Holistic Therapy for Your Pets
By Stacy Mantle
When it comes to the health of our pets, we want to make sure they receive the best care. Natural-based care has been around for thousands of years and some of the newer treatments have found ways to combine traditional practices with modern medicine.
According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), holistic (or integrative) veterinary medicine is “the examination and diagnosis of an animal, considering all aspects of the animal’s life and employing all of the practitioner’s senses, as well as the combination of conventional and alternative (or complementary) modalities of treatment.”
Please remember that none of these practices should be administered at home or without the supervision of a veterinarian certified in his or her practice. Treatments can be just as deadly as they are effective when used improperly. For information on any of these treatments or to locate a holistic veterinarian near you, visit American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association at http://www.ahvma.org/ Here are three alternative therapies you might want to consider exploring for your pets.
Low-level Laser Therapy
Low-level laser therapy is used by alternative-care practitioners as a way to ameliorate joint pain and treat soft-tissue injuries in pets. The theory behind the therapy is that at lower levels, the laser’s light can still stimulate cells and increase blood circulation, which can in turn reduce pain signals. Recent advances in this technology have made laser units available in most veterinary offices. This can be an effective treatment for dogs, cats and horses with arthritis, tendon damage, dysplasia and inflammatory joint or soft-tissue conditions.
For more information on laser therapy, both low- and high-level, visit the American Animal Hospital Association website.
When it comes to skin conditions and natural calmants, there are few things more effective than essential oils. Lavender and chamomile can be very calming when diffused into the air and oils such as rosemary and melaleuca can be very effective in treating skin conditions. However, oils can be very dangerous and should not be used on or around pets unless under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Oils come in a variety of purity levels, which are measured by therapeutic value. Generally, the more expensive the oil is, the higher its quality (though this is not always true). Only pure oils should be used around pets. When used correctly, essential oils can be an effective treatment for many different ailments in any species.
Acupuncture has been around for more than 3,500 years and over a quarter of the world’s population uses it today. This alternative treatment was developed in China and is most often used for treating pain. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that Chi, a vital force that flows throughout the body, travels along channels of energy flow called meridians. Small-gauge needs are inserted into specific pressure points along the meridians to release the flow of energy a disease has blocked. Acupuncture has been used for everything from blocking pain to stimulating appetite. Today, many holistic veterinarians and pet owners stand by the benefits of use on pets. If you or your pet has a natural aversion to needles, you may want to explore acupressure instead.
Whichever method of alternative therapy you choose to try on your pets; be certain you only rely on the advice of those well-trained in such matters. The Internet is rife with bad advice that can potentially cause further harm to your pets. In medical matters, it is always best to rely on veterinarians and those professionally trained in holistic practices.
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com
An Assortment of Must-have Items for Dogs & Cats
Puller, a new training toy from Collar, is designed to actively engage dogs and provide enough exercise in just 15 to 20 minutes to keep them happy and healthy. Made of lightweight, odorless polymer, the rings are soft to the bite yet strong enough to withstand daily use—and they float. Puller is available in two sizes: small and large. www.puller.com/usa/
New from the Jackson Galaxy Collection by Petmate, Go Fish™ is an interactive toy that encourages cats to work for their food. Simply sprinkle cat kibble or treats among the tails and watch as they fish them into the trough. The silicon tails rotate easily to continuously change the puzzle to up the challenge and are removable for cleaning. The round tray features a melamine base with rubber feet to limit excess movement and is dishwasher safe. www.petmate.com
Planet Dog has added a new crop of Carrots to its Orbee-Tuff® Produce dog toy line. The new Carrot joins the rest of the Produce collection—the Raspberry, Strawberry, Artichoke, and Eggplant. These durable toys are made in the USA and are doggie-durable, buoyant, bouncy, minty, recyclable, non-toxic and 100 percent guaranteed. As with the rest of the Produce line, the Carrot features a Treat-Spot® perfect for stuffing with tasty morsels for a well-balanced diet. www.planetdog.com
The Fish Wobble Cat Toy from the kathy ireland® Loved Ones Collection by Worldwise was created to draw your cat’s attention with everything she loves: catnip, feathers and unpredictable movements. The well-constructed toy is 2.75 x 3.75 x 4 inches in size and features a blue chevron design. www.worldwise.com
MiracleCare®QuickFinder® nail clippers now come in cool, vibrant colors: blue, purple and green. Featuring QuickSensor technology and a convenient on/off switch, the electronic clippers are fast, safe and easy-to-use. Designed for cats, small and medium size dogs, the clippersafely takes the fear out of nail clipping and projects a green light to let you know when it is safe to clip, yellow for caution, and red when it is not safe to clip by detecting the nail quick. www.miraclecorp.com
These handsome Melamine Bowls from the Wetnoz Collection by Petmate are based on the collection’s popular stainless-steel designs. Dishwasher safe and featuring a no-skid bottom, the bowls are ideal for cats and small dogs. They are available in Wetnoz bold basic colors: indigo, hibiscus, pear, sun, snow and night. www.petmate.com
SynergyLabs’ Dental Fresh® has reformulated four of its additive solutions to better focus on different oral care needs. Puppy features an all-new, safe and gentle formula that protects and strengthens a puppy’s developing teeth and young gums. Advanced Plaque & Tartar reduces plaque and tartar build-up around the teeth and gums plus protects against the advancement of moderate to severe periodontal issues when used as part of a daily oral health care regimen. Advanced Whitening reduces surface stains, reverses discoloration and eliminates bad breath odor when used daily. Enhanced Flavor for Cats has an improved feline-specific formula with a delicious new flavor to aid in the removal of plaque and tartar build-up. And, the Original Formula protects teeth and gums, and restores fresh breath. www.synergylabs.com
ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – September 2014
As a child, Zack Morgan was always interested in how animals behave and learn. He was particularly drawn to the ocean and marine animals. This interest continued into his adult life, and in college Zack majored in biology with an emphasis on marine studies. During this time, he also began working part time at the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue in Reinholds, Pa. It is there that Zack really developed a bond with dogs and realized dog training might be the fulfilling and rewarding career he was looking for. Zack’s manager at the rescue is a current ABC Mentor Trainer and encouraged Zack to become a certified dog trainer through ABC. He signed up for the Dog Obedience Program shortly thereafter and has done wonderfully so far. Zack is currently finishing up his externship and is on track to graduate with honors. Continue reading
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
Before Andrew Richards decided he wanted to be a dog trainer, he worked in the construction industry. After being laid off, he had some time on his hands and decided to really think about what he truly wanted to do as a career. While contemplating what he would do next in life, he looked down at his dogs and decided then and there that he wanted to work with dogs. In Andrew’s own words, “It’s all about what will make a happy life and, for me, that’s dogs.” After deciding to do something in the animal industry, he began researching online and found Animal Behavior College. He enrolled in the Dog Obedience Program shortly thereafter and is now on track to graduate in the next few months. Continue reading
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
Erica Rajski lives with her family in La Porte, Ind. She is currently completing her externship with Sue’s Small Stuff Dog Grooming in Mishawaka, Ind. where she has been grooming with Sue and her staff since April 2014. Despite the 45-mile drive and her busy full-time job and schedule, Erica is putting in hard work every Saturday at Sue’s and loves every minute of it. Continue reading
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– September 2014
Carolyn Chabot, or Carrie as she likes to go by, lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She just completed her externship for the Animal Behavior College Grooming Program at Hollywoof Grooming Parlor. The owner of Hollywoof Grooming Parlor, Mavis, loved having Carrie in the salon and even offered her a part-time grooming position there, which Carrie eagerly accepted. Continue reading
Products for Your Canine Companions
Unwanted barking can be stressful to owners and bothersome for neighbors. One solution to this dilemma is the First Alert Bark Genie Automatic Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent. When barking occurs, the device emits a high-pitched sound, stopping the barking within seconds. Effective up to 50-feet away, the device can be used both indoors and outdoors and can be mounted to a wall, fence, post or tree. It can be used with most breeds, and the level of sound sensitivity is adjustable to three levels based on the distance between the dog and the deterrent. www.firstalertforpets.com
The Orbee-Tuff® Diamond Plate Double-Tuff® with Treat Spot® from Planet Dog is made from doggie-durable, bouncy, buoyant and mint-scented Orbee-Tuff® material. Its asymmetrical “doubled” design makes for unpredictable bounces, which can add to a dog’s mental stimulation. The “diamond-plate” design is extra durable for even most aggressive chewers. And, the toy’s innovative design includes a uniquely reinforced Treat Spot that allows for interactive fun. The toy is available in three sizes and three colors, and like all toys made with the Orbee-Tuff compound, it is made in the USA, non-toxic, recyclable and 100 percent guaranteed. www.planetdog.com
ecoFlex InnPlace End Table Pet Crates from New Age Pet feature stainless-steel bars to prevent dogs from chewing and a removable table top for easy cleaning. The crates are made of moisture-resistant ecoFLEX material, making spills and accidents easy to wipe clean, and are backed by a 10-year manufacturer warranty. They are easy to assemble—no tools required—and are available in Chestnut and Espresso colors to match any home’s décor. www.newagepet.net
Do you get home too late for an evening’s game of fetch? Then you need to check out Petmate’s new Lightplay line of toys. The durable, high-visibility, glow-in-the-dark toys feature 3D print fabric and fast-charging Max Glow™ rubber that charges under a bright light in less than 10 minutes for up to 30 minutes of early morning or nighttime play. Available beginning Fall 2014, the line offers a glowing twist on nine of Chuckit!’s most popular dog play products including the Chuckit! Glow-in-the-Dark Launcher, which pairs with the durable Chuckit! Max Glow Ball; the Chuckit! Max Glow Kick Fetch available in two sizes; and the Chuckit! Max Glow Roller. www.petmate.com
P.L.A.Y.—Pet Lifestyle and You’s new Outdoor Bed Collection provides stylish comfort for your dog(s), while introducing an extra pop of color to your outdoor living area—e.g., deck, garden, gazebo or poolside. The collection’s TUV-certified, waterproof and UV-resistant fabric Is designed to prevent any water seepage and discoloration. The removable covers and inserts are machine washable and dryable. The beds are filled with P.L.A.Y.’s signature soft PlanetFill™ and are available in three colors. www.petplay.com
Your dog’s favorite plush toy just got cuter. Heggies are soft and cuddly hedgehogs dressed in classic character costumes. Featuring a grunting sound that drives dogs wild the toys are available in Farmer, Fisherman, Army, Chef, Winter and Super Heggie™ characters. And coming this October, Holiday Heggies will be available in Vampire, Frankenstein and Mummy costumes for Halloween, and Santa, Reindeer and Snowman for Christmas. www.petmate.com
Cat Products Galore
By Sandy Robins
If you are looking to spoil your kitty with fun new toys, beds and pet accessories, you’re in luck. I recently attended SuperZoo 2014, a pet industry tradeshow held annually in Las Vegas where manufacturers of everything pet show-off their wares to retailers from across the country and around the world. Below are just a few out of hundreds of the cat products that I found interesting. Most are available now for your favorite feline—and all will be available for gifting during the holidays.
Sleepypod has launched its self-titled carriers in a new limited-edition that features the fabulous Robin Egg blue (aka Tiffany blue). This stylish carrier has been crashed tested both in the United States and Australia and is made from ballistic nylon. The carrier converts into a bed when the dome is removed. Ideal for trips to the vet as scaredy-cats can be examined in the carrier if necessary, and perfect for cats who travel, as it can become a home away from home. www.sleepypod.com
Stylish new toys designed by celebrity Kathy Ireland include this patented Stretch and Chase© Mouse that will hone your kitty’s prey and pounce skills in the safe confines of the living room. Ireland’s new Loved Ones collection offers innovative and solution-based toys that will meet a variety of pet needs. The feline toys are filled with organic catnip to rev up the fun and ensure your cat gets plenty of exercise. www.worldwise.com
Motorola’s new Scout 66 camera means you can check in on what your cat is doing when you are in at work or traveling anywhere in the world. The camera operates via a free app that works with both Apple and Android phones and various tablets. It allows pet owners to talk to their cats through the camera and also play a selection of soothing music if their kitty is feeling anxious being home alone. The Scout 66 is available at PetSmart. www.motorola.com
While many cats are water phobic, it may be necessary to bathe them if they suffer from a sensitive, itchy skin. Earthbath’s new 2-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo is pH-balanced for feline skins and contains ultra-mild coconut-based cleaners, supple conditioners,and aloe vera to soften the coat and re-moisturize the skin. This new formulation also includes vitamins A, B, D and E and glycerin for added moisture retention in the skin. www.earthbath.com
No cat can ever have too much catnip. Yeowww! Catnip Cigars are stuffed with Yeowww! organic catnip, and are perfect for cats who like to grip and kick; they can be tossed in the air, too. The cigars are available individually and in a new special three-pack tin. The ideal gift for the cat who has everything. www.duckyworld.com
If you cat is obsessed with kneading your throw or getting herself super comfortable in your freshly washed laundry then she will appreciate the patent-pending Blanketed Pet Bed from The Plush Pet Company. This very clever design has a comfy throw sewn into the bed for kitty to nest and nestle and purr off to sleep. www.plushpecompany.com
People Foods for Dogs
By Audrey Pavia
Before the days of commercial dog food, dogs ate whatever they could catch, and whatever their humans were willing to share. With the development of the pet food industry, dogs now have their own special diets designed to provide them with all the nutrition they need to stay healthy. But that doesn’t mean your dog can’t enjoy—and even benefit from—certain types of people food.
Prior to even considering giving your dog foods typically enjoyed by humans, consider his weight and health. If your dog is overweight, it’s not a good idea to supplement his regular diet with anything that might contribute to his overall calorie intake. If your dog suffers from allergies and is on a special allergy diet, giving him human foods might aggravate his condition.
That said, the following foods are safe to give dogs as an occasional treat:
- Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, green beans and squash, either raw or cooked
- Cooked lean meats, such as chicken or turkey (without the skin or bones), beef or pork
- Fruit such as bananas, blueberries and apples
- Plain yogurt
It’s best not to give dogs simple carbohydrates such as bread or crackers because their systems are not designed to digest this type of food.
As long as your dog is not overweight, you can give him an occasional treat of eggs or cheese. Cook the eggs (scrambled is best) and serve in moderation. Avoid using oils or butter since these fats might upset his stomach. When giving cheese as a treat, select cheeses that are low in fat. String cheese is a particular favorite of dogs and can be easily broken up into small pieces as a training reward.
Some people-foods can be harmful to dogs because of chemical compounds they contain. Do not give the following to your dog:
Remember when giving your dog treats of people food to always use moderation. A few bites here and there are enough. Too much people food given all at once can make your dog sick and upset his nutritional balance.
Keep in mind that if you feed your dog while you are sitting at the table eating your own meal, you will create a beggar. If you’d rather not have your dog staring at you whenever you eat, place people food in his own dish when you are serving him his regular meal.
If you plan to use people food as a training treat, keep it in a plastic bag in your pocket, and offer it in moderation when your dog performs a behavior you’ve asked for. Cut the food in small pieces about the size of a dime so you don’t give him too much. This will help keep him from gaining weight or getting an upset stomach.
Remember when giving your dog people food, the choice of food item and the amount you give is most important. Always use moderation.
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.
Take Your Cat to the Vet Day
By Lisa King
August 22 is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. There is no comparable day for dogs, so why is this annual reminder necessary? The answer is simple: Even though there are more pet cats than dogs in America, owners take their cats to the veterinarian about half as often as they take their dogs.
There are many reasons people are reluctant to take their cats to the vet regularly. Cats are seen as low-maintenance compared to dogs, and while this might be true overall, when it comes to medical care it is simply not the case. A cat should see his veterinarian once a year whether he has any symptoms or not. This applies even if yours is a young, sprightly, indoor-only cat.
Another problem for many cat owners is cost. Veterinarian visits aren’t cheap, but spending the money for a checkup annually can catch problems early, when they are easier to treat, thus saving you money in the long run.
Many owners resist taking their cats to the vet because it is so stressful for the cat. Cats are notoriously nervous about vet visits. Since most cats only get in their carriers and take car rides on vet day, no wonder they run and hide at the first sight of the carrier. The solution is to create positive associations with the carrier. Leave it out on the floor with the door open in a room your cat frequents. Line it with a comfy blanket and occasionally put a few treats, toys or a sprinkling of catnip inside. Your cat will come to see it as just another piece of furniture, and might even take naps inside. You can also put him in the carrier and take him on short drives that don’t end up at the vet’s office.
Another good reason for yearly exams is so your vet can get to know your cat, which will make it easier for her to diagnose what’s wrong with him if he develops symptoms. Establishing a good relationship with a vet also makes it easier for you to trust her judgment in matters of treatment.
Once you’ve gotten your cat to the vet, a vet tech will first weigh him. Then comes the indignity of having his temperature taken with a rectal thermometer. The veterinarian will do a thorough check of your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth and teeth, looking for inflammation, discharge and other problems. She will listen to your cat’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope. She will also examine his paws, genitals and anus, and comb through his fur looking for evidence of fleas. Next, she will gently examine your cat’s body, looking for bumps, swelling or other abnormalities. If this is your cat’s first visit to a particular vet, she might want to do blood work to establish baseline values to compare against later tests.
Talk to your vet about flea control, deworming and dental care. The handling of these issues will depend on your individual cat’s circumstances. Vaccinations are another topic to discuss with your vet. While rabies shots area regulated by law, most other vaccinations are given at the owner’s discretion. Some vaccinations are recommended to be given annually, but increasingly vets are waiting three years between shots. Work out a plan that both you and your vet can live with. Don’t hesitate to ask questions; your vet can also offer advice and guidance regarding diet, behavior problems or any other concerns you have.
As your cat ages into his senior years, he should visit the vet more often and be checked for arthritis, diabetes, kidney problems, thyroid issues, heart disease and other conditions common in older cats. If you’ve been assiduous about regular checkups with a trusted vet when your cat was young, you’ll be in good hands if you have to face a serious illness.
About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”