Category Archives: Blog

Canine Flu Outbreak

There have been numerous media reports on an outbreak of “canine influenza” that began in Chicago, and could spread to other areas.

The original dog flu virus that was characterized a few years ago is known as H3N8, and there is a vaccine for that virus. However, this virus is different: H3N2. The currently available canine flu vaccine does not protect against this virus.

Symptoms of the H3N2 flu are primarily sneezing and coughing. It is highly contagious; but while unpleasant, it is far less dangerous than the H3N8 virus.

The most likely places for your dog to contract this flu virus are doggie daycare and boarding kennels, dog parks, grooming facilities, pet stores, and veterinary clinics–all places where a lot of animals pass through, and the chances of spreading the virus are high.

The best defense against this virus is to support your dog’s immune system with top quality nutrition, stress management, and adequate exercise.

For more information, see:  Little Big Cat’s article on Immune System Health, which applies just as much to dogs as to cats; and, of course, Paleo Dog!

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a very distressing disease for both you and your dog. Because of their stoic nature and desire to keep up with their “pack,” subtle symptoms may go unnoticed. But early detection and diagnosis is key for hip dysplasia, so if your dog is of a breed prone to this disease, make sure you stay vigilant for signs like stiffness when getting up, tiring on walks, wobbly gait in the rear, reluctance to jump, and other indications of pain.

Factors that cause or aggravate hip dysplasia include genetics, excessive nutrition, and extreme activity in puppies.

Genetics is considered the primary factor, but dysplasia can develop in dogs from healthy lines, or not develop even in lines with poor hip conformation. There certainly are things we can do to reduce the risk for our dogs.

The first rule: keep your dog lean. Feeding large breed puppies high-calorie food, extra mineral supplements, or allowing free-choice access to food, can lead to too-rapid growth and skeletal problems. In adults, excess food or treats–will lead to obesity, which stresses the joints and virtually guarantees arthritis. A well-balanced, species-specific diet like the Paleo Dog diet will help prevent obesity and consequent joint damage.

There is some evidence that, for puppies, excessive activity like running up and down stairs many times a day, or doing a lot of jumping (for balls, Frisbees, etc.), may also contribute to later hip problems. Moderate exercise that develops healthy musculature, such as running and swimming, are more beneficial, and may help stabilize a weak joint. Restricting strenuous activity for a large-breed puppy’s first 6-10 months may help prevent future problems.

Many nutritional interventions have been tried for hip dysplasia. There is some thought that giving puppies extra Vitamin C helps reduce the risk of dysplasia. This hasn’t been proven, but it makes sense. Even though dogs produce their own Vitamin C, in a modern world full of pollution and stressors, their native supply may be inadequate. It’s likely that antioxidant supplementation in general would be equally beneficial.

Another common recommendation is for glucosamine and chondroitin. These are components of joint cartilage, and so can help rebuild it to the extent possible. Cartilage has no blood supply of its own, and has to get nutrients from the fluid within the joint; so it takes several weeks of supplementation for these to build up to sufficient levels in that fluid. Studies have not been conclusive as to the benefit of these supplements, but many people feel that they have helped their dogs a great deal. And there is some evidence that supplementing glucosamine beginning around age 1 or 2 may help reduce the risk of arthritic hips down the road.

The one nutrient that has been proven to help dogs with arthritis is Omega-3 fatty acids. There are many Omega-3s, but the important ones in this regard are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The best source for carnivores is, of course, the most natural source… animals! But while prey animals eating their natural diet would provide those Omega-3s to the hunter, the high-grain diet of modern livestock and poultry means our meat supply is nearly devoid of the healthy Omega-3s and overloaded with inflammatory Omega-6s. Since most commercial pet food is made from the leftovers of human food processing,  our pets also tend to be seriously deficient.

So where can we get good, natural Omega-3s for our dogs? The best source is marine animals, like fish and shellfish such as mussels.

Omega-3s are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They specifically inhibit pro-inflammatory cellular messengers that would otherwise stimulate an excessive immune response, thereby minimizing inflammation and pain.

There are many Omega-3 products available today. Flaxseed and other plant oils contain the Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, but dogs and cats can’t convert it to EPA and DHA. Ocean pollution may contaminate oils extracted from fish and fish liver. Salmon oil comes mostly from farmed fish, who are fed all manner of toxic fungicides, antibiotics, and other drugs; they do have Omega-3s, but they also contain a large amount of unhealthy fats that our pets don’t need.

We believe that the best source of Omega-3s for our dogs is the New Zealand greenlip mussel (Perna canaliculus). These mussels are grown in the beautiful, pristine waters of New Zealand’s Marlborough Sound, far from the polluted waters of the north Pacific. These small but mighty mussels contain an array of 18 Omega-3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA, but also the little-known Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA). According to research, ETA may be even better than EPA or DHA as an anti-inflammatory.

The best greenlip mussel oil we have found is called MOXXOR. Along with greenlip mussel oil are powerful antioxidants from sauvignon blanc grape seeds and kiwifruit seeds (which contain all 8 members of the Vitamin E family) to maintain freshness, and kick the anti-inflammatory capabilities of the combination into high gear. (Click here to learn more about MOXXOR.)

Greenlip mussel oil is a whole food derived product, so the fatty acids remain in their most bioavailable state. It only takes a little greenlip mussel oil to produce great benefits for our dogs (not to mention humans, and even cats!).

Dogs’ Brains Are Like Ours

A recent study in Hungary discovered that dogs’ brains react to human voices as well as emotional sounds like laughing or crying.

Eleven dogs were trained to stay perfectly still in an MRI machine dDogs and MRIuring scans, while a variety of sounds were played for them. Twenty-two human volunteers performed the same task.

Researcher Attila Andics, from the Comparative Ethology Research Group at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, stated, “The location (of the activity) in the dog brain is very similar to where we found it in the human brain. The fact that we found these areas exist at all in the dog brain at all is a surprise – it is the first time we have seen this in a non-primate.”

Perhaps even more interesting is the discovery that emotionally charged dog sounds – such as whimpering or angry barking – caused a similar reaction in both humans and canines (although dogs had a bigger response).

Humans’ and dogs’ evolutionary paths have been closely intertwined for thousands of years, so it’s not surprising to us that we’ve developed similar responses to each other. We’re truly BFFs!


Salba Seed

Salba SeedSalba® (ground black and white chia seeds) is the richest whole food source of alpha-linolenic acid (an essential Omega 3 fatty acid) and fiber found in nature. Gram for gram, Salba provides eight times more Omega 3s than salmon, four times more fiber than flax, six times more calcium than whole milk, 13 times more antioxidants than blueberries, and much more.

Salba is all-natural, has no trans-fats, very few carbohydrates, and is certified Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher, and Gluten-Free for those who suffer from celiac disease.

Salba mixes well with smoothies, yogurt, dips, and can be mixed with flour for baking.

9.5 oz. Ground Seed

For more information, please call Celestial Pets® at (818) 707-6331