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The Healthiest Fats For Dogs

Let’s talk about the F word, nope not that, it’s Fat of course. This article will talk about fats, how much should be in your dog’s diet, healthy sources of fat and some pretty high level nutrition info on fats which you most likely don’t need to read. Fats are a dense source of energy for your dogs, in fact it’s the preferred energy source for this species as they have a long evolutionary history of consuming meat. Fats are the healthiest source of energy for dogs over carbs or sugars, and actually your dog’s more likely to get fat from consuming carbs (much like us!) Think of the keto diet, low carb, high protein, medium fat…that’s the ideal canine diet.

Why dogs need fats in their diet 

  • Fat provides necessary energy as well as aid in supple skin and coat formation. 
  • Fats give dogs a feeling of fullness after meals.
  • It is needed for other nutrients to be properly absorbed.
  • Fat transports fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • It aids in the digestion of vitamin D, which is needed to utilize calcium in the body.
  • It keeps cells strong and supports a healthy nervous system, brain, liver, blood, skin, and hormone function.
  • Fat protects vital organs from trauma and helps regulate body temperature

Total Fat In Your Dog’s Diet

Your dog’s diet should contain about 10-20% fat. This mimics the ratios of nutrients dogs would get in the wild. However, if your dog’s getting other energy sources, like carbs, or they aren’t exercising, aim for the lower end of the range.

Sources Of Healthy Fats For Dogs

Here are five ways to feed healthy fats to your dogs for a balanced diet. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are bountiful in the leafy plants consumed by roaming animals. When domestic animals are deprived of greens, their meat and eggs also become low in omega-3s.
  • Meat Fat
Most dogs can absorb meat fat without any issue. Dogs don't have cholesterol issues and can generally handle more animal fat than humans can. A small amount of steak fat and beef fat are suitable options for dogs. Because this sort of fat comes from a prey source, it is a good option for most canines. A controlled amount of meat fat leads to a healthier coat and skin. Fats are made up of fatty acids, some of which are referred to as essential fatty acids (EFAs). You want to add healthy fats containing essential fatty acids. There are two types of essential fatty acids or EFAs - omega-3 and omega-6. 
  • MCT Oil
MCT oil, also called medium-chain triglycerides, brings energy to the dog's body very quickly. It is produced using coconut or palm kernel oil. MCT oil helps dogs make ketones, an energy source for the brain. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce chronic inflammation. MCT oil lowers blood sugar levels in dogs and may reduce the number and severity of seizures.
  • Fish Oils
For eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), nothing beats cold water fish and fish oil supplements. Proper kidney function can be also be supported by taking fish oils. EPAs both decrease pain and increase ease of movement.
  • Pasture Raised Eggs
Egg yolks are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats for your dog. Pastured eggs have a much higher amount of omega-3 fats than conventional eggs. Eggs also provide protein and a wide range of other nutrients, especially if you feed the whole egg. If you can’t find organic, pasture-raised eggs, get omega-3 enriched ones for your dog. Omega-3 eggs have 5 times more omega-3 than conventional eggs.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. It improves joint mobility and blood vessel health in dogs. Extra virgin olive oil also reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease in dogs. Olive oil gives a beautiful shine to your dog’s coat and keeps the skin cells supple and healthy.

Final thoughts 

The right fats can make your dog healthier and happier, reduce inflammation and create a soft, silky coat. They also provide energy, control hormones and help with cell growth. Dogs don’t have to worry about things like high cholesterol, but too much fat can harm them none-the-less. Too much of fat leads to problems, such as pancreatitis and obesity. Too little fat results in dry, itchy skin, a dull coat and weak immune systems. The key is balance.   References: Daley CA et al., 'A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef', Nutr J. 2010, 10(9). Sofia Schauf et al., 'Effect of dietary fat to starch content on fecal microbiota composition and activity in dogs', Journal of Animal Science, 2018, 96(9), pp. 3684–3698. Astrup, A., et al. 'The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: where does the evidence stand in 2010?' Am J Clin Nutr, 2011, 93(4), pp. 684-688. 'Types of Fats, The Nutrition Source', Harvard, Available at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/ (Accessed 9 January 2022) PetMD Editorial. (2011), 'Fats and Oils: Good for Your Dog’s Health?', PetMD, 21 October, Available at https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_fats_and_oils_good_for_your_dogs_health (Accessed 9 January 2022) Under, Julie. (2021), 'Ahiflower Oil: Why Your Dog Needs It', DogsNaturallyMagazine, 11 December, Available at https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/ahiflower-oil-dogs/ (Accessed 9 January 2022) 'Essential Fats for my Dog’s Diet: The Ultimate Guide', MyPetNutritionist, 24 March, Available at https://www.mypetnutritionist.com/post/essential-fats-for-my-dogs-diet-the-ultimate-guide (Accessed 9 January 2022) Henriques, Julia. (2021), 'Balancing Fats For A Healthier Dog', DogsNaturallyMagazine, 11 December, Available at https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/balancing-fats-for-a-healthier-dog/ (Accessed 9 January 2022) Jones, Jason. (2021), 'MCT Oil for Dogs', Relievet, 28 October, https://www.relievet.com/blogs/tips/mct-oil-for-dogs-benefits-dosages (Accessed 14 January 2022)  

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Can Dogs Have Almond Milk?

Almond milk, chances are you’ve got this new household staple in your fridge, a new (ish) popular dairy-free milk substitute. It is made from almonds, water and sometimes some added nutrients. Nothing too scary, but is almond milk appropriate and safe to give to your dog. In this article we’ll look at whether almond milk is safe for dogs, the potential benefits of almond milk for dogs, and things you should watch out for.

Is almond milk safe for dogs?

Dogs don't need milk once they are weaned. But if your pooch loves the taste of milk, a little unsweetened non-dairy milk, like almond milk, is fine for dogs as an occasional treat. Remember, almond milk should only be given to your dog in moderation. Almond milk is quite high in calories, so if you’ve got a smaller dog you really don’t want to feed too much, and is not recommended for regular consumption just because it’s not the most natural thing for a dog to consume. What this means is that an excess amount of almond milk may cause some unpleasant side effects like upset stomach, diarrhoea, or vomiting. Not all almond milk is equal! There can be preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial flavors in non-organic almond milk, in which case it’s probably best to avoid giving your dog that type of almond milk.

Benefits of almond milk for dogs

Let's have a look at some of the benefits of almond milk for dogs:
  • Almond milk is low in allergens and irritants. Many dogs are lactose intolerant and almond milk is free of many types of allergens found in dairy milk.
  • Almond milk is full of Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant known to help your dog's brain. Almond milk antioxidants can help dogs' bodies manage free radicals more effectively. It also helps maintain the eyes and the liver.
  • Almond milk has high vitamin B3, which aids in keeping the dog’s skin and fur healthy.
  • It is often enriched with nutrients including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • Great for your dog's bone health because it contains a plethora of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. Calcium in almond milk keeps the dog’s joints and bones healthy.
  • It is safe for dogs with gluten or wheat allergies.

Few considerations before giving almond milk to dogs

Dogs are like children and they depend on us for everything. It is important to understand that as a dog owner, you are responsible for the health and wellbeing of your dog. Here are a few things that you must look at before giving almond milk to your pooch:
  • Before feeding your dog with almond milk, you need to make sure your furry friend is not allergic to any of the ingredients in almond milk. 
  • Problems encountered in giving almond milk in dogs are mostly related to digestion issues. Almonds, being high in fat, can be difficult to digest by some dogs, resulting in gastrointestinal signs like watery and oily diarrhea.
  • Make sure to choose unsweetened almond milk, as some varieties may be high in added sugars.
  • Check out the ingredients carefully. Some brands contain Xylitol as a sugar substitute. It can cause life-threatening issues such as low blood sugar and liver injury in dogs.
Remember to control the amount of almond milk your dog drinks. You can consult your vet for a better idea of ​​the amount of almond milk that you add to your dog’s diet.

Conclusion

Unsweetened and unflavoured almond milk is generally considered safe in moderation. On a personal note, I prefer to give small amounts of kefir or goats milk to my dog! Did you find this article useful? Feel free to share your thoughts. We would be happy to hear from you!   References Kalita, S. et al. (2018) 'Almonds and Cardiovascular Health: A Review', Nutrients, 10(4), pp. 468 Gwaltney-Brant, Sharon M. (2021) 'Xylitol Toxicosis In Dogs', Merck Veterinary Manual., PhD, DABVT, DABT, University of Illinois.. Merck Veterinary Manual. July 2021.  Xylitol: The Sweetener That Is Not So Sweet for Pets, ASPCA, 20 September, Available at https://www.aspca.org/news/xylitol-sweetener-not-so-sweet-pets (Accessed 9 Jan 2022) Kim, Y., et al. 'Nuts and cardio-metabolic disease: A review of meta-analyses', 2018, Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6316378/ (Accessed 9 Jan 2022) Tobacman, J.K. (2001) 'Review of Harmful Gastrointestinal Effects of Carrageenan in Animal Experiments', Environmental Health Perspectives, 109(10), pp. 983-994. Costanzo, Kayla. (2018), 'Can Dogs Taste Almond Milk?', WagWalking, 23 May, Available at https://wagwalking.com/sense/can-dogs-taste-almond-milk (Accessed 9 Jan 2022) Cosgrove, Nicole. (2022) 'Can Dogs Drink Almond Milk? Is Almond Milk Safe For Dogs', Hepper, 6 January, Available at https://www.hepper.com/can-dogs-drink-almond-milk/ (Accessed 9 Jan 2022) Grewal, Gogi. (2021) 'Can Dogs Have Almond Milk?', DogsNaturallyMagazine, 21 December, Available at https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/can-dogs-have-almond-milk/ (Accessed 9 Jan 2022)

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Why do dogs eat poop

Let’s be honest with one another. There's nothing more unpleasant for a pet parent than seeing their dog eating poop. Coprophagia is the practice of eating poop or faeces. In most cases of coprophagia, it is purely a behavioral problem. However, there might be some medical problems that can contribute to coprophagia. Here are some reasons why your dog eats poop:  

  • Medical problem: Many dogs eat their faces due to some underlying medical problem. It can be a sign of diseases of the intestinal tract, the liver, or brain.
  • Malabsorption: If your dog is eating its own stool, the poop may consist of undigested food. That’s an indication of malabsorption.
  • Boredom: A bored dog is a destructive dog. Some dogs may be eating stool because, in their mind, there’s nothing much else to do.
  • Attention seeking: Poop-eating might be similar to other negative attention-seeking behaviors. Dogs eat their own poop to get a reaction from their humans, which they inevitably will. 
  • Anxiety and stress: Like people, every dog handles stress differently. Some may become anxious, destructive, or develop destructive behavior. Some dogs even start eating their poop due to stress.
  • Nutrient deficiency: Some experts suggest that dogs with nutrient deficiency, particularly thiamine - a B-vitamin, eat faeces.

Tips to stop your dog from eating poop

Here are some useful tips to stop your fur buddy from eating poop
  • Prevent boredom
Try to keep your fur buddy busy and active. This will make them stay away from activities like eating poop. Invest in a good variety of interactive dog toys and indoor puzzle toys.
  • Prevent depression and stress
Try to get creative to spice up your dog’s daily routine and bring some much-needed stimulation to his life.
  • Remove dog waste quickly
Removing waste quickly is a promising method to prevent your dog's access to stools. Keep the dog’s living area and yard clean. Get to know your dog's bathroom break patterns and remove the stool as soon as it happens. This requires constant supervision and consistency. 
  • Make poop taste less desirable 
Feeding foods like pineapple, pumpkin, raw zucchini or meat tenderizer seemingly changes the taste of dog poop and makes it underside for dogs. Try adding some amount of these foods and adjust the amount according to the results. 
  • Train your dog ‘Leave It’ command
Try to teach your dog “leave it” and “come” commands. For this, teach your furry pal to come to you for a treat as soon as he has done his business. In this way, your dog will develop a habit to run to you for a treat, instead of reaching for the stool.
  • Feed Your Dog a Balanced Diet
Try to feed your dog a well-balanced homemade nutritious diet. The nutrient requirements of dogs increase as they grow or indulge in more physical activities. 
  • Use a Supplement
If your dog shows symptoms of nutritional deficiency, consider adding a good canine multivitamin to your dog's diet.
  • Treat the underlying medical problem:
You can speak to your vet to rule out any medical problems. Your vet may treat the problem or recommend any medication.   Pet parent tip: Dogs learn by positive reinforcement techniques. Don’t punish your dog if he eats his poop. It will not fix the problem but only make it worse.

Our Final Thoughts

Let's face it, we don’t know what goes through our dog's minds, but vets suspect various culprits that trigger the urge for dogs to eat their poop. You can try different tips and tricks to see what works best for you and your dog.  Shoot us a message and let us know if this blog was helpful. Until next time everyone!   References: Horwitz, Debra. 'Dog Behavior Problems - Coprophagia’, VCA Hospitals. Available at: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dog-behavior-problems-coprophagia (Accessed: 2 January 2022).   Hart, Benjamin. et al. (2018), 'The paradox of canine conspecific coproophagy', Veterinary Medicine & Science, 4(2), 106-114.   WebMD Medical Reference, 'Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?', Webmd, 14 February. Available at: https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/why-does-my-dog-eat-poop (Accessed: 2 January 2022).   Unger, Julie. 'Why Do Dogs Eat Poop?’, Dogs Naturally Magazine, 21 December. Available at: https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/16-reasons-dogs-eat-poop-and-what-to-do-about-it/ (Accessed: 2 January 2022).   Stregowski, Jenna. 'Why Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop Them - Coprophagia in Dogs', The Spruce Pets, 7 June. Available at: https://www.thesprucepets.com/why-does-my-dog-eat-poop-1118288 (Accessed: 2 January 2022).   AKC Staff, 'Why Dogs Eat Poop and How to Stop It', AKC, 5 November. Available at: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/why-dogs-eat-poop/ (Accessed: 2 January 2022).  

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Health benefits of pumpkin for dogs

Does your furry friend love pumpkin? Is it safe for them? Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin and here’s why and how.

Is pumpkin safe for dogs?

Yes, pumpkins are full of healthy nutrients and are safe for dogs to eat. However, not all parts of the pumpkin are safe for dogs.
  • Pumpkin pulp: It is the stringy, gooey part in the center of the pumpkin and should be avoided.
  • Pumpkin skin and stem: Avoid feeding your dog pumpkin skin and stems. It can cause an upset stomach and indigestion.
Before feeding canned pumpkin, check the ingredients list and read labels very carefully.   

Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin 

Pumpkin provides several benefits for dogs. It contains essential nutrients and high soluble fiber content that make it a very nutritious food for dogs. This superfood contains vitamins A, C, and E and is vital for your dog's brain and eye development. Pumpkin is also packed with minerals like iron and potassium. One cup or 245 grams of cooked, boiled, or drained unsalted pumpkin contains  1.76 g of protein, 2.7 g of fiber, 49 calories (kcal), 0.17 g of fat, and 12 g of carbohydrate. Let's have a look at some of the benefits of pumpkin for dogs:
  • Improve your dog's coat: Vitamin A and zinc in pumpkin improve your dog’s skin and coat. 
 
  • Good for eyes: Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A and promotes eye health. It prevents the development of night blindness and other eye degeneration issues.
  • Immunity booster: Pumpkin is a fresh source of antioxidants. Also, pumpkin contains vitamin C that is integral for your dog's immune health.
 
  • Stomach another: Pumpkin is a natural stomach soother and helps to regulate a dog’s digestive system. Pumpkin helps to remove excess water in your dog's digestive tract.
 
  • Aids in doggy diarrhea: If your fur buddy has diarrhoea, fiber in pumpkin can help make your dog’s stools more firm and regular. 
 
  • Stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria: The prebiotic properties of pumpkin regulate the growth of good bacteria in your dog’s intestines and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
 
  • Aids in constipation: If your dog is constipated, adding pumpkin to its diet can help ease mild constipation.
 
  • Lower acidity level: It aids in lowering the acidity level of your dog’s large intestines.
 
  • Weight control: Pumpkin can also help in weight control due to its high moisture and fibre content. It’s a good source of fiber, which may suppress your dog's appetite. The fibre and water in the pumpkin will keep your dog full, so they don’t miss the extra calories.
 
  • Prevent urinary incontinence: The pumpkin seeds prevent urinary incontinence. Pumpkin seeds contain a healthy dose of Omega 3 fatty acids. They have anti-inflammatory properties that can help dislodge kidney stones.
 
  • Control parasites in dogs: Pumpkin can help to control dog parasites naturally. Pumpkins have high amounts of an amino acid cucurbitacin. It is toxic to many common dog parasites and helps to expel worms in ruminating canines.
 
  • Tastes great: Most dogs enjoy the rich, creamy flavour of pumpkin. It can also serve as a delicious doggy treat. 
Pet parent tip: Remember that all dogs are primarily meat-eaters. They thrive and their body functions optimally on nutrients provided by animal meat.

Anti-Inflammatory effects of pumpkin for dogs

Pumpkins are anti-inflammatory because they're rich in carotenoids. Also, pumpkins contain B-carotene, lutein, polysaccharides, phytosterols, unsaturated fatty acids, and peptides. This combination makes pumpkins a powerful source to fight inflammation. Pumpkin seeds are rich in many antioxidants, which protect our cells from disease-causing damage and reduce inflammation in our bodies. They're also a great source of dietary fiber, which can enhance this effect. Pumpkin seeds’ anti-inflammatory abilities can help maintain good function in the liver, bladder, bowel, and joints.  

Final Thoughts 

The benefits of pumpkin for dogs makes it terrific food to include in your dog's daily diet. Remember that a large amount of pumpkin can cause an upset stomach, even in healthy dogs. It is better to avoid feeding pumpkins to sick dogs as consuming apples might worsen the medical condition. If you want to introduce pumpkin to your dog's diet, then you need to be careful. It is probably a good idea to start slowly to see how your four-legged pal's stomach reacts. Does your dog enjoy eating pumpkin? Feel free to share your thoughts. We would be happy to hear from you!   References: Ware, Megan. 'What are the health benefits of pumpkins?', Medical News Today, 1 November. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/279610#nutrition (Accessed: 2 January 2022). Burke, Anna. '​Can Pumpkin Help With Dog Diarrhea?', AKC, 6 July. Available at: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/can-pumpkin-help-with-dog-diarrhea/ (Accessed: 2 January 2022). Yadav, Mukesh. et al. (2010) 'Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review', Nutrition Research Reviews, 23, 184-190. Dyck, Amy. '10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs', HomeAlive, 27 April. Available at: https://blog.homesalive.ca/dog-blog/health-benefits-of-pumpkin-for-dogs (Accessed: 2 January 2022). Farmer, Vanessa. Can I Give My Dog Pumpkin?', WebMD, 11 March. Available at: https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/can-i-give-dog-pumpkin (Accessed: 2 January 2022). Grewal, Gogi. 'Health Benefits Of Pumpkin For Dogs', Dogs Naturally Magazine, 12 December. Available at: https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/health-benefits-of-pumpkin-for-dogs/ (Accessed: 2 January 2022). Braby, Emma. '12 Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs – Based on Science', Hepper, 2 December. Available at: https://www.hepper.com/health-benefits-of-pumpkin-for-dogs/ (Accessed: 2 January 2022).  

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How old is your dog? We've been doing it wrong all along.

It turns out we’ve been ageing our dogs totally wrong. One human year does not equal seven dogs years, actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth. A new and more accurate method of calculating a dog’s age has come out, by looking at the DNA and how it changes over time. So, how old is your dog? (1)     As crazy as it seems that a puppy is nearly 30 after their first year, the true implication of this study is that our dogs can live a lot longer. Like, a lot longer. If you think about it, it’s not so surprising that our puppy is actually, a “puppy”, for just a flash in time. Think about it, they are able to sit, stay, come and paw at 8 weeks old. Dogs age/ develop rapidly at the start of their lives because they have to survive, they don’t have the security that allows for a slow development. But then at around 5 years old, their ageing slows enormously. It’s why Maggie the Kelpie lived to 30 years old, that’s not 210. This study was done on Labradors, which comparatively to most breeds, live slightly shorter lives. That is the real significance, that our dog’s aren’t living as long as they should.   How to ensure your dog lives their best, and longest, life possible. The lifestyles we choose for our dog’s will determine how long they live for. It’s the sum of all the everyday decisions, and in particular, what we put into our dog’s bowl every day, that will decide their length of time on this earth. We’re going to use human and canine cancer research, a disease that kills half of dogs, as an example of how your choices for will determine how old your dog will live for and what actions mean the most when it comes to ensuring life longevity for your fur baby. The  graph below shows the causalities in the development of cancer. It’s a graph taken from research on human cancers, but canine cancer is a comparative model with humans, we can use this to predict why our dogs are suffering, just as we are. Dogs live in our environment, they eat similar food and are thus exposed to similar risk factors, so the development and reason for the proliferation of canine tumours is likely to be similar to that of human tumours [2,3,4,5,6].   Screenshot 2021 10 18 at 10.55.24 (7) As you can see, cancer is caused by incorrect lifestyle and environment. The fact that only 5–10% of all cancer cases are due to genetic flaws and that the remaining 90–95% are due to environment and lifestyle factor offers major opportunities for preventing cancer and maximising your dog’s life. Dogs don’t drink, they don’t smoke, but they do eat more processed food than any other species on the planet. Diet is the biggest determinant of health and getting it right is the key to longevity. Increasing the quality of meals, decrease the quantity of food and moving to one meal a day is the healthiest way to feed your dog.   References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405471220302039
  2. G. MacEwen, “Spontaneous tumors in dogs and cats: models for the study of cancer biology and treatment,” Cancer and Metastasis Reviews, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 125–136, 1990.
  3. M. Vail and E. G. MacEwen, “Spontaneously occurring tumors of companion animals as models for human cancer,” Cancer Investigation, vol. 18, no. 8, pp. 781–792, 2000.
  4. Khanna,K.Lindblad-Toh,D.Vailetal.,“edogasacancer model,” Nature Biotechnology, vol. 24, no. 9, pp. 1065–1066, 2006.
  5. S. Pinho, S. Carvalho, J. Cabral, C. A. Reis, and F. Gärt- ner, “Canine tumors: a spontaneous animal model of human carcinogenesis,” Translational Research, vol. 159, no. 3, pp. 165–172, 2012.
  6. Marconato, M. E. Gelain, and S. Comazzi, “e dog as a possible animal model for human non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a review,” Hematological Oncology. In press.
  7. Anand, P., Kunnumakara, A.B., Sundaram, C., Harikumar, K.B., Tharakan, S.T., Lai, O.S., Sung, B. and Aggarwal, B.B., 2008. Cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes.Pharmaceutical research25(9), pp.2097-2116.

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The dangers of antibiotics, why are we doing this to our dogs?

If you’ve got a dog, it’s highly likely your Vet has prescribed them antibiotics at one stage or another. In this article we’re going to take a look at the dangers of antibiotics and why they are used so frequently by Vets. One in four UK dogs will receive antibiotics within a two year period (1) One in Five prescriptions are over the recommended limit. (2) This is a huge problem.     The “inappropriate prescribing and use of antibiotics within veterinary medicine” is a well-documented issue. There is currently a global push on curtailing the use of antibiotics, due to the rise of antibiotic resistance and because we’ve found out how damaging they are to overall health. Not to mention, they never deal with the real problem, the cause of your dog’s health issues. See symptom -> ASSUME INFECTION -> Prescribe potent drug to curtail symptom -> Ignore cause of symptom. Nowhere in this journey of healthcare is the cause of the issue addressed, therefore long term remission is highly unlikely. Not only are they slightly contrived in the sense they don’t tackle the cause, but they also come with some dangers:

  1. Kills healthy gut bacteria, to the extent it will never come back. A lack of healthy gut bacteria can lead to gastrointestinal ailments and recurring infections.
  2. Cause Allergies
  3. Cause Yeast Infections
  4. Gastrointestinal side effects
  5. 20% of prescription antibiotics are over the recommended limit
  6. Every time antibiotics are prescribed, it contributes to antimicrobial resistance. They are becoming less and less effective. Meaning, they’re actually more and more dangerous because it’s going to become harder to stop resistant bacteria strains
  How can your Vet prescribe antibiotics so frivolously? There was a study done recently exploring the behavioural drivers of veterinary surgeon antibiotic prescribing. Basically, why do Vets prescribe antibiotics so often? Interestingly, there were five drivers found to act as barriers to appropriate antibiotic prescribing. Business, diagnostic, fear, habitual practice and pharmaceutical factors.   Business factors Veterinary surgeons talked about the tensions between maintaining a viable business, client satisfaction and appropriate antibiotic prescribing: Clients’ desires for their pet to recover could, at times, be in conflict with the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics. Antibiotics were often seen as direct action and symbolic of a clear pathway to a pets’ recovery compared to having to ‘wait it out’ while they recovered without medication.   Diagnostic “the dog comes to the vet vaguely unwell and we can’t find out what’s wrong with it without spending money doing tests … or you could just give them a shot of antibiotics and see what it does” (Veterinary surgeon 1)   Fear The fear of missing an infection, and potential professional consequences, were also magnified for veterinary surgeons with the forever present possibility of client complaint or disciplinary action through their professional bodies: … vets are completely paranoid the Royal Veterinary College [sic Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons] is going to cause them damage or get them struck off (Veterinary surgeon 5)   Habit Many of the veterinary surgeons talked about prescribing patterns which had been established over time and which influenced clients’ expectations of when their pet would receive an antibiotic.   Big Pharma Influence Pharmaceutical companies influenced antibiotic prescribing. This opportunity to influence prescribing was created by the marketing of products, without warning of the dangers. 70% of survey respondents reported that pharmaceutical companies were an important source of prescribing information. Trust big pharma…at your own peril.   Where does your experience of Veterinary prescriptions of antibiotics fit? Good vs Bad antibiotic practice  
Component behaviourAppropriate behaviourInappropriate behaviour
1. Confirming clinical need for antibioticIdentified clinical need for antibioticCautionary prescribing ‘just in case’ antibiotics are required
2. Responding to clientsProviding client education on antibiotic useResponding to perceived client pressure
3. Confirming diagnosisUse of diagnostic tests to confirm antibiotic needPrescribing antibiotics without confirmed diagnosis
4. Dose, duration and type of antibioticAccurate prescribing: dose and duration of antibiotic use in line with guidelinesPrescribing too high/ low a dose of antibiotics or too short/ long a course of antibiotics or the wrong type
5. Preventing infection around surgical interventionsEnhanced infection prevention and control measures around surgeryPrescribing antibiotics as a preventative measure related to surgical interventions
  How should we really approach healthcare for our dogs? Increasing the overall health of the dog by improving the quality of what they eat, in combination with the use of natural probiotics/prebiotics to increase friendly bacteria and decrease bacteria that leads to infection, is a more effective, natural and logical route to health. Probiotic treatment was associated with an accelerated normalization of the intestinal microbiome. Studies have shown that probiotic administration to dogs and cats can have immunomodulatory effects, by changing the microbiota composition, it can have direct effects on animal health by influencing immune function.

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Christmas for Responsible Dog Owners!

There are two types of dog owners

1: Christmas is not for Dogs

2: I work hard so my dog can have nice things.

             

You’re both wrong!… but you’re also both right.

The list of bonkers things you can buy your dog for Christmas includes dog clothes, dog beer, dog wine, an interactive webcam that dispenses treats remotely, a “pawdicure” polish pen, dog selfie sticks and the one I really can not get on board with - a rear gear butt cover that spares your dog’s blushes.

We’ve known for a long time that having a dog is good for us. Dog owners have less risk of cardiovascular disease, less risk of coronary artery disease and they visit the doctors less often. Dog owners also report lower levels of loneliness, greater self-esteem and greater life satisfaction than non-pet owners.

Our pets are good for us and spending on them is a way of showing gratitude. What the dog grinches fail to realise is that spoiling our dog taps into our prosocial instinct. Psychology Today found that owners who spent money on their pets instead of themselves experienced a boost in happiness and wellbeing. Yes, it’s actually good for us.

It’s no wonder then, that pet spending has gone mad. It even increases in climates of uncertainty as we search for ways to make us feel better. In the US in 2020, pet owners dolled out nearly 100 billion on pet food, supplies, services and accessories.

It begs the question. How are we spending 100 Billion Dollars, yes that’s right, 100 BILLION DOLLARS on our pets, and yet their health is deteriorating? The average life span of dogs is declining, degenerative diseases are on the rise and 47% of dog’s die of cancer.

This contradiction perfectly demonstrates how difficult it is for dog owners to access good advice. We shower our dogs with love and gifts, all the while feeding them dry or wet tinned food dinners that degrade their health and increase their chances of suffering from disease.

It's time to make a change this Christmas!

For those of your who think the holidays are not for dogs, think again! It will make you feel good to spoil your dog. For those of you who need no encouragement, good for you! But before you lavish your dog with clothes, selfie sticks and rear gear butt covers, please consider getting your dog the best thing they can’t ask for…

A perfectly balanced diet and a long, happy life with you.

The Dog Nutritionists Christmas List

  1: Download the Dog Nutrition Guide: to learn everything you need to know about raising a dog for longevity and health. All the recipes in this pack are all natural, based on your dog’s evolutionary history, and will promote a happy healthy lifestyle. If you want a more personal touch feel free to BOOK A CONSULTATION with me, and we can get your dog on a bespoke diet just for them. 2: The Super Dog Meal Topper. If you are already feeding your dog a healthy diet but want to give them the ultimate nutritional boost, check out my all natural super dog meal topper. I’ve formulated it to get all the difficult to source nutrients your dog needs into their diet in the most convenient way possible. This is for the owner that goes above and beyond to make sure their dog is getting all the vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, polyphenols and antioxidants their dog could possibly need. 1 scoop a day keeps the vets at bay. 3: Honey's Real Dog Food is my favourite dog food company in the UK. If you don't want to prepare your dog's food at home these are the best guys you can source ready made raw food from, they are excellent. 4: Beautiful Joe's Ethical Dog Treats. You've probably heard of these, they are my favourite dog treats. They are ox liver which is super healthy and they are all natural and sustainably sourced. They also donate a packet of treats to a rescue home every time we buy some. Top work guys.

Right - now that you’ve got your dog’s diet on the right track, we can move on to some of the fun stuff!

5: Bully Billows Dog Harness: If you don’t already have a great dog harness this is one of my favourites on the market. Bullybillows is doing an excellent job and they strike me as a company that really understands dog ownership. They are a little bit masculine for some people's tastes but they are of the highest quality if you are looking for function over fashion!

6: K9 Pursuits Brain Games: The more information that comes out about how our furry friends’ brains work the more we realise that mental stimulation is just as important as exercise. Whilst the best thing you can do is play with your dog the old fashioned way alongside daily training, sometimes a brain game is a great alternative. Check out K9 pursuits for some IQ training. 7: 21 Days to a Clever Dog: Along that same theme - the best trainer I've ever met is Sarah Whitehead. She has a course called 21 days to a clever dog! That could be you and your pooch before the end of January (perhaps not as regal as Quinn here 😉)! Check out Sarah's Website HERE 8: Yak's Cheese: Whilst I think a RAW meaty bone is the best way to deal with periodontal disease and is also generally great for your dog, I appreciate not everyone wants to feed their dog bones. Another great natural alternative is Yak's Cheese. Yak's bars were originally made for human consumption and are still widely eaten by people and their dogs who live in the Himalayan region.

They make for a high protein, high calcium and long-lasting treat, with a unique taste and smell. Dogs find this natural chew irresistible and are sure to enjoy the hours of entertainment it provides!

9: The Doggy DNA test: This one is a little bit extra for me, but I also think it's pretty cool to get an understanding of your dog's heritage. Also, if you have a mixed breed, understanding your dog's DNA can be exciting and informative. Different breeds have different predispositions to health problems and actually the test can pick a few of these up. Pretty cool I'd say! 10: Fit Bark 2: FitBark 2 monitors your dog's everyday activity and sleep and turns that data into deep, actionable health insights. It's a new way to motivate you and your dog to be active, explain changes in behavior, and make better decisions about nutrition, mobility, anxiety, skin conditions and other health issues. Merry Christmas everyone! Happy feeding.

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gutmicrobiome

The Poo Swap and The Gut Microbiome

A poo swap. 

Unfortunately, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Transplanting poo from a healthy dog into a sick dog via fecal suspension. Sounds grim, but poo swapping has been used for centuries to treat diarrhoea and constipation. Recently, practitioners have begun prescribing the treatment for a broader range of conditions that commonly affect modern dogs, relating to the skin, gut and immune system issues. The reason this treatment works is because your dog is not just a dog. They are home to a community. That community is made up of living entities such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, that reside in your dog’s gut. They influence your dog’s skin, digestion, immune responses, and even  their mental health. The community is called the gut microbiome, and it’s vital to your dog’s health. A poo swap procedure takes the healthy gut microbiome from one dog and implants it into another. In a recent study, researchers showed that improving the gut flora of puppies with skin issues via a poo swap reduced their symptoms. What’s more, the therapy’s results lasted longer and had more statistically significant benefits than standard pharmaceutical options. They proved that a low diversity of microbiota or an imbalance within the gut can predispose a dog to the development of allergies and other skin conditions, and that by improving the balance of the gut, it was more beneficial than the pharmaceutical route. Incredible. 

Creating Good Gut Diversity

Creating good diversity in the gut microbiome begins at an early age, in fact, pre-birth. From the moment a dog’s mother is pregnant, the breeder or owner's decisions will impact the gut microbiome health of her puppies. A poor diet or over exposure to antibiotics can negatively impact the gut microbiome of her and her litter. Once her litter is born the emphasis obviously shifts to the lifestyle of her pups. Poor early stage puppy diets, over vaccination and overly sterile environments can all negatively impact the gut microbiome of the litter. All of these factors dramatically increase a puppy’s chances of developing allergies later in life.  An imbalanced intestinal microbiota can lead to a whole host of immune problems but the most common is increased sensitivity to irritants and those symptoms we know and hate.  Inflamed. Red. Itchy. Skin.

Skin Allergies and Diet

Skin allergies affect 10-15% of the canine population. The symptoms indicate that your dog’s gut is improperly balanced and suffering from inflammation. As many owners reading this will know, it can seriously impair your dog’s quality of life. Thankfully, no one is expecting you to perform a poo swap, there are options for you and your dog before that drastic measure. The simplest way to improve the diversity and health of your dog’s gut microbiome is through diet. The goal is to get your dog onto the biggest variety of fresh foods that they can digest. Variation in their diet is critical to promoting diversity in their gut microbiome. Unfortunately, variety is also exactly what dogs with allergies struggle with. The key is finding out which foods your dog can digest well and building on them slowly. The first thing I do for a dog that is suffering from allergies is put them on a food elimination trial. This is a testing process to find out which foods your dog is best at digesting and which ones cause their skin to flare up. I’ve laid out the steps below. 

Food Elimination Trial

Find the right meat: Meat makes up the bulk of your dog’s diet so it’s important we find the one’s that agree with them. Remove all the ingredients you suspect may be causing your dog’s allergic reactions and simplify the diet to only meats.  Start with chicken for three days, if they don’t react with any symptoms we can assume that they digest chicken well and move onto the next protein source. Beef, then lamb, then game meats.  If at any point, your dog reacts negatively to a certain protein source, remove that protein source from their diet and cross it off your list. Return their diet to the sources of protein you have established are safe to eat. After 2 days, start the process of introducing new meats again and watch for adverse skin reactions. Adding Organ Meats Once you’ve established the largest possible variety of healthy meat sources for your dog, it’s time to add organ meats to their bowl. Organ meats are your dog’s daily multivitamin, their inclusion will make sure your dog is receiving a nutritionally complete diet.  Start with organ meats from the same animal sources as the ones your dog is already digesting well - these are the most likely to work for your dog. Your dog’s new dog bowl should be 90% meat that you have established as safe and 10% trial organ meat.  Feed them this for 3 days. If your dog has a negative reaction to the new organ meat, you know it’s the organ meat that is causing a problem because you’ve established everything else is safe. Remove it from the diet and go back to 100% safe meat for 2 days. Then start the process again with a new organ meat. Once you’ve done this a number of times, you should figure out which organ meats agree with your dog.  Non Meat Ingredients: Next you need a calcium source, this is easy as there aren’t many options. Either ground eggshell (if chicken and eggs are safe to eat), a raw bone, or a calcium supplement. The process is the same again - adding only to the list of ingredients you have already established are safe. Any flare ups point to the calcium as the culprit. Do the same for fruits, vegetables, seeds, oils and supplements. By the end of this repetitive and somewhat boring process you want to establish at least 3 meats/2 Organ sources/6 veggies/3 fruits/ 2 seeds and 2 oils that your dog can eat. 

A Healthy Gut

Suddenly, your dog is eating a nutritionally dense, complete diet that they digest well. Their gut microbiome is flourishing and their skin and coat is glistening. Their system has, likely for the first time in their lives, had a chance to make a full recovery.  It’s a process that requires patience, but it will be worth it for your dog’s long term health and happiness. I guarantee, you won’t regret it. The best part is, once it’s done, it’s done and you won’t have to mess about with any poo procedures. If you want me to help you walk through the process and create the recipes for you to follow - please book a consultation and we can work through this together.   

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smart dog

Brain Games: The Muffin Tin Game

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rZ1ueox8xw"] Whether your dog is an old timer looking to stay sharp, or a pup with excess energy - brain games like the muffin tin game can be a great way to keep them mentally stimulated. It is a well known fact that dogs need physical exercise. If you are a current dog owner you know that a lack of walks can lead to poor behaviour like chewing, biting, and barking. It does not take an animal behaviourist to work out that your dog may be frustrated and under stimulated. Whilst dog's undoubtedly need their walks. It is not simply the exercise component that makes walks critical to their mental wellbeing. On every dog walk, your pooch is welcomed by a world of new sights and smells. A rubbish bin, an old sock, another dog's pee, each smell more exciting than the last. This is their world, and it is mentally stimulating. Believe it or not, thinking is extremely important for dogs. A study in 2017 found that dogs taught to play a simple touch screen game, delayed the degenerative effects of ageing.  The decline in cognitive abilities in ageing dogs can lead to issues such as disorientation, changes in sleep cycles, decreased performance in following commands, higher anxiety and a reluctance to go outside so it is essential we find simple ways to engage their brains indoors. Mentally stimulating your dog is also a great way to tire them out if you are unable to take them for a long walk. Think about if you've ever had a really challenging day at work mentally. Often you have not even left your desk to walk around, and yet you are utterly exhausted and can fall straight to sleep. Well, it's the same for dogs. The brain is the most expensive organ in the body in terms of energy - if we stimulate it, you can exhaust your dog from the comfort of your living room. In the Muffin Tin game, all you need is a muffin or for us Brits, a cupcake tin, some tennis balls, and some tasty treats. If you don't have any tennis balls then anything that can cover the holes works, so long as your dog can get underneath whatever you use. Show your dog the treats and then place them in the base of the tin. Once you've done this cover the treats with your tennis balls. Leave the tray on the ground for your dog and watch as they sniff around. It can take them a long time, but eventually they will get the gist of it! Once they've got one or two they start to get a lot better at it. Make sure you are using really tasty treats to keep them motivated. If you need to give your dog a clue you can quickly allow them to see under a tennis ball before returning it. Have fun, and happy hunting!  

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Dog Pizza

What's In The Bowl: Dog Pizza

[su_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJpdKwDI-YU"]

We are making a gluten free, whole foods, all natural Dog Pizza!

  I think being able to change your mind is a good thing and I have to admit, whilst I normally don't go in for shinnanigans like dog pizza I had loads of fun. I think that at times, we over-humanise our dogs, and I could write an essay on that, but bonding through sharing food with your dog should never be discouraged. This Dog Pizza recipe is not just fun for instagram, it's fun for you and your dog. They will pick up on the mood and know that they're involved. Any kind of mental stimulation like that is great for both of you.

Dog Pizza Ingredients

Method

  1. Turn the oven on to 170 C and let it heat up
  2. Heat a little bit of cooking oil in a pan
  3. Cut your chicken up into chunks and put it into the frying pan with the broth on a low/mid heat until lightly cooked (don't worry about undercooking it dogs have incredibly strong stomachs and could eat it raw!)
  4. You want the broth to cook into the chicken so there is not any water left
  5. Thinly slice a tomato and your courgette, these will be your toppings
  6. Once your chicken is cooked shred it into small stringy pieces with two forks
  7. Put it into a bowl and crack a raw egg into the bowl
  8. Take half the egg shell and chop it into fine pieces and put it in the bowl
  9. Grate 50 g of cheese and add this to the bowl mixing it all up into a sticky mess
  10. Put a piece of baking paper on a tray and put the chicken mixture onto the tray
  11. Spread it around so that it resembles the shape of a thick cut pizza
  12. Chop up a chicken liver and add the sliced bits to the pizza as a topping
  13. Add your toppings and a handful of spinach
  14. Put in the oven for 15 minutes
  Remember to sign up to my newsletter below to never miss a recipe! Happy feeding!

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Let’s be honest with one another. There's nothing more unpleasant for a pet parent than seeing their dog eating poop.
gutmicrobiome
more info

 

 

A poo swap.  Unfortunately, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Transplanting poo from a healthy dog into a sick dog via fecal suspension.

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