Health & Wellness

Crypton to the rescue!

Posted by on Oct 7, 2011 in Environment, Hips and Joints, Products, Uncategorized | 0 comments

As most of you know, I have two seven year old boys at home.  Abe, my lab mix, is crazy about his ball!  His ball fetish began pretty much the first day we brought him home and has never stopped.  Because of his age and his craze, it is difficult for him to stand when he has been lying down on the floor or his bed for a while. Chico on the other hand, could care less about a ball.  The only toy he likes is his toy chipmunk that we gave him the first day he was dropped on our doorstep.  He does have a few physical problems however.  He is missing the ball in his hind leg hip socket and he has a compressed disc in his neck.  He has his days when walking is very difficult. I have tried various beds for both but had not gone the route of orthopedic beds yet. The makers of Crypton pet beds contacted me to test their product.  Not only are they  known for making beds that really last but they have an orthopedic bed that is supposed to be fantastic.  Crypton beds are made with fabric that resists moisture, stains, odor and bacteria (the tag says that spills just wipe away!) I took them up on their offer and two beautiful beds just arrived!  Can’t wait to test them on Chico and Abe and see the result!  I hope they like it!  Orthopedic AND odor resistant?  What could be better? Keep following my blog as the Crypton story to...

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Bow Wow Brownies

Posted by on Sep 14, 2011 in Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Pet Forum, Uncategorized | 0 comments

My dog Abe is not a picky dog…not in the least.  He is just as happy with a raw piece of meat as he is with his bowl of dry dog food.  When I bake Bow Wow Brownies however, he is one happy guy!  I think he actually smiles. If you are looking to try your hand at baking for your dog, this is a sure winner.  Is your dog intolerant of wheat?  If so, try an alternate grain source and add the carob elements.  I don’t think one dog has turned these bad boys down! 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 tablespoons honey 1 cup whole wheat flour 4 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup carob chips 1/4 cup carob powder 1/2 teaspoon baking powder Directions:=1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.2 Blend oil and honey in a bowl.3 Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour into greased 15- by 10-inch baking sheet. Bake 30-35 minutes. Read more:...

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Healthy Summer Coat

Posted by on Jul 8, 2011 in Health & Wellness, Paws for Thought, Skin & Allergies | 0 comments

We want healthy hair and skin this summer and so do our pets.  A healthy summer coat is extremely important for dogs and cats.  Why?  Itchy dry skin, flaking and hot spots can be a sign of a bigger problem.  Fleas, poor diet, food allergies and inhalant allergies can all manifest in poor coat health. These five easy steps can help ensure a healthy summer coat for your pet. 1. Control Fleas- there are over 15 antigens in a flea’s saliva which means that one bite can wreak havoc on your sensitive dog or cat.  To combat this, make sure your pet is on a monthly flea medicine regime and you are treating your home and yard for fleas. Learn more about Flea Flicker Tick Kicker by Ark Naturals. 2.  Diet- Dogs and cats can have food sensitivities that may manifest as skin allergies.  If you suspect that your dog or cat has a food allergy first try changing their food to something with no corn, wheat, soy or gluten products.  If you haven’t seen a change in 6-8 weeks, then try changing the protein source…e.g.  if you are feeding a beef diet, try chicken, or if you are feeding chicken try fish.  Learn more about California Natural’s Herring and Sweet Potato Formula! 3.  Shampoo/Conditioner- be sure to use a soap and detergent free shampoo and conditioner.  One made with natural ingredients (no chemicals or synthetics) will make a marked improvement in your dogs coat.  Oatmeal based shampoo will help condition the coat and a Tea Tree oil based shampoo will handle hotspots.  If your pet is a swimmer, use a leave in conditioning spray between baths to further moisturize.  Learn about Earthbath‘s all natural products! 4.  Fish Oil- Adding Omega 3 to your dog’s diet will help boost their immune response and reduce inflammation in the body. Thus reducing itchiness, fostering shiny healthy coats.  Learn about Alaska Naturals! 5.  Brush Brush Brush-  This simple act is often overlooked by pet owners but is so important.  Brushing helps reduce shedding and bacterial build up.  Brushing not only gets rid of dead hair but it also rids your dog of dead skin cells.  These dead skin cells can be the perfect environment for bacteria.  Brushing also distributes the natural oil along the coat.  Really important for long haired breeds.  Human/pet bond is strengthened...

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Safe Flea Fighters

Posted by on Jun 13, 2011 in Health & Wellness, Paws for Thought, Skin & Allergies | 0 comments

Buyer beware!  Make sure that the flea protection you choose for your puppy, kitty, dog or cat is the right one for their age, size and medical condition.  Topical medication, oral medication, collars, dips, sprays….the list goes on and on.  There is a variety of products to choose from all claiming to kill fleas or prevent outbreaks.  Read this interesting article from the NY Daily News and the reasons why some flea fighters are dangerous. Please consult your veterinarian to ensure the product you choose is safe for your dog or cat.  Of course, I like the all natural route best but in many locations a stronger medication is necessary.  Any flea medication, if used incorrectly, can cause your pet to become ill or worse.  Visit the following sites to read about a few all natural alternatives:  Pet Naturals of Vermont.  I like their flea protect spray and shampoo quite a bit.  The shampoo will kill the fleas and the spray prevents.  Safe for use around pets and kids!   Natural Defense by Sentry.  I have used their home spray and it seemed to kill/prevent fleas and as an added bonus…it smelled nice.   Pet and kid safe! The Wholistic Pet.  Read about Diatomaceous Earth.  You can use it on your dog or cat, on your floors or even in your yard…etc.  How does it work?  DE works by puncturing the exoskeleton of the insect and eventually killing it.  Why are fleas so tough to eliminate? Because, their  lifecycle is lengthy and contains four stages.  Learn more about their life cycle at about.com. Hint, eradicating the pupa stage is extremely important!  And, confronting fleas at each stage will help you win the battle! Once you find a safe product, use it correctly and be CONSISTENT!  That is key to your success! Good...

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The Origin of the Dog

Posted by on Feb 7, 2011 in Health & Wellness, Paws for Thought | 0 comments

There are varying opinions on when the first domesticated dog entered the world.  The most recent studies have shown approximately 15,000 years ago.  What most scientists agree about is that the closest ancestor to the domesticated dog is the Eurasian Grey Wolf.  Prior to this, there were wolves, coyotes and yackals and most likely wild canines (which were not domesticated and probably were very different from what we think of a dog today).  The domesticated dog is part of the Canidae family, a diverse group of carnivores which contains 36 extant species.  This first known family of carnivores came on the scene about 40 million years ago and includes wolves, jackals, and foxes, as well as the coyote, the maned wolf, the bush dog, the African wild dog, the Dhole and the racoon dog. Within this family, the dog is most closely related to wolves, jackals and the coyote, as these canines all have the same number of chromosomes and are all capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring.  Although all of the above are potential ancestors of the domestic dog, after years of scientific studies and most recently the study of DNA sequences, it is believed that the wolf is the most probably relative.  There is a high probability that dogs and yackals or dogs and coyotes interbred over time.  Research has also shown that the domesticated dogs most likely originated from Asia.  Keeping in mind that domesticated dogs are only one species in the Canidae family, it is interesting to note that 35 species of wild canines can be found from the tropics to the tundra.  Some include the maned wolf who lives in the grasslands, the fennec fox who lives in the desert, the arctic fox who lives in the arctic, the grey fox who lives in the forest and the coyote who is a jack of all trades.  With the exception of the arctic the coyote can survive anywhere.  As natural selection governs life in the wild, domesticated dogs are governed by artificial selection.  Beginning thousands of years ago dogs of many sizes and shapes appear in archaeological and artistic records.  Dogs were bred for hunting, working, herding, protection, etc.  Today there are over 400 breeds of domestic dogs and most were establish after 1850.  The desire for pure bred dogs began around this time. There is so much more I could write on this subject but just not enough room!  The bottom line is whether you have a 2lb Chihuahua or a 200lb Mastiff they all are descendents of the wolf.  They are pack animals who need a strong leader (YOU).  It is important that you are the boss over your dog. This means you should always be able to take food away from your dog, put him in a down position, and handle every part of his body without his objection.  This will develop a stable and happy pack.  If you are interested in the history of the dog I encourage you to visit the following websites: www.wolf2woof.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_the_domestic_dog www.canidae.ca/dog...

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The Importance of the Walk

Posted by on Jul 25, 2010 in Excercise, Health & Wellness, Paws for Thought | 0 comments

If you are like me, by the time you get home from a full day of work and everything else you do after 5pm, the last thing you want to do is walk your dog.  So, you resort to throwing the ball in your back yard a few times or wrestling the dog in your apartment to get out that pent up energy. The dog may actually seem a bit tired after this minor activity….panting and frequenting his water bowl.  Most likely, within the next 30 minutes your dog has just as much energy as he did when you first walked through the door.  Trust me; he has MUCH more energy to get out of his system.  Unused energy can manifest itself in several ways.  If, your dog is showing signs of anxiety, nervousness or aggression most of this can be remedied by walking.  I know it sounds crazy and if you are a Caesar Milan fan you know with EVERY client he meets, the dog is not getting the exercise he needs. If you consider that dogs are truly pack animals the idea of the walk makes sense.  When their ancestors lived in the wild they were always on the go.  Hunting and foraging for food and water was their daily routine.  It meant survival.  Walking as a pack gave them not only the exercise they needed but also a sense of purpose and an understanding of their role within the pack.  Even though dogs have evolved over the years, they are still pack animals and need to maintain their rightful place within YOUR pack.  Walking will create this bond with your dog and give him a sense of purpose. Now, many of you are probably saying my dog pulls or my dog hates walking!  The pulling part is easy to fix as is the hating the walk part.  Here are a few recommendations: Use the correct leash and collar.  I am not a big fan of the retractable leash.  Especially when you are training your dog to walk nicely.  Retractable leashes give the dog far too much reign over the walk and it can cause accidents to occur.   I broke my hand a few years ago using one of these! Small dogs seem to do well on a harness.  If they where a collar and you are constantly pulling on it, you could potentially injure their trachea.  Harnesses will apply pressure to the chest and not the neck. Larger breeds can do well with a Halti, Gentle Leader or a prong collar.  I know many people believe that a prong collar is cruel but I think it is just misunderstood.  But, this is for another article! Using a sturdy leather leash is better than nylon, cotton or other material.  Leather leashes give the dog less room to pull and are very strong.  These are highly recommended for medium to large breed dogs. 2.  Consult a trainer.  If you are really having trouble walking your dog, consult a trainer.  Many of them will provide a phone consultation for free.  There are group classes and private lessons that you can choose from as well.  Interview a few potential trainers and go from there.  It may only take a lesson or two to get you and your dog on the right track. 3.  If your dog hates walking, begin going on short romps around the neighborhood and lure him with treats.  After you return home, give him a lot of praise and a very special treat of some sort.  In this way, he will begin to realize that walking means...

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