Keeping Your Pet Healthy in 2019

What can you do to help keep your pet healthy in the new year?  Here are three simple steps you can take that will help keep your pet thriving:

1. Diet  
We hear so much about nutrition in both the human and pet health arena.  But truly, this is the most fundamental key to optimum health.  Without proper nutrition, other modalities will not be effective. The most important concept is feeding fresh, whole foods in a balanced, species-appropriate diet. This may sound like a mouthful, and a lot more work than pouring kibble in a bowl, but I assure you that it is not as hard as you think, and well worth any additional time and expense. There are many well balanced raw or freeze-dried/dehydrated raw commercial products available. I do not recommend home-cooking as it is very difficult to achieve an adequate balance of nutrients, and the time and money required to find well-sourced ingredients will not save you anything in the long-run. If changing to a raw diet seems like a big step, then start by adding in some fresh food to your pet’s diet. This can be in the form of meat scraps, a cooked egg, coconut or avocado oil, sardines, or buy a commercial raw product and add in small amounts. These nutritional concepts holds try even if your pet has been diagnosed with disease conditions such as diabetes, kidney or liver failure, pancreatitis, IBD, and especially cancer. Fresh food is always a better choice.
I am available to help you in formulating a diet that will help your pet with its specific health challenges.

2. Use fewer vaccines and pharmaceuticals
Conventional medicine certainly has a place in treating short-term or in emergencies.  In the long-run, however, building health through nutrition and natural support will create more health and vitality. Vaccinations have been the mainstay in veterinary medicine for many years, the idea being that preventing disease through vaccinating was the best we could do to keep our pets healthy. There has been little talk about the amazing ability of the body to eliminate disease when given proper support.  Every vaccination and pharmaceutical given has potential side effects and the pros and cons should be weighed carefully.
In the case of vaccines, we can do titers to evaluate the level of immunity already present so that additional vaccines are not given unnecessarily.

Pharmaceuticals should be given judiciously, and only when warranted. Antibiotics, for example, should only be given when a bacterial infection is certain, and ideally, after a culture identifies which organism is growing and which antibiotic will be most effective.

3. Lifestyle changes
Our lives have become increasingly fast-paced and stressful. Our increased dependence on technology has many advantages, but can also take its toll on our health, and that of our pets. EMF, or electromagnetic frequencies are emitted constantly from our computers, cell phones and other electronic devices. These frequencies can be disruptive the normal function of many different cells in the body. While we cannot avoid this exposure completely, minimizing it whenever possible, and, most importantly getting outside and spending time in nature is an essential anecdote.

Does your pet spend long hours alone, without the interaction of other pets or people. Cats may be more adept at spending time alone, but will still appreciate your company.  Dogs are very social, and will develop behavior issues if not allowed to play, sniff, run, roll, and just be a dog.

Don’t forget that your stress level will also affect your pet, so spending time de-stressing with your pet can benefit both of you.  Getting outside for walks is an excellent way to do this. You will find that time spent in nature is both soothing and energizing.

I sincerely wish you all the best in 2019.

Stay tuned for special events and, of course, the opening of my new practice!

The Skinny on Fat

Fat has gotten a bad reputation in recent decades and has been blamed for many health issues. The reason for this is that there are unhealthy fats that have become prevalent in our food supply, and thus the pet food industry. Well sourced fats, that is, fats from pasture-raised and appropriately fed animals are not only safe, they contain essential nutrients that cannot be found elsewhere in the food chain. Even butter, which has been given a bad rap, if sourced from pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle, contains many important nutrients. Many fats are unstable and become rancid easily; this includes many of the common vegetable oils such as canola, corn, or soy. These fats will actually cause inflammation and cellular damage rather than offering any benefit.

Rather than fat, it is actually the consumption of carbohydrates, either in the form of simple sugars, including ‘healthy’ sugars such as honey, maple syrup, or cane sugar, or more complex carbohydrates such as grains, legumes, root vegetables, or large amounts of fruit that cause the inflammatory changes leading to many of today’s rampant health concerns.

Sugars combine with protein and fat in the body through a process called glycation resulting in an Advanced Glycation End-product, or AGE. These cause inflammation in the body and many of the aches and pains that we typically associate with aging. Some glycation is normal, but when sugar is consumed in excess, this reaction will lead to increased pain and other inflammatory symptoms. AGE’s also cause damage to mitochondrial DNA which can lead to many diseases, including cancer. Inflammation of the brain can lead to Alzheimer’s disease in people, and in animals it contributes to seizure disorders and cognitive decline.

I cannot stress enough how important the sourcing of fat is. Fat from grain-fed, factory-farmed animals has a very different nutritional content compared with that from grass-finished animals. Pasture-raised meat that is grain-finished will have the same nutritional content as feedlot meat, so be sure to use beef products that are grass finished. Poultry and pork should be pasture-raised and fed a variety of foods, all of which should be organic and non-GMO. Only meat products from animals raised and fed the way nature intended them to be, in natural outdoor surroundings will provide the beneficial nutrients we are discussing here.

The bad press that meat and fat has received in the past results from research using diets high in fats from factory-farmed animals, fed in crowded feedlots and fed a diet designed to make them gain weight quickly (high in grains and sugars), which makes them very unhealthy. The fat and meat from these animals is high in omega-6 fatty acids so is very inflammatory, and can absolutely lead to heart disease and other health conditions. When people are taken off of these meats, they are healthier, making a claim for plant-based diets. Rarely do studies compare a diet based on grass-fed meat to one that is grain-fed.

There are many vital nutrients present in fat. In addition, fat is important for the proper absorption of plant-sourced vitamins and minerals. Eating enough fat in the diet is essential to healthy brain function, as well as heart and immune system function. A lack of healthy fat in the diet can lead to diseases such as age-related cognitive decline, auto-immune disease and cancer.

With today’s mineral deficient soils, the plants we eat often do not have the nutrients that they should. This makes the consumption of healthy fat even more important. Eating a diet low in fat can lead to deficiencies in carotenoids, vitamins A, E, D3, K1 and K2, Omega-3 and GLA fatty acids, CoQ10, and a variety of minerals.

Fat soluble vitamins are dependent on each other for proper digestion, absorption and utilization in the body. For example, vitamins A and K2 are necessary for the proper utilization of vitamin D3. Vitamins A, D3, and K2 help the absorption of minerals, and also require certain minerals to perform their specific functions in the body. It is important to remember that singular supplementation is not often beneficial as the vitamins and mineral are interrelated and must be consumed together in the appropriate ratios. This is the importance of getting nutrients from a whole food source; the work is done for you by Mother Nature!

Here are a few of the important vitamins that fat provides:

Vitamin A, or retinol (NOT the beta-carotene found in carrots), is ONLY found in animal food, and is highest in liver. It assists in regulating gene expression, is a potent anti-oxidant, supports thyroid function, supports cell growth and differentiation (very important in treating cancer). Furthermore, it helps support healthy hormone levels, stabilizes the mood, improves skin and fertility, supports digestion, manages the stress response. In addition to liver, it is found in sardines, salmon, egg yolks, emu oil, cultured ghee, and cod liver oil. When obtained from natural, whole food sources, vitamin A comes along with the co-factors necessary for its proper usage.

Vitamin D supports bone health, modulates the immune system, has anti-cancer benefits, is protective for the brain, anti-inflammatory, helps the gut and heart work properly, and protects against migraines and seizures. The vitamin D that is added to foods is often D2, not the metabolically active form D3. Vitamin D2 can be converted to D3 after exposure to the UV light of the sun, but it takes regular exposure, so consuming dietary sources is a better choice. Lard from a pastured pig is one of the richest sources, along with organ meats, marrow, sardines, salmon, and egg yolks. It is important to measure blood levels to be sure there is enough in the diet and it is being properly absorbed.

Vitamin K – Like vitamin D, vitamin K comes in multiple forms. K1 is found in leafy vegetables and is associated with blood clotting. K2 is essential for the activation of many proteins. It is very important for bone development through the activation of osteocalcin, which regulates the absorption of calcium into the bones and through the activation of GLA protein. Further, it removes unwanted calcium from soft tissues such as arteries and joints. It requires vitamins D3 and A for its production and is dependent on K2 for its activation. A deficiency of vitamin K2 can be a leading contributor to the incidence of arterial calcification in people. K2 is also found in large concentrations in brain cells and in the myelin sheath.

Vitamin K2, in combination with vitamins A and D3 has the potential to reverse tooth decay. The Mk-4 version of K2 is found in pastured eggs, dairy and meat from grass-fed cows. Duck and goose liver are the highest.

Here are more advantages of consuming healthy fat in your diet:

  1. Fat is more satiating because it helps regulate the hormones that control hunger. This helps eliminate food cravings and facilitates maintaining a healthy weight.
  2. Saturated fats support the immune system by fueling white blood cell activity and fats enter the lymphatic system directly providing antimicrobial activity.
  3. Hormones require cholesterol and saturated fats for their production and messaging. Eating more fat can help correct hormone imbalances.
  4. Saturated fat, cholesterol, phospholipids and omega-3 fats make up cell membranes in the body. This balance is essential for proper nutrient absorption and communication between cells.
  5. The endocannabinoid system maintains the homeostasis of every hormone and neurotransmitter system in the body and is made up of fatty acids.
  6. The heart prefers saturated fat in the form of stearic acid as its primary fuel.
  7. Bones need saturated fat along with fat-soluble nutrients to assimilate calcium and other minerals.
  8. Lungs use palmitic acid (a form of saturated fat) to make surfactant, an important protective barrier.
  9. A breakdown product of red meat, L-carnitine, is essential for moving fatty acids into your mitochondria.

It is no longer necessary to avoid fat in our diets or what we feed our pets. In fact, well-sourced animal fat provides a host of nutrients not found elsewhere in the food supply. It’s the factory farmed fat or easily damaged vegetable oils that need to be avoided to support optimal health.

 

Ozone therapy for cancer

Ozone therapy is about providing more oxygen for the body to use, and helping the tissues use the oxygen more efficiently.  It is so effective because oxygen is an essential nutrient for every cell in the body.

For cancer patients, in particular, this process boosts the immune system by strengthening the cells that do the work of eliminating damaged cells from the body.  Further, many cancers thrive in a low-oxygen environment as this is how the cells become diseased in the first place.  By providing more oxygen, the cancer cells cannot thrive.

How is this different than the ozone in the atmosphere?  Atmospheric ozone is produced by either lightening or UV radiation splitting oxygen molecules, causing a single oxygen atom to join with O2 to make O3. It gets a bad reputation on smoggy days, so how is it safe to use in your pet? The actual amount of ozone mixed in the smog is actually very small when compared to other pollutants that we see and smell. The reason you hear so much about it is that ozone is easier to measure than the other components of the smog layer. When the ozone level goes up, so do the hydrocarbons and other toxins, but these are in much larger amounts and consequently much more toxic. There is a beneficial layer of ozone far above the earth in the stratosphere, which exits 5-11 miles about the surface of the planet.  This layer protects us from UV radiation so it is dangerous to us if this layer gets depleted.

Medical grade ozone is made by passing pure,  oxygen through a generator that uses an electrical spark to split an oxygen atom off of the O2 molecules. This free oxygen atom will combine with other O2 molecules and produce O3, which is ozone.

Once in the body, the ozone will combine with small protein and fat molecules to form substances called ozonides that can readily enter the cells.  Straight ozone is unstable and will react quickly with the tissues it comes in contact with.  Ozonides, however, are more stable and can provide benefit for days or even weeks after a treatment.

Ozone is nothing new.  The first generator was created by Nikola Tesla in 1896.  It took some time for it to be more widely used as a medical treatment, but it was used in humans as early at 1911 at the Loyola Chicago University to treat tuberculosis, anemia, chlorosis, tinnitus, whooping cough, asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, insomnia, pneumonia, diabetes, gout and syphilis.  In other parts of the world it is a mainstay treatment in human hospitals. There are a number of veterinarians around the country that have been using ozone successfully to treat many disease conditions, including cancer.

Please contact us for more information and we will help you decide if ozone is right for your pet.

 

A healthier way to vaccinate

Are vaccines really the best way to keep your pet protected from disease?  Rather than just relying on vaccines, it is important to look at what causes disease in the first place, and the natural healing response of the body.

A healthy immune system is key to optimal health.   The majority of the immune system resides in the intestinal tract, so keeping the gut lining healthy and maintaining a balanced microbiome is essential to preventing disease.  Proper nutrition is the most important element here, so feeding fresh, whole food ingredients is a must.  Additional support in the form of herbs and supplements may also provide value here, but this will vary from pet to pet.

Puppies and kittens get their initial disease protection from their mother’s milk in the form of antibodies she has generated.  The standard of care in veterinary medicine has been to start vaccinating at 6-8 weeks of age to build longer-term protection against disease.

The problem with vaccines, however, is that they are not given through a natural route of exposure.  This causes the immune system to sometimes react inappropriately, and often excessively,  causing inflammatory disease such as itching and diarrhea.  When given repeatedly, vaccines can lead to more serious autoimmune diseases, seizures and cancer. Over vaccinating at a young age can actually weaken the immune system, making it less effective at fighting disease in general.  This is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

The best way to grow a strong immune system is through natural exposure to disease.  Since we do not want our pets to get sick, what is the best alternative? Here is an outline of the protocol that I follow.  Of course, there may be modifications based on individual circumstances:

  1. Determine your pet’s vaccination history
  2. Determine the current level of immunity by doing a titer test.
  3. Consider your pet’s risk of exposure to the diseases that vaccines potentially protect against.
  4. Evaluate the overall health of your pet.  Only completely healthy pets should receive vaccinations.  In Colorado, a Rabies exemption is an option for pets with any form of disease.
  5. Check for upcoming or past medical treatments or procedures. Pets should never receive vaccines within 14 days of any anesthetic procedure.
  6. We consider legal requirements from your county and state, plus requirements from facilities such as daycare, grooming, and boarding

Based on the above, we will determine if vaccines are indicated.  If so, we implement the following safeguards:

  1. Only use single component (monovalent) vaccines
  2. Only give one vaccine at a time
  3. Do not vaccinate prior to 10 weeks of age
  4. Use titers to determine if your pet has responded to the vaccine and to monitor lasting immunity.
  5. Use Rabies exemptions for sick pets
  6. Understand the rules and regulations in your area regarding Rabies.
  7. Use supportive measures such as homeopathics to minimize vaccine side effects
  8. Assure that your pet is on an appropriate diet and life style to establish an appropriate immune response.

I have seen puppies, vaccinated at 10-12 weeks of age using this protocol, and followed with titer testing maintain a healthy immunity into their adult years.  This is with only one set of vaccines.  In my opinion, this is a HUGE advance in disease prevention – we are benefiting from the immunity provided by the vaccine without causing additional side effects.

Vaccines are not benign medicine, and over vaccinating can, indeed, cause harm to your pet.  Consider your pet’s risk and use only those vaccines that are indicated.  Remember that a strong immune system will be able to fight disease on its own, without the help of vaccines.

Choosing the best diet – know what you are feeding

Do you know what your pet is really eating?  It is so important these days to look beyond the marketing hype and actually read the ingredient list – you may be shocked at what you see!

Here is an example of the ingredients in a typical grocery store food:
CORN, SOYBEAN MEAL, BEEF & BONE MEAL, WHOLE WHEAT, ANIMAL FAT (BHA USED AS PRESERVATIVE), CORN SYRUP, WHEAT MIDDLINGS, WATER SUFFICIENT FOR PROCESSING, ANIMAL DIGEST (SOURCE OF CHICKEN FLAVOR), PROPYLENE GLYCOL, SALT, HYDROCHLORIC ACID, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, PEAS, CARAMEL COLOR, SORBIC ACID (USED AS A PRESERVATIVE), CHOLINE CHLORIDE, SODIUM CARBONATE, MINERALS (FERROUS SULFATE, ZINC OXIDE, MANGANOUS OXIDE, COPPER SULFATE, CALCIUM IODATE, SODIUM SELENITE), VITAMINS (VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENT, NIACIN, D-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENT, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN), DL-METHIONINE, CALCIUM SULFATE, CARROTS, GREEN BEANS, WHEAT FLOUR, TITANIUM DIOXIDE (COLOR), YELLOW 5, YELLOW 6, RED 40, BHA (USED AS A PRESERVATIVE), BLUE 1.

Notice that this diet is primarily grain with a bit of meat flavoring. Five of the ingredients are actually the colors red, yellow, and blue – do you think your dog really cares what color the food is? This is all part of the marketing game.  There are a few vegetables and a whole bunch of synthetic vitamins and minerals.

This one is from a ‘better’ dry food:
Chicken Meal, Millet, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pumpkin Seed, Yeast Culture, Spray Dried Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Montmorillonite Clay, Dried Kelp, Spray Dried Porcine Plasma, Dried Tomato, Almonds, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Carrot, Dried Apple, Menhaden Fish Meal, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Apricot, Dried Blueberry, Dried Spinach, Dried Broccoli, Dried Cranberry, Parsley, Dried Artichoke, Rosemary, Dried Mushroom, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium bifidium Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Pineapple Extract, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract

There are more real-food ingredients, but the second ingredient is millet, which is used as a binder and filler.  The first ingredient is chicken meal, so we really don’t know what is in that one.

Here is one from a ‘high-end’ dry food:
Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, chicken liver, chicken meal, catfish meal, turkey giblets, whole red lentils, whole pinto beans, pollock meal, chicken fat, whole green lentils, whole green peas, whole chickpeas, whole blue catfish, whole eggs, rainbow trout, pollock oil, lentil fiber, natural chicken flavor, chicken cartilage, turkey cartilage, choline chloride, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, mixed tocopherols (preservative), dried kelp, zinc proteinate, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, whole carrots, whole apples, whole pears, freeze-dried chicken liver, freeze-dried turkey liver, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product.

There is more meat in this one, but also red lentils, pinto beans, lentil fiber, green lentils, green peas, and chickpeas.  None of these are necessary in the diet of a carnivore, and can, in fact cause disruption in the normal digestion and absorbtion of nutrients.

Here is the list from a balanced raw diet:

Free-Range Meat (74.58%): Chicken Meat, Chicken Necks  (including bone), Chicken Gizzards, Chicken Livers, and Chicken Hearts.

Organic Vegetables (24.64%): Yams, Romaine Lettuce, Carrots, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Celery, and Parsley.

Special Nutrient Mix (0.78%): Organic Flaxseed Oil, Sea Salt, Inulin, Cod Liver Oil, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Vitamin E, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Iodine.

This list is primarily unprocessed, whole-food ingredients. There are a few supplements added to provide complete nutrition.

Look at the difference in these ingredient lists.  If you did not read them, you would have no idea what your pet was eating, and the difference is immense!

Here are some recommendations in choosing a food for your pet:

  1. The best diet will contain fresh whole foods with minimal processing.  This will include raw or lightly cooked products.
  2. The next best diet would be lightly processed such as dehydrated, freeze-dried, or oven-baked.  This type of processing will still lose nutrient value, but is more convenient and can be a good option to mix with some raw food in the diet.
  3. Canned food has the benefit of a higher moisture content, and does not typically contain the fillers that dry food does.  Still, read the ingredients carefully and I do not recommend feeding this as the only food type in the diet.
  4. Kibble is last on the list due to the level of processing that damages nutrients and can even cause toxicity.  Because of the need to hold the pieces together, there will always be some sort of carb or filler.  Although there is some variability in the quality of kibble ingredients, I do not recommend that any kibble constitute a majority of your pet’s diet.

 

Eliminating toxins

We live in a toxic world, and it is becoming more so all the time, and at an alarming rate. No matter how hard we try to avoid exposure to toxins, it is impossible to avoid certain chemicals and carcinogens completely. In this two-part post, we will first address avoiding identifying and avoiding toxins, and in the second part, some specific steps to take after exposure.

Let’s start with diet.  Herbicides and pesticides are used extensively in our food supply; even foods that are grown organically can be cross-contaminated from crops that are sprayed with chemicals such as glyphosate.  In fact, the use has become so rampant that it has even been tested in the rainwater of certain areas. Constant vigilance is necessary to ensure the purity of your pet’s food supply, and yours as well.  Because dogs and cats are carnivores, they eat foods sourced from other animals.  It is therefore very important to investigate the sourcing of the foods you feed.  What the animals eat and how they are raised has a dramatic affect on the nutritional quality of the end product. If the feed is sprayed with chemicals that becomes part of the food product that you feed your pet.  Many food animals are fed diets that are solely designed to cause weight gain, but this can actually make them sick, causing the food produced to be nutritionally imbalanced.  For example, cattle raised on grass, which is their natural food, have a healthy balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  In contrast, cattle raised or finished on grain have a much higher omega 6 fraction which leads to inflammation when eaten.  This is the reason for much of the bad press that red meat has gotten over the years.  It is not the case that red meat is unhealthy; rather meat from cattle raised inappropriately is unhealthy.

In pet foods, even those that start with healthy ingredients can become toxic due to over processing.  Processing at high temperatures or pressures not only destroys vital nutrients, but can denature some proteins and fats causing them to become toxic.  Regulation in the pet food industry is lax at best, and nutritional standards are so weak that a fully inadequate and toxic diet will meet current standards.  The best recourse is to vote with your dollar and favor companies that produce well-sourced, minimally processed products and the stores that sell them.  The inquiry must be ongoing as companies frequently change their standards due to industry pressure.

Now let’s talk water.  Many toxins and pharmaceutical drugs have been tested in municipal water supplies.  The water is also treated with chlorine and fluoride, both of which are toxic.  Water alone could be toxic enough to cause cancer in pets.  The ideal water source is a natural spring, which also contains important minerals from the earth.  This is not a readily available in many areas, so a home filtration system is the next best option.  Reverse osmosis is the most complete type of filtration, but it will also remove minerals so these need to be added back in.  Toxins can also be absorbed through the skin, so also consider the water you use to bathe your pet.  Water from an outside spicket is just as toxic unless you have a private well.

Ok, we have covered what your pet eats and drinks; what about the dishes and utensils you are using?  Plastics contain many toxic chemicals, many of which are hormone disruptors that affect the function of the endocrine system.  Hormonal regulation is very important to the health of the body, and requires a delicate balance.  Once disrupted, the system can cause havoc with the entire body.  There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ plastic either.  BPA has been incriminated as toxic and many plastics are now labelled ‘BPA-free’ but this is only one chemical and most plastics contain others that are just as toxic.  To prevent exposure, use stainless steel, or ceramic that has been stained or glazed with non-toxic products.

Does your pet have toys?  The plastics used to make toys are also toxic, so favor natural materials.  Chew treats that are animal products must follow the same standards mentioned above for choosing food products.  How about bedding?  Many fabrics and stuffings are sprayed with chemicals such as flame retardants and anti-bacterial.  Your pet comes in direct contact with bedding, not to mention breathing in the fumes.  You will pay more for natural fabrics, but the cost is nothing compared to the financial and emotional cost of treating a disease such as cancer.

Inside your home, carpeting and other flooring, furniture, draperies, certain paints and drywall contain toxic chemicals.  Now, granted, you may not be able to change all of these things, but at least consider changing to less toxic options over time.

So far, we have been talking about the toxins present in physical materials.  What about some toxins that you can’t see?  Our culture has become addicted to electronic devices, all of which emit EMF’s, or electromagnetic frequencies that disrupt the health of cells in many parts of the body.  Under the microscope, very dramatic and rapid changes can be seen in red blood cells exposed to EMF.  Constant exposure from cell phones and towers; wifi; florescent lighting; smart meters can be devastating to your pet’s health and the risk continues to grow as we become more dependent on our electronic devices.  There will be an entire section on how to reduce the EMF exposure in your home, but a few things for starters are:

  1. Distance matters. Keep your cell phone and computer away from you and your pet’s body.
  2. Power down. Your modem power can be adjusted down to emit less EMF. Better yet, turn it off completely when not in use, especially at night when you are sleeping.  This is a valuable time for your body to regenerate and repair and it is imperative that EMF does not interfere with this process.
  3. If possible, put your cellphone in airplane mode while driving in your car. The phone emits more EMF as it searches for signal.
  4. Spend time outside contacting the earth directly or consider an earthing sheet or mat.

 

We have been talking about some changes that you can make to avoid toxins in your pet’s environment, and these are very important steps.  The reality is, however, that we cannot completely eliminate toxic exposure.  This is why an ongoing detox program is so important.  Once again, proper nutrition is key here as it gives the body the tools it needs to use its own detoxification system.  The liver and kidneys are the primary organs of detoxification and must be supported.  There are herbs that can help with this process, along with drinking plenty of filtered  or spring water.  We will address this further in part two of this post.

Do you know what is in a vaccination?

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Do you know what is really in the vaccines that are given to your pet?  Vaccines are used to build immunity against certain diseases and will contain a modified or killed form of the organism.  Vaccines also contain other ingredients that may cause adverse reactions in your pet.  All vaccines will have preservatives of some sort.  These are typically either antibiotics and/or thimerosal, which is a mercury based preservative.  Vaccine companies and the FDA will consider these substances safe if present in certain low percentages.  The problem is that you never know if your pet is going to react to even a small amount of a chemical preservative or antibiotic.

I recommend that you ask what is in the vaccine that is being given your pet.  I have also found that package inserts are not complete.  In an effort to investigate the ingredients in certain rabies vaccines, I found that the package insert only listed gentamycin as a preservative.  When I contacted the company asking about any other ingredients, I was sent the MSDS (material safety and data sheet ) that report the presence of neomycin(another antibiotic) and thimerosal.  You can ask to see the MSDS sheets or find them your self online if you know the brand of vaccine that is to be used on your pet.

Remember – vaccines are not benign, and can cause reactions including skin disease, vomiting and diarrhea, autoimmune disease, seizures and cancer.  You have the right to be informed and deserve full disclosure of what your pet is receiving.

GMO in Pet food

This is a very important reason to carefully scrutinize not only the ingredients in your pet’s food, but where they come from. What does GMO mean?  GMO stands for genetically modified organisms, and they are becoming more and more prevalent in our food supply every day.  Crops are modified to increase profit by increasing resistance to disease, or increasing production.  What is the problem with GMO?  Genetic engineering is done in such a way that the DNA of the plant is permanently altered.  The scary part is that very little testing is done to determine what effects the altered genetics will have on the person or animal ingesting the food.  The modified genes can be unstable and even incorporate into intestinal cells, modifying their DNA!

This can explain increases in diseases such as allergies, food sensitivities, autoimmune syndromes and cancer, even when supposedly ‘healthy’ foods are being consumed.   You can learn more details about the genetic modification of our food supply at: https://responsibletechnology.org/

What does this mean for your pet and how can you feed foods that are GMO free?  The answer is to read labels and ask questions of food producers.  Anything labelled organic will be GMO free by definition.  Avoid soybeans, canola, cottonseed, corn, and sugar from sugar beets.  These are the crops with the highest prevalence of GMO.  Remember too that there are many byproducts of these crops, especially corn, such as syrup, starch additives.  Many companies are now labeling their products that are GMO free.  You can find a more comprehensive shopping guide at http://nongmoshoppingguide.com/.

In general, fresh organic ingredients will provide the best chance of avoiding genetically engineered foods.  Companies that do not use genetically modified ingredients will typically make that obvious on their packaging.  Remember – pay attention, read labels and ask questions if labels are unclear.  The time you spend will be worth the health benefits to you and your pets.

When it is time to say good-bye

Our pets bring so much to our lives – love, companionship, joy, playfulness.  It is devastating to face the moment of truth when a beloved pet may be leaving our lives.  There are difficult decisions to make, finances to consider, and most importantly, we do not want our pet to suffer needlessly.  These decisions can be heart-wrenching, to say the least.

How do you decide how long to treat your pet, and with what?  Do you feel selfish by keeping your pet alive in order to avoid the loss?  There is often a dead end reached in allopathic medicine where ‘no more’ can be done.  In alternative medicine, however, there are many options to choose from regardless of your pet stage of life.

This is not to say that we can stop your pet from aging or stop the progression of disease, but there are definitely options that can improve your pet’s quality of life both mentally and physically.  These options include energy work, essential oils, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, homeopathy and animal communication.  Within each of these modalities, there are many options available to help your pet.

As you pet reached its ‘golden years’  seek out alternative therapies that you are comfortable and you will find great comfort for both you and your pet.

Summer bugs

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Summer Bugs

We are well into our summer weather and the question often arises – what do we need to do to protect our pets against bugs such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes (the carrier of heartworm disease)

The need to protect your pet is based on the risk of exposure to the bugs:

Fleas are often brought to your pet from other animals, including wildlife.  They will make your pet itch, and are visible, brown bugs that hop on and off your pet.  Fleas can live in your house and yard, making them difficult to get rid of.  There are several spot-on type flea preventatives that are applied once monthly – these are effective, but are also toxic as the insecticide is absorbed into your pet’s body.  There are natural sprays that can repel fleas but do not kill them.  I do not recommend using a flea preventative unless you have actually seen them on your pets.

Ticks typically live on the vegetation and drop on your pet as it walks by.  Ticks can spread diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichia, and anaplasmosis.  These diseases are potentially serious and it is definitely worth checking your pets for ticks after it has been outside.  Many of the same insecticides that are used for fleas can also be used to kill ticks.  I recommend checking your pet for ticks and removing them as soon as you see them.  A simple tweezer attached to the tick just above the skin should remove it uneventfully.

Mosquitoes are the insect that spreads heartworm disease If your dog is exposed to lakes, ponds, or other pools of water, there will likely be some mosquito exposure during the summer months.  The heartworm larvae must go through a life-stage cycle in the mosquito in order to be able to infect your dog, and this transition requires a temperature of 57 degrees or higher for 30 consecutive days. Here in Colorado, we have cool nights, so the risk of heartworm disease is much lower.   In warmer climates, the risk is much higher.   There are natural repellents to keep mosquitos away from your dog, and regular heartworm testing is also a good idea to be sure that there has not been any exposure.

In Colorado, I recommend heartworm prevention only during the warm summer months of June, July, and August.  In my experience, finding a heartworm positive dog that lives in Colorado is extremely rare.  In other parts of the country, where mosquitoes are more prevalent and the temperatures are warmer, the risk will be much greater.  If you live in, or travel to other areas of the country, your dog should be on prevention for more of the year.

I recommend choosing your pet’s prevention based on its risk of exposure.  If you do not see the bugs, then there is no need to use potentially harmful pesticides.  If the problem is mild, you can try one of the natural repellent sprays.

Have a happy and hopefully bug-free summer!