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Acupuncture for Dogs (Pets)

Acupuncture (as well as other holistic treatments like acupressure, chiropractic care, Chinese herbs, natural stem cell enhancers, message, Reiki, and ACT allergy treatments) for dogs, cats and other pets are gaining popularity around the world as an alternative or complementary non-medicated treatment.

What is Acupuncture?

Canine Acupuncture
Picture Source: http://www.lhasaoms.com

Acupuncture is a non-drug treatment modality that was developed about 5,000 years ago by the Chinese. By inserting tiny metal needles into specific points (called "acupoints") in the body, these doctors in the early days discovered that they could cause physiological changes, control and suppress pain, and stimulate organs or body parts.

Acupoints are not random but run along "meridians", which connect the entire body and are the pathways through which the "Qi" (pronounced as "chee"), or life force energy, circulates. Although the meridians run deep in the body, they surface at certain points on the skin. These acupoints are where the meridians can be accessed in order to create change in the associated organs or structures. According to Chinese acupuncture literature, there are 12 major meridians and 365 acupoints in the body.

In Eastern medicine, it is theorized that disorders or diseases occur when the "Qi" is out of balance. Acupuncture is one treatment option that can be used to rebalance the body and create harmony of Qi.

Acupuncture forms part of an ancient Chinese method of diagnosis and treatment known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). (Besides acupuncture, TCM includes the use of herbs, medical massage, food therapy, and other therapies to rebalance the "Qi".)

In acupuncture for dogs, the "acupoints" which veterinary acupuncturists use are sometimes called "transpositional points", the locations of which are transposed to canines from the human acupoints.

What Kind of Illnesses Can Be Treated by Acupuncture for Dogs?

Acupuncture is NOT appropriate for major acute diseases or emergencies (e.g. broken bones, overwhelming viral or bacterial infections).

Image Credit: CLINT EGBERT/XPRESS

However, it is a great alternative or complementary treatment for chronic diseases.

Acupuncture for dogs can be used to treat a variety of dog health conditions, mainly for pain relief (e.g. caused by osteoarthritis or injuries, etc.) and for treating dogs with neurological conditions, such as epilepsy. However, there are other dog health issues that can benefit from acupuncture as well.

You may want to consider canine acupuncture if your dog is suffering from any of the following problems:

  • Musculoskeletal Problems: osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, chronic degenerative joint disease, intervertebral disc disease, tendonitis, sprains and muscle spasms.
  • Neurological Problems: epilepsy, stroke, deafness, coma, paralysis from disc disease.
  • Urinary Disorders: incontinence, cystitis, urine retention.
  • Gastrointestinal Problems: colitis, chronic idiopathic diarrhea or vomiting, gastroenteritis, rectal prolapse.
  • Respiratory Disorders: sinusitis, rhinitis, asthma, chronic coughing, pneumonia.
  • Systemic Inflammatory Conditions: chronic skin inflammation, allergies,lick granulomas.

In addition to the above, more and more veterinarians are now incorporating acupuncture as a part of canine cancer treatment protocol, either to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy, boost the immune system and improve quality of life, or to actually inhibit the growth of the cancerous tumor itself.

What Does an Acupuncture Treatment Involve?

Dog Having Acupuncture Treatment
Picture Source: http://www.fourpawsacupuncture.com

Each treatment is individualized to each dog patient. The acupoints selected, the number of needles, and the length of treatment all depend on the type and severity of the dog’s condition.

Acupuncture for dogs is usually performed with small, tiny metal needles.

Most dogs do not mind (and do not even feel) the needles being inserted. Most of them seem to feel relaxed and comfortable. Some go right to sleep during treatment!

Generally speaking, one treatment lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. Most cases are seen once or twice a week at first, after which the number of treatments can be reduced depending on progress.

Besides metal needles, there are some variations that are proving quite successful as well, including:

  • Aquapuncture: This involves injecting the acupoints with a solution of vitamin B12 and saline. The solution puts pressure on and thus stimulates the point for a longer period of time and is a good technique to use if the dog does not want to stay still for 20 minutes.
  • Electroacupuncture: This involves connecting electrodes from a small battery-operated unit to the needles in different acupoints. A very gentle current is passed through the points and down the meridians. This type of treatment encourages the flow of energy, blood and lymph along the meridians and speeds up healing.
  • Laser Acupuncture. This involves the use of lasers rather than needles on acupoints and can be beneficial for dogs who absolutely don’t want anything to do with needles.
  • Moxibustion: This is a very old Chinese treatment modality that involves heating the acupuncture needles with a dried herbal incense. It stimulates blood flow and can be an excellent treatment for older arthritic dogs with sore and stiff joints and tight muscles.

Safety and Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Dogs

Acupuncture for dogs is very safe IF the acupuncturist has received formal training, and most importantly, is licensed.

The effectiveness of canine acupuncture depends on a few factors, such as:

  • The acupuncturist’s experience and technique.
  • The condition of the dog, e.g. how long the dog has been sick, and how serious the health problem being treated is.
  • The number, length and consistency of treatments.

Cat Getting Acupuncture – Image Credit: CLINT EGBERT/XPRESS

Occasionally a positive response may be seen after only one treatment, but more often than not, 4 to 6 treatments are needed. Sometimes it can take up to eight treatments before results can be seen.

According to Dr. Karen Becker (a holistic vet who also uses pet acupuncture in her practice), about 25% of patients have a very positive response to acupuncture, showing major improvement to the point of fully recovering from the condition. Another 50% of patients experience dramatic improvement but with some symptoms remaining; while 25% have no response at all.

If you look at these figures, it seems that acupuncture works quite well on a rather high percentage of patients. It is definitely worth giving this treatment modality a try.

(Our dogs have experienced acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic care as well as having taken Chinese herbs and StemPets stem cell enhancers and Goji Juice. I have a cousin whose dog avoided back surgery because of acupuncture and both my husband and daughter have had successful experiences with acupuncture and other natural treatments.)

Where Can I Find Acupuncture Veterinary Professionals?

If you are interested in acupuncture for your dog, ask your holistic vet or access the websites of The American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture or International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.

Here is an informative video in which Dr. Becker talks about pet acupuncture:

Give your pets a head start for a healthier, happier and longer life with StemPets and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

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Dog Massage? Isn’t Petting Enough?

Pet owners get the point of acupuncture

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Struggling families can now apply for nonprofit’s Pet Food Stamps

A New Program to Help Struggling Families and the Homeless Feed and Keep Their Pets

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What beautiful pictures and wonderful thought. The dog is man’s best friend! The question is, “Is man dog’s best friend?”

ALBUQUERQUE KRQE.com – h/t to TLA: Although the government has offered food stamps to struggling Americans for decades, there haven’t been any provisions for their four-legged family members. Until now. Marc Okon has launched Pet Food Stamps, a New York-based nonprofit that will give qualifying pet owners throughout the U.S. (who must be receiving government assistance for themselves) funds to buy food for their animals from the website PetFoodDirect.

In the program’s first two weeks, Okon says he has already fielded more than 12,000 applications. "It’s aimed at preventing people from having to choose between feeding themselves or their animals or having to surrender them to a high-kill shelter," Okon said.

ALBUQUERQUE KRQE.com:  A new program to offer pet food stamps is getting a big response from New Mexicans.

The nonprofit Pet Food Stamps is not a government program but works just like human food stamps. Families who qualify for state assistance could qualify for assistance in feeding their pets as well.

Local animal shelters hope the assistance will ease their overpopulation problems.

"We distribute roughly 3,000 pounds of pet food each week in Albuquerque," said Dawn Glass, marketing director at Animal Humane New Mexico.

Animal Humane’s emergency food bank feeds about 400 families every month in Albuquerque, but the help is only for dire situations. There is no long-term help.

Now a new national group Pet Food Stamps is changing that.

"It’s aimed at preventing people from having to choose feeding themselves or their animals or having to surrender them to a high-kill shelter," explained founder Marc Okon.

Okon launched the New York based nonprofit two weeks ago, and It’s already seeing a huge response from New Mexicans.
"We’ve had tons of people that have submitted applications," Okon said. "I think about 300 to 400 people to be exact."  And that’s in New Mexico alone. In just two weeks the program has had more than 12,000 requests for assistance.

To qualify families must prove they’re receiving state assistance. If approved they’ll get a monthly allotment to spend at national retailer PetFoodDirect..

Local shelters say they’re thrilled about the idea of long-term relief.

"If we can have an ongoing source for these families while they’re trying to get on their feet, that’s huge" Glass said.

Glass hopes it will also keep more families with their families instead of state and city facilities.

"When people are going through difficult situations, where they’ve lost their jobs or their home is foreclosed, the last thing they need to do is lose their very best friend," Glass added.

Applications can be filled out on the Pet Food Stamps website .

Because the organization is a nonprofit, it is also in need of monetary donations while they search for federal funds and grants.

*This is a long overdue program.  With the federal food stamp program you can buy candy, soda, and junk food but you can’t buy pet food or a pre-cooked chicken or off the dollar menu at any fast food place.  If you are truly homeless and living on the street or in your car being able to feed your pet, sometimes your only companion, or eat a warm meal when you have nowhere to cook, would be worth a lot.  It is perhaps time to re-consider some of the restrictions and impose a few new ones.

**If you can donate or perhaps work with this program, Pet Food Stamps,  to help all families in need feed their pets, please do so.

Related:

Homeless With Pets – Choosing Pets Over Shelter

The “ex”-Middle & Upper Class Homeless

Foreclosure Crisis Leads to More Homeless Pets to the Rescue!

Where there is a will…

Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?

Unconditional Love

Can the U.S. Become a No Kill Nation?

Chinese City’s “One Dog” Policy Has Residents Howling

Homeless Shelters that Allow Pets

How to Help Pets of Homeless People

A Patchwork of Food Assistance for Pets

Help Feed Hungry Pets

Humane Society list of pet financial aid-related organizations

N.J. Pets Welcome at Hurricane Evacuation Shelters

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals … and its weakest members.” …Ghandi

February 27, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Help Familie Keep Their Pets, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Outreach for Pets, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, Political Change, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , | 8 Comments

Driftwood Horses

Just when you thought you had seen it all…. These ladies build horses out of the driftwood they find…..

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Not only are they beautiful but they are using what Mother Nature has left behind to create art.

h/t to Patricia Gillenwater

StemPets and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

February 26, 2013 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Unusual Stories | , , , | 1 Comment

Great Story Without a Word Being Said…

Here is a great story without a word being said, apart from the very end.  Some of you may remember this story from the news.

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A GERMAN TOURIST JUMPED IN THE FREEZING WATER AND SAVED MY PRECIOUS LITTLE DOG.

UPON GETTING BACK ON THE BRIDGE, HE CHECKED MY PUPPIE OUT AND TOLD ME, "ZE DOG IS OK. HE VILL BE FINE."

Due to his selfless heroic act, I ASKED, "ARE YOU A VET?"

HE REPLIED, "VET? I’M F_KING SOAKED!"

I laughed till I cried.

h/t to Gary Patterson

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal and Pet Photos, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , | 4 Comments

Italy Dog Frequent Churchgoer Since Owner Died

This speaks for itself…

http://www.pawnation.com/2013/01/16/italy-dog-frequent-churchgoer-since-owner-died/

Milestone Media

By AFPJan 16, 2013:

ROME – Since his owner died two months ago, Tommy the dog has not missed a single mass in the small church in southern Italy where his mistress’s funeral was held, Italian media said Wednesday.

http://www.pawnation.com/2013/01/16/italy-dog-frequent-churchgoer-since-owner-died/2

Milestone Media

When the bells of the Santa Maria Assunta church begin to toll each afternoon in San Donaci near Brindisi, the 12-year-old German Shepherd sets off from the village to get himself a front row seat next to the altar, Il Messaggero newspaper said.

http://www.pawnation.com/2013/01/16/italy-dog-frequent-churchgoer-since-owner-died/3

Milestone Media

His owner, who was known in local dialect as "Maria tu lu campu" — "Maria of the fields" — had lived alone with Tommy and three other rescue dogs, who used to follow her faithfully on her daily rounds and have now been adopted by the village.

http://www.pawnation.com/2013/01/16/italy-dog-frequent-churchgoer-since-owner-died/4

Milestone Media

After following his mistress’s coffin up to the church on the day of her funeral, Tommy has returned daily, sitting quietly throughout masses, baptisms and funerals, according to local priest Donato Panna, who now wouldn’t do without him.

h/t to Victoria Baer – The Baer Edge

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February 20, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sheriff: McCready shot dog before killing herself

 

Feb. 18, 2013, 1:59 PM EST

HEBER SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Authorities say they found country singer Mindy McCready’s body on the same porch of her northern Arkansas home where her boyfriend was found dead of an apparent suicide last month.

Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss said Monday that it appears McCready killed her late boyfriend David Wilson’s dog before she turned the gun on herself Sunday. The dog and McCready were found dead next to one another at the home in Heber Springs, a vacation community about 65 miles north of Little Rock. Moss says the dog’s body was next to McCready’s.

No word on or details about the type of dog.

Authorities are investigating Wilson’s shooting death as a suicide, but Moss says an official determination hasn’t been made.

Moss says he expects McCready’s official cause of death to be released soon, but that "all indicators" point to suicide.

Melinda Gayle McCready rose to fame in the 90s when she was still in her teens. With tapes of her karaoke vocals, she earned a recording contract with BNA Records. In 1996, her "Guys Do It All the Time" hit No. 1 and its dig at male chauvinism endeared her to females. Her other hits included "Ten Thousand Angels," also in 1996, and her album by that title sold 2 million copies.

After getting her recording contract, she did concert appearances with top country stars including George Strait, Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson. But her life then took a turn for the worse as she struggled to live in the spotlight. The talented star spent the next 15 years chasing another hit as personal problems began plaguing her in 2004.

The fact that Mindy McCready shot her boyfriend’s dog before shooting herself has many people wondering whether she shot the dog because he was the one who found the bullet that killed David Wilson or because she wanted them all to be together in death as they were in life. If Mindy McCready’s two children, 9-month-old Zayne and 6-year-old Zander would have been home with her instead of being in foster care, would she have killed the children also in order to be together?

The dog, oddly, was a key figure in an investigation into the death of McCready’s longtime boyfriend, David Wilson. Wilson died from a gunshot wound on January 13, 2013. McCready told NBC that her dog found the bullet.

"I didn’t find the bullet, the dog did. It was in the dog’s mouth. I mean, that’s a horrific things to say, but it was in the dog’s mouth," she said in an interview following Wilson’s death. There had been some speculation as to whether Wilson’s death was a suicide or whether there was foul play involved. When asked if she killed her boyfriend, McCready told NBC, "Oh my God, no. He was my life, we were each others’ life."

Mindy’s rep called the singer an "extraordinary and gifted talent" in a statement sent to FOX 411 and said McCready’s friends were planning a memorial for her in Nashville in the coming days.

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February 20, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pets, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | | 1 Comment

Pampered pets and pet survivors

US President George Bush's Barney and Mrs. Beazly 2007

U.S. President George W. Bush’s dogs Barney and Mrs. Beazley (front) roam the driveway on the South Lawn of the White House on March 26, 2007. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg)

UPI.com Pet Parade  -  By AL SWANSON (2010):

In his memoirs, former President George W. Bush tells a story about going from the pampering of the White House to picking up his dog Barney’s poop days later.

Bush, 10 days after leaving office, was walking his Scottie when Barney relieved himself on a neighbor’s lawn.

"There I was," Bush wrote, "the former president of the United States, with a plastic bag on my hand, picking up that which I had been dodging for the past eight years."

Barney, of course, continues to be pampered.

Despite the lingering recession hangover, with slow economic and job growth, people are still willing to spend on their pets — those who can afford it, that is.

Americans are not the only ones who spoil pets. A check of the Yellow Pages in the area around Bundaberg in Queensland in northeast Australia, shows 60 businesses offering pet services compared to 24 offering services for men.

"For a lot of people who send their cats here, their cats are like children, so they will get pampered," Sharon Bradley, owner of Avoca Boarding Cattery told the Bundaberg News Mail.

The sight of celebrity-socialite Paris Hilton shopping with her latest pampered puppy stowed in a designer handbag may make some people retch. But for many the only difference is the amount of money she has to spend. Hilton, who was sentenced to a year’s probation after her arrest for cocaine possession in Las Vegas in September, reportedly has admitted to owning as many as 18 pets from dogs and rabbits to a parrot and a pig.

She seems to enjoy indulging Chihuahuas while other celebrities are into trendy designer breeds like puggles (half poodle-half beagle), poochons (poodle and bishon) and maltipoo (maltese and poodle).

Spafinder lists the Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas as the place to pamper your dog. House-trained dogs are always welcome but in February the 19-acre resort will offer a special four-day retreat for dogs and their owners. Both humans and animals can get pampering from massages to "peticures" while owners also learn tips about pet care, petside.com said.

The fees from "Celebrating Paws" will go to the Animal Trustees of Austin, a non-profit devoted to providing low-cost animal healthcare.

As shelters fill up it’s one way — other than writing a check — for owners of pampered pets to help pets of those who are having trouble affording them.

Shelters are reaching capacity as people who have lost jobs or homes give up their cats and dogs, Pam Burney, vice president for community initiatives at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told USA Today.

In the pet-friendly city of Portland, Ore., pet owners can check their canines into the luxury of the Sniff Dog Hotel, a pet hotel that offers grooming, training and doggie daycare as well as posh accommodations starting at $37 per day, care2.com said. The property has a cafe serving wine, beer and food to dog owners watching Fido romp in an indoor park.

Caesars Palace, Imperial Palace and the Rio, all Harrah’s hotel-casino properties in Las Vegas, accept dogs weighing less than 50 pounds, up to two per room under their "PetStay" program, the Los Angeles Times reports. An extra fee of $20 to $25 per night covers amenities including dog food, water bowls and doggie treats. Dogs must be crated when left alone in the room. Sorry, no cats are allowed.

And there’s always a luxury staycation.

"A back yard is no place for a dog. It’s not their natural environment," Robert Holmes, an Australian animal behavior expert, told the Brisbane Herald Sun. "They should be in bed with their owners. That’s where the pack lies and they should all pile in together."

My two very energetic terriers are a little too gamey for that sort of togetherness and we don’t plan to have them groomed until Thanksgiving.

Barkley seems to prefer sleeping on the floor in our bedroom to his expensive dog bed, anyway.

Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte, says many consumers appear ready to spend again with sales of both organic pet food and bargain pet food rising.

"People are cutting back on themselves more than they’re cutting back on pets." Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association told USA Today.

If you think pampering a pet is crazy, consider this: a poll conducted by Unbiased.co.uk found nearly 1.5 million people plan to leave their assets to their pets in their wills, while only 1 million said their money would go to a church when they die.

*President Gerald Ford was a humble man. One of the best quotes I have ever heard is:  “No one should ever have to clean up after someone else’s pet and every man should be willing  to clean up after his own pet/best friend!”

Related:

Bush and Barney, Just Like Old Times

New First Pooch Is Arriving Soon

President Bush and His Pets

February 19, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chihuahua, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, pet products, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Part 3 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: Fixing America’s Broken Animal Shelter System

Story at-a-glance
  • Today, in the final segment of a three-part interview with best-selling author Ted Kerasote about his latest book, Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, Dr. Becker and Ted discuss the problem of homeless pets in North America and the need for shelters to transform themselves into no-kill facilities.
  • Ted also discusses three-and-a-half-year-old Pukka’s life as a healthy, athletic, free-roaming dog, and the benefits and risks of the lifestyle Ted has chosen for him.
  • Finally, Ted discusses two fascinating new projects – one he has just put the finishing touches to, and another he’s currently working on.

By Dr. Becker

I’m back with bestselling author Ted Kerasote for the final installment of our three-part interview. You can see part one here and part two here. We’re discussing Ted’s wonderful new book just out in bookstores, called Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs.

The problem of homeless pets.

One of the huge, complex topics Ted takes on in Pukka’s Promise is the “crisis” situation in North American animal shelters. I worked in a shelter as a teenager, and Ted’s treatment of the subject in his new book has caused me to view the situation in a very different light.

I asked Ted to talk about his research into how unwanted pets are handled in other parts of the world vs. in the U.S.

Ted said he’d first like to address the use of the word “crisis” to describe our homeless pet situation. While it’s true about 1.5 million animals are killed in shelters each year in the U.S., 40 years ago we were killing 20 million per year.

The point is, progress has been made, and Ted believes credit is due the organizations that have worked so hard to bring that number down so dramatically.

How dogs are cared for in Western Europe vs. North America.

As to the question of differences between how North America treats homeless animals vs. other areas of the world, Ted explained that he traveled extensively in Europe to see how the situation was handled over there. He says you don’t see stray dogs roaming all over Western Europe, as happens in some parts of the U.S.

And the assumption is that because Western Europe is so highly urbanized, it can’t have free-roaming dogs. Everyone by necessity must control his or her dog, which is why there’s no so-called pet “overpopulation” problem. But Ted says that actually, there ARE free-roaming dogs … in Hyde Park … at the Bois de Boulogne in Paris … the Villa Borghese in Rome … and the Englischer Garden in Munich. In all these places there are free-roaming, off-leash dogs running about, under the voice-control of their people, and they’re not spayed or neutered, either.

To the casual observer, this seems risky at best. After all, everyone knows how quickly a male dog can mate with a female dog, right? So, why aren’t countless unwanted puppies being killed in shelters? The answer is that in Europe, people sequester their female dogs when they’re in heat. It’s just what they do, because it’s their tradition.

The Europeans carefully manage their female dogs when they’re in season. The dogs stay at home – in the barn or the kennel. They are walked only on a leash. There’s no way you don’t know when your female dog is being mounted by a male dog, if she’s at the end of a four foot leash and you’re holding the other end.

Ted explained that like most Americans, prior to his fact-finding trip to Europe, he didn’t really comprehend that there’s a way to have intact dogs and not have litter after litter of puppies.

Ted further explained that according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. is number 27 out of 31 countries with respect to overall poverty and the amount of social justice its citizens enjoy. In Scandinavia, for example, there are no dogs killed in animal shelters. They have a very secure social services network that takes care of citizens “from cradle to grave.” Of course, taxes are high, but everyone’s taken care of, including pets.

By contrast, in the U.S., most dogs are killed in counties with low median incomes. It’s absolutely true that you can’t determine the number of dogs killed in a shelter by the amount of money per capita that is spent in that shelter. Some shelters spend $6 per capita and kill a lot of dogs. Others spend $1.50 per capita and don’t kill that many dogs. But it’s also true that for the most part, poor communities kill more dogs in their shelters.

No-kill solutions every shelter can (and should) embrace.

So the question becomes, how can we help the shelter system work better? Better social services across the board might help. Eliminating poverty might help. Those are long-term goals. Ted says that in the meantime, there are many people working on helping shelters operate better. There’s the No Kill Advocacy Center, whose solution involves hiring compassionate shelter directors who are committed to implementing ideas that have worked all over the country to reduce the number of shelter deaths.

Some of those ideas include keeping shelters open at least one day on the weekend. Keep them open in the evening – employed people aren’t available to come see adoptable animals during the workday. Implement a foster care program to reduce the number of kittens and puppies who are killed. Send the little ones out to foster families so they can grow up to be adoptable pets.

Other ideas include partnering with local pet stores to stop selling purebred dogs from breeders and instead feature shelter pets ready for adoption. The stores make money, a percentage goes to the shelters, and the animals find homes. It’s a win for everyone.

Another idea is to do outreach programs where the shelter takes adoptable pets to places like PetSmart and Petco for adoption events. The shelters that have implemented these techniques have low kill rates. But according to Ted’s research, many, many more shelters need to adopt these ideas.

Ted also mentioned Maddie’s Fund, which helps shelters and animal welfare organizations that are trying to reduce the kill rate. Maddie’s Fund sponsors a massive ad campaign, The Shelter Pet Project, to convince prospective pet owners to adopt a shelter animal. In addition, the CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, told Ted that ”a no-kill nation must be one of the greatest aspirations of this organization.” But according to Nathan Winograd, the head of the No Kill Advocacy Center, out of 3,500 shelters across the country, only about 200 have become no-kill, meaning 90 percent of the dogs and cats who come into the shelter are adopted, fostered, or find other suitable living arrangements.

Ted believes that ever so slowly, we are working on the problem of homeless pets. In my opinion, it boils down to how committed and passionate each shelter is to becoming a no-kill facility.

Pukka’s life as a young, athletic, free-roaming dog.

Next I wanted Ted to talk about the role of genetics in helping dogs live healthier lives, and specifically, how he has applied the principles of his research to his own dog, Pukka, who is now almost four.

I asked Ted if he has encountered any challenges with Pukka’s health he wasn’t expecting. Ted said that overall, Pukka is a vibrant, thriving dog, who according Ted, just happens to beat himself up a lot – he’s hard on his body. He’ll jump off something, and the next day he won’t be quite as fast when he runs. He’s like many young athletes in that he doesn’t know his own limits.

Ted went on to explain that when Pukka was two, he almost died from a self-inflicted wound. He was running with a stick in his mouth, and he jammed it into the ground going full tilt. The stick broke and its jagged end pierced his tongue, severing his sublingual artery. Pukka came into the house gushing arterial blood.

Ted got the dog in his car and drove about a hundred miles an hour to the animal hospital in Jackson, Wyoming. He had stuffed a dishtowel in Pukka’s mouth, but he was still spraying blood all over the car. At the animal hospital, the vet staff clamped off the artery, but they had some initial difficulty finding the injury because there was just so much blood.

So Pukka is a healthy, athletic youngster who injures himself from time to time. Other than that, what worries Ted most is Pukka’s potential exposure to chemicals in the area where they live. Grand Teton National Park and Teton County are sprayed with chemicals every spring to control spotted knapweed. During those times, Pukka is confined to the house and walked under Ted’s supervision, even though all the literature on those sprays claims they are non-toxic.

Ted believes that Pukka, like most dogs, was exposed to many potentially harmful toxins as a puppy, for example, by chewing on dog toys. And he’s exposed to environmental pollutants just as we all are. Ted explained that he’s tried to create a non-toxic house, but Pukka also roams around the village where they live, so it’s impossible to say what he might be exposed to.

People say to Ted, “You should fence Pukka. You should lock him up.” But for Ted, that’s not an option. He’s willing to assume certain risks so that Pukka can live as a free-roaming dog.

Fortunately, Ted has a very unique situation in that he lives in a small village that provides an almost picture-perfect environment for dogs to live independently and free and to make their own choices. Of course, not all of us are fortunate enough to have such an amazing living arrangement.

Ted explained that there are nonetheless risks associated with living where he does, and they are unusual, for instance, grizzly bears … mountain lions … and wolves, the wolves posing the greatest threat to dogs in northwestern Wyoming since wolves will kill domestic dogs. They consider them interlopers in their territory. When Ted and Pukka are hiking during the summer months, or mountain bike riding, Pukka is often a half-mile ahead, doing his thing. If he runs into a pack of wolves, it could be the end of him. But Ted explained that he’s willing to take those risks so Pukka can have his freedom.

What Ted is doing now.

Ted has put the last five years of his life, heart and soul into researching and writing Pukka’s Promise. Now that it’s out in bookstores, I asked Ted what’s next. He responded that he breathed about a five-minute sigh of relief after he finished the book, and then he went back to one he started years ago, before he met Merle, about a young jaguar named Jorge, who lives in Central America. He’s just putting the finishing touches on it now. The title is The Jaguar Who Ran.

As Ted’s story goes, Jorge the jaguar doesn’t like where he was born, because he can’t run in the jungle. He’s always running into trees and slipping in the mud. His mother tells him, “Listen, jaguars slink and crouch and hide. They don’t run.” Jorge responds, “But dad ran when he went up to the land of the Still Star,” which is what the jaguars call northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Jorge wants to run. So he goes to the land of the Still Star and gets into loads of trouble, but manages to persevere. It’s a story for all of us who dream of living a life different from that of our families and cultures.

Ted said he’s also working on a book about street dog management in developing areas of the world, where extermination has traditionally been used to reduce the incidence of rabies transmitted to people. This has not worked. Nor can adoption work since people in such places don’t have enough money to adopt and care for a dog. Since the 1990s a different approach has been tried. It was pioneered in India. Street dogs are captured, sterilized, vaccinated, and then released in the exact location where they were captured. This strategy has been very successful and has reduced both the number of street dogs without harming them, while also reducing the incidence of rabies transmitted to people.

Ted explained that he has met some very interesting veterinarians doing this kind of work all over the world. He thought their story would make a good book and might be applicable to some extent here in the U.S. because we also have a large stray dog problem in some areas. Depending on whose numbers you believe, there are 5,000 to 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit. There are stray dogs in Watts, in Baltimore, St. Louis, and on Indian reservations. The Navajo reservation is home to a couple hundred thousand stray dogs.

What typically happens is we capture these dogs, put them in shelters, and kill the majority of them. Ted wonders if it might not be a better idea to capture them, sterilize and vaccinate them, and turn them loose again – especially if they’re healthy.

My sincere thanks to Ted!

I want to thank Ted Kerasote for joining me for this three-part interview.

I’m very excited about the release of his new book, Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, and I’m so thankful I was able to get an advance copy to read. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I know our listeners and readers here today will as well.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry … you’ll be informed and inspired by Pukka’s Promise.

Related:

Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, by Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote – Available in Bookstores This Week!

Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs

Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

Pukka: The Pup After Merle

StemPets and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

February 18, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pet Food Red Flags You Want to Avoid

Story at-a-glance

  • A major pet food manufacturer has reformulated one of its lines of dog and cat foods to add more natural ingredients. The move comes in response to pet owners who are increasingly concerned about what ingredients go into the pet food they buy.
  • The new formulas are advertised to include “quality” protein as the first ingredient, “natural” ingredients, no chicken by-product, and no artificial colors or flavors.
  • The reformulated dry dog foods we checked do contain a named meat source as the first ingredient. Unfortunately, the next several ingredients on each list are grains, grains and more grains.
  • The reformulated dry cat food fared no better, and one variety listed unacceptably non-specific “ocean fish” as the first ingredient.
  • As more pet owners get educated about which pet food ingredients are appropriate and good quality, pet food manufacturers will try to answer consumer demands without hurting their bottom line. It’s important for pet owners to skip over all the marketing hype and advertising claims on pet food packages and go right to the ingredient list instead.

Pet Foods

By Dr. Becker

A few months ago I read in an industry journal that a very large pet food manufacturer was in the process of reformulating one of its brands of dog and cat foods to add more natural ingredients. This company also makes veterinary formulas, but the changes involve its commercial line of products.

According to the article, the reformulation was in response to consumers who are “making product choices based primarily on a set criteria of ingredients, rather than the overall promise of nutrition and clinical research.” (Translation: today’s dog and cat owners are better informed about the quality and appropriateness of pet food ingredients, and are increasingly skeptical of pet food marketing and advertising claims.)

The new formulas promise to include “quality” protein as the first ingredient, “natural” ingredients, no chicken by-product, and no artificial colors or flavors.

Reformulated … but Still Loaded with Grains

Needless to say, I was very interested to see the ingredient lists for these newly formulated foods, and I was just recently able to find some information on them.

As promised, the first item on the reformulated ingredient lists for dry dog food was either a named animal protein (e.g., chicken) or a named protein meal (e.g., lamb meal). We must keep in mind, however, that pet food ingredients are listed by weight on the label, and before moisture is removed. Once the chicken or other animal protein source is depleted of its moisture – a necessary function in the manufacture of dry pet food — in most cases it can no longer maintain its position as the first ingredient on the list.

And in fact, it slides way down the list. “Meal” means the fresh meat has been dried and pulverized, so the heavy water has been removed. There are several different quality categories of meal, and pet food companies don’t have to disclose the quality of the meat they are using, so meals range from great quality to terrible. That’s why it’s important to check the first five or so ingredients on a dry pet food label — you’ll get a much better picture of the true nutritional value of the food.

A specific meat is what you want to see first on the label, but you want to see a specific meat or specific meat meal as the second and third ingredients as well. If the second and subsequent ingredients are grains, don’t be fooled into thinking you’re purchasing a primarily meat-based food. What you’re buying is a grain-based food for your meat-eating dog or cat.

Most of the reformulated dry dog foods I checked contained brewer’s rice as the second ingredient, followed by a long list of other grains like brown rice, cracked pearled barley, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, whole grain sorghum and soybean meal.

These are clearly grain-based dry dog foods, so the significance of the first ingredient being a “quality” protein becomes much less important in terms of the real nutritional value of the food.

On To the Cat Food

A reformulated dry cat food label I checked contains “ocean fish” as the first ingredient, and that’s not specific enough as far as I’m concerned. There are countless varieties of ocean fish, and unfortunately, most are heavily contaminated with toxic metals, industrial chemicals and pesticides.

More often than not, a non-specific protein source like “ocean fish,” or “meat,” or “poultry” is an amalgam of revolting pieces-n-parts of various critters that fall into those general categories. That’s why you want specific named meat like beef, chicken, turkey, duck, etc. in the pet food you buy.

Another dry cat food formula contained the following ingredients at the top of the list: chicken, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, animal fat, powdered cellulose, pea bran meal, dried egg product, and wheat gluten.

So again, we’ve got chicken in the number one spot – before dehydration – followed by what I call filler ingredients. Both wheat and corn are grains linked to the huge and growing problem of allergic conditions in pets. In addition, this is a cat food we’re talking about, and cats’ bodies aren’t even designed to process grains.

I’ll Say it Again: Buyer Beware!

My purpose in bringing this information to you is not to implicate any particular pet food brand or manufacturer. Rather, my goal is to continually remind pet owners that marketing claims for pet food – no matter how benign they may seem – must be investigated if you want to insure you’re feeding the highest quality diet you can afford to your dog or cat.

For more information on how to become an expert at selecting the best commercial pet food for your dog or cat, these articles are a great place to start:

Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats: Simple Homemade Food – Cookbook

Related:

Related:

The Dangers of Genetically Modified Ingredients in Pet Food

Pet Jerky Death Toll Update: 360 dogs, 1 Cat According to FDA

A Raw Food KIBBLE?

When Raw Food is NOT the Right Food for Your Pet

Surprise, Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food

Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

The Importance of Bones in Your Pet’s Diet

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Good Diet and Advice for Dogs with Pancreatitis

“Holidays Are Great and Fun To Share With Our Pets, As Long As We Avoid the No-No Foods”

Gourmet Doggie Biscuits and Some Holiday Snacking Tips

Beef Verses Bison for Dogs – Variety is critical for your pet to receive the full spectrum of amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamins and antioxidants necessary to thrive.

Fatty Acids May Improve Mobility In Osteoarthritic Dogs

Pets and Toxic Plants

Natural Pet Remedies For Everyday Problems

Allergies and Springtime Ailments in Pets

Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

How the Pet Food Industry Has Helped Create "Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome"

Now dogs Have a Food Truck of Their Own With Bow-Wow Chow

Dysbiosis: The Root Cause of Many Other Pet Health Problems

Cancer and Your Pet: Two Things to Avoid

Now dogs Have a Food Truck of Their Own With Bow-Wow Chow

The Nutrient Your Dog Needs More of As They Age: Protein – And Expecting Your Pet to Get It from Rendered Pet Food Is the Worst of the Worst of the Worst Options!

Pupcakes

Gourmet Doggie Biscuits and Some Holiday Snacking Tips

Beef Verses Bison for Dogs – Variety is critical for your pet to receive the full spectrum of amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamins and antioxidants necessary to thrive.

Chicken Jerky Recipe for dogs

WHAT HUMAN FOODS ARE UNSAFE FOR PETS? (the 12 worst)–> chocolate, sugarless gum & artificial sweeteners, alcohol, yeast dough, grapes & raisins, Macadamia nuts, onions (bad for dogs and cats… but poison for cats), garlic (for cats), caffeine, fat trimmings and bones (bad for cats and limited fat and the right bones for dogs), raw eggs (for cats, but must be careful for dogs and humans), and milk.

Some of the best human foods for dogs: peanut butter (although peanuts and peanut butter can contain mold so could be bad for humans and dogs), cheese including cottage cheese (some some dogs can be prone to be lactose intolerant like people), yogurt, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe, blueberries, salmon, green beans, sweet potatoes, fresh raw carrots, pumpkin, and lean meat… cooked or raw.

Did You Know There are Two Kinds of Raw Pet Food on the Market?

Megacolon: A Terrible Outcome for Constipated Pets

Resources:

Not Fit for a Dog!: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food

See Spot Live Longer – How to help your dog live a longer and healthier life!

Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals

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Keep your pets healthy and help extend their lives with:

StemPet and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

February 17, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Pet Recipes, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cop shuts down highway to save small dog, becomes Web hero

Police officer Kyle Jones of La Porte, Texas, shut down a highway on a rainy day to help a small dog find its way home.

Cujo's hero, Officer Jones

Unbeknown to Officer Jones, a nearby motorist took a photo of the officer’s kindhearted gesture. A short time later, the photo of Officer Jones attempting to wrangle the stubborn little pooch was at the top of the popular social network Reddit.

KENS 5 News, has more details. Cujo, the dog, had escaped his home on Monday morning. One of his owners, Jeremy Zapalac, organized a search party in the neighborhood. But after an hour, it started to rain. "He hates water," Zapalac said of the rat terrier.

The dog had wandered over to a nearby highway. Fortunately, Officer Jones saw the small dog, stopped his car (and traffic), and generally went the extra mile to make sure he got home safely.

"He’s not going to make it if I don’t do something," Jones said of the tiny dog. "When I saw it and saw the size of it, I immediately hit my lights and shut all the lanes off."

Jones wasn’t sure the dog would go with him, but it turned out Cujo was happy to see him. "You know how Chihuahuas are. You’re not really sure if you can trust ‘em or not. But he kind of looked at me and said, ‘Man, I’m glad you’re here.’ He let me pick him right up. Stuck him in the back seat of the patrol car."

Jones handed Cujo over to an animal control officer who reunited the lost dog with his owners. They were clearly grateful. A few hours later, the owners sent a thank-you email to the police. It was published at The Huffington Post:

Just wanted to send a big thanks for the kindness shown to my "4 legged" son this morning! … As I was walking on Farrington side of park my husband drove up and said that Animal Control had just brought him home. He said an officer had seen him in the middle of Spencer Hwy. and the officer had stopped traffic to help our little guy! Words cannot describe how grateful I am for this wonderful, caring officer and his kind deed!! It is a wonderful feeling to know we have people like him looking out for us…

I kept reminding myself that he had his tag with his name, address & phone number. Then I would think of how small he is and worry all over again… After a bath and his arthritis medication he has been resting all day. Safe, warm, and home again. All because someone did care!

Again, our sincere thanks:

Don and Diwanna Zapalac and Family

h/t to Gary Patterson

February 17, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , | 2 Comments

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