to winter camp in Algonquin Park to hiking the 75km West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. In more recent years, those outings have been replaced by trips like the wonderful journey my husband and I took across Canada from Ontario to B.C. in the spring of 2003, with two of our three golden retrievers. During all that time, one thing has never changed. Whether we’re on the road or the trail, one of our most important rules has always been to eat simply and eat well. One food that always makes the trek with us is granola or trail mix. Its simplicity, great taste and nutritional punch make


animal wellness

it an ideal travel snack, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to ingredients. Healthy, convenient nutrition is also important for your dog. There are lots of good quality packaged foods and treats you can take on your travels, but those who prepare their dogs’ food from scratch might find themselves wondering how they can bring that home cooking along with them. The following recipes are easy to make and will help ensure your canine companion has energy to spare during your whole trip, whether you’re going across the country or to a local campground.

“Keep it simple” supper

Doggone great granola

This recipe is based on National Research Council guidelines and contains 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 30% fat. It makes enough food for one day for a 50-pound dog It’s very versatile, and ideal if you’re traveling in an RV or other vehicle with a kitchenette, and/or can shop along the way for fresh ingredients.

This and the following two treat recipes can be made at home before you leave, and packed for travel.


/4 cup hemp seed butter or almond butter /4 cup apple butter, made with whole apples and apple juice 1 /3 cup local honey 4 cups granola with no added sugar or salt (an example of a simple granola is one that contains only rolled oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and nothing else) 2 tablespoons almond meal 3 tablespoons fruit oil (e.g. blueberry, cranberry or pumpkin) or vegetable oil 1 /4 cup carob powder 1 /2 cup unsweetened dehydrated shredded coconut 1 /4 cup wild dried blueberries 1 /4 cup unsweetened unsulphured dried cranberries 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 1

Ingredients Choose a protein: •4 cooked eggs •1 ½ cups of fish (e.g. canned wild salmon or tuna) •1 ½ cups cooked ground meat (e.g. chicken, turkey, beef or bison) Choose a carbohydrate: •3 cups cooked whole brown rice •3 cups cooked whole white rice •3 cups cooked pearl barley •3 cups cooked sweet potato (canned sweet potato makes meal prep even simpler) •4 ½ cups cooked oatmeal •½ cup rice flakes

Instructions Try to use organic products whenever possible. Heat the hemp and apple butters and the honey in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Quickly add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Turn out mixture into a greased 9”x13” Pyrex dish, flatten with a spatula, and cut into squares using a sharp knife. Cool completely – to speed the process put the dish in the fridge. Then wrap squares in waxed paper; for freezing, wrap once more in tinfoil or Saran wrap. Granola bars are perfect for the road and the trail.

Instructions When preparing whole grains, use 1 cup of grain and 3 cups of filtered water. When preparing rice flakes, cook in ¾ cup of filtered water for 3 minutes. Once you’ve chosen and cooked a carbohydrate, add your choice of protein, ¼ to ½ cup puréed fruits or vegetables, the brighter the better, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

As an alternative, you can make crunchy granola for you and your dog. Simply line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, turn out your granola mixture on the cookie sheet and bake in a pre-heated 200ºF oven for an hour. animal wellness


Crossing the border?

If your travels will take you over the U.S.–Canada border, you need to be aware of which foods you can safely take, and which ones might cause problems.

What can I bring into Canada?

Photo: ©Picsfive |

Every traveler entering Canada must declare all food, plants, animals and related products because they could affect Canada’s animals, plants and natural habitats. Canada has complex requirements, restrictions and limits for the importation of meat, eggs, dairy products, honey, fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods. Items that do not pose a risk are returned to travelers and can be brought into the country. Rules and restrictions can change from day to day, so it’s a good idea to check Canada’s Be Aware and Declare website at

What can I bring into the U.S.? Many fruits and vegetables are prohibited from entering the United States. Every fruit and vegetable must be declared to a Customs Border Patrol officer and presented for inspection. If you can prove the produce has been grown in Canada, you may be okay, but why not leave the stress behind and make your purchases once you’ve crossed the border? Canned goods are generally admissible when imported for personal use. Dairy items such as milk, yogurt and butter may be admissible, but this is subject to change if there’s a disease outbreak. This applies to eggs as well. Take your Parmesan and cheddar, but leave behind any soft curd cheeses, like feta. Fish is fine, but leave the chicken. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has the final say about what may be admitted into the United States. For more information, check out their website at usda. gov/wps/portal/usdahome. You can also visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at

“Bottom line” oatmeal treats These treats are calming to the gastrointestinal system and contain ingredients that can help alleviate motion sickness.

Ingredients 4 cups whole oat flour 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon carob powder 3 cups unsweetened applesauce 1 teaspoon of ginger (if your dog experiences motion sickness; a 500mg capsule of ginger is perfect, or try ginger snaps or crystallized ginger)

Instructions Try to use organic products whenever possible. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the applesauce, mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, lightly sprinkle with flour, then roll out the dough to ¼” thickness. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, score the dough to make treats of any size and shape you want. Place in the oven. Turn on the oven to 350ºF. Once the oven is up to temperature, turn it down to 175ºF and leave the treats to slowly bake for two hours, or until they are bone hard. Remove from the oven and cool completely before storing in a cookie jar or Ziploc bag.

Take along some canned pumpkin. Its dietary fiber absorbs water, so it’s a great remedy for diarrhea. Continued on page 74.


animal wellness

animal wellness


Gourmet granola bars This recipe is intended for human travelers, but you can also share it with your dog.

Ingredients 4 cups granola, with no added sugar or salt (e.g., one that contains only rolled oats, sunflower seeds, sesame sees, and nothing else) 1 /2 cup sugar 1 /3 cup blueberry honey or other local honey 2 tablespoons butter (add a bit more and it will make mixing easier and step up the taste quotient; for a change, try organic goat milk butter) 2 tablespoons almond meal 1 /4 cup unsweetened and unsulphured dried cranberries 1 /4 cup wild unsweetened dried blueberries 1 /2 cup unsweetened dehydrated shredded coconut 1 /2 cup carob chips (do not use chocolate if you intend to share these bars with your dog!)


animal wellness

Instructions Try to use organic ingredients whenever possible. Heat the sugar, honey and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Quickly add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Turn out mixture into a greased 9”x13” Pyrex dish, flatten with a spatula, and cut into squares using a sharp knife. Cool completely – put in the fridge to speed the process. Then wrap squares in waxed paper; for freezing, wrap once more in tinfoil or Saran wrap.

Back to basics by Charlotte Walker


ost health problems can be best addressed through the basics: improved nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, and a thoughtful approach to diagnosis and treatment.” These wise words come from Matt Israel, who along with his mother, Jane Israel, created a unique canine herbal health supplement called Dog-Wa Matt and Jane’s interest in holistic health goes back a long way. “My mom had a history of health problems she was unable to solve using only traditional Western medicine,” says Matt. “She embarked on her journey to a healthy, alternative lifestyle many years ago. Others in my family are health care professionals.” Matt is also a lifelong dog lover with a keen interest in the health of his four-footed companions. “I had always observed my dogs eating grass and experiencing common digestive problems. When I rescued Inigo, who is now our company mascot, he suffered some seizures and had other issues. That’s when I got really serious about dog nutrition and wellness.” Knowing dogs need fresh leafy greens for proper digestion and health, Matt searched for a product that would give his dogs all those benefits. “I knew there was something missing from their diet that drove them to look for it in plants.” Unable to find what he was looking for, he created his own product in 2005. “It’s a pretty typical entrepreneurial story, I guess. You go looking for something, can’t find it, and decide to make it yourself!” Dog-Wa gives dogs the nutritional and digestive benefits of fresh leafy greens. It addresses problems like grass-eating and vomiting as well as gas, bloating and bad breath. Because it’s a liquid, dogs can digest and absorb its nutrients more efficiently. Dog-Wa is made from cold pressed

Matt and Jane have a long-time interest in holistic health.

pesticide-free herbs. “It’s good for many issues,” says Matt. “We talk to people who have dogs with irritable bowel syndrome, chronic stomach trouble, all that kind of thing.” Dog-Wa can also be used for general health maintenance. The product is endorsed by veterinarian Dr. Jane Leon, who independently tested it and was so impressed she agreed to help Matt and Jane promote it and educate consumers on alternative health. “We wanted a forum for Dr. Leon to educate our customers so we came up with a monthly column on our website. We feel we have a responsibility to educate our customers.” Matt and Jane have ideas for additional products, but plan to stick to fresh herbs as their specialty. “We’re also launching a blog to encourage activism. I think a lot could be done to get dog lovers involved in the whole system of food production and regulation, and to let the government know this is an area important to many of us. “It’s a lot of work,” Matt smiles, “but when you hear from people saying your product has solved a problem that caused their animals to suffer, you know you’re on the right track.” animal wellness


communication Taking AIM at wellness The All-Inclusive Method brings an extra dimension of healing to animal communication. by Sue Becker


t two years of age, Harley the pug started having seizures that couldn’t be diagnosed. When Allan and Donna enrolled him in the AIM Energetic Balancing Program, his seizures stopped. Five years later, Harley has only experienced seizures when off the AIM Program. What is all this about? As an animal communicator, I frequently check in with animals experiencing behavioral, emotional and physical problems. In fact more than half my work falls into this category. I see firsthand how these animals’ situations and discomfort impact not only their own well being but that of their human caregivers. People often feel helpless and conflicted about how to best assist their animal friends. So I’m always alert to new ways of helping animals be the best they can be.

AIM helped Harley overcome his seizures.

intuitively understood that “dis-ease” exists first as an imbalance in our energy field or consciousness. Everything is energy and the entire universe, including ourselves and our animal friends, consists of it. In fact, animal communication is a sharing of this energy!

All-Inclusive Method

Everything is energy

AIM founder Stephen Lewis has brought this concept into the new millennium. He believes healing is all about removing energetic imbalances from our consciousness, because imbalances impede the flow and expression of life force and therefore our natural capacity to heal. A trained naturopath, homeopath, acupuncturist, biofeedback practitioner and chiropractor, Stephen practiced in California for over 25 years, often with a three-yearlong waiting list. He retired from active practice to concentrate solely on research and development of energetic balancing, and founded the AIM Program in 1999. The acronym AIM stands for All-Inclusive Method.

Wellness means balance on all levels of our being, including spiritual, emotional and physical. Pioneers in past centuries like Samuel Hahnemann (founder of homeopathy) and Dr. Edward Bach (creator of Bach Flower Remedies)

Along with colleagues Roberta Hladek and Evan Slawson, Stephen established the Energetic Matrix Church of Consciousness (EMC²) under which to operate the AIM

The AIM Program first caught my attention because people I respect endorse it, including renowned author and motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer, Reverend Dr. Michael Beckwith, (from The Secret and founder of the Agape Center) and Richard Gerber, MD, author of Vibrational Medicine for the 21st Century.


animal wellness

Program; he selected this type of organization because the work is both spiritual and energetic in nature.

How does it work? AIM technology features a database with over 500,000 energetic frequencies that can assist us in removing imbalances from our energy fields. These frequencies are delivered by banks of computers to people and animals on an ongoing basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – holographically via their photographs. The photograph acts as a conduit or surrogate connecting these balancing energies to the individual. As incredible as this may seem, your animal’s energetic imbalances can actually be identified and removed through his photograph! Animals can and do heal themselves just like humans. Each individual’s consciousness knows what inherited and acquired imbalances s/he has, and will automatically select the specific balancing frequencies needed in order to self heal. This process can take a few hours to several months depending on the imbalances and the individual. Thousands of frequencies similar to disease frequencies in both humans and animals have been identified by AIM, and new ones are added to the system almost daily. These frequencies are used to identify an individual’s imbalances. We can then choose specific balancing frequencies that will remove the imbalances from our energy fields. However, it is important to remember that AIM is a system of self healing that works strictly on an energy level. It cannot and does not claim or intend to treat or cure any medical condition.

Animals on AIM Although AIM was developed for humans, animals also participate. Dogs, cats, horses, rats, birds, donkeys, ferrets, snakes, fish, a chinchilla and even a white tree frog have all been on the program! There are currently over 50,000 participants, including hundreds if not thousands of animals. The people at EMC² have noticed that animals seem to self heal “at a much faster pace” than humans. Some have demonstrated significant improvements even within a few hours or days. Co-founder Roberta Hladek claims that animals on the AIM program seem happier and act much younger than their age. And they appear “far more healthy... and more connected”.

•Natalie’s 12 year-old Dalmatian, Kit, has been on AIM for over two years. She suffers from a condition that causes her to gain weight and also developed arthritis in her hips. After taking part in AIM, Natalie soon noticed Kit gradually shedding her extra pounds. She is now “running and jumping again like a puppy” and has regained a more youthful appearance.


•Leslie’s golden retriever Molly was severely abused as a puppy and was rescued at the age of one. Although Leslie tried her best to help Molly heal emotionally over the next eight years, she remained extremely timid. After one year on AIM, Molly is “the boss of the house” and has learned to play and enjoy life again. •Roberta’s cat Maybe has also benefited. “When she did not feel well she would sit at Steve’s desk and meow until we noticed her,” she explains. “He would check her energetically and when he found what she was needing, she would stop and be so still she looked like a stuffed animal for a minute. Then she’d go about her way...she knew that what he did made her feel better.” •My own young black kitty Flash has been on AIM for about four months. When I check in with her telepathically, she tells me she is feeling emotionally stronger and more grounded. Always a joyous being, she is less timid and definitely has become more affectionate! I look forward to her continuing journey.


Like animal communication, AIM can be done over long distances. And like animal communication, it’s a wonderful way to energetically help and heal our four-footed friends.

For more information, visit or listen to The Effect of AIM on Animals: The Joy of Healthy, Happy Pets, a podcast with Roberta Hladek at

animal wellness


On trust What would happen to your dog or cat if you passed away or were incapacitated by illness or injury? Pet trusts and legacies help ensure she’ll be cared for if the worst happens. by Barbara Nefer


early 70% of households have at least one animal, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. This statistic proves just how much we love dogs, cats and other critters. But it also means a high percentage of the 2.4 million Americans who die each year are animal guardians. In other words, well over a million companion animals potentially lose their caretakers annually. If proper arrangements haven’t been made, these animals can wind up being neglected, abandoned or euthanized. If you unexpectedly became part of this statistic, or were suddenly faced with a disabling illness or injury, who would care for your dog or cat? Are you sure your wishes would be carried out?

Thinking ahead It’s never pleasant to think about death or catastrophic health problems, but the only way to ensure your companion animal’s future is to make arrangements before tragedy strikes. Cats and dogs can live up to 20 years or more. Depending on your own age, your companion could outlive you. Even if you’re young, you could still fall victim to an accident or illness.


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“You don’t want to let the state determine your animal’s fate,” says Rachel Hirschfeld, an estate planning attorney who limits her practice to clients with animals. “Many people think that by making arrangements in their will for a pet trust, they are taking care of their animals. Unfortunately, initiating the trust through a will can be a death warrant for the animals.” It takes time for a will to be probated and its provisions carried out. In the meantime, the cat or dog is at the mercy of whoever steps in to take care of the property – and animals are property under the law. If no one assumes the task and family or friends don’t know who to call, the animal could be given away, sent to a shelter, or even euthanized before probate begins. In the U.S., animals can be fully protected in one of two ways: a Pet Protection Agreement or a Freestanding Traditional Pet Trust. While there are other options, Rachel stresses that one of these two will cover most situations in any state. Both go into effect immediately on your death or disability and ensure that your companion will receive proper care.

1. Pet Protection Agreement This is a form containing all the relevant options for an animal’s care. It’s a simple, legally binding document that covers everything from naming a guardian to the animal’s day-to-day routine to what funding will be provided, and it’s valid in all 50 states. “You can make it as detailed as you want, but I recommend leaving some latitude,” says Rachel. “The tainted pet food case is a good example. You might specify your dog is only to be fed his favorite brand, but what if there’s a problem with that food? The animal’s caretaker should be able to make decisions.” The Pet Protection Agreement kicks in immediately you are unable to care for your animal because of death, injury or illness. There is no waiting period or court involvement.

2. Freestanding Traditional Pet Trust For many people, a Pet Protection Agreement will offer the necessary level of protection without requiring legal services. If you believe someone might contest your will, however, you should speak to an estate planning attorney about setting up a Freestanding Traditional Pet Trust. The Leona Helmsley case is a good example of why a Freestanding Traditional Pet Trust can be beneficial. Ms. Helmsley made the news after her death in 2007, when it was revealed that her will designated $12 million to care for her beloved dog, Trouble. The will was contested, and the courts later reduced the amount to $2 million. With a Freestanding

Traditional Pet Trust, her wishes would likely have been carried out as she desired. Because the trust would have been pre-existing and separate from her will, the courts would not have had easy access to make alterations.

In summary •If you have a clear idea of who you would like to designate as your animal's guardian and the type of care you'd like them to provide, and if no one is likely to contest your plans, a Pet Protection Agreement may suffice. •If you believe there could be some conflict, or you'd like to make sure your animals stay with you if you're moved into long term care, you will need a Freestanding Traditional Pet Trust. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia also have state statutes covering statutory pet trusts initiated by a statement in the will. In these states, Rachel explains, when an animal and funds for his care are left to a specific person, the money and animal must stay together. "Otherwise, if you leave your dog and money to Jane, she can take the money and spend it on a shopping spree."

Perpetual care You can spell out the care you want for your animal when you’re no longer able to provide it, but what if you don’t have any family members or friends who are able to take him in? According to Peggy Hoyt, estate planning attorney and author of All My Children Wear Fur Coats – How to Leave

animal wellness


a Legacy for Your Pet, a perpetual care program can provide care or placement when you don’t have other options. Perpetual care programs look after animals at their own facility or place them in new homes. How can you tell if you’re choosing the right one? Peggy advises to look for the following:

In Canada Things work differently north of the border, according to Audi Donamor, founder of the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund through the University of Guelph’s Pet Trust. “Legally, you cannot set up a trust fund for your animal, because in Canada it could not be enforced,” she says. “Legally, you also cannot name an animal as a beneficiary of a ‘direct gift’ in a Canadian will. This is because, by legal definition, an animal is considered ‘property’ and therefore cannot be a property owner. You can request that your animal be delivered to your estate trustee upon your demise. The trustee’s role is to find a good home for your animal and to provide a legacy to the person to care for him.” Alternatively, says Audi, Toronto lawyer Mary MacGregor lists five steps to ensure your animal is well cared for after your demise:


Two responsible friends or relatives should be found as temporary caregivers. They should have keys, feeding and care instructions, the name and telephone number of the veterinarian, and information about long term care provisions for the animal.


Neighbors, friends and relatives should know how many animals there are, and the names of the temporary caregivers.


The animal guardian should carry a wallet card that lists the names and numbers of emergency animal caregivers.


As an alert to emergency response teams, notices should be placed on the doors and windows of a home, indicating the type and number of animals inside.


Emergency contact names and numbers should be listed on the inside of the front and back doors.

•If the program is providing care at its own facility, is there a succession plan to protect the animals if it shuts down? •Is the program well funded? •If the program places your animal in a private home, will they take him back if the new caretaker can no longer keep him? While many perpetual care programs are privately run, they are also offered by an increasing number of university veterinary schools. Most schools place the animals into pre-screened homes, although some maintain living facilities right at the university. To enroll your animal in a perpetual care program, you may be required to sign a contract and pay a deposit in order to reserve a space. The total fee may be locked in at signing, or it may be variable. "The best way to ensure funding for perpetual care without cramping your retirement lifestyle is through a life insurance policy," advises Peggy.

Get the right attorney When consulting an estate planning attorney to make arrangements for your animal, choose someone with experience. Some attorneys limit their practice to working exclusively with people with animals; this means they have the specialized knowledge needed to ensure your animal is well protected without leaving any loopholes. For example, Rachel warns against referring to “incapacitation” in your documents. “That word is open to interpretation, so it can give the courts an opening to make changes,” she says. “And what does it really mean? It could refer to mental problems, but maybe Photo: ©Valuavitaly |


animal wellness

you’re just temporarily unable to care for your animal because you broke your leg. It’s better to simply say that the provisions kick in when you’re not able to take care of your animal, or to spell out the specific circumstances very specifically.” Rachel adds that a pet trust needs to be independent of other trusts. “While it has similar attributes, it has to be written specifically for the care of an animal. There are many nuances and legal parameters involved in a pet trust as opposed to other types, and it may not be valid if you try to use another kind.”



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from coast to coast!

Creating a Fresh Whole Foods Diet for Your Dog’s Optimum Health! Special Cancer Formulation available • A percentage of the proceeds from all Canine Life products is donated to The Smiling Blue Skies ® Cancer Fund.

An estate planning attorney who specializes in protecting animals will be aware of these potential pitfalls and any others that might be related to your unique situation. Someone who only has general experience might not know the nuances that help ensure full protection for your animal. Most of us see our companion animals as members of the family. As such, they deserve protection in the case of our unexpected illness or death. With a properly prepared plan in place, their future – and your peace of mind – are assured.

Find more information about Pet Protection Agreements and Freestanding Traditional Pet Trusts at and These sites also contain additional helpful information for ensuring your dog or cat’s future care and well being. animal wellness



Peyton visits with the author’s mother after his amputation.

Life or limb by Timothy Whiston


t’s a difficult decision for any loving dog parent. Your precious companion has bone cancer and the vet makes it clear that in order for him to stay alive longer, the affected leg must be removed. Obviously you’re willing to do anything to prolong your dog’s life. The fact that the operation will cost at least $400 doesn’t even register as a factor. But for many people in this difficult situation, one question does come up: “What about his quality of life?” Will your dog be able to have a functional, happy life after the procedure? Will there be any serious emotional trauma when your baby awakes to find one of his legs missing?

To amputate…or not? My mother and I went through this very difficult dilemma


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six months ago when Peyton, her Lab/great Dane mix, was diagnosed with bone cancer. We were both shocked when the vet made the grim announcement that in order for Peyton to keep living beyond another week or two, his left front leg would need to be removed. I had rescued Peyton from the pound just a few years before. The previous owner had dropped him off at the shelter after deciding he could no longer handle a big dog who chewed things up when frightened by thunderstorms. This man is actually a friend of mine (despite our extreme difference of opinion on these matters). So I knew firsthand that Peyton had spent the first few years of his life in a fraternity house with a group of rowdy college boys. This loving though sometimes assertive animal had lived an adventurous life up to this point. It was hard to

accept that he now had a terminal illness that would cost him his life, and sooner rather than later if we refused to remove one of his legs. How would a big animal – easily over 100 pounds – deal with the loss of a front leg? I shuddered to think of him struggling to move about or even restricted to his doggie bed for the last months of his life. Would it be selfish of us to perform the surgery just so we could have him around awhile longer? Fortunately our veterinarian had a personal insight to share with us. He owned a yellow Lab who had been injured by a car several years before, and his dog still led a very active life with only three legs. It was encouraging news. Still, giving the go ahead to take away one of Peyton’s legs was no easy task. In the end we decided that life is a precious gift, and if we could buy our loyal friend even a few more months by amputating his leg, this would be the most compassionate path to take. We still had no idea how well he would adapt to the drastic change but ordered the surgery and held our breath.

He acted as if

he didn’t even notice the leg was gone. The right choice Looking back, I’m still amazed by how well Peyton handled what I would have regarded as a life-changing event. To be honest, he acted as if he didn’t even notice the leg was gone! He moved a little more slowly

for the first couple of days until he found his new rhythm. But at no time did he whine or appear confused in any way by the absence of his left front leg. Once he got the hang of the new “configuration”, he was quickly back in the groove of running, playing, and rolling around in the pine needles of my mother’s back yard. Without a doubt we made the right choice. Peyton was able to enjoy the final phase of his life without the pain of his decaying leg, and his life was extended by several months due to the surgery. Eventually, when the cancer moved into his lungs, he slowed down considerably. And we finally had to say goodbye to our friend. But his last days were peaceful, and he left us without a struggle.

a certain amount of strength and fortitude to make this kind of choice. But we owe our loyal friends nothing less for the unconditional love and companionship they give us.

His last

days were

peaceful, and he left us without a struggle.

My mother and I still miss Peyton, but we feel his passing would have been more difficult if we hadn’t made the decision we did. The amputation took away his pain, extended his life a little longer, and helped him enjoy his remaining days in comfort and contentment. And that was a gift for all of us.

I can’t say for certain that amputation is the right choice in every case. But I share this story in the hopes of reassuring others who are faced with the difficult decision of removing a limb. It might also help to remember that many humans must submit to an amputation procedure in order to survive an accident or illness. In such an instance, would any one of us hesitate to make the sacrifice if it meant we could remain with our families and continue to enjoy the blessings of life? I believe that in the majority of instances, if our animal friends could talk, they would enthusiastically choose an amputation procedure to prolong their lives. Since they are not able to communicate verbally, however, this great responsibility will remain in the hands of human companions like you and I. It takes animal wellness


Chain of love

From start to finish, rescuing and re-homing dogs in a big city like L.A. involves a lot of networking and co-operation. Follow Elfie on her journey from death row to her new home. by Jessica Gale


lfie is one of approximately 72,000 dogs impounded in shelters every year. And that’s just in Los Angeles city and county. The reasons for impound differ, and are very rarely the fault of the dogs. Some are found running on the streets, while others are turned in by their families. Moving or loss of home are common reasons for abandonment, and thanks to the foreclosure crisis that has hit homeowners across the nation, more dogs than ever are in need. Successfully rescuing and re-homing dogs involves an intricate chain of relationships, from shelter staff, shelter scouts and volunteers, to independent networkers who raise donations for the dogs, all the way to the rescue groups that save the dogs and make a lifetime commitment to them come rain or shine. Elfie’s story is a perfect example of how the system works in the city of L.A. This three-year-old American Staffordshire terrier is one of the lucky ones. She was rescued from Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) at her eleventh hour.

Important links

A happy Elfie hams it up for the camera.


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Elfie’s journey to a happy new life began with shelter scouts like long time LAAS scout Pnina Gersten. One of the most important links in the chain of rescue relationships, Pnina and others like her scout LAAS shelters for dogs who are sick, injured, or at high risk of euthanasia. The shelter staff determines the health and status of the impounded dogs and lets Pnina know which ones are most likely to be euthanized due to illness, injury, behavior issues, or sadly, a simple lack of kennel space.

Pnina then takes multiple photos of the dogs inside and outside their kennels in order to promote them. She also works with a group of generous donors, who make a second chance possible for dogs requiring medical treatment or that have other special needs.

Elfie is peacefully unaware of the amazing group effort that saved her from death and found her a home with lots of love.

Pnina uses the photos, descriptions, and donation offers to compile email pleas. The pleas are sent out to a vast network of rescuers in the hopes each dog will be saved. She spends approximately 30 hours a week visiting, photographing, and compiling pleas for dogs like Elfie on L.A. city’s death row.

Elfie demonstrates that she is really a lap dog!

Networking is crucial Elfie’s photos and information were posted on animal networking message board while she was impounded at an LAAS shelter. Created by animal lover Anna Peries, allows shelter volunteers and scouts like Pnina to post pictures and descriptions of animals at area shelters. It’s a wellrespected online community of animal lovers and rescuers who work together to rescue animals at risk of being euthanized. It effectively connects shelter staff, scouts and volunteers, networkers, rescue groups, and animal loving members of the public with the many thousands of dogs and cats in L.A. shelters. The message board provides information regarding an animal’s health, behavior, and shelter status: •The most urgent animals are listed in red by their scheduled euthanasia date, at the top of the board index.

•Shelter animals in desperate need of rescue are also posted in the Dogs Available and Cats Available forums. •Animals who have already been adopted are listed in the Adopted forum.

•Those who have been rescued safe and sound from the shelter – but are still in need of a permanent home – are listed in the Rescued, but Need Adoption forum.

Rescue groups play a key role Thank to her message board posting, Elfie was rescued by LEASH, an L.A.-based animal rescue group. In many cases, when a rescue group pulls an animal from a shelter, they must deal with costly medical expenses due to previous neglect. This was the case when LEASH rescued Elfie. She was found to have an ear infection so chronic she needed a total ear canal ablation, which involved the removal of her entire ear canal (vertical and horizontal), eardrum, and part of her middle ear. Following her surgery, LEASH nursed Elfie through the long recovery period, and was rewarded with some startling news. According to the veterinarians who treated her, Elfie is somewhat of a medical phenomenon. Miraculously, even after undergoing the total ear canal ablation, she has maintained partial hearing! Once Elfie was recovered, it was time to find her a forever home. She is now a healthy, happy dog, living with her new Marine family at Camp Pendleton, where she enjoys rolling in the grass, giving wet kisses, and hanging out with her new family. Elfie is peacefully unaware of the amazing group effort that saved her from death and found her a home with lots of love.

Adopting from a rescue organization provides you with detailed information about a dog’s health, temperament, and compatibility with children and other animals. It also frees up space within the organization, allowing them to save another life from a shelter. animal wellness


Clear as crystal They’re beautiful, alluring and have healing powers. Find out how crystals and gems can enhance your dog or cat’s well being. by Lynn McKenzie

Photo: ©Starblue |


rystals and gemstones are gifts from the earth that can promote incredible healing in both humans and animals. You may be asking yourself, “How could a simple lump of rock possibly be of use in healing my cat or dog?” I wondered the same thing myself before learning about and exploring the marvel of crystal healing through study and workshops over a decade ago. Before then, I truly thought this form of healing was a far stretch from reality. I have since had firsthand experience that proves otherwise. Crystals are formed naturally in the earth and continue to grow and transform there until harvested. Very simply put, they are formed when certain conditions are present deep within the earth’s core. One such condition occurs when molten lava cools; the speed at which it cools plays a large part in determining the size and type of crystals that will form there. Historically, crystals have been used in healing as far back as 25,000 BC. They were used by a wide variety of cultures, from the ancient Egyptians and Tibetans to Native Americans and Australian Aborigines. In the last quarter century, there has been a resurging interest in crystal healing. I think of it as a “return to our roots”.


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How it works “The crystal is a neutral object whose inner structure exhibits a state of perfection and balance,” says crystal researcher Marcel Vogel, a long time scientist with IBM. In fact a crystal is the most stable and unified structure in the world. Vogel goes on to describe how crystals work like a laser to “radiate energy in a coherent, highly concentrated form”, and how “this energy may be transmitted into objects or people at will”. He adds that experienced crystal healers can “release disease patterns that have been created by negative thought-forms”. To understand exactly how crystal healing works on animals, it is important to understand that all living beings are made up of energy and possess electromagnetic fields. Each crystal, gemstone and mineral resonates at a specific Rose quartz vibrational frequency and amplitude that in turn attracts the energies of particular qualities and traits to an animal. Those energies mix with the animal’s own energy field. For example, if a particular dog or cat has suffered abuse, I would choose a crystal like rose quartz that energetically resonates with the qualities

of healing, love, comfort, relaxation and trust. The animal most likely will not possess these traits right now, but since they are the desired traits for her, our goal with the crystal is to have her energy field move into resonance with, or in the direction of, those traits. This is a non-invasive form of healing and one that our animal companions resonate well with since they seem to be closer to nature than we are.

What’s your intention? Crystals can be used to direct, amplify, absorb, reflect, clear, transform, transmute, balance and focus energies. This means it is always advisable to have a clear intention for the results of your crystal healing work. Since crystal can also act as a storage battery for information and energy, it is also advisable to cleanse and recharge them on a regular basis. There are a variety of ways to do this, the most common being to place them in sunlight for a number of hours. The impact of crystal healing is felt right down to the cellular level, so the stones can even be used to help unhealthy cells move towards a state of health. An example would be using selenite to help heal a specific type of cancer such as bladder cancer. In this situation, my intention would be for systemic detoxification as well as helping any non-healthy cancer cells move towards health. Each crystal can have a number of different healing properties, and quite often, a number of different crystals may be useful for the same specific condition. The chart on the next page lists some of the crystals I use most frequently in my healing work with animals.

Crystals can also be used to heal imbalances in the chakra system. If you are already familiar with these energy portals, and the corresponding areas of dis-ease associated with them, you can simply use a crystal the animal wellness


Healing gems for your furry friend Stone



Generally healing on all levels, dispels negative energy, calming, kidney and bladder issues


Pain relief, separation anxiety, grief, allaying fears

Blue lace agate

Calming, cooling and soothing, good for overly vocal or heated animals


Good for overwhelment, boosts immune system and good for kidney/ bladder conditions

Clear quartz crystal

Cleanses, purifies, rejuvenates system, good for inflammation


Natural gait balancer and detoxifier, helps with nutrient assimilation


A fabulous grounding stone, boosts vitality, works with the blood

Herkimer diamond


animal wellness

Enhances animal communication


Helps eliminate compulsive patterns; this stone is toxic so don’t let your animal lick or mouth it

Rose quartz

Helps abused or abandoned animals, reduces fears, brings forth love


Useful for all types of cancer

Smoky quartz

For stress, grounding, calming, soothing

same color as the chakra for healing a corresponding ailment.

Using crystals with dogs and cats There are a number of different ways of using crystals to help heal animals.


One of the best is to place them somewhere within the animal’s energy field. Just be careful he doesn’t take them in his mouth; if he swallows one, surgery may be needed and that will definitely nullify the healing benefits.


Many people affix crystal pendants onto collars, zip them into bedding, or simply massage their animal with them.

3 4

Crystal layouts, or spreads, can be set up around a stationary animal.

I already mentioned having a healing intention. Crystals can be programmed for specific uses; all you have to do is ask them to help with a particular situation, and watch them work.


Some crystals, including malachite, cinnabar and peacock ore, are toxic. Prevent your dog or cat from licking or mouthing these stones. Crystals are a gentle, holistic noninvasive way to help heal animals by shifting their energy – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As an animal communicator and healer, I feel it’s an absolute necessity to have these wonderful healing tools on hand at all times.

Disclaimer: Crystal healing is not a replacement for regular veterinary care.

Continued from page 57. is preventing many of them from passing the CGC test. “We started training after we’d had the dogs five or six months – they weren’t mentally ready before – and they have all learned their sits, downs, stays and loose leash walking,” explains Ann. “The trouble is, they’re still terrified of other people. By definition, fearful dogs don’t pass the test because they don’t look comfortable. A lot of people see fear as a dangerous thing, but these dogs are actually very friendly. It’s a pretty good test except when it comes to fearful dogs.”

Photo: Gary Kalpakov, Best Friends Animal Society

So far, only one of the 22 Vick dogs at Best Friends has been adopted out to a new home. Halle is a shy pit bull mix with a glossy black coat who went to live with her forever family earlier this year and enjoys hanging out with her new “brother” Tacoma, another pit bull rescue. “She has the sweetest, most innocent looking face,” says her guardian Traci. “We are keeping the whereabouts of Halle and the location of her adoptive family confidential,” adds John. “We do this to protect everyone concerned with the foster care placement, and because of the sensitivities in various regions involving pit bulls.”

Meryl, Lucas and Lance The remaining dogs are still at the Best Friends sanctuary, but no one is giving up on them. “We don’t consider any dog unadoptable,” says Ann. Among them are Meryl and Lucas, both of whom have been court-ordered to stay at the sanctuary. “Meryl got a bad rap because when dogs are afraid they sometimes feel they have no option but to lash out and fight, and that’s what she was first displaying. That’s why the court decided she couldn’t be adopted out. But behaviors change, dogs change, and one situation is not enough to make a decision. If Meryl doesn’t know someone, she’s afraid, but with people she knows, she’s very sweet.” Lucas, meanwhile (shown on page 4), is what is called a “grand champion” in dog-fighting circles. “The court saw that as a danger because he was fighting dogs and thought he’d be a danger to people as well.” He might look menacing with

Above: The only dog to so far be adopted out to a new home, Halle enjoys snuggling with her new “brother”, another pit bull mix named Tacoma. Left: Lance was exceptionally shy and fearful when he first arrived at the sanctuary. He’s still afraid of people, but loves playing with other dogs.

his scarred face, but nothing could be further from the truth. “He loves people and we’ve never seen any dog aggression from him. He does play bows and kisses other dogs through the fence. We dress him up and put sunglasses and hats on him. He’s such an easy-going loving dog. We’re not afraid for him to meet anyone new.” One of the dogs currently up for adoption, though he still needs his CGC certification, is Lance. “He was slow to overcome his shyness and fear. If we went into his run he would rush to the back and try to get away from us. It took months before he would walk on a leash, get in a car, or lie down in training. What amazed us is that when we introduced Lance to other dogs, he turned into a happy, totally different dog. In fact, he’s one of the best with other dogs. But he’s still afraid of people. Right now, he lives in our adoption office with about eight other dogs. If he could find a quiet home he could learn to bond with a person. He wouldn’t hurt a flea.” Ann is hopeful that most of the “Vicktory” dogs at Best Friends will eventually be ready for adoption, given more time, training and TLC. “We believe there’s always a right home for a dog.” Any that can’t be adopted will have always have loving home at the sanctuary, where they’ll get all the affection, care and attention they missed out on earlier in their lives. animal wellness


Soggy Dog

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Fit for a Dog! Authors: Michael W. Fox, B. Vet. Med., Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM & Marion E. Smart, DVM Before you open that bag of cheap kibble from the grocery store, stop and read this book. Researched and authored by veterinarians Dr. Michael Fox, Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins and Dr. Marion Smart, Not Fit for a Dog! is an eye-opening look at the truth about commercial dog and cat food. This important book provides an in-depth appraisal of the commercial pet food industry and highlights the dangers of these low-end foods – how they are unbalanced, create addiction, and often contain ingredients that can harm your animal. You’ll find out how to read pet food labels, save on vet bills by preventing diet-related diseases, how a change in diet can help alleviate existing conditions, and why we should support organic farming practices.

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If you’re interested in feeding your dog or cat in the healthiest possible way, Not Fit for a Dog! is a must-read.

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Title: The

Healthy Way to Stretch Your Dog

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Foster, MSPT & Ashley Foster, CPDT

Most of us know that stretching is a good way to keep our muscles and ligaments in shape. But we seldom apply this concept to our dogs. In The Healthy Way to Stretch Your Dog – A Physical Therapy Approach, Sasha and Ashley Foster introduce the reader to the benefits of stretching exercises for dogs. Stretching can help prevent injuries, maintain joint integrity and improve your dog’s fitness. The authors teach you some 20-minute daily maintenance stretching routines, and how to read your dog’s body language and behavior while stretching him. Learn the do’s and don’ts of stretching, and what you need to know about stretching older or smaller dogs. Illustrated with diagrams and photos, this book is ideal for any dog guardian, whether your canine companion is an athlete or a lap dog.

Publisher: Dogwise Publishing


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Events Call for Entries – Annual Calendar Contest of Cutest Pet Cameras out! Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company, the country’s oldest natural pet food maker with all products made in the United States, is now accepting photographs for the 2010 edition of its annual nationwide pets calendar. The 75th Anniversary calendar will be offered free at select pet stores nationwide with a purchase of an Evanger’s product, and will be available for $5.95 through our website when it is released in October. The deadline to submit photographs is August 31, 2009. Please visit for contest and entry details. May 30 – Carmel, CA 8205 Valley Greens Drive Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Dog & Butterfly Pet Home Fair Presented by Colleen Paige’s Pet Home Magazine in recognition of National Pet Day – welcomes all businesses that care about promoting animal adoption and helping to save lives. This event will feature celebrities. Animal Friends Rescue Project is the featured organization for this event. For more information: 877-957-7387,, June 13-14 – Kitchener, ON 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tellington TTouch Weekend Learn how to TTouch your cat or dog! TTouch is a groundbreaking bodywork method which can effectively influence your animal friends’ behavior and enhance their willingness and ability to learn. TTouch uses kindness and understanding to improve confidence, performance and well-being, and helps dogs and cats overcome behavior and other problems. You will learn different TTouches and lifts, slides and wraps. Lots of practice time is included and you will have the opportunity to work with animals other than your own to build observational skills and increase experience. Learn to apply TTouch to specific situations such as barking, nail trimming and supporting the physical body. We’ll also do some groundwork with dogs on-lead to improve

balance and confidence. With Sue Becker. For more information: 519-896-2600 or June 14 – Toronto, ON Woofstock, St. Lawrence Market 6th Annual k9 Rescue Me Walk-a-thon at Woofstock! The Rescue Me Walk-a-thon supports canine rescue across Ontario. K9 Rescue Me is a non profit organization consisting of breed specific rescue groups who work together to raise awareness and funds, to provide health care and find homes for unwanted dogs. The Walk-A-Thon is the biggest k9 rescue fundraising event of the year. The 2009 goal is to raise $150,000 for dogs in need! Rescue is possible because of your support! For more information:, June 14-20 – Toledo, OH PetMassageTM 7-Day Foundation Workshop This Seven-Day Foundation Workshop is an excellent beginning to your hands-on learning experience. We acknowledge that no one can become an “expert” at anything in just seven days. However, this course is a good preparation to become adept at the basic skills of PetMassageTM. Learn to help your own dogs. And train to create your successful start-up PetMassageTM business. The course includes modules on anatomy, physiology and behaviors of the dog, the affect of PetMassageTM on body systems, ethics and business marketing strategies. Also included is a field trip to the ASPCA to hone your skills while connecting with the dogs there in temporary residence. A Certificate of Completion is awarded for The Seven-day PetMassageTM for Dogs Foundation Workshop. For more information: Beth Farkas, 1-800-779-1001, August 6 – Internationally available teleclass Thursday evenings (3 weeks; course code SH105) Instructor: Carla Meeske Introduction to Shamanic Journeying This three session class introduces you to the core concepts of shamanic journeying and teaches you to easily access the

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Classifieds Animal Communicators

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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.,, (214) 615-6506, Ext. 8642.

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Holistic Veterinarians EAST YORK ANIMAL CLINIC – A variety of holistic healing services are available 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, ESSEX ANIMAL HOSPITAL, REHAB & K-9 FITNESS CENTRE – Dr. Janice Huntingford, Dr. Glen Porteous, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Conventional and Alternative Medicine and Surgery. Herbal Therapies and Holistic Medicine, Pet Massage, Physio, Therapy Pool, Underwater Treadmill and Rehab Therapy. Phone consultations available. 519-776-7325 Essex ON.


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Tail end

Agatha’s Swimming Debut By Fran Halter


he adage “you’re never too old to learn” certainly applies to people, but can a middle-aged dog learn a skill usually acquired in puppyhood? We adopted our five-year old Labrador retriever when she was two. She brought with her an aversion to swimming – not a natural state of affairs for a Lab, whose love of water is legendary. She at least loved to frolic in a shallow swimming pool, so we immediately purchased a plastic wading pool to encourage her to get in touch with her inner swimmer. Agatha eventually turned into a serious wader, testing the waters in a neighbor’s fountain and the local duck pond. She would march around, high-kick her legs, stick her snout into the water, blow bubbles, and run in and out. Once refreshed, she would dry her face on the nearest clump of grass and the “swim” was over. Agatha’s fifth birthday approached and her lack of swimming abilities was excused given that she had overcome her other pre-adoption afflictions. But a trip to a friend’s cottage was the turning point.

While Agatha took her cautious dip in knee-high water, her two doggie pals flung themselves with abandon off the dock. An hour later, Agatha was still watching her canine counterparts on their relentless “seek-and-retrieve” ball missions, adopting a snooze-but-ever-watchful approach on terra firma. Everyone acknowledges that peer pressure is much more powerful than parental encouragement. Turns out things work similarly in the dog world. When the heat sent Agatha back in the water, we threw a ball slightly beyond her comfort zone. With our shouts of encouragement, she galloped toward the ball, but her eager retrieval resulted in a nose bonk that propelled it into deeper waters. She followed it with a tentative but successful doggie paddle, snatched the ball in her jaws and joyfully returned to us. After a resounding chorus of “good dog”, we tossed the prized ball even further. When the nose bonk again pushed it away, Agatha persevered. This gave rise to the oddest-looking doggie paddle – a cross between the human butterfly stroke and a flatout flail. Her chest completely out of the water, nose in the air, front limbs thrashing and water churning in all directions, she clambered out of deep water until she touched bottom. The other dogs joined in the fray with Agatha rushing to outswim them. Perhaps they were mystified by her innovative technique or flummoxed by the roiling water, but she captured the ball more times than she lost it. After a dozen forays into the water, an exhausted Agatha collapsed in the shade. We joyfully recounted her swimming debut to everyone, but she was more subdued. A case of “swimmer’s tail” put her out of commission for a bit and her usual wagging rear remained limp from all that physical exertion. So while Agatha discovered you’re never too old to learn to swim, her gusto for her newfound skill taught her another life lesson: “no pain, no gain”!

If you have an amusing story you’d like to submit, send it to: Tail End, at


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Animal Wellness Magazine ~ Vol. 11 - Issue 3  

Animal Wellness is North America’s top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats.

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