January 2012 Pet Health News                                                                                   Can't Read This? Go Here
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Hello there pet lover,

Is your pet getting the proper nutrients that its body requires? And did you know that simply owning a pet has several health advantages?

A brand new year is upon us, so read on to find out the lastest in health news heading forward!

If you have any comments, questions or concerns, feel free to email us at: newsletters@crittercures.com

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Does Having a Pet Make You Physically Healthier?

Dog being social with another dog

While the psychological positives behind owning a pet are considered pretty standard, medical research is starting to emerge that is indicating that having a pet may actually physically affect your body, making it healthier, and otherwise contributing to longevity.

A recent report on CNN referenced a study conducted by Dr. Karen Allen of the State of University of New York at Buffallo looked at 48 stock brokers with hypertension. Half the candidates adopted a cat or dog at the beginning of the study; half did not. At the end of the testing period, stress tests showed that the individuals with no pet in their lives as being twice as stressed.

This report also cited Dr. Lynette Heart, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. "Studies have shown that Alzheimer's (disease) patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home," she said.

Having pet can transition a person’s from the wholly introspective to the dynamics of companionship. Periods of introspective dwelling on some problem (real or imagined) are cut short by activities or attention involving the pet.

The findings of this study seem to be especially true for the elderly, who often times live alone, but everyone is a potential beneficiary. Nursing homes have noticed that having an animal present brings about a positive mental state in many of the residents. Dogs work especially well in this role, as their enthusiasm and general excitement with life seem to go over better with strangers than cats, but it is not to say that cats cannot be used for the same purpose.

It is important to note that these findings do not necessarily mean everyone should simply run out and purchase a pet. Animals require time and expense. Also, people with allergies to pets may find that the adverse effects outweigh the positive.

Another reason to have a pet, which is more relevant to families, is that studies have shown that, contrary to popular opinion, having an animal with fur does not lead to an increase in the chance of developing an allergy in children. In fact, it is the opposite: children who grow up in households with animals which have fur show a decreased chance of developing pet allergies.

Finally, it is worth noting that pets are an excellent way to meet people, especially if you have a dog. Walking your dog will have you interacting with other (dog) walkers, and human interaction, as opposed to sitting around alone, is usually good for the human body, be it physical or mental.

The Truth Behind Enzyme Depletion

pets in your bed

What is an enzyme? An enzyme is a protein which increases the rate of chemical reaction, otherwise known as a catalyst. In other words, an enzyme is a biological middle man whose role is to expedite whatever process is occurring.

Almost every raw, fresh food—whether it is from a plant or animal source—contains enzymes. They are everywhere, and they are important. Enzymes are responsible for, but certainly not limited to the following list of bodily functions:

  • Supports the immune system
  • Aids in the absorption of vitamins
  • Promotes normal body weight without hunger cravings
  • Helps support healthy teeth and gums
  • Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Removes toxins
  • Provides energy
  • And more!

The two main types of enzymes most important to your pet’s well-being are metabolic and digestive enzymes. Metabolic enzymes function by helping to carry out the critical bodily function of building and maintaining cells, tissue, and organs. Digestive enzymes work in the stomach and intestines to break down the food your pet eats. The four digestive enzymes are protease, amylase, lipase, and cellulase.

While enzymes are very abundant, they are also very fragile. Free radicals produced during periods of intense activity, and even normal cell activity can eliminate enzymes. In addition, air pollutants, smoke, excessive UV rays from sunshine, and medications can also eliminate enzymes.

A deficiency or imbalance in one or more enzymes can lead to commonly-seen symptoms like food sensitivities and occasional abdominal discomfort, gas, bad breath, and vomiting. Dr. Becker, a holistic veterinarian, recognizes that a lack of enzymes is a major factory in less-than-optimal health.

Because many pet owners do not considers their pet’s ancestral diet, often times they are unwittingly feeding their pet foods which their naturally occurring enzymes cannot digest, or foods which introduce (evolutionally) foreign enzymes into the equation. In fact, 30 years of scientific study has confirmed that the natural diet of both cats and dogs does not contain grains or seeds (unless pre-digested by their pray.) In other words, your pet has probably not evolved to eat the type of diet that many pet food manufacturers produce.

The fickle nature of enzymes is such that, even if a manufacturer adds an enzyme, they often break down when exposed to air, light, and the processing methods needed for long shelf life. Consequently, the enzymes required for healthy body function are often times not found.

Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats, Dr. Karen Becker asserts that the best way to get your pet the vital enzymes that it needs is to introduce raw foods into your pet’s diet. After all, unless

one is preparing it, one does not really know what is going into their pet’s meals. Raw foods, as we discussed, are unadulterated and so have the highest concentration of enzymes. Keep in mind that cats and dogs are both, by nature, carnivores and predators. Switching back to a diet high in raw meats, in terms of their biology, should be a welcome change.

Take a good look at your pet’s behavior, and if it seems to be experiencing any of the digestive or general malaise issues described above, try checking on its diet to see if any of the main ingredients stand in stark contrast to what is biologically ideal for your pet specifically—if so, try changing some ingredients so as to give your friend the enzymes it requires.