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    • Heart Health

      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

  • Skin Health
    • Skin Health

      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

  • Brain Health
    • Brain Health

      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

  • Diet & Health
    • Diet & Health

      Healthy pH levels, whether in the colon or systemic, are found when you eat a high-fiber diet, high in vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. Complement this with foods and supplements high in beneficial bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, and you will be supporting optimal health (which begins in the digestive system).

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Is Dog-kissing for You? 

Filed in Adults, Digestive Health, Dogs - Pets | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/22/2016


Dog-kissing - brendawatson.com

I really enjoyed sharing information about pet supplementation in a recent episode of Pet Talk on National Geographic Wild. I was featured in a segment on Episode 3 that originally aired March 4th. I believe it’s still available for viewing, and I think you’d really enjoy it, especially if you’re an animal lover like me. It offers a lot of interesting information about many different animal species. One of the segments centered on dog-kissing.

Doris and her boyfriend Mark were the guests in the dog-kissing segment along with Doris’ two dogs, Buddy and Miss B. According to Doris, Miss B “is the best kisser in the whole wide world”. I must say I had never considered kissing a dog with the open mouthed intensity that Doris demonstrated. Mark had reached a point where he was no longer interested in kissing Doris (imagine that!). However Doris states that the unconditional love she receives from her canine friends “makes her day worth living”. It was certainly a thought provoking stalemate, and it was also interesting to see the reactions that Doris’ exuberant kissing created on the faces of the hosts of the show and also the audience. It’s probably the same face you have right now.

Bacterial swabs were taken from the throats of both Doris and Mark to determine if there was any harmful bacteria growing there that might have originated from the dogs. Although no disease-causing pathogenic bacteria were detected, Doris’ swab did reveal a type of bacteria that is not normally found in the mouth. Instead that particular bacteria is generally found only in the intestine. Although there was no way to prove it, the general consensus seemed to be that the bacteria was transferred to Doris from one of the dog’s mouths after they licked their own feces (dogs do like to clean all areas!) and then found it’s way into Doris’ mouth from a very affectionate kiss. Eeek!

Another true story was shared with the audience about a roundworm found in a different dog-kissing person. It seems the larvae of the worm traveled up into the lung of the dog, was coughed up into the dog’s mouth and then transferred to the human through a smooch.

I’m thinking perhaps open mouth kissing might be best avoided with our four legged friends! What do you think?

Imagine my surprise when shortly after the filming I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal named “Burning Question: Can Kissing Your Dog Make You Sick?” .

A good awareness point that was made in the WSJ article is to be sure and wash your hands after throwing a ball for your dog, as the saliva could be transferred from your hands onto your face and perhaps contain bacteria best avoided.

Additionally, it’s possible that sleeping with your dog could transfer fleas or other infection. However if you have a healthy dog that is currently maintained on flea and tick meds regularly, your risk is very low.

There is no one who loves dogs more than I do on this planet, so I totally understand the the appeal of dog-kissing and close contact. Ultimately, simple washing with soap and water after you may have received that affectionate lick will generally eliminate contamination. However, please don’t allow your pet to lick an open wound. The potential there is for a parasite or germ to sneak directly into your bloodstream.

I’m looking forward to filming more segments of Pet Talk in the upcoming year. Please keep an eye out and let me know how you like them!

A Bright Idea – with Dogs

Filed in Cancer, Cats, Dogs - Pets, Environmental Toxins, Probiotics & Gut Flora | Posted by Brenda Watson on 12/04/2015


Dogs are a huge part of my life. My husband Stan and I share our home with three King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and they are a source of constant joy, giggles, and craziness. Their sweet spirits actually inspired our new company, Vital Planet Pets.

At Vital Planet we offer the highest quality dog supplements that can be found anywhere. From exemplary probiotic formulas to condition specific nutritional/herbal/energetic formulations, our products are life changing and effective for our canine friends.

We even have a great cat probiotic! Cats don’t despair, we’re coming out with a full line for you in 2016.

Which leads me to this week’s blog topic. I have a great present for dog lovers out there! I hope you enjoy reading this article that I found in the Wall Street Journal as much as I did entitled “Why Dogs Are Some Scientists’ New Best Friends”.

Dogs actually develop a lot of the same diseases that we humans do, making them valuable subjects for research.

Hold on now, don’t freak – we’re not talking lab rat experiments here. No scalpels or cages! What’s so cool about this research is it’s being conducted using saliva samples for DNA testing and behavioral observation.

The University of Massachusettes Medical School is launching a study of canine genetics, behavior and personality. Interestingly named Darwin’s Dogs, the team is attempting to answer important questions about human conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism. Somehow I wouldn’t have imagined that. Seems Dobermans are known for “canine compulsive disorder” that’s similar to OCD in humans!

When we at Vital Planet talk to people about the value of ongoing maintenance of the health of their dogs rather than waiting for nasty disease to show up, I always remind them that dogs are essentially like us. They have the same endocrine system, the same organs, a skeletal system, a nervous system. One major difference is that they have a shorter digestive tract and longer teeth, which impacts their food requirements of course. However, the similarities far outweigh the differences.

In this article I enjoyed learning that a dog’s DNA is so close to ours that they can be our best friends in even more ways than ever. For example, recent research on osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer in children and frequently found in dogs showed that the composition of the tumors in children compared to those in dogs was virtually indistinguishable. Collecting more specimens from dogs could result in positive progress in understanding the etiology of this heartbreaking disease process.

One of our Vital Planet products, Daily Detox, is designed to support healthy functioning of a dog’s liver. Along with probiotics, the liver is our front line defense against our poisonous environment. If you think about it, dogs are even more toxic than we are. They’re smaller and closer to the ground. They are exposed to the same pollutants in their environments as we are, at closer range in some cases. Studies have been done clearly showing their increased toxic levels. This comparison information can allow us to better understand the impact that these toxins are having on humans on a day-to-day basis.

There’s actually a company called Dognition that enrolls dog owners as “citizen scientists”. The humans are asked to have their dogs complete different games or specific tasks. Then the collected data is submitted.

I must say, I was wondering how reliable that data might be. Apparently studies have also been conducted comparing data validity between lab and this type of at-home collection. The citizen-scientist data was found “useful and reliable”. I love this!

Dr. Hare from Dognition is looking at the environmental or behavioral factors that affect both the human and their dog. He calls this concept “one health” and defines that as ‘how animal research can help human health, and vice versa’.

For far too long an animal’s position in research has been a frightful one-way street. It delights me to imagine that our awareness is expanding in these avenues to recognize our dogs much more as beings deserving of respect and appreciation – for their salivary DNA and even their behaviors!

Vital Planet Pets visits Expo East

Filed in Dogs - Pets, Environmental Toxins, Immune System | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/25/2015


Last weekend was a wonderful experience for me and I wanted to share it with all of you!

A number of us from Vital Planet Pets attended Expo East in Baltimore. This is a yearly gathering where health and wellness companies of all types come together to showcase their products and hopefully, gain interest from health food store buyers nationwide.

As I’ve mentioned before, Vital Planet Pets is my brand new company, just started this year. Our goal is to provide the highest quality pet supplements available – yes, on the planet!

You know how passionate I am about probiotics and also herbal and nutritional supplements to help manage our toxic daily lives. Well, our pets are even more at risk than we are! Think about it – they’re much closer to the ground and floor where they are exposed to pesticides and whatever we bring into the house on our shoes. They lay on carpets, play in dirt, chew on unmentionable things – oh my! As a matter of course and safety they are vaccinated, de-fleaed, and receive antibiotics when necessary. Believe me I know. I share my life with three doggies on a daily basis and love them more than I can say. I want them around for a long time so I know I need to support their immune systems and vitality daily. I sincerely wanted to communicate this message at the show.

Our booth was placed with the other creative fledgling companies upstairs. It was all so exhilarating! We were unveiling products that we were presenting to the buyers in a totally new way, hoping that there would be interest in the pet supplements that are our passion. And we were not disappointed!

People visited our booth constantly, and retailers were expressing their excitement to carry our new condition specific therapeutic supplements for their own pets, and the pets of their customers – that’s you! So you can look forward to seeing more Vital Planet smiling dog and cat faces from the shelves of your favorite health food stores. Hooray!

And you just have to hear this – I was blown away! One woman from the show who purchased our product Skin & Coat for her dog emailed us when we returned. She said she had already spent hundreds of dollars trying to help her beloved friend. She was absolutely thrilled to report that after only a few days, she could already see a difference in her German Shorthaired Pointer’s coat. Just imagine how much better her dog feels too! Stories like this make everything worthwhile.

The time has come to help our four-legged friends enjoy the same health that we two-leggeds strive to achieve day to day. Please look for Vital Planet Pet products on your health food store shelves. If you can’t find them, let us know!

We’re here to help you to decrease chronic discomfort in your beloved dogs and cats as you give them the chance to heal from the inside out with Vital Planet Pets!

Thank you for your support.

Need a Natural Health Breakthrough?

Filed in Adults, Alzheimer's, Brain, Cats, Dementia, Depression, Dogs - Pets, Environmental Toxins, Fermentation, Heart Disease, Human Microbiome, Immune System, Longevity, Obesity, Parkinson's, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/18/2015


Many of you who know me or have followed me for years know I’ve dedicated a great deal of my life to sharing knowledge on natural health options that you may not have known about.  Things like digestive health, cardiovascular care, toxicity, weight loss and more.  Well I’m at it again!

I am currently working on a new television series called Natural Health Breakthroughs with Brenda Watson.

What is Natural Health Breakthroughs?

This new series is designed to bring you the latest and most innovative health care options.

Health options that you can benefit from such as Stem Cell Therapy, Integrative Cardiovascular Therapy, Fecal Transplant, and the latest Genetic Testing.  I also cover topics such as Food Sensitivities, Brain Health, Gut Health, Effects of Environmental and Chemical Toxicity, even Natural Health for your pets.

These things are not secret, but they are not widely known either. And what’s not being shared are the amazing success stories all around us – people like you and me doing things far better than relying on drugs or having unnecessary procedures.

This information is something everyone should have, but I need your help to make that happen.

So far I have been able to fund and produce five episodes.  These five episodes are complete and ready to go and include: Integrative Cardiovascular Care; Better Health For Your Brain; How Fermented Foods Could Change Your Life; The Gut Microbiome and How It’s Changing Health Care; Toxicity and It’s Detrimental Effects on Generations to Come.

Now I need your help to finish the next five episodes.

The next five episodes are slated to include:   Stem Cell research and therapies and how to get them; how genetic testing could change your health care; food sensitivities and why they may be your hidden issue; latest research on obesity and surprising factors in your weight gain; natural health options for your pet and much more.

Now, here’s the thing! In order for any television station to air this series they need at least 10 episodes.  With your help we can finish the next 5 and be able to bring this information to you and your family.

I can’t imagine the information I already have in the 5 episodes so far just sitting there not able to be viewed by the thousands of people it can help.  That thought just makes my stomach turn!

In order to make the right decision about your health you have to have the information. It is a choice after all.  And that’s exactly what I am trying to do – give you choices for your health.

To find out more about my new show and how you can help please visit my page on the website Indiegogo: http://igg.me/at/BrendaWatson

Is Your Best Friend Constipated?

Filed in Constipation, Diet, Digestive Health, Dogs - Pets, Exercise, Heart Disease, Joints, Omega-3 & Fish Oil, Probiotics & Gut Flora | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/24/2015


Constipation may not be a topic you’d choose for daily conversation, but it’s really nothing to be embarrassed about. We’ve all experienced it at one time or another – and we realize how debilitating it can become. Although in our society, the medical professionals still say that 3 bowel movements weekly is “normal” – let me tell you, you don’t want to be “normal”. A healthy human being should eliminate daily. And it’s the same for our faithful canine companions.

Dogs also suffer from constipation. If your dog is showing signs of having trouble eliminating, take him to the vet to make sure there is not an underlying condition. If there’s not a physical problem, then it’s up to us, and what we provide as owners, to help our dogs eliminate better.

Dogs show signs of being constipated by straining to defecate – with small volume expelled. You may notice hard bowel movements. As I mentioned, dogs need to eliminate everyday to be healthy. They may also look bloated and/or show signs of pain when attempting to defecate. Lack of appetite or even depression could be a sign of toxic buildup or discomfort due to constipation. Be sure to notice any differences in color or texture.

Well, what exactly can we do at home to help our dogs? Making sure they eat a good diet with moist food – not just dry food – is a must. Supply your pet with plenty of clean water and exercise.

Certain supplements have also been shown to help. Just like people, dogs need the good bacteria from probiotics to balance their guts and help with regularity. Choose a supplement that is potent enough to make a difference – at least 20 billion cultures per serving (whether in pill or powder) and containing 10 different strains of lactobacillus and bifido bacteria. Dogs have many of the same strains of good bacteria in their gut as their owners so providing them with a high culture count and multi strain supplement is as important for them as it is for us.

Here’s another important tip that many may not know – Omega 3s, which vets suggest for many other problems in dogs like kidney, heart and joint diseases, is also very effective in relieving constipation. A high dose omega blend of EPA and DHA totaling about 750mg of total omega3 is best.

Chances are good that you regularly clean up as your dog eliminates. That poop helps you to notice any changes that may be occurring in your pet’s health. Our dogs are so willing to give us unconditional love – and we enjoy it thoroughly! However they depend on us totally for their digestive needs. Let’s make sure they have the same opportunities for vital health that we do!

 

Constipation Just a Human Issue? I Think Not!

Filed in Adults, Cats, Constipation, Dogs - Pets, Probiotics & Gut Flora | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/17/2015


Statistics show constipation in humans is an extremely common and sometimes very expensive issue. Too often people end up in the doctor’s office or emergency room when the problem becomes painful or even potentially dangerous due to the fact there could be a blockage of some kind.

Well, our dogs and cats can have the same problem with constipation, even though diarrhea is seen more often in pets.

I’ll bet most loving pet owners pay more attention to how their animals poop then they do to their own poop – an interesting thought in itself.

What is the very first thing a vet will ask you when you take your animal in for a problem or an exam? “How are they pooping?” Right? Wouldn’t it be great if our human doctors asked us that on our regular check-ups? Most doctors haven’t been trained to consider it very important. I’ll sadly tell you that from lots of experience.

Back to our pets. Let’s start with cats. Cats should poop every single day. If you are disciplined about cleaning out that litter box you will be able to monitor this easily. Their poop should be brown, formed (not loose) and soft and moist enough for the litter to stick to it. Simple enough. If this is not happening then your cat is constipated.

Not every cat is going to let you know if they are uncomfortable because they are constipated. People will think it’s normal for their cat to go once every 2 or 3 days! Cats, like humans, are supposed to detox through their poop – every day.

So if you believe your cat is constipated, first take them to the vet to be checked. It’s important to make sure there is not a blockage or serious problem. After that, it’s time to consider some steps you can take at home to help remedy the problem.

The biggest issue with cats and constipation is dehydration, so make sure your cat is eating a moisture rich food. Did you know that cats are designed to get the majority of the water they need from what they eat? Actually 70-75%. Studies show that generally a dry food diet may not be the best choice for your cats. They won’t realize they need to make up the moisture difference by drinking more water. It’s impossible to force them to drink more water than they normally desire. Of course, be sure they have plenty of fresh, clean water available at all times so they can drink when they’re thirsty.

Natural remedies for constipation are as effective and safe as those made for humans. The addition of aloe vera juice into your cat’s food may be very helpful.

Perhaps one of the best solutions is to increase the good bacteria in your cat’s digestive tract with probiotics. Make sure you choose a probiotic that is formulated specifically for cats. Just like in people cats need a high potency probiotic with at least 10 strains.

Using a powdered probiotic that can be added to your cat’s food makes supplementing with probiotics effortless. I’m sure you’ve experienced how interesting (or impossible) it can be in many cases to persuade your cat to take a pill. A powdered form removes that issue all together.

I’ll bet you’re relieved to know that there is so much that can be done to help your feline friends should they suffer from constipation. I can say with sincerity, having suffered from it myself and having worked to help countless others – you just feel miserable. We certainly don’t want our loving pets to live in misery, as they bring us so much JOY!!!!

Let’s help them out.

Do Pets Need to Detox Just Like People?

Filed in Cleansing, Diabetes, Dogs - Pets, Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease - NAFLD, Obesity | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/09/2015


In recent years we have seen a drastic increase in the number of people in this country who are overweight and obese. This has led to a scary increase in many chronic health conditions ranging from diabetes and metabolic syndrome to heart disease. We are also seeing a rise in NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) in humans. I’ve written many blogs on this topic. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a term used to describe the accumulation of fat in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol. People usually don’t have symptoms, or if they do, the symptoms are mild—most commonly, episodes of fatigue. But we now know that the increase in NAFLD is due in part to obesity. It is no secret that weight loss is an important factor in improving a fatty liver.

As a big proponent of supporting liver function in people by using detoxing programs, I have always suggested the use of herbs, amino acids, and nutraceuticals in a combination formula. I have seen this formula help countless people over the years as they work on improving their health and losing weight.

Veterinarians are also finding that, just like people, dogs and cats that carry extra weight place additional demands on their organs too, especially on their livers.

So the question is: how do we help our furry friends who are overweight? We can’t exactly offer our pets suggestions like “Push away your plate before you are full,” or “Stop opening the refrigerator after 7 PM for that extra snack!” I sometimes joke about our dogs with my husband Stan, “I’ll bet they wish they had thumbs so they could open the refrigerator.” You see, I am also trying to control the weight in my dogs at this time, yet they have learned so many ways to control me and devour more food! I often read articles that claim overweight pets habitually hang around during mealtimes and while food is being prepared. Well, where else would they be?

Hepatic lipidosis (commonly known as fatty liver) is one of the most common feline liver diseases in cats. But dogs can also suffer from fatty liver, which results in a decrease in liver function and leads to myriad other health conditions. Once again, we share the same problems with our health as our pets when it comes to both weight and liver disease.

Guess what? The answer to this problem is the same for both humans and pets: lose the extra pounds. When we—and our pets—lose weight, the liver then loses fat. And by detoxing the liver, it will naturally become healthier.

Many pet owners have been detoxing their own livers for years. We now know that liver detox is important for our beloved pets as well. A very important point to remember is to choose a gentle daily detox for our pets (just as we do for ourselves) that will not cause them to feel poorly as their livers detox. You’ll want to find a formula that includes milk thistle, turmeric, and MSM. These gentle ingredients support and assist in liver detoxification in animals just as they do in humans. Look for a product that includes the above ingredients. Make sure that it’s specifically formulated for pets.

Now to address the issue of helping our furry friends lose weight; the responsibility is ours. We must make sure to not overfeed them or give them too many treats. I have one important rule with my dogs: I never feed them from the table!

Admittedly, it’s not easy to refuse those pitiful eyes when they look up at me asking for a treat. But I know that their health depends on it.

 

The Lowdown on How the Guts of our Pets Mimic their Human Owners!!!

Filed in Adults, Antibiotics, Cleansing, Diabetes, Dogs - Pets, Environmental Toxins, General, Human Microbiome, Immune System, Mental Health, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Supplements | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/02/2015


For many years I have written about the benefit of probiotics on our health. In my early years, working in a Natural Health Clinic that offered total health solutions, I experienced first hand the great effects probiotics have on people. I worked one on one with many who were trying to reverse health conditions naturally or in conjunction with traditional medicine. In my own practice as well as throughout the clinic our goal was to assist people in detoxification of their bodies. These cleansing practices were found effective in prevention of disease, as well as in supporting the healing of many conditions that traditional medicine had not been able to solve.

In our Clinic this was accomplished with modalities like massage, sauna, herbs, colon hydrotherapy, juice fasting and nutrition. During this period of time probiotics were a vital part of my practice. My specialty was the digestive system (I’ll bet you might have guessed!) and I was performing colonics as well as suggesting herbal remedies and teaching good nutrition. So in this way very early on, through practical application, I observed over and over how probiotics could greatly improve people’s health.

Now let’s fast forward to today – many years later! We have entered the age of the study of the Human Microbiome (fancy name for gut population) and its effects on human health and disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has supported this so scientists can have the funding to study all aspects of bacteria, both in and on our bodies. Almost daily we can read more research studies touting the benefits of probiotics on everything from GI problems to anxiety and depression. As new studies have come forth, we have even offered many of them to you on this blog.

Since we have trillions of bacteria and over 180 different strains of bacteria in our guts, we now fully realize two important things – how critical it is to replenish our good bacteria if we want to be healthy, and also just what type of probiotic supplement our bodies need most – one that is high potency (meaning a high culture count) and that also contains many different good bacterial strains.

BUT – have we forgotten about the digestive systems of our babies? Those wonderful animals that keep us company, are always excited to see us and never criticize us for our shortcomings? Gosh I hope not.

Come to find out these guys (dogs and cats) need probiotics just like we do. In fact their digestive systems take a beating from antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and toxins just like ours do. Actually they are finding that the gut bacteria of the animals we live with actually mimic ours, having many of the same bacteria – even though there are certain strains that are specific to animals.

I interviewed Dr. Rob Knight who is a scientist studying the gut microbiome and founded The American Gut Project. These scientists actually analyze stool samples (for a fee) from anyone, and they will accept your animal’s sample as well. Dr. Knight explained to me that he can take samples from humans and match them to their dog by simply comparing their bacterial composition, without knowing anything else about them. He can literally match owners with their dogs through their similarities of bacteria!

Even though “official” research is beginning to demonstrate that dogs and cats derive many health benefits from probiotics, Stan and I and countless other dog owners and vets have already experienced that high dose, multi-strain probiotics can help pets with digestive upsets like vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, skin issues – the list goes on. For cats and dogs, a healthy population of gut bacteria is vital for gut health, and just like with their humans, plays a critical role in removing toxins, enhancing digestion and out-competing many strains of disease causing microorganisms.

In conclusion, I know I am going to make sure my animals have the benefit of quality probiotics – ones made especially for cats and dogs – with at least 20 billion cultures per capsule and 10 different probiotic strains.

In this simple way we can provide our animals a much better chance of keeping their health on the right track — so that we have them around longer to love!!! YEA!!!

Protecting Your Pup from Summer Skin Irritation

Filed in Dogs - Pets | Posted by Brenda Watson on 08/11/2008


Natural Remedies for Common Conditions

Ah, summer. More time to frolic in the yard. Longer walks outdoors. And a little extra time each day to bask in the warm sun. But that’s not all the summer season has in store for your canine companion. More often than not, the warmest months of the year mean an increase in common skin conditions such as shedding, insect bites, dryness and irritation. But instead of applying harsh insect repellents or topical moisturizers—both of which may be laden with synthetic chemicals that are detrimental to your dog’s health—consider a safer, natural alternative to promoting healthy skin all year long.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
With few exceptions, the majority of dog breeds develop a dual coat in adulthood, which is characterized by an undercoat of thicker, softer hairs beneath a topcoat of coarser, longer hairs. While seasonal shedding is perfectly normal and helps prepare your dog’s coat from one month to the next, excessive shedding may be the result of a lack of certain nutrients in the diet.

For example, essential fatty acids such as the healthy Omega-3 fats derived from fish oil and the Omega-6 fats found in fish as well as borage oil help the skin retain moisture and fortify the hair shafts to reduce shedding. A beneficial skin and coat supplement that contains these essential fats can go a long way toward ensuring a vibrant, healthy coat. Also, it’s best to avoid using harsh commercial shampoos that may strip your dog’s skin of its natural protective oils.

Soothing Relief for Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies can be the result of several factors, including fluctuating temperatures and a flourish of new plant life. Symptoms range from mild to severe depending upon the individual dog and may include dry, flaky skin; excessive licking or chewing; constant scratching; shaking the head (to relieve itchy ears); and even red, irritated areas of open skin commonly known as ‘hot spots’.

The best way to avoid allergic irritation throughout the year is to take a proactive approach to skin and coat health with daily nutritional supplementation. A natural formula that includes chamomile flower, licorice root, sarsaparilla, white peony and burdock root has been proven to help soothe dry skin and relieve allergy-related itching. Astragalus (a member of the Legume family), as well as turmeric root and stinging nettle, provides beneficial anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve inflamed skin.

Premium skin and coat formulas will also incorporate the benefits of flower essences, or the natural energy vibrations that resonate from plants and flowers. With unique healing properties first documented in the early twentieth century, flower essences have become a well-known natural remedy for a wide range of conditions, and they have been shown to provide soothing relief from allergies for dogs and other pets.

Bug Off
Fleas, ticks and similar pests can quickly become a nuisance for dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors. Most conventional remedies, however, are highly toxic and have been linked to serious illness and, in some cases, even death. For this reason, health-conscious pet owners are opting for natural supplements with ingredients proven to repel pests by making the blood less appetizing. These include common garlic and brewer’s yeast—a beneficial yeast organism that is also a rich source of B vitamins and chromium, both of which have been shown to promote overall skin health.

Healthy Skin throughout the Year
While it’s no doubt the warm weather puts shedding and skin irritation at the forefront of your mind, giving your best friend the support she needs to maintain a lustrous, healthy coat is a year-round responsibility. Talk to your veterinarian about the natural skin and coat formulas available to help your dog look and feel healthier every day.

Do Summer Storms Turn Your Dog into a Scaredy Cat?

Filed in Dogs - Pets | Posted by Brenda Watson on 08/11/2008


Natural Stress Relief for Storm-wary Pups

The carefree days of summer are finally here again. But instead of enjoying some fun in the sun, many dog owners (and their canine companions) are left worrying about that all-too-common seasonal phenomenon—the summer thunderstorm. That’s because one loud ‘boom’ and suddenly your happy-go-lucky pooch is transformed into a panting, pacing bundle of nerves that makes even the Cowardly Lion look brave. However, before you reach for the doggie Prozac, consider this: the natural world provides an abundance of soothing solutions that are not only safe and effective, but that may help Fido find the courage he needs to weather the next storm in confidence.

The Science behind the Storm

Thunder is the sound created by lightning as the discharged electricity heats the surrounding air. This causes a shock wave to form, and that shock wave can produce anything from a low, rolling rumble to a sharp crackling noise, both of which can leave dogs trembling in their wake. What’s more, dogs are able to sense the change in barometric pressure that precedes a thunderstorm, so their anxiety may begin long before their human companions even notice the approaching weather. Depending upon the individual dog, behavior during a storm can range from mild (panting and shaking) to severe (urinating or defecating in the house).

Natural Ingredients Offer Soothing Relief

Persistent anxiety in dogs can lead to even more serious health problems over time, so providing relief at the first signs of stress is essential. Nowadays a growing number of pet owners are seeking the advice of holistic veterinarians who understand the healing power of herbs and other nutraceuticals. Just as these natural remedies help promote calmness in humans, so they have been shown to help ease feelings of stress and apprehension in dogs, particularly those feelings associated with noise phobia.

Natural ingredients such as lemon balm, motherwort, chamomile and black cohosh root provide a relaxing effect that helps defuse anxiety and ease tension in the muscles. Because of their mild sedative properties, herbs such as skullcap, valerian root, hops and ashwagandha (an Ayurvedic remedy) may also be included. In addition to the herbal components that may be found in a natural stress-relief formula for dogs, beneficial nutraceuticals such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), vitamin B-1 and the amino acid L-theanine may be used for their proven anti-stress effects on the central nervous system.

Flower Essences: Powerful Vibrational Support

Flower essences are the natural energy vibrations that resonate from plants and flowers. First documented in the early twentieth century, their unique healing properties have become a well-known natural remedy for a wide range of emotional issues in both humans and their canine companions—including the anxiety triggered by a fear of loud noises.

Says renowned holistic vet Dr. Joel Murphy, “Just like humans, dogs are extremely receptive to the distinct energy patterns or ‘essences’ of plants and flowers, and I’ve found that certain blends provide powerful relief not just for stress and anxiety, but also for detoxification and overall health. This is so important, because dogs today are living longer than ever, and pet owners want to do everything they can to provide safe, natural solutions for keeping them as healthy and active as possible.”

Calm, Cool and Collected

Before that familiar rumble rolls around again, speak with your veterinarian about the natural solutions available to help your dog stay calm during the storm. An herbal anti-anxiety formula may be the first step toward alleviating apprehension and ensuring a healthier, happier best friend.