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Nutritional Information for Dogs & Cats

The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care

Healthy Dog Cookies & Cat Treats

Collecting Your Pet’s Urine Sample

Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean

Keeping Your Cat’s Teeth Clean

Cat Litter — It’s Really Important

Removing Tear Stains

Nutritional Information for Dogs & Cats

Dr Susan Wynn is a leading veterinarian in nutrition and integrative pet health. She has written several veterinary reference books that I frequently use. Her website contains much interesting and useful information.

The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care

“The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care” by Celeste Yarnall & Jean Hofve, DVM. Quarry Books, Beverly, Massachusetts. 2009. 192 pages. ISBN-13:978-1-59253-566-8. C$31.99.

This book is aimed at cat owners; however this book is the best introduction to holistic cat care for veterinarians that I have come across. The holistic approach to medicine is discussed with stress placed upon prevention and diagnosis. Therapies combine conventional with complementary medicine, i.e., integrative veterinary medicine.

In the Introduction the authors provide an overview of the cat, and living with cats. The authors give advice on choosing and working with veterinarians without being negative. They discuss vaccinations (selective), drug therapy and nutrition including home made food – the importance of a wholesome, complete and balanced diet is emphasized. There is also good, commonsense advice about neutering, litter boxes (many, clean, uncovered, pelletted litter) and exercise/play.

The discussion about commercial pet foods is informed, rationale and disturbing; similarly for fish. The nutrition chapter is excellent including the problems caused by dry cat food and carbohydrates, and the requirements of an obligatory carnivour. They do provide a basic raw food recipe, but, like most recipes, this requires the use of the author’s proprietary supplements to make it complete and balanced.

The chapters about natural remedies and healing briefly explain detoxification, herbs (without prescribing), supplements, aromatherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and other manipulative and energy healing techniques. Homeopathy and flower essences are discussed clearly in detail. The authors frequently advise the cat owner to seek veterinary diagnosis and advice about the various healing modalities and supplements.

Throughout this book there are sensible and clear warnings, whether about cat-proofing a home, overvaccination, unbalanced diets or toxic supplements. There are also highlighted ‘Tips’ about vaccination, food and feeding, and therapies.

“The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care” is well laid out, clearly and rationally written, and easy to read and find information. It is informative for both cat owners, and veterinarians who wish to adopt a holistic approach to their feline practice. I will be recommending this book to both my clients and my colleagues who have an interest in holistic cat care.

Book review by Dr Lea Stogdale, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM for the Canadian Vet Journal.

Healthy Cat Treats

2 – 3.5 oz (100g) tins sardines in oil

1/4 c (60 ml) powdered milk
1/2 c (125 ml) wheat germ
Mash sardines & oil in a bowel; Mix in remaining ingredients
Roll the dough in to small balls;Place on cookie sheet;
Flatten with fork (the flattened cookie should be about the size of a quarter)
Bake at 350 F (108 c) until brown;Cool before serving

Store in air tight container in fridge or freezer.

Healthy Dog Cookies

2 cups raw carrots ? finely grated and pureed
1 or 2 Free Run Eggs (Chemical Free)
2 tablespoons garlic –minced (approximately 3 nice sized Garlic cloves)
1 Cup Quinoa Flour
¼ Cup Buckwheat Flour
¼ Cup Tapioca Starch/Flour
½ Cup Millet Flour
1 Tablespoon Ground Rosemary
½ Cup Water
½ Cup Rice Milk
¼ Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (or Gaur Gum)

Combine carrots, eggs and garlic.
Add dry ingredients and mix well.
Add Water and Rice Milk (preferably unsweetened) and mix until smooth.
Spoon out the dough into a cookie sheet that has been lightly oiled with Olive Oil and sprinkled with Rice Flour.
Spread the mixture over the entire cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees.
After 15 minutes remove partially baked cookie dough and cut into 1 inch pieces using a Knife or Pizza Cutter. (The dough cuts better when it is partially baked).
Then return the cookies on the cookie sheet back to the oven and bake for another ½ hour at 300 Degrees (or to desired crunchiness).
Remove with spatula, allow treats to cool.
The centers will continue to harden a bit as they cool.

Liver Cookies for Dogs and Cats
These Liver cookies are Tried and True. The dogs keep asking for more, and even cats are crazy about them. They do not take long to make.  With many thanks to Aesops’ client Evelyn P with Zeena and Lucifer (the testers).

Ingredients:
1 Lb. Liver
1 Egg
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Quinoa
½ Cup Tapioca or Millet flour or Buckwheat flour
1 Cup or less Flour –Chickpea, Rice, Quinoa or Potato
½ Cup Whey (or Powdered Skim Milk)
Pinch of salt
Few generous shakes of Garlic Powder
1 Capsules of 400 IU Vitamin E (d-alpha) – pricked open and squeezed

Method:
In a blender or food processor, liquefy liver, water and egg.
Pour into a mixing bowl and add other ingredients — mix well (with large whisk).
Pour into a well greased non-stick cookie sheet, spread evenly.
Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 30 minutes.
Cut quickly into squares while still hot.
Store in Fridge short term, or in Freezer indefinitely.

Tips:
*A generous amount of non-stick spray helps prevent sticky messes. I coated the cookie sheet with Celeb/Becel Margarine very well and had no sticking problem with the cookies. I also used a Spatula to loosen the cookies from the pan immediately after cutting them with my trusty Pizza Cutter.
*The Cats love them as much as the Dogs, so you might want to make extra if you have both in your house.

Yam Chips
Slice a yam in 2-3 mm or 1/8th inch thick slices. Coat lightly with olive oil flavoured with a few shakes of ground cumin, coriander, garlic, salt and black pepper. An easy way to do this is to pour the oil and spices into a large  sealable  plastic bag, add the slices and shake. Place slices in a single layer on aluminium foil coated with cooking spray, and bake at 400 F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, turning the chips once. Any slices that remain after the humans have tasted, tested and tried can be used for dog treats.

Collecting your Pet’s urine sample

Analyzing your dog or cat’s urine is often very important for evaluating a medical condition or progress.

The best sample to test is the first morning sample (accumulated overnight) unless otherwise advised. Place into a clean container such as a pill bottle or film canister. Do NOT use a jam or honey jar – even when well cleaned the sugar shows positive on our tests.

To collect your dog’s urine, take him or her outside on a leash first thing in the morning. While he or she is urinating, collect some in a clean container. With small dogs, using a soup ladle for collection can make it easier to collect the urine without having to crawl on the ground or disturb your pet.

We only require a couple of teaspoons of urine. We do need more that a few drops. We do not need the whole sample. We do not require that the sample is mid-stream.

To collect your cat’s urine – good luck. Usually we have to collect urine from cats. Some owners can use ‘No-Sorb’ in the litter box at home. This is plastic pellets that is placed into a clean litter box; available from veterinarians. Some cats will use the ‘No-Sorb’ while others will not. And we don’t want to cause your cat to urinate outside the litter box.

Do’s and Don’ts for accurate results

Do not get any snow into the urine.
Do not use a jam jar, even a clean one.

Do use a water tight container so that the urine does not spill or leak out.
Do label the container with your name, your pet’s name and the date.
Do deliver the urine to the vet hospital within a few hours of collection.

Dental hygiene = clean teeth = improved health for your Dog and Cat

Dental tartar causes gum disease, gingivitis and bad breath. If allowed to progress it results in teeth loss and gum infection. Bacteria from infected gums enter the blood stream and damage the heart, liver and kidneys. Dental tartar and gingivitis are bad for your dog or cat.

Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean

Dental tartar build-up is strongly influenced by inheritance. Small and medium sized dogs have worse tartar than large breeds due to genetics, and they tend to chew less. Dental tartar tends to worsen with age and with certain diseases, especially diabetes and kidney disease.

If your dog will allow you to brush his teeth, use regular or children’s toothpaste and concentrate on the front teeth (which are used less for chewing). Don’t even think about brushing your dog’s teeth if he does not like you fiddling with his mouth, or if his gums are sensitive.

The best way to KEEP your dog’s teeth clean is to encourage him to chew on bones (yes, real bones) at least twice a week.

Encourage your dog to chew on large bones or solid rolled rawhide chews under your supervision. All chewing bones, rawhides or toys MUST be sufficiently large that your dog cannot chew off and swallow a chunk. This could become stuck in the esophagus or intestines, causing an obstruction that requires major surgery. However, chewing on bones is the most effective way of keeping your dog’s teeth clean. Your dog should chew on and crunch up bones (to bone dust) but NOT swallow chunks of bone.

Appropriate large bones include knuckle bones and flat bones, not marrow bones or antlers. Marrow bones contain bone marrow which is predominantly fat that can cause unset stomach and pancreatitis. Marrow bones (long bones) and antlers are very hard and can cause broken teeth.

Other good things for dogs to chew are bully sticks (dried ligament that acts like flossing teeth) and Whimzees dog chew treats. These are available at some pet stores.

If your dog is not interested in chewing on bones, withhold food for a day and give him bones for supper – under your supervision. Adding flavour to a bone may re-invigorate it for your pouch – smear on a small amount of peanut butter or cheese. Some dogs, especially small ones, refuse to chew on anything. These patients may require an occasional dental cleaning under anaesthesia.

Keeping Your Cat’s Teeth Clean

Dental tartar build-up is strongly influenced by inheritance. Dental tartar tends to worsen with age and with certain diseases, especially diabetes and kidney disease.

Don’t even think about brushing your cat’s teeth. Most cats do not like you fiddling with their mouth. Attempts to brush your kitty’s teeth are usually unsuccessful and a source of stress for both you and your feline companion.

It was often thought that dry cat food helps to clean teeth. However, dry cat food has marginal tartar fighting properties. Many cats hardly chew their kibble at all, swallowing the pieces whole. The grain based composition of dry cat food makes it similar to hard cookies that we eat (ginger nut snaps, for example). Cookies don’t clean our teeth; dry cat food doesn’t clean cats’ teeth.

Cats, when eating their natural prey, tear their food into manageable chunks, then swallow the chunks whole. They will then gnaw at the bones. It’s the tearing of the meat and the gnawing on the bones that clean teeth, not crunching on cookies.

The best way to KEEP your cat’s teeth clean is to encourage him to chew on bones (yes, real bones) at least twice a week.

It is my recommendation that you add some raw or cooked bones such as chicken or turkey, necks or backs or wings to your cats’ diets. This is a very effective way for your pet to clean their teeth. Under supervision, initially, you can give your cat any and all chicken, turkey, chop and steak bones – all the bones that you would not allow your dog to chew. Cats chew on bones like we do – they crunch them up. They don’t swallow whole bones; they don’t get intestinal obstructions from bones.

If your cat won’t chew on bones (and some won’t right away) try feeding bones when your cat is hungry at dinnertime. Offer the bones first, then feed their regular meal. You need to supervise the bone chewing session initially for those cats who have never had bones before.

Chewing on bones twice a week is the best way of keeping your pet’s teeth clean all the time. When we do a dental cleaning, the teeth are clean for several months and then the tartar gradually builds up and gingivitis develops, until the next cleaning.

Cat Litter – It’s Really Important

We want our feline friends at use their litter boxes. We want our cats to love their litter boxes, or at least to like them, and to use them all the time. Inappropriate elimination is a major cause of owner stress, time, expense and occasionally results in the worst decision — euthanasia.

Basic litter box considerations

Number — At least as many litter boxes as you have cats. Sometimes an additional litter box is advisable especially if there is a power imbalance between the cats.

Size – The litter boxes should be at least double the body length of your largest cat. Large plastic storage bins make excellent supersize litter boxes for our big boys.

Covered litter boxes – Only the owners like these. Most cats prefer their litter boxes uncovered. Remove the cover.

Location – Somewhere quiet and undisturbed. Old, arthritic or unwell cats need their litter box brought upstairs from the basement, and placed in a convenient place that’s easy for them to get to. Sometimes, you need to place the litter boxes in two locations, especially if one cat dominants another.

Cleaning – Cats, male and female, prefer clean litter boxes. Feces need to be scooped at least daily. Some female cats are very particular and will not use the litter box if there are any feces in it. Most owners find that changing the litter once to twice a week is adequate. Wash the litter box with a brush, running water and a little soap. Do not use bleach or any cleaning chemicals – they can be either irritant or toxic to cats.

Litter types

There are many litter types available including clay/gravel, pelleted and clumping. Cats generally prefer gravel litter to any other type. Owners generally prefer clumping litter. Medically, pelleted litter causes the least problems. For your cat’s health and your health, you are better NOT to use dusty litter or scented litter (choose a dust-free, unscented variety).

Clay/Gravel – this is preferred by most cats but by few owners. Choose no dust and non-scented, available at pet stores and supermarkets.

Pelleted litter – this may be made from newspaper, corn, alfalfa or pine. Pelleted litter are usually tracked less through your house The wood pellets (sawdust that is pelleted) absorbs the smells from the urine and feces very well. All these can be composted. If your cats are happy with the pelleted litter, you may wish to try “Pet Bedding” pine pellets from Rona (large bags that are very economical [$6-7 for a large bag] but not the choice of some cats).

Clumping litter – this is preferred by many cats and most owners, but not by me. Clumping cat litter often causes medical problems. These include asthma, skin irritation, vomiting and/or constipation. Never, ever put clumping cat litter down your toilet or any drain – this is a make-work project for plumbers.

Removing Tear Stains
For those dogs and cats who have tear stains on their faces, I have previously recommended using warm water only. Aesops’ previous receptionist, Jo-Ann, has discovered that a little contact lens solution on a cotton pad works like a charm – gets the dark goop off without having to use any elbow grease. The solution is formulated to remove protein from contact lens – and that magic potion also works on protein-based eye discharge.

As for the type of solution – just use the “regular” solution you use to rinse your lenses or soak them. It doesn’t have to be the special protein remover solution. For example, “Solo Care” – label says it is to rinse, soak, disinfect and clean.

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