Coconut Oil and Dog Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health benefits of coconut oil

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

The Truth About Poop!

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

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

Poop Color and Action to take

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

Yellow – Parasites or bacteria

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

Red – blood from large intestines or anal area

Brown – normal

Black – Digestive blood CALL THE VET

Green – Gi Hypermotility, bile not fully digested

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

Blue or Aqua – Rat poison or toys

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

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

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

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

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

Adding bone to raw food

Slippery Elm Bark

Pumpkin

Probiotics

Olewo dehydrated carrots

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

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

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

Here is a link for more info:

Dog poop assessments

Happy pooping!

Supplements: How much is too much?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow nature

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

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

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

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

Why good food is no longer enough

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

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

What the chemistry teachers forgot to teach us

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

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

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

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

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

The key nutrients are:

Minerals

Vitamins

Essential Aminoacids

Superfood Greens

Essential Fatty Acids

Probiotics

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

I agree, the pharma industry didn’t make it any easier because they made us associate pills with toxic drugs. I suggest you see essential supplements as food, not as “pills” or potions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How many supplements are too many?

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Deficiency of nutrients and vitamins.

2. Supplementing them in artificial forms. 

A few more things to remember

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Peter Dobias

For more information visit:

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

Turmeric for dogs

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

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

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

So, what is Turmeric?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Add 3 cups of organic turmeric powder and stir

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fermented Fish Stock for Health

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

Kidney health

Joint health

Thyroid health

Digestive health

Liver detox

Skin and coat health

Immune system boost

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

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

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

There is a more comprehensive explanation in the link below.

Answers quick link

Answers detailed

JOINT HEALTH

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

THYROID

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

DIGESTION AND LIVER HEALTH

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

OMEGA

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

DIABETES

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

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

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

Raw Goats Milk

I was first introduced to raw goats milk actually just as a way to help get my picky eater to try new things. We had some raw goats milk cheese treats that she loved so I grabbed the milk, kefir and yogurt to try also. She loved it all and I was thrilled even before I found out about all the amazing benefits!

It’s hard to know where to begin but it aids in digestion, helps joint tissue, relieves allergies and has been even linked to treating cancer just to name a few things. Here is a bit of a break down of how and why that I got from an article that summed it up pretty well.

Digestion:

“Raw Goat milk contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes, protein, and fatty acids. In fact, the body can digest goat’s milk in 20 minutes. Having fat molecules one-fifth the size of those in cow’s milk makes it easily digestible and tolerable even for dogs with digestive issues.

It is packed with pre and probiotics (over 200 species).

Those, mixed with enzymes help the gut to establish healthy flora, ease digestion and help alleviate any GI issues. Because of the speed of digestion this also makes it almost 100 times better than probiotic powders or pills.

It is also a great source of easily absorbable and palatable protein.

It can even be used as replacement milk for kittens and puppies.

Arthritis or other joint problems:

The same enzymes that help relieve digestion issues can also help to alleviate inflammation, swelling, and pain related to joint issues. They also help speed up tissue repair and improve circulation, all things that can help to alleviate arthritis symptoms.

Allergies:

Raw goat’s milk contains high levels of caprylic acid. This acid helps to fight yeast that often builds up in response to allergies (have you ever given your dog’s paws a sniff? If you have, you might notice they smell a bit like corn chips. What you’re smelling is yeast which naturally develops in that area. Allergies can make that yeast multiply which is why a dog who has allergies will often chew at their paws, among other things). Also, like the good flora that gets built up in your pet’s GI system, raw goat’s milk will also help that healthy flora to establish on the skin and in the ears which will help curb any infections that often are linked to allergies. Raw goat’s milk is also a natural antihistamine.

Cancer:

Many researchers have found that carotene (or Pro-Vitamin A) contains cancer preventing properties. The milk fat in goat’s milk contains a higher evolved carotene that is readily available for the body to absorb. There is also a fat in raw goat’s milk, called conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA), that is known as the cancer fighting fat. CLA has actually been shown in some cases to shrink cancer tumors.”

Raw goat’s milk is also great for people who normally can’t digest lactose because in raw form the composition should not impact the intolerance.

I’m still collecting information on this but I wanted to put something out now as there seems to be a big increase in the market lately. As long as it’s raw and from a good source I’d say it’s absolutely worth a try!

NOTE: raw goats milk is best when fed separate from coconut oil or bone broth that contains apple cider vinegar because this can compromise the nutritional value.

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)

Calcium and Feeding Bones and Bone Alternatives

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Most people learn early on that it is 100% unsafe to give dogs cooked or smoked bones because of the fact that they are brittle and pose choking and digestive hazards. Due to this a lot of pet parents stay away from bones altogether. As a result the pet food industry is full of all kinds of manufactured bones for dental health, chewing, recreation, vitamin supplements etc. These are just as bad (if not worse) then the kibble products and in some cases aren’t even safer in terms of choking and digestive hazards. If you feed raw you most likely already know a bit about bone safety but if not here are a few reasons so many raw feeders love RAW meaty and recreational bones.

1. They are a wonderful source of calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is an important part of your pet’s health! (Without calcium in the diet, the body extracts it from its own bones, which leads to many issues related to mobility.) They also contain a variety of minerals not found in other food.

2. They are the best possible form of teeth cleaning outside of the vet’s office. They promote gum health and reduce bad breath.

3. They provide ruff-age and help to maintain anal glands naturally

4. They can help balance the digestive tract and tone digestive muscles that can help reduce stomach issues later in life.

When fed appropriately (about 2-3 times a week unless ground in food at 10%) the digestive hazards are avoided because raw bones break down naturally in the stomach and don’t stay large enough to pose any threat. It’s important to always supervise your dog with a bone no matter what. Instinctively they should know how to chew and swallow them correctly but anything can happen. Aside from the smaller raw meaty bones like poultry necks, spines, feet etc. the general rule of thumb for recreational bones is that they should be about the size of the dogs head or larger. Never smaller because these types of bones are meant to be chewed on and scrapped of marrow but NOT eaten completely. I am personally not a fan of the recreation bones because they can chip teeth and don’t contain the nutrition components that make their positive attributes outweigh their risks. If my dog loved this activity, I’d make an exception but otherwise I see them as completely unnecessary. Marrow can be obtained without them so she doesn’t need a knuckle bone to pass the time and possibly break her teeth on. Raw meaty bones on the other hand are a different story. They should never be weight bearing bones because they are too hard to chew and unlike recreational bones are meant to be eaten completely. I see the value of these bones but they still make me nervous so I plan on sticking with necks and backs because the are considered to be the safest. Chicken wings can be cut to be made safer, but I still don’t love these because I have other options. Ideally I would give her lamb and goat bones because they are considered to have the perfect balance of hardness to effectively clean the teeth but not break any. However these bones, for me at least, are very hard to find. Although red meat should make up about 50% of her diet, chicken, duck, lamb and duck are closer to a dog’s natural prey so they make the safest bones to eat. Chicken and duck are much more readily available where I live and while they might be considered too soft to clean teeth by some people, I brush her teeth daily and am more interested in their nutrition than their dental care anyway. That being said, if your dog (or you) is really against dealing with raw bones in general there are 100% adequate alternatives available and you do not need to feel forced to do so. It may be controversial in some circles but I truly believe you can go without bones and still have a healthy and balanced raw diet as long as you are educated. Things like bone meal are dangerous alternatives (most are toxic unless from a local farm that makes food Grade) but egg shells are a GREAT alternative source of calcium! You can dry and crush them into a powder very easily and make your own supplement. I love this because there are a lot of concerns about the safety of many calcium sources in supplements on the market and as long as you get good quality eggs this takes away the guess work. A lot of people also just add one whole egg shell and all to get the same result. I don’t do this daily so I keep the shells as back up on a day she doesn’t get a bone. For the other minerals you can simply use a mineral supplement, which actually should be given even if you do feed bones because it’s broad spectrum and you know that your pets needs are being met. Some feeders are against supplements altogether because your dog wouldn’t “get fish oil pills etc out in the wild” however I disagree. We need supplements now because of the world we live in TODAY. We have depleted the soil and changed the environment. For this reason I think it’s appropriate to adjust. My dog’s wolf ancestors didn’t live in the same world and it’s the same reason I take supplements myself. I just want the best shot and as long as I am getting them from trusted sources and know how to use them, I think they’re great! Teeth cleaning can be substituted rather easily as well. Any mouth size appropriate tooth brush will do. You can make your own toothpaste or even just use coconut oil. If your dog won’t let you brush, a bit of ground kelp added to the food should help. For more advanced dental issues and plaque you can either get a cleaning at the vet or look up where to get one that is anesthesia free. This method is increasing in popularity, so they’re relatively easy to find now. Either way there are many alternative methods, all of which would be great to add EVEN with the help of bones.

Bottom line, raw bones are WONDERFUL if your dog likes them but if not you can absolutely still feed raw! Some dogs warm up to them over time so I’d say don’t give up but don’t stress over it too much either! It’s no reason to wait to go raw or worse not at all.

Personally I am doing about one small raw meaty bone per week because my dog doesn’t love them. Chicken feet are the easiest to find organically and they are an excellent joint supplement (glucosamine and chondroitin) so because she eats egg shells and takes supplements I know her dietary needs are being met. Eventually I hope to move to a food that has some ground in so this 1 per week will probably stay at that and if we miss a week it’s no cause for concern.

My super easy calcium supplement is pictured below. My dog is 25 lbs so she needs 550 mg of calcium per day. (50mg per kg) She gets calcium from other sources so I only use 1/4- 1/2 tsp. based on the assessment that:

“One whole medium sized eggshell makes about one teaspoon of powder, which yields about 750 – 800 mgs of elemental calcium plus other microelements, i.e. magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, silicon, zinc, etc. There are 27 elements in total.”

A vet should be able to assist you if you don’t want to measure it out on your own. Fortunately dog’s having a “fast track” metabolism helps mitigate some concern. A good thing to remember is the simple fact that wild dogs eat what they find. Some days they get a lot of one thing and other days none. It tends to balance out over time but I also do blood tests at her annual check up. Hair tests can be very helpful also. So far we’ve been right on track but never hesitate to ask a medical professional. I know many holistic vets even offer nutritional counseling now so there are resources available if you have any concerns!

*Another great bone replacement for calcium is raw green tripe! It has an ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio and most dogs absolutely love it!

Homemade Bone broth and bone marrow soup

I’ve been using bone broth for some time now. There are some great ones on the market so I never really intended on making my own until today. Today I got to visit a real working farm and it was incredible! In my effort to be efficient I grabbed a little bit of everything. In doing so I ended up with a package full of recreational knuckle bones that were WAY too small for my dog to eat. Rather than let them go to waste I decided to turn them into broth. Because these bones were full of marrow, this is sometimes called ‘marrow soup’ however the process is the same. I chose to add in some chicken feet because I had a lot of them and they are a great broth source because of their high glucosamine and chondroitin concentration. The process takes a while (about 24 hours for chicken, 48 for beef) in a crock pot or on the stove top but the recipe is super easy.

Fill a pot with the bones you want to use and cover with filtered water. Add 2-4 tbs of raw apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hr for chicken, 2 for beef. Reduce to low and leave on heat for 24-48 hours and that’s IT! The same goes for the crock pot (high medium and low settings). You can add dog-safe vegetables if you want but that’s the basic process. I’d say it’s important to keep an eye on the water level because I had to add some half way through but other than that I ignored it.

For my first batch, I kept it very simple. I don’t have a crock pot yet but I found one on Amazon that claimed to be lead free (the problem with many crock pots is chemical leaching). It’s stone ware so I think they are considered safest. When that comes maybe I’ll get more creative, but Jersey definitely gave her stamp of approval! It’s a great supplement to help her eat her vitamins and an all around great dietary addition no matter what (for both of us) so it’s one of the best mistakes I ever made!

Here are just a FEW awesome benefits that bone broth provide:

It helps maintain a healthy gut, especially for dogs with digestive issues.

It supports your dog’s immune system and detoxes the liver.

It helps protect his joints and is a wonderful source of collagen and glycosaminoglycans including glucosamine and other joint protecting compounds.

Also 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.”

It’s full of minerals, including calcium, silicon, sulphur, magnesium and phosphorus.

The list goes on but these are the highlights and why so many people love it for themselves and their dogs!

NOTE: Excess bone broth should be frozen because the shelf-life of this is very short. 3-4 days in the fridge max

Raw feeding part 4

It’s been a busy week so far but we’re still truckin! I’ve spent the last several nights researching green lipid muscle supplements because I am adamant about verifying quality sources before I give anything to my dog, this somehow led to me also researching natural ear infection treatments lol so I will hopefully have posts about both later in the week.

We had a furry house guest these past 6 days so it was a littler harder trying to transition to the new foods without giving Jersey other options so I guess I had a little set back there. I still gave her all organic raw meat along with raw goats milk mixed with her supplements, I just didn’t focus as much on the new stuff as I probably should have.

Due to the length of time this transition may take I followed up with the local humane farm resource that I found last week. I figured if she eats that no problem, I might as well look further into how to get her the best meat. The woman I spoke to was awesome, unfortunately not able to really help us at the moment. It’s a small farm so any order would have to wait until late November and organs might not be easy to obtain. There is one more farm in reasonable distance that I’m going to try tomorrow, if that doesn’t work out, I’ll have to stick with the best I can find at local markets. I wasn’t ready to make my own food yet anyway but I’m glad to be finding this all out now before I do. After that I put a call in to a recommended holistic vet. That’s another thing I wanted to work out before Jersey’s next check up. We’re still waiting to hear back but there’s a database online that we will look on if this one is too busy. She’s still not eating Answers or Steve’s but we are still making some progress… with some things anyway! 🙂

I guess not every path is meant to be straight and we are learning a lot on this one. For that, I am grateful!

The products in the picture are some of Jersey’s favorite. They get her to eat her long list of supplements with no problem! They haven’t quite gotten her to eat the food but I’m hoping they will help. I love these along with honest kitchen bone broth with turmeric and raw goats milk by Steve’s and Answers because they add flavor with so many health benefits!!

**Side note- I’m still perfecting making my own toothpaste but only 1 week using my own vs the best I could find on the market, showed SO much improvement, I’m really psyched about that! I’ll update my previous post and share a new one with a recipe this week also!

UPDATE: This week is turning into a study week. I was finally able to track down a local grass-fed, free-range organic etc farm that had meat ready to purchase by Saturday. They are big enough to purchase organs from too which is a big deal because otherwise I was at the mercy of butchers and grocery stores with questionable supply origins. If I’m going to give Jersey anything prepared by myself human Grade doesn’t cut it. I need the organs to be as healthy as the meat. Finding this source opportunity has me investigating recipes now as well so hopefully by the weekend I’ll have some helpful tips there also!