Healthy Dog Blog

About the Healthy Dog Blog

Mary (1)

What makes a healthy dog? More than good genes are needed for a dog to reach his highest potential. It takes feeding a species-appropriate diet, minimizing exposure to environmental toxins and unnecessary medications, and plenty of exercise and love. We will explore these issues and more in the HealthyDogBlog.

Mary has been breeding welsh terriers since 1993 and following holistic rearing principles for much of that time. When comparing the life span of dogs she’s bred and kept with that of their littermates who were placed in homes that did not follow holistic rearing principles, the dogs she’s kept have lived on average of 18 months longer than their littermates.

Pet Health Inventory List

07/11/2019

It’s important to routinely evaluate your pet’s health and to go to your veterinarian appointment prepared to address any changes since your last visit. A health inventory list is the perfect way to summarize your pet’s health status. Performing a health inventory can help you make the most of your visit to the veterinarian or other practitioner. When you have the sense that something’s just not right but can’t point your finger to exactly what’s wrong, a health inventory can help you focus on previously unrecognized health or behavior changes. When there is an acute or dramatic change, the inventory can help to identify other equally important issues that may be overshadowed by or relevant to the acute change. Even when everything seems to be status quo a health inventory can help to focus on subtle changes that are not immediately obvious. We’ve developed a simple health inventory list to help guide you in characterizing your pet’s health. Complete the list and share it with your veterinarian or other practitioner to help guide him or her in assessing your pet. The more information your practitioner has, the easier it is to diagnose any underlying conditions. Click here for an electronic...

Heatstroke can Kill – Keep Cool!

06/28/2019

  Heatstroke can impair or kill your pet. Knowing the symptoms can help! As we enter the hottest part of summer in the northern hemisphere, it’s important to keep an eye on your pets to make sure they are not overheating. Heatstroke is not a mere inconvenience. It can lead to damage to the brain, liver, heart, and nervous system. Conditions that increase the risk of heat stroke include leaving pets in a hot vehicle, humid conditions, lack of drinking water, obesity, and overexertion. Overexertion and heatstroke can occur while walking, jogging or running, or during rigorous play.  Dogs with short muzzles, thick fur, and preexisting medical conditions, as well as the old and young are particularly vulnerable. According to this article by Dr. Karen Becker, symptoms of overheating and heatstroke include – Heavy panting or rapid breathing Excessive thirst Glazed eyes Vomiting, bloody diarrhea Bright or dark red tongue or gums Staggering, stumbling Elevated body temperature Weakness, collapse Increased pulse and heartbeat Seizures Excessive drooling Unconsciousness Dogs suffering heatstroke should be removed immediately from the hot environment and taken to a veterinarian for care. If you must care for the dog yourself, do the following – Put your dog...

How to Rebuild Your Brain’s Gray Matter in Just 8 Weeks.

07/19/2017

  The brain’s gray matter is responsible for information processing. People and animals with more gray matter in certain parts of the brain are more intelligent – about 6% of gray matter is directly linked to intelligence. There is mounting evidence that a practice called mindfulness rebuilds gray matter and improves psychological wellbeing and cognitive ability.  Both chronic pain and depression are reduced in those who practice mindfulness. In a Harvard study, benefits were seen in as little as 8 weeks! (for more details on this study please read this article and this article.) Mindfulness means being fully present. Being aware of where we are and what we are doing and not overly reacting to or overwhelmed by what is happening around us. Seems easy, except that our minds are constantly taking flight – thinking about something that happened previously (even just seconds ago) or about something in the future. How often have we driven someplace, arrived, and not remembered anything about the trip because our minds were someplace else? We have about 50,000 thoughts a day, of which 98% are the same as the thoughts we had yesterday and 80% are negative! These negative thoughts result in stress and irritability,...

Heatstroke can Kill – Keep Cool!

07/11/2017

  Heatstroke can impair or kill your pet. Knowing the symptoms can help! As we enter the hottest part of summer in the northern hemisphere, it’s important to keep an eye on your pets to make sure they are not overheating. Heatstroke is not a mere inconvenience. It can lead to damage to the brain, liver, heart, and nervous system. Conditions that increase the risk of heat stroke include leaving pets in a hot vehicle, humid conditions, lack of drinking water, obesity, and overexertion. Overexertion and heatstroke can occur while walking, jogging or running, or during rigorous play.  Dogs with short muzzles, thick fur, and preexisting medical conditions, as well as the old and young are particularly vulnerable. According to this article by Dr. Karen Becker, symptoms of overheating and heatstroke include – Heavy panting or rapid breathing Excessive thirst Glazed eyes Vomiting, bloody diarrhea Bright or dark red tongue or gums Staggering, stumbling Elevated body temperature Weakness, collapse Increased pulse and heartbeat Seizures Excessive drooling Unconsciousness Dogs suffering heatstroke should be removed immediately from the hot environment and taken to a veterinarian for care. If you must care for the dog yourself, do the following – Put your dog...

Take a walk!

06/13/2017

Obesity is one of the five most common chronic diseases in dogs and cats. The two best ways to combat obesity are portion control and exercise.  Regular exercise, including at least one 20 minute walk a day, will go a long way in improving your dog’s health, as well as your relationship with your dog. Longer walks are even better, but be sure to increase your walk time and pace slowly, giving you and your dog time to build your endurance. Some dogs and owners might even need to start with less than 20 minutes daily.  Keep in mind, that unless you dog is elderly or in poor health, walking alone may not be adequate exercise, but, it is a GOOD START! If you’d like more information on walking with your dog, leash etiquette, and walking the exuberant dog, check out The Whole Dog Journal (http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/ ). Enter the term walking in their search engine and you will be rewarded with a long list of the resources they’ve prepared on the topic.    Tweet

Degenerative Myelopathy

06/06/2017

While there is no standard treatment for degenerative myelopathy (DM), a neurologic disorder that causes muscle weakness and paralysis, there are valuable alternative or holistic therapies available. Inheritance Pattern: Canine DM is an inherited progressive disease of the spinal cord that begins with weakness in the rear legs and, ultimately, paralysis of all four legs. To be affected, a dog must inherit 2 copies of the gene. Dogs with one copy are not affected but can pass the gene onto offspring. If two carriers are mated, the odds of producing an affected offspring is 25%. Genetic testing is available to determine if a dog is at risk of being affected (carries 2 mutant genes), is a carrier (carries one mutant gene), or is clear of the gene (carries no mutant genes). The age at onset of DM is 8 to 13 years, but some dogs develop symptoms at a younger age and others at an older age. Breeds Affected:  Approximately 43 different breeds have been found to be at risk. The highest risk is in German Shepherd Dogs. Other affected breeds are the Belgian Sheepdog, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Labrador Retriever, Old English Sheepdog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Weimaraner, Welsh Corgi...

Dog Park Safety

05/16/2017

While dog parks can be a wonderful place for doggie fun, exercise, and socialization, pets using dog parks are at an elevated risk of injury. Head trauma is the most common dog park injury, but sprains, lacerations, bites, kennel cough, insect bites, and heatstroke are also common. Dr. Karen Becker offers 10 dog park safety tips. Click here to read. Pick the right park for your dog. Avoid parks with too many dogs, inattentive owners, aggressive pet behavior, and piles of poop.  If an off-leash park, it should have a double-gate entry, provide poop bags and poop disposal containers, have separate areas for large and small dogs, have plenty of room to run, have a sheltered area, and have dog-friendly fountains. Age matters. Don’t bring a puppy less than 4 months old. Current rabies immunization (or titers) is advised. Avoid the park on very hot days, especially during peak temperature hours. Teach your dog basic commands (e.g., come, sit, stay, leave it) before introducing him to a dog park and verify he will follow the commands in the park environment. Bring leash, poop bags, cell phone (for emergencies) and know how to break up a dog fight. Pay attention at...

Three Keys to Having a Healthy, Happy, Long-Lived Dog

05/10/2017

The keys to canine health, happiness, and long life are detoxification, proper nourishment, and spinal alignment. Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM talks about using these principles to keep his own dog, as well as his canine patients, happy, healthy, and long-lived. Our pets are constantly bombarded with toxins from the environment (e.g., air, water and soil pollution, cleaning products, pesticides, fertilizers, other chemicals), pharmaceuticals (either given purposely or as environmental contaminants), metabolic toxins, and even encounters with toxic people and animals (e.g., abusive situations). Detoxification is a natural process in all living things and requires supplying essential nutrients to fuel the process. Because of our factory farming practices and the fact that our soil is depleted, most foods do not contain adequate minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. These should be replaced via supplementation. However, care must be taken when selecting food and supplements, as many can actually add to the toxic burden. Finally, spinal alignment is an essential part of wellness. The spine is the energy highway that supports all body organs and functions and a congested spine can lead to illness. Listen to this YouTube video from Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM where he explains each of these factors and how they...

Growing Family and Shifting Jobs

04/26/2017

  This winter has been a busy one… the family is growing and Kota is going to have more jobs to do. Not only are the puppies gaining a ‘Dad’ when I get married this summer, they are going to be gaining a two-legged sibling this fall. Although Kota figured out something is different, he is not quite sure what is going on. All he is sure of is that he is having more fun as his new ‘Dad’ has started running and he gets to join him. Kota takes a different toy with him each time, first it was a football, then a Frisbee, and the last time it was a lid from a 5-gallon bucket. This new routine will hopefully help in the months to come. Annie has been slowly taking over Kota’s role in working for me. She is very protective and doesn’t want to leave my side, so Kota has been letting her work.    Tweet

CATequette (Cat Etiquette)

04/18/2017

Cat people just seem to know how to approach a cat, but dog people sometimes need a little help! Greeting CATequette. ‘First date’ Do’s and Don’ts Do’s Use food or a toy to entice the cat to interact Try a slow, intentional blink to signal that you don’t mean any harm Don’ts Don’t make the first move! Don’t make eye contact! Don’t grope the cat! Don’t hover!   When it comes to touching…  Do’s When petting, use an gentle, open hand and keep to the back, shoulders, neck and top of head Allow the cat to decide if you can touch or hold! Don’ts Don’t poke, pull, or grab Don’t touch paws, tail or tummy! Don’t make sudden moves, grab, or restrain the cat!   Thanks to our friend Dr. Karen Becker with Mercola Healthy Pets for these hints. Read more about proper CATequette.    Tweet

Why is Sperm Quality Declining in Humans and Dogs?

04/11/2017

Humans and dogs share a common problem – a trend toward declining sperm quality. In both cases, environmental chemicals have been identified as a likely culprit. A decline in sperm quality in humans has been discussed for decades and new data in dogs demonstrate similar concerns. Many have suggested that declining sperm quality is due to the endocrine disrupting effects of environmental chemicals. New evidence from research in dogs provides evidence to support this.  Importantly, it has been suggested that the dog may serve as a “sentinel for humans” in that they share the same environment, are exposed to the same toxins, and have the same health problems. Studies conducted in the 1970s in humans demonstrated that occupational exposure to pesticides can impair male fertility. It is likely that dogs are affected similarly. More recent research conducted in intact adult male dogs demonstrates that the quality of sperm has fallen significantly over a 26-year period. Moreover, the decline in semen quality was associated with an increased risk of cryptorchidism in offspring of stud dogs with poor semen quality.  Sperm from intact dogs and testes from neutered dogs were found to contain chemicals used as flame retardants and in plastics (both...

Food As Medicine

03/21/2017

“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” Hippocrates, 400 BC   While food has long been recognized as a powerful factor in health and wellness, most of us ignore Hippocrates’ advice when it comes to feeding ourselves and our pets. We opt for highly processed fast food, all the while promising ourselves that tomorrow will be different, that the food we’ve selected isn’t really all that bad, and that we just don’t have the time or money to do things any differently. Many of us won’t seriously consider adjusting our diet or that of our pet until a health issue crops up. However, by the time a health issue is evident, it may have been developing for months, years, or even decades. A healthful diet now can reduce the risk of disease in the future.   When it comes to feeding our pets, the use of fast food has been taken to the extreme and kibble has become the predominant food source. If you have any doubt about the power of food in achieving health and wellness, take a look at our cases studies. Read Wendy Volhard’s case describing how switching to a raw food...

7 Easy Energy Hacks for a Supercharged Body

03/14/2017

  Are there tricks that can increase your energy and performance — that can supercharge your body? Yes, and the answer may be in something called ‘energy hacking’.  Energy hacking is optimizing your performance, health, and wellbeing with the help of technology and biological tools. We live in a fast-paced world of Working long hours Moving our bodies less Eating factory-farmed, instant, or fast food Living under artificial light Spending hours each day looking at computer screens, cell phones, or tablets Living in a world of Wi-Fi signals and cell towers Breathing and consuming polluted air, water and food Traveling long distances by air and being exposed to radiation These things drain our energy. The body need abundant free-flowing energy for good health and optimal performance. Fortunately, there are a variety of things that can supercharge our energy and bring the body back into alignment. Here are seven easy hacks, many of which can be used for your pet too. HACK #1 – Water. When you saw ‘water,’ I bet you thought I was going to say drink more water. Not exactly. You can boost your energy by drinking ‘charged’ water. We grew up thinking that water could exist only...

March 2017 Tip – Puppy Pushups!

02/28/2017

The less mental and physical activity your dog has, the more mischief he tends to get into. To help counteract his boredom, consider teaching your dog some new activities that will exercise both his brain and his body. One activity I like is the puppy push-up. It is fun for you and your dog and helps to reinforce the bond between you.  When your dog gets pushy for attention and won’t leave you alone, have him do a few push-ups. A push up is a sit, followed by a lie down, and then back to a sit, with this sequence repeated several times. There are numerous videos on the web teaching puppy push-ups. This is one of my favorites.    Tweet

WARNING – US Life Expectancy Declines!

02/08/2017

US life expectancy declined in 2015 due to rising fatalities from chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and dementia, as well as drug overdose and accidents. The number 1 killer is heart disease, for which a plant-based diet has been shown to be highly effective (https://goo.gl/Equh6q). Per the American Heart Association, heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases account for about one in every three deaths in the US. This, despite the availability of increasingly more sophisticated medical procedures and medications to treat people with cardiovascular diseases. The problem is we are avoiding the one intervention that has been proven to reverse heart disease – a plant based diet. Healthcare providers do not put enough emphasis on educating patients about their ability to control heart disease through diet. Moreover, the cultural tendency to eat fast food and prepared foods beginning in early childhood, makes it difficult for Americans to embrace healthier plant-based choices and has helped to shift these diagnoses to increasingly younger people. This short video explores the data showing the decline in US health expectancy. Video courtesy of Lenny Bernstein of The Washington Post December 8, 2016    Tweet