Coconut Oil and Dog Health

Coconut oil is truly one of nature’s greatest gifts to us. It can be used internally, externally (and even around the house). So much has been written about coconut oil, it’s almost like, “ok already, tell me something coconut oil CAN’T do!” and I get that. It all gets very redundant so I’m going to be brief because honestly I’m not going to come up with anything unique. Just at a glance, in reference to dogs, COCONUT OIL aids in nutrient absorption and digestion, improves skin and coat, elevates metabolism and thyroid function, reduces allergies, prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent, heals hot spots, speeds wound healing, improves cognition and increases energy.

What I want to focus on is quality. You can use different qualities for different things. For toothpaste (great results), paw butter, sunscreens and wound care I use almost any solid organic coconut oil. As a daily diet additive though I only use organic virgin cold pressed liquid coconut oil with MCT standardized to 95%. The most valuable component of coconut oil is MCT content. When a company doesn’t clarify this percentage it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad but it doesn’t cost any more to find a brand that does so I always do. MCT (or MCFA) stands for medium chain triglycerides. MCT is made up of Lauric Acid, Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid, Myristic Acid and Palmitic. Coconut oil also contains about 2% linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and about 6% oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acids).

“Lauric acid has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Capric and caprylic acid also have similar properties as lauric acid and are best known for their anti-fungal effects.

MCTs are efficiently metabolized to provide an immediate source of fuel and energy, enhancing athletic performance and aiding weight loss. In dogs, the MCTs in coconut oil balance the thyroid, helping overweight dogs lose weight and helping sedentary dogs feel energetic.”

So in short, it’s all about the MCT’s.

The final thing I want to mention is amount. Some people get scared off when they give their dog coconut oil because they get diarrhea. This is just a sign that their system isn’t ready for that amount. The rule of thumb is 1/2 tsp per 10-15 lbs body weight. You can do more or less, this is just a general suggestion. It’s best to start out with 1/4 tsp or less as your dog adjusts to it but this should happen quickly. My dog is 25 lbs and we now use 1/2 -1 tsp daily in her food. (I’ve accidentally used more with no bad reaction.) Amounts can also vary depending on use, or what’s being treated, this is just maintenance or a health booster for a generally healthy dog. We’ve never had skin or allergy issues so we’ve never used it to treat that but I know so many people who have with great results. I even used the would healing balm I made for her recently on myself and I healed faster with that than from any injury I’ve ever had, so I know it works.

Coconut oil easy to over look because it’s so popular and over marketed but it’s worth remembering because it can do so much for you and your dog’s health! These are only a few quick reasons and things to keep in mind. This article goes a lot further into the subject.

Health benefits of coconut oil

(The images below are not brands I’m recommending just helpful photos)

The Truth About Poop!

Dog poop is one of the quickest, easiest health barometers there are! I’m not ashamed to admit it, I look forward to my dog’s poop every day! It’s like a daily vet consult because there is SO much information found there. This is less true for dogs that eat the same kibble daily because their poop usually doesn’t change, but it works for them too. The biggest difference between kibble and raw fed dog poop is the amount. Kibble is mostly filler so it creates very large stools where as raw fed dogs’ absorb more and poop less. They also smell less. Otherwise the recognizable signs of health issues for each are the same.

Raw fed dog owners tend to pay much more attention to their dogs poop, (especially when they make their own food) because like their diet, it changes everyday. There may not be huge differences when the diet and digestive track is healthy but they still vary to some degree. This list is a quick reference guide to the most common things to look out for. There are more advanced lists but it’s a good place to start. Understanding poop goes hand in hand with understanding diet. When you can recognize what the poop is “saying” you can know how to adjust the diet before the next meal.

Poop Color and Action to take

White – too much bone, lack of nutrient absorption or old poop

Yellow – Parasites or bacteria

Orange – food coloring (or carrots) but could be blood tinged

Red – blood from large intestines or anal area

Brown – normal

Black – Digestive blood CALL THE VET

Green – Gi Hypermotility, bile not fully digested

Mucous – secretory or detox response (if the mucous is ‘wormy’ though call the vet!)

Blue or Aqua – Rat poison or toys

Grey – The right amount of bile isn’t being produced (could be a sign of EPI or Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency)

This list is from keep the tail wagging and there are many more.

Hopefully most won’t happen but it’s good info. As a raw feeder I mostly look out for white or brown and the consistency.

Poop should be firm and moist. Too much fat or organ is usually dark brown and too mushy. I’d fix this by using less organ and more bone. Too white, next meal less bone. So on and so forth. I have yet to see anything outside of these 3 (brown, dark brown & runny and white) but I keep my eye out for yellow and green for sure.

Diarrhea is something that happens to almost all dogs at some point. In our case I would examine her last meal. Sometimes we just can’t identify the source for sure and sometimes it’s just adjusting to a new food. Color and hydration should be monitored and if it doesn’t pass, call the vet, but it usually clears up in a day or so. Some things that may help are:

Adding bone to raw food

Slippery Elm Bark

Pumpkin

Probiotics

Olewo dehydrated carrots

There are many VOLUMES written on this subject, this is just a quick reference and reminder to value your poo! ūüėČ

Another great idea for raw feeders especially, is to keep a meal journal. That way you can link the poop directly to the meal and make adjustments easier for the future. It would also come in handy if you ever needed to see the vet!!

Here are a few more charts but there are a ton out there.

Here is a link for more info:

Dog poop assessments

Happy pooping!

Raw Feeding 101 and How To Find The Best Raw Food Suppliers

While I really don’t think learning how to correctly feed raw is as difficult as people might think, finding the right raw food sources can be absolutely DAUNTING! (I am particularly strict about my sources so it does not have to be this way for everyone!)

There are two basic models that people follow (BARF and Prey) that I’ll discuss more in another article. The most common and simple raw feeding guidelines are: 80% meat 10% bone and 10% organ (usually 5% liver and 5% offal aka a secreting organ) In the beginning, it doesn’t have to be perfect and you learn over time what works best for you and your dog. Balance is the goal but in the beginning we all just do our best, the important thing is to start. You don’t have to learn everything in one day or have it all figured out before hand, nature kind of has a way of teaching us what we need to know as we go along. Dog poop is the best indicator if there’s too much or too little of something and we’re lucky because we get this daily ūüėČ The easiest place to start is either with pre-made raw (links below) or with simple protein choices such as chicken and beef. Then you can be a little experimental. The important thing is, anytime you add something new, just read up on it and soon you’ll have a whole book full of knowledge just based on experience. You don’t have to worry about remembering everything or knowing it before hand unless your dog has certain health conditions to watch out for. Variety is very important and is the key to avoiding most problems.

I chose to home “cook” so I learn everyday. Today for example, I learned that beef trachea can lead to hyperthyroidism (especially when you combine it with necks, feet or green lipped mussels) This is because the thyroid is often left attached and unless you can cut it off, your dog will be getting too much of the secreted thyroid hormone and if you feed a lot of it over time it can lead to problems. In small doses it’s a GREAT joint supplement because of the glucosamine and chondroitin levels, so it’s shouldn’t be avoided but it’s just one thing to look out for. I’ve also learned a lot about how long it takes to thaw meat …I’m bad at it lol, but all of these things come with hands on experience. It’s a learning process, it can be overwhelming if you decide to make the food yourself but if I can do it, anyone can!

To start, I want to dispel the myth that raw feeding has to be expensive. I can honestly tell you that I am not someone with resources. I have the same amount of money as I did when I bought kibble so everything I talk about on here is coming from someone with a very small budget.

Like everything, our journey to raw didn’t happen over night. The first dog I had all on my own literally found US out of the blue one day and all of a sudden I was a brand new dog owner. I had some background in human health issues but none in dog health. Our first stop was the vet for obvious reasons because she came from the streets of Miami and we wanted to make sure she was OK! Luckily she was and no one claimed her so I was blessed to be granted with the gift of being her mom. One of the biggest jobs of any mother is providing food, so I asked my vet what the best food was. She said Science diet… . I’ll admit I bought this once but fortunately learned very early on that this wasn’t only a bad food but one of the worst on the market. I did some research and the next step we took was Honest Kitchen . I am very grateful for this because I still feel like it’s a good quality food. I’m also grateful because I know how expensive premium kibble can be and it would have been an absolute waste. I got some Origen occasionally which I think IS the best kibble and it still doesn’t compare in quality. We did that for a while and then one day she just stopped eating it… like entirely! At the time I was super busy so I resorted to cooking her organic chicken etc and just adding it so she would eat at least a small portion and get a balanced diet. One day I finally just decided this had to stop because she wasn’t getting a wide enough variety of the things I knew she needed. I decided to really take the time to commit to finding her the best food for her. I discovered after reading countless volumes of evidence on the subject, that doing that meant only one thing: raw food. From that time forward, we haven’t looked back. I set out on the path to make that happen and that has brought me to where I am today.

Because I knew the danger of raw food is not parasite related but balance related, I tried to learn all that I could about what that meant. (I should add here that balance is only a problem over time, in the short term transition, it is perfectly safe to introduce raw meat slowly. Some days are more perfect then others and dogs systems are set up to naturally balance as long as they get what they need over time. In the wild they didn’t get perfect meals and they skipped days getting food (it’s actually good for them), so while balance is a big deal long term, it should not scare people from trial and error.)

It wasn’t too complicated, just very important. To err on the side of caution, I decided to start with a company that took the guess work out, came from a reputable source and was readily available in my area. That lead me to Steve’s real food and Answers. Answers, as a company truly blew my mind because not only were they 100% ethically sourced but they had come up with a solution for unlocking the key ingredients in food that’s usually lost because dog’s don’t have the ability to extract nutrients from certain things like vegetables. Their fermentation process literally unlocks the foods full potential (meat too) and because they use such high quality sources, this was a very big deal! They even have incredible and unique supplement products like raw goats milk and fermented fish stock, that use the same process and provide superfoods in a way like no one else in the industry. PLUS they were SO affordable, I was literally in shock when I heard the prices. They deliver to my local pet shop so no shipping fees and no having to order ahead of time! I was in love (and still am) but alas our journey wasn’t quite over yet because my dog just wouldn’t touch it. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up, I know it takes time and I will go back to it eventually for supplemental feeding, it just made me decide to cast a wider net of resources.

* Fermenting is not the only method but it’s one of the best because it’s the most similar to how the dog would receive vegetable nutrients from an animals stomach in the wild and helps maximize the digestive process at the same time. One side goal I have is also learning how to ferment my own vegetables. This way I can be sure of ingredients and benefit by eating it myself. It’s still far off but when I get there I’ll post about what I did to do it!

*Another easier method is blending or food processing. The important thing is to break the cell wall to release nutrients. The finer grind the better. Feeding this along with an enzyme supplement or probiotic that contains amylase is my go to solution when I can’t get fermented.

(Dogs don’t have salivary amylase (what breaks down the cell walls in fruits and veggies so the nutrition can be released) they do have some amylase in their pancreas but not very much overall. Cooking, freezing and pureeing are all ways of breaking the fruits and vegetables down into a more usable form.)

SIDE NOTE: When Answers comes up, often Darwin’s does also. In my eyes it’s a company very similar to Steve’s (the other pre-made raw food I tried) so it’s the main reason I haven’t tried it. I think it’s a good company also, just not one I could get without a subscription. That along with the fact that I didn’t see any outstanding reason to use it (or any other pre-made) is why I’m not going to. I know they offer a trial but I was only looking at things I could pick up locally. Steve’s was my backup for answers (that she wouldn’t eat either) and other than answers I’m going home-made for stronger source control. I’m not discrediting the value of these resources. Many are wonderful and extremely convenient. They also help a LOT of people make the transition. It’s very important however to be sure it’s coming from high quality meats. Here are two links for more info on these companies that may help in choosing one.

Best Raw Dog Foods

Raw Dog Food Reviews

The journey continues…

One thing I am obsessed with is quality. This is the reason my journey was so difficult. It doesn’t have to be this hard, I just refused to compromise. If I was going to learn raw feeding, I was going to learn how to do it right and if I was going to learn all that, I wasn’t willing to use sources that I didn’t trust absolutely! Human Grade didn’t cut it. The meat industry is FULL of horrible profit based practices. They are inhumane and I am not willing to support that.

I am a vegetarian, so ethical farming is of huge importance to me, plus it’s the highest quality of meat.

The grocery stores and even Whole Foods might be ok for finding some organic meats but ultimately I wanted better. My first stop was finding a local organic farm. I did this by using a service online called Eatwild.com . This is not the only search engine, just one I came across that had good results for where I live. I found one small farm right away, but they only sold meat a few times per year and weren’t selling at the moment. I ordered some for the end of the year but ultimately it was a dead end. Some hours and google searches later, I found a local seller who worked at one farm but traveled and sold from a network of organic farmers. This made their resource list HUGE and their ability to supply a year round operation. I was beyond excited about this and blown away by the fact that they had organs and bones on their lists!! One might think this meant that my search was over lol but I’m never satisfied, so I kept looking for a secondary source for certain cuts that were more specific to my dog’s needs. (I could get chicken bones from this seller for example but no other bones that were a good match for my dog’s size.) The biggest benefit from this is that by casting a wider net I have a better chance of getting high quality things. I enjoyed the people I met at this small farm very much and I think human quality is always better, but I didn’t get to see the animals or other farms. I trust them but these are just the best farms in proximity to where I live, so I wanted a wider net for more reasons than just the cut choices.

I tried to google “best raw food suppliers” but as you know if you’ve ever googled something looking for unbiased reviews or truth about a product, it’s an unlikely thing to find directly. First you need patience, then you need to sift through all the nonsense, fake reviews and huge amounts of MONEY put into making certain companies come up first. Once you do that, you might actually get somewhere.

It took hours but I finally stumbled onto something useful by reading the comments section in a blog thread of the Dog Food Advisors chat forum. (I forgot to mention why I didn’t do this with raw meat for humans: 1. They didn’t have cuts any different from my local supplier and 2. They rarely ship and if they did I couldn’t afford it) I followed the discussion by real unbiased people who had real experience trying certain companies and shared my sourcing concerns. I took some notes and then proceeded to look up each company one by one. My conclusion to all of this was that while it IS hard to find true transparency, it’s not impossible. I ended up learning a lot about meat also. Everyone’s pretty much heard of “grass-fed, steroid, antibiotic and hormone free” but denatured and irradiated were two new terms for me that made me really re-evaluate what I wanted to know about my meat. I’m not going to get too much into it but basically Denatured means it’s been made “safe” and the USDA requires this of all “compromised” (3 and 4D for example which stands for “dying, diseased, disabled or dead”) meat. It’s considered too dangerous for human consumption until it goes through a process usually done with charcoal and other dangerous additives that get rid of diseases the meat may contain (not including many chemical drugs that the animal may have been treated with however) but have horrible side effects. Irradiation is similar but it’s done to preserve (salts, and yes, RADIATION etc). BOTH are horrible for dogs so I wanted to add these to my list of requirements. (These links provide great info on both!) The problem with this is, because they’re less known words, “unaltered” may in fact mean these things but I wanted a source that had more clarification than this. (Plus a raw food company that uses 3 or 4D denatured meat will say it’s USDA approved NOT that it’s 3/4D OR made from from certain farm animals fed this, or affected by the contamination in their food as a byproduct of this, which is another big deal… so it’s important to clarify!) Almost all kibble comes from these sources. The USDA’s guidelines when it comes to this are notoriously lax and continued abuse of the system takes place, especially where marketing is concerned. Getting clarification has become something we as consumers unfortunately have to do on our own. There was only one company that I’ve found so far that did this completely.

What I will say is that out of the companies I looked at, they have one of the worst web sites and their packaging is “lame” but I see this as one of their biggest advantages in my book. It means they’re not spending oodles of money on “selling” and to me the people who do are usually trying to sell an inferior product because they’re making more of a profit and that allows for the marketing budget. I know this is cynical and NOT always true but it seems to be a consistent thing in this particular industry. They also had the smallest selection and I even liked THIS because it means they’re not outsourcing or accepting lower quality products just to sell more. They say it’s all local and this proves it really is. One more thing that I liked was customer service. I scoured their face book page and they had only one or two negative comments (shipping related of course) but they responded and went above and beyond to refund. Plus the fact that they had a review option matters because many companies now just don’t even ALLOW it! And their website was “nice” no rules or saying things like “if you order too little your order will be deleted and refunded!” Just things put in a rude way for no reason. Plus they had PHOTOS of the farm all over… not just cute staged dogs everywhere! If I’m ordering from a farm I want to see the FARM animals not dogs on a photo shoot. But I digress… lol Anyway, I liked these people. All of the companies I looked into had pros and cons but these guys are number one on my list because my only “cons” are in selection and shipping costs. It’s unrelated to quality so to me it doesn’t really count. I just can’t order from them all the time. Because of that I’ll follow this link with my reviews of the other sources I found.

1. My pet Carnivore

The next two companies I interrogated come in at a tie because I really think they’re very comparable but one is right by my house so it’s second on my list ONLY for that reason.

2. Raw Feeding Miami

The pros of this one is that they are the only one with organic options. They also have a key word search where you can specify things like “grass fed” so although all their meat may not be grass fed they have a huge inventory and are honest about was is an what isn’t. Because of this they have cheaper options and a slightly lower shipping cost. There are also no minimum orders! I can tell you also that I visited the distribution center. It was briefly last year before I moved and we didn’t stick with it at the time but I met the employees and tried their products. They really seemed to care and it was a positive enough experience for me to order from them again for sure!

3. Reel Raw

This company in my opinion is very similar to raw feeding Miami. They have a larger amount of grass-fed options (I think they say it’s all grass fed) but no organic. I may try an order from them but I’m out of freezer space so I unfortunately can’t review them after trying them just yet. They seemed slightly vague about their sources but very adamant about them being grass fed and unaltered. I want to trust the qualities represented by both of these companies, I just wish there was a little more clarification. My carnivore even tells you what farm! These two will be on my back up list however just because their inventory lists are so huge!

4. Hare Today Gone Tomorrow

This company is only very slightly below the other two. My only qualm was once again having to do with sourcing. Just not enough info. Great info, just not enough about the meat. They have minimum orders but it’s only 10 lbs so shipping is comparable to the other sites. The one thing they had going for them was very good reviews. People really seemed to like the freshness and quality, and there’s a lot to be said for that! I’m keeping them on the list because the vagueness could be an oversight and I might be able to find out more if I emailed them.

I plan on emailing these last two companies to see if I can find out the missing source info. As soon as I do I will post it, I just didn’t want to wait to share something that might be valuable. When I get there I’ll put it in a linked post.

All of the companies mentioned also have ready-to-go options which is great for time saving. It’s not accepted by some raw feeders but some people really need this option and I love that they provide that! They also have good selections of (size appropriate) raw meaty bones, organs, whole prey etc that some local small farms may not and many offer high quality supplements also!

Whew! So that was my last 2 days lol! As always, in doing this I came across some fringe benefit info.

If you’re looking for a good green tripe source, at least one of the top 3 companies have organic, but THIS organic really impressed me!

GreenTripe.com

I’ve contacted them to see if they’ll ship to me. Still haven’t heard and they won’t show you prices until you email them but it looks like an awesome source for that so I’ll also let you know when I find out more about it!

Update: they would not ship to me so I still don’t have prices but they do have an east coast distributor at Green Cuisine 4 Pets

* finally got prices… only about $4/lb but minimum order is 20 lb and shipping is $30 or more PLUS a $13 service fee… so out of my price range. Customer service gave me one other option of picking it up but it requires a two hour drive. I appreciate that they did offer that though so that’s a good thing to know. We’ll still try to get it at some point. (Plus they have a lot more than just green tripe by itself.)

Oh! And I almost forgot to mention

CO-OPS! They’re not available by me or I would have absolutely gone there first! It’s basically a group of people who buy in bulk. They are formed when demand creates the supply. People get together and order from suppliers (a lot of which are just for human clients but cater to these requests). They tend to have the highest quality and are local enough that they send trucks to delivery points where your group can collect its purchases. I don’t know a ton about them because I don’t have the option but I’ve heard the most positive feedback on sources and prices from this option.

Here is one link that has more info and links to a co-op directory

Co-Op Directory

One final website that may help find local meat is Food Fur Life

It’s slightly redundant but it may have some other options.

CONCLUSION

At the end of the day this whole endeavor is a learning process. I don’t think it ever will (or should) end. I’ve shared my findings so far but I know there’s a TON I haven’t found yet. My game plan is to use as much local meat as I can. I’ve ordered from my pet carnivore and raw feeding Miami for the things I can’t get. I’ll cast a wide net and try to get the best of what each has to offer. We’ll keep trying with Answers also, for at least occasional feeding and supplementation. Not putting all of my eggs in one basket gives me options because anything can happen, companies close or get bought out so I like knowing that I have knowledge to fall back on. When I get more confident I’ll share recipes and feeding requirement info as well. This process has been a little frustrating but very enlightening. I look forward to learning more and thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it’s helpful and I wish you all the best in happiness and health for you and your pet!!

Supplements: How much is too much?

In a perfect word, we would not need supplements. In the world we LIVE in however, it has been pretty widely accepted by the medical community that we simply aren’t getting everything we need from our food any more. We can help ourselves tremendously by buying the best food we can but there are still certain things that can benefit us enormously in a GOOD food-based supplement. I know a lot of raw feeders are very much against this when it comes to dogs but I can’t be so certain animals eating even the “best grass” are truly maximizing my dogs health so my philosophy is simple: if it’s safe and beneficial, I’m going to add it. That being said, “safe” includes really understanding the fact that 1 safe thing + 1 safe thing can = an unsafe thing. That’s the tricky part. When the list grows too high all the safe things added together can be dangerous so I really do my best to research not only the product itself but the effects other products can have with it. It’s daunting because we don’t quite frankly KNOW what all of these effects can be, new studies are coming out all the time and there’s a lot of contradicting evidence. For peace of mind I try to get all of my supplements from one place and follow a (good) DOCTOR’S very specific advice about them. I am grateful for this and I try to pass on some of what I learn here. I however, am not a Dr., so I am always trying my best to learn as much as I can especially about the things I can’t ask a professional. Fortunately with most of the supplements I use there is actually little danger because they are considered benign and food based but yesterday when I read an article and started looking into aswaganda for dogs, I realized I had really better hold off on that because it’s entering a different class of supplements. (I’m not saying this is bad at all it’s just not something I know about yet so it’s my example here)

I also realized the other day that some things that I don’t consider supplements, actually are and I need to broaden my research there. One example is raw goats milk. I just heard literally for the first time ever that raw goats milk fed with apple cider vinegar (often in bone broth) or coconut oil is not dangerous but they can cancel each other out! I was shocked because I do that ALL the time! It’s like dessert for my dog and it looks like now it’s gonna have to be breakfast!

(I will pass on the rest as I find them!)

I study these things a LOT and never heard it so it’s concerning but it also made me realize that I will never stop learning. I try to stick with Dr.s recommendations only and always stay in the “safe” range when it comes to mistakes because they’re unavoidable but if I’m not messing with things that are too potentially dangerous my mistakes are worth the benefits from things done right.

*I should also note that virtually all kibble has added synthetic vitamins so even without supplements, giving kibble includes the worst kind of supplements because they are not made from real food. Just ONE example of the dangers here is: “while it‚Äôs virtually impossible for real food to cause vitamin A toxicity synthetic vitamin A toxicity is well published and probably a lot more common that you might think” there are countless other examples but this is just one example of the importance of sourcing.

I am still excited to learn about all the benefits of a healthy diet. Supplements can sometimes be more “fun” because research is intriguing, it’s why people do it, and it is more fun to write about the benefits but I will start to try to look more into side effects or interactions as well, including the less mentioned ones.

To answer the question of how much is too much, for myself, I think it just boils down to common sense.

We have 6 from a Dr. (That includes a multivitamin, green mineral powder, dental kelp, probiotic, fish oil and coconut oil) that are all fine together and we skip days sometimes. She’s not sick so I only occasionally add fermented fish, raw goats milk or turmeric. I try to cover my bases and not use anything unnecessary. If she has an issue I research and then take my research to a professional.

I guess I want to say that because I write a lot about these things but I don’t want to come off sounding like I’m giving my dog 97 supplements a day and being irresponsible. I truly just mean well and try to help pass on things I find in an effort to help someone. Having a sick dog is one of the most heartbreaking things to ever go through so my effort is all done for that reason.

For some peace of mind for pet parents who are trying to make their pets nutrition more complete, here is an excerpt from an article written by a doctor on the subject:

“Are you confused about which supplements dogs need? Do you find conflicting information? Would you like to know what to give your dog without giving too little or too much? I understand your pain. People often contact me because they are not sure what their dog needs. Some believe that good food is enough and others have their kitchen counter taken over by dozens of bottles of supplements and pills.

Follow nature

It always fascinates me that the human species spends an incredible amount of time and resources to create systems that replace the natural ones. A good example is using chemical fertilizers versus the natural cycle of recycling nutrients.

In nature, a tree loses leaves to feed its roots, cows eat grass to later fertilize it with manure. In other words, all the nutrients that come from the soil are returned back to the soil. At least this is how it was before humans got involved.

Agriculture and food production is one of the glaring examples of humans trying to reinvent the wheel. For nearly a century, we have tried to replace the already perfect nutrient cycle with our own that is flawed and ridden with toxic chemicals causing further damage.

Food is now transported over long distances and then put half of it in a landfill. This creates an ever increasing  deficit of nutrients in the fields where the food is grown. In order for the farmers to grow something, chemical fertilizers come into place, creating serious imbalances and dead soil that erodes easily because it contains no organic matter.

Why good food is no longer enough

I agree with those who say that ‚Äúideally‚ÄĚ no supplements would be needed. An ideal world would be one where nutrients are recycled back into the soil and the animals would eat a bountiful variety of foods.

The problem is that our present world is miles away from ideal and nutrient deficiency is one of the most undiagnosed and serious problems connected to disease.

What the chemistry teachers forgot to teach us

Most people do not like chemistry. I must say that I used to think I didn’t like it until I saw a connection with real life.  Biochemistry is especially fascinating. Millions of biochemical reactions happen in you and your dog’s body every day and they are completely automated. No CEO, no middle management, just pure force of nature nothing short of miracles.

What the biochemistry teachers forgot to remind us is that none of these biochemical reactions can happen without all the elements – building blocks – being present. This is where it becomes clear how important nutrients are and why I am so relentless in passing the message on. This is why I love formulating supplements that replace those nutrients missing because of the wide spread irresponsible management of natural resources.

Most people do not realize that the most common causes of disease are not viruses or bacteria or even toxins but deficiencies of nutrients. That is why so many people see such miraculous recoveries of depleted and ill dogs when we simply add a few essentials that are missing.

Six mighty nutrient groups that can help cure or improve almost any disease

In principle, no matter medical condition your dog has, the first step you need to do is to correct deficiencies for the body to be able to heal.

The key nutrients are:

Minerals

Vitamins

Essential Aminoacids

Superfood Greens

Essential Fatty Acids

Probiotics

All these nutrients can be found in four essential supplements. I can already hear some people saying Рbut I do not want to give so much or my dog hates pills. It is like saying, I want to have roof above my head but I don’t like roof builders and shingles.

I agree, the pharma industry didn‚Äôt make it any easier because they made us associate pills with toxic drugs. I suggest you¬†see essential supplements as food, not as ‚Äúpills‚ÄĚ or potions.

What role does each nutrient group have in your dog’s body

My goal here is to give you the gist of what these nutrients do and why they are important in keeping your dog healthy. If you need to learn more about the source of this nutrient group, click on the group name to learn more details

Minerals  Рnot a single mineral can be synthesized by the body. They are essential in the structural and chemical function of the body. Their deficit also creates a state of dehydration because the body cannot absorb water in sufficient amount and dehydration is at the core of premature degeneration and aging.

Vitamins are the allies of minerals. They catalyze biochemical reactions, ensure proper formation of cells, tissue regeneration and function of organ systems. For example Vitamin E is important in skin and epithelium formation, Vitamin B is essential in proper function of the nervous system.  We now know that food grown with the use of artificial fertilizers have lower vitamin content.

Essential Amino acids are more complex then minerals, they are the building blocks of proteins, hormones and tissues. The are called essentials because the body cannot make them and they are also irreplaceable when it comes to health.

Super Food Greens – your dog knows how important superfood greens are because he or she eats grass. Some people think that grass eating is a sign of disease in dogs but it is not true. Grass or chlorophyll rich substances are important in neutralizing toxins, cleansing the digestive tract and have an anti-cancer effect.

Essential Fatty Oils come either from plants, seeds, fish or krill. These nutrients are rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6. There is a difference in opinion if plant-based oils are a sufficient source of EFA’s in dogs. If in the wild, dogs would be getting them from the prey animals, their digestive tract content and also fish. I suggest avoiding fish oil blends that appear to be high in mercury (a heavy metal) and strontium (a radioactive element that comes from radioactive pollution in Japan).

Probiotics РI often say with a pinch of humor nothing makes a dog lover happier than a perfect number two, but there is more to probiotics (the beneficial inessential flora) than perfect number two. Probiotics strengthen and condition the intestinal tract and especially the colon where eighty percent of the body’s immune function resides. They have also a positive effect on neutralizing toxins such us BUN ( blood urea nitrogen), which is a toxic by-product of protein metabolism.

How many supplements are too many?

Finally, I am getting to answer this frequently asked question. It is very apparent from nature that living organisms are extremely capable of selecting nutrients that they need and throwing away the ones that are in excess. The body does it without any outside regulation and with ease.

The problem of excess nutrients only arises when synthetic chemicals are offered instead of food based concentrates and supplements. These supplements including synthetic vitamins and minerals can correct symptoms of severe deficiency Рfor example scurvy РVitamin C deficiency and Beriberi vitamin B1 hypovitaminosis. However,  synthetic non-food based supplements can create severe excesses and overdoses. Good examples are fat soluble vitamins ADEK or overdoses of minerals in chemically manufactured mineral supplements. I frequently see this in hair tests done on dogs.

The body is designed to process food based nutrients and not chemicals which can easily create a state of excess often expressed in agitation, heat production and digestive problems. These are the main reasons why I only recommend naturally-fermented vitamins, probiotics, plant-based minerals and naturally-sourced omega oils that are powerful, yet gentle and can be managed by the body well.

One can experience the difference between taking a cheap synthetic multivitamin that commonly causes stomach upsets when taken on empty stomach and a naturally fermented multivitamin that usually does not cause such symptoms.

Nature never “measures’ the exact amounts of vitamins and nutrients in food. It just provides nutrients that are natural and non-synthetic.

There are two major and very common problems in nutrition and the origin of premature aging and chronic disease:

1. Deficiency of nutrients and vitamins.

2. Supplementing them in artificial forms. 

A few more things to remember

Now when you know, what each of these nutrient groups is good for there are a few things that you need to know.

Go for natural. Food can’t be grown in the lab and neither can vitamins. Many people have still no idea that most vitamins on the market are made from coal or crude oil. These products create chemical imbalances. I use only naturally cultured certified organic multivitamins because they do not cause nausea when they are ingested and the body is capable of absorbing and processing them more efficiently because they are real food.

Go for capsules or powder and ditch tablets whenever possible because tablets contain additional bonding agents and are heat processed. Capsules are better for less stable supplements such as probiotics and EFA’s because they are less likely to oxidize when capsulated.

Go for glass packaging because plastic leaches into the product and may have a long-term negative effect on the body and our environment. Glass is natural packaging made of silica Рone of the most common elements in earth’s crust.

Go for quality and do your math. Some manufacturers may try to convince you that they can make and sell an all natural product for fifteen or twenty dollars. In reality, it is impossible unless they source second-grade quality ingredients from China or use artificial ingredients or fillers.

Remember essential supplements are not drugs or pills but nutrients that used to be present in food but are now often missing because of intensive agriculture.

Supplementing these six nutrient groups in¬†four essential supplements is the foundation of treating or preventing any disease for dogs of any age. Nature does not make a difference between puppies, adults and seniors. As soon as puppies are weaned they should be getting food and essential supplements.”

Dr. Peter Dobias

For more information visit:

https://peterdobias.com/blogs/blog/15072565-how-many-supplements-are-too-many-for-your-dog

Turmeric for dogs

A few years ago Turmeric (or Curcumin) became a huge hot topic in the human nutritional world and it didn’t take long for the animal world to follow suit. This is mostly good news because it is hugely beneficial and may reduce the need for chemical intervention for both human and animal health conditions. However, just like with anything that becomes really popular, the value can become compromised by people looking to make a profit. Marketers can use the name to make an inferior product look good or inferior qualities of the turmeric itself can be sold. This happens with everything of course but when something gets such a high level of exposure it seems to happen even more. The other thing to watch out for is the simple fact that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Overdosing on turmeric is uncommon because it passes through the digestive track quickly but it can absolutely happen so it’s good to be aware of how much you are giving or how many products might contain it within their ingredient list. Diarrhea is the most common side effect but it can also interact with other issues and medicines so it’s always good to check with the vet especially if you’re using a dose high enough to treat a medical condition.

The other important detail is the form in which it’s given. Without the proper combination of ingredients present, the benefits will go through the system without being absorbed (the same is true for people). This is why you often see “with black pepper” or “with bio perine” added to a label for increased absorption. Dogs need an additional additive because of the speed in which dogs metabolize. For them, coconut oil or something similar is also crucial for absorption. This is important along with it being organic because otherwise the quality or amount of curcumin may be too low and it is rendered useless. The same is true for dogs and vegetables, if they’re not broken down to a digestible level, the nutrients pass through and may provide great low cal ruff-age but no nutritional value.

Having gotten that out of the way, I still LOVE turmeric! As time goes on we seem to keep finding increasing benefits and more and more real life examples of the difference it can make for both animals and people alike.

So, what is Turmeric?

In short, a spice ground from a root that looks a lot like ginger except it’s orange. Like I said before, the list of benefits is extensive so here are just a few:

TURMERIC decreases inflammation and can help with itchy skin issues, is a powerful antioxidant, helps thin the blood (lowing the risk of blood clots), protects the liver from toxins, naturally relieves pain (can replace some medications that have damaging side effects), naturally detoxifies the body, helps with allergies, eliminates parasites and stomach ailments, increases heart health, and can help protect the body against things like cancer. It can put a stop to ongoing skin infections caused by various yeast, bacteria and fungi. It improves the skin shine and coat. It is effective in fighting and preventing infections caused by viruses and bacteria, and enhances wound healing. It improves the activity level and socialization in older dogs by stimulating cognition and has recently been identified to induce neural stem cell proliferation which may explain its positive effect on brain function and depression. Reduced inflammation is important to gut health and may improve a variety of stomach conditions. It increases the levels of glutathione in the liver and this component is a major antioxidant and conjugating agent which is used to detoxify and eliminate harmful compounds.

The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin but to date, at least 235 compounds have been identified. These compounds are fat soluble so the coconut oil is used along with piperine (ground black pepper) because it is necessary for the metabolism of curcumin by considerably slowing its excretion and prolonging the positive metabolic effect.

So… dental health, detox, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, increases heart and liver health, reduces blood clots that can lead to strokes, reduces heart attacks by thinning the blood, promotes digestion, acts as an antioxidant, relieves allergies, prevents cataracts, has been used to treat epilepsy, natural pain relief, treats diarrhea (at the right dose) and the list just goes on and on.

Sourcing and dosing takes some homework but I think it’s more than worth it. PLUS you can take it too! I work very hard not to over supplement because I am always trying to give my dog the best of everything and sometimes that can cause more harm than good. Some supplements can even counteract each other like raw goats milk and apple cider vinegar or coconut oil (which will be in another article) so it’s important to be careful. However, turmeric in the correct dose for a healthy dog has been shown to be hugely advantageous, so we keep it in her diet. We take breaks and it’s not every day, but I like to always have it on hand.

Below is a recipe (from keepthetailwagging.com) for a very simple “golden paste” there are TONS of variations out there (and I actually bypass the paste with the coconut oil I put in her food most days) but it is a very convenient way to keep it readily available in a form that’s already made for easy absorption.

1. Warm 6 cups of water in a pan on low heat

2. Add 3 cups of organic turmeric powder and stir

3. When the mix thickens, add either 2 cups of organic coconut oil OR 1 cup coconut oil and 1 cup bone broth AND 3 tbs freshly ground organic black pepper

4. Turn off the heat and keep stirring until the mixture thickens into a paste

*optional: adding 2 tbs Ceylon ground cinnamon if the dog has an odor issue after ingestion (some do and this will counteract that!)

Storage: keep in the fridge for 2 weeks and then freeze

Dosing: For healthy dogs: about 1/4 -1/2 tsp per meal

For pain relief: 1/4 tsp per 10 lbs body weight at least 2x a day (it’s recommended not to start at full dose but gradually work up to it by adding 1/4 tsp every 7 days)

This is a large batch recipe but like I said, there are a lot out there. Some even get more specific about curcumin mg etc which is great but as long as the ratios are correct, that’s all that really matters!

Raw Green Tripe

Fortunately I got introduced to green tripe and heard about the benefits BEFORE finding out what it was (I’m pretty sure I thought it was fish) or what it smelled like. Luckily what it really is only actually matters when you need to source it and the smell well that just takes a little getting used to. Green tripe is called green tripe to distinguish it from tripe that has been altered in some way (usually for human consumption) but renders it useless for health benefits, so not all tripe is the same. It comes from the lining of a ruminant or grazing animal such as cow, bison, sheep or deer. It is usually brown mostly maybe with a hint of green. It is enormously nutrient dense and an incredible resource because of the unique composition that allows these nutrients to be fully absorbed. The tripe is the stomach lining only found in these grazing animals that have 4 digestive chambers, because they need it to digest plant material and utilize it themselves. The chambers break down grasses with digestive enzymes, amino acids and gastric juices. The digestive enzymes make the tripe very easy to digest and have the staying power to help increase digestion for weeks or more following consumption. Digestive enzymes also cleanse and purify the blood, remove toxins, parasites and fungus. This includes things like e-coli, salmonella and listeria. One unique enzyme that dogs and cats can’t produce is amylase. This is what allows the grazing animal to absorb nutrients from vegetable matter. By eating the tripe, those nutrients are then transferred to the dog or cat that would otherwise be unable to receive them by eating vegetables on their own. Digestive enzymes also improve hormonal function and the immune system. The combination of digestive enzymes and pre-digested green matter is what makes it such a powerhouse of nutrients. All of this is dependent on the tripe being raw.

The high quality mid-range protein, easy digestion, balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio and slightly high pH make it a especially valuable for animals with kidney disease.

So, basically it helps the animals receive the full nutritional value from their food, eliminates needing a probiotic and strengthens their immune system! THEN there is the omega factor. Natural omega 3’s and 6’s help enhance skin and coat, lubricate the joints and promote healthy brain function.

Green tripe has also been said to help animals with allergies. All in all this is a pretty amazing food source.

The only down side is availability. Because getting it canned or even freeze-dried reduces the quality so much (cooked or canned being the worst) finding it can sometimes be a little tricky. The farm I buy from doesn’t have any right now so I decided to do some further research.

I know the importance of finding this organically or grass-fed so I may have to wait for a local supplier. The sad thing is most farms either throw it out or only sell to big companies in bulk. This is starting to change as more people request it locally but it’s still hit or miss where I am. Some smaller organic pet food companies sell it frozen or mix it in their food, so I’m hopeful some of the companies I trust will start to also. I know the raw food “suppliers” by me don’t use quality meat so it might cost more but it’s worth it. This is not something my dog needs a ton of so that is helpful. In the mean time I got some freeze-dried from a company that seems to use a quality source but this was mainly just to get some (and turkey necks because they’re also hard to find by me) in the house right away. I will update as I find more resources!

Update: I may have located a place that is connected to others around the country and looks to be good quality. Will post the link as soon as I get the details!

Yes! The website Hare Today Gone Tomorrow is awesome and ships nationwide! There are others too so I am extremely excited to replace this freeze https://hare-today.com/. dried!

Fermented Fish Stock for Health

So, this one smells even worse than green beef tripe, but the health benefits are more than worth it. I’m still getting Jersey to warm up to it but dogs who love sardines or raw fish should have no problem! The key benefits are:

Kidney health

Joint health

Thyroid health

Digestive health

Liver detox

Skin and coat health

Immune system boost

I wanted to start with kidney health because I know it’s a hard issue to treat. (I spoke about this in a previous post so if you are looking for help there that post has a more comprehensive list of solutions.)

The explanation below is directly from the only people that I know of currently who make it (Answers pet food) my guess is more will come but I know this is made from wild caught and ethically sourced sardines.

“Great for dogs with kidney disease, because it offsets the low protein diet and helps to reduce stress on kidneys. Adding to diet of dogs fed low protein diet kidney disease will help prevent detrimental side effects of low protein; Contains high amounts of arginine, required to metabolize protein waste & reduces blood pressure reducing stress on kidneys. It reduces the need for protein intake by 50% which helps alleviate stress and contains high amounts of arginine which is required by the body to metabolize protein waste.

There is a more comprehensive explanation in the link below.

Answers quick link

Answers detailed

JOINT HEALTH

It contains a substance known as glycoaminoglycans or GAGs.¬†GAGs are a major component of joint cartilage, glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid ‚Äď all things needed for optimal joint support.¬† It is also high in anti-inflammatory amino acids which helps reduce the swelling that causes arthritis.¬† Also contained within, is gelatin, whose job it is to coat the joints and act as a shock absorber between joints.¬† In short, fermented fish stock might just help your dog who suffers from any sort of joint ailments or prevent your healthy dog from ever having issues.

THYROID

It is a natural source of iodine and thyroid nutrients ‚Äď perfect for dogs that are pre-disposed to hypothyroidism, dogs that are borderline or dogs who actively have hypothyroidism.

DIGESTION AND LIVER HEALTH

Both the digestive system and the liver are impacted by the fish stock in beneficial ways.  First, gelatin has the ability to line the digestive system which acts as a barrier to bad bacteria, helps heal leaky gut syndrome and helps ease colitis.  It holds digestive juices in the belly longer which aids in digestion of nutrients and aids in increased absorption of vitamins and minerals.  It is high in glycine which encourages liver detox. Glycine is an essential amino acid which helps regulate the making of bile salts and secretion of gastric juices that is required for liver detox.

OMEGA

All Omega fatty acids are concentrated in the fermented sardines which leads to better skin and coat health.

DIABETES

Insulin secretion is stimulated naturally by the fermented sardines.  They are also quite high in magnesium which aids in insulin sensitivity making this a perfect addition to a diabetic pet’s diet.

Fish Stock, when used as a supplement to your pet‚Äôs regular diet, will enhance immune function, provide easily absorbed minerals and nutrients, and promotes healing from within.¬† It can help with joint function and kidney issues as well as give your pet a gorgeous coat.”

So… this is why I’m stoked to try this stuff. It’s a new product for us but getting some buzz so I thought I’d put it out there even though I’m still learning about it myself! If it can help someone now, no reason to wait! We’ll be updating as we learn more!