Newsletter - September 2006

The News At Home

There’s a new little girl at our house. Her name is Tori and she’s a great niece to Zoey and Cassie. so this connection means very much to us. We were a bit gun shy about trying another puppy with Cassie, but oh how wonderful the experience has been! Tori is a very polite and respectful puppy. In just two weeks, Cassie has gone from ignoring her to playing with her. In fact, we haven’t seen Cassie this happy and playful in years. She lets Tori cuddle with her on the bed, plays the ‘chase me and I’ll chase you’ game and is currently showing Tori the ropes i.e. where the best place to dig in the yard might be, where the biggest sticks can be found, etc.

From a health perspective, Tori had one day of producing several poops with a few drops of blood. The vet suggested this could be due to stress, food or worms (a negative fecal doesn’t tell the whole story) and she was right. Little Tori is blessing us with perfect poops daily - and we hope that soon she will do this outside more often than inside, but we’re getting there. Despite the obvious time drain that comes with having a puppy, the sweetest time, from my perspective, is right now. We are thrilled to have Tori in our hearts and home.

What’s New at monicasegal.com

Primrose Oil

We’ve added Primrose Oil to our private label line! Our 500mg capsules are packed as 120 capsules per bottle and contain cold pressed Evening Primrose Oil of the highest quality. The essential fatty acids can be very helpful to dogs with dry, itchy skin and, in combination with wild salmon oil, provides some of the best results for dry eyes as well.

Primrose oil provides a non-inflammatory version of the Omega 6 fatty acids. Together with Omega 3 fatty acids, they: 1. Form the membrane of every cell 2. Make up a large part of the structural and functional tissue in the brain 3. Control the way cholesterol works 4. Become prostaglandins, which play key roles in regulating the digestive, cardiovascular, immune and reproductive functions of the body 5. Have vital roles in the functions of the brain, inflammation and healing, and body heat.

Our Primrose oil can boost a dog’s diet when there is a need for skin improvement, a nicer coat, or simply when a dog needs added fat but cannot tolerate the pro-inflammatory vegetable oils.

Supplements for a Working Dog

If my experience is any indication, there are probably more supplements being fed to working dogs than to any other healthy pets. When working with clients who own these animals, I’m usually sure to see the long list of supplements being fed on a regular basis. People tell me that it’s all about prevention because working dogs are more likely to sustain an injury. When the dog has been injured, even more supplements are added. How necessary is this and more to the point, how effective are supplements for prevention and cure? Are supplements being fed as a substitute for a truly balanced diet? The fact is that when a diet meets the dogs’ nutrient requirements, few supplements are needed. In almost all cases, when a diet falls short, a multi vitamin and mineral or a multi mineral complex alone will do the job. The only exception is in the case of a very sensitive animal that doesn’t tolerate certain forms of minerals found in a specific formulation. In that case, we can supplement in different ways.

The working dog has four main challenges - maintaining skeletal health, sustained energy expenditure, maintaining hydration and reducing inflammation. Depending on what type of injury is sustained, joint support can be helpful. Maintaining skeletal health shouldn’t be the ordeal we sometimes make it out to be. In fact, most canines left to their own devices are usually athletic by nature. In my opinion, the problem isn’t so much what the dog can do but rather, that we sometimes expect more of them than structure will allow. Knowing that you have a dog with a sound skeletal system is paramount to preventing injury. Expecting supplements to compensate for poor structure is simply unrealistic.

Glucosamine is an organic compound found in cartilage and joint fluid. Glucosamine supplements can be helpful to joints but has not been proven to prevent the joint from wearing down. For instance, while it can reduce arthritis pain, it won’t prevent arthritis. The efficacy of chondroiten is debatable. Some say it can’t possibly do any good because the molecules are too large to be absorbed. Others say that chondroitein helps. My experience is that chondroiten alone isn’t helpful but that supplements that include it with glucosamine work better than glucosamine alone. MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a sulfur compound plentiful in fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, fish and grains, but quickly destroyed when foods are processed. Efficacy is controversial. Animal studies found MSM eased rheumatoid arthritis-like symptoms in mice, and it prolonged life for mice with a condition similar to lupus nephritis. Neither people nor dogs are mice but people report pain relief when using products that contain MSM.

The very best results I see in dogs come from products that contain glucosamine, chondroiten and MSM in one formulation. Fish oils have antinflammatory properties. This is one supplement that I believe in giving dogs daily unless the diet is already based on fatty fish. The added bonus is that fish oil provides omega 3 fatty acids, promoting heart health as well. My oil of choice is wild salmon oil. CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is a powerful antioxidant. According to some studies, it protects tissues in the heart and other vital organs from free radical damage, produces energy in cells and strengthens the immune system. High quality CoQ10 is relatively expensive and would not be considered vital as a supplement for any dog. Studies in dogs are few and far between and have focused on heart health alone. I don’t consider a CoQ10 supplement to be essential by any means but I have used it in an effort to help some canine athletes and to date, have anecdotal evidence to support it being helpful for promoting energy. In a nutshell, a canine athlete needs a healthy diet that includes antioxidants and unless the diet provides plenty of fatty fish, the addition of omega 3 fatty acids. It’s a simple, inexpensive plan that doesn’t include a myriad of bottles full of supplements on your shelves.

Monica

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." -- Ben Williams

 
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