Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dog Vitamins - facts you should know

Most 'vitamins' you find on the pet shelves these days are made synthetically through chemical processes, rather than derived directly from plants or other materials.

It is difficult to make the distinction between "synthetic" and "natural" vitamins. Some define a natural vitamin as a concentrated nutrient derived from a quality natural source. The idea is maximum retention of the natural material; with no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.


A natural source contains 'co-factors' that come with the nutrient in nature. For instance, co-factors that are usually found with Vitamin C are various bioflavonoids. The bioflavinoids are concentrated from the natural source as carefully as possible. No extreme heat, pressure, or possible toxic solvents are used. There are no sugar or chemical tablet coatings. The nutrients are prepared from high quality raw ingredients. No artificial chemicals are added. Harsh binders and fillers do not hinder absorption. This is why natural source vitamins cost more.

Synthetic vitamins are made in a laboratory setting from coal tar derivatives. No co-factors are present. Most of the pet supplements sold on the market today are synthetic.

Give me an example:

Vitamin C that is found and isolated from oranges is identical to the vitamin C derived from other plant sources, largely because plants containing vitamin C biosynthesize the substance in much the same manner. However, when Vitamin C was first isolated and produced in a supplement form, we did not know about bioflavonoids. They were discovered later. It was found that in nature, bioflavonoids always accompany Vitamin C. In fact, the bioflavonoids are essential for better absorption. They increase bioavailability by 30%. This suggests we should feed our dogs the natural form of vitamin C. What else don't we know?

When feeding your dog organic vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, or plants and herbs such as Green Barley, sea vegetables, dandelion etc., there is no label that indicates how many I.U's or milligrams of this, that, or the other nutrients these plants contain because they are in their natural, whole, organic form, in just the right amounts, the way nature intended. The ideal source of nutrients comes from organic plant sources in their whole natural form, not from isolated or man-made chemical source. Recent studies (in Finland) suggest that isolated natural vitamins may not be good for the health our our pets.

What are vitamins anyway?

Vitamins are living enzyme complexes that naturally produce biochemical reactions in the body. Synthetic Vitamins are chemicals that produce drug reactions in the body.

Canine supplements, as the word clearly states, are meant to supplement a highly varied diet of whole, unprocessed foods.

This is why we love our Green Power! Organic and the whole food - carefully dried and finely powdered for easy absorption. It's the Natural Canine Vitamin!

From Dumpster to Doctor

This dog doesn't do tricks. He does tracheas.

When Debbie Parkhurst, 45, got a chunk of apple lodged in her windpipe on Friday, her dog "Toby" came to the rescue. The 2-year-old Golden Retriever pushed Ms. Parkhurst onto the floor and issued abdominal thrusts (jumping up and down on her chest) until the obstruction was expelled from her airway. Toby's actions, hailed as a canine version of the Heimlich maneuver, saved her life.

"The doctor said I probably wouldn’t be here without Toby," says Ms. Parkhurst. "It was lodged pretty tight because I couldn’t breathe. I tried to do the thing where you lean over a chair and give yourself the Heimlich, but it didn’t work.
"The next thing I know, Toby’s up on his hind feet and he’s got his front paws on my shoulders. He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest.

"As soon as I started breathing, he stopped and began licking my face, as if to keep me from passing out."

A friend arrived in time to witness the canine CPR and drove Ms. Parkhurst to the doctor.
"I literally have pawprint-shaped bruises on my chest,” says Ms. Parkhurst. “I’m still a little hoarse, but otherwise, I’m OK.
"I keep looking at him and saying ‘You’re amazing.' "

From Dumpster to Doctor

Who would have guessed that this medical miracle mutt was once just a cast-away cur? Toby, as it turns out, was rescued from a dumpster by Ms. Parkhurst in 2005.
She admits that the pooch never seemed to be med-school material. "Of all the dogs in the world," she says, "I never would have expected this goofy one here to know the Heimlich.”
But oddly, the dog's rescue procedure was performed exactly the way it is suggested by the American Red Cross: "a series of five back blows and five abdominal thrusts." 2
(The licking part was just improvisation.)

Toby's veterinarian, Dr. Douglas Foreman, is equally baffled at the dog's expert response. "Toby isn’t what you would call the most trained of dogs," Dr. Foreman says. "I have no idea where he learned it from."

"Wonder dog is all golden"
Cecil Whig. 27 Mar 2007

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two Dogs Survive the Wave!

Towa, a two-year-old Sheltie and Melody, a one-year-old Golden Retriever were left tied to a shed as the owners raced to save their own lives moments before the tsunami 30 foot wave swept the island. The dogs broke the ropes and raced upstairs to a second floor where they survived the destruction all around them. 

Ms. Kikuchi, her face still red with excitement, said she was so happy to see the dogs, a bit of good news in an otherwise tragic event. "When my father told me they were alive, I was so excited," she said. "It's been so stressful. It's so good to see them"

Mr. Kikuchi and his daughter said they will come back every day to look after the dogs, but they are not going to bring the dogs to the shelter.

"There are lots of people dead and it's too much to ask to bring the dogs," said Mr. Kikuchi. "It would be inconsiderate to other people's sadness."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dolphins save Turbo - 11 year old Doberman

Someone left the gate open and Turbo, the 11 year old Doberman, decided to go for a swim.

After 15 hours in the water, Turbo found himself stranded on a sand bar, weak and tired. Fortunately for Turbo, a couple of compassionate dolphins were swimming by and sensed the danger. Normally they swim quietly through the channel but today they decided to make a commotion to draw attention to the situation. Their persistent splashing alerted the neighbor to come out and have a look.

Turbo was tired, wet and exhausted, but fine now after some tender loving care! Turbo's 'Mom' explains what happened....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Five Element Theory and Relationships

In the last newsletter we learned about the 5 elements and the organ systems associated with each element. (if you missed the first article you can look on the right sidebar for a link)

This month we look at how each organ is assigned a set 'relationships'. Each organ has a time of day when it functions optimally, and a season of the year when it is most affected by the environment. This means  that if a problem occurs during those hours or during that season, it will alert you to an imbalance that you can address before it becomes serious - don't worry - we'll be giving some actual examples in a bit.

There are specific emotions, colors, times, body parts and foods (as well as others) for each organ. Below is a chart that will help you understand.

Elements/Organs and their relationships









Body Part


laugh joy heat summer 11am-3pm scorched millet, mutton,
ears perspiration tongue
song sympathy humid late summer 7am-11am sickly sweet rice, millet, beef,
mouth saliva muscles
METALLung Large
weeping grief dry autumn 3am-7am rotten rice,
nose mucous skin
WATER Kidney Bladder groaning fear cold winter 3pm-7pm putrid barley, beans, peas, pork ears saliva bones, teeth, urinary
WOOD Liver Gall Bladder shout anger windy spring 11pm-3am rancid wheat, chicken,
eyes tears tendons, ligaments,
nails, genitals

OK - now let's look at a real situation - see if you can tell which element is out of balance.

Fido is a dog with itchy red eyes (always worse in the spring), he barks loudly and lunges at the mailman angrily, his skin has rancid odor, he loves a treat of your leftover pasta and he wakes up scratching at 1 am. Lots of clues here - look at the chart.

Well... did you guess which element is out of balance? If you guessed Wood, very good!! This is a liver problem - the dog is displaying all the symptoms of  wood imbalance. Looking at the 'totality' of the symptoms we would address the liver through diet and pressing some of the liver points on his body (more of this later) - diet and acupressure moves the 'stuck' energy and gets it flowing again. The goal here is to ward off trouble by observing symptoms and then making corrections when it's easy to do. If we took Fido to the vet, nothing would show up on any 'tests' - but we all know instinctively that something is out of balance.

One more example (not as many clues this time!) - Molly vomits after breakfast, but not after dinner.

In this case the time is the main clue - consult the chart and see what you think. Earth?? Right! We would look at the spleen/pancreas/stomach. Stay with us - more and more will come together.

In our next installment we will look at the FIVE CONSTITUTIONS. Building on the relationships we will see certain 'types' emerge and the imbalances that normally go with each constitution.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Folk Art Pieces available from The Natural Canine

Exciting news - The Natural Canine is pleased to announce the we have exclusive dog folk art pieces available at our website.

These pieces are actually made by Marlene & I right here in Vermont. We love dog, we love art!

These are not dog toys, but rather VERY limited edition (some one-of-a-kind) collectible pieces.

And of course they are all natural! Made from Vermont woods with non-toxic water base paints and Vermont soy clear coating.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Five Elements

This article is an introduction to a different way of looking at our pet's health. As we progress, there will be practical applications and some interesting explanations about common conditions such as itching, allergies, paw licking, behavior challenges, digestion, foods, etc.

First things first - We need to start with some background information to better understand our dog's health and behavior from this alternative perspective. Let's get started.

In ancient times, long before modern 'medicine' - people relied on their senses - sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch to diagnose and treat illness. Because people were so connected to the land and their environment - early doctors began to see connections between the major forces of nature and our bodies.

This is not so unusual as we and our animals friends are very much a part of the earth.

What developed from these careful observations became known as the Five Element or Phases Theory. The five elements are:

  • Earth
  • Metal
  • Water
  • Wood
  • Fire
Each element is linked to an organ system -

  • EARTH - is linked to DIGESTION (spleen/pancreas/stomach
  • METAL - is linked to RESPIRATION and ELIMINATION (lungs/large intestine)
  • WATER - is linked to PLUMBING (kidneys/urinary bladder)
  • WOOD - is linked to TOXIC PROCESSING (liver/gall bladder)
  • FIRE - is linked to CIRCULATION (heart/small intestine)
With us so far? Here's an example - follow along....

Remember we said each element is related to an organ system?

Let's say there is a problem with the EARTH element (STOMACH) - look at the picture above and you will see the black arrow pointing left to METAL (LARGE INTESTINE) Metal follows earth in the cycle - The stomach (earth) and large intestine (metal) are part of the digestive system. In our dogs, this may show up as vomiting and diarrhea. Ha! - now we have a real life problem we can relate to.

In Western medicine the vet may prescribe a drug to slow down the digestive tract - that's one approach. But consider this - what if we were to give an herb or use acupuncture/acupressure to strengthen or boost the EARTH (STOMACH)? That's a different way to address the problem.

The whole idea of 'health' in this system is to keep a balance among the elements.

How is this done? Well, there is no magic pill or herb to fix everything - this is where the holistic approach comes in -  good diet, exercise, lifestyle, and stress management. With an understanding of the five elements we can correct problems as they come up - and most treatable at the early stages. We will start learning to use our senses (like the ancient observers) to maintain health and detect problems as soon as the imbalance starts.

As we move on in our next article, we are going to explore the Five Elements and their Relationships. Each organ is related to a time of day where it functions best, a season where it is most vulnerable - and going even deeper each organ is related to specific emotions, body parts, colors and food! This gets interesting.

The next article will be posted in about 2 weeks - stay tuned!