This story was originally titled "Ask a Vet" in the September 2009 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue! Question: My dog has recently started eating the cat poop out of the litter box! I read somewhere that animals will do this when they are deficient in dietary nutrients or vitamins. Is this true? Dr. Marie McKibbin: It's hard to imagine why dogs are attracted to poop, but they are. They will roll in it and eat it, and they aren't fussy about the kind. Dogs will even eat their own droppings, especially if they are frozen (a "poopsicle" treat). This is normal dog behaviour. Mother dogs clean their pups' back ends to stimulate bowel movements and eat the fecal material. Only rarely is this a sign of a health problem or nutritional deficiency. If your dog is not too thin and shows no other signs of illness, the best solution is to scoop the litter as soon as possible or put it somewhere out of grazing range.
Dr. Marie McKibbin practices at the Owen Sound Veterinary Clinic, Owen Sound, Ont.
Not just a day for couples to celebrate, this Valentine's Day practice a little self-love.
February 14th can be a drag if you're single. Or if you're not particularly romantic. Or if you're in a new relationship, or don't like holidays that focus on the pressure of big gestures. Basically, Valentine's Day can be a stressful, anxiety-enducing mess of a day. But it doesn't have to be—even if you subscribe to the above beliefs.
We're all about the idea of practicing self-love this Valentine's Day. Taking time to be thoughtful and considerate is what the day is all about—so why not give yourself a little break by taking the time to treat yourself (or if you're a Parks and Recreation fan—"treat yo'self!").
Whether that means picking up something shiny and expensive (we won't judge), need a little time for yourself (you deserve it), or want to indulge in great food and wine (everything in moderation is our motto) we're rounded up a few things you should gift yourself this Valentine's Day—lovers be damned.
With a cut-out in the back—so your hair doesn't get messed up if you decide to change, of course—and a relaxed fit, this t-shirt dress is your Galentines Day go-to (so everyone knows what's really on your mind).
Sometimes it can be hard to justify expensive purchases that only benefit you, but sleeping solo doesn't mean forgoing luxurious pyjamas. Today's the day to treat yourself with this cult-classic Eberjay pyjama set.
If escaping from the world is your Valentine's Day plan, then there's no better way to do it than with a good book. We recommend last year's Giller Prize winner by Madeleine Thiern, Do Not Say We Have Nothing.
Make sure to take the time to check in with yourself this February 14th. Do you need a relaxing bath to ease tension? Could you use a little help managing hot flashes? Pick up the Saje Wellness Women's Wellness Remedy Kit for a dose of all-natural care.
Give yourself the gift that keeps on giving. Sliding your feet into these classic slippers made of supple shearling and you won't wish you were anywhere else. Put your feet up—today, and everyday after that—you deserve it!
What else spells indulgence than a super-luxe hair mask? Leave it on for at least 30 minutes (or however long your Netflix binge lasts) and wake up to smooth, voluminous hair that will have all eyes on you. We guarantee it will last longer than the one evening too.
We all know that sometimes it feels like our girlfriends really are our soul mates. Check local listings in your city for crafty events that you are your friends can enjoy together. If none are available near you, try grabbing your girls, a paint set from Michaels and a bottle of wine.
Oversized blanket scarves are the best winter accessory you can have in your closet. They are versatile and stylish, all while keeping you warm when faced with cold winter temperatures. Here are 15 soft blanket scarves add style to your cold weather ensembles, all under $100!
Cold temperatures and harsh winds can take a toll on your lips—and there is nothing sexy about a chapped mouth. The good news? Our favourite lip balms can help eliminate dry, sore and chapped lips. These affordable picks range from $4 to $32.
Your body needs some sugar to function, but Canadians, who consume the equivalent of 26 teaspoons of the sweet stuff every day, are probably overdoing it. We break down what too much sugar does to your body, and how you can cut back.
Good news for those with sweet tooths: Glucose is our main source of fuel, so, yes, we actually do need sugar in our diets. But don't get too excited— they're not all alike.
"All carbohydrate-containing foods, whether candy, pop, fruit, vegetables or grain products, break down into glucose in our bloodstream," says Patricia Chuey, a Vancouver-based registered dietitian. "But our bodies respond differently when we get sugar from nutrient-dense, fibre-rich foods, eaten as part of a balanced meal that contains protein, compared to 'empty' calories from zero-nutrient, fibre-less foods."
Those carb-heavy, low-nutrient foods cause our blood-sugar, or glucose, levels to spike, triggering the release of insulin in response. One of insulin's jobs is to move glucose from the blood to our liver, muscle and fat cells for storage, and when there's more in our bloodstream than what our bodies need for energy, it can end up as stored fat—"even though fat, per se, wasn't consumed," says Chuey. That's partially why excess sugar consumption is linked to fatty liver disease, as well as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Fibre-rich, nutrient-dense foods, on the other hand, break down more slowly, so they don't cause as much of a blood-sugar spike, or the resulting weight gain.
That doesn't mean you have to skip your favourite sweet indulgences entirely. What we know today is that moderation is key—a little sugar won't hurt you.
But, for the most part, Canadians are not consuming a little sugar. According to Statistics Canada, on average, 22 to 26 percent of our total daily caloric intake consists of sugar. Put another way, that's an average of 110 grams, or 26 teaspoons, per day. And it's not just how much; experts are also concerned about where it comes from.
"Whole foods that are sweet, like fruit, can be good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre, which can contribute to overall health," says Gita Singh, a research assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Boston's Tufts University.
It's added sugar, regardless of the source, that's the problem. You'll find it in processed foods, such as many breads, soups, salad dressings and pasta sauces. And then there's pop, sports drinks and fruit drinks, which experts collectively refer to as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). These drinks are among the top causes of obesity and its attendant ailments, which include heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and other chronic diseases. In fact, Singh coauthored a report published in the medical journal Circulation that estimates SSB consumption is partially responsible for the diabetes-, cancer- and cardiovascular disease–related deaths of 1,600 Canadians each year.
The fact that SSBs are a leading source of excess sugar in our diets is galling but encouraging. That's because the solution is straightforward: Stop, or at least cut back on, drinking them.
Chuey says you can further reduce the added sugar in your diet by avoiding convenience foods that list sugar (or maltose, corn syrup, cane sugar or honey) among the first three ingredients; swap your caramel macchiato for a latte; and top plain yogurt with fresh fruit. The less sugar you consume, the less you'll end up craving.
But when you do indulge, go all in. "Apply the pleasure maximization principle," says Chuey. "Make it really worth it! Not in terms of quantity, but the kind of quality that will really satisfy." So skip the soda fountain. But those homemade cookies? Enjoy!
YOUR BODY ON SUGAR
Click on image for larger view. Illustrations, thenounproject.com.
There are lots of table sugar subs on the market, but how do they stack up, health-wise?
Stevia: Zero calories per teaspoon
Stevia is a zero-calorie, fructosefree option.
Date sugar: 11 calories per teaspoon
Date sugar contains all the fibre and nutrients found in the dried fruit.
Coconut sugar: 15 calories per teaspoon
Made from the sap of coconut-tree flowers, coconut sugar has the same calorie count as table sugar, but it's lower on the glycemic index.
Agave nectar: 15 calories per teaspoon
Agave nectar is about 1 1/2 times sweeter than refined sugar, so you can use less. But it's high in fructose (hello, blood-sugar spikes!).