Safe herbs for dogs

herbs-for-dogsSometimes at Land of Holistic Pets we get asked what exactly are ‘safe’ herbs to give to dogs.

For thousands of years humans have used herbs in cooking and medicinally.

In fact there are many safe herbs which help promote and maintain health in the body and strengthen or boost the body’s own immune system.

Herbs can give relief to underlying health issues and can even sometimes help relieve acute symptoms.

It is usual to take some sort of formulation of herbs for a particular condition like cancer or arthritis. Other formulations might aid digestion or help control skin or ear problems.

Different traditions have developed their own understanding and combinations of herbs. At Land of Holistic Pets we combine the best of eastern and western herbal traditions.

The ‘safe’ herbal formulations sold through the Land of Holistic Pets shop have all been carefully selected to address specific health issues. These include:

We also have tips to help you get your dog to take their herbal medicine.

Take a further look at our Introduction to herbs where we examine the wisdom of herbal pet care.

Dog Protein

The subject of protein in dog food is often misunderstood. Because dogs don’t actually need lots of protein.

Most animal behaviourists and dog trainers say that high protein levels in the diet has a massive impact on dogs.

Reducing protein levels in the diet can help turn a hyperactive, uncontrollable dog into a well behaved and easily trained dog.

One of the reasons why we created Luath Holistic Nutrition for Dogs was to address the need of having a healthy, low-protein, chemical free food to give to our dogs.

The aim was to create a satisfying kibble food for the dog to enjoy that would also strengthen the immune system, thus supporting long term health.

Have you tried your dog on Burns healthy dog food yet? You may well be happily surprised by how quickly good health can be returned.

Whatever ways you choose to help your pet are surely better than not dealing with the issue. The famous Indian pandit Chanaka said that, ‘fire, debt and disease should be dealth with immediately’. No-one knows your pet better than you so you’ll be the first to notice if they are not well or not quite themselves.

Natural Dog Food is Real Dog Food

Food is natural. What a simple thought.


Robbie's Meat Free Mixer

Nature is with us day and night and with some cultivation and care, she provides us with almost unlimited natural resources.

We and our beloved pet dogs are also part and parcel of the natural system of beings.
As such there are particular natural foods which are best suited to feeding, energising and sustaining all of us. Humans, dogs, cats and all.

In the west, in Europe and America we have become used to feeding our pets processed foods a lot of the time.

These foods are well packaged and marketed by large, experienced companies who know how to mass-produce and mass-market their products effectively.

The matter of health is not prioritised by large corporate entities. By definition these entities exist to make profits from customers buying their products.

It is us, the individual, and the individual pet owners and care givers who must make health a priority.

Health is a natural state of being.

Animal physiognomy is such that the body and immune system is working to maintain health all the time. It is up to us to understand what is healthy for our pets and to make sure we give them healthy, natural dog food and supplements as required to support their natural system. Dogs love exercise and communication too, so we shouldn’t neglect these either.

And of course healthy food needs to be tasty and palatable otherwise it wont be eaten. Or at least wont be enjoyed.

When we are giving our pets natural food we know that what they are eating and therefore can have a much deeper, clearer understanding when health issues arise as to what might be the cause of the problem.

Often a minor adjustment in diet can quickly alleviate a health issue before it becomes acute.

Keep fluid intake up.

Just as we know when to take water our pets are guided by their nature to drink when needed and sleep when needed. We should try to always keep a bowl of fresh water available for the dogs that they can access anytime. Common sense but not everyone realises these things straight away.

At Land of Holistic Pets online shop we only use natural ingredients in our foods. We love our pets just like you do and it’s an important principle for us that health is number one.

Being healthy means an animal can enjoy life and can be a willing and happy companion to us and our family and friends. What more could we ask for?

Dogs Shedding Hair

Dogs Shedding Hair

Dog shedding occurs in nearly all dogs and is a natural process of eliminating (shedding) dead hair. There are a few natural reasons for this – It is a bit like a human sweating,  to allow a new coat to come in and for seasonal changes in temperature. There is no such thing as a non-shedding dog,  excepting of course the hairless varieties. That said,  shedding varies greatly between the breeds because of dogs differences in genetics, environment and of course , the dog food it is being fed.

As a point of interest the difference between dog breeds and how dogs shed hair  rests with  the growth rate of the dogs hair (3 cycles: anagen, catagen and telogen),

Dog shedding is influenced by these three dog coat characteristics:

  • Different types of dog coats: hairless, presence of undercoat.
  • Different degrees of curl & wave in dog coats: wavy, wirehaired, and straight.
  • Different dog coat lengths: short, medium, and long.

Dog shedding can be problem  for two major reasons for dog owners: allergies and the time it takes to clean up hair that has shed.

“Very light shedders” are  breeds which  usually need to be clipped, stripped and/or cut with scissor’s.  Of course as mentioned earlier diet has also a major influence and those fed a very healthy natural dog food tend to shed very lightly except in the spring when dogs naturally shed all their hair so a new coat can grow. The phenomenon of seasonal shedding for some breeds occurs because the  dogs shed their winter coats in the spring and if you are the owner of one such breed, you will have to be prepared for large-scale shedding at these times of the year.

In addition to dog coat characteristics, many other factors influence dog shedding:

  • Sunlight and temperature: The length of day may influence growth  of a new coat on the dog  and shedding of the old coat. Outdoor dogs usually shed their thick undercoat in the spring to prepare for warmer weather. Many indoor living dogs experience increased continuous dog shedding and decreased annual dog shedding.
  • Health: deworm your dog regularly and treat skin infections properly to maintain healthy skin and coat and decrease shedding.
  • Allergies: allergic dogs ( flea and tick infestation) shed more although a compromised immune system goes hand in hand with dogs allergies.
  • Dog Nutrition: a high quality natural dog food should provide the conditions for  healthy skin and coat on your dog.
  • Cleanliness; brush your dog regularly and use adapted shampoo (not for humans !).
  • Hormones affect skin and coat health:  A healthy thyroid, adrenal glands etc are essential to a healthy dog coat
  • Pregnancy and lactation: deplete calcium, minerals and energy stores so that many dogs shed heavily after the pups are born and are being nursed.

Excessive dog  shedding, should trigger questions about : skin diseases (Staphylococcus infection, ringworm, dog allergies (flea, tick and lice)), pyoderma), Cushing’s disease and autoimmune diseases as pemphigus complex, pemphigus vegetans, pemphigus foliaceous, pemphigus erythematosis and Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome and of course the dogs diet – is it a premium dog food or a natural premium dog food.

What can you do to reduce shedding?

Grooming helps! Brushing your dog once a day will greatly reduce the unwanted hair all over your clothes, carpet and furniture, especially during shedding season. Feed a high quality dog food diet which should not require the use of supplements as a natural dog food will contain all essential nutrients for optimal skin and coat health (vitamins, minerals, amino acids and omega 6/3 fatty acids).


Skin and coat health can be helped with natural premium dog food  of a complete formulation containing all essential vitamins, minerals, amino-acids and fatty acids.

Non or Low Shedding Dog Breeds – Hypoallergenic Dogs

Airedale Terrier
American Hairless Terrier
Australian Terrier
Bedlington Terrier
Bichon Frise
Black Russian Terrier
Border Terrier
Boston Terrier
Bouvier des Flandres
Brussels Griffon
Cairn Terrier
Cesky Terrier
Chacy Ranior
Chinese Crested
Coton De Tulear
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Giant Schnauzer
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Hairless Khala
Irish Terrier
Irish Water Spaniel
Italian Greyhound
Kerry Blue Terrier
Lagotto Romagnolo
Lakeland Terrier
Lhasa Apso
Manchester Terrier
Miniature Schnauzer
Norfolk Terrier
Norwich Terrier
Peruvian Inca Orchid
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Poodle (all types)
Portuguese Water Dog
Scottish Terrier
Sealyham Terrier
Shih Tzu
Silky Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Spanish Water Dog
Standard Schnauzer
Tibetan Terrier
Welsh Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
Wire Haired Fox Terrier
Wire Haired Pointing Griffon
Yorkshire Terrier

Heavy Shedding Dog Breeds

Alaskan Malamute
Australian Shepherd
Belgian Sheepdog
English Toy Spaniel
German Shepherd
Great Pyrenees

Norwegian Elkhound
Saint Bernard
Siberian Husky
Shetland Sheepdog

Natural Dog Food Tainted in the USA

Salmonella, in what is claimed to be natural dog food, has resulted in 14 people in nine states taking ill in the USA. The natural dog food from a plant in South Carolina is not averse to controversy having had a number of their products recalled in the past.

At least five people were hospitalized because of the dog food, which was made by Diamond Pet Foods at its plant in Gaston, S.C., the Federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said. “People who became ill, the thing that was common among them was that they had fed their pets Diamond Pet Foods,” said CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell.  The company have recalled not only their own natural dog food but a number of other brands they produce which claim to be natural dog food. People can get salmonella by handling infected dog food, then not washing their hands before eating or handling their own food, health officials said. The recall covers a number of pet food brands made at the Gaston plant, including Canidae, Natural Balance, Apex, Kirkland, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health and Taste of the Wild. Land Of Holistic Pets sister company in the United States, Burns Pet Health  which also has a range of natural dog foods is unaffected by this problem. Burns Pet Health and Land Of Holistic Pets have very strict health and safety protocols in place for their natural dog food ranges.

The South Carolina plant temporarily was shut down April 8. Diamond Pet Foods has issued four rounds of recalls for food made at the plant, located outside of Columbia, S.C., between Dec. 9 and April 7. The latest recalls were announced Friday April 27th. The same company had to recall their natural dog food ranges in 2005 when a toxic mould called aflatoxin ended up in food made at the same  plant in South Carolina and dozens of dogs died. The company offered a $3.1 million settlement. The Food and Drug Administration determined the deadly fungus likely got into the plant when it failed to test 12 shipments of corn which the company claim is an ingredient fit for natural dog food. Land Of Holistic Pets and Burns Pet Health in the USA do not use corn in any manner or form and would not advocate its use in natural dog food.

Natural Dog Food

Robbie's Holistic Cuisine For DogsYou would think it common sense to give our beloved pets ‘natural dog food’ all the time. It is nothing more than a natural instinct.

Here at Land of Holistic Pets we consider ourselves a ‘natural dog food company’, through and through.

Ever since we started making our own ‘natural dog food brands’ – Robbie’s and Luath’s – we’ve concentrated on making them natural and healthy. As a consequence we strive to maintain the highest standards and seek to always improve.

As a dog owner you are aware of all sorts of dog food brands and via the Internet there are unlimited ‘dog food reviews’ you can read through and consider. Not to mention all the expensive adverts aimed at getting you to buy mass-produced and mass-marketed products.

We are confident that our dog food (and our cat food for that matter) is among the best you can get, anywhere in the world. In the USA our dog food is rated number 1 in the ‘best dry dog food’ category of Whole Dog Journal.

But what practically can you do?

Should you choose frozen dog food, dried dog food, grain free dog food or what? What is the best dog food? And perhaps more importantly, what is the best dog food for your dog?

As mentioned already, Land of Holistic Pets are a natural dog food company. You only need to look at our food to see that none of it is artificial or chemical based. We only use fine quality ingredients in our quest to find the best natural balance dog food possible.

We have experience with our own pets along with lots of testimony from customers that our dog food is good for all dogs.

Young or old, healthy or not. Our natural dog foods, combined with carefully selected natural herbal supplements, have successfully helped countless animals.

Have you tried Robbie’s or Luath’s yet? It’s as natural a dog food as you’ll find anywhere.

The Role of Diet in Dog Epilepsy

I read an article recently which suggested that “an emerging trend in human healthcare is the focus on the link between diet and disease.”

The author of course missed the fact that Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC) raised the issue. “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”.

Here we are in the 21st century and only wakening up to this simple fact, that diet not only influences health but can cause disease.

Another very interesting little snippet is that out of the 30,000 or so edible plants thought to exist on the planet, eleven of them account for 93% of human consumption – corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, millet, sorghum, beans, barley, rye, oats and cassava.

As far as human beings are concerned very little has changed since man first started to cultivate food. Also, the animals raised for food today are the same ones that were domesticated for that reason in Stone Age times.

What has this got to do with epilepsy in dogs you might ask, but the history of human and dogs diets are almost one and the same thing since dogs were domesticated.

Dogs are scavengers and when left to their own devices will find food in whatever available form.  This is how I believe they came to be domesticated in the first place. Looking for food, man recognized a need and a use – the bond was created and satisfied the needs of both – man and dog.

Dogs diet then started to mirror that of the provider – man.

Subsequently, dogs experienced similar health issues that man experienced simply because the diets of both were locked.

The real problem is that man and dog have stuck with the same or similar food products and as choice has increased it is only at the expense of quality.

The industrial revolutions brought highly refined foods to all but at a price.  Diligence is required to avoid certain foods and in particular, highly processed foods contain a variety of the basic food making them harder to detect and eliminate.

Nutritional Deficiencies and Seizures

It has been recognized that there  are a number of specific nutritional deficiencies in both humans and canines that are known to cause or aggravate seizures.

Until recently some proponents of the raw diet blamed the cooking of food and its ‘apparent’ destruction of the nutrients as being the problem.

Modern approaches are leading us to a better understanding and the cause appears to rests with the damage done to the digestive system by certain foods. Particularly the duodenum and jejunum- the first parts of small intestine after the stomach.

The villi are the tiny, finger-like projections that absorb nutrients and some foods destroy these rendering humans and dogs alike, unable to absorb vital nutrients which in turn  provokes the seizures.

Causes of Damage to the Villi

Four foods known to cause villi damage are corn/maize, soy, casien and gluten.

The gluten comes from the gluten grains- wheat, barley, and rye.

Casein comes from cow’s milk/ dairy  products.

Adhesives are made from these four foods. Powerful, industrial-strength glues are made from soy, casein, and gluten whereas corn is used for paper/cardboard products. The glycoproteins which make up these foods  adhere to tissues and damage it.

Glycoproteins that we derive from foods are now called ‘lectins’. There are good and bad lectins in food with the most damaging coming from the same four foods listed above.

We now know that these lectins are central to autoimmune disease like thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type-1 diabetes, lupus, and more.

Brain Stimulator

Glutamate is one of the principle neurotransmitters in our brain. Too much and we or our dogs get too excited.

Thus excessive glutamate can lead to over-stimulation of neurons and result in seizures, reduced pain threshold, sleep disorders, emotional disturbances and so on.

Glutamic acid is the parent protein in MSG (mono sodium glutamate).

MSG is used as a neuro-stimulator, acting to sensitize the open-ended nerves in our taste buds so that food will taste better. MSG is a known trigger of seizures, as is its sister amino acid, aspartic acid, the parent protein in the artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet). Both amino acids are neurostimulators  stimulating our sense of taste.

Wheat gluten is 25% glutamic acid by weight. Casein protein in dairy products  is 20%  while soy protein has much more glutamate than either of these two. Corn contains the least amount but it can do more harm to the intestinal villi in susceptible individuals, leading to malaborption of essential nutrients and worsening food allergies.

The toxic effect of corn is now a hot topic with people interested in autism.

Conclusions – Diet and Supplements.

The first foods to eliminate are the gluten (wheat, barley, rye), casein ( dairy products), soy, and corn. This stops further damage to the intestinal villi. It may be advantageous to also cut out chicken since they are often fed on corn.

Eliminate the other sources  of glutamate like peanuts, soy’s closest cousin,  all beans  (except green beans) such as  garbanzo, lima, black, kidney, and navy. Lentils are another source of glutamate.

Consider supplementing with calcium, iron, iodine, B complex, vitamin C, and trace minerals but only once you have followed the above – the body should now be able to  properly absorb them.

Taurine  is an essential amino acid made by dogs but requires the essential amino acids of Cysteine  and Methionine in order to produce it.  It appears to be released by the hippocamous during seizure activity. It is not known exactly why this happens and some suggest as  protective measure by the body while others suggest that it just part of the process. As such taurine supplementation may be worthwhile for some dogs.

Magnesium – supplementation has been successful in some dogs but should not be used if renal failure is evident.

by George Burns (Article first appeared on Burns Pet Health US.)