Animals Turn to Nature for Self-Medication

Scientists still aren’t sure if this theory, known as zoopharmacognosy, is correct, but believers in the practice are convinced that humans can learn a thing or two from these animals – specifically, in terms of finding new medications.

“Much of folk medicine, particularly in the undeveloped world, likely came from medicine men watching animals self-medicate,” lead author Joel Shurkin wrote in the journal PNAS.

Mother Nature’s Pharmacy

Many animal species, from birds, bees and lizards to elephants and chimpanzees, have turned to nature as their own personal kind of pharmacy. They self-medicate using the environment’s own ingredients to prevent disease, kill parasites, bacteria and viruses, or to simply aid in digestion.

For instance, seeing a dog munch on grass is nothing you haven’t seen before, and an owner’s first instinct may be to snatch away these greens to prevent their dog from getting sick. But according to Shurkin, that’s exactly the point. Supposedly domestic dogs, and even cats, seek out the plant in order to relieve a stomach ache and expel whatever it is that’s bothering them.

“Dogs do not have the means to digest grass, as they lack the enzymes needed to break down the fibers,” Vancouver-based vet Dr. Michael Goldberg explained in the magazine Modern Dog. “Thus, there is little nutritional value in it for them. One reason for eating grass may be due to a feeling of nausea.”

Elsewhere, chimpanzees have been observed swallowing leaves whole, using their rough sandpaper-like texture to remove parasites. More than 200 species of birds have also been seen rubbing themselves with ants to kill feather lice, a behavior known as anting. Ants that spray formic acid can kill off feather lice and protect the birds from infection.

Animals Turn to Nature for Self-Medication

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By Jenna Iacurci Dec 11, 2014 02:48 PM EST dog It seems that animals, such as dogs, elephants and chimps, are turning to Mother Nature for means of self-medication by seeking out drugs to treat their own ailments, new research suggests. (Photo : Flickr: smerikal)

It’s not uncommon for humans who just visited the doctor to want to seek out a second opinion, some of them turning to self-medication for the answer. But now new research shows that this may apply to animals like dogs, elephants and chimps as well, who seek out drugs on their own to relieve certain ailments.

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Scientists still aren’t sure if this theory, known as zoopharmacognosy, is correct, but believers in the practice are convinced that humans can learn a thing or two from these animals – specifically, in terms of finding new medications.

“Much of folk medicine, particularly in the undeveloped world, likely came from medicine men watching animals self-medicate,” lead author Joel Shurkin wrote in the journal PNAS.

Pet Shedding/Grooming & DeShedder Tool Tips

Regardless of our Pets breed there is no way for us to completely stop shedding. Our Pets need to shed and get rid of old, unneeded or damaged hair. Certain breeds will grow longer hair in the winter to keep them warm and then shed in the summer to keep them cool. Shedding can also result from skin disorders or even a poor diet. By practicing proper grooming techniques and the use of a DeShedding Tool we can help reduce and keep the shedding under control.

Regular brushing is essential especially around seasonal changes. Most breeds will benefit from daily brushing using a bristle brush. Regular brushing will make their coat softer, cleaner and less prone to shedding. It will also help root out parasites which can lead to skin irritation and even more shedding. For cats this will also help prevent more hair from being ingested during self grooming, resulting in hair balls, which can cause serious problems.

Regular brushing is a good time to observe your Pet’s skin and coat to watch for any changes. If you notice anything unusual talk to your professional groomer or veterinarian. Routine bathing is important and will help control shedding. Never use human shampoo which can dry out their skin and lead to infections, irritation and dandruff. Purchase a shampoo formulated for your Pet. Cats need less bathing but if their coat is smelly, oily or discolored its a good time for a bath. Brushing our Pet before a bath will help the process and its also a good idea to trim their nails before the bath to prevent more scratching.

For drying your pet after a bath, towel dry first. If using a blow dryer after a towel dry, make sure to only use the cool setting and not high heat.

Nutrition and diet are extremely important for a healthier skin and coat. Feeding your Pet with advanced nutritional food or vitamins will help keep their coats shiny and skin healthy.

While shaving your Pets hair off may seem like a quick fix for shedding, it is not recommended. Shaving will interrupt the natural shedding cycle and affect their ability to regulate body temperature.

DeShedding Tool Tips:

•Weekly DeShedding might be OK for short hair pets but for longer haired pets, a few times a week will be better. This will help prevent mats, tangles and dirt.

•Its best to brush your Pet with a regular brush before using the DeShedding tool to remove any mats or tangles.

•Make sure your pet is completely dry prior to using the DeShedding tool.

•If it is becoming too difficult for your pet, take a break and come back to it later.

•Using the right size DeShedding tool will make the process easier and more effective.

•It is fine to use the DeShedding tool on the ears and tail. Just use extra care around these areas. The tool is non-abrasive to the skin. The tool will not cut or damage their coats.

•Try not to drop the tool which can break the teeth. Wash the tool with warm water and a mild soap. Make sure the tool is dry before storing.

Follow a regular grooming routine and make everybody, including your pet, happy.

Cat Litter Choices

Summary: Cat litter choices are quite abundant today. Although the rule of thumb is if its not broke, leave it alone. However trying different litter is not always a bad thing. When running the experiment of different litters, be vigilant, you may have need to clean it out and return to “old reliable” pretty quickly. In the end, let your cat make the choice.

I know from first hand knowledge the daunting task of choosing a cat litter box and the use of cat litter. The task of a litter box: open or closed, big or small, automatic or manual, not to mention the number of boxes needed. For my household, having four cats: we have two cement mixing boxes on our enclosed porch. There is also one open rectangular litter box in the dining room, and a private box in a cage. The cement boxes are used by Zippy and Wolverine. The open box is used by all, but mainly it is for our senior (16 years old) Biskers, and the private box is for Snoopy.

The choice of litter to put into each box is a challenge. Clay, clumping, or natural with pine, newspaper, wheat or corn scratch. All these choices have strengths and weaknesses. For my household I want: No tracking through the house, easy cleaning, little dust, cat use choice, but also monetarily feasible as well.

I have tried and used all of the above suggested cat litters. When experimenting, I used the one box located in the dining room. In keeping to my list of what I wanted the litter to be, I wanted to make sure the litter box was used by Biskers and Snoopy mainly. Because Biskers is our senior cat, she is prone to more accidents and wanted to make sure the dining room box is to her liking. Also Snoopy is a concern because she has so many allergies (26 to be precise) that Joe and I have to make sure the litter doesn’t affect her.

After months of testing, the following litter choices are used in the following boxes:

For the cement litter boxes on the enclosed porch we use Stall Dry. Stall dry is used mainly for horse stalls. It is a powdery fine litter, which means it tracks and kicks up some dust when pouring. Although this is two strikes against my list of expectations, the Stall dry handles the smell of ammonia very, very well. It also clumps in the cement boxes so it easy to clean out and Zippy and Wolverine use the boxes. The cost is about $15.00-$25.00 per 40lb bag.

For the litter box located in the private cage (5ftx7ft) for Snoopy, as well as the box located in the dining room, mainly used by Biskers, I use either clumping or newspaper litter. Clumping litter falls short on the tracking and dust pouring areas, however, it is easy to clean, and Snoopy doesn’t react to it. Also monetarily, I can get clumping litter at any store including Family Dollar and Dollar General for less than $10.00 per 20lb box. I can buy multiple boxes throughout the month and have some boxes for emergencies. The newspaper litter I use are in pellets. This limits tracking, limits dust, Snoopy doesn’t react to it, Biskers enjoys pawing it and the litter is easy to see where to clean. The downside to this litter involves it being more difficult for her to bury the feces, and the litter will smell after one day of not cleaning it. I can only buy this litter online, or at pet stores. The cost can range from $15-$25 for a 30lb bag.

I don’t use just one type of litter. I have been experimenting for months with different litters and keeping mental notes on cost, who uses what, what reactions Snoopy may have, tracking and smell. This was the result of the experiments. Also cost wise, I try to get two bags of stall day and newspaper pellets when I drive by the pet store each month. I also try to get three boxes of clumping litter once a month. As a result, I have enough litter so when I wash out all the litter boxes every fourth to sixth month, I have plenty to refill with and still have some put aside in case I don’t go to the store and pick any up or emergencies that should arise.

Dog Collar Tips & Advice

Most of us put a collar on our dogs without putting much thought into buying it other than its color or style. After its on the Dog we don’t even think twice about it. There are many factors that need to go into your collar buying decision other than looks or color, these two things should be the last items on the list. Follow these tips and thoughts next time you are going to buy a collar for your dog. Also follow some of this advice now for the collar that is currently on your Dog. Don’t think your Dog needs a collar? How are you going to attach his ID, license, medical and contact information in case he gets away?

So its time for a new collar, what kind to get? A nylon, leather, head collar, chain or a choke collar. It depends on your needs and what you are going to use it for. If its just for walking or wearing then a standard nylon or leather one is the best way to go.

A normal collar is needed for everyday walking and wearing, so what size to get? The normal rule of thumb says you should be able to get two fingers underneath the collar. It should not be so tight to choke your dog or too loose where they can slip out of it.

Measuring length: Measure around your Dog’s neck using a cloth measuring tape positioned where the collar sits on the neck. The width of the collar can be smaller and more proportional to your dog’s size. 1″ for larger dogs, 3/4″ for medium dogs and 1/2″ or smaller for small or toy dogs.

A flat collar or a Martingale Collar? A flat collar is the standard collar for Dogs. It has a buckle or a plastic, quick release closure with a metal ring for attaching your leash, ID tags, etc. They are usually made of nylon or leather. Most breeds can wear a flat collar. A Martingale collar is designed for dogs with narrow heads such as Greyhounds. Its designed so a narrow head dog cannot slip and back out of his collar. If you don’t have a narrow head breed and he is slipping out of his collar its probably because the collar is not the right size or fitted properly.

Do you want a head, choke or chain (pinching) collar because your Dog pulls a lot and you want to control them? Its OK to buy these but only for training purposes, they should not be used for normal everyday walking and wearing. These types of collars, in addition to the Electronic Training Collars, should be used for training purposes only and not walking. They put too much of a strain on your Dog for everyday or all day use and are not designed for that purpose.

Electronic Training Collars are for training purposes only. They should not be worn for everyday walking or all day use.
Flea and tick collars are worn in addition to a regular collar, do not attempt to hook a leash around one of these. They contain chemicals to help protect your dog against fleas and ticks.

Flea and Tick collars are usually effective for a short time and need to be replaced regularly.

Follow these Dog Collar tips and advice to make sure that your Dog is fitted and wearing the appropriate collar. Doing this is not only a comfort situation for your Dog but also a safety one. Lets keep our Dog a Smiley one.

Simple Pet Supplies

When you get a new pet, you’re also agreeing to purchase the accessories that go with it. There are almost endless pet supplies on the market and depending on what kind of animal you have, you might have tons of options and be unsure which you actually need.

Fish are some of the simplest pets in terms of maintenance and supplies. There are different kinds of fish and they require different kinds of care. A betta fish requires nothing beyond a bowl of water. Other fish might require a filter or an aerator. Some fish also need a heater in order to keep the water in the tank within a specific temperature. There are some that require places to hide and you will need to get some plants or other hiding places.

Cats require food and water bowls, as well as a scratching post or toy that allows them to scratch, unless they are de-clawed. They need to be able to scratch to wear down their claws, and it is imperative that you give them a way to do so.

They also need a litter box, although cats that are both indoor and outdoor cats frequently use the bathroom outside. Anything else you get for the cat is a matter of personal preference. Some cats enjoy climbing toys or beds, but most are happy using your furniture for that purpose.

Dogs require more than most other animals. Dogs will require, at a minimum, a collar and leash as well as a food and water bowl. However, dogs frequently do not use the furniture for their beds and therefore will also need a bed or something soft to lie on. Depending on the breed of the dog and the climate in your area, they might also need sweaters or jackets in the winter months, or portable water bowls in the summer months to get them through their longer walks.

In addition, dogs will also need to have some grooming as part of their routine. Cats groom themselves, but you will have to bathe your dog yourself. You’ll have to find a shampoo that is formulated for dogs. There are several distinct varieties of shampoo available.

Some shampoos are designed to help with flea issues. Others are designed to help dogs that have sensitive skin. Dogs with white or light colored fur do best with shampoos that are designed to prevent dinginess in their fur.

Pet Clothes Are Available Online

Pets are like children and need attention and warmth. Do you have a pet dog in your house and want it to be dressed beautifully? Then there are many online shops that stock pet clothes. If you browse the Internet you can find a number of shops selling clothes for dogs and other pets. The Internet is in fact flooded with these pet fashion shops. So, if you visit any of these online shops you can see a catalogue of newest and trendiest pet accessories and clothing.

Just like human fashion, pet fashion is also having its styles and trends. When you browse the Internet you will see the pet fashion websites stocking dog’s fashion accessories like bandanas, shoes, socks, jewellery, neck ties, rugsack, hats and scarves and dog clothes like coats, jackets, hoodies, t-shirts, sweaters, raincoats, pants, pajamas and bathrobes. This means you can find pet apparel for summers, winters as well as rainy days from the online shops.

Your dog no longer has to suffer from the extreme heat of the sun when taken out of the home or when inside the home. Fashion accessories that can protect your pet from the harmful UV rays of the sun or extreme heat are now available online. You can even dress up your dog in winters with a coat, sweater or jacket. These clothing items can keep your pet warm during windy or freezing months. However, no dog will ever ask his owner to get a sweater for him because it’s freezing outside. Even when it is raining outside you don’t have to worry about your dog getting drenched because raincoats are also available.

Nowadays buying pet clothes have become very common. Every pet owner is buying clothes for his dog. Buying the dresses and accessories for pets from online shops have become the recent trend in today’s world. You can even see a lot of celebrities buying designer clothing items, jewellery items and carriers for their pets. And with the photos of these celebrities on the magazine covers in different postures with these pet clothing and accessories, you can surely expect people to follow suit.

Some spend dollars on buying pet clothes and accessories in order to make the Hollywood celebrities blush whereas there are some who buy dog dresses as per the trend and fashion. These people when buying clothes for their either pets go for the mixed and matched clothing or go for styles that will never fade out from the pet fashion industry.

Guide to Buying Horse Halters

Horse halters are an essential equine accessory, but they are more than just a fashion statement. While horse halters come in a variety of different styles and looks to fit the personality of every horse, and horse enthusiast, their most important job is a functional one. Horse halters help you to lead your house safely around the barn or ring or on the way to the riding trail. When shopping for horse halters, this functionality, as well as comfort for your horse, need to be kept in mind.

Guide to Buying Horse Halters

When buying horse halters to use on your horse or in your stable, there are a few things to be aware of and a few key choices you have to make. Some of the most important considerations involved in the purchase of horse include the following:

1) Reinforced halter construction. You don’t want your halter to break, as that could put both you and your horse at risk. Be sure that the halter has multi-ply construction and that the stitching is reinforced at the major stress points where breaks are most likely. You can also look for either metal or heat-sealed grommet buckle holes in order to make sure the buckle is securely fastened.

2) Comfort. The horse halter should fit snugly on your horse but should not be too tight. Consider purchasing an adjustable halter so you can make sure to get the right fit when you put it on. To add to your hoses comfort, you can also consider looking for a halter that has either flat or rolled throat straps. When you first purchase a new halter, make sure to watch your horse for any signs of pain or irritation and if your horse seems to react badly, consider a switch to a different halter.

3) Secure Hardware: The strength of the buckles, rings and clasps has a direct impact on whether the halter is built to last and whether it will allow you to safely and easily lead your horse wherever you need to go.

4) Adjustability: Most halters are sized according to a weight-range, so they fit horses of several different weights. In order to make sure your halter fits your horse properly, you should of course get one that is designed to fit your horse’s weight. However, to maximize comfort and get the perfect fit, you should make sure it has both an adjustable crown and an adjustable nose band if possible. That way, your halter can fit exactly onto your particular horse.

Making a Halter Purchase

Once you have found horse halters that have all of the right functional features, you can easily find halters in a variety of different colors with different decorative features on them. There should be a halter look and style that fits with your aesthetic.

You can also customize your halters in order to get exactly the look that you are going for and to make sure that your halter encompasses all of the features you are looking for. A custom halter for a pony or a standard horse can be the ideal choice since it will be designed just for you.

Sprint Center Hotel – Tips for Travelling to Missouri with a Dog

While the number of people that bring their pets along on vacation is steadily increasing every year, there are still some roadblocks that you may hit. For example, pets are not allowed in many hotels across the United States.Fortunately, there are many pet friendly places near Kansas City, including quite a few near the Sprint Center. Hotel rules vary, so it’s always important to check with the manager ahead of time to ensure that they have rooms that allow pets. In most cases, hotels that welcome pets will openly advertise that they do on their website or brochure.

In addition to finding a Sprint Center hotel that allows pets, it’s always a good idea to check for dog parks in the area. There are at least several dog parks in close proximity to Kansas City, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one that’s near your hotel. However, don’t forget that any public location can potentially transmit unwanted diseases and illnesses to your pet, so make sure that they are up to date on all of their vaccines before leaving for vacation. It’s recommended to take your pet in for a routine vet checkup before crossing any state lines if you plan on driving because some check points require proof of an animal’s health before they can enter the state.

If you plan going to any of the events hosted at the Sprint Center, hotel rooms really aren’t a good place for a dog to stay for the entire day. Instead, you may want to consider finding a dog boarding facility that’s located in Kansas City so that you don’t have to worry about your pet while you’re gone. Most boarding places require owners to pay on a per day basis, and many offer outdoor exercise, playtime and treats for their guests.

Your Sprint Center hotel will be located next to some really neat outdoor recreation facilities, including several state parks, like Watkins Mill, where you can take your dog out for daily exercise. Don’t forget to bring something with you to pick up pet waste, though! Missouri, just like most other states, has local laws that mandate dog owners clean up after their pets. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to bring along something that you can give your dog water with if you’re planning on staying out for more than thirty minutes. Otherwise, they may become dehydrated, especially if you’re visiting the state during the summer months.

Different Types of Seizures in Dogs

There are few things more frightening than watching your dog have a seizure. Once you realize that your dog has seizures, you may be concerned for their health. However, there are many treatment options available and seizures in dogs do not indicate a life of poor health or a shortened life. Most dogs prone to seizure have a long, healthy life.

There are no real definitive answers for why some dogs get seizures. There are some factors that can be considered. Obviously, a dog that has a brain injury or a brain tumor is likely to be more prone to seizures than dogs without brain impairment. There are some breeds that are more prone to seizures than others. Realize, however, that all breeds have been known to have seizures.

Seizures fall into one of two broad categories. These categories are focalized seizures and generalized seizures. Generalized seizures affect the entire brain. These seizures tend to be more intense and in some cases the dog can take several days to fully recover from a generalized seizure.

Focalized seizures affect a portion of the brain instead of the entire brain. This means that the affect on the brain is less severe than it would be in a generalized seizure, which makes recovery faster. Focalized seizures, for this reason, are sometimes harder to diagnose but they still require medical treatment.

In severe cases, your vet may refer you to a veterinary neurologist in order to receive more in depth care for your dog’s seizures. This is especially common in cases where the issue is a brain tumor, as neurologists are more qualified to treat a brain tumor.

Dogs that have generalized seizures suffer from one of two kinds of seizure. There are major motor seizures, which create a classic epileptic seizure, complete with muscle rigidity and twitching as well as involuntary loosening of the bowels or vocalizations. These are highly traumatic to watch. The other generalized seizure is less dramatic but no less serious. It is called an absence seizure and it results in the dog being still and unresponsive to outside stimuli.

Focalized seizures consist of either simple or complex seizures. Simple focalized seizures are when the dog experiences a major motor seizure on a smaller scale, for example, on a single body part or a single side of the body. The complex focalized seizures are seizures that affect the behavioral areas of the brain, causing sudden psychological changes in the dog. Although rare, dogs have been known to become violent during complex focalized seizures.

Seizures in dogs are hard to accept but with care and patience, your dog can live a happy and fulfilled life. With medication and attentive care, seizures can be minimized.

Clicker Training Your Dog – Tips To Make Your Job Easier

If you have never owned a dog before, the process of clicker training may seem to be an impossible task. There are many different ideas and theories out there, and the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming. Below are just a few tips to assist you in getting started at clicker training your dog effectively.

Keep your dog challenged regularly. Quiz him to see if he remembers the commands, even if you’re already sure he does.

A clicker and a few treats can be a very effective method of training your dog. Because a clicker can be easier for a dog to understand than a voice command, lessons can be quick and productive. Clicker training sessions should not be longer than about fifteen minutes, since dogs do have short attention spans.

Dogs will be dogs, so give your dog outlets to work out his canine behaviors. Dogs need a healthy diet too, along with a place to get exercise and lots of stimulation.

Using a clicker is helpful in training your dog to learn new behaviors. Clicker training teaches a dog to identify which behaviors produce a reward, often his favorite treat. For example, if you give your dog the command, “sit” and he obeys, you click the clicker and he gets a treat.

Anytime you hire a professional, you need to look into their background, check references and interview them, and the same is true for a behavior specialist for animals. Many animal behavior specialists have opposing opinions on how to correctly train dogs. Be sure to verify that the trainer you hire has similar ideas as yours, prior to implementing any of their tips.

If you are welcoming a guest into your home, give them clear instructions about how to interact with your dog. These kinds of situations are confusing to the dog as he may not understand who is dominate. Your pet may also decide to leap on your guests.

Do not tie more than one dog in the same area. The leashes or chains can become intertwined, causing harm to one or more of the dogs. If one dog happens to be much larger than the other, the small dog could get tangled to the point that it could choke to death.

Make a point to enjoy your time with your dog while you are clicker training. When you engage in play with your pet, your relationship becomes stronger; your dog will often respond better to you while training because of this enhanced bond. Training may be a fun activity, but it’s also good to enjoy your time with your dog.

When introducing your dog to another animal, do so slowly and carefully. Weigh the pros and the cons before adopting another pet. For optimal bonding, select a new pet whose personality is similar to that of your current pet.

When you are clicker training your dog, be mindful of the time spent in one session. Spending too much time just on one aspect of training will bore your dog and waste your efforts. Keep the lessons down to about 10 minutes or so.

When housebreaking your puppy, accidents will happen. Any accidents should be cleaned up as soon as possible to help with the training efforts. Odor from feces or urine can stay in your carpet which will make your dog return to it when it wants to urinate. Visit a good pet shop to find products created especially for odor control.

A dog has an inquiring mind and will look at one thing for quite a while until its attention is broken. Once your dog knows his attention command, you will be able to coerce him to ignore almost anything.

Use these tips to help you to train the kind of dog you want to share your life with and share with others. Clicker training your dog makes ownership a rewarding experience. You can train your dog yourself or find someone else to do it. The training your dog learns will give him and your family many happy years.