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:
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
1. Confirming clinical need for antibiotic
Identified clinical need for antibiotic
Cautionary prescribing ‘just in case’ antibiotics are required
2. Responding to clients
Providing client education on antibiotic use
Responding to perceived client pressure
3. Confirming diagnosis
Use of diagnostic tests to confirm antibiotic need
Prescribing antibiotics without confirmed diagnosis
4. Dose, duration and type of antibiotic
Accurate prescribing: dose and duration of antibiotic use in line with guidelines
Prescribing too high/ low a dose of antibiotics or too short/ long a course of antibiotics or the wrong type
5. Preventing infection around surgical interventions
Enhanced infection prevention and control measures around surgery
Prescribing 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. Read more
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.Read more
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. Read more
[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!
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.
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!)
You want the broth to cook into the chicken so there is not any water left
Thinly slice a tomato and your courgette, these will be your toppings
Once your chicken is cooked shred it into small stringy pieces with two forks
Put it into a bowl and crack a raw egg into the bowl
Take half the egg shell and chop it into fine pieces and put it in the bowl
Grate 50 g of cheese and add this to the bowl mixing it all up into a sticky mess
Put a piece of baking paper on a tray and put the chicken mixture onto the tray
Spread it around so that it resembles the shape of a thick cut pizza
Chop up a chicken liver and add the sliced bits to the pizza as a topping
Add your toppings and a handful of spinach
Put in the oven for 15 minutes
Remember to sign up to my newsletter below to never miss a recipe! Happy feeding!Read more
Your dog will love this home made cooked superfood recipe! (prep time 15 minutes)
In this super-functional, home-made dog food recipe, we’re going to use ingredients that you will typically have lying around the kitchen to make an unbelievably healthy meal for your dog. Ok, not all of you will have liver and pomegranate, but it might be time to start stocking them. Buying liver chunks for the freezer or buying dried liver is a great idea because it’s an incredible doggy super food. Think of it as your dog’s natural multivitamin. I would also add pomegranate to your weekly shop for both you and your dog. Every year more research comes out about pomegranates incredible health benefits for dogs and humans alike. It’s high in antioxidants, it has anti – cancerous properties, it’s high in vitamin C, it’s a potent anti-inflammatory, it’s an effective anti – viral and the list goes on. I prescribe pomegranate to so many of my clients to help with their dog's health issues. Boiling your dog’s food is a great way to preserve the proteins instead of the more abrasive frying method. The meat will lose some of its minerals in the cooking process but I use my all natural supplement meal topper to replace those minerals and provide an even greater boost to the overall nutrition profile of the meal. Another great trick is to use the water that you boiled the meat in for your dog’s water bowl after it’s cooled down. What a tasty incentive for them to stay hydrated! You can interchange the broccoli, carrots and pomegranate in this recipe with other fruit and veg your dogs like if these aren’t their favourites. This complete, homemade dog food recipe will take you no more than 10 – 15 minutes to prepare and clean up and your dog will absolutely love it! Simple.
The ressurgance and management of Leishmaniasis is rooted to the quality of the diet being consumed. I've condensed all my research into a simple article to help you make the best decisions possible for your dog.
What is Canine Leishmaniasis?
Leishmaniasis is a parasitic infectious disease with a long history of infecting both humans and animals. Leishmaniasis is an emerging or resurging disease, meaning it can remain dormant and return. The emergence – or resurgence – of the disease is innately connected to diet and immune system. Leishmaniasis can cause two different types of infections: A cutaneousinfection (skin infection) and a visceral infection (organ infection).
How do you know if your dog has Leishmaniasis?
Symptoms may be present from three months to several years after your dog becomes infected. An early indication of Leishmaniasis is lymphadenopathy, which causes your dog’s lymph nodes to swell. Your dog’s skin may also present certain signs, which are frequent and variable in their presentation. About 90% of the dogs will present cutaneous lesions. Other signs of Leishmaniasis involve anorexia, chronic enteritis, and weight loss (1,2,3,4).
What affects the progression of Leishmaniasis?
It has long been established that a dog’s nutritional intake is intrinsically connected to the immune response and, therefore, the progression of Leishmaniasis (5,6). Unfortunately, the majority of tinned dog foods provide sub-optimal dietary benefits due to the fact that protein levels are lessened due to intensive food processing, denaturing proteins, reduced nutrient availability, and low-quality food sources. As well as a low-quality, low-protein diet, obesity can also contribute to the advance of Leishmaniasis.
Weak Immune System
Having a weakened immune system plays a crucial role in the clinical manifestations of canine Leishmaniasis and is a fundamental aspect in the development and progression of the disease (7). Both Cutaneous and Visceral Leishmaniasis protection relies on cell-mediated immunity.
As inflammation is related to progressive diseases, reducing inflammation decreases the likelihood for both the emergence and resurgence of the disease (8,9,10,11). Inflammation is reduced by the specific fresh food diet plan detailed below, as well as a reduction in stress, exercise, and increased oxytocin (more time gazing lovingly at your dog) (12). Inflammation is caused by:
An incorrect or incomplete diet, leading to high blood sugar levels, high glycaemic carbohydrate levels, gluten sensitivity, and deficiencies in Magnesium, Zinc, and Vitamin D.
Lack of exercise
Lack of sleep
Current Treatment for Canine Leishmaniasis
Unfortunately, the current medication prescribed for Leishmaniasis is extremely strong and not always successful. Allopurinol is associated with clinical relapse (13,14) and its side effects include urinary conditions, with one study finding that 45% of dogs taking allopurinol develop urinary issues (13,14). There are also several side effects in the case of long-term usage of allopurinol, such as xanthinuria, renal mineralisation, and urolithiasis. Although Miltefosine is the first effective oral therapy for Visceral Leishmaniasis, it is expensive, potentially teratogenic, and has significant gastrointestinal side effects (15,16,17). The Low Purine Myth Often, low purine diets are recommended for dogs who are undertaking a therapeutic dose of allopurinol. This advice stems from one study affiliated with Royal Canin, which found that a low purine, moderate protein diet reduces the risk of xanthine urolithiasis, offering long-term dietary support for dogs being treated by allopurinol for Leishmaniasis. However, this study was evidently biased, as Royal Canin only sells low-quality, low-protein diets. Furthermore, the dogs observed in this study were taking allopurinol daily, which is a therapeutic dose associated with extreme cases of canine Leishmaniasis. For dogs who are on a maintenance dose of one week per month, studies have shown that allopurinol is an effective way of maintaining clinical remission in dogs with Leishmaniasis. (18). In these cases, standard to high protein diets are recommended. One study on the effects of dietary protein on Leishmaniasis progression showed that higher protein diets showed a stronger immune response and the participants had lower parasite loads (5).
How can I treat my dog’s Leishmaniasis with nutrition?
Arguably, the treatment of Leishmaniasis is most effectively done through diet, as it is simply impossible to provide an anti-inflammatory diet that builds up the immune system with processed food. Instead, a specific fresh food diet can address the underlying causes of Leishmaniasis, thereby stunting its pathogenesis. Dr Artur Vasconcelos, a Brazilian veterinarian, found that dogs with moderate kidney issues who were fed a high-quality fresh food diet, had an unaffected life expectancy.
For dogs who are on allopurinol daily, and those showing signs of either cutaneous or visceral Leishmaniasis, a low purine diet should be consumed. However, for dogs who are taking a cyclical quantity of allopurinol or none at all, a specific anti-inflammatory diet should be consumed.
A normal medium–high protein diet should be given to dogs who are not currently taking allopurinol. If the maintenance dose of one week per month is being applied correctly, a low purine diet should be made available for that week.
A medium-fat diet should be given to all dogs. The inclusion of too many carbohydrates, which low-quality dog foods use as a cheaper energy alternative to fats, promote inflammation. A natural Omega-3 source (a fish-based recipe) should be used at least twice a week to ensure the PUFA ratio is balanced towards being anti-inflammatory.
Carbohydrate intake should be limited for all dogs, as they contribute to inflammation. Low glycaemic carbs can be used for those dogs who need a low purine diet.
Standard variations of fruit and vegetables should be given to complete your dog’s diet and ensure sufficient vitamin and mineral balance.
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In the Cancer info section, you have added a sentence that explains what these supplements are. Could we do something similar here, so that it is consistent?Read more
Just like humans, dogs are made of trillions of cells and, just like humans, canine cancer is caused when old or abnormal cells reproduce (7). Many naturally-occurring cancers that affect humans also affect dogs (5). In fact, canine cancer has long been established as a strong comparative model for cancer in humans (1,2,3,4). As dog tumours are histologically similar to human tumours, they respond similarly to conventional therapies (6). The primary reason for the proliferation of canine tumours that are similar to human tumours is the fact that dogs are fully immersed into our human environment – they eat similar foods and are exposed to similar risk factors (8–12). Effectively, their connection to our human world is the central reason why more dogs are affected by cancer than any other animal.
What Causes Cancer?
Cancer can be defined as abnormal cell growth caused by changes in the genes, which act as the instruction manual for how cells are made and how healthy they’ll be. Therefore, when genes express unhealthy traits, they begin to produce unhealthy cells, which causes a change in gene expression. The graph below shows the factors that play a role in the development of cancer. Although this is a chart about human cancer, we can also use it to predict why our dogs are suffering because of the fact that canine cancer is comparable to human cancer. As you can see, cancer is overwhelmingly caused by unhealthy lifestyles and harmful environments. The fact that only 5–10% of all cancer cases are caused by genetic flaws and the remaining 90–95% are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors provides us with significant opportunities to prevent cancer (14).
How do Unhealthy Lifestyles and Harmful Environments Lead to Cancer?
The answer can be found in epigenetics – the study of the ways in which our behaviours and environments affect our genes. Ultimately, the quality of the lifestyle and environment that our dogs experience will determine their likelihood of cancer. The more natural their lifestyle, the more likely they’ll express healthy genes and create healthy cells. The power of epigenetics has been evidenced in plenty of animal model studies (14-18). As you can see from the graph, diet is the biggest determinant of cancer. This has been confirmed by many studies that have highlighted how diet can contribute to chronic inflammation, obesity, and calorie excess. This negatively affects DNA, increases DNA damage, and causes epigenetic alterations that increase the risk of cancer(19). The good news, however, is that epigenetic alterations are reversible.
What is an Anticancer Diet?
A growing number of preclinical and clinical studies report that dietary intervention through a ketogenic diet is a powerful anti-cancer therapy that can be safely applied for canine cancer (20-24). A ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that mimics certain characteristics of fasting. As cancer feeds on glucose, the ketogenic diet creates an unfavourable metabolic environment for cancer cell proliferation, which effectively starves the cancer. Another process that is affected through diet is angiogenesis – the formation of new blood capillary vessels that provide expanding tissues, organs, and tumours with oxygen and nutrients while removing metabolic waste. Deregulated angiogenesis plays an essential role in feeding tumour growth (25). Certain foods, however, prevent angiogenesis, which effectively starves the cancer (26). Therefore, an anticancer diet can be described as a ketogenic diet that incorporates ingredients that inhibit angiogenesis.
Is an Anticancer Diet Right for your Dog?
Firstly, a holistic approach needs to be taken to cancer. Try to remove all possible contributing factors that surround your dog. Chemical cleaning products, second hand smoke, polluted areas etc. However, the most important and influential factor that will need to change is your dog’s diet. I would also like to add, this depends on the age of the dog and whether you feel there’s more life left. I wouldn’t pushed a dramatic dietary change upon an really elderly dog, it may be better to just live their best life possible. However, you can try implement as much of this as you like. Second, the extent to which you implement an anticancer diet guidance will also depend on the age of your dog. For example, I wouldn’t push a dramatic dietary change upon an elderly dog, as it may be better for them to continue their routine and live the best life they possibly can. It’s also worth remembering that a holistic approach should always be prioritised. Therefore, in addition to dietary changes, you should also try to remove all other possible contributing factors, such as chemical cleaning products, second-hand smoke, and polluted areas.
A medium protein diet is recommended. This is because you'll need a high-fat diet to replicate a ketogenic diet and, if your dog’s dietary protein is too high, it’s likely the meat you’re using is too lean.
A high-fat diet made up of between 20–30% fat is recommended.
Carbohydrates and Fibres
All carbohydrates and gluten should be completely avoided. Anti-cancer ingredients such as broccoli and cauliflower should constitute 10–15% of your dog’s diet. Herbs such as parsley are also highly recommended for their anti-angiogenic propensities.
Vitamins and Minerals
A complete meal daily is recommended, as studies have shown that both restricted and exaggerated mineral intake can increase the risk of cancer progression (27).
Cordyceps/Turkey Tail Mushrooms: Mushroom polysaccharides with immunomodulation and anticancer effects (28). Genistein: A natural flavonoid reported to exhibit anticancer effects (29). Resveratrol: A stilbenoid that activates natural killer cells and inhibits cancerous cell growth (30). Quercetin: A flavonoid that is highly toxic against cancerous cells (31). References
Khanna C et al. 2006 The dog as a cancer model. Nat. Biotechnol. 24, 1065–1066. (doi:10.1038/ nbt0906-1065b)
Rowell JL, McCarthy DO, Alvarez CE. 2011 Dog models of naturally occurring cancer. Trends Mol. Med. 17, 380–388. (doi:10.1016/j.molmed.2011. 02.004)
S. 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.
L. 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.
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 research, 25(9), pp.2097-2116.
Aagaard-Tillery KM, Grove K, Bishop J, Ke X, Fu Q, et al. 2008. Developmental origins of disease and determinants of chromatin structure: maternal diet modifies the primate fetal epigenome. J. Mol. Endocrinol. 41:91–102
Schaible TD, Harris RA, Dowd SE, Smith CW, Kellermayer R. 2011. Maternal methyl-donor supplementation induces prolonged murine offspring colitis susceptibility in association with mucosal epigenetic and microbiomic changes. Hum. Mol. Genet. 20(9):1687–96
Strakovsky RS, Zhang X, Zhou D, Pan Y-X. 2011. Gestational high fat diet programs hepatic phos- phoenolpyruvate carboxykinase gene expression and histone modification in neonatal offspring rats. J. Physiol. 589(Pt. 11):2707–17
Wang L, Zhang H, Zhou J, Liu Y, Yang Y, et al. 2014. Betaine attenuates hepatic steatosis by reducing methylation of the MTTP promoter and elevating genomic methylation in mice fed a high-fat diet. J. Nutr. Biochem. 25(3):329–36
Wolff GL, Kodell RL, Moore SR, Cooney CA. 1998. Maternal epigenetics and methyl supplements affect agouti gene expression in Avy/a mice. FASEB J. 12(11):949–57
Pelham JT, Irwin PJ, Kay PH. Genomic hypomethylation in neoplastic cells from dogs with malignant lymphoproliferative disorders. Res Vet Sci (2003) 74:101–4. doi: 10.1016/S0034-5288(02)00179-0
Schmidt M, Pfetzer N, Schwab M, Strauss I, Kämmerer U. Effects of a ketogenic diet on the quality of life in 16 patients with advanced cancer: A pilot trial. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011; 8:54.https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-8-54
Artzi M, Liberman G, Vaisman N, Bokstein F, Vitinshtein F, Aizenstein O, Ben Bashat D. Changes in cerebral metabolism during ketogenic diet in patients with primary brain tumors: (1)H-MRS study. J Neurooncol. 2017; 132:267–75.https://doi.org/10.1007/s11060-016-2364-x
Leung, Y.B., Cave, N.J., Heiser, A., Edwards, P.J., Godfrey, A.J.R. and Wester, T., 2020. Metabolic and immunological effects of intermittent fasting on a ketogenic diet containing medium-chain triglycerides in healthy dogs. Frontiers in veterinary science, 6, p.480. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2019.00480/full
Varol, M., 2020. Natural remedies and functional foods as angiogenesis modulators. In Functional Foods in Cancer Prevention and Therapy (pp. 1-31). Academic Press.
Vernieri, C., Nichetti, F., Raimondi, A., Pusceddu, S., Platania, M., Berrino, F. and de Braud, F., 2018. Diet and supplements in cancer prevention and treatment: Clinical evidences and future perspectives. Critical reviews in oncology/hematology, 123, pp.57-73.
Singdevsachan, S.K., Auroshree, P., Mishra, J., Baliyarsingh, B., Tayung, K. and Thatoi, H., 2016. Mushroom polysaccharides as potential prebiotics with their antitumor and immunomodulating properties: A review. Bioactive carbohydrates and dietary fibre, 7(1), pp.1-14.
Bi, Y.L., Min, M., Shen, W. and Liu, Y., 2018. Genistein induced anticancer effects on pancreatic cancer cell lines involves mitochondrial apoptosis, G0/G1cell cycle arrest and regulation of STAT3 signalling pathway. Phytomedicine, 39, pp.10-16.
Lee, Y., Shin, H. and Kim, J., 2021. In vivo anti-cancer effects of resveratrol mediated by NK cell activation. Journal of Innate Immunity, 13(2), pp.93-105.
Rauf, A., Imran, M., Khan, I.A., ur‐Rehman, M., Gilani, S.A., Mehmood, Z. and Mubarak, M.S., 2018. Anticancer potential of quercetin: A comprehensive review. Phytotherapy Research, 32(11), pp.2109-2130.
Should we offer some guidance on what people can do if their dog does have pancreatic cancer?Read more
This is all my research on Urinary tract infections, condensed into a simple and easy to read article, so you can make the best and most informed decisions on treating UTIs. What is the urinary tract? The urinary tract is a waste removal system. When your dog eats, the body takes nutrients from the food and it goes into the blood. Not everything taken into the blood is needed or in fact healthy, it’s waste. The kidneys and urinary system help the body to eliminate the waste. This waste is called Urea, it’s carried in the bloodstream (after entering the blood through the digestive process) to the kidneys, where it is removed along with water and other waste. The journey begins in the kidneys, then it travels dog the ureters, the tubes from the kidney to the bladder. Then when your dog takes a number 1, it goes through the urethra, the final tube. What are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection in dogs?
Bloody and/or cloudy urine
Straining or whimpering during urination
Accidents in the house
Needing to be let outside more frequently
Licking around the urinary opening
What are Urinary Tract Infections? Urine infections affect around 27% of dogs. These are infections that cause inflammation in the urinary tract and are mainly an overgrowth of bacteria, but they can also be caused by fungus overgrowth, and in extremely rare cases, viral infection. (1) What are the types of Urinary Tract infections in Dogs?
See here for Urinary Stones (Struvite, Cysteine, Calcium Oxalate)
What causes Urinary Tract Infections in dogs? A digestive issue is normally caused by improper digestion. An underperforming digestive system, but generally caused by improper use. There are factors thought to influence the risk of contracting a UTI. These factors included whether or not the dog is male or female, (females more likely) if they’ve been spayed or neutered (more likely than intact dogs), some breeds are predisposed and age is a factor as well. Those are factors that increase the likelihood, these following are the causes on Urinary Tract infections in dogs: Urine Microbiome Imbalance – Incorrect Diet/ Overuse of antibiotics The urine microbiome is a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) in the urine, healthy dogs has a diverse bacterial and fungal species. (2) We used to think that urine was sterile! In fact it contains its own ecosystem of bacteria that comes from the foods that you feed your dog. There is a balance of bacteria which keeps your dog healthy, when it becomes imbalanced, the overgrowth of certain bacteria cause an infection. pH of the Urine – Incorrect Diet A healthy dog produces slightly acidic urine between 6.0-6.5 pH. There is a correlation between bacterial overgrowth with more neutral urine, around pH 7. (3) Improper macronutrient balance If a dog’s diet is not made up of the proper balance of ingredient, for example fresh meat which is acidic, the balance of ingredients become unnaturally alkaline for dogs. The more neutral pH creates a safer environment for more bacteria to grow and become imbalanced. Improper functioning of the Lower Urinary Tract – Incorrect diet or inherited The Lower Urinary Tract has several mechanisms for the defence against bacterial overgrowth and imbalance, this includes releasing anti-microbial peptides and releasing neutrophils, immune cells. (4) How to treat? Treatment of your dog’s urinary tract infection with diet will mean eliminating the underlying causes, to make sure to minimize further damage. The most important part of ensuring there’s no recurrence, is going to be a move to a fresh food diet. A diverse, balanced bacteria, creating a healthy microbiome, both in the gut and the urine, comes from having a diet with a range of natural fresh foods in the diet. This will have secondary effects of improving the lower urinary tracts ability to deal with bacterial overgrowth and ensure the urine pH is within the correct range. The use of more acidic ingredients like cranberries or pomegranate can also decrease urine pH effectively. (5) By using a range of anti-inflammatory ingredients, in combination with a complete diet, your dog will likely not have any recurring issues. Specific nutrition for a dog with Urinary Tract InfecitonsProtein A high protein diet is recommended, high in meat to help acidify the urine. Fats A standard medium fat diet is recommended. Carbohydrates This should be lowered to help balance the gut bacteria and to aid lowering urine pH. Vitamins and Minerals A standard complete diet is recommended. Recommended supplements for a dog with a Urinary Tract Infeciton Cranberry (5) D-Mannose (6) Probiotics (6) If you'd like a consultation to help create a plan for your dog, please click here. If you'd like specific Urinary health recipes, bespoke to your dog, please click here.References
Melgarejo, T., Oakley, B.B., Krumbeck, J.A., Tang, S., Krantz, A. and Linde, A., 2021. Assessment of bacterial and fungal populations in urine from clinically healthy dogs using next‐generation sequencing. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 35(3), pp.1416-1426.
Robin R. Shields-Cutler, Jan R. Crowley, Chia S. Hung, Ann E. Stapleton, Courtney C. Aldrich, Jonas Marschall, Jeffrey P. Henderson. Human Urinary Composition Controls Siderocalin's Antibacterial Activity. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2015; jbc.M115.645812 DOI: 1074/jbc.M115.645812
Chou, H.I., Chen, K.S., Wang, H.C. and Lee, W.M., 2016. Effects of cranberry extract on prevention of urinary tract infection in dogs and on adhesion of Escherichia coli to Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. American journal of veterinary research, 77(4), pp.421-427.
Gerber, B., 2018. Current tips on the management of canine urinary tract infections.