Today is National Dress Your Pet Day. A lot of these fun daily holidays are harmless, but unfortunately, sometimes they can mean putting your pet in a situation they are uncomfortable with. Should you dress up your dog or cat on Dress Your Pet Day? Well, that really depends on your pet.

Should You Dress Up Your Dog, Cat or Pet? Dress Your Pet Day

Dress Your Pet Day: Should You Dress Up Your Pet?

Today is National Dress Your Pet Day. A lot of these fun daily holidays are harmless, but unfortunately, sometimes they can mean putting your pet in a situation they are uncomfortable with. Should you dress up your dog or cat on Dress Your Pet Day? Well, that really depends on your pet.
Dressing Up Pets

Today is National Dress Your Pet Day. A lot of these fun daily holidays are harmless, but unfortunately, sometimes they can mean putting your pet in a situation they are uncomfortable with. Should you dress up your dog or cat on Dress Your Pet Day? Well, that really depends on your pet.

Here are three things to consider before grabbing a pet costume and slapping it on your helpless pet.

  1. Dressing up your dog or cat doesn’t have to mean crazy outfits or clothing. A simple dog sweater or fancy cat collar with a bow just might do the trick.
  2. Please ensure that your pet’s clothing or outfit allows your pet to move and see freely. A pet outfit that prevents your pet from walking with a normal gait or seeing the world properly isn’t very pet-friendly or kind.
  3. Your pet should really enjoy wearing clothing or costumes if you are going to dress him up. Please. Your pet is there for you day in and day out—don’t show your gratitude by giving him undue stress.
Today is National Dress Your Pet Day. A lot of these fun daily holidays are harmless, but unfortunately, sometimes they can mean putting your pet in a situation they are uncomfortable with. Should you dress up your dog or cat on Dress Your Pet Day? Well, that really depends on your pet.
It’s cold in Ohio

Bonus Tip: If you would like to teach your pet to enjoy clothing or costumes, introduce things slowly and at his pace. For example, loosely tie a pet bandanna on his leg while providing him treats. Stop treating him and take off the bandanna. Bandanna on=food treats. Bandanna off=no food. Build on this concept, allowing the bandanna to be on for longer increments before providing your dog or cat a healthy pet treat. Continue this pet training lesson with other pet clothing items until your pet is happy and comfortable in pet clothing.


Does your pet enjoy costumes or clothing? Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Today is National Dress Your Pet Day. A lot of these fun daily holidays are harmless, but unfortunately, sometimes they can mean putting your pet in a situation they are uncomfortable with. Should you dress up your dog or cat on Dress Your Pet Day? Well, that really depends on your pet. Here are three things to consider before grabbing a pet costume and slapping it on your helpless pet.
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Instead of putting weekly good things that happened, I want you to put DAILY connecting with another inside your jar. When I think of connecting with people or connecting with our pets, I think of putting away all distractions (TV, cell phones, internet) and really just being in the moment with the other person or your pet.

Connect With Loved Ones Daily: Daily Connection Jar

Connecting with Family and Pets Daily Challenge

Instead of putting weekly good things that happened, I want you to put DAILY connecting with another inside your jar. When I think of connecting with people or connecting with our pets, I think of putting away all distractions (TV, cell phones, internet) and really just being in the moment with the other person or your pet.
Connecting with your pets and family.

Have you seen the post about the New Year’s Jar? The gist is that you start each year with an empty jar and each week you write a note about something good that happened during the week, and place the note inside the jar. Then, on New Year’s Eve, you read all the great and positive things that happened in your life. How fun is that?

As someone who works really hard at staying positive and trying to find the good in each situation, I am totally in love with this idea. However, I’m going to challenge you and myself to a little twist on this positive concept.

Here’s what I would like you to do. Instead of putting weekly good things that happened, I want you to put DAILY connecting with another inside your jar. When I think of connecting with people or connecting with our pets, I think of putting away all distractions (TV, cell phones, internet) and really just being in the moment with the other person or your pet. I think too often we get distracted by life, work, careers, etc. and we forget why we are doing everything. I’m no different. I, too, get very distracted and focused on the job vs. my human and furry family.

I want you to put DAILY connecting with another inside your jar. When I think of connecting with people or connecting with our pets, I think of putting away all distractions (TV, cell phones, internet) and really just being in the moment with the other person or your pet.
Connecting daily with your family and pets is important.

Okay, I’m going to log off and go take Dexter The Dog to the dog park for a sniffy walk. Can you shut everything else down for 5 minutes and connect with a family member or co-worker? When you do, write a little note about that time and put it in your jar. Then go back on New Year’s Eve and read about all the moments you created with those who are part of your life.

I want you to put DAILY connecting with another inside your jar. When I think of connecting with people or connecting with our pets, I think of putting away all distractions (TV, cell phones, internet) and really just being in the moment with the other person or your pet.
Bonding with family and pets.


What do you think? Do you think this is a reasonable goal?

Will you join me on this mission of connecting with our loved ones daily?

Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Instead of putting weekly good things that happened, I want you to put DAILY connecting with another inside your jar. When I think of connecting with people or connecting with our pets, I think of putting away all distractions (TV, cell phones, internet) and really just being in the moment with the other person or your pet.

I want to talk about ways to save money on your pet's medication when you find your dog or cat does need the help of pharmaceuticals. But, as always, please speak with your veterinarian on natural ways to help support your dog or cat's medical condition.

Ways To Save Money On Pet Meds, Pet Medications, Discount Pet Meds

Ways To Save Money On Pet Meds, Pet Medications, Discount Pet Meds

I want to talk about ways to save money on your pet's medication when you find your dog or cat does need the help of pharmaceuticals. But, as always, please speak with your veterinarian on natural ways to help support your dog or cat's medical condition.
Pet-Meds-Discounts

A few months ago, I wrote an article called When You Can’t Be 100% Natural. Today, I want to talk about ways to save money on your pet’s medication when you find your dog or cat does need the help of pharmaceuticals. But, as always, please speak with your veterinarian on natural ways to help support your dog or cat’s medical condition. It’s not just about adding medications, but how to support them when they do need pet medications. These tips can also be used for decreasing your personal medication costs, too!

  • Pet Insurance: First and foremost, enroll your dog or cat in a pet insurance plan! The sooner, the better. Most insurance companies will not cover a preexisting condition and have a 30-90 day wait period before taking effect. Having pet insurance for Dexter saves me thousands of dollars every year, even with his deductible and monthly premium. Read my article on Choosing Pet Insurance for tips on finding the best pet insurance plan for you.
  • Pet Medication Choices: Be open with your veterinarian on the issue of cost. Some medications are more expensive than others, but a less-expensive alternative may have a similar effect on treatment. That said, also make sure you are looking for a pet medication with the fewest known side effects. Having more side effects can cost you more in the long run financially and physically for your pet.
  • Generic Medication: Another option for some pet medications is a generic form. Generic pet medications can be 70-85% less than their brand-name counterparts. This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a month!
  • Compounding Pharmacies: Veterinary compounding pharmacies can prepare your pet’s medication to order, and usually at a cheaper rate. This is especially helpful if you have a pet that is hard to pill or needs a very specific dose. I order most of Dexter’s medications through Diamondback Drugs and have been very happy. We saved about $200 a month on one of our medications.
  • Comparison Shop: Don’t just take your pet’s medication to the closest pharmacy. Get on the phone or the internet and compare prices. You might be surprised at just how much different the price can be from pharmacy to pharmacy.
    • Online Medication Comparison Sites: Online tools can compare medication prices for pharmacies in your area. Just plug in your medication, quantity, and dose, and the tool will local pharmacies and their cost. Some even have coupons. You will want to ask the pharmacy if they will accept the coupon for your pet, as some do not. One example is GoodRX
    • Ask friends: This pet blog post was inspired by my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel friends! I was commenting on Dexter’s medication price increase, and discovered that a lot of these dogs have similar medical conditions with similar medications. We had a great discussion on where to purchase pet medications at a low price.
    • Mail Order Medications: Numerous online pet catalogs offer pet medications at a discount price. Drs. Foster and Smith and Valley Vet are two to check out.
  • Double Pill Dose: This may be an option if your pet’s pills come in tablet form. For example, Dexter gets a pet medication that is 5mg twice a day. If we bump that up to 10mg and split the tablet in half, the cost of the prescription is actually only $2 more! So instead of 50 days, I would get 100 days for $2 more. Crazy! Now, you can’t do that with monthly medications, because the medication is not distributed evenly in a tablet, but that’s not a real concern when you are giving the other half 12 hours later.
  • Order More: Sometimes ordering in bulk will cut down the cost per pill and for shipping. But, make sure you know the expiration before ordering too many.

As you can see, there are a lot of ways you can cut your pet’s medication cost. As a final note, I would suggest to go through these steps again if the price of your pet’s medication increases. Often medication prices will increase with one pharmacy and not the other, or a new medication may come to market that could be substituted.


Do you have any tips to share? Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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I want to talk about ways to save money on your pet's medication when you find your dog or cat does need the help of pharmaceuticals. But, as always, please speak with your veterinarian on natural ways to help support your dog or cat's medical condition.
I know sometimes people may think of me as extreme and maybe even over the top when it comes to the care I give my pets, but I don't agree. Unlike an adult person, my pets can’t make choices on their medical care, exercise routine, or diet. These are decisions that I make for them.

How To Be Your Pet’s Advocate: Getting A Second Opinion For Your Pet

Should You Get A Second Opinion On Your Pet’s Care?

I know sometimes people may think of me as extreme and maybe even over the top when it comes to the care I give my pets, but I don't agree. Unlike an adult person, my pets can’t make choices on their medical care, exercise routine, or diet. These are decisions that I make for them.
How to be your pet’s voice.

Be your pet’s advocate. Be your pet’s voice. What do those phrases even mean? I can’t speak for you, but I do speak for my pets. I must. They only have me. I am the sole provider of their care, their enrichment, their quality of life. I make ALL of their life decisions. This is a huge responsibility, one I do not take lightly, and one I think about on a regular, probably daily, basis.

I know sometimes people may think of me as extreme and maybe even over the top when it comes to the care I give my pets, but I don’t agree. Unlike an adult person, my pets can’t make choices on their medical care, exercise routine, or diet. These are decisions that I make for them. I know my friends and family joke about how Dexter eats better than I do, and it’s true. But I can choose whether to eat crappy food with awful preservatives, whereas Dexter and Nutter are counting on me to make better choices for them. This means I need to be informed so I can make the best choices for their care.

I know sometimes people may think of me as extreme and maybe even over the top when it comes to the care I give my pets, but I don't agree. Unlike an adult person, my pets can’t make choices on their medical care, exercise routine, or diet. These are decisions that I make for them.
Raising a cat naturally

So how does this all tie into being your pet’s advocate? Let’s take a look at choosing the best dog food for your dog. If you ask five dog parents, three veterinarians, and two family members what the best food is for a dog, you will get 10 very different answers. And none of these people want bad dog food; they want, and think they know, the best nutrition for a dog.

What that means for me is that I need to research and research again about dog nutrition before making a huge decision like what I’m going to feed my dog, and if I should feed by dog the same food for 10-15 years. Today, I think I know the answer to this HUGE question, but I’m guessing in another 5 years I will have new information, and may even reevaluate my feeding practices. This is the part of learning that people may overlook. It’s not about KNOWING now, but continuing our education and continuing to evolve.

Now, what about veterinary care? Should you vaccinate your dog every year? Should they get every vaccine that your veterinarian recommends? Again, I don’t just say, “yes ma’am.” I research and I research again. And I look for new research. I mean, they are doing new studies every day, and I want to know what those studies are saying. Do I trust my veterinarian? Of course! But, that doesn’t mean I agree with them 100%. I don’t agree with anyone 100%. Maybe I’m argumentative, which is funny, because I HATE conflict. That might just prove how seriously I take my job as my pets’ caregiver. I’m willing to go outside my comfort zone to speak up and ask questions for them.

I know sometimes people may think of me as extreme and maybe even over the top when it comes to the care I give my pets, but I don't agree. Unlike an adult person, my pets can’t make choices on their medical care, exercise routine, or diet. These are decisions that I make for them.
Natural Vet Care

That brings me to my next point. Ask questions. Ask more questions. You asked, and then two days later you have a new question? Ask again. Never feel like you can’t ask your veterinarian, dog trainer, mentor, etc. for more details. Do they think you are a pain in the a!@$? Well, if it’s really uncomfortable, then maybe that’s not the right person for you and your pet.

Just wait. Did someone tell you to do something to your pet that makes you feel uncomfortable? Maybe yell at your dog, squirt your cat with water, or give your pet a toxic flea treatment? Before just doing it, politely refuse and explain you need to look into that further. Now, it’s time to research and research some more.

Get more space. This may seem like a strange one to put in this post, but I think it fits when I explain it a bit. Often, I see dog parents allowing people or other dogs to overwhelm their dogs with petting or greeting. They may know their dog needs more space, but are uncomfortable telling the guest or greeter to back off. But you shouldn’t feel this way! Once again, your dog is counting on you to help him. Don’t worry what the oncoming person thinks. Who cares if they think you are abrupt? Your focus really should be on your dog’s comfort level. Be prepared to traffic cop oncoming people or dogs and prevent an interaction whenever you think your dog would rather not say hello. You can politely explain to them your dog needs more space, but when it comes down to it, I don’t owe them anything. I mean, if they didn’t stop 5-10′ away from us and ASK if they could come greet, then I don’t think I’M the rude one by just walking swiftly away with my dog. Believe me, your dog will thank you for it.

By being your pet’s advocate, you are helping to ensure the best, happiest, and healthiest life for your pet. When you brought your pet into your home, you took on the great responsibility to care for him and to provide him with the best care you possibly could. The more you learn about pet care, the better pet parent you will become. Now, go play with your pet!


Have you ever had to step up to the plate for your pet? Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Best dog food for pets
Learn how to home cook for your dogs.

Healthy Dog Treat Recipes
Healthy dog treat recipes

I know sometimes people may think of me as extreme and maybe even over the top when it comes to the care I give my pets, but I don't agree. Unlike an adult person, my pets can’t make choices on their medical care, exercise routine, or diet. These are decisions that I make for them.

The loss of a pet can be one of the most devastating events in a pet parent’s life. Pet loss, and recovering after the loss of a pet, can be very difficult. Grieving the loss of a pet alone can even be so traumatic for people trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of a pet.

How to Get Over the Loss of a Pet Pt. 1: Understanding Pet Grief

Pet Loss: Part One – Understanding Pet Grief

The loss of a pet can be one of the most devastating events in a pet parent’s life. Pet loss, and recovering after the loss of a pet, can be very difficult. Grieving the loss of a pet alone can even be so traumatic for people trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of a pet.
Pet Loss

The loss of a pet can be one of the most devastating events in a pet parent’s life. Pet loss, and recovering after the loss of a pet, can be very difficult. Grieving the loss of a pet alone can even be so traumatic for people trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of a pet. Pet loss is such a part of our lives that there are even pet loss support groups and veterinarians who specialize in hospice care and pet grieving.

Heart dogs
Dexter The Dog

I’ve been a pet lover and owner my entire life, but I know that when it’s Dexter The Dog‘s time to go, I am going to be beyond devastated. Dexter is what dog folks refer to as my ‘heart dog.’ This is a dog who holds a special place in the heart of their guardian like no other dog has in the past. Obviously, all my pets have been special and loved, but there’s just this indescribable connection and bond that Dexter and I have. I thought it would be best to discuss the loss of a pet before I ever have to deal with losing Dexter.

Today, I will try to offer a few suggestions and ideas to help you cope with the loss of a pet. The first question that came to my mind is, what is ‘normal’ when grieving for the loss of a pet? I spoke with Dr. Monica Turenne, owner of Four Paws Veterinary Wellness in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Turenne specializes in hospice and in-home pet euthanasia. Dr. Turenne said, “The most important thing to understand about grief is that it is normal but it is far from typical. There is no ‘usual’ way a person should grieve or does grieve. Some people may cry, be angry, or show no emotion at all. Interestingly enough, the 5 Stages of Grief that so many know about are no longer considered to be helpful because of the very reason that grief is dynamic and fluid – it is not a step by step procedure.”

Holistic Pet Experts
Dexter’s Adventures

Hearing Dr. Turenne say that some people show no emotion at all makes me feel a bit better about myself. I’ve always been a person who seems to hold my emotions in. I’ve even had people say I was cold and had no emotions. But that is far from the truth. I’m very emotional, but do tend to keep everything inside. I’ve often felt numb during times of grief. My emotions escape my control only in the comfort and safety of privacy.

Patti Floyd, a certified euthanasia technician and owner of Sweetly Made Pet Behavior and Adoption Counseling, added, “Normal is subjective. Not everyone moves through the different stages at the same time, or in the same order. What a lot of people don’t expect is the “odd” reasons for grief to pop back up: seeing a similar animal or finding an old photo. Some aren’t ready for the intensity of the grief and may even chastise themselves with “it was just a dog.” I’ve seen everything from the stoic pat on the head type of good bye, to people throwing themselves on the floor wailing. Each person was normal in their own right.”

With so many raw emotions during pet loss, how are we to know what is normal grief and when we may need to seek help from professionals? How long should we expect to grieve over the loss of a pet and when should we expect to get back to our everyday lives without the immense pain and sorrow? Dr. Turenne had this to offer, “There is no timetable. But most will gradually return to a ‘new normal,’ learning how to relate to the deceased pet in a new way, cope with the pet’s physical absence, and heal even with the scar on their heart and soul. And during this time, resume their normal routines and activities.”

Dr. Turenne went on to explain, “Pet parents are often startled by the strength of the emotions they feel after losing their beloved pet. They expect they will feel the sadness but not often do they expect the depth of the sadness. I often counsel pet parents after a euthanasia or after their pet has died to be patient with themselves, as too often pet parents feel they need to somehow rush through the grief process and it should be all wrapped up in a week.”

Gucci Baby
Gucci Baby

She went on to explain that not everyone is able to cope with their pet’s passing. “For other people, grief can become ‘complicated’ – here their responses to the pet’s death do not dissipate over time and they are not able to adapt to a new normal. This inability to cope impairs their ability to resume their normal routines and activities. ‘Normal grief’ and ‘complicated grief’ features can look similar…but the difference, however, is that with “complicated grief” the emotions can also have signs of hopelessness, low self-esteem, problems accepting the pet’s death, self-destructive behaviors, and even suicidal thoughts. Seeking the help of a mental health professional for grief support can be helpful for any pet parent experiencing any type of grief – ‘normal grief’ and certainly for ‘complicated grief.’”

Patti Floyd suggests having a family conversation when bringing a new pet home to discuss end of life care. This is when people are not emotionally charged and can think through the process and plan. “Even if there isn’t a specific, written plan, knowing how your family feels and what is most important to them will help the process.”

As hard as it is to cope with pet loss, it’s important to remember the joy and love pets bring to our lives and the lives of our family members. Even science shows us that pets decrease stress and blood pressure. But we don’t need science to show us how much our pets bring to our lives. All we have to do is look into their eyes as they allow us to see deep into their souls, while they see into ours.


How have you coped with the loss of your pet? Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  YouTube  Vimeo

The loss of a pet can be one of the most devastating events in a pet parent’s life. Pet loss, and recovering after the loss of a pet, can be very difficult. Grieving the loss of a pet alone can even be so traumatic for people trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of a pet.

Tui-Na Massage with Pets

An Intro to Tui-Na Massage Helping Dogs and Cats

An Intro to Tui-Na Massage Helping Dogs and Cats

Tui-Na Massage with Pets
Tui-Na Massage with Pets

As a Dog and Cat Mom, I’m always looking for ways to improve my pets’ health and behavior, and my connection with them. I often find myself lightly massaging Dexter The Dog and lightly rubbing Nutter The Cat‘s head and neck. There are various forms of pet massage, including deep tissue, Tellington TTouch, flexibility, and Tui-Na. Whether you are looking for a deeper way to connect with your pet, or you are looking for something that can mentally or physically heal your pet, massage may be able to help.

Today, I had the pleasure to speak with Michel Selmer, DVM, CVA, CVCH, CVFT about Tui-Na manual therapy, or Chinese bodywork. Dr. Selmer specializes in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, acupuncture, naturopathy, and Tui-Na. I thought he would be the perfect person to speak with about how Tui-Na, often pronounced “twee na,” can assist our pets.

Dr. Selmer Tui-Na Practitioner
Dr. Selmer Tui-Na Practitioner

Tonya Wilhelm: What exactly is Tui-Na and how it can be used in pet care?

Dr. Michel Selmer: Tui-Na is a Chinese manual therapy often used for prevention and/or treatment of disease in pets. The Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine practitioner will use various techniques which are applied to acupuncture points, meridians, and/or limb movement and stretching. Tui-Na is based on the fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Tonya Wilhelm: That’s very interesting. How is Tui-Na different than other forms of pet massage such as Tellington TTouch?

Dr. Michel Selmer: I am not very familiar with “TTouch,” but from what I do know it compares to Tui-Na as they are both composed of techniques that resemble therapeutic massage. Tui-Na is used to move Qi and blood and relieve pain, to regulate the internal Zang-fu functions and to restore the balance of Yin and Yang. It is based upon the fundamentals of the TCVM, Five Element theory and Eight Principles. I am not sure what medical background or philosophy the Tellington method of TTouch originated from.

Tonya Wilhelm: Would Tui-Na therapy help a pet with anxiety?

Dr. Michel Selmer: Most Tui-Na techniques are considered sedating/relaxing when done with strong stimulation and low frequency. Cases like with Project Hope (dogs rescued from dog fighting), in which there is a Shen disturbance that may stem from Liver Qi stagnation and/or a Heart Yin/Qi deficiency, can be treated with Tui-Na techniques by stimulating acupuncture points and channels, which then lead to promoting Qi and blood circulation as well as helping to regulate Yin and Yang imbalances.

Tonya Wilhelm: For anxiety, do you ever use Tui-Na and not acupuncture, or do they need to go hand in hand for anxiety?

Dr. Michel Selmer: Depends on the case and the patient. Can use them both as stand-alone treatments or in complementary use. Sometimes I will do acupuncture in the office and then teach the owner some Tui-Na techniques to do at home in between acupuncture treatments.

Tui-Na and dogs
Bella and is being treated for weakness and Addison’s disease.

Tonya Wilhelm: This sounds like it would benefit a lot of pets. Is this something a pet owner can learn to apply at home or is this strictly something only a veterinarian should perform?

Dr. Michel Selmer: A Veterinarian that is Certified as a Tui-Na practitioner is trained to apply Tui-Na to the patient as well as teach the owner techniques they can do at home.

Tonya Wilhelm: Are the results immediate or do they show over time?

Dr. Michel Selmer: It truly depends. Sometimes we see immediate results and sometimes they take time. Either way, the patients enjoy the treatments as it feels good.

Tonya Wilhelm: Are there any pets not appropriate for Tui-Na?

Dr. Michel Selmer: Contraindications of Tui-Na include, any fracture site, very old and/or very weak patients that may become depleted by vigorous therapeutic manipulations, pregnancy, any site of a mass/tumor, injured skin, dermatitis, infectious and contagious (zoonotic) diseases, and within 30 minutes of a meal.

Tonya Wilhelm: How does a pet owner of veterinarian know if the treatment is working for a particular pet?

Dr. Michel Selmer: You will know if Tui-Na is working if whatever the concern is improves. The practitioner will be able to assess if a pet is a good candidate for Tui-Na.

Cat Tui Na
Oreo being treated for inappropriate urination and alopecia/pruritis.

Tonya Wilhelm: One last question. Is Tui-Na something that both dogs and cats can enjoy?

Dr. Michel Selmer: YES!

After my interview with Dr. Selmer, I am energized to learn more about Tui-Na and how it can benefit pets with physical and mental alignments. I look forward to talking with him in a future post about how Tui-Na paired with acupuncture can assist dogs and cats with anxiety.

In the meantime, I wanted to point you to Project Hope. Dr. Selmer is asking other TCVM practitioners across the country to join him in providing acupuncture and Tui-Na pro bono to traumatized dogs waiting for their forever homes. You can read about Hope’s story and her amazing recovery below.


Do you massage or rub your pet? Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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Home Cooking For Dogs Book Healthy Dog Treat Recipes

 

Raising pets holistically and naturally

Raising Your Pets Naturally: Welcome

Raising pets holistically and naturally

When people ask me what I do for a living, sometimes it’s hard to put into words. What are you, Tonya? A dog trainer? Cat behavior counselor? Pet blogger? Pet freelance writer? Pet book author? Public speaker? But when I really think about it, I’m two things. A PET MOM first, and an educator second.

Over my almost 20-year career with animals, my main objectives have always been the same. Help as many pet parents with their animals as I can. Keep pets in their current homes. Help them lead fun and healthy lives, together. I started my career in an animal shelter, moved to training service dogs, then into training pet parents how to train their pets. Yes, training the parents, not the animals. 😉

I am able to achieve this by doing all of the things in the first paragraph. So, I am a pet trainer, behavior counselor, pet blogger, freelance writer, author, public speaker, and of, course, a PET MOM. That’s why Raising Your Pets Naturally with Tonya Wilhelm was born. I’ve taken all of my various websites and blogs (Global Dog Training /Toledo Dog Training, Adventures of Dexter, Vacations With Your Dog, and A Day In The Life of Tonya) and merged them into one brand, one site.

Raising Your Pets Naturally with Tonya Wilhelm will encompass all of my passions: dog behavior, dog training, dog and cat nutrition, pet care, cat behavior, pet and human health, pet contests, and lots fun games and activities you can do with your pets.

I thank you for following me on my journey and hope you enjoy the new website. Take a look around, and use the search feature find a topic. I encourage you to participate in the comments below the pet blog posts, contests, and my social media pages. And don’t forget, for more fun and tips and even discounts, sign up for my newsletter.

Sincerely,
Tonya, Dexter, Nutter, and Delilah

Natural Care For Pets

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As a pet professional focusing on raising my pets naturally, my goal is to use as many natural and holistic treatments as possible with my own pets. Using pharmaceuticals on my pets is something I do my best to avoid. I always turn to natural therapies first, but unfortunately, that is not always possible.

When You Can’t Be 100% Natural

As a pet professional focusing on raising my pets naturally, my goal is to use as many natural and holistic treatments as possible with my own pets. Using pharmaceuticals on my pets is something I do my best to avoid. I always turn to natural therapies first, but unfortunately, that is not always possible.

As a pet professional focusing on raising my pets naturally, my goal is to use as many natural and holistic treatments as possible with my own pets. Using pharmaceuticals on my pets is something I do my best to avoid. I always turn to natural therapies first, but unfortunately, that is not always possible.

I always have to consider my pet’s health, behavior, and quality of life. Let’s take a look at my best friend, Dexter The Dog. Just before Dexter’s third birthday, he was diagnosed with chiari malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM). CM is basically when the skull is too small to hold the brain, causing pressure on the cerebellum and medulla and obstructing normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. You can compare this to holding your finger over half of the opening of a hose; that pressure then causes fluid-filled cavities within the spinal cord, SM. This is a very painful, progressive and incurable disease in both dogs and humans.

This was before Dexter’s diagnosis.

There are, of course, natural ways I help manage Dexter’s pain. One is by monitoring and limiting his exercise and excitement. Being too active, physical, or rowdy can increase the pressure build up in his spinal cord, enhancing pain, or creating what I call “episodes,” when he’s a little more fidgety and uncomfortable.

Food therapy has been our saving grace. Looking at food from a Traditional Chinese Medicine standpoint, diet can help decrease the fluid build-up, which will, in turn, decrease pain. Foods that are draining such as sardines, shiitake mushrooms, celery, turnips and radishes are great for draining fluid. Herbs such as marjoram and parsley are also draining. These are items I rotate in Dexter’s home cooked meals.

Treating a dog with acupuncture

During Dexter’s first year after diagnosis, he received weekly acupuncture, eventually weaning off. Dexter’s acupuncture treatments were targeted to unblock stagnation in Dexter’s Qi (energy) and resolve phlegm. Dexter also receives cold laser therapy to stimulate cell healing if he has multiple bad days in a row. This works wonders to help him feel better.

Because his disease causes inflammation in the skull and spinal area, I work hard at controlling inflammation with not only the right food and herbs, but additional supplements. Currently, Dexter is on omega-3s, CoQ1030 and MicroLactin to help reduce inflammation.

Living with a dog with a terminal disease

Unfortunately, even with all these natural remedies in place, they alone are not enough to provide Dexter with a good quality of life. In addition, Dexter does have to be on a pharmaceutical cocktail to be as pain-free and playful as he possibly can. Because of this, Dexter is also on probiotics and has quarterly physicals, blood work, urinalysis and a thyroid test to monitor his body for any signs of failure.

My goal is to help Dexter be as pain-free and free-spirited as he possibly can. His quality of life is extremely important to me, and I do not take any of his medical choices lightly. Every day, I make an effort to spend quality time with him and tell him I love and appreciate him. I know our days are limited, so I always try to make each one count.


Do you have a pet with ongoing medical issues? Tell me in the comments.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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As a pet professional focusing on raising my pets naturally, my goal is to use as many natural and holistic treatments as possible with my own pets. Using pharmaceuticals on my pets is something I do my best to avoid. I always turn to natural therapies first, but unfortunately, that is not always possible.

The Pitfalls Of Having A Fenced In Yard

Pitfalls of Having a Fenced in Yard

Why fences aren’t always the best solution for exercising your dog.

I’m guessing that the title of this dog blog post got your interest. Why would a dog trainer have concerns about a fenced in yard? But everything in life has a risk factor. So, today I’m going to discuss the pitfalls of a fenced yard.

With my many years actively working with dog rescue groups, I have come across more than a handful of dog rescues that require a potential new adopter or foster parent to have a fenced-in yard. Don’t get me wrong, I think having a fenced in yard for your dog and children is wonderful, I truly do. I’m definitely pro-fence. I just feel there are some precautions that a dog guardian should think about before unleashing their dog in their yard.

Active supervision is always a must. A lot of the pitfalls of a fenced in yard can be avoided if you are out with your dog and engaging your dog. Remember, dogs are active and curious, and a lot of dogs can be mischievous. Unattended, they can get themselves in a lot of trouble. They are companion animals, so be a partner and engage them outside.

Ten Things To Consider

  1. Wildlife: Depending on where you and your dog live, wildlife can be dangerous. Birds of prey, coyotes, bears, alligators, poisonous snakes, porcupines and raccoons are just a few creatures that can harm and potentially kill your dog. If your dog is bitten by a spider and you aren’t aware of it, it could be lethal. On the other hand, if you are out with your dog, you are likely to realize what happened and will be able to seek emergency veterinary care.
  2. He Ate What? Poisonous plants, berries, mushrooms, sticks, mulch, rat poison, and even broken glass are a few things that might be lingering in your yard. A lot of dogs like to investigate their surroundings by eating. Eat now, ask later.
  3. No Walks: Sometimes the convenience of having a fenced in yard equals no walks. Taking a dog for a walk is not only a great physical activity for both your dog and you, but it’s also a very mentally stimulating activity. Daily dog walks provide a great bonding opportunity. If you are relying on your fenced yard for exercise vs. dog walks or daily adventures, you may find your dog’s socialization skills start to decrease.
  4. Fence Running: If your fence butts up to another dog fence, you may experience fence running between the dogs. This behavior typically starts out as fun between the two dogs but often escalates to aggression and anxiety. Do you have a fence runner? Read my article: One Cue That Will Get Your Dog To Stop.
  5. You’re Boring: If your dog has a lot of access to his fenced-in yard without you, you may find it challenging to get your dog to pay attention to you outside. He has learned that his environment is more exciting than you are. Coming inside the house when you call him, just forget about it.
  6. Territorial: When a dog spends a lot of time in one area, he can become territorial. If this is the case, you may see your dog getting more agitated as other dogs, animals, or people pass by.
  7. Escape: Dogs can easily escape a yard by digging under, jumping over, climbing over, or strolling out through a gate inadvertently left open. Don’t risk your dog escaping your yard: double check gates and fence lines daily, even if you actively supervise your dog.
  8. Destruction: Running through flower beds, digging holes, and eating the house are only a few ways a dog may be destructive while unsupervised in his yard.
  9. Did He Potty? Often people assume if their dog is outside, they are eliminating. This assumption can sometimes lead to potty training issues, because a dog may not have pottied, or he pottied an hour ago, not right before you let him back inside the house. Another concern is not knowing what our dog’s stool looks like. Dog poop is a big key in determining a dog’s health. If you are unaware of subtle changes in his bowel movements, you may not be aware of a medical condition. Need help potty training your dog? Read my article: Dog Potty Training.
  10. Theft! According to Petfinder, up to 2 MILLION pets are stolen each year! When I read that, I was just shocked. The reasons behind dog theft are just as shocking. Grab your tissues! Petfinder lists these motives for dog theft: Sold to research laboratories, Fighters or bait in dogfighting, Breeders for puppy mills, Meat for human consumption, Meat for exotic animal consumption, Fur for clothing and accessories, For sale in pet stores, Dissection, Protective guard dogs, and Ritual sacrifice for satanic cults. Is walking away from your dog in his yard worth the risk?

Fences can be a great addition to a home with a dog. When used properly, a dog has an opportunity to run, play, and just chill out. As dog parents, we have a responsibility to protect our dogs and to ensure their safety to the best of our ability. Leaving them in a yard unsupervised is risky. It’s a risk I’m not willing to take. Are you?


What do you think? Tell me in the comments.

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Joint Care For Dogs

Arthritis, Skin and Heart Supplements For Dogs

Do you have a dog who is scratching a lot?  Or maybe your dog has dry, flaky skin.  Of course, the first thing I would suggest is to get an appointment with your veterinarian, veterinarian dermatologist or veterinary food therapist and possibly a dog behavior counselor. You will want to ensure that you are addressing the root of the problem which can be medical and/or behavioral.  Once you have a good diagnosis, your treatment plan can take place.

One additive to consider when trying to cure your dog’s flaky skin is a fatty acid supplement or fish oil.  Omega-3s are important in your dog’s overall health and skin and coat condition.  They also help reduce inflammation, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease & are typically recommended for heart issues.  But you need to be careful to ensure a quality product that has the right ratio of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

With the guidance and recommendation of our veterinary food therapist, we use Vetoquinol AllerG-3 Supplement in the pump form (they also make capsules).  We use our omega-3s to keep Dexter’s skin and coat healthy and shiny.   AllerG-3 is made of fish oil in the triglyceride (TG), or natural form.  According to their website, “AllerG-3 products contain the only fish oil to achieve USP ingredient verification. USP uses rigorous standards to evaluate manufacturing and quality control systems and test ingredient samples for compliance with identity, strength, quality and purity claims as well as acceptable contaminant limits.”

Since Vetoquinol AllerG-3 Supplement is safe for most dogs, my veterinarian and I felt it was a safe and healthy way to work on preventing dry skin, inflammation, arthritis and help keep a healthy heart.

If you have a dog breed who is prone to arthritis or heart issues, Labrador retrievers, German shepherd dogs, golden retrievers and, of course, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels come to mind, you might what to ask your veterinarian about Vetoquinol AllerG-3 Supplement.

Are you looking for even more ways to stay up to date with Raising Your Pets Naturally? Sign up for the newsletter for more tips and promotions. Don’t forget to be social and Like, Follow and Subscribe. Comments below are always welcome.

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