| August 26, 2017
A Pet’s Life
Proper exercise for dogs is important to their overall physical and mental wellbeing, but often “mental exercise” is given short shrift when looking at fulfilling a dog’s needs. Dogs that are bored and that have little mental and environmental stimulation can develop mild to severe behavioral problems as a result. Providing your dog with “brain exercise” is easy to do – here’s some ideas you can try out!
1. Behavior training for dogs
Obedience training can be more than just simply teaching your dog sit, down and other common manners and behaviors. Training your dog to learn a new behavior asks him to think and learn and engage his brain. You can become creative in what you teach – tricks are one wonderful way of constantly keeping your dog learning while enjoying an activity that’s fun for both of you. Using a clicker to train is an excellent way of teaching your dog complex behaviors and you can use it to “shape” behaviors as well. “Free shaping” is another type of training where you “shape” small increments of behavior based on what your dog does in a given situation. A typical example would be the well-known “101 Things to Do With a Box” exercise from clicker training expert Karen Pryor.
2. “Outside the box” training classes for dogs
Taking your dog to a “regular” obedience class helps to socialize your dog and helps you both learn how to communicate with each other. It’s also terrific mental exercise for a dog since it involves not only the learning process but also handling a new and varying environment. Once the “typical” dog parent finishes obedience class though, as many a dog trainer from my personal experience can attest, they decide they are “done.”
There are many wonderful options available today for you to continue in classes with your dog, such as classes on teaching tricks, therapy dog training, and a whole host of dog sports such as agility, rally, canine freestyle, scent work, barn hunt and much more.
You don’t need to become a competitor in these sports either, many classes are a mixture of serious competitors and dog parents who just want to have fun with their dogs, so don’t be intimidated to try one! Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Associated Certified Animal Behaviorist Katenna Jones encourages guardians to take the plunge: “I love classes that cover skills beyond the basics. My favorite class I teach is Brain Games, where dogs learn things like riding skateboards, color discrimination, and more. Classes and activities like this are rewarding for you both, great for bonding, improve communication, and tire out brains and bodies.” If you don’t know what kinds of classes are available in your area, visit the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants website to find classes in your area.
3. Dog sniffing and using other senses
Take your dog out on more than “just a walk.” Find places that are richly varied in terms of sounds, sights, textures, odors and more. A dog’s sense of smell is much stronger than ours and allowing him to “see” the world through olfactory senses can really stretch his mind (hence the popularity of scent work classes and competition). Rather than taking your dog on the same walk every day, along the same path or sidewalk, look for places that may have new smells, or an abundance of them, such as parks or forest trails you don’t usually go to. On the reverse side, find dog friendly urban walks to change up the pace. You can even add in some elements of “parkour” to your walks by having your dog go up onto obstacles such as curbs, steps, benches, and playground equipment – be creative, but make sure that nothing is too high or unsafe for your dog!
4. Games toys and puzzles for dogs!
Games are a fun way of activating your dog’s mind, as well as building your relationship together and teaching your dog to see that spending time with you is the best reward ever! This is another opportunity to be creative – you can use variations on children’s games, such as hide-and-seek, or come up with brand new games based on what you have available and your dog’s interests. For example, if you have a dog that absolutely loves balls, and you have enough room for tossing it, you can create games that involve the retrieve, as well as mixing in some basic obedience behaviors. Other types of games don’t even necessarily need to involve you, but can be just as mentally engaging. Toss some kibble around the room, or in your yard if it’s safe, and let the dog “hunt” for his food. You can even do this instead of using a dog food bowl entirely for each meal. There are many types of interactive food toys and puzzles that you can use as well for the same purpose and they are not all just “food dispensers.” For some, the dog has to really think about how to get the food out of the various types of openings.
5. Bringing your dog out
Another way to stimulate your dog’s mind is to simply bring him out with you during your regular errands. Getting to see new faces, new places and a ride in the car can be very mentally challenging for a dog and also helps to reinforce socialization. Try taking your dog on trips to new places neither of you have been as well. You don’t necessarily have to take him out on a long walk or hike – the experience of being outside and experiencing novel stimuli will be a highlight for your dog. There are many dog-friendly places you can bring your dog for an outing, such as local coffee shop and restaurant patios, home improvement and garden/nursery stores, pet supply stores, and even some large national chains (for items such as craft supplies and household goods). Always check with the store manager first, of course, and be sure that your dog can handle showing his good manners off in a crowd of strangers.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
| August 14, 2017
Some of us take the phrase, “dog days of summer” quite literally— we want to go everywhere accompanied by our beloved dogs! While this can be great, know that the heat of summer has the potential to be hazardous to your dog’s health. One of the greatest summer dangers is dehydration. Dogs get hot faster than people, and it’s easy for even the healthiest of dogs to become dehydrated.
Significant forethought and planning to accommodate higher temperatures separate a fun summer day from a trip to the emergency veterinarian.
What exactly is dehydration in dogs?
Dehydration refers to a shortage of water within the body. Do you know that approximately 60% of your dog’s body mass is comprised of water? Not only is water a component of what flows within blood vessels (arteries and veins), water is also an essential component within cells and the tissues surrounding them. Given its ubiquitous nature, it’s easy to understand why having an adequate amount of water within the body is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure, circulation, and bodily functions.
Causes of dehydration in dogs
Dehydration results when too little water is consumed in relationship to the amount lost from the body. For example, a dog who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea and doesn’t feel good enough to drink lots of water to make up for these fluid losses can readily become dehydrated. Kidney disease can cause dehydration because the damaged kidneys produce abundant urine regardless of how little water is consumed.
Summertime heat promotes dehydration, particularly when a dog isn’t interested in or doesn’t have access to lots of water. Think about the tennis ball obsessed dog who doesn’t like to interrupt a good game of fetch to gulp down some water. Whereas this may not be a problem in cooler temperatures, water loss associated with heavy summertime panting can quickly result in dehydration.
Detecting dehydration in dogs
Dehydration causes a variety of symptoms and dogs may demonstrate from one to all of them. Symptoms include:
- Labored breathing
- Elevated heart rate
- Dry and sticky feeling gums (normal gums are slick and smooth to the touch).
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from dehydration, do your best to find some shade or an air conditioned environment and encourage drinking. If the symptoms don’t improve within a short time period (five minutes at most), it’s time to seek out emergency veterinary care.
Preventing dehydration in dogs
Here are some pointers to keep your favorite Fido well hydrated this summer:
- Exercise your dog early in the morning or evening hours to avoid the most intense heat of the day.
- Be sure to take along water and a water bowl (one that is familiar to your dog) wherever you go. Don’t rely on natural water sources being available.
- Allow for plenty of rest and water breaks during play activity and exercise. Your dog may not know his limits and will continue to enthusiastically chase the Frisbee long after it’s time to slow down.
- Provide water access frequently. When out in the heat, be sure to provide a water stop (for you and your dog) at least once every 15 to 20 minutes.
- If your dog is preoccupied with something else (other dogs, a tennis ball, etc) or too excited to drink, best to cut your outing short for the sake of preventing dehydration.
As much as we love to bring our dogs with us everywhere, be reminded that, when temperatures are soaring, your dog’s well being may be best served by being left at home.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
| August 1, 2017
My German Shepherd in Cali – How I Saved My GSD’s Life
| July 21, 2017
My Orthopedist Laughed When I Said I Wanted to Run a Marathon, but When I Crossed the Finish Line, I was the One Laughing!
| May 19, 2017
The Solution: As the old adage goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The key to keeping your pup free from joint disease is to be proactive. According to top Vets this means 3 things:
filed by Dr. Dale Rockhold | April 23, 2017
With Everpure’s Turmeric Curcumin
filed by Dr. Jennifer Bosley | March 15, 2017
filed by Dr. Shawn Avery | February 16, 2017
Turmeric Curcumin: Health Solution or Health Scam?
A New Study Reveals 3 Shocking Facts
This extract from a yellow culinary spice has become one of the most talked about supplements in recent years. Famous physicians such as Dr. Oz and Dr. Weil, as well as numerous health publications, have touted it as a “must take” for numerous chronic conditions.
The QUESTION however, is does the science back up these claims? How well does Turmeric perform in relation to prescription drugs when treating Arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Cancer?
Luckily, respected ethnobotanist Dr. James A. Duke, did the legwork for us. He reviewed more than 700 studies to compile the most comprehensive report on Turmeric ever published. How well did it stack up? The results may surprise you…
|Clinically shown to prevent the onset of :
Works as well as dangerous medications to fight:
Studies indicate that it is effective in the prevention of:
The scientific data substantiates the claims that Turmeric Curcumin appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases and does so with virtually no adverse side effects.
- Beckstrom-Sternberg, Stephen M. and James A. Duke. Phytochemo Database USDA-ARS-NGRL. 5/15/01.
- Chopra, Deepak. Perfect Health. New York: Harmony Books, 1991.
- Duke, James A. Dr. Duke’s Essential Herbs. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1999.
Original Investigation | November 30, 2016
There is no doubt that antibiotics are truly a wonder of modern medicine. Beginning with the discovery of penicillin in 1928, the rapid resolution of bacterial infections from antibiotics caused many in the medical profession to become completely enamored with the drug based approach to illness erroneously thinking that the danger to human life from infections was a thing of the past.
Not so fast.
By 1940, antibiotics had come into widespread use causing both doctors and people to gradually forget about natural antibiotics for resolving infections and the age old remedies like cod liver oil. This change in the medical paradigm has led in recent decades to abuse of drug based antibiotics and the worrisome rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs such as the “TDR”(totally drug resistant) strain of tuberculosis and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections particularly in babies and children.
The over-reliance on drug based resolution to infections has also triggered an epidemic of children and adults with compromised gut function and autoimmune diseases of all kinds due to an imbalanced intestinal environment and the consequential scourge of leaky gut syndrome.
Beyond the problem of antibiotic resistance, however, are the long term effects of even a single round of antibiotics. The expectation in the health community that you can just fix the damage with probiotics and/or fermented foods and that gut flora magically returns to normal seems to be far from accurate.
Evidence is now emerging from multiple sources that gut flora may actually be permanently altered by drugs or, at the very least, the damage persists for several years.
The Journal Microbiology, for instance, reports that the generally acknowledged precept that use of antibiotics only causes disruption of the gut flora for a few weeks is highly flawed.
Gut flora does not quickly return to normal after a round of antibiotics.
Even a short course of antibiotics can lead to resistant bacterial populations taking up residence in the gut that persist for up to 4 years – maybe even longer (source)
The bottom line is that drug based antibiotics really should only be used for life threatening situations – as a last resort if you will.
For bothersome everyday infections that are not life threatening, however, nature provides some very powerful and effective alternatives. Here is the list of the best of these natural antibiotics which have succeeded in keeping my own family of five off all drug based antibiotics for colds, flu, skin and sinus infections for over 15 years (and counting!). This list of the best natural antibiotics on the planet is in no particular order although I make note of which one is my personal favorite.
How to Use the Best Natural Antibiotics on the Planet
There are over 40 different oregano species, but the most beneficial one to maximize the therapeutic antibiotic effect you need is the oil produced from wild oregano, called Origanum vulgare. Thymus capitatus, a variety that grows in Spain, is also very powerful.
Quality oregano oil made from these species is golden to dark yellow, with a strong spicy odor.
According to Dr. Mercola, the best uses for oregano oil as a natural antibiotic are the following:
- Foot or nail fungus. Put a few teaspoons of oregano oil in a small tub water and soak your feet. The oil can also be diluted (one drop of oil with a teaspoon of olive oil) and then apply directly to nails or skin.
- Parasites and infections: Dilute the oil as described above and place it under your tongue. Hold it there for a few minutes, and then rinse it out. Repeat at least four times a day.
- Sinus infections: Put a few drops of oregano oil in a pot of steaming water or neti pot, and inhale the steam.
Cayenne pepper also called capsicum is a strong spice used for thousands of years for its healing power and antibiotic effects. It’s not just an anecdotal, folklore remedy, however. Science is validating its use as a natural antibiotic as well.
Cayenne pepper is particularly effective at resolving vulvovaginitis, a common infection in women. One Czech study found capsicum essential oil exerts a considerable anti-fungal and antibiotic effect on this condition. It is important to properly use a carrier oil such as olive oil and thoroughly dilute cayenne pepper essential oil, however, as capsicum is quite burning upon initial contact with the skin.
Cayenne pepper is also fantastic for helping to resolve strep throat. This article describes the protocol in depth.
The remarkable antibiotic nature of silver has been known for centuries. In the early 1900′s, the founder of Searle Pharmaceuticals, Alfred Searle, wrote in his book The Complete Use of Colloids in Health and Disease:
Applying colloidal silver to human subjects has been done in a large number of cases with astonishingly successful results…it has the advantage of being rapidly fatal to microbes without toxic action on its host. It is quite stable. It protects rabbits from ten times the lethal dose of tetanus or diphtheria toxin.
In the 1970′s, Dr. Robert O. Becker at Syracuse Medical University began to intensively research colloidal silver. He discovered that silver not only kills bacteria, but it actually killed bacteria that were resistant to all known antibiotics with no undesirable side effects.
While colloidal silver is highly antibiotic in nature, I suggest only using it for external uses such as gargling, ear infections like swimmers’ ear and skin. The reason is that ingestion of colloidal silver does damage the delicate gut microbiome by killing beneficial bacteria though not as extensively as drug based antibiotics. If you need the assistance of natural antibiotics to consume internally, choose another one on this list, not colloidal silver.
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) has been reported to be a highly effective, natural antibiotic in combating a variety of common infectious agents. In one study, drops of concentrated grapefruit-seed extract were tested for antibacterial properties against a number of gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. The researchers concluded that GSE was comparable to “proven topical antibacterials. Although the GSE appeared to have a somewhat greater inhibitory effect on gram-positive organisms than on gram-negative organisms, its comparative effectiveness against a wide range of bacterial biotypes is significant.”
Used full strength to combat warts, properly diluted GSE has a variety of uses to combat pathogens in your home environment. The only caveat is that commercial preparations of GSE have a chemical in them called diphenol hydroxybenzene that is of questionable safety and other chemicals like triclosan and cancer causing parabens that are definitely to be avoided.
Therefore, if you intend to use GSE especially internally, it is best to make it yourself by grinding the grapefruit seeds and the juiceless pulp and then mixing with glycerin.
Of all the natural antibiotics, garlic is my personal favorite and my family’s go-to for internal use. The reason is that it kills the pathogens, not just bacteria but also fungus and viruses too without harming beneficial gut flora.
- Garlic packs a punch with phytochemicals and healing sulfur components. These sulfur compounds even chelate toxic heavy metals (like lead & cadmium), binding with them for excretion out of the body.
- It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and even antiviral qualities.
- It promotes the growth of healthy intestinal microflora by acting as a prebiotic (food for probiotics).
- Garlic helps keep fats from oxidizing.
- Garlic acts as a strong antioxidant and guards against DNA damage.
- It protects against radiation & sunlight damage.
- Garlic fights worms and parasites.
- It benefits digestion, which is good for the whole body.
- It contains many nutrients such as vitamins (C, B1, B2, B3), minerals (calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, and phytochemicals (Allicin, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, diallyl-disulfide, ferulic acid, geraniol, kaempferol, linalool, oleanolic acid, p-coumaric acid, phloroglucinol, phytic acid, quercetin, rutin, s-allyl-cysteine, saponin, sinapic acid, & stigmasterol).
The phytochemical allicin in garlic is so powerful that it is one of the best natural antibiotics effective against MRSA. This article describes how to use it appropriately for this purpose.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD suggests consuming a whole head of garlic a day when using for natural antibiotic purposes. She also outlines how to make garlic infused olive oil as a remedy for ear and other external infections.
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- 1 – 2 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil
Place the crushed garlic in the oil and let sit for 30 minutes, then strain. The oil can be warmed slightly by placing it in a cup and setting the cup in warm water (don’t overheat or this will destroy beneficial properties). Use a few drops of this oil hourly in the ears to treat an ear infection. Garlic oil is a safe remedy for children and can also be used daily (just a couple of drops) to soften ear wax buildup.
Have you ever wondered why pickled, raw ginger is nearly always served with sushi? This is likely because of historical folklore concerning ginger’s natural antibiotic effects which help prevent food poisoning.
Studies have shown that fresh ginger really does have an antibiotic effect against food borne pathogens such as salmonella, listeria and campylobacter. Fresh ginger also increases stomach acid production and helps calm indigestion when a meal just doesn’t agree with you.
So, if you are going to eat something that has the potential for food borne illness such as sushi or raw oysters, always best to eat some fresh ginger (raw and pickled is most potent) too in order to make use of its natural antibiotic properties.
This article on how to make The Master Tonic includes fresh ginger (as well as cayenne pepper and garlic). This tonic is a highly effective concoction to make and take with you when traveling overseas in order to have a handy formula available that packs the punch of several natural antibiotics synergistically combined and fermented for maximum potency.
Olive Leaf Extract
Most people are aware of the health benefits of pure, 100% extra virgin olive oil. However, many in the health community are still in the dark about the antibiotic effects of olive leaf extract coming from the very same trees!
According to Dr. Ronald Hoffman MD, founder and Medical Director of the Hoffman Center in New York City, olive leaf extract as a healing modality was first realized in the 1800’s for malaria. Olive leaf extract may be best known for it’s ability to reduce fever even due to severe illness.
Early in the last century, oleuropein was isolated from olive leaf extract as this phytochemical was thought to give the olive tree its resistance to disease. Researchers from the Netherlands then learned that elenolic acid, a component of oleuropein, acted as a broad spectrum natural antibiotic, which safely and strongly inhibits the growth of not only bacteria, but also viruses and fungi.
Dr. Hoffman MD’s suggestion for use of olive leaf extract for long standing infections or candida is two 500 mg capsules (20% oleuropein) three to four times per day, preferably with meals.
Turmeric is a spice widely used in traditional Indian cooking that has been used holistically for centuries.
Dr. Kelly Brogan MD uses turmeric widely in her holistic psychiatry practice. She writes,
This wonder-spice is a mainstay of my anti-inflammatory work with patients in my practice where I use liposomal preparations of curcumin, the natural phenols responsible for turmeric’s yellow color, when I suspect their symptoms stem from a challenged immune system.
In research, the curcumin in turmeric was shown to be effective against Helicobacter pylori common in gastroduodenal ulcers regardless of the genetic makeup of the strain. The administration of curcumin also resolved any gastric damage caused by the infection.
If you wish to use turmeric as a natural antibiotic, Dr. Weil suggests to look for extracts in dosages of 400 to 600 mg, and take three times daily or as directed.
Echinacea is an herb widely used to fight infections and has been the subject of wide scientific research. Even WebMD is positive about it concluding that:
Echinacea is widely used to fight infections, especially the common cold and other upper respiratory infections. Echinacea is also used against many other infections including the flu, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.
German scientists have studied echinacea using double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, the gold standard for scientific research on drugs. One of these showed that echinacea users experienced less frequent and less severe virus infections by one-third to one-half with no toxic effects compared to the group that took a placebo.
According to Dr. Sears MD, echinacea studies on adults suggest 300 mg three time a day for a total of 900 mg a day as a recommended regimen. For children, half the adult dose for ages 6-13, and one-quarter the adult dose for those under age six.
What would this list of natural antibiotics be without raw honey which has been used as an infection fighter since ancient times? Of all the raw honey on the planet, Manuka honey from New Zealand is the best when it comes to resolving infections.
I first used Manuka honey 16 years ago shortly after my first child was born to resolve a breastfeeding related infection. It worked so well I was able to avoid using antibiotics.
According to Dr. Mercola, clinical trials have found that Manuka honey is effective against more than 250 strains of bacteria, including:
- MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
- MSSA (methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus)
- VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci)
- Helicobacter Pylori (which can cause stomach ulcers)
In 2007, the FDA even approved Manuka honey based wound dressings.
The great thing about Manuka honey is that it is food. I’ve personally found it most effective for skin based infections (just slather on as needed), but the research indicates an internal infection fighting benefit as well even reducing the cavity causing bacteria responsible for dental plaque.
Overuse of drug based antibiotics frequently leads to an overgrowth in the gut of a large family of yeasts or fungus known as Candida.
Pau d’arco is an herb that is highly effective at repressing Candida and significantly reducing the resultant sugar cravings that come with it. Repressing Candida and ingesting plenty of probiotics in the form of fermented foods and/or supplements will over time allow beneficial gut microbes to regain control of the gut environment.
While Pau d’arco has been used as a medicine for centuries as one of the best natural antibiotics to counteract fungal overgrowth, science is also validating these anecdotal observations. The Brazilian Journal of Biology found in 2010 found that Tabebuia avellanedae, one tree species that is the source of the Pau d’arco herb, does indeed exert an inhibitory effect on yeasts.
The form Pau d’arco is most often used is as an herbal tea, which I must admit, is an acquired taste! Even after drinking it as needed for the past 2 decades, I still don’t like it much! The good news is that the taste isn’t so terrible that you can’t drink a cup or two for a few days to a week or more. This will help you get back into the routine of healthy eating with sweets kept in moderation if Candida has gotten out of control during off the wagon eating while on vacation or due to a round of antibiotics.
Which of the natural antibiotics on this list are your favorites? What do you use them for and when?