Saturday, 18 February 2012

Foods Dogs, Cats Should Not Eat, Dangerous, Toxic, Lethal and Foods That are Beneficial



In this article...
1. Introduction
    1.1 A Comprehensive Guide
    1.2 People Food – is it Really Bad for Your Dog and Cat?
    1.3 Pet Food – is it Really Good for Dogs and Cats?
    1.4 Foods that are Normally Safe Can Become Dangerous if…
2. Foods to Avoid - Dangerous, Lethal or require Caution
3. Foods that are Beneficial
4. If You Think Your Dog or Cat has Been Poisoned – What to Do
 
1.0 Introduction
  
1.1 A Comprehensive Guide

The foods covered in this article include:
  • ‘People’ Foods
    • Whole foods;
    • Processed foods;
    • Additives, and;
  • Pet Foods, Pet Treats
    • Whole Foods;
    • Processed Foods;
    • Ingredients;
      • Hidden ingredients;
      • Additives.

1.2 People Food – is it Really Bad for Your Dog and Cat?

 ‘People’ food is a term that many people use – veterinarians included. A lot of people are under the impression that people food is bad for dogs. I believe that all depends on how the term ‘people’ food is defined.

If ‘people’ food is defined as processed food – the type of food that occupies 80% of today’s grocery shelves – yes, I would have to say it is bad for dogs and cats…just as processed food is bad for humans.

If instead ‘people’ food is defined as whole foods such as meat, good source fat, dairy products, fruit, vegetables, herbs, such as yogurt and cheese etc. then there are some ‘people’ foods that are good for dogs and cats, and other foods such as cereal grains that are definitely not good for dogs and cats. Some foods that are fine for us are not just species inappropriate for dogs and cats, some of these foods are toxic to dogs and cats. The lists - provided further below in section 2 and 3 of this article, separates the good from the bad and the downright dangerous.

And as a behaviourist who lives and works with dogs I can help you put to rest the theory voiced by some that ‘It is bad to feed your dog people food because doing so encourages your dog to beg for food’.  

Feeding your dog real food (people food) does not create ‘bad manners’ in a dog, does not make a dog beg for food, be aggressive around food etc. It is instead the act of feeding your dog ‘at the table’, slipping your dog bits of food from your plate, letting your dog fixate on your food and be under your feet while you are preparing the food that makes a dog beg for food. My dogs all eat real food – the same food that I eat – they eat their food in their own food bowls and they do not beg me for my food. They are permitted to be in the kitchen when I am preparing food – provided that they behave in a reasonable manner – relax, sit or lie down out of the way.

1.3 Pet Food – is it Really Good for Dogs and Cats
There are many ingredients and hidden ingredients in pet foods and treats (off-the-shelf pet store products and veterinarian prescribed) that will adversely affect the health of your dog and cat. Having some knowledge of the good and bad ingredients found in pet food can mean the difference between great health and poor health, between a few visits to the veterinarian over the span of your companion animals life - or many visits, lesser quality of life and a shortened life span. The lists - provided further below in section 2 and 3 of this article, below will assist you in understanding bad, good and better pet food.

1.4 Foods that are Normally Safe Can Become Dangerous If...
  • The food has come into contact with a poisonous substance (i.e. chemical-based cleaners that you have used on food prep surfaces);
  • If the food has not been stored safely (i.e. raw food has been left unrefrigerated) and has become contaminated with harmful bacteria;
  • If the food has started to rot;
  • If the food is from a source (i.e. meat) which was from an animal that was fed growth hormones, antibiotics, and yes, genetically engineered  (GE), genetically modified (GMO) foods;
  • If the food was grown with high levels of pesticides and herbicides;
  • If the food contains other health threatening ingredients;
  • etc.

2.0 Foods to Avoid – Bad for your Dog, Cat 



Alcoholic Beverages
Any type of alcohol can be poisonous to your dog and cat and aside from intoxication, can cause a coma or even death.

Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Dry Yeast, other leavening agents
If ingested in large amounts - and please remember large amounts must be considered in relation to your dog's or cat's size - can cause problems with electrolyte levels (low calcium, low potassium, high sodium), muscle spasms and/or congestive heart failure. Also avoid giving your dog large amounts (again size is relative) of raw dough that contains leavening agents. Remember heat is a catalyst for the leavening agent - raw dough can swell in your dog’s stomach and cause serious if not lethal damage.

Broth
Commercially prepared broth such as that found on grocery store shelves - even the organic type usually include sugar. The non-organic type can include sugar, chemical preservatives, sodium, herbs or spices that may not be good for dogs and cats. Don’t give your dog or cat commercially prepared broth. Use homemade broth instead that is free of ingredients that make dogs and cats sick.

Candy containing the sweetener Xylitol
Xylitol can cause liver damage and even death.

Corn, Soy and Other Grains
Corn, soy, cereal grains, refined cereal grains, whole cereal grains are not good for dogs and cats. A dog’s, cat’s system is not evolved to consume or thrive on large quantities of grains. Grains do not provide appropriate nutrition are hard on the digestive and eliminatory system, and are the trigger from many health issues – for example: chronic ear infections, candida of the paws and skin, food allergies, inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, Chrons disease, endocrine disruption, renal issues and cancer. Most dog and cat food and treats that do contain corn, corn derivatives, soy and soy derivatives (at least in North America) are made from Genetically Engineered (GE), Round-up Ready Seeds. These GE seeds are very high in glyphosate herbicide residue. You can read about the serious health threats posed by GMO corn here.

Chocolate
Dogs and cats should never have any type of chocolate. Milk chocolate is not as dangerous for dogs and cats as semi-sweet or unsweetened bakers chocolate.  Chocolate poisoning can cause irregular heart rate and rhythm, restlessness, hyperactivity, diarrhea, vomiting, panting, muscle tremors, abdominal pain, bloody urine, increased body temperature, seizures, coma and death.

Coffee
Can result in increased breathing and heart rate, restlessness and affects the central nervous system.

Fat - in large quantities
Large amounts (relative to the dog's and cat's weight, health and genetically inherited constitution) can cause very serious and, at worst fatal damage. Large amounts of fat such as butter, margarine, lard, fat trimmings and oil are a health hazard. Ingesting any substantial amount of these fats can cause failure of the internal organs such as the liver.

Fish - in large quantities
If fed exclusively or in large amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. 

Fish - raw, can be dangerous
Raw fish can contain flukes, a parasite that infests the liver of animals including dogs and cats. This parasite can cause liver damage and subsequently death. Granted in some places around the world dogs and cats are fed raw fish. Just be aware that in doing so you may put the health of your dog or cat at risk. If you know for certain that the fish in your area is not infested than there is no threat to your dog's or cat's health. But remember if fish is fed to dogs exclusively or in large amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. A small amount daily is fine. 

Fish Meal – can pose extreme health risk
Check the ingredient list on your dog's and cat's kibble and treats - if the food and treats contain fish meal you need to check with the manufacturer to ensure that they guarantee there is no ethoxyquin in the fish meal.  You have to research this as the ingredient list will not list ethoxyquin on the ingredient list - it is a hidden ingredient. Ethoxyquin is a powerful and lethal pesticide that is also used to stop fat from going rancid. Ethoxyquin is a carcinogen. Ethoxyquin is now banned from use in human food. You can read about ethoxyquin here. Acana, Blue Buffalo, Evo, Orijen, Performatrin are examples of dry dog and cat food that are ethoxyquin-free as stated by the manufactures on their respective websites. 

Food Coloring
Avoid treats and kibble that contain chemical based food coloring. Chemical-based food coloring is concocted from chemicals that are carcinogenic and cause numerous health issues the least of which is the inability to concentrate. Chemical-based food colouring is known to cause various types of cancer including bladder cancer and brain tumors. If the food colouring is not listed as ‘natural’ then it is chemical-based.

Food Flavouring
Avoid treats and kibble that contain chemical based food flavouring. Chemical-based food flavouring is concocted from chemicals that are carcinogenic and cause numerous health issues. Chemical-based food colouring is known to cause various types of cancer. If the food flavouring is not listed as ‘natural’ then it is chemical-based.

Grains, Cereal Grains, Whole Grains, Grain Derivatives
Grains are trouble for so may reasons. For a detailed description of some of the serious health problems caused by grain-in food and treats see section 3.0 below, specifically 'Dry and Wet Processed Dry Food and Treats. Grains are not part of a species appropriate diet and and are the number one cause of ear infections and many more serious ailments and diseases in dogs and cats. In 2012 (and I am sure 2013 will statistically play-out the same way) the top non-life threatening reason for bringing a dog or cat to the veterinarian was an ear infection. A large majority of these infections are yeast infections caused by a food allergy to grains. Even if the grains are organic they still cause major health issues for dogs and cats as both species - although capable of adapting to some degree to a high-carbohydrate diet will not thrive on the diet. Grains are inflammatory, get converted to sugar very quickly, spike insulin levels and begin an entire chain of reaction sin the body that can lead to multiple health issues. Most pet foods contain animal-feed grade grains which can be contaminated with aflatoxins (a carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor). Corn and soy are typically very high in pesticide residue - and that is just the tip of the iceberg of health issues. The toxic loading from grains and grain derivatives is incredibly damaging. Go grain-free or you can expect to adversely effect the quality of your companion animals life in the long and short term. Check out these commonly prescribed veterinarian foods - heavily grain-based and seriously bad for your dog and cat. Does your dog or cat have...
Behavioural problems;
Cancer;
Digestive and/or Bowel Issues;
This is just a very small sampling of the health issues triggered by, exacerbated by and/or caused by grains in the diet.

Grapes, Currents
Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, lack of appetite and kidney damage.

Homemade Dog and Cat Food
If you are making your own homemade raw or cooked and fresh dog or cat food it is of the utmost importance to ensure that the food you are making provides a nutritionally complete diet. Many homemade food diets are not nutritionally complete - this gap exposes your dog and cat to multiple health issues.Make sure you do your research to ensure you create a truly balanced and healthy homemade food. To see what a nutritionally complete homemade cooked and fresh food is comprised of you can look at this recipe.

Hops
May cause panting, elevated temperature, increased heart rate, seizures and death.

Liver and other organ meats - in large quantities
In large amounts can cause Vitamen A toxity, leading to kidney damage/failure.

Macadamia Nuts
Can cause vomiting, lethargy, hyperthermia, abdominal pain, stiff joints, lameness and tremors.
 
Marijuana and other hallucinogenic drugs
Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate. Medicinal marijuana when used in the proper dosage can be beneficial under specific circumstances.

Moldy Foods
Can have varied effects on pets including vomiting and diarrhea.

Mushrooms 
Depending on the type of mushroom. The symptoms may vary - depression, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, tearing, hallucinations, defecation, liver failure, seizures, drooling, urination, kidney failure, heart damage, hyperactivity and in some cases, death.

Nightshade Family Plants – Leaves and Stems
Goji Berries, Eggplant, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatillos
The leaves and stems of these plants can cause problems with the digestive, nervous and urinary tract systems. The flesh of these fruits and vegetables are fine for dogs and cats.

Onion, Chives, Leeks, Shallots
Contain thiosulphate, the substance responsible for causing ‘Heinx Factor’ anemia in dogs and cats. Can also cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. 

Pits from Apricots, Cherries, Peaches, Plums, etc.
Can cause respiratory difficulties such as breathing, coughing and sneezing.

Plants that are toxic if ingested by dogs and cats
The ASPCA provides an extensive listing Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants (ASPCA), however it is important to note that the list is not 100% accurate. Some of the plants on the list are herbs that are not actually toxic to dogs and cats.

Preservatives – Chemical Based
Chemical-based preservatives (i.e. BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Sodium Metabisulfite, Propyl Gallate, and TBHQ) found in many processed foods for people and in many dry and wet dog foods and treats including veterinarian prescribed dog foods are toxic and carcinogenic. You can read about these preservatives here.

Raisins and Currents 
Can be poisonous to pets and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, lack of appetite and kidney damage.

Rhubarb Leaves
Can cause problems with the digestive, nervous and urinary systems.

Salt
In large quantities can cause electrolyte imbalances.

Seeds from Apples, Pears
Contain arsenic and can have a variety of bad affects on dogs and cats when consumed in larger quantities. The actual flesh of the fruit is safe for dogs and cats.

Sweeteners
If a product is really wholesome why does it require sweeteners to be appealing to your dog or cat?  Cats have in the realm of 450 taste buds and are not – in general, attracted to sweet tasting substances. Dogs have on average 1700 taste buds and do discern sweet, sour, salty tastes – just not to the same degree that the average human does – we have between7,000 to 9,000 taste buds. The sense of taste is the only sense that a human posses that is stronger than a dog’s - all of our other senses (sight, hearing, smell, etc.) is less than that of a dog.

Sweeteners are not required in your dog’s or cat's diet! In fact they are not good for your dog or cat. Sweeteners like grains are inflammatory – the vast majority of chronic diseases are triggered by inflammation. Sweeteners are encourage the growth of bad bacteria in the mouth – putting oral health at risk and also feed bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. If the product you are going to buy has any of the following ingredients in it, you know what to do - re-shelve it!
  • Cane molasses;
  • Corn syrup;
  • Di-alpha tocopherol acetate. 
  • Fructose;
  • Sorbitol;
  • Sugar;
  • Pasturized honey;
  • Unpasturized honey (even if it is organic) if it has been heated by steaming, cooking, baking becomes another form of unhealthy sugar;
Remember daily intake of sweeteners is just as bad for dogs as it is for humans. Sugar suppresses the immune system - making it easier for cancer to take hold. Sweeteners also cause allergies, arthritis, cataracts, hypoglycaemia, heart ailments, nervous energy, tooth decay, obesity and so on. The more your dog’s health is compromised the harder it is for your dog’s body to fight disease!

Unlike the negative impacts on health caused by other sweeteners, organic unpasteurized honey that has not undergone any heating process does offer many health benefits. Organic unpasteurized honey (bee pollen and propolis) when provided in the proper dosage offers many health benefits for dogs. You can read this article for an example of the benefits derived from including organic unpasteurized honey in your dog's diet, dosage and cautions.

Tea Derived from Tea Plants
i.e. Earl Grey Tea, Orange Pekoe Tea, etc.

as opposed to decaffeinated herbal teas
Can have varied effects on dogs and cats. The caffeine and tannin found in tea derived from tea plants are toxic to dogs and cats.

Tobacco        
Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.

Vitamins made for human consumption that contain iron
Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.

Walnuts, other nuts that are moldy or have fungus (aflatoxins)
Can cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as respiratory issues such as sneezing, breathing and coughing. Aflatoxins – a naturally occurring fungus on grains and legumes – is a carcinogenic fungus. Avoid all animal-feed grade nuts. Human grade peanuts and almonds in small quantities are good for dogs.

Yeast Dough - raw, not baked
Can be dangerous as it will expand and result in gas, pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. Baked is also not good for dogs and cats if it is made from grains.

Xylitol
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol -- an artificial sweetener created from birch, raspberries, plums and corn.1 This sweetener is found in many human "sugar free" products, such as gum, candies and other sweets. Signs of toxicity can be seen as quickly as 30 minutes after xylitol ingestion in dogs. The xylitol causes a rapid release of the hormone insulin, causing a sudden decrease in blood glucose. The following are symptoms of Xylitol poisioning: vomiting
weakness, ataxia (uncoordinated movements), depression, hypokalemia (decreased potassium), seizures, coma, liver dysfunction and/or failure. Ingestion can be fatal.

3.0 Foods That Are Beneficial

Avocado 
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ       
Flesh of the avocado fruit is OK for dogs in small amounts. Avocados contain persin - a fungicidal toxin. When a dog is fed large amounts of the fruit vomiting and diarreha can result from overdose of persin. The leaves, pit (seed), and bark also contain persin and should not be ingested by dogs.

Bones  
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^
Employ caution when giving bones to your dog.
  • Some bones can be very dangerous - as they can splinter and cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
  • Bones from many types of fish are dangerous for dogs just as they are for people. 
  • The cooked bones of salmon are not harmful, in fact they are good for your dog.
When on a raw diet, bones are very important as they provide an excellent and necessary source of:
  • Calcium;
  • Phosphorous and;
  • Trace minerals. 
A safe substitute for raw, fresh or frozen bones is high-quality healthful source bone meal or or microcrystalline hydoxyapatite - MCHA (freeze dried bone).
  • Do not ever use the type of bone meal sold in garden centers - garden center bone meal is poor quality from unspecified sources and can be full of toxins and carcinogens;
Edible, safe bones for dogs are:
  • Non-weight bearing, hollow, raw bones of birds:
    • Chicken wings;
    • Turkey necks;
    • These bones are soft, bendable (as opposed to brittle) and there fore can be chewed without fear of damaging teeth or creating bone splinters that can cause damage to the dogs innards.
Recreational Bones - Just for Gnawing On, Not for Consumption
  • Large, fresh raw or frozen-raw bones such as beef or bison femur of hip bones are good for a dog to chew on to exercise their jaw;
  • Good for dental care - If the bone has some meat and cartilage attached the dog will get his/her teeth 'brushed' naturally be gnawing on the bone; 
    • However these are hard bones that can splinter;
    • These type of bones should not be given to a dog that chews with great intensity:
      • The pressure can result in chipped and broken teeth;
      • The bone may splinter and chip into fragments that can cause severe internal damage to a dog;
  • If your dog has a very sensitive stomach the marrow in these large raw bones can cause diarrhea
    • You can remove the marrow and just give the bone to the dog;
    • You can remove most of the marrow only leaving a little in the bone, until the dogs digestive system acclimatizes to digesting the fat and nutrient rich marrow.

Brewers Yeast 
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^ 
Not to be confused with Baker's yeast which is very dangerous for your dog or cat. Brewers yeast is good for most dogs and cats. If your dog or cat is currently suffering from a yeast infection it is best to hold-off on supplementing with either of these usually beneficial yeasts. In rare cases a dog or cat may have a food sensitivity/allergy to these yeasts. Brewer's Yeast is high in B complex vitamins. B complex vitamins are very important for a dog's and cat's overall health, oral health and is also a natural flea repellant.

Broth - Bone Broth
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^  

Homemade bone broth when made properly is an excellent source of nutrients and can be:
  • Given to dogs and cats after fasting from a bout of diarreha;
  • Given to support renal and eliminatory health;
  • Of particular importance for dogs and cats on a dry dog food diet;
  • For dogs and cats recovering from surgery or a traumatic event;
  • For older dogs and cats with a suppressed or lessened appetite.
  • You can use this bone broth recipe.

Dairy Products 
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^ 
If consumed in reasonable amounts - particularly on a daily basis some dairy products are very beneficial for most dogs and cats. If your dog or cat is not lactose intolerant, plain yogurt or kefir is an excellent immune system booster. A little hard cheese or cottage cheese on a daily basis is a good source of nutrition. If your dog or cat is lactose intolerant – some can tolerate hard cheese as during the cheese making process most of the lactose is removed. My dogs and cats eat yogurt, hard cheese and cottage cheese on a daily basis. You can read here to understand which dairy products are good for your dog and cat, how to select a good product and safe daily dosage.

Dry and Wet Processed Food (Kibble) and Treats 
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^  
Many dog and cat food products contain an overwhelming quantity of:
  • Carcinogens;
  • Toxins;
  • Species inappropriate ingredients which can rob your dog, cat of his/her health and shorten his/her lifespan…
The Good and the Bad
'Biologically Appropriate', 'Nutritionally Complete', 'Species Appropriate'
At best even the 'better' products are not species appropriate, nutritionally complete, and biologically appropriate. Pet food manufacturer's can use these popular, hot, key words however they want to in order to sell their products. The words/terms 'Nutritionally Complete' and 'Biologically Appropriate' as pertains to the pet food industry are terms are not regulated by government bodies such as Health Canada, and the FDA. These terms are also not regulated by AAFCO and if they were the regulation would not be one to be trusted as AAFCO is not an objective non-governmental organization (NGO). AAFCO is a private organization made up of those who are in the pet food industry and their associated lobbyists.

The pet food industry does not have the engineered technology to make processed dry food species appropriate, nutritionally and biologically complete. The very nature of the process required to make dry food destroys the viable, essential elements that make food species appropriate and complete. Even if the whole food that goes into making the product is species appropriate, is organic, is a viable health promoting microbe, has essential enzymes, has antioxidant or other health enabling properties - once that item is super-heated and otherwise processed the former healthful qualities are degraded.

The Bad - Unlisted Ingredients
Hidden ingredients can make their way into your dog's and cat's food in many ways. When these substances are consumed on a daily basis ailment and chronic disease results. Here are a few examples of the many toxic unlisted substances in processed dog and cat food...
  • One - A substance that is added to a food as part of an initial harvesting and preservation process. 
    • An example of this would be fish meal that has been preserved with the potent, very toxic and carcinogenic chemical ethoxyquin. You can read about the health and life compromising effects of ethoxyquin here.  
  • Two - Carcinogenic substances that are formed during the high-heat processing required to make processed food - these substances include:
    • Carcinogens called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) created from cooking meat and other foods (i.for example lentils/legumes) at high temperatures. Acrylamide and heterocyclicamine are two examples of AGEs
    • The known carcinogen BPA leaches into canned food from the lining of the can;
  • Three - A substance that remains as a residue in meat and associated animal by-products due to bio-accumulation from feed that the source animal (i.e. cow or chicken) was fed while alive. Here are a few examples...
Example One - Glyphosate Residue
Glyphosate residue (an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto's Round-up) can be consumed by your dog or cat when he/she consumes products that contain meat obtained from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO for short, also called large factory farms). Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide and is the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Round-up. In North America (and some other parts of the world) 80% of corn and soy crops are grown from Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) Round-up ready seeds. These crops are heavily dosed with multiple application of Monsanto's Round-up herbicide. Round-up is toxic to humans, animals and insects such as bees. Glyphosate even when diluted 100's of times below the strength of agricultural crop application has been proven to damage cells, kill cells (animal and human) and have hormone damaging effects. Animals (i.e. cattle, chickens) raised in CAFO are feed GM corn and soy and by-products. The meat of animals fed GM corn and soy may have a bio-accumulation of the toxin glyphosate

To make matters worse Monsanto's GM alfalfa has now been approved for use in some locations in North America - i.e. Ontario Canada. Alfalfa is a common animal feed crop. The high plant protein content in alfalfa has made alfalfa a favorite for dog and cat food manufacturers - regardless of the fact that alfalfa is a biologically inappropriate food for dogs and cats. Many pet food manufacturers use alfalfa as a minor to major ingredient in dog and cat food because...
  • Alfalfa is:
    • Readily available;
    • Inexpensive;
    • A cheap source of plant protein (ranging from 14% to 22% plant protein);
  • Alfalfa affords the opportunity to increase profit.
... However alfalfa does not support the health of your dog or cat...in-fact quite the opposite. 
  • Alfalfa does not offer species appropriate protein to your dog and cat, dogs and cats have a biological requirement for meat protein, not copious quantities of plant protein;
  • Alfalfa contains glycosides in the form of saponins. Saponins are anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrietns are substances that act to interfere with the body's ability to absorb essential nutrients;
  • GMO alfalfa contains even higher levels of herbicide residue than non-GMO alfalfa.
Example Two -  some FDA and Health Canada Approved 'Food' Additives for Beef Cattle (and Other Animal Feed) 
Antibiotics (to prevent spread of disease enabled by overcrowded 'living' conditions), and beta-agonists (to increase growth rate/size):
Bacitracin zinc, bambermycins, chlortetracycline, erythromycin thiocyanate, lasalocid sodium, lincomycin, melengestrol acetate, monensin, monensin sodium, oleandomycin, oxytetracycline, salinomycin sodium, ractopamine hydrochloride, tylosin, virginiamycin, zilmax.

Beta agonists  - also called beta-blockers are used to promote the growth of lean muscle weight during the final period of life prior to slaughter. These drugs increase an animal's weight - on average by 30 pounds. Beta agonists adversely effect an animal's heart, lungs, muscles and other tissues, cause behavioral problems, seizures, death...

Example Three - Ractopamine, examining a beta agonist in detail...
Ractopamine - is a beta agonist that is banned in 160 countries, but is approved by Health Canada and the FDA and is used by about 80% of CAFOs in Canada and the USA. Ractopamine a beta agonist drug, is added to CAFO fed to increase the growth of animals thus supporting a larger profit margin for the operation. Ractopamine is a known and well documented poison responsible for: aggression, anorexia,  birth defects, bloat, cardiovascular system risk - including elevated heart rate and heart, excessive hunger, hyperactivity, lameness, reproductive function reduction, respiratory issues, stiffness, stress and most frequently reported - death. It is also being studied for its role in causing chromosomal abnormalities, behavioral changes and food poisoning. Up to 20% of the Ractopamine consumed remains in the meat found on grocery stores shelves and in products that the meat is used in - including dog and cat food.

Example Four - Zilmax, examining a beta agonist in detail...
Zilmax is another beta agonist drug used in Canada and the USA to increase growth rate in CAFO animals. Zilmax delivers 125 times the potency of Ractopamine. Zilmax causes severe behavioral problems, muscle tremors, rapid heart rates even up to 2 weeks after use of the drug has been stopped.  Like Ractopamine, Zilmax remains present in the meat and liver of the slaughtered animal.

These substances - ethoxyquin, glyphosate, ractopamine and zilmax are all examples of toxic hidden ingredients that are NOT biologically appropriate or species appropriate for any animal, including dogs and cats.

The Bad - Listed Ingredients
It is really important to learn to read the label of ingredients on a pet food product. Unless the product states that the ingredients used where human-food-grade, ingredients used can be very degraded - this in addition to the hazards posed by hidden ingredients as noted just above. Health Canada, the FDA (and similar government departments of other countries) and associations such as AAFCO allow many toxic chemicals, degraded and otherwise inappropriate ingredients into pet food. Ingredients that cause so many health problems, short-term and chronic. Even the most expensive brands of dry food include some ingredients that cut corners to save the manufacturer money while  posing health risks for your dog and cat, for example;
  • Using whole white fish which may be high in mercury, rather than using wild salmon. 
    • And BTW if you live in the USA or Canada genetically modified (GMO) salmon has just been approved for use;
  • Using a poor source GMO Omega-6 fatty acid - oil (i.e. corn oil, canola oil, cotton seed oil, safflower oil, soy oil) that is inherently high in pesticide residue rather than a good quality oil such as organic coconut oil or olive oil.
How to Choose A Better Dry Food (Kibble, Treats) Product
To improve your understanding of the ingredients in processed dog and cat food/treats, what to avoid and how to choose a better processed dry food product read here and here;
To get a glimpse of just how bad the ingredients in veterinarian prescribed dog and cat food can be for your dog and cat read here.

Basic Supplements to Improve A Dry Food Diet
The bare basics - add to the food at meal-time...

Additional supplementation 
Depends on the what conditions your dog or cat is exposed to. So for example if you are:
You then need to supplement with a wider variety of foods, herbs and nutraceuaticals to compensate for the additional toxic burden placed on your dog or cat. 

More on processed dog, cat food in these articles…






Corn and Soy are Very Bad for Your Dog’s (Cat’s) Short and Long Term Health

Eggs  
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^ 
Cooked eggs can offer excellent nutrition - just make sure you don't give your dog or cat more than the equivalent of 3 to 5 eggs a week.

Raw eggs are generally safe but as noted in the preceding section can be contaminated with salmonella. If you are going to use raw eggs make sure you thoroughly wash the shell before cracking the egg or before giving the whole egg with shell to your dog…and follow the guidelines for weekly intake as noted just above for cooked egg.

Egg Shell - dry finely ground can be used as a beneficial source of calcium when making homemade dog and cat food – you can see an example here. 

Natural Egg Shell Membrane (NEM) is an excellent anti-inflammatory – you can read about that here.

Fat - is absolutely necessary in a dog's and cat's diet
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^   
The key is to ensure you provide your dog and cat with good source Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in the correct ratio on a daily basis. Omega-3 fatty acids are the body’s and brain’s natural anti-inflammatory – providing protection against inflammatory diseases. For a comprehensive guide to adding good fats to your dog's, cat's diet read here.
On a daily basis my dogs get healthy fats from:
  • Olive oil;
  • Fish oil – a balanced Vitamin A and D Cod Liver Oil or Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil or Norwegian Krill Oil
  • Coconut Oil,
  • Ground flax seed or flax oil;
  • Milk fat from dairy products as mentioned above;
  • Fat from the poultry and fish that they eat.
A dog’s ancestral diet - and therefore a species appropriate diet consists of +/- 57 to 60% protein, 30% fat and 10 to 14% carbohydrates. 

Many commercially made dog and cat food products (kibble and treats) contain poor quality fats. Commercial dog food and raw food preparations do not provide a safely balanced ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids to Omega-6 fatty acids. For this reason it is important to supplement your dog's diet.

Fish - small quantities, daily is beneficial
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^  
A small amount of fresh cooked or canned (can goods may have a BPA containing liner. The BPA can leak into the food) fatty fish such as anchovies, salmon, sardines, shad, smelt, mackerel are very good for your dog (on a daily basis is fine - in small amounts) as these types of fish are nutrient rich and a good source of omega fatty acids. 

Fruit and Vegetables
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^  
Many fruits and vegetables are good for your dog and cat. Fruit and vegetables when integrated properly into the diet contribute antioxidants, vital mineral and vitamins. For example cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli offer anti-allergenic properties. Brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower offer important anti-carcinogenic benefits. Berries are also high in antioxidants and anti-carcinogenic properties.  Some of these foods also have additional medicinal properties as natural pain killers, anti-inflammatory effects and enzymes that support digestion. Tart red cherries and papaya are good examples. For an extensive list of fresh foods,  for information on how to properly prepare (to aid digestion and maximum absorption of nutrients), introduce and feed fresh fruits and vegetables to your dog and cat read here.

Garlic
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ   
Garlic contains only trace amounts of thiosulphate – the compound responsible for causing the Heinz factor in dogs and cats. Garlic offers amazing health benefits to dogs when provided in the correct daily dosage.. When garlic is ingested in reasonable amounts there are no harmful effects, only beneficial ones. Garlic is known for its antic cancer, diabetes, liver, heart, kidney disease fighting properties as well as its use as a natural flea repellent and de-wormer for dogs. Cats are more sensitive to the active ingredients in garlic. Cats should never have more than 2 or 3 thin slices of a garlic clove a week. Garlic must be used with extreme caution with cats and only by those persons that understand how to strictly monitor use and side effects.

Grape Seed Oil and Extract
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^  
While grapes are toxic to dogs and cats the oil and extract from grape seeds have beneficial properties for dogs and cats – you can read about that here.

Herbs and Spices  
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
While there are some herbs and spices that are toxic to cats and dogs there are many herbs and spices that offer extensive health benefits to dogs and cats. When using a dog or cat safe herbal tea it is important to understand the cautions, drug interactions and dosage and how these elements may relate to the individual animal's specific conditions.To see a long list of herbs and spices that are good for dogs and cats and bad, complete with links to some of the beneficial uses, you can read here. Prior to giving your dog or cat herbs make sure you check all cautions, drug interactions, and any conflicts with your dog's or cat's current medical condition, if he/she has any condition. Also note some herbs that are fine for dogs are not safe for cats - make sure you check first.

Herbal Teas
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
There are many herbal teas that are very good for dogs and cats. Rooibos Tea is one such example – you can read about the health benefits of Rooibos Tea here. When using a dog or cat safe herbal tea it is important to understand the cautions, drug interactions and dosage and how these elements may relate to the individual animal's specific conditions. For a list of other herbs that can be used as herbal teas you can read here. Prior to giving your dog or cat herbs make sure you check all cautions, drug interactions, and any conflicts with your dog's or cat's current medical condition, if he/she has any condition. Also note some herbs that are fine for dogs are not safe for cats - make sure you check first.

Homemade Dog and Cat Food
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^ 
For a nutritionally complete homemade dog food you can take a look at this recipe.
Honey – unpasteurized (raw) organic
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
Unlike the negative impacts on health caused by other sweeteners, organic unpasteurized honey that has not undergone any heating process does offer many health benefits. Organic unpasteurized honey (bee pollen and propolis) when provided in the proper dosage offers many health benefits for dogs. You can read this article for an example of the benefits derived from including organic unpasteurized honey in your dog's diet, dosage and cautions.

Liver and other organ meats - small amounts are beneficial
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
Liver and other organ meats offer a rich source of nutrients and essential amino acids – a little piece on a daily basis is beneficial for dogs and cats.

Mushrooms 
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
Some types of mushrooms are safe for use as a treatment to help your dog or cat fight cancer. However unless you have a working knowledge of mushrooms for medicinal use do not try to medicate your dog or cat with medicinal mushrooms.

Nuts
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
Human-food grade finely ground almonds, peanuts and pine nuts; butter (i.e. peanut butter, almond butter), coconut oil – when offered in small amounts daily are a good source of nutrients for dogs (and for some cats).

Nutraceuticals
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
(Food or parts of food that provide health or medicinal benefits when ingested  this includes food and parts of food used to prevent, treat, remedy illness and disease)
For example:
Apple Cider Vinegar (organic, unpasteurized, unfiltered);
Aloe Vera Juice; (100% juice, food grade)
Coconut Oil (organic);
Dairy in the form of yogurt or kefir as a probiotic;
Honey (organic, unpasturized);
Kelp
Sauerkraut (fresh, organic)
etc.

Raw Food Diet 
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
The raw food diet when comprised of truly good ingredients is a species appropriate diet...but if the ingredients used are not examined for their actual quality and value the raw food diet can be seriously compromised...
  • Raw, species appropriate food (i.e. fresh meat, fresh bones) when:
    • From a truly good source:
    • When stored properly;
    • When prepared properly:
    • When selected properly;
    • Is not bad for your dog - it is a species appropriate diet. 
  • However if the origin of the raw food, its preparation. etc. is not safe then the end product - the raw food is not safe either. 
    • If the source of the raw meat is an animal that came from a large factory farm, or from a smaller farm that is not organic in its practices...
      • The animal (chicken, cow, lamb, etc.) was fed a diet that included:
        • GMO corn, GMO soy;
        • Antiobiotics;
        • Growth Hormones;
        • All of the above are toxins, some are carcinogens;
        • All of these substances end-up in your dog's and cat's system when they ingest the food.
  • And that in a nutshell is why raw meat is on this list. 
    • Not becasue it is, by nature bad for your dog - in fact quite the opposite...but instead;
    • Because if YOU do not employ common sense it can become BAD for your dog. 
Supplements Required
Even if you do feed your dog and cat raw food, you will still need to supplement his/her diet with at least a few basic items for optimal health...for example:
  • Additional Omega-3 Fatty Acids;
  • And other items like Probiotics.
  • And don't assume just because you are paying alot of $ for a pre-prepared raw food that it is nutritionally complete. I have looked at many, and the claim (by the companies) that they are complete is not an accurate statement. The Omega fatty acids are never present in the correct ratio and that creates some serious issues.
Additional Supplementation
Depends on the what conditions your dog or cat is exposed to. So for example if you are:
You then need to supplement with a wider variety of foods, herbs and nutraceuaticals to compensate for the additional toxic burden placed on your dog or cat. 

Seeds
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
Some seeds are very good for most dogs and cats…here are a few examples:
Anise seeds (beneficial and medicinal properties);
Chia seeds (omega-3 fatty acids);
Flax seeds (omega-3 fatty acids);
Fennel seeds (beneficial and medicinal properties);
Pumpkin seeds (nutrient rich and a natural dewormer)
I use anise and fennel seeds in my homemade dog food recipe.

Soy - Organic, Tofu traditionally fermented only!

for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^   
Only for dogs and cats that must be on a vegan diet due to health issues such as Bladder and Kidney Cystine Stones (uroliths).

Vinegar – specifically organic unfiltered unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
Organic unpasteurized, unfiltered ACV offers a long list of health benefits and is safe for most dogs and cats when added to the daily diet in the correct dosage – you can read about that here.

6.0 If You Think Your Dog or Cat Is Suffering from Poisoning
         
Food, chemicals, insect/snake bites...

The following provides a list of some of the interventions that they may ask you to do, they may also request that you bring your dog in ASAP.

To induce vomiting, give your pet 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (1 tablespoon per 15 pounds of the dog’s body weight) with an eye dropper, syringe, or turkey baster by dribbling the liquid onto the back of his tongue or into his cheek pocket until swallowed. Collect any vomit and take it, along with the poison container or other substance that you think you dog may have ingested and take it to the veterinarian

To dilute caustic poisons such as pine oils, detergents, bleaches, and swimming pool chemicals, feed your dog large quantities of water, milk, or egg whites. Activated charcoal (or even burned toast) may be recommended to absorb insect repellents like DEET.

To remove absorbed poisons...absorbed poisons are substances that get on your pet’s paws and coat and are absorbed through the skin. Road salt is one of the most common of such substances and can cause serious and lethal damage over time. Remember your dog walks, on lies on and licks the floor - don't use chemical based cleaners to clean floors, other horizontal or vertical surfaces that your dog comes into contact with. Absorbed poisoning can happen through ingestion when the animal grooms himself. For oil-based toxins (petroleum products) use a gentle dish washing liquid like 'Dawn'. Dust or vacuum powdery poisons away because water can activate certain toxins. If the poison is in your dog’s eye, carefully flush the eye with water or a sterile saline solution. To remove toxins from a dog's paws you can use the following Foot Soak Recipe...

Warm Water and Iodine - Foot Soak Recipe, To Remove Toxins

Iodine is non-toxic for dogs (but should not be ingested, just used topically) and is anti-fugal and anti-viral. To remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from the surface of your dog’s paws - this soak can also be used to reduce itchy, inflamed, and other wise irritated paws…
  • Fill the container you are using with warm water;
  • Add enough iodine to make the water turn the colour of ice tea;
  • Have your dog stand in or otherwise keep their paw in the water/iodine solution for 30 seconds
  • Then pat your dog’s paws dry.

‘Inhaled poisons’ include aerosol sprays, carbon monoxide, gases, and other fumes inhaled by your pet that you may not consider poison to dogs because you use them safely on a regular basis. Quickly get your dog into fresh air and administer Rescue Breathing if necessary.

For snakebites, carry your dog if at all possible, to prevent increased circulation of venom throughout his body via walking. Get him to an animal emergency centre ASAP.

For insect bites, administer 1 mg of Diphenhydramine (i.e. Benadryl), an antihistamine, per pound of your dog’s body weight. Applying a cold pack to the bite can alleviate swelling, but immediately seek professional medical help if you detect breathing problems. You can also wipe or spray the bite with Apple Cider Vinegar.

If you think your dog is suffering from symptoms related to poisoning from any of these foods, plants or chemicals call your veterinarian or contact a pet poison control centre right away.

Pet Poison Help Line 24/7 (800-213-6680)