October 18, 2013

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR YOUR “PET’S PEEVE”

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:06 pm

WE  DO  LOVE  OUR  PETS!  According to an article published in May, 2013, by Alexis Kleinman/The Huffington Post, 10 percent of reported Facebook users are not humans. So….not only are we posting pictures of Fido and Fluffy (in their cute poses) by the millions, a portion percentage of our pets have their own Facebook page! WOW! In a survey taken by DoggyLoot, 14% of dog owners said they maintain a Facebook page for their pet; 42% have 1 to 25 friends, and 27% have a You Tube page.

“THE  TRUTH  ABOUT  CATS  &  DOGS”  (not  just  a  movie)

Someone once said, “Dogs have masters; Cats have staff.” Although this saying is a general quote about our beloved pets, I’m sure exceptions are plentiful. Before we started dressing our pets in Halloween costumes, cats and dogs had to come from somewhere before they entered our homes to curl up at our foot beds.

CAT - Abigail - owner Ro D'ornellas 2DOG - BUDDY - face - OWNER Honey katchuk

“Abigail” the cat: Proud parent-Rosemary D’Ornellas     “Buddy” the dog: Proud parent-Honey Katchuk

 

DOMESTICATION  OF  DOGS  AND  CATS

  • DOGS:  A jawbone of a domesticated dog was found in an Iraq cave and dates back 12,000 years. However, based on genetic studies of living dogs and wolves, the range can go back even further from 15,000 to 135,000 years. Some scientists believe that the ancestor of all dogs, domesticated and wild, is the small South Asian wolf. Way back when humans were still hunter-gatherers and following animal herds, canine-like ancestors would be attracted to human camps and food smells that permeated the air. It didn’t take long for the loyal relationship to blossom when humans realized the dogs would bark when predators were nearby. By the time these ancient civilizations emerged, Egyptian paintings, Assyrian sculptures, and Roman mosaics depicted many different shapes and sizes of various dogs. According to Roman writings of the time, Roman women used dogs on their laps to keep them warm and were believed to be a cure for stomach aches.
  • CATS:  Most likely, cats were first domesticated in the Near East (today includes Western Asia, parts of the Middle East and North East Africa) around 10,000 years ago. The modern, domesticated (or not) cat is a descendent from a wild feline-like ancestor called Felis Silvestris Lybica – also known as the Near Eastern Wildcat or African Wildcat. Today, millions of housecats worldwide can be traced back to 5 females of the Felis Silvestris Lybica species. These cats lived in the forest long before they moved into villages to mingle with humans. Many say the cat is unique since they, most likely, domesticated themselves. When humans started to cultivate land and farm, they stopped following herds and started to store grains. Harvested grains attracted all kinds of rodents and yes……you guessed it……cats think rodents are yummy. Humans started to appreciate the pest control behavior of these cats and rewarded them with food and a place they can call home. Egyptians understood how important these cats were and even worshipped a cat goddess. Exalting their cats, Egyptians had their beloved pets mummified and buried with them, along with mummified mice to bring to the afterlife.

Bianca PanettaDOG - JADE-PUPPY ON STONE BENCH-OWNER Jessica Von Duerring

“Bianca” the dog: Proud parent-Linda Panetta                  “Jade” the dog: Proud parent-Jessica Von Duerring

 

NOTE: The following information is not a replacement for veterinary care. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any health issue with your pet.

IT’S  FEEDING  TIME,  COME  AND  GET  IT

Just like people, good nutrition is an important component of your pet’s health care. Just like people, the best diet consists of whole foods which can be enhanced with supplements for optimal health. Just like people, the trick is to prevent chronic diseases and address health issues that may arise. Obviously, keeping in mind animal breed, size/weight, and age of your pet will also play a huge part in determining the best diet.

CONSIDER  A  RAW  DIET

It can sometimes be hard to believe BUT the dog that plays fetch with you and the cat that purrs on your lap are natural hunters. Although prepared kibble has become the standard and convenient diet, many veterinarians are becoming increasing aware of the benefits a raw diet can have on the health of our cats and dogs. True omnivores, dogs have very short intestinal tracts and best for digesting raw foods which includes a variety of berries, grasses, vegetables and prey. True carnivores and designed by nature, cats hunt small birds and rodents and their digestive tracts are intended to digest raw meat best.

BENEFITS  OF  A  RAW  DIET

  • Some studies state raw diets help the cat and dog’s body deal with common and chronic ailments such as allergies, flea infestations, poor gum health, constant shedding, gastro-intestinal issues, immune disorders and degenerative diseases.
  • Raw food contains live enzymes for better digestion.
  • Recommended by European veterinarians for decades, raw diets are common, especially in Germany. Parasites could be contracted through eating game or whole prey. Properly handled meat by humans is usually not a problem. Also remember that the digestive systems of cats and dogs are designed to handle salmonella, e.coli and various parasites. Infection, most likely, would occur through the ingestion of soil feces or poorly handled meat. As for humans, naturally raised, hormone and antibiotic free or organic meat is best.
  • Actual research in the U.S. is quite convincing supporting a raw diet, especially for cats,  sited in the book by Dr. Francis M. Pottenger Jr., MD called POTTENGER’S CATS – A STUDY IN NUTRITION . This link will bring you to a non-profit site where you have the choice to purchase the book for further study and information.
  • A raw diet should be introduced slowly – at least over the course of 2 weeks.

OR….DON’T  CONSIDER  A  RAW  DIET

Raw diets, for our companion pets, are controversial and should be researched thoroughly before embarking on a raw diet regimen. AVMA is a non-profit organization representing more than 84,000 veterinarians. This article on RAW ANIMAL-SOURCE PROTEIN for cats and dogs discourages the use of raw food.

CHOOSE  A  DIET  WISELY

Many pet parents use a combination of raw and dry kibble with some viscera and bones thrown in the mix. Caution is needed with older and weaker cats and dogs due to the probable health issues with the digestive tract. In many of these cases a home prepared, cooked diet is best.

  • If choosing plastic bowls to eat/drink from….choose BPA free (Bisphenol A). Animal studies have shown BPA to be an endocrine disrupter, mimicking estrogen and causing negative health effects. Especially harmful when heat is added, it breaks down the plastic releasing the BPA into your pet’s warm food placed in the bowl.
  • WATER – Only filtered water should be fed to your pet at all times. Water is a huge part of your pet’s diet and needs to be clear of chemicals and toxins that may occur in well water or city water. A home reverse osmosis system or a quality filter added to the sink faucet is recommended.
  • Become an avid label reader! Choose food/liquid that is free of preservatives, artificial ingredients and harmful dyes. It is also recommended to opt for “naturally” dehydrated food items avoiding harmful chemicals. The word “gourmet” on the food packaging does not necessarily mean “healthy” so read the nutrition part of the label.
  • SNACK AND DENTAL TREATS – Choose snacks with no added hormones, antibiotics, steroids or preservatives. Dog treats with pumpkin, cranberry and sweet potato promotes healthy digestion. Quality salmon treats for cats contain DHA for healthier brain function. To maintain healthy joints, try some treats with glucosamine and chondroitin. Dental treats can reduce plaque by 21% and tartar by 65%! BTW….gluten free dental treats for your pets are available in most pet stores.

A  FEW  POINTS  OF  INFORMATION  I  RECEIVED  FROM  MY  LOCAL  “HEALTHY  PROMOTING”  PET  STORE

  • In general, cats may require a little more protein and fat in their diets. Again, size, weight and age of the cat will be a determining factor when choosing protein. Of course, some of our “finicky” cats will decide for themselves what they like to eat and what they definitely won’t eat.
  • Kitten and puppy food may need more vitamins and minerals. More DHA may be added for healthy brain growth. Added taurine is good for the heart and eyes. Vitamin supplementation might be required for young pets. Puppies and kittens are more vulnerable to parasites and disease because their immune systems are still developing. Also, the stress from leaving their mother’s environment compromises their overall immune system. Consult with your veterinarian regarding the best food and supplement choices for your pets.
  • Aging pets – As cats and dogs age, they may need extra support to stay healthy to maintain the best quality of life. Entering into their senior years, around 8 to 9 years, dogs might have joint problems and cats may show signs of stiffness. Supplements including glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM can relieve joint aches and relieve symptoms of arthritis. There are senior vitamins with extra antioxidants available to boost the immune system. CoEnzyme Q10 can help protect the heart and support gum health. If your senior pet is showing signs of cognitive decline, ask your veterinarian (or find a holistic veterinarian) about supplements to help brain function. There are some Chinese herbal formulas that have been helpful to some animals. Consider using  ADAPTOGENIC HERBS to help reduce stress from your companion’s environment. The link here will provide you with a variety of herbs to choose from. In addition to people using herbal treatments, many veterinarians who practice alternative medicine on animals believe in administering herbal medicine to our aging feline and canine pets. Working in conjunction with your vet, the best combination will help ensure the right support for your aging pet.

FAT  CATS  AND  PORTLY  POOCHES

According to a science article from NBC News on October 9……. one out of every four cats and dogs are overweight or obese in the United States. This nationwide data is collected through the Banfield Pet Hospital from 800 animal hospitals throughout the country. As Fluffy and Fido gain weight, the risk of getting diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and respiratory problems increases –  just as in humans. In most cases, this is an easy fix with a healthy diet and proper exercise. However, the longer an obese problem is neglected, the longer and harder it can be to break bad habits. As you can see, people are not so different from our furry friends we call pets. This link to the Association For Pet Obesity Prevention is a good source of information. Consult your veterinarian for tips on regulating and maintaining a healthy weight for your pet.

DOG-BUDDY-sitting - OWNER-Honey KatchukMax the cat and Valerie

“Buddy” the dog: Proud parent-Honey Katchuck          “Max” the cat & Valerie: Proud family-Janis Estebo Farrell

 

GROOMING  YOUR  PET

One of the major responsibilities of parenting a cat or dog is the commitment to proper grooming.

Oral  Hygiene – Our cats and dogs have teeth, tongues, and get bad breath just like we humans do. Continual stinky cat and dog breath is not fun for pet parents and can be a sign of oral disease. If you do not bring your pet to a groomer on a regular basis, you’ll need to attend to your pet’s oral hygiene regularly. Your local pet store probably sells toothbrushes and toothpaste. Do some research and ask your veterinarian the best and most natural way to brush your pet’s teeth. Some pet parents only use a raw diet of bones to reduce tartar and plaque. There are brushless toothpaste chews on the market and can be very convenient if your pet gives you a hard time regarding brushing the teeth. Read labels when shopping for pet chews (for teething and cleaning) purchasing organic or as natural as possible.

Breath  Fresheners – There are all natural breath fresheners sold in pet stores everywhere – read labels and ask questions.  Making homemade breath freshener is another option and would probably be more economical.

Pet  Breath  Recipe

  • 20 oz. (or larger) plastic water bottle (BPA free)
  • One very small drop (.05 ml) of peppermint essential oil

Fill the bottle halfway with cool to cold filtered water. Add the drop of peppermint oil. Cap the bottle and shake thoroughly for 30 seconds. Fill the rest of the bottle with cool to cold water. Shake again and pour the water into your pet’s bowl. Refrigerate leftover water and shake again before using.

General  Natural  Skin  Care  Tips

  • Feed your pet fresh, organic/natural foods and give it filtered water. Pets that ingest salmon oil (or good, quality fish oil supplements) can see a positive  improvement in the coat. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) in fish oil help reduce inflammation and nourish the skin.
  • Brush your pet regularly and bathe often. Brushing with stainless steel pins and comfort tips will penetrate deep in the coat without harming the skin. Brushing with firm pins removes the undercoat without damaging the topcoat and can reduce shedding significantly. Using a rubber shampoo brush removes loose hair, reduces shedding and stimulates capillaries for a healthier skin and coat.
  • Choose shampoos and conditioners with the following natural ingredients: Tea Tree Oil, Aloe Vera, Peppermint, Spearmint, Lavender and Rosemary. Look for natural hypo-allergenic brands for sensitive skin.

Scratch  That  Itch!

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), a pet’s constant scratching can indicate a more serious health issue than just dry skin. If your pet shows signs of redness rashes or bumps, open sores, excessive hair loss (patchy or all over), dull dry hair that easily falls or pulls out, and constant foot-licking or face rubbing (with or without runny eyes or itchy ears), see your veterinarian ASAP. If your vet recommends topical treatments, inquire about ingredients and possible side effects.

Alternative  Treatments

If you are interested in alternative treatments for your pet, do your research and look for a veterinarian specializing in these natural therapies.

  • Homeopathy  – based on the premise that disease responds to a remedy that creates similar symptoms in a healthy person known as the Law of Similars, Homeopaths uses remedies to treat skin problems and other health issues in pets. These remedies contain tiny doses of herbs, minerals, or animal products. If your pet is experiencing dry skin that your vet has determined is NOT serious, you may consider experimenting with any of the following treatments.

1.)  Phosphorus – For dandruff and patch hair loss

2.)  Sulphur – For red skin and hot spots

3.)  Urtica Urens – For small red blotching on the skin

4.)  Arsenicum Album – For scaly or dry skin

5.)  Carbo Vegetabilis – For moist skin or itching

6.)  Calendula Officinalis – For sensitive skin

7.)  Rhus Tox – For dermatitis from flea bites or poison ivy

More  Alternative  Treatments

  • Naturopathy – Regarding pets, part of this holistic method uses hot compresses and cold packs to eliminate toxins resulting in healthier skin and a healthier coat.
  • Herbs – Herbalists use plants to eliminate toxins and can be affective for skin disorders managing fleas and ticks.
  • Touch Therapies – Some veterinarians offer chiropractic and massage treatments for pets. Massaging releases brain endorphins that relax the body and can greatly reduce itching and scratching.

THE  FLEA  AND  ITS’  CIRCUS

I went into my local pet store to obtain information on flea collars and found out they don’t sell any. The reason? Fleas cannot survive in arid areas and I live in the desert southwest. Fleas require a humid environment of 70% to 75% for eggs to hatch and at least 50% humidity for flea larvae to survive. To evict the flea and its entire circus, the host (your pet) and the home environment needs to be treated. Pet parents can slow down or completely interrupt the flea life-cycle by controlling the humidity, controlling the temperature – since fleas thrive at higher temperatures, but need 70° to 90°F (21° to 32°C) to survive, and vacuuming regularly. To wage war against the flea population in your home, you need to know where the fleas are hiding in order for you to have a successful attack campaign. Flea eggs are laid on the “host” (which is your pet) and most eggs will fall off into the carpet, pet bed, and in the yard. If conditions are not ideal for hatching, eggs can remain in the environment waiting for the right moment to hatch…..YUCK!

To rid your pet’s environment of these pesty critters, here are some suggestions to force the flea circus to leave town:

  • Keep in mind…..flea collars only repel fleas around the animal’s neck. Resourceful, fleas will find a good spot far enough away from the collar to hang out.
  • Vacuum and wash floors often, even daily during the height of the flea season. Flea larvae do not like light, so vacuum under furniture and near baseboards where your pet’s favorite places are to play or rest. An herbal flea powder placed in the vacuum bag can help fight fleas. Remember to remove and discard it in a sealed plastic bag after use.
  • Homemade flea traps can work well to catch fleas in the dark. Place a desk lamp over a white bowl of dish soap water overnight. The fleas, attracted to the bright warm light, jump into the soapy water and immediately drown.
  • Baking soda sprinkled on carpets can help get rid of flea eggs and larvae via dehydration. Weekly treatments will be required to be successful.
  • BEWARE! Flea ointments and medicines can contain pesticides and toxic ingredients that may be harmful to animals and humans. Before using any product, read the labels, research the ingredients, and consult your vet for advice. Cats, in particular, are susceptible to many toxins in these products since they are constantly grooming themselves.
  • Bathing your pet companion is an excellent way to kill fleas. If your pet already has sensitive skin from the flea bites, use an oatmeal shampoo and add some cedar essential oil (or any flea unfriendly essential oil) as another attack strategy. RINSE WELL – do no leave shampoo residue on your pet. The drying effect will cause more itchiness. Another bathing ingredient tip is to add white or cider vinegar (up to 1/2 cup) to the shampoo as a flea repellant. Allow the vinegar to remain on the pet’s fur for 10 minutes to drown fleas before rinsing with water. The rinsing with water over and over the body will also drown fleas. Check pet’s body for rashes or open sores before applying any remedy to the skin.
  • Do not forget your pet’s sleeping digs! Wash your pet’s bedding in hot, soapy water at least once a week. Add some essential oil to the soapy water. Non-toxic flea powder can be sprinkled on bedding and rubbed in.
  • Flea Comb – Daily especially during the height of the flea season or if you suspect fleas due to your pet’s constant scratching. Run the comb through the hair and gather a bit of hair and natural “dirt” from the animal’s skin. Put the comb between 2 damp white paper towels and press together. If this bit of “dirt” creates rusty looking spots on the paper towel, fleas are present. Immediately drown in soapy water; fleas have been known to jump out of plain water. Remember that for every adult flea you drown or kill, you are preventing a future flea circus from entertaining themselves in your pet’s environment.

One  more  thing  about  fleas….If you live in an area where there is a predictable flea season, start treating your pet and its environment a month early. If you live in the south or an area where every season is flea season, start right now and have a plan to treat your environment regularly, not periodically. I know using natural methods is a bit more work than just dropping pesticides or toxic chemicals on your pet or in your home. However, in the long run, your pet and your family will be healthier for your efforts.

HOW  TO  REMOVE  A  TICK  FROM  YOUR  PET

If you and your pets live in or near a wooded area, there is a good chance ticks live there too. Some ticks carry diseases that can affect cats and dogs and can be transmitted to humans. Please watch this video HOW TO REMOVE TICKS OFF DOGS AND CATS NATURALLY   ask your veterinarian for more tips on controlling ticks in your area.

PLAY  HARD  AND  SLEEP  EASY

DOG - JADE PLAYING TUG OF WAR-OWNER Jessica Von DuerringDOG - BUDDY - with ball in yard - OWNER - Honey Katchuk“Jade” the dog: Proud parent-Jessica Von Duerring             “Buddy” the dog: Proud parent-Honey Katchuk

All cats/kittens and dogs/puppies need exercise and usually want to socialize just like humans. With the exception of declawed cats, dogs and cats should receive a fair amount of outdoor exercise enjoying the sunshine. With a little planning, even declawed cats can spend some time in an outdoor yard environment that is safe from predators. If your pet lives on a farm, ranch or a very large piece of property, it is probably OK to allow them to run around. If you live in suburbia or a in a city, a leashed pet is a must. Keep in mind that cats don’t naturally take to leashes. Also, some dogs give a pet parent a hard time when leashed at first. Have patience and keep at it. Before too long, you and your pet will be enjoying a nice walk together with the both of you getting exercise at the same time. Many communities have doggy parks or areas where you can bring your pets for exercise and to socialize with other animals. Where your pet sleeps in the house is a personal decision. Some pet parents don’t mind Fido or Fluffy sleeping in their bed with them. Some pets sleep in comfy beds made just for them. Many pets will find a special place in the house or a special piece of rug or decor blanket to rest their heads. Hey, many times it’s the couch, that cozy chair, or right in front of the fireplace that becomes the special spot. Whatever sleep digs your pet decides on, make sure it is a toxic free environment. Try to choose all natural fabrics and fibers while maintaining a clean sleeping area.

Bianca Panetta comfyDOG - JADE ON BED-OWNER - Jessica Von Duerring“Bianca” the dog: Proud parent-Linda Panetta              “Jade” the dog: Proud parent Jessica Von Duerring

 

OVERCOME INDOOR/OUTDOOR OBSTACLES

Vaccinations – Many veterinarians will tell you to get your pet vaccinated to prevent disease. And then there are many veterinarians that say over vaccination can compromise the immune systems of our pets and should be used with restraint. Vaccinations do help prevent some serious illnesses and if used sparingly, and when it makes sense, can make a healthy difference. For example….if your cat or dog plays outside in an environment where there are other animals carrying rabies, give a rabies vaccine when your pet is 6 months old. Educate yourself on vaccinations. Your veterinarian should not make this decision for you. You are your pet’s guardian and it is your responsibility to research and carefully consider the best care for your pet.

DOG - JADE PLAYING IN WATER-OWNER Jessica Von DuerringBianca Panetta - all snuggled up“Jade” the dog: Proud parent Jessica Von Duerring          “Bianca” the dog: Proud parent Linda Panetta

 

Pesticides  and  Herbicides

Our loving pets are eating, playing and sleeping all over the house, back yards, front lawns and the neighborhood. Chemicals are everywhere and our pets are exposed to toxins daily.

Chemicals in the home are on the walls, on the furniture, in our fabrics, sprayed into the air and are in our cleaning products. Studies show that using regular household products is the leading cause of indoor pollution. Ultimately, that means your pet is probably inhaling, ingesting, chewing, and possibly sleeping on something toxic.

  • Don’t use pesticides in your home unless absolutely necessary. Most bug sprays are toxic. Look for natural solutions to get rid of pesty insects and bugs.
  • Use cleaning products that are as natural as possible. This is healthier for your family and your pets.
  • Your pet’s sleeping quarters should be made of natural fibers and cleaned often.
  • Keep carpets clean and when professionally cleaned, go as natural as possible.
  • Use paints, stains and varnishes that are VOC free (volatile organic compounds). VOCs contain heavy metals, formaldehydes, fungicides and several unsavory toxic chemicals. This toxic cocktail mix is “off-gassing” permeating the air.
  • CAT LITTER – Strongly consider using natural cat litter products. Many mass market cat litter products contain silica dust and chemical fragrance and are linked to respiratory issues. Do your homework and search for more natural products that may contain cedar chips and a blend of fibrous materials made from annually renewable tree-nut crops.

The great outdoors is a world for your pets to enjoy, even if it is only as far as the backyard or the front lawn. It is here where your pet can really get into trouble with chemicals.

  • Most lawns are treated with some kind of chemical mix and common herbicides can be detectable on grass after 48 hours, or even longer, under certain environmental conditions. Cats and dogs playing outside ingest chemicals from sprayed lawns and weeds by licking their paws and fur. Many dogs will eat grass and weeds. Remember, their short intestinal tracts are designed, by nature, to eat a variety of grasses to aid in digestion. Dogs will often eat grass to relieve nausea. Purchase eco-friendly lawn care products, or make your own, in caring for your lawn. If you hire a landscaper to maintain your property, inquire about using products that are not harmful to your pets.
  • Outdoor insect repellants, pesticides and herbicides can be transported and tracked inside the house and contaminate flooring and furniture. Pet companions can also come in contact with these contaminates simply by holding their pets. Avoiding the use of harmful chemicals when treating lawns, plants, trees, and insects/bugs will help ensure a healthier environment for your pet. Although your property might be free of nasty chemicals, be aware of your neighbor’s property, community parks and various pet-friendly walking paths. The grass, trees, flowers and shrubs can be treated with all sorts of harmful chemicals. Don’t allow your pet to eat or run through these areas freely and avoid contact with toxic chemicals.

To learn more about poison proofing your home environment to protect your pets visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

CAT - Abigail - owner Ro D'ornellasDOG - BUDDY-Honey Katchuk

“Abigail” the cat: Proud parent Rosemary D’ornellas     “Buddy” the dog: Proud parent Honey Katchuk

DON’T  “TOY”  WITH  TOXIC  PLAYTHINGS

Your pets and their toys are a big part of daily life, especially for kittens and puppies. Read all labels before purchasing pet toys and ask questions at your local pet store. I have found that many pet toy products have very little information on the labels. Avoid the obvious harmful chemicals. Instead…. look for toy products with the following materials and features:

  • Organic cat and dog toys made in the USA.
  • Organic natural fibers – 100% cotton, wool and hemp
  • Fresh certified organic catnip
  • Dye and toxin free

TESTED  ON  HUMANS

Take care of your pet and your pet will take of you…

Dr. Weil is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. On the subject of healthy aging in humans, Dr. Weil highly recommends seniors owning pets. Studies have shown pets contribute positively in controlling some health issues in people. Enjoying their pets, older adults are more likely to have lower blood pressure and higher self-esteem, and are less likely to be depressed than people who don’t have companion animals.

If you are contemplating adding a cat or dog to your family, please consider the responsibility involved in properly taking care of a pet. Examine all of your choice options and consider adopting from your local animal shelter. There are many loving pets in shelters just waiting for a loving family to join. To find a local animal shelter in your area visit here at ASPCA – FIND A ANIMAL SHELTER