Do you know how to Bandage your Horse?

Diane Weinmann's HOPE

There are right and wrong ways to bandage horses’ limbs, no matter the wrap’s purpose

By Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM


At some point nearly every horse, from the fine-boned, flashy Arabian halter horse to the cowboy’s sturdy, no-frills roping mount, will sport a wrap or bandage on one or more legs. Just because we see bandages around the barn frequently doesn’t mean bandaging and wrapping are easy, and that bandages and wraps are interchangeable and always appropriate. Before you reach for the nearest roll of Vetrap or grab that splint boot out of your tack trunk, look at some of the basic principles behind bandaging or wrapping equine limbs.

Owners commonly apply bandages to shield recent wounds or tendon or -ligament injuries, to protect during shipping or performance, and to prevent fluid accumulation in the limb (“stocking up”) during stall rest. Reid Hanson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, professor of equine surgery…

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Do you know how to Bandage your Horse?

There are right and wrong ways to bandage horses’ limbs, no matter the wrap’s purpose

By Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM


At some point nearly every horse, from the fine-boned, flashy Arabian halter horse to the cowboy’s sturdy, no-frills roping mount, will sport a wrap or bandage on one or more legs. Just because we see bandages around the barn frequently doesn’t mean bandaging and wrapping are easy, and that bandages and wraps are interchangeable and always appropriate. Before you reach for the nearest roll of Vetrap or grab that splint boot out of your tack trunk, look at some of the basic principles behind bandaging or wrapping equine limbs.

Owners commonly apply bandages to shield recent wounds or tendon or -ligament injuries, to protect during shipping or performance, and to prevent fluid accumulation in the limb (“stocking up”) during stall rest. Reid Hanson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, professor of equine surgery and lameness at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in Alabama, adds topical dressing application, immobilization, and support to this list. However, bandaging and wrapping, while useful, are not wholly benign. Improper application and/or use of an inappropriate bandaging material can do more harm than leaving the leg unwrapped.

Architecture of a Bandage

Bandage design varies according to purpose, but most bandages include the same two to three layers:

·         Topical dressing, which might be a liniment, medicated pad, ointment, or powder. These are generally used in horses with injuries or skin conditions.

·         Thick cotton padding such as practical (roll) cotton, layers of sheet cotton, cast padding, or fabric quilt or pillow wraps.

·         Compressive/securing layer such as stable/track bandage, Vetrap, gauze, polo wrap, elastic tape, or stockinette.

Of course, veterinarians might modify or augment this basic structure to suit particular circumstances. They might recommend adding splints or bandage casts to provide immobilization in the case of a wound in a high motion area or with a severe tendon injury. As for protection, owners might use Velcro-style shipping boots, single-layer devices that provide skin protection but little compression. In contrast, some wraps and boots intended for performance might provide focal protection suited to a particular sport.

And some might not look like a traditional or prefabricated bandage at all. For some wounds, such as those in areas that are difficult or detrimental to immobilize or where topical medication application is the main requirement, Hanson describes a minimalist wound covering technique known as the “Jolly method.” This technique uses Velcro tabs to secure a wound dressing and a stockinette tube as covering.


Bandage and Wrap Uses

Wounds Owners and veterinarians commonly bandage limbs to protect wounds and surgical sites. A bandage can prevent contamination, provide compression to minimize swelling, hold topical medications against the wound, reduce motion of the wound edges, and keep the exudates (pus) in contact with the wound.

Although exudate triggers an “ick” response in many people, that yellowish slime serves a critical purpose in the healing process. “The exudate has all of the cytokines (cell-signaling proteins) that -produce healing,” says Hanson. Many horse owners “see exudate and assume (the wound) must be infected, and so they get their iodine scrub and clean it,” but Hanson cautions against this. By scrubbing a healing wound, “they’ve removed all the good juice that allows it to heal.”

Hanson prefers using an acemannan (an aloe vera derivative) wound cleanser that is gentle to the tissues. “You should not clean a wound with anything you are not willing to put in your eye’s conjunctival sac,” he notes as a rule of thumb.

Excessive swelling or motion of the wound edges can delay wound margin contracture, a major step in the healing process. A bandage that applies compression can help prevent fluid from accumulating in the limb in response to injury and reduce this swelling.

To reduce movement, however, the veterinarian might need to amend the basic bandage design. A standard soft wrap-type bandage often does not provide sufficient immobilization regardless of how thickly or firmly it is applied. Where immobilization is required, Hanson recommends using a splint or bandage cast.

For most limb wounds, Hanson suggests applying both a primary and secondary bandage. Once a veterinarian cleans and debrides the wound appropriately, Hanson recommends applying a medicated dressing (such as an acemannan hydrogel or calcium alginate dressing) as the primary bandage to promote autolytic debridement (use of the body’s own enzymes and moisture to liquefy and remove dead tissue). In most cases he will cover this dressing with a thick layer of padding and secure it with a wrap material. If the area requires immobilization he will then apply a secondary bandage, such as a splint or a semisoft bandage cast. Hanson prefers bandage casts over traditional hard casts because he believes they produce fewer complications, such as cast sores, and generally the horse can be sent home rather than having to remain in a hospital for monitoring.

Tendon or ligament injuries Wrapping legs with suspected or diagnosed tendon or ligament injuries has its pros and cons. A wrap can control swelling and provide some support to a leg with what Hanson refers to as a classic mid-tendon bow. “However, if the injury was the result of a bandage bow (caused by a too-tight or inproperly applied wrap), I probably would not use a wrap,” he says.

While these wraps generally do not require a dressing, pay attention to the bandage basics of using padding and applying even tension. Hanson does not believe placing a support wrap on an uninjured leg is necessary.

Julie Dechant, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, associate professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, comments that wraps alone do not give “enough support to provide true protection for tendon injuries. We certainly use (them), but in any severely damaged tendon a bandage alone is not enough support.” In these cases, says Dechant, a splint will most likely be required.

Shipping Owners can apply wraps and/or shipping boots to trailered horses’ legs both to protect the leg from trauma and provide support. Hanson notes that he sees horses arrive at the Auburn teaching hospital in one of two types of shipping wrap: the quilt and wrap type or a more modern shipping boot with Velcro closures. Overall, Hanson prefers the quilt and wrap style, feeling that it provides “support, compression, and protection.”

However, he notes that prefabricated shipping boots can provide more complete protection of the leg, covering the coronary band. “It seems that if someone was really concerned about protection, a combination of the styles might be best,” he says. “Bell boots that cover the coronary band are a nice addition to the (quilt and wrap) bandage if one is concerned with protecting that area from injury.”

Dechant believes that shipping boots are useful during travel, but owners need to be sure the boots fit well so they don’t trip up the horse. She agrees with Hanson that “if you’re only covering the cannon, (the boot or wrap) is not as useful in the trailer where the horse is more likely to step on itself.”

Dechant recommends getting the horse accustomed to having wraps or boots on his legs prior to shipping to avoid trauma from panicking in the confines of the trailer.

Confinement Owners can use standing wraps to minimize limb swelling in a stall-confined horse. Dechant says that “whenever standing wraps are placed, they need to be monitored daily and ideally reset at least once per day.” This way owners and managers can ensure the wrap is not tightening or loosening inappropriately and that no debris has worked its way inside the wrap, where it might cause a sore.

Performance Wraps, bandages, and boots are used in a wide variety of equine performance disciplines for protection and, in some cases, support. Dechant emphasizes the importance of clean, well-fitting, and situationally appropriate equipment. “It’s important to apply and use it in the intended manner,” she says. “Some wraps intended for performance are not meant for horses standing in the stall, where they may not have the same degree of blood flow.” Also, cautions Dechant, many performance wraps have less padding, so owners need to be aware of precise application with appropriate pressure.

Bandaging Demystified

Equine wraps and bandages are sort of like sushi: The menu of supplies is extensive, and everyone has an opinion about the “right way” to combine them. While it is true that inappropriate bandage application can cause as many problems as a well-applied bandage can prevent, following these common sense steps can result in successful bandaging:

1. Keep everyone safe. Preventing human injuries is just as important as treating or preventing equine ones. The person applying the bandage should avoid kneeling or sitting on the ground, says Dechant, and should instead crouch, ready to move out of the way if necessary. She also recommends having a competent handler hold the horse during the process. Bear in mind, too, that some horses initially resent wraps on the hind legs, especially over the hocks, so it’s best to apply these in an open area in case the horse kicks out.

2. Don’t skimp on the padding. “Insufficient padding is going to cause a bandage bow,” says Hanson. Padding should be clean, dry, and in reasonable shape, Dechant adds. Since the idea of the padding is to protect the leg, it’s important to avoid incorporating frayed bits of padding or fill that contains wrinkles or bunches–these can cause pressure points under a bandage.

3. Keep it even under pressure. Remember that “anything directly against the skin should not be applied with any tension at all,” Dechant says. But uneven tension in a bandage’s securing layers also can potentially cause tendon damage. “You want an even distribution of compression along the leg” with this layer, too, says Hanson.

“The key is to apply it firmly but not too tightly,” Dechant adds. If using Vetrap or a similar flexible bandage to secure the padding, she suggests applying enough tension to remove 80% of the wrap’s innate “wrinkles.” She also stresses the importance of overlapping layers of bandage by 50% to avoid having edges of the wrap material dig into the leg.

Using a neatly and tightly rolled bandage will ease application and reduce the need to pull against the horse’s leg and sensitive tendons to tighten the wrap. This will also help ensure the bandage is as smooth against the horse’s leg as possible to avoid uneven pressure.

4. Choose your own direction. Despite barn lore to the contrary, neither sources believe the direction a wrap is applied is critical. “Counterclockwise vs. clockwise is less important than technique,” says Dechant. “I don’t think the tendons care if they’re rolled to the outside or to the inside. However, each layer should be rolled the same (direction).” Hanson agrees with Dechant, noting that he hasn’t come across anything in literature to suggest wrapping in one direction or the other is superior. It is, however, important to be consistent in your technique and not to pull too tightly across the tendons.

5. Keep it clean. Shavings, straw, dirt, and moisture can irrate the skin and increase the risk of a wound becoming infected. Start with clean, dry materials and check the bandage frequently for damage, dirt, or moisture. To seal out debris, Dechant recommends securing the top and bottom of a disposable-type wrap with elastic tape such as Elastikon.

Take-Home Message

Bandages and wraps have numerous uses in the horse world but like many things, they can cause good or ill. Proper materials, application, and devices for the case at hand are all critical to safe and successful bandaging. Equally important is experienced instruction, as the information in this article can in no way replace a veterinarian’s experience and advice.


Service Animals Provide Help in Many Ways



service dog for blindService animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets; although they are loved by their owners just as much, if not more, than a non-working beloved fur family member!

The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Service dogs help with performing a function for a person that is limited by a disability. Mobility issues, visual impairment (blindness), hearing impairment (deafness), seizures, diabetes, PTSD, autism, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), and other physical/mental disabilities.

Service dogs are dogs that have been individually trained to perform a specific task for individuals who have disabilities. The disabilities can vary greatly, and so do the tasks that the service dogs perform.

Service dogs can aid in navigation for people who are hearing- and visually impaired, assist an individual who is having a seizure, calm an individual who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and even dial 911 in the event of an emergency. Many disabled individuals depend on them every day to help them live their everyday lives. Consequently, these animals, when encountered in public, should not be talked to, petted or otherwise diverted from their tasks by well-meaning people. I know it kills me to not talk or reach down to pet a service animal to tell them they are doing a great job but when you think of how that interaction could affect the animal in their line of duty – I stop dead, walk away smiling and offer up a prayer instead for their health and diligence to their owner. Service dogs are under the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Service dogs are protected under federal lawservice dog with cripple

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an individual with a disability is entitled to a service dog to help them live their lives normally. The ADA protects disabled individuals by allowing them to bring their service dog with them to most places that the public is permitted, including restaurants, hotels, housing complexes, and even in air travel. Any dog can be a service dog, and service dogs do not have to be professionally-trained. The important thing is that the dog is trained to be a working animal and not a pet.

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.


Identifying service dogs for the public

Service dogs are often identified by wearing a service dog vest or tag, letting the public know that it is a service dog; otherwise, their handlers will find themselves having to explain everywhere that they go that their dog is a service dog. Some businesses, such as airlines, prefer to see an identification card or vest that indicates that the dog is a service dog.

The Americans with Disabilities Act has a specific definition of a disability, and it states essentially that a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.

List of Disabilities

A disability can take many forms, including bodily functions such as those of the neurological, respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and reproductive systems.

Here is a list of some disabilities that individuals may have that may be helped by having a service dog:

  • Mobility Issues (Including Paralysis)
  • Sensory Issues (Blindness, Hearing Loss, etc.)
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Cancer
  • Autism
  • Epilepsy
  • Bone and Skeletal (Such as Osteoporosis, Scoliosis, etc.)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Emotional Support Dogsservice dog for army

Emotional support dogs help individuals with emotional problems by providing comfort and support. Anxiety, depression, bipolar/mood disorders, panic attacks, and other emotional/psychological conditions. The law protecting this type of animal is the Fair Housing Amendments Act & Air Carrier Access Act. Emotional support dogs are dogs that provide comfort and support in forms of affection and companionship for an individual suffering from various mental and emotional conditions. An emotional support dog is not required to perform any specific tasks for a disability like service dogs are. They are meant solely for emotional stability and unconditional love. They can assist with conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder/mood disorder, panic attacks, fear/phobias, and other psychological and emotional conditions.

Emotional support dogs are protected under federal law

Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), an individual who meets the proper criteria is entitled to an emotional support dog to assist them with their life. The FHAA protects individuals by allowing their emotional support dog to live with them (even when there are no pet policies in place). The ACAA protects individuals by allowing the emotional support dog to fly with them in the cabin of an airplane (without having to pay any additional fees). Any dog can be an emotional support dog, and emotional support dogs do not have to be professionally-trained.

A Medical Recommendation is Required

You are required to have a letter from a doctor or mental health professional recommending that you have an emotional support dog for your condition. You may be asked to present this letter by airline staff when flying or by your landlord when renting a home.

Identifying emotional support dogs for the public

Emotional support dogs are often identified by wearing an emotional support dog vest or tag, letting the public know that it is an emotional support dog; otherwise, their handlers will find themselves having to explain that their dog is an emotional support dog. Some businesses, such as airlines, prefer to see an identification card or vest that indicates that the dog is an emotional support dog.

List of Disabilities

An emotional support dog can assist with various kinds of mental and emotional conditions.

Here is a list of some mental and emotional conditions individuals may have that may be helped by having an emotional support dog:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Mood disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Fear/phobias
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Suicidal Thoughts/Tendencies

Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs provide affection and comfort to individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities. All breeds are accepted. Therapy dogs are dogs that are used to bring comfort and joy to those who are ill or under poor conditions, such as those who have been affected by a natural disaster. Many people are able to connect with dogs and feel the love that they provide, and this has a therapeutic effect on them. Therapy dogs are generally very calm and well-behaved, so that they do not upset or make uncomfortable those around them. They generally do not have any special training and are not trained to perform specific tasks for a disabled individual like a service dog.


A doctor’s letter is not required to have a therapy dog. Since therapy dogs are not covered under any specific federal laws, permission would have to be given from each place that a therapy dog is to be taken. Many places are welcoming to therapy dogs if the dog is trained and obedient, does not pose a threat to others, can benefit those present at the facility, and does not adversely affect the facility’s operations.

As you can see whether they are a service, emotional or therapy dog, these animals provide an important job in many people’s lives.  They enrich the lives of those with disabilities and enable them to be contributing members to society.  God bless the animals and their role in our lives, they deserve our admiration and respect!


Summary of Basic Information About Service Dogs and Emotional Support Dogs

Copyright US Service Dogs 2013. All Rights Reserved. | US Service Dogs is not affiliated with the ADA or any government agency.

Service Dog Emotional Support Dog
General If you have a disability (a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual) then you are entitled to a service dog to do work or perform tasks for you If you have a mental or psychiatric condition, you may have an emotional support dog if it is recommended by your doctor/mental health professional.
Laws Protecting You Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Fair Housing Amendments Act Air Carrier Access Act
Partial List of Disabilities Mobility issues, visual impairment (blindness), hearing impairment (deafness), seizures, diabetes, PTSD, autism, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), and other physical/mental disabilities Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, mood disorders, bipolar disorder, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and other emotional/psychological conditions
Eligible Breeds/Sizes of Dogs All breeds and sizes are acceptable All breeds and sizes are acceptable

service dog with wheel chair


Empathy from your Pets?

By Dr. Becker and Diane Weinmann


rescue remedy

Your mood and emotions matter to everyone in your household, including your pets. A dog living in a household with a lot of yelling and tension may become stressed, fearful, anxious or aggressive. On the other hand, a happy, relaxed household signals to your pets that it’s OK to relax.

Your pets are, in fact, very observant of your emotional state, which they can pick up via your voice, body language and other subtle clues. Additionally, since they can read your thoughts, they understand what you are feeling whether it’s sadness, happiness or stress. It’s in their best interest to decipher your emotional expressions and it gives him a leg up (pun intended!) in evaluating your motivations and intentions especially with how it would ultimately relate to their wellbeing.

Are you friendly? Are you a threat? Is it a good time to ask for a belly rub? Your dog may pick up your mood not only for her own devices but also for your benefit. Dogs are known, for instance, to respond to people when they cry. My dog will come cuddle hen I cry, pressing his body against me to give comfort and offering his paw to get my attention away from the sadness. My horse would wrap me in a hug with her neck when she felt I was stressed or unhappy.

They do all these actions by approaching and displaying submissive behaviors, which is a signal that they’re showing empathy.

Dogs Can Tell the Difference Between Angry and Happy Faces

Does your dog wag her tail in glee when you arrive home with a big smile and lots of ear scratches to give? And does she, in turn, hang back or crawl into her bed when you’re angry or yelling? She may also run up and lick your face or roll onto her back when you’re sad and crying. My dog responds to yelling and conflict by running for comfort from a stable, happy person in the room. He rubs his face on my leg and puts his ears back to show he is afraid of the noise and confrontation while attempting to draw comfort from the person not engaged in the yelling.

These behaviors aren’t a coincidence; your dog can discriminate between your different emotional expressions.

According to research published in the journal Current Biology, dogs can discriminate emotional expressions of human faces in a controlled experiment, which they do by using their memories of real emotional human faces.

Research published in Biology Letters also found dogs recognize both dog and human emotions. The dogs were presented with either human or dog faces with different expressions (happy and playful versus angry and aggressive). The faces were paired with a vocalization that was positive, negative or neutral.


The dogs looked significantly longer at the faces that matched up to the appropriate vocalization, which is an ability previously thought to be distinct to humans. The researchers concluded:

“These results demonstrate that dogs can extract and integrate bimodal sensory emotional information, and discriminate between positive and negative emotions from both humans and dogs.”

Pets Are Sensitive to Shifts in Your Mood

The way you move, speak and behave all send subtle signals to your pets that indicate your mood. When you’re in a situation that’s stressful to your dog, such as at your veterinarian’s office, your pet will look to you to help her calm down. They search your heart and mind along with your actions for strength and stability.

If however, you seem tense and nervous, your pet will likely become even anxious. This is true of your veterinarian as well — his or her energy can either calm or agitate your pet, so it’s important to choose a provider who uses deliberate body language and communication to help put your pet at ease.

Pets are extremely intuitive. According to scientists dogs appear to process emotional cues and meanings of words in different hemispheres of the brain, similar to humans. As an animal communicator, I am aware that your pet knows what you are emotionally feeling inside; however, sometimes the emotions are so complicated (like us humans) they fail to understand why you are feeling the way you do. After all, animals have a different way of thinking than us humans. They do not have an ego and do not judge. When most people become upset they are coming from a place that pets cannot fathom!


Dogs also pay attention to your body language, taking note of your posture and eye contact, so recognize that your pets may sense changes to your vibe even when you don’t think you’re being overtly emotional.

10 Tips to Reduce Your (and Thereby Your Pet’s) Stressrescue remedy 2

When you reduce your own stress, you thereby reduce your pet’s stress. The following tips can help you adjust your mood for the better:

  1. Interact With Your Pet: Cuddling with your pet, petting her, or playing a game of fetch is calming for both of you. Better yet, take your dog for a walk, which adds the stress-busting benefits of exercise into the mix.
  2. Breathe Slowly and Intentionally: When you breathe deeply, it stimulates your parasympathetic system, which lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and helps you relax.
  3. Try Meditation: Meditation helps to lower levels of anxiety and depression and improve symptoms of stress-related disorders. You can also try mindfulness, which is a less formal variation of meditation that involves actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now.
  4. Play Calming Music: Pets and people respond to music in similar ways, and both of you can benefit from the stress-relieving benefits of calming music.
  5. Take Five Minutes to Recharge: When your day is getting overly hectic, take five minutes to stop and regroup. You might step outside to get some sunshine and fresh air, read a few inspirational quotes, jot down your thoughts in a journal or have a chat with a positive person.
  6. Engage in Meaningful Activities: Having a sense of purpose and focus is important to your emotional well-being. Try a new hobby, volunteer, or mentor those in need or join a local community group, such as a church or recreational club.
  7. Nurture Your Human Relationships: Pets provide unconditional companionship and love, but it’s important to develop strong relationships with other humans too. Take time to nurture important relationships and create new ones throughout your life.
  8. Get Support When Stress Is Overwhelming: If you feel you’re nearing burnout and can’t cope, get help. This might mean talking to your spouse, another family member or a friend, or you may want to seek the help of a therapist.
  9. Tap: Also called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), this simple exercise can have profound benefits that decrease your anxiety level and overall attitude about stressful or negative situations or thoughts. For more information, check out Dr. Mercola’s website on EFT. This technique can also benefit pets!
  10. Rescue Remedy or Essential oils: Rescue Remedy is a pre-made Bach Flower essence that is a natural way to obtain calmness. Additionally, lavender essential oil can be worn by you or your pet and also diffused in the home to create a serene atmosphere. Both, Rescue Remedy and essential oils can be enjoyed by pets or people in stressful situations.

4 Stress Relief Tips for Your Dog

As I mentioned above, you’re not the only one who might need some stress relief. The tips that follow are especially useful when you know your dog is going into a stressful situation, such as trip to the veterinarian or groomer.

  1. Exercise your dog right before the stressful event. Vigorous activity will tire your dog out, which will help to relieve his nervous energy later.
  1. Add a flower essence blend like Stress Stopper by Spirit Essences, Anxiety by Green Hope Farms, Rescue Remedy Bach Flower Essence or Stress and Trauma Relief from OptiBalance to your dog’s drinking water. Homeopathic Aconitum may also help.       Additionally essential oils can invoke peace whether it is lavender or another blend. See Dr. Melissa Shelton’s at


  1. Invest in an Adaptil collar or diffuser for your dog. Adaptil is a pheromone and is designed to have a calming affect on dogs. The collar seems to work well for many dogs suffering from stress-related behaviors. Put the collar on your dog the morning of the stressful event and remove it just before the event begins.


  1. Offer an Earthing Mat. Providing a means for your pet to ground out and reduce EMFs may reduce stress in a variety of physiologic ways, especially if you live in a condo or apartment off the ground, live in an area with significant weather extremes or have a home full of electronics.

If you’re a cat owner, don’t worry — homeopathic, herbal or nutraceutical remedies can be helpful for kitties too. Talk with your integrative veterinarian about stress-relief options for your cat. Feliway spray or diffusers can offer calming pheromones to stressed felines.


Blended flower essences, such as Spirit Essences or several Green Hope Farms Essences, and Rescue Remedy along with essential oil are often effective for cats and birds, too. And remember, your mood matters! The more you display relaxed, happy behaviors, the more likely your pet is to follow suit.

What is it all comes down to is that the calmer/happier you are, the more serene the atmosphere in your home will be; thereby, providing the healthiest environment for you and your pet to thrive.essentail oil chart

Photo courtesy of Natural Healers (
Photo courtesy of Natural Healers (


essentail oils

Constipation in Cats

By Pet Wellbeing

cat with litter box

Constipation is a common problem in cats. Cats should have one bowel movement a day, but if they are constipated they may only have a bowel movement every two or three days. This can cause your cat to become irritable and lethargic, or even vomit. Excess straining to pass stool can damage the muscle wall of the colon and lead to hernias.

So what causes this problem? Feeding dry food, particularly if it is low in fiber can be the culprit. Other causes can include neurological problems due to spinal disease, pain, inflammatory bowel disease, pelvic injury or eating abnormal things such as bones.

When a cat becomes constipated the first thing that is usually done is to put him or her on a high fiber diet. For most conventional veterinarians this means a dry fiber diet. Fiber regulates intestinal mobility. Depending on the type of fiber and the circumstances, fiber can either speed up or slow down digestion. It’s therefore used for both constipation and diarrhea. Our holistic veterinarian generally does not recommend dry food for cats who have constipation issues. The idea is to get more water into the colon to prevent the very dry feces. It just makes sense to go to ‘wet’ food such as canned or homemade diets, as these contain more water. Canned pumpkin is a great source of fiber that can be added to any diet to increase fiber. This usually helps, at least initially, though some cats continue to have problems.

Treatment for constipation depends upon the severity of the problem. Some cats may need to be hospitalized and most of them will require intravenous fluids. For many cases, enemas may be needed. Occasionally the cat needs to be anesthetized and have the feces removed manually.

Other treatments for constipation can include chiropractic and acupuncture, Miralax, lactulose or other stool softeners, slippery elm, stress management, L-theanine, and sometimes a CoLyte infusion.

Before trying these treatments, consider using Smooth BM Gold for Cats for the maintenance of soft, regular bowel movements in cats. This extremely effective herbal formula supports colon health, enables normal, easy elimination through the bowels and will not cause over-purging or runny stools. Made with certified organic and ethically harvested herbs, it is non-irritating and safe for long-term use.

Try Smooth BM Gold for Cats today!

Pets and Moving

By guest blogger John Cho


Are you a pet owner looking to relocate to a new home? As most of us have already experienced, moving is very stressful and takes up a lot of your time. For dog owners, however, it is also important to understand that moving can be very stressful for your pets as well. This applies especially to both cats and dogs as they are innately territorial animals (even domesticated pets). Fortunately, there are certain steps you can take to make the pet moving experience a seamless one. In the below infographic by Moving FC, you can learn about quick tips on moving your dogs before, during, and after the move.

Before You Move

Research, research, and do more research. The more research you do, the more likely it is that you will find the dream home for both you and your furry friend. First, confirm that the apartments in your moving shortlist are pet-friendly. On top of that, make sure these pet-friendly apartments have no disagreements over your dog’s breed and size.

Once you have identified the home you would like to move to, make sure you locate a trustworthy vet in the area. Some vets may not be as comfortable with dealing with specific dog breeds. Your best bet to finding a good vet is by asking your existing one to see if he or she knows of anyone within his network.

During the Move

Keep your dog well away from all the moving activity. Your dog can get stressed out when he or she sees all the boxes and household items being moved out from the apartment. Ideally, you should ask your friends or family members to take care of your dog while the boxes are being moved out. If that isn’t an option then find a “safe” room in the apartment where your dog can be situated while things are being moved out.

If you are doing a long distance move then don’t forget to also look for pet-friendly hotels if overnight stays are needed.

After the Move

You are almost there! Before you introduce your dog to the new home, make sure you check out the whole apartment and store away any household items that could be hazardous to your dog. For example, items like household chemicals should be securely stored in a cabinet that’s out of your dog’s reach. When your move in is complete, be sure to check-in with the new vet to make sure your dog hasn’t suffered from any mental or physical-related conditions during the move.


Check out John’s website at:

Moving a Dog to Your New Home – Checklist

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs

apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is great for people but did you know that dogs can benefit from it too?  Here are some ways you can help your dog with apple cider vinegar:

  • External: Use it after a shampoo for dogs with sensitive/itchy skin
  • Internal: Prevents bladder stones, kidney infections and urinary tract infections
  • Internal: Soothes upset tummies, remedy gas, constipation and food poisoning
  • Internal: Great for arthritis, joint and hip problems
  • Internal: Great for the digestive tract, which means that it improves the immune system, helping to prevent infections and disease

How Much Apple Cider Vinegar Do We Give Dogs?

If using topically, dilute 50/50 with water before applying to a sore on the skin. If you’d like to include it as part of your dog’s diet (this is the part I’m interested in), dilute it 50/50 with water and add a teaspoon per 15 pounds of your dog’s body weight.

  • Neko = 65 pounds = 4 teaspoons

Explaining the Many Colors of My Dog’s Poop

by Kimberly from Keep the Tail Wagging Blog and Diane Weinmannhungry-dog-5434576

Background info—  Keep the Tail Wagging blog is about feeding your dog raw food.  This is their experience but we can all learn from the information that they have brought forward.

For the most part, our dogs’ poop changes given what you are feeding them–and you may find this to be true also – poultry yields lighter poop, red meat yields darker poop.  But that’s not all.

What Does Grey Dog Poop Mean?

Let’s start with grey poop, since that’s what inspired this post.  When I Googled “grey poop” I found that Rodrigo could be experiencing a blockage of the bile duct.  It turns out that the reason dog poop is brown is because of bile and if our dogs’ poop is grey or light in color…

  • the right amount of bile isn’t being produced,
  • gallstones are developing,
  • or there is a blockage of the bile ducks


What Does White Dog Poop Mean?

When their dog’s poop is white (or a super pale color), then he has too much bone in his diet. He will have white poop after a few meals of turkey or duck necks. The bone content in turkey and duck necks is pretty high, so I’ve started mixing in ground duck hearts when I mix up our dogs’ weekly meals.

Hearts are classified as meat, not organ meat, and helps to bring the meat to bone ratio into a better balance for our dogs.  Take care in how much heart you add to a dog’s meal, because they are rich and can lead to diarrhea.  When I mix up a 20 pounds of dog food, the hearts make up 5 pounds.

I mix the meat with The Honest Kitchen to finish off their balanced raw meals.

Dog Poop that Starts Out as Brown, but Turns White

Sometimes their dog’s poop will start out as brown, then slowly turns white over a day or two.  They’ve noticed that this happens if  they feed him raw ground turkey from the grocery store.  The bacteria in meat that we buy at the grocery store is higher than the meat they buy through our co-op, because…

  • the meat arrives at our grocery store thawed out (the co-op meat is always frozen),
  • it’s immediately set out for sale under temperatures that don’t kill or slow the growth of bacteria,
  • and the meat isn’t intended to be fed as raw dog food; it’s intended to be cooked.

They no longer feed our dogs meat from the grocery store unless they cook it first.  When they notice their dog’s’s poop changing color, they add a little more FullBucket or In Clover OptaGest to his meals or give him raw goats milk for a few days.  They either add it to a meal or  give it to him separately as a yummy, cool treat.

Mucus on Dog Poop

They actually rarely see mucus on their dog’s poop; it’s mainly on Scout’s poop and kind of looks like a slug danced all around his turd.  They’ve read that this is perfectly normal.  The mucus is the stuff that lines the intestines to keep them lubricated and keep everything flowing nicely.  If his poop was completely covered with a thick layer of mucus, they will give the vet a call to see what he’d recommend.

Dog Poop Varies in Color with Proteins

Another thing they’ve noticed is that their dogs have darker poop when they eat elk, venison or emu.  Brown poop with rabbit and pork.  Lighter poop with duck and turkey.

When the poop is very dark, it could be due to blood higher up in the digestive tract or due to the protein a dog is eating.  And red blood on the poop is due to something closer to exit.  Either way, it’s worth a call to the veterinarian, because it’s better to be safe than sorry, and blood in the stool can be serious.

When in doubt- call your vet!  It is better to bother your vet now than to regret something later on that was easy to spot and may mean the difference in your time with your pet!

Life is Better with Pets

Kitty readingWhat do you really want to do with your life?

What do you want to achieve?

I bet you never really sit down and give time to think about what you want in life!

Let me guess— You rush, rush, rush doing everything that you must do like grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of family needs and of course that pesky job of yours! But you never look inward to determine if you are happy and fulfilled in your life.

Please take a minute or two, maybe even 20 minutes:

to relax,

breathe deep,

close your eyes

forget about the demands of your life

think about what makes you smile,

makes you laugh

what puts a spring in your step

what gives you the feeling of utter joy and bliss….

Ok now that you’ve done that— is your happiness related to anything that is on your daily or even weekly list of what you put your energy towards? If not, rethink your priorities.  You are not getting any younger and it will never be easier to make a change for the better unless you make time for it.

I personally feel like I wasted most of my life at my 8-5pm job in corporate America. I was really good at it, in fact I excelled, but it didn’t really make me happy.  You know what makes me happy?  Animals!  Plain and simple.  I can look at any animal, watch for just a few seconds and they will make me smile and I feel that smile inside me!  You know the smile I mean—the one you rarely get to enjoy but tickles you to your toes.  Yep, that’s what animals do for me.  It’s where I belong and who I really am deep down inside.

So, who are you?Rainbow Bridge Pic 1