Posts Categorised: Health
To spay, or not to spay? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of animal rights activists Or to take arms against a sea of troubles…
(With apologies to The Bard)
We’ve been told for years the only way to stop pet overpopulation was to spay and neuter all dogs. Hmmm, if that were to actually happen then in one generation there would be NO MORE DOGS.
If there really is a pet overpopulation problem, then why are rescues paying to bring strays from other countries at the rate of a million dogs every year? Hmmm, makes you wonder. (Yes, I acknowledge the humanitarian issues such as the strays in Sochi, Russia that were being killed before the Olympic Games. Another question is why aren’t these dogs properly vetted before bringing in diseases such as rabies and brucellosis?)
We’ve been told that spaying and neutering makes happier and healthier pets. Hmmm. A C-BARQ study found that “spayed female dogs tend to be more aggressive toward their owners and to strangers than intact females” and there wasn’t much evidence that neutering would stop aggressive behavior in male dogs. Also that early spay/neuter “was associated with an increased incidence of noise phobias.” I don’t think that sounds happier.
What about healthier?
Health effects of neutering male dogs are somewhat different than spaying female dogs.
Neutering male dogs has some positives – it eliminates the tiny risk (less than 1%) of dying from testicular cancer and it reduces the risks of non-cancerous prostate disorders and perianal fistulas.
But there are several potential negatives for males:
– early neutering significantly increases the risk of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) which is common in larger dogs and has a poor prognosis
– increases the risks of hypothyroidism, cardiac hemangiosarcoma, geriatric cognitive impairment, obesity, prostate cancer, urinary tract cancers, orthopedic disorders and adverse reactions to vaccines
It’s a little different with females, although there are both positives and negatives.
Spaying reduces the risk of mammary tumors (if done before 2-1/2 years old), almost eliminates the risk of pyometra and reduces the risks of perianal fistulas and the very small risks (<0.5%) of uterine, cervical and ovarian tumors.
But spaying also:
– if done early, significantly increases the risk of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) which is common in larger dogs and has a poor prognosis
– increases the risks of splenic and cardiac hemangiosarcomas which are common cancers
– increases the risks of hypothyroidism, obesity, spay incontinence, urinary tract infections, recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, vaginitis, urinary tract tumors, orthopedic disorders and adverse reactions to vaccines
Overall the study concluded that “no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs to prevent future health problems.” But it’s a more complex decision with most female dogs. Some risks can be reduced or avoided by waiting until the dog is physically mature. It’s well worth your time to read more.
For a little more insight on spaying females, there is a study that concluded shorter lifespan was associated with spaying. They looked at Rottweilers that had an average lifespan of about 9-1/2 years compared with Rotties who lived to at least 13 years old.
Females tend to live longer than males, but it didn’t hold true for females that were spayed before 4 years old.
As they dug deeper, their results showed that how long females kept their ovaries affected how long they lived. If they were at least six years old before being spayed they were 4.6 times more likely to live an exceptionally long life. When they excluded all deaths due to cancer, they found “females that kept their ovaries the longest were 9 times more likely to reach exceptional longevity than females with shortest ovary exposure.”
Research funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation studied the incidence of cancer and joint problems based on age at the time of neutering. They determined:
– Risk of developing hip dysplasia DOUBLED with earlier onset for males who were neutered early (less than 12 months old).
– Early spay/neuter increased the risk of canine cruciate ligament injury
– Chance of developing lymphoma was three times greater in males who were neutered early
– Interestingly mast cell tumors in males and females were highest in the late-neuter group (over 12 months) compared to the early neuter and intact groups
– Hemangiosarcoma in females was also highest in the late-neuter group compared to the early neuter and intact groups
– Overall they found “increased likelihood of hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, mast cell tumors, and canine cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture in neutered dogs”
Another veterinarian summarized numerous research findings and papers. He also found increased orthopedic issues and cancers:
– Some growth plates closed later in bitches spayed at 7 weeks compared to those spayed at 7 months and those spayed at 7 months had growth plates that closed later than intact bitches. This results in significantly longer leg bones in dogs that were spayed/neutered early compared to intact dogs. (Note: other research found when some bones continue to grow after they would normally stop leads to an imbalance with increased strain causing a higher incidence of CCL tears and hip dysplasia.)
– Spayed females had a five time greater risk for cardiac hemangiosarcoma and over two times greater risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma compared to intact females.
– Neutered males a had 2-4 times greater risk of prostate and bladder cancers compared to intact males.
– Female Labs had more mast cell cancer, hemangiosarcoma, and lymphoma if they were spayed between 2-8 years old.
– Although the risk of mammary cancer in females increases with each heat cycle, the overall risk of getting a mammary tumor was 0.2% compared to the “200 to 400% increased risk of other cancers in spayed females.”
– Other risks of early spaying included urinary incontinence, hypothyroidism and pancreatitis compared to intact females. And higher risk of adverse reactions to vaccines for all neutered dogs.
In a nutshell, spay/neuter tends to increase the risks of orthopedic problems and of some types of cancers. It may also reduce lifespan. However the results can be different depending on WHEN they are spayed or neutered with early spay/neuter having higher risks of various problems.
The recommendations are pretty clear for males – don’t neuter unless you have to. If your intact dog develops prostate or testicular cancer – the main risks – neutering usually resolves the problem.
It’s a little less clear for females. Early spay does seems to cause more problems than waiting until at least maturity, however the longevity study suggests females may live longer if they’re not spayed until they’re at least 4-6 years old. But each heat cycle increases the chance of pyometra and breast cancer. An alternative to traditional spay is an ovary sparing spay which involves removing the uterus and cervix while leaving one or both ovaries. Unfortunately not all veterinarians know how – and are willing – to do this surgery.
Here in the US spay/neuter is expected unless you will be breeding (which has it’s own set of issues), but other countries consider spaying and neutering inhumane and in some countries it’s even illegal. In Sweden and Norway nearly all the dogs are intact and you have to get permission for the surgery based on your dog’s needs. They believe it is “more responsible to leave a dog intact and guard and train the dog properly rather than have mass spay/neuter campaigns to prevent unwanted pregnancies.”
Another thing to consider is that your pet may die due to the surgery. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s pretty devastating when it’s YOUR pet that dies. I had a beautiful, healthy palomino colt die during a “routine” gelding.
What are other potential downsides of NOT spaying or neutering?
1. A few weeks every year of messiness for females, but they can be taught to wear “shorts” which takes care of most of the problem. However don’t leave them clothed and unsupervised as some have been known to eat the material in their efforts at cleanliness.
2. Potentially higher licensing costs which is partially offset by not having to pay for the surgery and can be potentially offset by fewer health issues.
3. Higher HOA fees and even bans on intact animals.
4. Accidents leading to puppies.
5. Criticism from people who believe every pet should be neutered and pressure from veterinarians to neuter, often at a young age.
So do what’s right for your dog based on knowledge rather than custom. If you decide to spay or neuter, put it off at least until your dog is mature which is about 18-24 months for a Labrador.
Here are some more resources:
Podcast on early spay and neuter research
More on the Rottweiler longevity study
(Updated December 23, 2021)
“Dynamite uses only natural ingredients, made in the United States for better quality control. Throughout its history of making natural dog food, it has always looked at alternatives to animal by-products, antibiotics, chemical preservatives, fumigants, artificial coloring and other additives that have later caused dog allergies and other health problems.
“Its manufacturing processes are so stringently controlled that Dynamite has a separate mill to produce feed for herbivores, such as horses and poultry that are especially sensitive to contamination from meat needed by other species such as dogs and cats.”
I’m proud to be a Dynamite distributor for over 20 years!
I’ve had great results for both my animals and me. But because governmental regulations won’t allow us to make therapeutic claims, we can only tell you how we’ve used the products and share some stories from other people.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “interest in dietary supplement ingredients that might enhance immune function and reduce inflammation to help prevent COVID-19 or manage its signs and symptoms remains high. Many of these ingredients have not been studied in people with COVID-19, but research suggests that they might improve immune function and help prevent or reduce symptoms of the common cold, influenza, and other respiratory tract infections.”
Although “…dietary supplements are not allowed to be marketed as a treatment, prevention, or cure for any disease” some studies suggest supplements may lower the risk of severe cases of Covid-19. These include vitamins C and D, zinc and Quercetin. Other studies also suggest magnesium, zinc and probiotics.
Some Dynamite products you may want to consider include:
- DM Plus contains “highly absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals” plus a “proprietary blend of phytonutrients, amino acids, and enzymes to improve digestion, absorption, and utilization of all these nutrients. (Caution: This product contains iron. Be aware that accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6.)”
- TriMins for calcium, magnesium and potassium (DM Plus and TriMins “together provide 750% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D. It is important to keep in mind that US RDA is based on the amount needed to remain alive. Most studies have shown that increased amounts are needed for immune benefits.)”
- SOD “contains the building blocks for the class of antioxidants called superoxide dismutase” including zinc, copper, selenium and manganese.
- Hiscorbadyne “provides a healthy dose of buffered vitamin C and a proprietary blend of herbs and antioxidants that specifically target immune system health.”
- Solace – “Research indicates silver may boost antibiotic effectiveness. Dynamite Solace is made of pure colloidal silver.”
Here are some of the products I’ve used and swear by:
If I could only have one Dynamite product it would be a toss up between Solace and DynaPro. We’ve used Solace (200 ppm colloidal silver) topically and internally, usually diluted with distilled water, but occasionally full strength. As an example, we used it combined with a homeopathic for cough when our dogs came in contact with kennel cough. They finished coughing within 24 hours, but a neighbor’s dogs continued coughing for two weeks.
I wouldn’t be without it! Anytime the dogs get stressed they get a couple of drops in their mouths or on their food. Weather changes, competition, breeding can all cause stress. By the way, we get the DynaPro for horses – same formula, bigger bottle, better price.
We’ve used Miracle Clay on all sorts of minor problems from bee stings, to bug bites, to rashes, to other swellings. We have wasps who give a nasty sting, but using a dab of activated Miracle Clay has stopped the stinging within seconds. It’s been called a “Healing Gift from Mother Earth.”
We’ve used it on sore muscles, blisters, and wounds. I even spray some on my face when I’ve been staring at the computer screen for too long.
We don’t use this product too often anymore, but it’s been helpful for stressful situations such as the first trailer ride or a farrier visit. My Labs are conditioned to gun fire from puppyhood so July 4th fireworks don’t bother them at all, but not so for some dogs. Relax has helped other dogs get through that stressful day and adding Tranquil can provide additional help. If your dog is stressed by fireworks, here’s a video that talks more about Dynamite’s Relax and Tranquil.
Tea Tree Oil
Cuts, scrapes and other booboos get topped with TTO. We’ve used it on us and the horses, but only when VERY diluted on the dogs.
Trace Minerals Concentrate
Whenever we need to stop minor bleeding, we use Trace Minerals Concentrate.
We use Wound Salve on open wounds, usually with Solace and/or Tea Tree Oil.
We’ve had great results using Balm on bruises, old scar tissue and even dry heels (to get ready for sandal season). By the way, Balm is used on closed wounds, while Wound Salve can be used on open wounds.
Showdown for Dogs / Showdown Pro
We started our Dynamite journey using Showdown and noticed quite an improvement in our dogs’ health. Coats became thicker and, in the case of chocolate Labs, a darker color. We supplement breeding females with Showdown Pro, starting before breeding and continuing through weaning the puppies. The girls have maintained better condition and puppies get off to a great start.
Free & Easy for Dogs
Our older dogs get Free & Easy six days a week. One of our dogs was diagnosed with a partially torn ACL and the vet recommended immediate surgery. We chose instead to try conservative management (straight to rehab, skipping the surgery). It took awhile, but he went back to competing in hunt tests, obedience and rally trials thanks in part to Free & Easy and Izmine.
“Izmine™ is an unusually effective mineral food containing more than 70 naturally-occurring minerals, enzymes, electrolytes and bio-nutrients in a readily-assimilated form. Its natural acidity contributes to its high degree of assimilation.” It has helped my dog recover after an ACL tear and my mom’s arthritis in her hands and back – they both also took Free & Easy. Here’s a story about how Izmine was used to help dolphins who lived in chlorinated water and used to help a penguin that developed a large goiter.
Twice a year we give our dogs Herbal Tonic to avoid having to use harsh chemical wormers. To be safe, we also test for heartworm. For tips on how to use Herbal Tonic (and some supporting products), check out Parasite Control: Balance vs. Eradication by Judy Sinner.
We keep Hiscorbadyne on hand for times when the dogs get stressed or need an extra boost to their immune systems such as during a recent outbreak of kennel cough.
Love summer, but hate the bugs? Me too. Mosquitos, biting flies and those awful ticks when we’re running the dogs in the fields. Ugh. I’ve tried all sorts of products to keep bugs at bay, not only because they’re annoying, but also because they transmit diseases. Can’t say I’ve ever liked the stickiness and horrible smell – especially so for my dogs when they need a good sense of smell to find some of their birds. Then I tried Dyna Shield – “a natural horse spray containing a blend of natural, proven, botanical oils that can be applied directly to your horse with peace of mind.” It’s a concentrate that can be diluted at various levels to be used on horses, dogs and people. It does have a smell, but more herbal than chemical. And it works well for my animals and me. Learn more about the harmful effects of chemical sprays.
For show dogs, we’ve found DynaCoat has helped put on that extra bit of coat. We also gave it to a dog that generally had a rather sparse coat and within a few weeks she developed a nice plush coat and even grew hair along her belly and inner thighs where she never had hair before.
Super Premium Dog Food
I’ve tried several premium brands of dog food and this one has given us great results. It’s made with fresh, hand-trimmed USDA chicken, plus fish meal and salmon oil with only minimal processing to help preserve the natural goodness of the ingredients. NO corn or wheat. 24% protein, 16% fat. It comes in 8-pound and 40-pound bags.
Yep, I take my vitamins too! Why take chances? I certainly don’t have the time to eat as well as I should, and I know with Dynamite I’m doing something good for the only body I will ever have.
As part of the Dynamite basic program, we take Tri-Mins for the additional minerals. Some people have asked why Tri-Mins is separate from DM Plus. It’s because we each have different needs for the minerals in Tri-Mins (calcium, potassium, magnesium) and this allows you to adjust the amounts as needed.
I started the Dynamite program by taking Elixir mixed with water every day for 60 days. Now I take it whenever I feel a bout of heartburn coming on which, thankfully, isn’t very often.
Free & Easy for Humans
I recently had to start taking Free & Easy for my joints. A hand injury left one finger rather stiff, particularly in the mornings. Now I’m much more limber.
Natural Trace Mineral Salt
Instead of using the dead iodized salt commonly sold in grocery stores, we use the Natural Trace Mineral Salt. The only downside is that you have to tap your salt shaker occasionally to make it flow freely.
PMS (Premium Magnesium Supplement)
I’ve been told emergency room doctors often give magnesium to heart attack victims. Another source told me that most women are deficient in magnesium and it’s involved in enzyme and hormonal actions to help lower blood pressure. With all that in mind, I take a couple PMS every day.
Worried about packing on the pounds during the holidays?
I lost 30 pounds in two months on this protocol and overall found it to be pretty easy.
Although my horses are leased out to a family with several children, they also get Dynamite products. I like the Dynamite Plus for the additional coenzymes and herbs to help calm and balance the gut pH. (Regular Dynamite would be a good choice for a horse in competition.) We also offer the Free Choice Minerals so each horse can eat as much or as little as they need. When we were breeding horses we also used Breeder Pac. And, of course, they also get DynaPro and occasionally Herbal Tonic.
Here are some results and stories from other people:
DM Plus, TriMins, Free & Easy and PMS
For years my mother would tell me every day that she needed to lay down because her back hurt. Her doctors had her taking calcium pills for osteoporosis plus 800 mg Tylenol whenever she had pain. But it wasn’t until she came to live with me that I found out about the variety of medications she was taking. The years of taking inorganic calcium had given her bone spurs and the daily Tylenol was causing other problems. So we weaned her off the medications that were contraindicated, provided her with better food choices and started DM Plus, TriMins, Free & Easy and PMS and the difference was almost immediate. In the almost 4 years she lived with me, I can only remember one time she had to lay down because her back hurt.
Free & Easy for People
As an aircraft mechanic, my husband misused his hands every day. That’s on top of a bad habit of popping his knuckles. He tried soaking his hands in warm water every morning to make it easier to open and close his hands. I gave him a bottle of Free & Easy, but didn’t think he’d take them. When he did, I realized just how much he hurt. He never said anything though. That is, until a few days after he ran out and had to resort to bathing his hands in warm water again. He actually asked for more F&E!
Free & Easy for Dogs
Story in a nutshell: Have an Australian Cattle Dog who will be 11 years old this August. He injured himself, caught his rear paw when running onto the deck early on. He favored it on and off for quite some time. Got tired of meds from vet when he seemed to be favoring it from time to time. He actually got to a point, at one time, that he couldn’t go up the stairs. So, looked for a more holistic approach. Researched the internet and found a site with testimonials on Free and Easy. Then researched the best price to buy which was from you. At the time I began using Free and Easy also switched him to an organic, high quality dog food to which I add a spoon of pureed celery to each meal, as celery contains alot of water content which aids the joints in arthritic situations. The vet not convinced about this, but I find the results to be good. And the rest is history. Don’t know if it is one item or combination of all, but he has not been on meds for this condition for years now.
Well it worked, back to back Winners Bitch (had not earned any points for the previous two years).
The dog’s coats are what people comment on the most. They look like they have just been bathed they are so shiny. Their gums have a nice color as well.
Captain Tim Bradbeer
Beach and Bay Charters
Bow is doing great. Still a ball of energy at 8 years and no signs of slowing down.
14 year old Billy’s Healthy Senior Lifestyle
Scooby Recovers from Sinus Tumor
Free and Easy Gives New Spark to 11-Year-Old Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog, Deuce, Makes a Showy Change in 2 Months
Weight Loss – 180 & Dynalite
Trace Minerals Vs. Pocket Knife Wound
The Concepts of Free Choice Minerals
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, prevent or mitigate any disease. But you can always contact us if you have any questions. You can also get more information by clicking the button below.
Luckily Gregor Mendel tested his theories on the garden pea that has a relatively simple genetic structure.
He crossed yellow peas with green peas and tall plants with short plants to discover the fundamental laws of inheritance.
When he crossed yellow peas with green peas he often got only yellow peas.
But when he crossed the second generation together he got a few green peas mixed in with three times as many yellow peas. When he crossed green peas together, he got only green peas.
Mendel theorized that each parent contributed the “elementen” (one gene) for any given trait so the offspring had a pairing of those two genes.
But what you see on the outside doesn’t always tell you what’s on the inside – the genetic makeup.
In today’s terms, we would say the gene for yellow is dominant over the gene for green which is recessive.
When he crossed yellow with yellow and got only yellow, at least one of the parent plants was homozygous for yellow – meaning that parent plant carried only the yellow gene.
But when he crossed yellow to yellow and got some green peas, *both* of the parent plants carried the recessive green gene.
When he crossed green to green he could not get yellow because *neither* parent plant carried the yellow gene.
Before breeding, the DNA strands carrying “… chromosome pairs are split apart and distributed into cells called gametes. Each gamete contains a single copy of every chromosome, and each chromosome contains one allele for every gene.”
Which variation of a gene winds up on which DNA strand and which strand from the father combines with which strand from the mother is due to chance which makes breeding so very interesting.
Genetic testing helps to make breeding decisions a little easier. Many genetic tests for our dogs are for a simple recessive gene, like yellow or green in the garden pea.
What this means is that there is one gene controlling the trait with two or more possible variations (“alleles”) – a dominant allele and recessive alleles.
The recessive allele will only express itself if both parents contributed recessive alleles. When there is only one recessive allele the dominant allele it will ‘cover up’ the recessive.
Using genetic testing
If your puppy’s parents have been tested or if your puppy shows a genetic trait, such as yellow or chocolate color, you can make an educated guess about his genetic make up.
If he is yellow, then his parents are either yellow or carry yellow as a hidden gene. Both must carry at least one copy of the yellow gene.
If he is black, but has a yellow parent, then he carries one copy of the gene for yellow. It works the same for chocolate.
Yellow and chocolate are controlled by different genes so you can’t know if he carries the gene for the other color based on his color.
With one exception. Yellow Labradors usually have black noses and eye rims. When a yellow Lab has a chocolate nose and eye rims, he is homozygous for both chocolate and for yellow. Although it is a natural color in the breed, it is a disqualification in the show ring.
In a graph, the dominant trait (like black in Labradors) is capitalized and the recessive trait (chocolate) is lower-case:
BB = homozygous black in capital letters
Bb = heterozygous black in capital letters (hidden chocolate in lower case)
bb = homozygous chocolate in lower case
A yellow puppy with chocolate points, is shown as bbee with “e” meaning yellow. The dominant trait – “E” – means “not yellow.”
Early in the Labrador’s history, yellow and chocolate puppies would appear occasionally. Because those colors were not popular, they were rarely bred (and sometimes not even allowed to live).
With no genetic testing available and limited knowledge of inheritance, breeders didn’t know that those recessive colors hid in their dogs’ genetics.
The recessive color could appear if the dog was bred to another dog who carried the same recessive color.
It is possible for a recessive gene to remain hidden for many generations. For example, Sandylands Mark, born in 1965, was black carrying chocolate despite 19 generations of blacks and yellows in his pedigree.
As a side note, because chocolate is a recessive gene saying a dog is “dominant chocolate” is incorrect. Chocolate is recessive to black and is a separate gene from yellow. So I think they mean “pure for chocolate” instead.
For traits you can’t see, you should test the puppy unless both parents are clear for the trait.
EIC, CNM and PRA are also examples of simple recessives.
Here are some charts showing potential outcomes for a hypothetical trait where “X” is the dominant allele and “x” is the recessive allele.
These examples hold true for any trait that is a simple recessive.
Note: statistics only hold true with very large samples, except for breeding clear to clear or affected to affected where all puppies will be like their parents. However a carrier to carrier breeding could have all clear puppies or could have all affected puppies.
Whether you’re worried about the ingredients in commercial treats or you just want to do something special for your favorite four-legged companion, here are some simple recipes to make great tasting dog treats!
We’ll start with a favorite – yummy peanut butter treats!
Make them as-is or switch out the milk and peanut butter for a cup or 2 of pureed pumpkin. Or try switching rice flour for the wheat flour. Then see which one your dog likes best!
Yummy Peanut Butter Treats
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups flour, whole wheat
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together the eggs, milk and peanut butter in a large bowl.
Gradually add flour, baking powder and cinnamon, using your hands as necessary, until the dough is stiff.
Sprinkle some flour on a work surface and roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 1/2-inch squares or dress it up with a bone-shaped cookie cutter. You don’t want your family to mistake them for people cookies!
Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes. Turn over and bake for 15 minutes more.
Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
If your dog suffers from allergies, here’s a recipe that he can enjoy without having to scratch. Instead of flour or oatmeal, it’s made with black beans.
Because of their soft texture, these cookies are also good for dogs that have trouble chewing the harder biscuits.
Anti-Itch Doggie Cookies
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed well and drained
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
Mash black beans using a fork or food processor. Add peanut butter, banana and applesauce. Stir until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Drop by rounded teaspoon onto nonstick cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove sheet and flatten using the back of a spoon.
Return to the over and bake for 10 minutes. Turn cookies over and continue baking 15 more minutes.
Cool completely then store in an airtight container or freeze.
For a slightly different flavor, try substituting lentils for the black beans.
If it’s too hot or you just don’t feel like firing up the oven, you’ll love these easy-to-make treats!
Coconut Blueberry Frosty Treats
1/2 cup coconut oil in solid form
Put a blueberry into each heart in the silicone mold. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil until it liquefies.
Allow coconut oil to cool for a few minutes, then carefully pour oil into the heart mold.
Carefully place mold into the fridge to solidify.
When coconut oil treats are solid, pop them out of the mold.
Store coconut oil treats in a baggie in the freezer.
You can get a silicone mold to make heart-shaped treats here. Or pull out those old plastic ice cube trays, just don’t try to use a metal one because it needs to flex to remove the treats.
Here’s a simple grain-free recipe your dog will love!
Banana Almond Bites
1 large egg
1/2 cup almond butter
1 banana, over ripe
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Using a fork, mash the banana in a large size bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix together with a fork until blended. The batter should be thick and gooey.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place teaspoon-size dollops well-separated on the sheet.
Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the pan and bake for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool. Be sure to refrigerate!
Here are some other ideas for treats:
- Baby carrots
- Sweet potatoes, sliced
- Apples, sliced
- Watermelon, seedless
- Banana, peeled
- Cottage cheese
- Unflavored yogurt
- Chicken liver
- Chicken gizzards
- Broccoli, sliced
- Cauliflower, sliced
You might be surprised at what your dog likes. Most of my dogs love broccoli and cauliflower, but don’t like bananas! Go figure!
If you don’t have time to make your own treats, check out this post for quality store-bought dog treats.
Affiliate Links: This blog contains affiliate links.
A friend’s dog just had a very bad reaction to Advantix II, a topical flea and tick control product. She lives in an area with lots of ticks and had used the product for years without a problem.
Recently her dog became agitated and anxious. He ran around the yard like he was panicked, hid in the bathroom and behind a table. He had a dose of Advantix II the evening before. When she called the Advantix emergency number, she was told “it feels like tiny needles and burning all over his skin.” She bathed him with a degreasing soap (Dawn) and gave him Benadryl. Luckily the dog is doing fine now.
If you search on ‘Advantix II Paresthesia’ you’ll find several cases where dogs have had a bad reaction. Advantix II can cause:
- skin irritation such as redness, scratching, or other signs of discomfort
- gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting or diarrhea
- lethargy or agitation
- sensation of burning, tingling, itching, redness or numbness of the skin
Also keep any cats away from treated dogs for 24 hours as cats can’t metabolize certain compounds and may have serious harmful effects.
According to someone who replied to her post, “Don’t use Nexgard either, I have a friend who used it on her dog and the dog started seizing and eventually passed. Nexgard is paying and has taken responsibility for it.”
Another reply talked about a friend’s dog who “started having grand mal seizures. Over time they got worse and started clustering. Come to find out it was a reaction to Frontline. Once she stopped the Frontline, the seizures stopped.”
Yet another reply said she “used k9 advantix one time and my girl had a stroke from it!!”
Bravecto is another product that was discussed. Some people like it, but it’s caused sterility which tells me it probably isn’t safe for any dog.
Be very careful of chemicals used on your dog. The flea / tick products are designed to spread and coat the whole body. That’s probably not a good thing as the skin is the body’s largest organ and plays a big role in the maintenance of health.
Check your dogs when they’ve been in a tick-filled area and pull them off manually.
One product I use with good results is DynaShield. It’s a blend of essential oils, herbs and plant extracts and can be used on people, dogs, cats and horses. Click to learn more about DynaShield and more products from Dynamite Specialty Products. If you must use some sort of chemical, check out diatomaceous earth. I haven’t used it, but I’ve heard it has good results with fewer to no side effects.
You think your dog works hard? Check out these dogs who rack up over 3,000 miles conditioning in just 6 months and then run 150 miles a day for over a week in competition.
Mitch Seavey, has won the Iditarod THREE times (2004, 2013 and 2017) and holds the record as the oldest person to win.
His son, Dallas, has won the Iditarod FOUR times (only one person has ever won it 5 times) in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016.
Dallas holds the record for the youngest person to win. Mitch also came in second to Dallas in 2015 and 2016 and 3rd in 2014 when Dallas won and Dallas came in second to Mitch in 2017.
They’ve also smashed the winning time record over and over. Mitch currently holds the record at 8 days 3 hours 40 minutes 13 seconds. They are the first father and son duo in Iditarod history to claim the top two finishing positions of the race. Between them they’ve won the last 6 Iditarod races.
So why would I – a Lab person – tell you about sled dogs? Well, if a top musher chooses Dynamite products for his dogs it might be something for you to consider.
“We use Dynamite products year round in the kennel to maintain healthy, thriving dogs. The nutritional vitamin and mineral supplements are a key element in our their successful performance and great overall health,” says Dallas Seavey.
What other products does he use?
He says he’s had great success treating viral and bacterial infections “with activated Miracle Clay, Solace, Dyna Pro, and Trace Minerals Concentrate every 3 hours around the clock until well.”
Let me know if you have any questions about any of these Dynamite products!
Image courtesy Dynamite Specialty Products
Who doesn’t love to give treats to their dog? But with so many commercial treats, it can be hard to make a good choice. Start off by looking for quality ingredients.
Signs of better quality:
- Natural preservatives (such as Vitamin C or E) or no preservatives at all
- Made in the USA
- Fresh, whole ingredients (human-grade, if possible)
Ingredients to avoid:
- Corn and wheat
- “Meal” and “by-products”
- BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
- BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
- Food Dyes (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE)
- PG (Propylene Glycol)
- Rendered fat
Consider where the treats are made
There have been on-going problems with pet food and ingredients coming from China. In 2007, there was a massive recall of Chinese-made pet food. Several thousand dogs became sick or died from food containing melamine – a type of plastic. The ingredient was traced back to a Chinese firm that was adding melamine to their food products to increase the protein percentage for bigger profits.
In 2014 there was another health issue that traced to Chinese pet treats. This time it involved imported jerky treats that were linked to over 1000 dog deaths.
Because of these problems, you should avoid pet food products imported from China. Unfortunately labeling laws don’t cover ingredients that come from China. Some manufacturers have imported base ingredients because of the lower cost and mixed them with other ingredients to make pet food in the US. These products can be labeled as ‘Made in USA’ without mentioning the Chinese ingredients.
Check the manufacturer’s reputation
You can search online for recalls, not just for the particular treat you’re considering, but for the entire product line. A manufacturer with several recalls may indicate an overall problem with quality control.
Check the calorie count
Just like people, there are many overweight dogs. Obesity causes all sorts of health issues, from heart disease and high blood pressure, to diabetes and joint damage.
Regardless of which treats you choose, be sure to subtract the calories in the treats from your dog’s daily calorie allowance. Many treats have lots of calories and feeding just a few every day will lead to weight gain.
If you’re not a calorie counter, do the touch test every couple of weeks. Lay the palms of your hands on your dog’s rib cage. If his ribs are sticking out, he’s too thin. If you have to press in to feel the ribs, he’s too fat.
What tastes best to your dog
For that you may have to try a few different treats, but I don’t think he’ll mind this kind of testing!
Here are some treats that score high in our consideration:
Heart-shaped, crunchy organic dog treats that come in a wide variety of flavors, including Chicken, Peanut Butter, Salmon and Sweet Potato, Turkey and Sweet Potato, and Cheese. They also come in small (1″) and medium (1.5″) sizes.
- No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
- No wheat, soy or corn
- Made in Canada
- And the company gives 100% of profits to charity. Over $500 million so far!
“The dog loves them. They are scored to be easy to break in half for smaller dogs or for training nibbles. On ‘subscribe and save,’ the price is very good.” ~ LaRaine
Bone-shaped treats that come in small and large size with a crunchy texture. They also come in a variety of flavors, including peanut butter and molasses, apple bone, sweet potato, and pumpkin and coconut bone.
- 100% human-grade, non GMO
- No wheat, corn or soy
- No artificial colors or preservatives
- USDA certified organic
- Made in the USA
“Fantastic product! Wish it was this easy to find healthy snacks for us human-kinds! My dogs, big and small, absolutely love these! Even my friend’s uber picky eater dog goes crazy for these treats!” ~ Kelrick
Made from 100% natural, grass-fed, free-range beef. Oven baked without added hormones, preservatives or chemicals.
- All natural, single ingredient
- No added hormones, preservatives or color
- Naturally high in protein and grain-free
- Good for chewing exercise
“My dog loves these and I’m happy to be giving her something that’s grassfed and natural. She’s a fairly vigorous chewer and can finish one in a single sitting, but I can also take it away halfway through and give back later. It keeps her occupied.” ~ Heidi
USDA certified organic and non-GMO treats that come in several flavors – hemp seed and banana, carob and mint, cranberry and flaxseed, apple pie, sweet potato pie, agave and pear, apples and carrots, grain-free berry, grain-free peas and carrots, peanut butter, and pumpkin.
- No corn, wheat or soy
- No artificial color, artificial flavors or preservatives,
- Made in USA, but only ships to the lower 48 states
“My little dog has an extremely sensitive stomach. I have to get his food from the vet. He can’t have beef, chicken, duck, lamb and grains. That leaves a lot out. My girlfriend has these treats and her dogs didn’t like them so she asked if my dog would like them. He goes nuts for these and they don’t seem to bother his stomach.” ~ Jeep Girl
Thin strips of dehydrated, naturally preserved USDA Grade A chicken breasts. Thin and crispy. Sourced and produced in the US, in small batches.
- No fillers, additives or preservatives
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- One-ingredient product
- Made in the USA
“My dog LOVES these. I have tried so many treats and she wouldn’t eat them. She would just push them around and over and over. Really she did. Until she received these Premium chicken Jerky Dog Treats. I believe this is my 4th order. They smell just like ‘baked’ chicken. You can break them into pieces easily.” ~ TamG
A dry, crunchy treat that’s available in a flavors like duck, salmon, turkey, potatoes and flaxseed. They also have some location-specific treats like Denali Biscuits with salmon, venison and halibut or Bayou Biscuits with alligator and catfish!
- 100% grain-free
- No corn, wheat or soy
- No artificial flavors or preservatives
“I love that I can give him a treat, and not worry about him braking out in a massive rash! He loves them, and we love these for him! Also since switching to this brand completely he has had so much more energy, is very playful again,and his coat has been simply amazing, and shiny.” ~ Becky85
Freeze-dried raw nuggets that are 98% meat, organs and ground bone from grass-fed, cage-free or wild-caught animals, including beef, chicken, duck or turkey. Minimally processed.
- No added hormones, antibiotics or fillers
- No artifical preservatives or colors
- Single source animal protein
- Made in the USA, although the meat may be sourced from other countries, except China.
“…these treats/foods really do illicit an almost panicked, I’ll do ANYTHING, gotta have it, response!” ~ NewShoes!
Avoid these popular, but unhealthy treats:
Greenies Dog Chews
Although recommended by veterinarians, these treats are not all-natural and there have been problems with white worm infestation, vomiting and intestinal obstructions. The main ingredient is wheat gluten.
Rawhide dog treats
Although dogs seem to love chewing on rawhide treats they are not digestible. It can swell up in the stomach or intestine which can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and pancreatitis. If a piece gets stuck somewhere in a dog’s digestive tract, he will likely need surgery.
Probably the most popular dog treat available, however the ingredients are very questionable:
- Wheat Flour
- Wheat Bran
- Wheat Germ
- Meat and Bone Meal
- Beef Fat (Preserved with BHA)
- Sodium Metabisulfite (Used as a Preservative)
Even if you can get past the grain-heavy ingredients, the National Toxicology Program has concluded that BHA “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Why feed something that may cause cancer?
Another product with very questionable ingredients:
- lots of grain (barley, oat meal, brewers rice, soybean meal, ground whole wheat, corn gluten meal, wheat flour, wheat gluten, ground yellow corn)
- glycerin and sugar
- soy protein concentrate
- salt, phosphoric acid, sorbic acid (a preservative)
- BHA – likely carcinogenic
- dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6) – linked to cancer, allergies, hyperactivity, irritability and aggressiveness
Here’s a website where you can check for product recalls: https://www.animalhealthfoundation.net/blog/?s=dog treats
I hope you found some treats your dog really likes! If you’d like try making some of your own treats, check out this post with recipes.
Affiliate Links: This blog contains affiliate links.
The CNM Project in France recently released an update on their research into Centronuclear myopathy (CNM) in Labrador Retrievers. You can read the very scientific update at http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0046408
In a nutshell, CNM is a collapsing disorder. Symptoms generally develop between two to five months of age and include gait abnormalities, generalized weakness and tiring easily, a lack of “knee cap” reflexes and muscle wasting. CNM can affect both sexes and all three recognized colors.
It’s a genetic disorder and requires two copies of the CNM gene – one from each parent.
Puppies with only one copy of the gene are carriers and don’t develop symptoms, but if they are later bred they can pass the CNM gene on to their puppies. The researchers estimate one dog in seven is a carrier so all breeding animals should be tested (unless both parents are tested clear).
Dogs that are affected or carriers can be bred, but must be bred to a dog clear of the CNM gene to prevent producing more affected dogs. And that’s in addition to testing for dysplasia and eye problems, at the very least!
In the past seven years the researchers tested samples from over 7,400 Labs and found 80 affected dogs. They believe it started with a single mutation about 50 years ago and has rapidly spread to at least 18 countries through the use of popular sires.
Although it is not fatal, it is a debilitating disorder and an affected dog will require a supportive caretaker.
Here is a video of a 5 month old affected puppy. Note the general weakness and body position, particularly the head and neck.
Here is a video of another Lab having a particularly tough day although she’s determined to get her bumper.
Here is a video of an adult Lab who has been able to overcome many of the symptoms of CNM with the help of his caregivers. According to his owners, “As a puppy, he couldn’t hold his head up, control his tongue, hold a tug toy, walk for more than a few feet without having to crawl, or climb stairs.”
And, no, CNM is not the same as Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC), although both disorders are genetic. CNM is a muscle weakness whereas EIC is a neurologic dysfunction.
Here is a video from the University of Minnesota where they are doing research on EIC.
I read an interesting article this morning. Are breeders blind? Or are we operating under a misconception? The article concludes that the majority of dogs are not normal.
“According to Padgett (1991), most breeders continue to believe that the dogs they own are genetically normal.”
Well, gee, I thought they were.
Padgett also reported that “the average number of defects in most breeds may be fourteen.” Some breeds could have as many as 58 defects.
Well, not MY breed.
When the Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) test came out, I tested my Labs and was blindsided to learn that one was a carrier.
OMG! My dog is defective! I had no idea that one of my dogs harbored that dreaded disease.
My reaction seems to be typical of many breeders. Not only do we believe most dogs are genetically normal, but that having a dog with a defective gene was so out of the ordinary that it should be kept a secret. If we talk about having a defective gene some people might feel our dogs are “less than average or perhaps abnormal.” So we bury our heads in the sand and hope that it will go away.
If we can change our way of thinking – that most dogs are not genetically normal – then it won’t come as such a surprise to get results showing defective genes. If it’s not such a surprise, then maybe we’ll be more willing to share the results thus making it easier to eradicate that gene.
My dog carries one copy of the EIC gene. Dogs with two copies of the gene may collapse under some circumstances. She was fine, but I had to be careful to only breed her to a male who was clear of the gene.
Whew! That doesn’t sound so bad.
So we test before deciding to breed and choose mates wisely.
To learn more, see:
Breed dilemmas and extinction by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia in The Labrador Quarterly, Winter 2010-11, discussing Padgett, George, “Genetics I Introduction,” 1991 Beagle Review, Darcroft Publishing, Wilmington, VT, Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 1991, pg. 14-16.