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Newsletter - February 2014

Tori experienced an "event". It could have been syncope (fainting), a seizure, or combination of both. One minute she was barking at the window, and in the next she fell to the cushion on the couch below. Body stiff as a board, chest not rising or falling...I was almost sure she had died. Nystagmus (involuntary eye movement back and forth) began, but she didn't respond to my calling her name, clapping my hands, or putting a hand close to her eyes. In less than one minute, she sat up, shook herself off in the way that dogs do, looked right at me and wagged her tail as if to say Gotta a Cookie? I love her attitude.

The vet ran every reasonable test you can imagine, and of course everything looked normal. Isn't it always the way? Although this could be neurological in nature, my guess is that Tori's heart challenged her that day. Thankfully, she won. And she's been getting plenty of cookies ever since.

Looking For Booklets?

To those of you who are looking for booklets: all titles are available as e-booklets (download to a reader or your computer) despite that some are discontinued in paperback. Find all titles here.


Last month's newsletter discussed balancing the gut and promised a recipe for home-made yogurt. You can find many recipes on the internet, and most suggest that you use the oven. That can work, but accurate temperature is critical when you want to ensure that viable organisms will be within the yogurt. My own oven shows that the temperature is 100 degrees even though it's 120 degrees. At that temperature, beneficial bacteria isn't as likely to thrive.

Since I have little time and even less patience, I took the easy way out and bought a yogurt maker. This one in particular although I paid less and didn't buy it from Amazon. It makes great yogurt, cleans up easily, and makes life simple.

I usually use organic yogurt as a starter, although regular yogurt works just as well. For dogs, I've found that yogurts containing bifidus aren't as helpful and while I wish I could explain why this is so, I can't. The ones I usually use provide L.acidophilus and/or L. bulgaricus. It's not that bifidus seems to be a problem per se so much as I haven't seen it help all that much.

Using yogurt from a previous batch as a starter may not provide the amount of beneficial bacteria we would hope for. The best results I've seen come from using commercial yogurt as a starter each time.

Start by pouring 1 quart (or liter) of milk in a pot. Heat it on top of the stove, stirring often to prevent scorching. Milk with less fat scorches more easily than milk with more fat. Heat the milk until almost boiling. Cool milk until it reaches 20-25 C (65-77 F). Use a thermometer. Hotter milk will kill off some of the bacteria you will introduce via the yogurt starter. Remove 1/2 cup of milk and add 1/4 cup of commercial yogurt to make a paste. Pour this into the remainder of cooled milk. Pour the mixture into a container (a pot if using an oven, or the container of a yogurt maker if using that instead) and let stand for 24 hours. Correct temperature for this is 38-43 C (100-110 F)

Best Time to Feed Your Dog

Although I receive a lot of email daily, these last few weeks brought the same question over and over again - when is the best time of day to feed a dog? My guess is that someone somewhere wrote an article about it, and as usually happens, people start to wonder if they're doing something wrong. The short answer is that there is no "best" time in general, but there may very well be a schedule that is more correct for a certain dog or set of circumstances. I have been told that we should consider the wild dog or wolf role model and feed once daily, perhaps in the early or mid evening when those animals are said to capture their prey, but this is such a tiresome consideration after all these years of working with dogs. First, we have different sizes of dogs and some of the tiny ones can become hypoglycemic if fed to that schedule. In other cases, we have dogs that need smaller, more frequent meals (think pancreatitis, liver disease, or any issues that can cause nausea) Healthy, larger dogs may do well on one feeding per day, although deep chested breeds are usually better off eating twice daily, so they're not overfed at one time and perhaps given a cause to bloat. In other cases, "empty tummy syndrome" causing excessive acidity and vomiting of bile in the early morning hours can be curbed by feeding a small meal or a few treats before the dog settles in for the night.

There is no "best" time to to feed a dog because healthy dogs are adaptable, and dogs with health challenges should be fed as needed to help them.


"What do dogs do on their day off?; Can't lie around – that's their job!” ~ George Carlin



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