February is Animal Heart & Dental Month!
February is a busy month in the animal world educating pet parents about heart and dental health! In a way, they are actually connected because the bacteria in the mouth have affinity for the valves in the heart. Especially in the presence of vitamin A deficiency. So, getting or better yet, keeping a clean healthy mouth is the first step to protecting the heart. Raw diet is the first step to preventing dental calculus. Big soft bones or chew devices [for the dogs, not so much for cats], brushing, spraying, rinsing, water solutions, can all add to keeping the mouth fresh and reducing plaque build-up. But if needed, do not hesitate to have dentistry performed. A clean mouth is more important than you may realize in helping your pet to feel really good.
Speaking of the heart. The biggest topic over the past 3 years has been about taurine deficiency. In 2012 there was an article in VitaHound titled: Taurine Supplements are Usually Required in Present Day Dog Diets. Yes, as far back as 2012 the word was out – no canine diet has adequate taurine to match the stress and inflammation that dogs deal with. And why do dogs have inflammation and stress? That fact I have been recognizing since 2005 by doing hair Tissue Mineral Analysis testing.
Inflammation and stress are related to adrenal gland function, aldosterone production, sodium retention, loss of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, inadequate levels of choline, taurine, inositol, vitamin A and E. Basically, inadequate availability of whole food minerals, vitamins, and amino acids (especially taurine) lead to inflammation and inflammation precedes heart disease. In dogs with heart disease [other than congenital or genetic related], there are many potential factors preceding the onset that have been sneaking up undetected for quite a bit of time.
And if those dogs had been eating an archetype diet, like real unprocessed (anything but kibble here) meat containing food, it never would have happened. Why? Taurine is found naturally in milk, meat, fish, eggs, and sea vegetables such as kelp and seaweed. As for meat (not meat meal or by-products), mice have three times more taurine than chicken, next highest beef, followed distantly by lamb. Kelp is a good supplement source since it contains all 21 amino acids and is also rich in minerals and many vitamins. Adding the needed taurine to your dog’s diet is reasonably safe with a natural supplement. Dosages range from 200mg to 2000mg per day, best given 2 to 3 times a day. Cat foods already are supported with added taurine as this deficiency has been known to occur in cats for decades.
Other factors known to be needed by or as protection for the ticker include: Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, CoQ10, L-Carnitine, vitamin B2 for heart rate, vitamin B1 protects against cardiac hypertrophy and bradycardia, pantothenic acid helps with tachycardia, fish oil to reduce cytokines and herbs such as Hawthorn for conductivity.
Heart muscle innately produces CoQ10. Using a product containing concentrated heart muscle or feeding heart, will provide natural CoQ10, but there are times when even additional is beneficial. Whole food vitamin E containing E2 (the part of vitamin E that increases the carrying capacity of oxygen in the blood) reduces stress to the heart and allows the pet to breathe more slowly and efficiently.
Protecting the heart begins early in life and in the mouth! Get a Tissue Mineral Analysis Test done to know what mineral and toxic metals are of concern for optimal cell function. Follow a natural diet. And focus on what it takes to keep the mouth healthy.