Archive | March, 2013

Does You Pet Suffer From Seasonal Allergies?

22 Mar


It’s that time of year. Yep. Seasonal allergies. According to a survey conducted by Novartis Animal Health, over half of pet owners aren’t aware their fuzzy family members can also spend the spring season feeling miserable thanks to pollens and other environmental allergens. Unlike humans, who experience mostly respiratory symptoms, dogs and cats will generally exhibit symptoms such as itchy, red and inflamed skin, puffy and red eyes, scratching ears, licking of paws, and rubbing their face and body along the carpet or furniture for relief. This can lead to hot spots, skin and ear infections, eye infections, etc. Respiratory symptoms can occur but are less common, and may include coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and runny nose.

Conventional treatment includes prescription steroids, antibiotics, and anti-histamines, which give temporary relief but drive the root issue deeper into the pet’s system, causing their symptoms to be worse with every subsequent year, and in some pets, their symptoms will remain year-round. After several years of this treatment, vets will usually refer the patient to a dermatologist, who will likely recommend allergy testing, allergy injections, and a prescription diet most likely void of nutrients. These are all band-aid type treatments that do not address the root of the allergies- your pet’s immune system. But, don’t despair! There are other options. Nature has provided.

If your pet suffers from seasonal allergies, there is no better time than now to address the root cause. I have experienced great success with allergy-afflicted pets using a variety of support and common sense.

1. Anti-inflammatory Diet!
Every ingredient of your pet’s food affects them. Avoid inflammatory ingredients such as grain and potato. The starch from potatoes and other carbohydrates are converted into sugar pretty quickly in their bodies and an encourages an overgrowth of candida (yeast). The diet plans I formulate are individualized per pet, but I generally recommend minimally processed and/or raw, fresh, wholesome, LIVE foods that consist of high quality meat, organs, fruits, and veggies. This kind of diet contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and enzymes in their natural and unaltered state and are the building blocks for optimal health. Processed pet foods use a manufacturing process which involves high levels of heat which radically alters the chemical structure of food. Proteins are denatured, fats are oxidized and potentially dangerous compounds are produced, such as trans-fatty acids, free radicals and other toxic hydrocarbons. This process “kills” so much of the natural vitamins and minerals that they have to be added synthetically and they are not recognized and utilized nearly as well as they are when given naturally in their “whole food state”.

2. Frequent Bathing
Just like a human dermatologist will recommend, it is a good idea to wash the allergens off the body at the end of the day. Be sure to use a grain free (oatmeal free) shampoo.

2. Avoid Unnecessary Vaccines and Drugs
A pet with allergies already has an overactive immune system. Vaccines will stimulate the immune system further and exacerbate symptoms and minimize long-term relief & health. Talk to your vet about titer options and a Rabies vaccine exemption letter if your pet is due for the Rabies vaccine.

4. Foot Soaks
Dog and cat paw pads are like little sponges and soak up many allergens and toxins throughout the day as they walk on grasses and pavement. Nightly foot soaks will wash the topical residue off, give relief and also reduce the amount of tracking these allergens will have into the house by your pet.

Here are 3 foot soak recipes. They are simple, easy, fast, and effective.

#1 Iodine Foot Soak – removes toxins, disinfects paw wounds, and has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties
Iodine is a common disinfectant carried by most pharmacies. It will remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from the surface of your dog’s paws and also reduce inflammation and give relief to itchy paws.
Fill the container you are using with warm water.
Add enough iodine to make the water turn the color of ice tea.
Have your dog or cat stand in or hold his/her paw in the the water/iodine solution for 30 seconds.
Then pat your dog’s or cat’s paws dry.

#2 Apple Cider Vinegar & Hydrogen Peroxide Foot Soak – for yeast infections and irritated paws
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties (primarily from the acetic acid and malic acid in ACV).
Combine one gallon of water with one cup of hydrogen peroxide and one cup of apple cider vinegar.
Soak your dog or cat’s paws in the solution for 30 seconds and then just pat their his/her paws dry.

#3 Apple Cider Vinegar, fresh squeezed Lemon Juice and Peppermint Essential Oil Foot Soak
Peppermint contains cooling essential oils (such as menthol) and has antiseptic and slightly anesthetic properties. Directions:
Combine one gallon of water with one cup of apple cider vinegar, the fresh juice of one lemon and 20 drops of
peppermint essential oil. Just soak for 30 seconds and then pat your dog’s or cat’s paws dry.

The following herbs can also be added to the recipes above:

Chamomile – chamomile is a non-toxic soothing all natural additive. Just add a few chamomile tea bags to the liquid solution wait a few minutes and then soak your dog’s feet in the solution. You can also prepare the tea as you normally would (as you would to drink it), just wait for it to cool down and add it to the liquid solution.

Green Tea – green tea (use decaffeinated only) is a non-toxic and rich in antioxidants – an aid to healing. Just add a few green tea bags to the liquid solution wait a few minutes and then soak your dog’s feet in the solution. You can also prepare the tea as you normally would (as you would to drink it), just wait for it to cool down and add it to the liquid solution.

MOST IMPORTANT is to attain long-term allergy resistance through a healthy immune system! This works from the inside out via an anti-inflammatory diet and allergy-fighting supplements including probiotics, Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other specific supplements that I recommend on an individual basis.

Stop the allergy cycle and let Nature heal!!!

Toxins and their effect on pets

17 Mar


Where Do Toxins Come From and How do They Get Into Your Pet?

Toxins can get into your pet’s system via many ways. There are the casual, everyday toxins from chemical household cleaners, polluted air, motor oil, mold & mildew, and more. Toxins also enter your pet’s body by way of drugs; these include vaccines, over the counter and prescription drugs such as antibiotics, corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and anti-fungal drugs. Some drugs are recommended monthly to prevent heartworm, fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites. And then there are the chemicals in preservatives and artificial colors that are often found in some commercial foods and treats. Toxins are also found in the water they drink, and plastic toys and bowls. Toxins are everywhere they turn, as they inhale, ingest, and absorb them through their skin.

More and more pets are suffering from an array of chronic ailments ranging from common symptoms like bad body odor, smelly breath, greasy or dry coat, to more serious conditions such as recurring skin, ear, eye infections, digestive problems, allergies, asthma, kidney failure, and even cancer. These ailments are actually signs that their bodies are working hard to push toxins out of their systems. It is no wonder, as their immune systems do have a limit and can only take so much.

What To Do?

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help lighten your pet’s toxic load.
1. A wholesome, fresh, species-appropriate diet will promote a healthy immune system.
2. Detoxification – to be done via nutrition and herbs with the supervision of your pet’s nutrition counselor or holistic veterinarian. This is extremely beneficial for just about any dog or cat.
3. Discuss titer tests as an alternative to vaccines with your veterinarian.
4. Eliminate unnecessary toxins from your pet’s environment, food, and medical protocol.
5. Use BPA-free toys and dishes

If you would like individual assessment and counseling for your pet, please contact me.