I wholeheartedly believe pets are a great way to help teach a child responsibility and caring for another living being. The friendship between a pet and child can be an amazing thing to watch flourish. My family dog was my best friend growing up. But a pet is still not the full responsibility of any child.

Kids and Pets | Buying a Pet for Your Children

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Raising Your Pets, Dogs and Cats Naturally

Dogs and Kids

Buying a Pet for Your Children

I wholeheartedly believe pets are a great way to help teach a child responsibility and caring for another living being. The friendship between a pet and child can be an amazing thing to watch flourish. My family dog was my best friend growing up. But a pet is still not the full responsibility of any child.
Pets and Kids

As a professional pet behavior counselor, I’m often called in to assist pet parents with their dog’s or cat’s behavioral “problems.” I love my career and I love helping pet parents learn more about their pets and learn how to communicate better with them. But it really gets under my skin when an adult parent tells me, “It’s the kids’ dog and their responsibility.

These parents may tell me things like, they had long conversations on what role the child was going to play in the pet’s life and that it was a long-term commitment. That it was the child’s job to feed the cat, walk the dog, play with the dog etc. The parents in turn would be financially responsible. Really?

As adults, we can’t really believe that a 7- to 17-year-old child is going to make that commitment, or that they have the mental or physical capacity to train a 6-month-old large dog. What about their school? Friends? College? Think about their favorite game or activity from a year ago—is it still their favorite thing to do?

I wholeheartedly believe pets are a great way to help teach a child responsibility and caring for another living being. The friendship between a pet and child can be an amazing thing to watch flourish. My family dog was my best friend growing up. But a pet is still not the full responsibility of any child.

Dogs are great friends
Toby ’70s

When deciding to bring another member into a family, it’s important to realize that pets are a lot of work! Especially if you are thinking of getting a puppy or kitten. Expect two full years to train that pet, teach him or her life skills, and be prepared for their adolescent period.

In the end, a family pet is the responsibility of the adults in the household. Children can play a very important supporting role. Kids are just that—kids. They should be able to live a kid’s life. After childhood, they have the rest of their lives to be responsible adults, so cut them a little slack. If the adults do not personally have the time, patience, or energy to care for the new dog or cat, then I would advise looking into a goldfish.

Pets for kids
No training required


Do you have a pet as a child? Tell me in the comments.

I wholeheartedly believe pets are a great way to help teach a child responsibility and caring for another living being. The friendship between a pet and child can be an amazing thing to watch flourish. My family dog was my best friend growing up. But a pet is still not the full responsibility of any child.
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Do Cats Get Bloat like Dogs? Recently, my mom asked me if cats can get bloat and die like dogs. Before I go into my findings, I want to explain what we were referring to when talking about dog bloat vs. cat bloat. When the phrase dog bloat is used, it is typically referring to gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) which can be deadly for dogs.

Bloated Cat: Do Cats Get Bloat like Dogs?

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Cat Bloated Stomach

Do Cats Get Bloat?

Do Cats Get Bloat like Dogs? Recently, my mom asked me if cats can get bloat and die like dogs. Before I go into my findings, I want to explain what we were referring to when talking about dog bloat vs. cat bloat. When the phrase dog bloat is used, it is typically referring to gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) which can be deadly for dogs.
Do Cats Get Bloat?

Recently, my mom asked me if cats can get bloat and die like dogs. Before I go into my findings, I want to explain what we were referring to when talking about dog bloat vs. cat bloat. When the phrase dog bloat is used, it is typically referring to gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) which can be deadly for dogs. Bloat in dogs typically occurs with large breed, large-chested dogs during eating. When a dog eats too quickly, or eats at an improper angle for his body, gas and pressure start to build and become trapped inside. The stomach then begins to swell, which can cause a variety of medical conditions including rupture of the stomach wall, leading to death. So, my Mom’s question was if this could happen to cats.

I wasn’t sure on the answer to this question, though I never recalled it happening while I worked in a veterinary hospital, or my 20 years in the pet care industry. So I asked a few veterinary professionals if they experienced GDV in cats.

Dr. Taylor Truitt from The Vet Set said, “If we’re talking about cats, GDV is exceptionally rare.” A few more veterinarians replied that GVD does not happen in cats. Dr. Truitt did offer a few other reasons why a cat may have a bloated stomach. “A cat may be experiencing intestinal parasites, FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), liver failure, cancer, intestinal foreign bodies, or pregnancy. So, if you have a bloated cat, please take your cat into your veterinarian; however, it is unlikely he has GDV.”


What do you think? Tell me in the comments.

Do Cats Get Bloat like Dogs? Recently, my mom asked me if cats can get bloat and die like dogs. Before I go into my findings, I want to explain what we were referring to when talking about dog bloat vs. cat bloat. When the phrase dog bloat is used, it is typically referring to gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) which can be deadly for dogs.
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Dog Rehabilitation Exercises for Dog Neurological Conditions: Natural Treatments for Chiari malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM). I reached out to one of Dexter's holistic veterinarians, Dr. Mary L. Cardeccia. Dr. Cardeccia focuses on animal rehabilitation and natural healing methods including acupuncture, food therapy, chiropractic, Reiki, and herbology. We both agreed that there were more natural rehabilitation exercises and work I could be doing with Dexter to improve his conscious proprioception and to hopefully help decrease his head bobbing and wobbles (back end weakness).

Dog Rehabilitation Exercises for Dog Neurological Conditions: Natural Treatments for Chiari malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM) 

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Canine Rehabilitation Centers and Treatment Success

An Interview with Dr. Mary L. Cardeccia founder of Animal Rehabilitation Facility (located in Dexter, Michigan)

Dog Rehabilitation Exercises for Dog Neurological Conditions: Natural Treatments for Chiari malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM). I reached out to one of Dexter's holistic veterinarians, Dr. Mary L. Cardeccia. Dr. Cardeccia focuses on animal rehabilitation and natural healing methods including acupuncture, food therapy, chiropractic, Reiki, and herbology. We both agreed that there were more natural rehabilitation exercises and work I could be doing with Dexter to improve his conscious proprioception and to hopefully help decrease his head bobbing and wobbles (back end weakness).
K9 Rehabilitation for Dogs

For my followers already familiar with my blog, you know that Dexter The Dog is battling some serious medical conditions. For my new fans, a little fill-in may be necessary. My seven-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dexter, was diagnosed with Chiari malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM) just before his third birthday. 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.

I provide Dexter a variety of natural solutions including food therapy, herbs, supplements, monitoring his exercise, and unfortunately, some pharmaceuticals. This past year I’ve noticed Dexter “shuffling” his back feet instead of picking them up. Dexter is not picking his back feet up properly due to his lack of conscious proprioception. This is a lack of awareness he is getting from his back feet to his brain, likely due to his neurological condition. About five months back, Dexter started wearing Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips for Dogs to help (read how). He has had improvement and his toes are not nearly as worn as before the ToeGrips.

But now, he’s starting to do a little head bopping and wobbling. I felt it was time to look into what else I could do to help improve the quality of Dexter’s life. I reached out to one of Dexter’s holistic veterinarians, Dr. Mary L. Cardeccia. Dr. Cardeccia focuses on animal rehabilitation and natural healing methods including acupuncture, food therapy, chiropractic, Reiki, and herbology. We both agreed that there were more natural rehabilitation exercises and work I could be doing with Dexter to improve his conscious proprioception and to hopefully help decrease his head bobbing and wobbles (back end weakness).

I’ve been taking Dexter to Dr. Cardeccia weekly for the past 6 weeks and working daily at home with some of his canine rehabilitation exercises. I will go into more detail in future blogs, but today I wanted to do a little Q & A with Dr. Cardeccia on exactly what we are doing and why. Hopefully, this article will reach other pet parents who may find themselves in a similar situation and help them know that there is hope and that as pet parents we have a lot of natural options to help improve our pet’s lives. We must always be our pet’s advocate and keep looking and searching for solutions.

Interview with Dr. Cardeccia

I’m the kind of person who wants to know more than just what to do, I try to find out the why and how. I feel this allows me to get a better understanding of what is going on and to continue to make the best choices about Dexter’s care accordingly.

I asked Dr. Cardeccia how and why Dexter’s neurological condition makes him drag his back feet vs picking them up properly.

“Because with the SM there is pressure on his spinal cord (from the pockets cerebrospinal fluid that form within the spinal cord near the brain) it is interfering with the nerves of proprioception, which are on the outer portion of the spinal cord. Proprioception is the internal sense that tells you where your body parts are without your having to look at them, so he is not actually fully aware of where his feet are, and that is why he drags them.”

What is the purpose of doing his footwork? What is it doing?

“The footwork is to help retrain the nerves of proprioception so that he will be more aware of his feet. Some of it can also help to strengthen his core muscles, which will further improve his balance. This is why we want him to go slowly when he is doing these types of exercises. Even if the pressure on his spinal cord is now resolved, if it was there for long enough, the nerves will still be compromised and we need to remind them of what their job is.”

Do we have an end in sight for Dexter’s rehab exercises, or will we need to practice these exercises for life?

“I think a little bit of both. It is our hope that by doing the rehabilitation exercises with him, we will improve his current level of function and get him up to a new plateau; however, given that he has a chronic underlying condition, doing some of the proprioception and core strengthening exercises with him on an ongoing basis will likely help to maintain him at a higher level of function long term.”

During Dexter’s first evaluation, Dr. Cardeccia found a pulled groin muscle. I asked her to explain a little about her thoughts on why he pulled his muscle.

“Dexter strained his iliopsoas muscle, which is made up of the psoas and iliacus muscles.   Between them, they run from the upper lumbar region (just behind his rib cage) along the underside of his vertebrae and pelvis, and attach at the top of his inner thigh. This is a major core muscle, flexing the hip and spine, and is easy to strain when you are having balance issues and having to accommodate for them. He also may have splayed out on the floor at some point if he slipped, which is a common way to ‘pull’ this muscle. In Dexter’s case, I think that he strained the iliopsoas (groin) muscle opposite his weaker leg since he was taking over more of the weight bearing and steering with his ‘good’ side.”

One of the main focuses with Dexter’s canine rehabilitation exercises is to build his core strength. Dr. Cardeccia explains why this is so important.

“Since Dexter is having some issues with balance and not being fully aware of where his hind feet are, including core strengthening in his program will help to improve his balance and ability to adapt, even if for some reason we were not able to get him to actually be any more aware of where his hind feet are.   This core strength will help him not to lose his balance as often, and allows him to accommodate for the occasional loss of balance more easily.”

Dexter has a variety of core strength exercises that he can do on a twice daily basis. I asked her if there is a difference between the exercises. For example, is the larger ball vs. smaller ball vs. working on an air mattresses.

“Some of the core exercises are focusing on different muscle groups, or using them in different ways. For example, standing on or walking across the air mattress focuses more on his abdominal and back muscles in general, while putting his front feet up on a balance ball focuses more on the muscles of his lower abdomen/back and hind legs.   Using a taller ball or less stable ball increases the difficulty of the exercise. By having him do a variety of different exercises we are hoping to maximize the effect of his program in improving his balance and mobility.”

Canine Rehab Video Clip

Dr. Cardeccia wanted to start Dexter on the canine water treadmill. Her animal rehabilitation facility also offers pool therapy, so I asked her why she chose the treadmill vs. the pool for Dexter.

“While hydrotherapy in either a pool or underwater treadmill can be of benefit in a strengthening program, with Dex I am focused on getting him more aware of where those hind feet are as well. Exaggerating his gait while walking through the water serves double duty; it strengthens his legs and core, as well as helping to improve his proprioception.   In addition, I chose the UWTM as our goal is to improve his daily function, and a swimming gait pattern is different that a walking gait pattern. Therefore, using the UWTM is more logical if we are retraining gait in a neurological patient.”

When Dexter feels good, he is a very playful and frisky dog. However, it was during his play that I would see more of his head bobs and hind end weakness. I thought it was imperative to ask Dr. Cardeccia what activities he should avoid and why.

“For now, we want to limit his activities if he is struggling with the coordination to successfully accomplish them. For example, if he is scrambling to find his footing when playing ball, he may injure himself as he rushes to get it if he loses control of his feet and splays out on the floor, or takes a tumble. It is not that he is necessarily going to make his SM symptoms worse, as much as that he is likely to injure something else because he is not in control of his body.”

I’m very lucky with Dexter and his confidence. He is always eager to try new things and tackles new things with gusto. As a dog trainer, I am continually working with puppies and working on confidence boosting games including walking on new textures, wobbly surfaces, and novel equipment.

I asked her if Dexter’s canine rehabilitation exercises would be suitable for puppies.

“In general, yes, using exercises to improve balance and proprioception can be very good for puppies, no matter what their future “job” will be. Helping puppies to be more body aware can prevent injuries in sporting of working dogs as adults, and the balance and proprioception exercises are low impact so could be safe for puppies who are still growing.   Of course, you would want to consult with your veterinarian before starting any rigorous exercise program for your dog.”

Over the last six weeks, I’ve seen a huge improvement in Dexter’s energy and spunk. This proves to me that these exercises and treatments are working. We also had proof in the pudding when Dr. Cardeccia measured his muscle mass. Previously, his one back thigh was smaller and weaker than the other. Now, at his follow-up, they both are larger, and more importantly, his weaker leg has caught up with the other! That is amazing news! I am just so tickled with Dexter’s improvement—this little boy means the world to me. I can’t thank Dr. Cardeccia and her team at Animal Rehabilitation Facility (located in Dexter, Michigan) enough for helping my little boy improve his quality of life. <3


Have you taken any of your pets through rehab? Tell me in the comments.

Dog Rehabilitation Exercises for Dog Neurological Conditions: Natural Treatments for Chiari malformation (CM) and syringomyelia (SM). I reached out to one of Dexter's holistic veterinarians, Dr. Mary L. Cardeccia. Dr. Cardeccia focuses on animal rehabilitation and natural healing methods including acupuncture, food therapy, chiropractic, Reiki, and herbology. We both agreed that there were more natural rehabilitation exercises and work I could be doing with Dexter to improve his conscious proprioception and to hopefully help decrease his head bobbing and wobbles (back end weakness).
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Best Probiotics for Women, Men, Dogs and Cats. Understanding Pre- and Probiotics for Dogs, Cats, and People. You know I'm a big believer in reading the ingredient labels in all our pets’ products, but when I turn over a box or jar of probiotics, I'm totally confused. I'm not a microbiologist! So I asked some experts in the field of microbiology and pet health for help in understanding probiotics for pets and ourselves

What You Need To Know About Probiotics | Best Probiotics for Women, Men, Dogs and Cats

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Best Probiotics for Women, Men, Dogs and Cats

Understanding Pre- and Probiotics for Dogs, Cats, and People

Best Probiotics for Women, Men, Dogs and Cats. Understanding Pre- and Probiotics for Dogs, Cats, and People. You know I'm a big believer in reading the ingredient labels in all our pets’ products, but when I turn over a box or jar of probiotics, I'm totally confused. I'm not a microbiologist! So I asked some experts in the field of microbiology and pet health for help in understanding probiotics for pets and ourselves
Finding the best probiotics

What do you know about probiotics and prebiotics for ourselves and our pets? I’ve learned over the years that probiotics and probiotics are great for our gut health and our pet’s gut, and have many health benefits. I also know that when a dog, cat, or person is on antibiotics, probiotics should be added. I’ve also learned that prebiotics feed the probiotics, so they work well together. But what I don’t know is how probiotics really work from a cellular level and how to choose (besides what my holistic veterinarian suggests) the best probiotics for my dog, cat, or myself. You know I’m a big believer in reading the ingredient labels in all our pets’ products, but when I turn over a box or jar of probiotics, I’m totally confused. I’m not a microbiologist! So I asked some experts in the field of microbiology and pet health for help in understanding probiotics for pets and ourselves. 🙂

Health Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs, Cats and People.

Unless your doctor or veterinarian advises against the use of probiotics, all of us can benefit from the use of daily probiotics. Our health is ruled by our gut. Probiotics aid in good gut health by helping our digestion. They provide good bacteria while inhibiting the bad bacteria. A good probiotic helps soothe the intestines and lessen inflammation, which can assist with diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Stressed pets and people also can benefit from a healthy dose of probiotics, since stress disrupts our gut.

If you find yourself or your pet on antibiotics or steroids, taking a probiotic or even increasing your probiotic dose may be recommended by your doctor or holistic veterinarian. The use of antibiotics or steroids can decrease the good bacteria in the gut and decrease the immune system. By using a natural probiotic, you can increase your gut health, increase the good bacteria and fight off the bad bacteria.

Choosing the Best Probiotics

Trying to figure out the best probiotic for Dexter The Dog and Nutter The Cat has had me confused for quite some time. I’ve previously purchased pet probiotics from the recommendation of a few great holistic veterinarians, but I really want to be able to wrap my head around how to choose myself. How many CFUs should be in a probiotic? What are the best ingredients in a probiotic? How should a probiotic be stored? These were my top three questions when starting this article.

Holistic Housecall Veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney suggests using a variety of bacterial types to benefit both the small and large intestines. Dr. Mahaney says, “Lactobacillus sp. primarily resides and functions in the small intestine while Bifidobacterium sp. populates the large intestine (colon). Other bacterial varieties can exist in a commensal manner in the small or large intestine besides the above-mentioned.”

Douglas Toal, PhD is a board-certified clinical microbiologist and founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Liberty Bion, and he agrees with variety. He provides this helpful scenario. “A high-quality probiotic supplement includes formulations with a diverse set of beneficial strains and high bacterial count. Look for supplements that have at least 10 strains of healthy probiotics. The supplement should include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. The most common and clinically proven Lactobacillus species is Lactobacillus acidophilus and this organism can be found in almost all supplements and yogurts. Bifidobacterium lactis is also a popular probiotic that has been extensively studied. Other common probiotics include Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salivarius, and Lactobacillus casei. I suggest finding probiotic formulations with these species since they have evaluated for efficacy.” Mr. Toal continues by saying, “If you introduce probiotics with variety, your chances of finding one that works for you will improve.” He also suggests changing your probiotic variety or brand every three to four months to add diversity.

How many Colony Forming Units (CFU) of probiotics should dogs, cats or humans take? I fell a little short in my search for the answer for our pets. I looked around and various natural pet websites I trust, and found over 5 CFU would be a good starting point. For people, Dr. Toal says at least 10 CFU per capsule.

Understanding Ingredients in Natural Probiotics

Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus casei….what the heck? You know by now that I want to know exactly what things are and mean when I read a product label. Are those words real food items? Are they synthetic? Healthy? It was time to ask the friendly microbiologist, Douglas Toal. “The strains that are commercialized and sold as probiotic supplements are natural. Keep in mind that these are not food sources nor are they synthesized. Since probiotic strains are living cells – they are able to multiply in the laboratory (i.e., given the right amount of food). Therefore it is possible to grow, multiply and package the strains in manufacturing facilities.” Whew. No way would I have been able to figure that out by reading the label. Dr. Toal continues by telling me, “An interesting aspect of probiotics that most people are not aware of is that each strain was initially isolated from a healthy person (i.e., in the case of Lactobacillus strains, Bifidobacterium strains, and some others) or from an environmental source such as soil (i.e., in the case of Bacillus strains). So the commercial probiotics that we take today were once part of the gut microbiota of a healthy person 10-30 years ago, isolated from the person because of its unique characteristics and then propagated, further evaluated and commercialized.” That’s pretty cool stuff!

Best Probiotics for Women, Men, Dogs and Cats. Understanding Pre- and Probiotics for Dogs, Cats, and People. You know I'm a big believer in reading the ingredient labels in all our pets’ products, but when I turn over a box or jar of probiotics, I'm totally confused. I'm not a microbiologist! So I asked some experts in the field of microbiology and pet health for help in understanding probiotics for pets and ourselves
Growing probiotic strains.

Are Prebiotics Necessary When Taking Probiotics?

A 4th generation Japanese herbalist and macrobiologist, Marc Ching offers these tips about the use of prebioticis. “Prebiotics nourish and support the growth of probiotics that in turn support the digestive health and immune system.” Prebiotics can be eaten as whole foods such as apples, asparagus, bananas, flaxseeds, and seaweed. Dr. Toal recommends people eat 4-8 grams of prebiotic fiber each day. He says, “If you are eating enough fruits and vegetables, then you likely do not need prebiotic supplements – although many supplements contain a wide variety of fiber from different sources (i.e., 10 or more different fruits and vegetables). If you are like me – I only eat 3-4 different fruits/vegetables per day and so there is value in finding a prebiotic with a wide variety of fiber from different fruits and vegetables.” He also offers this additional tip, “Since prebiotic fiber can cause bloating, it is important to start with half doses for about a week until the body adapts.”

Understanding Ingredients in Natural Prebiotics

Now I’m back to that ingredient panel. Now that I’ve learned probiotic strains are living cells with weird-looking names grown in a laboratory, what about prebiotics? How do I recognize them on a label? Dr. Toal explained this to me as well. “Since prebiotics should be extracted from fruit and vegetable sources, the ingredients should include the name of the fruit/vegetable that the fiber was extracted from. For instance when the label reads “chicory root inulin” rather than “inulin” then at least you know that it is from chicory root. Also, I recommend looking for the word “organic” in the ingredients such as “Organic Acacia Fiber.” Also, some prebiotic ingredients may indicate that the ingredient comes from a modified source, such as “modified citrus pectin” or “modified potato resistant starch.” In this case the prebiotic was prepared from a modified source – for instance, perhaps the source/product was treated with acid to lower viscosity. So if the consumer is concerned with modified ingredients, then they should avoid prebiotic supplements that contain ingredients that state “modified.””

Read Your Ingredient Label Carefully

Even though seeing the list of probiotic strands may be a bit overwhelming, it’s still super important to read the ingredient panel. Just because a dog probiotic may have good stuff inside, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have things to avoid inside as well. I was reading one pet probiotic label and found some ingredients that were not only unnecessary such as “beef flavor” but downright scary, such as Polysorbate 80, animal digest and other harmful ingredients. So, be careful and read carefully. As a quick side-note, pets do not digest dairy products very well, so I don’t personally recommend yogurt or other milk products to provide probiotics for my pets.

Storing Probiotics

Remember, probiotics are living cells and must be stored properly to survive and to be beneficial to our health. Mr. Ching gave me these tips, “If you find pet food that says they contain probiotics and it is located on an unrefrigerated shelf, walk away. The probiotic is most likely dead by now. Probiotics are to be kept cool; they are very sensitive to heat and moisture. If not kept at cool temperatures, the living organisms inside will die and they will be useless.”

Final Thoughts on Finding The Best Probiotics

After speaking with microbiologist, macrobiologist, and veterinarian, I feel I finally have a handle on how to find the best probiotic for my dog, cat and myself. I wanted to thank Dr. Douglas Toal, Dr. Patrick Mahaney, and Marc Ching for providing such helpful information and answering my questions on probiotics.


Are you or your pets currently taking probiotics? Tell me in the comments.

Best Probiotics for Women, Men, Dogs and Cats. Understanding Pre- and Probiotics for Dogs, Cats, and People. You know I'm a big believer in reading the ingredient labels in all our pets’ products, but when I turn over a box or jar of probiotics, I'm totally confused. I'm not a microbiologist! So I asked some experts in the field of microbiology and pet health for help in understanding probiotics for pets and ourselves
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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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Cat Teeth Cleaning-Brushing your cat’s teeth daily with a cat toothbrush, finger pet toothbrush, or just your finger along with a natural cat toothpaste is recommended. If you would like, you can also rotate between brushing and using an oral pet cleansing spray that does not have any unhealthy ingredients.

Cat Teeth Cleaning, Cat Dental Care and How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

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Cat Dental Care | How to Brush Cat Teeth

Cat Dental Health | Natural Cat Dental Care

Cat Teeth Cleaning-Brushing your cat’s teeth daily with a cat toothbrush, finger pet toothbrush, or just your finger along with a natural cat toothpaste is recommended. If you would like, you can also rotate between brushing and using an oral pet cleansing spray that does not have any unhealthy ingredients.
Natural Cat Dental Care and Cleaning

Do you think about your cat’s dental care? I sure hope so. Cat teeth cleaning is so important to the overall health of your cat. According to The American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult cats by three years of age, and is completely preventable. Bacteria builds under the gum lines and releases toxins that are absorbed into your cat’s bloodstream and can affect the kidneys and liver.

Periodontal disease in cats is pretty scary and can be life threatening if untreated. But you can easily prevent cat dental disease and keep your cat from losing teeth just by brushing your cat’s or kitten’s teeth daily. Daily cat teeth cleaning is also a way to help avoid seeing your cat’s veterinarian for a professional cat teeth cleaning, which can cost anywhere from $200-600.

But your cat is lucky—he has you to ensure his teeth are pristine and that he won’t develop cat dental disease. You can easily create a daily natural dental oral care program for your cat. You should start your cat’s dental care as soon as possible; even kittens should have their teeth brushed.

If your cat is not a fan of being handled, groomed, or having his mouth touched, please start first by reading my article: Teaching Your Kitten or Adult Cat How To be Groomed, Handled, or Petted

Cat Teeth Cleaning-Brushing your cat’s teeth daily with a cat toothbrush, finger pet toothbrush, or just your finger along with a natural cat toothpaste is recommended. If you would like, you can also rotate between brushing and using an oral pet cleansing spray that does not have any unhealthy ingredients.

Some natural dental care ingredients that are safe for cats include seaweed powder, organic coconut oil, chlorophyll, and deer velvet antler extract. When using these products in your cat’s oral care, it is still important to actually gently brush those cat teeth. The action of brushing is one of the best ways to remove bacteria and tartar.

Now, isn’t that easy? Your cat will thank you for helping him have fresh breath and healthy teeth and gums.

Cat Dental Treats– A word about cat dental treats or cat food made for dental care. Most cats do not chew; instead, they swallow things whole. If a treat or food is promoting itself as helping your cat’s dental care by “brushing” as they chew the treat or food, this may actually not be the case. These cat dental treats or dental cat food may more be about the ingredients that are inside instead of the act of chewing. That said, remember to always read the entire ingredient panel, not just the front of the bag and their claims. Dry food and cats….they don’t mix. Please feed your cat either a raw diet, home cooked diet, or healthy canned cat food. Dry cat food should not be in the mix.

Veterinarian Dentistry for Your Cat– Sometimes even with the best preventative cat dental care, cats still must have a dental cleaning from their veterinarian. If your cat is sensitive around his mouth, he may already have some periodontal disease, so please take him to your veterinarian for a check-up.


How often do you brush your cat’s teeth? Tell me in the comments.

Cat Teeth Cleaning-Brushing your cat’s teeth daily with a cat toothbrush, finger pet toothbrush, or just your finger along with a natural cat toothpaste is recommended. If you would like, you can also rotate between brushing and using an oral pet cleansing spray that does not have any unhealthy ingredients.
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Synthetic preservatives and synthetic flavors have been shown to have various side effects. People may experience migraines, heart palpitations, contact rashes, and allergic responses, and some of these synthetic preservatives and flavors have even been linked to cancer. These are unnecessary risks when we have alternatives. It's one thing to have these chemicals in adult food products, but they are also widely accepted in children's food, baby food, and pet food and pet treats. Babies, kids, and pets are not able to read ingredient labels and make choices for themselves—that is OUR responsibility.

Why You and Your Pets Should Avoid Preservatives Such As Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate

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Chemical Preservatives Are Not Necessary and Are Linked to Cancer

Synthetic preservatives and synthetic flavors have been shown to have various side effects. People may experience migraines, heart palpitations, contact rashes, and allergic responses, and some of these synthetic preservatives and flavors have even been linked to cancer. These are unnecessary risks when we have alternatives. It's one thing to have these chemicals in adult food products, but they are also widely accepted in children's food, baby food, and pet food and pet treats. Babies, kids, and pets are not able to read ingredient labels and make choices for themselves—that is OUR responsibility.
Preservatives are harmful

As someone who suffers from migraines, it is extremely important for me to read the ingredient panel of foods that I eat. If you have been following my blog, you probably know my struggle with eating healthy, especially when I travel with my dog, Dexter. Even if I’m not concerned with eating healthy, I try to avoid food with preservatives. I’ve learned over the years, that if some of these preservatives are in my food, particularly if I eat a lot of foods back to back with preservatives, I will have an intense migraine. And for those that are unfamiliar with the pain of a migraine, let me just say it feels like a knife is inside my head, scraping the sides of my skull. Yeah, not pleasant.

Because of our active lifestyles and wanting food quickly and wanting food to last forever, manufacturers have turned to preservatives. There are some natural food preservatives such as salt, lemon juice, vinegar, cloves, oregano, and rosemary extract, to name a few. Unfortunately, the majority of food companies lean toward the synthetic chemical preservatives such as benzoates (sodium benzoate and benzoic acid), nitrites (sodium nitrite), sulphites (sulphur dioxide), and sorbates (sodium sorbate and potassium sorbate).

Other synthetic food flavoring agents include monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate. I’m not sure why anyone would want to add a synthetic flavor to a food product when food with fresh herbs and spices can be so tasty!

Synthetic preservatives and synthetic flavors have been shown to have various side effects. People may experience migraines, heart palpitations, contact rashes, and allergic responses, and some of these synthetic preservatives and flavors have even been linked to cancer. Read more.

These are unnecessary risks when we have alternatives. It’s one thing to have these chemicals in adult food products, but they are also widely accepted in children’s food, baby food, and pet food and pet treats. Babies, kids, and pets are not able to read ingredient labels and make choices for themselves—that is OUR responsibility. It is something I try to avoid in my personal life and a 100% no in a product for a creature I’m responsible for. So please, read the ingredient panels of all your food and drink products, and make an educated choice. And when it comes to your children and pets…..please just say no.


Do you read the entire ingredient label in your pet’s products? Tell me in the comments.

Synthetic preservatives and synthetic flavors have been shown to have various side effects. People may experience migraines, heart palpitations, contact rashes, and allergic responses, and some of these synthetic preservatives and flavors have even been linked to cancer. These are unnecessary risks when we have alternatives. It's one thing to have these chemicals in adult food products, but they are also widely accepted in children's food, baby food, and pet food and pet treats. Babies, kids, and pets are not able to read ingredient labels and make choices for themselves—that is OUR responsibility.
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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
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

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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

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Raising Your Pets, Dogs and Cats Naturally

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

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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.

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  YouTube  Vimeo

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

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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.