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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Avocado Health Benefits for Dogs and Cats



Avocado health benefits for dogs and cats - this fruit can be an excellent addition to your pet's diet. Avocado, also called alligator pear, or butter fruit is botanically classified as a single seeded berry. The flesh of the avocado is a nutrient-rich dog-safe, and cat-safe food. The seed (pit), and skin of the avocado are NOT safe for dogs and cats to consume.  When offering your dog or cat avocado – always remove the skin, and the seed – offer ONLY the flesh of the avocado.


Avocado Health Benefits for Dogs and Cats


Avocado is…

A good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate; a source of protein due to the presence of eighteen essential amino acids; minerals such as calcium, copper, folate, iron, pantothenic acid, potassium, and magnesium.

An excellent anti-inflammatory food possessing a unique profile of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich properties.  The majority (85%) of calories from an avocado come from potent anti-inflammatory fats that support healthy function of the brain, blood vessels, joints, and more.  Avocado is also an anti-carcinogenic food.

Heart healthy for your dog and cat when consumed on a regular basis (daily or several times per week), avocado can contribute to cardiovascular health helping to lower risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol (LDL), and reduce oxidative stress within the blood stream.

Excellent for metabolic health and can help your dog or cat avoid the on-set of metabolic issues including improving blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity when avocado is consumed regularly as part of a well-balanced, species appropriate diet. This fruit has a low glycemic index– it is not a significant source of carbohydrates.

Good source of dietary fiber that helps regulate blood sugar levels, aids digestive and eliminatory health, and detoxification.

Liver health supporting. Avocado is excellent for your dog’s and cat’s liver health as nutrients in avocado support production of the important antioxidant, glutathione.


Rich source of carotenoids and the fat required to help the body make full use of the beneficial carotenoids. If your dog’s and cat’s food or treats contains carotenoid rich, low fat vegetables and fruit such as kale or spinach, carrot, and tomato - add a slice of avocado to the meal to help maximize the benefits of the carotenoids.

Good for your dog’s and cat’s eyes – avocado contains lutein and zeaxanthin two natural source phytochemicals that are crucial for eye health.


How to Select Avocado, and Know When Avocado is Ready to Eat
 

Organic vs. Non-Organic

While it is great if you can purchase organic avocado, conventionally grown avocado is a good choice too. The USDA’s and FDA’s recent (2015) tests indicated that conventionally raised avocado was the cleanest of all fruit tested for pesticide residue – only 1% of avocados tested showed any detectable pesticides.
 
Don’t purchase mushy avocados. Purchase slightly soft-to-the-touch or firm avocados. If firm, do not refrigerate – simply place in a bowl on the counter (where your dog cannot ‘steal’ it) and allow to ripen. If the avocado has ripened to the point of being mushy throw it in the garbage – do not give over-ripe avocado to your dog or cat. The flesh of overripe avocado is brown, may have dark spots, and the flesh may be sunken or have cracks. Overripe avocado is not healthy food for your do or cat.


Avocado is ready to eat when the avocado is a little soft (not mushy), and when you remove the skin the flesh is green with no brown or dark spots.

How to Serve Avocado to Your Dog and Cat

The pit of the avocado contains substances that are very toxic to dogs, and cats. Make sure you carefully remove the seed (pit), and skin of the avocado. Your dog and cat should only consume the flesh of the avocado.

When removing the skin, be careful to preserve the dark green flesh that is found just underneath the avocado skin. The dark green flesh is packed with valuable antioxidants, and carotenoids. I use a knife to nick the avocado, and then draw the knife from the top tip of the avocado down to the bottom of the avocado on one side (vertical, not horizontal), and then the other side – do this all around the avocado and then you can slip a spoon under the skin to carefully peel away the skin while preserving the integrity of the dark green layer of flesh attached to the fruit.

You can then slice the avocado flesh with a knife, or spoon. The fresh, raw piece of cut avocado flesh can be given as a treat, or mixed in with your dog’s and cat’s food.

The nutrients in avocado are degraded by heat and cooking so serve fresh and raw – do not heat or cook.

If you are not going to use the entire avocado at one meal you can sprinkle a little organic apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice on the flesh of the avocado to prevent oxidation (darkening of the flesh after prolonged exposure to air).


How to Introduce Avocado to the Diet
If your dog or cat has never had avocado before make sure you introduce it to his/her diet by giving a very small piece as a treat on its own – not with other foods. After you have tested your dog’s and cat’s tolerance you can add it to meal’s following the guidelines below.


Daily Amount – General Guideline

Cat or small size dog – 1 to 2 teaspoons
Medium size dog – ½ to 2 tablespoons
Large size dogs – 2 to 3 tablespoons
X-large dogs (100+ lbs) – 3 to 4 tablespoons

Cautions

Do not give your dog or cat avocado if any of the following conditions apply…

Your dog or cat has an allergy to latex.
If your dog or cat is pregnant or lactating.

Do not allow your dog or cat to consume large amounts or unlimited amounts of avocado.


Always remove the skin and seed (pit) – both can be toxic to your dog and cat. Some dogs are able to tolerate consuming a little skin without adverse side effects.

Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service
If you require additional support, and guidance - contact me to discuss your requirements. I will determine the appropriate course of action for your situation and I will let you know the applicable fees. I offer consultative services to clients around the world...
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice - information and payment here >>. 
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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Dog Tail Injury DIY Treatment – Tip of Tail Got Stuck in a Door


Sometimes the unexpected happens – in this case your dog catches the tip of his/her tail between a closing door, and the door frame. If you are really lucky the ‘end result’ is a yelp – just a ‘close call’ with no injury. If you aren’t so lucky your dog may injure his/her tail. This article is for you if you are dealing with a 'just happened' dog tail injury in which the tip of your dog’s tail got stuck in a door, and your dog lost the little tip at the end of his/her tail… 

What To Do First…

Help Your Dog to Still

The first thing you need to do is get your dog under control. Don't allow your dog to run around (inside the house, or outside). Choose a dog-safe space such as a smaller room to confine your dog to while you gather a few items you will need. 

A small crate is not a good idea as your dog's already injured tail can get stuck between the metal bars of a crate - thereby causing pain, and even further injury. If you aren’t alone, have another person stay in the room with your dog. That person's task is to be calm, and keep your dog as still as possible, while he/she holds the tip of your dog’s tail up. This will help calm your dog, will help keep your dog from hitting his/her injured tail on walls and furniture, and will help to slow the blood flowing from your dog's injured tail-tip.

Your dog’s tail has a lot of blood vessels with a strong blood flow. If the little tip of your dog’s tail has been injured, or has come-off when the door closed, you are likely to see a lot of blood flow from the injury. If your dog happens to have an upright tail – such as my Husky x Siberian Shepherd Sarah (photos above and below), the blood can end-up everywhere, including on the upper portion of walls, and ceilings.

If you don't have any available help, settle your dog in the room, and quickly gather the items you will need, and proceed through the steps provided below...

You will need the following items...
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Towel, and paper towel roll to clean-up, and wipe your hands
  • A styptic if you have one, i.e. Kwik Stop, Bentonite Clay, or one of the other examples below)
  • Elastic self-adhering bandage role
  • Optional:
    • Surgical tape (you may find it helpful to better secure the self-adhering bandage)
    • Elizabethan collar, or soft-e-collar 
    • Calming alternative medicine
Next step – Disinfect the Wound Site

Disinfect Simply, Naturally


Disinfect the tip of the tail ASAP – the following provides some simple solutions to disinfect quickly…
  • Use 3% hydrogen peroxide (a natural antiseptic)
    • Pour the hydrogen peroxide over the tip of tail, or;
    • Dunk the tip of the tail into a bowl/container containing hydrogen-peroxide. 
    • Hydrogen peroxide does not typically hurt or cause stinging.
  • If you do not have hydrogen peroxide you can make a simple saline solution -  
    • Combine the following:
      • ½ cup of warm water (distilled water if you have it on hand), with;
      • ½ tsp salt - full spectrum salt is preferred.
    • Stir.
    • Pour over tail or dip tail in the solution – this may sting a little.
  • As soon as you have disinfected the tip of tail, hold the tail in the ‘up’ position.
  • You can also use liquid bentonite clay to disinfect the wound – or powder form bentonite clay mixed with water.

Next – Slow Down Blood Flow, Stop Blood Flow

Apply a Natural Styptic – if you have one handy

If you have a styptic (topical herb, or other natural powder used to stop blood flow from wound) you can gently apply it to the tip of the tail. If you don't have a styptic - skip to the next step provided below - 'Bandage Your Dog's Tail'.

Examples of common styptics:

  • ‘Kwik Stop’ available at most pet supply stores (Kwik Stop is a pre-blended powder used to stop the flow of blood after accidently cutting into the quick of your dog’s nail bed)
  • Bentonite or Monmorillonite or Diatmaceous Earth (DE) Clay Powder – Food Grade Only
  • Septic herbs (powder form or salve, organic) for example - calendula, cayenne, geranium, Shepherd’s purse, St. John’s Wort, Witch Hazel, yarrow, and Yunnan Baiyao.


Next - Bandage Your Dog's Tail

Now, get the tail bandaged-up. Self-adhering wrap bandage is a perfect solution. Wrap well, and secure with a finish wrap of medical adhesive bandage tape. Don’t wrap too lose as the bandage will slip off – wrap firmly.


Next - No Chewing Please!

Your dog my want to remove his/her bandage. For the next 8 to 12 hours you are going to have to prevent that bandage from coming off. If you are not going to be available to monitor your dog, and/or if your dog is agitated, and will not listen to you when you tell him/her to ‘leave it’ (the bandage), then you will have to  use either an Elizabethan collar, or a soft-e-collar to ensure your dog does not remove his/her bandage. Most pet supply stores sell various types of these collars.


Next - Optional, Administer an Ingested, Calming Alternative Medicine
If your dog is very agitated you may want to consider giving your dog a calming, healing, anti-inflammatory alternative trauma medicine such as Traumel (not available anymore in Canada - shame on Health Canada, but is available in the USA, UK, Europe, etc.),  Arnica 30c  or another alternative medicine. When using homeopathic meds, always check ingredients prior to use if your dog is lactose intolerant, or has allergies to botanical, and/or other substances. If your dog is on conventional drugs always check for interactions prior to use.

Next - Monitor Healing
Check your dog's tail daily for the next week to ensure that the wound site is healing well, and is infection-free.

Additional Assistance - Holistic Health and Wellness Service
If you require additional support, and guidance - contact me to discuss your requirements. I will determine the appropriate course of action for your situation and I will let you know the applicable fees. I offer consultative services to clients around the world...
Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services
  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice - information and payment here >>. 
  • Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans - information and payment here >>.
Dog Obedience Training and Behavior Modification Services
  • In-Person sessions - information and payment here >>.
  • On-Line consultation and sessions - information and payment here >>.