The Most Common Dog Health Issue – Are You Doing Your Part?

By Dr. Karen Becker


Dental disease remains the most common medical problem in dogs today, with the majority suffering some form of periodontal (gum) disease by the age of 3. The reason for this is most family dogs don’t eat the kind of food that helps keep their teeth clean.

In addition, most dogs don’t receive regular home and/or professional dental care, and they don’t show signs of discomfort or pain until there’s a significant problem in their mouth.

Unfortunately, the risk of painful mouth conditions — in particular, gum disease, tooth resorption and oral cancer — is dramatically increased for older dogs. This means that for your senior or geriatric pet, proper dental care is especially important.

Oral Disease Can Set the Stage for Heart Disease

When plaque isn’t removed from your dog’s teeth, it collects there and around the gum line and within a few days hardens into tartar. Tartar sticks to the teeth and ultimately irritates the gums. Irritated gums become inflamed — a condition known as gingivitis.

If your dog has gingivitis, the gums will be red rather than pink and his breath may be noticeably smelly. If the tartar isn’t removed, it will build up under the gums, eventually causing them to pull away from the teeth. This creates small pockets in the gum tissue that become repositories for additional bacteria.

At this stage, your pet has developed an irreversible condition, periodontal disease, which causes considerable pain and can result in abscesses, infections, loose teeth and bone loss.

When periodontal disease is present, the surface of the gums is weakened. The breakdown of gum tissue allows mouth bacteria to invade your pet’s bloodstream and travel throughout his body. If his immune system doesn’t kill off the bacteria, it can reach the heart and infect it.

Studies have shown that oral bacteria, once in the bloodstream, seem able to fight off attacks by the immune system. What many pet parents don’t realize is there’s an established link between gum disease and endocarditis, which is an inflammatory condition of the valves or inner lining of the heart.

Researchers also suspect certain strains of oral bacteria may lead to heart problems. Some types of bacteria found in the mouths of dogs produce sticky proteins that can adhere to artery walls, causing them to thicken. Mouth bacteria are also known to promote the formation of blood clots that can damage the heart.

How quickly these events take place depends on a number of factors, including your dog’s age, breed, genetics, diet, overall health, and the frequency and quality of dental care he receives. It’s also important to realize that some pets will require regular professional cleanings even when their owners are doing everything right in terms of home care.

Why Dental Procedures to Treat Moderate to Severe Oral Disease Require Anesthesia

Veterinary dental cleanings for dogs with moderate to severe oral disease require general anesthesia, because a truly thorough oral exam and cleaning (and extractions, if needed) can’t be accomplished on a pet who is awake. It’s dangerous to use sharp instruments in the mouth of a conscious animal, and needless to say, the procedure is very stressful for the pet with significant oral disease.

Prior to the oral exam and cleaning, your pet will undergo a physical exam and blood tests to ensure she can be safely anesthetized for the procedure. The day of the cleaning, she’ll be sedated, and a tube will be placed to maintain a clear airway and so that oxygen and anesthetic gas can be given.

An intravenous (IV) catheter should also be placed so that fluids and anesthesia can be administered as appropriate throughout the procedure and your pet should be monitored by sophisticated anesthetic monitoring equipment. Make sure your veterinarian does both these things.

If you’re wondering why pets require general anesthesia and intubation for a seemingly simple procedure, there are a number of benefits:

·         Anesthesia immobilizes your dog to ensure her safety and cooperation during a confusing, stressful procedure

·         It provides for effective pain management during the procedure

·         It allows for a careful and complete examination of all surfaces inside the oral cavity, as well as the taking of digital x-rays, which are necessary to address issues that are brewing below the surface of the gums that can’t been seen and could cause problems down the road

·         It permits your veterinarian to probe and scale as deeply as necessary below the gum line where 60% or more of plaque and tartar accumulate

·         Intubation while the patient is under general anesthesia protects the trachea and prevents aspiration of water and oral debris

What Actually Happens During Your Dog’s Dental Cleaning

While your pet is anesthetized, her teeth will be cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler as well as a hand scaler to clean under and around every tooth. Your veterinarian will use dental probes to measure the depths of the pockets in the gum around each tooth, and x-rays should be taken.

Most vets use digital technology now, so you don’t have to panic about overwhelming radiation exposure from dental x-rays. Digital x-rays are important because they identify issues we can’t see externally.

I’ve had patients require a second anesthesia and dental procedure within several months of the first, because x-rays were refused, and a retained baby tooth or festering tooth root infection wasn’t caught on the first go-round. The only way to know what’s happening below the crown of the tooth is to check by taking a digital x-ray.

Once all the plaque and tartar are off the teeth, your dog’s mouth will be rinsed, and each tooth will be polished. The reason for polishing is to smooth any tiny grooves on the teeth left by the cleaning so they don’t attract more plaque and tartar. After polishing, the mouth is rinsed again.

Average Costs for Canine Dental Procedures

The cost of veterinary dental procedures is influenced by a number of factors, including where you live, and the degree of disease involved. Some veterinary practices bill for dental work according to the type of procedure performed, while others price their services based on the time it takes to complete a procedure.

An oral exam, x-rays and cleaning with no tooth extractions usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Average costs range from around $300 to $1,000, plus x-rays at $150 to $200. Veterinary dental specialists often charge more.

It’s important if you comparison-shop to ensure quotes on the low end don’t involve skimping on important items that help ensure your dog’s safety, such as pre-op screening, IV fluids, x-rays, and certified veterinary technicians. Ask for itemized quotes.

Extractions are typically priced according to the type of tooth and the time and work needed to remove it. There are simple extractions that can run as little as $10 to $15, elevated extractions that can average $25 to $35, and extractions of teeth with multiple roots, which tend to be the priciest — up to $100 in some cases.

Root canals are commonly priced by the root. A root canal on a tooth with three roots can range from $1,000 to $3,000, hence most owners opting for extraction.

Tips to Help Keep Your Dog’s Mouth Healthy

·         Feed a nutritionally balanced, species-specific, fresh food diet, and feed it raw if possible. When your dog gnaws on raw meat, it acts as a kind of natural toothbrush and dental floss.

·         Offer recreational bones and/or a fully digestible, high quality dental dog chew to help control plaque and tartar. The effect of dental chews is similar to raw bones, but safer for power chewers or dogs who have restorative dental work and can’t chew raw bones.

·         Brush your pet’s teeth, preferably every day. If every day is too tall an order, commit to do it several times a week. A little time spent each day brushing your dog’s teeth can be tremendously beneficial in maintaining her oral health and overall well-being.

·         Perform routine mouth inspections. Your dog should allow you to open his mouth, look inside, and feel around for loose teeth or unusual lumps or bumps on the tongue, under the tongue, along the gum line and on the roof of the mouth. After you do this a few times, you’ll become aware of any changes that occur from one inspection to the next. You should also make note of any differences in the smell of your pet’s breath that aren’t diet-related.

·         Arrange for regular oral exams performed by your veterinarian. He or she will alert you to any existing or potential problems in your pet’s mouth, and recommend professional teeth cleaning under anesthesia, if necessary.

Daily homecare and as-needed professional cleanings by your veterinarian or dental professional are the best way to keep your pet’s mouth healthy and disease-free. They’re also important for dogs with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure.

Homeopathy for Pets

Homeopathy for Pets

See in Dogs Naturally Magazine By Deva Khalsa VMD and additional info from the Honest Kitchen

Homeopathy is fun to use and the fact that it works so very well with so many medical problems makes it all the more rewarding!  So what exactly is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a form of ‘energy medicine’ that uses remedies made from highly diluted natural compounds. Most of the commonly used remedies are inexpensive and easy to find. They can be found at most health food markets, some human pharmacies, online at a multitude of sites and even at K-Mart. I suggest you compile a kit of common remedies to have ready and waiting when minor emergencies occur because there’s often not the time to run to the store and this stuff always seem to happen late at night or on a major holiday!

Homeopathy has particular rules associated with using it and this can be confusing and put off prospective students. But for many simple and common accidents and illnesses, it can be pretty simple to use. The first thing to do is to assemble a homeopathic kit to have at home and then buy a book or two about homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies number in the thousands and are made from anything and everything. But you only need to learn some of the rules of homeopathy and have about a dozen remedies to be off and running.


Here is the straight goods on how to work with homeopathic remedies.

  • Homeopathic remedies need to melt on the gums so they should not be hidden in a treat or in food. Our dogs have a built in pouch on the side of their mouth and the remedies can go right in there.


  • Try not to handle the remedies but drop them straight from the bottle into your dog’s cheek.


  • Remedies come in tiny white pellet or liquid form. Either form can be placed directly into your dog’s cheek.


  • It’s not important if you give one drop of the remedy or five or one homeopathic pellet or three because homeopathy is an energy medicine and there is typically none of the physical substance left in the remedy. One tiny white pellet could treat an elephant and 10 pellets could treat a mouse. That’s a hard one to digest, if you’ll excuse my pun, but people are always worried about how much to give and how often to give. The amount is no big deal and you give it until they get better. If it’s not working at all, you stop giving the remedy. We’re all just too used to using antibiotics that have to be calculated to the weight of the dog and have a certain time they need to be given. This is simply not the case with homeopathy.


  • Because homeopathy is an energy medicine the remedies should not be stored next to heavy electromagnetic appliances such as televisions and computers or left in the bright hot sun for a long time.


Unlike drugs, Homeopathy does not work by body weight (e.g., give 500 mg per 25 pounds of body weight). With Homeopathy, the original physical substance is sequentially diluted and this is why you have the funny numbers after the name of the remedy. Arnica 6x does not mean that you have to give it six times! It means that the remedy has been diluted six times. To confound you even more, the more dilute the remedy the more powerful it is, so very highly diluted remedies are usually only available to doctors. The potencies most commonly available to you are 6x and 30x (diluted 1/10 either 6 or 30 times) and 6c and 30c ( diluted 1/100 either 6 or 30 times).


Homeopathic remedies are chosen in accordance with how the patient experiences his illness. For instance, one person who has a cold may want everyone in the house at attendance and worrying about him while another wants to be left alone to lie quietly in the dark. Each of these individuals would need a different remedy based on the individual picture they present. Let’s say your dog has arthritis and stiffness. Look that up in a Homeopathy text book and you’ll be given a choice of remedies. The specific way the problem presents in your dog will determine the remedy you choose.

For example, look at arthritic stiffness in dogs. Your choice of remedy might depend on whether your dog is worse or better when he first gets up after resting. If he’s better after resting, he might need the remedy Bryonia as noted above. I’ve found that most dogs are stiff at first but after walking a bit they get less stiff after they move around for a bit. Oftentimes these same dogs are worse in cold damp weather. With this presentation you’d likely choose the remedy Rhus toxidendron.

Rhus tox, as it is commonly known, is much cheaper than NSAID’s and also much safer to use. If you were to determine that Rhus tox was the best remedy for your dog, you would simply put a few pellets to melt in his cheek pouch about three times a day and watch him over the next week, noting changes in his condition. If he gets better, you’ve got the right remedy and if there is no change, there’s no harm done. Go back and do a little more reading in your handy books on homeopathy. When you have the right remedy, and you’ll know because there will be improvement.


Here are several homeopathic remedies that you can keep on hand for basic needs. You may want to go out and purchase these commonly used remedies to have on hand in case the need arises. They are small and make a great travel kit too.

  • Apis mellifica – great for bee and other insect bites. Give every 20 minutes for a few doses after a bee sting. This remedy is made from the Honeybee, is used for insect bites and stings that produce sensitive swellings. Animals who can benefit from apis may be very hot but not thirsty and their pain is often alleviated by cold.


  • Arnica montana – good for general pain, stiffness due to overexertion, soreness and musculoskeletal injuries and is one of the best known homeopathic remedies. It is commonly used in humans, in both topical creams and oral pellets. Arnica is excellent for bruising, muscle aches, sprains and general injuries especially where the animal is shocked. Animals who benefit from arnica may be fearful of touch and restless, constantly moving from one spot to another because of their discomfort.


  • Arsenicum album – great for GI upsets from eating spoiled food where there is both vomiting and diarrhea. When any digestive upset is caused by food poisoning or the consumption of garbage this remedy should be given twice an hour for a few hours.  It is also great remedy for diarrhea. Pets that need this remedy often feel chilly and their symptoms are alleviated by warmth. It’s especially useful in younger animals, and for those who are anxious, restless and thirsty. They are afraid to be alone and especially fearful of strangers.


  • Borax (the remedy, not the powder) – excellent for fear of thunderstorms and fireworks. Give this at the 6c potency twice a day for a month during the season.


  • Calendula (can be used both as an oral remedy and as an external ointment) – use for skin infections or any kind of external infection. It’s a remarkable healing agent and a tube of the ointment should always be on hand to apply topically to scrapes, infections and wounds. You can also buy a tincture and dilute it 1/10 and flush any cuts or wounds with it.


  • Carbo vegetabilis is made from charcoal, and is used for the alleviation of gas. It is a great remedy to keep on hand for dogs who are prone to bloat. Weakness, shock and general exhaustion indicate the need for carbo veg.


  • Thuja occidentalis is indicated for the treatment of warts and skin complaints. It is also used to help with adverse vaccine reactions, especially those reactions that cause skin problems
  • Hepar sulphur – is wonderful to treat painful abscesses anywhere on the body and painful infected anal glands.


  • Hypericum – is an excellent remedy to give for any pain due to nerve damage or injuries to nerve-rich areas. I once closed my finger in a window and learned firsthand the wonders of Hypericum. Great for when you cut your dog’s toenails too short.


  • Myristica – phenomenal remedy for anal sac infections and chronic anal sac problems.


  • Rhus tox – for arthritis that’s better after moving around, general musculoskeletal injuries, red swollen eyes, skin infections and skin itching.


  • Ruta – fantastic for any injury to tendons or ligaments and this remedy has a real affinity for the knee so you would use it immediately after any knee or cruciate injury.


  • Silicea – pushes foreign bodies like splinters or foxtails out of the skin.


  • Ledum – the first choice for any type of puncture wound, including those from insect bites. Insect bites that require


  • Apis will be hot and red whereas bites that require Ledum will be cool and appears bruised.


  • Fragariaif your dog has terrible tartar buildup, try using the homeopathic remedy called Fragaria (6x).  Give 1-2 pellets twice a day for a month (do not mix with food) and you should see an improvement.


Homeopathic remedies have been used to treat illness in people and animals since the late eighteenth century. Homeopathic treatment stimulates the body’s own defenses to cure itself and promote health. The majority of homeopathic remedies are made from a special dilution of plants or minerals.

*Remedies are placed on small lactose pellets or in a water based solution for oral administration. They are designed to enter the blood stream directly through the mucous membranes of the mouth so they should be separated from food and water by 30-60 minutes. One dose may last 3 weeks or longer. It is important to monitor your pet’s symptoms and report any changes to your holistic veterinarian.

Avoid touching homeopathic remedies with your hands. Put pellets in a teaspoon and tip it onto your pet’s tongue or for liquids, drip them from the eyedropper onto the tongue without touching the mouth.


Store homeopathic remedies 15 feet away from computers, televisions, microwave ovens, and any other devices that emit strong radiation. Keep the remedies away from strong odors. Do not use the remedies in the presence of strong odors such as camphor, mothballs, Tiger Balm, mint, coffee or turpentine. Both electromagnetic forces and strong odors could inactivate the remedy.
*Store in a cool place away from direct sunlight*

With a small investment and a little planning, you can build your own homeopathy kit. These remedies aren’t that difficult to use and can give your dog fast and effective relief from many common injuries and illnesses.

As always, we recommend that you consult with a veterinarian who’s familiar with the use of homeopathy, when using a modality for your pet.

Here is link to a store to purchase remedies:


Giving Remedies

To give remedies, make sure you don’t touch the pellets (if you have to, that’s fine but try to pop them from the cap into your dog’s mouth – if that doesn’t work, place three pellets in a glass of water, stir with a metal spoon, then give the water to your dog in a dropper). Give the remedy before you leave and take some extras along for the ride, in case you need a second or third dose. Don’t give remedies with food.

Homeopathic dosing isn’t based on weight. Give the same dose for all size dogs.

  • Pills – give 3 of the larger pellets or a capful of the smaller little granular pellets
  • Liquid – mix the same amount of pellets in a glass of water. Give a half dropper full, regardless of your dog’s size.

Remedies for Upset Tummies

Homeopathy is also a great option for motion sickness.

Cocculus indicus – can be given just before getting in the car and is the most popular remedy for nausea due to motion sickness. Give your dog three pellets or crush them in a spoon and drop them in some water for him to drink (or in a dropper bottle so you can administer them).

Remedies for Anxiety

Rescue Remedy – this flower essence can also be given right before getting in the car to ease your dog’s anxiety. Follow the directions on the bottle.

Argentum nitricum – this is the first remedy to consider when nausea is accompanied by nervousness and anxiety. Give your dog three pellets or crush them in a spoon and drop them in some water for him to drink (or in a dropper bottle so you can administer them).

With a little help, and a little time, your dog may soon enjoy running errands with you, instead of waiting at home.

Dog Stomach Noises: What Do They Mean?

Dog Stomach Noises: What Do They Mean?


By Matt Soniak


When your stomach growls or gurgles, you usually know what it means. Sometimes, it’s because you’re hungry. Sometimes it’s because you’re digesting a meal. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s because you’re sick. Your dog’s stomach can make plenty of noise, too, but does a dog’s stomach make noises for the same reasons as yours?


Abdominal rumblings (which aren’t always necessarily coming from the stomach, and are often produced in the intestines) are known as borborygmi in medical terminology, and they’re a normal part of life for both dogs and humans. And you may be surprised that in both dogs and humans, these noises have the same causes.


Common Causes of Dog Stomach Noises



During digestion, the gastrointestinal tract breaks down food. That food moves around, the gases that are created by the digestive process move around, and even some of the organs involved in the digesting move a bit. “Most sounds audible to a pet owner are related to gas moving through the intestines,” says Dr. Mark Rondeau, DVM, a clinical professor of internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. All of that moving gas creates soft, gurgling borborygmi. Sometimes, digestion can produce louder-than-normal sounds when the process creates a lot of gas or when the gastrointestinal tract suddenly experiences an increase in activity, like when a dog eats after having an empty stomach.



A dog’s stomach will sometimes growl due to hunger, just like yours. Again, the noises are produced by the movement and contractions of the gastrointestinal tract and are usually a little louder than the sounds of digestion, says Rondeau. These hunger rumbles are, of course, most common in the morning before breakfast, a little before dinner, or anytime a dog has gone a while without food.



Ingesting a lot of air, whether while scarfing down food or just breathing heavily, can cause “excessive” stomach noise in dogs (and doggy burps), Rondeau says. If your pup is eating too fast, you can try using a special type of food bowl or other techniques, like putting a large ball or toy in a regular bowl, to slow your dog’s eating.


More Serious Causes of Dog Stomach Noises


While the majority of dog stomach noises are normal and harmless, some stomach noises in dogs can result from—and be a sign of—potentially serious gastrointestinal problems. If a dog gets into the garbage, eats something that doesn’t agree with him, or has his diet changed suddenly, stomach upset—and accompanying gastrointestinal noises—may occur.


More serious problems that can be associated with dog stomach noises include intestinal parasites, swallowing foreign objects, or a gastrointestinal diseases or disorders. In rare cases, excessive stomach noises can be associated with certain endocrine or metabolic disorders.


“Pet owners should mainly be concerned if the noises are associated with other clinical signs,” says Rondeau. These symptoms could include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation (drooling), and lethargy. You should also be on the lookout for signs of abdominal pain, such as a hunched posture.


If these symptoms are persistent, you should consult your veterinarian, says Rondeau. 


5 Nutrients That Make Your Pet Move Like a Puppy Again

By Dr. Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

Please don't walk me with a retractable leash !
Let’s Go for a Walk!

Osteoarthritis (OA), also called degenerative joint disease (DJD), is a condition in which there is inflammation of the synovium, which is a thin layer of tissue that lines the joints and tendon sheaths. Cells within the synovium secrete fluids that lubricate the joints.

OA is characterized by progressive, long-term, and permanent deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. Arthritis is the term used for inflammation of the joints; osteoarthritis describes chronic joint inflammation caused by deterioration of the joint cartilage.

Primary osteoarthritis typically doesn’t have an identifiable cause. However, there are many causes for secondary OA, including trauma, abnormal wear and tear on the joints and cartilage, or an inherited defect present at birth such as hip dysplasia.

Other causes of secondary OA include:

  • Abnormal development of joints, commonly the hip or elbow (exacerbated by irregular growth and development, as well as vaccine reactions)
  • Dislocation of the kneecap or subluxation of the kneecap or shoulder
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD), a condition in which a flap of cartilage develops abnormally within the joint
  • Obesity, which increases stress on the joints
  • Diabetes
  • Prolonged steroid therapy
  • Excessive laxity (looseness) of the joint

Nutritional Intervention for Osteoarthritis

  • The cells in the synovium produce inflammatory cytokines (small proteins that facilitate signaling between cells). Inflammatory cytokines promote systemic inflammation, but the good news is they are often responsive to therapeutic nutritional intervention, including:
  • Symptoms of osteoarthritis vary and include reduced activity level, occasional lameness, and a stiff gait that gets worse after exercise, long periods of activity, or in cold weather.



  • In a 2010 study of 38 dogs with osteoarthritis, dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids resulted in an improvement in weight bearing.1To achieve systemic anti-inflammatory effects, the recommended intake of EPA is 40 to 100 mg/kg.
  • In another study of 131 dogs with OA being treated with the drug carprofen for pain, omega-3 supplementation allowed for a reduction in pain medication.2
  • Arachidonic acid is a precursor to the proinflammatory cytokines prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are elevated in pets with osteoarthritis. EPA (eicosapentaneoic acid), an omega-3 essential fatty acid, reduces levels of arachidonic acid.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate
  • Oral glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate has been demonstrated to control inflammation in other species, as well as in a small group of dogs with induced synovitis (inflammation of the synovial membrane).4
  • Green-lipped mussel
  • Green-lipped mussel is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as chondroitin sulfate. In a 2013 study of 23 arthritic dogs, dietary supplementation with green-lipped mussel and glucosamine raised blood levels of omega-3 fats and improved lameness.
  • Elk velvet antler
  • In a study of 38 dogs with OA, supplementation with elk velvet antler (which contains chondroitin sulfate) improved subjective and objective signs of osteoarthritis.
  • Boswellia
  • A resin extract from the Boswellia serrata plant is known for its anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory properties. When given at 40 mg/kg to 29 dogs with osteoarthritis, it had a positive subjective effect on pain and lameness.
  • Turmeric
  • In one study, curcumin significantly decreased the expression of genes involved in inflammation more effectively than non-steroidal drugs

Chondroprotective Agents for Pets with OA

  • The form, dose, and type of CPA your veterinarian prescribes will be based on your pet’s individual medical circumstances. For example, many of my patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) also have arthritis. They can’t take oral supplements without significant gastrointestinal side effects. For these patients, I use an injectable joint-support product to bypass the gut, such as acetyl-d-glucosamine or polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, otherwise known as Adequan. I know lots of horse that have Adequan shots and it really seems to help them!Some of my patients are allergic to fish, beef or pork. Using chondroitin or glucosamine from these sources can be aggravating to their systems. So for these pets, I choose a supplement like methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) or eggshell membrane. I might also consider using cetyl myristoleate (CMO).It’s important to monitor your pet’s symptoms on an ongoing basis, because osteoarthritis progresses over time. Your dog’s or cat’s body is dynamically changing, and her arthritis protocol will need to change as well to meet her body’s evolving requirements.I have always found that a multimodal approach to managing osteoarthritis is critical for slowing down its progression.

The Importance of Lifetime Weight Management and Muscle Tone for Your Pet

  • By the age of 6, the overweight dogs had 1.5 times the incidence of shoulder arthritis as the calorie-restricted dogs. In an 18-week study of 14 overweight dogs with hip dysplasia and arthritis, the dogs were placed on a weight loss program and were evaluated every 2 weeks for 12 weeks then 4 weeks apart for the final 2 visits, with the following results:
  • Certainly arthritic pets who are also overweight or obese will have a much more difficult time with pain and mobility than lean animals, but it’s also important to understand that overfeeding young pets may play a role in causing OA. In a lifetime study of Labrador Retrievers, 25 percent of the dogs who were overweight at age 2 developed arthritis of the hip. However, the calorie-restricted (ideal weight) Labs had just a 4 percent occurrence rate.
  • Incorporating maintenance chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, acupressure, daily stretching, and mild exercise — like swimming, which is perfect — along with an oral protocol to manage pain and inflammation will yield the very best results for an arthritic pet.
  • You should bring your pet for a wellness check with your veterinarian at least twice a year to review the status of her health, but also to check the range of motion in her joints, the muscle mass she is either gaining or losing, and to make adjustments to her protocol as necessary to ensure her quality of life is optimal.
  • I have found that each animal responds differently to CPAs. Sometimes, rotating through a variety of products is necessary before we find the one that is most beneficial for a pet’s specific symptoms.
  • In my experience, chondroprotective agents (CPAs) or joint-protecting agents like the ones above and others are a must for pets with osteoarthritis. They slow the rate of cartilage degeneration, which is critical.
  • This spice, along with its active ingredient, curcumin, has been proven to reduce pain and inflammation alone or in conjunction with other medications.
  • By visit 3, body weights were significantly decreased from starting weights
  • By visit 5, pelvic circumference was significantly reduced from starting measurements
  • By the final visit, the dogs had lost on average 8.85 percent of their initial body weight and their pelvic circumference was reduced on average almost 7 percent
  • From visit 2 onward, lameness scores for both walking and trotting significantly improved week by week
  • At the end of the study, 82 percent of the dogs showed improvement in lamenessBottom line: an obese dog with osteoarthritis can have noticeable improvement in lameness after losing just 6 to 9 percent of body weight. Maintaining your pet’s muscle tone as he grows older can be difficult due to age-related sarcopenia, or muscle wasting (atrophy). To offset how quickly atrophy is occurring in our pets, we actually need to move their bodies more with age. Although the intensity, duration and type of exercise will change with age, daily activity is still crucial to prevent profound musculoskeletal weakness with age.So what did you learn? I learned that many herbs can help inflammation and losing weight in a pet will usually improve their lameness – so go walk your pet! It’s good for both you and them. Just think about the quality time you can spend together—simply taking in nature and telling them your problems or how your day went. Both of you will come back, refreshed, invigorated with a decrease in your stress level and pain due to inflammation!
  • Muscles are what hold your pet’s frame in place, so maintaining muscle tone will also slow the amount of joint laxity (which causes arthritis) as well.
  • And while “shrinking” is to be expected, to some extent, as pets move from senior to geriatric, many pet parents assume their pets need less exercise as they age, which is simply incorrect.
  • These results demonstrate that when an overweight dog reaches about a 6 percent decrease in body weight, lameness is significantly decreased. Additional improvement is seen as additional weight is lost. I bet this works for humans too! I think I just learned a lot about my arthritic knees that hold up my larger-than-life butt!

Bottom line: an obese dog with osteoarthritis can have noticeable improvement in lameness after losing just 6 to 9 percent of body weight. Maintaining your pet’s muscle tone as he grows older can be difficult due to age-related sarcopenia, or muscle wasting (atrophy).

And while “shrinking” is to be expected, to some extent, as pets move from senior to geriatric, many pet parents assume their pets need less exercise as they age, which is simply incorrect.

To offset how quickly atrophy is occurring in our pets, we actually need to move their bodies more with age. Although the intensity, duration and type of exercise will change with age, daily activity is still crucial to prevent profound musculoskeletal weakness with age.

Muscles are what hold your pet’s frame in place, so maintaining muscle tone will also slow the amount of joint laxity (which causes arthritis) as well.

So what did you learn? I learned that many herbs can help inflammation and losing weight in a pet will usually improve their lameness – so go walk your pet! It’s good for both you and them. Just think about the quality time you can spend together—simply taking in nature and telling them your problems or how your day went. Both of you will come back, refreshed, invigorated with a decrease in your stress level and pain due to inflammation!

I'll walk myself


De-icing Dangers

Veterinarian Reviewed on January 7, 2016 by Dr. Janice Huntingford and Diane Weinmann

I need Diane's lotion bar please!
I need Diane’s lotion bar please!

The winter season is here with the cold, snow and ice. When snow is on the ground, municipalities apply commercially prepared snow and ice melting products. Home and business owners also apply similar chemicals to sidewalks, porches and driveways. Most ice melting compounds contain salt products that can damage vegetation and hard surfaces and are toxic to people and their pets. Most people are not aware of the dangers that deicing solutions pose to pets.

Many ice melting salt products contain sodium chloride. With exposure of the salt to water and low temperatures, a reaction occurs that causes melting with temperatures generated up to 175°F. This reaction can burn the pet’s foot pads and skin with contact and can burn the mouth and rest of the GI tract with ingestion. Dogs and cats can ingest the salt by licking snow or icy surfaces or by licking their paws after being outside and picking up the ice melting pellets between their toes.

Salt toxicity is also a possibility with the salt-based ice melting products. Ingestion of salt can result in high blood sodium concentration leading to thirst, vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, kidney damage and possible neurologic signs including seizures, coma and even death. It is difficult to know how much salt is a “toxic dose.” Even small amounts of pure salt can be dangerous to a pet if ingested.

A pet with clinical signs suspected of ingesting rock salt should be assessed by a veterinarian. Serum sodium level will be elevated and reestablishing normal fluid and electrolyte balance may be necessary with fluid support and in-hospital care with 24-hour observation. It is important that water replacement be managed carefully because rapid shifts in water with dehydration may result in cerebral edema ( brain swelling) and cause neurologic signs.

Salt-based ice melting products are the least expensive. There are other, more expensive formulations that contain potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate or calcium magnesium acetate. The potassium and magnesium salts are less toxic if ingested but can still burn the foot pads. The calcium-based products do not create an exothermic reaction but still can be drying to the skin surface with exposure.

I know you have to carefully check the pads of your dog’s paws for salt granules that are stuck. I think my dog ate one and then he threw up a bunch of bile. It was gross but once he threw up he seemed better and ate his dinner.   I know it’s easy to forget to check but try to remember to look after every outside walk!

Here are steps that the pet owner can take to minimize risk for his or her pet:

  • Monitor/modify your pet’s behavior to minimize the risk of salt exposure.
  • Use waterproof pet boots during winter walks with dogs.
  • Wash off the pet’s feet, abdomen and chest after being outside with exposure to deicing salts.
  • Use sand, crushed cinder or cat litter to provide traction on icy pavement being aware that these products will not melt the snow or ice.
  • Immediately remove slush and dissolved deicing product after the snow and ice have melted enough.
  • Seek veterinary care if you suspect foot pad or skin burning from salt exposure or that your pet has ingested a significant amount of a salt product.
  • I also sell a product that is a pet lotion bar to put on your dog’s paws or nose to help with chapping and winter exposure to the elements as well as to the salt. The product has cocoa butter, shea butter, bees wax olive butter, avocado oil, neem oil and oatmeal and is completely handmade, holistic (as you can see by the ingredients) and safe for your pet even if they lick at it.       The pet nose and paw lotion bar is $10 plus shipping. Contact if you would like to purchase one of these fabulous bars (I use it on my own hands and feet).