Saturday, March 28, 2015

Frozen Kong Ideas

A Kong has limitless options on what you can stuff into it. As long is it isn't something potentially poisonous to dogs like onions and chocolate. The easiest way to fill a Kong is to turn it upside down (biggest opening facing upward) inside a coffee cup. The coffee cup holds it in place while you spoon in the filling. Filling options can be as simple as a favorite canned dog food or can be a mixture of household ingredients that you have on hand, such as:

Roasted Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter:

1/2 roasted sweet potato with out the skin
3/4 c. of peanut butter
1/4 c. of flax seeds
1/2 cut oats
~ Mix all the ingredients together and spoon into an ice cube tray. Place in freezer. When frozen, you can take an individual cube out and place in the Kong.

Coconut Banana

1 cup of plain yogurt
1 tsp. of coconut oil
1 sliced banana
 ~ Mix all ingredients together and stuff into your Kong. Place Kong into freezer until frozen.

 Chicken and Pumpkin

1 jar of chicken baby food (You could also substitute any other meat baby food)
1 cup of plain yogurt
2 Tbs. canned pumpkin (remember to make sure your canned pumpkin is not pumpkin pie filling!)
~ Mix all ingredients together and stuff into your Kong. Place Kong into the freezer until frozen.

All of these recipes are just examples of what can be mixed together and have been portioned out for a regular sized Kong. There are Kongs available for small breed dogs. These recipes would probably fill multiple small breed kongs.

There are lots of recipes out there and I will start pinning some of them under our "Dog Treats" board on Pinterest! Pupsicle recipes can always be used inside of a Kong and vice versa. Honest Kitchen also makes a pupsicle mix that is fast and convenient. These recipes will keep you dog cool and busy on hot days!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Magnesium for Dogs

~Before you read this article, please remember that I am just writing what I have read and researched. I do not have a medical degree in anything. I have tried to reference my work by highlighting areas of the article and providing some references at the bottom.~

 Magnesium is extremely important for the body. It plays a key role in a healthy immune system and the bodies ability to produce ATP. It is second only to Potassium as the most abundant substance in cells. Humans usually get magnesium through their diet. But by some estimates, up to 80% of Americans are not getting enough magnesium. More and more, people are turning to Transdermal Magnesium Therapy (TMT) for supplementation. Basically, TMT is a really fancy word for absorption through the skin. TMT seems to be the most efficient way for the body to absorb magnesium. It also provides the least amount of discomfort. Taking a magnesium supplement orally can cause intestinal upset and does not provide as much absorption. Getting magnesium intravenous can be painful and expensive. TMT is convenient and can be done at home through a magnesium cream or oil spray. You can buy the creams or oils online or make them yourself. They should be made with Magnesium chloride flakes. TMT can cause a slight tingling/ stinging feeling during application. Some people experience it, some people don't . From what I have read online, some people leave it on for 20 minutes and then wash it off. Others, just leave it.

But, can dogs benefit from Magnesium supplementation the same way humans can? I didn't find a lot of reliable information on the subject, but what I did find pointed towards the answer of "yes". Especially, for dogs struggling with cancer. According to Demian Dressler, DVM one of the authors from The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, ATP is the body's energy molecule. If the body is low on ATP, the body will have less energy to fight cancer. In addition, cancer lowers magnesium levels in the body. When magnesium levels are low, dogs that are going through Chemotherapy with the drug cisplatin are more prone to suffer from kidney damage. Dr. Dressler also pointed out that there seems to be a double edged sword with magnesium. If the body has too much magnesium, it increases the odds of cancer development. Bill Reddy, LAc, Dipl. Ac. states in his article from Acupuncture Today, that excess magnesium is usually excreted from the body UNLESS there is impaired kidney function or severe renal insufficiency.

 Signs of a magnesium deficiency in your dog can be:
  • Restlessness
  • Hyper-reactivity
  • Incoordination
  • Tetany - Stiff legs and neck after a fall.
  • Convulsions, coma and death
  • Sometimes animals can be found dead without any observed signs.
You can supplement your dog's nutrition with foods that are high in magnesium: Fish, dark leafy greens, brown rice and plain non - fat yogurt. I have also read that more and more humans are using TMT on their dogs through applying a magnesium cream to their back paws for absorption. You can also use it to alleviate hot spots. But, it should not be applied to an open wound. Instead, you would want to rub the cream around the wound. Giving your dog a "paw bath" of warm water and Epson Salt, which contains magnesium, after a long day of exercise to alleviate sore muscles and help stimulate blood flow for recovery. I wouldn't recommend spraying a dog with magnesium oil. I doubt there would be much absorption this way because of the fur. As a pet owner, I would recommend discussing magnesium supplementation with your veterinarian. 

References (AKA some really good articles): 

Achieving Optimal Health Through Transdermal Therapy,

A pilot study to determine the impact of transdermal magnesium treatment on serum levels and whole body CaMg ratios,

Relationship between magnesium, cancer and carcinogenic or anticancer metals,

Magnesium depletion enhances cisplatin - induced nephrotoxicity,

Magnesium and Dog Cancer,

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Essential Oils That Are Toxic to Pets

Last November, I was introduced to essential oils and started doing research on using essential oils
for  pets. Unfortunately, there is so little research on the subject and so much misinformation, it can get quite overwhelming. One of my favorite websites for learning how to safely use essential oils on humans is Learning About EO's. I have learned so much, but feel as if I have only scratched the tip of
the iceberg. As a result of this newly found knowledge, I have also developed a new pet peeve-- people posting natural essential oil recipes for pets on Pinterest without really taking into regard the power of these oils.... and they can be SUPER POWERFUL. There are a lot of oils out there that are NOT safe for pets and can be quite deadly. Therefore, I have compiled a list of oils that I have read can be toxic to pets. I always encourage you to do your own research as well, because I am obviously not a licensed aromatherapist nor am I a chemist or a holistic Veterinarian.

Essential Oils That Are Toxic to Cats:
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Clove
  • Sage
  • Citrus oils (example: Lemon and Wild Orange)
  •  Lavender
  • Melaleuca (tea tree oil)
  •  Cinnamon (cassia)
  • Wintergreen
  • Thyme
  •  Birch
  •  Bergamot
  •  Pine
  • Spruce
  •  Any other oils containing phenols (example: Wintergreen, Thyme and Oregano)
  • Eucalyptus
There are probably a lot more that are toxic for cats. I have read quite a bit of research in regards to using essential oils on cats and it's kind of a "no-no". I wrote about what I found in my blog post last November. 

Essential Oils That Are Toxic To Dogs and Cats: 
  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Birch
  • Bitter Almond
  • Camphor
  • Cinnamon
  • Citric Oils (examples: Lemon and Wild Orange)
  • Cloves
  • Eucalyptus
  • Garlic
  • Horseradish
  • Hyssop
  • Juniper
  • Mustard
  • Oregano
  • Pennyroyal
  • Red or White Thyme
  • Sassafras
  • Savory
  • Tansy
  • Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca)
  • Wintergreen
  • Yarrow
 One essential oil that was on the fence with the information I could find was Peppermint oil for dogs. But, the ASPCA said this: "Oils such as peppermint can cause oral, skin and gastrointestinal irritation—if swallowed in large quantities, central nervous system depression may occur as well. Due to its potential for problems, we would not recommend giving peppermint oil to your dog. If you’re looking for a supplement to support your dog's health, we advise communicating with your local veterinarian to get a recommendation for an appropriate product."

These lists should not be considered "the list". There are a lot more lists out there that are more thorough (Like this one). I focused on the more common oils as a quick "go to". Always remember to thoroughly research anything you are going to use therapeutically for yourself or your pet and ask a doctor (for you) or a Veterinarian (for your pet).