Can Dogs Live a Normal Life With Cushing’s?

We’ve learned recently that normal can be redefined to create the best environment for someone’s well -being, and for dogs it’s much the same. For a dog, achieving a normal life with Cushing’s disease may involve providing a new nutrition and supplement regimen or adapting a less strenuous exercise routine. The key is to identify the symptoms and ways to mitigate those reactions in a Cushing’s dog.

Treatment with Drugs or A Natural Approach?

When a diagnosis for Cushing’s is first made, pet parents have a decision to make. Will you take the often-prescribed approach of strong drugs that Petmd.com says can have serious side effects? Will you choose an approach that includes natural supplements that also address key symptoms of Cushing’s?

No matter what choice you make, the key to helping your pup live a new normal life with Cushing’s is to continue to monitor them. Watch their energy level and appetite, as well as physical reactions like weakness or gastrointestinal issues.

Exercise and Play

Continue a normal schedule as much as possible with gentle exercise and play that fits your dog’s needs. Often, as symptoms abate with treatment, your pup can retain much of the vitality they are used to.

Dietary Changes

Consider their diet. You can incorporate probiotics which help eliminate inflammation and increase nutrient absorption to help a Cushing’s dog regain more energy. Many pet parents have seen positive results from this natural approach that uses supplements that address Cushing’s symptoms and whole food additions to kibble to lessen inflammatory processed grains.

Keep the Veterinarian Involved

While each dog handles the disease a bit differently, it’s possible to reach a maintenance level with Cushing’s so regular trips to the vet and a continued treatment plan keep debilitating symptoms at bay.

CushAway began with a pet parent who wanted to give his pup the best life, and we believe Cushing’s dogs can benefit from a supplement that uses probiotics and naturally occurring elements that block the release of corticosteroids, the root problem of Cushing’s. Read more of our story and decide if CushAway can help you  give your dog their best life.

Keep Your Cushing’s Dog Hydrated

When warm months are upon us, it’s important to be mindful of a dog’s water intake. Since Cushing’s dogs are prone to symptoms like excessive thirst, it’s especially important to care for your pup’s hydration when the weather gets hot.

Foods that Hydrate

Since a whole food diet or a kibble diet with whole food additions can be beneficial for a Cushing’s dog, it’s easy to add in foods that are also hydrating. This comes in the form of fruits and veggies.

Watery fruits and veggies like cucumber and watermelon can be a delicious and hydrating treat for a dog. Remove the seeds and rind, then let your pup chow down. Other fruits and veggies that pack on the hydrating power are apples, other melons like cantaloupe, and leafy greens. Berries are great too and can be served frozen plain or mixed with yogurt for a pup pop. Just remember, no grapes. They can cause kidney problems for pups.

Water Access

According to Petmd.com, “Providing access to an abundance of clean, cool water is critical.” It’s easy to set a bowl out for pups staying outside, but if the water if left to heat in the sun, it’s not as appealing to your dog. Keeping water refreshed is important too. Try a bowl that recirculates water to help you manage your pup’s supply.

Work Hydration into Play

Give your pup an icy treat by filling a toy with water and freezing it. Add an element of play and hydration beyond ice cubes by using puzzle or regular chew toys for this. Petmd.com also suggests freezing a dog treat in the middle of an ice cube for a fun and hydrating surprise.

Keeping dogs cool in the heat goes a long way to preventing dehydration. Incorporate kiddie pools or sprinklers into your outdoor time in the summer, especially if your pup spends time outdoors on a regular basis. Toss balls or other toys into the kiddie pool and let your dog fish them out! They’ll cool off and gulp a bit of water in the process.

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

Help Your Cushing’s Dog Live Their Best Life

When your veterinary professional confirms Cushing’s Disease in your beloved pet, it’s easy for your heart to sink and worry about the life your pet can lead. While Cushing’s is not a curable disease, it is very possible for a dog to live a long life by managing Cushing’s disease symptoms with treatment and lifestyle changes.

Cushing’s dogs experience elevated cortisol levels which lead to varied symptoms throughout the body. Most common are fatigue, excess thirst, weight gain, hair loss, and muscle weakness. Vets may prescribe a chemotherapy drug like Mitotane or Trilostane to treat Cushing’s in your dog. Though effective in controlling the adrenal or pituitary tumors that cause cortisol overproduction, they also carry a risk of side effects.

Another option for managing Cushing’s disease symptoms is using a holistic supplement containing lignans and melatonin which work to naturally suppress the overproduction of cortisol in the body. These supplements pose little to no side effects and help a Cushing’s dog regain energy and a healthy frame.

Once you choose a treatment, you can also help your dog heal through their eating habits. A diet high in whole foods can help decrease inflammation, a reaction in the body to the overproduction of cortisol. Dogs with Cushing’s may benefit from a diet low in processed grains and high in nutrient-rich fresh foods. Even adding yogurt or fresh meat to kibble can help your pooch’s health.

Because the gut is central to nutrient absorption and overall health, giving your Cushing’s dog probiotics may also help restore energy and muscle function. A balanced digestive system will also allow the dog to absorb a supplement better, leading to increased overall wellness.

Some Cushing’s dog owners question the amount of exercise their pup should have if they suffer from Cushing’s. While dogs with surgery to remove adrenal tumors need to rest for up to two weeks post operation, Cushing’s dogs without severe joint problems can benefit from regular walks or playtime once symptoms are managed. The key is to find out what works best for your dog. Start slow, then build up to longer walks or more frequent outdoor playtimes.

A dog with Cushing’s needs lots of love and careful observation. Watch your pet for any changes in their behavior or bodies. With a balanced treatment for Cushing’s symptoms that includes overall digestive health, many Cushing’s dogs can lead a happy life.

Should Dogs Take Probiotics?

Probiotics for Dogs: What and Why

Microbiome, probiotics…these buzz words aren’t just for health nuts and fitness pros. Veterinarians are beginning to recognize the importance of gut health for dogs and how it can lead to overall wellness for your pet.

Amid the power salad recipes, Cooking Light magazine recently highlighted the trending topic in their “Well Balanced” pet column. They featured insight from Colorado Holistic Vet Angie Krause. “‘Just like with people, pets’ gut health is the cornerstone of their overall health.’“

One way to balance and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract is through probiotics. Dogsnaturally, an online pet health magazine defines probiotics as “a part of the entire population of intestinal micro-organisms referred to as the microbiome.” Just like the human gut, these strains of healthy bacteria are being studied for their overall contribution to good health. Said to benefit everything from anxiety to cancer prevention, the microbiome is an area scientists are exploring with increasing interest for both pets and their human companions.

Are There Safe Probiotics for Dogs?

Providing pets with probiotics through a supplement or nourishing food choices can be a safe and beneficial choice. Krause recommends checking first with your vet and making smart choices about the type of probiotic used. Probiotics for dogs are not the same as human supplements. They contain strains of bacteria specific to canine stomachs (dogs should never be given probiotics meant for humans).

How and What to Choose

When choosing probiotics for dogs, look first at the number of strands of good bacteria. The higher the colony-forming units, the better. We’re talking in the millions for maximum effectiveness. Certain delivery methods are also more effective for Fido.

While some dog foods boast probiotics on their label, the bacterial strains may not hold up through the digestive process. Supplements in pill form can be added to your doggy’s dish. Some probiotics are even kept refrigerated to maximize the life of the bacterial strains. One easy probiotic to add to a dog’s food is fresh yogurt which also contains beneficial bacteria. Remember, if you do choose a pill supplement, make sure it is a dog-specific probiotic with bacterial strains for the canine gut.

Health Benefits

Giving probiotic supplements to your dog can provide benefits beyond the digestive tract. Probiotic consumption has been shown to increase energy, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the risk of cancer, tumorous growths, and chronic diseases. Since the gut is so closely linked to the health of nearly every other system in the body, when digestive functions are optimized, so is a dog’s well-being.

Prebiotics: A Helping Hand

Prebiotics also play a role in strengthening gut health. While they sound alike to probiotics, prebiotics are the opening act for good bacteria. Prebiotics become the food that good bacteria use to maintain their positive influence on the gut. Boosting you pet’s prebiotic intake actually helps maintain the good bacteria found in probiotics. Prebiotics are found in the fibrous skins of many fruits and vegetables. Whole food additions to kibble make it easier to get these nutrients into your pet’s diet.

Cushing’s Disease and Probiotics

What does this mean for Cushing’s dogs? Since the disease causes a host of discomforting symptoms, many can be positively impacted by better gut health. Besides the obvious benefit of increasing the dog’s ability to process and absorb CushAway’s active ingredients, there can be many other benefits as well. Gastrointestinal balance has been shown to help reduce joint inflammation, lower anxiety, increase energy, and optimize the immune system among other benefits. Many of these areas can be impacted in dogs suffering from Cushing’s Disease. That’s why CushAway uses probiotics as a part of its supplement formula. We believe your pet can regain a healthy lifestyle by naturally restoring the balance of the digestive tract.

Whether you choose to enhance your dog’s kibble with fresh foods rich with beneficial bacteria and fiber or use a dog-specific probiotic supplement, there are virtually no negative side effects to increasing a dog’s overall gut health. No matter the age or breed, this is a health trend to follow.

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.

Can Your Dog Benefit from a Grain-Free Diet?

Can Your Dog Benefit from a Grain-Free Diet?

Whether your dog is suffering from a debilitating disease like Cushing’s or just lagging in energy as they age, small changes can make a big difference to improve your pet’s overall health. Switching a dog’s diet can impact their well-being for a number of reasons.

One way to change a dog’s diet is to remove grain. Canine journal lists the possible benefits of grain-free dog food as more energy, fewer allergies, and a healthier coat among others. Some studies suggest that grain-free diets for dogs allow for easier digestion, aiding other body systems. Holistic vets recommend grain-free diets that are high in natural proteins to increase the vitality of your pet. Because many dog foods are filled with simple carbs like corn, wheat, and barley, dogs experience a quick burst of energy that is not sustained, much like in their human parents. Substituting vegetables and healthy carbs like chickpeas and sweet potatoes allows for dogs to be more satisfied and even more energetic.

Manage Health Problems by Eliminating Grain

Removing grain can impact a nutrition-based management of certain diseases as well as inflammation within a dog’s body. Cushing’s disease, the number one endocrine disorder diagnosed in dogs, has been linked to a dog’s gut health. By improving and aiding digestion with grain-free and probiotic-rich diets, as well as using natural supplements, many dogs have shown a vast improvement or have even become symptom-free of the disease. Eliminating grain makes it easier for dogs to digest and take in nutrients from supplements like CushAway that can aid in the reduction of endocrine disorder causes and symptoms.

Grain-free diets for dogs may also help with food allergies or sensitivities. These foods offer more protein and grain substitutes like peas and potatoes which can be easier for allergy-suffering canines too.

Grain-Free Diet Options

There are a few choices when it comes to grain-free food. Grain-free kibble uses proteins from whole foods as well as fruits and vegetables to provide a healthy meal. A raw-diet, which is inherently grain-free, means feeding dogs animal protein (with bones and organs included) as well as vegetables. Fish is also highly recommended as a part of this diet, as is keeping starch out.

When making the switch to grain-free, vets suggest working into the new diet slowly. Feed dogs using partial grain-free food, adding a little more each time until the entire meal is replaced. Monitor your dog for changes in stool that may indicate constipation or diarrhea. It can also take up to twelve weeks for changes to noticeably affect your dog.

Why Pet Nutrition Matters

With obesity rates on the rise in dogs, many are turning to diet as a means of improving their dog’s health. The Scientific World Journal reported in a research study on feeding habits of dogs and cats that the most common factor owners used in deciding what food to buy for their animals was if the food was healthy for their pet. Ingredients were the second most deciding factor. But how do you know which ingredients are healthy, and how do you know what constitutes proper nutrition for your pet? Whether you use grain-free diets for dogs or not, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association urges that you should look for manufacturers that have a full-time nutritionist on staff. They also suggest using the feeding directions on a label only as a basic guideline, using a vet’s recommendation formulated specifically to meet the needs of your pet.

Make the Best Choice for Your Dog

A grain-free diet may be the best answer in making changes to improve your dog’s lifestyle. Be sure to have a conversation with your veterinary professional about the considerations and potential benefits for your four-legged friend. Check for nutritional integrity in the pet food you choose to give your pet the best life. A healthy diet can be the beginning of a renewed vitality for your dog.