Is Your Pet Suffering From Kidney Disease? (Part 1)

Kidneys filter the waste from the blood and
pass the waste through the urine.

By Monica Samson,

One of the questions we ask our new clients is how they hear about us. Many of them find us by doing research – mostly online – for natural and effective ways to help improve their pet’s current health problems.

Allergies, digestion, arthritis and cancer – these are all pet health problems that pet owners are faced with on a regular basis (and it’s interesting to note that humans also suffer from these same maladies.  One health problem that comes up quite often is canine kidney disease. 

What Do the Kidneys Do?

The kidneys play a large role in the body’s filtration system. They major function they provide is in removing toxins in the bloodstream and disposing of them through the urine. The kidneys control the water, salt, and mineral levels in the body and help with calcium absorption. They also produce a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO) that helps with red blood cell production.

What are the signs of Kidney Problems?

There are certain signs to look for if you suspect your pet may have kidney problems. These include:

  • Anemia (pale gums and weakness)
  • Dehydration (causing sudden and increased thirst)
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Increase in urination and/or trouble urinating
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

When the kidneys begin to fail, your pet will feel the need to drink more water in order to flush out the excess toxins in the body that the kidneys are not able to filter out. Over time, even excessive intake of water will not help remove those toxins and much more serious issues may arise.

Because the symptoms listed above can also be the result of many other possible health issues, a blood or urine test may be necessary in order ascertain if indeed the problem is kidney disease. 

Types of Kidney Problems

There are two types of kidney failure in dogs and cats: acute and chronic.

Acute kidney failure happens suddenly and aggressively. Bacterial infections, poisoning, and even kidney stones or other urinary blockages can cause acute kidney failure. When acute kidney failure is suspected, immediate veterinary care is necessary. This is a life-threatening situation. Luckily the majority of instances of acute kidney failure can be treated – if caught in time.

Chronic kidney failure takes a longer time to progress and is most common in older animals. Unfortunately, by the time your pet starts to show signs of chronic kidney failure, the damage has already been done and there is currently no cure.  Your dog should also be under veterinary care.

Besides kidney failure, kidney stones (or nephrolithiasis) are another pet health problem we come across quite often. Nephroliths are clusters of stones or crystals that form either in the kidneys or in the urinary tract. These clusters create blockages in the urinary tract, which are very painful and life threatening if not treated right away. 

What Causes Kidney Disease?

There are various causes of kidney disease, such as:

  • Abdominal injury
  • Bacterial infection
  • Blockage to the urinary tract (kidney stones)
  • Heart failure
  • Poisoning
  • Shock caused by rapid dehydration or blood loss
  • Renal artery obstruction (blood clots)
  • Long-term use of NSAIDs or antibiotics

Be sure to read next week’s issue with more information about kidney disease.  It’s vital as a pet owner that you are aware of heath issues that may affect your pet.

Monica Samson is a Raw Pet Food Specialist for BARF World Inc. She is a student and working mom with two kids, a terrier mix Mookie and a Tabby cat named Phil. Maybe we should say four kids! Monica enjoys healthy cooking and spending time with her family. To receive more articles like these in your email inbox, click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!

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By Robert Mueller

Some annually required vaccinations can be avoided with
a simple test to see if the previous dose is still present.

Today’s topic is something WE ALL need think about.  Please don’t accept what I recommend or what your vet (or your doctor) tells you to do without undertaking some additional investigation on your own.  Whether or not to vaccinate is a topic that pertains not only to our pets but to our children as well.  The big question is whether or not it is the right thing to do.

I have spent almost 40 years teaching people that feeding a raw food diet is a more appropriate way to feed a dog or cat than feeding it heat processed, kibble dry food. Although it’s been tough trying to “teach an old dog new tricks”, I’m happy to report that in the last several years the popularity of raw feeding for pets has skyrocketed…and we have a healthier pet population to prove it.

Thank goodness there are people like you who now realize that raw feeding is an effective and safe alternative to the chemically laden, genetically modified, heat processed diets that are sold everywhere today.  Thank goodness people like you have become knowledgeable about how to read a label (and you actually read them before you buy). Thank goodness YOU know that over time, feeding a kibble or canned diet can result in potential medical conditions caused by dehydration, residual toxin accumulation and chemical residues.  Thank goodness you THINK about all these things.

The scary thing is that most people don’t THINK anymore. They just believe what they hear on the news or whatever the vet or doctor tells them…and then they follow blindly along.  This brings me to the subject of vaccination…and whether or not it’s the right thing to do.

Vaccination is definitely a controversial topic and it’s a question that we get asked all the time here at BARF World. Like anything else that carries two sides to the story, there is a good side and a bad side. You must consider the advantages and weigh them against the disadvantages. I do this by asking myself the question: what affect will vaccinating have on my dog or cats immune system? Do the benefits outweigh the potential harm?  (By the way, I always recommend this same line of reasoning to customers when they first consider feeding raw vs. kibble or heat processed diets.)

The use of the canine vaccine against Lyme disease is a good example, which illustrates this point.  It is believed now that if your dog has already been exposed to the Lyme organism, there is no known benefit of vaccinating further against the disease.   Tick control for all dogs in tick-infested areas is more important than vaccination.  Tick collars and topical products are safer and more effective deterrents.

But My Vet Recommended It.  Like many other drugs, over-vaccinating can cause more harm than good. Most vets agree that some vaccines are effective and have saved millions of pet’s lives. A vaccine works by introducing the potential virus and then triggering an immune response that prepares your pet to fight future infections.  But here’s what you may not know.  Once your puppy or kitten is fully immunized against future viruses, he is immune for years, and often for life.

What this means is that after your pet has received all his puppy shots, the antibodies he develops to the viruses he’s been immunized against will actually protect him from the same viruses introduced in future vaccinations. Therefore future vaccinations against the same virus are virtually useless!

Dr. Karen Becker DVM in Illinois claims that vaccines, like any pharmaceutical drug, are not without side effects. So re-vaccinating for the same pathogens year after year is more than a waste of money-it also poses ever- increasing risks to your pet’s health.

But there’s a darker side too.  Dr. Becker feels that the vaccination business is a major profit center for many veterinarians who depend on vaccination schedules to keep the doors open.  An eye-opening example is the markup on the rabies vaccine. She indicates that it can escalate from 2400 to 6200 percent profit in many cases. Estimates indicate, that removing the one-year rabies vaccination/office visit for dogs alone could reduce a veterinarian’s income from $87,000 to $25,000. And this example involves just one variety of one vaccine, and only for dogs.

Just as you did when deciding to switch to a raw diet for your pet, please take time and do your own research on this important subject.   Become well informed and consider the risk to benefit ratio before you make that vet appointment to have your pet vaccinated. It’s a hot topic…and one that requires THINKING!  Thank goodness you are not one of the blind followers. 

ggggRobert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF Diets® patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF®) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere.  To receive more articles like these in your email inbox,click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!

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Proper Handling of Raw Meat – A Quick Safety Reminder

By: Robert Mueller,

Just like food for yourself, our pet’s food should
be exposed to room temperature for as little
time as possible.

One issue that manufacturers of kibble and canned pet foods often raise in an attempt to discredit raw meat diets, is the safety factor of handling raw meat and feeding it to our pet population.

As a manufacturer of raw pet food, we follow strict protocol and guidelines to maintain the quality and integrity of our raw meat diets during production.  However, it is also important for the consumer to practice safe handling procedures for raw meat for both their family and pets. Paying attention to the details of handling meat will ultimately render a safe, superior quality product. This is no different than how you would handle raw meat in the kitchen for a human meal.

    • Always wash your hands and kitchen surfaces to avoid the spread of bacteria.  Remember to clean cutting boards, counter tops and utensils with hot soapy water after feeding or preparing raw food.
    • Never thaw the BARF Patties at room temperature such as on the counter top in your kitchen.  Always thaw the BARF patties in the refrigerator in a covered container.
    • Choose the right portion for your dog. Keep in mind, when selecting how much food to thaw that it is ideal to only thaw a day’s worth of food from the freezer at a time. Smaller dogs may not be able to eat a whole patty in a day. For this we recommend our Nuggets Recipe- perfect for small mouths and tummies.
    • At Barf World, we regularly remind consumers not to leave raw meat diets unrefrigerated for long periods of time.  If the Barf Diet is not going to be consumed by your pet right away, it should be returned to the refrigerator and stored in a container with a lid so that it can be fed later in the day.  Food left out in the feeding dish for long periods of time, especially during the hot summer months or in warmer temperature climates, can result in spoiled food and bacteria growth.

At the end of the day, you should dispose of any uneaten food. This helps to keep food at its peak freshness. This is the safest way to avoid any digestive upset and offer the highest nutritious value for your pet’s meal. 

Remember this is a raw meat diet (living food) and not kibble!   The food that will boost your pet’s immune system, keep unnecessary weight off, and prevent diet-related disease is not one that has been designed to sit on a shelf at room temperatures for months. The active enzymes in a BARF Diet are the key to maximizing the time we get to spend with our four-legged friends.

For more information about safe handling procedures for raw dog diets, visit our website at

ggggRobert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF Diets® patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF®) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere.  To receive more articles like these in your email inbox,click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!

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Doctor, My Dog Is Scratching Himself Raw

By: Dr. Amy Hayek & Dr. Bill Ormston,




Does this sound familiar?  Veterinarians and their staff hear this comment all too often, especially in the spring and fall of the year. Dogs that are scratching raw spots, or that have excess dander and oil during these times are actually more sensitive all year round.

During the spring and fall, a dog’s hair and skin undergo change to grow more hair (fall) or to lose the undercoat (spring).  Dogs that are “indoor dogs” will go through this cycle a bit differently from outdoor dogs because of their exposure to the elements.  But these changes in skin and hair cells are the reason that some dogs (that are more sensitive to things in the environment) show even more signs of problems during these two seasons.

What’s making my dog scratch so much?

The methods the veterinarian may use to ease this scratching will vary depending on the reason for the insatiable itch.  Itching can be caused by something as simple as a dirty or dry skin; as gross as fleas, ticks and mites; or as difficult to pinpoint as allergies.  This constant scratching makes your pet very uncomfortable as well as making it heartbreaking for you to watch.

From a chiropractic standpoint, addressing the cause of the itch means addressing changes in the nervous system that result in itching.  All changes to the skin are regulated by nerves and reflect the health of its nervous system. An animal’s coat and skin reflect its general health.  Healthy pets have fewer skin and coat problems than pets with health issues where the skin gets attacked from both the inside and the outside.  An animal’s skin is the first line of defense against attack from the outside as well as an organ of excretion, like the liver and kidney.  Through it waste products are excreted, which can be clogged and cause symptoms like cysts, pus, rashes and black heads.

Is it an allergy?

Many of the dogs in the United States suffer from some form of allergy.  This is the result of the immune system reacting normally to a common substance that it ordinarily would ignore, such as pollens, molds, house dust, insect bites, foods, and chemicals.  The offending substances are known as allergens.  Inhaling, ingesting, or physical contact with the allergen may cause an allergic reaction.  The scratching that results from an allergic reaction is more intense than normal and can result in rashes, hair loss and secondary bacterial infections.  An altered metabolism, nutritional problem, or vaccinosis may also trigger allergic reactions.

There are at least 80 different named canine diseases that cause changes in the skin.  The skin undergoes a continual growth process called cornification, in which new skin cells are produced to replace old skin.  The whole process of cornification normally takes 21 days.  The nutrients that form those cells were the ones consumed up to 30 days ago.  For this reason, it may take up to 2 months, depending on how bad conditions are, without masking symptoms to determine if the changes you are making have solved your pet’s skin problems.

Healing Doesn’t Happen Overnight

As holistic veterinarians we understand that each of these 80 different conditions can be treated differently.  However, we also know that they all have one thing in common –  your pet’s cells are not functioning properly.  Why they are not functioning properly is not so important as understanding that the mechanism of healing is similar, no matter which of the 80 conditions caused the cells to malfunction.  One thing you must understand is that while masking symptoms might appear to solve the immediate problem, healing requires time for the dog’s system to make new skin cells, make new nerve connections, and to excrete waste products produced by the allergic reaction.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  We must not confuse “relief” with healing.

Three Things Required For Healing

Cells require 3 things for healing:

  • Appropriate and adequate nutrition must be delivered to the cell
  • There must be appropriate neurological control of the cell by the central nervous system
  • Waste products must be removed from the cell.

Appropriate and adequate nutrition

This is best supplied with raw whole foods, not highly processed foods.  Switching to a balanced raw food diet will be enough to help many pets with skin problems, even though it might take up to 60 days to see complete resolution of symptoms.

Be sure to read next week’s ezine for the second part of this article and learn more cures for itching and scratching.

ggggAmy Hayek graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in 1986 and an MA in 1987. Following a career in university teaching, she returned to veterinary school at Colorado State University and graduated in 1998. In 2000, she finished her certificate in veterinary acupuncture with the Chi Institute. Currently she practices near Charleston, South Carolina where she owns a veterinary clinic and uses multiple modalities to heal large and small animals. Dr. Hayek uses applied kinesiology, herbal therapies, nutritional toxicology & restructuring, dentistry and hoof balance to treat the performance horses and dogs in her practice.



ggggBill Ormston received a BS in animal science in 1982 and a veterinary degree in 1988, both from Iowa State University. Since graduation Dr. Ormston has worked in or owned mixed animal practices. In 1998 he attended Options For Animals and became certified in animal chiropractic care by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Assoc. In 2004 he completed his degree in Veterinary Homeopathy from the British Institute of Homeopathy. His current practice is in the area surrounding the Dallas metroplex where he uses only complementary therapies to treat both large and small animals.

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