Why your dog needs Taurine Dog Supplements

In 2012 there was an article in VitaHound titled: Taurine Supplements are Usually Required in Present Day Dog Diets. Yes, as far back at 2012 the word was out – no diet has adequate taurine to match the stress and inflammation that dogs dealing with. And why to dogs have inflammation and stress? That fact I have been diagnosing 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.

Other factors that can influence this includes:

  • Glyphosate – commonly known as Roundup – blocks and binds minerals from being available to the body. Even if it is in the food it may not get to the cells.
  • Herbicides and pesticides can leach calcium out of the cells.
  • Processed foods – the protein is no longer real meat. It has been treated so that the quality content of what was meat is not the same. The body does not digest it as it would unprocessed protein. And meat is a major source of taurine.
  • Toxins in the environment getting into the body can interfere with metabolism.
  • Busy lives, upset routines, mental stress

Facts about the benefits of taurine are:

It is one of the most plentiful amino acids in the body and thus provides many benefits. Potassium is an important mineral needed by the body for balancing acids, nerve impulse transmission, and enzymatic reactions. Taurine helps the cells to hold onto the needed potassium. Managing this in the tissues of the heart along with helping to control the heart beat makes it one of the most important amino acids in the heart.

It is also involved in the control of the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. This is believed to help prevent epileptic seizures. By helping to control cholesterol in the bile it is very effective in averting gall stones. Also being very high in white blood cells it promotes a proper immune system.

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 taken 2 to 3 times a day.

Why Is Cholesterol High?

Cholesterol numbers began rising about the time people quit doing as much manual labor and switched eating habits to refined, processed, fast foods. (Note: Animals for the most part are being fed refined, processed, and fast foods.) Then cholesterol really started getting a bad wrap about the time pharmaceutical companies released the first statin compound for lowering cholesterol. That is well and good from an empirical perspective, but what is it really an indicator of and why would it rise in the first place? What is the body telling us?

Cholesterol is an indicator of adrenal and thyroid gland, liver, and gall bladder function. These organs function more or less relative to what they are being fed or exposed to. This includes STRESS. This is why a body can be slender and appear athletic and still have elevated cholesterol levels. Stress signals the adrenal glands to make cortisol, the fright or flight hormone. Cholesterol is a necessary component in the production of cortisol. The more stress one perceives in life, the more cholesterol the adrenal glands stock pile in order to be ready for the next round of cortisol. It is like ammunition for the potential future emergency of survival. Stress in animals can be inclement weather, lack of the right nutrients, separation anxiety, being confined too much, not enough exercise, pain, pack issues, too much exercise, to mention a few.

The liver is the organ that synthesizes and releases cholesterol into the blood at the command of the adrenals. It then synthesizes bile salts from some of the cholesterol, which are secreted into the bile for breaking down fats in the meal. Plasma cholesterol will be picked back up by the liver and secreted out of the body in the bile. If the liver and gall bladder are not functioning optimally or a poor diet is eaten, cholesterol can precipitate forming gallstones. Poor diet for a person would be too many fatty foods. However for a dog, which uses fats as its first energy source, this is not the case. Too many diets are actually heavy laden in carbohydrates (30-50% in dry foods versus 15% in a dog’s archetype diet) and deficient in fats. This leads to obesity, poor coats, poor protein assimilation, inflammation, and a list of other problems.

Both being endocrine organs and a part of the autonomic nervous system, thyroid function closely correlates with adrenal gland function and stress factors. The thyroid gland is the generator of the body. Without its input things begin to run slow. We can see this as poor coat, oily skin, body odor, fur loss, and chronic infections. Of course, by the time you see these symptoms the problem has been going on a long time. Diets heavy in soy bean will reduce thyroid activity. Low calcium precipitates a reduced activity. Chronic stress, parasites, virus or bacterial infections, dental disease, and adrenal overrun will wear out the thyroid too.

Why is cholesterol high?

  • Inadequate diet, low calcium and zinc, too many carbohydrates
  • Endocrine exhaustion affecting the adrenal and thyroid glands
  • Liver and gall bladder over worked and under fed
  • Stress, stress, stress

What can you do to help your animals?

Giving a statin drug is not the answer. Just as in humans they have negative effects on muscle and liver function. Plus this sends the adrenals into an even bigger call to arms when it detects cholesterol reserves are low. Not good.

  • Get a Fur Mineral Analysis test to see how he stacks up
  • Adjust the diet to better fit his needs
  • Supplement where indicated
  • Reduce stress (This means you too. Your animals will pick up your emotions and mimic in themselves what is going on in you!)
  • Exercise to the level that both of you can benefit

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Feeling Sorry For Them

Ava Frick, DVM, CAC

Anyone who cares about animals will have a list of situations that make one feel bad about their plight. Let’s compare lists.

  • Dogs that are chained up all the time and never get to run or play,
  • Dogs or chickens that are used for fighting,
  • Animals left to starve, abused, or neglected,
  • Ones kept in confinement (Even a trip to the zoo while appreciating the salvage of many species still makes my heart a bit sad for many of them. Prairie dogs excluded.),
  • Animals beaten by trainers, owners, and others,
  • Animals used for human amusement like circus acts where they would not naturally do what they are required to do. (This may not be across the board. I have visited Sea World and it really does appear that the sea creatures have a good time doing their acts and getting fish as a reward and making a big splash. I did not feel sorry for them during the act. But maybe it was because they were causing me to smile and laugh.),
  • Horses put on trailers, driven for days, and taken across the border to Mexico for slaughter where there are little to no regulations for humane treatment,
  • The dog or cat or wild creature that was hit on the road,
  • Heck, I apologize to the animal every time before I give an injection.

Add the grossly overweight animals to the list too. Americans are fatter and sicker than ever. We are a culture of mass consumption of refined grains, processed foods, empty calories, too much sugar, fast foods, huge meals portions, and sedentary lifestyle. People will be dying younger than their parents and their children face an even graver future, and their dogs along with them. Have you read the label of everything you are feeding your dog or cat?

Here’s another one for the list. I feel sorry for the dogs that only get to eat dry dog food every meal of every day of their life. The family is cooking a turkey, steak, hamburgers, or fried chicken, and what does the dog get? SOS. (That’s same old stuff.) How healthy would you be if you ate Total cereal every meal of your life? It says, or at least used to, 100% complete on the box. And the worst of it is this; considering a dog can smell 10,000 times what we do it must be torture smelling what is cooking and NEVER getting to have it. Table food, if fresh meat and vegetables, is MUCH more nutritious that any kibble you will ever put in the bowl.

That list can go on and on depending on what you know and how you feel about what is happening, what your responsibility level is to help, and what you are actually doing about it. The ill that befalls animals is committed every day to children and people all over the world as well. During the holiday’s people volunteer to help others by getting gifts for children, ringing bells for Salvation Army, wrapping gifts and sharing the donations with a not-for-profit group, or whatever makes them feel better about themselves and the plight of others.

This holiday season you could quit torturing your dog. Decide to go against what the dry food companies have ingrained in the minds of the pet industry. Share some of the bounty and give them a gift of unprocessed whole nutritious food. They will know that they have received the greatest gift of all, real food! You can give them the chance for a better life. It all begins with what we put into our bodies, and theirs.

Yellow Spots in the Lawn

Understand the Cause: It is the nitrogen, not just the pH.

Lawn burn is caused by the nitrogen in dog urine. Because dog urine is very high in nitrogen-containing waste products, when the dog urinates, it is similar to pouring a nitrogen-containing fertilizer on the lawn. A little nitrogen is good for the grass, but an excess causes damage. The prevention of lawn burn involves trying to reduce the amount of nitrogen coming into contact with the grass.

Contributing Factors – There are several factors that make lawn burn more likely to occur:

  • Female dogs are more likely to cause lawn burn than males because females void their entire bladder in one location instead of lifting their leg and marking, like males.
  • Large dogs deposit more urine so they increase the quantity of nitrogen in one location, making lawn burn more likely.
  • The dog’s diet and how it is being processed can allow for more nitrogen excretion.
  • Heavily fertilized yards are already receiving near maximum levels of nitrogen. The additional amount of nitrogen in dog urine may be all that is needed to put these lawns over the edge and cause lawn burn.
  • Lawns that are stressed are more susceptible to damage. Lawns that are suffering from drought, disease, or are newly sodded or seeded are more susceptible to lawn burn.

Solving the Problem – Successfully treating and preventing lawn burn often requires a multi-step approach:
1. Saturate the urinated spots with water. After the pet urinates, pour several cups of water on the spot to dilute the urine. A watering can works well.

2. Feed a high quality dog food that has the capacity to be recognized by the canine computer system. High quality foods will have more digestible protein sources that are more completely utilized by the pet and create less nitrogenous waste in the urine. WE RECOMMEND A BAKED KIBBLE. LOTUS® BRAND IS THE BEST. Baked food is digested by the dog differently than extruded diets. Extrusion is the most common form of processing by manufacturers. Also feeding a more ARCHETYPE DIET; RAW, CANNED, OR DEHYDRATED FORMULAS also will positively affect what is absorbed and utilized by the dog and then the final elimination.

3. Encouraging your dog to drink more water will help dilute the urine and decrease the risk of lawn burn.

4. Train your dog to urinate in a location.

5. Replant your yard with more urine-resistant grasses. The most resistant grasses tend to be perennial rye grasses and fescues.

6. Some supplements can help but correcting the diet as mentioned above would be the preferred.

7. Reduce the stress on your lawn by not over- or under-fertilizing and by watering frequently.

8. If neighbors’ dogs are causing the problem, using a fence or motion-activated sprinkler may be helpful in keeping these dogs off your lawn.

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Teeth Article

It’s easy to ignore things that are not visible. Like your pets teeth. Their cute muzzle lips cover the teeth so well that it takes effort and intention on your part to actually observe what is going on inside their mouth. What you can’t see can be hurting their very existence.

It’s important to become familiar with your pet’s oral cavity. Starting at an early age, you should pull up their lips, touch the teeth, and examine the mouth. This way you know what it normal, so that you can detect subtle changes. Early on there may be a slight discoloration or some food particles stuck between the teeth. Left unobserved, as time goes on, it can worsen.

Periodontal disease begins as bacteria forms plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Minerals in the saliva harden the plaque into dental calculus, commonly called tartar. Tartar can extend below the gum line creating damage to the supporting tissues around the tooth, eventually destroying it.
The bacteria secrete toxins, causing more damage and stimulating the immune system. The white blood cells and inflammatory chemicals, while in part are beneficial, will damage the supporting tissue. Instead of helping the problem, the pet’s own protective system actually worsens the disease where there is severe build-up of plaque and tartar. As a portal to the body, infection here can move to the lungs, heart, kidneys, and other organs, creating systemic disease.


  • Foul breath
  • Change in eating habits
  • Painful mouth – may growl or snarl if mouth or head is touched
  • Excessive drooling
  • Not wanting to chew on toys
  • Dropping food out of mouth when eating
  • Rubbing face on ground or pawing at face
  • Weight loss

We don’t want it to get that advanced. Prevention is the key. Early attention can make a big difference.

  • Start at a young age perusing the mouth.
  • Provide special canine chew toys and dental aids, designed specifically for oral health, is an easy and effective way to help reduce the build-up of tartar on the teeth. 
  • Oral rinse in the morning, and brush your dog’s teeth before bed.  (Tropiclean has some very effective products.) There are many videos on the internet that demonstrate how to be effective at brushing. For those who resist the brush, I recommend a Q-Tip saturated with a bactericidal dissolving gel or solution. Then roll it across the tooth-gum line. For little pets this is often much more comfortable than a brush.
  • Avoid feeding extrusion processed dry food. If you want to feed dry, select a baked grain free formula (Like Lotus). Better yet, choose raw, freeze dried, or dehydrated grain free diets. Get back to nature and feed more like what they would eat in the real world. It is not the kibble that helps the teeth; it is how the body digests the food that leads to tartar (Or prevents it.).
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian for routine oral examinations. Schedule a dental if gingivitis and periodontal disease is present.

Treating is expensive, so let’s try preventing it. In this case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!

Ava Frick, DVM, CVC, FAIS

HP Feb 2017

Raw V.S. Dry Food

Raw food & Freeze-dried Raw is the fastest growing sector of the pet food market.

Raw is a diet primarily of uncooked meat, edible bones, and organs. There are some Prepared or Packaged Raw diets that also include fruit and vegetables. Natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria are found in raw pet foods, undamaged by any heat application.

Freeze-Dried Raw has a freeze drying process that is widely appreciated as the most effective method of food preservation; it imparts the greatest shelf life and the least nutrient damage. The food is not heated; moisture is removed using a very high vacuum, preserving the natural ingredients.

Benefits of Raw and Freeze Dried Raw

  • Palatability is great! – pets like it, Yum Yum 
  • Superior digestibility – leads to improved stools & better overall health
  • Shinier coats & healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth & breath
  • Improved weight control
  • Increased immunity
  • High energy levels

Dry Food

The majority of kibble (dry food) is cooked through an extrusion method. Similar to the microwave, the extrusion process greatly reduces the nutritional value of the food. It cooks at a high temperature for a short period of time. Extrusion type kibble is usually 25 – 45% starch, which has a low nutritional value. I recommend baked kibble.

Diets high in starch are a nutritional problem for our pets. Excess starch erodes a pet’s health in subtle ways, including blood sugar spikes, digestion issues & dermatitis.

“Grain free” kibble can also have starch. Kibble using pea protein, sweet potato and quinoa may be termed “grain-free” but can also have high starch content.

Raw diets and freeze-dried raw are one-sixth the starch content of kibble.*

Bite Out of Dental Disease


Yet another “wives tale” bites the dust. How many of you reading this today have a cat or dog that has had a dental? And how many times was that? What type of food does he/she eat? I would wager that 90% of you say your pet eats dry food. What is it that you have been told or heard on TV about feeding dry over canned or home-cooked or raw diets? Oh yes, that eating dry is better for their teeth. Now tell me, if that was the case why are there so many dogs and cats with poor dental hygiene, calculus, and gingivitis?
Fact is, there is very little even in the best of dry foods that is truly compatible with preventing any kind of a disease. Banfield Pet Hospital did a large survey with more than 2.5 million health records analyzed. They reported that, “preventable problems are on the rise.” This included conditions such as diabetes, ear infections, and obesity, with dental disease topping the list. 78 percent of dogs and 68 percent of cats over the age of 3 presented with some form of dental disease! And what is the common denominator? In my opinion it is the dry, highly refined, processed, corn, wheat, glutens, natural flavorings, soy foods they are given as a “complete and balanced” diet. You can feed EXPENSIVE foods that contain these ingredients. Read your labels.
I have had eight year old dogs present for an evaluation who had been on raw diet all their life and they had the teeth of a two year old and never had a dental. I have taken ones with dental calculus, corrected the nutritional deficiencies, put them on a home cooked or dehydrated or canned or raw diet and some raw bones weekly, and in 6-9 months the mouth is amazingly improved to the point of not even needing a dental! EVERTHING that goes wrong in the general health of your animal (or you for that matter), not including injuries like auto accidents, has a nutritional component. Nothing preserves wellness like whole food nutrition.
The American Animal Hospital Association in June of 2010 released the results of a consortium on nutritional recommendations. They say that “every patient visiting a veterinarian should have a nutritional assessment.” A complete nutritional assessment would include a fur mineral, toxic metal, and oxidation rate analysis, called Tissue Mineral Analysis. This is painless and simple. It only requires the clipping of fur. Once the report is complete the next step is to balance the body with specific minerals and vitamins along with helping to chelate out any toxic metals.
A person using this approach can take 18 to 36 months to clear up but animals respond in half or less the time. Getting on the road to better health starts at the food dish. Take a bite out of dental disease other illness and degenerative conditions by putting some real nutrition back into your animal’s life.

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Tissue Mineral Analysis Patterns in 564 Dogs


Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA) is a technique using soft tissue hair or fur biopsy that provides a reading of the mineral deposition in the cells and interstitial spaces of the hair over a 2 to 3 month period. TMA can be used to understand metabolism. It is another scientific measure that can expand our understanding of health and processes that impact illness in dogs. Mineral excess or deficiency is known to produce certain physical and psychological symptoms.
The correlation of TMA results with clinical signs seen in patients is discussed in this paper.

Tissue mineral levels and electrolyte patterns of calcium(Ca), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), and potassium (K) were analyzed in 564 dogs (300 male, 264 female; 99% neutered or spayed) of variable breeds. Their ages ranged from 1 to 15 years. Cases included all dogs presented to the
authors within a 12-year period. Click here to read the entire article.