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    PeterDobias.com / Blog / Health Knowledge

    What is the balloon effect and how can it affect your dog's head

    By Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

    Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. His love of dogs and passion for natural healing and nutrition led him to writing, teaching and helping people create health naturally, without drugs, chemicals and processed food.

    Creating a healthy and long life for your dog 

    Today, I'll focus on the conditions affecting the head and share what I've learned. But before I start describing the most common problems caused by  restriction of flow to the head, I want to ask you to test something on your own body.

    1. Sit down on a chair
    2. Raise your hands 
    3. Clasp your neck with your hands with thumbs facing forward
    4. Squeeze a little
    5. Squeeze hard
    6. Pull back...
    How did it feel?

    Did you feel your head pressure increase? Did you experience the sensation of blood rushing to your head and pressure building up in the eyes and ears? Did you feel your face swell up and turn red? Did you get a headache?

    I call this sensation ‘The Balloon Effect’ because it reminds me of a balloon. When an inflated balloon is squeezed, the top part pops up like a blister full of pressure. When energy flow to your dog's head stops it won't pop up like a blister, but it can lead to many problems.

    How collars block the energy flow to your dog's head

    Based on the test you've just done, you can see how much the head is affected by what is happening to the neck. 

    The most common reason for energy constriction to the head is obstruction by a collar. Whenever I'm out and about, I see a large portion of dog lovers still use neck tightening collars, such as martingale collars, choke chains, prong collars or even shock collars. But even regular collars can cause energy restriction when they are too tight and when dogs pull. Click here for more info.

    Pulling and jerking is another common cause of neck injuries. Nylon or leather leashes are too unforgiving and create a jerk when your dog runs to the end of the leash. This often happens when he or she just wants to say hi to another dog or a person.

    I also know many people still advocate a jerk of the leash as a way of making a correction for misbehavior.

    Chiropractors go to school for years to be able to adjust in a proper way and these ‘jerk-djustments’ can be very damaging.

    leash jerks can be compared to a person doing 5 times stronger chiro adjustments without going to school!


    Retractable leashes are no better. First, they create persistent tension as a dog extends the line and second, they cause repeated ‘jerk-adjustments’ when a dog reaches the end of the line. The reason I love the Gentle Leash is it absorbs shock well, is strong and is made of natural materials.

    Tightening of chewing muscles is another source of head problems. In nature, dogs would chew on bones, sticks and other items, but not frequently or out of boredom. I've seen dogs that chew for hours every day and their jaw muscles get excessively strong and tight. This tightness leads to energy-flow restrictions

    What medical problems are caused by energy flow restriction to the head?

    I've heard some people objecting to what I'm about to write, but it doesn't phase me much because I offer the information to people who are open-minded enough to try this approach.  

    Below is a list of conditions located around the head that I've observed during my 28 years of practical experience. The beauty of this simple system is that when these principles are applied, many dogs recover even from long-term, chronic conditions.

    It took me years of struggle and trial and error before I discovered them and it makes me super happy to be able to share them with you here:

    Ear problems are one of the most common issues in this category. Click here for an article that explains more.

    Scratching around the ears with no evidence of any ear problem is often related to tightness of the masticatory (chewing) muscles.

    Eye discharge and conjunctivitis are surprisingly often caused by collar tightness, pulling on the leash and neck injuries. Read more details here. Using a Perfect Fit Harness and a Gentle Leash are often all that is needed to correct this problem. Vaccination side-effects are another possible cause of eye discharge.

    Reverse sneezing is another common problem. When the flow of energy to and from the head is reduced, the soft palate of susceptible dogs swells up and partially obstructs the nasal passages, which will make a dog sounds like a little piggy. People often spend thousands of dollars solving this problem when all that is needed is the right harness and a Gentle Leash

    Nasal and oral tumors may sometimes be caused by energy flow restriction to the head. I have seen a higher number of these tumors in dogs that love to carry things for extended periods of time, such as Labradors, golden retrievers, and border collies. I also suspect there may be a connection between toxic plastic toys and tumors. Currently, there are no safety requirements when it comes to dog toys. If your dog loves toys, use natural toys and restrict the time your dog chews on them. 

    Head rubbing, scratching or hair loss is the last symptom I'll mention today. When dogs get uncomfortable around their head, all they can do is rub their head on the carpet or furniture and scratch. I see this condition often being misdiagnosed as allergies while many dogs could be helped with a few simple steps.

    What is the solution for head problems in dogs?

    The purpose of this article is not to discourage you from having your dog examined if there is a problem. However, applying the following principles can make an exam and any further treatments unnecessary.  

    1. If your dog has any pathology around the head, switch to a harness and try a Gentle Leash.
    2. Have your dog's head and neck examined by an experienced animal chiropractor, physical therapist or osteopath. Both the neck and the skull bones may be out of alignment. 
    3. Improve your dog’s capacity to heal by feeding a raw or cooked diet.
    4. Add all-natural essential supplements to provide the building blocks needed for tissues to heal and rebuild.
    5. Reduce excessive strain on the chewing muscles

    And if you are in doubt that the above information is true, just try it. You have nothing to lose and your dog has much to gain.

    Thanks for sharing this article!

    © Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

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    Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. He graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1988 in the Czech Republic and obtained the Canadian Certificate of Qualification in 1995. He is currently licensed in the European Union, and his unique approach to healing and nutrition helps holistically minded dog lovers worldwide.

    Dr. Dobias strongly believes that disease prevention, natural nutrition and supplements, the right exercise and a drug free approach to medicine can add years to your dog's life.

    As a formulator of his all-natural vitamin and supplement line and co-inventor of natural, chemical free flea and tick control, FleaHex® and TickHex®, his unique healing system and products currently hold the highest independent five star customer rating. For more information click here.

    Any general recommendations that Dr. Dobias makes are not a substitute for the appropriate veterinary care and are for informational and educational purposes only.

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