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Archive for the ‘Natural remedies’ Category

… and the next you’re rushing to the vet.

I took Kane out at lunch today, like normal. But, unlike normal, he was very whiny. And he only peed a little. Then the walked a few feet down the street and peed a little again. Then repeat. Then, he was peeing nothing but blood.

We just moved back here, and I wasn’t happy with our vet when we lived here before. I had an appointment with a holistic vet booked for next week, for his yearly checkup, but we ended up going today instead. After running tests on his urine, they told me he didn’t have an infection or kidney stones. But, he did/does have a mass and/or swelling/inflammation in his urethra, which is where the blood is coming from.

This is the picture that made my heart stop. Because it could be cancer. Or, it could be nothing.

That little, grey splotch is so huge.

The vet put him on a holistic diet, and prescribed three herbal compounds to alleviate the swelling and inflammation. The hope is that this mass is nothing but some excess fluid, which the diet and herbs will flush out. That’s the best case scenario. I am sending every vibe possible out into the universe, willing that this inflammation subside in a day or two. I’ll take a sick Kane if that’s all I can get. But I’d much, much rather have this sharp, energetic, and hilarious man instead.

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Never one to have fewer than three books on my nightstand, I find that one of them is usually some sort of dog-related book. I love my puppies after all, and I want to be the most informed owner/handler I can be. These are the books I keep out and on display, and which I turn to every few days for a pep talk to a memory refresher. If you’re thinking of getting a new dog or want to elevate your understanding of and relationship with your pooch, these are the essential books I recommend purchasing.

The Koehler Method of Dog Training. The old standby, this book was written by William Koehler, who was quite possibly the greatest trainer to ever live and who trained most of the Disney dogs (The Great Danes in Swiss Family Robinson, and all of the Lassies [who were all male, by the way] to name a few). (This book tends to be quite expensive, as it is out of print. I found a copy on ebay a few years ago for around $10. Be patient. It will come.)

Expert Obedience Training for Dogs, by Winifred Strickland. She focuses more on obedience training for trials, but nonetheless offers great insight for handlers of all skill levels.

Cesar’s Way, by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier. Exercise, discipline, then affection. Nuff said.

The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell. As fascinating as it is useful, this book focuses on evolutionary differences between us and dogs, with us as primates and dogs as canids.

The Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, by various DVMs and MDs. This pretty much stays within reach at all times, ready for every nip, scrape, bump, and bruise.

Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, by Richard H. and Susan Hubble Pitcairn. Also always within reach, I turn to this book for a second opinion for any source, and always consult it before taking Kane or Cynder to the vet.

Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats, by Beth Taylor and Dr. Karen Becker. This is the canine equivalent of Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution, with a ton of information and great recipes designed to complement a dog’s evolutionary heritage.

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Along with a penchant for bluegrass and home canned goods, my parents passed down extremely oily skin to me. I’ve never understood the discomfort of dry, itchy, flaky skin because even in the dead of winter, I have to blot oil from my nose and forehead.

Kane isn’t so lucky. This time of year finds him flaky, itchy, and uncomfortable. His fur gets very brittle and starts to fall out.

To keep him cozy and shiny, I take a two-part approach to this problem:

1. Internal treatment. This is comprised of two supplements:

  • Probiotics. I use a good probiotic meant for humans (Culturelle, found in the pharmacy near Maalox or other indigestion remedies), once a day in his food. Remember these are live cultures, so keep them in the refrigerator. Skin conditions are commonly an outward expression of what’s going on underneath, so just to be safe, I like to give his immune system an extra boost.
  • Olive oil, flax oil, or fish oil (whatever is on sale). He’s a big boy, about 100 lbs, so he gets a solid drizzle–probably 3 tablespoons–with his food twice a day. Many vets will tell you to monitor oil supplements because of the fat content. If your dog is on a grain-free diet (which he should be), you can ignore this. Oil fat won’t put pounds on your dog if his general carbohydrate intake is low.

2. External treatment. I grew up on a farm, and you wouldn’t believe how much I miss those smells. Last fall I wandered into our local farm supply store, Southern States, and mozied around the horse supplies, touching them and smelling them and remembering being a little girl right at home in a horse barn. I found a product we used to use after bathing the horses, which is literally called Hair Moisturizer. This stuff is amazing. I often use it myself to control flyaways and to prevent split ends. I dilute one tablespoon of Hair Moisturizer with 1/2 cup water in a small spray bottle, spray Kane down, and then brush him gently with a boar’s hair brush.

Proper diet, good probiotics, oil supplements, and a good external moisturizer should kick dry skin to the curb in a few days. If not, you may try slathering some olive oil on your pup’s coat and rubbing it in with a boar’s hair brush. If dry skin continues, consider taking Fido to a holistic vet to make sure there isn’t an underlying issue.

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