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bullet Statistics show that the life span of America's companion animals is now half what it was in the 1950's and 1960's.
bullet Nearly 50 percent of natural deaths in older cats and dogs are attributed to cancer.

To help prevent your pet from becoming a statistic, click on the happy dog below.

Give your pet the fountain of youth and holistically help prevent cancer!

Optimum Connections

News from Optimum Choices, LLC

Welcome to the June 2007 edition of Optimum Connections, the monthly e-newsletter from Russell Louie and Margaret Auld-Louie at Optimum Choices, LLC. This newsletter is sent to the friends and customers of Russell & Margaret as well as people who signed up for a drawing at our booth at a fair or event. If you wish to unsubscribe, see the bottom of this e-mail for instructions. To receive this newsletter in your e-mail, click here.


June Sale
Current news
Oil of the month
Are you killing your pet with food?
Book of the month
Contact us

June Sale

FREE report on What Pet Food Companies Don't Want You to Know

Dogs and cats routinely lived 15-20 years and relatively cancer-free in the 1950's. Today the average life of a Golden Retriever is 7 years. According to a Morris Animal Foundation Study (2005), nearly 50 percent of natural deaths in older cats and dogs are attributed to cancer. We feel this information is so important to keep your pet healthy and extend its life to what it should be, we are giving it away FREE. Get a free report on What Pet Food Companies Don't Want You to Know with every June order of any animal product. (If you only order a people product and still want this report, we would be glad to send it to you. Please say so in the Special Instructions box of our shopping cart.) Or order any two products and get both the report and our Optimum nutrition for dogs and cats e-Book absolutely free. You must type in "send free pet food report" or "send free June report and e-Book" in the Special Instructions box of our shopping cart to let us know you read our June e-newsletter. Offer expires at midnight on June 30, 2007.

Current News

Learn how not to kill your dog or cat with food

Nationally renowned holistic veterinarian and pet food expert Dr. Jean Hofve and award-winning author Jan Rasmusen have recorded a rare opportunity to learn everything you need to know to protect your dog or cat. This expert animal team has recorded three one-hour long sessions answering your questions on How NOT to Kill Your Dog or Cat. To start protecting your pet now, order this 3-CD set here: www.optimumchoices.com/How_NOT_to_Kill_Your_Pet.htm.

Optimum Choices at Lucky Mutt Strut

Sunday, June 10, 8:30 AM - 2:00 PM

We will be offering free mini canine massage sessions at the 11th annual MaxFund Lucky Mutt Strut, in Washington Park, Denver. Cindy Lloyd of Natural Pet will be sharing our booth. For more details, click here.

Old South Pearl Street Farmers Market with Pet FairOld South Pearl Street is South Denver's favorite destination.  Unique shopping, excellent dining and community minded businesses  in a delightful, pedestrian friendly setting. We invite you to come  see us soon and enjoy The Heart of South Denver!

Sunday, June 17, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Visit Cindy Lloyd who will be doing animal acupressure and massage sessions at the Farmers Market. Russell Louie, the nation's expert on the use of BioPreparation on dogs and cats, will also be on hand to highlight the amazing health benefits of this revolutionary holistic product found to eliminate the cancer epidemic of animals in Russia and answer any questions regarding its usage (available at The Whole Cat & Dogs too!, 1540 S. Pearl St.)

Safe pet food available

While no food for pets or people can be guaranteed 100% safe in today's world, some foods are safer than others. After the pet food recall, pet owners are questioning what they can safely feed their pet. If you cannot do a home-cooked or raw meat diet, we suggest you visit your local natural pet supply store for suggestions on brands to purchase. If you don't have a store near you or you would like home-delivered food, we suggest Life's Abundance pet food from HealthyPetNet. Their food is made with human-quality ingredients from U.S. sources, with strict quality control measures. The dry kibble foods are free of wheat and corn. We particularly like their Instinctive Choice canned cat food which is high in protein and totally free of grains. (Our panel of feline taste testers, including a 20-year old CRF cat, loves Instinctive Choice.) For more information, go here: HealthyPetNet. (only available for shipping within the U.S., Independent Field Representative)

Hurricane Katrina cat still available

It is now June and no one has stepped forward yet to adopt this sweet kitty that lost its home in July. Won't you consider opening your heart to a Katrina animal? Cajun was rescued from a shelter in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, brought to Denver in September 2005 and quickly found a home. He thought he had his forever home, but the owner's situation changed and he became available again in July 2006 (through no fault of his own). He has no behavioral or health issues. Click here for more details.

Oil of the month

by Russell Louie

Hay Fever

Hay fever is an allergic reaction triggered by airborne allergens (pollen, animal hair, feathers, dust mites) that cause the release of histamines and subsequent inflammation of nasal passages and sinus-related areas. Allergies resemble asthma, which manifests in the chest and lungs. Symptoms include inflammation of the nasal passages, sinuses, and eyelids that causes sneezing, runny nose, watery, red, itchy eyes, and wheezing. Oils that may be helpful include the following:

Single Oils: Lavender, ledum, German chamomile, Roman chamomile 

Blends: Harmony, Valor, Juva Cleanse

Applications: INHALATION: by diffusing in the air, 15 min every 2 hours, as needed. DIRECT: apply to lungs and throat area 2-4 times daily, as needed. INGESTION: Capsule (00 size), 2 times daily (only to be done by those experienced with essential oils)

You may be wondering why Harmony and Juva Cleanse are useful for symptoms of hay fever. The Harmony oil blend will balances all seven major energy centers of the body thus making sure all the body's systems are energized and working together in harmony. This facilitates a fully functional endocrine (glandular) system which include the adrenals, thyroid and hypothalamus glands that are vital to counteract any histamine reaction. Juva Cleanse will support a stressed liver and enhance the detoxing process as allergens invade the body.

©2005 Essential Science Publishing. Some of the information in this article is from the Essential Oils Desk Reference, which can be ordered here:
Essential Science Publishing, 1216 South 1580 West, Orem, Utah 84058, (800) 336-6308, www.essentialscience.net.

Click here to order on our Young Living World Essential Oils website. Click on Product Catalog, then pull down the menus Essential Oils/Singles or Blends or call us at (303) 271-1649 or (866) 305-2306 (toll-free).

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Are you killing your pet with food?

No, we are not referring to the pet food recall this time (for more information on the recall, see www.optimumchoices.com/Pet_Food_Recall.htm). Did you know that overfeeding your pet can shorten its life and lead to a variety of health problems? While pictures of fat cats and pudgy pooches posted on the Internet may be cute, the consequences of being fat are not as funny. Our pets are expert at giving us those pleading looks and sad eyes like they're starving (we think our dog practices in the mirror), but feeding your pet too much can kill your pet prematurely. Obesity in our dogs and cats is rampant, just as it is in people. While recent surveys put the obesity rate in pets at 40%, some veterinarians estimate it is higher than that. In fact, many pet professionals state that most middle-aged or elderly pets they see are overweight.

Why should you care if your pet is fat? Your overweight pet is much more prone to many costly health problems including:

  • Diabetes
  • Damage to joints, bones and ligaments, such as arthritis and damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee
  • Heart disease
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decreased stamina and exercise tolerance
  • Lower urinary tract disease (in cats)
  • Heat intolerance
  • Pancreatitis (in dogs)
  • Decreased liver function or hepatic lipidosis
  • Increased surgical and anesthetic risk
  • Reproductive problems
  • Digestive disorders, such as constipation
  • Decreased immune function
  • Skin and coat problems
  • Increased risk of some types of cancer
  • Decreased length of life

For more details, see: Health Risks in Overweight or Obese Dogs by Holly Nash, DVM, MS.

Fat Connie with free-feeding kibbleWe have experienced the problems of an overweight pet firsthand with our cat Connie (shown to the right when she was obese). She became obese in middle age from eating dry kibble food that we left down all the time (free-feeding of food and feeding of dry kibble to cats are two "no-no's" if you want a healthy, slim cat). As a result of her obesity, she developed severe arthritis in her old age. X-rays show that her left knee has bone chips in it, most likely caused by an undiagnosed tear of her knee ligament when she was younger, due to her obesity. We have spent much time and money pursuing both conventional and alternative treatments, with minimal success, trying to alleviate the pain of her arthritis and increase her mobility. One of the drugs we tried for her arthritis caused acute kidney failure, resulting in 4 days in the hospital. If we had not allowed her to get fat in the first place, she would not be suffering like this now in her senior years and our vet bills would be much lower. While her life has not been significantly shortened by obesity (she is over 20 years old), she has suffered for years from the pain of arthritis due to it. We have been able to improve her health and longevity by improving her diet and slimming her down in her old age, however it is too late to undo the joint damage caused by her previous obesity.

Many owners are in denial about their pet's obesity. People often don't think their pet is overweight but the statistics say otherwise. How do you know if your pet is overweight? It's not that hard to determine—your pet should have a waist when viewed from above and a "tuck up" at the abdomen when viewed from the side. A Purina researcher developed the following Body Condition System that veterinarians follow for assessing the condition of a dog from visual inspection (www.purina.com/dogs/health/BodyCondition.aspx).  Numbers 4 and 5 below are ideal. 1-3 is too thin and 5 or above is too heavy:

  1. Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance. No discernible body fat. Obvious loss of muscle mass.
  2. Ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible. No palpable fat. Some evidence of other bony prominence. Minimal loss of muscle mass.
  3. Ribs easily palpated and may be visible with no palpable fat. Tops of lumbar vertebrae visible. Pelvic bones becoming prominent. Obvious waist.
  4. Ribs easily palpable, with minimal fat covering. Waist easily noted, viewed from above. Abdominal tuck evident.
  5. Ribs palpable without excess fat covering. Waist observed behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked up when viewed.
  6. Ribs palpable with slight excess fat covering. Waist is discernible viewed from above but is not prominent. Abdominal tuck apparent.
  7. Ribs palpable with difficulty; heavy fat cover. Noticeable fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent or barely visible. Abdominal tuck may be present.
  8. Ribs not palpable under very heavy fat cover, or palpable only with significant pressure. Heavy fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent. No abdominal tuck. Obvious abdominal distension may be present.
  9. Massive fat deposits over thorax, spine and base of tail. Waist and abdominal tuck absent. Fat deposits on neck and limbs. Obvious abdominal distention.

For a simple way to rate your dog, see: www.longliveyourdog.com/twoplus/RateYourDog.aspx.

So, what can you do if your pet is overweight? We don't suggest putting your pet on one of the diet varieties of dry kibble, since they contain too much fiber and not enough nutrients for good health. And they may be too low in protein and fat. As carnivores, dogs and cats need protein and fat in their diet, with cats needing a higher level of fat than dogs. Cats have no need for carbohydrates and dogs have minimal need (it may vary depending on the individual dog and their breed). Carbohydrates tend to make carnivores fat. Since dry kibble requires carbohydrates to hold it together, many pets get fat on a kibble diet. Pet owners often complain that their pet is fat even though they feed just a small amount of kibble. Most holistic vets would suggest getting rid of the kibble and instead feeding a home-cooked, canned or raw diet that contains minimal carbohydrates. Think "Catkins" diet for your cat or dog, not "weight loss" kibble.

It's important to use common sense in determining how much to feed your pet, rather than just following the recommendations of the pet food manufacturer. The pet food bags often have recommendations for amounts that are too high (and this is true of not just kibble but also canned and raw foods). Even if the pet food manufacturer has a feeding calculator on their website that allows for different activity levels, you can still come up with much too high an amount of food being recommended. Look at your pet and see if they are overweight or not. If they are overweight, feed them less until you get them down to a normal weight. If they're not losing weight, feed them less. Older pets require much less food than younger ones and the activity level makes a big difference in how much food your pet requires. A professional agility dog will need much more food than a couch potato dog. You don't need a food scale, measuring cup or calorie counter to determine how much to feed. It's real simple--if your pet is overweight, cut back, and if they are too thin, feed more. Note: If your pet has any health issues, check with your veterinarian before changing the type or amount of food you feed.

Switching your pet's diet from dry kibble to a healthier diet can be tricky if they are hooked on kibble. If you have been leaving kibble down all the time, the first step is to pick it up and only feed it at mealtimes. Leaving kibble down and letting pets "free feed" is a quick way to an obese pet and is not the natural way for carnivores to feed. Herbivores (cows, horses, etc.) graze continuously while carnivores (wolves, cats) catch their prey, eat it, then fast until their next catch. Once your pets are used to eating only at mealtimes, then you can try other foods besides kibble. Cats can be particularly difficult to switch from kibble, refusing new foods even if they have skipped a meal or two. According to pet nutrition expert Jean Hofve, DVM, cats may refuse new foods to the point of starving themselves. For tips on how to switch cats, see Jean's article here: www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=switchingfoods. Be especially careful about switching an obese cat, as they are prone to hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver) disease which can quickly kill them if they don't eat for a day or two, or if their weight loss is too drastic. Slow and steady is best with obese cats. Dogs are usually easier to switch to a new diet and fasting a dog for a day or two is generally safe unless they are prone to low blood sugar (as with some toy breeds). Some dog owners fast their dogs for a day each week to give their digestive system a rest.

We got our cat Connie's weight down by taking her off kibble and giving her 2 meals per day of canned and raw food. We also added BioPreparation algae to her diet, which boosted her metabolism and provided essential enzymes for digestion and health. Her thyroid was low and came up to normal after a few months on the algae and we reduced her weight from 16 lbs. down to 11 lbs. Many dogs also have low thyroid function, contributing to their obesity. BioPreparation holistically balances the endocrine system, helping normalize the thyroid and other glands. Our Chihuahua-mix dog, Mikki, was skinny when we got her from the shelter but she easily puts on weight now if we feed her too much, especially as she gets older. Her ideal weight is between 9-10 pounds. If we see her waistline filling out or her weight goes above 10 pounds, we cut back on her food (including treats and table scraps) until we get her back to ideal. Notice the "tuck up" in Mikki's abdominal area in the picture to the right. That is what you see in a dog of normal weight. We typically give Mikki only a tablespoon or so of raw food morning and night, which allows room for training treats and some table scraps in her diet. Just out of curiosity, I looked at the bag of raw patties we feed, to see how much they recommend feeding. The bag says to feed about 1˝-2 patties per day for a dog of her weight. I had to laugh at that because if we gave her that much, she would soon weigh 20 pounds or more! It takes us a least a couple of days to go through one patty. If we didn't give her treats and scraps, we could feed more. But if you are using positive training methods with your dog (which we suggest), then you have to allow for part of the diet being training treats. And since we eat a healthy diet of organic meats, vegetables and raw dairy, we give her some table scraps as well, to increase the variety in her diet. If you eat junk food, then don't give your dog table scraps!

Besides controlling how much your pet eats and cutting back if they are overweight, it's important for your pets to get adequate exercise. A study in Australia showed that more than half of dog owners did not walk their dogs (www.mja.com.au/public/issues/175_12_171201/bauman/bauman.html). Like Americans, they are probably just sticking them out in the yard because they are "too busy" to walk them. A dog in the yard isn't going to get adequate exercise unless they have other dogs to play with and you have a very large yard. Your dog needs to be walked or run or taken to the dog park, agility class or other activities where they can run around. Cats need exercise, too, and indoor cats should get daily play sessions, so they don't just lie around all day sleeping, especially as they get older.

To learn more about how to reach and maintain your pet's ideal weight by feeding the optimum diet for dogs and cats, read our Holistic Choices e-Book: Optimum nutrition for dogs and cats available here: www.optimumchoices.com/e-books.htm. Your investment will pay big dividends as you extend your pet's life expectancy and they have lower vet bills as they age. We also recommend the new audio series by pet food experts Dr. Jean Hofve and Jan Rasmusen, How Not to Kill Your Dog or Cat, available from Optimum Choices here: www.optimumchoices.com/How_NOT_to_Kill_Your_Pet.htm. To learn more about holistic dog care, read Jan Rasmusen's book reviewed below as our Book of the Month.

Note: This article is educational in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for veterinary care. If your animal has any health issues including obesity, please have your veterinarian evaluate your animal before making dietary changes. To find a holistic vet, go to: www.holisticvetlist.com.

Book of the month


Scared PooplessScared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care

by Chiclet T. Dog and Jan Rasmusen

ISBN-10: 0977126501

Click picture to order from Amazon.com

This book, told from the point of view of Jan's Maltese dog Chiclet, is delightful to read as well as packed full of great information. After Jan's Maltese dog Jiggy got sick, Jan started researching dog care and learned many things contrary to the conventional, accepted point of view. In her research for the book, she interviewed dozens of experts, including 18 veterinarians, distilling their wisdom while making accessible to the layperson. This book is very comprehensive, not only covering the usual holistic topics of food, vaccinations and pest control but many other topics such as dental care (including anesthesia-free teeth cleaning), spaying/neutering, anesthesia, how to deal with surgery, where to acquire your dog from, missing pets, how to keep your dog safe in the car, canine air travel, rehoming your dog, providing for your dog if you die first and euthanasia. Some of the holistic veterinarians providing expertise for the book include Richard Pitcairn, Jean Dodds, Martin Goldstein and Jean Hofve. While we don't agree with every point in the book, overall it is an excellent resource on how to care for your dog in a holistic fashion (including the use of conventional medicine) and it is much more wide ranging and comprehensive than most books on holistic pet care. The humor in the book makes it a fun read and the pictures of dogs, especially Jan's dogs, are just delightful, particularly the ones introducing each chapter. The chapter on vaccinations has a picture of Chiclet blindfolded and tied to a dartboard with giant vaccination syringes aimed at her (hilarious, yet also very appropriate, when we think of what vaccinations can do to our dogs' health). This book is a great resource for anyone that has a dog, whether a new or experienced dog owner. And don't miss Jan's new audio series on pet nutrition with Dr. Jean Hofve, available on Optimum Choices' website here: www.optimumchoices.com/shop.htm#DVDs

Contact us

Click here to give your pet
the fountain of youth today!


General Information: Russell@OptimumChoices.com
Webmaster: Webmaster@OptimumChoices.com
Newsletter Editor, Margaret Auld-Louie: Editor@OptimumChoices.com


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