Nutrition

Nutrition Facts are Critical for Helping Your Dog Get Healthy

Nutrition facts are critically important as they relate to canine body systems. All dogs need exercise and proper nutrition to be healthy. There is no perfect dog food. Healthy dog food nutrition can be summed up like this...you get what you pay for! Dog food brands are many and varied...more on that later.

The quality of your dog's food will have a huge impact on his overall health. If you feed your dog poor quality food, or limited food choices, over time, his health will deteriorate.

A few common signs of poor dog nutrition are:

  • lethargy and listlessness (your dog appears tired and inactive)
  • skin problems with dull, dry coat or hair loss

Warning signs like these can indicate an underlying condition that needs to be addressed with a better understanding of canine nutrition facts. Dogs like people, require the proper nutritional balance (vitamins and minerals) to maintain normal metabolism and fight disease. All of the canine body systems are connected. Once you understand this nutrition fact, you will see that it is like that old song, remember the one...

...the knee bone's connected to the... leg bone...the leg bone's connected to the...ankle bone...the ankle bone's connected to the ...and so on.

Lets start at the beginning shall we..
Have you ever seen your dog drool when offered a treat, or when waiting for his dinner? Your dog's digestive process starts when he thinks about food, sees food, or smells food. His mouth starts to secrete saliva (drool) and dog digestion has begun Look at this picture This is my partner Fergus, sitting in the chair eating a banana. The four dogs are sitting waiting for a handout. Ferg didn't want me to put this picture in, because he hadn't shaved, but I think it's so much fun!

My point is, for you to see the dogs, thinking about, seeing, and smelling the banana. You bet they were starting to drool. Give it to them Ferg. Don't let them drool on the rug!

Body Systems Made Easy
Here is a picture of a dog. You can see where most of the organs are located, and how they are inter-related...one connected to the other. In this picture, the kidneys are missing. They are up behind the liver, close to the backbone (spine)...but this picture willgive you generally, a good idea of where everything is.

Digestion and Elimination

The canine Digestive and Elimination System, is a very large system. Think of it as 'the food-in and out system'. All body systems are important, but none so much as this one.

Your dog's digestion and elimination system consists of the mouth, teeth, salivary glands, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, colon, pancreas, liver and gallbladder. This system has a critical impact on the functioning of all other body systems. We will be taking a closer look at dog digestion later. This system is connected to your dog's Immune System.

Immune System

When a dog has a healthy, toxin free body, his immune system will kick in to protect him. Your dog's body will make it's own antibodies. These will fight off an invasion by a germ, virus, or bacteria. This process should not be suppressed or stopped. This is exactly what happens when your dog is given antibiotics. The immune system has now been altered, and is severely stressed. A dog with a weakened immune system, is now prone to infections. More drugs are given.

Next, your dog's body will try to eliminate the problem another way. For example, runny nose, runny eyes, cough, allergies and skin rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting. This is your dog's body trying to get rid of what's causing the problem. More antibiotics or other drugs will be used. This sets the stage for further problems by killing the good bacteria in the gut. Get the picture? Now, connected to the Immune System, is the Lymphatic System.

Lymphatic System

The Lymphatic System consists of lymph nodes and lymph vessels. The main function here is to transport and store white blood cells. White blood cells are the main line of defense against disease and infection. Within the small intestines, the lymph carries waste and debris away from the digestive system, and into the Circulatory System.

Cardiovascular and Circulatory System

The Cardiovascular and Circulatory System consist of the heart and related blood vessels. The main function of the heart is to pump blood. The arteries carry clean blood from the heart to the rest of your dog's body. The veins carry the dirty blood back to the heart to be taken to the lungs to be cleaned with oxygen. The waste, carbon dioxide is then expelled, breathed out.

Respiratory System

Your dog's Respiratory System consists of the mouth and nose, trachea, and lungs. Respiration means two things...breathing in, and breathing out. When your dog breathes he takes in oxygen, and breathes out waste gases like carbon dioxide.

Breathing also regulates his body temperature The proper or improper function of the respiratory system has a direct effect on the digestive and lymphatic systems. When you understand these nutrition facts you will be able to support your dog during times of respiratory weakness

Urinary System

The canine Urinary System consists of the kidneys, bladder, and urethras. This is a body system that goes totally unappreciated until something goes wrong and toxic internal garbage piles up and causes a big problem. The kidneys regulate body PH, and have the nasty job of eliminating waste, toxins and drugs from the body in the form of urine. This urine is stored in the bladder and emptied through the urethra when it reaches capacity. Any waste material if allowed to remain in the body will become toxic.

Humans have the ability to sweat, thereby taking some of the stress off the kidneys. Dogs do not have this ability. It is extremely important that you recognize this. When the kidneys do not flush thoroughly, uric acid can build up on the joints causing pain and stiffness. Understanding nutrition facts like this, and feeding your dog an excellent healthy natural dog food can help make sure yourdog is getting the best nutrition possible.

Nervous System

The brain, the spinal cord and the nerves make up your dog's Nervous System. The nervous system penetrates every tissue of the body, just as the circulatory system does. The nervous system is your dog's walkie-talkie specialist. It transmits electrical signals to make things happen everywhere in the body. The beating of his heart is a good example of this. All of his senses, including vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch are part of this network. Nerves are like electrical wires that send messages to every part of the body.

The brain is the largest and most complex part of this system. The spinal cord is the conduction pathway from the brain to the body, and back to the brain again. Unless there has been an injury, when the nervous system is on the fritz, it is usually because of a problem with the circulatory system. The circulatory system (blood) can become unclean, due to nutritional deficiencies and toxins caused by poor dog food nutrition. These toxins cannot be properly filtered out by your dog's liver, and so wind up back in the blood. This will finally take its toll on your dog's health. One more good reason to get the correct nutrition facts.

Glandular System

The Endocrine or Glandular System is made up of the thyroid gland, the parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, part of the pancreas and the sex organs. These glands produce hormones which travel through out the dog's body and affect other organs. The nervous system, immune system, and glandular system are joined together. This means that if something affects one part of the system, it has the potential to affect other parts as well. This is one great big super system that functions as a unit.

Structural System

Your dog's Structural System consists of bones, muscles, and connective tissue. Think of his bones as a framework, protecting everything on the inside. The muscles and connective tissue adapt to let your dog have flexibility and movement. This also includes your dog's skin and fur. Since the skin is fed nutrients from the blood, and if the blood is unclean from a toxic liver for example, problematic skin conditions can and do result. Again, understanding nutrition facts will help your keep your dog's bones, muscles and connecting tissues strong.

A Few More Thoughts on Nutrition Facts

So you see, it all works backward. One system affects all the others, until you eventually work it all the way back to the beginning again, the Digestive System Dogs can also live under a lot of stress for one reason or another. It is a little known nutrition fact, that stress is closely related to nutrition for your dog. Stress increases the need for certain vitamins which must be replenished daily.

Some Things That Can Cause Stress

  • second hand smoke
  • smoggy city living
  • separation anxiety
  • chemicals from household cleaners
  • toxic dog shampoo and other toxic dog grooming products.
  • emotional instability in the home. (yes, you are stressing out your dog )

Nutrition facts like this, can help you be more aware of your dog's needs. I believe that supplementing your dog's food with herbs, and some vitamin supplements which provide extra nutrients, can help alleviate this problem.

Summary

This has been a simplistic description of how canine Body Systems and nutrition facts work. Certainly, there is much more dog nutrition information to cover. However, you should be able to clearly see that all body systems are related and work together. Your dog's body is only as strong and healthy as it's weakest link. I hate to see a dog in the middle years of his life, stiff and sore from arthritis, for example. This type of health problem is what we call 'lifestyle' related, meaning it could have been prevented with a better understanding of dog food nutrition and how it works.

Prevention is always easier than trying to fix the problem after the fact. Use these nutrition facts and put the Body Systems way of health into use everyday. It will benefit not only your dog, but you as well. Arm yourself with nutrition facts as they apply to your domestic dog. Give him the best dog food nutrition you can afford. Then...selectively, add herbs and some vitamin supplements and you will see the improvement in your dog's health. Results speak for themselves!

Ideas You Need to Remember

  • There is no 'perfect food'.
  • You get what you pay for.
  • Good health starts in the digestive system.
  • Do not suppress or stop your dog's own immune system process.
  • 'Lifestyle' diseases can be prevented.
  • Stress increases the need for certain vitamins.
  • Educate yourself about nutrition facts as they relate to the workings of your dog's body.

You love him don't you?

Fish Oil For Dogs

“Fish oil for dogs? You gotta be kidding!” is a response I sometimes get from owners when I suggest they supplement Fido’s diet with omega 3 salmon oil capsules. After all, every dog owner knows that felines eat fish, but canines are supposed to eat dry kibbles and bits – or maybe, if they’ve been really good, a can of Ken-L-Ration horsemeat. “It just doesn’t seem natural,” owners sometimes add. But, in our kibbles and bits mentality, it’s hard to know what’s natural or unnatural for dogs. One thing’s for sure, it’s unnatural for them to depend on dry kibble for their nutrition. Their canine bodies are not designed to eat and digest the corn, wheat and carbohydrates that make up 40% of commercial dog foods.

If your dog could talk – and I’m glad mine can’t – he’d be asking for raw meat, bones, fish, eggs, dead possums and other tasty treats that we’d probably find repulsive. Left on their own in the wilds – where they came from – dogs can easily figure out what they’re supposed to eat. They don’t need a TV commercial with a cute jingle to know what’s good for them. Which brings us back to fish oil for dogs. Being mammals, canines can suffer from some of the same poor health conditions as humans. For example, they get inflammation, arthritis, dermatitis, cancer and heart problems just like we do – especially if they’re eating our table scraps.

Studies show fish oil can support the health of canines just like it can with humans. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine found that dogs with heart failure had lower levels of EPA and DHA than their healthy counterparts. Supplementing with omega 3 oil rich in EPA and DHA improved the survival rates for all dogs. (Vol. 12 (6), 440-8)

There’s more too! Now you can stop yelling at Fido to stop licking himself raw. Fish oil has been shown to reduce the itchiness, redness, swelling and hair loss associated with those dry, raw, hairless patches they seem to fixate on. (Veterinary Record, Vol. 144, No. 15, 405-07) Just give Fido salmon oil capsules and watch those patches go away.And if he has arthritis – common in large breeds – then omega 3 is the most important thing you can do for Fido. Just like in humans, it will decrease the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

We once found a beautiful, unclaimed Golden Retriever who had terrible hip problems. Sedona couldn’t get up from a lying or sitting position without help. But once we put her on daily salmon oil capsules, within several weeks she was jumping and running around like a puppy. Sedona turned out to be one of the best pets we ever had.

So, if you want better health for your “best friend,” feed her or him a raw food diet that includes omega 3 fatty acids. And, if a raw food diet is too involved for you and you plan on continuing to feed dry kibble, then by all means, also supplement the diet with high quality fish oil capsules. After all, they’re a part of your family and deserve the best you can give them.

Alkaline Water and your dog.

Water Facts

Water is widely accepted as one of the most important considerations when creating a healthy lifestyle. Water comprises between 50-70% of an adult’s body(up to 90lbs in a 130lb adult!) – and when water is taken out of our diet our survival time is 2-3 days at best so we have to make sure we are always well hydrated.

According to mayoclinic.com, at the very least dehydration can cause:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Little or no urination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness

Just to give a further idea of the importance of water in our diets, to survive the body can stand to lose the following:

  • 50% of your glucose
  • 50% of your fat
  • 50% of your protein; but
  • only 20% of your water!

So water is important, but what about the quality of water? Alkaline Water and the Benefits of Alkaline Drinking Water.

The average suggestion of water consumption per day ranges from 2.5 litres to 4 litres – so it is imperative that we ensure that this water is of the highest quality. There is a lot of discussion about the merits of alkaline water (particularly in the open publishing medium known as the Internet) – however, regardless of who you listen to regarding this debate there is one thing that is certain: The process of making water alkaline increases the purity of the water by filtering out toxins and impurities For those who are not so skeptical about the benefits of the alkaline lifestyle, alkaline water helps to neutralize acids and remove toxins from the body – it is a great cleanser and helps to detoxify our system. How Do We Make Alkaline Water?

There are three main methods to make alkaline water:

  • Using a distiller
  • Using a water ionizer
  • Adding alkaline ingredients to the water

Using a Distiller: using a is a very efficient and effective method of purifying and alkalizing your water. As noted by Dr. Weil

The process of distillation kills and removes virtually all bacteria, viruses, heavy metals,and other organic and inorganic contaminants. Once distilled, the water is as pure as water can reasonably be.

What a recommendation! He also does a great job here of dispelling the incredibly inaccurate myth about distilled water leaching minerals from the body (ridiculous I know). Distilled water is water that has been turned to steam and then condensed back into water. This process, as noted above kills all impurities, removes acid toxins and makes the water pH neutral/slightly alkaline.

In my opinion, this is the very best type of alkaline water filter. Using a water ioniser. Water ionizers are, unsurprisingly, products that ionize water. The water is ionized (electrically enhanced) by running it over positive and negative electrodes. This separates the water into alkaline (70%) and acidic (30%). This is exceptionally beneficial as the alkaline water is then used for drinking, while the acidic water can be used on the outside of the body as it is proven to kill many types of bacteria.

These are more expensive that distillers but are FAR more user friendly, as they simply attach to your tap and produce water at a pH of your choice instantly, as soon as you turn the tap on! We are getting some amazing feedback from our customers. Click here for more info on water ionizers.

Adding alkaline ingredients to the water
The third method is to add ingredients to the water to increase its alkalinity. I would only make these alkaline water additions to water that had already been put through an alkaline water filter, however they can be handy in an emergency when there is only mineral or tap water to hand.

  • Lemon Water: I have already blogged lemon water to death; however, I will mention it here as it really is an alkalizing superstar. By squeezing lemon juice (or lime juice) into water you immediately give it a healthful kick. Lemon water is very alkaline and is great in helping to detoxify the liver and kidneys.
  • pH Drops: These are an excellent way to dramatically increase the alkalinity of the water. These drops offer intense alkalinity and only a few are needed for an incredible boost to the alkalinity of your drink. There are several types around but I would only really recommend Alkalive’s pH Booster or Innerlight’s Prime pH.

So What is Alkaline Water and Why Make Our Water Alkaline?
Acid wastes (from the lifestyles we lead – not only from food and drink, but also from stress and other pollutants) are dumped into the bloodstream and lymph, and then are transported to the liver and kidneys for the detoxification processing and elimination. The pH level of our internal fluids affects every living cell in our bodies and the effect that over-acidification can have upon the health of our bodies is immense, with a chronically over acidic pH creating an extremely negative environment which affects all cellular functions from the beatings of the heart to the neural workings of the brain.

In order to hydrate your body optimally, you need to drink water that is alkaline and mineral rich. Alkaline water helps to neutralize acids and remove toxins from the body. Alkaline water also acts as a conductor of electrochemical activity from cell to cell. Ideally, water should have a pH between 8 and 9, and you should be drinking 3-4 liters of it daily. As you hydrate your body properly, you’ll develop more of a thirst for water.

Wanting to Lose Weight?
It is also true that food cravings are often the body’s cry for water. You might already have more of a thirst than you even realize – and if you are going to quench it, make sure your water is alkaline!