Five Easy Steps to Better Dog Health
1. Epsom Salts: This overlooked item can be a dog's best friend, especially if that dog has been exercised a fair amount, or even walked on very cold, or hot roads/paths. Epsom salts is magnesium sulfate (owners of canine athletes take note) which helps to soothe and relax muscles, but can do more as well. Studies show that it can be absorbed through the skin, dehydrate infected tissue to draw out the ickies. That said, a veterinarian should always be consulted if the dog has an injury, swelling, or an area is oozing, or looks infected. Typically, soak paws in 1/2 cup Epsom salts to 4 cups warm water, or use as a compress several times daily on areas other than paws.
2. Preserve/Improve cognition: Although dogs are not people, studies in dogs have been used as consideration for possible improvements in Alzheimer's patients. The results make it pretty clear that supplemental antioxidants can have a big impact (enrichment via activities can as well). A properly balanced diet with focus on vitamin B-12, and vitamin E should be considered based on this report " In addition to vitamin E and vitamin C, vitamin B12 may also have some roles in the treatment of AD. In most studies the serum levels of vitamin B12 in AD patients were significantly lower than that of control group, which may partly contribute to degeneration of neurons"
3. Add Taurine! Taurine is an amino acid known for heart health, but it also has a role in eye health. The body can manufacture taurine from other essential amino acids in the diet, so it's been considered an unessential amino acid for this reason. In other words, as long as the diet provides sufficient amounts of all essential amino acids, we shouldn't have to worry about taurine. But that turns out not be the case for all dogs, or even for people. Some breeds show a taurine deficiency even when the diet is great, and some individual dogs, no matter the breed do, too.
Another interesting consideration is that more taurine seems to be needed when there is emotional or physical stress. So, let's consider dogs now. Both physical and emotional stress can be experienced at any kind of sporting event, or the show ring and some of our lazily lounging dogs have stress too. I don't see how that can be helped when you're a dog living in a human world with strange sounds, a language you don't understand and nobody around that really and truly understands your language either. Sure, we provide the best life we can for our dogs and we laugh about how good they have it, but I don't think we should ignore the idea that being an animal in a human world can't be stress-free.
The eyes need taurine. Eyes with cataracts have less taurine than healthy eyes do. Whether it's an absorption issue or a dietary one isn't fully understood, but taurine supplementation has been shown to help, and it's a very safe supplement. For the sake of heart and eye health use 125 mg per day for toy dogs, 250 mg daily for small dogs, 500 mg daily for dogs weighing 50 -90 pounds, and 1 gram daily for giant breeds. This applies to commercial diets as well if taurine isn't listed on the label.
4. Joint Support: I used to think there was no point in starting to feed this supplement before a joint problem showed up. I've changed my mind, and this example of what a client says is one of the many reasons "I have had my two Goldens on this Joint Complex for at least a year. The youngest is 6 and she is on it for preventative reasons, and my boy is 11 1/2 and obviously he is getting older so that was the main reason I got started with it. Use a number of Monica's products for the dogs, and myself, so knew it was a good product. I really didn't see any differences, nor did I expect to. That was until about 2 months ago when I just forgot to give it to them for at least a week, maybe longer. That is when I noticed that Trot, my boy, was no longer doing some things that he always did like sit up and "say his prayers", and he was hesitant about jumping up to get into the car, something that never happened before. That's when I realized the only thing different was I hadn't given the joint complex in awhile. Started back up and within a week he was back to normal. So it is a keeper on my shelf!" Clearly, the supplement was helping, but since there had never been symptoms, there was no way to know that it was the case. Unveiling the symptoms proves the point.
5. Brush nutrients into action: Many dogs with short hair don't receive the benefit of being brushed. Brushing removes any coat that is about to shed as well as removing some dry skin. In addition, brushing increases circulation to the skin, bringing along nutrients for hair growth and repair.
"In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.” W.H. Auden