Dog and Cat Healthcare

Dr. Liza hopes you find the following information about Dog and Cat Healthcare useful. Please note: the information provided by drliza.co.nz is intended to educate and offer alternatives to help improve and manage your animal’s long term health. Any use of the guidelines contained herein is entirely at the user’s own discretion and risk. While every effort has been made to ensure this information is as accurate as possible, drliza.co.nz and its staff assume no responsibility for the improper application of this information. Please consult directly with your own veterinarian before making changes to your animal’s diet or nutrition.

If you would like to book a telephone consult with either Dr. Liza or a vet from Holistic Vets please click here.

Dental Health and Your Pet
Getting Pets to Eat New Foods a Few Handy Hints
How to Give Your Cat a Tablet
Itchy Skin Conditions
Raw Food Diet for Dogs and Cats
To Desex or Not to Desex
Weight Management for Your Pet
Ear Problems
Nutrition & Behaviour
Pet Food Ingredients that May Be Detrimental

Dental Health and Your Pet

One of the major foundations of health is a healthy oral cavity. This is the place where nourishing the body begins as food is taken in and begins to be broken down and digested making valuable nutrients available.

In our modern world, dental disease is one of the biggest dis-eases affecting our furry friends. Sore teeth and gums are not only uncomfortable but set up a cascade of events that lead to further deterioration of our pets’ health.

With improper dental hygiene, excessive amounts of unhealthy types of bacteria accumulate in the mouth, attaching to tooth surfaces which lead to the formation of dental calculus or tartar. These provide a greater surface area for more bacteria to accumulate in ever deepening pockets where toxins are produced and more bacteria multiply leading to gum inflammation or gingivitis and is usually the origin of putrid smelling breath.

Bacteria then have the potential to enter the bloodstream and to lodge in major organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver leading to organ failure or systemic infections. In its attempt to prevent this from happening, the body launches its next line of immune defence.

The constant battle between the body’s immune system and these invading bacteria drains the body of important resources and the inflammatory cycle that is set up causes the production of free radicals which act like hot cinders flying off a home fire into the surrounding carpet do and cause cellular damage. Together with the local tissue destruction, this cumulative damage, over time can contribute to systemic degenerative diseases such as cancer and auto-immune disease.

There are many commercial foods, chew toys and even pet toothpastes and toothbrushes advertising their essential contribution to your pet’s health. But despite this, dental disease still proliferates and often painful and diseased teeth need to be extracted and vets routinely do tooth scaling and polishing under anaesthetic to help maintain a healthy oral cavity.

Common signs of dental disease include bad breath, red gums, the avoidance of harder foods, repetitive lip licking, drooling and sometimes weight loss, increased drinking and lethargy.

Dogs and cats have sharp triangular teeth and jaws designed for cutting, dicing and crushing, not for chewing as herbivores such as horses and ruminants that have large flat teeth with jaws that grind from side to side do.

When our pets are fed a healthy well balanced diet containing fresh raw meat and raw bones from a young age, as Mother Nature intended, dental disease is rare and generally only occurs in the form of broken teeth due to trauma.

With a well balanced diet the body will have a normal pH and the right nutrients available to ensure that minerals in saliva are available to maintain and repair teeth and that the mouth environment is inhospitable for the proliferation of pathological (disease causing) bacteria.

Good dental care, which includes care of your whole animal will add many quality years to your pet’s life and is an investment which is well worthwhile. It’s never too late to start!

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Getting Pets to Eat New Foods a Few Handy Hints

As with humans, our pets can become addicted to food that is unhealthy for them. In fact, research has indicated that for humans during early childhood the brain resets the needs of the body according to what foods are consumed during the formative years. This may lead to cravings of these foods later on in life which can be detrimental to health if the food is not nutritious.

I believe that this is true to a certain degree with our pets, especially cats that are fed grain based diets as kittens and will only settle for similar foods later on in life which overrides their natural instinct to eat meat. In addition to this some foods have additives or are coated with substances which cause animals to be attracted to the food and eat it even though the nutritional value is poor.

Getting pets, especially fussy cats and certain toy breed dogs, to eat new foods that are healthier for them can be a tedious process but it is generally well worth it in the long run as an animal’s health improves in leaps and bounds when their body is given the right balance of nutrients from natural ingredients.

  • A good way to start, which is also useful for pets that have sensitive stomachs and are easily upset by a change in diet, is to convert them gradually over a 2-week period. Start off with 7/8ths old food and 1/8th new food – mix in well, use this for 2 days. For the next 2 days mix ¾’s of the old food with ¼ of the new food. Then for the next 2 days 5/8ths old food and 3/8ths new food……… etc. they often gradually make the change.
  • Another trick, if they’re only keen on biscuits / crumbles, is to crush them up and sprinkle them on the new food. Cats may find the new food more appealing if you add a few drops of soy sauce.
  • Some animals respond positively if one places a bit of the new food in their mouth, they taste it and decide “OK, this isn’t so bad” and then devour the rest.
  • Stroking, patting and praising them while they eat and hand feeding them to get used to the change is a very handy tactic as they’re much more amenable to eating when receiving affection.
  • When all else fails, try explaining to them that this new food is good for them and will make them feel better. Believe it or not, this has worked in a number of cases!

Some pets end up having their way and won’t make the change. For some ill animals, bad eating habits are better than not eating at all, especially if it is in their final days when quality of life is of utmost importance.

With most pets it is worth persevering, as their long-term health will be greatly enhanced by good nutrition.

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How to Give Your Cat a Tablet

  1. Hold the cat around the top of its head with your middle finger and thumb at each corner of its mouth. Use your left hand if right handed and visa versa.
  2. Point the cat’s chin towards the sky and have someone hold it’s front paws and body if it wriggles or scratches.
  3. Hold the tablet in your other hand between your thumb and index finger. Then using the middle finger of the same hand, gently pull down on the bottom jaw to open its mouth.
  4. Once open, place the tablet at the back of the throat and give a quick push of the tablet down the throat with your index finger. Then close its mouth.
  5. Hold the cat’s mouth closed while still aiming the chin toward the sky and rub gently under its neck until it has swallowed.
  6. Reward the cat with affection or a food treat.

If this fails you can invest in a pill popper or try the following:

  1. Break the tablet into smaller pieces and sneak it into really tasty pieces of chicken or fish paste.   Feed a small amount first without any tablet so that the cat doesn’t think there’s something suspicious going on and then follow with the pieces that have tablet in them.
  2. Crush the tablet and mix it into some tasty food.
  3. Crush the tablet and mix it into some butter, marmite or vegemite that you can smear on the coat and the cat should lick it off as they groom themselves.
  4. Crush the tablet and dissolve it into water which can then be syringed in to their mouth.

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Itchy Skin Conditions

An itchy animal will scratch or chew at themselves causing inflammation, leading to a further itch which often progresses to infection and a vicious cycle is established. Conventional medicine then makes use of antibiotics to control the infection and cortisone or antihistamines to suppress the itch as a means of breaking this cycle. The prevention of this scenario is our ultimate goal and to achieve this, we need to address the underlying issues.

Animals have an itch threshold, basically a line drawn at a certain level which is different for each individual depending on their genetic make-up. There are five main factors which play a role in causing animals to itch. These are diet, stress, fleas, environmental factors and irritation from waxy ears, sore teeth, full anal glands, etc. Other contributors can include hormone imbalances, mites, worms and infections. As a practical first line of defence we focus on managing the main contributing factors so that the itch threshold is not reached.

Nutrition plays a major part. Poor quality food, artificial preservatives, allergies to specific proteins and lack of essential fats, vitamins and minerals can all play a role in contributing to the itch. Generally we recommend a natural, raw food diet diet together with the addition of optimal amounts of vitamins, anti-oxidants, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids (natural anti-inflammatories) found in high concentrations in flax oil and cold water fish. Sometimes it is necessary to design a special diet to address specific issues.

Stress weakens the immune system and lowers the body’s itch threshold. In cats we commonly see itchy skin problems and establish in the history that there is a new tomcat in the area bullying the cat. Stress can also be due to other factors such as a much loved owner going away, a new baby in the house or even a fellow companion no longer being present. Rescue Remedy or Emergency Essence are wonderful remedies to help animals cope with stress.

Fleas (and other parasites such as sarcoptic mange) can contribute greatly to an itch, either a few fleas or even the saliva from just one fleabite (“Freddie the flea” could be hiding somehwere in the house, jump onto your pet for a quick snack and then jump back off leaving many owners sure that fleas don’t play a role) might cause an itch to last for a couple of weeks.

Environmental factors can be difficult to isolate or control for example wandering jew, a plant to which many dogs react with a violent itch. Pollens may also be a primary factor and homeopathics may be used to help manage symptoms. Also, many dogs love playing in the sea but the salty water can cause them to be itchy, it is therefore a good idea to always hose them down with fresh water afterwards. Various shampoos can also create an itch while others are wonderful at helping to soothe irritated skin. It is important to be aware of these factors that may play a role and limit exposure where possible.

There are many options available to help a chronically itchy animal, but for long-term success, much time, effort and patience are often necessary. A visit to your vet will help to eliminate other causes of irritation and help you to devise a good management strategy to keep your pet’s tail wagging!

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Raw Food Diet for Dogs and Cats

Good nutrition is first and foremost in helping your pet to stay healthy as it provides the basic building blocks that the body needs to function optimally. After changing to this diet many animals show a remarkable improvement in their condition and often, chronic ongoing health problems begin to resolve.

DOGS:

•    50 – 70% good quality raw meat like chicken, mutton, lamb, fish or eggs.
•    30% vegetables (and fruit), variety is best. These can be lightly steamed or blended up.

Carbohydrates like pasta, rice (brown, ideally), whole-wheat bread and muesli may be used to bulk up the food BUT many dogs do better without gluten and corn in their diet as these can contribute to health issues.
RAW chicken necks or RAW marrow bones should be a part of the raw meat component at least 3 times a week.

CATS:

•    10% vegetables – yes, most cats eat vegetables! They can be steamed and mashed up.
•    90% good quality raw meat, ideally RAW chicken wings/necks, whole fish, heart or eggs.

  • Organic and Free Range products are best wherever possible.
  • The amount to feed varies according to the activity level and health of the animal but is usually 2 – 3% of bodyweight per day i.e. a 5kg cat or dog should get 100-150g per day. Watch your animals’ condition and adjust the amount accordingly i.e. feed less if they’re gaining weight and more if they’re losing condition.
  • RAW bones are very important to provide important minerals (especially calcium) and vitamins as well as keep animals’ teeth clean.
  • Egg yolk should ideally be fed raw to preserve vitamins and important fatty acids, but eggs in any form are a valuable asset to an animal’s diet.
  • Organ meats such as liver and kidney should be fed as about 1/5 of the meat component. Heart mince is very important, especially for cats as it contains high amounts of taurine (essential for cats) as well as other valuable nutrients.
  • High quality vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid (EFA) supplements are usually recommended for optimal health. A good all-rounder is “Mybeau” which is high in vitamins and essential fatty acids together with whole green foods such as Spirulina, Barley Grass, Wheat Grass and Chlorella supply valuable minerals and phytonutrients.
  • Other supplements can be very valuable aids in many health conditions eg. Glucosamine for arthritis, co-enzyme Q10 for heart conditions, etc.
  • Good quality commercial foods can be used to supplement the above good diet but in some cases may need to be avoided altogether. Avoid cheaper commercial foods that are generally deficient in valuable essential fats and vitamins and often have poor quality ingredients as well as preservatives and other chemical components.
  • Red meats (beef, venison and lamb) muscle meat may need to be avoided, as they are often associated with allergies and other health problems.
  • Foods to avoid that are potentially toxic include: raisins, grapes, onions, macadamia nuts and chocolate.

Some issues concerning the feeding of raw food are:

  • The safety of feeding bones – these are usually OK as long as the bones are raw (cooked bones splinter) but for those animals who tend to gulp down their food it is recommended that the bones be either too big for them to swallow (only chewed) or that they be crushed up in the food. Occasionally some dogs don’t seem to tolerate bones (they can vomit or get a sore tummy), in these cases bones may need to be crushed up and introduced to the diet gradually.
  • Bugs like E.coli and Salmonella, which are not a problem if the meat is fresh or frozen. Cats and dogs also have a greater tolerance for these organisms than us humans.
  • Parasites such as hydatids are killed after freezing raw meat for 3 days at –20 degrees Celsius or -10°C for 7 days. It is illegal to feed raw offal to dogs otherwise. Hydatids can be avoided altogether by feeding chicken, which don’t harbour hydatids.

Some further points:

Heat destroys vitamins, and antioxidants contained in raw food, which are very important for good health. Heating may also damage essential fatty acids in raw food, which can be transformed into substances that can damage the body.

Cooked foods take longer to digest as they’re not the natural way their gastro-intestinal tract has evolved to digest them, thus requiring more of the animal’s energy. In most cases dogs and cats do best on uncooked food but there are exceptions.

Nature knows best!

Pet Essentials and The Holistic Animal Centre stock a great variety of good quality raw food options for your pet. They’ll also make a plan to courier food out to you.

  • Pet Essentials, Tauranga – 1339 Cameron Rd, Greerton, Tauranga, Tel 07 541 1536
  • Holistic Animal Centre – 6/33 Hairini Street, Welcome Bay, Tauranga, Tel 07 544 4540

Another great resource for good food is Raw Essentials – www.rawessentials.co.nz 

For further information on the great benefits of raw food diets have a look at:

www.drianbillinghurst.com and www.rawmeatybones.com

An excellent read is “Give Your Dog a Bone” by Dr. Ian Billinghurst.

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To Desex or Not to Desex

It is wonderful and rewarding to witness a litter of kittens or puppies being born and although some pets are used for breeding and are not desexed (a surgical procedure where males have their testes removed and females have their uterus and ovaries removed), for most dogs and cats there are a number of very good reasons why it is important to consider desexing. Further to this, there are several factors to take into consideration when electing the most suitable age for your pet to be desexed.

First and foremost, desexing is used as an invaluable tool to help combat pet overpopulation, which is a huge animal welfare issue worldwide. An underlying theme in our society is that quality is exchanged for quantity and the massive numbers of animals that are abandoned, aren’t adequately cared for or can’t be re-homed by animal shelters, leads to millions of dogs and cats being euthanized each year.

Except in very tractable and well behaved animals, dogs and cats (especially males) who have not been desexed are very driven by their sexual hormones to roam seeking mates, display aggressive behaviour when defending their territory or generally, and demonstrate inappropriate urination or territory marking. Frustration often ensues because the animal’s need to express sexual behaviour is not met, which often escalates to destructive behaviour. These behaviours are not only largely unacceptable in our society, but they often lead to injury.

Further medical considerations for desexing are mammary cancer, uterine infections, prostatic disease and hormonal imbalances. Although they have multifactorial origins, a desexed animal has a much lesser risk of developing these conditions which can sometimes be life threatening.

All of these factors make a good case to support the desexing of cats and dogs, especially those living within close confines in an urban environment. But what are the negative points about desexing?

Dogs usually attain puberty at 7 – 12 months and cats at 4 – 9 months of age. At this point there is a greater production of sex hormones which are involved with growth and development, helping to promote the maturation of cartilage and assist with calcium deposition in bones. There is concern about some of the long term health risks of removing the benefits of these hormones.

Research has indicated that a desexed female dog is eight times more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence and it has also been suggested that pre-pubertal desexing of dogs causes an increased incidence of hip dysplasia and bladder infections and cats are more inclined to be shy and obese.

Desexing is a straightforward procedure and our modern anaesthetics are very safe but complications such as excessive blood loss, infection and drug reactions do occasionally arise. In pre-pubertal animals, the procedure is generally quicker, easier, and less stressful and there is a faster recovery.

For the pet population as a whole, it is clear that desexing at a young age is an important practice that is adopted by animal shelters globally. When considering desexing your pet and the many factors relating to their specific needs as individuals, it is important to obtain guidance from your vet to help you to make the appropriate decision for their long-term health.

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Weight Management for Your Pet

The “excess baggage” that our animals may carry can be a very important factor affecting long-term health. Extra weight can be a burden to an animal with sore joints and it may lead to health problems later on such as diabetes.

Although, as with humans, the scale is not completely accurate to determine the absolute condition of an animal because muscle weighs more than fat, it is generally a useful indicator of progress. Another useful tool is to view your animal from above and if they have their chest tapering into a waist (as opposed to a barrel like appearance!) and their ribs are easy to feel under their skin, but cannot be seen, then your animal is in good condition.

Occasionally animals might have health conditions that may make it difficult for them to lose weight such as thyroid disease or too much cortisol in their system, due to either a malfunction of their adrenal gland or from medication. In these cases we may use further diagnostics such as blood tests and apply various medications to support their health.

Generally there are a few fundamental guidelines to follow that help to make weight management easy. The more of these simple guidelines that are used, the greater the progress that may be expected. However, even making use of just some of these daily habits should help to make a difference.

  • Firstly, the quality of food fed is imperative to helping the body use nutrients efficiently. Poor quality food is difficult for the body to use, the body can be starved of important nutrients and it tends to store what it gets as fat. Ideally use a raw food diet as previously discussed. Premium pet food biscuits may also be fed but they are generally deficient in optimal amounts of critical nutrients such as the omega fatty acids and more research is indicating that chemicals and preservatives may be detrimental to long-term health.
  • The amount of food fed is the next critical step in helping to regulate a healthy weight. Feeding too much food will cause the excess to be stored as fat. If your pet isn’t losing weight after 2 weeks on a set protocol then you will need to cut down further on the amount that he/she’s being fed.
  • The frequency and timing of meals also has an impact on weight. Feeding only once a day teaches the body that it needs to store fat so that it can use it for energy when there’s no food. It also slows the metabolism down. Rather feed 2-3 smaller meals a day rather than one big one. Large meals fed at night lead the body to store fat as the metabolism slows when sleeping. Ideally feed larger meals in the morning and vice versa in the case where your cat is more active at night.
  • Limit snacks and treats, especially where they are unhealthy foods such as cake. They provide extra calories which may be stored as fat. Rather give a small treat instead of a whole biscuit; your pet will enjoy it just as much. Feed a large raw or rawhide bone or a pigs ear for your pet to chew on, or add extra vegetables or wholegrain rice if you need to bulk their food up as these are high in fibre and won’t easily be stored as fat.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are extremely helpful to aid the body in burning excess body fat. Supplementing your animal’s diet with this wonderful nutrient found in high concentrations in flax oil and fish oil will make a tremendous difference not only to their weight, but to their overall health and well-being.
  • Finally, exercise is an extremely valuable tool to assist body burn excess fat. Always start off with a gentle walk (500m) in unfit and obese animals and gradually build up over several weeks to a few kilometres.

Ideally, you should implement these changes gradually over a 2 week period. Also bear in mind that cats may be very difficult to manage as they can be very picky eaters and if you’re not feeding what they want, they often go and visit the neighbour! Overall however, the effort is worthwhile to add quality to your animal’s life.

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Ear Problems

Ear infections are common and can cause severe pain and discomfort to your animal. Recognizing the symptoms early on and halting the progression of ear dis-ease is very important to help prevent serious long term problems.

Dogs and cats have an external ear comprised of relatively long ear canals which are made up of the outer vertical ear canal running downward to meet the horizontal ear canal which runs almost at right angles to the vertical ear canal. The external ear is separated from the middle ear by a fine membranous sheath known as the ear drum which connects to the delicate ear bones that are responsible for an animal’s hearing.

Most commonly we see infections of the outer ear which may be identified by observing any of the following signs in animals; head shaking, tilting of their heads to one side, scratching at their ears, slight hearing loss or in severe cases animals can be lethargic and uninterested in eating. On closer inspection the ear might be red and inflamed, and contain discharge which could be yellow pus, wax or black material and might have a putrid smell.

By visualizing the ear canal and ideally the ear drum with an ophthalmoscope, we can identify ear mites, foreign bodies such as grass seeds in the ear, protuberant growths, inflammation, infections or problems of the ear drum. Samples of ear content may be analyzed to confirm various bacterial infections.

There are a number of ear medications, both conventional and more natural, which have anti-bacterial properties and will easily drown ear mites. These are important to help get on top of the problem but from a Holistic point of view we look further than the bug and attempt to uncover why the body is out of balance and why the ear canal is a hospitable environment for infection which it shouldn’t be in a healthy animal.

Various genetic factors will predispose certain breeds to problems; Labradors with hairs in their ear canals and spaniels who have long ears encourage a moist environment for bugs to prosper. In animals with long term ear problems, they might have thickened ear canals which cause narrowing of the ear canal space and subsequently are more likely to develop recurrent infections.

These animals need to have their ears regularly cleaned with a good ear cleaner (a simple solution is a 1% dilution of Hydrogen peroxide, but ensure that your animal’s ear drum is intact with a visit to your vet). By instilling a generous amount into the ear and massaging the ear canal to ideally hear the “squish” noise that the liquid makes, debris will be loosened and most animals really enjoy the rub as it relieves their irritation immensely. Because of the great length of the ear canals, just wiping the visible outer ear simply doesn’t do enough to keep ears clean.

In the greater scheme of things, the ears are simply an extension of the skin and as with skin problems, ear infections are generally easily prevented by keeping animals healthy with a natural raw food diet, that is free of chemicals and preservatives and provides optimal amounts of vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids, as well as basic management with the regular use of an ear cleaner in animals predisposed to problems.

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Nutrition & Behaviour

It never ceases to amaze me what fantastic changes take place when an animal begins to receive a well balanced, wholesome, natural diet with optimal amounts of nutrients. Older animals show a remarkable improvement in their general vitality and well-being while younger animals show improvements in these areas as well as pronounced positive changes in their temperament and overall tractability.

Sub-optimal nutrition is a huge factor undermining animals’ sense of well-being and their ability to cope with stress, which is usually the underlying issue of many behavioural problems.

Unfortunately many commercial foods don’t manage to achieve this. They are generally heavily processed destroying a significant amount of nutrients and, especially biscuit or crumble formulations, are very deficient in vital omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. In addition to this, they frequently contain additives to improve the taste of the food, which may not only be detrimental to long term health but also contribute greatly to an animals’ poor behaviour.

High concentrations of sugar (also listed as corn syrup or sucrose) and some artificial flavouring in certain foods have also been linked to behavioural abnormalities such as nervousness, hyperactivity, anxiety and aggressive behaviour in children and pets.

It has been shown that optimal amounts of omega 3 fatty acids are of great assistance to children with ADD and to people who experience mood swings and this is true for animals as well. Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B’s are especially helpful to support the nervous system and to moderate extreme behaviours. Tryptophan, an amino acid, helps to bring about the feeling of calmness and well-being; it can be a very useful aid in reducing dominance associated aggression.

As part of resolving behavioural disorders, we always address nutrition as an important first step in helping to take the edge off (and often alleviate!) behavioural disorders and anxiety. Other useful tools are Rescue Remedy or Emergency Essence, calming herbs such as skull cap and valerian and therapies like NIS and homeopathy. Additional considerations of importance are guidance from an experienced animal behaviourist and aids such as toys.

All in all it can be challenging to treat behavioural problems but once the basics are applied, most animals can be well managed and quality of life restored for all involved!

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Pet Food Ingredients that May Be Detrimental

When considering the nourishment of your dog and cat, the two main important key points are to:

  1. Provide optimal amounts of nutrients.
  2. Avoid unnatural chemicals, preservatives or food additives as far as possible. These are foreign to the body and can potentially cause health problems as the body is unable to eliminate or process them.

Unfortunately many commercial foods don’t manage to achieve this. They are generally heavily processed destroying a significant amount of nutrients and, especially biscuit or crumble formulations are very deficient in vital omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. In addition to this, they frequently contain additives to improve the taste of the food, make it look more visually appealing and to preserve the shelf life.

The list of ingredients will list the food components in order of the highest amount to the least amount. It is concerning that one of the first ingredients listed for many foods are grains. Grains can be helpful in moderation to bulk up dogs’ food but certainly for cats, which are carnivores and some dogs that have health conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and allergies, they can be detrimental to health as they have a pro-inflammatory effect which contributes to dis-ease.

Many food additives have little or no safety testing and some such as propylene glycol, potassium sorbate, sodium nitrite and propyl gallate have been linked to health problems in animals. Ethoxyquin is a preservative of many commercial animal foods that was originally used in rubber production. It helps to prevent fat from becoming rancid and has been approved as safe by the overseers of food production, however, ethoxyquin is alleged to cause cancer – as well as kidney, liver and thyroid problems.

BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is another poorly tested preservative implicated by some scientists to cause liver damage, metabolic stress and foetal abnormalities while BHA (butylated hydroxysanisole) has been implicated in liver and kidney problems as well as birth defects, behavioural problems and is potentially considered a carcinogen (cancer causing substance).

High concentrations of sugar (also listed as corn syrup or sucrose) and some artificial flavouring have also been linked to behavioural abnormalities such as nervousness, hyperactivity, anxiety and aggressive behaviour in children and pets. Sugar in high amounts can also lead to health problems of the adrenal glands and pancreas such as diabetes.

A good quality food will only be preserved with natural substances such as naturally occurring tocopherols and vitamin C. In addition to this, high quality foods source their ingredients from farms where care has been taken to minimize exposure to herbicides, fungicides, anti-biotic residues and hormones which many food producing animals are treated with to improve their production.

Allergens are food components which are involved in initiating allergies and while there is the potential for many types of food to fall into this category for different individuals there are certain foods which are more likely to be allergens than others. These include beef, beef bye products, milk and grains.

All in all it can be challenging to find great quality food that takes all of this into consideration helping to enhance the health of your pet. But the bottom line, as usual, is that nature knows best and by respecting natural principles and feeding a natural raw food diet as nature intended you can be sure that you’re making a substantial investment into your animal’s health and well-being.

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