Is Phosphatidylserine Safe For Cushing’s Dogs?

What is Phosphatidylserine?

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a lipid compound called a phospholipid that covers and protects cells. Produced both naturally in the body and in foods or plants, you can find PS as a human supplement that promotes brain health and cell function. Lately, it’s been looked at for properties that could impact dogs with Cushing’s disease.

Phosphatidylserine and Cushing’s Disease

So, is Phosphatidylserine safe for Cushings dogs? A study by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition concluded that “PS supplementation promotes a desired hormonal status for athletes by blunting increases in cortisol levels.” The impact of this for Cushing’s disease in dogs is something startling. PS can potentially help slow the production of ACHT, the chemical that makes the adrenal gland produce corticosteroids. For a Cushing’s dog, overproduction of corticosteroids is the root problem. Blunting ACHT production means addressing the root cause of the disease.

Using Phosphatidylserine for Cushing’s

With the move towards holistic care for both humans and pets, many pet parents are turning to new options instead of the long-touted chemo drugs given to relieve Cushing’s disease in dogs. A natural supplement can address Cushing’s symptoms with little to no side effects using elements like PS, melatonin, and HMR lignans. Combining these three natural compounds creates a healing triangle that addresses the steroid overproduction in Cushing’s dog. PS is an integral part of this. Phosphatidylserine has been shown to increase the absorption of melatonin, which can also work to stop overproduction of corticosteroids.

Sources of supplemental Phosphatidylserine once came from bovine sources. However, concerns about diseases like mad cow in the 1990’s prompted a new way to harvest the phospholipid compound. New sources of PS are soy derived, according to PubChem, a research directory produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

By reducing the production of ACTH in a dog’s body through Phosphatidylserine, you reduce the production of corticosteroids in a different but complimentary way than from how lignans and melatonin work (by interfering with the “ingredients” that the dog’s body uses to make corticosteroids), thus increasing the benefit. PS decreases both the demand for corticosteroids and a dog’s ability to make them.

Phosphatidylserine in Cushing’s Supplements for Dogs

Many dogs suffering from Cushing’s symptoms can find relief through a nutraceutical, or natural supplement. Naturally-occurring compounds can effectively blunt corticosteroids without the use of side-effect laden chemo drugs.

One supplement, a nutraceutical named CushAway addresses the PS findings in a new way. While HMR lignans and melatonin are more common in nutraceuticals for Cushing’s dogs, the addition of Phosphatidylserine to CushAway’s formula is unique. This natural element works complimentary to the lignans and melatonin to halt corticosteroid production. Not only is Phosphatidylserine safe for Cushings dogs, it’s proven quite beneficial.

CushAway was developed in the wake of a beloved pet’s passing. After years of refining, CushAway serves the pet community in helping pet parents find a natural choice for Cushing’s symptoms. While the disease can never truly be “cured,” many have found relief for their fur babies.

Owner of All Those Left Behind Pet Rescue, Gina Bartucci, used CushAway to help her Cushing’s dogs. “Thanks to the CushAway, we saw a night and day difference,” Bartucci shared. She had been on a Cushing’s journey with her own fur baby, Oz, and turned to a holistic approach for his care. When a vet recommended CushAway for her shelter pups, she was ready to give it a try. “Had we found the product sooner from what we had seen from the other two dogs, we think it could have been her miracle,” she said.

Phosphatidylserine is a piece of the Cushing’s puzzle that can address the root cause of Cushing’s disease. CushAway uniquely offers this as part of our supplement because we believe every Cushing’s dog deserves relief and vitality. We offer free bottles of our product to shelters and give a discount to pet parents adopting fur babies with Cushing’s. Read more about our story here.

Protect Your Dog from the Heat

Summer time is a great time for play with longer days and more recreation time. For pups as well as humans, the glaring heat can also be a danger. To avoid heat stroke in dogs, practice play smarts by planning the best times and ways to enjoy the outdoors, hydrating, and knowing when to cut things short for a panting pooch.

Cushing’s dogs need exercise in moderation and getting out for a walk is important, but in the summer months, heat stroke in dogs is a real concern. Keep your dog cool with some fun and simple changes in your routine.

1. Swim Time

If you don’t have your own pool, finding an inexpensive kiddie pool and filling it up can be a fun playtime for your pooch. They might even be more likely to jump into a smaller pool just to splash their feet. You can toss rubber toys in to entice them. Just make sure your dog can step over the lip of the pool without straining. Just remember, like kids, dogs need supervision at all times in a pool.

2. Cold Dog Treats

Ice cream for dogs? Sure. Frozen peanut butter or meat? That can work too. Even plain old ice can do the trick. You can make it extra fun with molds that freeze food into shapes for Fido. Round molds will double as a ball toy. Yogurt is a perfect treat to add into the mix as it will do wonders for the digestive system.

PetMD.com recommends watermelon, blueberries, and cantaloupe as three of the ten best fruits for dogs. All could be blended and mixed into ice molds with or without yogurt or just served up in sweet, cold chunks.

3. Hydrate Against Heatstroke

Unlike their human besties, dogs often don’t know when to stop, so you’re their number one safeguard for protecting against heat stroke. Doctor Steven Berkowitz told Dogster.com, the online companion to the former Dog Fancy magazine, that “dogs are often too loyal to stop playing with you even if they’re starting to get overheated and tired.”

The key is to make sure your dog drinks often from a source of cool water. Be careful of leaving dishes or other containers of stagnant water out in the heat, as bacteria and insects can become a concern. Instead, consider buying a stainless-steel faucet adapter that can be used outdoors. You can also find filtering pet fountains that are safe for both indoor and outdoor use. Some suggest dogs even prefer drinking from running water more than stagnant water. Savvy pet owners have even hacked a DIY version if you’re looking to cut costs or have a fun project.

No matter what your outdoor activity, watch your pet for any signs that they are overheated, as their health can rapidly deteriorate if not corrected. Dogster.com lists 6 common signs of heat stroke in dogs that you should be on the lookout for.

– Rapid Panting
– Thick/Sticky Saliva
– Bright Red Tongue
– Weakness
– Diarrhea
– Vomiting

Enjoy time outside with your pooch, just make sure to beat the heat with breaks and water. Save longer times of outdoor play for cooler hours in the morning or evening when extended walks or runs are best. Whatever you choose, we hope you savor the season.

The Two Types of Cushing’s Disease: Pituitary Dependent vs. Adrenal Tumor Hyperadrenocorticism

When your dog suffers from Cushing’s disease, also called hyperadrenocorticism in the veterinary world, there are two main causes. The first is a tumor on the pituitary gland, which is termed Pituitary-Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism (PDH). This tumor accounts for about 85% of Cushing’s cases, according to vetinfo.com. The other, less common manifestation of Cushing’s is a tumor on the adrenal gland, referred to as Adrenal Tumor Hyperadrenocorticism (ATH). Both types of tumors produce the same result: elevated levels of cortisol in the dog’s body.

Pituitary Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism

While small dogs of certain breeds are more likely to contract PDH, this is the dominant form of Cushing’s disease. An ultrasound is the best way for a vet to determine that a pituitary tumor is present. Once the diagnosis is made, treatment options may become necessary as symptoms progress. Surgery is an option, though until recently it was considered risky and many vets wouldn’t practice removing a pituitary tumor. Many vets will also prescribe a medication that mimics a chemotherapy drug.

Adrenal Tumor Hyperadrenocorticism

Larger dog breeds more commonly contract ATH. In the case of a tumor on the adrenal gland, surgery is not the most popular recommendation by veterinarians. Vets are more likely to prescribe a chemo drug to shrink the tumor and destroy parts of the adrenal gland.

Other Ways to Address PDH and ATH Symptoms

While both PDH and ATH can be treated through medication, vetinfo.com points out that “medical treatment of Cushing’s disease controls the symptoms but does not address the underlying problem of a pituitary or adrenal gland tumor.” This underlying problem is the overproduction of corticosteroids, which may be addressed in a nutrition-based approach to Cushing’s that many holistic vets are recognizing.

CushAway is a natural supplement that does address the root causes of Cushing’s. CushAway uses three active ingredients that research has shown to block or deplete corticosteroids: phosphatidylserine, melatonin, and HMR lignans. Using a natural supplement to assist in the treatment of Cushing’s poses little to no side effects like surgery or chemo drugs.

Lignans and the Cushing’s Dog

Q. What are lignans and how can they help a dog with Cushing’s disease?

A. As many pet parents choose to take a natural approach to manage Cushing’s disease, certain plant compounds can work to address the root cause of the disease. Many homeopathic remedies used to treat Cushing’s symptoms present only a band-aid to the symptoms and typical pharma treatments involve risky chemotherapy drugs to reduce corticosteroid production. Since Cushing’s is caused by an overproduction of these corticosteroids, it’s important to target the adrenal gland functions that cause these over-secretions. Lignans can do just that.

What are Lignans?

Lignans are a type of polyphenol, a naturally occurring micronutrient found in plants. These compounds work to block two enzymes needed to produce cortisol. Lignans are typically found naturally in seeds, legumes, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and tree bark but their most abundant source is found in flaxseed hulls. A study by the University of Tennessee’s veterinary program found that combining lignans with melatonin can work to lower concentrations of steroids. This is a direct benefit to Cushing’s dogs.

Lignans have been linked to reduced risk of certain hormone-related cancers in humans because of their phytoestrogen qualities. HMR lignans in particular, when used as a supplement can contribute to other health benefits with little to no side effects.

Lignans in CushAway

While many people utilize the lignans found in flaxseed hulls combined with melatonin to block steroid overproduction for dogs suffering with Cushing’s disease, Cush Away combines the superior HMR type lignans from Norwegian spruce knots with melatonin AND phosphatidylserine. These natural elements can be an effective alternative to the costly and side-effect heavy doses of traditional pharmaceuticals used to treat Cushing’s disease and are far more effective than traditional “folk remedies” that only address Cushing’s symptoms but not its cause. Known as a nutraceutical, CushAway uses these naturally-occurring HMR lignans, which provide higher bioavailability than flaxseed hull lignans, combined with melatonin, phosphatidylserine (a naturally-occurring phospholipid), and probiotics to counteract Cushing’s disease at its root cause—the overproduction of corticosteroids. These natural elements combined with a wholefood diet and exercise can work to increase a dog’s overall vitality without a risk of side effects.

Phosphatidylserine for Dogs with Cushing’s Disease

Phosphatidylserine for Dogs:  This powerful natural lipid helps stop the root causes of Cushing’s Disease

When a dog suffers from Cushing’s disease, their normal body function is disrupted. After being diagnosed, the owner can choose several ways to treat the symptoms, though the disease itself has no known permanent cure. Potent chemotherapy drugs are often prescribed, even in the early stages of the disease. These chemicals can help with symptoms, but also carry a wide risk of side effects. Because of these risks, many pet owners are choosing a more natural approach, with supplements that control symptoms and are gentler on a dog’s body.

CushAway is a nutraceutical, or natural supplement that helps combat Cushing’s symptoms at the root cause—corticosteroid overproduction. It uses a combination of three main components: HMR Lignans, Melatonin, and Phosphatidylserine (PS) to help control a dog’s steroid overproduction. While the first two ingredients are more common in nutraceuticals, the addition of Phosphatidylserine to CushAway’s formula is unique. This natural element works complimentary to the lignans and melatonin to halt corticosteroid production.

Phosphatidylserine For Humans

In human studies, Phosphatidylserine has been shown to blunt the production of ACTH, the chemical that signals the adrenal gland to produce corticosteroids. This was shown specifically in people whose bodies were subjected to the stress of sustained exercise. Those who took a supplement of PS regained energy faster and their body showed signs of better handling the stress.

Phosphatidylserine For Dogs

Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid-a compound that allows for easy absorption in the body. PS is also known to increase the absorption and effectiveness of melatonin, which also helps to stop a dog’s overproducing adrenal glands. By reducing the production of ACTH you reduce the production of corticosteroids in a different but complimentary way that the lignans and melatonin work (by interfering with the “ingredients” that the dog’s body uses to make corticosteroids) thus increasing the benefit. For dogs, Phosphatidylserine decreases both the demand for corticosteroids and the dog’s ability to make them.

With three main ingredients working in tandem to reduce or eliminate Cushing’s symptoms, PS is an effective component of the triangle. Combined with a probiotic to increase absorption of each supplement, CushAway offers a natural way to reduce risk and address Cushing’s symptoms at the root of the adrenal problems dog’s face. As more research comes to light, Phosphatidylserine is clearly a natural powerhouse to help reduce the effects of Cushing’s so your dog can move towards a thriving life once again.

Cushing’s and the Science of the Gut

Microbiome

Why does dog gut health matter? Like humans, scientists are finding more and more evidence about the link between a healthy gut and a healthy animal.

The Innovative Veterinary Care Journal defines the microbiome as “the collection of the living microorganisms inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract.” These microorganisms function as wholistic helpers that contribute to everything from brain function to fighting diseases. A gut balanced with these good bacteria can effectively increase immune function and nutrient absorption, control bowel discomfort or deficiencies, help increase thinking and positive moods, and decrease inflammation. With all these benefits, the veterinary community is taking notice.

Why the Gut Matters for a Cushing’s Dog

Gut balance is especially important for Cushing’s dogs. A healthy microbiome helps combat chronic diseases like Cushing’s, and also helps control inflammation. Using a natural supplement combined with probiotics to address Cushing’s symptoms can be very effective for dog gut health. CushAway is one such supplement that utilizes adrenal-suppressing lignans (derived from flax seeds) and melatonin to balance the corticosteroid imbalances of Cushing’s. Taken with these natural supplements, the probiotics work to increase the absorption of the lignans and melatonin, as well as providing all the other benefits of a healthy gut.

Pitfalls of a Processed Diet

Pet owners know that avoiding processed foods in their own diet is the key to long-lasting health. Why should it be any different for your pet? Cushing’s dogs may benefit from a diet free from grain or at least lower in processed foods.

Compounds known as Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), associated with cancer and chronic disease are found in higher concentration in some pet foods than any food for human consumption. The Companion Animal Nutrition and Wellness Institute (CANWI) estimates that some pet foods may contain over 122 times the AGEs found in processed human foods. It’s no wonder a chronic disease like Cushing’s can be affected by these compounds.

The Whole Food Effect

Nutritional management of Cushing’s incorporates this idea using a whole food enriched diet along with the probiotics and natural supplement of lignans and melatonin to block adrenal hormone overproduction. Since a diet of whole foods is known to cut down on inflammation, a common struggle for Cushing’s dogs, it’ important to consider supplementing kibble with fresh, unprocessed ingredients. Yogurt, fruits and vegetables, and even sardines can become part of a life-changing diet for your dog.

Probiotics and Canine Health

Since the canine gut is different than the human gut, dogs should take probiotics with bacterial strains specifically tailored to a dog’s stomach. The overall benefits of a balanced microbiome allow a dog more vitality. For a dog suffering from Cushing’s, the benefits are numerous. Coupled with a natural supplement which is more gentle on the gut than chemo drugs to halt the effects of the disease, a change in diet that fosters dog gut health can be a big step towards regaining a more vibrant lifestyle for your Cushing’s pet.

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.

Addressing Corticosteroid Demands in Your Dog: Stress and Anxiety

Whether your pup gets shivers during a thunderstorm or retreats to the bedroom when company comes, their body is reacting to fear, releasing a physical and emotional response. Stress and anxiety in dogs can increase their corticosteroid production. For a dog with Cushing’s, the fight or flight mechanism at work in them will complicate corticosteroid production even more. Keeping your dog calm and as stress-free as possible is a big part of treating this condition.

Cushing’s disease in dogs is caused by an overproduction of Corticosteroids. The more your dog is under the constant stimulus of anxiety, the more their body will produce these steroids, creating a vicious cycle for a Cushing’s pet. Identifying the symptoms of an anxious dog is the first step. You know your pooch best, so watch for any unusual actions then address what seems to trigger symptoms of anxiety. Then, you can help your dog overcome and treat their stress, leading to better overall health for your pet.

Types of Anxiety in Dogs

Anxiety and stress are a response caused by fear. Vets have identified three major types of anxiety in dogs. The first is separation anxiety. A common condition for pets whose owner has switched routines, the stress of being alone can be difficult for social creatures like dogs. Depending on the severity of the reaction, conditioning and rewards can be used to overcome this stressor.

Another stimulus that causes dogs anxiety is noise. Many dogs get anxious during thunderstorms or are triggered by loud noises in the home. Dogs with this kind of anxiety will seek to feel safe and release this tension when this stimulus occurs.

Social anxiety can also plague dogs. For some pets that were not properly socialized from 6-12 weeks old, being around other dogs or people can cause symptoms of aggression or withdrawal.

Separation Anxiety

Several factors can contribute to a dog suffering from separation anxiety. Dogs with a past of neglect or abuse that come from shelters have the highest likelihood of this stress. However, certain breeds are also more susceptible to this condition. Organic Pet Digest lists the following breeds from Valerie O’Farrell’s Manual of Canine Behavior: Poodles, Cocker spaniels, Yorkshire terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Rottweilers, Alsatians, Scottish Cairn terriers, West Highland white terriers, Chihuahuas, and Pekingese.

Dogs with separation anxiety can show extreme behaviors when their owner leaves the house. These may include excessive barking, chewing, self-mutilation like biting and licking, urinary or bowel accidents, and even aggression towards their pet parent. In some cases, a behavioral specialist must get involved with the help of your vet to break these destructive behaviors. However, many dogs can benefit from a few changes that help them associate separation with pleasant feelings. Toys that can be stuffed with food give a dog the reward of a treat while stimulating play. Special crates or beds prepared when an owner leaves the house can also help. Many vets suggest employing special toys or treats only when you leave so they are seen as a reward.

Noise Anxiety in Dogs

It’s not certain exactly why loud noises cause fear in dogs, however, this anxiety can be triggered by a vacuum, fireworks, thunderstorms, or other sudden and piercing noises. A dog suddenly cowering, urinating, shaking, or even self-mutilation at the onset of a noise is likely showing symptoms of noise-induced anxiety.

While this may seem like an easy problem to fix, it is crucial to identify and resolve this stress once noted, as it can become worse over time if not addressed. Experts suggest you remain calm but not rush to a dog’s side. They also recommend not subjecting an animal to their feared noise if it can be helped. A doggy who doesn’t like noise probably shouldn’t be at the park on the 4th of July, no matter how badly you want to show off their red white and blue necktie.

Holistic treatments for noise anxiety consist of music created specifically for dogs, clothing that helps insulate their bodies, and even herbal therapies. Extreme cases may require anti-anxiety medication as a last resort.

Social Anxiety in Dogs

If a dog has not had proper time to be socialized as a puppy, chances are they will have trouble as mature adults. Socially anxious dogs tend to react with either aggression or timidity in social situations. If faced with another pet or people besides the owner, the dog may cower or withdraw, or they may begin to growl and gnash their teeth.

To treat this anxiety, vets recommend desensitizing the dog to other company slowly and on their terms. If the problem is with other dogs, introduce your pet to one new dog at a time. With humans, allow the dog to become curious and meet the visitors on their own terms, again, one at a time if possible.

Other Reasons for Anxiety in Your Dog

There are certainly other stimuli that may lead to an anxious dog. Medical conditions can contribute to anxiety as well as diet. Pet MD says, “Providing your dog with a diet that is not properly balanced for his or her life stage and lifestyle may cause unforeseen repercussions that may lead to anxiety and stress.” Keeping your pooch fed with whole food additions to kibble can lead to a dog that’s more healthy and happy. Research suggests that the gut acts as a second brain, strongly affecting mood. Dogs may also benefit from probiotics that increase the good bacteria needed for healthy digestion.

Reducing anxiety in your dog will lead to a higher quality of life for your pet. Know what causes your pet stress and make a plan to treat it.

Addressing Corticosteroid Demands in Your Dog: Inflammation

Inflammation in dogs is a varied symptom that can be hard to pinpoint. As a pet parent caring for a dog with Cushing’s disease, inflammation is another factor that can add to your pup’s discomfort. Although we typically think of inflammation in the muscles and joints, it can occur in other parts of the body both internally and externally. If inflammation persists, it can compound symptoms of Cushing’s. Finding the root cause and managing a dog’s inflammation can help minimalize the effects of Cushing’s disease as well.

Inflammation Causes

Inflammation is the body’s response to a problem in order to protect and heal. It is an immune response triggered to protect the body from toxins and to repair damaged tissue. The response in dogs is similar to what happens in a human: chemicals released in the body cause blood vessels to leak at the site of the trauma, whether a foreign invader or an injury. This leads to redness and swelling in the affected tissues.

External inflammation can be detected in a dog’s movement or by the telltale red and swollen skin in the inflamed area. Internal inflammation can be harder to pin down without examinations and testing, as it can affect tissue in different body systems. When inflammation becomes chronic (continuing over a long period of time), it can be damaging and even life-threatening to your pet.

Look for these signs to identify inflammation in your dog:

– Localized redness
– Rigid limbs
– Swellings
– Awkward gait
– Reluctance to rise
– Muscle spasms
– Depression
– Diarrhea
– Vomiting
– Unusual vocalizations
– Loss of appetite

List compiled from wagwalking.com

Inflammation in Cushing’s Dogs

Inflammation causes problems for dogs suffering with Cushing’s disease because it creates a vicious cycle. Cushing’s is caused by an overabundance of cortisone and cortisol, the corticosteroids that a dog’s body naturally produces to treat inflammation. If an older dog suffers from hip dysplasia or worn joints accompanied by inflammation, this triggers more corticosteroid production which will in turn compound Cushing’s symptoms. The key is to treat inflammation in your dog to reduce the demand to produce these steroids.

Reducing Inflammation

One way to cut down on a dog’s inflammation is through diet. When your dog maintains a healthy weight and a diet low in processed grains, inflammation is naturally reduced. Part of the reason for this comes down to fats. Omega-6 fatty acids, the kind found in typical processed diets contribute to inflammation while omega-3 fats have the opposite effect. Salmon is famous for omega-3’s, but plenty of other fresh foods can be a source of this good fat. Sardines and eggs both have a high concentration of omega-3. For more information on an omega-3 rich diet, read our blog about the benefits of giving your pet whole food additions to kibble.

A routine of regular exercise can also help manage your dog’s inflammation and maintain a healthy weight in your pet. Exercise can help prevent systemic inflammation because it continually works areas prone to inflammatory conditions. However, exercising an area already inflamed needs to be done with caution. If your dog is suffering with inflammation, it is best to treat integrate exercise slowly and with increased rigor over a period of time once you’ve identified the root cause.

Medications and natural supplements can be used to treat inflammation. Steroids are one option provided by vets. However, as previously mentioned, this is not a good idea for dogs suffering with Cushing’s because an overproduction of steroids is the main cause of disease. Non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be prescribed as well. However, many pet owners balk at the list of side effects that also include joint damage, a common reason for inflammation. Herbal supplements are recommended by some as a natural alternative. Ginger, turmeric, and licorice are a few of the natural remedies touted by holistic vets and pet parents.

The best way you can identify if your pet is suffering from inflammation is to keep an eye on their day to day activity. Cushing’s dogs can show lower levels of energy and inflammation will add to this. Reducing your dog’s inflammation can help lessen the effects of Cushing’s at its root cause.