September 16, 2013

5 Medical Reasons Pets Go to the Vet

Has your pet been receiving long term medication for a chronic (non life-threatening) health problem for months or even years, without a true cure ever taking place? Food could be the cause – and the solution!

Five of the top ailments dogs and cats suffer with, can be related to the foods they eat. Medications like antibiotics, steroids and other drugs, which are part of the long term ‘treatment’ protocol for many pets, often just hide or suppress the symptoms and never actually bring about a true cure. Diet may be one of the biggest contributors to these problems.

Making the change to a less processed, natural whole-food diet, that’s made without chemical preservatives, fillers, refined carbohydrates, by-products and other unsavory ingredients, can actually address these ailments at their root. Read on, to learn how.

Ear Infections are often caused by a buildup of yeast in the ears. Yeast can ‘over-grow’ when there’s an overload of sugar in the system. This is usually caused by excessive grains in the diet, as well as added sugars or other simple carbohydrates. A natural diet that’s made without refined carbohydrates or sugars can improve chronic ear infections in a matter of weeks, and in some cases it’s necessary to go completely grain-free.

Urinary Tract / Kidney Problems plague many cats and dogs, and dry foods are thought to be a big culprit. The reason? Dry pet foods don’t contain enough moisture, which causes a state of long-term, low-grade dehydration in pets, and this in turn can lead to these urinary and kidney issues. Plus, most don’t drink enough to compensate. Plus, when they do, there’s the risk of dry food pellets actually swelling in the stomach, causing serious problems like bloat.

Pets on a canned, raw or other higher moisture diet tend to experience less urinary tract infections and crystals over all. The pH, balance of minerals and total protein, are also important factors to consider when choosing a diet for an animal prone to urinary tract problems.

Skin Problems like itching, hair loss, hot-spots, dandruff, and a greasy coat as well as chewing at the feet, are classic signs of food intolerances or some type of nutritional imbalance. The state of the skin and coat are often the best outward sign of what’s happening on the inside of the body, and when the diet is lacking in quality, difficult to digest because it contains by-products and fillers, or made with ingredients the pet can’t tolerate, the skin and coat will show it. Some of the most common allergens for pets include glutenous grains like wheat and corn, plus soy, rice and beet pulp. Lamb is also a common cause of hot, red, itchy skin problems, and should be avoided in itchy pets.

Ingredients that aren’t even permitted in human foods, like the chemical preservative Ethoxyquin as well as meat or poultry by-products and cheap fillers such as corn gluten meal, powdered cellulose extract, brewer’s rice and wheat middlings can be difficult to assimilate, wreaking havoc with the body’s natural state of balance, which shows in the condition of the skin and coat.

Chronic Digestive Upset (including diarrhea, vomiting, colitis, irritable bowel) can be related in some way to a food intolerance. Many pets suffer with ongoing, intermittent diarrhea for years before the connection to diet is made, and their owners are often astounded at the improvement when a simple switch to a whole food diet is made. Chemical preservatives, cheap fillers, colorings can also aggravate sensitive tummies. It takes some care to transition a sensitive pet to a new type of food. Switching to a new food too fast can exacerbate GI upset, so it’s best to transition slowly over a few days, to will allow the ‘good’ gut flora to adjust. Adding a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt or a probiotic to the food can help ease the transition.

Obesity is another top reason pets visit the vet. Being overweight can shorten a dog or cat’s life expectancy (just as it can in humans) and increase the risk of health problems like joint inflammation, ligament problems, heart conditions and pancreatitis.

The quantity of food served at each meal is obviously the first place to start, but the quality of food offered is also important. Pets don’t need too many carbohydrates, and refined carbs and sugars can cause them to pack on the pounds just as much as, or even more than in humans. Feeding a whole-food diet that’s higher in protein and fiber with moderate calories and fat – and fewer refined carbs – can help get bodyweight back to where it should be.

If you’d like to try a free sample of a grain-free, gluten free diet with a single meat or fish, please email samples@thehonestkitchen.com with your name and address (plus the food you’d like to try) and we’ll be happy to send one to you. Diet may a bigger role in your pet’s (lack of) good health than you first imagined!