Alternative Pet Health
Canine Dental Health
The big question is, "should I brush my dogs teeth, does it really matter?"
This is what Gail has to say:
The answer to that is that brushing a dog's teeth can and is beneficial and part of your overall alternative pet health. Some vets feel if you don't brush daily it doesn't do much to help with oral hygiene and I have also read that brushing 3 times per week along with having either hard bones or an additive especially made for helping to reduce tarter build-up is fine too.
Another thought is that by doing the natural additive alone like Teddy's Pride or t/d dog food from Prescription Diet for dog dental health and hard chews will work fine to maintain healthy gums and reduce plaque.
One more recommendation for your alternative pet health plan is to have a professional cleaning done by your vet yearly after the age of one year.
There are special toothpastes that can be purchased from a pet store or from your vet as well. It is best not to use the toothpaste at the local grocery store because of the fluoride in it.
Chew Bones, etc.
I am choosing to use t/d dog bones, which I give one or two pieces to my dogs after they have eaten their meal. They also have dog chews and knuckle bones for chewing to eliminate the plaque build up and maintain healthy gum tissue.
I will be exploring Teddy's Pride which can be purchased on-line.
The subject for giving dog bones to promote good dental pet health is my next topic on alternative pet health. This is one to look at carefully and discuss with your vet. It also depends on your dog and what type of chewer he/she is. Does your dog demolish the bones or splinter them or use them just to chew on?
All dogs love bones. Gnawing exercises the jaw muscles, massages the gums, and cleans the teeth. Avoid bones or chew sticks that shatter or could fracture teeth.
Part of my alternative pet health includes knuckle bones or hard shaft bones with bone marrow. The marrow provides essential nutrients.
The beef bones come from grass-fed, antibiotic and growth hormone free beef from a local farmer.
Commercially Produced Dog Food
There are several commercially produced dog foods that contain healthy foods and can be a part of your alternative pet health plan. The label should say tested by extensive feeding trials. Do not rely on a statement that only says “laboratory analysis.” This is insufficient.
Our pets know if what they are eating is good for their overall pet health. Pay attention to their opinion.
Dry dog food needs preservatives. Canned food has gone through a heat sterilization and vacuum sealing process. Dry food can spoil with heat, humidity, light, and oxygen. Fat spoils the quickest.
Natural antioxidants with the healthy foods have a shorter shelf life. A few ideas to avoid healthy food spoilage are listed.
l. Try to use dry food products within 6 months of the manufacture date.
2. Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry, location.
3. Use a trusted retailer about the production of the food products and where the product was made.
The following information comes from Dr. Becker’s site with mercola.com. She is addressing label information.“The better the brand (and higher the cost), the more likely the food’s ingredients are human grade. If all else fails, you can visit the manufacturer’s website or call their toll free number to get your questions answered.
Even better is if the protein source is either free-range or pasture-raised and hasn’t been shot full of hormones and antibiotics.
4. A whole food protein source at the TOP of the list of ingredients with a named meat is essential. Examples are beef, turkey, lamb, chicken. Avoid any product with non-specific descriptions like ‘animal,’ ‘meat,’ or ‘poultry.’
Most commercial pet foods also contain meat meal, which is fine as a secondary ingredient to a whole food protein source. Meal consists of meat with the moisture removed, with or without bones and has the right calcium/phosphorus balance.
5. Grain-free. Your carnivorous pooch has no biologic requirement for grains. Many grain-free formulas use potatoes instead, but starches should not be added in excess.
AAFCO guarantee. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has established minimum standards for complete and balanced pet nutrition. A formula without AAFCO certification will likely be deficient as a sole source of nutrition for your pet.
6. For good pet health and good pet care look for natural preservatives. Natural preservatives are antioxidants like Vitamin E (tocopherols) and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
7. "For good pet health avoid synthetic preservatives like BHA, BHT, propylene glycol or propyl gallate which are dangerous to the liver and kidneys."
A resource from “Natural Pet Cures”, Drs. Stefanatos and Sodhi advocate diets high in fiber, and consist of quality protein for good alternative pet health.
If you want to make your own dog food, here is what they advise:
l. Protein such as cooked or boiled eggs, cooked or canned salmon, and tofu, but no tuna fish.
2. Lightly steamed vegetables such as carrots, pea pods, broccoli, string beans, cauliflower, baked yams or potatoes, canned pumpkin, salad greens which provide roughage.
3. Fiber sources: cereal grains such as cornmeal, rye, barley, oats, rice, millet, quinoa, and wheat.
A Few Don’ts.
1. Meat by-products may contain ingredients like beaks, feathers, feet, hooves, hair, even tumors. The exception would be by-products derived from human grade organ meats like liver and kidney.
2. Poor quality, incomplete proteins. These include corn gluten meal, wheat gluten meal, rice protein concentrate, and soy protein.
3. Formulas containing corn or soy. Corn is a cheap filler ingredient with no nutritional value. It is also a known allergenic. Soy is estrogenic and can be harmful to the dog’s endocrine system.
* BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin, propyl gallate. These are all artificial preservative. Ethoxyquin is used to preserve the fish meal found in many pet food formulas.
It won’t be on the food label because it is added before the fish meal arrives at the manufacturing facility. When considering dog foods containing fish, look for written manufacturer assurance on the label or web site that the fish meal does not contain ethoxyquin.
Look for foods preserved with vitamins C and E also called tocopherols.
*Avoid artificial colors, flavors, sugars, sweeteners or propylene glycol.”
I wanted to add that natural seasonings such as garlic is good. Natural colorings like carotenoids is in the healthy food category too.
A Healthy Dog Treat
Here is a recipe for a healthy dog treat:
2 ½ c. whole wheat flour ½ c. ground sun flower seeds 1 tsp. kelp 1 tsp rosemary 2 eggs beaten ½ c. chicken stock 2 gloves garlic pressed
l. Combine all dry ingredients, mix well
2. Combine wet ingredients until well blended
3. Combine both wet and dry ingredients, form all ingredients into a ball by hand.
4. Set dough aside for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate a few hours.
5. Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Roll dough out to ¼ inch thickness and cut into shapes.
Bake 30 minutes. For firmer treats, turn off oven and let them sit until oven is cool.
I realize there is much information, but we all love our pets and giving them healthy foods, whatever you choose, is good pet care.
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