November is National Pet Diabetes Month
You may be aware of the staggering diabetes and obesity epidemic currently happening in America amongst humans (if current trends continue in the next 2 decades, 95% of Americans will be overweight and 1 in 3 will have diabetes), but you may not be aware that it is happening to our pets too. In fact, there was a 106% increase in diabetes claims in just one year, according to pet insurance provider, Trupanion. Is your pet at risk?
If your cat or dog develops diabetes, their body is either producing insufficient quantities of insulin or not utilizing insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone whose job is to move sugar, fatty acids, amino acids and electrolytes into your pet’s cells (just as it does in our cells). So, if your pet is not producing or utilizing insulin effectively, their cells are starving even though there are nutrients just ‘outside the door’.
Diabetes most often affects middle aged or senior pets, however, just like in humans, diabetes is beginning to affect our pets at a younger and younger age. Symptoms of diabetes can develop slowly, so be aware of any of the following in your pets:
- Increased urination and thirst – your pet may even have accidents in the house or outside the litterbox.
- Excessive hunger while losing weight
- Cloudy eyes (dogs)
- Doesn’t groom (cats)
- Thinning, dull, dry hair
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Kidney Failure - especially in cats
- Weakness in rear limbs (cats)
The number one cause of diabetes in pets is obesity, typically stemming from to many carbohydrates in their diet. All carbs break down into sugar and excess carbs can result in diabetes. Here is where some confusions that exists: Grain Free and Gluten Free do not mean Carb Free. Yes, there are ‘better’ carbs that offer more nutrients and burn more slowly, but whether you or your pet are ingesting 50g of carbs from chickpeas or 50g of carbs from wheat, you require the same amount of insulin to process it. Ideally, you want to feed your pet a moisture rich, species appropriate diet high in a good quality protein and low in carbohydrates. For dogs, a diet high in fiber is important as well in order to slow digestion and the release of sugar into the bloodstream. It’s easy to add some canned pumpkin or steamed vegetables to accomplish this. A raw food diet is best and it’s easy now-a-days with so many options of commercially prepared raw food diets available. Next best is dehydrated and freeze-dried followed by a grain-free canned food and then a grain-free dry food that are low in carbohydrates and high in meat content.
A lack of exercise also plays a major role in whether or not your pet is predisposed to develop diabetes. Movement in the form of walks is great, especially as a starting point if you have an obese pet. However, you and your pet need more than that, aim for 20 minutes a day of having your heart rates elevated. I’m sure you can think of ways to do this with your dog (fetch, runs, etc), but what about your cat? How in the world are you going to get your cat’s heart rate up? Check out this article with tips and tricks to get your cat moving.
There is also more and more research connecting autoimmune disorders to Type II diabetes. If your pet is getting yearly vaccinations, their immune system can become over-stimulated. And if their immune system attacks their pancreas, diabetes can develop. If possible, work with a holistic or open-minded vet that will run titer testing to measure your pet’s antibody response from previous vaccinations. The results will tell you whether or not you need to re-vaccinate.
If your pet does develop diabetes, we urge you to follow a low-carb diet, increase their exercise and do yearly titer testing. But you will also have to closely monitor blood glucose levels and possibly do daily insulin injections. One of the most important take-a-ways from this article is this…TYPE II DIABETES IS COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE AND REVERSABLE IN MOST CASES. Just as it’s not easy at first, for us to give up pizza and ice-cream, it’s not easy for your pet to become less dependent on carbohydrates. I can’t tell you how many customers say that their cats, especially, won’t eat anything but a dry food diet. It takes time and patience to form new habits and tastes. But the alternative can be costly, both financially and in terms of your pet’s health.
This past summer, Struttin Pup helped sponsor an art exhibit called “Raining Cats and Dogs” put on by The Humane Society of Boulder Valley at the Dairy Center in Boulder. There were some amazing pieces of art, including those of local artist, Kelly Schoenfeld of Pop Your Paws. Her colorful, fun pieces grabbed our attention immediately. Soon after, we reached out to Kelly and asked her to be Struttin Pup’s very first featured artist after our remodel this past year. We are so honored and happy to showcase Kelly’s work (look for it on the east wall, above our dog food selection) at Struttin Pup. We thought you’d enjoy learning a little bit more about how an artist becomes an “animal artist”, so without further ado, here’s our interview with Kelly!
How did you get started painting dogs? Were you always an artist?
I’ve always been creative and had a job doing graphic design or photography. After doing hand tinted black and white portraits and then doing family portraits, I wanted to change it up. I have a passion for helping animals and have dogs my whole life. I wanted to figure out a creative way to work with animals and continue having my own business.
What are some of your favorite pieces that you’ve done?
My all-time favorite is of my own dog Duke, the Morkie. I guess that’s a little biased though. It’s so hard to say because I’m happy with every portrait I give to a client. I did do portraits for two guys that were on Million Dollar Listing L.A. They love their animals and I sent it to one person and hand delivered the other one and we met.
How do you work with people and their pets?
I have done canvases for people all across the United States. They email a high-resolution photo and I work off of that. It’s all in the eyes of the animal and love to work with close-up photos. Then I create a pop art version of the pet (dog, cat, bunny, horse, etc.) and then create a background. My website only gives a sample of a few of those backgrounds. A lot of times I create on the spot depending on how the pet ends up looking. I love the clouds background and have done different versions and colors of those. I have also sold copies of canvases I’ve done because people just love the art, but don’t have that kind of pet. Or they buy it because it’s the same breed of dog as theirs.
Let’s get personal! Tell us about yourself.
I do not have formal art training, I’ve just always loved creative things. I love design and whether it is going through a scrapbooking phase or designing a whole house it’s fun to me. My daughter is 14 and extremely talented when it comes to everything creative. My son is 10 and is a huge athlete. Duke, is my Morkie and is 3. I have never lived without a dog except for college. As soon as I graduated I bought a Beagle, Zoebelle and then when I got married we also got a rescue Maggie Mae who was a Border Collie mix. Now we just have Duke and he has the personality of many dogs! When I’m not working on my business I’m either being a mom or doing something active either in the gym or outside.
Kelly’s work will be on display at Struttin Pup throughout November but we’ll continue featuring other local artists, including some of very own groomers! Who knew they were as talented with paintbrushes as they were with scissors and clippers!
Halloween can be so much fun. But put yourself in your pet’s shoes. The day is winding down and instead of snuggling with your favorite human, the doorbell keeps ringing. And ringing. And ringing. And your human keeps opening the door and strange little people, dressed in scary costumes are shouting something that sounds like “Trick or Treat”. You don’t know what’s going on, but you do know that this is no ordinary night.
We’ve got some tips to make Halloween a little easier, safer and hopefully more fun for everyone!
- Candy isn’t good for you, but it REALLY isn’t good for your pet!
Let’s start with the obvious. Chocolate can be dangerous, and even lethal, for cats and dogs. Xylitol can be poisonous as well. Vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, seizures and rapid breathing are all symptoms of chocolate poisoning. Even the smallest amount of xylitol can cause a rapid drop in sugar and a loss of coordination and seizures. Make sure to keep the candy out of reach of all pets – even those that can counter surf and open cupboards.
- Keep your dog away from the front door.
Whether you use a baby gate or tether your dog to you, make sure your dog can’t dash out the door when Trick-or-Treater’s come knockin’. If you have an anxious or territorial dog, it’s best to use a baby gate, crate them or keep them in a closed off room that they are comfortable in. As for cats, keep them in a closed off room that they feel safe and secure in. And make sure everyone is wearing their ID Tags, just in case they do make a run for it.
- Keep your pets inside – even in the days leading up to Halloween.
It seems incomprehensible to us animal lovers that this could happen, but vicious pranks involving teasing, stealing, injuring and even killing animals are known to come around during Halloween. Black cats are especially at risk. Did you know that some animal shelters won’t even adopt black cats out in October due to safety risks? It’s best to keep everyone inside, safe and sound.
- Pumpkin is great, but too much pumpkin is not!
Pumpkin is wonderful for pets. It’s so wonderful we wrote a blog about it! But think how you would feel if you at an entire pumpkin! Besides a horrible tummy ache, intestinal blockage can occur if larger pieces are ingested. Keep an eye on other fall foods, such as Decorative Indian Corn, which can also cause intestinal blockage if eaten.
- Jack-O’-Lantern’s and Pets Don’t Mix.
Keep the lit jack-o’-lantern’s outside and away from any pets. Pets can easily get excited, bump into them, and cause a fire or get burned. Try lighting your jack-o’-lantern with Pumpkin Lights or Glow Sticks and avoid fire danger altogether.
- “Please Don’t Make Me Wear That”
You may have a pet who loves playing dress up. But for every pet who loves it, there are 10 who hate it. Try out your pet’s costume a few day’s in advance of Halloween. If they seem to be comfortable, great! If not, try something smaller, like a Halloween Bandana.
Your Most Common Pet Issues and Our Most Helpful Supplements Throughout the past 14 years, hundreds if not thousands, of customers have asked us health related questions about their cats and dogs. And while every pet is unique, the vast majority of questions fall into just a handful of categories. Check out our most frequently asked questions along with some great supplements that can help!
My dog has been having loose stools/digestive upset, what can I do?
After investigating their primary food (did they just change foods? Is the food they are currently eating, the right food for them? Do they have any food sensitivities or allergies?), and making changes if necessary, most dogs will benefit from the following:
- OptaGest – Made locally, Optagest contains prebiotics plus digestive enzymes that can be taken daily to support normal digestion. Prebiotics work quickly to get your pet’s gut back to a healthy, natural state. In fact, prebiotics will double your pet’s good bacteria every 20 minutes. That means, in just 3 hours, 1000 bacteria will become over 5 million! An added bonus is that OptaGest both prevents and treats Giardia, which can cause ongoing loose stools.
- Canned Pumpkin – Because of it’s high fiber content, pumpkin can help when your dog is suffering from diarrhea.
- Dehydrated Pumpkin – Diggin Your Dog’s Firm Up! contains USA Grown, pesticide free pumpkin and apple. Simply mix with water and use what you need to help with digestion. It’s easy to travel with, which makes it perfect for upset tummies while on the road.
My dog has stinky breath.
Struttin Pup carries some great products like Indigenous Dental Bones, Natural Balance Dental Chews and Whimzees Dog Chews that can all help clean your dog’s teeth and freshen breath. But there’s one product that gets to the root of the problem on bad breath…
- Grin – Poor digestion can be a major factor leading to your pup’s bad breath. In Clover’s Grin contains prebiotics as well as green tea (which has antibacterial and anti-plaque properties), chlorophyll (to neutralize mouth odors) and Anise (which refreshes your dog’s breath).
My pet is getting older, limping, not as mobile, etc
We’ve had dogs that are 16 and can barely walk due to crippling arthritis; but we’ve also had 6 month old dogs that had surgeries, have hip displaysia, etc. Young or old, there are some go-to supplements that can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
- Connectin – This is the ONLY joint supplement clinically proven by independent researchers to improve mobility and comfort in an average of 15 days.
- Fish Oil – High doses of Omega-3 Fatty Acids reduce inflammation, which is essential for dogs with arthritis and orthopedic problems.
- Pet Releaf – Scientific studies from Israel – and peer reviewed by their own National Institutes of Health scientists – which has shown that whole plant based CBD oils (such as Pet Releaf manufactures) provide significant relief from pain and inflammatory related issues superior to the relief provided by opiates. And the good news is that the relief is provided with ZERO negative side effects compared to steroid anti-inflammatories or opiate pain killers. Pet Releaf whole plant CBD oil follows the science – organic whole plant CBD oils extracted with NO chemical solvents.
For dogs getting up there in age, whole plant CBD oil has also been shown in extensive clinical studies in Israel to slow the aging process in the brain. The fact that CBD acts as a neuroprotecrtant and holds anti-aging properties is actually part of a patent granted to 3 NIH scientists. One of those scientists, by the way, won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1970. That means our dogs (or even for us human companions that take CBD oil daily) can stay mentally younger much longer if they use a properly made CBD oil daily.
My pet is anxious
• Pet Releaf – In general, anxiety issues for dogs and cats typically can be cast into 2 categories – situational or behavioral. Situational would include things like halloween, fireworks, thunderstorms, big holiday parties, and most travel anxieties. Whole plant CBD oil is wonderful for these situational anxieties – although it is not 100%. Nothing is 100%. Often times, the CBD will allow them to “chill out” or get enough of the anxiety under control that they can function. CBD does this by modulating the hyperactive transmission in the brain.
Behavioral anxieties would include anything instinctual such as separation anxiety for young dogs or dogs who are left alone for long periods, aggressive barking for chihuahuas, nervous/destructive actions from high energy dogs, etc. Behavioral anxieties will also include “learned” anxieties such as fear aggression for rescues that were mistreated.
CBD will not “cure” something instinctual or a learned, behavioral issue. In those cases, we always recommend that a professional trainer be consulted. CBD can help focus the brain in that training, but the professional trainer will be the true solution for those dogs.
My pet is going through chemotherapy, what can I do to help?
- Pet Releaf – Pain, discomfort, and an overall malaise are pretty much a guarantee when a dog goes through chemo. They will often lose most of their appetite as well. This is one of the biggest areas of success for whole plant CBD oil. The CBD will control the pain, turbo boost the remaining immune system, and act as an anti-depressant – which will help increase the dog’s appetite. Further, there is a scientific study from Israel that showed using whole plant CBD in conjunction with chemo actually had a stronger tumor reduction and anti-cancer effect than chemo alone. They also found the cancer relapse rate much lower in the CBD/chemo lab mice. In reality, every mammal (dogs, cats and humans) should be ingesting CBD oil daily to utilize its anti-cancer properties – massive anti-inflammatory and turbo boost to the immune system. Don’t wait for cancer to rear it ugly head – use CBD to hopefully prevent it from ever appearing.
My dog is itchy
Yes, we live in Colorado and it’s dry. The number one thing we are sure to recommend, if you are feeding a dry food (kibble) diet, is to add some raw food into your pet’s diet. Dry foods have a dehydrating effect on your pet’s skin since they process out the good oils that contribute to a healthy skin and coat. You are guaranteed to see a huge difference by making just 25% of your pet’s diet raw food. Allergies can also play into the problem, so we’ll be sure to look at your dog’s current diet and possibly refer you to Windhorse Advanced Healing, where Catherine can identify and detoxify allergens and pathogens. Then there are fleas, ticks and other dermatitis’ (in which case, you’ll need to see the vet). In the meantime, these are all things that can help your dog NOW:
- Fish Oil – Just like us, our dogs are often deficient in Omega-3’s. Fish oil has long been known to help with dogs suffering from allergies (as it reduces inflammation) as well as improve their skin and coat. Now we know that there are far more benefits to fish oils. Fish oil is shown to help with heart disease, high cholesterol, renal failure, arthritis, and cancer.
- OptaGest – What if there are internal factors affecting our pets’ skin & coat health? Internal upsets and imbalances are often reflected externally in itchy spots (sometimes called hot spots), persistent licking and smelly ears. In this case, you’ll want to reach for a digestive aid like OptaGest to restore intestinal balance. OptaGest contains only two ingredients – period: prebiotics and plant-based digestive enzymes. Unlike probiotics which introduce unnatural, foreign bacteria into the body, prebiotics are a superfood for our pets’ unique, native mix of beneficial bacteria. This selective feeding quickly repopulates the intestinal tract with good bacteria that in turn, produce essential nutrients and crowd out any harmful bacteria. Supplementing with digestive enzymes will support efficient digestion, enhanced nutrient uptake and may resolve some food intolerances.
- Dr Angie’s Itchy Dog Solution – Learn why dog’s itch and what you can do about it! This course will guide you through both alternative and traditional therapies used for itchy dogs. It’s a must-take course for those of us who have chronically itchy dogs.
In 2000 my dog, Reed, needed surgery, but was a tad too plump for a successful recovery to ensue. The surgery was scheduled in four weeks, so we needed to work fast to shed his extra pounds. More exercise was not the answer since she had a herniated disc. The surgeon at CSU had the answer, pumpkin. We reduced the amount of food Reed normally ate, and replaced that amount with canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber (and other vitamins and antioxidants) so it gives your dog a sense of fullness while keeping the waistline slim and trim.
Fast forward 16 years, and we are still sharing Dr Smith’s advice to Struttin Pup customers. As we approach pumpkin season, we wanted to share some other benefits that pumpkin can offer your dog in addition to the tried and true weight loss trick!
- Digestive Issues – Whether your dog is suffering from constipation or diarrhea, pumpkin can help! Because of its’ high fiber content, pumpkin helps with digestive regularity.
- Overall Health/Urinary Health – Did you know that dogs can eat raw pumpkin seeds? While we suggest you feed them one at a time or crush them in your dog’s food, they’re worth feeding. The oils found in pumpkin seeds and flesh are believed to help with urinary incontinence. Plus they’re high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Antioxidants, Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Potassium and Iron, which can help prevent cancer and support the immune system.
- Moisture – Most pets (especially those on a dry kibble diet) are deficient in moisture. Because our favorite fall fruit (yes, pumpkin is a fruit not a vegetable) is 90% water, this will help your pet’s hydration levels.
- Worms – Yes, you read that right. Worms. Raw, organic pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid, cucurbitin, which rids worms from the digestive track. For a great “how to” article, check this out: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/pumpkin-seeds-natural-worms-dogs/
- Weight Management – Pumpkin is the answer to the number one most asked question, “How can I help my dog lose weight”. It’s so easy to help your dog drop a few pounds quickly. Simply reduce the amount of dog food your dog normally eats and replace it with canned pumpkin. For example, say that your pup normally eats 1 cup at each meal. We would recommend starting with 3/4 cup of food + 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin instead. The number two most asked question, after we explain how to use pumpkin for your dogs’ weight loss, is “Will it work for me?!” But that’s a topic for another blog!
Join us for:
This Friday, September 23rd, 4-6pm, we are celebrating the launch of Struttin Pup’s FREE online recipe book. Stop by for a tutorial on how to stuff your dog’s toys with healthy and natural foods to give them a long lasting treat. There will be discounts for stuffable toys, giveaways and a free stuffings bar where you can stuff your own toy and take it home.
And in honor of pumpkin season, we’ll have the ingredients for a BONUS pumpkin recipe.