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Overweight Pet: Weight Management for Dogs and Cats

Obesity is a significant health problem in many pets, and can contribute to major disease. There are many easily identifiable causes of weight gain in pets.

Identifying causes of Weight Gains in Pets

Do Dogs and Cats Need Grains?

Fat dogs and fat cats A highly processed, grain-based diet fed to an animal designed to thrive on a meat-based, fresh food diet is very likely to produce Overweight pets with symptoms of ill health over time. Diets to address disease most frequently deal with the symptoms that are the result of a lifetime of inappropriate food, not the true cause of their symptoms. The optimum diet for a dog or a cat should closely resemble their natural diet.

A diet balanced heavily toward grain promotes insulin production and the production of inflammatory chemicals. Over-production of insulin makes it hard for the body to maintain its correct weight, and can lead to diabetes and other problems. An overabundance of inflammatory chemicals means more aches and pains. What do farmers feed hogs and cattle to fatten them up for market? Carbohydrates!!! Grains and Corn. That is what most pet food consists of. Carbs just make you hungry because they all turn to sugar in our systems.

"The growing popularity of raw diets for companion carnivores, and a growing mainstream acceptance of the idea that high carbohydrate (grain-based) diets for carnivores may not be species appropriate, have made many people look to the natural diet of the wild wolf for guidance in feeding dogs and captive canids. Wolves and modern dogs have an extremely close genetic DNA relationship, so wolf nutrition is probably a useful model for domestic canine nutrition. Life is often feast or famine for a wolf and its pack.

Fat PetsWolves must hunt all of their food, and each time they need to hunt, they risk serious injury by getting kicked or trampled. Sometimes food is scarce or unavailable and they may have to go days - or even weeks - without any nourishment.  Ideally a wolf needs about 5 pounds of food per day to stay healthy and reproduce. When necessary, they can also survive well on 2-1/2 pounds of food a day. Amazingly, if their food supply is in abundance, they can also consume as much as 22-1/2 pounds of food at one time!" Wolf Conservation Center

Dr. Joe Demers, D.V.M - "A reason for overweight pets is what we feed our pet friends. Commercial pet food is anywhere between 45 percent to 65 percent carbohydrates (grains). Grains are the least expensive part of pet food and can fill the animal quickly. Dogs and cats are more carnivores than we humans are, and we are feeding them almost as much grain (or more) than we humans eat. I feel that this high-carbohydrate commercial pet food is the worst food we can feed our pet friends. Our pet friends need fresh meats, not dehydrated meat by-products. There are many good books explaining the reasons why many veterinarians are recommending whole fresh meat diets, or recommending supporting commercial food with whole fresh meats. I also feel vegetables are an excellent source of fiber and moisture as well as sources of natural vitamins and minerals for our pet friends."

The B.A.R.F. Dog Food Diet Dr. T.J. Dunn D.V.M. - "The biggest and most common misconception of all... the promotion of some low priced, grain-based foods as being a Complete and Balanced diet for dogs and cats! Having done physical exams on tens of thousands of dogs and cats and learning from their owners what these pets are being fed has taught me that dogs and cats look, feel, and perform better if they are fed a meat-based diet rather than if fed a corn, wheat, soy or rice-based diet. This does not mean that grains are bad for dogs and cats; they surely can contribute certain limited nutrients to a good diet (mainly calories in the form of carbohydrates). Nevertheless, many veterinarians believe that grains should not be the foundation of a diet intended for a dog or cat.

Need help? If some pet food "expert" tells you that eating animal fat is bad for dogs and cats and that a plant source of fatty acids is much better, your common sense should tell you that dogs and cats successfully evolved over the eons by consuming animal fat in their diets. So does it make sense to say that animal fat is bad for dogs and cats? Another example is the common notion that lots of protein in a pet's diet will cause kidney damage. Again, looking at the nature of the dog and cat as primarily a meat-eating animal and having evolved by capturing and consuming other animals, we know their diets have always been high in protein. Think about what makes sense IN NATURE. If you hear about a nutritional product that "just doesn't make sense"... be cautious about it's factual basis."

Dr. William Pollak D.V.M. - "Malnutrition and the toxic condition of the animal fed commercial diets can result in the inability to digest and assimilate basic food components of the fresher, more wholesome type such as raw food."

Dr. Rebecca Remillard, DVM - "Canines are in the order Carnivora, but I think their feeding behaviors are best described as omnivorous. The term carnivore applies to their taxonomic classification, not their feeding behavior. Taxonomically, dogs are members of the order Carnivora, a very diverse group, that includes 12 families of more than 260 species, some of which are herbivorous mammals (the panda). There are three types of feeding behavior (omnivorous, herbivorous and carnivorous) all of which can be found among different members of the order Carnivora."

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Overweight Dog with Under-active Thyroid

Daisy is a 13 year old Golden Retriever. She lives with an under-active thyroid condition she acquired shortly after a rabies vaccine. She was taking traditional thyroid medication that was doing her no good whatsoever and gained 40 pounds even though I was feeding her a diet meant for dogs with thyroid issues.

She started having trouble getting up and walking on her own. She also lives with cataracts to the point she was completely blind but could distinguish shadows. She was no longer able to go down the porch stairs on her own to go outside. I had to carry the extra weight. She was unable to keep herself upright without assistance to go anywhere.

She was completely winded going to the water bowl and back to her cushion. A mere 15 feet, round trip. I started her on w/holistic program while boosting her immune system. She is doing so well now she makes it to the door to go outside much faster than I can if I am not paying attention. She has no trouble at all going outside in the yard.

Fail to Give Good Fats to your Pets is Inviting Trouble

Dr. Thomas Londale, D.V.M - "Fat is crucial to carnivores, in maintaining and creating energy, and to produce glycerol. While humans require some carbohydrates for energy and endurance, carnivores need fats, both animal and plant, for creating glucose and developing stamina. Most of the fat used in processed foods can easily go rancid, and need preservatives to help maintain their integrity. Many of these preservatives have been found to be detrimental to the dogs health and immune systems, most commonly ethoxiquin, BHA and BHT. These can inhibit the production of white blood cells, lower the immune system and block the absorption of glucose. Also lacking in processed foods are the Omega-3 fatty acids, necessary for good coat and skin health. These fats cannot withstand the long shelf life of processed foods."

Is a Reduced Fat Diet a Good or Bad Idea?

 Many pet owners are resorting to feed low fat pet food to their overweight dogs or cats instead of reducing or eliminating the grains. Raw, uncooked fats plays an important role in the digestion process and in maintaining an animal's health. Fats supply important cell, enzyme and hormone material and are powerful sources of energy.

Home base business opportunityA groundswell of nutrition conscious veterinarians are beginning to recommend to their clients that they supplement their animals diet with a daily dose of fish oil or flaxseed oil, poured right over the food. Mixing chia seeds with the dog's food also provide valuable essential fatty acids (omega 3 oil) and other valuable nutrients. The vets are finding remarkable results in clearing up skin conditions and allergies, relieving arthritic and inflammatory pain, as well as improved over all pet health. When the diets of animals were fortified with flax or fish oil, within three weeks their coats developed a beautiful sheen, and dandruff was greatly diminished.

Dr. Karen Shaw Becker, DVM - "Contrary to popular belief, not all dietary fats cause obesity in your pet. Just as in humans, the “good” fats (omega-3 fats) enhance energy production in your dog or cat, so they actually create less fat. Because most pets consume an abundance of high carbohydrate, empty calorie dry foods (kibble), the pet obesity issue is quickly rivaling the human obesity epidemic. Omega-3’s encourage the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, compounds that help regulate inflammation, immune system response and blood clotting activity in your dog or cat. They help to reduce the inflammation associated with hip and joint pain (including rheumatoid arthritis) and conditions of the bowel such as ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. Research indicates omega-3 fats may also prevent pet heart problems like arrhythmia and high blood pressure, as well as decrease triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fats are also being researched for their potential to slow the development and spread of certain cancers in pets, as well as for their ability to prevent or alleviate auto-immune disorders, allergies, and some skin conditions. A deficiency of omega-3 fats in your cat or dog can result in stunted growth, eye problems, muscle weakness and lack of motor coordination, as well as immune system dysfunction."

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To Feed or Not to Feed...Grains
by Russell Swift, DVM

Healthy Grain-Free Pet Kibble for dogs and catsAt the recent American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Conference, I discovered that I am not the only one questioning the use of grains in commercial and home-prepared pet foods. Grains, such as oats, wheat, rice, barley, etc, are composed mostly of complex carbohydrates. They also contain some protein, fiber, B-vitamins and trace minerals.

However, they are NOT part of the natural diet of wild dogs and cats. In the true natural setting, grains hardly exist at all. Wild grains are much smaller than our hybridized domestic varieties. This means that even a mouse or other prey animal is not going to find much of its nutrition from grains. Therefore, the argument that "dogs and cats eat animals that have grains in their digestive tracts" doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Prey animals that live near farms or other "civilized" areas are likely to have access to grains. This is not a truly wild diet.

What other clues do we have that grains are not necessary for carnivores?

  • Dogs and cats do not have dietary requirements for complex carbohydrates.
  • Grains must be cooked or sprouted and thoroughly chewed to be digested Carnivores do not chew much at all.
  • The other nutrients in grains are readily available from other dietary ingredients. For example, B-vitamins are found in organ meats and trace minerals come from bones and vegetables. (Unfortunately, modern farming has striped many trace minerals from produce and supplementation is usually best.)

Why have grains become so "ingrained" in pet feeding? To the best of my knowledge, grains were mainly introduced by the pet food industry. The high carbohydrate content provides CHEAP calories. In addition, grains assist in binding ingredients. We have become so used to feeding grains to dogs and cats that most of us get nervous when we decide not to use them. I know people who have been "grain-free" feeding and doing very well. My own cat is one example.

What are the negative effects? I believe that carnivores cannot maintain long term production of the quantity of amylase enzyme necessary to properly digest and utilize the carbohydrates. In addition, the proteins in grains are less digestive than animal proteins. As a result, the immune system becomes irritated and weakened by the invasion of foreign, non-nutritive protein and carbohydrate particles. Allergies and other chronic immune problems may develop. The pet’s pancreas will do its best to keep up with the demand for amylase. What does this pancreatic stress do over a long time? I don’t know, but it cannot be good. I suspect that dental calculus may be another problem promoted by grain consumption.

Currently, I am making grains optional in my general feeding recipes. I am going "grainless" in more pets as I explore this area. I recommend trying to feed without grains if your pet is not improving on your current protocol.

Need help?"Carbohydrates from grain are simply not needed. Our pets get their energy from fats and protein. Grains break down into sugar which can grow yeast, produce mucous and may contribute to a multitude of problems including skin allergies, cancer, digestive upsets and skeletal disorders to name just a few." Ed Frawley, owner of Leerrburg Kennels, GSD

Anastasia Milne Parkes writes: "...in the wild the first thing a wild dog will do is to rip open a grazing animal's stomach and eat the predigested grains therein. Juliette de Bairacli Levy DVM , teaches to soak all grains overnight in water or buttermilk to reach this ideal state."

T.J. Dunn DVM - "Modern man has modified a number of characteristics of the canine. But there's one thing man has not altered... the basic nutrient requirements of the dog. Dogs need today essentially the same nutrients that their predecessors required eons ago. That is precisely why there has been so much notice given to the practice of feeding dogs (and cats, too!) raw meat and other unprocessed foods. There is ample proof that today's pet dogs and cats DO NOT thrive on cheap, packaged, corn-based pet foods. Dogs and cats are primarily meat eaters; to fill them up with grain-based processed dry foods that barely meet minimum daily nutrient requirements has proven to be a mistake. And the fact that some pet foods have artificial colors and flavors added simply reveals the trickery needed to coax dogs and cats into consuming such material."

Pat McKay, an animal nutritionist, says "If your dog chooses to eat horse or cow manure or cow manure, let him / her do so. Those are wonderfully predigested grains; grains in their best form. Cooked grains cannot compare to predigested grains, so our animals are better off with no grains, rather than cooked.

Note from Shirley: Soaking raw grains in water for a couple of days at room temperature will ferment them, rendering them digestible and dramatically increase the enzyme content. A small amount of soaked or fermented grain in a carnivore's diet is fine. Dr. Chambreau, DVM writes: "Raw diet is designed to mimmic the natural diet of dogs or cats. In nature the meat, roots and vegetables (greens) are consumed raw. Upon killing the prey the stomach contents is usually consumed first, this consists of enzymes and partially digested (partially "cooked") grains, greens, roots, and whatever else the animal has eaten."

Food Intolerance- Man and Animal versus Gluten, Casein, Soy and Corn

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My Boxer lost 5 pounds Effortlessly and Rapidly!


A testimonial from John Booth, Florida

"I am writing this testimonial about my female boxer, Jessica Angeline Booth. I got her in Paradise, California when I was living outside Sacramento. Thus the name "Angeline" as she really is an angel! However, old man time has a way of catching up to all of us. She is now 12 years old, and like most dogs eventually do, she has arthritis and until about three months ago had some extra weight she had gained over the last few years.

Since my wife and I had been taking the marine phytoplankton (Frequensea) product along with smaller portions and eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and had lost so much weight, we thought "Why not try giving the Frequensea to our dog?''. Well, we did and Jessica has been on Frequensea now for about 2 months. Though her chest is still large like most boxers her abdominal area is now sleek. She also has way more energy and has started to chase the numerous squirrels that gather around our feeders in the back yard with her younger sister Josie. It is just such a joyful site to see her play like she used to. She really loves going out on our boat and swimming in the shallow waters on the gulf and the inland river ways.

When I took Jessica again to her veterinarian to get a routine wellness check, we learned that she had lost about 5 pounds! The first thing Dr.Zetteler said was, "Boy, she looks great! Look how sleek she is in the rear!". Now that's high praise for a 12 year old dog! I give Jessica about a half ounce of Frequensea a day and I also give it to my younger female, Josie, as I want her to live a fuller, longer life."

Deficiency In Essential Nutrients can Cause your pet to be overweight

Are You Really Meeting Your Animal´s Nutrient Needs? Our soil, plants, and especially commercial foods are woefully deficient in key nutrients. Scientists theorize that mineral deficiency subjects us, and our animals, to more diseases, aging, sickness and destruction of our physical well-being than any other factor in personal health.

natural immune enhancing substance Dog's face A happy pet is an active and healthy pet "I adopted my dog Jojo a few years ago. He was 13 at the time and about to go to the pound because his previous owner was moving and couldn't keep him. When he came to me he was showing signs of age. He had a hard time walking and his eyesight and hearing were a bit impaired. Eventually, he came to a point where he would no longer eat. This went on for seven days. He would find a secluded corner and sleep most of the time. I felt like he was just miserable, hardly alive and going downhill fast. As each day passedI would watch him get a little worse. I finally made the heartbreaking decision to take him to the vet and have him put to sleep. Someone told me about the Marine PhytoPlankton and I decided to try it on Jojo as a last resort. I started giving him a small amount of a marine phytoplankton tonic with his evening meal. In two months, Jojo made a complete recovery. I used to have to wake him up when I got home from work. Now Jojo greets me at the door barking and wagging his tail' His eyesight and hearing have also improved - he seems more aware of his surroundings and is playful and attentive. I don't think he would be in such good health if it weren't for adding marine phytoplankton tonic to his diet. It has literally made the difference for him. My son has dubbed it Jojo's go-go juice. I am grateful for this product for bringing our family pet back to health." Dan R.

Feeding marine phytoplankton and other edible sea plantsto your pet promotes: Shiny hair coat and supple skin - Improved metabolism - Healthier and stronger newborns - Improved milk production in lactating bitches and queens - Improved reproductive performance both for male and female - Aids in the healing process by offering the vitamins and minerals necessary for tissue repair - Better utilization and absorption of nutrients from foods ingested.

Healthy Pet Food for Overweight Dogs

Pet Kibble for dogs and cats Based on Dr. Barry Sears, weight loss expert and author of the popular "Zone" Diet Books. Obesity among dogs and cats is one of the leading nutritional diseases. Many veterinarians believe it is the greatest health issue facing American’s pets. Millions of people all over the world have improved their health and lost weight on Dr. Barry Sears' Zone Diet. Now You Can Get Your Dog in THE ZONE. Canine Zone is based on the Zone’s 30-30-40 ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates. This revolutionary new food will help your dog achieve a balance so the body can operate at its maximum efficiency and shed unwanted extra pounds.

Canine Zone contains L-Carnitine, an ingredient in human weight loss products, Vitamin E for the immune system and several antioxidants. What distinguishes Canine Zone from many other weight loss foods is that it doesn't compromise the necessary carbohydrates, fat, protein and nutrients that your dog still needs to maintain good, balanced health. Even though your dog may be overweight, he still needs fat in his diet for the immune system. Because protein is the building block of the body, Canine zone contains real fish, chicken and eggs. Many diet dog foods on the market today are choked with fiber. Although fiber is indeed necessary in one's diet, unfortunately, a diet consisting mostly of fiber does not nourish the body properly. If your dog is eating a poorly balanced diet food, he will lose weight the hard way and unnecessary way--eternally hungry.

  • Obesity is defined as a condition in which body weight exceeds the optimal weight by 20% or more. This means, for example, a dog that weighs 36 pounds when it should weigh 30 pounds is considered obese.
  • Overweight pets are at a higher risk of developing some major health problems including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, liver disease and breathing problems.
  • Obesity is a significant health problem in many pets, and can contribute to major disease. Learn more about the causes, diagnosis, associated risks, treatment and prevention of obesity in pets.

Optimum Pet Nutrition to Prevent Obesity

Many of our pets' disease and suffering can be prevented or cured with optimum nutrition A growing number of veterinarians state that processed pet food is the main cause of illness and premature death in the modern dog and cat.

In December 1995, the British Journal of Small Animal Practice published a paper contending that processed pet food supresses the immune system and leads to liver, kidney, heart and other diseases. Dr. Kollath, of the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, headed a study done on animals.

When young animals were fed cooked and processed foods they initially appeared to be healthy. However, as the animals reached adulthood, they began to age more quickly than normal and also developed chronic degenerative disease symptoms. A control group of animals raised on raw foods aged less quickly and were free of degenerative disease. For a return to health, pets require a diet which strengthens the immune system and most closely resembles that which they would get in the wild. It's really easy to do.

Testimonial: how I feed my dog Shasta with raw food, lots of raw fat and flaxoil for optimum health
SAMPLES RAW FOOD DIET RECIPES List of breeders, kennels and trainers who use rawfood diet. (great ideas and recipes)

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What is the best diet for our carnivore pets?
Excerpt from the Airdale Terrier Jubilee Diet

According to Marion Patricia Connolly, Executive Director/Curator, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, "Providing species-appropriate nutrition for our companion animals through raw carnivore foods helps them flourish as nature intended, even in modern households. The books mentioned below provide a helpful how-to guide for pet owners and a valuable compendium of important nutritional information, including the seminal principles of Dr. Francis Pottenger's startling research on the benefits of raw versus cooked food for animals . As Dr. Pottenger demonstrated in the 1930's, the response from pets manifested in health, vitality, personality, intelligence and companionship, is a rich reward for the small amount of time and effort needed to provide them a natural diet that meets their complete nutritional needs. [A raw carnivore diet] offers pet owners and their treasured companion animals the opportunity to realize these benefits."

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: The Ultimate Pet Diet
Kymythy R. Schultze

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats This book will help pet-lovers enable their dogs and cats to enjoy an ideal quality of life though a species appropriate diet of raw, natural foods. "My Golden Retriever has suffered from allergies most of her life.She has been on the diet in this book for six months. After a detox period (explained in this book) which lasted 6-8 weeks, her overall health has improved tremendously. My dog is off all of her previous medication(antibiotics and prednisone), and her skin is clear, her coat is soft and thick, and her attitude is great. I would definetly recommend this book. I would also recommend seeking help from a homeopathic vet when switching to the diet." Pauli Reading from Charlotte, NC, United States - amazon.com book reviewer.

Kymythy Schultze has been a trailblazer in the field of animal nutrition for over a decade. Her professional experience with animals includes being a trainer, a breeder, a groomer, a veterinary assistant for multiple doctors, and a wildlife rehabilitator licensed with the federal government. She has studied canine nutrition at Cornell University. Kymythy is certified by the state of California as an Animal Health Instructor and teaches classes in Holistic Care for dogs and Cats at a local college in San Diego and worldwide. Her nutritional recommendations are endorsed by both holistic and allopathic veterinarians. She has fed her dogs and cats a species-appropriate diet of raw foods for many years with proven results.

Raw Food and Enzymes

"Fresh, raw foods contain the highest level of enzymes and these enzymes assist in digestion. Cooked foods and dry convenient diets have been denatured and are devoid of enzymes: life-promoting elements. While they may maintain life they do not promote optimum health or longevity!"
Dr. Alicia McWatters, Ph.D., C.N.C

Need help?"Among the many thousands of species of creatures living on this earth, only humans and some of their domesticated animals try to live withoutenzymes. And only these transgressors of nature’s law are penalized with defective health. It is not surprising that dogs (and cats) have many human diseases since they are given only canned or packaged, heat treated, enzyme free food " Dr. Edward Howell, author of Enzyme Nutrition

When dead (cooked) food is consumed it puts a burden on one of the most important organs in the body, the pancreas. If there are no enzymes to stimulate the digestive processes, the pancreas has to come into action and produce extra enzymes, burdening it with yet another job. It already has enough to do producing insulin and pancreatic enzymes. No wonder there are so many animals suffering from pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome and obesity, to name a few.

Enzymes for your animal's optimum health

"Dr. Francis M. Pottenger's nutritional studies have shown that a regular diet of cooked or canned foods causes the development of chronic degenerative diseases and premature mortality. Professor Jackson of the Dept. of Anatomy, University of Minnesota, has shown that rats fed for 135 days on an 80 percent cooked food diet resulted in an increase pancreatic weight of 20 to 30 percent. What this means is that the pancreas is forced to work harder with a cooked food diet. "Although the body can manufacture enzymes, the more you use your enzyme potential, the faster it is going to run out..." wrote Dr. Edward Howell, who pioneered research in the benefits of food enzymes.

Alicia McWatters, Ph.D., C.N.C - "Fresh, raw foods contain the highest level of enzymes and these enzymes assist in digestion. Cooked foods and dry convenient diets have been denatured and are devoid of enzymes: life-promoting elements. While they may maintain life they do not promote optimum health or longevity! Food enzymes are very sensitive and are easily destroyed by low moist heat (105-118 degrees F). Dry heat around 150 degrees F. Internal enzymes are damaged by factors, such as chlorine in drinking water, certain medicines, air pollution and chemical additives." Enzymes: The tiny and enormous difference between RAW and COOKED foods (for humans and animals)

Learn more about the healing power of green grasses

If you are transitioning your pet to a raw food diet, or if rawfood is not the way you choose to feed your pet, you may want to consider adding enzymes/probiotics to ease the transition

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Bee Pollen and Weight Control

Honey Bee Pollen Bee pollen works wonders in a weight-control or weight-stabilization regimen by correcting a possible chemical imbalance in body metabolism that may be involved in either abnormal weight gain or loss. The normalizing and stabilizing effects of this perfect food from the bees are phenomenal. In weight-loss programs, bee pollen stimulates the metabolic processes. It speeds caloric burn by lighting and stoking the metabolic fires. Honeybee pollen is coming to be recognized as Nature's true weight-loss food.

  • Advanced Daily Supplement with Phytonutrients,Glucosamine and MSM for Pets - MSM supplements are beneficial for helping the body form new joint and muscle tissue while lowering inflammatory responses that contribute to swelling and stiffness. A deficiency in one vitamin or mineral may leave your dog vulnerable to disease. This daily nutritional supplement provides your dog with the essential nutrients and the defense system support it needs to live a long and healthy life.
  • Skin and Coat Formula for Dogs and Cats - For dry, flaky or odorous skin, dull, brittle coats, excessive shedding and sores from frequent scratching and biting. Contains skin and coat support nutrients such as vitamins, A, D, E and fish oils (omega fatty acids) for a thick, glossy coat and healthy skin.
  • Agility - A holistic multi-action formula that contains glucosamine, MSM, sea mussels, special herbs and fish oils, which support the biochemical functions necessary for healthy bones and joints. An all natural and safe alternative.
Too Frequent Feedings Can Weaken the Balance of Life
William Pollak D.V.M.

Adult dogs and cats usually need to eat once a day. A small portion in the evening might help an animal settle down for the evening. Generally speaking the best time to feed is late morning, right before the sun is at its highest in the sky. Animals that are nervous or in need of weight can be fed food with some warm water to help digestion. Growing animals can be fed two or three times daily (especially if they are quite small).

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The amount I feed
Ed Frawley, owner of Leerrburg GSD Kennels

Before I talk about the amounts that I feed I will say that it is also not very critical for the dogs to be fed exactly the same amount and type of food every day. In nature wild dogs do not eat exactly 5 cups of food every day.

So with this in mind I will begin the process of determining the amount to feed each dog by looking at the condition of the respected dog. Overweight dogs obviously get less food than very thin dogs which need more food. In addition, the amount of exercise a dog gets will determine the amount of food it needs. For example, a dog that lives in an outside yard and runs the fence all day is obviously going to require more food than a 10 year old couch potato who seldom goes out for a walk. So it’s almost impossible to say that you feed a 6 month old dog this much food or an adult male GSD this amount of food.

As a rule, Americans overfeed their dogs and keep them too fat. A thin dog is a healthy dog. A thin dog has less skeletal problems (i.e. dysplasia) than an overweight dog.

The Poisons in Pet Food

By John Anderson

110 Million Sick Pets?—There are an estimated 55 million dogs and 63 million cats living in American households. Given the appalling condition of most commercial pet foods, it’s a wonder there are any healthy pets walking around anymore. "Nature never designed canine or feline kidneys to handle the volume of impurities that come their way," states veterinarian Al Plechner, DVM, author of Pet Allergies. "The result is fatigued, irritated, damaged and deteriorated kidneys after several years of life. Left untreated, the toxic buildup leads to vomiting, loss of appetite, uremic poisoning and death."

Petfood recalls Recent studies have shown processed foods to be a factor in increasing numbers of pets suffering from cancer, arthritis, obesity, dental disease and heart disease, comments Dr Wysong. Dull or unhealthy coats are a common problem with cats and dogs and poor diet is usually the cause, according to many veterinarians and breeders. The AAFCO nutrient profiles may play a role here, in the "balanced" nutritional levels they recommend may be inadequate for an individual animal.

It is estimated that up to two million companion animals suffer from food allergies. Dr Plechner believes that the commercial pet foods are a primary cause and can contribute to a host of health problems. "Among pets, there is a widespread intolerance of commercial foods," he states. "This rejection can show up either as violent sickness or chronic health problems It often triggers a hypersensitivity and overreaction to flea and insect bites, pollens, soaps, sprays and environmental contaminants."

Feline urological syndrome, a chronic condition similar to cystitis in humans (characterized by frequent urination with blood in the urine), is an increasingly common and potentially fatal illness in cats. It has been linked to elevated levels of ash and phosphorus, two substances commonly found in commercial pet foods. High iodine levels are seen as a contributing factor for thyroid tumors in cats. "New diseases are being discovered that are linked to ‘100% complete’ diets," states Dr Wysong. These include "polymyopathy(a muscle disorder) from low potassium levels, dilated cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disorder) from low taurine levels, arthritic and skin diseases from acid/base and zinc malnutrition and chronic eczema from essential fatty acid malnutrition," he reports. Given the high possibility that your favorite pet foods may be slowly poisoning your cat or dog, it’s crucial that you find brands you can trust to be animal friendly.

Dogs and cats have the genetic potential to live into their 20s but most die younger. Why? Listen to Dr. Jane Bicks holistic veterinarian 12 minute audio presentation to learn more about how you can improve the health, well-being and longevity of your cherished pet.

The pet nutrition industry is a multi-billion dollar industry full of hype and false claims. Consumers are being duped into believing that they are feeding their pets healthy foods, when in actuality they are feeding nothing more than Dangerous Toxic Contaminated inferior food, cheap grains (including corn and soy), fillers, by-products, pesticides, preservatives and toxins. Never before has the pet-food industry been rocked by widespread contamination and rampant recalls. In all, more than 5,600 products by dozens of pet food makers have been recalled, from chain supermarket brands to prescription-only foods. This is a staggering number of products, and is unprecedented in this business. Thousands of deaths are due to the contamination, and many thousands more have suffered illnesses. We shudder to think of the long-term impacts of the compromised liver and kidney function and how this will affect thousands of companion animals in America. Leading experts believe that the severe reactions experienced by some cats and dogs were the result of an interaction of chemicals, between the melamine and a list of other culprits, including cyuranic acid. Read the latest about the pet food recall. Thousands of Cats and dogs suffered kidney failure, and many died after eating the affected pet food. Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Pet Food Companies

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Gluten Intolerance and Your Pet
John B. Symes, DVM.

For forty-something years, I suffered like most other celiacs of a myriad of symptoms, including allergies, heart burn and intestinal problems, depression/chronic fatigue, memory and balance difficulties, Hip and joint pain, and even fibromyalgia. I was taking at least four drugs twice daily; caffeine addicted, and was quite frankly not having any fun anymore. I am now two and a half years gluten AND casein-free, off all drugs, symptom-free, and feeling better than I did when I was twelve. This miraculous recovery got my attention as a patient and as a doctor. How could this be? How could I be suffering from what millions of people and pets were experiencing but be well in such a short period of time? How could all of these conditions be linked together?

Well, "Fido" is about to teach you something. The fact is that the celiac is a "who's who" of what is wrong with human beings but the conditions that we suffer from are not limited to those who walk upright. When I read the list of conditions that we as gluten intolerants experience, my first thought was that "This is me. This describes me to a T." My second thought was "...but this describes everything that is wrong with everyone, including their dogs and cats." And it does. Suddenly, medicine through the eyes of celiac disease (and other similar food intolerances) made sense. I tell everyone that it was like someone had finally put the right program into a stalled computer and it began operating at lightning speed. All of the idiopathic conditions that are so poorly understood in medicine became "open season" for this medical headhunter.

And, the answers did come one after another. I launched into two years of intensive research while applying the newly unveiled principles to my patients as well as myself. Miracles started happening around me. Allergies abated, intestinal problems cleared up, older pets became less painful and more active, and yes, even their epilepsy stopped. "Wait a second! Epileptic seizures stopped?", you may be asking. Yes, 100% of my epileptics have stopped having seizures, just like many celiac children that were placed on gluten-free diets have responded.

Need help?....So, the ultimate question is whether pets suffer from celiac disease? My answer is that it doesn't really matter. In the pet, every bite of the average commercial food has "glue" in it, whether it is of wheat, barley, soy, corn, or rice origin. Yes, there are better glues" than others and they are in line with what we see as the principle allergens in the pet, just as one would expect. Wheat and soy are the worst (now that dairy has been eliminated from pet foods) while oats and rice are the best...the least sticky. Corn is in the middle. This is exactly what we see as the main sources of food allergies in the pet, a problem of huge importance in dogs and cats. Now people can understand why lamb and rice foods have become so popular. Rice is the least of the adhesives and thereby less allergenic and lamb is (or at least used to be) an unusual protein source compared to beef and others, which have become the main secondary allergens in the pet.

....Suddenly, conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow and shoulder problems, intervertebral disc syndrome, cruciate ligament ruptures, and even heart valve failure all have better explanations. All of these problems are caused by failing cartilage and connective tissue, both of which are structured similarly and made up of calcium and collagen. Collagen is the building block of most of your skeletal support structures. The principle component of collagen is vitamin C. Therefore, when it is understood that calcium and vitamin C are absorbed by the duodenum, then it is easily seen that inadequate amounts of these in the diet or failure of their absorption will compromise the integrity of these structures...all of them.

Imagine that a German shepherd puppy begins eating a wheat, barley, corn, or soy-based diet from the moment it is weaned. If inadequate levels of calcium and vitamin C are absorbed, what are the chances that its hips, elbows, spine, and other cartilaginous structures are going to form properly? I would say "Not good". Most people familiar with dogs know that this breed has a reputation for horrible hip dysplasia. But, they also have serious allergies and other immune-related disorders. This, of course, is no coincidence. Once it is understood that the allergies form in the area of the gut that is being damaged or coated by the "glue", it is easy to see why the trouble breeds like the German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, Shih Tzu, and others have their "genetic" tendencies such as allergic skin and ear problems, orthopedic abnormalities, intervertebral disc ruptures, and cancers.

Fasting for Pet Health

William Winter DVM on fasting: "To this day I do not believe that I have ever discovered a healing technique quite as powerful. I have recommended fasting for 10,000 to 20,000 animals and have seen true miracles over these years of practice. Juliette de Bairacli Levy says that the two most important aspects of natural animal rearing are: fasting and raw diet."

"It is a good idea to fast a dog that is over a year old once a week. I do not do this with puppies, lactating bitches or pregnant bitches. Fasting dogs helps them clean out their system. It’s actually a very healthy thing to get in the habit of doing. Fasting is a normal occurrence for carnivores. Fasting enables the energy used to digest food to be used for other things in the body. It’s very important to remember to make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water on fast day."

Miracle results of fasting Occasional fasting by cats and dogs is a normal, natural phenomenon, especially when natural raw, fresh foods are fed. As long as your pet appears strong with good energy and clear responsiveness, self imposed fasting oftentimes ends by itself with a renewed gusto for life. The system requires periodic rest and purification and so it is taken naturally. Occasional fasting is natural in the cat and dog; it is the behavior of rest and purification. Cleaning the bowl of all the commercial food every day, day in and day out is unnatural and is the harbinger of most chronic disease seen in our pet population. When nutritional depletions have been satiated on the natural raw food diet , overeating does not take place. Overeating is a behavior encouraged by feeding commercial food, overeating does not occur in the natural setting. Overeating deprives the system of rest and purification, for in a nutritionally deficient state the body continues to crave; making the mind confused. The mind then can only satiate itself through the dullness of further overeating. This is not living; it is survival mode.

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Small Mammal Health and Nutrition

by Anna Maria Gardner MA Vet.MB MRCVS Holistic Veterinarian, Certified in Veterinary Homeopathy

Many rabbit owners and lovers are not aware that natural care and holistic health treatments are available for their pet, and that it can be extremely effective in a variety of conditions. Rabbits have a rapid metabolism and respond well to treatment modalities such as acupuncture, homeopathy and flower remedies. The other benefit of using such therapies is that there are very few, if any side effects, unlike a lot of drugs such as antibiotics, which rabbits tend to be very sensitive to. Of course we can still use those conventional treatments if we need to, but they are often best reserved for serious and life-threatening situations. Even in such cases holistic treatments such as vitamins and homeopathic remedies can be used as a follow up therapy or as an adjunct to the conventional treatments, to speed up healing and help with such problems as shock and trauma. There are a number of homeopathic remedies and flower essences that are useful to keep at home to help in emergencies immediately before visiting the vet, or even to decrease fear and anxiety for regular veterinary visits. These can be used to calm your pet and give symptomatic relief and are invaluable aids to caring for your rabbit. Acupuncture can be used to treat an extensive list of ailments, but is particularly useful in orthopedic conditions. Homepathy also treats a lot of problems from infectious diseases to broken bones - after they are stabilized with either splints or surgery. The main common denominator of holistic care is that it treats the whole animal, it does not just remove symptoms which tend to come back in the same or different form, sometime in the future.

Although a lot of the supplements which are used are readily available in the health food store it is still best to consult a licensed veterinarian about treating your pet, as it is still of paramount importance to have a correct diagnosis, and also have the correct dosage for the individual animal, this applies especially to herbs and certain vitamins. There are a growing number of veterinarians trained and certified in holistic treatments, most commonly acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic. If you are interested in keeping your rabbit as healthy as possible and free from disease it is well worth thinking about these different types of care. In addition many people do not realize that complementary medicine can even offer hope when conventional treatment has failed or is unable to offer any chance of a cure. Of course this depends on the individual animal and the disease or condition that is present, but at best a cure may be achieved or if not at least some form of relief or palliation may be available in addition or instead of the conventional drugs or surgery. Some telephone numbers are given at the end of the article to help you locate a holistic veterinarian in your area who you could talk to and see if they can help your rabbits, and some of them also do telephone consultations if there is no-one in your area to consult with directly.

Nutrition for Guinea pigs, Hamsters, and Rabbits

by Christina Chambreau D.V.M

Nutrition for PetsTiny herbivores (guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, etc) should have fresh raw vegetables and raw grains appropriate to them rather than pellets. The best is to let them graze for themselves when possible. They can be fed mostly fresh cut grass and crimped grains, with vitamin C added. (See Pottinger's book for a GP diet study.) Avoid chemicals and processing just like you do for yourself. Commercial FERRET breeders have found that fresh home-prepared food is the best . Ferret Natural Health Care and raw food diet

Do not feed your guinea pig rhubarb, beans, or potatoes with green spots. These are all poisonous to your guinea pig!

Rabbits, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Rats, and other rodents naturally chew on wild greens, but as pets are commonly fed pelleted alfalfa. Pet Grass supplements this diet of processed foods with fresh, organically grown leafy greens. You'll find they love Pet Grass and devour it pretty quickly. We recommend chopping Pet Grass in your pets' food, or clipping and hand feeding as a special treat to provide the fresh, raw greens they need for good health. We recommend that you feed small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rodents, reptiles, and turtles, small amounts of Pet Grass per serving. Do not let your small animals eat an entire container of Pet Grass at one time. Be sure to monitor their feeding and give small clippings per serving.

Helen Sharp, DVM - "Recently I used a natural immune enhancing supplement on a litter of guinea pigs that I delivered via c-section. The mom didn't make it but the babies did. Since they couldn't have their mom's colostrum I opened the immune foundation supplement capsules and mixed it with the milk supplement that they were being bottle fed. I did this for every bottle feeding for their first week of life. Happily they are doing very well. They are very robust and strong. I believe that this natural immune enhancing supplement helped support their immune systems in a precarious time."

"Other than trauma, almost 90 percent of the emergencies that befall rodents are related to nutrition. Malnutrition, and contaminated, polluted feed and water with pesticides, and heavy metals.

  • Why NEVER give your pet drinking water from the tap. more info
  • Environmental Illness- they produce chronic degenerative diseases of all organs of the body as well as tumors and cancer. I have seen developing hindlimb paralysis in animals related to various pesticides. Guinea pigs, especially, are chemically sensitive. I once had a guinea pig that was poisoned by breathing rug cleaner fumes in the room 24 hours after the rugs had been cleaned."- Gloria
  • Rat Planet The online news and reviews site for rats and their terrestrial friends

Question: My rabbit had uterine cancer removed 2 years ago. Was ok for 2 years. And recently had another tumor removed which had broken through the skin. The vet told me he had the tumor tested, and that the cancer had reached the outer edges. And so has probably begun to form in other areas, of the rabbits body. So this seems like the best time. To try this product. But- rabbits are really delicate digestive systems. What is your Opinion on this?

For more information about large and small animals Contact Shirley

Dr. Falconer DVM: You are very right about this species having it's digestive issues. We learned that antibiotics can really harm these creatures. The beauty of this natural immune enhancing supplement products is that they do not upset balance anywhere in the body, but greatly aid in the restoration of same, especially in the immune system.

"Gruba" the rabbit - Natural healing of malignant adenoma
By Alicja (from Poland)

Gruba developed addenocarcinoma (malignant adenoma). She had 2 surgeries, but every time after each surgery tumour was growing back exceeding it's previous size. About 2 months ago, after these 2 surgeries and a very short chemotherapy epizode that was abandoned, tumour was about 8 cm in diameter and it protruded ca 2 cm above the skin. My husband convinced my friends that some natural therapies might help. The truth is that animals usually react much better for natural therapies then people do. We started the following treatment (rabbit has quite different metabolism then dog has and thus we couldn't use dr Budwig's mixture of flaxseed oil and lowfat cottage cheese):-changes in the diet: lots of green leaves, vegetables from health food stores, no raisins that she used to eat and no "pet junk" food

Gruba started eat flaxseed first, then after 4 days flaxseed oil was applied. Rabbit used to lick it up each time after application. After about 10 days natural immune enhancing substances was added. After a week a healing crizis started: rabbit got diarrhoea, lost energy, became depressed. We calmed our friends saying it is a normal natural process an organism must experience to overcome the disease.

And we were right: after about 2 days, Gruba got back strength again. Tumour started to suppurate, secreted brownish, clod-like excretion. Skin around the tumour lost hair. After 2 weeks, vet observed disappearing of skin diffused tumour but the tumour's core was visible. After another 2-3 weeks another vet examination revealed that the tumours core is not visible but can be detectable, yet with difficulty because it was ca 1,5 cm in diameter and hidden deep in the abdomen.

And we were right: after about 2 days, Gruba got back strenght again. Tumour started to suppurate, secreted brownish, clod-like excretion. Skin around the tumour lost hair. After 2 weeks, vet observed disappearing of skin diffused tumour but the tumour's core was visible. After another 2-3 weeks another vet examination revealed that the tumours core is not visible but can be detectable, yet with difficulty because it was ca 1,5 cm in diameter and hidden deep in the abdomen.  

The Pet Skunk

Skunks are not domesticated animals and cannot be handled, treated or disciplined as such. Learn proper skunk handling!

Diet is critical. The number one long-term problem with this species is obesity often leading to fatty liver disease and a shortened life span. Lack of exercise, improper diets and overeating are to blame. Some "Skunkie diets" and some raw diets have proven to be inadequate causing anemias, deformities (like rickets in people) electrolyte imbalances and poor hair coats. A proven and inexpensive diet is Mazuri omnivore Zoo feed A, which is a Purina zoo line. Add vegetables, small amounts of fruit, cottage cheese, gut loaded crickets and king meal worms and you're in business. This diet is proven to satisfy the natural instincts of these omnivore/insectivores.

Direct sunlight via short play or walks is necessary a few times a week or use a UVB bulb 3 to 6 hours daily. This is important to metabolize calcium through natural vitamin D even though skunks are primarily nocturnal.

SkunkHaven is our Domestic Skunk Care and Rescue site They are dedicated to collecting and distributing information on proper dietary health, medical treatments, and traditional and non-traditional recuperative processes.

Nutrition in Small Mammals
Susan A. Brown, DVM

A variety of small mammals such as hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, rats, rabbits, chinchillas and ferrets are commonly kept as household pets for adults and children alike. These pets have been bred in captivity for years and are ideal for a variety of pet owners because of their small space requirements, quiet nature, ease of handling and relatively simple husbandry requirements. Diet is an important part of the care of these pets and each species should have its own specific nutritional needs met. A rabbit is not a rodent is not a ferret, and so on.

Improving Your Animal's Immune System and Overall Health with Nutritional Support

Charles W. Brown, DVM - A groundswell of nutrition conscious veterinarians are beginning to recommend to their clients that they supplement their animals diet with a daily dose of flaxseed oil and other important nutrients. When the diets of animals were fortified with flax, within three weeks their coats developed a beautiful sheen, and dandruff was greatly diminished. There are amazing testimonials about animals recovering from cancer, diabetes and other severe degenerative illnesses with a nutritional product. "My colleagues and I have found this product to be very effective in modulating the immune system.

How do I Determine if my Dog is Overweight?

Veterinarians often use a 9 point scoring system to evaluate the body condition of pets. A point value of 1 means the dog or cat is extremely thin to the point of emaciation. A score of 9 means the pet is grossly overweight. And like Goldilocks and the three bears, a score of 5 is 'just right'. To determine body score, there are several specific areas of the dog or cat we look at. Remember these are guidelines. A greyhound with a score of 5 is still going to be thinner than a bulldog with the same score.

Need help? To perform the rating, we first feel the pet's ribs. We should be able to quite easily feel the ribs. There should be a slight amount of fat over them, but each rib should be distinct. If you can see the ribs, the pet is too thin. If you can't feel them at all, the pet is very overweight.

Second, check the area near the base of the tail. There should be a slight fat covering over this area and it should feel smooth. If the bones protrude, the pet is too thin; if you can't feel any bones at all, the pet is very overweight.

Third, feel other bony prominences on the pet's body such as the spine, shoulder and hips. Again, you should be able to feel a small amount of fat over these areas. If these bones are easily felt or visible, the dog or cat is too thin. If you can't feel the bones beneath the layer of fat, the animal is obviously overweight.

Fourth, look at your pet from above. The animal should have a definite waist behind the ribs. If the waist is extreme, or again, bony prominences are visible, the animal is too thin. If there is no waist, or worse yet, the area between the ribs and hips is wider than the hips or ribs, the cat or dog is grossly overweight.

Fifth, look at the pet from the side. Dogs and cats should have an abdominal tuck, i.e., the area behind the ribs should be smaller in diameter than the chest. This can vary a lot between breeds. Irish setters and Greyhounds, for instance, appear to have a much more distinct abdominal tuck since they are so deep-chested. An animal who is too thin will have a very severe abdominal tuck. Overweight animals will have no abdominal tuck.



Shirley's Wellness Cafe

Animal Health and Wellness