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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.
One helpful tool to reduce allergies is to avoid exposure in the first place. In avoiding the great outdoors by staying inside, in “air conditioned” air addition of filters can greatly reduce allergen particles by trapping them before they enter or as they blow through your air system. These types of furnace filters for forced air systems – furnaces/air conditioners combos, are available at most hardware stores. But sometimes you not able to add a filter to the system heating and cooling in your space or may need more filtering if the duct have allot of dust build up. Then individual air duct filters can be helpful and addition house air filter can remove more particles, especially electrostatic filters trap more dust, molds, pollen and mites.
Here is a link to choose custom filters of all types with information on when and how to use them.https://www.permatron.com/register-vent-filters.
Another helpful website if you or your pet suffers from airborne allergies to mold, pollen, house dust or the HD mite is https://www.allergybegone.com/airfiltration.html.
Release Date: December 13, 2018
MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is advising consumers of a food recall for Del Monte canned fiesta corn seasoned with red and green peppers. Click the link above for more information regarding this recall.
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.
In 2010 the Environmental working group (EWG) was allowed by the Federal government, to publish and continued to make information available to the public; information about drinking water contamination. This data is available by towns or city. you can look up your town or city at tapwater link.
Read the link below to find out more about the strain of flu in Chicago dogs. There are two flu viruses in dogs in the midwest; one is H3N8 for which there is a vaccine and second virus is H3N2. Whether the vaccine is protective is unknown with speculation that it may reduce the severity of disease from H3N2, based on findings on human & bird responses to flu viruses.
I just finished reading many sources of information on Dog Flu. I find that the article, in the link, is one of the best to explain all the details.
My take on the subject: I will vaccinate my dog but I am not in a panic to do so. Because the virus will cause mild fever and illness in 80-90 % of dogs. The young, old and already ill dogs are at risk of becoming more seriously ill. There has been one confirmed case in WI as of today.
Vaccinating WI dogs now, before the outbreak in So WI, will slow and eventually stop or prevent a serious outbreak. So vaccinate your dog. Avoid groups of dogs until 2 weeks after the 2nd dose of vaccine. Such as; dog parks, doggie daycare, training centers, pet stores, shows, even your neighborhood walk, where every dog pees and sniffs, and dog sport events.
If you have a puppy in classes (which are essential for good behavioral health) avoid adult dogs, or where adults frequent, and wash your hands frequently. Bring your own bowls for water and food for the puppy, do not share. Interview the facility staff to find out if they are disinfecting everything, everyday:
1. With solutions that kill viruses on contact (2-3% bleach or full strength Lysol)
2. Floors, walls, gates, toys, and other surfaces every day.
3. Do they keep puppy areas separate, include the entrance and potty areas from access by adult dogs. If not carry your puppy into the puppy area.
4. Exclude dogs with a fever from classes.
Other tips to think about:
Be kind to service dogs and do not touch them. The fact is that many infected dogs, have no symptoms except a fever. If you’re like me, and enjoy petting every dog you encounter, you can easily spread the virus from one infected dog to another. This is the reason the Federal law prohibits touching service dogs.
Avoid the daily neighborhood walk and exercise your dogs at home, away from where dogs enter your yard, until you have vaccine immunity established.
When you have to go into public areas, prevent your dog from sniffing or licking objects, floors, including outside areas and other dogs. The virus can live for 12 to 24 hours in environment. Have treats on hand, distract your dog with a treat to the end of the nose and give the treat when your dog stops going for the sniff.
For your pets safety at home: If you do touch dogs, or visit friends with dogs that are in the outside world (or they touch you), wash your hands, arms and change clothes including shoes, immediately when you enter your house, before touching things and especially your dog.
I have jackets, jeans or wind pants that I wear for outdoor dog activities. When I get home, I walk directly to the laundry room, strip off my outer layer of clothes, and wash them. I remove my outside shoes and dip them in a half filled bucket of water with a dash of bleach, enough liquid to cover the shoes to the top edge. My outside dog shoes are bleach hardy. Next, I wash my hands & arms up to my elbows plus sometimes my face, with foamy soap. The more bubbles the more the soap will kill viruses.
The vaccine takes 2 shots to produce protective immunity – 14 days after the 2nd shot. Vaccine immunity in dogs will reduce the severity of illness. If your dog gets the flu, once recovered most dogs will have excellent immunity for 1 year. Expect the information to change next year.
BTW – Tamiflu is not recommended for dogs. Has more risks than benefit. If you suspect that your dog has the flu, supportive care is the best treatment. Take your dog to your vet as soon as you recognize the symptoms. Tell the receptionist that you suspect flu, so the staff can advise you how to keep your dog separated from other dogs arriving at the clinic.
We are all concerned about chemicals in our food, water and air.
Here is a handy tool to know about.
Great podcast from Veterinary Nutrition specialists. Covers all the important information owners need to know to make intelligent choices about dogs and pet foods.
I recommend one food company at this time; Drfostersmith.com These recommendation will change over time because the pet food industry is not well regulated and the successful companies are often bought by one of the “Big Two”, multinational food companies, They are Mars and Proctor & Gamble, who are owned by even bigger, multinational, Tobacco Companies.
This is an excellent articles on how insect bites lead to allergies in pets.
Scientists also know that the flea, tick, & mite- type insects can transfer proteins in their saliva that are identical to proteins in beef and Pork. This is how a single allergy to biting insects can develop into a allergy reaction to food. Called Tick-food cross reaction allergy.
So what can be done to prevent food -insect cross reaction allergy? Thorough cooking (at minimum 30 minutes at low boil in water until the meat falls to pieces) is usually enough to breakdown the proteins. Commercial foods and treats are usually not cooked long enough to breakdown the proteins so many hypoallergenic foods fail. In humans this phenomenon is called “tick-food allergy cross reaction”, and cross reactions can also happen with many pollens called pollen-food cross reaction or Oral Allergy Syndrome.
This explains why homemade pet-foods, and a few of the freeze- dried, pressure treated pet-foods can extremely helpful to reduce allergy symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory supplements have also been shown to be very effective. High quality, fish oil with omega 3 fats being the best of all these products. This is the one time I recommend buying fish oil from your local vet. The prescription form of fish- omega 3 FA are filtered, concentrated which removes water, unneeded non-omega 3 fats and both heavy metals like mercury and other chemical contaminates. I have done numerous price comparisons, based on the effective dose of Fish-Omega FA (mgs) and found that the cost per pet is the same as over-the-counter brands.
Most veterinarians can/will sell these products without an appointment because of overwhelming science that shows how high quality fish oil prevents most diseases including teeth & gum disease.
Note to remember: Flax seed or borage oil are not effective in dogs nor cats. Carnivores lack the liver enzymes that convert vegetable Omega 3 fats into a form our bodies use to suppress inflammation. You are just getting expensive poop. These seeds or oils are added in tiny amounts to pet foods and treats to sell more product to health aware consumers.