Archive for Guest Bloggers

“I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!” Winners Announced

We recently partnered with a fellow Boulder company, In Clover to run a fun promotion about pets getting into food (and sometimes non-food) things that they shouldn’t be getting in to. There were many great submissions and we want to thank everyone who participated!

The top prize is a year supply of In Clover OptaGest Digestive Supplement, and we had a winner in both the cat and dog category. As well, we had 4 runner-up entries that received $25 gift certificates from Only Natural Pet Store.

…and the envelope, please!

Winner – Dog

Rufus and the King Cake 

Rufus

Rufus by Sarah K.
It was Mardi Gras and we decided to have a party to celebrate. To follow tradition we planned to serve Hurricanes, Cajun food, and king cakes. We found everything we needed for the drinks, food, and cake…except for the plastic baby that was supposed to go into the cakes to determine who will provide next year’s king cake and party. It seemed that all of the party shops around town were out of babies. They did, however, have little plastic cowboys and American Indians, complete with a tipi! We bought two packages just to be cheeky…now everyone would get a prize in their piece of king cake.

Not having much previous baking experience, I followed the recipe exactly. My 110-lb. Flat-Coated Retriever Rufus followed me around the kitchen, just hoping that I would drop something. No such luck! I baked two cakes because we were expecting a crowd. I carefully inserted the cowboys and American Indians (and the grand prize – the tipi!) strategically into the cakes and used the colorful icing to hide the small holes. My king cakes were beautiful! I placed them on decorative plates and put them in the middle of the island in my kitchen so they could continue to cool. I had about one hour to get ready so I went upstairs to shower.

After a short time I came back downstairs to marvel at my wonderful baked creations. As I walked into the kitchen, I did a double-take. There was only one wonderful baked creation on the island. I swore I put both of them on there, so I looked around to figure out where I put the other one. Then I saw it. The decorative plate that had previously held my gorgeous king cake was lying on the kitchen floor. And Rufus had purple icing on his eyebrow and green icing on his cheek. As things began to fall into place, I started searching everywhere for what was left of the king cake – I had 30 people arriving in 30 minutes and thought I could salvage part of it. Rufus thought this was great fun and chased me around the house until I realized there was no remaining king cake to be found. HE ATE THE WHOLE THING. I stopped dead in my tracks. AND HE ATE THE COWBOYS AND AMERICAN INDIANS. I didn’t feel very cheeky now. I felt awful.

A call to the vet did little to help the situation. His advice? Let nature do its job. Rufus spent most of the party begging for food and doing tricks – obviously he wasn’t suffering from any ill effects from eating an entire king cake and multiple plastic figures. For the next week my family and I followed Rufus around the backyard checking for cowboys and American Indians. The pieces passed just like the vet said they would, and Rufus continued to be his usual miscreant self. He must really have wanted to win the prize because we never did find that tipi.

Winner – Cat

Rocky by Julia W.

Rocky


I have a 12-pound foodaholic cat named Rocky. I learned early on to never, ever leave any food on my kitchen counter, because Rocky is on that famous “seafood diet”, i.e., he sees food and he eats it. One night I baked some chocolate chip cookies that came with caramel topping. I watched those cookies like a hawk while I waited for them to cool enough to drizzle on the caramel. After adding the caramel to the cookies I made a critical error: I went to check my email “real quick” and got sidetracked.

Soon after, Rocky sauntered in licking his chops. Uh-oh. I raced into the kitchen to see the cookie carnage. To my surprise, the cookies were all still there – but they were licked clean of every bit of the caramel topping! Rocky didn’t suffer any gastric consequences from the sugary caramel, but I did make sure to brush his teeth with the “kitty toothbrush” I keep on hand just for him.

I love my foodaholic cat!

We’ll post our runner up stories soon!

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Natural Alternatives for Arthritis & Joint Stiffness in Pets and How to Prevent and Treat

by Dr. Larry Siegler

As our companions age, many will develop arthritis, a common degenerative joint
problem. Gradually you may notice that your feline friend no longer jumps up on
the counters or furniture as easily. Your dog may hesitate to jump in the car or
will climb stairs more slowly. You may notice your companion is stiff upon rising.
These are all signs of painful joints. Up to 25–30% of companion animals suffer
from osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, slowly progressing condition that is caused by the
deterioration of the cartilage surrounding a joint. As this deterioration progresses,
the bony structures begin to rub against one another causing pain and discomfort.
Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disease that leads to joint deterioration and arthritis.
It is more common in large dog breeds. These and other degenerative joint disorders
involving cartilage and joint deterioration can be treated quite successfully with
a comprehensive treatment program developed for the animal.

There are many ways ways to treat arthritis and joint stiffness or soreness from
a "natural" approach. While NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) such
as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, EtoGesic and others are commonly prescribed for arthritis,
I prefer to reserve their use until after all other means have been exhausted and
the animal is still showing signs of suffering. NSAIDs can be damaging to the liver
and gastrointestinal system when taken over long periods of time and can have other
side effects as well. NSAIDs provide pain relief, but do nothing to help repair
damaged tissue and prevent further deterioration. Arthritis and joint pain can often
be controlled for years using diet, supplements, herbs and acupuncture, and many
animals may never need NSAIDs.

One of the best defenses and treatments for arthritis is a high quality Glucosamine/Chrondroitin
sulfate supplement
. Glucosamine stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans
(GAGs), important proteins found in cartilage, and proteoglycans, the water-holding
molecules that make up cartilage. Glucosamine has been shown not only to help with
pain, but also to rehabilitate damaged cartilage. These nutrient compounds may also
have anti-inflammatory activity within the joints. A typical dose would be at least
1000 mgs. per 50 lbs. of body weight daily, but this should be determined for your
companion's specific needs with your veterinarian. I often recommend that dogs be
started on a good joint supplement that includes Glucosamine by the time they are
8 or 9 for larger breeds, and 10 or 11 for smaller breeds, even when no symptoms
are present. Preventing joint deterioration can go a long way to easing the effects
of aging for your companion.

View Joint Support Products from Only Natural Pet

MSM, (Methylsulfonylmethane), is another supplement used in the prevention
and treatment of arthritis. MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in
every cell of the body, which helps to maintain healthy connective tissue and membrane
flexibility. It can assist in reducing inflammation and swelling associated with
arthritis and other diseases or injuries.

View an assortment of products containing MSM

Diet is a key factor in the treatment of any chronic condition. Feeding
your companion a quality diet is the foundation of good health, and this is the
most important thing you can do for your dog or cat. Many animals with chronic conditions
such as arthritis have shown dramatic improvement on a raw food or home-prepared
diet
. Please see our  articles

What You Need to Know About Your Pet's Food
and

All About Raw Food
for more information on this important health topic.
Some people are not comfortable with feeding raw food. If this is true for you,
I recommend a combination of home-prepared cooked meals, a very high quality canned
food or dehydrated food, and the best quality kibble you can afford.  If the
animal has food or environmental allergies, these must be addressed, as allergies
can contribute to inflammation and many degenerative health conditions.

Weight control is of utmost importance. An overweight animal will suffer
much more from arthritis pain and the disease process will be accelerated. Gentle
exercise is very helpful whether the animal is overweight or not. For dogs the ideal
exercise is swimming or using underwater treadmills. Dog “spas” and therapy pools
are becoming more common all over the country. See the website for the
Association of Canine Water Therapy for a practitioner and pool listing in your state.

Digestive Enzymes & Probiotics are essential. They aid the digestion and
assimilation of the nutrients in cooked and processed foods. Poor digestion and
leaky gut exacerbate and contribute to chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis,
allergies and degenerative conditions.  Maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal
system will go a long way in preventing these complications. Good options here are
digestive enzymesand
probiotics.

Essential Fatty Acid Supplements (preferably one with fish oil) help
reduce inflammation and can be quite helpful in the treatment of joint problems.
In addition, essential fatty acids help maintain gastrointestinal health and aid
in the treatment of allergies. I often recommend giving a higher dose than recommended
on the label. If your companion develops loose stools, reduce the dosage a bit to
allow the system to adjust.

There are a variety of herbal remedies and supplements available to address
degenerative joint problems, which can be safely used in conjunction with Glucosamine
and other nutraceuticals. Keep in mind, however, that response to these or any remedies
will vary by individual. It is sometimes necessary to try one at a time until the
best option is found (giving the supplement or remedy a minimum of two weeks, and
preferably longer, to determine effectiveness).

Here are several good products offered by Only Natural
Pet Store

Chinese herbs can also be very beneficial in the treatment of joint disorders. 
It is best to have the guidance of a veterinarian trained in Chinese Medicine to
select the proper remedy for your companion's specific condition.

See our assortment of Chinese Herbs

Adequan® is a polysulfated glycosaminoglycan similar to Glucosamine. 
It is also a cartilage component similar to Glucosamine, but Adequan is derived
from the windpipe cartilage of cattle. Adequan has numerous beneficial effects including
the inhibition of harmful enzymes involved in joint cartilage destruction, stimulation
of cartilage repair, and increasing joint lubrication. Adequan is only available
by injection from a veterinarian.

Acupuncture can be extremely helpful for animals with arthritic conditions.
I have seen dramatic improvement in both dogs and cats with arthritis following
acupuncture and with regular treatments. For a list of practitioners in your area
see the American Holistic
Veterinary Medical Association Directory
.

Chiropractic adjustments and massage can also be quite beneficial as an
animal will often contort their spine when trying to move in a way to minimize joint
pain.  For a list of practitioners see the
American Veterinary
Chiropractic Association
website, or the
International
Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork
website.

Constitutional Homeopathy using single, high potency remedies has also
produced good results for some arthritis patients.  For a list of practitioners
see the The Academy of Veterinary
Homeopathy
website.

Additional supplements such as high-potency antioxidants are also commonly
recommended for the arthritis patient.  The inflammatory reactions of arthritic
joints contributes to the oxidation activity of free radicals in the body, which
is very damaging to cells and can increase the risk of cancer.

View antioxidant
supplements offered by Only Natural Pet Store


View All Joint Support Products

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Fighting Feline IBD with both a Traditional and Holistic Approach

By Lisa Provost, guest blogger and owner/operator of IBDKitties.Net

When my little girl Alex died, the last thing I wanted to do was mutter the words “feline IBD” ever again. I didn’t want to hear it, talk about it, type it, or think about it. I never could have imagined that two years later I’d be running a website in her memory, spending most of my time researching this insidious disease and trying desperately to find an answer for the poor little ones that still live with it.

The truth is there is no answer because IBD is a trickster, a shape shifter, an ever-changing face like Jeckyll and Hyde. How do you go into battle with something like that? And make no mistake about it; it IS a battle. Strap yourself in for the ride, because like any other inflammatory disease, this is a constant roller coaster of ups and downs. The stress from this disease can take its toll on both you and your pet. Some days you feel like they’re finally turning the corner and you’re able to exhale. Then without warning, things change and you’re trying to figure out what happened and how to fix it. Its frustrating, exhausting and can leave pet parents feeling helpless and hopeless. I know because that’s how I felt. But there is hope and there is indeed help.

In short, Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a group of disorders that cause inflammation in the lining of the stomach and/or intestinal tracts, basically changing how these organs perform their normal bodily functions. IBD is an uncontrolled inflammatory response, causing the inflow of inflammatory cells into various parts of the gastrointestinal tract.

In the three years since Alex first got sick I’ve done nothing but research feline IBD and it’s cohorts in bodily trauma and I’ve come to find out a few things about this mysterious enemy. A good starting point is diet. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep rotating your cat’s diet, whether they’re sick or healthy. The logic of feeding one food day in and day out to your pet is gone. That’s old school thinking and as food allergies, food intolerance, IBD, skin allergies, etc. pick up in cases everywhere, people are finding that out the hard way. If your cat stops eating its regular food, instead of leaving it there and just “waiting to see what happens”, try actually giving them something different. The longer you wait, the more they will resist. They have a strong will and can hold out for a long period of time. Problem is, the longer they hold out for food, the more damage is being done to their organs. It takes less than 48 hours for a cat’s liver to start feeding off its own stored reserves and to begin shutting down. This is called hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver, and has a high mortality rate. Waiting too long for them to give in simply isn’t an option. I know because this happened to my Alex. She developed Triaditis; which is IBD, hepatic lipidosis and pancreatitis. She didn’t survive.

Switching your cat to a completely grain free diet is most often a helpful first step. The best diet includes high-quality protein, low or no carbohydrates and low fat. If you can switch them to a raw diet and they do well on it, they’ll be all the better. But be aware that any and all diets require proteins to be rotated continuously to work correctly. Any inflammatory disease is in a constant state of change and therefore everything done to treat it must be also. And I do mean everything! Food, alternative and all-natural treatments, probiotics and medications are only going to work for a couple of months before your kitty may begin to backslide. The reason being, the ever-changing intestinal flora, bacteria and micro-organisms with the capability of mutating, all need to be tricked in order to keep fighting the inflammation as they tend to adapt quickly to the new environment and stop working properly.

I am a big believer that both Western and Eastern medicine has a place in recovery from all diseases and health conditions. Feline IBD is not something to play around with and needs to be treated immediately. If your pet’s condition is deteriorating quickly and your vet feels that Western medications are warranted or things will continue to go downhill, I believe it’s necessary to do what you have to do in order to save your pet’s life. I’ve seen benefits from people who’ve brought their cats to two vets – one being a traditional vet and the other a holistic vet that works with their primary vet. This way, you know exactly what’s going into your pet’s body, and if there could be any potential side effects or contraindications in using any kind of medication or natural treatment.

When treating with all-natural remedies, be aware that natural doesn’t always mean it’s safe. Many natural remedies can actually be dangerous and even toxic to your pet. Try not to overload your pet with treatments. Your pet’s liver has to filter everything and too many treatments at once may unintentionally over-stress the liver. Please check with your vet on any vitamins or supplements to avoid any excess doses the body would have to deal with.

IBD is manageable; but not yet curable. IBD is a chronic disease; there are no magic pills, no magic diet or food, and no magic alternative treatments. There are however many safe and effective treatments that stabilize your pet’s condition and greatly help in their recovery. Make sure to always discuss alternative and all-natural therapies with your vet. Your pet may have several health conditions where using certain treatments could worsen recovery. Always obtain all-natural products from a reputable source. Many all-natural products that are safe for human consumption may be too strong or not safe at all in high doses for pets. Even if it may be cheaper to buy the human version, they could contain additives that are potentially harmful or damaging to your pet’s recovery. This isn’t the case with every product but that’s why it’s better to discuss these with your vet to be sure.

Here are some natural treatments to consider for feline IBD:

B12 injections – B12 is best given in injection form as it bypasses the stomach and small intestines, which often don’t process or absorb B12 adequately in kitties with IBD. Unfortunately not all pets can be given injections and some will certainly let you know it. Sick or not, they are usually still in fighting form. If this isn’t possible, give a B12 tablet that’s a vegetarian version. It has to be completely clean: meaning no sugar, artificial sweeteners, added coloring or flavoring, none of that. Sweeteners like sorbitol, mannitol, dextrose, xylitol, sucrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup are hard for them to digest and can lead to diarrhea or stomach irritation. When choosing a dose of B12 it’s best to start with a 1,000 mcg but because it’s not being absorbed as much as the injection, you may have to raise the dose to 5,000 mcgs per day. B12 is non-toxic and water-soluble and in pill form won’t all be absorbed anyway. If doing the injections, ask your vet to write you a prescription for B12, it’s much cheaper and the bottle is larger for pets than it is for humans. You can have your script filled at any pharmacy that does generics for a very small cost. The guidelines for B12 injections are low at .25 ccs per month. Many vets are now agreeing that pets don’t see much improvement on this low dose and some will go as high as 1 full ml or cc per week for severe malabsorption. Ask your vet about raising the dosage, especially when it comes to gastrointestinal diseases. B12 also increases hunger naturally as a bonus side effect.

Probiotics that are made for pets not only help to get some vital healthy bacteria in their intestines but also entices them to eat. Be careful when using probiotics made for humans as pets have much different flora in their intestines and the human version may upsets the applecart way more than it helps.

Colostrum is passed down from the mother’s milk and is the first defense in newborns against foreign pathogens. Colostrum contains antibodies (immunoglobulins) that are necessary for stimulating and strengthening the immune system. It contains high quality protein and growth factors that promote the development and proper function of the gut.

All-natural anti-nausea treatments include things like slippery elm bark and marshmallow root. Be sure and give these 30 minutes away from any other medications like Pepcid to avoid the chance that either one will prevent absorption of the other.

Denosyl and Denamarin both contain S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe), which may increase liver glutathione levels, a potent antioxidant. SAMe may also help protect against liver cell death and help liver cell repair and regeneration. It must be given on an empty stomach although the pills are very small and can be inserted into a small treat if your pet is too hard to pill.

L-lysine also has very good immune system support and is commonly used in the treatment of Feline Herpes Virus and its associated respiratory and ocular symptoms. It can be used for other inflammatory diseases such as IBD and has been shown to ward off attacks from colds, allergies, asthma, etc. due to a low functioning immune system. For a cat with an already compromised immune response, this may give them a leg up should they develop symptoms of something else.

There is hope for future treatments of IBD and other immune disorders as places like Colorado State University begin research into using stem cells to treat these diseases. It’s been rough going so far as the use of steroids, antibiotics and other immune suppressing drugs are essentially necessary to fight the effects of IBD. But eventually by repressing the immune system enough you leave it open for other diseases to attack and spread, and hardly able to fight them off. Using stem cells could finally be the breakthrough we’ve been looking for to let their own bodies fight these conditions and do the repairs naturally. It’s exciting news and something I hope to learn more about in the near future. It may have come too late for my little girl, but if it saves thousands of pet’s lives, better late than never.

View cat supplements at Only Natural Pet Store

For more information on Feline IBD and other GI disorders and how to feed them a proper diet, please go to www.ibdkitties.net.

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PRE-Biotics and PRO-Biotics are not the same thing – by Rebecca Rose of In Clover

You have no doubt heard the Activa® commercials talking about the PRO-Biotics in their yogurt product.  But what are PRO-Biotics anyway?  PRO-Biotics are living microorganisms that you can not see unless you have a microscope that, when given in adequate amounts, result in a health benefit.  You will usually find products with PRO-Biotics in the refrigerated section because they are delicate, living microbes that die when exposed to heat.  Manufactured products cannot guarantee viability at the store shelf or in your home since PRO-Biotics are not temperature stable.  They are also sensitive to the harsh acidic conditions in a dog or cat’s stomach.

What I believe is a more elegant solution to getting quick digestive and immune support benefits are PRE-Biotics.  Simply put, PRE-Biotics are the fast food for the native good bacteria.  That is, the beneficial PRO-Biotics that are already in your pet’s gut.  No refrigeration is necessary for PRE-Biotics and they have a 3-year shelf life.

There are many things that decrease the number of friendly bacteria in the gut including; stress, antibiotics, travel or separation, normal aging and food change.  Using a digestive supplement with the clinically tested amounts of the PRE-Biotic will help to restore the friendly bacteria and put back balance in your pet’s system.

Click here to see an assortment of Only Natural Pet PRE-Biotic Products
Click here to see an assortment of Only Natural Pet PRO-Biotic Products

Author: Rebecca Rose, president of In Clover, Inc. Ms. Rose is a biochemist and the developer of animal health products.  She is the author of three patents on the composition and method for treating joint disorder in vertebrates. In Clover is the maker of OptaGest®, a complete digestive aid of clinically-tested levels of prebiotic and four plant enzymes.

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