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Leaky Gut Demystified

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

“Leaky Gut”, or Dysbiosis, is caused by a bacterial imbalance that leads to inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. The mucosa is a thin layer of cells which line the inside of the intestines. It acts as a barrier to toxins and parasites, as well as a gateway to allow nutrients into the body. When the lining of the intestines is inflamed, the mucosa becomes compromised and allows undigested food particles and other toxins to enter the bloodstream. You can think of the intestine walls as cheesecloth. When it is healthy, the holes are close together and only allow through the smallest particles which are safe for the body. When it is inflamed, these holes become damaged and stretch apart, allowing through larger particles which are harmful to the body.

What causes Leaky Gut?

In today’s dogs and cats, the most common cause of leaky gut is an overuse of antibiotics. This, coupled with vaccines which can further suppress the immune system, the use of corticosteroids or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), highly processed diets, and stress can contribute to the development of the leaky gut.  

What are the symptoms?

So what exactly does leaky gut in your pet look like? Typical symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, or multiple/unresolvable allergic reactions. As the gut makes up more than 70% of your pet’s immune system, leaky gut can also worsen or cause other conditions in the body. These may include:

  • allergies
  • autoimmune diseases
  • weight fluctuations
  • liver, gallbladder and pancreatic disorders
  • bladder inflammation
  • joint pain
  • bad breath
  • certain types of cancer.

How does Leaky Gut occur?

Top: healthy intestinal mucosa Bottom: damaged intestinal mucosa

To better understand how Leaky Gut occurs and how it affects your pet’s overall health, let’s take a closer look at how your pet’s digestive system works once the food has left the stomach. When food enters the small intestine, the pancreas releases digestive enzymes, and the gallbladder releases bile to further break down and digest food. This chemical digestion process continues in the small intestine, where bacteria will further break down the food into useable particles. Once the food is adequately broken down, the membranes of the intestinal mucosa absorb the smaller, simple nutrients. The remaining food is either further digested and absorbed or moves into the large intestine where it is passed as feces. For this complex process to work efficiently, the environment of the digestive tract must be healthy and well-functioning. In cases of Leaky Gut, where gut bacteria become imbalanced, the process of digestion is altered. The intestinal mucosa becomes inflamed and begins to leak larger, undigested food particles into the bloodstream. This sets off a string of events in the body, causing the liver to work overtime to screen out these particles. If the liver cannot keep up to this load, pathogens or “foreign invaders” will begin to accumulate in the body. The immune system is then triggered to fight these “invaders”, producing antibodies against these substances. This is what sets the stage for the occurrence of one or more of the symptoms described above. Often times, dogs with multiple allergies or unresolvable allergies are suffering from Leaky Gut, as the body begins to recognize food as its enemy since nutrients are not being adequately digested before entering their bloodstream.

What can we do to help heal a Leaky Gut?

Adored Beast Leaky Gut Protocol

Adored Beast Leaky Gut Protocol

A healing program can be customized for each animal based on their conditions and symptoms, and any underlying allergies or sensitivities. We offer a 5-step regimen that covers all the bases, but you can build your own to suit your pet’s needs. Supplements which have been found to be useful include:

  • probiotics and digestive enzymes to restore healthy guttural flora (the good bacteria)
  • natural anti-inflammatories to soothe the gut
    NaturPet Immuno Boost

    NaturPet Immuno Boost

  • herbal supplements to boost the immune system, support the digestive organs, and add mucilage which coats the intestines and helps repair the damaged mucosa 



Adored Beast Gut Soothe

Adored Beast Gut Soothe


In general, removing highly processed, high-stress foods from your pet’s diet in favor of species-appropriate, low-stress foods, plus appropriate supplements to address inflammation and other digestive symptoms will get your pet on the road to recovery and help maintain a healthy digestive system.

The “High Protein” Myth

The High Protein Myth

 We often have clients whose dog or cat has an ailment such as kidney disease, which requires them to be on a low protein diet. Often, they have been advised by their veterinarian to feed a specially formulated kibble that is low in protein. This is because veterinarians calculate protein content based on the dry matter of the food. Meaning if we were measure the dry content of a meat such as beef, it would be considered high protein. However, our purpose with this blog is to explain why this is not the case. Even those without sick pets are often mislead into thinking that a raw food diet could cause renal dysfunction in the long term. It almost seems like common knowledge to assume that raw meat is high protein. If you were trying to get more protein in your diet, your first thought would probably be to eat more meat (if you are not a vegetarian/vegan of course). However, there is much more to meat than just protein. Unfortunately, the protein myth is a grave misconception and one that should be addressed for the health of our pets.


Moisture – The Lurking Variable

When breaking down the components of any pet food whether it be raw, canned or kibble, we often look for the nutritional contents such as protein, fat and fibre. The one component often missed is the foods moisture content. Moisture is not a nutrient so why is it even important? Moisture is what balances out all the dry matter of food. Cats and dogs need moisture in their diet and it is absolutely essential for renal health. Water helps flush the kidneys and allows them to properly eliminate wastes from the body. Pets who do not get adequate water from their food must drink more to compensate. The amount of water consumed by healthy adult dogs and cats is about 2.5 times the amount of dry matter consumed in food. Therefore, you can see why it is unlikely a dog or especially a cat would be getting enough water without it being consumed with their food.


Because kibble has very little moisture in it, there is nothing to balance out the protein in the food. This puts an extreme amount of pressure on the liver and kidneys to process this dry food without water as filtration. Pets who are fed a kibble diet long term may be more prone to developing kidney dysfunction later in life.


Canned Food

By looking at the nutritional breakdown of most canned food, you can see that the amount of protein is lower than that of kibble. This is because canned food has moisture added to balance out the protein – a much better option than kibble!



Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Raw Foods

Many people will choose this route when they want to feed their pet raw but are a little squeamish or are looking for convenience. If you look at the nutritional information for a bag of freeze-dried or dehydrated food, you will see that the protein content is quite high. It is important to keep in mind however that this is based on the dry matter and it is always recommended that you add quite a bit of water to this food. After rehydration, the relative amount of protein goes way down.


Raw food

Raw meat, bones and organs will always be the best choice for your pet – after all it is what nature intended. If you read a package of raw food for pets, you will notice that the protein content is often much lower than that of a kibble or other dried food. While many people believe raw meat is high in protein, it is important to remember that raw meat also contains an extremely high amount of moisture to balance out any protein.



As you can see, from breaking down some of the most popular types of pet foods, raw frozen food comes in as having the least amount of protein. The most important fact to take from this blog is that when comparing pet foods, the most important factor that comes into play is the moisture content. The higher the moisture content, the lower relative protein content and vise versa. Moisture is essential for proper filtration and elimination of wastes in the body and inadequate moisture is the leading cause of renal dysfunction in cats and dogs. So whatever you choose to feed your pet, make sure they are getting plenty of water in their diet!


For more information, please contact or visit us in store today as we are always happy to help!

Keeping Your Dogs Teeth Healthy

Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy

Does your dog have stinky breath or yellow plaque on their teeth? Or maybe your dog has great teeth and you are just looking to prevent any dental problems from happening. Either way, there is no doubt that a healthy mouth is essential for a healthy dog. Chewing is the first step in the process of digestion and issues like plaque and gingivitis can cause issues such as pain and even turn your dog off of eating altogether. In this blog, we will explain what a healthy canine mouth should look like as well as signs of an unhealthy mouth. We will also discuss preventative measures that should be taken starting early on in life, as well as treatment options for dogs who already have dental issuesImage result for dog smiling teeth


Image result for healthy teeth dog

A healthy canine mouth. Pink gums with no swelling or inflammation. White teeth without plaque build up.

Your dog’s teeth should be a pearly white color and have little to no deposits of plaque on them. The gums should be pink, not red, inflamed or swollen, and their breath should have no distinct odor. If your dog’s teeth have a layer of plaque, swollen gums, and bad breath, it is likely their dental health is already compromised, However, there are a number of treatment options followed by preventative measures that can be used to prevent the problem from coming back. Be aware of any changes to your dog’s teeth or eating habits. If your dog is hesitant toward eating or chewing a bone or a toy, take a look inside their mouth. Gingivitis (inflamed gums) and broken teeth can cause pain while chewing and should be addressed immediately before discomfort and refusal to eat progress.

Image result for gum disease in dogs

The stages of periodontal disease in dogs


As with most ailments, prevention is much easier than treating the issue after it has already progressed. It is important to start prevention as early as possible – as soon as a puppy is weaned of his mother and is eating solid food, you should start offering bones and chews.


Bones are one of the most natural and healthy ways to keep your dog’s teeth clean- in fact, we like to call them “nature’s toothbrush”. There are a few different types of bones and each one will provide a different benefit. Feed your dog as much variety asImage result for lamb necks possible to reap all the benefits! For more information on bones, check out our blog here!

  • Meaty Bones & Poultry Necks – act as floss! As your dog rips and tears through the meat, the fibers are pulled through his teeth, removing any plaque or food particles.
  • Knuckles and Ribs – These bones generally have less meat on them and plaque will be scraped off as they chew. Knuckles and ribs are high in calcium and phosphorus which promote strong teeth.Bone Special
  • Marrow Bones – These bones are rich and the tasty marrow can help entice picky chewers. Marrow bones should be fed in moderation due to their higher fat content.

If your dog isn’t much of a chewer, or you want to add something more to their dental routine, there are a few supplements that work amazingly well!

  • CheesRelated imagee enzyme: One supplement we have seen much success with is a cheese enzyme called DentaTreat. Denta Treat is composed of a special blend of dental-active natural cheeses, minerals, and probiotics that encourage the chemical breakdown of plaque-causing bacteria. Most dogs find this product very tasty, making it a great alternative to other dog toothpaste.
  • Plaque-Off: Plaque off is a product made from seaweed that can be PlaqueOffadded to your dog’s food. It is activated by your dog’s saliva and works to break down the bacterial biofilm that forms on the teeth and gums.
  • Toothpaste and Brushing: Brushing your dog’s teeth with doggy toothpaste is another option that mechanically removes plaque as well as chemically breaks down plaque due to ingredients in the Image result for olie naturals new beginningstoothpaste.
  • Probiotics: Many natural forms of probiotics like Olie’s New Beginnings, tripe, and goat’s milk contain enzymes. Enzymes assist in the breakdown of bad bacteria and therefore inhibit plaque accumulation. Probiotics also boost your dog’s overall immune system. Having a strong immune system is important for fighting off bacteria and infection.


If your dog already has advanced plaque or gingivitis, you may wish to treat the issue and then follow with the preventative measures previously discussed.

A procedure such as Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning is a safe and non-invasive option to remove excess plaque. You can think of it much like the dental cleanings humans have every 6 months.

For more advanced issues or teeth that may need to be removed, a conventional veterinary dental cleaning may be necessary. In this case, your dog will be put under anesthesia for deepRelated imageer cleaning.

Discuss with your veterinarian to find the best option for your dog’s individual circumstances. Dental health is very simple to maintain as long as preventative measures are started early in life. Of course, diet plays a very important role in discouraging the accumulation of plaque-causing bacteria. Therefore a species appropriate raw diet is acidic and makes for an inhospitable environment for bacteria to multiply. This, in turn, helps prevent plaque from forming. To make it as simple as possible: feed your dog a healthy diet and give him a variety of bones to chew on a regular basis

Has Your Dog’s Appetite Increased This Winter?

Has Your Dog’s Appetite Increased This Winter?

Many pet owners have been reporting that their dogs have been begging for food more often than normal this winter and it seems as though their normal daily food intake does not suffice. Although this may seem like something is wrong, it is likely the weather that is to blame.

This winter in Vancouver we were hit with what some have called ‘snowmageddon’ – weeks of snow and below freezing temperatures; a weather pattern that we Vancouverites have not seen in years. The plummeting temperatures can create physiological changes in our pets that cause changes in behavior such as appetite.

 Image result for hungry dog




Why Exactly Does This Happen?

There are some theories surrounding the phenomenon of why dogs may eat more food in the winter, including evolutionary and psychological explanations, as well as physical demands.

From the evolutionary perspective, it is scientifically proven that modern canines take after wolves. In the winter, wolves need to hunt
and consume as much as they can when food is available as food is often scarce and it is essential that they keep a layer of fat on their bodies for warmth. There is some debate surrounding this theory since most dogs today are kept in climate controlled homes and do not have to hunt for food. However, there is no doubt that dogs are direct descendants of wolves and therefore can have some remnants of those same instinctual traits.

From the physiological point of view, it has been proven that dogs have instincts that prepare them for the start of winter. As the days become shorter, hormonal signals are sent to your dog’s brain altering their metabolism and triggering them to eat more. This is especially important for dogs that live in colder climates, as they need more calories to make up for body heat lost due to shivering. In fact, studies have shown that dogs who live in colder climates require 2-3 times more food than dogs living in a more moderate climate. Pets that do not receive this bigger quantity of food are likely to lose weight. Because Vancouver is generally a mild climate, our dogs normally don’t exhibit these changes, but do to the fact that Vancouver experienced an untypically cold winter, many pet owners have noticed a change in appetite in their dogs.



What Does This Mean For Your Dog?

Use this guide to determine if your dog is a healthy weight

If you notice your dog is begging or seems unsatisfied with his daily portion of food, try increasing it by a little. Even adding in some low calorie/ low fat, filling foods could help curb begging without your dog gaining weight. If your dog seems happier and stays at a healthy weight, keep up the good work! It is all about finding the right balance – try to find the right amount of food to keep your dog from begging consistently without him gaining too much weight. Check out the handy guide to the right to determine if your dog is at an ideal weight.


Some low fat food and treat options for a dog at a healthy weight:

Image result for raw meaty bones

Some higher fat food options for a dog would could gain some weight:


Of course, it is important to watch for signs of illness that may present with symptoms similar to this. If you have increased your dog’s food and he continues to lose weight, it is important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out any possible ailments. Just like us humans seem to crave comfort foods in the winter months, it is not uncommon for the dietary needs of your dog to change too!

Rabies Vaccine and How it Harms Your Dog

Very rarely will we take another’s work and re-blog, but this veterinarian has nailed rabies vaccinations on the head. When it comes to the rabies vaccine we have plenty to say, however this time we will let a veterinarian take the reigns.

“There are countless ways rabies vaccination can harm your dog – often permanently. I’m going to tell you about just 65 of those ways below.2738585_orig

As a holistic veterinarian, our outdated rabies vaccination laws are one of the things that upset me the most. All over the US and in most of Canada, the law requires you to vaccinate your dog against rabies every three years. In most US states your dog’s first rabies vaccine must be a one year shot, with revaccination every three years after that.

None of these laws take into account the real duration of immunity of rabies vaccines, Studies by Ronald Schultz PhD show that rabies vaccines protect for a minimum of 7 years – and probably for the life of the animal.

And neither do the thousands of veterinarians in the US who are still vaccinating annually for rabies. They do this despite the fact that annual vaccination is neither required by law nor recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Guidelines.

Every Vaccination Increases The Risk

Dog owners often accept the one-year rabies vaccine because it’s cheaper, and because they don’t know two important things:

  • The one-year rabies vaccine is identical to the three-year rabies vaccine, just labeled differently.
  • The rabies vaccine can harm your dog in many different ways. Every vaccination increases the risk of an adverse vaccine reaction happening to your dog.

And that’s what I want to tell you about.

In my years of practice, I’ve witnessed all of the rabies vaccine reactions I’ve listed below.

dog vaccination with a big blue Syringe

Damage Can Be Immediate Or Months Later

Most conventional vets don’t recognize rabies vaccine damage unless your dog has an instant reaction while he’s still in the clinic.

But the fact is, one little vaccine can cause not only immediate illness but long term, dangerous, chronic disease that can change your dog’s life forever.

Vaccine reactions are more likely to happen when your dog gets multiple vaccines at once; and small dogs are more likely to suffer from ill effects because they receive the same dose as big dogs.

Rabies Vaccination Is Not Safe

I’ve listed 65 ways the rabies vaccine can harm your dog. It’s not an exhaustive list … but I’ve tried to give you a picture of the risks you take when you vaccinate your dog for rabies.rabies-dnm3

Most conventional vets will tell you that rabies vaccination is very safe and unlikely to
cause any side effects. Holistic vets, myself included, will tell you a very different story. We’ve learned to recognize the shocking damage that rabies vaccination causes in so many pets.

I’ve divided common rabies vaccine reactions into three different categories.

Acute Problems

Acute reactions can happen immediately after the rabies vaccine or within a few days. Conventional vets are more likely to recognize acute (vs chronic) reactions as being linked to the rabies vaccine.

These acute reactions aren’t necessarily limited to the rabies vaccine but can happen with any shots.

  • Vomiting
  • Facial swelling.
  • Injection site swelling or lump.
  • Lethargy.
  • Urticaria (hives).
  • Circulatory shock.
  • Injection site pain.
  • Pruritus (itching).
  • Injection site alopecia (hair loss).
  • Death.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Hypersensitivity.
  • Fever.
  • Anaphylaxis (which can kill your dog in minutes).
  • Ataxia (loss of balance/coordination).
  • Lameness
  • General signs of pain.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Injection site scab or crust.
  • Muscle tremor.
  • Seizures (these can be immediate upon vaccination but can also occur in 7 to 9 days which is when the rabies antibodies develop).
  • Tumor at the injection site (this can happen within as little as 72 hours).
  • Sudden behavior changes such as aggression, fear or anxiety can also happen acutely, within hours or days of rabies vaccination.
  • Immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). This disease can also become chronic.

Chronic Problems

Many chronic diseases in dogs can be triggered by the rabies vaccine’s damaging effect on your dog’s immune system and neurological system. The rabies virus itself is a carcinogen. The toxic ingredients in vaccines such as aluminum and mercury can also contribute to cancer and another chronic disease. Many of the chronic diseases I’ve listed here can be caused by any vaccine, not just rabies.


  • Fibrocarcinomas at the injection site. A lot of people know about this problem in cats (that’s why vets often vaccinate cats in the tail, so it can easily be amputated) but it’s just as common in dogs. Fibrocarcinomas can appear in places other than the injection site because the aluminum in the vaccine is carried away by macrophages (immune system cells that detect, eat and destroy damaged cells and other foreign substances).
  • Other cancers, such as spindle cell cancers, mast cell cancers, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, lymphoma. Even benign tumors like lipomas, warts and other growths can grow larger or become malignant after rabies vaccination, especially if your dog is taking steroid drugs.
  • Chronic digestive issues such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, colitis or chronic diarrhea. Inflammation anywhere in the body, including in the digestive tract, is aggravated by the rabies vaccine.
  • Seizures, epilepsy and granulomatuous meningioencephalitis (GME).
  • Food, environmental and inhalant allergies. These are extremely common chronic problems in dogs. Allergies are improper immune responses and vaccination can damage your dog’s immune system. The aluminum in vaccines also causes an up-regulation of IgE, which is the allergy immunoglobulin.
  • Skin issues. There are many different types of skin issues, including dermatitis, yeast, alopecia (hair loss), hives, rashes, itchy wrists and ankles (where a lot of dogs chew themselves), abscesses, ear and eye infections and anal gland problems. Skin conditions are never “just skin issues” but are a manifestation of deeper underlying disease. Vaccination can cause allergic reactions because cells in the body called Langerhan cells are constantly scouting for antigen (which the rabies virus is full of). When Langerhan cells detect these foreign invaders (like bacteria or viruses), the body then sends out inflammatory cells to fight off the attacker by creating an allergic reaction.
  • Muscle weakness or atrophy, including wasting diseases like degenerative myelopathy and Guillain Barré The rabies vaccine causes a neuro-inflammatory reaction, resulting in degeneration of the tissues.
  • Demyelination (common in German Shepherds) – an autoimmune disease.
  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, autoimmune thyroiditis.
  • Metabolic diseases like diabetes, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease or pancreatitis.

Chronic Rabies-Specific Problems

Often, rabies vaccination can cause the body to mimic the disease it was intended to prevent. Homeopaths call this rabies miasm. Rabies miasm is deep-rooted disease often caused by rabies vaccination but it can also be passed down through generations and cause illness even in unvaccinated dogs.

Rabies miasm symptoms are very common in dogs. But most veterinarians and dog owners don’t recognize the connection between rabies vaccination and some of these symptoms. You may think it’s cute or funny when your dog chases flies around the house or chases water from the hose. But it’s not really … it’s a common symptom of rabies vaccine damage.

Many of these problems are behavioral because the rabies virus travels to the amygdala of the brain, and so does the virus in the vaccines, causing neurological damage.

  • Hypersensitivity of all senses – sensitivity to sound, movement, touch.
  • Rage, agitation, violence, ferocity, sudden attacks, unprovoked attacks, desire to kill … behaviors you might expect to see in a dog infected with rabies.
  • Irrational fears, timidity, separation anxiety, suspicious behavior.
  • Inappropriate responses to water – either extreme fear or great desire. This is known as hydrophobia, which is another term for rabies.
  • Obsessive/compulsive behaviors – tail chasing, fly biting, chasing balls, chasing light reflected off a window or mirror.
  • Excessive focal licking or licking of genitalia.
  • Excessive sexual drive. Some people interpret chronic humping as being a dominance behavior, but it’s more likely a rabies vaccination response.
  • Constant or unwarranted erections, even in neutered males.
  • Frequent or spasmodic sneezing, spasms in the jaws, choking, gagging, or coughing when swallowing liquids, reverse sneezing and laryngeal spasms.
  • Involuntary urination.
  • Sensation of flea bites, violent itching with no obvious causation.
  • Convulsions, especially from the sight of running water or shiny objects.
  • Aimless wandering and vocalization.
  • Restlessness, uneasiness, apprehensiveness and developing aggressive behavior, especially toward strangers.
  • Your normally affectionate dog may hide away and shun company.
  • Your normally independent dogmay become unusually attentive and affectionate.
  • Desire to roam and travel away from home for long distances.
  • Resistance to being restrained, chewing viciously on leashes, metal chains or anything that confines him (even breaking through glass windows or bending the bars of a crate or kennel).
  • Self biting … inflicting severe bite wounds on himself.
  • Strange cries and hoarse howls (due to partial paralysis of the vocal cords).
  • No interest in food or ravenous hunger.
  • Unable to swallow because of paralysis of swallowing muscles.
  • Eyes staring with dilated pupils.
  • Unable to close the eyes; cornea becomes dry and dull.
  • Hanging down of the lower jaw.
  • Pica – eating inappropriate objects such as wood, stones or his own feces.
  • Destruction of blankets, towels, clothing.
  • Convulsive seizures, tied to lunarpatterns.
  • Muscular in-coordination.
  • Inflammation of the heart muscle; disturbed heart function, irregular rhythm, heart rate too slow or too fast; heart failure.

Again, this is not a complete list. But you can see from my experience and observations that rabies vaccination is not safe for your dog and you should minimize the number of shots your dog

What You Can Do

Don’t give your dogs more rabies shots than he needs to comply with the law. Under current laws, that means every three years.
Research your local laws on rabies vaccination. There are very few places that’ll accept rabies titers instead of vaccination. Let’s advocate for all states and provinces to accept titers in lieu of repetitive vaccinations. Contact the Rabies Challenge Fund for advice on how to get the laws changed in your state.
If you want to get a rabies titer, I encourage you to submit the blood through Hemopet, because they take the extra step of collecting the data before sending the titers out to rabies certified laboratories such as those at Kansas State University and Cornell University.
Some states allow medical exemptions for health reasons (no unhealthy dog should EVER be vaccinated). Check out the Rabies Challenge Fund for a list of state medical exemptions and ask your vet to write you an exemption.
And please support the Rabies Challenge Fund’s work so that one day, the law will allow dogs’ rabies vaccinations every five years, and eventually every seven years.
Final Thoughts
When I became a veterinarian I took an Veterinarian’s Oath to “use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering […] and the advancement of medical knowledge.”

I find the outdated rabies laws to be a breach of the Oath I took and not in keeping with protection of animal health or promotion of public health. I personally see these outdated, unscientific rabies laws as a clear defiance of scientific knowledge and skills. They endanger society by causing derangement of the immune systems of the animals we share our lives with.

Author: Patricia Jordan DVM from Dogs Naturally Magazine