Monday, December 21, 2009

Naturally occurring Vitamins!

Home-prepared meals offer many health benefits to your dog - we have discussed many of those benefits in previous newsletters.

But what about vitamins?
One point to remember if you are home-preparing meals is that the wholesome, fresh food contain many vitamins - all perfectly balanced and 'bio-available' (a fancy term meaning your dog can actually absorb the vitamins)

How do I know my dog is getting proper nutrition?
Here is an example:
Last night our girls ate some cooked oatmeal, pureed pumpkin and chicken. Lets take a quick look at what 'vitamins and minerals'  were in that meal.

Vit A                    1125 IU
Vit C                   .3 mg
Vit E                      5.3 mg
Vit K                     1.25 mcg
Thiamin                  .3 mg
Riboflavin               .4 mg
Niacin                    4.3 mg
B6                        .8 mg
Folate                  158 mcg
B12                      1.3 mcg
Pantothenic Acid     .2 mg
Calcium                   402 mg
Iron                          7.1 mg
Magnesium             36.5 mg
Phosphorus              134mg
Potassium                 138 mg
Zinc                          .9 mg
Copper                    .1 mg
Manganese               1.1 mg
Selenium                  9.5 mcg

The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health.

Protein                  2 grams
Carbohydrate       12 grams
Dietary Fiber       3 grams
Calcium               37 mg
Iron                      1.4 mg
Magnesium          22 mg
Potassium             564 mg
Zinc                            1 mg
Selenium                 .50 mg
Vitamin C                   12 mg
Niacin                           1 mg
Folate                         21 mcg
Vitamin A                  2650 IU
Vitamin E                       3 mg

Vit A                           29.4 IU
Vit E                             .4 mg
Vit K                           .4 mcg
Thiamin                         .3 mg
Riboflavin                     .4 mg
Niacin                            19.3 mg
B6                                   .8 mg
Folate                           5.5 mcg
B12                               .5 mcg
Pantothenic Acid         1.2 mg
Calcium                         21mg
Iron                                 1.5 mg
Magnesium                 40.5 mg
Phosphorus                 319mg
Potassium                    358 mg
Zinc                                1.4 mg
Copper                            .1 m
Selenium                     38.6 mcg

WOW! - then we added our Green Power!, Bone meal (dogs do need a little extra calcium), and some flax oil
As you can see - the oatmeal and pumpkin are nutrtional 'super foods' -and the meal is chock full of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

We have a new recipe - Beef Vegetable Stew

This traditional  Stew is full of healthy ingredients for dogs!
But first.... here is the makeup of a healthy main dish:

PROTEIN - from beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish and eggs. Protein sources contain the 10 essential amino acids required by dogs. No one protein source contains all the essential amino acids so vary the proteins throughout the week.

FAT - from oil (try our FLAX OIL) and fat naturally present in meat. One of the fatty acids, linolec acid is essential to dogs. It provides energy and helps to fight inflammation.

CARBOHYDRATES- from rice, potatoes, pasta, barley and other grains as well as vegetables and fruits. Carbs, including high-fiber foods are a source of energy and provide roughage to help keep the digestive system functioning properly. Don't overdue the carbs!

VITAMINS and MINERALS - from vegetables, fruits, meats and grains (see middle article) Remember, fresh food has abundant amounts of nutrients! (vitamins)

Beef Vegetable Stew


2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 lb ground beef
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups water, beef or chicken broth (unsalted)
1 tomato diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup green beans or peas
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped


1. Heat oil gently in a large pan. Add the beef, salt and cook until meat is brown. Stir in oregano and basil.
2. Add the water or broth, and tomato
3. Add potatoes, carrots peas/green beans and celery, stir
4. Cook slowly for about 15-25 minutes until vegetables are done. Add water if necessary but keep a 'stew' consistency.


Walking the Dog!

The average dog owner gets more of a workout walking his dog than someone with a gym membership, a pet health-care expert said.

Research indicates dog owners exercise their pets twice daily for 24 minutes each time, totalling more than five hours a week. In addition, dog owners take their dog on three long walks a week, adding another two-plus hours to the total.

By comparison, pet-less people spend about an hour and 20 minutes exercising, whether in a gym or on their own.

A spokesperson for pet health, expert Bob Martin, said the difference seems to be a matter of perception -- going to a gym can seem like a chore while walking the dog could be considered fun.

"A couple of short walks a day soon adds up and this research shows that it amounts to more time than people spend in the gym," the spokesman said.

Martin's study of 5,000 people, including 3,000 dog owners, indicated 86 percent said they enjoyed walking their dogs daily, while 22 percent said it could be a chore.

By contrast, 16 percent of respondents said they enjoyed exercising in the gym while nearly 70 percent considered it a chore.

The survey showed 60 percent of pet owners said they always go for a walk with their dogs, even when pressed for time while 46 percent of gym-goers said they often find other things to do to get out of exercising.

Beyond the exercise value - dogs love to sniff around, play fetch and just be with us! From a dog's perspective the value of the walk is a very important social activity - for them it's like getting the pack together to go out for a hunt.

There are also health benefits for the dog - the movement keeps the internal organs healthy and aids digestion.  Everyone benefits!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dogs & Devotion - new book

Perhaps one of the reasons we are so devoted to our dogs is that they help us become who we're supposed to be.

"How easy to get lost in a dog's eyes!" write the Monks of New Skete in this new book celebrating our lives with our dogs.

Far from getting lost, though, you might very well find what really matters most to you as you read through these soul-stirring meditations and enjoy the heartwarming photographs of dogs doing what they do best--being themselves.

A gift book that reflects on the value of the extraordinary and loyal friendship between dogs and their owner.

About New Skete

For over 35 years, New Skete's German Shepherd breeding program has dedicated itself to providing the best possible companion dog for you and your family.

The excellence in temperament, personality and structure for which our German Shepherds are known is the result of carefully researched and selected bloodlines and the all-important early handling we give our puppies from the day they are born until they leave us between 8 and 10 weeks of age.

All of our German Shepherds live right in our monastery, with each monk responsible for the training and care of a female or male dog

Recipe - Beef Barley Stew

A new Gourmet recipe!

But first here are a few good reasons to cook for your dog:

  • To provide a healthy diet based on fresh ingredients
  • To meet his special needs and accomodate his taste preferences
  • To nurture her as you would any other member of the family!

Beef Barley Stew


1/2 cup barley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water or unsalted beef or chicken stock
1 tomato (diced)
2 medium potatoes (peeled and diced)
2 medium carrots (peeled and sliced)
1/2 cup peas (frozen)


1. Cook the barley according to package directions. Typically for 1/2 cup barley you would use about 1 1/2 cups liquid (this could be unsalted chicken or beef broth)

2. Heat the olive oil in a stockpot or large covered saucepan. Add the beef, salt and cook, stirring frequently - about 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes, water, potatoes and carrots - cover and cook for 10 minutes until vegetables are done.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the peas and cooked barley


How much to feed?

The amount of food to give your dog each day depends on his/her weight, age and activity level. Here are some general guidelines - if in doubt - feed the same amount of the home prepared meal as you currently feed dry food.

3-10 lbs.        1/2 - 3/4 cups

11-20 lbs.     3/4 - 1 1/8 cups

21-30 lbs.  1 1/8 - 1 1/2 cups

31-40 lbs.  1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups

41-60 lbs.  1 3/4 - 2 1/3 cups

61-80 lbs.     2 1/3 - 3 cups

If you are new to home-prepared meals you can mix the cooked meal with their current dry food. (take out some dry and add the fresh to keep the overall amount the same) Refrigerate leftovers - cooked meals last 2-3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

C.J. Snake Sniffer

Another in our 'Working Dog Series'

C.J. the wonder dog couldn’t cut it in the harsh world of drug detection, but doesn’t mind using his trained schnozz to sniff out a snake or two for a good cause.

The 6-year-old chocolate Lab has gone green, working with environmentalists to save the Eastern indigo snake.

For the past couple of months, the snake-sniffing dog has worked for Project Orianne at the organization’s Mopani Preserve near this small central Georgia town. This land, with its long leaf pines and sand hills, is Ground Zero in the effort to save the Eastern indigo snake, and the nonprofit Project Orianne is in the forefront of the movement.

The snake, the largest nonvenomous snake in North America, was once plentiful in Georgia, Florida and Alabama, said Project Orianne Executive Director Chris Jenkins, but its population has been decimated for a variety of reasons. It is listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

A familiar find

On Tuesday, C.J. worked his last day for the project, sniffing for snakes at Mopani and at The Nature Conservancy in Georgia’s Broxton Rocks Reserve. On Wednesday, he was to head back home to his owners in Washington state, Pack Leader Dog Training.

C.J. checked out a few promising burrows at Broxton, but failed to roust a snake. Within minutes of arriving at Mopani, however, he found a 7-foot male lounging in the sun on the side of a sand hill.

C.J. has been on the job since November, and has aided in locating 10 individual snakes at the 1,000-acre preserve on the banks of the Ocmulgee River.
He’s also been tested by the staff to determine his ability to sniff out the snakes. Bits of shed skin have been hidden, and C.J. has been successful 90 percent of the time in locating the “bait.”

“This is unique, novel science we’re doing with the dog,” Orianne field ecologist Dirk Stevenson said. “It’s been very successful.”

C.J. was trained to find indigo snakes and avoid rattlers, Ravenscroft said. When he gets back to Washington, he’ll be retrained to search for other wildlife. He’s too high-strung for drug work, she said, but loves the out-of-doors.

“He’s found bats and spider monkeys in Nicaragua,” she said.

Now, he can add indigo snakes to his resume.

Dogology - new book!

Dog owners, this book reveals, fall into 9 distinct personality types: Angel, Dynamo, Soul Mate, Idealist, Observer, Expert, Buddy, Master, and Free Spirit. While most of us recognize that a rescuing Angel needs to save the neediest dog at the local shelter, what makes a Soul Mate a soft touch for round-headed, big-eyed toy breeds such as Shih Tzus, Pugs, and Pekingese.

Authors Vicki Croke and Sarah Wilson, experts on the complex bond between dogs and their owners, use quizzes, psychological insights, and humor to analyze why dog owners gravitate toward certain breeds as pets—and to explain what owner’s choices reveal about their character and emotional makeup. With Dogology in hand, anyone visiting a dog park can instantly spot the various types and subtypes, from the Image Maker fashionista with her accessory Yorkie peeking out of her Prada bag, to the Free Spirit, whose dog often bears a botanical name and rarely comes when called.
Similarly, readers will themselves learn that paying attention to the words they choose to praise their dog reveals the specific approval that they crave themselves. With quick checklists to identify what type of dog owners readers are, tips for training, and exercises for bonding with one’s dog, Dogology will make a welcome addition to any of the 43.5 million American households that now own at least one dog.

Review: I LOVED Dogology!
Nearly every page made me laugh or cry and wonder if Sarah and Vicki had somehow been watching me with my dogs for years. These authors know dogs, and just as importantly, they know people and what makes them tick. They also write in an engaging and entertaining style while delivering significant insights.
As a dog trainer, I find this book a helpful read for understanding the various mindsets and personalities that I encounter in my work. I'm also sure the write-ups about the different personality types will help me with my relationships in other spheres of my life, as it discusses people and what lies behind some of their choices. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a dog or anyone who wants to understand their dog-loving friends or relatives

How long do I have to do this?

Marlene and I get many emails from pet owners telling us that they have switched from a processed, premium kibble to one of the Natural Canine home-prepared diets. Along with the new diet, they have also used our herbal and homeopathic remedies and their dog is doing fantastic - acts like a puppy again - and their vet is amazed at the results!  
Then... they ask us:
"How long do I have to do this?"
At first we blinked a couple of times when we read the question. 
If the home-prepared fresh diet, homeopathy and herbs made such an amazing improvement, then why stop?
Looking at the question a little deeper, we began to realize how far many of us have become removed from the connection between eating fresh foods, and health.

Another often overlooked piece of health and well-being, beside the fresh diet,  is lifestyle and  exercise - two very important factors.

We answered the question with -
 'Continue indefinitely!- Keep your dog healthy and vibrant!!'

A balanced diet will do wonders for your dog’s health and well being.  We hear this over and over again from people who use our Essential 3 Supplements.
A healthy, fresh, natural diet will help support your dog no matter which disease or condition he or she has!
Many conditions may be helped or improved by diet alone – these include

  • skin conditions,
  • digestive disorders,
  • bad breath
  • incontinence
  • arthritis
  • urinary (kidney bladder)
  • dull coat to name a few

Jeepers Creepers

Another in our 'Working Dog Series'

A working dog's life is not easy. Some canines gain glory by sniffing out bombs, drugs or land mines, but most do less glamorous labor. Beagles hunt home-munching termites, terriers track toxic fumes from Chinese drywall and collies chase Canada geese off golf courses.

Bedbugs are the latest dirty job. Largely eradicated in the United States after World War II, thetiny, bloodsucking parasites have invaded city after city in the last four years, leaving painful skin welts and pricey pest control bills from Boston to San Francisco. 

Sara pulled on her leash, sniffing up one side of a cluttered bedroom and snuffling down theother. The black Labrador retriever suddenly sat beside an armchair.

Rich Wilbert, her handler, flipped the chair over and poked at thestuffing and seams. He spotted pin-sized drops of human blood -- clear signs of an infestation of bedbugs in the small apartment.

"Good girl, Sara," Wilbert said.He fed her a few treats from a bag as a co-worker made a note to treat the room with insecticide. Sara went back to searching for Cimex lectularius, as she does six days a week.
Bedbugs hide during the day in wall cracks, behind light switches or in other dark places. But the dogs sniff along baseboards, beds and furniture for the pheromones,the faint chemical odor that the insects emit to signal one another, and then alert the handler of an enemy invasion.

No one knows why bedbugs are back. Scientists theorize that the wingless insects hitched a ride on visitors or cargo from abroad, or that they resist pesticide better than their forebears, or even that a new, super-strong strain of household pests has evolved.

What's clear is they are hard to eradicate. Bedbugs may survive a year without feeding, and unlike termites and other insects that cluster in colonies, they can create havoc in small numbers. A single female may lay enough eggs to infest an apartment -- and then crawl 100 feet a day to bite neighbors down the hall.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is in the news lately as being very beneficial for humans - but what about our canine friends?

Vitamin D is the general name given to a group of fat-soluble compounds that are essential for maintaining the mineral balance in the body.

Vitamin D is also known as 'the sunshine vitamin.' Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is important to convert Vitamin D precursors into the active D form. This conversion takes place in the outer skin layers. Small amounts of Vitamin D are also obtained directly through the diet, usually from meat such as liver or from fish.

How does my dog get Vitamin D?

A dog's body has two sources of Vitamin D; that from the diet and that manufactured in the skin. For this reason, some researchers view it as a hormone rather than a vitamin.

Main functions in a nutshell:

    * Regulation of calcium and phosphate blood levels
    * Bone mineralisation
    * Control of cell proliferation and differentiation
    * Modulation of immune system

Dietary Sources
Vitamin D is found only in a few foods. The richest natural sources of vitamin D are saltwater fish such as sardines, herring, salmon and mackerel. Eggs, meat, milk and butter also contain small amounts. Plants are poor sources, with fruit and nuts containing no vitamin D at all.

Vitamin D is stored in special fat storage cells called lipocytes. It is for this reason that the fat soluble vitamins pose the biggest threat if oversupplemented. They are stored and build up within the body.

How much Vitamin D does my dog need?

The recommended minimum daily dose is 227 IU per pound of consumed food. This amount can be easily obtained through exposure to sunshine (converted into Vitamin D in the upper layers of the skin) and consumption of liver or fish such as sardines or salmon. 

Canine Acupressure

Acupressure is noninvasive, perfectly safe, and always available to support the health of your dog. 
Dog guardian’s and healthcare practitioners are increasingly turning to acupressure to help dogs feel their best.

The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressurewcdog_412_detail_thumb.jpg is easy to follow, step-by-step guides to canine acupressure. It is filled with lots of photographs, charts, and illustrations. This text and its companion DVD, “ Introduction to Small Animal Acupressure” (40 minute training video)dvd.jpg contains an overview of the Traditional Chinese Medicine that are the basis of acupressure, a guide to an acupressure session, meridian and acupoint charts, and specific session plans for many common problems associated canine health issues.

This book brings 1000’s of years of natural healing to dog lovers. Acupressure is deceptively gentle and extremely powerful.  It has proven to:
  • Enhance Performance
  • Improve Overall health
  • Provide psychological well-being
The book and the video will give you a good start in learning a healthy way of caring for your dog.
The authors of The Well-Connected Dog and “Introduction to Small Animal Acupressure” are the pioneers in the field and they founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute.

Surfing dogs

Surfing dogs take to the water for charity

Once again - dogs have a great day at the beach (these dogs are having great fun!)

Launched in 2006, the contest started out as a fun way that pet owners could ride the surf with their pets and raise a little money for charity.

Since then, this charity event has mushroomed into a major event that draws 4000 people and national television coverage. The dogs are judged on several criteria - the length of the ride, the size of the wave ridden and their on-board maneuvers.

Dogs receive extra points if they surf without their owner, and if they stand on the board rather than lie down.

Just another reason we love our dogs so much! They have fun, and help good causes - this event raised $17,500.00

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good Canine Health

  Know Good Health When You See It

A dog that is fed a well-balanced, home prepared diet rich in beneficial nutrients shows many recognizable signs of good health. These include:
  • Healthy Coat that is soft and shiny and doesn't mat easily
  • Little or no doggy odor
  • Abundant energy
  • Strong immune system - which keeps him/her healthy
  • Brightness, a sparkle in thier eyes and a sense that she is enjoying life.
  • Well-muscled body - fit and trim
  • Well-formed Stool that is not voluminous and is easily produced, with no straining.
Problems associated with low quality diets

  • Skin odor, itching
  • Dull, greasy coat, usually with dandruff 
  • Suseptibility to generalized infections,such as ear or skin infections that become chronic
  • Thin undernourished appearance
  • Low energy level
  • Voluminous stool

Herbs 101

Introduction to Herbs 
Herbs have been part of humankind's diet and pharmacy since we began roaming the earth...  
5000 years ago
Ancient Sumerians left written evidence of medicinal uses for plants such a laurel, caraway and thyme. Herbalists have practiced their trade since the beginning of recorded history - many herbs are mentioned in the Bible.
What we lost

Today, our culture relies on western medicines so much that we have lost our perspective on herbs. But herbs are used by more people worldwide than any other medicine.
And for our pets?
Despite all this herbal history, many pet owners seem reluctant to use herbal medicines to help their pets. Many dog owners have questions: Are herbs safe? Which ones can I use for my dog? How do I give herbs? Are they effective?
Marlene and I have been using herbal remedies for many, many years. When used correctly, they are safe, effective and excellent 'helpers' for other alternative medicines.
The herbs we sell
At The Natural Canine we feel the safest and most effective herbs are the 'nutritive' herbs - in other words, herbs that are food and have nutrients such as vitamins and minerals - some examples are parsley, dandelion, basil, and mint.
Herbs are not drugs
An herb is not one single bioactive chemical. Every herb contains dozens of bioactive chemicals. They add proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Herbs also add spice and flavoring, and many are tonic - helping the dog to maintain the balance of the dog's organ system. Some herbs do have specific medicinal uses.

The Real Heroes

This is a story about a once desperate dog named Clara and the couple who went the distance — and then some — to give her a second chance at life.

Last April, a good Samaritan found Clara, an English setter-mix, wandering in the Freetown State Forest. He brought the fragile animal to the Lakeville Animal Shelter. When New Bedford resident Charlene Rocha heard about the lost dog, she knew she wanted to offer it a loving home. The couple decided to adopt the dog, sight unseen. Little did they know the challenges that lay ahead."She was terrified and shaking," Charlene recalls of Clara. "She didn't want to leave the shelter."The first thing the couple did was bring Clara to a veterinarian for a wellness checkup. There, tests revealed that the dog, estimated to be 5 to 7 years old, was suffering from a host of illnesses — Lyme disease, kennel cough, conjunctivitis, heartworm and other more. The staff said they'd understand if, under the circumstances, the couple wanted to return Clara to the shelter. 

Charlene and Matt didn't need to think about it."We're keeping this dog," Charlene insisted. "We're sticking with her."A regimen of costly treatments began, eventually mounting into thousands of dollars." It took a couple of weeks for her to lift her head off the floor," Charlene remembers. "She's still terrified of being alone. Clara is lovable and very sweet, but she has a lot of fear."The couple needed help quick. So they turned to Jason Santos, owner of Bark Buster In-Home Dog Training in Plymouth. The animal behaviorist, who makes house calls, spent hours working with Clara and her new owners on soothing the dog's anxiety."
I love working with dogs," says Santos, who has served some 500 clients since opening his business three years ago. "I teach the owners canine language and to use the right postures, tones and timing."
When Santos learned about the mounting cost of Clara's veterinary care, he returned his fee to the couple."They took her out of the kindness of their heart," the trainer comments. "They are the heroes."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baked Pumpkin or Winter Squash


Try this easy-to-make baked pumpkin or winter squash treat- packed with nutrition - dogs LOVE this!
Baking Method
  • Cut the pumpkin or winter squash into pieces and discard the stem section, seeds and stringy pulp.
  • Rub the surfaces with olive oil
  • In a shallow baking dish, place the pieces face down and cover with foil.
  • Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender.
  • Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of the baked pumpkin/squash to the food.

Pumpkin is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. 

The Immune System

Tell me about my dog's Immune System

Inside your dog's body there are mechanisms designed to defend your dog from millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites.

Components of the Immune System
The most obvious part of the immune system is what we can see. For example, your dogs skin and coat is an important part of his immune system. It acts as a primary boundary between germs and your dog's body.  A dog's skin is tough and generally impermeable to bacteria and viruses.  The skin also secretes antibacterial substances - most bacteria and spores that land on the skin die quickly.
Your dog's nose, mouth and eyes are also obvious entry points for germs. Tears and mucus contain an enzyme (lysozyme) that breaks down the cell wall of many bacteria. Saliva is also anti-bacterial. Since the nasal passage and lungs are coated in mucus, many germs not killed immediately are trapped in the mucus and soon swallowed.  Any bacteria or virus that wants to gain entry to the body must first make it past these defenses.
Once inside the body, a germ deals with the immune system at a different level. The major components of the immune system are:
  • Thymus
  • Spleen
  • Lymph system
  • Bone marrow
  • White blood cells
  • Antibodies
  • Complement system
  • Hormones
We will look at these systems in upcoming newsletters

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dogs and Swine Flu

The Swine Flu (H1N1 Virus), is a health concern in our country. This influenza has been spreading among people for many months. With this growing epidemic brings concern if our pets can also catch the virus.

It is extremely unlikely that your pet will catch the Swine Flu. According to Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Hospital in New York City, "At this time there is no data demonstrating any risk of dogs and cats contracting this strain of the virus."

The pig is the only animal that may be susceptible to catching the H1N1 Virus, but so far, no fatalities have been reported.

Be aware, dogs still can catch a strain of the flu known as H3N8 Virus, which cannot be spread to humans. Symptoms are similar to that of the human flu including runny nose and a fever.

After the flu runs its course (about 10 days) your pet will be back to their old selves. Also, be sure to isolate your sick pet from others in the house as the flu will spread from dog to dog.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Canine Intelligence

At the University of British Columbia, Stanley Coren (canine expert) conducted intelligence tests... The findings revealed that dogs can learn as many as 250 words including signals and gestures... but read on...

Basic Math

The language tests put our canine friends on par with a 2.5 year old child, but it turns out they can trump a 3 or 4 year old in basic arithmetic. Here's how the math test works - the dogs watch as 1 treat and then another is lowered down behind a screen. (1+1=2) When the screen is removed the dog expects to see 2 treats. If one is removed or a third added, the dogs looked surprised and stare longer. This proves that they understand the concept of addition.

Social Skills

Now we are up to about the levels of teens. Dogs, being very social animals, are keen on knowing who is moving up the pack, what the others are doing, who hangs with who and that sort of thing.

Basic Emotions

Dogs know when they are being treated fairly. In this test one dog is given a treat and the other is ignored. The unrewarded dog avoids making eye contact with the trainer. Interestingly, the dogs do not seem to care about 'equality' - if one dog is given a piece of meat and the other a piece of bread there is no difference in the reaction.

Top Dogs
Border Collies
German Shepherds
Golden Retrievers
and your dog... of course

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret

the blind dog and his best friend and guide.

Bonnie and Clyde - the blind dog and his best friend and guide.

Intelligence can be measured in many different ways.

Sure, you can give a dog a 'math test', but here is a story that transcends 'intelligence'. Bonnie and Clyde Bonnie and Clyde are two dogs recently rescued in Great Britain. They had been wandering in the countryside. Clyde is blind from a degenerative eye disease. Bonnie 'guides' him and when they are together, you cannot tell Clyde is blind - but... remove Bonnie- and Clyde will not move. Cherie Cootes, from the rescue centre, said: "If Clyde's unsure where he is, he will suddenly go behind Bonnie and put his face on the back of her so she can guide him, he totally relies on her." "And when she walks she tends to stop and make sure he's there - she does look out for him." For me, this story signifies what dog 'intelligence' is really all about - not only are these dogs intelligent (these dogs are pretty smart to work out a guidance system) but faithful friends and companions - willing to help each other - no questions asked.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Folk Art Dog

For those of you who love dogs and whimsical folk art - Natural Canine owners Michael and Marlene make these wonderful wood folk art pieces.

This one stands about 11 inches tall, made of wood and hand painted.

You can check out other folk art at

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The River Severn in Great Britain (one of the most dangerous in the country) is the home of a handful of skilled fishermen, who along with their trusted canine companions, follow centuries-old customs to catch salmon, bass, gray mullet and shrimp.

The fishermen use a rough fashioned 'lave' net with a frame made of willow attached to an ash rod. When the tide falls the fish trapped in the shallow pools panic and try to swim to deeper water. The lave nets are used to catch the fish as they make a break for the deep pools with the rising tide. Great skill is required to work in a river full of slippery rocks, fast tides and quicksand.

How the Dogs Help

As the tide rises, another type of net is used called the Gill Net. The Gill Net is unravelled and the dog takes one end of the net and swims across the river.

The dog releases the net over to another fisherman who secures the net, now ready to catch the fish.

This is great fun for a working dog

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dog Nurses Panda Babies!

At a zoo in northern China, a female red panda gave birth to two babies, zookeepers were thrilled -- and unprepared.

"No one knew she was pregnant. Her plump body and bushy hair disguised her protruding belly until the babies were born," a spokesperson for the Taiyuan Zoo in Shanxi Province reported.

The humiliation of "giving birth in its pen, in broad daylight and in front of a huge crowd of visitors," was apparently too much for the new mother, who had recently arrived from a nature reserve. "She abruptly turned her back on the babies and refused to nurse them," said the spokesperson.

Zookeepers scrambled to find a wet nurse for the pair of baby red pandas. They scoured the countryside and found three dogs who had recently given birth.

The mother dog chosen for the job belongs to a local farmer. She is a sweet-tempered, white Chihuahua-mix who had given birth to a puppy just three days before the red pandas were born.

Note: Red pandas are an endangered species with fewer than 2,500 adult red pandas in the world.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Some Really Great Pictures of Kids and Dogs!

I think the pictures are worth a thousand words...

What to do if your dog gets Skunked?

Forget the tomato juice!

Reduce the skunk threat by not making them welcome. Never leave pet food outside, don’t feed skunks, keep trash containers secure, and remove piles of brush that could serve as shelter. When you take the dog out at dawn or dusk — when skunks are most active — flip on a yard light and make a lot of noise first to scare them off.

Even after taking all the precautions, though, your dog can run afoul of the critters. Should the worst happen, the first thing to do is close your doors and keep the dog outside. There’s nothing worse than a skunked dog running through a house, trying to rub the scent off on rugs or furniture.

Don’t hose off the dog. A skunk’s oily musk can’t be removed by water; in fact, water only makes things worse. Also worth noting: Tomato juice doesn’t work as a remedy. It’ll just turn your dog pink.

Anti-skunk dog rinse
1 quart fresh hydrogen peroxide (available at any drugstore or grocery store)
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons liquid dish soap (preferably Dawn)

1. Mix all ingredients. The mixture will bubble, and it must be used when freshly made, while it’s still active.
2. The washing should be done outside; wear protective gloves.
3. Don’t wet the dog; pour the mixture over the dry dog, being careful not to get any in the animal’s eyes, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
4. Rinse and repeat.
5. If the smell persists, make another batch of solution and go another round. (And it’s probably not a bad idea to follow up with a professional groomer.)

Recent articles about Homeopathy Leave Readers Confused

Here are several False Claims and then the Facts about Homeopathy.

False Claim: Homeopathic remedies are not regulated - they are treated like dietary supplements.
Fact: Homeopathic medications are regulated by the FDA and have been used safely in the United States since before the passage of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938. Homeopathic medicines have an extraordinary record of safety.

False Claim: FDA side-effect reports suggest homeopathic remedies are a problem for consumers.
Fact: The safety record of homeopathic remedies over the past 200 years is truly exemplary. A recent study by the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists (AAHP) documents this outstanding record in detail (see the home page at for more information). Conventional drugs used by allopathic medicine are far more troubling from a safety standpoint.

False Claim: The National Institutes of Health's alternative medicine center spent $3.8 million on homeopathic research from 2002 to 2007 but is now abandoning studies on homeopathic drugs.
Fact: NCH received this assurance from the National Institutes of Health's alternative medicine center on 6/23/09: "NCCAM will continue to accept investigator-initiated research grant applications for homeopathy and will continue to consider for funding those that receive outstanding scores in peer review."

False Claim: "Very often, the only active ingredient is alcohol, and patients don't know that, and they get a buzz on. The therapeutic effect is no greater or less than a martini."
Fact: The overwhelming majority of homeopathic remedies sold are in solid pellet or tablet form and contain ZERO alcohol.

False Claim: In 1938, Congress passed a law granting homeopathic remedies the same legal status as regular pharmaceuticals. The law's principal author was Sen. Royal Copeland of New York, a trained homeopath. "He did it in such a sneaky way that nobody really noticed or paid attention," says medical author Natalie Robins.
Fact: Senator Royal Copeland, a major presence in American medicine at the end of the 19th century, rose to national fame when he was elected into the U.S. Senate in 1922. His career was distinguished in many ways, but he is best known as architect of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938, the success of which reflected his tireless effort over a period of five years.
Copeland was trained as a homeopathic physician at the University of Michigan, at a time when homeopathy was a significant part of the U.S.
healthcare system.

False Claim: "With arcane ingredients like "nux vomica" and "arsenicum album," many homeopathic medicines sound like something brewed in a druid's kettle."
Fact: Homeopathic remedies are named by their proper scientific designations (often in Latin), an accepted world-wide standard for naming substances, rather than the misleading kinds of names attached to drugs by
pharmaceutical companies. For example, "Nux vomica" is the proper botanical Latin name for the nut of a particular tree.

False Claim: There is no evidence of effectiveness.
Fact: There are literally hundreds of high quality basic science, pre-clinical and clinical studies published in respected journals like Pediatrics, Chest, Rheumatology, The Lancet and others showing that homeopathy works (for more information, please visit the NCH website at,173).