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Articles and Pet Nutrition


Do you know?

 

Do you know who owns what?

Nutro, Royal Canin, Cesar, Goodlife Recipe, Pedigree are owned by Mars

Iams, Eukanuba and now also Innova, Innova EVO, California Natural, Healthwise, and Karma are owned by Procter and Gamble

Hill’s Science Diet and Hill’s Prescription Diet - by Colgate Palmolive

Purina, Purina ONE, Beneful, Alpo are owned by Nestle

Nature’s Recipe is owned by Heinz

Make your own choice and support companies that specialize in making superior quality pet foods, and they are experts in their field. Reputable companies include Champion Pet Foods (Canada) that makes Pet Food of the Year 2010 Orijen and Acana, Fromm Family Foods, Nature's Logic, Horizon and others.

Large commercial companies buy their foods for a huge processing facility, and literally have no control what quality ingredients go into the foods. The recalls happen on a regular basis, and the information often does not reach the final consumers. Join us on Facebook to follow up on latest news and updates about pet foods.

 

sojos - real food for dogs


Pet Foods - Food for Thought

 

There are at least 65 million dog owners, 77 million cat owners, and 4.5 million horse owners in the United States. Six out of ten people in the US are responsible for an animal’s health and wellbeing. Animal owners spend more than 40 billion dollars each year on pet food.

The least we can do is see these dogs, cats, and horses are fed a wholesome nutritious diet; and one that is safe from worry. That’s why we have the FDA, USDA, EPA, and AAFCO – or at least that’s what most Americans think. These agencies cater to the businesses first, and animals second, evidenced by the recent deaths of many beloved pets.

The time has come for all animal owners to educate themselves and know exactly what they are buying, for themselves and their animals. Do not believe the misleading advertising by both pet food companies and veterinarians – unless they are nutritionists!

Many animals develop skin allergies and associated problems. Choosing a food without corn and wheat by-products can eliminate most of these. The problem has been traced to wheat gluten and corn products. Sometimes animals are allergic to beef or chicken, so choosing food containing an alternative protein source - lamb, venison, duck, bison, kangaroo - often solves the problem. These quality foods are available in small independent pet food stores and rarely appear in large stores.

Inexpensive dog and pet food has corn and/or wheat as one of the main ingredients (among first five listed on the label). These foods prove to actually cost more, not to mention the excess animal waste it produces. Feeding a high quality food may be less expensive! Large dogs will be satisfied with 3-4 cups of high quality food, whereas a cheap food would require 5-8 cups a day, or more. (from Animal Nutrition, by John D. Rowe)

Do not expect your veterinarian to be a nutritionist unless it is their specialty. If they recommend or prescribe a specific food then you owe it to your animal to question it. Ask to see the food and read the label in front of them. If they are not familiar with the foods they recommend, do not buy the product.

Don’t be satisfied with anything less than the best for your pet. Vets have big demanding jobs, so consider the second and the third opinion when your animal has a serious problem.


Grain or No Grain?

 

Celiac Disease - is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy on up. Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive (in children), and fatigue. Celiac disease is caused by a reaction to a gluten protein found in wheat (and similar proteins in barley and rye). Upon exposure to it, the immune system cross-reacts with the bowel tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction. That leads to flattening of the lining of the small intestine (called villous atrophy). This interferes with the absorption of nutrients because the intestinal villi are responsible for absorption. The only effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet. (from Wikipedia)

Celiac Disease in pets? While most domestic pets are not strictly ‘celiac’ (only Irish Setters have so far been shown to suffer this condition), did you know that many pets are grain-sensitive on some level. And most of the time, their owners attribute their health problems to other causes, when all that’s needed is a simple change in daily menu!

A good place to start is to feed your pet a 100% grain-free diet. Many pets improve within just a couple of weeks, not because of anything magic, just through the relief of no longer consuming aggravating gluten!

What are the signs of gluten Intolerance in Pets? Consumption of glutenous grains in sensitive pets, can lead to:
Chronic GI upset – intermittent or continuing diarrhea and / or constipation including mucusy stools. Vomiting may also occur in more severe cases.
Dermatitis chronic dry and flaky skin, hair loss, redness, bumps, rashes and constant scratching are classic signs of food intolerance.
Chronic ear infections – over-consumption of grain can lead to a buildup of excess sugars in the system. This in turn can contribute to yeast overgrowth, leading to dark, smelly waxy debris in the ears, head shaking and scratching.
Other health problems that may be related to food intolerances such as grain sensitivity include: arthritis, epilepsy, abnormal behavior, allergic and inflammatory reactions (including inhalant allergies due to a compromised immune system as well as conditions like pancreatitis and hepatitis, as well as an increased susceptibility to infection, Cushing’s, Addison’s, and thyroid problems.

Of course, not all these conditions are directly related to grain consumption, but the overload of grain in most modern commercial pet diets is thought to deplete the animal’s natural state of good health over time, leaving him more susceptible to these problems occurring. Some animal health experts have even speculated that long-term undetected dietary intolerance may be the underlying cause of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart conditions and kidney failure.

How can I tell if my pet is really grain-intolerant? When several of the above signs are present, a couple of options exist to definitively determine if grain-sensitivity is the culprit.

Diagnostic blood tests are available but they are not always completely accurate – and can be very costly indeed. An elimination diet is one of the surest ways to determine if your pet is sensitive to grains. It can be a time-consuming process for some pets, to pin down what foods cause their reactions, but for many pets, cutting out all gluten or feeding a completely grain-free pet food is the answer to problems that have been plaguing their companion for years.

Which grains are gluten-free?
Rice
Amaranth
Buckwheat (this is actually a seed and not related to wheat)
Millet
Quinoa

Do Dogs and Cats Need Grains? For the most part, dogs and cats are designed to primarily eat meat. In nature, the ancestors and present day cousins of our domestic dogs and cats, consume meat as the majority of their diet. Dogs are scavengers. A wild dog’s diet includes almost any food that provided calories - but very little, if any, grain. A major factor in the domestication of dogs was the food that humans leftover. It is thought that the wolves, who were least afraid of humans, over a period of tens of thousands of years, became our close companions.

According to a recent study by biologists Ray and Lorna Coppinger, the natural diet of dogs included, “Bones, pieces of carcass, rotten greens and fruit, fish guts, discarded seeds and grains, animal guts and heads, some discarded human food and wastes.” However, cats are more selective about food by nature and anatomy. Their ancestral diet consisted of small rodents. Their usefulness to humans had much to do with their eagerness to dispatch the rodents so plentiful around human habitats.

But some individual animals actually DO need grain in their diets, to maintain a healthy bodyweight or because they get dry skin and dull hair when they go ‘grain-free’. As with almost every aspect of holistic health, the answers vary depending upon the individual animal. Even littermates can vary from one another, in their requirements. One pup might get an ear infection every time she eats any sort of grain. Another might be able to tolerate just oats or rye but not wheat and a third might end up thin and uncomfortable when fed only meats and veggies.

Almost No Grains.
The natural diet of both species includes high levels of protein, fats and water, and very little carbohydrates. The “popular’ diet of dry foods, which is recommended by many conventional vets for most cats and dogs, is the complete opposite of this natural diet: High in carbohydrates, low in protein, fat, and with almost no water.

A diet balanced heavily toward grain promotes insulin production and the production of inflammatory chemicals. Over-production of insulin makes it hard for the body to maintain its correct weight, and can lead to diabetes and other problems. An overabundance of inflammatory chemicals means more aches and pains. Improve the balance of your dog’s diet by reducing grain, and you may not need the dangerous non-steroidal and steroid drugs so commonly prescribed for dogs. Readers who follow Dr. Mercola’s Total Health Program concede that eating fewer grains means less inflammation! Toxic drugs certainly make animals more comfortable, but will shorten their lives too.

A word of caution: Diabetic animals or any other medical condition making a switch to a more protein-based diet should be under the close supervision of a professional. Many diabetic pets do require some complex carbohydrates, often in the form of whole grains. For diabetic dogs, freeze-dry foods like Verve (by Honest Kitchen, made in USA) is the most commonly recommended of all recipes by holistic vets. It contains organic whole grains.

Natural Raw Healthy Pet Food Wysong


Catster website - Q and A

 

These are questions I found on Catster.com, a great website for cat enthusiasts, and answered them shortly, to the best of my ability. Hope the answers will help some cat owners to make better decisions and make their pets' lives better.

Q:To vaccinate or not to vaccinate... that's our question!
There is so much controversy, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. I have been bringing my cats for vaccinations since they were kittens, my oldest is going to be 5 this year. I have been doing lots of reading and a rescue group I work with talks a lot about over vaccination. They recommend vaccines when they are kittens and at the one year mark but that's it, they say this will give them immunity for the rest of their lives. I mean, we don't go for boosters every year.... Should they?
Are your cats vaccinated annually. Do they live shorter life spans? My guys are due for their annual vaccinations but I'm hesitant to take them in. I then worry that if they ever do need a procedure (dental cleanings, etc), the vet won't take them cause they haven't been vaccinated. Would appreciate your experience with this.

A: There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that the vaccinations are a dangerous attack on an unprepared immune system. Injecting a modified live virus into a blood stream, passing all the natural defenses OFTEN causes severe reaction and even death. Most healthy cats will survive the "experiment". Those what have underlying issues usually do not. Vets will not tell you all the truth. Vaccinations is one of their best sellers. Exercise your best judgment and do your homework before you vaccinate again. Immunity lasts much longer that 1 year. Yes, rabies is required by law but it is done in 3 year intervals now, not annual.

Q: My cats scalp just in front of the ears are all red and scabby and going bald. Should I be worried and go to the vet?

A: If the vets will not find any mites or fungus than what you describe sounds like a typical allergy to grain filled food. Switch your cat to a no-grain variety with high protein. No corn, rice, soy, glutens, etc. Shop at a local privately owned pet food store, the folks will help you find the food your cat will like and will save you money for a long run. Cats eat less, waste is minimal (saves on litter) and no visits to a vet.

Q: I have two male cats that are brothers. One pulls clumps of hair from the other one's back.
The kitty that is being plucked just lays there like it doesn't bother him. How can I stop this? My poor kitty has bald spots now.

A: To address the issue, I'd like to know the age of the cats and if they are both neutered (and how long ago). The plucking reminds me the behavior of a male that tries to mate a female. Sometimes they get confused and practice on what's near, and it could be another male.


 

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