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Tips for Better Skin Health

While underappreciated or even unrecognized as an organ, skin has amazing properties. For starters, it’s the largest organ of the body. Both tough and pliable, skin has many functions, including regulating body temperature, helping to prevent dehydration and protecting against injury and disease. Without skin, our pets couldn’t have hair, and everything that was on the inside would be exposed, making snuggle sessions a little on the icky side!

Canine and feline skin shares many similarities with human skin, but there are significant differences. They do have three layers of their skin, with the same nerves and blood vessels running throughout. Even though the pigmented skin in dogs contains melanin, dogs do not have the ability to tan like humans do. Also, they have apocrine glands (similar to human sweat glands), however, dogs do not sweat like we do. Instead, dogs have eccrine glands in their paws, which secrete a watery substance like sweat, although this typically only occurs when they are nervous and under stress. Now you know how it is that they can sometimes leave little damp paw prints when exiting the veterinary office!

As the body’s first line of defense to environmental factors, the skin is subjected to all sorts of insults and injuries. Critters of all stripes, from fleas to ticks to parasites (like mange mites) bite and damage the skin. Additionally, skin is under repeated assault by foreign objects, nibbling teeth, scratching claws and constant licking, all of which can weaken and impair the skin’s protective barrier. Skin can also be affected from the inside out by infections, hormonal imbalances, allergies and immune disorders.

Young pets are particularly suspectible to skin problems because their skin is more sensitive and their immune systems are not fully developed. Kittens, for example, are prone to ringworm (fungal) infections and puppies are predisposed to demodectic mange. If your puppy or kitten develops a rash, loses hair, or has bumps or warts, consult with your veterinarian to determine if treatment is necessary.

The bottom line is, healthy skin is a vital part of pet health, and its condition is a reflection of a pet’s overall well-being. Vulnerable to attacks on all sides, it’s very important that pet parents regularly monitor their pet’s skin health. Skin normally does its job well as the body’s protector, but sometimes even skin needs an extra boost. In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah reviews some common causes of skin and coat problems in dogs and cats, and reveals some safe and natural home remedies that promote overall skin health.

Foundation Delivers Truckload of Aid to Animal Shelter

Dr Jane FoundationWhen one of Florida’s newest animal rescue organizations took in sixteen abused dogs from out-of-state, they found themselves in dire and immediate need of supplies. Fortunately, the Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation was ready and willing to lend a helping hand.

Subjected to physical and mental abuse in a North Carolina product-testing laboratory, the dogs came to Palm Beach County after an undercover investigation publicized their plight. The laboratory closed, turning over all of the nearly 200 animals used in experiments to various East Coast humane agencies, including Wellington’s In Dog We Trust (IDWT). Founded by Nicole Brown, IDWT is a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter that opened just this summer on the 20-acre property of what used to be the Folke Peterson Wildlife Center, a wildlife sanctuary shuttered in 2009.

Once known only by the codes tattooed on their bodies, sixteen Beagles now call IDWT their temporary home and are now christened with proper names. It may be weeks before the dogs are made available for adoption, as they begin to recover from their traumas, learn basic skills and become accustomed to human companionship. Their caretakers estimate that most of the Beagles are only two years old. More...

They Depend on You to Stay Healthy ... Are You?

The cat’s bowl is full of nutritious Instinctive Choice. Your canine companion has had his daily Wellness Food Supplement. You know that you are forgetting something, but you just can’t seem to place it. Maybe it’s not something you’re forgetting but rather someone! As important of a role your pets play in your life, you are the main character in their lives! Without you who would they turn to?

By changing a few simple things in your daily routine, you could be around for more belly scratches and rub downs!

Get Active – Don’t just let Fido out by himself – join him. A recent survey found that more than 65% of Americans are overweight or obese. Since the health problems associated with excess weight include heart disease, diabetes and stroke, it's important to make weight loss and fitness a priority in your life. So lace up those sneakers and take your dog for a daily walk at the local park or around your block! The fresh air will invigorate you and the companionship of your dog will make this daily activity more enjoyable and seem less like exercise. Not only will this help keep your weight under control, but it will also help make for a healthier heart.

Eat Healthy – You feed your pets the best, most nutritious foods, and you should be doing the same. Hate the word “diet”? Try the 80-20 factor. Eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge for the other 20%. This is a very simple way to improve your diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. An easy way to ensure that you are getting health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids on a daily basis is to try Sealogix Omega-3 Fish Oil. Thanks in large part to its superior quality, purity and concentration of nutrients, Sealogix represents an exceptional value compared to other market brands.

Stop Smoking – Many of us grew up when smoking was cool. Well, it’s not cool anymore. The American Heart Association could not have put it any clearer. Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death! Your bad habit does not only affect you - it affects everyone in your home – pets included! There are so many cessation programs available these days that quitting may be easier than you think. Procrastination is one of the biggest hurdles, so make the decision to stop smoking today and consult your health care provider for the program that’s right for you.

Let your pets continue to enjoy the life that you have worked so hard to give them. You need to stay healthy, too!

Five Ways to Help End the Pet Abandonment Crisis

Dr Jane Bicks As uncertainty about the economy lingers, the pace of pet abandonment is on the rise. Largely attributable to the collapse of the housing market in 2007, the effects of which continue to ripple through our economy, nearly every state has seen a dramatic increase in the number of homeless animals. During this short time frame, tens of thousands of companion animals have been surrendered to rescue organizations, or worse, simply abandoned, left to fend for themselves.

You’ve probably read some of the heartrending stories: dogs left behind, locked in foreclosed homes; a box of kittens dumped in a community park; and families facing homelessness themselves surrendering to a shelter all of their pets in a moment of heartbreak. The problem is so severe that some shelters have exhausted their resources and are forced to refuse new intakes.

As a society of pet lovers, this represents an unprecedented situation in most of our lifetimes. Now, more than ever, homeless pets need our help.

Many of us want to provide assistance, but don’t know the best way to make a difference. Fortunately, there are five ways to reach out and make a difference to pets in need. More...

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Repeated head shaking. Foul-smelling, waxy build-up. Red, painfully inflamed ears. What do all these things have in common? All are symptoms of otitis externa, or what is commonly referred to as ear infections. If you have ever groaned inwardly and felt dismay the moment your dog starts shaking his head or rubbing his ears along the nearest available surface, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, too many pet parents are more than familiar with this recurring medical problem. Often, it is accompanied by an offensive odor and one can only imagine how overwhelming the smell is to the suffering pup!

Canine ear infections result from an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in the ear canal, causing redness, irritation and a heavy accumulation of wax. Likely triggers of these maladies are skin reactions to inhaled allergens – like pollen, mold or dust mites – or food allergies and sensitivities. Be aware that both large ears and swimming predispose dogs to ear infections.

Humans tend to develop ear infections as a result of viral infections, typically in infancy or early youth. As youngsters, our Eustachian tubes are very small. Respiratory congestion can lead to blockage of these canals, resulting in otitis media (a middle ear infection). Because the infection is internal, they frequently require oral antibiotics. In contrast, pets usually develop ear infections as adults, and the infection is almost always localized in the external portion of the ear. In most cases, the application of prescription drops or ointments directly into the ear canal usually resolves the illness. If you suspect your companion animal may be suffering from an ear infection, please seek veterinarian assistance for diagnosis and treatment. If necessary, your vet may prescribe a topical medicine and advise routine cleaning.

In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah reveals the steps to safe and effective ear cleaning to promote overall ear health.

Small Town, Huge Heart

Tabby Town

On the outskirts of Westby, a sparsely populated, rural town in Western Wisconsin, lies one of America’s great treasures … Tabby Town USA, a small animal rescue group that brings solace to the forgotten.

Founded by Marie and Ted Glover in 2003 after adopting an injured cat, Tabby Town now provides shelter and care for up to 80 kittens and cats on any given day. Currently, the majority of their feline community is housed under the Glover’s roof, with two floors, multiple bedrooms, vertical lofts and a lovely sunroom. While most of their cats were abandoned, they’ve also saved kitties that were slated for euthanasia at local shelters. More...

So You Found a Pregnant Cat…

Dr Jane BicksDid you know that cats can become mothers in their first year of life? While more and more pet parents spay their cats early in life, many good Samaritans have gotten more than they bargained for, after finding that the stray they adopted is pregnant. As a matter of fact, we here at the Life’s Abundance office found ourselves in a similar situation when a sweet little stray showed up at our door a while back. Of course, food and water were the first order of business. After a few days, she began to trust us enough to pet her. That’s when we discovered that she was pregnant. To make a long story short, we took good care of her and her kittens, and now the whole feline family lives with their new adoptive parents. If you have a pregnant cat, you may be wondering what to expect and how best to care for the expectant mother. More...

Have you ever found freshly dug holes in your backyard? Or bits of your favorite chair strewn across your den? Are you the proud parent of a canine that greets your guests by repeatedly jumping on them? Does your furry friend beg at the table, bark incessantly or strategically deposit her poo next to the dining room table? Simply put, if your dog could star in a film entitled “Dogs Gone Wild”, then you share a common complaint among dog lovers worldwide: frustrating behavioral problems. " />

Doggie Dunce Caps: Bad Behavior or Serious Medical Issue?

Have you ever found freshly dug holes in your backyard? Or bits of your favorite chair strewn across your den? Are you the proud parent of a canine that greets your guests by repeatedly jumping on them? Does your furry friend beg at the table, bark incessantly or strategically deposit her poo next to the dining room table? Simply put, if your dog could star in a film entitled “Dogs Gone Wild”, then you share a common complaint among dog lovers worldwide: frustrating behavioral problems. More...

Looking Out for the Big Guys

Austin

What began as a rescue for Weimaraners now accepts all dogs, but focuses their energies on saving large and giant breeds from certain death. Located in Palm Beach County, FL, Big Dog Ranch Rescue offers a true last line of defense for hundreds of souls, burdened by illness, neglect and despair. More...

Five Plants That Can Seriously Injure Your Dog

Dr Jane Bicks

If you’re a dog lover, thoughts of summertime conjure memories of long evening strolls and outdoor recreation with your dog. In fact, you may have already started this summer to create new fond memories. Given that, the last thing you want on one of your nature walks is for your canine companion to be sidelined by an injury. Unfortunately, many pet parents don’t realize until it’s too late that there are menacing toxins lurking in the plants of both cultivated and wild landscapes. Plants that you are used to seeing in public parks, your neighborhood and perhaps even in your own backyard can lead to devastating effects. In what follows, I will review five of these dangerous plants so that you will be able to identify and avoid them when you’re with your dog. First up are four plants commonly used in landscaping that are actually toxic to canines …More...