Music and Sound Therapy for Best Friend Anxiety

Posted by on Apr 28, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Music and Sound Therapy for Best Friend Anxiety

Joshua Leeds, recognized authority in the field of psychoacoustics, sound researcher & engineer, music producer & educator, and Lisa Spector, award winning Juilliard graduate & highly respected concert pianist, and the esteemed board-certified veterinary neurologist Dr Susan Wagner, adjunct assistant professor at The Ohio State University Veterinary College, co-developed the iCalmDog as a portable, easy-to-use music player that can be easily loaded with “slowed down” professionally selected classical compositions that have potential to calm the anxious pet in the presence of visitors, reduce thunderstorm and fireworks anxiety, reduce separation anxiety, and help control interactive conflicts in the household.

Solo instruments, slower tempos, and less complex arrangements which are carefully selected for tone, tempo and pattern are thought to have a greater calming effect than faster selections with more complex harmonic and orchestral content. Studies showed a 70 percent reduction in anxiety behaviors when psychoacoustically designed music is played in the background of the home or kennel environment, when visitors entered the home environment, during thunderstorms, when riding in the car, when pawing at a guardian, when exhibiting signs of separation anxiety, and when fireworks are audible.

The iCalmDog might be a gift that keeps on giving for many anxious, dismissive, or fearful pets. The player retails for approximately $80 with 4 hours of continuously playable calming music included. More directed compositions that include thunderstorm, firecracker, city sounds, and aggression remediation are available directly from the Through A Dogs Ear website – as are selections that are specifically engineered for our feline friends via the Through A Cat’s Ear option.

Say that again! A calming “IPod” for my best friend

Who, How and Why did ICalmDog come about

Click here for Joshua Leeds’ presentation of what ICalm Music and Sound therapy can offer your best friend

Click here to sample an array of ICalmDog’s music library

Click here for more information on ongoing psychoacoustic research into calming music

Can Dog Parks Kill?

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Can Dog Parks Kill?

This is horror story an excellent example of why I emphasize the danger of dog parks and other public places or events where dogs congregate unless a responsible person of authority is checking health records and immunization status and enforcing standards for monitoring and supervision behavioral anomalies. The rabid puppy  is now dead, but you can bet that this story is far from over for some of the major players and their beloved pets. Dog Parks are in my opinion a misguided idea and sometimes deadly public service construct with ominous implications for your beloved pet and even yourself if you or your family members get caught in the crossfire. Most of us have a healthy fear of rabies, and while it is a relatively uncommon event, it happens. But it’s not just rabies that can kill your pet, or cause catastrophic illness which is exceedingly costly to attempt to treat complements of an array of little viruses that can sometimes be as deady as rabies to our four legged friends. The majority of these profoundly infectious agents can be effectively protected against by timely vaccinations but are you honestly willing to put your pet at risk based on the belief that the pets of people who frequent dog parks are effectively and completely vaccinated. Read on to hear the story of how one fool cared so much that the it cost his puppy it’s life and exposed a public park full of his peers to a vicious disease that is virtually untreatable after the victim has become symptomatic.




Updated: Feb 24, 2015 10:44 PM CST

A health warning is being issued for Travis County.

This comes after a dog was brought to Zilker Park in later tested positive for rabies.
On most weekends you will find this place packed. Adding a rabid dog to the mix can mean several people and animals were put at risk.

Cooper is a playful and active Australian Shepherd mix, who absolutely loves going to Zilker Park.

The last time Kelly Marose and her boyfriend went was about two weeks ago; the same day that a dog with rabies was confirmed to have been there.

“I just think it was really scary to hear that there was a dog that had rabies running around because I mean, there were little kids, there were just tons of people everywhere. It was the most crowded I’ve ever seen it be at Zilker since we moved here,” says Kelly Marose, pet owner.

Austin Animal Services says on Sunday, February 8th a pet owner brought their nine-month-old Border Collie mix to Zilker Park, who had no vaccinations. At the time, the dog was not showing any symptoms for rabies.

They were about 50 yards from the sand volleyball courts between 3 to 6 in the evening.

“Did” the dog mainly played fetch with his owner but could have had nose-to-nose interaction with other pets.

“They weren’t on their leashes, playing together. It’s really scary and sounds really irresponsible,” says Marose.

“If you go to a common place, where your animal will have contact, or likely to have contact with other animals, other dogs or whatever the case may be, make sure your animal is vaccinated. If you vaccinate today, the vaccine is not protecting your animal tomorrow. It takes about thirty days,” says Chris Noble, Deputy Chief Animal Services Officer.

On average we’re told it takes 3 to 8 weeks following exposure for an animal to develop signs of rabies. It was on February 12th when that began and the dog tested positive. It’s believed he was infected by a skunk.

“It can be depression, fever, loss of appetite. From there the symptoms progress into things like abnormal behaviors, self-mutilation type behaviors,” says April Moore, Animal Protection Supervisor.

At the most extreme is death. In this case the dog was euthanized. We’re told about a half-dozen people and several animals were potentially exposed. Something that Marose says could’ve been easily avoided

“Just taking good care of your dog because I look at my dog like my family. So I want him to be as healthy as he can and the best shape he can be,” says Marose.

If you were at Zilker Park on February 8th and suspect that your dog may have been in contact with the sick border collie mix, you’re asked to call Austin Animal Services at 311 and see a veterinarian.

Animal protection says the last time Travis County had a domestic animal test positive for rabies was five years ago but rabies and bats is a very common here.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, in Travis County there were 89 cases in 2013, 115 in 2014 and 3 in January of this year.

If you were at the park with your dog during this time and suspect your dog had nose to nose contact with this 9-10 month old black and white Border Collie mix please do the following:

Call Austin Animal Services immediately at 311

Follow up with your dog’s veterinarian for evaluation to see if a rabies vaccine booster is recommended

Rabies exposure:

Rabies virus is shed through the oral fluids of an infectious animal. Rabies is transmitted only when the virus is introduced into a bite wound, open cuts in skin, or onto mucous membranes such as mouth, nostrils or eyes.

Rabies incubation period in animals varies. On average it takes 3-8 weeks following exposure for an animal to develop signs of rabies. During this time the virus travels from the initial exposure site along an animal’s nerves to the spinal cord and brain. From the brain, the virus travels to the saliva glands and the saliva. Rabies may be prevented following an exposure through one or more post exposure rabies vaccinations.

Signs of animal rabies:

First symptoms: change in personality, depression, fever and loss of appetite

Signs progress within days to nervous system abnormalities:
-abnormal behavior, aggression, and/or self-mutilation
-cranial nerve (dropped jaw, tongue incoordination, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation)
-ataxia (wobbly, weakness, paralysis, seizures)

Animal Rabies Prevention:
Regular pet check-ups with your veterinarian
Current rabies vaccination for your pet

Cat-in-the-bag advanced concept cat carrier

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Cat-in-the-bag advanced concept cat carrier

Cats and plastic or stiff kennel crate style carriers can make for a volatile mix when some of our feline friends are carried into a high-stress environment which they are uncomfortable in – such as doc’s place! It does not take long for some kitties to set up a defensive perimeter in the depths of a crate and draw battle lines in the dirt. Severe injuries can and have happened.

Jeanne Starmack, owner of Cat-in-the-bag, is offering an elegant cat carrier for safely presenting kitty to a veterinarian’s office, for traveling, and for humane restraint when performing stressful maintenance procedures at home, including nail trimming, medicating, and even bathing. The video below pretty much shows it all. Please also note the comprehensive overview of this advanced concept carrier on Cat-in-the-bag’s Product Info Page. Hurricane Katrina offered us an opportunity to see first-hand the value of pillow cases in extraordinary circumstances wherein many of kitty friends appeared to be remarkably comfortable taking long evacuations car rides literally out of the state to their new temporary homes. Several peacefully snoozed on the rear floorboards for hours on end curled up in light-weight cotton pillow cases to insure adequate ventilation over time and with occasional potty breaks being offered – being given the essential caveat of the critical importance of checking the fabrics ability to pass air and to ensure that respiratory distress was not occurring in the closed device.

We have recommended heavy cotton pillow cases for kitties of all shapes, sizes, and personalities for many years now with marginal compliance on the part of our cat peeps. Too many times pillow cases start showing up after injury has occurred and clients see first hand how well their beloved friend can defend themselves. Many was the time over the last 40 years of practice that I pondered going into “inventor” mode, explore the design and seek a manufacturer of a comparable product, but the process never launched. I honestly think that Ms. Starmack’s product is about as good as can be while still being manufactured out of an affordable fabric and my hats off to her for bringing the Cat-in-the-bag to market.

My only concern with light, flexible, cloth carriers that the typical cat can be comfortably and safely restrained and transported in relates to durability and resistance to claw damage. In that context I communicated with Ms. Starmack before posting this blog entry asking about whether the guarantee would cover claw damage if kitty is of the Bad Kitty mentality. Her response was as follows:

Our carriers have a 30-day money-back guarantee that people can use if
they aren’t satisfied for any reason. A manufacturer defect would be
guaranteed no matter what. If someone’s zipper broke, for example, or a
part of the neckline fell apart, etc., beyond the 30 days, we would
replace that bag. We would consider a rip in the bag by a cat to be the
latter, and would replace it for someone. You could tell your clients
that I personally guarantee that.”


Is spaying the right thing for your best friend?

Posted by on Jan 13, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Is spaying the right thing for your best friend?

Have you deliberated the inherent danger of spaying and neutering and questioned its necessity in the unique personal world that you and your best friend share? When it comes to this often stressful consideration, try to maintain objectivity in balancing risk versus reward because you will not be able to rewind the clock and have the organs put back in. As many of you already know, I have for years now expressed growing concern over the life threatening anesthetic & surgical risk of spaying (hysterectomy) or neutering (castration) of properly managed pets who cannot share in the surgical determination, as well as the less clearly defined but increasingly evident detrimental effects of sex hormone elimination on various organ systems and biological processes.

As you may have noted in one of the nutrition sections of this blog, the highly regarded Dr. Karen Becker again stands up and resolutely addresses her serious concerns about the acute and long term side-effects of spay and neuter procedures, which largely parallel mine. To spay or not to spay, that is the question!

The compromise had become large enough in my mind that I discontinued offering spays for female pets as a routine procedure some years ago and will now only perform them under extraordinary life threatening circumstances where anesthesia and surgery are unquestionably indicated or when medical treatment has demonstrably failed, as is the case with the dreaded toxic pyometra, a massively infected uterus where surgical intervention offers the only chance for survival. Prevention of pyometra later in life is one of several reasons that complete hysterectomies are preemptively performed in healthy dogs. Another rationale for spaying is that the frequency of certain forms of breast cancer is presumed to be reduced if the entire organ is completely removed before the first heat.

Anesthetic and procedural risk factors are considerably lower in healthy males of both species because the far less invasive neuter procedure can often be performed under less profound dissociative anesthetics (deep sedation) with lower risk even in young immature pets; however, potential long term untoward side effects and concerns over the sex hormone issues in neutered males remain unsettled. There is some evidence that long term side effects are unlikely to be as serious in cats as they are in dogs which is a good thing because I for one would be hard pressed to share my home with an intact male cat.

There are rational arguments that support the benefits of spaying and neutering, but it is only within recent years that serious untoward side effects have received more open and objective scientific consideration. Dr. Becker eloquently presents the issue far better than I, and I salute her for directly facing the difficult issue and making harder choices at a much younger age than I did. Listen carefully to what the good doctor says, then be informed and ask questions until you are as sure as you can be before committing your pet to something that sounds as mundane as “it’s only a spay.” If it sounds too easy, then it probably is.

Before leaving you to ponder the thoughts of Dr. Becker and to begin sifting through the fog of spays and neuters, I will share with you a cautionary caveat – a no-nonsense warning if you will – that an eminently respected educator shared with me many years ago: “Beware of unqualified bargains on parachutes, fire extinguishers, and spays.”

Grace, peace, and happy tails,

~ Doc

Click to link Dr. Karen Becker speaking on Spaying and Neutering.

Honest Kitchen dehydrated pet foods

Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on Honest Kitchen dehydrated pet foods

What’s in your best friend’s food bowl?

Dogs and cats are by nature both carnivores and predators – they don’t moo, and they are not cows, sheep or rabbits! Yet, that is often the basis on which we offer them nutrition. Grain based and high carb diets are not in their biological best interests!

We now know that there is very little difference between the DNA sequence of our “domesticated’ friends and that of Gray Wolves and Tigers. Recent experience suggests that we should consider feeding our pals accordingly. The natural ancestral diets of dogs and cats are full of high-quality protein, animal-sourced fatty acids, fiber, nutrients and variety – a far cry from today’s processed pet foods which to often contain inappropriate substrates and undesirable non-human grade flavor enhancers that include by-product animal digests and flavored fat sprays.

Think about changing to a fully balanced grain free diet that contains real unprocessed meat or fish that will better satisfy the tiger or wolf in Kitty or Fido.

Read “The Dog Food Advisors” review of The Honest Kitchen’s pet foods

Click here to link to The Honest Kitchen Website

Why Choose Dehydrated pet foods?

The following links describe Honest Kitchen’s Canine Preference base diet which easily lets you mix your best friend’s favorite cooked or raw meat into an easily stored and nutritionally balanced dehydrated base. Simply add water to the dry base, stir, add fresh meat, then feed Fido.

Adding raw or cooked meat into Honest Kitchen Preference Base Mix

Order Preference at

Dr. Karen Becker on quality pet food ingredients

Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on Dr. Karen Becker on quality pet food ingredients

Dr. Karen Becker is a respected integrative wellness veterinarian expert who has written and lectured extensively on the multiplicity of facts and fallacies that concern the complex topic of pet foods and logical food choices. Dr. Becker’s proactive approach seeks to save pet’s and their peeps from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Most veterinarians in the United States, including myself, are trained early in our careers to be reactive. To often we wait for symptoms to occur, and sometimes treat those symptoms without addressing the root causes early in the game of life.

Below are two of Dr. Becker’s vids which can provide a foundation for logical choices in nutritional management of a dependent pet’s life. Smart choices might be more costly than typical bottom shelf pet diets but they don’t have to be difficult to provide in most instances.

Dr. Becker’s thoughts stand on their own, but I’ll leave you with several alarming assertions for your consideration. Truth or fiction? What’s all this about Animal-Digests and Mystery Meat. Ultimately, in the words of the Moody Blues, you “decide which one is right, and which is an illusion.”

Take care and feed well.

Click to link to Dr. Karen Becker on Quality of Pet Food Ingredients Part 1.

Click to link to Dr. Karen Becker on Quality of Pet Food Ingredients Part 2.

What’s the big deal about vomiting?

Posted by on Mar 22, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on What’s the big deal about vomiting?

I sometimes sense that we underestimate our best friends level of discomfort and distress when they are caught in a cycle of uncontrollable regurgitation or dry retching. Click the link to see a video that details the complex spasmodic reflex action that we too often take lightly:,AAABgEmiWNE~,lc5qUnWkht-0ExFKenYPfqYS1v-CuEtK&bclid=0&bctid=3763496033001

Please set the video player to full screen when the movie frame displays.