Wednesday, May 20, 2015

3 Signs a Dog Is About to Bite... And 5 Things to Stop It

By Dr. Becker

It’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which serves as a reminder each year that dog bites can and do happen… and most are preventable. An estimated 70 million dogs live in family homes across the US, and millions of people, primarily children, are bitten each year.
From the American Veterinary Medical Association:1
  • According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dog bites were the 11th leading cause of non-fatal injury to children ages 1 to 4, 9th for ages 5 to 9, and 10th for ages 10 to 14 from 2003 to 2012.
  • The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2013, insurers across the country paid just under $500 million in dog bite claims.
  • According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, almost 27,000 reconstructive procedures were performed in 2013 to repair injuries caused by dog bites.
  • The US Postal Service reports that over 5,500 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2013. Children, elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites.
  • The American Humane Association reports that 66 percent of bites among children occur on the head and neck.

How to Prevent Your Dog from Becoming a Biter

  • Research the type of dog that might be best suited to your family and lifestyle before selecting a pet. Impulse adoptions or purchases are very often a bad idea. If this is your first dog, also consider talking with a veterinarian, a well-informed shelter or rescue employee, a reputable breeder, or other knowledgeable person.
  • Insure your dog is well-socialized and trained to respond consistently to basic obedience commands like sit, stay, no, and come. Proper and ongoing socialization is the most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of behavior problems.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of opportunities to exercise. Not only is regular, heart-thumping aerobic exercise necessary for physical conditioning, it also provides the mental stimulation every dog needs to be well-balanced.
  • Playtime is important, but you should avoid games that are over-stimulating to your dog or that pit him against you, like wrestling or tug-of-war. And never put your dog in a situation where he feels taunted or threatened.
  • Always use a leash when you’re out in public with your pet. And remember that it’s not enough to simply put a leash or harness on a large dog with unpredictable behavior. You must be able to control him regardless of who or what he encounters. If you can’t, it’s time for additional obedience training, and in the meantime, dog-walking duties should go to the person in your household who can successfully maintain control of your pet in public.
  • If you allow your dog out alone in a fenced yard, make sure gates are secure and there are no other escape routes available. If she’s a jumper, your fence must be higher than she can jump. If she’s a digger or chewer, you’ll need to take whatever precautions are necessary to insure she isn’t able to tunnel her way out of your yard.
  • Take proactive care of your pet’s health. Feed a balanced, species-appropriate diet, make sure she is well-exercised, brush her teeth, bathe, and groom her regularly, and take her for annual wellness visits with your veterinarian.
  • Proceed with caution when it comes to vaccinating your pet. Evidence is mounting that the rabies vaccine in particular is contributing to aggression in some dogs. Since rabies vaccines are required by law, insist on the 3-year vaccine and avoid the 1-year shot. I recommend you ask your holistic vet for the homeopathic rabies vaccine detox Lyssin after each rabies vaccine.
  • Also, discuss with your vet the best time to spay or neuter your dog. Beyond reproductive concerns, intact pets are sometimes more aggressive than animals that have been neutered. I do not recommend leaving a dog with aggressive tendencies intact, but I also don’t advocate a cookie-cutter approach to neutering all puppies. Timing of this procedure is critical, and should be decided upon based on each dog’s health status and personality.
  • Teach children – yours and any others who come around your dog – how to behave with an animal. Children are by far the most frequent victims of dog bites. They must learn to be both cautious and respectful in the presence of any dog, including their own. And never under any circumstances leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.

More Pointers for Dog Guardians

Just as a child’s behavior is different than an adult’s, your puppy’s behavior will change as he matures. As he develops physically and socially, his conduct will also transform in subtle and perhaps not-so-subtle ways. Don’t assume, even if you’ve done an excellent job socializing and training him, that he is a “finished product.” Lifelong learning, socialization, and mental stimulation are essential if your pet is to become and remain a balanced individual.
Ongoing training and proactive behavior modification when a problem might be developing will prevent any burgeoning issues of aggressiveness.
Dogs often need a refresher obedience or socialization course between 2-3 years of age. If you aren’t completely pleased with any of your dog’s behaviors, stick with training until she gets there.

If you adopt a dog, especially a puppy, during the colder months of the year, he’ll need to be socialized once warm weather arrives to all the sights, sounds, and other stimuli of summer.
Dog bites are more common in hot weather. This is probably because more children are outdoors playing with their pets, coupled with dogs becoming irritable and aggressive in the heat.

Exercise Caution in These Situations

Be careful when approaching a strange dog. Don't try to pet any dog before he sees you and sniffs you.

Don't turn your back to an unfamiliar dog or try to run away. The natural instinct of many dogs will be to give chase.

Don't attempt to interact with a dog that is sleeping, eating, playing with a toy or bone, or a mother who is with her puppies.
Signs a dog is about to bite:
  • She suddenly freezes and holds her body rigid
  • She stands with her front legs splayed and her head low, looking at you
  • She curls her lip to show teeth
If you feel a dog is a threat:
  • Stand motionless with your hands at your sides
  • Avoid eye contact with the dog
  • If the dog loses interest, back away slowly
  • If the dog comes at you anyway, offer him anything you're holding – a purse or jacket, for example – or anything that may distract him
  • If you wind up on the ground, curl into a ball, put your hands over your ears and stay still – resist the urge to yell, scream, or move around

Dr. Becker is the resident proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian of You can learn holistic ways of preventing illness in your pets by subscribing to, an online resource for animal lovers. For more pet care tips, subscribe for FREE to Mercola Healthy Pet Newsletter.

Monday, March 30, 2015

9 Facts About Exotic Shorthair Cats

By Dr. Becker
Persian cats, with their long soft coats and sweet personalities, are the most popular cat breed in the US – and have been for more than 30 years.1 So it’s not surprising that the number twospot goes to the exotic shorthair, Persians’ short-haired cousin.
Exotic shorthairs are just like Persians except for one distinction, their coat. While most everyone falls in love with Persians’ personalities, not every falls in love with their high-maintenance coats. Exotics nip this problem in the bud, as they have gentle, loving dispositions and a short, easy to care for coat.
If you’re considering adding an exotic to your family, Paw Nation has compiled some important (and interesting) facts you should know.2

9 Facts About Exotic Shorthair Cats

1. They’ve Only Been Around for 50 Years
The exotic shorthair breed began in the 1950s when American shorthairs were bred with Persians. Burmese and Russian blues were also bred with Persians to get the short-haired gene.
2. They Can Be Extreme or Traditional
Extreme exotic shorthairs have a very distinct appearance with flatter faces, tiny noses, and large eyes. Traditional exotic shorthairs have less flat faces and slightly longer noses.
3. Low Maintenance
Exotics are sometimes called “the lazy man’s Persian,” because they require only weekly combing (while Persians require intensive grooming). They have a dense undercoat that gives them a puffy appearance, but even still they have little to no shedding.
4. Love of Lounging
If you’re looking for a cat who loves to cuddle, exotics are it. They tend to follow their owners around the house and will jump into your lap as much as possible.
5. They Love Companionship
Exotics love the company of others, be it from their humans or other cats (and even dogs). If you’d like more than one pet, exotics are therefore a good choice as they tend to get along well with others. Exotics are also a good choice for people who are home often… but not for those who are gone for long hours each day.
6. They’re Playful
Persians are known for being lazy, but exotics enjoy playing with toys. While they’re still lap cats at heart, exotics can be quite playful as well.
7. Garfield
It’s thought that the comic-strip cat Garfield is an exotic shorthair, due to his appearance. However, most exotics are far friendlier, and not as lazy, as the cartoon cat.
8. They Need to Warm Up to Strangers
Exotics are very affectionate toward their families, but they shy away from strangers. If an exotic meets someone new, it will take a little time for him to feel comfortable around the person.
9. A Favorite Cat Breed
As mentioned, exotics are the second most popular cat breed in America, a title they’ve held for the last three years.

Are You Thinking of Adding an Exotic to Your Family?

There are a number of factors to consider when adding a cat to your family, but if you’ve fallen in love with a specific breed, like an exotic, a breeder isn’t your only option. There are purebred cat rescues located across the US where you can find the perfect exotic for your family, at a lower cost than you’d pay straight from a breeder.
For example, one purebred cat rescue in the Midwest has adoption fees of  $150-$300 for adults and $200 -$350 for kittens. A private breeder may charge $1,600 for a purebred kitten. Price is not the only factor in adopting a pet, of course, but when you adopt from a rescue organization or shelter you have the added benefit of helping out a cat in need of a home.
If you want to see an exotic kitten in action, see the video below, which shows one 2.5-month-old girl playing with her favorite toy.

[-] Sources and References

Dr. Becker is the resident proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian of You can learn holistic ways of preventing illness in your pets by subscribing to, an online resource for animal lovers. For more pet care tips, subscribe for FREE to Mercola Healthy Pet Newsletter.

Friday, March 13, 2015

5 Quick Tips If Your Pet Becomes Poisoned

By Dr. Becker
In 2013, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) processed nearly 180,000 cases of pets potentially exposed to toxic substances.
The APCC has compiled a list of five important tips for handling a pet poisoning emergency in your own household.

5 Quick Tips for Dealing with a Pet Poisoning Emergency

  1. Be Ready
    Before you ever need them, make sure your veterinarian’s phone number, the number of the closest emergency veterinary hospital, and the number for a pet poison center are saved in your phone. The APCC number is 888-426-4435; the Pet Poison Hotline is 800-213-6680.
    And remember that you may be able to provide important, even life-saving initial treatment at home if you have a pet first aid kit ready and easily accessible in an emergency.
  2. Keep Your Cool
    Maintaining your composure when faced with a pet emergency can be hard to do, but it’s really important if you want to insure your furry family member gets the help he needs. If you stay calm, you’ll be better able to provide first aid, as well as vital information to the people treating your pet.
  3. Evaluate Your Pet’s Condition
    It’s important to make a clear-eyed observation of your pet’s condition. Is she behaving abnormally? Is she bleeding? Is she having trouble breathing? Is she having convulsions or seizures? Is she unresponsive? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, your pet needs immediate medical attention. Call your vet or the nearest emergency animal hospital and alert them that you’re on your way.
  4. Be Prepared to Answer Questions
    What is the toxic substance you know or suspect your pet ingested? Either pack up the substance itself (this is ideal), or write down the exact name of the product or medication. You’ll also want to write down the strength (typically in milligrams) of the drug, the concentration of active ingredients in herbicides or pesticides and the EPA registration number, and any other information you think might help the veterinarian who will be treating your pet.
    When did the poisoning happen? Did you catch your pet actually ingesting the substance? Has your pet vomited? If so, did she vomit up any of the poison or packaging?
  5. Be Proactive
    If you know or suspect your pet has ingested a poison, don’t wait for symptoms before seeking help. Time is of the essence in preventing the poison from being absorbed by your pet’s body. The faster you are able to treat your furry companion at home (with guidance from your vet or a pet poison hotline), or get her to a veterinarian, the better her chances for survival and a full recovery.

Dr. Becker is the resident proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian of You can learn holistic ways of preventing illness in your pets by subscribing to, an online resource for animal lovers. For more pet care tips, subscribe for FREE to Mercola Healthy Pet Newsletter.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Coconut Oil: Why Your Pet Needs this Superfood

For centuries now, people around the world have been using coconut oil and now it is one of the trendiest supplements you can give to your dog or cat. While coconut oil is being studied as a cure for many different ailments and diseases around the world, people are starting to give it to their pets for the many well known health benefits.

Coconut oil is easily added to food, or applied topically. Unlike some fish oils, coconut oil has a pleasant smell and is highly palatable. You can even use it to get your finicky dog or cat to finish their food. Pure coconut oil below 75degrees is a solid, and above it a liquid. You should try giving both versions to your pet to find out their preference. Here are the five most important reasons you should give your pet coconut oil.

The Top 5 Reasons to Supplement Coconut Oil
  1. Digestion and Nutrient Absorption:   Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids or MCFA's and these are digested differently than other fats. While the science is very complicated, in short these fats are broken down easier than other fats, and this causes less strain on the digestive system. They are also absorbed easier than other fats, which mean that the nutrients are almost immediately available for fuel.

    This dog clearly doesn't like his new low fat food.

  2. Weight Loss and Increased Energy:   For dogs that need to lose weight, many people put their dog on a low calorie diet. While it works, it is an unnatural process as dogs need fats in their diet. Rather than buy a low fat food, you can supplement coconut oil. The MCFA's mentioned above do not get stored, as they are transported directly to the liver to be burned for fuel. This triggers the metabolism to increase beyond what is sent to the liver, and your pet loses weight naturally, through the use of GOOD fat. On a side note- it is much tastier than low fat pet food, so your pet will thank you!

  3. Brain Health:   The main benefit coconut oil will bring your pet is improved cognitive function. Our brain cells need fuel, or they die. Most of the time the brain uses glucose as a fuel source, but the conversion process can create problems and inefficiencies within the cells. By using coconut oil which contains medium chain triglycerides, it allows the brain to use ketones as an alternative fuel source, repairing damage and boosting cognitive function. This is very important for pets of all ages, but especially the young and old.

  4. Dental Health:   Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. By adding coconut oil to your pet's diet, or by brushing your pet's teeth with coconut oil, you will eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath and gum disease. If the idea of brushing your pet's teeth doesn't appeal to you, there are some other things to try. For dogs, smear the coconut oil on their favorite chew. You can dip the ends of antlers in coconut oil to make an all-natural toothbrush, fill hollow marrow bones, or even just let them lick if off of your fingers.
    This dog has a lustrous skin and coat, look at it shine!

  5. Skin and Coat:   Above all else, the most common reason people supplement coconut oil is to improve the skin and coat of their pet. Whether they want to alleviate dry, itchy skin, or if they want to cure hotspots or yeast infections, coconut oil is the perfect supplement to help. Coconut oil is one of the best natural moisturizers for your pet's skin and coat. To eliminate dryness and itchy skin, add coconut oil to the diet, and also use it topically on scabby areas. By adding the coconut oil topically, you will help to reduce itching by eliminating the inflammation that causes it. This will start the healing process. The look, feel, and smell of your pet's coat will improve with coconut oil. You can even apply it to their pads during winter to avoid cracking.

    It is also great for skin care as it can help treat and cure hotspots, yeast infections, or acne. The same anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties that help with dental health, also helps with these common skin problems, and because it is natural you don't have to worry about them licking it off.

How to Select your Coconut Oil

Now that you know why you should be supplementing coconut oil, you need to know what to look for when you go to buy your pets supplement. Not all supplements are created equal, and without careful consideration you might not be getting the desired health benefits. There are several keywords on the packaging that will clue you in on what type of quality is included in the jar. Here is a list of the most important keywords to look for:

These island cats know the value of eating coconuts.
    • Extra Virgin
    • Cold Pressed
    • Organic
    • GMO/GE Free 

The packaging will probably include many other marketing terms, but those have little value to you in your decision making process. The two most important keywords on this list are extra virgin and cold pressed. Extra Virgin coconut oil is the only coconut oil you should be buying. If you are buying virgin, or unnamed coconut oil it has been processed several times already, and the product is no longer as nutrient dense as it was previously. On top of that, there isn't much of a savings between the two. Similarly, Cold Pressed coconut oil ensures that they are not treating scrap coconut pieces with heat to extract the very last little bit of oil. The nutrients in this oil will not be as bio-available because of the extra processing.

Looking for coconut oil? Buy Now: Wholistic Pet Coconut Oil

How much should I give?

This is the standard dosage, although you can alter it.
With coconut oil, you should give enough coconut oil to maximize the health benefits without causing digestive upset or loose stool. Generally speaking you should give 1 teaspoon for every 10lbs and 1 tablespoon for every 30 lbs, although you know your pet better than I. If your pet is experiencing stress, use less. If you are supplementing to improve certain conditions, and your pet has a healthy digestive system, use more. When using it topically, you can apply it as needed throughout the day.

Fish Oil or Coconut Oil?

Customers always ask us which type of supplement they should add to their pet's diet. The short answer is both. By including both or by rotating between both types of supplements you truly maximize the nutrition you are giving. Whether you give coconut oil one day and fish oil the next, or simply rotate once you run out of one, it shouldn't matter. Each supplement is better for some conditions versus the other, but both are better than not giving any at all. The one area coconut oil shines over fish oil is in purity. Unfortunately, fish oil can contain contaminants and toxins from where the fish were harvested and how it was preserved. If you are looking for an omega supplement but are concerned about heavy metal toxins, mercury, artificial preservatives or sustainability- than coconut oil is for you. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Salt in a Wound Can be a Good Thing! of the most important but sometimes forgotten aspects of being a pet owner is first aid.  When adopting or purchasing a pet for the first time, the necessary items that come to mind include: food, treats, bowls, a collar and a leash.  But what happens when a pet gets a scratch or scrape or bug bite?  A trip to the vet may not always be necessary and being prepared for an injury at home can be simple.  So what first aid items are necessary and which are all natural?  With the ever growing list of products out there, you need to be sure you are choosing the right one.  Cherrybrook is here to help!

Two first aid wound treatment products we recommend are Vet-Aid Sea Salt Wound Care Spray and Vet-Aid Sea Salt Wound Care Foam.  Both are all natural products used to accelerate the healing process and treat and prevent infections.  They differ from other first aid products because they are formulated with a special ingredient called Lysozyme.

Lysozyme is an enzyme that helps prevent bacterial infection.  It attacks the protective cell walls of bacteria.  Bacteria cells have a delicate membrane but are high in osmotic pressure.  Bacteria walls build a tough skin of carbohydrate chains, interlocked with short peptide strands that protect the cell membrane against this pressure.  Lysozyme works by breaking the carbohydrate chains and destroying the structural integrity of the cell wall.  The bacteria then burst under their own internal pressure.

Sea Salt, another key ingredient, is a natural anti inflammatory and antibiotic. Sea Salt for treating wounds seems contrary to the expression we often hear about rubbing salt in a wound.  Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go rub a pile of sea salt into an open sore…the appropriate formulation and quantity is important when used for healing.  Sea salt works by entering the wound and forcing the moisture out of the cells that are causing swelling.  By removing the moisture, the cells shrink taking the bacteria with them.

Vet Aid is an all-natural product that was created to clean and heal wounds without using antiseptics and disinfectants.  Antiseptics and disinfectants kill bacteria, but they are also harmful to healing tissues.  Vet Aid products kill microbial invaders and provide essential minerals to enhance cell growth and repair resulting in a faster healing time.

Vet Aid SpraySea Salt Wound Care Spray can be applied, then wrapped under bandages or left open.  The spray can be used on the following:

  • Topical cleansing
  • Cuts
  • Scrapes
  • Burns
  • Surgical incisions, and post operative infections
  • Skin infections, including pyoderma and hot spots
  • Sun burn and insect bites
  • On or around mucous membranes including lesions in the mouth, nose, eyes and genital areas. 

Vet Aid Wound Foam
Sea Salt Wound Care Foam differs from the spray because it also contains a silicone ingredient that creates a protective coating over more mature wounds to help protect as it accelerates healing.  It can also be used under bandages or left open but should not be used on mucous membranes.  It is intended for wounds that are further along in the healing process.  The foam can be used in conjunction with the spray or by itself on wounds that are not open.  It is best for treating the following:

  • Sunburns
  • Insect Bites
  • Coat Loss
  • Dry Cracked Skin

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pet Dental Health Starts at Home

It is well known that oral care is vital for general health among humans, but did you know that it is just as important for your furry friend? Just like us, our pets can develop tartar and plaque build up. This not only causes bad breath but can also lead to more serious problems such as Periodontal Disease, Endodontic Disease, and more. Periodontal Disease is the most common clinical condition in pets even though it is preventable. If left untreated, these diseases can spread to the heart, kidneys, and other important organs and become life threatening. Don’t let this preventable problem affect your pets, practice routine dental cleanings in the comfort of your own home.

 Cleaning your pets’ teeth does not need to be a difficult process; starting at a young age and associating positive feelings with this daily routine can make the experience enjoyable for both you and your pet.

Take the time to look at the many different options available for your pets’ oral health. From toothbrushes to dental bones, the pet industry has a wide array of options to keep your pets’ teeth and gums healthy.  Using these oral health products will not only benefit your pets general health but will also benefit your wallet.

By cleaning your pets’ teeth daily you can prevent a costly problem. According to a 2013 analysis by VPI Pet Insurance, “the average cost to prevent dental disease in pets is $171.82, but it costs $531.71 to treat dental disease.”

The oral health of our pets is important in more ways than one. Prevent disease and dent in your wallet by cleaning your pets teeth everyday.
Check out Cherrybrook's dental products now!

References: “Dog breath? Get ‘em to the vet to prevent a costly problem” “February is National Pet Dental Health Month”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't Brush This Off: the importance of proper brush cleaning and maintenance

Many brushes wear out over time because of a buildup of styling product, debris and oil which degrades the rubber pad causing pins to loosen and repostition. Cleaning your brush after each use will protect the investment of these essential grooming tools.

Here are a few easy steps for proper brush cleaning:
  • Begin cleaning by using your fingers to gently remove as many of the woven strands of hair from your brush as you can.
  • Once most of the hair has been removed from the brush, draw a dry bristle brush cleaner several times across the pin brush from end to end to remove any remaining hair and debris from the brush. We like to recommend the Chris Christensen Brush Cleaner packed with 37mm nylon bristles.
  • Next, apply a bit of waterless bath to the bristles of the brush cleaner. We recommend Chris Christensen OC Magic Foam. This waterless bath makes a fantastic brush cleaner. This "magic" foam breaks away build-up and gives easier control of the application. The foam also greatly reduces the amount of moisture your brush is exposed to. Excess moisture will degrade the rubber pad of your brush over time. It is important to apply the foam to the brush cleaner and not directly to your bristle, pin or slicker brush. Draw the brush cleaner (with the foam) gently over the pins of your brush from end to end to loosen and remove any remaining debris.
  • Shake your brush to remove any excess moisture and set the brush face down to dry completely, so that any remaining moisture will dry and drain away from the pad.
  • Shake your brush cleaner and set it to dry face down as well.
We hope that by following these steps you will enjoy your grooming brushes for years to come. By the way, you can use these exact steps to extend the life of the brushes you use on your own hair as well!