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The Daily Vet by petMD

The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets.

Holiday Gift Giving – Top 5 Pet Products for 2013

Let’s sing along now to the tune of The Sound of Music’sMy Favorite Things”: Fresh-caught tilapia and air purifiers, goat milk probiotic, and shampoo that inspires. A blood test to determine immune system proteins. These are a few of my favorite things. 


Being a veterinarian who is also involved in pet media, I feel fortunate that I’m frequently introduced to new, unique, and potentially health-benefiting products as they are introduced to the market. Just in time for the holidays, I would like to share my favorite products with which I’ve become familiar this year.


For complete disclosure, none of these companies are compensating me to feature their products in this column. These offerings have a particular synergy with my veterinary practice and have been beneficial to the health of my own dog (Cardiff) or to my patients.


Lucky Dog Cuisine Here Fishy Fishy


lucky dog cuisine, here fishy fishy dog food, fish dog food


Introduced in August 2013, Here Fishy Fishy is a human-grade, whole-food, canine diet that quickly became a favorite of Cardiff and many of my patients.


According to Dr. Elenbaas, “After months of research we finally have a fish recipe that meets our demanding standards. Tender tilapia fillets, brown rice, yogurt, pumpkin and veggies, peas, beans, and even zucchini are complemented by extra virgin olive oil, apples, and dill. It's considered quite a ‘catch of the day’ by canine foodies everywhere.”


I am a fan of the energetic aspects of this food, as the majority of the ingredients fall into the cooling (Yin) spectrum on the Chinese medicine food energy scale. Feeding a diet having cooling elements is beneficial when treating conditions where an excess of heat (Yang) energy exists, including cancer, immune-mediated diseases, infection, and others.


Dr. Janice Elenbaas personally sources the fish for this formula, which lacks common preservatives like sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP). STPP is used to prevent “thaw drip” and provides a glossy sheen to fresh and frozen fish (something we consumers may inadvertently be seeking). Food and Water Watch reports that STPP is a “suspected neurotoxin according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances.” Additionally, “although the FDA considers STPP to be ‘generally recognized as safe’ as a food preservative,  its household and industrial uses — such as in cleaning and sanitizing agents — suggest that exposure can be dangerous in the short-term, particularly if it is inhaled” (which can occur during the cooking process).




air purifier, critterzone


Critterzone is a unique air purification system packing a big particulate-clearing punch into a small package. It easily plugs into any wall outlet and notably improves the quality of your inhalation in any indoor environment.


Just how does this cool product work? 


The CritterZone Air Naturalizer makes energized versions of the natural elements already found in the air. It puts them to work, causing a series of reactions, just like the ones that happen naturally outdoors. These energized elements are given the power to clean up the air and help get rid of odors, allergens, mold, and bacteria.


Although I already maintain a clean home and Cardiff is a pleasant-smelling, non-shedding Welsh Terrier, I notably sensed the positive change within minutes of the Critterzone’s activation.


Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom

probiotic for dogs

Promoting the intestinal and immune system health of my patients is a high priority in my holistic veterinary practice. So I was pleased to learn of a great product from The Honest Kitchen which may benefit the digestive tract of any canine or feline.


Pro Bloom™ is a shelf-stable instant goat’s milk with digestive enzymes & probiotics. Pro Bloom is The Honest Kitchen’s very own formulation of natural goat’s milk plus probiotics and digestive enzymes, designed to nourish and nurture cats and dogs. It’s ideal for growing puppies and general immune support at the gut level. Pro Bloom is human-grade and made in the USA from pasture-raised, free-ranging goat’s milk in the Pacific Northwest. It’s naturally free of pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, and antibiotics. Serve alone as a nourishing drink, pour on kibble for added moisture, or use to hydrate Honest Kitchen food.


This product has been invaluable in Cardiff’s recent recovery from intestinal surgery. When Cardiff showed less interest in eating both before and after his procedure, I syringe fed 1/4 to 1/2 cup of hydrated Pro Bloom to him to provide beneficial bacteria and digestive enzymes. A short time after consuming Pro Bloom, Cardiff was more willing to eat. Thank you, Honest Kitchen!


Dog Fashion Spa Shampoo and Conditioner


natural dog shampoo, chemical free dog shampoo


Dog Fashion Spa’s products have become my go-to shampoo and conditioner for Cardiff’s all-purpose bathing (i.e., when a product addressing a medical need isn’t needed). I'm a big fan of both products, as they are made without any sulfate, paraben, synthetic dye, or GMOs.


If you read my Daily Vet article Have You Been Bathing Your Pet With a Cancer Causing Shampoo?, you’re aware of my eye-opening experience in learning of the carcinogenicity of certain ingredients found in shampoos for pets (and people). The great news about Dog Fashion Spa’s shampoos and conditioners is that none of their ingredients are found on California’s list of Chemicals Known to the State to Cause Cancer or Reproductive Toxicity.


So, feel free to bathe and condition as you see fit with Dog Fashion Spa products.


Vaccicheck Antibody Test Kit


vaccines for dogs, vaccine testing kit, titre testing kit


Do you permit your veterinarian to inject your dog with a distemper combination vaccination (often termed DAPP, DA2PP, or DHPP) whenever you receive a reminder card in the mail that the vaccine “is due”? Doing so is a decision that should be based on your dog’s overall health, the previous vaccination history, and the likelihood of exposure to infectious organisms covered by the vaccine.


As Cardiff has a chronic, immune-mediated disease (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia or IMHA), I seek alternatives to providing further vaccinations in an effort to preserve his health. Instead of giving him a vaccine that he may not even need that could potentially cause his immune system to go haywire and attack his red blood cells, I evaluate Cardiff’s antibody levels for Distemper (CDV), Infectious Hepatitis (ICH), and Parvovirus (CPV) using VacciCheck’s technology.


According to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA):


We should vaccinate against the core diseases no more frequently than every three years. This is often taken to mean that we should vaccinate every three years — but this is not the case. If the dog is already immune to these three core diseases, re-vaccinating will not add any extra immunity. The WSAVA supports the use of titre testing. This is where a small sample of blood is taken from the dog and checked for the presence of circulating antibodies. The presence of circulating antibodies indicates that the dog is immune, and revaccination (with core vaccines) is not required. You may decide to titre test before giving the 12 month booster, as this may show that boosting is unnecessary. One test is called VacciCheck.


So, consult with your veterinarian about the use of VacciCheck to evaluate the immunity of that puppy you just adopted from the rescue, or the senior dog who received vaccinations throughout his lifetime and is now afflicted by a chronic illness (e.g., periodontal disease, arthritis, liver/kidney/thyroid disease, etc.). You can learn more about VacciCheck here.


Have a pet-safe holiday and check out the great options I featured last year in Holiday Gift Giving – Dr. Mahaney's Top Five Pet Products for 2012.


Dr. Patrick Mahaney


Image: Thinkstock


Meet The Vets