A New Season Is Here

Are you ready for a new season? No, not the one that’s due to arrive in 59 days, but who’s counting? I’m talking about another season. Besides more sunlight, ahem…’warm’ days, bugs and barbecues, there’s a season within summer I liken to pure evil hell, otherwise known as the grass-weed season.

You may recall a previous rant post about Foxtails (found here). Mostly found in the western part of the US, these innocent enough looking weeds can be very risky for dogs.

GrassesThe barbs are uniquely designed to move in one direction–only forward. They burrow deeper and deeper into the fur. Noses, ears, between the toes, under the collar or armpits are the most frequently found spots. Removal from fur as soon as possible is important since they can be quite difficult to remove once they penetrate the skin. Once burrowed into the skin and if not treated, they can travel throughout the body. A dog sniffing the ground can easily inhale them into their noses, under an armpit, or get them caught in their ears and if not treated immediately, can result in serious problems resulting in an expensive visit to a vet.

The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. Because these tough seed barbs don’t break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to a serious infection. It can even lead to death if left untreated and these seeds can be hard to find in dog fur.

Foxtails move relentlessly forward and can migrate from inside your dog’s nose deep into their brain or be inhaled into and perforate a lung. Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, even death. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, check for foxtails or talk to your vet. Make sure you check your good dog’s feet, ears, face, nose, genitals. Limping, excessive licking, head shaking, incessant scratching, redness, discharge, swelling, squinting or pawing are all symptoms your sweet dog may have picked up a foxtail. Foxtail season runs from May to December. Once foxtails dry out, they are like little sharp knives waiting to stick to someone or something.To remove, use a pair of tweezers if you can easily get to it. But if it’s deeply embedded, or if the area around it is red or swollen, call your vet right away. Remember, foxtails won’t come out on their own, and they can burrow deep within your dog.Prevention is your best weapon against this grass. Avoid overgrown grassy areas and remove these plants from your yard. Regular grooming/brushing can help.

Though not nearly as dangerous, are another seasonal weed-what I call Velcro grass. Not sure what the scientific name of this grass weed is, mostly I refer to it as evil bastard.

Grasses

Notice all those nasty little seed heads? They stick like Gorilla® glue-to fur, socks, pant legs, whatever it can attach its little evil self to, and often spring up along sidewalks near the neighborhood ‘pee-mail bulletin board.’ When we came back from this morning’s constitution, I found one attached to Sam’s bandana. Elsa had a very small piece of one stuck to her check a couple of days ago. It was a real bugger getting rid of, you pretty much have to pull them out seed by seed since they tend to disintegrate when you try to remove them. Dogs aren’t  typically keen on having lots of pulling out of their fur. It took several attempts to fully remove it.

Grass

Paws crossed this ‘season within the season’ doesn’t affect you or your good dog.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know ~ Essential Oils and Cats

CatLast week I shared a list of safe essential oils that can be safely used on your dog (found HERE) and I didn’t want to forget our feline friends. Use of essential oils is a controversial topic for use on cats but there are some essential oils that are safe, with caveats.

Never having owned a cat, I had to consult Dr. Google. One thing I learned  about cats is they are deficient in glucuronyl transferase, a liver enzyme that changes bilirubin into a form that can be removed through the bile. This compound also changes some hormones, medicines, and toxins into non-harmful by-products. Since uprights have a much higher tolerance for phenols, extra care when using essential oils on cats is critical. Harkening back to high school chemistry for a moment, you may recall that phenols are chemically active compounds which are found throughout nature, especially in plants (i.e. peppers contain capsaicin which is a phenol). Phenols exhibit a wide range of properties; some for their health benefits, while others are deadly poisonous. Only high quality, therapeutic grade oils (without phenols) should be considered for cats.

Cats possess an enhanced sense of smell, so diffusing essential oils has the potential to become overwhelming. That said, essential oils are likely more safe for cats than artificial fragrances and air fresheners. Even still, what your nose perceives as pleasant may not be perceived quite the same by your cat. When diffusing essential oils, a scent-free room for retreat is a good idea.

It should also be noted that a cat’s system is incredibly sensitive and some oils can be quite toxic. Essential oils with phenols should never be used and any safe oil used should be diluted in a quality carrier oil (a high-grade, pure vegetable oil is the catalyst that can make certain essential oils tolerable for cats. Some vets suggest the differential be dramatic: 50 drops of vegetable (the carrier oil) to 1 drop of essential oil though you should verify this ratio with your own vet as some recommend increasing that ratio up to 80- to 90-percent. Once properly mixed, you can place a drop of this mixture into your hands and pet your cat. Dilution and testing are two critical components when introducing your cat to essential oils, but before you start applying, it’s important to introduce these agents to your cat slowly.

The following oils are safe for use on cats and may be used in moderation (make sure your essential oil is phenol-free).

Cedarwood Repels pests and promotes healthy skin and coat.
Chamomile Promotes relaxation and sleep and also supports healthy digestion.
Lavender Relieves anxiety from separation or during long trips.
Myrrh Can help fight allergies and promote healthy skin and coat.
Clary Sage Calms nervousness and excitability.
Geranium Great for repelling pests and as a treatment for ear infections.
Ginger Relieves pain from arthritis and hip dysplasia and supports healthy digestion.
Marjoram Repels pests and helps treat skin infections and irritations.

Never apply essential oils at full strength on cats (and only use in a diffuser for short periods  of time). not meant to be used near the eyes and ears of humans or cats. It only takes 6/100th of a drop of lavender oil to calm pets down. And just because paws have leathery pads, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to apply essential oils to them.

Avoid these oils:

Clove oil Cinnamon oil
Thyme oil Oregano oil
Wintergreen oil Sweet birch oil
Lavender oil Citrus oil
Peppermint oil Pennyroyal oil
Eucalyptus oil Tea tree oil

Remember always consult your vet before introducing new food, treatment, or any substances into your pet’s routine care. If using essential oils on your cat, be on the lookout for strange behavior (drooling, muscle tremors, difficulty walking, or lethargy). Contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately, and especially if you notice redness on your cat’s skin, or if they begin pawing at their face following exposure to essential oils.

Have you ever used essential oils on your kitty?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know ~ Essential Oils and Dogs

You’ve heard me talk about the benefits of using essential oils before and how you can incorporate them into your arsenal of homeopathic options. Did you know essential oils can be utilized in multiple ways?

Essential oils

*NOTE: Melaleuca (Tea Tree oil) and wintergreen oils are toxic to pets and never recommended for use.

Here is a list of 16 safe essential oils to use on dogs.

  1. Carrot seed (Daucus carota) oil works well on dry skin prone to infection. Contains anti-inflammatory properties, with moderate antibacterial effects. Can also rejuvenate and stimulate tissue regeneration; it’s a good oil to use for healing scars.
  2. Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) oil is antiseptic, tonifying, and it can stimulate blood circulation. Good for skin and coat conditioning and dermatitis of all types. Cedarwood has safe flea-repelling properties and is a safe to add to any flea-repellent blend for dogs.
  3. German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) essential oil is anti-inflammatory. Safe and gentle to use on dogs and very effective  controlling skin irritations caused by allergies, eczema, rashes, etc. Bonus, it’s a good oil for healing burns.
  4. .Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) has different properties from German Chamomile. It is antispasmodic, pain relieving, and nerve-calming. A gentle oil to use for soothing and calming anxious dogs and effective for relief of muscle pains, cramps, puppy teething pain.
  5.  Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) also has calming effects by sedating the central nervous system. Can be used to calm anxious dogs, but should only be used in small amounts properly diluted. NOTE: Do not use with pregnant dogs.
  6.  Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) is antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It is also an expectorant and is an excellent oil for use to relieve upper respiratory congestion (e.g. kennel cough), and when your good dog is having trouble breathing smoothly. There are two common eucalyptus oils: Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata. E. globulus has a stronger, harsher scent and may be overwhelming. E. radiata has a milder scent, is milder chemically-speaking as well and when diluted properly, E. radiata is safe for dogs, both topically and for inhalation. Be sure NOT to let your dog ingest. Note: Do NOT use on small dogs and puppies or on dogs prone to seizures.
  7.  Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) is safe and gentle to use as a strong antifungal for dogs. Good for skin irritations (especially caused by yeast infections), and fungal ear infections in dogs. It is also effective in repelling tick if you make your own tick-repelling oil blend.
  8.  Ginger (Zingiber officinale) when properly diluted, is non-irritating and safe to use on dogs in small amounts to treat motion sickness, because it has anti-nausea properties. Helpful with digestion and tummy upset,  Ginger also has pain relieving properties. When used topically, it can help relieve pain in dogs with arthritis, dysplasia, strains and sprains.
  9.  Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) is an expensive oil with numerous therapeutic properties. It is anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and has regenerative effects and a good oil to have if your dog has skin issues, such as skin irritations, eczema, pyoderma, etc. Works well to heal wounds, such as bruises, scars, cuts, etc. (this works wonders on uprights too-I couldn’t get by without it for treating rotator cuff pain).
  10.  Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Don’t confused true Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) with Spike Lavender essential oil (Lavandula latifolia). While true Lavender oil is very safe and gentle and can be used with most dogs, Spike Lavender oil should NOT be used with pregnant dogs. True Lavender oil has antibacterial, anti-itch, and nerve-calming properties and is good for many common ailments and problems, e.g. skin irritations, anxiety, insect bites, cuts and burns, etc. Lavender has calming properties for dogs who are stressed, nervous, or agitated. A study found that Lavender could calm excited dogs while traveling in cars.
  11. Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana)  has strong antibacterial properties. It is also calming and a muscle relaxant, can be used for bacterial skin infections and wound care. Sweet Marjoram also has insect-repelling properties.
  12.  Niaouli (Melaleuca Quinquenervia) If you or your dog don’t mind the scent of this oil, Niaouli is a must-have oil compared to Tea Tree oil (which may cause irritation) and is safe to use as an effective antiseptic oil that can disinfect and help fight bacterial infections.
  13.  Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) stimulates blood circulation and antispasmodic so it is a great oil for dogs with acute pain. Can be used to soothe pain caused by swelling, sprains and strains. Has anti-nausea properties, and works well with ginger to help dogs with motion sickness. It is generally safe when properly diluted and used topically, or for diffusion in low dilution. Note: Peppermint oil should not be used on small or pregnant dogs.
  14.  Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) has calming and uplifting effects for uprights and dogs and is good for dogs with anxiety, and/or depression. It can also stimulate a dog’s appetite. If your dog is not eating (maybe due to stress or depression), diffusing this oil before mealtime may help. With deodorizing and flea-repelling properties, it can be added to your homemade dog shampoo.
  15.  Thyme ct. Linalool (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool) There are many different chemotypes of Thyme essential oil but this is the only chemotype that is mild and safe enough for use on dogs. With pain relieving properties, it can be added to a blend to help with arthritis, rheumatism, or other joint pain. It’s also a powerful antibacterial, antifungal, with antiviral properties. It is an excellent choice for infections and other skin issues.
  16.  Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) has sedative and nerve-calming effects, and is good for helping dogs with anxiety such as separation and noise anxiety.

If you’ve ever experienced that stinking dog smell and it’s not convenient to rush them to a tub but this recipe can help get rid of that odor until you can (or to refresh in between baths).

Essential oils

Essential oil can also be used as a preventative measure when you’re not into chemicals. Just follow the old adage: “dilution is the solution” when preparing a remedy.Essential oils

A word of caution when using essential oils; they should be “therapeutic” grade (NOTE: “100% pure” is NOT the same as therapeutic which is safe to be ingested). Never allow your pet to ingest essential oils unless you’re using a therapeutic grade.

Have you used essential oils on your dog? Did it work for you?  We’re just beginning to experiment with aromatherapy recipes and achieving good  success. Last week (following the cluster of the Fourth of July), we used Wild Orange in a diffuser which helped chill Sam out sufficiently to handle a few noisy revelers over the holiday weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wish I Were There Wednesday

Germany

While Sam and I are returning to West Pines today to bring smiles to mental health patients, I really wish I were in Hamburg, Germany. One of the most iconic symbols associated with this northern German port city. The Wasserträger Statue, has a colorful historic legend associated with it.

Before the city of Hamburg introduced the local water system in 1848, Wasserträgen (literal translation: “carrying water”) was a popular profession. One of those water bearers became part of local legend.

Johann Heinrich Bentz in was born in 1787 and was called Hans Hummel by local citizens. It’s believed that Bentz acquired the nickname once he moved into the former apartment of soldier Daniel Christian Hummel upon his death. The original Hummel was well-loved by the local children for his kind nature and thrilling war stories. The children teased the ‘new’ Hummel who was described as somewhat ill-tempered and grumpy compared to the ‘real’ Hummel and began taunting him with ‘Hummel, Hummel’ whenever he passed by with his filled buckets. Local folklore suggested some of the children mooned him knowing he couldn’t chase them with his heavy load. Hummel’s response was to yell back in the Low German dialect of Plattdeutsch, ‘Mors, Mors!’ a blue phrase which roughly translates to kiss my ‘you-know-what.’

Hummel lost his job in 1848 and died six years later in a poorhouse. But since that time, the phrase ‘Hummel, Hummel!’ and its response, ‘Mors, Mors!’ have been a popular salute in Hamburg. There is even a sports connection with the phrase. When one of the city’s two popular football teams (HSV) scores a goal, the stadium announcer calls the name of the scorer, then ‘Hummel, Hummel!’ to which the crowd replies, ‘Mors, Mors!’

Hamburg used to be home to many of these colourful statues and were spread throughout the city. An outdoor city-wide exhibition took place until 2006 after which  most of the pieces were sold to private collectors. The proceeds were donated to Hamburg’s homeless. There are a few remaining colorful figures still around the city, though they are mostly found near the Rathaus, (city hall).

We’re moving closer to our favorite day, Friday but till then, ‘Hummel, Hummel!’

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System & Hemp

Healthful relationships play a large role in the quality of our everyday existence. From our family bonds, the environments in which we live, the food we eat, how we physically feel, to how we see ourselves. Certain connections are critical for balance to make it all work together. This is particularly true for our body, which has a life-essential regulatory system based on biochemical relationships that helps us maintain equilibrium, despite life’s up and downs. These connections comprise the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Hemp has a unique and interactive lock and key relationship with ECS. 

Cannabinoid graphic
The ECS “Power Couple”

What exactly is ECS? Discovered in the 1990s, ECS is thought to be one of the most vital yet vast receptor systems for sustaining good health. ECS affects many biological processes in humans, in fact, it affects all vertebrate animals, as well as some invertebrates.

ECS contains cannabinoid receptors or “locks,” while the group of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, should be viewed like “keys.” The body produces various endogenous cannabinoids, most notably anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and are found in the immune system, the central nervous system, brain, various organs, connective tissue, and glands.

Since hemp contains elevated levels of Cannabidiol (CBD), active phytocannabinoids work in concert with other secondary phytocannabinoids and compounds (i.e. terpenes and flavonoids), and works well with the ECS in order to unlock the receptor locks. Think of hemp as the ‘key’ to the receptors.

The major function of the ECS is to maintain system homeostasis by providing a state of internal stability necessary for survival, despite fluctuations in the external environment. The ECS is also involved in many physiological processes like appetite, sleep, digestion, mood, memory, metabolism, neuro-protection, hormones, and heart function.

The ECS has a series of receptors in cells throughout the body that binds the cannabinoids found in hemp extract oil. Two main kinds of receptors are cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) and they receive three types of cannabinoids:

Endocannabinoids – Cannabinoids made in our body
Phytocannabinoids – Derived from natural plant cannabinoids
Synthetic Cannabinoids – Synthetically created

CB1 is mostly found in the brain, as well as in the lungs, kidney, liver, bones, heart, male and female reproductive organs. This receptor is more keyed into THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main cannabinoid in marijuana. CB2 however lives in the immune system, with a significant presence in the spleen as well as the lungs, liver, bone and muscle. Metabolic enzymes, FAAH and MAGL, are used by the ECS to accelerate chemical reactions and efficiently break down cannabinoids once they’ve served their purpose.

Understanding the relationship with the Endocannabinoid System and homeostasis is key. It’s essential as to how we thrive, heal and function for body and mind wellness. Through science additional answers will continue to reveal why our body is responsive to hemp and whole-plant cannabinoids as much still appears to be unknown.

Hope this introduction provides you with a better understanding how CBD works in the body. We offer only locally sourced, Certified Natural Grow CBD products from our supplier in 300 mg, 600 mg potency and are pleased to now offer a 1200 mg strength for those who need a stronger dosage. While the labels have changed, it’s still the same quality product and formulations we’ve carried since the shop went live. Check the K-9 store for product details and prices. Products are always shipped free when you place your order and are sent out ASAP (same day as ordered presuming the post office is open). Feel free to contact us with any specific questions.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know? January 8, 2019 edition

If you live in a region where the temperatures get below freezing, your fire hydrants are more important than ever. We recently received this video about the importance of hydrant maintenance in the winter months. “Gaskill” hydrants were originally installed in Denver in the 1890’s and incorporated a dry barrel draining system to prevent water from freezing inside the pipes connecting to the hydrant.

Now days, water companies uses propane burners when storms are forecast as part of their regular maintenance in cold climates. Most of the 21,000 fire hydrants installed throughout the Denver metro area are yellow and installed along the sidewalk easements. Newer versions of the Gaskill hydrants feature an underground valve to shut off the flow of water in case of a collision by some vehicle. The value shuts the water off and keeps water in the supply pipe, preventing water from spraying in the air a la Hollywood style. I personally hate the idea of water waste in this high mountain desert region and hope storm sewers are able to re-cycle and treat this flushed water and get it back into the non-potable system for watering city parks.

Hydrants are flushed out at dead ends, cup-de-sacs and pressure zone boundaries to ensure water moves regularly throughout the system. By flushing Gaskill hydrants, it allows the water company to collect samples and maintain water quality throughout the distribution system.

Upright and fire fighters are grateful the hydrants are maintained, especially at this time of year. Seems like dogs are grateful for hydrants, too. Even the Ninja.

A little privacy, please.

Have you ever wondered how your fire hydrants worked? Now you have a better idea, at least if your water company uses the Gaskill hydrants.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know?

Do you know where the term “dog says of summer” originated? Sam and Elsa here. When mom said we could do a post about the Dog Days of Summer, it set our tails-a-waggin’. Something about dogs?…oh heck yes! Put us in, coach.

Follow the belt of Orion to find Sam and Elsa’s Star Sirius. Credit: Starry Night Software

Typically those hot, sultry days in summer are referred to as “dog days” or “dog days of summer.” Visible from anywhere on Earth, Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major otherwise known as the Greater Dog. Dog? Hmm, why they didn’t just call it Sam and Elsa’s star is still a mystery to us. Perhaps it’s due in part to the ancient history we learned. Right now you see ‘our star’ as it ascends in the east before dawn on late summer mornings. The simple answer is because the hottest/most humid days of summer are associated with Sirius (aka the “Dog Star”) because it was the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major.

Now for some astronomic history…first from the Egyptians. The period following the heliacal rise (that period of less than a year when it had not been visible) of Sirius when the constellation becomes visible just above the eastern horizon before sunrise generally arrives around July 19th and ends around the last week of August. This timeframe roughly corresponded with the annual flooding of the Nile River.

Not to be outdone on all things Sirius, ancient Romans believed it radiated extra heat toward the Earth. During the summer when Sirius rises and sets with the Sun, they were convinced the added, additional heat to the Sun’s heat caused hotter summer temperatures.

For the ancient Romans, the dog days of summer period was from about July 24 to around August 24. Over time, the constellations have drifted somewhat and today, The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the dog days of summer to be from July 3 until August 11.

Although “dog days” are usually the hottest of the summer, they really don’t have anything to do with either dogs or the star Sirius. Actually it is Earth’s tilt that explains why these days tend to be the hottest during summer.

The Earth’s tilt this time of year causes the sun’s light to hit the Northern Hemisphere at a more direct angle and, accordingly for a longer period of time throughout the day. This means longer, hotter days during the summer. While Sirius is the brightest proper star in the night sky, it still is 8.7 light-years (8.23×1013 km) away and effectively has no effect on Earth’s weather or temperature.

Yet the effects of summer heat and rainfall patterns are real and variations occur by latitude and location according to many factors. Although London is farther north, Calgary has a milder climate from the presence of the sea and the warm Gulf Stream current. One medical institution has reported a connection between Finland’s dog days and an increased risk of infection in deep surgery wounds, though that research is unverified.

So there you have it as to some of the why’s and the what for’s about the dog days of summer. All that  abbreviated history aside, us Knuckleheads tend to be lazy during these pizza-oven hot days (mid 90’s for the past few days). We enjoy early morning walks, and laze about working on our napping form as demonstrated by Sunday’s ‘howliday,’ National Dog Day.  Mostly we are  over these dog days and are excitedly awaiting for Indian Summer to arrive. How have your dog days been?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know? The Difference Between Certified Naturally Grown vs. Organic

As many of you probably know, I’m interested in providing natural treatments and care for myself and the dogs so I often look for organic designated items when shopping. There are some fruits I won’t buy unless they are organic, like raspberries or strawberries. But did you know there are differences in the difference between certified naturally grown versus organic? 

Recently I toured the “Certified Naturally “Grown” Homestead Organics hemp farm, the local producer of Black Dog Botanical CBD oil, which will be offered on our Sam’s K9 Kreations page (despite the ongoing challenges in getting the PayPal plugin to work properly…grr…but I digress). As Gabe, owner of Homestead and Black Dog Botanicals showed me their CNG operation and greenhouse, he explained the differences between certified naturally grown versus organic of which I was unaware.

So what is Certified Naturally Grown (CNG)? It’s a grassroots-led alternative for small-scale farmers who distribute products at local venues like farmers markets, community supported agriculture subscriptions (known as CSA’s), restaurants and grocery stores with local produce initiatives as well as shoppers trying to reduce their environmental impact by choosing locally grown products compared with the USDA’s National Organic Program. With CNG, farmers audit one another for sustainable practices.  Certified Naturally Grown is neither costly nor overburdened with bureaucracy which permits small farmers to devote their energies to farming, rather than to proving themselves to strangers via a mountain of forms. Using a “participatory guarantee system” model where inspections are typically carried out by other farmers, ensures a sharing and community approach to CNG standards. [Source: Naturallygrown.org]

Though a Certified Naturally Grown farm leaves less of a paper trail than a Certified Organic one, all CNG records are openly available online. Growers clearly state their growing practices and attest they have abided by all of the CNG regulations (which are essentially the same as certified organic).  So what’s the difference? Besides price and time, the auditors are other farmers and are allowed offer advice as they walk the fields, talk to the grower, and evaluate the farm (USDA verifiers, on the other hand, are not allowed to offer any suggestions during an audit). To avoid conflict of interest problems, you are not allowed to audit the farmer who audited you. In addition, every year, CNG randomly selects farms for pesticide residue testing, at no cost to the farmer. [Source: Organic Authority]

Organic farming works in harmony with nature rather than against it. This involves using a variety of techniques to achieve good crop yields without harming the natural environment or the people who live and work in it (i.e. recycled and composted crop wastes and animal manures, proper soil cultivation at the right time, crop rotation, use of green manures and legumes, mulching, controlling pests, diseases and weeds without chemicals and careful use of water resources).

Many large farms seek the USDA organic certification status as a savvy and ethical business move. However, it’s not enough to simply claim “organic.” You must make sure that your product carries the certified USDA Organic Seal.

The USDA National Organic Standard Seal not only shows your ongoing commitment to a healthy planet but assures consumers and buyers that your product meets stringent USDA organic certification requirements making your products more marketable and profitable. The process for obtaining an organic certificate is not an easy one and requires plowing through loads of bureaucracy. The designation doesn’t expire unless you voluntary surrender your certification or if your certification is suspended or revoked by a certifying agent, the State Organic Program’s governing State official, or the Administrator for violation of the Act or NOP regulations. USDA organic certification is an ongoing process that requires dedication. Getting certified means making a long-term commitment to the organic process and may take years in advance in order to become certified organic ad you must comply years in advance in some cases. National Organic Program standards state that organic crops must be grown on land that has been free from prohibited pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers for three years preceding growth. Becoming certified organic means considering your entire operational procedure, not just the end product. [Source: https://www.thebalancesmb.com]

When shopping at a farmer’s market, grocery store or online, the question to ask is not “Is your product organic?” but “Are you certified naturally grown?” There is a difference that definitely means you’re supporting local farmers which is better for the earth overall.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Did You Know? June 5, 2018 Edition

The Ranch is starting a new periodic feature called “Did You Know?” beginning today. I plan to take various issues or weirdness and share info about it. Today’s entry proved to be a bit of a doozy but one you too may have experienced.

You know that gurgling sound that comes from your dog’s stomach? Did you know it’s got an actual name? “Borborygmi.” Nope, that’s not a typo, borborygmi, pronounced [bawr-buhrig-mahy]. What the dog?! Yeah, I know. I was blown away too. If anyone can explain why science has to get all ‘scientific-y sounding’ with its descriptions, I’d love to hear it. 

Anyway, Sam recently experienced some unusually loud stomach gurgling. I mean REALLY loud. So I did what many fur-mom’s do…I consulted Dr. Google while waiting for the vet to call back. Not one to put blind faith in ‘Net misinformation hyperbole, I figured I’d do a bit of research and the kindly Doc did provide lots of rabbit holes to dive into where I rather quickly found some reliable sources. Dogs, cats and even us uprights experience ‘borborygmi.’

The simple  definition is intestinal agitation caused by moving gas. Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place? So let’s dig a bit deeper into this weird scientific phenomena. So it’s apparently normal for there to be gas in the intestinal tract and it’s also normal for the intestines to engage in motility…the condition whereby intestinal contents move around, thus audible intestinal gurgling is pretty normal.

According to Dogster, “abnormally loud intestinal noises occur when the intestines contain abnormally large quantities of gas, or when the intestines experience abnormally increased activity. Both of these phenomena often occur simultaneously.” Super loud (as in, you can hear it from across the room) is not normal but does not necessarily mean a crisis is brewing. Stomach grumbling may indicate something is off or, your pet could be hungry. Empty intestines in dogs may start to exhibit activity in response to anticipated feeding, thus the audible intestinal noises, or “tummy grumbling” may occur. Serving a meal usually takes care of that since the intestines of hungry animals do not contain significant quantities of food and thus have a higher ratio of gas to solids. Okay,so far  this sounds legit.

In Sam’s case, he acted normal (well, as normal as he is capable of acting). He displayed no other symptoms indicating there was a problem (i.e. lethargy, fever, stuff like that). But then he began experiencing some diarrhea. Not good but I figured a couple of days of bland rice and pumpkin meals should clear up the upset. Sadly, it didn’t clear up and I feared dehydration so off to the vet we went.

I wasn’t able to get into my regular TV star vet any time soon but they were able to refer me to another clinic close by. They asked whether Sam “had perhaps partaken in some sort of digestion indiscretion” (a diplomatic way of saying your dog may have gotten into the trash or had eaten some novel food or worse…goose poop…really? who admits to that). Nope, nothing like that had occurred, so they decided Sam was suffering from a minor gastro-bug after ruling out intestinal parasites, IBD, or foreign bodies (which would be Elsa’s speciality).

Long story short (ironic since we’re probably 600+ words in but I digress)…a couple of doses of Metronidazole for inflammation and an antibiotic for the bug, brought Sam back to normal poops while simultaneously clearing up those loud gurgling sounds. Other than expecting specially prepared meals after recovering (sheesh talk about one spoiled baby), he’s back to his usual knuckleheadedness.

So the next time your pooch’s stomach is gurgling figure out if he’s just hungry or suffering from borborygmi. Your family will think you’re trying to land a fat contract on Animal Planet but if he eats with his normal enthusiasm and the noises stop, the problem is solved. If like Sam it was accompanied with diarrhea, put your TV career on hold and check with your vet to rule out other issues.

I’m better now. So where’s the Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

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