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!