…when you nourish your 4-footed friends at the cellular level
with whole foods, enzymes, vitamins and minerals!
There was a time when the idea of supplements for dogs or cats seemed a little crazy or fanatical to me. Now I can’t imagine preparing a meal for my little friends without digestive enzymes and greens, aka vitamins and minerals. I’ve seen many out-of-balance dogs and cats recover and thrive when switched to whole foods and supplements. Canines and felines can respond very quickly and favorably to herbs and nutrients, especially when combined with a whole food diet. That’s the whole entire reason I became an herbalist! And because my little dog, Lily, is immune-impaired due to a birth defect. I’ve learned a lot from her!
Miracles can and do happen from simply feeding nourishing, bioavailable food. Older dogs and cats can lead comfortable and pain-free lives and remain active into their later years. Ideal body weight is achieved effortlessly on a whole food diet.
This is the bad news: Conventional dog and cat foods are much more disease-inducing than the most processed human food. All dry dog/cat food is exposed to high heat, damaging any nutrients that once existed in the usually inferior ingredients. There are zero enzymes in heat-processed food, so instead of replenishing your friend’s enzyme stores, it actually taxes and depletes them. Dogs fed dry/canned food often present with allergies, anxiety, ear infections, body odor, dental issues, digestive disorders, fatty tumors and worse. Cats suffer dental issues, constipation, irritability, thyroid imbalances, dehydration and urinary issues, including kidney failure, due to dry food diets. Felines are obligate carnivores with short digestive systems and, as such, require high protein, enzyme-rich, bioavailable food – the opposite of dry cat food. Seriously. Dogs and cats often become overweight and/or develop fatty tumors due to the rendered, damaged fats in conventional dog and cat food. How did we come to believe that crunchy brown nuggets with unrecognizable ingredients and an indefinite shelf life = good food? Not to mention the dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals that are almost always present in dry or canned foods. My animals do not receive any baked treats, ever. Not one biscuit. Our dogs are on a whole food diet! Heat processing, aka baked treats = Damaged oils. Damaged oils = damaged cells and a lifetime of inflammation (or worse) for your dog or cat.
The good news: You can design a convenient, whole-food diet for your dog or cat that is digestible, species-appropriate, and nourishing! I can show you how! Raw, freeze dried and/or dehydrated foods such as Only Natural Pet Easyraw in combination with home prepared meals can be affordable and incredibly nourishing. You will save on vet bills – guaranteed. Well nourished dogs are happy dogs, usually calmer and more attentive, more beautiful, energetic, and vital. More fun! Cats, too! Dogs and cats love whole foods and can be switched over the course of a week or several days… even overnight! Other foods that I feed my dogs and cat, in rotation with home prepared meals:
Sojos Grain Free – just add water, and then your own protein – eggs, fish, meat. You can even add friendly grains and/or legumes. Wonderful food!
Sojos Complete – meat included, just add water. We rehydrate a quart jar of food and keep it refrigerated. Pour in 1/3 jar of the dehydrated mix, fill the jar with water, let sit overnight to completely rehydrate. Between the two 22 pound dogs, this lasts for 3-4 days, when fed at the evening meal. Morning meals are often home made.
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Dinners – Great 95% meat source for dogs! Fantastic for cats, too – just crumble 3 patties in a jar, cover with broth or water and allow 45 minutes (or overnight) to rehydrate. Add a raw egg yolk and a tiny amount of powdered greens, and you have 2 or 3 days’ worth of cat food. Schisandra loves the Rabbit and Pheasant formulas. Keep refrigerated once rehydrated. For dogs, add to friendly grains, legumes and/or vegetables, or use as a treat. Our dogs usually receive 50% raw minced vegetables/50% Stella & Chewy’s patties.
Ziwipeak Air-Dried Food is a nutrient-dense food for dogs or cats. Mix it with Sojos Grain Free food, or with your own vegetables. Great as a treat, or to use in rotation with other proteins. Ingredients in the Venison formula: Venison Meat (min 65%), Liver, Tripe, Heart and Kidney (min 19.5%); Chicory Syrup; Green-lipped and Blue Mussel* (min 4%); Hoki Fish Oil; Lecithin; Kelp; Vitamins and Minerals; Parsley. Naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols. Organ meat is so nutritious for our animal friends!
Primal Freeze Dried Food is a favorite around our house – with the dogs and cat. I usually keep two Primal proteins on hand to maintain a good rotation schedule. Variety is the spice of life!
These are just a few ideas, and some of the foods my friends enjoy the most.
We live in such toxic and stressful times right now. Our pets are being exposed to lawn chemicals, dryer sheets, cleaning products, car fumes, stress hormones, pesticides and herbicides with every walk or ride through town. Most dogs and cats have been or are on some type of medication – usually antibiotics or steroids, and are being over-vaccinated, any of which can lead to allergies, digestive issues, and deeper, more serious imbalances.
Switching to whole foods and supplementing for cellular health can = miraculous healing and well being for your four-legged friends. Supplements, along with whole foods, are a must to facilitate digestion, strengthen immunity, support organ function, maintain musculoskeletal stability, and contribute to the detoxification process.
My dogs eat a lot of raw vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, lettuce and, in season, fresh herbs from our gardens. Sounds like a lot, and I guess it is compared to most dogs. In addition, I include a powdered green herbal blend, Vitamin C and digestive enzymes with every single meal. I highly recommend raw, organic vegetables and greens for all dogs. Cats, too, in tiny amounts. We eat a lot of vegetables around here, so we’re always chopping greens for a salad, red peppers for Cauliflower Pizza, sweet potatoes for Rosemary Fries, or broccoli for Tahini Broccoli Salad…so it’s no biggie to just chop some extra for my four legged friends. Combine good, whole food with healing supplements, and you have yourself a winning combination!
Start with these Supplements:
Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C):
Sodium ascorbate is the form of Vitamin C recommended for dogs and cats by Dr. Wendell Belfield, DVM in his books How to Have a Healthier Dog and The Healthy Cat Book. My observations and research indicate that Vitamin C is a must for every day supplementation, and a must have for emergency situations. Life saving!
Yes, most animals (except humans and guinea pigs) manufacture and store their own Vitamin C. A goat that weighs roughly 140 pounds makes 13,000 milligrams per day when in good health and a supportive environment. When faced with life threatening disease or toxic challenge, goats can and do produce as much as 100,000 mg of vitamin C a day. It’s a nutrient that is vital to maintaining a strong immune system. Vitamin C plays a huge role in joint health and an animal’s ability to repair and rebuild. It’s anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and works with other antioxidants, like Vitamin E, to remove toxins from the body. Dosage and consistency are important. Animals who are stressed or recovering need higher than recommended dosages (see below).
Vitamin C is a universal detoxifier of chemicals, viruses and bacteria and supports joint repair and rebuilding. Dr. Belfield saved the lives of many dogs and cats, including dogs with “incurable” distemper and entire catteries with “untreatable” feline leukemia, by dosing them with sodium ascorbate and/or IV Vitamin C treatments. Giving Vitamin C on a daily basis is one of the best ways to support your friend’s health. Yours, too.
Dr. Belfield recommends the following dosages:
Small dogs (10-25 lbs) 500 – 1,500 mg/day in divided doses
Medium dogs (25-40 lbs) 1,500 – 3,000 mg/day in divided doses
Large dogs (45-80 lbs) 3,000 to 6,000 mg/day in divided doses
Xtra Large dogs (80-120lbs) 6,000 – 8,000 mg/day in divided doses
Cats: 500 – 1,000 mg/day in divided doses
We order the 3 lb jar of NOW Sodium Ascorbate powder from iHerb or Lucky Vitamin because we humans take 8,000 – 10,000 mg per day ourselves. Vitamin C makes everything better and brighter for our cells.
1,000 mg of Vitamin C = 1/6 tsp. NOW brand Sodium Ascorbate
In the wild, canine and feline diets consist of raw foods teeming with enzymes, making it highly digestible and bioavailable. Dogs and cats have short, acidic digestive systems that were designed to absorb nutrients quickly and completely. Enzymes are naturally occurring in all raw foods, including raw vegetables and greens. I’ve noticed big improvements in both of my dogs and my cat since consistently adding enzymes to every meal. So even though I feed mostly freeze dried or dehydrated food which is enzyme-rich and digestible (always rehydrated), I still enhance with digestive enzymes and minced raw vegetables and greens.
Enzymes are the “messengers” in the body. They allow for and speed up the zillions of chemical reactions that are taking place 24/7 within our bodies. Without enzymes, these reactions would not occur fast enough to sustain life. Three of the most significant ways enzymes work in your body include food digestion, making new cells and generating energy. In other words, enzymes keep us alive and kicking. I add Animal Essentials Plant Enzymes and Probiotics to every meal I feed my dogs and cat. In Clover Optigest is another excellent product that I often rely on.
Greens are incredibly healing on so many levels. Rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential to cellular activity and health, greens and green blends are a must. There is a very complex environment that exists inside our bodies… consisting of chemical and electrical reactions that digest, exchange nutrients, carry waste, allow for repair and rebuilding and create the energy that moves us through life. Chlorophyll is a molecule that closely resembles the blood that flows through our veins. Plants photosynthesize and turn sunlight into nutrients. In summary, greens provide life force and vitality. Greens with every meal! I mean it!
The first green blend I ever gave my dogs was Dr. Harvey’s Multi-Vitamin. Great stuff! My little dog, Lily, often got 1/2 tsp of this green formula mixed with broth or an egg yolk several times a day when she was ill. It speeded her healing process and she LOVED it! Inspiring!
Now that I’m an herbalist, I formulate and rotate a variety of nutritive and medicinal herbs as my dogs’ green blend. I keep Schisandra’s feline formula pretty consistent, with a few variations.
Guess what? You can make your own canine/feline green blend by mixing equal parts (by volume) of all organic wheat grass, barley grass, nettle, rose hips and nutritional yeast. Great for dogs and cats! With this formula, you will be providing all of the essential vitamins and minerals, including C (rose hips) and the B complex (nutritional yeast). Give 1/2 tsp with each meal. This is whole food nutrition, y’all! I mean it!
Dr. Wendell Belfield, DVM, recommends Vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbate powder. Instead of rose hips, you can add one part sodium ascorbate powder to your green blend. We order the NOW brand sodium ascorbate powder from Lucky Vitamin or iHerb. We take it every day! A must have to prevent or treat viral or bacterial infections!
Supplements I find helpful:
N-Acetylcystine is the precursor to glutathione formation. Sounds complicated, but simply know that glutathione is a precious detoxifying chemical in the body, and is formed in the presence of N Acetylcystine. My holistic veterinarian recommended this for Lily, and I take it myself. In this toxic world, it’s always good to support the detox pathways in our bodies. The dose recommended to me by my holistic veterinarian is 500 mg/day for Lily (22 lbs). We use the NOW brand. I give this during times of stress or if Lily shows signs of imbalance or seems “off.”
Seven Forests Liquidambar is an AMAZING supplement for dogs with joint issues, hind end weakness, or who are healing from musculoskeletal injuries. This supplement gave my big Shepherd, Ozzie, an additional two years of good mobility in his later years.
My mother in law’s dog, Max, lost his ability to jump onto the couch or chair after injury to a hind leg. With this supplement, Max is now back in action, and able to enjoy being next to his beloved human again.
A dog who had suffered a fractured hind leg in an auto accident was taking a long time to recover. Once this dog was started on this supplement, pain was dramatically reduced and recovery noticeably speeded.
A 10 year old Retriever was falling frequently and had become generally unstable. She was switched, overnight, to a dehydrated, whole food diet and given Seven Forests Liquidambar. Soon she regained stability and maintained it for several more years. With Ozzie and Max, both older dogs, this supplement became a part of their everyday nutrient intake, and it made a world of difference for them in their senior years. Lily, who is 10, takes it, too. One tablet in her morning meal.
Only Natural Pet Immune Strengthener
Over the years, I’ve gotten amazing reports on this supplement – often in regard to dogs recovering from cancer. My own dogs and cat receive this supplement every day. I give Lily (22 pounds, 10 years old) one whole capsule with her morning meal, and split another cap between Frederic (24 pounds, 2 years old) and Schisandra (4 year old, 12 pound cat). Yes, my cat likes this supplement.
The ingredients are simple and support immune health:
Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid) 50 mg
Reishi (fruit) Extract 4:1 31.25 mg
Shiitake (fruit) Extract 4:1 31.25 mg
Cat’s Claw (bark) Extract 4:1 25 mg
Maitake (fruit) Extract 4:1 25 mg
Astragalus (root) Extract 4:1 12.5 mg
Decaf Green Tea (leaf) Extract 12.5 mg
N-Acety-L-Cysteine 5 mg
CoEnzyme Q10 2 mg
Selenium (from Selenomethionine) 0.02 mg
Vitamin A (as Vitamin A Acetate) 1000 IU
Vitamin E (as d-alpha Tocopheryl Acid Succinate) 35 IU
This is a great combination of antioxidant nutrients (Vitamins A, C, E, NAC, CoQ10), medicinal mushrooms (Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake), adaptogenic herbs (Astragalus), and minerals that are important for a strong immune system (selenium). Cat’s Claw is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Green tea is well known for it’s rejuvenating, antioxidant properties. N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine is a precursor to glutathione formation, which is a very important molecule in the detoxification process. My dogs and cat like this formula and respond very well to it.
I keep several different homeopathic remedies on hand at all times, having seen them work for my own dogs and many others. Newton Homeopathics formulas are quite amazing. I give 2-3 drops of the Newton Homeopathic Detoxifier to my Lily every day before her first meal, while she is sitting on her “bucket,” waiting patiently for her lunch or breakfast to be prepared. Rescue Remedy is the other remedy I keep on hand especially for Frederic, as he becomes nervous when we travel and stay at unfamiliar locations. A couple droppers of Rescue Remedy calms him down and this one dose when we first arrive allows him to enjoy the rest of our visit.
I can’t say enough good things about Spirit Essence Safe Space for Cats. This remedy has helped many cats stop peeing outside the litter box, adjust to changes in the household, and become more resourceful, calmer, more confident felines.
Blessings to you and your four legged friends!
References and Recommended Reading
Belfield, Wendell O., and Martin Zucker. How to Have a Healthier Dog: The Benefits of Vitamins and Minerals for Your Dog’s Life Cycles. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981. Print.
Belfield, Wendell O., and Martin Zucker. The Very Healthy Cat Book: A Vitamin and Mineral Program for Optimal Feline Health. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983. Print.
Bernard, Michelle T. Raising Cats Naturally: How to Care for Your Cat the Way Nature Intended. Lincolnton, NC: Blakkatz Pub., 2003. Print.
Frazier, Anitra, Norma Eckroate, and Anitra Frazier. The New Natural Cat: A Complete Guide for Finicky Owners. New York, NY, U.S.A.: Plume, 1990. Print.
“HomeGrown Herbalist.” HomeGrown Herbalist. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.
Kidd, Randy. Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Cat Care. Pownal, VT: Storey, 2000. Print.
Kidd, Randy. Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Dog Care. Pownal, VT: Storey, 2000. Print.
Puotinen, C. J. The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care. Los Angeles: Keats Pub., 2000. Print.
Tilford, Gregory L., Mary Wulff-Tilford, and Mary Wulff-Tilford. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life. Laguna Hills, CA: BowTie, 2009. Print.
Zucker, Martin. The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Cats: Safe and Effective Alternative Treatments and Healing Techniques from the Nation’s Top Holistic Veterinarians. New York: Three Rivers, 1999. Print.
Zucker, Martin. The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs: Safe and Effective Alternative Treatments and Healing Techniques from the Nation’s Top Holistic Veterinarians. New York: Three Rivers, 1999. Print.