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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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

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

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

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.

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  YouTube  Vimeo

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.

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

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.

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

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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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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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