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Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Dogs – Foods & Making a Long Term Plan

Just like us, dogs can get irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic digestive system disorders that can cause discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, mucus in stool and other GI issues.

Although the cause is not known for sure, it is an inflammatory condition. Therefore, it is important to reduce inflammation, eliminate unhealthy foods and add healing ones.  Fog caregivers can use good food to help fix the problem long term.

Sensitive intestinal tract compromised in irritable bowel syndrome

The intestines are lined with muscle that normally work and contract without discomfort. However, those with IBS may have muscles that contract more intensely or for longer times, resulting in discomfort.

Another reason is connected with the gastrointestinal (GI) nervous system. If the GI system and the brain are not communicating properly, it can cause the GI system to overreact.

Poor quality food, stress contribute to IBS

Other, perhaps more tangible reasons include food sensitivities, poor quality food, stress, anxiety or illness.

Do you know any dogs who are experiencing any of these issues or symptoms? Gradually experimenting with better diet can make a profound difference in the long term.   Begin with a bland diet of ground turkey and sweet potatoes, both cooked and mashed. From there, we branch out slowly but surely, adding one new food at a time – perhaps one per week, in small amounts. Please contact me if your dog is experiencing tummy troubles as a result of a bothersome food. We will work together to create a customized meal plan for your dog.

Other suggestions based on my readings geared to humans include stress reduction. This can include daily walks, lots of love, and a safe environment. Probiotics are another recommendation, as they help balance intestinal flora. And high quality omega-3s reduce inflammation.

Love, exercise and good food can help keep your pal healthy!

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Is Your Dog Prone to Kidney Issues?

Oxalates in Vegetables

If you have a dog with kidney issues, you probably know about oxalates.

Oxalates are naturally occurring substances in many foods, including numerous vegetables. People who have dogs with kidney stones, crystals or kidney failure are often advised to stay away from oxalate-rich foods including some otherwise healthy vegetables like spinach (seen here), chard, Brussels sprouts and beets.

I recently read a study on vegetable cooking methods on oxalate content. A team of researchers analyzed nine different vegetables to see if cooking methods had any effect on oxalate content. Turns out, a great deal of oxalates actually boil out into the cooking water. So, according to their findings, pouring off the cooking water means pouring off a lot of the oxalates.

Most of the time, I recommend saving the cooking water because some vitamins boil out too. But in the case of dogs with kidney issues, boiling oxalate-containing vegetables and tossing the water can mean hope for including at least small amounts of nutrient-rich vegetables that are otherwise off the list. You can look at the study abstract here:

If you’re not comfortable serving any amounts of these vegetables to your kidney-compromised furbaby, no problem. There are seemingly endless vegetables out there to enjoy. As with us, vegetables offer your dog dramatically protective benefits against cancer, inflammation and more. Basically every dog food batch I make, every recipe I create includes at least one type of vegetable, usually more than one. You can explore my recipes and much more here on

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Why Give Dogs Coconut Oil

Dear friends of dogs,

Inner and outer beauty… coconut oil does it!

On the outside, it feels velvety soft and can be applied to skin, rough paws, and can enhance skin’s health in general.

On the inside, it offers a wide range of benefits too. The fat in coconut oil (medium chain triglycerides, or MCT) is absorbed quickly and efficiently, making it quite usable by the body in general.

Coconut oil can aid in cognitive function, inflammatory conditions, viral and bacterial issues and much more.

Unrefined coconut oil is a staple in my dog’s diet, and I include it in many of my recipes and ingredient suggestions.

You can offer this gem straight out of the jar, or you can cook with it. Most dogs I give it to seem to like the taste.

I hope you and your dog enjoy this healthy addition. And remember, joining gives you full access to all members-only content, including recipes, articles and much more.

Best wishes,

Sarah Whitman, MS

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Arthritis in Dogs – Foods to Consider

Arthritis is common in dogs, just like it is in us humans. So what can we do for our furry friends who are feeling achy, inflamed and sore from arthritis? There are some dietary and lifestyle adjustments we humans can use — look into them for your dogs too!

What is arthritis?

Depending on its form, arthritis can cause swelling, pain, joint damage, reduced activity and lessened quality of life. Often it happens simply as a by-product of age, or can be a result of previous injury, overuse or underlying viral or bacterial causes

Often, anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed and likely provide some relief, but also can come with their own potential problems.

What’s a good diet for a dog with arthritis?

An antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory diet is crucial. As a holistic minded vet I know once said, “all commercial pet food is inflammatory.” This is true for many reasons, including heavy processing, nutrient depletion, poor quality and many other potential factors.

Transitioning to a clean, human-grade, homemade diet can work wonders for the body in numerous ways including reducing inflammation.

Recipes for dogs with arthritis

Pet parents can do this easily, using any of numerous healthy recipes found on my website.

You can help your dog by cutting out processed foods and poor quality items and replacing them with fresh ingredients that help curb inflammation. A clean, high quality diet in general will help with this, but specific foods that are known to reduce inflammation include many vegetables and fruits, healthy oils (real olive oil, unrefined coconut oil) wild fish, sardines and other high quality meats your dog’s body needs.

Other natural approaches to arthritis

For a more comprehensive summary of natural approaches to arthritis in dogs, you can order my e-booklet, Natural Approaches to Arthritis in Dogs.

Glucosamine with chondroitin is also a popular, likely beneficial supplement. Many other supplements have been reviewed, and I am working on a report about this. Contact me for more information.

Improving your dog’s diet, taking him for regular walks and providing him with a low-stress, love-filled environment can go a long way.

Outside of diet, there are other natural approaches that can really help. These include acupuncture, homeopathy, massage and more.

Exercise is beneficial in arthritis management, and can help keep weight in check – another beneficial aspect. Start slowly and gently, as your dog may be sore.

Feel free to contact me if you need help finding a holistic vet.

Foods for Specific Issues Recipes

Fur Baby Food

We know the consistency of baby food… soft, mushy, soupy….

What if your FURbaby needs a little mush too? My 15 year old golden mix, for example, can’t chew well at ALL anymore. Therefore I have created what I call “fur baby food.”

[ultimate-recipe id=”2482″ template=”default”]

Foods for Specific Issues Recipes

Young and Old Crockpot Stew

There is a story behind this recipe…. check back soon. In the meantime, here is the pic of this wonderful recipe I call Young and Old Crockpot Stew.

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Using Phytochemicals to Protect Your Dog’s Health

Phytochemicals are chemicals in plants (‘phyto’ = plant) that don’t contain nutrients, but do contain qualities that can prevent or protect against disease.

Some research suggests phytochemicals in plants have the ability to protect us against disease because the plants protect themselves against disease by producing these compounds.

Phytochemicals work in several ways. They act as antioxidants, protecting our bodies against free radicals and oxidative stress. They can help optimize enzyme function, protect DNA and cell wall integrity, and more.

Some phytochemical-rich foods are not dog-friendly, like onions and grapes. But many others are. These include the following.

  • Carotenoids in fruits and orange vegetables
  • A wide range of vegetables
  • Some beans and legumes
  • Cranberry extract

To increase your dog’s phytochemical consumption, consider adding fresh vegetables to his or her diet.

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Yeast Infections in Dogs

Yeast infections are common in dogs. They can occur either on the whole body or locally in one spot. Some areas are more likely than others to be affected, including eyelids, facial and oral folds, ears, throat, anal glands or between the toes.

The body does have naturally occurring yeast, but it’s not a problem under normal circumstances. It only becomes problematic when the conditions become favorable for yeast growth. This can occur during allergies or sensitivities, or even a reaction to the yeast fungus itself.

Natural approaches to handling yeast infections in dogs include the following.

Vinegar and water rinse to help gently, naturally cleanse the area. Do not use on broken skin or if your dog seems uncomfortable. Some suggested ratios include 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, but suggestions vary. Vinegar can help kill yeast.

Adding a probiotic will help replenish the body’s beneficial bacteria and combat yeast.

Baking soda can help neutralize the body’s pH. Some suggested ratios include 2 tablespoons of baking soda per gallon of water, but suggestions vary.

Turmeric is gaining popularity for its powerful anti-inflammatory abilities — it also has anti-fungal properties. Check product labels for dosage and adjust according to your dog’s weight.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also well-researched for their anti-inflammatory actions. Incorporating wild, fatty fish such as salmon and sardines can increase the omega-3 intake, or supplements from reputable sources can be used.

Antioxidants from fresh vegetables will help reduce inflammation. Supplemental antioxidants may also be considered in the proper doses.

Addressing diet is vital, as with most conditions. Limiting or removing sugar and refined carbohydrate will help reduce the yeast’s “food supply.” Opt for protein, healthy fats and fresh vegetables.

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Dementia in Dogs

Dementia in dogs is possible, just like in humans. Finding the most effective, least invasive method of dealing with, or preventing, this occurrence is important to dog parents.

There are some natural items used to ward off dementia in humans. Some of these may be applied to dogs, although many studies do not necessarily focus on dogs.

For example, cinnamon has shown promise in its ability to preserve neuron structure and function, which is important to brain health. Two compounds in cinnamon, called cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, have displayed these effects.

Insulin control is also important in preserving brain function. So keep your dog on a healthy diet to help keep blood sugar levels in check.

B vitamins may also play a role in preserving brain function. Specifically, vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid may help support brain function or even slow dementia. Older dogs, just like older people, notoriously have difficulty absorbing B12.

Some other studies also suggest general anesthesia may increase dementia risk. Of course surgery is sometimes absolutely necessary, but probably best to avoid unnecessary surgery.

Magnesium tends to be low in Alzheimer’s patients.

Vitamin D may help optimize brain chemical function, and acts as an anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing compound

Omega-3 fatty acids are well known as brain building, anti-inflammatory compounds.

Antioxidants in vegetables and some fruits like berries, can help preserve health, as will a high potency multivitamin/mineral supplement. Vitamins C and E are also protective.

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Prostate Cancer Prevention in Dogs

Dogs can get prostate cancer just like humans. Diet and lifestyle changes can help reduce risk, and some recommendations for humans may also be helpful for dogs. These suggestions, originally written for humans but probably helpful for our furry friends, include:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • eating more fish – “good fat” can help protect against cancer
  • incorporating olive oil into the diet – make sure it’s the real stuff! (contact me if you are not sure what this means)
  • eating more antioxidants – found in cruciferous vegetables (these include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards and many more!) as well as berries and many other fruits and vegetables
  • keeping stress in check
  • keeping your dog’s body strong and healthy in general, which can help him combat illness

Making sure your dog’s diet is healthy can go a long way in keeping his immune system running properly. A diet of whole foods, including healthy oils, vegetables, good-quality meats and other key items will greatly contribute to his overall health.