Winter is officially here. Make sure you’re prepared with Safe Paw Ice Melt for slippery icy walkways at your home. Try our Musher’s Secret Paw Conditioner, to keep their pads soft and nourished and protected from ice melt chemicals on the roads. We are stocked with warm sweaters, waterproof coats and all weather gear. And for those cold nights, they’ll love our Cozy Cave fleeces and warm Pendleton beds. Don’t wait until Old Man Winter sends our first blizzard, come see us today!
New Year’s Eve is a big night for fireworks and parties, which can be scary for your pets. Keep your pets indoors and create a calming environment with soft music. Put some Young Living essential oils, like Lavender or Peace & Calming on a cotton ball and put it gently in their ear or stoke it on their chest and back for soothing aromatherapy. Add our Bach Flowers “Rescue Remedy” to their drinking water or on a treat for natural stress relief. Provide a Kong toy filled with their favorite treat or a No-Hide chew to detract them from the noise. And especially make sure your pets are microchipped and/or wearing identification tags in case they get loose, panic and become lost. We’ll be open New Year’s Eve until 3pm and can help you… and your pets… have a safe holiday!
Autumn is allergy season for humans and canines alike. Because we’ve had so little rain this season, allergy-prone dogs are suffering more than ever. There are ways to help fight your dog’s allergies, and some of them consist of dietary changes and supplementation.
In fall, leaves drop from trees and plants start dying off. In this season, molds and other inhalants trigger allergies in susceptible canines. While bathing, air purifiers, regular vacuuming and other ways of keeping allergen numbers down on your pet and in your home help, it’s also essential to keep your dog in prime condition so his immune system can fight off allergies.
Bring your dog to the vet for a definite diagnosis if he begins experiencing upper respiratory issues or eye discharge in the fall, typical symptoms of autumn allergies. However, those are far from the only symptoms of canine fall allergies.
Allergic reactions in dogs often take on the form of skin conditions. While these allergies are usually caused by food or fleas rather than pollen and molds, that’s not always the case. A dog who constantly licks his paws in autumn to the point where they are raw and bleeding may suffer an environmental contact allergy. Other reactions indicating an inhalant allergy include:
- Hair loss
- Ear infections
- Constant scratching
- Reddened areas on the stomach or paws.
Scratching soon leads to secondary skin infections. Because these symptoms also correspond with food and flea allergies, a vet visit will get to the bottom of it.
Human Grade Food
Ask your holistic veterinarian about a devising an allergy fighter diet for your pet. Such a diet consists of human-grade meats, vegetables and small amounts of fruit. If making dinner for your dog isn’t practical, feed him only the highest quality commercial dog food. Look for foods containing human-grade ingredients, and avoid those with grains, sugar, artificial coloring or rendered products.
You may also add digestive enzymes to your dog’s diet to support his immune system.
Raw, local honey is a natural method for treating seasonal allergies. Your dog will also love the taste. If you don’t have a source for raw, local honey, ask your vet or inquire at nearby health food store. Bees produce honey from local plants, and consuming local honey means ingesting local pollen. The idea is that your dog’s body becomes desensitized to pollens through honey consumption.
Nutraceuticals and Supplements
Nutraceuticals are foods marketed specifically for health benefits. They have medicinal properties, but aren’t medications per se. Certain nutraceuticals, sold as supplements, can boost your dog’s immune systems and possibly lessen or eliminate allergic reactions. Fish oil capsules contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help the body fight inflammation and boost its defenses. You can feed your dog the same type of fish oils you take yourself, but ask your vet about the proper dosage for your pet.
Another nutraceutical, methyl-sufonyl-methane (MSM) is used primarily for joint pain relief, but can also help dogs dealing with rhinitis, skin issues and other fall allergy symptoms. MSM is a form of sulfur, found naturally in the body.
Quercetin supplements, known as “Nature’s Benadryl,” can calm itching. This bioflavonoid acts as both an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. As an antihistamine, it suppresses the allergic reaction, much as Benadryl does for people. Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory properties not only treat itching, but soothe congested bronchial tubes. White willow bark has pain-relieving properties. Again, your vet can recommend the right dosage and administration schedule for your dog.
A Healthy Weight
Overweight dogs will suffer more from fall allergies than dogs of normal size. Not only does a fat dog have more difficulty breathing, but too much weight stresses his entire body. While your vet can recommend a diet plan, fall isn’t the best time to start a rigorous exercise program for a dog prone to allergies. Take your dog for longer walks when the pollen and mold count is low, or introduce him to an indoor form of exercise, such as swimming at a canine aquatic center.
Fall allergy season is tough, but take heart. Winter has its downsides, but very cold weather kills off many allergen sources.
Nothing’s more fun than giving your friends and family a gift for their pets! Beautiful hand-painted ornaments in a wide range of breeds. Our own decorated holiday treats perfect for stuffing their stockings. All sorts of toys for big and small dogs. Crazy catnip fun for cats. Warm bedding, “cozy caves”, Buddha bags and crate mats in fun colors and soft fabrics. Stylish apparel, from collars to sweaters to cold weather coats. “Grab and Go” Good Dog Buckets, filled with treats, toys and surprises. Can’t decide? A gift certificate is always welcome. If you need suggestions, please call us! We’ve got our elf ears on and glad to help!
That cold weather is coming soon and our smaller, local pet adoption groups could sure use some winter warmers for the dogs. Now through December 31, when you buy any coat or sweater to be donated to a rescue dog, you’ll receive both 20% OFF on that item plus 20% OFF on one for your own dog. We’ll deliver them to your choice of Caring For Creatures, Peaceful Passings, Animal Connections or Green Dogs Rescue.
Join us Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4 for the most fun holiday party for dogs and cats! REGISTER TO WIN a $500 Gift Certificate. Take home a FREE GOODY BAG filled with yummy treats and surprises. Enjoy holiday cheer and refreshments while you’re shopping for “SANTA SALE SPECIALS” all over the store. PET & FAMILY PHOTOS by photographer, Theresa N. White will be available Saturday only, sittings by reservation.
A canine cancer diagnosis is devastating. If your dog has cancer, you want to do everything possible to help him. Neoplasene, a treatment derived from bloodroot, may help with some cancers. Even though it is a natural substance, it does hold potential dangers. If you decide to go this route, it is imperative that you work with your holistic veterinarian every step of the way. Neoplasene is available only by prescription.
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadanesis, has long been used in herbal medicine to treat skin issues, including warts and fungal infections. This native wildflower appears each spring in the eastern woodlands of North America. Native Americans also used it for red dye. Only certain components of bloodroot are used in the making of neoplasene.
Neoplasene causes cancer cells to die – but it can also kill healthy cells, so extreme caution is necessary. Neoplasene treatment may lessen the cancer’s spread, or metastasis.
Canine Cancer Treatment
Neoplasene is only effective for certain canine cancers. These include:
- Nasal tumors
- Mammary gland tumors
- Mast cell tumors
- Perianal cancers
Neoplasene doesn’t cost as much as common cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, but it is labor intensive and unpleasant to apply topically. When the tumor cells die, they leave behind a gaping hole – perhaps down to the bone – requiring vet care. Your vet may initially inject neoplasene into a tumor, and the growth will necrotize – die off – within a week. After that, you must apply neoplasene salve to the wound at least twice daily. When done correctly, scarring is minimal for small tumors. That’s not the case with large growths.
Don’t force off the dying tissue, even though it appears repulsive. Unless your veterinarian indicates otherwise, merely clean the area with a hydrogen peroxide solution daily.
There is an oral form of neoplasene used for cancers that have metastasized. The dog will likely require this supplement for the rest of his life. However, oral neoplasene usually causes nausea and vomiting, so it is accompanied by specific diets designed to combat these side effects. Your vet will recommend a diet for your dog’s therapeutic needs. Raw and dry food diets are out. Neoplasene is mixed with food, as giving it directly to your dog will almost certainly result in vomiting. During the neoplasene regimen, your dog can’t receive any treats and is put on a strict twice-daily feeding schedule. His access to water is also limited.
Your dog can’t lick or eat the neoplasene ointment, so he may have to wear an Elizabethan collar or other device to keep him from getting at the wound. Elizabethan collars, the so-called “cones of shame” are uncomfortable and your dog will have to wear one for weeks. That’s just one of several precautions during neoplasene therapy:
- The salve may cause pain when placed on the wound, so your vet may prescribe analgesics for your pet. Certain painkillers have their own side effects. Dogs receiving neoplasene therapy cannot receive anti-inflammatories.
- Do not give your dog any supplements, including vitamins, without your veterinarian’s consent.
- Buck Mountain Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of neoplasene, warns, “Prolonged contact with healthy tissue is to be avoided.”
- Pregnant or nursing dogs should not receive neoplasene.
- Treatment for any other common dog disorders must cease during neoplasene therapy. That means no arthritis supplements, whether prescription or natural.
Neoplasene won’t “cure” cancer, but in combination with other holistic treatments, including diet, it can help your dog live longer with a good quality of life. In a best-case scenario, your dog succumbs to the infirmities of old age, not cancer.
The majority of dogs suffer from some type of dental disease, and signs of dental issues are apparent as early as age 3. It is not natural for dogs to have plaque and tartar on their teeth, and it doesn’t happen to their wild carnivore cousins. This buildup, which leads to dental and periodontal problems, is preventable via holistic dental techniques. These techniques focus on the entire dog, not just the mouth itself.
Poor dental health affects more than the teeth or gums. The bacteria from tooth infections can travel throughout the body, leading to heart, lung, liver, and kidney disease. Even if your dog already has signs of teeth troubles, it’s not too late to begin a holistic approach, with guidance from your veterinarian.
Conventional Teeth Cleaning
If your dog requires conventional teeth cleaning, that means undergoing anesthesia. The vet uses an ultrasonic scaler for removing large pieces of plaque and tartar, and then each tooth is cleaned via a hand scaler. It can take several hours for your dog to recover from the anesthesia. Although deaths from anesthesia are rare, they do occur. If you use a holistic approach to canine teeth cleaning starting when your dog is young, he may never need to undergo veterinary cleaning under anesthesia. One caveat: If your dog is very small, dental issues are more common. That’s because little dogs still possess the full complement of 42 teeth, crammed into their tiny mouths. Brachycephalic breeds – those with short noses and “pushed-in” faces – are also more likely to need professional dental cleaning. These breeds include the bulldog, pug, and Boston terrier.
Food for Dental Health
The best foods for your dog’s dental health are those designed for the way canines naturally eat. That means most of their teeth adept at tearing apart animal protein – meat – with a lesser number intended to crush this food prior to swallowing.
A typical commercial diet is one of the primary causes of canine tooth decay. Such diets often contain sugar and are full of carbohydrates – a recipe for dental disease. Your holistic vet will recommend the best food for your dog, and that typically consists of a commercially made, gently cooked or raw diet or a high protein, low carb dry diet. Add a good quality digestive enzyme to their food or a pinch in their water bowl will keep their teeth cleaner and their breath fresher, too. Look for dental chews that contain essential enzymes and are free of sugars and rice products for safe, effective chewing.
Your vet or your groomer can instruct you on the best way to brush your dog’s teeth. Even if your dog resists at first, he’ll probably come to tolerate brushing and develop a taste for canine toothpaste. Toothbrushes designed for children do well for small dogs, while you can use adult-sized toothbrushes on larger animals. Always use soft-bristled toothbrushes. Look for canine toothpaste containing antibacterial enzymes to limit bacterial growth. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth twice daily, just as you do your own. If that’s not possible, brush them once daily or as often as you can.
Signs of Dental Issues
If you’re brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you’ll notice any dental issues right away. Also watch your dog eat, so you can see if there’s any change in his chewing pattern or if he experiences eating difficulties. Signs of dental issues include:
- Bad breath
- Loss of appetite
- Pawing at the mouth.
Take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Even when using holistic dental techniques, dental problems can occur. In some dogs, genetic issues make them prone to dental disease.
A holistic approach to dental health benefits your dog’s entire body. Because your dog consumes an appropriate diet and good dental health minimizes the risk of systemic infection, you’re likely to have your best friend around for a long time.
We’ll be hosting photographer, Theresa N. White at our store on Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4 — bring your dogs, cats, kids… the whole family for holiday fun! The sitting fee is $25 and 20% goes to benefit Caring For Creatures pet rescue in Palmyra, Virginia! Photos will be available online so you can quickly order your own prints, postcards and gifts from your digital files. Theresa will have a big variety of holiday, winter and traditional backdrops, accessories, props on hand and her creative eye will help make your photographic memories a cherished gift. To reserve your sitting appointment, please call the store. Don’t wait, spaces are limited and will fill quickly.
It’s not unusual for aging canines to develop the endocrine condition known as Cushing’s disease. Formally known as hyperadrenocorticism, Cushing’s disease generally results from a benign tumor on the pituitary gland. This gland “rules” the endocrine system and produces various hormones, and the growth causes it to overproduce adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH. In about 20 percent of cases, a tumor on one or both of your pet’s adrenal glands induces excess cortisol production. Cortisol is a natural steroid, but excess amounts leave your dog’s body vulnerable to all sorts of maladies.
Standard treatment for Cushing’s disease involves powerful medications which can cause serious side effects. Some of these drugs are contraindicated in dogs suffering from kidney and liver disease and other afflictions common in senior dogs. Find a reputable holistic veterinarian to see if a natural treatment regimen may benefit your dog with Cushing’s disease. Natural treatments are more helpful to dogs diagnosed in the early stages of hyperadrenocorticism.
Suspect Cushing’s disease if your older dog develops any of the following symptoms:
- increased thirst and urination
- constant hunger
- hair thinning and loss
- muscle weakness
- frequent panting
- darkening skin
- recurring infections
Since these symptoms mimic those of other diseases, it is crucial that you have your dog tested. A simple blood test reveals excess cortisol in your dog’s system. An ultrasound shows whether there is a tumor on the adrenal glands. Approximately half of such tumors are benign – but that means there’s a 50 percent chance of malignancy. For some dogs, surgical removal of the tumor is an option.
Changing your dog’s diet may ease many of the Cushing’s symptoms. Your vet may recommend a raw diet or suggest home-cooked meals. If your dog is not currently consuming grain-free food, it’s time to make the switch. Avoid dry foods and feed your pet as little processed food as possible – that includes treats.
The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture has many uses, and regular treatments can help regulate hormones and relieve symptoms. Tiny needles inserted into the corresponding acupuncture point are no longer the only game in town. Veterinarians can now use lasers on these points with the same effect as needles. Nervous dogs or those that tend to squirm a lot at the veterinary clinic may do better with lasers than needles.
Certain herbs help control Cushing’s symptoms. Dandelion helps restore normal functioning to canine adrenal glands. Another common herb, ginkgo biloba, slows down the adrenal glands’ release of cortisol. Astragalus boosts the immune system, while burdock helps eliminate toxins from the body. Various Chinese herbs, such as Si Miao San, are useful for treating dogs with particular symptoms. These include overweight canines experiencing constant panting.
Your vet can recommend supplements to help your dog fight Cushing’s disease. Common supplements that help reduce the inflammation occurring with Cushing’s disease include:
- fish oil
- flaxseed oil
Melatonin may help your insomniac dog regain a regular sleep schedule.
Natural remedies may help your dog in his battle against Cushing’s disease, but don’t start making dietary changes and giving your pet herbs and supplements on your own. Your dog needs a specific treatment protocol that only an experienced holistic veterinarian can develop. Your vet must see your dog regularly for blood testing and an overall evaluation.
Keep in mind that natural treatments may work for a while on your dog, but you might eventually have to go the conventional treatment route. Your vet will let you know when it is time. If your dog does require conventional medication – such as Trilosten – he may require a smaller dosage if he continues to receive dietary and herbal therapy and acupuncture treatment.