I still get asked questions and assumptions about raw pet food and so I thought I’d address some of the myths here.
Myth #1: Kibble pet food is formulated to be balanced therefore my pet is getting everything they need vs. raw pet food:
Even though kibble pet food is supposed to be AAFCO certified, it does not necessarily mean that your pet is getting everything they need, or rather, absorb. Raw food has a much higher bioavailability than kibble, not to mention moisture. Also, think about it this way, if dogs and cats were getting everything they needed from kibble, then why do they develop issues such as urinary crystals, kidney stones, cancer, premature arthritis, colitis, Cushing’s, etc. to just name a few.
If the majority of North American pets are fed a commercial diet, which they are, then why have diseases such as cancer have become a high rising epidemic over the last couple decades? Coincidence?
Myth #2: Raw pet food (all) is not balanced:
I agree with vets 100% when they show a concern for raw feeding when it comes to being properly balanced and formulated.
Raw pet food can be balanced, granted you buy from reputable sources and from companies who have done their due diligence (testing and research), there are also pet food companies that hire and work with formulators, such as K9 Natural and NRG pet food among the few, that specialize in small animal nutrition.
Quite frankly, anyone and everyone can be making their own version of ‘balanced raw pet food’, its quite scary to think how many ‘pet food companies’ are out there that produce raw pet food.
Always ask questions, do your due diligence, and ask around. Never buy raw ‘off- of someone’, or in ‘bulk’. Also, grocery store meat is not meant to be fed raw, it’s meant to be cooked, so please don’t feed your pets raw meat from the grocery store.
Myth #3: Raw pet food is more expensive than kibble:
This one really does depend, mostly on the brands of kibble (high end vs. low end vs. vet brands), if you are already spending more than the average price for kibble such as brands like Acana, Orijen, or veterinary brands, then the cost of raw pet food will be more or less the same. If you are feeding lower end kibble then the cost will be higher.
Raw pet food cost also depends on the proteins that you choose to feed, for example, chicken across the board is the least expensive protein to feed. Proteins such as fish, lamb, bison and rabbit are much higher in cost per pound, so that’s where it all depends. In the long run though, you are actually saving money.
Myth #4: There is bacteria in raw pet food and not in kibble:
Technically there is bacteria in both, but because kibble is so heavily processed it is void of most bacteria (especially good) but that is not to say that there haven’t been recalls in the past and in present. In 2012 Diamond pet food plant, one of the largest companies to make brands of kibble had a salmonella recall affecting 49 people and 20 states. Kibble is also a carrier for mycotoxins and can be carcinogenic.
When raw pet food is manufactured by reputable companies/brands it is flash frozen right away at a certain temperature to kill off 99% of bacteria, however once thawed, it must be consumed right away, most manufacturers say up to 5 days in the refrigerator once thawed is OK. All of the raw food manufacturers that Thrive4life Holistic Pet Food supports follow these strict guidelines.
In the household, common sanitary practices should also take place such as; wiping counter surfaces clean where raw food has been handled, and of course washing your pets’ food bowl once the food has been consumed is also crucial. As the old saying goes, ‘Cleanliness is Godliness’.
Myth #5: Raw pet food is a lot of work:
The last common myth on raw feeding is that people think they need to make their own raw pet food, which I highly advise not doing, especially when you’re a beginner to raw feeding. I leave the sourcing, proper proportions, and the research to companies who know what they are doing, I just simply thaw and serve. Once you get into the habit of taking pet food out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge, it becomes a habit like brushing your teeth, a daily ritual (hopefully!). Feeding raw has never been simpler as it is now. There are also 'raw food alternatives' available, where you get the convenience of kibble but the nutrition of raw, you will pay more for it however, than if you were to buy frozen raw, but the pay off will be the convenience.
To learn more about raw pet food and which diet would be best suited for your furry loved one contact us at 905-473-5401 or send us an email.
We all know by now that whatever diet we feed our pets, whether that be raw, cooked, or a dry food option, adding quality cold-pressed oils and omega-3s are very important and essential. They are called Essential Fatty Acids for a reason, as the body does not manufacture its own omega-3s unlike omega-9 and omega-6s.
Omega-3s play a crucial role for whole body health, some of the benefits include:
I always advice pet guardians to rotate oils so their pets can reap the benefits of them all, but for some that might not be the best option especially if their dog or cat has a lot of sensitivities. For others, giving their pets a break from fish oil with these options would also work great.
Say that 10 times fast! Schizochytrium is an oil rich algae, it comes in the already converted essential long chain fatty acid EPA/DHA form so your pet’s body does not have to convert it once consumed, unlike plant oils. EPA and DHA have different but equally important roles in brain, eye, heart and cognitive health. EPA is the main anti-inflammatory component responsible for downregulating the cytokines in the body which contribute to chronic inflammation. It comes in a capsule form and with its ‘marine-like’ smell, your pet will eat it like a treat- Makes a great option for puppies!
This special oil is a wonderful source of omegas-3-6-9, is naturally high in vitamin E and has a great shelf life. No need for refrigeration as it is a hardy oil that can stand heat and makes for a great cooking oil as well. Camelina is a seed originating in Northern Europe and is also successfully farmed in Canada due to its hardiness in colder climates, you can find camelina grown in Saskatchewan. We at Thrive4life Holistic Pet only sell non-GMO camelina oil that is cold pressed, and not hexane extracted, meaning the integrity of the oil is kept in tact and not chemically stripped of its nutrients, you are getting everything you want and not getting things you don’t.
3. Hemp seed oil:
Hemp oil (not to be confused with CBD oil) is another great option for pets with sensitivities, it offers the correct balance of omegas-3 & 6, and is a good source of gamma linolenic acid.
Dr. Julie Anne Lei, who is a holistic vet and the founder of Adored Beast Apothecary, is a huge fan of hemp seed oil both for pets and humans. Hemp is another hardy ancient plant, hardy because it does not require pesticides and/or herbicides to be maintained, it is also naturally non-GMO. A great option for super itchy pets!
4. Green lipped Muscle FFA
This unusual type of omega-3 that comes from green-lipped muscles has unique benefits especially for pain and inflammation. Not to be confused with crude dried mussel powder, which does not provide nearly the same benefits as green lipped FFA which is the fatty acid extract.
Green lipped FFA contains a high level of rare omega-3 not found in most marine oil extracts: Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) and its precursor stearidonic acid (SDA).
Very few know that these are actually more superior to other omega-3s at quenching inflammation, giving more potent anti-inflammatory benefits at lower doses, which is why it works just as well if not better than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDS, but without the negative side effects. This will be the best selection for senior pets or pets with mobility issues.
These are all great omega-3 options for sensitive pets that are hypoallergenic and lower in heavy metals than fish oil. If you are still struggling to find an omega-3 most suited for your pets needs don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more.
Side note: These all make great omega-3 options for us as well as they are all human grade!
How did I take a dog who went from pretty much wanting to eat me to the best, most loyal, best friend, comedian, absolute love that I adore, and cannot image my life without?
Well first, Monty was a gift really and truly, that God had placed ‘back’ in my life, for those who don’t know his full story, click here.
The chances of him coming to my life was not coincidental. Now, back to building our trust, which comes from building a solid foundation, I am not a dog trainer or ‘behaviorist’, but I can share through my own testimony and experiences the things I believe attributed to my success with this 100 lb beast, and also, the things that lead to quick failures.
I think the best thing I gave Monty was my patience, patience that I guess no one was willing to give him, since he had made it to death row. A chill goes up my spine every time I think of that fact, and I don’t know what it is but every time I have saved an animal from such a fate, they have always ended up being exceptional.
Monty is loyal to a fault, probably one of the most loyal dogs I’ve every had the privilege to share my life with, and I would have never known that if I hadn’t given him a chance.
So, I gave him my patience (and a lot of it), discovered his likes, which was that he enjoyed fetching very much, and the bonding began. Both patience and time were given and he responded to those very quickly, then obedience followed, and love of course was there along the way, but you see I didn’t rely solely on that, I have a saying, “You can love love your pets and they can love love you back, but as soon as they see that squirrel or whatever, then your left on your ass!”. Their language must be understood first, before you teach them yours. Communication is key, you have to be very black and white with dogs, if you leave any grey areas that is where confusion takes place.
My special advice to brand new dog owners it to give your time with as much patience as possible, figure out the ‘Why’s’, and pick something you both can bond over. There is also nothing wrong with getting professional insight, in this case though, if your trying to figure out your dogs’ ‘Why’s’, I would recommend a behaviorist over a trainer. There is a book I highly recommend for everyone to read, whether a new dog owner or a seasoned one called Mother Knows Best, a very good and insightful read.
Do what makes your dog the most happy, as long as its on your terms, oh and one more thing, if they’re eyes and ears are on you, now that is what I call #respect.
2) Have a sense of humor:
It is no secret that I have a German Shepherd and we both participate in a canine sport called Schutzhund, a very serious sport actually. This sport is to test a dog’s nerve, courage, and obedience.
But let me tell you, my dog is like me, he likes to learn but he also likes to have fun! I used to always get so frustrated when we were in front of people and he wasn’t ‘taking it seriously’, in fact, when we were participating in a seminar with a ‘world renowned trainer’ last fall, well lets just say, he made everyone laugh, when I stuck my foot out in front of him so we wouldn’t come forward after a command he wrapped his front legs around my foot!
It is good to lighten up, and honestly, to just go with the flow. I realized that I was trying to turn my dog into a robot, and unfortunately I have seen what this sport can do to dogs and let me just say- I am so glad my dog is still who he is and I would NEVER change that for the world!
Having a sense of humor in no matter what you are doing can not only lighten your mood, but it is also no secret that happy people live longer!
A study from the UK that followed 3800 people from ages 52 to 79 for 5 years showed that older people who said they were happy were actually less likely to die over a five-year period. The happier they were, the longer they lived!
Overall, the results showed that older people who reported feeling happiest had a 35% lower risk of dying during the study than those who were least happy.
3) Get a treatment:
Whether you book an appointment for a chiropractor or an osteopath or massage both you and your pet will reap the immune enhancing benefits of such treatments!When there are subluxations (compression of nerve pathways) in the body, we call that interrupted pathways of healing, meaning there is a blockage that must be removed so the body’s normal pathways can flow. Our immune system functions optimally when things are flowing and releasing properly in the body as they should, blockage free.
Also, let’s not forget, the feel-good hormones (endorphins) released after such treatments. As an Equine Massage Therapist, I can see the difference between before and after treatments.
Jesse from Birch Animal Wellness offers an array of therapies for pets and is lovely to deal with.
A 2013 research study paper claimed that receiving relaxing treatments like massages benefited the immune system by decreasing cortisol (a stress hormone) and vasopressin, a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior, according to the researchers.
Can't afford any of those treatments right now? No problem, even just simply being with your pet and petting them can increase oxytocin levels in your body (and theirs!). Oxytocin is a hormone in our body that reduces stress, it is known as the 'love hormone', it is released when we hug, touch, or look lovingly into someone's eyes.
I often post pictures such as these on social media, indicating that I eat real food, as do my pets, I receive nutrition from whole foods, so do they.
What I eat/what they eat! #realwholefoods
According to Pubmed, “Nutrition is a critical determinant of immune responses and malnutrition the most common cause of immunodeficiency worldwide. ... Of the micronutrients, zinc; selenium; iron; copper; vitamins A, C, E, and B-6; and folic acid have important influences on immune responses. Overnutrition and obesity also reduce immunity.”.
Nutrition helps support the building blocks of our immune systems, without it we have nothing.
According to the Issels Immuno-Oncology nutraceuticals are, “Natural bioactive compounds with medicinal properties that are used to promote health and prevent disease. They are sometimes referred to as phytochemicals or functional foods”.
I’m just going to say it, sometimes food does not give us enough, sometimes food has been contaminated and bioengineered and sometimes access to certain super foods that are so nutritionally dense can be a challenge. My pets and I rarely eat berries anymore, even though they are top on the ‘superfoods’ list of probably every nutritionist and dietician out there, they are just so heavily sprayed (yes, even organic), berries have such thin skins, they absorb everything, different story with a melon or avocado that have thicker skins (don’t bother buying those organic). Proper supplementation can do wonders for the body including our immune system, mental health, pain relief, treatments, etc.
Some human and pet friendly immune enhancing/ modulating supplements that are supported by research are;
Always consult with a health care practitioner and/or holistic vet for proper nutraceutical supplementation.
Not only are these recipes SUPER easy to make- they are actually good for your pets too!
Made with all human-grade ingredients, you will probably want a bite for yourself too!
Recipe #1: Turmeric heart bites:
Melt coconut oil until it is liquid (skip this step if using MCT oil) before whisking in the turmeric. Pour in individual molds and freeze overnight. Makes a great cool snack or food topper.
Recipe #2: Gluten-free turmeric honey muffins:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix wet ingredients first, then slowly incorporate dry ingredients. Pour batter into muffin tins and bake for 10-12 minutes or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Can be stored in fridge for up to a week. In freezer for up to a year.
Heart disease in dogs is a very common diagnosed disease, and quite a serious one at that. It is a very common cause of death in dogs in North America.
Now, prevention and treatment are two quite separate protocols, in this post I will be talking about ways you can prevent heart disease and even potentially reverse it if its in a minor stage. No two dogs or cats should be treated the same when there is a diagnosis at play, and that is why I talk about prevention here and not treatment.
I will be doing everyone a disservice if I don’t mention diet first and foremost. It is number one on the list for a reason and the most essential component in preventing any disease. Your pet needs to be getting all the amino acids (both essential and non-essential) in the most bioavailable way, a.k.a. a non-processed species appropriate diet. Make sure that the diet is as fresh as possible and balanced with enough organ meat- that is key!
2. Antioxidants: Polyphenols
If you know me by now and have followed my work then you will know I always mention beautiful and wonderful antioxidants. They really are like magic! For heart health, what I am looking for though is specifics, such as polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant-based antioxidants that come from nature. My favorite and easiest way of getting polyphenols into my pets (and myself) is olive oil and/or olive leaf extract. However, not every olive oil is the same, make sure when purchasing you find real olive oil, unfortunately even if it says so on the bottle it does not mean it is real and you will not get any therapeutic results from it. When you purchase olive oil from us it is a guarantee that it is true and authentic and real.
Another great antioxidant worth considering is very high-quality green tea leaf extract, standardized to contain 98% polyphenols, 75% catechins, 45% EGC. As you all know, I like specifics. GTLE has been proven in research studies to have cardiovascular supportive properties, is anti-inflammatory, improves fat metabolism, reduces risk of cancers/metastasis, is neuro-protective, aids in detoxification and also helps to support respiratory and skin disorders, just to name a few!
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Of course I had to include the super star of fats when it comes to cardiac support; omega-3s are no joke when it comes to heart disease. Antiarrhythmic, anti-inflammatory, hypotensive (promotes low blood pressure) and antivasopressor (lowers blood pressure). Ideally, you would want to supplement with an already converted form of Omega-3 where the EPA/DHA are active, marine sources are the most popular. Low plasma concentrations of EPA and DHA in dogs are associated with heart failure. There is a lot of controversy about omega-3s on the marketplace (due to rancidity reasons), we have done our homework and research when it comes to selecting the very best, that’s why when you shop with us we give you the right choices to choose from for you and your pet.
More specifically the superstar mineral for the heart: magnesium.
Magnesium is the mineral most important to the healthy functioning of the heart. Magnesium has antiarrhythmic properties which means it alleviates abnormal heart rhythms and has antithrombotic activities which means it reduces blood clots.
I personally like to supplement with a mineral complex which has magnesium in it, however there is a very unique way in giving magnesium to your pet that a lot of people don’t talk about (and not in an oral supplemental either), but to spray it on. Not on their coats but on their paws and bellies! That is right, you can spray magnesium on your pets’ paw pads and bellies and they can absorb magnesium that way.
5. Dental Health:
Believe it or not, the bad bacteria from the mouth can actually travel down to your pet’s circulatory system and damage their epithelial cells that may cause heart disease. Staying on top of your pet’s dental health is key. Adding beneficial bacteria such as probiotics to their meals, like kefir or sauerkraut can also be beneficiary.
6. Weight Management:
If your pet is overweight there is that much more internal pressure on his/her organs to function and perform properly, including the heart. The heart has to work that much harder to pump blood into the extremities of the body. It is best to keep your pets like lean mean fighting machines with plenty and plenty of exercise, even for seniors, although you would need to moderate their exercise plan. Check out our last blog post where there is a weight scale provided to see where your pet lies on that chart.
As always, consult with your veterinarian if you are planning to add anything new to your pets diet.
1. Feed your pet's cells with essential nutrients:
This point was number one for a reason, this is where we have 100% control as pet guardians and is a lot of responsibility. Dr. Douglas Kneueven, DVM,CVM, puts his perspective on whole food based nutrition very well and recognizes the importance of whole food nutrition as treatment of conditions;
“For decades, clinical nutrition was used supportively for common diseases, but in recent years our viewpoint has changed. “[Nutrition] has emerged as a cornerstone of treatment based on the principles of grade 1 evidence-based medicine,” report Drs. Kirk and Bartges in Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice. “No longer are nutrients simple building blocks, co-factors, or enzymes, but instead regulators of cellular metabolism, gene transcription, or translation.
An incomplete understanding of nutrition
You don’t have to look too far back in history to see demonstrations of our nutritional ignorance. In the early 1980's, cats were going blind and dying from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Initially, the cause of the problem was considered idiopathic. No one thought cat food that was “complete and balanced” could be the cause. In 1987, it was discovered that DCM was caused by a taurine deficiency. Looking at the research of the day is enlightening. They found that canned cat foods (cooked) required extra taurine supplementation.“We have found that these same canned diets, if fed in an uncooked form, do not cause clinically significant taurine deficiency.” This seems to indicate that cats were meant to eat raw food. “Taurine deficiency alone is not sufficient to cause myocardial failure or central retinal degeneration in all cats…most likely in our opinion, these conditions may be caused by taurine deficiency and other, currently unidentified, cofactor or cofactors.” It appears our understanding of nutrition is incomplete. “When you look at the classic example of taurine deficiency, many [diets] were deficient. The cats that didn’t become ill were those that were going outside and catching mice.” It seems when we try to improve on nature, we often get it wrong. How many other current idiopathic diseases may be related to nutritional issues?". (The Case For Whole Foods, Kneueven, 2013).
Now just because you feed a less processed whole food diet does not actually mean your pet is getting what they need, which is why I was thrilled when reading his article he concluded with this statement:
"Encouragement for clients
My preferred method of providing pets with raw diets is to refer clients to one of the many pre-made raw foods commercially available. Research into the companies is needed to find one whose formulation expertise and nutrient philosophy matches yours. For example some have higher vegetable percentages than others. Another consideration is the method the company uses to mitigate pathogens. Many have turned to high-pressure pasteurization, which makes one wonder how raw the food really is. I do not believe there is any one diet type ideal for every patient and every client. I am also pragmatic and realize that not all my clients are willing or able to provide the nutrition I think is best. Some real food is better than none at all, so I always encourage my clients to at least enhance their animals’ diet with raw or lightly cooked meats and vegetables, or whole food supplements. I am always impressed by the amazing health benefits of whole foods.” (The Case For Whole Foods, Kneueven, 2013).
So there you have it folks, from a DVM himself!
My 2-cents here is that it is not enough to provide macro-nutrition but they need support in micro-nutrition as well. It again goes back to ‘our’ food chain which is, you guessed it; feed-lot animals. The animals we feed our animals with don’t have the luxury to roam from plain to plain, forest to forest, field to field, they are confined, even when they are free range and free roaming. With that, of course, comes nutrition set backs, both for us and for them. Because of this, I highly recommending strategic ‘bridging of the gaps’ as I call it, with a good quality mineral complex.
2. Supplement with Antioxidants:
‘Anti-’ oxidant means anti- oxidation, a substance that prevents oxidation, what is oxidation?
When you cut open into an apple or avocado, after leaving it for a couple minutes you will notice it turning brown, that is because it is oxidizing. Now say right after you cut into that apple you rubbed it with some lemon juice, it will actually not turn brown, that lemon juice is full of vitamin C (antioxidant), so it is protecting that apple from oxidation damage. That is essentially what happens to us on the inside, free radical damage in the body can be caused by many factors including but not limited to; environmental factors, food, stress of any kind including physiological (exercise), etc.
Antioxidants help quench free radicals in the body, this is why they are known to be anti-aging.
Now, there is a reason why we take a dogs age and times it by 7, they age very rapidly (as do felines but not as quickly as canines).
Research from Japan and Europe involving diseases such as cancer and the use of multiple antioxidants showed not only improvement in quality of life but longer survival time as well.
It is important to note that there are many different kinds of antioxidants and not all work through the same channels in the body, there are antioxidants that target cardiovascular health, ocular health, pain and inflammation, some that channel through the lymphatic system, some that work through the endocannabinoid system, some the circulatory system, etc.
There are antioxidants that interfere with medications and chemotherapy and some that help to enhance them, it is best to speak with someone knowledgeable to pin point exactly which antioxidants would be right for your pet(s). Antioxidants are absolutely crucial and the right ones can do wonders for health and longevity!
3. Weight management:
Did you know that if your pet is overweight even slightly, you are increasing their chances for disease and internal stress on organs, joints, etc. by a significant amount?
It is a personal pet peeve of mine (no pun intended) when I see an overweight dog or cat, knowing the internal destruction and inflammation going on, and their chances for diabetes, cancer and the likes increasing significantly, all because they cannot help themselves when it comes to food. I have said this time and time again, the worst thing you can do is put up an ‘all you can eat buffet’ for your carnivore.
You do not see not one wolf or coyote in the wild carrying that much weight, you want your pets to be lean mean fighting machines, (please see blog post on ‘Lean Pets Have Happier Cells’ to learn more).
Now there is a science to that, it is called ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body uses fat or stored fat for fuel, not carbs or protein. So, when a wolf goes to hunt, sometimes they catch something, sometimes they don’t. When they don’t their body goes into ketosis, which re-sets their immune system, gut, etc. This is why fasting is so important for carnivores.
My own personal philosophy for happy lean pets?
I would rather slightly under feed but over supplement (strategically of course) to try to mimic their natural ancestral diet as much as possible. In fact, the oldest living dog recorded (at 31 years of age), a cattle dog in Australia, was fed a species appropriate diet and fed only 3 days a week!
You want to be able to feel ribs, not so much see all of them, but definitely be able to feel them. See chart below.
4. Do not over medicate/vaccinate:
As I am writing this, currently the news has broken out that there are dangerous amounts of lead leaking into Toronto’s hydro pipelines, affecting schools, homes and other public places. Just so you know, our recommended amount of intake of heavy metals should be at about 0%, even according to Health Canada. The health detriments are endless for heavy metal toxicity, damaging our nervous, endocrine and circulatory systems.
Now of course there is a time and place for medications, but one must remember the chemicals and known and unknown toxins, carcinogens and heavy metals that are in concentrated form and I am not just talking pharmaceuticals here, even in the nutraceutical industry one must be very discerning and cautious as to what you are putting and allowing in your system.
When it comes to vaccinating you do have a choice to titer test, any veterinarian would or should do it, for puppies and kittens a well thought of vaccine protocol should take place by your vet, taking into account breed, condition and age. Also, ask for mercury-free (thiomersol-free) vaccines if possible.
5. Keep them happy and fulfilled!:
This goes beyond throwing a ball or walking Fido once a day. This point is touching on what your pet was meant to do, their soul purpose in life. If I take a dog that loves to run and confide him for several hours in a day, I am weakening their vital force because they are not doing what they love and were designed to do.
I have unfortunately witnessed seeing a dog going from doing what he loved to do, to not, and dying 3 months later of cancer.
When I took Monty in, I realized that he was no ordinary Sheppard and so I enrolled him (and of course myself) in a sport that I know he loves because it challenges him in ways he needs to be and wants to be challenged. I have a dog that feels overall fulfilled and happy, and he is happy to be with me.
Provide your pet(s) the opportunity (daily or weekly) to do what they love and were meant and designed to do and you will watch them thrive!
We hear the term ‘bioavailable’ a lot in the health and pet industry, but what exactly does it mean?
The term bioavailable means “entering the circulation when introduced into the body and so able to have an active effect”, so in short, how much is your pet absorbing nutrients?
In terms of processing, let’s not get too caught up in numbers, it’s not about the quantity rather the quality that is the most important in my humble opinion. Even when comparing two supplements, one will boast to be of a higher value because you get more per dose however that form of nutrient can be less bioavailable than the counterpart because it comes from a synthetic and therefore not a real source. For example, lets take the mineral calcium, absorption coming from a green food such as kale or spirulina will have a far better bioavailability than say a source such as limestone.
When it comes to food, the same applies, if I eat real cheese made with free range cow, sheep or goats milk versus a ‘cheese-product’ say like cream cheese, they will both have very different effects in the body, the cheese product will most likely get stored in the body as fat because the body does not know what to do with it versus the real thing, where the body will readily use. Same goes for out pets, processed food even though veterinarians claim is balanced is still very highly processed, therefore, less bioavailable, in fact, the pet industry is the only industry where it’s health care practitioners boast processed over fresh food, even calling fresh food ‘dangerous’, well if that were the case, there would be not one bear, wolf, fox or any other carnivore that eats fresh meat alive!
Still not sure where to begin in terms of your pet’s overall nutrition and supplementation? Contact us and we will help you select the best option for your four-legged family member.
Feed them like one:
Sometimes when I introduce people to nutritious types (or parts) of food I hear things like “Ew! I would never eat that-gross!”, well, what might be gross for you is probably the very thing that will save your pets life. We need to start thinking less like humans and more like carnivores, remember, they were meant and designed to consume things like chicken or duck feet, beef trachea, heart, liver, etc.
These foods have very high bioavailable nutritious factors that will help support their immune health, dental health, joint mobility, cardiovascular system, just to name a few…
So, start thinking like a carnivore next time your out shopping for your pet’s food!
Treat them like one:
This point is more specific to dogs, which are pack animals and need a hierarchy in place as mentioned in the last post. Dogs don’t need a ‘mommy’, they need a strong independent confident leader, who of course loves them. Many times, I see a lot of spoiled dogs who are actually quite aggressive and when I turn to see who their owners are, they are most likely the ‘coddlers’, lacking the leadership they’re pack needs because they are too busy being the ‘mommy’- baby talk and all...
…If you have ever watched a documentary on wolves you will actually see how tough the female wolf is with her pups, she does no think twice about disciplining when the pups do something wrong, she will grab them by the scruff and shake. That is her way of communication to her pups as if to say “Not cool and don’t try it again”, and the pups will learn immediately because they understand, that way of communication is very clear to them, our equivalent of “Go to your room and think about what you’ve done!”.
Dogs also need their own space and their own bed, if you share your bed with your dog(s) you are basically telling them that they are your equal. Be consistent with your leadership both housebound and out, and you will watch your relationship with your dog(s) thrive.
Now I’m sure everyone who is reading this is probably thinking that they’re relationship with their dog(s) is absolutely perfect. How do I know? Because I used to be one of those dog owners where really, my dog did no wrong, we had a great bond and of course the most important thing, I love my dogs. But the sad reality is that we can love love our dogs and they can love love us back, but the moment they see that squirrel or whatever, your left in the dust on your behind (and yes, I’ve been there too!). The minute I’ve ‘upped the ante’ in my relationships with my dogs, where good enough was not good enough, where I needed and asked more from them, that is where things changed. Here are some things I have found useful for building a really good solid and healthy relationship with my dogs:
Another thing that leaders do is they set boundaries. At first, they might fight you on it but then they will eventually get it if you are consistent enough, but the one thing that will go up is their respect for you. All of a sudden that squirrel doesn’t matter because you have now become their world, their leader, and who doesn’t want that?
Building a good leadership role will also strengthen the bond and relationship with your dog by providing a good basis for communication. Training tools (when used correctly) are great, but do not rely solely on them, because as soon as that training collar comes off, well then, audios amigos!
With or without the tool, you want your dog listening to you.
2. Give them what they need; mentally, emotionally and physically.
Don’t expect to get a well-behaved dog that has been cooped up all day and is now turning borderline aggressive or ‘too much to handle’, because now he has so much energy to even know what to do with! Dogs need exercise but not only that, they need to be mentally stimulated, boredom is not a good thing, especially for working dog. There are many fun and dynamic exercises (both mental and physical) one can do to stimulate their furry loved one, it can be as simple as taking a long hike in the woods rather than going around the block a few times (a new kind of adventure), this will also give them more stimulation, or ‘attention exercises’, where they need to mentally focus on you and ONLY you (a lot harder than it sounds-trust me!).
A good emotional support for dogs I find is giving your dog praise for doing the right thing or trying to do the right thing, such as, every time your dog looks at you give them praise, you are encouraging them to do the right thing (by placing focus and attention on you- the alpha, if that is what you are after), especially if the dog is a naturally pleasing dog and craves for that kind of support and praise, and don’t forget to praise the effort as well, it really is about the journey as much as it’s about the destination. At the end of any session, big or small, long or short, you want your dog happily trotting beside you tail wagging, spirits up and tail high!
3. Spend the time.
Without giving you won’t be getting.
At the end of the day, we spend the most time on what we think is important, don’t forget to show your dog that he/she is important just by spending time with them, especially when they would so much rather be with us than by themselves (hopefully!). I definitely increase my bond with all my animals just by spending quality time with them, either by doing something or doing nothing. For example, I’ve actually developed more of a bond with my horses over the years just by spending time with them, doing simple things like grooming or ground work versus actually riding them. Same thing with my dogs and cats, just by picking up a brush and stroking them I’m bonding, and according to the man himself- Cesar Millan that is, all animals respond to energy first. This is before body language and even words- energy is very important. Whenever I’m around my animals I try to not have my phone on me, so I can really be present, and maybe notice things that I haven’t before.
It is always beneficial to surround yourself with knowledgeable people for support, or if you are having a particular difficult time with your dog(s) investing in a good trainer or a canine behaviorist who can fully understand your particular situation and give you their professional recommendations is even better. You might be surprised just how much you learn about your dog and about yourself, whether you’re a new dog owner or a seasoned one.
One last thing, no relationship is perfect, some days it might be one step forward and two steps back, we are all WIPs (work in progresses), that is just life, the important thing is to keep moving forward and once you have a solid foundation in place, well then, anything is possible, even for a dog who was on death row.
A great book for reference is Mother Knows Best, by Carol Lea Benjamin.
Lucy is an avid pet mom; with dogs, cats, goats and horses to keep her busy! All of her pet 'kids' are fed a species appropriate diet with proper supplementation so she can watch them thrive. Her expertise and experience lie in nutraceutical supplementation and is a health advocate for proper diet and nutrition. Her other passions in life are schutzhund and equestrian riding.