JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Happy New Year 2014 From Just One More Pet

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Take a moment to enjoy the beautiful photographic train ride and the accompanying words: HERE. <– 

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At the end of the year it has become a journalistic tradition to recap the year’s top stories, to recall the highlights and low points of the months and to remember those who have left us.  It is also a time to look forward with hope… This year that reach for hope and improvement seems more difficult than at anytime in my memory.

“It’s Auld Lang Syne time again. Robert Burns is credited with "collecting" the lyrics for the old Scots’ drinking and dancing ballad that’s become a traditional part of New Year festivities. The most memorable verses: "Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?" and the chorus, "For auld Lang Syne, my dear, for auld Lang Syne, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld Lang Syne," are oft’ described as reminders of "the good old times" amidst new beginnings. That’s a tough task this year. Saying goodbye to 2013 won’t be hard. But looking forward with hope for a better year in 2014 is a bit of a challenge!”

Happy New Year!

And if you possible can… adopt just one more pet (or two) in 2014 or become a pet foster parent and donate to your local shelter.  Our shelters are over-flowing and your help will save a life or perhaps many lives.

January 1, 2014 Posted by | animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pets | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stop the Pain… Get-Involved and Speak Up Whenever You Suspect Abuse, Of Any Kind

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Please get involved… Someone almost always sees, hears or suspects something, whether it is animal, spousal, child, elder or any abuse situation but often look the other way or think it isn’t their business or problem.  Torture, murder, and abuse are everyone’s business and problem.

Join the fight and stop the pain, stop the killing, stop abuse of all kinds today!!

And if you know or hear anything about this situation… please contact Newark AHS

December 28, 2013 Posted by | animal abuse, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pets, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Merry Christmas From Just One More Pet

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas

And a fabulous Holiday Season

May you be surrounded with the people, pets and things you love.

May your heart be filled with joy and memories of former Christmases

And may you be blessed by the story and love of the true reason for this beautiful season.

The characters below are at the top of the list of what makes us happy!

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US… Angel, Angelina, Apachi and Princess

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Us… As We See Ourselves

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Us… Singing to Wish you a very Merry Christmas…

Cross-Posted at our Sister Site: AskMarion who hope you enjoyed their ‘The War on Christmas (and religion) verses the Spirit of Christmas Series – (WoC 2013)’  which began on December 1st with Advent and will end on December 6th with the Epiphany.  Most recent posts were Simpler Times, A Groetzmeier Christmas and Members of Congress Win Right to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ Without Ethics Violation – WoC 2013

Merry Christmas and God Bless You All!!

A couple 2013 Christmas Miracles 

Healed After 19 Years: A Christmas Eve Miracle

Puppy Rescued Just Inches from the End of Its Life on Moving Belt 

Christmas for Pet People – Woc 2013 

Adopt a Pet This Christmas… Or Give Someone a New Forever Friend – WoC 2013

‘Miracle’ dog that survived gassing headed to Rose Parade

December 26, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal and Pet Photos, Dogs, Fostering and Rescue, Holidays With Pets, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pets | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Christmas for Pet People – Woc 2013

“A hug from a child or a lick from a pet makes everything better including the holidays!”

(Consider adopting or fostering just one more pet for the holidays… the shelters are overflowing and 2 out of 3 animals who get into the shelter system never leave there alive!)

Video: Animals of the Tube sing “Deck the Hall

The War on Christmas (and religion) verses the Spirit of Christmas Series at AskMarion – 20

Santa Photos With Fido or other Furry and Feathered Friends

Many places these days offer photos for pets with Santa. Some do better jobs than others!! Even within a chain like PetsMart or Petco, the quality of the photos vary with the group contracted to do the photos in individual stores. (They are often amateur volunteers sponsored/run by local rescues inside the store) And remember, most are Polaroid, so if they come out well have them copied or scan them in.

At our local Petsmart, you basically get a Polaroid of your dog sitting on Santa’s lap. Others may have a higher quality set up and better photographers, but don’t count on it. Most allow and even encourage you to be part of the photo. And some will let you snap a few shots with your own camera as well (as long as you purchase one of theirs as well).

Some local malls have special ‘pets day(s)’ with the mall Santa and even some smaller pet store chains do Santa photos. The special “pictures with Santa” days during which dogs, cats and pets in general are allowed inside the mall is usually in the evening or off hours. They are also usually sponsored by a rescue, so the proceeds go to a good cause. The pictures are usually okay, but not great. Nothing to write home about, but when you have x amount of dogs waiting in line and lots of stuff going on, even the best photographer may not manage making your dog look like Lassie, RinTinTin or the Beverly Hills Chihuahua… after all half the kiddie photos aren’t much better. But it is fun to have a photo with Santa no matter what!

Some of the photos of ourselves, our kids and our furkids with Santa aren’t the greatest, but as the years go by the old ones seem to get better and better! Winking smile And, over the years we have managed to get a few cute ones too!

Angel and Santa - Good

Some places will allow you to bring your own camera and take a shot as long as you buy their package. And definitely always, like with the human kids, be ready prepared to end up in the photo along with your pet(s).

Santa pet photos are usually with dogs, but I’ve seen people come in with cats, bunnies, ferrets, pot belly pigs, birds, and even a fish bowl but I would suggest coming in at a slow time to do that, or the cats and birds will be spooked and even try to run or fly away.  We had a greycheek, Poly, that was tame and friendly as can be that flew out the front door because she was afraid of Santa.  I did see a Santa come for the day to an exotic bird shop where people came with their large parrots and cockatoos.

Even with dogs, remember there will often be lots of dogs in line and Santa can be a scary figure to some, just like he is for some children!

Some of the best Christmas and holiday photos are done at home or better yet by a professional; in a private session.

Libby & Santa 2009 santababy

Councilman Ed Reisinger plays Santa at Locust Point Dog Park

Balzac (225 lbs) with Santa

Every Pet Santa Deserves a Tip!!

Santa Perch

 Gracie and Sahmmy with SantaRocky the Ferret Kisses Santa

PetsMart and Santa Paws are just a few programs that take Pet Photos with Santa. Often the proceeds go to help homeless pets in shelters and rescues or to supply needy families with food and needed supplies.

Merry Christmas… the Season has begun!

Critter for Christmas Gift… Not Best Idea! unless you know the person wants a pet and which one or kind they want; taking them to the shelter, a rescue or pet store and allowing them to choose the pet is always the best idea!!

Often Photos taken at home (without Santa) are the the cutest and the least stressful!!

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Photo #5 –Where’s Apachi? and Photo #6 – Can You Find all 6???

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by Ask Marion/the UCLA Shutterbug

There is always room for Just One More Pet!!

Adopt a Pet This Christmas… Or Give Someone a New Forever Friend – WoC 2013

Mahatma Gandhi…  “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” 

‘Miracle’ dog that survived gassing headed to Rose Parade

Related:

Christmas Baking – WoC 2013

The Best Christmas Gifts – WoC 2013

Remembering Military and Veterans at Christmastime – W0C 2013

American Traditions – WoC 2013

Still Think There Is No War on Christmas – WoC 2013

In Defense of the Truth and Megyn Kelly – WoC 2013

Carolling… or Caroling and Christmas Music – WoC 2013

Best Christmas Season Movie Classics – WoC 2013

Santa Photos… Often Yesterday’s Oooops Are Tomorrow’s Treasures! – WoC 2013

Christmas Lights – WoC 2013

Nativity Scenes and Glories – The Reason For the Season – WoC 2013

European Markets or Christkindlmarkts Capture the Christmas Spirit – WoC 2013

St. Nickolas Day – WoC 2013

Hanukkah… The Jewish Festival of Lights – WoC 2013

God Rest Ye Merry Merchants – Christmas: An American Holiday and Tradition to Love and Preserve – WoC 2013

Where Does the War on Christmas Come From? A Worthwhile Read – WoC 2013

The War on Christmas verses the Spirit of Christmas Series 2013 at AskMarion – WoC 2013

Advent – The Season of Anticipation and Hope – WoC 2013

2013 Official Christmas Card Only Features the Four-Legged Obamas

Sending Holiday Season Regards to our Conservative Warriors

ANOTHER FAILED IDEA: Woman gets laughed at after bringing up Obamacare at Thanksgiving…

The Twelve Days of ObamaCare

Huckabee’s ’12 Days Of ObamaCare’

Disney scores big with biblical values

The Thanksgiving Illusion

Obama Thanksgiving and Christmas Disgrace

Keeping Pets Safe for the Holidays: The “Not So Safe” or No-No Pet Food List

Sarah Palin on Politics and Religion • 11/10/13 With Susan Page

The Cross – Billy Graham’s Message To America

Citizenship and Church Membership

There are some great books out for Christmas this year: ‘Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas’ (Kindle), The Romney Family Table: Sharing Home-Cooked Recipes & Favorite Traditions (Kindle) and Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett: A Grandfather’s Thoughts on Faith, Family, and the Things That Matter Most (Kindle) Plus: Losing Our Religion(Kindle) by atheist S. E. Cupp

MERRY CHRISTMAS! God bless us all, each and every one!

December 20, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, pet fun, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pip’s Monday Poem

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December 2, 2013 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pets | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The “Not So Safe” or No-No Pet Food List

pet-friendly-home The following foods are not safe for dogs, cats, potbellied pigs, or guinea pigs. Never give the following foods or beverages to your pets:

  • *Alcohol of any kind (a no-no for all animals)
  • *Anything with Caffeine (a no-no for all animals)
  • Avocados – especially for birds and cats
  • Baby food if it contains onion powder
  • Bones from Ham, Chicken, Turkey or Cooked Bones that can splinter
  • * (Raw) Bread or Yeast Dough
  • Candied Yams
  • Casseroles (unless you absolutely know that none of the no-no foods are in them)
  • *Chocolate and Cocoa (this includes things like brownies and chocolate chip cookies) and dark chocolate is the worst
  • Raw cookie dough can also kill dogs and small children.
  • *Grapes or raisins
  • Jell-O Molds
  • (Raw) Liver
  • *Macadamia Nuts (this includes things like cookies and pies) and go easy on nuts in general (nuts in general are not great for dogs, but walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans are particularly harmful and add the additional possibilities of health problems caused by fungus and mold. Peanuts and peanut butter are not on the no-no list but could also cause problems because of mold issues). Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are healthy for humans, but too much fat of any kind increases the risk of pancreatitis in dogs.
  • Milk (and American Cheese) can be a problem for some dogs. They can be lactose intolerant like some people.
  • Mushrooms, particularly wild mushrooms.
  • Nutmeg
  • *Onions, including onion powder (garlic should be fed in moderation)
  • Pecans, including Pecan Pie (nuts in general are not great for dogs, but walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans are particularly harmful and add the additional possibilities of health problems caused by fungus and mold.  Peanuts and peanut butter are not on the no-no list but could also cause problems because of mold issues).
  • Potato Skins and Green Potatoes (potatoes in general are not digestible by dogs).
  • Pork Products because of the nitrates
  • Stuffing (it usually contains onions, which are very harmful to pets)
  • Large amounts of Grains (often a main ingredient in cheap commercial pet foods)
  • *Raisins and grapes
  • Raw eggs (raw egg whites) – (According to the ASPCA, raw egg whites contain avidin, which damages a dog’s metabolism and creates a biotin deficiency, so they recommend owners should discard the white if feeding a dog raw eggs.  Others disagree.)
  • Tomatoes (plant and fruit) – All parts of the plant except the tomato itself are poisonous to humans
  • Vitamin A in large amounts causes toxicity
  • Walnuts (nuts in general are not great for dogs, but walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans are particularly harmful and add the additional possibilities of health problems caused by fungus and mold. Peanuts and peanut butter are not on the no-no list but could also cause problems, for humans as well, because of mold issues).
  • *Xylitol and anything with it in it.

Depending on the amount consumed and the size, breed, species and age of the animal many of the items above can cause death, but they definitely can and usually cause discomfort for the pet/animal, more and expensive vet bills for you, butt scooting, and stress in your pets and for you. Distention of the abdomen, vomiting, muscle tremors, paralysis bloody stool, depression, stress, jaundice, disorientation, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, abnormal fluid accumulation, drooling, restlessness, anemia and seizures are among the symptoms and conditions that can be caused by the aforementioned foods.

The range of diseases and conditions caused or intensified by the No-No Foods for pets include: coma, heart arrhythmia and cardiac arrest, paralysis, pancreatitis, inflammation throughout the body, seizures and tremors, gastric-dilitation volvulus (twisted stomach) and death.

*Causing the most severe health problems and the most incidents of death.

Tobacco products and many plants and herbs are also bad for pets.  Poinsettias, tomato plants and the Sago Palm are among the common plants that are toxic to dogs/pets. 

How to keep your dog safe during Thanksgiving holidays

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

Common Foods That Are Harmful Or Even Fatal to Dogs

Pets and Toxic Plants

More Dogs (and Cats) Getting High, Sick and Fat In States Where Marijuana Is Legal – Drugs, unless prescribed or are specifically made and approved for animals, are a No-No!

Cooking real food or feeding a raw diet is generally the best option for most pets, but pet parents need to know the general restrictions as well as those for their particular pet plus make sure that their furkids are getting all the nutrients they need and avoiding too many fats, sugars and of course the no-no food list!  Commercial pet food, including kibble, is a rather new creation along with pre-packaged, processed and restaurant-style junk food for humans, including baby food and baby formula, filled with questionable additives and unrecognizable ingredients; none of which are proving to be the best choices, just read the labels.  All were invented for the consumers’ convenience and the profit for their manufacturers not good health and nutrition. The more fresh and freshly prepared food from good sources, as well as mother’s milk over formula for babies, the healthier we, our children and our pets are and will be!

When Raw Food is NOT the Right Food for Your Pet

Every species, breed or type of animal has its own requirements and no-no’s.  As a pet parent or the parent of a learning pet parent, it is your job to find out what those requirements and no-no’s are and meet those needs.  A pet is a living creature that adds joy to our lives.  We are all God’s creatures and any animal is a gift that has been given to you to cherish and take care of properly!!

Cross-posted at True Health Is True Wealth (THITW) and at AskMarion

November 23, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

The Best "Pet" Food Money Can Buy… And the Absolute Worst

Story at-a-glance

  • The pet food industry in the U.S. is relatively young, which is surprising when you consider the vast and confusing array of pet food offerings available on the market. Prepared pet food has only been around for about 60 years, and has experienced most of its growth spurt in just the last 30 years.
  • World War II introduced Americans to two things that have shown great staying power – dry pet food and processed human food, which would also ultimately have a tremendous impact on the pet food industry.
  • After WWII, the U.S. enjoyed a period of tremendous growth and expansion in every direction. During those boom years, in response to the tremendous increase in consumer appetites, the human food industry created vast quantities of waste from slaughterhouses, grain mills, and processing plants. Pet food manufacturers – still in their infancy — immediately understood the unlimited opportunity of human food waste to their industry. By 1960, pet food companies had figured out how to mass-produce dry pet food to meet growing consumer demand for pet “convenience” foods.
  • There’s a problem, however. Carnivorous dogs and cats have not evolved to digest and assimilate the primary ingredients in the vast majority of commercially prepared pet foods. As a result, for over a half-century we’ve created dozens of generations of animals that suffer from degenerative diseases linked to nutritional deficiencies.
  • To be optimally healthy, dogs and cats need unadulterated, fresh, moisture-rich whole foods. They don’t need grains, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, additives, chemicals, or byproducts. Although animals can eat some processed foods, they aren’t designed to consume a lifetime of dry or canned diets.

Pet Food Industry

By Dr. Becker

Commercially prepared pet food in the U.S. has a relatively short (less than 100 years), but interesting history. Believe it or not, the only food made exclusively for pets prior to the early 1920s were dog biscuits!

During the 1920s and ‘30s, the pet food market began to expand a bit. Americans with enough money to purchase their pet’s food could find dehydrated, pelleted and canned formulas made from meat and grain mill scraps. But most pets were still fed primarily raw meat and table scraps, plus whatever food they hunted for themselves.

The Great Depression of the 1930s and early ‘40s had a significant impact on the growth of the commercial pet food market, however, lack of industry regulation invited anyone who wanted to make a buck to produce a can or bag of pet food. During that period, canned pet food accounted for over 90 percent of the market.

During World War II (1939 to 1945), not only was metal rationed, but pet food was categorized as “non-essential” by the U.S. government. The combination spelled death for the canned pet food industry. In addition, food rationing led to fewer table scraps. Pet owners who could afford to bought dry pet food or dog biscuits – the only commercially available products at the time.

Byproducts of WWII: Dry Pet Food and Processed Human Food

Unfortunately, the American pet owner’s love of dry pet food has endured well past the end of World War II. The war also sparked the processed food revolution in the U.S. Spam and similar products were developed in the 1930s to feed the troops abroad and to help with food rationing restrictions at home. All the factors that made processed food attractive to humans ultimately had a significant impact on the pet food industry as well.

The period after the end of WWII was a time of enormous economic growth and expansion in the U.S. Jobs were plentiful and more Americans were able to buy their own homes. As more families moved out of cities to suburbia, giant supermarkets replaced small grocery stores. Consumer demand for processed foods, for fast food – for food in general – kept pace with increases in educational and employment opportunities, individual wealth, and ever-expanding lifestyle options.

In responding to the tremendous increase in U.S. consumer appetites, the human food industry created vast quantities of agricultural scraps from slaughterhouses, grain mills, and processing plants. Pet food manufacturers immediately understood the unlimited opportunity of human food waste to their industry.

By 1960, Pet Food Companies Were Able to Mass-Market Kibble

It’s absolutely true — our pet population provides a place for recycling waste from the human food industry. Grains that fail inspection, uninspected pieces and parts of waste from the seafood industry, leftover restaurant grease, deceased livestock, and even roadkill is collected and disposed of through rendering — a process that converts all sorts of human food industry waste into raw materials for the pet food industry.

In the late 1950s, a U.S. pet food company developed a way to create kibble from boiling cauldrons of meat, fat and grain scraps – it’s called extrusion. The raw materials are purchased by pet food manufacturers who then blend the rendered fat and meat with starch fillers. They add bulk vitamin and mineral supplements, and then they extrude the mix at high temperatures, creating all sorts of toxic reactions including advanced glycation end products and heterocyclic amines. This is what passes for pet food and it’s sold to consumers at a tremendous profit.

This “advancement” in manufacturing allowed pet food companies to capitalize on the popularity of kibble. Now, they were able to mass-market the type of pet food most popular with U.S. pet owners due to its convenience and low cost.

Today, there are hundreds of kibbles, canned and semi-most dog and cat foods to choose from. This is remarkable, given that not quite 60 years ago, commercial pet food was almost unheard of.

Have We Chosen Convenience Over the Health of Our Pets?

No one really argues with the fact that in order for optimal health to occur, animals – including humans — must consume the foods they were designed to eat, and preferably whole, fresh and unadulterated. This is known as species-appropriate nutrition. For example, vegetarian animals must eat vegetation for optimal health. Carnivores must eat fresh whole prey for optimal health.

Carnivorous pets have not evolved to digest and assimilate foods like corn, wheat, rice or potatoes – yet these are the very foods the vast majority of pet food manufacturers use as primary ingredients in their formulas. Fortunately, dogs and cats are extremely resilient creatures. Not only do they not die immediately upon eating biologically inappropriate foods, but it often takes years before the significant physical degeneration that occurs from a lifetime of eating the wrong foods becomes noticeable.

One of the reasons we’re able to deceive ourselves into believing convenience pet foods are good for dogs and cats is because the changes to a pet’s health and vitality brought on by a dead, processed diet are usually not immediate or acute.

For over a half-century, our pets have been fed inappropriate diets that have kept them alive, but not thriving. In fact, we’ve created dozens of generations of animals that suffer from degenerative diseases linked to nutritional deficiencies.

Optimal Nutrition for Your Dog or Cat

Dogs and cats need quality protein, fats, and a small amount of vegetables and fruits, which provide antioxidants and fiber to animals that no longer hunt whole prey.

Natural sources of trace minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids must be added, since the soils in which foods are grown are depleted of many of the nutrients pets need. Also, food storage, whether it’s in a freezer or a pantry, decreases critical essential fatty acid levels in foods.

Pets need unadulterated, fresh, whole foods that are moisture dense. They don’t need grains, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, additives, chemicals, byproducts, or processed foods. Although animals can eat some processed foods, they aren’t designed to consume a lifetime of dry or canned diets.

If you would like to learn more about the importance of fresh, whole, unprocessed diets for dogs and cats, I recommend you watch or read my three-part series on raw food diets for pets:

Part 1 — The Feeding Mistake Linked to the Cause of Most Disease-Are You Making It?
Part 2 — The Biggest Myths About Raw Food (And Why They’re Mostly Nonsense)
Part 3 – Common Feeding Mistakes That Can Harm Your Pet

You can also find a vast amount of additional information here at Mercola Healthy Pets on how to choose the best foods for your pet, and what foods to avoid.

Ditch This Pet Food Now – Can Be Deadly to Your Pets 

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

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

Real meat is the best food for your dog….nothing else even comes close.

The best food for your dog is . . .

Real food. Fresh food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish. Fresh vegetables. Yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese.

No, this is not "people food." Calling real food "people food" makes it sound as though people are the only living creatures entitled to eat real food. That’s not true.

ALL living creatures deserve real, fresh food.

"You can boost your pet’s health profoundly by making one simple decision. All you have to do is change his diet from commercial-brand fare to something you may never have imagined giving him – real food. The fresh food you buy at the market for yourself is the food you should give your pet, too."

Generations of dogs lived to ripe old ages on fresh foods…before the pet food corporations came along and changed (ruined) everything.

Dog food corporations. "Just say no."

Dogs have been domesticated for about 15,000 years (that’s amazing, isn’t it?) and up until the 1930s, they were NEVER fed "kibble" or "canned" brands from a store. Dogs were fed real meat and vegetables, and a little homemade bread. On this diet they thrived, frequently living into their late teens.

Dogs didn’t eat kibble until the 1930s when the grain and meat industries needed a market for their rejects.

That all changed in the 1930s, when cereal and grain manufacturers were looking for something profitable to do with their rejected cereals and grain – their wheat and corn that failed USDA inspection because of mold, rancidity, and other contaminants.

These companies discovered that hey, the meat industry faced the same dilemma – meat that failed USDA inspection because it had spoiled or because the livestock was diseased.

The ingenious idea of mixing the rejects together and calling it "dog food" was born.

Marketing firms spent an enormous amount of money planting this lamentable idea in the public’s mind, and today commercial diets are promoted by multi-billion dollar pet food corporations and the veterinary industry, both of whom have a huge financial stake in getting you to feed these products.

But processed kibble and canned products were not then – nor are they now – "dog food."

Real dog food was, is, and always will be real food.  That’s what your dog should be eating.

"The whole concept of Insta-Meal for humans is repulsive. Most people would soon be climbing the walls in frustration, desperate for a salad or some fruit – anything whole and fresh, or just different. Perhaps the thought of eating kibbles for the rest of your own life helps make the point that pets forced to do so are being shortchanged. All of us – humans and animals – should have fresh, wholesome, unprocessed food in our daily diet.

The awful ingredients in commercial "dog food"

THE GRAIN

Virtually all dog food brands are heavily based on fibrous grains and cereals. But dogs do not have the long, winding digestive tract required to digest fibrous grains and cereals. Dogs have a short straight digestive tract designed to digest meat.

Many dogs who eat corn, soybeans, or wheat develop health problems.Excessive shedding or dandruff. Loose stools. Gassiness and flatulence. Itchy skin, where your dog licks his feet or rubs his face against the carpet, trying to ease the itch. You might never think to associate these problems with the grain in your dog’s diet, but that is often the case.

To make matters worse, GOOD grain is reserved for the human market. What goes into the pet food bin is deemed unfit for human consumption because of mold, rancidity, or contaminants – yuck!

THE MEAT

Unless a dog food brand says its meat passed USDA inspection…it didn’t.

Contrary to what the dog food companies show you on TV commercials, your dog doesn’t get sirloin from a healthy cow who spent its life cropping grass, nor does he get white chicken breast from a hen who spent its life pecking happily around the barnyard.

No, your dog gets the meat that didn’t make the cut for the human market – 4D meat from livestock that was Diseased,Disabled, Dying, or already Dead when it arrived at the slaughterhouse. It won’t pass USDA inspection, so into the pet food bin it goes….

….along with the growth hormones that were fed to the livestock to make them grow faster…and with the antibiotics fed to the livestock to prevent massive outbreaks of disease in their crowded living conditions. These hormones and antibiotics trickle through to your dog.

THE GREASY FAT

You know that pungent smell that wafts up from a freshly opened bag of kibble? That’s greasy fat sprayed onto the hard little pebbles to tempt your dog to eat it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be recognizable to him as food. So dogs gobble up their kibble for the same reason kids gobble up french fries. But we don’t let our kids eat only french fries just because they love the smell or taste, do we?

Bags of kibble can sit on a shelf for so long because of the chemical preservatives.

THE PRESERVATIVES

Preservatives make the bags and cans last longer That’s convenient for the dog food company, which can leave it sitting in their warehouse for a long time. Convenient for the retailer who can leave it sitting on his shelf for a long time. Convenient for the owner who can leave it in the pantry for a long time, then pour it into his dog’s bowl and leave it sitting there all day if necessary.

But what is this stuff that keeps ingredients from spoiling?

The most common dog food preservatives are BHA and BHT (both of which are associated with liver and kidney dysfunction, and bladder and stomach cancer) and ethoxyquin, which is manufactured by that giant chemical corporation Monsanto as a rubber preservative. The Department of Agriculture lists it as a pesticide. OSHA lists it as a hazardous chemical. The containers are marked POISON.

All 3 chemicals are banned in Europe, but because their manufacturers have so much legislative clout here in the U.S., they’re still tolerated here. Sad, but true.

"Good news!" you say. "None of those preservatives are in MY dog food brand." Well, not so fast. Even when it’s not listed, it can be in there, anyway. A legal loophole, you see, allows dog food companies to only list what they themselves put into the bag. If they buy some of their ingredients from a supplier who has already added the chemical, the dog food company doesn’t have to disclose that on the bag.

Isn’t that nice?

THE UNRECOGNIZABLE INGREDIENTS

Brewer’s rice? Wheat bran? Beet pulp? Corn gluten? Do you know what any of that stuff is? Can you see yourself picking up a bag of corn gluten or a carton of beet pulp for your dog’s supper?

What about animal digest? This ingredient is officially described as "material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue." Doesn’t that sound tasty? It’s actually a boiled concoction from the rendering plant, and the "animal tissue" can include anything from cattle to rats to roadkill to dogs and cats euthanized at the animal shelter. Yes, the FDA has found sodium pentobarbital – the chemical used to euthanize animals – in some brands of dog food.

Australian veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst says:

"If you look at the ingredient list on a can or a bag of pet food – with understanding – you will realise that what is being listed is a heap of rubbish. Definitely not the wholesome nutritious food you would want to feed to a valued member of your family!"

Artificial diets are causing health problems in dogs.

How commercial dog food affects your dog’s health

Every day, unhappy dogs parade through veterinary offices. They suffer from:

  • itching
  • hot spots
  • dandruff
  • excessive shedding
  • foot-licking
  • face-rubbing
  • loose stools
  • gassiness

What are these dogs eating? Virtually every one of them is eating an artificial diet.

"Since I graduated from veterinary school in 1965, I’ve noticed a general deterioration in pet health. We now see very young animals with diseases that we used to see only in older animals. Without the perspective of several decades, vets just coming out of veterinary school think these degenerative conditions in younger animals are "normal." They do not realize what has happened over the passage of time.

I believe, along with poor quality nutrients, the chemical additives in pet food play a major part in that decline. Pet foods contain slaughterhouse wastes, toxic products from spoiled foodstuffs, non-nutritive fillers, heavy-metal contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, drug residues, sugar, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives."

Dr. Martin Goldstein D.V.M. sums it up:

"When I tell an owner that a change of diet can affect her pet’s health in a matter of days, the first reaction is usually delight, sometimes even exhilaration."

Dr. Richard Pitcairn D.V.M.  Packaged and canned dog food like packaged and jarred baby food and insta-meals or artificial diets for people are not only not better but are generally bad for those who eat them. Insta-meals, commercial baby food and commercial pet food are industries dreamed up for profits by entrepreneurs that only get worse as the companies and their focus on profits gets bigger.

Without a doubt pets who eat real healthy food live longer and healthier lives… and it saves on the vet bills! 

And cooking for your pets does not have to be a chore.  They can eat many of the same things you eat and there are some great recipes for meats, stews, etc that you can fix for both you and your pet!

h/t to my great friend and vet Dr. Susan for sending this article~

Resources

The Natural Pet Food Cookbook: Healthful Recipes for Dogs and Cats

Everything Cooking for Dogs Book: 150 Quick and Easy Healthy Recipes Your Dog Will Bark For (Everything: Cooking)

Keep Your Dog Healthy the Natural Way

Your Purebred Puppy, Second Edition: A Buyer’s Guide, Completely Revised and Updated

Cooking for Your Dog

Bone Appetit!: Gourmet Cooking for Your Dog

And after dinner how about a nice massage?

November 14, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Pets Most Likely to Suffer from Vaccine Adverse Reactions

Story at-a-glance

  • In the second half of a two-part interview, Dr. Becker talks with Dr. Ronald Schultz of the Rabies Challenge Fund about a variety of vaccine-related topics, including the mysterious rattlesnake vaccine, how it actually works, and for what snake in particular.
  • Dr. Becker and Dr. Schultz also discuss the Lyme disease vaccine, and under what circumstances it can prove beneficial, as well as the challenges of diagnosing leptospirosis and improvements in that vaccine in recent years.
  • Dr. Schultz also offers an excellent explanation of the various bordetella vaccines, what dogs really need them and how often, as well as what form of the vaccine he prefers. He and Dr. Becker also discuss the pros and cons of the canine influenza vaccine.
  • Dr. Becker and Dr. Schultz agree that veterinarians should discuss vaccines with pet owners before they vaccinate. And Dr. Schultz offers his view on which pets are most likely to develop an adverse reaction to vaccines.
  • Lastly, Dr. Becker and Dr. Schultz discuss the important work the Rabies Challenge Fund is doing to determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines. The goal is to extend the length of time between rabies vaccines to five years, then, if possible to seven years. The project is in year six of a seven-year study and depends on grassroots funding to conduct the necessary clinical trials. This week only, Mercola Healthy Pets will match every $1 donated by readers with a $2 donation, up to $30,000, to help the Rabies Challenge Fund complete its invaluable work toward reducing the number of vaccines our pets must receive during their lifetime.

Video: Dr. Becker Interviews Dr. Schultz About Vaccines (Part 2) 

Dog and Cat Vaccines are Not Harmless Preventive Medicine

By Dr. Becker

I’m back with Dr. Ron Schultz for the second half of our vaccine discussion.  Dr. Schultz heads up the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. He’s joining me today on behalf of an important project he’s been working on for several years – the Rabies Challenge Fund. The purpose of the fund is to determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines, with the goal of extending the required interval for rabies boosters to five and then to seven years.

If you missed the first part of our discussion on Wednesday, I encourage you to watch that video as well. Dr. Schultz talks about core and non-core vaccines, and the benefits of the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccine and why he believes every kitten should receive it (I must politely disagree on this topic). We also discuss vaccines Dr. Schultz does not recommend, why the whole topic of titering is so confusing, and whether or not he believes cats should be titer tested.

Continuing our discussion of vaccines today, the first thing I asked Dr. Schultz to talk about – because I don’t know much about it myself and get many questions about it – is the rattlesnake vaccine.

How Does the Rattlesnake Vaccine Work, and Is It Effective?

Dr. Schultz explained that the rattlesnake vaccine is actually an aid to prevent death in the event an animal is bitten by a specific type of rattlesnake. He says it does have value in that it can keep an animal bitten by a Western diamondback rattlesnake alive. But he cautions that when the vaccine is used, it’s important for pet owners to know their dog must still be treated for snake bite for two reasons. One, the snake may not have been a Western diamondback rattlesnake, in which case the vaccine offers no protection. Two, the vaccine in most cases will not prevent the venom from causing disease. What the vaccine does is buy time to get the animal treated, and it seems to work well in that regard.

I asked Dr. Schultz if he has concerns about the adjuvant used in the rattlesnake vaccine causing a reaction. He replied that unfortunately, nobody knows very much about the vaccine and in his opinion, it hasn’t been adequately tested. Most of the tests were done with rabbits, mice and other species, but not dogs. It should be tested in dogs. There’s just not a lot of research on this particular vaccine.

Dr. Schultz’s View on Lyme Disease Vaccines

Next I asked Dr. Schultz to discuss his thoughts on Lyme disease vaccines. He explained that there are several of them. There are whole killed organism vaccines of Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. And there’s a recombinant vaccine that contains just the important outer surface protein A component.

Dr. Schultz’s recommendation regarding Lyme vaccines depends on where the animal lives. For example, in the Madison area of Wisconsin, there’s currently about a four percent infection rate. But if you travel just 70 miles to La Crosse, there’s about a 70 percent infection rate. And in parts of Long Island, New York, there is a 90 percent infection rate.

So depending on where you live or plan to visit, your dog may have a very high risk of being infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. In high risk cases, Dr. Schultz recommends not only a tick preventive, but also the vaccine. Most of the Lyme disease vaccines are around 60 to 75 percent effective at preventing the organism from causing disease.

I asked Dr. Schultz if he has concerns about reactions from Lyme disease vaccines, and he replied that yes, there are some potential concerns. The Lyme vaccines are bacterial vaccines, and bacterial vaccines always carry a greater risk of adverse reactions, especially reactions of an immediate nature. With both leptospirosis bacterin vaccines and Lyme bacterin vaccines, the nature of the bacteria can cause adverse reactions in some animals. According to Dr. Schultz, these vaccines have the ability to stimulate the IgE antibody in animals, which is responsible for immediate or type 1 hypersensitivity reactions. So bacterins are always more likely to cause an adverse reaction than a live viral vaccine, for example.

If he were to recommend a Lyme vaccine, Dr. Schultz likes the outer surface protein A product better than the whole killed product because the former takes some of the potentially reactogenic antigens out of the formula. But even with that, the vaccine can still cause adverse reactions in some animals.

What About Leptospirosis? Is It a Bigger Threat Today Than in Years Past?

Leptospirosis (and its vaccines) is another confusing subject. There are veterinarians in the Chicago area who are promoting lepto as some kind of new, trendy infectious disease. But lepto has been around forever. Dr. Schultz agrees – there’s nothing new about leptospirosis. And he believes it’s probably no more common today than it was 40 or 50 years ago, despite the hype, which is driven in part by the really poor diagnostics used to detect the disease.

Fortunately, according to Dr. Schultz, there are better detection techniques on the horizon. The current gold standard, he says, “… is about as poor a test as you’ll ever find.” It gives false readings – false positives. Dr. Schultz says he’s seen a high number of supposed lepto cases that are NOT lepto cases thanks to poor diagnostics. Poor diagnostics have added to the general confusion surrounding lepto, and are partly why veterinarians are recommending mass vaccination against the disease.

Dr. Schultz restated that in his view, lepto is no more prevalent today than it was 40 years ago. However, the vaccine has improved tremendously in recent years, because it now contains the 4 serovars that cause lepto in the U.S. In the past, all lepto vaccines contained only 2 serovars. With the old 2-serovar vaccines, Dr. Schultz says there were as many vaccinated dogs with lepto as there were non-vaccinated dogs.

He believes today, the lepto vaccine is probably 60 to 80 percent effective in preventing disease. I asked him if the animal can still transmit or shed the bacteria. He replied there is that potential, but even the shedding is reduced with the 4-serovar vaccine.

Of course, despite the improved effectiveness of the lepto vaccine, there are still concerns about adverse reactions with the first dose, or subsequent revaccinations. Dr. Schultz explains this is another of the bacterins that is more likely to cause an adverse reaction simply as a result of the nature of the organism.

Adverse Reactions to Vaccines Can be Immediate, or They Can Develop Weeks, Months or Even Years Post-Vaccination

So we’ve established that the majority of adverse events occur with bacterin-type vaccines. These vaccines can cause all types of hypersensitivity reactions in some animals. Type 1 adverse reactions typically occur immediately after vaccination and are obviously directly linked to the vaccine.

But as Dr. Schultz goes on to explain, when we have a reaction like the development of autoimmune hemolytic anemia or another autoimmune disease in a genetically predisposed animal, it usually occurs weeks, months or even years after vaccination. Often the offending vaccine in those cases is a live viral vaccine, and it isn’t blamed for causing the disease because there’s a span of time between vaccination and development of the autoimmune disorder.

Many veterinarians will say, in response to the suggestion that a vaccine caused an autoimmune disorder, something like, “What do you mean? There’s no correlation. It was last year when the dog received that vaccine.” And even worse, both Dr. Schultz and I have seen veterinarians tell pet owners their animal’s illness couldn’t be a vaccine reaction even when the two events happen within days of each other.

Dr. Schultz’s Bordetella Vaccine Recommendation

Next I asked Dr. Schultz to talk to us about bordetella vaccines. He explained that the vaccine is available now in a variety of forms. There’s an oral vaccine, which is a live, attenuated bordetella organism. There’s the intranasal form, which is also the live organism. And there’s the injectable form, which is a killed product. Dr. Schultz says he has been able to clearly demonstrate that the live product is the most effective, whether oral or intranasal.

But one of the problems with bordetella is that it is always accompanied by other agents in causing canine infectious respiratory disease complex, otherwise known as kennel cough. There are many infectious agents involved, but the most important one from a bacterial standpoint is bordetella. From a viral standpoint, an impressive number of infectious agents can play a role.

I personally can’t see a reason to use injectable bordetella when there are other safer, non-adjuvanted and attenuated vaccines available. Dr. Schultz points out that one of the reasons the injectable is popular is that it can be used with dogs that won’t cooperate with intranasal or oral administration of the vaccine. He does a lot of work with shelters, and there are many difficult dogs in that population that must receive the vaccine by injection. Some dogs can be muzzled and given the oral vaccine, but often it’s too dangerous for shelter staff to even try to muzzle certain dogs.

In my opinion, the bordetella vaccine should only be given when a dog must be boarded. If you don’t board your dog, or if you don’t plan to have your dog in contact with other dogs (such as at shows and training classes), then my recommendation is to opt out.

However, some kennels require dogs to receive a twice-yearly schedule of bordetella revaccinations. Dr. Schultz believes if you’re taking your pet to a boarding facility that requires bordetella vaccines every six months, you should change to another facility, because the one you’re using has a ventilation or hygiene problem and not an infectious disease problem. “Don’t allow anyone to tell you that you need to get bordetella vaccine every six months. If they do, don’t go there anymore,” says Dr. Schultz.

The Canine Influenza Vaccine – Is It Really Necessary?

I also asked Dr. Schultz about the canine influenza vaccine, which is another vaccine commonly required at boarding facilities and similar businesses. He answered that he’s not sure the vaccine should be required, because canine influenza isn’t a casually transmitted virus. It’s not something the average well cared-for dog will pick up at the local dog park.

Dr. Schultz does caution, however, that if the canine influenza vaccine is to be given, it can’t be administered at the last minute. Dogs that have never received the vaccine need at least three weeks to develop immunity after being vaccinated. And two doses must be given, with a minimum of two weeks separating them. If a dog is receiving annual boosters of the vaccine, it won’t take three weeks for immunity to develop after revaccination.
Dr. Schultz explains that bordetella (as well as other bacterial diseases such as streptococcal infections) and canine influenza together can create severe disease.

Dr. Schultz mentioned that many kennels do require the canine influenza vaccine, so I asked him if that is out of concern about spreading disease, or concern about covering their bases from a liability standpoint. Dr. Schultz thinks much of it comes from a concern that if there were to be an outbreak of canine influenza, the facilities would be found at fault because they didn’t require the vaccine. Fortunately, to date there have only been a few outbreaks of canine influenza in shelters and kennels.

I agree. I feel a lot of those requirements are simply a way to bounce liability away from the business owner. And it’s up to pet owners to determine the true motivation behind the requirement if they choose to board or have their dog groomed at a facility that demands certain vaccines. And as Dr. Schultz points out, if any of the vaccines required by these businesses cause an adverse reaction in a pet, the costs (both financial and emotional) associated with the adverse event are the owner’s responsibility even though the vaccines were required by a third party.

Are Pet Owners Informed About the Potential for Adverse Vaccine Reactions?

As it stands right now, veterinarians must obtain informed consent from a pet owner when we elect not to vaccinate an animal. I asked Dr. Schultz if he believes we should also obtain informed consent TO vaccinate an animal. He replied that he definitely agrees we should. In my opinion, many in the traditional veterinary community are casual vaccinators. They aren’t informing their clients of all the potential ramifications of administering vaccines.

Dr. Schultz agrees that pet owners need to be aware, even though the number of adverse reactions is relatively small. And something he wants to re-emphasize – something that people don’t realize or think about – is that adverse reactions are genetically controlled. When Dr. Schultz talks to breeders, he tells them that if they see adverse vaccine reactions in puppies from a specific combination of mother and father dogs, they should not mate those two dogs again, because the incidence of adverse reactions will increase with each litter and potentially with litters of those litters, and so on. By continuing to mate those two dogs to each other, they will perpetuate the genetic predisposition to adverse vaccine reactions.

Dr. Schultz says, as an example, we might see allergic neuritis or paralysis develop in about 1 in 10,000 vaccinates, yet in a litter of five puppies, three of the five may develop the condition. One of them dies, and two are paralyzed. So the incidence of adverse reactions is not rare in that litter of five, because genetics plays a key role in causing the vaccine adverse reaction.

What Pets Are Most Likely to Have an Adverse Reaction to Vaccines?

There are genetic predispositions among breeds of dogs. As a Boston Terrier owner, I have concerns not just about immediate adverse reactions, but about mast cell tumors, for example. No one is studying the correlation, but I personally believe there’s a strong correlation between vaccinations and mast cell tumors.

Dr. Schultz agrees and thinks that in dogs, we should look at mast cell tumors, histiocytomas and other similar responses at vaccine injection sites. We are aware of feline injection-site sarcomas, but really, any vaccine in a dog or cat that stimulates a proliferative response in cells should be looked at. Particular individuals with a genetic predisposition turn those cells neoplastic, and the animal doesn’t have the suppressor factors necessary to control the disease (tumor) at the cellular level. It’s going to turn into a tumor.

Recognition among veterinarians has been slow in coming, but it’s coming. As Dr. Schultz points out, until fairly recently the veterinary community never considered that a vaccine could cause a lethal tumor in a young, healthy animal. He says it was a great awakening in the mid-1980s for the veterinary profession to realize the potential for adverse events following vaccination, specifically at the time, injection-site sarcomas in cats. But Dr. Schultz believes it’s important to keep in mind that these events are rare, and many veterinarians have never seen one. Other practices see six or eight a year. The frequency isn’t based on the number of cats coming into a particular practice. Which brings us back to the matter of genetic predisposition to adverse events from vaccines.

Other factors that can play a role include an animal’s nutritional status, environmental status, the type of vaccine, the stress the animal feels – all those things and more play into an animal’s immunologic response.

In terms of genetics, one example Dr. Schultz points out is the small breed dog. He says it’s not every small breed, but there are small breeds out there that are genetically predisposed to react to many vaccines. Dr. Schultz says this is a critically important point when it comes to making decisions about giving vaccinations.

If you have a small breed dog that has proven to be hypersensitive to vaccines – or is related to other hypersensitive dogs — and that dog spends most of his time in the house on someone’s lap, what are the chances he’ll be exposed to leptospirosis? The chances are slim to none, so why would you even think about injecting that dog with a lepto vaccine? Dr. Schultz says vaccine manufacturers don’t want those animals vaccinated due to the risk of adverse reactions.

In terms of recognizing the potential dangers of certain vaccines for certain pets, breed-specific organizations seem to, and of course individual pet owners who’ve lived through horrific experiences do as well. But there are still a large number of veterinarians who seem unwilling to put the puzzle pieces together to protect potentially vulnerable patients.

Dr. Schultz replied that he’s still shocked by the number of practices that are still giving core vaccines annually. As he puts it, “If ever we could get away from this addiction to vaccination just for the sake of vaccination …”.

Dr. Schultz and the Rabies Challenge Fund

The last topic I want to discuss with Dr. Schultz today is one that is close to my heart, the Rabies Challenge Fund. I asked Dr. Schultz to describe the project and its purpose for people who aren’t familiar with it.

He responded that what he and his colleagues Dr. Jean Dodds and Kris Christine have been doing for over five years now is trying to answer the question, can be we get protection from rabies vaccines, and how long can that protection last? Right now there are rabies vaccines that carry either a 1-year or 3-year license. Many of those vaccines are actually the same product – they were just licensed differently. Dr. Schultz is looking beyond the 3-year license by conducting very difficult, very expensive studies to determine how long immunity from a rabies vaccine truly lasts.

This is the way a rabies vaccine is licensed: The USDA requires that a vaccinated group of animals be challenged with the rabies virus at three or five or seven years after the vaccine is given. There must also be a control group of dogs that are unvaccinated. When challenged, a certain percentage of that group must develop rabies to insure the challenge is viable. Of the vaccinated group, 88 percent or more must be protected in order for the USDA to license the vaccine for the number of years protection is provided.

At this time, the Rabies Challenge Fund is at five years with one of the vaccines they are testing, and at three years with the other. They are currently trying to determine whether or not the vaccines will be effective at five years. If those tests show that there should still be protection at five years post-vaccination, the next step will be to do the challenge itself.

Dr. Schultz has two years left on one of the vaccine products and four years left on the other product to determine length of immunity. The work he and his colleagues are doing with the rabies challenge is funded by dog owners. Dr. Schultz says no one is really interested in the work other than caring dog owners, which also includes a number of breed-specific clubs and organizations – basically people who want to give their dogs as few vaccines as necessary – law-abiding citizens who want their pets protected from disease, but don’t want to risk their pet’s health with unnecessary vaccinations.

How You Can Help

The Rabies Challenge Fund study is the first of its kind, and it takes a lot of money to do the work. It’s seven years of research, data collection, and publishing the results. That’s why Mercola Healthy Pets is partnering with the Rabies Challenge Fund to help raise the remainder of the money needed to not only complete the study, but to insure the research is published in a manner that will benefit the most pets.

And of course research is still ongoing. They are in year six, and have year seven still to go. The project depends on grassroots gifts for funding the costs of conducting the requisite vaccine trials. Contributions to date have come mostly from kennel clubs and private individuals. None of the money collected by the Rabies Challenge Fund goes to Dr. Schultz, Dr. Dodds, Kris Christine, or others working on their behalf. Salaries and other overhead costs are not involved, with the exception of expenses for care and testing of the study animals.

I want to extend my thanks to Dr. Schultz for talking with us today and for his work with the Rabies Challenge Fund. Extending the length of time between rabies and other vaccinations, thereby reducing the total number of vaccines animals receive during their lifetime, will be a huge benefit to the health and well being of pets.

Mercola Healthy Pets is proud to partner with the Rabies Challenge Fund to raise money to help improve the lives of animals. This week, for every $1 donated to the Rabies Challenge Fund by a Mercola Healthy Pets reader, we will donate $2, up to $30,000. I hope you’ll join us in helping RabiesChallengeFund.org fund the remaining research needed to complete their seven-year study.

Related:

Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

New Parasite Prevalence Maps Help Pet Owners Prepare

The dangers of vaccines are surfacing for children, people in general, and now pets: New Organization VaxTruth Fights Vaccine Damages

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 Reasons Your Dog’s Urine Kills Your Grass – And What to Do About It

Story at-a-glance

  • Most veterinarians at one time or another get questions from clients about why their dog’s urine burns the grass … and what they can do about it.
  • There are three reasons a dog’s urine burns grass: an alkaline pH, concentrated (vs. dilute) urine, and nitrogen load. The most important factor of the three is urine pH.
  • Dogs are carnivores, and as such, their urine pH should be on the acidic side – ideally from 6 to 6.5, but no more than 7. A urine pH over 7 will not only burn your grass, it can predispose your pet to struvite crystals and other urinary tract disorders.
  • A dog’s urine pH can often be maintained in the healthy range by feeding a species-appropriate diet — low-carb, grain-free, potato-free, and preferably fresh or at least canned food for the increased moisture content.
  • If improving your dog’s urine pH doesn’t fully resolve the problem of your burned lawn, alternatives are to water down the spots where he urinates, or cover the area with about an inch of compost to help rebalance the soil pH.

Dog Urine

By Dr. Becker

A question veterinarians get asked all the time by pet owners is, “Why does my dog’s urine seem to kill my grass?” And “Is there anything I can do about it?” Actually, there is. Your pet’s urine pH has a lot to do with whether your grass stays green.

Since winter is on the way and in many parts of the U.S. people won’t be thinking about their lawns for a few months, I thought now would be a good time to offer some tips on how to naturally adjust your dog’s urine pH so he or she will be less likely to burn the grass next spring and summer.

The Three Reasons a Dog’s Urine Burns the Grass

There are three primary reasons why dog urine burns grass: alkaline urine pH, the concentration of the urine, and its nitrogen load. The most important of these factors is urine pH. The best way to find out which is the causative factor in your dog’s situation is to drop a urine sample off at your vet for a urinalysis.

Concentrated urine has more solutes (particles) than dilute urine, which can affect grass health. The reason many people believe female dogs kill more grass than males is because females typically squat and pee in one spot (depositing a whopper load of solutes), whereas males tend to urinate in smaller amounts as they wander from spot to spot.

In my experience, urine nitrogen can affect grass health, but only when the nitrogen load is very high. Normal nitrogenous waste excreted in urine should not kill the grass. But if a dog’s urine pH is in the correct range and his urinalysis shows a high nitrogen level, some pet owners have had success reducing urine nitrogen levels with products like Dog Rocks.

Your Dog’s Urine pH Should Be Between 6 and 6.5

Dogs are carnivores and should have a slightly acidic urine pH of between 6 and 6.5. (The higher the urine pH, the more alkaline it is.) Vegetarian mammals like rabbits and horses naturally have a very alkaline urine pH. Human urine is naturally slightly more alkaline (6.5-7), and many pet owners wrongly assume their dog’s body functions in the same manner as their own.

It’s important to keep your healthy dog’s urine pH below 7, because a higher pH will not only burn your lawn – it will predispose your dog to developing struvite crystals. The flip side of that coin is a urine pH below 6, which can cause dogs to develop a different type of problem — calcium oxalate stones. So for the health of both your dog and your lawn, you should strive to keep your pet’s urine pH right around 6.5, and no higher than 7.

I recommend buying pH strips from your vet or at the local drug store to check your pet’s urine pH at home so you know when it’s in or outside the desired range. In the morning prior to feeding your dog is when you should collect the urine sample. You can either hold the pH tape in the stream of urine while your dog is voiding, or you can catch a urine sample in a container and dip the tape into the sample to check the pH. This should be done immediately with a fresh sample to insure accuracy. Don’t measure urine pH throughout the day after feeding your pet.

Dietary Recommendations to Lower Your Dog’s Urine pH

When we feed carnivores a cereal-based diet, their urine becomes alkaline as a result, and alkaline urine burns grass. Meat-based diets are innately acidic, which is perfect for carnivores. Alkalizing diets are not a good idea for carnivores. Not only do they create urine that burns grass, more importantly, they very often are the cause of chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs) because lack of acidity removes the antimicrobial activity in urine. Alkaline urine can also create cystitis (irritation of the lining of the bladder), crystals, and even uroliths, or stones, that require surgery.

Dry foods increase urine concentrations and also ammonia levels. Ammonia has a pH of 10 or more. A moisture-rich diet promotes a healthy specific gravity (urine concentration) that decreases the likelihood the urine will burn your lawn. In fact, a healthy dog’s urine should act as a fertilizer — everywhere she pees, the grass should be twice as dark, lush and tall as surrounding grass.

Often, a dog’s urine pH can be maintained naturally between 6 and 6.5 by feeding a species-appropriate diet. To reduce urine pH you must feed a low-carb, grain-free, potato-free, and preferably fresh or at least canned food diet for the increased moisture content.

There are products on the market to reduce urine pH that contain the acidifying amino acid DL-methionine. This is a safe addition to your dog’s diet, but a more logical approach is to simply stop feeding grains and alkalizing foods.

Other Tips for Protecting Your Lawn from Urine Scalding

If you’ve managed to get your dog’s urine pH into the 6 to 6.5 range and his vet says his urinalysis is perfect, but he’s still killing your lawn, there are a couple of other ways to deal with those burn marks.

One way is to hose down or at least pour water on the patch of grass as soon as your pet urinates. I have a client who walks his dog in the grassy common area in his condominium complex. He keeps a couple of 16 oz. bottles filled with tap water, and grabs one along with the dog leash and poop bag whenever he takes his dog out to relieve himself. When the dog urinates, my client follows behind him and splashes or pours water on the spot.

Alternatively, you can cover the area with about an inch of compost. Either method will help rebalance the soil pH and reduce urine burning.

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | , , , , , | 1 Comment

First Day of Swimming Lessons ;-)

Swim Lessons

Photo: @CuteAnimal_Pics

November 3, 2013 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, On The Lighter Side, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pets | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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