Microchipping 101

We at Making A Difference Rescue believe that micro-chipping our animals is a crucial step in our efforts to protect, save and rescue.  All animals that we ave and adopt out are micro-chipped to our rescue.  We list ourselves as the primary contact in order to ensure their safety, should an adopter move, go on vacation,  change phone numbers, etc.  This way we can always ensure their safe return and prevent their euthanasia if unclaimed due to unforeseen circumstances.  Our animals will forever be an important part of our family, to us, their stories do not end when they have found their forever homes.  We are committed to them for their lifetime.

Each year millions of pets become lost or displaced. In fact, 1 in 3 pets will go missing sometime in their lives.A microchip is an implantable medical device that safely and permanently identifies your pet. Micro-chips have successfully reunited millions of lost pets with their owners, as well as saving lives when lost pets are impounded at shelters.


What is a microchip?

Avid FriendChip

A Microchip is a passive, integrated transponder that is about the size of a grain of rice (12mm) and is injected into animals with a 12-gauge needle. The microchip is encapsulated in a biocompatible glass capsule coated with Parylene C to prevent tissue irritation and microchip migration. The microchip does not use batteries but is energized by an electromagnetic field produced by a microchip scanner. The microchip is permanent and will last the life of the pet. Each microchip has a unique identification number that is encoded and locked into its integrated circuit. When the pet is registered in a pet recovery database this identification number links the pet to the owner’s contact information.


Why should I microchip my pet?


Every year approximately 6 to 8 million pets end up in municipal shelters, animal control facilities and humane societies across the United States (Source: HSUS). Typically, these facilities receive hundreds of lost or displaced pets each week, experience overcrowding and have limited resources. Some of these facilities have a no-kill policy while others have to make hard decisions. Fortunately, most of these facilities are committed to scanning pets upon intake and before disposition and will try to reunite a microchipped pet with its owner. When a microchip is detected, the facility will call a pet recovery service to locate the owner and reunite the pet with them. The system works; each month thousands of lost or displaced pets across the U.S. are reunited with their owners.


Does microchipping hurt my pet?


Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are typically injected between the shoulder blades with a 12-gauge needle. The procedure is similar to receiving routine vaccination through a needle and most pets don’t even react when the microchip is injected. Because the microchip is biocompatible, the pet will not experience any adverse reactions. The microchip provides a safe, permanent form of identification.


How do I get my pet microchipped?


Many veterinarians and animal control facilities offer microchipping services and host events in their communities.


Should I register my pets microchip?


Registering your pet in a pet recovery database is the most important step in the microchipping process. Unfortunately, many pet owners forget or will not take the time or effort to register their pet. When an unregistered pet enters an animal control facility the pet could be adopted by another person or group, or the unthinkable can happen. Because unregistered pets are difficult to trace back to their owners these pets have a limited time to be reunited with their owners. Unclaimed pets take up unnecessary resources and cost taxpayers and donors an average of $120.00 in kennel fees. Remember, a microchipped pet has a better chance at being reunited with its owner but only if the pet is registered in a pet recovery database. Once your microchipped pet is registered, your pet can never leave home without positive identification.

Avid Micro-chips

Instructions for Updating Avid micro-chips.


Call the 24-hour AVID customer service department at 800-336-2843 for the United States or 0800 652 8 977 for the United Kingdom.

Press “5” on your keypad to speak with an AVID customer service representative to update an AVID chip.

Speak to the customer service representative about what you need to update.

Write down any information you receive from the customer service representative for future reference.


3 Tips for Dog Parents Who Feed Their Dogs Dry Kibble

We wanted to share this helpful post written by Kimberly of


3 Tips for Dog Parents Who Feed Their Dogs Dry Kibble

This is a quick post and completely unplanned.  Linda, a reader who also follows me on Facebook, asked a great question this morning and I wanted to share it today, because this is in response to the article about feeding our dogs feathers for protein…

“ Do you have any tips for people who want to continue to feed their dogs a dry kibble but at the same time want them to have the healthiest diet possible?”

1) Read the ingredients; get to know what is going into your pet’s food, especially the first 5 ingredients, because it’s ordered by quantity. If the first ingredient is a carb/grain, put it back on the shelf. It should be a protein (and a real one, not feathers). I would also pass on anything that isn’t clear about the meat. Chicken or chicken meal (which some disagree with, but is actually chicken without the water, so in some foods, it’s more protein) is a great example.

If you notice an ingredient that you’re not sure about, hit up Google.  So many of us have smart phones, Google while your at the store.  If this isn’t possible, as a sales clerk.  If they don’t know – pass until you get an answer that you understand.  The best example that I have is beet pulp, which I used to think was great for our dogs.  It’s beets right?  No, apparently it’s the biproduct of processing beets.  I don’t want our dogs eating the run off from a manufacturing process.

The above ingredients are from a dry kibble created by a very popular brand that is sold in grocery stores.  Looking at these ingredients, I wouldn’t buy this food because…

  • The first ingredient is corn; this is a known allergen for many dogs and corn is a carb – to have a carb as a first ingredient doesn’t seem right to me.  It should be a meat.  I’m not suggesting that dogs shouldn’t eat carbs, it’s an energy source, but their food shouldn’t be carb heavy and since corn is the first ingredient, I take that to mean there is a high percentage of carbs in this food.
  • Chicken by-product meal; chicken meal isn’t bad, this is just chicken with all the water taken out and some say that it allows the food to hold even more chicken.  That’s great!  What raises a red flag for me is the “by-product.”  What is that?  Does that mean it’s all the left overs not fit for other food?  The product is the meat; the by-product is what they throw away – or at least that’s what I’m thinking.
  • Uhh oh, we see corn again; corn gluten meal.  Wow, this food seriously isn’t for dogs with known corn allergies.  Stay away!
  • Rice flour; I underlined this one, because I know that brown rice is great for dogs and I’ve been told that white rice isn’t so great.  For dogs with allergies, it’s suggested that wheat flour (of course, some dogs are allergic to wheat) or brown rice flour be substituted for rice flour.  I’ve read some great information about grains, thanks to Kate of SlimDoggy (you rock!) and in my reading, rice is seen as the least problematic by some, but it’s still raised often enough to be a concern – but it’s lower on the ingredients list so let’s move on.
  • Beef; why so low on the list?
  • Soy flour; like rice flour, I keep seeing people suggest alternatives, because soy is an allergen for some dogs.
  • Meat and bone meal; whenever food just says meat and doesn’t identify what type of meat, my brain goes to some dark places.  I want to know what type of meat.
  • And the veggies are so far down on the list that it seems like they shouldn’t be counted in the ingredients.

Now here’s an example of an ingredients list of dry kibble that we used to feed our dogs and I still think is an excellent brand (Halo Purely for Pets)…

A protein is the first ingredient and all you see are great stuff for our dogs as you continue to read.  I don’t think dry kibble is ideal for my dogs, but I will not start telling people to stop feeding dry kibble to their dogs; instead, I want to encourage them to buy the best they can afford.

In my completely biased (raw food, premium dry kibble fan here) and totally inexperienced (I’m not a nutritionist) opinion, I think the first example isn’t great food for our dogs.  But that’s just my opinion.  Hopefully this gives you an idea of how I look at the ingredients.  It’s not overly complicated, because I don’t have time for complicated.

Read more about dogs and allergies from Dr. Becker.

2) Bookmark Dog Food Advisor and do a little research. The great thing about this site is that the owner has taken on most of the work – we just need to read his findings. I return to it regularly both as a blogger and a pet mom.  You can also check them out on Facebook.

3) Don’t buy from the grocery story or Walmart. Go to local pet food store where they’re going to have truly premium dry kibble; not popular foods they’re calling premium. What I like about local pet food stores is that you can probably speak with the owner and get their input on brands without feeling like your being pushed towards one.  I’m not knocking Walmart; I venture in their from time to time for the deals too, but I doubt that their employees can educate me about the pros and cons of the pet foods they carry.

And don’t be fulled by buzz words like ‘Natural’ or ‘Organic.’ Some pet food companies have clued in that this attracts buyers; it’s still up to us to ask the question “what makes it natural?”


Why Dog’s Can Have a Problem with You Trimming their Toe Nails

KwikWritten by John Wade
Trimming a dog’s nails makes a lot of people nervous which can make a lot of dogs nervous. For many dogs, having to hold still, have their feet handled and cope with the sensation of nails being clipped wouldn’t be a problem at all if it someone was “pretend clipping” with real clippers every television commercial while they were still little.

When my eldest son was little I used to hold him in one arm while shaving with an electric shaver and buzzed it around his head for a pretend shave. At some point before my second son was born I switched to using a razor. His mother, having seen upon occasion a number of blood stained dots of tissues decorating my face for some reason put the kibosh on any further father/son pretend shaving bonding of any kind. In any event, the youngest didn’t get any shaving experience electric or otherwise.

A little later in their lives it came time for their first big-boy haircuts and there was a marked difference in their response to the electric clippers. The eldest was fine whereas when it was my youngest’s time and the clippers got close to his head, he got a look on his face like the barber had traded up to a chain saw, bounced out of the chair and headed for the door. Moral: acclimatize, and not surprise.

The fear of cutting into the quick and causing some bleeding is the average dog owner’s main concern, so many dogs are sent to the veterinarian or a groomer instead. Truth be told, even there quicks get cut now and then. A big part of the difference between a pro nicking too far and a dog owner is that the pros don’t worry about it. They just slap a little goop designed for just such an event and move on to the next nail. Dog owner’s however can react a little differently and can easily shift their dog’s anxiety level skyward. The dog is laying calmly, paw extended and the owner clips too short, spots some blood and starts yelling something like, “Help! Help! I’ve killed my dog!” and a terrified dog leaps to its feet yelling, “What? What? Somebody’s dead? Hey, whose blood is that?” The poor dog forever after connects the sight of the clippers with either their own imminent demise or the plug being pulled on their owner’s sanity.

Even if a dog owner is going to have someone else do the job or it’s a dog that gets so much exercise its nail never need trimming, for two reasons I still recommend they do acclimatization. Firstly, it’s one thing to relieve their own stress by reassigning the job but that doesn’t necessarily lessen the dog’s stress and puppy dress rehearsals will pay off in reduced stress for the dog when the real curtain comes up. Secondly, at some point in its life a dog may get some sort of foot or limb injury that requires daily attention. That’s not a task as easily transferred to a third-party and treatment is easier to apply and easier for the dog to take if a “Stay still ,while I’m doing something you may not like.” foundation has been laid early in life.

For anyone brave enough to try I have a free nail clipping diagram showing View Of Quick For Nail Clipping and a How To Trim A Dogs Nails With Clippers.

Pawsitively yours,

John Wade

Remedies for Kennel Cough

Natural, gentle remedies to prevent or treat kennel cough.

By CJ Puotinen

Anyone who’s heard it will recognize the dry, hacking, something’s-stuck-in-my-throat cough that won’t quit. It’s the signature symptom of canine infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as Bordetellosis, Bordetella, and most commonly as kennel cough. Whatever you call it, tracheobronchitis is one of the world’s most widespread canine diseases.

Like the common cold in humans, tracheobronchitis is highly contagious, rarely fatal, and runs its course in a few days. Fortunately, there are several ways to help make canine patients more comfortable, speed recovery, and prevent future infections.

Shelters and kennels are infamous for spreading the viruses and bacteria that can cause “kennel cough.” However, outbreaks are not necessarily due to poor disinfection practices. Stress and crowding can make a dog’s immune system vulnerable to this infection, which is much like the common cold in humans.

Tracheobronchitis is called kennel cough because of its association with boarding kennels, animal shelters, veterinary waiting rooms, grooming salons, and other areas where dogs congregate in close quarters. It can strike dogs of any age but is most common in puppies, whose immune systems are still developing, and adult dogs with conditions that impair immune function.

Although often referred to as Bordetella, tracheobronchitis isn’t caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria alone. Several infectious agents contribute to the condition, primarily parainfluenza. Other viruses that may be involved include canine adenovirus, reovirus, and the canine herpes virus.

When Bordetella and parainfluenza combine to cause tracheobronchitis, symptoms appear within a week of exposure (usually after three to four days) and continue for about 10 days. Even after symptoms disappear, the recovering patient remains contagious, shedding Bordetella bacteria for up to 14 weeks.

In mild cases, infected dogs remain active and alert, with good appetite. In more severe cases, symptoms may progress toward pneumonia and include lethargy, fever, and a loss of appetite.

The main symptom of tracheobron-chitis – its cough – has been described as unproductive, throat-clearing, goose-honking, hacking, dry, harsh, gut-wrenching, gagging, wheezing, and croup-like – not to mention annoying to the dogs who can’t stop coughing and the humans they live with. Vigorous exercise triggers it, but even resting dogs may cough every few minutes throughout the day.

The cough is caused by irritation and damage to the lining of the trachea and upper bronchi. In the trachea, exposed nerve endings are aggravated by the passage of air over damaged tissue as the dog inhales and exhales.

Just as the virus that causes the common cold is carried by water vapor, dust, and air, the bacteria and viruses that cause tracheobronchitis spread in all directions. When inhaled by a susceptible dog, they attach to the lining of upper airway passages whose warm, moist conditions allow them to reproduce and eventually damage the cells they infect.

Risk factors
Some people catch frequent colds and others never get sick. Some dogs are susceptible to tracheobronchitis and others never get it, even after repeated exposure.

According to Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, Educational Director of, “The normal respiratory tract has substantial safeguards against invading infectious agents. The most important of these is probably what is called the mucocillary escalator.”

Cilia are tiny hairlike structures that protrude from the cells that line the respiratory tract. They are covered with a protective coat of mucus, and they beat in a coordinated fashion. As viruses, bacteria, and other debris become trapped in the sticky mucus, the cilia move everything up (hence the escalator analogy) toward the throat, where it can be coughed up or swallowed.

Conditions that damage the mucocillary escalator include shipping stress, crowding stress, heavy dust exposure, exposure to cigarette smoke, viruses, and poor ventilation. “Without this protective mechanism,” says Dr. Brooks, “invading bacteria, especially Bordetella bronchiseptica, may simply march down the airways unimpeded.”

Poorly ventilated, crowded conditions increase the odds of contracting tracheobronchitis, but dogs can catch the disease almost anywhere. All they need is exposure to a dog who has an active infection or is recovering from one – or to the viruses and bacteria an infected dog left behind.

Most veterinarians treat tracheobronchitis the way physicians treat the common cold. They let it run its course while keeping the patient comfortable. Some veterinarians routinely prescribe antibiotics, which are effective against bacteria, thus addressing part of the infection. But because antibiotics have no effect on viruses, this treatment is not a cure, and most vets save antibiotics for more serious conditions, such as the secondary infections that sometimes develop in dogs with tracheobronchitis.

For partial relief of symptoms and to help the dog feel more comfortable, minor cases are often treated with nonprescription cough remedies such as Robitussin (dextromethorphan). Recommended for chronic, dry, unproductive coughing, Robitussin should not be used for moist or productive coughs. Products that contain acetaminophen or caffeine should not be given to dogs.

Prescription cough suppressants and most antibiotics are reserved for cases in which a fever develops, symptoms last longer than a few days, or the cough becomes more severe.

It might be something else
Tracheobronchitis usually clears up on its own without complications. If it doesn’t, there may be a secondary bacterial infection (such as pneumonia), or the problem may be due to something entirely else entirely. Dogs cough for many reasons.

For example, dogs can create their own tracheal irritation by pulling on the leash. A body harness with a leash attachment in front of the chest or on the back instead of the collar can prevent this cough-inducing problem.

Dogs with heart disease, including congestive heart failure and heartworm infestations, often cough after exercise or excitement. Heartworm disease is endemic in some parts of the country, and less common in others, but is a possibility in any area where mosquitoes are common. Congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart’s valves leak, is most common in middle-aged or older dogs, including small breeds.

Coughs due to tracheal collapse can be triggered by drinking water.

Diseases of the larynx or esophagus can cause coughing after eating. A damaged larynx may not close properly, allowing swallowed food to enter the trachea. Paralysis of the larynx is more common in large breed dogs.

An abnormally dilated esophagus may allow food to pool, then pass back up to the mouth and down into the lungs, causing infection and coughing. Tracheal collapse is most common in middle-aged and older, overweight small-breed dogs.

The cough resulting from tracheobronchitis is usually dry. A moist cough sounds that way because of accumulated fluid in the lungs or airways. The fluid can be water, blood, or pus. Hunting dogs and dogs who spend most of their time outdoors may inhale seeds, pollen, grasses, or other foreign matter that travels through the nose to the lung, causing pyothorax, an infection that produces a large amount of pus.

Dogs of any age can develop allergic lung disease from exposure to dust, pollen, or smoke.

While lung cancer is unusual in dogs, it too can cause coughing. Short-nosed breeds exposed to second-hand smoke and any dog exposed to asbestos may be at risk.

Pneumonia and other secondary bacterial infections can develop in pet store puppies with tracheobronchitis and in older dogs with weak immune systems or other illnesses.

Any dog who doesn’t recover quickly from what appears to be tracheobronchitis should receive a thorough veterinary exam. To help your veterinarian reach an accurate diagnosis, keep track of your dog’s symptoms, noting on a calendar or notebook the date of each symptom and its description.

It’s not the flu
Three years ago, canine flu seemed to be an epidemic affecting dogs of every description (see “Fending Off the Flu,” Whole Dog Journal, December 2005).

The cough produced by the canine flu virus is soft and moist, and it’s usually accompanied by a high fever and nasal discharge, none of which are symptoms of tracheobronchitis.

Fortunately, of the strategies that help prevent and treat tracheobronchitis work for canine flu as well as other infectious diseases. The herbs, supplements, and treatments described here can help your dog stay healthy when exposed to many different viruses and bacteria.

Most boarding facilities require proof of Bordetella vaccination for dogs who will be visiting. However, because there are many strains of Bordetella, and because no vaccine protects every patient, some immunized dogs contract tracheobronchitis despite being vaccinated. Veterinary recommendations range from vaccinating every four months to not at all.

“There are two kinds of Bordetella vaccine,” says Stacey Hershman, DVM, a holistic veterinarian in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. “The intranasal vaccine is highly effective and very safe since it is not systemic but goes down the nose into the throat. I do not recommend the injectable vaccine since it can cause negative side effects like lethargy, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.

“I never vaccinate animals more than once a year for kennel cough, and then only if they are going to a boarding kennel. Kennel cough is not fatal in adult dogs, who usually board, therefore it would be over-vaccinating in my opinion to do it more than once a year. Healthy, strong immune systems are resistant and do not catch it, which is another reason not to vaccinate unless the dog is going to a kennel that requires it.”

No matter what your dog’s vaccination status, a few natural preventives can’t hurt, especially whenever your dog is exposed to dogs with active or recent infections.

Honey and coconut oil
The single treatment for tracheobronchitis that conventional veterinarians, holistic vets, and caregivers of every description agree on is honey. Honey soothes the throat, but it does far more than that.

Honey and coconut oil are powerful health-boosters for you and your dog. They are also inexpensive and easy to find in your local health food store.

As noted in “A Honey of a Cure” (September 2007), all honey has disinfecting properties. One of the most expensive honeys sold in the United States and around the world is manuka honey from New Zealand, where bees harvest nectar from the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium). Twenty years of research at the University of Waikato show that manuka honey has impressive antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. While all honeys share these properties, they are especially pronounced in manuka honey.

Most dogs enjoy honey’s sweet taste, so it’s easy to feed from a spoon or, if the honey is thick, you can roll it into a treat-sized ball. Honey can be fed by itself, mixed with powdered herbs for additional benefit, or added to herbal teas that double as cough syrups.

There is no specific recommended dose, as both larger and smaller doses are safe and effective, but for most dogs ½ to 1 teaspoon of honey three or four times per day works well.

In recent years, coconut oil has become a popular supplement for people and pets (see “Crazy about Coconut Oil,” October 2005). Because its medium-chain fatty acids kill harmful bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi, and parasites, its advocates call it an all-purpose infection fighter. As coconut oil expert and book author Bruce Fife, ND, explains, “Taking coconut oil daily is like a daily inoculation. It will help prevent your dog from becoming infected.”

The recommended maintenance dose is 1 teaspoon coconut oil per 10 pounds of body weight per day in divided doses, always starting with smaller amounts and increasing gradually. When your dog has been exposed to tracheobronchitis or any other infection, the dose can be doubled. The only adverse effects of a too-high dose of coconut oil are loose, greasy stools and a temporary feeling of fatigue (thought to result from detoxification). Most dogs adjust easily to a coconut oil regimen, and because they’re usually fond of the taste, coconut oil can be fed from a spoon or added to your dog’s food.

Honey and coconut oil work well together. Combine these two infection fighters for both the treatment and prevention of tracheobronchitis and other contagious diseases.

Herbs for tracheobronchitis
Most natural foods markets and pet supply stores sell herbal products that help coughing dogs.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra or G. uralensis) is a favorite of herbalist Juliette de Bairacli Levy. In her book, The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, which describes her “Natural Rearing” approach to pet care, Levy recommends making a strong infusion (steeped tea) by combining 1 tablespoon dried licorice root with 2 cups cold water, bringing it to a boil, removing it from heat, and letting it stand until room temperature. Add 1 teaspoon honey to each tablespoon of licorice tea and give 2 tablespoons to the dog before meals. Small dogs and puppies can take less and large dogs more, but precise measurements aren’t necessary. Refrigerate leftover tea for up to five days.

Levy also recommends as cough remedies teas made of sage leaves (Salvia officinalis), blackberry leaves (Rubus spp.), elder blossom (Sambucus nigra), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris). “Sage is the best,” she writes.

Apitherapy Honey Wild Cherry Bark Syrup from Honey Gardens in Vermont, sold in natural foods markets, contains raw honey, apple cider vinegar, wild cherry bark (Prunus virginiana or P. serotina), elecampane root (Inula helenium), propolis (a bee product), rosehips (Rosa spp.), ginger root (Zingiber officinale), licorice root, slippery elm bark (Ulmus fulva), and the essential oils of lemon, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

All of these ingredients are traditionally used to support upper respiratory health and soothe sore throats. The human adult dose is 1 teaspoon every other hour while symptoms persist. Adjust the dose for your dog’s weight, and to make the product more palatable, try mixing it with honey and/or coconut oil or add it to a small amount of interesting food.

Kennel-Koff, an herbal product from Amber Technology, contains infection-fighting olive leaf (Olea Europaea), mustard seed (Brassica spp.), black seed (Nigella sativa), and pau d’arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa).

Described as an antimicrobial that aids upper respiratory infections, Kennel-Koff is given orally four times per day for up to 10 days. The recommended dose for most dogs, based on weight, is 15 drops at a time. According to the manufacturer, this product is designed to stimulate immunity, rid the lungs of congestion, kill viruses and bacteria, soothe digestion, rid the body of free radicals, and protect pets who are exposed to illness.

Australian herbalist Robert McDowell’s favorite treatment for tracheobronchitis is a blend of rosehips, garlic (Allium sativum), fenugreek (Trigonella fornum), marshmallow, elecampane, coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), kelp (Laminaria digitata), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and mullein (Verbascum thapsus), which he makes in a base of apple cider vinegar.

“All this sounds like a lot,” he says, “but the old-fashioned way of treating chest and respiratory infections works well. These herbs provide important minerals and vitamin C, and they act as healing tonics, expectorants, and lymphatic supplements. The result is an herbal mix that gets rid of the cough, and by continuing for several weeks after the cough has gone, it builds up the immunity. I recommend that it be kept on hand and given to the whole kennel at any signs of cough showing up, at which time all dogs should be given a short course. One dog recovered quickly when given this blend after six prescriptions for antibiotics failed.”

Juliette de Baircli Levy’s famous Natural Rearing (NR) Herbal Compounds tablets contain garlic, rue (Ruta graveolens), sage, thyme, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), and vegetable charcoal.

Levy recommends giving dogs 3 to 6 tablets daily to help fight and prevent disease. “These tablets maintain health and promote a cure in the sick,” she explains. “Use them daily for prevention, especially before and after your animal is exposed to any public place where other animals have been.”

Holistic health consultant Marina Zacharias recommends Bioprin, a Chinese blend of 21 herbs.

“This formula is the best for any type of viral infection,” she says, “as well as helping the overall immune system, and it acts like a natural anti-inflammatory. Combined with the kennel cough nosode (a homeopathic remedy designed to help increase the body’s defense against the infection), Bioprin usually brings quick relief, often within one to three days.

“Most of the people I work with have multiple-dog households, so we give the remedies to everyone preventatively whenever we know there has been exposure or when one of the household members has contracted the infection. The results are great as no one else in the house gets sick.”

Clearing the air
When Faith Thanas, an aromatherapist who lives in Leicester, Massachusetts, adopted a Doberman Pinscher from Louisiana one year after Hurricane Katrina, Sasha arrived in a van carrying 20 rescued dogs. A few days later, she started coughing.

To help soothe Sasha’s throat, Thanas mixed a blend of essential oils to spray in the air around the dog. She started with Ravensare (Cinnamonum camphora), one of the “must have” essential oils listed by Kristen Leigh Bell in her book Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals. As Bell explains, this gentle and tolerable antiviral, antibacterial essential oil supports the immune system and has tonifying effects.

Faith Thanas’ Doberman, Sasha, was a Katrina dog. After being shipped in a van with about 20 other rescued dogs, she developed a severe cough. Thanas, an aromatherapist, developed Cough Drop! to treat Sasha’s cough.

Thanas then added Eucalyptus radiata, the gentlest of the many eucalyptus varieties available. It is known for its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties. Bell writes, “Due to its gentleness, it is very appropriate for use in blends for animals for congestion, and it makes an excellent room air cleaner, deodorizer, and flea repellent.”

Eucalyptus globulus, the next ingredient, is the eucalyptus commonly found in chest rubs, cough drops, and cough syrups. It has a fresh antiseptic fragrance and, when inhaled, acts as a decongestant.

Thanas added Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia) for its powerful antibacterial properties.

After diluting the essential oils, Thanas used a spray bottle to mist the air around Sasha. “The results were instantaneous,” she recalls. “She stopped coughing, she was able to breathe, and she was so much more comfortable.”

Thanas wasted no time adding Cough Drop! to her AromaDog line of aromatherapy pet products. She describes it as an all-natural cough suppressant that works quickly, helps open breathing passages, acts as an expectorant (antitussive), soothes the chest and respiratory system (balsamic), reduces swelling (antihistamine), helps reduce excess mucus secretion (anticatarrh), and acts as an immune system stimulant.

“The bottle should be shaken well for at least three seconds before use,” she says.” Repeat the application every three hours. In households with other animals, or in boarding kennels, spraying the air, bedding, and other surfaces can help keep the illness from spreading.”

Another way to disperse essential oils into the air is with a diffuser. Aromatherapy supply companies, such as Aromatherapeutix, sell different models. A nebulizing diffuser consists of a nebulizer (glass receptacle) attached to the hose of a small air compressor. Drops of essential oil placed in the nebulizer are atomized into tiny droplets that are sprayed into the air.

Bell notes that disinfecting essential oils dispersed by a nebulizing diffuser effectively clean the air, deodorize the room, and help clear up and prevent contagious illnesses.

A new type of ultrasonic cold mist diffuser runs silently (unlike nebulizing diffusers with their noisy air compressors) and can be set for constant or intermittent dispersal. To use, simply fill the unit with water, add a few drops of essential oil, and turn it on. Buttons on the unit control the frequency and duration of misting. Simpler models, such as the SpaMist diffuser, run constantly. Ultrasonic diffusers have become popular accessories for aromatherapists and those who use essential oils.

Any blend of disinfecting essential oils, such as Ravensare, Eucalyptus radiata, or Spike Lavender, can be dispersed into the air with a diffuser.

Canine nutritional consultant Linda Arndt has a favorite remedy for clearing the air and helping dogs recover from and avoid respiratory infections. The Nzymes product Ox-E-Drops (not to be confused with Oxy Drops, an eye drop from a different manufacturer) contains sodium clorite, which breaks down to form chlorine dioxide, a microbiocide.

To use in a warm steam vaporizer (an inexpensive appliance sold in pharmacies), mix 1 teaspoon Ox-E-Drops Concentrate with one gallon of water. For severe cases, use up to 1 tablespoon. In a small bathroom, other enclosed room, or in a crate covered by a sheet, direct the vapors toward the dog’s head, keeping the vaporizer far enough away so that its hot steam doesn’t pose a safety hazard.

“Allow your pet to breathe the vapors for 15 to 20 minutes each hour for four to five hours,” says Arndt. “Repeat the procedure for two to three days until symptoms improve.”

It’s in the water
Ox-E-drops can be added to drinking water as well as spayed in the air. “Use 1 drop per 20 pounds of body weight, diluted in 1 to 3 teaspoons of water,” says Arndt, “and give this amount three times per day for all types of illness or respiratory problems.”

Faith Thanas at AromaDog created Lickity Spritzer, a blend of colloidal silver and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) hydrosol, to help keep dogs healthy while traveling as well as at home. Colloidal silver, a suspension of submicroscopic metallic silver particles in a colloidal base, is promoted as an all-purpose disinfectant and infection-fighter.

In her book Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy, Suzanne Catty writes that the hydrosol (distilled flower water) of lemon balm makes a good prophylactic in flu and allergy season and has both immune-stimulating and infection-fighting properties.

“Together,” says Thanas, “these two super-power ingredients knock out the potential for infection from bacteria, fungi, and viruses, stimulating the immune system and emotionally calming your pet. Lickity Spritzer purifies your pet’s yucky water bowl so it becomes a clean source of good health. This product is great for dogs or cats and multiple pet households.”

Special supplements
According to San Diego veterinarian Stephen R. Blake, DVM, the most important defense against any infection, whether fungal, viral, or bacterial, is the gastrointestinal system.

Dr. Blake’s favorite supplement for immune support is bovine colostrum from New Zealand, where all cattle are pasture-fed and organically raised. Colostrum is the “first milk” a cow produces after giving birth, and it contains all the immune support a calf needs to avoid infection. Cows produce colostrum in greater quantities than their calves can consume, so the excess is collected for supplement use.

“I recommend a dose of 500 mg colostrum per 25 pounds of body weight once or twice a day, depending on the dog’s risk factor,” says Dr. Blake.

Other supplements that support the gastrointestinal tract include probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and other “friendly” or “beneficial” bacteria, which help make up the body’s first line of defense against viruses and other pathogens.

Probiotics are especially important for dogs who have been treated with antibiotics, as antibiotics destroy these beneficial microbes. Several probiotic supplements have been developed for dogs and are sold in pet supply stores or veterinary clinics. And don’t neglect vitamin C. Consider giving your dog 500 mg vitamin C three times per day, or half that amount for small dogs, in addition to the animal’s usual supplements for as long as the infection lasts.

The best defense
Controlling your dog’s exposure to other animals is one way to help prevent tracheobronchitis, canine flu, and other contagious diseases. Another is to disinfect the air and surfaces around her.

These are commonsense precautions. But your dog’s best defense against infection is a strong immune system, which you can boost with nutrition, exercise, and supplements like those mentioned here. And if your dog ever contracts a respiratory infection, you’ll know how to use simple remedies to turn it around in record time.

CJ Puotinen is a frequent Whole Dog Journal contributor and freelance writer living in New York. She is also the author of The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care and many books on holistic health care and herbal remedies for humans. See “Resources,” page 24, for information on her books.

Basic Feeding Guide: Puppies and Adult Dogs


The first ingredient in your dog’s food should be a specified meat.  Not a meat by-product, but the real thing. Puppies and adult dogs were not meant to eat corn and wheat. If the first ingredient in your dog food is a corn, wheat, meat by-product, bone meal or anything but a real specified type of meat, steer clear. By-products are the leftovers, such as the eyes, hooves, skin, feathers and feet, that are not good for human consumption (unless the dog food specifically states otherwise.) Beware of ingredients that do not list exactly what it is, such as words like “animal” and “meat” as opposed to “chicken,” “beef,” “duck,” etc. See Rendered Products in Dog Food.

The first ingredient on the label should represent what the dog food is most made out of, but beware, as this is not always the case…

Using chicken as an example, when a dog food lists a meat in the ingredients such as “chicken” it is going by the weight in the meat’s raw state, before it was cooked.

Chicken in its raw state weighs about 80% more than it does once it is cooked and processed into a dry pellet. Once it is processed you are left with only 20% of the actual meat.

The word “meal” in an ingredient is something that was weighed after the water was taken out. For example “chicken meal” is chicken which is weighed after it has been cooked and the water has already been taken out, giving you more meat and protein per weight volume.

Therefore be aware that if the ingredients read “chicken” first and “corn meal” second, the food may contain more corn than chicken. Corn is a filler that a dog’s body does not utilize well, if at all. The corn gets pooped out and the dog must eat more food in order to get enough protein and nutrients that their bodies can use from the other ingredients in the food.

Corn can also cause many issues. Dogs were not meant to eat corn or other grains. Corn has been linked to skin allergies, joint swelling and bloat in dogs, among other things. See Corn in Dog Food. Really?

Take a look at your dog’s teeth. Notice that he does not have any grinding molars. They are all ripping canines. This tells us that dogs were not meant to eat grains, as they lack the teeth to grind them up. Dogs have pointy canines for ripping into meat. A lot of dogs develop skin problems and other health issues, including bloat, due to the grains they are being fed in their dog food.

It is best to feed dogs a grain-free diet. While the better quality dog food may cost more, the dog can eat less of it since their bodies use more of what they are eating, producing less waste. Not to mention the vet bill if your dog develops issues from consuming a low quality food. Be sure to read the ingredients label of the dog food you are using. You may have trouble finding a good quality food at a grocery store and may have to go to your local pet store to find a higher grade food.

A poor diet can also cause a dog to shed more, have a dull coat and have body odor.

How much should I feed my dog?

Below is a daily basic feeding guide for puppies and adult dogs. An individual dog’s requirements may differ from this chart. It is best to consult with your vet about the specific needs of your pet.

Sadie and her puppies

The first 8 weeks

Puppies should not be separated from their mother before they are 8 weeks old. Puppies that leave their mothers sooner have a rougher time adjusting and a higher incidence of illnesses. I do not know if it is due to weakened immunity or mourning the premature loss of their family. Their mother’s milk provides them with the nutrition and antibodies they need to become healthy dogs. At three to four weeks, puppies should begin eating some solid food. You can try mixing three parts food with one part water or puppy replacement milk. This will make the food easier for the puppy to digest. If your puppy begins eating a little solid food before it leave its mother it will have an easier time adjusting when you bring it home. One way to tell if a puppy is ready to come home with you is if it prefers human company over its mom or siblings.

6 to 8 weeks

Feed your puppy 3-4 times a day. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. Choose a puppy food that provides the appropriate balance of nutrients your puppy needs. Be sure it is getting the right amount of protein and calcium, and the proper amount of calories. Check the label to determine if you are feeding your puppy a balanced diet. A specified meat should be the first ingredient on the label.

After 8 weeks

Feed your puppy twice a day.

3 to 6 months

Your puppy will be teething. He may become a finicky eater or lose his appetite. Keep feeding him nutritious food twice a day. If he has an upset stomach for more than one or two days, take him to the veterinarian.

6 months to 1 year

Your puppy may look all grown up but he is still a puppy. He should still be fed a highquality food for the added nutrition. Note, in some very high quality foods the company does not make a separate food for puppies because the food is of such a high quality that it provides for both puppy and adult equally. For example, a real human grade chicken is what it is for all ages. If you are feeding a puppy food ask your veterinarian when you should switch to adult food. Make sure the adult food you switch to is still a balanced high quality diet with the first ingredient being a specified meat that is not a by-product.

8 to 9 months

Feeding should be twice a day.

1 year

In most breeds feeding should be twice a day.

Below is the daily basic feeding guide for adult dogs. An individual dog’s requirements may differ from this chart. It is best to look at the directions of the food you are feeding for their recommendations. This chart is a general reference. The feeding directions are based on using an 8 oz. measuring cup. Puppies can be fed up to one time the highest amount listed in their category. It is sometimes best to split the amount into two or more separate feedings rather than just one big meal, often twice a day. Puppies should be fed more often than adult dogs. When adding in canned food, cut the dry by up to half the amount and substitute the same volume that you cut with canned food, so the dog is getting the same amount of food, some dry and some wet. Note, if you are feeding a good quality dog food you will be able to feed less as the dog’s body will utilize more and poop out less. If you are feeding a food that contains a lot of fillers (grain fillers such as corn are often used by some companies) you may have to feed more in order for the dog to get the proper amount of protein.


Typical Breed

Weight as an Adult Dog

Dry Food

Dry Food Mixed with Can Food 

Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle

Up to 10 pounds

1/4 to 3/4

Cut dry up to ½ the amount and substitute the same volume with a can

Miniature Poodle, Scottish Terrier

10-25 pounds

3/4 to 1 cup

Cut dry up to ½ the amount & substitute the same volume with a can

Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Springer Spaniel

25-50 pounds

1-2 cups

Cut dry up to ½ the amount and substitute the same volume with a can

Collie, Boxer,  Labrador, Golden Retriever

50-75 pounds

2-2 ½ cups

Cut dry up to ½ the amount and substitute the same volume with a can

Great Dane, Malamute, St. Bernard, Mastiff

Over 75 pounds

2-4 cups

Cut dry up to ½ the amount and substitute the same volume with a can

Good Basic Feeding Tips

  • Dogs should be fed at the same time every day. Feeding at the same time will keep your dog on a bathroom schedule. Ask your vet how many times a day you should feed your dog.
  • Feed your dog the same type and brand of food every day. Unlike humans, a dog’s digestive system cannot handle changes in food. It can cause upset stomach and diarrhea.
  • When switching to a new food gradually transition him to the new food by mixing portions of both foods until you slowly phase out the old food. Your dog may experience diarrhea if his food is suddenly changed.
  • If you are mixing water into dry food you should mix 4 parts dry food to 1 part water.
  • Keep fresh drinking water available at all times. Change the water at least once a day, more for dogs who drool.
  • Keep food and water bowls clean.
  • Don’t overfeed your dog.
  • Follow the guidelines on the dog food package for recommended feeding amounts.
  • Monitor your dog’s weight and activity level, and make feeding adjustments as necessary.
  • If your dog has loose stool feeding sweet potatoes is a natural stool hardener. Unlike some medicines, giving too many will not make them constipated. They sell sweet potato chips for dogs in a lot of pet supply stores.

Interesting bits of info…

Dogs have about 1,700 taste buds. Humans have about 9000 taste buds, and cats have about 470.

Dogs have water taste buds, something humans do not have.

Dogs do not crave salt the way humans do.

The Puppy’s Rule of Twelve

*Please be sure that your puppy is vaccinated and uptd for their health.  Do not take your puppy out and socialize until it has received it’s first round of “5 to 1” or “6 to 1 “Distemper shot to prevent diseases that it may catch.

Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy. Each encounter should
include treats and lots of praise. Slow down and add distance if your puppy is scared!

By the time a puppy is 12 weeks old, it should have:
(If your puppy is over 12 weeks start right away with this socialization guide.)

Experienced 12 different surfaces:

wood, woodchips, carpet, tile, cement, linoleum, grass, wet
grass, dirt, mud, puddles, deep pea gravel, grates, uneven surfaces, on a table, on a chair, etc……

Played with 12 different objects:

fuzzy toys, big & small balls, hard toys, funny sounding toys,
wooden items, paper or cardboard items, milk jugs, metal items, car keys, etc…….

Experienced 12 different locations:

front yard (daily), other people’s homes, school yard, lake, pond, river, boat, basement, elevator, car, moving car, garage, laundry room, kennel, veterinarian hospital (just to say hi & visit, lots of cookies, no vaccinations), grooming salon (just to say hi), etc….

Met and played with 12 new people (outside of family):

include children, adults (mostly men),
elderly adults, people in wheelchairs, walkers, people with canes, crutches, hats, sunglasses, etc….

Exposed to 12 different noises

(ALWAYS keep positive and watch puppy’s comfort level –
we don’t want the puppy scared): garage door opening, doorbell, children playing, babies screaming, big trucks, Harley motorcycles, skateboards, washing machine, shopping carts rolling, power boat, clapping, loud singing, pan dropping, horses neighing, vacuums, lawnmowers, birthday party, etc…

Exposed to 12 fast moving objects

(don’t allow to chase): skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles,
motorcycles, cars, people running, cats running, scooters, vacuums, children running, children playing soccer, squirrels, cats, horses running, cows running, etc…

Experienced 12 different challenges:

climb on, in, off and around a box, go through a cardboard
tunnel, climb up and down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide & seek, go in and out a doorway with a step up or down, exposed to an electric sliding door, umbrella, balloons, walk on a wobbly table (plank of wood with a small rock underneath), jump over a broom, climb over a log, bathtub (and bath) etc….

Handled by owner (& family) 12 times a week:

hold under arm (like a football), hold to chest,
hold on floor near owner, hold in-between owner’s legs, hold head, look in ears, mouth, in-between toes, hold and take temperature (ask veterinarian), hold like a baby, trim toe nails, hold in lap, etc…

Eaten from 12 different shaped containers:

wobbly bowl, metal, cardboard box, paper, coffee cup, china, pie plate, plastic, frying pan, Kong, Treatball, Bustercube, spoon fed, paper bag, etc……

Eaten in 12 different locations:

back yard, front yard, crate, kitchen, basement, laundry room,
bathroom, friend’s house, car, school yard, bathtub, up high (on work bench), under umbrella, etc….

Played with 12 different puppies

(or safe adult dogs) as much as possible.
Left alone safely, away from family & other animals (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week.

Experienced a leash and collar:

12 different times in 12 different locations.

-Positive Paws Dog Training ©2002 – Margaret Hughes Adapted with permission from Pat Schaap’s “RULE OF 7’s” for 7 week old puppies

The Rule of 7’s

Socialization is crucial for puppies.

By the time a puppy is seven weeks old he/she should have:

Been on 7 different types of surfaces: carpet, concrete, wood, vinyl, grass, dirt, gravel, wood chips.
Played with 7 different types of objects: big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, fuzzy toys, squeaky toys, paper of cardboard items, metal items, sticks or hose pieces.

Been in 7 different locations: front yard, back yard, basement, kitchen, car, garage, laundry room, bathroom

Met and played with 7 new people: include children and older adults, someone walking with a cane or stick, someone in a wheelchair or walker.

Been exposed to 7 challenges: climb on a box, climb off a box, go through a tunnel, climb steps, go down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide and seek, in and out of a doorway with a step up or down, run around a fence.

Eaten from 7 different containers; metal, plastic, cardboard, paper, china, pie plate, frying pan.

Eaten in 7 different locations: crate, yard, kitchen, basement, laundry room, living room, bathroom.

Tips for finding lost pets

The Herald News – Joliet (IL)
May 13, 2008 | Dawn Aulet

The Henry family lives on 18 acres in Sheridan, and their dog Dakota loved to roam that land. He never left the property until March 1, and he has not been seen since.

For most people, a dog or any pet that goes missing is like losing a member of the family. Many times the owner does not even know where to start looking.

The day Dakota went missing, his owner, Debbie Henry, was sick with the flu. Her husband, Ed, had left their property to move hay, which he does on a regular basis. Debbie Henry suspects that Dakota followed her husband Ed off the property, but they don’t know what happened after that.

Dakota is a 120-pound Great Pyrenese. He was not wearing a collar because Debbie Henry said he would often get the collar caught on the brush on their property and she was concerned he would be injured. He was scheduled to be microchipped at the end of May.

Like Debbie Henry, Leah Bergeson’s dog, Toby, was not wearing any identification when he went missing.

Bergeson said Toby was at the groomer, managed to maneuver himself out of the harness and ran out of the front door. Toby is a 1-year-old Yorkshire terrier that weighs about 8 pounds. Both owners are offering no-questions-asked rewards.

Where to start

Liz Bagley, owner of Making a Difference Rescue, said the best place to start is on the phone.

“I would suggest that (owners) call the animal controls and the rescues,” she said.

And, they cannot do it just once. Many times, when someone finds a lost pet they will keep them for a couple of days before turning them in to a rescue or similar facility.

But, she said, if you leave your information with the shelters and rescues, sometimes the beloved pet will end up at the rescue later. Such was the case for a dog named D.O.G., who was reunited with his owner, Michelle Linder, of Crest Hill, in January.

Linder had taken all the right steps, calling not only area rescues, humane societies and animal control facilities, but also calling the local newspaper and hanging fliers around town.

Both the Henry family and Bergeson have done the same in hopes of finding Dakota and Toby.

Lost and found

Many times, dogs that go missing do so from a fenced-in yard. Since it is spring, dog owners should check for loose boards in fences or holes under the fences dogs might have dug, Bagley said. When dogs are outside, be sure to check on them.

“It’s terrible that you can’t trust having your dog in your own yard,” Bagley said. “Keep an eye on them, don’t leave them out while at work.”

And if you happen to find a pet wandering around your neighborhood, do not assume it is a stray.

Sometimes people will find a dog and think that the owners didn’t want it anymore and keep it, Bagley said.

Instead, those who find an animal should take the same steps as one who has lost one. They should call area rescues, animal control and humane societies. If possible, they should go to a local vet to see if the pet has a microchip. And they should advertise that they have found a pet.

When people call to claim a pet, the finder should be careful, Bagley cautions.

She suggests asking the person if they have a photo of their pet before giving too detailed a description of the found animal.

Anyone who has seen a large, white dog is urged to call Debbie or Ed Henry at (815) 695-5288 or (630) 514-4051.

If you’ve seen a stray Yorkie, contact Bergeson at (630) 340-7263.

Protecting your dog

The Herald News – Joliet (IL)
September 18, 2007

Veterinarian Dr. Cesar Agustin told Don and Donna Huhnke he was fairly sure Angel was someone’s pet. He guessed she either got out or was stolen from someone’s yard and was used as bait in a dog fight. So, how do you keep your beloved canine safe and out of the hands of someone who would do it harm?

Pat Mitchell with Midwest Schipperke Rescue and Liz Bagley of Making a Difference rescue offer the following tips:

• Train your dog to come when it is called. That makes it less likely for him to get away from you.

• Keep in mind if you choose to use an extendable leash, you do not have as much control as you do if use a set length leash. When your dog is 20 feet away from you, having a leash may give a false sense of security.

• While invisible fences might keep your dog in your yard, they will not keep other dogs or people out.

• If you install a standard fence, make sure there is no space between the bottom of the fence and the ground.

• Make sure the fence gate has a lock.

• Have your pet microchipped. If your pet does get out and his collar falls off, there is no real way to identify him. Almost all animal control, rescue and humane society agencies check for microchips.

• If you need to find a home for your pet, go to the person’s home. Do not simply let them come to your home to pick up your pet. Those who intend harm for your pet or are looking for bait for a dog fight could simply act like they want to adopt your animal.