CBD Oils For Dogs Anxiety

Curing My Dogs Anxiety With Hemp Oils

picture of my dog

Last year during the 4th of July the fireworks were an absolute nightmare for my dog. She was going ballistic in the house, barking, hiding, and even peeing on the floor as she tried to understand what all that noise was about. The problem we have is that we are not far from a very large college, college housing, and an extremely festive environment. People were lighting off fireworks that could not have been legal in our city. The sounds were enormous and I don’t blame her a bit for feeling scared and confused.

Fast forward to July 4th 2018 and it was a very different story. Although we still live in the same area and still experienced the same amount of obnoxious explosions going off all night long, her reactions were much different this year thanks to a mixture of Hemp Oils for dogs we were able to give her hours before the fireworks started going off.

anxiety relief for dogs

We mixed the oils into her food and fed her dinner a few hours early. I also made her bed near the TV, put on a movie and turned the volume up to help drown out the outside noise. I laid on the floor with her and rubbed my fingers through her ears comforting her as much as I could to avoid another incident like we experienced last year. It’s amazing how a gentle touch can calm your dog. This all seemed to work well together, however the hemp oil seemed to really be the difference maker. Last year I did everything listed above and still couldn’t keep her anxiety down. This year I provided the same level of comfort and included the hemp oil in her food.

The hemp oil was cheap enough to justify trying it out. I have enough on hand to get her through any other traumatic experience she may encounter. Keeping her anxiety levels down not only protects her put protects my home and furniture. The panic that sets in when her anxiety levels spike creates a situation that literally has her running into things and knocking over pictures and lamps in the living room. Considering she is still just a puppy, I will need to continue to monitor this as she grows. It’s possible that she grows out of it, but if not I ma prepared to feed her hemp oil for any occasion to help relax her and keep panic from setting in.

Blue-Green Algae May Be Responsible For Liver Failure In Florida Dogs

Residents along the Florida coast have been dealing with some pretty awful algae this year. The problem has become especially bad near the St. Lucie river, where people say the dying algae “smells like death” and is causing respiratory issues, itchy eyes, runny noses, and nausea. The blue-green algae is so much of a nuisance that it has caused the closure of beaches and even local businesses.

But humans aren’t the only ones who can be negatively affected by blue-green algae, and when exposed, our pets can suffer extremely severe effects.

WPTV.com reports that three dogs in the area have shown signs of liver failure, and that the blue-green algae may be to blame. In particular, they tell the story of Costa, a Golden Retriever who snuck away to play in the water and became extremely ill over the weekend.

 

Cyanobacteria may be responsible for the health issues people and pets in the area are experiencing. It’s usually found in fresh-water and brackish water in the hot summer months in nutrient-rich water.

It’s best to keep your pet away from the water, no swimming or drinking, if you see it. Most blue-green algae is NOT toxic, but it’s impossible to be certain without testing. Pet Poison Helpline suggests treating all blue-green algae as though it were poisonous just to stay safe. They note that even small exposures can be fatal in pets.

The toxic algae appears as blue-green “blooms” on the waters surface, or the water may look like “pea soup.” Because it floats on top of the water, it can be picked up in the wind and make you or your dog sick that way. According to petpoisonhelpline.com, symptoms of exposure include:

  • excessive saliva or tears
  • muscle tremors
  • muscle rigidity
  • paralysis
  • blue discoloration of skin or mucous membranes
  • difficulty breathing

Symptoms of liver damage are:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • bloody/tar-like stools
  • weakness
  • pale mucous membranes
  • jaundice
  • seizures
  • disorientation
  • coma
  • shock

If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, seek treatment from your veterinarian right away. To reduce the risk of exposure, keep your dog away from areas where algae is known to be present.

H/T: WPTV.com

The post Blue-Green Algae May Be Responsible For Liver Failure In Florida Dogs appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

5 Herbs To Help Sooth Your Dog’s Tummy Troubles

No one likes an upset tummy, and that includes your dog! While our four-legged friends can’t tell us if they have a belly ache, pet parents know when something isn’t right.

Whether your pup vomits, has a bout of diarrhea, or just seems under the weather, loving pet parents will do just about anything to help. While you should consult with your vet if there are any noticeable changes in your dog’s health or habits (especially if they’re prolonged), sometimes it’s just anxiety, car sickness, or unsettled food that’s the culprit.

Below, you’ll find a list of herbs that can help soothe your dog’s tummy troubles. If you think your pet may have ingested something toxic that’s causing the issue, call your vet or local emergency clinic immediately. You can also use the ASPCA poison control phone number: (888) 426-4435.

1. Ginger

Ginger is a well-known stomach soother, for humans and dogs alike! According to PetMD, the root has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It can be especially helpful for pups who suffer from nausea or car sickness.

2. Dill

This savory herb is great for more than just seasoning pickles — it can help alleviate your pooch’s tummy troubles. Dogs Naturally Magazine explains, “It’s known as an overall digestive aid, helping with gas, nausea, cramping and appetite.” What’s more, dill has antioxidant properties and can help freshen breath.

3. Licorice Root

Don’t go feeding your dog red vines, now – licorice root is the traditional flavoring in black licorice. The root has been used as a digestive aid and anti-inflammatory in cultures across the world for generations. For dogs it is a completely safe (in moderation) supplemental herb. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, the herb can help your pup with even more, such as easing itchiness from allergies, liver support, and more. Plus, dogs love the flavor!

4. Parsley (Italian)

This plant is sometimes added to dog treats in order to freshen breath, but it can also ease stomach discomfort. Large amounts can cause problems for your pup, but it’s a great home remedy if given in moderation. A note on this, though: do not confuse Italian parsley with spring parsley, as the latter can be toxic.

5. Slippery Elm

While technically the bark of a tree, this stuff is known for being safe and beneficial for your dog (there is always the possibility that a pup can be allergic, and it should not be given to pregnant pooches.) Dogs Naturally Magazine says slippery elm can remedy constipation, diarrhea, colitis and stomach irritations. They explain, “The herb helps these digestive ailments by reducing inflammation and lubricating the digestive tract with the help of the mucilage, or oily secretions that make up slippery elm.”

The Easy Way To Give Your Dog Digestive Herbs

If trying to figure out how to give your pup all these herbs makes your head spin – don’t worry, we have a really great solution that we use for our own pups! Our Pronine™ Flora 4-in-1 probiotic supplement, not only contains digestive herbs but also boasts pet-specific probiotics, prebiotics (food for the good bacteria), and digestive enzymes. Dog’s absolutely LOVE the chicken liver flavor! Pronine™ Flora comes in individual, easy to administer single-use packets to ensure freshness.

Learn more about Pronine™ Flora 4-in-1 Canine Probiotic, Prebiotic, Digestive Enzyme, Herb Supplement

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.

The post 5 Herbs To Help Sooth Your Dog’s Tummy Troubles appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

Contagious Strain Of Dog Influenza Reported In Connecticut

Connecticut vets are warning residents to be on the lookout during what seems to be an aggressive dog flu season. Over the summer there were 9 confirmed cases of dog flu, but it wasn’t the number of dogs getting ill that had veterinarians concerned, but the H3N2 strain that is causing the illness.

Concerned owners should watch out for coughing and sneezing in their dogs, which can later become high fever and pneumonia.

Though humans can’t catch dog flu, the virus is extremely contagious between dogs. The H3N2 strain caused outbreaks in the Chicago area in 2015, which then spread rapidly across the country. One dog tested positive for the virus in a Chicago shelter in early April 2015 during the outbreak, and by the end of the month nearly 50 dogs had become infected. By the end of the year dogs in 25 states had been infected.

Experts recommend having your dog vaccinated. DogFlu.com reminds owners that it only takes one interaction for your dog to be exposed to the virus, and that nearly every dog exposed will become infected. You can take precautions by keeping your dog out of boarding facilities, day cares, and dog parks or pools. Vaccinating is the best way you can keep your dog from becoming ill.

Veterinarians in Virginia and North Carolina both recently reported an unidentified respiratory disease spreading in dogs in their states, but there’s no word on whether these concerns are related.

You can learn more about how dog flu spreads and how to protect your dog at DogFlu.com

H/T: WFSB.com

 

The post Contagious Strain Of Dog Influenza Reported In Connecticut appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

Crate Training: 6 Steps For Teaching Your Dog To Love Their Crate

Teaching your dog to love their crate should be a top priority for any new pet parent. Dogs are den animals, and enjoy small spaces where they can hide when they feel unsafe, or rest at nap time. It’s a safe space in your home that your dog considers his own. Crate training is easy to do and shouldn’t be something that makes you feel guilty or as if you’re subjecting your dog to “doggy jail”.

Understandably, some owners are firmly anti-crate, and that’s fine. You should never use the kennel as a “time out” space. And it is most definitely not a “cage” where your dog is confined for long periods of time. If your rescue dog’s past owner used the crate in a negative way, he may have an aversion to it. Perhaps a crate isn’t for him, but most dogs appreciate having their own space where they can relax.

Getting your dog to love their crate is going to take time. But with patience, your dog will see it as a home of their own.

 1. Choosing The Right Crate

You might prefer a spacious room, but your dog only needs so much to love their crate. He should have enough room to lie down and stand comfortably. It should also be wide enough for him to turn around in a circle. Too much room gives your dog space to “go” in one spot and distance himself from it. You definitely don’t want to train him to use it as a bathroom. If you’re crate training, you may want to choose a crate with a tray that slides out, because accidents happen. You can give a housebroken dog more space, but it’s not necessary. A comfortable “den” doesn’t require much room.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

If she lived in our house, she’d get away with everything <3 . . . . #bbkustomkennel #doggieden #wirekennelsareugly #dogkennel #petfurniture #livingspaces #homedecor #makehomeyours #dogsofinstagram #housetohome #howyouhome #hgtv #instagramdogs #ilovemydog #lovedogs #puppy #currentdesignsituation #decorinspiration #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesign #ourtruehaven #instagood #animaladdicts #interior123 #simplystyleyourspace #housetour #modernhome #weeklyfluff

A post shared by Bethany&Brody Rathman (@bbkustomkennels) on

 2. Location

You wouldn’t want to sleep on the floor in the kitchen no matter how comfortable it is, right? The crate is a place for rest, so pick a spot away from the hustle-and-bustle in your home. The laundry room might seem like a good idea, but noisy appliances can interrupt sleep or worse, trigger anxiety.

Consider sharing a bedroom with your dog. Not only will you provide a quiet, calm space for his crate, but he gets the added feeling of security of being close to his favorite person. It’ll give your dog another reason to love their crate!

 3. Furnishing

No dog is going to love their crate when they feel cold plastic on their paws or worse, metal wire. Dogs prefer soft, firm spaces to rest. You may see your dog laying on your hardwood or kitchen tile, but it’s more likely for the coolness than the comfort. Providing a soft resting area can also help relieve pain in joints and keep elbow calluses from forming. Consider PACK&DEN beds for the best in support and comfort for dogs.

Some people provide a soft pillow or cushion, others will put a bed in. Eventually your dogs may carry in things on their own as they learn to love their crate. They’ll leave favorite toys and blankets in their “den.” Some dogs may even “bury” their treats in their bedding! You can help him love it more by putting some of his favorite things in for him. But don’t be surprised if they carry them right back out before they love their crate.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I would like my mornings better if they started a little later. 😴 Happy National Lazy Day! Have a great weekend! #nationallazyday #friyay . . Doggy Den from @bbkustomkennels . . . #goldenretrievers #thedogist #blind #lazy #fridaymood #animalsco #animaladdicts #fridayfeeling #dogkennel @animaladdicts #blinddogsofinstagram #happyhounds #dogsofinstaworld #midwestliving #instagramdog @pups #ilovemydog #ruffpost #doglove #bhgpets #dogsofinstaworld #huffpost #thedogist #gloriousgoldens #pawsthatwander #instagood #barked #betterhomesandgardens

A post shared by Jake & Addie (@thegoldensrule) on

Training

Now that you know you have the right size crate and it’s cozy in a nice, quiet spot, it’s time to get your dog in.

 4. Prime the Crate

Remember that the crate is a nice, calm place. So if your dog isn’t ready to get in, absolutely do not force him. Set a few treats inside. Let him walk past. Sniff. Be positive about any interaction he has with it. If you’re happy about it, your dog will love their crate in no time. If he only goes in far enough to reach the treats, start putting them back further so he has to go in a bit more. Eventually, he should become comfortable putting all four paws inside.

When he does go all the way in, reward him – use treats, praise, or both.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Such a cute set up! And the sign–too good! . . . . #bbkustomkennel #doggieden #wirekennelsareugly #dogkennel #petfurniture #livingspaces #homedecor #makehomeyours #dogsofinstagram #housetohome #howyouhome #hgtv #instagramdogs #ilovemydog #lovedogs #puppy #currentdesignsituation #decorinspiration #homedecor #interiordesign #interiordesign #ourtruehaven #instagood #animaladdicts #interior123 #simplystyleyourspace #housetour #modernhome #weeklyfluff

A post shared by Bethany&Brody Rathman (@bbkustomkennels) on

 5. Feeding In The Crate

Now that the crate is a happy place he feels comfortable in, begin feeding your dog there. While he’s eating, close the door and latch it. After he’s done eating, leave the door closed for just a few seconds before opening it – but never open it while your dog is whining. The idea is to help your dog love their crate, not teach him that whining opens the door.

After meals, or any time you see your dog in his crate and you’re able to close the door, leave it closed for a bit longer, adding a few seconds until you work up to a minute. Gradually begin putting some distance between yourself and the crate while he’s there. If walking away makes your dog upset, placing a toy he loves in before shutting the door may help distract him.

 6. Work Up To Longer Intervals

The goal is to be able to leave the room for ten to fifteen minutes at a time without your dog going nuts. Teaching a “crate” or “kennel” cue will help get him in a few times a day to practice staying in several minutes at a time, until you can leave him calmly in his crate for 30 minutes. When he reaches the 30 minute mark without you in the room, you can feel confident leaving him is his kennel while you leave the house for a short period of time.

The process takes time, but it’s absolutely worth it. A crate may be convenient for you, but you’re really giving your dog a room of his own where he can go when stressed or scared. When used and introduced correctly, your dog will love their crate and consider it a haven.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

This sweet fur baby just got a new kennel in Frisco, TX #customkennel #rusticdecor #dogkennel #petfurniture #rusticchickennels #dogcrate #dogsofinstagram

A post shared by Rustic Chic Kennels (@rusticchickennels) on

Dos and Don’ts

NEVER use your dog’s crate as a punishment and do not keep him there for long periods of time. Your dog will not love their crate if you make them spend all their time there. Dogs were not meant to live in cages.

Provide water and entertainment, like toys, television or radio while you’re out. We do not recommend giving your dog chews or any toys he would put into his mouth while left unattended. This puzzle toy from Amazon has no removable parts and will exercise your pup’s mind while he’s in his kennel. He’ll earn treats throughout the day as he figures it out! Teach him how to work the puzzle while you’re home so he enjoys it more on his own.

Be sure to start with small periods of time – a dog who does not want to be in their crate can injure themselves trying to get out of it. Working up the amount of time will keep them from causing themselves harm and help them love their crate gradually.

Remember that young puppies and older dogs will need to “go” more often than adult dogs. A dog should not be asked to “hold it” for longer than an hour for each month they are old, and past that, no dog should wait longer than 8 hours to pee.

If possible, do not crate your dog if you know you’ll be out of the house longer than 5 hours. Consider a dog sitter or daycare.

If your dog deserves a swanky crate like the ones in the photos, check out @rusticchickennels and @bbkustomkennels on Instagram! If you’re more DIY, see DIY Dog House Ideas For Crafty (And Not-So-Crafty) Dog Lovers.

The post Crate Training: 6 Steps For Teaching Your Dog To Love Their Crate appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

The Unique Nutritional Needs of Cats

Leo the cat

At a glance, the digestive system and all of its extremities is pretty similar when comparing dogs and cats. Both have sharp pointy teeth for ripping flesh, they lack flat molars for grinding plant matter, their jaws are hinged and don’t move from side to side, neither produces salivary amylase (amylase is the enzyme in our saliva that begins the digestion ofstarches in the mouth), both have highly acidic stomachs to facilitate the digestion of meat, bones and fat, and theirs is but a brief intestinal tract, which prevents pathogenic bacteria from taking hold and causing problems. All in all, it’s pretty clear that nature has carefully designed these creatures as finely tuned hunting and killing machines. Look out.

But there are a few things that set dogs and cats apart, and they make the current state of conventional cat food all the more concerning. They all come back to the fact that, while dogs definitely should eat a prey-based diet (or a fresh diet of at least 80% animal protein), it would not technically be incorrect to classify them as omnivores. They are not capable of, nor have I ever met a dog inclined to eat an indiscriminately omnivorous diet like humans do, but they do have the digestive capabilities to tolerate some plant matter and obtain nutrients from it, and in the wild they will select to consume some from time-to-time. When done correctly, I actually recommend that you feed your dog some plant matter for nutritional reasons.

I personally classify dogs as carnivores with omnivorous tendencies, and I make this distinction because I think classifying them as omnivores is genuinely misleading. I also find that it is often done by people who are about to try and justify feeding their dog loads of plants for reasons that have nothing to do with the health of said dog.

But we’re here to talk about cats. Cats are what we call obligate carnivores. They are physiologically, biologically, metabolically obligated to eat other animals. They simply cannot survive otherwise. Fortunately, this is widely accepted and even vegan pet food websites will acknowledge that cats are true carnivores. Which makes it all the more bewildering that vegan cat food exists at all, or that around half of the ingredients in most commercial cat foods are primarily sources of carbohydrates.

I mentioned that dogs and cats don’t produce salivary amylase, which I think is very telling of the fact that they simply have no evolutionary need for it. They don’t eat the starch that amylase is required to break down. Dogs do, however, produce a small amount of amylase in their pancreas, which makes sense because they are known to scavenge for berries, occasionally eat grass or consume the stomach contents of prey. But it is not enough to digest food that is 50% starch every day for the rest of their lives and doing so puts enormous strain in the pancreas.

I thought we were supposed to be talking about cats?! Yeah yeah, I’m getting to them.

Cats produce only FIVE PERCENT of the amylase in their pancreas that dogs do [1]. Five percent! Of an already tiny amount. This is not the marker of an animal that should be eating any starch, let alone half of their diet.

Supporting this is the fact that cats have very high protein requirements – around double that of dogs. Protein requirements are high in part because they cannot synthesise the essential amino acids arginine and taurine, or methionine and cystine, which must all be obtained from animal protein. A single meal without arginine can lead to death. This is because after feeding, the liver naturally produces ammonia [2]. Without sufficient arginine, cats are unable to convert this ammonia to urea so that it can be expelled in the urine, and the result can be ammonia toxicity.

Other serious nutrient deficiencies that will occur in cats if they’re not fed animal protein include vitamin A, B3, D3 and arachidonic acid.

Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid for which cats and other obligate carnivores have particular requirements for. Arachidonic acid is present only in animal tissue, not plants, and, unlike dogs, cats are unable to synthesise it from linoleic acid and will thus become deficient without a dietary source [3]. Liver is a particularly abundant organ.

Similarly, vitamin A occurs naturally only in animal tissue and, while omnivorous animals like humans and dogs can convert b-carotene in plants to vitamin A, cats cannot.

Cats also require more than twice as much Niacin (B3) than dogs for health, but cannot synthesise enough to maintain sufficient levels [4]. They can, however, easily obtain their high metabolic requirements from an animal protein-based diet.

Contrary to popular belief, neither cats nor dogs are able to produce sufficient vitamin D3 through photosynthesis like we do. Human produce the natural oil 7-dehydrocholesterol in our skin, which reacts with UV light and is converted to vitamin D3, before being reabsorbed back into the body. Dogs and cats, however, produce insufficient 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin to meet the metabolic need for vitamin D3 photosynthesis [5] so it must be obtained from animal proteins (plant based vitamin D2 is not an appropriate substitute). Liver from pasture raised animals is an excellent source of vitamin D3.

Really, it’s no wonder we hear so many cases of beloved family cats falling ill to urinary tract infections, pancreatitis, periodontal disease, diabetes and cancer, to name but a few. Commercial cat food is nothing short of poison. You can read more about the issues with the pet food industry in Australia in my post here, or get in touch to arrange a consultation to transition your cat to a fresh, species appropriate diet.

 

[1] Hand, M.S. (Ed), Thatcher, C.D. (Ed), Remillard R.L. (Ed), Roudebush P (Ed), Novotny B.J.(Ed), 2010. Small Animal Clinical Nutrition.Mark Morris Institute: 5th edition

[2] ibid.

[3] ibid.

[4] ibid.

[5] ibid.

The post The Unique Nutritional Needs of Cats appeared first on Clare Kearney // Animal Nutritionist.

The Problem With the Australian Pet Food Industry.

sponsors

 

The problem with the Australian pet food industry is that… well. It sucks. Wow, what an informative, unbiased assessment, right?

It would be an insult to your intelligence to pretend that I am capable of providing a genuinely unbiased review of the mechanisms in place to regulate the 3.77 billion dollar pet food industry in this country [1]. I am an animal nutritionist who openly and quite passionately advocates that people largely avoid the products this industry produces. I generate my income by teaching people how to do this.

But I don’t tell people of the industry’s failings in order to grow my business. My business exists because of the industry’s shortcomings. I am an educator and I believe the nutritional issues with processed pet food are inextricably linked to the systemic issues within the industry, particularly regarding funding and regulation. It’s all so tied up in itself that I don’t even know where to start.

The pet food industry in Australia has recently come under some scrutiny after more than 70 dogs contracted the devastating and incurable condition megaesophagus. All of these dogs consumed Mars Petcare’s Advance Dermocare dry food and several have since been euthanised [2]. Following the megaesophagus outbreak, the ABC’s 7.30 Report began an investigation into the industry and this has resulted in many pet owners and industry insiders coming forward with their own stories. The megaesophagus count is now over 100 and there have been numerous reported cases of vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and even paralysis after consuming certain foods, mouldy dog food (well within its best before date), and foreign objects found in food. These foreign objects are largely metal and plastic from the ear tags of the livestock processed by rendering plants for use in pet food. The executive officer of the Australian Renderer’s Association (because apparently that’s a thing) acknowledges that ear tags are not removed from the 30 million-odd heads that go through their facilities each year [3].

But the ABC did not uncover some deep dark secret in the rendering industry; the industry head gave his name and went on record saying “yeah that’s what happens” (not an actual quote). The pet food industry knows this. When Baxter’s (manufactured by Woolworths) received complaints that it was making dogs sick, owners were given Woolworths gift cards [4]. Mars Petcare waited four months from when they were notified of the link between their food and the megaesophagus outbreak to recall the food, during which time they conducted “hundreds” of tests [5]. The tests were inconclusive but they recalled it anyway, effectively wasting 4 months and endangering the lives of countless dogs. (I dare say that if they were concerned enough to do hundreds of tests, surely that warranted an immediate recall.)

 

kibble

 

So why is all of this allowed to happen? Quite simply, it’s allowed to happen because the pet food industry is regulated in a manner that permits it. And I use the term “regulated” very, very loosely. Depending on your definition, it’s actually not regulated at all. At best, it is self-regulated. There are no laws and no government interventions at any level (local, state or federal). Even if they wanted to intervene, they’re powerless to.

There is, however, an Australian Standard that dictates the regulations surrounding the production of pet food, including nutritional requirements (it’s AS5812: Australian Standard for the Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food). Adherence to this standard is overseen by the Pet Food Institute Association of Australia Inc. (PFIAA), and in order to have your pet food certified by them you must comply with it. All sounds pretty reasonable, right?

But certification is voluntary and, even if it were mandatory, the PFIAA is not an independent regulatory body; they are an incorporated industry association whose members wrote their own code of practice and count among them some of the largest players in the global pet food market [6]. Most notably of these are Nestle Purina and Mars Petcare – the confectionary companies that own 75% of the pet food industry in this country – and then there are Coles, Woolworths, Royal Canin and Hill’s Pet Nutrition [7][8]. Oh and they also helped write the standard [9]. Not exactly what I’d call “independent.”

I think it’s fair to say that corporate interests in regulatory associations are murky waters. In the case of the pet food industry, these waters get murkier again when you extend the magnifying glass to the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA). Now I want to preface this by saying that I have no issues whatsoever with individual vets; I wholeheartedly support vets and I encourage you to always see and listen to them. This is a systemic problem, not a problem with individuals. I believe vets will benefit more than anyone from independent regulatory measures being put into place and the removal of corporate interests from this industry (well, maybe not as much as animals, but close).

Nevertheless, the head of the AVA recently acknowledged to the ABC that they receive around a third of their funding from corporate sponsors [10]. A quick look at their website reveals that these sponsors are largely pharmaceutical and pet food companies, many of whom overlap with the PFIAA members. If you’ve ever wondered why veterinary clinics are absolutely brimming with what I would argue are some of the worst processed foods on the market, you need look no further than the “Corporate Supporters” page on the AVA’s website [11].

The National President of the association also said she was happy with Mars Petcare’s response to the megaesophagus outbreak (ie. she was happy that it took them four months to notify the public of a potential problem) [12]. I dare say the megaesophagus issue may never have come to light at all were it not for the fact that nine of the affected dogs were police dogs and, when they didn’t receive a satisfactory response from the manufacturer, Victoria Police contacted Melbourne University. The food was finally recalled voluntarily after Melbourne University launched their own investigation (with the AVA) and contacted vets seeking reports of similar cases [13]. And the key word there is “voluntarily.” Because Mars Petcare was not legally required to notify anyone, including vets or any government authorities, when it became aware of the potential issue, due to the self-governing nature of the industry.

That’s not to say there isn’t a system in place for reporting “adverse pet food events.” There is. It’s called PetFAST, which is a somewhat bastardised acronym of “Pet Food Adverse event System of Tracking.” But – and there’s always a but – PetFAST was developed by the PFIAA and the AVA, and it’s overseen by the AVA. Only vets can report incidents and doing so is entirely voluntary – that is if they’re even aware that PetFAST exists. Individual reports aren’t always looked into unless a trend emerges and even then there is no obligation to issue a recall [14]. So it’s kind of a shitty system, to say the least.

The head of the PFIAA will tell you that the small amount of these “adverse pet food events” and subsequently incredibly rare recalls of pet food in Australia (only four in the past seven years [15]) are a reflection of the fact that the industry is just SO WELL regulated that there aren’t any issues to report [16]. I would argue it has more than a little to do with the reporting mechanisms in place, and the regulatory bodies in charge of managing them.

If you’re as exhausted reading this as I am writing it, then you will take some solace in the fact that the Federal Senate has called for an inquiry into the industry, which at the very least should bring some awareness to pet owners that any of this is going on. Failing that, just blow off the whole thing and start feeding a fresh diet. I can assure you it’s considerably easier than navigating the sea of bullshit surrounding pet food.

I’m not going to add a link to my services after writing all of that because it would just feel sleazy. If you’re interested in learning more about feeding a homemade diet, poke around my site and you’ll find them, or download my free toolkit to learn how you can start adding fresh foods today.

[1] https://www.pfiaa.com.au/Feeding-Pets/Pets-ARe-Now-Family-Members.aspx

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-30/popular-dog-food-suspected-of-making-dogs-sick-advance-dermocare/9699866

[3] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-19/pet-food-insider-lifts-lid-on-plastic-and-rubbish-going-into-pe/9875184

[4] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-16/plastic-mould-in-dog-food-prompts-call-for-industry-regulation/9764318

[5] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-30/popular-dog-food-suspected-of-making-dogs-sick-advance-dermocare/9699866

[6] https://www.pfiaa.com.au/About/History.aspx

[7] https://www.pfiaa.com.au/OurMembers/ManufacturingMembers.aspx

[8] https://www.pfiaa.com.au/OurMembers/MarketerMembers.aspx

[9] https://www.choice.com.au/outdoor/pets/products/articles/pet-food-regulation

[10] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-16/plastic-mould-in-dog-food-prompts-call-for-industry-regulation/9764318

[11] https://www.ava.com.au/about-us-4

[12] ibid.

[13] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-30/popular-dog-food-suspected-of-making-dogs-sick-advance-dermocare/9699866

[14] https://www.choice.com.au/outdoor/pets/products/articles/pet-food-regulation

[15] ibid.

[16] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-16/plastic-mould-in-dog-food-prompts-call-for-industry-regulation/9764318

The post The Problem With the Australian Pet Food Industry. appeared first on Clare Kearney // Animal Nutritionist.

How A Special Kind Of Touch Can Help Calm & Relax Your Dog

Tellington Touch, or “Ttouch” was developed by animal expert Linda Tellington Jones, who received an honorary doctorate for her work with animals. It was originally a method of training meant for horses but was adapted in the 1980’s for other animals – including our dogs. It’s now used in over 23 countries in homes, training facilities, zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers, and gets incredible results for those who know how to use it!

The Tellington Touch method is meant to strengthen the bond between human and pet while improving behavior and encouraging a willingness to learn in your dog. Though there’s more to the practice than just touch, massage is considered an important tool in achieving the desired results: a bond based on love and trust between you and your pet, and a dog who is confident, eager to learn, and loves to make his human happy! Gentle pressure, when applied correctly, can help you find a calmer, happier dog. If you’d like to try it out with your pet, you can get started trying some of the massages below.

Clouded Leopard Touch

Keep the name of this touch in mind as you practice it. It’s meant to relieve stress and improve your dog’s awareness and confidence. Your hand should rest “as light as a cloud” on your dog’s body, with the fingers slightly curved – like a leopard’s paw. With the weight of your hand in the pads of your fingers, make clockwise circles along your dog’s body.

Ear Touch

The Ear Touches are great for calming your dog – in fact, it’s effective in humans, too! Use one hand to support your dog’s head, and place the other thumb on top of your dogs ear, with the rest of your hand underneath. With gentle pressure, slide your thumb from the base of the ear to the tip. You should cover the whole ear in one or two slides. You can also use clockwise, circular motions with your thumb all over the ear, making one-and-a-quarter circles before moving your thumb.

Body Wrap

The body wrap is another tool used by Ttouch practitioners, but you may know it as the “half-wrap.” This is another method, similar to the Thundershirt, that is known to calm anxious dogs. You can learn more about the body wrap and how to do it yourself by clicking here.

Image Source: Dina Fantegrossi

 

Remember, that some dogs have “no-go” areas where they don’t tolerate touch well. Behaviors like snapping or whining when you touch your dog may also mean that he’s experiencing pain in that area, so you should check for signs of inflammation or wounds.

If you’re interested in learning more about Tellington Touch, or finding a certified practitioner near you, check out the Tellington Touch website.

Why It’s Important To Let Your Dog Sniff During Walks

Getting your dog out the door for daily exercise will always be a step in the right direction when it comes to their health and happiness.  There is a way, however, for your dog to get even more enrichment from their regular walk around the block.

While you’re busy looking at the scenery, your dog’s nose is working overtime. They walk a few feet before stopping to sniff, and then they take a few more steps to find something else worth smelling. It’s tempting to tug on the leash to keep them moving in a forward direction, but a worthwhile dog walk isn’t always measured in miles or minutes. Every now and then, it’s important to let your dog stop and smell the roses…and the fire hydrants, and that bush, and maybe even that fence post way over there.

A Dog’s Sense of Smell

While humans are mostly visual creatures, dogs are all about smells. They have millions more olfactory sensors than humans do, and they even have an extra organ, the vomeronasal organ, on the roof of their mouth for the purpose of processing smells. Their long snouts are ideal for reading “scent mail,” and they learn about the world by putting their nose to anything that seems interesting. Every tree, light pole, and pant leg is potentially covered in informative smells.

You can put your nose to the same tree your dog has been sniffing for the past minute and get nothing but a whiff of woodsy bark, but your dog picks up on a lot more. They can tell another dog recently passed through the area and approximately how long ago they were there. Not only that, they can tell the dog’s gender, what they like to eat, and what kind of mood they were in.

VCA Hospitals writes,

“When in a new territory, a dog can sniff a tree and determine what other dogs live in the neighborhood. They can smell a visitor’s pant-leg and get a good impression of where the person lives and whether he has pets at home.”

The team at Ahimsa Dog Training compares asking a dog to not sniff during a walk to be the same as asking a person to walk around wearing a blindfold. Dogs rely on their noses to tell them important things about the world, and the time they spend on their walks is time spent catching up on the neighborhood news.

The Mental Benefits of Sniffing

All dogs need regular exercise to stay physically healthy. Going on walks is especially important for high-energy dogs. Without somewhere to put their building enthusiasm, their surplus energy bubbles over and turns into unwanted behaviors like chewing and being generally unmanageable. A long walk or run seems like the only way to deplete a young dog’s abundance of energy, but physical exercise isn’t the only way to satisfy their needs. If you really want to tire out your dog, you need to enrich both their body and mind at the same time.

Sniffing a particular scent and then interpreting the accompanying information is the canine version of a mental work out. They won’t be running miles or building up muscles, but being mentally engaged is equally important.

Continental Kennel Club says,

“The effort it takes to sort and identify individual elements of an odor requires a lot of work. It’s a little like us trying to solve a tough logic problem—the required mental energy is tiring.”

Getting your dog to exercise their brain will stave off cognitive decline once they reach old age and keep them from chewing up your shoes when they’re young and eager for entertainment. A walk where they’re allowed to sniff until they’re mentally content is the perfect opportunity to address both your dog’s physical and mental needs.

A Freeing Feeling

Dogs are dependent on their owners, and along with regular meals and a place to call home, that arrangement comes with a good deal of confinement. Their movements are restricted by fences and leashes, they sit when they’re told to sit, they eat what they’re told to eat, and they walk when their owner decides it’s time. They’re even told when they’re allowed to go to the bathroom.

Your four-legged family member has almost no control over their life, and that feeling of constantly being constrained can play its toll on their mental health. Research shows total lack of freedom often leads to stress, anxiety, and depression. According to Pet Dog Trainers of Europe,

“Being able to make choices gives a dog self-confidence and a feeling of self-reliance. If they have no choices at all, they don’t have the possibility to avoid or relieve stress. Studies have shown this can lead to depression and learned helplessness. A dog in this state has ‘shut down’ and no longer makes any attempt to improve his situation.”

It’s not always a bad thing for people to guide their dogs through life. Most of the time, it’s a matter of safety—like not letting your dog run off-leash in an uncontrolled area. There are also situations where a dog’s decision would be inappropriate—like their decision to pee on the couch or rummage through your neighbor’s open garage.

Too much control, however, can negatively affect your dog. A daily walk is your chance to give your dog some slack and let them make decisions on their own. If they want to spend five whole minutes sniffing every inch of a fire hydrant, let them. It’s a small decision in the grand scheme of things, but the chance to choose will do a great deal of good for their mental health. If you spend every step of every walk forcing your dog to heel by your side and making every decision on which way you turn, you could be adding to their stress when you want to be relieving it.

Your Walk Solution

If your dog had their choice all the time, they’d probably zigzag their way through the neighborhood stopping every few feet and going wherever their nose decides to take them. That’s okay sometimes, but even the best pet parents can’t accommodate a long sniff-filled walk every day. If you only have time for a quick trip down the road and back, do your dog a favor and focus on mental enrichment instead of distance traveled. Depending on your dog’s abilities, a 15-minute walk won’t do much to tire them out physically, but that same amount of time spent sniffing and processing scents will satisfy their need for mental enrichment.

Remember, walking the dog is supposed to be about the dog, not you. It’s okay to hurry them along sometimes, and running is better when you’re not stopping every five feet, but don’t underestimate the benefits of a good “sniff walk.”

8 Subtle Signs Your Dog Is In Pain

Chances are, you know your dog’s mannerisms and behaviors pretty darn well, and you can tell when they’re excited, hungry, scared, and the like. But signs of pain can be less obvious, especially if it’s a new symptom and they’re exhibiting a behavior that you’re not used to seeing.

If your pup is showing one or more of the signs below, it’s best to call your vet for a check-up. Whether the issue is minor or major, your loyal companion doesn’t deserve to live in pain any longer than he or she has to. You know your dog best, and if something seems “off,” it’s better to be safe than sorry!

1. Excessive Grooming

Dogs naturally groom their fur, paws, and some personal areas, but if they seem to be doing it constantly or obsessively, it could be a sign that something is hurting. It can also indicate itchy and uncomfortable skin allergies, especially if it’s around the feet, and dogs can even lick or chew themselves raw.

However, this can be a sign of internal pain, too. Katie Finley, a writer and dog trainer, explains:

“Pets will often groom places that are sources of pain in hopes to clean and care for the wound, even if there is no open wound present. Be sure to keep an eye on the area and inspect it gently.”

2. Poor Coat Quality

On the other end of the spectrum, dogs who aren’t feeling well may stop grooming themselves as thoroughly as they used to. This is because something is causing them discomfort, and it’s possible that they can’t reach certain without feeling pain.

3. Heavy or Shallow Panting

Our pups pant for multiple reasons, like to cool down when it’s hot out or after exercise, or even when they’re stressed. But if your pooch starts panting heavily for seemingly no reason, it could be a sign that he is in pain. Likewise, if his panting becomes shallow — as if it’s difficult or hurts to breathe — this symptom should not be ignored. Check out How To Tell If Your Dog’s Panting Isn’t Normal for more information.

4. Inappetence

If your pooch stops eating, especially if she’s usually a chow hound, you should call your vet sooner than later. Inappetence can be the result of anything from an upset tummy, to cancer, to a sore limb that’s making it difficult to enjoy a meal. What’s more, they could be in too much pain to make it over to their food bowl.

5. Avoidance or Aggressiveness

When an animal starts avoiding their loved ones or lashing out in a manner that’s out of character, something is probably wrong. They may avoid being touched because it hurts or is uncomfortable, and they have no other way of letting you know.

6. Inability To Get Comfortable

It’s normal for dogs to circle and even scratch at their bed before laying down and getting cozy. But if your dog keeps spinning, or seems like they cannot settle, they may be hurting and simply can’t find a way to get comfortable.

7. Constipation

Constipation can be a sign of many different issues. One possibility is that it hurts to squat, and another is that going to the bathroom has become painful. Finley says:

“Back and hip pain can lead to constipation in dogs because it can be very uncomfortable to get in the proper squatting position. If you notice your dog suddenly seems constipated or cries out when going to the bathroom, there’s a good chance that they’re in pain. “

8. Behavior Changes

You know your dog’s personality, routine, and habits, so if something seems strange or odd to you — no matter how minor it is — it’s always best to check with the vet. Aside from sudden avoidance, aggressiveness, or obvious limping, some more subtle changes in behavior may include:

  • Avoiding stairs, jumping, or climbing
  • Increased stiffness
  • Arching of the back
  • Different laying positions (for instance, a dog who usually sleeps curled up in his bed may start laying flat on his side if he’s in pain)
  • Slower to move or get up
  • Disinterested in things he used to love (walks, food, greeting you at the door)
  • Accidents in the house (it may be too painful to get up, or it could be something else)
  • Different / odd sounding bark

Dogs of all ages can experience pain for any number of reasons, from illnesses to accidents. It’s likely that at some point in your pup’s life, they’ll get stiff and achy as they age. But if you pay close attention and trust your instincts, you’ll be able to help ease your companion’s discomfort by finding a solution as quickly as possible. After all, they’d do the same for you, and in their own way, they do — by making each day brighter!