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The Dangers of Genetically Modified Ingredients in Pet Food

Pet Food

Story at-a-glance
  • If you’re feeding your dog or cat a commercial pet food containing corn-based ingredients, chances are those ingredients are genetically modified. Over 60 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
  • Studies of rats fed GM corn show evidence of severe kidney and liver disease, negative effects on the heart, spleen, and other organs, massive tumors, and premature death.
  • While the impact of GM foods on dogs and cats has not been scientifically studied, many scientists suspect these products have some common toxic effects and may cause disorders of the liver, pancreas and kidneys in humans and animals.
  • Dr. Michael W. Fox believes the high number of skin and food allergies, and other allergies associated with GI disorders in dogs and cats are caused or aggravated by novel proteins and other contaminants found in genetically modified crops.
  • Even conventionally grown corn is not a biologically appropriate food for dogs or cats. Both corn and soy products are linked to a wide variety of health problems in companion animals.

By Dr. Becker

For those of you still feeding your dog or cat a commercial pet food with corn-based ingredients – which includes most inexpensive pet foods on the market today – here’s a big heads-up and another reason to reconsider the diet you’re offering your four-legged companion.

Chances are the corn products in your pet’s food are genetically modified (GM). This means the seeds have been chemically altered to produce plants that can withstand repeated spraying with Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

Estimates in 2009 were that over 60 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified, and according to more recent information from NaturalNews.com,1 Monsanto has disclosed that half the sweet corn grown on U.S. farms comes from genetically modified seed.

Genetically Modified Corn and Its Effect on Rats

Previous studies have shown that genetically modified corn causes significant kidney and liver disease in rats after only a 90-day feeding trial,2 and has a negative effect on other organs as well, including the heart and spleen.

Now a new lifetime study of rats fed a diet containing GM corn shows they not only died earlier than rats on a standard diet, they developed mammary tumors and severe kidney and liver damage as well.3

According to researchers, half the male rats and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with 30 percent of males and 20 percent of females in the control group.

Lead researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, believes his study involving the full lifespan of rats gives a more comprehensive and realistic view of the risks of GM corn than 90-day feeding trials. A rat at three months is still a young adult.

GM Foods and Your Pet

If you’re wondering how GM corn might affect your dog or cat, unfortunately, the specifics have yet to be studied. However, in an article published in 2009 in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition regarding GM foods, the authors, Greek scientists, assert:

"The results of most of the rather few studies conducted with GM foods indicate that they may cause hepatic, pancreatic, renal, and reproductive effects and may alter hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters the significance of which remains unknown. The above results indicate that many GM foods have some common toxic effects. Therefore, further studies should be conducted in order to elucidate the mechanism dominating this action. Small amounts of ingested DNA may not be broken down under digestive processes and there is a possibility that this DNA may either enter the bloodstream or be excreted, especially in individuals with abnormal digestion as a result of chronic gastrointestinal disease or with immunodeficiency."4

Dr. Michael W. Fox has also compiled an extensive list of the potential risks of genetically modified foods, including:

  • The toxic insecticidal agent Bacillus thuringiensis is present in most GM crops in the U.S. that wind up in animal feed and pet food.
  • Glufosinate and glyphosate, which are herbicides, are applied to millions of acres of genetically modified crops across the U.S. and other countries. These poisons are absorbed by the crops – which are engineered to be herbicide resistant – while decimating everything else growing in the area and much of the aquatic life in nearby bodies of water.

    These herbicides cause kidney damage in animals, endocrine disruption and birth defects in frogs, and are lethal to many amphibians. Glyphosate has also been linked to miscarriages, premature births, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in humans.

  • Nutritionists and other health experts increasingly are connecting the rise in human allergies, including skin conditions and inflammatory GI disorders to broader consumption of GM foods and food additives – in particular, GM soy products containing novel proteins. Dr. Fox suspects the high number of skin and food allergies, and other allergies associated with GI disorders are caused or aggravated by these novel proteins and other contaminants in genetically modified crops.
  • Independent animal feeding safety studies show adverse or unexplained effects of GM foods, including inflammation and abnormal cell growth in the GI tract, as well as in the liver, kidney, testicles, heart, pancreas and brain.
  • GM crops have proven to be unstable and prone to unplanned mutations – which means we don’t really know whether the food being grown from these plants is safe or nutritious.

Dr. Fox’s advice to pet owners is to buy only food with USDA Organic certification. He also advises consumers to avoid all prepared foods, including cooking oils that contain corn and soy products, since these are the products most likely to originate from GM crops.

In addition to Dr. Fox’s advice, I recommend omitting grains entirely from your carnivorous pet’s diet. Corn and soy ingredients are not biologically appropriate ingredients in dog and cat food, even if they are conventionally grown. Both these ingredients are linked to a wide variety of health problems in companion animals, including allergies, skin disorders, oral disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and cystitis.

November 14, 2012 Posted by | 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 | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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

You may recall that at the end of 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned dog owners that they should be aware of a "potential association between development of illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky products also described as chicken tenders, strips or treats."

At the time the warning was issued, reports had come in citing that at least 95 dogs had become ill, possibly due to consumption of chicken jerky. However, after multiple tests the FDA was unable to identify any cause for the illnesses, so it is not surprising that (1) people kept feeding their dog’s chicken jerky and (2) more dogs got sick.

Three of pups who died…

 

Then, in November of 2011, the FDA issued yet another warning stating that there was a potential connection between dogs that were falling ill and chicken jerky that was being imported from China. (I reported on this back in December.) Common symptoms included:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea – with or without blood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Kidney failure (increased thirst and urination are typical)

Some dogs that have ingested chicken jerky and develop these symptoms have recovered. Others have not been so lucky. To date, more than 2,200 dogs have become ill. According to NBCNews.com, at least 360 dogs and one cat have reportedly died in the U.S. after eating chicken jerky pet treats made in China.

The FDA is still stumped as to the cause, but back in March, msnbc.com reported:

"A log of complaints collected from pet owners and veterinarians contains references to at least three popular brands of jerky treats that may be associated with kidney failure and other serious ailments, according to internal Food and Drug Administration documents obtained by msnbc.com."
Of 22 "Priority 1" cases listed by the FDA late last year, 13 cited Waggin’ Train or Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats or tenders, both produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., the records show. Another three listed Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, produced by the Del Monte Corp. The rest listed single brands or no brand.

Priority 1 cases are those in which the animal is aged 11 or younger and medical records that document illness are available, an FDA spokeswoman said. In many cases, samples of the suspect treats also are collected

The FDA is encouraging anyone who has a sick dog that has eaten chicken jerky to lodge a complaint and send in a sample of the product the dog ingested. The more complaints and samples they receive the better their chances are of making the connection and preventing future illnesses and deaths.

Pet owners are rightly up in arms about the situation. Multiple petitions have been started to demand a ban, recall, and warning labels on chicken jerky treats imported from China. Concerned lawmakers are also getting involved and encouraging the FDA to release the results of 153 tests on chicken jerky treats that are still pending. Hopefully the increased pressure will lead to a resolution of this situation in the not too distant future.
In the meantime, the FDA released a statement on September 14, 2012 which was a summary of the pet death reports. It linked the jerky treat-related deaths of the past 18 months and suggested owners avoid the products completely, saying they were unnecessary for a balanced diet. The FDA will also begin testing treats to find out whether irradiation of the products may be a contributing factor to illness and death.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Chicken Jerky Update originally appeared on petMD.com  – Cross Posted by Paw Nation

Homemade Chicken Jerky Recipe for Dogs (Pets)

chicken jerky

Yummy super-simple treat… and it’s also super-popular with dogs and healthy. Chicken Jerky is a Treat made from thin strips of chicken slow baked to almost the point of crispness.

Ingredients

1 pound chicken breasts (I baked three pounds!)

Start by preheating your oven to 170 or 180 degrees, depending on how low your oven will go. While that’s preheating, assemble the chicken. I used frozen chicken breast tenderloins (this is a great way to use any chicken you’ve got that’s become freezer burned!)

I had thawed the frozen chicken breasts by putting them in the refrigerator overnight…and woke up to find they were still frozen! I put the chicken in a big bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes which thawed it enough to slice with a sharp knife. TIP: It’s easier to slice the chicken when it’s semi-frozen rather than completely thawed; you can use the heel of your hand on the knife to “chop” the slices rather than trying to saw through thawed meat.

The only difficult part of this dog treat recipe is the slicing; you’ll want to slice the chicken no more than about 1/4 inch wide. Slice with the grain of the chicken, rather than against it; this will make the treats a little chewier and make them last a LITTLE bit longer when you give them to your dogs.

Slice up the chicken and place it on a greased cookie sheet; be sure to use one with a slight edge because there will be water and juices from the chicken during the first hour of cooking. Leave about a 1/2 inch or so between slices and just make sure they’re not touching.

Once you’re finished slicing, pop the cookie sheets in the oven and bake for two hours. After two hours, check the slices and see if they’re dry. You don’t want them to be crispy to the point of snapping but you do want them to be very chewy. (They should look like a very done french fry.) Because I baked three pounds of chicken at once, I had to bake my treats for an 90 minutes and I flipped the slices with a spatula after two hours of baking.

When they’re done, remove the treats from the oven and cool on a drying rack. If you don’t have one (I don’t), just flip a dish drainer over and drape with a dish towel then put your treats on the towel to dry. (You just want to get the treats up off the metal cookie sheets so they’ll cool crispier. A wicker basket flipped over and draped with a cup towel work work great, too.)

When the treats are completely cool, bag them in zippered bags or pop them in an airtight container and refrigerate. You can also freeze the treats for several months. Be warned, though: these are VERY popular treats…they’ll go fast! (Cats also love them!)

Related:

A Raw Food KIBBLE?

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?

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

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

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.

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.

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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September 22, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Raw Food KIBBLE?

Raw Kibble

Story at-a-glance

There’s a new entry in the ever-inventive pet food market – “raw kibble” – a blend of grain-free kibble and pieces of freeze-dried raw meat.

The target consumer for this new product is the pet owner who wants grain-free and raw food for her dog or cat, but who for whatever reason finds frozen pet food doesn’t fit her lifestyle.

The important thing to remember about “grain-free” kibble is it isn’t free of carbs or starches – only those derived from grain. Case in point, the new “raw kibble” formula lists tapioca, a carbohydrate, as its second ingredient.

The important thing to remember about “raw” meat added to a bag of kibble is it has to be processed in some manner to prevent spoilage.

  • For pet owners who truly want to feed a grain-free, raw, species-appropriate diet, the answer won’t be found in a bag of kibble.

By Dr. Becker

 

I was recently made aware of a new type of pet food on the market: "raw kibble." This product, available for both cats and dogs, is actually a blend of grain-free kibble and chunks of freeze-dried raw meat.

According to PetfoodIndustry.com, the new combination formulas are being marketed as an answer for pet owners who want grain-free and raw diets for their animals, but who find frozen pet food does not "work with their lifestyle."

Hmm. I hope this is not an attempt to convince pet owners they can provide the benefits of raw, species-appropriate nutrition from a convenient bag of kibble.

I’m also concerned about pet owners’ interpretation of "grain-free" when it comes to kibble.

Pet food ingredients can’t be turned into kibble without some type of starch included in the mix. So a kibble that is "grain-free" is not starch or carbohydrate free – it just doesn’t contain grain as a starch or carbohydrate.

Grain-free Does NOT Mean Carb-free or Starch-free

In the case of the new "raw kibble" blend for dogs, the second listed ingredient is tapioca. Tapioca seems to be taking the place of grain-based fillers in many pet food formulas of late.

Tapioca is used commercially in pearl, pellet and flour form. As flour, it can be used to make bread and thicken desserts. It mixes well in cold water, turns to gel/paste at 125°F to 150°F, and becomes more gelatinous the higher the cooking temp and length of cooking time.

In the extrusion process used to create dry pet food, tapioca expands extremely well – up to two to three times that of rice.

Tapioca is a starch. In certain regions of the world, including the U.S., tapioca is primarily associated with a flavor of pudding. But in many other countries, it is considered a staple carbohydrate in the diet. On a dry basis, tapioca contains insignificant amounts of protein, ash, fat, and fiber, and not much sugar. It is essentially a pure carbohydrate.

The plant that produces tapioca is known by a variety of names, including cassava. The leaves, stems and skin of the cassava plant contain cyanogenic glucosides which can produce cyanide effects. These effects include development of goiter, pancreatitis, paralysis and death in both people and companion animals. The cassava plant must be properly processed to eliminate these effects.

As kibble binding agents go, tapioca is less problematic than many others. But it isn’t nutritious for dogs and cats. And keep in mind it’s number two on the ingredient list, which means there’s lots of it in the mixture.

Additional Observations About the Ingredient List

The sixth ingredient on the list is sun-cured alfalfa meal ("sun-cured" simply means it was cut and left in the sun to dry). Alfalfa is a member of the hay family more commonly included in horse and cattle feed than dog food. It contains plant (not animal) protein and a lot of fiber (25 percent). I’m not sure why this ingredient is in there at number six, but I suspect it’s to boost the overall percentage of protein in the food.

The freeze-dried raw meats included in the "raw kibble" blend show up on the ingredient list at items 9 through 12. Obviously, kibble represents a much greater portion of the formula than raw meat.

Unadulterated Raw Meat vs. HPP and Freeze-Dried Raw Meat

The raw meat in this pet food has undergone high pressure pasteurization (HPP) to sterilize it. Raw food enthusiasts maintain that food handled in this manner is no longer truly raw and shouldn’t be marketed as such.

In addition to the high pressure pasteurization, the meat has also been freeze-dried, which is yet another process.

Freeze-drying removes the moisture from food, which extends its shelf-life. Sterilized, freeze-dried meat is the only kind of meat that could be combined with a kibble mixture. Clearly there’s no safe way to add unadulterated raw meat to a bag of kibble that might be stored at room temperature or higher for up to a year or more.

So the "raw" meat in this formula has actually been processed in two different ways.

Diets Lacking in Moisture Are Not Species-Appropriate for Dogs and Cats

One of the main problems with all kibble is lack of moisture, and adding freeze-dried chunks of meat to the mix is hardly a solution.

Carnivorous dogs and cats were designed to consume moisture-rich foods. Unadulterated raw foods are about 70 percent moisture. Compare that with dry pet food, which is only around 12 percent moisture.

Your pet’s body has evolved to consume a diet rich in moisture. When raw pet food ingredients are turned into kibble, several strange things happen, but the most detrimental is that the food becomes too dry.

Feeding kibble requires that your pet’s body provide sufficient moisture to reconstitute the food in the digestive tract. Although an animal’s body will make a noble effort to consume extra water to compensate, most pets and certainly most cats simply can’t make up the difference.

The Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that owners feed cats a diet of primarily canned or raw food instead of dry food for this very reason. A lifetime of minor dehydration is stressful to multiple organ systems and can easily be avoided by feeding foods that have not been dehydrated, dried, kibbled, or extruded.

Kibble is Kibble is Kibble

Having said all the above, I should probably point out that as dry pet foods go, this new blend of grain-free kibble and freeze-dried raw meat is far from a terrible formula. Certainly there are many worse products on the market.

The important things to know about this new formula are:

  • It’s primarily kibble, and therefore lacking in moisture content.
  • It doesn’t contain grains, but it does contain tapioca – pure carbohydrate – as the second ingredient.
  • It contains very little "raw" food and the raw meat it does contain has been both high pressure pasteurized and freeze-dried.

If you want to feed your healthy dog or cat balanced, species-appropriate nutrition, kibble is the first thing to avoid. Your best bet is to either make homemade pet food in your own kitchen (from balanced recipes only, of course), or provide your dog or cat with a high quality, commercially available, balanced raw diet.

Related:

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?

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

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

September 7, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , | 8 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

Ridiculous Pet Weight Loss Products Continue to Flood the Market

Story at-a-glance
  • Pet food manufacturers continue to try convince consumers their too-heavy dogs and cats can lose weight by being stuffed full of grains and fiber-filled pet food.
  • The goal of many pet weight management formulas is to create a temporary feeling of fullness in dogs and cats so they won’t beg for food. This takes the heat off owners who don’t want to say no to a begging pet.
  • One company has even gone so far as to invent a bizarre ingredient that when added to pet food impedes digestion so the animal feels full longer.
  • And the gimmicks being employed! There’s a ‘meal replacement’ drink for cats that contains not a scrap of animal protein. And then there’s the ‘weight management’ dog food loaded with seven different kinds of grains and a special ‘fat-burning’ ingredient.
  • Parents of overweight pets would be wise to steer clear of the ever-evolving gimmicky ‘weight loss’ products appearing on store shelves. Almost without exception, these formulas contain as much if not more of exactly the type of food that is making pets fat in the first place.

By Dr. Becker

As pets keep getting fatter, pet food companies get ever more creative developing ‘weight management’ formulas to peddle to uninformed consumers.

It’s a discouraging trend, since most of these special formulas consist of the same inappropriate, low quality ingredients that contribute to pet obesity in the first place.

And in fact, these foods actually contain more of exactly the wrong type of nutrition for overweight pets … or any pet.

The Goal: Fool Pets into Thinking They’re Full

According to PetfoodIndustry.com, one of the goals of pet food companies is to develop formulas for overweight dogs and cats that create a feeling of fullness or satisfaction.

Per the article, inducing satiety is important because, "… as long as the pet doesn’t act hungry we will be less likely to give in and overindulge begging behavior."

And according to one pet food manufacturer, studies show overweight dogs fed ‘fiber-enhanced’ foods consume fewer calories and appear less hungry.

So if I understand this correctly, the goal is to stuff carnivorous dogs and cats full of species-inappropriate fiber rich food so they won’t act hungry, and in turn, their owners won’t overindulge them.

This thinking is so wrong on so many levels I’m not sure where to begin.

Let’s just say I’m adamantly opposed to intentionally feeding companion animals biologically inappropriate nutrition, so their owners don’t have to deal with begging behavior or the temptation to overfeed their pets.

Certainly if we have an overweight pet we can find the energy and ambition to feed our dog or cat the nutrition she was designed to eat, in reasonable portions?

And certainly we can muster the patience to ignore begging behavior (which is typically temporary when ignored) for the sake of our pet’s health?

But Wait … It Gets Better …

Another pet food company has created a ‘satiety-triggering ingredient’ which they say reduces calorie intake in pets.

This magical ingredient is described by its manufacturer as a "patented emulsion of highly purified palm and oat oils." What this emulsion does is delay digestion of the fat in the food. This leads to the presence of free fatty acids in the small intestine.

When food is ‘delayed’ in the small intestine, it slows down gastric emptying and gut motility. According to the manufacturer of the ‘satiety-triggering ingredient,’ this permits better digestion of gut contents (hogwash) while creating a feeling of fullness and reducing appetite.

So if I understand this correctly, certain oils can be added to certain pet foods that are designed to significantly impede the normal, natural digestive process of dogs and cats.

And this is, again, for the purpose of creating pets that don’t act hungry, and therefore run less risk of being overfed by their owners.

Certainly we don’t need to feed bizarre, unnatural ingredients to our pets that gum up their intestines and interfere with normal digestion in an effort to help them lose weight?

More Gimmickry

The PetfoodIndustry.com article also mentions another company’s ‘meal replacement and food supplement’ to help adult cats maintain a healthy weight.

A meal replacement for cats?

Needless to say, I had to take a look at the ingredients in this meal replacement/food supplement. It’s apparently a powder you mix with warm water. The ingredients:

Maltodextrins, dried milk protein concentrate, dried whey protein concentrate, canola oil, casein, vanilla, fructooligosaccharide, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dicalcium phosphate, disodium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin supplement, copper gluconate, vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, biotin, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, pantothenic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement.

So this is a ‘meal replacement’ intended for obligate carnivores that contains not a speck of animal protein. How is that not an absolutely terrible idea?

And then we have a ‘weight management’ food for dogs being promoted for its L-carnitine ingredient, which is touted as a "proven fat-burner that helps dogs naturally burn fat instead of storing it."

L-carnitine may help burn fat, but when the food it’s added to has seven different grains listed in the first dozen ingredients, making the formula wildly inappropriate nutrition for dogs at any weight, the addition of the L-carnitine isn’t going to matter one iota.

Parents of Overweight Pets Beware

For the sake of your beloved, overfed four-legged companion, I recommend the following:

  • Beware any pet food marketing ploy aimed at making you believe the newest grain and fiber-filled bag of pet food is the answer to your dog’s or cat’s obesity. It isn’t.
  • Beware any pet food marketing gimmick that names a specific ingredient (example: L-carnitine) as being the secret key to your pet’s weight loss. It won’t be.
  • Beware any pet food marketing scheme that uses human diet buzz words (‘meal replacement’) to convince you the same nutritional principles apply to your pet. They don’t.
  • Feed a balanced, species-appropriate diet to your pet. Regardless of her weight, your dog or cat still needs the right nutrition for her species, which means food that is high in animal protein and moisture, with low or no grain content.
  • Practice portion control — usually a morning and evening meal, carefully measured. A high protein, low carb diet with the right amount of calories for weight loss, controlled through the portions you feed, is what will take the weight off your dog or cat. And don’t forget to factor in any calories from treats.
  • Regularly exercise your pet. An overweight body gets back in shape by taking in fewer calories and expending more energy. Daily exercise, including at least 20 minutes of consistent aerobic activity, will help your pet burn fat and increase muscle tone.

The key to getting and keeping your pet lean and healthy can’t be found in the latest bag or can of inferior quality, species-inappropriate pet food, no matter how slick and convincing the marketing campaign.

The key to keeping your dog or cat nutritionally fit at the cellular level is with a high protein, moisture rich diet fed in controlled portions, and augmented with plenty of physical activity.

Source: PetfoodIndustry.com December 5, 2011  -  Cross-posted at Dr. Mercola.com

Related Links:

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

Cat & Dog Owners Not Considering Age When Selecting Food

Good Diet and Advice for Dogs with Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Ensure Holiday Fun For Your Whole Family Including the Furry and Feathered MembersBy Staying Away from the No-No Foods

Pupcakes

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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

February 24, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , | 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

Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Vet Bills

Everyone’s keeping an eye on the budget these days, and one of the most expensive pet expenditures is veterinary care. With just a little preparation and research, however, you can reduce your veterinary costs, from office visits to prescription medications.

1. Schedule an annual exam
Maintaining an annual exam schedule for your dog or cat is important, and this definitely not the place to trim costs. Spending money on an annual exam — and on spay and neuter — may seem like an expenditure but it’s an investment that will save you money down the road.

2. Maintain good dental health
Good dental care can save you hundreds of dollars in cleaning fees. Try to brush your dog’s or cat’s teeth several times per week using a special toothpaste and toothbrush designed for pets.

3. Ask about 3-year immunization schedules
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the only organization that accredits animal hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada, issued guidelines in 2006 about the frequency of immunizations. Whereas your pet once automatically received vaccinations annually, today the veterinary world is looking at longer periods between vaccinations, depending on your pet’s lifestyle. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations for your pet’s “core vaccines” and see if you can extend the time between immunizations. (The frequency of your pet’s rabies vaccines will be mandated by local law, however.)  But make sure you are not over-vaccinating.  Many vets recommend shots that really aren’t needed or required.  Like with children, we are finding out that we are over-vaccinating.

4. Avoid emergency vet visits with preemptive care
Does something just seem “not right” with your dog or cat? Is it a Friday afternoon? Don’t wait until the vet’s office closes for the weekend; run him by for a quick office visit if possible. The price of a routine office visit is far lower than the cost of an emergency vet visit. If you do wind up needing emergency veterinary care, check and see if follow up visits can be made at your regular veterinarian’s office to save money.

5. Feed your pet high quality food or better yet feed them real food  – raw or cook for them
Maintaining a healthy diet is key to good health. Premium dog and cat food containing quality ingredients is an investment in your pet’s health that saves you money down the line. Additionally, your dog does not need to be fed as much high-quality food as he would low-quality food packed with fillers. Less food means savings. Eventually, that premium food can result in lower veterinary bills, too, by keeping your pet closer to his ideal weight and by supplying him with beneficial nutrients.

6. Ask about special discounts
Check and see if your vet offers any special discounts. Whether you’re a senior, a firefighter, a military member, or a full-time student, your vet might have a discount plan for you. Also, if you have multiple dogs and cats, ask if there’s a multiple pet discount.

7. Watch for event-related discounts
Like with human health, there are special months that recognize and draw attention to particular aspects of pet health. Pet Dental Month (February) and Pet Wellness Month (October) are just two times when you might find related specials from your veterinarian.  Some have spay and neuter clinics.

8. Investigate pet insurance early
Pet insurance can be a great way to save on unexpected vet costs but, to lower your monthly premiums, insure your pet as young as possible. Most companies won’t insure a pet with a pre-existing condition and, at most companies, premiums are lower the younger your dog or cat is. At some companies, premium will even lock in at that lower rate. 

9. Ask about matching drug prices
Before your next trip to the veterinarian, spend a few minutes doing online research on reputable online pet pharmacy sites checking the price of heartworm preventative or other medications you know you’ll need. Remember to take into account shipping costs, too. Print the product page and take it to your vet’s office and ask if they can match the online price. 

**Also, there are many natural remedies that can be used in place of meds and chemical treatments which will be cheaper as well as healthier for your pet!**

10. Fill your dog’s prescription at your drugstore
Many pet prescriptions can be filled at your drugstore, saving you money and possibly giving you the option of generic, low-cost equivalents for some drugs. Ask your vet to see if it’s a possibility! 

Items like anti-flea treatments and regular meds can often be purchased online for much lower costs.

By Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the authors of Barkonomics: Tips for Frugal Fidos (Riviera Books). The husband-wife team are the publishers of DogTipper.com and CatTipper.com, sites featuring daily tips, news, giveaways, and product reviews. Paris and John can always be found on Twitter and Facebook, too!

Re-posted at Just One More Pet

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, pet products, Pet Recipes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Feeding Homemade Dog Food

Real meat is the best food for your dog….nothing else even comes close.

The best food for your dog is . . .

Real food. Fresh food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish. Fresh vegetables. Yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese.

No, this is not “people food.” Calling real food “people food” makes it sound as though people are the only living creatures entitled to eat real food. That’s not true.

ALL living creatures deserve real, fresh food.

“You can boost your pet’s health profoundly by making one simple decision. All you have to do is change his diet from commercial-brand fare to something you may never have imagined giving him – real food. The fresh food you buy at the market for yourself is the food you should give your pet, too.”

Generations of dogs lived to ripe old ages on fresh foods…before the pet food corporations came along and changed (ruined) everything.

Dog food corporations. “Just say no.”

Dogs have been domesticated for about 15,000 years (that’s amazing, isn’t it?) and up until the 1930s, they were NEVER fed “kibble” or “canned” brands from a store. Dogs were fed real meat and vegetables, and a little homemade bread. On this diet they thrived, frequently living into their late teens.

Dogs didn’t eat kibble until the 1930s when the grain and meat industries needed a market for their rejects.

That all changed in the 1930s, when cereal and grain manufacturers were looking for something profitable to do with their rejected cereals and grain – their wheat and corn that failed USDA inspection because of mold, rancidity, and other contaminants.

These companies discovered that hey, the meat industry faced the same dilemma – meat that failed USDA inspection because it had spoiled or because the livestock was diseased.

The ingenious idea of mixing the rejects together and calling it “dog food” was born.

Marketing firms spent an enormous amount of money planting this lamentable idea in the public’s mind, and today commercial diets are promoted by multi-billion dollar pet food corporations and the veterinary industry, both of whom have a huge financial stake in getting you to feed these products.

But processed kibble and canned products were not then – nor are they now – “dog food.”

Real dog food was, is, and always will be real food.  That’s what your dog should be eating.

“The whole concept of Insta-Meal for humans is repulsive. Most people would soon be climbing the walls in frustration, desperate for a salad or some fruit – anything whole and fresh, or just different. Perhaps the thought of eating kibbles for the rest of your own life helps make the point that pets forced to do so are being shortchanged. All of us – humans and animals – should have fresh, wholesome, unprocessed food in our daily diet.

The awful ingredients in commercial “dog food”

THE GRAIN

Virtually all dog food brands are heavily based on fibrous grains and cereals. But dogs do not have the long, winding digestive tract required to digest fibrous grains and cereals. Dogs have a short straight digestive tract designed to digest meat.

Many dogs who eat corn, soybeans, or wheat develop health problems.Excessive shedding or dandruff. Loose stools. Gassiness and flatulence. Itchy skin, where your dog licks his feet or rubs his face against the carpet, trying to ease the itch. You might never think to associate these problems with the grain in your dog’s diet, but that is often the case.

To make matters worse, GOOD grain is reserved for the human market. What goes into the pet food bin is deemed unfit for human consumption because of mold, rancidity, or contaminants – yuck!

THE MEAT

Unless a dog food brand says its meat passed USDA inspection…it didn’t.

Contrary to what the dog food companies show you on TV commercials, your dog doesn’t get sirloin from a healthy cow who spent its life cropping grass, nor does he get white chicken breast from a hen who spent its life pecking happily around the barnyard.

No, your dog gets the meat that didn’t make the cut for the human market – 4D meat from livestock that was Diseased,Disabled, Dying, or already Dead when it arrived at the slaughterhouse. It won’t pass USDA inspection, so into the pet food bin it goes….

….along with the growth hormones that were fed to the livestock to make them grow faster…and with the antibiotics fed to the livestock to prevent massive outbreaks of disease in their crowded living conditions. These hormones and antibiotics trickle through to your dog.

THE GREASY FAT

You know that pungent smell that wafts up from a freshly opened bag of kibble? That’s greasy fat sprayed onto the hard little pebbles to tempt your dog to eat it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be recognizable to him as food. So dogs gobble up their kibble for the same reason kids gobble up french fries. But we don’t let our kids eat only french fries just because they love the smell or taste, do we?

Bags of kibble can sit on a shelf for so long because of the chemical preservatives.

THE PRESERVATIVES

Preservatives make the bags and cans last longer That’s convenient for the dog food company, which can leave it sitting in their warehouse for a long time. Convenient for the retailer who can leave it sitting on his shelf for a long time. Convenient for the owner who can leave it in the pantry for a long time, then pour it into his dog’s bowl and leave it sitting there all day if necessary.

But what is this stuff that keeps ingredients from spoiling?

The most common dog food preservatives are BHA and BHT (both of which are associated with liver and kidney dysfunction, and bladder and stomach cancer) and ethoxyquin, which is manufactured by that giant chemical corporation Monsanto as a rubber preservative. The Department of Agriculture lists it as a pesticide. OSHA lists it as a hazardous chemical. The containers are marked POISON.

All 3 chemicals are banned in Europe, but because their manufacturers have so much legislative clout here in the U.S., they’re still tolerated here. Sad, but true.

“Good news!” you say. “None of those preservatives are in MY dog food brand.” Well, not so fast. Even when it’s not listed, it can be in there, anyway. A legal loophole, you see, allows dog food companies to only list what they themselves put into the bag. If they buy some of their ingredients from a supplier who has already added the chemical, the dog food company doesn’t have to disclose that on the bag.

Isn’t that nice?

THE UNRECOGNIZABLE INGREDIENTS

Brewer’s rice? Wheat bran? Beet pulp? Corn gluten? Do you know what any of that stuff is? Can you see yourself picking up a bag of corn gluten or a carton of beet pulp for your dog’s supper?

What about animal digest? This ingredient is officially described as “material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue.” Doesn’t that sound tasty? It’s actually a boiled concoction from the rendering plant, and the “animal tissue” can include anything from cattle to rats to roadkill to dogs and cats euthanized at the animal shelter. Yes, the FDA has found sodium pentobarbital – the chemical used to euthanize animals – in some brands of dog food.

Australian veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst says:

“If you look at the ingredient list on a can or a bag of pet food – with understanding – you will realize that what is being listed is a heap of rubbish. Definitely not the wholesome nutritious food you would want to feed to a valued member of your family!”

Artificial diets are causing health problems in dogs.

How commercial dog food affects your dog’s health

Every day, unhappy dogs parade through veterinary offices. They suffer from:

  • itching
  • hot spots
  • dandruff
  • excessive shedding
  • foot-licking
  • face-rubbing
  • loose stools
  • gassiness

What are these dogs eating? Virtually every one of them is eating an artificial diet.

“Since I graduated from veterinary school in 1965, I’ve noticed a general deterioration in pet health. We now see very young animals with diseases that we used to see only in older animals. Without the perspective of several decades, vets just coming out of veterinary school think these degenerative conditions in younger animals are “normal.” They do not realize what has happened over the passage of time.

I believe, along with poor quality nutrients, the chemical additives in pet food play a major part in that decline. Pet foods contain slaughterhouse wastes, toxic products from spoiled foodstuffs, non-nutritive fillers, heavy-metal contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, drug residues, sugar, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.”

Dr. Martin Goldstein D.V.M. sums it up:

“When I tell an owner that a change of diet can affect her pet’s health in a matter of days, the first reaction is usually delight, sometimes even exhilaration.”

Dr. Richard Pitcairn D.V.M.  Packaged and canned dog food like packaged and jarred baby food and insta-meals or artificial diets for people are not only not better but are generally bad for those who eat them. Insta-meals, commercial baby food and commercial pet food are industries dreamed up for profits by entrepreneurs that only get worse as the companies and their focus on profits gets bigger.

Without a doubt pets who eat real healthy food live longer and healthier lives… and it saves on the vet bills! 

And cooking for your pets does not have to be a chore.  They can eat many of the same things you eat and there are some great recipes for meats, stews, etc that you can fix for both you and your pet!

h/t to my great friend and vet Dr. Susan for sending this article~

Resources

The Natural Pet Food Cookbook: Healthful Recipes for Dogs and Cats

Everything Cooking for Dogs Book: 150 Quick and Easy Healthy Recipes Your Dog Will Bark For (Everything: Cooking)

Keep Your Dog Healthy the Natural Way

Your Purebred Puppy, Second Edition: A Buyer’s Guide, Completely Revised and Updated

Cooking for Your Dog

Bone Appetit!: Gourmet Cooking for Your Dog

The “Not So Safe” or No-No Pet Food List

And after dinner how about a nice massage?

June 10, 2011 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Holidays With Pets, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, pet products, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments