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Natural Pet Remedies For Everyday Problems

Pet FamThink natural health is for the dogs? You’re right! But it’s for cats, too, and just about any furry friend. Keep Fido and Fluffy healthy with these natural pet tips. Plus, are you spoiling your animal? Find out with our quiz…

For many people, pets are family. So it’s no surprise that owners want the best for their four-legged companions, and that may mean sharing their natural lifestyle.

“Millions of pet owners are realizing that a more proactive approach to pet health has a lot to offer,” including preventing disease and optimizing health and wellness, says veterinarian Carol Osborne, founder of the American Pet Institute in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and author of Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Dogs  (Marshall Editions) and Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Cats (Marshall Editions).

Many everyday pet problems – such as skin infections and arthritis – can be eased naturally. LifeScript asked animal experts for some common holistic health solutions:

1. Herbs
Herbal remedies can heal many pet irritations and illnesses.

They help the body to eliminate and detoxify, veterinarian Richard H. Pitcairn, Ph.D., says in his book Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats  (Rodale Books).

Used properly, herbs can help get rid of fleas, relieve itching and more.

  • Fill pet beds with cedar chips – fleas don’t like the smell.Repel fleas from the surroundings by sprinkling chrysanthemum flowers, lemon grass, mint, sage, lavender and basil. 
  • Vacuum floors and wash pet beds frequently.

Itching: Is your dog or cat scratching more than a kid with chicken pox?  Try Osborne’s holistic anti-itching remedy: Mix together five drops of licorice, five drops of dandelion root (a natural diuretic) and five drops of cat’s claw (a natural form of the anti-inflammatory aspirin). Give your pet five drops of the solution by mouth once a day for 14 consecutive days. 

“You give it as needed when it’s flea season or when your pet is itching because of allergies,” Osborne says.

Licorice, a form of cortisone, also reduces the urge to itch, Osborne says. “But because cortisone is a steroid, talk to your vet” before using it.

If your pet doesn’t gobble it up, try disguising the licorice with tastier flavors such as clam juice, baby food or chicken.

Car Sickness: Love to take your dog on car rides, but hate cleaning up vomit on the backseat? Good news for dogs, cats and their owners. Liquid ginger root – a natural motion sickness remedy – works like a charm, Osborne says.

 Don’t happen to have any on hand? No problem. Give Fido a ginger snap cookie to relieve nausea.

 Indigestion: An upset stomach can be uncomfortable for your pet and turn you into a 24-hour cleaning crew.

Osborne suggests holding food and water for eight hours, instead giving your four-legged friend cool or lukewarm peppermint tea to settle its stomach.

 A word of caution: Before using herbal treatments, talk to your vet. “Some herbs and supplements can be toxic if given in large quantities or to a species that cannot tolerate it,” says veterinarian Deirdre Chiaramonte of Animal Medical Center in New York.

For example, some herbs prescribed for arthritis can cause bleeding, which could be disastrous during routine surgery or dental procedure.

“You need to find a veterinarian who is familiar with natural therapies in pets so the outcome will be successful, safe and effective,” Osborne says.

2. Nosodes

Routine vaccinations can save your pet’s life, but some experts believe they also can contribute to cancers, autoimmune illnesses and allergies.

The alternative? Nosodes – or homeopathy oral vaccines – may offer protection against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus. (A nosode doesn’t exist for rabies.)

Like traditional vaccines, “they stimulate the immune system to protect the body from infection,” Osborne says.

They’re made from a dilution (one part to 90 parts alcohol) of the virus causing the illness. “Nosodes are safe, but their efficacy varies,” she says.

Even if you stick with conventional shots, your furry friend may not need them every year. An antibody titer blood test can determine if your dog’s or cat’s vaccines are still effective.

3. Nutritional Therapy

Foods can cure or prevent illnesses in animals, too. “Feeding your pet a healthy diet from the beginning will prevent many serious health issues down the road,” says Jean Hofve, a retired veterinarian in Denver, Colo.

So what should your pet be eating?

A homemade diet of organic raw meat and whole foods is ideal, Hofve says. She suggests a commercial raw diet (look for pre-made frozen or freeze-dried varieties) or canned food with a little fresh meat added a couple times a week.

Brands such as Instinctive Choice, Newman’s Own (organic), Merrick, Nature’s Variety Prairie, BG (Before Grain), Wellness, Innova, Evo, Blue Buffalo, Wellness and Avoderm are good, Hofve says.

They can be found in specialty stores, some feed stores, pet superstores, many grocery stores and online (www.onlynaturalpet.com).

If your budget doesn’t allow anything more than kibble, add fresh meat (and steamed or puréed vegetables for dogs) to give dry food a nutritional boost, she says.

 Besides a diet that’s “as close to nature as possible,” Hofve recommends four nutritional supplements for all pets:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy function of the nervous system, immune system, skin and coat
  •  Digestive enzymes to help pets digest food fully and get the most nutrients possible from food
  •  Probiotics (“friendly bacteria”) to keep the gut balanced and deter disease-causing organisms
  •  Antioxidants for a healthy immune system, normal cellular maintenance and anti-inflammatory benefits  

Skin Allergies, Ear Infections and Hot Spots: These skin-related irritations can be combated with omega-3 fatty acids in dogs.

 Healthy skin needs these anti-inflammatory oils, but nearly all dogs and most cats are fed food that’s full of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid instead, Hofve says. 

“Omega-3s soothe inflammation, benefit the nervous system and provide the building blocks the skin needs to heal.”

 She recommends Nordic Naturals pet products for omega-3 fatty acids. Other rich sources are sardines, anchovies, herring and menhaden.

Gastritis and Vomiting: Dry food eaters are more prone to stomach issues because of additives and preservatives, Hofve says. A raw or homemade whole-food diet of cooked white rice and lightly browned ground lamb or turkey will eliminate the problem.

 Digestive enzymes and probiotics will also help support and balance the gut, she says. And blue-green algae, spirulina and chlorella contain antioxidants, trace elements and enzymes for healing.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): “This is almost purely a dry food problem,” Hofve says. “Diet is the primary treatment.”

 She recommends switching to a diet high in protein, high in moisture and low in carbohydrates. Canned, homemade and raw foods fill the bill.

Nutritional therapy aims to reduce inflammation and rebuild the bladder’s natural defenses, Hofve says. 

Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants provide anti-inflammatory action, while glucosamine sulfate gives the cells in the bladder lining the building blocks to maintain the protective mucus coat.

4. Acupuncture

Can’t imagine your dog or cat sitting still long enough for acupuncture?

“Most animals are much better than you would think,” says certified veterinary acupuncturist Nicole Schiff, who practices at Western Veterinary Group in Lomita, Calif., and City of Angeles Veterinary Specialty Center in Culver City, Calif.

Just like in people, acupuncture involves putting needles into specific points on your pet’s body to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue to promote healing and ease pain.

“It changes pain pathways that travel through the body and helps release endorphins, which help to block pain as well,” Schiff says.

The practice – which Schiff says should complement, not replace, Western medicine – can help reduce arthritis pain, lessen inflammation and intestinal problems, ease skin and ear infections, promote healing of wounds and aid post-stroke treatment.

 An average acupuncture session lasts 15 minutes and can cost $75 to $200 for the first visit and $50 to $150 for ongoing treatme

For the safest, best results, says Schiff, visit a veterinarian trained in acupuncture. Your regular vet may refer a certified veterinary acupuncturist or check the International Association Veterinary Acupuncture Association Web site at www.ivas.org

Adverse side effects are rare. The most common problem is that an animal simply doesn’t respond to treatment. Also, it’s not uncommon for a pet to feel tired for a day or two after treatment.

Want to know more? Get your own copies of Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Dogs, Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Cats and Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats

By Shanna Thompson, Special to LifeScript – Published May 08, 2009

Visit the following Web sites for more about natural pet care:

Complementary, Alternative & Holistic Veterinary Medicine
www.altvetmed.org

 Academy for Veterinary Homeopathy

www.theavh.org

 American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association

www.ahvma.org  

Posted:  Just One More Pet – May 08, 2009 3:45AM

Himalayan Goji or Go-Chi –  Goji Health Stories For Pets  

Dogwise, All Things Dog! – 2000+ Dog Books

May 8, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Political Change, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Table Scraps

Sure, you’d like Fifi to share in the joys of the holiday table, but resist the urge to be generous. Foods and drinks you digest easily, like the following, can cause trouble for your pooch:

Dinner rolls — Dough expands in the stomach, creating distressing gas.

Onions and garlic — These flavor enhancers contain a compound that could damage a dog’s red blood cells, causing anemia.

Rich sauces — Gravy upsets the stomach and may lead to pancreatitis.

Bones — Sharp pieces of bone can choke a dog or pierce or block her gastrointestinal tract.

Alcohol — Even slightly spiked eggnog can be toxic, so don’t leave any drinks unattended.

In addition to avoiding the “no-nos”…  how much people food you share at the holidays should be gaged by whether you normally cook for your pets and their main diet is so-called people food, whether they eat only traditional dog food, whether they eat raw food, or whether they normally eat dog food with a little cooked or people food or get  some scraps here and there.  But sharing a little of your holiday food is certainly not a bad thing!!

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Nutrition, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter Skin-Saving Tips For Your Pooch

Know how your skin gets dry and itchy in winter? Your dog’s skin struggles with cold weather, overheated houses, and low humidity, too. Here’s how to keep your pooch itch-free:
  • Brush your pup(s) often. Even shorthaired dogs need help sloughing off dead skin cells. Brushing stimulates circulation and kicks up production of natural moisturizers from oil glands.
  • Shampoo less often. Experts warn that weekly baths remove much-needed lubricating oils.
  • Keep your own shampoo — even the gentle one — on the shelf, and use a moisturizing doggie-formulated one.
  • If dry skin persists, take Fluffy to the vet. Itching can be a sign of something more serious. 

Source:  DogAge

November 20, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Pets We Trust

Kathleen McCabe weeps when she recalls the death of Alexis Jarose. Not only did McCabe lose her best friend, but she couldn’t save Jarose’s dog, Schweppes, a wirehaired fox terrier. “I would have willingly taken him, but when Alexis died, her caregiver immediately put the dog to sleep. There was nothing I could do, because Lex had revised her will leaving out any mention of Schweppes,” she recalled.

A similar fate won’t befall McCabe’s beloved terrier, Spencer. Since McCabe first crafted a will with her husband, Stephen, 40 years ago, provisions have always been made for their pets.

Animals who outlive their owners face uncertain fates. Under the best circumstances, a family member or friend cares for your pet for the rest of its life. If not, your pet goes to a shelter, is euthanized, or is simply let out the front door. The Humane Society of the United States estimates six to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters annually. Only half are adopted.

Should an accident befall payroll specialist Millicent Reed, 50, or her husband Jimmy, her sister-in-law Patricia would get first right of refusal to their seven cats. Another sister-in-law is next in line. Reed said a plan is essential. Six years ago, her aunt was in an auto accident and later died.

“We knew my aunt’s cat, Pepper, was alone, but it took us a week to fly to my aunt’s home,” she said. By then Pepper was out of food and scrounging through the garbage cans. Now Reed always leaves her pets enough accessible food and water to last at least a week should something catastrophic occur. 

Thinking of leaving a chunk of change to Fido or Fluffy? Think again. “In our current legal system, an animal can’t own property. Some human has to be in charge. A will is a transfer of assets. Once it’s done, there’s no ongoing supervision,” explained Mary Randolph, a non-practicing lawyer and the author of “Every Dog’s Legal Guide” (2007).

Randolph suggests a pet trust. This legal document—recognized in 39 states and the District of Columbia—outlines the continued care and maintenance of domestic animals and names new caregivers or directs trustees to find new homes for pets. “A trustee has a legal duty of carrying out your wishes,” she said.

While owners may simply include their pets as provisions in their wills, Michael Markarian of the Humane Society believes a trust is a better option in case of disability. He said, “Wills may take weeks to be executed and could be contested, but a living trust can be written to immediately take effect.”

Creating one does take time. Select a pet-friendly lawyer or estate planner and expect to pay from $500 to $1,000 for their services. Be sure to consider your pet’s financial future. Some owners make outright gifts of cash for their animals’ care.

Hilary Lane of Louisville, Colo., has set aside $5,000 to offset costs for the person who ends up with her dogs, Luna and Frisbee. Likewise Carol Brown, 72, an antiques dealer in Walpole, N.H., has money set aside for the care of her three Norwich terriers and two horses, should any outlive her. “I didn’t want to place a financial burden on their caregivers,” she said.

Some animal lovers don’t advertise the fact that money is part of the deal. One pet owner who wishes to remain anonymous reveals that upon her death, there are 10 people listed as potential trustees to take care of her male cat. What the new caregiver won’t know at first is that the estate is instructed to award the person $10,000 if the feline is still with him or her after six months. “I want someone to take him out of the kindness of their heart and be rewarded if they keep him and fall in love with him like I did,” she explains.

Others leave money to be distributed over time—monthly, annually, or as reimbursement for expenses. 

Want even more security for your pet? Name someone other than the caregiver as trustee to dole out the cash. This reduces the risk of someone taking the money, but selling or destroying your pet.

That’s Dane Madsen’s plan. After his divorce, the 50-year-old corporate strategist from Henderson, Nev., created a living trust for his three rottweilers. “Should my ex-wife be unable to care for any of my pets, two trustees have explicit instructions to use their best judgment to find homes for my pets. The dogs should be kept together, and the new caregiver will receive $150 per month, plus money for veterinary bills and other expenses,” he said. “In the event an animal falls ill, the caregiver and vet jointly decide their end-of-life management.”

More of a do-it-yourselfer? For $89, Peace of Mind Pet Trust (POMPT) will e-mail you simple forms for creating a trust according to the laws of the state in which you live. The brainchild of an Illinois lawyer, Peter Canalia, the kit includes checklists, tips for funding your trust, and paperwork to create a durable power of attorney. Pet trusts can stipulate all the details an owner finds important, from the kind of food the pet eats to its medical needs and walking schedules. The Humane Society also offers a free fact sheet on estate-planning. The sheet includes advice on both wills and trusts.

Bottom line: Just as you would if you were picking a guardian for a child, talk to potential caregivers for your pets. Find someone you trust. After all, what you really want is someone who will love your pet.

By: Laura Daily | Source: AARP.org

Pets in Estate Plans Fact Sheet in English

Pets in Estate Plans Fact Sheet in Spanish

 Every Dog’s Legal Guide 

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments