Newsletter - June 2012
Tori will be 6 years old on June 19th - hard to believe. She was about the size of a sweet potato when she arrived. A smidgen of a puppy who could be fully stretched out on Morley's shoulder and fall asleep. Now she takes up half the bed because that's just what dogs do no matter the size of that bed, or the size of the dog. She used to be an extremely picky eater. Now she's like a vacuum by my feet in the kitchen. She used to bark at the neighbors...ok, so she still barks at the neighbors.
The truth is that Tori's waged war on so many diseases that having her here is nothing short of a miracle. One that we're so very grateful for. Happy birthday baby girl. You're loved and treasured more than you can know.
eBooks Are Here
Turning K9Kitchen and Optimal Nutrition into downloadable formats didn't start off as an easy decision. In fact, I fought the idea for years mostly because I, personally prefer to hold a book in my hand, and thought that was the case for most people. I was wrong. Digital downloads have become more popular, and we'd planned on having the books converted by Christmas, but then the dog food recalls happened. The K9Kitchen list (yahoogroups) was full of chatter about the worries dog owners felt, mistrust of brands because it's become more and more difficult to know which company sold out to another company...and then my inbox became flooded with emails from absolutely panicked people.
Back in 2007 when the recalls seemed never-ending and so many dogs became ill and even died, I formulated a diet and offered it to everyone as a way of having something safe to feed their dogs (while the powers-that-be tried to get to the bottom of the problem) while more and more commercial diets became unavailable. The recalls may not be happening for the same reasons this time, but seriously - how many times do people have to be panicked before they take control of what their dogs eat? That's why we put a rush on converting the books to epub and mobi formats. Tori eats a home-made diet, many thousands of other dogs do, and there's no reason why you can't provide the same. It's just a matter of knowing how to do it well, and that's exactly what these books can help you with.
Breed Specific Diets
I'm not talking about feeding fish and rice to a breed that might have a historical link to China, or feeding beef and cabbage to a dog with a historical link to Germany. That's just silliness. But what isn't silly at all is being proactive once you know your breed's genetic glitches. I've been formulating diets for healthy dogs in this manner for about ten years, and now there's proof that it's not just my belief system, but can really work (not that I've ever doubted it). For instance, Miniature Schnauzers are known to be at greater risk for development of pancreatitis (and calcium oxalate stones, but that's a topic for another day) and dietary fat can be a problem for them. A diet that's low in fat can work to prevent pancreatitis in this breed, so rather than having to feed a very low fat diet after there's a problem - why not do it from the start? The value of keeping the dog out of the hospital while suffering horribly is, as the commercial states - priceless.
The same can be said about breeds known to have gastrointestinal problems, but there are also breed specific dietary ideas for skeletal issues, heart supportive diets, kidney-friendly diets, and so forth. It's been my passion before "nutrigenomics" became a buzz word, and frankly, it's too early to make true and valid recommendations regarding specific nutrients for a specific dog based on that dog's DNA (which is what nutrigenomics is about) But we can certainly do better than we have in the past when we consider the very real issues in specific breeds. It's difficult to argue this when the highly respected Dr. Jorg Steiner shows a fascinating finding:
"...the most important consequence of hypertriglyceridemia in dogs is pancreatitis, as supported by a study which found the risk of pancreatitis was nearly five times higher in miniature Schnauzers with severe hypertriglyceridemia (above 10,17 mmol/l or 900 mg/dl) than in the study's control dogs. Generally, treatment of hypertriglyceridemia is recommended when serum triglyceride concentrations are above 5.65 mmol/l (500 mg/dl), though there is little scientific evidence to support this. The primary therapeutic approach for treatment of hypertriglyceridemia in dogs is to feed a petfood diet that is low in fat (generally less than 20 grams of fat/1,000 kcal). A recent study of miniature Schnauzers whose hypertriglyceridemia was managed with a dietary change to a low-fat petfood found that none of the dogs had serum triglyceride concentrations that were above 500 mg/dl after the dietary change. Additionally, the liboprotein profile of the dogs changed after being switched to the low-fat food to more-closely resemble the liboprotein profile of a healthy dog."
I know, deep in my bones, that breed specific diets can help many dogs. I also know it because I've witnessed it over the years. It's nice to see the science now, and I have no doubt that this is going to be the next big thing.
"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative." -- Mordecai Siegal