Helping Your Dog Thrive – Brambell’s Five Freedoms

< A version of this article was first published in 2018 as a five-part series in the January, February, March, April and May 2018 issues of Downeast Dog News >

< Updated 1FEB20 >

< A short link to this page – http://bit.ly/Brambells-1-5 >

< Click to download or print a PDF file containing all 5 columns in this series >

We have a responsibility to make our dog’s life the best life possible. Your dog’s quality of life is directly under your control.

In this post I will be discussing Brambell’s Five Freedoms and how you can use them to help your dog have a long, fun-filled life. I will examine the role of nutrition, basic husbandry, veterinary care, training, behavior, and the management of your dog, as they all play a role in the quality of its life.

  • Brambell’s Five Freedoms originated in the United Kingdom in December of 1965. The Brambell Commission published its report over 50 years ago, yet it is still a very applicable standard for evaluating the holistic health of any animal kept by people, including dogs.

The Five Freedoms are Freedom from Hunger and Thirst, Freedom from Discomfort, Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease, Freedom to Express Normal Behavior, and Freedom from Fear and Distress.

Fundamental to being able to assess an animal’s welfare is having a thorough knowledge of a species’ husbandry requirements, behavior, and how they communicate and express emotions. I invite you to consider some of the questions that I will pose in these columns and to contemplate how you would address them within Brambell’s Five Freedoms as you care for your dog.

Freedom from Hunger, Thirst, and Malnutrition

At first read, this sounds relatively simple; provide your dog with food and water, and you have met their needs. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Does the type of food we feed our dog matter? The dog has the digestive system of a carnivore; an animal meant to thrive on meat- animal protein and fat. When you feed your dog kibble or dry dog food, they are consuming food that is predominantly made up of carbohydrates. This highly processed “far from fresh food” is composed of 40% or more carbohydrates. The dog does not need carbohydrates in their diet. That is why you will not find the percent of carbohydrates listed in the Guaranteed Analysis panel on a bag of dog food. Kibble or dry dog food was not created to provide optimum nutrition for our dogs but to provide convenience for us and a long shelf life and higher profits for pet food manufacturers. Dogs can survive on kibble, but my question is: can they thrive on such an unnatural diet?

Can we say, in good conscience, that our dog is free from hunger, thirst, and malnutrition if we are feeding them a sub-optimal diet? Feeding a dog food that will provide them with the best nutrition possible is not inexpensive, at least when compared to grocery store kibble. However, when we start to factor in reduced veterinary bills with an improved diet, we may be further ahead when we feed the best food we can afford.

Is it better to have one pet and to feed her the best diet you can afford, or is it better to have multiple pets for social interaction? It is a question my wife and asked ourselves and is a reason we have downsized from a maximum of five dogs to one dog. We want to do the best we can for Muppy and having a single dog allows for more resources, both time and financial, to be focused on her.

What about pets on prescription diets? In some cases, a veterinarian may recommend a prescription diet for your dog that you can only get from a veterinarian. These specialized foods are available in a kibble or wet (canned) formula. Prescription diets are typically presented as being necessary to treat a specific disease or health issue. They are often much more expensive than a basic kibble, but because they are kibble, they will still be high in carbohydrates. Veterinarians who take a holistic approach to nutrition will seldom recommend kibble-based prescription diets preferring to suggest a diet consisting of fresh, whole food. Again, it comes down to choosing between optimal nutrition or our convenience? Which takes precedence?

What about pet obesity? Studies indicate that 50% of the pets in the U.S. are clinically obese. Obesity is typically due to overfeeding, an improper diet, and lack of exercise. Just as with humans, obesity will affect a dog’s health and welfare. It can tax your dog’s skeletal system and can even change behavior. How much of the obesity problem with our dogs is related to our feeding them diets high in carbohydrates, something they do not need?

Does the source of water you use matter? If you do not choose to drink water from your tap, should your dog? Should they at least be given a choice?

Next month we will examine more of Brambell’s Five Freedoms; Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease, Freedom to Express Normal Behavior, and Freedom from Fear and Distress.


Freedom from Discomfort

Discomfort:

  1. an inconvenience, distress, or mild pain
  2. something that disturbs or deprives of ease
  3. to make uncomfortable or uneasy

– Collins English Dictionary

Many things in our dog’s life may cause pain or anxiety. This may vary in individual dogs depending on their genetics, temperament, anatomy, size, age, and other variables.

  • Are you familiar with how your dog expresses discomfort so that you recognize when your dog is anxious and afraid? – Dogs often indicate stress by various changes in their body language, often called calming or displacement signals. Signs such as looking away, yawning, and tongue flicks will typically occur before signals such as growling or snapping. If you wish to keep your dog comfortable, you first need to know how they indicate their discomfort. Just because a dog is not reacting does not mean they are comfortable. Most people have not been taught how dogs communicate, yet it is one of the most important things they need to know. ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/DogsSignsofFear )
  • Is your dog’s environment free from things that may cause anxiety, stress, and pain? This will vary with the individual dog. Common causes of anxiety can include children, adults, other animals, objects, loud noises, having their picture taken, having their nails trimmed, being hugged, wearing a costume, and many more. One of the easiest ways to avoid these issues is to spend time thoughtfully socializing and habituating your puppy to novel stimuli during their critical socialization period which occurs between 8 and 16 weeks of age. (FMIhttp://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy ) If your dog was older than 16 weeks of age when they joined your family it is very likely that they were not adequately or appropriately socialized. Remedial socialization is possible with an older dog, but it is even more essential that you plan such sessions carefully and that you proceed slowly. In this case, consulting with a professional fear-free, force-free, pain-free trainer is highly recommended. ( FMI – http://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer )
  • Have you trained your dog? When a dog joins a family, many expect them to automatically fit in, even though dogs and humans are two very different species with different cultural norms. We must teach our dogs how to live in our world, and that can best be accomplished through reward-based training. Failing to train our dog is almost sure to cause discomfort for both them and us. ( FMI – http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining )
  • Are you committed to NEVER using aversives to manage or train your dog? If you are using an aversive (shock collar, choke collar, prong collar, leash corrections, or anything where the intent is to physically or emotionally punish) to train or manage your dog, you are making your dog uncomfortable. The very definition of an aversive is to cause discomfort, possibly up to the point of causing physical or emotional pain. Dogs that are trained in this manner are unlikely to be happy and have a much greater probability of becoming aggressive. ( FMI – http://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive )
  • Does your dog have shelter from the elements, especially extremes of temperature, wind, and precipitation? This one seems straightforward, yet every year dogs are left out in dangerous weather and freeze to death.
  • Does your dog have a quiet, comfortable place where they can rest undisturbed and where they will feel safe? Dogs, like people, need downtime and a place where they will feel secure and safe so that they can get adequate rest. People and especially kids need to respect the adage “Let sleeping dogs lie.”
  • If you have multiple pets, does each pet have adequate resources? Many people have multiple pets. Do the pets get along and enjoy each other, or is there frequent conflict? Are there sufficient resources (food, space, and attention) for all of the pets? If your dog feels they do not have what they need to survive, or if they feel threatened or intimidated by another pet in your home, they are not free of discomfort.
  • Do you maintain your dog’s physical condition, so they do not experience discomfort? – Fifty percent of the dogs in the US are clinically obese. Just as with people, obesity often causes pain and discomfort. Many dogs with long coats require weekly grooming by us to prevent their coats from becoming tangled and matted and uncomfortable.

Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease

In many ways Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease is directly related to the previous topic Freedom from Discomfort as pain, injury and disease are often the cause of extreme discomfort.

Regular and as-needed veterinary care goes a long way toward meeting this freedom, but breeding also plays a huge role, as well as how we respond when a dog is injured or ill. Mental disease needs to be considered along with the physical illness.

  • Are you familiar with how your dog expresses discomfort so that you recognize when your dog is in pain? –Dogs can be very stoic about hiding their pain. Signs of pain may include agitation, anti-social and aggressive behavior, changes in eating, drinking, and bathroom habits, non-typical vocalization, excessive self-grooming, panting and non-typical breathing patterns, trembling, difficulty moving, changes in posture, restlessness, and anxiety. It is essential to have a thorough understanding of the many subtle signals our dogs use to indicate that they are under stress or anxious. Just because a dog is not reacting does not mean they are free of pain. ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/DogsSignsofFear )
  • Is your dog a working dog or do they compete in dog sports? Dogs that are more physically active have a higher probability of injury than the average pet. Appropriate physical training, just like that for an athlete may be beneficial. Also, if the dog is injured having adequate time off from work and sports to recover can be critical. Depending on the injury, retirement from the activity may be the best decision. Working and competing can negatively affect mental health just as much as it can cause physical problems.
  • Are your dog’s pain and injury being adequately addressed? Sadly, I remember a time when dogs were not given pain medication because it was believed they did not need it. However, today we also need to ask ourselves are painkillers enough? Physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and acupuncture can be very helpful in alleviating pain in people as well as pets and should be considered.
  • Does your dog see their veterinarian for regular wellness exams? – Dogs are subject to chronic diseases such as anxiety, arthritis, cognitive dysfunction, diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, periodontal disease and more. Early diagnosis and treatment of disease help prevent pain and discomfort. Every dog should see their veterinarian at least once a year for a wellness exam, and as they age this may need to be more frequent. Behavior and mental health should be discussed at every exam.
  • Is your dog obese? Just as with humans, fifty percent or more of the dogs in the US are overweight. A dog that is obese is more subject to injury, pain, and disease. If your dog is a little chubby or profoundly corpulent, please see your veterinarian and learn how you can address this issue. Your dog will thank you.
  • What is our responsibility when breeding pets? Some dogs, because of their breed standard, are intentionally bred for physical characteristics that often affect their ability to breathe, to move, and even to give birth naturally. How does this benefit the pet? Would it not be more appropriate to breed to eliminate these exaggerated physical deformities that affect soundness and health? Would it not better for dogs if people looking for a pet avoided these breeds?
  • Are you doing all that you can to prevent and avoid genetic disorders? Most purebred dogs are susceptible to one or more genetic disorders. Are breeders doing everything that should be done to eliminate these diseases and create healthier pets? When a person is considering what breed to get, should they avoid breeds prone to genetic disorders?
  • Are you as concerned about your dog’s mental and emotional health as you are about their physical health? Animals can experience mental disease and disorders (anxieties, phobias, dementia, ) just like humans. How do we reconcile that the treatments of behavioral issues are often not considered as necessary as physical disorders? Is it appropriate to breed a dog for behavioral traits that might be regarded as an asset for a dog who works or competes, but might negatively affect that dog’s ability to thrive as a companion dog?
  • Do you use tools and methods for training, management and the care of your dog that are designed to work by causing pain and discomfort? – Aversives (shock collar, choke collar, prong collar, leash corrections, etc. ) are used to physically or emotionally punish a dog. Dogs that are trained in this manner are unlikely to be happy and have a much greater probability of becoming aggressive. ( FMI – http://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive )

Freedom to Express Normal Behavior

When discussing what constitutes normal behavior, I mean behavior for the dog as a species, not what we as a human believe should be “normal” behavior for our dog. As much as we might want to, we cannot dictate what is normal or abnormal for a species.

In our classes, I ask students to list what behaviors they dislike in their dog. The list almost always includes: barking, begging, chasing, chewing, not coming when called  digging, eating “yuck,” getting on furniture or in the trash, growling, guarding things, humping, jumping on people, not listening, play biting, pulling on the leash, rolling in “yuck,” sniffing butts, stealing, being stubborn, and going to the bathroom inside. After reviewing the list, students learn almost everything they have listed is normal behavior for a dog.

One of the easiest ways to create behavior problems in any animal is to deny them the opportunity to express normal behaviors. Caged animals in a zoo that pace back and forth are exhibiting stereotypical behavior caused by stress because they are not able to do what they would normally do. So even though we find some of our dog’s typical behaviors undesirable, we need to find ways to allow them to express these behaviors so as not to compromise their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Some questions you can ask yourself to assess if you are adequately meeting your dog’s behavioral needs are listed below.

  • Do your dogs have an adequate and safe space in which to run, explore and express normal behaviors? Do you provide your dog with an opportunity to do so on a regular basis? Dogs like and need to sniff and explore. You can do this in your yard, home or on a walk. When you take your dog for a walk do you allow them adequate time to sniff, or do you expect your dog to heel by your side during the entire walk? Walking the dog is very overrated as physical stimulation but can be great for mental stimulation if you allow time for exploration and sniffing.
  • Is the environment in which your dog lives suitably enriched so that it stimulates your dogs mind? Mental stimulation is one of the things people often neglect, yet is very easy to provide. Instead of always feeding your dog in a bowl, feed them in a Kong or several Kong toys that you hide throughout your home. Having to search to find their food and then work to get it out of a Kong is great mental stimulation. Walking a different route every day also provides for mental stimulation as do training sessions.
  • Does your dog receive sufficient interaction with family members to establish a bond and to provide ongoing emotional enrichment? Most of us get a dog to be a companion. It is vital that we provide companionship to the dog and not just expect them to be there for us when we want company from them. Like any relationship, both dog and person need to contribute to that partnership. Are you always there for your dog when you come home from a disaster of a day? Some would argue that dog’s offer “unconditional love,” and therefore our role in the relationship does not matter. Really? The idea that a dog offers “unconditional love” is a beautiful myth but believing it is our greatest disservice to dogs because it sets them up to fail and allows us to presume that they will always be okay with whatever we do. Dog’s want and need more from us than our love when it is convenient for us to offer it. Take time to cuddle, to play, and whatever else you and your dog enjoy doing together.
  • Does your dog have canine friends? No matter how wonderful our bond is with our dog, from their perspective, we will never be another dog. Having appropriate doggie friends is just as important for our dog’s social life as having human friends is important to us. However, it is essential to make sure that your dog’s friends are well-matched so that they do enjoy one another’s company. Dogs do not automatically like all other dogs.
  • Do you allow your dog to decline to participate in events they find stressful? Dogs will often tell us with their body language, their normal way of communicating when they are uncomfortable. Are you able to read your dog and when you see these signs do you respect them? Just because we want our dog to be a therapy dog and they can pass the test, is it okay to use them in that role if they do not enjoy it? ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/DogsSignsofFear )

Freedom from Fear and Distress

I will be readdressing some of the same topics from part 2 of this series, Freedom from Discomfort, as fear and distress are an extension of discomfort, especially when considering our dog’s emotional state.

I genuinely believe that no psychologically healthy human would ever intentionally cause their pet fear or distress. However, a lack of knowledge — or incorrect information about animal behavior often is a cause of fear and distress in dogs.

Experiencing fear and distress is normal for any living thing throughout its life. However, since one fearful event can be traumatic enough to create a permanent and debilitating disability, it is essential we understand fear and distress and that we do everything possible to minimize its effect on our dog.

  • Can you readily tell when your dog is fearful or stressed?  Dogs typically do one of four things when afraid. 1) They flee and run away as fast as they can from whatever it is that has scared them. 2) They fight by barking, growling, lunging at, and attacking whatever has threatened them. 3) They freeze in place, not moving a muscle, and not making eye contact with what they fear. 4) They fidget about, displaying normal behaviors (sniffing, scratching, etc.) in an abnormal context while ignoring the threat. These four are the most extreme reactions, but well before your dog exhibits any of those behaviors they will give you subtle signs of their emotional distress. It is essential that you know and understand these signs so that you can intervene early.  Unfortunately, when many dog parents see their dog freezing or fidgeting about they say “Oh, he’s fine” not understanding that the dog is in fact distressed. ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/DogsSignsofFear ).
  • Have you and your family committed to NEVER using aversives to manage or train your dog? By definition, an aversive is anything that causes your pet fear or distress, so if you use these tools or methods, you are NOT ensuring your dog is free from fear or distress. Commonly used aversives include but are not limited to shock collars, choke collars, prong collars, leash corrections, or anything where the intent is to physically or emotionally punish the dog as part of training or management. Dogs subjected to aversives are likely to develop behavioral problems and have a much higher probability of becoming aggressive. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) notes that the use of aversives is a significant reason for behavioral problems in pets and that they should NEVER be used. ( FMI – http://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive )
  • Was your puppy well socialized? Early socialization and habituation is key to freedom from fear and distress, as is ongoing socialization and enrichment throughout a dog’s life. Inadequate socialization or inappropriate socialization is a frequent reason for a dog to be fearful in certain situations. Remedial socialization is possible, but you should work with a reward-based, fear-free trainer so that you do not make things worse. (FMIhttp://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy   ) ( FMI – http://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer )
  • Do you actively look out for your dog’s best interests so that you can protect them from people that do NOT understand canine body language? Most people do not realize that not all dogs want to interact with people nor do those people comprehend the subtle signs that a dog gives that says “please leave me alone.” Most dogs do not want to bite, but only do so when they feel they have no other option.  As our dog’s caregiver, we have a responsibility to look out for our dog’s welfare which means intervening when others do not respect our dogs right not to interact. Additionally, we need to understand that sometimes the best thing we can do for our dog is to leave them at home. Not all dogs enjoy walking in the animal shelters annual fundraiser.
  • Do you understand the necessity of providing both physical and mental stimulation for your dog while not letting either go to extremes?  A lack of adequate physical and mental stimulation can cause a pet to be distressed. However, too much stimulation and exercise can also be even more detrimental, creating a state of chronic stress. Playing fetch or going to the dog park every day can become addictive, causing chemical changes in the brain which can contribute to distress and other behavior problems.
  • Do you understand that while the dog is a social species, they may not like every dog they encounter, even ones that you may want to add to your family? While the domestic dog is considered to be a social animal, some are more social than others. Dogs do not automatically like on another. If we force a dog to live with another pet that they are afraid of, we are causing fear and distress.

Recommended Resources

References

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs-Farm Animal Welfare Committee-Five Freedoms: http://www.defra.gov.uk/fawc/about/five-freedoms

Press Statement”. Farm Animal Welfare Council. 1979-12-05: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121010012428/http://www.fawc.org.uk/pdf/fivefreedoms1979.pdf

Assessing Pets’ Welfare Using Brambell’s Five Freedoms, D. Hanson, APDT Chronicle of the Dog, Fall 2014http://www.greenacreskennel.com/images/stories/pdf/Articles/assessing%20pets%20welfare%20using%20brambells%20five%20freedoms-apdt_cotd_fall2014.pdf


Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Animal Welfare – Assessing Pets’ Welfare Using Brambell’s Five Freedomshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/01/animal-welfare-assessing-pets-welfare-using-brambells-five-freedoms/

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/06/04/pet-nutrition-what-should-i-feed-my-pet/

How Can I Tell When My Dog Is Anxious or Fearful?http://bit.ly/DogsSignsofFear

Puppy Socialization and Habituationhttp://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy

How to choose a dog trainerhttp://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer

What is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

Dog Training – Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Is Your Dog Your Best Friend or a Family Member?, If Yes, Then Please Join Me and Take the Pledgehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/10/01/is-your-dog-your-best-friend-or-a-family-member/

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarshttp://bit.ly/ShockCollars

What’s Shocking about Shock – What Science Tells Us About the Use of Shock in Dog Traininghttp://bit.ly/ShockBARK-JUL2019

Canine Behavior – Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stresshttp://bit.ly/Canine-Stress

Signs of Anxiety and Fear from Dr. Marty Beckerhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/01/17/signs-of-anxiety-and-fear-from-dr-marty-becker/

Preventing separation anxiety – Teaching your dog to cope with being alonehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/14/dog-training-preventing-separation-anxiety-teaching-your-dog-to-cope-with-being-alone/

Crate Habituation to Reduce Anxietyhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/01/30/dog-behavior-crate-habituation-to-reduce-anxiety/

Your Pet’s Behavioral Health Is As Important As Their Physical Well-Beinghttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/08/01/pet-health-and-wellness-your-pets-behavioral-health-is-as-important-as-their-physical-well-being/


Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show ( http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts )

What do you feed your pets?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/22/podcast-encore-what-do-you-feed-your-pets/

Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines – Dr. Dave Cloutier – Veazie Veterinary Clinichttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/07/02/podcast-encore-pet-behavior-vets-the-aaha-canine-and-feline-behavior-management-guidelines-dr-dave-cloutier-veazie-veterinary-clinic/

Canine Behavior: Myths and Factshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/27/podcast-canine-behavior-myths-and-facts/

Separation Anxiety with Dr. David Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinichttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/01/podcast-separation-anxiety-with-dr-david-cloutier-from-veazie-veterinary-clinic/

What’s Shocking About Shock – What Science Tells Us About the Use of Shock in Dog Traininghttp://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatShock-27JUL19

 

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Pet Nutrition – Zignature Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Green Acres Kennel Shop is pleased to offer Zignature Dog Foods; nutrition formulated with limited ingredients.

< Updated 3JUL17 >

You might want to consider Zignature if:

  • Your dog has allergy issues like skin sensitivity, itchiness, and stinky ears
  • Your dog is overweight
  • Your dog is diabetic
  • Your dog has the scoots and needs more fiber
  • You want to be able to be able to easily rotate your dog’s diet among various protein’s
  • You want a dog food with a frequent buyer program
  • You want to feed your dog both dry and canned food
  • You are currently feeding; California Natural, Canidae Pure, Natural Balance, or Merrick Limited Ingredient dog food

Allergy Issues – What Makes Zignature Different

Food allergies or intolerances are a serious problem with some dogs and are usually triggered by the protein source. Zignature does not use chicken in any form (chicken, chicken meal, chicken fat, or eggs), in any of its diets because consumers are concerned that dogs are becoming allergic to chicken due to the overuse of chicken in dog foods. It is a fact that chicken has been the predominant protein and fat source used in dog foods for many years. Another reason Zignature refuses to use chicken is the reality that most of the chicken that ends up in dog food comes from large commercial farms where the chickens are raised using significant amounts of antibiotics and hormones. By avoiding the use of chicken, Zignature is protecting your dog from overexposure to antibiotics and hormones.

Dogs with allergy or food intolerance issues need a limited ingredient diet, in fact, the fewer ingredients in their food, the better it is for them. With Zignature, the first two ingredients are ALWAYS protein: animal protein from a single source backed by the same protein in the form of a meal. Zignature offers a wide variety of protein sources; Catfish, Duck, Kangaroo, Lamb, Pork, Salmon, Trout, Turkey, Venison, and Whitefish.

Weight Management – What Makes Zignature Different

Like humans, dogs have a weight problem. Approximately 50% of all dogs are overweight, and about 1 out of 500 dogs are affected with Diabetes.

Zignature is one of the only grain free dog foods that does not use high caloric carbohydrates with a high glycemic index in their foods. You will not find potato, tapioca, corn, or wheat in any Zignature formula. Instead, Zignature uses low glycemic legumes such as whole Chickpeas which promote stable blood sugar and provide valuable dietary fiber. This means that Zignature diets have a low glycemic index, making them an ideal choice for dogs that are overweight or that have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Zignature formulas are one of the few dog foods that have been certified by the Glycemic Research Institute as being a “Certified Low Glycemic Canine Food.” The Glycemic Rating for several Zignature formulas is noted below.

Formula Glycemic Rating
Zignature Turkey 9.8
Zignature Lamb 10.4
Zignature Trout 10.6
Zignature Kangaroo 11.9
Zignature Duck 12.0
Zignature Whitefish 12.1
Zignature Zssential 12.5

Zignature uses Garden Peas and Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans as Low Glycemic binders in their dry food formulas. The advantages of those ingredients are noted below.

Garden Peas (15 on the Glycemic Index)

Peas are a great source of Vitamins B, C, and A, fiber, and vitamin K. Peas are one of the few plants that can use nitrogen from the air which helps to reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers used by farmers.

Chickpea or Garbanzo Beans (33 on the Glycemic Index)

Chickpeas are a grain-free, gluten-free starch source. This nutritious ingredient is made from a leguminous plant – Garbanzos – Chickpeas contain vitamin C, A, E, D and K, riboflavin, niacin. pantothenic acid and B vitamins.

Itchiness – What Makes Zignature Different

Many dogs do not itch because of allergies but because of yeast infections. Symptoms of excess yeast can include; ear infections, skin infections, paw irritability, and odor. A contributing factor to Candida yeast infections is the high carbohydrate content of dry dog foods. Potato, Tapioca, and Gluten are all high in sugar, a food source for the yeast infecting your dog. Zignature uses carbohydrates like Garden Peas and Chickpeas which have a low glycemic index, which means they contain less sugar to feed the yeast.

Protein Sources and Levels – What Makes Zignature Different

Your dog is a carnivore, and that means they need and benefit from high-quality protein in their diet. Zignature has a higher percentage of meat protein than many other dog foods.

Formula Percent Protein
Catfish 32%
Duck 27%
Kangaroo 26%
Lamb 28%
Pork 31%
Salmon 29%
Trout 30%
Turkey 31%
Venison 27%
Whitefish 29%
Zssential 32%

Ingredients – What Makes Zignature Different

  • Zignature is one of the only grain free dog foods without potato, tapioca, chicken, chicken fat, or eggs.
  • The first two ingredients in every Zignature formula are ALWAYS protein: animal protein backed by the same protein source as a meal
  • All dry kibbles need to use non-protein and fat sources to bind their food. Zignature uses peas, chickpeas, alfalfa mean, blueberries, carrots, cranberries and flax seed to bind their kibble.
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits & vegetables:
    • Cranberries: Powerful antioxidants, natural acidic properties that may support urinary tract health.
    • Blueberries: “Super foods for Dogs” Dogs with blueberries in their diet have been known to have lower fat cholesterol and triglycerides.
    • Carrots: A great source of necessary vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids to help support immune and digestive health. May also support proper skin and eye health.
  • Flax Seed: Contains higher levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than fish oil, and contains omega-6 fatty acids. Flax seed oil has been used for years to maintain a healthy skin and coat in pets.
  • Alfalfa: One of the richest mineral foods on earth, promotes proper digestion and fresh breath.
  • Sunflower oil: This oil is exceptionally high in Linolenic an omega-3 fatty acid and helps dry skin and promotes a healthy coat.

Fiber and the “scoots” – What Makes Zignature Different

Zignature is higher in fiber, 4.5% to 6.5%, depending on the formula, than most dog foods. The increased level of fiber makes for healthier anal glands, and more importantly, a higher fiber percentage helps to clean out the colon, reduce toxins and helps keep our dogs regular. Zignature uses higher quality sources of fiber (alfalfa meal and flaxseed), as opposed to some food companies that use powdered cellulose (sawdust) or peanut hulls.

Physiologically Tuned™ Diet – What Makes Zignature Different

Zignature describes their food as being Physiologically Tuned™. What that means is this; meat or fish is always the first ingredient, and they do not use troublesome staples such as Chicken, Corn, Wheat, Soy, and Potatoes. “The result is optimal hypo-allergenic, low glycemic nutrition. We build on this natural foundation by adding vital supplements such as antioxidants, essential fatty acids and a complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals for holistic pet food that goes beyond nature to become your pet’s signature food for life.”

Dietary Rotation – What Makes Zignature Different

Green Acres has been discussing the benefits of rotating your dog’s food for many years. Quite simply, if you have a healthy dog and change protein sources on a regular basis, your dog is less likely to become sensitized to a protein and develop a food intolerance. Zignature makes dietary rotation easy with their vast selection of protein sources; Catfish, Duck, Kangaroo, Lamb, Pork, Salmon, Trout, Turkey, Venison, and Whitefish.

Canned Food – What Makes Zignature Different

If you wish to feed your dog canned food or canned food plus dry food, Zignature has a matching canned formula. Zignature canned foods never use any gums (Carrageenan, Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum) in their canned formulas. These gums can contribute to inflammation and irritable bowel disease.

Frequent Buyer Program – What Makes Zignature Different

Green Acres Kennel Shop is pleased to offer a frequent buyer program for Zignature. We keep track of your purchases in the store, and when you have purchased twelve bags of Zignature, you will qualify for a free bag.

What Users of Zignature are saying on Facebook

John Steph Real

LOVE your food! These are photos of Myles’ transformation on your diet. Now my other five dogs are on your food and I am seeing results as well! Look at it in a large format,you can see the reduction of staining in 4 months!

For more customer reviews of Zignature, visit the Zignature testimonial page at http://zignature.com/?page_id=1644&lang=en

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/06/04/pet-nutrition-what-should-i-feed-my-pet/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gushttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/03/pet-nutrition-some-myths-and-facts-part-1-my-story-with-gus/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 2 – In the Spring 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon! –

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 3 – Look for this article in the Summer 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon! –

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

Podcast – Zignature Limited Ingredient Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/07/03/podcast-zignature-limited-ingredient-pet-food/

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/06/podcast-pet-fooled-a-look-inside-a-questionable-industry-with-kohl-harrington/

 

©19JUN17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
<Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Shared Blog Post – Pet Obesity, Is there a Genetic Connection?

Pet Obesity, Is there a Genetic Connection? – Dr. Karen Becker discusses the high rate of pet obesity; 53% among all dogs and 60% in Labrador Retrievers. She also talks about a possible link which may explain obesity in Labs and offers weight loss suggestions for all dogs. – http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/09/26/overfeeding-labrador.aspx

Pet Nutrition – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton

dr-patton

On April 28th of 2016, Green Acres Kennel Shop hosted animal nutritionist Dr. Richard Patton for an educational seminar entitled The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition. This presentation is now available as a video.

<Click to watch video>

You will want to watch this video if your pet:

  • Has food allergies and intolerances
  • Has digestive difficulties
  • Is overweight or obese
  • Suffers from chronic diseases such as kidney disease or diabetes
  • If you want to be sure you are doing the best for your pet nutritionally

Dr. Patton has over forty years of experience as a consultant on animal nutrition working in 22 different countries with everything from livestock and zoo animals to companion pets. He was an adjunct professor at Pennsylvania State University for 15 years and is the author of Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack, the Paradox of Pet Nutrition, a book which discusses pet nutrition and the pet obesity crisis. Not beholden to any one company, Dr. Patton is an independent nutritional consultant; his main concern is the health of our pets.

Last fall Paula and I had the opportunity to attend one of Dr. Patton’s seminars. We were not only impressed by his passion and breadth of knowledge on pet nutrition but were equally impressed by Dr. Patton’s ability to take technical concepts about nutrition and explain them from a common sense perspective. Dr. Patton discusses the following topics; the essential ingredients for optimal nutrition, wet food versus dry food, the drawback, and benefits of raw and natural diets, the role of behavior in nutrition; both the pets and the owners, an insider’s view of the pet food industry, and the pet obesity epidemic. He also answers several questions from the audience.

I want to thank Vital Essentials (http://www.vitalessentialsraw.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/VitalEssentialsRaw/) for helping to make this seminar and video possible.

<Click to watch video>

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

What do you feed your dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

What do you feed your pets?http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-06-04-What_do_you_feed_your_pets.mp3

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellottihttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/03/podcast-the-rationale-for-feeding-pets-raw-foods-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – Bravo’s Raw Pets Food, Treats, Chewables and Bones with Bette Shuberthttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/08/10/podcast-bravos-raw-pets-food-treats-chewables-and-bones-with-bette-shubert/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Gary Bursell of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/16/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-gary-bursell-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Nicole Lindsley of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/23/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-nicole-lindsley-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Books

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – Dr. Richard Patton

 

©10-Sep-16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – Pet Obesity with Dr. Chris Barry – Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic

<Click to listen to podcast>

23JUL16-Pet Obesity with Dr. Chris Barry-Kindred 400x400Kate and Don discuss the growing problem of pet obesity in the United States with Dr. Chris Barry from Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic. We discuss why obesity is such a serious problem for our pets, and what we can do to manage their weight so that they live longer and healthier lives.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show, and can be downloaded at www.woofmeowshow.com and the Apple iTunes store.

<Click to listen to podcast>

 

©23JUL16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Patton

Ruined By Excess-Perfected By Lack

<Updated 27JUN17>

If your pet has food allergies and intolerance’s, digestive difficulties, is overweight or obese, suffers from chronic diseases such as kidney disease or diabetes, or if you simply want to be sure you are doing the best for your pet nutritionally, you should read this book! While the first edition of this book, the one reviewed here, is out of print, the second edition is available from Dogs Naturally Magazine at this link <click here>

I first heard Dr. Richard Patton, the author of Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition speak in the fall of 2015. Since then I’ve read his book, interviewed him for my radio show The Woof Meow Show and had him come to Maine to speak to area veterinarians and my clients at Green Acres Kennel Shop. Dr. Patton takes a complex, technical and important subject and translates it into common sense.

The book is best described in its closing paragraph: “The premise of this book is that mammals are exquisitely perfected to be able to survive in the face of intermittent and temporary lack of food. Mammals are poorly adapted to deal with constant excess, particularly calories and especially calories from sugar and starch. Feeding a dry expanded food [kibble] as the only source of nutrition to a dog, and especially a cat, provides excess soluble carbohydrate, contributing to obesity and ill health. It is a paradox that over a hundred million pets are fed a diet that is not optimum for them.” In the book, Dr. Patton explains how one can feed their pet for optimal health.

You can listen to our interview with Dr. Patton on April 2nd, 2016 edition of The Woof Meow Show at http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

In April of 2016 Dr. Patton visited our facility in Maine to present his lecture The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition to interested clients and veterinarians. You can read about that presentation and view a video of the presentation at http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/10/pet-nutrition-the-science-and-dogma-of-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

What Should I Feed My Pet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/06/04/pet-nutrition-what-should-i-feed-my-pet/

What do you feed your dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gushttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/03/pet-nutrition-some-myths-and-facts-part-1-my-story-with-gus/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 2 – In the Spring 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon!

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 3 – Look for this article in the Summer 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon! –

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/11/pet-nutrition-should-i-feed-my-pet-a-raw-diet/

Video – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – A video of animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton’s presentation, The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition, presented for Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME on April 28th, 2016. – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/10/pet-nutrition-the-science-and-dogma-of-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 1 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/06/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-1/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 2 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/07/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-2/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 3 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/08/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-3/

Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sensehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2012/05/04/nutrition-why-rotating-diets-makes-sense/

Nutrition – Determining True Pet Food Costshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2008/11/08/nutrition-determining-true-pet-food-costs/

Pet Nutrition – How Much Fat Is In Your Pet’s Food?  – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/12/pet-nutrition-how-much-fat-is-in-your-pets-food/

Pet Nutrition – New Zealand dog diet study a wake-up call for dog nutritionhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/19/pet-nutrition-new-zealand-dog-diet-study-a-wake-up-call-for-dog-nutrition/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

Shared Blog Post – FDA on a Witch Hunt Against Commercial Pet Food? A Little Spritz of This Makes Pet Food Far Saferhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/11/28/shared-blog-post-fda-on-a-witch-hunt-against-commercial-pet-food-a-little-spritz-of-this-makes-pet-food-far-safer/

Pet Nutrition – From Dr. Karen Becker – A Vegetarian or Vegan Diet Is Not Healthy For Your Dog or Cathttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/09/27/pet-nutrition-from-dr-karen-becker-a-vegetarian-or-vegan-diet-is-not-healthy-for-your-dog-or-cat/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

What do you feed your pets?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/22/podcast-encore-what-do-you-feed-your-pets/

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/06/podcast-pet-fooled-a-look-inside-a-questionable-industry-with-kohl-harrington/

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellottihttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Podcast – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Nutrition and Raw Food for Pets with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/10/02/podcast-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-nutrition-and-raw-food-for-pets-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/03/podcast-the-rationale-for-feeding-pets-raw-foods-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – Bravo’s Raw Pets Food, Treats, Chewables and Bones with Bette Shuberthttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/08/10/podcast-bravos-raw-pets-food-treats-chewables-and-bones-with-bette-shubert/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Gary Bursell of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/16/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-gary-bursell-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Nicole Lindsley of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/23/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-nicole-lindsley-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Pet Obesity with Dr. Chris Barry – Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinichttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/24/podcast-pet-obesity-with-dr-chris-barry-kindred-spirits-veterinary-clinic/

©2017, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

 

Pet Nutrition – How Much Fat Is In Your Pet’s Food?

Overweight Cat
Overweight Cat

Pet obesity, with both cats and dogs, is a serious problem and one that dramatically affects the health and quality of our pets’ lives, as well as their longevity. Since we control what our pets eat, we can help them stay fit. One way we can do that is by paying attention to the fat content of the food they eat.

The first step in understanding the fat content of your pet’s food is to learn some basic rules of thumb; a gram of protein contains four calories whereas a gram of fat contains nine calories, over twice the number of calories for the same weight. When you look at the label of a can of cat food, and you see 10% protein and 5% fat, you logically think it has twice as much protein. However, from a caloric perspective you are getting 45 calories from fat versus 40 calories from protein. With that food, your pet would be getting over half of their calories from fat. That is simply too much fat!

Now you might think, yes but the canned food I purchase is labeled 95% meat so it must be equivalent to the 95% lean ground beef I buy for myself at the supermarket. Take another look. That can of 95% meat food may be only 6% protein and a whopping11% fat which means that 75% of the calories are coming from fat! Now who would buy that?

The following table illustrates the differences between 3 canned cat formulas. Remember, the %fat should ideally be much less than the %protein.

Weruva Green Eggs & Chicken Wellness Chicken Formula Blue Buffalo Chicken Entrée in Gravy
Protein (min) 10% Protein (min) 10% Protein (min) 9%
Fat (min) 1.6% Fat (min) 5% Fat (min) 4%
Fiber (max) 0.5% Fiber (max) 1% Fiber (max) 1.5%
Moisture (max) 85% Moisture (max) 78% Moisture (max) 82%
Ash (max) 1.2% Ash (max) 1.95% Ash (max) Not Available

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>