Wednesday, May 17 found Animal Connection and a whole pack of dogs and families at the Keswick Hunt Club for our annual fun dog show. Hundreds of spectators enjoyed watching the dogs and when we passed the hat for donations to the Charlottesville SPCA, it was full of generous contributions. It was hard for the judges to make decisions from so many great entries, but here’s a list of our winners. Beginner’s Agility – Luna, Jordan Atwell Purcell. Costume Class – “The Hungry Catepillar,” Maizey and Madeline Stone. Musical Chairs – Lizzy and Serah Montminy. Family Class – “The Dachsunds” a joint entry by the Matheson and Mascotte family. Best Rescue and Best In Show, Lizzy and Serah Montminy. (Note: Get your costumes ready for Dog Fest, Sunday, October 29 – this year bigger and better at Ix Art Park!)
Flowers, weeds, grasses, leaves… and that yellow pollen is in the air. Your pet may already be showing signs of discomfort, including scratching, itching, inflammation, red skin, teary eyes… and we’re here to help! We strongly recommend feeding a raw or gently cooked diet of whitefish or pork and dark, leafy green vegetables to support the immune system during this season. These cooling proteins and vegetables lower the “heat’ in the body, reduces the inflammation, and strengthens the immune system. For more relief, pair our Spring diet selections with our Quercetin supplements — noted holistic experts (like blogger, Rodney Habib) call quercetin “nature’s Benedryl.” It has anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties designed for quick relief. It’s easy to give your pet in a tablet or soft chew and it does the trick. So fear the great outdoors no more! We’re here to help!
With the warmer temps come all the insect critters. We’re fully stocked with shampoos, sprays, diatomaceous earth, essential oils, herbal collars and monthly spot-ons that are safe for your dog and for your family, and made in the USA! From noted holistic vet, Dr. Peter Dobias DVM, here are “Eight Steps To Choosing A Safe Flea Product For Your Dog” (for the full blog article, please visit peterdobias.com for this and other great information)
- Choose a topical product over oral treatment
- Choose a residual wash or and spray product used together over a highly concentrated spot treatment that absorbs and stays in the body for a month
- Choose a natural product over chemical ones
- Read reviews of other dog lovers before you purchase a new product
- Pick a product that is not preserved with artificial chemicals
- Go with brands not manufactured in China to avoid poor quality or tainted ingredients
- Visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website to see if there are any reports of fatalities related to the product. If there are reported fatalities, do not risk your dog’s life by using such product.
- Go for a product that is guaranteed to work so you do not waste your money and can help your dog promptly. (and we’ll add 9.) If the product says “use gloves to apply” you can bet you won’t want it around your children or on your pet. So, come see us for better choices that really work!
It might be in the 60s in Virginia, but the Almanac says to watch for late February-early March snow and ice. Come in now for 20% OFF DOG WEAR, including Foggy Mountain, Pendleton, Teckle dog coats or Chilly Dog and Fab Dog woolen sweaters. Be prepared!
Anxiety affects pets as much as people. Traditional veterinarians might prescribe smaller dosages of the same anti-anxiety medications – such as Valium and Paxil – used for humans to treat pets. These drugs often have powerful side effects. Unless your pet is completely and dangerously out of control, natural solutions for anxiety are safer and as effective.
Determine the Cause
Natural solutions for your pet’s anxiety aren’t one-size-fits-all. It’s crucial to narrow down exactly what stresses your pet. Sometimes the answer is obvious, such as Fourth of July fireworks. If you’re not sure about the trigger, observe your pet carefully. Have there been any changes in the household recently? Is the pet experiencing a new routine? Inappropriate elimination in cats – a euphemism for going outside the box –often results from anxiety. Have your pet examined by your holistic veterinarian to determine whether your pet’s anxiety derives from a health or psychological issue. If it’s the latter, explore natural therapies for treatment.
If you have a dog, keep lavender essential oil on hand. This aromatic oil helps calm agitated canines – and it smells good. Lavender oil boasts soothing properties, but like all essential oils, it is quite powerful. That’s why it’s important to dilute essential oils with carrier oils, such as sesame or sweet almond for use with cats. However, dogs need the oil to be applied in a “neat” fashion and therefore the oils do not need dilution. One rule of thumb – mix 10 drops of essential oil into .5 ounce carrier oil.
Let your dog sniff the oil from the vial, or place a few drops on a bandanna and tie it around his neck. Try putting a drop or two in your hand and then petting your dog down the length of his body, or apply a drop around the ears. Another option: Use a diffuser and allow lavender oil to permeate the room. Lavender is one of the few essential oils safe to use on cats – very sparingly. Never place lavender directly on the cat, but a drop or two on the bedding in the cat carrier can ease feline travel nerves.
Other essential oils with soothing properties for dogs include:
- Valerian – aids in calming noise anxiety
- Vetiver- subdues nervous dogs
- Ylang ylang – helpful for separation anxiety.
Purchase only high quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils for your pet’s therapy. View our line of Young Living Oils.
Flower essences are similar to essential oils in that they derive from plant-based materials. While many essential oils have medicinal properties, flowers essences heal only on the emotional level. Perhaps the best-known flower essence is Rescue Remedy, a distillation of five flowers – cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, Rock rose and Star of Bethlehem -essences designed to restore calm in stressful situations. Available in a vial or as a spray, it’s another must-have for pet owners. Unlike essential oils, flower essences are safe for felines.
Certain flower essences are created for very specific issues. For example, gentian restores confidence, while larch boosts the esteem of scared animals. They sound like the same thing, but there is a subtle difference. Work with your holistic veterinarian to find the right flower essence for your pet’s problem.
If thunder or similar loud noises terrifies your dog, he or she doesn’t necessarily need anti-anxiety medication. What may help is a compression shirt, a garment using gentle pressure to make the dog feel secure, much like infant swaddling. While compression shirts won’t help all dogs with noise anxiety, many owners report good results. That’s especially true when essential oils, flower essences and other complementary therapies are also used.
If your dog suffers from severe separation anxiety, high-stress levels, or other behavioral concerns you’ve probably tried all the standard methods to resolve the issue. If nothing has worked, contact Pattie, Animal Connection’s owner, and animal telepathy, expert.
Learn more about our Behavior Consulting services here.
HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY, “PET FOOLED?” It’s an in-depth exposé of the inner workings of the commercial pet food industry, the majority of which is owned by only a few multi-conglomerate companies. With the help of veterinarians Dr. Barbara Royal and Dr. Karen Becker, filmmaker Kohl Harrington takes viewers on an entertaining and eye-opening journey exploring all facets of a secretive industry, which has operated largely unchallenged until now. We’ll be showing this incredible film at our store in February 26 at 2 pm. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free, but please call the store to register so we will have enough seating for all. We can promise it will be well worth your time to attend. Check our Facebook page for updates on this in-store event.
February is dental month for pets! And, the best products for better dental health are better foods! Great choices like our raw, dehydrated, or freeze dried foods or higher protein kibbles don’t have the useless carbs and sugars that allow tartar or yeast to develop, which then causes bad breath, gingivitis and tooth decay. Stock up on digestive enzyme products, like Leba III Spray, ProDen Plaque Off, Indigenous Dental Bones or Willard Water. These products are extremely helpful and easy to use. Plus we offer a great selection of toothbrushes and toothpaste and we’ll be happy to show you how to get your pet used to regular brushing. Don’t forget, teeth brushing is included at no charge when we groom your dogs or cats! Here’s to great smiles for all your pets!
We’re celebrating the ones who give us unconditional love February 11 – 14 with fun events, store specials, and gifts from our heart to yours! Sign up for PET PORTRAITS, SUNDAY. FEB 12 from 1-4 pm – a photo of you and your met makes the perfect Valentine card! WIN $100 OF HONEST KITCHEN “LOVE” – over 40 lbs of grain free, ranch raised beef and veggies, holistic goodness your dog is sure to love! Register all week long, winner announced Feb.14. FREE SMOOCHES AND NUZZLES, yummy treats also from Honest Kitchen you’ll want to give all year long. VALENTINE’S BAKERY GOODIES – beautifully decorated cookies for dogs, and we’ll have sweet treats for their people too! SHARE THE LOVE WITH PET RESCUE GROUPS! We’ll also be accepting donations for pet food and supplies, a true gift from the heart for pets in need! Check out our Facebook page for more info and events you won’t want to miss!
Old age ain’t for sissies, and that’s as true for dogs as it is for people. Elderly –and sometimes middle-aged – dogs may develop vestibular syndrome, which also goes by the name “old dog vestibular syndrome.” Another term is “canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome,” with idiopathic meaning “of unknown origin.” Although symptoms of vestibular syndrome are scary, the good news is it’s not a life-threatening condition and most dogs recover fairly well.
The vestibular system, located in the brain and inner ear, maintains the body’s balance and orients it to its position in space. When the vestibular system is out of whack, the affected creature no longer has a sense of where his or her body is positioned. Vestibular syndrome comes on rapidly, which is one reason it’s so frightening to dog owners. A perfectly healthy older canine suddenly develops various neurological issues. Signs of vestibular syndrome include:
- Head tilt
- Difficulty walking or balancing
- Falling over – one side only
- Nystagmus – eyes moving back and forth
- Wide stance
- Other neurological problems
- Loss of appetite – due to nausea from balance problems
- Vomiting – also resulting from nausea.
Some of these symptoms are found in serious diseases, such as strokes, severe infections or brain tumors. That’s why it is always necessary to get a definite diagnosis from your animal care provider.
Severely affected dogs may require sedatives to help them relax, or motion sickness drugs to stop vomiting. If your dog is less afflicted, natural remedies such as lavender essential oil can help them calm down. Rather than place the oil directly on the dog, put drops on the collar or a bandana around the neck. Other natural methods and means to help dogs with vestibular syndrome include:
- Acupuncture – treatment can help a dog suffering from vestibular syndrome. Try to have the first acupuncture session as soon as possible after diagnosis. Some dogs show improvement within a few hours.
- Gentle exercise – inactivity in an old dog only makes his joints stiffer and can delay the recovery process. Your vet will advise you on suitable ways to walk your dog, such as using a special harness to help keep him upright.
- Physical therapy – a veterinary physical therapist can design exercises specifically for your dog and his symptoms.
- Floor mats – invest in some inexpensive floor mats with good grip, and place them around your dog’s bed and other places she likes to rest. The more secure footing provided will help her get up and moving.
If a practitioner is available, you may want to consider reiki, T-touch, or energy healing to help your dog recuperate.
Food and Water
Because your dog feels nauseous, they may not want to eat or drink. It’s easy for a dog with vestibular syndrome to become dehydrated and require intravenous solutions from the vet. One way of getting nourishment and liquids into your pet is by feeding chicken broth with some boiled chicken. It’s gentle on the stomach and a good start to getting your dog eating and drinking again. Make sure your dog always has water available and offer it regularly if reaching the bowl on his own is problematic.
The most natural treatment for vestibular syndrome is tincture of time. Most dogs recover from vestibular syndrome within days or weeks, although a head tile may remain permanently. A second instance of vestibular syndrome is rare, but does occur. If your dog does experience a recurrence, you’re less likely to panic the way you did initially, but it’s still wise to have the vet examine your pet.
We’re big believers in changing your pet’s food choices along with the seasons. With the cold winter months, it’s time to try warming proteins like chicken, pheasant, venison, trout and lamb. They’ll help create inner warmth they’ll need for extra energy now through March. If their joints are a little stiff and sore especially on these cool damp mornings, add a little tumeric to their diet to help keep them flexible and supple. If you are feeding our higher protein kibbles, like Orijen or Acana, we recommend a little warm water or bone broth, not only for the extra liquid intake, but to keep their tummy’s warm! You can always warm up any of our frozen or dehydrated food options to make they extra yummy, too.