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“My dog continuously licks its paws”

Paul’s Response:

This condition is very common in dogs and particularly with German Shepards, Bull Terriers and Staffies. This, I classify as a skin ailment and should be addressed accordingly.

Over the months of writing for Furkidz I have dealt with skin conditions and holistic and natural treatment. Readers would be well advised to peruse previous editorial to gain insight and solutions. Or alternatively look at our direct site, https://www.vondis.co.za/cat22.php?catID=23

However, specifically, the continuous licking of feet and paws is a clear sign that your dog lacks probiotics. You would be well advised to administer natural probiotics or spirulina. Even better, and certainly a must for the three breeds mention above, is to include Raw Dirty Tripe in their meal. German Shepards, Bull Terriers and Staffies metabolize the enzymes found in tripe better than other probiotics. It is essential for their diet.

In these breeds I would recommend including 250grams twice to three times per week. In other breeds, once a week would be adequate. This can be supplemented in conjunction with other probiotics. Raw tripe is available from your butcher or local supermarkets.

Externally and to discourage the habit of licking the paws, one could rub aloe bitter gel onto their feet.

“My Dog often eats its own Stool”

Paul’s Response:

This is a sure sign that your companion is lacking something nutritionally. It is not uncommon for your dog to eat its own stool, the wood from your skirting board, toilet paper or other disgusting objects. Also very common, but pleases me greatly, is when your dog eats your garden, the herbs within, the flowers, roots and grass.

He is merely fulfilling the nutritional void from his daily feed and finding relief in other nutritional ingredients.

In the wild, dogs and cats would graze a variety of mineral enriched grass, flowers and herbs, instinctively identifying the healing and cleansing agents that they contain. The medicinal and mineral wealth in herbs is well documented and is essential to the health of all animals.

It still amazes me that after thousands of years of being domesticated, our canine friend is still able to instinctively know what his body requires to make him nutritionally complete and to treat sickness and ailments.

Therefore, if your companion is exhibiting strange eating habits, then I would certainly include a variety of natural and wholesome ingredients into his meal. You will be surprised what fantastic results you will gain from just adding vegetables into your companion’s diet.

Most people have fresh herbs at home or can easily acquire some. Having a variety of herbs at home is the equivalent of having a walk-in pharmacy on your door step. Depending on the mood of your companion, health and ailment he will automatically know which herbs to choose. This is quite amazing.

I would also supplement diet with supplements that we know to support digestion:  pro-biotics, spirulina, diatomaceous earth, apple cider vinegar, a natural and vitamin supplement.

“My dog continuously scratches”

 Paul’s Response:

Almost every dog is struggling with itchy skin and allergies. Whether I am lecturing in Cape Town or Guateng, every pet owner complains about itchy skin. I don’t believe that even the veterinarian industry knows how grave this problem actually is, because people would certainly be reluctant to report such an “insignificant” matter to their vets and at a great expense.

I personally deal with about 20 emails each day relating to skin disorders alone.

What ever advice you may heed, you certainly do need to make a change in your habits. If not, this problem will not go away. Skin disorders are a sure sign that something is going wrong. I see it as your pet’s saving grace. Your change in attitude and habits may actually steer your companion towards a healthier life and improve longevity.

I have written much on skin disorders for Furkidz and offered some valuable advice. Some of the relevant editorial that I presented previously was “flea, ticks and skin allergies – natural remedies”. I also offered “a solutions to solving your pets itchy skin and allergies – internally and externally”. My article on “Rooibos Tea” and “Apple Cider vinegar” also showed how useful these supplements could be I treating skin disorders.

The success we have had in treating skin related ailments is advising our clients to stay away from feeding sugars, dairy or any preserved food. This includes dry kibble as they are all preserved. Rather experiment with natural diets that are wholesome and full of vegetables.

Refrain from using hard chemicals and poisons when grooming or dealing with fleas and ticks. There are many natural remedies available.

Skin disorders and allergies can be cured. All that is required is a holistic and natural approach.

“HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BE FEEDING MY DOG?”

Paul’s Response:

Some people prefer feeding once a day and others twice. Obviously, for young puppies they certainly should be feeding a few times a day. But for the rest, it’s really your own preference.

I personally have only ever fed my companions once a day, at night, and to be honest I can’t really remember why I chose this routine.

There are those who feel that their dogs are derivatives of wolves or jackals and if this is the case then these predators or scavengers would have only eaten a meal from time to time. Therefore, feeding once a day would be more appropriate.

Interestingly, when I was lecturing in Darling some time ago, the local vet advised that people feed their pets twice a day. This is because that area is known to infested with ticks and the dangers of biliary were rife. Should your pet be infected, then you could already pick up the danger signs when he missed his first meal. You would then be more observant and monitor his eating habits thereafter and take the necessary medical action.

Generally, in summer the eating habits of our pets change as they do for humans. When the weather is very hot we loose appetite. Perhaps during the hotter months one could feed once a day. Conversely, during winter our companions need to build body fat and would benefit from two meals a day.

In the end, I honestly believe that it makes absolutely no difference feeding once or twice a day. It is your own preference

 

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Breath in, Breath out

 

Ensure your pet is calm, happy and relaxed by making sure their diet is not dominated by over-processed, high-carb dry dog food.

Meditation, yoga and controlled breathing go a long way in helping us put aside our daily stresses and feel more relaxed. If you were a dog or cat, how would you control your breathing? How would you live in the moment, relax and revel in life’s jewels?

Well, our companion animals are inherently happy beings who naturally breathe calmly. They are our true gurus. Unless their state of well-being is changed on a physiological level – and diet plays a very important role in this.

With the recent introduction of dried kibble into our households, the nutritional base of our animals has shifted towards highly processed and chemically laden food that is high in carbohydrates.

Even though manufacturers claim that our pets can thrive on a diet consisting of nothing but commercial dried food, increasingly this processed food is being implicated as a source of disease or as an exacerbating agent for a number of degenerative diseases as well as affecting behaviour and anxiety.High-carb and sugar diets will affect an animal’s physical stateand well being.

It is certainly not recommended to sit down and meditate after drinking a can of Red Bull or a cup of coffee. The same applies to our companion animals, who surely can’t be expected to behave normally after consuming high-carb energy diets.

Professor Tim Noakes, Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town, recently shook up the diet world when he published his views on the impact that high-carb diets have on our health. Drawing on years of research, he has discovered that based on his own biology (he is pre-diabetic), a high-carb diet causes high insulin levels which leads to weight gain, continual hunger, lethargy, and over time, pancreatic failure and the onset of diabetes.

In the past, athletes would “carbo-load” to build up energy resources. Professor Tim Noakes now believes that in order to perform consistently and with endurance a wholesome, balanced diet is more effective.

High-carb diets may have similar effects on our pets. Many pets are overweight, and experience “sugar highs” and crashes, becoming irritable and anxious. A kibble-only diet could result in our pets becoming more out of control, less disciplined and irritable.

Our companion animals once lived in bliss and were masters of living in the moment – breathing deeply and calmly. Unfortunately their modern, unnatural diets and lifestyles has seen them becoming more and more stressed – just like us.

While you may not be able to get your pet to join you for a yoga session, one of the most important things you can do is look after their diet.

Just like us, their bodies are not designed to consume over-processed, high-carbohydrate cereal-based diets packed full of additives, preservatives, flavourants and colourants.

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Herbs are fantastic in treating many health conditions, behavior and well being. Described below are some common conditions that we struggle with and how the appropriate herb can be effective in treating it.

So often we struggle with poor animal behavior and it seems that our companions are out of control. A high carb diet will certainly cause our pets to become more anxious and I would certainly recommend a natural, wholesome diet to curtail hyper-active behavior. The herbs that would supplement this diet are the cooling herbs:

PROPERTY:  Calming, Relaxing, Soothing

MINERAL: Magnesium

HERBS:  Assortment of Mints, Sages, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Borage, Yarrow

A very common ailment with our companion animals is digestive issues. This could be a loose stool, flatulence, smelly skin and breath or diaria. This problem may be chronic and regular or it may be as result of a viral or bacterial infection. Settling the gut with white rice and boiled chicken is recommended for a period of three days. Thereafter, one can revert to normal feeding, preferably natural, wholesome food. The herbs that I would recommend for such a condition are listed below:

PROPERTY: Digestive Alkaliser, prevent mucus formation, prevent toxic build up and removal of toxins

MINERAL: Sodium & Sulpher

HERBS: Mints, Garlic, Fennel, Comfrey

We all know that calcium is fantastic for bone, teeth and cartilage. So often we turn to synthetic pharmaceutical mineral supplementation. The most effective minerals and vitamins are derived from wholesome enzymatic active ingredients that you find in veggies and herbs:

PROPERTY: Build Strong Teeth, Bones, Cartilage, Hooves & Nails

MINERAL: Calcium

HERBS: Carrots, Sorrel

In treating skin allergies and skin irritation I prefer herbs and food that is enriched with magnesium. Thus, as mentioned above, herbs like mint, sages, lemon verbena and lemon balm would be appropriate. However, as general maintenance and promoting healthy coats and bright eyes, the mineral chlorine is preferred:

PROPERTY: Promoting Glossy Coats, Shinny Eyes by Removing Toxic Build Up and Over Formation of Fatty Tissue.

MINERAL: Chlorine

HERBS: Rosemary, Basil, Comfrey

The existence of healthy cells is dependant on blood flow and oxygen absorption, the essence of life. Strangely, it is one of the minerals that we are often lacking, both for human and animal. To help support immunity and well being, a healthy wholesome diet is recommended, regular exercise and mineral supplementation. Why not add the appropriate herbs.

PROPERTY: Blood Builder and Promotion of Oxygen Absorption

MINERAL: Iron

HERBS: Thyme, Sage, Parsley

In treating wounds, injury, pain and muscular discomfort we so often concentrate on applying medicine and dressing externally. Seldom do we have faith in our body’s ability to cure from within. A body that is fit, that has strong immunity and has a reserve of minerals can assist in the healing process:

PROPERTY: Promote Healing and Relief of Pain

MINERAL: Potassium

HERBS: Carrots, Fennel, Comfrey

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A natural, wholesome diet that includes a variety of fresh veggies is recommended for both human and animal alike. Added to this nutritious diet should be a variety of natural herbs.

Most people have fresh herbs at home or can easily acquire some. So I wish to focus on the nutritional and medicinal values that herbs can contribute to your companion’s diet.

The medicinal and mineral wealth in herbs is well documented and is essential to the health of all animals.

In the wild, dogs and cats would graze a variety of mineral enriched grass, flowers and herbs, instinctively identifying the healing and cleansing agents that they contain.

It is not uncommon for even our domesticated pets to consume grass and roots.

In our own brand of natural food we include a variety of over 20 freshly pick herbs.  As a result we have had amazing success in treating skin allergies and eczema, bad breath, bladder disorders, obesity, eye ailments, diabetes, cancer and nervousness.

Herewith a list of some of my favorite herbs:

GARLIC – is a miracle herb and has a powerful natural disinfectant which helps to destroy harmful bacteria in the animals system and helps detoxify the body. It also tones the lymphatic cells and helps purify the bloodstream and intestines. It prevents viruses from multiplying and creates hostile conditions that repel most parasites and strengthens the immune system.

ROSEMARY – It has traditionally been used for asthma and lung difficulties, bruises, wounds, colds, depression, eczema, dandruff, hair loss, headaches, heart palpitations, muscle spasms, rheumatism and sores. It also produces glossy coats and shinny eyes.

THYME – It has very strong antiseptic & anti-inflammatory properties. Used to fight infection, poor digestion, lung infections and skin inflammation. It is also known as an eye strengtherner.

MARJORAM – is a relaxing herb and used in the treatment of nervous tension and stress related conditions. 

MINT – reduces excess acidity and calms nerves. It is digestive, soothing, relaxing and sleep inducing. It is a digestive alkaliser and prevents mucus formation and sinus blocking.

PARSLEY – is rich in iron builds blood, promotes oxygen absorption, gives good pigment to skin and hair and nourishes the nerves, muscles and internal organs. It also refreshes bad breath.

FENNEL – is enriched with so many wonderful minerals and medicinal properties are enormous. It strengthens the nervous system and stamina for highly strung animals but at the same time reduces acidity and calms nerves. It maintains brain, teeth, eyes and all bones of the body.

 

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ImageContinuing from my last editorial and my preferred supplements for pets, despite our best efforts to provide wholesome and natural diets, the mineral and vitamin wealth is often found wanting due to GM products and inorganic farming. Therefore, one would be well advised to enrich your and your pet’s nutrition by way of natural supplements.

Some of my preferred supplements included a high quality fish oil, apple cider vinegar and spirulina. Herewith some others that I believe will be of great value for your companion animal.

DEVILS CLAW AND ROSEHIP – an effective treatment for pain and arthritic problems.

Supplementing your companion animal’s diet can be very beneficial. As a puppy or kitten it is very important to enhance nutrition whilst in the growth phase.

For adult or aging companions, supplementing diet with enriched natural minerals and vitamins is well advised. This is especially true for dogs and cats that are likely to experience arthritic and hip dysphasia problems, which is very common with large breed dogs and almost all aging animals.

Devils Claw and Rosehip is a must for all aging animals and for that matter, humans.

DEVILS CLAW

Native to southern Africa, devil’s claw is a shrub that has lush foliage and red flowers. The plant gets its name from the miniature hooks that cover its fruit. For thousands of years, the Khoisan peoples of Madagascar and the Kalahari Desert have used devil’s claw root in remedies to treat pain and inflammation and many other medical ailments.

 Today, devil’s claw is used for degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis, for  back pain, and as an appetite stimulant and digestive tonic. Scientific evidence supports the use of devil’s claw root to help relieve pain and inflammation in people with arthritis and other painful disorders.

Studies have found that taking devil’s claw for several months substantially reduces pain and improves physical functioning in people with osteoarthritis. In addition, those who received devil’s claw experienced fewer side effects and required fewer pain-reducing medications throughout the study.

In addition to the treatment of osteoarthritis and other painful disorders, devil’s claw is also very useful for upset stomach, loss of appetite, headaches, allergies, and fever.

ROSEHIP

Another natural remedy that compliments the positive attributes of Devils Claw in dealing with arthritic and pain issues is Rosehip.

The pain-relieving properties of rosehip, which has previously been linked to reduced inflammation in osteoarthritis, have been suggested for decades.

Scientists have found that powder made from a wild variety of rosehip, Rosa canina, is better at reducing pain in patients than glucosamine, a treatment prescribed by many vets.

The latest studies led to a reduction in glucosamine use by many arthrisits sufferers and that rosehip powder was an effective alternative for those seeking a natural remedy for these symptoms.

The evidence for the benefits of rose-hip powder in osteoarthritis appears consistent, and, if pet owners wish to use this natural remedy in addition to any other prescribed treatment by their vet, this would be perfectly in order.

The Daily Telegraph  in its headline claimed that Rosehip was ‘better than painkillers’ for arthritis” . “Researchers have found that it is three times more effective than standard paracetamol at relieving pain and 40% more effective than Glucosamine.

Feeding Requirements

Both Devils Claw and Rosehip can be bought at most health shops and some pharmacies in a powdered form and they are both very palatable. Your companion animal will have no problem digesting them when mixed with their food. Obviously, it would be a lot easier to administer if you were feeding a home cooked or natural diet.

I would recommend for small dogs and cats a half tea spoon of each, mixed with the food, daily. For a medium breed, 1 tea spoon of each and for a large breed, 1.5 – 2 tea spoons of each.

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH – a natural dewormer and parasite

Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized shells of unicellular microscopic water-dwelling plants known as Diatoms.

These tiny unicellular plants use soluble silica (sand) from their environment to make their cells walls. When these organisms die, the shells pile up on the bottom to form thick beds of sediment.

These beds, called Diatomite or Diatomaceous Earth, are then mined from ancient dried lake bottoms.

One can obtain synthetic or processed Diatomaceous Earth which is often used in paints, filtering systems, chemical insecticides and cosmetics. However, NATURAL DIATOMACEOUS EARTH has not been altered in any chemical way and is derived from a fresh water source and contains less than 1% crystalline silica. Any Diatomaceous Earth that exceeds 1% is referred to as pool grade and best used in pool filtration systems.

Natural Diatomaceous Earth is made up of microscopic shells of diatoms. These fossil shells have tiny points (similar to lemon grass), which puncture the insect’s or parasites exoskeleton and thus kills them.  Thus Diatomaceous Earth operates mechanically and NOT chemically. Because of this, parasites and pests cannot become immune or resistant to Diatomaceous Earth.

There are commercial products available to de-worm and rid parasites, but they are all chemically based or poisons and can be a hazard to the health of your companion animal.

Diatomaceous Earth is registered, certified and approved by the Department of Agriculture and approved by almost every international agricultural body including the F.D.A, the E.P.A and the E.U.

Diatomaceous Earth is an effective natural de-wormer and parasite cleanser.  Parasites live in an animal’s intestinal tract, causing nutritional problems and physical irritation, effecting the health condition and attitude of the host. You can safely and effectively eradicate them with  Diatomaceous Earth.

Diatomaceous Earth, when internally digested is known to kill parasites mechanically by scrapping the gut, literally piercing their structure. Externally applied, it is very effective in killing fleas in the same manner. Both are totally safe and work mechanically rather than chemically. Remember, chemicals and poisons will certainly have an adverse effect on skin conditions and general health.

Diatomaceous Earth has many other health benefits. It also helps to attract and absorb bad bacteria, herbicides, pesticides, food additives, artificial hormones, heavy metals, drug residues, viruses and toxins and helps excrete it from the animal’s body.

Diatomaceous Earth is very effective in helping to support your pet’s immune system and enhance matabolism by scrappping the gut and getteing rid of toxins. Daily exposure to a wide variety of toxins can seriously affect your pet’s health. A highly-processed diet filled with colorants and preservatives, chlorinated water, commercial flea collars, insecticides and pollution  are all contributors to a toxic and unhealthy life style.

Diatomaceous Earth also contains an array of trace minerals to feed and nourish your pet.  One of the minerals that it contains in abundance is Silica. Silica is a vital trace mineral required by the animal’s body for strong and flexible joints, glowing skin, coat health, stronger hair and bones.

In summary, Diatomaceous Earth helps to maintain all-round systemic functioning and maintain health and vigor in pets. Besides eradicating parasites, worms and pests, it other advantages are:

 

  • Improved Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
  • Improved Coat, Hoof and Bone Health
  • Enhances growth of animals
  • Contains 71 Organic Trace Minerals
  • Combats Arthritis and Joint Pains
  • Lower Cholesterol levels
  • Stimulates metabolism
  • Reduces overall animal stress

 Feeding Recommendations

Diatomaceous Earth is a fine powder which is very patatable and should be added to your pets food. Daily supplimentation is recommended:

Kitten/puppy – ½ t.spoon per day

Cat or Small Dog – 1 t.spoon per day

Medium – Large Dog – 2 t.spoons per day

Note: Vondi’s has recently developed a Natural 100% Organic Diatomaceous Earth, with added organic aloe. For more information on Diatomaceous Earth, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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A healthy dog is a happy dog!

Over the last weeks I have presented editorial on the benefits of vegetables in your pet’s diet and offering guidance in formulating natural and wholesome food for your beloved companion animals. But what about diet supplementation?

Natural supplementation is important for your pet, especially when treating an ailment or condition. Herewith is a list of my preferred supplements to include in your companions diet.

OMEGA 3 FISH OIL – for skin conditions and allergies.

A quality omega 3 is essential in restoring cell damage and should be your first choice supplement. Almost every Vet will recommend an Omega 3 when treating skin disorders and inflammation.

Sally-Anne Creed is one of South Africa’s leading nutritionists and her stance on whether to use fish oil or flax oil is very clear. She firmly warns clients to avoid flax.

Although flaxseed oil is often touted, even by some doctors, as a substitute for fish oil, new studies show it’s not a reliable alternative.

A new Emory University study found that taking high daily doses of flaxseed oil  caused no increase at all of omega-3 DHA in the blood of subjects.

Similarly, feeding animals alpha-linolenic acid, as found in flaxseed oil, did not increase DHA in their brain cells, according to research at the National Institutes of Health.

New British research says high doses of flaxseed oil may even cause a decrease in omega-3 DHA and that flaxseed oil does not adequately nourish fetal brains.

According to the study published in ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ flaxseed oil is found very less effective against inflammatory conditions. Generally, flaxseed oil has been considered to be anti-inflammatory agent. But few more studies reveal the shocking truth that
it actually increases inflammation in most of the cases.

My preference, especially when treating skin ailments, is high quality fish oil, preferably salmon oil.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR – for itchy skin & arthritis

Apple cider vinegar is a remedy with multiple uses for dogs: alleviating allergies, arthritis, establishing correct pH balance.

If your dog has itchy skin, the beginnings of a hot spot, incessantly licks its feet, has smelly ears, or is picky about his food, the application of Apple Cider Vinegar may change things around. For poor appetite, use it in the food – 1 tablespoon, two times a day for a 20 kilo. dog.

Taken internally, Apple Cider Vinegar is credited with maintaining the acid/alkaline balance of the digestive tract.

If you have a dog that has clear, watery discharge from the eyes, a runny nose, or coughs with a liquid sound, uses Apple Cider Vinegar in his or her food. One teaspoon twice a day for a 20 kilo dog will do the job

After your weekly grooming sessions, use a few drops in his or her ears after cleaning them to avoid ear infections and to clean out mites. Two parts Apple Cider Vinegar to eight parts warm water would be the desired dosage

For itchy skin or the beginning of hot spots, dilute Apple Cider Vinegar, three parts water and one part the vinegar, and add into a spray bottle or dab onto the dog’s skin.

Fleas, flies, ticks and bacteria, external parasites, ring worm, fungus, staphylococcus, streptococcus, mange, etc., are unlikely to inhabit a dog whose system is acidic inside and out.

Your dog will also smell so nice that you may mistake your companion animal for your garden salad

SPIRULINA – for immunity and digestion

Vondi’s Spirulina Supplement

 

One of my preferred supplements is Spirulina.

Spirulina contains a remarkable combination of vegetable protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and powerful antioxidants. These vital substances work in synergy to assist in immune enhancement, disease prevention, the promotion of healthy bowel flora and general well-being.

All vitamins and minerals in Spirulina are present as natural, organically-bound complexes. Unlike synthetic combinations of isolated vitamins and minerals, these complexes are easily recognised by the body and are therefore highly bioavailable. Spirulina provides superior nutrition, especially at a time when many commercial foods are becoming increasingly more nutrient depleted.

Spirulina has the highest protein content of any natural food.  Spirulina contains between 65 and 70% protein. This is 270% more protein than fish, 334% more than beef and 556% more than tofu.

Spirulina also excels with regards to protein quality. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Unlike non-essential amino acids, essential amino acids can not be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from the diet. Spirulina provides all the essential amino acids and is therefore considered a complete protein.  With regards to usable protein (as a percentage of the food’s composition), Spirulina is second only to whole, dried eggs. Furthermore, protein from

Spirulina contains various trace minerals and provides 475% more calcium than

whole milk and 5756% more iron than spinach. Iron from Spirulina is more than twice as absorbable as the form of iron found in most meats and vegetables. Spirulina is the best natural iron supplement available and has been shown to correct anemia, increase blood haemoglobin content and increase iron reserves.

In general, Spirulina enhances overall immunity, promotes a healthy gut and overall well- being.  Spirulina is an excellent supplement for a healthy skin and lustrous coat.  It enhances appetite even for finicky cats.  Spirulina fed pets have a fresher breath odor.

In short Spirulina has been shown to:

* Boost Immune System

* Improve Digestion

* Produce healthy skin and lustrous coat

* Improve Appetite (so eat more of your food)

* Improve overall well-being and freshen breath

In my next editorial I will continue with this important subject of supplementation and I look at the health benefits of Rooibos Tea, Diatomaceous Earth and Rosehip and Devils Claw for our pets.

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ImageThere is a growing trend world-wide towards natural and organic food for humans and animal alike. With this in mind many commercial pet food companies are jumping on the bandwagon and try align themselves with this up and coming lucrative market by making claims that their pet food is natural and holistic.

Specifically, we often find that the pet food labels claim that their food is “naturally preserved” or contains only “natural preservatives”. But are these natural preservatives “natural” and more importantly can they claim to be totally safe?

Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E are the main preservatives used in order to claim that your food is natural, even if it is in the form of a kibble or canned. Obviously, frozen food need not be preserved as freezing is already a natural preservative.

Pet food manufacturers now use ‘mixed tocopherols’ (a claimed source or form of vitamin E), citric acid, beta-carotene and Rosemary extract as preservatives. However, high levels of vitamin E, the most widely used antioxidant in pet foods today, can disrupt the activity of the other fat soluble vitamins, namely vitamin K (menadione), vitamin A (retinol), and vitamin D (calciferol)

Vitamin C, as synthetic ascorbic acid, can even be dangerous in mega doses and yet it is a very common “natural” preservative. Vitamins in their isolated and synthetic form can stimulate or suppress various systems of the body and can lead to biochemical imbalances. This covers up the symptoms allowing a given disease process to remain unchanged or progressively worsen.

The naming of your brand or food can also be deceptive. For example, as a pet food manufacturer you may get into trouble if you claim that your food is natural and pure. But if the name of your product includes the words “natural” or “pure”, then that is permitted. Even with human products, food or cosmetics, this is a tactic that is often employed. A well known retailer is currently under investigation for marketing a range of cosmetics in this way, under the label, “natural”, when clearly the list of ingredients has a high chemical content.

Even a well known pet food managed to fool the consumers by calling their dried food “holistic” because it was in the name. However, when one looks at the label, all the ingredients remained the same, except they included a small quantity of spirulina. This certainly does not make them holistic or natural.

The highest quality of nourishment comes from whole natural and enzyme-active foods that are not refined, processed, cooked or laden with preservatives.  The challenge is to understand your pet food labels and ingredients so that you can best decide what is truly natural, free of preservatives and nutritious for your beloved companion animal.

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The question as to whether you consider your pet to be a wolf or domesticated dog is a very important one, and the answer will prescribe to you, the diet that you should be feeding and that which is appropriate. The consequences of inferior diet are dire and effects behavior as well as general well being, health and longevity.

So, where did the canine evolve from?

Some believe that our beloved “Fido” is a descendent from the Wolf, and therefore these people believe that all canines need to eat only raw meat and raw bones.  Scientists however, have confirmed that our furry friend could not have descended from the wolf as there are too many different genetic sequences for this to be possible – 26 to be exact.  They propose that it is possible that our canine friends could have descended from the dingo, jackal, fox, or even a coyote.  If this were the case, then the canine would have been more of a scavenger and certainly would have been less dependent on raw meat as a primary protein source.
In 1868 Darwin wrote “We shall probably never be able to ascertain their origin with certainty.”
However, the one thing we do know for certain is that regardless of where they originated from, research has shown that domesticated dogs have been eating cooked food for thousands of years.

For thousands of years our pets have been fed table scraps and their metabolism has adapted so. Our dogs can no longer digest copious amounts of raw meat but prefer a diet

that is rich in vegetables and nutritional pulses, together with reasonable quantities of quality meat. In fact, many people believe that their companion animal can live on an exclusive diet of vegetables and grains. The Chow Chow, evolved to be almost vegetarian in nature, after been fed only grains and veggies by the Tibetans. Its whole physiological make has changed to metabolize a diet enriched with veggies and quality grains.

Some may argue that dogs are classified as carnivore and thus this classification should settle the issue? Absolutely not. Bears and raccoons are carnivores, but they are clearly

adapted to an omnivorous lifestyle. Giant pandas are also classified as carnivores, despite the fact that they have a diet consisting of bamboo. Evolution can do funny things with animals, so classification won’t help settle this issue.

Another notable issue in determining whether our dogs are carnivores or omnivores revolves around the ability of dogs to digest grains and vegetables. The digestive tracts of animals give clues as to what kind of diet they can eat. The shorter the length of small intestine, the less capable the animals are of digesting plant materials. Herbivores have very complex and long digestive tracts, whereas humans have somewhat simpler and shorter digestive tracts. If you compare the length of the small intestine in cats (obligate carnivores) with that of a dog, the dog’s small intestine is longer relative to the animal’s body length (4:1 intestine/body length ratio in cats, 6:1 in dogs). Based on digestive system anatomy, and plant digestibility, it would seem that dogs are adapted to eat a diet that includes vegetable material.

The next issue is amylase, the enzyme that digests starch. Grains are mostly starch, so an animal would need to make amylase if it is going to digest starch. People have amylase in their saliva, so starch digestion begins when you chew your food. Dogs, like cats, don’t have amylase in their saliva. But this ignores the fact that dogs secrete large amounts of amylase from their pancreas. Since meat doesn’t contain starch, why would dogs need to make amylase in their pancreas? Obviously because they are equipped to eat and digest plant-derived starches. Foxes, which are closely related to dogs, eat just about anything in the wild, from bugs to birds, to fruits, grains and berries. They too are very adaptable “carnivores”.

Taurine is essential for all animals, but because it is absent in plant material, herbivores and omnivores must synthesize it from other amino acids in their diet. In order for obligate carnivores to get enough taurine, they must eat other animals that contain taurine in their meat and organs. Cats need taurine in their diet, and they are obligate carnivores.

So what about taurine in dogs? Dogs can synthesize their own taurine, indicating that they are not obligate carnivores in terms of physiology.

So in essence, the discussion as to whether our pets evolved from a wolf or dingo, anyway, is of no consequence at all. The modern dog cannot be considered as a derivative of a Wolf. This is an antiquated belief and certainly presenting nutrition based on this ideology is incorrect. The same analogy could be made with humans aspiring to a diet that apes eat – nuts, fruits, grass, etc. As humans we certainly could not maintain ourselves on such a diet. The same is true for our pets who over thousands of years have evolved to eat a balanced home prepared diet

That said, one should still strive to serve a diet that is natural and free of preservatives.

One should support pet nutrition that is ethical and moral and steer away from companies that support animal testing. Where possible organic herbs and veggies should be used, as well as free range meat.

The use of high quality pulses like a long grain brown rice, pearl barley, split peas., millet, wheat germ and oats is preferred rather than those that are commonly used in processed food like brewers rice (left overs from the breweries), soya meal, corn meal, wheat and corn gluten (often acquired from China)

Cold pressed olive oil is also preferred as a high quality omega rather than rendered fats that the industry is known to use.

Our pets, therefore require a balanced diet of protein (whether derived from a meat or vegetable source), veggies and carbohydrates.

Judging by their loyalty, commitment, love and affection it is very evident that we are no longer dealing with a Wolf or Dingo but rather a domesticated companion and friend. We have a responsibility to protect them from harm and assure them of basic humane rights and that includes a diet that is appropriate, safe and free of dangerous preservatives.

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ImageA leather shoe or rump steak, rich in protein. A metal nail or spinach, rich in iron. Which is more nutritious?

A spectrum of multi-vitamins from the pharmacy or Granny’s Sunday Roast of chicken, sweet potato, veggies and salad. Both are balanced in minerals and vitamins but which is more nutritious?

Unfortunately, and especially in the pet food industry, the only criteria for determining a healthy nutritious meal, is whether it is balanced. Not so long ago that reality hit home when hundreds of our beloved companion animals were sickened and died as a result of the inclusion on melamine in pet food. Melamine, a derivative from coal, shows a high protein content, but in reality, not only is it not nutritious, but it is in fact dangerous.

In this case the pet food was balanced. It had its vitamin and mineral component, it had its balance of fats, moisture and carbohydrates and it had the correct levels of protein. It appeased the governing authorities and yet it was later proven to be dangerous and of poor nutritional value.

Whole nourishment comes from whole natural and enzyme-active foods that are not refined, processed or laden with preservatives or chemicals. The highest quality nourishment can be obtained from organic foods grown on fertile soil and raised without harmful chemicals.

Many food-processing techniques utilize heat as a key parameter to produce pelleted pet food and canned pet food. The effects of heat processing are therefore well documented:

1. Protein structures in the food are altered.

2. Enzymes are effected and depending on the type of enzyme, could be irreversibly denatured with loss of activity

3. There is a loss of 50% of the B vitamins

4. A 70% loss of vitamin c

5. Mineral absorption is disrupted.

Simply stated, minerals, vitamins, protein and hormones cannot function without enzymes being present. Enzymes in turn, cannot function if the cells are too acidic and if exposed to heat, as with most processed pet food.

It is no wonder that many of our companion animals are malnourished and suffer from a wide spectrum of illness. From skin conditions to digestive problems, cancer, diabetes, arthritics conditions, renal complications, heart disease, dental disease and epilepsy.

Back to the original question, where would you prefer to go for lunch? The pharmacy, or granny’s house? 

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A happier and healthier Harley, minus 9 Kg!

 

Hi Vondi’s,

Just to let  you know that I have been feeding my spaniel with the vegan diet since the beginning of Nov 2010 and he has never been so healthy or happy.  Let me give you some background info on my spaniel:

He was diagnosed with bowel disease (NOT IBS!!) at 6 months old and also had bouts of pancreatitis too.  He has been on 20mg to 40 mg of steroids (Cortisone) daily ever since to control the disease. He has also been taking buscopan for tummy cramps and allergex.  He would normally see the vet at least 2 – 3 x a month with severe pain, distended tummy, inflammation of the bowel.  He has been for scopes etc.  I was told by my vet that he would have to take steroids for the rest of his life and that he wouldn’t live past about 8 yrs old.  He said I had to weigh up “Quality vs Quantity” – meaning that the quality of his life would be better with steroids but he wouldn’t live long. Also, due to the high amounts of cortisone, my spaniel (harley) is extremely overweight and his thyroid function has been depressed – which means that he will struggle to lose weight even on a “diet.”

At the age of 4 1/2, I decided to find an alternate food for him as all the expensive commercial brands were just making him sicker and sicker.  I found the Vegan diet online and changed him to that.  He has never looked back.  No more visits to the vet – only for a vaccination – and the vet was amazed at the change in Harley.  His cortisone dosage is down to 2.5mg per day!!!  No more buscopan or allergex. No more tummy cramps/severe pain and he has not had a single flare up of pancreatitis either. He is a happy, healthy and content dog now and has lost 3 kg’s.  He loves his walks to the park and beach every day too.

My vet phoned the other day to say he had another dog with the same problem as Harley and wanted to know exactly what I was feeding him etc so he could help that dog too – isn’t that wonderful to be able to share something good to help another animal.

So, thank you very much for this wonderful vegan food.  It is awesome and has changed not only my dog’s life but mine too!

Kind regards

Val.

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