Miscellaneous Health and Diet Topics

IN GENERAL

Different body organs and tissues play different roles:

The liver and kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins and waste from the blood. The skin is the first line of defense against bacteria and other environmental threats. The blood carries antibodies, oxygen, and nutrients to where they are needed to fight against invasions.

After fighting, the spleen filters the blood and traps those remaining foreign bodies not killed by the body's army. The lymphatic system cleanses and nourishes cells and tissues and transports the "immune army" to those parts of the body that cannot be reached effectively by the blood.

THE BASICS TO HEALTHY IS HOLISTIC

  • Offer a raw, whole food, species-appropriate diet.
  • Feeding DE (Diatomaceous Earth - Human Grade) to young pets – kittens, puppies, birds, goats, etc. as soon as they start eating on their own may help prevent stool eating, dirt eating, rock eating, coccidia, and giardia.
  • Be sure to do your research on Animal Vaccines and consider introducing less of these toxins into the body. Do a titer check before you over vaccinate. A titer test (pronounced TIGHT er) is a laboratory test measuring the existence and level of antibodies to disease in blood. 3 vaccinations are two too many in most cases. According to Dr. Karen Becker:

"Over-vaccination is an ongoing problem in the veterinary community,..."

"If your pet had his full set of puppy or kitten shots on schedule, there’s a high likelihood his immunity to those diseases will last a lifetime. Each time a fully immunized pet receives a repetitive set of vaccines, it increases the risk of over stimulating his immune system. I recommend you find an

to measure each animal’s antibody response from previous vaccinations. Titer results will tell you whether re-vaccination is necessary, and for what disease."

“A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccination. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal… Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response…. The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy…”

  • Delay spaying or neutering as long as you can. If you fill the water dish with tap water, filter it first: Zero Water or another filter that filters fluoride (Brita does not).
  • Avoid using chemicals in your home especially products like Glade plug-ins, Febreze, and Swiffer Wet. Consider using more natural cleaning products including laundry detergent. This is a healthy idea for humans and pets alike.
  • Healthy dogs attract fewer fleas so rather than harm your pet with conventional flea and tick products which are really just chemical pesticides, what about alternative approaches? For a natural repellant, feed Astragalus during tick season. Astragalus is but one herb that has immune-modulating abilities. For dogs who are more at risk for fleas and ticks because of their environment, try amber collars, electromagnetic tags, spray your dog’s underside lightly with a natural protective spray like a cedar-oil-based spray or other essential oils, and/or sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth into your dog’s coat. Ledum is another good natural treatment for just after removal of a tick, and for general prevention, every five to seven days during tick season. Plain vinegar and herbal tinctures containing cider vinegar also repel insects, including fleas and mosquitoes. Spray the neck, torso, tail, underbelly, and overall coat (avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth) and let dry. For a nontoxic flea dip, cover your dog or puppy with ACV (spray, sponge, or simply pour it on), working it into the skin and coat. Avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth. Let stand for several minutes before washing with gentle shampoo. Because herbal tinctures and cider vinegar can stain light or white coats, substitute distilled white vinegar for light-coated dogs.
  • If your dog is not in 100% perfect health, refrain from ANYTHING elective that is invasive: spaying, neutering, puppy shots, annual shots, ... until they are 100%.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BONE IN YOUR DOG OR CAT'S DIET

One of the barriers to feeding dogs and cats raw food is the misleading notion that balancing and creating their diets is an exact science that must be performed in the laboratory. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Raw feeding has a few guidelines that must be followed and the most important one is balancing the minerals calcium and phosphorus in the diet.

In their daily diet, dogs and cats require calcium and phosphorus and these must be in balance. For dogs and cats, that requirement means consuming more calcium than phosphorus. Inadequate calcium or too much phosphorus will hinder calcium absorption, and less phosphorus is absorbed in higher ratios. Imbalance can result in such conditions as skeletal demineralization, irritability, loss of muscle tone, and temporary or permanent paralysis to name just a few consequences.

Dogs

Balancing isn't difficult as long as there is plenty of bone in the diet. Bone content of between 10-25% is ideal. Ratios of 1:1 to 2.5:1 (calcium: phosphorus) are acceptable ranges.

Cats

When feeding whole raw bones to cats (yes, they too should gnaw on a bone!) be sure that they are small enough that your cat can chew on them. Examples include chicken wings, ribs and necks, Cornish Hen cuts, many cuts from small rabbits, and other small poultry such as quail. Cats themselves will screen very thoroughly to make sure the bone is suitable to chew on. You must observe how your cat attacks bones, and take note of her next couple of bowel movements to see whether she is eating the actual bone. If the stools are bloody, if there is any indigestion, discomfort, gas, vomiting, bloating or if there are any shards of bone in the stool, then discontinue feeding whole bones. If your cat is constipated, then you may need to reduce the amount of bone you are feeding.

Approximate amount of bone in commonly sourced foods:

Chicken

Whole chicken (not including the head and feet): 25% bone

Leg quarter: 30%
Split breast: 20%
Thigh: 15%
Drumstick: 30%
Wing: 45%
Neck: 36%
Back: 45%
Turkey Whole turkey: 21%
Thigh: 21%
Drumstick: 20%
Wing: 37%
Neck: 42%
Back: 41%
Pork Feet: 30%
Tails: 30%
Ribs: 30%
Beef Ribs: 52%
Rabbit Whole rabbit (fur and all): 10%
Whole (dressed): 25-30%
Calcium Carbonate

Because we believe in food first, we prefer to see dietary needs met by real, whole food. Calcium carbonate is a dietary supplement used when the amount of calcium taken in the diet is inadequate. Because it is an effective phosphorus binder, its use is best suited to dogs with chronic renal failure where dietary phosphorus must be reduced.

The foregoing bone info is an excerpt from:

HOW DIGESTIVE ENZYMES WORK

Digestive enzymes break down the major substrates of nutrients consumed thereby enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients that contribute to overall health of the individual rather than being passed in stools.

Amylase: a specialized enzyme most herbivores and omnivores produce in their saliva. It increases utilization of starches by reducing molecules to smaller weights / simple sugars before they enter the stomach which are more readily absorbed into the blood stream. Carnivores, on the other hand, do not produce amylase in their salivary glands but rather this enzyme is added further down the digestive tract in the pancreas and small intestine. This is why a dog or cat's food should not contain carbohydrates.

Protease: enhances the utilization of proteins, reducing them to usable peptides and amino acids - Protease helps clean the body by removing unwanted protein for the circulatory system and bloodstream, and helps restore energy and balance

Hemi-cellulase: contribute to make cellulose available for digestion

Phytase: hydrolyzes phytic acid - phytic acid binds minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium which reduces their bioavailability

Cellulose: enhances the utilization of fibrous portions of food Lipase: supplements the enzyme system in the breakdown of fats and lipids. Also increases the bioavailability of fat soluble vitamins

Pectinase: reduces the structure size of plant pectin into galacturonic acid to maintain water balance to avoid excessive fluid passage - essential for cell growth and development

Beta-glucanase: hydrolyzes and enhances bio-availability of specific types of starch molecules

PROBLEMS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO POOR HEALTH

1. Food Enzymes:

The destruction of food enzymes by cooking and processing is likely the most significant factor in causing chronic and degenerative disease in both humans and animals. Live food is meant to be a source of enzymes which aid in the process of digestion and help with the conversion of live foods into metabolic enzymes which help maintain normal cellular functions, cleanse toxins and strengthen the immune system.

  • heating food above 118 degrees destroys enzymes boiling
  • food in water for 3 minutes destroys enzymes
  • pasteurization destroys enzymes
  • baking, frying, broiling, stewing, and canning destroys enzymes

Eating foods lacking in enzymes stimulates the immune system with a reverse response and the body reacts with digestive leukocytosis, which is measured by the elevation of white blood cell levels.

A diet lacking in enzymes puts stress on the pancreas, contributing to blood sugar problems such as diabetes and hypoglycemia and other chronic degenerative diseases.

The fact that we continue to feed pets enzyme-less food over an entire lifetime contributes to a growing list of health problems including: osteoarthritis, inflammation, joint pain, hip dysplasia, pano, OCD, HOD, shedding, hair loss, dry skin, itchy skin, digestive disorder, gastritis, allergies, epilepsy, fatigue, hot spots and many other stress related symptoms caused by a weakened immune system. In fact, a 10-year long study by Dr. Francis M. Pottenger suggests that succeeding generations who remain on this type of enzyme-less diet will show progressively more illness and disease.

2. Free Radicals:

Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage healthy molecules by stealing electrons. Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism. Sometimes the body's immune system's cells purposefully create them to neutralize viruses and bacteria. However, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, and cigarette smoke and herbicides can also spawn free radicals.

Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age.

BALANCING FATTY ACIDS
  • Fatty acids cannot be synthesized by the body and, therefore, must be supplemented in the diet.
  • Animals are incapable of converting one type of fatty acids to another, e.g. from Omega-6's to Omega-3's.
  • Research shows that the correct ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids is very important for your pet's health and well being. Current recommendations are for ratios of 10:1 to 2:1 in the pet's daily diet.
  • Omega-9 fatty acids are of no use to a pet's health; in fact, increased amounts of Omega-9's can actually decrease the concentration of Omega-3's and 6's in the blood and skin.
FAT REQUIREMENTS

Unless your dog has a specific medical condition that warrants fat restriction, such as pancreatitis, don't deny your dog this important source of nutrients. Dietary fat supplies dogs with the most concentrated and digestible form of energy, provides important essential fatty acids including omega-3, plays a vital role in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and promotes a healthy nervous system. Dogs can consume a higher proportion of fat in their diets because they have a greater capacity to burn fat for energy than humans do. It also fills them up and they love the taste!

Species and Growth StageMinimum Required FatRecommended Fat
Puppy 8% 17%
Adult Dog 5% 9-15%
Performance Dog 8% 20%
Racing Sled Dog - 50%
Lactating Dog 8% 17%