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

dog-welcome-home-26629661

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

Source: WayCoolDogs.com

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

Cat Body Postures

Yoga catYour cat does crazy things all the time.  Sometimes you probably think they are from Mars, am I right?  They contort into all kinds of shapes and go into places that you would never think they could fit into!

But did you know that a cat’s posture can communicate their emotions. It is best to observe cats’ natural behavior when they are by themselves, with humans, and with other animals. Their postures can be friendly or aggressive, depending upon the situation. Some of the most basic and familiar cat postures include the following:

 Relaxed posture – The cat is seen lying on the side or sitting. Its breathing is slow to normal, with legs bent, or hind legs laid out or extended. The tail is loosely wrapped, extended, or held up. It also hangs down loosely when the cat is standing.

Stretching posture – another posture indicating cat is relaxed.

Yawning posture – either by itself, or in conjunction with a stretch: another posture of a relaxed catcat yawn

Alert posture – The cat is lying on its belly, or it may be sitting. Its back is almost horizontal when standing and moving. Its breathing is normal, with its legs bent or extended (when standing). Its tail is curved back or straight upwards, and there may be twitching while the tail is positioned downwards.

Tense posture – The cat is lying on its belly, with the back of its body lower than its upper body (slinking) when standing or moving back. Its legs, including the hind legs are bent, and its front legs are extended when standing. Its tail is close to the body, tensed or curled downwards; there can be twitching when the cat is standing up.

Anxious/ovulating posture – The cat is lying on its belly. The back of the body is more visibly lower than the front part when the cat is standing or moving. Its breathing may be fast, and its legs are tucked under its body. The tail is close to the body and may be curled forward (or close to the body when standing), with the tip of the tail moving up and down (or side to side).

Fearful posture – The cat is lying on its belly or crouching directly on top of its paws. Its entire body may be shaking and very near the ground when standing up. Breathing is also fast, with its legs bent near the surface, and its tail curled and very close to its body when standing on all fours.

Terrified posture – The cat is crouched directly on top of its paws, with visible shaking seen in some parts of the body. Its tail is close to the body, and it can be standing up, together with its hair at the back. The legs are very stiff or even bent to increase their size. Typically, cats avoid contact when they feel threatened, although they can resort to varying degrees of aggression when they feel cornered, or when escape is impossible

My personal and most favorite posture is when my cat Milo would lay on his head and roll around!  Let’s face it– they are simply adorable no matter what they are doing!

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_behavior

Updated: 2015-10-01T02:39Z

Meow Meow Meow…what does it all mean????

cute-cat-paw-up-5151240

Cats have wide range of vocalizations to communicate with other cats, but seem to reserve “meows” primarily for talking to their people. What exactly does your cat want? Are they cat-cursing at you, praising your taste in bed linens, or just bugging you for the heck of it?

Meows are usually demands: let me OUT, let me IN, pet me, play with me, FEED me! As the cat becomes more passionate and insistent, their meows grow more strident and lower-pitched. Meow demands most frequently take place in the wee hours of the night, when owners want to sleep.

Cats normally sleep 16 hours a day, and are most active at night when mousy prey is about.

Your cat will go through the motions of mouse-patrol whether there are outside or indoors. It’s perfectly normal.   In the summer I bet you appreciate them finding those pesky flies and insects that make their way into your home!

Have you ever heard a meow that sounded like they were actually saying words?  A long time ago, my brother-in-law had a cat that would meow and he drew it out so long that it sounded like he was saying “help me”.  Freaky, right????

Now if you want to have an in-depth discussion with your kitty, contact me, Diane Weinmann the animal communicator at Dianefortheloveofanimals @yahoo.com

Weird Things your Dogs Do and Why!

Your dog does some very wacky things. In fact, at times, watching the antics of your pet is better than watching TV especially those that don’t have cable! So I bet you think to yourself –what are they thinking and why in the world are they doing that?

I’ve listed a few strange doggie antics that I think you will enjoy.

My Dog dips his paw in his water bowl   dog splashing

I was at the shelter this week and witnessed an odd behavior when a yellow lab was dipping his paw and splashing water in and all around his bowl as I filled it. In fact, as fast as I filled it, he was emptying it with his paw. He did not seem interested in drinking the fresh, cool water—oh no, he was just playing! I bet this happens once in a while in your home too. Well, when I asked the dog why he was scooping the water out of the bowl he told me he liked wet paws and licking them. Ah ha! That answer sort of made sense to me. I have witnessed dogs repeatedly licking their paw but obviously having wet paws in the first place was better than wetting them with their tongue.

My Dog Eats Grass and Other Strange Plants!  dog eating grass

Yep, my dog thinks the park is a gourmet buffet of tempting grasses for his palate. He will walk past dandelions, chives and many other types of edible plants to happily chew on a tall leafy plant that looks like really long grass.

According to Dr. Karen Becker, if your otherwise healthy, well-nourished dog nibbles on selected grass once in awhile, there’s no cause for concern. (as long as there was no toxins on the plants).

 

Dogs that selectively choose specific grasses to nibble on may be seeking out the plant’s medicinal qualities (many grasses are high in potassium and enzymes) or looking for a natural source of fiber. But then there are the frantic, non-selective grass eaters, which may mean a GI problem is brewing. I have seen this behavior in our back yard. Once in a blue moon he will run into the back yard and immediately start pulling grass out, roots and all, and scarfing it down like it’s a delicacy.

 

Dogs will instinctively search for natural remedies for the occasional upset stomach, and grass often does the trick, not to mention it’s usually easy to find. There is something about the texture of grass that triggers vomiting or a bowel movement in many dogs, which relieves tummy discomfort. But if the grass eating is chronic and especially if it causes your pet to vomit frequently, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

In the meantime, I recommend upgrading your dog’s diet if she’s still eating kibble or any non-human grade commercial dog food. Most healthy dogs fed a balanced, species-appropriate diet don’t eat grass because they receive all the nourishment their bodies need from their food, and they rarely suffer from digestive issues. Adding probiotics and digestive enzymes can also benefit dogs with “sensitive stomachs.”

I purchase very expensive, grain free food and supplement it with home cooked meat. Being certified in canine nutrition I am certain that my dog is receiving optimal nutrition from a species-appropriate diet but if he continues to eat a good amount of grass, I would consider growing my own sunflower sprouts. Sprouts can provide an easy, inexpensive source of fresh, live, organic vegetation and are much more nutritious for your pet than grass.

Ever see your Dog Performing the Scratch Dance?

Every day when I walk my dog, he moves his bowels (obviously the reason for the walk). As I stand there waiting for him to finish, I get my bag all ready and the second he is done I bend down to pick up his excrement. Guess what? I get a face full of grass, dirt, leaves or snow depending on the time of the year. That’s a fine thank you for the walk! It’s bad enough that I have to carry the stinky stuff back home but to get a face full of dirt/grass/snow is not my idea of facial!

So why is this annoying behavior occurring? It seems that many of the dog’s ancestors (wild dogs and wolves) kicked at the ground after pooping to hide and also mark their territory. Dogs have glands in their paws that have pheromones and by scratching the ground they release their individual scent onto the dirt. Ever have to physically pull your dog away from sniffing a tree, fire hydrant or specific flower? They are learning about the dog that has previously been there. So let’s doe-si-doe!

Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

You witness your dog gobble up a turd he found outside like it’s a filet migon. Gross, right? So what is with this disgusting habit? Well, dogs eat poop for lots of reasons.

Again, according to Dr. Becker the scientific name for stool eating is coprophagia. Sometimes, there’s an underlying medical problem like an enzyme deficiency or pancreatic insufficiency. Intestinal malabsorption and GI parasites are also common medical reasons underlying coprophagia.

If your dog is on a poor-quality, processed dry food diets he will often seek out other sources of digestive enzymes to make up for a chronic enzyme deficiency brought on by a biologically inappropriate diet.

Coprophagia can also have a behavioral cause. Dogs that are feeling anxious or stressed may eat poop. Additionally so will dogs who have been punished for inappropriate elimination, which includes many puppy mill dogs.

Dr. Becker’s recommendations for curbing/eliminating this behavior include feeding a diet containing human-grade (preferably unprocessed) protein and supplement with probiotics and digestive enzymes, and insuring your dog has toys that stimulate her brain and alleviate boredom. Also insure he is well-exercised. You may want to consider experimenting with some of the over-the-counter coprophagia deterrent products. Make sure you look for a non-toxic product that doesn’t contain MSG.

If despite your best efforts your dog’s poop eating behavior isn’t improving, or is getting worse, I recommend making an appointment with your vet to rule out any underlying medical reason for the behavior.fowllanguagecomics-comics-dogs-poop-1717830

 

Alfalfa is just not for Horses!

horse an dog

As you may already know, I am certified in canine nutrition. What you don’t know is that alfalfa is great for dogs. I know..right—who’d of guessed that! I was just as shocked as you all are because I thought it was only for my horse! Here is how it can help:

Benefits of Alfalfa for Dogs

  • Rich in Nutrients 9A, B12, C, D, E, and K)
  • Arthritis Relief
  • Antioxidant
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Kidney Health

With all these good benefits listed above be aware that you do need to be careful with some dogs. For example, listed below are some precautions you should use when feeding alfalfa to your dog:

  • it is NOT for anemic dogs
  • it could lead to an upset stomach, especially when fed fresh
  • seeds shouldn’t be fed to dogs
  • Due to allergies, it should be fed in its “pre bloom” phase

Because of these warnings, it’s been recommended to me that you only give your dog alfalfa powder – not the stuff I feed to my horse (in this case fresh is not always best – besides where would you get fresh alfalfa ifyou don’t know a farmer?) I can tell you that Montana (my palomino) is probably very happy that no dog is going to touch his alfalfa! (Montana is food aggressive at times).

So you are wondering where you can actually buy alfalfa powder—where else – AMAZON!

I would recommend the NOW brand, which is 100% pure alfalfa.

How much Alfalfa should you give to Your Dog?

Like most supplements I give- just sprinkle the ground alfalfa over your dog’s food.

A wonderful magazine that I live and breathe by, The Dogs Naturally, recommends a pinch per 10 pounds once a day, which means 1 teaspoon for a 50 pound dog.hungry-dog-5434576

10 Symptoms you should NOT Ignore in Dogs

By Dr. Beckerdog getting meds

Because I respect Dr. Becker and her medical knowledge and opinions I print a lot of her posts with my comments attached.  Today I am giving it to you straight from her.  She is the VET and she knows best.

When your dog starts acting strangely or seems a little inexplicably “off,” it’s often impossible to know whether to take a wait-and-see approach, or hit the panic button. This is especially true when the symptoms are characteristic of certain benign conditions as well as life threatening disorders.

The following symptoms fall into the category of Do Not Ignore. They may or may not indicate a serious underlying disease, but they should be investigated immediately by your veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic.

10 Do Not Ignore Symptoms in Dogs

  1. Loss of appetite, weight loss. Often, loss of appetite is the very first sign of an underlying illness in pets. There can be many reasons your dog isn’t hungry or refuses to eat, but not eating can begin to negatively impact his health within 24 hours. And for puppies 6 months or younger, the issue is even more serious.

Weight loss is the result of a negative caloric balance, and it can be the consequence of anorexia (loss of appetite) or when a dog’s body uses or eliminates essential dietary nutrients faster than they are replenished. Weight loss exceeding 10 percent of your dog’s normal body weight will be a red flag for your vet. There can be several underlying causes, some of which are very serious.

  1. Lethargy, extreme fatigue. A lethargic dog will appear drowsy, “lazy,” and/or indifferent. She may be slow to respond to sights, sounds and other stimuli in her environment.

Lethargy or exhaustion is a non-specific symptom that can signal a number of potential underlying disorders, including some that are serious or life-threatening. If your pet is lethargic for longer than 24 hours, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

  1. Coughing in dogs, unless it’s a one-and-done situation, generally indicates an underlying problem. Examples include a possible windpipe obstruction, kennel cough, bronchitis, pneumonia, heartworm disease, heart failure, and tumors of the lung.

All causes of coughing require investigation, and in most cases, treatment.

  1. If your dog’s temperature spikes, it usually means his body is fighting an infection. The normal temperature in dogs is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees F. If your pet feels warm to you and his temp is higher than normal, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
  2. Difficulty breathing. A dog in respiratory distress will have labored breathing or shortness of breath that can occur when she breathes in or out. Breathing difficulties can mean that not enough oxygen is reaching her tissues. Additionally, dogs with heart failure may not be able to pump enough blood to their muscles and other tissues.

Respiratory distress often goes hand-in-hand with a buildup of fluid in the lungs or chest cavity that leads to shortness of breath and coughing. If your dog has sudden undiagnosed breathing problems, she should see a veterinarian immediately.

  1. Trouble urinating. This includes discomfort while urinating, straining to urinate, and frequent attempts to urinate with little success. If your dog cries out while relieving himself, seems preoccupied with that area of his body or is excessively licking the area, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.

There are several underlying causes of urinary difficulties, some of which can result in death within just a few days.

  1. Bloody diarrhea, urine, vomit. Digested blood in your dog’s poop will appear as black tarry stools. Fresh blood in the stool indicates bleeding in the colon or rectum. Either situation is cause for concern and should be investigated as soon as possible.

Blood in a dog’s urine, called hematuria, can be obvious or microscopic. There are a number of serious disorders that can cause bloody urine, including a blockage in the urinary tract, a bacterial infection, and even cancer.

Vomited blood can be either bright red (fresh), or resemble coffee grounds (indicating partially digested blood). There are a variety of reasons your dog might vomit blood, some of which are relatively minor, but others are serious and even life threatening.

  1. Pacing, restlessness, unproductive retching. When a dog paces and seems unable or unwilling to settle down, it can signal that he’s in pain, discomfort, or distress. One very serious condition in which these symptoms are common is gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), also called bloat. Another sign of bloat is when a dog tries to vomit but brings nothing up.

Bloat is a life-threatening condition that most often occurs in large breed dogs and those with deep chests.

  1. Fainting, collapsing. When a dog collapses, it means she experiences a sudden loss of strength that causes her to fall and not be able to get back up. If a collapsed dog also loses consciousness, she has fainted.

Either of these situations is an emergency, even if your dog recovers quickly and seems normal again within seconds or minutes of the collapse. All the reasons for fainting or collapsing are serious and require an immediate visit to your veterinarian. They include a potential problem with the nervous system (brain, spinal cord or nerves), the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, muscles), the circulatory system (heart, blood vessels, blood), or the respiratory system (mouth, nose, throat, lungs).

  1. Red eye(s). If the white area of your dog’s eye turns bright red, it’s a sign of inflammation or infection that signals one of several diseases involving the external eyelids, the third eyelid, the conjunctiva, cornea, or sclera of the eye.

Redness can also point to inflammation of structures inside the eye, eye socket disorders, and also glaucoma. Certain disorders of the eye can lead to blindness, so any significant change in the appearance of your dog’s eyes should be investigated.

Some symptoms of illness in dogs are best handled by simply giving them a chance to run their course, for example, a temporary GI upset resulting from indiscriminate snacking.

Other symptoms can be so sudden, severe and frightening that you know immediately you need to get your pet to the vet or an emergency animal hospital.

The 10 symptoms I’ve listed above are less definitive, so I hope I’ve provided you with some guidance in the event your own pet develops symptoms that point to a potentially severe or life-threatening illness.dog with med bottles