Archive for Health

The “High Protein” Myth

The High Protein Myth

 We often have clients whose dog or cat has an ailment such as kidney disease, which requires them to be on a low protein diet. Often, they have been advised by their veterinarian to feed a specially formulated kibble that is low in protein. This is because veterinarians calculate protein content based on the dry matter of the food. Meaning if we were measure the dry content of a meat such as beef, it would be considered high protein. However, our purpose with this blog is to explain why this is not the case. Even those without sick pets are often mislead into thinking that a raw food diet could cause renal dysfunction in the long term. It almost seems like common knowledge to assume that raw meat is high protein. If you were trying to get more protein in your diet, your first thought would probably be to eat more meat (if you are not a vegetarian/vegan of course). However, there is much more to meat than just protein. Unfortunately, the protein myth is a grave misconception and one that should be addressed for the health of our pets.

 

Moisture – The Lurking Variable

When breaking down the components of any pet food whether it be raw, canned or kibble, we often look for the nutritional contents such as protein, fat and fibre. The one component often missed is the foods moisture content. Moisture is not a nutrient so why is it even important? Moisture is what balances out all the dry matter of food. Cats and dogs need moisture in their diet and it is absolutely essential for renal health. Water helps flush the kidneys and allows them to properly eliminate wastes from the body. Pets who do not get adequate water from their food must drink more to compensate. The amount of water consumed by healthy adult dogs and cats is about 2.5 times the amount of dry matter consumed in food. Therefore, you can see why it is unlikely a dog or especially a cat would be getting enough water without it being consumed with their food.

Kibble

Because kibble has very little moisture in it, there is nothing to balance out the protein in the food. This puts an extreme amount of pressure on the liver and kidneys to process this dry food without water as filtration. Pets who are fed a kibble diet long term may be more prone to developing kidney dysfunction later in life.

 

Canned Food

By looking at the nutritional breakdown of most canned food, you can see that the amount of protein is lower than that of kibble. This is because canned food has moisture added to balance out the protein – a much better option than kibble!

 

 

Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Raw Foods

Many people will choose this route when they want to feed their pet raw but are a little squeamish or are looking for convenience. If you look at the nutritional information for a bag of freeze-dried or dehydrated food, you will see that the protein content is quite high. It is important to keep in mind however that this is based on the dry matter and it is always recommended that you add quite a bit of water to this food. After rehydration, the relative amount of protein goes way down.

 

Raw food

Raw meat, bones and organs will always be the best choice for your pet – after all it is what nature intended. If you read a package of raw food for pets, you will notice that the protein content is often much lower than that of a kibble or other dried food. While many people believe raw meat is high in protein, it is important to remember that raw meat also contains an extremely high amount of moisture to balance out any protein.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, from breaking down some of the most popular types of pet foods, raw frozen food comes in as having the least amount of protein. The most important fact to take from this blog is that when comparing pet foods, the most important factor that comes into play is the moisture content. The higher the moisture content, the lower relative protein content and vise versa. Moisture is essential for proper filtration and elimination of wastes in the body and inadequate moisture is the leading cause of renal dysfunction in cats and dogs. So whatever you choose to feed your pet, make sure they are getting plenty of water in their diet!

 

For more information, please contact or visit us in store today as we are always happy to help!

What Am I? A Guide To The Physiology Of Your Dog

A Guide to the physiology of your dog, are dogs carnivores or omnivores?

Today an eight year old boy named Max came into our store with a seemingly simple question: “How is my dog a carnivore if he loves to eat apples and carrots?”. I thought to myself, this kid really has a point and to be honest I have never heard the question that way. He is right; my dog will eat a piece of carrot too, ( and grass, twigs, garbage, and the occasional goose poop). After my brief explanation and still not convinced,  he asked more intelligent question, ( did I mention he is 8 years old ?).  So, for you Max  I’ve outlined some distinguishing features to help him and us understand why your dog is in the order of Carnivora.  –Thanks Max for the inspiration of this blog!

 

 

PHYSIOLOGICAL FEATURES: 

If you look at your dogs body structure and teeth you may be able to point out some of these characteristics!

Hinged jaw with large muscles:  Dogs have relatively large neck and jaw muscles that are designed for tearing the flesh, bone and muscles of prey. They also have a hinged jaw which allows them to open their mouths very wide to eat large pieces of meat.

 

 

 

 

Sharp pointy teeth: If you look into your dogs mouth, you will notice that they have large canines and pointed molars intended to rip, tear and shred meat. Another interesting feature of a dogs mouth is that none of their teeth line up and meet like ours do. This design further assists in the consumption of meat and makes it difficult to grind plant matter.

 

 

Lack of salivary amylase: Salivary amylase is an enzyme produced by salivary glands that begins the breakdown of starch. This enzyme is produced by omnivores and herbivores to aid in the digestion of veggies and fruits. Because dogs don’t make this in their saliva, all of the burden is left on the pancreas to produce enough amylase to breakdown these foods. This explains why plants matter comes out of your dog looking almost the same as when it went in!

 

 

 

Short and simple digestive tract: The digestive tract is one of the most convincing pieces of evidence that suggests dogs are a carnivorous species. A shorter, highly acidic tract is much more efficient at breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from meat as opposed to plants which require more time in the digestive system to ferment and breakdown. They also have a large, elastic stomach made for consuming large meals, and an undeveloped caecum (a structure that produces cellulase for the breakdown of cellulose in omnivores and herbivores.).

CLOSE RELATION TO WOLF ANCESTORS:

Are wolves carnivores? If you said “yes” to this question, you’ve got it! But here’s where it gets interesting: did you know that your dog and a wolf are so closely related that they can mate to produce viable offspring?! This means that they are the same species. Just to show how close this relation is; if you were to breed a horse and a donkey to produce a mule, it would be sterile making these two animals different species. So in essence your dog is more closely related to a wolf than a donkey is related to a horse! Crazy right? We thought so to! And if your dog is closely related to a wolf then they must have similar dietary needs.

wolf

SOME OMNIVOROUS ADAPTATIONS:

Dogs are versatile creatures capable of adapting to whatever comes their way (Well maybe not whatever, but you get the point). For instance, when it comes to food, they can pretty much survive off anything. While they may not be designed to eat plants, they certainly can and often will eat them if that’s what is available. So, while dogs can live long, lives on a diet of processed kibble, they are certainly not thriving to their greatest potential.

 

If you really want to prove that your dog is a carnivore, experiment for yourself! Our raw pet food store is located in beautiful Vancouver and we would love to talk with you about your carnivore as you try out the raw diet and observe the drastic changes for yourself. You will notice a difference in your dogs coat, teeth, breath, eyes, and pretty much their overall well being. See the benefits for yourself and then you’ll know for sure whether your dog is a carnivore or not!

P.S. Once your canine has convinced you raw is the most beneficial diet for them you can relax as we offer raw pet food delivery!

 

Reverse Sneezing In Dogs

Has your dog ever had an episode where they take in long inhalations of air, extend their head and make a loud snorting sound? If this sounds familiar, your dog may have been experiencing a phenomenon known as inspiratory paroxysmal respiration or “reverse sneezing”.

Image result for dog reverse sneezing

 

 

WHAT IS REVERSE SNEEZING?

A visual representation of some dog breeds with brachycephalic skulls.

Reverse sneezing occurs in many dogs, particularly in those with brachycephalic skulls such as pugs and bulldogs. Although rare, cats may also sometimes experience reverse a sneeze. During this type of sneeze, your dog will likely pull their head back and appear to be making short, sudden inhalations of air, while making a loud snorting sound. The rapid inhalations happen because air is being pulled up behind the nostrils to remove dust and other allergens. Often after this happens the dog will cough or gag to clear the pharynx of irritants. While it can be unnerving for pet parents to watch their fur babies go through this, it is important to remember that it will pass fairly quickly and will not harm your dog.

 

 

REVERSE SNEEZING VS NORMAL SNEEZING

The easiest way to tell the difference between reverse and normal sneezing is by observing your dogs actions while the sneeze is taking place. During a normal sneeze, a dog will move their head downwards with a closed mouth, and quickly expel air from the nose. A reverse sneeze is characterized by the head moving backward with the mouth closed and air being rapidly pulled in, a snorting noise can often be heard. A reverse sneeze can last anywhere from a few seconds to a whole minute. Often the dog will cough or gag after to rid the pharynx of the irritants.

 

 

WHAT CAUSES REVERSE SNEEZING?

There is not a single answer to this question as there are numerous reasons why your dog may be reverse sneezing. We will outline a few below:

  • Dogs with a brachycephalic skull (ie. pugs, bulldogs, boxers etc.) have elongated soft palates which can sometimes be sucked into the back of the throat causing a reverse sneeze.
Image result for brachycephalic dog

This image shows the effect of having an elongated soft palate which compromises the amount of airflow passing through the trachea.

  • Ciliary dyskinesis – while this may sound like a scary disease, all it means is that there is involuntary movement of hair-like cilia in the respiratory tract to move foreign matter from the air before it reaches the lungs.
  • Environmental irritants such as dust, pollen, perfume and chemical cleaners that get into the nasal Image result for dog sneeze dandelionpassages may also cause this response.

 

  • Excitement, pulling on the leash and exercise intolerance are a few additional reasons your dog may reverse sneeze.

 

  •  It is also possible that your dog may have a lung infection or chronic post-nasal drip and the buildup of mucus could be causing the reverse sneeze. If this is the case, talk to your veterinarian about a treatment plan.

 

 

WHAT TREATMENT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE?

Most of the time, reverse sneezing is completely harmless and your dog will be back to normal when the episode is over. Although it can be quite scary to watch, it is important to remain calm throughout the duration of the sneeze in order to keep your dog calm as well. Some people say that massaging your dog’s throat can help shorten the sneeze;or you could try briefly covering your dog’s nostrils, which will cause your dog to swallow, helping to soothe the irritation and cessate the attack.

If you think allergens are the cause of your dogs reverse sneeze, it may be helpful to give your dog an antihistamine or allergy supplement to reduce the severity of the symptoms. There are two products by Kelowna’s holistic based company NaturPet that we highly recommend.Capture

The first is called Healthy Lungs and contains expectorant herbs such as elecampane root that soothe irritated nasal passages and airways, and reduce the release of histamines.

For even more information on reverse sneezing take a look at Dr. Karen Becker’s video posted below!

Dr. Becker Talks About Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing is natural for pets and is not always something to panic about.

Posted by Dr. Karen Becker on Monday, November 28, 2016

 

As always, our guidance doesn’t replace the advice from your veterinarian. Be sure to check with them to make sure that your dog does not have a lung infection or other ailment that may need medical attention. If it is simply genetics, then be sure to try out our natural and holistic options to help calm your pets respiratory tract and reduce those pesky reverse sneezes!

Give us a call, email, or stop by our raw pet food store in Kerrisdale if you have any questions and our staff would be happy to help!

Thanksgiving Tips And Foods To Avoid

THANKSGIVING TIPS AND FOODS TO AVOID

The leaves are turning orange, the air is getting colder and Starbucks has released their famous pumpkin spice lattes once again. This must mean only one thing – Fall is officially upon us! With the onset of Fall we can all look forward to those treasured holidays consisting of gatherings with friends and family; and of course lots of food. Naturally, we want our four legged family members to join in on the fun, but we also want to keep them safe (an expensive midnight trip to the vet because Fido ate something he shouldn’t have isn’t so appealing). So therefore we created this blog to help you and your pet make the most of Thanksgiving while avoiding any potential hazards!

 

TURKEY

While we’re enjoying that big juicy Thanksgiving turkey, it can be
tempting to give some to our pets, but this may not be the safest option. The turkeys we make for Thanksgiving are injected with a lot of butter and oils for flavoring that are very unhealthy for dogs. Avoid feeding turkey meat, gravy, or turkey drippings as this can give your dog an upset tummy, and possibly cause diarrhea and vomiting. Inflammation of the pancreas can also result from consuming turkey that’s high in fat. You should also never feed your dogs cooked turkey bones as these can splinter and puncture your dog’s esophagus or other organs. You can however buy your dog some raw turkey necks, hearts, livers or meat to enjoy with you on Thanksgiving day.

 

 

CRANBERRY AND PUMPKIN

If you follow our blogs, you’ve probably heard about the many reasons why we love cranberry for urinary problems and pumpkin for digestive problems in dogs. While this is all true, remember that the pumpkin in our pie filling and the cranberry sauce we have with our turkey are not the type that will benefit your dog. Loaded with sugars and preservatives-these two foods can do more harm than good. Keep your dog away from preservatives and sugar and instead try giving him all natural canned or frozen pumpkin, or dried cranberry – both without added sugar.

 

 

CHOCOLATE

We all know that chocolate is deadly to dogs but not everyone knows why. Chocolate contains methylxanthine theobromine, a compound similar to caffeine, that is used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator and a smooth muscle relaxer. In dogs, too much theobromine is poisonous and can result in vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, panting and even seizures and coma leading to death. Even though chocolate is widely known as a poison to dogs, it is important to mention because during the holidays we often have friends or family visiting who may not be familiar with this fact. Be sure to keep an eye on your dog during gatherings and educate your guests, particularly small children, not to feed the dog chocolate and to make sure not to leave any chocolate unattended where the dog may have access to. Different types of chocolate have varying levels of toxicity, ranging from bakers chocolate or cocoa, which is quite lethal, to milk chocolate which may not cause serious harm in small amounts.  If you are concerned that your dog may have ingested chocolate, monitor him closely and contact your veterinarian for further guidance.

 

TRASH

So, you’ve finished eating your thanksgiving feast, cleaned up the dishes, and everyone’s gathered in the living room to enjoy each other’s company while recuperating from their turkey comas. You may be done eating but Fido just watched you throw all those yummy leftovers in a trash bag and leave it by the back door to bring out before dessert- Jackpot! He sneaks in the kitchen when no ones looking and goes to town. Now you’ve got a big mess to clean up and a potentially very sick pup. Turkey bones and fat, leftover cranberry sauce and probably some non food items have been consumed and you don’t even know what in particular he ate or how much. Instead of enjoying the rest of your evening, now you have to worry and monitor your dog all night, with a possible vet visit in your future. No one wants to go through this on what is supposed to be a relaxing holiday spent catching up with family. Make sure to take that trash out right away and keep am eye on your dog so he doesn’t get into mischief!

 

QUICK TIPS

Here’s some quick tips to refer back to that will help keep your dog safe and happy this holiday season!

  • do not feed: chocolate, cooked turkey bones, fat, onions, garlic, alcohol.
  • take the trash out: don’t give your dog the chance to get into the garbage and make himself sick
  • reduce stress: large gatherings of people making noise can frighten many dogs. Make sure they have a safe, quiet place they can go to if they are overwhelmed. Some toys, a bed and a nice raw bone can make a great retreat!
  • ID your dog: frightened dogs may bolt, make sure your dog is properly identified in case this should happen.

 

Most importantly, remember to enjoy the holiday season, while keeping your four legged family members safe. Also, make sure they have a special treat to celebrate thanksgiving along with you! While cooked turkey and bones are not safe, raw ones are an awesome, healthy treat so your dog can feel included in your turkey dinner.

 

Stop by our Raw Pet Food Store in Kerrisdale and pick up some healthy and natural Turkey Dinner for your dogs, or if you happen to be running a little late with your own turkey we also deliver to Richmond, Vancouver and Burnaby!

organic turkey necks

 

 

 

What’s That Stink?! Anal Glands!?

Anal Gland Problems; The stinky odor no one wants to talk about. 

There is no nice way to ease into talking about anal glands. They are smelly, irritating, and can sometimes be a problem. Here we dissect and inspect why and how dogs get anal gland problems, what they are, and how you can help your dog.

Let us first start by explaining what anal glands are in dogs. They are two small oval shaped
sacs that sit on either side of the dogs’ anus. These two sacs hold inside them a brown, oily like fluid Anal Gland Diagramthat smells like rotten sardines and then some.

Anal glands are scent glands that posses two functions.
A) Produce a strong and penetrating scent to mark their territory  and

B) Help the body eliminate unnecessary toxins.

These glands express the foul fluid onto their feces as another way of marking their territory.

There are a quite a few different types of anal gland issues that dogs can suffer from.

1) Anal gland dysfunction – not discharging on their own

2) Anal gland inflammation

3) Anal gland abscess – the rupturing of the glands due to obstruction of the opening

4) Anal gland tumors

What Causes Anal Gland Problems? 

There are a number of factors that can be at play if your dog is having problems, such as;

Diet and obesity – these can be tied together in one. Making sure you are not over feeding your dog as well as feeding them a kibble-free diet is the most beneficial way to keep the anal glands from backing up and clogging. If your dog is on a diet that is causing them to be overweight, the glands can dissipate into the fatty tissue making the emptying process impossible. The glands can become inflamed and are unable to detox properly causing pain and irritation to your dog. Generally hard stool makes for good anal gland function. The glands are massaged as the dog defecates and that is how the glands release the toxins from their body.

A large tell is if your dog is constantly scooting (dragging) their bum on the ground. They are trying to relieve themselves of the pain and pressure that he built up in his anus. Dog Scooting

What Kind Of Treatments Are There?

Traditional treatment focuses on the main issue – discarding the content. Sometimes your veterinarian will recommend flushing the glands and in some extreme cases, antibiotics or surgery. The most commonly used method is expressing the content from their rear which can be done by your vet or local groomer. This can however lead to a repeat of expressions and with the worse case scenario, the entire removal of the anal gland.

The Good News

Feeding a biologically appropriate diet to your dog will help make all of his bodily functions run smoothly. Adding proteins that are rich with bone allows everything to be pushedDog Eating a Bone out nice and cleanly. The bone content is necessary in hardening the stool which aids in massaging and releasing the fluid in the sacs. We also highly recommend adding tripe to your dog’s diet as it is full of gastric juices and enzymes which aid in digestion. Not only does it aid dog in digestion, it is full of amino acids, calcium, and phosphorous. Your dog’s health will improve and the discomfort of anal gland expressions should be minimized drastically and hopefully eliminated for life. Now if that isn’t a good reason to go raw we don’t know what is.

 

 

Check out this informative video by Dr. Karen Becker to learn a little more about anal glands!

 

 

 

If you have any questions about your dog and an all natural and holistic approach to your dogs diet or special needs, feel free to give us a call or come into our fun and exciting Kerrisdale store!

-The True Carnivores Pack