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Another health problem emerges from the latest of the “Food Fads” for pets – Grain Free Food.
First Grain Free dog and Cat foods have both excesses and deficiencies of amino acids. A heart problem that is caused by an amino acid deficiency, have been proven to be associated with feeding any grain free commercial diets in dogs. I’ll go into more detail later. This only the latest of problems with grain free foods.
I am calling it a fad here intentionally, which may dismay some of my readers. After all, this is an Alternative Veterinary Medicine blog. Well, I was reserved but open to the concept, as I am to many new ideas, and I evaluated the diets carefully. I compared the diets (the components & the companies dietary research) to over the over 80 years of veterinary nutritional research about canine and feline nutrition and digestive research up to now.
Here are the steps I go through to evaluate a food or supplement company.
- Claims of research. Look for listed research study on their website. Take the title and authors copy into the pubmed search. This a link into the big library of science studies worldwide. If the study is not listed here it was not published in a recognized scientific publication. The facts they quote are not facts, just company talking points.
- Did they use at minimum 30 or more animals in each test group. Did they not reuse the same animals in a “wash-out” study. So if comparing one diets to another the barest of minimum is 30, 100-200 is better. A common practice among feed companies is to design the feed trial to make sure that one diet is no different than the another diet.
- Done by Design: a. each group has less than 10-12 dogs, b. the total feeding trial lasts just weeks to 3-4 months (not from birth through maturation, 3-5 years old, males & females -through puppy rearing). Most feeding trials are 6-16 weeks or less with adult. Puppies/kittens feeding trials are completed before 6 months of age, especially related to bone and cartilage growth because the diet effects can’t be detected until after 2+ years of life. c. was the research done at a university in Central or South America. At present it is difficult to have quality over-site is some countries so unfavorable results are never published, not a practice done in major US universities. d. only one study for their idea that can’t be repeated, confirmed by other researchers.
- I have seen allot of “so called great ideas” come and go over 40 years in practice. I remember the very same sales pitch in the mid 1970’s for adding soybean protein meal to milk powder for baby calves & pigs. To increase their growth and save a little money on cost of milk. What happened? Baby calves & pigs drinking the milk powder that had more than 2.5-3% soy protein would die suddenly at 10-12 days of age from bleeding stomach ulcers. The research had been done in older animals with more mature GI systems, the babies unable to digest the soy protein which clotted in their stomach. Bacteria from the intestines migrated up into the clotted food mass and infected the stomachs causing ulcers and septic shock because of their young age. When farmer were careful to buy milk powder with less 2% soy the baby calves and pig were fine.
- Note: At less than 12 weeks of age calves and pig can’t digest food ingredients that are not from milk. As they mature with age their GI gradually turns into Omnivore and herbivore, capable of digesting soy with no problem.
- A lesson that has to be repeated in dogs, cats and people too. Feeding the wrong type of any food or nutrient will cause problems over time. An example, short term a dog can eat anything, but long term too much fibrous, root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, yams, even potatoes, cause serious irritation to the gut and will mimic symptoms of irritable bowel disease. So if your dog have soft stools, that stink and tend to be sticky, stop the popular sweet potato diets.
Look up which chemicals & how much are on foods in USA stores (if not purchased from a certified organic source).
Be alert to some stores like Costco, who are selling brands like Kirklandsfoods with
fake “Organic-like” labels.
Some folks like listening instead of watching or reading here is a short podcast that I like on: “how to stop bad behavior on walks” & why these methods work in the long run better than just yelling and jerking on the leash.
Source: The Dog Trainer : How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking and Lunging on Leash : Quick and Dirty Tips ™
Here is an excellent website to look up Pollen counts for where you live. Pollen Lookup The information is from actual samples and predictions are made base on combines weather forecasts. This is the most accurate site readily available to the public.
How I use it.
- I keep track on a simple calendar by marking a red X on the days when my allergy symptoms are acting up. I do the same with my pets.
- Then I look up the pollen(s) that is(are) high during the weeks of year that my symptoms are flared up.
- Treatment or avoidance depends on what I or my pets is reacting too. Examples:
- Tree pollen allergies that cross react with some foods.
Common in allergies to Birch trees are allergies to apples and carrots, symptoms of mouth burning when eating foods are reported. This is called oral allergy syndrome. Some people may be allergic to one food, and others with many different fruits and vegetables. In the case of OAS, individuals react to different foods based on what type of seasonal allergies they are affected by. So I re-look up which foods to avoid. I avoid gardening under the one birch tree in the yard when it is pollinating and avoid woods and parks in early spring. See related posts about OAS.
- Grass when pollen for dogs and cats this is common. Prevent common habit by Pets of “rolling in the grass” or “eating the grass”. Wipe down their feet and fur with a very wet microfiber cloth followed by a dry one. Be sure to get deep between the toes, where sweat glands are located and more debris will stick to skin and hair. Still dogs and cats love the smell of grass so we often have to add some treatment to decrease itching if grass pollen is one of their allergies. There are many, many options so consult with your local Vet for help with treatment.
- Late summer/ fall bloomers like ragweed, golden rod, yarrows etc. These plants produce a large amount of light weight pollen that is spreads easily on the wind, so everyone who is allergic is effected for miles, making avoidance impractical. The “Nettie Pot” treatment method which uses a saline/herbal lavage to physical remove the days accumulation of particles, does work for some people when used correctly. This is difficult to do to pets, who nasopharynx anatomy is different and lack of cooperation. So again some treatment to decrease allergy symptoms is often needed for the fall season. Herbal anti-inflammatories, that reduce the body’s triggering mechanism that release histamines, can be helpful when started 4 to 6 months before the expected season of allergies. At a minimum herbal can decrease the dose or duration of pharmaceuticals needed to control the symptoms of a flareup.
Good luck to everyone who struggles with allergies, in themselves or family members furry or human. Allergic disease is very frustrating and gets more intense with each passing year.
As the global weather become moister, warmer, and windier we can expect more intense allergy seasons.
Sounds to good to be true but olives and olive leaf are truly “super-foods”. A common food that is often ignored, because it is not exotic enough to grab headlines. Olive leaf, (olives & oil) has been used for centuries as medicine. Supported by extensive and excellent science: here is link to a review of the science. Nonsterol Triterpenoids as Major Constituents of Olea europaea.
If you are not interested in the complex science go to this website instead.
I use “Olive leaf extract” powders or capsules, because of the high concentration of active ingredients compared to olives or olive oil. It can be used in chronic diseases where anti-microbials are recommended, such as; Lymes and other tick diseases, recurrent ear, bladder, gastrointestinal or skin infections. Olive leaf works well when paired with antibiotics or antifungals, as the second stage of treatment. The dose, duration and brand matter for the olive leaf to work well. It is best to seek out the advice of a Veterinarian trained in herbal medicine. Successful treatment of stubborn infections takes close supervision because each case is so different.
Sorry, there is no “one size fit all” when it comes to chronic infections.
If you liked part 1, you’ll find even more interesting information in this video.