The Problem with Commercial Dog Food

Dogs eating commercial food are like people eating fast food, there simply isn’t enough nutrition in processed foods to thrive and help prevent disease.

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Doesn’t it seem strange that in this era of improved nutrition and better medical care, dogs are living shorter lives?

Since commercial, processed pet foods were introduced in the late 1950’s, there has been an increase in health issues in dogs linked to nutritional deficiencies. When dogs became domesticated, they were fed table scraps or meals made especially for them of human grade food. Dogs were healthier as a whole at that time compared to the present day. My father remembers all too well that when he grew up on his parent’s farm, they had several larger dogs that his mother cooked for, or they received table scraps. He remembers that those dogs lived well into their mid 20’s. Today the average life span of a large breed dog like a German Shepherd or Labrador is only 10 to 12 years.

Do you think there is a link between diet and disease? I certainly do, and I know more and more pet owners are starting to realize that and are seeking out healthier choices when it comes to feeding their pets.

THE HISTORY OF COMMERCIAL DOG FOOD

I like to follow Karen Becker DVM, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian who believes that the foundation of good health has much to do with appropriate nutrition. She was named one of Chicago’s Top Ten Vets, according to Chicago Magazine, and has appeared on the hit show, the Animal Planet. She has now partnered with Dr. Joseph Mercola and provides education in the form of articles and YouTube videos on his animal wellness resource website HealthyPets.Mercola.com.

In one of her articles The Best “Pet” Food Money can Buy … And the Absolute Worst she provides this summary of the history of commercially prepared pet foods in the US:

The Great Depression of the 1930s and early ’40s had a significant impact on the growth of the commercial pet food market; however, lack of industry regulation invited anyone who wanted to make a buck to produce a can or bag of pet food. During that period, canned pet food accounted for over 90 percent of the market.

During World War II (1939 to 1945), not only was metal rationed, but also pet food was categorized as “non-essential” by the U.S. government. The combination spelled death for the canned pet food industry.

The war also sparked the processed food revolution in the U.S, and all the factors that made processed food attractive to humans ultimately had a significant impact on the pet food industry as well.

In the late 1950s, a U.S. pet food company developed a way to create kibble from boiling cauldrons of meat, fat and grain scraps – it’s called extrusion. The raw materials are purchased by pet food manufacturers who then blend the rendered fat and meat with starch fillers. They add bulk vitamin and mineral supplements, and then they extrude the mix at high temperatures, creating all sorts of toxic reactions. This is what passes for pet food and it’s sold to consumers at a tremendous profit.

By 1960 there were many, and today there are hundreds of companies mass-marketing kibble. Carnivorous pets have not evolved to digest and assimilate foods like corn, wheat, rice or potatoes – yet these are the very foods the vast majority of pet food manufacturers use as primary ingredients in their formulas.

Fortunately, dogs are extremely resilient creatures. Not only do they not die immediately upon eating biologically inappropriate foods, but it often takes years before the significant physical degeneration that occurs from a lifetime of eating the wrong foods becomes noticeable.

Dr. Becker writes that for over a half-century, our pets have been fed inappropriate diets that have kept them alive, but not thriving. In fact, she says, we’ve created dozens of generations of animals that suffer from degenerative diseases linked to nutritional deficiencies.

Dr. Becker closes her article by saying that dogs need QUALITY PROTEIN, FATS, and a small amount of VEGETABLES and FRUITS, which provide antioxidants and fiber to animals that no longer hunt whole prey. NATURAL SOURCES of trace minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids must be added, since the soils in which foods are grown are depleted of many of the nutrients pets need. Pets need unadulterated, fresh, WHOLE FOODS that are moisture dense. They don’t need grains, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, additives, chemicals, byproducts, or processed foods. Although animals can eat some processed foods, they aren’t designed to consume a lifetime of dry or canned diets.

Dr. Becker calls it unfortunate that the American pet owner’s love of dry pet food has endured since it was first introduced.

In her opinion, this is what led pet food companies to mass-market this type of pet food that is most popular with U.S. pet owners due to its convenience and low cost. Pet food companies capitalize on the popularity of kibble. And she is wondering … have we chosen convenience over the health of our pets?

She says one of the reasons we’re able to deceive ourselves into believing convenience pet foods are good for dogs is because the changes to a pet’s health and vitality brought on by a dead, processed diet are usually not immediate or acute.

If you are feeding commercial dog food, I suggest avoid buying from the big-brand dog food companies because their foods may not contain the wholesome, healthy ingredients you want for your dog.

According to the Whole Dog Journal, what these big companies do best isn’t making quality food – its marketing and advertising. The truth is that these mega corporations can’t find enough high-quality ingredients to meet their ridiculously huge production volumes.

The big companies spend more money on packaging, processing and promoting their products than on quality ingredients to support health. So don’t be fooled by the pretty pictures and the advertisements of the big-brand dog food companies that make the food seem better than it is.

It’s important that each food you choose is free of artificial preservatives, corn, wheat, soy or dyes. Read the ingredient labels. An artificial preservative would be listed as BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin. There are reports that BHA and BHT are carcinogenic (Cancer Lett 1987 Fukushima et al), while ethoxyquin, a preservative and pesticide, is reported to damage kidney tissue in rats (Arch Toxicol. 1992 Manson et al). Corn and soy, unless stated, are of genetically modified origin, while wheat is high in gluten. These undesirable ingredients can contribute to allergies, inflammatory bowel disease or even cancer.

ADDING WHOLE FOOD VITAMINS

Many kibble manufacturers state that you shouldn’t add vitamins or supplements to their food, claiming that their food is complete and balanced. In reality, the laboratory derived, synthetic vitamins present in the food don’t meet adequate standards. Over time, cell receptors can become clogged with these fake vitamins and begin to perform improperly. In fact, toxicity can occur if synthetic vitamins are excessive in the food.

WHOLE FOOD VITAMINS are complex and better used by the body’s cells and the assimilation of these healthful vitamins can actually be decreased when in the presence of synthetic vitamins. Minimizing synthetic vitamins and adding whole food vitamins will give the body the opportunity to pick and choose what it needs.

OLEWO – THE PERFECT PARTNER FOR ANY PET FOOD

Olewo Carrots and Olewo Red Beets are easily added to kibble or whatever food you are feeding. Simply rehydrate and mix in with your dog’s meals.

With just one spoonful of Olewo a day, you can pack a TON of WHOLE FOOD VITAMINS into your dogs’ meals to supercharge their health. PLUS, because Olewo properly prepared the vegetables to be easy for your dogs’ bodies to digest, you know they are able to absorb and utilize the amazing nutrients.

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Are Vegetables Good for Dogs?

Can Dogs Benefit from eating Vegetables?

We all know that vegetables contain an abundant amount of nutrients including vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and other health promoting compounds.

Mother has always told us we need to eat our vegetables. Without much scientific evidence, it was always understood that vegetables needed to be part of our diet in order for us to be healthy. In recent years there has been increased focus on the power of natural foods, and more people are taking additional steps to improve and maintain their health. And they’re doing it by making healthier choices when it comes to their diet and by eating more vegetables. Many are also searching for healthier choices when it comes to feeding their pets, and also incorporate vegetables in their dogs’ diet – but do they really benefit our canine friends too?

Are Vegetables Good for Dogs

Whether dogs can really benefit from vegetables in their diet has been an ongoing argument, specifically amongst enthusiastic raw feeders, because commercially fed dogs have been eating a grain and vegetation-based diet for a long time. But even amongst raw feeders there are different beliefs. Some believe that vegetables belong in their dog’s diet because dogs are domesticated and are used to eating a variety of different foods. Other raw feeders however, argue that dogs are true carnivores and have no need for plant matter and that it isn’t biologically appropriate.

Are Dogs Carnivores or Omnivores?

There are different opinions whether dogs are carnivores or omnivores. The reason this argument ties into the same topic whether dogs can benefit from eating vegetables, is because carnivores and omnivores are equipped differently and digest food differently. There are many different beliefs amongst pet owners and I believe whether people think vegetables are good for their dogs or not, has much to do with whether they believe dogs are carnivores or omnivores.

Animals that eat a variety of different foods, of both animal and plant origin are considered omnivores. Humans are considered omnivores. Animals that consume only meat are considered carnivores.

Since dogs have evolved over time and have adapted to their environment, let’s look at their unique physical features:

Teeth

While omnivores have teeth suitable for handling a variety of foods including vegetables, most carnivores have long, sharp teeth adapted to ripping, tearing or cutting meat, bones, organs and hide. They lack flat molars, which are used for grinding and breaking down plant matter.

Gastrointestinal System

Vegetables are much harder for dogs to digest than meat because they contain cellulose. Not only do dogs not have the proper teeth for grinding and breaking down plant matter, dogs are also lacking the digestive enzymes necessary to break down the cellulose, making it impossible for them to digest this carbohydrate.

Carnivores lack salivary amylase, the enzyme necessary for beginning the break down of carbohydrates before they enter the stomach. Omnivores produce amylase in their salivary glands, but carnivores do not.  Carnivores also lack the specific bacteria that aids in the break down of cellulose. Because of the difference in their gastrointestinal system, dogs cannot properly break down and assimilate the nutrients from vegetables before they are digested and expelled from the body.

I am sure many of you have fed your dog raw carrots before, but have you looked at their poop afterwards? If you take a close look, you will see that the carrot pieces come out the same way your dog swallowed them. This first became evident to me well over 10 years ago when after a heavy rainstorm I saw a lot of orange looking piles in our yard. The poop had flushed away, and exposed the pieces of carrots – undigested.

GI Tract

After proper break down of vegetables, fermentation is also needed for proper digestion. The GI tract of an omnivore is longer to accommodate the fermentation times required when digesting vegetables. Carnivores have a short GI tract, and therefore food passes through the digestive system quickly. Because of the short GI tract, the vegetables are expelled quickly before they can be fully digested and the vitamins and minerals can be absorbed.

According to Dr. Wouter Hendriks of Utrecht University’s Veterinary School in the Netherlands, when looking at the unique physical features, the dog is undeniably a true carnivore. The dog just happens to have an adaptive metabolism as a result of living with humans for millennia. That’s why the dog is perfectly capable of eating a plant and grain-based diet, as most commercially fed dogs do – allowing them to cope with life as an omnivore.

Olewo Vegetables are EASY To DIGEST

While the question if dogs can benefit from eating vegetables may remain an ongoing argument, and people will always have different opinions, our customers are positively answering this question every day.

Our customers now know that there is an issue with dogs not being able to properly digest vegetables in their raw form and therefore, their dogs won’t be able to receive the health benefits.

With adding Olewo vegetables to their dog’s meals, our customers are seeing definite improvements in their dog’s overall health, often within just a short amount of time. In addition, they are also seeing common ailments like diarrhea and other digestive issues, dull coat, allergies, and itching being resolved – simply by adding a spoonful of Olewo to their dog’s meals every day. Many have been able to discontinue prescription medications and steroid shots, and can’t help but call it a miracle. Amazing what a difference of a little added natural, whole food nutrition can make!

Olewo Vegetables are especially prepared and in the correct form allowing dogs to absorb and utilize the amazing nutrition to benefit their health.

Simply rehydrate Olewo Carrots and Olewo Red Beets and add to your dog’s food, whether it is kibble, canned, raw, or home cooked dog food.

The Naked Truth About Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins for Dogs

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By Candace T. Botha
Sarasota Pet Magazine

As a responsible pet owner, you pride yourself on giving your dog the very best food you can buy at your local pet food store. What’s more, you also may provide your pup with a daily, chewable, “vitamin-rich” supplement to ensure that you are meeting all of your pet’s nutritional needs.

But did you know that, despite your good intentions, you actually may be robbing your dog of the important, natural nutrients he needs to live a healthy and long life?

Here’s why: there is a radical difference between natural vitamins found in whole foods and the synthetic vitamins that most pet foods and supplements contain.  When choosing foods and supplements for your dogs, it is imperative to consider the level of nutrients they provide—if, in fact, they offer any nutritional value at all!

 A Close-Up Look at Pet Foods     

Many kibble and canned dog foods now on the market do contain wholesome, healthy ingredients, including fruits, vegetables and meats—just look at those colorful packages! However, most of these commercial pet foods are highly processed with extreme heat. Consequently, many of the natural nutrients these healthy foods offer are virtually either depleted or completely destroyed.

Even the healthiest pet food ingredients may be suspiciously lacking in natural nutrients for a variety of environmental reasons, including:

  • Depletion of nutrients in the soil from overuse
  • Pesticide contamination that limits how plants produce and store nutrients
  • Fertilizers that potentially annihilate the nutritional content of fresh fruits and vegetables.

But pet foods and chewable supplements do contain vitamins and minerals, right? It says so on the package label!  Yes, there are nutrients, but they are not the wholesome, natural nutrients your dog’s body needs or can use efficiently.

Here’s the cold, hard truth: Pet food manufacturers spray a “premix” of synthetic nutrients on the food after it has been processed in an attempt to restore the natural nutrients that have been destroyed in the production process. By adding this premix to the food, the manufacturers earn the right to include “complete and balanced nutrition” on the packaging labels. What’s more, the addition of these “nutrients” enables manufacturers to meet the most minimal standards of The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the pet food industry’s regulatory agency.

Quite simply, this practice deceives consumers and spells danger.

What about chewable supplements; aren’t they nutrient-rich? Unless the label includes  “100 percent natural,” “100 percent plant-based” or “100 percent animal-based,” you can bet your pet is getting an unhealthy dose of synthetic vitamins.

The Hidden Hazards of Synthetic Vitamins

Just what are synthetic vitamins, anyway?

The definition of the term “synthetic” really is quite elementary: it means an ingredient is a substance or mixture of substances that do not occur anywhere in nature.

Unlike natural, whole-food vitamins that are “living substances,” synthetic nutrients are not alive nor do they come from natural sources. Most likely, they have been formulated in a test tube and added into highly processed foods that have been stripped of their naturally occurring nutrients. Synthetic vitamins attempt to mimic the way vitamins and minerals from natural food sources act in our bodies, but, in truth, they deprive the body of the vital, natural nutrients it needs.       

Natural vitamins, on the other hand, are the “whole enchilada.” They include critical micronutrients—including anti-oxidants, co-enzymes, trace minerals and more—that work in synchronization to nourish and protect the body’s cells and foster good health.

Synthetic vitamins are “isolates,” which means that they do not contain the entire spectrum of components that are found in their natural counterparts. They are, so to speak, the enchilada without the tortilla and cheese—critical ingredients have been removed, simply because they are less expensive and more profitable to produce, and they also have longer shelf lives.

According to The Organic Consumers Association, the body cannot use isolated vitamins in the same way it uses natural vitamins, and this can have deadly consequences. For example, because synthetic vitamins are lacking in trace minerals, these important micronutrients may be depleted from the body’s own mineral reserve as it attempts to metabolize the artificial vitamins. The result: life-threatening deficiencies can develop.

Here’s the bottom line: Synthetic vitamins that are added to pet food or chewable supplements are nothing more than chemicals that you are putting in your pet’s body. The body treats them in the same way as any other chemical or drug that is ingested.

Most alarming is the fact these synthetic vitamins actually are unsafe, unhealthy toxins that can accumulate in the body and can lead to disease and even premature death.  Intuitive as it is, the body knows how to recognize natural vitamins, metabolize them efficiently and use what it needs before excreting the excess.

It’s simply not so with synthetic vitamins. They are not recognizable to the body and are more difficult to absorb and excrete, thus creating havoc with the kidneys (Kidney disease has, in fact, become the second leading cause of death in dogs.). They also can build up in the body over time, simply because the body doesn’t know what to do with them. And, like with any other toxins in the system, serious diseases can develop over time.

According to Dr. Keith Ungar, DC, a chiropractor and functional medicine practitioner with The Center for Natural Medicine in Akron, Ohio, “Synthetic vitamins…have no function without the support of the micronutrients you’ll find in whole food vitamins. The metabolism of these unwanted synthetic vitamins can lead to vitamin overdoses and imbalances in body chemistry.”

What’s in Your Pet’s Food & Supplements?

Here are clues you can use to help you determine if your pet is ingesting synthetic vitamins:

  • Read the labels! Ingredients that end in “ate” or “ide” are a telltale sign that the product contains salt forms, which are, in fact, synthetics. (Examples: hydrochloride, nitrate)
  • The use of the letters “dl” before any ingredient is another indication that the supplement is synthetic. (Example: dl-alpha tocopherol is a synthetic form of Vitamin E).
  • An absence of natural food sources, such as fish, vegetables, citrus or yeast, on the food or supplement’s label means the product is synthetic.
  • Different forms of salt, including acetate, chloride, hydrochloride, nitrate, bitartrate and succinate—all of which end in “ate” or “ide”—are synthetic ingredients added to foods and supplements to increase their stability and lengthen their shelf lives.

The Myth Behind “Natural” Claims

Okay, you say to yourself; my pet’s food or supplement is not synthetic, because the label says “natural,” right?

The sad truth is that food and supplement manufacturers can use the word “natural” on the label even if only 10 percent of the ingredients in the product come from natural food sources!

In other words, up to 90 percent of the ingredients in the “natural” food or supplement you are giving your pet actually could be synthetic!

The Healthy, All Natural Alternative: Nutrient-Rich Olewo Pet Food Supplements       
For more than 35 years, Olewo Carrots and Olewo Red Beets have been proven and trusted as leading, all-natural pet food supplements that provide a powerhouse of natural nutrients to foster optimal health and promote longevity.

Both additive and preservative free, Olewo pet food supplements are in no way genetically modified and, even more importantly, they contain no synthetic vitamins. In fact, the only ingredients in the product are 100% fresh, premium carrots and 100% fresh, premium red beets—not beet pulp.

Cultivated in the rich, fertile soils of northern Germany, a country that long has been a leader in organic farming, the carrots and red beets go to preparation immediately after they are harvested, and then are gently dehydrated to preserve all of the vegetables’ natural nutrients. And these whole-food nutrients are plentiful!

In addition to the natural, whole-food nutrients they provide, Olewo Carrots and Olewo Red Beets provide premium sources of fiber, and most importantly, are easy to digest.  The vegetable supplements are convenient to use and can be added to kibble, canned food, a raw food diet and home-cooked meals for a daily dose of natural vitamins and minerals.

Optimal nutritional advantages are only part of the reason reputable dog breeders, animal group representatives and health-conscious pet owners choose Olewo Carrots and Olewo Red Beets. The pet food supplements not only can be used for good-health maintenance and preventative care, but also as safe and natural remedies for a variety of common canine health conditions.

Best known for their ability to resolve diarrhea in dogs—often after just two days of feeding—Olewo Carrots also cure stomach upset and loose stool, relieve dry and itchy skin, and add a healthy sheen to dull, lifeless coats. The pet food supplement also is an all-natural dewormer and effectively can eliminate a variety of dangerous parasite’s from a dogs intestines and colon.

Olewo Red Beets are very effective in naturally relieving skin allergies in dogs and itchy dog skin because of the detoxification and anti-inflammatory support they provide.  The pet food supplement helps promote healthy metabolism and aids in weight management.  The unique combination of powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties make Olewo Red Beets the ideal supplement to help prevent disease and certain cancers.

And here’s the good news: A daily serving of 1 teaspoon to 2-plus tablespoons (which is dependent on your dog’s weight) of Olewo Carrots and Olewo Red Beets eliminates the need for expensive, chewable supplements that are chock full of synthetic vitamins.

Ultimately, the choice is yours: Are you willing to risk your dog’s health by providing foods and chewable supplements that contain chemicals disguised as nutrients, or do you prefer the whole-food vitamins and minerals harvested from two of Mother Nature’s most nutrient-rich vegetables and found in Olewo Carrots and Olewo Red Beets?

Resources:

Group, Dr. Edward, III, DC, ND, DACB N, DCBCN, DABFM. “The Differences Between Synthetic and Natural Vitamins.” GlobalHealingCenter.com. 2 Jan. 2009. Web. 22 July 2014.

Meyers, Cheryl. “How to Tell if a Vitamin is Natural or Synthetic.” FoodMatters.com. n.d. Web.   23 July 2014.

Pulsipher, Charlie. “Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins—What’s the Big Difference?” SunWarrior.com. 2 Jan. 2014. Web. 22 July 2014.

Scott, Dana. “The Truth About Dog Food Supplements.” DogsNaturally.com. n.d. Web. 23 July 2014.

Ungar, Dr. Keith, DC. “Whole Food Versus Synthetic Vitamins.” TheWellnessDoc.com. 2007. Web. 22 July 2014.

5 Reasons to add Carrots to your Dog’s Diet

carrots for dogs

Carrots are an excellent source of natural nutrition and offer amazing health benefits for dogs such as:

  1. Quick cure from dog diarrhea
  2. Healthy digestion in dogs
  3. Natural deworming
  4. Healthy skin and coat
  5. Immune system health    

Many pet owners however don’t realize that dogs are NOT able to properly digest raw carrots, and therefore the valuable nutrients cannot be absorbed when given in the raw form.  Olewo Dehydrated Carrots are easy to digest and in the proper form allowing for absorption of the beneficial nutrients in the dog’s digestive system to get the full benefits from this nutrient-rich vegetable. Dogs actually need some vegetables in their diet because they contain many important health-promoting nutrients from a natural source. Many of those nutrients are the ones that are often lacking in commercial dog foods, and natural source vitamins are much more effective than synthetic vitamins.

HOW TO PREPARE AND FEED OLEWO DEHYDRATED CARROTS:

how to feed carrots for dogs step 1DIRECTIONS: Rehydrate the recommended daily amount of Olewo Dehydrated Carrots according to bodyweight of the dog (refer to feeding chart on bag) in some warm water. The amount of water used for rehydration can be adjusted to your liking depending on the desired consistency of the final reconstituted mixture.

how to feed carrots for dogs step 2DIRECTIONS:  The addition of a small amount of oil (refer to feeding chart on bag) is recommended to help convert more of the beta-carotene to the beneficial vitamin A, but is optional.  Good oils to use are salmon oil, flax seed oil, organic coconut oil; but most oils you have in your kitchen will do, even olive oil. Oil should not be added for puppies because puppy food already has a higher fat content; when feeding performance dog foods, which are also higher in fat; or for seniors because they simply don’t need the added oil.

how to feed carrots for dogs step 3DIRECTIONS: Steep for 10 minutes in warm water until the carrot pellets are completely rehydrated.  Then add to the dog’s regular food such as dry kibble, canned dog food, raw dog food, or home cooked meals.

how to feed carrots for dogs step 4This image shows reconstituted Olewo Dehydrated Carrots on top of dry kibble before mixing the two together. If the reconstituted mixture turned out firmer than desired, more water can be added at this point.

how to feed carrots for dogs step 5This image shows Olewo Dehydrated Carrots mixed in with dry kibble after steeping the carrot pellets in warm water with oil added.

Nothing beats Beets for the Health of your Dog

beets for dogsNothing beats beets for dogs when it comes to adding something healthy and delicious to your dog’s meals. Olewo Dehydrated Red Beets are a unique dog supplement because the miraculous benefits of red beet root for the health of dogs are still not commonly known.

Red beets are a nutritional powerhouse and can provide the same great health benefits to dogs than to humans, such as:

 

  1. Detoxification to help with allergies
  2. Weight control
  3. Inflammation relief
  4. Protection against diseases and cancers 

Dogs actually need some vegetables in their diet because they contain many important health-promoting nutrients from a natural source. Many of those nutrients are the ones that are often lacking in commercial dog foods, and natural source vitamins are much more effective than synthetic vitamins.

Dogs cannot easily digest raw vegetables and therefore proper preparation is important for the dog’s digestive system to be able to absorb the health-promoting nutrients.  Olewo Dehydrated Red Beets are very palatable and are in a convenient form that allows for easy daily feeding.

HOW TO FEED OLEWO DEHYDRATED RED BEETS:

how to feed beets for dogs 2DIRECTIONS: Add the recommended daily amount of Olewo Dehydrated Red Beets according to bodyweight of the dog (refer to feeding chart on bag) to the dog’s regular food such as dry kibble, canned dog food, raw dog food, or home cooked meals.

how to feed beets for dogs step 3DIRECTIONS: Olewo Dehydrated Red Beets can be fed dry and simply added to dry kibble if desired, but the absorption of nutrients in the dry dog food as well as dehydrated red beets can be increased by adding some water.

how to feed beets for dogs step 4DIRECTIONS: A desired amount of water can be added to the mixture and then soaked briefly for better nutrient absorption.

how to feed beets for dogs step 5This image shows Olewo Dehydrated Red Beets mixed in with dry kibble after adding some water and soaking for approximately 2 – 3 minutes.

The Working German Shepherd

Working German Shepherds

           Storm, 8 yrs old                           Allie, 10 yrs old                         Cala, 12 yrs old     

The Working German Shepherd – a wonder to behold. Here a quote from the man who is considered the Founder of the Breed, Captain Max Von Stephanitz: “Take this trouble for me: Make sure my shepherd dog remains a working dog, for I have struggled all my life long for that aim.” Captain Max von Stephanitz saw no beauty in a non-functional dog and was ruthless in discarding what he considered weak. Tireless and determined, he laid the foundations of the GSD history that we were later to make the breed the greatest all-round working dog in the world.

My Love & Fascination of the GSD

I began my fascination and love of the GSD in 1989 when I began working and learning from this noble breed.  It was then when I started training the Police K9.  Having since trained numerous Police K9’s for single and dual purpose street work, the term dual purpose refers to patrol and detection capability to include, cadaver, explosive and drug detection.  Not limited to these, but this is my forte.  From there I began to participate in the German Dog Sport called Schutzhund (meaning protection dog).

Schutzhund Training

In Schutzhund the dog is trained much like a triathlete since it is broken down into 3 phases which starts on a competition day with TrackingObedience, then off to Protection.  This is standard for a VPG or Schutzhund title of which there are differing ones and varying degrees.  An FH and advanced tracking degree consists of a minimum of 3 hours aged; a minimum of 1200 meters in length; a cross track at 20 minutes after the laying of the track which crosses at 2 points, both by strangers, with 5 articles placed on the track and 7 turns with a change of cover and/or road crossing.  Obviously not a simple walk in the park!.

DVG Bundessieger

I was lucky enough to compete in the DVG Bundesieger with my Bitch and what an honor it was!  The Bundesieger is the German National Schutzhund Competition, and you must qualify to be there. To say that my nerves were a bit more tense is an understatement, but like all dog work, it comes down to trusting your dog and your training.  And I would NOT hesitate to go back to compete again if invited. Funny, how after working street K9’s looking for men who had committed murder, shooting or a robbery, I still had butterflies when I stepped on the field – the goal was to get them to fly in formation 🙂

Bloodines

For the working German Shepherd we deal mostly with European lines, some are bred here in the USA but will trace their lines back to various European Countries.  Not intending to rile anyone’s feathers, but when was the last time you saw a German Shepherd actually working, tending sheep or herding, or anything outside of police work?

In Europe the dogs are still bred for form to follow function. Without the lower rears, cowhocks and sloped backs, these dogs are bred to work, hence you see a square looking dog and a powerful rear end enabling them to work for hours and jump with little chance of injuring themselves.  Captain Max von Stephanitz said that “Beauty is what serves a Utilitarian purpose” and “The breeding of shepherd dogs is the breeding of working dogs; and this must always be the aim, or we shall cease to produce shepherd dogs.” Who better to take advice from on breeding and training than from the man who is considered to be the founder of the breed.  It is with this in mind that I make my training, breeding and working goals.

Here a nice old film showing the German Shepherd Working Dog in Germany 1936: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsBi0PehfAM&feature=related

Today the German Shepherd Dog can be found on the front lines of America’s Military Elite Special Forces, serving as therapy dogs, and not only detecting bed bugs, but also cancer cells. Thank You Max, for such a wonderful breed!  In closing a quote from an Unknown Source….“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.  You are his life, his love, his leader.  He will be yours faithful and true to the last beat of his heart.  You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion” – anonymous … Nothing more can or needs to be said.

Scott White

Additionally, I would like to comment on the Olewo Carrots. I have traveled throughout the United States with multiple dogs and have taken one to Germany, and have always used the Olewo Carrots as a preventative against parasitic infections, and have never had to use any type of worming meds on any of my dogs.  I also use it for pups as soon as they begin the weaning stage to prevent loose stools, and I send some Olewo Carrots with the pup to each new home to help lessen the stress caused by the separation of the pack and the new environment – it effectively stops the loose stool and dog diarrhea. I wholeheartedly recommend this product to everyone based on my experiences with it.  It works not only as a preventative and to promote good overall health, but with the coat luster also.

The Lowdown on Food Allergies in Dogs

Dog with food allergiesFood allergies in dogs are not as common as you might think because they only account for about 10% of all allergies in dogs.

The hard part is to diagnose a food allergy.  While some dogs may vomit or get diarrhea sometimes, they mostly develop itchy lesions or hives, and with an itchy dog it is very difficult to tell the difference between food allergy, inhalant allergy, and the effect of fleas, ticks, or mites.  Sometimes food-allergic dogs will have additional symptoms such as anal itch, flatulence, sneezing, asthma-like conditions, behavioral changes, or seizures, but it is rare.  One helpful clue is that most food-allergic dogs have problems all year long, not just during a spring or other season.

Food Allergies and Food Intolerance

The term food allergy is commonly used, but not every food-induced problem is caused by an allergic reaction, but can be a case of food intolerance.  Some dogs can’t tolerate milk, soy, or preservatives, and that has nothing to do with allergy.  The most common causes of of food allergies  are corn, wheat, soy, chicken, beef, pork, fish, whey, milk, eggs, and preservatives.

Changing brands or types of dog food may not eliminate the source of the problem since most commercial dog foods contain some of the above mentioned ingredients.  This only works if you are lucky and change to a different brand or type of food that does not include the allergy causing ingredient.

Hypoallergenic Diet Trial

The best way to prove a food allergy is with a hypoallergenic diet trial. This is done by feeding a diet for a minimum of 4 weeks that the dog will not be allergic to.  If the dog’s condition improves, this confirms that the problem was diet related.  If the dog’s condition does not improve, the problem is most likely not food related.  The dog does not need to stay on the hypoallergenic diet forever, only to determine if the problem is in fact diet related so that further action can be taken.

For the hypoallergenic diet trial to work, the food must be homemade, fed for at least 4 weeks, and contain ingredients the dog has never eaten before.  A suitable protein source can be mixed with rice or potatoes to create a hypoallergenic meal.  A diagnosis cannot be made by switching from one commercial diet to another.  Once the allergy causing ingredient has been determined, most dogs with adverse food reactions can be maintained with a commercial hypoallergenic diet.  Such diets may contain lamb, rabbit, venison, etc, because those are protein sources that many dogs have not eaten as part of their regular diet before.  The important thing to understand is that we, including our dogs, can’t be allergic to something we’ve never eaten before, not that some foods are less allergic than others.  If a dog has never eaten lamb, he won’t be allergic to it, but if he already had it in his diet in the past, he can become just as allergic to the lamb as to the beef or chicken.  In this case the lamb would no longer be suitable for the food test.

During the trial, only hypoallergenic foods and fresh, preferably distilled water must be fed. Absolutely nothing else can be fed, such as treats, vitamins, chew toys, or even flavored heart worm preventative tablets.  The dog also needs to be denied access to food and feces of other pets in the household.  All this may seem somewhat tough to get accomplished, but it is the only reliable way to identify adverse reactions to foods.  There are other alternatives available by Veterinarians that may seem a lot easier, but they can be expensive and can be misleading because the results are not always accurate.

Practical Information

While the dog is experiencing food allergies or food intolerances and is likely to by itchy and have inflamed areas on his body, you can comfort him with a cool bath and using a natural calming and soothing dog shampoo to provide relief.  A natural anti-itch spray with a cooling effect can be applied several times a day.  While the spray easily penetrates fur to get to the skin, a natural anti-itch gel with a cooling effect can be applied to hairless areas such as abdomen, armpits, muzzle and paws to calm and soothe inflamed areas.

 

 

A Look at Breeds -The German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog Breed

The above photos are courtesy of Olewo USA customers.

The German Shepherd Dog is hailed as the world’s leading police, guard and military dog, however, this dependable breed is more than its 9-to-5 job. Consistently one of the United States most popular breeds according to AKC® Registration Statistics, the German Shepherd Dog is also a loving family companion, herder and show competitor.

The German Shepherd Dog originated in 1899 at Karlsruhe, Germany due to the efforts of Captain Max von Stephanitz and others. Derived from the old breeds of herding and farm dogs, the first German Shepherd Dog exhibited in America was in 1907. The fame associated with Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart, two members of the breed whose movies played on variations of the boy and his dog theme, shot the popularity of the breed sky-high.

The breed is approachable, direct and fearless, with a strong, muscular body. The GSD may be most colors, but most commonly is black and tan.  Slightly long in comparison to its height, the German Shepherd Dog is ideally 23″-25″ (57.5 – 62.5 cm) high. These proportions coupled with the position of the fore and hindquarters producing a far-reaching and enduring gait.  Attentive, alert and resilient, the breed is steady of nerve, loyal, self-assured, courageous, and tractable and should never be over-aggressive or shy.  For exhibition the coat should be straight, hard, and as close lying as possible, with a thick undercoat.

THE MANY ROLES OF THE GERMAN SHEPHERD

The German Shepherd is easy to train because he is intelligent and has highly developed senses.  Specialized trainers can prepare the individual dog to take on one of many roles: defender, drug dog, guard, life-saver, sentry, tracker, army or police dog, dog to lead the blind, or to rescue victims of earthquake and avalanche.

The training of the German Shepherd begins when he is only ten weeks old.  At this stage, he takes part in walks and games, during which he learns to respond to his name when commanded by his trainer, to accept the collar and leash, and finally to walk leashed or free.

At the age of eight months, a trainer teaches the GSD how to guard, jump, search, track, refuse bait, and retrieve.  His ‘vocabulary” is extended to include an understanding of such commands as ‘go’, ‘stay’, ‘get up’, and ‘lie down’.

The last, difficult training stages are for German Shepherds being educated as defenders or guards.  They are taught to deal with intimidating situations such as threatened beatings, and to become used to the sounds of gun-fire.  Each dog goes through attack-training. During carefully simulated encounters, the dog is ordered to attack an intruder, which may be a dummy or a properly protected instructor.  Once attack-training is completed, the defending or guard dog is assigned to its own handler and attacks only on his command. The training of an army or police dog is based on these principles.  Duties may include patrolling, tracking, detecting mines, and protecting military bases.

German Shepherds were first trained as avalanche dogs in 1970.  Their highly developed sense of smell and their tough, weather-resistant coats make these dogs the most effective and rapid rescuers of victims of these natural disasters.

CHARACTERISTICS

General Appearance: robust and supple, this slight elongated dog is all muscle.  Its dignified bearing and courageousness command respect.

Height: 24″ to 25″ (61 – 63.5 cm) for the adult dog; 22″ to 24″ (55.9 – 61 cm) for the bitch.

Weight: under Canadian standards, 75 to 85 lb (34 to 38.5 kg) for the adult dog, and 60 to 70 lb (27.2 to 31.8 kg) for the bitch.  Elsewhere, not specified.

Head: in proportion with the body, clear cut, fairly broad between the ears.  Stop barely defined.  Muzzle long and strong.  Lips are clean and tight.  Nose black, muzzle straight. Teeth sound and strong, scissor bite.

Eyes: medium size, almond-shaped, slightly slanting, not protruding, dark brown preferred.  Expression alert, highly intelligent and self-assured.

Ears: medium size, broad at the base, set high, carried erect and pointed forward.  The ears of young dogs sometimes hang until the sixth months or later, becoming erect with the replacement of the milk teeth.  Great care should be taken not to break the cartilage.

Neck: fairly long, strong, well muscled.

Body: chest deep, capacious, but not too broad. Ribs long and well sprung, not too flat. Belly firm held, not paunchy.  Back straight.  Flanks broad, strong and well muscled. Croup long and slightly sloping.  Shoulders long, oblique, well laid back.  Loin broad and strong.

Tail: bushy, set low rather than high.

Forequarters: legs straight, elbows neither wide apart nor sloping.

Hindquarters: thighs broad, muscular.  Hocks bent, firm and vigorous.

Coat: an outer and inner coat, both thick.  Stiff, thick, flat, coarse hair. Breeching near the thighs.  Hair length varies.

Color: black with brown markings, tan, light gray with black and dark saddle.  Small white markings on the chest or inside the legs are permissible.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

The German Shepherd needs daily brushing and only one or two baths a year.  He may suffer from chronic eczema, keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), and hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joint), a hereditary affliction which becomes apparent about the age of four month.  To avoid buying a sickly dog, always go to a reputable breeder.

To make sure your GSD can enjoy optimal health, be vibrant and thrive, all-natural dog supplements should be added to his diet for added natural nutrition.  A carrot dog food supplement is an excellent source of natural nutrition and offers amazing health benefits for dogs such as a quick cure from dog diarrhea, healthy digestion, natural deworming, healthy skin and coat, and immune system health. A  is also recommended because red beets are a nutritional powerhouse, a great natural detoxifier to prevent dog allergies, and have anti-inflammatory compounds that can help lower the risk of inflammatory-driven diseases.  Red beets are the most powerful antioxidant and can help protect against disease and certain cancers.

Since your German Shepherd does not need a bath very often, an all-natural skin and coat care spray is ideal for general care in-between baths. Choose a quality spray, preferably one that naturally kills bacteria, fungi and viruses to prevent skin problems in dogs and helps bring relief to the occasional itchy dog.

 

 

15 Tips to Help Reduce Inhalant Allergies in Dogs

Scratching DogThere are different types of Dog Allergies and the most common type is the inhalant allergy, also referred to as allergic inhalant dermatitis (atopy, hay fever), which is caused by substances in the air that dogs breathe in.  Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to pollens, molds and household dust.  When you consider that your dog has its nose on the ground most of the time, and is continually sniffing throughout the day, you can imagine the outcome with an allergic dog.  Inhalant allergies commonly cause skin problems in dogs.  While the reactions in humans are inflamed respiratory passages and sneezing, dogs inhale the pollen and develop atopy in the skin.  A  dog usually doesn’t sneeze, but becomes an itchy dog that licks, chews and scratches.

There are differences between the different types of allergies.  What is unique with inhalant allergy (hay fever), is the fact that it is more common in some breeds than others and tends to “run in families”, meaning that it is mostly genetic. Breeds with particularly high incidence of allergies include terriers (especially the West Highland Terrier, Skye Terrier, Scottish Terrier, and Boston Terrier), Golden Retrievers, Poodles, Dalmatians, German Shepherd Dogs, Chinese Char-peis, Bichons Frises, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Pugs, Irish Setters, and Miniature Schnauzers.  Any dog however, purebred or mutt, may be affected by inhalant allergies.

Dogs with inhalant allergies usually first begin to show signs between 6 months and 3 years of age, although a dog of any age can develop allergies.  The most common sign of allergic itching is chewing at the feet, and the constant licking  may stain the hair coat a rusty color.  Other itchy areas include the flanks, groin and armpits.  Many dogs rub their faces on the carpet, furniture, or other convenient surfaces.  Dogs can do incredible damage to themselves by scratching and biting.

The ears are also involved in many cases and the flaps may become reddened and hot. When the skin becomes inflamed, infection is sure to follow, and many allergic dogs develop chronic ear infections or skin infections.  The skin also becomes thickened, greasy, and smelly.  Self-traumatized areas may develop recurrent bacterial infections which are referred to as hot spots on dogs.  If dogs are allergic to pollens, they may have these problems only part of the year, but if they are allergic to house dust or molds, they will probably have problems year-round.  To complicate matters further, about 50% of dogs that start out with seasonal allergies, eventually have problems all year.  Also, most dogs that have a tendency to develop allergies usually develop several.  Therefore, a typical allergic dog may have problems with a variety of different pollens, mold, house  dust.

Since in most cases inhalant allergies are genetic and cannot be cured, it is important to try and avoid allergens because itchiness and scratching won’t occur unless allergens trigger an allergic reaction.

15 Tips To Help Avoid Allergens:

  1. Minimize outdoor time for your dog, especially during his allergic season, if you notice that he is extremely itchy shortly after going outside and walking in the yard.
  2. Keep your dog indoors just after watering the yards, or just after cutting the grass, when allergens are active.
  3. Consider putting booties or a T-Shirt on a severely allergic dog when he goes outside, and remove and wash the items after he comes inside.
  4. You can also wash off his feet with a wet washcloth to remove some of the allergens and thus reduce his contact after he has been outdoors.
  5. Frequently vacuuming and shampooing carpets reduces the foreign proteins that live deep in the carpet fibers.
  6. Keeping all areas of your house clean of dust helps as well.  Window treatments, pillows, and upholstered furniture can trap allergens just as carpets do.
  7. If your dog spends time in your car, you need to keep the carpet and upholstery there clean as well.
  8. Be especially vigilant about your dog’s bedding.  Change and clean bedding frequently to decrease the allergenic load.  The most common allergen on bedding is house dust mites.  Frequent washing decreases the presence of this highly allergenic mite.
  9. To keep your indoor air free of allergens, change the air filters on your heating and air conditioning systems regularly.  These filters trap the allergens, but if left in place too long, they will simply push the allergens back into the air.  Preferably use electrostatic or “allergy-free” air filters.  High-efficiency particle-arresting (HEPA) filters can be attached to central air conditioning systems and are recommended for people and pets with allergies.
  10. Cigarette smoke often acts as an allergen trigger in both people and pets.  To keep your dog healthy and itch free, keep his environment smoke free.
  11. One of the quickest ways to comfort an allergic dog is with a cool bath.  The effect doesn’t last long, but it does help relieve itchiness in dogs.  Be sure the bath water is cool rather than hot, since hot water can actually make the itchiness worse.
  12. Preferably use a natural calming and soothing dog shampoo to provide additional relief.
  13. Many allergic dogs have surface infections on their skin or in their ears, and these infections are also itchy.  Use a natural anti-itch spray with a cooling effect and one that kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses.  A spray easily penetrates fur to get to the skin, is great for areas that are sensitive to touch, and can be sprayed directly into the ears.
  14. A natural anti-itch gel with a cooling effect and one that kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses can be applied to hairless areas such as abdomen, armpits, muzzle paws, the inside of ears and ear flaps, and hot spots on dogs.
  15. Nutritional dog supplements can also be helpful in the treatment of inhalant allergies, especially one with natural anti-inflammatory agents will help reduce the itching by decreasing the inflammation in the skin.  A nutritional dog supplement that acts as a natural detoxifier will help rid the dog’s body of toxic substances that often cause the itching.

Resources:                                                                                                                      Guide to Skin & Haircoat Problems by Lowell Ackerman, D.V.M.                               The Allergy Solution for Dogs (The Natural Vet Series) by Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M 

Information Disclaimer: Information provided on the Olewo Blog is intended for informational purposes only.  This site does not provide medical advice, and is not meant to substitute for medical advice provided by your veterinarian.

Dog Allergies – Causes & Treatment Options

Itching Dog

Dog Allergies are some of the most common causes of itching and scratching in dogs. In dogs as well as humans, the skin is the largest organ of the body.  It protects us from the environment, provides a way to conserve and discharge heat, and also acts as a reservoir to maintain water balance in the body.  It is the first line of defense in protecting our bodies from a harsh and unforgiving world.

What are Dog Allergies?

Allergy, an abnormal response to things in the environment, is very common in dogs. Just like with humans, most allergies in dogs are also caused by substances either in the air that they breathe in (Inhalant Allergies), that they digest (Food Allergies), that bite them (Flea Allergies), or otherwise contact their skin (Contact Allergies).

Dogs can do incredible damage to themselves by scratching and biting. The most common sign of allergic itching is chewing at the feet, and the constant licking may stain the hair coat a rusty color.  Other itchy areas include the flanks, groin and armpits. Many dogs rub their faces on furniture, carpet or other convenient surfaces.  The ears can also become itchy and the flaps may become reddened and hot.  Finding the answers to the causes can be somewhat complicated because with an itchy dog it is often extremely difficult to tell the difference between an inhalant allergy, food allergy, or the effect of fleas, ticks, or mites just by looking.

Inhalant Allergies

Allergic inhalant dermatitis (atopy, hay fever) is caused by substances in the air that dogs breathe in.  While the reactions in humans are inflamed respiratory passages and sneezing, dogs inhale the pollen and develop atopy in the skin. While dogs usually don’t sneeze, they are itchy, lick, chew, and scratch.  If dogs are allergic to pollens, they may have these problems only part of the year, but if they are allergic to house dust or molds, they will probably have problems year-round.

Food Allergies

Dogs sometimes react adversely to certain ingredients in food and may vomit, get diarrhea, or develop itchy lesions or hives.  Many cases of food allergies go undiagnosed and unmanaged because owners refuse to believe their dog could become allergic to the diet they have been feeding without problems for many months or even years.  While it can be difficult to differentiate between a food allergy and an inhalant allergy, one helpful clue is that the majority of food-allergic dogs have problems year-round.  Food allergies sometimes have additional symptoms like anal itch, flatulence, sneezing or even asthma-like conditions.

Flea Allergy

Flea Allergy, also known as flea bite hypersensitivity, is a heightened reaction to flea bites. The reaction is not to the fleas themselves, but to the protein in their saliva, which gets injected when they bite a dog.  Not all dogs with fleas have flea allergy.  In fact, dogs that continually have fleas almost never have flea allergy.  The dogs most at risk are allergy-prone breeds that are periodically exposed to fleas.  This may seem hard to believe, but it’s true. Don’t expect the flea-allergic dog to necessarily be crawling with fleas. There is a good chance that you may never see a flea on a truly flea-allergic dog!

Contact Allergies

Because dogs have a fairly dense hair coat, allergic contact dermatitis is not as common of a problem, since a contact allergen must actually contact the skin (not just the hair coat) to cause a problem.  The substances that cause contact allergy are themselves too small to be allergenic, but are absorbed by and interact with the skin to become allergens. Substances that have been reported to cause contact allergies in the dog include plants, topical medications, natural fibers, leather, disinfectants, carpet deodorizers, cement, and plastics.  The areas most commonly affected are the abdomen and muzzle areas where the hair coat is the thinnest.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

The goal should be to make the dog more comfortable while not complicating the picture too much with drugs that may come with unwanted side effects and the long-term effects are not known.  The problem with conventional treatments such as corticosteroids or antihistamines prescribed by the Veterinarian is that these medications typically just relieve the itching during the time of treatment and them the problem returns.

As people turn to more natural care for their own bodies, many are choosing the same approach for their pets.  Three approaches – topical treatments, nutritional supplements and proper diet – are the foundation for treating dog allergies naturally. If these simple remedies can make an allergic dog more comfortable, it is not always necessary to identify the specific cause of the itching.  In many cases, these three approaches alone can be so effective that the need for the so commonly prescribed corticosteroids and antihistamines can be drastically lowered or even eliminated.

Topical Treatments

One of the quickest ways to comfort an allergic dog is with a cool bath. The use of a natural calming and soothing dog shampoo will provide instant relief.  A natural anti-itch spray with a cooling effect can be applied several times a day as needed.  A spray easily penetrates the fur to get to the skin and can be massaged in for an even more soothing effect.  A natural anti-itch gel with a cooling effect can be applied to hairless areas such as abdomen, armpits, muzzle, paws, ears and ear flaps to calm and soothe those areas.

Nutritional Supplements

One of the best nutritional supplements for an allergic dog is an all-natural red beet dog food supplement.  Red Beets are a nutritional powerhouse and a great natural detoxifier to get rid of the toxic substances in the dog’s body that often cause the itching.  Red Beets also have anti-inflammatory compounds that help reduce the itching by decreasing the inflammation in the skin.

Proper Diet

Commercial diets contain a large number of different ingredients and dogs can have an adverse reaction to individual components rather than the diet itself.  More natural, holistic brands of dog food don’t not contain chemical preservatives and do not contain wheat, corn or soy which are the most common allergens. Since all commercial dog foods are highly processed regardless of brand or quality, the addition of a dog food supplement will add natural nutrition.

Resources:                                                                                                                       Guide to Skin & Haircoat Problems by Lowell Ackerman, D.V.M.                                      The Allergy Solution for Dogs (The Natural Vet Series) by Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M 

Information Disclaimer: Information provided on the Olewo Blog is intended for informational purposes only.  This site does not provide medical advice, and is not meant to substitute for medical advice provided by your veterinarian.