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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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.

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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:

Pet Friendly Household Cleaners

Animals are family. We share our living space with them and we try to make that environment safe for everyone. Plus, they can be messy, they have accidents and don’t clean up after themselves, just like little kids. They need us to keep their environments healthy. I used to believe that clean meant safe, but unfortunately there’s a lot more to it than that.

The Pet Poison Helpline ranked household cleaning products as the sixth most toxic items for dogs. Cats are especially sensitive to phenols and even a small amount absorbed through the skin can be deadly.

There are an increasing number of studies being conducted today, showing direct links between household cleaners and illnesses in dogs and cats. Most people assume that this only relates to situations where the animals have ingested the chemicals directly, but this is not the case. Simple “normal use” exposure is enough to cause very significant damage over time. Paw pads are one of the only places on a dog’s body where they have sweat glands. This means they can absorb the chemicals not only by licking them or inhaling them, but simply by sniffing, walking and laying on the floor. Most of this kind of damage happens very subtly, over a long period of time, and by the time sickness occurs, it is too late to determine the exact cause. Lack of clinical signs early on mean by the time they are present, the animal is already extremely sick. In recent studies, animals that are affected develop some kind of metabolic disease (kidney, liver, or other organ system failure), cancer or some other diseases with similar severity. These diseases are often fatal and prevention means everything!

Another important thing to remember is that if your pet already has allergies, it could actually be these chemicals making them act up.

As concerned pet parents, it’s good to know to what to look out for in the products around the house. According to pet MD, this list is a good start:

  • Phenols (which are typically found in cleaners with the word “sol” in the name)
  • Phthalates (often used in scented products)
  • Formaldehyde (found in general household cleaners)
  • Bleach
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Perchloroethylene (found in rug and carpet shampoos)
  • Amonia
  • Glycol ethers

Watching out for all of this PLUS reading labels, can sound extremely overwhelming. I promise you, it’s not! An easy way to transition, is holding off on the commitment. Keep the cleaning products in your house but just do an experiment. The first thing I tried was just using vinegar… on everything! It was cheap and easy. After a week I figured I would know if this was something I could stick with. I am a germaphobe, keep in mind, so I was skeptical. Luckily it worked! I was surprised by the results and then graduated to making different things. It wasn’t over night, I just started changing things as they came along, and now I can finally say that I feel that my home is safe from BOTH germs and dirt AND toxic chemicals! Plus, now I can make things smell a little better too. Vinegar in particular can leave behind some unpleasant fragrance. I’ve learned just enough about essentials oils now to use them both as cleaning agents and for odor control. After all, it matters to me not only how clean but what my house smells like too!

Some of my favorite easy clean items include:

  1. Vinegar because it is a fabulous disinfectant. Almost any vinegar will work in a pinch, but I chose white distilled because I’m using it for cleaning only. The reason vinegar does this so well is because it contains acetic acid. It has antibacterial and anti fungal properties because it has a pH of 2.0. This kills bacteria and viruses so effectively, that in a study done in 2010 using vinegar vs lysol to kill the flu virus, the two had identical effectiveness. As a raw feeder, I worry about things like E.Coli and they also did a study using it to kill this on surfaces and sponges comparing it to bleach. Once again, the two were identical. It is also an organic compound that is biodegradable, and as we all know, it is completely safe to ingest. Dog’s may not like it, but it will cause them no harm. In household cleaners, it is usually mixed with water and the ratio is based on the task at hand. An example would be a cutting board vs the rest of the house. On the cutting board, I would use 100% vinegar undiluted, but for almost everywhere else a 50/50 blend is more than adequate.

The uses seem to be endless as it has also proven to be an incredible de-greaser, glass and mirror cleaner, wood and metal polish, soap scum remover, fabric softener, wood floor cleaner, ceramic, tile, linoleum or vinyl cleaner, odor eliminator, it can unclog drains, it loosens mineral deposits (lime and rust), stain remover, coffee maker cleaner, used in the kitchen and bathroom, outside, etc.

Citrus juices such as either fresh squeezed or store bought lemon, are often added to amplify and enhance these cleaning properties as well as improve the fragrance. They have natural enzymes that break down organic matter and very similar properties to vinegar in terms of cleaning. Rubbing half a lemon wedge on top of a cutting board for example, is an easy way to sanitize it.  I read somewhere that citrus fragrances are also uplifting so maybe that’s why I love this smell so much!

*Note: Places where vinegar or citrus juice should NOT be used: On marble, terrazzo, travertine and limestone surfaces or floors because the acid may cause damage. Also, never mix vinegar with bleach! (Or bleach with ammonia) This creates an extremely toxic chlorine gas that is potentially fatal to inhale.

2. Baking Soda Also known as sodium bicarbonate, is another easy solution for so many things. For tougher cleaning jobs where something with abrasive qualities is needed, baking soda does an incredible job. Food bowls with dried on messes, countertops, etc. All you have to do is mix it with warm water and a little bit of salt to make a paste. Dry, it is also an incredible odor absorber, and many people keep an open box in their refrigerator just for this reason. I don’t have carpets any more, but it is my favorite pet odor absorber for rugs and fabrics that can be vacuumed. Simply let it sit for 30 minutes and after a vacuum run, the smells will be completely gone. (For tougher carpet stains, instead of baking soda, a vinegar paste can be made with salt. 2 tbs salt and 1/2 C white vinegar can be mixed into a paste, rubber in, left to dry and then vacuumed. If this doesn’t work you can try mixing 1 tbs of vinegar with 1 tbs of cornstarch and letting it dry for two days before vacuuming. These are much healthier solutions to carpet wash because it can be SO dangerous!)

Baking soda is also great to use under kitty litter and it can even be added to freshen up laundry! Plus, it’s edible so it can even be a great doggie toothpaste additive!

3. Coconut oil has very powerful disinfectant properties. It’s great for cutting boards because it also conditions wood. Mixed with baking soda it can remove upholstery stains. I use it to season cast iron and sanitize all wooded utensils. It does all this while moisturizing my skin!

4. Borax, Mineral oil and Castile soap such as Sal Suds (my favorite- this lasts FOREVER!) are some other common household items that are also considered safe.

And finally,

5. Essential oils such as Lemon oil or Lavender oil are considered safe cleaning solution additives. They contain some disinfectant qualities and can improve scent. There are many others, but these are the two most common. I use them mostly to make my own laundry soap. This is important because everything my dog lays on and touches all day, has usually been washed.

Laundry detergent has a huge track record of causing problems for humans. Studies on this involving pets are scarce, but I’m pretty convinced that it’s even more dangerous to them. This is ALL simply related to them breathing in the washed fabrics. If ingested, it can actually be fatal. I make sure that all of my dog’s toys are rinsed in vinegar or washed with organic soap only, and I try to never buy pet products that were made in China, including beds!

A very simple recipe for homemade powdered laundry detergent is:

  • 2 Tbs Sal Suds
  • 1/4 C Baking Soda

Or a recipe from wellness mamma that I like a lot is:

Dry:

  • 1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s (or other natural fragrance-free soap bar) Grated with a cheese grater
  • In a large bowl, mix 2 parts washing soda (sodium carbonate) – Arm and Hammer is a popular one, 2 parts Borax and 1 part grated soap or 1 C of each and one soap bar
  • Store in a closed container and shake before use
  • Use 2 tbs to 1/4 C per load

Liquid:

  • 1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s (or other natural fragrance-free soap bar) Grated with a cheese grater
  • Melt the grated soap in a pan with 2 quarts of water, stir until dissolved
  • Add 4.5 gallons of hot tap water to a large bucket and stir in:
  • 2 cups of Borax and
  • 2 cups of washing soda until completely dissolved
  • Pour melted soap into the bucket and stir well
  • Cover and leave overnight
  • Shake or stir until smooth and pour into containers for storage
  • Use 1/2 C to 1 C per load

*Note: adding 2 Tbs of Sal Suds to these two recipes can help avoid buildup in the washing machine and

I ALWAYS add some white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment because it really works well for that! I also add a lambs wool dryer ball (dryer sheets are horrible!) for extra softness and static cling. You can add essential oils to these recipes, but I just put some on the ball.

I also make my own coconut oil soap that I use in this and to wash my dog with, but thats a separate topic 😉

*Even natural Fragrances and rooms sprays can very taxing to an animal. There are many homemade organic room sprays, without propellant and other added chemicals, that are a better option when lightly used. I prefer to use 100% organic beeswax candles with pure essential oils to accomplish this. The beeswax has air purifying properties and the essential oils are transmitted lightly but effectively. They don’t need to be lit all the time either. When I’m home I often use a candle warmer instead.

For years now, I have been using homemade cleaners for most things around the house, but my introduction to organic cleaners was a little different than most people’s. I started for effectiveness and then stayed for the health benefits! I was living in a house with white tile floors and struggling on a daily basis to keep them clean. I tried every product on the market, and nothing worked! I had a friend who did organic house cleaning for a living. She recommend that I try white vinegar and Sal suds wiped with a towel. I was blown away by the results! It worked so much better than anything I had ever bought and cost pennies per wash.

My reasons for using it now are completely different, but the effectiveness of it is what keeps me from looking elsewhere. Needless to say, my dog licks the floor. If I used a product with bleach for example, it would be extremely dangerous to her over time.

The idea of “going green” is becoming a lot more popular. For the most part, this is great but I’ve also noticed a lot of products entering the market with more creative “green” labels, and less reputable ingredients. As with everything that gets popular, it’s unfortunately something we have to pay attention to, especially considering the fact that many ingredients that are safe for people are not safe for animals as well. I like to buy organic soaps for example, because Castile is too harsh on my skin. I’ve tried and failed to make a good liquid soap, so I buy them where I get groceries. I’m busy and not interested in googling anything, so my rule of thumb is simple. If I don’t recognize it, I don’t buy it, period. Later on if I want to look up an item I will, but on the spot I won’t take a chance. I’ve made the mistake before of thinking that the front of labels were truthful. Most are somewhat accurate, but many had plenty of things in them that just made them expensive versions of chlorox. (Natural laundry soap was a biggest offender here.)

As far as the floor is concerned, I stick with my original formula.

1/2-1 tbs Sal Suds (any Castile soap is fine)

2-4 C distilled white vinegar

Added to a bucket of mop water

I make my own counter sprays just with vinegar and water or some lemon in a spray bottle. I aim for 50/50 but I honestly probably make them stronger now since feeding raw. For hand and dish soap, I usually just buy it from the store. Dr. Bronner’s or Mrs. Meyer’s are my favorite.

An easy dish soap from diy naturals is:

  • 1 3/4 C boiling water added to a bowl with
  • 1 tbs borax
  • 1 tbs grated castile soap (dr. bronner’s is a great one)
  • Add essential oils of your choosing
  • Mix until combined and let cool for 6-8 hours before putting in a squirt bottle and using.

An easy hand and/or dish soap recipe from live simply is:

  • Mix 1/2 C distilled water with 1 tbs white vinegar
  • Add 1/2 C Sal Suds and 1 tbs jojoba, sweet almond, coconut, olive or other moisturizing oil and stir
  • Add mixture to a dispenser
  • Shake before each use

For my dog’s bowls, I use straight vinegar and sometimes baking soda.

I like DIY for quality control, but it can get very time consuming, so I really want to find brands I trust. Right now, its a short list that still a work in progress, but it includes:

Dr. Bronner’s, Mrs. Meyers, Thieve’s, Skout’s Honor, Green Shield, Planet Ultra, Better Life, The Honest Company,  7th Generation, Earth Friendly, Eco Care, Ecover Zero, Emma Eco Me, Planet Natural Detergent, and Gaia. Method and Green Works are ok and a bit easier to find.

We are still in the process of making the switch 100%. My focus started with what’s safe for my dog. Now I’m trying to slowly transition the rest of the house. In addition to this with winter coming, and closed windows, I worry about the air quality. We live near an airport so we’re getting a second air purifier. I also have a list of natural air purifying plants that I hope to share in a future post.

The product swapping can feel like a lot all at once, but over time it starts to become an easier way to live. I hope at least one of these recipes was helpful! Before next year I am hoping to have a lot more of my own recipes to share!

j

Just for laughs… dogs and vacuums! 😉