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Newsletter - December 2009

The News At Home

I saw Lucy today - a 16 year old Beagle who was given up for adoption and who found a loving home 12 years ago. Lucy has been eating a home-cooked diet and her vitality and eagerness to be in the midst of everything has always impressed me. Today was different, Today, Lucy looked old. Her face is white and one back leg was obviously giving her discomfort at minimum. What amazes me about Lucy is what I suppose intrigues me about all dogs. No matter that she’s old and that her leg is sore; the sparkles in her eyes made it clear that she wasn’t going to let the opportunity to have some pleasure go by.

Maybe this willingness to deal with pain is what motivates some dog owners to keep their dogs going at any cost. Maybe this zest for life is what makes dogs capable of dealing with their pain in the first place. More likely, and what we all know, is that survival instinct drives them to hide their pain whenever possible, but whatever the truth might be, Lucy is quite inspirational. Old, white and limping, she may be, but she makes me think about how quickly the years pass and how precious every minute with our dogs really is. I’ve been extremely busy lately, and Tori hasn’t complained, but neither has she been able to play as much as usual. Seeing the changes in Lucy reminds me that the clock is ticking and Tori and I need to spend more fun time together. Thanks, Lucy. You’ve always been a good teacher and this time was no different, albeit it without a dietary perspective attached to the lesson.

Fact of The Month

Small things can have a big impact

The mention of dietary supplements seems to push some people’s buttons. There are those who think that supplements are not necessary, and others who feel just as strongly that the more supplements being fed, the better. My own belief is that dietary supplements can play important roles when used with good purpose, but that using them on a whim can backfire or, at the very least, be a waste of money.

I add supplements to a dog’s regime based on the needs of that particular dog, and not all add a nutritional punch to the diet. Some are used to help the dog with certain issues. Here are some living examples:

1. Andy is a 42-pound, 10 year old mixed breed dog with dry eye. By adding 1,000 mg of primrose oil to his daily diet, he needs far less medication in his eyes, and the eye “goop” that had been present for more than one year is a thing of the past.

2. Sophie is a 15-pound, 4 year old Shih Tzu that had terrible breath. She’s needed professional dental cleaning every six months since she was 2 years old, and it didn’t seem like there was much hope of this changing despite that her owner brushes her teeth daily. By adding 30 mg of CoQ10 daily for the last 8 months, Sophie’s breathe has improved and to date, her teeth haven't needed to be professionally cleaned.

3. Trooper is a 19 pound, 9 year old Lhasa Apso, and like Sophie, had terrible breath. But Trooper’s teeth haven’t needed professional cleaning quite as often, and he has a history of eating dirt. In his case, 1/8 tsp of acidophilus per day has greatly improved his breath despite that curbing his enthusiasm for dirt remains a challenge.

4. Mattie is a 123 pound, 6 year old Saint Bernard with dry skin. By adding ¼ tablet of vitamin B compound (daily), 3,000 mg of wild salmon oil and 2,000 mg of primrose oil per day, her skin showed improvement in three short weeks. Today, she proudly shows off her clear skin and glorious coat to anyone who cares to pat her.

5. Blitz is a 47 pound, 8 year old Border Collie who works very hard on a farm. He’s not an old dog, but he’s not what one would consider young either, and a lifetime of hard work seemed to have slowed him down. The daily additions of 100 IU of vitamin E (more exercise means a greater need for antioxidants), 1 tsp of Antioxidant Booster and 250 mg of taurine brought good news from his owner within one month. She reported that there were no changes in Blitz’s diet and his routine remained the same, but his ability to perform his tasks had improved.

I have many such stories that I could share, but by giving you just these few examples, I hope that you will consider the possible benefits that seemingly small things can offer. The examples above show what worked for these particular dogs. They may or may not be applicable in the case of your own dog, but what’s most important is that you consider the possibilities and act on good information. For example, in the case of Sophie, one small capsule of CoQ10 makes the difference between needing to undergo anesthesia for a dental cleaning every six months, and delaying that event without doing harm. Sophie would tell you that this is no small thing!

Happy Holidays, everyone. Morley and I wish you, your human and canine families the very best of the season and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010!


“My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can't decide whether to ruin our carpets or ruin our lives.’ -- Rita Rudner



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