Any time an animal shows symptoms of disease, like itching, or anything other than perfect health, it is the body's way of telling you that something is not working correctly. Most people take their dogs to the vet to have the "symptoms" treated instead of finding out WHY the symptoms came around in the first place. The immune system is a living beings natural form of defense. If an animal shows signs of ill health it is because the immune system is not able to do it's job. One of the main ways you can boost your pets immune system is to provide them with the best possible diet. A good quality diet will provide the animals body with the nutrients it needs to have a strong immune system. Many health conditions in dogs can sometimes be completely eliminated by simply feeding your dog a better food.
Although I am not a veterinarian, I have had the opportunity to gather the knowledge of literally thousands of dog's and cat's medical conditions and treatments over the last 15 years. All the information and recommendations I share on this site are the cumulation of these observations. These recommendations are not to be used in place of good veterinary care, but as a compliment to good veterinary care. I highly recommend to my clients to seek out a holistic veterinarian in their area. To find one in your area log on to www.ahvma.org. In the Sussex County NJ area, I highly recommend Dr. Sheila Lounsberry DVM,CVA. Her website is www.drlounsberry.com. Or talk to your current vet about holistic alternatives.
Below I have listed some of the more common diet related ailments that I see on a regular basis. Most dogs & cats that have had these conditions have recovered or improved tremendously by changing their diet.
SKIN CONDITIONS- These are usually diagnosed as "allergies" . In some cases, they are not "allergies" at all, but are the result of immune system overload or immune system suppression.
Itchy Ears & Reoccurring ear infections
Itching & biting of Feet
Itching at base of the tail
Rubbing face or muzzle on floors & furniture
In a case of immune system overload, there are so many "toxins", from the environment or the food, that the animals immune system can't keep up. Some of these "toxins" must be eliminated in order for the symptoms to alleviate.
In cases of immune system supression, the supressive components, such as steroid use, vaccination or stress must be eliminated and the immune system must be boosted in order to allieviate the symptoms.
One of the most common manifestations of this immune "disorder" are yeast conditions. If your dog is displaying the symptoms listed above, in many cases, yeast is to blame. A diet that is too high in carbohydrates contributes to this condition. Many people take their dog to the vet to get treatment for the symptoms. The conventional treatment usually includes antibiotics and steroids(prednisone). The conventional treatment will provide relief for the dog temporarily, but once the medication is finished, the symptoms usually will come back. The holistic approach, which is diet change and vitamin & herbal supplementation, will take a little longer, but if followed through, will eliminate the problem permanently. If you would like more information about the holistic treatment for a yeast condition, please contact us or stop by the store. I have studied this condition for many years and I have put together a treatment plan that works!
If you are already feeding your dog a grain free commercial kibble diet and your dog is still experiencing these symptoms, another factor that causes these symptoms is called the "Maillard reaction". This is a reaction that happens when the kibble is produced. When the meat is heated to a high temperature, as it is when it is extruded into a kibble form, the protein reacts with the carbon in natural sugars in the meat and binds with the protein. The resulting compound is sometimes seen as an antigen by the dogs immune system. Dogs with these sensitivities do very well when switched to a dehydrated or raw food diet.
Most dogs that have any itching problems do very well when their diet is changed and also when they are given liver cleansing and immune boosting herbs and vitamins. These are very affordable and really work wonders for your dog.
EAR INFECTIONS- Reoccurring ear infections are also a manifestation of a diet that is too high in carbohydrates and a sign of a lowered immune system. They are usually initially yeast based. A secondary bacterial infection can set in after the initial yeast infection. In many cases, antibiotics have to be prescribed to clear up the bacterial infection. If oral antibiotics are given, they will kill off the beneficial bacteria in the intestines of the dog. The beneficial bacteria are the organisms that keep the yeast under control. The beneficial bacteria (probiotics, which are like Activia, only for dogs) must be added back into the dogs diet otherwise the yeast infection will re-occur. These products are especially made for pets digestive systems. If possible, treating the ears topically will prevent the die off of beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
HOT SPOTS- In many dogs, hot spots show up when a diet is too high in carbohydrates, artificial flavors, colors and/or preservatives. The dog's liver has to process all toxins that enter the body. If there is an overload of toxins(which artificial ingredients are) the liver cannot handle the overload. The body tries to detoxify itself through the skin. Many dogs develop lick granulomas from constantly licking the spot. By changing the dog's diet, this problem can, in many instances, be virtually eliminated.
DIABETES-Dogs that are overweight and are fed a high carbohydrate diet can develop diabetes. By changing the diet to a high meat protein, low carbohydrate, low glycemic diet, this ailment can be controlled and sometimes even eliminated. We have diets available that are excellent for this condition.
KIDNEY DISEASE-Dogs that have been diagnosed with kidney disease can benefit greatly by a change of diet. The diet must be changed from a dry kibble diet to a canned, dehydrated or raw diet. The dry diets contain many more "impurities", since they also do not contain much moisture, they do not allow the dogs body to hydrate correctly and therefore the kidneys have to work harder. I have had extreme success with many pets with kidney disease. If your dog has been diagnosed, stop in the store, I'll be happy to help you choose the correct diet!
OBESITY-Many of the pets I see on a daily basis are overweight or obese. Currently 58% of dogs and 45% of cats in the US are overweight or obese. Most pet owners do not recognize that their pet is overweight. The perception is that the animal is "solid" or "big boned". Obesity is as serious to your pet as it is to humans. By not addressing the problem, these animals end up developing other weight related illnesses such as diabetes, breathing issues and joint problems to name a few. If you want your pet to be healthy and last a long time, please be honest and help your pet lose weight. We carry some great foods that are specifically good for weight loss and I can help you with a program you can follow to help in this process. If you would like me to evaluate your pet's body condition contact me or talk to your vet about having them evaluate your pet.