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Thursday, 5 December 2013

People Food, Pet Food That is Good for Dogs, Cats – A Guide



 
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?
2. Harmful Foods
 
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?

My dogs eat real, whole food - what many people call 'people' food,
my dogs are very healthy. Dogs and cats that are on a 

processed food diet that
is not supplemented with other foods 
can end up with many short and long-term chronic health issues.
 ‘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. To see an extensive list of foods that are really harmful for your dog and cat you can read here.


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 good 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 two 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 un-refrigerated) 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.

3.0 Food that is Good For Your Dog, Cat



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.

Brewer’s Yeast
for Dogs ᵔᴥᵔ and Cats ^._.^    
Not to be confused with Baker's yeast which is very dangerous for your dog or cat. Brewer’s 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
If the food you are feeding your dog or cat is species appropriate in its basic nature (i.e. meat)  ultimately that food may still fall short of being truly appropriate. How is this possible? It is possible because of the hidden ingredients in food. 

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’s 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 that are good for dogs and cats, for information on how to choose, prepare (to ensure ease of 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 ^._.^    
Many homemade dog and cat food diets are not nutritionally complete. For an example of a nutritionally complete homemade cooked/fresh dog and cat food diet you can 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);
Lemon (fresh lemon - not lemon oil);
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 and cat. 
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.

3.0 Harmful Foods
  • For an extensive list of foods that are not good for dogs and cats you can read here.



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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Omega-3, Omega-6 Fatty Acids for Dogs, Cats - A Complete Guide

My Sweet Boxer x Pit Bull 'Robbie'

 In This Article...
  1. The Importance of Providing a Balanced Intake
  2. Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  3. Health Benefits of Omega-6 Fatty Acids
  4. Selecting a Good Product
  5. Good Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids 
  6. Guideline for Typical Daily Dosage of Omega-3
  7. Good Sources of Omega-6 Fatty Acids
  8. Guideline for Typical Daily Dosage of Omega-6
  9. Omega-6 Fatty Acids To Be Avoided - Not Safe!
  10. Cautions
  11. Drug Interactions 


Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are very important for the overall health of a dog and cat. Conversely a lack of good-source omega fatty acids can create many health issues, from allergies to cancer, fur and skin problems, heart disease and a host of other problems as you will see further below. 


Insufficient daily intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to or cause behaviourial problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and aggression.


1.0 The Importance of Providing a
       Balanced Intake of Omega-3 to 6

1.1 The Impact of a Balanced Intake
The intake of Omega-3 and Omega-6 must be balanced correctly. Failure to do so can result in health problems. An out-of-balance ratio can disrupt the balance of pro and anti-inflammatory agents in the body leading to chronic inflammation.
  • Inflammation is a trigger for many inflammatory diseases such as: 
    • Allergies;
    • Arthritis;
    • Cancer;
    • Diabetes;
    • etc.
As the body does not store Omega-3, daily intake of sufficient Omega-3 is essential for overall health and well being.
  
1.2 Correct Ratio Of Omega -3 to Omega-6 Fatty Acids
To strike the right balance - your dog's overall dietary intake (from food, supplements) should be in the range of 5:1 - meaning 5 parts Omega-6, to 1 part omega-3.
The actual ratio of supplementation of Omega 3 and 5 fatty acids will depend on what type of diet your dog is on - the reason for this variance is based on quality of diet.
      • Highly Processed Food Diets
        • Dry processed food (kibble) and many wet (canned) foods are too high in poor quality Omega-6 fatty acids, and low in quality Omega-3 fatty acids.
        • Grain-in processed food (dry or canned)results in an escalation of poorly balanced Omega 6:3 intake - you can read more about that here
        • And making matters worse:
          • Many treats - cookies, chews, etc., include very poor source Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, may contain grains and other inflammatory agents which adversely impact your dog's, cat's overall daily omega 6:3 intake.
        • Supplementation of fatty-acids for the above diets will need to bring the overall diet closer to the normal 5:1 intake - to do this you will need to add a good quality Omega-6, and several good source Omega-3, your actual supplementation ratio may be 1:2, resulting in supplementation of i.e. organic coconut oil + wild fish oil + hemp seed hearts or hemp seed oil + organic kefir, or yogurt.
        • If you are feeding your dog raw dehydrated or raw fresh/frozen in which the meat is sourced from factory farm-raised (CAFO) animals additional supplementation with a good quality Omega-3 is recommended.
        • If you are feeding pasture-raised, grass fed, or organic raw - incorporating coconut oil and a good-source omega-3 oil provides added benefit to your dog's, cat's overall diet.
There are three (3) omega three fatty acids that your dog or cat must take-in on daily basis: 
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA);
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and; 
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Good quality Omega-3 has all three of these important acids.



2.0 Health Benefits - Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Yes my boy is smiling - Dogs do smile, you can read about that here

2.1 Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Avoid, Control, Treat,
      Remedy...

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Atopy
  • Support optimum brain function
  • Bone health
  • Digestive disease
  • Eosinophilic granuloma complex
  • Excessive blood clotting 
  • Flea allergies
  • Hair/fur problems
  • Helps prevent cancer growth
  • Heart disease
  • Learning difficulties
  • Lowers the amount of lipids (i.e. cholesterol, triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream
  • Immune-mediated skin disease
  • Inflammation throughout the body
  • Inhibits thickening of the arteries 
  • Kidney disease
  • Reduces risk of obesity
  • Seborrhea
  • Metabolism regulation
  • Military dermatitis
  • Maintains fluidity of cell membranes 
2.2 Omega-3 Fatty Acids - An Effective, Natural and Safe Alternative to Steroids and NSAIDs...

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are one of the many healthy, natural nutraceuticals that can be used in combination with anti-inflammatory herbs as an effective and safe alternative to steroidal (i.e. Prednisone) and non-steroidal (NSAIDs such as Metacam) that have very serious health risks. You can read more about natural anti-inflammatories here.


Robbie with Sarah my GSD x Husky


3.0 Health Benefits of Omega-6 Fatty
      Acids

Omega-6 Fatty Acids Help...
  • Build cell membranes and support cell health
  • Dry coat
  • Mycoplasma
  • Regulate Blood Clotting
  • Seborrhea


Not All Sources of Omega Fatty Acids Are Equal...
It is also important to understand that although Omega 3 and 6 can be found in many food stuffs not all sources of these fats offer quality or safe nutrition. 


4.0 Selecting a Good Product

4.1 Decide On Your Approach
How you choose to supplement depends on your life-style, personal priorities etc...
  • Pre-blended Supplement 'all-in-one' liquid or soft-gel
    • If your priority is time-efficiency over quality than your best bet is a pre-prepared, pre-blended supplement that provides (or claims to provide) a full spectrum of omega fatty acids (3-6-9);
      •  This may save you time but you may end-up sacrificing convenience for quality if you do not choose the product wisely;
      • If you choose the pre-blended product  you will also need to decide if you are going to use a liquid supplement or a soft gel supplement. 
The photo below shows a few examples of  typical pre-blended 3-6-9 made for pets Omega fatty acid products...

Various examples of pre-blended, made for dogs and cats Omega 3-6-9 Supplements

A few Examples of Organic Human Food-grade, safe for Dogs and Cats Omega 3-6-9 Supplements
  • Single Source Whole Food Products:
    • You may instead prefer to use single source products that you add yourself to your companion animal's food;
      • This choice can provide you with more flexibility as to the quality of products as you can select the type and quality of the omega-3 and 6 you use;
      • For example you may decide to use Norwegian Krill Oil for omega-3 and organic virgin Coconut oil for Omega-6.
 
Made for Pets and Some Made for Humans Single Food Source Omega-3 Fatty Acid Oils



4.2 What's My Preferred Approach?
  
I prefer using good quality human food-grade whole food products such as organic, unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil, hemp oil, olive oil, flax seeds and a piece of real fatty fish added to my dog's and cat's meal once a day.



4.3 Read The Product Label for Quality Assurance
  
Next it is so important to read product ingredient lists - and here is why...
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    • If the label says 'fish oil' and does not disclose the source of the fish then you are likely looking at a product that is derived from factory farmed fish;
    • What is wrong with that? well...
      • Factory farm fish are raised in confined and often man-made pools;
        • When many living organisms are forced to live in unnatural and confined conditions the environment that they live in becomes a breeding ground for disease and parasites;
      • Factory farm fish are:
        • Fed food pellets that are comprised of non-organic and often species inappropriate food;
        • Are given antibiotics, may be given growth hormones, chemcial-based pesticides and fungicides to control parasites and fungus;
      • All of these substances are ingested by your dog or cat when they consume the oil;
        • Resulting in: an increase of toxic loading, hormone disrupting build-up, anti-biotic resistance building - all health threatening conditions;
      • So while you may have the good intention of improving your dog's or cat's health with the supplement you may actually be furthering the development of health issues.
    • To avoid this pitfall choose a product that is labeled specifically and clearly with no ambiguity, i.e.
      • The ingredient list states that the source of the Omega-3 fatty acids are:
        • Norwegian Krill oil or Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil or;
        • Organic Cold Pressed Flax Seed (Linseed) oil, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, etc.
        • And remember that you are looking for a product that contain the full spectrum of Omega-3 fatty acids...
          • ALA -  Alpha-linolenic acid  
          • EPA - Eicosapentaenoic acid  
          • DHA - Docosahexaenoic acid
And one more important note about fish oil...
  • Avoid 'Fankenfish' - Nickname for GMO Salmon
    • GMO salmon has just been approved in Canada - shame on Canada (just so you know I am Canadian and I am appalled at the decision to allow another GMO product into the Canadian food chain);
    • DO NOT use any product that is derived from GMO fish - the long-term effects of ingesting an animal-based Genetically Engineered (GE) product IS NOT known;
    • What is evident to me is that such a product will have similar adverse health risks as GMO corn and GMO soy;
    • If you are not familiar with the multitude of serious health risks posed by:
  • Plant-Based Omega-6 GMO Oils v.s Quality Plant Oils
    • If the product includes poor source Omega-6 oil from GMO plant crops such as: soy, canola, cottonseed, safflower you are once again introducing an ingredient that is very high in pesticide residue, fungicides, genetically modified properties - all of which increase you dog's or cat's toxic load, increase the chance of hormone and endocrine disruption, renal issues, bladder and other cancers, etc.
    • To avoid this pitfall choose a product that is labeled specifically and clearly with no ambiguity, i.e.
    • The ingredient list states that the source of the oil is:
    • Omega-3 from Norwegian Krill oil or Wild Alsaskan Salmon Oil or Organic Cold Pressed Flax Seed (Linseed) oil;
    • Omega-6 from organic coconut oil, organic sunflower oil, virgin olive oil;
    • This way you know that you are getting a quality product that is as free of toxins as possible.
  • Avoid Products that Contain Fillers and Other Unnecessary Unhealthy Ingredients
    • Look for products that do not contain fillers, soy or wheat-based derivitives, food colouring, artificial flavoring, sweeteners, etc.
    • If you are going to use a soft-gel look for products that do not contain chemical-based slipping agents.
4.4 If You Choose an All-in-One Product Check Ratio
  
Read the label - if the product is not conforming to the ratio as described  in section 1.0 of this article then don't buy the product.

4.5 Decide on Human Grade or 'Made for Pets'
You can use a quality human-grade supplement or a product specifically made for dogs and cats.
  • The dog and cat supplements are not specifically formulated to be better for your dog or cat than a good human grade product;
  • The balance required for human, canine and feline intake of Omega 3 to 6 fatty acids are the same for all three species;
  • Products made specifically for the dog and cat food industry tend to be over-priced simply because the product is targeted to retail to a 'specialty' market.
4.6 Introduce Oils Gradually to the Diet

Some dogs and cats are allergic to or have a sensitivity to fish oil. Fish oil may cause diarrhea in some dogs and cats.

If your dog or cat has never had a fish supplement (liquid oil or gel) before introduce fish oil to the diet starting with 1/4  of the recommended daily dosage and over he space of a several weeks incrementaly increase the dosage until you reach the standard daily dose.

4.7 Allergies - Food and Environmental

If your dog or cat is allergic to shellfish do not give him/her krill oil.

If your dog or cat is allergic to fish then choose flax seed oil as the source of Omega-3 fatty acids. 

If your dog or cat has an environmental allergy to the Linum family of plants do not use flax or flax seed (also known as linseed) oil.

If your dog or cat has an environmental allergy to the Cannabaceae family of plants do not use hemp seed or hemp seed oil. 

The same is true for any other food or environmental allergy - check ingredients against allergens and substitute to suit.


5.0 Good Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
        ALA -  Alpha-linolenic acid 
        EPA - Eicosapentaenoic acid
        DHA - Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Atlantic Mackerel 
  • Anchovy
  • Bluefin Tuna 
  • Beans/legumes
  • Chia Seeds (whole or ground), Chia Seed Oil
  • Cod Liver Oil
    • If you are going to use be careful pay special attention to the product that you purchase...
      • Many brands of cod liver oil are very high in vitamin A and relatively low in vitamin D;
      • This lack of balance between A and D has the potential to cause vitamin A toxicity;
      • For this reason it is important to choose a cod liver oil that has a considerably lower ratio of vitamin A to vitamin D.
  • Dairy Products from pasture fed cows, goats and sheep
  • Eggs from organic free-range chickens
  • Flax Seeds (ground), or Cold-Pressed Organic Flax Oil (also called Linseed)
    • Unrefrigerated, non-organic flax oil does not have the same healthful properties of cold-pressed organic refrigerated flax oil; 
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Norwegian or Arctic Krill oil
  • Pacific or Atlantic Herring
  • Wild Alaskan Salmon, or Wild Alaskan salmon oil
  • Sardines
  • Sprat
  • Menhaden fish
  • Meat from organic pasture fed animals
Norwegian or Arctic Krill oil is said to be the best, cleanest, most complete and bioavailable supplemental source of Omega-3 fatty acids. If you are going to use Salmon oil - be sure to buy only wild salmon oil or Atlantic salmon oil. Farmed salmon and other farmed fish is high in toxins, antibiotics etc. as noted in section 4.0 above. 

6.0 Guideline for Typical Daily Dosage -
      Omega-3



If you are using a pre-prepared blended product (i.e. includes Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids) follow the manufacturers dosing instructions. If you are using a single whole food product - i.e. Krill oil you can follow the dosage provided below or the manufactures instructions.
6.1 Norwegian or Arctic Krill Oil, Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil or Norwegian Cod Liver Oil
Daily Dosage for Dogs and Cats

  • X-Small Dogs and Cats 
    • 1 -14 lbs – 250mg
  • Small Dogs and Cats
    • 15-29 lbs – 500mg
  • Medium Dogs 
    • 30-49 lbs – 1000mg
  • Large Dogs
    •  50 -79 lbs – 1500mg
  • X-Large Dogs
    •  80 lbs and up – 2000mg 

Chia, Flax Seed Oil 
  • 1 tsp per every 11 lbs of body weight
  • (1 U.S. tsp  is equivalent to 4.9 ml)



7.0 Good Sources of Omega-6 Fatty Acids
        LA - Linoleic acid;
        GL - Gamma-linoenic acid, and;
        AA - Arachidonic acid
  • Animal (mammalian) Meats
  • Coconut Oil (see below)
    • While virgin coconut oil is 90% saturated fat, when added to a dog’s diet in small quantities, on a daily basis virgin coconut oil has many beneficial qualities. It is also very affective as a topically applied treatment on cuts, wounds and for ailments of the skin. To learn about the extensive benefits of adding coconut oil to your dog’s daily diet click here.
  • Chia Seeds (ground or whole) or Chia Seed Oil
  • Hemp Oil
  • Olive Oil 
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sesame Oil 
  • Sunflower Seed Oil

8.0 Guideline for Typical Daily Dosage Omega-6

8.1 Hemp, Sesame, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp per every 11 lbs of body weight;
  • (1 U.S. tsp  is equivalent to 4.9 ml)
8.2 Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 tsp per every 10 lbs of body weight twice daily;
  • 1/2 tsp per every 10 lbs of body weight once daily.
    • Coconut oil is a favorite of mine as it has a multitude of health benefits that you can read about here. 

9.0 Oils That Are Not Recommended  

Do not give your dog or cat non-organic:
Canola Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Safflower Oil, Soy Oil

Canola oil, soy products, soy oil, safflower oil, cotton seed oil are grown from Round-up Ready Genetically Modified (GM) seed crops (i.e. in North America). These oils are all very high in pesticide residue...
 
Canola and soybeans in the USA and Canada are almost all grown from Genetically Modified (GM) seeds - the long term affect of ingesting GM food is not known. Further to this, large factory farms use a method to process soy that leaves it very high in photoestrogens. Photoestrogens have been proven to interfere with reproduction and thyroid function. Factory farming processing methods for soy also result in a product that is very high in phytates. Phytates prevent mineral absorption as well as substances that prevent the normal function of enzymes required to digest protein. And one last thumbs down for large factory farm produced soy - it has one of the highest concentrations of pesticides found in North American crops. Traditional methods of processing soy by fermentation (as employed in Japan and China) greatly reduces photoestrogens, and phytates, thus making consumption of the resulting soy, safe and nutritional.

10.0 Cautions
  • Allergies;
    •  If your dog or cat is allergic to shellfish do not give him/her krill oil. 
    • If your dog or cat is allergic to fish then choose flax seed oil as the source of Omega-3 fatty acids
    • If your dog or cat has an environmental allergy to the Linum family of plants do not use flax or flax seed (also known as linseed) oil.  
    • If your dog or cat has an environmental allergy to the Cannabaceae family of plants do not use hemp seed or hemp seed oil. 
    •  The same is true for any other food or environmental allergy - check ingredients against allergens and substitute to suit.
  • Stop giving your dog or cat Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplements 10 days prior to scheduled surgery;
  • Wait 10 days after surgery and/or after stitches/sutures are removed before resuming supplementation;
  • Allergic reactions to shellfish for dogs and cats is rare but possible;
    •  If you think your dog or cat is allergic to shellfish do not give him/her krill oil.
11.0 Drug Interactions

If your dog or cat is on the following drugs consult your veterinarian before supplementing with Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
  • Blood thinners;
  • Beta blockers;
  • Diuretics.

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