Animal Wellness

In animals, the main cause of cancer is their food (and water) supply. It is also the one thing (besides water) that you can control. Now I cannot afford to feed my animals organic foods, but I do try to give them healthy nutrition. My pets do not drink chlorinated water either. In their snacks, I limit the number of chemicals, food colorings and the like. There are some wonderful new treats by Purina called Right Bites (trademarked) that are charged with vitamins and minerals. I've also discovered dog bones coated with vitamins. Dogs (and cats) do not need vitamin C, as their bodies manufacture it. Only guinea pigs need vitamin C supplements (and the human animal, of course).

UPDATE: Many veterinarians, because of the toxic world we live in, now tell us that dogs need extra vitamin C. So, supplementing your pet's nutrition is NOT out of the ordinary. 

When buying dog food, I always purchase the smaller bags. It drives me nutz to go into a home and see a big bag of dog food, gapingly open at the top. Every day the owners reach into the bag, dish out a serving and NEVER CLOSE THE BAG. 

Ask yourself, would you eat a bag of Doritos® that's been left open over night (much less for a couple of weeks)? Or a cereal food? 

Buying a smaller bag of dog food prevents it from going bad. Dog foods do go bad. Dog foods contain oils that can go rancid. Rancid oils cause free radicals that can lead to cancer growth.

Please! Close up the dog and cat food bags. Get a big airtight plastic container. Just don't allow your precious pet's life to be in jeopardy because you're too lazy to keep its food from going rancid.

I was at one time a professional dog trainer. Let me tell you one thing that all professionals know: a happy dog is a healthy dog and a trained dog is a happy dog. The happiest of all dogs know their position in your household. 

Dogs are pack animals. They look up to the alpha dog. In the pack, the alpha dog is the strongest, most dominant animal. In the home, it is the most dominant animal too. In too many homes, it's the pet. A dog that doesn't come when it's called, nips at the kids, protects its food from humans, or likes to pee in the corner feels itself to be the alpha dog.

When they are puppies there are ways of teaching them who the alpha dog is (you, right?). Rolling them over on their backs and petting their bellies, is one way. Petting them roughly, is another; not to hurt them, but grab their muzzle while petting them and show them that you control their mouth. Lift a puppy under its front legs, hold it just below eye level and stare into its eyes. It will lower its head and look away. Make it look at you by turning it back. Again, it will try to look away. These are dominance games. Grabbing its muzzle and rolling it down on the ground and over on its back is another dominance game. These are great games for puppies. Puppies need to know who the boss is. The puppy should have learned to be gentle with its bite in the litter, but if it nips at you, do not slap it. Puppies are going to chew and nip. Discourage this by petting and rewarding the puppy when it is not nipping. Making a high pitched squeal (crying like a puppy) when it nips at you is another way of discouraging the nipping. It will stop immediately thinking it's hurt you. Then pet it and reward it for stopping.

If you get an animal at an older age and one that is unruly, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PLAY DOMINANCE GAMES WITH IT. It might try to take your head off. This sort of animal has to be broken into the family slowly.

However, there is a ceremony that takes place each day in which you can assert your dominance, where you can show your animal who the alpha animal is, whether it is a puppy or an unruly dog you inherited from your brother-in-law who moved to Australia. This is feeding time.

People who free feed their animals (leave out food all day for them) are missing out on a perfect time to help their animal fit into the family, learn its place, and insure a healthy and happy pet. 

If done properly, feeding time will make your relationship with your animal stronger and more loving.

If your dog likes to do tricks and likes rewards, there is no better method of feeding it than to have it earn every piece of food, one morsel, one trick at a time. If you could feed your dog this way, it would be the happiest animal in the world, because it lives to please the alpha dog.

Second to this is a feeding ceremony. Make the dog sit and wait while you prepare its meal. Feeding your dog the same thing over and over is actually good for the dog, but you can spice it up once in a while by serving it wet, adding garlic (it is very good for dogs too), and by adding certain bits of meat (liver, chicken, beef). 

The thing here is to show the animal that YOU are its sustenance. You are its supplier of food. You are its God. You then set out the food and allow your dog to eat ONLY when you tell it to.

For puppies, to teach them to respect you and not protect their food from you (this is as natural to a dog as scratching fleas), you should pull the dish away, add a treat (try one of the Right Bites). Pulling away the dish shows the dog who's in charge. Adding a treat rewards the good behavior of not snapping your hand off. Another show of dominance is to put your hand into the dish as the puppy eats. You can leave another treat too at this time. 

Do not attempt this with a new and strange adult dog. Take your time. 

Finally, when fifteen minutes are up, take away the food and dump it. Do not save it for another time. The food has saliva on it that has already started the digestion process. Teach the dog to eat when you tell it and in the time you give it. Your dog will be a much better companion knowing you are the alpha animal in the house.

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