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!

Dog Supplements: What’s really necessary?

This is a topic I speak about a lot because it’s a question every dog owner comes across. In an effort to not be too redundant, I’m going to try to keep this answer short and to the point.

I break supplements into two main categories:

Maintenance supplements for healthy dogs and

Treatment supplements for dogs that have some kind of issue to treat.

For healthy dogs, the question I get most often is: If you give your dog balanced whole foods, why does your dog need supplements?

The short answer is: She doesn’t. If we were to lose all of our supplements today there’s a good chance she would be ok. I supplement because even whole foods can be deficient in certain things and I do it to prevent future health conditions.

I study supplements on a daily basis and I share what I learn. I don’t give my dog every supplement I research because it would simply be too much.

There is only one supplement that I consider truly necessary for healthy dogs and that is:

FISH OIL

Fish oil is the only thing that she really needs to thrive and cannot produce on her own or get from her food. (Omega 3 essential fatty acids) Even if I were to feed her fish, it simply would not be enough. Because fish oil can potentially also be TOXIC if not sourced correctly, this plays a huge role in it being beneficial.

My favorite article about this is Facts about omega supplements

I also go into more detail about this in a few article but especially here: Fish oil and joint supplements

After fish oil come the non-essential staples for us which are:

Coconut oil

Multi-vitamin

Green mineral supplement and a

Probiotic

I write more about this here: Our supplements

And here: How much is too much?

Sometimes we add things and/or skip days but these are our most important ones.

The number one thing to consider when choosing supplements, is finding a source that you trust. A good holistic vet can help a lot with that as well as what your dog’s unique needs may be. I know a lot of people can’t get this, especially right away so unless there are health issues, there are many holistic vets on-line that offer great information. I choose to follow Dr. Peter Dobias

Dr. Karen Becker is another great choice.

Due to the over-saturation of the vitamin market, it can be incredibly overwhelming to have to find this information out all on your own. There’s so many opinions about everything and many of them are not coming from vets! Following a good holistic vet on-line is the next best thing to in person and it helps weed through the conflicting opinions and information.

For healthy dogs this may be all they ever need. For dogs with health conditions however, I believe a direct consult is a lot more important. I am passionate about holistic vet care because I’ve seen it work miracles in cases where traditional medicine simply fell short. Things such as:

Arthritis

Kidney failure (renal disease)

Liver toxicity and even

Cancer

Have been treated successfully in this way where all the tradition medicine could offer was symptom reduction and pain management. This is why I always suggest holistic care to people who have dogs with chronic conditions. It allows them to have the opportunity to treat the underlying causes of things and achieve full recovery. There are many testimonials of this and every case is different, but especially in the early stages of things, it’s always worth looking into. This is where supplements can go from beneficial to life saving and part of what keeps me writing!

Turmeric for dogs

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

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

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

So, what is Turmeric?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Add 3 cups of organic turmeric powder and stir

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joint Health, Fish Oil, Green Lipped Mussels and Healing Supplements

Dogs are a lot like people when it comes to joint health and arthritis. Some are more prone than others but diet and life style make a huge difference! Staying active and eating healthy are the keys to preventing and treating these debilitating conditions. Not all activity is created equal however and variety is important. A dog who plays fetch obsessively for example is a lot like a professional baseball pitcher. The repetitive use of certain muscles to an unnatural degree is more likely to cause harm to a certain area than a more natural and varied amount of activity. An occasional game of fetch is not bad by any means especially if your dog loves it but a wider variety of movements is better for the body. Running, swimming, hiking and socially frolicking is the most natural movements dogs were built for and changing it up keeps the body in equilibrium. Dogs usually stretch all on their own but massage and physical therapy can be very helpful in dogs especially to help alleviate preexisting conditions. Maintaining muscle mass and regular activity can do as much for the dog as their human companion so it’s a great routine for both parties. It’s mostly common sense but easy to miss due to the busyness of life!

Next comes Diet. This is a more complicated subject but the principals are simple. Healthy food. Because there are almost as many dog diets as their are people diets these days this can mean something different to different people. To me it means my dog eating the food her body is designed to eat. A balanced raw diet. It has been proven to reduce a multitude of heath issues; diabetes, kidney failure and arthritis to name a few. I believe this helps a lot but just like with people, it doesn’t always prevent a condition so it’s not the only answer. Aside from advanced physical therapy when necessary a lot can be done with the help of supplements to both treat and prevent painful arthritis later in life and they seem to be the same for animals and people in different doses. The good thing about this is that human Grade vitamins are often better, there are exceptions of corse and a LOT of snake oil in the industry for both species but typically better options for humans due to regulation and our ability to fight for higher standards. As long as care is taken to examine the ingredients and dosing I try to stick with these unless a canine specific supplement offers something I can’t otherwise find or is extremely transparent and reliable. For joint health I have found that there are many options and brands because a lot of the supplements have multiple uses.

Fish oil for example can be used to treat too many conditions to list, but it can also be toxic, so you have to be very careful about your source. Although different oil concentrations and extractions are directed at different things I believe what counts most for dogs is omega 3. They can’t produce it or get it from most of their food so they need it even more than 6 and 9. Next is DHA & EPA levels and a good source is high in both. Krill oil for example is an oil I am particularly not impressed with for use in dogs. It has low omega 3 and there is no proof yet that any benefit from the antioxidants it contains does a thing (for people either). My other concern is toxins. Our liver can handle more than our dogs so it’s vital that the fish be free of mercury and other things that could weigh heavily on our dogs health. There are a few companies that I’m just ok with like New Chapter, Nordic Naturals and Carlson but the winner in my book is squid. They have the least heavy metal toxicity and provide the highest omega 3 levels that I’ve seen. The only company that I know that carries this and is transparent is Dr. Dobias. He is a holistic vet in Canada that has standards that go above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen. My entire human family uses his fish oil but like I said the purity here is paramount for our dogs. Answers also makes a fermented fish broth that’s a great dietary addition. It doesn’t replace the oil necessarily but it’s bioavailability is key and it’s list of benefits goes beyond what fish oil alone can do.

Next on the list is glucosamine and chondroitin. This is often combined with other supplements for enhanced absorption. To help make it easier many manufactures have taken the guess work out and added them for us. Glycoflex is one example. I think their supplements are good because their derived from Green Lipped Mussels. They make for easy one stop shopping but I prefer getting things straight from the source and adding a multivitamin. Green lipped mussels have gained in popularity lately. As a result a simple Amazon search will show you dozens of companies that have cropped up recently to make a profit. Doing this kind of research is my least favorite because I hate feeling like I have to play defense as a consumer but the research is necessary. I’m by no means done but the conclusion that I came away with so far was that powder straight from New Zealand is the best. For whatever reason the process that has the best extraction rate is the powder (unlike oil with fish) and the company that seemed to have the highest standards was called Xtendlife. If this changes I will update but so far they just seemed to be the best that I could buy on-line. This is a human supplement so I am still trying to establish the dosing but it’s a start. Honest kitchen also makes a freeze dried mussel treat that I think is great but not adequate to treat a dog in pain. Just like fish oil helps other things this and the vitamins that go with it at a maintenance dose is ideal and though we don’t use it every day like the fish oil and vitamins I like to keep it in her diet on a regular basis because it can do a lot of good.

Ok so now that I’ve exhausted these first two main supplements, here is a quick run down of some other key ingredients to look for both within supplements or on their own:

GLUCOSAMINE helps the body naturally rebuild and repair damaged cartilage.

MSM to ease pain and inflammation, increase cortisol (a natural anti-inflammatory hormone) reduce swelling, improve the cellular uptake of vitamins and aid in detox.

CHONDROITIN that helps cartilage to retain water and ease pain.

KELP which is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic that repairs and rebuilds damaged tissue, increases energy levels and helps to clean and detoxify internal organs.

COLLAGEN a protein that supports elasticity in joints, tendons, cartilage, skin and ligaments. It also increases bone strength.

CoQ10 for heart health and to defend against oxygen free radicals that aggravate arthritis.

ALFALFA a protein rich in vitamins and minerals that reduces pain and inflammation.

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

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

FISH OIL with OMEGA 3, 6 & 9, EPA DHA

Fish oil can greatly improve skin, coat, joint, kidneys, heart, and immune system health. Fish oil contains two essential fatty acids: EPA and DHA. Both are Omega-3 fatty acids that can only be made in a limited capacity in dogs.

EPA acts as an anti-inflmmatory. It will help with any condition that cause inflammation of the heart, kidneys, skin and joints. It will ease inflammation due to allergies, and reduce itchy skin and dandruff and is used to treat hot spots. It promotes a shiny, healthy coat and reduces shedding.

DHA is important in brain, eye and neuron development. This fatty acids affects cell permeability and the growth of nerve cells which is important for optimal development.

Both EPA and DHA are important components of cell membranes. These unique fatty acids act as signals in cells to decrease inflammation. Less inflammation leads to less pain, redness and swelling in the skin, joints and other organs.

VITAMIN E to aid in the absorption of Omega oils, DHA and EPA.

VITAMIN C to reduce inflammation and free radical damage.

MANGANESE to increase the efficiency of Vitamin C in the body.

HYALURONIC ACID to provide joint lubrication.

VITAMIN B to promote a healthy nervous system

BREWERS DRIED YEAST is rich in Omega fatty acids, B vitamins and antioxidants. It enhances health, aids with flea control and improves the immune system. The B vitamins help with nerve function and stress management, reducing anxiety and balancing hormones including those related to adrenaline and epinephrine.

FLAXSEED meal provides Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and dietary fiber. In addition to the omega fatty acids, it contains alpha-linoleic acid, which offers benefits to the immune system. Alpha-linoleic acid also has an anti-inflammatory effect which may help if there are any joint problems. Lignans in Flaxseed contain antioxidants.

ZYFLAMEND is a fabulous supplement that I forgot to mention for treating on-going and more critical issue!

BONE BROTH is another fabulous addition for dogs with (or without) joint issues because it contains collagen, glucosamine and other compounds that build joint health and is unique because:

“the glycosaminoglycans from bone broth are resistant to digestion and are absorbed in their intact form. According to Dr Shanahan, they act like hormones, stimulating cells called fibroblasts, which lay down collagen in the joints, tendons, ligaments, and even the arteries”

RAW GOATS MILK contains enzymes that reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain related to joint issues. This helps speed up tissue repair and improve circulation, all things that can help to alleviate arthritis pain.

And finally, FERMENTED FISH STOCK is yet another great source to boost the diet of a dog with joint concerns. It Contains glycoaminoglycans (GAGs), a major component of joint cartilage, glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid to name a few benefits.

This is just my list, it might be a bit much but if you’re looking to maintain these are key words to look for. If you’re treating pain however it’s paramount to look at the levels. An ingredient with no percentage or milligram is not enough. Treating arthritis this way is so much more effective than chemicals because it solves the problem rather than masks it while the damage continues! Obviously if the level of pain is too great this does not hold true but real healing is always best and thankfully nature really helps us do that!

* I should add here that I am 100% a free blogger, it would be nice to be paid by any of these above mentioned companies but I can assure you I am not.

Here is my favorite fish oil by Dr. Dobias (all of his supplements are but this one especially)