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.
Now, even though canine saliva has been studied before, amylase was not detected because it is present at very low levels. It's not found at the same levels as seen in herbivores or omnivores. This is an important clue.
There was a study published in 1907 which showed that the properties of a dog's saliva will change as their diet changes. This finding was repeated in a more recent study from 2016 which showed that the amount of starch intake is linked to the number of copies dogs have for the (Amy2B) gene responsible for creating amylase in the pancreas. This is an adaptation that allows canines to receive some nutrition from carbohydrates/vegetation. Dogs eating higher starch diets had more copies of the gene compared to dogs eating low starch diets. Studies show that wolves have 2 to 8 copies of the Amy2B gene and dogs have between 2 and 20 copies.
This makes me wonder WHY not all dogs have the same numbers of these amylase genes. I would theorize that the number of genes present is not only directly relatable to the amount of carbohydrates that the dog is eating, but also is influenced by the amount of carbs the dog's ancestors ate. If a dog eating a higher carb diet has more Amy2B genes switched on this could be passed on to it's offspring.
With the study of epigenetics we know that diet can affect successive generations. The food that is consumed affects gene expression in the individual AND these changes are also present in their offspring. Read more about epigenetics HERE.
Whether or not dogs have a low level of amylase in their saliva is just one small piece of their entire biology that should be considered when ascertaining what an appropriate diet is for them.
The thing about dogs that seems to cause so much disagreement about what they should be eating comes from their adaptive and scavenging nature. Just because a dog can "survive" eating a starch based diet doesn't mean it's healthy for them in the long run.
There is a big difference between surviving and thriving!
Even conventional literature on the topic of canine nutrition states that dogs have absolutely ZERO requirements for carbohydrates in their diet. Yet processed kibble diets are filled with carbs!
Now if we as the dog's caretaker have to step in and cook or grind up veggies for the dog (because they don't have the ability to digest them well in their natural state) how much sense does that make? All animals have the ability to obtain the food that is appropriate for their species - without human help! In nature, any species that is unable to obtain their required foods will either adapt to the foods that are available or die out.
There is no denying that fruits and vegetables have many health benefits, but do dogs really need them?
Ask yourself - what kinds of foods would a dog eat in nature? what would be available to them and in what form?
Also keep in mind that each dog is an individual with unique requirements based on breed, age, activity level, genetics, epigenetics and environment.
I have had a number of clients that appeared to be doing everything right with how they cared for their dog yet the dog was still suffering with "allergy" symptoms. Simply removing all vegetation from the diet was all it took to get rid of those pesky symptoms. Yet, other dogs seem to do fine with a small amount of vegetation. Could this be reflective of the dogs individual genetic ability to digest carbs? More research is needed before this question can be answered.
When it comes to diet, bears are quite an interesting species to look at. Like dogs, bears are classified as carnivores - although their diets are quite varied among the different species. Black Bears have a diet of mostly grasses, roots, berries and insects along with some fish and other mammals. Polar Bears eat a mostly carnivorous diet, feeding primarily on seals, plus other mammals and berries and plants when their preferred food is unavailable. At the other extreme you have Panda Bears which feed on mostly bamboo plus a very small amount of meat, eggs and other vegetation. Looking only at the teeth of these three species we see differences that assist each type of bear with their specific diet. Panda's have broad and flat molars to aid in grinding up bamboo, Polar Bears have developed carnassial teeth designed to rip and tear flesh and crush bone, while a Black Bears teeth are in between the two extremes - reflective of their omnivorous diet.
To get a picture of any animal's natural diet we really have to look closely at their anatomy and physiology. What kind of foods are they equipped to acquire? Can they run fast and dispatch prey? do they have teeth made for grinding vegetation? Do they have a long and complex digestive system designed to break down and ferment cellulose or a short and highly acidic system ideal for digesting meat? Research these topics and you will get a picture of exactly what is a natural diet. And feeding a natural diet is the only path to good health!
For more details on this interesting topic grab a copy of my book The Inner Carnivore.
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.
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.
As medical systems, allopathy and naturopathy have opposing principles and use very different approaches. Just like you can’t be both a liberal and a conservative due to the conflicting standpoints, you similarly cannot subscribe to the principles of both allopathy and naturopathy. The core of your beliefs will place you in one camp or the other.
Conventional or allopathic medicine is the dominant medical model that most of us will be familiar with both in human and animal care. Conventional medicine primarily relies on pharmacological drugs and surgery to suppress symptoms that manifest from disease processes.
The basic principle of allopathy is to oppose the symptom or disease. "The term 'allopathy' was invented by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, he joined the words allos 'opposite' and pathos 'suffering' as a reference to harsh medical practices of his era which included bleeding, purging, vomiting and the administration of highly toxic drugs. The treatment of opposites simply means finding the symptom, for example incessant itching, then drugs are used to disrupt the disease process that is resulting in the itching. The original cause of the itching has not been addressed, but the symptom has been suppressed, offering symptomatic relief to the animal.
To get a clearer picture of Naturopathy let’s take a look at the six fundamental principles which are the foundation of this modality:
Making your own remedies to support your pets and your own health is an empowering experience.
Why would you want to take the time to make a healing salve? I can't say why YOU would want to you, but I can sure share with you why I choose to!
Why not give it a try?
Anyone who has been reading my blog or Facebook page can see that I am an advocate for raising animals naturally. I have reached this standpoint because of many personal experiences and much questioning, research, evaluation and critical thinking. There are certainly many benefits to feeding raw, skipping the antibiotics, chemical flea preventatives and vaccines. But what is so important to understand is WHY these choices make such a difference in the health of our animals.
So what I want to delve into today is how we perceive the means by which our pet's maintain their health and also identify the mechanisms that allow them to regain their health after illness. The truth of the matter is possibly quite different than what you currently believe.
The cost of raw pet food can vary greatly. If you are buying pre-made small packages from a pet food store it will be a higher cost compared to sourcing food from butchers and buying in bulk. The cost you will pay depends a lot on the effort you put forth to locate affordable sources. In many instances raw food can actually cost less than a "premium" kibble.
But to gauge the true cost of a pet's diet there is more to measure than simply the price of the food. For a true picture the impact on the animal's health needs to be assessed and also how the animal's health affects their human family's: time, emotions, and financial resources.
I see many people proclaiming that a raw food diet cured their dog of this or that. But raw food isn't really a miracle cure. It is however a powerful way to strengthen your pet's innate healing abilities.
Nothing outside the body actually has any power to cure. The only cure comes from innate biological processes. Say for instance your dog gets a deep scratch. Chances are that the scratch will heal up on it's own. There doesn't need to be any special creams or sprays applied to the scratch in order for healing to happen. The dog's body undertakes all the needed biological processes to heal the scratch. In simple terms, the cut will first be coagulated, then white blood cells come on the scene to destroy any germs and then cell reproduction begins to replace the damaged skin. These processes are completely automatic and happen without any intervention.
As another example say your pet breaks it's leg. If you do absolutely nothing (I'm not recommending this course of action!) the bone will heal and fuse back together, although likely not straight. If the bone is first set and immobilized into the correct position when the bone begins to fuse back together it will heal straight. There are no special medications required to make bones grow back together. It is a natural and automatic process. This is how all healing takes place.
ALL living creatures are equipped with the capability to heal themselves.
When our pets are living unhealthy lifestyles their vitality will be reduced. If they are not receiving appropriate nutrition then their body will not have the resources to complete these natural healing functions. This results in what I call surviving, not thriving. This is when we start seeing the symptoms of dis-ease. If we make adjustments to the animals lifestyle to be more in line with it's species needs, it is possible to restore the biological functions and have an improvement in health.
Vitality is the key factor in determining health and a species appropriate raw food diet is the foundation of vitality. Anyone who has put a kibble fed pet onto a raw diet will tell you of all the wonderful changes they saw happen in their animal. It is the effect that optimal nutrition has upon the bodily processes that allows the animal to actually heal itself.
To ensure that our animals have vitality we must provide the living conditions that are ideal for their species. Please contact us for guidance on how to raise your animal's vitality!
Oh the joys of laundry! Do you know what is in your laundry soap, fabric softener, dryer sheets, and stain removal products? Are you aware these products could be compromising your family’s health, including your pets? We should be concerned with what is used to clean our fabrics as they directly contact our skin all day. We provide our pets with comfy beds and blankets to lay on without maybe realizing that what we chose to clean them with could be harmful to them.
Unfortunately, few of the chemicals used in laundry products have been thoroughly tested, particularly in combination with other chemicals, and some chemicals that have been shown to be harmful are still widely used.
Author - Jennifer Lee
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