PAUSE… AND CHECK OUT THESE 5 PET HEALTH RESOURCES

Having recently been through a health crisis of sorts with one of our beloved cats, it really brought home the importance of being prepared to handle pet health concerns. For us, flare-ups of the condition would typically (of course) occur after hours, or on a Sunday or public holiday, meaning access to our regular vet was unavailable.

So the experience also highlighted how much information (and misinformation) there is on the web… and just how easy it can be for overwhelm to set in. Overwhelm can take us away from our natural capabilities to handle unexpected situations. This is why it is so important to acknowledge that we can always access and empower ourselves with information.

Accessing valid online material (combined with the care, advice and recommended treatments from your regular or emergency veterinary professional) can aid understanding; help us feel confident in asking the more technical questions about our animals illness and introduce us to new tools we can access/ implement to further support our pets wellbeing.

The 5 American websites listed below contain wonderfully beneficial information whether you are looking to keep your pet/s as happy and healthy as possible or for additional guidance in a time of need.

1. THE INDOOR PET INITIATIVE

Developed by the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine this website contains an array of useful information, particularly for owners of companion cats and dogs.

The aim of the initiative is to optimise pet health because, as stated on the website: “ Optimal well-being permits individuals to thrive in their environments. By giving caregivers the information and tools needed to recognize thriving in their pets, and to create an environment that permits them to thrive across the lifespan, we aim to sustain the highest quality relationship between pets and their owners possible.”

If your animals reside indoors, or even if you are seeking to understand more about your pets needs, visit The Indoor Pet initiative at: www.indoorpet.osu.edu (Click on the ‘For Pet Owners’ tab then ‘Cats’ and/or ‘Dogs’).

2. PET POISON HELPLINE

This website contains helpful information on a range of topics including:
– An A to Z listing of poisons for easy reference, enabling you to quickly check for details of a particular poison (plants, foods, medicines, fertilisers etc.);
– Emergency instructions in the event your pet has consumed or been exposed to any poisons (red ‘button’ in the left hand margin);
– A pet safety guide covering a range of topics such as: tips on how to make your home poison proof, and symptoms of poisoning;
– A blog and ‘Ask The Vet’ video series with further information.

Access the Pet Poison Helpline at: www.petpoisonhelpline.com

(Please note: the phone number advertised on the website is unfortunately for use only within the United States. While the poison phone helpline itself deals with poisoning in all types of animals, their website information focuses on dogs and cats).

3. PET PLACE

This resource contains an effective library of articles on feline and canine health issues, written by both veterinary and other contributors.

There is information on a variety of diseases, symptoms, medications and behavioural problems, along with breed specific information and material relevant to settling a new kitten or puppy into your home.

Access the website at: www.petplace.com

4. JUST ANSWER

Another American website, which was created to provide fast and affordable online responses from experts, including veterinarians.

This site can be utilised in two ways:
– Search the list of already answered veterinary questions and answers (click on the TAB ‘Vets’ then scroll down and click on the word ‘Veterinarians.’ Now scroll down the page – once it refreshes – and you will be able to access links to previously answered veterinary questions).
– Pay for and ask a question specific to your animal’s unique circumstances. This could be useful where you would like a second opinion, for a minimal fee and without you or your pet having to leave home. If you ask a question, you will then have access to an online conversation, back and forth with a veterinarian, where the discussion will only be completed once you are happy with the response and all of your questions have been answered.

Visit this website at:
www.justanswer.com

(Please note:There is no need to sign up for the 30 day trial or monthly subscription service, to ask a ‘one off’ question for your pet. As this is an American service, a tip is requested as part of the payment system).

5. BRIGHTHAVEN

BrightHaven is an amazing non-profit organisation located in California and founded by husband and wife team Gail and Richard Pope, over 20 years ago. They have transformed their home and resources to provide pioneering hospice care for their elderly and disabled animal residents, centred around:
– Love (the most important ingredient!);
– Veterinary care;
– Reiki (for the animals and people);
– Homeopathy; and
– Natural diet (human grade species appropriate food and supplements).

(You can read about my visit to BrightHaven here)

BrightHaven have a great resources page on their website:
www.brighthaven.org/resource-education/brighthaven-library

Wishing you and your animals vibrant health.

Xxx Carolyn @ Pause

PS: Are there any pet health resources you have come across that you would like to share? I would love to hear from you!

HOW TO GET ENOUGH SHUT EYE

You know the feeling. Your alarm goes off – yet it feels like you only just placed your head on the pillow. You barely feel refreshed, though you drag yourself out of bed with eyes partially closed- heading for the kitchen and your first cup of coffee…

Poor quality sleep is slowly taking its toll on our population, with less time for replenishment and a slow but steady increase in the expectations we place on our body. Our busy lives make it hard to wind down at night and our attachment to all things electronic doesn’t help. So what can you do about it? As it turns out, quite a lot!

8 SECRETS FOR RESTFUL SLEEP

1. TIME OUT. How much time do you need between sleep and stimulation? (30 minutes? 3 hours? 5 hours?) We’re all different so figuring out your unique cut off time – from computers/ emails/ documents/ work/ even TV – can prevent a racing mind from keeping you falling to sleep.

 
2. CUT (BACK) CAFFEINE. What is your daily tea, coffee and cola intake? Consider cutting back during the day and/ or stopping intake by 2-3pm. Dandelion root coffee is a great tasting coffee substitute (minus the caffeine) and if you drink decaf, look for one that has been decafinated using water, not chemicals.

 
3. OH SUGAR, SUGAR. Do you feel anxious as well as tired? Do you use sweet treats and ‘filler foods’ (like pasta and rice) to boost your energy? If so you’re probably consuming too much sugar. Begin implementing smaller, more frequent and nutrient dense meals (like veg and protein) and sustain your daily energy needs in a healthy/ balanced way.  Additionally, you might like to incorporate ground cinnamon into your diet (for example in smoothies, on porridge, in curries etc) as it can help to stabilise blood sugar levels.

 
4. RUMBLE ALERT? Is digestion keeping you awake? Eating dinner at least 3 hours prior to bedtime ensures the digestive process has begun well before you get into bed.  (You can also drink water with either freshly squeezed lemon juice or organic apple cider vinegar added, before meals, to help support your digestive function).

 
5. CLEAR YOUR MIND. Keep a pen and paper next to the bed. Use them for creating a to do list for the following day (before you fall asleep); and to get those thoughts out of your head, if you wake up during the night.

 
6. INDIVIDUAL SLEEP ROUTINE. The mind responds to routine- the aim here is to design one that helps your body prepare for sleep. Envisage: Going to bed/ getting up at the same time daily; keeping work/ study out of the bedroom; drinking herbal tea a few hours before bed (i.e. chamomile, oat flower, lavender, lemon balm, valerian – all aid restful sleep); burning/ diffusing lavender essential oil; reading a good book; meditating; utilising soft lighting (lamps, dimmers) in all rooms before bed; using a fan in your room to block noise if you’re a light sleeper; relaxation exercises (try: tensing and then relaxing various parts of your body starting with your feet, working up to your face. Or breathing deeply down into your belly and then breathing out, imagining that you are letting go of your day).

 
7. GRATITUDE. Finish your day and establish the next one, on a positive note. Before drifting off to sleep, think of three things you are grateful for (no matter how large or small) and two things you are looking forward to the following day.  In our busy life we are so often striving for goals in the future, so this simple act is a great way to give thanks for the blessings we already have already received.

 

8. DEAL WITH STRESS. If you continue to experience sleep troubles, consider what else you can do. This could include: consulting with a professional of your choice (holistic practitioner, GP, counsellor for example); booking in for a relaxation treatment (like Reiki!); signing up for a yoga or meditation class; scheduling a weekend away/ booking a holiday; or re-revaluating your schedule.

So… where to begin? Think about which of these ideas feel right for you- the ones that really sit with you as you read them. Even start with the tips you know you can stick to easily and build from there.

Ensuring you are comfortable (room temperature, breathable cotton sheets & PJ’s) and that the bedroom is pitch black will also promote peaceful sleep. (This is because any level of visible light will trigger a reduction in melatonin production, a hormone produced by our pineal glands that supports effective sleep).

Wishing you a wonderful nights rest!

Xxx Carolyn @ Pause

PS: Which of these tips works best for you? Do you have a tip for quality sleep you think others could benefit from? I would love to hear from you!