A place to find and share information to help our loved ones live the best life possible!
Happy New Year everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve published anything, which I feel terrible about. I have been learning a LOT and really hope to start sharing again very soon! I’m taking additional on-line classes and reading so much right now, I’ve gotten slightly overwhelmed but I am hopefully going to be in a better position to offer good information once my schedule slows down. When I started this blog, I wrote only about things that I knew very well. Now my goals are to become more educated so that what I say can have the greatest impact for good. I’m struggling to begin for a few reasons but one is that I really don’t want to scare anyone out of raw feeding because I’m making it look too complicated. It truly isn’t and none of what I’m doing now is necessary for someone to do it. For example, analyzing every vitamin and mineral, making my own fermented vegetables and studying food data banks, is in no way needed to prepare raw dog food. I want to share articles that hold good info without making it seem necessary for those who are beginners. Hopefully over time that will come across. I really only started all of this to help spread awareness about companion animal health and to insert my voice as one that stands against what’s been done to them by the pet food industry. They have even badly influenced veterinary medicine and it’s simply not ok. My efforts are to help pet parents keep they’re animals healthy by providing some useful information and maybe bring awareness to an industry that has become so corrupt. That being said, this is still the raw dog diary section, so I just want to update that things have been going very well! Jersey Girl is still super picky but then again she always was that way lol it probably won’t change. Fasting is a good way for her system to detox in between meals anyway so it’s a great way to allow her to be hungry enough to try things she often ends up loving! We also finally found an amazing vet! I’m studying a lot of natural medicine myself for home use but I will never be a vet, so to finally have someone in our corner is one of the best feelings there is! I don’t have much to share other than the quick update and promise of more to come!
Love and puppy kisses from Jeanne & Jersey Girl
As an aside, I know the last article I wrote was kind of angry. It was anger directed at kibble and the pet food industry. I may have gotten a little too heated when I wrote it. It was not intended to say anything bad about those who feel that they can adequately do homemade vegan diets. It will never be my first choice for dogs but I felt bad when I saw all of the anger that article contained, it is 100% not my intention! I’m here because I love animals and everyone else who loves them too!
What is vegan dog food?
The kind you can buy, is basically kibble without the meat. Kibble already adds synthetic vitamins, the only difference here is the number of synthetic vitamins added to make it nutritionally adequate. There are nutrients found in meat (such as taurine) that dogs absolutely require to live, that cannot be found in ANY plant based sources. In order to be vegan, these nutrients can not come from animal sources and therefore MUST be synthetic.
There are multiple problems with adding synthetic vitamins. These are just a few:
- The body can’t process them correctly so they can lead to deficiencies.
- They tax the liver, get passed as waste and can cause countless other health problems.
- Many are made in China and other countries where standards are low and are contaminated and dangerous.
- Manufactures are not obligated to disclose the amounts present after processing. This is made worse by the fact that they degrade over time.
- A pet food sitting in a warehouse for a year before getting to a store shelf, could have almost none of the original vitamins added in it that are listed on the label and this is perfectly legal.
Both vegan and premium traditional kibble pet foods add these synthetic vitamins due to the severe lack of nutrition in kibble regardless of the ingredients. This is due to the processing required to make it shelf stable. Nutrients are lost and need to be added back in to meet minimum requirements. What makes vegan food worse is the amount they must add because of the essential nutrients missing by not having meat.
Also the meat is being replaced by plant-based carbohydrates. Dogs require little to no carbohydrates biologically. These tax every vital organ as they are eliminated from the body. This speeds up the aging process and leads to chronic diseases.
The Vegan Argument
People argue that dogs have adapted over the years of being fed kibble, however research based science clearly proves that this is not the case.
A pug may no longer resemble a wolf, but his digestive tract DOES! Breeding has changed the way our dogs look and behave but biologically speaking, their DNA differs from wolves by only .02%.
Dogs unlike cats (who are obligate carnivores) can technically eat other things. They are survivors. Eating things other than meat has helped them survive during hard times in environments where food is scarce. This has been proven by their survival on kibble. However, mere survival does not make kibble or vegan kibble healthy. This has been made very obvious by the growing numbers of diseases that are currently plaguing the canine population. Everything from arthritis due to nutrient deficiencies to cancer is directly related to their diet. Bad breeding may exacerbate this but it is far from copiable for all of these health crises.
The small amount of actual meat left in kibble after processing, was pretty much all dogs had left of what their bodies (carnivore bodies) were meant to eat. Taking that away increases the danger posed by kibble 10X. There is no credible evidence to counter what science has already determined biologically appropriate for a canine. There is no reason dogs should be experimented on to counter sound medical evidence.
Vegan dog food has not been around long enough. People can be paid to tell stories about examples of healthy vegan dogs. Those who want to believe it will not challenge these accounts.
While I stand behind vegan ideals 100% when it comes to animal cruelty, factory farming and the devastation to our planet, dogs are not responsible for any of this and should not be made to pay the price for it.
Without human intervention, dogs eat based on instinct. This is the same as how a cow knows to eat grass. In the wild, dogs would eat wild prey. This is proven through studies done on the stomach contents of wild dogs and wolves. They eat based on what their body needs and was designed to digest.
Do we need to work towards fixing what we’ve done to our planet? Absolutely, but just because we can choose the diet for a particular species, doesn’t mean that we have the right to.
Humans alone are the reason our planet is suffering because of the meat industry.
Dogs also have a large population because of humans. We as a species have an obligation to work on fixing both of these issues, not by denying what another species needs to live but addressing the actions of our own.
I stand behind vegan ethics to protect our planet. One way to do this is to stop eating meat ourselves, because we can do so safely. Dogs can not and should not be made to.
Why is vegan pet food becoming popular?
There are a culmination of reasons for this. One is that the pet food industry is a very competitive multi-billion dollar industry. They influence everything from dietary industry standards to veterinary schools, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and even labs. The market has become turbulent. More people are looking for traditional kibble alternatives. Being different, gets attention and nothing is more different than trying to feed dogs without meat. On the other side of things, the human food industry is going through very similar issues. Milk produces for example, lose profits every time someone opts to buy animal free varieties. Companies are now becoming diversified in order to stay afloat. Many now make non-dairy and other products as well.
Who is really responsible for the vegan dog trend? I can’t say that I know for sure, but what I do know is that there are definite monetary incentives for many parties. They were smart to target a group who wants to believe that this is a safe alternative. They will be easier to convince that it’s ok through whatever random “evidence” they choose to provide.
We already know that doctors can be bought and so can reviews. We see this happen in virtually every other industry. The difference here is that they are honing in on something that people care very deeply about.
To be a vegan isn’t easy! You HAVE to care deeply to live this way of life. The fact that the good intentions and passion of this well established group is being capitalized on is truly deplorable. I don’t know at this point who is funding the marketing behind the movement or who is actually set up to make money and who is being conned, but I do hope that it comes to light eventually. Allowed to progress I am very afraid of what else may happen to the dogs who are already barely surviving on kibble fed diets.
The move towards putting vegan dog food in shelters:
This is currently happening in LA and is of particular concern for a multitude of reasons.
One being that it is being made to look altruistic, which I do not believe it is. This makes it that much more offensive. Shelters are overcrowded and we know this. They need a LOT of food. Because of this, they look to be a good way to make a large dent in breaking away from the issues caused by traditional pet food companies on the environment. Again, this issue of overfilled shelters has become a problem because of humans.
Dogs that end up in shelters are often malnourished and have an even greater need for quality nutrition. Giving them a plant based diet puts them at an even greater risk of becoming even sicker.
Sick dogs in shelters are often put down because there is not enough money for medical care. Sick dogs also have a harder time being adopted because most people don’t want to take on an animal with medical needs.
The other issue with malnutrition, is the simple fact that time and again it has been proven to be a significant factor in behavioral problems. When a dog is missing nutrients, it has a much harder time in social situations and if shelter dogs didn’t ALREADY have a hard time due to histories of abuse, this is clearly not going to make their lives any easier.
My final issue, is that when fed a vegan diet as long as they may be in a shelter (often years) if the adopting parents decide against it, the dog may not be able to cope digestively. I see this as a play to keep customers of vegan dog foods and nothing else.
Even if I am wrong about all of the corporate corruption, and this movement really is entirely based on a group of people who just care about the environment, I can not support the way they are going about doing that in this case. I see this as animal abuse due to misinformation at best, and human vegan abuse as well at worst, if it really is being funded by people talking advantage of this group of people desperate to save our environment.
I am one of them, and I do my part by not eating meat among other things. I also raise my dog responsibly and this includes feeding her a species appropriate diet and only buying her food from ethical meat sources.
I see no reason why dogs should suffer because of problems that humans have created and therefore should not be targeted in trying to fix it. There are other ways to help our planet that are safe and there is no valid reason to risk our dog’s health in this way.
I’d also like to add here that this in no way means that I believe that dogs can not benefit from eating vegetables! I absolutely believe that they can and should have access to them in their diet. All I am saying here is that plant-based food should not make up their ENTIRE diet.
To sum up, I’ll use the words of Dr. Judy Morgan: “If you want a vegan pet, get a bunny!” Please, do not do this to your dog!
If you would like to take action and make a difference, or simply learn more about the information presented here, follow this link.
It took a long time, but I have finally found a good source so I had to share it right away. This is an update to Dogs and omega 3
I will include more info soon but if you are looking for a great source (that you can use also) Marphyl is Definitely it! I was very unhappy with most of what I have seen so far so I was very happy to find this resource!
Eggs are one of nature’s most complete and perfect foods! Adding a raw egg to your dog’s food is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to supercharge their diet. If you think about what an egg is, its easy to see why. An egg contains all of the ingredients necessary to grow life. This is pretty significant! Why don’t more people take advantage of this? Mostly because lately eggs have gotten a bad rap.
Some Myths About Raw Eggs
- Cholesterol– It is true that for HUMANS this could definitely be an issue. Dogs however don’t digest things the same way as people do. The only dogs that would ever have to be monitored for cholesterol are those that are either diabetic or have hyperthyroidism. Outside of that small percentage, a dog is not ever going to have to worry about this.
- Salmonella– Again, unlike people, dogs are literally built in a way to handle things like salmonella. Exposure to it won’t give them salmonella because their stomach acid literally destroys it. This is why a dog can eat out of the garbage can and we can’t!
- Biotin deficiency– Eating egg whites only might be healthier for people but the same is not true for dogs. As long as a dog also eats the yolk, they don’t have to worry about having a biotin deficiency. This is because egg whites contain a biotin inhibitor called avidin. The easiest way to counteract this is by eating the yolk which is naturally rich in biotin. This eliminates the risk. The other way to do this is by cooking them, in which case egg whites lose their avidin. The problem with this is that they also lose a large number of other nutrients that are extremely beneficial.
- Digestive upset- Egg whites contain enzyme inhibitors that make them difficult for some people to digest. As long as your dog is not eating eggs and nothing else, they should have no problem digesting them. One egg mixed in with dinner for example is a great way to introduce them and reduce the risk of any digestive upset.
Why Are Eggs So Beneficial?
- Eggs are one of the most complete sources of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential to life. When a protein is correctly evaluated, its value lies in its amino acid profile. High protein is useless without the amino acid profile because these are what the body uses exclusively and the rest just turns into waste. The amino acids in eggs are also highly digestible for dogs which make them even better!
- They are packed with vitamins and minerals including but not limited to:
- Vitamin A – A fat-soluble vitamin that promotes eye, skeletal and muscle health. This is a good vitamin for dogs because they easily convert it into a usable form. This is an especially important vitamin for growing puppies.
- Biotin – Necessary for growth, digestion and muscle function, it also is important in maintaining skin and hair health.
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B) – Also known as B 2 is a water-soluble coenzyme that regulates the energy production from fats, maintains cells and helps the body utilize amino acids. It is essential to growth, muscle development and skin and coat health. As with the other B vitamins, it is not stored within the body and must be present in the diet.
- Vitamin B 12 and Folic acid – Folic acid and B12 are necessary for bone marrow and bone health because they help the marrow produce red blood cells.
- Niacin– Promotes essential enzyme production.
- Panothenic Acid – Enables the body to produce useable forms of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
- B6 (pyridoxine) – Helps the body utilize amino acids and is essential to life.
- Phosphorus – A mineral that works with calcium, that is vital to bone development. Together they maintain the growth and structure of the skeletal system.
- Vitamin D – A Fat-soluable vitamin necessary for bone formation, nerve and muscle control. It balances phosphorus and calcium and regulates these in the blood stream, allowing calcium to be utilized and retained. Vitamin D is an important part of a dogs diet because they cannot produce it on their own. Vitamin D toxicity is very rare but could have a negative effect by causing calcium deposits in the heart, muscles and other soft tissue. (This is not a concern in one egg!)
- Iron – A mineral that increases the production of red blood cells. This helps maintain bone marrow and prevents anemia. Iron is necessary for certain enzymes in the body to function normally. Iron also combines with copper and protein to produce hemoglobin (the molecules in red blood cells that carry oxygen). The body needs a constant supply to maintain red blood cells, as they need to be replaced in the body every 110 days.
- Selenium – An antioxidant that works with vitamin e and certain enzymes to promote heart and skin health. It also helps prevents arthritis and cancer.
- Fatty Acids – Essential to organ health.
- Protein: Maintains healthy bodily functions and provides energy fuel. Protein is necessary for all aspects of growth, development and immune health. This is because it contains amino acids and the body cannot produce every one that is essential on its own. They must come through diet and eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids plus 4 non-essential amino acids.
3. Eggs Shells are full of Calcium which can be very important for dogs lacking calcium in their diet (explained at the end). They also contain micro-elements, such as magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.
Calcium is a mineral that is essential for bone formation, blood coagulation, muscle contraction, nerve and impulse transmission, heart health, immune health and endocrine function. Calcium is an important part of your pet’s health! (Without calcium in the diet, the body extracts it from its own bones, which leads to many issues related to mobility.)
Many dogs will eat the shell with their food but I only trust shells from local growers because most from the grocery store have been sprayed to look nicer. My dog is not one who will eat the shell. For days when she may lack bone for calcium in her diet, I save the organic unused shells.
You can dry them in the oven on low for about 10 minutes and then easily crush them into a powder using either a clean coffee grinder or a pestle. This a very easy way to make your own calcium supplement. I love this because there are a lot of concerns about the safety of many calcium sources in supplements on the market and as long as you get good quality eggs, this takes away the guess work.
My dog is 25 lbs so she needs 550 mg of calcium per day. (50mg per kg) She gets calcium from other sources so if I need to I only use 1/4- 1/2 tsp. based on the assessment that:
“One whole medium sized eggshell makes about one teaspoon of powder, which yields about 750 – 800 mgs of elemental calcium plus other microelements, i.e. magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.”
4. Dogs usually LOVE eggs! Even dogs who love food, don’t always love things that are healthy. Because eggs are so highly palatable, I use them as a food topper to help get my dog to eat other healthy items that she’s less fond of!
Calcium Phosphorus Ratio:
NOTE: Eggs without the shell will have more phosphorus than calcium in them. If you are not feeding them with other items that have calcium (bone) it is important that some calcium be added to balance this out. Each shell-less egg has about 78 mgs more phosphorus than calcium, this means you should add about 85 mgs of calcium if your dog is not getting it from other sources. An occasional egg will do no harm, this is more for those that use them every day without balance because the imbalance may add up.
The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be about 1:1 or 1.2:1 in favor of slightly more calcium. Because calcium is the mineral that is required in the highest amount, phosphorus is number two. Phosphorus deficiency is very rare in dogs. Too much phosphorus is more common and can accelerate kidney failure or renal disease. Because the calcium to phosphorus ratio is so important in dog health, its important to pay special attention to the amounts of both in each food. Excess or deficiency of either can cause problems. There are some foods that have a natural balance, like green tripe, but not most. For this reason, out of everything thats in an egg, this is the one I would pay attention to most. Imbalance over time can cause skeletal problems that can be very severe. There should not be enough phosphorus present in eggs to cause an issue, due to other food items, but it’s a good thing to be aware of.
We feed about 4-5 raw eggs per week with bone and/or shell powder when we have it. We use a lot of eggs, but my dog also has plenty of bone in her diet so I don’t worry about it very much.
I love eggs because my dog loves eggs and they are so good for her and easy to keep in stock!
Another great use for eggs shells:
Another busy week but we’re making progress! On tap for this week is:
- Unconventional oils such as black seed and CBD
- Colloidal silver
Along with at least 15 other things that I’m currently researching.
It’s been a lot of computer time for Jersey Girl to endure but I’ve been doing better with the walks! It’s gorgeous out now so we do an hour minimum. It’s no where near the exercise we used to get but it’s better than it was!
The biggest news this week was that we finally found a holistic vet! They all seem so busy I was afraid we’d never get an appointment, but we finally got one for the end of the month. It’s good timing because I really want to change her heart worm pill and that’s usually when she takes it. I love living in Florida but the heartworm meds are a problem. I am 100% holistic except for this and I hate that. I’m really praying for some answers! I’m also interested in seeing her most recent blood work. I finally got a glucose/keytone reader (that we’ve yet to use lol) but that’s not my primary concern, so hopefully we’ll have a good experience with this new vet!
She’s finally being open minded and eating all of her meals!! For a while it was only the farmers market items but now it’s everything and I am so thrilled!
I’m starting official classes in canine nutrition soon so I am probably going to be blogging less but hopefully I’ll also have a lot more to share!
Best wishes to you and your fur family and love always,
Jeanne & Jersey Girl
When it comes to mushrooms for dogs, my general rule of thumb has always been, “when in doubt, go without”. The truth is, there are MANY different species of mushrooms. There are some that are toxic to dogs and people also, however, there is a reason people still eat mushrooms, and its not just because they like them. Mushrooms can be a powerhouse of nutrition and have been used for centuries in medicine. When I kept seeing dog “immunity blend” vitamins with mushrooms in them, I decided this was something definitely worth looking into.
While I would never trust a mushroom that I found outside, most of the mushrooms that you will find at the grocery store are also safe for dogs. That being said, not all mushrooms are created equal. Some mushrooms are worth a lot more than others health-wise. Because my dog’s not particularly interested in veggies, if I am going to incorporate mushrooms in my vegetable blends or broths, I want them to be worth the effort. Immunity blends can be great, but I prefer whole foods and unless my dog has a specific need for a blend, I always prefer to go the homemade route. There are a number of vitamins, minerals, biologically active compounds and fungal enzymes in mushrooms that can help with things like:
- Immune system health
- Digestive health
- Respiratory health
- Joint health
- Normal cell growth
Some mushrooms are easier to find than others, so I also have a list below of whole-foods based supplements that might be helpful for those varieties that are not as easy to buy locally. Blends can also be beneficial because many contain important nutrient dense parts of the mushroom like the mycelium, that you just can’t buy in a store because they are cut in order to sell.
As with everything, moderation is key. Not all vitamins are beneficial in high amounts. Vitamins A, C and D for example can become toxic at certain levels, so it’s best to be aware of how mush your dog is getting combined with their other food per day. The benefit of buying store-bought mushrooms is that a lot of them have nutrition facts that can give you a general idea of how many vitamins you are dealing with at a time. The easiest to find beneficial varieties that can either be grown at home or found at most stores are shiitake, maitake, reishi, and button.
Most notable attribute: They are a symbol of longevity in humans and have health benefits for dogs as well. They are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods.
Additional benefits: They contain: protein, zinc, copper, thiamin, folate, selenium, iron, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, manganese, pathothenic acid, niacin, vitamin D and dietary fiber. They also contain more than 50 enzymes including pepsin, which aids in digestion.
Most notable attribute: They are one of the most medicinal mushrooms on earth. They have a host of healing qualities and have been called an anti-cancer agent.
Additional benefits: Regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and immunity enhancing. Due to the unique chemical structure of its ploysccharide compound it has proven to be a strong tumor suppressant. They contain protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium and vitamin D.
Reishi: These mushrooms come in a variety of colors but those that are purple, black, yellow, blue, white and red are the most beneficial. Red is the most common.
Most notable attribute: It helps reduce fatigue, bone marrow suppression and risk of infection especially for those undergoing chemo therapy radiation.
Additional attributes: They are used to relieve allergies, support cardiovascular health, improve digestion, improve the immune system, aid in detox, improve cognition, healthy respiration, they are anti-inflammatory and increase energy. They are rich in polysaccharides, polypeptides, 16 amino acids, organic acids coumarin and micro elements. They contain protein, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, choline, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, omega 6, and selenium.
Button aka White mushrooms:
Most notable attribute: They contain antioxidants that are not destroyed through cooking.
Additional benefits: These mushrooms have growth cycles that produce Button (can be white or brown), then Crimini and finally Portobello. The nutritional values vary between growth cycles but they all contain all of the B vitamins except 12, protein, fiber, omega 6, vitamin C, vitamin D, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid, choline, betaine, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium.
Other beneficial mushrooms:
These are much more rare but worth getting in a supplement:
Lion’s Maine: Helps improve memory.
King Trumpet: Anti-oxidant, maintains healthy cholesterol levels and contains high levels of l-ergothioneine, selenium and beta-glucans.
Turkey Tail: Promotes immune, digestive, urinary and respiratory health as well as normal cellular growth. This is because of a a particular polysaccharide called PSK.
Chaka: An immune nourisher, cancer preventive, and an aid to those dealing with melanomas.
Coriolis: Maintains, protects and restores immune health.
Himematsutake: Immune support and cellular growth. Related to the button mushroom.
Cordyceps: Restores stress from aging, supports healthy energy, circulation, respiratory health and healthy cholesterol.
A Brief Description Of What Makes Mushrooms So Valuable:
- Beta-glucans and Proteoglycans: Two of the most biologically active compounds that support the immune system. Beta-glucans in mushrooms are exceptional because they are large, complex long-chain molecules made up of polysaccharides. Proteoglycans are special protein found in connective tissue. They also contain other bioactive compounds such as: alpha-glucans, pectins, ribonucleases, peptides, lectins, ubiquitin-like proteins, enzymes and antioxidants.
- Digestive enzymes: Protease- digests proteins and aids in detox. Lipase- helps digest fat. Cellulase- breaks down fiber, promotes bowl health and regularity. Amylase– breaks down starch into sugar and supplies energy. This is important because unlike humans, dogs don’t produce this in their saliva and they need it to absorb nutrients from vegetables.
- Antioxidants: Mushrooms contain many antioxidants including polyphenols and selenium but they are unique sources of the most powerful antioxidants which make them truly exceptional. One is L-ergothioneine. This is now called the “master antioxidant” because it can be transported throughout the body to fight free radicals and oxidative stress. Mushrooms are the only producer of this anti-oxidant. Unless your dog can receive some through grass fed cows that happen to be eating grass that was fertilized by these mushrooms, they will not be getting any at all. It’s ability to target and fight oxidative stress, protect cellular DNA and protect against free radical damage that speeds up aging, makes this a vital source of health and longevity. They also help prevent cancer and allergies.
- Protein: Maintains healthy bodily functions and provides energy fuel. Protein is necessary for all aspects of growth, development and immune health. This is because it contains amino acids and the body cannot produce every one that is essential on its own. They must come through diet and protein quality is based not on the amount of protein itself, but the number of essential amino acids that it contains.
- Manganese: Regulates carbohydrate and protein intake and fortifies the skeletal system. It is also essential for certain enzymes in the body responsible for the production of energy and making fatty acids. Excess levels of calcium and phosphorus can interfere with the absorption of manganese in the digestive tract. Manganese toxicity is virtually unheard of but deficiencies can lead to significant skeletal abnormalities and increase the likelihood of injury.
- B vitamins: Water-soluable vitamins necessary for cell metabolism. B1 (thiamin) promotes nerve and muscle health. Niacin promotes essential enzyme production. Pantothenic acid enables the body to produce useable forms of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. B6 (pyridoxine) helps the body utilize amino acids and is essential to life. Folic acid and B12 are necessary for bone marrow and bone health because they help the marrow produce red blood cells. Biotin is necessary for growth, digestion and muscle function, it also is important in maintaining skin and hair health. B vitamin toxicity is virtually nonexistent because the vitamins are not stored within the body. Because of this, it is important that they are provided through diet.
- Vitamin D: A Fat-soluable vitamin necessary for bone formation, nerve and muscle control. It balances phosphorus and calcium and regulates these in the blood stream, allowing calcium to be utilized and retained. Vitamin D is an important part of a dogs diet because they cannot produce it on their own. Vitamin D toxicity is very rare but could have a negative effect by causing calcium deposits in the heart, muscles and other soft tissue.
- Vitamin C: (Ascorbic acid) A water-soluble vitamin that boosts the immune system, speeds healing, promotes bone formation and can decrease joint pain. It also fights viral diseases, bacterial infections and is an anti-carcinogen. Vitamin C is not an essential vitamin for dogs because they can produce it on their own but deficiencies can happen on occasion. Because it is water-soluble, it is considered safe and too much usually just causes diarrhea.
- Riboflavin: Also known as B 2 is a water-soluble coenzyme that regulates the energy production from fats, maintains cells and helps the body utilize amino acids. It is essential to growth, muscle development and skin and coat health. As with the other B vitamins, it is not stored within the body and must be present in the diet.
- Vitamin A: A fat-soluble vitamin that promotes eye, skeletal and muscle health. This is a good vitamin for dogs because they easily convert it into a usable form. This is an especially important vitamin for growing puppies. The chances of toxicity are low with this vitamin but as with all fat-soluble vitamins it should still be avoided.
- Potassium: Regulates hydration and proper fluid balance throughout the body and maintains the nervous system. Potassium is necessary for proper enzyme function, muscles and nerves. Digestive disturbances (like diarrhea) can lead to potassium deficiency which can be very dangerous. Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea should always be checked by a vet. As long as the kidneys are properly functioning, potassium toxicity is very rare. If the adrenal glands are not functioning properly, however, blood potassium levels can reach dangerous levels and cause addison’s disease. Dietary potassium may exacerbate this condition but it is not the cause of this disease.
- Selenium: A trace mineral that should be used in limited amounts. It is an antioxidant that works with vitamin e and certain enzymes to promote heart and skin health. It also helps prevents arthritis and cancer. Selenium deficiency is very rare in dogs because they usually get an adequate amount in their diet. In rare cases, if dietary intake is in excess of 0.9 mg per pound of food eaten, over time, toxicity may occur and symptoms such as hair loss, anemia, liver failure or lameness may occur.
- Iron: A mineral that increases the production of red blood cells. This helps maintain bone marrow and prevents anemia. Iron is necessary for certain enzymes in the body to function normally. Iron also combines with copper and protein to produce hemoglobin (the molecules in red blood cells that carry oxygen). The body needs a constant supply to maintain red blood cells, as they need to be replaced in the body every 110 days. Iron toxicity in dogs is extremely rare but can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb phosphorus.
- Phosphorus: A mineral that works with calcium, that is vital to bone development. Together they maintain the growth and structure of the skeletal system. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be about 1:1 or 1.2:1 in favor of slightly more calcium. Because calcium is the mineral that is required in the highest amount, phosphorus is number two. Phosphorus deficiency is very rare in dogs. Too much phosphorus is more common and can accelerate kidney failure or renal disease. Because the calcium to phosphorus ratio is so important in dog health, its important to pay special attention to the amounts of both in each food. Excess or deficiency of either can cause problems. There are some foods that have a natural balance, like green tripe, but not most. For this reason, out of all of the items on this list, this is the one I would pay attention to most. Imbalance over time can cause skeletal problems that can be very severe. There should not be enough present in mushrooms to cause an issue, but it’s a good thing to be aware of.
- Dietary fiber: Carbohydrates that aid in the metabolism of nutrients by regulating the digestive track allowing for better nutrient absorption. Fiber also lowers blood sugar and prevents the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the digestive track. Fiber can help with weight management, reduce the chance of diarrhea, constipation and diabetes.
Water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues but not stored. If they are in excess, they simply pass through usually with minimal side effects or slight digestive upset.
Fat-soluable vitamins are the ones to pay close attention to. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body for long periods of time for further use. For this reason, the body doesn’t need theses vitamins every day. They are mainly stored in the liver and fatty tissue. They are essential to health but when eaten in excess they can cause toxicity.
How To Use Mushrooms:
When dealing with mushrooms at home, it is always best to cook them. It is also safest to buy organic and wash them throughly before using, to get rid of any possible pesticides. The easiest way for a dog to digest mushrooms is to cook them and cut them up, puree or make them into a broth. The broth may lose some nutritional value but it also helps release some of the nutrients. They are more likely to get a higher concentration especially if they are not interested in eating them.
I mostly add them to purees or make broths and save the mushrooms for our dinner.
There is much more to the story! I tried to cover a manageable amount here, but mushrooms are really amazing. I will be interested to see what else there is to learn!
Some Good Mushroom Blends To Increase Immunity:
In an effort to be responsible I wanted to be sure to add a bit about which mushrooms are most toxic. Generally these may only be found on occasion outside, but I consider all outside mushrooms to be dangerous.
This is from PetMD:
Poisonous mushrooms for dogs include the following types:
Liver toxic mushrooms
– Amanita phalloides (Death Cap Mushroom)
– Amanita ocreata (Angel of Death)
– Lepiota (False Parasol)
– Amanita pantherina (Panther Cap)
– Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)
Mushrooms Containing Muscarinic Agents
False Morel Mushrooms
– Gyromitra esculenta (Beefsteak)
– Gyromitra caroliniana
– Mushrooms in the Verpa genre
– Mushrooms in the Helvella genre
Mushrooms That Cause Gastrointestinal Distress
Find out more information on mushrooms that are poisonous to dogs.
If you are reading this right now, I am certain that you’ve already got the most important thing going for your dog. That is Love! Dogs thrive the most when they are loved, so that is always ground zero. The tips listed below are simple suggestions that people can easily implement, that have proven to be life extending. All of my tips regarding food come directly from Rodney Habib. Rodney has dedicated his life to studying canine longevity. He is the leading nutrition expert on the planet right now, and has traveled the world collecting evidence from scientists, veterinarians and pet parents of dogs that have lived to be in their 30’s.
5 Ways To Increase Lifespan At a Glance:
- Add something fresh
- Add something moist
- Fresh Air
- Kick the chemicals
Below is a simple description of each
# 1 Diet – Add Something Fresh
As time goes on, it is becoming more and more evident that kibble is not the best food for dogs. That being said, kibble is what most people feed, so these are tips for things that you can do today! No shopping necessary.
Rodney worked with the leading scientists in the world right now regarding canine nutrition, and found that you can increase your dog’s lifespan and reduce their risk of cancer by as much as 80% JUST by replacing 20% of their dry food with real fresh food. Some examples of simple ways to do this are:
- Ripping up some kale, spinach or any leafy green and putting it into their kibble.
- Throw in a piece of broccoli or a chopped up carrot.
The point of these vegetables has less to do with nutrients and more to do with slowing down the digestive track. To gain nutritional benefits, it is true that they need to be puréed. If you have time, this is great, however in their whole form, they work just as well by increasing fiber and lowering blood sugar. Over time, the impacts of this are incalculable!
- Add in a piece of whatever you are having for dinner either raw or cooked without seasoning. Chicken, beef or fish for example. 20% is all that they need.
- Crack a raw egg into their bowl (cooked is fine too) just be sure to include the yolk because egg whites alone can cause a biotin deficiency. This actually takes care of the next suggestion also because it adds moisture at the same time.
Here is a quick reference guide for dog safe veggies:
# 2 Dietary Moisture – Add Something Moist
The biggest problem with kibble is that it is dry. This is extremely taxing to internal organs. Most people choose dry food because of the fact that it keeps teeth cleaner. A good way to do both is by adding in some coconut oil because it works just like toothpaste!
- Add some coconut oil to their dinner. This not only eases digestion, but actually helps keep teeth even cleaner. 1 tsp to 1 tbs is all that you need per meal.
- Fish oil is another great option because it helps balance out the omega 6’s that your dog is already getting in their diet. Too much omega 6 is bad for a lot of reasons but the most obvious is that it speeds up aging and leads to inflammation. The fastest way to reduce this is by adding in omega 3. This neutralizes the impact of omega 6 and adds important dietary elements along with moisture which is crucial.
- If you don’t have the above two oils you can even add olive oil or avocado oil because these still effectively accomplish adding moisture and decrease organ stress.
- An egg here also works in this way
For more information about these oils, I have a few articles, such as: Dog Supplements: What’s really necessary? , Coconut Oil and Dog Health or Phytoplankton, Fish oil or Raw Fish? Safe Ways to Give Your Dog Omega 3
# 3 Exercise – Fresh Air
The dog that lived to 33 ran about 8 kilometers a day. I’ll be very honest right now, for me, this one is the hardest aspects of dog care. I have health issues and running around isn’t really in the cards. However what I CAN do is go outside.
- Make an effort. I’ve learned that just by being mindful of the amount of time we spend outside or how long we walk, makes me make a conscious effort to increase this. Tennis balls allow me to sit for some of the time and I know my dog is happier simply being in the sunshine.
- Dog parks can be hugely helpful because I can make human friends there that make the time pass while my dog gets to be social and run.
# 4 Probiotics
Just like with humans, the dogs who live the longest always have the most diverse gut flora. A healthy gut = A long life across the animal kingdom. There are countless options of probiotics on the market today, but to do this right now you could either
- Add in some of your probiotic supplements if you have them or
- Give them a small bowl of plain (unsweetened) kefir or yogurt
Probiotics or healthy gut flora, over time, have proven to be the number one common denominator between all of the oldest dogs they have studied.
# 5 Kick The Chemicals – Cleaning Products
If you have a dog that likes to clean your floor like mine does, it’s important to reduce their exposure to chemicals. Even walking on the floors can be harmful if they are cleaned with chemicals, especially bleach. Dogs have pores on their feet that can absorb toxins, they also tend to lick their feet. Accumulation of this kind of exposure can lead to a number of problems down the road. Neurological disorders, cancer etc. With all of the different chemical exposures dogs may have, this is an easy thing to take out of the equation. I’m a germ freak, and have looked into this extensively. In 2010 they did a study comparing bleach to vinegar in killing an array of viruses and things like e-coli. In EVERY test they did, vinegar showed itself to be 100% as effective as bleach across the board. This finally convinced me, and my current favorite cleaner is vinegar!
- Distilled white vinegar (in a pinch any vinegar will work, this one just smells the least)
- Lemon juice
- Castile soap
- Baking soda (for scrubbing and deodorizing)
They all have multiple uses but for my floor, I just mix vinegar with Castile soap and water and it does an amazing job! I have some additional tips for this here: Pet Friendly Household Cleaners
*Along with kicking the chemical cleaning products, I wanted to say something very quickly about vaccines and heart worm medication. If your dog has been properly vaccinated early on, they should not need further vaccines. A titer test can tell you weather or not they are still covered by a vaccine. More of it doesn’t do any good, so this can be a great way to eliminate extra toxins from vaccines. Furthermore, if you live in a place that has winter, you can also safely take your dog off heart worm medication during these months and give their system a break! This isn’t a quick tip, but I did want to put this information out there because I know early on I was hesitant to ask my vet. This was a mistake because these chemicals can do a lot of harm and reducing them truly is a longevity increasing step! I have some more information about titer testing here: Titer Testing and the Dangers of Over-Vaccinating
Never Stop Learning. This is probably the one thing that encompasses all of this. The best thing we can do for the animals we love is to simply be open to learning. There is some incredible information coming out today. Now more than ever, it is easy to stay up to date and current simply by following these people either on their websites or on Facebook (links below). The two biggest positive influences in the pet world right now are:
Rodney Habib and
They are very engaging and absolutely worth looking up!
Why Diet Is So Important
Studies done on life spans for dogs show that the biggest factor that separates those that live longer is what they are eating. Science has proven that raw food is the best quality of food for canine health. I am a raw feeder now, but I can tell you, I certainly did not start out that way! Like most people, I fed what my vet recommended without questioning it because they are doctors and I am not. It wasn’t until I took a moment to look into the food they were recommending that I began to question this advice. I’m not going to get too much into it but the bottom line is, most traditional veterinary schools are funded by pet food companies. These schools provide very little education when it comes to nutrition. Well meaning doctors, that love dogs, are told to protect the masses by suggesting foods that meet AAFCO guidelines. They don’t mention the detrimental effects of synthetic vitamins and denatured meat sources. Even the highest quality kibble is deficient, simply based on the process that is necessary to make it kibble. For most vets it’s all about what most people will realistically do, and that is buy kibble. Raw diets require a certain understanding of balance and if done wrong animals can get hurt. This along with not having enough education about it, is the biggest reason they do not usually recommend going this route.
However, things are changing. There are currently a number of resources available today that take the guesswork out of raw feeding. There are companies that hire food scientists to create pre-made raw options that are completely balanced and ready to serve. You can get frozen options that can be poured into a bowl just like kibble or you can save money and buy “chubs” that are the same thing, except you have to cut it yourself. This is by far, the easiest way to make the greatest impact on your dog’s longevity.
Two companies that provide this that I like very much are:
You can buy them or order them from your local independent pet shop.
To save even more time Darwin’s Pet Food offers a subscription service where they pre-portion meals for your dog specifically, and send them frozen to your door.
A wonderful documentary that explains all of this on Netflix is Pet Fooled it’s an easy watch and very well done!
For some better kibble options, if you are not ready to make the switch I have found a few here: Kibble
You certainly don’t have to change everything over night, this just isn’t realistic. What you can do is just add one thing. Even just one carrot can make a difference! Science has proven this and because I know how much every moment with my dog means to me, I wanted to try to share some of what I’ve learned with you.
Rodney has many great videos, but here is just one:
If you’ve been doing much searching through dog supplements lately, there’s a good chance you’ve run across golden paste at some point. So,
What is Golden Paste?
For the most part, golden paste aka golden milk, is just a fast way of saying: Turmeric made into an absorbable form. This means its ready to serve because its already been combined with the ingredients necessary for maximum absorption.
Way back when, I used to have to mix it in with other ingredients every time I made my dog a meal. Now I save huge amounts of time by making a whole lot of it and sticking the excess in the freezer. You can even pre-portion using ice cube trays! I usually just use a measuring spoon, but either way, is super easy and convenient!
What is Golden Paste Good For?
Golden Paste, or turmeric, is good for many different reasons. Most commonly, it is used to reduce pain and inflammation. This is because it is a natural and effective anti-inflammatory. The reason this is the number one reason for so many people is due to the drastic increase in joint problems in dogs today. Dogs as young as 2 are being diagnosed with arthritis at an alarming rate. Diet is mostly responsible for this, but regardless of the reason, the pain level can be debilitating. For many dogs, this paste replaces the need for any medication! This simple golden paste has improved the quality of life for these dogs so much that is has gotten the attention of a lot of people. Fortunately, we don’t have joint issues yet, but we still use golden paste daily for the other amazing benefits it provides:
- It helps prevent arthritis because it is an anti-inflammatory
- It helps prevent and even treat cancer
- Heart health because it prevents blood clots from forming
- It aids in digestion
- It protects the liver from toxins
- Its a powerful antioxidant, slows aging and increases lifespan
- Improves memory and healthy brain function
Dogs That Should Avoid Using Turmeric:
- Dogs with diabetes
- Dogs that are prone to kidney stones
- Dogs taking drugs for acid indigestion or who take aspirin
- Dogs getting ready to have surgery
*Water should always be fed with turmeric to reduce chances of constipation and all dogs should start with low level doses and work their way up to prevent diarrhea.
In my article just on turmeric, I go into further detail about the benefits of turmeric for dogs. These are just a few.
*And I almost forgot, one of the best parts of this recipe is, you can eat it too! Turmeric is just as good for people! I just put some on a spoon and mix it with honey but it can also be added to recipes and many different foods to add flavor!
How Do You Make Golden Paste?
This is the BEST part! It is so easy! For a very simple and basic paste, all you need is:
- Turmeric powder
- Coconut Oil
- Ground black pepper
That is literally ALL that you really need to make a fabulous golden paste. I personally also add:
- Bone Broth
- Ceylon Cinnamon
I do this for a few different reasons. One is to add additional healthy nutrients and fats from the bone broth. I also find that it helps a lot with the consistency of my paste. The second, is that the cinnamon prevents breath odor afterwards. The smell is most commonly related to cat pee, and quite frankly, this is just not pleasant. The cinnamon takes care of that immediately!
*It is important to note here that it is crucial to use ceylon cinnamon. This is because cassia cinnamon (the most common) contains a toxin called coumarin. This could have a significantly negative effect on a dogs liver. The added ceylon cinnamon on the other hand is full of a long list of added benefits including:
- It is an excellent source of manganese. Manganese helps activate enzymes that are essential to building healthy bones. These enzymes also aide in metabolism.
- It is a very good source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium.
- It helps lower cholesterol
- Helps control blood sugar
- Help control yeast (prevent candida)
- It is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and an e-coli fighter
- Prevents gum disease
- It is an antioxidant
Used in small doses, these effects are minimal but still a good reason to include some in the batch!
I should also mention, some of the reasons for adding bone broth.
- Joint health (contains glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid)
- Liver detox
- Digestive health
- Immune system health
- Rich source of nutrients, amino acids, protein, vitamins and minerals
For an easy recipe on how to make bone broth and some of its additional benefits, I wrote about this here.
Golden Paste Recipes:
There are a TON of variations on these, but two that I find to be the most basic and reliable are:
- 1/2 C Organic Turmeric Powder (organic is higher in curcumin which is the active ingredient
- 1 – 1 1/2 C filtered water
- Mix together in a pan over medium/low heat for about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens (if too thick or watery you can adjust the water or turmeric levels to smooth it out)
- Turn off heat and add: 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground organic black pepper (NEVER table pepper) and 1/4 C organic coconut oil (optional: also add 1 tsp ceylon cinnamon and instead of using 1/4 C coconut oil you can add 2 tbs coconut oil and 2 tbs bone broth)
- Mix everything together or blend with a whisk and your DONE!
This should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Now, I also make bigger batches with:
- 6 C water brought to a boil
- 3 C turmeric added in slowly while stirring
- 1 C coconut oil
- 1 C bone broth, mix in well
- 2 tbs ceylon cinnamon, 3 tbs fresh ground black pepper
- Mix well until paste is smooth
*Ginger can also be added to improve taste.
This lasts me a very long time and I love that! This is because it does not take a lot of this per meal to make an impact.
How to Use Golden Paste
It’s important to know that turmeric leaves the body quickly, so if you feed your dog twice a day it’s always best to split doses between both meals.
Feeding guidelines vary because every dog and condition is different, but general guidelines are:
Added to meals or mixed with some kefir or plain yogurt:
1/4 tsp per day for small dogs
1/2 tsp per day for medium dogs
3/4 tsp per day for large dogs
1 tsp per day for very large dogs
Over time, as your dogs system adjusts, you can start doubling these amount up to 3 times. My dog is 25 lbs and we use about 1 tsp per day, but every dog is different. For dogs using it for pain management, they might need slightly more, so it’s always best to ask your vet.
You can also buy turmeric in supplements. Just be sure to check the ingredients (black pepper or piperine is crucial) and feed with an oil for absorption. It’s also good to check before adding it, that your dog isn’t already taking supplements that contain turmeric in them (this could cause diarrhea).
Below are some additional quick references and recipe guides. All of them are super easy and absolutely worth a try!
What is Colostrum?
Colostrum is the pre-milk fluid that comes from the mammary glands of humans, cows and other mammals during the first few hours after giving birth, before regular nursing milk is produced.
It contains life-supporting immune and growth factors, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies that fight disease-causing agents such as bacteria and viruses. It also contains essential nutrients, 17 amino acids, whole food building blocks and elements such as leptin, vitamins A and B12, and a broad spectrum of biologically active substances to support the immune, nervous, skeletal and endocrine systems.
It can benefit healthy animals as well as those that are extremely ill.
More specifically, bovine colostrum, or colostrum that comes from a cow, is a universal donor of colostrum. All mammals can gain benefits from using it, dogs and humans alike. It is the most commonly used source of colostrum for this reason, along with the fact that cows produce the most of it and it can be obtained humanely.
Due to factory farming, certain colostrum supplements may contain hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or even nuclear contamination. For this reason, source is hugely important. Also, there are many companies that sell transitional milk and call it colostrum, this will not cause damage, but it will not be nearly as helpful either.
Colostrum from pasture raised, grass fed cows has more beneficial enzymes that make it more easily absorbed into the system. This maximizes its benefits and also offers a more diversified immune source. The best form to receive colostrum is in a powder (water-soluble) and it should be prepared without excessive heat.
How Can My Dog Benefit From Taking Colostrum?
Because “colostrum contains all of the immune factors necessary for protecting a newborn from bacteria, allergens, toxins and viruses along with a balanced proportion of growth factors that are required for growing and healing” dnm, it is an enormous resource. It has been used in all types of medical models for centuries for treating, preventing and curing a list of ailments that is continuing to grow as time goes on.
Currently, the reason most people find out about colostrum is for immune system support or allergies, but it has had huge levels of success in treating things like:
- Auto-immune diseases
- Heart disease
- Joint problems and arthritis
- Leaky gut
- Absorption deficiencies
- Candida (yeast overpopulation)
- Thyroid problems
- And it is making huge advancements in treating and even curing cancer.
- Healing open wounds
- Insect bites
- Ear infections
Just to name a FEW ailments.
Some animals who have been treated for things prior to the addition of colostrum, were not helped until it was added to their diet, others were even able to eliminate the other treatment entirely.
Colostrum can be used as:
- An antibiotic
- A probiotic
- To balance the thymus gland
- To fight viruses, toxic buildup and destroy bacteria
- To regulate the immune system
- It has growth factors that speed wound healing, skin growth and cellular repair
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory
- It can protect against canine flu
- Lime disease and more
In short, colostrum helps repair cells all over the body and most importantly in the internal organs.
It contains all of the immune and growth factors necessary for life.
Colostrum is safe and inexpensive. It is also easy to administer and most dogs like the taste. I have yet to see a single down side that isn’t 100% source related. A woman that I admire very much, gave me insight into a source that comes from New Zealand. It is sustainable and ethically sourced. I’m sure that there are others but I think that this is so important in this case, not just for safety and benefits, but because of what these animals are giving us!
I was first introduced to colostrum when researching how to make my own organic dog toothpaste. I had no idea how lucky I was to stumble onto this. My dog and I are now both taking it and I could not be more grateful.
This is only a very brief insight into the amazing things that colostrum can do. If your dog has any problems whatsoever, it is absolutely worth asking your vet about adding some colostrum. It can’t hurt and has the potential to do so much good!
The colostrum we use is: New Zealand Colostrum
There are very concrete and definitive scientific reasons for all of these benefits. I did not attempt to try to digest the science on this one, it was just too far above my head, however This Article does this absolutely beautifully, if you are interested in learning more!
These are some general feeding guidelines. Every animal, use and product is different. This is just to give a very general idea for how much may be needed for a mostly health dog. I used this to help me know how much to purchase.
Gloria Dodd DVM recommends the following amounts:
- 1/3 teaspoon powdered form/25 lbs body weight twice daily or:
- Small dogs and cats –1 cap twice daily
- Medium to large dogs- 2 caps twice daily
This recommended dosage is for one month minimum, then give colostrum as needed. It is most effective on an empty stomach, but it can also be given with a small amount of plain yogurt.
Currently, my dog only has ear infections but my immune system is a little more compromised, so we will update next month and let people know what we have found!
NOTE: If you are using fish oil: Using just any fish oil truly is not safe. Rancid fish oil is a huge problem in the industry and this can have life threatening effects on a dog. Source is extremely important when using fish oil.
As our society changes and scientific progress is being made, we now have an abundance of information available to us about ways to improve the lives of our pets. This can be overwhelming, but one thing that has become abundantly apparent, is that dog’s need Omega 3’s in their diet. One reason for this, is that they get an abundance (or over-abundance) of Omega 6 and 9 in the food that they eat. Too much omega 6 and 9 can lead to inflammation, chronic disease, faster aging and slower healing. This was not an issue for the dog’s ancestors, because their diets were not nearly as laden with these oils as they are today. There are many contributing reasons for this, but one simple reason is livestock feed. Today our meats contain drastically higher amounts of omega 6 and 9 due to what these animals are fed. The most effective solution for the overabundance of these oils and the diseases they create, is introducing Omega 3. This balances the omega 6 and 9, reduces inflammation, promotes healthy healing and eliminates many causes for chronic disease. Omega 3’s (EPA and DHA) also improve brain function, prevent dementia, slow aging, promote skin, coat and hair growth, improve joint health and reproductive health. We can help reduce the omega 6’s in the diet through feeding things such as raw, clean, grass-fed meats, avoiding vegetable oils and staying grain free, but for many dogs this simply is not enough. Dog’s can’t produce Omega 3’s on their own and this is what makes it such an important supplement for them to get. The best sources of these for our dogs, come from the ocean. This is because unlike people, dogs can’t convert plant based sources of omega 3 (such as flax) and therefore need the DHA and EPA in pure form. This translates to meaning marine animals and algae. This brings me to the main point of this article: trying to decide which source of marine omega 3 is best.
*Note: Always stay within feeding guidelines for all types of omega 3 supplements. Too much of any of these may cause very adverse effects including difficulty clotting blood, slower would healing and proper immunity responses where inflammation is necessary to trigger the body’s appropriate response.
After an exhausting amount of research, I basically came to the conclusion that there is no easy answer to this. Each and every leading source available today has pros and cons. It mostly boils down to just what works best for each individual. I personally try to do a combination because it is what works for us.
- Whole food is the most natural way for a dog to receive nutrients – I try to always go here first
- The Omega oils are much less likely to be affected by oxidation or getting rancid
- Parasites can be easily eliminated by freezing
- Many fish contain additional nutrients including high quality protein, amino acids and vitamin D. This can be very beneficial when fed in moderation because dog’s can’t absorb vitamin D from the sun. (Amounts should be limited here and depend on what else the dog is eating because vitamin D is fat-soluble. Too much can be toxic and too little can cause damage as well. It’s always best to be moderate and ask a vet.)
- Extra sourcing precautions should be taken with shellfish, (very clean water only) but certain shellfish such as mussels and oysters can be fed safely. They don’t have bones. They contain less omega 3 but still provide some. Mussels for example, contain approximately 665mg per 3 oz serving. Green Lipped mussels from New Zealand, also make great joint supplements and also provide an array of other nutrients that make them beneficial including manganese, amino acids, antioxidants and enzymes. Oysters contain about 558 mg omega 3 per 3 oz serving and also have B12, iron, copper, calcium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
- Fats contained in fish help your dog’s body absorb nutrients, fat-soluble vitamins and minerals
- Most Fatty fish contain approximately 1-2 grams of omega 3 per 3 oz serving, but this varies greatly between fish (this example was taken from salmon). Sardines contain approximately 1.8 g of omega 3 per 4 oz serving.
- A lot of dog’s refuse to eat fish
- Toxins are stored in fish skin and fat
- Fish bones can be a danger if swallowed whole instead of chewed (but processed fish is only considered safe for humans)
- Salmon from the pacific northwest is not safe due to the presence of a particular parasite that can be deadly, its just not worth the risk.
- Many people choose Sardines and Hearing because they are both high, well-balanced sources of DHA and EPA and dogs seem to eat them more easily. The downside is that even though these fish don’t contain high levels of mercury, they DO very often come from the contaminated waters of the pacific. This means they may have been contaminated by radiation poisoning and contain high levels of strontium, among other things. Whats worse is that MOST sardines come from Japan (where the radiation levels are the highest) and even companies that have no indications on their label, may be sourcing their sardines from these contaminated waters. There are ways to find safe sardines, it just takes a little work. And you can get them boneless.
- Small fish either eaten whole or processed contain the bones. This means when eating fish from the contaminated waters, the dog is eating the toxic selenium directly because it is stored in the bones. (This also makes fish oil made from small fish more risky.)
- They carry the same risk of heavy metal toxins as fish oil does including mercury poisoning.
- Because our oceans are so heavily contaminated we also have to be concerned about industrial chemicals such as PCB’s, dioxins and pesticides
- Some fish contain high amounts of omega 6’s (such as catfish and tilapia) this could cause more harm to an animal who is already eating a diet high in omega 6. They are also not high enough in omega 3 to provide a benefit.
- Even wild and sustainably caught fish pose a risk. Many larger fish are simply too high in toxins to ever be safe including, tuna, mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish and grouper to name just a few.
- Farm raised fish often contain growth hormones and residue of drugs meant to prevent diseases.
- You can research the fish source, but it is not as easy to be confident it has been tested for purity (and you can’t do this at all with fresh fish)
* A good reference guide for sardines is Here I buy coles or crown prince now
- Extremely easy to administer
- Easy to absorb
- You don’t need a lot
- Easy to measure amounts of DHA and EPA
- The safest source seems to be cephalopods such as octopus and squid. They lack bones that store radioactive substances and have very short life spans that keep their mercury and other heavy metal toxin levels at a minimum. They also contained high and balanced levels of both DHA and EPA
- When produced properly and stored in dark glass ONLY, oxidation levels are usually much less.
- Rancid oils often have a smell to them. Even when oxidation is taking place, it can be avoided by using a reputable manufacturer combined with proper use and storage.
- Fish oil is only as good as the amount of DHA and EPA that it contains. Each one is different, but you can tailor it to be the exact amount that your dog needs.
- Heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. Heavy metals can cause nervous system dysfunction, epilepsy, blindness, certain cancers, irreversible liver and kidney damage and even death.
- Other toxins such as those from PCB’s, dioxins and furans may be present – same as with raw fish and most manufacturers will not disclose this.
- Mixed oil blends often pose the highest risk of toxins
- These toxins are stored in fat, so the oil is highly concentrated in them if they are present.
- The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are extremely vulnerable to oxidative damage. This basically means when the oil mixes with oxygen, the fat particles break down into smaller compounds such as MDA (malondialdehyde) and contain free-radicals. Both of these damage proteins, DNA, other cellular structures and can lead to disease. Most fish oil has some of this before you even buy it. Sometimes its hard to tell if an oil is rancid but it is CRUCIAL information because rancid oil will do a lot more harm than good!
- Fish oil stored in plastic (even dark plastic) is at a MUCH higher risk of oxidative damage. Dark glass is always a safer option. Opening the bottle does this damage also, so it is always best to keep this at a minimum.
- A lot of fish oil comes from salmon sources in the pacific. These fish carry with them the extra threat of being contaminated with radiation poisoning. Fish from these waters are testing positive for radioactive particles such as cesium-37 and strontium-90 which can be deposited into bone marrow when ingested and cause innumerable problems including leukemia and cancer.
- Krill is a good source of omega 3 but it is being over-fished and is not stable for the environment. Also, the added antioxidant “benefits” have absolutely no proof of making any type of effective difference.
- For source transparency the oil must be third party tested. If it isn’t, it’s essential to ask for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from the manufacturer before you know the analysis is legitimate.
*NOTE: When using fish oil it’s good to look for one with vitamin E in it. “It can help prevent the oxidative damage in omega-3 oil. Not only that, but it may also benefit your dog’s skin health, immune system, osteoarthritis, and more.” bncpet
- Easy to administer
- Easily absorbed
- You don’t need a lot
- Easy to measure amounts of DHA and EPA
- Marine Algae, plant based
- Does not accumulate heavy metal toxins
- Farm raising keeps harvesting them from affecting our oceans
- Is rich and balanced in DHA and EPA
- Most dogs are mineral deficient and it also contains extra added benefits including trace minerals, manganese, selenium, chlorophyll, magnesium, iodine, antioxidants (such as superoxide dismutase which removes toxins and heavy metals from the body), essential amino acids, protein, vitamins and carotenoids. These are extremely beneficial to overall heath and can prevent and reverse serious disease.
- It already comes in an easily digestible source so these nutrients can be absorbed in to the system more easily than if they came from other plant based sources. This makes is very restorative and easy on the liver.
- Phytoplankton contain approximately 14.4 mg of omega 3 per gram of powder
- Almost 100% of it is genetically modified (GMO)
- Almost all of these producers are being controlled by Monsanto (despite what they advertise)
- It must be sustainably grown on land and be without any fillers
- It must be free of radiation, heavy metal and other toxins
- It is difficult to find transparent sourcing information
- Farm raised waters can still get contaminated
- It contains no fat or the benefits that go along with it
- Has benefits very similar to other algae (such as spirulina) that are easier to get source information on
For more info on this, or a purchasing reference, this article is a good start.
The cons lists look much longer than the pros list on these. This is misleading though, because I listed the universal pros in the heading. I am in no way trying to discourage adding Omega 3’s into your dog’s diet! It is called an essential fatty acid for a reason! They really should have this in their diet. I’m just trying to present all the facts. So many people just find one source and stop, and I don’t think this produces very balanced view points. I do my best to look at every angle.
I choose to supplement with a fish oil that I’ve had years to research and trust, add occasional green lipped mussel powder and feed a small amount of raw fish, also from a trusted source. My dog doesn’t like most fish so, this is just what works for us right now.
I have not had enough time to properly source phytoplankton, so I will not purchase this supplement yet. I also already use spirulina. It contains the other benefits that phytoplankton has, and I have had time to source this correctly. Right now, I’m just using a muti-mineral supplement for this, but the way I found the last spirulina supplement that I used, was by reading articles such as this. For this reason, I don’t find it necessary to add phytoplankton right now.
Having said that, our oceans are getting more contaminated, not less. If anything changes, and I find a source, I will update immediately.
The two supplants I currently use are:
These charts are a great resource and quick reference guide for selecting raw fish! I am still actively trying to get my dog to be more open minded, but when making a selection, I start my research here first.