Speaking of Superfoods…

Kelp. It does a body good.

When I altered the fruit: veggie ratio in the Pugs’ breakfast smoothies, one of the new additions was Kelp.

I’d read about it, and wondered where in the world I’d find it. I’d pondered seaweed wrappers at the grocery store, but something in my head said, Maybe. But I didn’t take the plunge until recently.

I know y’all are like, Geez! Something else we’ve got to add to this already voluminous food regimen? But hold up. Hear me out.

First of all, it’s just another option. Something for you to consider, and when you come across it in a store, you’ll be armed with knowledge. (Knowledge being power and whatnot) (You’re welcome).

Second, don’t get overwhelmed. Do what you can and keep it simple. Every little bit you do, whether it’s adding raw goat’s milk, or the occasional farm egg, or pureed pumpkin atop a higher quality kibble than you were buying 6 months ago — to provide fresh, wHOLe foods to your dog’s diet will have a positive impact on overall health.

Third, Kelp is the bomb! It is LOADED with a bajillion minerals and vitamins including A, B12 and folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sulfur. It also contains iodine, which helps to balance the functioning of glands (thyroid, adrenal, pituitary, etc.).

It’s fab for skin & coat, helps manage fleas (bonus!), and might be something to consider if you’ve got yourself a plump pup because it improves metabolism (a side-effect of improved glandular function).

It’s high in fiber, which combats inflammation and is also high in iron, which is important for blood production, among other things.

So for all the reasons it’s great for people, it’s great for your dog, too.

Lucky for me, I found Pet Kelp at The Whole Dog Market a few weeks ago, and began adding a half teaspoon to their smoothies when it came time to increase the veg/decrease the fruit. In the interest of full disclosure, I have not noticed any dramatic shifts in health that I can exclusively attribute to the addition of the kelp. But I have noticed that Pearl’s yeast and urine issues appear to be gone, the scratching has subsided, and she’s slimmed back down to a respectable roundness. Thus, their overall health is on point. And kelp is part of what we do.

So, I plan to keep doing it. Give it some thought.

pugs & kisses,

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HOListic Tip of the Week

How Slippery is your Elm?

If you are considering a HOListic approach to your dog’s health & nutrition, powdered Slippery Elm bark needs to be in your bag of tricks.

It is the inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree, and acts in all of the following ways:

**VOCABULARY WARNING**

  • Demulcent — used internally to soothe and protect irritated and inflamed surfaces & tissues
  • Emollient — used externally to soften, soothe, and protect skin surfaces
  • Nutritive — provides nourishment
  • Diuretic — promotes the production and secretion of urine
  • Mucilaginous — has soothing effect on inflamed mucous membranes

You can mix the powder with warm water, juice, milk, or an herbal tea, and as a water-soluble fiber, it will nourish the body while relieving stomach issues. It is ideal for any pet recovering from an illness. You can also use it externally to soothe, say, a skin rash, for example.

It forms a jelly after you mix it with liquid, and is kind of slippery. (Get it? Slippery?)

I mixed it with warm water and added a couple of tablespoons to food to cure diarrhea. I mixed a thicker consistency to get more of a jelly to apply externally to relieve a little hind leg skin irritation on Pearl recently.

Give it a try!

pugs & kisses,

Benefits of Probiotics in Your Pet’s Diet

A+ Answers all natural raw fermented goat milk with probiotic curds

It seems like probiotics are everywhere on TV these days. Jamie Lee Curtis trying to get you to eat yogurt. That other girl on the flag football team talking about probiotics in the huddle. *eyeroll*

Setting aside massive mistrust of advertising, I believe probiotics–in the right amount and quality–make a positive difference in digestion, nutrition, and health. I take them myself daily, and I can tell a difference on the days when I forget.

I had never thought my dogs might benefit from them until this past summer when Pearl was on round after round of antibiotics. I fed her plain yogurt during those times to keep her stomach from being torn up by the medicine. But feeding it to them as a matter of course did not occur to me until I began to focus more intently on their wHOLe health.

Maintaining a healthy gut and the digestive flora that thrives there is so important to good health, both in people and pets. Poor diet weakens or destroys the good bacteria in the digestive tract making the breakdown of foods and the concomitant absorption of nutrients more difficult or impossible. When we get sick because our immune system is weakened by poor nutrition, we take synthetic medications to rid ourselves of symptoms, which further inhibits normal gut function. When we don’t absorb nutrients, then the food we ingest is literally a waste. We get hungry again quickly, and before long, we are in a cycle of just filling the hole without thinking too much about what is being tossed in there. We have no energy, we turn to sugar and caffeine to get through the day, we gain weight. Sound familiar?

We treat our dogs the same way. We are all guilty of giving little or no thought to what we toss in the bowl.

Scoop a cup of kibble from the bag and go on about our lives. (Please stop)

We get frustrated when they come begging. We supplement with doggie junk food (Snausages, anyone?), or we train to control the behavior without thinking that maybe they really are hungry because their nutrition is deficient.

If you popped a multi-vitamin and chased it with a bowl of cereal twice a day, would you look longingly at someone else’s hot meal? Probably. 

One simple way to improve the gut health of your dog, even if you’re still not on board with a RAW, wHOLe food diet, is to supplement with probiotics. They are of course in yogurt (thank you Jamie Lee), kefir, and more recently, I found them in the raw goat’s milk that A+ Answers makes. It’s an additional protein source that is easier for dogs to digest than cow’s milk. A+ Answers has fortified the “Additional Answers” raw, fermented milk with curds containing over 200 different living species of probiotics.

Goat’s milk is also a natural antihistamine. Adding local raw honey to the goat’s milk has made a difference, particularly in Truman’s nasal allergies. Pugs, with their short noses, have a tendency to cough & snot, sneeze & wheeze. Compared to my previous Pugs, these guys do so at a very minimum. I rather enjoy waking up to a Pug in my face when he doesn’t spray me with the former residents of his nasal passages.

I highly recommend A+ Answers raw goat’s milk. A couple of ounces at each meal is all you need.

Pour a little love!

pugs & kisses,

My name is Leuca. I live on the 2nd floor…

Do y’all remember that song from the late ’80’s?

(Yeah, you do. I know it’s spelled wrong.)

(Suzanne Vega. Your earworm for the day. You are so welcome!)

Ever heard of Leucocytosis?

I hadn’t until I started down this RAW path.

There was this French dude, Paul Kouchakoff,  (yes, he was French. Shh. I’m talking) back in the 1930’s who discovered that as soon as cooked or processed food is tasted, white blood cells rush to the intestines, which causes disruption to the immune system.

Why?

The body apparently considers cooked food as a pathogen, freaks out, sounds the alarm, and sets out to destroy it. Whenever the white blood cells rush to deal with cooked food, the rest of the body is left undefended. In a book called Raw Energy, by Leslie and Susannah Kenton, the authors note that leucocytosis is like a red alert, and these constant red alerts several times per day, over and over again, put considerable strain on the immune system.

Hmmm….

That is so weird, right?

When Kouchakoff’s volunteers ate raw foods, the white blood cells did not react. Raw foods leave the white blood cells free to deal with other things, instead of constantly calling the troops to the same region. This conserves energy that is better used to build up the immune system as opposed to constantly having to defend. (Best defense is a good offense, no?)

Don’t freak out. You’re not going to have to avoid the oven for the rest of your life. If you eat something raw first, followed by something cooked, leucocytosis doesn’t happen.

Say what?

It’s the first taste of food that triggers the phenomenon.

So, if you can eat a bite of raw apple, then eat your bacon egg & cheese biscuit from the drive thru, you’ll be better off.

Same for your dog. If you’re feeding something that has been cooked or pasteurized, give your pup a little nibble of apple or carrot or a blade of grass…something raw first. Then feed the cooked food. Your dog will thank you with a more robust immune system.

(Note: you should always give digestive enzyme supplement, such as Prozyme, when feeding cooked food).

pugs & kisses,