Raw Bones – Natures Tooth Brush

raw bone

Just the other day I was performing the weekly check of everyone’s teeth. All of the cats teeth were in fine condition, Vitzy’s teeth were at the same level. Finally I got to Tucker, I checked his left side and everything was pearly white, when I checked the right then I noticed it… A broken tooth with root exposed on his top right carnassial… Damn…

I wondered to myself ‘What had I do wrong?’ & ‘What was different than any other week?’

Then I realized, the one thing that could have caused this was his ‘raw hock bone’ as Tuck doesn’t chew on anything other than dehydrated duck feet and his raw bones. I thought I was doing the right thing by providing raw bones to my pet. I did a little research, and I was right to a degree. Here are some of my findings:

Beef, Bison & Elk Bones
Hock bones, marrowbones (like soup bones and centre cut marrows etc), Dino bones and knuckle bones are among some of the hardest bones available on the market. They are all weight-bearing bones (and to think these animals often are more than 1000lbs in weight) so they are thick and sturdier than other bones. If staying with beef, bison or elk opt for non-weight bearing bones such as rib bones and neck bones as they are more maliable and less likely to fracture teeth.

Chicken & Turkey Bones
I’m still not too keen on feeding chicken or turkey backs and wings, just seems like too many little bones of different sizes. I think they could cause obstruction in a large dog if they don’t chew them down properly. Instead opt for turkey or chicken necks, as the bones in the next are more uniform in size and are easily passable to most dogs.

Other bones to consider
Lamb & llama bones are thinner in profile the the regular beef & bison bone. These are far more easily chewed down and are a better alternative to the larger weight bearing bones.

Pros to Raw Bones
– They help clean teeth by the friction of chewing and the availability of natural enzymes
– They keep dogs entertained and relieve stress
– Save money on unnecessary dental cleaning
– Alternative to artificial and raw hide dental chews

Cons to Raw Bones
– Can cause teeth to fracture and break, if not given an appropriate type of bone
– Dogs could choke on pieces if not supervised

More Information
Dogs Naturally – Recreational Bones
CAUTION: Bones Can Kill Your Dog – Find Out Which Ones Are Safe!
IVC Journal – Raw Bones

Advertisements

Essential Fatty Acids

salmon

The use of essential fatty acids is vital in any format of nutrition. The use of fish based or plant based oils are the most common forms of supplemental EFA’s. An essential fatty acid is something that the body cannot produce on it’s own and must be supplemented into the diet. Omega 6 is the only essential fatty acid for dogs and cats, although both Omega 3 and Omega 6 are recommended as a combination.

Where the B.A.R.F. diet requires Omega 3 and 6 supplementation, any diet could benefit as well, including any kibble based diet or dehydrated/ freeze dried diet. Common Omega 3 and 6 sources include: Salmon Oil, Pollock Oil, Coconut Oil, Flax oil, all-in-one combinations are also available. Once opened these oils (with the exception of coconut oil) should be refrigerated to maintain their benefits.

Benefits of Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and 6 combination)

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aids in cardiovascular function (i.e. heart health)
  • Improved skin and coat (i.e. less shedding)
  • Digestive health
  • benefits the nervous system and eye function
  • Improves cognitive function

Efficiency of Oil

  1. Salmon Oil  – most readily bio-available for dogs
  2. Pollock Oil
  3. Coconut Oil
  4. Flax Oil – least readily bio-available for dogs

Other Sources of Omega 3 and 6

  • Salmon, tuna and other fish meat
  • Eggs
  • Spirulina
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Raw Organ Meats

 

Additional Resources

 Flax Council – Omega 3 Enriched Eggs

Walk N Roll Over – Coconut Oil

The Whole Dog Journal – Salmon Oil

Food Sources of Omega 3 Fats – based towards human nutrition

Dogs Naturally – Omega 3

The Dog Food Project – Essential Fatty Acids

 

Happy Thanksgiving for you and your pet!

thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it often brings to mind cherished time with family and loved ones. With a table filled with such dishes as turkey, ham, potatoes, gravy and the like. Wonderful conversation and great togetherness to celebrate what we are thankful for.

For the busyness of the occasion it is better to be prepared as there can be dangers in sight of your pets. If you’re worried about how your animals will react around people or if you have just introduced a new pet-family member to your household, there are a few good things to implement as prevention to pet emergencies and the like.

A few things you can do in preparation are:

  • making sure your pets are well exercised before company arrives (walk your dog or play with your cat for at least 30 minutes) as any pent up energy could be released on un-expecting house guests.
  • Be sure not to allow any access to cooked bones to your pets, for example turkey bones and ham bones, as these are frail and may splinter easily.
  • Give your dog something to do while you sit down for dinner, mine enjoy getting a beef knuckle as they have to chew around all the crevices in order to get at the meat and marrow.
  • Feed the animals before dinner so they have full stomachs and may be less likely to beg at the table.

Great Thanksgiving Treats for your pets

  • Pureed sweet potato or pumpkin
  • Raw ham bone
  • Raw turkey neck and giblets
  • Thanksgiving themed canned food

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Nupro All Natural Supplement for Dogs

 

I like to try new supplements, foods, toys and treats on my dogs to see how they like them and I’d like to share my experiences with you.

Nupro is a All-In-One supplement with natural ingredients to re-enforce supplementation with minerals, vitamins, enzymes and omega fatty acids. It contains Decciated Liver, Norwegian Kelp, Amino Acids and Enzymes, Yeast Cultures, Flaxseed, Lecithin, Garlic, Calcium Citrate and Lactobacillus Acidophilus. It looks like a brown powder and almost smells like gravy in the container. When added directly to the kibble or B.A.R.F. diet with water it mixes in smoothly and smells delicious. When trying to make just the gravy alone with water the kelp and heavier ingredients sink to the bottom making a kind of slush. I’ve tried it on both Vitzy (mixed in with her freeze-dried mix) and Tucker (In his kibble) and both of them polished off their bowls in minimum time. I used it for a two week period and stopped for a day to see what they would do… both stared into their dishes and looked back up to me as if to say “What am I supposed to do with this now?”. From the dogs it gets a Two-Paws up and is added to my regime of supplements.

Benefits of Nupro
– Complete Multivitamin/ Mineral supplement which can be added to any diet (kibble, Raw, dehydrated raw, freeze dried, home made, and any variation thereof)
– Promotes hair growth and stops itchy dry skin
– Steadies nerves (as proper nutrient absorption allows for better flow of nutrient absorption)
– Norwegian Kelp contains vitamins such as A, B1, B2, C and E which helps with bone and muscle growth. And also contains Iodine for proper glandular function and metabolism.
– Bee Pollen contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Is known to support the immune system and supports allergy protection.
– Yeast Culture contains proteins, Zinc and Biotin. Which is beneficial to the skin and coat, helping with dry itchy skin, hot spots and excessive shedding.
– Flaxseed contains Omega 3 fatty acids which help with the skin and coat
– Lecithin which contains choline which supports nerve, brain and liver function.
– Garlic contains Allicin and anti-microbial source is used to support the immune system.
– Lactobacillus Acidophilus is a probiotic allowing for gut friendly bacteria and a healthy digestive system.
– Calcium Citrate supports healthy bones, teeth and nerve function

Ways to use Nupro
– As a delicious food topper (gravy)
– Add water to the mix and freeze in ice cube trays for a quick nutritious treat
– Add Nupro to home made biscuits for dogs, for an added plus of vitamins and minerals

 

Website

NUPRO Supplements

 

For Extra Thought

Have you tried NUPRO Supplements? What are your thoughts on it?

Elk Antler Chews

antler-large-group

Elk Antlers are probably best known by their durability against strong chewers. They are all-natural, a novel protein source and a good treat for dental care.

Elk antlers are naturally shed by elk in the spring, and are cut down or halved for distribution to dogs. They are a great long-lasting chew as they do not splinter, chip or easily break. The marrow (or the inside) of the antler is what the dogs crave. For dogs who have not yet had an elk antler, starting with an antler with the marrow exposed and maybe a little bit of peanut butter on top is enough to get almost any dog onto this wonderful chew. For those seasoned dogs who know what they’re after, a fully enclosed antler will last much longer.

Being naturally-shed, antlers are less processed then almost any other treats, with no fillers, additives, dyes or preservatives and are also odour-free. They also contain beneficial sources of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese. They are helpful when cleaning teeth as the surface abrasion of the antler to teeth will help remove plaque and tartar.

A couple precautionary measures are useful when giving elk antlers to your pets. Avoid giving elk antlers to puppies with milk teeth, as adult teeth are more dense and less susceptible to fracturing when biting harder objects. Also supervision should also be advised, if a dog is to chomp down with full strength there is still the possibility of fracturing a tooth or the possibility of choking on a small object if they have chewed it down completely.

Additional Resources

Dr. Foster Smith – Elk Antler Sizing Recommendations

elkantlerchews.com

Puppy Love – Elk

Food For Thought

What chews do your dogs enjoy?

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is made up of Silica crystals, which is ancient microscopic algae particles. It works by dehydrating (or cutting the exoskeleton) of tiny parasites such as fleas, ticks, ear mites, hook worms, whip worms, round worms and pin worms (I have also used it in efforts to rid of house flies to much success). It can be given orally at small doses (such as a tablespoon per 55 pounds of weight) or externally (by rubbing into the coat or sprinkling on the bed/carpet area or window sills). It is a great natural alternative to de-worming medication, and pest control; which can often be toxic to both you and your pet.

Ways to Use Diatomaceous Earth
– Sprinkle on window sills (if flies are a problem
– Sprinkle on carpets/beds (for fleas or other external pests)
– Rub into the coat of an animal (for flea control)
– Administer Orally (To rid of various internal parasites)

Additional Resources

 

Dogs Naturally Magazine – Diatomaceous Earth

Eat Prey Love – Diatomaceous Earth

Flea Control Book – Diatomaceous Earth

 

Bully Sticks

bully stick

Bully Sticks (or pizzles) are a treat for some debate. Most consumers don’t know the origins, how they are made and the amount of calories they posses.

Bully Sticks are often dehydrated raw – bull, steer or even veal (baby cow) penises (Ewww! for us, but often dogs love them). For those familiar with by-products, bully sticks are technically a by-product of beef. Although with the label as by-product, there can be different grades (quality) or additives to any product which can effect your pet. For example products from China can be of poor-quality and can often spell trouble for our pets, whereas some products from Canadian or American inspected facilities often have higher quality, and less harmful additives in the bully sticks. For best results, read the labels and ask the manufacturer if the product was “made” in Canada or the U.S.A, as products can be “packaged” or “assembled” in Canada and the U.S.A. and may be a very different product then expected.

Bully Sticks by nature are calorie dense, meaning a 6 inch bully stick can contain more than 88 calories. The recommended amount of calories in treats per day should amount to about 10% of the diet. Meaning if needed you can provide the bully stick for short durations 10-20 minutes for a nice treat for your dog if there are concerns about gaining weight or is already overweight. Caloric information can sometimes be found on the manufacturers website, or you can send an inquiry as to the calories directly to the company.

As with any treat made from one meat ingredient (ex. beef, duck, elk, pig, lamb etc.) it is best to ere on the side of caution with cleanliness. Meaning you should wash your hands and general area (any surface the treat has come into contact with: counters, floor, dish etc.) after handling any such treat to stop the spread of diseases and infection. As well as limiting the exposure to children, the immune-compromised and pregnant women. With any chew there should also be supervision to ensure the dog is chewing on it appropriately. As there is a danger to dogs if they try to swallow a large piece of the bully stick, or the bully stick becoming lodged in the mouth.

From my experience with bully sticks I have had no issues with any bacteria associated with them, as I try to maintain a very clean area when coming into contact with any such treats. My dogs love them, and a twelve inch bully stick will last my German Shepherd Mix a month or two (He’s a very light chewer, maybe a few nibbles a day on it). And if needed you can freeze the bully stick to rid of most of the bacteria and to also strengthen it as a chew. All in all bully sticks are a great healthy alternative to over-processed treats (rawhide for example), and the added benefit of the abrasion against the teeth will also help with plaque and tartar control and removal.

Additional Resources

AAHA – Misconceptions of Bully Sticks

Dr. Becker – Bully Sticks

Dogster Forum – Bully Sticks