Blog Archives

 

Catnip, the herb Nepeta cateria, is somewhat mysterious to us. By simply sniffing it, cats seem to be overcome with playfulness. It is a member of the mint family, nonaddictive, and completely safe for cats. So what is the secret to its overwhelming influence over felines?

Aptly named, catnip seems to only affect cats. Sniffing or ingesting this herb invigorates them through all of the five sense of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. It has a varying influence from cat to cat with some being more greatly affected than others and a small amount are not affected at all. After contact with the herb cats can display a wide range of behaviors from sneezing, sniffing, licking and chewing, head shaking, chin and cheek rubbing, head-over roll and body rubbing, eating the catnip, mewing and purring. The effects only lasts a few minutes.

Your cat may enjoy occasional contact with catnip. It can be purchased at the store in dry form as well as in many cat toys. Pet owners can even grow their own plant at home allowing your cat to approach it on his own time. No need to worry about your cat overdosing as its affects are due to scent and not consumption.

While catnip is not a necessary part of a cat’s diet, it can provide a fun outlet as well as a bonding experience for you and your pet.

|

Antibiotics have been a long trusted treatment in the fight against sickness for both humans and pets. In recent years however, their reputation is being challenged. While they effectively kill off the harmful bacteria making one sick, they also kill the beneficial bacteria that our immune systems rely on to protect against viruses, bacteria and other infections. This realization has many doctors recommending that their patients take a good probiotic supplement after the course of antibiotics in an attempt to restore the gut bacteria back to “normal.”

However, some researchers such as Martin Blaser of New York University’s Langone Medical Center says that the antibiotics effect on the gut bacteria is not reversible and some healthy bacteria may be lost for good. 

Most humans and dogs are often subjected to multiple rounds of antibiotics in their lifetimes. With their new understanding, researchers are actively investigating antibiotics long term impact not just on the intestinal flora, but in creating antibiotic resistant superbugs. In an attempt to avoid this serious outcome it is good to consider more natural antibacterial solutions that are gentler on the beneficial bacteria.

Here are eight natural antibiotics you can consider for your dog:

Tea tree oil (external use only)

This essential oil can be used to clean and dress wounds to prevent and treat infections. It is best to dilute in water when using as a wash or mixed with a carrier oil such as olive or almond oil in a 3:1 dilution when applying to wounds.

Grapefruit seed extract

Many prestigious universities and independent laboratories have tested grapefruit seed extract against more than 30 fungi, 20 bacteria and a host of viruses and protozoa. In almost all of these cultures grapefruit seed extract exhibited significant antimicrobial activity at low concentration.

Echinacea

This herb effectively fights bacterial and viral infections by stimulating the immune system.

Goldenseal 

Native Americans used this herb for centuries for infections, venereal disease, and ulcers. That’s probably because goldenseal prevents bacteria from adhering to cell walls so it can’t grow. It cleanses the body, has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and strengthens the immune system.

Garlic

A natural antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral agent best known for its sulphur compounds, particularly allicin. These are the main phytochemicals that boost immunity and act as natural antibiotics.

Oregano Oil

Researcher Paul Belaiche, author of “Treatise on Phytotherapy and Aromatherapy” reported that oregano oil killed 96% of all pneumococcus bacteria. Oregano oil was also shown to eliminate 83% of streptococcus, which is linked with strep throat, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, toxic shock syndrome, cystitis, and wound infections.

Olive Leaf Extract

Professors at the Department of Biomedical Science at CHA University in Korea found that olive leaf extract was potent against various bacterial microbes. Their research also showed olive leaf exhibited free radical scavenging abilities which are linked with aging and disease.

Honey

Munaka honey sold in health food stores, has a higher concentration of antibiotics than other honeys. Third world countries have long used wild honey to spread over wounds and burns allowing them to heal with minimal scarring and few infections. Many regard tea with lemon and honey as a time honored drink when a human cold or the flu has hit.

Eating the right foods can prepare our pets and our own immune systems to fight off different bacterial infections before they can get us down. The beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods like kefir, have been shown to calm the immune system and reduce inflammation, shorten the duration and severity of colds, relieve diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, reduce allergic responses, stimulate the immune response, possibly reduce the risk of certain cancers; and improve the overall health and function of the gut.

In some instances antibiotics can not be avoided and can be life saving.  Yet, in light of recent research, it might be best to save them as a last resort rather than a first line of defense. Even still, their use can often be avoided altogether with a fresh, whole food diet rich in fermented foods with the inclusion of natural herbs and remedies.

|

Catnip, the herb Nepeta cateria, is somewhat mysterious to us. By simply sniffing it, cats seem to be overcome with playfulness. It is a member of the mint family, nonaddictive, and completely safe for cats. So what is the secret to its overwhelming influence over felines?

Aptly named, catnip seems to only affect cats. Sniffing or ingesting this herb invigorates them through all of the five sense of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. It has a varying influence from cat to cat with some being more greatly affected than others and a small amount are not affected at all. After contact with the herb cats can display a wide range of behaviors from sneezing, sniffing, licking and chewing, head shaking, chin and cheek rubbing, head-over roll and body rubbing, eating the catnip, mewing and purring. The effects only lasts a few minutes.

Your cat may enjoy occasional contact with catnip. It can be purchased at the store in dry form as well as in many cat toys. Pet owners can even grow their own plant at home allowing your cat to approach it on his own time. No need to worry about your cat overdosing as its affects are due to scent and not consumption.

While catnip is not a necessary part of a cat’s diet, it can provide a fun outlet as well as a bonding experience for you and your pet.

|

Pet owners are more frequently questioning the safety of using cat litter: “How does it affect the environment?”  “Is it even safe for my cat?” and “What are the natural alternatives?”

THE PROBLEM:

In clumping cat litter sodium bentonite, a natural clay ingredient that expands and hardens when it comes into contact with moisture, is the main villain. It’s purpose is to make cleaning kitty’s box a little easier but at what price? While digging in their litter, cats can inhale fine sodium bentonite particles which expands when it hits their lungs. This can cause asthma and other lung problems. There is also a risk of ingestion as cats are cleaning their paws. Lastly even the pads of their feet may develop sores from contact. 

Another danger lies in using silica-based litter. A porous granular form of sodium silicate, it absorbs odors and moisture. However, being easily inhaled by humans and felines, it has been linked to lung cancer, bronchitis and even tuberculosis. A fatal form of pulmonary tuberculosis called silico-tuberculosis has been found in some cats.

The effects on our pets is bad enough but they also negatively impact our environment as well. The process of producing these conventional litters involves strip milling which is destructive in itself. The secondary affect comes in to play after disposing of the litter which fills up land fills, unable to be decomposed any further resulting in about two million tons of cat litter being sent to the land fills each year. 

THE SOLUTION: 

Luckily, some natural alternatives do exist. One to consider is Swheat Scoop. As you may have guessed by its name, it is made from a processed non-food grade wheat. Its admirable qualities include being biodegradable, free of chemicals and fragrance while still maintaining its clumping abilities. It comes in pellet form and clumps when wet so you do not have to sacrifice convenience for health. It has a velvety texture which will not irritate paws.

Another great alternative that many companies are turning to is recycled newspaper. Newspaper is naturally biodegradable and absorbent. Fashioning them in to soft, paper pellets makes them friendly to use and they wont cling to your pet when he is done doing his duty. Good Mews and Yesterday’s New are two popular brands sold in pet stores. 

The options are plentiful with Corning litter being another safe choice made of…you guessed it, corn! Corn has a unique ability to capture ammonia which is that nasty smell you may have noticed when cleaning Fluffy’s box. One Earth Cat Litter utilizes fast clumping corn cob granules while featuring yucca and pine for a natural fragrance. These two brands are compatible with self-cleaning automatic litter boxes.

Feline Pine uses remaining pine sawdust from lumberyards.The dust is cleaned, kiln-dried, and pressurized to remove oils which results in sterile, dust-free pellets that are super absorbent. Vets have been known to recommend using this litter for post-surgery since it has been sterilized.

Although these green litters are biodegradable and may be septic- and sewer-safe, it’s best not to flush them down the toilet into our waterways. Cat feces is known to contain a parasite known as Toxoplasmosis gondii (TG) which is extremely dangerous to pregnant women and marine life.You may however throw your used litter into the compost bin but it is only suitable for use on trees, shrubs, flower or r potted plants, not vegetables or fruits. Cats are known for being finicky, so you may have to try a few before you find the green litter that works best for your kitty.

|

With so many varying opinions available today over what is healthy and what is not for your pet, many pet owners are looking for answers. Knowledge is power and we hope that laying out the pros and cons regarding this popular chew treat for dogs as well as answering some basic questions will help you to make an informed choice about what is best for your pooch.

What is it?

A rawhide is made from the inner soft hide of an animal. It is most commonly made from the skin of cows but can also be from pig, sheep, or horse.

Pros:

· Can relieve teething pain in puppies. When a puppy chews it helps to counter the pain from teeth pushing through the gums as well as help to strengthen jaw muscles.

· Satisfies your dogs chewing desire. Dogs have an instinctual desire to chew. In the wild their meals consisted of plenty of animal bones to chew on.

· Promotes healthy gums and teeth. Chewing a rawhide causes friction on your pets teeth, rubbing off any plaque buildup which leaves teeth and gums clean and can reduce his risk of dental problems.

· An alternative to chewing valuable items. Fulfilling that instinct to chew and keeping your dogs jaws busy for hours can help to prevent him turning to your valuable household items as his chew toys.

Cons:

· Not all rawhides are safe to ingest. Rawhides  produced outside USA have been reported to be made from toxic chemicals including arsenic and formaldehyde. Check the packaging and only select rawhides that are made in the USA.

· A potential choking hazard. Ifyour dog swallows a small piece of rawhide, it can get lodged in his throat causing him to choke. Once the rawhide becomes small enough to be swallowed whole toss it in the trash.

· Can cause digestive blockage. If your dog does swallow a large piece of rawhide, the outcome could be fatal. The rawhide can expand inside of the stomach, or even wrap around his intestines, causing an obstruction.

· Some rawhides contain skin from other dogs. The Humane Society International stated in an investigative report, “In a particularly grisly twist, the skins of brutally slaughtered dogs in Thailand are mixed with other bits of skin to produce rawhide chew toys for pet dogs. Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.”

There you have it, the good, the bad, and the ugly truth about rawhide chew treats. For many, the risks outweigh the benefits and pet owners will seek out alternative chewables for their pets. For those who would continue to use these timeless treats, knowing where and how they are manufactured is key for your pets safety.

|

Which side of the bed are you on  when it comes to this topic? Do you insist that pets stay in their own beds or do you give in to those big eyes and share the sack with your four legged buddy? Do you ever regret that decision when fighting for covers or being awoken by doggy dreams? With an official study conducted on quality of sleep, the verdict is in: 

Sorry, pet lovers: Sharing a bed with a furry friend is officially bad for your sleep.

According to new research, 30 percent of those who sleep with their pet are waking up at least once a night because of their pet. A whopping 63 percent report poor sleep quality as a result of sleeping with a pet four or more nights a week. And trouble falling back asleep once their slumber was disturbed was noted among 5 percent of participants.

The research was presented in a poster at SLEEP 2014, the 28th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies,and offers a unique perspective, according to Dr. Sowjanya Duthuluru M.D. Most sleep studies have focused on sharing a bed with a romantic partner or with a young child, while pets have long been known to disrupt sleep due to their barks and meows, animated dreams of chasing cars or allergic reactions they might trigger.

300 patients were asked 17 questions about their pets and their quality of sleep. Of the 300, about half (148) were pet owners and more than half of the pet owners shared their beds or bedrooms with their furry friend. There were no significant difference noted between the ages or genders of the pet owners, or whether they owned a dog or a cat.

Some pet owners, however, reported feeling comforted by the presence of their pets in spite of the negative findings. Further research into the effects of co-sleeping with pets on sleep quality may be helpful.

|