Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress

News

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here. We are in the festive holiday season, which can mean guest & family possibly arriving. This is probably not part of your good dog or cool cat’s routine. On top of that, the humans seem more stressed than usual. Extra shopping, parties to attend & preparing the home for guests is a lot of work. We dogs are very sensitive to our human’s emotions.

What I’m getting at is this, the holidays can be stressful for us four leggers. In my case, living with canine idiopathic epilepsy, stress & excitement can trigger a seizure so it’s extra important for my huMom to keep things calm around this time of year.

For some good dogs & cats having company over is no big deal. But some, like myself can be reactive. For them I have a few suggestions if you plan on having guests.

Prepare a dim lit room or go to space for your pet with favorite toys, some treats. Calming music might help. If your dog feels secure in a crate, move it away from the activity so your good dog can retreat there.

Wearing a thundershirt can help some good dogs. I have one that I wear if guests are coming.

Adaptil is a non-medical solution for helping dogs feel more relaxed & secure. It synthetically mimics the natural appeasing pheromones that mother dogs use to comfort & reassure their puppies. It comes in a spray or with a defuser you plug into the wall.

Extra play time or an extra walk can burn off any anxiety or pent up energy we may have about all the unusual activity at home.

There are also natural approaches such as melatonin or CBD oil, both can have a calming effect.

OmegaAlpha has two formulations for coping with stress. E-Z Rest has a calming effect & promotes relaxation. EnduraStress helps the body cope with stress while also providing a calming effect. Either of these can be added to meals for a few days before a big day to help your good dog or cool cat.

The most important thing is to consider your four legger’s needs when planning your festivities. It should be a happy time for everyone.

Do you have any tips for reducing holiday stress? Please bark out about it, I want to know.

CEO Olivia

Melatonin & Epilepsy

Health

Hello, CEO Olivia here. We have fingers & paws crossed because in 8 days I will be 2 months seizure free. This will be the longest I’ve gone since the house fire in April of 2016. My huMom thinks that giving me Melatonin around the full moon might be a contributing factor. That & the fact that things have been reasonably calm at home.

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland, which is located in the brain of mammals. It stabilizes our circadian rhythm, which is our awake/sleep cycle. When released into the body, it’s saying, “time to close down for the night”.

It has been used for years to calm reactive dogs during thunderstorms or if fireworks are going to be near by. It seems to help those dogs with audio anxieties (fear of loud noises) especially.

There has been research suggesting that dogs with epilepsy might not produce enough melatonin naturally which may contribute to seizure activity. It was this assumption that got my huMom interested in trying it for me.

When I have a grand mal seizure, it’s almost always at night or very early morning. The full moon appears to be a trigger for me as often the epi-monster attacks around that time. Over the past few months, for three days before the full moon until three days after, I am given 3mg of melatonin with my dinner.

I show few side effects from the melatonin, During the day I may be a bit wobbly but I’m also much calmer & at night huMom says my sleep is deeper.

Melatonin is common enough that you can find it at any drug store. It comes in various dosages, I take 3mg. It can also be purchased in liquid form & there are even dog treats. I would suggest starting with a low dosage at first, side effects may include peeing more, or the dreaded diarrhea if the dosage is too high. Please consult your vet if this is new to your good dog.

I’m curious if any of my fellow epi-warriors take melatonin too. If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

CEO Olivia

Do you live with canine epilepsy? My huMom & I have a new free eBook series about living with Canine Epilepsy. Just send me an email at knottytoys4gooddogs@gmail.com or go to my store & paw the subscribe button at the bottom of the page.

 

Epilepsy, the Ever Changing Journey

Health

OTLOO Mar 3 2016 am2

There is no “one size fits all” for treating epilepsy. Every case is unique & what works for some dogs may do nothing for another. Also what works now may not be as effective over time & for some lucky dogs, they may even see their AEDs (anti seizure drugs) eliminated all together. My name is Olivia & I live with canine epilepsy. In my five years I have had to change or adjust dosages of my medications more than once.

Twice a day (12 hours apart) I am given my daily medications. Initially, I was prescribed phenobarbital but that wasn’t enough to manage my seizures.  A year later, I was prescribed an additional AED, potassium bromide. In the last year the phenobarbital has become less effective so my huMom under the direction of my wooftastic Vet is slowly weening me off it & I now take Zonisamide instead. With luck, in a few months I will not be taking phenobarbital at all.

I have cluster seizures which means I will have more than 1 seizure in a 24 hour period. First I was prescribed liquid Valium but it wasn’t the cluster buster for me.  Instead, I used Clonazepam but again, over time it’s effectiveness has diminished so we have recently replaced it with the drug Keppra. I’m happy to say that I am responding well to my adjusted regime. With the reduction phenobarbital I feel more present & alert as it used to leave me in a fog.  My cluster buster Keppra is not only less harmful on my organs, it has less side effects & I don’t experience ataxia from using it.

My huMom has also learned of many ways to help me that we did not know in the beginning. Connecting with other families with epileptic dogs via social media has provided her with so much knowledge & support. Ocular Compression Therapy  was something she discovered while researching on the internet & we feel it is effective in stopping a seizure before it takes hold. We also have learned to apply ice packs if it appears that a seizure is coming on as cooling seems to help. The ice packs help after a seizure as well.  We also learned about supplements like melatonin,  vitamin b complex, magnesium & zinc.

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Managing the side effects of my phenobarbital use is done with the use of Milk Thistle, raw beets and a liver toner treatment 4 times a year.  I also do a kidney flush treatment 4 times a year.

If you have a dog with epilepsy you know that it is an ever changing journey. Don’t get discouraged, there is a lot of help & support out there. Engage your vet & be open to trying new things & if they don’t help, try not to be discouraged. Remember that you are not alone in this fight.

CEO Olivia

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