NUTRIENTS & DIET
We have discussed in previous articles the essentials of water, carbohydrates, protein and fat in your pet’s diet. This month we will look at the merits of minerals.
Minerals include such substances as calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc, among others. As a rule, minerals function as co-enzymes that help control numerous biochemical reactions in the body. Minerals also are constituents of bone muscle, and are involved in the growth and regeneration of tissues. Mineral deficiencies rarely occur in pets. In dogs fed cheap generic diets, zinc deficiency commonly occurs, causing crusting skin lesions, often prominent around the mouth and nose.
NUTRIENTS & DIET
We have discussed in previous articles the essentials of water, carbohydrates and protein in your pet’s diet. This month we will look at the merits of fat.
Fats are used for energy and are necessary for the absorption of vitamins, A, D, E, and K. Fats also are used in the body’s production of hormones, for insulation, for protection of vital organs, for lubrication, for buoyancy, and as precursors to amino acids. Fats also make diets more palatable (diets high in fats taste good!). Excess concentrations of fats can lead to obesity, hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease), and pancreatitis. Cholesterol is a common animal fat. While excess cholesterol can cause problems in both people and pets, every person and animal needs some cholesterol. Cholesterol is important because important hormones (testosterone, progesterone, estrogen) are made from cholesterol.
NUTRIENTS & DIET
We have discussed in previous articles the essentials of water and carbohydrates in your pet’s diet. This month we will look at the merits of protein.
Protein is composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks of the body. Proteins are used for energy and in the production of enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and in making muscle and other structural tissues. While people often mistakenly are concerned about the protein content of food, in reality it’s the amino acids that are important. The protein sources used in formulating the diet must contain the proper amounts of the essential amino acids needed, or your pet will suffer from an amino acid deficiency despite an adequate protein intake.
NUTRIENTS FOR YOUR PET
Feeding the best diet is important for total holistic health for your pet. By getting your pet on the best diet, some mild conditions (such as allergies) may respond without needing to use other therapies. In the next several months we will explore the seven dietary classifications of nutrients — water, carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and food additives so you can make an informed choice on your pet’s diet that will encourage growth, promote a healthy coat, and allow proper function of his organs and immune.
NUTRIENTS FOR YOUR PET
Feeding the best diet is important for total holistic health for your pet. By getting your pet on the best diet, some mild conditions (such as allergies) may respond without needing to use other therapies. In the next several months we will explore the seven dietary classifications of nutrients — water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and food additives so you can make an informed choice on your pet’s diet that will encourage growth, promote a healthy coat, and allow proper function of his organs and immune system.
Homeopathic physicians may recommend nosodes instead of conventional vaccinations. Nosodes are simply homeopathic "vaccines" that are prepared from various infectious organisms. As an example, a nosode for panleukopenia (cat distemper) would be prepared from infectious panleukopenia virus, possibly from respiratory secretions from an infected cat. A variety of nosodes are available, both for the treatment of infectious diseases (for example, the staphylococcal nosode is used as part of the treatment of staphylococcal dermatitis).
Fleas are the most common external pest causing irritation and discomfort to dogs and cats. Flea infestations are not usually fatal; however, puppies, kittens, and debilitated pets can become quite ill and even die due to blood loss from heavy flea infestation (fleas suck blood from their hosts). Fleas most commonly cause irritation to infested pets. Dogs and cats with flea allergies can experience intense itching and secondary skin infections. Only one flea bite is necessary to cause severe signs in flea-allergic pets; in many flea-allergic pets, no fleas are ever found.
Green foods most commonly include barley grass, spirulina, alfalfa, chlorella, and blue-green algae. Green foods contain a variety of nutrients. Ingestion of these nutrients seeks to prevent and treat illnesses that may be induced by an imbalance of minerals, enzymes, and vitamins in processed diets.
Diabetes mellitus is a common endocrine pancreatic disorder in pets. The incidence in cats and dogs is reported to be anywhere from 1 in 100 to 1 in 500. Diabetes is classified as type I or type II. Type I, is called insulin-dependent diabetes. In this disorder, there is destruction of the beta cells (insulin-producing cells) of the pancreas. Treatment involves replacing insulin through injections given one to two times per day.
Type II, called non-insulin-dependent diabetes, as insulin is usually not required with this disorder. Insulin resistance and dysfunctional beta cells, rather than permanent destruction of beta cells, are seen in pets with type II.
There are several natural treatments for heart disease in cats and dogs, including Taurine, Carnitine, Hawthorn and Coenzyme Q10. This month we are focusing on the use of CoQ10 for your pet’s heart health.
CoQ10 (ubiquinone) is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant that is found in every cell in the body. It plays a fundamental role in the mitochondria, the parts of the cell that produce energy from food. Coenzyme Q10 appears to control the flow of oxygen within the cells as well as functioning as an antioxidant to reduce damage to cells by harmful free radicals. Every cell in the body needs CoQ10, but there is no US Recommended Dietary Allowance since the body can manufacture CoQ10 from scratch.
The hulls of black walnuts are recommended for use as a deworming agent in pets. The active ingredients are purported to be tannins and alkaloids.
Therapeutic Uses for Black walnut
Black walnut has been used to treat dogs and cats with tapeworms.
Aloe is often used topically as a soothing rinse or topical preparation. Aloe contains a number of beneficial chemicals. The prostaglandins in aloe have beneficial effects on inflammation, allergy, and wound healing. While many would profess to appreciate the healing effect of aloe on wounds and burns, there have never been any properly designed scientific studies that can tell us just how effective aloe really is for these conditions.
Topical aloe gel may improve the rate of healing of minor cuts and scrapes, although one report suggests aloe can actually impair healing in severe wounds.
Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin, is needed for the proper clotting of blood (it plays a major role in the carboxylation of clotting proteins II, VI, IX, and X and proteins C and S). It may also help prevent osteoporosis, as it is needed for the synthesis of the bone protein (osteocalcin) involved in calcium crystallization (via the incorporation of calcium phosphates in growing bone). Vitamin K exists as vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone), the natural forms found in food, and as vitamin K3, the synthetic form called menadione. Both vitamins K1 and K2 are converted to dihydrovitamin K upon digestion.
Microscopic insects called mites cause mange. The most common types of mange are demodectic mange (common in puppies; rare in adult dogs, kittens and cats), sarcoptic mange (scabies in puppies and dogs), notoedric mange (scabies in kittens and cats), and otodectic mange (ear mites in puppies, dogs, kittens and cats). Demodectic mange is a genetic disease and is not transmissible between pets. The other types of mange are transmissible between pets and can in fact be transmissible between pets and their owners. Mange is a common cause of skin disease in pets and may be difficult to diagnose in some pets.
DMG stands for dimethylglycine, also called vitamin B15. It is found in low levels in foods, including meats, seeds, and grains. Both the human and animal body makes DMG from choline and betaine. It is suggested that increased dietary intake of DMG is to provide carbon to cells. It is also a precursor of SAMe. DMG appears to enhance oxygen usage, prevent the accumulation of lactic acid, improve muscle metabolism, function as an anti-stress nutrient to improve the cardiovascular system, and reduce recovery time after vigorous physical activity.
Inositol is present in all animal tissues, with the highest levels in the heart and brain. It is part of the membranes (outer linings) of all cells, and plays a role in helping the liver process fats as well as contributing to the function of muscles and nerves.
This vitamin, unofficially referred to as “vitamin B8,” promotes the growth of hair, reduces cholesterol levels, contributes to the function of muscles and nerves, and has a calming effect. As with Choline, inositol is needed for lecithin formation and in the metabolism of fat and cholesterol. Inositol, a naturally occurring isomer of glucose, is also useful for removing fats from the liver and should be used in pets with fatty liver disease.
Heartworms are caused by the parasite Dirofilaria immitis and are transmitted by the bite of the mosquito. When a dog or cat is bitten by a mosquito infected with heartworms, the immature larvae carried by the mosquito enter through the mosquito bite in the skin. From the site of the bite, the larvae continue to molt and travel through the pet’s body. Approximately six months after infection, the mature larvae enter the pet’s heart and pulmonary vessels in the lungs and finish their maturation into adult heartworms. In dogs, most of the worms reside in the pulmonary vessels in the lungs (except in heavy infections, where the worms can live in pulmonary vessels, the heart, and the vena cava); in cats, due to a lower number of worms, the heartworms are most likely to reside in the heart.
Chondroitin sulfate is the major glycosaminoglycan found in cartilage, it also helps inhibit enzymes that are destructive to the joints. Chondroitin sulfate is a naturally occurring substance in the body.
A study in the 1998 journal, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, reported that chondroitin sulfate is an effective treatment for osteoarthritis. Because chondroitin production by the body decreases with aging, supplementation with this compound may be especially helpful for older pets with arthritis.
The safety of today’s pet foods is critically important to pet parents. The acute situation which occurred approximately two years ago with the melamine contamination caused many of us to re-assess our understanding of the safety factor of the nutrition we supply our pets.
Bilberry, related to the blueberry, came to popularity during World War II, when British Royal Air Force pilots reported that eating bilberry jam improved their night vision.
Bilberry is most commonly taken internally in people to help with disorders of the eyes, including macular degeneration and cataract formation due to its antioxidant effects. Its flavonoid compounds (anthocyanosides) are the most pharmacologically active. These flavonoids have several effects, including collagen stabilization (due to their vitamin C content), which may make them useful for pets with arthritis.
Vitamin D (a fat-soluble vitamin) is needed for proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestinal tract. It is needed for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, protects against muscle weakness, and regulates the heart. Vitamin D helps prevent hypocalcemia and osteoporosis, enhance immunity, and is needed for proper thyroid function and blood clotting.
Just what constitutes the best or most appropriate diet for a pet is quite a controversial topic and there are as many opinions as there are doctors. Often the opinions are based more on emotion than on objective medical facts. When it comes to having facts to back one view or the other, sometimes they are hard to find.
No matter which type of diet—homemade or processed—is chosen, it must meet at least five requirements:
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxine hydrochloride, pyridoxal-5-phosphate) plays a major role in making proteins, hormones, and neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry signals between nerve cells). Cats have a higher requirement for vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) due to high transmitter activity from their high protein requirement.
Pyridoxine affects physical and mental health and is needed for most body functions. It maintains sodium and potassium balance and is necessary in water regulation by the body. It is needed for fat and protein absorption. Vitamin B6 is a coenzyme to over 50 different reactions in the body’s cells transamination (where nitrogen is added to a fatty acid to form an amino acid) and decarboxylation (where a carbon is removed to shorten an amino acid chain).
Riboflavin also known, as vitamin b2 is an essential nutrient required for life.
Riboflavin functions as part of a number of coenzymes in most cells. It is an integral part of flavin mononucleotide and flavin adenine dinucleotide. These enzymes are used to transfer hydrogen ions (which are supplied by sugars and fatty acids in the diet) to the cytochrome and hydrogen ion transfer systems to supply energy to the body (via production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP).
(Niacin, niacinamide, nicotinamide, inositol hexaniacinate)
Vitamin B3 is required for proper function of more than 50 enzymes. Without it, your body would not be able to release energy or make fats from carbohydrates. Vitamin B3 is also used to make sex hormones and other important chemical signal molecules.
(Pantothenic acid, Calcium pantothenate)
Pantothenic acid, vitamin B5, is known as the anti-stress vitamin since it is involved in the production of adrenal hormones and antibodies produced by the body’s white blood cells. Like other vitamins, it assists in vitamin metabolism and helps in the conversation of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy for the body.
There is no one vitamin B, but rather a complex of many B vitamins. All of them help maintain the health of the nervous system, skin, eyes, hair, liver, muscle, and brain. They function as coenzymes in energy production and may help reduce anxiety or depression.
Supplement for arthritis, allergy, epilepsy, cancer prevention, immune support
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that is required by people and some animals. Humans and certain animals (such as guinea pigs and monkeys) lack the enzyme L-gulonolactone oxidase needed for the formation of vitamin C. Dogs and cats possess this enzyme and can therefore synthesize vitamin C. As such, dogs and cats do not have a specific dietary requirement for this vitamin. Many doctors, however will supplement with vitamin C during times of stress and illness (as larger amounts of vitamin C may be required during these times.)
Epilepsy is the name given to seizural disorders in dogs and cats for which there is no identifiable cause. Primary epilepsy is the result of functional cerebral disturbances without obvious causes other than a possible hereditary predisposition.
Periodontal disease is the most common infectious (caused by bacteria) disease in dogs and cats. It is estimated that 80 percent or more of dogs and cats between the ages of one and three years have some evidence of periodontal disease that requires treatment.
Normal teeth should be white. Gums should be light pink, except in those breeds with pigmented gums (such as Chows). While all pets have some amount of noticeable breath odor, pets with periodontal disease have noticeably disagreeable odors, from months to years of decay. While bad breath per se is no big deal, what causes bad breath is a big deal?—?and a very serious problem that ultimately will shorten a pet’s life.
Diabetes mellitus is a common endocrine pancreatic disorder of cats and dogs. The incidence of diabetes in cats and dogs is reported to be anywhere from one in 100 to one in 500 pets.
Diabetes is classified as type I or type II. Type I diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes. In this disorder, there is destruction of the beta cells (insulin-producing cells) of the pancreas. Treatment involves replacing insulin through insulin injections given one to two times per day.
Heartworms are caused by the parasite Dirofilaria inmitis and are transmitted by the bite of the mosquito. When a dog or cat is bitten by a mosquito infected with heartworms, the immature larvae carried by the mosquito enter through the mosquito bite in the skin. From the site of the mosquito bite, the larvae continue to molt and travel through the pet’s body. Approximately six months after infection, the mature larvae enter the pet’s heart and pulmonary vessels in the lungs and finish their maturation into adult heartworms. In dogs, most of the worms reside in the pulmonary vessels of the lungs (except heavy infections, where the worms can live in pulmonary vessels, the heart and the vena cava); in cats, due to a lower number of worms, the heartworms are mostly likely to reside in the heart.
Common uses include cancer and shedding
Selenium is a trace mineral that our bodies use to produce glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that serves as a natural antioxidant. Selenium is also required for normal pancreatic function and lipid absorption. Glutathione peroxidase works with vitamin E to protect cell membranes from damage caused by dangerous, naturally occurring substances known as free radicals. Adequate amounts of selenium can spare vitamin E, and adequate amounts of vitamin E can reduce the selenium requirement. By ensuring that pets receive adequate amounts of both E and selenium, these important nutrients will not be deficient and will work together to help fight oxidative damage in your pet’s body.
Autoimmune diseases, which occur more commonly in dogs than in cats, are those diseases in which the pet’s body forms antibodies attacking its own tissues. The exact cause of autoimmune diseases is not known. However, many doctors feel that the immune system may malfunction as a result of infections or chronic exposure to toxins. The fact an increased number of cases are seen shortly following repeated immunization prompts many holistic doctors to surmise vaccinations may be responsible for the formation of autoimmune disease in some pets.
Enzymes are used for a variety of functions in the pet’s body. Cellular processes, digestion, and absorption of dietary nutrients are dependent upon the proper enzymes. Most commonly, owners often think of enzymes as necessary for digestion of food. In fact, enzymes produced by the pancreas are essential for digestion of nutrients in the diet. Once properly digested by pancreatic enzymes, the dietary nutrients can be absorbed by the pet.
Ear infections in dogs and cats are caused by bacteria, yeasts, or ear mites. Chronic ear infections occur in certain breeds such as Retrievers and Spaniels due to anatomic abnormalities or lifestyle (frequent swimming). Chronic ear infections may also be caused by underlying abnormalities such as food allergies, atopy, or hypothyroidism. Accurate diagnosis requires examination of the ear discharge under a microscope (ear cytology). A medicated ear flushing (sedation is often required) will clean the ear and allow the owners to apply treatment more easily.
Vanadium For Pets
Vanadium is a mineral, and evidence from animal studies suggests it may be an essential micronutrient.
In people as well as pets, there are no well-documented uses for vanadium, and there are serious safety concerns regarding its use. However, vanadium has been proposed to be of benefit to patients with diabetes as vanadium has insulin-like properties and may inhibit protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP).
Oxygen is the only nutrient that is more important to sustaining life than water. Your dog could live for weeks without food, but would only last a few days without water. Approximately 60 percent of your dog’s total weight is water. That means if she weights 50 ponds, then 30 pounds of that weight is water. The entire body is highly dependent on water, including the blood, brain, and muscles, which are each over 70 percent water. The most important nutrient you give your dog is water, so it is vital to provide access to pure, clean water at all times.
As dogs age, they eventually start to slow down and are happy sitting under the big oak tree watching life go by. All dogs will age, and they will all age at a different rate, depending on their size, breed, and how they are cared for throughout life. A dog that is in optimal health throughout her life will age more slowly than a dog plagued by chronic illnesses. If you have an elderly dog in poor health, it is not too late to bring her back to health. Many of the symptoms attributed to old age in dogs are merely a lack of good nutrition.
All pet owners know how terrible it feels when one of our beloved animals is sick or in pain. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis in domestic animals is a common condition. Over 20 percent of dogs over the age of one are suffering from this painful, debilitating condition. The causes of arthritis in pets are very similar to those in humans: poor nutrition, repetitive wear and tear on the joints and hereditary conditions associated with joint destruction. The family pet has also become the latest victim of inactivity and obesity. Overweight animals suffer greater bouts of osteoarthritis.