Colostrum For Dogs!

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:

Internally:

  • Auto-immune diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Joint problems and arthritis
  • Leaky gut
  • IBD
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Colitis
  • Absorption deficiencies
  • Pancreatitis
  • Candida (yeast overpopulation)
  • Thyroid problems
  • Allergies
  • And it is making huge advancements in treating and even curing cancer.

Externally:

  • Healing open wounds
  • Abscess
  • Dermatitis
  • Cysts
  • Insect bites
  • Ear infections
  • Gingivitis

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
  • Bordetella
  • Parvovirus
  • Leptospirosis
  • 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!

Phytoplankton, Fish oil or Raw Fish? Safe Ways to Give Your Dog Omega 3

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.

Raw Fish

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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

Fish Oil

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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

Phytoplankton

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.

Conclusion:

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:

Feel Good Omega which I also take myself, and for spirulina I use Green Min

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.

23032404_1836909263266133_2120035423583849074_n

Titer Testing and the Dangers of Over-Vaccinating

As pet parents, it can be extremely overwhelming being in charge of so many decisions in regard to their health. The bottom line is we ALL want to do what’s best for them. The problem comes in when it’s so unclear what that is.

There are countless studies proving different schools of thought. Vets that stand strong on both sides and an enormous amount of information available on the internet with large communities of people backing both sides. This gets even more confusing when there are more than two sides.

I am an advocate for holistic medication and natural remedies first always, but I still believe there is a time and a place for conventional care. This puts me somewhere in the middle in most cases including vaccines.

TO TITER or NOT TO TITER That is the question!

When I first heard about titer Testing, my initial reaction was overwhelming gratitude. It felt like an answer to my prayers and an easy way to cut out most of our vaccines. After taking a step back, I looked into the other side’s stance to get more of a full picture. Things that sound too good to be true, usually are and my dog’s life could be at risk if I make rash decisions in either direction. This is a big decision, and I need to make an educated decision.

So, to start examining this more closely,

What is titer Testing?

Titer tests are a tool used by dog owners and veterinarians to help minimize the risks of both infectious diseases and unnecessary vaccinations.

According to veterinary doctor, Jean Dodds,

“A titer test is a simple blood test that measures a dog or cat’s antibodies to vaccine viruses (or other infectious agents). For instance, your dog may be more resistant to a virus whereas your neighbor’s dog may be more prone to it. Titers accurately assess protection to the so-called “core” diseases (distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis in dogs, and panleukopenia in cats), enabling veterinarians to judge whether a booster vaccination is necessary. All animals can have serum antibody titers measured instead of receiving vaccine boosters. The only exception is rabies re-vaccination. There is currently no state that routinely accepts a titer in lieu of the rabies vaccine, which is required by law.”

The benefits of using a titer test:

Dog’s that have been properly immunized early on almost always develop the required antibodies that prevent the illness for their entire lives. These tests prove their immunity and reduce their chances of being harmed by over-vaccinating. Furthermore, I have yet to see a single study proving that a titer test showed immunity when it wasn’t there. The only evidence I’ve seen of false results is when they tested low, and immunity was actually completely adequate. Titer tests have actually proven nothing but how incredibly stable they are. It is generally suggested to titer every 3 years however, after two consecutive positive tests, you can safely test even less or not at all. I’m a worrier so I’ll probably stay in the 3 year camp. There are countless examples of this being unnecessary, however I know what I need to do to sleep at night!

“Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM, is a pioneer in vaccine protocol studies. According to her research, at least 95% of dogs actually retain immunity against the viruses in question (Rabies, Distemper and Parvovirus) for YEARS after being vaccinated. She also discovered that “evidence implicating vaccines in triggering immune-mediated and other chronic disorders is compelling.”

I have looked and not seen one single example of this not being true.

Downsides to Titer Testing:

-Mainly, the cost, anywhere from $40-$200 depending on your vet.

-Titer tests can “miss” undetected immunities that are present, so you end up paying for the titer test + the unnecessary vaccine.

This is “because a titer only measures antibodies, not cell-mediated immunity, which is the real-world measure of protection. In fact, as I learned, pets can sometimes come up negative (unprotected) on the titers and still have plenty of perfectly protective, cell-mediated immunity.” Jean Dodds

-There is not a titer test for everything. Non core vaccines such as Canine leptospirosis, bordetella or Lyme disease vaccines only provide short-term protection. This significantly compromises their value first of all, and most reasons to give them have to do with life style. In most cases the benefits do not outweigh the risks, but a vet can assist with this. It’s a particularly important thing to pay attention to, because these are considered particularly dangerous. Two good references to assist in making this decision are Non core vaccines  And Necessary vaccines

-Depending on where you live, you might still need to legally do rabies. Some places allow the vet’s to makes this decision, others don’t.

This is something worth looking into because unlike the other vaccines, even just ONE single extra rabies shot can be life threatening.

*IF A DOG IS SICK or has a compromised immune system, they should NEVER be vaccinated. This could be extremely life threatening. Most vet’s should know this, but it’s very important to remember. Weather its something serious, a minor cold or even parasites, some vets may overlook this and exposing a dog to a virus at this time is never a safe thing to do.

Risks of over-vaccinating

From Dogs Naturally:

“When your dog is protected by the vaccines he’s already had, vaccinating him again does not make him “more immune”.

Most vaccines contain toxic chemicals.

One example is:

Thimerosal

This is a mercury based additive used as a preservative. Mercury toxicity is well known and repeatedly proven in studies. Yet it’s still contained in most veterinary vaccines today. Even some vaccines that claim to be thimerosal-free may still contain small amounts of thimerosal. That’s because it can be used in processing but not added as an ingredient, so the manufacturers don’t have to disclose it.”

More on this Here

There is no debate that the diseases these vaccines are designed to prevent are VERY serious. However, once a dog has been vaccinated as an adult, these vaccines become more of a threat than the diseases they are supposed to prevent.

Places such as Banfield are promoting vaccines every 6 months, with is currently being scrutinized by the national veterinary association because this is in NO way accurate and extremely dangerous.

Dogs Naturally reports that:

“Ronald D Schultz PhD proved decades ago that most dogs will be protected for many years (and probably for life) by one round of core vaccines as puppies – usually when they’re about 16 weeks old. So, after their puppy shots, most dogs don’t need to be re-vaccinated ever, let alone year after year after year.

Dr Schultz reports:

“The patient receives no benefit and may be placed at serious risk when an unnecessary vaccine is given. Few or no scientific studies have demonstrated a need for cats or dogs to be revaccinated.”

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have announced publicly that annual vaccination is unnecessary and can be harmful.”

This hasn’t stopped Bannfield yet, but it really should.

Most other vet offices do not do this, but rather, recommend certain ones every certain number of years as per the AAHA guidelines. This is not legally required except for rabies and there is still no proof of this being necessary at all. It is a much more reasonable course of action thankfully, but not substantiated as being necessary or worth the risks.

Even when given more responsibly, most vets will tell you that vaccinations are very safe, and only minor side effects directly after administration may occur.

We know now, that this is not true. Vaccines are very hard on the immune system. Deadly vaccine reactions and lifelong chronic illness, including autoimmune diseases and cancer can and have been proven to occur.

The best source of complete benefit/risk analysis of some of these is HERE

Some examples of risks are:

  • “Those containing adjuvants, or chemicals that stimulate the immune system, have been linked to cancerous tumors known as fibrosarcomas.
  • The distemper vaccine has been strongly linked to joint disease and arthritis – two increasingly common chronic diseases in dogs.
  • The parvo vaccine has been linked to heart disease and can create a chronic form of the disease, the symptoms of which include chronic gastritis, hepatitis and pancreatitis, chronic diarrhea and food sensitivities.
  • Every lepto vaccine contains an aluminum adjuvant which causes cancer.
  • The risk of Vaccine Induced Autoimmune Disease is greater than the risk of lepto and the lepto vaccine carries a higher risk than most other vaccines.”

There are increasing studies being conducted today, and an overwhelming amount of evidence to support the dangers of continuing these vaccines.

Myths about vaccines:

  1. They prevent the intended disease 100%
  2. They lose effectiveness over time
  3. They can be made more effective by continued administration – revaccination does not mean more immunity
  4. Vaccinations work on every animal

Risks of not vaccinating

Almost every vet agrees that it’s a good idea to vaccinate puppies. Some say one additional booster is needed. Then it becomes murky. Some say the titer tests are not adequate but fail to show evidence of this being true. Others rather be “safe” than sorry but fail to consider the incredibly negative impacts of the vaccines themselves. Many think that the vet offices just want to make money or avoid interpreting titer results. Regardless of the reasoning, the arguments for continued vaccinations seem to be generated by fear and lack of information.

I looked deeply into this because I have a very active, social dog. She swims, plays in dog parks and is exposed to everything that these vaccines protect against. I wanted to be as sure as I could be before her next annual check up. I found nothing that made me believe that they were necessary.

Conclusion:

I am not going to waste my time getting my dog titer tested at our current vet. I am working very hard to find a new vet who can interpret these correctly, among other things. With someone who is educated on this, I can decided whether or not any additional vaccines are needed. My analysis of the not titer-testable vaccines is that she does not need them, but this is not a decision I would make on my own.

Some people will criticize me and say I’m exposing my dog to dangers by eliminating vaccines. Others will say I’m wasting my money on a test she doesn’t need, because it’s incomplete, and she doesn’t need any more vaccines regardless of the test. I have to be ok with this. Ultimately, it’s my decision. I often say on here that I’m not a vet. However, most of what I share comes from reading things written by doctors, and it still boils down to being a very personal decision. That’s the bottom line. We’re all just doing our best. This is the best of what I’ve found. If nothing else, I hope this helps bring the issue to attention. I know it’s one that I missed for a long time. I wish we could trust our vet but this is just another reason why it’s so important to find one that we do!

This guide offers some additional info.

My next battle, will be our monthly heat guard pill. This is not something I will discuss until after seeing a new vet. There is a TON of holistic resources for people, if they are interested in finding other methods. Because of where I live, I can’t take them away during cold weather months, so I’m stuck using something stronger than the alternative methods I have seen. I am not without hope however, and I hope to share some encouraging news on that in the next coming months!

This article explains my concerns regarding heart worm pills along with some alternatives for those who may be interested.

In the mean time, we do this annual Cleanse.

titer-test-584x276

Raw Dog Diary 11/4/17

Some things on the agenda for next week:

Titer testing for vaccines and Heart worm prevention

Also, how to safely serve fish

This week I got a bit off track from what I had originally planned to talk about. It happened organically, as I face new challenges making my own food. That being said, I’m looking forward to getting back to discussing food and supplements because I have about 30+ new topics to share about on that!

I got my new freezer set up today, and we’re making progress! Tomorrow is meal prep day and I’m very excited!

I’m still learning what Jersey likes so I won’t be making anything in bulk quite yet, but I look forward to the process! She amazes me daily and is doing so well on this food!

I’m still trying to track down a holistic vet. We have some time, but I really hope to see someone before her next comboguard (heart guard pill).

I’ll keep sharing info on that as I find it.

I really hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! I don’t like it getting dark earlier now but …I’m super excited about the extra hour of sleep!! 😉

Love and Best wishes,

Jeanne & Jersey Girl

Toxic Plants and Dog Friendly Gardens

Most dogs love to chew on things, puppies especially! My dog loves to do this when she is happy or excited about something. This basically means every time she goes outside! For the most part, this is absolutely fine. (Some dogs will chew on rocks though, which can be dangerous.) Sticks are her favorite and she just chews them up and spits them out. If there are no sticks available however, she will chew on fallen leaves. With the holidays coming up, it occurred to me that this may be something to pay more attention to as more foreign plants may enter the house. In addition to this, we are currently renovating our backyard. Both of these things got me thinking about the subject of dog safe plants. Even though she doesn’t eat them, I know that certain plants could still pose a threat, so I decided to do some research before we decide what to buy and plant. Originally, this article was going to just be a top 10 dangerous vs safe list. As I began doing more research, however, I was shocked to discover a list of 400+ toxic plants!

Gardening is certainly not my forte, and I’m definitely not medically trained for a subject like this, so rather than try to figure this out, I will just share a few, along with a link from the ASPCA.

Toxic and Not Toxic Plants List

They cover plants that are toxic and safe for dogs, cats and horses alphabetically which is great! They warn that it’s not 100% complete, but it’s the most comprehensive list that I’ve seen. My game plan now, is to look at plants for my garden that I like and then check them against this list. I would never be able to remember all of these, even if I tried. My guess is 80% are plants we will never even see, but it’s still a very good reference to have. Out in the world, I can’t always control what she eats but if she displays any symptoms, I can at least check them on here, if I am lucky enough to identify the cause. I would only do this after first going to the vet, as some of the symptoms can be pretty severe and life threatening.

If you suspect toxicity immediately call

ASPCA Animal Poison Controll Center

(888) 426-4435

It is not always easy to tell when poisoning has taken place, because symptoms can vary widely. This list is only a few of the most common.

Symptoms of plant toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Trouble breathing
  • Loss of appetite

Without intervention, significant kidney damage or system poisoning can occur and this can be life threatening.

It is best to seek medical help in these instances.

For immediate intervention in highly toxic plants, sometimes you can induce vomiting. Ipecac can do this as well as placing some table salt on the back of the tongue. Sometimes feeding a small amount before hand helps this. For less dangerous plants, you may be able to simply flush the mouth. All of this is appropriate ONLY after communicating with a vet because in some cases inducing vomiting can actually make the problem worse. Pet CPR is an important thing to learn, especially if you have a puppy. Many of these toxins may affect breathing.

Even though 400 plants sounds like a lot, in comparison to how many species of plants we see everyday, this number is not actually so high. This is definitely good news!

Below is a list of some common types of plants to look out for that pose significant risk.

Toxic plants:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Iris
  • Baby’s breath
  • Geranium
  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Chrysanthium
  • Daffodil
  • Hydrangea
  • Morning glory

Plants that are ok to induce vomiting for:

  • Mistletoe and berries
  • Lillies (most types)
  • Yew
  • English Ivy
  • Crown of thorns
  • Foxglove
  • Larkspur
  • Lily of the valley
  • Monkshood
  • Oleander
  • Belladonna
  • Datura
  • Henbane
  • Jessamine
  • Jimsonweed
  • Holly
  • Rhubarb
  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Tulip bulbs
  • Wisteria bulbs

Plants that are NOT ok to induce vomiting for:

  • Azalea
  • Caladium
  • Jerusalem cherry
  • Nightshade
  • Potato (greens or eyes)
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Philodendron
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue/Snake plant

Pesticides and Fertilizers

Almost all pesticides are dangerous but ones containing snail bait (metaldehyde) are considered the worst. Most fertilizers contain heavy metals and/or herbicides etc. that can also be deadly if ingested. One of the biggest concerns with both of these things is indirect ingestion through paw contact and subsequent licking of feet. They do not need to eat them directly to be at risk.

This article was 100% not intended to generate fear. Most dogs go through their entire lives chewing on things without ever encountering a problem. I thought it was important to mention, only because if it does ever happen, the problem can be extremely severe. Immediate action is crucial and it’s a good thing to just keep in mind.

Plants truly make our lives more beautiful. Many even help to purify indoor air! To end things on a more pawsitive note, this is an extremely short list of some of the plants that are the most Dog Friendly!

Dog Friendly Plants, Herbs and Flowers:

  • African violet
  • Hibiscus
  • Corn flower
  • Pansies
  • sage
  • Thyme
  • bamboo
  • Palms
  • Gerbera Daisies
  • Sunflower
  • Zinnia
  • Petunia
  • Alyssum
  • Aster
  • Cilantro
  • Spider plant
  • Boston fern
  • Bromeliad
  • Haworthia succulents
  • Peperomia
  • Blue echeveria
  • Jasmine
  • marigold
  • Snapdragon
  • Impatients
  • Ponytail Palm
  • Rose
  • tiger orchid
  • Wild hyacinth
  • Phalaenopsis orchids
  • Prayer plant
  • Swedish Ivy

And there are SO many more!

This link has even more options with photos to help make the search a little easier!

Dog Safe Plants

Additional Photo guides:

TOXIC:

SAFE:

Natural Wound Care and the Dangers of Hydrogen Peroxide and Neosporin

Hydrogen peroxide and Neosporin are two of the most common household items in our medicine cabinets for treating wounds. While these may be fine for humans, they can actually be very dangerous and detrimental for treating animal wounds.

First, I must start by stating that I am not a vet. The information here is based on my own life experience and independent research. This is meant for minor cuts only. For anything more serious it is ALWAYS best to see a vet. This includes puncture wounds because while they may be small, they could be hazardous even if the animal that caused them had no known diseases.

Ok, so now back to minor cuts and why it’s not good to use hydrogen peroxide!

The number one reason for this is that while killing bacteria it also kills the body’s natural healing cells. These cells are called fibroblasts, and they are crucial to proper wound healing. The gratifying fizz effect is not only killing off bacteria but skin cells as well. In a pinch, it can be used for immediate attention but only when diluted. I would also flush with water afterwards because you definitely do not want your dog licking this!

How to properly clean a wound

  1. Stop the bleeding. Applying pressure with a piece of gauze or something like it should do this effectively. If this doesn’t work relatively quickly it’s time to get to the vet, immediately!
  2. Remove as much hair around the wound as you can with a simple pair of clippers (no razors). This will allow the area to heal faster undisturbed.
  3. Flush the area. Saline or even water is great for getting rid of dirt or debris. Pressurized washes are ideal. There are many “wound washes” but a saline eye wash will work just fine in a pinch. I just use a squeeze bottle with a pin hole opening and it works very well.
  4. Now it’s time to disinfect.

My favorite method is simply to continue with saline. Repeated flushes with warm water and saline until the area looks clean should be entirely adequate and making a saline solution couldn’t be easier. There are many methods out there. I use this one:

1. 1 cup of boiling water poured into a bowl

2. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stir to dissolve and leave it to cool.

It is always good to make a fresh solution each time you need it or one per day, but every two days would most likely be fine also.

Another method is

1. Using approximately one level teaspoonful (5 mls) of salt (or Epsom salts) 2. Added to two cups (500 mls) of water.

Both are effective.

I use this twice daily until the wound is healing, then once gently until it’s healed.

Another method that I’ve seen used in cases where wounds seem dirtier or when people just want extra peace of mind is:

Povidone iodine or Bentadine:

I am not a big fan of this but I do keep it in the house. It’s very important to remember to dilute it to a 1% solution. I wound use this in the beginning maybe but then switch to saline. (Also note that some animals can be allergic so it’s a good idea to test it before continued use.)

It is technically considered safe if an animal licks a small amount, so I am slightly more comfortable with this option.

The other commonly used wound care option is Chlorhexidine. I am not a fan of this. When used properly and in a solution form only (not a soap or scrub) it may be safe. If it is diluted to no more than .05% and made with “diacetate” salt and NOT “gluconate” salt, it can be an appropriate day 1 option. My biggest issue here is that it is 100% not safe to lick. It contains hibitane which is very hazardous when ingested and is an irritant to skin, eyes and nose when inhaled. I also have seen studies that show that repeated or prolonged exposure to chlorhexidine soap can cause serious organs damage. I know this is not a study done on the solution version but I still don’t like it.

Next, it’s time to

5. Dry the area and keep an eye on it.

Gauze bandages can help protect large wounds. Infection can happen at any stage so it’s important to keep checking.

6. Clean once or twice a day. You can gently massage it as it’s healing with a piece of saline soaked gauze. It is actually best to remove scab tissue during the healing process because it actually speeds up healing quite a bit. This doesn’t mean rip, which could cause more damage, but rather soaking and massaging until it’s ready to come off.

Aftercare

Ok, now it’s time to discuss

Neosporin

(Or polysporin)

I’ve had problems with Neosporin when treating myself because each and every time, my wounds got worse! I know a lot of people also use it on dogs, so I thought it was worth investigating.

First of all, it is made of petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly originates from crude oil, which is toxic to skin. It also forms a film on the skin surface that slows down the healing process and prevents the wound from closing fast. Also, continued use of things containing antibiotics leads to stronger and more resistant bacteria. Then there’s the simple fact that most dogs will lick anything greasy, which creates additional trauma to the wound and prolongs healing. It is not healthy for them to ingest this either!

A lot of people prefer using nothing. In many cases this is the best method. (I stop the licking though at all costs because I know first hand this is always counterproductive to healing!)

For larger wounds that may need more care, I use a healing balm that I made myself. Colloidal silver is also wonderful. I’ve also tried plain old coconut oil and had great success! Although there are many great products on the market, I have learned the hard way not to just trust something because it says natural or organic. I still research the ingredients and one that I like a lot is resQ organics.

ResQ Organics (green label) makes an incredible product with manukora honey that I LOVE! It’s soothing, great for healing, safe to eat and helps heal any issue very fast!

Many people advise against the use of essential oils because they are not always safe when in contact with the blood stream. I support this entirely, when they are undisclosed, because it’s not worth the risk. However there are safe alternatives that can help relieve pain and speed up the healing process.

Healing Sprays And Rubs

For minor wounds, helichrysum, niaouli, sweet marjoram and lavender are all considered safe. (If you are unfamiliar with Helichrysum oil, it’s an antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal and an anti-inflammatory just to name a FEW of it’s qualities. It’s amazing, and very worth checking out!)

There are more safe and healthy oils but I have a recipe for a natural

wound care spray that is:

120 ml base oil (coconut, olive, almond, jojoba etc)

4 drops helichrysum oil

5 drops niaouli oil

5 drops sweet marjoram

10 drops lavender oil

This can be used directly on an open wound to clean and treat.

For AFTER the wound has closed, I have a natural disinfectant spray recipe that is also great for stings, bites, rashes and poison ivy. It is always best to use this in moderation and no more than one or two weeks max, but it can be a lifesaver!

240 mls water

5 drops eucalyptus oil

5 drops lemongrass

2 drops cinnamon

Shake well

For scar tissue (that can be problematic down the road) I use

30 mls sweet almond oil

1 drop bergamot oil

1 drop German chamomile oil

1 drop helichrysum oil

1 drop rose oil

1 drop patchouli oil

10 drops vitamin E oil

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and massage into healing scar tissue (I use this on myself as well)

For paw pad injuries:

Anti-inflammation and moisturizing wound care:

30 mls extra virgin coconut oil

2 drops rose hip oil

1-2 drops rose oil

1 drop helichrysum oil

Massage into paws as they heal from small cuts scratches or abrasions.

I used these and like them a lot but I can’t help but mention here my version of the gold standard, which is Dr. Dobias’ healing spray. The ingredients here along with resQ organics helped inspire my own healing balm. (I am holding off on sharing that recipe only because… quite frankly I lost it! We moved recently and I know that it is somewhere. When I find it I will make a separate post because I was blown away at how great it worked even on my own cuts!)

Dr. D.’s

Healing Spray

“BASED ON EUROPEAN TRADITION, MADE FROM THE FINEST HERBS

Calendula is used topically for healing wounds, acne, reducing inflammation, soothing irritated tissue and to control bleeding. It has antiviral, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Hydrastis (Goldenseal) is considered a great natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial herb and is often used to boost the medicinal effects of other herbs.

Witch Hazel has astringent properties and reduces inflammation and swelling by shrinking and contracting blood vessels back to their normal size. It is also used to treat acne, bruises and insect bites.

Yucca is used to treat skin lesions, sprains, inflammation and to stop bleeding. It is also beneficial in the treatment of arthritis and joint pain.

Skin Spray is non-toxic, all natural and contains no chemicals or preservatives. It can be used for the whole family – children, adults and all pets.”

So, there you have it! That’s how we treat minor wounds now and I can’t express enough how much better things heal! My dog recently lost a dew claw. It was bad! She even needed minor surgery. After the bandages came off, she kept reopening her wound, so I had to keep it covered. In the past I used prescription cleaners. This time, I went all natural (not against the vet’s advice) and it made SUCH a significant difference, I will never go back. We don’t take chances, we see our vet, but when it comes to managing small injuries, we finally have a plethora of solutions that work incredibly well for my whole family!

Safe Ways To Store Food In The Freezer Without Plastic

For years now, I’ve being hearing all the negative studies and chatter going on about the dangers of storing food in plastic. I always used to use Debbie Myers Tupperware without a care, but these just gave me a false sense of security. Even BPA free plastic is considered unsafe. All plastic leaches chemicals and many have proven to be even worse than BPA! I knew this, but at the time I only really had to worry about refrigerated items and making the switch to glass and silicone was pretty easy.

Now as a raw feeder I’m a lot more concerned. First of all we need to freeze EVERYTHING! Second, freezing and thawing items in plastic is a lot more dangerous because the process of freezing and thawing causes a lot more toxins to be released. Third, dog’s are more sensitive to these toxins than humans are. Fourth, my dog gets enough toxic chemicals just from her heart worm pill and Fifth, this is her FOOD!

I know most people use ziplocks and call it a day. They see no ill effects and everyone is fine. For the items I buy that are already frozen, I don’t have a choice. If I want duck necks, my local butcher is never going to have them, so I’m forced to either buy them as they are (in plastic) or not have them at all. What I CAN do however is change the container when I get them. It may not do a whole lot at this point, but it’s worth a try. The other thing I can do is transfer all the fresh meat I buy immediately before freezing and gain at least some measure of safety that way. Some people can take their own contains to buy the meat. Currently our supplier is not set up that way or I would do that also.

Then comes the issue of the freezer itself. Space is problematic and I really need to make the most of every inch. I know I have some good containers that can technically go in the freezer but they are not meal size portions and it’s important not to defrost too much at a time. This led me to finding a better solution.

The best way to store small items in the freezer

Answers pet food uses milk cartons. I love this idea plus they are recyclable. I own some bags that are paper and waxed on the inside. My problem is I’m not 100% confident about what the wax is made of in these. The ways to buy them are limited and I’ve yet to see a decent explanation of what’s inside. I’m sure there are safe waxed boxes and bags out there, I just haven’t found them yet. I also need things that are reusable!

Reusable options

Silicone is not only great in the fridge, but works awesome in the freezer too. These containers are also collapsible, so if they are not full they can be pressed down without risk of breaking open.

They are also expensive, so my next thought was silicone freezer bags! They are a great option for items that are very moist. There are a TON of brands that make them and many you can even vacuum seal! It is however important to research the source a bit. I haven’t found a favorite yet but when I do I’ll update this! My problem here is again economical. I would love to use more of these but I will have to reserve them for wet items only.

Glass is another great option. I think I like glass the most in general. These in particular come in a good variety of sizes and have silicone lids. They make a lot now also for baby food which is too small in most cases, but because of this the options are widening.

Mason jars are awesome too and they make silicone lids now that fit any bowl, but I just don’t have the space. I will use the jars for bone broth though.

All of these are expensive methods however. I don’t have the budget for this many containers of either kind. That led me to finding my two new favorite things!

Natural parchment paper and one that’s even better because it’s reusable is

Beeswax storage paper The obvious problem with these is the fact that there is no seal. Freezer tape doesn’t cut it. To remedy this I would prefer to double wrap but with so many meals to freeze, this just isn’t economical. I choose to fit a week of wrapped food inside one glass container. I just happen to be a glass fan, but Stainless steel would work great too. This remedies both freezer burn and leakage. (Many people double wrap with tin foil but this worries me.) For the items that are longer term stores, I will also use the parchment and wrap a lot heavier.

Another great idea is using muffin tins. You can fill them with meals and cover them with the bees wrap. My dog’s meals are a bit too large, so this options out for us, but I’m sure it would work great for someone!

If you’re really ambitious, you can make your own beeswax paper much cheaper. I haven’t tried this yet but I really want to! Homemade beeswax wrap

One day I hope to be able to invest in 100% glass or maybe silicone… I’d like to see more studies done on it first though. I feel like silicone is just too new. I also hope to get a second freezer. Until then however, I’m just doing my best!

There is a movement towards plastic free options. Blogs like My Plastic Free Life are making a difference and spreading information. My hope is that in the years to come it will be easier to accomplish this!