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Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

The Feeding Mistake Linked to the Cause of Most Disease – Are You Making It?

Story at-a-glance

  • In part 1 of a 3-part series on raw food diets for pets, Dr. Becker begins the discussion by reviewing the ancestral origins of today’s dogs and cats.
  • From a genetic standpoint, domesticated canines and felines are essentially the same as their wild counterparts, who are carnivores.
  • Dogs and cats have not evolved from meat-eaters to vegetarians, but you wouldn’t know it from the ingredients used in the vast majority of commercial pet foods on the market.
  • Fortunately, dogs and cats are adaptable, resilient animals. Otherwise, the biologically inappropriate convenience pet foods they’ve been fed for the last century would wreak even greater havoc on their health.
  • High-carbohydrate, low-moisture commercial pet foods have created significant metabolic and physiologic stress in our pets and have become the root cause of most of the inflammatory processes and degenerative disease we see in veterinary medicine today.

Video:  Dr. Becker Discusses Raw Food Diet (Part 1)

By Dr. Becker

Today and over the next couple of weeks I’ll be discussing my favorite topic, raw food diets for pets. I want to talk about some of the myths and truths surrounding raw food diets, but before we get to the good stuff, it’s important to have a foundation of understanding about basic nutrition.

One point that no one argues is that for optimal health to occur, animals must consume the foods they were designed to eat. I call this a species-appropriate diet. So vegetarian animals must eat vegetation for optimal health. And carnivorous animals must eat fresh whole prey for optimal health.

Origins of Dogs and Cats

A good place to start a discussion of our carnivorous pets is to go back to the roots of the dog and the cat prior to domestication. The domestic dog, whose taxonomic name is Canis lupus familiaris, is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, which is a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora.

Most scientists believe dogs were domesticated from gray wolves about 15,000 years ago. But DNA analysis published in 1997 suggests that the transformation from wolves to domestic dogs occurred more like 130,000 years ago.

Data suggests dogs first diverged from wolves in East Asia, and these domesticated dogs quickly migrated throughout the world. Of course, humans began selectively breeding dogs to create animals that suited their needs and their likes.

The earliest evidence of cat domestication is a kitten that was found buried alongside a human approximately 9,500 years ago in Cyprus. Researchers have gained major insights through DNA testing into the evolution of cats by showing how they migrated to new continents and developed new species as the sea levels rose and fell.

A 2008 study revealed that lines of descent for all house cats, of the species Felis catus, probably came from self-domesticating African wild cats up to 10,000 years ago. And as happened with the domesticated dog, humans began breeding cats to suit their fancy. Today, over 80 breeds of cats are recognized by one registry or another.

Today’s Cats and Dogs are Carnivores Just Like Their Wild Ancestors

Despite humans’ desire to create certain physical characteristics in dogs and cats – this is called their phenotype or how animals look externally – their genetic makeup remains essentially the same as their wild ancestors, which should tell you something about the foods they should still be consuming.

Of course, all animals are biologically equipped to assimilate and digest foods they were designed to eat. For example, earthworms are naturally designed to process dirt. The entire GI tract of worms, from the mouth to the other end where waste is excreted, was designed for this purpose.

Cows are designed to eat grass, and their GI tracts are set up perfectly for this. They have big, round, flat teeth used to grind grasses and an unbelievable range of motion in their mandibles, allowing them to chew, chew, chew, and chew. Cows have a lot of range of motion laterally in their jaws.

Dogs and cats do not have this range of motion in their jaws. Their jaws move up and down only, like a trap door or a hinge, because dogs and cats are gulpers, not chewers. They don’t have chewing teeth. Dogs and cats have incredibly sharp interlocking teeth designed to rip and tear flesh.

They also have very short GI tracts compared to vegetarian animals that need to ferment foods, as carnivorous animals consume foods with potentially very heavy pathogen loads. The bodies of carnivores are designed to get foods in and back out very quickly.

The ancestral lifestyle of a carnivore includes lots of variety and seasonal variability, meaning certain prey was more prevalent at certain times of the year. They thrived consuming fresh, living, whole animals. But carnivorous animals do not eat clean foods. Dogs and cats did not evolve to consume sterile foods. They have digestive tracts that are designed to be resilient and handle the loads of naturally occurring bacteria that are present in the foods they eat. Their food in the wild was moisture-dense, meaning the prey they consumed was primarily water.

The carnivorous lifestyle required a tremendous amount of exercise and exertion. Food was not served to them, so they had to stealthily catch it. This provided intense stimulation of all the senses, plus nervous, skeletal, endocrine, and circulatory system involvement. Carnivorous animals had daily rigorous workouts in an attempt to catch enough food to stay alive.

Most Pet Food is Biologically Inappropriate for Dogs and Cats

What’s very important for pet owners to know is that “pet food” is a relatively new concept. So, “dog food” and “cat food” you buy from the supermarket has only been around a little over a hundred years.

However, animals have hunted prey or, in the case of dogs, scavenged — for millions of years. And although recent research suggests domesticated carnivores were able to adapt to some degree to starch in the diet as humans became planters and farmers of grains, dogs and cats have most definitely not evolved into vegetarians over time.

Over the last hundred years, major pet food companies have produced most of their products using a base of corn, wheat, rice, or potato. However, our carnivorous pets have not evolved to be able to process those foreign foods.

The good news is dogs and cats are adaptable and resilient unlike other species, for example, snakes. If we suddenly forced snakes to eat grains or consume vegetation, they would simply die, demonstrating rather visibly and quickly that they were not provided the correct food source.

Dogs and cats are among the most resilient animals on the planet. They are able to withstand really significant nutritional abuse, in my opinion, without dying. Degeneration does occur as the result of an inappropriate diet, but sudden death does not.

So one of the reasons we’ve been able to deceive ourselves into believing convenience pet foods are good for dogs and cats is because they don’t die immediately of acute starvation. For a hundred years our pets have been fed inappropriate diets that have kept them alive, but far from thriving like their wild relatives. Instead, we’ve created dozens of generations of nutritionally weakened animals that suffer from degenerative diseases linked to nutritional deficiencies – a link the traditional veterinary community has not acknowledged.

The Pottenger cat study is one example of how our current system of nourishing pets creates chronic disease.

The truth is that our pet population provides a place for recycling waste from the human food industry. Grains that fail inspection, uninspected pieces and parts of waste from the seafood industry, leftover restaurant grease, deceased livestock, and even roadkill is collected and disposed of through rendering — a process that converts all sorts of human food industry waste into raw materials for the pet food industry.

These raw materials are purchased by huge pet food manufacturers – makers of the big name brands your parents and friends have probably used for the last 50 years. These manufacturers blend the rendered fat and meat with a large amount of starch fillers. They add bulk vitamin and mineral supplements, and then they extrude the mix at high temperatures, creating all sorts of toxic reactions including advanced glycation end products and heterocyclic amines. They call this “pet food” and sell it to customers at an unbelievable profit.

Is the entire system flawed? Yes. But pet food industry giants are realizing that pet owners are becoming more educated about their flawed system, and they are trying to clean up their image. We are beginning to see words like “natural” and “no byproducts” on labels. We’re beginning to see “grain-free” and “naturally preserved” on labels as well. Manufacturers are hearing the grumbles of educated pet owners and are changing their marketing to try to regain lost customers.

Common Pet Food Myths Many People Actually Believe

I find it amazing that pet parents buy into marketing gimmicks that human parents would never fall for. For instance, how often have you heard a pediatrician say, “Never feed your baby anything but X brand of baby food, because feeding a homemade diet could be dangerous to your child’s health?” Never. But you do hear it often in the veterinary world.

Or how about this one: “Switching your brand of baby food could lead to GI problems, so feed only one brand or type of baby food to your children for the rest of their lives to avoid GI problems.” You would never hear this, either, from a competent pediatrician. And yet, you hear this type of advice all the time in the veterinary industry. It’s startling to me to know that entire generations of people actually believe pets must have “pet food” to be healthy.

And there’s a host of other myths you’ve probably heard. For example, pets can derive all the nutrients they need for vibrant health from a dry nugget that can be fed day after day, year after year. Or that if you don’t feed crunchy foods to your pet, his or her teeth won’t be clean. Or canned food is too rich, and raw food is just a recent trendy craze that could be risky.

A lot of people also believe their veterinarian wouldn’t recommend X brand of food if wasn’t good for their pet… that all cats should eat fish and drink milk… that veterinarians are the people to trust for the most up-to-date information pertaining to nutrition… or that disease, degeneration, and poor vitality have nothing to do with day to day nourishment. All myths.

So… What are the Facts?

Number one, carbohydrates are not a necessary component of a carnivore’s diet. Cats have no taste receptors for sweet flavors and have low rates of glucose uptake in the intestine. They should not be fed any type of grain that metabolizes into sugar.

Cats have no salivary amylase to break down starches, either, and dogs have very low amylase secretion.

Also, cats never hunted fish from the ocean – fish is not an evolutionary food source for them.

The intense heat used to process commercial pet foods diminishes or destroys the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in food. Processed pet foods require supplementation to replace lost nutrients.

The heating process also significantly reduces the digestibility of amino acids in pet food.

And digestibility of meat-based protein is proven to be superior to plant-based protein – the type used in most inexpensive commercial pet foods — for dogs and cats.

So in a nutshell, for 99.99 percent of their time on earth, dogs and cats have consumed a natural diet. For .01 percent of the time, they have consumed an extruded, processed diet. Dogs and cats evolved to consume a low-carbohydrate diet. But for the last century, the majority of pet owners have fed pets a high-carbohydrate, low-moisture diet. This has created significant metabolic and physiologic stress, and convenience pet foods have become the root cause of most of the inflammatory processes and degenerative disease that plague today’s dogs and cats.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Liver Dog Treats Equals One Happy Dog

DoggieKitchen.com: If you want to see your dog happier than he’s ever been, bake him some liver dog treats. There is a characteristic aroma and taste dogs just can’t get enough of.

You can take advantage of this eager to please side of your dog and use liver as your dog training treats and training tool.

What to Consider When Using Liver:

Vitamin A – Even though liver has a whole host of beneficial nutrients and vitamins, one of which is vitamin A, too much can do damage. If you dog ingests a large amount of liver at one time, in severe cases it could lead to vitamin A toxicity.

What Will Your Dog do for Liver Treats?

liver dog treats

So, how much is too much? That depends on the size and weight of your dog. Typically organ meat should not be more than 5-10% of your dogs total diet. However, we are talking about treats. A treat is an occasional indulgence, so there should not be a need for concern.

  • Organic – You may want to consider purchasing organic liver. Since the liver functions in removing toxins from the body, an organic liver will have fewer toxins. You should also consider purchasing calf liver or organic calf liver. Since the calf is young, it will have a minimal amount of build-up compared to an adult. Whatever type of liver you purchase, it should be hormone, steroid and antibiotic free, and preferably pasture raised.
  • Stinky – OK, so this isn’t as important as nutrition. But you need to be warned that not everyone enjoys the smell of cooked liver. So, you may want to air out the kitchen during and after baking your liver dog biscuits to avoid the stinky fragrance.
  • Clean-Up – Some of the homemade liver dog treats require that you puree the liver in a food processor. Once liver is in a liquid state, it dries very quickly. It is then quite difficult to remove when it comes time to clean up. I recommend taking the time to immediately rinse any utensils used with liver. Once the treats are baking away in the oven, you can address the task of washing dishes (or in my case loading the dishwasher!).

If you are just getting into baking homemade dog treats, liver is a great place to start. Since almost all dogs love liver, you will have lots of positive reinforcement for your hard baking efforts. And with simple recipes, bake up a batch, and see what your dog will do for some liver dog cookies!

Roll Out the Fun with Dog Biscuit Recipes

These dog biscuit recipes make the quintessential or classic dog treat. Roll out the fun, when you roll and cut out these homemade dog treats.

When you make your own dog treats, part of the fun is collecting dog cookie cutters to use. That’s why we’ve compiled all of our roll and cut recipes into one easy to locate area.

But how do you choose from all of those adorable dog cookie cutters? Here is a list of helpful things to consider when choosing cutters for your dog biscuits:

  • Seasonal – This is probably the easiest cookie cutter to choose. If you are making dog treats for a special time of year, then you’re going to choose Flowers for Spring, Flip Flops for Summer, and so on.
  • Dog Treat Dough – One thing that you need to consider when choosing cutters is the thickness of your dough. If it contains rolled oats, carob chips, or another chunky ingredient, you want to use very simple shaped cutters like hearts or circles. If your dough is simple and has smooth ingredients, like the turkey wheat free dog treats, you can use shapes that have more detail since the detail will be evident after the biscuits are baked.
  • Final Destination – Where or whom are your dog biscuits going to? If you will be shipping your homemade dog biscuits you will want simple shapes to keep them in one piece while traveling. If they will be a gift, how will you package them?

All these things need to be considered before you choose a dog treat recipe, because it will effect your end result. We also have tips on using the cookie cutter once you’ve chosen the perfect theme.

  • Flour – Most dog treat doughs can be sticky. That’s why it’s a great idea to dip your cookie cutter in flour before cutting the dough. Having a lightly covered cookie cutter will help it to release from the dough and provide a crisp cut out.
  • Should You Wiggle? – When cutting the dog biscuit, resist the urge to wiggle the cookie cutter. It will make your cut out not as precise. Choose your spot and press firmly straight down.
  • Lifting the Cut Outs – Once you have cut out as many dog biscuits as you can, it’s time to transfer the cookies to the baking sheet. Start by pulling away the excess dough from around the cut outs. Place the unused dough back into your bowl to be rolled out. Gently lift the cookie away from the parchment paper or flour covered surface with a metal or thin spatula.
  • Cleaning the Cutters – You want to clean your dog cookie cutters as soon as your dog biscuits are in the oven. Using warm water and mild soap is usually all you’ll need. Once they are washed, place them on a clean baking sheet and pop them into the oven for a couple minutes. This will help them to dry completely and avoid rust. Once they are cooled, they can be stored.

Although baking homemade dog biscuits make the cutest treats imaginable, there can be a problem. That problem is rolling out, and working with sticky, thick dog biscuit dough.

Liver Dog Treats with Cheese

What’s not to love with these liver dog treats with cheese. The aromatic flavors of liver, that all dogs seem to go crazy over, and the creamy goodness of cheese combine to create greatness.

Liver is a fantastic addition to your homemade dog treat recipes. However, we recommend you review our tips on buying and using liver before you bake up a batch of these liver dog treats.

Tips: If you do not have oat flour you can make your own by grinding rolled oats in your food processor. You will need 1 1/4 cup of oats to make 1 cup of oat flour. Grind until it is the consistency of flour. If you don’t have brown rice flour, you can substitute a few different flours. You can use barley, potato, millet or spelt flour using the same measurements.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. raw beef liver (you can substitute chicken liver)
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic (not garlic salt)
  • 1 egg

Additional flour for rolling

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Puree liver in a food processor. It’s ok if there are a few very small pieces.
  3. Pour the liver into a bowl.
  4. Stir in the flours, cheese, garlic and egg until thoroughly combined.
  5. Roll the dough out to a 1/4" thickness.
  6. Cut with dog cookie cutters or a pizza cutter. OR, drop spoonfuls for dog cookies. You can flatten them with a glass bottom dipped in flour. Or you can leave them in a ball shape.
  7. Place on a ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden in color.
  9. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Storing: These liver dog treats with cheese will last for 1 week in the refrigerator. They will be good for 6 months in the freezer.

Liver and Cottage Cheese Dog Treat Recipe

Liver dog treats are seldom turned down by dogs. They all seem to love them. So, this liver and cottage cheese recipe is sure to be a big hit.

If you’re an old pro at cooking liver, and just looking for another great liver dog treat recipe, you’ve found it.

Maybe you’re new to cooking liver and have questions or concerns about using it. Then you’ll want to review our tips on choosing liver before baking your homemade dog treats.

Are you using this liver and cottage cheese recipe for dog training treats? Then be sure to use very small dog bone cookie cutters. Or, you can roll them into little balls for quick consumption during training.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. beef liver
  • 2 large eggs (wash shells if you are going to include them)
  • 1 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat germ
  • 3 cups wheat flour

Additional flour for rolling

Instructions:

Tip: It is easier to cut liver (and other meats) while slightly frozen.

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F
  2. Rinse liver and cut into 1 inch pieces (see note above).
  3. In a 2 quart sauce pan bring liver and one cup of water to a boil over high heat.
  4. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until liver is no longer pink. Approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Reserve cooking liquid.
  6. In a blender or food processor puree the liver and eggs (if you are going to include the egg shells, now is the time to do so).
  7. Add reserved cooking liquid, as needed, to assist the puree process and keep the ingredients moving.
  8. Spoon liver mixture into a bowl.
  9. Stir in the cottage cheese, wheat germ, flour and any remaining cooking liquid.
  10. Knead dough until it no longer feels sticky.
  11. Roll out into 1/2" thickness and cut with dog cookie cutters.
  12. Place on a greased cookie sheet.
  13. Another option: Drop a tablespoon of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Slightly flatted the ball with a fork to make a dog cookie.
  14. Bake for one hour.
  15. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving to your dog.

Once the liver dog treats are cooled, they should not leave a residue when touched. If they do, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until completely hard and no residue remains.

These treats should last for one week in the refrigerator. If they are frozen, then they’ll last for around 8 months. You will want to use an airtight container when you store your homemade liver treats.

If your dog is motivated to please you for a food reward, these liver and cottage cheese dog treats are sure to be eaten quickly. See if you can take your dog to the next level in obedience or tricks with your homemade dog biscuits.

Fast and Easy Liver Training Treats

Ingredients:

Fresh Liver (preferably beef)

Salt

Water

Instructions:

  1. Add fresh liver to water which is at a full boil. You may add salt to this water if you wish. Allow to cook until liver is no longer pink. Usually about 5 minutes.

  2. Remove liver from the water and promptly rinse with cold water under the sink tap; all the while gently rubbing at the liver to remove any slime or white foamy stuff that may be on the liver.

  3. 3.  Pat the liver with paper towels until dry.

  4. Place liver on a cookie sheet and insert into a pre-heated 200 degree oven until it takes on a leathery appearance and feel. The liver should not crumble or break when picked up. This should take approximately 20 minutes.

  5. Once cooled, cut liver up into bite sized pieces.

Related:

Easter Candy Cautionary Warning for Pets

Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Gourmet Doggie Biscuits and Some Holiday Snacking Tips

Surprise, Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food

Common Foods That Are Harmful Or Even Fatal to Dogs

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pet Recipes, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Toxic Chicken Jerky Pet Treats Pulled from Store Shelves!

Pet Treats

Story at-a-glance
  • First, the good news. Nestle Purina PetCare and Del Monte have voluntarily recalled their chicken jerky pet treats imported from China. The brands removed from store shelves are Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats, along with Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats.
  • Now for the not-so-good news. The reason for the recall is a potential issue of unapproved antibiotic contamination supposedly unrelated to the problem with these very same treats that has resulted in thousands of sick, and hundreds of dead pets.
  • Interestingly, it was the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) that found the antibiotic residue in the treats. They used a new, highly sensitive test to analyze the products in response to growing consumer concerns.
  • So for now, the chicken jerky treats that may have been sickening or killing pets since 2007 are no longer on store shelves. Let’s hope if they do reappear, they will be safe for your pets.

By Dr. Becker:

In a truly spectacular coincidence, the very same brands of chicken jerky treats suspected of causing sickness and death in hundreds of dogs since 2007 have now been identified as being possibly contaminated with “unapproved” antibiotics. (Apparently the antibiotics are approved for use in China, where the treats are made, and in other countries, but not in the U.S.)

According to NBC News, right after the first of the year, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) informed the FDA it had found trace amounts of residual poultry antibiotics in several lots of Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats, as well as Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats.

Treats Have Been Voluntarily Recalled

Fortunately for U.S. pet owners and potential future pet victims, it seems the suggestion of antibiotic contamination was enough to prompt Nestle Purina PetCare (makers of Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats) and the Del Monte Corp. (makers of Milo’s Kitchen products) to voluntarily pull their chicken jerky products from store shelves across the country.

The New York agriculture agency discovered very low levels of four drugs not approved for use in U.S. poultry, and one antibiotic that is approved for use, but for which quantities are strictly limited. The antibiotics found were sulfaclozine, tilmicosin, trimethoprim, enrofloxacin and sulfaquinoxaline.

The agency used new, highly sensitive technology to detect the presence of the antibiotics. The tests on the jerky treats were conducted in response to “growing consumer concerns.”

Whatever the reason, I’m extremely thankful NYSDAM took it upon themselves to run the tests. And while discovering antibiotic residue in food products is never “good news,” I’m grateful, in this case, something was found in those treats that caused them to be pulled off the market.

Treat Manufacturers and FDA Make Predictable Public Response

Needless to say, a spokesman for Nestle Purina says the issue with the antibiotics is in no way related to the issue with these very same chicken jerky treats that have allegedly sickened over 2,200 pets and killed well over 300.

The FDA also weighed in. From the agency’s January 9 CVM update:

Based on the FDA’s review of the NYSDAM results, there is no evidence that raises health concerns, and these results are highly unlikely to be related to the reports of illnesses FDA has received related to jerky pet treats. FDA commends Del Monte and Nestle-Purina for withdrawing these products from the market in response to this product quality issue. FDA also welcomes additional information about NYSDAM’s testing methodology, which is different and reportedly more sensitive than currently validated and approved regulatory methods.

As those of you who have been following this fiasco are aware, the FDA has conducted its own “extensive” testing and has to date been unable to find anything in the chicken jerky treats that would cause pet illness or death. Consequently, the agency maintains it is unable to take action to get the treats recalled, or even to effectively warn consumers of the potential for harm to their pets.

At Least for Now, Suspect Treats Are Off Store Shelves

It’s a small victory, but one that brings a sigh of relief. Tragically, for those pet owners who lost beloved companions, the recall does not help.

According to NBC news, a woman from New York whose 2 year-old pug died suddenly in 2011 after eating Waggin’ Train chicken jerky treats, said in a statement:

"How many lives could have been saved if, six years ago, when there was first doubt that the safety of our companions was compromised, the FDA and all manufacturers of imported chicken jerky had issued a precautionary recall until the toxin was found? How much pain and suffering could have been avoided if only they had met their moral obligation six years ago and did the job the taxpayers pay them to do?"

Related:

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Pet Jerky Death Toll Update: 360 dogs, 1 Cat According to FDA

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When Raw Food is NOT the Right Food for Your Pet

Surprise, Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food

Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

The Importance of Bones in Your Pet’s Diet

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

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Good Diet and Advice for Dogs with Pancreatitis

“Holidays Are Great and Fun To Share With Our Pets, As Long As We Avoid the No-No Foods”

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Fatty Acids May Improve Mobility In Osteoarthritic Dogs

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Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

How the Pet Food Industry Has Helped Create "Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome"

Now dogs Have a Food Truck of Their Own With Bow-Wow Chow

Dysbiosis: The Root Cause of Many Other Pet Health Problems

Cancer and Your Pet: Two Things to Avoid

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The Nutrient Your Dog Needs More of As They Age: Protein – And Expecting Your Pet to Get It from Rendered Pet Food Is the Worst of the Worst of the Worst Options!

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Gourmet Doggie Biscuits and Some Holiday Snacking Tips

Beef Verses Bison for Dogs – Variety is critical for your pet to receive the full spectrum of amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamins and antioxidants necessary to thrive.

Chicken Jerky Recipe for dogs

WHAT HUMAN FOODS ARE UNSAFE FOR PETS? (the 12 worst)–> chocolate, sugarless gum & artificial sweeteners, alcohol, yeast dough, grapes & raisins, Macadamia nuts, onions (bad for dogs and cats… but poison for cats), garlic (for cats), caffeine, fat trimmings and bones (bad for cats and limited fat and the right bones for dogs), raw eggs (for cats, but must be careful for dogs and humans), and milk.

Some of the best human foods for dogs: peanut butter (although peanuts and peanut butter can contain mold so could be bad for humans and dogs), cheese including cottage cheese (some some dogs can be prone to be lactose intolerant like people), yogurt, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe, blueberries, salmon, green beans, sweet potatoes, fresh raw carrots, pumpkin, and lean meat… cooked or raw.

Did You Know There are Two Kinds of Raw Pet Food on the Market?

Megacolon: A Terrible Outcome for Constipated Pets

Resources:

Not Fit for a Dog!: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food

See Spot Live Longer – How to help your dog live a longer and healthier life!

Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals

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Keep your pets healthy and help extend their lives with:

StemPet and StemEquine – Stem Cell Enhancers for Pets

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Pet Recipes, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How the Pet Food Industry Has Helped Create "Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome"

Story at-a-glance
  • In part two of Dr. Becker’s three-part interview with Dr. Michael Fox, they continue their discussion of Dr. Fox’s latest book,  Healing Animals & The Vision of One Health…, and how the notion of One Health reveals itself so often in veterinary practice.
  • Dr. Fox discusses the pet obesity epidemic, which he has very fittingly dubbed “Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome,” and the fact that this is a much more serious, potentially devastating problem than we imagine.
  • Dr. Fox also points out that the results achieved through sustainable organic farming should be viewed as evidence-based medicine… as should the health benefits we see when pets are switched from processed commercial pet food to real, whole food, organically grown.
  • Dr. Becker and Dr. Fox also discuss the challenges and benefits of becoming “kitchen anarchists” … taking control of what we eat and what we feed our loved ones, including our four-legged companions.

Video:  Dr. Becker Interviews Dr. Michael W. Fox (Part 2 of 3)

Download Interview Transcript

By Dr. Becker 

Last week in part one of my three part interview with Dr. Michael W. Fox, we discussed his latest book, Healing Animals & The Vision of One Health…, which I absolutely love. We talked about the vision of One Health, which is the concept that human well-being is the sum of public health, plus environmental health, plus animal health.

We talked about how pet owners are beginning to recognize that many human health problems these days are related to dietary choices and sedentary lifestyles – and that poor nutrition and other lifestyle-related diseases are also having the same negative impact on companion animals.

"Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome"

One of the things I love about Dr. Fox’s latest book is how he ties the vision of One Health over and over again into the contents of each chapter. For example, in chapter four, titled "Harm and Be Harmed," he discusses the fact that pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are totally foreign to the natural world. When we introduce these alien agents into the environment, we should expect an unnatural and adverse reaction.

A similar situation is created when we feed our dogs and cats processed pet food, and when we vaccinate. We are introducing totally foreign substances into the bodies of our companion animals — and so we shouldn’t be surprised when our pets become ill as a result.

In Healing Animals, Dr. Fox refers to the pet obesity epidemic as Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome, or CMS. He blames the mainstream pet food industry and veterinarians who refuse to see any connection between diet and the exploding number of overweight and obese dogs and cats. He explains what happens to an animal’s body after ingesting a meal containing highly processed cereal carbohydrates:

"The ‘sugar rush’ and insulin surge (until the pancreas becomes exhausted) make many dogs and cats constantly hungry, so they quickly become obese. Owners think their animal companions love the dry food because they always want to eat it."

He also makes the excellent point that animals who become obese as the result of a biologically inappropriate processed diet are not simply being overfed and under-exercised. They are also likely developing a host of serious, chronic, often debilitating health problems in part because they are actually undernourished. This can be even more severe and include the suffering of constant hunger when overweight and obese dogs and cats are put on low cal, high fiber, but nutrient deficient diets. CMS isn’t just a simple fat storage issue – it creates long-term, systemic damage in companion animals.

In his book, Dr. Fox also explains why we are seeing so much gluten hypersensitivity and dysbiosis in both people and their pets today. He ties these problems and other immune system abnormalities to, among other things, the use of herbicides.

Sustainable Organic Agriculture is Evidence-Based Medicine

I shared with Dr. Fox that even in my relatively short veterinary career (not quite 20 years), I’m having trouble seeing light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the damage we’ve already done to the environment, our own bodies, and to the animals in our care. I asked him if he feels more optimistic.

Dr. Fox’s response is encouraging. He makes the point that our bodies (and those of our animal companions) are incredibly resilient, and so are the soils of the earth. He explains it takes five years for a farmer to transition the chemically laden soil residues from conventional farming over to fully certified organic farming. At that point, the crops become healthier and the farm animals fed those crops and byproducts becomes healthier as well.

Dr. Fox says this is evidence-based medicine. The adoption of sustainable organic agricultural practices is being shown by economic analysts to be the better way to feed the hungry world. According to Dr. Fox, we don’t need the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation providing genetically engineered crops and ever more powerful chemicals.. Practicing ecologically sound, sustainable organic agriculture makes crops more nutritious and those who eat the crops will be healthier.

Again, this is evidence-based medicine according to Dr. Fox. He has a thick file from pet owners who have either adopted his home-prepared diet for dogs and cats, which can be found on his website (www.drfoxvet.com), or they’ve gone the organically certified route and found pet food manufacturers who use clean ingredients in their formulas. And lo and behold … their pets get better.

Prenatal Diet Affects the Viability and Resilience of Offspring

Dr. Fox points out that there’s always a genetic component to consider when discussing issues of health.

The term epigenetics describes how environmental factors can affect the tuning of our genes and our response to nutrients, and later, to environmental stressors. This influence is prenatal, which means what a mother eats affects her offspring.

Scientists at the Royal Veterinary College in London fed the equivalent of human junk food to a group of pregnant rats. The rats developed diabetes, and their offspring were born preferring junk food. The baby rats became obese and diabetic as a result.

So along with problems of inbreeding and the health issues deliberately bred into many dogs and cats, we also must consider what the mothers are eating during pregnancy that may affect the viability, resilience and general well-being of their offspring.

The Rise of Kitchen Anarchists

Rather than just plugging along, doing what we’ve always done or what seems to be right without really thinking about it, Dr. Fox encourages us to become what he calls "kitchen anarchists."

He explains that when we start taking charge of what we feed our families, including the four-legged members – though it does cost more – the investment will be well worth it in terms of future health costs. And Dr. Fox reminds us there are no shortcuts when it comes to eating well, and there never will be. It does take time – and it does cost more.

He goes on to say that certainly the government, health insurance companies and drug manufacturers have a real problem with holistic and integrative healing. They’d prefer we keep eating garbage food and get sick, because it’s all part of a very profitable system – the food and drug agribusiness complex. Dr. Fox asserts that, "While we may enjoy freedom of speech in what is left of our democratic society, it’s what we choose to put into our mouths that can have more political as well as personal health significance than what comes out of them."

As a practitioner of integrative, holistic veterinary medicine, I operate from the premise that if you nourish the body with healthy, unadulterated whole foods, you will create not only genetic resiliency, but immune system enhancement and overall vitality. All these things play a role in promoting a stronger, more balanced, resilient species, generation after generation.

I try to help people understand that yes, your food costs will be higher, and yes, you’ll be spending more time and energy preparing truly nutritious foods for your family. But there will be countless immeasurable benefits from that expenditure of resources. Dr. Fox does a great job defining many of those benefits, including long term cost-savings from the health benefits, in Healing Animals, which is invaluable.

He also discusses supplements like fish body oils and trace minerals such as Sacred Earth in the book. Many pets, as we know, eat dirt from time to time. There are a wide variety of trace elements and beneficial microbial life in soil that science doesn’t know much about yet. But if we observe what goes on in nature – if we take notice that many dogs and cats eat dirt, for example – we can give nature a chance to demonstrate its bounty.

As Dr. Fox so eloquently states at the close of this second part of our interview:

"Ultimately, we’re all derivatives of nature. We can’t play the role of the dominant pioneering exploiter without causing great harm. Because when we harm the Earth, we harm ourselves. And when we demean and exploit animals, we do no less to ourselves."

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of my interview with Dr. Michael W. Fox. We’ll discuss his suggestion that humanity is at a crossroads. Will we decide to take responsibility for what we’re doing to the Earth? Will we develop reverential respect for all life? Will we obey the Golden Rule? … Or will we just make chaos out of it all, becoming less than human, and suffering physically, mentally and spiritually?

Realted:

When Raw Food is NOT the Right Food for Your Pet

Surprise, Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food

Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

The Importance of Bones in Your Pet’s Diet

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Good Diet and Advice for Dogs with Pancreatitis

“Holidays Are Great and Fun To Share With Our Pets, As Long As We Avoid the No-No Foods”

Gourmet Doggie Biscuits and Some Holiday Snacking Tips

Beef Verses Bison for Dogs – Variety is critical for your pet to receive the full spectrum of amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamins and antioxidants necessary to thrive.

Fatty Acids May Improve Mobility In Osteoarthritic Dogs

Pets and Toxic Plants

Natural Pet Remedies For Everyday Problems

Allergies and Springtime Ailments in Pets

Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pet Recipes, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

CAUTION: Bones Can Kill Your Dog – Find Out Which Ones are Safe

It’s the oldest cliché in the book: Dogs love to chew on bones. But the FDA is warning that this time-honored tradition could be dangerous—and even deadly—for dogs.

“Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast,” says Dr. Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death.”

Dr. Becker’s Comments:

The FDA doesn’t make clear whether their warning extends to all bones or just cooked bones, so I’ll assume for purposes of the information I’m about to give you they’re discussing only bones from food that has been cooked.

Dangers of Cooked Bones

The cooking process makes bones more brittle, increasing the likelihood they might splinter and cause internal injury to your dog.Cooking can also remove the nutrition contained in bones.

In their April 20, 2010 Consumer Update, the FDA lists the following risks associated with giving your dog a cooked bone to chew:

  1. Broken teeth. This may call for expensive veterinary dentistry.
  2. Mouth or tongue injuries. These can be very bloody and messy and may require a trip to see your veterinarian.
  3. Bone gets looped around your dog’s lower jaw. This can be frightening or painful for your dog and potentially costly to you, as it usually means a trip to see your veterinarian.
  4. Bone gets stuck in esophagus, the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach. Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up, and will need to see your veterinarian.
  5. Bone gets stuck in windpipe. This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone. This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing. Get your pet to your veterinarian immediately!
  6. Bone gets stuck in stomach. It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines. Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, a procedure in which your veterinarian uses a long tube with a built-in camera and grabbing tools to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
  7. Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage. It may be time for surgery.
  8. Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian. Bones also contain a lot of calcium, which is very firming to the stool.
  9. Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is very messy and can be dangerous. It’s time for a trip to see your veterinarian.
  10. Peritonitis. This nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian because peritonitis can kill your dog.

Are Any Bones Safe for My Dog?

Raw bones can be both safe and healthy providing you follow some guidelines which I’ll discuss shortly.

You’re probably aware your dog’s ancestors and counterparts in the wild have been eating bones forever.

Canines in their natural habitat eat prey, including the meat, bones and stomach contents. In fact, your pup has a biological requirement for the nutrients found in bone marrow and the bones themselves.

Dogs love to chew raw bones for the yummy taste, the mental stimulation, and also because all that gnawing is great exercise for the muscles of the jaw.

Two Types of Raw Bones

Dog BoneAt my clinic, Natural Pet Animal Hospital, we recommend to all our dog parents that they separate bones into two categories:

  1. Edible bones
  2. Recreational bones

Edible bones are the hollow, non weight-bearing bones of birds (typically chicken wings and chicken and turkey necks). They are soft, pliable, do not contain marrow, and can be easily crushed in a meat grinder.

These bones provide calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals which can be an essential part of your pup’s balanced raw food diet.

Recreational bones – big chunks of beef or bison femur or hip bones filled with marrow — don’t supply significant dietary nutrition for your dog (they are not designed to be chewed up and swallowed, only gnawed on), but they do provide mental stimulation and are great for your pup’s oral health.

When your dog chews on a raw recreational bone, especially a meaty one with cartilage and soft tissue still attached, his teeth get the equivalent of a good brushing and flossing. This helps to break down tartar and reduces the risk of gum disease.

Dogs in the wild have beautiful teeth and healthy gums. This is because the prey they eat requires a lot of chewing, and the sinewy composition helps to clean each entire tooth.

Guidelines for Feeding Recreational Bones Safely

The health risks listed above for cooked bones can also apply to recreational raw bones if your dog has unrestricted, unsupervised access to them.

The following are do’s and don’ts for feeding recreational raw bones (and yes, they have to be raw, not steamed, boiled or baked):

  • Do supervise your dog closely while he’s working on a bone. That way you can react immediately if your pup happens to choke, or if you notice any blood on the bone or around your dog’s mouth from over aggressive gnawing. You’ll also know when your dog has chewed down to the hard brittle part of a knuckle bone, making splinters more likely. When the bone has been gnawed down in size throw it out. Do not allow your dog to chew it down to a small chunk he can swallow.
  • Do separate dogs in a multi-dog household before feeding bones. Dogs can get quite territorial about bones and some dogs will fight over them.
  • Do feed fresh raw bones in your dog’s crate, or on a towel or other surface you can clean, or outside as long as you can supervise him. Fresh raw bones become a gooey, greasy mess until your dog has gnawed them clean, so make sure to protect your flooring and furniture.
  • Don’t give them to a dog that has had restorative dental work/crowns.
  • Don’t give them to your dog if she has a predisposition to pancreatitis. Raw bone marrow is very rich and can cause diarrhea and a flare-up of pancreatitis. Instead, you can feed a “low fat” version by thawing the bone and scooping out the marrow to reduce the fat content.
  • Don’t give a recreational bone to a dog that’s likely to try to swallow it whole or bite it in two and eat it in huge chunks.

My pit bulls tried to do this the first time I fed them recreational raw bones – they bit them in two and tried to eat both halves whole. So I got knuckle bones the approximate size of their heads, and they couldn’t open their jaws wide enough to bite down and crack off big chunks of the bones. Over time, I trained them to chew smaller femur bones less aggressively.

You should be able to find raw knuckle bones at your local butcher shop or the meat counter of your supermarket (labeled as ‘soup bones’). When you get the bones home, store them in the freezer and thaw one at a time before feeding to your pup.

I also recommend giving your dog a bone to chew after she’s full from a meal. Hungry dogs are more tempted to swallow a bone whole or break it apart and swallow large chunks. This increases the risk of an obstruction in the digestive tract.

  • Don’t feed small bones that can be swallowed whole or pose a choking risk, or bones that have been cut, such as a leg bone. Cut bones are more likely to splinter.
  • Don’t feed pork bones or rib bones. They’re more likely to splinter than other types of bones.

A Healthy Alternative to Feeding Raw Bones

If one of the above conditions prevents you from offering raw bones to your dog, consider a softer alternative: a high quality, edible dental bone.

A fully digestible, high quality dental dog chew provides mechanical abrasion to help control plaque and tartar, and is similar to the effect of eating whole, raw food in the wild.

Many popular chew bones cannot be broken down, and if your pup swallows one whole, or a large enough portion of one, there’s always a risk of intestinal blockage. In addition, most traditional dog chews contain unhealthy ingredients like gelatin, artificial sweeteners, and other additives and preservatives that are potentially cancer causing.

I highly recommend Mercola Healthy Pets Dog Dental Bones, which are 100 percent natural and contain absolutely no corn, soy, gluten, extra fat or sugar, or animal byproducts.

Whether you go with raw bones, a high quality dog dental bone, or a combination, the important thing to remember is your canine family member is designed to chew. She needs your help to insure she gets regular opportunities to brush and floss as nature intended, and to exercise those jaw muscles.

Source: dvm360 April 27, 2010

Related Links:

May 11, 2012 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Homemade Dog Food – Delicious and Healthy

Thank you for stopping in and checking out my site. Here is a nutritious homemade dog food recipe, kind of a meat loaf. This is some of the best dog food you can make right in your kitchen. All the dog food ingredients are readily available in your local grocery store. The dog food recipes are easy to follow and simple to make. Most importantly your dog will thrive on them and love the way they taste.

Easy Cooked Dog Food Recipe

Video: Cooked Dog Food Recipe

This was ‘homemade dog food.com’s’  first dog food recipe video.  A very easy, cooked homemade dog food recipe. Happy viewing 🙂

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | , , | 1 Comment

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Update for all those who have asked  and sent their best wishes and prayers for Angelina… (06.27.11  8a.m.)

Thank you to all of you who have asked about her.  My husband Tim is on his way right now to pick her up at the Vet’s.  Her symptoms are better but the Vet says it takes a week before the the levels in the blood go down, so too early to test. The Vet was in the office at about 2a.m. last night and sometime between then and 7a.m. when the first of his staff come in, Angelina had managed to get out of her cone and remove her own IV.  (We warned him!) He said she didn’t like their food, the environment or the company…  Or lack thereof~  So, it was probably time to come get her. 😉

We had to take the littlest of our four pups, Angelina, to the vet today.  Turns out she has pancreatitis. Who knows why but perhaps because we are temporarily in a situation where we can’t control everything she/they eat.

Angelina is the little chocolate brown and white one. (Photo by UCLA Shutterbug)

Poor thing had to stay at the hospital because she needed an infusion of fluids.  I felt so bad. She is used to having us around plus her doggie family and there was only one other dog at the hospital… and he was knocked out suffering from liver cancer.  We left her with an IV, a cone around her neck and a pain patch in a cage all by herself.  I wanted to cry and she was crying when we left. I tried to convince the vet to let me stay and watch over both of them… keeping him from having to run over in the middle of night to check on them, but no go because of liability issues.

She kept looking at me like… Mom are you leaving me?  How could you? Are you ever coming back?  And then I felt particularly bad because I hadn’t brought her a toy or a blanket that smelled like home; never thought she’d have to stay over.  (The blanket was a clean freshly washed one,)  It made me think of all the people who just abandon or dump their pets and makes me wonder even more than I always have… How could they?

The other 3 are all moping around and the Dad of the bunch keeps walking around like he is looking for her.

M~

What Is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is simply an inflammation of the pancreas and is found in animals as well as humans.

So what’s a pancreas? It’s a little gland located near the stomach.

The pancreas has two main jobs. Its first job is to produce enzymes that help digest food. Its other job is to produce insulin, which regulates the blood sugar level.

And the cause of spontaneous pancreatitis in dogs is not well understood.

Types of Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis in dogs is usually divided into chronic and acute cases.

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are milder and are often mistaken for other illnesses.

While chronic pancreatitis is the milder form of the two, it’s a continuing inflammatory disease that’s often accompanied by slow, irreversible damage.

Acute pancreatitis is usually more severe, but when it’s over, there’s no remaining damage to organs.

So basically, pancreatitis can be acute and only occur once in a dog’s lifetime or it can become chronic and keep returning over and over again. It can be a rapidly life threatening illness or a mild attack of pain that resolves in a few hours or a day or so.

There’s another very severe form of this condition called necrotizing pancreatitis, in which the damage is so severe that portions of the pancreas are actually destroyed. Some authors refer to this as hemorrhagic pancreatitis.

This form of pancreatitis can be fatal and requires early intervention and aggressive treatment.

Causes of Pancreatitis in Dogs

In a large number of cases, the cause of pancreatitis remains unclear.  Like with colitis, we really don’t know what causes it.

However, there are certain things that we know are associated with the disease.

Genetics.  Many dogs are just born with it or if they have parents or grandparents that suffered with it they can inherit the propensity if not the disease itself.

There was a period where vets, who were trained through a training system that was affected by large donations from the commercial pet food industry, use to think and tell people who fed their pets human food, which is actually real food, was causing or at least sparking outbreaks of pancreatitis.  But just like with pre-packaged food for humans and commercial baby food, we are realizing that we have been had. Big Pharma has controlled the medical field for humans for years and works on the same concept and formula for babies and commercial pet foods.

Cooking for your pets or feeding them a raw diet is now being taught as the healthiest diets.  Back to the way grandma great-grandma fed her pets, kids and family is finally coming back into mode.

Dogs with diets high in fat, and dogs who have recently gotten into the trash or have been fed ‘greasy’ table scraps, seem to have a higher incidence of the disease.  Ham, bacon, meat fat from our plates that we won’t or shouldn’t eat, processed hot dogs, ice cream, and greasy junk foods can cause an out break of pancreatitis.  In fact, a single high fat meal can cause pancreatitis in a dog whose normal diet is moderate or low in fat.

That’s why there’s a rash of pancreatitis cases at vet clinics around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter every year. People just can’t resist sharing their ‘high fat’ leftovers with the family dog.

Some other factors contributing to the development of pancreatitis in dogs include:

  • Obesity
  • Trauma
  • Liver disease
  • Lack of exercise
  • Certain medications
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Recent abdominal surgery
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids
  • High calcium levels in the blood
  • High triglyceride and/or cholesterol levels in the blood

But for some dogs who are genetically pre-disposed to pancreatitis it can be none of the above.

Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatitis In Dogs

The most common symptoms of pancreatitis are:

  • fever
  • lack of appetite
  • depression
  • vomiting
  • signs of abdominal pain

Other pancreatitis symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Yellow, greasy stool
  • Dehydration
    • sunken eyes
    • dry mouth
    • dry skin
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Redness of the gums
  • Signs of shock
Making a Diagnosis

Pancreatitis in dogs mimics several other conditions, making diagnosis difficult. Some of these most common “look alike” conditions are:

  • Acute gastroenteritis
  • Colitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal obstruction

While there is no definitive test for pancreatitis, your veterinarian will try to make a diagnosis through information obtained from:

  • Medical history (especially what your dog eats)
  • Physical exam
  • Laboratory tests
  • Radiographs (X-rays)
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • CAT scan
  • Biopsy (occasionally)
Treatment For Pancreatitis In Dogs

The treatment your veterinarian selects will depend on the severity and duration of the illness. Dogs with a mild case of chronic pancreatitis may be treated at home, while those with a severe case of acute pancreatitis will require hospitalization and intensive care.

Resting the pancreas and gastrointestinal system is the most important key to your dog’s recovery.

That means no food or water by mouth for at least 24 hours to 48 hours.

The second major part of the treatment is the administration of large amounts of intravenous fluids.

Most dogs with pancreatitis are dehydrated from recurrent vomiting and diarrhea.

Other treatment measures include drugs to control vomiting, pain medications, and sometimes antibiotics to control or prevent bacterial infection.

Once the patient seems to feel better, he’s allowed to drink a bit of water. If he doesn’t vomit in the next 12 to 24 hours, he can graduate to solid food. He’ll probably be given small meals of a bland, easily digestible, low-fat food.

Over the course of a week or more, the amount of food can be gradually increased. Most dogs can go home once they’re able to eat and drink again.

Some dogs, if there was damage to the pancreas, may need supplemental treatment such as enzymes or insulin indefinitely.

Complications of Pancreatitis In Dogs

Dogs with severe pancreatitis can recover, but may also develop fatal complications, including:

  • Shock
  • Abnormal bleeding and clotting
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Liver or kidney damage
  • Abdominal inflammation and fluid accumulation
  • Sepsis (internal infection from bacteria and toxins)
  • Breathing difficulties
How Can I Keep It From Happening Again?

Pancreatitis can be a very unpredictable disease. In most cases, if the attack was mild and the dog only had one episode, chances of full recovery are good. Simply avoiding high fat foods may be all that’s needed to prevent another attack and/or complications.

Most vets generally prescribe a low-fat, high-fiber diet for pancreatitis in dogs, to help speed recovery and to prevent future episodes. (Homemade chicken and rice is a great choice!)

Depending on your dog’s situation, the diet recommendations may require a change for life or he may be able to gradually return to his former food, if it’s low enough in fat and high enough in quality.

Although most dogs can eat an occasional high-fat meal without a problem, once a dog develops pancreatitis, a high-fat meal will often cause another episode.

And make sure he can’t get into the garbage!

Some vets will try to steer you toward special commercial food for dogs with pancreatitis. If you feed your pet commercially prepared food, it is probably healthier than what you are feeding now and if you feed your pets a mixture of pet food and real food, you might try this type right after the incident and see if they will eat it. But the best food you can feed your dog is homemade chicken and rice, veggies, barley and a variety of non-fatty meats, plus a high quality probiotic and a natural vitamin daily.  Natural chicken and duck type jerky strips and homemade biscuits are the best treats.

Sadly, veterinarians like MD’s know very little about nutrition.  Vet and Med schools only spend about 10-hours out of their entire training process on the subject.  Some, however, are beginning to educate themselves on this and other subjects, and once they do they all become proponents of feeding your pet real food, raw or homemade (non-greasy, non-junk) foods.  The idea that real food is human food and not good is proof of the great selling job big business and marketing firms have done and the myth they have sold the public as well as many veterinarians and vet schools.  Just look at what animals eat in the wild.  Americans are starting back on the road to common sense on this matter as well as on many others.

Holistic, natural or alternative vets are always the best choice.  They generally combine western veterinary medicine with nutritional therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and other other holistic practices in order to treat the whole dog and the whole disease, including its root cause.

We have found that when our little Chiweenie (Chihuahua-Dachshund mix) has a flare-up from pancreatitis that a double dose of StemPets: For Dogs (and cats) helps her get back to her normal self better than anything we have found, prescription or natural, and giving it to her daily has kept her from having many flare-ups or kept them mild.

Who’s At Risk?

As with most diseases or conditions, certain dog breeds are more susceptible to pancreatitis than others. Miniature Schnauzers have a genetic susceptibility to the disease.

Other dogs that seem to be more predisposed to this condition are Yorkshire and Silky Terriers, Dachshunds, Miniature Poodles, and Cocker Spaniels.

The disease occurs usually in middle aged to older dogs, and overweight dogs are at a higher risk. It seems to affect females a little more frequently than males. Dogs with diabetes are also more at risk than others.

But it can strike any breed in any physical condition and at any age.

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Chiweenie, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , | 25 Comments

Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

MeatAfter posting: Surprise…Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food  A friend forwarded me the following, which includes this free download collection of dog and cat foods at Free Dog and Cat Food Recipes. (Have added a few comments in italics… plus some extra links and recipes. …Ask Marion)

The current crisis in our pet food supply has many of us looking for homemade dog food recipes for our beloved pets. I have been cooking for our dog for many years and find that he likes mostly the same foods that we do. Each animal has his own preferences, just like we do. For instance, our Oscar will not eat tomatoes, but Bonnie loves them. Use these recipes as a starting place for homemade dog food recipes. Then, as you discover your pets preferences you can customize them more. One caution: you should not serve onion or chocolate to dogs as they contain substances that can be toxic to dogs.

Some veterinarians prefer raw meat for our pets. I prefer to cook the meat because of concerns over E Coli and other bacterial contamination. If you wish to use raw meat, do not use ground meat. The grinding process increases the possibility of contamination by providing more surface area for the bacteria to grow.

Dogs are omnivores so veggies (fresh and cooked… just no onions or avocadoes), rice, barley, potatoes, etc in addition to their meat, is good for them, but they require more protein than humans.  Cheese and eggs are also good for them.  Some even like fruit, especially apples, but no raisins or grapes! As Diane Watkins notes above, animals like people have individual tastes… and like people eating the same dry or even canned wet dog food daily is pretty boring as well as leaving them under-nourished. 

Our dogs really don’t like or eat fruit, so we give them a natural high-quality supplement and add raw carrots (won’t eat cooked carrots) and sugar peas to their snacks.  We also feed them natural all meat chicken and duck strips or sticks as snacks.  And we add veggies that we are having for dinner to their plate.  We often just fix them whatever meat is on sale in the broiler or bbq, add brown or white rice mixed with some meat juice and cooked veggies (favorites are peas, yams and sometimes kernels of corn), but if I am fixing something that would be good and healthy I adjust that by not using the no-no foods and often less salt.

Just make sure you observe the absolute no-no list.  It is funny (not haha funny) but the people who will argue or take the stand that cheap (or any) commercial dog food is the way to go and won’t feed their pets real food are sadly usually also the people who will feed their dogs the few items of so-called people food that will harm or kill them!

The “Not So Safe Food For Pets” List

The following foods are not safe for dogs, cats, potbellied pigs, or guinea pigs. Never give the following foods or beverages to your pets:

  • Alcohol of any kind
  • Anything with Caffeine
  • Bones from Ham, Chicken, or Turkey (any fowl)
  • Candied Yams
  • Casseroles (unless you absolutely know that none of the no-no foods are in them)
  • Chocolate and Cocoa (this includes things like brownies and chocolate chip cookies) and dark chocolate is the worst… exactly opposite from people.
  • Jell-O Molds
  • Macadamia Nuts (this includes things like cookies and pies) and go easy on nuts in general
  • Pecan Pie
  • Potato Skins
  • Careful of processed Pork Products because of the nitrates, especially ham.
  • Stuffing, unless you made it from scratch yourself. (it usually contains onions, which is very harmful to pets)
  • Anything with onions in it (and garlic should be fed in moderation)
  • Anything with Xylitol in it
  • Grapes or raisins
  • Raw eggs – this is only on the list because of possible exposure to salmonella bacteria, not because the raw eggs are bad for them.  (It is the same as concerns over E Coli and other bacterial contamination with raw meat, even though the raw meat is great for them!)
  • Mushrooms
  • Baby food if it contains onion powder
  • Milk (and American Cheese) can be a problem for some dogs. And be aware that some animals can be lactose intolerant like some people.
  • Avocados – especially for birds and cats
  • Sage as well as many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils. (Often used in dressing and stuffing)
  • Also keep them away from any rising bread dough or other rising dough.  It can kill them and kill them very quickly.

Canine Meat and Grain Menu

2 cups cooked brown rice
2/3 cup Lean beef
2 teaspoons lard — or veggie/olive oil
1/2 cup vegetables — no onion*

Mix all together. You can serve the beef raw if you use chunks of beef. Do not serve ground beef raw, the grinding process increases the chances of bacterial contamination. Use any vegetables you like. You will find over time that your dog will leave any vegetables he does not like. Mix the above. Serve slightly warm, but not hot.

Chow Chow Chicken

You must remove the meat from the bones in this recipe. Chicken bones can easily splinter and cause choking problems in dogs.

2 chicken thighs — or white meat
1 stalk celery — sliced thick
3 carrot — peeled and halved
2 small potatoes — peeled and cubed
2 cups rice — uncooked

Place chicken pieces in large pot. Cover with cold water (5 -6 cups). Add carrots, celery, and potatoes to water. Add salt to taste if you want. Cover and simmer on low heat about 2 hours until the chicken becomes tender. Add the rice, cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove soup from heat. Pull the chicken meat off the bone ( it will practically fall off), discard bones. Return shredded pieces to pot. Stir well. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.

Meaty Dog Biscuits

Use beef, chicken or lamb strained baby food for these biscuits.

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 to 10 tablespoons water
2 jars baby food meat, strained

Mix all ingredients together and knead for 3 min. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a dog bone shaped cookie cutter, and place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 min.

Makes approximately 2 dozen doggie biscuits

Bacon Bites for Dogs

6 slices cooked bacon — crumbled
4 eggs — well beaten
1/8 cup bacon grease
1 cup water
1/2 cup powdered milk — non-fat
2 cup graham flour
2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup cornmeal

Mix ingredients with a strong spoon; drop heaping tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cookies on baking sheet in the oven overnight to dry out.

Ace’s Favorite Cheesy Dog Biscuits

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 pound margarine (I would substitute butter) – corn or olive oil
1 clove garlic — crushed
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup Milk — or as needed

Grate the cheese into a bowl and let stand until it reaches room temperature. Cream the cheese with the softened margarine, garlic, salt and flour. Add enough milk to form into a ball.

Chill for 1/2 hour. Roll onto floured board. Cut into shapes and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until slightly brown, and firm.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen, depending on size.

I hope that these free dog food recipes will inspire you to cook safe and healthy food for your pet.

Do you need more free dog or cat food recipes? Download our free collection of dog and cat foods at Free Dog and Cat Food Recipes. and instantly download the ebooks.

Are you interested in traditional southern cooking? Diane has just finished a free cookbook of her favorite southern recipes. Download Easy Southern Favorites today. These recipes are guaranteed to have them begging for more. Best of all, its free!

Diane Watkins is a traditional southern style cook. She enjoys cooking, teaching, and writing about good food and family. For more information on southern cooking and recipes visit her website at Easy Southern Cooking

Article Source: EzineAricles.com

Posted:  Just One More Pet

Additional recipes:

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

2 tbsp corn oil
1/2 cup peanut butter (make sure you are using organic or non-tainted peanut butter)
1 cup water
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine oil, peanut butter, and water. Add flour 1 cup at a time, then knead into firm dough. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with small bone shaped cookie cutter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. For hard and crunchy treats, leave them in the oven for a few hours after baking.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Simple Roasted Organs

(This is a great recipe to make up for Thanksgiving to feed your canine friends… you can substitute chicken for the turkey and add a few turkey scraps at carving time, or just bake the liver and giblets and add the warm turkey as you carve… just go easy on the skin and watch for bones.)

This dish can actually double up as a treat, or healthy topping to your pet’s usual meal. Turkey giblets (hearts, livers and kidneys) are available from butcher shops and many natural food markets – and also come included with most Thanksgiving turkeys!

This recipe is super-simple and just about all pets love it! Since this recipe is cooked, turkey necks should not be used.

Ingredients

Up to 1 lb Turkey scraps, organs/giblets (don’t include bones)

6 tbsp Olive Oil

½ tsp Dried or Fresh Rosemary

1 Clove Garlic, crushed or finely diced (optional)

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the organs on a baking sheet. Slowly pour on the olive and gently shake the pan so that the oil is evenly distributed. Sprinkle on the rosemary and crushed garlic. Place in the oven and cook for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. Cool before serving and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days.

For cats, dice the organs finely with a sharp knife before serving. This technique also works well to create bite-sized training treats that are a little bit different.

**  On a side note… We do buy a breed specific vet approved kibble that we set out when we are gone… and there is always some in a bowl next to each of the water bowls spread around the house and patio.  Our dogs think it is a treat, but because it is always available and not their main food source, they do not over eat and only touch it when they are hungry because we’ve been gone or it strikes their fancy.  Two of our four play a little game with it where they toss one small nugget up in the air at a time and then juggle it between their paws until they finally toss it up a second time, catch in their mouth(s) and finally eat it.  They definitely use up more calories playing with it, than they get from eating it that way. We also feed them ‘natural’ duck and chicken strips as well as a natural supplement, but 90%+ of their food is “real” so-called human food.  Each dog and all breeds are different, but we have noticed that since there is never a food shortage at out house for them and they eat well, that they only eat when they are hungry and save or let it sit until they are. 

Some things to consider… Pets can have or develop allergies to food like dairy products, grains or a specific item, just like people.  Bur they would have those same allergies and possible to a worse degree if you were feeding them commercial pet food.  The breed specific pet food that we buy (and many kibbles) address tartar.  Brushing your dogs’ and cats’ teeth is important, especially certain breeds and even more important without kibble.

As for snacks… generally if you feed your pets well, they will eat and beg for less snacks.  As I mentioned above we use kibble and chicken and natural duck strips, sometimes with yams, as snacks for our pups and make homemade biscuits.  We let them lick a little ice cream (no chocolate, coffee or with nuts) now and again, sometimes sprinkle freshly grated cheese on their food, and for their birthdays, I make a carrot cake or a cheese cake.  Everyone of our 4 gets a little sliver; 2 prefer carrot and two prefer cheese cake.  But generally we stay away from the sweets. (It is funny how the people who know the least about the benefits of feeding their pets natural or human food and protest the loudest, are usually the same people who feed their pets bites of a lot of junk food, sweets and items from the “no-no” list (above).

Someone passed me an article after I posted this one with some good information as well as the argument that if you feed your pet real food that it will cause undesirable behavior. Saying that:

Dogs are opportunists.  Counter-surfing, garbage diving, begging, stealing from plates, food guarding, nipping: these are all behaviors that will continue if allowed. 

It’s not a matter of human food; it’s a matter of training.  If you don’t want your dog begging at the table, don’t feed him at the table; put the table scraps in his bowl.  And since most dogs find human food far superior to their regular dog food or dog treats, you can actually use human food to train desirable behaviors to counteract undesirable ones.

It can be argued that the feeding of commercial dog food encourages unwanted behaviors.  A dog that is voracious will have little self-control around food, and a lot of manufactured dog food lacks the nutrients and/or quality protein to keep a dog sated.  The authors of Not Fit For a Dog! believe feeding manufactured pet food can lead to a variety of unwanted behaviors such as (but not limited to) “constant food soliciting/hunger; increased aggression/irritability/hyperactivity”( p.145). As well, there is strong evidence that commercial dog foods are largely responsible for many of the medical conditions that can require dogs to be put on medications that cause an increase in appetite (i.e. Prednisone).

From personal experience, our four eat only when they are hungry and when we say “NO”, they sit and wait until they are given a bite or food is set out in their bowls are set out.

To me the bad behavior argument is like saying, I only feed my kids TV dinners so that they don’t ask me to fix a real mea! And as for my friends and guests… they know it is a house with dogs and it is the dogs who live there… not them. Winking smile  ** Ask Marion~

If your pet has health issues, check with your vet before making major changes to their diet.  And always consider a holistic or natural vet, at least for a second opinion!!

Related:

Surprise Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food

The Nutrient Your Dog Needs More of As They Age:  Protein  -  And Expecting Your Pet to Get It from Rendered Pet Food Is the Worst of the Worst of the Worst Options!

Pupcakes

Gourmet Doggie Biscuits and Some Holiday Snacking Tips

Beef Verses Bison for Dogs  – Variety is critical for your pet to receive the full spectrum of amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamins and antioxidants necessary to thrive.

Pets and Toxic Plants

Resources:

Not Fit for a Dog!: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food

See Spot Live Longer – How to help your dog live a longer and healthier life!

Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals

See Recipe Books at:  Surprise Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food

Web Resources from Oberhund on this topic:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/02/05/pets-grains.aspx

http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/dogsbreakfast.html

http://www.healthypetjournal.com/default.aspx?tabid=25107

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2009/07/07/pets-protein-dry-food-and-disease.aspx

http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/KnowledgeBase/knowledgebasedetail.aspx?articleid=147

www.SeeSpotLiveLonger.com

www.carnivora.ca

Posted at Just One More Pet by Ask Marion

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Natural Pet Remedies For Everyday Problems

Pet FamThink natural health is for the dogs? You’re right! But it’s for cats, too, and just about any furry friend. Keep Fido and Fluffy healthy with these natural pet tips. Plus, are you spoiling your animal? Find out with our quiz…

For many people, pets are family. So it’s no surprise that owners want the best for their four-legged companions, and that may mean sharing their natural lifestyle.

“Millions of pet owners are realizing that a more proactive approach to pet health has a lot to offer,” including preventing disease and optimizing health and wellness, says veterinarian Carol Osborne, founder of the American Pet Institute in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and author of Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Dogs  (Marshall Editions) and Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Cats (Marshall Editions).

Many everyday pet problems – such as skin infections and arthritis – can be eased naturally. LifeScript asked animal experts for some common holistic health solutions:

1. Herbs
Herbal remedies can heal many pet irritations and illnesses.

They help the body to eliminate and detoxify, veterinarian Richard H. Pitcairn, Ph.D., says in his book Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats  (Rodale Books).

Used properly, herbs can help get rid of fleas, relieve itching and more.

  • Fill pet beds with cedar chips – fleas don’t like the smell.Repel fleas from the surroundings by sprinkling chrysanthemum flowers, lemon grass, mint, sage, lavender and basil. 
  • Vacuum floors and wash pet beds frequently.

Itching: Is your dog or cat scratching more than a kid with chicken pox?  Try Osborne’s holistic anti-itching remedy: Mix together five drops of licorice, five drops of dandelion root (a natural diuretic) and five drops of cat’s claw (a natural form of the anti-inflammatory aspirin). Give your pet five drops of the solution by mouth once a day for 14 consecutive days. 

“You give it as needed when it’s flea season or when your pet is itching because of allergies,” Osborne says.

Licorice, a form of cortisone, also reduces the urge to itch, Osborne says. “But because cortisone is a steroid, talk to your vet” before using it.

If your pet doesn’t gobble it up, try disguising the licorice with tastier flavors such as clam juice, baby food or chicken.

Car Sickness: Love to take your dog on car rides, but hate cleaning up vomit on the backseat? Good news for dogs, cats and their owners. Liquid ginger root – a natural motion sickness remedy – works like a charm, Osborne says.

 Don’t happen to have any on hand? No problem. Give Fido a ginger snap cookie to relieve nausea.

 Indigestion: An upset stomach can be uncomfortable for your pet and turn you into a 24-hour cleaning crew.

Osborne suggests holding food and water for eight hours, instead giving your four-legged friend cool or lukewarm peppermint tea to settle its stomach.

 A word of caution: Before using herbal treatments, talk to your vet. “Some herbs and supplements can be toxic if given in large quantities or to a species that cannot tolerate it,” says veterinarian Deirdre Chiaramonte of Animal Medical Center in New York.

For example, some herbs prescribed for arthritis can cause bleeding, which could be disastrous during routine surgery or dental procedure.

“You need to find a veterinarian who is familiar with natural therapies in pets so the outcome will be successful, safe and effective,” Osborne says.

2. Nosodes

Routine vaccinations can save your pet’s life, but some experts believe they also can contribute to cancers, autoimmune illnesses and allergies.

The alternative? Nosodes – or homeopathy oral vaccines – may offer protection against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus. (A nosode doesn’t exist for rabies.)

Like traditional vaccines, “they stimulate the immune system to protect the body from infection,” Osborne says.

They’re made from a dilution (one part to 90 parts alcohol) of the virus causing the illness. “Nosodes are safe, but their efficacy varies,” she says.

Even if you stick with conventional shots, your furry friend may not need them every year. An antibody titer blood test can determine if your dog’s or cat’s vaccines are still effective.

3. Nutritional Therapy

Foods can cure or prevent illnesses in animals, too. “Feeding your pet a healthy diet from the beginning will prevent many serious health issues down the road,” says Jean Hofve, a retired veterinarian in Denver, Colo.

So what should your pet be eating?

A homemade diet of organic raw meat and whole foods is ideal, Hofve says. She suggests a commercial raw diet (look for pre-made frozen or freeze-dried varieties) or canned food with a little fresh meat added a couple times a week.

Brands such as Instinctive Choice, Newman’s Own (organic), Merrick, Nature’s Variety Prairie, BG (Before Grain), Wellness, Innova, Evo, Blue Buffalo, Wellness and Avoderm are good, Hofve says.

They can be found in specialty stores, some feed stores, pet superstores, many grocery stores and online (www.onlynaturalpet.com).

If your budget doesn’t allow anything more than kibble, add fresh meat (and steamed or puréed vegetables for dogs) to give dry food a nutritional boost, she says.

 Besides a diet that’s “as close to nature as possible,” Hofve recommends four nutritional supplements for all pets:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy function of the nervous system, immune system, skin and coat
  •  Digestive enzymes to help pets digest food fully and get the most nutrients possible from food
  •  Probiotics (“friendly bacteria”) to keep the gut balanced and deter disease-causing organisms
  •  Antioxidants for a healthy immune system, normal cellular maintenance and anti-inflammatory benefits  

Skin Allergies, Ear Infections and Hot Spots: These skin-related irritations can be combated with omega-3 fatty acids in dogs.

 Healthy skin needs these anti-inflammatory oils, but nearly all dogs and most cats are fed food that’s full of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid instead, Hofve says. 

“Omega-3s soothe inflammation, benefit the nervous system and provide the building blocks the skin needs to heal.”

 She recommends Nordic Naturals pet products for omega-3 fatty acids. Other rich sources are sardines, anchovies, herring and menhaden.

Gastritis and Vomiting: Dry food eaters are more prone to stomach issues because of additives and preservatives, Hofve says. A raw or homemade whole-food diet of cooked white rice and lightly browned ground lamb or turkey will eliminate the problem.

 Digestive enzymes and probiotics will also help support and balance the gut, she says. And blue-green algae, spirulina and chlorella contain antioxidants, trace elements and enzymes for healing.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): “This is almost purely a dry food problem,” Hofve says. “Diet is the primary treatment.”

 She recommends switching to a diet high in protein, high in moisture and low in carbohydrates. Canned, homemade and raw foods fill the bill.

Nutritional therapy aims to reduce inflammation and rebuild the bladder’s natural defenses, Hofve says. 

Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants provide anti-inflammatory action, while glucosamine sulfate gives the cells in the bladder lining the building blocks to maintain the protective mucus coat.

4. Acupuncture

Can’t imagine your dog or cat sitting still long enough for acupuncture?

“Most animals are much better than you would think,” says certified veterinary acupuncturist Nicole Schiff, who practices at Western Veterinary Group in Lomita, Calif., and City of Angeles Veterinary Specialty Center in Culver City, Calif.

Just like in people, acupuncture involves putting needles into specific points on your pet’s body to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue to promote healing and ease pain.

“It changes pain pathways that travel through the body and helps release endorphins, which help to block pain as well,” Schiff says.

The practice – which Schiff says should complement, not replace, Western medicine – can help reduce arthritis pain, lessen inflammation and intestinal problems, ease skin and ear infections, promote healing of wounds and aid post-stroke treatment.

 An average acupuncture session lasts 15 minutes and can cost $75 to $200 for the first visit and $50 to $150 for ongoing treatme

For the safest, best results, says Schiff, visit a veterinarian trained in acupuncture. Your regular vet may refer a certified veterinary acupuncturist or check the International Association Veterinary Acupuncture Association Web site at www.ivas.org

Adverse side effects are rare. The most common problem is that an animal simply doesn’t respond to treatment. Also, it’s not uncommon for a pet to feel tired for a day or two after treatment.

Want to know more? Get your own copies of Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Dogs, Dr. Carol’s Naturally Healthy Cats and Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats

By Shanna Thompson, Special to LifeScript – Published May 08, 2009

Visit the following Web sites for more about natural pet care:

Complementary, Alternative & Holistic Veterinary Medicine
www.altvetmed.org

 Academy for Veterinary Homeopathy

www.theavh.org

 American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association

www.ahvma.org  

Posted:  Just One More Pet – May 08, 2009 3:45AM

Himalayan Goji or Go-Chi –  Goji Health Stories For Pets  

Dogwise, All Things Dog! – 2000+ Dog Books

May 8, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Political Change, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments