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Newsletter - June 2007

Tori’s full name is Victoria. The breeder named her and we liked it, but it was such a long name for such a tiny puppy that “Tori” seemed more appropriate for the short term. Somehow, “Tori” turned into Tortuffi (pronounced Tor-toof-ee) and that turned into Toofee-toofers, finally to Toofer for short. The other day, Morley was reading about new pet food recalls in the newspaper and asked if I’d read the latest sTORY. Tori came to him with tail wagging. I replied that I had, and the sTORY seemed to be growing daily. Tori left his side and came to me. Our conversation continued and our puppy bounced her way back and forth between us. Finally, she sat down and gave Morley an exasperated bark as if to say “ You keep calling me for no reason.” Maybe it’s time we went back to calling her Victoria. I can’t think of many words that sound like that.

What’s New at  New Supplement: L-Glutamine

L-glutamine is a component of cells that are plentiful in the epithelial lining of the gastrointestinal tract. This supplement offers excellent support to dogs with gastrointestinal diseases. L-glutamine can help conserve muscle glycogen stores, support the health of nerve cells, and cross the blood-brain barrier where the brain uses it for fuel.

L-Glutamine supplements are usually derived from protein sources and/or wheat. Should a dog be allergic to any of these items, we defeat the purpose of supplementation. Our L-glutamine stands above others because it is free of all common allergens (antigens), and does not contain preservatives, diluents, or artificial additives. It can truly be considered a hypoallergenic product and in unsurpassed in purity.

Fact of the Month:  Pet Food Recall Brings Poor Diets to the Forefront

It’s a shame that poor diets proliferate on the Internet and in print, but especially now when so many people are frantically trying to understand how to best feed their dogs. With my client’s permission, I include a diet that was fed for only eleven days before her 41-pound dog had a colitis attack. This diet was based on something she’d read in a popular wholistic journal regarding an easy way to feed healthy raw foods. A diet analysis follows.

8 oz chicken wings

5 oz beef heart

1 oz beef liver

1 oz beef kidney

1 egg without shell

1/2 oz cottage cheese

2,000 mg fish oil

400 IU, vitamin E

1/2 tsp kelp

50 mg, vitamin B complex

1 capsule, cod liver oil (to provide 100 IU vitamin D)

This diet provides 893 Kilocalories that break down as 37% from protein, 1% from carbohydrates and 62% from fat. NRC 2006 recommended allowances for this dog are 28.83 grams of protein and 18.82 grams of fat. The diet provides 81.94 grams and 60.16 grams, respectively. This may not be a problem for dogs with a healthy gastrointestinal tract, but sometimes a dog appears healthy until we feed an inappropriate diet. However, more bad news became apparent when looking at the mineral content of this diet. It provides double the calcium and phosphorus required. This wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible thing, but it also provides less than half the zinc requirement. Since excess calcium binds zinc, the little zinc supplied in the first place is not going to be absorbed well at all. Making things worse is the fact that the copper content of this diet is double what it should be. Not only can excess copper create serious problems for the liver, but zinc makes copper less available to the body, and as we see, there’s too little zinc to begin with, so copper storage is increased even more. This diet provides a whopping 14.63 mg of iron while the dog requires only 8.79 mg. Magnesium, potassium and manganese are in short supply, but iodine is through the roof. Various brands of kelp provide variable iodine content. Even if we use the lowest amount of iodine that kelp might contain, this dog was being given double his requirement. The vitamin A content of this diet comes mainly from beef liver and cod liver oil. It provides more than four times the requirement, but is safe. The B vitamin group is provided in amounts that waste your money. The diet could have used far less B vitamin supplementation.

In fairness, the directive explained that supplements were optional, but this would also be false because without some supplementation, B vitamins wouldn’t be provided in sufficient quantity, just as there would be an iodine deficiency without the addition of kelp. The key is to know why you are supplementing and how much to use. Vitamin D is being provided in a huge amount. This is coming from cod liver oil and chicken skin, but even the amount of cod liver oil used here would provide much more than necessary. Vitamin E is also oversupplied. Due to the high fat content of the diet, we do need more vitamin E than usual. However, this much excess is a waste of your money. Be careful out there! A diet can be grossly imbalanced even when it seems reasonable. Whether you find a free diet on the Internet or in print, it is important to recognize that while this isn’t rocket science, there can be serious implications when the diet is as poor as this one. Even if this dog had not had a colitis attack, it would only be a matter of time before another health issue cropped up. Unfortunately, few diseases or conditions are traced back to a poor diet despite that this is very often the case.

Recently in Print

My article about feeding dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in particular, is in June’s issue of “The Royal Dispatch”, a magazine that you can subscribe to at Breed specific nutrition does not mean that we should feed dogs based on their particular breed, but consideration of health issues a breed is predisposed to can point us to certain foods and/or supplements that play supportive roles.


“The great pleasure of a dog is that you make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, he will make a fool of himself too.’ -- Samuel Butler



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