From Hairballs to Arthritis, Pet Nutritional Supplements Tries to Solve it All

We may have a lot of differences with dogs and cats in terms of anatomy and physiology but it appears we are no different in nutrition development. Just as dietary supplements have become a growing trend for us upright creatures, the current craze for our four-legged friends are nutritional supplements. Although veterinarians and other animal experts don’t seem to see eye to eye regarding this matter, nutritional supplements for pets have become a major force in the animal feed department.

Besides the vast number of producers and distributors of nutritional supplements for pets, these more natural alternatives to pet food come in increasingly specific varieties. Above and beyond the vitamins, minerals typical of a food supplement, there are those with anti-oxidants and immuno-stimulants, digestion and elimination supplements, and high energy nutritional supplements.

Our pets won’t get left behind when it comes to staying slim, too, as there are nutritional supplements for pets that are specifically designed for weight loss! Also, if your kitten or puppy does not get enough milk, there are supplements that act as milk replacer!

There are even nutritional supplements for pets that aid in keeping them well-groomed. Skin/coat supplements and laxatives and hairball treatments make it easier for you to keep your pet always looking trim. Unless you’re one who garbs your pet in cute shirts, their basic all-around outfit is their skin or fur.

In the same way that we suffer stress and pain, our pets do, too. But pet supplements providers have got this covered! There are nutritional supplements for pets that serve to reduce pain, stress, and anxiety. If your pet experiences arthritis and joint pains in particular, there are supplements especially for that! These are said to be pretty helpful also as prevention to strengthen your pet’s bones even before arthritis sets in.

It’s interesting to note the sort of disclaimer that’s always present in the promotional materials. Most nutritional supplements promise a lot of benefits but it’s always balanced off with notices that results may vary depending on your pet’s response. So one might say it doesn’t really guarantee you anything. Pretty consistent with human nutritional supplements. Basically, it leaves you to choose whether to give it a try and see if it works.

There are countless testimonies as to the effectiveness of certain nutritional supplements for pets, some even from certified experts and doctors. But, it’s still you who decides what’s best for your pet. At the very least, giving ALL or a random pick of these supplements might not be a good idea. Consulting your personal veterinarian is.

At the onset, you should consult your veterinarian about the diet of your pet. Some pet specialists argue that nutritional supplements for pets are unnecessary since the formulated pet food already has sufficient nutrients and you only have to choose the best kind for your pet. Whether they are right or not, it is smart to find out what is or what’s not in the food you’re already feeding your pet.

The Reason Meat and Animal Products Can Negatively Impact Your Weight Loss and Diet Plan

In my previous articles I explained how we basically get our nutrition from 3 main “food” sources: plant (fruits and vegetables), animal (beef, cheese, chicken, eggs, etc.) and laboratory synthesized (high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, hydrogenated oils, etc). I then went on to explain how the fruit and vegetables of today are grossly lacking in the nutrition that they once possessed years ago.

Today, I want to talk about out meat based foods and explain that the problem with these is not with what they are lacking, but what is being added. You need to understand the reasons that meat and animal products can negatively impact your weight loss and diet plan.

Let’s look at beef as an example. Personally, a good steak or a slice of prime rib is one of my favourite meals. But where does beef come from?

Well duh! It comes from cows.

And who raises cows?

Well the answer to that should be a “no brainer” as well. Farmers raise cows. And that is the way it should be.

I live in rural Quebec. My neighbours are all farmers and they all raise cows. I see these cows out in the fields every day in the spring, summer and fall happily grazing on grass. In the winter, they have a huge barn which they have access to which is full of fresh hay for them to eat. These are the cows that I eat.

But are these the cows that you purchase in your local grocery store?

Sadly they are not. My neighbours barely make enough money from their herds to cover the expenses of these animals. First the calf has to purchased, then it has veterinary expenses, then it needs nutritional supplements (farmers know that the soil is missing certain elements and thus compensate for that. In our region, our soil is completely lacking in selenium.), then there is the electricity the barn uses for lights and to keep the water from freezing, and lastly there are tons of fuel expenses for cutting and transporting the hay.

Most small rural farmers raise cattle as a side income only. “Farmers” can’t make much money raising cattle because they have to compete with “industry” who are the primary cattle raisers in North America. Some of the largest cattle “ranches” in the USA are found in Arizona. In fact, they aren’t even called ranches or farms. They are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). 97% of all beef in the U.S. comes from CAFOs.

“So what is wrong with Arizona?” you may ask.

What do naturally eat? Grass.

What type of environment is Arizona? It’s a desert. So… no grass.

Cows have 4 stomachs. They evolved in this manner as they are a grazing animals that are meant to eat grass at a leisurely pace and slowly digest it in their stomachs. But since raising cows in these feed lots is not about producing food, it’s about producing money, CAFOs don’t have the time to fatten their cows naturally.

So in these feed lots cows are primarily fed a mixture of grain and corn, and in some cases rendered protein and even concrete dust! Rendered protein is the ground up carcasses of dead pigs (this is a problem because cows are herbivores, not carnivores). Concrete dust was found to increase the weight of cows at auction (heavier cows sell for more money!).

In the CAFOs, living conditions are not quite the same as here on my neighbouring farms and the cows are stressed. Stressed animals have weakened immune systems. Cows with weak immune systems are at greater risk for illness. Living in such high density corrals means that if one cow gets sick, they likely all will. So to reduce the risk of losing a cow, most cattle are fed prophylactic antibiotics to keep them “healthy”.

Don’t think of CAFOs as farms, they are cattle factories just like a car factory. Do you think Ford wants to spend a full month getting a car through the assembly line? No they want that car to be built and out of there as quickly as possible. It’s the same with the beef. The more cattle they can pump through in a year, the more money they make.

To encourage growth in these cows they are also administered growth hormones and steroids. So here you have cows that are taking regular injections of antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones, eating a diet that is completely unnatural to them, and packed into a super small living space. On top of that, the feed that they are fed is itself genetically modified and loaded with herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals.

These are the cows that are sent to slaughter and end up in your grocery stores! This is the beef you are eating. Pigs, chickens, lambs, and even fish are all raised in pretty much the same manner and experience the same outcome.

Just think about it. If your food is full of antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals, what makes you immune to them?

Have you noticed how big kids are these days? Have you noticed how early young girls start to physically mature? The kids today look a lot different now than when I went to public school just 30 short years ago. Do think this might have something to do with all the steroids and growth hormones they are getting second hand in their milk and meat products?

In the case of vegetables, your body is being placed under stress due to a lack of nutrition. In the case of meat, your body is being placed under stress due to the added chemicals and hormones. In an upcoming article, I’ll discuss how it is these stressors on the body, and not the number of calories that are primarily responsible for weight gain and excess body and visceral fat.

Why You Should Only Use Organic Fish Oil Supplements

Organic fruit; organic vegetables; organic meat and dairy, and now I’m just about to add organic fish oil to the list. Surely all fish oil should be organic anyway? After all, most manufacturers make it clear that the oil they use in their supplements comes from only a handful of different species, and most if not all of them live natural lives in our oceans.

Some people might argue that our oceans are too contaminated for anything in them to be organic, but that would be akin to splitting hairs. So, rather than trying to split hairs, let’s all agree with the idea that all ocean caught fish are organic at the time they are caught. Building on this, let’s assume that all the oil harvested from the fish is also organic at the time of harvesting. So, when does the oil change from being organic to being non-organic?

Manufacturing Process & Additives

Virtually all manufacturers actually buy the oil they use in their supplements rather than having to harvest it themselves. As such, they don’t have much control of this process, but they can exercise some caution when choosing their suppliers and by seeking guarantees that no additives are added.

The most common form of oil extraction involves heating the fish up to 95 degrees Celsius in order to separate the oil, water and protein. Once this has been done, the fish go through a press and then a centrifuge is used in order to separate the oil from the sludge which has been created. Up until this point, the oil that has been extracted should still be organic. The only exception would be if oil is being extracted from non-organically farmed fish.

At this stage suppliers have a decision to make. Raw fish oil spoils relatively quickly so they either need to ship it out to their customers as quickly as possible or they have add preservatives. If they don’t, it spoils and will only be fit for use in animal feed, thereby fetching a much lower price.

In most instances, suppliers will ship the oil to the actual manufacturers while it’s still in its organic state, providing that the manufacturer is dealing with a reputable supplier. Unfortunately, it is usually the manufacturers who add preservatives and other additives in order to extend the shelf life of their products; to mask unpleasant odors and etc. For this reason, my advice to people would be that they should avoid buying their supplements from “mass” manufacturers. It’s far better to buy your supplements from companies that only produce enough to meet current customer demands.

Hexane in Fish Oil Supplements

Quite a lot of the supplements you get today contain oil that has essentially been produced from waste and poor quality fish. Suppliers who operate in this manner frequently rely on chemicals in a bid to improve the quality of the oil they are using, and also to maximize yields. One relatively common additive being used is called hexane.

Hexane is a solvent which is made from crude oil and it is classified as a toxic substance. You’ll find plenty of it in rubber cement and in gasoline. Manufacturers use this additive because of its solvent properties in order to try and extract as much oil as they can from poor quality fish.

Some suppliers argue that the hexane is later removed from the oil during further processing, but since the supplement industry remains largely unregulated, there is nobody to ensure that all traces of hexane have in fact been removed. The reality of the matter is, the minute the hexane is added, the oil becomes contaminated.