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Acupuncture for Dogs (Pets)

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

What is Acupuncture?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image Credit: CLINT EGBERT/XPRESS

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

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

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

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

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

What Does an Acupuncture Treatment Involve?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safety and Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Dogs

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

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

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

Cat Getting Acupuncture – Image Credit: CLINT EGBERT/XPRESS

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

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

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

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

Where Can I Find Acupuncture Veterinary Professionals?

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

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

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

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Pet owners get the point of acupuncture

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

Dog and Cat Vaccines are Not Harmless Preventive Medicine

Story at-a-glance
  • Vaccinosis is a condition recognized almost exclusively by the holistic veterinary community. It is not generally acknowledged by traditional veterinarians.
  • Dr. Richard Pitcairn defines vaccinosis this way: “Vaccinosis is to be understood as the disturbance of the vital force by vaccination that results in mental, emotional, and a physical change that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition.”
  • Vaccines are composed of modified live viruses, killed viruses and a number of potentially toxic substances. They also enter the body in an unnatural way (by injection) compared to real viruses. They bypass the body’s first lines of defense and are delivered directly to the blood and lymph systems.
  • Vaccine reactions, or vaccinosis, are wide-ranging. Some reactions are relatively minor, while others are life-threatening.
  • Fortunately, the traditional veterinary community is slowing becoming aware that vaccines are not the benign disease-prevention tools they were once thought to be.

Video: Vaccinosis and Your Pet

Download Interview Transcript

By Dr. Becker  -  Dr. Mercola.com

I talk a lot about vaccine dangers here at MercolaHealthyPets, and I often mention a condition called vaccinosis.

Since vaccinosis isn’t recognized by most traditional veterinarians and isn’t something many pet owners have ever heard of before, I thought it would be helpful to do a short video to explain the condition.

Vaccinosis Defined

First, let’s talk about what vaccinosis isn’t.

It isn’t an acute, often immediate adverse reaction to a vaccine. Adverse events, or hypersensitivities, whether mild (such as lethargy, flu-like symptoms, etc.), or severe (such as anaphylactic shock), that are clearly linked to a recent vaccination are widely acknowledged by the traditional veterinary community.

Unfortunately, these reactions are considered by traditional vets to be occasional aberrations of a basically safe procedure.

Vaccinosis, on the other hand, is a problem only holistic veterinarians seem willing to acknowledge. It is a reaction of a pet’s body to vaccines that have been injected without the pet having experienced a notable adverse event or hypersensitivity. These are chronic reactions to not only the altered virus contained in the vaccine, but also to the chemicals, adjuvants, and other components of tissue culture cell lines — as well as possible genetic changes — that can be induced by vaccines.

Dr. Richard Pitcairn, who holds a PhD in immunology, defines it this way: “Vaccinosis is to be understood as the disturbance of the vital force by vaccination that results in mental, emotional, and a physical change that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition.”

Dr. Pitcairn: Vaccines Create Chronic Disease

According to Dr. Pitcairn, vaccines intended to protect pets against acute natural diseases actually create chronic conditions with features of the disease the vaccine was supposed to prevent.

This transformation happens in the laboratory, where natural viruses are modified in order to make vaccines.

Where the natural virus would trigger a strong immune system response, the modified lab-created virus in the vaccine doesn’t elicit much of a reaction by the animal’s immune system. Instead, it creates chronic disease.

The delivery of a vaccine is also very different from how a natural disease develops in an animal’s body.
Vaccines contain a number of toxic substances, including viruses, mutated bacteria, immune irritants, foreign proteins, and chemical preservatives. All of these toxins are delivered by injection directly into the blood and lymph, bypassing the usual first line of defenses, including the skin, mucous membranes, saliva, and so forth. So not only is the virus in the vaccine unnatural, the way it enters a pet’s body is also very unnatural.

When you look at the situation from this perspective, it’s easy to see how abnormal immune reactions are triggered by vaccinations.

Your Pet’s Individual Risk of Vaccinosis

The strength and balance of every animal’s immune system is different, so there’s no way to predict – unless your dog or cat has had a reaction in the past — how much danger your pet is in from exposure to the modified virus contained in any given vaccine or the many toxic ingredients it contains.

That’s why I strongly encourage pet owners to avoid all unnecessary vaccines and re-vaccinations.

Symptoms of Vaccinosis

Common vaccine reactions include:

  • Lethargy
  • Stiffness
  • Hair loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Hair color change at injection site
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Soreness
  • Oral ulcers

More serious reactions:

  • Immunosuppression
  • Granulomas and abscesses
  • Behavioral changes
  • Hives
  • Vitiligo
  • Facial swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Allergic hypersensitivity
  • Reduced milk production (females)
  • Respiratory disease
  • Lameness
  • Allergic uveitis

Very severe illness:

  • Injection-site sarcomas (cancer)
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Myocarditis
  • Autoimmune arthritis
  • Encephalitis or polyneuritis
  • Polyarthritis
  • Seizures
  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
  • Abortion
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia
  • Embryotic (fetal) death
  • Thyroiditis
  • Infertility

Dog and Cat Vaccines: The Importance of Exercising Caution

Since the introduction of dog and cat vaccines, the traditional view of their use has been that they are safe and can be given as frequently as once or twice a year. This approach, tragically, has caused a tremendous amount of suffering for millions of pets.

As the truth about the dangers of vaccines slowly emerges, even traditional veterinary organizations and practitioners are acknowledging that vaccines are not the benign, “better safe than sorry” veterinary tools they were thought to be.

My recommendations for vaccinating your pet can be found in several videos, articles, and interviews here at MercolaHealthyPets. Most importantly, I don’t recommend automatic re-vaccinations at prescribed intervals for any pet.

If you believe your pet could be suffering from the negative effects of over-vaccination, I strongly recommend you work with a homeopathic or holistic vet to create a tailor-made vaccine detox program to assist your dog’s or cat’s body in recovering from vaccinosis.

Related:

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August 13, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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

Story at-a-glance
  • In part two of Dr. Becker’s three-part interview with Dr. Michael Fox, they continue their discussion of Dr. Fox’s latest book,  Healing Animals & The Vision of One Health…, and how the notion of One Health reveals itself so often in veterinary practice.
  • Dr. Fox discusses the pet obesity epidemic, which he has very fittingly dubbed “Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome,” and the fact that this is a much more serious, potentially devastating problem than we imagine.
  • Dr. Fox also points out that the results achieved through sustainable organic farming should be viewed as evidence-based medicine… as should the health benefits we see when pets are switched from processed commercial pet food to real, whole food, organically grown.
  • Dr. Becker and Dr. Fox also discuss the challenges and benefits of becoming “kitchen anarchists” … taking control of what we eat and what we feed our loved ones, including our four-legged companions.

Video:  Dr. Becker Interviews Dr. Michael W. Fox (Part 2 of 3)

Download Interview Transcript

By Dr. Becker 

Last week in part one of my three part interview with Dr. Michael W. Fox, we discussed his latest book, Healing Animals & The Vision of One Health…, which I absolutely love. We talked about the vision of One Health, which is the concept that human well-being is the sum of public health, plus environmental health, plus animal health.

We talked about how pet owners are beginning to recognize that many human health problems these days are related to dietary choices and sedentary lifestyles – and that poor nutrition and other lifestyle-related diseases are also having the same negative impact on companion animals.

"Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome"

One of the things I love about Dr. Fox’s latest book is how he ties the vision of One Health over and over again into the contents of each chapter. For example, in chapter four, titled "Harm and Be Harmed," he discusses the fact that pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are totally foreign to the natural world. When we introduce these alien agents into the environment, we should expect an unnatural and adverse reaction.

A similar situation is created when we feed our dogs and cats processed pet food, and when we vaccinate. We are introducing totally foreign substances into the bodies of our companion animals — and so we shouldn’t be surprised when our pets become ill as a result.

In Healing Animals, Dr. Fox refers to the pet obesity epidemic as Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome, or CMS. He blames the mainstream pet food industry and veterinarians who refuse to see any connection between diet and the exploding number of overweight and obese dogs and cats. He explains what happens to an animal’s body after ingesting a meal containing highly processed cereal carbohydrates:

"The ‘sugar rush’ and insulin surge (until the pancreas becomes exhausted) make many dogs and cats constantly hungry, so they quickly become obese. Owners think their animal companions love the dry food because they always want to eat it."

He also makes the excellent point that animals who become obese as the result of a biologically inappropriate processed diet are not simply being overfed and under-exercised. They are also likely developing a host of serious, chronic, often debilitating health problems in part because they are actually undernourished. This can be even more severe and include the suffering of constant hunger when overweight and obese dogs and cats are put on low cal, high fiber, but nutrient deficient diets. CMS isn’t just a simple fat storage issue – it creates long-term, systemic damage in companion animals.

In his book, Dr. Fox also explains why we are seeing so much gluten hypersensitivity and dysbiosis in both people and their pets today. He ties these problems and other immune system abnormalities to, among other things, the use of herbicides.

Sustainable Organic Agriculture is Evidence-Based Medicine

I shared with Dr. Fox that even in my relatively short veterinary career (not quite 20 years), I’m having trouble seeing light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the damage we’ve already done to the environment, our own bodies, and to the animals in our care. I asked him if he feels more optimistic.

Dr. Fox’s response is encouraging. He makes the point that our bodies (and those of our animal companions) are incredibly resilient, and so are the soils of the earth. He explains it takes five years for a farmer to transition the chemically laden soil residues from conventional farming over to fully certified organic farming. At that point, the crops become healthier and the farm animals fed those crops and byproducts becomes healthier as well.

Dr. Fox says this is evidence-based medicine. The adoption of sustainable organic agricultural practices is being shown by economic analysts to be the better way to feed the hungry world. According to Dr. Fox, we don’t need the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation providing genetically engineered crops and ever more powerful chemicals.. Practicing ecologically sound, sustainable organic agriculture makes crops more nutritious and those who eat the crops will be healthier.

Again, this is evidence-based medicine according to Dr. Fox. He has a thick file from pet owners who have either adopted his home-prepared diet for dogs and cats, which can be found on his website (www.drfoxvet.com), or they’ve gone the organically certified route and found pet food manufacturers who use clean ingredients in their formulas. And lo and behold … their pets get better.

Prenatal Diet Affects the Viability and Resilience of Offspring

Dr. Fox points out that there’s always a genetic component to consider when discussing issues of health.

The term epigenetics describes how environmental factors can affect the tuning of our genes and our response to nutrients, and later, to environmental stressors. This influence is prenatal, which means what a mother eats affects her offspring.

Scientists at the Royal Veterinary College in London fed the equivalent of human junk food to a group of pregnant rats. The rats developed diabetes, and their offspring were born preferring junk food. The baby rats became obese and diabetic as a result.

So along with problems of inbreeding and the health issues deliberately bred into many dogs and cats, we also must consider what the mothers are eating during pregnancy that may affect the viability, resilience and general well-being of their offspring.

The Rise of Kitchen Anarchists

Rather than just plugging along, doing what we’ve always done or what seems to be right without really thinking about it, Dr. Fox encourages us to become what he calls "kitchen anarchists."

He explains that when we start taking charge of what we feed our families, including the four-legged members – though it does cost more – the investment will be well worth it in terms of future health costs. And Dr. Fox reminds us there are no shortcuts when it comes to eating well, and there never will be. It does take time – and it does cost more.

He goes on to say that certainly the government, health insurance companies and drug manufacturers have a real problem with holistic and integrative healing. They’d prefer we keep eating garbage food and get sick, because it’s all part of a very profitable system – the food and drug agribusiness complex. Dr. Fox asserts that, "While we may enjoy freedom of speech in what is left of our democratic society, it’s what we choose to put into our mouths that can have more political as well as personal health significance than what comes out of them."

As a practitioner of integrative, holistic veterinary medicine, I operate from the premise that if you nourish the body with healthy, unadulterated whole foods, you will create not only genetic resiliency, but immune system enhancement and overall vitality. All these things play a role in promoting a stronger, more balanced, resilient species, generation after generation.

I try to help people understand that yes, your food costs will be higher, and yes, you’ll be spending more time and energy preparing truly nutritious foods for your family. But there will be countless immeasurable benefits from that expenditure of resources. Dr. Fox does a great job defining many of those benefits, including long term cost-savings from the health benefits, in Healing Animals, which is invaluable.

He also discusses supplements like fish body oils and trace minerals such as Sacred Earth in the book. Many pets, as we know, eat dirt from time to time. There are a wide variety of trace elements and beneficial microbial life in soil that science doesn’t know much about yet. But if we observe what goes on in nature – if we take notice that many dogs and cats eat dirt, for example – we can give nature a chance to demonstrate its bounty.

As Dr. Fox so eloquently states at the close of this second part of our interview:

"Ultimately, we’re all derivatives of nature. We can’t play the role of the dominant pioneering exploiter without causing great harm. Because when we harm the Earth, we harm ourselves. And when we demean and exploit animals, we do no less to ourselves."

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of my interview with Dr. Michael W. Fox. We’ll discuss his suggestion that humanity is at a crossroads. Will we decide to take responsibility for what we’re doing to the Earth? Will we develop reverential respect for all life? Will we obey the Golden Rule? … Or will we just make chaos out of it all, becoming less than human, and suffering physically, mentally and spiritually?

Realted:

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The Importance of Bones in Your Pet’s Diet

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

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Good Diet and Advice for Dogs with Pancreatitis

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

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

Fatty Acids May Improve Mobility In Osteoarthritic Dogs

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Allergies and Springtime Ailments in Pets

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July 13, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pet Recipes, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

CAUTION: Bones Can Kill Your Dog – Find Out Which Ones are Safe

It’s the oldest cliché in the book: Dogs love to chew on bones. But the FDA is warning that this time-honored tradition could be dangerous—and even deadly—for dogs.

“Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast,” says Dr. Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death.”

Dr. Becker’s Comments:

The FDA doesn’t make clear whether their warning extends to all bones or just cooked bones, so I’ll assume for purposes of the information I’m about to give you they’re discussing only bones from food that has been cooked.

Dangers of Cooked Bones

The cooking process makes bones more brittle, increasing the likelihood they might splinter and cause internal injury to your dog.Cooking can also remove the nutrition contained in bones.

In their April 20, 2010 Consumer Update, the FDA lists the following risks associated with giving your dog a cooked bone to chew:

  1. Broken teeth. This may call for expensive veterinary dentistry.
  2. Mouth or tongue injuries. These can be very bloody and messy and may require a trip to see your veterinarian.
  3. Bone gets looped around your dog’s lower jaw. This can be frightening or painful for your dog and potentially costly to you, as it usually means a trip to see your veterinarian.
  4. Bone gets stuck in esophagus, the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach. Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up, and will need to see your veterinarian.
  5. Bone gets stuck in windpipe. This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone. This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing. Get your pet to your veterinarian immediately!
  6. Bone gets stuck in stomach. It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines. Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, a procedure in which your veterinarian uses a long tube with a built-in camera and grabbing tools to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
  7. Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage. It may be time for surgery.
  8. Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian. Bones also contain a lot of calcium, which is very firming to the stool.
  9. Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is very messy and can be dangerous. It’s time for a trip to see your veterinarian.
  10. Peritonitis. This nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian because peritonitis can kill your dog.

Are Any Bones Safe for My Dog?

Raw bones can be both safe and healthy providing you follow some guidelines which I’ll discuss shortly.

You’re probably aware your dog’s ancestors and counterparts in the wild have been eating bones forever.

Canines in their natural habitat eat prey, including the meat, bones and stomach contents. In fact, your pup has a biological requirement for the nutrients found in bone marrow and the bones themselves.

Dogs love to chew raw bones for the yummy taste, the mental stimulation, and also because all that gnawing is great exercise for the muscles of the jaw.

Two Types of Raw Bones

Dog BoneAt my clinic, Natural Pet Animal Hospital, we recommend to all our dog parents that they separate bones into two categories:

  1. Edible bones
  2. Recreational bones

Edible bones are the hollow, non weight-bearing bones of birds (typically chicken wings and chicken and turkey necks). They are soft, pliable, do not contain marrow, and can be easily crushed in a meat grinder.

These bones provide calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals which can be an essential part of your pup’s balanced raw food diet.

Recreational bones – big chunks of beef or bison femur or hip bones filled with marrow — don’t supply significant dietary nutrition for your dog (they are not designed to be chewed up and swallowed, only gnawed on), but they do provide mental stimulation and are great for your pup’s oral health.

When your dog chews on a raw recreational bone, especially a meaty one with cartilage and soft tissue still attached, his teeth get the equivalent of a good brushing and flossing. This helps to break down tartar and reduces the risk of gum disease.

Dogs in the wild have beautiful teeth and healthy gums. This is because the prey they eat requires a lot of chewing, and the sinewy composition helps to clean each entire tooth.

Guidelines for Feeding Recreational Bones Safely

The health risks listed above for cooked bones can also apply to recreational raw bones if your dog has unrestricted, unsupervised access to them.

The following are do’s and don’ts for feeding recreational raw bones (and yes, they have to be raw, not steamed, boiled or baked):

  • Do supervise your dog closely while he’s working on a bone. That way you can react immediately if your pup happens to choke, or if you notice any blood on the bone or around your dog’s mouth from over aggressive gnawing. You’ll also know when your dog has chewed down to the hard brittle part of a knuckle bone, making splinters more likely. When the bone has been gnawed down in size throw it out. Do not allow your dog to chew it down to a small chunk he can swallow.
  • Do separate dogs in a multi-dog household before feeding bones. Dogs can get quite territorial about bones and some dogs will fight over them.
  • Do feed fresh raw bones in your dog’s crate, or on a towel or other surface you can clean, or outside as long as you can supervise him. Fresh raw bones become a gooey, greasy mess until your dog has gnawed them clean, so make sure to protect your flooring and furniture.
  • Don’t give them to a dog that has had restorative dental work/crowns.
  • Don’t give them to your dog if she has a predisposition to pancreatitis. Raw bone marrow is very rich and can cause diarrhea and a flare-up of pancreatitis. Instead, you can feed a “low fat” version by thawing the bone and scooping out the marrow to reduce the fat content.
  • Don’t give a recreational bone to a dog that’s likely to try to swallow it whole or bite it in two and eat it in huge chunks.

My pit bulls tried to do this the first time I fed them recreational raw bones – they bit them in two and tried to eat both halves whole. So I got knuckle bones the approximate size of their heads, and they couldn’t open their jaws wide enough to bite down and crack off big chunks of the bones. Over time, I trained them to chew smaller femur bones less aggressively.

You should be able to find raw knuckle bones at your local butcher shop or the meat counter of your supermarket (labeled as ‘soup bones’). When you get the bones home, store them in the freezer and thaw one at a time before feeding to your pup.

I also recommend giving your dog a bone to chew after she’s full from a meal. Hungry dogs are more tempted to swallow a bone whole or break it apart and swallow large chunks. This increases the risk of an obstruction in the digestive tract.

  • Don’t feed small bones that can be swallowed whole or pose a choking risk, or bones that have been cut, such as a leg bone. Cut bones are more likely to splinter.
  • Don’t feed pork bones or rib bones. They’re more likely to splinter than other types of bones.

A Healthy Alternative to Feeding Raw Bones

If one of the above conditions prevents you from offering raw bones to your dog, consider a softer alternative: a high quality, edible dental bone.

A fully digestible, high quality dental dog chew provides mechanical abrasion to help control plaque and tartar, and is similar to the effect of eating whole, raw food in the wild.

Many popular chew bones cannot be broken down, and if your pup swallows one whole, or a large enough portion of one, there’s always a risk of intestinal blockage. In addition, most traditional dog chews contain unhealthy ingredients like gelatin, artificial sweeteners, and other additives and preservatives that are potentially cancer causing.

I highly recommend Mercola Healthy Pets Dog Dental Bones, which are 100 percent natural and contain absolutely no corn, soy, gluten, extra fat or sugar, or animal byproducts.

Whether you go with raw bones, a high quality dog dental bone, or a combination, the important thing to remember is your canine family member is designed to chew. She needs your help to insure she gets regular opportunities to brush and floss as nature intended, and to exercise those jaw muscles.

Source: dvm360 April 27, 2010

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May 11, 2012 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker, dispels the long-held myth that “table food” is bad for your pets.

Animals Like People Benefit From Live Foods

Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker, dispels the long-held myth that “table food” is bad for your pets.

Human, edible foods can be very healthy for your pets. Throw away the concept of “cat” food and “dog” food, and just think “food” — food that grows in the ground or comes from animal products.

A whole generation of pet owners is afraid to feed anything but over processed rendered food to their pets. But there’s no way you can create abundant health in an animal by providing only the minimum nutrients it needs for survival. Dogs and cats have a living food requirement, just like you do.

The food you feed your pet should be biologically suited to meet your dog’s or cat’s needs. Dog and cat chow may be nutritionally “complete,” but it is akin to your drinking a meal replacement shake three times a day for the rest of your life … or giving them to your kids in lieu of fresh foods.

Yet, many veterinarians will often recommend you feed your pets kibble or canned food for the rest of their lives. Some will go so far as to say that feeding your pet anything that doesn’t come from a bag or can will be harming your pet!

This is a paradigm problem, and one that can be very confusing for pet owners.

In reality, there’s no way you can give your pet the food it needs to thrive if you do not feed it a biologically appropriate diet that includes a variety of fresh foods.

In fact, a growing number of holistic-minded veterinarians state that processed pet food (kibbled and canned food) is the number one cause of illness and premature death in modern dogs and cats.

So how did conventional veterinary nutrition positions get so skewed?

Well, major dog and cat food manufacturers provide much of the veterinary nutrition information to veterinary students. It becomes engrained in many new vets’ minds that it’s wrong to feed pets “living” fresh foods.

This is a myth!

Your Pets Need Living Foods

Veterinarians tell you to never offer living foods to your pet. But your pets need living foods on a consistent basis to achieve optimal health.

So, yes, you can and should offer your pets some of the very same foods that you enjoy. And since those foods are at a much higher grade nutritionally than typical dog or cat foods, they may be the healthiest foods your pets have ever consumed.

As you know, I recommend you feed your dogs and cats an all raw, nutritionally balanced living food diet. In my opinion, the only viable excuse to not to feed your pets a species appropriate diet is cost. Feeding raw food cost more than dry food .However, raw fed animals have fewer health problems, which mean lower vet bills over a lifetime. If you cannot afford to feed your pet an all raw diet, don’t deny your pet’s access to living foods throughout the day, in the form of treats. Remember, treats (even really healthy treats) should not constitute more than 15 percent of your pet’s daily food intake.

Berries are one of the best treats you can offer. Bite size and packed with antioxidants. Many cats enjoy zucchini and cantaloupe. . My favorite training treats for dogs include peas, raw nuts (remember, the only nuts you should never feed your pets are macadamia nuts).

A salad without dressing, but with plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, is also good for your cats — your pets are chewing on your houseplants for a reason, after all.

Avoid giving your carnivorous companions biologically inappropriate foods, including grains, such as oats, soy, millet, , wheat, or rice. Dogs and cats do not have a carbohydrate requirement and feeding your pets these pro-inflammatory foods creates unnecessary metabolic roadblocks to health.

Furthermore, there are certainly some foods that are toxic to feed to dogs and cats such as grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts and onions. Never feed your pets these foods.

The Optimal Choice to Feed Your Pets

I highly recommend you give your dog or cat an opportunity to experience living raw foods like fruits and veggies as treats, and feed them a biologically appropriate, balanced raw diet the rest of the time.

Remember, your pet is resilient and can eat a variety of suboptimal, metabolically stressful foods on occasion and be fine, but because it’s my goal to provide a diet that most closely fits your companion’s biological requirements, I don’t recommend a lifetime of kibble or other “dead” over-processed food.

The goal is to provide a diet that mimics your pet’s biological nutritional requirements as closely as possible … in this case it means rethinking the “lifetime of dry food” or “canned food” theory.

If you are unable or unwilling to feed your pet a species-appropriate, nutritionally balanced, raw food diet, then I strongly recommend you compromise with the next best choice: USDA-approved canned foods (and supplement with raw)

My last choice would be a dry food (kibble), made from human-grade ingredients with little to no grains, and LOTS OF WATER.

But no matter which option you choose, remember that you can treat your dog and cat to berries, leafy greens, raw nuts and many other fresh fruits, veggies and meats on a regular basis.

I hope this insight will help you feel more confident offering foods and treats to your pets that are unadulterated and fresh. They deserve the same benefit of living foods that you get, and there’s no better way to start than by sharing some of these raw healthy foods with your dog or cat today.

We have always cooked for our pets, so always find it amazing, if not horrifying, that there really are pets who never get live food and who are doomed to eat the same dry food every day and that there really are pet owners who think that would be okay!!  This myth created by the pet food industry and perpetuated by pet stores who just want to sell animals, regardless of whether the potential purchasers should be pet parents and then accepted by the “ME” generation, is another one of those practices like keeping your pets in a crate all day or all night, or shock collars, electric fences and collars with spikes etc that defy all common sense and really fall into a category of pet abuse or neglect, perhaps pet abuse light… but unacceptable pet parenting to be sure!!

Would you want to eat the same packaged food everyday?  Would you want to be locked in a cage all day or all night?  Would you want to have to wait to go to the bathroom all night or most of the day, until some lets you out and says it is okay?  Would you want to receive an electric shock when you tried to talk or walk across a boundary area… or have spikes dig into you?  Would you do these things to your kids?

When making decisions for your fur-babies, you should ask yourself, “Would I want to be treated this way?  And would I make these choices for my human children?”, and then act accordingly!!  As Dr. Laura would say… Use common sense and compassion and “then go do the right thing!”.

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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November 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment