April 24, 2008

2 Min Read

Alternative medicine goes to the dogs
Lassie and Rin Tin Tin never had it this good. When they got old, they ached. But today?s canines have owners who are willing to try alternative and complementary medicines to ease their pets? woes. The results of an online poll reported in the December 2004 Dog Fancy magazine showed that, of owners who used alternative therapies with their dogs, 35 percent used massage, 31 percent used herbal remedies, 17 percent used homeopathy, 13 percent used acupuncture and 4 percent used chiropractic.

Tails wag for celebrity swag
At this year?s Sundance Film Festival, celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Glenn Close and Sarah Jessica Parker were treated to expensive gift bags filled with fabulous products: Fendi eyewear, Comptoir Sud Pacifique fragrances, Overland sheepskin gloves and hats, Erno Laszlo skin care products and Breath-A-Licious bones. Breath-A-Licious bones? Leon Rosen, president and chief executive of Dancing Paws, says many of the celebrities who attend the festival have dogs. When the Sundance gift collection committee was looking for items to include in the bags, they selected the breath-freshening bones as one of the hot items of the year.

Old dogs, new tricks
Older dogs fed a diet rich in antioxidants, exercised twice a week, and given toys and other dogs to play with performed better on cognitive tests and were more likely to learn new tricks than inactive dogs fed regular chow. The study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, divided 42 beagles, ages 7 to 11, into four groups. One group got standard care and diet; a second ate dog food fortified with vitamins E and C, vegetables and citrus; a third got exercise and social play but a standard diet; and the fourth got the fortified diet and the exercise and play routine. After two years, the dogs were required to learn a new trick. The results: 100 percent of the dogs in the diet and exercise group, 80 percent in the exercise group and 66 percent in the diet group were able to perform the new task—but only 25 percent in the control group did. And the news may be just as good for the pets? guardians as it is for the animals themselves. Dogs? brains mature much like humans? and are susceptible to age-related declines in learning and memory. The researchers speculate that an enriched diet and a stimulating environment could stave off aging for dogs and their people.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 3/p. 80

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