Doreen: Welcome to Canine Caviar Hangout #14 and this one is going to be talking about garlic and salt and how that impacts the health of your pet. So we had some questions about whether garlic is good or bad for your pet and then salt as well.
Jeff: So I think those are really good questions, because we see a lot of people on blogs and forums and websites that rate food and my question always is is why a pet food should be ranked in stars. Typically speaking if you go to a 5 star restaurant you’re not always getting the best food, you’re only getting the best atmosphere so in reality if you’re ranking it along those types of of terms your best food would be less (stars) because it should be about the quality not the ambiance or the fluff I guess you could say, and so with our food I think it’s more about the pet and less about the consumer and these sites.
When it comes to garlic, you know a little bit goes a very long way and garlic in very small amounts is very healthy for your pet. At Canine Caviar we use 500 grams of garlic for 1000KG of food. So if you break that down into pounds we’re using 1 to 2 pounds of garlic for a 2000 pound batch of food, it’s a really really small amount. And everything is dangerous in large amounts, you could kill your dog much faster by giving excess amounts of Vitamin A for example, but you don’t see people talking about this on the website which has been an issue in the past, I mean we’ve had some pet food recalls over the last decade that have been specifically related to Vitamin A but I’ve never seen a recall for a pet food using garlic. For sure, if you’re feeding your dog too much garlic it’s a problem, this is why you shouldn’t be feeding them extra ingredients or supplementing the diet. Garlic is an excellent antimicrobial, it’s very good at keeping the pet’s immune system healthy .
Doreen: I heard that it’s also a good prevention for ear mite bites and things like that.
Jeff: Yes, this is part of the antimicrobial, some people say it’s good for fleas but only if you’re doing fresh garlic, but if you’re doing fresh garlic make sure that it’s not in the food that you’re feeding. But in reality we could probably put 4 or 5 pounds of garlic into the food and not have a problem but it’s not necessary to have so much which is why we’re using a small amount because a little goes a long way. But if you are doing fresh garlic make sure you’re using a plastic press because the ingredient in garlic that will actually help prevent the fleas is absorbed into the stainless steel so it’s lost through the process. So use a plastic garlic press or your knife to mash it and feed it .
Doreen: And I would assume salt is kind of the same thing too, even with us, like too much salt is bad.
Jeff: You need a certain amount of salt for electrolyte function, so if you were drinking Gatorade or these types of sport drinks after you were exercising it’s basically the salt that will give you those electrolytes because when you’re sweating or through your daily life you’re expelling the salts from your system. Now the problem is when you have too much salt then your dog can have edema or these types of things where the dog will look like he’s bloated and the same thing with humans, right, when we have too much salt in our diet we’re bloated because we’re retaining too much water and the same will happen with your pet. But a dog or any human, we need a certain amount of salt. Now in America obviously we get too much salt because we’re eating too many processed foods but if you’re eating a natural diet where you’re cooking at home you should put a little bit of salt in your diet because you do need that for your electrolytes to function. Electrolyte function is basically like when your brain tells your fingers to move, something has to send the message and you need to have proper electrolytes in your body for that message to move properly. So the same with your pet, you want him to get up, you want him to move his left leg, move his right leg, he needs something to move that message.
Doreen: Say for example a dog has too much salt, what can pet parents do , do they have to take them to the vet right away or is there something that they can do at home?
Jeff: Just look at your treats and see how much salt is in them, as this is where people are getting the most salt. People never think about treats, they always say it’s a problem with the food or whatever, but in reality some people are feeding more treats and we have weight gain and salt issues or allergies, you know because they’re very conscientious about the ingredients that are in their food but they don’t’ think twice about if there’s wheat or soy or high salt content in their treats so this is the point that we always try to make, that if you’re feeding treats then you need to consider that as part of the calorie requirement or the nutrient requirement as well, so if you’re having a dog with high salt issues or you can see that he’s starting to retain water, I’d look at your treats, I’d look at the food that you’re feeding, and call the manufacturer and ask them what the salt content is on the treats and the food. They will know for sure because the computer program that is generating the diet for them or the recipe is also giving that basic information. One of the reasons our food does quite well is that on average we have a half a percent of salt in the diet so it’s enough for proper electrolyte function but it’s not going to create a problem within the pet.