Protect your pets paws - Winter & Summer

Winter walking in the woods, especially in the deep snow can show us the challanges of our bare foot pets. When the snow clings and snowballs form to cause pain and irritation, the longer the walk the worse it can get. But not only is walking in the snow an issue many towns salt the sidewalks with not "Salt" as we know it but chemical snow melters like Calcium Chloride, this poses a different health challenge and can burn the feet, here are some things you should know before setting out on a walk with your pup to keep him safe and comfortable.

  • Use a petroleum free (natural, organic) Paw protector - Protect-A-Paw, click here to order
  • Reapply as needed on long walks
  • Use Paw protector especially for walks on city pavements

Check out Joyce's Article written for Maine Dog Magazine to read about the joys of wintering with your pet and how to avoid the pitfalls - click here or go to the publications page at the top of the website and look for the article:

Winter 2017 - Embracing Winter With Your Pet

Did you know that salt and most ice melt products can be extremely irritating and toxic to your dog?

 Remember, the summer heat causes hot pavement and beach sand that can severely burn your pups' feet, keeping them safe only takes a couple of minutes.  Protect-A-Paw protects all year round.

Enjoy and Happy Wintering!

  • John Belcher

Raw Food Diet for Cats - Part 2

The Changeover That Works - Part 2

Written by Joyce Belcher - Herbs for Life,Inc

First, remove all other food.  Present the raw food in a small amount, keeping your mind and spirit happy and positive regarding the balanced nutrition you have just offered to your cat, telling them how delicious it is.  Do what’s natural, smack your lips, be happy then leave them with it and start your own dinner or do something other than watch them. 

Start with 1 tbls. per cat.  You can always give a tad more if they want it but only a tad.  If you feed too much right out of the gate and they devour it, you risk the chance that this new “real food” may be too rich for them.  With a tiny amount, you will be doing them a great justice.  They will remain interested and hungry for the next feeding, they will detox the poor quality commercial food from their system and take the first step to ridding the salt addiction.  Always add a little warm water to the food as they may vomit if it’s too cold.

Let’s say the cat eats nothing, snubbed his nose at it and walked away.  Wait about 45 minutes then happily remove the food and forget the whole thing.  If they ask for food between meals give them extra love and attention.  Active play is especially good because it will work up an appetite. 

Repeat this procedure for a minimum of 4 meals, that’s only 2 days.  A fast of two days is beneficial for healthy cats because old wastes and toxins will be excreted by the body quickly. 

NOTE:  no fasting at all for kittens, cats w/ diabetes, cancer or hyperthyroidism unless carefully monitored by a veterinarian.

If your cats are in the small percentage that has not eaten the new food after 2 meal attempts, they will now be hungry and will jump at any compromise you offer.  Use something from the list (see below) of “Bribe Foods.”  Take the tablespoon of raw diet and mix it with 2 tbls. of “bribe food.”  This will satisfy his addiction to salt (momentarily) but continue to keep the small portions gradually decreasing the amount of Bribe food while increasing the raw diet.  By doing this gradually, they will soon lose the salt addiction and start feeling better.  Cats are smart about choices, they know what makes them feel good and then will only eat “the feel-good food.” 

Here’s how that will look:

First two days.  3 parts Bribe Food to 1-part ideal diet.  Feed extremely small meals, about ½ the size of your cat’s usual meal.  If he wants more, give him only the ideal diet food (sans the bribe food).

Next three days.  50/50 ratio.  Keeping the meals very small as before.

Next three days.  One-part Bribe Food to 3 parts ideal diet. 

From then on, your cat will be happy to eat only the ideal diet and be on his way to a healthy, happy life!  Your cat can finally have as much as he likes twice a day.

If you’re feeding some vegetables they must be cooked in order for your cat to digest them.  Use 1 oz of cooked veggies to 1 lb raw meat-organ blend.

Veggies:  Steamed broccoli, carrot, zucchini, winter squash, sweet potato, kale chopped fine.

You can use an organic raw egg; 1 per pound of meat.  The egg counts toward your meat portion.

Round this out with a good complete daily supplement containing vitamins, minerals, trace minerals.


Bribe Foods:

            1 tsp. canned food, seafood type

            ½ slightly cooked chicken liver

            Canned mackerel or sardines (preferably packed in water w/no salt added)

            Juice from canned tuna


Raw Meat Diet for Optimum Health and Safety

  1. Choose high fat meat (15% or more). Cats require more fat than we do.

Choose from raw beef, chicken, duck, turkey, rabbit or venison, organic or antibiotic/hormone free, and must be human grade.

  1. Be sure there is calcium in the meat. It’s very important to balance the phosphorus and calcium (see recipe in Part 1) or buy ground raw food containing the ground bone. An imbalance, over time, can cause heart and lung problems but it’s quite simple to balance this.
  2. As with any animal or fish protein, whether for yourself or your pet, use safe handling. Thaw frozen meat in refrigerator or quickly in sink using a glass bowl, only thaw enough for 3 days max, wash the cat dish immediately after he eats, every meal.

Need some help choosing your cats ultimate raw diet?  

Give us a shout, we're happy to help.      800-510-9597

    • Joyce Belcher

    Raw Food Diet for Cats - Part 1

    The Importance of a Raw Food Diet for Cats - Part 1

    Written by Joyce Belcher - Herbs for Life,Inc.

    Here are a few of the many health benefits you will achieve by feeding a well-balanced raw meat diet to your cat.   

    1. It’s the most natural and nutritious diet of all for cats
    2. When feeding quality meats, it will eliminate your cat’s exposure to dangerous chemicals, preservatives and GMO’d ingredients
    3. Raw fed (balanced raw diet) cats do not have urinary issues such as crystals, stones, etc
    4. No dander! (I’ll explain later)
    5. Longevity, teeth, coat, more playful, happier, ocular health, friendliness, less vet bills.


    A question presented to the Feline Nutrition Foundation asked,

     “what is an obligate carnivore?” was answered like this in the article written by Margaret Gates:

    “People refer to cats as obligate carnivores when they are trying to emphasize the fact that cats are a little different than many other meat-eating predators. Obligate means "by necessity." The dictionary definition is: 1. Restricted to one particularly characteristic mode of life. 2. Biologically essential for survival. ¹Combining obligate with carnivore is pretty clear. Cats must eat meat, it is an absolute biological necessity.
    © 2017 Feline Nutrition Foundation   - Read more....

     So, there you have it, the real reason for feeding your cat a raw diet.

    Why is Raw is better than cooked?

    When food is cooked, both vitamins and enzymes are destroyed and the fat and protein molecules can be altered by the heating process making it more difficult for the cat’s system to digest and use them.  Also, cats need a balance of calcium and phosphorous and the best way to get this is with raw bones ground into their meat. Without this they can quickly become seriously deficient in several crucially important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.  This is where the word “balanced” comes in.  If you were feeding only raw meat (while more nutritious than cooked meat) your cats diet would be lacking in potassium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, and vitamins A, D, E, B-12 and choline, essential fatty acids, as well as a lack of 

    phytonutrients, antioxidants.  Cooked diets will not be able to provide the bones as you cannot feed cooked bones safely, they can impact the intestines of any pet.

    When a cat is fed a raw, well-balanced diet they have no dander!  I’ll explain………dry food is just that, dry, uninteresting and absolutely loaded with sodium. This is not the worst of it, they also commonly include ingredients such as:

    Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat, Chicken Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Brown Rice, Chicken Liver Flavor, Calcium Sulfate, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Fish Oil, Soybean Oil, Calcium Chloride, Iodized Salt

    And this is for an Obligate Carnivore!!  Ugg, these labels, these ingredients….What the heck are the veterinarians and manufacturers of such products thinking is healthy about any one of these for a CAT?? 

    It’s all marketing hype and we, as a society believe every word we hear, until we don’t. And when we don’t is when we see the poor quality of our cats’ coat or the inability to digest well, the overbearing stench of the litter box, (oh yeah, that is another benefit to a raw fed cat, the litter box barely stinks) urinary tract infections, cardiovascular disease, joint degeneration at middle age, it’s all because of processed “food” that claims to be what your cat will thrive on.

    So, when your cat consumes the grains, soy and toxic ingredients from   the so-called food, their bodies must eliminate them to try and balance their systems.  Dander is toxins, toxins create dander.  Eliminating all these crappy filler GMO’d ingredients (that will never provide healthful nutrition to the cat you love) and feeding them a whole, well-balanced raw food diet, will eliminate dander.  This is pure love for people that have allergies to cats.  I have saved many a cat from being removed from their homes by changing their diets, adding in probiotics and detoxing the toxins out of their bodies.  People who love cats that couldn’t have them as pets, now have them as pets, healthfully for both parties.

    Did you know that cats have a nearly zero tolerance for sodium, especially when it comes from Iodized salt?

    Nearly ALL the dry and canned food produced today for cats has sodium levels that are off the charts, most at over 1000 mg per cup. 

    Here is the breakdown for making a well-balanced, raw food diet for your cat:

    Raw Meat Recipe
    16 oz. meat
    2 oz. raw bone, ground
     2 oz. organ such as liver, heart, etc. (this is your source of essential Taurine)
    1 oz. cooked vegetable (if you choose to add veg for fiber) and can help support elder kidneys

    A good complete daily supplement containing vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, plant based, no synthetics or fillers.

    Be sure to check in for Part 2: “How to transition your cat to a raw diet with little effort and complete success!” 

    The path to healthy, happy cats is their diet first

    • Joyce Belcher

    Thrush and Horses

    Thrush is a degenerative bacterial (Fusobacterium necrophorum) and fungal (Spherophorus neaophorus) infection of the central and collateral grooves of the frog. It is typically caused by standing in moist areas such as very damp, dirty stalls, bedding and/or wet grounds. This bacterium is aggressive and invasive, causing destruction to the frog. If left untreated this can cause destruction to the frog and expose the deeper tissues. 
    • John Belcher

    4-P's Against Parasites


    We love spring here in New England with budding trees, daffodils and green grass everywhere and it is finally here!  This is what it must feel like to be a bear coming out of hibernation, shedding his coat out, feeling warmth from the sun’s rays and looking for something to eat. 

    As humans, we too are happy to “shed” our wools and fleeces for lighter fabrics, shift our diets towards lighter, (more aerial), veggies in lieu of root-based options, and move our activities outdoors thanks to the longer, lighter days. Along with the sunshine, tall grasses, and increased outdoor time comes the dreaded infectious bugs that can put a damper on our warm weather fun. With the right protection for your pup or horse you can run and play to your hearts’ content, leaving your worry behind!

    As pet owners we start to worry about how best to protect our dogs, cats and horses from parasites like mosquitoes, biting flies and of course, the dreaded ticks.  We hear friends and relatives talk about how sick they or their pet was with Lyme, Anaplasma or a myriad of other tick-borne diseases, and suddenly we find ourselves in a state of near panic, frantically trying to do everything we possibly can to protect the ones we love.


    My 4 -P’s to help you keep Fido healthfully protected from parasites…



    You are the advocate for your pet; the keeper of his/her health and wellbeing. You would stand on your hands and walk backwards in traffic if it meant the pet you love and want nothing bad to happen to would remain healthy. Honestly, it doesn't have to be a gymnastic event to be sure that you're making the right decision in choosing how you are going to protect your pet from parasites this and every season moving forward. 



     → Do your research! If you don’t know what the ingredients listed on the label are and what they do in the animal body, whether it’s a topical or ingestible form of “repellant/tick &flea control”, find out.  Your “need to know” should kick in high gear here.

    Did you know that the majority of over-the-counter or by-prescription products for flea/tick/heartworm control are based with neurotoxins? 

    → Neurotoxins are toxins that directly affect the Neurological (central nervous) system (thought, emotion, sight, taste, hearing, smell).

    Research shows that many of the prescription flea/tick/heartworm products that are prescribed on a regular basis contain 1 or more neurotoxins that can cause seizures, respiratory failure, kidney issues and many other health issues.  Below is a link to a government site that provides amazing detail on hundreds of chemicals and their potential side effects.  I highly recommend using this list to determine if the product you may be considering or are currently using contains ingredients that could be neurotoxins or something even worse.

    → Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry

    Protect:  In New England, the height of our mosquito season starts in June and goes into October.  What constitutes the Heartworm danger zone is primarily the temperature.  It must be 60 degrees or more for 45 consecutive days for the mosquito to "brew" the life cycle of the parasite, otherwise it will not be completed, (or 80 plus degrees for a consecutive 14 days).  So protection should start in either early to mid-June and continue through mid to the end of October, depending on the temperatures over the varying years. Click here to visit William Falconer DVM's website, which you will love and learn from. Topical sprays and oils can be extremely effective in keeping most parasites from wanting to land on your pup or yourself.  Mosquitoes are in abundance at dusk and dawn so consider this when taking your pup out to play or for a walk. You can choose to stay inside at those times or use a truly non-toxic spray or oil rub made from essential oils, (preferably certified organic), that are diluted in a carrier oil and/or witch hazel or water if you prefer a spray.  Some of the chemicals that are used in fly sprays that claim "All-Natural" can be pesticides that have moderate to severe adverse effects on your pup.  Follow the Proactive paragraph above for these as well, and use the link I provided if you are unsure of the ingredients. Check out our Natur-Repel Oil and Spray options!
    Prevent: A well balanced Immune System is key to prevent most any parasitic infestation, disease or infection.  Using toxic chemicals month after month and year after year only depletes the vitality of the animal, leaving them as a targeted host for parasites.  What is "proactive" is to enhance and modulate the immune system with the appropriate herbs and/or superfoods that are specific to the responses that biting parasites aim to engage.  Through prevention of a lowered immune response to tick or mosquito bites, you are effectively decreasing the chance any internal parasite/bacteria has of invading your pets' body. Herbs that are very helpful for this will also include anti-spriochetal herbs such as Andrographis, Japanese Knot Weed, Astragalus, Cat's Claw and others.  This is also true for anti-parasitic herbs such as neem leaf extract. Read about our Bor-L-Immune™ now!
    → Want to learn more about Lyme disease? Check out Joyce's most recent article in Fido Magazine titled, "Happy, Healthy Pets: Defining Lyme within Pets"

    Provide: Support and balance for the immune system starts with a high quality species-appropriate diet. Whole food that nourishes every cell and provides the animal with the correct balance of calcium, phosphorous, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, amino acids, etc. is key. This is what they need for a strong, healthy body, which provides the base for overall immunity to any attack on their immune system.


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    • Joyce Belcher

    "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"- 5 tips to keep the holidays magic for your pets

    The holiday season is a busy festive, happy time that we all seem to love and look forward to each year.  Family and friends gather and share the years stories, decorated homes, abundance of food, drink and appreciation for each other.

     This can be "the most wonderful time of the year" as the song states but may also be the most stressful time of the year as well. What starts out as magic can lead to manic preparation with all the expectations and extra workload to our already hectic and busy lives. The next week or so can take a toll on our physical and emotional bodies.


    As the hustle and bustle of preparations to make everything perfect closes in on us and the stress takes over our otherwise happy and cheerful selves, our immune system kicks into high gear working overtime, our adrenals are on high alert working overtime creating extra cortisol in order to manage stress and increased activity, perhaps making our temperaments a bit short.  Remember to breathe, stretch and smile.


    Now is a good time to remember that our pets are also on high alert and perhaps high concern and worry for what is about to happen in their world as well.  Remember, they mirror us for most of our emotions, especially when it comes to stress and excitement.  For example, when we make our voice higher or loud with excitement to engage their happiness for a walk in the park, play date at the beach or any other favorite activity of theirs, they jump, bark, wag, run to the door, etc, you get what I'm saying here.  It's their happiest moment ever knowing that this voice and energy you're exuding is just about them and the fun they're about to have. They feel our anxiety and stress in the same way, turning on an "uh-oh" moment wondering what is happening next.


    Changes in the home that may seem subtle to us may not be as subtle to our pets. Changes like moving their bed from the normal place they sleep during the day to a less conspicuous place, rearranging furniture, guests in the home, etc. can all cause stress and anxiety as well increasing cortisol production that may change the way they respond to the changed activity.  I'm not saying don't do any of these things, just be aware that these type of changes may be cause for insecurity that can lead to stress.

    Stress and anxiety can show in a dog via increased barking, hiding, feeling insecure leading to anti-social behavior, panting without obvious cause, running away when guests arrive, the tail tucked and other signs as well. Cats may urinate in places other than the litter box, hide endlessly, bolt from the home when a door opens seeking quiet and safety elsewhere, stop eating or exhibit destructive behavior.

    Keep an eye out for changes whether subtle or direct and consider one or more of my tips below to help your pup or cat cope.  Shutting them in a room or garage should not be an option as this will only conclude their worry and anxiety, not help them to find ease, peace and safety.


    5 Tips that can help keep the holidays magic for your pets

    • Flower Essences for Emotional Support reassure that "this too shall pass" and all is really well, just busy. For use with all creatures, including ourselves. My favorite one is "Blue Calm" co-created by Christine Tolf of Lichenwood Herbals in So Berwick, Maine read about it here
    • Organic Herbal Calming Products working directly with the central nervous system may be the best answer for some pets to bring the happenings into perspective so they can respond to anxiety positively, not reactionary.  Our Pet Calming Formula is a liquid and can be used acutely by administering orally, with affects lasting up to 5 hours.  The Canine & Feline Calm is a powder that can be added to their food with lasting affects up to 8 hours. 
    • Talking, Cuddling and Reassurance that comes from us is key first and foremost. There is nothing that says "I'm safe and fine" more than a hug to assure and soothe our pets, bringing tension into calm.  Hug your pets everyday:)
    •  Lavender Essential Oil Diffused in the home is a natural stress reliever that brings calm and lowers anxiety to all that enter! Lavender can help with sleep and mood (who couldn't use that help this time of year), and was used in ancient times to tame lions and tigers.  If you have cats in the home, you should use caution with essential oils in general, diffusing can be a safer way to use them as you would use approx 10 drops of lavender in 1 oz of carrier oil, or you can simply put a few drops on Fido's pillow or bed if you prefer.
    • Get Out and Play!  Extremely important is the almighty exercise to increase circulation, prevent boredom, breathe fresh air, spend time having fun with your pup, expels energy and clears focus and the list goes on.  While you may say "yeah, right" where am i supposed to find time for that? The answer is:  make it, even if it's only for 15-20 mins a couple of times a day and you'll all benefit from it immensely.  


    John and I wish you and your furry friends a safe, happy and healthy holiday season full of love and cheer with fabulous food.  

    Joyce Belcher, Ava Gardner, Reggie, Lily and Rudy Valentino



    • Joyce Belcher