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.

Dog with a Job – Fun on the Ice tracking Muskrats and Coyote


Last weekend, we had a doggie guest all weekend and the dogs had a blast. The weather was warmer and the water was still frozen over, so the dogs had to check things out on the ice. Of interest were two muskrat dens and the coyote tracks leading up to each one. Kota was quick to point out the coyote sign to me and had all the other dogs pointing out sign before too long. Coyote mating season is upon us and they are marking everywhere leaving calling cards and trying to stake out the territory again, including out on the ice. Kota is doing well pointing out sign all over the property here. Soon we will be able to head out and try to find sign other places. Muskrat Den   Tweet

March 2016 Tip – The Science of Happiness


This one’s for the human part of the people-pet partnership. Happiness is good for us and our pets and there is one sure way to find happiness – stop complaining! Did you know that thoughts reshape our brain and our reality? The more we think the same thought, the brain changes structure to make it easier for us to think that thought again. And, the more we think that thought, the more it becomes our default personality, intelligence, skill, aptitude, behavior. So, if a person falls into a pattern of complaining, complaining will become his default behavior and belief. If, on the other hand, a person strives to see the good or happy side of events, he will reshape his brain to make happiness his default behavior. But, the impact goes beyond happiness. Negativity and complaining cause stress and stress causes the body to release cortisol and too much cortisol will interfere with learning and memory, lower immunity, increase weight and blood pressure and generally make a person sick and, ultimately, lower his life expectancy. So, be happy! Please visit these links to learn more about the science of happiness and the biology of beliefs.    Tweet

Half Dose Vaccines for Small Dogs


The same vaccine dose is recommended regardless of size of the dog. The premise is that the immune system response is the same, regardless of size. New research suggests this may not be true and that half doses of the distemper/parvovirus vaccine may be appropriate for small breed dogs. This is important because the smaller dose may reduce the risk of vaccine side effects in small dogs. In a pilot study conducted by Dr. Jean Dodds, 13 adult small breed dogs between the ages of 3 and 9 years and weighing 12 pounds or less were evaluated for the serum antibody titer response following the administration of half doses of the distemper/parvovirus vaccine. Titer levels at 4 weeks and 6 months after vaccine administration were elevated compared to pre-vaccine administration, reflecting immunity in all of the dogs. A larger study enrolling more dogs may be required to verify these results. To read the full study, visit These findings are important because vaccines are known to cause adverse events, especially in smaller dogs. The ability to administer a half dose MAY reduce the risk of these adverse reactions. More research is required to determine if the incidence of adverse reactions...

Country of Origin of Processed Food


Despite a US Address on the Label, The Country of Origin for Some Ingredients in Your and Your Pet’s Food is Probably China. Do you eat NutriGrain bars? Sara Lee bread? Do you feed your dog or cat dry or canned food? While the label shows an address in the US, did you know these products contain ingredients sourced from many other countries, including China and India? In many cases, ingredients sourced from outside the US are used in the final manufacturing of processed food. This last step is done in the US and the food labeled as made in the US, with no reference to the fact that some of the ingredients were obtained from outside the US. This is a problem because the quality of ingredients sourced from some countries is in question. Failure of processed food labels to divulge the source (also called the country of origin) of raw materials is a big issue in the pet and human processed food industries. A lawsuit was filed on January 7, 2016 against some pet food manufacturers for allegedly mislabeling products as made in the US when ingredients were actually sourced elsewhere. A University of Texas study showed similar...

February 2016 Tip – Brush your dog’s teeth


Brush your dog’s teeth. Good oral health is as important for your dog as it is for you. Unless you routinely feed your dog raw meaty bones, raw chicken or other animal parts containing bones or cartilage, you will probably need to routinely brush his teeth. Avoid the use of rawhide and most synthetic chew products as they can be harmful. Daily brushing is best, but at a minimum you should brush at least twice weekly. Take a few minutes to inspect your dog’s teeth. You’ve got some brushing to do unless they are white and sparkling all the way to the gum line! You will need a good doggy toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for your dog – don’t use human toothpaste. While there are many alternatives to doggy toothpaste, you should check them out closely to make sure they are safe to use. One alternative that is safe is coconut oil – dogs love the taste and it works well. Coconut oil is particularly useful in dogs with gum disease as it can help to reduce bacteria in the mouth. If your dog is not cooperative initially, just do the best you can. If you keep at it,...

January Tip – Reducing Vet Visits


Frequent vet visits can quickly drain the wallet. Try these simple do-it-yourself tips to reduce the number of vet trips. Brush. Comb, Inspect and Bathe! Routinely brush and comb your pet and do a quick inspection of the skin to make sure it looks healthy. By identifying skin conditions early, you may be able to treat them a home with a bath and therapeutic rinse. Rinses should be applied from the neck down, with care taken to avoid the head, especially the eyes. The rinse should not be washed off. After allowing the solution to remain on the skin for a few minutes, the pet should be towel dried. Examples of good therapeutic rinses are vinegar and water (good for itchy and smelly skin; do not use if the skin is broken or red and irritated as it can sting) and povidone iodine in water (good for hotspots and infected skin; the solution will discolor white hair and stain clothing, but the stain can be washed out with water). Inspect and clean the ears. During routine brushing and combing, inspect the ears for dirt and wax. Do a quick wipe of the inside of the exterior ear with apple cider...

What’s in a 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 male dog names for 2015 are Max, Charlie, Buddy, Cooper, Jack, Rocky, Toby, Duke, Bear, and Tucker. Top female dog names for 2015 are Bella, Lucy, Daisy, Molly, Lola, Sadie, Maggie, Sophie, Chloe, and Bailey. In this short video, Alexandra Horowitz, a dog cognition expert, interviews dog owners about the names of their pets.      Tweet

CATequette (Cat Etiquette)


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. To read more about proper CATequette, go to    Tweet

Best Vitamin Supplements for your Pet


Are synthetic vitamins as effective as natural vitamins? If you review the research, you can find arguments supporting both. However, as reported by Dogs Naturally, many synthetic vitamins are made from industrial waste products from the oil and coal industries and most come from China or India, where there is little, if any manufacturing oversight. In our opinion, it is best to get vitamins from locally sourced whole foods, if possible. Not only will the vitamins themselves be of higher quality, but whole foods also contain other plant compounds with potential benefit. Let’s look at vitamin C as an example. Research shows that the bioavailability (the amount absorbed) after a single portion of orange juice and a synthetic vitamin C drink, both containing 150 mg of vitamin C, is the same. However, only the natural vitamin C protects DNA from oxidative damage. In contrast, other research demonstrates no difference between natural and synthetic vitamin C when other endpoints are measured. Unfortunately, research showing differences between natural and synthetic vitamins is of little help, so we need to rely on common sense to decide what is best. Generally, vitamins and minerals are interdependent and work best when consumed in combination, as...

December 2015 Tip – Holiday-Food Risks to Your Pet


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...

Your Fearful Memories Can Haunt Your Descendants


There is scientific evidence to suggest that some fears can be inherited from one generation to the next. Can the same be true of anxiety, addictions and other behaviors? What about our passions, can they be inherited too? Conventional wisdom says that inheritance is achieved only through genetic transfer of information. However, the science of epigenetics demonstrates that environmental factors, including thoughts and experiences, can profoundly affect how genes are expressed. This occurs without actually changing the make-up of the genes themselves. Importantly, while genetic changes typically take many generations, epigenetic changes in gene expression can be seen in the blink of an eye! The profound influence of environment on behavior was demonstrated in a study conducted at Emory University. While I don’t condone this type of research, the results are interesting. In this study, male mice were exposed to the scent of acetophenone, which smells like cherries or almonds, at the same time they were given a small electric shock. The mice eventually associated the scent with the shock and would shudder when exposed to acetophenone, even in the absence of the shock. The offspring of these male mice exhibited the same reaction when exposed to acetophenone, even though...

November Tip – Make Sure Your Pet’s Vital Organs are Protected During Surgery!


Check with your vet to make sure he plans to give your pet IV fluids, even during minor surgery! While IV fluids are the standard of care, not every vet uses them during every surgical procedure. The combination of anesthesia and fluid loss during surgery may make it difficult for your pet to self-regulate blood flow to important organs of the body. Your vet may tell you that he monitors blood pressure and oxygen levels during surgery to make sure your pet is getting the right amount of blood to his organs. However, according to veterinarians from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, blood pressure and oxygen levels do not tell the whole story and despite these being normal, your pet can develop complications of organ damage after he recovers from the surgery. For more information on this topic, visit our friends at Mercola Healthy Pets:    Tweet

Combining Gene Therapy with Bioenergetic Therapy May be the Key


Time and again, the initial positive results seen with gene therapy dissipate over time. The reason may be that the information or energetic pattern that caused the disruption to the gene originally, may, over time, cause disruptions to the new gene. The application of bioenergetic therapy could change the information and correct the energetic patterns being sent to the new gene, allowing the long-term benefits of gene therapy to be realized.   Genes that don’t work properly can lead to disease. By replacing the faulty gene or adding a new gene, gene therapy alters the body’s genes in an attempt to treat or prevent disease. While gene therapy has been heralded as the medicine of the future, successes have been relatively few. Even when successful in the short term, long-term success has been elusive. I believe that the lack of success may be due to pre-existing information and energetic patterns that act on the new gene in the same way they acted on the original gene. Over time, the information and patterns alter the functioning of the new gene, causing it to ‘fail’ in a way similar to the failure seen with the old gene it replaced. Faulty information and...

Healthy Dog Blog – ALERT: Beware the Dismantling of the Natural Pet Food Industry


So, you say you feed your pet a top-quality natural dog food made by a small natural pet food company that uses only the highest quality ingredients? You might want to check again. Mass-marketing pet food giants are buying up more and more of those natural pet food companies. And, these industry giants are becoming adept at hiding their acquisitions. They often continue to market the food under the name of the original natural pet food company, without any mention that the pet food giant is now at the helm. And, don’t rely on the label to let you know when the content has been changed either. Pet food manufacturers often are permitted to use up existing labels and packaging before switching to updated labels. Is it possible that natural pet food manufacturers stock up on labels and packaging as part of the acquisition deal? The best place to review the current pet food label is at the manufacturer’s website and not on the package itself. Photo credit: Mccrackens Pet One reason mass-marketing pet food giants are buying up natural pet food companies is because of the 15% compound annual growth rate over the 2010-2014 period in the natural pet...

October 2015 Tip – Brush or Comb 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