JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

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

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

Dog Age…

A popular old wives’ tale claims that one year of a dog’s life is equal to seven human years. This has been proven to be false. For example, dogs are capable of reproducing at around one year of age, but a seven-year-old child is far from sexually mature. Veterinarians have now come up with a much more realistic comparison between human and dog years.  This new chart has been updated from pet age charts created just a couple years back.

The chart below is an average for a small to middle-sized dog in good health, but there are many factors… breed, health, living conditions, etc. 

Generally speaking the larger the dog, the shorter their lifespan, but there are always exceptions and each breed as well as each dog is different.  One of the shortest living breeds are Great Danes, who live between 7 and 12 years.  The oldest dogs living now are a 32-year-old Chihuahua and two Dachshunds at 26 and 28-years old.

The differences in dog age compared to human age begin at around age 6.  Example… at age 6 small dog is equivalent to 40 in human years, a medium sized dog is more like 42 in human age and a large dog is closer to age 45 and the gaps become wider each year.

Dog Years Chart

Related:

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

A Dog’s Life… Can Be Longer Than You Think…

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!

World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

Pet owners turning to non-traditional

A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

Adopt a Senior Pet…

WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

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

Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age 

Cat & Dog Owners Not Considering Age When Selecting Food

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

GoD and DoG 

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

Providing for Your Pet’s Future Without You

In Pets We Trust  -  Also see:  Every Dog’s Legal Guide 

Pet Alzheimer’s Disease – Is Your Dog or Cat Showing Signs? 

Celebrating Animals in the Afterlife

Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

Pet owners turning to non-traditional

A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Rainbow Bridge…

Books

Animals and the Afterlife: True Stories of Our Best Friends’ Journey Beyond Death (Kindle)

Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , | 3 Comments

5 Halloween Safety Tips for Your Cats and Dogs

 Dad Can We Please Take Off Our Costumes - Halloween 2008-2 sm

Parade with some JOMP embellishments: Halloween is a fun holiday for kids and adults. Unfortunately, it’s not always the best time of year for cats and dogs. Here are five tips to keep your pets safe.

1. No Sweets for Your Sweetie

Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to lack of coordination and seizures. Chocolate, especially baker’s and dark chocolate, can also be potentially poisonous to animals, especially dogs. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities, and even seizures. If  your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful products and you need emergency advice, please consult with your veterinarian immediately.  Raisins and macadamia nuts are also no-no foods for pets.

2. Watch Out for Those Wrappers

Cats love to play with candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.

3. Careful with Costumes

If you dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his movement, hearing, sight, or ability to breathe, bark, or drink. Also check the costume for choking hazards.  Also make sure the costumes are inflammable. A simple festive Halloween bandana can be A smart alternative to dressing your pet from head-to-paw, especially if they don’t like dressing up!

4. Decorations Can Be Dangerous

Re-think putting candles in jack-o-lanterns. Pets can easily knock these over and start a fire, and curious kittens are particularly at risk of getting burned by candle flames. (There are many alternatives to candles and open flames these days.) Also take care to prevent your pets from having access to wires and cords from holiday decorations. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth with shards of glass or plastic, or deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock.

5. Trick-or-Treating is for Kids, not Pets

During trick-or-treating hours, it’s generally best to keep pets in a room away from your front door. Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and pets may escape the safety of your home. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags.

*TIP: If you have social pets, who like people and like to dress-up, put up a babygate at the door.  That cuts down on the door bell rings.

**And every pet is different… I used to live in a close knit neighborhood where several of the supervising parents took their big dogs (labs and setters) out with them as they walked with their kids to trick or treat and one took her Chihuahua out in a costume in her purse… but these are exceptions rather that the rule.

image

Halloween Pet Treats

Your pets don’t have to be left out of the fun.  You can make delicious pet friendly Halloween treats that they’ll enjoy. Pounce on over here for easy-to-make treats for your cats, dogs, and horses. And have a safe and fun Halloween.

By Michele C. Hollow  who writes the pet-friendly blog Pet News and Views. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals: From dog groomer to wildlife rescuer – tons of great jobs for animal lovers (Everything (Pets) (Kindle), and is working on a book about a WWI service dog.

*Be sure to check back here at Just One More Pet throughout the week for more Halloween and holiday tips for pet parents and for lots of fun Halloween pet photos.

October 28, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chihuahua, Chiweenie, Dogs, Dogs, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Dogs and Cats

101723373By Dr. Becker

Obsessive compulsive behaviors occur in many types of animals, including horses, dogs, cats, exotic birds, pigs and many zoo inhabitants.

Two of the most common behaviors in dogs are obsessive licking which results in acral lick dermatitis (ALD), also known as a lick granuloma, and tail chasing.

In cats, common obsessive behaviors include wool-sucking (pica, or the eating of non-food substances) and psychogenic alopecia, which is hair loss and baldness from excessive grooming of the hair and skin.

According to Veterinary Practice News:

"In people with OCD—and by inference in animals exhibiting compulsive behavior—the cycle goes something like this: Anxiety leads to engagement in a repetitive behavior (a compulsion), which affords temporary relief. Later a constantly recurring thought (an obsession) occurs that causes escalating anxiety. Engagement in the compulsion relieves the anxiety, and so the cycle is propagated."

Animals with compulsive disorders tend to be relatively anxious and high strung. It isn’t common to find OCD-type behavior in laidback animals. An anxious nature may be inherited, however, research indicates a component of ‘nurture,’ for example, a high conflict situation, is necessary for expression of a compulsive behavior.

In considering treatment for a pet with OCD, according to Veterinary Practice News:

"Environmental enrichment alone will not normally reverse a compulsive disorder, but a stress-free, user-friendly environment can prevent compulsive behavior from developing in the first place and make relapse less likely after successful pharmacological treatment."

Preventing a dog or cat from performing a compulsive behavior by physically restraining the animal in some way only leads to more anxiety, not less.

Dr. Becker’s Comments:

Unfortunately, I see a lot of pet dog and cat obsessive compulsive disorders in my practice.

It’s a curse among the many blessings of modern day life and convenience. As much as we love the animals we share our lives with, and as concerned as we are about their health and happiness, very few of us are in a position to allow our pets to live according to their true canine or feline nature.

In my recent interview with Ted Kerasote, we talked about understanding the essential nature of dogs, and how left to their own devices, our canine companions would live extremely active lives, with tremendous amounts of outdoor activity. This is their genetic destiny as descendants of wolves.

Our kitties are natural loners, hunters and athletes. Their place in our lives as indoor-only feline royalty really doesn’t afford them the opportunity to flex their genetic muscles.

Suggestions to Prevent, Control or Reduce OCD in Your Pet

First things first: optimize the physical health of your dog or cat.

If your dog or cat is well-nourished with species-appropriate food, is in good physical condition from plenty of heart-thumping exercise, and is neither over vaccinated nor over medicated, congratulations! You’ve already built a fantastically solid foundation for excellent physical and mental health in your pet.

I don’t see too many extremely healthy, physically active animals with intractable OCD at Natural Pet (my animal hospital).

I also recommend you take your dog or cat to the vet for a wellness exam to insure the source of the obsessive behavior is indeed behavioral and not a physical condition, such as thyroid disease, which needs to be addressed.

If Your Pet is a Dog

Most dogs, especially larger breeds, just aren’t as physically active as they’re designed to be. It can be a challenge to tire out a big dog, especially one of the working or sporting breeds.

If your dog is performing compulsive behaviors, try increasing his exercise. Some suggestions:

  • Walks and hikes
  • Take your dog for a swim
  • Play fetch-the-ball
  • Bike ride with a special dog bike leash
  • Play hide-and-seek with treats and toys
  • Roller blade or jog alongside your dog
  • Get involved in obedience or tracking events, flyball, agility or other sports

I also recommend you help your dog stay mentally stimulated with chew toys and treat-release toys like the Clever K-9. Also place small treats around the house for her to discover, along with other favorite toys.

You might also consider investing in a D.A.P.™ collar or diffuser for your dog. D.A.P.™ is an acronym for Dog Appeasing Pheromone and is designed to have a calming affect on dogs. The collar seems to work well for many dog owners with pups suffering from stress-related behaviors.

Talk with your holistic vet about homeopathic remedies for obsessive behaviors. You can also try a product like Spirit Essences Obsession Remedy.

If You’re Owned by a Cat

Changes in routine are extremely stressful for kitties. When you disrupt your pet’s routine, it translates to him as a loss of control over his very survival.

If a cat in your household is exhibiting OCD behaviors, the first thing you’ll want to do is dramatically limit the number of unusual external events your pet is exposed to.

Cats are independent. They like to set their own schedules, exert full control over their environment, and depend only on themselves for survival.

Just because your beloved feline lives in the house with you doesn’t mean he’s lost his drive to rule the roost. So the more you can do to help your cat feel in control and not an alien in a foreign land, the less stress he’ll endure.

Some suggestions for environmental enrichment for your kitty:

  • Feeding and routine care (litter box scooping, brushing, etc.) should happen at the same time each day.
  • Keep food bowls and litter boxes in the same spot – don’t move them around unnecessarily.
  • Keep litter boxes clean, as well as bedding.
  • Provide an assortment of appropriate cat toys, hiding boxes, scratching posts/trees, etc., and make sure your pet has plenty, if not constant access to these goodies.
  • Consider playing soothing music for an hour or two each day.

You might also consider treat or food-dispensing toys for cats, window perches, and kitty videos.

Spend some time every day playing with your cat, using interactive toys like a laser pointer or Da Bird.

Also consider feline stress remedies by Spirit Essences and OptiBalance cat and kitten formulas. Discuss homeopathic remedies for obsessive behavior with your holistic vet.

Pharmacotherapy for Pet OCD

As you might have guessed, I’m not a big fan of the use of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac and Zoloft) or N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) blockers in the treatment of obsessive behaviors in animals.

They are sometimes appropriate in extreme, intractable cases and/or when an animal is causing harm to himself. Sometimes they can be used as an interim measure to interrupt the cycle of behavior at the same time other less harmful remedies are being attempted.

But my general recommendation is to try a wide variety of natural remedies first, since every drug has side effects.

October 6, 2013 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Don’t Let This Organ Ruin Your Pet’s Life

Video: How to Avoid Pet Pancreatitis

Would you recognize the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis in your cat or dog? Dr. Karen Becker explains why this serious health problem is on the rise, and how to address it using natural methods.

Dr. Becker’s Comments:

Pancreatitis is inflammation of your pet’s pancreas that can disrupt its normal functions. This is often a serious issue, as the pancreas has two vital functions: it secretes insulin, which balances blood sugar, and it secretes digestive enzymes — amylase, lipase and proteases.

Fever, lethargy, dehydration, abdominal pain, anorexia, vomiting and diarrhea in both dogs and cats can all have roots in pancreatitis.

What’s even more interesting about pancreatitis is that inflammation of the pancreas can be very, very mild or it can be extremely life-threatening and even fatal in some cases.

Inflammation of the pancreas is becoming more recognized as a problem in veterinary medicine and in fact brand new research states that up to 40 percent of cats that were autopsied had lesions of pancreatitis. Those cats didn’t die of a pancreatic problem, so we’re recognizing that the pancreas is not only a vital organ but one that may be increasingly prone to injury and damage secondary to other disease processes.

I think the increase in diagnosed cases is partly because vets are beginning to check for it more often, but there seem to be other factors contributing as well.

Why Pancreatitis Occurs

As a holistic veterinarian, I don’t think it’s a fluke or happenstance that the pancreas has become more and more attacked as an organ. We know that the high carbohydrate-based diets that most dogs and cats eat are extremely taxing to pets’ insulin levels, which are, in turn, taxing to the pancreas.

In addition, the foods that we feed our dogs and cats are entirely processed and devoid of natural enzymes, which help supplement your pet’s diet and reduce pancreatic stress. So, the pancreas really may live in a state of chronic inflammation and stress because the average American pet diet is dead (processed at high temperatures to create an extensive shelf life) and is therefore devoid of any naturally occurring amylase, lipase and protease enzymes that would naturally be found in raw foods. The canned or kibble (dry food) diet that you feed your pet causes the pancreas to have to secrete an abundance of digestive enzymes. If the pancreas fails to perform adequately, pancreatitis results.

There are also some drugs that are well known to incite episodes of pancreatitis. For instance, anti-seizure drugs such as Potassium Bromide or Phenobarbital are well known to predispose pets to pancreatitis.

Prednisone and other catabolic steroids are also well known to cause pancreatitis. Even the diuretic Lasix (Furosemide®), has been implicated in pancreatitis attacks in dogs and cats.

However, diet also plays into recurrent pancreatitis episodes. Many cats and dogs eat a diet that is much too high in fat and we know that fat is also an inciting cause of low-grade, recurrent pancreatitis.

Certain breeds, such as Miniature Schnauzers may also have a genetic predisposition to having recurrent pancreatitis, and German Shepherds can be born with pancreatic insufficiency causing enzyme deficiency symptoms from birth.

Pancreatitis Often Recurs

If you’ve been through the nightmare of pancreatitis, you know all too well that number one, it is very scary, and number two, many animals require hospitalization and very intense medical therapy to pull them through the crisis.

What you may not know is that pancreatitis often recurs. You can easily spend thousands of dollars getting your pet stabilized with each occurrence of pancreatitis, and I wish I could tell you that just putting your pet on a low-residue, low-fat diet will eliminate their future risk. Unfortunately, the fact is that many pets end up with recurrent pancreatitis.

Diagnosis of Pancreatitis

Veterinarians diagnose pancreatitis through a blood test called the PLI (Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity) Test. Your veterinarian may suggest that you run a PLI test if he or she suspects your pet may be dealing with pancreatitis.

There are also two pancreatic enzymes, lipase and amylase, that can be elevated on traditional blood work when animals have pancreatitis, but most veterinarians rely on the PLI test for an accurate and quick diagnostic test to determine if your pet has pancreatic inflammation.

What to do if Your Pet Has Pancreatitis

If your pet has failed the PLI, which means the PLI levels are elevated beyond what they should be for your dog or cat, you should seek medical attention — especially if your pet is vomiting, lethargic, dealing with anorexia or has a fever.

After the crisis has passed, the very best “insurance” that you can buy to lower your pet’s chances of having a repeat episode is to supply them with a rich source of digestive enzymes.

We know that dogs’ and cats’ pancreases cannot secrete enough digestive enzymes to adequately process their foods. Dogs and cats were meant to acquire supplemental enzymes from the foods they consumed: living foods that contained abundant enzymes.

Historically dogs and cats consumed parts of their preys’ GI tracts which provided adequate enzymes for them to process their food. Carnivores also consumed their preys’ glands, including pancreatic tissue, which was a rich source of naturally occurring enzymes.

Although we advocate feeding a balanced, raw food diet, we don’t recommend feeding stomach contents of prey species, as this is how parasites can be transmitted to your pets. This means even pets consuming a species appropriate, raw food diet can be enzyme deficient.

By you supplying a source of digestive enzymes in their diet, either by feeding pancreatic tissue (which is unappealing to most pet owners) or a supplement, , you can help reduce the stress and strain the pancreas is under to continually come up with enough enzymes to process t food.

Mercola Healthy Pets is coming out with an excellent pet enzyme that I highly recommend. If you have pets that are dealing with pancreatitis, have dealt with pancreatitis, or if you want to reduce the likelihood of your pet exhibiting symptoms of pancreatitis, adding digestive enzymes to their food at mealtime is a perfect way to help avoid future complications and reduce pancreatic stress.

Related:

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Good Diet and Advice for Dogs with Pancreatitis

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

No-No Foods for Pets

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

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

October 2, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pet Alzheimer’s Disease – Is Your Dog or Cat Showing Signs?

Story at-a-glance
  • As your pet ages, he can develop canine or feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome, which is a degenerative brain disease similar to Alzheimer’s in humans. Studies show 40 percent of dogs at 15 have at least one symptom, as do 68 percent of geriatric dogs. About half of all cats 15 or older also show signs of cognitive decline.
  • Veterinary behaviorists are speaking out about the need for vets to monitor behavior in older pets just as they do other body systems. The earlier a cognitive problem is recognized, the earlier intervention can begin, giving pets more quality time with their families.
  • Cognitive dysfunction is not “normal aging.” Diagnosis of the disease is a diagnosis of exclusion, since many health conditions in older pets have symptoms that mimic those of cognitive decline.
  • A balanced, species-appropriate diet, exercise, mental stimulation and environmental enrichment are basic tools for pet owners who want to help their dog or cat stay mentally sharp.
  • There are also several supplements that can be beneficial for older pets, including SAMe, coconut oil, resveratrol, ginkgo biloba, and phosphatidylserine.

Aging Pet

By Dr. Becker

Unfortunately, just like people, dogs and cats also develop degenerative brain diseases known as canine or feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome. But unlike humans, often the signs a pet is in mental decline go unnoticed until the condition is so advanced there’s little that can be done to turn things around or at least slow the progression of the disease.

Often, even an animal’s veterinarian is unaware there’s a problem because he or she doesn’t see the pet that often and always in a clinical setting vs. at home. In addition, according to Dr. Jeff Nichol, a veterinary behavior specialist in Albuquerque, NM, many DVMs aren’t aware of just how common cognitive dysfunction syndrome is. Vets assume pet parents will tell them when an older dog or cat is experiencing behavior changes, while owners assume the changes are just a natural part of aging.

In a large Australian study published in 2011 on canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD),1 scientists at the University of Sydney reported that about 14 percent of dogs develop CCD, but less than 2 percent are diagnosed. In addition, the risk of CCD increases with age — over 40 percent of dogs at 15 will have at least one symptom. Researchers also estimate the prevalence of cognitive dysfunction in geriatric dogs at 68 percent.

In a study also published in 2011 on cognitive decline in cats,2 a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, Hospital for Small Animals estimated that a third of all cats between 11 and 14 years of age have age-related cognitive decline. That number increases to 50 percent for cats 15 years and older.

Are You Discussing Your Pet’s Behavior Changes with Your Vet?

Veterinary behaviorists are beginning to speak out about the need for vets to monitor behavior in older pets just as they do other body systems. According to Dr. Marsha Reich, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behavior:

“Just because he’s getting old doesn’t mean that we just stand on the sidelines and let him get old. There are things we can do to intervene and improve the dog’s ability to function and improve its quality of life.”

Dr. Gary Landsberg, a veterinary behaviorist in Ontario, Canada, agrees. "This is critical. Early recognition allows for early intervention,” he says.

One of the challenges for vets is that older pets often have multiple health conditions that must be managed, and behavior issues – when addressed at all — often take a back seat. This is especially true for DVMs who expect pet parents to make a separate appointment to discuss behavior changes they’ve noticed in their dog or cat. Typically by the time that happens, if it happens at all, it’s too late.

Animal behavior experts would like to see vet clinic staff give owners a behavioral questionnaire to complete before the dog or cat is taken to the examination room. (Questionnaires could even be emailed to pet owners a day or two before a scheduled appointment.) The vet can then quickly scan the questionnaire to see if there’s a need to discuss changes in an animal’s behavior with the owner.

The questionnaires, if done routinely, also provide a history both the vet and pet owner can refer to as the dog or cat ages.

At my practice, we have clients complete a “Catching Up” form every 6 months at their wellness exam, which covers any new behaviors that may have developed over the past months since their pet’s last exam.

Your Pet’s Mental Decline Has a Physical Cause

Cognitive dysfunction presents as a psychological problem, but the root cause is actually physical and is the result of age-related changes within the brain.

Dogs’ and cats’ brains age in a similar fashion and undergo oxidative damage, neuronal loss, atrophy and the development of beta-amyloid plaques. These ß-amyloid plaques are also seen in human Alzheimer’s sufferers.

According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, professor and program director of animal behavior at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, “normal aging” does exist. Some features of cognitive function do decrease with age, but cognitive dysfunction of the type seen in Alzheimer’s disease is not normal.

While canine dementia isn’t exactly the same disease as Alzheimer’s in people, the development of ß-amyloid plaques in pets results in confusion, memory loss, and other symptoms related to mental function. And the condition can come on and progress very rapidly.

Diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction in a pet is a diagnosis of exclusion. There are many conditions older animals acquire that mimic the signs of cognitive decline, so it’s important to rule out all other physical reasons for a change in behavior. For example, a small seizure can cause a pet to stand still and stare. If your pet seems detached, he could be in pain. Inappropriate elimination can be due to kidney disease. These disorders and many others can result in a change in behavior unrelated to cognitive decline. That’s why it’s so important to rule out all possible alternative reasons, especially in aging pets.

It’s also important for your vet to review any medications your dog or cat is taking. Older animals metabolize drugs differently than younger pets, and if a dog or cat has been on a certain medication for years, it’s possible it is having a different effect as he gets older.

And keep in mind your aging kitty may need a more accessible litter box, and an older dog may need more trips outside to relieve herself.

How to Help Your Aging Pet Stay Mentally Sharp

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your aging pet maintain good mental function for as long as possible, and delay the onset and progression of cognitive decline.

  • The foundation for good health and vitality for pets of any age is a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet. Your pet’s diet should include omega-3 essential fats, such as krill oil, which are critical for cognitive health. Your pet’s body needs an ideal energy source to promote the processes of metabolism, growth and healing. That perfect fuel — especially for aging pets — is a healthy variety of fresh, living food suitable for your carnivorous cat or dog.
  • Keep your pet’s body and mind active with regular exercise appropriate for your pet’s age and physical condition, and mental stimulation (puzzles and treat-release toys can be beneficial). Make sure your dog has opportunities to socialize with other pets and people. Think of creative ways to enrich your cat’s indoor environment.
  • Provide your pet with a SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) supplement as a safe and effective way to stall or improve mental decline. Consult your pet’s veterinarian for the right dose size for your dog or cat. There are also commercial cognitive support products available.
  • Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been shown to improve brain energy metabolism and decrease the amyloid protein buildup that results in brain lesions in older pets. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs. I recommend 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for basic MCT support.
  • Other supplements to consider are resveratrol (Japanese knotweed), which protects against free radical damage and beta-amyloid deposits, ginkgo biloba, gotu kola and phosphatidylserine – a nutritional supplement that can inhibit age-related cognitive deficits. Consult a holistic veterinarian for dosing guidance.
  • Cats are often nocturnal throughout their lives, but older dogs can develop problems sleeping at night. They tend to sleep all day and stay awake all night, pacing, making noise, and feeling anxious and uncomfortable. Behaviorists recommend melatonin, which is not only a sedative with a calming effect, but also an antioxidant. I also use Rhodiola, chamomile and l-theanine in both cats and dogs with excellent results.
  • Keep your pet at a healthy size – overweight dogs and cats are at significant increased risk for disease as they age.
  • Maintain your pet’s dental health.
  • I recommend twice-yearly vet visits for pets no matter the age, but this becomes even more important for animals getting up in years. Keeping abreast of your dog’s or cat’s physical and mental changes as she ages is the best way to catch any disease process early. Ask your vet to perform a blood test to check your dog’s internal organ health to make sure you are identifying possible issues early on.

When your pet begins to respond to therapy designed to improve cognitive function, in the case of a dog, you can begin re-training him using the same techniques you used when he was a puppy – positive reinforcement behavior training involving lots of treats and praise.

Of course, none of these recommendations will be terribly helpful for a pet in the advanced stages of cognitive decline, which is why it’s so important to diagnose and begin treating the problem as early as possible.

Cognitive dysfunction is a progressive disease that can’t be cured, but early diagnosis and intervention can slow mental decline and offer your aging pet good quality of life.

September 23, 2013 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

CORONA: Gourmet dog treat ready for its close-up

TERRY PIERSON/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

PE.com: Jackboy’s Dog Bakery owner Athena Yap of Corona with her dog Kernel and some of the many dog treats she makes in Corona, CA. The all natural artisan doggie pastries are good enough to eat but they are made for dogs.

As the founder of Jackboy’s Dog Bakery, Athena Yap has an uncanny talent for thinking outside of the bone.

And thereby hangs a tale of a former aerospace engineer who used to convert fighter planes into drones. These days she transforms dough into doggie delectables for a clientele that includes the T.J. Maxx Corp.

Now Hollywood has come knocking. Eventually, you can catch one of her cookie creations on a new series, tentatively called “Game of Pawns,” or “Pawn in the Game,” that Yap was told would begin later this month on the Discovery Channel. However, a spokeswoman for them, Emily Robinson, wrote in an email that the cable network hasn’t officially announced the show and there’s no definite air date yet.

Since Yap launched Jackboy’s in Corona six years ago, Jackboy’s has been a hit with customers who have helped double her revenues every year. Yap said sales of her 50 varieties of homemade, all-natural canine confections range from between $8,000 and $20,000 a month.

Clients include pet spas, animal hospitals, groomers, doggie boutiques and gift stores. About 70 percent of her business is online, catering to purists who clamor for Yap’s gluten-free, salt-free, filler-free, dye-free, chemical-free cakes, cake pops, cupcakes, cookies and artisan pastries. They’re made with human-grade ingredients that include honey, olive oil, carob, eggs, roasted peanuts, oatmeal and minimal sugar.

In fact, these pooch products are so good that Donna Kennedy Clark spotted her 3-year-old niece nibbling a Cranberry Bis-Scotties at The Paw Spa she owns at 320 S. Main St. Corona.

“I only carry top-of-the-line natural, holistic cakes and cookies,” Kennedy Clark, 47, said. “Athena cares about every ingredient that goes into them. She even makes her own sprinkles using beets and turmeric for the colors. Customers come in looking for her cookies because their dogs won’t eat any other kind.”

Yap said with a laugh that some people think she uses a fake name enhance her business. Actually, Yap, 40, is Chinese and grew up in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in an animal-loving family. At 19, she enrolled in Iowa State University in Ames because of its ranking as one of the top schools for aerospace engineering. After graduating, Yap received her MBA during her 15-year tenure in the industry, specializing in composite materials and processes. Her most recent position was supervising four engineers at BAE Systems in Mojave, but Yap wanted to be her own boss.

Her next move became clear after she and her fiancé, Steve Sunde, rescued from the streets a red German shepherd and dingo mix they named Jackboy, “He picked us,” Yap said. She began making her own dog food in 2007 after many animals died from eating poisonous pet food from China containing tainted wheat gluten. But the snacks and treats Yap whipped up really piqued Jackboy’s palate and with him as her chief taster, a business was born.

At their Corona home, Yap experimented, initially mixing wheat flour, canola oil and parmesan cheese to produce her classic twists called Knotty Parmesan. As her research intensified, so did her commitment to the finest ingredients and a ban on artificial colorings, flavors and commercially produced beef and chicken bouillon. She swapped the canola for 100 percent olive oil. “Everything evolved and business began snowballing,” she recalled.

Yap figures she’s invested more than $150,000 to grow the business. In 2009, she rented a commercial unit on Ott Street in Corona. A year ago July she relocated to her current, 800-square-foot site at 109 N. Maple Street, Unit B, where she employs two workers who bake every day but Sunday. Retail prices run from about $6.99 for a 5-ounce bag to a big birthday cake for $34.99

“People want instant gratification,” Yap said of her two-day turnaround. Jackboy stores shipments for its 15 to 20 daily orders in the warehouse of her boyfriend’s Corona business, Rockwell Aviation Services.

Jackboy died in April at age 12, but another rescue, a Chihuahua and miniature pinscher mix, now helps vet each new roll-out and disdains all but fresh baked goods. Her beau christened him “Colonel,” but Yap mistook the high-ranking title for the seed and registered the mutt as “Kernel.”

The showbiz request came last February from a freelance Hollywood producer who found Jackboy Dog Bakery online. Yap designed the cookie to replicate a World War II-era license plate for a pawn shop in Branson, Mo., that gives customers the chance to earn their asking price by playing a little trivia game. Jackdog’s confection represents the soybean license plates made by some states in the 1940s to save metal for the war effort. The plates began disappearing when animals began eating them right off the cars.

The indefatigable Yap seems to dream up a new goodie every week. Fare includes Garlic Pup-zels, Coco-Mutt Macaroons, Snickerdroodles, Muddy Paws Carob Fudge Sandwiches and Honey Dough-Mutts. “I do it all,” she said. “The design, recipes and labeling. I have a mission to make people appreciate their pets and treat them as part of the family.”

Follow Laurie Lucas on Twitter @LaurieLucas and check her blog on pe.com/business

August 26, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

Video:  The Lottie June Show- WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA & One of the Oldest living Dogs

Related:

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This… 

A Dog’s Life… Can Be Longer Than You Think…

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!

World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

Video: Kitty Kat my Chihuahua begging for food while her Chihuahua family looks on

August 1, 2013 Posted by | Animal and Pet Photos, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chihuahua, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

Dogs love human food, and most humans have a hard time resisting the pleading face of a dog who wants a bite of what they’re eating. On the other hand, some human foods are not only unhealthy for dogs, but a few can actually kill them. One food some people reward their dog with is nuts, especially almonds. Can dogs eat almonds safely?

By Marion Algier  -  Just One More Pet

Can Dogs Eat Almonds?

The humane society and others publish a list of “no-no” foods or unsafe foods for dogs to eat, and the only two nuts on the list are walnuts and macadamia nuts. Feeding a dog as few as four macadamia nuts, depending upon the dog’s size, can cause neurological symptoms such as muscle weakness, tremors and even paralysis. Walnuts can cause stomach upset in dogs and moldy ones that contain mycotoxins cause tremors in dogs. These two nuts are a definite "no-no" for all dogs.

Does this mean dog scan eat almonds since they’re not on the list? Even though almonds aren’t toxic to dogs, there are some good reasons to avoid giving your dog this nutty treat, or at least give it sparingly. Nuts of all types, including almonds, are on the list of foods that cause stomach upset in dogs.

So, if you do occasionally almonds or other nuts, or something with nuts in it, with your best friend, do so sparingly and watch for any negative reactions.  If you notice a negative change in their behavior, their stool or that they are in pain, cease to share nuts in general and definitely that type of nut with them.

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. Pancreatitis can be fatal to your canine best friend, so it’s best to stay from nuts and fatty human foods. Giving your dog food high in fats may earn you a few tail wags, but it could have bad long-term health consequences.

Another reason not to give your dog almonds or other nuts is they can get caught in their throat or intestines, causing an intestinal obstruction that could require surgery. Who wants to put a dog through that?

Can Dogs Eat Almonds: The Bottom Line?

Almonds aren’t directly toxic to dogs like walnuts and macadamia nuts are, but they do increase the risk of pancreatitis and intestinal obstruction. Almonds are a heart-healthy snack for humans, but if your dog loves them too, buy some organic peanut butter flavored dog cookies to satisfy your dogs need for a treat. It’s a safer option.

Related: 

Good Diet and Advice for Dogs with Pancreatitis 

Pancreatitis in Dogs

No-No Foods for Pets

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

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

July 15, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holidays With Pets, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | 5 Comments