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Canine and Feline Health, Wellness

Health 101 – for Canines and Felines

Diet Can and Does Affect Your Dog’s and Cat’s Mental Health

Cats, dogs and humans have more serotonin in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) than in the brain. A diet that disrupts that natural balance of the GI tract adversely affects brain function and moods. A diet which exposes your dog or cat to heavy metals and toxins creates toxic loading on your pet’s entire system including the brain. Canine dementia (Canine Alzheimer’s) is caused by the same triggers that cause human Alzheimer’s. Heavy metals present in processed food,  chemical toxic overload etc. Just because a food is advertised as natural, holistic, organic does not mean that the food conforms to any of those terms. Diet can cause and/or contribute to behavior problems. For example if one or more of the ingredients in an Organic pet food are sourced from China – organic becomes meaningless, more on that further below.

A truly good diet, when approached holistically is:

  • Your dog’s and cat’s best defense against  infections, other illness, insects and parasites, chronic disease, and injury
  • Of prime importance in treating and remedying health issues
  • Of prime importance for mental and physical health and longevity
  • An amazing tool to mitigate and/or eliminate dependency on conventional drugs
  • A invaluable way to save you heart ache and copious amounts of money thrown away on avoidable health issues unnecessary, inappropriate and/or ineffective treatments prescribed by some veterinarians

Life Expectancy for Canines and Felines is Decreasing – not Increasing

Prior to the 1950’s the expected lifespan for a dog was twice what it is today. Golden retriever’s are now known as the ‘Cancer Dog’ – with life expectancy hovering around the 9 to 10 year mark. If this was pre-1950 you could expect your Golden to live 17 to 18 years.

Shocking – yes. Preventable – yes… But only if you put in place a holistic plan for your dog’s and cat’s health and well being. Why is Canine and Feline Health on the Decline?

Dogs and cats are over-exposed to antibiotics, over medicated, over vaccinated, over-prescribed chemical-based insect and parasite preventatives and are on diets that do not support short or long term mental and physical health. I avoid these health deteriorating pit-falls with my own dogs and assist my client’s to do the same.

Chronic disease in our canine and feline companions is on a rapid upward trajectory –  just as it is in our human population. Inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, cancer, colitis, diabetes, oral health issues such as gingivitis – more than 160 inflammatory diseases are on the rise. Acid reflux, canine Alzheimer’s (also known as canine dementia), thyroid and gastrointestinal conditions, urinary tract issues (infections, crystals, stones) – the panacea of illness affecting our animal companions is on a sharp upward tract. While conventional drugs can be used to treat a symptom, such drugs do not form the basis for a long-term remedy. Conventional drugs can cause mild to extreme adverse reactions – and in the short and long term they can also trigger other serious health conditions.

Cancer is now the number one ‘natural’ cause of death in dogs over three years-of-age.

While cancer can be said to be a ‘naturally’ occurring condition, a condition for which canines and humans have been subject to for many thousands of years – the broad array of cancer types and the number of dogs acquiring cancer can no longer be categorized as ‘natural’.

Cancer’s expanded repertoire is a man-made situation.

Why is the incidence of cancer so high?

In the majority of the primary cause is processed commercial pet food and treats. Other avoidable contributing factors are dog / cat health care products such as dental chews and toothpaste, shampoo, chemical-based insect and parasite preventatives, over vaccination, overly invasive spay methods and avoidable environmental toxins. Chronic Infections

In 2012 and 2013 ear infections were the #1 reason for a trip to the veterinarian in the category of non-life threatening conditions. Why is the incidence of ear infections so high? The largest single trigger is commercial processed dog ‘food’. Other significant contributing factors are commercial dental care products, shampoo, off-the-shelf and prescription spot-on and ingested insect parasite preventatives, other conventional drugs, over vaccination, household cleaning products, lawn and garden chemicals, etc.

The allopathic veterinarian’s standard response to an ear infection is prescription of conventional antibiotics. The allopath seeks to treat the symptom (in this case the ear infection) but does not take a strategic and informed approach to remedying the root cause of the symptom. The end-result – chronic ear infections and now an increasing incidence of dogs and cats with antibiotic resistance, a life threatening condition.

The antibiotic suppress the immune system leaving the dog or cat susceptible to further infection. The allopathic veterinarian will often prescribe additional conventional drugs – steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as prednisone which further destabilize the health of the dog or cat. Meanwhile the root cause of the chronic condition is not addressed or may be incorrectly addressed via prescription dog or cat food (some of the worst food you can give your dog or cat).

In addition to these unfortunate choices of intervention, the allopathic veterinarian may prescribe a conventional topical treatment (i.e. shampoo, ear drops, skin ointment). These conventional topical treatments typically contain toxins, carcinogens and known allergens.

To make matters worse not all holistic veterinarians are actually holistic in their approach.

So if you have been struggling to assist your dog or cat with chronic ear infections, eye infections, paw and skin infections, you now have more insight as to why your veterinarian’s approach failed. I choose a truly holistic approach becasue it is a strategic approach designed to prevent and resolve issues – not mask and worsen issues.  A true holistic approach maintains health naturally – from the inside out, addressing overall well-being. Dog and Cat ‘Food’ The pet food industry leverages hot words like ‘holistic’, ‘natural’, ‘balanced nutrition’, ‘species appropriate’, biologically appropriate’. Did you know that these terms are not regulated?

The majority of ‘food’ products available in pet stores and veterinarian offices are processed (as opposed to whole, natural, unaltered) foods. These processed foods are stripped of their original nutritive value from over-processing after which synthetic additives are added to compensate. These products contain both listed ingredients and hidden ingredients. The listed ingredients in many products pose major health issues for you dog or cat, as do the hidden ingredients.

1. If you don’t know: 1. How to analyze / understand the listed ingredients; 2. How to look for analyze / understand the hidden ingredients; 3. The ins-and-outs of canine and feline dietary requirements; 2. You are at the mercy of the pet-food and veterinary industry.

Unfortunately approval of food ingredients (listed and unlisted) and food composition by organizations such as AAFCO, Health Canada and the FDA are no assurance of quality nor of safety.

Even the ASPCA gets it wrong when it comes to listing foods that are good and bad for your dog. Coconut, dairy (specifically cheese, yogurt), garlic, lemon, herbal tea are just a few of the valuable nutraceuticals and herbs that the ASPCA writes-off as ‘dangerous’ for dogs. When used as they should be these nutraceuticals an herbs are very beneficial for the majority of dogs. Yet truly dangerous substances for dogs and cats such as corn are not listed by the ASPCA as dangerous. This is just shameful.

The pet industry is without a doubt a difficult place to navigate.

Unbiased information, not tainted by corporate sponsorship, lobbyists, greed and misinformation is hard to find.

Dogs and cats deserve better of mankind.

Providing my clients with unbiased information is something that I feel very strongly about.

For information regarding the Holistic Diet, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Services I offer you can go here.

About Karen

Dogs are my life, my work, my passion… I am a Dog Whisperer, Dog Behaviorist and Holistic Canine Wellness Adviser with a wealth of real-time, real-life experience living and working with dogs. For two and a half decades I have worked with and shared my life with dogs. My own dog pack is comprised of eleven dogs, various breeds and ages. I provide a full range of services including Obedience Training for puppies and dogs; canine Behavior Modification; canine Psychological Rehabilitation, specializing in assisting dogs that are experiencing extreme states of insecurity, anxiety and aggressive-reactive behavior; Diet, Nutrition and Wellness Advice and Plans for canines and felines…natural wisdom for you and your companion animal.

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8 comments

  1. Hi Karen,

    We have a very vibrant Golden who we feed raw ground turkey each morning and Acana kibble in the evening. We give him raw bones, as well, but he isn’t very keen on them. I have tried many of the raw food diets that we can get at our very good pet food shop, but he doesn’t like them. Which is why we added the Acana, since I cannot get him to eat any raw meat besides the ground turkey, or beef. Do you think he still needs the added omegas if he is consuming raw meat each day?
    I will be contacting you for a consultation on behavior. He is the most awesome, smart, well behaved canine friend except for his constant licking!

  2. Karen,
    I adopted a 5 month old precious kitty, Grant, on Dec 5th, 2014. He has since started eating foreign objects (Pica?). Last February he had emergency surgery as he became so impacted and could not eat anything else. This was emotionally devastating to me as you can imagine. Unfortunately, Grant does not understand that his eating behavior was the cause of his surgery and continues to eat whatever he finds ~ kitchen mats, phone chords, plastic, rubber bands, pillow cases, t-shirts…..anything with the exception of upholstery (so far :-( ) I have tried NAET, Reiki, essential oils, energetic drops with no relief. Have you ever worked and successfully treated an animal with this issue? Help me with my sweet, baby boy please.

  3. my maltipoo (Buttons) has been on pepsid for 6 years now,prescribe by the vet because of refluxs problems.She exasperates really easy,which causes pneumonia.Also Im very scared of the long term effects of the anti acid.

    • Indeed conventional anti-acids are health deteriorating. I do custom designed holistic diet nutrition wellness plans for dogs with acid-reflux. If you are interested email me. K

  4. I have a sheltie that has swollen lymph nodes and the vet prescribed Prednisone which I still am struggling to give her. I was told heartgard plus was ok for her which I was always told not to give her, but the vet said they had changed the formula but evidently they did not. Now my sheltie Luca has swollen lymph nodes that have gone down a little bit. I was giving my sheltie cranberries for urinary tract infection and I haven’t had any problems with her getting uti’s any more. I stopped giving her the cranberries and the swollen lymph nodes happen. My vet said it might be lymphoma and I don’t want the test done because it is intrusive into her lymph nodes. I don’t vaccinate her except for rabbies shot every 3 years. I have taken off her heartgard and will never use that again. My question is do you have any idea to get her back to normal again. Food, supplements or any thing? Luca has a healthy appetite and runs around like normal. I would like your advice. Thank you . Larkin

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