Posts Tagged ‘golden retrievers’

Error Found in University Pet Food Study

Oops! Big Error Found in University Pet Food Study

You might recall a study released by UC Davis last year claiming most home prepared diets fail to provide all the nutrients a dog needs. Warnings were all over the news advising consumers to ONLY feed their pet a meal balanced by a board certified nutritionist (otherwise known as commercial pet food) – based on this ‘study’. Well…as it turns out, the study appears to have a significant error (…I believe more than one).

The UC Davis press release on the study that bashed home cooking for pets stated:

“Some owners prefer to prepare their dogs’ food at home because they feel they have better control over the animals’ diet, want to provide a more natural food or simply don’t trust pet food companies,” said Jennifer Larsen, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis and lead author on the study.

“The results of this study, however, indicate that most available recipes for healthy dogs, even those published in books by veterinarians, do not provide essential nutrients in the quantities required by the dog,” Larsen said. “It is extremely difficult for the average pet owner – or even veterinarians – to come up with balanced recipes to create appropriate meals that are safe for long-term use,” she said.”

The UC Davis study analyzed 200 recipes from 34 different sources including veterinary textbooks, pet care books and web sites. They evaluated the recipes using a computer-based program to “quantify the nutritional content” of each recipe. And found only nine recipes of the 200 met “the minimum standards established for adult dogs by the Association of American Feed Control Officials” (AAFCO).

Sounds concerning doesn’t it? And the results from the UC Davis study almost seems like it’s impossible to properly feed our pets from home.


The computer based program used to analyze the nutritional content of pet food recipes was from a company co-owned by none other than Dr. Larsen (of UC Davis – one of the authors of the study).

Further, it needs to be noted that the UC Davis/Dr. Larsen study was comparing apples to oranges…times ten. As was stated in the press release, the UC Davis study was comparing the nutritional standards for dogs to the nutrition dogs consume when eating real food (from home prepared recipes). The problem (and a significant problem it is) is that the nutritional standards for dogs (and cats) are based on the nutrition provided by common commercial pet food ingredients such as chicken meal, or by-product meal or added supplements. Nutritional standards are not based on the nutrition provided by whole foods – actual human grade chicken and vegetables purchased from your local grocery store. So this study tried to compare apples (real food) to oranges (commercial pet food ingredients like powdered chicken meal with added supplements). It can’t be done. There is no comparison to a roasted chicken you cook in your oven to the powdered chicken meal used in many pet foods. They are both ‘chicken’ but the comparison stops there. The scientists that performed this study should have known better than to try to compare the two.

However, to explain the biggest ‘but’ to this UC Davis study, we need one more quote from the press release (bold added):

“Some of the deficiencies, particularly those related to choline, vitamin D, zinc and vitamin E, could result in significant health problems such as immune dysfunction, accumulation of fat in the liver and musculoskeletal abnormalities,” Larsen said.”

The UC Davis study stated the National Research Council recommends “339 IU” of Vitamin D (per 1,000 kcal) for adult dogs. This is incorrect. The 2006 National Research Council publication actually recommends “136 IU” of Vitamin D (per 1,000 kcal) for adult dogs.

UC Davis study:    339.0 IU of Vitamin D per 1,000 kcal
NRC recommendation:        136.0 IU of Vitamin D per 1,000 kcal

The UC Davis study bashed home prepared meals for pets…compared recipes to a hugely escalated nutrient (vitamin D)…and they made it sound like these recipes were so deficient, harm could be caused to the pets that ate these foods. The study intentionally swayed consumers away from home prepared pet foods. When actually, should any of the recipes examined in the study have met the escalated, falsely quoted NRC recommendation of 339 IU of Vitamin D…that’s when the pet could have actually been harmed. The real “significant health problem” is that a university published, peer reviewed study made a 250% error in nutrient comparison.

(The UC Davis study was published in the June 2013 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Copies of that study can be acquired here:  The 2006 National Research Council nutrient requirements of Cats and Dogs can be acquired here:

Now why would a major university disparage home prepared pet food? Why would a major university disparage the work of over 120 other veterinarians (formulators of the recipes the study bashed)?

DrLarsonThis is a picture taken from the UC Davis website – of Dr. Larsen.

Those cans of pet food in the dispenser next to Dr. Larsen…they are Science Diet. In the video of this Fox News story about the UC Davis/Dr. Larsen study you also notice canisters of kibble. If you look quickly you’ll see the names Purina and Royal Canin on the canisters.


Three guesses – first two don’t count – as to why a study published by veterinary nutritionists from a major university told consumers NOT to feed their pets real food. We all know why don’t we?

The following questions were sent to Dr. Larsen (a response email stated she would be out of the office until June 30, 2014)…


Hi Dr. Larsen,
I’m writing asking for a statement from you regarding the peer reviewed study you published last year finding home prepared diets provided insufficient nutrition to dogs.

I understand your study was published using incorrect variables for Vitamin D; significantly incorrect. I am publishing a story on this significant error in your study – that was not caught by the peer review. If you would like to provide a statement regarding the error, please provide this right away.

Also, if you would like to address a few other questions that I will mention in my story, I will be glad to provide your side of the story. Those questions are…

Will you/UC Davis be issuing an apology to all pet food consumers and veterinarians regarding this error?
Will you/UC Davis be providing the names of those that reviewed the study (those that also missed the significant Vitamin D error)?
Will you/UC Davis be releasing your raw data to this study to verify that other variables used to compare nutrient information of home prepared recipes were as insufficient as your study claimed? (You must realize that this significant error with Vitamin D does bring doubt to everything else in the study and all involved.)
Was funding for this now flawed study provided by any of Big Pet Food or their trade associations? Will you be providing full disclosure of who funded this study?

Because you compared whole food recipes – recipes using meats and vegetables sourced from USDA inspected and approved for human consumption foods – to the nutritional requirements of dogs eating mostly kibble (highly processed) made from meats and vegetables sourced from ‘feed grade’ ingredients (including 4D meats, pesticide or chemical laden rejected for use in human food vegetables) – wasn’t your study trying to compare organic apples to 3rd generation genetically engineered oranges? The 2006 NRC Nutrient requirements of cats and dogs was funded in part by The Pet Food Institute (PFI) – the trade organization for Big Pet Food. This funding provided the PFI significant perks to influence the outcome of the NRC research (source: As well, the 2006 NRC research was determined based on “utilization of nutrients in ingredients commonly produced and commercially available”.

Common ingredients such as genetically modified grains and rendered meat meals including those sourced from 4D animals (dead, diseased, dying, and disabled). Again – and your response to this question is requested – wasn’t your study trying to compare whole food nutrition using certified human grade ingredients in lightly processed recipes to nutrients from ingredients that are commonly produced and commercially available found in highly processed foods such as kibble? Comparing organic apples to 3rd generation genetically modified oranges?

Your timely response to these questions will be appreciated.

Susan Thixton


Should Dr. Larsen or UC Davis respond to these questions, they will be published.

For decades, commercial pet food came only in two forms – kibble and canned – and was sourced from feed grade (waste) ingredients. As pet food has changed – mostly due to consumer demand – regulatory authorities and mainstream academia has held onto the past. Most stubbornly refusing to accept the fact that real food is healthier for our pets than feed grade waste processed into kibble or can pet food.

What a shame.

I’m not going back to feeding my pets waste ingredient pet food…are any of you?

UC Davis, Dr. Larsen, and all involved in this study (including the peers who reviewed the study) owe pet food consumers an apology. While we wait for that apology, I hope all that were involved in this study (and all those that were behind this study) open your minds to the fact that pet food has changed. Not all pet food comes from waste ingredients and in the form of a kibble or can. While there might always be some that feel waste ingredient pet foods are sufficient to feed their pets, a growing majority of pet food consumers have witnessed first hand the health benefits real food has been to our pets. They will never go back to waste ‘feed’ pet food.


Addition (added 6/29/14): The following message was received from Dr. Michael Fox (holistic veterinarian known probably all over the world from his syndicated newspaper column and books) – Honor Roll Member of the AVMA…

Hi Susan, FYI: I immediately wrote to Dr. Larsen at UVC Davis after I read the JAVMA article bashing home-prepared recipes for dogs & cats, since she referenced mine from my website I said that I would very much appreciate a copy of her analyses of my formulations and if there were any deficiencies or imbalances from her perspective.

I never received a reply.



Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports?  Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods,  and pet treats.  30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee.

Another very important article published in “Dog’s Naturally Magazine”.  This is the best magazine to subscribe to and to be informed.  They are committed to dog’s health. 

White Oak Golden Retrievers


Rabies in Dogs-The Rabies Challenge Fund

Welcome to the Rabies Challenge Fund.

The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust will determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines. The goal is to extend the required interval for rabies boosters to 5 and then to 7 years. This project depends primarily upon grassroots gifts for funding the costs of conducting the requisite vaccine trials. Our contributions to date have come mostly from kennel clubs and private individuals. The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust is a federally registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

I’m contributing!

Hi Everyone,

This Law is HUGE!  If this law gets passed, we can count on our dogs living longer, healthier lives. Science has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the rabies vaccine is good for a very long time (if not for the life of your dog).  Giving your dog the rabies vaccine every 3 years (some states still require ever year) is killing our dogs, making veternarians rich and is absurd in an educated world that we live in today.  Please help get this law passed.  Any amount you can contribute will help them.

Thank you!

White Oak Golden Retrievers 


A Natural Antibiotic for Dogs


By on March 18, 2014  in Herbs..

Goldenseal RootGoldenseal is a long-lived perennial that blooms in early spring. All parts of the plant may be used although the golden-yellow root is most commonly used.

Uses For Goldenseal

Traditionally, goldenseal was used as an appetite stimulant but its many uses go well beyond that. Overall, goldenseal is good for any inflammatory condition. It has antimicrobial, astringent and antiparasitic properties and also stimulates the liver.


Taken internally as an anti-inflammatory, goldenseal can be effective for ulcers and irritations in the mouth, upper respiratory tract, eyes and to a lesser degree, the digestive and urinary tracts. Goldenseal may also be applied externally to infections or ulcers as a poultice made from the powdered root.


Goldenseal can be useful for fighting bacterial infection in the mouth, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. It can disinfect against many common pathogens including streptococcus, staphylococcous and salmonella.

Eye Infections And Conjunctivitis

A goldenseal eyewash is particularly effective for inflammation and redness of the eyes and conjunctivitis secondary to bacterial or fungal infection. To make the eyewash, make a tea from the dry root by simmering it in water for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool to room temperature and apply it directly with a compress, or add 10 to 20 drops to a saline solution and apply a few drops in the eye two or three times per day.

Digestive Issues

Goldenseal may also be used for digestive issues and liver conditions. It’s useful for treating loss of appetitie, diarrhea, influenza and infections.

Kennel Cough and Flu

Goldenseal can be given at the first signs of a cough. Give it together with echinacea for a punch! Goldenseal will soothe the mucous membranes while echinacea will help activate immune fighters.

Tapeworm and Giardia

Combined with garlic, goldenseal can help rid dogs of tapeworm and even giardia.


Goldenseal should not be used in pregnant, newborn or hypoglycemic dogs. Long term use should be avoided as it may alter the intestinal flora and over-stimulate the liver. High doses may also interfere with vitamin B metabolism.

Use goldenseal for a week or so at a time, not for extended periods.


Goldenseal can be given as a dried powder. Use 1 teaspoon per 20 pounds.

Goldenseal tea can be made by boiling a gram of goldenseal in a cup of water. Give 1/4 to 1/4 cup per 20 pounds per day.

If giving a tincture, give 5 to 10 drops per 20 pounds, 2 to 3 times per day.


When purchasing goldenseal, make certain it’s from a cultivated organic source, not wildcrafted. Goldenseal is one of the most endangered medicinal herbs and if wildcrafting continues, the earth will be devoid of this incredibly useful herb. It’s a great idea to grow some goldenseal in your yard. It prefers shade and rich, well-drained soil. If you can not find an organic source of cultivated goldenseal, Oregon grape root can also be an effective alternative.

Another great article from Dogs Naturally Magazine.  If you have a female dog she may be plagued every now and then with a urinary tract infections.  I have used goldenseal on my girls in the past and it has worked so well.  It is a safe option to regular antibiotics. 

White Oak Golden Retrievers

Gum Disease: The Hidden, Painful Disease that Affects 70-80 % 0f all Pets.

By Dr. Becker

The most important thing you can do for your pet’s oral  health is to perform routine home dental care throughout his life. Plaque forms  on your dog’s or cat’s teeth within 24 hours, so daily brushing is what I  recommend.

For help getting started brushing your kitty’s teeth, view  my instructional video.  A video for dog owners can be found here.

If your pet is highly resistant to having her teeth brushed,  there are products available that when applied to the teeth go to work to break  down plaque and tartar without brushing.

Other tips for keeping your pet’s mouth healthy:

  • Feed  a species appropriate, preferably raw diet. Giving your dog or cat the food  her body was designed to eat sets the stage for vibrant good health. When your  pet gnaws on raw meat, in particular, it acts as a kind of natural toothbrush.  This is especially important for kitties, since they don’t enjoy chew bones  like their canine counterparts do. Raw fed animals have substantially less  dental disease than their dry fed counterparts, but they can still develop problems  in their mouth. Unfortunately, feeding great food alone is not always enough to  prevent dental disease for the life of your raw fed pet.
  • Offer recreational raw  bones. Offering your pet raw knucklebones to gnaw on can help remove tartar  the old fashioned way — by grinding it off through mechanical chewing. There  are some rules to offering raw bones (not for pets with pancreatitis, diseases  of the mouth, weak or fractured teeth, resource guarders, “gulpers,”  etc.) so ask your holistic vet if raw bones would be a good  “toothbrush” for your dog. I recommend offering a raw bone about the  same size as your pet’s head to prevent tooth fractures. If your dog cannot or  should not chew recreational raw bones, I recommend you offer a fully  digestible, high quality dental dog chew.
  • Perform routine mouth  inspections. Your pet should allow you to open his mouth, look inside, and  feel around for loose teeth or unusual lumps or bumps on the tongue, under the  tongue, along the gum line and on the roof of his mouth. After you do this a  few times, you’ll become sensitive to any changes that might occur from one  inspection to the next. You should also make note of any differences in the  smell of your pet’s breath that aren’t diet-related.
  • Arrange for regular oral exams performed by your  veterinarian. He or she will alert you to any existing or potential problems in  your pet’s mouth, and recommend professional teeth cleaning under anesthesia,  if necessary. Obviously, preventing professional intervention is the goal, so  be proactive in caring for your pet’s mouth.

          Another very important article from Dr. Karen Becker, holistic veterinarian. 

White Oak Golden Retrievers  


Cancer in Dogs

Do You Make This Cancer-Inducing Pet Mistake?

By Dr. Becker

Many pet guardians don’t realize the potential for exposing  their four-legged family member to environmental toxins like pesticides and herbicides.  People also don’t realize that after they apply a product to their lawn or  garden, the chemical residues are tracked indoors on pet paws, and contaminate  surfaces throughout their home.

A pesticide known as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, or “2,4-D”,  was developed during World War II. It was one of two active ingredients in the  notorious defoliant known as Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War to  destroy forest cover for our enemies, as well as their food crops. A tremendous  amount of herbicide was sprayed over millions of acres of land in Vietnam from  1961 to 1972. Agent Orange was the most commonly used product, and it has since  been revealed to cause a wide range of serious health issues, including rashes,  psychological problems, birth defects, tumors, and cancer.

These days, 2,4-D is used on athletic fields, golf courses,  landscaping, timberland, rights-of-way, and various crops. A short list of  popular products containing 2,4-D includes:   

  • Bayer Advanced All-in-One Lawn Weed and  Crabgrass Killer
  • Ortho Weed-B-Gon Max
  • Scotts Liquid Turf Builder
  • Sta-Green Phosphorus-Free Weed & Feed
  • Scotts Snap Pac Weed & Feed

  Despite decades of scientific studies associating 2,4-D with  cancer in humans and animals, the chemical continues to be one of the top three  pesticides sold in the U.S. More recent studies have linked the chemical to  hormone disruption that increases the risk of birth defects and neurologic  damage in children.


Pesticides, Bees, and Your Pet

I’m sure many of you are aware that bee colonies across the world are disappearing in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder (CCD). In fact, most U.S. beekeepers have lost from 50 to 90 percent of their honeybee populations.

There are several factors involved in the die off of bees, not the least of which is the unprecedented widespread use of pesticides and insecticides. Neonicotinoid pesticides kill insects by attacking their nervous systems. These are known to get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees.

Honeybees contribute $15 billion in annual agriculture revenue to the U.S. economy alone, as a full one-third of the American food supply depends on them pollinating crops. Just about every fruit and vegetable you can think of is dependent on the pollinating services of bees. Apple orchards, for instance, require one colony of bees per acre in order to be adequately pollinated. So, unless the mysterious disappearance of bees is reversed, major food shortages could result.

If we don’t take action to protect bees and other pollinators from the toxic effects of pesticides and insecticides, there is no question that the survival of our pets, and our own survival, will be in jeopardy. In fact, honeybees are so crucial to our existence that a quote attributed to Einstein states: “If bees die out, man will only have four years of life left on Earth.”

Pesticides and Canine Malignant Lymphoma

Most dogs love a carpet of thick green grass. They run  around on it, roll on it, dig at it, and stick their noses in it. But unlike humans,  who launder their clothes and bathe regularly, dogs don’t change their fur or  footpads every day. Whatever collects on their feet and coat outdoors stays  there until the next time they get a bath. It also gets deposited across  multiple surfaces inside your home, including carpeting, rugs, furniture and  pet bedding.

A recently published study conducted over a six year period  by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University1 showed that exposure to lawn pesticides, specifically those applied by  professional lawn care companies, raised the risk of canine  malignant lymphoma – a progressive, fatal disease — by as much as 70  percent.

Sadly, it’s easy to envision how normal canine behavior  turns risky when your dog’s outdoor environment has been doused in potentially  toxic chemicals.

Herbicides and Bladder Cancer In Dogs

Another study, published last year in Science  of the Total Environment,2 indicates that exposure to herbicide-treated lawns has been associated with significantly  higher bladder  cancer risk in dogs.

The chemicals in question are common herbicides containing  2,4-D, 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxypropionic acid (MCPP) and/or dicamba. Dogs are  being exposed through ingestion, inhalation and transdermal contact.

Since these chemicals are commonly detected in grass  residues from treated lawns AND untreated lawns, it’s clear there is chemical  drift. This means that even if you don’t use these products, if a neighbor  does, your dog could still be at risk from chemicals that blow into your yard  from a nearby property.

Flea and Tick Preventives (Pesticides) and Your Pet

You may not be aware of it, but most flea  and tick preventives are actually pesticides, regardless of what form they  come in — spot-on treatments, pills, dips, solutions, shampoos, or collars.

Spot-on  products attracted the attention of the EPA in 2009 after reports surfaced  of over 40,000 adverse events the prior year, including 600 deaths of family  pets. The agency called for new labeling requirements, but as recently as  September, four  cats were reported to have died from misuse of the products.

It’s important to remember that just because a compound is  applied to or worn on your pet’s fur doesn’t mean it’s safe. What goes ON your pet goes IN your pet, by absorption through the skin  or ingestion during grooming.

Protecting Your Pet from Toxic Pesticides

Don’t apply pesticides to your yard, and if you use a lawn  care service, don’t allow them to use chemicals, either. The same goes for  herbicides, and be aware that a neighbor’s herbicide can potentially  contaminate your property and pose a risk to your pet.

Avoid lawn care and other gardening products that contain  insect growth regulators (IGRs). (And be aware that the chemical pyriproxyfen,  an IGR, is used in certain flea/tick spot-on treatments.)

Don’t allow your dog access to any lawn unless you can  confirm no pesticides have been used.

If you think your pet has rolled around on chemically  treated grass, my recommendation is to bathe him as soon as possible. If you’ve walked your dog in a suspect grassy area,  giving him a foot  soak as soon as you get home should flush away any chemical residue that  may be clinging to his feet and lower legs.

If you live in a townhouse or community that applies  chemicals to common areas, I recommend “detoxing” a patch of grass in your  backyard by watering the chemicals down into the soil to reduce skin contact  after application. Keep your pet on a leash (and on the sidewalk) until you’ve  walked to your chemical free destination.

When it comes to pest control, remember — keeping your  pet’s immune system healthy and strong is the best way to help him fight off  parasites as well as disease. A balanced,  species-appropriate diet is  the foundation upon which your pet’s good health and long life must be built.

Use a safe, natural pest deterrent that is chemical-free.  Also consider cedar oil (specifically manufactured for pet health), natural  food-grade diatomaceous earth, or fresh garlic (work with your holistic vet to  determine a safe amount for your pet’s body weight).

Bathe and brush your pet regularly and perform frequent full-body  inspections to check for parasite activity, and insure your indoor and outdoor  environments are unfriendly to pests.

Detoxifying Your Pet

Consider periodic detoxification for your pet. The level of environmental exposure to chemicals will dictate the  appropriate frequency and type of detox. If your dog has constant exposure to  toxic chemicals all summer, supplying a daily detox protocol is a wise idea. But  if your pet’s only source of chemical exposure is heartworm pills, or if you  are applying flea and tick chemicals directly on your pet, then offering a  detox program the week after each pill or topical treatment makes sense.

There are many detoxifying  herbs and supplements to choose from. A detox protocol should not cause any  side effects or visible changes in your pet.


This excellent article by holistic veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker is eye opening.  If you don’t want your pet to die of cancer, start now. 

White Oak Golden Retrievers

Pain in Dogs

5 Signs Your Dog is in Pain

shutterstock_126853700Seeing our pets in pain is never a fun experience, and it’s something every dog owner dreads. Whether it’s a fresh injury or simply our aging elder-pups, we want nothing more than to help them. But it’s important to remember that they can’t always cry out to us when in need. Dogs aren’t humans, so they don’t speak our language. The best thing we can do to keep them comfortable is to learn theirs. Dogs display their pain in certain actions and behaviors that may seem subtle to us. Not everyone is a canine behavioral expert, but these five symptoms below will help you determine whether or not your loved one is in pain.

1. Excessive Grooming – It’s normal for dogs to lick and groom themselves, but it’s not normal for this to become an obsessive behavior. If you notice your pet tending to a localized area he’s never noticed before, or has just recently started spending a lot more time there, it could be a sign that he’s hurting. Pets will often groom places that are sources of pain in hopes to clean and care for the wound, even if there is no open wound present. Be sure to keep an eye on the area and inspect it gently.


2. Heavy Panting – Panting is normal behavior that shouldn’t surprise any dog owner. Even when the panting is heavy, certain circumstances allow for it such as extra hot days and strenuous exercise. But if you notice heavy panting out of nowhere, it could be stress-induced. This stress could be caused by pain your pet is experiencing. For whatever reason it may be, unexplained heavy panting should result in a trip to your veterinarian.

3. Inappetence – Lack of appetite is often the result of some sort of discomfort. You don’t feel like eating when you’re not well, do you? Our dogs don’t either. They simply just don’t feel like eating, especially when it’s painful to walk all the way over to the food bowl. If you notice any sort of inappetence in your pet, it’s important to seek veterinary attention right away, as this could be a symptom of many dangerous ailments.

4. Shyness & Aggression – You may notice that your dog is starting to become more and more antisocial. He may stop running to the door to greet everyone and avoids petting. Or you may notice that your little one doesn’t want you picking her up anymore, or cries when you do. If this happens suddenly, it’s reasonable to suspect pain as a probable cause. In some cases, you’ll find your normally overly friendly companion has become aggressive. If you notice your pup is hiding away and avoiding attention, be sure to check them for pain. It’s best to have a veterinarian do this, and it’s very important to remember not to take it personally if your dog does growl or snap at you. They aren’t necessarily trying to hurt anyone, they just have no other way to tell anybody it hurts and they don’t want to be touched.

5. General Behavior Changes – Besides shyness and aggression, you might notice that your pup doesn’t want to walk up stairs anymore, avoids jumping and climbing, or doesn’t want to chase after his beloved tennis ball. There are the obvious signs such as limping, but it’s important to also watch out for stiffness or arched backs. Dogs in pain often lay only flat on their sides, rather than curled up in their beds. They might be slower moving, sleeping a lot more and seemingly disinterested in things they used to love. Another sign is unexplained accidents in the house. It’s often very painful to get up from lying down (which you also might notice), and sometimes pets just aren’t able to make it outside fast enough. Sometimes the squatting to urinate and defecate is avoided, and you’ll notice that your pet will start leaving messes in her bed. All of these things can be attributed to pain – often in our older dogs, but sometimes in our younger ones as well.

Being able to identify early signs of pain can lead to a much more comfortable outcome for both you and your dog. With early veterinary care, you can often start treatment before the condition worsens, regardless of cause. If old age is the culprit, you’ll be more aware and educated on keeping your loved one comfortable and happy through his latter years. By keeping our pets happy, we keep ourselves happy too. And there’s nothing more important than sharing a peaceful, lighthearted life with our best friends.

This is a good article written by;

White Oak Golden Retrievers


Lumps on Dogs

Is your dog lumpy ? Fatty lumps (lipomas), other lumps and  why surgery is not the best choice

By Dr. Peter Dobias

If you  find  yourself  confused about what  to do    when you  find a lump or immediately think of the worse  case scenario,  I hope that this blog will be useful.

One of my  readers sent me an email with a question: “My dog has a lump, where can I get it removed?” How could I  forget to write about such an  important  topic, I thought.  I need to share what  I have learned about lumps right now.  So, I  dropped  my  original plan and have taken on the lumpy topic to save your pooch some trouble and make things easier on your pocket.

It seems that most  people  think that lumps are like aliens from a  sci-fi movie and  we have to  get  rid  of  them. I went online and surprisingly, all the blogs and articles talk about diagnosis or surgery and I could not find any information about their prevention or any suggestions as to why  they happen.

Over  the years ,  I have observed lumps and  bumps on many dogs.   Most  of them are fatty lumps called  lipomas. The name suggests  that  they are composed of  lipocytes –  fatty  cells  that decide to grow more than they should.

A relatively small  percentage of lumps end up in the “malignant” category, however, I  always like to know what I am dealing with before giving treatment  recommendations.The interesting thing that I have noticed is that most  lumps appear to be associated with the spinal segments that have the tightest  muscles or  evidence of inflammation and injury.

To  make things clearer, imagine  that  your  dog has a lipoma on the chest.  If you  draw a line from the lump up to the chest following the ribs,  you end  up at  a certain vertebra. If you  explore this area  further, the  muscles  are usually tight and inflamed and your dogs skin often twitches, suggesting  sensitivity discomfort and injury. If you find it  challenging to grasp the concept of  energy lines, imagine a salmon. The energy lines are much clearer as the muscle is separated in segments corresponding with the number of “ribs” or fish bones.   Mammals  do not have this clear visual definition, however the energy channels exist  along the same  lines.

I started to see  clearly that there was a connection between tightness or injury of  a certain spinal  segment and lump formation. I have always believed that a healthy back is the key to a healthy body and that the back is the energy flow channel that  maintains  even  energy flow throughout  the body, tissues and organs.

If  the  back gets  injured  or  tight,  the energy flow stops. I like to see the energy flow as  light flowing through the body’s channels; which Chinese practitioners  refer to as meridians. If the light reaches an injured or congested area, then energy stops flowing and  these  inflamed  areas ” suck the light – the energy out”  like the dementors from Harry  Potter books.

These injured parts are the black holes  of the body;  stopping the flow, creating congestion,  which leads to lump formation. In the most severe and chronic cases, this leads to cancer formation. I see the lumps and bumps as the signals of the body that there is  something wrong. They are  the markers of these injuries, inflammation and blockage and must not be ingored.

If a lump is removed,  the problem, the  congested  energy  spot and  the tightness  remains. Lumpectomy can be compared to removing the signal lights  on your car’s  dashboard at  a time when your  oil  is leaking.  You  will not see the signal, but the problem will go on if not  addressed  at the same time.

Here are some practical suggestions to addressing lumps

  • If you see a lump,  do not panic. I  suggest    getting  it examined physically and perform a fine needle aspirate, (collecting a few cells by inserting a needle in the centre of the lump).   The procedure is simple and the samples of a few  cells  obtained  can be sent to the lab.  Sometimes people  wonder if there is a potential of spreading a malignant tumour  this way. I have not seen  any  evidence of worsening  prognosis if fine needle  aspirate is done. Ultimately, it is better to know the diagnosis  than worrying sick over a lump that is benign.
  • Most veterinarians have not been trained to see the connection  between back or  muscle  injury  and lumps and many practitioners will not even recognize that there is an energy  flow issue or injury in the related spinal segment. I suggest  finding a good  animal  chiropractor  or o physiotherapist using a technique called  IMS –  intramuscular  stimulation  to  reset  the muscle  fibres and  improve the energy  flow.  Both  treatments,  chiro  or  IMS  have to  be  repeated  until the body “relearns” its patterns.  One treatment is often  insufficient to yield good results and in  older dogs  it is better to create a preventive treatment  plan –  once a month or so to help the body stay  in  balance.
  • In my opinion, lipomas should not be removed  unless they obstruct your dogs  movement.   Removing lumps gives us an illusion that the problem is gone, while in reality, it doesn’t  get rid of the cause; the “black hole” in  the spinal energy  flow. I often see dogs  getting  worse  after surgery with more  lumps  cropping up.  It seems as if the body is trying even harder to signal that there is something wrong.  The signals get “louder and louder” and if we do not hear or can’t  recognize them, sometimes cancer sets in.
  • If you see  a lump,  track it to the  related  spinal segment by drawing a line from the lump to the back. It is relatively simple. Follow the ribs or if the lump is on the abdomen,  draw a line up and slightly  forward on an angle that is parallel to the last rib. If lumps  are present  on the hind legs,  the issue is  usually  located in the lumbar region.  If on the head,  neck or  skull,  alignment may be the problem; if on the abdomen,  lumbar or thoracic, the spine needs attention.  If the spinal segment is tight,  I  recommend treatment by a chiro, physio and massage in conjunction with homeopathy.
  • I have also  noticed  that some lipomas occur in  areas where the skin and fat  under the skin or the underlying  muscle gets  injured or overstretched .  Some people believe that the  excessive stretch of tissues  results  in  trauma  to the fatty  cells – lipocytes.  These lipocytes try to repair, start multiplying  and a lump is  formed. If your dog is a fast  and wild runner, lumps may be more likely to happen.
  • If you are wondering if there is a miraculous natural  cure  for lipomas.  From  what  I have seen,  I must say that  once  they happen,  they usually  do not  disappear. You may as well spare yourself  the money buying “miraculous” lipomacures and spend it on a chiro or  physio  instead.   You can  decrease their  growth  rate by improving the energy  flow in the spine and the body in general.
  • If the cytology  results of fine needle  aspirate come back with confirmation of cancer, this is a much more complicated topic and a consultation would be needed. I  personally am  not  in favour  of chemotherapy and  radiation and have seen dogs living longer and happier lives without  these. I find  it  ridiculous to see that we have accepted poisoning as one of the ways of “healing.”
  • Surgery may be a reasonable measure  in  case of some malignancies – for  example  bone tumors because they are so  aggressive.  I have seen some dogs  surviving for years. However,  once again  I want to remind  you  that surgery does not remove the original cause of the tumor and the treatment should include  changes in  nutrition,  supplements, homeopathy and spinal alignment  techniques.
  • Some people  believe that the higher tendency to inflammation the body has, the higher tendency to cancer.  I agree.

Here is what you can provide for your dog to statistically decrease the chances cancer :

  • Healthy exercise,  not   too much.
  • Good natural, ideally  raw  diet.
  • Feed  less than 1/3 of large animal  red  meat as it has a tendency to  cause more  inflammation in the body.
  • Use a good source of whole food anti-oxidants and minerals for proper function of the immune system and every cell. I could not  find one on the market,  so  I  formulated one myself – GreenMin.
  • Use only  natural  vitamins  and supplement. Synthetic supplements are not what nature intended and often create disharmony of excess in the body.
  • The body knows the difference. My dog Skai  has also been getting SoulFood – Certified Organic Multivitamin for Dogs.
  • For muscle injury and back pain or  as a general cancer  prevention,  I like  using Zyflamend, a turmeric based  anti-inflammatory  that is also known for its anti-oxidant, anticancer  properties.  If your  dog  has a  moderate to severe problem,  you can give  Zyflamend daily or  as a preventive once or twice a week.When it  comes to  omega oils,  I like to give Skai and my patients  WholeMega – a wild salmon oil that is processed gently to  maintain  its properties.  For cancer prevention, you  want to go for a Omega 3 as in most diets  these ones  are missing.
  • As a general  cleansing and immune system support, I like to use Probiotics.
  • Activated mushrooms such as LifeSheild Immunity.

– See more at:

Another great article by Dr. Peter Dobias, a holistic veterinarian.  Please visit his website for other great information in keeping your dog well.

White Oak Golden Retrievers

Holistic Solutions for Dog Worms

Herbal Options For Your Dog’s Worms

October 14, 2013 – Holistic Care from Dog’s Naturally Magazine


Signs of worm infestation in your dog can include squiggly worms or “rice bodies” in his stool, a thrifty looking appearance, scooting and licking his rear, vomiting, and diarrhea. Luckily, you don’t have to fear worms because there are foods and herbs that can help keep intestinal populations in check and encourage their expulsion. Keeping your yard clean and free of rodents and fleas will also help.

There are many less invasive and more natural alternatives to conventional veterinary products that you might want to try. Here is a list of natural dewormers, from the safest to the harshest. It’s important to remember that some herbal substances can still be harsh on the body, so consult with a good holistic vet or herbalist if using the herbs that come with warnings.

Dog Friendly, Natural Dewormers

The starting point for preventing and treating worms is always a healthy immune system. A balanced intestinal environment prevents disease, including parasite infestations. Recent research has linked gut bacteria to many health conditions and the type and balance of bacteria in the gut can actually influence the lifespan of intestinal worms. Avoiding antibiotics and processed commercial foods – and adding dietary probiotics like Lactobacillus sporogenes – will help maintain the delicate ecosystem in your dog’s gut, making it less habitable for worms.


When fed in moderation, garlic can boost the immune system and help fight worms and giardia. A recent scientific study found garlic to be just as effective as the veterinary dewormer, Ivermectin. (Ayaz et al, Recent Pat Antiinfect Drug Discov. 2008 Jun) Give a half clove to two cloves daily, depending on the size of your dog.

Fruits and Vegetables

Adding some of the following fresh foods to your dog’s diet can also help make his intestinal tract less attractive to worms: grated raw carrots, fennel, shredded coconut and papaya.

Pumpkin Seeds

Raw, organic pumpkin seed can help prevent or expel worms. You can feed them as a treat or grind them and place them in his dish. Give a teaspoon per ten pounds of your dog’s weight.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

It bears stating that you must feed a food grade DE to your dog; pool grade DE is dangerous for him. DE can reduce the number of worms in your dog although it may not be too effective for tapeworm. Feed small dogs a teaspoon per day and dogs over 55 pounds up to a tablespoon per day. Make sure it’s well mixed in his food as inhaling DE can irritate your dog’s lungs.


This herb and its cousin pineapple weed can work to prevent and expel both roundworms and whipworms.

Oregon Grape

This herb is not only anti-parasitic, it’s also a very effective antibiotic and liver tonic. Give Oregon grape as a tincture, using 12 drops per 20 pounds. Oregon grape also works with giardia. This herb shouldn’t be used in dogs with liver disease or in pregnant dams.

Black Walnut

This herb can expel intestinal worms and even heartworms. Although it’s safer than conventional veterinary dewormers, black walnut can be toxic to your dog if given at the wrong dose. Black walnut might be best used if the above options fail – but it’s important to note that if pumpkin seed and garlic don’t help your dog keep parasites at bay, it’s a reflection of your dog’s intestinal health. In this case, it’s best to address his immune system and to seek the expertise of a holistic vet before using black walnut. The strong tannins and alkaloid ingredients in black walnut can cause vomiting, diarrhea and gastritis.


This classic worming herb works on all types of worms including tapeworms. Like black walnut, wormwood’s tannins can be hard on your dog and irritating to his liver and kidneys. The FDA lists wormwood as unsafe for internal use. It should never be used in dogs who suffer from seizures, kidney problems or liver disease and should not be used in pregnant or lactating dams. Wormwood should be given only for a few days at a time and preferably with the expertise of a holistic veterinarian.

Liver Support

If you need to resort to Oregon grape, black walnut or wormwood, it’s important to understand that they can be harsh on the liver. Giving milk thistle seed at the same time can help protect the liver from their toxic effects. Milk thistle is best given in a tincture, starting at a 1/4 teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight.

Another great article and information from Dogs Naturally Magazine.  A very informative online magazine dedicated to holistic information for dogs.

White Oak Golden Retrievers

Bladder Infections and Stones in Dogs

Bladder Infections and Stones in Dogs

October 8, 2013 – Holistic Care


Cocker SpanielWhen bladder and urinary tract infections occur in pets, a veterinarian’s first reaction is to prescribe antibiotics along with a prescription diet and send them on their way. However, holistic veterinarians have a variety of means including herbal formulas and dietary recommendations to not only treat bladder and urinary tract infections, but to support healthy bladder function.

Chinese theorists conjecture that bladder infections are due to damp heat in the bladder, meaning there is swelling in the bladder tissue. Typically, this swelling can be attributed to changes in the pH of the urine. The pH changes create an environment in the bladder that is favorable for bacteria to “set up shop” and create an infection.

The best way to help treat and prevent these infections is to take steps to drain the damp heat and change the internal environment of the bladder.

Types of Stones

Before discussing products to help treat and prevent bladder and UT infections, we have to take a look at the types of crystals and stones created when damp heat is present.

Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria invade the urinary tract and bladder and become established, creating damp heat in the bladder. This can lead to crystal and stone formation, as well as prostate inflammation. One way for bad bacteria to take up residence in the bladder is for bacteria on the skin to ascend up the urinary tract into the bladder. Improper diet, which will be discussed later, also contributes to damp heat in the bladder, creating these unfortunate crystals and stones.

Struvite stones are the most common cause for obstruction in the urinary tract and are nearly impossible to pass. These struvite stones are composed of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate, and are primarily caused by dietary magnesium. They also thrive in high pH alkaline environments.

Prescription diets lower the pH and magnesium levels, which will help prevent struvite formation. However, because we’ve created a more acidic environment in the bladder and haven’t resolved the base problem associated with the damp heat, pets have started to develop more calcium oxalate crystals, which thrive in acidic environments. By the late 2000’s, we started to see a fairly even amount of struvite and oxalate stones; by acidifying the urine, we changed the type of stones that were developing.

When veterinarians realized that calcium oxalate stones thrive in acidic environments, they took a look at the composition of prescribed diets to try to combat the calcium oxalate stones. By changing the prescription diets yet again, the number of calcium oxalate stones decreased, and we are once again seeing a higher percentage of struvite stones. It’s an unfortunate predicament.

There are several other types of stones including urate, cystine, and silicate, which form in acidic environments, and calcium phosphate stones, which form in alkaline environments. However, these stones only occur in about two percent of the cases and can be genetically based.

There a number of holistic means available that not only treat UTI’s or crystal/stone formation when they occur, but also maintain a healthy bladder environment.

Herbs to Support Bladder Function

Holistic veterinarians use a variety of Chinese herbs to help treat bladder and urinary tract infections as well as help support bladder health. These formulas help to prevent bladder infections by maintaining a healthy bladder environment. Several herbs are also used to directly treat UTI’s when they occur.

Akebia is a flowering plant known for its draining and cooling abilities. It aids in eliminating damp heat from the bladder and promotes healthy urination.

Plantago seed and Talcum powder both promote healthy bladder function and drain damp heat. Talcum is also helpful in calming the pain associated with urination. Other cooling and draining ingredients include polygonum, dianthus, gardenia and licorice root.

Rhubarb root is known for its natural ability to empty the system of waste. Its fiber content supports colon function along with healthy bowel movements.

Another supportive Chinese herb is rush pith. Besides clearing heat from different areas of the body, rush pith is a mild diuretic, which is especially helpful in treating painful dribbling.

In addition to the aforementioned herbs that are used to both treat and support bladder health, cranberries acidify the urine, making it an unfavorable environment for most types of bacteria to survive in. Cranberries also have the ability to attach to bacteria such as E. coli and prevent it from attaching to the bladder wall. Another added benefit of cranberries is that they contain salicylic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory.

D-mannose is a simple sugar that works in a similar way to cranberries by also decreasing the ability for bacteria to adhere to the bladder wall.

Another method holistic veterinarians have found effective in supporting bladder health is oral glucosamine for cats. A portion of glucosamine enters the urinary tract system to be urinated out and forms a mucus coat on the bladder wall. In turn, bacteria, such as E. coli, cannot adhere to the wall. Unfortunately in cats, struvite can present without any apparent infection.

You Are What You Eat

Dietary magnesium is viewed as one of the main contributors to urinary struvite formation. High grain carbohydrates that are present in most commercial dry pet food brands are high in magnesium. High carbohydrate diets are also considered to be inflammatory. Therefore, holistic veterinarians conjecture that because dogs and cats are naturally carnivorous animals, a meat based diet, which is low in magnesium, promotes healthy bladder and urinary function.

It’s also important for pet owners to feed a diet that combats obesity, another contributor to frequent UTI’s. However, the most important way to support a pet’s bladder health is to feed an appropriate diet. Proper nutrition supports proper organ function throughout the body, and the correct diet can both prevent and solve bladder and UT infections.

A great article about Bladder Infections in Dogs by Dogs Naturally Magazine.  This a wonderful online magazine that promotes holistic health for dogs. 

White Oak Golden Retrievers

Shockwave Therapy For Pain or When Your Dog Isn’t Healing.

By Dr. Becker

Shockwave therapy — officially called extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) – is generally understood by most of the veterinary community as useful in treating musculoskeletal injuries, osteoarthritis (OA), and wound healing in horses. According to Clinician’s Brief, the use of ESWT to aid healing in companion animals like dogs and cats is not as well recognized.

Many people hear the word “shockwave” and immediately think of an electrical shock. But the shockwaves used in ESWT are high-energy sound waves (acoustic energy) that are directed to a target treatment area on an animal’s body. The shockwaves trigger the body’s own repair mechanisms, which speeds healing and provides long-term improvement.

How ESWT Helps the Healing Process

ESWT has been used in human medicine for over 20 years to provide non-invasive treatment for urologic and orthopedic conditions.

ESWT employs electrohydraulic technology to generate shockwaves. The high-intensity sound waves interact with the tissues of the body, leading to a host of beneficial effects including development of new blood vessels, reversal of chronic inflammation, stimulation of collagen and dissolution of calcium build-up. This activity creates an optimal healing environment, and as the damaged area returns to normal, pain is alleviated and functionality is restored.

When shockwave therapy is applied to areas of non-healing tissue, it may trigger release of acute cytokines that stimulate healing. Accompanying pain relief may be the result of increased serotonin activity in the dorsal horn (located in the spinal cord).

Conditions Successfully Treated with Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is known to be beneficial in treating the following conditions in companion animals:

            Hip and elbow dysplasia             Painful scar tissue
            Degenerative joint disease (hip, elbow)             Chronic back pain
            Osteoarthritis Lick granuloma
Spondylosis (degeneration of joints in the spine)             Sesamoiditis (chronic inflammation of bones in the foot)
            Tendon and ligament injuries             Chronic wound care
            Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (degeneration of the head of the femur bone in the hind leg)             Trigger points
            Non-healing (non-union) or delayed healing (delayed union) fractures             Acupressure points

Actual Results of ESWT for Dogs

According to Clinician’s Brief:

  • Of 4 dogs treated for non-healing fractures, 3 had significant improvement in bone healing following ESWT treatment.
  • In a study of dogs with distal radial fracture non-unions (a break near the bottom of the front limb, just above the wrist joint), all dogs that received ESWT showed complete bone healing after 12 weeks, while no dogs in the control group achieved complete bony union.
  • In a study of dogs with lameness resulting from soft tissue shoulder conditions, 88 percent showed improvement after shockwave therapy, with no surgical intervention.
  • ESWT was also shown to significantly reduce distal ligament thickening in dogs with inflammation of knee joints following surgery for a CCL rupture.
  • Shockwave therapy has proved beneficial in promoting the development of new blood vessels at the bone-tendon interface of the Achilles tendon in dogs.
  • ESWT has been shown to modulate osteoarthritis in animals by decreasing production of nitric oxide in joints and inhibiting cell death in healthy cartilage. Shockwave therapy can also be beneficial in managing the pain of arthritis.
  • Studies have demonstrated positive results in joint range of motion and peak vertical force in dogs with knee, hip and elbow arthritis.

Currently, there are only unpublished case reports on shockwave therapy for treating chronic wounds in small animals. However, based on its mechanism of action, ESWT may prove valuable in managing skin flaps and difficult and chronic wounds.

Treatment Specifics and Average Timeframes

The equipment used in ESWT can be loud, and the treatment can be painful, so animals are sedated. Since shockwave therapy is often used in combination with surgery, some patients may already be anesthetized at the time of treatment.

Treatment time depends on the strength of the shockwaves and the number of locations being treated. A common dose is 800 pulses per joint, which can be accomplished in under 4 minutes.

Animals normally begin to experience pain relief from ESWT within about 24 hours. Of course, depending on the condition being treated, other types of pain management may be necessary as well.

When treating musculoskeletal conditions, therapy is recommended every 2 to 3 weeks for 1 to 3 treatments or until symptom improvement or resolution is achieved. Wounds are usually treated once a week for as many weeks as necessary. With arthritis patients, ESWT is typically repeated every 6 to 12 months as needed.

Shockwave therapy should be used in conjunction with physical therapy (called “rehabilitation” in animals) to return patients to full activity.




White Oak Golden Retrievers