Click below to watch the video:
The recipe is perfect for:
This recipe is appropriate for kibble, raw and cooked fed pets. It is not a balanced recipe to be fed daily, however, it is packed with nutrition and gut loving ingredients, and even though it does not have any meat, it is very high in protein.
Quinoa; Is in the amaranth family, it is gluten-free and contains high amounts of protein as it contains all of the essential amino acids. Quinoa is also easy to digest and is hypo-allergenic. It is high in fiber (which acts as a prebiotic in the gut), B-vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. Just like rice, always rinse your quinoa before cooking it, both for you and your pets.
Kefir: Specifically coconut milk kefir that we carry, as it is fermented coconut milk using kefir grains (probiotic), kefir is actually a symbiotic as it contains both pre and probiotics. It helps to soothe and balance the gut.
Sea vegetables: Including spirulina, chlorella, AFA (E3) Live algae, these are all super potent phytonutrients that help support whole body health. They are nutritive, healing and detoxifying all at the same time. Dosing will vary per pet by body weight. Ask us for our sea vegetable complex (yes we ship!).
Egg (optional): The perfect protein, so long as it is both free range and free run, and the chickens are fed their ‘species appropriate diet’, you can choose to either feed it raw or slightly poached. The free-range eggs from our chickens are more nutritionally dense than other farm eggs, as our chickens are both pasture raised and fed a non-GMO diet that is both corn and soy free. Eggs are also a natural source of PEA (Palmitolylethanolamide) an antioxidant and health molecule that works through the endocannabinoid system and is responsible for maintaining overall cellular health and homeostasis.
Click here to place your order on any of these products (must be local for egg-delivery).
Feed the normal amount you would normally feed your pet(s) of whatever diet they are on, if unsure of the amount then I would recommend a weight scale.
Please note this recipe is not to be fed daily, 7 times per week.
When we normally think about our pets aging, we tend to mostly think about joint care and health, while neglecting cognitive health until we see some changes.
The brain is part of the central nervous system, it plays a critical role in everything we do. Without it, we would all be a bunch of vegetables lying around, so it is very imperative we take extra good care of our brains and something to keep in mind for our pets as well, as they do go through the same things as we do, and cognitive health and aging is no exception.
So, what is brain aging in pets?
Well, just like us our beloved pets experience and develop age-related physiological deficiencies such as heart, liver and kidney disease, arthritis and vision impairment. The brain is no exception, and it can impact everyday activities.
Another thing we must consider asking is, what is actually impacting cognitive function in our pets-is it just the aging process?
Pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals such as mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines, and medications can impact our beloved pets’ central nervous system, pair that with poor nutrition and we can most certainly start seeing its detrimental effects.
As I always say, they are already aging at a rapid pace (see age chart below), let us not mistakenly add to that burden.
Percentage of dogs in each age group that are impaired by brain aging:
28%- 11-12 year old dogs
68%- 15-16 year old dogs
Cognitive Health Declining is Identifiable
Even thought the signs can be subtle at first, brain aging is a progressive process and the signs are likely to get worse over time. You can help your pet(s) live a long and healthy life as soon as you identify the behavior and take a plan of action.
While every pet is different, a number of signs associated with brain aging/ impairment can be observed at home. Monitor your pet with these signs and symptoms;
Before we move on to things we can consider giving, let us look at things to absolutely avoid giving, things that will impair brain health, such as; high glycemic carbohydrates, gluten, flea and tick medication, over-vaccinating (consider tittering instead), rancid fats and exposure to chemicals.
Here are some things to consider supplementing your pet(s) with, that is both natural and highly researched to support their cognitive health, it is also advisable to incorporate some of these to a healthy adult pet as a wonderful preventative, as the old saying goes, 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'.
Milk thistle is traditionally known for its liver protective properties, but it simply does so much more that that. Not only promising as a cancer preventative, but the benefits of milk thistle also prevents impairment of both short-term and recognition memory. In a study conducted with mice, where they were injected with a highly toxic peptide fragment (also present in Alzheimer’s disease), which exerts neurotoxic properties and induces cognitive dysfunction, causing learning and memory impairment, the findings were that giving milk thistle actually prevented cognitive impairment. Milk thistle works as a super antioxidant, particularly protecting the hippocampus (part of the brain associated with memory) against oxidative damage caused by powerful neurotoxins. In the study, milk thistle also improved behavior abnormalities, including decreasing anxiety. There is also strong evidence supporting that milk thistle can potentially prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Milk thistle also promotes DNA methylation, and we will touch more on that in a little bit.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid, which is a class of lipids (fats) that makes up a major part of cell membranes, but it is most concentrated in the brain and cerebral cortex.
Research has demonstrated that supplementing with phosphatidylserine possesses the ability to enhance cognitive function, specifically improving learning and concentration. Clinical trials also reveal that it proves to be effective in other forms of cognitive dysfunction, like age-related memory impairment, dementia and improving mental stamina in high-end athletes.
According to one study conducted in 2012 where phosphatidylserine was given to dogs with cognitive disorders, these were the study findings:
This was only after 7 days of supplementation!
Additionally, phosphatidylserine proved to significantly reduce cortisol levels in the body (cortisol is a hormone released in the body in response to stress), which means it elevated mood. Memory, learning, concentration, mood and overall cognitive stamina can be improved by phosphatidylserine- sign me up please!
Some may or may not recall that I am always talking about this thing called DNA methylation-
DNA methylation is an important epigenetic signaling tool for normal gene expression, a.k.a. very important stuff! Enter in SAMe.
SAMe is a major methyl donor for the brain, it is responsible for forming a variety of compounds, such as neurotransmitters, phospholipids, proteins, glutathione (body’s most powerful antioxidant), myelin, carnitine, CoQ10, and creatine.
SAMe helps with membrane fluidity and increases levels of serotonin, melatonin and dopamine metabolites. When given to senior dogs with signs of cognitive dysfunction, SAMe showed favourable results after just one month of use, including:
Another study proved while supplementing with SAMe that there was improvement in cognitive processes including; attention, problem solving and balancing mood. SAMe has also been found to support joint health in osteoarthritic patients, and is as effective as NSAIDs (minus the liver harming effects- SAMe is actually great for liver health), because of its anti-inflammatory and joint protective qualities. In fact, in some European countries it is classified as a drug-That’s how effective it is!
SAMe actually works in conjunction with B-vitamins, (which are also methyl donors), so supplementing with a B-complex is recommended.
Omega-3s paired with MCT oil
Okay so this is technically two, but for a reason--
Reason being is that MCT oils (medium chain triglycerides), help the body use omega-3 fatty acids more efficiently and actually increase omega-3 concentrations in the brain. MCTs readily cross the blood-brain barrier, supplying 20% of a normal brain’s energy requirements. These two oils posses many therapeutic qualities, simply too many to list here, but the reason why it is mentioned here is because of its amazing ability to improve brain and even joint function in older dogs and people.
Omega-3s that have EPA/DHA have been studied numerous times, especially for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia, as they have lower DHA levels in the brain. Also, powerful positive research-based evidence on memory loss, depression, concentration and improving mood. Omega-3s are also a great anti-inflammatory.
A study conducted in 2012 consisting of 48 beagle puppies, showed that dietary fortification of fish oil rich in DHA following weaning resulted in improved cognitive learning, memory, psychomotor, immunological and retinal functions during developmental stage, as well as having a nutrient-rich diet.
Make sure the sourcing is organic and preferable in a glass bottle.
We hope you found this article useful, the information here doesn’t just pertain to pets, but to humans as well. Ask us if any of these will be right for your pet(s) and for specific dosing, and as always, consult you veterinarian before introducing anything new to your pet, especially if they are on medications.
Whether you are looking for a holistic, conventional or allopathic veterinarian,
(In short- I believe they all have their place), here are some basic principles that you should look for when deciding which clinic/vet to choose;
1. Do they create an inviting atmosphere?
You and especially your pet(s) need to feel comfortable when you are at your vets’ office during a visit. One oversight that I feel most vet offices have is who they hire as their receptionist, as that is the first and last person you will see in the office. This lesson was actually given to me many years ago during the only time I ever worked in a restaurant as the hostess. My boss told me that I am the most important person he can hire, I am the first person his customers will meet and the last person they will see when they leave the place, and we all know that first impressions are important. I needed to act and LOOK like I owned the joint, to which I did, so naturally I kept getting mistaken for the manager/ owner of the place!
Veterinarian offices/clinics should be no exception- if the receptionist looks tired and is short with you, or quite frankly, is a little too free with their ‘opinions’ and ‘information’, that is all a telling sign and has already set the tone for your visit.
2. How does your vet make you feel?
It is not lost on me that many a pet guardian feel pressured or make fear-driven decisions for their beloved pets when they are at a vet visit. Your vet should empower you with knowledge and education- not make you scared!
Next time you are at your vets’ office, even while they are speaking to you, tap into how you are feeling at that very moment, do a quick check within yourself and ask, “How am I feeling right now?”, are you feeling belittled or worried/scared? Or do you feel good?
Many people have left my shop feeling and commenting that they are 'excited', for embarking on their pets’ new wellness journey, I guess you could say I pride myself on that empowerment. You see, in empowering someone to help them help their pet, there is no aspect of control, or me trying to control them, the side-effect is that they feel free to make the decisions they make for their pet, and when they come back to thank me and give me credit, I simply reply with, “All I did was empower you with knowledge and information that you chose to utilize, so thank yourself”.
Even when some pet guardians get overwhelmed at how much information there is (and believe me there is a lot!), I am constantly reassuring them that they are not alone, and Rome was not built in a day. Your vet should do the same.
3. Do they listen?
Does your vet actually listen to your concerns and requests? For example, If your pet is healthy, and you are buying and feeding them a well balanced quality raw pet food diet, then there really shouldn’t be a concern for your vet. It does not make much sense to switch over a healthy pet doing incredible on a balanced fresh diet to a commercial and highly processed pet food does it? Food for thought.
4. Knowledge vs. Education
Does your vet self-educate him/herself, or do they rely on the information they graduated with X amount of years ago? The health and medical industry are constantly changing and being updated, the question lies, is your vet taking it upon him/herself to access the latest unbiased research and information? Even in the nutrition industry, lots has changed and things keep evolving. Fat was once ‘bad for you’- but now everyone is on a keto diet! Coconut oil was once highly villainized by nutritionists- now it’s everywhere! See what I mean?
For example; Does your vet still spay and neuter puppies and kittens at 6 months of age or do wait until the animal reaches maturity until all the proper glands and hormones are in place and developed?
Do they vaccinate senior and/or immune compromised pets? Do they push unnecessary vaccines?
5. They put the animal first
It is in fact true that veterinarians must take an oath like human doctors do, the Canadian Veterinary Oath (CVO) is as follows;
“As a member of the veterinary medical profession, I solemnly swear that I will use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society.
I will strive to:
· promote animal health and welfare,
· prevent and relieve animal suffering,
· protect the health of the public and the environment, and
· advance comparative medical knowledge.
I will perform my professional duties conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.
I will strive continuously to improve my professional knowledge and competence and to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards for myself and the profession."
So, it should go without saying, that no matter what their opinions are, they should always put the animal first. However, sometimes a professional opinion is quite different than a personal one, and one must of course understand that veterinarians have regulations and government standards to be kept at, what I am trying to say here is that no matter what their intentions are, their hands are tied when it comes to certain things and that is not their fault. YOU as the pet guardian must understand this, and ask yourself, “Is my vet just doing his/her job?”. At the end of the day, your animal(s) belong to you, and the choices you make for them belong to you.
Choosing the right veterinarian is one of the most important part of pet ownership.
At the end of the day, one must like and trust the person they are giving their business to, especially when it comes to family health, and your pets’ health should be no exception.
The unique fatty acid content in cold pressed raw organic pumpkin seed oil is definitely something not to overlook, and here are 10 reasons why;
1. Hair and coat growth:
Due to its rich free fatty acid content, saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, PSO has been tested for male pattern alopecia with positive results, with both topical and oral applications. So, what does this mean for your pets? It shows that PSO would make a great natural option to administer to pets post operation, encouraging healthy hair follicle growth, or an incredible option for post mange treatment and/or any other kind of ectoparasite treatment to encourage healthy hair re-growth. PSO also makes for a shinier coat!
2. Bladder & Prostate health:
Probably what PSO is best known for, and that is bladder and prostate health. Various studies have shown that PSO is useful for conditions such as OAB (overactive bladder), and any urinary dysfunction, making it a great option for senior pets, or even younger animals with bladder difficulties such as incontinence, chronic UTI’s, and bladder irritations, also makes a great post birth treatment. Numerous studies show that pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil have beneficial effects on prostate glands, and can even be a preventative for such conditions as Prostatic Neoplasia.
3. Cardiovascular benefits:
Thanks to its high phytosterol content, PSO is a great heart healthy option for you and your pets that also balances blood pressure, which is vital for heart health, in fact, PSO has the same effects in the body as the blood pressure medication amlodipine, reversing elevated levels of BP. This oil could be a great option for particular breeds that are unfortunately prone to cardiovascular disease, which are: Boxers, Dobermans, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Portuguese Water Dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Scottish Deerhounds, St. Bernards, Newfoundlands, Afghans and Old English Sheepdogs.
The phytosterols in PSO can lower the bad cholesterol in the body (LDL) and increase the good (HDL).
4. High in antioxidants:
PSO is a great source of antioxidants such as vitamins A, K and E that fight free radical damage in the body. It is rich in carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin and four fatty acids which are; palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acid.
5. Gastrointestinal health:
The soothing effects of PSO has shown to significantly improve and soothe GI inflammation and help to aid an unhealthy digestive tract. Therefore, overall digestion and nutrient absorption also gets improved.
6. Balances hormones:
PSO has a unique phytoestrogen complex that has been shown to balance hormones, and improve hormonal symptoms.
7. Ocular health:
PSO is a source of antioxidants such as zeaxanthin, lutein and of course vitamin A, which is super beneficial for eye health, specifically the macula. These antioxidants are carotenoids, meaning they have special abilities to protect the eyes from harmful elements, such as the UV rays from the sun and oxidation.
In a study published by in the journal of Pharmacology Research, when rats where induced with arthritis, which shockingly increased levels of inflammation, those supplemented with PSO had just as a positive effect with inflammation relief as the group who was given NSAID’s, however, they did not experience any liver injuries, versus the ones that where on the medication.
9. Organ & brain health:
When mice where exposed to hazardous and toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde (FA), which affected brain and organ health, these were the findings, “The FA-induced elevation of malondialdehyde (MDA) in the brain, liver, and kidneys was suppressed by pre-treatment with PSO extract. The extract also attenuated the FA-induced reduction of endogenous antioxidant pools. In vitro phytochemical analyses showed that PSO extract possesses free radical scavenging and total antioxidant activities due to the presence of phenolic and flavonoid compounds. Thus, PSO extract has significant protective effects against FA-induced organ toxicities by scavenging oxidative stress and inhibiting lipid peroxidation.” (Mollika, Shihab, Alam, Ranjan, Imman, Rafiqul. 2020. Pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita maxima) protect against formaldehyde- induced major organ damages)
10. Bone protection:
It is no secret that vitamin K is essential for bone health. PSO seed oil is rich in vitamin K, which regulates bone re absorption, takes part in a process called carboxylation of many bone related proteins, and regulates transcription of genetic osteoblast (cells that form new bone) markers. Also, helps prevent fractures and any kind of bone damage. PSO is also rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium that is crucial for bone health.
So far there have been no adverse recordings of giving too much PSO, other than perhaps loose stools. Make sure to purchase your organic pumpkin seed oil from a reputable source and company, my personal favorite is Styrian pumpkin seed oil. It is a dark oil with a rather thick viscosity, and a little goes a long way to reach its therapeutic benefits- oh, and it's delicious!
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!
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.