Raw Dog Diary 1/14/18

Happy New Year everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve published anything, which I feel terrible about. I have been learning a LOT and really hope to start sharing again very soon! I’m taking additional on-line classes and reading so much right now, I’ve gotten slightly overwhelmed but I am hopefully going to be in a better position to offer good information once my schedule slows down. When I started this blog, I wrote only about things that I knew very well. Now my goals are to become more educated so that what I say can have the greatest impact for good. I’m struggling to begin for a few reasons but one is that I really don’t want to scare anyone out of raw feeding because I’m making it look too complicated. It truly isn’t and none of what I’m doing now is necessary for someone to do it. For example, analyzing every vitamin and mineral, making my own fermented vegetables and studying food data banks, is in no way needed to prepare raw dog food. I want to share articles that hold good info without making it seem necessary for those who are beginners. Hopefully over time that will come across. I really only started all of this to help spread awareness about companion animal health and to insert my voice as one that stands against what’s been done to them by the pet food industry. They have even badly influenced veterinary medicine and it’s simply not ok. My efforts are to help pet parents keep they’re animals healthy by providing some useful information and maybe bring awareness to an industry that has become so corrupt. That being said, this is still the raw dog diary section, so I just want to update that things have been going very well! Jersey Girl is still super picky but then again she always was that way lol it probably won’t change. Fasting is a good way for her system to detox in between meals anyway so it’s a great way to allow her to be hungry enough to try things she often ends up loving! We also finally found an amazing vet! I’m studying a lot of natural medicine myself for home use but I will never be a vet, so to finally have someone in our corner is one of the best feelings there is! I don’t have much to share other than the quick update and promise of more to come!

Love and puppy kisses from Jeanne & Jersey Girl

As an aside, I know the last article I wrote was kind of angry. It was anger directed at kibble and the pet food industry. I may have gotten a little too heated when I wrote it. It was not intended to say anything bad about those who feel that they can adequately do homemade vegan diets. It will never be my first choice for dogs but I felt bad when I saw all of the anger that article contained, it is 100% not my intention! I’m here because I love animals and everyone else who loves them too!

Raw Dog Diary 11/12/17

Another busy week but we’re making progress! On tap for this week is:

  • Unconventional oils such as black seed and CBD
  • Colloidal silver

Along with at least 15 other things that I’m currently researching.

It’s been a lot of computer time for Jersey Girl to endure but I’ve been doing better with the walks! It’s gorgeous out now so we do an hour minimum. It’s no where near the exercise we used to get but it’s better than it was!

The biggest news this week was that we finally found a holistic vet! They all seem so busy I was afraid we’d never get an appointment, but we finally got one for the end of the month. It’s good timing because I really want to change her heart worm pill and that’s usually when she takes it. I love living in Florida but the heartworm meds are a problem. I am 100% holistic except for this and I hate that. I’m really praying for some answers! I’m also interested in seeing her most recent blood work. I finally got a glucose/keytone reader (that we’ve yet to use lol) but that’s not my primary concern, so hopefully we’ll have a good experience with this new vet!

She’s finally being open minded and eating all of her meals!! For a while it was only the farmers market items but now it’s everything and I am so thrilled!

I’m starting official classes in canine nutrition soon so I am probably going to be blogging less but hopefully I’ll also have a lot more to share!

Best wishes to you and your fur family and love always,

Jeanne & Jersey Girl

Mushrooms for Dog Health

When it comes to mushrooms for dogs, my general rule of thumb has always been, “when in doubt, go without”. The truth is, there are MANY different species of mushrooms. There are some that are toxic to dogs and people also, however, there is a reason people still eat mushrooms, and its not just because they like them. Mushrooms can be a powerhouse of nutrition and have been used for centuries in medicine. When I kept seeing dog “immunity blend” vitamins with mushrooms in them, I decided this was something definitely worth looking into.

While I would never trust a mushroom that I found outside, most of the mushrooms that you will find at the grocery store are also safe for dogs. That being said, not all mushrooms are created equal. Some mushrooms are worth a lot more than others health-wise. Because my dog’s not particularly interested in veggies, if I am going to incorporate mushrooms in my vegetable blends or broths, I want them to be worth the effort. Immunity blends can be great, but I prefer whole foods and unless my dog has a specific need for a blend, I always prefer to go the homemade route. There are a number of vitamins, minerals, biologically active compounds and fungal enzymes in mushrooms that can help with things like:

  • Immune system health
  • Digestive health
  • Detox
  • Respiratory health
  • Joint health
  • Normal cell growth

Some mushrooms are easier to find than others, so I also have a list below of whole-foods based supplements that might be helpful for those varieties that are not as easy to buy locally. Blends can also be beneficial because many contain important nutrient dense parts of the mushroom like the mycelium, that you just can’t buy in a store because they are cut in order to sell.

As with everything, moderation is key. Not all vitamins are beneficial in high amounts. Vitamins A, C and D for example can become toxic at certain levels, so it’s best to be aware of how mush your dog is getting combined with their other food per day. The benefit of buying store-bought mushrooms is that a lot of them have nutrition facts that can give you a general idea of how many vitamins you are dealing with at a time. The easiest to find beneficial varieties that can either be grown at home or found at most stores are shiitake, maitake, reishi, and button.

Shiitake: 

Most notable attribute: They are a symbol of longevity in humans and have health benefits for dogs as well. They are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods.

Additional benefits: They contain: protein, zinc, copper, thiamin, folate, selenium, iron, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, manganese, pathothenic acid, niacin, vitamin D and dietary fiber. They also contain more than 50 enzymes including pepsin, which aids in digestion.

Maitake: 

Most notable attribute: They are one of the most medicinal mushrooms on earth. They have a host of healing qualities and have been called an anti-cancer agent.

Additional benefits: Regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and immunity enhancing. Due to the unique chemical structure of its ploysccharide compound it has proven to be a strong tumor suppressant. They contain protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium and vitamin D.

Reishi: These mushrooms come in a variety of colors but those that are purple, black, yellow, blue, white and red are the most beneficial. Red is the most common.

Most notable attribute: It helps reduce fatigue, bone marrow suppression and risk of infection especially for those undergoing chemo therapy radiation.

Additional attributes: They are used to relieve allergies, support cardiovascular health, improve digestion, improve the immune system, aid in detox, improve cognition, healthy respiration, they are anti-inflammatory and increase energy. They are rich in polysaccharides, polypeptides, 16 amino acids, organic acids coumarin and micro elements. They contain protein, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, choline, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, omega 6, and selenium.

Button aka White mushrooms: 

Most notable attribute: They contain antioxidants that are not destroyed through cooking.

Additional benefits: These mushrooms have growth cycles that produce Button (can be white or brown), then Crimini and finally Portobello. The nutritional values vary between growth cycles but they all contain all of the B vitamins except 12, protein, fiber, omega 6, vitamin C, vitamin D, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid, choline, betaine, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium.

Other beneficial mushrooms:

These are much more rare but worth getting in a supplement:

Lion’s Maine: Helps improve memory.

King Trumpet: Anti-oxidant, maintains healthy cholesterol levels and contains high levels of l-ergothioneine, selenium and beta-glucans.

Turkey Tail: Promotes immune, digestive, urinary and respiratory health as well as normal cellular growth. This is because of a a particular polysaccharide called PSK.

Chaka: An immune nourisher, cancer preventive, and an aid to those dealing with melanomas.

Coriolis: Maintains, protects and restores immune health.

Himematsutake: Immune support and cellular growth. Related to the button mushroom.

Cordyceps: Restores stress from aging, supports healthy energy, circulation, respiratory health and healthy cholesterol.

A Brief Description Of What Makes Mushrooms So Valuable:

  • Beta-glucans and Proteoglycans: Two of the most biologically active compounds that support the immune system. Beta-glucans in mushrooms are exceptional because they are large, complex long-chain molecules made up of polysaccharides. Proteoglycans are special protein found in connective tissue. They also contain other bioactive compounds such as: alpha-glucans, pectins, ribonucleases, peptides, lectins, ubiquitin-like proteins, enzymes and antioxidants.
  • Digestive enzymes: Protease- digests proteins and aids in detox. Lipase- helps digest fat. Cellulase- breaks down fiber, promotes bowl health and regularity. Amylase– breaks down starch into sugar and supplies energy. This is important because unlike humans, dogs don’t produce this in their saliva and they need it to absorb nutrients from vegetables.
  • Antioxidants: Mushrooms contain many antioxidants including polyphenols and selenium but they are unique sources of the most powerful antioxidants which make them truly exceptional. One is L-ergothioneine. This is now called the “master antioxidant” because it can be transported throughout the body to fight free radicals and oxidative stress. Mushrooms are the only producer of this anti-oxidant. Unless your dog can receive some through grass fed cows that happen to be eating grass that was fertilized by these mushrooms, they will not be getting any at all. It’s ability to target and fight oxidative stress, protect cellular DNA and protect against free radical damage that speeds up aging, makes this a vital source of health and longevity. They also help prevent cancer and allergies.
  • Protein: Maintains healthy bodily functions and provides energy fuel. Protein is necessary for all aspects of growth, development and immune health. This is because it contains amino acids and the body cannot produce every one that is essential on its own. They must come through diet and protein quality is based not on the amount of protein itself, but the number of essential amino acids that it contains.
  • Manganese: Regulates carbohydrate and protein intake and fortifies the skeletal system. It is also essential for certain enzymes in the body responsible for the production of energy and making fatty acids. Excess levels of calcium and phosphorus can interfere with the absorption of manganese in the digestive tract. Manganese toxicity is virtually unheard of but deficiencies can lead to significant skeletal abnormalities and increase the likelihood of injury.
  • B vitamins: Water-soluable vitamins necessary for cell metabolism. B1 (thiamin) promotes nerve and muscle health. Niacin promotes essential enzyme production. Pantothenic acid enables the body to produce useable forms of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. B6 (pyridoxine) helps the body utilize amino acids and is essential to life. Folic acid and B12 are necessary for bone marrow and bone health because they help the marrow produce red blood cells. Biotin is necessary for growth, digestion and muscle function, it also is important in maintaining skin and hair health. B vitamin toxicity is virtually nonexistent because the vitamins are not stored within the body. Because of this, it is important that they are provided through diet.
  • Vitamin D: A Fat-soluable vitamin necessary for bone formation, nerve and muscle control. It balances phosphorus and calcium and regulates these in the blood stream, allowing calcium to be utilized and retained. Vitamin D is an important part of a dogs diet because they cannot produce it on their own. Vitamin D toxicity is very rare but could have a negative effect by causing calcium deposits in the heart, muscles and other soft tissue.
  • Vitamin C: (Ascorbic acid) A water-soluble vitamin that boosts the immune system, speeds healing, promotes bone formation and can decrease joint pain. It also fights viral diseases, bacterial infections and is an anti-carcinogen. Vitamin C is not an essential vitamin for dogs because they can produce it on their own but deficiencies can happen on occasion. Because it is water-soluble, it is considered safe and too much usually just causes diarrhea.
  • Riboflavin: Also known as B 2 is a water-soluble coenzyme that regulates the energy production from fats, maintains cells and helps the body utilize amino acids. It is essential to growth, muscle development and skin and coat health. As with the other B vitamins, it is not stored within the body and must be present in the diet.
  • Vitamin A: A fat-soluble vitamin that promotes eye, skeletal and muscle health. This is a good vitamin for dogs because they easily convert it into a usable form. This is an especially important vitamin for growing puppies. The chances of toxicity are low with this vitamin but as with all fat-soluble vitamins it should still be avoided.
  • Potassium: Regulates hydration and proper fluid balance throughout the body and maintains the nervous system. Potassium is necessary for proper enzyme function, muscles and nerves. Digestive disturbances (like diarrhea) can lead to potassium deficiency which can be very dangerous. Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea should always be checked by a vet. As long as the kidneys are properly functioning, potassium toxicity is very rare. If the adrenal glands are not functioning properly, however, blood potassium levels can reach dangerous levels and cause addison’s disease. Dietary potassium may exacerbate this condition but it is not the cause of this disease.
  • Selenium: A trace mineral that should be used in limited amounts. It is an antioxidant that works with vitamin e and certain enzymes to promote heart and skin health. It also helps prevents arthritis and cancer. Selenium deficiency is very rare in dogs because they usually get an adequate amount in their diet. In rare cases, if dietary intake is in excess of 0.9 mg per pound of food eaten, over time, toxicity may occur and symptoms such as hair loss, anemia, liver failure or lameness may occur.
  • Iron: A mineral that increases the production of red blood cells. This helps maintain bone marrow and prevents anemia. Iron is necessary for certain enzymes in the body to function normally. Iron also combines with copper and protein to produce hemoglobin (the molecules in red blood cells that carry oxygen). The body needs a constant supply to maintain red blood cells, as they need to be replaced in the body every 110 days. Iron toxicity in dogs is extremely rare but can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb phosphorus.
  • Phosphorus: A mineral that works with calcium, that is vital to bone development. Together they maintain the growth and structure of the skeletal system. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be about 1:1 or 1.2:1 in favor of slightly more calcium. Because calcium is the mineral that is required in the highest amount, phosphorus is number two. Phosphorus deficiency is very rare in dogs. Too much phosphorus is more common and can accelerate kidney failure or renal disease. Because the calcium to phosphorus ratio is so important in dog health, its important to pay special attention to the amounts of both in each food. Excess or deficiency of either can cause problems. There are some foods that have a natural balance, like green tripe, but not most. For this reason, out of all of the items on this list, this is the one I would pay attention to most. Imbalance over time can cause skeletal problems that can be very severe. There should not be enough present in mushrooms to cause an issue, but it’s a good thing to be aware of.
  • Dietary fiber: Carbohydrates that aid in the metabolism of nutrients by regulating the digestive track allowing for better nutrient absorption. Fiber also lowers blood sugar and prevents the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the digestive track. Fiber can help with weight management, reduce the chance of diarrhea, constipation and diabetes.

Water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues but not stored. If they are in excess, they simply pass through usually with minimal side effects or slight digestive upset.

Fat-soluable vitamins are the ones to pay close attention to. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body for long periods of time for further use. For this reason, the body doesn’t need theses vitamins every day. They are mainly stored in the liver and fatty tissue. They are essential to health but when eaten in excess they can cause toxicity.

How To Use Mushrooms:

When dealing with mushrooms at home, it is always best to cook them. It is also safest to buy organic and wash them throughly before using, to get rid of any possible pesticides. The easiest way for a dog to digest mushrooms is to cook them and cut them up, puree or make them into a broth. The broth may lose some nutritional value but it also helps release some of the nutrients. They are more likely to get a higher concentration especially if they are not interested in eating them.

I mostly add them to purees or make broths and save the mushrooms for our dinner.

There is much more to the story! I tried to cover a manageable amount here, but mushrooms are really amazing. I will be interested to see what else there is to learn!

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Some Good Mushroom Blends To Increase Immunity:

Dr. Mercola

Well Pet Dispensary

BIXBI

Mush

Canine Matrix-Turkey Tail

Canine Matrix blend

In an effort to be responsible I wanted to be sure to add a bit about which mushrooms are most toxic. Generally these may only be found on occasion outside, but I consider all outside mushrooms to be dangerous.

This is from PetMD:

Poisonous mushrooms for dogs include the following types:

Liver toxic mushrooms

– Amanita phalloides (Death Cap Mushroom)

– Amanita ocreata (Angel of Death)

– Lepiota (False Parasol)

– Galerina

Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

– Conocybe

– Gymnopilus

– Psilocybe

– Panaeolus

Toadstool Mushrooms

– Amanita pantherina (Panther Cap)

– Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)

Mushrooms Containing Muscarinic Agents

– Inocybe

– Clitocybe

False Morel Mushrooms

– Gyromitra esculenta (Beefsteak)

– Gyromitra caroliniana

– Mushrooms in the Verpa genre

– Mushrooms in the Helvella genre

Mushrooms That Cause Gastrointestinal Distress

– Boletus

– Chlorophyllum

– Entolomo

Find out more information on mushrooms that are poisonous to dogs.

Golden Paste

If you’ve been doing much searching through dog supplements lately, there’s a good chance you’ve run across golden paste at some point. So,

What is Golden Paste?

For the most part, golden paste aka golden milk, is just a fast way of saying: Turmeric made into an absorbable form. This means its ready to serve because its already been combined with the ingredients necessary for maximum absorption.

Way back when, I used to have to mix it in with other ingredients every time I made my dog a meal. Now I save huge amounts of time by making a whole lot of it and sticking the excess in the freezer. You can even pre-portion using ice cube trays! I usually just use a measuring spoon, but either way, is super easy and convenient!

What is Golden Paste Good For?

Golden Paste, or turmeric, is good for many different reasons. Most commonly, it is used to reduce pain and inflammation. This is because it is a natural and effective anti-inflammatory. The reason this is the number one reason for so many people is due to the drastic increase in joint problems in dogs today. Dogs as young as 2 are being diagnosed with arthritis at an alarming rate. Diet is mostly responsible for this, but regardless of the reason, the pain level can be debilitating. For many dogs, this paste replaces the need for any medication! This simple golden paste has improved the quality of life for these dogs so much that is has gotten the attention of a lot of people. Fortunately, we don’t have joint issues yet, but we still use golden paste daily for the other amazing benefits it provides:

  • It helps prevent arthritis because it is an anti-inflammatory
  • It helps prevent and even treat cancer
  • Heart health because it prevents blood clots from forming
  • It aids in digestion
  • It protects the liver from toxins
  • Its a powerful antioxidant, slows aging and increases lifespan
  • Improves memory and healthy brain function

Dogs That Should Avoid Using Turmeric:

  • Dogs with diabetes
  • Dogs that are prone to kidney stones
  • Dogs taking drugs for acid indigestion or who take aspirin
  • Dogs getting ready to have surgery

*Water should always be fed with turmeric to reduce chances of constipation and all dogs should start with low level doses and work their way up to prevent diarrhea.

In my article just on turmeric, I go into further detail about the benefits of turmeric for dogs. These are just a few.

*And I almost forgot, one of the best parts of this recipe is, you can eat it too! Turmeric is just as good for people! I just put some on a spoon and mix it with honey but it can also be added to recipes and many different foods to add flavor!

How Do You Make Golden Paste?

This is the BEST part! It is so easy! For a very simple and basic paste, all you need is:

  • Turmeric powder
  • Coconut Oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Water

That is literally ALL that you really need to make a fabulous golden paste. I personally also add:

  • Bone Broth
  • Ceylon Cinnamon

I do this for a few different reasons. One is to add additional healthy nutrients and fats from the bone broth. I also find that it helps a lot with the consistency of my paste. The second, is that the cinnamon prevents breath odor afterwards. The smell is most commonly related to cat pee, and quite frankly, this is just not pleasant. The cinnamon takes care of that immediately!

*It is important to note here that it is crucial to use ceylon cinnamon. This is because cassia cinnamon (the most common) contains a toxin called coumarin. This could have a significantly negative effect on a dogs liver. The added ceylon cinnamon on the other hand is full of a long list of added benefits including:

  • It is an excellent source of manganese. Manganese helps activate enzymes that are essential to building healthy bones. These enzymes also aide in metabolism.
  • It is a very good source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium.
  • It helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps control blood sugar
  • Help control yeast (prevent candida)
  • It is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and an e-coli fighter
  • Prevents gum disease
  • It is an antioxidant

Used in small doses, these effects are minimal but still a good reason to include some in the batch!

I should also mention, some of the reasons for adding bone broth. 

  • Joint health (contains glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid)
  • Liver detox
  • Digestive health
  • Immune system health
  • Rich source of nutrients, amino acids, protein, vitamins and minerals

For an easy recipe on how to make bone broth and some of its additional benefits, I wrote about this here.

Golden Paste Recipes:

There are a TON of variations on these, but two that I find to be the most basic and reliable are:

Small Batch

  1. 1/2 C Organic Turmeric Powder (organic is higher in curcumin which is the active ingredient
  2. 1 – 1 1/2 C filtered water
  3. Mix together in a pan over medium/low heat for about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens (if too thick or watery you can adjust the water or turmeric levels to smooth it out)
  4. Turn off heat and add: 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground organic black pepper (NEVER table pepper) and 1/4 C organic coconut oil (optional: also add 1 tsp ceylon cinnamon and instead of using 1/4 C coconut oil you can add 2 tbs coconut oil and 2 tbs bone broth)
  5. Mix everything together or blend with a whisk and your DONE!

This should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Large Batch

Now, I also make bigger batches with:

  1. 6 C water brought to a boil
  2. 3 C turmeric added in slowly while stirring
  3. 1 C coconut oil
  4. 1 C bone broth, mix in well
  5. 2 tbs ceylon cinnamon, 3 tbs fresh ground black pepper
  6. Mix well until paste is smooth
  7. Store

*Ginger can also be added to improve taste.

This lasts me a very long time and I love that! This is because it does not take a lot of this per meal to make an impact.

How to Use Golden Paste

It’s important to know that turmeric leaves the body quickly, so if you feed your dog twice a day it’s always best to split doses between both meals.

Feeding guidelines vary because every dog and condition is different, but general guidelines are:

Added to meals or mixed with some kefir or plain yogurt:

Start with:

1/4 tsp per day for small dogs

1/2 tsp per day for medium dogs

3/4 tsp per day for large dogs

1 tsp per day for very large dogs

Over time, as your dogs system adjusts, you can start doubling these amount up to 3 times. My dog is 25 lbs and we use about 1 tsp per day, but every dog is different. For dogs using it for pain management, they might need slightly more, so it’s always best to ask your vet.

You can also buy turmeric in supplements. Just be sure to check the ingredients (black pepper or piperine is crucial) and feed with an oil for absorption. It’s also good to check before adding it, that your dog isn’t already taking supplements that contain turmeric in them (this could cause diarrhea).

The Honest Kitchen also makes a ready to go version of this already combined with bone broth. They also have a great selection of other instant bone broths.

Below are some additional quick references and recipe guides. All of them are super easy and absolutely worth a try!

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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.

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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!

Facts about Pumpkin and Ways To Use Fresh Leftover Pumpkin!

Every fall we get pumpkins and save the seeds to roast. The ones we carve will spoil but the rest usually just go to waste. This is a shame because pumpkins are an incredible source of vitamins A and C, the antioxidant beta carotene, zinc, iron, soluble fiber and potassium.

*I should note that pumpkins can spoil quickly. Ones left outdoors may not be good options. This is the only time of year they are easy to get, so this isn’t really about recycling old pumpkins, but utilizing ones that were recently bought maybe right around Halloween. (I’d err on the side of caution and say no more than a week old.)

The first thing people always think of in terms of pumpkin is always treating issues related to digestion, but I assure you there is so much more!

Vitamin A is important for vision. Vitamin C aids in joint health and boosts the immune system. Beta carotene is beneficial to healthy aging. *The antioxidants from the carotenoid family (beta-carotene included) are considered especially useful because they are long acting and absorb more effectively into dog’s cell membranes. Zinc helps coat shine and health. Potassium is a blood electrolyte. It’s something to look out for if your dog has a kidney issue because often they need to limit potassium in their diet. Levels of potassium in the blood stream that are too high or too low are an indication of an underlying problem. (A good thing to look out for in a blood test.) In healthy dogs, potassium is great for muscle and blood vessel function as well as regulating the acidity of body fluids. It is also a great way to replace potassium lost during a bout of diarrhea. Soluble Fiber helps weight management because it slows digestion and helps dogs feel fuller longer. It also helps to regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol.

A lot of people keep plain organic pumpkin around in case of tummy trouble because it’s so good at taking care of both constipation and diarrhea. This is because it absorbs water in cases of diarrhea and the high water content and fiber help the stool pass more effectively.

In cases of diarrhea, it’s important to remember that the diarrhea has a cause. When the body is trying to detox or get rid of something harmful, diarrhea is an effective method. It is very unpleasant but it has a purpose. Pumpkin may be good to help reduce symptoms but I would only use very minimal amounts. The fiber it contains is soluble, so it slows digestion and this is not good in detox. I would prefer to use the seeds in this case to aid in cleansing.

Pumpkin also doesn’t work to fix tummy troubles in every dog. Many do better with slippery elm for example (which I’ll discuss in an upcoming article). I personally like to let nature run its course. Diarrhea usually clears up quickly and if doesn’t, after a few days, it’s time to see the vet.

Dosing is also an important factor when adding pumpkin. Too much is not good and dogs don’t need a lot for it to be effective. The use determines the dose, however, it’s always good to ask your vet! I’ve seen 1 tbs to replace every 1/8c of food for weight loss and for stomach upset:

• 0-15 lbs dog: 1-2 tablespoon

• 15-35 lbs dog: 2-4 tablespoons

• 35 lbs dog or more: 2-5 tablespoons

Again these are just very general guidelines and every dog is different. I always err on the side of less especially in this case because it’s so high in carbohydrates.

Now for my favorite part, the seeds! The seeds are a great source of protein and fiber. They are also a natural dewormer. They contain an amino acid called cucurbitin which paralyzes things like parasites and tapeworms and helps them pass out of the system. The oils in them can help support urinary health, help treat kidney stones and aide with incontinence. They are also anti-inflammatory. The best way to use them is ground plain roasted (no salt).

For years I’ve been adding pumpkin to recipes for dog cookies and purées. It’s an easy thing to bake with and many dogs like the flavor. It never occurred to me to make my own because frankly, I had no idea how to cook a pumpkin… until now! This year I opted to get organic pumpkins for a few extra dollars, just so I could try to use them now, but any pumpkin should work just fine.

Because this is my first year trying, I used directions I found on-line by a woman named Kim Cromptom who had it looked at by a certified vet.

“Choose a small to medium size pumpkin and clean well, removing any dirt. Cook the cleaned pumpkin at 375 °F for 45-60 min (pumpkin should be soft). Remove pumpkin and allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes. Chop pumpkin in half, remove seeds and separate the skin from the flesh. Place hot pumpkin flesh in a food processor or mash by hand or with electric beaters.”

Pretty darn easy! I had no idea! I no longer have to buy expensive organic canned pumpkin because I plan to freeze it. Every holiday I love to make themed treats. I know carbs are not ideal for dogs but sometimes you just want to make something cute! This is a healthy way to do that. Whatever is left over I’ll keep around in case I want to add it to a purée. Below are some simple recipes but there are MANY many more and a quick google search will give you more options than you will know what to do with!

Easy Fall Themed Cookies

*Both of these recipes use natural peanut butter (no xylitol) however you can substitute this with bananas and they will come out just as good! I use all organic ingredients when I can. I also have two versions of each. One is with coconut flour (my favorite!) for grain-free and the other is for whole wheat. They are different because of differences in flour absorption but they are basically the same in flavor.

Whole-wheat recipe:

  • 2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 C pumpkin purée
  • 3 tbs natural peanut butter
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F
  2. Mix all ingredients together
  3. Roll thin and cut into desired shapes
  4. Spread out onto a greased cookie tray
  5. Bake for 30 min

(Thickness can affect cooking time so I start checking on them after about 25 min)

Coconut Flour (grain-free) recipe:

  • 1 cup of coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F
  2. Mix pumpkin, eggs and peanut butter in a large bowl
  3. Add in coconut flour and mix well
  4. Roll and cut into desired shapes and place on a greased baking sheet
  5. Bake for 20-25 min (cookie thickness may affect this so I start checking after 20 min)

* A great tip for both recipes is to add 1 tbs of raw honey for flavor and/or 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

The good thing about these recipes is that they are basic and leave room for personalized added touches. I even hide vitamins in mine, they are great for that!

No-Bake Flour-free option:

  • 1/2 C natural peanut butter
  • 1 C natural pumpkin purée
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs raw honey

*optional: rolled oats, these help a lot with easy handling

  1. Mix all ingredients together
  2. Roll into balls (optional: lightly roll through rolled oats)
  3. Place on a parchment lined tray
  4. Place in the refrigerator for about an hour, just so they harden a bit
  5. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator always (2 weeks max)

* In all cases pumpkin can be substituted with sweet potato, some dogs prefer the flavor.

Pupsicles

The size of your ice cube trays or silicone molds sort of determine the amounts here, but the amounts can be easily reduced or doubled.

To fill 1 large tray use:

  • 1 C pureed cooked or canned pumpkin and
  • 1 C pain yogurt (I use raw goats milk yogurt),

(you can also add a ripe banana if your pup likes them!)

  • Fill trays and freeze!

*You can also do this in a Kong

Simple Veggie purée

Trying to pick just one purée recipe is next to impossible because the options for these are endless. This is just one example. I encourage purees because of the ease of digestion and nutrient availability. I didn’t put organic before each item here but as always, organic is definitely the highest quality nutrition and safest option. I also always make sure to wash them.

(Tip: To help get my dog to eat her veggies I usually mix them up pretty well into the rest of her food and don’t give her too much per meal. About 1/4 C or less for a 25 lb dog. Many people also freeze them and their dogs like the crunch!) I also usually add some green Lipped mussels powder into my purées because unlike her other supplements, my dog really hates the taste of these!

  • One bag of baby spinach (at least 5 oz)
  • Two fresh red beet top greens
  • 1 chopped red beet
  • 5 leaves of kale
  • 5 stalks of parsley
  • 1 C puréed pumpkin
  1. Place all items in a blender or food processor (mine is small so I break the recipe in half and combine and stir at the end)
  2. Get to the finest level of purée that you can and

Done!

I’m no culinary expert, that’s for sure, but I hope this provides a good jumping off point! Best wishes and happy fall! Love Jeanne & Jersey Girl