Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cool and Clear

Greer enjoys the snow on a winter walk.

 Sweet, pure, refreshing WATER… the elixir of life! Too often this important third naturopathic Law of Health is overlooked. Yet it is vital to take a close look at both the quantity and quality of what our pets drink.

It’s been calculated that carnivores eating a Species Appropriate Raw Food diet receive around 80% of their daily requirement for water from the meat itself. That leaves a minimum of 20% that human caretakers need to provide. Depending upon activity level and heat/humidity at any given time, they may need more. We have working dogs. After helping with the livestock or accompanying us while we set fence line in the hot sun, our dogs are thirsty. Fresh cool water is available to them at all times, but especially after activity. Sometimes the dogs drink straight from the cattle water trough!

Besides drinking water, who doesn’t enjoy playing in it on a hot day? Our dog Greer is a fiend for playing in the hose! And wading in the creek is another pleasant activity. Playing hard increases the need for water, as well.

In winter the tendency may be to think that our pets have decreased water needs. The fact is they need it in the depths of winter just as in the height of summer. Frigid air and heated homes result in loss of hydration. Freezing temperatures can even pull the moisture out of wet laundry!   Even though the dogs enjoy eating snow as much as they love playing in it, snow should never be the main source of water for any animal. It lowers their body temperature thereby increasing their need for food and shelter to keep warm; and they simply cannot fill their water needs in that form… period. Have you ever melted a big pot of snow to see how much water you get in the end? Barely a fraction of what you collected! We keep the pets inside water dish filled at all times. They drink almost as much at 10 degrees Fahrenheit as at 100 degrees. Kitty shares the bowl with them so we make sure there is always enough for her winter time needs too, which increase slightly due to the heated indoor air.
The purity of water is paramount. City water is routinely treated with chlorine and most cities add fluoride, too. Both are toxins which have severe adverse effects on the health of us and our pets. We used a basic filter system for such in the city. In the country we don’t have to worry about those particular chemicals, but there are other possible contaminants. Both well and spring water are tested for safety.

Along with the exercise you’ve hopefully been enjoying with your dogs, make sure to drink plenty of water yourself, too!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Worm Update

We can highly and wholeheartedly recommend Young Living's ParaFree to anyone dealing with internal parasites!

After only 4 days of giving Fahey 2 soft gels a day, the huge tapeworm was expelled... dead. There were more smaller live ones, then dead, and by the end of one week no more at all. Yippeeeeeee!!!!

The worst part was getting Fahey to take the soft gels. At first he did really well. And then he bit into one. That was the end. So I deiced to hide one at a time in a little ground beef. Perfect trick!

Rock n' Roll

 EXERCISE is the second Naturopathic Law of Health. Exercise is not optional. Animals were meant to move on a daily basis. It is so much more important for health than simply a way to expend energy! Movement is needed to grow and stay strong, to remove toxins from the body, exercise the mind, and balance emotions.

Can your suburban/urban dog get enough exercise? Yes, with your help! Our dogs used to have a 1/8 acre yard. It was great fun for them to chase each other over, under, and around obstacles to tone the different muscle groups. There is nothing quite like watching your dog run at full speed for the sheer fun of it though! Try to think of a large area nearby that is safe to let your dog’s run. School play grounds or tracks are good, with permission of course. At the very least, put some objects in your yard to enhance your dog’s daily pleasure – timber to leap over or walk on, and tunnels to run through. Think of a personal agility course. I guarantee your dog will be thrilled!

Along with this increased activity sore or strained muscles may develop. Upon moving to the country our dog Eóin spent the first two weeks furiously digging after ground-dwelling critters he thought must be exterminated. One day he came up with a very pronounced limp. My usually stoic boy was clearly in discomfort – restless, whining, and not able to find a comfortable position to rest. Using the homeopathic remedy Arnica Montana, topical application of Copaiba essential oil for inflammation (internal too since he licked his leg), and three days of rest albeit begrudgingly, he was as good as new.

Then it was my turn – an ankle strained while setting fence line on hilly, soft ground thanks again to those underground varmints. I couldn’t walk or put any weight on it by evening! Again, it was Arnica Montana to the rescue, both sublingual pellets and topical gel. By the following morning I could carefully hobble. With continued rest and modified activity for a couple of days my ankle was back to normal.

There is a saying that goes “A good dog is a tired dog”. It is also a healthier dog! Don’t let snow stop you- dogs love playing in the snow, plowing through it with their face! Fetch with a snowball is quite entertaining since it “disappears” when it hits the ground making the dog think and search for it. So, by all means get out and enjoy some exercise with your dogs!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Eight Laws of Health

 Animal Naturopathy is a big part of our lives at Highland Glenn. With this series of posts I will introduce you to the naturopathic Eight Laws of Health.

A handy acronym to remember the Eight Laws is NEWSTART. They are: nutrition, exercise, water, sunshine, temperance, air, rest, and trust. Nature’s laws are not optional; one cannot break them without certain consequences following. I’ve never been more keenly aware of the importance of each as I have become since moving to the country.

Nutrition – Law One
I will refer to canine carnivores, but this information applies to all animals. They all need a diet appropriate for their species. Dogs are “facultative carnivores” meaning they are largely carnivorous, but have the ability to digest small amounts of plant matter. In order to thrive and not simply survive, they need primarily meat, organs, and bones. The Smithsonian Institute categorizes dogs as Canus lupus familiaris. DNA testing confirms that dogs are more closely related to the Grey Wolf, Canus lupus, than previously realized.

The canine digestive system cannot truly digest grains such as corn, rice, and wheat since they do not produce the enzyme Amylase in their saliva which is specific to the digestion of carbohydrates. Along with putrefaction, an overabundance of yeast can establish itself in a dog's digestive tract due to these products causing bloating and discomfort, but also contributes to disease as well as a “friendly” environment for both internal and external parasites. Commercial dog food manufacturers use grain as fillers to help the dog feel full. These grains are less expensive than high quality protein sources thus keeping their production costs down. Eating foods high in fillers means more to be eliminated as unused waste. All of this translates into many stinky piles in the yard to clean up!

Take a close look at your dog's teeth. Their teeth and jaws were designed for ripping and tearing, not chewing and grinding like the flat molars of humans, although their molars are suited to some grinding action. The teeth are all pointed and/or jagged to shear, cut through, and nibble-off meat; and their jaws are hinged to crunch through bone and swallow large pieces of meat. Although some do feed their dogs ground meat, we don't feel it's quite biologically appropriate. We feed whole pieces, with bone in. This is where it comes into play that they are benefited mentally. To see the look of contentment on your dog’s face as he truly enjoys his food, perhaps for the first time in his life, is a beautiful thing!

Feeding a raw diet takes only a bit more time and forethought. By feeding your dog only natural foods that are biologically active and species appropriate, his internal and external body condition is increased. The likelihood of him developing disease is greatly reduced. Visits to the veterinarian due to problems are all but eliminated; in fact, 'wellness visits' will be the norm instead!

When you choose to feed a raw diet, your dog will be healthier and happier!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Warm Fall

We've had a very warm fall, which means lots and lots of rain. We have received 6 inches of snow, but it all melted once temps rose, and then the rain washed it away.

Dealing with wet muddy dogs in a travel trailer is not easy or pleasant! Everyone is stir crazy but no one wants to go out and get soaked. We will all be very glad when we have a covered area outside for the dogs to hang out on these miserable days. As Tom said only today "it ain't fit for man nor beast." I quite agree.

Here is what puppies do with mud...

Friday, November 9, 2012

First Post

Welcome to our new blog location! You’ll find the same newsy content, weekly posts (hopefully), and a lot more beautiful photos of our English Shepherd farmdogs and life around the Ranch.

Be sure to leave comments, offer ideas, and ask questions!!

We hope you’ll visit often!

Also visit our other blogs:

Meet Fahey!

    Life certainly has been busy! We had a terrible wind storm in July that blew down at least 40 trees and knocked the power out for 5 days. Damage was so widespread and severe, the county was declared a disaster area and emergency relief was brought in! 

    The scary, rotting wooden bridge you drove over to come collect your puppy finally gave way, so Tom has been busy cutting wind-fall timbers to rebuild it. 

    We have also, granted a bit late in the season, begun work on our cabin. As you can well imagine, we are extremely excited about getting out of this fifth-wheel trailer soon!!!! We should be able to move in before winter sets in hard.

    We’ve received wonderful reports about the 2012 puppies!! They are all doing well, busy with their families. We look forward to more stories as they mature! 

    As you may know, we kept a puppy from the 2012 litter - the firstborn, a male named Fahey. He is an absolute delight!!! From the beginning he was special to us in many ways. Alright, I admit to initially being taken in by that adorable freckle face (freckles are my one weakness)!! It took Tom a bit longer to accept being a three dog family, but he’s really glad we kept him now. It’s truly wonderful having a pack! I am fascinated by animal behavior, so it’s been really interesting to watch pack dynamics, especially now that Fahey isn’t the “baby” anymore. We’ll see what happens! We just got his ESC papers back – his official registered name is “Highland Glenn’s Fahey”.

Fahey under 1 week old.

    Fahey is black and white, with the Irish white pattern (but without a white “collar” around his neck). He has beautifully balanced structure with moderate energy/drive. He’s a bit taller than Greer right now and growing every day, weighing around 42 pounds. We’ve been dealing with a more-than-the-usual tenacious tape worm issue (from wild critters), so we feel he isn’t where he normally would be. So far we’ve used two homeopathic worming remedies, DE, and herbs all with very marginal results. The next treatment to try is an essential oil blend product by Young Living called “ParaFree”. Once the nasty beasts are eradicated Fahey will catch up quickly. His adult coat is growing in beautifully! In length and wave it’s very much like Liam’s, but is softer with high sheen like Greer’s, yet is that incredible Teflon coat the ES breed is known for. And he got his perfect ears from Liam! I have a thing for ears (my one weakness).

    Fahey is extremely fast, agile, fast, athletic, and fast. Did I mention fast? This boy is like lightning!!! He gets that from Greer, but even she can’t catch him! He is a calm thinking puppy, watchful and alert. He found his alarm voice at the tender age of 10-1/2 weeks and continues to be a great watch dog teammate for Liam. He is very much an “English Shadow”, likes being near us, always watching and checking where we are and what we’re doing if he isn’t near. Fahey really likes children and people in general, and is very loving with us.

    A wise “old soul” like his daddy Liam, Fahey has loved eye contact since the day his eyes first opened! And when his tail wags happily, his whole butt wiggles just like mommy Greer! Well, not exactly like her… her nickname is Cha-cha… but close! Fahey has a nice balance of confidence, courage and caution (in that order!). He has great dog social skills and gets along well with both of his parents, although he does vie for my attention getting into scruffs with Liam now and then. He has always had good bite inhibition and a gentle mouth.

    Speaking of mouth… Fahey has gorgeous teeth!!! We’ve always admired the clean, pearly teeth of our raw fed dogs, but a pup who’s only known a species appropriate diet has the MOST amazing teeth!!! It’s to be expected really since diet plays such a key role in dentition, from gums to roots to teeth. It’s just the first time we’ve seen the marked difference first-hand!
    Fahey is highly biddable and eager to please with a lot going on behind those thoughtful eyes! He is rules oriented and seems to be an enforcer of such. He has great recall!!! At 13 weeks he exerted power with the cattle… and they listened. That episode was accidental, but we are training him purposely on the cattle now. He’s had a terrific teacher in Greer to observe and is doing well so far – he is tough with the stubborn cows, has lots of presence and power, and listens to our direction very well, going to both heel and head to get the results he/we want. We have a feeling he will be quite the all-around farmdog! We are working on his manners amongst the free-ranging chickens still, even there he is improving.

    If all the puppies are similar to Fahey, all we can say is “Wow”. We still miss each one of those precious wee babes!
Fahey at 6 1/2 months old.