Why I Don’t Recommend Retractable Leashes

A retractable leash is not so much a leash as it is a length of thin cord wound around a spring-loaded device housed inside a plastic handle. The handles of most retractable leashes are designed to fit comfortably in a human hand. A button on the handle controls how much of the cord is extended.

Retractable leashes are popular primarily because they aren’t as confining as regular leashes, allowing dogs more freedom to sniff and poke around on walks. But unfortunately, there are many downsides to this type of leash.

10 Reasons Not to Use a Retractable Leash

1. The length of retractable leashes, some of which can extend up to 26 feet, allows dogs to get far enough away from their humans that a situation can quickly turn dangerous. A dog on a retractable leash is often able to run into the middle of the street, for example, or make uninvited contact with other dogs or people.

2. In the above scenario, or one in which your pet is being approached by an aggressive dog, it is nearly impossible to get control of the situation if the need arises. It’s much easier to regain control of – or protect — a dog at the end of a six-foot standard flat leash than it is if he’s 20 or so feet away at the end of what amounts to a thin string.

3. The thin cord of a retractable leash can break – especially when a powerful dog is on the other end of it. If a strong, good-sized dog takes off at full speed, the cord can snap. Not only can that put the dog and whatever he may be chasing in danger, but also the cord can snap back and injure the human at the other end.

4. If a dog walker gets tangled up in the cord of a retractable leash, or grabs it in an attempt to reel in their dog, it can result in burns, cuts, and even amputation. In addition, many people have been pulled right off their feet by a dog that reaches the end of the leash and keeps going. This can result in bruises, “road rash,” broken bones, and worse.

5. Dogs have also received terrible injuries as a result of the sudden jerk on their neck that occurs when they run out the leash, including neck wounds, lacerated tracheas, and injuries to the spine.

6. Retractable leashes allow dogs more freedom to pull at the end of them, which can look like aggression to another dog who may decide to “fight back.”

7. The handles of retractable leashes are bulky and can be easily pulled out of human hands, resulting in a runaway dog.

8. Along those same lines, many dogs – especially fearful ones – are terrorized by the sound of a dropped retractable leash handle and may take off running, which is dangerous enough. To make matters worse, the object of the poor dog’s fear is then “chasing” her, and if the leash is retracting as she runs, the handle is gaining ground on her – she can’t escape it. Even if this scenario ultimately ends without physical harm to the dog (or anyone else), it can create lingering fear in the dog not only of leashes, but also of being walked.

9. Retractable leashes, like most retractable devices, have a tendency to malfunction over time, either refusing to extend, refusing to retract, or unspooling at will.

10. Retractable leashes are an especially bad idea for dogs that haven’t been trained to walk politely on a regular leash. By their very nature, retractables train dogs to pull while on leash, because they learn that pulling extends the lead.

If your dog is well trained, gentle mannered and smart enough to master a regular leash and a retractable leash without being confused, you could be one of the rare guardians that can walk your pooch on any kind of leash without increasing risks to either one of you.


Lonely? Pets Are Incredible “Social Lubricants”

Despite the fact that you can hop on a plane and fly across the world in a matter of hours, and chat with people online virtually 24/7, the world is an increasingly lonely place for many people.

Social isolation is real and linked to serious health conditions from heart disease and cognitive impairment to depression and even premature death. If you frequently feel lonely, isolated or wish you had a few more friends to rely on, here’s a simple solution: get a pet.

You should not, of course, get a pet only for the sake of meeting new friends. But if you have the time, resources and desire to add a furry family member to your home, and you happen to be in a lonely place, there could not be a better time to head over to your local animal shelter and here’s why.

Pets Are Conduits for Getting to Know People

You know that awkward feeling when you first meet somebody new and you’re not quite sure what to say? That rarely happens when you have a pet in tow because pets are an automatic ice-breaker, especially among other pet owners and animal lovers.

If you’re a pet owner, you probably already know this to be true, but researchers from the University of Western Australia‘s School of Population Health decided to investigate it formally.

It’s well known that pets provide companionship and support to their owners, but the researchers noted that few studies have looked into pets’ role as a catalyst for friendship formation.

The study involved a telephone survey that asked residents of four cities (one in Australia and three in the U.S.) about pet ownership and friendships in their neighborhood. Pet owners were significantly more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood than non-pet owners.1

Dogs appeared to be uniquely beneficial. People who owned dogs were significantly more likely to regard people whom they met through their pet as a friend than were owners of other types of pets.

Dog owners were also three times more likely to receive at least one type of social support from people met through their pet.

Even Deep Relationships Can be Formed Via Your Pet

The friendships went far beyond small talk. Researcher Lisa Wood told Discovery News, “Having a pet can actually lead to more meaningful relationships between people.”2

Overall, 40 percent of pet owners said they received one or more of the following types of social support from people they met through their pet:

  • Emotional (defined as receiving empathy, affection or encouragement)
  • Informational (receiving useful information)
  • Appraisal (receiving advice or an opinion)
  • Instrumental (receiving practical help or a favor)

An Antidote to Isolation

One of the easiest ways to meet people via your pet is by taking your dog for a walk, but it should be noted that dogs are not the only pets that can act as social lubricators. According to the study:3

This conversational ice-breaker role is not limited to dogs, with other experimental studies finding small animals such as turtles and rabbits also precipitating conversation between strangers in a park setting.”

The presence of an animal perhaps any animal acts as a “neutral and safe conversation starter.” By helping you get to know others in your community, pets provide an antidote to isolation, even if the relationships formed consist of a simple wave hello.

Often, however, the relationship progresses, beginning with small talk over your pet, then knowing the person by face or name, and, ultimately, to considering the person an acquaintance and then friend. As one San Diego woman polled for the study put it:4

“There is a path in our neighborhood that people walk along with their dogsWhen you walk that path at the same time every day you run into the same people and start conversations and make friends.”

An Australian woman also explained how a mischievous cat has helped her make new friends:5

“The cat steals people’s socks from their housesand then I return themIt’s a good way to get to know peopleThey all think it is hilarious.”

Pets even have the ability to bring people from different walks of life together. “The great thing about pets is they are a really great leveler,” Wood added.6

Social Activities With Your Pet

If you’re interested in meeting new people, all you need to do is take your dog for a walk. You’ll naturally have a reason to start a conversation with other dog owners. If you don’t have a dog (or a cat with a penchant for socks), you can get involved in social activities designed for pet lovers.

For instance, many cities have meet-up groups for people with certain dog or cat breeds or other pets like birds or snakes. You could also sign up for a dog-friendly race or run in your area or visit a dog park, and there’s always volunteering at an animal shelter, wildlife rescue or other animal-oriented facility.

Remember, too, that even if your pet doesn’t facilitate a new friendship for you, he or she will still provide you with unconditional love and devotion, and that in itself is a remedy for loneliness. In fact, singles, as well as those who are widowed, divorced or separated, can benefit from adopting pets because they provide love and a sense of family.

[-] Sources and References

Even Vets Are Changing Their Feeding Advice for Cats Over 7

Is your cat getting up in years? If so, you’re not alone – estimates are that a significant number of cats (40 percent as of 2012) in the U.S. are over the age of 7.1

Unlike with humans and many dog breeds, it’s not always easy to tell a kitty’s age just by looking at her. And to confuse things a bit more, calculating her age in human years isn’t quite as simple as you’ve probably been led to believe.

Cats mature quickly during their first few years of life, and then things level off. According to Calculator Cat, one accepted method of converting a cat’s age to an equivalent human age is to add 15 years for the first year of life, 10 years for the second year of life, and 4 years for every after that.2

That means, for example, that a 4-year-old cat is 33 in human years (15 + 10 + 4 + 4).

It’s important to have a good idea of your cat’s age for many reasons, one of the most important of which is insure she stays well-nourished as she gets older.

Why Reduced Protein Diets Were Once Recommended for Aging Cats

For many years, veterinarians recommended reduced protein diets for older cats. This is because after a lifetime of eating commercial pet food containing poor quality protein that is difficult to digest, a cat’s kidney and liver function is compromised.

As crazy as it sounds, reduced-protein senior cat formulas came into being because of the terrible quality of cat foods on the market.

The chronic stress created by a diet that is hard to digest and assimilate causes premature aging and dysfunction in the organs of digestion and detoxification. This was a recipe for disaster, because as we’ve learned more recently, aging cats actually need more protein than their younger counterparts.

Cats at Every Stage of Life Need Plenty of High Quality Protein

In 1992, Dr. Delmar Finco, a veterinary nutritionist, discovered protein requirements actually increase as pets age. Even in animals with kidney failure, restricting protein didn’t improve their health or longevity.

In fact, Dr. Finco’s research proved cats on low protein diets developed hypoproteinemia. They had muscle wasting, became catabolic, and lost weight. The more that protein was restricted, the more ill these kitties became.

Dr. Finco discovered it was the level of phosphorus in foods, not necessarily the amount of protein that exacerbated kidney disease. Since that research was published, veterinary recommendations have changed.

These days, what we recommend for animals struggling with under-functioning kidneys and livers is a diet containing excellent quality protein that is highly digestible and assimilable. We also recommend restricting phosphorus in the diet, but not necessarily protein.

If your cat is in the later stages of kidney failure, as defined by the International Renal Interest Society (IRIS), a reduced amount of excellent quality protein is suggested, but should still be offered in a kidney-friendly fresh food format.

We know that cats, as carnivores, require lots of high quality protein not only to maintain good organ and immune function, but also to maintain healthy muscle mass as they go through life and the aging process.

Protein Quality is Crucial to the Health of Your Cat

The quality of the protein you feed your senior cat is of paramount importance. The more digestible and assimilable the protein, and the higher the moisture content of the food, the easier it is for aging organs to process.

Protein quality is extremely variable. There are highly assimilable and digestible proteins (proteins your pet’s body can easily absorb and make use of), and there are proteins that are wholly indigestible. For example beaks, feet, hides, tails and snouts are 100 percent protein, but all 100 percent is indigestible.

All protein has a biologic value, which is its usable amino acid content. Eggs have the highest biologic value at 100 percent. Fish is a close second at 92 percent. Feathers, as you might guess, have zero biologic value. They are all protein, but they are neither digestible nor assimilable.

There are also foods that are high in protein but biologically inappropriate for dogs and cats. Soy is a good example, with a biologic value of 67 percent. Many popular pet foods contain soy as a protein source, as well as corn.

This is an inexpensive way for pet food manufacturers to increase protein content on the guaranteed analysis printed on the label. But because soy and corn are not species-appropriate, they don’t belong in your cat’s diet.

Unfortunately, digestion and assimilation are not measured for pet foods, so manufacturers are not penalized for adding other types of protein that have no biologic value for the species of animal eating it.

In addition to corn and soy (as well as other grains) being inflammatory and incomplete proteins for carnivores, there’s a myriad of other reasons not to feed a high amount of carbs to cats. Mycotoxins, sugar load (which leads to lifestyle induced diabetes), as well as obesity and arthritis are all solid reasons to avoid offsetting high quality protein with cheap fillers.

The Diet I Recommend for Older Cats

Some foods are metabolically stressful, while others create low metabolic stress on your cat’s body. The nutrition that generates the least amount of metabolic stress for most cats, regardless of age, is whole, raw, unprocessed, organic, non-GMO, and in its natural form.

This of course includes animal meat, which should be the foundation of your kitty’s diet throughout her life.

Foods that have not been highly processed are the most assimilable for a cat’s body. These foods are biologically appropriate. All the moisture in the food remains in the food, whereas foods that have been extruded (most dry food) can have drastically depleted moisture content – as low as 12 percent.

If you can’t feed fresh food (raw or gently cooked), the second best diet is a dehydrated or freeze dried balanced diet that has been reconstituted with an abundance of water. Your cat’s kidneys and liver can be further stressed as a result of chronic low-grade dehydration, so all foods served “dry” can pose a problem long term.

Of course, if your cat is overweight, no matter her age, it makes sense to reduce calories and fat in the diet. What does not make sense is adding fiber. Many weight management (“low fat”) and senior cat food formulas contain loads of fiber, which is biologically inappropriate nutrition.

I recommend serving your cat food in its natural state to provide needed moisture, and to insure the highest level of biologic assimilation and digestion. That means feeding a balanced, antioxidant rich, species-appropriate diet that includes omega-3 essential fats, such as krill oil.

Moisture is an aging cat’s best friend, so encourage adequate hydration by offering a variety of water bowls around the house or a drinking fountain, in addition to minimizing (or preferably eliminating) dry food. However, if your kitty is addicted to terrible food, adding a whole body supplement, such as Feline Whole Body Support is a good idea.

Beneficial Supplements for Senior Kitties

• Providing your older cat with a SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) supplement is a safe and effective way to stall or improve mental decline, improve mobility, and assist in liver detoxification. Consult your holistic veterinarian for the right dose size.

• Periodic detoxification with the herbs milk thistle and dandelion can be very beneficial, as can providing super green foods to nibble on (sunflower sprouts or wheat grass/”cat grass”). Chlorophyll, chlorella, or spirulina can also be offered in supplement form to enhance your cat’s detoxification processes.

• Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been shown to be safe for cats and can improve brain energy metabolism and decrease the amyloid protein buildup that results in brain lesions in older pets. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs and may also reduce hairballs.

I recommend 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for basic MCT support, if your cat will voluntarily eat it.

• If your senior kitty tends to prowl the house at night and vocalize, consider low dose melatonin, which is not only a sedative with a calming effect, but also an antioxidant. I also use Rhodiola, chamomile, and l-theanine with good results.

• Flower essences can be very beneficial in supporting the mental and emotional changes that accompany the aging process in cats. There are several good lines pre-blended for kitties, for example Spirit Essences, and this treatment option is completely safe for cats struggling with cognitive challenges, or those being treated for substantial disease.

[-] Sources and References

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for Pets

What is EFT?

EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique, is the energetic version of acupuncture where no needles are used. Instead, the energy channels (meridians) are stimulated by tapping on them with our fingertips while “tuning in” to the problem – may it be physical, emotional, psychological or behavioral.

EFT allows us to resolve issues faster and more thoroughly by re-balancing the energy flow in our body. This balance affects our mind, which affects our emotions, which ultimately affects our body.

I highly recommend watching the DVD The Tapping Solution. The Tapping Solution is a documentary film that explores the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a new discovery that combines ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology with startling results.

The Theory behind EFT

The causes of 85% of dis-eases, human or animals, including physical, psychological and genetics-based dis-eases, are unresolved negative emotions and negative self-talk. The rest are mostly due to energy toxins and nutritional imbalances.

The causes of most behaviour and performance issues are the need to relieve or hide the anxiety and stress, however unhealthy the way is, created by unresolved negative emotions and self-limiting beliefs.

For animals, energy imbalances can result from trauma, abuse, conditioning (intentional or unintentional), attack, scary and painful experiences (perhaps undetected by us), inadequate or no human pack leadership, human family distress, pack disharmony, rejection at birth, rejection by owners, energy toxins from food, drugs, chemicals, vaccinations, cleaning products, home and lawn products as well as other physical and psychological threats to survival.

The key to EFT is the ‘onion peeling’ process – freeing and healing the layers of emotions and fears that block the energy flow. The theory is that:

    1. When we have a distressing experience, our body’s energy system react and we feel it through a negative emotion (fear, anger, sadness, frustration, etc.). When we allow that e-motion (or energy in motion) to flow, by feeling and expressing it 100%, our energy system returns itself to normal.If we do not allow that feeling (negative or positive) to flow and express itself (due to fear, threat or habit), we stop and trap the energy in motion (e-motion) and keep it stuck, thus creating an energetic block within ourselves. The more energetic blocks we have, the more we will feel discomfort and experience ill health.
    2. This energetic block, with the trapped negative emotions and hidden memory, is triggered whenever a current event re-minds one of the past negative experience, even with very subtle similarity.
    3. This triggering process keeps repeating until the trapped emotions are released. This will allow energy to flow once again and the balance is restored in our body’s energy system.

EFT is one way we can achieve balance. Fortunately, EFT can help with emotional and mental issues as well as physical issues and reaction to toxins. The trick is to find the real causes of dis-eases in one’s life (quite a detective job) and be persistent to clear all aspects of each issue.

What does EFT do for Human?

EFT has been clinically effective in thousands of cases for trauma & abuse, panic & anxiety, fears & phobias, depression, addictive cravings and hundreds of physical symptoms including pain relief, headaches and breathing difficulties.

Properly applied, over 80% achieve either noticeable improvement or complete cessation of the problem.

Usually rapid, long lasting and gentle.
No drugs or equipment involved.
Easily learned by anyone.
Can be self applied

Even though EFT violates just about every conventional belief out there, the results remain remarkable. EFT isn’t perfect, of course. It is not 100%. But it usually works well and the results are sometimes spectacular. It often works where nothing else will.
What does EFT do for Animals?

EFT is used worldwide for helping people with physical symptoms, emotional issues and mental blocks. We have only started to use EFT for animals for similar issues and it is at an experimental stage.

However, the gentleness and speed of EFT holds great promise for a breakthrough healing approach for many physical ailments and emotional issues in animals.

When people first find out about Animal EFT, they immediately think that it is about tapping ON animals and ask where they should tap their animals.

Although of course animals do have a meridian system, many of the points are in places where animals truly do not like to be touched, never mind tapped.

The wonderful thing about Animal EFT is that you DON’T tap on the animal directly, but you tap on yourself to make the changes happen.

This is called Proxy Tapping has lots of advantages:

1. You can do it at any time and even anywhere – you do not have to be in the same room with the animal.

2. You can do it much more often than any animal would generally permit.

3. You can help wild animals, animals that don’t belong to you, and animals that you can’t really touch much, such as birds and fish.

4. Once you have learned the simple technique, you can use it on any problem, on any animal and you don’t have to know anything at all about their various meridian systems or points.

How Does Proxy Tapping Work?

When you focus your attention on an animal, you connect your energy system with theirs.

When you keep the focus of your attention on a specific aspect of that energy system (a problem, disease, behaviour, state of mind and so on) and you change YOUR system by tapping on the points, YOU ARE ALSO CHANGING THEIRS through the connection.

This was originally discovered when a lady, distraught because she was sitting by the side of her premature baby’s incubator and unable to touch him, treated herself for the baby’s problems and the baby responded by breathing more easily and slower, and finding from somewhere the will to live and to fight on more strongly than before.

Since then, thousands of people all over the world have been absolutely astonished to find that by tapping on themselves whilst holding another living being’s problems in their mind, they can make changes without touching them or even being in the same room.

I don’t expect you to believe this right away. I didn’t believe it either when I first heard about it. But I tell you, when you neighbour’s dog 100 yards away stops barking after an hour just because you have tapped a round of EFT on yourself, a shiver goes down your spine and you KNOW you made that happen as if by magic, it is a real convincer experience for the reality of modern energy work.

So next, here is the Animal EFT protocol for you to try out on any animal you choose.

EFT For Animals

1. EFT Is …

Originally developed for people, EFT is a modern energy healing technique that works on the energy system, not on the physical body.

Unlike acupressure, you tap or touch very lightly, sending small energy pulses from your healing hands into your energy system, balancing and re-energizing it and clearing blockages as you do so.

Another main difference between the EFT and acupuncture and acupressure is that you use your intention and focus to direct which particular problem you are working on. In energy work, energy flows where attention goes.

In a moment, you will learn how to do EFT on yourself.

  • You will shift your own energy system in doing so and relax or release something that you focus your attention on.

When people first find out about Animal EFT, they immediately think that it is about tapping ON animals and ask where they should tap their animals.

Although of course animals do have a meridian system, many of the points are in places where animals truly do not like to be touched, never mind tapped.

The wonderful thing about Animal EFT is that you DON’T tap on the animal directly, but you tap on yourself to make the changes happen.

This is called Proxy Tapping has lots of advantages:

1. You can do it at any time and even anywhere – you do not have to be in the same room with the animal.

2. You can do it much more often than any animal would generally permit.

3. You can help wild animals, animals that don’t belong to you, and animals that you can’t really touch much, such as birds and fish.

4. Once you have learned the simple technique, you can use it on any problem, on any animal and you don’t have to know anything at all about their various meridian systems or points.

3. How Does Proxy Tapping Work?

When you focus your attention on an animal, you connect your energy system with theirs.

When you keep the focus of your attention on a specific aspect of that energy system (a problem, disease, behaviour, state of mind and so on) and you change YOUR system by tapping on the points, YOU ARE ALSO CHANGING THEIRS through the connection.

This was originally discovered when a lady, distraught because she was sitting by the side of her premature baby’s incubator and unable to touch him, treated herself for the baby’s problems and the baby responded by breathing more easily and slower, and finding from somewhere the will to live and to fight on more strongly than before.

Since then, thousands of people all over the world have been absolutely astonished to find that by tapping on themselves whilst holding another living being’s problems in their mind, they can make changes without touching them or even being in the same room.

I don’t expect you to believe this right away. I didn’t believe it either when I first heard about it. But I tell you, when you neighbour’s dog 100 yards away stops barking after an hour just because you have tapped a round of EFT on yourself, a shiver goes down your spine and you KNOW you made that happen as if by magic, it is a real convincer experience for the reality of modern energy work.

So next, here is the Animal EFT protocol for you to try out on any animal you choose.

The Animal EFT Protocol

1. Focus Your Intention: Tuning In

Think about the animal and what specifically you would like to release, soothe or change.

2. Make A Statement Of Intent: The Set Up

Find a phrase or a sentence that describes the problem succinctly and clearly to you. You can say, “Sidney has this terrible allergy.” or “Sam never stops barking.” or, “This brown horse is distressed.” if you don’t know the animals’ name.

3. Tap The EFT Round

0 = The Heart Centre. This is where we start and finish our round of EFT by placing both hands flat on the centre of the chest in the Heart Healing Position and take three deep breaths in and out. We say the Set Up statement and then we begin to tap.

On each point, you can repeat the original set up or choose a shortened version, the Reminder Phrase, to keep you focused.

Now tap on:

  1. Top Of The Head – The highest point on the top of your head.
  2. Third Eye Point – In the centre of your forehead.
  3. Start Of The Eyebrow – Where the bone behind your eyebrow turns into the bridge of your nose.
  4. Corner Of The Eye – On the bone in the corner of your eye.
  5. Under The Eye – On the bone just below your eye, in line with your pupil if you look straight ahead.
  6. Under The Nose – Between you nose and your upper lip
  7. Under The Mouth – In the indentation between your chin and your lower lip
  8. Under The Collarbone – In the angle formed by your collarbone and the breastbone
  9. Thumb – all finger points are on the side of the finger, in line with the nail bed.
  10. Index Finger
  11. Middle Finger
  12. Ring Finger
  13. Little Finger
  14. Karate Chop Point – on the side of your hand, roughly in line with your life line.

0 = And to finish the round of EFT, back to the Heart Healing Position where we take three deep breaths in and out.
Take a moment now go through the sequence, starting with the Heart Healing position where you take three deep breaths in and out. Then find and touch each point in turn with your index finger.

Touch each point lightly, breathe deeply and simply pay attention to how that feels, and how each point creates all kinds of different sensations you can feel in your body.

Tips On Tapping EFT

The EFT treatment points are stimulated by tapping lightly on them.

Even though we are using our physical hands on our physical body, we are not trying to massage muscles, bones or tissue but instead it is our energy hands tapping on our energy body which produce the results.

  • Each individual tap is like closing an electric circuit.

As such, tapping “harder” doesn’t do the trick; but tapping with awareness and paying attention to the contact between your fingertip and your body as you tap really helps.

You can tap with either hand on either side of the bilateral points. Normally people will tap with the index finger of their leading hand on the opposite side of the face. You can choose either side on the bilateral points.

Try now tapping the point under your eye, with your index finger, quite gently and rhythmically, as many times as it takes for you to take a normal breath in and out.

The strength of tapping should be light, just enough so that you feel a resonance from the tapping spreading out across a reasonable part of that side of your face when you pay close attention.

Different people have different speeds of tapping, and the speed of tapping often relates naturally to what we are tapping on. We generally show a tapping speed in the rhythm of “Jingle Bells.”

Start with the Heart Healing position and tap all the points from the Top Of The Head to the Karate Chop point, ending up with the Heart Healing position at the end, right now to get the feel of doing EFT.

Remember to breathe deeply throughout and move towards finding a rhythm between the tapping and your breath so that the EFT round flows easily and smoothly all the way from the beginning to the end.

A single EFT round is from Heart Healing to Heart Healing, with all the points from the Top of the Head to the Karate Chop point in between.

4. Improve The Energy Flow

When you tap EFT for an animal, let the feelings be your guide.

You can feel in your own body when the energy flow starts to improve.

In all modern energy work, it is extremely important to not just “tap the bad feelings away” but to keep tapping further rounds until you feel energized, happy, even joyful.

Once you can feel the pain or the problem has gone, think of positive energy forms you want to send to the animal and tap on those instead – love, courage, joy, strength, health all are good energies to send to the animal you’re tapping on.

Keep going until you really feel energy tingling in your own body and you KNOW you did a good job because you can FEEL that you did.

Now, over to you!

Start Practicing and Join The Community of Animal EFT healers!

Print out and practice the new Animal EFT protocol.


  • training problems
  • house training problems
  • health problems
  • temperament problems
  • relationship problems (what drives YOU crazy!)
  • relationship problems with other animals, jealousy, aggression
  • attention seeking behaviours, repetitive behaviour disturbances
  • stress and nervousness
  • fears, phobias, self esteem
  • unhappiness, resentfulness, lack of social skills
  • sadness, depression, lack of joy in life
  • allergies
  • pain, discomfort, disturbance, disease
  • past traumas, mistreatment, mishandling, misuse

… and anything and everything you can perceive and focus your attention on.

The EFT Heart & Soul Protocol is excellent for your OWN immune system and state of mind and practice makes if not perfect, much better, much faster. Try it on your own animals and on wild animals, because when they respond with visible changes in their behaviour to what you are doing with YOUR energy system, you really know that you have done some magic!

Further information, articles and support are available from

The Animal EFT Protocol Credits

Original EFT Design – Gary Craig

What Do Your Dog’s Urination Rituals Really Mean?

An extensive study on canine scent marking published recently in the journalAnimal Behaviour provides conclusive evidence dogs of both sexes compete for status through urination.

The characteristics by which canines judge one another’s position in the doggy hierarchy include the location chosen, angle of leg lift, height of the marking and quality of the urine.

Overmarking is when a dog pees on or near the mark left by another canine. Adjacent marking is when a dog urinates very close to, but not directly on, the mark of another dog. Both types are known as countermarking.

Putting to rest previous assumptions that overmarking is done exclusively by males to hide female urine marking, this study reveals both male and female dogs do it. And they do it to urine marks of either sex, not just marks left by the opposite sex. The dog’s status plays an important role in the tendency to countermark.

According to Anneke Lisberg, study co-author and a researcher in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater:

“Although both sexes countermark, they do it a little differently: Males are more likely to overmark than females, and high-status males exposed to a place like a dog park are the energizer bunnies of marking. Males and females investigate urine, and the higher tailed dogs of both sexes urinate and countermark. But the males don’t stop after the first mark or second or third.”

(Dogs of either gender with high tail positions are assumed to be higher status dogs.)

Lower status dogs, more submissive than their higher ranking counterparts, often don’t do any countermarking at dog parks. Based on studies of other animals that urine-mark, it’s in fact risky for a submissive individual to even pretend to overmark. In the world of canines, it seems attempting to fake elevated status with countermarking is inviting trouble from higher ranking dogs who know the difference.

Dr. Lisberg explains how scent marking probably helps dogs relate to one another:

“Because these are signals that can be investigated from a safe distance, it may be that dogs are able to sort out a lot of their relationships through marks before they ever meet face to face. If they can sort out things chemically, it could help them make smarter decisions about whom to approach and how to approach them.”

All of you dog guardians out there know how much time your beloved pooch spends investigating pee, and peeing.

If you’ve paid attention to your pet’s urination rituals, you know he’s using his keen sense of smell to gather information. As he stops and sniffs and sniffs and sniffs, he’s picking up facts about all the other animals — in particular, canines — that have relieved themselves in the area.

Canine Scent Marking and Facebook

Unfortunately, despite how much time our canine companions spend in pee-related pursuits, very little is known about urinary communication among dogs. Anneke Lisberg and her colleague, Charles Snowdon, would seem to be research pioneers in the field of canine scent marking.

Their study suggests dogs of both sexes use a variety of different urination activities to:

  • Assert social status
  • Find potential mates
  • Size up unfamiliar dogs
  • Limit potentially threatening close contact during social introductions

Dr. Lisberg believes dogs may use urine investigation and scent marking in an attempt to establish safe social connections with other dogs. According to Discovery News, she thinks it is possible dogs “might be able to assess many personal aspects of health, stress, virility, diet” and more just by sniffing another dog’s urine.

Dr. Lisberg believes marking and countermarking could be the canine equivalent of Facebook. It allows dogs to easily gather information about one another’s personal lives, from a safe distance.

Another interesting if arguably unscientific viewpoint on canine scent marking comes from a 1944 novel by British philosopher and author Olaf Stapledon, titled Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord.

Sirius is a sheep dog with human-level intelligence. He attends Cambridge University with his guardian, and among other scholarly activities, has plans to write a book called The Lamp-post, A Study of the Social Life of the Domestic Dog. The opening passage, as written by Sirius:

“In man, social intercourse has centered mainly on the process of absorbing fluid into the organism, but in the domestic dog and to a lesser extent among all wild canine species, the act charged with most social significance is the excretion of fluid. For man the pub, the estaminet, the Biergarten, but for the dog the tree trunk, the lintel of door or gate, and above all the lamppost, form the focal points of community life. For a man, the flavors of alcoholic drinks, but for a dog the infinitely variegated smells of urine are the most potent stimuli for the gregarious impulse.”

Scent Marking Behavior by Gender

In Dr. Lisberg’s experiment, she presented peed-upon, short wooden stakes to a group of dogs that included intact males and females, neutered males and spayed females.

She then observed and recorded the behavior of all 4 categories of dogs. Contrary to what you might expect, the females in the group spent just as much time investigating the urine of unfamiliar dogs as the males did. The males primarily investigated the urine of unfamiliar males, however, the females were equally interested in the urine of both sexes.

Dogs with the highest tail positions (assumed to be the highest status dogs) spent less time sniffing; dogs with low tail positions spent the most time at it.

As you might guess, dogs with high tail positions did the most overmarking. None of the females overmarked. Instead, they adjacent-marked from a distance of 4 to 5 feet. (Lisberg has done another study that suggests overmarking and adjacent marking are actually different responses with different motivations.)

At the Dog Park

Another experiment Dr. Lisberg performed was at a popular dog park. She set out to observe pee investigation, Ano-Genital (AG) investigation (butt sniffing) and peeing behavior at the entrance to the park. Some of her observations:

  • Male and female dogs were equally likely to urinate immediately upon entering the park. Males peed more frequently, however.
  • Male dogs already at the park overmarked or adjacent marked more than females. They also spent more time doing pee investigations of new dogs entering the park.
  • Dogs of both sexes with high tail positions marked and investigated more than dogs with low tail positions. And no female dog with a low tail position either peed upon entering the park, or countermarked those that did.
  • Ano-Genital sniffing was done more by dogs already in the park than those just entering. It was also done more frequently by dogs who appeared relaxed. There didn’t seem to be any relationship between AG sniffing and either the sex or status of the dogs.

Dogs entering the park were frequently quickly surrounded (for purposes of butt sniffing) by several dogs already at the park. If you’ve ever taken your dog to a dog park, you’re probably aware this is a potentially threatening situation for your dog as she enters the park (and often for you, as well).

Dr. Lisberg noted a consistent tendency of dogs getting the AG treatment to quickly move a few feet away and urinate. This caused the other dogs to sniff the urine rather than the new dog, which ended the potentially stressful physical contact. Lisberg speculates urine marking may be a way for dogs to reveal social information about themselves while avoiding the tension created by AG behavior by strangers.

Perhaps if more dogs were free to greet one another through the pee-and-sniff method vs. the butt sniff method, there would be fewer issues when leashed dogs are introduced to other leashed (or unleashed) dogs. Maybe our canine companions need the freedom to communicate information about themselves through urine, without the threat posed by close contact sniffing among strangers.

Food for thought!

Maybe NOW More Cat Parents Will Make the Switch from Dry Food

More evidence has emerged linking dry food diets and feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).

A study was conducted at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Koret School of Veterinary Medicine to evaluate urethral obstruction (UO), which is an extremely common, life-threatening condition in cats.

The urethra is a small tube through which urine flows from your cat’s bladder to the outside of the body.

Urethral obstructions are usually mineral crystals or stones, or plugs of inflammatory material that form in the kidneys (a process known as urolithiasis), pass down into the bladder, and get stuck in the urethra, blocking the passage of urine from the body.

The urethra in male cats is longer and narrower than in females, so obstructions are more often seen in males.

Once a blockage develops in the urethra, the kidneys continue to produce urine and the urine starts building up in the bladder.

This is not only painful for the cat, it can also quickly interfere with kidney function.

The job of the kidneys is to flush waste from the body, and when they aren’t working properly, toxins accumulate in the bloodstream.

Feline urethral obstructions, if not treated promptly, can result in death in a matter of days.

Risk Factors for Urethral Obstruction in Cats

According to many, no research to date has nailed down precisely the risk factors involved in the formation of urethral plugs in kitties.

Some reports indicate certain breeds are predisposed to stone formation, including Persians, Himalayans, Russian Blues Siamese, Birman and the Egyptian Mau.

It is also thought a cat’s environment carries risk factors for diseases of the lower urinary tract, specifically stressful living conditions, living indoors only, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and spaying/neutering.

For some reason, a dry food-only diet isn’t emphasized in most studies as a significant risk factor for development of feline lower urinary tract disease, including urethral obstruction. I find this absolutely mystifying, given what we know about the crucial role dietary moisture content plays in feline physiology.

The Jerusalem Study

The Jerusalem study, published last year in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, took another look at risk factors for urethral obstruction, clinical signs, outcomes and recurrence rates in 82 cats with UO and 82 control cats.

The kitties diagnosed with urethral obstruction had some interesting things in common, including:

  • They were significantly younger than the control cats; 82 percent were between 1 and 7 years old.
  • They were significantly heavier.
  • More were indoor-only cats than in the control group.
  • And… most were fed dry food only (68 out of 82, or 83 percent)… 14 ate a combination of wet and dry food… and exactly none were fed a diet of wet food only.

In the control group of 82 cats without urethral obstruction, who also happened to be older and leaner than the sick cats, a little over half were fed dry food only, 42 percent ate both wet and dry food, and 3 out of 82 were fed only wet food.

An Earlier Enlightening Study

Another very interesting study1 was done several years ago to measure the effect of feeding a specific type of food (designed to increase the acidity of urine) to cats with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). (FIC is another of the diseases of the lower urinary tract.)

Some of the cats were fed a canned formulation of the food, and some were fed a dry formulation.

The result?

After 1 year on the canned food, only 11 percent of FIC cats had a recurrence of the condition.

Recurrence in the dry food group after a year was 39 percent.

This study was conducted by the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition. Since Waltham is a pet food company2, it’s safe to assume the primary intent of the study was to find a product that could be sold specifically for cats with lower urinary tract disease.

In my opinion, what was important in this outcome wasn’t the urinary acidifying feature of Waltham’s formula — it was how much better the canned food-fed cats fared than the poor kitties fed the dry formulation of the same food.

Why Isn’t Dry Cat Food Being Clearly Identified as a Risk Factor for FLUTD?

The Waltham study was published in 1999. The Jerusalem study was published just last year – a dozen years later. Several other studies on the subject of feline lower urinary tract disease have been conducted in the meantime.

And yet many in the traditional veterinary community seem unwilling to acknowledge the clear evidence that dietary moisture is incredibly important to urinary tract health in cats.

We know how felines are designed and how they live in the wild. And we have multiple studies showing cats with lower urinary tract disease, in particular, benefit from high moisture content diets.

It is absolutely baffling to me why more veterinarians aren’t strongly encouraging all their cat-owning clients to transition their pets away from dry diets in the direction of food with a high moisture content.

For example, at a veterinary internal medicine symposium in 2011, an associate professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine presented a paper titled, Risk factors in feline lower urinary tract disease3. She cited both the Waltham and Jerusalem studies (and 19 others).

Here is an excerpt from her conclusion/recommendation:

“For both cats with urolithiasis and those with FIC, a diet high in moisture may be best, assuming the owner is willing to feed it and the cat is willing to eat it. A high moisture diet is recommended for cats with stones to decrease the urine concentration of mineral precursors and is the cornerstone of therapy for urolithiasis in human … and veterinary medicine. Increasing the water content for cats with FIC may help improve clinical signs by encouraging frequent voidings.”

This isn’t my idea of a ringing endorsement for the benefits of feeding FIC cats high moisture content diets.

But she does, at least, follow up with this suggestion:

“Increasing water content in the diet can be achieved most easily by feeding a canned diet; the canned food should be placed in a separate container next to the cat’s regular diet. If the canned food is not consumed, water can be added to the dry kibble to achieve higher moisture content, although 85% moisture is difficult to attain using this method.”

And I was also encouraged by this comment on the Jerusalem study by Dr. Indu Mani, Editor of Clinician’s Brief:

“This study is very useful to the practicing clinician. Cats with UO are common in the clinical setting. Any interventional behaviors or techniques to potentially decrease UO prevalence are welcome in the clinical setting. Emphasis on optimal body weight and canned food intake as treatment recommendations is important in the management of many chronic feline diseases.”

—Indu Mani, DVM, DSc

Why Your Cat’s Food Should Be Loaded with Moisture

Water is essential for all life forms.

Your cat doesn’t have a strong thirst drive compared to other species. Kitties are designed to get almost all the water they need from the food they eat.

Healthy cats don’t lap up water like other animals do. Many kitties are obsessed with moving water, of course, but they’re more interested in watching it or playing in it than drinking it.

With very few exceptions, only cats with underlying disease will drink a lot of water. Often the disease involves their lower urinary tract, especially if they are suffering from chronic, moderate dehydration thanks to a primarily dry food diet.

Cats in the wild hunt prey, and prey consists of about 75 percent water. Canned cat food contains at least that much moisture. Dry food, on the other hand, contains only about one tenth of that amount.

If you’re feeding your kitty mostly dry food, he’s probably drinking more water than he would if his diet was high in moisture content. But as a general rule, cats on dry food diets consume only about half the water cats on moisture-rich diets consume.

Now think for a minute about your cat’s lower urinary tract – specifically the bladder and kidneys, which need to be flushed constantly with adequate quantities of urine.

It’s easy to imagine the growing stress on those vital organs when your kitty’s body is operating on half the amount of water it requires to function normally – day in and day out, for months, years, or a lifetime.

A Word about Other Risk Factors for FLUTD/UO

In addition to the key finding from the Jerusalem study that the majority of cats who developed urethral obstruction were fed dry food only, obesity and indoor living were also significant factors.

Living indoors doesn’t have to be unhealthy for cats, and in fact, your kitty is much safer living inside. But housecats do need environmental enrichment to be optimally healthy.

The following articles offer some great tips on how to make your environment feline-friendly:

Obesity in cats tends to go hand-in-hand with a sedentary lifestyle and a dry food diet, especially if your kitty enjoys an all-day all-he-can-eat buffet (also known as free-feeding).

If your cat is overweight, it’s really important for his overall health and quality of life that you slim him down – but it must be done very, very gradually to avoid a life-threatening case of hepatic lipidosis. My Valuable Tips for Helping Your Heavy Cat video and article gives you all the information you need to diet your kitty safely.


Source:  Clinician’s Brief April 12, 2011

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Dogs and Cats

Obsessive compulsive behaviors occur in many types of animals, including horses, dogs, cats, exotic birds, pigs and many zoo inhabitants.

Two of the most common behaviors in dogs are obsessive licking which results in acral lick dermatitis (ALD), also known as a lick granuloma, and tail chasing.

In cats, common obsessive behaviors include wool-sucking (pica, or the eating of non-food substances) and psychogenic alopecia, which is hair loss and baldness from excessive grooming of the hair and skin.

According to Veterinary Practice News:

“In people with OCD—and by inference in animals exhibiting compulsive behavior—the cycle goes something like this: Anxiety leads to engagement in a repetitive behavior (a compulsion), which affords temporary relief. Later a constantly recurring thought (an obsession) occurs that causes escalating anxiety. Engagement in the compulsion relieves the anxiety, and so the cycle is propagated.”

Animals with compulsive disorders tend to be relatively anxious and high strung. It isn’t common to find OCD-type behavior in laidback animals. An anxious nature may be inherited, however, research indicates a component of ‘nurture,’ for example, a high conflict situation, is necessary for expression of a compulsive behavior.

In considering treatment for a pet with OCD, according to Veterinary Practice News:

“Environmental enrichment alone will not normally reverse a compulsive disorder, but a stress-free, user-friendly environment can prevent compulsive behavior from developing in the first place and make relapse less likely after successful pharmacological treatment.”

Preventing a dog or cat from performing a compulsive behavior by physically restraining the animal in some way only leads to more anxiety, not less.

Suggestions to Prevent, Control or Reduce OCD in Your Pet

First things first: optimize the physical health of your dog or cat.

If your dog or cat is well-nourished with species-appropriate food, is in good physical condition from plenty of heart-thumping exercise, and is neither over vaccinated nor over medicated, congratulations! You’ve already built a fantastically solid foundation for excellent physical and mental health in your pet.

I don’t see too many extremely healthy, physically active animals with intractable OCD at Natural Pet (my animal hospital).

I also recommend you take your dog or cat to the vet for a wellness exam to insure the source of the obsessive behavior is indeed behavioral and not a physical condition, such as thyroid disease, which needs to be addressed.

If Your Pet is a Dog

Most dogs, especially larger breeds, just aren’t as physically active as they’re designed to be. It can be a challenge to tire out a big dog, especially one of the working or sporting breeds.

If your dog is performing compulsive behaviors, try increasing his exercise. Some suggestions:

  • Walks and hikes
  • Take your dog for a swim
  • Play fetch-the-ball
  • Bike ride with a special dog bike leash
  • Play hide-and-seek with treats and toys
  • Roller blade or jog alongside your dog
  • Get involved in obedience or tracking events, flyball, agility or other sports

I also recommend you help your dog stay mentally stimulated with chew toys and treat-release toys like the Clever K-9. Also place small treats around the house for her to discover, along with other favorite toys.

You might also consider investing in a D.A.P.™ collar or diffuser for your dog. D.A.P.™ is an acronym for Dog Appeasing Pheromone and is designed to have a calming affect on dogs. The collar seems to work well for many dog owners with pups suffering from stress-related behaviors.

Talk with your holistic vet about homeopathic remedies for obsessive behaviors. You can also try a product like Spirit Essences Obsession Remedy.

If You’re Owned by a Cat

Changes in routine are extremely stressful for kitties. When you disrupt your pet’s routine, it translates to him as a loss of control over his very survival.

If a cat in your household is exhibiting OCD behaviors, the first thing you’ll want to do is dramatically limit the number of unusual external events your pet is exposed to.

Cats are independent. They like to set their own schedules, exert full control over their environment, and depend only on themselves for survival.

Just because your beloved feline lives in the house with you doesn’t mean he’s lost his drive to rule the roost. So the more you can do to help your cat feel in control and not an alien in a foreign land, the less stress he’ll endure.

Some suggestions for environmental enrichment for your kitty:

  • Feeding and routine care (litter box scooping, brushing, etc.) should happen at the same time each day.
  • Keep food bowls and litter boxes in the same spot – don’t move them around unnecessarily.
  • Keep litter boxes clean, as well as bedding.
  • Provide an assortment of appropriate cat toys, hiding boxes, scratching posts/trees, etc., and make sure your pet has plenty, if not constant access to these goodies.
  • Consider playing soothing music for an hour or two each day.

You might also consider treat or food-dispensing toys for cats, window perches, and kitty videos.

Spend some time every day playing with your cat, using interactive toys like a laser pointer or Da Bird.

Also consider feline stress remedies by Spirit Essences and OptiBalance cat and kitten formulas. Discuss homeopathic remedies for obsessive behavior with your holistic vet.

Pharmacotherapy for Pet OCD

As you might have guessed, I’m not a big fan of the use of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac and Zoloft) or N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) blockers in the treatment of obsessive behaviors in animals.

They are sometimes appropriate in extreme, intractable cases and/or when an animal is causing harm to himself. Sometimes they can be used as an interim measure to interrupt the cycle of behavior at the same time other less harmful remedies are being attempted.

But my general recommendation is to try a wide variety of natural remedies first, since every drug has side effects.