Category Archives: Food

5 Disease-Fighting Foods Good For Dogs

 

Flaxseed, blueberries, and oatmeal are some of the foods experts recommend we eat to stave off illness and maintain peak health and wellness. You naturally may have wondered…Does this apply to dogs, too? Are there certain foods you can feed your dog to keep disease at bay? Here are some disease-fighting foods you can feed your dog.

1. Fish Oil

Foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been studied extensively for their role in controlling inflammation in a variety of species. These fatty acids have been shown to help in the management of kidney disease, joint disease, skin inflammation, and more. Many pet foods contain omega-3 fatty acids but not all of them. In addition, the amount added to [over-the-counter] products may not be sufficient to provide the desired beneficial effects.

If you’re not a fan of supplements or your dog food doesn’t contain omega-3s, consider steaming, grilling, or baking a piece of fish for your canine companion. Be mindful of the type of fish you choose, as some varieties are higher in mercury than others. Salmon is a good option since it is typically high in omega-3s but low in mercury.

2. Vegetables

Leafy green and yellow-orange vegetables, such as carrots, may decrease the risk of bladder cancer in certain dogs, according to a study. Scientists suspect bioflavanoids, dietary fiber, plant sterols, and other anti-carcinogenic substances (known as phyto-nutrients) present in these vegetables may inhibit or slow down the progression of cancer.

Yellow-orange vegetables used in the study (aside from carrots) included pumpkin, squash, and sweet potato. Leafy green vegetables included lettuce, salad greens, spinach, collard greens, and parsley. Try giving dogs swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, kale, and dandelion greens.

3. Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain polysaccharopeptides (PSP), which researchers believe have tumor-fighting properties. There is some evidence that they can improve immune responses.

If you do want to offer your canine companion mushrooms, it’s important to keep in mind that some types of mushrooms are poisonous for dogs. Always talk to your veterinarian before adding mushrooms to your dog’s diet.

4. Fiber

In some cases, veterinarians may recommend feeding oatmeal or lentils as part of a high-fiber diet. Flax, psyllium, or chia seeds can also be used to supplement your dog’s diet. Fiber can help your dog feel full, and ultimately aid with weight loss. Keeping your dog lean is important. Obesity can shorten your dog’s lifespan, and is linked with an assortment of diseases, including joint, liver, and respiratory disease.

Fiber is also essential for maintaining gastrointestinal health, as it helps support the gut microflora. A healthy gut is linked with strengthened immunity, a factor in warding off disease.

5. Fruits

Veterinary nutritionists will often recommend that their clients feed fruits to their dogs as part of a sound nutritional plan. This is because fresh fruits and vegetables may provide trace nutrients or compounds that we have yet to discover, or that are not abundant in commercial pet food.

The phyto-nutrients contained in blueberries and other fruits may help prevent cancer. Giving fruits and vegetables over commercial pet treats ensures that an owner knows exactly what it is and where it came from. It can be difficult to identify the sources of all the ingredients – some of which have questionable nutritional value – in commercial pet treats.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Benefits of Pumpkin for Cats

 

Pumpkin is a popular fall and winter flavor that many people look forward to each year. While humans can enjoy an array of pumpkin treats, what about our feline friends?

Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Cats

Plain pumpkin is a good source of fiber for cats. In fact, many veterinarians turn to pumpkin as a remedy for constipation in feline patients.

Dr. Angelo Maggiolo, medical director of County Animal Clinic in Yonkers, New York, often recommends pumpkin as an easy fix for mild cases of constipation in cats. “It will get the colon moving a little better in cats predisposed to constipation,” he says.

The fiber found in pumpkin also adds bulk to the diet, making cats feel more satiated, explains Dr. Heather Meyers, a veterinarian for Carolina Pets Hospital in Wesley Chapel, North Carolina. This is especially beneficial for obese cats who are on a diet. Adding pumpkin at mealtime may even help prevent painful anal sac problems or help reduce hairballs.

And while pumpkin is a good source of vitamins A and C, which help support vision and immune system health, Meyers advises that it’s not necessary to use pumpkin as a vitamin supplement. “Cats are generally not deficient in these vitamins if they’re on a well-balanced diet,” she says.

Pumpkin also contains zinc, which can help improve a cat’s skin and coat, and cucurbitacin, a biochemical compound that is thought to have some activity against intestinal parasites. However, with a well-balanced diet and proper veterinary care, most of these concerns can be taken care of without the need for pumpkin.

How to Serve Pumpkin to Cats

If your cat enjoys pumpkin, the best way to serve it is straight out of the can. Avoid any canned pumpkin products that contain added flavoring or sugars, especially if your cat has diabetes. “You truly just want plain pumpkin,” Meyers says. Mix between one and four teaspoons of canned pumpkin with cat food one to two times a day. Your veterinarian can advise the specific quantity of pumpkin to serve, depending on your cat’s condition.

If your finicky cat refuses pumpkin, consult your veterinarian for alternatives. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, one to four teaspoons per meal of psyllium or one to two tablespoons of wheat bran can also be added to canned food as fiber supplements. As long as your cat is well hydrated, any of these additives may assist in treating constipation. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian first, before making any changes to your cat’s diet.

Risks of Pumpkins for Cats

Pumpkin is a relatively easy and safe additive, Maggiolo assures. While it’s unlikely that pumpkin will upset a cat’s stomach, eating too much can possibly cause diarrhea. If this happens, it’s best to skip the next serving or feed a smaller amount. Your veterinarian can advise you how to modify the serving size, if symptoms occur.

Keep in mind that you should not serve the stem, skin, or pulp of a pumpkin to your cat. These parts of the pumpkin simply don’t have a high enough nutritional value to be beneficial for your cat. It is also best to avoid feeding leftover jack-o-lantern, as it may have rotted by sitting outside too long. Plain canned pumpkin is the best option for your pet, and will stay fresh in the refrigerator up to about a week after opening.

Even though your feline friend may not be able to have a bite of your Thanksgiving pie, there is definitely a place for plain pumpkin in his diet.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372