Supplement Your Dog’s Daily Diet With a Natural Twist

A supplement for dog immune system health is something which has become a topic of much discussion among concerned pet owners and vets. There are many opinions on both sides, with the choice coming down to an owner and their preference for natural products. Usually if someone takes vitamins and supplements for themselves, they believe that their dog could benefit from the same level of care.

The immune system functions the same for dogs as it does for humans, providing the first line of defense against illness of all kinds. Dogs with weakened immune systems will be much more susceptible to everything from allergies to various forms of cancer. This is why when it comes to boosting immunity supplements for dogs are so very important.

As our pets are exposed to everything from air pollution to household chemicals and pesticides on a daily basis, toxins can build up in their systems, preventing their bodies from functioning as they should. A supplement for dog immune system health can help to flush those toxins and leave your dog looking and feeling more energetic and fit.

The keys to good health are the same for humans and their pets. Eating right, getting plenty of exercise and avoiding the damage caused by environmental irritants are all essential to your dog’s health. They can get this nutrition from packaged foods, as long as they are AAFCO approved and the label specificlly says that “nutritional adequacy was validated by animal feeding tests based on protocols from the American Association of Feed Control Officials.” Even with foods that meet this standard, a herbal supplement may add another layer of support.

Using a careful blend of herbs and other plant based ingredients such as Mistletoe, Echinacea, Huang Qi, and Indian ginseng, a supplement for dog immune system health can provide a range of positive effects. From improving appetite to increasing energy and vigor and boosting the function of every system in the body, these natural products extend the kind of gentle healing only nature can provide.

Mistletoe helps to stimulate immune system function while Echinacea works as a lymphatic tonic to fight off various forms of cancer. The ancient Chinese herb Huang Qi is a powerful whole body tonic and a key ingredient in immunity supplements for dogs, while Indian ginseng supports proper growth, health and vigor.

Together, these and other ingredients combine to provide a level of healing not possible with any other product. A supplement for dog immune system health may be a new and innovative idea, but it is based on centuries of experience and good, old fashioned common sense. The best way to ensure a healthy body is by helping it to heal from the inside out and nothing does that better than natural products.

It’s really that simple. You want what’s best for you dog and safe, gentle, natural products can provide just that. So talk to your vet today and find a product which will work for your dog. The sooner you can get your best friend on the road to good health, the better you’ll both feel.

Horse Feeding Tips

A horse’s nutritional requirements and his digestive system have not changed since the time he was first domesticated thousands of years ago. However, due to a lack of knowledge, convenience considerations and an over-zealous adoption of the scientific claims of the feed industry, the way we feed a horse has changed dramatically. Often, these methods contradict what natural horsemanship tells us about feeding and result in health problems for the horse and management problems for owner.

Certain principles of natural horsemanship can be applied to choosing a proper feeding program for the horse. Just as we studied aspects of horse physiology and psychology when approaching training techniques, it is beneficial to think in these terms when we decide how to feed our horses. This will tell us both what to feed and how to feed.

It doesn’t take an expert in natural horsemanship or equine nutrition to understand that feeding flakes of alfalfa and grain supplements twice a day to a horse in a stall is not what Mother Nature intended. Indeed, that approach completely ignores a few basic principles that every horse owner should know about their four-legged charges.

A horse’s digestive system is designed to obtain the maximum nutritional benefit from a diet of high-fiber and low-energy grasses. The foundation of a healthy, natural diet for a modern, domesticated horse is grass and grass hay. A horse in his natural environment will spend many hours a day grazing. Most experts say that a horse needs to consume at least 1.5 – 2 lb. of good quality hay and grain for every 100 lbs of body weight. Much will depend upon the metabolism of the horse. Horses that are heavily worked, pregnant and lactating mares will consume up to 3 lbs of dry matter for every 100 lbs. of body weight.

Grass hay is much preferable to alfalfa for the bulk for the horse’s diet for several reasons. Alfalfa is a very rich or “hot” feed for the horse. It contains approximately 50% more protein and energy per pound than grass hay. Its phosphorous to calcium ratio is also too high for a horse’s requirements. When fed with grain, as alfalfa often is, numerous digestive problems including colic may result. Alfalfa may be fed but only in small quantities almost as a supplement, not as the predominant feed component.

Not all hay is the same. The nutritional content of hay depends not only on the variety of grass grown, but also on the soil and amount and type of fertilizer used. Hay quality also can vary and should be examined prior to purchasing. Good hay exhibits the following qualities:

1. Should be leafy as opposed to containing too many stems. Most of hay’s protein is contained in the leaves.

2. Good-quality hay should exhibit a light green color. If it is too yellow or brown, it might have been harvested too late and may not contain proper nutrients.

3. The hay should smell fresh and sweet. Hay that smells moldy or musty should be avoided. Feeding moldy hay can result in colic.

4. Check for weeds and other non-hay matter. Good horse hay should contain a bare minimum of weeds, sticks and debris.

Unfortunately, hay comes without supermarket labels specifying nutritional content, but often a reputable hay supplier will have a laboratory analysis available for a particular cutting of hay he is selling. Parameters to look for include:

1. Moisture: usually averages around 10%. Higher than 13% may result in palatability problems and even mold proliferation.

2. Crude protein: Legume hay will run 20% or more. High quality grass hay might run as high as 12-15%. A minimum should be at least 8%.

3. Digestible energy (DE): This is an estimate of the amount of energy available to the horse from the hay. This figure will vary depending upon the stage of growth at which the grass was cut and harvested. Young grass will have a higher DE. As the crop matures, DE decreases as the lignin content increases. A DE reading of less than 1.65 Mcal/kilogram indicates a high level of indigestibility and should not be fed to horses. This could cause impaction colic.

4. Acid detergent fibre (ADF: Indicates the digestibility of fiber in the hay. ADF levels above 45% indicate poor nutritional levels, while values less than 31% indicate excellent quality hay.

When horses ran wild, their food supply consisted of different kinds of grasses grown in one pasture or field. Today we have lost that natural variety. An improved pasture is more than likely to contain just one variety of hay grass. Feeding just one type of hay can limit the nutritional value of the horse’s ration, especially trace minerals. Several different kinds of hay, ideally, should be fed. This will not only provide a more balanced diet but will also vary taste and texture characteristics of the feed as well.

A horse will also nibble eagerly on all kinds of vegetable matter. A good idea is to provide your horse with tree branches with leaves to chew on. He will not only be able to derive needed nutrients but will use his teeth and wear them down naturally. A horse’s teeth are continually growing, and because of domestication and modern feeding techniques, usually need to be rasped down once a year. In the wild the horse is apt to feed in such a way that the growth of his teeth is naturally kept under control.

In addition to being perfectly suited to extracting maximum nutritional value from grasses, a horse’s digestive system has other requirements which are often ignored by owners. The relatively small size of the stomach limits the amount of feed that can be safely consumed at one time. A horse is unable to vomit or belch. Eating a large volume of hay and grain concentrate twice a day, as most horses do, can be unhealthy and even dangerous. A horse should eat small amounts, many times a day.

One of the unique features of the horse’s digestive system is that even though he has but one stomach compartment, as opposed to ruminants like cows, there is a large microbial population in the cecum and colon. These microbes have the ability to break down and utilize the nutrients contained in forage. The peculiar shape of the colon which bends back upon itself numerous times reduces the rate at which digested food is able to pass. This allows more efficient utilization of roughages in the horse’s feed, but also can cause digestive problems when the horse is not fed correctly.

If you observe a horse eating in a barn situation, you can readily see that he prefers to eat off the ground. Most feeders require a horse to eat with their necks extended and their heads raised. This is an unnatural position for a horse to eat. Grass particles and debris fall back into his face and eyes. The horse cannot properly chew his food, and respiratory problems can result when the horse constantly inhales dust from the hay. It’s better to place hay on the ground in small amounts and in different places.

A diet of high-quality grass and hay should provide all the energy and protein needs non-working horses require. However, if a horse is in training, shows in performance classes or is ridden frequently, you might want to supplement with grain. Although this might be considered a departure from a purely natural approach to feeding, riding and working a horse is a complete departure from what nature intended as well.

In his natural environment as a wild, prey animal, a horse consumed very little grain. His very limited grain consumption took place in the fall from natural grasses that had gone to seed. This probably served to put on extra weight before winter. However, our energy demands on a horse have changed nutritional demands on him as well.

If a horse needs more energy, fat and protein in his diet than he is receiving from a grass and hay-based diet, there are several ways you can get him that additional nutrition. It’s a good idea to avoid feeding the quantity of sugar and molasses present in many commercial sweet feeds. Just as in humans, the ingestion of large amounts of sugar can play havoc with the horse’s insulin-regulating mechanism. Compounded grain products may also contain other undesirable ingredients such as fish and animal by-products.

You can get your horse the extra energy he needs through supplementing with rice and wheat bran or oats and barley. Limit the horse’s intake of prepared rations of grain except for pregnant and lactating mares and young foals. We want to feed naturally but we don’t want to reject out of hand advances in feed science. Educate yourself and choose supplements based on your horse’s true needs. Do not overfeed grain, however.

Natural supplements that are useful to include in a horse’s daily ration include flaxseed. Flaxseed is a good source for important Omega-3 fatty acids that are so important in human diets too. Omega-3 fatty acids can play a role in alleviating chronic inflammation and strengthen the immune system. They can improve the condition of a horse’s coat and hooves.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) supplements is a lesser-known source of trace minerals, internal and external parasite control, improved feed utilization and fly control. DE is a desiccant and can be used as a feed supplement or can be spread around stalls and the barn and will kill 75% of flies, fleas and mites that come into contact with it. Horse owners who use DE religiously claim that feeding DE to their foals and grown horses eliminates the need for chemical worming.

Horses themselves can be a judge of what trace minerals they need to consume. Have you ever seen a horse digging in the ground and begin to lick some special rock they’ve found? He seems to know instinctively what minerals he is lacking and where he can get them. This probably pertains more to a wild and varied environment than to a controlled and limited pasture environment. For that reason, it is a good idea to provide a free-choice salt and trace mineral product especially formulated for horses.

When horses are first offered this feeding option, they will initially consume a considerable amount but begin self-regulating very quickly. A supply of salt is essential to a horse’s health and well-being. In the wintertime salt should be manually added to a horse’s feed in order to ensure that he drinks the proper amount of water. Be sure to make available to the horse an unlimited supply of fresh, clean water.

Importance of Complete Vitamin B’s in Supplements

Feeding a supplement that’s missing key ingredients is like trying to drive down the road without air in the tires of the vehicle. Why do so many people feed supplements that only contain a few vitamins/minerals and then expect to attain peak performance from their 4 legged partner?. My life is very busy and full and I want things to be as easy as possible – thus I want all the ingredients in one container and I expect them to do their job. It seems very time consuming to have 3-5 containers of ‘supplements’ that I must feed daily and still be missing important nutrients. Also, that means I have more waste products that I must get rid of and each product is a different size with a different suggested feeding. KISS Keep it Simple ***** That is my motto and I try to follow it.

Vitamins are essential to life – they regulate metabolism and assist the biochemical processes that release energy from digested food and are the foundation of body functions. Some are water soluble which cannot be stored in the body so therefore they must be taken into the body daily – includes Vitamin C and B-complexes. In most supplements there are only some of the B vitamins included in the ration. It is important to have all the vitamin B’s present in a ration as each one has a job to do and if one or more is missing then the ‘jobs’ are not done to the extent they should be. Sure, you will see some improvement, but if you are going to doing something do it to the best of your ability.

I am going to emphasize the B vitamins which help to maintain the health of nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver, and mouth as well as healthy muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract and proper brain function. They act as coenzymes, helping enzymes to react chemically with other substances and are involved in energy production. They may be useful for alleviating depression or anxiety and it has been found that hyperactivity and aggressiveness in animals can sometimes be remedied by B-complexes. Other indications for giving extra vitamins are during highly stressful situations such as traveling, separation anxiety, the show ring, during pregnancy and being a stressed mother. Sulfa drugs, hormone therapy, cortisone and drugs for high blood pressure rob you animal of some of the B-complex vitamins. These vitamins are very important for older horses because these nutrients are not as well absorbed as they age. Because B vitamins work together, a deficiency in one often indicates a deficiency in another.

1. Vitamin B1 ( Thiamine)

Thiamine enhances circulation and assists in blood formation, carbohydrate metabolism and production of hydrochloric acid which is important for proper digestion. It has a positive effect on energy, growth, normal appetite and learning capacity and is needed for proper muscle tone of the intestines, stomach and heart. Also, acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body from degenerative effects.

Symptoms that can result from thiamine deficiency include constipation, edema, enlarged liver, fatigue, heart changes, irritability, labored breathing, loss of appetite, muscle atrophy, nervousness, poor coordination, weak and sore muscles and severe weight loss. Antibiotics, phenytoin (Dilantin- drug used to prevent seizures), sulfa drugs, antibiotics may decrease thiamine levels in the body and a high carbohydrate diet increases the need for thiamine.

2. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin is necessary for red blood cell formation, anti-body production, cell respiration, and growth. It alleviates eye fatigue and is important in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. It aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, Together with vitamin A it maintains and improves the mucous membranes in the digestive tract. Riboflavin also facilitates the used of oxygen by the tissues of the skin, nails, and hair, eliminates dandruff, and helps the absorption of iron and vitamin B6. Consumption of adequate amounts or riboflavin is important during pregnancy because a lack of this vitamin can damage a developing fetus, it is needed for the metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into niacin in the body.

Deficiency symptoms include cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, eye disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, skin lesions, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, light sensitivity, poor digestion, retarded growth, and slowed mental response and stool eating. Strenuous exercise requires an increase in the need for riboflavin.

3. Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin is needed for proper circulation and healthy skin. It aids in the functioning of the nervous system, in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and in the production of hydrochloric acid for the digestive system. It is involved in the normal secretion of bile an stomach fluids and in the synthesis of sex hormones. Other symptoms of niacin deficiency include canker sores, depression, diarrhea, fatigue, limb pain, loss of appetite, muscular weakness, skin eruptions and inflammation.

4. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic Acid is known as “the anti-stress vitamin” – Pantothenic acid plays a role in the production of the adrenal hormones and the formation of antibodies, aids in vitamin utilization and helps to covert fats, carbohydrates and proteins into energy. It is required by all cells in the body and is concentrated in the organs. It is also involved in the production of neurotransmitters. This vitamin is an essential element of coenzyme A, a vital body chemical involved in many necessary metabolic functions. Pantothenic acid is also a stamina enhancer and prevents certain forms of anemia. It is needed for normal function of the gastrointestinal tract and may be helpful in treating depression and anxiety.

5. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine is involved in more body functions than almost any other single nutrient affecting both physical and mental health. It is necessary for the production of hydrochloric acid and the absorption of fats and protein. It also aids in maintaining sodium and potassium balance and promotes red blood cell formations. it is required by the nervous system and is needed for normal brain function and for the synthesis of the nuclei acids, RNA and DNA, which contain the genetic instructions for the reproduction of all cells and for normal cellular growth. It activates many enzymes and aids in the absorption of vitamin B12, the immune system functions and in antibody production. Vitamin B6 plays a role cancer immunity and aids in the prevention of arteriosclerosis, acts as a mild diuretic and useful in preventing oxalate kidney stones and in the treatment of allergies, arthritis and asthma.

A deficiency of can result in anemia, convulsions, impaired wound healing, inflammation of the mouth and gums, hearing problems, stunted growth, brain damage, heart and liver disease.

6. Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

Cyanocobalamin is needed to prevent anemia, it aids folic acid in regulating the formation of red blood cells and help in utilization of iron. It is required for proper digestion, absorption of foods, the synthesis of protein, and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It aids in cell formation and cellular longevity. Vitamin B12 prevents nerve damage, maintains fertility and promotes normal growth and development by maintaining the fatty sheaths that cover and protect nerve endings.

A deficiency can be caused by mal-absorption, which is most common in the elderly and in those with digestive disorders. Deficiency can cause abnormal gait, bone loss, constipation, depression, digestive disorders, enlargement of the liver, eye disorders, and inflammation of the tongue, irritability, labored breathing, moodiness, nervousness, neurological damage, palpitations, pernicious anemia, and spinal cord degeneration.

Biotin

Biotin aids in cell growth, fatty acid production, in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and in the utilization of other B-complex vitamins. Sufficient quantities are needed for healthy hair and skin. It promotes healthy sweat glands, nerve tissue and bone marrow and helps to relieve muscle pain. Biotin strengthens hoof structure by reducing irregularities in the hoof wall that compromise the integrity of the hoof strength.

Fats and oils that have been subjected to heat or exposed to the air for any length of time inhibit biotin absorption as do antibiotics, sulfa drugs. A deficiency can result in anemia, skin disorders, hair loss, heart disease and weak muscles

Each vitamin B has important functions in the horse’s body and if some are lacking then optimal health is not obtained. The body needs ALL the B vitamins as they work together. Thus, it is very important to read the label and know what you are feeding. Feed for heath.