Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Help for your Pet's Arthritis and Raw and Freeze Dried Pet Food Facts

"Mommy, I think you have some food on your neck!"


By Sindi Somers for San Diego Pets magazine - published in their January/February, 2010 issue

Dear Sindi,

In your last column you said to never cook chicken necks before feeding them to pets. Why?

- Dana and her three felines, Calliope, Panoodle and Sasha of North Park

Dear Dana and Girls,

When you cook bones, they harden making them more likely to splinter. Ingesting cooked bones is potentially dangerous and can seriously harm your pet. I recommend monitoring your pets anytime they are chewing a bone, even if it is raw. Although your pet’s safety is the primary concern, feeding pets raw, uncooked bones and meat is extremely nutritious. More nutrients remain accessible in the food versus being cooked or processed out. Heat diminishes vitamins, minerals and the potency of other nutrients. Just as with any new food, I suggest transitioning raw meat and bone into a pet’s diet gradually.

Dear Sindi,

I have been looking for a new dry food for my dog and have found one called Kruncheros by Great Life. It’s supposed to be a freeze dried raw food in bite size pieces like kibble. Is this a food you recommend?

- Consetta and her Yorkshire Terrier Daisy of Tierrasanta

Dear Consetta and Daisy,

Although I don’t have first hand experience with Kruncheros, I am familiar with Great Life. After reading information provided on their website, I called the company. They assured me that Kruncheros is a freeze dried raw food making it more nutritious than traditionally prepared kibble. Kruncheros looks like a promising dry food alternative. Because of my limited information about it, I can’t give a personal recommendation for Kruncheros, however I do recommend Great Life as a brand. I currently use their natural anti-flea spray, Tombstone. I am also a fan of pet food that has been freeze dried because it is higher in nutrients than more highly processed and cooked varieties. Kruncheros needs to be rehydrated before feeding. Dry foods of any kind can dehydrate an animal’s body, so it is essential to insure they are consuming sufficient amounts of water.

Since I have received multiple inquiries about what to do to help dogs and cats with arthritis, I wanted to address the issue here. Although I am definitely not a replacement for quality veterinary care, below are my suggestions. - Sindi

Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM are beneficial for cartilage and joint health. Be patient and consistent when administering these supplements as it can take several weeks or months to see results. Sometimes ingredients are added that simply aren’t necessary, such as colored dyes and sugar derivatives, so it is important to always read the contents label.

Many have also had great success with an all natural product called Dog Gone Pain (DGP) by Harmony Co. It has a canine friendly name, but is also appropriate for cats. I called the manufacturer to confirm this. Unlike glucosamine, results can be experienced within one week in many cases. Adding fish or emu oil to your dog or cat’s diet can further aid in relief, as these Omega rich oils have natural anti-inflammatory properties. They also benefit skin, coat and overall health.

Although movement and exercise remain important, avoid pushing your pet to do things, such as walk as far as he used to. You may need to give lifting assistance or provide a ramp or stairs if he is not able to comfortably jump up to higher levels on his own. Swimming and water therapy are low impact forms of exercise to consider also. Besides exercise, using gentle massage can help increase circulation in the affected areas and throughout the body. If your pet communicates that what you are doing hurts or is uncomfortable, stop immediately. He may vocalize, pull away or even scratch or snap at you in an attempt to get you to quit.

Skilled professional animal massage therapists are available and definitely recommended. However, I enjoy massaging my own pets. It is a way to bond and show my affection. To help gain information, I took workshops on animal massage and Ttouch, another therapeutic approach presented at the San Diego Humane Society Some basic tips are to avoid bony areas and never massage directly on the spine. Gentle is the key word when massaging animals. Other healing modalities, include acupuncture and energy healing, which can help increase the flow of energies in your pet’s system.

One last important consideration is your pet’s immune system. Eating nutritious food, staying hydrated and taking additional supplements and vitamins, including antioxidants, can give your companion animals an extra boost. This can make it easier for their body to heal itself.

Email your pet questions to Visit me online at Happy 2010 to you and your pets!

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