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.

WARNING – US Life Expectancy Declines!


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 ( 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

Step by Step – February 2017 Tip: Pamper Your Pet on Valentine’s Day!


Check out our special presentation to celebrate your fur family members this Valentine’s Day!      Tweet

Something is Off with my Dog – How to Take a Health Inventory


It isn’t uncommon for owners to get the sense that something’s just not right with their pet, but be unable to characterize the problem so they can tell the veterinarian. Sometimes, changes in your pet’s health are subtle and occur over weeks or months. It can require all of your attention and perception to identify what has changed. We’ve developed a simple health inventory to help guide you in characterizing your pet’s health. This list can be used for a monthly assessment of your pet’s health or reviewed prior to going to the veterinarian so that you can be sure to tell him or her about all the changes your pets is experiencing. The more information your vet has, the easier he or she can diagnose any underlying conditions. What is your pet’s general demeanor? Has his level of activity changed? Has his interest in playing changed? Does he tire more easily? Does he sleep through the night? Are his eyes bright or dull? Does he have a discharge from his eyes? What color is the discharge? Does he hug the wall or the furniture when he walks? Has his hearing changed? Does he paw at his ears? Does he...

January 2017 Tip – Grooming Your Dog


Regular brushing and/or combing of your dog’s hair is important for several reasons. It helps to build a relationship between you and your dog, improves your dog’s circulation, keeps your dog looking tidy, removes loose and dead hair (leaving less hair to find its way to floors and furniture), and allows for early identification of skin problems. Different techniques and tools may be required for grooming different breeds of dogs, so check breed books, ask breed or grooming experts, or visit the internet for tips on how to groom dogs of different breeds and with different hair types. A good general overview can be found at If your dog isn’t cooperative at first, don’t give up. Do a little grooming each day and most dogs will eventually allow you to do a full grooming in one session!    Tweet

Dog with a Job – Practice Makes Perfect!


We go out and work on finding scat with all three dogs, with the hope that Jake and Annie will learn from Kota. Finally, after many months, Jake and Annie are learning to find coyote scat! Jake was the first one to find this pile of fresh scat while Annie was the first one to locate the actual coyote. Kota has taught them well. I now have three dogs that will work together to find coyotes for me. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, so working with each other should help strengthen them as a team (and the cookies they get when we find the scat or scent post doesn’t hurt either).    Tweet

Why Dogs Should Dance


Dogs who participate in freestyle competition are exceptional all-around athletes. They are more optimally conditioned and have greater flexibility than dogs participating in other performance events. So, get out there and dance! Canine Freestyle is a dance performed by a dog and his handler moving in a coordinated pattern to music. According to the Canine Freestyle Federation, training for canine freestyle requires respect, teamwork, creativity, and artistry. ”It provides an excellent medium to illustrate the conformation and movement of the dog. The reach, drive and beauty of an athletic, trained dog moving to music can take one’s breath away.” Training for canine freestyle requires a variety of movements: heel work, turns, pivots, front work, lateral work, distance work, pace changes, and variations in movements, including circles, serpentines, and spirals. When these moves are combined with music, they are among the most beautiful canine performances one can witness. In addition to the physical or exercise benefits of canine freestyle, there is evidence that sound itself (music) has healing properties (see  Music Therapy for Pets). Music can facilitate shifts in brain waves by using entrainment. It creates order out of chaos. As an example, while those who enter a concert arena have...

December 2016 Tip – Keeping Your Pets Safe During the Holidays


The holidays are here, so please take note of these common risks lurking in the kitchen. Grapes and raisins, particularly non-organic products that are heavily sprayed with insecticides, are often featured in holiday recipes. RISK: kidney failure. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener often found in gum, mints and other candies, and baked goods. Xylitol is toxic to dogs. RISK: internal hemorrhaging and liver failure. Chocolate and cocoa contain the chemical theobromine, a caffeine-like compound that is toxic to pets and one of the most common causes of canine poisoning. The amount of theobromine is highest in dark chocolate, so be especially careful with products such as bakers and semi-sweet chocolate. Espresso beans dipped in chocolate are especially problematic, as they provide a double dose of poison (caffeine and theobromine.) RISK: vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, rapid heart rate, seizures and death. Uncooked yeast-containing dough, RISK: abdominal discomfort and potential rupturing of the stomach or bowel. Hot, aromatic liquids, such as meat drippings, soups, and gravy, can be very enticing. Keep them away for the edges of the stove, counters, or tables where your pet can easily reach them. If your pet is a climber, prevent them from using chairs for stools...

Homeopathy for People and Pets


See our list of emergency homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic remedies stimulate a person’s (or animal’s) innate healing ability. Homeopathy is recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe, gentle, deep-acting modality useful in the treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions. Homeopathy, also called homeopathic medicine, Is a holistic and natural approach to treatment of medical conditions. This method of healing is practiced in countries around the world and is the preferred method used by the British Royal family. Homeopathy treats the whole patient and does not focus directly on the medical condition itself. There are three basic principles in homeopathic medicine: like cures like and the use of a minimum dose and single remedy. Principles of Homeopathy ‘Like cures like’ is the guiding principle of homeopathy. A detailed interview is conducted during the initial assessment of the patient, the objective of which is to identify the patient’s physical, psychological, and emotional characteristics or complaints. A remedy is then selected based on the homeopathic remedy whose characteristics are most similar to those reported by the patient. A reference called the Homeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory catalogues the characteristics of each remedy and is often referred to...

Step by Step November Tip – Teach Your Dog to ‘Leave It’


Teaching the ‘leave it’ command can be very helpful and even lifesaving for your pet. The leave it command can be used in a wide range of situations. A few examples are: To interrupt your pet from picking up items from the floor that might be harmful, such as dropped medication, toys, eyeglasses, bottle caps, and dropped food, among other things. To interrupt your pet from picking up items from the ground, such as plant material, discarded food, or trash. To interrupt your pet from taking items from children or other pets (e.g., toys or food) or removing them from counters or tables. To interrupt your pet from tugging on clothing or chewing on things. To interrupt your pet from interacting with people, pets, or wildlife (e.g., engaging in playful behavior, jumping onto or attacking a pet or person, chasing a rabbit). This can be particularly helpful among the elderly or very young who may be too fragile to engage in play or when you are approached by another dog. A step-by-step guide to teaching ‘leave it’ has been published by Victoria Stilwell of You can read about it and view her video here:      Tweet

When Are Identical Twins Not Identical?


Many people think their genes control their destiny. While we have no control over the genes we inherit, we CAN alter how those genes are read. And, how they are read, has a huge role in making us who we are. The science of epigenetics has changed the way we look at the impact of how we live our lives on HOW WELL OUR LIVES ARE LIVED. The same applies to our pets.  Watch this interesting PBS video for a better understanding of how very powerful we are in controlling our genes. Our diet, lifestyle, and emotions can change how our genes are expressed and the diseases to which we are susceptible. These factors can directly and indirectly turn on and off the switches that control various chemical reactions in the body. The result is alterations in which genes are expressed and in how those genes are expressed – this is called epigenetics. As an example, identical twins are born with the exact same genetic profile. At the time of birth, their genes are nearly identically expressed.  However, as they grow older, their individual genetic characteristics (expression) begin to shift and diverge as the influence of epigenetic factors accumulates. In...

October Tip – Feed Your Dog Fresh Raw Eggs!


One way to kick-up the nutritional value of the food you are feeding your dog is to add raw eggs. Raw eggs have long been recognized as a complete food. Crack open a fresh, raw, locally-sourced or organic egg over your dog’s regular food and see him or her devour it with delight.  The shells are nutritious too – just dry them out and grind to a fine powder in a food processor, then sprinkle over the food.  You can feed raw eggs several times a week. Worried about the bacteria in a raw egg? Bacteria, especially salmonella should not be a problem as long as you are feeding fresh clean eggs that have been properly stored. Moreover, the dog’s gastrointestinal tract is designed to handle bacteria found in raw food. While you can feed cooked eggs, much of the nutrition is lost during cooking.      Tweet

Making Lawn Care PET SAFE!


Honestly, even “natural” lawn care practices can cause your pets or children some amount of harm if they ingest grass, yard clippings, or the product itself right after application. You can be safe and still have a luscious, green yard by using the least harmful products and incorporating a few new habits.  The most important step is to keep your pet and children off the newly applied yard for the recommended amount of time.  This may mean applying product on one part of the yard while keeping your pet and children on an untreated area and then reverse the process.  You can always plan to walk your dog and enjoy indoor activities with the children for the day or two after treatment to decrease the potential for harm if a whole yard treatment is your easiest option.  This is especially important if you apply, or have a company apply treatments that contain chemicals for which studies indicate potential downstream harm. Guest blogger Jeanette Miller of 42morrow gives some helpful hints for a safer, greener lawn. Some suggestions for yard maintenance that should be low impact to your pet as well as to the environment: Soil test your yard Many states...

Dog with a Job – Problem Solving 101


Even when we are not working, you have to keep the mind sharp. Kota gets bored easily and it’s a challenge to keep his mind working. One thing that is effective is making him work for his toy. The toy gets placed in a variety of locations and he has to figure out how to get it without damaging anything. On this trip, we were camping for the weekend and decided to place his toy on the vestibule of the tent. He tried to figure out the “puzzle” for a few minutes and once he figured it out, he was able to quickly get the toy every time. Kota is so toy oriented, he even brings one along when we are out training. This time it was a stick that he found, sometimes it’s the Frisbee, sometimes a ball….    Tweet

September Tip – Joyful play = good health


Play a game of fetch or tug…joyful play and love are two of the most important ingredients of good health. What better way to show love for your dog than to engage him or her in a game that involves interacting with you! Some dogs, like retrievers, instinctively enjoy a game of fetch, while a game of tug of war may come more naturally to a terrier. Many dogs enjoy both. Not only do games such as these bring joy to you and your dog, they also give both of you some beneficial exercise and offer your dog great mental stimulation. If you are unsure how to engage your dog in play, google ‘teach your dog to fetch’ or ‘teach your dog to tug’ for some great tips.    Tweet

How did you select your dog’s name?


The power and value of our dogs and their names has long been immortalized in prose and poetry. Naming your dog can be fun and challenging. How did you select your dog’s name? If you are a breeder, how did you select your kennel name? Top names for 2016 share some similarities with last year’s list, but there are few new names and some have dropped off. Top male dog names for 2015 are Max, Charlie, Buddy, Kai, Bailey, Cooper, Sawyer, Jack, Hudson, Finn, Emerson, Rocky, Duke, Bear, Puppy, and Toby. Top female dog names for 2016 are Bella, Elsa, Stella, Lucy, Daisy, Molly, Poppy, Aurora, Maggie, Sadie, Avery, Lila, Lola, Quinn, Sophie, Ivy, Charlie, and Chloe. In this short video, Alexandra Horowitz, a dog cognition expert, interviews dog owners about the names of their pets.    Tweet