I think we have all had the experience of ordering something online, only to discover it wasn’t as advertised, or worked as advertised. I don’t know how much money some of you have wasted, but let me tell you, through the years I have thrown away a lot of money.
I finally learned to research what products, books or supplements were valid and offered real success, by researching online. However, that too can lead us on a wild goose chase, or worse, to lose a large sum of money.
However, there is a strange bit of psychology that keeps these products selling, and it is called ‘affiliation’. In other words, if someone spends a great deal of money on something, they certainly don’t want to admit they were taken. They speak of the product in glowing terms. After a few months or even years, people slowly quit using the product or advice and it slowly disappears.
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Sadly these fads reappear in a few decades to succeed again for a few short years. Some examples could include:
- Willard Water (yes, plain water but thought to cure any illness)
- Cal Can, a lotion in a jar thought to eat through tumors on the skin (and it does, it is caustic!)
- coconut oil (no, it doesn’t kill bacteria or yeast and does nothing for dogs)
- precision feeding for each meal (no, not necessary at all. If dogs required that all wolves and coyotes would be dead)
- fermentation of food (not necessary or useful for dogs)
- Flax/flax seed (no use for canines, they can’t utilize ALA found in plant-based foods)
- colostrum (discovered to only help the sources it came from and only for 48 hours)
- saliva allergy or food sensitivity tests, (totally bogus)
These are just a few of the thousands of foods, supplements or advice you can find today. Please remember: If the many claims for some of things were true (added longevity, cured cancer or arthritis or stopped itching fast) all of those products would be common knowledge, sold everywhere.
So how does one determine if a product is worthwhile or not?
Start searching for published research papers. And how can these tell you if something is valid or not? Keep these validation tips in mind when searching:
How to determine if papers/articles are valid research information?
- Is it properly designed? The best research is the randomized controlled trial. That means a significant amount of subjects are getting the substance being researched, while half get a placebo. Neither the researchers nor the subjects know who is getting the real thing or a placebo.
- Was it peer reviewed? Did other experts, scientists review the study and see it as valid?
- Is it a quality journal? Respected?
- Did the researchers/authors disclose any conflict of interest? (we see that in dog studies, ie paid by Purina, Royal Canin, etc) and the results almost always support the paying company.
- Have other studies or research come to the same conclusion? Only one study showing results is rather meaningless without others coming to the same findings.
- Lastly, always look to see WHO funded the study. That tells you what outcome they are looking for and sometimes this can cause influence or preference in the way the research goes.
There is good advice and good supplements and food out there. But it is up to US to determine that.
Always research the main ingredients, the premise and note the summary.
One example I just researched was that that Green Tea prolonged longevity. I spent about 20 minutes looking this up. I searched for studies on Green Tea and dogs. I found quite a few.
- The most significant information is that many dogs who took green tea supplements on an empty stomach suffered liver issues. (Exposure and Toxicity of Green Tea Polyphenols in Fasted and Non-Fasted Dogs)
- Most studies evaluated combination supplements on dogs (mostly with arthritis) that had some green tea. No significant improvement was found. (A randomized, double-blind, prospective, placebo-controlled study of the efficacy of a diet supplemented with curcuminoids extract, hydrolyzed collagen and green tea extract in owner’s dogs with osteoarthritis)
- Green tea is found to reduce sperm count and fertility in males. (Green Tea Polyphenols Extend the Lifespan of Male Drosophila melanogaster While Impairing Reproductive Fitness)
- One study showed no improvements and again warned not to give this supplement on an empty stomach. “Practical amounts of ingested green-tea extract may not increase antioxidant capacity of canine blood, which erodes the foundation of the EGCG-related health claims made by dog tablets, treats and foods. Likewise, there is no scientific proof that green tea catechins reduce inflammation of gums in dogs and cats. The anti-aging claim is almost unprovable in dogs, but green-tea extract was not life-prolonging in mice.” (Green-tea extract in petfood)
I found no definitive study showing green tea to prolong longevity in dogs. Most studies are done with people or mice and often people will use these as sources, but they do NOT apply to dogs. Some sites used resources that they obviously didn’t read, as the research showed green tea was not helpful for dogs. I found some sources on a green tea site about dogs, but only about 3 out of 20 were specific to dogs.
The things to look for include:
- Were studies done on dogs, and were the results favorable?
- Was just the one ingredient studied or was it a combination of ingredients (too hard to tell which one might offer positive results)?
- Who funded the study? Be SURE to read the discussion and conclusions.
Would I give Green Tea to my dogs? Heck no, if you read the studies above carefully.
Be smart, shop smart and be sure what you are giving your dog is effective, healthy and will not harm them.
What I do know for sure does helps dogs includes:
- Fish oil capsules. These are proven to help skin, coat, immunity and are heart, renal and liver protective.
- B-Complex with Extra B12 helps with the nervous system, brain function and appetite. It also helps with helping dark pigment and coat color.
- Bertes Immune Blend contains probiotics, vitamins A, B vitamins, C, D3 and vitamin E. D3 is important for immunity and to process calcium. Probiotics are live bacteria that help keep digestion going well and help with firm stools.