True dog health is a process everyone can learn. From common dog health problems with skin, yeast, allergies and all dis-ease is simply a lack of natural health from the inside out.
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As it turns out, pretty much everything we've learned about canine health care is wrong and treating a dog symptom rather than the whole dog doesn't work, but I'll get to that. (Think holistic)
Let's get started here so you can decide whether I'm the health coach you're looking for. The question of the day is:
What do health and disease have in common?
I’ll tell you in the video below.
That's right. Learn it, do it, share it because following the right process with patience and persistence there is rewarding life ahead. Are you willing to go for it?
If the answer is yes, I’m your girl.
Look, nothing is gained without those three P’s. Everything worth having is worth the work don’t you think? I’d venture a guess that everything you’ve gained in your life used the 3P principal - from your schooling, your career and even your hobbies or sports you play. I mean would you expect to walk onto the tennis court after reading how to play or watching a short video? Of course not.
Well health is a process with just as many little nuances that begin to make a bunch of sense too. I’ll help you discover the hidden truths so you can have as many ‘aha’ moments as I’ve had. After all, we’re in this together. The profound love we have for our dogs and wanting to do the very best we can is in us both.
Remember that old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” It’s so true!
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While I've had many teachers, I definitely have favorites. Most everyone knows of Deepak Chopra. A favorite quote from him during a conversation of why he got into holistic health is this:
“When I saw patients I realized that what I’d taught at Boston University School of Medicine had very little to do with how people got well. I was sitting there all day writing prescriptions. At the end of the day I’d feel like I’d been a legal drug pusher. What was I doing?”
Dog health and ours as well is about homeostasis, or balance. The body will do all it can with the tools it has to create that balance. That means self healing if we understand the tools it needs to accomplish the task.
We simply have to learn what to give and more often than not - what to take away.
Dog illness and disease stems from a body out of balance. How does
it get that way? Largely from nutritional deficiencies and too many toxins. A dog can
live for years showing no signs of imbalance because we can't see
what's going on inside where everything is working overtime trying to heal itself. Then one day, the body can't cope any longer. That's
why I get constant comments like, "My dog wasn't sick a day in his life
until he got ______ disease" or "All of a sudden he's allergic to
his food and it's kept him healthy for years." They just don't get it.
Here are just a sample of things you would probably never see if your dog was balanced.
All the above are dog symptoms and a body's cry for help. I could give hundreds of other examples, but you get my point right? The bottom line is we are either strengthening their body or weakening it with every single thing we feed them and every pill, every vaccine or anything we put on their skin.
The skin? Yes. In case you forgot (and most people do) the skin is the largest organ of the body. Nothing, and I do mean nothing except what you can EAT should go on the skin.
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This reminds me of a recent family dialogue. . .
Question: "Where is the avocado facial I left in the fridge?"
Answer: "Sorry about that - but it was delicious! Could you make a double batch next time?"
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One of the most important things to consider is you are what you eat. In the case of your dogs, they are what you feed them.
It took me far too long for me to really get that. My
own mother taught me when I was a child to eat lots of fresh fruits and
vegetables and to keep processed foods to a minimum because the more a
food is processed, the less nutrition it has. (For our dogs that would mean raw meat and organ meat, raw bones and raw fat.)
Then why on earth did I let years of dog food commercials fog my brain and keep me from thinking for myself? What a dummy! Dog health doesn't come in a bag, a box or a drug.
A Human Example
Twenty six years ago my two-year-old son was diagnosed with severe asthma. Putting the nebulizer mask over that little guy's face every day just broke my heart. And the side effects of those steroids on his body (and his personality) was not good.
It turned out it was something in his diet. I thought I was feeding him a healthy diet but I was wrong.
When I told his pediatrician what I had discovered, she actually laughed at me and said I'd be back for drugs because there was no cure.
Guess what? He hasn't needed any drugs for 25 years. He eats a lot of fresh organic, unprocessed foods and runs 6 miles a few times a week, works out, rock climbs and leaves me in awe.
In other words, food heals.
Let's go over the simple processes of the body for the whole picture. They are eating, breathing, digestion, metabolism and elimination. The body has an incredible network of communication. Obviously nutrition is key but what is nutrition without digestion, metabolism and elimination? Without the components to digest food, convert it to energy and give the body the ability to eliminate a host of things, we're not going to get very far.
Let's get to the heart of the matter. In this case it's the gut because. . .
"The road to good health is paved with good intestines"
What the heck does that mean?
Honestly, I get so excited about all I've learned it's hard to simplify sometimes but here goes. This is a tiny fraction of the results of the Human Genome Project which took place between 1990 and 2006 but trust me, this applies to our dogs health as well.
There are 100 trillion one celled organisms that call a body home. Those organisms outnumber human cells 10 to 1! Just what are those organisms? BENEFICIAL BACTERIA. That's right. Makes me laugh at all the germaphobes out there. We have 23,000 genes, yet we house 4,000,000 distinct bacterial genes. Four million.
As it turns out, we need bacteria and they need us. Ninety Five Percent - that's 95% of those lovely critters live in the gut. Not only does our dog need them to digest food, they actually help make vitamins; antioxidants, develop the immune system; metabolize toxic compounds and much more. In fact a healthy gut microbiome has everything to do with metabolism, hormones, healthy skin, a good respiratory system . . . even protecting the central nervous system and affecting both mood and brain function.
Makes you look at antibiotics in a whole new light doesn't it?
It has been discovered that bacteria talk to each other through electrical signaling. All sorts of different bacteria share the signals and live together in a symbiotic relationship; sharing food and moving around together. (Reminds me of the end of the movie Men in Black when Will Smith looks into that locker.)
In a healthy body some bacteria will actually commit suicide for the greater good of the colony, and the host whether that be you or your dog.
What messes up the microbiome? Illness, stress, antibiotics, chemicals, preservatives, additives, environmental toxins, poor diet of too many carbohydrates, bad fats and low fiber (dogs do not need veggies, they need bones for fiber and minerals) and repeated vaccinations.
By not taking care of the good guys, they become weak. A war happens and the bad guys take over and what they do is ugly. We know there is bacteria that makes us sick and sometimes antibiotics really are needed. The problem of course is they kill everything like a nuclear blast.
If we don't do something to bring the good guys back, it's like the aftermath of a forest fire. Pretend you are tiny standing inside your dog. You would see healthy intestines as a landscape filled with lovely pink hills making vitamins, antioxidants and washing away toxic compounds. After a war the landscape looks bleak. The pink hills have all but disappeared, the color is gone and if not fixed, it can become thinner and thinner until the landscape is so fragile it breaks in places, allowing that awful bacteria access to the bloodstream. (Think leaky gut)
It is impossible to have dog health without those good guys in abundance so what do we do?
The definition of probiotics is pro-life. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria we can buy to help repopulate the gut. Sadly not all probiotics are created equally, plus we have to know when to give them. If there are 4 million distinct bacteria, how do we know what we should give our dogs? How many choices do we have to improve dog health? Well, certainly not 4 million and most choices only have a few.
I remember back in the day when I felt lucky to buy live acidophilus. The kids and I took it by the spoonful, especially when we were not feeling great. Among other things, it's an anti-pathogen, a cholesterol balancer, helps with bowel regularity, is antidiarrheal and helps digest lactose. We all thought it tasted great, as did the dogs.
Now we have more choices which is good and sometimes not so good. First of all why take one strain when more are available? We could study this and perhaps get even more confused.
In fact, let me confuse you a bit now with just a few. First there are the Bifidobacteriumbifidum strains. Tongue twisting don't you think? So let's just call them the B strains. All B. species feed other good guys and make vitamins. Some improve leaky gut, produce glucosamine (and you thought you had to buy the stuff), make antioxidants, balance cholesterol and even lower tumor activity.
Acidophilus, my old favorite is actually Lactobacillus acidophilus so it's an L strain. The L strains do lots of cool stuff too. Like being antifungal (think about yeasty things in your dog), transport glucose, increase immunity, produce amino acids, are anti-viral and protect against things like colds and flu (think kennel cough) and are anti-pathogens to boot .
Another lovely bacteria is Streptococcus thermophilus. It's main claim to fame is the ability to balance both amino acids and the body's pH. Now that's a hefty job.
The probiotics I choose for dog health have either one probiotic strain (to begin the process of reseeding the gut) and the other has 11 strains which work at all the processes needed.
Did you know:
There are some probiotics that are dead before you get them because testing is not required by the FDA?
All living things need food to survive so pre-biotics have to be in that capsule with them so they don't starve to death?
If you see any that claim to be time released, that means the capsule is made of plastic? ( I'm not feeding my dog plastic!)
The right veg base capsules only release in an alkaline environment (the gut) rather than in the stomach where it would be killed by acid?
Hint: Know your source.
Note: A dog with serious health problems may not benefit from probiotics. For that pup who is so far out of balance probiotics will cause diarrhea.
Dogs contribute so much to our lives. And they rely on us to keep them healthy.
Like my friend Sandra said about her 19 1/2 year old dog, "It's so funny when people think I'm just lucky. Luck has nothing to do with it. "
May You Never Know the Diseases You Prevent
To Dog Health!
Three Little Pitties is
named after three of my pit bulls, a breed I came to love quite by accident but have filled my heart for nearly 20 years now.