110: Dr. Karen Becker – Ultimate Pet Health: Vaccines, Supplements, & Oral Care (Part 2 of 2)

hello and welcome to the ultimate health podcast episode 110 Jesse Chavez here with Marnie Wasserman and we are here to take your health to the next level today our featured guest is back for round 2 from last week dr. Karen Becker and I hope you guys love that first episode the feedback we've been getting has been fantastic and this time we're gonna dig into vaccines supplements oral care for your pets and you don't have to go and listen the first one first you can do it flip-flop start here but be sure to go back and listen to episode 109 ultimate health podcast.com slash 109 afterwards so you get that full circle understanding a holistic pet care dr. Karen Becker is the best of the best when it comes to these subjects and you guys are in for an awesome chat here so dr. Karen Becker a proactive and integrative wellness vet her approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles before disease occurs Karen works with dr. Mercola providing cutting-edge holistic pet information over on his website healthy pets so a couple little things we want to cover here before we get into some of the topics covered on today's show and I'm gonna let Marnie jump in so what we're asking you guys to do today is share our podcast with a friends a family member a colleague someone that's important to you that you know will benefit from listening to these podcasts there's so much goodness in here we cover so many topics a regular listeners you guys know the variety of people we've had on the shows and all the different subjects we've covered so share it with someone that just means the world to us that just means we're spreading our message so go ahead and do that right now now I'm gonna give a shout out to our show sponsor somewhere and I've got a little fun tip for you guys for the summer so what you can do is you can blend up some some water with some water or a nut milk coconut milk hemp milk put that into ice cube trays and you can use that as ice you can have protein packed ice cubes for your smoothie what a fun way to add some thickness some coolness and your protein in a new way so try it with any of the Sun warrior blends you can maybe do that on top of the scoop that you add into your smoothie or you can just use some cubes as your protein change things up try something new and have fun with it and stay cool so as listeners to the show you guys get 10% off all your Sunwarrior products really easy to do just go to ultimate health podcast.com slash SW and for listeners in the US and Canada you guys can bundle your order together if you spend $100 or more you get free shipping amazing products really great deal go and take advantage now so now just to highlight a couple of the topics that we get into with dr. karin becker as we get into so many good things yet again so one thing we get into is coconut oil and the healthy fat that it provides for both dogs and cats goji loves coconut oil it is such a brilliant fat for dog so you got to try that one out and knowing the source of where your dog's bones and shoes come from and finding some healthy options Karen's got some good feedback on that and the importance of brushing your pets teeth and some tips on how to get started today we get into the controversial subject of vaccines and the basics to ask your vet before that syringe comes out we talked about supplementation and how if the diet is right typically animals don't need any supplements and for those aging pets we also get into some supplements to support their joint health so so much in this one you guys are gonna get so much out of it and again if you haven't list in the first episode 109 be sure to go back after and listen that one as well to get the full comprehensive overview of holistic pet care so it's time now without further ado let's get into things with dr. Karen Becker hello Karen and welcome back to the podcast how's it going hey it's going great thanks for having me again we're excited to have you again there's so much to talk about in the realm of pet health and wine episode was not enough well we do we have some great topics lined up this time around and I'm and I agree there's always there's always more that we can discuss and learn but I think getting the basics downs for your viewers and listeners I think is really an important thing so good idea to make sure we're covering that the biggies when it comes to making sure we're making wise decisions for our pets yes and speaking of Biggie's we're gonna jump right into vaccinations on this one so let's just get into it let's talk about what you recommend backs nation wise versus conventional protocols and how that differs yeah it's a great question and honestly besides nutrition vaccines are the most hotly debated topic in veterinary medicine right now it's it's a very heated passionate debate and I'll be honest my viewpoint is is a little bit darkened because I do believe that vaccines are many veterinarians bread and butter that the annual vaccine protocol that package that a lot of conventional veterinarians really want to sell owners on that's a that can be up to 20 to 30 percent of a practices revenue is vaccine so when you think about removing a third of your revenue coming in with any business that's it that's a chunk but I will tell you my approach is common-sense medicine vaccines last a lifetime for dogs for parvo distemper an adenovirus those core vaccines they don't wear off so when you get that postcard from your veterinarian that says you know your dogs do for spring annual wellness vaccines the vaccines that your vet gave last year didn't magically disappear on December 31st at midnight those vaccines don't work like a gas tank where they're they become lower and then pretty soon really low and then oh my goodness you're out of vaccine it doesn't work that way the immune system is brilliant for mammals and it will maintain protective immunity for a lifetime for parvo distemper nanovirus so it's interesting because myself and many wellness veterinarians believe that over vaccinations can be a problem for dogs and part of that reason is that dogs have a huge differentiation and size range so we have I have several three-pound your keys and my practice full-grown dogs at three pounds that's like the size of a guinea pig but I also have lots of Mastiffs and Great Danes so the spectrum ranges from two and a half pounds to 250 pounds but the frustration is we give all dogs the same dose of vaccine so the 250 pound dog gets one cc of parvo distemper adenovirus per influenza left all chronal I'm Burnet Ella and a rabies and the two and a half pound dog gets the exact same doses of vaccines which is a lot of vaccines for the smaller animals what we know to be true is that because the goal of vaccinations is to intentionally stimulate the immune system and why we want that to happen is that when we stimulate the immune system the immune system responds by producing antibodies to the antigens we inject in and then those circulating antibodies will remain in the dog system for the rest of its life so if the virus is encountered in real time the body is adequately prepared to mount a functional immune response that's the whole premise of vaccine but the downside is to that is that if we're intentionally stimulating immune system that is already protected against those viruses we can't quote-unquote boost an already protected immune system so what we can do through over vaccinations when your veterinarian sends you that postcard or that email every year year after years so it doesn't matter if you're two-and-a-half pound dog is 14 15 16 17 most conventional veterinarians are going to suggest to you that you could be a bad owner by not continuing to get an additional vaccines what can happen is you can push that animal into autoimmune disease which means an over stimulating immune system or an immune system that begins to become so confused and so amped up that it can attack itself an autoimmune disease is an unfortunate but common sequelae – too many vaccines going into a dog's body so you asked what's my viewpoint on a vaccine my viewpoint is this we know that as I mentioned one well-timed puppy vaccine and what I mean even by one well-timed puppy vaccine is that Ronald Schultz who heads up immunology department at the UW Medicine vet school probably not only one of the most brilliant and you know just of our time but he's the guy that's that's really he's the guy that everyone looks to as the vaccine expert to set the vaccine protocols and standards in veterinary medicine he's the man that said puppies vaccinated when maternal antibodies gone which means after they nurse from mama and they got colostrum when that colostrum is out of their system we know that they're open for potential disease and so that would be a good time to a prevent them from being exposed to potential infectious situations like no dog parks or no woods until they have received a puppy vaccine but vaccinating a puppy at ten at between 10 and 16 weeks and some veterinarians will do one more quote unquote booster shot to four weeks later those one two – well time vaccines have the potential to help a puppy become protected for life and how I checked to make sure the puppies are protected for life is a blood test called a titer so a titer is a blood draw that measures how much protective immunity remains in that puppy system and what dr. Shultz suggests is that two to four weeks after that last puppy shot usually coming in around 16 weeks of age if you do a titer blood draw two to four weeks after that and if the puppy shows protection then they are protected for life so what that means is you never have to give a parvo aDNA virus or distemper vaccine ever again not only will you save thousands of dollars of unnecessary vaccines that you just don't have to give more importantly in my opinion as a doctor you're protecting and preserving your dog's immune system the same is true of kitties different viruses but all that to say I am a huge advocate of responsible vaccinations which means of course I want dogs to be protected against disease of course we want to make sure that your dogs are capable of mounting and effective immune response if they encounter these life-threatening viruses but there's a big difference between being protected from vaccine and being toxic with over vaccinations so as a common-sense veterinarian I would tell you that if you have gone in every year and you followed your veterinarians instructions a year after year this can be a real blow this can be a hard one to hear because you end up saying well my gosh why would my veterinarian tell me to do this yeah I just dropped 250 bucks last month on a bunch of vaccines and you're telling me that they're unnecessary well the conventional veterinarian will say you know we don't know exactly how long in your dog's body those vaccines may last so if that's your veterinarians response you can ask your veterinarian to perform this blood test called a titer which will check and make sure your dog is protected and of course at my practice this is the deal I have of my clients some veterinarians that are skeptical or haven't heard about a titer or they just are nervous here's the deal I make with my clients I say listen I firmly believe that your dog is protected but I will I will give you this let's do a titer and if your dog requires boosters if your dog is not protected I will boost for free and do you know guys in my 18 years of offering this deal I have never boosted a dog for free I would if their titers came back unprotected of course I would say oh my goodness your dog isn't protected let's um come on in and I'll give you that free distemper booster as I promised but I've never I've never had to do that because I've never had a dog natural protection so all that to say I'm an advocate of common-sense vaccine so of course we want the dogs to be protected against disease but we don't want them to be toxic now rabies rabies vaccine is the only vaccine required by law sometimes I have clients say but my veterinarian tells me I have to vaccinate my dog for parvo in December veterinarians may have clinic policies but those are not state laws so the only required vaccine by law that's required in all 50 states is the rabies vaccine so let's talk let's spend a few minutes talking about the rabies vaccine because it can be confusing to Karen I just want to interrupt briefly before we move on I've read and come across some information online in the alternative health world about splitting apart some of these vaccines because I know a lot of them are given in tandem so they'll give a couple of them together in one injection what are your thoughts on that is that something we should look for yep so and that's a great question so most integrative veterinarians including myself we we have single vaccines which means we have parvo by itself distemper and add no come together and that's a whole lot easier for the immune system to process a singular parvo shot rather than what we call a combination vaccine most veterinarians will say to you listen um I could order you a singular parvo however I have in my fridge right now a combination of parvo virus adenovirus distemper virus parainfluenza as well as corona I have all those viruses that we can put together in one syringe and give to your dog and although that seems like a good deal if you don't understand the immune system it's like oh I'm getting you know kind of five and one which is a whole lot maybe cheaper than if I bought them separately but we do know that that there could be more immuno logic confusion the more viruses or adjutants that are added to that syringe so I do believe that splitting up vaccines is a really great idea especially if you don't know when maternal antibody wore off so we could spend this entire hour going into the details of what that means and I would be happy to do that but basically what that means is this if you don't know exists you can't look at a puppy and see when that puppy's innate immune system is going to pick up the slack so when puppies nurse from their mamas and they get colostrum that colostrum is the puppy's first immune system so and tell their little immune systems start kicking in until their thymus gland starts working and they start producing T and B cells until their immune system grows up a little bit they rely on colostrum to protect them from external potential infectious insults so what that means is at some point between seven and sixteen weeks of age colostrum goes away and those little delicate immune systems are left naive and literally just out there which means their potential for acquiring life-threatening viruses is high so because we can't look at a puppy and say all my goodness you have no more maternal antibody you are at high risk for acquiring parvo virus right now what veterinarians do and the thought was 50 years ago what is okay we know that about between you know 6 and 12 weeks maternal antibodies gonna go let's start giving combination vaccines at 6 weeks of age and when I worked at the Humane Society 20 years ago we gave parvo distemper adenovirus parent ones are in corona we gave it every two weeks starting at 6 weeks so we gave a 5 week combination vaccine at 6 8 10 12 14 and 16 weeks that is a tremendous amount of vaccine now what's interesting is the very first practice I ever worked out when I graduated different vet school in Chicago they also follow that same protocol they recommended puppy shots at 6 8 10 12 14 16 weeks that's a whole lot of puppy shots that's over 30 different viruses ultimately being injected into that 2 or 3 pound puppy that's a tremendous vaccine load so if you're if you're very conventional veterinarian is very Pro is very Pro vaccine then absolutely great question Jesse insist on individual vaccines if you're going to have five of them look them up a more practical approach is to give a singular partl and maybe a sting a singular distemper ad know a week or two later so you can watch the body's immune system or you can watch your puppy and make sure that there's not an adverse event associated with that particular vaccine so for instance the most reactive vaccines on the market are lepto and Lyme vaccine and I would never recommend first of all I don't recommend those vaccines at all they're not part of the core vaccine group those are extra vaccines that many veterinarians kind of push and oftentimes there's a lot of fear associated you know oh my gosh your dog can be exposed to Lyme your dog can be exposed to lepto those two vaccines have the highest rate of reaction so what I don't recommend is if you are not going to titer and if you are still going to continue giving those five quote-unquote annual booster shots to your dog I don't recommend that on that same day that you give a five-way vaccine plus a lepto plus a lime plus a rabies that is a high high high potential for a major immune system crisis does that make sense yes for sure and let's have you go into rabies now I know that's what you're gonna get yeah yes so rabies is the only vaccine required by law and I keep stressing that because I cannot tell you the number of people that say they may know my vet demands my vet says it's law I have to get this five-way vaccine there is no law demanding in any state there's no law demanding parvo and distemper so I just want to clarify that right up off the bat rabies is the only state mandated vaccine now there's a one-year rabies and a three-year abies and they're the exact same product they are so the product is them it's in the vial is identical one is labeled for three years which means we can write a through your certificate and we can give you a three year tag the other is a one year veterinarians after the dog has become an adult so after a year of age you have the choice between a one-year three year rabies vaccine and of course knowing that they're the exact same product I will encourage you everyone listening to ask for the three year rabies because in essence you're able to bypass two unnecessary additional rabies vaccines so a lot of people say I had no idea there was a three year and I think part of the reason a lot of pet parents don't know that there's a three arabia's vaccine is a lot of veterinarians don't carry the three d rabies because we make a whole lot more money selling to one your product right if you come in drop 40 bucks every year for three years that's a whole lot more money in my pocket than giving one vaccine and not seeing you for three more years so frustratingly a lot of veterinarians don't offer the three year product and this is when you can just have a really frank honest lovely conversation with your local vet and say hey listen I know that there's a three year product I also know that there's a thimerosal free product we'll talk about that in a minute I know that there are some less toxic vaccines out there and I was wondering if you could please I know maybe you don't have it the fridge would you consider it or ordering it for me and that's a really good conversation to have so what I mean by adjuvant are that there are it without within every vial of vaccine there has to be something that stimulates the immune system and the immune system of dogs and cats is brilliant it's actually really hard to trick a dog or cat immune system so injecting just a modified live virus into an immune system would the immune system recognizes that it's inactivated and so it's not going to mount a healthy immune response producing antibodies that will count later on so included with every vaccine is an adjuvant and an adjuvant is a substance usually a heavy metal in veterinary medicine we use mercury in aluminum which is included in that one CC that we inject into dogs and cats and we use that heavy metal in in the vaccine to prompt the immune system reaction so of course common sense would tell you if you're injecting a cc of heavy metal there your immune system is going to do something it certainly will prompt an immune system reaction but as you can imagine long term common sense would tell you injecting a cc of heavy metals into your pets annually may not be the best idea for long-term health and that's a very logical and correct conclusion so that being said thank goodness menu vaccine manufacturers some of them have recognized that dogs have pretty good reactions to them aerosol which is mercury and there are vaccines now available that are less attenuated or less to have less ad units included and one of them is the thimerosal free option for rabies so the safest rabies option you can ask for is the thimerosal free three-year rabies and would be my suggestion for everyone who is being law-abiding citizens and getting their rabies vaccines as demanded by the state the safest thing you can do for your pet is to request the three-year thimerosal free now all that to say pertaining to every situation and vaccine it says right on the health certificate and it says right in the veterinary ethics and standards when we know that when it comes to standard of care that dogs and cats have to be healthy to receive any vaccine and I really want your listening audience to get this my definition of health is not having cancer not having autoimmune disease and not having an immune system overreaction so if you if you have a dog that has a fever that has kidney failure that has cancer that has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease those are all situations that are not ideally related to health which means those are all situations where pets should not be vaccinated and probably might the biggest pet peeve I have with my conventional peers is that you'll bring a dog in with a fever that's throwing up lethargic not feeling well maybe the bloodwork shows that the kidney and liver enzymes are elevated and the veterinarian vaccinates those dogs and the last thing those dogs need when they're not feeling well sick is to be vaccinated so just to remind everyone listening that if you do opt for vaccines instead of titers make sure that you're you are incredibly convinced that you have a thriving vibrant pet before you would ever consider vaccinating them and if your dog or cat is dealing with any of the health conditions I just previously listed I would absolutely say to your veterinarian hey I thought you weren't supposed to vaccinate a sick dog or a dog that's fighting cancer and you're not will say oh yeah yeah yeah you know maybe maybe we should wait on that veterinarians sometimes fall into habitual habits where we just see on the computer that says that your dog's overdue for vaccine and we'll just automatically give it it's important that you remind your veterinarian if your dog or cat is not thriving that in my opinion that means that they're they're not a that's really they're not a medical candidate for vaccine and so just remember to remind your veterinarian of that fact it's common sense in a sense and it's you know when we look at our own health we to take responsibility and make those choices and we need to do the same for our pets because you don't want to put them in any compromised stakes unfortunately the repercussions of that as you're saying can be extremely detrimental you can probably age your pet or potentially harmful kill your pet yoga yeah you and you can and you know I can't tell you the countless hor I mean I really do I have countless horror stories where owners believe that their veterinarian would just automatically know hey you know my gosh my dog was just vaccinated or was just diagnosed with lymphoma so I'm going in my dog has huge left nodes just got the cancer diagnosis and oh my gosh they took the dog in the back room to do some blood work and they vaccinated them without my without my consent and they thought they were doing me a favor but the last thing I would ever do for my dog that was freshly diagnosed with cancer last thing I would ever do is vaccinate it can be incredibly not only frustrating but it can do irreparable damage to your pets immune system if you are not advocating for them so I just make this general reminder to all my clients most people listening are not partnered with a proactive wellness vet unfortunately there's just not that many of us out there what that means is you will have to train your very conventional veterinarian about what your needs and wants are as a proactive educated advocated pet parent so that means that you are ultimately going to advocate for the dog or cat you're taking in which means you're gonna remind them at the front this hey I want to titer today not a vaccine hey it's important to me that we check for parasites with a fecal exam before we automatically do worm hey I recognize that you want to give antibiotics for this viral infection but antibiotics only only address bacteria why are we giving it for a violent viral infection hey my dog has a skin infection is there a way we can treat it topically and that's with systemic drug therapy hey I'm interested in looking at some alternatives some more natural alternatives for allergies versus using steroids if owners aren't able to have those consistent conversations with their veterinarians they may end up finding themselves in situations where the veterinarian is making the decision for them and it's not the decision that they ultimately would have made Karen before we leave vaccines is there anything else you want to elaborate on I'm not sure if you were done talking about the rabies vaccine so I think I mean I think that those are the really big points tighter for parvo and distemper get the 3-year thimerosal free rabies never vaccinate a sick animal I may think those are the really big things that clients pet parents the pet owners need to be thinking about do you need to be very well armed with a really excellent knowledge base of information when you start having this this vaccine discussion because many veterinarians especially god bless and especially the older guys I can't tell you how many 65 year old male veterinarians call me and say you know and modern age we didn't have arguments from you from young women like you and God bless them I get it but you need to go in pretty pretty well armed with enough knowledge that you can hold your own in a conversation and if you go in with this information there it's nothing what I've just presented to you that's all fact there's not much you can argue with but you need to have the base education and knowledge should be able to ask the right questions so I think that that gives your listeners the basics of what they need to be asking before the syringe comes out a really good foundation especially for anyone listening that's going to be a new puppy owners and that's in a really good position right now to make this choice as early on you got it let's move into supplements huge area for pets and I know on Ricola comm there's lots of lots of supplements and there's a lot out there however it can also be very overwhelming what do you add in addition to a good clean diet which we did talk about in the first episode Jesse and I we use fish oils we use a little bit of turmeric for goji we don't add too much else there's one other product I don't know if you know about from health force Nutritionals to green mush it's a green powder we sprinkle that under food what's necessary what's not great questions so my opinion is about supplements is just like dr. Mercola which is if you are eating right you don't need any most of the time if you have a healthy young thriving body and if you're nourishing your body correctly you don't need supplements now as we age sometimes we sometimes are a scavenging potential isn't up to par so we add an antioxidants sometimes as we age we end up with some inflammation that creates pain so you end up on things like tumeric natural anti-inflammatories to help manage or mediate the inflammatory response in the body but young healthy animals being nourished appropriately in my opinion don't need anything besides good whole clean species-appropriate food now great question Barney because that being said 95% of dogs and cats I see out there are not eating biologically appropriate nutritionally balanced according to the ancestral diet fresh whole food diets the majority of dogs and cats out there aren't being nourished the way nature intended so what that means is that there are some nutritional holes so number one if you're feeding your dog correctly in my opinion which takes time money and energy you don't need supplements however if you are feeding even the very best dry food on the market dry foods are convenient and they're very very simple you know you pop them in the pantry and you just take a scoop out and dump it in the bowl very convenient but they're not going to provide the spectrum of nutrition that your dog or cat needs to thrive throughout their lifetime and that's when supplements can be really beneficial so if all you can afford is to feed dry food we talked last time how we're not bashing you we're not criticizing you if that's all you can do and if you people feed dry food for two reasons they don't know any better or they can't afford to do better and if you can't afford to do better you're off the hook but then you have to recognize that dry foods part of the reason that synthetic vitamins and minerals are sprayed on dry foods after the extrusion process is that dry foods have been baked at such high temperatures that the nutrition is radically removed so dry food is devoid of really important nutrition so we do spray a synthetic vitamin mineral mix back on the kibble when it's done many of you out there probably have the same viewpoints about synthetic nutrients that I do if you're going to eat synthetics you better darn well make sure they're not coming from China the majority of synthetics Affco premixes are coming from China in the pet food industry unfortunately so if you are feeding synthetics you need to be concerned about absorption digestion country of origin and then how they're interacting in the body we also need to be concerned once foods have been extruded which means dry food all of those really fragile omega-3 fatty acids that are really important for brain health ocular health immunologic health manage inflammation in the body they're gone so above about 115 degrees omega-3 fatty acids those those fish oils that dogs and cats need for optimal health are gone so if you're feeding dry food my common-sense approaches add those fish oils back in right before feeding so when you put the scoop of dry food in the bowl a really wise idea to put some when I say marine oils that you can use squid oil tuna oil anchovy oil krill oil doesn't matter what type of oil but we will tell you to make sure that you've investigated the company to make sure it's heavy-metal PCB and toxin free so make sure that your fish oil is not rancid which means it's super fresh that means you're probably either puncturing it from a capsule or using an airless pump pour on fish oils are not my favorite because research shows that oxidation occurs within 30 days of you cracking the lid but adding in a source of a mega of marine-based omega-3 fatty acids for dogs and cats is a great idea second thing if you're feeding an entirely processed diet like canned food or dry food would be probiotics probiotics or those beneficial good bacteria that help reseed the gut and create a really balanced microbiome which we know helps not only improves digestion and absorption but really is now we're recognizing playing into immunologic health for dogs and cats the third thing that would be a really good common-sense idea if you're feeding an entirely processed diet is digestive enzymes so we know the ducks and cats are meant to get about 50% of their enzyme requirement from the foods that they ate which means if you listen to the last segment that dogs and cats ideally we're meant to eat a fresh food diet so up until 100 years ago dogs and cats ate fresh food diets and then we really convinced you to really the only safe option erroneously sadly we've convinced veterinarians that you should be in an entirely processed diet for your animals whole life and this last hundred years we've really done a switcheroo on people's concepts of what dogs and cats should be eating and the average North American bought into our philosophy and feeds an entirely processed diet to their dogs and cats and if you are one of them listening than adding omega-3 fatty acids probiotics and digestive enzymes is a great idea if you're reading a fresh food diet which we discussed last time in pretty good detail you don't necessarily need to be adding in enzymes because your dog or cat getting those enzymes free in their fresh food but we know that enzymes which are critical for digestive processes but also really important for overall metabolic health inside the body they're only present in foods that have not been processed so if you're feeding processed food adding those three supplements in or a good or a great idea now that's for healthy young thriving bodies as dogs and cats age they are prone to joint inflammation arthritis maybe some aches and pains and then of course you can use natural things like tumeric or Kirk to help manage implement sometimes as pets age joints start to hurt and so you can put them on a category of supplements that I call condo protective agents or joint support things like eggshell membrane or MSM glucosamine Poorna muscle which is green lipped clam all things that provide natural sources of glycosaminoglycans that's a fancy word for glucosamine which help nourish and support cartilage so as animals age if you're finding that your dog or cat is you know a little stiff getting up in the morning after they play during the day they're a little algae at night you can use both a counter protective agent and you can use you know those omega-3 fatty acids as well as some tumeric to help manage joint pain inflammation stiffness or low-grade inflammatory responses in the body so I'm a big believer in supplying supplement wise what you see your dog or cat needing so if you have a dog or cat with a quote-unquote sensitive tummy adding in probiotics and enzymes are a great idea if you have a dog or cat that's stiff adding some natural joint support anti-inflammatories is a really great idea I totally agree with you Marnie is the supplement categories overwhelming and I also have a category of my clients that read about every supplement on the market and go down that path of wanting to supply a 60 supplements for their dog or cat and what I tell my clients is boy if you add up all the prices of those supplements and if you were just to donate half of your supplement budget on buying excellent whole species-appropriate fresh organic food you would reap the benefits of food tenfold over feeding a crappy diet and then trying to make up the deficit with supplements so all that to say I really try and encourage people to pick and choose supplements ala carte based on what their dog or cat's bodies are showing and Karen I know you're a big fan of coconut oil I've seen the YouTube video where you're using that almost as a supplement I mean it's coming in between a food and a supplement so let's talk about what the benefits of that would be for cats and dogs you bet so coconut oil is not an omega-3 six or nine coconut oil is a beautiful healthy fat and dogs and cats metabolize fat much better than they can actually believe it or not much more energy than protein and certainly more than carbohydrates dogs and cats don't have a functional requirement for carbs in their diet so I'm a big believer in healthy fats and coconut oil is a very healthy fat for both dogs and cats coconut oil provides medium chain triglycerides which is easily passed through the GI wall it provides a great source of energy for the brain it provides a great source of energy for the body it's a nice way to increase healthy fats in terms of endurance and functional immune system but it also contains lauric acid which is a property that's also found in Mama's milk and is very good for the immune system so you're right Jessi I use coconut oil topically animals that have hot spots I use or yeasty coconut oil you probably saw a video where I bathed Rosco and then Rosco my Boston Terrier was very very prone to seasonal allergies and he'd get red and itchy and he become a yeasty so I would do a coconut oil mask on his skin I would feed him coconut oil on a daily basis it's very nicely combined with those omega-3s that we just discussed so I use it in kiddies that have hair balls or that suffer from constipation so I do use coconut oil regularly and I have seen just really great benefits animals that have dry flaky coats animals that are itchy animals that are prone to yeast infections so those dogs who have feet or ears that smell like Friedel corn chips coconut oil is has some natural antifungal properties so I use a lot of coconut oil I do recommend organic coconut oil cold process you know make sure that you're sourcing it ethically coconut oil production is something that has can be exploitative to the environments that they're grown so you want to make sure that you're picking coconut oil companies that are harvesting and using sustaining farming techniques but all that to say I love coconut oil in addition to those omega-3s perfect and to our listeners what's good enough for you is good enough for your pet so if you have coconut oil at home share the wealth you got it yeah so that's great we love coconut oil and goji loves it so we've been putting it in her mouth and she just scoops it up it's awesome but you know a longer at same point Marnie I will tell you um my new little crush in life is a type of medicine that's called Xue Pharma cognizant empowering animals to make their own choices when it comes to supplements it's basically allowing animals to self-medicate on what they want to eat and what they don't want to be stuff on the so one of the things that I have just recently this is not my nature as a veterinary my nature is if coconut oil is good for dogs I want my dog to eat coconut oil but what I found just in the last 10 years is that there are some dogs when you put it in the bowl that will eat around it they don't want it and so here's my tip and my plug for zoo farm ACOG nnessee if you have a dog or cat that says I don't want to eat that mom don't make your dog or cat eat it if their body doesn't resonate with coconut oil if they don't want it you don't need to trick your dog or cat into eating anything there's a very good chance that their bodies don't want it don't need it or that it could cause a problem for them so if your dog or cat willingly accepts it that's beautiful but by no means you don't have to trick your dog or cat into eating anything and I don't advocate tricking pets into eating anything I think that they're wired with very intuitive common-sense bodies that know what they need and when and so trying to trick or trying to bypass that system is not honoring to their physiology so that's my plug for letting your dog pick and choose what they want to eat important message even for some of our parents out there – for their kids you got it so we've talked a lot about food but I want to get into chew toys and treats in between there's so much in this realm and bones specifically you know what bones and types of bones can dogs be chewing on from a young age what's best you know the from tendons and deer antler and hooves where to go with the in-between so we have two big categories of things that people need to take home for the bone and chew conversation number one is safety when it comes to country of origin so we have a toxicity safety issue and then we have a biomechanical safety issue so let's touch on the first topic first I'm gonna recommend that any bone or tooth or any treat any food item that you put in your dog or cat's mouth that you know in your heart of hearts of hearts the country where it's coming from so whether that is any of the chews or treats the choice that you just listed I'm gonna recommend that you pick toys treats chews and foods that come from Canada the u.s. New Zealand or Australia or that you know the farmer yourself so if you're listening to this and you and whoever in the listeners in Finland and you have a beautiful farmer down the road that's selling you his cow femurs as bones your goal that you know the farmer you trust the farmer you probably met the cow you're in what I don't want you to do is to go to your local feed store this just happened to me so this is an example I'm gonna use I went to my local it's called farm fleet in Chicago and Fleet Farm if you're in some parts of the country it's a big feed store and I stopped in there to get some seeds and but I saw in passing when I was buying seeds in in the they look at my local tractor supply store that they had bones wrapped in cellophane that were just sitting out which means they hid I when I read the fine print it said irradiated for your dog's safety and they came from China those are concerning chews for me so just make sure that you know you trust this source I do advocate buying products that where animals have been raised in those countries listed processed in the countries listed so and then also sold in those countries so sometimes what you'll see is imported from China but packaged in the US and you need to avoid those particular chews and treats as well so the second category once we get around the potential toxicity of country of origin the second issue is the biomechanical safety which means there are some dogs I'm just gonna use Labrador Retriever sorghum for as an example labs can usually their goal is just to store anything in their belly they just want to swallow it whole and you have to be cautious if you have a gulper if you know your dog's personality is a gulper you've got to make sure that you're pairing the treat or chew toy with the personality of your dog so what I will tell you is that raw bones raw bones are big giant pieces of knuckle usually coming from beef or bison that you give your dog as a recreational toy and they hold these big chunks of femur and they they work them basically as nature's toothbrush so they grind their teeth on them it's their in credits incredibly pleasurable for the dog but Ken dogs fracture teeth yes can big powerful chewers I've got pit bulls in my house can they break chunks of these bones off and swallow them whole yes and that's a risk and then there can be some inter dog issues so it is important that if you're hearing this for the first time and let's just say you've been you recognize that you've been feeding toxic treats and you want to get your dogs off of let's say let's say you've been buying nylon bones and you realize oh my gosh maybe I shouldn't be feeding chicken flavored nylon to my dog okay I realize now maybe not the best common sense choice I'm gonna switch to quote unquote natural raw femurs that's a great choice but if you've got two dogs that you know fight over a resource guarding or over items in the house that's a very high-risk situation which means you can absolutely have dogs fight over raw bones because it's like winning the dog lotto so you've got to recognize that number two you have to recognize that if your dog has never had a raw bone before that it could cause some mild GI upset so you have to pace your dog you give you give you the dog a raw bone for 10 minutes a day and then you put it back in the freezer then the next day you increase it to 15 minutes a day and then you put it back in the freezer all that to say um I don't know if you've watched I have a two-part video series on Mercola healthy pets about how to pick bones and chews and the reason that I had to do a two-part series is that's an hour-long video I made on just how to best select bones and choose for your dog but there are so many caveats to making good choices so you brought up some some good points Marni hugs are very very sharp I'm not an advocate of homes even if they're us organic homes because they're incredibly sharp and they tend to cut dogs mouths I've seen more mouths trauma with homes than any other two now listeners also we're gonna say oh my gosh dr. Becker I've given my dogs pose for ten years and if you've done that and if your dog's mouths are fine then you're off the hook but if you have a brand new puppy you could very easily fall into the victim category of coming home to your dog's mouth being bloody cut up and blamed and tender because they over chewed a sharp shoe so just keep that in mind likewise uhm you match the power of your dog's chew to the density and strength of the bones so if you've got soft shoes like let's say you have a Maltese that basically gums anything you offer you of course can give softer bones because you have a soft chewy and you can give you no harder bones to harder Jewish however if you've got really powerful chewers like my pities at home if I were to give my pities really strong deer antlers my dogs would fracture their teeth off so I don't use antlers the hardest of all the bones out there I don't use antlers for my powerful pities because I know that they're gonna break their teeth up but I don't want that I do give my pit bulls raw bones big chunks of beef and bison femurs and they get them twice a week by doing that I'll be a hundred percent I'm super lazy with brushing their teeth I do know the benefits of achieving oral health with dogs so I absolutely want to make sure that my dogs never have plaque and tartar I never want to anesthetize any of the dogs in my pack for dentistry so I use raw bones as a means of brushing my dog's teeth twice a week now if you have dogs that fight over bones they don't trust them which means they break off chunks abroad and try and swallow them whole then you might end up not being able to offer your dogs any a recreational bones other than maybe a big Kong stuffed with you know you can do camp pumpkin or organic almond butter or you can add some raw food into the Kong if you've got dogs that you're really concerned about consuming bone and potentially having a foreign body or blockage then you need to pick toys like Kong's where it's really nearly impossible for dogs to consume a Kong does that make sense oh yeah definitely so if you have young puppies and you know you're able to kind of time you can see how aggressively they're chewing you can see that they're working that u.s. organic tendon down and there's a little piece sticking out of both sides of the mouth if you know that your dog is gonna chew that down to nothing thoroughly and effectively and will never swallow it whole then you're safe most dogs however in my recommendation is if you just bring home a dog you rescue dog from the pound and you have no idea what the chewing history is then as they work a tendon down when it gets down to sticking out an inch on both sides of your dog's mouth I'm gonna advocate that you throw it out and buy a new one because what happens oftentimes is that as those dogs whittle down a chew to where it's the size of let's just say a gum ball inside their mouth when you try and take it away when it's that small your dog will reflexively try and swallow it and that's where blockages can happen so when if you get nervous about the issue if you can see bones become a smaller smaller smaller smaller oh my gosh that's a really small bomb I would just recommend to err on the side of caution and take those bones away and then replace it with a bigger bone so in a nutshell my suggestion for fresh rub-ons is you buy the sized bone that matches the size of your dog's head which sounds silly but dogs can't swallow a bone that's too big they can swallow bones that are too small so when in doubt buy a bone that's too big for your dog rather than a bone that's too small okay and can we be picking these you mentioned femur and and different larger bones can we pick these up from the butchers this absolutely okay absolutely yeah so if you absolutely if you have a family butcher or you are working with in organic co-op or you have connections to local farmers absolutely you can call and say hey what are you doing with your femurs you know can you slice them a 10 inch chunks for me and just save them for me and that's one of the very best and safest ways is for you to just source your raw bones yourself through through local farmers and butchers that you know and trust and that's a beautiful way to support your local farming economy but also know the sources of your bones it's a really great way to do it okay and those you mentioned putting in the fridge in between uses so we're giving those to the dogs frozen and are those being chewed apart over time are they getting smaller and smaller or do those last indefinitely so it's interesting most dog now this is not true of all dogs um every possible scenarios there I've heard the dog that has never had a ruble let me just tell you my introduction to rub bones I had heard what this is now go back 25 years ago I brought home a Rottweiler from the Humane Society I worked out her name was Gemini and I had heard that and I was in vet school at the time as sophomore the first time I ever offered her bone was by sophomore year vet school and I had heard that it was really good recreation it was basically like a video for a three-year-old and so I gave Gemini a giant it was probably a six pound bone when I went to school in the morning and I came back eight hours later and she was still chewing that bone so it worked I bought the entire day my dog had a beautiful day of chewing that bone but when I walked in her she had chew to the point her gums were bleeding her tongue was bleeding her lips were bleeding I was more to fight I'm like oh my gosh you if she was still so happy she looked at me and hurt a a little nubbin was wagging her body was happy and she was like oh my gosh I had the best day ever she loved that bone but I didn't realize she would chew it to the point that she would traumatize her mouth so when you first introduced bones if you'd like I made a mistake I did not know my dog would chew this bone six hours eight hours if you don't know that about your dog you also don't do what I did which is you leave you don't give your dog a raw bone and and leave if you've never done that some dogs will chew those bones down to nothing and that can be concerning most of the time Jessie dogs will chew the bits of meat and marrow and fat off of it they'll lick the marrow out of the center and then they basically abandoned them now some duck some people say no my dogs would go back and chew those dry bones a year later and that's great a lot of people say even wait till those bones dry out and then I stuffed them with canned pumpkin and then I pull them back out and my dog licks the canned pumpkin out again so it's not that you don't have to put them back in I say put them back in the fridge or freezer just when you are conditioning a dog that has never had a bone before and you want to time them for allowing their mouth and GI tract to grow accustomed to a raw bone then you can basically give them a window throughout the day to chew and as their bodies or in their mouths or adjusting to their new chew toy just pop it back in the fridge or freezer till the next day's session but once your dogs are acclimated like I've been giving you know roblems to my dogs now my pity girls are 12 they have received them since they walked in the door at 6 weeks at my house so I throw them each a raw bone twice a week and they'll chew them for about two and a half three hours and once the meats gone my dogs abandon and they don't keep chewing them some dogs do and the dogs that continue to chew those bones down to nothing or the dogs you have to watch because they can work them down small enough that if they were to swallow their remaining let's say tennis ball-sized bone it can get stuck somewhere so you've just got to watch out for that interesting and it's just making me think about an incident with Gogi we did get her a raw meat bone that was was pretty meaty and fleshy um if she definitely enjoyed that but it's interesting we thought she'd be more possessive over that then one of these dehydrated raw tendons that we got at a pet food store sometimes we go to grab that and she'd growl at us something you know Yosh when we get the raw meat bone she's gonna go nuts she didn't she was so much what I just curious just you know as a pet owner when that happens is there something in it something that she's reacting to that made her be a little bit guarded over a dry dehydrated and not so juicy beautiful bone so it's interesting dogs can resource guard anything guys well I have see I've seen dogs resource guard water bowls they resource guard empty food bowls like dogs can resource guard rooms um dogs can loose a resource guard with you it's the drop-it command is really important and that's one of those things that I stress with my clients is that you never want to get in a situation where your dog growls at you you know you give them something pleasurable to do and then they growl at you and that's that's a dog behaviorist worst nightmare so you do want to tackle that and make sure that you've communicated clearly with Gogeta you will give and you will you expect her to you know you can work with your trainer on the job at command but right now you'll probably use what's called distraction which means if she's chewing that and you want it back you're gonna you know say okay we're gonna go for a walk outside at some point she's going to drop it or leave it or walk away and then you can pick it up and tell she masters the dropping command in my situation with pitbulls it was really important to me that they knew drop it so when I gave them a juicy Rami t-bone and if I needed to go bolt out the door and I said okay ladies drop it that they would automatically without hesitation to spit that right back out and so that's an important thing for me when it comes to managing behaviors in your situation there's a very good chance that she saw the tendon is edible which means as food and she was in the process of quote-unquote consuming it so dogs with tendons they actually chew with raw meaty bones yes they'll get the bits of meat off but then once the bone has dried many dogs as I mentioned they don't view it as food they're done with it with a tendon they'll view it as food which means she's working that it's almost like a piece of taffy when it gets soft and gooey she's working it and she's actually eating it she's ingesting it so she's gonna resource guard it like she would a meal and so she viewed that as very obviously a very high reward item because she growled at you now we do want to manage that but I don't want her I don't want her to continue growling at you so I do want you to work through that in terms of a behavior problem but what that showed you was how how intensely how much she was in love with that as an option that you gave her dogs love to chew and you finding species-appropriate healthy chews is a really important part of giving them the option to chew healthy things and not only or a moose plaque and tartar helps with jaw strength it's very emotionally satisfying for dogs you have a puppy and you don't want her to chew your couch so you're giving her healthy things to chew so it's you're giving her really good options for chewing but what you're going to see in those situations is that she viewed those tendons as a really high reward and she was not interested in giving it back to you so as she grows you're gonna work through that in terms of training her you know with the drop at command and when you're in class and if you have mention that to your trainer mention that and say hey you know I want to make sure that we cover how to positively train her into swapping out so when she drops it you're gonna reward her with a different treat and say what a good girl good girl you know you dropped it for Mom and then you're gonna treat her for doing exactly what she was told but there's a very good chance that she will view edible treats like those tendons on a higher award scale than a bone and that's not uncommon thank you for that and one last thing I want to finish on is brushing pets teeth I know you talked about the bones being really good for brushing the teeth and recently Jesse and I just got the dr. Mercola dental gel which I know is amazing because you can just swish it on their mouth but yep so so yep so here's the deal with teeth brushing if you're like me and you hate brushing teeth and you have dogs that can chew raw bones safely effectively I'm helpful in your home with no inner dog aggression and with no blockages no fractured teeth and you can source the bones ethically and healthfully now toxically then do raw bones now just because you're doing repellents in fact you know sometimes you'll read online or people say oh my gosh that's all you need to do I will tell you after recommending rub bones for 20 years in practice many many dogs genetically have weak porous enamel which predisposes them to a lot of plaque and tartar buildup and for many many breeds I'm going to use your keys and poodles as example York is impudent genetically have crappy teeth you can feed them an all raw organic fresh food diet give them raw bones every day and those breeds particularly can just naturally build up accumulate plaque and tartar even if you're nourishing them correctly so all that to say you need to brush your dogs and cats teeth both if you pull back their teeth and you see plaque and tartar building up you need to begin brushing your dog's teeth if you're like me and want to avoid dentistry for the rest of your dog's life so what I teach at my practice is I teach conditioning puppies into naturally being in the place of accepting teeth brushing so if you need to do it later on you're ready to go and what that means Marnie is when dogs are young and even if not even if you rescue a six-year-old dog and you realize the benefits of disinfecting your dog's mouth first of all you work on desensitizing the mouth you touch them a lot around their mouth you make it not stressful you get dogs used to having your fingers in their mouth and it's weird at first but what will happen is after you playing with their mouth in fact a lot of puppies end up really enjoying gum massages it sounds strange but lots of dogs one think it over the weirdness so you're hanging out in the couch with your dog we pet them naturally you're gonna start petting around their ears you're gonna pet their muzzle you're gonna eventually pet their lips so every day you're petting their face petting their lips petting their lips then you're gonna slip your fingers inside them out but just quickly as you desensitize your dog to touching inside their mouths they're going to think it's less weird and less weird and eventually it's just normal mom or dad just every day puts their fingers inside my mouth I don't know why they've done it their whole lives whatever when the dogs find it no big deal it becomes really easy to wrap your index finger with some gauze and then you can use coconut oil you can use baking soda but you're just gonna get your dog used to you can gently pull back your dog's coming you can just go through the emotion of brushing with gauze and I'm gonna say gauze I'm gonna say gauze initially because it provides enough abrasion to remove some black and tartar but not enough abrasion to cause bleeding if you get a brush and you have a ten year old dog and you've never brushed their teeth if you start brushing in older dogs teeth their gums will bleed they will become painful and your dog will hate you and that's the least optimal approach so the best approach is start not start really easygoing you're gonna start with it it's non painful your dog doesn't really know why you're doing it but it's not stressful and it's not negative once your dog realizes that you do this new weird routine at night you know you pull back the gums you rub their teeth with gauze whatever mom you're weird but I'm just gonna let you do it once your dogs are conditioned then it becomes super easy to move to a natural toothpaste which is what both of you have done so I produce some an all-natural essential oil base very safe toothpaste for dogs and cats that you can apply to gauze after a couple of months of gauze when your dog is used to having the gauze then it's really easy to transition from a gauze to a toothbrush and then you're on your way so how often do you need to do it well typically if you just want to keep your dog in the habit of having this done two to three times a week after dinner is a great way to just condition your dog just like nail trims this is just a part of what we do for overall health and well-being and if you guys do that right now two to three times a week what you're gonna find is when Gogi turns eight nine ten and eleven and you're like oh my gosh you know she's gallabat a plaque and tartar on her canines when she moves into that realm of accumulating plaque and tartar then it's no big deal and stressful for her to have our teeth brushed every night at that point right now you're doing it not only to help get her into the regimented habit of this is what mom and dad do but she's also used to it it's not stressful you aren't disinfecting her mouth her teeth will be beautiful white without plaque and tartar and then hopefully by you doing this a couple times a week now when she's 8 9 and 10 in conjunction with raw bones there's a very good chance that she's gonna go through her life like my dogs never needing dentistry because you just kept up with oral health along the way love it that makes a lot of sense thank you for going to that detail and what I love with the dental gel we just got off the Mercola site is that you can just even put it on your finger it's designed just a rubber on the gum line so right now it's getting Gogi like you said used to having our fingers in her mouth and it just it seems to be working really well so awesome well Karen I can't believe it but we're coming up on time here so this was this was fantastic part two is just info packed as the first and I'm sure the comprehensive nature both east together is gonna help a lot of people help a lot of pet owners and we just thank you so much for taking the time to come back on and this was fantastic it's wonderful thank you and I really appreciate you hosting me you're so welcome and I recommend to our listeners dr. Karen's got so many videos on YouTube as we've alluded to so you can go check out all the different subjects and get even more than and Karen where else can listeners besides the videos we're gonna link this up in the show notes where else can the listeners find out more about you our connect with you so at the Mercola help you pets Mercola healthy pets comm is free articles and videos of course and then dr. Karen Becker comm is a great way to find out more about what I do when it comes to proactive health and medicine great so thanks again Karen and have a fantastic day we'll talk to you later great thanks guys thank you we hope you guys loved the episode with dr. Karen Becker so much good stuff and we want to see you over in our Facebook group it is growing and we are getting so many new people joining all the time so many good conversations and we've been loving seeing some of your pets being shared in the group so head on over altima health podcast.com slash community and we will say hello to you there have a great week guys take care take care guys and have a fantastic week bye


  1. Thank you for hosting Dr. Becker! I have Learned a great deal! I feel informed and empowered!

  2. Found it! You should link your part 2s in the description of part 1 jmho & ty

  3. Awesome!

  4. I am fanatical about this. I have had 13 boxers. My first half of my boxesr lived only to 6, 8, 9 at best with health problems, cancer, heart all their lives. I was religious about shots. Then I went to a holistic-conventional vet who explained about this same thing and cures for allergies, black salve for cancer and also warned about vacinnations. So then I stopped the vacinnations. Babyhood shots and one rabies shot. Then nothing. My dogs started living TWICE AS LONG. 12, 13, 14, and healthy all their lives. I have two boxers right now. I only had to take the little one in six year old boxer for a foxtail!!!!!!! The vets have a vested interest as they get $$$$$$$ The holistic conventional vet I went to is a TRUE animal healer that could care less about the money. He is in it to HEAL. Anyway I thoroughly AGREE with you.

  5. Dr Becker is number 1

  6. She is the best!

  7. Thank you so much for hosting Dr. Karen Becker, listening to her videos over the years has really opened my eyes to holistic health care 🙂

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