Getting a new puppy and kitten can be so exciting and nerve wracking at the same time!
You want to make sure they are going to have a smooth transition to their new home and giving them everything they need for their fresh start. Here are a few tips to help you get your new pup or kitten on the right track, because unfortunately, they cant only live on love:
I know some breeders like to send some food with the pup or kitten off to their new home, but I would recommend switching them right away to a very well-balanced whole food (preferably raw) diet. This is probably one of the few times I would suggest making a switch cold turkey.
With a raw food diet you want to calculate at around 8% of total body weight to begin with, now that number is going to change as they get older, so make sure you are working with a knowledge and reputable person/place where you purchase your food from to get further assistance, as the puppy or kitten grows.
The diet needs to be rich in quality protein and organ content, such as; heart, liver, kidney, etc.
Now, the ratios in the puppy diet need to be different than in the diet for kittens.
Puppies overall need more bone content than kittens, but kittens need more richness from organ meat, which leads us to our next topic…
Do puppies and kittens need vegetables?
A topic still frequently circulating, and again, differs between canines and felines.
For canines, well known holistic vet expert and environmentalist, Dr. Pitcairn DVM, puts it best, “Although the dog prefers meat, both its physiology and behaviour indicate that it is better classed as an opportunistic omnivore-an animal that can meet its needs from a wide variety of food sources. Wild coyotes and wolves, for example, consume vegetable matter, including grasses, berries, and other fresh material, plus predigested food from the digestive tracts of their vegetarian prey. In fact, a three-generation test found that dogs fed meat as a sole source of protein, along with other essential elements, had difficulties producing adequate milk for their young, as compared with dogs fed a diet that included milk and vegetables.”.
For felines however, who are obligate carnivores, have needs that can only be met with animal tissue. Unlike humans and dogs, they cannot convert nutrients like beta-carotene found in vegetables to vitamin A, or convert essential fatty acids from plants to the activated EPA/DHA form. This is why I always love to advise feline pet guardians to supplement their cats with cod liver oil (unflavoured). The cod liver oil supplies them with preformed arachidonic acid, vitamins A, D and E, as well as the activated form of omega-3. Kittens and cats also need an ample source of taurine, which is an amino acid that they need to obtain from meat, specifically heart and seafoods have the highest concentrations of taurine, and it is a very vital and essential nutrient to cats.
Studies show that a taurine-deficient diet causes cats to suffer degeneration of the retina, which causes blindness and heart issues (cardiomyopathy), as well as other degenerations of health.
Still not convinced cats need to be on a raw diet in order to truly thrive? Well, up to 80% of taurine in meat ingredients can be lost through cooking.
Once they are going well on one protein, start rotating in others, up to 3-4 proteins per week!
I love suggesting colostrum, for many reasons, one of nature’s most amazing powerhouses.
Studies have shown when puppies were supplemented with colostrum, they had firmer stools when weaning from mother’s milk to solid food, versus the puppies who were not given colostrum. Along with enhancing stools, it also supports their immune system by diversifying their gut microbiome. To learn more about colostrum click here.
With a new home, new surrounding, new food, new smells, your new baby’s overall system can be on overload. New stressors can internally stress your new pup or kitten, and hence will affect their stools as well. Supplementing with a probiotic for a new puppy or kitten is very important. It will support their immune system while helping their digestive system as well. It will also help them adjust mentally in their new environment and will diminish their chances of eating feces.
We carry a few products that will boost the overall nutrition content of their new diet with; vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc. that will nourish their bodies on the cellular level and keep them thriving.
This is also around the time your pet will get their shots (hopefully you are working with a knowledgeable veterinarian who does not vaccinate puppies/kittens at an early stage, nor all at once!), so you are also going to want to give them something to support their immune system around this valuable time and to also protect their vital organs.
The king of omegas! There is a lot of debate out there whether to supplement puppies and kittens with activated or inactivated forms of omega-3's.
Well, first off let me address that even though both dogs and cats are carnivores, they are in fact two different species. So, with cats, please don’t waste your money on inactivated forms of omega-3’s, they are in fact obligate carnivores and cannot convert plant-based omega-3's into the form that they need (EPA/DHA). Say no to things like flax and hemp, and opt for converted forms of omegas, like fresh, cold-pressed quality fish oil (we also carry a non-fish based converted omega-3 supplement which is also a great option for cats!).
As previously mentioned, dogs can convert inactivated omega-3's to the active EPA/DHA form, however, in my humble opinion, a pup that is now in a new home, stressed, trying to learn what is right and what is left, I would suggest, do them the favor of just supplementing with an activated form of omega-3 (one less thing for their bodies to do!), once they get to the 6 month stage of life, then you can start experimenting with other oils, where they can efficiently do the conversion.
Slippery Elm Bark Powder
This is a holy grail product where it should live in your cupboard always!
What is it?
Slippery elm bark is a mucilaginous herb that will bind diarrhea in its tracts! It is also a prebiotic and very soothing to the throat and entire digestive tract and will help relieve IBD conditions. You can either mix it in food or give straight by mixing in water (my preferred method) as they sometimes aren’t a fan of the taste and I find it works faster this way.
Remember, puppies and kittens need more sleep than they do exercise in this stage of their lives, make sure they do get some however, not too high in intensity but also not too little. Get them out exploring, with fresh air and plenty of socialization. Also remember that you are now their sole educator, so, teach them well!
‘Mother knows best’, by Lea Benjamin is a great reference book for training and early canine education and psychology, for both new and seasoned dog owners.
The kitten pictured above is Molly, she is fed a species appropriate diet with supplementation, and is now 8 years old. She has not had to see a vet in almost her entire life.
The 2 monkeys that are pictured here at 5 months old is Matty (Matteas) and Missy. They are both Great Pyrenees. They turned 8 years old last month. They are fed a species appropriate diet with supplementation. They also have not had to see the vet in almost their entire life. They still play like they are puppies.
It is no secret that we do not sell any kibble or extruded like products in the shop at Thrive4life Holistic Pet Food.
However, I feel it is always important to answer the ‘whys’, so-why don’t we sell kibble?
All kibble (yes, even the vet recommended brands) is manufactured through a process called extrusion.
According to Dr. Mercola, who calls it ‘the most dangerous food on the market’ writes, “Extrusion is the process used by pet food manufacturers to turn ingredient mixes into kibble. ... The result is called extrudate, which is a ribbon-like product that is subsequently knife-cut and dried. The extrusion process involves extremely high temperatures.”
The raw or low -processed pet foods that we do carry retains significant amounts of nutrients, probiotics, enzymes and natural flavor than extruded pet food. The food’s molecular structure is retained because it is done at little to no moderate temperatures and pressure, as compared to the abrasive and high temperature and pressure of extrusion which can create high quantities of free radicals, damaging the food’s molecular structure thus, causing rancid by-products.
When kibble is consumed, very high levels of free radicals can accelerate damage in the body, leading to serious conditions like arthritis, growth of tumor cells, cellular damage, lower or heightened immune system, IBD, gas and bloating, etc.
In response to that, the body loses precious antioxidants like vitamins C and E (among other things), to combat and neutralize free radicals which may create a nutrient shortfall for preserving the food and meeting other health needs. To add insult to injury, kibble pet food manufactures knowing this, put back antioxidants in their food in the form of synthetic antioxidants to preserve their food, which in my not so humble opinion, is not merit enough to undo the toxic elements of the food.
On top of the synthetic ingredients and rancid fats, all kibble (yes, especially the vet recommended brands) is extremely high in carbohydrates, click here to learn the equation to calculate how much sugar or net carbs is in your pets’ food!
Kibble needs starch to bind, which either comes from potato, corn, rice, lentils or peas, which acts as a glue to hold the kibble together.
Carnivores such as our beloved pets do not manufacture enough enzymes to break down that much carbohydrate content, they are carnivores, not herbivores, and have absolutely no dietary need to consume carbohydrates. Which is one of the reasons why raw or holistically fed pets have much smaller (and less smelly) stools than kibble fed pets.
Now, lets talk about the proteins that actually is in kibble. Remember, you can’t use fresh ingredients to add in the extrusion process, it must be already processed through a process called rendering, which turns it into a powder, i.e. egg or meat ‘product’, and that is the part that is very concerning. This is where companies can hide a lot of sins, and AFCO nor the FDA will pick up on or hassle manufactures about what ‘meat product’ actually is. That beautiful picture with the fresh-looking whole chicken or beef brisket, with all those vibrant looking fruits and vegetables on the packaging probably cost more than the ingredients itself- yikes. All marketing!
So again, why don’t we sell kibble?
Because, you will never walk in to a Whole Foods Market and find a McDonald’s restaurant in there, you will however find a McDonald’s in a Wal-Mart. That is the same concept with Thrive4life Holistic Pet Food, a health food store for pets, meaning, no ‘junk food’ sold.
There are a few good resources on the education of commercial pet foods, one of them being, the now well-known documentary, Pet Fooled.
We all know by now that you are what you eat. Albeit, yes diet is very important, but does changing your pets' diet mean that that is sufficient enough to reverse all the issues they are having? Not necessarily.
Consider this, a raw fed dog or cat can still have issues such as pancreatitis, allergies, skin problems, etc. even after they are switched to a raw diet. So then, what does this all mean? It truly does take reparative actions to target specific ailments, and even though diet can most certainly help, it doesn’t always mean it will solve everything.
Although there are many, here are a few reasons as to why even after changing your pets’ diet will still not resolve health issues, or at least not right away;
Sad part is, it doesn’t take long to disrupt flora, but it does take quite a bit of time to build it up again, especially if your pet has been on a processed diet for a long time, as was maybe the case for your pets’ parents. It is very imperative that the right bacteria be introduced to your pets’ gut microbiome to help their gut out, especially when switching to a new diet.
2. Lack of enzymes:
Enzymes are organic catalysts in the body. Our bodies however, and your pets’ bodies have a limited ‘enzyme potential’. What that means, is that every individual is born with the ability to make a certain amount of enzymes. As enzymes get used up daily, the body’s ability to manufacture enzymes efficiently start to decline, resulting in things like disease, low energy, accelerated aging, etc.
Enzyme deficiency through research has been linked to things like allergies, asthma, cancer, indigestion, arthritis, toxicity, depression, anxiety, skin problems, cardiovascular issues, and metabolic disorders.
Fact: Did you know that canines lack the enzyme to digest peas.
3. Treats- the hidden offender:
There can be a whole slew of offenders in your pets' treats that you may be unaware of, and that is because there is no third party testing or regulations on pet treats (or even pet food for that matter!),
so, why would they list these offenders? Well, they don't. A manufacturer is not going to list sourcing, whether the quality of the ingredients is human grade or not, nor are they going to disclose how the product is treated (chemically or not). It also doesn't make sense to feed a wholesome diet, only to drop the ball when it comes to treats to spoil your fur child with.
Every treat sold at Thrive4life Holistic Pet Food store not only has a high nutritional value, but we can personally guarantee that nothing has been bleached or has been chemically treated, we are very proud to sell all- natural pet treats that even serve as 'functional foods', meaning they have a lot of nutritional value, and are not just empty calories.
4. Always fed the same protein:
This is true especially for raw feeders. Look, I get that chicken is the most economical protein to feed, but it doesn’t mean they should be fed chicken 7 days a week- 365 days a year people!
Same goes for any proteins, remember to always switch it up once they get going consistently on a raw diet. The body will get used to the same exact amino acids fed daily in and out, and can become resistant to it, which will cause allergic-like symptoms. So, be in-tune with what protein(s) you are feeding your pets on a constant basis. As a guideline, I always say to rotate between 3-4 proteins per week.
5. An underlying issue:
Sometimes, what can happen when switching to a more natural and balanced diet, is the bodies inability to completely detox. Why? Because prior to detoxification, if all the channels for drainage are not open and the organism is under nourished, catastrophe can happen. The health damaging effects of many trapped toxins in the lymphatic system have no where to go, which can result in things like systemic inflammation and tumor growth. All cells need and depend on the intact functioning of this system for their continued existence and health.
Can processed foods lead to toxin accumulation? Yes.
Can vaccines that are laden with heavy metals lead to toxin accumulation? Yes.
Can toxins be accumulated environmentally? Yes
This is why it is so important to lead a very ‘clean’ lifestyle, both for yourselves and your pets (not to mention the planet we all live in!). Give their bodies what they need (and then some), so you can watch them thrive and not just merely survive.
Contact us for more information and custom ‘how-to’s to get your pet(s) thriving!
Wanted to make a post specifically highlighting feline health, as we do cater to both dogs and cats’ needs.
If you would like to avoid conditions such as IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), kidney stones, UTI’s, premature arthritis, diabetes, obesity, immune system deficiencies, gas, bloating, feline cardiac myopathy, etc. then keep reading.
Cats are very interesting creatures, they all have such a personality, no two are alike. But they all share a fundamental common ground, and I believe if supplied, will lead to a healthy and vibrant life, with less shedding, less fur balls, and more purring. Here are the fundamentals to get your cats healthy and keep them healthy:
Think variety, whole and nutrient-dense.
I would argue that cats need to be on a quality raw food diet more than dogs do, as they are obligate carnivores, where canines are more omnivorous, meaning they can eat more of a variety of foods other than meat, and still get adequate nutrition, not so with cats. They need meat.
Avoid: by-products, factory famed foods, foods that contain chemical additives such as artificial color and preservatives, GMOs, poorly packaged foods, high GI foods (foods high on the glycemic index), foods that contain hormones and antibiotics, while also avoiding anything with corn, sugar, wheat, white rice, soy and commercial legumes as cats were never meant to eat, let alone digest these ingredients.
Omega-3’s: The King of omega’s!:
When it comes to essential fatty acids like omega-3’s, for cats its always best to choose an omega in the activated form, such as from animal sources. Unlike dogs, they lack the enzymes needed to convert plant-based omega-3s like hemp or flax, into the converted EPA/DHA form. Many holistic vets, and myself personally, like to recommend cod liver oil for cats. With cod liver oil you are not only getting the EPA/DHA but rather, vitamin A, D and E. Cats absorb nutrients best coming from animal sources, including vitamins, that’s why cod liver oil is also a great source of other nutrients other than omega-3.
Other great sources are fish oil (small) like anchovies, herring, mackerel, halibut and sardine, versus large fishes like salmon and tuna that contain higher levels of mercury (okay in limited moderation).
Another type of animal fat I recommend, although not terribly high in omega-3s like fish or cod liver oil, is grass fed (emphasis on grass) butter or ghee. High in quality fats, CLA, and vitamins like A and K2.
MCT (medium chain triglycerides) from coconut oil:
Coconut oil has a category all on its own because of all the amazing things it does for the body such as;
Vitamins and Minerals:
Vitamins and minerals are best obtained from a variety rich diet with different types of animal proteins, and other nutrient-dense food sources such as, spirulina (algae) in minute amounts. When buying prepared foods that are already fortified do keep an eye out for synthetic micronutrient sources, one example of that would be vitamin K3. It is a synthetic form of vitamin K (unlike like K2) and should be avoided in both dogs and cats. You want to look for vitamin K2, and NOT K3. Also listed as, “Menadione Dimethyl-Pyrimidinol Bisulfate, Menadione Dimethyl-Pyrimidinol Bisulfate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfate Complex, Menadione Sodium Bisulfate and Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex. Vitamin K3 is a synthetic form of vitamin K (the natural forms are vitamin K1 and K2) used as an inexpensive vitamin K supplement in commercial pet foods. Menadione has been implicated in a variety of negative effects on the body, including damaging the natural vitamin K cycle (natural vitamin K is essential for blood clotting), cytotoxicity in liver cells, possible mutagenic effects, weakening of the immune system, irritation of skin and mucous membranes, allergic reactions, eczema and toxicity in high doses (The Dog Food Project, 2012).”. (Dodds, DVM, 2015).
Only necessary to supplement with if your cat is not already on a raw food diet that is rich in organ and muscle meat.
Taurine is an amino acid most abundantly found in the brain, eyes, muscles, and blood cells. Taurine is an amino acid only found in animal proteins, hence why cats are obligate carnivores. Cats do not manufacture this, hence why they need to obtain it from their diet. Kibble does not supply cats with bioavailable taurine, that is why kibble fed cats especially should most definitely be on a taurine supplement.
Hydration is very imperative for feline health; although most people don’t think about the type of water they have and how it can affect their pets in the long run. There is well water, tap water, bottled spring water and distilled water.
With clean filtered water systems such as, reverse osmosis, can actually remove the good with the bad, such as trace minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc.
It is important to add trace minerals back in the water with a good quality electrolyte balancer, which we carry, nutraceutical grade. Just place a few drops in their water bowl that they have free access to, it is tasteless and odourless.
Of course, you also don’t want the opposite to happen, which is hard water that can mineralize and calcify in the body. If I had to choose, I would pick the latter, because its always easier to add then it is to take away.
As always, speak with your veterinarian when you are deciding to add anything new to your pets’ diet, feel free to contact us to learn more about these options!
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-3's 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-3's 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.
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.