June, 2020 Newsletter
Sharing information on nutrition and holistic health for your dog
Hello and welcome to June! Just like that, it feels like summer!
I can already feel a shift into summertime mode, and my two dogs, Jake and Coral, have enjoyed their first cubes of watermelon out on the back deck. Watermelon is one of their favourite treats - although, who am I kidding - they're golden retrievers, so pretty much any kind of food is their favourite!
As much as we love the nice weather, we are not fans of bugs. You won't want to miss the News To Share section of this newsletter; I've got a recommendation for an all-natural treatment to help with the itch from bug bites.
I'm happy to report that my Victory Garden is growing and it looks like we are going to have lots of herbs this summer! An article on common table herbs you can share with your dogs is in the works.
My newest article, Tips for Introducing New Foods to Your Dog, is especially helpful for people who have a new dog, or those who are making a major change to their dog's current diet. Even experienced fresh feeders can pick up a few tips to pass along to others.
Finally, I want to wish a Happy Father's Day to dog dads everywhere, and say Happy Graduation to the class of 2020!
What I'm Reading & Watching ...
Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat
I started reading Feed Your Pet Right, by Malden C. Nesheim and Marion Nestle, a couple of weeks ago, and I'm fascinated by Marion Nestle's evaluation and insights into the pet food industry. Nestle (no relation to the corporation) outlines the history of pet food and pet food marketing. She does a deep dive into the problems with ingredient sourcing, pet food labeling, and the trouble with supplement regulations and efficacy.
I'm half the way through this book, and looking forward to the chapters where Nestle and Neshiem discuss the massive need for transparency in the pet food world, as well as the unintentional bias and conflict of interest among veterinarians who sell pet food.
The Dog Doc
The Dog Doc is a documentary I had been looking forward to watching and I finally got the chance to see it last weekend. It was so good!
The Dog Doc showcases the incredible work of integrative veterinarian, Dr. Marty Goldstein and his colleagues at the Smith Ridge Veterinarian Center in New York state. The documentary follows a group of dogs who have been brought to Smith Ridge seeking treatment - often as their last hope. Using both holistic and traditional modalities these animals receive compassionate and innovative care with exciting and encouraging results. This is not to say you will not need tissues to wipe away some tears.
Interestingly, in the early days of Dr. Goldstein's career, he was often dismissed as a quack for using acupuncture and for recommending probiotics - both of which are now widely accepted treatments for dogs.
Proper nutrition is a key component to all of Dr. Goldstein's recommendations for good health and a strong immune system, which, of course, is what I'm all about!
The Dog Doc is available for purchase or rent on iTunes and Amazon Prime in the US, and iTunes in Canada.
Fresh Food Facts ...
Fabulous fresh food facts about watermelon ...
Good source of vitamins A and C.
One half cup of watermelon contains only 25 calories.
90% water - high water content makes watermelon a healthy and tasty treat on hot days.
Low glycemic load.
Rich in the antioxidant, lycopene. Antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage. Carotenoids (lycopene is a carotenoid), have anti-inflammation properties which help support the immune system and work to ward off illness and disease such as cancer and heart disease.
How to give your dog watermelon ...
Watermelon can be cubed and fed fresh or frozen.
Mash watermelon, stuff into a Kong and freeze for a cool treat.
Mix watermelon puree with a bit of coconut milk to make 'pupsicles'.
Avoid feeding the seeds since they might cause an intestinal obstruction in smaller dogs.
Do not feed watermelon rind.
Start with a small amount to test tolerance and increase slowly.
For your viewing enjoyment ...
This slow motion underwater video of dogs swimming is amazing!
Fun fact ... did you know that a wet dog can shake 4 - 6 times per second.
News to Share
Witch Hazel, an all-natural topical treatment for insect bites and more!
Witch hazel is a great product to keep in stock during the 'Bug Months'!
'Witch-hazel' is a type of flowering shrub, and its leaves and bark have been used medicinally for hundreds of years.
Witch hazel extract is usually diluted in a liquid. For dogs, look for a witch hazel extract that is not alcohol based. Glycerin, and other non-alcohol based formulas are safer in case your dog licks the area where you apply the witch hazel. (Canadian readers might have luck finding glycerin based witch hazel on well.ca).
Witch hazel is a strong astringent due to its high tannin content; it calms itchy skin and acts to tighten the area where it's been applied.
Witch hazel feels soothing and can be used to treat minor inflammation of the skin. It reduces itching due to bug bites, bee stings, flea bites, mites, etc., and eases discomfort due to small abrasions from thorns and thistles.
Use sparingly. Wet a cotton ball with witch hazel and apply to the affected area once or twice a day.
Greg Tilford, expert in the field of veterinary botanical medicine, writes: "Witch hazel may also be effective for external treatment of ear-flap hematomas, as its strong astringency quickly constricts weak or inflamed blood vessels". Herbs for Pets, Gregory L. Tilford & Mary L. Wulff
Avoid using witch hazel for dry skin conditions since it will dehydrate the skin further.
Witch hazel can be combined with apple cider vinegar and used as an outer ear cleaner - especially when yeast is present.
When distilled in non-alcohol based liquid, witch hazel is regarded as safe to use topically, however, do not use it internally unless under the direction of an experienced canine herbalist or holistic veterinarian.
Witch hazel is not intended for long term treatment of itching or dermatitis - think of it as a something to have in your dog first aid kit.
Consult a veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog's health.
I encourage you to do your own research when making decisions about treatment, medications, or supplements for your dogs.
An informed choice is the best choice!