Monthly Archives: November 2017

Bring Your Pet With You

The holidays are one of the peak seasons for travel, and it is the perfect time to take your pet along with you. Whether you are off on a ski vacation, visiting family or perhaps enjoying the magical feeling of a Swiss village at Christmas time, having your best friend along will make the trip more enjoyable.

Be sure to consider pet identification before you leave. Pet ID tags with your CELL PHONE number are great since there will not be anyone at home to answer the phone. You should consider the added safety of a pet microchip. If your pet is separated from you, a shelter or a veterinarian can read the chip, and they can then track you down through the database of the company who manufactured the microchip. If you are going to be spending a couple of weeks in one place, consider buying a second Pet ID tag with the contact information on where you will be staying.

Pet crates are a great way to keep your pet safe when traveling in the car. Unless a pet is confined or harnessed, its behavior can cause great distraction to the driver of the vehicle. As much as we all like our smaller pet in our lap, it is detrimental to the safety of the pet, the driver, and the passengers riding in the car. A collision, even at a slow speed, can seriously injure an unrestrained pet. The safety of your pet is your responsibility. Be sure and buckle them in (just as you do for yourself) or confine them in a crate.

If it is very warm or very cold, do not leave your pet in the car alone. Be prepared by having a supply of water, food and water/food bowls in the car. You may not find the brand of pet food they are used to where you are going.

If your pet is larger than about 15 pounds, and you are traveling by air, then you will need a pet crate that is compliant with the International Airline Transport Association (IATA) regulations. If you will be staying in a hotel, then the pet crate is the proper place to leave your pet while you go out to dinner. Make sure that the pet crate is large enough so that your pet can stand up and turn around. Be sure to leave an adequate supply of food and water to last for the period that you will be away. It is also a good idea to place an absorbent pet pad in the bottom of the crate that will keep your pet dry in case of accidents.

Buy your crate well in advance of your trip so that the pet can get used to it before you travel. Pet crates come in two pieces, a top and a bottom. For a few days leave the top off the crate and put treats and a favorite toy in just the bottom portion. After seeing that your pet is comfortable, assemble the crate and leave the door open. Invite them in with praise and treats.

Flying with your pet is easy these days. Almost all airlines accept pets on board the aircraft. Very small pets can often travel in the cabin of the aircraft with you in an airline compliant pet carrier. Larger pets will travel as checked baggage in a special section of the cargo hold where the temperature and pressure is the same as in the cabin. Be sure to alert the captain of the aircraft that you have a pet in cargo as he will take extra care to keep the temperature and pressure at the proper levels. You will need a health certificate stating that your pet is healthy enough to fly. Be sure to make reservations early as the airlines only allow a limited number of pets per flight. Stay away from medical tranquilizers for your pet and instead give them an all natural product that makes them less anxious such as a product called Happy Traveler.

You will need lodging on the way. A great majority of pet friendly hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts that accept pets but they do not always accept all types and sizes. It is important to make your reservations in advance and ask about their pet policy. Under no circumstances should you leave your pet in the car overnight.

When traveling, keep your pet on their normal schedule by feeding them and taking them for their “walk” as close to the regular time as possible. Be sure to pack a supply of plastic bags to take along on those walks. If you are traveling with a cat, there are portable kitty litter trays available. Realize that your pet is out of their normal surroundings, so be sure and keep them on a leash and watch them closely. Reassure them should they show signs of nervousness or anxiety.

Be considerate of other people. Although there are many pet lovers in this world, there are some that do not feel comfortable around pets. Respect others by restraining your pet when necessary.

So whether your destination is Grandma’s house, a mountain cabin or a ski resort in Switzerland your pet can accompany you with the proper planning. International destinations require special veterinary certificates, however when traveling to most countries, there will be no quarantine of your pet.

Pet Wellness

Pet Wellness embraces many areas of a healthy happy pet so in appreciation of Stress Awareness Month learn how you can identify and eliminate pet stress to give him a longer, happier, healthier life.

April is Stress Awareness Month and this applies to all living things, big, small, human or not – particularly our pets. Are you surprised to read that animals have stress? Stress affects our dogs and cats and various type pets across the board. Pet stress just like people stress causes health problems, decreases the quality of life, causes depression, and shortens life span. For these reasons, amongst others, it is necessary for pet owners to practice another part of pet wellness which is finding out if their pet is stressed, identifying the stress factors, and using the necessary techniques to eliminate the stress and increase the quality of their pet’s life.

Pet Stress Signs

Many pet stress signs can also be signs of other problems so do not just assume it is stress. It’s important to look into all the avenues in order to efficiently help your pet and save yourself and your pet future health problems and chunky vet bills.

1. Itching

Itching is a sign of several things such as fleas, ticks, lice, or skin allergy but it can also be a sign of stress if your dog or cat is itching himself more than normal. Eliminate the possibility of fleas, ticks, lice and allergy first, and then consider that it could be your pet is stressed. Natural health care for pets treatments offers effective allergy itching remedies that can be administered at home. Treating itching and discomfort from allergies and eliminating the allergy source will also keep your pet from suffering from stressed caused by discomfort – from ongoing itchiness.

2. Excessive shedding

The more pet stress there is the more shedding there will be. Shedding however is also common with poor quality dog food, poor diet, and can also be genetics, as well as a dog that is not getting enough sun light. Another condition of excessive shedding is when the pores of the dog’s skin do not close all the way allowing hair to fall constantly. This usually requires a vitamin such as Biotin to help. Or, your pet could be too stressed out.

3. Lethargy

A lethargic pet is always a sign that something is not right and needs to be looked into urgently. Lethargy can stem from depression, poor health, not enough exercise and unhappiness. Or, your pet’s stress is on fire. Usually a vet will request a stool sample in order to get to the root of this problem.

4. Aggression

A sick, injured or pet in pain may be aggressive if approached or stroked, outside of this your pets aggression could be stress related.

5. Lack of or no appetite

Pets that are stressed, sick, or depressed will often eat less or lose their appetite all together. This is another area, obviously that needs to be immediately addressed if noticed by pet owners.

6. Lack of interest

A dog or cat that suddenly shows lack of interest in things he was always excited to do or enjoyed doing is a sign of a sick, sad, or depressed pet. Check for sickness first then consider stress as a reason.

7. Passive behavior

The opposite of aggression, some pets will become passive when stressed.

8. Negative behavior

Often pets who are bored will dig, chew, or bark constantly. A stressed or sad dog will be destructive, this is also a common behavior of intelligent breeds who are not left alone for long periods of time or not exercised physically and mentally enough for their breed.

9. Change is bathroom habits

A dog that is house trained or a cat that is litter box trained who suddenly forgets this and goes in the house, could be stressed or sad. Consider the age of your pet and for how long he has been trained because accidents do happen and especially during the puppy stages or learning stages.

10. Sounds

Funny as it may be cats will often purr when they are stressed, sad or even dying – as opposed to a dog that will growl when unhappy or agitated.

11. Body Language

Many pets, particularly dogs and cats will have a change in body language such as slouching while they walk, hanging their head low, walking more slowly than usual, and laying down all the time. This could be a sign your dog or cat is not well, has an injury, is depressed, or experiencing pet stress.

Happy Pet Signs

1. Curious

2. Playful

3. Shows recognition of people he knows

4. Normal stools and bathroom habits that are rarely disturbed

5. Over all happy appearance and behavior

6. A healthy appetite

Just like people dogs and cats have different personalities and owners, with different lifestyles and different environments. Dogs and cats will handle their stress in different ways – some are more wound up and edgy while others go with the flow and may not be too bothered by things. When a pet owner is stressed or depressed it can affect their pets, particularly a dog or cat, as these animals are very open to the feelings, spirit, and environment of their owners. If you are stressed, anxious, or depressed, it is highly likely that your dog or cat will be as well.

But there are other factors that can cause your dog or cat pet stress.

1. Pet wellness requires pet owners to identify if their pet is stressed and take the necessary actions to improve the situation. Consider first yourself. Are you stressed more than the norm? Are you depressed, sad or feeling anxious and nervous? Remember that just like your kids, your pet will pick up on your stress and if it’s having a direct hit on your behavior, state of mind, actions and personality, it is certainly affecting your pet as well.

2. If your pet is sick and is not getting better this can cause him stress and unhappiness just as it would you. So keep an eye on your pet and be sure to take action on any out of the norm situations that may arise. Do not delay because you don’t know what the situation might be and it could be time sensitive, making all the difference between recovery or death. For pets that already have an illness or health issue stress can delay healing, and even cause the problem to become chronic if your pet is dealing with unrelenting stress.

3. Constant television, flashing lights, lack of visual stimuli, smoke or polluted living environments all can cause dog stress through his eyes. Consider turning off your television for some time during the day, easy lights in the evenings, toys and a stimulating, clean air environment.

4. Once again, just like with our kids the television can become a problem if not managed in the household. A constant, loud television can add stress through your dog’s ears. Loud noises, other dogs constantly barking, people arguing, children screaming, sirens, video games, thunder storms and slamming doors that are consistent in a pets environment are other stresses through sound can affect your dog. Consider classical music for your dog or cat when you leave him home alone as opposed to television or the radio. Classical music is quiet, slow and relaxing and proven to be favored amongst dogs and cats. There is loads of pet music CD’s available these days that have clinically proven types of music most suitable and enjoyed by dogs and cats. An antistatic cape can be used for help with dog that suffer from thunderstorm stress. Consider the noise level in your home and make changes for a calmer, quieter atmosphere if necessary.

5. Perfumes, excessive or irritating essential oils, hair spray, air fresheners, deodorants, and smoke are also stress culprits that cause anxiety or agitation through the dog’s nose. For health reasons and global warming signs it is preferred that people not use air fresheners in their homes or vehicles. Instead get to the root of the odor problem and try a natural freshener such as boiling are cooking a cinnamon stick. Don’t use perfumes, deodorants, hair sprays or smoke around your pet. Instead keep use of these items to one room to keep the rest of the house clean.

6. For anxiety and fear, pet owners will often consider a product called Dog Appeasing Pheromone. However, before you go that route consider Lavender aromatherapy, which has shown success in reducing stress, sadness and restlessness in dogs housed in shelters and dog pounds.

7. The mouth and digestive system of a dog also play a part in stress. A poor diet, unhealthy teeth and gums not getting enough water, or having to compete for food are all sources of pet stress. Make sure your dog is getting regular dental checkups and regular cleaning. A safe and trusted eating environment, fresh clean water daily, a balanced healthy diet

8. Temperature and climate are also sources of stress. A pet in uncomfortable, painful or isolated living conditions will have high stress levels.

9. Excessive exercise, poor training techniques, and injuries gone untreated can cause arthritis and joint disease. Poor training can also cause fear and lack of trust, all of which bring on stress. Exercise should be breed and age appropriate, fun and stimulating and moderate. Training should be age and breed appropriate and never on a hard core, cruel basis. To protect against injuries, joint disease and arthritis, ensure your dog or cat receives body-benefiting treatments such as pet massage, cold or hot heating pads and swimming in the pool if possible. Make sure your dog is comfortable with water first and that you are with him when he is taking a dip. Like a child, never leave your pet alone in or near water. Massages do not have to be expensive you can learn to do it at home, as well as many other natural health care for pets practices

In the spirit of stress awareness month remember that being a responsible and conscientious pet owner requires you put pet wellness into practice and keep abreast of any changes in your pet, just as you do yourself your children. Be aware of changes in behavior of any kind to be addressed and sourced to the root of the problem. Stress is the not the cause for all problems your pet may encounter but it should certainly never be ruled out. Give your pet the quality of life he deserves by ensuring his meals, treats, exercise, training, lifestyle, treatments and environment are healthy ones and appropriate for his breed and age. Giving your pet a wholesome pet natural diet, vegetable enhanced and free from poor quality food ingredients, unhealthy additives will maintain your pet’s inner and outer beauty as well as protect him from disease. Maintain his health further by doing your level best to eliminate pet stress and enhance the length and quality of your pet’s life.

Veterinary Medicine Loses to Big Pharma

Well it’s confirmed. The takeover of veterinary medicine in the US and other first world nations is confirmed. Big Pharma has finally made it to the finish line. Should pet owners and their pets be happy about this take over? Well, I wouldn’t start planning the party just yet because according to many vets out there this is not something to be happy about. What does this mean for pet wellness and natural pet health care?

Because of the massive profits that can be generated through pets, these drug companies for decades have spent much time and effort in an aggressive campaign to rewrite vet school curricula, influencing veterinarians and brainwashing pet owners into thinking their pets need drugs in order to thrive and be healthy. Thanks to advertising funded by greedy uncaring drug companies, most consumers already show a cult like belief in pharmaceutical medicine. So, for Big Pharma it was easy to convince pet owners that their animals need the same.

It is common practice nowadays for vets in the US to practice chemical based medicine on pets. Immediately upon diagnosis, the pet owner is given a prescription of an expensive patented pharmaceutical – a so called instant fix to be given to their pet. If this is not enough, the FDA has given approval for Prozac, a super mind altering drug prescribed to dogs, as well as many common drugs for people are now being used on pets. This includes chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment. Alongside this, common pet ailments such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and depression are also being treated with harmful medications without even the mention of natural pet health care as a healing property.

Needless to say, pet wellness is now in rapid decline and pet owners really need to be vigilant in their pet wellness practices, and look for a better option to heal their pet’s illness. Any vet practicing for more than ten years will tell you that the result of the Big Pharma take over is that dogs and cats and other animals are sicker than ever. These vets have seen an increase in the rate of liver disease, nervous system disorders, cancers and diabetes. This is because pets are being regularly poisoned by bad pet food and medicines. Even popular flea and tick medication on their own are highly toxic to your pet’s liver.

Big Pharma influence has turned veterinary medicine into a joke, right alongside the conventional medicine system for humans. No longer is the goal of medicine to heal anyone. The goal now is to profit by treating managing diseases without actually curing or preventing them. Why would they do this? Connect the dots. To benefit from repeat business and a lucrative one at that! Let me not even touch on the rates veterinarians are charging these days particularly in emergency care. The fees are outrageous! And the audacity of pet clinics who are taking advantage of people’s kindness when they rescue a pet charging $500. for saline solution! These pet clinics are exploiting human kindness for high profit. How many people do you think will now have no choice but to think twice before they rescue a wounded or helpless animal?

So what do pet owners do when faced with a situation where their precious pet needs medical help? Thankfully there is another route for pet wellness with holistic practitioners in veterinary medicine. These practitioners are more plentiful in veterinary medicine than in human medicine.

Why the pet wellness route of pet natural health care is the direction to go.

1. Holistic veterinarians understand nutrition, herbs, homeopathy and other natural modalities.

2. Holistic veterinarians prescribe solutions and treat animals in ways that are outlawed in human medicine – because these solutions have a silver lining – they work!

3. Holistic vets are more often in their line of business for the love of animals and the belief in a natural system of medications for ailments. This makes them human as opposed to donkeys that are always trying to pave their financial future by exploiting sick animals and the love pet owners have for their pets.

My dog’s holistic vet, Dr. Andrew Jones once made a statement that I have never forgotten. “Any vet who thinks a dog is depressed and needs antidepressants should frankly have their license revoked and banished to a distant island over populated with sexually aggressive baboons!” I wish I could somehow show you the expression on his face when he said this and how although I laughed from his choice of words I also thought – this guy is seriously angry about the situation. Not surprising as he is one those vets who do what he does for the love of animals and his belief in natural medicine.

When we look at the horrifying toxicity in pet foods in combination with pharmaceutical medicine, the future of mainstream pet wellness is quite dim. Many brands of pet food claiming to be “scientific” brands are really just crap. Only specialty pet food companies offer genuinely healthy, toxic free pet food.

Mainstream veterinary practices amount to nothing more than chemical abuse of dogs, cats and other animals. Sadly, this industry has swiped ethics for profit and no longer has any interest in helping to improve the quality of life of our pets. Nutrition has been dismissed and replaced with a system of chemical invasion leading to worsening long term health. The same has been taking place in human health care for years now, which is why holistic practitioners in human and pet health care are speaking out and giving us another avenue of hope for ourselves and our pets.

The proper use of pharmaceuticals

Pet wellness practices tell us it is important to understand the other side of the coin for just a minute. Some chemical medications do have a role in quality veterinary care. For example:

1. Pain killers – have a useful but limited role.

2. Antibiotics – can be helpful in certain situations.

Be careful because antibiotics, even in human medicine are massively abused around the world.

Be wary that treating dogs and cats with antidepressants, chemotherapy, diabetes drugs, statin drugs, osteoporosis drugs and other such chemical agents is absurd.

Make no mistake that most pet health conditions can be prevented and cured with good nutrition. More problematic health ailments can be economically and safely solved with herbal therapies and naturopathic modalities best known as natural pet health care.

Pet Wellness Things to Do – Right Now!

1. Switch to a healthy, natural, holistic pet diet. Make fresh meals from scratch whenever possible. Dr. Jones told me that pets should not be raised to live regularly on processed foods. Read the report: Pet Food Ingredients Revealed

2. Take an appointment with a holistic vet to investigate how he is a more suitable practitioner for your pet. Because state authorities are trying to de-license naturopathic vets, holistic or naturopathic animal care experts often do not have the same licensing credentials as regular vets. This is happening because Big Pharma owns state licensing boards and naturopathic animal care experts pose a threat to their newly found gold mine. You will most likely have to seek out naturopathic animal care experts on your own and ignore the state licensing boards. Dr. Jones explained to me that in his experience he has found that licensing credentials are essentially useless. Often times the more credentials a vet has the more deeply he is brainwashed into a pharmaceutical approach to veterinary medicine. Please consider replacing your regular vet with a holistic or naturopathic animal care expert once you have completed your investigations.

3. Go back to basics. Nutrition, exercise, disease preventing and natural pet health care.

Just like in the dieting world, don’t be suckered in by the “miracle pill.” What animals need, just like people, is strong nutrition and natural medicine from nature. Pet wellness means utilizing natural pet health care solutions, raw food diets, and naturopathic animal health care.

Mike Adams makes some interesting points.

The main thrust of his article is to get YOU to think about what is happening conventionally, and question why.

1. Take matters into your own hands. Whether or not you use a holistic Vet- question advice..then be aware of all of the treatment options.

2. Get yourself educated on Natural Pet Health Care.You can go to school or take a home study course.

3. Vary your pet’s diet- some Raw, some Home-Made and Kibble. Add a quality supplement.

4. SPEND time being WITH your Dog and Cat. We all to often forget the more important mental aspect of health..

5. The Vaccine thing again… as little and as infrequently as possible!!

Alternatives To Getting Rid Of Your Pet

So you’ve had your dog or cat for a while, and your life is changing, and now you think you need to get rid of your pet. But are you sure this is what you want to do? Getting rid of your pet is a very drastic measure. If you leave your pet at a shelter, you may think he will find a new home soon. But it is unlikely. Many high-kill shelters must euthanize animals each day in order to make room for new ones who have come in. Some animals are only at the shelter for four or five days before they run out of luck. Fifty-six percent of dogs and seventy-six percent of cats in shelters are euthanized… many of them healthy, well-behaved animals whose owners simply didn’t have time for them anymore. Even in a no-kill shelter, your pet may be doomed to live out the rest of his life in a small cage if he is not chosen for adoption.
If you are willing to try keeping your pet, there are many things you can do. Lets look at some of the most common reasons why people get rid of their pets, and how to get around them.

Reason 1: I’m moving.
Solution: Bring your pet with! A quick Google search for “pet-friendly housing” will show you many different directories of rental housing that allows pets. Here are just a few that I found: People With Pets, Pets Welcome, My New Place, Pets911, Home With Pets, and Dog House Properties. And pet-friendly housing is not just limited to those sites! Many apartment buildings and complexes will allow pets. You may have to pay an extra security deposit. But in the end, it will be worth it, to keep your pet with you!
Here is something else you should know. If things get really bad and you have no place to live, you still may not have to give up your pet. Pets Of The Homeless is a website that works to help homeless people to keep their pets, or find temporary homes for their pets until they get back on their feet.

Reason 2: I can no longer afford my pets.
Solution: Call your local animal shelter, or food pantry, and ask about pet food banks. They do exist, and are becoming more and more common! You can even make your own dog food, which may be cheaper in the long run. (Its not difficult! Dogs can eat much of the same things we eat!) Your local animal shelter, or your veterinarian, may also be able to tell you about free or low cost vet care for your pets.

Reason 3: My new boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/roommate doesn’t like pets.
Solution: Are you really going to sacrifice your pet on someone else’s whim? Are you sure you want to date someone or live with someone who doesn’t like pets? That’s a pretty big lifestyle change to make for someone else. If you’re sure you want to stick with this person, work out a compromise. Maybe your pet can be banned from certain areas of the house, like the bedroom or the kitchen.

Reason 4: My new boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/roommate is allergic to my pet.
Solution: As long as the person’s allergy isn’t life threatening, there are many things you can do to greatly reduce the allergens on your pet. Keeping your house clean is a giant step. Dust and vacuum frequently, and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter if possible. You can buy an air filter for your home that sucks the allergens out of the air. A company called AllerPet makes a special liquid that you can wipe your pet down with regularly to get rid of the allergens on him. Sprinkling flax seeds in your pet’s food can also reduce the amount of dander he produces. The person may even be willing to take allergy medication! After all, many people have seasonal allergies and take medicine regularly. They don’t just get rid of the seasons!

Reason 5: We’re having a baby.
Solution: Pets and children are a great combination! Most pets are perfectly fine around children, although they may be a little confused by the new arrival at first. You should always supervise your pet around young children. When your child is an infant, he probably won’t be unsupervised anyways, right? As your child gets older, you will have to teach the child to be gentle with the pets. Do not allow your child to pull your pet’s tail, poke him, pick him up, etc. Many people feel that a pet should be obligated to put up with whatever your child deals out. But that is not good for anyone involved! Teaching your child, from a young age, to be calm and nurturing around pets, is a great learning experience for the child. If you have a dog, you may want to do some extra training with him before the baby comes, to teach him not to jump up on you when you’re holding the baby, etc. Other measures may include banning the pets from certain areas of the house, hiring someone to come walk your dogs or clean up after your pets when you don’t have time to, etc.

Reason 6: I have developed health problems.
Solution: Speak to your veterinarian, neighbors, friends, people at your place of worship, etc. You can probably find some volunteers to help you take care of your pet. Having a pet can be a source of comfort when you are ill. In fact, many studies have shown that people with pets have lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, and are generally more healthy, than those without pets. If your health problems are so severe that you must move into a nursing home, maybe you can find someone willing too foster your pet for you.

Reason 7: My pet has developed costly health problems.
Solution: Speak to your veterinarian about this. They may be able to guide you to low cost veterinary clinics, veterinary schools that offer low cost treatment, etc. Many veterinary offices now offer payment plans for treatment. They may be able to help you find creative ways of raising money to pay for your pet’s treatment, too!

Reason 8: My pet still isn’t house trained.
Solution: If your pet is suddenly having “accidents” around the house when he used to be house trained, there could be a medical reason. You may want to consult your veterinarian. If the house training has just never completely been accomplished, you may have to start over from scratch. For a dog, take him out more frequently and try to get him on a schedule. If you are not home during the day, and your dog is eliminating on the floor or furniture while you are gone, you may want to consider crating him while you are not home. For a cat, switching to a different kind of litter, getting a bigger litter box, or moving the litter box to a different area of the house, can help. Clean up accidents with a mixture of vinegar and water. This mixture gets rid of the scent of urine or poop, so that the pet doesn’t feel the need to “mark” that area again.

Reason 9: I work long hours, and don’t have much time to spend with my pet. Its not fair to him.
Solution: While it may seem unfair that your pet has to spend time alone, it is still better than making him take his chances in a shelter! There are simple measures, such as providing stimulating toys for your pets, or leaving the TV on during the day, that can help your pet to feel less lonely. One nice thing you can do is buy your pet a special blanket. Sleep with it in your bed for a few nights before you give it to your pet. It will smell like you, and offer comfort to your pet when you are away from the house! You may also want to consider pet day care, or hiring someone to stop in during the day to play with your pets. Also, spending as little as fifteen minutes before you leave for work, just playing with your pet and spending quality time with him, can make a real difference. You don’t have to be a perfect owner and spend tons of time hanging out with your pet. He will love you the way you are… and again, it is better to be alone at your home than to die alone in a shelter.

Reason 10: My pet has behavior problems. He bites/scratches/jumps on me, barks too much, etc.
You may want to consider a training class for yourself and your pet. Petco and Petsmart offer fairly inexpensive training classes. It can be a good investment! If you can’t afford this, then the library can provide books on dog training, and the Internet can provide websites with tips. Try Googling a specific problem you’re having. For instance, search for “teach dog to stop barking.” Spending ten or fifteen minutes a day working with your dog, and then consistently rewarding your dog for positive behavior, can make a huge difference.

These are just a few of the common reasons why people consider giving up their pets. But remember, every problem has a solution. So, before you give up on your pet, please take some time to remedy the problems!

Healthy Pet Food

Do you choose canned food or dry food? What brand? There are so many different brands, all shapes and sizes of pet food to choose from and pet owners are provided with very little information to base your decisions on (other than advertising) – it can get so confusing! Well, buckle your seatbelt depending on how much you know of the pet food industry, this could be a bumpy ride! You are about to learn seven secrets – well kept secrets – of pet food. Sit back, brace yourself, and keep reading.

Beneful says it’s ‘Premium Dog Food for a Happy, Healthy Dog’ and sells for around $18.00 for a 31 lb. bag, Science Diet “promises” ‘precisely balanced nutrition through continuous research and the highest quality food backed by your Vets endorsement’ and sells for around $21.00 for only a 20 lb bag. Then there are numerous pet foods that make the very same statements – ‘Premium Dog Food, Highest Quality’ – that sell for $30.00 or more for a 20 lb bag. And the same holds true for cat owners…Do you choose Whiskas that states ‘Everything we do is about making cats happy!’ or do you choose one of those high end cat foods that make the very same claim of a happy, healthy cat but cost 3 times as much?

Now with the on-going pet food recall pet owners have questions such as ‘Has this food been recalled?’ or ‘Is this food the next one to be recalled?’…’Is my pet safe?’ Wow this is confusing! And scary too! What exactly is a pet owner to do? How about learning a few secrets! Equipped with the knowledge of a few secrets of pet food, it’s not nearly as confusing.

Secret #1…

All pet foods use descriptive words like choice and premium, though few of them actually use premium or choice ingredients in their food. The ‘secret’ is that per the rules of the pet food industry, no pet food can make any claims or references on their label or advertising as to the quality or grade of ingredients. You see, the word ‘premium’ when it’s related to pet food DOES NOT mean that the ingredients in the food are premium. With pet foods, premium does not (can not) describe the food nor does it (can it) describe the quality of the food. It is a marketing term and that is all. Per the pet food industries own rules and regulations, “There are no references to ingredient quality or grade” (regulation PF5 d 3). So, words like premium, or choice, or quality are just marketing or sales terms. They should not be interpreted as terms describing the quality of the food.

Now why wouldn’t a pet food label be allowed to tell a prospective customer the quality of their ingredients? Doesn’t a pet owner deserve to know what they are buying? This leads me to the next secret…

Secret#2…

If I can compare ‘people’ food to pet food for just a second, we all know there are different qualities of people food. There is White Castle (I’m guilty here, I love the little guys!) and there is Outback Steak House (another favorite). Both restaurants serve meat and potatoes. At White Castle for under $3.00 you can get a couple of hamburgers and an order of fries. While at Outback you can get a steak and baked potato for around $16.00. Both serve beef and potato – yet you already realize that there are huge nutritional differences between a fast food hamburger and a steak…right?

The problem in the pet food industry – is that most pet owners don’t think in the same terms when it comes to pet food. They don’t think in terms that there are fast food types of pet foods and there are sit down restaurant more nutritious types of pet foods. In fact, several years ago a young man tried this very experiment with his own diet – eating nothing but fast food for 30 days. In just one month of eating fast food three meals a day, he gained a great deal of weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels sky-rocketed. Now, imagine your pet eating this type of food its’ entire lifetime.

OK, so back to our two meals…if a chemical analysis of your meal at White Castle was compared to a chemical analysis of your meal at Outback – both would analyze with a percentage of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Regardless whether you consider a steak at Outback a higher quality of protein than the burger – it would still analyze as protein. The analysis doesn’t measure quality of protein.

So here is the secret…All pet foods come with a Guaranteed Analysis stating the percentage of protein, fat, fiber and moisture in the food. The REAL secret lies in the quality of the percentages of protein, fat, and so on.

In a chemical analysis of a pet food – chicken feet would analyze as protein, although granted it provides very little nutrition. And as well, a cow that was euthanized (put to sleep) because of a disease that made it unfit for human consumption – would analyze as protein although that could be considered dangerous for consumption. Both of those things – chicken feet and a euthanized cow – are allowable ingredients and commonly used in pet food. You see the secret within the pet food industry is manufacturers have a WIDE OPEN door to where they obtain their ingredients. The only strict rule they must follow is an adult dog food must analyze with 18% protein and an adult cat food must analyze with 26% protein. Sources to acquire those particular percentages range from a ‘human grade’ meat, to chicken feet, to euthanized animals, to grain proteins, to even man made chemical proteins and many variations in between.

Pet food labels do not have to tell – are not allowed to tell – the sources they use to obtain that required 18% or 26% protein. And to make matters worse…quality minded pet food manufacturers – the companies that use 100% human grade ingredients – are not allowed to tell customers or potential customers that their products are quality, human grade ingredients.

So how can you know if your pet’s food uses chicken feet or euthanized cows or if it contains human grade ingredients?

Secret #3…

If the words premium and choice mean basically nothing with regards to the quality of pet food, and if some pet foods use chicken feet and euthanized animals in their food – how can a pet owner know what they are getting in their pets’ food?

This big secret is found in ingredient definitions. Unlike ‘people’ food where you can pretty much look at the food to determine the quality, pet food is far different. All ‘people’ food must meet particular USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) guidelines. The same is not true for pet food. Chicken feet and euthanized cows are NOT allowed in people food for obvious reasons – they have no nutritional value or they could be dangerous to consume. The same is NOT true for pet food. The only way to know if those chicken feet or euthanized cows are in your pet’s food is to know what ingredients they can be used in.

The common pet food ingredient ‘Meat and Bone Meal’ is basically a combination of many different discarded left-overs from the human food industry. Components of ‘meat and bone meal’ can be anything from cow heads, stomachs, and intestines, to (horrifying but true) euthanized animals including cows, horses and dogs and cats from veterinarian offices, animal shelters, and farms. And along with those euthanized animals the pet food also contains the drug pentabarbitol that was used to euthanize the animal. ‘Meat and bone meal’ can also contain left-over restaurant grease, and diseased (including cancerous) meat tissues cut away from slaughtered animals. In other words, this commonly used ingredient is a mix of highly inferior and potentially dangerous left-overs from the human food industry.

The pet food ingredient ‘Meat By-Product’ or ‘Meat By-Product Meal’ is pretty much the same thing as ‘meat and bone meal’. It is a highly inferior pet food ingredient containing literally who-knows-what.

Another similar ingredient to the above is ‘Animal Digest’.

As to the chicken feet I mentioned earlier – this item can be found in the ingredients ‘Chicken By-Product’ or ‘Poultry By-Product’ or ‘Chicken By-Product Meal’ or ‘Poultry By-Product Meal’. Any left-overs in the chicken or poultry division – including but not limited to chicken feet, skin including some feathers, chicken or poultry heads, and intestines are found in these ingredients. It does NOT matter as to the health of the bird – sick, healthy, dead, dying…all is included in these ingredients.

So here is what you need to do…BEFORE you purchase any pet food, flip the bag over and closely examine the list of ingredients. The above mentioned ingredients would be listed within the first five or ten ingredients. If you see ANY of those ingredients – it is my suggestion to NOT purchase that food. Remember – chicken feet and euthanized animals do analyze as protein. That is all that is required in pet food – just the correct analysis.

Another little trick some pet food manufacturers use in this category is using grains and chemical additives to grain products to boost the protein percentages. Which is exactly the cause of the pet food recall that began in March 2007 – chemical proteins. Two different chemical additives – that have NO nutritional value to pets, but that analyzed as protein – were added to a grain product (wheat gluten, corn gluten, or rice gluten) solely to provide a cheap protein. Thousands of pets died and countless others became ill because no one counted on the problem of the combination of these two chemicals would cause kidney and urinary blockage. Again, their secret is the product has to analyze as having a particular amount of protein – no one is required to provide a quality meat protein.

While you are looking at the ingredient listing – you should also take note of how many grains (corn, wheat, rice) and/or how many grain products (corn gluten, whole corn, ground corn, whole wheat, ground wheat, wheat gluten, rice, brown rice, brewers rice, soy, and on and on) are listed within the first five or so ingredients. If you find more than one grain listed in the first five ingredients – that is telling you this pet food is acquiring some of its protein from grains.

Why is protein obtained from grains important for you to know? Several reasons – first off science proves that cats and dogs alike require and thrive on a meat protein. If a pet food is obtaining protein from grain sources, the pet is not getting the meat that it needs to thrive. Second, if the grain products are a corn gluten, wheat gluten, or rice gluten you take the risk of chemicals such as melamime added to it used strictly to boost the protein analysis. By the way, melamime is one of the chemicals found to be the cause of the March 2007 pet food recall. And there is one more concern with grains – aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a deadly mold that is common to corn, wheat, and soy and it’s responsible for several other pet food recalls you probably never heard about. In December 2005, Diamond Pet Food contained moldy grains that killed over 100 pets before the product was recalled – all due to aflatoxin.

It is my recommendation to avoid any pet food that contains corn, wheat, or soy in ANY variation. The risk is simply too high.

Secret #4…

I’ve got more suggestions for you to look for in the ingredient listings…chemical preservatives. A very well kept secret of the pet food industry is their common use of chemical preservatives. BHA/BHT are very popular chemical preservatives used in pet food and science has linked them to tumors and cancer. Another common preservative is ethoxyquin which has known risks to cancer. Ethoxyquin is ONLY allowed in human food in some spices because of the very tiny proportions. However it is allowed in much higher proportions in pet food.

If you scan the ingredient listings, you will be looking for BHA/BHT and ethoxyquin listed anywhere. Commonly BHA/BHT is used to preserve the fat in the food which usually is found higher on the list. And also look for any of these chemicals towards the end of the ingredient listing. Personally, I wouldn’t touch a pet food that contained these chemical preservatives. You want a pet food that is preserved naturally – common natural preservatives are ‘natural mixed tocopherols’ or ‘vitamin E’.

Secret #5…

The very best food to provide to your pet is a well made food using human grade ingredients. That should be simple enough…How do you find that? You already know that pet food manufacturers are NOT allowed to make any statement as to quality or grade of ingredients, the only way you can find out the grade or quality of your pets’ food is to call the manufacturer and ask them.

Now, let’s say you call the ABC pet food company and ask the question “Is your Premium dog food and Premium cat food made using human grade ingredients?” It could be that you get the response yes, we use human grade ingredients – when actually only a couple of ingredients are human grade. Here’s the trick to asking…ask them if they are APHIS European certified.

Pet food manufacturers that are APHIS European certified assures you that ALL ingredients in their pet food are human grade. APHIS – Animal Plant Health Inspection Services – is a division of the USDA. APHIS European certification provides this pet food manufacturer with the opportunity to ship their foods/treats to Europe. When importing pet foods from the US, European countries demand that all ingredients are human grade and thus require this certification. Most pet food manufacturers that have APHIS European certification do not ship their products to Europe – they simply use this as a means to assure their customers to the higher quality of their ingredients.

Again, you WON’T see this listed on the label – it’s not allowed. You must call the manufacturer and ask. Often times the representative of the pet food won’t even know what you are talking about when you ask about APHIS certification – if that’s the case, you can assume they are not APHIS European certified. APHIS European certification is a bonus to pet owners – it is not required or even suggested that any pet food manufacturer go through the extra steps to obtain this. This is a special effort some pet foods go through to tell their customers they REALLY CARE about the quality of their products. Personally, I would NOT buy a pet food that doesn’t have it.

And by the way, if you can’t reach the pet food manufacturer, or they do not return your call within a short time frame, lose their number! Any company that does not place a priority on answering customers questions – doesn’t deserve your business!

Secret #6…

Minerals are a required ingredient in human diets as well as diets for our pets. Copper, Iron and Zinc are common minerals found in pet foods. Just as they are – copper, iron, and zinc are basically rocks, very difficult for anyone or any pet to utilize. Science has developed several ways to introduce minerals into the body (human and pet) for better absorption thus benefiting the individual far more. This scientific development is called chelating or proteinating and it’s been around for years. Through the chelating or proteinating process minerals are absorbed about 60% better than just the minerals alone.

This secret is spotting the minerals in your pet food to see if they are chelated or proteinated. Notice the minerals on your pet food label, way down on the list of ingredients. You are looking for minerals that read ‘copper proteinate’ or ‘chelated copper’. If you see just the mineral listed, your pet is sort of like Charlie Brown at Halloween saying ‘I got a rock’. If you want your pet to have the best, chelated or proteinated minerals are part of the best foods!

Secret #7…

This secret is called ‘friendly bacteria’. Although ‘friendly bacteria’ sounds a little scary, the reason for it lies in your pets’ intestinal system. A large portion of your pets’ immune system is found within the intestinal system. Keeping the immune system healthy helps to keep the animal itself healthy. This friendly bacteria is similar to what’s found in yogurt, however in pet food it is introduced in a fashion so that the cooking process doesn’t destroy it. Looking at the fine print on your pet food label, this time you are looking for lengthy, scientific words like Lactobacillus Acidophilus or Bifidobacterium Thermophilum. If you do NOT see these words or some very similar, that pet food is not addressing the care of your pets’ immune system. And again, if you want your pet to have the best, you want ‘friendly bacteria’ in their food.

There are your seven very secrets to help you find the absolute healthiest and best pet food for your four-legged friend. Armed with those secrets – you now have the knowledge to find your pet the best food possible! A pet food that can extend their life and prevent early aging and disease. If you don’t want to bother doing the homework involved, I urge you to subscribe to my monthly magazine Petsumer Report(TM). Through Petsumer Report(TM) I’ve done all the homework for you – each month I review and rate over 40 different pet foods, treats, toys, and various other pet supplies. It’s the ONLY publication of its’ kind providing pet owners with the information they need to know regarding their pet product purchases.

I want to share just a couple more things…

It’s best to feed an adult dog or adult cat two meals a day. The nutrition they consume with two meals is better utilized than with just one meal a day. If you are currently feeding your pet one meal a day, split that same amount into two meals and feed in the AM and PM.

You should know that all canned or moist pet foods are anywhere between 70% to 85% moisture. This means that 70% to 85% of that can or pouch of food is useless nutrition – its water. Granted our pets need water, cats especially tend not to drink enough water. But since all canned or moist foods are mostly water, they do not provide adequate nutrition to be fed strictly a canned or moist diet. Use a canned or moist product to supplement your pet’s diet – not as the only food.

The best pet foods are preserved naturally (secret #4) – but there is a concern with naturally preserved pet foods…freshness. Take notice of the expiration date on your pets food label – typically with naturally preserved dry pet foods (not as much of a concern with soft foods because of canning – very little need of preservatives) the expiration date is one year to 18 months from the date it was manufactured. Let’s say the pet food you are considering to purchase on July 1, 2007 has a ‘Best if Used by’ date of January 1, 2008. This would tell you that this particular bag of pet food is already 6 months old. While it is still ‘good’ a fresher food – a bag that is only 2 or 3 months old – is better. Naturally preserved pet foods lose nutritional potency with time. Always try to find a very fresh bag.

If you are considering changing your pets food, ALWAYS consult with your Veterinarian first. You should always keep your veterinarian advised of any changes you make with your pet. Don’t take chances. And if you do switch pet food, make the change over very slowly. I always recommend to pet owners ¼ new food to ¾ old food for 4 to 7 days, ½ to ½ for another 4 to 7 days, and so on. Switching food quickly can cause intestinal disorder! Its short term, but we don’t want intestinal disorder!!!

One last thing, as you are already aware dogs and cats have a far better sense of smell than humans. Their food bowl can be a wealth of smells – both good and bad. Some times a pet will refuse to eat simply because he or she smells a previous food in their bowl. Plastic food and water bowls retain odors the worst. And surprisingly so does stainless steel bowls. The best type of food and water bowl is a ceramic one. They retain odors the least.