Nov 5, 2014

Help Kickstart this healthy new Boston-based dog food!

Just 2 days left to help support Fedwell via Kickstarter! Check out this company's terrific product and story...

Sep 16, 2014

Time For A Treat

Pearl And Gidget Take Time For A Treat

raw dog food

Jul 22, 2014

ACL Tears. Missing The Big Picture. Guest Post.

Cruciate Ligament Rupture: Missing The Big Picture


Jack Russell in mid air with ball“I have just discovered that my mom’s dog, Dodger, has a cranial cruciate tear, and possibly a meniscal tear as well. The vet recommends surgery ASAP, but it sounds costly and dangerous. Also, the pain medication makes him much more miserable than nothing at all. Is there an alternative treatment that can help Dodger? In the meanwhile, he’s really mastering walking on three legs.”
This month has seen three emails about dogs with cranial cruciate ligament injuries, so it seems a timely topic to cover. As with most things in disease, there’s a deeper story that’s often missed in the rush to “fix what’s broken” that conventional medicine is so good at. You know the surgeon’s motto, right? “A chance to cut is a chance to cure.”
It’s a shame that they don’t know what cure really looks like.
No, surgery does not cure patients, especially torn cruciate ligament patients.
Here’s another example from my inbox this week:
“My 5 year old yellow lab Ginger, is as healthy as a dog can be – very energetic, happy, and just an overall joy; however, two years ago she tore her ACL (or cruciate) and we had the TPLO surgery done (as you know, a very expensive surgery). The surgery went well but she started developing some arthritis and would limp a little after a long walk. Just about a month ago, she leaped up the stairs, and the Vet told us that she has torn the other leg’s cruciate. Considering I am getting married this year, the last thing I would like to do is spend $4,000 on the surgery and have to see her such a mess the weeks after surgery.”

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

We’re talking about damage to connective tissue, ligaments holding bones together, in this case in the knee, aka stifle in our animals. Humans have anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) and animals have the very same ligaments, called cranial cruciate ligaments (CCL). When a football player “blows out his knee,” that’s usually a cruciate ligament injury, and its usually a result of extreme contact in the game.
How about dogs?
The rupture of knee ligaments in the dog is often not a result of strenuous contact, though a dog stepping in a hole while running can be part of the history in some cases. But we really need to look to those who study these cases carefully to find the deeper reality.
Fact: Knee inflammation usually precedes rupture.
Fact: Many dogs present with bilateral (both sides) rupture. Do you suppose they fell in two holes? No, of course not.
Fact: Just like Ginger, a rather large percentage go on to rupture the other side after the original one has been repaired at great expense and lots of awkward cage rest. This study of close to 400 dogs in three geographically different groups showed 54% rupturing the other side within two and a half years of the surgery. These figures were remarkably close to several other studies cited by the authors.
As you can imagine, cure has in no way taken place in those dogs who were operated on, right?
Cure is, by definition, not only symptom relief but the overall betterment of the patient’s health and well being.
If more than half rupture the other side later on, it’s not difficult to see the underlying disease was not cured. 
And did you notice both writers above used the words “costly” or “expensive?” Yes, thousands of dollars to “fix” a lameness that’s likely to come to haunt the other leg. Not a great investment, is it?

Missed Understanding: Inflammation First, Rupture Later.

The researchers in the study linked above, and those in this oneand this author, all saw inflammatory markers in the joint fluid of animals presenting with cruciate ligament disease. The last one spelled out clearly that this is a disease of multiple joints.
Why the inflammation?
A common theory is autoimmune disease, the attack on one’s own tissues by a confused immune system. The balanced immune system should be watchful for foreigners and leave “self” alone. When the difference between foreign invaders, cancer cells, and one’s own tissues is blurred, we have the very large group of diseases known as autoimmune.

Autoimmune? Oh Oh.

Why would the immune system attack the individual it was designed to protect? There are reasons, all of them man made:
  1. Vaccinations. The biggest reason of immune confusion ever.
  2. Exposure to solvents. Ever notice the high percentage of ingredients in your topical flea treatments that are called “inert?” Yep: solvents. They’ll take the color off your leather couch, if you’re not careful.
  3. Heartworm preventatives. Jean Dodds’ work showed this in DVM Magazine years ago.
Some truly scary autoimmune diseases include autoimmune hemolytic anemia (attack on one’s own red blood cells), immune mediated thrombocytopenia (attack on one’s platelets, the cells that help blood to clot), Addison’s (adrenal gland attack), inflammatory bowel disease (chronic inflammatory vomiting and/or diarrhea), pemphigus and lupus (skin deterioration from immune attack).

Prevention Causing Autoimmune Disease? Damn.

Well, if you’re counting, you’ll see the top three reasons for these illnesses come from the “prevention” promoted by Dr. WhiteCoat. Have you stepped out of that paradigm yet? If you were to take just one step to safer ground, it would be to opt out of repeated vaccinations in adult animals, regardless of species. You know they don’t work, right?

Treatment Options for Cruciate Ligament Disease.

So, to sum up, the underlying reason cruciate ligaments fail is likely man made multiple joint inflammation (ever see a wolf with a bum knee? Me neither.) That inflammation led to weakening of the ligaments of the knee which eventually ruptured, causing your dog to be lame. And you’ve just been offered a state of the art, multi-thousand dollar surgery to “put things back together.” Weeks of cage rest follow, so your expensive investment doesn’t fall apart and the other knee blow from overuse.  Common drugs used include the NSAIDs which damage joints while dampening the pain signals that would tell your dog to slow down, and take it easy. Likely Dodger’s stomach was upset by these drugs.
Who you gonna call?
I’ve treated a handful of these dogs over the years, and none have had to go to surgery. They’ve become sound to a large extent, with homeopathic treatment tailored to the “whole animal.” They are treated as individuals, so there’s no “one size fits all” as is common in conventional medicine.
But I’ve also seen some simple acute remedies help in the short term, and I’ll be covering my cruciate protocol in the upcoming re-release of my acute homeopathy course, Miracles in Healing, sponsored by Dogs Naturally Magazine. You may want to keep an eye out for this both from the magazine and from signing up for my newsletter (you’ll see a chance at the bottom of this post). My subscribers will be the first to hear of this course returning, and they’ll like receive an early bird discount option.
To get to the depth of this cruciate disease though, view it as the chronic disease that it truly is. Hire a veterinary homeopath to help you steer a course to curing the dog who has the disease.
An acupuncturist who knows her stuff may be another good option. But emphasis needs to be placed on cure, not just pain relief.
Ever had a dog who had this disease? We welcome your stories in the comments below.

May 23, 2014

Alex & Jumpy - The Parkour Dog. I Just Had to Share This

What A Great Video

May 20, 2014

More Chicken Jerky News.

More than 1,000 dog deaths may now be linked to toxic jerky treats, according to a recent update from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The agency said that since 2007, there have been almost 5,000 complaints of pet illnesses related to the treats. The majority of the symptoms reported include gastrointestinal or liver disease, and about a third were linked to kidney and urinary disease.  
About 10 percent of the illnesses included other signs such as neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms, and about 15 percent of the kidney and urinary disease cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome – a rare kidney disease also associated with the pet deaths.
The FDA is still unsure of the specific cause for the reported illnesses and deaths, but most cases reportedly occurred after the pets had eaten chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats imported from China. No specific brands were recalled in the FDA's latest release, but Dr. Jonathan Levine, an associate veterinarian at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in New York City, said owners should always check the labels of whatever foods they give their pets.
“Always be aware of what you're buying and where it's coming from,” Levine said.
Yet that may not always be enough to keep pets safe; products stamped “Made in the USA” could still contain ingredients sourced from China or other countries, the FDA warned.
In 2007, some pet food companies voluntarily removed some jerky treats from the market. But, at the time, the FDA said it didn't want to issue a recall without a definitive cause. Those products included Milo's Kitchen Chicken Jerky Treats and Chicken Grillers, made by Del Monte, and Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats, made by Nestle Purina.
The FDA has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to figure out what foods may be contributing to pet disease.  The study will compare the foods eaten by sick dogs to those eaten by dogs who haven’t gotten sick, in order to determine if the jerky is really the culprit.
So far, testing of jerky pet treats from China revealed low levels of antibiotics as well as the antiviral drug amantadine in some chicken samples.  Although FDA-approved for pain-control applications in humans and in dogs, the agency prohibited its use in poultry in 2006 to help preserve its effectiveness.  
The FDA does not believe amantadine contributed to the illnesses, as the side effects of the drug do not correlate with the symptoms seen in the pets; however, amantadine should not be present at all in jerky treats.
Chinese authorities have agreed to conduct additional screenings and follow up with jerky treat manufacturers, and the FDA has notified U.S. treat makers of the presence of amantadine in some jerky products. The agency will also continue testing these products for drugs and other antivirals.
The FDA cautioned pet owners that jerky pet treats are not required for a balanced diet. If your pet experiences any sign of illness, including vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy, contact your veterinarian right away.
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Apr 5, 2014

Thank You All

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Mar 25, 2014

Product Review - Pet Naturals Of Vermont Calming Chews

My girl Pearl has always been a nervous dog. You can read more about why here

She was getting progressively worse over time, to the point where she was having full blown panic attacks. Simple things, like the sound of the microwave or a squeaky noise in the car would send her right over the edge. On more than a few occasions I thought she was going to have a heart attack because she was shaking and panting so bad.

I was contemplating going to the Vet and asking her to put Pearl on some sort of anxiety medication. But, as I am always trying to do things as naturally as possible, I started looking for alternatives before I took the dive into the heavy duty drugs.

That's when I stumbled across the Pet Naturals Calming Chews. I thought I would give them a try, not really expecting too much. 

After only 4 days - one chew with breakfast - I noticed a huge difference in her overall demeanor and now that she has been taking them for almost 2 weeks, she's a much calmer dog. 

She still alerts when she hears the noises but no more diving under the couch and shivering for 20 minutes. She loves the car and falls asleep when we drive, a huge difference I would say.

Does anyone have any other natural remedies to help calm a nervous dog?


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Mar 5, 2014

I Opened A Pet Supply Store

Sorry I haven't posted in a long time -
I've been a little busy.

2284 Dorchester Avenue, Lower Mills, 02124

For the last few months, all of my time has been taken up with the construction and development of a new retail pet supply store.

Below is a picture of the first delivery we received. As you can see, by the time the delivery guys stopped bringing stuff in, there was not a lot of room left.

Pet Store Dorchester

After we got everything out the boxes and onto the shelves, things looked much better.

pet store dorchester

The grand opening day was a blast. Lots of people showed up with their dogs. It was like doggie playgroup in the store.

pet store dorchester

pet store dorchester

pet store dorchester

pet store dorchester

pet store dorchester

pet store dorchester

pet store dorchester

pet store dorchester

 Dr. Judie Paulauski (left) with some of her staff from Quarry Hills Animal Hospital stopped by and brought some great gifts. Thank you!

pet store dorchester

Jessica was awesome at the register... 

pet store dorchester

... and she also made the human treats below. A huge hit with everyone.

pet store dorchester

Below are some of the products that we carry in the store:

pet store dorchester
pet store dorchester
pet store dorchesterpet store dorchesterpet store dorchester

And of course, Miss Paige had to pop in for a treat.

pet store dorchester

Gotta get back to work now, but will post more soon!


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Nov 7, 2013

13 Pet Foods – Ranked From Great to Disastrous…

A Great Article from Dr. Becker

In this video Dr. Karen Becker discusses her best-to-worst recommendations for diets for dogs and cats and explains how to improve the quality of the food you feed your own pet.

Dr. Becker's Comments:

A subject readers here at HealthyPets and clients at my animal clinic are very interested in is the kind of food they should be feeding their dog or cat for good health.
So by popular demand, today's video is a discussion of my recommendations for the best-to-worst diets you can feed your pet.
There are 13 categories on my list, and what you're feeding will fall into one of them.
Now, if the diet you're serving your dog or cat happens to fall into one of the lower quality categories, I don't want you to beat yourself up about it.
As a general rule, people who are feeding their pets a lesser quality diet are doing so either because they can't afford a better food – or they simply don't know what constitutes good nutrition for their pet.
If you discover your furry buddy is eating from the lower half of the list, set a goal to feed a better quality food now that you know the difference, or when you can afford a more nutritious brand.
Again, everyone's pet food of choice can be found in one of these categories. I encourage you to figure out where the diet you're serving right now falls in the list, and then strive for improvement by feeding more nourishing, species-appropriate food.

Food Can Either Heal or Harm

As a proactive veterinarian interested in sustaining the natural good health of my pet patients, I always encourage pet owners to evaluate their animal's diet, because food is the foundation upon which good or ill health is built.
It's important to understand that food has the ability to heal or harm your pet, depending on the type and quality of nutrition you provide.
The first factor you should evaluate is the species-appropriateness of what your dog or cat is eating.
A species-appropriate diet contains lots of good quality protein as well as moisture. The protein is necessary because both dogs and cats are carnivores.
High moisture content is required in order to prevent organ dysfunction, including kidney failure. Dogs and cats are designed to eat food that is about 70 percent moisture, which is what a diet of mice and rabbits would provide if your pet hunted his own food.
If you feed your pet dry food only, he's getting only about 12 percent moisture instead of the 70 percent his body demands. This is especially unhealthy for cats, because they don't supplement their moisture intake by drinking large amounts of water like dogs do.
Pets on dry food diets (kibble or pelleted) live in a state of chronic, mild dehydration that over time can cause significant stress to their organs.
Species-appropriate nutrition does not contain much starch, also known as grains or carbohydrates. Corn, wheat, rice and soy are found in most commercial processed pet foods, but your dog or cat has no biological need for them.
I recommend you follow the laws of nature when it comes to your pet's diet, which is to feed everything his body needs and eliminate ingredients that provide no nourishment.
In addition to the species-appropriateness of your pet's diet, it also needs to be balanced. By balanced I mean food that contains all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your dog or cat needs.
This isn't something you can guess at – it should be guaranteed through testing.
Nutritional balance is vitally important because deficiencies will develop much faster in your dog or cat than they will in you. A poorly nourished puppy or kitten can end up with obvious signs of skeletal problems and organ degeneration before she's six months old.
An older animal can develop life-threatening organ degeneration, among many other not-so-obvious symptoms, over a one  to three year period of eating an unbalanced, nutrient-deficient diet.

The List of Best-to-Worst Foods

  1. A balanced, raw, homemade diet is the best food you can feed your dog or cat. It will be nutritionally balanced because you're following recipes like those found in the cookbook I co-authored, Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats.
  2. Raw means the food is unadulterated and still contains all the enzymes and nutrients that are typically destroyed during cooking or other types of processing.
    Homemade is the best option because you are in complete control of the quality of ingredients in your pet's diet.
    I recommend pets get plenty of nutritional variety, and another great thing about serving homemade is you can buy seasonal fruits and veggies on sale, as well as protein sources (meats), and use them in rotation.
  3. The next best thing you can feed your pet is a commercially available raw diet. This is a raw food diet that someone else has done the heavy lifting to prepare.
  4. It's important that the diet is balanced, and you should be aware that there are raw food pet diets entering the market that are not yet proven to be nutritionally complete. These foods often say "For supplementation or intermittent feeding" on the label.
    You'll know if the raw food you've selected is balanced because it will say it right on the packaging: "This food has been proven to be nutritionally complete or adequate for all life stages."
    At the present time, these diets are found only in the freezer section of small/privately owned or upscale pet boutiques – not in the big box pet stores. You can also find a selection online.
  5. Cooked, balanced homemade diet. It's the same diet found in number 1, above, except that it's cooked. This means some of the nutrient composition has been diminished through processing.
  6. Human-grade canned food. If the label doesn't say the ingredients are human grade, they're not. Pet food made with human-grade ingredients is also a great deal more expensive, so that's another way to tell what you're getting.
  7. This type of diet is the most expensive you can feed your pet. What I tell my clients is, "If you have more money than time, you can purchase human-grade canned food for your dog or cat. But if you have more time than money, I recommend you make a balanced, homemade diet right in your own kitchen for a fraction of the cost."
  8. Human-grade dry food. As I discussed earlier, dry food is not as species-appropriate as a moisture-dense diet. Human grade is very important because the food is approved, in theory, for human consumption, which means it doesn't contain low quality rendered by-products.
  9. Super premium canned food which can be found at big box pet supply stores like Petco and PetSmart.
  10. Super premium dry food.
  11. Veterinary-recommended canned food. Vet recommended canned foods are purchased at your vet's office or clinic. Typical brands are Science Diet, the Purina veterinary lines, Royal Canin and Waltham.
  12. Veterinary-recommended dry food.
  13. Grocery store brand canned food.
  14. Grocery store brand dry food.
  15. Semi-moist pouched food.
  16. The reason this type of pet food is so far down the list is because in order for the food to remain "semi-moist," an ingredient called propylene glycol is added. This is a scary preservative that is a second cousin to ethylene glycol, which is antifreeze. And while propylene glycol is approved for use in pet foods, it is unhealthy for dogs and cats. I do not recommend feeding any food that contains this additive.
  17. Dead last on the list and the worst thing you can feed your pet is an unbalanced, homemade diet – raw or cooked. I'm seeing an increasing number of misguided pet owners in my practice who think they're doing the right thing by serving their pet, say, a chicken breast and some veggies and calling it a day.
  18. Yes, the food is homemade, but it's nutritionally unbalanced. Pets being fed this way are showing up at my clinic with endocrine abnormalities, skeletal issues and organ degeneration as a result of deficiencies in calcium, trace minerals and omega fatty acids.

From Worst to Best in a Heartbeat

For those of you who now know you're feeding your pet an unbalanced, homemade diet, there's an extremely quick and easy way to soar to the top of the list.
All you need to do is add ingredients to balance out the nutrition in the diet you're already serving your dog or cat. This is a fast, simple fix you can apply to turn an unbalanced homemade diet into a balanced one.
So there you have it – the entire list of my recommendations for best-to-worst pet diets.
If you've discovered your pet's food is on the lower half of the list, set a goal to work your way up the list.
If you're already at the top end of the list, congratulations! You're doing the best thing possible by providing species-appropriate nutrition for the animals in your care
If you would like to learn more about making homemade meals for your pets, my recipe book is available here.
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