Showing posts with label Dog Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dog Health. Show all posts

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Canine, Feline Health - Jeopardized by the Pet Industry

Diet Can and Does Affect Your Dog’s and Cat’s Mental Health

Cats, dogs and humans have more serotonin in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) than in the brain. A diet that disrupts that natural balance of the GI tract adversely affects brain function and moods. A diet which exposes your dog or cat to heavy metals and toxins creates toxic loading on your pet’s entire system including the brain. Canine dementia (Canine Alzheimer’s) is caused by the same triggers that cause human Alzheimer’s. Heavy metals present in processed food, chemical toxic overload etc. Just because a food is advertised as natural, holistic, organic does not mean that the food conforms to any of those terms. For example if one or more of the ingredients in an Organic pet food are sourced from China – organic becomes meaningless, more on that further below.

A truly good diet, when approached holistically is:
  • Your dog's and cat's best defense against infections, other illness, insects and parasites, chronic disease and injury
  • Of prime importance in treating and remedying health issues
  • Of prime importance for mental and physical health and longevity
  • An amazing tool to mitigate and/or eliminate dependency on conventional drugs
  • A invaluable way to save you heart ache and copious amounts of money thrown away on unnecessary, inappropriate and/or ineffective treatments prescribed by some veterinarians.
Life Expectancy for Canines and Felines is Decreasing – not Increasing

Prior to the 1950′s the expected lifespan for a dog was twice what it is today. Golden retriever’s are now known as the ‘Cancer Dog’ – with life expectancy hovering around the 9 to 10 year mark. If this was pre-1950 you could expect your Golden to live 17 to 18 years.
Shocking – yes.
Preventable – yes…
But only if you put in place a holistic plan for your dog’s and cat’s health and well being.

Why is Canine and Feline Health on the Decline?

Dogs and cats are over-exposed to antibiotics, over medicated, over vaccinated, over-prescribed chemical-based insect and parasite preventatives and are on diets that do not support short or long term mental and physical health. I avoid these health deteriorating pit-falls with my own dogs and assist my client’s to do the same.

Chronic disease in our canine and feline companions is on a rapid upward trajectory -  just as it is in our human population. Inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, cancer, colitis, diabetes, oral health issues such as gingivitis – more than 160 inflammatory diseases are on the rise. Acid reflux, canine Alzheimer’s (also known as canine dementia), thyroid and gastrointestinal conditions, urinary tract issues (infections, crystals, stones) – the panacea of illness affecting our animal companions is on a sharp upward tract. While conventional drugs can be used to treat a symptom, such drugs do not form the basis for a long-term remedy. Conventional drugs can cause mild to extreme adverse reactions – and in the short and long term they can also trigger other serious health conditions.

Cancer is now the number one ‘natural’ cause of death in dogs over three years-of-age.

While cancer can be said to be a ‘naturally’ occurring condition, a condition for which canines and humans have been subject to for many thousands of years – the broad array of cancer types and the number of dogs acquiring cancer can no longer be categorized as ‘natural’.

Cancer’s expanded repertoire is a man-made situation.

Why is the incidence of cancer so high?

In the majority of the primary cause is processed commercial pet food and treats. Other avoidable contributing factors are dog / cat health care products such as dental chews and toothpaste, shampoo, chemical-based insect and parasite preventatives, over vaccination, overly invasive spay methods and avoidable environmental toxins.

Chronic Infections

In 2012 and 2013 ear infections were the #1 reason for a trip to the veterinarian in the category of non-life threatening conditions. Why is the incidence of ear infections so high? The largest single trigger is commercial processed dog ‘food’. Other significant contributing factors are commercial dental care products, shampoo, off-the-shelf and prescription spot-on and ingested insect parasite preventatives, other conventional drugs, over vaccination, household cleaning products, lawn and garden chemicals, etc.

The allopathic veterinarian’s standard response to an ear infection is prescription of conventional antibiotics. The allopath seeks to treat the symptom (in this case the ear infection) but does not take a strategic and informed approach to remedying the root cause of the symptom. The end-result – chronic ear infections and now an increasing incidence of dogs and cats with antibiotic resistance, a life threatening condition.

The antibiotic suppress the immune system leaving the dog or cat susceptible to further infection. The allopathic veterinarian will often prescribe additional conventional drugs – steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as prednisone which further destabilize the health of the dog or cat. Meanwhile the root cause of the chronic condition is not addressed or may be incorrectly addressed via prescription dog or cat food (some of the worst food you can give your dog or cat).

In addition to these unfortunate choices of intervention, the allopathic veterinarian may prescribe a conventional topical treatment (i.e. shampoo, ear drops, skin ointment). These conventional topical treatments typically contain toxins, carcinogens and known allergens.

To make matters worse not all holistic veterinarians are actually holistic in their approach.
So if you have been struggling to assist your dog or cat with chronic ear infections, eye infections, paw and skin infections, you now have more insight as to why your veterinarian’s approach failed.

I choose a truly holistic approach becasue it is a strategic approach designed to prevent and resolve issues – not mask and worsen issues.  A true holistic approach maintains health naturally – from the inside out, addressing overall well-being.

Dog and Cat ‘Food’

The pet food industry leverages hot words like ‘holistic’, ‘natural’, ‘balanced nutrition’, ‘species appropriate’, biologically appropriate’. Did you know that these terms are not regulated?

The majority of ‘food’ products available in pet stores and veterinarian offices are processed (as opposed to whole, natural, unaltered) foods. These processed foods are stripped of their original nutritive value from over-processing after which synthetic additives are added to compensate. These products contain both listed ingredients and hidden ingredients. The listed ingredients in many products pose major health issues for you dog or cat, as do the hidden ingredients.

1. If you don’t know:
1. How to analyze / understand the listed ingredients;
2. How to look for analyze / understand the hidden ingredients;
3. The ins-and-outs of canine and feline dietary requirements;
2. You are at the mercy of the pet-food and veterinary industry.

Unfortunately approval of food ingredients (listed and unlisted) and food composition by organizations such as AAFCO, Health Canada and the FDA are no assurance of quality nor of safety.

Even the ASPCA gets it wrong when it comes to listing foods that are good and bad for your dog. Coconut, dairy (specifically cheese, yogurt), garlic, lemon, herbal tea are just a few of the valuable nutraceuticals and herbs that the ASPCA writes-off as ‘dangerous’ for dogs. When used as they should be these nutraceuticals an herbs are very beneficial for the majority of dogs. Yet truly dangerous substances for dogs and cats such as corn are not listed by the ASPCA as dangerous. This is just shameful.

The pet industry is without a doubt a difficult place to navigate.

Unbiased information, not tainted by corporate sponsorship, lobbyists, greed and misinformation is hard to find.

Dogs and cats deserve better of mankind.

Providing my clients with unbiased information is something that I feel very strongly about.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Acid Reflux, GERD in Dogs, Cats - Natural Remedies, Causes, Symptoms

In this article…
  1. What is Acid Reflux - GERD
  2. Who is at Risk of Acquiring GERD
  3. Causes of Acid Reflux – GERD
  4. Other Conditions That May Mimic the Symptoms of GERD
  5. Symptoms of GERD
  6. Strategy for Natural Treatment and Remedy

1.0 What is Acid Reflux - GERD

Acid Reflux in dogs is called Gastroesophageal reflux – GERD for short. GERD occurs when the sphincter muscle of the lower esophagus is damaged or weakened. The malfunctioning valve of the esophagus allows an uncontrollable reverse flow of gastric or intestinal fluids - bile salts, stomach acid and other GI juices to pass into the muscular tube that connects and passes food from the throat (pharynx) to the stomach. The lining of the esophagus is not designed to tolerate the strong stomach acids. As a result the lining of the esophagus can become irritated and further damaged.

GERD can result in a mild or more severe condition:
  • Mild esophagitis is a mild inflammation of the esophageal lining;
  • Severe esophagitis causes damage to the deeper layers of the esophagus.

2.0 Who is at Risk of Acquiring GERD

  • Dogs and cats of all ages;
  • Dogs and cats with a genetic pre-disposition to acquiring GERDS – this includes Brachycephalic breeds (short nose, flat face breeds) that are most susceptible to GERD;
    • For example:
      • Bully breeds such as the –
      • American Bulldog;
      • American Pit Bull and Staffordshire Terrier;
      • Boston Terrier;
      • Boxer;
      • Cane Corso;
      • Presa Canario;
      • Pug;
      • etc.
  • Other dog breeds such as -
    • American Cocker Spaniel,
    • Lhasa Apso
    • Shis Tzu
  • Feline breeds such as –
    • Himalayan Cats;
    • Persian Cats;
    • etc.
  • Dogs and cats that may be subject to any of the conditions listed under ‘Causes’ of Acid Reflux - GERD’ as provided just below…
3.0 Causes of Acid Reflux - GERD

  • Daily diet that contains a lot of fillers - i.e. grains, legumes, etc.
  • Consumption of a meal (or a daily diet) that is very high in fat, or bad fats (poor quality fats.
  • Consumption of too much food when the stomach is already full;
  • Foreign matter in the esophagus;
  • Genetic predisposition – brachycephalic breeds as noted in section 2.0 above;
  • Hiatal hernia in the upper portion of the stomach – dogs with genetic pre-disposition for condition;
  • Megaesphagus – a condition caused by improper functioning of esophagus muscles;
  • Result of surgery:
  • Side effect or adverse reaction to a veterinarian prescribed antibiotic or other drug;
  • From improper fasting prior to surgery and/or;
  • Improper positioning of the dog or cat during surgery;
  • Placement of the breathing tube (used to provide anesthesia) and oxygen during surgery.

4.0 Other Conditions That May Mimic the
      Symptoms of GERD
  • Abscess;
  • Cancer of the throat or mouth;
  • Hiatal hernia;
  • Ingestion of toxins;
  • Tumor in the esophagus.
  • Megaesophagus – a condition where the muscles of the esophagus fail to push the food into the stomach.

5.0 Symptoms of GERD
  • Appetite loss;
  • Burping;
  • Chronic vomiting;
  • Excessive salivation or drooling (in the case of severe esopagitis);
  • Gagging after eating;
  • Inactive after eating;
  • Inflammation of the espophagus;
  • Fever (in the case of severe esophagitis);
  • Regurgitation of food;
  • Pacing;
  • Pain while swallowing – dog or cat may whine, cry, howl, etc.;
  • Weight loss.

6.0 Strategy for Natural Treatment and 

  1. Reduce factors that promote bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid;
  2. Replace enzymes, nutrients and stomach acid that are essential for digestion and enable health;
  3. Restore beneficial bacteria and healthy mucosal lining in the gut.

Step One
  • With hold (fast) the dog for a day or two – this provides the esophagus with a chance to relax and heal a little;
  • After fasting change the feeding schedule...

Step Two
  • No more large meals, (i.e. 1 or 2 meals per day) instead do;
  • Frequent small meals throughout the day – i.e. 4 to 6 small meals/day, and;
  • Don’t add water to the food in the bowl as this can make acid reflux worse.

Step Three

Avoid Exacerbating GERD with the Wrong Dietary Choices...
  • While treating GERD eliminate all of the following from food and treats -
    • All grains – refined cereal grain, whole grains and grain by-products;
    • Legumes;
    • Refined sugars;
    • Starchy vegetables;
    • High fat poor source meat and fats;
    • Commercial off the shelf and veterinarian prescribed  and dry dog and cat food and treats contain many ingredients (and hidden ingredients) that can exacerbate GERDS.
Consider Changing to a Diet with Ingredients You Control...
  • You can use this homemade grain-free recipe;
    • Include the following -
      • Lean ground meat from organic pasture fed animals;
      • Squash, pumpkin, turnip or rutabaga instead of sweet potatoes or legumes;
      • Low fat cottage cheese and low fat kefir from organic pasture fed animals;
      • The recipe includes many herbs that help in the treatment of GERD.
Step Four

Add some nutraceuticals and herbs that help stop GERD by supporting good digestive health –

Probiotics to support health of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • Add kefir to the daily diet this article explains how to choose a good quality kefir product for your dog or cat;
  • If you don't want to use kefir you can use fresh sauerkraut (fresh sauerkraut can be found in the refrigerated section of a grocery store or speciality food store or you can make it yourself – don’t use wine sauerkraut or the unrefrigerated type of sauerkraut);
    • If you want to make your own sauerkraut you can use this recipe;
  • If you don't want to use a probiotic food then purchase a good probiotic supplement;
    • Most probiotic supplements are not worth buying - make sure you really know how to select a good product - read here.

Bone Broth for protection and healing of the GI tract
  • Make a bone broth soup;
    • Bone broth contains glutamine – a metabolic fuel used by intestinal cells which helps the lining of the gut;
  • You can offer the bone broth as a mini-meal once a day;
  • You can use this homemade bone broth recipe.

Natural Honey for protection and healing of the GI tract
    Natural honey (raw, unpasturized) is called the world's perfect food - for very good reason...
    Honey is a very healing food. Adding natural honey to your dog's and cat's daily diet can help in the reduction of the symptoms of GERD and the elimination of the condition.   
    Honey also contributes to overall health in multiple ways including supporting the immune system, provides antioxidants is a prebiotic, a probiotic and an anti-carcinogen.

    Make sure you read this article for a full list of health benefits, cautions, daily dosage and important information on selecting an appropriate honey product for your dog or cat. If your companion animal is a puppy or kitten make sure you read section 10.0 of the honey article.

Aid Digestion with Herbs

Prior to using any herbs make sure that you check each herb’s drug interactions if your dog is on any conventional medicines, and cautions if your dog has any additional medical conditions.

  • Add two to three of the following bitter herbs (use either dry herb or tincture form with no alcohol) to each meal;
  • Bitter herbs stimulate stomach acid production which helps with the proper digestion of food;
    •  Add two to three of the following bitter herbs (use either dry herb or tincture form with no alcohol) to each meal;
      • Use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of each herb if using dry herb or powder
        (of the two or three herbs that you select from the list below);
      • Add 1 to 2 drops of each herbal tincture (of the two or three herbs that you select from the list below);

You can also add a papain or bromelain based digestive supplement to your dog or cat’s food or use fresh minced Papaya – you can read about that here.


Add fresh garlic to food once a day – make sure you read this article on garlic to understand best preparation methods, daily dosage, cautions, drug interactions.

Mix the following together and add to each meal…



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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld.