Nutrition for Dogs, News, Tips

March’s Monthly Treat Okinawan (purple) Sweet Potato Cookies

This month’s treat was all about Purple, Yams that is! We used purple sweet potatoes known as Okinawan in their native Hawaii. They are touted as a powerhouse of nutrition and you can find many of the benefits here. The purple pigment provides more than just color. It is a byproduct of the antioxidant Anthocyanin. The Okinawan potato contains 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries. 

We paired the purple potato with pumpkin seeds. They a great source of protein, amino acids, fiber, iron, copper, phosphorus and magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, folic acid and niacin; all important nutrients to your pet’s overall good health. When feeding them please make sure they are raw and unsalted. An interesting fact we also learned about is they are being used as a holistic approach to treating worms in your dog.

We combined jerky, yogurt, and an egg to provide extra protein for your pup. We do keep it simple below is the complete ingredient list. 

  • Rice Flour
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Egg
  • Purple Sweet Potato
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • Turkey Jerky (locally made)

“Sweet potatoes are cooked with the skin produces more fiber than a serving of oatmeal"

We also sent some our customers another version that we made with organic Buckwheat Flour instead of Rice Flour. Buckwheat is a nice grain free alternative for dogs on special diets

Nutrition for Dogs

Got Goat Milk?

Mary Poppins sang how a teaspoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Sounds outrageous in today’s holistic world, right? But sometimes when you have a sick pet, trying alternative remedies can be a good thing. In fact, I wouldn't rule out voodoo if I thought it could work.

Let me explain

It all started with a sound best described as a dinosaur chomping down a giant Redwood.  But incredibly it was coming from my mom’s cat, Tuxedo.  Right then it struck me that I had never heard him chew his food before. So what was this new dining anomaly? It was a first sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) soon followed by intermittent vomiting, changes in stool, and non-stop eating frenzies. 

Steroid treatment has worked but led to diabetes which is a common side effect. He’s now on diet prescription food and hopefully won’t need insulin. The good news is that Tuxedo has rallied once again. He’s not sleeping 24/7 nor is his poop stinking like science lab sulfur. Honestly, I think he cashed in on one of his nine lives.   

Anyway, although Tuxedo is being treated by an extraordinary vet specialist mom is still looking for that magic bullet that will keep him alive forever. What better place to find it than Vegas.  
Let me explain.

You can get just about anything imaginable in sin city – legal and illegal – but what were the odds of finding a curative elixir for a cat with IBS? A million to one shot, but we got lucky. In a display freezer at a local dog boutique, I made my serendipitous discovery: GOAT MILK. 
Here was a product that I’d never thought about before. I needed to know more. 

maru-goat-milk

Goat Milk

Seventy-two percent of the milk used throughout the world is from goats. According to the Journal of American Medicine, goat milk is the “most complete food known.” Milk is raw food designed by nature. When pets are fed raw milk with all its nutrients, it is equivalent to giving them raw organ meat, raw fat and raw bones. 

Although the mineral content of both cow and goat milk is similar, goat’s milk contains: 

  • 13% more calcium…  
  • 25% more Vitamin B-6…  
  • 47% more Vitamin A…  
  • 134% more potassium…  
  • 27% more of the antioxidant selenium…  
  • 3x more niacin.

Goat’s milk helps to increase the pH of the blood stream because it is the dairy product highest in the amino acid L-glutamine. 

Benefits

So what is the biggest difference between cow and goat milk? Goat milk is alkaline and cow milk is acid. Because the protein in goat milk forms a softer curd, the body can digest it in just 20 minutes. Having fat molecules one-fifth the size of those in cow’s milk makes it easily digestible and tolerable to those with compromised digestive systems.  USDA and A&M University, Texas studies have confirmed that goat’s milk has more acid-buffering capacity than over the counter antacids. 

Brands

There are several brands on the market from dry to wet – pasteurized and unpasteurized. I bought unpasteurized flavored with cinnamon and honey. I was concerned about the honey because of Tuxedo’s diabetes so I called the company. They said the honey feeds the Probiotics (good bacteria) which convert the sugar to lactic acid. Essentially there is no sugar left and the lactic acid aids in digestion which is good for the IBS.  I hope that his next exam proves that to be true.

Safety Standards

Raw food does have a risk factor. However, raw milk has stricter standards than pasteurized. The bacteria count for pasteurized milk is 15,000 per ml while certified raw milk is 10,000 ml.  
With any type of raw food, however, proper handling is a must to ensure there’s no contamination.  It’s a good idea to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds if contact is made and best not to kiss your pet. Bacterial transmission is a real threat. 

Testing

My mom was nervous giving it to Tuxedo the first time. But, he loved the goat’s milk at first lick. He asked for it at every meal… or something like that. Miraculously, within a few days she said he seemed more alert, more social and more content. Those bacteria were doing their job and she felt better knowing he was feeling better. 

That’s when I decided to give some to my dog Maru. While she doesn’t have any known health issues, the goat milk could be considered as preventative care. She absolutely loves it. I have even developed a new frozen treat using it.  

To Go or Not to Go Goat

The raw food controversy is heating up on all fronts. Convincing arguments can be made both pro and con. So, how does a pet parent make a decision? By doing research and talking to medical professionals and knowledgeable pet store owners. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice. 
What I didn't expect was the guilt of going goat. By that I mean doing something that you know your vet might not support. That’s a real dilemma. For right now, goat’s milk may NOT be what the doctor ordered, but it IS food for thought! And, if this new treatment regimen doesn't work out, I’m going to grab my new bar of goat soap and indulge in a nice luxurious bath.

GOAT FACTS

Goats get a bad rap in fairy tales and the barnyard. They are seen as ugly bearded animals that eat tin cans and butt kick everything. Here are some facts that might make them a little more love-able and appreciated.

  • They were the first animal to be domesticated over 10,000 years ago in Iran.
  • Before coins were used as money, goats were traded for silver because they were so valuable.
  • Some goats can climb trees & jump as high as 5 feet or more.
  • There are about 300 varieties and each breed gives different tasting milk.
  • Sometimes goats are kept with racehorses as companions because of their calming effect on them. The term “get your goat” is rumored to have originated from the practice of stealing the companion goat so the racehorse would do poorly.
  • Goats have rectangular pupils which gives them 320-340 degree vision so they virtually see all around them without moving. 
  • One Egyptian pharaoh was buried with more than 2,000 goats.

Sources

  1. http://hungryhound.com/the-many-benefits-of-adding-raw-goats-milk-to-your-pets-diet
  2. http://blog.sandiegopetfooddelivery.com/2013/09/why-raw-goats-milk-for-dogs-cats.html
  3. http://www.dogsplendor.com/2013/03/gaga-for-raw-goats-milk
  4. http://dancingdogfarm.com/2011/07/22/benefits-of-drinking-goats-milk
  5. http://www.ibpet.net/#!Benefits-of-Raw-Goat-Milk-for-Pets/c1x62/BF351420-5A1A-4E32-998F-0278EDF9A88E
  6. http://www.thepetbeastro.com/2013/03/health-benefits-of-raw-goats-milk-for-pets
  7. A CAMPAIGN FOR REAL (RAW) MILK! Web. 18 Apr. 2010. http://www.realmilk.com.
    Gilbere, Gloria, N.D., D.A. Hom., Ph.D., "Natures Prescription Milk." Web.
    The Maker's diet, Jordan Rubin - Thorndike Press - Waterville, Me. – 2006
    The untold story of milk: green pastures, contented cows and raw dairy foods, Ronald F.Schmid - Sally Fallon - New Trends Pub. - Washington, DC – 2003

 

Why Are Dogs Creatures Of Habit?

What do gamblers, sports figures, comics, and dogs have in common? They perform rituals.

People rituals are seen as quirky habits they make up to help them cope or bring them luck. Take former Red Sox slugger Wade Boggs. He woke up at the same time each day, ate chicken before each game, took exactly 177 ground balls in practice that started precisely at 5:17, ran sprints at 7:17 and wrote Chai (Hebrew for “living”) in the dirt before each at bat and he wasn’t even Jewish. 

Yet a dog’s ritual of “scraping after pooping” is considered weird. But this ritual is part of a dog’s evolutionary heritage and it’s instinctual.  People can’t use that excuse. Take away the poop factor, and really which behavior is more bizarre?  

So what exactly is scraping and peeling?

It’s when a dog kicks the ground with their hind legs after defecating or urinating. Dog paws contain scent (eccrine) glands in between the toes. Scraping them against the ground helps release the pheromones that increase the scent near “their business.” These pheromones contain information about a dog’s gender, age, and overall health.

But why do dogs do it? 

Dogs are descended from wolves which also scrape. Wolves needed to mark their territories often because they were too large to patrol every day. If other wolves encroached on their territory they could steal game or mating opportunities. By scent marking and scraping, they were sending a message to other wolves to keep away or be ready to fight.  Before domestication, dogs also wandered in large territories and this particular instinct has not yet been bred out of the domestic dog. 

Solving a Problem

When dog poop dries, it loses its pungent fragrance and hence its poop power to ward off the enemy. So by releasing the scent glands on the ground they act as a kind of booster scent saver and enhancer. Paired with visually deep and long scrape marks it becomes hard evidence that shouts BEWARE!  One big kick butt dog was here! It’s almost like a dog’s unique scratch and sniff business card.

Behavior Modification

Some dog owners find pooping rituals uncivilized and even aggressive. They get nervous that their dogs will step in “it” and then track it everywhere. But dogs are skilled marksmen and know just how to spread their paws enough so they don’t. Some owners feel violated because they think their pups are deliberately aiming at them when they kick. And, some owners go so far as trying to stop or modify the ritualistic behavior. Dressing dogs up is one thing but trying to override their survival instincts is another. 

Warning Signs

If a dog that usually scrapes stops doing it, the dog may have health problems, such as arthritis. New or different behaviors should always be checked out. 

Social Power

A related behavior called over marking is when a dog feels more “alpha” than another so he covers up the other dog’s urine with its own. Doing this he markets himself to other dogs as having a higher social status and more power.  While the technique is different, the end game is very much like a power play in the boardroom. 

So, the next time you watch your dog choreograph its poop ritual, instead of thinking crazy be proud that he can execute this survival ritual with such vigor and precision. He’s showing power and control. And until dogs can tweet or twitter their personal messages, dogs should be allowed the freedom to communicate how they know best.