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Prevent Hairballs Naturally

Does your cat get hairballs? There are products on the market that may help relieve hairballs, but these products contain petroleum jelly which is incredibly toxic, and harmful to the health of your cat. Long-term use of these products can also interfere with your cat's ability to absorb important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D & E. If your cat suffers from more than 1 hairball per week, you may want to help ease their distress a little by offering these simple solutions.

1. Get your cat off foods containing wheat, barley, rice, corn and gluten: these foods are not natural in the diet of a true carnivore and can trigger hairball recurrence to more than one hairball per week.

2. Try offering your feline friend some freshly steamed pumpkin: Mash the pumpkin and add 1-2 tsp. of pumpkin to your cats wet-food meal several times per week. Or, you could add it as a "side dish" to your cats regular food feeding times, and they should be naturally drawn to it if they feel it will help calm their stomach.

3. Include some probiotics or enzymes into your cats daily routine: mix these probiotics/enzymes into wet food (if your cat doesn't consume a mostly raw diet, they should be eating probiotics and enzymes daily, in addition to their regular food. Click HERE for a probiotic/enzyme mix)

4. Brush your cat! Brushing your cat is essential, especially if they have a long thick coat. Instead of them licking and ingesting all of this fur, you can help them by brushing it off, and reducing the amount of hairballs they cough up.
Vegetables Your Cat Can Eat

1. Leafy Greens: Inside cats normally don't have access to greens (like cat grass - unless you grew it for them) so giving them some tender leafy greens to nibble on is a great treat. Will your cat eat it? If they crave it enough, they will. Many cats love leafy greens! Cats normally eat grass to help with digestion and for some extra hydration, so providing your cat with leafy greens will help them achieve just that.

2. Green Beans: Slightly steamed green beans are great for cats! Studies in humans, cats and dogs have all substantiated positive weight loss results when adding green beans to their diet (mainly due to the high fiber and nutrients in the beans). Green beans will reduce the amount of times your cat begs for treats in between meals, as it will keep them fuller longer. If your cat is over weight, consider using green beans as a between-meal treat!

3. Carrots: Carrots are a great food to feed to your cat, especially when slightly steamed and mixed into their food. They are high in beta-carotene, which isn't as readily converted in the feline species to vitamin A, however the other nutrients and fiber in carrots will certainly not hurt your cat! Carrots contain vitamin B, C, D, E, K, calcium, postassium, riboflavin, sodium and iron, all of which will keep your cat in tip top shape!

4. Asparagus: Asparagus, just like other green vegetables, are great for your cat (especially if they are in-door cats and don't have access to grass outside). The fiber will help regulate their bowels, and they are a great way to get in some hydration in your cat (since cats are not too fond of drinking water). Asparagus benefits the liver, and is very high in vitamin C, selenium and low in sodium.

5. Broccoli: Sometimes cats actually crave vegetables! One of my cats went nuts over broccoli, and loved chewing on some raw broccoli from time to time. If you notice your cats eating your house plants (which they shouldn't be doing - some house plants are toxic to cats!), feed them some raw or lightly steamed broccoli. This could satisfy their desire for greens and can help clear up digestive issues

6. Winter Squash: Will need slight cooking to soften the rind. Pumpkin and other winter squashes are great for felines suffering from constipation or diarrhea. Use small amounts (1/2 tsp) mixed into several of the daily meals. The beta carotene in squash is excellent for the health of your feline as well.
Vegetables To Improve Dog Health

1. Carrots
Dogs can eat both cooked and un-cooked carrots! Un-cooked carrots are excellent for their teeth and make a wonderfully healthy chewing toy (and prevents them from chewing other things in your house too!). Chewing on carrots, as with anything, helps reduce a dogs anxiety levels if they suffer from high anxiety.

Carrots improve your pups vision, because they are rich in beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision. Not only do carrots help with vision but they help reduce the risk of developing certain cancer types and act as an antioxidant to fight off free radicals which contribute to aging and disease.

2. Broccoli
Broccoli is good for both humans and dogs, however be sure to not feed them too much broccoli as it can upset their digestive system. Broccoli, as with all green vegetables, are an excellent source of chlorophyll which exerts a protective defence against carcinogens. Broccoli also contains a compound called sulforphane which helps boost the immune system!

3. Celery
Celery is a great snack to let your dog enjoy. They are filled with vitamin A, B vitamins, Vitamin C as well as potassium, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, sodium and plenty of amino acids. The natural cell salts in the celery are essential for optimal health, and the fibre aids in regular bowel movements.

Celery contains pthalides which helps lower cholesterol as well as lower blood pressure by relaxing the muscles around the arteries and allows vessels to dilate. The calcium, magnesium, and potassium in celery also help regulate blood pressure.

4. Green Beans
Green beans provide many healthy benefits for your dog. They improve blood fat levels and protect against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. They are a great source of fibre, vitamin K and C, and manganese, and contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Spinach
Spinach is rich in antioxidants and iron which is wonderful if your dog suffers from anemia. It is also high in vitamin K which is crucial for maintaining bone health and proper bone growth. The antioxidants in spinach help ward off inflammation and supports the cardiovascular system, as well as reduces the chance of developing certain types of cancers.

6. Pumpkin
Pumpkin is wonderful for the intestinal health of your dog (especially dogs who suffer from digestive problems). The fibre in pumpkin helps absorb water, and so it alleviates diarrhea. It also helps in the case of constipation, because the fibre pushes out any blockages. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene as well, helping to improve the immune system and strengthen eyesight.

Why Your Dog Loves You

We all love our pets, but how do we know that our pets love us? After years of research, neuroscientists are finally starting to answer some of these questions. They have translated barks and tail wags so that humans are more able to comprehend what their pet is trying to tell them. The canine brain has the same structures that produce emotions in humans. They have the same hormones and undergo the same chemical changes that humans do during emotional states. In fact, their brains secrete the hormone oxytocin, which in humans is involved with love and affection.

Much like a human toddler, a dog experiences emotions such as joy, fear, anger, disgust, excitement, contentment, distress, and even love. They are even capable of laughing (although typically do so when they are playing) - I don't mean physical laughing, but a sound that is reminiscent of panting in certain patterns.

You can tell if your dog respects and loves you by how they interact with you. When their tail is happily wagging, ears laid back, and their body language is submissive when you come home from work, this is one sign your pet respects you. Lip licking, grooming, and "kisses" on your cheek are another way to recognize that your dog looks up to you, respects you, and sees you as their leader.

Foods You Should Never Feed Your Cat

1. Tuna: Most cats are very fond of canned tuna and the tuna juice that comes with it. Tuna is fine for cats in moderation or as a treat, however a consistent steady diet of tuna can actually be harmful for your kitty! Tuna alone is not nutritionally complete and many cats are allergic to fish. Most fish contain trace amounts of mercury and the higher up on the food chain a fish is, the more mercury accumulated in the fish. Tuna is relatively high on the food chain and thus contains higher levels of mercury than other fish - this increases the risk of mercury poisoning in your cat.

Tuna also contains high levels of unsaturated fats - something humans can, and should include in their diet, but not so much cats. Too much unsaturated fats in a cats diet can leave your cat developing a vitamin E deficiency, leading to an inflammation of the fatty tissue, a condition known as steatitis.

One of the more important reasons your cat shouldn't consume commercial canned tuna is the fact that this "tuna" is not just tuna, but also other added vitamins and minerals and LOTS of sodium - something which can lead to extreme dehydration in your cat.

2. Onions, Garlic & Chives: Onions contain a substance called N-propyl disulphide which destroys red blood cells in the cat. This will eventually lead to a form of anemia called Heinz body anemia. Garlic and chives contain a similar substance but in smaller amounts. Occasional small doses of these three foods will not hurt, but if consumed enough, and in large quantities, can be harmful to your cat.

3. Dairy Products: Milk is not toxic to cats, but it can have adverse effects. Many cats are actually lactose-intolerant and cannot digest the lactose in milk. This leads to symptoms like tummy upset, cramps, and diarrhea. Higher fat milks have less lactose, so if you want to treat your cat to less than a tablespoon once a week, it should not affect their health. There are also safer milk products for cats that are specially designed for them, and which are made without lactose.

4. Grapes & Raisins: There are still many unknowns with the toxic effects of grapes and raisins, however the ASPCA animal poison control centre advises against giving grapes or raisins to pets in any amount. Grapes and raisins have the ability for causing acute (sudden) kidney failure in dogs and cats.

5. Caffeine: Any product containing caffeine may be toxic to cats. The caffeine excites the nervous system and will cause shaking and vomiting or diarrhea.

6. Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine which can cause seizures and even death. Domesticated animals metabolize theobromine much more slowly than humans, which leads to complications of theobromine poisoning. Theobromine is also suspected to induce right atrial cardiomyopathy after long term exposure at levels equivalent to around 15 g of dark chocolate per kg of weight and per day. The toxic dose for cats is lower than that for dogs, however cats are less prone to eating chocolate than dogs because they are unable to taste sweetness. 

7. Liver: Small amounts of liver are okay, but eating too much can cause vitamin A toxicity. Too much vitamin A in your cats diet can affect their bones (deformed bones, osteoporosis, excessive bone growth on elbows and spine).
Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog

1. Chocolate
Chocolate contains theobromine which can cause seizures and even death. Domesticated animals metabolize theobromine much more slowly than humans, which leads to complications of theobromine poisoning. Theobromine is also suspected to induce right atrial cardiomyopathy after long term exposure at levels equivalent to around 15 g of dark chocolate per kg of weight and per day. A typical 20 kg (44 lb) dog will normally experience intestinal distress after eating less than 240 g (8.5 oz) of dark chocolate, but won't necessarily experience bradycardia or tachyarrhythmia unless it eats at least 0.5 kg (1.1 lb) of milk chocolate.

2. Avocado 
Avocados contain persin, which in large amounts, can make your dog extremely sick. Many pet parents have reported that a little avocado has been fine for their dogs. Some pet parents have found that their pets are slightly allergic to avocado, and may experience diarrhea. The best thing is to ask your vet! There is much conflicting evidence surrounding avocados and dogs - in small quantities it may be alright, but definitely not in larger quantities.

3. Onions & Garlic
Onions and garlic can destroy the blood cells in your dog, leading to hemolytic anemia (bursting of red blood cells). The main culprit in onions and garlic is the active compound called thiosulphate. Symptoms of hemolytic anemia include vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, breathing problems, and discoloured urine. Garlic however is less toxic, and large amounts would need to be consumed to cause illness in dogs.

4. Grapes & Raisins 
Grapes & raisins can cause liver damage or kidney failure in your dog. However, in the 10 cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, each dog ingested between 9 ounces and 2 pounds of grapes or raisins - a couple grapes here and there would not bring about such damaging effects in the organs of your pet (depending on the size of your dog! Little dogs shouldn't be fed a lot of grapes).

5. Milk & Dairy Products
Dairy products cause diarrhea and digestive upset. Some adult dogs do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase which breaks down lactose in milk (same goes for cats). Lactose-free milk products are available for pets (such as cat milk - however, these are often highly processed, and likely shouldn't be going in the tummies of your pets).

6. Macadamia Nuts
As little as 6 macadamia nuts can be enough to initiate symptoms such as vomiting, tremor, weakness and depression. This is due to the high phosphorous content, and should be avoided at all costs.