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Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

October 2006

By Lew Olson, PhD Natural Health, LMSW-ACP

While the ailments Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, Allergies, Arthritis, Yeast Infections and Cancer are very different, they do share something in common. Diets high in sugars and/or starches can affect these illnesses in a negative manner. As I wrote in my online series on Canine Nutrition (from the B-Naturals newsletter from August 2005 to June 2006) dogs are carnivores and are designed to best utilize and digest animal protein and fat. The advent of commercial diets in the last 60 years has introduced large amounts of grains and starches. These foods are carbohydrates, which are sugars. Besides adding sugars to the diet, these foods add more fiber and bulk to the dogs system.

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Sugar in turn, directly affects the blood sugar in the body. Canines are designed to make glucose from amino acids (proteins) which keep the blood sugar level in a canine’s body. This in turn, helps to keep blood sugar levels even. Feeding diets high in grains (wheat, corn, oatmeal, barley, amaranth and rice to name a few) along with starches (potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets and carrots) cause blood sugar to rise and then fall. This type of action directly affects diabetes, can trigger epileptic seizures, create aggravation in joints in dogs with arthritis, affect thyroid conditions and lastly, offer energy to cancer cells.

As stated in all canine nutrition textbooks, no nutritional requirement is given for these types of foods for dogs.

The Waltham Book of Companion Animal Nutrition states, "There is no known minimum dietary requirement for carbohydrates”

For more information on Carbohydrates in the Dog’s Diet: https://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/carbohydrates/

With each condition listed below, be sure to get full treatment, diagnosis and advice from your veterinarian. The correct diagnosis under proper veterinarian care is the best defense to treat any ailment.

Epilepsy

While research has been done on a low carbohydrate diet for dogs with epilepsy, the results showed that these diets didn’t help. However, the research does not indicate the type of protein that was used or the nature of the diet (dry, fresh, cooked) and it contained an extreme amount of fat. http://www.cvm.umn.edu/cic/completedstudies/Neuro/home.html

Also the diet was inconclusive, due loss of some participants (owners not complying) and a subsequent low number of dogs that completed the study.

Other factors that may precipitate seizure activity by feeding carbohydrates may be related to food allergies, gluten intolerance (found in grains) and lack of certain amino acids such as taurine lost by processed or heavily cooked diets. For more information on this, read: http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/healthydiet.html on the section titled “The Possible Connection between Grains and Seizures”.

While the connection is uncertain, a fresh food diet which is medium to low fat, high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates is worth a try and may well help in some instances. Removing grains reduces the chance of gluten intolerance and also some allergies. The animal protein will help provide all the amino acids a dog needs and a fresh food diet would offer more nutrients.

Diabetes

This is a complex issue in small animals, and the type of diabetes found between cats and dogs is different. Cats often have type II diabetes, while type I is more common in dogs. New research has indicated that higher protein diets are more effective for cats, but new research is showing this may be true for dogs as well: http://www.vetcontact.com/en/art.php?a=1268&t
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15023591&dopt=Abstract (same article as above, but in abstract form)

“Diet in the prevention of diabetes and obesity in companion animals”

“Conclusion – Consumption of diets with low carbohydrate, high protein, and moderate fat content may be advantageous for prevention and management of obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, and diabetes in cats and dogs. Use of low glycaemic index carbohydrates and supplementation with carnitine, chromium, and vitamin A may also be advantageous.”

While studies on cats discuss that cats are carnivores and need protein, it is also true dogs are carnivores. It is thought the higher animal protein diets create more even sugar levels in the blood stream. And certainly a fresh food diet would provide optimum nutrition, offering a more easily digestible food with more bioavailable nutrients than processed foods.

Hypothyroidism

Dogs with low thyroid (hypothyroidism) can have issues with pancreatitis, until treatment with proper medications help bring thyroid levels back to normal ranges. These dogs also tend to do better on homemade diets that are low glycemic, medium fat and do well on higher protein levels. For dogs with hypothyroidism, avoid goitrogenic foods. Cooking these foods thoroughly will negate this effect, but do not feed these as the majority of the diet: cabbage, broccoli, turnips, rutabaga, mustard greens, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, peaches, pears, strawberries, cauliflower, potatoes or corn. Remember, fully cooking them renders them safe to consume for hypothyroid conditions. http://www.suite101.com/lesson.cfm/18912/2313/3 This article also warns to avoid soy:

“Some experts contend that as little as 30 mg of soy isoflavones will cause trouble by competing with hormones for the same receptor sites on cells. Because of that, they can cause endocrine disruptions. The endocrine system may mistake the isoflavones for a hormone and not send out signals that the hormone needs to be produced, which could be problematic if you already have lower than normal levels of thyroid hormone production.”

For more information on pancreatitis: https://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/pancreatitis/

For epilepsy, diabetes and hypothyroidism, a similar diet would be used. This would include low fat, as these conditions are prone to pancreatitis (in epilepsy due to medications), high protein and low carbohydrate (and thus fiber). Both groups could benefit from fish oil, for the omega 3 fatty acids, B complex vitamins, vitamin E and digestive enzymes (for aid with fat digestion). Carnitine, chromium and vitamin A may help with diabetes.

Here are some web sites that list glycemic values of food:

http://www.lowglycemicdiet.com/gifoodlist.html
http://www.southbeach-diet-plan.com/glycemicfoodchart.htm
http://www.diabetesnet.com/diabetes_food_diet/glycemic_index.php

These recipes listed below are low glycemic and reduced fat for dogs with Epilepsy (if on Phenobarbital or Potassium Bromide), hypothyroidism and diabetes.

The amount to feed is approximately 2% to 3% of the dog’s body weight. Basically this breaks down into this:

(one pound equals approximately two cups)

100 lb dog = 2 lb to 3 lb daily, or two meals of 1 to 1-1/2 lbs each 75 lb dog = 1-1/2 lb to 2=3/4 lb daily or two meals of 12 oz to 18 oz each 50 lb dog = 1 lb to 1-1/2 lb daily, or two meals of 8 oz to 12 oz each 25 lb dog = 8 oz to 12 oz daily, or two meals of 4 oz to 6 oz each

Smaller dogs often have higher metabolisms, and *may* (not always) need more than the 2% to 3% of their body weight, and often do better with three smaller meals a day, especially toy breeds.

** Puppies under the age of six months require more frequent meals (three to four a day) and need a bit more calcium, at about 1500 mg per pound of food served while they are growing. Puppies will eat about 10% of their body weight at 8 weeks of age or 2% to 3% of their anticipated adult weight

For supplements, calcium is needed at 900 mg per pound of food served. I would also recommend the EPA fish oil capsules at one capsule (180 EPA/120 DHA) per twenty to thirty pounds of body weight daily. Do not add minerals, as the variety in the diet will provide this. Do add vitamins, such as vitamin E, vitamin C and a B complex. For diet changes, probiotics and digestive enzymes may be helpful. Berte’s Immune Blend contains vitamin C, vitamin E, B complex, enzymes and probiotics. For a daily vitamin blend without enzymes and probiotics, there is also Berte’s Daily Blend that contains kelp and alfalfa which can provide trace minerals.

Sample Diet One

(one meal for a 100 lb dog, or two meals for a 50 lb dog, or four meals for a 25 pound dog)

– One lb low fat hamburger, 4 oz beef liver or kidney – 1 or 2 egg whites, no yolks, scrambled or soft boiled – 1/2 cup steamed or boiled broccoli – 1/2 cup cooked yellow crookneck squash – 4 oz nonfat milk yogurt

Cook meat, eggs and vegetables and mix. When cooled, add yogurt. To this, add: – 1600 mg of calcium , or one teaspoon of dried, ground eggshell – One teaspoon Berte’s Green Blend (for trace minerals) – One teaspoon of Berte’s Immune Blend per 35 lbs of body weight daily – Add 1,000 mg of EPA fish or salmon oil per ten pounds of body weight daily

Sample Diet Two

– One lb white meat chicken with no skin, four oz of chicken liver – 1 or 2 egg whites, no yolk, scrambled or soft boiled – 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Spinach – 1/2 cup cooked cabbage – 4 oz nonfat Cottage Cheese Cook meat, eggs and vegetables and mix. When cooled, add cottage cheese. To this, add: – 1600 mg of calcium, or one teaspoon of dried, ground eggshell – One teaspoon Berte’s Green Blend (for trace minerals) – One teaspoon of Berte’s Immune Blend per 35 lbs of body weight daily – Add 1,000 mg of EPA fish or salmon oil per ten pounds of body weight daily

Sample Diet Three

– One lb beef heart, cut into small pieces, 4 oz of pork or beef liver – 1 or 2 egg whites, scrambled or soft boiled – 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage – 1/2 cup zucchini – 4 oz non fat Yogurt Cook meat, eggs and vegetables and mix. When cooled, add yogurt. To this, add: – 1600 mg of calcium, or one teaspoon of dried, ground eggshell – One teaspoon Berte’s Green Blend (for trace minerals) – One teaspoon of Berte’s Immune Blend per 35 lbs of body weight daily – Add 1,000 mg of EPA fish or salmon oil per ten pounds of body weight daily

Sample Diet Four

– One can 16 oz Mackerel or Salmon, drained and rinsed – 1 or 2 egg whites, scrambled or soft boiled – 1/2 cup broccoli – 1/2 cup Kale or other dark leafy green – 4 oz nonfat Cottage Cheese Cook vegetables and eggs (no need to cook the canned fish, it is already cooked) and mix together. No calcium is needed as mackerel, salmon or sardines already contain soft, steamed bones for calcium content. To this, add: – One teaspoon Berte’s Green Blend (for trace minerals) – One teaspoon of Berte’s Immune Blend per 35 lbs of body weight daily – Add 1,000 mg of EPA fish or salmon oil per ten pounds of body weight daily

The last health conditions of cancer, arthritis and allergies would use similar diets, but can use higher fats.

Cancer Cancer cells use sugar found in the body for energy. So elimination of high glycemic foods is important, along with high quality animal protein sources. Higher fat is also recommended, to maintain weight and help with energy. More information on this can be found here:

Nutrition for Dogs with Cancer Diets for Dogs with Cancer

Arthritis

The biggest concern for management of pain in arthritis is to try and reduce inflammation. Along with this is the need to keep a dog with sore joints lean. One way to achieve this is by avoiding grains and starches, which can be fattening. Vegetables from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers are also to be avoided, as these are thought to aggravate inflammation from arthritis. EPA fish oil will also help as the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil help to control inflammation. Formulas with Glucosamine, Chondroitin and manganese can help helpful to lubricate the joints, and help reduce inflammation. The Berte’s Flexile Plus is a good choice, and is made from human grade materials. The Yucca Intensive is an herbal tincture, and given at one drop per ten lbs of body weight WITH meals can help fight inflammation.

Allergies

These can be difficult to pinpoint, and often the biggest questions are:

-Is this an allergy? -And if so, it is environmental or food related?

Frequent bathing and inspection of anything new in the home (carpeting, bedding, household cleaners, yard sprays, etc) will often help in determining an environmental allergy. But food allergies are more difficult, as most commercial dog foods contain numerous ingredients. Food elimination diets are best, with a goal to reach a variety of foods, as sticking to a one diet will only lead to more food intolerance.

Home cooking provides a way to offer better nutrition, fewer ingredients that commercial foods contain and a way to control what your dog eats. With the recipe suggestions offered here, you have a basis for a balanced diet (calcium to phosphorus, amounts of animal protein and fat) but can pick and choose the ingredients that best suit your dog. Never forget about variety, as dogs require this to obtain a good selection and balance of amino acids and nutrients. Feeding the same things over and over can result in allergies or lacking nutrients. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish can help with the coat and skin and reduce inflammation from itching and red skin.

Yeast

Yeast infections can often come with allergies, due to constant scratching and itching. Certain medications used to treat skin problems can encourage yeast growth. Yeast thrives when steroids are given. Antibiotic use tends to kill the beneficial bacteria, which in turn can cause yeast to grow without these present which naturally help fight them off. Some of these symptoms imitate allergies, and often these two problems can ‘ping pong’ back and forth. A skin culture can often determine which problem is present. For more reading on yeast problems, go here: https://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/scratching-and-itching-could-it-be-yeast/

Yeast grows and thrives on sugar, so eliminating high glycemic foods from the diet can help. Probiotic Powder is also helpful in fighting a yeast overgrowth, as well as frequent bathings with an oatmeal based shampoo, and rinsing with a solution of half white vinegar and water. Olive leaf Extract and Yeast and Fungal Tincture are also helpful to combat yeast. But a visit to your Veterinarian is the best way to determine if your dog has a yeast problem.

Here are four recipes that are helpful for all these conditions.

Cooked diets also need to offer variety, and large batches can be packaged into meal sized portions and frozen for later use. Feeding amounts are the same, approximately 2% to 3% of the dog's body weight daily. For instance, a 100 pound dog would eat two to three pounds of food a day, a fifty pound dog would eat one to one and a half pounds of food daily, and a 25 pound dog would eat 1/2 pound to 3/4 pound daily. A cup is approximately 8 ounces or 1/2 pound, some dogs will do well on two meals a day, others may need three or four smaller meals a day. Do not overcook the meat, but rather cook lightly which will retain more of the nutrients. Butter can be used for cooking (unsalted butter for those dogs with kidney or heart problems), for flavor and palatability. Sample Diet One

(one meal for a 100 lb dog, or two meals for a 50 lb dog, or four meals for a 25 pound dog)

– One lb regular hamburger, 4 oz beef liver or kidney, cook with small amount of butter – 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled – 1/2 cup steamed or boiled broccoli – 1/2 cup cooked yellow crookneck squash – 4 oz whole milk yogurt

Cook meat, eggs and vegetables and mix. When cooled, add yogurt. To this, add: – 1600 mg of calcium , or one teaspoon of dried, ground eggshell – One teaspoon Berte’s Green Blend (for trace minerals) – One teaspoon of Berte’s Immune Blend per 35 lbs of body weight daily – Add 1,000 mg of EPA fish or salmon oil per ten pounds of body weight daily

Sample Diet Two

– One lb ground chicken, four oz of chicken liver, cook with small amount of butter – 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled – 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Spinach – 1/2 cup cooked cabbage – 4 oz Cottage Cheese Cook meat, eggs and vegetables and mix. When cooled, add cottage cheese. To this, add: – 1600 mg of calcium, or one teaspoon of dried, ground eggshell – One teaspoon Berte’s Green Blend (for trace minerals) – One teaspoon of Berte’s Immune Blend per 35 lbs of body weight daily – Add 1,000 mg of EPA fish or salmon oil per ten pounds of body weight daily

Sample Diet Three

– One lb ground pork, 4 oz of pork or beef liver, cook with small amount of butter – 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled – 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage – 1/2 cup zucchini – 4 oz Whole Milk Yogurt Cook meat, eggs and vegetables and mix. When cooled, add yogurt. To this, add: – 1600 mg of calcium, or one teaspoon of dried, ground eggshell – One teaspoon Berte’s Green Blend (for trace minerals) – One teaspoon of Berte’s Immune Blend per 35 lbs of body weight daily – Add 1,000 mg of EPA fish or salmon oil per ten pounds of body weight daily

Sample Diet Four

– One can 16 oz Mackerel or Salmon – 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled – 1/2 cup broccoli – 1/2 cup Kale or other dark leafy green – 4 oz Cottage Cheese Cook vegetables and eggs (no need to cook the canned fish, it is already cooked) and mix together. No calcium is needed as mackerel, salmon or sardines already contain soft, steamed bones for calcium content. To this, add: – One teaspoon Berte’s Green Blend (for trace minerals) – One teaspoon of Berte’s Immune Blend per 35 lbs of body weight daily – Add 1,000 mg of EPA fish or salmon oil per ten pounds of body weight daily

 

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