Saturday, 20 June 2015

Mushroom poisoning in dogs

      Avoid Tragedy: Check Your Garden for These Potentially Fatal Growths

  • Also watch what your dog may eat when out on your walks. Mushrooms are one hazard to look out for.
  • Mushroom poisoning in pets presents a special problem for guardians and veterinarians because it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between toxic and non-toxic varieties
  • Symptoms of mushroom toxicity are dependent on the species of mushroom, the specific toxin(s) involved, and the individual pet’s susceptibility to those toxins
  • Treatment of mushroom poisoning is focused on decontamination and managing clinical symptoms as they arise. It is often difficult to predict the outcome of treatment unless the mushroom can be accurately identified
  • If you know or suspect your pet has ingested a mushroom, seek help immediately, and if possible, collect any uneaten mushrooms and/or vomit and feces samples to take with you to the vet or emergency animal hospital
  • By Dr. Becker

Friday, 5 June 2015

Unethical Additves To Dog Food

By Dr. Becker
Pet food producers are always looking for ways to increase the bottom line, and one of their strategies is to tap into constantly evolving consumer desires… whether or not they make sense for pets.
Kibble is probably one of the best examples of this strategy. Dry pet food was created for the convenience of humans, not for the health of their pets. The natural diet of dogs and cats – fresh, raw, whole prey -- is about as far removed from a bag of highly processed kibble as it gets.
These days, many pet guardians are knowledgeable about the ingredients in pet food and what constitutes a species-appropriate diet for their dog or cat. That’s one of the reasons major pet food companies spend so much money tweaking and advertising their kibble formulas. They’re trying to convince increasingly savvy pet owners of the “benefits” of their biologically inappropriate products.

Odor-Control Diets for People Who Think Their Pet Stinks

Recently, I was scanning a pet food industry journal and came across this:
“Research is constantly being conducted to determine the best ways to balance pet health and wellness and consumer desire to keep their furry friends from smelling up their homes.”1
Obviously, cats and dogs have no qualms about “smelling up the house,” so this is another example of how pet food producers use human desires to create formulas that may not be of much benefit to the animals eating them.
Healthy, well-cared for dogs and cats don’t smell up a house that is reasonably well-maintained, so who is the target consumer for a pet food that controls pet odors? Is it a person who doesn’t provide adequate care for their pet or their home? Or is it a person who can’t tolerate the fact that dogs and cats don’t smell like humans?
It seems to me that no matter how you view the situation, the problem is with the human, not the animal. A pet food designed to control pet odors won’t fix the underlying issues I’ve hypothesized, and my reasonable assumption is that it also won’t contribute in any meaningful way to the health of the pet.

The Quest for Odorless Pet Poop

One of the “odor control” ingredients the journal article mentions is yucca schidigera extract. Yucca schidigera is a flowering desert shrub-tree in the lily family that is native to the deserts of southeastern California, Baja California, New Mexico, southern Nevada and Arizona.
Yucca schidigera is thought to be “capable of reducing waste odor in dogs and cats.” According to one report:
“Yucca ingestion generally improves the character and intensity of canine and feline aroma. The overall decrease in fecal offensiveness is 26%...
Owners are able to detect the effect of yucca on a group level, but it is unknown whether the degree of odor amelioration can be considered relevant in practice. In any event, a material portion of pet owners will not experience a beneficial impact of yucca.
The 12 studies indicate that a dose of 125 mg yucca preparation/kg dry food generally is effective, but higher doses might have more impact.”2
I’m not a fan of dietary additives that are marketed to do things like “decrease fecal offensiveness.” For starters, poop is a waste product -- it isn’t supposed to smell like roses, but it shouldn’t be a near-death experience, either. Secondly, anything that works from the inside out to change the smell of normal feces in a healthy animal is by necessity interfering in some way with the metabolic process.
A better approach is to figure out why your pet’s poop is that obnoxiously stinky. Usually, the culprit is a biologically inappropriate diet loaded with species-inappropriate ingredients.
In addition, yucca extract contains soap-like components called saponins, which are anti-nutrients that interfere with absorption of essential nutrients. Yucca fed short-term is fine, but yucca fed indefinitely isn’t a wise idea.
If your pet’s poop seems fouler smelling than it should, my first recommendation is to transition your dog or cat to a balanced, species-appropriate, organic, and GMO-free diet. When healthy pets are fed a balanced, natural, fresh diet, excess fecal odor shouldn’t occur, and there will also be a smaller volume of poop.
Foods will be healthfully broken down, digested, and absorbed as nature intended, resulting in the production of feces that aren’t that big a deal (literally). Not big and not stinky.
If your pet is eating an excellent quality species-appropriate diet and his poop still seems malodorous, a visit to your veterinarian is in order to check for a possibleunderlying health problem.

Yucca Schidigera for Joint Discomfort

With all that said, yucca schidigera does have application in certain situations.
According to master herbalist Greg Tilford in his book Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet's Life, yucca may be of help to dogs suffering from joint problems, arthritis, or hip dysplasia. It can act as a sort of natural steroid to help stimulate the body to make and use its own corticosteroids and related hormones.3
However, yucca must be used in moderation and should be given to treat a specific condition rather than for everyday, forever use. Too much yucca over long periods of time can irritate the digestive tract, causing loose stools and reversing its benefits.
My recommendation is to avoid feeding commercial pet foods containing yucca on a regular basis, and instead address the real reason your pet has malodorous stools, which is usually the diet. If you’re interested in exploring yucca’s use for a specific health concern, do so under the guidance of a holistic veterinarian or herbalist who can offer dosing guidelines appropriate for your pet’s medical condition.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Useful Dog Training Tool

Dog Training Tool

A recently published study confirms what dog lovers have always known. Most dogs love to be petted and most can’t get enough of it.

The study researchers observed both shelter and family dogs in an experiment that had the dogs choose whether to spend time with a person who gave them vocal praise or a person who petted them

Without exception, the dogs chose to hang out with the people doing the petting, even when the person praising them was their owner, and the petting person was a stranger

These study results suggest that dogs’ preference for petting as positive reinforcement is a natural response, whereas the use of praise to reinforce desirable behaviour is much more effective when supplemented with another incentive like food treats or petting.

You can use this fact to support your own dog training régime.
(From Dr Becker's website)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Wolves And How They Affect You And Your Dog

Your dog has a strong connection with wolves.

That means wild wolves and the connection stretches back many many thousands of years. These are creatures that survive by cunning and merciless pursuit of prey as well as fighting between themselves.

You will probably know of the background to a wolf pack where they have an alpha male and female as dominant heads of the pack. They have a ridged social hierarchy maintained the strongest and fittest wolves. The old and weakest wolves are at the bottom of the hierarchy, often starve to death when there is not enough food to go round.

The dominant ambitious alpha male, having fought his way to the top, maintains his position by sheer force. This dominance by the alpha male is the basis for many dog training programme because these programmes use the fact that dogs have inherited many of the instincts of the wolf including being subject to domination.

So there it is then - Dominate and Control and you will have an obedient dog.


The Facts

Dogs have inherited many instincts and behaviour patterns from wolves, including social behaviour. These instincts and behaviour pattens are now in the genes of your dog. However, the behaviour of a wolf, as a pack member, is very different from the popular belief expressed above. Also for thousands of years dogs have evolved as a separate domesticated version of the wolf. This is because once a few wolves became associated with human groups for mutual benefit, the wolves gradually modified some of their behaviour ( but not all) and over time the breeding of these domesticated wolves produced the basis of the dogs we have today

Wolves are highly sociable animals within their own pack. They have to be because it is only by working together as a pack that they are enabled to successfully hunt for food. This is often very dangerous if the prey is large and lethal.

A wolf pack can usually obtain enough food to sustain every member of the pack although nature sees to it that the strongest hunters get enough to keep them going thus continuing the food supply for the whole pack.

The leadership of the pack is not the hotly contested position that people assume. It comes about mainly by a sort of mutual consent and the needs of the pack. Wolves are not usually ambitious in the way that humans might be. Wolves and dogs are usually content if there is a pack leader, however, if there is a temporary situation without a pack leader they might try to take control for the sake of the pack. Obviously they don't think this way, it's just an instinct.

People who have made a study of wolves in the wild have found that very little actual fighting takes place between members of the same pack. The pack is usually cohesive and each wolf works in harmony with the rest of the pack.

You and Your Dog

So how does this affect your dog and what is the influence on dog training?

You will still use the wolf factor and the alpha dog approach but it is not about dominating your dog. It is about using the basic instincts of your dog to suggest what you want your dog to do. You achieve this by learning to read your dog and using rewards, patience and kindness.
No shouting, no striking the dog, in fact, hardly any punishments at all but lots of rewards and devoting time to your dog.

This method of dog training is sometimes known as "Dog Whispering" or "Dog Listening" but it is not a mysterious method but something any one can learn.

Elsewhere on this Website there are details of several downloadable books, e-books (for e-book readers like Kindle) and CDs. All of these promote the natural way of dog training. You can see more details of what is contained in a typical book by following the link below.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Our New Year Wish

We wish more people would learn this fact. It would make for better behaved dogs and a lot less stress for owners !

From "Care Dog Training"

Friday, 2 January 2015

Did Your Dog Have A Good Christmas?

Many vets have reported an increase in dogs being brought into their surgeries, suffering from aliments which can be directly traced to inappropriate feeding over Christmas.
Most vets attribute this rise in harmful consumption to human treats such as stuffing, chocolate, Christmas pudding, mince pies and grapes. This type of food can be dangerous for dogs and even prove fatal in a few cases. Well meaning owners, who want their dog to have a few extra treats at Christmas may end up causing their best friend great distress.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten something harmful, like chocolate, raisins, or onions, see a vet immediately.
Onions or food containing onions is dangerous because dogs do not have the necessary enzymes in their digestive system to deal with onion and related foods such as garlic. Chocolate can cause serious harm to a dog because it contains a substance called theobromine. Similar to caffeine, the stimulant is poisonous to dogs and can affect the heart, central nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms can occur from four hours after ingesting chocolate and can include vomiting, diarrhoea, increased heart rate and seizures.

Also, it should not be forgotten that controlling a dog's diet is a discipline for the whole year, not just over the Christmas season. Along with avoiding chocolate, owners should avoid feeding dogs grapes, raisins, onions or garlic 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Will You Spoil Your Dog This Christmas ?

From UK Dog News by Ryan O'Meara  
Will You Spoil Your Dog This Christmas ?

Dogs could be in for an indulgent Christmas this year, as according to a recent survey by pet product manufacturer, PetSafe.
According to the research more than forty percent of dog owners admit they like to make their best friend feel special by giving them treats – and what better time to make your dog feel extra special than at Christmas.
As well as loving to treat our dogs, the survey also concluded that we are a nation of dog lovers with 83% claiming their dog is one of, if not their highest rated possession. With 63% spending up to £50 per month on their pets, it is certain that there will be a few stockings waiting for our pets on Christmas morning.
The only thing is you should keep a sense of proportion and remember a dog is not a human. 
If you want to treat your pet at Christmas, it will probably not appreciate the humour of a funny costume but will love extra treats in the form of food. Here again, be careful because a lot of human food is totally unsuitable for dogs. One important NO! is Chicken or Turkey bones, these are sharp and brittle and very dangerous for dogs.
Enjoy your Christmas but keep your best friend safe

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Leaving Something In You Will For Your Dog

Leaving Something In You Will For Your Dog
(From Viovet website -

Pets in Wills
Considering the majority of people reading this will be pet owners, the idea of bequeathing money and property to animals after death might not be met with such surprise. Apparently, the number of people factoring pets into their wills is on the rise, especially amongst the rich and famous. According to the Animal Legal Defence Fund, making provisions for pets has become increasingly popular in the last decade, with owners leaving money, trust funds, property and entire estates to their furry family members.
But people are not only bequeathing their assets to their own pets; the number of us donating to animal charities, shelters and to adopted strays has increased so much in the last century that today, making provisions for the less fortunate has become standard custom. For those of us who are the sole pet parent with no one to entrust our pets to, leaving a portion of our assets to ensure their continued care makes perfect sense. In fact, we are so devoted to our animals that roughly 1.5 million of the UK plans to leave our money to our pets.
That aside, it is the ones that go above and beyond to provide for their pets after death that I am most interested in; the ones bequeathing family fortunes, jewels, estates, luxury holiday homes and who knows what else to the house pet, slighting their expectant family members in favour of the dog, cat or chicken.

Sep 15th, 2014 - Posted by Hannah Dyball in Pet Discussion

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Danger Snakes!

Dog Owners Urged To Look Out for Snakes on Walks
Veterinary charity PDSA is urging dog owners to beware of snakes in woods and grassland, after saving the life of greyhound Cookie, who was bitten on Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. The eight-year-old dog is now recovering after her near-fatal encounter with an adder at the popular beauty spot on Tuesda

Read more: