Category Archives: Pet Care

  • -

Canine Fitness Month

Ah, spring is in the air, and at this time of year many of us begin, return to, or intensify our fitness routines. As we evaluate our own physical shape after a long, often lazy winter, we should check our pets to see if they, too, need a little fitness boost.  Glancing down at your standing canine, hopefully you will see a gentle indentation in the loin area. The loin is the section between your dog’s last rib and the beginning of the pelvic bone.  If this area is slightly concave, your pet’s weight is probably normal.  If this area is convex or rounded out, your pet is most likely overweight.  After consulting with your veterinarian, you may decide to make some diet and exercise changes for a healthier summer of fun.

And although April is “canine fitness month” let’s not forget about our feline friends. You can judge your cat’s weight in the same manner as noted in the paragraph above, or simply run your hands over your cat’s ribs, feeling for a thin or thick layer of fat. While your cat’s ribs should not be visible (indicating underweight) a layer of fat indicates excess weight. The ultimate feeding plan for cats and dogs is a raw meat diet for cats and a raw meat diet with small amounts of vegetables and fruits for dogs. These species appropriate meals are very low in carbohydrates, making them ideal for normalizing weight.  Since you control what goes into your pet’s bowl this transition is a simple one. The Northwest Naturals website has specific instructions on the correct way to switch your pet onto a raw, weight-normalizing diet.

The topic of weight loss through exercise may be a bit more complicated. Many doctors and weight loss experts suggest that while exercise has many proven health benefits, eating a correct diet in correct amounts is the most efficient way to lose weight. So why not do both? There are unlimited sports and games we can incorporate into our dog’s lives to increase their activity, many we can enjoy right beside them. Cats may be more difficult, but extra play along with a raw food diet can work wonders. We love our pets and want them in our lives as long as possible. By putting them on a nutrient rich raw food diet and increasing their exercise we definitely improve the likelihood of lengthening their lives.

Fitness is defined as the condition of being physically fit and healthy.  It is a superb goal for all of our families, including our pets!

  • -
Yellow lab high fiving girl who is holding a red leash, sitting on the road

Fun with Fido & Felix

These days when we think of playing games we usually think of phone apps, video games, and other online options; and while our devices are engaging and convenient, these ways of playing are not how our pets view playtime. Dogs and cats are physical creatures that inhabit their bodies in carefree ways, most of the time, which many of us humans have forgotten about or rarely experienced.

Healthy dogs and cats need and want to move. We have all seen photos of dogs and cats confined in small cages and kennels for years, deprived of healthy exercise, with a look of misery in their eyes – and it is heartbreaking.

Naturally, we know that exercise feels good and provides many benefits, such as:

  •   Deeper and more refreshing sleep
  •   Mental stimulation
  •   Optimal digestion
  •   Increased muscle tone & agility
  •   Reduced problematic behaviors (often)
  •   A sturdy musculoskeletal system
  •   Increased confidence
  •   An enhanced life

Creating opportunities for our pets to take advantage of these exercise benefits is essential for their health and longevity, VCA Animal Hospitals and the American Kennel Club expand on this. So how do our four-footed friends attain meaningful results while playing?

How to Play with Your Pet

Planned vs Spontaneous Play

Playtime and games can be spontaneous or planned, but depending on sporadic games won’t contribute as much to the benefits listed above, with how infrequent they can be. Additionally, you don’t want your dog to fall into the health traps that “weekend warriors” face who overexert and suffer from injuries, playing hard just on Saturday and Sunday. Planned activities, on the other hand, typically provide the greatest long-term benefits as most of us tend to stick to a schedule – and let’s face it, in this busy, high-stress world, most of us tend to be over-booked, and tired by the end of the day.

What should Scheduled Playtime Involve?

Dog Exercise

Having a schedule can help regulate your pet’s exercise, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Planned exercise can be as simple as taking your dog for an after-breakfast and after-dinner 20-minute fast walk – the benefit comes from making it regular and intentional – but if you have more time, don’t stop there. You can make exercise more elaborate and engaging by signing up for dog classes, learning and teaching new skills, and entering competitions. Dogs are highly social animals, and interacting with their families and other group classes or activities is highly pleasurable for them.

Dog Games

Dog games can be very easy to think of for certain breeds, and it’s especially easy for those with retrievers. Retriever exercise can easily be a game of fetch with balls of different sizes, flashing balls, balls that make noise, and balls of different textures. All of these prove delightful for your pet. Alternatively, digging dogs will go crazy over the addition of a sandbox in their backyard or involving them in Barn Hunt Trials. Herding breeds can participate in Herding Trials, and Sight Hounds are a natural at Lure Coursing, but don’t let your dog’s breed limit their options. Step out of your comfort zone and see if your Bullmastiff enjoys obedience work or if your Rat Terrier is a fiend for Dock Diving. All of these games and sports are wonderful opportunities for your pet’s physical and mental stimulation.

Cat Exercise

Cats on the other hand are more solitary pets, but they were born to move and do so beautifully. In the wild, cats climb trees, leaping and pulling themselves up with their claws. These excellent exercise movements can be duplicated in play by providing scratching post towers and cat furniture of different heights, even shelves on the wall for your feline friend to climb on. Being superb hunters, cats also love to squeeze into small, hidden spaces and dash out to capture prey or, in our case most of the time, a toy. You can make wand toys and small balls, fake mice, or feather toys that mimic a cat’s prey, providing great excitement and exercise.

How to Get Your Cat in the Sun

One often overlooked problem with home-confined city cats is their lack of sunshine exposure. Training your cat to walk comfortably on a leash can solve that, but another solution is to install a screened window extension where your cat can sit or lay and bask in the sun’s rays, or go one step further and build a catio.

Catios (cat patios) are fully screened enclosures attached to and accessible from your home where cats can roam naturally and be safe from predators or other city dangers. Safe outdoor playtime with your cats in a catio is priceless in terms of providing exactly the type of exercise our cats desire.

Cat Games

In nature, cats are considered nocturnal, although most have adjusted to their owner’s diurnal schedules. Still, the nocturnal instinct runs deep. Have you ever considered playing a game of chase or hide and seek with your cat in a darkened room? Some cats find that thrilling. Or have you taken your cat out fishing? Place a shallow pan, like a pie pan, half filled with water, and set it on a towel on the kitchen floor. Get a few freeze-dried minnow treats and float them in the water. Show this to your cat or let her discover it for herself and see what happens. Unfetter your imagination when dreaming up games for your cats; they are wild and playful pets who enjoy new challenges.

Treats & Games

And don’t forget the goodies! Treats can be an important part of our pet’s games. Obviously, we need to factor in a certain number of rewards into their daily caloric intake so they don’t gain weight, but a tasty treat given at an appropriate moment can be a great stimulus during playtime.

Northwest Naturals Raw Rewards are single-ingredient, pure protein freeze-dried treats that are low calorie and can be fed to both cats and dogs since both species are carnivorous. There aren’t any other ingredients in the treats except the sourced protein.

At this time we have:

  • Beef Liver
  • Bison Liver
  • Chicken Breast
  • Chicken Liver
  • Green Mussels
  • Lamb Liver
  • Minnows
  • Pork Liver
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Whitefish.

We all need to spend more quality time playing with our pets, letting minds and bodies float into their fun zone. This healthy recreation will do wonders for our pet’s health and happiness and for ours too!

 By Carol Kendig



  • -
Sick dog laying on sheet

Diarrhea in Cats and Dogs

Diarrhea in your pet is no one’s favorite topic, but it is very important and something that needs to be discussed.


When to Go to the Vet

The causes of simple diarrhea in cats and dogs are quite similar: change in diet, stress, or ingesting a foreign object.  These are usually easily treatable and that’s what we will be talking about in this article.  However, if diarrhea exhibits any of the complications below, your cat or dog will need to be seen by a vet.

  •   Lasts more than 2 -3 days
  •   Blood
  •   Fever
  •   Dehydration
  •   Lethargy

Why take Diarrhea Seriously?

Because diarrhea can indicate serious underlying medical conditions such as gastro-enteritis, pancreatitis, parvo, IBD, resistant infections, bloat, and even cancer, diarrhea in your pet should always be carefully monitored. Small foreign objects are usually expelled within 24 – 48 hours unless they are too large in which case they can cause a blockage which, again, must be treated by a vet.

If your pet has been healthy and normal up until he suffered from a bout of diarrhea you probably don’t need to rush him to the vet.  It is not uncommon for cats and dogs to have occasional diarrhea especially if they spend large amounts of time outdoors where they are exposed to many tempting, albeit unauthorized, things to eat: branches and other parts of plants, bird and animal excrement, litter blown into your yard, garden chemicals, old pieces of bones, broken toys, foraging in the trash, etc.  Any one of these can upset his system and bring on a bout of diarrhea.  When in doubt, take him to your vet, but if you know the cause, and it might be something as simple as a too-abrupt diet change or overeating, you can do things at home to relieve his discomfort.

What to do at Home When Your Pet has Diarrhea

When you discover your pet has diarrhea you should fast him for 12 to 24 hours.  Puppies and cats should not fast for over 12 hours while adult dogs can fast for a complete 24 hours with no harm.  If your pet has diabetes, please consult your veterinarian.  And remember, water should always be available, especially during a fast. Following his short fast, if his symptoms seem lessened, put your pet on a bland diet.  Most vets recommend lightly steamed ground chicken and white rice.  Holistic veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker suggests ground turkey and 100% pumpkin as an easier temporary diet for the digestive system. To that I add plain, whole-milk yogurt (about 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon depending on the size of your dog) and Slippery Elm powder (1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds).  The probiotics in the yogurt are soothing and replenishing for the friendly gut bacteria. The well-researched herb Slippery Elm adds bulk to the stool and reduces stomach and intestine irritation. After 24 – 48 hours on the bland diet, his system should be back to normal. If not, it is time for a vet visit. In general, with a little TLC, cats and dogs having an episode of simple diarrhea that lasts two or three days will be just fine afterward.

After a Visit to the Veterinarian

If your pet was unfortunate enough to have a more serious case of diarrhea and needed to have antibiotics or surgery, you will want to rebuild his healthy gut bacteria.  One of the easiest ways to do that is to add fermented food to his diet.  Fermented foods are rich in natural probiotics that support gut bacteria. I add unflavored, whole-milk organic yogurt to my dog’s daily diet for intestinal health. Cats tend to be picky about their food’s taste and texture but mixing a small amount of yogurt into his food after diarrhea would be helpful.  Kefir is another fermented food choice that your dog or cat might find appealing but watch out for added sweeteners. Theoretically, kombucha is edible for dogs and cats and is loaded with probiotics.  However, kombucha contains caffeine which can cause other problems so use it wisely. Some dogs enjoy a tablespoon of sauerkraut mixed with their meals, just make sure it has been naturally fermented or there are no health benefits. Most of the other widely available fermented foods are not palatable to our pets.

Sometimes It’s Just Normal Digestion

Last week one of my dogs stole a bag of Northwest Naturals freeze-dried liver treats and ate the whole thing.  Yeah, she had very nasty diarrhea for two days. Not a problem with the treats, just too much of a good thing in her little stomach. Other than diarrhea she acted normally, and I wasn’t worried.  Simple diarrhea is a sign that the intestines are working to detoxify and clean out the system; they are doing their job. As unpleasant as simple diarrhea is for the pet and his parents, it is Mother Nature’s quick, natural response to your pet’s health emergency. 

By Carol Kendig




  • -

Improve Your Pets Dental Health!

February is Pet Dental Month and for the past two years, I have been making healthy, natural suggestions to help keep your pet’s teeth clean and avoid dental problems. There are so many great reasons to be proactive about our pet’s teeth. Knowing that dental problems can adversely affect overall body health is probably the wisest reason to feed raw bones, feed a raw diet, use natural dentifrices such as kelp and even manually brush our pet’s teeth if necessary. But I realized there was one reason to practice preventative dentistry that I had overlooked, and in these days of rising prices and inflation, it’s a pretty compelling reason to keep your pet’s mouth in pristine order.  That reason is the skyrocketing cost of vet visits and treatments.

For many years I took my dogs to a marvelous holistic veterinarian. Sadly, she recently passed away, and searching for a new vet has been a shock: inconvenient clinic hours, overworked staff, appointments booked far in advance, and astronomical prices. Sadly, most vets lack in-depth nutritional knowledge, and many are antagonistic to holistic healing modalities. This is not an indictment of the whole veterinary profession.  There are amazing holistic and integrative veterinarians working hard all over the country but very few in my area.

What I find disturbing is that instead of focusing on preventative dental care veterinarians promote expensive treatments such as dental teeth cleaning, as the preferred option.  So what does a dental teeth cleaning involve for your animal?

  • The vet makes an initial examination while your pet is awake and may take x-rays although they are normally done at the second visit
  • The vet does a blood draw to determine if your pet’s health is okay for the procedure
  • Usually, a second office visit is scheduled at this point for the procedure to be done at a later date
  • At the second visit, the vet anesthetizes your pet, usually under general although some vets will use a local anesthetic, and x-rays are taken while your pet is immobilized
  • The vet cleans under the gum line then scales and polishes the visible portion of the teeth

Is it really worth it?

No doubt that the conclusion of professional dental cleaning of your pet’s mouth is cleaner and healthier, but at what cost? The first cost is to the pet’s overall health. Unknown effects from anesthesia and follow-up antibiotics are often not visible immediately but can contribute to a cumulative unhealthy chemical overload on your pet’s system. In general, the fewer synthetic chemical substances your pet experiences over a lifetime, the healthier they will be.

Cost variable

The second cost is to your wallet.  I talk to many pet owners and have heard of some staggering costs for pet teeth cleaning.  Of course, there are many variables for this service, but the average cost for a feline tooth cleaning in the Pacific Northwest is around $500 – $700, and for canines between $900 – $1400 for professional veterinary teeth cleaning. That is quite a bit of income to spend for a procedure that can be easily avoided by proper preventative care as mentioned earlier in this article.


Please understand that I am only talking about keeping your pet’s teeth clean.  Veterinary dentistry for broken teeth, abscesses, and other emergency services is crucial to wellness, and we need and appreciate our vet’s skills in these areas; but keeping your pet’s teeth clean is part of good animal husbandry and within our supervision as pet parents. With nearly 50 years of raw feeding my Bullmastiffs and now Australian Labradoodles, they never had to have their teeth cleaned.  They have white, shiny teeth throughout their lives. This can be your reality too!

If you love your dog if you love your cat, why wouldn’t you avoid this highly stressful veterinary procedure? All it takes is a thoughtful change to a species-appropriate raw diet, the addition of raw bones and perhaps incorporating a natural dentifrice into their meals. Integrating preventative dental practices into your pet’s daily routine can be rewarding both for your pet’s health and for your wallet.

Check out Northwest Naturals Raw Meaty bones and Necks for dogs and our Freeze Dried Necks for both dogs and cats.

by Carol Kendig

  • -
golden retriever dog walking with a striped leash and his owner

January is National Walk Your Dog Month!

January is Walk Your Dog Month and as you look at those frosty temperatures it might be hard to fathom bundling up and walking when the fireplace feels so nice. That’s the point behind January’s designation as Walk Your Dog Month. When it is cold and there are limited hours of sunlight, we all need a little extra motivation.

Your Dog is Your Best Exercise Partner

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to get more active and lose some weight in 2023? Lots of us did, and while our intentions are strong most of us have a nagging doubt that we’ll stick to our program. I have a helpful suggestion: how about tackling your workouts with a buddy? Research has shown that people who have an exercise partner tend to continue with their exercise routines much longer than people who try to go it alone. Now, I can hear you grumbling that having an exercise partner is not convenient: arranging schedules, extra driving, they are crabby in the morning, you’re too tired at night, etc. Yes, all of this may be true, but do you know you may already have the perfect exercise partner right under your own roof? Who is that you ask? Your dog, of course!

No arranging schedules or extra driving. He’s right there, probably holding his leash and begging to go out on an adventure with you. Never crabby in the morning, at noon, or at night, your dog longs to explore new avenues with you. Keywords – with you. Dogs are pack animals and crave the attention of their pack leader, you, so you have a built-in exercise partner sitting beside you right now eager to begin.

How to Know if Your Dog is Healthy Enough

If your dog is older or has medical issues his exercise options may be limited. Always consult your vet before making any activity changes in a dog with physical problems. But if your dog is fit or only a little overweight, he should be able to join you in your exercise program without any problems, especially if you start slowly and increase distances gradually. Remember to factor in your dog’s age. If you have a puppy, short walks will be the rule until his joints are fully mature. A general rule is the larger the dog the longer it takes for his joints to develop. Dogs over 100 pounds are not fully grown until around 18 months, smaller dogs range from around 9 months to 15 months depending on size. Once your dog is full-grown, walks can increase in length and intensity.

Where Should You Walk Your Dog

If your day is going to be super busy or you aren’t feeling motivated, speed-walk your dog around your neighborhood, but for more interesting walks you might try visiting local parks, wildlife areas (always leashed, of course), and other open environments. Since this is a mutually beneficial exercise program and you may be working toward cardio goals for yourself, be sure to allow some warm-up and cool-off times for your dog to enjoy some good sniffing.

Your Dogs Goals in a Walk

Remember that while you have walking goals, i.e., increased heart rate, weight loss, etc., your dog has goals, too. His dominant sense is olfactory so sniffing new smells is how he gathers information about his world. This is prime mental stimulation for your four-footed friend which is as beneficial as the physical exercise itself. So be sure to give your dog some opportunities for sniffing during your walks.

Start the New Year out right with the healthy goal of a walk a day with your dog and moving forward aim to make every month Walk Your Dog Month. It will be an engaging experience for both of you.

By Carol Kendig

  • -
A light brown dog raising his paw against a white garage door background

Dehydrated vs. Freeze-Dried Pet Food – Know the Difference

Many people mistakenly use these two terms interchangeably, but they are very different processes. Since both procedures produce similar nearly moisture-free foods it is understandable that there can be confusion in people’s minds. Let’s explore some of the important differences.

Dehydrated Dog Food

Dehydration has been used for centuries although modern technologies have vastly improved the quality of foods produced. Dehydration involves slow, gentle cooking that uses warmed air to waft away the food’s natural moisture. This process requires heat, usually over 104 degrees, at which most protein enzymes are killed. It is a moderate process, easier on food than canning, extrusion, or baking, all of which require very high heat. Foods made through canning, baking and extrusion are considered “dead food” because they are processed in ways that absolutely kill all enzymes. Sadly, most dehydrated foods, certainly dehydrated proteins, will also not contain live enzymes.

So Why Use Dehydrated Food?

Dehydration’s main advantage in food preservation is that done right, it reduces the risk of bacterial contamination. Molds, fungi, yeast and other contaminants need moisture to thrive, and correctly dried foods eliminate most moisture. Another boon to using dehydrated foods is they do not require preservatives as they are naturally preserved if stored away from moisture, heat and light. These foods will absorb about 70% of original moisture when re-hydrated, making them a good choice for pets unwilling to drink sufficient water.

Freeze-Dried Dog Food

While the freeze-drying process is not new, it has only been in popular usage since the 1950’s. Through the process of sublimation, moisture is drawn out of the frozen raw ingredients without entering a liquid state.  This very gentle process using low heat (normally under 104 degrees) retains ingredient’s flavor, texture size and shape, and most importantly raw enzymes remain intact. This process does not denature the food in any way, retaining full nutritional value and resulting in less risk of allergies.

Why Use Freeze-Dried Food?

If stored properly away from moisture, heat and light, freeze-dried foods remain viable for many years without the necessity of preservatives or additives of any kind. Freeze-dried foods are lightweight, easily portable and extremely clean and bacteria-free. The slower, lower heat process of freeze-drying is worthwhile as more nutrients are intact resulting in a healthier food.

The Healthiest Choice is Freeze-Dried Food

Both dehydrated and freeze-dried foods are considered “live foods” because they use far lower heats than other traditional food treatment methods. Unfortunately, to kill bacteria dehydrated meats must be processed at temperatures around 150 – 165 degrees, hot enough to kill all raw enzymes. However, using highly exacting temperature standards, freeze-dried foods preserve raw enzymes, making them a true raw food. If you are interested in the healthiest choice in food preservation, there is no doubt that freeze-dried foods would have to be your choice.

By Carol Kendig

  • -

The Best Present for your Pet this Holiday Season

Most of us lead busy, full lives with demanding jobs, family responsibilities, health concerns, engrossing hobbies, etc. As pet owners we often feel a sting of remorse that we are not spending enough time and attention on our pets. As the holidays approach, perhaps the best gift we can give our pets in this season of giving is the gift of our time.

How much time do you currently spend with your cat or dog? Of course, you prepare their meals, clean their waste, freshen their bedding, take them to vet appointments etc., but how much quality time do you share with them? Unfortunately for them, after the new-puppy phase has passed our pets are often taken for granted.  This doesn’t happen overnight, and it is usually not purposeful on our part.  We simply have more responsibilities as we grow older and our priorities expand to include children, spouses and more complex careers.  As fellow human beings we understand this life dynamic, but do our dogs? I don’t think anyone can fully answer that question, however, we can speculate that in general our “best friends” would appreciate more attention from us.

Empathy is the ability to put oneself in another’s place and usually refers to our relationships with other human beings. This ability can also be expressed with our pets.  There are many ways to strengthen the bond between you and your pet, to deepen your empathy with the glorious canine or feline living in your home.  One simple way is to practice meditation with your pet. James Jacobson has written a book on that subject, How to Meditate with Your Dog: An Introduction to Meditation for Dog Lovers.  This is a calming, centering experience we can share with our pets that can reduce stress for everyone. Other quiet activities would be more mindful play, introducing interactive toys and games and pet massage.  Most of our pets thrive on daily touch, and massage takes that pleasure to a higher level. The Healing Touch, by Dr. Michael W. Fox gives clear instructions for massaging cats and dogs along with other great information. The sensual satisfaction of physical touch helps deepen your connection to your pet.

Loving observation of our pets improves our empathy, and for some people that observation will take a more active form. Dog sports such as rally, nose work, dock diving and weight pulling, (to name just a few) are good ways to deepen your relationship with your dog.  These activities epitomize your dog’s definition of quality time, especially if you minimize competitive drives and focus on enjoying each other’s company. With cats, perhaps some new interactive toys might be in order or teaching your cat how to walk on a harness for some outdoor adventures.

Yes, all of these quiet or active ventures will take some time, but it will be time well spent.  Being rewarded with happier dogs and cats and a deeper relationship with them sounds like a pretty wonderful present for one and all!

  • -
small dog with head down looking sad while laying in grass

How to Keep Your Pet’s Pancreas Healthy & Strong

Every organ in our pet’s body serves a necessary function, but too often we ignore the importance of the pancreas by feeding inappropriate foods to our dogs and cats. It is commonly reported that overconsumption of fats is the main cause of pancreatitis, and that is most likely true of sudden, acute attacks of pancreatitis. However, feeding high carbohydrate diets for multiple years, to dogs and cats who are carnivores, undoubtedly weakens the pancreas, creating an inflammatory response and damaging to the organ.

Foods & Function

The pancreas performs two main functions:

  1. Produces the hormone insulin and stores glucose to regulate blood sugar.
  2. Produces pancreatic enzymes amylase, lipase, and protease that digest carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the digestive tract.

Without a properly functioning pancreas, it is impossible to utilize the foods that are eaten. If the pancreas is severely compromised, even if we feed our pets large amounts of food, we could be watching them waste away, as the food passes through them undigested.

Healthy diets for our dogs and cats consist mainly of raw meats, along with their naturally occurring animal fats. Often, for dogs, a limited number of low-starch vegetables and fruits are added for extra nutritional benefits. Yet today many pet parents exclusively feed their pets kibble diets, high in carbohydrates, which puts an incredible strain on their pet’s pancreas. After years of inappropriate foods, and sometimes in a much shorter time, the pancreas loses its ability to successfully perform its functions.

Stress, Inflammation, & Damage

When the pancreas is stressed, the inflammatory response can be to activate the digestive enzymes before they are sent to the intestines, causing the pancreas to begin self-digestion. No this isn’t a horror movie scenario; it actually may happen in your cat or dog’s body. Eventually those digestive enzymes can leak into the abdomen, damaging the abdominal lining and other nearby organs. This would result in a very serious case of pancreatitis.

The pancreas is a sensitive organ, easily damaged, slow to heal and absolutely necessary for your pet’s life. Therefore, preventing problems is much smarter than creating pancreatic stress and dealing with the consequences. Here are a few things to avoid:

  • diets high in carbohydrates
  • poor quality fats and oils used in pet foods
  • lack of trace minerals
  • sudden consumption of large amounts of fat
  • obesity
  • sulfa drugs, seizure drugs, chemotherapy
  • trauma

Does Your Pet Have Other Disorders?

Pets with metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease are especially susceptible to pancreatic stress. Also certain breeds of dogs are more prone to this condition than others: Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Collies, and Boxers. In the cat world Siamese cats are at greater risk.

How To Prevent Pancreatitis in Your Pet?

Pancreatitis is a serious disease and should always be evaluated by a veterinarian. Your pet may need hospitalization or be treated at home, but your vet will be your first line of defense.

Here are a few ways you can provide on-going pancreas support:

  • Billberry acts as a powerful antioxidant
  • Dandelion Root supports both the liver and the pancreas
  • Slippery Elm and Milk Thistle both aid in gastrointestinal function and the addition of digestive enzymes through probiotics will all be helpful
  • Getting the proper amount of exercise is also good for your pet’s digestive system and aids in preventing obesity
  • One of the most influential change for pancreatic support will be the gradual transition to a raw food diet, high in protein, medium in animal fat and very low in carbohydrates. This is the diet your pet was designed to eat, the diet that will reduce inflammation and keep all systems functioning correctly.

Pancreatitis is a painful and difficult to control disease in dogs and cats that can ultimately be life threatening. If you take your pet’s health seriously, please make every effort to support his or her healthy digestion by providing a complete and balanced raw food diet for your best friend.

By Carol Kendig

  • -
Dog licking snow near cats face, cat cringing away

Glucosamine for Pain Control

We Can’t Turn Back Time, But We Can Eat Better

As we all get older so do our beloved pets. And it’s simply a fact of life that aging bodies suffer more stress and injuries, resulting in pain. Arthritis is one of the most common age-related problems plaguing humans and animals alike, and while no one has found a cure for this disease the condition is treatable with varying degrees of success.

Glucosamine: A Natural Remedy

Focusing on the natural remedy glucosamine which has proven beneficial in many cases of arthritis, we note there are two readily available types of glucosamine: glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine chondroitin. Glucosamine sulfate is a simple single compound artificially made from the sulfate salt of glucosamine, originating in the shells of shellfish where it occurs naturally. Glucosamine chondroitin is a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin both from cow cartilage. While each type of glucosamine is helpful against pain, glucosamine chondroitin is considered the most effective of the two.

Varied Results

Some of you may have already tried glucosamine on yourself or your pets for pain. Often it proves efficacious, but others may be disappointed in the results. This is typical when using natural remedies which often have variable track records. For example, three of my dogs get great benefits from using CBD while my fourth seems to get no benefit at all. Idiosyncrasies of metabolism often account for these discrepancies in effectiveness. In the case of glucosamine chondroitin, I suggest you try it with your pet for a good two-month trial. If you see no results, it may not be the right supplement for your pet. But if your pet is fortunate enough to utilize the supplement the relief can be profound. Definitely worth a try!

Lack of Absorption

Absorption can be the main problem in your pet’s response to taking glucosamine. Recent studies have shown that dogs usually absorb only 2.5 – 12% of the amount they ingest in supplement form. Plus, lab results have shown high levels of lead in most glucosamine pills which is counterproductive for your pet’s health. Used as a selling point in many kibble dog foods, the added glucosamine supplement is nearly non-existent and of doubtful benefit. This is discouraging for pet owners who sincerely want to help their arthritic pets using natural rather than synthetic products. But don’t despair. Read on.

Two Methods that DO Work

As someone who has always advocated for holistic solutions for health problems, I am happy to report on two completely natural methods to get glucosamine into your pet’s diet and even your own. The first is Green-Lipped Mussels and the second is Bone Broth.

Green-Lipped Mussels

Green-Lipped mussels, found in New Zealand, are a rich source of glucosamine and chondroitin along with the powerful and very rare Eicosatetraenoic Acid (ETA). Working synergistically these three substances have proven highly effective against arthritic conditions. Northwest Naturals produces a 100% natural Green Mussel treat that many pet owners are using for their older pets for arthritis relief as well as using on younger pets to help prevent bone and joint problems in the future. Freeze-dried at low temperatures these mussels retain all the active enzymes and non-denatured proteins, vitamins and minerals with which Mother Nature endowed them. Green Mussel treats are an easy way to get healthy, natural occurring glucosamine into your pet’s diet. Our line of FUNctional Toppers also includes a Chicken Breast with New Zealand Green Mussels recipe which can be a tasty, although not a therapeutic, addition to your pet’s diet.

Bone Broth

The second way to safely add glucosamine is by adding bone broth to your pet’s meals. There are commercially produced bone broth products available in most pet supply stores that are convenient but tend to be expensive. Why not try making your own bone broth? It is easy, cheap and extremely healthful for your pets and yourself. There are a plethora of recipes online for making bone broth, but the basic ingredients are bones, water, apple cider vinegar and that’s it! The long simmering time pulls the nutrients from the bones, transferring valuable minerals into the highly nourishing broth, rich in glucosamine and chondroitin. Northwest Naturals has convenient packages of raw bones that can be used for making a delicious bone broth that your dogs and cats will enjoy while providing them with a totally natural source of glucosamine.

Benefits of Glucosamine

Studies have proven that glucosamine increases the fluid in joints and helps with joint, bone and digestive repair. This is one nutrient that in its natural form cannot harm your pet, strengthens healthy joints and often provides welcome pain relief for compromised joints. Much as we would like to stop the aging process, we can’t. However, using naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin can certainly make the senior years a less painful part of life for our pets and ourselves.

By Carol Kendig

  • -
Holistic spelled by scrabble tiles and a couple dried flowers all on marble

Northwest Naturals and Traditional Chinese Medicine

What does the Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach Say?

Dating back nearly 23 centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on balancing the yin (hot) and yang (cold) energetic forces existing in all life.  When these forces are in harmony the resulting state of neutrality produces wellness. According to TCM, we can bring our diets, and our pet’s diets, into a healthy state of equilibrium by using the HOT-NEUTRAL-COLD food classification system they developed and have effectively used for many, many years. These HOT-NEUTRAL-COLD terms are not descriptive of the food’s temperatures themselves but rather the effect the foods have on the consumer’s own body: a cold response or a hot response.

Is your pet a HOT dog or do you have a COOL kitty?

Here are some clues:

HOT pets (too much yin) seek cool places to rest, may be warmer than normal to touch, may be anxious, may be excitable, often have allergies, excessive water consumption but dark urine, may be malodorous, skin rashes are common as are excessive panting, red eyes, dry eyes, and may have dry stools or constipation.

COLD pets (too much yang) love their snug beds and seek heat sources, strongly dislike cold weather, may be finicky eaters or lack appetite, may have cold extremities, dry/brittle hair, colorless urine, typically are quieter or seem depressed and may suffer from loose stools.

Strive Towards Balance

Of course, not all pets will exhibit all of the above symptoms, but TCM strives to bring all creatures toward balance, avoiding extremes that are detrimental to optimum health. If you believe your pet is exhibiting a few signs of imbalance you might try some diet changes to bring him or her back toward center. HOT pets should be given neutral to cold foods while COLD pets should be fed neutral to hot foods. Since dogs and cats are both carnivores, below is a short list of proteins commonly found in pet foods.

  • HOT FOODS: goat, venison, lamb, chicken, shrimp, eggs, goat’s milk
  • NEUTRAL FOODS: beef, pork, turkey, quail, salmon, sardines, tripe
  • COLD FOODS: duck, rabbit, most fish, cheese

How Does Northwest Naturals Fit Into This?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a very intuitive system and lists of the hot to cold food categories differ slightly according to different practitioners.  Northwest Naturals raw and freeze-dried diets for dogs and cats fit nicely into these basic categories.

Dog recipes:

  • Beef – NEUTRAL
  • Beef and Bison – NEUTRAL
  • Beef and Trout – NEUTRAL to COLD
  • Chicken – HOT
  • Chicken and Salmon – HOT to NEUTRAL
  • Lamb – HOT
  • Turkey – NEUTRAL
  • Whitefish and Salmon – COLD to NEUTRAL

Cat recipes:

  • Beef and Trout – NEUTRAL to COLD
  • Chicken – HOT
  • Duck – COLD
  • Rabbit – COLD
  • Turkey –NEUTRAL
  • Whitefish and Salmon – COLD to NEUTRAL

A Holistic Life

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses our everyday diets as therapy toward balanced health. In the Western world we might say, “You are what you eat” to express the same idea. But however you express it, a thoughtful, holistic approach to good nutrition using the best of both Eastern and Western theories will always be beneficial to us and our pets; and with centuries of experience behind it, the wisdom found in Traditional Chinese Medicine has much to offer us today.

By Carol Kendig