August, 2021 Newsletter
Sharing information on nutrition and holistic health for your dog
Hello and welcome to August!
It's Coral's birthday this month. She's turning 8 and loves being the center of attention so we always celebrate her birthday! I'm working on a new treat recipe for her and Jake which I'll share as soon as I can.
In this newsletter I'm recapping the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables for dogs, and answering the question, 'Why do dogs eat grass?'
I'm also sharing my recipe for an Herbal Dog Shampoo. It came in really handy last month when Coral decided to roll in something that smelled so bad! Coral makes a cameo in the video.
My newest article:
Thank you for reading, and feel free to share my newsletter with other pet parents who might be interested in fresh food and holistic health tips for dogs.
Question: Why does my dog eat grass?
Answer: To date, no one knows for sure why some dogs eat grass.
Some pet parents report that their dog eats grass when they seem to have an upset stomach, but the fact is that only 10% of dogs appear ill before eating grass, and only 25% vomit afterwards.
Researchers suggest that dogs may enjoy the taste and texture of grass and instinctively eat it for its fiber and chlorophyll content. It's also possible that grass eating is a behaviour inherited from their ancestors who also ate grass.
In some cases, frantic grass eating accompanied by other symptoms such as stomach discomfort, drooling, or lip-licking can be a symptom of gastric reflux, IBD, or pancreatitis. In this case you should consult your veterinarian.
If your otherwise healthy dog wants to eat a bit of grass, it's probably fine - just make sure the grass has not been treated with any kind of herbicides, pesticides or other toxins.
If your dog continues to eat grass you might want to evaluate the fiber content from fresh green plants in his diet.
Sources: Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 5th Edition
VCA Animal Hospital
Fresh Food Facts
Fresh food facts about cruciferous vegetables ...
Each month I like to feature a vegetable, fruit or protein that can be added as a topper to your dog's meals or fed as a treat whether your dog eats kibble, cooked food, or a raw diet.
Let's do a review of the cruciferous group of veggies which include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, bok choy and collard greens. Yes, your dogs can eat these vegetables!
Cruciferous vegetables are among the most researched group of vegetables for their impressive health benefits and anti-cancer compounds.
Sulforaphane is a compound in cruciferous vegetables that "has been shown to suppress tumor growth."
Cruciferous vegetables need to be whizzed in the food processor before feeding them to your dog in order to activate the enzyme, myrosinase, which is needed to release the sulforaphane. (dogs don't chew so they need their vegetables 'pre-chewed" - gosh what an image!)
Cooking makes cruciferous vegetables more digestible for dogs. However, if you need to cook these vegetables first, try to limit cooking time to about 3 minutes so that the enzyme myrosinase is not destroyed. Whizz in the processor after cooking.
Cruciferous vegetables are high in fiber, loaded with anti-oxidants and are low calorie and low on the glycemic index.
Cruciferous vegetables are known to cause gas in some dogs - so definitely start with just a very small amount to test tolerance, and increase very slowly.
If one type of cruciferous vegetable doesn't agree with your dog, try another type since every dog is unique and one dog may do better with broccoli than with cabbage, for example.
Always test your dog's tolerance for new foods by offering a small amount of one new food at a time, and increase slowly over a few days. Remember that fruit can loosen the stool.
News to Share
News to Share is where I like to share interesting and helpful information for pet parents.
Herbal Dog Shampoo Recipe
This is the recipe I use to make my own dog shampoo - it's a version of the one from my course in Canine Herbalism, and it's very simple to make.
Please do a patch test on your dog before you bathe your dog with this shampoo just in case one of the ingredients causes contact dermatitis.
8 ounces herbal infused water (see below for how to make an infusion). I use chamomile. Chamomile is part of the ragweed family so if you or your dog reacts to ragweed then you should use a different dried flower.
2 ounces castile soap
1 tbsp. aloe vera gel (aloin free)
1 tbsp. jojoba oil
Mix all ingredients together and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
Shake before using and dilute if necessary.
Rinse your dog well after shampooing.
How to Make an Herbal Infusion:
Pour 1 cup of boiled water over either a small handful of dried flowers (calendula is a good option) or you can use an herbal tea bag such as chamomile.
Cover the cup and allow to steep for about 20 - 30 minutes. The infusion should be well-diluted and slightly tinted but still fragrant.
Strain and save the 'tea' in a glass jar in the fridge.
Remember to do a patch test before applying new products to your dog's skin!
Watch How I Make Herbal Shampoo!