Nutrition is the foundation of Health!
Let’s go back to nutrition for a minute.
What is nutrition? Nutrition is the process of finding food for health and nourishment. An example would be eating a healthy diet.
What is healthy and how do we know it is really healthy?
Perhaps drinking a sodi/pop is not healthy. The same company that manufactures sodi/pop classic is marketing a ‘diet’ version which is free of fat and sugar as a healthy alternative. Yet the sweetner is linked to addiction, obesity and diabletes.
In 2015, there was a published study showing that this alternative diet sodi/pop actually fueled obesity in hoomins (that is us, indentured servants to our pets).
Perhaps eating yogurt is healthy?
Well that depends on how much sugar is the yogurt. Many varieties have so much sugar that they throw a full grown adult into diabetic shock! Just read the label of what is in your refrigerator. Aim for less than 18g of sugar.
Also, very little live culture is present in case you and your pets eat it for probiotic properties. Why? Pasteurization.
Not only are we seeing an obesity epidemic in hoomins, but we are seeing it in pets as well.
With all of the streamlined manufacturing processes and the efficiencies in productions, we have seen a change in how pet food has been manufactured and unfortunately in many instances, we have seen a reduction in quality.
If you haven’t already guessed, I am a huge proponent of species appropriate nutrition for our companion animals, whether dogs, cats or otherwise.
While raw feeding is not in the cards for everyone, we can certainly strive to do better with providing a nutritional and balanced diet to our pets.
Over the years I have owned many breeds of dogs, bred cats and to this day still groom.
I have personally experienced so many different maladies from raw paws to ear infections and loose stools. I have even owned high strung herding breeds that totally mellowed out with the right nutritional diet and exercise.
Yes, our moods can be affected, especially if our gut is feeling uncomfortable.
With poor diet, comes inflamed gut. It takes longer to digest food, which in turn means less nutritional reference being pulled from that food. Most of it is converted to fat. If this food is causing discomfort like bloating, gas, itchy skin and hot spots, pets may also have a behavioral response.
No one likes being uncomfortable.
Over the years I have learned to read labels and use my calculator.
Some of the things to look for in food:
1. Protein content
2. Liquid content
3. Content of preservatives. If you are using kibble or canned food, there will be some form of preservative keeping the food shelf stable. I try to avoid preservatives.
4. Carbohydrate content. This is NEVER listed on the can or dry food bag. You will need to pull your phone out and do the math. From 100 subtract all the stuff they claim is in the bag and the number you are left with is the carbohydrate content. In most food, it is high.
When we feed our pets more carbs then they need, yes, they tend to get obese. Sometimes, they may be overactive. It is energy they need help using and we are, well at work all day.
Pets may be destructive of property or just be really energetic outdoors. Ever experience that? I HAVE!
With added carbohydrates or sugar, the dental flora is affected as well. More plaque formation on the teeth, which means more cleanings under sedation. Sedation has it’s own associated risks.
Bacteria and yeast that is present in all bodies will grow differently. With added sugar, bugs such as candida (yeast) can grow more than it should causing skin conditions, as well as ear infections. Skin conditions can manifest themselves as raw paws, naked belly, and hot spots which can be dark in color or pink due to inflammation.
Aside from skin conditions, our pets can have gas, bloating and even uncommon stools. Loose, hard, super smelly. Look, fecal material will smell like fecal material and not roses! However, they should not be so rancid that they smell like a dead animal.
So how do we support our pet’s digestive health?
2. Digestive enzymes
4. Reduced carbohydrate content
Just because something says that it has probiotics doesn’t mean that it does or that it is good or enough. Giving pets yogurt is not always a good idea. Not only because there is lots of sugar in many of the products but also because yogurt has to be pasteurized which is a process used to kill bacteria and probiotics are bacteria.
I use a probiotic supplement for both my dog and cats. I also take it myself.
Lipase is an enzyme that breaks down fat and allows for absorption by intestines
Amylase helps break down starch and complex carbohydrates
Protease helps break down proteins
Papain helps break down proteins further down into amino acids
Lactase helps break down lactose, a sugar molecule found in milk and milk products
There are of course many other enzymes but this list gives you a snapshot of what we should be providing our pets.
While there are many additives in foods that have been pre-manufactured such as dry kibble and canned food, I find it important to be breed and dog or cat specific. Some animals tend to need more chondroitin (large breed) and all dogs and cats require taurine which is ONLY found in organ meats.
Some animals tend to get a runny stool from too much chondroitin and some animals tend to have a very greasy coat and skin which can sometimes result in increased dandruff when we feed them additional fish oil supplements.
Some animals have sensitivities to poultry.
Be choiceful in the supplements you select for your pet. PM me if you need help.
*Reduced carbohydrate content
Keep reading those labels. Pull out the calculator and look. There are many prescription diets for weight loss that have upward of 30% carbohydrate and then added sugar for flavor. Most animals do not eat corn meal gluten but it seems to be added to many pet foods today. Keep track of the starches and proteins should be between 15-19%.
With the right digestive enzymes, pet intestines should have no problem digesting what we give them.
Exercise is a must. Both my dog and cats get daily exercise. Cats get toys and I do fetch and recall with them. Recall being come and you will get treats or don't come and we will call it selective hearing!
Doggo does basic obedience, recall and we do nose work for when the weather is not optimal for us to be outside. Working her mind does as much as working the muscles. Sometimes a good bath will wear everyone out, including me!
What exactly do I give my pets?
My pets are on a raw meat diet. Unfortunately, some have a chicken and some have a beef allergies so I have to be very vigilant with my protein sources. Rabbit has worked very well and sometimes it is cooked and sometimes it is raw ground and I do the work. Raw bone for calcium and a more solid stool. No cooked bone.
For probiotics I use the PBAssist Plus tab. The sachets are a no-no for pets. For my big Cane Corso girl, I give her one pill a day and for the cats I squeeze a pill into their food once a week. I take it religiously daily myself.
For Digestive Enzymes I use TerraZyme. It contains all of the digestive enzymes listed above and more! My Cane Corso gets 1 pill before each meal. My cats split their food, so I sprinkle a pinch over their food. A pill usually lasts 5-7 days, just split it open and use it like a pinch of salt.
Supplements. My cats get Kittybloom 900VM+3 and that can be sourced from http://ed.gr/b3rye Unfortunately, aside from Koha, I have not found dog foods that contain taurine for heart health so yes, I give my dog 900VM+3 as well. My dogs have been getting this supplement for the taurine for the last 5 years and none have had any heart issues but they also came from breeders who test.
Reduced carb content. Do your best. If you can do raw, great and if not, find a food that fits your budget and ease of use. Let the supplements do the rest. There is a really good video on quality of food by Dr. Karen Becker. Here is the link to a great video. http://ed.gr/b3ryf
Exercise. For dog owners, training is so important. It creates muscle memory and helps doggos make good choices in life. With consistency, exercising the body and the mind will be considerably easier. For cats, toys are terrific as well as cat trees and climbing challenges.
For those dogs or cats who have a more sensitive tummy and either have gas or bloating or passing of fumes, DigestZen is a great oil to diffuse around and rub on the belly.
I put a drop of DigestZen on the cat bed/dog bed...diffusing.
For dogs, I rub DigestZen Touch (already diluted) right on the belly!
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