We’ve been privileged to know veterinarian Ron Leick for several years, and this week we contacted him about his first interview with us.  We are pleased to announce that he will also be added to our staff page, so you may contact him about his services!  If you comment to his article here with questions about his work as a dog chiropractor and horse chiropractor, or general questions about animal chiropractic, he has kindly consented to future interviews with YPS.

Dog chiropractor Ron Leick adjusts a basset hound.

Interview With Dr. Leick

1.) What types of services does your practice offer?

My practice offers chiropractic, acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy for horses and dogs.

2.) What is animal chiropractic and why/when do pets need a dog chiropractor?

Chiropractic treatment involves resolving issues with spinal and extremity misalignments and range of motion restoration.  Chiropractic is indicated when there is a disruption in an animal’s normal gait, or if it can no longer do things that it once could do.

3.) What other types of animals does a dog chiropractor adjust and can you explain how?

I adjust horses and dogs.  The spine and extremities (legs) are moved, and where there is diminished range of motion an adjustment is performed.  An adjustment is a short, light thrust that is directed at a specific structure in a specific direction at a specific angle with the intent of restoring normal range of motion.

4.) What do you enjoy the most/find most rewarding about your practice?

The most rewarding aspect of my practice is being able to help animals in ways that traditional primary care veterinary can’t.

5.) What is pet acupuncture and why/when do pets need it?

Acupuncture is an ancient technique of restoring normal energy flow to areas of the body using needles at specific points and specific energy pathways called meridians.  Acupuncture can be used for any and all conditions that impact an animal’s health.

6.) On what types of animals can acupuncture be performed?

Acupuncture can be used on any and all types of animals, from marine life to poultry to mammals.

7.) Why/when would a pet owner use herbs prescribed by a dog chiropractor?

Herbal therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with acupuncture and/or chiropractic therapy.  It can prolong and augment the benefits of acupuncture.  It also can be used in animals that will not allow acupuncture to be performed on them.  It is used for anything/everything, from behavioral issues, internal medicine issues and musculoskeletal issues.

 dog chiropractor Ron LeickDr. Leick is a l975 graduate of the Ohio State University.  He had a
traditional multi-person veterinary practice for 25 years.  Ron began to
take classes in veterinary chiropractic from the American Veterinary
Chiropractic Association, and became certified in 1998,.  He took the
International Veterinary Acupuncture Society course of classes in 1999
and became certified in acupuncture in 2000.

He incorporated both modalities into his already busy practice until
2001, when he made the choice to turn towards a more holistic practice,
as the effectiveness of chiropractic and acupuncture became more and
more apparent to him.

In 2004, Ron next began taking classes from the Chi Institute of
Traditional Chinese Medicine in Herbology, and became certified in the
use of Chinese Herbs for treatment in 2006.

Ron has been an examiner for the AVCA Certification Committee and also
has served as chairman of the AVCA Examination Commission over the past
few years.  He has incorporated Chinese herbs into the Chiropractic and
Acupuncture practice, while also including diet, rehabilitation and
saddle fit  advice.

Ron works with his wife Margy in his practice.  After graduating, also
from OSU, with a BS in Microbiology, she became a registered
Microbiologist, Medical Technologist & Animal Techncian. She had set up a laboratory in
the clinic for routine lab work, cultures and sensitivities, and plasma
transfusions on newborn foals.  In 1992, she became interested in Energy
Healing on animals, and after 1996 she continued in Healing Touch and
Energy Medicine on people, going to certification  in Healing Touch. She
attended a two year school in advanced healing with the same teacher, as
well as studying with her for two more years privately.

She has always supported Ron in his search for more education in
Chiropractic, Acupuncture,and Chinese Herbology.  She learned a lot by
watching Ron work, and she furthered her own education to become a
human Acupuncturist at the age of 58.  She has graduated
from the SHI School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in
Lebanon, Ohio, and is now working toward National Registration in

You can schedule appointments for your pets with Dr. Leick at this link for

Complementary Veterinary Care in Alexandria, Kentucky.


Dog Whisperer: Importance of Walking

Tina Caldwell, our very own resident dog whisperer, reminds us that walking weather is back!  Here’s why you should walk your canine on a regular basis.

The Importance Of A Walk

The most important activity that you can do with your dog is the walk.   Birds like to fly, fish like to swim, dogs like to walk.  Going for a walk allows your dog to get out and travel. The walk stimulates your dog mentally as well as physically.   Dogs that do not get enough good walks can become bored, hyper and destructive. The walk allows your dog to burn off energy, but it also strengthen your position as the pack leader.  
Some simple guidelines for a nice pleasant walk:
First, always start the walk out calmly. Ask your dog to sit and be calm as you put the collar and leash on. Your dog should walk beside you or slightly behind you.  Never let your dog pull out in front of you. Why? As the leader you should ask the dog to follow you, the dog can not pay attention if he is out front smelling the ground and pulling.    Keep a short leash, but not a tight leash. Anytime you stop there should be slack in the leash.  A tight, tense leash will create tension in your dog. For the first twenty minutes of your walk, your dog should follow your lead. After that, you can let your dog sniff and explore, then back to the walk.  Make sure you set a good pace for you and your dog.  Keep it interesting: change routes, go to different parks and pet stores. Dogs love that.
There you have it, much as famous dog whisperer Cesar Millan might recommend.  Have a fun walk, everyone!
Tina Caldwell
Tina Caldwell has been training dogs and their families for about twenty years. She likes to work with all kinds of dogs and people, and has shown and competed in many different events over the years.   Some of her specialties are conformation, obedience and agility trials.  Her favorite breed of dog is the Cane Corso. You can contact Tina through Petsmart Eastgate in Cincinnati, or at


vet questions: rabbit

Vet Questions Answered: Fit and Trim – Healthy Life for Small Animals

So, you recently picked out the sweetest, cutest, most adorable small animal to join your family.  You’ve got the litter and the cage, picked out the toys to stimulate their little brains, found a water bottle and grabbed a handy bag of small animal chow…  You must be all set to go home and settle in with your little one, right?  Not necessarily.

It’s important to note that each small animal has their own set of dietary needs.  I can’t emphasize enough that no matter what small animal you have in your home, it should have a vet, just as a dog and cat would.  Your vet should see the animal at least once, for a wellness checkup.  This will not only put your pet‘s information on file, but is a great time to talk diet and learn what could be ahead for the future health of your animal.  If you’ve never cared for this kind of small animal before, make sure you get a list of safe and unsafe foods for your baby to enjoy and be certain that if your little one has constantly growing teeth, you have some type of food that will help wear those little choppers down.

vet questions: rat nutrition

After recently discovering a new brand of rat food in our local pet store, I sat down with our vet, Dr. Jason Smith, during a wellness exam, to talk out our options and find out what was best for the two new, growing rats we have in our home.  Later on, I realized that there might be a few families out there with a first time small pet and that this conversation would be a good one to share.  I asked Dr. Smith if he would be willing to answer some generic small animal questions and he agreed.

During our chat, I was not surprised to hear that there were many new small animal families in to the office this past year.  Small pets are becoming very popular these days, and as a rat owner, I honestly can’t argue against their fame.  Just look at their adorable faces!  Who wouldn’t want these sweet little bundles of love to be a part of their home?  What DID surprise me was the very beginning of our conversation…

Remember my saying earlier that you grabbed “a handy bag of small animal chow“ on your way out of the pet store?  A lot of people assume that because the contents of the foods are similar, the animal on the package doesn’t matter much.  You look through the clear plastic and see seeds and dried corn and some pellets that are made of some kind of Flax Seed or Oat products, plus vitamins and minerals and it looks just like the bag next to it, where the pellets are a slightly different color or size.  The size difference is probably because the animal is larger and the color change simple to explain.  Don’t other products remind us that color can vary with each batch?  One can only assume they’re the same food, right?

Vet Questions guinea pig

Dr. Smith was very serious about this common misunderstanding, because while people are right that the CONTENTS are basically similar, it is the AMOUNT that you need to watch out for.  “Many of the foods will have similar ingredients but the amount of each will be different.  Small animals have different ways of breaking down food from one another and us,” he reminded me.  “NEVER buy food for the wrong species!”

All right.  Check that you‘ve got the right bag for the right baby.  You find the right one, then read the back and it says that in addition to this food, “it is recommended to feed a limited amount of appropriate fresh fruits and vegetables.”  Woah!  “Appropriate?”  How do you know what they mean?  Again, always consult your own vet on this, because some small animals need more green leafy vegetables or vitamin C than others, but most vegetables are good for all.  Most fruits are okay too, but remember to keep quantity down because, well… imagine what happens to you when you eat too much fruit.

vet questions not-to-do list

What small animals should AVOID are things like avocados, green parts of raw potato and plants from the onion family.  Dr. Smith says it is also important to avoid large quantities of grapes.  And what about those bags of dried fruits and veggies at the store?  They must be healthy, they’re fruits and vegetables, just dried up.  Well, they might taste good, but they “won’t provide the healthy nutrition of fresh fruits and vegetables.” So fresh is the way we go at our place, especially since Dr. Smith pointed out, “Dried products are more likely to cause health problems like diarrhea and obesity.”

Giving our babies healthy fruits and vegetables must mean that if I’ve got some human food with broccoli or carrots in it, I can just let them steal a little or lick my plate when I’m done.  Plenty of people do this, so we assume it must be safe.  Dr. Smith reminded me that what is safest is to avoid this kind of thing completely.  “The animal will consume more than you think!  This often results in the pet getting toxins or large amounts of fat.  Commonly, eating people food will result in a loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea.”  And of course avoid things with chocolate or high fat all together!

Vet questions: critical care supplement

But, what if your animal is sick or needs a boost to the immune system?  If they’re losing weight, can’t these foods with a little extra fat be helpful?  Our vet recommends giving a product like Critical Care for these needs, which is a supplement that can be syringe fed if necessary and should be available from your own vet.  Remember, elderly and sick animals that are losing weight require additional care anyway, so when you’re in for your exam, make sure to ask what they recommend to help give your baby a boost.

Of course, once you’ve read all this, you might think the issue of balanced nutrition sounds like a complicated process, but don’t let it keep you away from critters in cages.  Certain small animals can be just as affectionate and loving as a dog or cat and some are even more social.  If the best way to get on like peas and carrots is to share a small bite of banana, it’s well worth that extra trip to the produce department.

Vet questions: Caduceus

Dr. Jason Smith attended Rider University in New Jersey where he earned his undergraduate degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology with a minor in Chemistry.  He then attended the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, where he graduated with his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2005 with honors.  He enjoys all aspects of small animal medicine and surgery and has medically and surgically treated dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, rats, prairie dogs, chinchillas, hedgehogs, hamsters, mice, gerbils and pot bellied pigs.  He currently practices at both Timberlyne and Legion Road Animal Clinics in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Mirrani 300

Mirrani Houpe has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade.  Since that time she has purchased, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them.  She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at

Critical Care Products At Amazon

Other Oxbow Small Animal Products Available At Pet Food Direct

Pet Health When Temps Drop

freezing-dogIt’s a common belief outside of the pet health industry that dogs and cats can tolerate cold weather because of their fur, but make no mistake, pets can get frostbite, too.  The good news is, cold weather injuries are the easiest to prevent.

A pet’s cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. (For instance, our Greyhound must have a sweater any time it’s below 50 outside, and a coat at 40 or lower, our Basset Hound is good until temps get below freezing, although will retreat to the house if there is snow deep enough to reach his belly, while our taller, heavier coated Brittany is tolerant of all temps and snow depths, at least for small periods of time.)  Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances will have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to extreme cold. A good rule of thumb is: if you need cold weather protection, so does your pet.

paw irritation

One of the most common problems vets treat during cold weather is irritation to paw pads from salt.  How to tell if this is a problem for your pet:  if the pet favors one paw or hops around on its feet or twitches its feet while standing on the sidewalk.  They may also lick their paws to remove the salt, making the pads red and chapped and giving them digestive upsets.


If possible, put booties on your dogs when they must go outside.  At the very least, wipe their paws with a warm, wet cloth when they come back indoors. If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. And be sure to toss it in the dryer if it gets wet.  Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. We recommend Dapperdawgs if you have a greyhound.  (Here’s a pic of Seba’s coat.) Amazon also has a wonderful selection, as well as Petsmart.


Damp and cold can also irritate symptoms of arthritis in older pets.  So if your dog or cat cries with pain going up or down stairs, when being picked up, or has trouble getting up or lying down, a trip to the vet is in order.  Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If necessary, paper-train your puppy inside if he or she appears to be sensitive to the weather.

cat engineKeep in mind that outdoor pets will seek shelter in car engines during freezing temps.  Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood. And if you house pets in the garage that are normally outside, be aware that carbon monoxide from a warming car takes only minutes to become deadly for your dog or cat. And of course make sure to keep them away from puddles of anti-freeze, which are sweet tasting but deadly. Never leave your pet alone in a car in cold weather–this is just as dangerous as during hot temps.


Be sure to pet proof your house as well, since pets will be spending more time indoors. Use space heaters in safe areas, to prevent burns or getting knocked over, causing a fire. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts. Keep in mind that pets especially need warm bedding and fresh water at this time.

horsePet Health Outside: make sure pets and livestock are kept away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water.  Make sure chicken coops and dog houses have plenty of insulating hay, and dog houses should be raised off the cold ground.


Know the signs of hypothermia: whining, shivering, the pet seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow.  If you see this, they need to be brought inside quickly!

Be prepared in case you lose power: now’s the time for your pet disaster/emergency kit, with enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.


Shelters see a lot of lost, homeless and stray dogs during the winter months. Always keep a collar on your dog and consider having your pet identified with a microchip, in case your dog gets lost or disoriented in cold weather.


The great news is, Winter is an awesome time to clicker-train your dog or cat.  Most pets need some distractions to ward off cabin fever anyway, and they’ll relish time spent with you, their human parents.  So here’s to pet health, no matter the weather!


joy 300

 Joy Jones is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Anderson, Ohio.  When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column called The Midwestern Buddhist as well as urban fantasy and humor.  You can e-mail her at as well as follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Finding The Right Food For Your Cat

cat eating

I confess,  I feed my cats dry food.  Are you surprised?  Cats don’t have much of a thirst drive, so they need wet food to get enough water to survive.  Lisa Pierson, DVM believes that cats should be fed wet food only.  That certainly would be the safest thing to do.

I also free feed my cats.  That is, Joy and I leave a bowl of dry food out all day so the cats can eat as they please.  Yes, water is out all day also but even before I read Dr. Pierson’s article I noticed they didn’t drink much of the water. Cats that aren’t getting enough water will develop urinary tract infections, which can be fatal if left untreated.   The problem is how do you know when your cat isn’t feeling well, and if you do know will you catch it in time? We feed our cats wet food about three times a week, and that has been working well for us.

            How to choose a brand?  There really aren’t many rating good sites out there.  Go here first:  This is Dr. Pierson’s site.  While there are no brand specific recommendations, the site is jam packed with great nutritional information and advice on how to choose a commercial cat food so I encourage you to spend some time there.

            Then go here:

            PetSmart Pet food selector.

            This is an easy to use tool to find a brand that is a fit for your cat.  The PetSmart engine will suggest brands, then use the information from to pick just the right one to meet the nutritional needs of your cat.

            I said at the beginning that I feed my cats dry food.  How do you find the right dry cat food?  To tell the truth, I use the dog food reviews mentioned last week in my column Dog Food Advisor and trust that they put the same care into mixing their cat food.

            How do you find a good brand for your cat?  Let me know at:

Dave Jones is an insurance sales desk supervisor by day and a professional magician by night.  He lives with his wife Joy in Anderson, Ohio, but grew up on a farm with pigs, chickens and cows as well as dogs and cats.  You can e-mail Dave as well as follow him on Facebook.

The Do It Yourself Pet Parent

pet toys

When we first launched, one of our polls revealed that pet owners would like to know how to make their own healthy treats for their fur babies, and also fun, teaching toys.  Your Pet Space scoured the web and found the following links:


33 Dog Toys You Can Make From Things Around the House

Make Your Own Homemade Rabbit Toys

Cat Toys

Five Cheap Bird Toys You Can Make at Home

And, our fav:



Recipe Ideas for Quick and Healthy Homemade Dog Treats

Diabetic Dog Treats

Cat Treats: Homemade Cat Food Recipes

Bird Food and Treat Recipes

Homemade Rat Treats

And our fav:

We would LOVE to have you send in to us your toy ideas and natural recipes for treats or food!  Just post on our Facebook page, comment here or e-mail to

Joy Jones is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Anderson, Ohio.  When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphyscial column called The Midwestern Buddhist as well as urban fantasy and humor.  You can e-mail her at as well as follow her on Facebook or Twitter.