I believe that nutrition is the foundation of health. It's a phrase that is used frequently, but what does it really mean? To me it means that without a solid foundation of appropriate nutrition, health will not be achieved. There are millions of chemical reactions that support the health of the body which are not able to occur unless the animal is ingesting the required nutrients for these reactions to take place.
The food our pets eat is broken down in the digestive system. This breaking down process is accomplished by acids, enzymes and microbes. Protein for example is broken down into individual amino acids. Once the food is broken down into nutrients, these are able to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. From there the nutrients can be transported where ever they are needed in the body through the blood. Blood delivers water, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucose, oxygen, salts, hormones and proteins to all the cells in the body.
An animal's metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions that are constantly occurring within their tissues. The three main purposes of metabolism are to convert food to energy, to convert food to building blocks and to eliminate wastes. These chemical reactions are what allow the animal to grow, repair and maintain their physical bodies. In order to keep up with an ever changing environment, the reactions of metabolism is finely regulated to maintain a constant condition within the cells, a process called homeostasis.
Enzymes are crucial to metabolism because they act as catalysts - allowing reactions to proceed rapidly, and regulating the rate of metabolic reactions. Vitamins and minerals function as co-enzymes and co-factors, which can be thought of as helpers that are required in order for enzymes to carry out a chemical reaction. Most vitamins and minerals need to be supplied from the diet as they cannot be synthesized by the cells.
The food our pets eat is what gives their bodies all the information and materials they need to function properly. If they don't get the right food that carried the right information and materials, they become undernourished, metabolic processes suffer and their health will decline.
Nutrients give our pets:
1)Instructions about how to function and
2)The resources to carry out those functions
The foods our pets eat along with what they are exposed to in their environment directly affects their DNA and its expression. Epigenetic factors (beyond the gene) are directly and indirectly influenced by the presence or absence of key nutrients in the diet, as well as exposure to toxins, chemicals, pathogens and other environmental factors.
Food is the primary way that we are all interacting with our environment and it can alter genetic information in the space of a single generation. Researchers have come to understand that how any particular gene is expressed, is determined by epigenetic up or down regulation in response to certain nutrients. For example - if there is not enough calcium and vitamin D in the body, certain genes remain dormant (turned off) and less bone is built in the body. Until the required nutrients are again available. A dormant or "turned off" gene can be turned back on and function optimally in the right environment.
Your pet can have the a super healthy lifestyle - getting the right amount of exercise and rest, a low stress environment, low exposure to toxins and so on, but without proper nutrition they will still not be able to maintain their health effectively.
You might wonder if your pet needs a vitamin or mineral supplement. Read more about that here.
The bottom line is that food has incredibly powerful effects upon the body and there are no shortcuts or magic pills to pop that will compensate for poor nutrition.
Support your pet's good health with a solid foundation through excellent nutrition!
Check out other blog posts on the topic of nutrition.
All supplements are not created equal!
One of the biggest problems with vitamin supplements occurs when they are created through synthetic means. Synthetic vitamins are created in a laboratory (not by nature) and do not contain the same compounds as found in nature.
Contrary to popular belief, a recent study has confirmed that dogs do in fact create Amylase in their saliva.
Amylase is an enzyme that breaks down starch during the digestion process. It has long been thought that dogs did not create ANY amylase in their saliva, only in the pancreas. Previous studies failed to detect amylase in canine saliva.
A lack of amylase in canine saliva has been used to support the notion that dogs are carnivores, not omnivores. So what is the relevance of this finding that dogs DO create amylase in their saliva? Does this mean dogs are actually omnivores?
Not so fast...keep in mind that what happens in the dog's mouth is just one small part of the whole digestion process. To understand what a dog's dietary needs are, the entire digestive process should be understood.
No one can deny that the cost of Veterinary Care is rising. Medications and procedures can be quite taxing on the wallet.
One of the wonderful benefits of raising your dog using the principles of Naturopathy is that many health problems are prevented, keeping your spending on medical care to a minimum.
Natural modalities are also generally lower in cost than conventional treatments.
Years ago I was faced with the possibility of a huge medical bill for one of my dogs. We ended up at a specialist due to hind limb paralysis. This was a young dog with no history of trauma. The paralysis developed over about 24 hours.
We know that good health is dependent upon a healthy gut, both in people and animals. Unfortunately thousands of pets are facing a continual assault on their gastrointestinal system causing nagging symptoms to develop that diminish their quality of life and shorten their lifespan.
The belief in the healing power of nature is one of the core principles of Naturopathy.
This healing power is an inherent, self-organizing, ordered healing process of ALL living systems which establishes, maintains and restores health. There are natural laws surrounding life, health and disease. These laws involve living in harmony with nature and recognizing the wisdom of the body to heal itself.
The role of naturopathic practitioners is to support, facilitate and augment this process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery, and by supporting the creation of both a healthy internal and external environment.
Does pork have a similar flavor and consistency to human flesh? (I don't know the answer to that!)
If you feed your dog pork are they going to see you as "the meal" instead of the server of their meal? Perhaps feeding pork is the real cause of human dog bites and attacks?
There is not a single kibble on the market today that is"healthy" to feed your dog or cat.
No, I haven't evaluated every single kibble out there. But such a task is completely unnecessary in order to state that none of them offer optimal nutrition. It's the way in which kibble is made that is the big problem. Even if you start with the most nutritious ingredients - the kibble that you end up with is not providing the nourishment needed for your pet to thrive.
The first problem is that kibble cannot be made without including a high amount of starch. It won't form into pellets without starch. Of course "grain free" pet foods have become very popular because pet owners realize that their dogs and cats A do not require carbs and B they are being used as cheap fillers so the pet food companies can make more profits. Dogs and cats gain no benefits by eating carbs, quite the contrary actually.
Cat's and dogs may love their toys, but many are made using cheap materials that can be quite harmful to our pets health. Sadly there aren't any standards to keep toxins out of pet toys.
It's up to the consumer to investigate the safety of a toy before giving it to their animal to play with.
Think about how your pet might carry their toys around in their mouth, lick them, lay on them, chew them and even sometimes swallow them - or pieces they have chewed off. If that toy contained a toxic substance then they are certainly getting exposed to it.
Our world operates on laws. I'm not talking about laws that humans have created. I'm referring to natural laws. Laws of of physics, laws of chemistry, laws of mathematics, etc. These laws have an impact on us whether we know about them or not. It does not matter if they are unknown to us or if we attempt to disregard them. They are are always present and always affecting us.
Take, for example, the Law of Gravity. The law of gravity affects everyone on earth. A baby puppy, when he takes his first steps on all 4 legs quickly learns about the law of gravity because when he falls, he falls DOWN and not UP! The puppy does not know the name of the law of gravity, but he understands the consequences of it nonetheless.
Author - Jennifer Lee
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