Can Supplements For Dogs with Cushing’s Disease Help?

When a beloved furry friend isn’t well, we as pet parents want to restore their health and tail-wagging fun as much as possible. Cushing’s disease is a condition that affects a dog’s hormone-producing glands, the adrenal and or pituitary, causing an overproduction of cortisol and even tumors. This fight or flight hormone affects many parts of a dog’s body inside and out, causing various symptoms. Though Cushing’s has no known cure, treatments are available to deal with both the symptoms and root causes.

Read more about the symptoms of Cushing’s disease.

Ways to Address Cushing’s Symptoms

When a dog is diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, careful monitoring begins. This may include imaging like an ultrasound to check for tumors on the pituitary or adrenal glands. Treatment options include surgery, medication, supplementation, lifestyle changes, or a mix of these methods.

The root issue of Cushing’s that causes symptoms is steroid overproduction. This can be addressed in a few ways. Medications are commonly used to kill off or attack the cells of the overproducing glands. Surgery is a risk and is mostly used to remove a tumor that is found to be cancerous. Both of these methods can pose significant risks or side effects to the dog undergoing the treatment.

Supplements for dogs can also address Cushing’s symptoms at the root cause. Using natural elements like lignans which have been found to counteract corticosteroid production can result in lower side effects to the dog. Pet parents who take this gentle route may also decide to introduce lifestyle changes for their furry friend including adding whole foods to a diet, using probiotics to enhance gut health, and offering a gentle exercise routine for their pups.

What Supplements Do for a Cushing’s Dog

While traditionally prescribed medications can help reduce Cushing’s symptoms in dogs, they have also been shown to produce a range of side effects—some drastic. The FDA warns that one such medication called Lysodern “requires careful monitoring and can have severe side effects.”

Supplements for dogs can also impact Cushing’s symptoms without causing as much stress on a dog’s system. They are used to block cortisol overproduction through naturally occurring elements.

What’s in a Supplement for dogs with Cushing’s Disease?

Most Cushing’s supplements focus on lignans as a way to inhibit the body’s production of corticosteroids. CushAway uses a trio of effective elements to both lower and blunt steroid production: Lignans, melatonin, and phosphatidylserine all work to reduce the toxic levels of corticosteroids in a Cushing’s dog.

Lignans

HMR lignans sourced from spruce trees are an effective means of blocking the two enzymes needed to make cortisol. Studies have shown that these lignans are quickly digested with minimal, if any, side effects.

Read more about lignans for Cushing’s dogs.

Melatonin

Melatonin works to block the adrenal glands form producing the hormone ACHT, a primary cause of pituitary-dependent Cushing’s. The University of Tennessee’s veterinary program studied these elements and concluded that combining melatonin and lignans could lower adrenal hormone secretion in humans as well as dogs.

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine is a healthy fat that coats cells. It has also been shown to slow or stop the production of the hormone ACHT. Phosphatidylserine works complimentary to lignans, to reduce the amount of cortisol in the body of a Cushing’s dog.

Read more about phosphatidylserine for Cushing’s dogs.

Probiotics for a Cushing’s Dog

Gut health has become a marker for overall health in both the scientific and nutritional community. This is true for dogs as well. Probiotics are a key ingredient to gut health. They help lower inflammation and increase the absorption of key nutrients to keep the body running smoothly. Gut health even plays a role in the immune system, producing germ-fighting compounds.

A dog with Cushing’s can benefit from probiotics in many ways. When paired with supplements for dogs, it will increase the absorption of the natural elements that help battle Cushing’s symptoms and root causes.

Probiotics have also ben found to help decrease inflammation in the gut. This is due to the countless microorganisms (microbiome) that help the digestive system function at its peak. A balanced microbiome leads to balanced health for the entire body.

Probiotics are safe for dogs as long as the type used is suitable for a canine microbiome. Humans and dogs do not share the same gut bacteria and need separate types of probiotic supplements. CushAway uses dog safe probiotics as part of our supplement to help balance the gut and increase absorption of the lignans, melatonin, and phosphatidylserine

A Supplement Success Story

Pet parents often choose natural supplements for dogs because they are concerned about the side effects of chemo-type drugs. Gina Bartucci, founder of All Those Left Behind Pet Rescue, cares for shelter pets suffering from Cushing’s. She knew she wanted to try a holistic approach after seeing a natural path work for a beloved dog with cancer. When her vet suggested trying CushAway for her fur babies dealing with Cushing’s, Gina gave the supplement a try. “Thanks to the CushAway, we saw a night and day difference,” Gina shared.

Read more about All Those Left Behind Pet Rescue and Gina’s CushAway story

Carbs and Cushing’s

America seems infatuated with the carb-less diet. And in truth, cutting carbs that are less beneficial can prove healthy for the gut and other parts of the body. Can we apply the same ideas to our canine friends—do carbs affect Cushings disease?

How do carbs affect Cushings disease in dogs?

Biologically speaking, dogs don’t require carbs to get the nutrients they need. They can physically sustain themselves on fat and protein. However, domesticated dogs have long been fed a diet that includes carbohydrates, says Whole Dog Journal. Carbohydrates include a wide range of foods from dairy products to vegetables. Grains are also carbs, and are the most widely debated, and possibly the most widely used form of nutrients for a dog.

Healthy animals can process grains and derive nutrients from them as well. Complex carbs like whole grains are best, as well as starches and fibrous foods because they don’t impact glucose levels in the blood as much when digested. A diet that consists of good carbs can be tolerated by most dogs. The problem comes when animal protein is eliminated or drastically reduced and foods become supplemented mostly by filler grains.

Dogs with chronic illnesses like Cushing’s however, may not benefit from grains, especially those that contain the plant protein gluten. According to Dogster.com, “gluten has been implicated in contributing to a variety of inflammatory health issues.” Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, and spelt grains.

A Cushing’s dog is already battling inflammation caused by the overproduction of cortisol, and adding a carb-heavy diet on top of this can lead to more problems. Thus, eliminating or drastically reducing grains can be an important step in minimizing the symptoms of Cushing’s disease.

Carb versus Grain Free

Grains are carbs but not all carbs are grains. A Cushing’s dog may benefit from a whole food diet that is grain-free, but incorporates some good carbs like vegetables and yogurt. Giving your Cushing’s dog cabs like fruits and vegetables also provides antioxidants, a compound known to help immunities and combat bad cells in the body.

Because kibble is cost-effective and readily available, it can be difficult for pet owners to simply craft or purchase raw or protein-based dog food. Try finding a grain-free kibble and supplementing it with whole foods. Grain-free dog foods still contain carbs, so look at the label to see where those carbs are coming from. Peas and potatoes are often found in grain-free kibble, but are complex carbs that provide nutrients.

Read more from our blog about helpful whole food additions for Cushing’s dogs.

Diet and Cushing’s

It’s not surprising that focusing on your pup’s gut can be an important step in managing Cushing’s disease. Since so much of the body’s functions are helped or hindered by what happens via the good bacteria found there, reducing inflammation from grain sources can prove helpful to a Cushing’s pet.

A common side effect of most drugs prescribed for dogs suffering with Cushing’s is linked to digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea. You can help your dog’s gut by choosing a nutraceutical that works to block the overactive adrenal gland with natural ingredients and by adjusting your pup’s diet. CushAway is a nutraceutical developed to address the root causes and soothe the gut with probiotics.

If your fur baby is suffering from Cushing’s disease, you may want to consider an approach that focuses on a gentler approach with less side effects to address the symptoms. Starting with a hard look at the types of carbs your dog consumes on a regular basis, you can begin a plan that can lead to increased vitality and a lessening of symptoms. A grain-free diet supplemented with a nutraceutical and whole foods might be the change your dog needs.

Whole Food Dog Treats for Summer

When the temperature rises, cool treats are a fun snack for dogs and humans alike. However, giving Fido a big cone of ice cream may not be the best for his tummy. The mix of milk, cream, and sugar can be hard for dogs to digest, especially if your pooch is lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy. Fortunately, there are lots of great alternative whole food dog treats for dogs to enjoy while you lick that cone.

Key Ingredients to Use

Yogurt

Yogurt is a great substitute for milk and can also be found in lactose free varieties. It’s gentler on the digestive system and contains gut-healthy probiotics. It’s easily blended into smoothie pops or ice cubes. Look for plain yogurt with no added sugar or chemical sugars like xylitol which is toxic to dogs.

Fruit

Use fresh fruits to add a touch of sweetness. Watermelon and cantaloupe are both good for dogs as are blueberries and bananas. Be sure to remove seeds then freeze the fruit a few hours for better blending. Work in some yogurt and pour into cups or ice pop molds. A few hours in the freezer and you’ve got a doggy pop fit for any four-legged friend. Use edible sticks like bully sticks, salmon skin rolls or other stick-like chews. You can also use nylon dog bones as a chewable stick for after the treat is gone. Remember, no grapes, they’re toxic for dogs and can cause extreme kidney damage.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter may seem an unlikely treat for summer, but it can also be added to popsicle blends to add creaminess and texture. Find a no-salt added jar and spread some at the bottom of the pop mold or simply freeze in an ice cube tray. Peanut butter also mixes well with bananas or yogurt.

Meat Broth

Some dog experts suggest freezing broth as another cold treat. Using unsalted beef or chicken broth is the best choice. You can pour this into virtually any mold and mix it with peanut butter to thin down the recipe.

Make Frozen Fun

Popsicles and ice cubes aren’t the only way to play. Does your dog have a food puzzle toy? You can always add a little frozen treat to that, provided it doesn’t take too long to get at it. Any toy with a fillable inside will work. Simply use a liquid like broth, plug the hole with peanut butter, and freeze. The American Kennel Club shares that not only will this cool your pooch down, “the work it takes to get every last drop of broth will keep your dog busy and provide mental stimulation.”

Use fun molds to create a doggy-friendly frozen treat. Bone molds are popular and you can reuse them for your own fall festivities. You can even create a toy within the ice cube by adding a treat to the middle. Your dog will have fun licking until they get to that blueberry or meaty chunk in the center of the frozen liquid.

CushAway Cares

Keep your Cushing’s dog healthy and hydrated in the heat. Whole food dog treats can enrich a dog with Cushing’s disease and gentle exercise is important to improve mobility as long as your dog is able. Are you navigating a Cushing’s diagnosis? We’re here to help you walk through the process. While Cushing’s can’t be cured, supplements can enhance a dog’s vitality without the scary side effects of traditional drugs. Read more about the CushAway story to see if we can help you and your four-legged friend.

Is Yogurt Good for Dogs?

A lot of discussion has come up lately in the pet community about the health benefits of yogurt for dogs. Research supports that much like humans, a healthy gut at least benefits overall health and at most, can help suppress disease. Cooking Light Magazine even referenced Colorado Holistic Vet Angie Krause in their “Well-Balanced Pet Column. “‘Just like with people, pets’ gut health is the cornerstone of their overall health,’” said Kraus.

While probiotic supplements are available for dogs, some pet owners looking for a probiotic addition to their pet’s diet have decided on yogurt for dogs. In tandem with the movement away from dry kibble as a dog’s only food source, many pet owners choose to incorporate some fresh foods into their dog’s food regiment, yogurt among them. Most vets agree yogurt is safe and can be beneficial for dogs. PetMD suggests adding a dollop on top of kibble is a good way to include rich nutrients in a pup’s diet. The key is to watch sugar and flavor content. Find plain yogurt without additives like processed sugars or artificial flavorings. Watch out for yogurt that contains xylitol, an artificial sugar toxic to dogs. It’s a good idea to consult your vet to figure out the best serving size and watch your dog as you add yogurt into their diet. If any signs of lactose intolerance such as gas, diarrhea or vomiting occur, discontinue and discuss with your vet.

While yogurt is a great source of calcium and probiotic microbes, if you’re looking to give your dog a healthy gut, a probiotic supplement is the most effective method. Probiotic supplements are available with strains specifically tailored to a dog’s digestive tract.

Probiotics can also prove effective to combatting the symptoms of certain health conditions. Anecdotal evidence has shown dogs that suffer from Cushing’s disease can benefit from a natural supplement containing probiotics along with other naturally occurring elements like melatonin. One such supplement is CushAway, a revolutionary supplement to combat the symptoms and root causes of this debilitating disease. The creators of CushAway researched formulas for months before adding probiotics to help dogs ingest the crucial ingredients and to boost overall gut function for optimal health.

If you’re looking to supercharge your pet’s diet, a healthy choice is yogurt for dogs. Consider moving directly to probiotics for the most benefit. Consult your vet first to make sure you have a plan and monitor your pooch as you introduce a new food or supplement. Adding yogurt to kibble or as part a whole food diet can benefit your dog in a myriad of ways. Yogurt is a food humans and dogs alike can enjoy.

For further reading check out:

Whole Food Additions to Kibble, Probiotics for Dogs

Whole Food Additions to Kibble

Whole Food Additions to Kibble

For dogs and their owners, a lot revolves around food. What to feed a dog and how much is a big topic for vets, pet enthusiasts, and dog owners alike. Certain diets have been given more thought lately as pet health, like human health has moved towards a focus on overall nutrition. Whole food diets have come to the table as a viable option to increase the nutrition and health of your pet.

Benefits of Adding to Kibble

While it may be unrealistic for many dog owners to create homemade dog food from fresh ingredients on a regular basis, adding whole foods to supplement kibble is an option. Research suggests that the incorporation of whole foods into a dog’s diet can lead to improving their health.

In the article “The Case for Whole Foods,” the Integrative Veterinary Care Journal cited a recent study that found “the consumption of any type of vegetable at least three times per week was associated with a 70% to 90% risk reduction in the development of transitional cell carcinoma in Scottish terriers.” The journal acknowledged this research citing that “other breeds are also likely to benefit from whole food supplementation of processed diets.”

The journal reported another study that compared the cognitive ability of older dogs based on their diets. “The control group was fed a processed senior diet. The test group’s food was enriched with vitamins E and C, mitochondrial co-factors (L-carnitine and DL-alpha-lipoic acid), and a mixture of fruits and vegetables. The dogs receiving the enriched diet performed significantly better than controls.”

Whole food diets may also be beneficial to dogs with certain conditions. Food allergies are one reason pet owners turn to whole foods. Eliminating some kibble and adding fresh ingredients allows owners to control more of what goes into their dog’s tummies. Certain diseases like Cushing’s, an endocrine disorder that affects the dog’s ability to regulate their immune system, respond to stress, and even digest food, may be affected by a change in your pup’s diet. When combined with a natural supplement to help control symptoms, some owners have seen an increase in their dog’s energy when moving to a whole food diet.

Adding Whole Foods to a Dog’s Diet

What foods are considered “whole” when it comes to feeding Fido? Unprocessed, fresh foods that come from a variety of sources constitute a “whole” diet. While not all fresh foods are good for pets to consume, there are plenty that will help your pooch eat well. Here are the top choices many whole food pet owners and pet nutritionists have championed.

1. Eggs
Packed with protein, good fats, vitamins, and minerals, eggs are a strong nutritional choice. Remove the shell to avoid too much calcium then serve it up scrambled, or hard-boiled. Though there is some debate as to whether uncooked eggs negatively affect a dog due to bacteria, many pet owners choose to feed their dogs using a raw diet. Eggs are calorie dense though, so make sure you’re not feeding them daily to a small dog breeds.

2. Lean Meat
As with eggs, the raw versus cooked debate rages, but adding animal protein to a doggy diet adds nutrients. Whichever method you choose, consider the bones. Raw bones pose less of a hazard than soft, cooked ones when it comes to choking or splintering.

3. Fruits and Vegetables
Many fruits and veggies are nutritionally beneficial for dogs. Consider crunchy varieties like apples, watermelon, cucumber, carrots, even leafy greens. Sweet potatoes are a better starch choice. Even peas can be a treat! Cruciferous veggies can be used, but in small quantities—you don’t want to give your pooch too much gas. Remove all pits and seeds before feeding your pet. You should also avoid grapes and raisins, which can cause kidney problems. Some research also suggests that avocados, garlic, and onions are bad news. (Sorry, Fido, no guac for you.)

4. Yogurt
Probiotics for the win! Yogurt is a great source of these gut-enhancing microbes. Another added benefit is the calcium content. PetMD.com praises yogurt as an excellent nutrient source for dogs. “Adding a small spoonful of yogurt to your dog’s regular kibble at mealtime can provide digestive benefits and even help your dog stay full longer.” They also warn pet owners to check yogurt for the additive xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic for dogs. Find a plain yogurt to avoid added sugar.

5. Sardines
Believe it or not, these little fish can add a lot of good things to your pet’s diet. Sardines contain a mighty amount of omega 3 acids and other nutrients that can prevent cancer and heal inflammation. Experts suggest buying sardines that have no added sodium, are wild-caught, and are packed in water. Some dog parents even use the excess water from the tin as gravy for kibble! Be careful of portion and frequency depending on the size of your pet.

How to Balance Whole Food and Kibble

When choosing to add whole food to a dog’s diet, remember that balance is key. Since you are adding calories with the addition of whole foods, reduce the amount of kibble you serve. Combining different types of whole foods is important too. Portion size depends heavily on the size of your dog, something you can and should discuss with a vet as you move towards adding whole foods to a kibble-based diet. Once you make the switch, monitor your dog carefully for a few weeks, looking for irregularity in normal energy levels, stool, and overall behavior.

Why Diet Matters

We at CushAway believe in caring for your dog’s overall health to give them the best life. We believe a dog with Cushing’s disease can benefit from eating a diet that contains whole foods. Part of our nutraceutical approach to managing the symptoms of Cushing’s is gut health through probiotics, which increase the efficacy of the supplement. When dogs consume a diet rich in whole foods, the benefits of overall gut health and nutrition can play a role in increasing the vitality of your dog. We see this through improved energy levels and a shinier coat.

If your dog is suffering from Cushing’s disease, read our story to see if our natural supplement is the right choice for your pet.