Healthy Dogs By Dr. Becker Bringing a new pet into the family is an exciting time, but it can
also be stressful. There’s so much to remember and do to make your new animal
companion’s homecoming a joyful and positive
experience, it can be easy to overlook something – even something
potentially hazardous. If you’re planning to
add a new dog to your household, preparation for the blessed event should
include insuring your home is a safe environment for the new four-legged family
member. With a new puppy this is a must, but it’s also crucial for helping an adult
dog make a safe, smooth transition to his new forever home.
10 Pet-Proofing Steps for New Dog Parents 1.Securely seal all
containers of household cleaning products such as bleach, detergent, dryer
sheets, soap, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaners, etc. All these products contain
potentially toxic agents that can harm or even kill your dog if consumed. Store
all containers out of reach of your pet (which might require cabinet latches if
you have an especially curious or determined dog). Also consider getting
rid of toxic cleaning chemicals in favor of safe household
2.You’ll also want to
secure all garage and garden chemicals, including antifreeze,
pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, weed killers, etc. These items should be
safely stowed in cabinets or storage areas inaccessible to your dog.
When it comes to using
chemicals in your garden or yard, less is more -- and none at all is what I
recommend. Lawn pesticides
have been linked to malignant lymphoma in dogs, and herbicides
are associated with canine bladder cancer.
3.Food wraps like aluminum
foil and plastic wrap may not seem dangerous, but if they contain even tiny
bits of food or yummy smells, they’ll be calling your dog’s name. These
products can be quickly shredded and swallowed, causing a serious problem in
your dog’s GI tract, so make sure to throw all food wraps away in a trash
container your dog can’t reach.
4.All pest control
chemicals should be stored out of your dog’s reach, and if you must use them,
make sure your pet is kept a safe distance away. This also includes
rodenticides, especially products containing bromethalin,
which has no antidote at this time. Other rodent poisons with no known antidote
include Vitamin D analogs, strychnine, and zinc phosphide.
5.Keep all drugs in the
household, including pet medications, medicinal
marijuana, and tobacco products in sealed containers out of your
dog’s reach. Common over-the-counter and prescription drugs are the culprits in
thousands of pet poisonings each year. Also be careful to quickly retrieve any
pills that drop on the floor.
6.There are certain human
foods that are toxic to dogs, for example, chocolate, grapes, raisins, and
anything containing xylitol,
which should be kept out of your pet’s reach. This also goes for fatty foods
that can cause GI upset, or even acute pancreatitis. Also make sure your dog
doesn’t have access to the trash.
7.There are several household plants
that are toxic to dogs, so before you bring your new addition through the door,
make sure you have only pet-friendly greenery in your home. You can find a list
(with pictures) of toxic and non-toxic plants at ASPCA.org.
8.Puppies and even some
adult dogs will chew on electrical wires and cords within their reach, which
creates a danger of electrocution as well as a swallowing hazard. Keep cords as
short as possible and if necessary, fasten them to walls and/or baseboards to
9.There are lots of sharp
objects around most homes, such as scissors, knives, forks, paper clips, nails,
thumbtacks, etc. Any of these items can cause harm to your dog if she ingests
them, steps on them, or comes in contact with a sharp object as she’s playing
or running through the house. Just as you would with a toddler, make sure
anything sharp or pointed is well out of your dog’s reach.
10.Home repair and
renovation products, for example, insulation can cause serious internal
problems if swallowed, so if you’re in the middle of a project around the
house, make sure not to leave materials lying around that could harm your pet.
As published by The Bark, Bradshaw’s Bill of Rights for Dogs follows. “If dogs could construct their own Bill of Rights, it would read something like this,” he begins:
“We are dogs, not wolves. We have lived with mankind since you were hunter-gatherers, and are now no more or less domesticated than you are. We assert the right to be treated as ourselves, and not as any kind of wild animal.
We assert the right to have our perceptions of the world taken into account, especially where our senses are superior to yours.
We assert the right to have our feelings, which are real if unlike yours, allowed for and comprehended. We are neither inferior humans, nor senseless robots.
Our mental capacities are considerable, but again different from those of mankind. We assert the right to be understood by our owners, who should not expect us to comprehend every word they say, nor presume that we learn as human children do.
We assert the right to be taught how to cope with the world of man. For although we are the product of your world, we are not born to understand it, and need to be introduced gradually, with care and with kindness.
Our language is rich and sophisticated. We assert the right to be comprehended, in the same way that we attempt to comprehend you.
We are fundamentally social animals, and we assert the right to the company of our own kind.
We are domesticated animals, and assert our right to the company of humans. If we are to be left on our own, we need to be trained to cope with that isolation.
We are individuals, each dog with its own personality. We therefore assert the right to be judged on our own merits, and not according to the reputation of breed or type.
We have served mankind faithfully for tens of thousands of years. Whilst we are born to serve, we assert the right for our needs and our dignity to be respected in all the capacities, both traditional and novel, that humanity may require.
We assert our right to a future. Having adapted our bodies and our lives to your needs, we have forfeited much of our capacity for independence. We therefore require mankind’s assistance as we meet the future together.”
If you apply these rights with your own dog, you’ll probably start to see her in a whole new light, and your bond may grow even deeper than it is right now.
The health of your dog depends on several factors: Genetics, exercise, food, medical care and a loving environment. You can't do anything about genetics but you have control over the other factors.
Daily walks, swimming and playing with your dog should provide the necessary exercise. Always make sure your dog is on leash when walking in areas where there is traffic or other dogs you don't know. Exercise caution when taking your dog to a dog park or other areas where dogs are off leash. Playing ball or Fisbee in a fenced yard provides good physical and mental exercise.
Providing good quality food and treats is one of the most important things you can do for the long term health of your dog. Holistic foods and the raw diet are excellent choices. Check the Whole Dog Journal to see which foods are recommended. Choose a food with "people quality" ingredients made by a company that has not had a history of food recalls. For more information, please read the "Food Information" section below.
Medical care including a yearly exam is important. Before you let anyone talk you into yearly vaccinations consider the fact that every vet school in the U.S. is now recommending the 3-yr protocol. Studies by the leading immunologists indicate that most dogs are immune to distemper/parvo and other diseases once they are vaccinated as puppies and receive the one year booster. Annual vaccinations for these diseases do not boost their immune system and may put them at risk for serious consequences. The rabies vaccination is required by law but should be administered every 3 years rather than annually.
Providing a loving environment helps your dog thrive. Include your dog as part of the family. Don't crate for hours or tie the dog out in the yard. Provide a cool environment in the summer and never leave your dog in a hot car. Provide a warm environment in the winter. Keep plenty of fresh water available at all times. Exercise caution when providing treats and toys. Dogs swallow many things we would never think about them eating! Many dogs end up at the vet's office having toys, treats, socks, towels and other objects removed from their digestive system.
And last but certainly not least……spay/neuter your pets. There are too many unwanted litters born into areas where there are not enough homes for them. This is especially true in the South. Please spay your females before their first heat cycle and neuter your males by 12-14 months of age. You will have a pet that is healthier, one that stays closer to home and one that will not be reproducing.
Having a dog in your life is so rewarding. They provide unconditional love and deserve that in return!
Many veterinarians recommend harsh dips and/or oral medications to clear up demodex in a puppy or adult dog. I was totally skeptical when I read that lemon juice would work for light cases of demodex. I have tried it with 4 puppies and it works. The mites that cause the demodex can't deal with this acidic environment. If the dog is with other dogs, you may need to confine it until the hair dries a bit. Otherwise the other dogs will lick the juice off.....they like the taste of lemons too!
Directions: Slice 1-2 organic lemons (peeling and all) and place them in a pint of water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Let it cool and apply to the affected areas twice/day using a cotton ball or sponge. Use a Q-tip for areas around the eyes. Be careful not to get this in the dogs eyes ....we all know how much it burns to accidentally squirt lemon juice into our eyes! Do this for several days (a week or more) and you will see amazing results! This is much better than using toxic chemicals like mitaban.
2nd Suggestion for Demodex--- Many vets are using Nexgard (flea/tick)med) to treat demodex. It is very effective and protects the dog from fleas/ticks at the same time.
Food Information: Until thousands of dogs get sick or die, and vets have done necropsies (autopsies) to provide information that associates a food with severe illness or death to the FDA and Mfgr, will the FDA even “RECOMMEND” a recall. Since most people don’t have necropsies done on their dogs as it is expensive, and they have probably already spent a great deal of money on their pups. Most vets don’t bother to notify the FDA, since it would cut into the profits of the food they sell, so there is no doubt there are many thousands more cases that are never acknowledged.
One of the ways I evaluate a vet is to look at how many square feet in his office is devoted to the sale of dog food as opposed to examining rooms, Xray Machines, Ultrasound equipment, etc. Most vets have had ONE course in animal nutrition – taught by a pet food company. When you have brought your dog in for an annual physical, or health problem, has your vet asked you what your dog eats? In depth questions beyond the brand name – not just because he wants to sell you what he has on HIS shelf? If s/he recommends a change in food, can s/he answer the question “WHY – what in this food is hurting my dog? “ “Why is this other food better for my dog?”
You are not going to get much help in choosing dog food. Even the FDA has no authority to enforce a recall for food fed to companion animals. Even though they can enforce problems found with animals fed to people. YOU are your dog’s only advocate. YOU have no profit motive.
Basically, there are 5 companies that make about 80-90% of the dog food distributed in the US and Canada. (See below for who they are.) Most of them use the waste from the human products they produce to put into dog food. These dog foods are all made in the same factories (I think there are only 4 in the US) with the same machines using the same ingredients – most of which are imported from China. Basically, the brand name, price and the advertising are the only differences. I will attach some documentation for you to read. By law, dog food mfgrs have a year to change their label to reflect any ingredient changes. So if you pup is allergic to one of the ingredients, and you can identify which it is extremely hard to do, you cannot depend on the dog food label to tell you if that ingredient is in the dog food you buy - no matter how carefully you check the label.
Also be aware that any and every ingredient you see on dog food labels refers to “feed” and not “food”. “Food” is a term that applies to foods that are safe for humans to eat. Feed (whether grain or meat or veggie or fruit) means that the ingredient is NOT safe for human consumption. All dog food is FEED. Nothing in dog food is “human grade”. Also check out just what “organic” means on a dog food label.
We are sold by advertisers for the dog food companies about the fact that all dangerous bacteria is killed by the extreme heat used in processing. However, what you aren’t told is that while bacteria (a living organism) is flourishing in the dog food ingredients, those bacteria are defecating toxins. The toxins are NOT destroyed by heating. Dog foods are, and are not, recalled for many reasons: salmonella, preservatives that are known to cause cancer and are not allowed to be used in human food, or excesses and/or deficiencies of minerals/vitamins. For kibble or canned foods the vitamins are destroyed by the extreme heat used in processing and are sprayed onto the kibble in a nice layer of rendered fat before it is put into the bag. Some canned food is about 70% sugars because it is cheap and is a preservative.
(You might like to investigate what goes into a rendering plant and what is turned into the fat sprayed on and added to your dog food). Because the vitamins re-added to the food are sprayed on and exposed to air and light, they start deteriorating almost instantly. So the bag they store the food in is sprayed with cancer causing materials to help preserve the fat coating from turning rancid. When you research, check out how quickly fats and oils can become dangerous. Some common oils that are used every day should not even be heated.
Please don’t be fooled by the percentage of protein advertised on the bag/can labels. Every food has protein – grains, veggies, fruits, etc. not just meats/eggs/fish. So when you see the percentage of protein on the label, it includes all of the partial proteins in the grains which are the primary ingredient in dog foods. (Corn is heavily used in dog food and there are approx. 1000 names used for corn on the labels. Soy is the other big ingredient. To make matters worse, many dogs are allergic to corn and soy.)
In many of the “grain free” dog foods, you have things like lentils which are legumes. Grain Free does not mean the dog is getting meats/protein “instead”. The protein in dog food is measured by the amount of nitrogen in the food. So ingredients high in nitrogen, make it look like the food is high in protein. When you see protein in the label of a dog food, it is always CRUDE protein. CRUDE protein is not AVAILABLE protein. The dog can only digest and have the nutritional benefits from AVAILABLE protein. Crude Protein can be bloody sawdust off the slaughterhouse floor, chicken feathers and beaks, chicken carcasses with no meat on them, animal hoofs - none of these things are able to be digested. For the meat protein that you will find in dog food – none safe for humans: 4-D meats (dead, down, dying, diseased animals), cancerous parts of animals, road kill, euthanized dogs and cats from shelters which contain in their bodies the chemicals used to kill them. All acceptable to be put into dog food by law and practice.
As awful as this sounds, and as unbelievable as it sounds, do your research. If you feel your dog is a member of your family – “like one of my kids” is what people say, then do your homework when deciding on dog food. Rescuing is just the start of the responsibility you have taken on.
Since 70% of the dogs immune system comes from his digestive tract, it should be no surprise that 50% of American pet dogs die from cancer. That study was just published and should be available on the web and easy to find. Arthritis, bone and joint problems are rampant. The primary cause for vet visits for dogs today is skin problems – most of which are caused by food allergies. Itchy feet, itchy ears, etc. Dogs on kibble also develop bladder crystals, kidney stones, and UTIs because of the dehydration. What you save on food you will spend on vet visits. Unfortunately the cost of the food does not always predict the quality. Please read the pamphlet we sent you and go to some of the websites that have become consumer watchdogs for our dogs.
If you want to evaluate the quality of what you are feed a dog, and will continue to feed a dog, twice a day for the rest of his life, I suggest you think about this…… You can buy a 15 lb bag of dog food for about $28.95 - About $1.93 a pound.
From that $1.93 ALL of the following things have been paid for and profits made: The farmers in China that planted, grew and harvested the product made a profit (meats/grains). The company that transported the product (grains and meats) to the ship got their piece of the $1.93. The shipping company that transported the product across the ocean to a US port profited Import/Export taxes were paid. The rail/trucking company that transported the each ingredient from the port to the food mfg assembly plant profited. The dog food mfgr plant that cooked/mixed the ingredients into dog food profited. The can maker profited. The printer that prints can labels got his cut. The paper mfgr that produces the kibble bags, and the printer that prints the bags profited. The rails/trucks that deliver the food all over the country to warehouses were paid. Storage costs for warehouses were paid. Transport from warehouses to retail stores got their piece of the 1.93. The store that sells the dog food to you had to make a profit. The advertisers that develop the advertisements on TV and in magazines were paid ALOT. The IT staff that maintains the websites were paid. The executives from Nestles, and Procter and Gamble, Mars, Colgate, DelMonte all got a piece of that 1.93 to pay their multi-million dollar salaries.
After all these ingredients were supplied, and all these people profited, and you only paid 1.93 a pound, what nutritional value do you think was left in that dog “feed” for your pet? That label tells you that your dog is getting no less than 32% protein. Hmmmm.
When you are choosing what to feed any living thing, you are choosing to have that creature either thrive or just survive.