Garlic has a long history of use dating back to Egypt in 3200 BC. Its technically an onion which we know to be toxic to dogs but garlic is a mild onion with lower amounts of n-propyl disulphide, the ingredient that causes damage to red blood cells.

The beneficial properties of garlic as an antioxidant, immune booster, and its antimicrobial properties functioning as a natural antibiotic are believed to be the same for dogs as for humans with the additional benefit of garlic making the dog less attractive to fleas.

Its important to use fresh garlic as the ingredient allicin, converted from alliin when garlic is chopped, is unstable and loses effectiveness with cooking and extended exposure to the atmosphere. The other ingredient in garlic is ajeone.

The general consensus, with regard to how much to feed, seems to be 1/2 to 1 small clove per 20lbs per day. I generally give Eti 1/3 of a small clove 2 or 3 times a week.

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Grass Eating

Ever wondered why your dogs eat grass? A recent post on a canine nutrition list that I read elicited this interesting response from Mary Strauss:

"I think dogs eat grass for two reasons: because they like it, or because their stomachs are upset. In my experience, the way that they eat it and how they act can help to differentiate between the two.

My dogs enjoy eating grass, especially fresh spring grass. When eating for enjoyment, they take time to pick out the best strands and are only interested in certain types of grass.

When they aren't feeling well, they grab at tufts of grass indiscriminately and sometimes frantically. Their tummies are often rumbly and they will sometimes vomit shortly afterwards. They usually have less appetite when this happens.

I have also previously read in Cindy Engel's "Wild Health", one of my favorite books, that:

"Grass seems to have two effects one is emetic (stimulating regurgitation or vomiting), the other, a purgative scour (ridding the body of worms farther down the intestine)...Herbalist Maurice Messegue claims that some dog species discriminate between different grasses for different medicinal functions, using hairy grass for emetics and couch grass as a purgative."

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Twice Bitten

It's probably inevitable that your dog will encounter some incident with another dog, either at a dog run, at home with multiple dogs or in Eti's case at a friendly meetup with other French Bulldogs. He had a minor puncture that drew blood but with little consequence from an unfriendly mutt at a dog run but his second run in at the previously mentioned meetup was a more serious matter. There were so many people and dogs at that particular meetup that I didn't even see or hear the incident and only noticed when I got home that he had a small puncture wound between his shoulders with the area around it aggravated to the size of a quarter.

It seemed to take a surprisingly long time to heal, and I may have contributed to this by cleaning it regularly with Hydrogen Peroxide, as usually advised by most articles about canine first aid. I have subsequently learned that hydrogen peroxide is in fact bad for healthy skin and mild soapy solution or sterile saline solution are much better alternatives.

I was reminded of this subject when reading this recent article about dog inflicted injuries. I was surprised to learn that 'When in predatory mode, dogs exert maximum, super-canid force in dispatching their prey. The key is to grab (with the sharp, canine teeth) and then shake the prey to enhance their crushing ability through the momentum of a brisk snap of the neck and shoulder muscles. The result is a devastating amount of tissue injury due to compression distributed over a wide area of tissue.'

Even more disconcerting, and this would be an issue if say the attacker was a considerably larger dog : 'Some animal behaviorists feel that a so-called prey response is common to small mammals and relevant to how we treat them. In this theory, prey will often respond to an overwhelming attack with a stress hormone-mediated, quick-death mechanism intended to limit the time of suffering. Complete circulatory shutdown (circulatory shock) often rapidly ensues.'

This really reinforces the importance to be mindful at dog runs of whats going on given that the behavior of another dog can be completely unpredictable. I have found that the presence of an obnoxiously dominant dog, even an overly submissive one can create a volatile situation where trouble can happen and is a good excuse to leave the dog run.

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'Herbs can serve as tonics and builders that strengthen organs, glands and tissues in specific parts of the body'.

Herbs for Dogs and Cats By Estelle Hummel.

There is very interesting book called 'Wild Health' by Cindy Engels that is an intriguing study into why animals do certain things like rolling and grass eating and actively seeking medicinal plants to eat. I particularly like the idea of a broad range of nutritional sources and the occasional use of herbs as medicinal food, as in the quote above, to serve as tonics. I have a few pots of herbs growing on the kitchen window sill and just as I occasionally use them myself I also sometimes chop up a few leaves for Eti.

Oregano is known for boosting immunity and having antioxidant properties. Eti's breakfast this morning, ground beef (with vegetables), beef liver, oregano, 1/4 clove garlic.

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