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Tue 12, Sep, 2017
Why Getting The Right Pet

Guest post by Jessica at Our Best Friends

Why Getting The Right Pet Matters To You

Pets are amazing. Studies show that people with pets tend to be happier and live longer. Plus, there’s the day-to-day fun of playing with your pet. That’s why so many Americans adopt a dog, cat, or similar friend.

But you have to be careful. Getting a pet that won’t work with your lifestyle or family can create more problems than fun. That’s why getting the right pet matters. To do that, you first need to ask yourself some questions to figure out which pet is best for you. Then you need to get your home ready for the new pet and plan how you can play and bond with it.

Image Source: Pixabay

Finding The Right Friend

Buying a new pet for your family is a big responsibility. That’s why you need to start by asking some hard questions. Bestfriends.org recommends several good ones, including:

  • Will you be able to live with some shedding or wear-and-tear in your home?
  • How much time can you spend keeping your pet happy and exercised?
  • Is your home the right size for your pet?
  • Do you have kids that can complicate things?

Once you have answered these questions, you have a better idea of what kind of pet would best fit. For example, some dog breeds require plenty of exercise and space. If you live in a small apartment and work most of the time, it’s best picking a smaller breed known for being independent.

As a general rule:

  • Cats are great when you need a very independent pet.
  • Dogs are great when you want plenty of play and interactions.
  • Small pets are great for kids and families unsure if a pet is right for them.

Getting Your Home Ready

After discussing things with the family and asking some hard questions about what will work, you went and found the perfect pet. She’s cute, playful, and just the right size. Are you ready to bring her home? That depends on your home environment.

Pets For Patriots lists several things you can do to prepare your home and family for the new arrival:

  • Buy a kennel, box, or something similar to safely transport your new pet in the car.
  • Decide where the pet will eat and sleep.
  • Make sure family responsibilities (like who will walk the dog) are clearly explained.
  • Block any small or tight spaces where a small pet could get trapped (like under the fridge).
  • Talk to everyone in your family about training, including what behavior will be permitted.

Speaking of training, the key to correctly training your new pet is consistency. Whether you’re potty training or just teaching a fun trick, everyone needs to know what’s allowed and not with your pet. If your whole family consistently teaches your dog to stay off the couch, then not only will she learn that quicker, she will be happier. Visit the Healthy Pets by Mercola site for more details.

Bonding & Playing With Your New Pet

Getting your home and family ready for your new pet is only the start of this journey. You also have to bond and play with your pet so you both can enjoy the new arrangement.

There are many ways to do this, and it depends somewhat on what kind of pet you have. Petting is great for dogs, hit-or-miss with cats, and pointless with turtles. SheKnows.com recommends several ways to build a strong bond, such as:

  • Setting time each day to hang out together
  • Keep the pet groomed
  • Find treats your pet enjoys
  • Set and stick with boundaries
  • Take your pet on a walk (dog walking is good exercise for you as well)

One great way to bond with your dog is by taking them on a walk through one of the many local dog parks around town. They can offer ponds to cool off, long spaces of grass to run in, and of course, a chance to socialize with other pets. If you work long hours, be sure to arrange for a dog walker to care for your dog.

You Can Find The Right Pet

Adopting a dog, cat, or another pet is an important decision. That means you have to take your time and think it out. By asking yourself some hard questions, preparing your family ahead of time, and spending time bonding with your new pet, you can make the right choice.

 

Wed 19, Jul, 2017
Does your canine companio

An elimination diet will help you determine what the cause of it is.

Two decades ago, I prepared an action sheet for a dog rescue organization entitled Out, Out Darn Hot Spot! Back then, it seemed sensitivities and allergies most often presented with smelly ears from yeast and bacteria, and itchy skin that often led to nasty hot spots and bacterial infections. The sound of constant licking was a real giveaway.

As time went on, however, it became obvious that these common symptoms were just that – symptoms – and that we needed to look beyond “surface” inflammation to “inward” inflammatory responses, like diarrhea and vomiting.

What is an allergy, anyway?
An allergy is defined as a “hypersensitive state acquired through exposure to a particular allergen”. The effects may be immediate or delayed, but either way, they can reduce us to tears of frustration as we try to soothe our dogs’ frantic scratching and licking, or try to cope with episodes of vomiting and diarrhea.

While many things can lead to an allergic response, from vaccinations to fleas to pollen, pesticides and herbicides, and everything in between, including household cleaning products and synthetic carpets, veterinary offices are flooded with animals whose diets are the root cause of their allergic symptoms.

The elimination diet
An elimination diet is a great way to find out what your dog can and can’t tolerate, but it takes time and patience, and you should work with a holistic or integrative veterinarian who is well-versed in canine nutrition. Basically, you throw out everything you are currently feeding your dog, and start from “scratch”. Then, you select one protein and carbohydrate that your dog has never been exposed to before, and let that be your starting point. Following are some examples of alternative proteins and carbohydrates you can try.

Novel proteins
1. Kangaroo is a very lean protein, containing only 2% fat. It is considered one of the finest game meats. Kangaroo is a valuable source of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B6  and B12,  iron,  niacin,  riboflavin and zinc. Its CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) has been found to have anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetic properties. Kangaroo is a great choice for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies.

2. Elk is another game meat and novel protein, containing just 3% fat. It is a very rich source of vitamin B12, and a very good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, zinc, iron, thiamin, niacin and phosphorus. It also contains iron, magnesium and copper. Elk has a good ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

3. Ostrich has quite a “pedigree”. It is endorsed by the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Association, and the American Diabetic Association. It is lower in fat than chicken breast and turkey. Interestingly, due to the ostrich’s perfect pH balance, it does not attract bacteria like E-coli or salmonella.

Alternative grains, nuts and seeds
Amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat are considered pseudo grains and are technically not members of the Poaceae botanical family. Yet they’re usually included alongside the true cereal grains, because their nutritional profile, preparation and use are so similar. For an elimination diet, consider teff, an African cereal grass, or whole flours made from chia seeds, coconut, almonds or whole oats:

1.  Chia seeds contain more healthy Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber than flax and are a good source of protein and antioxidants. They are a rich source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), a plant-based form of Omega 3 that helps combat skin inflammation.

2. Coconut (raw) contains medium-chain saturated fats that transform into energy and can help decrease bacterial growth, irritation and inflammation, and lauric acid, which helps decrease the production of yeast. Coconut sugar, meanwhile, is made from 100% pure coconut flower sap. It is gluten-free and contains B vitamins, amino acids and minerals.

3. Almond flour (raw) is non-GMO, 100% pure, unblanched, gluten-free, and a great alternative to traditional whole flours, especially for dogs with sensitivities or allergies. Almonds contain the entire vitamin E family of tocopherols and tocotrienols and are an excellent source of B vitamins, copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc and bioflavonoids, along with a trace of Omega 3.

4. Oat flour (pure whole grain) is easy to get these days, and is made with stringent production protocols. It is both wheat-free and gluten-free, and is processed in an oat-dedicated facility. Oats have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and contain more than 20 unique polyphenols.

The ingredients and recipes accompanying this article are a good starting point for creating an allergy-free diet. However, every dog is an individual, so again, be sure to work with a veterinarian. With his or her help, along with lots of patience and commitment, you’ll eventually get rid of your dog’s itch!

Recipes 

Elk kabobs

Ingredients

1 pound elk, ground (you can also use ground kangaroo or ostrich for this recipe)
1 teaspoon dried organic/medicinal mushroom blend (could include shiitake, maitake, reishi, turkey tail, cordyceps, mesima, poria, oyster, suehirotake, lion’s mane, agarikon, true tinder – try to choose whole mycelium and fruiting steam-activated powders and extracts)
½ teaspoon organic garlic powder (optional)
1 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt or sea salt
1 teaspoon rubbed oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
First-pressed olive oil, for the pan

Instructions

Try to choose organic ingredients wherever possible. Combine all ingredients, except the first pressed olive oil, in small mixing bowl. Then, make approximately 21 meat balls. Drizzle the olive oil in a medium-sized pan, and turn on heat to medium high. When you see the first bubble, add your meat balls. Sauté on medium low heat. Remove from pan, place on plate, and cool completely before serving.

Garnish with goat or sheep yogurt, hummus, and a vegetable/fruit mash. Begin by choosing one vegetable and one fruit that your dog has never had before, and see how it goes.  A garnish of hummus is easy to make. All it takes is a can of chickpeas (1½ cups), tahini (3 tablespoons), garlic (1 clove, finely minced – optional), and salt (½ teaspoon Himalayan crystal or sea salt).  Whirl in a food processor or blender and serve. The whole family can enjoy this!

Chia coconut crisp

Instructions

1½ cups rolled oats
½ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon whole vanilla bean extract, in glycerine
2 whole eggs

Instructions

Cover a large edged cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Press mixture into cookie sheet and flatten gently with a wooden spoon or fork. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

Almond dog-light
Ingredients

4 cups whole oat flour (or other whole flour or combination of your choice)
1 cup whole almond flour
2 teaspoons coconut sugar or other sweetener of your choice
1 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
½ cup goat yogurt
1 tablespoon camelina oil
1½ teaspoons Saigon cinnamon

Instructions

Choose organic ingredients if possible. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325°F, on the convection setting if available. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

There are three easy ways to prepare these biscuits. Simply divide the dough into four pieces, knead gently, roll out on a counter or cutting board, and cut into desired shapes. Or, take small pieces of dough, roll out to the thickness of a crayon, and using a sharp knife, cut small treats, according to your dog’s size. Another way is to place your ball of dough in the center of your cookie sheet, use a rolling pin to roll it out to the edges of the cookie sheet, and lightly score with a knife.

Bake for 30 minutes. Then, turn the oven down to 200°F, on the convection setting if available, and bake for a further 30 minutes. If convection is not available, bake 15 extra minutes. Allow biscuits to completely cool in the oven before storing in an open container, cookie jar or Ziploc bag.

Original by Audi Donamor

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