Thursday, March 28, 2013

Itchy, Smelly Dog? This May Be the Problem...

In this video, Dr. Karen Becker discusses the stubborn, stinky problem of canine yeast infections. Learn how to spot a yeast overgrowth, how to treat a flare-up, and tips to prevent the problem from recurring.

Dr. Becker's Comments:

Today I want to talk about yeasty dogs. Yeasts are budding, spore-like forms of fungi.

Both people and dogs have a normal amount of healthy levels of yeast that occur naturally on the body. The typical normal, healthy flora of dogs is a naturally occurring staph, as well as a light layer of naturally occurring yeast. These healthy levels of flora are possible thanks to a balanced immune system.

How a Yeast Infection Occurs

On the immune system spectrum, balance is in the middle, and that's what you want your dog's immune function to be – balanced.

An underactive immune system can lead to yeast overgrowth, because it can't control the balance. The other end of the spectrum is an overactive immune response where allergies are present. This can also lead to problems with yeast.

When a traditional veterinarian sees a dog with allergies – a sign of an overactive immune system – he or she will typically prescribe steroid therapy to shut off the immune response. (This improves symptoms but does not fix the underlying cause of the allergies.)

When your dog's immune system is turned off with drugs, it can't do its job of regulating and balancing normal flora levels, so your pet ends up with yeast blooms.

When conventional vets see dogs with allergies and possibly secondary skin infections, often they prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics are well-known to destroy all good bacteria along with the bad, wiping out healthy yeast levels in the process, so these drugs often make a bad situation worse.

Another reason an allergic dog, in particular, can end up with a lot of yeast is he can actually develop an allergy to his yeast. Intradermal tests often reveal that a dog is having an allergic response to his own natural flora.

This situation can be very problematic because the dog's allergic response can affect his whole body. These dogs are often red from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail – their entire bodies are flaming red and irritated.

So dogs with an underactive immune system or that are immuno-suppressed can end up with a yeast infection, as well as dogs that have overactive immune systems, or allergies.

Signs and Symptoms of a Yeasty Dog

Definitive diagnosis by a vet of a yeast infection is accomplished either by cytology (looking at a skin swab under a microscope) or by culturing (submitting a sterile swab of the skin to the lab where the cells are grown and identified on a petri dish).

But as a pet owner, you'll be able to tell if your dog has a yeast infection just by her smell. Yeast has a very characteristic odor. Some people think it smells like moldy bread; others liken the odor to cheese popcorn or corn chips. In fact, some people refer to a yeast infection of a dog's paws as 'Frito Feet.' It's a pungent, musty, unpleasant smell.

The odor of a yeast infection is not a normal doggy odor. Healthy dogs don't have a 'doggy odor.' So if your pup has stinky paws or musty-smelling ears, chances are she's dealing with a yeast overgrowth.

Another sign your dog is yeasty is scratching. Yeast overgrowth is tremendously itchy. If it's a problem with her paws, she won't be able to leave them alone. The same goes for her ears. A lot of butt scooting can also be a clue.

If your dog is spending a lot of time digging at herself to relieve intense itching, take heed. Whether it's a bacterial or yeast infection, she needs your help to solve the problem.

Step #1 in Clearing a Yeast Infection: Address the Diet

If your pet is dealing with yeast overgrowth, there are a couple of things you'll need to do.

Number one, you must address his diet. It's rare that a dog has yeast in just one spot – one ear, for example. If that's the case with your pet, you can probably get by just treating that ear for yeast and keeping your fingers crossed his immune system responds to re-balance his natural flora.

But if your dog, like the majority, has yeast in more than one spot, for example on all four paws or both ears, or especially if his entire body is yeasty, you have no choice but to look at what he's eating.

Diet is the foundation of health. The way you nourish your dog is either going to help his immune system manage yeast, or it's going to feed a potential or existing yeast overgrowth situation.

I encourage you to put your pet on what I call an 'anti-yeast diet.' The beauty of an anti-yeast diet is it is also an anti-inflammatory and species-appropriate diet.

Yeast needs sugar as a source of energy. Carbohydrates break down into sugar. Both MDs and veterinarians advise patients with yeast to get the sugars out of their diets.

Dietary sugar isn't just the white kind added to many pet treats and some pet foods. There are 'secret,' hidden forms of sugar that can also feed yeast overgrowth, for instance, honey. Although honey can be beneficial for pets in some cases, it does provide a food source for yeast. So if your dog is yeasty, you'll need to carefully read his pet food and treat labels and avoid any product containing honey, high fructose corn syrup, and even white potatoes and sweet potatoes.

If your dog has a significant yeast problem, I recommend you go entirely sugar-free. Feed low-glycemic veggies. Eliminate potatoes, corn, wheat, rice – all the carbohydrates need to go away in a sugar-free diet. This is really an important step. I wish I could tell you yeast is easy to treat and avoid without addressing diet, but it isn't. Your pet needs to eat a diet that helps keep his normal flora levels healthy and balanced.

The second thing I recommend is adding some natural anti-fungal foods to his diet, like a small amount of garlic or oregano. These foods are both anti-fungal and anti-yeast and can be beneficial in helping reduce the yeast level in your dog's body.

Disinfecting Yeasty Ears

In addition to providing an anti-yeast diet and anti-fungal foods, the third thing you must do to help your dog overcome a yeast infection is to disinfect yeasty body parts.

This is actually an often overlooked, but common sense, almost-free step in addressing a yeast overgrowth in pets.

In human medicine, it is routine for internists and dermatologists to give patients with yeast specific protocols for cleaning affected parts of the body. The same instruction is rarely given in veterinary medicine, which makes no sense and is really a shame.

Typically, a vet will hand a client with a yeasty dog a cream, salve or dip, with instructions to just keep applying it to the infected area. The problem with this approach is that as yeast dies off, it forms layer of dead yeast on top of layer of dead yeast. Unless you remove the dead layers of yeast and disinfect the skin, adding loads of ointment to layers of dead yeast can actually exacerbate the problem.

So disinfecting the parts of your dog's body that are yeasty is very important. There's no pill or cream that can disinfect your pet – you must do that yourself.

If your pet's ears are yeasty, you'll have to disinfect them daily. Just as some people produce lots of earwax and clean their ears daily, while others produce almost no earwax, the same applies to dogs. Some almost never need their ears cleaned, while others need a daily cleaning.

The frequency is entirely dependent on how much debris your dog's ears produce. So if your Lab has soupy ears throughout the summer months, you'll need to clean them every day during that period.

If you check your dog's ears and they're clean, dry and have no odor, you can skip a day of cleaning. Again, the amount of cleaning should correlate with the amount of debris built up in the ear. If you don't clean out that debris, it won't magically disappear on its own. It will grow from wax, to yeast, to a fulminating bacterial infection unless you deal with it.

You can disinfect your dog's ears with either a store bought solution or with witch hazel and large cotton balls. Use as many cotton balls as it takes to remove all the debris from the ears at each cleaning. Do not put Q-tips down into the canals of your dog's ears.

Disinfecting Yeasty Paws

Yeast thrives in a moist environment and in crevices – between your dog's foot pads, for example, in armpit and groin creases, and around the vulva and anus. So disinfecting those parts of a yeasty dog is really important.

Since the only body parts that sweat on your dog are his nose and the pads of his feet, during hot humid months when yeast tends to thrive, you'll need to disinfect those paws.

Depending on the size of your dog, you can use one of those Rubbermaid sweater boxes filled with water from a hose, or if your dog is small you can just pop him in the kitchen or bathroom sink. If you have a giant size breed, you can try a coffee can or cup filled with water. The goal is to dunk the feet, then pat them dry.

Spraying or wiping down a dog's paws won't get the job done. Yeast lives under the nail beds and in all the creases you can't get to if the paws aren't submerged in a foot soak.

I recommend a gallon of water, a cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1-4 cups of white vinegar as a foot soak solution. You can use this solution as many times a day as necessary to keep your dog's feet clean. 'Clean and dry' needs to become your mantra.

After you dip your dog's feet in the astringent solution of water/hydrogen peroxide/white vinegar, there's no need to rinse. Just pat the paws dry. Leaving the solution dried on your dog's paws serves as an antifungal and should also reduce licking and digging at the paws.

Anti-Yeast Baths and Rinses

If your dog has yeast overgrowth on her skin, I recommend disinfecting her entire body with a natural, anti-fungal shampoo. And yes, you can do this as often as necessary.

It's no longer true that you shouldn't bathe dogs regularly. Back in the days of very harsh shampoos made from coal and tar derivatives, this was good advice. But there are now plenty of safe shampoos on the market that will not over dry your pet's skin or damage her coat.

Since carbs and grains ultimately feed yeast overgrowth, I don't recommend you use oatmeal-based shampoos. Oatmeal is a grain which provides a food source for that yeast on your dog's skin.

Use an anti-fungal shampoo made from, for example, tea tree oil or an herbal blend. These will help control the amount of yeast growing on your pet.

I also recommend anti-fungal rinses during the summer months, from one to three times per week after shampooing. I use a gallon of water with a cup of vinegar or a cup of lemon juice. You can also use 20 drops of peppermint oil. All three will make your pooch smell nice.

After shampooing with, say, a tea tree shampoo and rinsing thoroughly, follow with one of these natural anti-fungal astringent rinses to knock down the amount of yeast.

You should never pour these rinses over your dog's head or into her eyes. Pour from the collar, back. Pour the gallon of solution over her and rub it into her coat and skin, focusing on body parts that tend to grow yeast -- armpits, feet, groin area and around the tail. Then towel dry without rinsing. Your dog will not only feel better, the yeast won't replicate as quickly.

One word of warning about using both lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide: they can bleach a black dog's fur. If you have a black coated dog, you should go with vinegar to avoid a lightening effect.

For Dogs with Stubborn or Recurring Yeast Infections

For many dogs, yeast problems are seasonal. When the temperature and humidity levels rise each year, they get yeasty and stinky. If this is the case with your dog, the summer months are when you'll need to be vigilant about disinfecting your pet and addressing any dietary issues that might be contributing to the problem.

However, if your dog has year-round yeast problems – whether it's 90 degrees outside or the dead of winter – you should be thinking about potential immune system issues.

If your dog is overwhelmed with an opportunistic pathogen like yeast, it's likely his immune system isn't operating at 100 percent.

In my practice, when I see a pet with a stubborn yeast infection, I do immune testing to measure his immunoglobulin levels (IgG, IgM and IgA). Generally these levels are low in a dog with constant yeast overgrowth.

If your dog is producing healthy levels of immunoglobulins, he should be able to overcome almost any infection, and particularly an opportunistic yeast infection.

Itchy, Smelly Dog? This May Be the Problem... By Dr. Becker.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at:

Her goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.

By reading Dr. Becker's information, you'll learn how to make impactful, consistent lifestyle choices to improve your pet's quality of life.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate link(s), which may result in compensation for For more information about All About Labradors please read our Disclaimer and Disclosure Policies. We've shared this information to inform you of your option to either use our affiliated links or to go directly to the site of interest.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

How to Train a Labrador

The Labrador retriever is a relatively simple dog. Not only does he 'asks' few questions, but he also has plenty of love to share. However, if a dog breed had an emotional intelligence capability that breed would be the Labrador. These dogs were originally bred as hunting dogs, to retrieve dead or injured birds, thus their name. The Labrador is still widely used for these purposes and is also a common family pet.

This dog breed is extremely trainable and is of great assistance to seeing impaired people as well as to police officers. In other words, you can not only teach your dog a lot of tricks and therefore have a lot of fun together, but also teach him to be a better companion around the house, not causing any troubles.

Training your Labrador starts with monitoring his behavior around food. Most dogs of this breed are hungry all the time. Therefore, if you don't keep a strict eye on your dog's diet, he may put on a lot of weight, putting strain on organs and joints. Luckily, Labradors tend to accept almost all types of foods. That's why even cherry tomatoes and carrots can be good training treats.

Teach your dog to focus. The majority of Labradors, especially the female ones tend to scare easily, that is, they develop a spooking behavior – barking or growling at a stimulus. If not overcame, this can turn into a sort of a bad habit.
Preventing this behavior is of crucial importance. The element of surprise can be taken away by distracting the dog from everything, which can cause a reaction. When you are out with the dog, encourage him to regularly look at you. Whenever he does, reward him with a treat. Practice this type of keeping the attention by using various treats and withhold the reward gradually. Use this method until the dog learns to focus.

You will also need to teach your dog how to greet and behave in a social manner. Labradors jump at every person possible if not trained otherwise. This is because Labradors enjoy human contact which is why they are so overly joyous. However, if you don't control that behavior, your puppy will grow up and become a bouncy and uncontrollable adult dog.

When the dog is still a small puppy, jumping is, in a way, encouraged, as there is nothing cuter than to see a small bouncing doggie in play. However, your Labrador grows up and this behavior establishes until you end up with a seventy pound dog that jumps all the time and you don't know how to deal with.

Luckily, teaching your four legged friend to stay on his paws when he has to requires a minimal effort. Teach him a sort of alternative behavior. It could be quite easy with some positive reinforcement and food reward. Teach your Labrador to greet while sitting rather than to jump at people whenever he is glad to see them. You can utilize the Clicking training method, which can bring great results. Of course, as already noted, food rewards will greatly help, but they need to be given up to a certain point. And if your Labrador jumps at the food, turn away and hold the treat above your head. This will make the dog realize that jumping will simply not help. After that, only a certain command word, like the obvious 'Sit' has to be more than enough to stop your dog from jumping.

The article has been provided by Angela Harpert - a devoted mom and wife who gladly shares her Colliers Wood house moving experience and other family tricks for happiness, among which how to deal the boys and the labradors.

Labrador Retriever Training Help:

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate link(s), which may result in compensation for For more information about All About Labradors please read our Disclaimer and Disclosure Policies. We've shared this information to inform you of your option to either use our affiliated links or to go directly to the site of interest.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

California Natural, Innova, EVO and Healthwise Dog Food Recall

March 18, 2013 – Natural Pet Products announced it is is voluntarily recalling four brands of dry dog due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

The following four brands that are being recalled include:
  • EVO
  • Innova
  • California Natural
  • HealthWise
California Natural, Innova, EVO and Healthwise Dog Food Recall

No Karma, Mother Nature, wet or treat products are included in this recall.

See the following "Dear Natura Family" from Natura Pet for more information:

"Dear Natura Family,
As pet parents and dedicated pet health advocates, it pains us to inform you of the first recall in our company's 21-year history.

During a recent random sampling, the FDA confirmed the presence of salmonella in one of our products. We take this extremely seriously, because your pets are like ours – they're part of the family – and we aren't taking any chances. As a result, we have voluntarily recalled a number of our products as a precautionary measure. Fortunately, there have been no reported animal or human health issues associated with these products, and we have confirmed that this is not a widespread issue.

Natura was founded on the commitment to provide the healthiest natural pet food in the world. As Natura employees who live this commitment every day, words cannot express our disappointment with this finding. We place quality as the cornerstone of our products. It is a process of ongoing improvement, and we will continually review and raise these standards. Unfortunately, salmonella and other contaminants pose a great challenge to the food industry, and no company is immune.

We want to assure you, our valued customers, that we are more committed than ever to animal and human safety. We have fully investigated and identified the cause of this incident. Our production is ongoing, and you can continue to feed any Natura products outside of this incident with confidence.

We know that trust is earned. This incident further fuels our passionate commitment to your pet's health and safety. We promise to demonstrate this commitment through our actions now and in the future.

Click here for details on the recall products. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at (800) 224-6123.

Employees of Natura Pet Products"

Download the Affected Products (PDF) to see a full list of which products are affected by the voluntary recall.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate link(s), which may result in compensation for For more information about All About Labradors please read our Disclaimer and Disclosure Policies. We've shared this information to inform you of your option to either use our affiliated links or to go directly to the site of interest.

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Free Vectra 3D Flea and Tick Prevention

"Anywhere in the country, it's always possible for fleas, ticks and other dangerous vectors to infect your dog. It only takes one bite to potentially spread disease. That’s why you need the fast-acting, long-lasting, broad-spectrum protection of Vectra 3D®."

Free Vectra 3D Flea and Tick Prevention

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Dog Flea, Lice & Tick Control

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate link(s), which may result in compensation for For more information about All About Labradors please read our Disclaimer and Disclosure Policies. We've shared this information to inform you of your option to either use our affiliated links or to go directly to the site of interest.

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Heroic Tales of Labradors

There is a good reason why most dog owners have a strong belief one of the most defining features of a dog is their incredible desire to help us, combined with their unwavering loyalty. We understand dogs have the intellect to understand when their help is needed, the amazing courage to place themselves before us and a danger to protect us and so they can save our family. This may or may not be a part of the primal times when our ancestors lay huddled around the fires, reassured by the canine company by their side as the darkness of the night surrounded them. A darkness filled with things that go bump in the night, monsters, myths and horrors for which sometimes even words couldn't quite describe. It should come as no surprise however that Labradors are one of the paragons of their kind when it comes to loyalty, optimism and unwavering loyalty. We will illustrate that with a few tales of times when labs have stepped up to save the day from mortal danger:

In 2008 Brenda Owen of Ashley Court in the UK was walking on the shore of the river bank during her Thursday lunch as she saw a wheelchair by the water as she and a man approached the spot-+. After a few moments of looking around she saw a woman struggling in the water. Without a second thought she told her black Labrador Penny to “fetch” and she did, dragging the unconscious woman out of the river where she was later saved. Penny was 10 years old at the time, gray creeping into the color of her whiskers. She did what a grown man and a woman couldn't do at a fairly advanced age in dog years.

In 2003, 3-year old Angelique was swinging on a sycamore tree near Pasco, Washington with her younger brother Luca, just beyond the horse pasture on a Saturday afternoon. The kids were having fun, it was an idyllic, lazy afternoon like any other when suddenly there was sounds of struggle behind them. When they turned around they saw the family's golden retriever Brutis holding a snake in his mouth. He had stopped the snake from reaching the kids by attacking it and getting bit in the process. It was a coral snake, one of the most poisonous ones in the world and Brutis was rushed off for treatment, narrowly saving his life thanks to the efforts of his owner Fran Oreto.

On the morning of October 30th 57-year old Paul Horton came out of his home for a bike ride like he had done many times before. Little did he know the jump from a trail to a paved road he had done hundreds of times before would this time prove almost fatal. He landed wrong and went over the handlebars, landing on his head, suffering a change that would last for a lifetime. Paralyzed from the chest down, he lay on the cold ground for nearly 45 minutes with no one in sight but his 4-year old golden retriever named Yogi. Yogi intercepted the walk of a local family, one Bruce Tate and his wife and through furious barking and gestures only a dog can manage attracted their attention to his injured owner. In a situation like that emergency help is required right away as complications may occur from the injuries and Yogi managed to do just that.

There are likely thousands upon thousands of heroic dogs in the world that didn't get that much press time for their selfless actions, however they are always there, by our side with their trusting attitude and amazing loyalty. Next time you look at your Labrador, remember the tales of these dogs and remember they will always be there for you, so they deserve the same in turn.

The article has been provided by Angela Harpert - a devoted mom and wife who gladly shares her Colliers Wood house moving experience and other family tricks for happiness, among which how to deal the boys and the labradors.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate link(s), which may result in compensation for For more information about All About Labradors please read our Disclaimer and Disclosure Policies. We've shared this information to inform you of your option to either use our affiliated links or to go directly to the site of interest.

Continue Reading...

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