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."