Mitigate Antibiotic Damage with Answers Raw Cow Milk Kefir

Dr_Doug_3724_Silo_BLOG_200x200Guest Contributor— Answers Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven, veteran among veterinarians, examines raw nutrition as a healing power of pets and works to ensure an all-encompassing true health (physical, mental and spiritual) regimen in veterinary medicine for animals. Apart of his work with Answers Executive Veterinary Program, he’s a consultant for Answers product and program development, lecturer, and participant on panel discussions.

The term “antibiotic” literally means “against life.”

If fact, while antibiotics are sometimes lifesaving in the case of a serious bacterial infection, they do kill the good bacteria along with the bad. Many veterinarians try to stop the damage caused by antibiotics be prescribing probiotic supplements. Unfortunately, this strategy may do little good. The reason for this can be found with a deep dive into the gastrointestinal microbiome. So, hold your nose, we’re jumping in!

The gastrointestinal microbiome is the collection of all the organisms in the gut. It is well known that a balanced microbiome is needed for many processes in the body, including the immune system, brain function, detoxification, general metabolism, and digestion/gastrointestinal function. It is also understood that antibiotics (as well as other medications) throw off the balance of GI bacteria, a condition known as dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis has been linked to immune system dysfunctions such as allergies and autoimmune diseases. It has also been shown to have a negative effect on pet behavior causing fear and anxiety. An unbalance gut microbiome can cause inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as well as liver disease. It has even been associated with obesity.

Please be aware that just because a pet does not get diarrhea when taking antibiotics, it does not mean they do not have dysbiosis. If your pet takes antibiotics, you can be sure their gut bacterial balance has been thrown out of whack. In fact, one study1 in dogs found that Metronidazole, a drug commonly used to treat diarrhea, caused major disruptions in the microbiome that lasted 4 weeks. A human study2 found that just a short course of antibiotics caused an alteration in the GI microbiome that lasted up to 4 years.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast

Saccharomyces, found in Answers Fermented Raw Cow Milk Kefir, are live probiotics that help restore normal flora of stomach and intestine.

It is for good reason that veterinarians try to head off the microbiome damage caused by antibiotics by prescribing probiotics.

The problem with this strategy is that the antibiotics kill off these bacteria too. If we look more closely at the definition of the GI microbiome, we can see a better solution.

You’ll remember that the microbiome consists of all the organisms in the gut. These include bacteria for sure, but yeast and viruses too. While the good bacteria in the intestines have gotten all the press, there are good yeast organisms as well, which are equally deserving of the name “probiotic.” One such organism is called Saccharomyces. (Just like there are good and bad bacteria, there are good and bad yeast) The significance of probiotic yeast like Saccharomyces is that antibiotics only kill bacteria. So, while antibiotics destroy GI bacterial balance, they can’t touch probiotic yeast organisms. The good yeast can stabilize the microbiome through the onslaught of antibiotics.

In people, Saccharomyces supplements have been used successfully to treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea, IBD, IBS, unclassified acute diarrhea, traveler’s diarrhea, and C. difficile infection.3 In a study4 of 20 dogs with chronic IBD, Saccharomyces improved clinical signs and body condition score. In another study5, 24 healthy dogs received an injection of the antibiotic lincomycin at 7 times recommended dose. In the group that got Saccharomyces at the time of the injection, none developed diarrhea. Meanwhile 75% of those that were not given the probiotic yeast got diarrhea that lasted an average of 6 ½ days.

Why all this talk about probiotic yeast?

Organic Eggs. Organic Food in thailand.White Background.

Answers Additional Fermented Raw Cow Milk Kefir

Well, it turns out that Answers Raw Cow Milk Kefir is not only loaded with a host of amazing, health-promoting nutrients and probiotic bacteria, it also contains Saccharomyces yeast! Giving this product with antibiotics can help a pet maintain their GI microbiome balance and avoid the issues caused by dysbiosis. Every pet who is receiving antibiotics, or any other medication for that matter, needs to be taking Answers Raw Cow Milk Kefir.

 

 

 

 

  1. Suchodolski, J. et al. Effects of a hydrolysed protein diet and metronidazole on the fecal microbiome and metabolome in healthy dogs. J Vet Intern Med. 2016;30:1455.
  2. Jakobsson HE, Jernberg C, Andersson AF, Sjo ̈lund-Karlsson M, Jansson JK, Engstrand L. Short-term antibiotic treatment has differing long-term impacts on the human throat and gut microbiome. PLoS ONE. 2010;5(3):e9836.
  3. Farland LV. Systematic review and meta-analysis of Saccharomyces boulardii in adult patients. World J Gastroenterol. 2010;16:2202–22.
  4. D’Angelo S, Fracassi F, Bresciani F, et al. Effect of Saccharomyces boulardii in dogs with chronic enteropathies: double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. Vet Record. 2018;182(9):258.
  5. Aktas MS, Borku MK, Ozkanlar Y. Efficacy of Saccharomyces boulardii as a probiotic in dogs with lincomycin induced diarrhea. Bulletin of the Veterinary Institute in Pulawy. 2007;51:365–369.

 

 

 


Directions from a Vet: How to Transition Your Cat to Answers

Dr_Doug_3724_Silo_BLOG_200x200Guest Contributor— Answers Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven, veteran among veterinarians, examines raw nutrition as a healing power of pets and works to ensure an all-encompassing true health (physical, mental and spiritual) regimen in veterinary medicine for animals. Apart of his work with Answers Executive Veterinary Program, he’s a consultant for Answers product and program development, lecturer, and participant on panel discussions.

How to Transition Your Finicky Cat onto Answers Raw Food

Adult cats tend to be very finicky about their foods. In fact, cats become imprinted on the food they are first fed. They can even become addicted to the shape of the kibble. That’s why each pet food company makes their kitty kibble in distinct shapes.

The companies also spray the surface of the kibble with “animal digest” which is similar to MSG and has a taste cats can’t resist. I liken this to Doritos. I personally do not care much for plain old corn chips. However, when those same chips are sprayed with that delicious, orange, Doritos coating, I can’t resist. Similarly, the cat’s natural proclivity to eat a healthy diet is hijacked by the technology of flavor enhancers. Many cats out there will only eat dry cat food.

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Sugar and Spice, Dr. Doug’s Answers Raw transitioned cats.

I have personal experience with switching finicky, dry-food-only felines to raw. Several years ago, I inherited my parents’ cats and these kitties were dry food junkies. When I put raw food in front of them, they looked up at me and said, “We can’t eat this. Are you trying to kill us?” Well, my other cats were all eating raw food, so I told the newcomers, “You’re going to have to eat this food like everyone else.” Each morning and evening, I put a bowl of raw food in front of them, and each time they turned their noses up.

By day three of their hunger strike I think I heard them say, “We’d rather die than eat that raw food.” By the way, although a healthy cat can miss a meal or two, even a healthy cat that does not eat for three days can go into liver failure and die, so I do not recommend the starvation method of food transition. Because of my learning experience, taught by a couple of pros, I have come up with the following finicky cat transition technique.

Easy Steps with Lots of Patience

The first step is to get your cat on a twice-a-day feeding schedule. No matter what your cat may tell you, they do not need a bowl full of food sitting out all day. If cats were in the wild, they would not have dead mice lying around to eat. In fact, cats would have to get their butts off the couch and catch a mouse. And, if they missed that mouse, they would go without a meal.

So, first thing in the morning, you put ½ of your cat’s daily ration in the bowl and put it down for them to eat. If your cat is like most, they are likely to eat a few pieces and walk away, confident it will be there later. But it will not be there later because you are going to let the bowl of food stay down for only 15-20 minutes and then put it up and away.

Then, in the evening when you put a bowl with the other ½ of the daily ration down, your cat is very likely to finish it off. Your cat will quickly (within a few days) get into the new rhythm of eating on schedule. If you have more than one cat, I recommend that you feed them separately, and in different rooms if necessary, so you know if, and how much, each is eating.

It may be best to start the feeding schedule during the week when people are not in the house to hear the cat complain about the lack of readily available vittles. And, if you are home for the transition and your cat does complain, do not give in. Giving your cat food when they get loud and obnoxious will only reinforce the unwanted behavior. You must resist the temptation to give in to your cat’s demands.

Now that your cat is used to eating morning and night, it’s time to start adding the Answers raw cat food. With each feeding, put a teaspoon of raw food on the bottom of the food bowl and put the dry food of top. That way, your kitty won’t have to touch the raw food, but will smell it with every bite of dry food they take. Considering the sensitivity of the feline nose, this is a big step.

Once your cat adjusts to the new aroma, mix the raw food in with a small amount of the dry on the bottom of the bowl. That way, if your cat wants to get a whole belly full of food, they’ll have to eat some that is touching the raw food. Now, very gradually mix in more and more of the raw and less and less of the dry. After a month or so of this process, you should have a totally raw-fed cat.

If your cat likes canned cat food, then switching can be even easier. First of all, be sure to eliminate any dry food, then basically follow the procedure above – get kitty on a feeding schedule and very gradually mix in the raw food. You may need to start with a teeny, tiny, little portion of Answers raw. And remember, most cats can stand to miss a meal or 2 so don’t give in too easily.

For many cats, the owner has to really want their companion to eat a healthy, raw diet. It takes persistence and a slightly deaf ear, but it can be done. If I can make raw eaters out of my parents’ cats, I know you can do the same for your kitty.


Let’s Chew the Fat about FAT

Dr_Doug_3724_Silo_BLOG_200x200Guest Contributor— Answers Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven, veteran among veterinarians, examines raw nutrition as a healing power of pets and works to ensure an all-encompassing true health (physical, mental and spiritual) regimen in veterinary medicine for animals. Apart of his work with Answers Executive Veterinary Program, he’s a consultant for Answers product and program development, lecturer, and participant on panel discussions.

Demonizing fat.

Answers Raw Pet Foods are higher in fat than most other pet foods – there, I said it. They consist basically of 50% fat and 50% protein. A relatively high-fat diet sounds baaaad. Fat has been demonized as a food constituent since the 1950’s when it was theorized that dietary fat leads obesity (and associated problems) in people. The concept is simple, you eat fat and it goes directly to your beer belly. (Why is it called a beer belly? – there is no fat in beer). Since the start of the war on fat, obesity rates in the US have skyrocketed from 23% in 1962 to 39.6% in 2016. This low-fat thing does not seem to be working.

Fat is the better choice.

It turns out that, SURPRISE!, nutrition is complicated. There are 3 macronutrients in food that provide calories – fat, carbohydrate, and protein. Of these, it is actually excessive dietary carbohydrate that is linked to obesity (and inflammation for that matter). Eating fat leads to better satiety (the feeling of being satisfyingly full) in dogs. A satiated dog is one that does not over-eat. A canine eating empty calories (excessive carbs) is more likely to eat more food and put on weight. As for protein, while it can be used by the body for energy (calories) its ideal purpose in a diet is to build tissue. So, as far as sources of calories go, we have carbs or fat. Fat is the better choice, and dogs instinctively know this. Let’s look at the research.

An ideal macronutrient balance – a closer look.

The relative amounts of fat, carbohydrate, and protein in a diet is called its macronutrient balance. Dietary macronutrient balance in animals has been shown to affect growth rate and size,1,2 obesity,3 longevity,4 and disease resistance.5 It is also known that predators select food based on the macronutrient balance that best assures their survival.6,7

So how can we know the ideal macronutrient balance for dogs? One way is to look at the nutrient selection of our dogs’ closest relative, the wolf. This study8 summarized 50 studies of the diets of wild wolves with the expressed intention of discovering optimal dog nutrition. Wolves eat a diet consisting of a macronutrient balance of 54:45:1, Protein:Fat:Carbohydrate.*

WOLF_CHART_1024x500These researchers go on to say, “The nutritive characteristics of commercial foods differ in several aspects from the dog’s closest free-living ancestor in terms of dietary nutrient profile and this may pose physiological and metabolic challenges.”

Now, another way to find the ideal macronutrient balance for dogs is let them pick it themselves. This study9 did just that. They used 5 diverse breeds: papillon, miniature schnauzer, cocker spaniel, Labrador retriever, and St Bernard. Dogs selected a macronutrient balance of 30:63:7, Protein:Fat:Carbohydrate.*

DOG_CHART_1024x500These researchers go on to say, “… the overriding conclusion is that the recent rapid divergence among dog breeds is not substantially reflected in their macronutrient priorities compared with other phenotypic features such as size, color, and temperament.”

Realizing that no study is perfect, let’s average the above 2 studies to get a macronutrient balance of 42:54:4, Protein:Fat:Carbohydrate.* At least that is an approximation of the ideal balance for dogs.

Just for fun, compare this to the AFFCO standards for dog food which is 19:12:69, Protein:Fat:Carbohydrate.*

AAFCO_CHART_1024x500Wow! Lots of yellow. That’s because carbs are a cheap source of calories.

The bottom line is that the Answers dietary formula is remarkably close to the ideal macronutrient balance for dogs as determined by their own, innate biology. My advice is to ignore conventional “wisdom” and embrace the healthy fat in Answers Raw Pet Foods.

* The level of macronutrients in these studies are expressed as the percentage of calories they provide in the food. This is different that the percentage as fed that is on the pet food label.

 

 

References

  1. Raubenheimer D, Simpson SJ. Integrative models of nutrient balancing: application to insects and vertebrates. Nutr Res Rev. 1997;10:151–179.
  2. Simpson SJ, Sibly RM, Lee KP, Behmer ST, Raubenheimer D. Optimal foraging when regulating intake of multiple nutrients. Anim Behav. 2004; 68:1299–1311.
  3. Simpson SJ, Raubenheimer D. Obesity: the protein leverage hypothesis. Obes Rev 2005; 6:133–142.
  4. Piper MDW, Partridge L, Raubenheimer D, Simpson SJ. Dietary restriction and aging: a unifying perspective. Cell Metab. 2011;14:154–160.
  5. Cotter SC, Simpson SJ, Raubenheimer D, Wilson K. Macronutrient balance mediates trade-offs between immune function and life history traits. Funct Ecol. 2010; 25:186–198.
  6. Mayntz D, Nielsen VH, Sørensen A, Toft S, Raubenheimer D, Hejlesen C, Simpson SJ. Balancing of protein and lipid by a mammalian carnivore, the mink (Mustela vison). Anim Behav 2009; 77:349–355.

 

 


How a German village’s fresh raw food changed my American city cat’s life

Andrea_Profile_200x200Guest Contributor—Andrea Chesney O’Neill is an advertising writer and speech writer, as well as traveler, and longtime lover of animals big and small. Her pets have brought joy to her and her family for years. From stray cats on Ocracoke Island, NC, to her own three rescue cats, Toola, Lilly and Bob, she has come to believe that if we pay close attention to our animal companions and to nature, too, we’ll help them live their best lives.

Frau Francesca stands outside the heavy wood door of my little Bavarian house one early spring afternoon with two bowls in her hand. One, she tells me, in careful, melodious Bavarian (because she knew I was still learning their old regional dialect, so different from the sparse German I knew), contained fresh goats’ milk. It was still warm; you could feel it through the smooth sides of the old pottery vessel. The other bowl held fresh goat meat, with some herbs, and two duck eggs.

Not for me, she lets me know, pointing to the big black and white tomcat in a basket across the room, but for him, for Harley.  Harley has been visiting Frau Francesca and her husband of fifty years, Herr Josef, on the sly, you see, and they have come to love his calm, affectionate, big-hearted presence over the last few weeks – perhaps he could use some goat’s milk, some better food, to welcome him back from his visits at the animal clinic?

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Morning milking time like this is a German farming task everywhere

She comes in and pours some into a smaller kitchen bowl and puts it down. He sniffs warily, weakly, then begins to lap it up with serious intent. I am amazed, but she is satisfied, and nods, and explains she and her husband began giving him the milk at their house a few weeks ago, when he was starting to seem unwell, quieter than he usually was, not himself. It will help. She is sure he needs it now.

It turns out, she’s right.

A life-changing visit to Bavaria

Three months earlier, at the end of a cold, endlessly gray winter, I found myself driving into a Bavarian village on the banks of the Isar, taking a long dreamed-of holiday break while typing up notes for a writing project. My glass and stone house, the summer home of a friend in the center of a tiny village, boasted a big wood-burning kamine, stunning mile-long views of woodland and hills, and fantastically friendly new neighbors (from age 5 to 90) with their assorted pets, rabbits, horses and livestock. It was a treasure trove of great family stories, recipes, health tips, and new traditions shared over beer (at the “new’ Gasthaus which was merely 100 years old, apparently vs. the “old” Gasthaus, a much more respectable 325 years old).

 

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Milk jugs like these held the health-giving natural magic

A troupe of little village girls was determined to teach me German and Bavarian in exchange for English lessons, American chocolate chip cookies, and my agreement to be the judge when they decided to perform sing-offs or demonstrate their soccer cheers on Saturday afternoons. They pushed a baby buggy filled with their pet mice up and down my path until they were bold enough to approach “the English girl” with their plan to educate me, and we became friends.

A cheerful, kindly elfin baker drove to our village every morning at 6:30 a.m., his sparkling station wagon loaded with baskets spilling over with oven-fresh breads and pastries; the gossip and jokes shared as we all waited for his arrival with our clean canvas bags taught me half the language I would need (I had to hear out who ran off with Herr Max’s first wife on a popular tv show, and how Fraulein Maria did at the horse jumping event, after all).

 

The city cat meets his new world

It was all life-changing for me, much more than a little vacation escape; it was a new world filled with people I would love the rest of my life.

It was also going to be life-changing for Harley.

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City cat Harley loved the country

A dog-sized, broad-chested Norwegian Forest cat with huge paws and soulful, absolutely square green eyes, Harley began his journey as a tiny scruffy kitten I found in a parking garage. He grew up to be a muscle-bound, Thor-type of character who thought he was my bodyguard, covered in miles of snow-white and blue-black fur. He snorted when upset or impatient. He loved to jump five feet into the air, just because. He loved little kids. He talked non-stop, such a varied language that friends would bring people I didn’t know to talk to him. But before all that, at a vet visit, when he was just 5 months old, I was told a defect in his heart would likely claim him in a year.

When he turned three, a big resolute bodyguard of a cat who carried a small stuffed toy cat around the house, I was told more bad news: he might look like a giant parade float of cat, but his lungs had remained too impossibly small for him to live long, another genetic stumbling block. It was why he often sighed. The ultrasound shocked even me.
And yet, he lived on.

So when he turned five, still strong and hearty enough to please his vet, although showing signs of mild diabetes that we controlled with diet and occasional insulin, Harley found himself in a giant dog-size carrier, in a specially designed private pet cabin with a high ticket price, floating off on a direct Lufthansa night flight with me from Chicago to Germany. Show dogs, white tigers and pandas had used the unique cabin in the past, with its soft lighting, soothing music, and air pumped in from the passenger cabin, plus private vet check-in; now it was big Harley’s turn.

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Harley, in one of his serious “Viking cat” moods, plans his trip

He was given souvenir “wings” by an enraptured flight crew for his handsomeness, his 007-cool “yeah, so?” demeanor and friendly “let’s shake paws on that” trick that he apparently invented on the trip over. At the Munich airport, Lufthansa’s vet proclaimed him a king, and several French tourists took his photo (“is he real? But his head is the size of melon!”). A handsome Japanese businessman with two frantic assistants in matching Chanel suits offered me $1000 for “the lucky cat.” When I declined, his assistants placed his card in my hands with a bottle of duty-free perfume and urged me to think about it and call.

Of course, I wouldn’t call them, but I loved that my big survivor kitty was seen by someone to possess a lot of luck. I felt he’d need it.

“A cat with more soul”

As we waited for my ride, an Air Iberia flight attendant stopped beside us and looked at him, then grabbed my hand and looked intently at me. “He has the eyes of god,” she said. “In my home village, once every seventy years, there is such a cat, with more soul, who is meant to bring something more to all of us, and teach us. This is your cat.” She kissed her fingertip, touched his nose, and was gone.

“Harley,” I told my easy-going emperor, “I think we were meant to make this trip together.” He seemed, with his newly-named soulful eyes, to agree.

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Rocco the dog, Harley’s German BFF

So when I saw my lucky rock star taking his first happy footsteps on the path of our new temporary home, tugging at the harness and leash he wore as a city cat in a strange exhilarating new world of good smells and fresh breezes, breathing the crystal air as a few snowflakes fell on his big broad head, I was happy he’d made it this far. When a few weeks later he shot out the back door on his own to swat a big Bernese Mountain Dog/Shepherd mix with one blind eye that had decided to hang out at our house, and then the two made an instant invisible friendship pact and romped off together to go watch the swans in a pond by the woods (fast friends that would never be parted again until we returned to the states), I knew again I was right to bring him along.

If his life was going to be short, let him go out and enjoy this beautiful place with me, let him breathe the freshest air and hear birdsong. We had all his shots, U.S. and German, every box checked. I told him, “Together forever, little guy” every day, with extra meaning knowing the hidden time-bombs within his strong-looking self.  Now we were together for this visit to a stunning country, too.

Harley quickly acquired a posse of village cats. They appeared one day at the door as if they knew him already, to invite him out, and he looked at me, eyes pleading. I opened the door hesitantly, and he quickly stepped out and joined them like old friends, noses smelled, a few kind licks on ears. Not a hiss or a puffed tail. They walked off together to sit under the trees. In days ahead, they would play in the cornfield, lay on the riverbank to swat at (or catch) little fish this tiny branch of the river carried, or pile on my terrace to nap.

He learned to chase wild rabbits and long-eared squirrels with the dog, always skidding to an elegant stop as their prey scampered safely off. But he also rescued the village girls’ kittens and floppy eared bunnies when they escaped their houses, and would delicately carry them home, one by one, then return to the terrace to flop down with a sigh: another’s day’s work done. He visited other homes with the dog, too, looking for treats. The neighbors would point and laugh in English for me: “Vagabonds!”

Harley also posed nonchalantly in the garden near the road, just inside our fence, when international cyclists, training for races, skidded to a stop to take his photo and ask if all American cats were this big?

He watched television on Tuesday and Friday nights with my elderly neighbors across the road, Frau Francesca and her husband Josef; they waited for him at the door and he would glance back over at me like “’later, my fans need me, see you in the morning.” If strangers parked in the road and then knocked at the door to see the “big American cat?” with their kids, he obliged with his new “shake my giant paw” trick. In Germany, he came alive, running, thriving, chasing, trying to climb the apple tree.

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Harley relaxes with Hermione the chicken (front) and her sister

Then one fine early spring day, he was sick. He went overnight from lively explorer, shiny fur and sparkling eyes, stamping the ground with excitement as he followed our chicken Hermione around the yard, to still and quiet, distant. Always at my side or eager to play, he stayed in his basket. The next morning, his eyes, his expression told me something was going wrong. I rushed him to a vet I’d heard about, a small family-run practice that offered holistic care too. They didn’t like his gum color, from what I could understand, and I was sent to another village, to a vet who had the latest ultrasound machine.

That vet was modern, brisk, and direct: Harley had cancer, a tumor near his tiny lungs, and we should put him to sleep. It was best. He had beaten the odds with that heart, those lungs, but he could not beat this.

Shocked, I found myself driving back through the winding Bavarian country roads to our holistic vet. We talked. He and his daughter, both vets, were kind. They had talked to the ultrasound vet and suggested I take a few days, and try a holistic oil, a few drops in his food or on his tongue, let him rest. At least a few days to say goodbye. They sent another prescription to the Apotheke, run by an animal-loving pharmacist who was also happy to help us.

At home, Harley nibbled food lightly, turned his head away, and lay in his bed next to the long ceiling to floor windows. Outside, on the cool hard spring ground, his loyal friend Rocco the dog hulked like a mountain range, watching his feline friend through the glass, unwilling to leave, unwilling to go home with his owners when they came. We agreed Rocco could stay at my house. He came in and slept near Harley that night, tried to offer Harley his food in the morning and then slumped home, repeatedly looking back over his big wolf-like shoulder.

Harley’s village steps in: eat, pray, love

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Frau Francesca

Word traveled quickly through the village somehow, and the little girls, worried, brought Harley their favorite toys and petted him and sang quietly. Then, right after I’d hung up after talking to our American vet, Frau Francesca appeared with her two bowls. The goat milk would strengthen his blood and muscles, she told me in Bayerisch and a few American words her son had armed her with for the visit. The goat meat. From their own animals, healthy, only good food, playing the fields…. good meat. Raw, and fermented. Healthy traditional foods good for us all.

Crack a duck egg open in another bowl, or a chicken egg, freshly laid; let him lick it up. This helped all their animals. It helped Frau Sofie’s calico cat when it fell off the roof and was healing after surgery at the finest vet in Munich; it would help our big American cat, too. She knew this because sometimes she gave Harley goat milk and eggs when he would visit and look at his nice fur! She, proper and bright, but also tiny, bones still stiff after a tractor accident on their farm decades earlier, then suddenly lay down upon the floor, murmuring to Harley, petting him, talking, telling him in her way to eat, eat, such a brav boy… He looked at me, but, for her, he shifted and made the effort to lick at the goat milk. He licked egg off my fingertips.

 

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Duck eggs: traditional health food from the farm

The next few days melted into a swirl of neighbors and friends checking on Harley, bringing us fresh butter, duck meat, more eggs, broth. Some suggested their freshly baked bread placed in the goat milk (fresh bowls daily) would be more nourishing. Some added garlic to their homemade chicken broth. I was a girl alone in village in Germany with a gravely sick best friend, but I wasn’t. The village showed us love, compassion, and climbed over barriers of the several dialects spoken there to offer advice and hope, or watch him while I tried to work. They each had a Harley story somehow, this cat that they had only known for a couple of months.

And he, ever the king, obliged one and all, obediently licking the milk and broth and eggs, then the next day, licking more.  On day three, he wanted the fresh goat meat, a piece of goat cheese, and some pickled vegetables. The vets called me: was I ready to say goodbye? No, I told them, looking at Harley chewing goat cheese for his fans with a new glint in his eye, no, not yet.

Day five, there was a shout of laughs from the village men and boys outside the house. The giant loyal dog Rocco had furiously dug a massive pit, six feet across, three feet deep. He emerged to cheers utterly filthy with a squirming mouse in his teeth that he had unearthed.

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Harley and Rocco (new haircut!)

He marched proudly with it to the window of the French doors. Harley, in his bed looked up. A look was exchanged. Harley slowly stood, and as we watched holding our breath, indicated he wanted to go out. I opened the glass and wood door and Harley stepped out shakily to Rocco. With the dog leading the way, they went around to the terrace. A moment passed and two little boys returned to say excitedly that the giant American cat ate the mouse promptly and then curled up to sleep with Rocco.

 

Each day he was better. Each day, his diet was his dab of special cat food topped with a duck egg, plus a small bowl of goat milk or kefir. In the evening, we had our choice of the fresh-caught fish or goat meat or rabbit, or what seemed to be a sort of pickled duck meat, brought by our village supporters. I gave him a drop of the little vial of holistic oil every night. In two more weeks, he was ambling around again, turning back into the king he was. I noticed that when he resumed his visits to favored houses in our village, bowls of goat milk and plates of fresh meat would magically appear. “We had too much, we were about to eat, he can have it,” his host would shrug. “See, he likes it. Good for cats! German cats are strong, he knows what is good, he is really a German cat, see?”

Harley and I returned to America, then made another trip back some months later. Harley was thriving, but clearly longing for his German fields and friends, and the fresh wholesome food I was having trouble replicating back in the States, so back on the plane he went for a little visit. He could breathe air, walk, visit with village friends to eat well, play, boost his health. We booked visits with our German vets.

 

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Pastured goats like these enjoyed the German fields and hills

Our holistic vet was happy but not surprised; nature’s food is best, he explained. He had studied in Vienna and went to seminars, and good, natural healthy food, this is what our pets need. The modern ultrasound vet with his sleek modern clinic was stumped. Harley was still with us? How could this be? He offered to do another ultrasound, free, just from curiosity. The tumor was smaller, hard to see. No one could explain it. We crossed our fingers.

 

One more feast from nature

Harley went back to his Bavarian diet, especially thrilled to have his goat milk and kefir and nest-fresh duck eggs again. Now 6 years old, he ran through the fields with his old friends and made his visits, enjoying the summer evenings as he slept under a bench as neighbors gathered at someone’s courtyard in the evening to laugh and talk. Some nights, he went home with Rocco the dog to sleep in the dog’s lavish, two-story chalet-style doghouse, side by side in the doorway, best buddies always.

Everyone had milk or eggs for Harley’s visits. His fur was glossy, and he bounded around again on strong muscular legs. He made the most of his little vacation in every way.

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Raw Goat Milk

Harley and I returned to the States, and he lived another five years as an indoor city cat again, before heart issues and pancreatic cancer, mimicking a fake bout of diabetes again, caught him short. I had trouble sourcing the milks and meats I wanted for him, though when I could find them, he ate them; though perhaps the cartoned pasteurized goat milk and processed duck eggs weren’t as appealing to him as the treasures carried to him by his loving village friends. I would always wonder if I should have left him in his beloved village with the people who eagerly offered to take him in, the people’s whose knowledge of nature, and animals, gave him seven extra years to be his delightful, strong, loving self on this earth.

Harley’s legacy

But what Harley taught me still lives on. Before his death, a tiny sickly stray Maine Coon came into our lives, frail, nearly blind from malnutrition, suffering from failure to thrive, not recognizing food as something she needed to consume. As he had done back in Germany with the village kittens, Harley took little three-month-old Toola under his wing, chewing food and carefully placing it into her mouth like mother bird might, carrying her around the house on his massive back like a cat taxi, washing her, sleeping with her, until she began to get well. Uncle Harley was her hero.

A few months later as he was living his last days before we put him to sleep, Toola spent 24 hours washing him nose to tail, and back again, a tiny undersized piece of fluff trying to clean and soothe a jumbo jet. The love she had for him echoed the love I, and an entire distant village, would have for him forever.

A beautiful life goes on, with good nutrition

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Toola loves her garden too

Eighteen years have passed, and Toola is now in her twilight years. Two years ago, we were told she had just days to live. But as Harley and a group of wise Bavarians taught me, why give up easily?  Although very picky about eating her whole life, forcing us into a diet regimen we aren’t crazy about to just get to eat and maintain weight, she has been willing to lap up a little goat milk and goat cheese, sardines or kefir every few days. But then, finding Answers Pet Food at our local better pet food shop a little over a year ago meant she can also have the kind of goat milk Harley enjoyed, farm fresh, filled with nourishment few other foods supply. She’s holding her own, still asking us to take her outside to scratch the bark of a favorite tree, or sit on the porch with us for a few minutes, then curling up in my husband’s lap with a look of pure devotion on her face.

At every vet visit, the team’s happy amazement at Toola’s continuing journey as she gives them one of her sweet, doe-eyed looks, this gentle little cat reminds me that nothing is over until it is over, that more answers are always around the corner, that just like her superb vet, Mother Nature knows what she’s doing – as a village filled with new friends taught me when I needed the knowledge most.

There’s always another day when the answer can come, and beautiful life can go on, here at home, or along a distant riverbank where a waterfall tumbles to the delight of group of lazy country cats.

And Toola reminds me every day what Harley and I learned years ago:  that sometimes we are lucky enough to have a real village or a village of friends, or a farm filled with caring people like everyone at Answers. A family we didn’t know we had, who know what to offer us to help our pets thrive when they are most in need, and help those little ones we love so much stay by our sides for the journey ahead, wherever it takes us.


7 Reasons Why We Use Fermentation

 

Fermentation is safe way to ensure healthy, nutritious foods for your pet.

+  Provides the highest-quality, most nutritionally dense, microbially responsible raw food product

+  Inoculates food with billions of probiotics 

+  Enhances the nutritional value of food 

+  Predigests food making it easier to assimilate and digest nutrients

+  Protects naturally occurring proteins, probiotics, active enzymes, vitamins, and minerals

+  Increases the safety of foods by preventing the growth of disease-causing microbes

+  Adds beneficial micro-flora (probiotics) through raw goat milk whey, kefir, and kombucha increases the competitive microbial environment, thus reducing the risk for pathogenic bacteria growth

 

4 ways we control ingredient quality before fermentation

Answers™ implements strict controls to minimize microbial contamination and pathogenic bacteria through competitive inhibition. It starts with happy, healthy livestock, and minimal or limited processing of meat which delivers the most nutritionally dense food and complete raw product benefits to our pets.

Because any processing step can have a deteriorating impact on the molecular composition of the meat, we minimize the processing of our raw materials even before the fermentation step.

+  Livestock is healthy, high-quality, and properly cared for (humanely raised and handled)

+  Livestock is organic, pasture-raised, grassfed, and grass-finished, living in their natural habitat and eating their native diets

+  Vegetables are organic, grown and processed on regenerative farms

+  Regularly visits farms; farms are apart of Global Animal Partnership (GAP rated), processing and post-handling is closely monitored and controlled

 

It’s our mission to protect health and food quality from from farm to bowl, for the good health of all our pets.

 


8 Benefits of Raw Feeding for Pets

The top 8 benefits of raw feeding for pets from an Answers™ raw food diets are the ones we hear about from pet owners, and see in our own dogs and cats.

+ Odorless breath and white teeth, free of tartar and dental disease
+  Shiny, smooth, oil-free coats
+  Healthy skin, odorless body
+  Improved energy and vitality
+  Chronic allergies and infections subside and/or disappear
+  Decreased visits to the vet
+  Reduction in bowel movements. The stool is firm and nearly odorless
+  Clear eyes and ears

An Answers™ raw diet helps deliver those benefits. Here’s why.

1. Pets receive biologically appropriate nutrients.  Dogs and cats are carnivores. Their bodies are designed to digest raw meat. Foods like carbohydrates and grains are difficult for them to digest. And HPP, processing, and cooking foods destroy the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and healthy bacteria that are needed for good health.

The answer? Thanks to our unique, alternative process of fermentation, an Answers™ fermented raw food diet can deliver the biologically appropriate nutrients pets need.

2. Inhibition through fermentation. Fermentation provides the number one missing ingredient in pet food: good bacteria. Unlike any other pet food diet, Answers™ enhances the nutritional value of raw food through this process, creating formulas that encourage a healthy gut.

Fermentation is a huge supporter of immune functions. It increases B-vitamins, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and lactic acid that fight off harmful bacteria. It is also the ultimate source of probiotics.


Probiotic Misinformation

Dr_Doug_3724_Silo_BLOG_200x200Guest Contributor— Answers Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven, veteran among veterinarians, examines raw nutrition as a healing power of pets and works to ensure an all-encompassing true health (physical, mental and spiritual) regimen in veterinary medicine for animals. Apart of his work with Answers Executive Veterinary Program, he’s a consultant for Answers product and program development, lecturer, and participant on panel discussions.

Probiotics and the intestinal microbiome are hot topics these days.

Research on these subjects are poring in from the scientific community and it can be difficult to know how to apply this information to improve the health of your pet. To add to the confusion, there are commentators who, either through their own misunderstanding of the research or due to their desire to sell a product, twist the conclusions of certain studies.

A case in point is the study, “The gut microbiome correlates with conspecific aggression in a small population of rescued dogs (Canis familiaris).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6330041/

I have recently seen articles implying that this research shows that Lactobacillus bacteria, like those found in fermented dairy, cause aggression. The commentaries conclude that it is dangerous to give your dog fermented milk products. A superficial look at this study by anyone who is unfamiliar with the subtleties scientific literature might lead to such a misinterpretation.  So, let’s dive into this study with scientific eyes and see what it is really saying. We’ll look at some key lines from the study to come to a better understanding.

From the “Results” section of the study we read, “The family Lactobacillaceae was more abundant in aggressive dogs, while the family Fusobacteriaceae was more abundant in non-aggressive dogs…” If this were the only line you read from this multi-page study, then I could understand being suspicious of fermented dairy which contains lots of Lactobacillaceae bacteria. However, the line just before this one states, “Specifically, Proteobacteria and Fusobacteria manifested higher relative abundance in non-aggressive dogs, while Firmicutes was relatively more abundant in aggressive dogs.” So, the association was not just with Lactic Acid bacteria. It could be that certain combinations of bacteria are associated with aggression. Also, different species and strains of species within Lectobacilllaceae can have very different biological effects. This study did not differentiate the bacteria to that level.

Two dogs behind the table

Now let’s go back the basis of the study. From the “Materials and Methods” section we find, “A single fecal sample was collected from the kennel of each of 31 pit bull type dogs residing at a temporary shelter while in protective custody.” The researchers then corelated the behavior of the dogs to the bacteria found in their stool. From a scientific standpoint, 31 dogs is a low number from which to draw conclusions. Also, one stool sample from each dog may not fully represent their microbiome. In the Abstract, the researchers themselves admit that this is a small sample size. Furthermore, they were certainly not looking at typical pet dogs and none of these dogs were receiving any probiotic supplementation. This study has nothing to do with dogs consuming fermented dairy products.

Finally, a well-known truism within the world of scientific research is that “association does not prove causation.” For example, it has been observed that people who are found walking around on college campuses carrying calculus books score higher on IQ tests. From that information it does not follow that if you want to improve your IQ, you should get a calculus book and walk around on a college campus. Similarly, there could be other factors involved in the association between certain gut bacteria and aggressive behavior in dogs.

The study that needs to be done to prove causation is to take a large group of non-aggressive dogs and, under a double-blind, placebo-controlled condition, give half the group one specific strain of Lactic Acid bacterial probiotics. If the behavior changes, then you have suggested causation. When that experiment has been repeated several times with the same outcome, you have reasonably proved the hypothesis. Until then, there is only inuendo.

Every scientist will tell you that it is unwise to draw any firm conclusions and base your behavior due to any one, small study. From my work with using Answers fermented dairy products in the treatment of hundreds of pet dogs over the past decade, I am confident that these real foods do not adversely affect behavior. The value of probiotics was discovered by the observation that people who consumed fermented foods were healthier than those who did not. It makes sense that fermented foods are a superior source of probiotics to any pill or powder.

Two dogs behind the table


“Warm” & “Cool” Foods: Nutrition and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine experts have known that some foods could cool down or increase the internal temperature of the body. With this came knowledge of the different energies of “warm” and “cool” foods: nutrition and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) were partnered.

The TCM experts found the idea to be of value when approaching nutritional needs during different seasons, or when considering different human health issues, including allergies and other ailments, and feeding different kinds of natural human energies, from hot to cool. These ancient experts applied this knowledge to their healing practices through dietary recommendations.

Their concept was a simple and logical one: some illnesses may have a cause related to imbalances within the body and using food as medicine would help bring the body back into balance in the most natural and lasting way. Some beings ran warm, some cooler, and comfort could be achieved through balance. Their harmonious concept of “yin and yang” applied here, with the idea that health is a matter of maintaining a good internal balance via the foods we consume.

 

The energy of the animal interacts with the energy of the food

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that every being possesses its own unique energy, and the “energy” of the food that is consumed will therefore interact with the energy of the human or animal.

When it comes to our pets, those aware of holistic remedies and teachings pay attention to TCM. For example, within this concept, the liver is considered the source of Qi, the body’s life force, and its function should therefore be smooth and balanced. But, if the pet’s liver “overheats” because of an allergic reaction to the food it is processing, then phlegm can accumulate, affecting the coat of the animal, making it feel greasy to the touch. Energy and behavior can be affected by an imbalance in the yin and yang of consumed foods, it is felt.

This traditional idea is in use to this day, and is now receiving fresh attention in the spheres of both human and animal nutrition.

For example, is said that an animal with a “cold” energy will seek warm foods, and an animal with a warm energy might seek the cooling energies of a cooling food or cool protein. A pet who prefers the constant warmth of blankets and a fleece bed, or suffers from arthritis, would be said to have a cool energy, and might therefore seek the comfort of what TCM classifies as warm foods and warm proteins. Conversely, a pet that seems to prefer finding a cooler spot on a floor, likes to stay out of the sun, or is prone to panting, might be said to have a warm energy. To know for sure, a trained TCM practitioner would be asked to make this evaluation of the animal.

Be it issues of reddened itchy skin, or mucus, the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) teachings focused on the idea that food yin-yang imbalance may be the culprit, and food re-balancing could be the solution.

We thought we’d take a first look at this interesting topic here in a very simple way for those just getting interested in the ideas. We want to stress that  TCM and nutrition is a complicated subject, and we’ll talk about more in an in-depth way; but here, to start, are some of the basics worth knowing.

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Yin and Yang of Food Groups: a Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective

In general, the energy properties of food groups as viewed from a traditional Chinese medicine philosophy of yin and yang are as follows:

“Cool” foods (yin foods) and cool proteins decrease the temperature within our bodies and tend to be lower in calories while higher in potassium. Fresh cold drinks and water are also part of the cool or yin group.

“Warm” foods (Yang foods) and warm proteins help bring heat to our bodies, and often are higher in calories and sodium. Ideal for colder months, they help warm the body.

Neutral” foods are part of the balance too: oil rice, and most fishes.

“Hot” foods operate on the same principles, bringing extra needed warmth to the system.

Eating too much of one food group can throw your body’s balance off, so one should ideally aim for a diet that offers a workable balance between the Warm, Cool, and Neutral food groups.

Thus, the for a human, this Chinese system proposes a healthy diet is two parts yin and three parts yang, supplemented with the neutral foodstuffs for flavor, fiber and protein. For pets, on the other hand, we look for a perfect balance between the forces of yin and yang via the foods we feed the pet.

 

The foods: Cool, Warm, Neutral and Hot proteins and foods

“Cool” foods (yin foods): duck, rabbit, fish, including sardines; cheese, and vegetables. Fresh cold drinks (milks, kefir, kombucha) and water.

“Warm” foods (Yang foods): chicken, eggs

“Neutral” foods: beef, pork, turkey, quail

“Hot’ foods: goat, venison, or lamb

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The use of single meat proteins: Answers™ raw fermented foods

With all this in mind, as Answers Pet Food introduces our new fermented organic duck line, it can also be viewed as a beneficial “cool” meat in TCM theory.

Looking at our foods through this new lens, you might think of your favorite
Answers Dog and Cat formulas in terms of their specific proteins. TCM experts suggest that to make sure a pet with a warm or cool energy gets the proper food balance for its energy type, it is often best to look for foods that are single meat protein foods, versus foods that mix both cool and warm proteins together in one formula.

It is also important to note that how an animal is raised is very important in their categorization. Our livestock is humanely raised and handled, many of them are organic, pastured, and sustainable, being able to live in their natural habitat eating their native diets.

Our new organic duck formula will offer a unique healthy balance to our chicken, beef, and pork fermented raw food proteins.

Our organic cheese treats, organic eggs, and the organic vegetables in our foods also help pet owners form a healthy, balanced yin and yang diet for pets, with wholesome foods created specifically for the well-being of dogs and cats.

We’ll be talking more about this in upcoming articles in our blog; it’s an interesting approach to good nutrition and balanced well being for the pets in our lives.


Answers Raw Diet Saved My Dog

Mo_BLOG_200x200Guest Contributor—Maureen Keenan, JD, MAT Owner, Lead Behaviorist Downward Dog Canine Transformation. Maureen provides rehabilitation services and obedience training for dog owners and rescue groups throughout Eastern Carolina. As a non-profit executive for many years, Maureen left her position in order to rehabilitate and train dogs full time. She trained under Cesar Millan (“The Dog Whisperer”) and expanded her education under the guidance of several trainers across the country, including Lucas Agnew, Inc. and others.

I feel compelled to start by saying that I am not a veterinary professional. I have no medical expertise of any kind. I am a dog behavior expert and a typical dog owner who would do anything to protect my dogs and keep them healthy and happy. I have had dogs my entire life, but it was not until 2014, not long after our beloved collie mix Macy had a near fatal experience, that my dogs’ nutrition became a focus of my dog-loving life.

Macy is momma dog type of girl. We took her as a foster from a municipal shelter the week before she gave birth to 9 robust puppies. She was a great mother. She is an equally great friend, to me and Deb and to our three other dogs. She is a role model for my client dogs, and often steps in to provide calm assurance to my anxiety rehab cases. Macy is smart and funny. With some herder DNA, she is prone to nip for attention and to talk and “whisper bark” at us if we are not paying attention. She is the kind of dog who is so smart and endearing that you would swear she has a sense of humor. She is simply wonderful.

So, when Macy suddenly developed severe symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and lethargy, with a distended and painful abdomen and fever, we were terrified. She almost did not survive. She was hospitalized for days and eventually diagnosed with pancreatitis. We are forever grateful to the veterinarians and staff who saved her life.

Her recovery was slow, and we were tremendously careful to follow the strict orders to feed her only Royal Canine ID and nothing else. No treats, no homemade food, no exceptions. We were told that if we did not keep Macy on this strict and limited diet for the rest of her life, that her pancreatitis would return, and she may not survive. At that time, our fear prevented us from asking questions or exploring options. We just bought our Royal Canine and stuck to the plan.

As the months went by with Macy’s interest in food lukewarm and her energy levels somewhat low, we crossed paths through our dog rescue with some folks who were bringing healthy, holistic and organic pet food options to our hometown of Louisville, KY. The woman leading this effort to transform pet owner awareness about nutrition, Kim, also happened to have a pancreatic dog and she and her boy, Otto, had been down the same path we were on with Macy.

As our conversations progressed about our dogs, we expressed our concerns about Macy’s overall well-being with her nutritional consumption limited to a food that was not only devised in a laboratory, but also consisted of things like corn, soy, beet pulp and animal by-products. While our trusted veterinarians seemed to feel more secure about the prescription food, they did not see Macy’s energy dim and her enthusiasm fade about food, play, walks, etc. She was free of pancreatic symptoms for those months while she ate only her prescription food. There is no doubt about that – the prescription food prevented symptoms. But she was consuming so much unhealthy material and we worried about how that would affect her health and quality of life. We did not want to trade one evil for another evil that just chipped away at Macy more slowly.

Kim shared with us her journey with Otto, one that took him from prescription food to a balanced raw diet with a complete disappearance of Otto’s pancreatitis. We met Otto and saw a happy, active and robust dog. We owed it to Macy to educate ourselves and to take responsibility for her health, her whole health. So, our research began. We read everything we could find. We talked to people with years of experience in different types of raw diets and we studied the diet and products offered by Answers. Our friend, Kim, used Answers and praised not only the quality and healthfulness of their products, but also the company’s value systems and prioritizing of animal health, small business, local sourcing and so much more. We studied until we knew that it was time to act for Macy.

In 2014, we spent four months transitioning Macy from her prescription kibble to Answer’s Detailed Beef, supplemented by goats milk and fish stock. The transparency of Answers product and practice made it easy for us to take control of the fat that Macy consumed while also providing her with a balanced and healthy source diet. At the end of the four months, Macy had no symptoms of pancreatitis and she was dancing for her food again. She could not wait to eat, and her overall energy increased noticeably. Her playful nature returned, and walks became a pleasure again. We had our girl back in full form. Macy was again sassy and happy.

Once she was on a full Answers raw diet, we kept a very close eye on her with daily observation for any signs of belly issues. We were prepared to act at the first sign of problems. But months went by, then years, and Macy was the picture of health. Her teeth improved, her muscle tone improved, and she ate with the enthusiasm of a puppy.

Here we are now in 2020. Macy’s health has been outstanding since we moved her to Answers, without any sign of pancreatitis since her diagnosis. We have even been able to expand Macy’s diet to healthy treats in addition to her meals and supplements. At a recent vet visit, we were having some lumps on Macy checked because she is an old lumpy girl now. All lumps were cleared as benign. Because we are those dog owners, we decided to have the vet do an ultrasound just to know how Macy’s organs are doing and whether she had any internal masses. The vet returned with Macy after the ultrasound and expressed surprise and delight at the pristine condition of all her organs. He said that she could not be in better shape internally.

Macy is at least 15 years old now, and while her joints may ache and her back legs may be getting weak, she is full of life and joy. We are certain that we still have Macy today because of the quality of her nutrition. It is the reason for her longevity and for the superior quality of her life. All of our dogs are following in Macy’s footsteps, and every dog who comes along in the future will be an Answers dog.

About the author: Maureen Keenan, JD, MAT, Owner, Lead Behaviorist Downward Dog Canine Transformation. Maureen owns Downward Dog Canine Transformation in Emerald Isle, NC where she provides rehabilitation services and obedience training for dog owners and rescue groups throughout Eastern Carolina. Before moving to North Carolina, Maureen founded Saving Sunny, Inc., a rescue that prioritizes Pitbull-type dogs, as well as services to underserved and low-income communities in Louisville, KY. For nearly 10 years she volunteered for Saving Sunny as a Board Member and as the leader of their behavior program, which rehabilitated shelter dogs to improve their adoptability. Maureen also provided free behavior services on behalf of Saving Sunny to low income families to help prevent the need to surrender dogs to shelters for behavioral issues. During her tenure with Saving Sunny, Maureen decided to leave her career as a non-profit executive in order to rehabilitate and train dogs full time. She trained under Cesar Millan (“The Dog Whisperer”) and expanded her education under the guidance of several trainers across the country, including Lucas Agnew, Inc. and others, before starting Downward Dog Canine Transformation. Maureen is a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP).


Take a Bite Out of Oral Disease

Dr_Doug_3724_Silo_BLOG_200x200

Guest Contributor— Answers Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven, veteran among veterinarians, examines raw nutrition as a healing power of pets and works to ensure an all-encompassing true health (physical, mental and spiritual) regimen in veterinary medicine for animals. Apart of his work with Answers Executive Veterinary Program, he’s a consultant for Answers product and program development, lecturer, and participant on panel discussions.

Oral disease is the most common affliction of dogs.

Most dogs over the age of three years have some level of gingivitis or periodontal disease. The development of oral disease is insidious. Bacteria in the mouth coat the surface of the teeth forming plaque. Over time the bacteria incorporate minerals and develop into thick, brown tartar. Eventually the bacteria work their way under the gumline causing gingivitis. If left untreated, the bacteria dive deeper into the tissues surrounding the tooth root resulting in periodontal disease and tooth root infections which can be very painful.

What’s more, once the bacteria invade the gumline they gain access to the blood, which can have far reaching effects. Research shows that periodontal disease is linked to heart conditions[i] and an increase in systemic inflammation[ii] in dogs. At the stage of tartar and gingivitis, the pet needs to have their teeth cleaned by a veterinarian. Because animals do not rinse and spit the way we do, dental work requires general anesthesia. Many times, extractions are needed. The whole ordeal can get expensive and is not without risk. Obviously, prevention is the best course of action.

Many pet caregivers, and even some veterinarians, believe that kibble cleans a pet’s teeth. The truth is that dry pet food does nothing to scrape the plaque and tartar off the teeth. As soon as the tips of the teeth contact the kibble, the nugget crumbles. Thinking that chewing dry pet food cleans a pet’s teeth is like believing that chewing on pretzels keeps our teeth clean – no brushing necessary.

Another thing to consider is that, unlike Answers raw pet foods, all kibble is high in starch (even grain-free dog food). Since starch readily breaks down into sugar that feeds bacteria, I believe that dry pet food is a major contributor to the pet dental disease epidemic.

Dog teeth being examined by the animal doctor

The Answers Three-Pronged Approach to Oral Health

First, Answers foods provide optimal nutrition to keep the tissues of the oral cavity at their healthiest level, and healthy tissue is better able to ward off invading bacteria. Fermented, raw foods are loaded with enzymes that can improve circulation, help speed tissue repair, and reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation —all helpful in healing gingivitis and gum disease. Raw milk is rich in Vitamin K2, which assures proper placement of calcium, and fermented bone stocks provide minerals in a form that the body can easily absorb. All these factors l work together synergistically to keep the teeth and jaw bones strong and healthy. Fermented stocks also contain glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which help repair compromised gum tissue and strengthen the ligaments that hold each tooth in place.

Second, Answers products use fermentation to propagate probiotic bacteria. These good bacteria inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that cause oral disease. By maintaining a healthy oral microbiome, these fermented foods help the mouth’s natural disease-fighting systems stay fully functional. Also, when the probiotics reach the gut, they improve the function of the systemic immune system which further helps to maintain oral health.

Finally, Answers has unique products to help with the mechanical removal of plaque, namely fermented chicken and pig feet. These are great for dogs to chew on for healthy gums and teeth. They naturally “brush” teeth clean while being chewed, scraping away plaque. Fermentation provides good bacteria that help prevent plaque from forming and is wonderful for overall oral health. Fermented chicken and pig feet are also a good source of glucosamine from cartilage that supports bone health. Of course, what a veterinarian sees as tools for dental disease prevention, pets regard as yummy, fun treats.

Oral disease can be deadly, and chances are that your dog is at risk. Defy the odds and prevent oral disease in your dog with the Answers approach.

 

 

 

[1] Glickman LT, Glickman NW, Moore GE, Goldstein GS, Hugh B. Lewis HB. Evaluation of the risk of endocarditis and other cardiovascular events on the basis of the severity of periodontal disease in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assn. 2009;234(4):486-494.

[1] Rawlinson JE, Goldstein RE, Reiter AM, Attwater DZ, Harvey CE. Association of periodontal disease with systemic health indices in dogs and the systemic response to treatment of periodontal disease. J Am Vet Med Assn. 2011;238(5):601-609.