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Got Goat Milk?

Mary Poppins sang how a teaspoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Sounds outrageous in today’s holistic world, right? But sometimes when you have a sick pet, trying alternative remedies can be a good thing. In fact, I wouldn't rule out voodoo if I thought it could work.

Let me explain

It all started with a sound best described as a dinosaur chomping down a giant Redwood.  But incredibly it was coming from my mom’s cat, Tuxedo.  Right then it struck me that I had never heard him chew his food before. So what was this new dining anomaly? It was a first sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) soon followed by intermittent vomiting, changes in stool, and non-stop eating frenzies. 

Steroid treatment has worked but led to diabetes which is a common side effect. He’s now on diet prescription food and hopefully won’t need insulin. The good news is that Tuxedo has rallied once again. He’s not sleeping 24/7 nor is his poop stinking like science lab sulfur. Honestly, I think he cashed in on one of his nine lives.   

Anyway, although Tuxedo is being treated by an extraordinary vet specialist mom is still looking for that magic bullet that will keep him alive forever. What better place to find it than Vegas.  
Let me explain.

You can get just about anything imaginable in sin city – legal and illegal – but what were the odds of finding a curative elixir for a cat with IBS? A million to one shot, but we got lucky. In a display freezer at a local dog boutique, I made my serendipitous discovery: GOAT MILK. 
Here was a product that I’d never thought about before. I needed to know more. 

maru-goat-milk

Goat Milk

Seventy-two percent of the milk used throughout the world is from goats. According to the Journal of American Medicine, goat milk is the “most complete food known.” Milk is raw food designed by nature. When pets are fed raw milk with all its nutrients, it is equivalent to giving them raw organ meat, raw fat and raw bones. 

Although the mineral content of both cow and goat milk is similar, goat’s milk contains: 

  • 13% more calcium…  
  • 25% more Vitamin B-6…  
  • 47% more Vitamin A…  
  • 134% more potassium…  
  • 27% more of the antioxidant selenium…  
  • 3x more niacin.

Goat’s milk helps to increase the pH of the blood stream because it is the dairy product highest in the amino acid L-glutamine. 

Benefits

So what is the biggest difference between cow and goat milk? Goat milk is alkaline and cow milk is acid. Because the protein in goat milk forms a softer curd, the body can digest it in just 20 minutes. Having fat molecules one-fifth the size of those in cow’s milk makes it easily digestible and tolerable to those with compromised digestive systems.  USDA and A&M University, Texas studies have confirmed that goat’s milk has more acid-buffering capacity than over the counter antacids. 

Brands

There are several brands on the market from dry to wet – pasteurized and unpasteurized. I bought unpasteurized flavored with cinnamon and honey. I was concerned about the honey because of Tuxedo’s diabetes so I called the company. They said the honey feeds the Probiotics (good bacteria) which convert the sugar to lactic acid. Essentially there is no sugar left and the lactic acid aids in digestion which is good for the IBS.  I hope that his next exam proves that to be true.

Safety Standards

Raw food does have a risk factor. However, raw milk has stricter standards than pasteurized. The bacteria count for pasteurized milk is 15,000 per ml while certified raw milk is 10,000 ml.  
With any type of raw food, however, proper handling is a must to ensure there’s no contamination.  It’s a good idea to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds if contact is made and best not to kiss your pet. Bacterial transmission is a real threat. 

Testing

My mom was nervous giving it to Tuxedo the first time. But, he loved the goat’s milk at first lick. He asked for it at every meal… or something like that. Miraculously, within a few days she said he seemed more alert, more social and more content. Those bacteria were doing their job and she felt better knowing he was feeling better. 

That’s when I decided to give some to my dog Maru. While she doesn’t have any known health issues, the goat milk could be considered as preventative care. She absolutely loves it. I have even developed a new frozen treat using it.  

To Go or Not to Go Goat

The raw food controversy is heating up on all fronts. Convincing arguments can be made both pro and con. So, how does a pet parent make a decision? By doing research and talking to medical professionals and knowledgeable pet store owners. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice. 
What I didn't expect was the guilt of going goat. By that I mean doing something that you know your vet might not support. That’s a real dilemma. For right now, goat’s milk may NOT be what the doctor ordered, but it IS food for thought! And, if this new treatment regimen doesn't work out, I’m going to grab my new bar of goat soap and indulge in a nice luxurious bath.

GOAT FACTS

Goats get a bad rap in fairy tales and the barnyard. They are seen as ugly bearded animals that eat tin cans and butt kick everything. Here are some facts that might make them a little more love-able and appreciated.

  • They were the first animal to be domesticated over 10,000 years ago in Iran.
  • Before coins were used as money, goats were traded for silver because they were so valuable.
  • Some goats can climb trees & jump as high as 5 feet or more.
  • There are about 300 varieties and each breed gives different tasting milk.
  • Sometimes goats are kept with racehorses as companions because of their calming effect on them. The term “get your goat” is rumored to have originated from the practice of stealing the companion goat so the racehorse would do poorly.
  • Goats have rectangular pupils which gives them 320-340 degree vision so they virtually see all around them without moving. 
  • One Egyptian pharaoh was buried with more than 2,000 goats.

Sources

  1. http://hungryhound.com/the-many-benefits-of-adding-raw-goats-milk-to-your-pets-diet
  2. http://blog.sandiegopetfooddelivery.com/2013/09/why-raw-goats-milk-for-dogs-cats.html
  3. http://www.dogsplendor.com/2013/03/gaga-for-raw-goats-milk
  4. http://dancingdogfarm.com/2011/07/22/benefits-of-drinking-goats-milk
  5. http://www.ibpet.net/#!Benefits-of-Raw-Goat-Milk-for-Pets/c1x62/BF351420-5A1A-4E32-998F-0278EDF9A88E
  6. http://www.thepetbeastro.com/2013/03/health-benefits-of-raw-goats-milk-for-pets
  7. A CAMPAIGN FOR REAL (RAW) MILK! Web. 18 Apr. 2010. http://www.realmilk.com.
    Gilbere, Gloria, N.D., D.A. Hom., Ph.D., "Natures Prescription Milk." Web.
    The Maker's diet, Jordan Rubin - Thorndike Press - Waterville, Me. – 2006
    The untold story of milk: green pastures, contented cows and raw dairy foods, Ronald F.Schmid - Sally Fallon - New Trends Pub. - Washington, DC – 2003

 

4 Winter Tips To Keep Your Pup's Paws Healthy

Christmas decorations are up in stores and that got me thinking that it really wasn’t too early to start preparing for the wind, rain, and snow heading our way soon.  But instead of raking leaves and putting away patio furniture to mark the end of a season, I get ready by changing out my wardrobe. Like me, Ms. Maru has both a summer and winter one which includes sweaters, scarves, coats, and … boots.  Maru really hates her boots.  She tries hard to shake them off and when that doesn’t work – her body freezes into a catatonic pose and she stares me down with pitiful sad eyes.  Quickly though, she resigns herself to the fact that either the boots go walking or she won’t. 

dog-boots-winter-arrfscarf.jpg

Of course, then I start to think.  Am I being mean by forcing her to wear those boots?   Do I want her to wear them because I like them?   Or, is there a legitimate safety or health reason she should wear them?  Here’s what I learned. 

Researchers in Japan discovered how dogs keep warm on frozen ground thanks to a specialized circulation or “heat transfer” system built in their paws.  Using electron microscopes, they found that that even though a dog’s paw has less insulating fur than on its body, the pads contain a high fat content and connective tissue which are freeze resistant. 

When warm blood arrives in the paws via arteries, heat is transferred to small veins -  or venules - which warm the blood before it returns to the rest of the body. This special system prevents the body from cooling and ensures the paw temperature stays constant. This same network has been found in penguins, Arctic foxes and even dolphin fins.

This latest discovery has interesting evolutionary implications and may suggest that the ancestors of the domestic dog lived in cold climates.

Keep in mind that while dogs have this intricate heating and cooling system, not all domesticated dogs are able to withstand icy conditions or sub-zero temperatures on their paws.  Their size, breed, and environment are all determining factors. 

Here are some helpful tips to keep your dog safe and healthy this winter.

Frozen Lakes & Ponds

Animals don't know what "thin ice" is. If they fall in, it’s very difficult for them to climb out and hypothermia is a very real and life-threatening danger. "Ice skating" dogs are prone to injuries such as cruciate tears if allowed to "skate" with their pet parents.  This is also true of icy walks.

Salts & Chemical De-icers

Pets who walk on sidewalks that have been "de-iced" are prone to dry, chapped, and painful paws. To soothe them, pets will lick their paws.  Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal irritation and upset. Wash off your pet's feet after an outing with a warm wet cloth or footbath.

Antifreeze

Thirsty and curious pets will lap up antifreeze. Just a few licks can be fatal. Lock up antifreeze containers and clean up spills immediately, especially if your dog stays in the garage.

Foot Care

Dogs walking in snowy areas may get large ice balls between their pads, causing the dog to limp. Be sure to keep ice clear from this area. For dogs that have a lot of hair between the pads, keeping it clipped shorter will help with ice ball formation.   Avoid cold feet by ensuring pads are not split or injured and to spray paws with cooking spray before taking out in the snow…. or WEAR BOOTS!

 


And that brings us back to my original question of boots or no boots for Ms. Maru?  It’s a definite yes now.   I feel better and less guilty knowing that there are good reasons why it makes sense to make her a little uncomfortable for a few minutes. 

And, that triggers another question.  Why do dogs walk so funny in their boots?  That’s because they have hairs between their toe pads that send the same signals to their brain that their whiskers do.  So, really they walk funny because of a neurological response to the foreign object on their paws.  You guessed it.  The dreaded but ever so cute BOOT!    

 

dog-boots-winter-arrfscarf-snow.jpg