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Q&A: Feeding Necks & Hyperthyroidism in Dogs

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QUESTION: “Our healthy 5-year-old greyhound just had baseline labs done, and we were all shocked to find her T4 level off-the-chart high. Range is .8 – 3.5, and her value was 8.8. She does not have any symptoms of hyperthyroidism.  Greyhounds often have low thyroid conditions, not high. Our holistic vet asked if her diet includes neck bones, which they do. She probably eats 3 or 4 neck bones a week, turkey or lamb. Apparently she could be ingesting a thyroid gland or hormones. Has anyone heard of this risk? We are eliminating neck bones for one month and then will retest. If it’s not diet related, she thought it might be a tumor. I hate the thought of that. – Michele, Thursday, January 28, 2016”

ANSWER:  Hi Michele,  Thanks for posting this interesting question! It’s a good topic to review.

I am glad to know she does not have any symptoms of hyperthyroidism, but because this value was so high without any symptoms, I would first suggest running the test again now to make sure there wasn’t an issue with the test itself before you make changes to the diet. She may certainly be one of the dogs that is experiencing dietary induced hyperthyroidism (which is easily reversible, thankfully!), but you’d want to be sure the test is accurate as it is still quite rare.

Yes, newer research has indicated an association between the regular feeding of necks, trachea/gullets and/or head meat, either fed raw or given as dried treats, and hyperthyroidism in some dogs.  Hyperthyroidism is incredibly/terribly commonplace and prevalent in cats; but not so for dogs – most dogs with thyroid disease exhibit symptoms of/will be diagnosed with hypothyroidism (underactive), not hyperthyroidism (overactive).

The feeding of neck bones (chicken, lamb, beef, etc) is incredibly common and popular in raw feeding, as these bones are some of the safer options for RMBs– soft/not weight bearing, easy to find and easy to feed – but there is this new research that shows an association with a possible risk of hyperthyroidism. The information we have so far is from some rather small samples of patients and we have been feeding a lot of raw necks/tracheas/gullets to lots and lots of dogs for many years without seeing this as a major issue/risk…but, obviously, for some dogs (perhaps with an underlying predisposition or perhaps when this is the only or predominant RMB being fed?) this is a problematic food that should be avoided or at least minimized through feeding more variety (indeed, completely eliminated & avoided until the tests results are back to normal).

The good news is that 100% of the dogs that had elevated levels/hyperthyroidism while consuming head meat, necks or gullets all reverted back to completely normal once these possibly gland-tainted bones were replaced with other RMB options.

I concur with the following analysis and good suggestions from Dr. Becker about this topic – this is another issue that proves feeding a wide variety of different foods is vitally important (no matter what you are feeding) to avoid overdoing any specific nutrients or causing even rare dietary imbalances such as this:

“To avoid diet induced hyperthyroidism in your raw fed pet, my recommendation is to make sure you are feeding a variety of protein sources and cuts of meat (thigh meat, etc.) so that your dog isn’t eating a steady diet of raw meaty bones/necks that could contain active thyroid tissue.

If your pet is a healthy, raw-fed dog, it’s not necessary to go out of your way to avoid foods that may possibly contain thyroid tissue. The studies I mentioned above involve a very small number of dogs that I suspect were eating the same cuts of meat (necks) for a prolonged period of time. Thankfully, their hyperthyroid conditions were easily reversed with a simple dietary change, but this study reinforces my belief that pets need a variety of different meat sources (and body parts) for overall health and wellbeing. So if you’ve been feeding poultry necks regularly as the foundation of your dog’s raw food diet, consider changing up your recipe to include other cuts (wings and backs) and diversify your protein sources.

I also recommend you keep an eye out for symptoms of hyperthyroidism (and any other possible illness) in your pet, and see your veterinarian for regular wellness checkups that should include measuring your dog’s blood thyroid hormone levels.”

More here:

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/11/04/hyperthyroidism-dogs.aspx

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2014/july/raw-diets-and-hyperthyroidism-dogs-31873#

Even though it is a rare condition, I hope it is indeed from the necks and that, after making an adjustment to her RMB selections, her values will revert back to normal. I hope it’s not a tumor, too (even though this is the more common reason for hyperthyroidism in dogs).

Along these lines, it is important for all raw feeders (cats & dogs) to be sure to not overfeed iodine containing foods such as kelp/seaweed and even too much fish. Remember: variety is key & everything in moderation! Kelp is an excellent, and even necessary, part of a balanced raw diet, but feeding far too much of it can cause problems with thyroid health.  Just be sure you are following a good dietary guide, never overdo any single component or ingredient, and try to not get into a rut of feeding the same things endlessly/over & over – this is, again, another reminder of why it’s SO important to mix it up!

Lastly, if you feed the very same thing to a population/sample of dogs (or cats), over time, we know that select individual animals are going to respond in unexpected ways to foods that work nicely/are well tolerated by the majority – for example, dietary hyperthyroidism is something I would consider somewhat rare and not usually a risk for most dogs.

Finally, when considering thyroid health risks, another thing to consider is trauma to the neck from collars and other equipment –the use of certain collars have shown an association with damage to the thyroid gland (and trachea). It is best to avoid these types of collars, IMO:  http://peterdobias.com/blogs/blog/11015137-choke-prong-and-shock-collars-can-irreversibly-damage-your-dog

Hope this helps!

Sincerely,

Kasie

UPDATE: Feb 2, 2016

Just to follow-up on the inquiries about the thyroid/glandular tissue on the trachea, gullet or GreenTripe products that include these ingredients. This is a question/concern (not a dog that actually had the condition but just an inquiry about the risk) that came up within our group a few years ago, actually and they get this question from time to time. I talked to them about it a few years ago, but I confirmed everything again with them today:

The USDA slaughterhouse they source their ingredients from is instructed to remove all glandular tissue before they get the product. In addition, GreenTripe does their own inspection of their ingredients, with removal of any extra tissue possibly attached to the trachea/gullet at processing or packaging. While the proximity of these tissues to these body parts may possibly allow for minute levels of contamination, these parts do not have any glandular tissue attached when sold or used in processing. Lastly, in all the years they have been selling these products they have not had a single incident of a dog that experienced a change in their regular panel laboratory tests/exam results related to the inclusion or exclusion of these foods and thyroid function/health.

I also got confirmation that the USDA inspected beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck, etc. necks we sell are cleaned of all glandular tissue at processing. We do not source necks that would possibly have this tissue attached. But again, due to proximity of these parts to the glands, minute levels may possibly be consumed in this way. I cannot possibly imagine that it would be enough to cause diet induced hyperthyroidism from these specific foods/cuts — *maybe* possible in a dog with an existing sensitivity and if necks were being fed as the only source of RMB for an extended period of time and/or fed in excess.

Sourcing is key! For example, in one of the case studies that was pointed to in the report I posted earlier – this was a study with a sample of just TWO dogs, living in the same household, that were getting whole heads from a local slaughterhouse which caused the thyroid condition. Not USDA-inspected meat. I cannot find the sources for the meats in the other two small sample studies, but I do wonder if this was USDA inspected meat fit for human consumption or animal feed grade, or from animals butchered at a small local facility that slaughters/butchers animals for personal or CSA “direct-to-consumer” use only (not for retail sale/not USDA inspected). One of the studies referenced this condition being related to the regular feeding of dried gullet/trachea pet treats– these were not USDA inspected products. There is a difference.

Please understand that I do not find the small direct-to-consumer non-USDA slaughter/butcher/processor option necessarily problematic at all (this is how MOST high quality local producer-run CSA or “direct to consumer” operations manage their processing) but for this specific issue, there would be a possibility of getting the whole animal back with all parts attached after processing at one of these facilities, or for them to give someone free/cheap scraps for their dogs that would contain these tissues. Whereas this is simply not possible when a rancher/producer sends their animals to slaughter in a USDA facility and have the parts USDA inspected for human consumption/resale. This is tightly regulated by the USDA, and it is the reason why we can’t get some really cool parts we’d like to from our current suppliers. Many people don’t understand that the rancher has to buy back the meat from their own animals after processing from the USDA slaughterhouse. They simply can’t get back the whole animal broken down into all the tissues/parts 100%, even if they wanted to – they can only get USDA-inspected and permissible parts in return and many times they struggle to get even basic offal like liver, kidney, and hearts.

BUYER BEWARE Unfortunately, many commercial pet foods on the market can & do use meat that is not USDA inspected. I have seen a lot of them that claim ingredients from a “USDA facility” and this generally means the food and meat used has not actually been inspected & approved by the USDA (“USDA inspected”). This practice appears to have caused diet induced hyperthyroidism in at least once case cited on a blog (see link). The dog’s levels went back to normal after being 4x the norm when put back on a DIY home-prepared raw diet: http://truthaboutpetfood.com/diet-related-hyperthyroidism/ This is only one of the many safety and quality issues I have with pet food ingredients that are not “fit for human consumption” and/or USDA inspected and approved.

SFRAW does not sell ANY products that would fall under this category with the exception of two pet food producers we have worked with for many years and trust completely:

1) GreenTripe (pet food sourced meats/cuts from USDA facility, under special USDA-orders, that we have confirmed are directed to remove this tissue & re-inspected by GreenTripe at processing)

2) Hare-Today whole prey and whole ground animals. The whole prey will include the whole animal with all glands/fur/feathers. I think these are great products and a wonderful option for those willing to feed this way. Over the years, I have feed my own animals a lot of these foods, in rotation with other foods (Remember: moderation and VARIETY is the best way to reduce risks of all sorts!)

As a CDFA licensed and inspected pet food manufacturer, and by our own code of ethics and standards, the SFRAW Grinds & Formulas use only 100% USDA inspected “human-grade” meats & parts with this tissue removed.

That being said, it will be interesting to learn how Michele’s Greyhound, Lexy, does after her change in diet and re-testing. I hope she reverts back to normal quickly. It would be very good news if it were a sensitivity this individual dog has that caused diet induced hyperthyroidism because it is completely reversible and her dog will be ok with a switch to wings, backs, etc. and removing any neck region foods from the diet (any commercial foods that may contain ingredients from the neck/head region or using meats that are not 100% “USDA-inspected”, Xkaliber, GreenTripe with Trachea & Gullet, Hare-Today whole animal grinds, whole trachea or gullets, dried trachea or gullet treats, and all neck bones or heads).

Hope this helps with those concerned or those that just enjoy learning more about this topic.

Sincerely,

Kasie

 

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Photo credit: Michele Hangee-Bauer of “sweet as pie” Lexy on her sixth birthday!

UPDATE: Oct 28, 2016

 

 

After a trial of changes to her diet and retesting to evaluate her thyroid health, we last heard from Michele that Lexy was eventually diagnosed with hyperthyroidism after all.  Her veterinarian and family concluded that Lexy had been experiencing thyroiditis in Jan and that the necks, etc. in her diet were not the primary cause of her unusual laboratory findings. They are happy to report that they were given the OK to include more necks in her diet (her favorite) and she continues to feel and do great! We’re so happy to hear this news for Lexy and Michele! And, for others that were concerned, this conclusion removes a direct link/blame of her lab results on the feeding of necks and GreenTripe products and shows that she actually had an underlying thyroid disease (common in her breed) that is now being managed and treated.

Hope this helps those wondering about this topic to  make more informed choices when feeding a natural diet to their dogs!

RELATED QUESTION  Tuesday, March 14, 2017

ANSWER:  Hi Aaron,  This condition is INCREDIBLY rare! In fact, it is so rare, that I’ve only know of one single dog in the history of my raw feeding experience (since 1989) that experienced a related issue. Upon taking her off the neck bones and GreenTripe with Trachea & Gullet, her values did improve immediately. However, she then became hypothyroid, and it was determined that she was just a dog with a problematic thyroid disease. They determined that it was far more of an issue of her own body, than her diet or exposure to iodine or thyroid issues. Here is another great article about this topic: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/11/04/hyperthyroidism-dogs.aspx

All of the meats used in SFRAW Grinds & Formulas are 100% USDA licensed and inspected food that is 100% fit for human consumption, which means it is not at high risk for contamination with glandular tissue.

In addition, all of our raw meaty bones sold at SFRAW (not including GreenTripe or Hare-Today pet food products) are also 100% USDA licensed and inspected food for humans to eat, and have been cleaned of glandular tissue according to the USDA guidelines and the amount, if any, would be absolutely minuscule.

Our Chicken, Duck, Turkey and Rabbit Grind & Formulas include the entire whole bird or rabbit. When we can, we include the necks and heads and feet — these parts are not always available, but we try to get them, and include them, when we can because I think they provide additional nutritional benefits.

Our Lamb, Beef and Pork Formulas & Grinds do not include any heads or necks/neck tissue at all – below please find the ingredients used from the animal(s):

LAMB = Lamb Trim, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tongue, Lamb Breast Bones, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney.

PORK = Pork Bnls/Snls Leg, Pork Heart, Pork Tongue, Pork Liver, Pork Spleen, Pork Kidney, NOW Brand Bone Meal Powder.

BEEF = Beef Bottom Round, Beef Heart, Beef Tongue, Beef Liver, Beef Spleen, Beef Kidney, NOW Brand Bone Meal Powder.

The beef is the only one that could possibly include gullet and trachea (these parts are exclusive to beef/ungulates) — but they are not used/present in our ground foods.

If you buy our stuffed, dried or raw beef tracheas that we offer, you may be feeding some minuscule amount of glandular tissue. We think this is safe for 99.999% dogs.

BTW: the dog that experienced the hyper-t was eating a diet of kibble, and she was given turkey, duck and lamb neck bones for her RMBs, and fed GreenTripe Xkaliber or GreenTripe with Trachea & Gullet. As far as I know. she did not feed SFRAW Grinds or Formulas. She has since gone back to feeding some of the previous foods as her issue was resolved and has been managed with medication – see above for full details!

Hope this helps!

Sincerely and in good health to you and Daisy,

Kasie

 

Written by sfraw

March 17, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Posted in Q & A, Uncategorized

Q&A: Aging cat with dementia & use of Essential Oils on/around cats

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Q: We have our 15-year-old cat that is beginning to show several signs of anxiety or dementia. Our vet wants to give her Xanax, to which we are opposed.  I would like to try defusing essential oils through the house to see if it works.  Does anyone know of a practitioner that could help us with what to use that might be specific for what is going on my girl?  Thank you. Carrie

A: Hi Carrie,

I am so sorry to hear about your middle-aged kitty experiencing dementia and anxiety. I hope I can provide some suggestions that may provide some relief to her and to your household/family!

I am so glad you asked about the use of essential oils with your cat. Because of the dire and very serious consequences that can occur in cats exposed to essential oils, my position is that they are never safe to use — even diffused, even the therapeutic grade, even EOs lower in the most toxic/potentially lethal chemical compounds (ketones, phenols, and monoterpenes). And for dementia and anxiety, EOs would not be my first choice anyhow — there are some other options that I think may be more effective, and would certainly be safer.  Here is a short answer about the issue regarding cats and EOs:

Why Cats and Essential Oils Are Not Suitable by Dr. Khan, DVM, PhD, DABVT (Veterinary Toxicologist), National Animal Poison Control Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois

Generally, essential oils and hydrosols* have terpenes (along with other things) in them (terpenes are hydrocarbons of plant origin). Terpenes are rapidly absorbed orally and dermally and are metabolized in the liver. The metabolites of terpenes are conjugated with glucuronic acid (glucuronidation) and glycine depending on the type of terpene and animal species involved. The conjugated metabolites are usually more water soluble and are easily excreted through the kidney and feces.

Why Cats Can’t Metabolize Essential Oils: Cats are known to be deficient in their ability to eliminate compounds through hepatic glucuronidation (they lack enzyme glucuronyl tranferases). Glucuronidation is an important detoxification mechanism present in most animals except cats. Lack of this important detoxification mechanism in cats may result in slower elimination and thus build-up of the toxic metabolites in the body causing toxicity.

And another link you may want to check out about this topic here.

Below please find my suggestions on alternative options to help your aging cat:

1) Pheromones Feliway products are a safe to use pheromone diffuser and/or spray that can be very helpful for a lot of mood & behavior issues in felines. Feliway is 100% safe to use and you can easily buy it from SFRAW, online or even in many local pet supply stores. It’s a good first thing to try.

2) Flower Essences can make a big difference and are 100% safe & easy to use — simply add drops to their water, food, treats, by mouth (if you can), or spray frequently – if they are not stressed by the spray action.  Giving 2-4 drops 4-6 times a day will provide the best results. I can gladly make a blend for her current state next time you come in or you can make your own (mix up to/no more than seven in a bottle with a little distilled/filtered water and either a bit of Vodka, brandy or vegetable glycerin to preserve).  Learn more about the different remedies here.
3) Herbal Remedies: the main downside of this modality is that your cat may not want to ingest herbal compounds and, unlike energetic medicines (flower essences, homoepathy, etc) they must be consumed/metabolized to work. I’d offer some of them to her and see if she is willing to take one on her own or when added to food. She will know what is good for her, and it is best to allow for her to choose/guide you about which herbs she needs (or not). Some blends that would be useful in this case include: Ginko Biloba, Turmeric (information for use in cats here); Animal Essentials Senior Support or Animal Essentials Tranquility Blend; Standard Process Neurotrophin PMG.

Some helpful dietary supplements & nutritional changes to her current species appropriate, fresh raw, carbohydrate-grain-sugar free diet to consider would be:

  1. Increasing the amount of EFAs in her diet either by adding more beneficial fatty foods or by supplementing with high quality EFAs: there is a good product specifically for cats here and here. Adding a high quality, organic, cold-pressed Coconut Oil may be of benefit; Standard Process Calamari Oil would be another choice.
  2. Antioxidants and supplements such as: Sam-E, CoEnzymeQ10, choline/phosphatidylcholine, and B-vitamins are known to be helpful.
  3. Feeding more “grounding” foods such as beef, elk, venison, turkey, lamb, bison; cooked root vegetables, seaweeds/salty foods, egg yolks & cheese. Making stews and offering some pureed cooked meals may also help bring her to balance during this period of confusion/upset.
  4. Try CBD oil or tincture. CBD oil has been incredibly helpful for some animals — get 18:1 or 20:1 CBD oil that you purchase from a dispensary. Yes, you will need a medical cannabis card to make this purchase legally for your animal. I am not a fan of the OTC products available online or in pet stores/vet hospitals recently; I think these are a waste of money, possibly unsafe, and not nearly as effective as the regulated products found in a dispensary. It is important to purchase safe, clean, medical-grade products. A high quality local brand is Treat Well, for example — she makes nice ones for animal use and can advise you on which product you should use. Whatever one you buy, do be sure it is xylitol free and safe for use in cats (no artificial sweeteners or preservatives added, for example).
  5. Add a little catnip to her routine — she can eat it or roll in it. It can help to balance her mood and reduces anxiety.
  6. Consider probiotics specifically tailored for the feline gut and/or for improving behavior/cognitive function. For example, we just started carrying a product from Custom Probiotics which has a very good reputation and has some promising results for positively influencing both GI health and behavior in humans, and we are hopeful this will prove beneficial for our animal companions, as well. My partner tried it out for himself, and our cat, usually having no real interest in our supplements at all — went absolutely CRAZY for this particular probiotic. He was doing anything he could to get just a little taste! His highly unusual, very dramatic response to this particular product, and the good information I have heard about this product was a determining factor for me to bring this on as one of the select supplements we offer at SFRAW. We are learning more and more about how the gut microflora has an influence on our brain functioning/health and behavior (the “Gut-Brain-Immune Axis” – more here). You can learn a lot about the general and species specific use of protiotics in cats here. This is a great website and they suggest some excellent products.

Obviously, these are all only useful if she is willing to take them willingly! I would offer them to her individually — she may surprise you with her interest in specific formulas or supplements.

Lastly, sound and light can have a big impact on biology & mood – especially in animals!   Music therapy may be very helpful for her; not sure if you had thought of this yet.  You can purchase/download or stream music to play softly for her during the day and at night before bedtime, that is used for meditation, or to promote sleep and relaxation in pets and babies/children. Classical music or music that has been arranged and developed for dementia and anxiety (in people) can be used for cats or dogs with similar concerns. Music therapy may be very good for her – worth trying and low investment/no real risk.

Fluorescent lighting may be giving her some trouble. Animals are sensitive to the high pitched sound these bulbs make and the blue spectrum lighting can cause some serious disruptions to sleep cycles (much like us – but I think animals are even more sensitive to this). If you can swap out florescent bulbs with incandescent (warm not cool) or natural light, this may be very helpful for her.  I like the Salt Lamps for early am and pm lighting – safer than candlelight but has a similar calming effect. You may want to look into therapeutic UV lighting that people use for Seasonal Mood Disorders  – she could really benefit from UV lighting (unless she gets to go outside a lot already and gets direct exposure to natural sunshine, daily). Light can have dramatic influences on her hormones, and may be causing disruptions to her sleep/activity cycle – blue light from electronics and artificial lighting may even be causing her anxiety.  Do what you can for this – I know it may not be an easy fix, but certainly worth exploring.

If she does not get to go outside/spend time having direct “paw-to-soil” contact to the earth – an earthing or grounding mat is something to consider. This can help with adrenal issues, dementia and anxiety quite a bit – but they can be really expensive. I have heard some cases where this has really helped dogs and cats suffering from age related cognitive dysfunction and anxiety. But simply spending time outdoors on natural surfaces (touching the earth/natural substrates – not concrete, decks, or patios) every day (safely, of course) is the better – and way cheaper! — solution, when possible.

Homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine can both also be very useful here. I’d recommend working with one of the following veterinarians:

Alternatives for Animals (highly recommended by other SFRAW members and also offer a discount for your first visit if you are a SFRAW member!)

Dr. Barbara Fishelson, DVM (Barbara does house-calls & phone consultations)

Dr Cheryl Schwartz (the original, a true pioneer for TCM use in veterinary medicine)

Homeopathic Veterinary Housecalls, Cecille O’Brien Greenleaf VMD Portola Valley, California (she is excellent!) cao@greenleafmed.com (650) 533-0074

Mt. Madonna Veterinary Clinic in Watsonville (SFRAW members, and worth the distance! Gwen & George are wonderful!)

The Western Dragon – Dr. Sara (Dr. Sara – I think she may be closer to you?)

For general information regarding feline dementia, please check out this article – and this article.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.  These are some rather broad and general recommendations – each individual symptom picture is unique and your cat may respond better to different things.  If you want to talk more set-up a Consultation with me and I’d be more than happy to do whatever I can to provide you with more specific suggestions for her, as well as guidance and support that you may need.

I hope this helps!

Sincerely,

Kasie Maxwell

Founder/Owner, SFRAW

Written by sfraw

February 8, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Q&A: Recommendations for healing after major abdominal/intestinal surgery?

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Q: hello smart raw feeders- my beloved dog had a big health scare this weekend.  he had a blockage in his gut and needed to have 30 inches of his intestines removed.  the vet has put him on a diet of baby food for a week.

my question is how should i handle his diet moving forward now that his intestines are compromised?  i wonder if this will affect the peristaltic action in the future and make digestion more difficult?  i winder if i should stay away from bones now and feed only ground with perhaps extra calcium supplementation?  also what probiotics if any would you recommend when the course of antibiotcs are over to restore his gut flora?

thank you!

A: I am so sorry to hear about your pup’s emergency surgery and removal of the this vital organ (well, part of). I hope he will recover as soon as possible without any complications.  He may or may not have residual issues from this event, but it’s great you are reaching out to do whatever you can to support his recovery and help him heal faster.  Hopefucap-lglutplly, he can heal up quickly and be back to normal soon!

I’d highly recommend the following supplements during this period of recovery:
1) L-Glutamine (best in the powdered supplement format). This amino-acid reduces rates of infection, reduces inflammation, improves gut barrier function, and improves immune function. It is an amino-acid that repairs the lining of the gut so it’s a great choice for this scenario.

Daily dosages for dogs: 1-25 lbs=250 mg; 25-50 lbs=500 mg; 50-100 lbs=1,00 mg; cats: 125 mg. Best if fed in water or broth before meals and at bedtime, but may be added to food.

660599201020_12) SeaCure is a nice supplement to promote/speed healing; it is an especially easy to absorb protein. I recommend it in cases such as this.

3) Probiotics! Please do not make the mistake of waiting to give probiotics after the antibiotic treatment is completed — you can, and should, start probiotics right away. In fact, it is the best way to counter the side-effects of taking antibiotics (more here – see references he provides – I do not suggest your dog take resistant starch at this time). You should start giving probiotics the first day of oral antibiotic treatment and continue them for at least an additional 2 weeks after the completion of antibiotic therapy. It has not been proven but it has been suggested to take probiotics and antibiotics at least 2 hours apart to reduce the possibility of the antibiotic killing the probiotic organisms. However, I have found that giving probiotics 10 minutes after the dose of antibiotics is the MOST effective way to reduce digestive upset, vomiting, inappetence and diarrhea in dogs and cats. Timing really can make a big difference here to curtail these unpleasant symptoms, and while it may seem counter-intuitive, a probiotic “chaser” given 10 minutes after the antibiotic, can be incredibly effective.msb-bottle
As for which probiotic product to choose: MegaSporeBiotic, Primal
Defense
(we carry both) or PrescriptAssist probiotics are all very stable, high quality choices for dogs and cats (and people!) that have chronic or mild issues with allergies or auto-immunity resulting in skin or gut problems, or for those that have never taken antibiotics or probiotics before.

However, if your animal has taken probiotics in the past without a dramatic improvement in their symptoms, I’d recommend one of the follo11-strain-50-gram-no-scoopswing products, which are expensive but very good:

The Gut Institute BIFIDO|MAXIMUS Histamine-Free and D-
Lactate Free Probiotic Blend 200 B CFU Daily for Microbiome Management
  or Custom Probiotics brand 11 Strain Probiotic Powder

 

 

The diet during this healing period should include lean, yet nutrient dense, easy to assimilate, high protein/meats from truly pastured animals. Sourcing is important here as high quality truly pastured meats are higher in beneficial fat/omega-3s, CLA, carotene, vita A/E/D — and larger quantities of all of these nutrients are needed/very helpful during this healing period.

Also important now is the inclusion of adequate levels of zinc to speed healing and support the immune system — which you can provide through the diet by simply feeding zinc rich foods such as (listed in order of zinc content and also digestibility): fresh/frozen raw, steamed/sautéed or canned oysters; braised calf, beef or lamb liver; raw organic tahini; freshly ground raw organic pumpkin seeds/pumpkin seed butter.

13963_shelled_oysters

My suggestion would be to make stews or cooked meals using beef, bison, venison or lamb muscle meat (ground or stew meat) + bit of liver and spleen. Do not feed many vegetables right now and certainly no grains or legumes at all — those will be hard on his system and increase inflammation. For calcium you can choose one of the following supplements: 1/4 TBS of Now Bone Meal powder, 1 tsp. of Seaweed Calcium or 1/2 tsp. of eggshell powder added to every lb of food. This is a necessary balancing supplement (not optional) – it can be added either before or after cooking – the minerals hold up to the heat of cooking ok.

Servings of bone broth made from these same meats (bones, tendons, ligaments, feet, heads, skin) will also be very healing; remember no onion and little to no salt (if you do use salt, be sure to use a natural salt, not regular table salt, please).  Feeding additional gelatin – I like Great Lakes Beef Gelatin – would be helpful, too.

parsley_leaf-product_1x-1403633255Ginger and a small amount of garlic will support healing/reduce the chance for infection, too. You can season to taste with culinary herbs such as parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, chervil, cumin, turmeric, chamomile, mint — all will be beneficial for a variety of reasons. Just use what you have/can easily find, and what he seems to like best.  Organic, of course!

Bromelain in conjunction with quercetin is an excellent supplement to help speed up healing of the gut; as is Slippery Elm Bark Powder or Marshmallow Root Powder mixed with a bit of raw honey and raw, organic fresh tahini or raw/organic fresh pumpkin seed butter (whatever he likes best – you can make/roll into little balls to eat as treats) — these will sooth an inflamed GI tract and reduce digestive upset.

So long as he heals and starts to feel better and elimination becomes normal again, in about a week or two, you can start to feed less cooked foods/more raw. Usually by 3-4 weeks after this surgery, you should certainly be able to return to his normal raw diet — even including raw meaty bones, if this was normal before. I had a senior Great Dane that needed emergency “bloat” GDV + gastropexy surgery once. Even with some initial unusual/unexplained complications during the first 24-hours afterwards, he was back on raw meaty bones and his normal diet in under two weeks — despite his age, he recovered very quickly with homeopathy and TCM — you will just have to see how your dog does and let his progress guide you. Just remember to proceed slowly as it’s better to be conservative and cautious, rather than bold/daring, in these situations. 🙂

This last part is not specific to your situation, necessarily, but I think it is important to provide this information, as it is related to the topic being discussed, and I hope it may possibly prevent an animal from going through this traumatic and life-threatening crisis. I hope the below information may be of benefit to others:

BE AWARE OF THIS RISK

Please be aware that if he is taking a NSAID (pain/arthritis medication: list of drugs in this class used in veterinary medicine can be found here) or corticosteroids (for allergies or other autoimmune diseases – list of commonly used drugs can be found here) for any reason, one of the most common side-effects of these drugs (no matter what diet he is eating) are gastrointestinal including the very serious issue of bleeding, intestinal blockage, and perforation.  Whenever I have a consultation to discuss diet/nutrition, I always ask about medications the animal is taking, as these types of drugs carry this risk as a common side-effect. If they are planning to continue the drugs, this informs my suggestions for putting together a safe diet for that individual.

So, if your dog is taking either of these types of commonly prescribed drugs, I would reconsider the feeding of whole raw meaty bones while on these medicines, simply because he will be at a higher risk for these possible side-effects.  It may be safer to feed ground meaty bones instead, but the risk remains — even when they eat kibble, canned or cooked purees/baby food. It’s just a side-effect that comes along with these drugs. Of course I know people who are aware of the risk, and yet have decided that the benefits of feeding whole meaty bones outweighs the risk. It’s just important to me that people know so they can make informed decisions.

Alternatively, (of course, it is my recommendation:) you can just completely reconsider using these drugs and move to the use of safer medical options/treatments to manage inflammation/pain or chronic illnesses. A skilled and experienced holistic veterinarian will be able to better manage whatever chronic health issues your animal may have through the use of alternative modalities – chiropractic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, herbs, etc. This way, you can not only eliminate the risk of the side-effects of using these drugs, but also continue to feed raw meaty bones for the many health benefits they provide!

Hope this helps and that your god boy is on the mend — with many happy, healthy days of meaty bone meals ahead! 🙂

 

 

 

Written by sfraw

November 16, 2016 at 9:30 pm

Posted in Q & A, Uncategorized

Q&A: Plastic in Your Raw Pet Grind?

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Occasionally, we have (rightfully) concerned raw feeders send us photos or bring us in samples of worrisome bits of plastic-looking material that they found in their pet’s food.

While it has only happened a few times in all the years we have been selling and making raw foods, we take each and every one of these concerns very seriously. Thankfully, this has happened only twice with our own food, and a few other times with other products that we sell. Fortunately, the mystery object was immediately and very easily identified as either fish scales, part of an animal’s organs, or pin-feather quills – all 100% edible and perfectly safe to feed.

Question: Hi Kasie, I wanted to ask you about something I found in the EcoPawz food.  I’ve noticed it a few times and was wondering if it’s plastic?  I had a photo of one next to a dime, but couldn’t find it now.  The few times I saw it, it looked like a flattened straw.  There could possibly be times when I missed it and fed it to the dogs.  Anyway, it felt like plastic to me, and I didn’t know what part of an animal it could be if it wasn’t.  Please let me know if you have an idea of what it could be.  Thanks so much!  Christine

Answer: Hi Christine, Thank you for asking. Yes, I DO know what that is!  Rest assured, these odd looking bits are not plastic! These are just feather quills/shafts – also referred to sometimes as pin feathers – 100% natural and a part of the turkey, duck or chickens (any bird); they are just a natural part of the bird that is found in the skin.  Totally edible and completely safe to feed. No worries! Cheers, Kasie


 

At SFRAW, we put an enormous amount of effort and care into each and every product that we provide to our dear members. As the founder, I genuinely love, admire, and an inspired by the obvious concern SFRAW members have for their animals well-being. The intention and work they put into ensuring they are feeding the safest, healthiest foods to their beloved animals is, after all, a shared interest, important responsibility, and common goal we all have as part of this wonderful community.  I am humbled to know that all the work and research we do to provide the very best possible for our members, is not only relied upon, but also appreciated by our most conscientious and observant members.

 

We had some bits presented to us yesterday, and it was definitively determined, with the help of meticulously and carefully reviewing the product in question with our production staff, to be a sardine fish scales.  The sardines we have right now are a bit bigger than in the past, and the scales looked like this (top is of the fresh scale, bottom of the one brought in to us):

fishscale

sardine fish scales can certainly resemble a piece of plastic to the uninitiated! 

We encourage people to inspect all food & treats that you provide to your animal before feeding – examining edible items upon serving and smell for freshness. Be sure anything you give to your animals looks and smells as expected/normal, to make sure it is safe to eat.

If you see anything questionable – please, take the time to report this to the manufacturer/butcher/producer where you got the food. Give them a chance to examine your findings – it may be something problematic, or you may be surprised to learn about odd bits that look a lot like plastic, but are really just edible parts of your animal companion’s fresh raw natural meals!

Ever noticed unusual colors like green or rainbow tint to your raw or frozen meat? We were once delivered a few bags of green tinted beef cuts, but it’s been many years since that happened. Thankfully, we learned that it was not a safety or quality issue in that case – we contacted the producer to determine the cause, and they were even kind enough to replace the product to ensure we were comfortable feeding it to our animals. Learn more about the different colors that may be found in your raw/frozen meat & poultry and what they may indicate/if they are safe to eat or not here.

Written by sfraw

November 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Posted in Q & A, Uncategorized

Basic Questions Answered + New In-Store Check-Out/Inventory System & Website: Coming Soon!

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Q: WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE SFRAW.COM WEBSITE?

A: Our website (originally created by Kasie c. 2003 – hey, it’s an antique!) is, frankly, ridiculous. We’re in the process of switching over to a new Point-of-Sale system (in-store check-out/register, inventory & member management) that will communicate with a decently designed, new & greatly improved eCommerce website.

The new website will be modern/feature-rich & will work great on mobile devices, but in the interim…here’s some basic information that will, hopefully, answer your questions:

13256183_10153545994446669_8304362180661014082_n 1937389_10153348841736669_327012067773078676_nQ: WHERE CAN I FIND OUT WHAT YOU SELL & HOW MUCH THINGS COST?

A: The best way to see what we typically have available in stock at the warehouse (keep in mind, this changes every week and is NOT everything that we sell or offer to our members) is to join our public newsletter list by going to sfraw.com and subscribing here.

Our newsletter is where Kasie posts the week’s inventory and prices EVERY WEDNESDAY.

Please take a moment to click on the link below this subscribe box on the sfraw.com front page (or here) to view an archive of past newsletters where you will be able to review/download PDFs of past/recent inventory and pricing.

Keep in mind these lists are just the “tip of the iceburg” for what we actually offer our members; it is limited to just the stock at hand at that moment and/or on order for the warehouse any given week.

If there are staples you are buying now, or items you are looking to find- please feel free to send us a list of these things for a price/availability check. We are happy to provide you with current prices and availability for specific items you need.

The FULL product pricelist is extensive (over 2,000 SKUs) and we will eagerly custom order practically anything for our members from our large number of suppliers & producers. This service is, however, only available to current SFRAW members. We truly enjoy placing custom orders for our members – just ask!

We keep our shopping cart area of our website secure; it is only available to members that have paid the membership fee & completed a volunteer shift.

Q: DO I HAVE TO BE A MEMBER?

A: No, you do not need to be a member to shop at the SFRAW warehouse location in San Francisco! We’re open 7-days every week to EVERYONE (yes, that means YOU!), and we welcome you to simply drop in any time:

Thursday 9am-7pm                                          

Friday 9am-7pm

Saturday 9am-5pm

Sunday through Wednesday 12-5pm

 

  • MEMBERS pay the listed (already discounted) member prices for all products in the warehouse, which is a 30% discount. Members shop at the discounted price; are eligible to have products held/reserved for them; to place orders over the phone/email/web plus other benefits like free mentoring & delivery outside SF.
  • NON-MEMBERS are welcome to shop from available inventory at the warehouse, but are charged an additional 30% fee upon checkout. Non-members must come in to shop from what we have in stock at that time – we do not hold/reserve or custom order products for non-members.

We encourage people interested in SFRAW to shop at the warehouse first as non-members a few times before making a decision to join the group. Most people quickly join SFRAW as it makes financial sense after a few shopping trips to become a member and get the 30% discount.

xmanQ: HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER?

A: To join SFRAW, there are four easy steps – this can be done online or in person:

1) subscribe to our email list, which is a Yahoo Group (how we communicate with everyone)

2) fill out a form

3) pay the fee (renews annually on the date that you join – non-refundable/no prorating)

 

*** MEMBERS THAT HAVE NOT YET VOLUNTEERED STILL GET THE DISCOUNT! ***

At this point, before volunteering, you can get the discounted membership rate and just walk-in to shop from available inventory 7-days a week. You are also eligible for our FREE SFRAW Masters Mentoring program and various educational opportunities.

 

11950494_1678382445733450_886676967_nAFTER VOLUNTEERING BENEFITS: THE REQUIREMENT IS JUST ONE DAY A YEAR!

To place custom orders through the full catalog, have items held/reserved for you from available inventory, and (for those that live outside of SF) to qualify for FREE volunteer based delivery to various hosted pick-up locations, you need to first complete a 4-hour shift of volunteering towards your 8-hours/year volunteer requirement.

SFRAW members immediately enjoy several key benefits when they join (steps 1 through 3):

– 30% off regular retail prices

– FREE Mentoring and educational events

After volunteering (the final, 4th step), members qualify for additional benefits such as:

– Ability to place holds/reserves on products from our available inventory at-hand

– Pre-order from our full catalog of products that we sell for custom ordering of whatever you need

– FREE delivery of your CUSTOM ORDER (order whatever you’d like – no minimums, etc.) to locations throughout Northern CA with other member’s orders getting delivered by volunteers to hosted pick-up locations once per month (requires ordering according to our order/pick-up schedule for these deliveries).

Lastly, for SFRAW members, we also offer door-to-door delivery service done by us for you. There is no minimum and you can order whatever you need. The cost is $25 + $1/mile to any location in the greater SF Bay Area.

Hope this helps. Thank you for your patience while we get the new systems in place.  Please, come visit any time – we look forward to meeting you and supporting you and your animals! Let us know if you have any other questions.

 

Written by sfraw

July 13, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Q & A, Uncategorized

New: Seaweed Blend for DIY Fresh Food Diets: Supplement for better pigmentation, healthy endocrine function/immune system & lots more!

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Our newest whole food supplement developed by our founder, Kasie Maxwell: SFRAW Seaweed Blend is the best way to enhance your home-prepared fresh food meals with needed iodine, minerals and vitamins that support endocrine health, the immune system, enhance coat pigmentation, aids with tissue repair, balances metabolism, fights cancer, detoxifyies the bowels, and more! Just $2/oz available in 4 oz jars…a little goes a long way!

13592821_10153622957821669_7831357277364551167_n

100% HUMAN-GRADE | ORGANIC | CONTAMINANT FREE SEAWEED BLEND

INGREDIENTS

Norwegian Kelp: rich in iodine (vital for proper thyroid/glandular function), trace minerals, protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, B, E and D; absorbs toxins from the bowels, anti-tumor, helps remove radioactive materials from body, enhances metabolism, strengthens connective tissues/promotes tissue repair, anti-hypothyroid, anti-rheumatic, and contributes to good pigmentation (healthy skin/coat).

Organic Dulse: rich in B12, protein, minerals, potassium, magnesium, iodine, iron, potassium and vitamins B, C, D, an assortment of essential amino acids and trace elements; demulcent, detoxifier, enhances metabolism, and strengthens connective tissues.

Organic Spirulina: rich in GLA (anti-inflammatory beneficial fat for healthy skin/coat and reduces inflammation anywhere in the body), protein, vitamin C, B complex, and E, carotenoids, chlorophyll (which helps purify the blood), and phycocyanin; antioxidant that supports the immune system; anti-cancer; promotes the appetite; supports healthy eyes & vision.

Organic Wakame: good source of iodine, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, as well as folate, vitamin A, C, E, K, and B2; anti-cancer; beneficial for the heart; aids with weight control; increases production of red blood cells; energy booster.

FEEDING: Consult with your veterinarian before giving kelp to pets being treated for thyroid disorders. Do not add to foods already containing kelp. We suggest combining with SFRAW WHITE/RED GOLD EFA supplements for best results.  SUGGESTED DAILY AMOUNT

DOGS: 1/4 tsp (small); 1/2 tsp (medium), 1 tsp (large); 2 tsp (giant)

CATS: 1/8 tsp.

HANDLING: Store in a cool, dry place.

13521939_10153622971031669_6921715028651561581_n


Q: Can I add this to the SFRAW Formulas or to what I am feeding now? 

A: Nope, there’s no need to because we already add these ingredients to our SFRAW Formulas!

So, unless you’re managing a specific ailment or health concern/challenge; and you have consulted with your veterinarian first about this, or/and are working closely with Kasie on a specific imbalance, we do not recommend adding this to ANY diet that already provides adequate iodine amounts in the form of kelp or other supplementation.

SFRAW Formulas already include these ingredients so adding more of these to our Formulas (or any diet that meet your dog/cat’s needs for iodine already) is not suggested.


Q: What about if I’m using your Vitality Blend, Healthy Powder, Seasonal Herbs or another pre-mix for my home-prepared diet?

A: If you prepare 100% your pet’s meals at home and already use a pre-mix such as Honest Kitchen Preference or SFRAW’s Healthy Powder, Vitality Blend and our Seasonal Herbs, you are already providing your pet with adequate amounts of what the Seaweed Blend offers. Adding our Seaweed Blend to these foods is not suggested.


Q: What about if I’m using the SFRAW Grinds, Hare-Today Grinds, EcoPawz Grinds, GreenTripe, Prather Pet/MSF Patty Mix products or if I supplement with just the SFRAW Veggie Mix (with our without Goat Milk)?

A: Yes, if you are only using our SFRAW Veggie Mix to add to a raw food blend of simple SFRAW Grinds, EcoPawz Grinds, Hare-Today Grinds, GreenTripe, Prather Pet Grind, MSF Patty Mixes or you own blend of meat/bones/organs — this is an ideal supplement for you and we encourage you to include this as part of your pet’s diet!


Q: It sounds so great but I don’t feed raw/fresh foods. I want my pet to enjoy the benefits these supplements provide, too. Can I add this to any other diet?

A: Our Seaweed Blend is intended for those that feed a 100% DIY fresh foods diet at home: for example, a home-cooked diet, prey model feeders, simple grinds of meat/bones/organs, or a BARF-style diet of meat/bones/organs + veggies & seasonal foods like goat milk, yogurt, fish & eggs.

Feeding clean, fresh, wholesome real foods to your animals is the single MOST EFFECTIVE and truly most excellent way for your animals to regain health, enjoy their best health possible with increased vitality and wellness.

We advocate and promote the notion that everyone (you, me, every animal!) should be provided the opportunity to experience the innumerable benefits of clean, whole/fresh & REAL food, through species appropriate nutrition. 

If you feed kibble, canned or any commercially prepared “balanced” and processed foods, we do not recommend this supplement. Further, we recommend you consider switching to fresh foods – you won’t regret it! It’s easier than you think and there are so many different ways to go about it — we will help you find a way that will work best for you and your animals!

If you feed 80/10/10 style of meat/bones/organs or a fresh foods diet prepared at home without kelp already included, this is the supplement for you! If you don’t already supplement these types of meals with superfoods/seaweeds, then adding our Seaweed Blend to these meals is highly suggested!

We strongly encourage you to include this in your pet’s meals for the many wonderful benefits seaweeds provide — our Seaweed Blend is a beautifully balanced blend of these wonderful “superfoods”: made with love and care, this is nutrient rich, clean/organic, tested free from contaminants/radiation and heavy metals, and from the best possible sources in the world — it is an awesome and really beneficial addition to these meals/diets!

We think you will see a noticeable change in your pet’s skin/coat condition (especially pigmentation), tissue repair, energy, metabolism, endocrine and immune system function. However, if you are not satisfied — all of the SFRAW made products come with a 100% guarantee! You can return for credit or replacement for any reason — we stand behind what we make 100%.

As an aside: Kasie, a vegan that eats predominantly raw foods, attributes her healthy gums & white teeth to the regular consumption of seaweeds herself and feels confident that her new Seaweed Blend will provide great benefits to your animal family members as well!  Dogs and cats usually like the taste, and just a little sprinkle is all you need to enjoy the wonderful benefits they provide!

Written by sfraw

July 3, 2016 at 7:27 am

On Chewing Bones for Older Dogs, Dental Health, Essential Oils to Avoid + Dangers of Raw Tubers

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The below exchange generated a lot of interest recently on our Yahoo Group and I am sharing here just in case it might be of help to others.

Q: What are good Chewing Bones for an old guy?

Our dear Francisco turned 13 this year! He has been enjoying the beef knuckle bones and the occasional calf foot for recreational chewing and to keep his teeth and gums clean. I stopped giving him any bones that had been cut a long time ago, because he would try to break off pieces and then chipped 2 of his large back teeth.

I recently learned that the Green Tripe knuckle bones are not being stocked any longer, so I am looking for suggestions for other bones that might be safe for him to chew – rounded edges are important. He gets tired of gnawing on bones more quickly than he used to, so I am concerned about his dental health. (except at Christmas when he got his last calf foot he took it outside for quite a while over 2 days and kept himself very busy!)

Alternately, I am thinking I should start brushing his teeth, but don’t like any of the canine toothpaste products in the store. they all have glycerine in them which prevents remineralization. I wonder if it would be safe to use the toothsoap made for humans? Are there any essential oils that we should avoid for oral use? The toothsoap has things like clove, cinnamon, fennel, wintergreen, etc. depending on the flavor. Rupam said she could make an unflavored version.

His gums and teeth look ok, but I think they could look better with regular chewing. He pulled a parsnip out of the grocery bag yesterday to chew on (he hardly ever does that, haha!) and it was a bit bloodied, so I am concerned his gums need some attention.

Looking forward to feedback!

Thanks,

Deborah

A: Hi Deborah!  Congratulations on Francisco turning 13!!!  What an achievement – from the last time I saw him, he’s doing wonderfully! He looks and feels great — a very youthful 13, indeed, thanks to all your loving and exceptionally attentive, good care.

francisco1

Francisco just before his 13th Birthday — volunteering at SFRAW!

We sell knuckle bones, but they are not necessarily as round/uniform in size and small as the ones GT had. They are inexpensive, just $1.83/lb from BN Ranch (“regular beef bones” from great truly pastured source). We also have gelatinous beef bones from Marin Sun Farms ($4.37/lb) which have a good amount of cartilage attached (some people may refer to them as “kneecaps”) — these are softer for a recreational choice, and work well for many older dogs with the extra cartilage (joint supporting); so long as they can tolerate the fat content of these bones, and do not bite down hard to chew (being the weight bearing bones of large herbivores, they may break teeth).

 

Have you tried the whole raw trachea from GreenTripe.com? We’ve been getting these again recently and they are good (a lot of people stuff them but they can be fed as is as a pretty easy chew that is not a risk for their teeth at all); their raw hooves are also excellent and very safe to feed. Indeed, their raw hooves are the only chew type product that I feel is actually safe to leave unattended. They are an excellent choice.

 

We love the raw hooves from GreenTripe.com! Great for stuffing, we often refer to them as “Nature’s Kong”.

I don’t know if you’ve considered it before, but for dental health/teeth cleaning, I have come to use the following cuts of meats because they are tough/chewy and/or gritty, yet boneless. They can really help clean teeth because of the texture of these muscle fibers, and make for a great chewing option for individuals that are not great candidates for eating whole bones, especially when you feed these cuts in big pieces and frozen:

– Tongue (beef, lamb)

– Cheeks (beef)

– Gizzards (turkey, chicken or duck)

– Beef tendons (special order)

Larger, more complicated bones such as whole duck carcass, whole turkey carcass, lamb heads, and even the lamb breasts or whole lamb necks — all make for nice recreational chewing options for medium/lg sized dogs while also being soft enough to not do damage to the teeth. Feeding these cuts whole/big (and frozen) is an extra trick to making them last longer, and have the animal spend more time on chewing, if needed.

You may also want to look at the oxtails (when available – they can be hard to come by) and bison tails — when whole and not cut into small rounds.  They are a nice option for older dogs, too.

Have you tried the Himalayan dog chews (it is a super hard cheese product made from yak milk)? None of my own dogs have liked them and they are expensive, but they are very popular with some dogs.  I like that they are clean and non-smelly/non-staining — it’s nice to just leave out and so they can chew when they feel the need.  Same goes for the antler chews — there are a number of options for these (deer, elk, etc.) and they have many of the same benefits for stability, being clean and non-staining/non-smelly.  (We don’t have them in stock, but we can order them for you, if you’d like.)

Lastly, our list of RMB feeding suggestions can be found here (it has lists for different circumstances for different dogs/cats — you may see something here that sounds good).

Regarding the tooth powder/dentifrice: Below please find my “go to” list of “Essential Oils to Avoid” that can be found in my favorite book on this topic, Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell. (Remember: ALL essential oils are unsafe for felines and should be avoided entirely)

Anise

Birch

Bitter Almond

Boldo

Calamus

Camphor

Cassia

Chenopodium

Clove (although I make exceptions for very pure/exceptionally high quality, very diluted, for topical use in small amounts)

Crested Lavender

Garlic

Goosefoot

Horseradish

Hyssop (use decumbens variety only – OK)

Juniper (use Juniper Berry only – OK)

Mugwort

Mustard

Oregano

Pennyroyal

Red or White Thyme

Rue

Santalina

Sassafras

Tansy

Tea Tree

Terebinth

Thuja

Wintergreen

Wormwood

Yarrow

Her list is fairly conservative but I appreciate a cautionary approach when working with these substances because they are so concentrated and powerful. The risk of toxicity and how dramatically they can act upon the body is not something to be taken casually. She does not recommend EOs for internal use, so I’ll let you decide if you’d feel comfortable with EOs in a dentifrice.

Your question came at a good time as I JUST posted my recipe for tooth powder on our blog here.  As you can see, I use herbs rather than essential oils in my recipe; I think this is much safer while providing excellent benefits.

Lastly, the mention of the parsnip prompts me to just gently remind all readers to be very careful of dogs ingesting large pieces of hard root vegetables (sweet potato, for example – a common culprit in bowl obstructions that require surgical intervention to remove) as they can and do cause very serious obstructions. These foods are not digestible for dogs when raw and whole; they need to be cooked/mashed or ground finely/juiced in order to be digested by a dog’s system.  On this thread — I hope people reading also know that corn cobs are seriously deadly (if ingested); as are any large pits (like avocado seeds) – these pose a risk for possible obstruction.

Few Helpful Links: Here’s a pretty cool article about how to best proceed when faced with a foreign body ingestion situation with your dog and a blog post of someone sharing their story about their dog eating a corn cob (warning: it’s a very relevant story which I think would resonate with many readers, but unfortunately, she uses a lot of swear words throughout, which may offend some people. Fair warning made here, so you are aware of the language used before clicking though.

Hope this helps!  Here’s to gleaming fresh and healthy teeth/gums for Francisco!

Sincerely,

Kasie

 

Written by sfraw

May 4, 2016 at 1:30 pm

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