Archive for the ‘Pet nutrition’ Category


Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Dog Arthritis and Stiffness

Arthritis in dogs can be difficult to diagnose. The signs are lameness, stiffness and difficulty getting up.

Typically this will be most severe after resting, especially first thing in the morning or following a long walk. Cold or damp days are often worst.

You may also notice your pet to be less willing to charge around on a walk, looking to come home or sit down sooner than usual.

Causes of arthritis in dogs

The dogs diet can have an amazing influence on the extent of suffering and stiffness.

In simple terms poor quality ingredients in food becomes waste material which flows along the muscle.

If you can imagine the muscle as being made of hundreds of tiny fibers along which travel these waste products, acting like the white of an egg, gluing together all the fibers of the muscle.

Thus when you dog sits or lies down the glue goes to work. On rising, the stiffness and pain is simply the fibres of the muscle separating. This is why the problem seems to decrease during movement.

This is a vicious circle though, because the more exercise our dog gets, the more glue like substances are produced.

Now you need to think about how large muscles narrow down when they come to a joint. It is bit like the narrowing of a river and
all this material is trying to get through. A dam begins to form and results in thickening of the fiber around the joint.

Thus to minimise the waste products traveling along the fibers of the muscle we need to pay careful attention to what we are putting in the dogs mouth on a daily basis.

Too much protein, fat, salt and sugar along with highly processed foods or ingredients which are limited in nutritional value is not good.

Pet food manufacturers are very clever at hiding what is really in their products.

Beat pulp, prairie meal, potato protein extract, chemical preservatives, colours and flavourings all contribute to arthritis.

Mineral imbalances have also been quoted as being extremely influential with calcium status being recognized as a good indicator of mineralization in general.

Calcium inhibitors such as excess meat or protein, refined sugar and excess salt should be avoided, as should foods containing oxalic acid – rhubarb, cranberry, plum and beet greens.

Nightshade vegetables should also be avoided especially tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes.

Chemicals in the form of colours, flavours and preservatives are also considered to toxic and the resultant accumulation at the muscle joints contributes to the problem.

Another explanation is foods which are too acid for the body or in terms of complete foods, the imbalance between acidic and alkaline forming foods is contributing.

Acid forming foods are protein, and brown rice for example.

Alkaline forming foods are green vegetables and millet - the list is much more extensive than this but it gives a general indication.

As pointed out above, it can be difficult to determine the exact problem because of the relationship between muscles and joints.

It is now recognized that high protein and fat diets for puppies forces growth of the muscle mass beyond the capabilities of the bone structure leading to problems like hip dysphasia. In adult dogs, the accumulation of toxic wastes at the joints leads to stiffness and eventually calcification restricting movement further.

Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests that problems with the Gall Bladder will result in weakened limbs and stiffness. This in itself indicates that the digestive system, diet and arthritis/rheumatism are all interrelated.

Herbs for arthritis in dogs.

Herbs which are of value are those which help to rid the body of wastes sometimes known as detox. Others help with the inflammation other help with ease of movement - but the herbs are limited in value unless the dogs diet is addressed.

There are many individual herbs available but our experience is about using herbal combinations. Two or more herbs working together seem to help more. Read this article - the story behind herbal formulations.

Fish Oil as anti-inflammatory

Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil are an excellent for reducing inflamation but need to be given daily. This product may prove useful >>>

Choosing the right pet food - what to feed your dog or cat.

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Eating food  is more than  just ‘fuel’. It is a source (or not) of many vital compounds that can represent the difference between top health and disease or symptoms. Food is the major factor in our pets total well-being and while investing in a good quality cat or dog food  may seem costly,  compared to many of the budget pet foods and generic brands available, a wholesome diet can help to reduce or eliminate many of the unnecessary vet bills that are incurred when nutrition is poor.

Consider the needs of the individual dog or cat

Age, activity level, breed and health history of your pet, as well as food intolerances or allergies, are all very important factors to consider when selecting a diet for your pup or kitten.

There are many  gimmicky diets for our dogs and cats being introduced to the market each year, designed for specific dog breeds, sizes, life stages and so on – but in actual fact, the nutritional needs of a dog or cat should be based on his or her particular requirements, rather than a ‘category’ that he or she falls into.

Beware generic dog foods and cat foods

We are seeing more and more ‘generic’ pet foods coming on to the market each year. In fact there is one pet food manufacturer in the midlands who has a telephone message while your waiting,  advocating that you can arrive in the morning and leave with your brand in the evening. You don’t need to have knowledge of food, nutrition, diet or anything else for that matter. The company offers you a product it is turning out hundreds of tonnes a year  and only stopping to put it in different customers  brand bags. The customer only needs to add their own ‘bells and whistles’ as the pet food manufacturer claims.

What are the downsides of a poor quality pet food?

It has been suggested that there is a direct correlation between chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney failure, diabetes and other degenerative disease and  poor quality food in humans. In fact the NHS is overrun now with degenerative disease and the advent of the industrial revolution and food processing has been blamed in many quarters . The same for our dog foods and cat foods. Of course other factors like vaccines and genetics also predispose pets to disease, but the incidence of these disorders has increased dramatically in the western world since the introduction of commercial, highly processed pet food in 1950’s.

The long term effects of feeding a highly processed diet can also lead to a compromised immune system and in turn hypersensitivity to the environment. Dogs who enjoy a high quality, fresh and varied diet are often noted to be far less bothered by seasonal allergies and fleas, than their junk-food fed counterparts.

Where does nutrition fit into Holistic Health Care?

Nutrition simply means providing the nutrients to sustain life. Health is something completely different. Diet is  the fundamental cornerstone to total health. But simply feeding a natural, raw or home made diet, or adding supplements to your pooch’s bowl does not constitute ‘holistic health care’ in the true sense of the term. Other decisions like vaccinations, veterinary choices, environment & lifestyle are also important to consider when giving your dog or cat  the best chance at good  health.

Remember your vet only receives training in diet and nutrition from the pet food companies who’s food they are selling. They have no specialised knowledge as a rule. Always ask your vet how much training they had in nutrition and who provided it!