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Newsletter - March 2010

The News At Home

Like many dog owners, we seem to have complicated the entertainment factor in our dog’s life. For instance, Tori has an old ball that was falling apart, so we bought her a new one. She was excited to see it, but much prefers the original which is chewed up and has a tiny hole in it. Over the years, we’ve purchased toys (both inexpensive and pricey) and received them as gifts. Some squeak, some bounce, some are shakable, and some are all three. We buy these things joyfully, anticipating the fun Tori will have, but in reality, we’re having more fun choosing the toy than she does playing with it. As a result, we have a large box of barely used items, and Tori remains fascinated by a raggedy old ball. It didn’t have to be this way.

The other night she was full of energy and wanted to play. Morley removed a sock, rolled it into a ball and threw it across the room. Tori was thrilled. So, even the old ball comes second now. Dogs are so easily entertained. Makes me wonder why we bothered choosing toys that were supposed to present a challenge when in fact, a simple sock becomes a thing of joy.

Fact of The Month

Wholesome Ingredients Do Not Always Translate To a Balanced Diet

Very often, someone asks me to promote their business. Sometimes it’s a new shampoo or leash, but usually the request comes from someone making a fresh food diet be it raw or cooked. Most are happy to offer “Human Grade” or “All Natural” foods. This time it was a cooked diet, and curiosity led me to check out the site. To be polite, I could say it was an interesting discovery, but the truth is that it was just scary. The site claims that "Calcium alone should not be added to the diet. This can create toxicity and imbalance". This is complete nonsense. Calcium should always be added to a diet if the diet lacks it, and the diets on this site certainly do. My guess is that the owner of the company believes that the small amount of cottage cheese will do the trick. Not only is that impossible, but it happens that cottage cheese provides more phosphorus than calcium. Even if fed alone the calcium to phosphorus ratio is incorrect, so there is no chance that it can add enough calcium to balance any diet. If that’s not enough, basil and oregano are touted as good calcium sources. Many foods contain a tad of calcium, and these herbs are no exception, but even if we fed our dogs pounds of basil and/or oregano daily, calcium requirements would not be met. Firstly, because dogs aren’t herbivores and can’t eat that much vegetation without having diarrhea, but more importantly, the source of any mineral must be considered if we hope to provide something that can be absorbed. Remember that we are we eat is only partially true. More accurately, we are what we absorb, and this is a factual statement for dogs as well.

A diet without added calcium (RMBs, eggshells or generic calcium) will meet roughly 10% of a dog`s calcium requirement. It was hoped that I would suggest these foods to clients, but given that they are not only low in calcium, but also in B vitamins, zinc, copper, and iron at minimum, that`s not going to happen. My take-home message is this: Don`t assume that wholesome ingredients add up to a balanced diet. The diets in question were formulated by a chiropractor, so the site refers to this as Dr. so-and-so. Regardless of the title, these are diets that remain unbalanced and can be risky in the long term. Buyer beware! Just because someone thinks they know enough to feed your dog well doesn’t mean they really do.

Yet more hype on the site in question comes from the statement that allergies are a sign of poor nutrition. A dog can be provided wonderful nutrition and continue to have allergies. This is especially true in cases of food allergy because although the diet may be wonderful in theory, the dog is reacting to one or more components. So, food allergy resolution comes not from good nutrition alone. It comes from the elimination of the allergen combined with a properly balanced diet. I could go on regarding the misinformation that was presented to me for approval, but I`m sure you get the drift. Be sure to check facts before buying products that are hyped to be good for your dog. This is arguably even more important when it comes to food because as we all know, a healthy diet is the cornerstone of health.

Monica “The dog was created especially for children. He is the god of frolic.” - Henry Ward Beecher



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