Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Barking dog.

Monday, March 5th, 2012


Below is the answer we gave to a recent question on barking. The dog is 7 months old and started barking at night, despite being kept in the laundry. It all started after a stay at a kennel….

It sounds like he may be a bit anxious or is otherwise displaying attention seeking behavior. It’s good that you are not giving him attention for the barking, however it is important to find out why he is barking so you can address the cause.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to be anxious after being away, especially if they haven’t been used to it. Also he is a ‘teenager’ at the moment and they do go through stages of development which can sometimes lead to feelings of insecurity etc. But at the same time they can also tend to push the boundaries a bit.

Start him on some Rescue Remedy (Bach Flower drops) just to take the edge off him and perhaps make a few minor changes in his routine. The rescue remedy can be given in his food and water bowls (4 drops). The water bowl is good as he will get small amounts often.

Rescue remedy is very good for any changes in routine (humans and animals). If you have access to different Bach Flowers you could also try Heather (not in place of, but in addition to rescue remedy); Heather is useful for those who like the sound of their own voice!

Also monitor any other behavior changes such as following you around the house or an increase in destructiveness or disobedience as this could be a sign that he is feeling insecure after you going away.

It is definitely possible that he has picked up bad habits from other dogs while boarding, but with time and consistency you should be able to break the habit.

Other minor changes you can make; increase his exercise or change it around a bit. Make sure he knows that you are around after putting him in the laundry; either that he can see through a child gate barrier or that he can hear background noise (TV, radio, kitchen noises etc) this may help to comfort him so he knows that you haven’t ‘left him’. Make sure when he goes in the laundry that he gets a few items to chew on or play with (make sure you mix his toys around: See 101 Ways to Keep your dog entertained; you can download a free sample via the links page of our website or purchase it via the products page). A rawhide chew would keep him occupied for a while plus the chewing action can help reduce any anxiety. Sometimes you can also give a comfort item (old jumper or an old towel that you have used and not washed).

Don’t get angry with him, but at the same time don’t feel sorry for him and spoil him rotten (this sometimes happens when we go away and feel bad so come back and overcompensate). Try the changes above and if you don’t get a response in a few weeks or if other behaviors point towards separation anxiety then further changes would be needed.

FDA warning on chicken jerky.

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

FDA Continues to Caution Dog Owners About Chicken Jerky Products.

Dogs that get yeast infections.

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

What is Dog Candida?
Dog Yeast Infections

Dog candidiasis, aka dog candida or dog yeast infections, is caused by a single-celled organism called Candida albicans which is classified as both a yeast and a fungus.

In a healthy dog with a normally-functioning immune system, there is a balanced level of normal flora in the body – i.e. a good balance of the “friendly bacteria” and a slight layer of naturally-occuring yeast.

Yeast overgrowth, however, occurs when a dog’s immune system is out of sync. This can be due to either an under-active immune system, or an over-active immune system.

Candida is an opportunistic pathogen and the yeast tends to take advantage of a dog with a weak, under-active immune system because the system is unable to control and kill off the yeast.

A dog with an over-active immune system (e.g. a dog prone to allergies), on the other hand, is also prone to yeast overgrowth, mainly because such dogs are often given steroids to suppress their over-active immune system. In the long run, this will weaken the immune system to a point where it no longer can keep the opportunistic yeast in check.

Once there is an over-abundance of candida in the dog’s body, it will create a vicious cycle – candida cells manufacture toxic chemicals that kill beneficial bacteria and harm the body. In addition, waste products produced by candida are toxic chemicals that can slow the brain, causing fatigue and disrupting the immune system.

The end result? A systemic yeast infection in the dog.

If timely action is not taken to kill off the single-celled candida, it can convert into a multi-celled fungal form called rhizoids. These rhizoids eventually penetrate the intestinal wall, diminishing the ability of the intestines to absorb vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids, leading to nutritional deficiencies and a GI problem called “leaky gut syndrome”, whereby bacteria, toxins, and undigested food “leak” through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. This can result in numerous health problems, including inflammation, chronic infections, and allergies (food allergy, atopic dermatitis).


Causes of Dog Yeast Infections
There are many possibilities that can result in an over-abundance of candida albicans. The most common causes are listed below:

Improper Diet

A poor quality diet with insufficient supplements such as probiotics (friendly bacteria) to metabolize sugars (food source for yeast) will result in an overgrowth of candida.
Insufficient dietary enzymes to clean out the toxins from the body will also result in dog yeast infections.
A grain-based diet (first ingredient is grains) will increase sugars in the digestive tract – food supply for candida.

Use of Certain Medication

Use of antibiotics – these drugs can kill off beneficial bacteria in the dog’s body.
Use of flea chemicals – these chemicals can result in a compromised immune system making it easy for candida to thrive.
Over-vaccinations – over-vaccinations can result in a compromised immune system making it easy for candida to thrive.

Physical Health Problems

Thyroid problems (hypothyroidism) – many holistic vets (and doctors for people too) believe that there is a direct connection between thyroid problems and yeast infections.
Other illnesses that compromise the immune system can also make it easy for the candida population to grow.
Yeast allergy – Some dogs can also develop an allergic reaction to the naturally-occuring yeast in their bodies. In other words, the immune systems of these dogs attack their own natural flora. When this happens, usually the allergic reaction occurs from head to toe – the dog will be red and itchy from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail!

Mental Health Problems

Stress and anxiety caused by environmental and seasonal changes, as well as emotional and physical changes in the dog.


Symptoms of Dog Yeast Infections
Dog Candida

One distinct sign of dogs having a yeast infection is they give out a “musty, moldy-bread” smell.

Another sign of dog yeast infections is intense itching, causing the dog to constantly scratch, chew, lick, and bite the skin. The dog may also scoot on the floor.

Other signs of dog yeast infections look very much like skin irritations and allergies, with symptoms such as:

recurring hot spots
hair loss
redness or skin rashes, especially on the feet, face, tummy, underarm, or genital areas
dry and flaky skin, sometimes the skin may turn black or discolored
itching eyes
red, irritated eyes
excessive tearing
bouts of asthma attacks
frequent sneezing
abnormal nasal discharge

Dog yeast infections may also manifest themselves as:

ear infections
urinary tract infections
bladder infections
food allergies
GI problems, such as bloating and gas, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, etc.
bad breath
anal sac problems
joint pain
malnutrition due to inability to absorb sufficient nutrients
fatigue and lethargy

With so many symptoms mimicking so many different dog diseases, you can imagine that sometimes even veterinarians may misdiagnose a case of dog yeast infection as something else – very often, the secondary disease caused by the yeast infection (e.g. urinary infection) will be diagnosed, but the root cause (i.e. the yeast infection) will not. As such, localized treatment is given to cure the secondary disease (in this case, urinary infection) without addressing the underlying root cause.

If your dog unfortunately suffers from recurring infections (be it skin, ear, or others) or has allergies (skin or food) that do not seem to go away, dog candida may be the culprit.

Download this checklist to help diagnose your dog’s yeast infection.


Diagnosis and Conventional Treatment for Dog Yeast Infections
Your vet can determine whether your dog has yeast by either cytology (looking at a skin swap under the microscope) or by culture.

Conventional treatment for dog candida usually uses antifungal medications to clear up the infections and related symptoms. Unfortunately, many such antifungal drugs have potentially serious side effects. Worse still, these drugs only deal with the symptoms without actually addressing the root cause. Before long, there will be another flare-up, very often with worsening sets of symptoms.

Topica Control of Yeast Growth
Many holistic veterinarians recommend using natural remedies to control and treat dog yeast infections, both topically and internally.

Topical control of yeast overgrowth involves removing layers of dead yeast from the body, disinfecting the “yeasty” parts of the dog’s body, and controlling yeast growth on the body. This can be done as follows:

Disinfecting the “Yeasty” Parts: Yeast thrives in moist and dark areas such as crevices (ideal places – the “armpits”, groin area, under the tail, inside the ears), so be vigilant and disinfect these affected areas.

For example, if your dog has yeasty ears, you need to clean the debris in his ears regularly (3-4 times a week or even every day, depending on the amount of “gunk” produced in the ears).

For other yeasty body parts, make a solution by mixing a gallon of water with one cup of hydrogen peroxide, and one cup of white vinegar. Use this solution as a wipe to disinfect the yeasty parts. You can also use this solution as a foot soak if your dog has yeasty paws. After wiping and soaking, just pat dry the areas.
Bathing the Dog: It is important to keep washing off the layers of dead yeast from the dog. If you use a natural shampoo, washing the dog frequently will not dry out the skin. However, DO NOT use a shampoo that contains oatmeal (oatmeal is a grain so it is a food source for yeast). Use a natural anti-fungal shampoo that contains tea tree oil such as this Earthbath All Natural Shampoo with Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera.
Rinsing the Dog: After bathing the dog, use a natural rinse to further prevent yeast growth. Make a rinse by mixing one gallon of water with one cup of vinegar and 20 drops of peppermint essential oil. Pour the rinse from the neck down (avoid the head and eye areas). Rub the rinse into the hair and skin, particularly areas such as the armpits, feet, groin, and around the tail. Leave the rinse on and towel dry the dog. Use this rinse 1-3 times a week.

Your dog is speaking to you siliently.

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Nearly 90 percent of dogs communicate silently. Vocalizations and bites represent only 10 percent of their language. How do you know what your dog is saying in his silence?
Here are some common signals and their meaning:

Turning the head away: Peaceful intentions. Avoiding possible conflict. Prevents eye contact, which most dogs find threatening.
Lip licking: Peaceful intentions. Calms a social group, eases tension. But it also may precede a bite from a fearful dog.
Yawning: Stress reducer. Commonly observed at the veterinarian’s office or at the groomer.
Tail positions: Up means confidence. Down signals a relaxed or submissive state. Between legs means fear. Wagging with entire body signals joy. Wagging without the body indicates stress, interest or excitement.
Raised hackles: The dog feels threatened or is overstimulated.
Shivering: Fear, tension or overstimulated.
Paw lift: Forward weight distribution signals a friendly state or begging. Rear weight distribution could indicate fear or distrust.
Closed mouth: Precedes bite. Helps gain scent, conveys seriousness.
Open mouth: Relaxed.
Grimace: Tense jaw muscles with mouth pulled back at corners exposing canines or all teeth signals fear, excitement or aggression.
Whale eye (whites of eyes visible, dilated pupils): Conveys fear or aggression.
Presenting stomach: Laying squarely on back with paws over center of chest signals submission or trust. On side, lifting one hind leg indicates fear, apprehension or fearful submission.
Sneeze: During or after enjoyable activity signals happiness.
Bowing: Means the dog is playful.
Breathing: Through stomach signals a relaxed state. Through chest indicates excitment or stress.
Sniffing ground: This is a calming signal that shows peaceful intent, relief of stress or an attempt to gain a scent.
Freezing: Signals the dog is contemplating a fight or flight.
Drooling: During the presence of food means the dog is hungry. During stressful situations signals fear and, for dogs that suffer car-sickness, often precedes vomiting.

Dental Month for your Pets

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Per Dr. Forsyth: February is a month when many people start thinking about love and Valentine’s Day. But it’s also Pet Dental Health Month – and if you love your pet, taking care of their teeth is a great way to give them some TLC. The teeth in our furry friends’ mouths are no different from our own. When they have tartar buildup and red gums that means that there is bacteria in the mouth. And those nasty bugs can spread to other places in the body like the heart, liver, and kidneys. So maintaining Chip’s chompers and Ginger’s gums will ultimately help them to stay healthier overall.

The most important thing for improving dental health is to feed a high quality diet, with home prepared meals being hands down the best. Contrary to popular belief, and based on my years of clinical experience, feeding a kibble type food does not scrape plaque off of the teeth. Pets that kibble food many times have the worst teeth. Providing your pet with fresh ingredients that are high in folate, niacin, and minerals (eggs, liver, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, potatoes, peanuts, etc) is the best way to improve oral health.

There are some other ways besides fresh food to help dental health. Dogs like to chew as part of their natural behavior. The veterinary dentists do not like giving dogs hard objects to chew on as it is possible for them to fracture teeth, however, I’ve decided to take that risk and let my dog’s natural instincts serve as my guide. Raw meaty bones are the most natural for dogs to keep their teeth health. If you don’t like the mess of a raw bone, antlers are also terrific. If you’d like to avoid hard chewing objects altogether, my favorite natural dental products come from AromaDog/AromaCat: Bluto’s Yummy Gum Brush for the dogs and Peppermint Catty’s Purrly Whites for the cats are great for tooth brushing.

With giving your pet something to chew always use common sense – never give your pet cooked bones, never leave your pet unattended while they are with a bone, I personally avoid chicken bones for dogs, and always pick the largest bone or antler that your pet can handle and throw it away when it becomes small enough to be swallowed.

Dr. Forsyth currently works as a mobile veterinarian in Gloucester and Camden Counties for HousePaws ( She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. In 2003 she developed an interest in holistic medicine after it helped one of her dogs to recover from a serious illness. She has completed Professional and Advanced Courses in veterinary homeopathy through ANHC/Dr. Richard Pitcairn. She also provides nutritional counseling for her patients in the form of food, nutraceuticals, and herbs along with offering conventional medicine