Tai Chi-huahua™

Tai chi is a centuries-old Chinese martial art that descends from qigong, an ancient Chinese discipline that has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. It is a discipline that involves the mind, breath, and movement to create a calm, natural balance of energy, Qi (chee). It is a form of meditation in motion promoting serenity through gentle, flowing movements. Many of the movements are based on animals. The legend of Chang San Feng says that he (a Daoist monk) watched a battle between a snake and a crane. Their graceful movements inspired him to observe other movements in nature and how they could be applied to a martial art.

Tai chi is a low impact exercise, putting minimal stress on muscles and joints increasing flexibility of legs and the spine, while improving balance and maintaining healthy function of the torso. The deep stretching on the arms (or front legs) will help loosening up the shoulders, lifting up the rib cage and benefit movement of the lungs. In so doing this tends to free up any blockages, ensure the smooth flow of Qi and blood, and promote the balance of Yin and Yang.

Enjoying Tai chi and observing the strong animal connection, I decided to create for animals a similar program, calling it Tai Chi-huahua™. Animals are very efficient in their use of energy and power. They use this relaxed energy to keep their bodies from burning out.  Human Tai chi exercise imitates the actions of animals based on their habits. By emulating these animals we get a sense of their power and an appreciation of the vast store of energy they possess. These animals include the dragon, tiger, monkey, bear, deer, horse, birds, snake, and leopard.

Tai chi type exercises in animals (Tai Chi-huahua™) can positively affect the ‘give and take’ action of muscles, thereby improving proprioceptive (knowing where ones extremities are in association with the surroundings) signaling and posture. Good posture is a state of musculoskeletal balance that protects the supporting structures of the body against injury or progressive deformity. This musculoskeletal balance is important not only at rest but also with dynamic activity.

There are some differences to be considered when taking a biped exercise and transferring it to a quadruped. Quadrupeds have a 4-point connection to earth. Their movement includes diagonal interactions. Suspension and energy flow is achieved with different gravitational forces than the upright bipedal musculoskeletal system experiences. Posture, paw placement, stability, and support are all important factors the person delivering Tai Chi-huahua exercises should be very observant of. Focusing on these points will raise the dog’s comfort level and make Tai Chi-huahua more successful and fun for everyone.

My Tai Chi-huahua™ program is delivered in three compartments: The Awakening, The Moves, and The Close. It is available on a DVD at www.AvaFrick.com. When you begin you want to be in a quiet calm relaxed place, both environmentally and spiritually. And your dog should be in a comfortable position. You can use a slightly deflated ball or peanut to help support him if he is old or recovering from an injury. I am sharing The Awakening with you here.

THE AWAKENING

PURPOSE: To stimulate nerve flow throughout the circulatory system and reconnect the body via meridian pathways

RESULT: Relaxation, improved circulation, reduced tension, and improved ability to move about

NOTE: These exercise directions are given with the handler in a position from behind the dog facing forward. If you are using a different position then some of the directions will need to be modified. SQUARE-UP the dog (Like doing the Wuji stance!) You (the one delivering the exercise) also need to have good posture, positioning, and breathing. Your relaxation helps the animal relax.

STEP 1: With the pointer finger of each hand place one on either side of the spine starting at the neck just behind the head (at the occiput) and run all the way down the spine. The pressure should be light and slow. Do not press. Do this 3 times.

STEP 2: Reverse Step 1, starting near the tail and moving forward up the spine to the back of the head. Do this 3 times.

STEP 3: With both hands spread fingers apart, like a fan. Sweep from top down and around to the midline (dorsal to ventral). Start at the neck and make 5 passes – 2 at the neck and 3 around the torso (more if a large body, less if really small) going from neck to pelvis. Do this 3 times.

STEP 4: Using the same hand position sweep the length of the body from neck to back and then belly to back (ventral to dorsal). Make about 5 passes (more if a large body, less if really small) going from neck to pelvis. Do this 3 times.

The Benefits of Rehab Stretching Exercises for Pets

In the present human medical world it would be very rare for a surgeon not to recommend some form of rehabilitation or physiotherapy following a procedure. This is an important aspect of regaining full recovery and tissue function. So, it should be for our pets too.

Rehab for pets comes in many forms including stretching and exercise routines, microcurrent therapy, laser, massage and soft tissue body work, chiropractic, and water therapy. The program can be simple or tiered to adequately fit the age, breed, expectations for return to performance, and your ability to provide time and investment. It is fun to get the family involved with the overall program as at home therapy creates greater and more rapid gains. Even if your pet has not had surgery, there are conditions that will benefit from physical rehabilitation. A pet with arthritis, advanced age, weak muscles, nerve deficits, any that are overweight, or even athletes working regularly at their sport can all improve by having all joints in motion and a regular stretching exercise routine.

Without adequate pre-exercise massage techniques, warm-up, and post-exercise ground stretches, a canine athlete could be at risk for an injury. Stiffness is a symptom and reaction to pain or discomfort, be it from overworking unprepared muscle groups (sore muscles), arthritis, spinal bone instability or fixation and even dental malocclusion. Any of these etiologies can lead to a tissue’s inability to stretch. If the tissue cannot adequately stretch, then neither can the pet. Massaging the body and properly stretching the joints will loosen muscles and connective tissue, sending signals to the mechanoreceptors about the joints and their capacity to flex and extend. Massage will also help to eliminate toxins and lactic acid by improving circulation to the tissue, further reducing soreness.

Passive or relaxed stretching is the most common type used with stretching exercises in animals as the person controls the motion and positioning desired. Slow, relaxed stretching is useful in relieving spasms in muscles that are healing after an injury. Relaxed stretching is also good for “cooling down” after a workout and helps reduce post workout muscle fatigue and soreness.

    Anyone can learn to be effective and safe when stretching their pet. Improved flexibility is achieved when stretching becomes a regular part of the athlete’s routine. If you are looking to improve balance, balls are a fun addition and they create a variety of options for working with your young or older dog. Here are a few key points:

  • Find an exercise program that is recommended by a veterinarian or professional therapist. I have a DVD called “Fitness in Motion® Stretching & Exercises for Dogs” available at www.AvaFrick.com. With this you can learn how to effectively deliver exercises for all zones of the body along with ones designed for specific conditions and how to successfully use balls.
  • Understand the goals or purpose and how to effectively deliver the exercises.
  • Take the time to do them correctly (no short cuts).
  • Always start conservatively then gradually increase the length of stretch, the angle or height of the stretch, and the number or repetitions.
  • Pay attention to the behavior or response(s) your pet gives with each stretch.
  • Keep notes on the changes you see and periodically re-evaluate posture, movement and balance from a distance.

A good stretch will be comfortable and effective if you follow the above steps. A “bad” stretch will be met with resistance or failure to make any positive gain in flexibility, range of motion, or performance.

HOLIDAYS – A SEASON OF STRESS FOR YOUR PET



Stress can push a body to the limit and beyond. Stress for an animal can be changes in your routine and theirs, meals not at regular time, change in their environment (i.e. decorations and furniture moved around), heaven forbid being taken to the kennel (even if they have fun there it is still a bit of stress), and yes; your stress can become their stress too. The signs of stress can be anxiety; tearing up the house, whining, crying, acting fearful, and barking. Also biting or growling where she normally would not, and hiding,

Here are some of the reasons a dog or cat may show the signs of being stressed:

  • When a body goes outside of the endocrine systems “comfort zone” we start to see altered behavior to environmental situations. The endocrine system comprises the hypothalamus, thalamus, pituitary, pineal gland, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas. These glands are in constant communication to balance messages that signal the body to work. If they become imbalanced and cannot reset, for whatever the reason, abnormal behavior can be the result.
  • Nutritional deficiencies of calcium and magnesium, the calming minerals, is very common. The body needs calcium and magnesium in order for the nervous system to be calm and relaxed. Lacking these vital nutrients your pup or kitty cannot be calm. He will ramp up in a stressed situation escalating without the ability to slow down, until exhaustion hits.
  • Prior life experiences that have created a mental state where similar events trigger fear or stress.

Solutions to eliminating the signs of stress in your dog or cat first involve identifying the etiology. Finding the cause and changing that part of the animal’s lifestyle or health status may resolve the stress reactions. Don’t expect an overnight miracle. If the anxiety has been going on for a long time it may take down regulating, which could be weeks or months of gradual improvement.

Steps you can take to help reduce the stress and anxiety and eliminate it in the future:

  • For the short term, if your pet gets super stressed during the holidays, try to minimize those situations that set her off.
  • Run a diffuser with calming essential oils from doTerra®. There are ones specifically designed for the holidays that help the whole house smell good and all inhabitants ‘chill’ helping you to relax too.
  • It only takes the analysis of a sample of your dog’s or cat’s fur to find out if calcium and magnesium are low. The test is called “Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis”. You can find out more about this on my website: www.avafrick.com. Once the mineral and toxic metal levels are known, a customized nutritional balancing program targeting specific minerals and vitamins for your pet can then be designed to alleviate the mechanisms setting off the signs of stress.
  • Herbs are also helpful in transitioning from the nervous state while waiting for nutrients to achieve their cellular positions. Oral calming herbs include St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Passion Flower, Kava, Eleuthero, and Skull Cap. Verify the safety and dosing for your pet before starting.
  • Pheramone collars like NurtueCALM 24/7 will help some cats and dogs. This therapy mimics the pheromone that the mother dog or cat produces to calm and reassure her pups or kittens. Animals recognize these pheromones throughout life. Usually an improvement in specific behavior signs is seen during the first two weeks after wearing the collar, but some animals require a month to exhibit visible improvement. The active ingredient in the NurtureCALM collar is androsterone, which is an interomone.
  • Alpha- Stim® microcurrent therapy is a prescription device FDA cleared for stress related behavior. It has no systemic side effects and the treatments are cumulative and long lasting. A very low level microamperage waveform is delivered to the body via little ear clips (like an IPod). This helps to normalize the body by inducing a balance in signals or frequencies between the endocrine organs. Physiologically it also increases blood and cerebral spinal fluid levels of beta endorphin and serotonin. Alpha-Stim can successfully treat a variety of human and animal stress conditions like anxiety, depression, and insomnia. I am available to consult with you for your pet about the benefits and uses of Alpha-Stim.

Try some of these suggestions to help get your pet through the holiday season and into a calmer life in the new year. They have worked for others.

Ava Frick, DVM, CVC, FAIS

Why your dog needs Taurine Dog Supplements

In 2012 there was an article in VitaHound titled: Taurine Supplements are Usually Required in Present Day Dog Diets. Yes, as far back at 2012 the word was out – no diet has adequate taurine to match the stress and inflammation that dogs dealing with. And why to dogs have inflammation and stress? That fact I have been diagnosing since 2005 by doing hair Tissue Mineral Analysis testing. Inflammation and stress are related to adrenal gland function, aldosterone production, sodium retention, loss of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, inadequate levels of choline, taurine, inositol, vitamin A and E. Basically inadequate availability of whole food minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.

Other factors that can influence this includes:

  • Glyphosate – commonly known as Roundup – blocks and binds minerals from being available to the body. Even if it is in the food it may not get to the cells.
  • Herbicides and pesticides can leach calcium out of the cells.
  • Processed foods – the protein is no longer real meat. It has been treated so that the quality content of what was meat is not the same. The body does not digest it as it would unprocessed protein. And meat is a major source of taurine.
  • Toxins in the environment getting into the body can interfere with metabolism.
  • Busy lives, upset routines, mental stress

Facts about the benefits of taurine are:

It is one of the most plentiful amino acids in the body and thus provides many benefits. Potassium is an important mineral needed by the body for balancing acids, nerve impulse transmission, and enzymatic reactions. Taurine helps the cells to hold onto the needed potassium. Managing this in the tissues of the heart along with helping to control the heart beat makes it one of the most important amino acids in the heart.

It is also involved in the control of the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. This is believed to help prevent epileptic seizures. By helping to control cholesterol in the bile it is very effective in averting gall stones. Also being very high in white blood cells it promotes a proper immune system.

Taurine is found naturally in milk, meat, fish, eggs, and sea vegetables such as kelp and seaweed. As for meat (not meat meal or by-products) mice have three times more taurine than chicken, next highest beef, followed distantly by lamb. Kelp is a good supplement source since it contains all 21 amino acids and is also rich in minerals and many vitamins. Adding the needed taurine to your dog’s diet is reasonably safe with a natural supplement. Dosages range from 200mg to 2000mg per day best taken 2 to 3 times a day.

Nobody Told Me My Legs Don’t Work: Journey of a Down Dog by Travis C Yates

The perfect world Travis and his wife Renea spent ten-plus years creating is turned upside down when they find their seven-year old Golden Retriever, Keegan, left paralyzed from a stroke. Nobody Told Me My Legs Don’t Work follows the couple’s remarkable journey as they enter a frightening new world of uncertainty that comes with a “down dog” while attempting to defy their doctor’s prognosis and get Keegan back on her feet again.

Along the way they meet an interesting cast of characters that keeps them forging ahead as the experience tests their marriage and threatens to break them emotionally and financially. It is a delicate tightrope act of patience, humor and dedication that changes them forever. Share in their heartache and joy as Keegan strives to take her first steps and discover how the greatest triumphs can often be sparked by our darkest moments. Read more

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FDA DOG FOOD LEGUMES RESPONSE FROM DR. AVA FRICK

A recent news report on an FDA release about grain-free dog food, legumes, taurine, and cardiomyopathy (CDM) quickly found its way through local and national radio and TV. While I had my thoughts about it, I decided to contact the three companies whose foods we recommend and sell at the clinic, and get their professional input.

Mr. Daron Matsuura from Lotus explained: “This can happen if a food’s recipe is too high in legume seeds and it is not balanced with a plenty of fresh meat. Legumes are high in ogliosaccharides which will feed bacteria in the gut. If there is too much ogliosaccharides there tends to be too much bacteria which will limit the absorption of taurine. We formulate Lotus so the total legumes are about 20% and use a lot of fresh proteins 30% to 40%. The fresh proteins are high in methionine which is a precursor to taurine. Dogs should not have this issue with Lotus.

Stella & Chewy replied: “We work closely with veterinarians and nutritionists to ensure that our diets are complete and balanced and meet AAFCO requirements. Please know that our freeze-dried raw and frozen raw diets are free of peas, lentils and potatoes, and contain less than 1% of the legume seed fenugreek. Also, we do add taurine to our raw and kibble diets.”

Grandma Lucy works with Dr. Jean Dodds. She had a very detailed response to the FDA statement and you can read it in its entirety at www.drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com. I have taken a few excerpts from it to help clarify the vagueness in the recent news publications.

“No research has been conducted yet to determine if grain-free diets could cause heart disease in dogs. First, we must consider the many factors that need to be accounted for in this situation:

  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Scientific research thus far
  • Taurine requirements for dogs
  • The interaction between foods when passing through the body
  • The interaction between foods and the body itself

Researchers are only beginning to scratch the surface on the last two factors for human and animal nutrition. Yes; nutritional knowledge has been increasing dramatically over the past century, but this latest contention that grain-free foods may be associated with some adverse effects on the heart just highlights how little we actually know and understand.

  • At this time, taurine is not considered an essential, food-sourced amino acid for dogs. Taurine is synthesized in the liver from the amino acids cysteine and methionine, which should provide sufficient quantities to meet dogs’ metabolic needs.
  • Taurine can still be and is present in dog food. However, a pet food label does not need to reflect this presence or meet any minimum requirement per the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).”

Dr. Dodds further summarized some previous studies conducted on potential dietary causes of CHD.

“Delaney et al., June 2003. Plasma and whole blood taurine in normal dogs of varying size fed commercially prepared food. Blood and plasma was analyzed for amino acids and taurine on 131 “normal” dogs consuming commercial food. Mean whole blood taurine concentrations were lower in dogs fed diets containing whole grain rice, rice bran or barley. The lowest whole blood concentrations were seen in dogs fed lamb or lamb meal and rice diets.

“Backus, et al., October 2003. Taurine deficiency in Newfoundlands fed commercially available complete and balanced diets. 19 Newfoundlands eating apparently complete and balanced commercial dry diets meeting established nutrient recommendations. Their results were that twelve of the dogs were considered taurine deficient. Taurine-deficient dogs had been fed lamb meal and rice diets.

“Backus et al., 2006. Low Plasma Taurine Concentration in Newfoundland Dogs is Associated with Low Plasma Methionine and Cyst(e)ine Concentrations and Low Taurine Synthesis. Backus and his team compared 216 Newfoundlands to Beagles. Dogs with low plasma taurine were older, less active, had more medical problems. The findings in this study support the theory that taurine deficiency in dogs may be related to the consumption of certain dietary ingredients. Scientific and clinical evidence supports the hypothesis that dilated cardiomyopathy is associated with low blood taurine concentration in dogs. The authors noted, “Taurine deficiency in dogs is suggested to result from reduced sulfur amino acid bioavailability in dietary ingredients that are heat processed, such as rendered meat meals.”

Regarding the FDA statement; it is not yet known how peas, lentils, potatoes, starch and fiber derivatives early in the ingredient list are linked to cases of CDM. “The FDA is simply stating a trend. These types of trends lead to much needed research.

The FDA is not dismissing the prior research as invalid. As the FDA puts it, “The underlying cause of DCM is not truly known, but is thought to have a genetic component.” The FDA is also not saying you should stop feeding grain-free foods. If you are concerned, is to have your veterinarian take a blood sample to measure the methionine, cysteine and taurine levels in both whole blood and plasma, and send it to a diagnostic laboratory experienced with the appropriate reference ranges for circulating taurine.

As more research is completed, AAFCO may need to adjust their minimum nutrient requirements and add more optimal requirements so that foods can be more appropriately formulated for breed type, size and age.”

My closing comments are this: There is no one brand or type of diet that is appropriate for every dog. Each individuals needs should be considered. Controversy about proper feeding of dogs has been in the works since the first processed diet was formulated. Feeding what a breed evolved on in their homeland for centuries (an Archetype diet) will be recognized by their internal computer. The less processed the better.

Why Is Cholesterol High?

Cholesterol numbers began rising about the time people quit doing as much manual labor and switched eating habits to refined, processed, fast foods. (Note: Animals for the most part are being fed refined, processed, and fast foods.) Then cholesterol really started getting a bad wrap about the time pharmaceutical companies released the first statin compound for lowering cholesterol. That is well and good from an empirical perspective, but what is it really an indicator of and why would it rise in the first place? What is the body telling us?

Cholesterol is an indicator of adrenal and thyroid gland, liver, and gall bladder function. These organs function more or less relative to what they are being fed or exposed to. This includes STRESS. This is why a body can be slender and appear athletic and still have elevated cholesterol levels. Stress signals the adrenal glands to make cortisol, the fright or flight hormone. Cholesterol is a necessary component in the production of cortisol. The more stress one perceives in life, the more cholesterol the adrenal glands stock pile in order to be ready for the next round of cortisol. It is like ammunition for the potential future emergency of survival. Stress in animals can be inclement weather, lack of the right nutrients, separation anxiety, being confined too much, not enough exercise, pain, pack issues, too much exercise, to mention a few.

The liver is the organ that synthesizes and releases cholesterol into the blood at the command of the adrenals. It then synthesizes bile salts from some of the cholesterol, which are secreted into the bile for breaking down fats in the meal. Plasma cholesterol will be picked back up by the liver and secreted out of the body in the bile. If the liver and gall bladder are not functioning optimally or a poor diet is eaten, cholesterol can precipitate forming gallstones. Poor diet for a person would be too many fatty foods. However for a dog, which uses fats as its first energy source, this is not the case. Too many diets are actually heavy laden in carbohydrates (30-50% in dry foods versus 15% in a dog’s archetype diet) and deficient in fats. This leads to obesity, poor coats, poor protein assimilation, inflammation, and a list of other problems.

Both being endocrine organs and a part of the autonomic nervous system, thyroid function closely correlates with adrenal gland function and stress factors. The thyroid gland is the generator of the body. Without its input things begin to run slow. We can see this as poor coat, oily skin, body odor, fur loss, and chronic infections. Of course, by the time you see these symptoms the problem has been going on a long time. Diets heavy in soy bean will reduce thyroid activity. Low calcium precipitates a reduced activity. Chronic stress, parasites, virus or bacterial infections, dental disease, and adrenal overrun will wear out the thyroid too.

Why is cholesterol high?

  • Inadequate diet, low calcium and zinc, too many carbohydrates
  • Endocrine exhaustion affecting the adrenal and thyroid glands
  • Liver and gall bladder over worked and under fed
  • Stress, stress, stress

What can you do to help your animals?

Giving a statin drug is not the answer. Just as in humans they have negative effects on muscle and liver function. Plus this sends the adrenals into an even bigger call to arms when it detects cholesterol reserves are low. Not good.

  • Get a Fur Mineral Analysis test to see how he stacks up
  • Adjust the diet to better fit his needs
  • Supplement where indicated
  • Reduce stress (This means you too. Your animals will pick up your emotions and mimic in themselves what is going on in you!)
  • Exercise to the level that both of you can benefit

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Feeling Sorry For Them

Ava Frick, DVM, CAC

Anyone who cares about animals will have a list of situations that make one feel bad about their plight. Let’s compare lists.

  • Dogs that are chained up all the time and never get to run or play,
  • Dogs or chickens that are used for fighting,
  • Animals left to starve, abused, or neglected,
  • Ones kept in confinement (Even a trip to the zoo while appreciating the salvage of many species still makes my heart a bit sad for many of them. Prairie dogs excluded.),
  • Animals beaten by trainers, owners, and others,
  • Animals used for human amusement like circus acts where they would not naturally do what they are required to do. (This may not be across the board. I have visited Sea World and it really does appear that the sea creatures have a good time doing their acts and getting fish as a reward and making a big splash. I did not feel sorry for them during the act. But maybe it was because they were causing me to smile and laugh.),
  • Horses put on trailers, driven for days, and taken across the border to Mexico for slaughter where there are little to no regulations for humane treatment,
  • The dog or cat or wild creature that was hit on the road,
  • Heck, I apologize to the animal every time before I give an injection.

Add the grossly overweight animals to the list too. Americans are fatter and sicker than ever. We are a culture of mass consumption of refined grains, processed foods, empty calories, too much sugar, fast foods, huge meals portions, and sedentary lifestyle. People will be dying younger than their parents and their children face an even graver future, and their dogs along with them. Have you read the label of everything you are feeding your dog or cat?

Here’s another one for the list. I feel sorry for the dogs that only get to eat dry dog food every meal of every day of their life. The family is cooking a turkey, steak, hamburgers, or fried chicken, and what does the dog get? SOS. (That’s same old stuff.) How healthy would you be if you ate Total cereal every meal of your life? It says, or at least used to, 100% complete on the box. And the worst of it is this; considering a dog can smell 10,000 times what we do it must be torture smelling what is cooking and NEVER getting to have it. Table food, if fresh meat and vegetables, is MUCH more nutritious that any kibble you will ever put in the bowl.

That list can go on and on depending on what you know and how you feel about what is happening, what your responsibility level is to help, and what you are actually doing about it. The ill that befalls animals is committed every day to children and people all over the world as well. During the holiday’s people volunteer to help others by getting gifts for children, ringing bells for Salvation Army, wrapping gifts and sharing the donations with a not-for-profit group, or whatever makes them feel better about themselves and the plight of others.

This holiday season you could quit torturing your dog. Decide to go against what the dry food companies have ingrained in the minds of the pet industry. Share some of the bounty and give them a gift of unprocessed whole nutritious food. They will know that they have received the greatest gift of all, real food! You can give them the chance for a better life. It all begins with what we put into our bodies, and theirs.

Yellow Spots in the Lawn

Understand the Cause: It is the nitrogen, not just the pH.

Lawn burn is caused by the nitrogen in dog urine. Because dog urine is very high in nitrogen-containing waste products, when the dog urinates, it is similar to pouring a nitrogen-containing fertilizer on the lawn. A little nitrogen is good for the grass, but an excess causes damage. The prevention of lawn burn involves trying to reduce the amount of nitrogen coming into contact with the grass.

Contributing Factors – There are several factors that make lawn burn more likely to occur:

  • Female dogs are more likely to cause lawn burn than males because females void their entire bladder in one location instead of lifting their leg and marking, like males.
  • Large dogs deposit more urine so they increase the quantity of nitrogen in one location, making lawn burn more likely.
  • The dog’s diet and how it is being processed can allow for more nitrogen excretion.
  • Heavily fertilized yards are already receiving near maximum levels of nitrogen. The additional amount of nitrogen in dog urine may be all that is needed to put these lawns over the edge and cause lawn burn.
  • Lawns that are stressed are more susceptible to damage. Lawns that are suffering from drought, disease, or are newly sodded or seeded are more susceptible to lawn burn.

Solving the Problem – Successfully treating and preventing lawn burn often requires a multi-step approach:
1. Saturate the urinated spots with water. After the pet urinates, pour several cups of water on the spot to dilute the urine. A watering can works well.

2. Feed a high quality dog food that has the capacity to be recognized by the canine computer system. High quality foods will have more digestible protein sources that are more completely utilized by the pet and create less nitrogenous waste in the urine. WE RECOMMEND A BAKED KIBBLE. LOTUS® BRAND IS THE BEST. Baked food is digested by the dog differently than extruded diets. Extrusion is the most common form of processing by manufacturers. Also feeding a more ARCHETYPE DIET; RAW, CANNED, OR DEHYDRATED FORMULAS also will positively affect what is absorbed and utilized by the dog and then the final elimination.

3. Encouraging your dog to drink more water will help dilute the urine and decrease the risk of lawn burn.

4. Train your dog to urinate in a location.

5. Replant your yard with more urine-resistant grasses. The most resistant grasses tend to be perennial rye grasses and fescues.

6. Some supplements can help but correcting the diet as mentioned above would be the preferred.

7. Reduce the stress on your lawn by not over- or under-fertilizing and by watering frequently.

8. If neighbors’ dogs are causing the problem, using a fence or motion-activated sprinkler may be helpful in keeping these dogs off your lawn.

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Teeth Article

It’s easy to ignore things that are not visible. Like your pets teeth. Their cute muzzle lips cover the teeth so well that it takes effort and intention on your part to actually observe what is going on inside their mouth. What you can’t see can be hurting their very existence.

It’s important to become familiar with your pet’s oral cavity. Starting at an early age, you should pull up their lips, touch the teeth, and examine the mouth. This way you know what it normal, so that you can detect subtle changes. Early on there may be a slight discoloration or some food particles stuck between the teeth. Left unobserved, as time goes on, it can worsen.

Periodontal disease begins as bacteria forms plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Minerals in the saliva harden the plaque into dental calculus, commonly called tartar. Tartar can extend below the gum line creating damage to the supporting tissues around the tooth, eventually destroying it.
The bacteria secrete toxins, causing more damage and stimulating the immune system. The white blood cells and inflammatory chemicals, while in part are beneficial, will damage the supporting tissue. Instead of helping the problem, the pet’s own protective system actually worsens the disease where there is severe build-up of plaque and tartar. As a portal to the body, infection here can move to the lungs, heart, kidneys, and other organs, creating systemic disease.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF ADVANCED DENTAL DISEASE IN DOGS

  • Foul breath
  • Change in eating habits
  • Painful mouth – may growl or snarl if mouth or head is touched
  • Excessive drooling
  • Not wanting to chew on toys
  • Dropping food out of mouth when eating
  • Rubbing face on ground or pawing at face
  • Weight loss

We don’t want it to get that advanced. Prevention is the key. Early attention can make a big difference.

  • Start at a young age perusing the mouth.
  • Provide special canine chew toys and dental aids, designed specifically for oral health, is an easy and effective way to help reduce the build-up of tartar on the teeth. 
  • Oral rinse in the morning, and brush your dog’s teeth before bed.  (Tropiclean has some very effective products.) There are many videos on the internet that demonstrate how to be effective at brushing. For those who resist the brush, I recommend a Q-Tip saturated with a bactericidal dissolving gel or solution. Then roll it across the tooth-gum line. For little pets this is often much more comfortable than a brush.
  • Avoid feeding extrusion processed dry food. If you want to feed dry, select a baked grain free formula (Like Lotus). Better yet, choose raw, freeze dried, or dehydrated grain free diets. Get back to nature and feed more like what they would eat in the real world. It is not the kibble that helps the teeth; it is how the body digests the food that leads to tartar (Or prevents it.).
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian for routine oral examinations. Schedule a dental if gingivitis and periodontal disease is present.

Treating is expensive, so let’s try preventing it. In this case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!

Ava Frick, DVM, CVC, FAIS
www.AnimalRehabStlouis.com

HP Feb 2017