Solutions For Dog Barking

Solutions For Dog Barking

by Sandra Murphy

Does your dog explode into barking whenever someone knocks at the door or rings the bell? Here are 6 ways to help him simmer down.

Ding dong! Chaos erupts as Molly skids barking down the hallway to get to the door before her human, Pat. “She’s such a sweet dog, but why does she act like we’re under attack when someone comes to the door?” asks Pat.

To answer that question, Pat needs to think like a canine, says Eileen Proctor, dog lifestyle expert and author of Relief for the Latchkey Dog. “When a dog sees people walk down the sidewalk, he barks and the people go away. The mail carrier comes to the door, rattles the mail slot, the dog barks and he goes away. It’s a dog’s job to protect the pack. When intruders leave, he’s successful.”

“The doorway is a high intensity location,” adds dog psychologist Linda Michaels. “There’s an unseen person on the other side, a human who needs protection on this side, and often, it’s a cramped space. This is the line a stranger crosses that can increase the dog’s desire to protect.”

In other words, when your dog is barking at the door, he’s only following his natural instincts. That doesn’t make it any less nerve-wracking for you, though. Luckily, there are ways you can help train him to stop treating the doorbell or a knock as a trigger for hysterical or aggressive behavior.

1. Acknowledge his efforts

Since a dog believes barking is in his job description, praise him for doing it – but set limits. A warning bark or two is fine to let you know someone’s at the door. Extended barking is not. Retool his job description to “alert” rather than “make the stranger go away”. It’s easier than you think…read on.

2. Choose a command, and don’t shout

Yelling doesn’t help. Already in a frenzy, the dog may hear “Save me, save me!” instead of “Knock it off” or “Quiet!” when you raise your voice. Choose a verbal cue like “That’s enough” or “No bark”. Use a firm voice rather than a loud one. Eileen uses a simple, “Thank you, good dog.” That says to the dog, “Stand down while I check the threat level.” He then knows the two of you are working as a team and the responsibility is not all on him.

“Consistency is the key,” adds Eileen. “Make sure all the people in the house use the same phrase. Practice makes perfect for both the human and the dog.” Have everyone in the family work with the dog so he doesn’t think the lesson applies to only one of his humans.

3. Make it more satisfying not to bark

Barking turns into its own reward because it gets attention, good or bad. To make it more rewarding for the dog to alert and then be quiet, pick a high value treat or toy that stays by the door. Its only use is as a reward for alert/quiet. The goal is to change the meaning of the doorbell or knock from “Danger!” to “Somebody’s here! Gimme a treat.” Linda concurs: “Teach the dog: ‘I can bark at the door, or I can get cookies.’

“Safety first is always a good rule,” she adds. “To diffuse the dog’s heightened emotions, have him move away from the door to a spot where he can see what’s happening but not be between his person and the visitor.” A baby gate works well as you train for calm behavior. “A handful of tiny treats scattered over the floor will distract him from territorial guarding,” says Linda. “His guarding instincts won’t disappear. He’ll just have better control.”

4. Do some practice runs

Friends who have the willingness and patience to stand on your porch and ring the doorbell while you train are priceless. Another option could be a neighborhood kid with time on his hands. If all else fails, knock on the inside of the door yourself. When the dog rushes to see what’s going on, show the reward, use the verbal cue and take him to the chosen location where he has more space to move around and time to calm himself.

Several ten or 15-minute sessions are better than 30 minutes of continuous training. End on a successful note. If you or your dog begin to get frustrated, have him do something different, such as a few sits and downs, then reward him and take a break.

5. Open the door

Once he knows the routine – alert, move to the calm spot, get the reward – it’s time to let the person come into the house. If your dog remembers the new division of labor – he alerts, you check it out – the visitor can talk to him from a distance.

If it’s still peaceful, bring the dog closer while he’s leashed. A leash gives you control over sudden jumps, inappropriate sniffs, or a body slam greeting. If he walks nicely, let him approach the visitor. If he gets excited or pulls on the leash, stop where you are to see if he remembers that only good behavior gets a reward. Is he still overly excited? Go back and start again from the calm spot.

Watch for a wagging tail. Give your guest tiny treats too. Your dog needs to see company as a good thing. If he’s relaxed, sit down and talk to your visitor for a few minutes. Take the dog back to his calm spot, scatter treats and then escort your visitor back to the door.

6. Praise good behavior!

Whether it’s a practice run or the real thing, remember to always praise or treat your dog when he does what you want him to. “The best way is to use positive reinforcement for wanted behavior,” says Eileen. “Don’t punish bad behavior.” Friends, relatives, the UPS driver or mail carrier – the number of people who have occasion to come to your door can be legion. And each one can be a learning experience for a happy human and a well-mannered dog!

5 Fall Dangers for Dogs

By: Jill Fanslau comments by Diane Weinmann


During the hot summer months, you’ve learned how to keep your dog cool, hydrated, and happy. But what about when the chillier fall season rolls in, and brings its own set of unique challenges? How do we prep our pooches for the change in atmosphere and the possible dangers that befall them? Here are five ways to keep your dog safe when the temperature changes from warm to crisp.



As the weather gets cooler, you’ll stay indoors more often. Unfortunately, mice and rats will follow your lead, coming inside shelters to find warmth and food.

You may be tempted to put out pesticides or rodenticides—otherwise known as rat poison—to get rid of unwanted visitors. “But these rodent control chemicals can be toxic for pets if ingested,” says Len Donata, VMD, Radnor Veterinary Hospital in Pennsylvania.

“When a dog eats mouse or rat bait, a clotting factor gets blocked,” he explains. “Your pet will start to bleed.” This bleeding can start anywhere—internally or externally, from a small bump on their skin to inside their lungs. You may never even see it.” Symptoms can include rapid breathing, blood in their vomit, weakness, or seizures. “If you notice something wrong, immediately call your vet’s emergency line,” Donata urges.

Another thing to remember: some traps can be just that to a dog and they may face injuries as a result. “A mousetrap with cheese or peanut butter may look like an appetizer to an inquisitive dog,” says Teoti Anderson, CPTA-KA, KPA-CTP, owner of Pawsitive Results in Lexington, South Carolina.

Make sure your pets have no access to areas containing bait or traps. Keep doors locked and regularly check the areas to determine children or pets haven’t disturbed them.

I have an life and death personal experience with this very topic with my dog Cocoa.  He at rat poison and went into seizures.  I thought we were going to lose him but he pulled through (thank the Lord!).  All caused from putting poison in a chipmunk hole by my husband!




Along with the beautiful fall foliage, unfortunately, comes mold, ragweed, and pollen. For many people, those seasonal allergens can lead to sneezing, a scratchy throat, and watery eyes for both you and your dog. Sure, you can pop an allergy medicine—but what about your pooch?

“When your dog comes in from outside, wipe him down with some gentle baby wipes,” says Anderson. This will help remove any microscopic allergens from his fur so he’s not carrying them around all day long.

“If your pup continues to have symptoms—like scratching, shaking his head, or constantly tearing up—see a vet,” says Dr. Donato. “Depending on how severe the symptoms are, treatments range from simple antihistamines to more aggressive medications.”

My husky Neko has been coughing after he smells crushed leaves and when he smells the base of trees where the mold grows.  I gave him Benadryl based on the vet’s recommendation and it cleared up.



“You might only think of ticks as a danger during the summer, but they can pose a big problem to your dog in the fall, too,” Dr. Donato explains.  That’s because many animals limit their times outdoors or hibernate when the temps start to drop.  The result: fewer victims for ticks to latch on to. If your dog hangs out in the backyard or goes on walks near woods, he’s now an easy target for ticks.

“Ticks have heat sensors and can detect heat up to 30 feet away,” he says. “They can hang out on a branch or tall grass, and then latch on to the creature when they walk by.” Your dog can contract Lyme disease or other nasty infections from a tick after only 24 hours of the bug attaching.

“If a tick does attach to your pet, remove it immediately,” says Anderson. First, wipe the bite site and a pair of fine-point tweezers with rubbing alcohol. (Regular tweezers may squeeze germs from the tick’s body into your pet’s body.) Then grab the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible, and pull slowly upward with constant pressure until the tick pops out. “Clean the area again with rubbing alcohol,” she adds.

If there’s a bit of the tick still in the skin, don’t worry—it’ll eventually work itself out. But you may want to drop the tick in a small bottle full of alcohol and then take a photo of it on your phone. “That way you can show your vet if he or she needs to identify it later on,” Anderson recommends, adding, “Keep an eye on your dog’s health for the next two weeks.”

Still don’t want to attempt remove the bug yourself? No problem. Just call your vet!

I continue to give my dog his flea and tick meds but I also use essential oils called AWAY from Dr. Melissa Shelton DVM.  Shown below is more info on the product and where you can purchase it:


Ingredients:  Essential Oils of Eucalyptus citriodora, Catnip, Citronella, Lemon Tea Tree, White Cypress

Away was created for many purposes, but all are encompassed in the word “Away”.  Bugs go “Away”, smells go “Away”, and stale energy can also go “Away”!  I put it on my dog any time we are going into the woods or open field for a walk.Petting Technique The petting technique is a way to apply the oils to your pet. This technique is well tolerated by almost every form of animal. The technique can be modified for small rodents, amphibians, or animals that may be difficult to handle, simply by having the oils absorbed into your hands, and then “cupping” and holding the animal within your hands.

Petting Technique The petting technique is a way to apply the oils to your pet. This technique is well tolerated by almost every form of animal. The technique can be modified for small rodents, amphibians, or animals that may be difficult to handle, simply by having the oils absorbed into your hands, and then “cupping” and holding the animal within your hands.

s the body to find a natural way to cure itself and improve immune response.

Dogs:  Away can also be applied to most dogs topically using the “Petting Technique.”  Place 1-3 drops into your hands, rub them together until a light coating remains, then pet onto areas of need.  For insect repellent; rubbing down the legs, neck, shoulders, and back are good locations to concentrate on.  I especially focus on the “ankle” area of my dogs, since ticks will often contact this area first, as they start to climb up the legs.

Cats:  Diffusion of Away in a water-based diffuser is also recommended for cat households.  Away is wonderful for eliminating pet odors from the household, and litter box areas.


Closed Pools


If you’re a pool owner, chances are you’ve already covered your pool for the winter. “Even though the pool is closed up, you still need to keep your pooch away from it,” says Dr. Donato.

The reason? Water can collect in puddles on top of solid covers. If your dog slides out on the cover, he may have trouble getting back to solid ground. “He can get stranded, and quickly get hypothermia if temperatures are low enough,” says Dr. Donato.

This can also occur with mesh covers and if the water isn’t low enough, your pet can walk across and get wet.


Holiday Treats


October brings a bunch of trick-or-treating superheroes, goblins, and Frozen Elsa’s to your front door. It also brings a ton of chocolate into your house. Most dog owners know to keep chocolate away from their dogs, but if your pup gets his paws on those sweets, bring them to the vet right away to induce vomiting. Too much chocolate can be toxic.

“You’ll want to keep your Thanksgiving leftovers to yourself, too,” says Anderson. Onions, grapes, and raisons can be toxic to dogs, and “turkey skin is very fatty and can lead to pancreatitis in your pet,” she explains. Dr. Donato warns that feeding Thanksgiving table scraps causes a lot of gastroenteritis issues in dogs. “I know it’s a way for people to bond with their pets, but it’s a big reason why we’re kept busy.”

In other words, more leftovers for you.

Shock Wave Therapy for Pets

By Dr. Becker


Recently a team of researchers at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo, Brazil, studied the effects of radial extracorporeal shockwave treatment (rESWT) on dogs with hip osteoarthritis (OA).1 The study involved 30 dogs with bilateral hip OA (arthritis in both hips).

The dogs underwent three weekly shockwave treatment sessions on day one of the study, day eight and day 16. Their progress was evaluated using a special pressure walkway that allowed the researchers to measure peak vertical force, vertical impulse and symmetry.

The researchers also evaluated the dogs using a blinded visual analog scale. In addition, the dogs’ owners provided input on their pets’ level of physical activity, and the researchers collected follow-up data 30, 60 and 90 days after the first shockwave treatment.

At the end of the study, all three measures (peak vertical force, vertical impulse and symmetry) in the treated dogs had improved. The visual analog scale scores also indicated improvement in the dogs’ pain and lameness, and their owners reported improved physical activity levels and quality of life as well.

The study authors concluded that shockwave therapy has beneficial effects in dogs with hip OA. Further studies are needed to determine an ideal treatment protocol.

These study results confirm the conclusions reached in a 2007 Austrian study in which similar significant improvement in the same measures was seen in a group of 18 dogs with hip OA.2

Shockwave Therapy Explained

Many people hear the word “shockwave” and immediately think of an electrical jolt. But the shockwaves used in veterinary rESWT are high-energy sound waves (acoustic energy) that are directed to a target treatment area on an animal’s body.

The shockwaves trigger the body’s own repair mechanisms, which speeds healing and provides long-term improvement.

The technology uses electrohydraulic technology to generate shockwaves. The high-intensity sound waves interact with the tissues of the body, leading to a beneficial effects including:

  • Development of new blood vessels
  • Reversal of chronic inflammation
  • Stimulation of collagen
  • Dissolution of calcium build-up

This activity creates an optimal healing environment, and as the damaged area returns to normal, pain is alleviated and functionality is restored.

When shockwave therapy is applied to areas of non-healing tissue, it may trigger release of acute cytokines that stimulate healing. Accompanying pain relief may be the result of increased serotonin activity in the dorsal horn (located in the spinal cord).

Conditions Successfully Treated With rESWT

In addition to osteoarthritis, shockwave therapy can be beneficial in treating a variety of other disorders in canine companions, including:

✓ Hip and elbow dysplasia ✓ Painful scar tissue
✓ Degenerative joint disease ✓ Chronic back pain
Spondylosis Lick granuloma
✓ Tendon and ligament injuries ✓ Sesamoiditis (chronic inflammation of bones in the foot)
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease ✓ Chronic wound care
✓ Non-healing fractures ✓ Trigger points
✓ Delayed healing fractures ✓ Acupressure points

Additional Study Results of rESWT in Dogs

  • Of four dogs treated for non-healing fractures, three had significant improvement in bone healing following rESWT treatment.3
  • In a study of dogs with distal radial fracture non-unions (a break near the bottom of the front limb, just above the wrist joint), all dogs that received rESWT showed complete bone healing after 12 weeks, while no dogs in the control group achieved complete bony union.4
  • In a study of dogs with lameness resulting from soft tissue shoulder conditions, 88 percent showed improvement after shockwave therapy, with no surgical intervention.5
  • rESWT was also shown to significantly reduce distal ligament thickening in dogs with inflammation of knee joints following surgery for a CCL rupture.6
  • Shockwave therapy has proved beneficial in promoting the development of new blood vessels at the bone-tendon interface of the Achilles tendon in dogs.7

Currently, there are only unpublished case reports on shockwave therapy for treating chronic wounds in small animals. However, based on its mechanism of action, rESWT may prove valuable in managing skin flaps and difficult and chronic wounds.

What to Expect During and After rESWT Therapy

The equipment used in rESWT can be loud, and the treatment can be uncomfortable, so some animals require sedation. Since shockwave therapy is often used in combination with surgery, some patients may already be anesthetized at the time of treatment.

Treatment time depends on the strength of the shockwaves and the number of locations being treated. A common dose is 800 pulses per joint, which can be accomplished in under four minutes. Animals normally begin to experience pain relief within about 24 hours of treatment. Depending on the condition being treated, other types of pain management may be necessary as well.

When treating musculoskeletal conditions, therapy is recommended every two to three weeks for one to three treatments or until symptom improvement or resolution is achieved. Wounds are usually treated once a week for as many weeks as necessary. With arthritis patients, rESWT is typically repeated every six to 12 months as needed. Shockwave therapy should be used in conjunction with physical rehabilitation to return patients to full activity.



Exercise for an Arthritic Dog or Cat

By PetMD and Diane Weinmanndog-sit-ups

Just because you or your pet has arthritis doesn’t mean they are necessarily incapable of exercising. Staying active actually helps many arthritic pets that suffer from achy bones and joints.  I can personally attest to the fact that I am bone on bone in right knee and it feels better when I walk around than sit a lot.   It is, however, vital you follow these five exercise tips before you begin an exercise routine with your pet.  Make sure that if you are participating in the activity that you’ve talked with your doctor or trainer too and don’t over-do!  I can tell you I just recently did that and I had to ice, ice, ice my knee!

1. Consult Your Veterinarian First

A veterinarian will be better able to assist you in combining of exercise, diet, and medications or therapies which are targeted for your pet’s individual needs. A veterinarian can also help monitor your pet’s progress and identify any serious changes in health.

2. Go Low-impact

Light activities such as walking and swimming help strengthen muscles, keep ligaments and tendons flexible, prevent obesity and circulate blood to stiff joints. Keep them short but regular — 15-30 minutes of activities five days a week is a great start. Swimming is especially great for dogs with arthritis because the water supports much of the bodyweight and inhibits sudden excessive movements. Cats with arthritis, meanwhile, may not be as keen to get in the water but can participate in short sessions of gentle play. Just remember to avoid activities in which your dog or cat has to leap, jump, turn quickly or run. They can cause damage to your pet’s joints.

3. Warm Updog-tread-mill

A minute or two of walking or gentle playing before initiating low-impact exercise activities will help pets with arthritis move easier. It also helps reduce sprains, cramps, and muscle injuries as well as gradually increases their heart rate. If your pet is reluctant to start moving because of aching joints, try a little incentive like a small healthy treat or positive affection (petting, hugging, etc.). A positive exercise experience is a happy one.

4. Cool Down

Cool down periods are just as important as warming up for exercise. As your pet completes the exercise routine, they may be all wound up — jumping, running, or rough-housing. This is not good and can in fact be harmful. Try to calm them down and gradually reduce their heart rate to an optimal resting place. Cooling down also reduces stiffness and soreness by assisting the removal of lactic acids in the body. Massaging during “cool downs” improves the stiffness and muscle pain associated with arthritis too.

5. Watch for Signs of Exertion

Be sure to watch for heavy panting, pain or other signs of overexertion. If they do occur stop the activity immediately and consult a veterinarian. Pushing forward with the exercising can cause injury, especially if your pet isn’t accustomed to a lot of activity.


Extract Rivals Antibiotics in Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

By Dr. Becker and comments by Diane Weinmanndog-peeing

Bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs) are fairly common in dogs, and similar to humans, females are more often affected. E. coli bacteria is responsible for about half of all canine UTIs.

The development of a urinary tract infection is the result of a change in a dog’s immune defenses that allows pathogenic bacteria to proliferate. This can be the result of a disease process, the dog’s individual anatomy, the use of catheters, and certain drugs.

For example, dogs with diabetes or Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism), dogs who are treated repeatedly with steroids (e.g., prednisone), and hospitalized dogs who are catheterized have more E. coli-related bacterial UTIs than other dogs.

Unfortunately, adding antibiotics to the mix can further increase the risk, as does the increasing age of the dog.

Risks Associated With Chronic Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics. For treatment to be successful, it’s important that the appropriate drug is selected (which requires a culture and sensitivity test), and the length of therapy is adequate.

There are many side effects of antibiotic use, including gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms that can lead to the dog’s owner not giving the drug as prescribed, the dog refusing the drug, and/or decreased absorption leading to inadequate levels of antibiotic in the blood or urine.

These issues can interfere with the elimination of the bacteria that is causing the UTI, and can also contribute to antibiotic resistance. When a dog has recurring UTIs, it can be the result of a too-short course of antibiotic therapy, or the inability of the drug to reach the location of the bacteria.

Sometimes, relapses occur very quickly after a course of antibiotics is finished; other times, the infection reappears after some time has passed, in which case it can be mistaken for a new infection.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in both human and veterinary medicine. A 2008 study revealed that bacterial resistance is highest in dogs with recurrent E. coli-related urinary tract infections.1

An earlier study identified E. coli bacteria in two dogs that proved resistant to 12 different antibiotics over the span of two weeks.2

Study Shows Cranberry Extract May Prevent UTIs

Recently, a team of researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan conducted a study to determine the effects of cranberry extract on the development of urinary tract infections in dogs.3

They also wanted to measure the adherence of E. coli bacteria to canine kidney cells.

The team studied 12 pet dogs in one experiment, and six additional dogs in a second experiment. In the first experiment, the 12 dogs all had a history of recurrent UTIs (at least three infections in the previous year).

Six of the 12 received an antibiotic for two weeks, while the remaining dogs received cranberry extract for six months. Over the course of the six-month study, none of the 12 dogs developed a UTI.

In the second experiment, six dogs received cranberry extract for 60 days. In urine samples taken at 30 and 60 days, E. coli adhesion to kidney cells was significantly reduced compared to samples taken before the dogs began the extract. The researchers concluded that:

“Oral administration of cranberry extract prevented development of a UTI and prevented E. coli adherence to MDCK [canine kidney] cells, which may indicate it has benefit for preventing UTIs in dogs.”4

Translation: Cranberry extract appears to be as or more effective in preventing E. coli-related urinary tract infections in dogs as short-term antimicrobial treatment — without the side effects. In addition, cranberry extract can help fight multi-drug resistant bacteria in dogs with recurrent E. coli UTIs.

I recommend choosing an organic cranberry extract with D-mannose, which is a simple sugar closely related to glucose that occurs naturally in cranberries, peaches, apples, other berries and some plants.

D-mannose is fully absorbed (but does not prompt an insulin release or rock blood glucose levels, so there’s no negative systemic side effects) and quickly travels to the kidneys, then the bladder, and is excreted in urine.

D-mannose goes to work in your dog’s bladder, where it adheres to E. coli lectins. Almost all the D-mannose winds up in urine, which in turn coats the E. coli bacteria so it can’t stick to the walls of the bladder, and is rinsed out of the body when your dog urinates.

Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infectiondog-with-urinals

Some signs your dog may have a urinary tract infection include:

✓ Suddenly urinating in the house ✓ Constant licking of urinary openings
✓ Visible blood in the urine; dark or cloudy urine ✓ Loss of bladder control; urine dribbling
✓ Inability to pass urine; passing very little urine ✓ Vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite
✓ Straining to urinate; crying out in pain ✓ Drinking more water than usual

These are all signals that may indicate a potentially serious issue with your dog’s urinary tract or bladder. It’s important to get your canine companion, along with a urine sample, to your veterinarian as soon as possible. As an animal communicator, I received many calls from clients that desmonstrate these symptoms and behavioral issues that indicate you must take your pet to the vet!

A urinalysis will provide valuable information about why your dog is having urinary problems. In addition to providing information about the presence of blood, protein, glucose, ketones and bilirubin, a urinalysis will also determine how well your dog can concentrate his urine, which is an indicator of kidney health.

The urinalysis will also detect white blood cells, which means there is inflammation or infection, and a urine culture and sensitivity can determine if bacteria is present, and what type, to help devise a treatment plan. If an infection is present, medication will be needed to treat the problem.

However, sometimes pets experience inflammation or crystals without any infection present. In this latter case, a different set of medications may initially be needed, but ultimately, in both situations, this is often a sign that it may be time to change your dog’s diet (more about that shortly).

The Importance of Urine pH in Urinary Tract Health

Dogs are carnivores and should have a slightly acidic urine pH of between 6 and 6.5. (The higher the urine pH, the more alkaline it is.) Vegetarian mammals like rabbits and horses naturally have a very alkaline urine pH (above 8.0). Human urine is slightly more alkaline (between 6.5 and 7), and many pet owners wrongly assume their dog’s body functions in the same manner as their own.

It’s important to keep your healthy dog’s urine pH slightly acidic (below 7), because urine maintains its natural defenses when kept in the appropriate 6 to 6.5 range. When the pH creeps up toward the alkaline side, the urine loses its natural defenses and creates a more hospitable environment for bacterial growth and the development of struvite crystals.

The flip side of the coin is a urine pH below 6, which can cause your dog to develop a different type of problem — calcium oxalate stones. If your dog has had one or more infections or other problems with the urinary tract, I recommend buying pH strips from your veterinarian or at the local drug store, to check her urine pH at home so you know when it’s in or outside the desired range.

You should collect urine samples in the morning before you feed your dog. You can either hold the pH tape in the stream of urine while your dog is voiding, or you can catch a urine sample in a container and dip the tape into the sample to check the pH. This should be done immediately with a fresh sample to insure accuracy.

The Right Diet for a Healthy Urinary Tract

In my experience, poor or improper diet is the culprit in the vast majority of cases of dogs with chronic urinary tract problems. A prescription diet, which many conventional veterinarians recommend, typically combines high-carb foods with medications to lower your dog’s urine pH. This is never my approach. Instead, I transition dogs to a diet that does not contain pro-inflammatory alkalizing carbohydrates.

When we feed carnivores a cereal-based diet, their urine becomes alkaline as a result. Meat-based diets are naturally acidic, whereas alkalizing starch-based diets are frequently the cause of chronic UTIs, because lack of acidity removes the antimicrobial activity in urine.

Alkaline urine can also create cystitis (irritation of the lining of the bladder), crystals, and even uroliths, or stones, that require surgery.

Often, a dog’s urine pH can be maintained naturally between 6 and 6.5 by feeding a species-appropriate diet. To reduce urine pH, you must feed a low-carb, starch-free, potato/tapioca/lentil-free (so no “grain free” dry foods), and preferably fresh or at least canned food diet for the increased moisture content.

There are products on the market to reduce urine pH that contain the acidifying amino acid DL-methionine. This is a safe addition to your dog’s diet, but a more logical approach is to simply stop feeding grains and alkalizing foods.


Avoidable Mistakes Owners Make When Their Dog Meets Another

By Dr. Becker and Diane Weinmanndog meets dog

Whether you’re adding a new dog to your family, watching a friend’s pet for a couple of weeks or passing other doggy friends on your morning walk, your dog has plenty of opportunities to make new acquaintances.  Friends are good right???

The difference between those meetings going pleasantly or possibly turning aggressive lies, to some extent, with you and how you approach these delicate dog-to-dog introductions.

Unlike people, who walk right up to one another, look each other in the eye and shake hands upon first meeting, dogs prefer to greet one another in a more roundabout way. A direct frontal approach may cause tension or even aggression among two dogs, especially unfamiliar dogs.

Further, while dogs are social animals, they also have a defined hierarchy within their own packs. Adding a new dog to your family will disrupt this hierarchy until each dog learns their new place in the pack.

The first meeting is incredibly important and can set the stage for the rest of the relationship. In order to help your dog make friends, not foes, here’s what can help, according to Karen B. London, Ph. D., a certified applied animal behaviorist.1

10 Top Tips for New Dog-to-Dog Introductions

  1. Meet One-on-One

Your dog should meet new dogs one at a time, as group meetings can be overwhelming. This is one reason why some dogs don’t do well at dog parks.


  1. Meet on Neutral Ground

Avoiding setting up the meeting in your dog’s (or the other dog’s) territory, which may make the dogs feel an intruder is coming in. A neutral location is best. Choose a park or a completely neutral place –neither of the dog’s back yards!


  1. Let the Dogs Meet Outside

Sometimes a dog will urinate when meeting a new dog, and then walk away to help diffuse tension. The other dog can then sniff the urine and get to know the other dog this way before coming into closer contact.

If the meeting is indoors, housetrained dogs will probably avoid urinating and therefore miss out on this important method of introduction.

  1. Give the Dogs Room to Roam

Holding an introduction in a tight space can be stressful for the dogs, who will prefer room to move freely. This doesn’t mean you should let your dog run loose, but rather use a leash (with some slack) and hold the meeting in the middle of your backyard as opposed to near a fence or doorway.

If you can safely do so (such as in a fenced backyard with two non-aggressive dogs), drop the leash and let your dog approach the other dog as he wishes. (Leave the leash on, however, in case you need to grab it to diffuse tension). Ensure the leash does not get tangled on anything that would cause your dog to feel trapped or vunerable!

  1. Avoid Hovering Over Your Dog

You may want to stay close in case something goes wrong, but hovering over your dog will add to his tension. You should give the dogs space to say hello, and if the situation seems to be getting too stressful, move away from the dogs to lower arousal.

  1. Try a Moving Introduction

If you walk purposefully during the introduction (such as between two dogs on a sidewalk), it helps prevent the meeting from getting overly intense.

  1. Stay Calm

Your dog will sense your emotions about the meeting and respond in suit. If you’re nervous, stressed or overly excited, your dog may be too. A better option is to stay calm, breathe slowly and portray a relaxed attitude to your dog.




  1. Avoid Bringing Toys or Food

Meeting a new dog is stimulating enough — add in treats and toys and the situation can quickly escalate out of control. Plus, your dog may feel possessive about the food and treats, leading to issues between the dogs.

  1. Keep it Short

A few minutes is long enough for an initial interaction between two unfamiliar dogs. It keeps the meeting fun and interesting while leaving less time for things to get tense. For dogs that are easily stressed, a short meeting will be essential to keep your dog from feeling overwhelmed.

  1. Introduce Your Dogs Ahead of Time

It’s possible to let dogs become familiar with one another before they actually meet. This can be done by letting your dog smell the other dog’s urine or by keeping them in close vicinity without an actual greeting (such as walking two dogs side-by-side, but a few feet apart). Smelling clothes that have the other dog’s scent is a great way to introduce your pet to a new friend ahead of the actual face to face!

Bringing Home a New Pet? Plan to Take a Few Days Off Work

The first week your new dog spends in your home is a crucial time of building new relationships, between you and your dog as well as your dog and any other pets. I recommend taking at least a few days off of work — and ideally about a week — so you can stay home and focus on your new addition.

This is the time you can introduce your dog to your daily routine, which will give him a sense of security, as well as take time to slowly introduce him to your other pets.

If your dog has been rescued from a shelter, keep in mind that the transition may take more time. I recommend using Bach Flower Essences to assist in your rescue’s adjustment to his new home.


You should not force any new introductions on a dog that’s not ready; allow him to get to know his new housemates at his own pace. Senior pets may also need additional time and attention when adjusting to a new pet in your home.

A separate space for both pets to retreat to where they feel safe is the ideal atmosphere. Do not force them together rather let they come to it naturally and watch the toy and food sharing. I recommend feeding in same room but not next to each other, rather place food bowls far from each other and have two separate water bowls.


Watching all new pet associations carefully to diffuse any aggression. New friends are great –we all love them and your pet will too if it is approached in a safe way.

goofy meet friend

Heat Stroke – Recognize the signs in your dog!

Information compliments of Dog’s Naturally Magazine

Hot weather is here and you’re walking along with your 80-pound, long-haired shepherd one warm, sunny afternoon. You’re breaking a bit of a sweat, but you feel just fine in your shorts and tank. But then you look over at Thor, and he’s not looking too good … his eyes are glazed, he’s panting heavily and he’s starting to pull back on the leash.

“But, it’s not that hot,” you say to yourself. “What is up with Thor?”

Thor is probably on his way to having heatstroke, which means he is quickly losing his ability to regulate his body temperature because of an overabundance of heat. Dogs don’t sweat the way we do – they only have sweat glands in their nose and pads of their feet. And their only real recourse when they are overheating is to pant, which sometimes isn’t enough. Add to that the fact that their bodies are covered in fur and their paws are usually in direct contact with hot concrete or asphalt … and well, it’s easy to see how they can get much hotter than we can – fast.

And since heatstroke can quickly lead to irreversible damage to major organs like the kidneys, liver, heart, brain – and can even cause death – it’s important to know the signs.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Heatstroke?

Normally, a dog’s body temperature is somewhere between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly higher than for humans. A dog will start to experience heatstroke at over 105 degrees. At around 106 to 108 degrees, organ damage can occur. Always keep a rectal thermometer handy for your dog and check his temperature if you suspect heatstroke.

Other signs to look out for include:

🔹Excessive panting

🔹Excessive thirst

🔹Glazed eyes


🔹Increased salivation

🔹Dry gums that are pale or grayish

🔹Bright or dark red tongue or gums

🔹Rapid or erratic pulse







🔹Rectal bleeding


If the overheating isn’t stopped, your dog’s breathing will slow or stop, and he can have seizures or fall into a coma. Obviously, we don’t want any of that to happen. So, what should you do if you think your dog has heatstroke?

My Dog Has Heatstroke, What Do I Do?

Whenever the weather gets warms, it’s a good idea to pay special attention to how your dog is doing. And know your dog: Breeds with “flat faces” like Pugs and Boxers, elderly dogs, puppies and sick dogs are at even greater risk of overheating. Things progress quickly when it comes to heatstroke, so as soon as you detect a problem, act quickly.

Get him into shade.

Since heat is the obvious problem, the goal is to get him out of it and away from direct sunlight.

Apply cool water.

Get water on his inner thighs and stomach where there are more large blood vessels, and on the pads of his feet. Use running water via faucet or hose and avoid submerging your dog in a tub or pool because this could cool him too fast and cause other problems like cardiac arrest and bloat. Also, avoid cold water or ice because these will cause the blood vessels to constrict, slowing blood flow and the cooling process.

Air him out.

To help cool your dog, you want to make sure the water you’re putting on him can evaporate. To that end, you’ll want to avoid covering him up with a wet towel or blanket because rather than allowing the water to evaporate, this will create a sauna effect – which you don’t want. Keep him out of enclosed areas like a kennel; instead, keep him near flowing air like from a fan or air conditioner.

I witnessed this in my own dog just yesterday!  He was panting, a lot! I immediately put him into my family room which is freezing cold with the air conditioner going and I put the ceiling fan on him.

Keep him moving.

Encourage your dog to stand or walk slowly while he’s cooling down, so that his cooled blood can circulate throughout his body.

Give him small amounts of cool – not cold – water.

If he gulps down too much water too fast, it can cause vomiting or bloating.  With my dog,  I put some water from the refrigerator into his bowl to “freshen it up” and make it cool.

Give him some chicken or beef broth

…if he doesn’t want water, but avoid human performance drinks.

Get him to the vet.

Once your dog has started to cool down, you can stop your efforts and take him to his vet right away. You don’t want to continue trying to cool down your dog for too long or you’ll risk him getting hypothermia. Your dog will need a veterinary exam even if he seems fine because there may be underlying damage to his organs that you can’t see. Even if he seems normal, the effects of heatstroke can continue for 48 to 72 hours following the initial heatstroke. According to William Grant DVM, the most common cause of death following heatstroke is disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) which is blood coagulating throughout the body; it can occur hours or days after the heatstroke episode.

In my situation, it was not necessary to take my dog to the vet.  He bounced back and seemed fine in a short period of time.  It was so humid outside that my husband probably didn’t think about what he was subjecting the husky to when they went for a walk in the neighborhood and I had a friend over and wasn’t paying attention until they got back and I saw my dog panting so much!  I can guarantee you that this situation will NEVER happen again!

(Courtesy of Robert Newman and Diane Weinmann)

3 Homeopathic Remedies for an Overheated Dog

In addition to cooling down your overheated dog and taking him to the vet, consider giving him one of these homeopathic remedies to help in his recovery.

Aconitum napellus 6C to 30C
This is a good first choice at first sign of heatstroke. If your dog needs this remedy, he may also seem very fearful or anxious. Give three pellets every 10 minutes for up to three doses. If he doesn’t seem better, try one of the other remedies listed.

Gelsemium 30C
If the dog needs this remedy, he may seem very weak and his muscles may be trembling. Give three pellets every 10 minutes for up to three doses. If the dog is not any better, try the next remedy.

Glonoinum 6C to 30C
You may see vomiting and weakness. His gums may be pale, red or have a bluish cast. Give three pellets every 5 minutes.


CPR for your Dog

By Dr. Ian Kupkee

April is the American Red Cross’s Pet First Aid Awareness Month. What better time to go over the basics of administering CPR to your pet?

Let me start by saying I hope my readers never need this information. No pet parent wants to think about the possibility that their pet might stop breathing and collapse. Unfortunately, the unthinkable can, and sometimes does, happen. Knowing the basics of CPR can give pet owners the confidence needed to stay calm and work the problem in a life or death situation.

Be Prepared

One of the basic elements of pet CPR is the chest compression. I’ll get to the details in a moment, but before administering chest compressions, you must first be able to locate your pet’s heartbeat. In the spirit of preparedness, it’s a good idea to learn how to do this before an emergency strikes. When your pet is lying on her right side, the heart will be facing upward. Gently pull the front leg back, and feel for the heartbeat near what we would call the armpit. You can also find a pulse at the femoral artery, but the heartbeat is the easiest to find. This activity can easily be incorporated into routine down time with your pet. You can take your time, and your pet will simply think she is getting a massage! The more you practice, the more easily you will be able to locate your pet’s heartbeat. Be prepared. You don’t want to waste time finding it in an emergency situation when every second counts

The ABC’s of CPR

Now let’s imagine a worst-case scenario. Fluffy has collapsed. First, call for help. If you can perform CPR while someone else drives you to the vet, you will greatly improve your pet’s chances. Next, remember your ABC’s. In addition to being very easy to remember, in rescue medicine, ABC is an acronym: Airway Breathing Compression

Check to see if she is breathing by watching for a rise and fall of the chest, and putting your face close to her mouth in an attempt to hear or feel any breaths. If she has indeed stopped breathing, you will need to open the Airway by lining up the head with the neck. Next, open the mouth, gently pull out the tongue, and have a look inside. You’re looking for a foreign body that might be blocking the Airway. If you see one, reach inside and pull it out. Get your hand out of the mouth quickly, as the pet may wake up startled, and frightened animals often bite. If there’s nothing there, you’ll need to start rescue Breathing. Hold the pet’s muzzle closed, put your mouth over the nose of a large dog, or the nose and mouth of a small dog or cat. Give four to five quick rescue Breaths – not too deeply, just enough to make the chest rise. Make sure the chest falls between Breaths. Check for a heartbeat, and if you don’t feel one, you’ll need to start chest Compressions.

Before beginning chest Compressions, be sure Fluffy is lying on her right side, so that the heart faces upward. Place the heel of your hand over the heart, lock your hands together, straighten the arms and give 30 rapid chest Compressions. For a large dog, Compressions should go down about two to three inches. For small dogs and cats, a half inch to full inch is an adequate Compression. After your 30 Compressions give two more rescue breaths, then resume chest compressions. This is called a cycle, and is defined by 30 compressions, followed by two rescue breaths. After four cycles – or about one minute – check again for a heartbeat and signs of independant breathing. If you can’t find either, keep going – 30 compressions, two rescue breaths.

You can continue for as long as 20 minutes, but by then, you really need to be at your vet’s office or an emergency clinic if you want to give your pet the best chance of survival.

This truncated recap can be printed out and placed in your pet’s first aid kit – Know how to find your pet’s heartbeat in advance. – Know your ABC’s: Airway, Breathing, Compression. – In an emergency situation, call for help and get someone to drive you to the vet. -Lie your pet on the right side. -Quickly check for heartbeat and breathing -Align the head and neck -Pull the tongue out -Look inside for a foreign body -Close the muzzle, give 4-5 rescue breaths -Check for signs of life -Give 30 chest compressions -Give two rescue breaths -Repeat three more times -Check for signs of life -Keep going if needed

Remember, your can really increase your pet’s chances if you do this on the way to the vet. Even if you are able to revive your pet at home, get her to the vet for follow up care and observation. Diagnostics performed in the wake of an emergency can give your veterinarian an idea as to what caused the crisis in the first place. There is nothing quite like the rush one gets from successfully administering CPR. That being said, you’re not likely to want to do it again anytime soon.

dog with vet
dog with vet