Feeding to Prevent Degenerative Conditions
In the wild dogs hunted in packs and existed on a diet of raw game meats. They would have caught smaller species like rabbits and birds whose flesh would be consisting predominantly of rapid twitch muscle. In other words white meats. Further to that they would have consumed the bone and marrow all of which would have had a crude form of glucosamine sulphate which would help ‘lubricate’ the joint capsule. Vegetable matter would have come from the stomachs of small herbivore game they caught and from the crops of birds. They also self medicated on wild herbs and grasses. They did not eat copious quantities of carbohydrates.
Dogs fed on a diet that mimics to some degree what they would have consumed in the wild tend to be healthier and do not suffer from the degenerative conditions that seem to plague dogs fed on a diet of dried biscuits, feeds and tinned foods.
Many reputable dog breeders are now adopting the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) feeding system which is proving to be very beneficial not only to the dog’s overall health, skin integrity etc but also to oral health thereby reducing visits to the vet requiring and anaesthetic to remove tartar and abcessed teeth.
Problems Facing the Modern day Pet Leading to Degenerative Conditions
These may include:
- Repeated doses of anti-biotics
- Poor recovery from illness or injury
- Teeth problems requiring costly dental surgery.
- An unsatisfactory feeding regime containing artificial food colouring and flavour, excessive amounts of red meat.
- A diet that is high in carbohydrates, low in fat, omega oils and low in high quality protein.
- A diet consisting almost exclusively of dried processed feeds that often have excessive amounts of added carbohydrates/fillers and preservatives.
- Eating omega oils that have peroxidised through being exposed to heat light and oxygen. Note: omega oils should only be added at time of feeding
- Genetic tendency
Clinical signs Indicating Degenerative Decline:
- Incomplete digestion of food in droppings.
- Skin conditions like flea related irritations.
- Poor mobility and or arthritis.
- Tendency to repeated infections ( skin, nasal, bronchial, eye, urinary etc.)
- Behavioural problems.
- Bad breath and smelly faeces.
Some Practical Health Tips
- Eliminate red meats and processed dried food for a few weeks to see if there is an improvement in skin and degenerative conditions.
- Introduce raw meats like venison and possum meats once or twice a week. Raw chicken necks that have been frozen for a few weeks can also be given.
- Look for local suppliers of game meats like rabbit and possum. The greater the demand for these meats the more competitive this market will become.
- Make sure the bulk of the food consists of high quality protein and a reasonable percentage of fats. This will help prevent glycation of tissues.
- Daily doses of echinacea tincture one week on one week off has been shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of infection.
- Small daily doses of St John’s Wort has shown to improve the immune response as well as having a mild anti-inflammatory effect. It has been found to be effective in dealing with compulsive repetitive behaviour like compulsive scratching after a bout of flea related irritations.
- Dogs with skin allergies may be given Omega Oil Complex with Chamomile and vitamin C Powder to reduce symptoms.
Nutrient Dense Meal Recipe
Prepared the following way
- Boil for half an hour chicken with bone-in (remove bones later) in a litre of water which has had one tablespoon of cider vinegar or lemon to the water to draw out bone minerals and glucosamine from connective tissue in the meat (chicken is best for cats and dogs)
- Add to this just half a cup of brown rice(to bind the feed) and cook a further 30 minutes. ( if kidney disease and allergies are present replace rice with vegetables)
- Then add 1 kiwi fruit to the above which will help break down the protein in the meat into more easily digested amino acids. (Ideal for elderly pets that have poor digestion.) Also add to this ‘soup stock’ 1 grated carrot, a handful of herbs like parsley, oregano, rosemary, thyme, dandelion leaves, a bunch of spinach, and any other green leafy vegetables you may have. I blitz all the vegetables and herbs before adding to the stock.
- 1tsp of gelatine powder (natural source of glucosamine sulphate)
- A small amount of animal fat like chicken and/or lamb will increase the fat ratio and lower the GI
- Feed the day’s portion and refrigerate or freeze the remaining feed.
- Add between quarter to half a tsp of Omega Oil Complex at time of feeding.
Some Excellent Additives
- Any chlorophyll product like barley grass will help sweeten the breath and is great for digestive health.
- Acidophilus tablets may be added to the diet to address digestive conditions and to restore beneficial gut flora after a bout of anti-biotics .( May be obtained from any health store) Dosage to be calculated from bottle.
- Powdered spirulina is an excellent all round tonic andis similar to chlorophyll but with minerals from the sea like iodine and traces of selenium.Stimulates digestion and appetite as well as improving weight gain.
- Natural kelp
- Garlic the natural antibiotic and improves circulation.
- Water cress provides a good source of vitamins A,B,C,D,E sulphur and iro
- Powdered nettle along with pepperment leaves for sweet breath and digestion.
Note : Omega Oils are highly oxidative in the presence of heat light and oxygen and should only be added at the time of feeding.
Limit the Amounts of the Following
- Onions and garlic. These contain compounds that don’t metabolise well and large quantities can cause hemolytic anemia.
- Tomatoes or potatoes. Are all part of the solanacea family and contain atropine which can dilate the pupils, cause tremors and heart arrhythmias.
Don’ t Feed the Following
- Chocolate In large doses (active ingredient is theobromine) is toxic to dogs and can cause tremors and heart arrhythmias.
- Macadamia nuts. As little as a few grams can cause temporary paralysis.
- Sweet treats or excessively salty treats. These can affect the insulin response and triglyceride levels in blood.
- Any food with mould on it. A dog can get very sick at best and at worst toxic shock syndrome and death. If it is not fresh enough for you to eat then it isn’t safe for your dog.
- Fried greasy or fatty foods can trigger pancreatitis. this condition is life-threatening causing severe vomiting often requiring hospitalisation.
- Beer or other alcoholic drinks. This is tantamount to animal abuse.
- Human pain killers Ibuprofen,naproxen (Aleve) aspirin
- Fish and fish products particulary when kidney disease is suspected as this may increase BUN levels.