Pet Health Questions

Pet Health Questions

1. Should I brush my dogs teeth, does it really matter?

This is what Gail has to say:

The answer to that is that brushing a dog's teeth can and is beneficial. Some vets feel if you don't brush daily it doesn't do much to help with oral hygiene and I have also read that brushing 3 times per week along with having either hard bones or an additive especially made for helping to reduce tarter build-up is fine too.

Another thought is that by doing the more natural additive alone like Teddy's Pride or t/d dog food from Prescription Diet for dog dental health and hard chews will work fine to maintain healthy gums and reduce plaque.

And one more recommendation is to have a professional cleaning done by your vet yearly after the age of one year.

There are special toothpastes that can be purchased from a pet store or from your vet as well. It is best not to use the toothpaste at the local grocery store because of the fluoride in it.

Baxter and Harley

How do I know which dog food is best?

There are several commercially produced dog foods that contain healthy foods and can be a part of your alternative pet health plan. The label should say tested by extensive feeding trials. Do not rely on a statement that only says “laboratory analysis.” This is insufficient.

Our pets know if what they are eating is good for their overall pet health. Pay attention to their opinion.

Dry dog food needs preservatives. Canned food has gone through a heat sterilization and vacuum sealing process. Dry food can spoil with heat, humidity, light, and oxygen. Fat spoils the quickest.

Natural antioxidants with the healthy foods have a shorter shelf life. A few ideas to avoid healthy food spoilage are listed.

l. Try to use dry food products within 6 months of the manufacture date.

2. Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry, location.

3. Use a trusted retailer about the production of the food products and where the product was made.

The following information comes from Dr. Becker’s site with She is addressing label information.“The better the brand (and higher the cost), the more likely the food’s ingredients are human grade.

If all else fails, you can visit the manufacturer’s website or call their toll free number to get your questions answered.

Even better is if the protein source is either free-range or pasture-raised and hasn’t been shot full of hormones and antibiotics.

4. A whole food protein source at the TOP of the list of ingredients with a named meat is essential. Examples are beef, turkey, lamb, chicken. Avoid any product with non-specific descriptions like ‘animal,’ ‘meat,’ or ‘poultry.’

Most commercial pet foods also contain meat meal, which is fine as a secondary ingredient to a whole food protein source. Meal consists of meat with the moisture removed, with or without bones and has the right calcium/phosphorus balance.

5. Grain-free. Your carnivorous pooch has no biologic requirement for grains. Many grain-free formulas use potatoes instead, but starches should not be added in excess.

AAFCO guarantee. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has established minimum standards for complete and balanced pet nutrition. A formula without AAFCO certification will likely be deficient as a sole source of nutrition for your pet.

6. For good pet health and good pet care look for natural preservatives. Natural preservatives are antioxidants like Vitamin E (tocopherols) and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

7. For good pet health avoid synthetic preservatives like BHA, BHT, propylene glycol or propyl gallate which are dangerous to the liver and kidneys.

A resource from “Natural Pet Cures”, Drs. Stefanatos and Sodhi advocate diets high in fiber, and consist of quality protein for good alternative pet health.

If you want to make your own dog food, here is what they advise:

l. Protein such as cooked or boiled eggs, cooked or canned salmon, and tofu, but no tuna fish.

2. Lightly steamed vegetables such as carrots, pea pods, broccoli, string beans, cauliflower, baked yams or potatoes, canned pumpkin, salad greens which provide roughage.

3. Fiber sources: cereal grains such as cornmeal, rye, barley, oats, rice, millet, quinoa, and wheat.

A Few Don’ts.

1. Meat by-products may contain ingredients like beaks, feathers, feet, hooves, hair, even tumors. The exception would be by-products derived from human grade organ meats like liver and kidney.

2. Poor quality, incomplete proteins. These include corn gluten meal, wheat gluten meal, rice protein concentrate, and soy protein.

3. Formulas containing corn or soy. Corn is a cheap filler ingredient with no nutritional value. It is also a known allergenic. Soy is estrogenic and can be harmful to the dog’s endocrine system.

* BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin, propyl gallate. These are all artificial preservative. Ethoxyquin is used to preserve the fish meal found in many pet food formulas. It won’t be on the food label because it is added before the fish meal arrives at the manufacturing facility. When considering dog foods containing fish, look for written manufacturer assurance on the label or web site that the fish meal does not contain ethoxyquin.Look for foods preserved with vitamins C and E also called tocopherols.

*Avoid artificial colors, flavors, sugars, sweeteners or propylene glycol.”

I wanted to add that natural seasonings such as garlic is good. Natural colorings like carotenoids is in the healthy food category too.

If I use a high quality dog food, do I need a vitamin supplement?

There seems to be agreements that there are healthy foods for good pet health with home made foods and with some commercially prepared dog foods.

Good nutrition is essential in good pet care. Sometimes whole vitamin supplements for dogs are needed even with good healthy foods being fed to our pets.

I am going to focus on canine supplements in this section because I have 2 dogs of my own.

I use a combination of a commercial brand dog food called California Natural, plus natural and organic beef, chicken, or fish. I will include a variety of fresh or frozen natural or organic vegetables too.

I also add a whole food canine supplement. It is called Green Dog Naturals. They are 100% pure and natural and 65% organic and grain free.

One canine supplement is specific for joints. The ingredients are glucosamine HCL (shellfish), organic algae meal and organic alfalfa. The herbs are meadowswelt, ginger, turmeric, and bromelain, organic flax, and an ocean source omega blend.

What Do The Vets. Say?

Let's look at what some veterianians say about canine supplements for dogs, who focus on natural healing and healthy food.

Dr. Bruce Fogle addresses vitamin supplements. He lists the optimum minerals and canine supplements:

Minerals and Vitamin supplements for dogs needed for a dog’s metabolism to function:

1) Fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E, & K. These enter the dog’s body with dietary fat and are stored in the liver. Sources of Vitamin A are: fish oils, milk, egg yolk, livers of other animals.

2) Vitamin E is an anti-inflammatory. Vitamin E benefit’s the heart, vascular and neurological systems.

3) Vitamin K helps to clot blood. Normal bacteria in a dog’s gut produces some of the Vitamin K.

4) Water soluble vitamins:

A. Vitamin B12 is produced in a dog’s gut.

B. Folic acid or vitamin C assists in nervous system function and protection of the stomach lining. Vitamin C is made from glucose in the dog’s liver.

5) Minerals:

A. Calcium and Phosphorous--these are essential for bone growth and healthy bone structure. These also maintain a healthy nervous system and allow muscles to work effectively.

[a meat-only diet is low in calcium and may lead to swollen and painful joints]

B. Selenium--needed for healthy overall body tissue, helps to maintain immune system, and aids in stopping cancer cells.

C. Copper--is stored in the liver. Copper plus iron carries oxygen through the body.

D. Zinc--is needed for skin health, helps the immune system, and makes the taste buds work effectively.

E. Iodine--is needed for thyroid function.

6) Essential fatty acids(EFA) or omega 6 & 3. These control allergies, arthritis, inflammation, heart disease, auto-immune illnesses, kidney and nervous system function, skin disorders, and cancer cells.

Dr. Fogle notes that when or if you use canine supplements, use one that contains many of the needed vitamins and minerals. Too much of one vitamin or one mineral could reduce the gut from absorbing other needed vitamins and minerals.

Dr. Fogle lists the following foods to avoid: Tofu and other bean products. These may increase a bloating tendency. Avoid cows milk or give a lactose free milk. Avoid soft, moist foods in plastic bags that don’t need refrigeration. Theses tend to be high in sugar and artificial ingredients. Give less fat and no sugar and no artificial anything.

My Dog Was Bit In The Eye and Has Scar Tissue--What To Do?

My dog was hit by a car recently, but thankfully he is recovering very well! He was basically scalped just above left eye, and the vet sewed and stapled him up. 10 days later, we had the stitches and staples removed, but have noticed that the scar appears to be attached to the scalp and is preventing movement of the skin in that area.

The real dilemma is that it is so tight that he is unable to blink his eye. If this does not get resolved, he may lose the eye!

I had surgery a couple of years ago on my hand and was told to massage the scar to loosen it up and increase flexibility along the scar. I guess my question is: Is this appropriate to do to a dog? If so, how would I go about massaging an area just above his orbital bone?

I am nervous because he indicates that it is still a sensitive area and still has some scabbing in the area.

My ultimate goal is to get the scar to release from his skull. Is this possible? Is it too late (two weeks after the accident) to remedy this?

Thanks in advance for your advice!


Hello Chris,

First of all I am so sorry to hear about your pet and what he/she has gone through. It is never too late to work with scar tissue.

My first suggestion would be to apply cocoa butter and vitamin E directly onto the scar tissue everyday to assist in the scar tissue releasing or diminishing internally.

To attempt to massage the scar, first try and place your pet in a calm and relaxed state by playing quiet music, maybe even apply some lavender oil directly onto your pet near the ears or spray a lavender mist in the air around your pet. Lavender is calming.

Secondly, you and any other of your pet's care givers need to be calm and relaxed and speak quietly with few words. It is the touch and non-communicative language your pet will respond to.

Take your time and easefully stroke your pet from the head/neck area toward the tail. Then lightly place your hand over the scar and then on the scar.

This alone may assist with freeing the scar because the connective tissue of your pet will begin to free itself---this is called myofascial release.

As your pet feels more comfortable, begin to roll the scar between your fingers and thumb or place the palm of your hand on the scar and move your hand in a circular motion.

If you can close your pet's eyelid over the eye, or try to bring up the lower eyelid to cover the eye that would be helpful to keep the eye moist--if that is possible.

Even to place some sort of eye patch or cover over the eye would also be helpful.

You could also seek the guidance of a vet who practices alternative vet practices which would include massage or acupuncture for an assessment visit for further treatment.

I hope these ideas have been helpful and I certainly wish you good results. Please feel free to connect again if you wish.

Sincerely, Gail

P.S. A few other natural remedies to add. Beeswax, aloe vera, and coconut oil can be used to soften and help release scar tissue as well.

Good luck and I hope these suggestions will benefit your pet.

I would love to hear from you with your pet health questions. Please fill in the form below and I will respond with the best of my ability.

Here's to your pet's health, naturally,


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