Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Have you noticed your dogs eating grass lately? Eating grass is a fairly common behavior for dogs, but the truth is that no one knows exactly why dogs eat grass. However, there are some pretty strong hypotheses out there about what causes this strange behavior.

Top Four Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Here are four well-accepted explanations for why you may see dogs and puppies eating grass.

Natural Instinct

As we domesticated dogs, we changed their eating habits and their diets. The food that we feed our dogs today is pretty different from what they would eat in the wild. Dogs are actually omnivores and scavengers, meaning that they are willing to eat all sorts of different foods.

It’s possible that dogs eating grass are just following their natural instinct to scavenge. Wild dogs today will eat vegetation including fruits and grass, so our domesticated dogs may eat grass to satisfy the same natural instinct.

Stomach Upset

Dogs may have an alternative motive to eating grass: Soothing an upset stomach. The grass is tickly, and it can make a dog throw up. Dogs who eat grass may be attempting to relieve an upset or gassy stomach. While the end result isn’t at all fun for us to clean up, it’s possible that our dogs know what their bodies need and are eating grass as a way to make themselves feel better.

Anxiety

Grass eating in dogs can be a sign of anxiety. This behavior can be compulsive, and if a dog gets worked up or upset, he may turn to eating grass to help soothe his nerves. If you notice that your dog is highly anxious or upset when he eats grass, it is likely that anxiety is at the root of his grass eating, rather than one of the other possible causes.

If you suspect that your dog is eating grass because of anxiety, there are a number of ways that you can help to treat the anxiety. Consult with your vet about holistic treatments that may help your dog. It may take some time to pinpoint the source of your dog’s anxiety, but taking the time to get to the root of the issue can allow you to better help your dog.

Enjoyment

It’s also possible that some dogs just like grass. Dogs may like the taste or texture of grass. Even if grass may make dogs vomit, it’s possible that dogs enjoy eating it so much that the end effect isn’t enough to convince them to stop. Some dogs may just see grass as a special, delicious treat.

The Best Grass for Dogs to Eat

Now that we’ve established that it’s pretty common for dogs to eat grass, let’s talk about how to keep your dog safe when he decides to chow down on the lawn. The best grass for dogs to eat is grass that has not been treated with chemicals or pesticides. Never let your dog eat grass when you’re out at the park or in an unfamiliar place since you don’t know how the grass has been maintained.

You may want to create a safe patch of grass just for your dog to eat. Maybe you want to grow a tray of grass within your home, or in your yard so that you know your dog isn’t at risk of ingesting pesticides or other chemicals.

Keep an eye on your dog when he eats grass. This is particularly true for puppies eating grass, since ingesting too much grass or pieces of grass that are too large may cause an intestinal blockage in a puppy.

Grass eating is one of those behaviors that we don’t yet fully understand. If you’re struggling with grass eating in your dog, then our Behavior Consulting or Nutritional Consulting services may be just right for you.

 

References Noted:

http://www.akc.org/content/entertainment/articles/why-does-my-dog-eat-grass/

http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/vet-s-take-why-dogs-eat-grass/297

https://www.caninejournal.com/why-dogs-eat-grass/

FLEAS, TICKS & SKEETERS… OH MY!!!!

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)

  1. Choose a topical product over oral treatment
  2. 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
  3. Choose a natural product over chemical ones
  4. Read reviews of other dog lovers before you purchase a new product
  5. Pick a product that is not preserved with artificial chemicals
  6. Go with brands not manufactured in China to avoid poor quality or tainted ingredients
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
Animal connection dog cat

Natural (Holistic) Solutions for Your Dog or Cat’s Anxiety

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.

Essential Oils

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

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.

Compression Shirts

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.

Professional Help

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.

 

 

 

References Noted:

http://thebark.com/content/essential-oils-and-dogs

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/essential-oils-for-scared-dogs/

http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/flower-essences-for-anxious-dogs/

https://www.caninejournal.com/thunder-jacket-for-dogs/

“PET FOOLED” MOVIE – Sunday, Feb.26 at 2 pm

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 on 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. Contact us for more info!

BRUSH UP ON YOUR PET’S DENTAL HEALTH!

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!

Dog with Vestibular Syndrome

Natural Treatments for Vestibular Syndrome in Dogs

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.

Vestibular Syndrome

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
  • Circling
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty walking or balancing
  • Falling over – one side only
  • Nystagmus – eyes moving back and forth
  • Rolling
  • 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.

Natural Treatments

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.

Time Heals

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.

 

References

http://vestibular.org/sites/default/files/page_files/Vestibular%20disease%20in%20dogs%20and%20cats.pdf

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2011/oct/old_dog_vestibular_disease-11847

http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/vestibular-disease-in-dogs/856

http://peterdobias.com/blogs/blog/14495125-vestibular-syndrome-in-dogs-natural-treatment-and-prevention

TIME TO SWITCH TO “COLD WEATHER PROTEINS”

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.

Feel free to contact us with any questions about cold weather proteins.

OUR TIPS TO KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE ON NEW YEAR’S EVE!

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!

dog is cleaning itself biting the ticks and fleas

Adapting Your Dog’s Diet to Fight Fall Allergies

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.

Inhalant Allergies

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.

Skin Reactions

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 Honey

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.

Male veterinarian examining Great Dane on cancer in vet clinic

Neoplasene: Safe or Dangerous for Your Dog?

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.

 

Neoplasene

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:

  • Fibrosarcomas
  • Hemangiosarcomas
  • 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.

 

Neoplasene Precautions

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.