March 25, 2013

The Most Popular Natural Pet Treatments

Filed under: Holistic Pet Care — Tags: , — 1st Pet Naturals @ 9:00 am

Natural Pet

The word “holistic” is often used interchangeably with homeopathy, naturopathy, natural healing, and herbal remedies. While it is not wrong to refer to these treatments as “holistic,” the treatments don’t accurately define what holistic means.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary holistic is defined as:

“Relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.”

While according to Dictionary.com, holistic means:

“Identifying with principles of holism in a system of therapeutics, especially one considered outside the mainstream of scientific medicine, as naturopathy or chiropractic, and often involved nutritional measures.”

Putting these definitions together and combining them with my existing knowledge, holistic means to look at one’s health as an entire system and to not treat one’s health with artificial treatments (i.e. synthetic drugs). It’s all about creating balance with one’s physical, mental, and emotional health, because an imbalance between these factors is what creates disease.

Stemming from these definitions, “holistic” cannot be considered as just homeopathy or as just herbal remedies. Rather, “holistic” encompasses many treatments that attempt to restore physical, mental, and emotional balance without the use of allopathic medicine.

Over the next two weeks I will describe the most popular holistic pet treatments to you. They are as follows:

• Acupuncture
• Chiropractic Therapy
• Naturopathy
• Herbal Medicine
• Bach Flower Remedies
• Homeopathy

 

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March 19, 2013

Dog and Cat Kidney Disease Health Awareness and Support

Kidney failure in dogs - kidney failure in catsMarch is National Kidney Month, and for that reason I would like to focus on bringing awareness to holistic support options for the prevention of kidney disease, and improvement of kidney health in cats and dogs.

Kidney disease is the second leading cause of death in cats. That is pretty staggering, considering not many cat owners or even dog owners are aware of the signs, treatment, support options, and prevention methods for pets with kidney disease.

The way in which the kidneys work in the human body, is the same process by which they work in your cat or dog. The kidney’s main function is to eliminate waste and to balance fluids in our blood. Unless you are feeding your pet a natural and healthy diet, their kidneys are working overtime in an attempt to filter:

• Chemical preservatives from commercial pet food and treats
• Insecticides present in pet treatments like flea and tick control
• Other chemicals and pollutants that animals are exposed to daily, like drinking water

Symptoms that your cat or dog may display if they are having issues with their kidneys:

• Increased thirst and urination
• Loss of appetite and weight
• Vomiting and diarrhea
• Mouth and toungue ulcers
• High blood levels of metabolic waste
• Dull coats and heavy shedding/hair loss
• Urine smell in breath

There can already be significant damage to kidneys – up to 75% – before the symptoms of kidney disease are physically evident, so it is crucial to know whether your pet’s kidney health is in decline. This is why it is very important that your pet receive annual check-ups, which include getting blood work done. I believe that once your pet exhibits blood indicators of deteriorating kidney health that is in the high end of a normal range, it is important to begin taking your pet’s kidney health more seriously.

A simple measure you can take to aid in the health of your pet’s kidneys is very simple – change their diet. The goal of a pet kidney-friendly diet is to reduce metabolic wastes, protein, and phosphorous. This will diminish the stress on the kidneys, which can aid in their healing process. Protein should not be completely eliminated from a pet’s diet, but instead you should provide your cat or dog with high quality proteins in small servings. Such protein would include turkey, chicken, and steamed greens.

You can also supplement your pet’s diet with vitamin A, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A will lubricate the kidney tissue; vitamin C is a natural diuretic; and omega-3 will help reduce kidney inflammation, reduce cholesterol, and increase the blood flow in the kidneys.

I also recommend that you include a probiotic in your pet’s food, so that you can supplement your companion’s physical health with good bacteria. This will help the kidneys with waste elimination.

Natural remedies to go along with a kidney-friendly diet include Juniper Berry and Parsley Root.

As I previously mentioned, annual check-ups with your vet and having blood-work done are necessary to ensure your furry friend stays healthy and happy. In addition, always inform your vet about any herbal supplements you may want to give your pet.

Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

 

 

Dr. Loridawn Gordon

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March 12, 2013

4 Best Ways to Combat Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Filed under: Dog Anxiety,Dr. Loridawn's Lessons — Tags: — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 10:00 am

Have you noticed that your dog has trouble coping when left on their own – even if you leave the room for just five minutes? Do you notice a sudden change in your pet’s behavior when you are with them, compared to when you are not with them? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, it’s possible that your pet is overly dependent on you and has developed separation anxiety.Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Separation anxiety in dogs is quite common. Naturally, dogs are pack animals and are instinctively programmed to wanting to be around their pack. I feel separation anxiety comes from lack of leadership in our pack; we failed to teach our dog the skills he needs in being alone.

Common traits that a dog will display when they experience separation anxiety are:

• Crying/whining
• Pacing
• Shaking/trembling
• Barking/howling
• Destructive scratching/ chewing
• Desperate attempts to get out of the house

To expect that our dogs will happily be alone and not bored is a very high expectation, because as a pack dogs naturally would spend hours and hours together. Instead, we need to teach self control to our pets. It’s common for pet owners to want to comfort and spend time with their cute companions, but it’s important to teach our pets to sit, wait for their meals, and be comfortable in their own environment.

In combating separation anxiety, and training your pet overall, I believe that consistency, reinforcement, and discipline are the most important factors that you can practice with your dog. Eliminating separation anxiety will take time and patience, and should be done in phases.

Begin by teaching your dog to be alone on his bed, mat, or crate for small periods of time without eye contact or touch from you. When your pet displays a calm and relaxed attitude, you may reward them with gentle affirmations or treats. As your pet advances in overcoming anxiety in small spaces for short amounts of time, you can start leaving them alone in different rooms, and then gradually increase the time you spend out of the room. Once they overcome their anxiety with being in a room alone, start to leave the house for a few minutes at a time. When leaving your house for longer periods of time, you can also keep your dog entertained and busy by hiding toys or scents around the house. This will not only keep your dog busy, but he will hardly notice that you are gone.

Remember, you don’t want to solve all of your pet’s problems. Instead you want to teach them right from wrong, and help them overcome their fears and anxiety. Here are four tips to keep in mind:

1. Use a firm voice. If you keep your voice firm and unemotional, you communicate a relaxed tone to your dog. A relaxed tone will also help him relax; and over excited tone or using a high pitched (think: baby-talk) or comforting voice (think: “it’s okay, it’s okay) may send the wrong message; you are teaching your dog that you agree with their behavior and how they are reacting.

2. Be assertive and calm. You pet is able to sense your energy. By remaining assertive and calm, you will give off a strong energy, and your pet is more likely to listen to you.

3. Relax your dog. If your dog is anxious and excited, use your firm voice to tell them to sit. When they have listened and you feel that your pet has calmed down, then leave the room or house. It’s important to address your pet’s anxiety, so that they learn how to behave when you are not around.

4. Only reward a calm dog. You do not want to reward your dog with treats or affirmations when they are behaving anxiously. This will give your pet the wrong impression. By running to their rescue every time they experience discomfort, your pet will interpret this as a reward, and this action will only reinforce their bad behavior. Who’s now in control? Remember, you want to be in control, so only reward a calm dog.

Remember that separation anxiety is very common. With training, dogs are able to adapt, especially as puppies. In addition to training your dog to be comfortably alone, you should also provide regular exercise, practice obedience skills, and have realistic expectations. You may also choose to provide your dog with Stress Ease during anxiety training, with herbs such as valerian root, calcium, goth kola, kava kava, and vitamin B12.

Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

 

 

Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

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March 5, 2013

Mythbuster – Your Dog’s Mouth is Not Cleaner Than Yours

Filed under: Dog Skin Problems,Dr. Loridawn's Lessons — Tags: — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 10:00 am

Observe your dogOral - Dog Health’s oral behavior. They clean themselves, lick other animals’ behinds, and are not particularly discriminating about what they put in their mouths. Unless your dog has taken to regular tooth brushing and flossing, don’t think your best friend’s mouth is cleaner than yours.

Dental hygiene is often forgotten since other pet health concerns often take center stage. Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, could be a sign of lack of dental hygiene in pets. However, halitosis is often a sign of digestive issues (a topic I’ll explore next month). Regardless of the cause of bad breath, it is important to care for your dog’s teeth. Dental hygiene is important for your dog’s overall health because it can affect the health of their kidneys and other organs.  There is a long list of gum, mouth, and other systemic diseases that we want to prevent in our furry friends.

How well do you think you know your dog? Let’s start a little quiz. How many teeth do you think your dog has? The answer: An adult dog has forty-two teeth. It’s best that you start paying attention to those forty-two pearly whites. Your dog may not like you looking into his/her mouth, but it is important to regularly check their gums and their teeth.   Once you become familiar with what is normal, you will more easily detect changes, such as bleeding gums, abscesses, broken and missing teeth, and objects stuck between your pet’s teeth which could benefit your dog’s long term health.

While it is tempting to go into your bathroom medicine cabinet and grab the first tube of toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth, stop yourself.  Human toothpaste should never be used on your dog because of the fluoride. Fluoride should not be swallowed by you or your pet. Humans learn to spit toothpaste out, but dogs don’t know any better than swallow it. Instead, go to a pet store and purchase a toothbrush and toothpaste that has been designed for a dog. You can even choose flavours in toothpaste ranging from poultry, beef, seafood, and even peanut butter.

Tooth brushing is a process with your dog that cannot be rushed. Start with a small step each day. Reassure your pet with love and attention. It is only necessary to brush the outside of their teeth because their tongues will take care of the inside. They may not like the taste of toothpaste or the feel of a brush in his/her mouth, so perhaps just brush one tooth on the first day. It is important to not rush the tooth brushing process, so take your time with your pet and make the experience fun and rewarding. It may take anywhere from a month or two for your dog to get use to brushing his/her teeth, but eventually it will become a part of their daily routine.

If you require more information, consult your veterinarian on the benefits of professional teeth cleaning. Your pet’s dental hygiene is a crucial part in keeping them healthy and happy.

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Dr. Loridawn Gordon

 

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Disclaimer: 1st Pet Naturals is an education resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet is taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.