Dr Smith Holistic Petcare

Where to find information on the safety of GMO foods

GMO foods- means Genetically Modified organisims.

Below is the best website I have found dedicated to good science on the  long term effects of GMO foods and the environment and health effects. No spin just science.

Non-GMO Project.

 Not to be confused with an industry website called GMO.com with a nice green logo. They say that they are stating the facts only. However, numerous important misstatements of the facts make this website just an industry marking tool.  The companies who sponsor this website are the major makers of GMO products, including:  BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta. Remember these names.

 

How much to feed your dog. — Podcast, The National Academies of Science.

Great podcast from Veterinary Nutrition specialists. Covers all the important information owners need to know to make intelligent choices about dogs and pet foods.

Sounds of Science Podcast from The National Academies.

I recommend one food company at this time; Drfostersmith.com These recommendation will change over time because the pet food industry is not well regulated and the successful  companies are often bought by one of the “Big Two”, multinational food companies, They are Mars and Proctor & Gamble, who are owned by even bigger, multinational, Tobacco Companies.

Allergic to pollen and food. Learn about Oral Allergy Syndrome.

Here is a link to the Wiki page of OAS

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_allergy_syndrome

These same principles apply even more in our pets with multiple allergies. Pets have more histamine & inflammatory molecules stored in their skin. So, no matter what the source of the allergen, the first sign of an allergy flare up is itching & increased ear wax. Pets who are allergic to fleas, ticks or mites can develop oral allergy symptoms to these pests because they accidentally ingest them while grooming. Probably one of the many causes of eosinophilic mouth ulcers in cats.

More info; about people at Tree pollen allergy reacts with some foods.

Common Cross reactions:

Allergies to a specific pollen are usually associated with OAS reactions to other certain foods. For instance, an allergy to ragweed is associated with OAS reactions to banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini, and cucumber. This does not mean that all sufferers of an allergy to ragweed will experience adverse effects from all or even any of these foods. Reactions may be associated with one type of food, with new reactions to other foods developing later. However, reaction to one or more foods in any given category does not necessarily mean a person is allergic to all foods in that group.

 

How does one cope!  Knowing what you are allergic to helps because  you can avoid the foods that go hand in hand with pollen allergies.  Thorough cooking to breakdown the proteins in food into smaller bits can eliminate the allergic reaction. (Yes, fruit vegies and grains all have proteins or polypeptides) Cooking in water works the best to preserve the good elements in fruits and vegies, such as: poaching, stewing, baking in water until the food is really mushy like babyfood. Indian cuisine is well know for this method of cooking where any vegie becomes part of the sauce. Breaking down foods in acids like lemon, lime or vinegar can also work if allowed to marinate for hours to overnight.

Allergies to insect bites in pets.

This is an excellent articles on how insect bites lead to  allergies in pets.

http://www1.vetmed.lsu.edu/VTHC/Shared Services/Dermatology/Continuing Education Lectures/item42230.html.

Scientists also know that the flea, tick, & mite- type insects can transfer proteins in their saliva that are identical to proteins in beef and Pork. This is how a single allergy to biting insects can develop into a allergy reaction to food. Called Tick-food cross reaction allergy.

So what can be done to prevent food -insect cross reaction allergy? Thorough cooking (at minimum 30 minutes at low boil in water until the meat falls to pieces) is usually enough to breakdown the proteins.  Commercial foods and treats are usually not cooked long enough to breakdown the proteins so many hypoallergenic foods fail. In humans this phenomenon is called “tick-food allergy cross reaction”, and cross reactions can also happen with many pollens called pollen-food cross reaction or Oral Allergy Syndrome.

This  explains why homemade pet-foods, and a few of the freeze- dried, pressure treated pet-foods can extremely  helpful to reduce allergy symptoms.

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Anti-inflammatory supplements have also been shown to be very effective. High quality, fish oil with omega 3 fats being the best of all these products. This is the one time I recommend buying fish oil from your local vet. The prescription form of fish- omega 3 FA are filtered, concentrated which removes water, unneeded non-omega 3 fats and both heavy metals like mercury and other chemical contaminates. I have done numerous price comparisons, based on the effective dose of Fish-Omega FA (mgs)  and found that the cost per pet is the same as over-the-counter brands.

Most veterinarians can/will sell these products without an appointment because of overwhelming science that shows how high quality fish oil prevents most diseases including teeth & gum disease.

Note to remember: Flax seed or borage oil are not effective in dogs nor cats. Carnivores lack the liver enzymes that convert vegetable Omega 3 fats into a form our bodies use to suppress inflammation. You are just getting expensive poop. These seeds or oils are added in tiny amounts to pet foods and treats to sell more product to health aware consumers.

 

PetFoodReport what is really in pet food

This is a highly detailed and accurate report into how dog food is made. The first part of the article on the Maillard reaction is of interest to owners of dogs or cats who have had IBD diagnoses.

PetFoodReport_BFUSA.pdf.

Teaching-“Enough” -by Patricia McConnell

Excellent skill for dog to learn. Useful when you want the dog to settle down. Very important Skill for dogs’ who seek constant attention. and of course we all want/need some personal (non-dog) time each day.

How to really change your kid’s behavior.

How to really change your kid’s behavior..

Canine Diseases and Trait Chromosome Chart

Check out this chart before breeding your dog ( this is a summary chart that is handy because it lists who tests for the disease and trait and where research is being done)

or

before adopting a pure-breed dog.

http://www.wisdompanel.com/about_wp/disease_and_trait_chromosome_chart/.

How to teach ANY dog to Come when called!

I have attached one of the best videos on how to train a dog to come every time.

Video train a dog to come everytime

More indepth info on training

How a change in thinking that will greatly increase your dog training success

A common way of thinking about how dog’s interact with us is based on a human viewpoint.  We wish that dog’s behave  because we tell them what to do and  motivated by love  & desire to please us they do what they are told. A good dog behaves well and bad dog’s don’t.   Hence the name obedience training, which has been used interchangeably for dog training for generations.

But, science into how learning happens shows us otherwise.  So how do dog’s learn “to come” when called?

I will break down into parts how learning  works.

First,  the word, “come’.  Dogs and most animals respond to words as just soundsHuman speech is hard for dogs to distinguish and sounds like noise to dogs, much as barking does to us.   A specific word only becomes a sound signal after the dog figures out the importance and usage of the sound.  We decide that certain words are important for training as cues for dogs. The dog does not know about that.  Not until the dog learns the use of a word in a training sequence does the word  becomes a sound signal.  We must also teach the dog, which behaviors go with the signal, the order to act out the behavior and which behaviors do not go with signal.  Next, the dog must also learn which sounds are not the one that pairs with “come when called”.

A. Make the signal easier:

1. Use short crisp, distinct sounds. Repeat the word pairing lesson 20 times in each training as one set. Only add difficultly once dog has mastered “come” in the quiet indoors and many rooms. Then practice  in different locations, start 6 inches away and increase distance slowly, different peoples voices, with background noises, distractions (fun and scary).

2. Start with an easier signal than sound.  Hand or arm signals are easier  for dogs because so much of their communication is made up of complex body language.  Dogs watch you closely every movement you make in an attempt to pick up on a signal.  Make it easier by using hand/arm signals. Keep the rest of your body still. Use one hand/arm. Add sound after the dog is beginning to do it how you want it.

B. The sequence of learning is backwards from the order of  doing the final behavior.

Let me explain further….

Dogs learn to use a set of behaviors by trial and error. So if a behavior is followed by something the dog likes, they attempt the behavior again. That is why treats work so quickly with training, especially in puppies. Timing of the reward is very important because dogs are doing behavior all the time. The closer the timing of the dog’s behavior are to the arrival of the treat the easier it is for the dog to understand what they did that resulted in treat delivery. The dog will experiment with body movements to figure out which sequence or posture or behavior gets the reward.

The first part of the video above suggests pairing the sound “come” prior to something the dog likes. He is taking advantage of a dogs natural tendency to  approach when we make any sound.  It seems simple but the thinking is a 3 step process. The trainer is ready for the dog who will approach, he will give something the dog likes, plus he adds the word “come” before the dog gets to him. This is a great way to introduce the idea of “come”  when you first get a new puppy.  Something the dog likes can be: praise, ear rubs, and treats whenever the puppy comes to you for any reason. Change up the rewards, so eventually food will not be needed. Make “come” part of everyday life.

C. Make the signal a signal.

The first time you hear a  siren it has no meaning. It is just an annoying noise.We watch our parents pull to the side of the road as the noisy vehicle goes by. Later on we learn as someone explains. The signal does not make us drive to the shoulder of the road it is the order that we have learned to do when we hear the sound signal. So it is with dogs. A signal is a good one if it clearly helps the dog predict what to do next to get the final outcome. The sequence is how mammals learn by trial and error.  Called the ABC”s of learning. Take advantage of this way of thinking to speed up your training and solve the stumbles that happen along the way to well trained dog.

The sequence is how a behavior happens in real time.

A stands  for antecedent. Which simply means whatever comes before the behavior.

B stands for the observed or goal behavior. These are not always the same.

C stands for consequence. Here in is the biggest secret to good trainers. They all know it is “C”, the consequence that determines future behavior. If the consequence is a good one, the dog will try out the behavior again to see if the same consequence will follow. The behavior is a guess at how to get the consequence again.

The A is not always a signal as we wish it to be. It can be any set of circumstances, the dog recognizes, that happened before a they behavior worked to get the big C.

But training happens backwards from execution of a already trained behavior. The sequence of thought is: planning the big C and delivering it close to the behavior.  The dog will try out behaviors, until they suceed  at getting the big C.   The dog also observes what precedes the sequence, B->C trying to figure out when doing a certain behavior gets the big C. The dog will bet on your signal,  do the behavior, in the hope of getting the big C.

So training involves manipulating these three things. We add clarity and reliability to the Antecedent which helps the dog recognize it as a signal. We are clear about which behaviors get the rewards and when. We add good quality rewards for the behaviors that we want the dog to do. The dog becomes reliable the more reliably the consequence happens when the dog gives us the asked for behavior.

Reinforcer Strength – How to improve learning

A fun informational video introducing the concept of reinforcer strength and its affect on behavioral choice, by James Fritzler and Susan Friedman, PhD.

For a given learner… Dog, human, mouse etc.
in a given environment,
presented with a given cue…
there are always competing rewards (reinforcers) available,
for a wide variety of behaviors.

Some are weak… some are stronger…
but the strongest reinforcers produce the strongest behaviors.
So listen up: life is full of choices. The behaviors that produce the strongest reinforcers are the behaviors our learners will do more.

This is called The Matching Law!

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