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.

The Benefits of CushAway

The Benefits of CushAway

We believe every dog deserves a healthy, active life. With a disease like Cushing’s, that can become difficult. While no cure exists that will completely eradicate the disease itself, a natural supplement like CushAway can help diminish the effects of Cushing’s disease in dogs and address the root cause of the disease.

When you choose CushAway to help manage your dog’s Cushing’s disease, you are choosing a natural approach that may provide many benefits to both the dog and their human family. Here are some reasons that we feel so passionate about helping dogs and their people live happy, healthier lives.

1) Lower Risk of Side Effects

Many of the drugs given to dogs to stop Cushing’s symptoms cause other problems in return. These are chemo drugs, often prescribed to human patients or pulled from human cancer treatment all together. A study of trilostane, one of the most popular drugs prescribed to dogs with Cushing’s, showed that 35% of dogs suffered some negative side effect.

Cush Away presents an alternative to these chemo drugs with a natural supplement, or nutraceutical, that uses three main naturally-occurring ingredients: phosphatidylserine, melatonin and HMR lignans combined with probiotics. Using a nutraceutical like CushAway may help lower the risk of extreme negative side effects and may reduce the likelihood of the dog contracting Addison’s disease, something one in twenty-five dogs have been shown to suffer when using chemo drugs.

2) Affecting the Disease, Not Just Symptoms

Although some drugs may help eliminate the symptoms of Cushing’s disease in dogs, CushAway seeks to stop the root cause of the disease, as well as control its symptoms. CushAway’s natural supplement formula is created to directly reduce the production of cortisone steroids. The overproduction of these steroids in a dog’s body is what causes the disease.

3) Probiotics in the Mix

Much like their human friends, improving a dog’s gut health can improve their overall well-being. CushAway uses probiotics to help stimulate the body’s use of the active ingredients in the supplement. Safely manufactured to human standards, these probiotics create gut bacteria that improve this process.

4) Regaining an Active Lifestyle

Many dogs with Cushing’s disease become lethargic and uninterested in activities they used to enjoy. They often don’t have the energy to run around. They seem to become tired and just want to sleep. CushAway’s natural formula was created to help dogs regain their energy and vitality. The active ingredients in CushAway have also been shown to help some dogs regain a thick coat where their Cushing’s led to hair loss.

5) Price

Many dog owners would do anything for their pet’s well-being, but cost can become a limiting factor when dealing with a disease like Cushing’s. The hard truth is that using the drugs prescribed by many well-meaning veterinary professionals, along with the ongoing testing required to manage the disease can amount to thousands of dollars spent by the dog’s family. CushAway seeks to bridge the gap between cost and effectiveness. You can purchase an average sized dog a two-month supply for of the supplement for only $44.95. First-time buyers even receive a $5 dollar off coupon for one bottle (use discount code “5OFF”) or a $30 off coupon for purchasing three bottles (use discount code “30OFF”).

Consider CushAway

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to chemo drugs for your dog’s Cushing’s disease, we hope you’ll consider CushAway. You can read more about our product here.

Managing Your Dog’s Cushing’s Disease

Managing Your Dog’s Cushing’s Disease

When a dog is diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, there are limited options when it comes to treatment. Common pharma treatments can have more of a negative impact on a dog’s health than the symptoms warrant while homeopathic and folk remedies may not address the causes of Cushing’s. Though the condition can never be fully eradicated, the goal of treatment is to ease the effects of Cushings disease in dogs and to restore a comfortable and active life with as little risk to your beloved companion as possible.

Traditional Treatments

A veterinary professional will usually prescribe one of two chemotherapy drugs for a dog with Cushing’s, mitotane (Lysodren) or trilostane (Vetoryl). Most vets choose trilostane, a drug once used to treat advanced breast cancer in the US (this drug was voluntarily removed from the market). A study of dogs on trilostane showed that up to 35% suffered at least one negative side effect with 1 in 25 of those same dogs experiencing an Addisonian crisis (leading to lifelong Addison’s disease) or death. (FOIS)

Negative treatment results give pause to many veterinary professionals and owners who must weigh the benefits with the suffering of the dog. One survey showed that more than half of veterinary specialists polled would not prescribe the pharmacological treatments without there being serious clinical symptoms damaging to the dog, even if there were abnormal results indicating the presence of hyperadrenocorticism. (Behrend: Kemppainen: Clark; Salman: Peterson)

Chemo medication like trilostane can also be difficult for pet owners due to high expenses. Because of the risks associated with chemo drugs, quarterly testing is usually required. Therefore, the cost of both medication and tests can run into the thousands annually for many dog parents.

New Options from Nutraceuticals

Until recently, these chemo drugs were the only form of options given to combat the disease. However, many dog parents are choosing to use nutraceuticals, or natural supplements, that can be beneficial for the dog’s ailments.

Nutraceuticals also range in their effectiveness and content. Many use traditional folk medicine such as dandelion and milk thistle to mitigate the symptoms of Cushing’s. However, these remedies do not affect the clinical causes of the disease; they only seek to help heal the ongoing harm the disease causes. A natural approach does seem to limit the adverse side effects caused by the more traditional chemo drugs. Finding the right natural solution is key to managing a dog’s overall health while battling Cushing’s disease.

The CushAway Option

CushAway, a nutraceutical supplement from Best Friends Biotechnics, can bridge the gap between natural remedies and chemotherapy drugs. CushAway uses three main ingredients combined with probiotics to act as a nutraceutical supplement with very little risk to the dog. Unlike the other common natural remedies, CushAway combines natural products that can interact with your dog’s hormones and act to block the overproduction of corticosteroids, the root cause of Cushing’s disease.

CushAway utilizes a melatonin/lignin treatment shown to be effective in reducing corticosteroid production in human adrenal cells. This treatment is combined with phosphatidylserine, which has been shown in independent studies to also reduce corticosteroid levels by reducing corticosteroid and ACTH production. Sports medicine studies of phosphatidylserine indicate that it reduces the production of cortisol as well as blunting the production of ACTH, which regulates the production of corticosteroids.

Studies performed by veterinarians at the University of Tennessee also showed clinical evidence to support the use of melatonin and lignins and one of their leading researchers lists two of CushAway’s active ingredients as treatment option considerations.

Another advantage of Cushing’s disease treatment through the supplement CushAway is the use of probiotics in their formula. These probiotics stimulate gut bacteria for maximum benefit from the active ingredients that combat the effects and cause of Cushings disease in dogs.

Make a Choice

When choosing a care option for a beloved pet battling Cushing’s, you may want to consider the potential results. While chemotherapy drugs are readily available for prescription by veterinary professionals and can be successful at controlling Cushing’s disease, the side effects may outweigh the benefits of the drug. Some of the outcomes can be devastating, even fatal, to the dog. With the high cost of medicine and required maintenance testing, the expense of this kind of treatment can also become very burdensome.

Nutraceuticals may present a lower risk alternative both for your pet’s health and lifestyle. A supplement like CushAway may provide a multifaceted approach to improving your dog’s health and help limit the effects of Cushing’s disease on a dog’s body. While the amount of benefit can vary from dog to dog and may be insufficient to provide enough benefit in more severe cases of Cushing’s disease, there is negligible risk in trying this approach before resorting to the chemo type options.

Ask your veterinarian if they think a low risk, low-cost nutraceutical supplement like CushAway should be your first choice in dealing with your dog’s Cushing’s disease.

The Basics of Cushing’s Disease

The Basics of Cushing’s Disease

Cush Away naturally treats Cushing’s disease, but symptoms are numerous and varied. The disease can take many forms and can be difficult to even diagnose. So what exactly is Cushing’s and how does it affect dogs? Here’s an in-depth look at the symptoms and causes of the disease.

What is Cushing’s Disease?

Vets describe Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) as an excess of cortisol and cortisone in the body. It is an endocrine disorder that affects the dog’s ability to regulate their immune system, respond to stress, and even effects their metabolism. Left untreated, Cushing’s can lead to the long-term suppression of the immune system, liver damage, pancreatitis, diabetes and dramatic reductions in lifespan and quality of life due to weakening and loss of skeletal muscles. This excess can be a result of the animal’s own body overproducing the hormone or due to complications from a high dose of medication containing the hormone.

But why does the dog’s body produce more cortisol or cortisone to begin with? Corticosteroids are monitored by the brain and the pituitary gland and are made by the adrenal glands. The pituitary gland sends signals to the adrenal gland in the form of the enzyme ACTH telling it how much corticosteroid to make. The excess of cortisol is often caused by overproduction of the hormone ACTH (pituitary-dependent Cushing’s) that tells the adrenal gland to make too much corticosteroids or a benign tumor (adrenal-dependent Cushing’s) or some other malfunction in the adrenal gland itself that causes increased production of corticosteroids. These tumors are frequently benign, but initiate the body’s production of more of the hormone. A third very similar condition is Cushing’s Syndrome, an overabundance of cortisol in the system caused by outside factors like medications, excess stress, inflammation or more likely a combination of these factors. However, it can be tricky to just eliminate the cortisol drugs in the body without a recurrence of the other symptoms those drugs are trying to eliminate.

When is Your Dog at Risk for Developing Cushing’s?

If your dog is moving into older adulthood (around 8-9 years) or already in their senior years, they are more likely to develop the disease. However, even younger dogs can develop Cushing’s from a genetic trait or an overabundance of corticosteroid medications like dexamethasone, triamcinolone, prednisone or similar medications. These medications are prescribed for a variety of reasons but commonly treat naturally low occurring cortisol, certain cancers, and even allergies.

What are the Symptoms of Cushing’s?

Cush Away founder James Marshall first noticed his dog’s excessive thirst and appetite, but the symptoms for Cushing’s can manifest differently in different dogs. lists over 15 separate symptoms that may occur in tandem or individually. Unfortunately, some symptoms can also signal other conditions so a vet will need to look at several diagnostic tests to pinpoint Cushing’s disease. Here are the common symptoms from
– Increased thirst and urination (polydipsia and polyuria, respectively)
– Increased hunger
– Increased panting
– Pot-bellied abdomen
– Obesity
– Fat pads on the neck and shoulders
– Recurrent infections of skin, ears, urinary tract, etc.
– Loss of hair
– Lack of energy
– Inability to sleep (insomnia)
– Muscle weakness
– Infertility
– Darkening of the skin
– Appearance of blackheads on the skin
– Thin skin
– Bruising
– Hard white scaly patches on the skin, elbows, etc. (associated with the disease calcinosis cutis)
Neurologic abnormalities (circling, behavioral changes, seizures, etc.)

Diagnosing Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Effectively diagnosing Cushing’s disease takes multiple tests. Since initial signs of Cushing’s may point to several other conditions, diagnostic tests must be used to pinpoint one of the causes of the disease. This may include a low dose dexamethasone suppression (LDDS) test, which will evaluate your dog’s reaction to a synthetic version of the cortisol hormone before and after blood tests, or an ACTH stimulation test that measures the dog’s reaction to a hormone that elicits the creation of cortisol in the body. Testing may also include analysis of the dog’s urine and feces. Finally, the vet may order an abdominal ultrasound to check for tumors in the adrenal or pituitary glands.

Treating Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Though there is no cure for Cushing’s, treatments are available to help manage and suppress the disease while maintaining your dog’s quality of life.

Several drugs are used to treat Cushing’s, including mitotane (Lysodren) or trilostane (Vetoryl), the goal of which is basically to poison the adrenal gland in a way that some of it is killed off reducing the amount of corticosteroid that can be made. The downside of this approach is that negative side effects can be very common, in up to 85% of dogs with some treatments, and also very severe.

This chemotherapy also runs the risk of completely destroying the adrenal gland resulting in a lifetime case of Addison’s disease; in some ways worse than Cushing’s. The chemotherapy can also result in a weakening of the adrenal tissue that can result in a rupture, internal bleeding and death. These serious side effects were observed in nearly one in 25 dogs in some early studies.

One survey showed that more than half of veterinary specialists polled would not prescribe the drug treatments without there being serious clinical symptoms damaging the dog, even if tests showed the dog had Cushing’s. This means that many dogs who could be receiving treatment for their Cushing’s are not being treated for fear that the risks outweigh the potential benefits. This type of chemotherapy can also be expensive, with treatment, including ongoing required testing and drugs, often costing in the thousands annually.

Another solution is a supplement to the dog’s diet that can help blunt the effects of Cushing’s disease naturally. Cush Away is a supplement that uses a combination of probiotics and other natural compounds that can help reduce the production of these corticosteroids safely and naturally. Using this supplement, dogs may show a significant reduction of or complete lack of symptoms.

At Cush Away, our goal is to provide a natural supplement solution for your dog to maintain a healthy lifestyle while reducing the levels of excess corticosteroids and easing or even eliminating the symptoms of Cushing’s disease. Read more about our product to decide if our natural alternative can be the answer for your beloved pet’s health.


The Story of CushAway

It Started with a Best Friend

One morning I let Scrappy, my loyal and loving companion, outside. I could tell immediately that something was wrong. She couldn’t lift her feet and was dragging her paws so much they were curled under her legs. I grabbed her up into my arms and rushed to the emergency weekend vet, convinced I was losing my best friend. We’d been through a lot in over a decade, and she was only 12 years old.

The diagnosis was pancreatitis; she had gotten into a taco left out on the coffee table and it made her gravely ill. They weren’t sure she would make it.

She did, but the vet told me this illness had an underlying cause: Cushing’s disease. My dog’s internal systems were producing too much of the corticosteroids cortisone and cortisol and they were wreaking havoc on my poor dog’s health. My doctor said although her Cushing’s wasn’t terrible, it was severe enough we needed to treat it. They suggested what was at the time the prevailing treatment, mitotane. We would need to let her fully recover from the pancreatitis first though since the treatment could be hard on her. That idea didn’t sit well with me, so I decided to do some research.

Cushing’s Disease with A Pharma Solution?

Conventional pharmaceutical treatments for Cushing’s disease are essentially chemotherapy drugs mitotane and lysodrene. In fact, lysodrene was used in the United States as a human cancer treatment until it was voluntarily removed from the market by its maker. The drug toxically affects the adrenal gland, poisoning it so that it can’t make as many corticosteroids. While they can be effective, they carry some pretty scary side effects including Addisonian crisis (a complete failure of the adrenal that causes even more serious maladies) and even sudden death. After coming so close to losing my best friend, I just wasn’t comfortable with taking the chance I could lose her because of the treatment for Cushing’s.

I began my quest to find another way to help Scrappy with something that had minimal chances of negatively affecting her. At the time using supplements to help Cushing’s disease was in its infancy on the internet; one of the first things I discovered wasn’t even related to dogs. I found several men’s health articles that described how a compound called phosphatidylserine could blunt the production of corticosteroids in athletes, so I gave it a try. To my pleasure and surprise, it really helped her—for a while.

In many dogs, Cushing’s disease is a progressive disease; one that only gets worse as time goes on. The phosphatidylserine helped Scrappy for a couple of years, but now it wasn’t enough.

Out of options, we tried the mitotane. It failed. A sonogram confirmed that Scrappy had possibly cancerous tumors on her adrenal glands that would likely end her life in months. My vet suggested that we either let her go (euthanize) or just try and make her comfortable until the cancerous tumors ruptured and she died. I promised I would make her happy and comfortable during the time she had left which thankfully turned out to be years.

The Discovery of CushAway

Back to my research I went, spending hours upon hours scouring the internet, reading articles, joining forums, and chatting online. Soon after, I found Dr. Jack’s work on lignans and melatonin, a treatment many found to be successful. I also began to read several theories that Cushing’s disease was on some level an autoimmune disorder and the immune system was heavily dependent on beneficial bacteria that many dogs didn’t have enough of. I abandoned the phosphatidylserine treatment and put Scrappy on lignans and melatonin and it really helped her for a while.

As Scrappy’s disease progressed, the lignans and melatonin therapy stopped working as well. Her Cushing’s had progressed until it was really severe. We were out of options. And then it happened.

I ordered phosphatidylserine, melatonin and lignans from Amazon and combined them with organic peanut butter and powered cheddar cheese to make the first rudimentary CushAway.

The panting stopped first, then the crazy water drinking, and eventually, even her appetite that had been voracious for years, started to normalize. Was it working? Her skin, thin and weak with no elasticity for years started to improve. Her coat’s thin and bare spots, there for years, started to grow back. She even started to have more strength in her legs and hips, and her mobility, even at her advanced age (now about 16 years old) improved as well. I was also giving her probiotics to build up her gut health.

A visit to the vet left him taken aback. Critical blood work numbers had plummeted close to normal range. My vet wanted to know what I was doing. When I explained my basic CushAway treatment he said, “you ought to make this into a product.” I laughed it off—at first.

Creating to Share

I wanted to share the idea behind CushAway everywhere I could (I still do), but measuring powdered ingredients and working the portions into a palatable mixture of peanut butter and cheese was more than the average pet owner could handle. As a chef, it was second nature to me. Could I make this into a product? I started to explore.

I found a manufacturer of human supplements that would help, but with a cost. I discovered that to make a marketable CushAway a reality, I was going to have to invest more than a year’s salary into lawyers, a website, manufacturing the product, and so on. My wife and I talked about it a lot. Finally, we decided that it was something that needed to be done. It was a product that needed to be out there for people who found themselves where we did with Scrappy. We wanted to help people who desired the safest yet effective treatment for their dog’s Cushing’s disease.

CushAway: More than a Dream

It’s been a leap of faith, but after two years of test marketing, we’ve seen the reactions from people whose pets we’ve helped, and we know we’ve done the right thing. Scrappy’s legacy continues when we pass on the treatment that helped her live a full 19 years. CushAway was a need, then a dream, then a hope and now, it’s a reality.