Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is Your Pet In Pain From Acid Stomach?

It can be hard to know when your pet has an acid stomach. Pets with acid stomach or nausea can display symptoms such as gagging, inappetance, frequent grass eating and/or licking of the lips. Sometimes this can be accompanied by other gastrointestinal symptoms such as loose stool, tummy rumbling, vomiting or gas. The acid stomach could be the result of a medication such as an antibiotic or due to a more chronic health condition such as kidney or liver disease.     

If you have ever had an acid stomach, you know how uncomfortable it can be. That is why it is so important to help your pet feel better fast. Discussing your pet’s acid stomach with your veterinarian is always a good first step, along with running appropriate laboratory tests. Sometimes pet owners erroneously conclude that their pet just has a “sensitive stomach” and neglect to see a veterinarian. This can be a poor decision as there could be something quite serious underlying this symptom. Getting an annual blood and urine analysis is essential for middle-aged and senior pets. The initial expense of these simple non-invasive laboratory tests could save you thousands in veterinary bills later on, as well as dramatically extend the life of your pet.

  Grass Eating, Especially If It is a Routine Habit, May Be A Sign of Acid Stomach

Depending upon the cause of your pet’s acid stomach, there is a great deal you can do to help using a natural, holistic approach. While antacid medications such as Pepcid can be necessary for short-term relief, they have side effects (e.g. stomach acid is needed for proper digestion so by reducing stomach acid with an antacid, absorption of vital nutrients is decreased). So, trying a natural approach is worth the effort. The first step is to re-evaluate your pet’s diet.  Certain foods can be hard to digest such as dry food. Pets with acid stomach fare better using a high moisture diet that includes fresh ingredients such as vegetables which are alkalizing and contain natural enzymes to enhance digestion. 

In addition, using a hypoallergenic diet (click here to learn more about food allergies) can reduce the potential for an allergic reaction which can cause digestive upset and increase nausea and acid stomach.  For example, foods containing poultry, beef or grains (e.g. wheat or corn) can be allergens for some pets.  Look at your pet’s food label to see if there are hard-to-pronounce chemicals, fibrous fillers (e.g. “beet pulp” or peanut hulls), by-products or “digest” that can be irritating to your pet. These ingredients can be found in many pet food brands, including veterinary prescription diets.

Some pet foods may be too high in fat for your cat or dog.  Pets with a history of pancreatitis or elevated liver enzymes can benefit from a higher fiber, low fat diet.  Adding a small amount of steamed green vegetables or canned pumpkin can help.  Using our Pancreatitis Kit can help pets digest fat and protein better, reducing digestive symptoms such as acid stomach, gas and indigestion.   

A few supplements can give your pet fast relief from acid stomach. Soothing Digestive Relief (along with Power Probiotic) provides calming and gentle relief for indigestion and diarrhea.  Gastro ULC is very helpful for acid stomach symptoms and vomiting and works well in combination especially with Power Probiotic.  If your pet has been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), then using the IBD Kit (includes Soothing Digestive Relief and Power Probiotic) can not only help with acid stomach but will help to heal the intestinal lining as well.  Using a combination of supplements, along with diet changes can make a significant difference in helping your pet feel better fast!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Digestive Disorders in Dogs and Cats

Digestive disorders in cats and dogs encompass a wide range of symptoms and diseases such as gas, diarrhea, vomiting, bad breath, bloat, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), colitis and many others. Most pet digestive disorders occur because of the pet’s diet. Just because a brand is considered “premium or organic, doesn’t mean it is right for your pet.  Many of the best selling, premium brands contain grains and hidden fillers that can cause a variety of digestive problems and subsequently,  a weakened immune system.  Pets can also be allergic to some of the ingredients causing a great deal of inflammation.

In general, pets with digestive disorders should eat a grain-free, hypoallergenic diet. A frozen raw, canned or modified homemade diet combining these options is best. Most dry kibble is highly processed and the beneficial enzymes, bacteria and nutrients your pet needs are lost. Dry kibble can be especially difficult for pets to digest.  While dry kibble is convenient for pet owners, there are much healthier options for pets to eat.  While Ask Ariel advocates raw frozen diets as a portion of a pet’s diet, some pets may have such sensitive digestive tracts that their bodies are not ready for it. Also, some pets may not initially like the taste. Thus, you may need to gradually introduce the raw food and use a homemade or freeze dried diet first.  Most pet owners find that just by making some small modifications to the diet along with a powerful probiotic and digestive enzymes, their cat or dog's digestion quickly improves.

Holistic Supplements for Digestive Disorders in Dogs and Cats

 Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Kit

 Bad Breath Kit

K9 Digestive Enzymes
Monday, November 5, 2012

Allergies, Itching and Skin Problems in Dogs and Cats

While humans often display respiratory symptoms such as sneezing and eye irritation from allergies, common symptoms of allergies in dogs and cats are excessive scratching, licking, chewing, rashes, hot spots, hair loss and even digestive upset. Generally, when a dog or cat is scratching excessively, the first thing we think of is that the pet has fleas. It is always a good idea to rule this out first by consulting your veterinarian or checking the pet’s coat with a flea comb for fleas. Once you are sure it is not a flea problem, more than likely your cat or dog may have some allergies. 

Allergies in dogs or cats can be caused by inhaled allergens (e.g. pollen), food (e.g. dairy, eggs, etc.) and/or external allergens (e.g. exposure to chemicals in carpet, etc.). One of the fastest ways to improve your pet’s health is to change your pet’s diet. Many dogs are allergic to certain meat proteins (beef and eggs are common) and common allergens such as corn, soy and wheat. If possible, the optimal diet for your pet is a homemade diet using easily digestible, low-allergen foods. 

Allergies in dogs and cats are a symptom rather than a cause in themselves. They often occur as a result of the long-term build-up of toxins and so the goal is to detoxify the body and enhance the immune system as well as to treat the overall allergy symptoms. An air purifier can be very helpful in reducing environmental allergies. Our natural anti-infection formula can be used topically to help heal hot spots. Sometimes allergy testing and desensitization is effective, although rarely 100% effective, in eliminating allergies in dogs and cats.

1) Allergies are cumulative. In other words, a pet may have both food and environmental allergies but the symptoms only become noticeable during certain times of the year. This doesn't mean your pet may not have allergic reactions all the time. It just means that the situation builds up similar to a balloon that fills up with air until it pops. In your pet’s case, it may mean that all of a sudden your pet has hot spots or starts chewing on its paws or rear end during the hot summer months but most likely has underlying digestive issues all year round. Is your pet "drawn" to the grass, showing signs of needing to get to the grass such as whining or pulling toward it? 

2) Cats and dogs may display allergy symptoms differently. Cats may have respiratory symptoms,  vomiting and other digestive disorders due to allergies as well as skin reactions. Dogs may have scratching,  itching, chewing on fur, ear infections, scooting on their rear end and weepy eyes. 

3) Most of the time, pets have BOTH food and environmental allergies. There is no one medication or supplement that will cure your pet's symptoms. Skin problems are tough and require a comprehensive effort. 

Holistic Supplements for Allergies, Itching and Skin Problems in Dogs and Cats


Amazing Omegas 
Friday, November 2, 2012

Kidney Disease in Dogs and Cats

It is quite common for pets to lose some kidney function with age. Renal insufficiency is especially common in senior cats. The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that operate as filtering mechanisms in the body. The kidneys filter out toxins in the blood such as metabolic wastes, drugs and excess mineral salts as well as regulate the acidity of the blood. The kidneys also help regulate blood pressure, the production of calcium and phosphorus metabolism, and produce a hormone that stimulates red-blood-cell production called erythropoietin.

Since the kidneys perform so many important functions, it is easy to see why kidney malfunction would greatly impact the way your pet feels and behaves. Once the kidney function starts to weaken, pets may develop a variety of additional health issues such as acid stomach, anemia, high blood pressure and pancreatitis. In the blood, three levels are especially important to test for kidney disease. These are creatinine, BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and phosphorous. BUN measures the amount of urea nitrogen, a waste product of protein metabolism in the blood. Urea is formed by the liver and then taken by the blood to the kidneys for excretion. Because urea is cleared from the bloodstream by the kidneys, a buildup in the blood is an indicator that the kidneys are not functioning properly. Creatinine and phosphorous are important markers for kidney disease as well, as they are also excreted by the kidneys.

The difficulty in treating canine kidney disease or feline kidney disease is that the ability to remove metabolic waste products is often outweighed by the buildup of those toxins. The pet is not able to keep up with the regular detoxification required because the kidneys are impaired. Thus, the pet gradually becomes more toxic and the body chemistry becomes more acidic. Unlike liver disease where the body can build and repair new liver tissue, the nephrons (functional units of the kidney) are damaged forever and cannot be replaced. What is important is to help the functioning nephrons perform at an optimal level.

Conventional treatment for kidney disease includes a reduced protein and reduced phosphorous diet, subcutaneous fluids, use of phosphorous binders and medications for blood pressure regulation, if needed. Holistic care, in combination with conventional treatments, is essential. Pets can eat a natural, kidney-friendly diet in place of commercially prepared prescription diets that many pets might not eat and can contain chemicals and synthetic ingredients. Supplements can help the kidneys to break down protein, excrete toxins and perform at a significantly improved level. Many cats and dogs that use the Ask Ariel kidney diet and supplements live a higher quality and longer life than was given in their initial prognosis.

Holistic Supplements for Kidney Disease in Dogs and Cats


 Kidney Heath Protein Support for Pets