Wednesday, 28 April 2010
With spring here and summer right around the corner that means that ticks are out in full force, hidden in parks and other grassy or leafy areas, just waiting for their next meal.
Ticks are parasitic arthropods that feed on the blood of the animal they attach to. They are found in tall grassy areas, mountainous regions, and anywhere that has a lot of trees and plants. Once they attach to their ‘prey’, they will feed on it until full, which could be several days. They usually attach to areas on the animal that don’t have a lot of fur, such as around the ears, between the toes, or in the crevasses of the legs.
The best way to ensure your dog’s health is to check him or her after walks by running your hands over the entire body, paying particular attention to the areas mentioned above, and to take preventative measures to avoid infestation. This can be done with the following methods:
1. Spraying a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar on your dog’s coat before walks. This is great for the skin and coat, but also leaves an acidic film on the coat that ticks are not attracted to. Also, it is all natural with no chemicals or toxins that can be harmful to your dog, and is in fact great for his digestive system should he or she lick some of it off.
2. Ensure your dog’s immune system is strong. A strong immune system is a deterrent for both ticks and fleas. Feeding healthy foods, vitamins, and minerals all help boost the immune system.
3. Add garlic to the diet and feed daily. Feed about one gram of garlic (about half a regular clove) per ten kilograms of dog every day (so a 20 kg dog would get one clove). The Taiwan SPCA has found that garlic is just as effective at keeping fleas and ticks away as spraying with chemical parasiticides.
(For more information on healthy diets please go to www.barftaiwan.com or www.barfworld.com.)
If you do find a tick on your dog it must be removed immediately. Please follow these steps for safe removal:
Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grasp the tick at the base of the skin, pulling slowly and making sure to pull out the head as well. DO NOT squeeze the tick’s body as this could inject diseases into your dog. Once the tick is removed, put pressure on the area to stop any bleeding and clean with warm soapy water. Keep an eye on the area for a couple days to make sure no infection has started. Always remember to keep yourself safe and wash your hands after handling ticks.
Thursday, 15 April 2010
The junk food and poor eating habits affecting humans is also killing their four-legged pals, say veterinary surgeons and experts.
Allergies and obesity are reducing the life expectancy of Lassies and Mittens nourished worldwide on industrial foodstuffs, said Gerard Lippert, a Belgian acupuncturist for animals who has just completed a study on the diets of 600 dead dogs.
"Pets, like humans, are victims of junk food," he told AFP.
Of the 600 furry corpses he examined "those fed on processed foods died three years earlier than those fed on food made in the home."
Dogs, he added, "originally were omnivores who shared their food with humans."
Rippert said he was increasingly called on to heal skin, motor and digestive problems as acupuncture was an all-embracing method enabling work on practically all organs.
"Dry dog food and cat food croquettes are over-heated, which destroys vitamins, trace elements and other basic nutritional elements," he said.
"We don't know the origin of the proteins in the foods," he added. "And there's an excessive amount of cereal, often genetically modified, and very little vegetables."
"We're turning our dogs and cats into ruminants," he said.
Laurence Colliard, a veterinary surgeon and nutritionist located in the
suburbs, estimates that only five percent of French pet-owners cook food for their four-legged companions. Paris
"I'm seeing an increasing number of allergies, diarrhea, vomiting, skin dermatitis as well as cases of obesity, especially amid cats because of the excessively high energy content in industrially-produced cat foods," said Colliard.
Pet owners tend to favor processed foods because of the difficulty of preparing nutritionally balanced meals, which in an ideal world should contain some 50 nutrients as well as meat, vegetables, rice and pasta. An animal's age, weight and exercise routine also need to be taken into account.
The packs on offer on supermarket shelves also claim as a bonus to reduce nasty urine smells and modify the consistency of animal poop.
The pet food industry was born in
where James Spratt produced the world's first dog biscuits in 1860. England
Some 150 years later, many Internet sites are calling for a return to natural foods for pets.
BARF or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food is a type of pet diet that consists of raw meat, bones, and organs," says www.barf.com. "It is the practice of feeding domestic pets their evolutionary diet as a way of maximizing their health and longevity.
"Dogs should not eat cooked or processed food," it adds. "Instead, your pet should consume foods that are similar to a dog’s wild ancestors. This includes bones, fat, meat, and vegetable materials."
Likewise offers tips for natural home-made meals.
It's only in the last 100 years we have we been led to believe that dogs cannot survive without packaged food. We are told it would be harmful if we were to give them the scraps from our own home cooked meals. This is pure poppycock!"
By Isabelle Toussaint Isabelle Toussaint