Tag Archives: Allergies

WTF Pet Food Companies?

05-13-01Vinny2

What’s in The Food? It really is anyone’s guess. I have previously written about how pet food labels lie about what’s inside the bag both here and here. (It took 2 posts to list it all). A recent study shows an even more flagrant deception on many pet food labels.

Researchers at Chapman University tested commercial dog and cat diets and published their study in the journal, Food Control. The study involved DNA testing of the pet foods to see what kinds of meat were really in them. Of the 52 foods tested, up to 20 had been mislabeled. That’s a whopping 40%!

In the study, DNA was isolated from the foods and tested for the presence of 8 different meats: beef, chicken, goat, lamb, pork, turkey, horse, and goose (Really? Goose???). The study revealed that 13 dog foods and 7 cat foods had unexpected DNA results given what was listed on the label.

Sixteen of the 20 mislabeled foods contained at least one meat that was not on the label. Interestingly, Pork was the most common unlisted meat. In three other foods, one or two meats were substituted for the labeled meat ingredient. That means there was none of the listed meat and something else instead. SURPRISE!!!

The final mislabeled food contained a meat that could not be identified. Note that the researchers did not test for dog or cat DNA. If they had they may have been able to identify this mystery meat. You just have to watch this video to see why I would say such a thing. According to the former president of AAFCO, it truly is a dog-eat-dog world.

The scientists were inspired to do this study by the scandal regarding horse meat being substituted for beef in Europe last year. Amusingly, they found no horse DNA in any of the foods.

This research is especially important to those who have pets with food allergies. If you can’t trust the pet food label to tell you what kind of meat it contains then there is no hope for keeping your pet safe from a reaction.

Do you have a pet with a food allergy?

4 Natural Allergy-Busting Tips

03-00-Louie after

The most common conventional treatment for any allergy includes either antihistamines or cortisone. Antihistamines tend to have fewer serious side effects (mostly drowsiness) but they are also less effective than cortisone. While almost always great at stopping the allergy symptoms, cortisone also suppresses the immune system, stresses the liver and increases the animal’s thirst and appetite. In my view, a more holistic approach to treating allergies is preferable

For me, any allergy is a symptom of a sick immune system. Face it, a normal immune system does not react to foods, pollens, or flea bites. Since allergies of all kinds are so common these days, you might wonder if we are doing something to over-sensitize our pets’ immune systems.

Here are 4 tips to get your pet’s immune system back in shape and fight allergies naturally.

  1. Stop Over-Vaccinating – The outdated practice of yearly vaccination is one major stress on a pet’s immune system. Even the more recent 3-year distemper vaccine protocol is probably excessive for most pets. I recommend that vaccine titers replace the usual shots. A vaccine titer is a blood test that measures the antibody level and can show whether or not the pet has adequate immunity to the disease.
  2. Give Probiotics – Any time we want to positively influence the immune system, probiotics can help. Probiotics facilitate the establishment of healthy bacteria in the animal’s intestine. Interestingly, 70 percent of an animal’s immune system is in the lining of the intestines. Studies show that supplementing with probiotics improves the health of the entire immune system.
  3. Feed Raw – I have found that many pets with allergies respond favorably to balanced, raw diets. Processed foods tend to be pro-inflammatory and the phytochemicals in whole, raw foods nourish the immune system.
  4. Use Natural Flea Control – The insecticides in topical and oral flea/tick medications also strain an animal’s organs. (Doesn’t it bother you that the label cautions against skin contact and yet that is how you apply it to your pet?) Toxins in the air, water, and food of the pet can also compromise any animal’s bodily functions. Reducing the toxic load on your pet’s system can help him stay healthy and allergy-free. Consider more natural methods of parasite control.

These 4 natural allergy-busting tips are a start. Next week I’ll have 4 more.

Do you have a pet with allergies?

How do You Know if Your Pet has Fleas?

Gross Flea Dirt

Pet’s that are itching this time of year often have fleas to blame for their problems. Flea bite allergy is the most common allergy we see in pets and the bite of just one flea can make them break out for 2 weeks. Even pets that are not allergic will scratch from the irritation of the bugs crawling around on them. How can you tell if fleas are the problem?

The obvious answer is that if you see fleas on your pet then they are most likely causing the itching. While that is true, I cannot tell you how many pet owners have sworn to me that their pet is flea-free only for me to prove otherwise.

The best flea detector is a flea comb. A flea comb has very close teeth that can actually pick fleas out of the fur. A few swipes will often net a couple little blood-suckers.

I have found that it is often difficult to find fleas on dogs who are really itchy. These dogs are no doubt allergic to fleas and do a good job of scratching them off. Other dogs in the same household may have dozens of fleas on them. If there are fleas on one pet in a household then there are fleas on them all!

Many times when I do not find fleas on the pet, I will find flea feces when I use the flea comb. Flea dirt looks like little black specks that are often comma-shaped.

Fleas feed off your pet’s blood and they do not digest it well. Their poop is basically dried blood. If when you flea comb your pet you get black specks off but you’re not sure if it is flea dirt, sprinkle a few drops of water on it. If is dissolves into a red haze, it’s flea poop. If there is flea poop, there are fleas!

Fleas are at their highest populations in the fall of the year in temperate climates. If your pet is itching, then fleas may be the problem. I’ll have more on solving the flea problem naturally next time.

 Have you ever found fleas on your pet?