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Newsletter - July 2007

June 17th was a difficult day for us because Cassie passed away. Most dogs are in our hearts, but Cassie was in my soul. She was a quiet, steady presence who asked for nothing more than love and food. She accepted that Zoey was an “in your face” personality and remained content to play second fiddle - but for me, she was never second.

Cassie taught me many things, most of which are about life rather than nutrition. For instance, one evening she sat by her food bowl, waiting for supper, tail wagging but one eye closed. The emergency vet visit brought a diagnosis of a corneal ulcer. Not a peep out of Cassie, no squirming. She was in pain but stoic.

Her lessons included having fun. Ok, so maybe you were in pain a minute ago but if you’re feeling fine right this second - play, have a good time, and do it now while you still can. Don’t waste a minute of life! I can’t count the number of times she sent me off to bed at 3 am when I was still working or nursed me through a migraine by placing her head on my forehead . . . I could fill a book with Cassie’s sweet, loving ways but no words do her justice. She was and will always be the gift of joy in my life.

What’s New at New Booklet: Raw and Cooked Diets for Toy Dogs

Toy dogs sleep on couches, on our beds, and if yours is like one of mine - on our heads. Other than their cute factor, toy dogs can be different in other ways. They have unique dietary needs due to a high metabolism, and some can be picky eaters. They bring challenges to the table that most owners of larger dogs don’t encounter. Positioned to meet the needs of people with toy dogs, this booklet provides both raw and cooked diet plans for every pound of bodyweight for dogs weighing 2-15 pounds. There are 28 diet plans in total (14 raw and 14 cooked) as well as a section with answers to frequently questions.

Seminar Announcement August 19th: Canine Nutrition in Toronto, Canada

I’m going to be speaking about- what else- canine nutrition, in Toronto on August 19th 2007. This seminar/workshop will include a book signing, discussion about the facts and fears of feeding our dogs a good diet, and will be customized to the audiences needs based on answers to a few questions that will be sent to everyone who registers. This event is being held at the Holiday Inn, 600 Dixon Rd (Pearson International Airport Strip). A block of rooms have been reserved at special prices for out-of-towners and there is free shuttle service to and from the airport as well as free parking. Continental breakfast, full hot lunch, refreshments, snacks, seminar notes, personal certificates of attendance, pens and custom note paper (door prize too!) are included. 10% discount to rescue/shelter/animal control workers or groups of 5 or more on the same registration. Members of the K9Kitchen and Dogs Toronto newsgroups also receive a 10% discount. Join me!

Contact to register. I’ll be looking for you!

Fact of the Month:  Phytonutrients Are Beneficial

I’ve been interested in phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals, for quite a long time. My interest grew when Tori was diagnosed with moderate hydrocephalus because although hydrocephalus is not a tumor, phytonutrients help fight inflammation. So, what exactly are phytonutrients? They are naturally occurring compounds in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains that contribute to the color, flavor and disease resistance of plants. Most act as antioxidants and have been shown to prevent tumors, enhance immunity and strengthen heart and blood vessels in people. Can something as “wimpy” as a fruit or vegetable help fight a tough battle? I focus on fruits and vegetables that are in season, locally grown and organic because these pack the highest phytonutrient levels.

Although I have always viewed a dog’s meals as more than something to pack the belly, my focus on phytonutrients may be better explained by considering the following: Sulfurophane is found in arugula, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, kohlrabi, radish, turnip and watercress. When these foods are consumed, glucoraphanin is converted to sulforaphane, rapidly absorbed, transported systemically in the blood, metabolized, conjugated, and excreted in the urine. In the process of uptake and elimination from the cells, it induces the formation of a variety of detoxifying and antioxidant peptides and proteins. These foods also contain Isothyanates that act as anti-inflammatory agents and Indole-3-carbinol that acts as strong antioxidants and stimulators of detoxifying enzymes. Carrots, pumpkin, yam, and all yellow, orange and green fruits and vegetables provide cartenoids that act as biological antioxidants, protecting cells and tissues from the damaging effects of free radicals and singlet oxygen (lowest excited state of the dioxygen molecule that undergoes several reactions with organic molecules). Lycopene, the carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color, is particularly effective at quenching the destructive potential of singlet oxygen. Lutein and zeaxanthin, found in corn and in leafy greens such as kale and spinach, are believed to function as protective antioxidants in the macular region of the human retina. Astaxanthin, a xanthophyll found in salmon and other seafoods, is another naturally occurring xanthophyll with potent antioxidant properties. Other health benefits of cartenoids include enhancement of immune system function. Limonen increase the levels of liver enzymes involved in detoxifying carcinogens. The Glutathione S-transferase (GST) is a system which eliminates carcinogens. Limonene seems to promote the GST system in the liver and small bowel, thereby decreasing the damaging effects of carcinogens. Animal studies demonstrated that dietary limonene reduced mammary tumor growth. As you might have guessed, lemon peel contains limonene.

There are many more phytonutrients that could be discussed and dogs certainly seem to make good use of them. Tori’s symptoms calm down when she is fed with the properties of phytonutrients in mind, and flare up when she is not. But there’s more powerful evidence to consider than my anecdotal report. A 2005 study based on information gleaned from owner questionnaires, suggests strongly that there is a preventative effect against transitional cell carcinoma in dogs consuming green, yellow or orange vegetables three or more times per week.


“Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee...’ -- Job 12:7



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