Tag: dogs

6 Fun and Healthy Activities to Do with Your Dog in the City

Do you or your dog need a quick mental boost? Then spend some time outside doing activities together. You’ll both benefit from being active outside, feeling healthy, and interacting with other people.

You don’t need to live in the countryside to feel active outside and do healthy exercises together. City dwellers and their pooches have many options available to them.

  1. Dog Parks

Many cities have dog parks which allow dogs to either roam free or ramble around on-leash. With many interesting smells to explore, your pet will love to walk, run, or play in the park with you.

Off-leash parks are perfect for playing ball or Frisbee. Before you buy a disk, though, make sure your dog is fit enough to play Frisbee. Since it involves a lot of jumping, this activity may not be ideal for older dogs. Should you opt for running or playing Frisbee, always increase the exercise level gradually for newly active dogs.

  1. Urban Hiking

There are many sights to see in the city, whether you choose the concrete or green areas, and what better way to enjoy it than with man’s best friend. Grab a local map and mark off a path you’ve never traveled before. Go on a fun adventure with your dog!

  1. Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails

Many cities have hiking trails or wooded areas that allow four-legged hikers. Connect with your pup and nature at the same time, soaking in the beautiful views, fresh air, and lush green beauty. Hiking with your dog is like food for the soul.

  1. Dog Beaches

If you live in a city next to the ocean or a lake, make sure you find out whether there are any doggie beaches nearby. Some beaches will camp off a specific area for dog lovers and their pets to play, either on- or off-leash.

On warm days, swimming is an ideal pastime. Swimming is a fun and low-impact exercise – perfect for dogs with arthritis or recovering from injuries. Make sure you pack sunscreen, for yourself, and a life jacket for your dog, and stay hydrated.

Not all dogs like swimming. Don’t force your dog to swim and always go into the water with him. It’s more fun swimming together.

  1. Running or Cycling with Your Dog

If your dog is fit enough, you can teach him or her to run alongside you or your bike. There are special leash hooks available that can be attached to the bicycle frame, allowing your pup to keep close without the leash getting entangled in the spokes or pedals.

  1. Winter Activities

Don’t let winter slow you down. Go for a walk outside if the weather permits – most larger dogs love the snow. Indoor options include:

  • Running on a treadmill. Go at a slow pace at first to help your dog get familiar with the strange machine. Before long, he’ll love to run with you.
  • Indoor games, such as playing hide and seek, can keep your furry friend busy and active for a while.
  • Running up your building’s stairway is a great way to stay in shape. First, start at a slow pace and increase your speed over time. Don’t run down the stairs as it can be heavy on the knees and easy for dogs to slip and fall.

Safety Measures When Taking Your Dog on an Urban Excursion

Make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect your pup and the people and animals you get in contact with when going out:

  • Make sure you know how to control your dog. If he gets into a fight, will you be able to break up the fight with your voice commands? If not, make sure you and your dog go for training to learn the essential skills.
  • Always clean up after your dog. There’s nothing worse than stepping into poo unsuspectingly when walking in the park.
  • Make sure you always have a leash handy, even if you’re at a park that allows free roaming. You never know when you might need it.
  • Keep you and your dog hydrated and remember that you may need to drink more water than usual on hot days and when you’re active.
  • Research the dog-friendly area before you visit and make sure you understand the rules of the urban area. Always follow the regulations – that way we can keep dog-friendly areas open.

Who said being healthy and active can’t be fun? Scout out your local dog-friendly areas so you and your pet can get some fun, active time together.

About the Author

Payal Bhandari M.D. is a holistic family physician at her practice, Advanced Health. She provides personalized, comprehensive primary care to families and individuals of all ages in San Francisco since 2005. Her integrative style blends the best in western and eastern medicine to effectively transform health.

Benefits of Coconut Oil for Your Dog and Cat

Guest Post By Payal Bhandari M.D.

There’s been a lot of buzz about the health benefits of coconut oil lately. It’s not just a marketing stunt; over 1,500 studies support this trend. But as a pet owner you may wonder: is it really healthy for my pet, too? Absolutely! As long as you don’t overdo it, your pets can also reap the benefits of this amazing fruit.

Coconut oil contains more than 85% Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which are easy for the body to burn and convert into energy. This plant-based oil doesn’t contain any cholesterol, and helps us maintain a healthy weight.

Coconut Oil Benefits

Here is a list of some of the benefits your pet can gain from eating coconut oil:

  • Coconut oil is good for the digestive system. It’s easy to digest, increases the absorption of nutrients, promotes the growth of healthy bugs, successfully treats inflammatory bowel disease, and even improves bad breath.
  • Coconut oil successfully treats skin allergies and irritations while it soothes wounds and helps them heal quickly. We all know pets like to lick their wounds, which can be a problem when ingesting some salves, but with coconut oil, there is no risk.
  • If your pet suffers from arthritis or ligament problems, coconut oil can help soothe the pain.
  • Coconut oil can give your pet a healthy skin and coat. Apply coconut oil directly to the coat and skin, let it absorb for five minutes, and then rinse. This will leave the coat sleek, soft, and glossy. This treatment also minimizes odor.
  • The MCTs in coconut oil support weight loss, improve metabolism, and help to burn fat. MCTs also balance insulin levels which can prevent and control diabetes.
  • Coconut oil is a natural energy booster. The quick acting MCFA fats in coconut oil increase a pet’s energy level.
  • Coconut oil can prevent infections by fighting against parasites, bacteria, and fungi.

How Much Coconut Oil Does My Pet Need?

It will take some time for your pet’s body to adjust to coconut oil, so start slowly and build the dosage up over two to three weeks. If you give your pet too much coconut oil, it will cause diarrhea and a greasy stool. If you see that happen, cut back on the dosage.

Suggested dosage for your dog: Start your small dog or puppy off with ¼ teaspoon per day, and 1 teaspoon for larger dogs. The optimal dose is 1 teaspoon of coconut oil daily for every 10 pounds of weight.

Suggested dosage for your cat: To start with, feed your kitten ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil per day. An adult cat can start with a ½ teaspoon. The optimal dosage is 1 teaspoon for a kitten, and between 1 and 3 teaspoons for an adult cat.

Why not try coconut oil out for your pets? Your pets will thank you when they feel more energetic and have the sleekest coats on the block.

About the Author
Payal Bhandari M.D. is a holistic family physician at her practice, Advanced Health. She provides personalized, comprehensive primary care to families and individuals of all ages in San Francisco since 2005. Her integrative style blends the best in western and eastern medicine to effectively transform health.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon for You and Dog

Guest Post By Payal Bhandari M.D.

Don’t you just love the smell of cinnamon? Whether you add it to your cappuccino, sprinkle on top of rice pudding, or devour a cinnamon bun, the fragrance and taste of cinnamon are irresistible. Not only does it smell and taste great, but there are also many health benefits to eating cinnamon for both you and your pet. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of your dog’s food so he can enjoy the perks too.

Cinnamon comes from a variety of evergreen trees that are part of the Cinnamomum family, of which the Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon) and Cinnamomum cassia (Cassia) are the most common. The inner layer of the bark is dried and rolled into sticks from where it can further be grounded into a powder. Cinnamon trees are grown in Sri Lanka (where 80-90% of the world’s cinnamon is produced), Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Burma, Brazil, and India.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been used as a spice, as well as for medicinal purposes, for thousands of years. The best part is that it does not taste like medicine! Here is what it can do for you and your pet if consumed on a daily basis:

  1. Cinnamon regulates the blood sugar and reduces the body’s insulin resistance. This is particularly beneficial to people with diabetes and overweight dogs.
  2. Cinnamon has antifungal properties. It treats respiratory tract infections that are caused by fungi, and can combat Candida Albicans, the fungus that causes yeast infection. You may not know this, but dogs with allergies are prone to yeast infections.
  3. The antibacterial properties of cinnamon slow down spoilage of food and inhibit the growth of certain dangerous bacteria like E.Coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.
  4. Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory, fights infection, and repair tissue damage. Half a teaspoon cinnamon and one tablespoon of honey mixed with warm water can do wonders for senior dogs and older people, as well as individuals suffering from conditions such as arthritis.
  5. Cinnamon can reduce the risk of heart disease. It lowers the blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, which are some of the factors causing heart disease. Recent studies have shown it can also slow the growth of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
  6. Cinnamon is extremely helpful in fighting gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, flatulence, and diarrhea.
  7. The abundance of antioxidants found in cinnamon, such as polyphenols, can protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
  8. Early studies have shown that cinnamon protects neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels, and improves motor function. This is especially good news for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The Two Types of Cinnamon

There are two types of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia. Ceylon is often called “true” cinnamon and is lighter, healthier, and more expensive. Cassia cinnamon is the most common variety found in supermarkets and is also cheaper. Cassia contains a compound called “coumarin,” which can be harmful in large doses.

How Much Is Enough?

A study carried out in Norway suggests the maximum Tolerable Daily Intake of coumarin is 0.07mg per kg of body weight, which translates to about 5-6mg for an adult person, 0.4mg for a small dog, and 2mg for a big dog per day. In their 2006 publication, The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BFR) estimated that 1kg of cassia cinnamon contains between 2.1g-4.4g of coumarin. If converted to a single teaspoon of cassia cinnamon powder, it could contain between 5.8-12.1mg of coumarin. This is much higher than the Tolerable Daily Intake for a smaller individual, as well as dogs.

If you can, stick to Ceylon cinnamon; otherwise, make sure you don’t overdo it.

About the Author
Payal Bhandari M.D. is a holistic family physician at her practice, Advanced Health. She provides personalized, comprehensive primary care to families and individuals of all ages in San Francisco since 2005. Her integrative style blends the best in western and eastern medicine to effectively transform health.