Can Dogs Get Heat Stroke?

By Jessica Peralta -Dogs Naturally

You’re walking along with your 80-pound, long-haired German Shepherd one warm, sunny afternoon. You’re breaking a bit of a sweat, but you feel fine in your shorts and tank. But then you look over at Thor, and he’s not looking too good. His eyes are glassy, he’s panting a lot and he’s starting to pull back on the leash. “But, it’s not that hot,” you say to yourself. “What’s up with Thor?”

Thor is probably on his way to heat stroke. Heat stroke in dogs can be dangerous.

What Is Heat Stroke In Dogs?

Your dog gets heat stroke when he’s having trouble regulating his body temperature.

Your dog doesn’t sweat the way you do. He only has sweat glands in his nose and in the pads of his feet. And his only real recourse when he’s overheating is to pant, which sometimes isn’t enough.

Add in the fur that covers his body and the fact that his paws are usually in direct contact with the hot sidewalk … and It’s easy to see how he can get much hotter than you can, and much faster.

Heatstroke in dogs is dangerous. It can cause permanent brain or organ damage.

A dog’s normal body temperature is somewhere between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees. A dog will start to experience heat stroke when he temperature is over 105 degrees. At around 106 to 108 degrees, irreversible organ damage can occur. It can even cause death. Try to keep a thermometer handy and check his temperature if you suspect heat stroke.

Pay close attention any time the weather is warm. The longer your dog suffers, the worse the damage will be.

Signs Of Heat Stroke In Dogs

So how can you tell if your dog’s struggling? Here are some signs of heat stroke in dogs:

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Glazed eyes
  • Hyperventilation
  • Increased salivation
  • Dry gums that are pale or grayish
  • Bright or dark red tongue or gums
  • Rapid or erratic pulse
  • Weakness, staggering, confusion, inattention
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Collapse

NOTE: Breeds with flat faces like Pugs and Boxers, elderly dogs and puppies are at higher risk. Dogs with existing health conditions may also overheat faster.

You need to take immediate action. Again, heat stroke can cause permanent organ damage. if your dog doesn’t cool down, his breathing can slow or stop. He may have seizures or fall into a coma.

So, what should you do if you think your dog has heat stroke?

Dog Heat Stroke Treatment At Home

If your dog has heat stroke, his condition can progress quickly, so take action as soon as you suspect a problem.

1. Get Him Into The Shade

Since heat is the obvious problem, you want to get him out of direct sunlight and into a cooler spot as soon as possible. Find a shady spot under a tree, preferably in a grassy area, which will be cooler than asphalt or concrete.

2. Apply Cool Water

Get water on his inner thighs and stomach where there are more large blood vessels, and on the pads of his feet. Use running water from the faucet or hose. If you’re out on a walk, ask a neighbor if you can use theirs!

3. Air Him Out

To help cool your dog, make sure the water you’re putting on him can evaporate. Don’t cover him up with a wet towel or blanket. Covering him will create a sauna effect instead of allowing the water to evaporate. Keep him in the open air and out of enclosed areas like a kennel. If you can get him near a fan or air condition, or in a breezy spot if you’re outside, that will help.

4. Keep Him Moving

Encourage your dog to stand or slowly walk around while he’s cooling down. You want his cooled blood to circulate throughout his body.

5. Give Him Small Amounts Of Cool (Not Cold )Water

If he gulps down too much water too fast, it can cause vomiting or bloating. But he needs to stay hydrated. If he doesn’t want water, give him chicken or beef broth.

Never give human sports or performance drinks.

RELATED: Here’s a quick and easy bone broth recipe …

6. Get Him To The Vet

Once your dog has started to cool down, take him to his vet right away. You don’t want to keep trying to cool down your dog for too long or you’ll risk him getting hypothermia.

Even if your dog seems fine, he’ll need a veterinary exam. There may be underlying damage to his organs that you can’t see. The effects of heat stroke can continue for 48 to 72 hours.

The most common cause of death following heat stroke is disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC). This happens when the blood coagulates throughout the body. It can occur hours or days after the heat stroke episode. Again, even if your dog seems much better, a vet exam is the best way to make sure.

DNM RECOMMENDS: Kin+Kind offers Flea + Tick Prevent! to provide all-natural protection from fleas and ticks for your dog in summer months. Buy Kin+KInd now >>

Homeopathic Remedies For Heat Stroke In Dogs

Cooling down your overheated dog and getting him to the vet is critical. Homeopathic remedies can help if you have them handy. Use 6C or 30C potency if you have it … but if you have the remedy in a different potency, use whatever you have. Choose the remedy that best fits his symptoms according to the descriptions below. Dose every 5-15 minutes for up to 3 or 4 doses. If he doesn’t seem better, try one of the other remedies listed.

  1. Belladonna – your dog is red, has dilated pupils, bounding pulses, and is burning up, or even comatose use this remedy – and get him to the vet as fast as you can.
  2. Aconitum napellus – This is a good first choice at first sign of heat stroke. If your dog needs this remedy, he may also seem very fearful or anxious.
  3. Gelsemium – If your dog needs this remedy, he may seem very weak and his muscles may be trembling.
  4. Glonoinum – This remedy can help when your dog overheats from too much sun exposure. You may see vomiting and weakness. His heart may pound. His ears and gums may look red, or even alternating from pale to red. HIs eyes may look red and staring, protruding or dry.

For all these remedies, follow the instructions on How To Give A Homeopathic Remedy at the link below. A dose is usually about 3 pellets but the number really doesn’t matter, so you can give more or less.

RELATED: What you need to know about homeopathy for dogs …

How To Prevent Heat Stroke In Dogs

When it comes to heat stroke, . Heatstroke is completely avoidable if you take some precautions

Whether you’re heading out for a hike or your dog’s playing in the backyard, remember these tips:

  • Always be aware of the temperature and the potential for heat stroke.
  • Find spots that offer some shade and a place for your dog to get a break out of direct sunlight.
  • Make sure your dog always has access to cool, clean water and a way to cool himself down. Carry plenty of drinking water and a portable bowl so you can give him a drink if he’s panting.
  • If your dog likes to paddle or swim, on really hot days it’s a great idea to take him for a walk in the woods near a creek or lake.
  • If your dog has a tendency to feel the heat. consider buying a cooling vest or bandana.
  • Don’t ever leave your dog in a parked car on warm days – even with the air conditioning running. AC can fail and make the car hotter by blowing heated air instead of cold.
  • Don’t shave your long haired or double-coated dog in summer. It may seem like he’d be cooler, but it actually makes overheating more likely. Find out why …

Heat stroke is very dangerous for your dog … so be prepared, and don’t let it happen!

Do Ticks Jump?

As Seen in PetMD

How do ticks end up on your pet? Some common misconceptions are that ticks jump, fly, or fall from the trees. In fact, these are all false.

Ticks have pear-shaped bodies and four pairs of legs. Their body design, combined with their feeding needs for each part of their life cycle, determine how they get to their host to feed.

However, none of these modes of mobility include jumping. And since they don’t have wings, either, they can’t fly.

Here’s a breakdown of how ticks get around and how they find and attach to their hosts.

Questing: A Tick’s True Mode of Travel

Ticks are unique in that they are opportunistic creatures. They wait for their host to come to them. This is a process known as “questing.”

The very patient tick uses its rear pairs of legs to hold on to a leaf or blade of grass as it grabs on to the next host animal that brushes past it.

How Ticks Detect Nearby Hosts

The questing period is not completely passive and random. Ticks have perfected this mode of survival by using their senses to detect movement and carbon dioxide exhaled by animals.

This gives them a better chance of connecting with a host animal so that they can feed and survive. Many species of ticks need to feed on a bloodmeal in the periods between each life stage in order to grow.

How Ticks Choose a Host

Certain varieties of ticks have preferred hosts. For example, the deer tick (also known as the black-legged tick), prefers to feed on white-tailed deer. But if a dog presents itself as a convenient host, the tick may feed on the dog.

The American dog tick prefers the dog as a host, but it can feed on a human if need be. These examples simplify the selection process for hosts, which can be quite intricate and can even differ with each type of tick (soft or hard) and each stage in their life cycle.

But overall, despite the fact that they might have preferred hosts, ticks are opportunistic creatures. They will get their bloodmeal whenever they can. It’s all about what animal happens to brush by them so they can attach and feed.

How Ticks Attach

In many tick species, larvae quest at ground level, while adults climb higher in hopes of grabbing on to a larger animal as it passes by. Some ticks will attach quickly, while others crawl around on the host, looking for thinner skin to attach to.

These differences in tick location and attachment make it especially important to check your pet’s ears and the bottom of their paws to remove potential ticks that may have attached. Ticks will find the most hidden spots on your pet.

Tick Prevention

The best way to not have to worry about tick removal and the diseases that ticks transmit is to protect your pet from them in the first place.

Some flea and tick products can be applied topically, while others are worn as collars or taken orally. Discuss with your vet which flea and tick control options would be the safest and most effective for your pet.

RESOURCES

www.cdc.gov and www.petsandparasites.org

Enhancing your pet’s kibble-based diet

By Sara Jordan-Heintz as seen in Animal Wellness Magazine

While many pet kibbles are improving in quality, it’s never a bad idea to add some extra nutritional value and variety to these foods. If your dog or cat eats a kibble-based diet, here are some foods and meal toppers that will enhance its nutritional impact.

Not long ago, most kibble-based diets were regarded as the least favorable way to feed your dog or cat. They were lacking in whole meat ingredients, and were full of grains, empty fillers, preservatives, and other less-than-ideal ingredients. The cheaper brands haven’t changed much, but many manufacturers are now taking steps to formulate healthier kibble diets that better meet feline and canine nutritional needs. Whichever kibble-based diet your dog or cat may eat, it never hurts to supplement it with fresh foods or meal toppers. Not only does this add more nutritional value, but it also gives your animal some extra flavor and variety. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Bone broth

Many cats and dogs, especially those eating dry foods, don’t drink enough water, so adding hydration to their diets is essential. Bone broth is easy to add at mealtime, and is a good source of protein, the amino acid glycine, and collagen.

Coconut oil

This oil can be used both topically and orally to keep your animal’s coat shiny. As an added bonus, it can reduce inflammation in a cat’s digestive tract. Lauric acid, a saturated fat found in coconut oil, can soothe inflammation all over the body.

Natural probiotics

Dairy products such as kefir, yogurt and buttermilk, as well as fermented vegetables including sauerkraut, ginger carrots, kimchi and beets, can aid in digestion and help ease the symptoms of chronic diarrhea in cats and dogs.

“Digestive issues are very prevalent in modern dogs,” say certified pet food nutrition specialist, Holly Montgomery. “They can be due to stress, environmental toxins, antibiotic treatment, medications and more. In fact, it’s at the point now where I recommend probiotics for every dog.”

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Dogs may enjoy eating kale, spinach, carrots, green beans, broccoli, etc. with their kibble. For fruits, consider pieces of apple (minus the seeds and core), blueberries, cranberries, cantaloupe and bananas. Some cats like carrots, peas, broccoli florets, green beans, zucchini, spinach, and winter squash. Be sure to avoid fruits and veggies that are toxic to animals – prime examples are onions, grapes and raisins.

Hint: Vegetables should be lightly steamed or pureed to enhance digestibility and nutrient absorption.

Goat’s milk

Raw goat’s milk can be beneficial for both cats and dogs. It may be served with the kibble or on its own, and it also freezes well for treats. Goat’s milk can be a good alternative for animals with sensitivity to bovine milk.

Pumpkin Puree

High in soluble fiber, pumpkin puree is a popular go-to treatment for cats and dogs experiencing diarrhea or constipation. Adding a bit to their meals can help them have regular bowel movements. It can also help dogs and cats with indigestion or upset stomachs.

Hint: Cooked sweet potatoes, without skins, have similar benefits to pumpkin.

10 pantry items that are poisonous to pets

By Animal Wellness

Do you know what items in your kitchen are poisonous to dogs and cats? Pet toxicology experts identify top 10 toxins commonly found in a pantry.

When you think of your pantry, images of household staples, cooking supplies, snacks and other food items come to mind. In reality, what you may find is a pantry full of potential pet poisons.

In honor of National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, the toxicology experts at Pet Poison Helpline reviewed their case data and developed a list of the top 10 potential pet poisons commonly found in your pantry.

“Most people don’t realize that common household foods for human consumption can be toxic to pets, especially if they consume them in large quantities” said Dr. Renee Schmid, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline. “Many pets join the family in the kitchen, and often have access to the pantry. Hidden inside that pantry are a number of items that are either dangerous on their own or contain ingredients that can be toxic to pets.”

Here is Pet Poison Helpline’s Top 10 Pantry of Pet Poisons:

1. Alcohol

Animals are at a high risk for developing alcohol poisoning even with small amounts of alcohol.  Low blood sugar, lethargy and seizures can occur.

2. Chocolate

The darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of methylxanthines, increasing the risk of poisoning. Keep away to avoid vomiting, diarrhea, and agitation.  Large ingestions can result in heart rhythm changes and even seizures.

3. Coffee beans/grounds

Caffeine is a stimulant for everyone – too much can cause tremors and a racing heart. Keep your pet off of the ceiling and out of the hospital.

4. Garlic and onion

Garlic and onion can cause vomiting and diarrhea, as well as anemia and other red blood cell changes depending on the amount ingested due to sulfur containing oxidants.

5. Macadamia nuts

These nuts can cause dogs to have difficulty walking, which can be stressful and dangerous around stairs.  Additional risks include joint pain and pancreatitis.

6. Raisins

Ingesting only a few raisins can result in kidney injury for your furry pet.  Early signs include vomiting and lethargy.

7. Salt

Pets should never be given salt.  Salt is a poison for dogs and can cause vomiting, tremors and seizures.

8. Tea

Small dogs and cats may have too much caffeine from a bag of tea and all pets might have trouble passing the bag with a string.

9. Xylitol/Birch sugar (gum, mints, sugar-free products, protein bars, specialty peanut butters)

Xylitol/birch sugar and dogs are not a good combination.  Beware of seizures from low blood sugar as well as possible liver failure – this is not a sweet treat!

10. Yeast

When mixed into a dough, yeast organisms are busy making alcohol and lots of gas through fermentation. The dough can expand in the stomach, blocking the ability for the dough and gas to pass through.  The alcohol produced may result in alcohol poisoning.

11 ways to manage pain in dogs and cats

By Deana Cappucci, BS, LVT, CCRVN, CCMT, VTS (Physical Rehabilitation) as seen in Animal Wellness Magazine

When it comes to managing pain in dogs and cats, these alternative modalities have a lot to offer. Consider trying one of these options before reaching for the pain meds.

Animals experience pain just like we do. But because dogs and cats are so stoic, most people don’t realize their animals are suffering. In nature, animals that show signs of pain or weakness are targets for prey, so they have adapted to hide their pain in order to survive. Learning how to recognize pain in your dog or cat is the first step, along with getting the problem properly diagnosed by your veterinarian. And there are many ways to manage pain besides medication. This article explores some alternative modalities for pain management in dogs and cats.

Recognizing pain in your companion animal

In dogs and cats, pain presents as a change in behavior or mobility (see sidebar). For instance, a dog experiencing pain from arthritis may not want to perform daily activities, such as going for long walks, or may have a hard time getting in and out of the car. Cats in pain may hesitate or avoid jumping onto higher surfaces, may hide more often, or experience a decreased appetite.

If you notice these signs in your own dog or cat, take him to the veterinarian for a checkup. Pain can arise from many different conditions and it’s important to find out which one is bothering your own animal so he can be properly treated.

Pain management – 11 alternative solutions

Fortunately, there are many ways you and your animal’s healthcare team can help manage pain and extend his quality of life.

1. Physical rehabilitation

Physical therapy is a service often used in human medicine to help patients recover from surgery or restore tissue function after an injury. Likewise, many modalities used in animal physical rehabilitation help reduce pain and inflammation to improve an animal’s comfort.

2. Laser therapy

3. Thermal therapy

Thermal therapies such as heat and cryotherapy are often used to improve circulation or decrease inflammation and swelling. Ice is added after surgical procedures to help reduce pain and swelling, whereas heat can be applied to sore muscles or stiff joints to provide circulation to the tissues and joints.

4. Therapeutic ultrasound

Therapeutic ultrasound uses low energy sound waves to warm up the tissue. It improves flexibility and promotes healing while decreasing pain and inflammation. It’s often used for animals with soft tissue trauma, such as muscle and tendon strains or sprains.

5. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy

This device uses high energy sound waves to stimulate the tissue, causing a physiologic response that leads to endorphin release for pain management, and promotes tissue healing. Animals that benefit from shockwave therapy include those suffering from arthritis, muscle and tendon injuries, or bone fractures that are not healing as expected. There are many different types of shockwave therapy, some of which may require light sedation due to the loud sound and intensity of the shocks.

6. Electrotherapy

Also known as E-Stim or TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), electrotherapy uses an electrical current that is applied to a painful area to inhibit the sensory response to pain. Electrical stimulation can help in cases involving arthritis, post-surgical recovery, or soft tissue injuries or trauma.

7. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy

8. Acupuncture

Acupuncture uses small needles inserted into specific points on the body, causing a physiologic response. Acupuncture releases the body’s natural endorphins, which help control pain. It also stimulates nerves, which is beneficial for animals experiencing neurologic dysfunction like IVDD or degenerative myelopathy. Arthritis and soft tissue injuries also benefit from acupuncture.

9. Therapeutic exercise

Therapeutic exercise is used in animal rehabilitation to help strengthen weakened muscles that may be associated with an injury or post-operative recovery. Arthritis causes pain in the joints leading to weakness in the muscles. Therapeutic exercises help improve strength and mobility in arthritic animals, and those recovering from surgery or injury.

10. Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy, such as swimming in warm circulating water, or walking on an underwater treadmill, provides buoyancy while reducing pain on injured joints. The warm water causes vasodilation and increases blood flow to the tissue, which helps decrease pain in the muscles and joints. The hydrostatic pressure of the water provides body awareness that is helpful in older dogs, or those suffering from neurologic disease. The resistance of the water also improves strength as the animal swims or walks against the water.

11. Massage

Last but not least, massage and manual therapies alleviate taut muscles and increase circulation to the tissues. Massage brings blood flow to the tissue, providing oxygen and nutrients to the area. It can reduce pain by decreasing muscle spasms and improving the flexibility of joints. Massage can also decrease stress and anxiety, which can exaggerate pain. Most animals – and their humans – would benefit from a massage!

Ask your veterinarian if he or she offers any of these pain-relieving modalities, or seek out a veterinary rehabilitation center in your area. It is important to understand that although these modalities have therapeutic effects for managing pain and discomfort, other medical interventions may be added to your dog or cat’s regimen to provide the best pain relief and improve overall comfort. It is also important to know that not all animals are candidates for every modality, and that a consultation with a trained veterinary professional is necessary to discuss the best options for your own dog or cat.

Support canine health and aging with astaxanthin (wild Salmon)

By Karen Hecht, PhD As seen in Animal Wellness Magazine

As nature’s most powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin benefits canine endurance, aging, vision health and more.

Daily antioxidants are known to support canine health in a variety of beneficial ways. They promote a healthy immune response, support eye health in aging dogs, and contribute to a normal inflammatory response. Antioxidants also help neutralize potentially harmful free radicals.

Free radicals are reactive molecules produced both as by-products of the body’s natural physiology, and as a result of interaction with the environment. Antioxidants produced naturally by the body work together with dietary antioxidants to control and balance the level of free radicals in the body. When this balance is tipped in favor of free radical accumulation, oxidative stress and damage can occur to healthy cells. Oxidative stress can happen anywhere in the body, including in the muscles, eyes, skin, and brain.

Since all antioxidants work somewhat differently, a varied diet containing many is the most beneficial.

Astaxanthin, a natural antioxidant

Astaxanthin can boost a dog’s antioxidant capacity, helping to control oxidative stress. Natural astaxanthin is a targeted mitochondrial ingredient whose antioxidant activity is reported to be higher than that of beta carotene, lutein and vitamin E.

Natural astaxanthin is red in color and belongs to the family of antioxidants called carotenoids, which are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables. However, unlike carotenoids such as the beta-carotene found in carrots, lycopene found in tomatoes, and lutein found in spinach, natural astaxanthin is found in red-colored seafoods like lobster, crab, shrimp and salmon. For dogs and people, the main dietary source of natural astaxanthin is wild salmon. However, salmon is a rare protein in commercial dog food, and a dog would have to consume four filets of wild king salmon daily to get a beneficial amount of astaxanthin.

Natural astaxanthin has some features that make it unique among antioxidants:

  • It is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, which means it is very good at quenching free radicals. One study revealed that astaxanthin is 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 110 times stronger than vitamin E, and even three to five times stronger than its cousin carotenoids, lutein and beta carotene.
  • Astaxanthin is a fat-soluble antioxidant that can access cell membranes, unlike water-soluble antioxidants. This is important because cell membranes are made of lipids, which are especially sensitive to oxidation. Natural astaxanthin has a unique structure that can span the cell membrane from end to end for better membrane coverage and antioxidant protection.
  • Though it favors all membranes, as much as 50% of all membrane-bound astaxanthin has been found in mitochondrial membranes, the energy-producing parts of the cell that also produce free radicals as a by-product of their metabolic activity. This means that natural astaxanthin is poised at the site of free radical production to help neutralize these unstable molecules before they start a chain reaction that can damage healthy mitochondria and tissue.


Flowers and Plants That Are Safe for Dogs

As seen in PetMD

Some plants and cut flowers can actually be toxic to dogs, causing symptoms such as swelling of the mouth, vomiting, trembling, loss of coordination, seizures, difficulty breathing, or even death. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t ever decorate your place with indoor plants or accept a gift of flowers from a friend. Before you bring home a nice flower arrangement or new houseplant, you just need to make sure it’s on the list of flowers and plants that are safe for dogs. 

Flowers That Are Safe for Dogs

Some safe flowers for dogs include:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Asters
  • Gerber Daisies
  • Orchid
  • Roses
  • Snapdragon
  • Statice
  • Sunflowers

Houseplants That Are Safe for Dogs

Here a few plants that are safe for dogs:

Ferns:

  • Boston Fern

Herbs:

  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

Perennials:

  • African Violet
  • Aluminum Plant (aka Watermelon plant)
  • Bamboo
  • Friendship Plant
  • Spider Ivy (aka Spider Plant)
  • Swedish Ivy

Succulents:

  • Blue Echeveria (aka Wax Rosette, Painted Lady)
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Haworthia
  • Hens and Chickens

Palms:

  • Areca Palm
  • Dwarf Date Palm
  • Dwarf Palm (aka Good Luck Palm, Bamboo Palm, Parlor Palm)
  • Lady Palm

Why Do Dogs Eat Plants and Flowers?

Pets are curious, so it’s not unlikely that they would try to munch on plants or flowers that you bring into the home.

“Exposure of dogs and cats to household plants occurs commonly, especially with younger animals that tend to be very inquisitive. Some plants are extremely toxic to our pets,” says Dr. David Dorman, DVM and professor of Toxicology at North Carolina State University of Veterinary Medicine. 

Dr. Dorman says, “It’s important to remember that your pet cannot distinguish between safe-to-eat plants and those that are dangerous. The key to preventing poisonings in your pets is to prevent exposure.” Thus, don’t bring poisonous plants into the home with cats and dogs, period.

What to Do If You Suspect That Your Dog Ate a Toxic Plant or Flower 

Plants that are considered dangerous for dogs can cause a range of symptoms—some much more serious than others. 

If you’re concerned that your pet has ingested a poisonous plant or flower, or they’re showing symptoms of poisoning, contact your veterinarian, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435, or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 immediately. 

Before you add eco-friendly décor to your home, do your research to keep your pets safe.

Which Flowers and Plants Are Safe for Cats?

Reviewed on March 19, 2020, by Dr. Jennifer Grota, DVM as seen in PetMD

Did you know that certain plants and flowers can actually be dangerous for your cat? 

“While any plant material can cause mild stomach upset, some plants are much more dangerous,” says Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

It’s also important for cat parents to know that some plants and flowers that are relatively safe for dogs can be deadly for cats. “Members of the Lilium (true lilies) or Hemerocallis (day lilies) can cause kidney failure in cats, but only mild stomach upset in dogs,” says Wismer.

If you’re considering an eco-conscious revamp of your home décor, check this list to find out which flowers and houseplants are safe for cats.

Flowers That Are Safe for Cats 

Avoid bringing dangerous flowers into your home with this list of safe flowers for cats:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Asters
  • Freesia
  • Gerber Daisies
  • Liatris
  • Lisianthus
  • Orchid
  • Roses
  • Snapdragon
  • Statice
  • Sunflowers
  • Wax Flower (Madagascar Jasmine)

Air-Purifying Plants That Are Safe for Cats

Houseplants cleanse the air we breathe from toxins found in many household products—formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide, just to name a few. 

Here are some air-purifying plants that are also safe for cats:

  • Areca Palm
  • Bamboo
  • Basil
  • Boston Fern
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Dwarf Date Palm
  • Friendship Plant
  • Hens and Chicks
  • Lady Palm
  • Lemon Balm
  • Old Man Cactus
  • Painted Lady
  • Reed Palm
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Shrimp Cactus
  • Spider Plant (Spider Ivy)
  • Venus Flytrap
  • Zebra Haworthia

Even Safe Plants Can Pose Dangers to Cats

Wismer suggests that you keep these plants and flowers out of reach of curious cats even though they are considered safe, because there are other dangers to watch out for. 

Most cut flowers come with a powdered flower food to keep them fresh, and this can be toxic to cats. Even the vases could pose a problem. “Cats especially like to drink from vases, so make sure the cat cannot overturn heavy vases and hurt themselves,” Wismer adds. “Breakable vases can also be a hazard for your pets…and you, when you have to pick up the pieces.”

Karen Lawrence, director of The CFA Foundation and manager of the Feline Historical Museum, suggests using hanging planters as a way to keep plants out of the reach of your pets.

What to Do If Your Cat Eats a Plant That Might Be Poisonous

If your cat nibbled on a flower or plant, and you are unsure whether it may be toxic, call your emergency vet, or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

You should call even if you just suspect that your cat might have eaten part of a plant or flower. 

By: Cheryl Lock

7 fun things to do with your dog this summer

By Jennifer Hinders as seen in Animal Wellness Magazine

 If you’re looking for something to do with your dog this summer, and aren’t sure what to do as the pandemic winds down, check out this list of seven fun and simple ideas.

Even as the pandemic seems to be winding down in some places, it remains important to follow existing restrictions as long as they’re in place. So if you’re looking for some fun things to do with your dog this summer, and aren’t sure what’s available to you, check out this list of seven fun and simple ideas.

1. Enjoy a long walk

You and your dog need regular exercise. Taking a long walk is a great way for you both to stay fit. Fortunately, you can still enjoy walks with your dogs and stay within COVID rules. Be sure to bring along your mask in case you encounter other people.

For a dog, going for a walk is more than just a potty break – it also provides  mental stimulation and socialization. And it’s a great way for the two of you to bond and enjoy the outdoors together this summer.

2. Do a summer photoshoot

Find the perfect location to take pics, while being sure to follow any social distancing rules. Bring lots of treats to motivate your buddy to keep posing, as well as some water in case he gets thirsty. Try one of these locations as a backdrop – just make sure beforehand that they’re dog-friendly, and follow the regulations:

Beach — Water, sand and sun make beautiful settings for a photoshoot. Choose a time of day that gives you the best sunlight without too much shade. Mornings and evenings are great, and won’t be too hot for your dog. Allow your pooch to romp in the surf or run along the beach for awesome action shots.

Favorite park — Parks provide plenty of natural beauty in dog photos. Every season offers a unique backdrop. In the summer, colorful flower beds make a great setting – just don’t let your dog trample the gardens!

Field or wooded area – If safe and permitted, allow your dog to run around in a field or wooded area while you take photos (watch out for ticks, though). For different effects, choose different times of the day to take your pictures.

Backyard – Sometimes, the best place to take photos is in your own backyard. Give your dog a new toy to play with while you take pics of him, or throw a ball for him to get some action shots.

 3. Engage your dog in interactive play

Playing with your dog reinforces communication, strengthens your bond, and improves obedience. Try a variety of toys to see which one he likes best. Once you find his favorite, try to make it even more fun by moving it around or throwing it for your dog to chase. Some of the best-loved dog toys are often those that have been around for years like balls, Frisbees or rope pulls.

4. Practice basic commands

Giving your dog a training refresher doesn’t have to be work! In fact, it’s a fun way to hang out together. It keeps your mentally sharp and physically challenged. Revisit the basic commands you’ve taught your dog — or teach him some new tricks such as high five, or jump through a hoop. When you teach your dog new tricks, it not only improves his health, but boosts your confidence as a dog parent.

5. Go swimming together

Whether you have a pool in your backyard or just bought a kiddie pool, your dog will love splashing and cooling off in the water with you this summer. Afterwards, don’t be surprised if your dog runs around the yard or rolls around in the grass. Called the ”zoomies,” this familiar behavior occurs when a dog gets a rush of energy after a bath or swimming. It’s thought this activity could be a release of nervous energy — or it could be that your dog just feels good after his time in the water!

6. Create an agility course in your backyard

backyard agility course doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. Use items you have around the house such as two laundry baskets to hold a broom handle for jumping over, a children’s playground slide or cloth tunnel. Agility courses provide many benefits for your dog such as mental stimulation, exercise, better obedience, and an improved relationship with you. They also give your dog a full-body workout since he will need to jump, climb, crawl, and run through the various obstacles. Once your dog has learned the course, challenge him by changing out the obstacles or move the course to a different part of your yard. This is guaranteed to be fun for both of you!

Having fun with your dog this summer doesn’t have to stop because of the ongoing pandemic, and these ideas are just the beginning. Get creative and try new activities with your dog!

Helping Your Overweight Dog

By Joanne Keenan as seen in dogs Naturally Magazine

Have you ever searched online for the best dog food to help your overweight dog with weight loss? You’ll find the who’s who of commercial dog foods. But will the food help your dog lose weight?

Probably not. What you’ll find is that the ingredients don’t differ much from the standard dog processed diet. Some are labelled low-fat … but (just like the human weight-loss industry) … they use extra carbs to replace fat. 

Dog Food For Overweight Dogs

Your first stop for a diet for overweight dogs might be the pet store or your vet’s office. You’ll find a wide range of weight-loss, grain-free, and reduced-fat options, with questionable ingredients. Here are some of the ingredients used in weight-loss diets as fillers. And they also lack nutrients.

Powdered Cellulose 
This is non-digestible plant fiber, often from wood pulp. It’s essentially sawdust … woody fiber without any nutritional value. Cellulose dilutes the number of calories in each serving. It also gives your dog the feeling of fullness. But you’ll notice the volume of poop also increases.

Beet Pulp
This is a high fiber by-product of the sugar beet industry. It’s considered an inexpensive filler. Some reports say it has health benefits. Still, its vitamins and minerals get removed for other purposes. All that remains is fiber that passes through your dog like any other fiber, despite its origin in a root vegetable.

Brewers Rice 
This is the small grain fragments left over after whole grains of rice are milled. It’s an inexpensive grain filler without any nutritional value. It will bulk up your dog’s poop and make him feel fuller.

Chicken By-Product Meal 
This is a dry rendered product known as slaughterhouse waste. This is what remains from slaughtered chicken. It’s usually anything but meat and includes feathers, fat, feet and beaks.

Soy Flour, Soy Grits, Soybean Mill Run
Soy is problematic for several reasons. Soy is a low-cost alternative to meat protein but can be highly allergenic. Most soy is also genetically modified and harvested using toxic glyphosate as a desiccant. Soy grits are left after the extraction and removal of oil and soy meat. Soybean Mill Run is the hulls after the soy meat is removed.

So … when there’s soy in a dog food, it artificially increases the protein content without adding meat. These soybean by-products are also inferior sources of amino acids. They are an unusable protein that your dog can’t digest. 

You’ll also find grain-free foods that contain different legumes (also used as a low-cost source of protein), instead of grains. These are just as starchy as grains and should be avoided for your overweight dog.

Many ingredients in manufactured, weight-loss dog foods include grains, legumes and low-quality proteins. And you should also be aware of ingredient splitting. That’s when the same ingredient gets divided into sub-types and listed separately on the label. But added together, they’d usually be the largest ingredient (by weight). 

Weight Control Dog Food Labels

Here are the top ingredients listed on a few random labels.

  • Weight Glucose Management: Water, pork liver, whole grain corn, chicken, cracked pearled barley, powdered cellulose, chicken liver flavor …
  • Weight Reduction: Whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, powdered cellulose, soybean meal, soybean mill run, chicken liver flavor, dried beet pulp, pork liver flavor … 
  • Grain-free, Reduced Fat: Chicken meal, field peas, lentils, potato, tapioca …
  • Reduced Fat, Grain-free: Deboned cod, turkey meal, salmon meal, lentils, yellow peas …
  • Reduced Fat: Chicken, rice, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, corn germ meal …

With the exception of pork liver, deboned cod and chicken, the above ingredients offer little to no nutritional value. Those that aren’t stripped-down grains or fillers are carbohydrates your dog doesn’t need.

How Carbohydrates Cause Overweight Dogs

Processed diets are high in carbs and unhealthy fats, and low in protein …. and that leads to weight gain. 

According to animal nutritionist Dr Richard S Patton PhD, dogs in the wild ate a diet that was 4% carbohydrate. They’d get some carbs from wild berries or the stomach contents of their prey. Yet today’s processed food often has 40% carbohydrates or more. 

Most dogs need about 25–30 calories per pound per day to maintain a healthy weight. So, a 30-pound dog needs about 800 calories a day. And a lot of the calories in kibble are from carbs. So, if you reduce the kibble and feed a whole food, meat-based diet, you can feed your dog the same amount of calories … but he’ll get healthier foods and better nutrition. And it’ll be easier to control his weight.

Is My Dog Overweight?

So … how can you tell if your dog is overweight? The easiest way to tell is to see if you can feel his ribs. Holistic vet Dr Edward Bassingthwaighte offers this guideline: make a loose fist and run your other hand over your knuckles. That’s what your dog’s ribs should feel like. There shouldn’t be a layer of fat preventing you from feeling the ridges of his ribs. And he should have a defined waist that you can see from above and from the side. You should be able to see where your dog’s chest stops and his stomach area begins. 

What To Feed Your Overweight Dog

Here are the most effective foods to help your dog lose weight.

Raw Diet
whole food, raw meat diet is the best option for your dog. You can buy pre-made frozen raw food. Most should be complete and balanced, and some will contain fruits and vegetables. Higher quality foods won’t have added synthetic vitamins and minerals. Instead, the nutritients come from the ingredients. 

Or you can follow recipes to prepare raw food meals yourself. Here are some tips to help your overweight dog …

  • Stick to lean meats including turkey, chicken and beef
  • Feed a balanced raw diet that includes muscle meat, organs and bones plus fruit, vegetables, eggs and fish. Otherwise, your dog will lack essential nutrients. 
  • Use fruits and vegetables from your dog’s meals to create healthy treats. You can freeze broccoli, green beans or carrots or small pieces of meat. 
  • Give raw meaty bones as treats or as an occasional meal replacement. Bones will keep your dog occupied for hours and satisfy his need for food. Give your dog knuckle bones, lamb femurs or pork or beef neck bones. They are healthier choices than commercial chews.
  • Include omega-3 fatty acids to balance the omega-6 fats found in most dog food
  • Include probiotics to balance the gut microbiome and help digestion and the immune system

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Low In Starch
Whether you feed your dog raw or home-cooked, leave out the starchy foods. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for starch to survive. A diet of protein and fat supplemented by some low-carb fruit and vegetables meets your dog’s energy needs. 

A low-carb or low-starch diet includes raw meat or gently cooked meals without any carbohydrates in starch or grain form. Avoid legumes as well. These add starch to the diet … and plant-based protein doesn’t nourish your dog like the animal protein he needs.  You can include low-carb vegetables (steamed or pureed for digestibility) like leafy greens (spinach, kale, dandelion greens), mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower or asparagus.

Freeze-Dried Raw Diet
Most freeze-dried diets have the same ingredients as pre-made raw frozen diets … muscle meat, organs and ground bones. Some will include fruits and vegetables. Like raw foods, the better options don’t have added synthetic vitamins and minerals. 

Freeze-dried dog foods aren’t heated during the manufacturing process. Frozen food goes into large machines that lower the atmospheric pressure around the food. This removes moisture from the food. So, freeze-dried dog food isn’t cooked at all. But it’s very low in moisture, which gives it a long shelf life and makes it easy to store and serve.

What Can I Do If My Dog Is Overweight?

Besides feeding your dog a raw, home-cooked or freeze-dried diet with minimal carbs, here are some other things you can do to help your overweight dog lose weight. 

1. Feed the Right Amount
The guideline for whole food, raw meat-based or home cooked diets is 2 to 3% of your dog’s ideal body weight at maturity. If your dog isn’t an active breed, feed on the low side; higher if he’s an active dog. If your dog is overweight, feed him based on what his healthy weight should be … not his actual weight. Start at 2% … then you can increase or decrease depending on whether he loses or gains weight.

If you do feed kibble, keep in mind that the recommended feeding amounts are usually too high. If your dog gains weight, cut back his portions. 

2. Reduce Feedings … or Food Portions
You may have to experiment with this for your overweight dog. Some dogs will lose weight with just one meal a day. This mimics what would happen in nature, when dogs would only eat when they found food. And it gives your dog’s digestive system a healthy break between meals. 

But you might need a different approach if your dog seems ravenously hungry all the time. Your dog might lose weight more easily if you split his daily food amounts into 2 or 3 feedings a day. If he doesn’t finish his food in 15 minutes, remove it for later. Don’t keep topping up the bowl. Of course, make sure your dog has water available all day.

3. Don’t Free Feed

Some dog owners free-feed. This is the practice of keeping the bowl full for your dog to eat at will. But you have no way of knowing how much he’s eating through the day, so it’s a bad idea for an overweight dog. 

4. Feed Nutritious Food
Feed more protein and veggies, with no simple carbs … and only healthy fats. Supplement your dog’s existing food with add-ins like veggies, fruit, eggs, sardines. You can include non-starchy veggies like broccoli, green beans, celery, or asparagus. Include low-sugar blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or cranberries. 

Is The Green Bean Diet Good For Dog Weight Loss?

This is a popular diet, but it’s not the best idea. Many vets recommend swapping a portion of your dog’s food for green beans. The problem is your dog is only getting limited nutrition from the beans, so you could be creating a nutrient deficiency. You can feed them as treats instead. 

5. Add Foods with Healthy Fiber
Fiber gives your dog a feeling of fullness without the calories. But that doesn’t mean you need to give him cellulose or other fillers found in processed dog foods. Instead, give him healthy fiber. There are 2 types and your dog can have both. 

Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It travels into the colon where fermentation by beneficial bacteria creates short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that support your dog’s immune system. Soluble fiber can also help improve blood sugar levels to lower diabetes and obesity risk. Your dog can get soluble fiber from foods like fruit, mushrooms and seaweed. 

Insoluble fiber is fiber that doesn’t get digested as it travels through the digestive system. It attracts water to the stool and bulks up food to help it pass through the colon. Your dog can have insoluble fiber found in plants and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and green beans. 

RELATED: Read about the best sources of fiber for dogs ..

6. Increase Daily Exercise
Dogs can be victims of their owners’ sedentary lifestyles. Depending on age and health, most dogs need 30 minutes to 2 hours of physical activity every day. Even a walk around the neighborhood to sniff out the surroundings engages and benefits your dog physically and mentally.

7. Keep Track Of Treats
Your dog can easily gain weight by eating too many treats. It’s great to use treats for training or to reward your dog “just because” … but keep track of the treats for an overweight dog. You may need to remove some food from his meals. And try to use healthy treats like freeze dried or dehydrated meats or veggies, instead of cookies or other starchy treats.

The Dangers Of Having An Overweight Dog

In 2018, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimated that 56% of dogs in the US were overweight or obese. Dog obesity is just as dangerous as obesity in humans. It reduces the lifespan and quality of life of your dog. 

Here are some health issues that affect overweight dogs. 

  • Orthopedic disease
  • Ligament rupture
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Urinary issues
  • Heart disease
  • Joint issues
  • Pancreatitis
  • Heart and lung diseases
  • Cancer
  • Skin problems

What Causes Dogs To Be Overweight?

There are several physiological reasons for weight gain:

  • Aging – older dogs are less active and need less food, but owners continue to feed them the same amount from their younger days
  • Breed – some breeds are prone to gain weight
  • Neutering or spaying can lower your dog’s metabolism
  • Lack of exercise

But the prime reason for overweight dogs is … overfeeding. One person controls what goes into the food bowl and that’s you. So it’s your responsibility to prevent weight gain by managing what your dog eats. It’s all too easy to feed dogs too much because it makes owners happy to see their dogs happy … when they’re eating. 

But you can have a happy … and healthy dog … by feeding a diet with minimal carbs and starches and lots of fresh whole foods. And reward your dog with love, attention and exercise … not food.