Dr. Donna Spector is Halo’s veterinary advisor and she is also my co-host on our internet radio show THE EXPERT VET on the Radio Pet Lady Network, where we’ve been having a good time choosing candidates for our Halo Healthy Weight Challenge. We knew that when the Healthy Weight food was combined with regular exercise and strict calorie-counting, that many dogs would be able to shed those unwanted pounds!
Our first contestant was Fritz, a lovely young rescued dog from the South. He received a three-month supply of Halo Spot’s Stew canned food along with the Healthy Weight kibble, and his people agreed to document every single thing he ate during a day, including treats and human leftovers.
Then they followed a detailed feeding plan from Dr. Donna, which was a total-calorie approach (i.e., treats and table scraps count, too!) and included chunks of steamed zucchini when Fritz got “the munchies.” As proven by his weekly weigh-in at his vet’s office, Fritz dropped weight slowly but surely.
We have just chosen a second candidate for the Healthy Weight Challenge, a beautiful purebred Siberian Husky from California named Faith. I look forward to hearing how Dr. Donna’s calorie calculations and encouragement – along with the reduced calories and hunger satisfaction of the Halo Healthy Weight food – works to get Faith back down to her two-year-old weight. [By the way, anyone who has an overweight dog and wants to be considered as part of our mission to slim down America's dogs, please write me to RadioPetLady@gmail.com and describe your dog's weight issue.]
But for those of you who are shy and don’t want the world to know that you let your dog “get her blimp on,” you can do the “Cliff’s Notes” version of our weight challenge just by switching to the Healthy Weight food and going it on your own. Here’s a doggy weight-loss story that confirms my confidence that even without sophisticated calorie calculations and very much effort on the owner’s part, this food can help achieve weight loss (but don’t forget to keep up the daily exercise and smack your own hand when you try to dole out too many treats!).
My friend Bob has a middle-aged black Lab named Maverick who is his good buddy and his sidekick, goes everywhere with him, they are inseparable. Bob is a fitness buff and goes to the gym every day, eats healthy foods and watches his weight like a hawk.
But he admitted to me that he had allowed Maverick to get beefy – and he knew that obesity was a serious health risk for his best friend, and could shorten his life by as much as two years. Other than sharing his egg-white sandwich with Maverick every morning, the dog ate only an adult lamb dry food twice a day, nothing else. Bob had listened to “The Expert Vet” show and heard Dr. Donna and me talking on the air about the Halo Healthy Weight challenge. However, he told me that even though he could never get organized enough to weigh the dog at the vet every week, that he really wanted to take the challenge.
I told Bob he could strike out on his own by substituting the Halo food for his own kibble over 3 days (to avoid digestive stomach upset) – substituting a quarter, a half and then three-quarters of his old food for the new one each day. All Bob would have to do was weigh Maverick before beginning the Healthy Weight food, and then again four to six weeks later. I was as thrilled as Bob was to find Maverick had lost over eight pounds in five weeks and was really enjoying the food, too! The wonderful discovery for me was that if you don’t have the patience to wait or the time to embark on the Weight Challenge our way, then you can do it your own way, and see this food help bring back your dog’s youthful waistline as part of an overall exercise and calorie control plan! [And if you try it and want to share your results with me, I'll shout it to the rooftops!]
When a bag, can, or other container of pet food says complete and balanced, what does that mean?
It simply means that the mix of ingredients in the pet food has enough of the nutrients needed in the diet to prevent most diseases due to deficiencies of proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Diets are tested to ensure they have the right amount of chemical nutrients and minerals, but the lack of moisture and healthy oils or addition of allergens and too many calories can cause chronic medical problems When pets are fed the recommended amounts, many will become obese. Others may develop ear infections, skin infections, and diarrhea from allergenic ingredients in the food. Pet foods may make your dog get fat, or itch, shake, and develop the runs. There’s no way to guarantee a pet food is good for all pets. That’s the lesson I learned. I share this information with all my clients and try to spread the word through my blogs and books.
Most dogs and cats seem to thrive on commercial pet food. However, individual dogs and cats may need a different type of diet to stay healthy, prevent disease, or treat medical issues.Some dogs or cats may need more oils for a dry coat, less carbohydrates to lose weight, a different meat or gluten-free diet for allergies (skin, ear, or bowel issues), more moisture (canned, homemade or raw) for the prevention or treatment of urinary crystals or stones, or holistic, homemade, or raw pet food for severe allergies, bowel issues or seizures. Most commercial dry food is geared for the average pet without health issues. These mixes of ingredients may not be healthy for a pet with allergies to wheat, obese pets, or those with urinary problems. Even raw food aficionados forget that not all dogs do well on a raw diet if they are fed a raw diet with beef or chicken, and the pet is allergic to a certain meat. The type of meat, the presence of grain or glutens, the amount of oils, and the percentage of moisture all can affect the health of your pet.
Where do you turn for advice? Can you ask your vet? Most veterinarians are trained to advise a different prescription diet for each medical issue. These diets may work, but may not be readily eaten by some pets. Some of the dry medical diets aren’t really much better for the pet’s health than most commercial foods. One urinary diet may help with crystals, but has wheat in it, that may cause skin problems. Prescription diets may be too expensive for some people and the pet suffers because they are offered no alternatives.
What are you supposed to do? Can you ask your vet about other types of diets that may work? How about homemade or a raw diet? Feeding canned food versus a kibble diet for weight loss? Feeding raw, meaty, bones to keep teeth clean? Most vets won’t know practical nutritional advice, because we were not trained to give it. Millions of pets are thriving on different diets, but most veterinarians are only trained to give advice on commercially “complete and balanced” diets and their prescription diets. Don’t blame your vet for not giving you alternatives like a homemade or raw diet or even simply supplementing your pet’s diet with healthy “human food”. We just weren’t trained to do that.
10 years ago, I started questioning the way we feed our pets. I had to reeducate myself and learn nutritional principles. I read 100’s of nutritional articles and labels on commercial food and raw food. I read books on feeding raw food and home cooking, as well as many books on human nutrition. As a result, I started advising my clients to feed different ingredients depending on their pets needs. For example, many purebred dogs and some cats need to avoid wheat-filled treats and food. Avoiding glutens in sensitive pets may cure ear problems, skin problems, bowel issues, and even seizures. With the success of nutritional counseling, I saw that different types of ingredients and moister food (canned, homemade, or raw), helped with weight problems or helped control medical problems like preventing urinary crystals from forming in both dogs and cats. I came to realize that our pets are individuals, and that each may need more than the common commercial kibble for optimum health. Some pets may need different ingredients in the dry food. Other pets may need to eat moister canned food, raw food, or home cooked food to be healthier, leaner, or to help with medical problems.
After my research and success, I wrote Dog Dish Diet: Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog’s Health in 2009. I updated a couple sections and published the second edition in 2011. Many clients wanted more slow cooking recipes that were in the book, so I published an eBook.Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vetwith slow cooking recipes and nutritional advice for both dogs and cats. There isn’t a day that goes by when a client or reader tells or emails me that they changed the type of food or the ingredients in the diet to help with a medical problem. I am so happy to know that I have truly helped pet owners become part of the health care team to treat or prevent chronic medical problems.
I’m convinced that the right mix of ingredients may often prevent most problems or the need for medication. If you want to treat or prevent medical problems in your pet, check out my blogs, you tube videos (http://youtube.com/drgregdvm), and my books, Dog Dish Diet and Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet .
Information Update – Safe use of topical antiseptics for preoperative and …
OTTAWA, July 25, 2014 /CNW/ – Health Canada is reminding healthcare professionals, caregivers and consumers of the safe use of topical antiseptics used to clean the skin before an operation (preoperative) or before an injection (preinjection). Read more on Canada NewsWire (press release)
Medical Edge: Topical cream could tan and protect skin
Medical Edge: Topical cream could tan and protect skin. Updated: Wednesday, July 23 2014, 10:54 PM EDT CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) — A research team at the Cincinnati Cancer Center has a powerful project in the works which could help a person tan their … Read more on WKRC TV Cincinnati
Topical tamoxifen noninferior to oral version for breast cancer treatment
A topical formulation of tamoxifen induced equally effective responses as oral tamoxifen for antiproliferative activity in ductal carcinoma in situ with reduced effects on endocrine and coagulation parameters, according to recent findings. “Oral … Read more on Healio
Can we talk about the fainting schnauzer video? We need to talk about it, because if there’s one thing I don’t get in this world, it’s the current trend for pets with a myriad of medical malfunctions or genetic issues becoming internet sensations.
You’ve seen the video, I imagine. A dog is surprised by the owner she hasn’t seen in a year or two, and after freaking out for a few seconds she loses consciousness briefly.
Attempting to head off criticism, Carson Daly helpfully interjects “CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH GUYS” into the video. No problem, dog is great, everyone can go home, right?
Syncope, Part 1
Now without knowing the dog or what went down at the veterinary clinic, I can’t really tell you what happened, but I can tell you in general that fainting episodes (what we term syncope) are not normal, no matter how excited a dog is. There is a pathology there, whether it’s cardiac or seizure activity or something, but “she just got the vapors” is not a diagnosis.
Let me share with you the general arc of a visit when a patient brings a dog like this- and I’m including both seizure activity and syncopal episodes here- to me. Because the episode itself is short lived, by the time the dog shows up to the clinic he or she often looks fine. After taking a history and keeping in mind things like the age and breed of the pet, we begin the examination.
“Well, the physical examination findings are normal,” I say.
We could end things right here, and you could read that as saying “The pet has a clean bill of health!” But that’s missing the fact that while physical examinations are wonderful tools, they are limited in what they can tell us. The causes of syncope are rarely evident based on physical examination alone.
Syncope, Part 2, 3, and 4
“If we want to figure out the underlying cause of the issue,” I will say, “We should begin with some bloodwork and a urinalysis.” The client may or may not agree, mentally calculating the cost.
“If that’s normal, and it often is, we could proceed next to a cardiac workup: an EKG/cardiac echo/24 hours on the Holter monitor and have a cardiologist review the results.” Now we’ve definitely ventured into “need to think about it” territory.
“If the heart is fine, and we’re more concerned about seizure activity being what’s going on here, a neurologist is your best bet. Unfortunately, diagnosis usually involves costly procedures like CSF taps or CT scans. Epilepsy? Well, we don’t have a definitive test for that at all, so we just have to make the diagnosis based on ruling everything else out first.”
Many owners, especially after a first time episode, go as far as the bloodwork and decide to wait and see if it gets worse before moving to the next step. I don’t blame them- it’s expensive, and you have no idea if the dog will have an event a day later or a year later- but I just want to emphasize that unless they actually performed all of those diagnostics I just listed, it’s hard to definitively say the pet truly has a clean bill of health.
There’s a reason “The dog’s fine!!” is in the Today show headline and Carson makes sure to tell you “the dog’s fine! Someone said so!” and that reason is, we all intuitively know things aren’t fine. Just because you haven’t found the problem doesn’t mean it’s not there. It just means you haven’t located it yet. And I imagine somewhere in that visit, between answering calls from the Today show and counting YouTube hits, the vet did say just that.
With the conviction that no soldier should be left behind on the battlefield, the IDF was photographed carrying a wounded military dog to safety. Source In contrast, Hamas attempts to turn playgrounds into battlefields. They have been reported to have rigged donkeys and dogs with explosives to send into populated areas as suicide bombers. So where is PETA? Shouldn’t they be protesting this outrageous use of animals? The Poodle (and Dog) Blog
Some dog owners enjoy grooming their pets at home, while other owners don’t want to go through the hassle and work involved in keeping their dog looking its best at all times. Long haired dogs are the most difficult to groom at home and for these owners a professional dog grooming service is a good alternative.
The grooming needs of a dog vary according to factors such as the breed of the dog, the type of coat, how many layers the coat has, the hair length, and whether the dog spends more time indoors or outdoors.
Some grooming activities like brushing the hair and the cleaning the teeth and ears, can easily be done at home, while professional dog grooming services may be desired for nail trimming and haircutting.
Most dogs will need the following grooming tasks, but at different intervals, depending on how many of the factors listed above apply to your dog :
* Brushing the dog’s coat and removing any matted hair
* Teeth cleaning
* Nail trimming
* Ear cleaning
* Haircuts (necessary only for certain dog breeds that have continually growing hair)
There are several grooming tasks that should be performed by a professional dog groomer:
* Nail Trimming. The nails of a dog are very sensitive. They have abundant nerve endings and can easily bleed if they’re cut too short. This can be a difficult and stressful task for a dog owner unless they have adequate experience in trimming a dog’s nails. The procedure also requires special tools to cut the nails and grind them smooth using a power nail grinder. Professional dog groomers are trained in the best methods of trimming and styling a dog’s nails and provide assurance that your dog’s health and well-being are the primary concern.
* Cutting a dog’s hair should always be done by a professional dog grooming service because it takes special training to know exactly how a dog’s hair should be cut.
* A professional teeth cleaning appointment should be scheduled once a year, the same as you would schedule with your own dentist. A thorough teeth cleaning can only be done by a professional dog groomer. It cannot and should not, be performed at home.
Professional dog groomers are trained in correct and painless methods of dog grooming with your dog’s safety in mind. Unfortunately, many dog owners have discovered that when they attempt to perform some dog grooming techniques at home, they end up hurting their dog.
The next time you take your dog to a professional groomer take the time to ask them for tips on how to best take care of the simple pet grooming jobs at home in between your appointments with the groomer.