What if I told you a little spice (that’s probably sitting in your kitchen cupboard right now) could make a huge difference in your dog’s health and even his lifespan?
I know it sounds crazy, but research shows it’s true … turmeric (the spice used in curries and mustards) with over 6,000 studies to its credit, is found to trump a lot of fancy, expensive drugs.
These are a whole lot of reasons to give your dog turmeric! So let’s take a closer look at this handy little spice (we’ll show you how much to give and which dogs shouldn’t get turmeric in a bit).
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin – which is essentially its active ingredient. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, wound healing and anticancer activities. It can help fight diseases like arthritis, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, gastrointestinal issues, Alzheimers and more.
One study at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, called it “Cure-cumin” because of its long list of amazing therapeutic and clinical uses.
So let’s look at the Top 5 Ways turmeric can help your dog (and how it compares to conventional drugs):
#1 – Turmeric Is Anti-Inflammatory
You may be thinking inflammation is only a problem for dogs with joint disease … but chronic, hidden inflammation is a silent killer. It’s the root of nearly all disease.
Cancer, arthritis, allergies, kidney disease, dental disease, digestive disease … it’s all caused by inflammation.
Not all inflammation in the body is a bad thing. If your dog is exposed to viruses or bacteria, acute inflammation will release white blood cells to the body tissues and start the healing process. But chronic inflammation – the kind of low-grade inflammation that stays for weeks, months and even years – is the real culprit behind most degenerative and inflammatory health issues in your dog.
Researchers are finding that heart disease can be linked to dental disease. Chronic bladder infections can lead to bladder cancer. And they’re finding that chronic low-grade inflammation is a major driver of joint degeneration.
A 2014 study found that the curcumin found in turmeric (its active ingredient) outperformed ibuprofen in people with arthritis. But turmeric doesn’t just control the inflammation in joint disease …
Another 2004 study in Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) worked just as well as anti-inflammatory drugs … and worked better than both aspirin and ibuprofen.
Inflammation is the key driver of most disease in the body … and turmeric is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories either nature or medicine has to offer. Keep this in mind as we look at the next few reasons to give your dog turmeric.
#2 – Turmeric For Dogs With Cancer
So we know that chronic inflammation can lead to cancer and turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. And a UK study showed that curcumin could stop the precancerous changes from becoming cancer. So turmeric can help prevent cancer.
But turmeric can also treat cancer naturally. Nearly 1/3 of the studies done on turmeric are cancer research … and the results are very promising. It’s been shown to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing.
The American Cancer Society claims “Curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread. Recently, curcumin has received a great deal of focus because of it’s ability to reduce tumor size and kill cancer cells.
Half of adult dogs today will get cancer, so turmeric could be a great way to protect your dog from inflammation and cancer.
#3 – Turmeric Can Relieve Arthritis Pain
We know that arthritis is the result of inflammation and turmeric can decrease inflammation in the body. But it can also relieve the pain and stiffness in arthritis … better than conventional pain medications.
In 2014 a group of researchers in Thailand published a study comparing the effects of curcumin vs ibuprofen treatment in patients with knee osteoarthritis. They found that curcumin worked just as well as ibuprofen to reduce pain … but without the gastrointestinal side effects experienced by the patients who took ibuprofen. Which brings us to the next benefit …
#4 – Turmeric Can Treat Gastrointestinal Disorders
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects can be helpful in treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) as well as other gastrointestinal disorders. It’s been shown in several preclinical studies and uncontrolled clinical trials as having positive effects on gut inflammation and gut permeability.
Researchers at Hamamatsu South Hospital in Japan commented that curcumin’s “inhibitory effects on major inflammatory mechanisms […] and its unrivaled safety profile suggest it has bright prospects in the treatment of IBD.”
#5 – Turmeric Can Replace Steroids
Many dogs are on steroids for allergies and joint pain – but some studies show curcumin is just as effective as steroids. And the authors note: “The lack of side effects with curcumin is its greatest advantage compared with corticosteroids.”
And a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology shows that combing curcumin with a steroid reduced the side effects of this dangerous medication.
And that’s the main benefit of turmeric – not only can it work just as well as many prescription and over-the-counter drugs, it doesn’t carry the same nasty, unwanted side effects.
How To Make Turmeric Paste
So if you’re ready to give your dog turmeric, there are a few things you need to know. The curcumin in turmeric is hard for your dog to absorb if it’s given by itself. So it’s important to combine turmeric with a healthy oil like coconut oil. This can increase the absorption significantly.
Dr Michael Greger MD also found that a phytochemical in black pepper called peperine that can increase the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%. So you can’t give turmeric by itself and expect good results. But here’s a simple recipe you can make at home:
You can add the Golden Paste directly to your dog’s meals by mixing it with some water or kefir. Most dogs don’t mind the taste at all!
This is a rough starting point, but you can increase the amount from there, up to about a Tbsp for larger dogs. But you’ll want to give turmeric in smaller amounts a few times a day because curcumin leaves the body quickly.
And you’ll want to be careful when you’re working with turmeric … its bright yellow color can stain your hands, counter tops and your dog! So mix your turmeric paste with some kefir or mix it well into his food or he’ll be sporting a yellow mustache!
And turmeric is binding and can cause constipation, so add some water or kefir to his meals when you add turmeric.
Potential Turmeric Side Effects
The best thing about turmeric is that it works and it’s safe. But not all dogs should get turmeric. Turmeric is a “warming” spice so if your dog is always hot and seeking out cool floors to lie on, turmeric may not be for him.
Turmeric can also interact with some medications, including anti-inflammatory and diabetes drugs, and it may interfere with some chemotherapy treatments … so if your dog’s on any medications, check with your holistic vet before adding turmeric to his diet. Chances are, it will only help but it’s always best to check. Turmeric is also contraindicated for patients with bile tract obstruction or gallstones.
Bonus – Turmeric Is A Powerful Antioxidant
So there are a whole lot of reasons to start giving your dog turmeric. But I haven’t mentioned the best one yet … turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and antioxidants can slow down aging, degeneration and even increase lifespan.
The main benefit of antioxidants is that they help fight free radical damage. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that can accumulate in cells. They’re the byproduct of metabolism, sometimes the immune system creates them to fight viruses and bacteria, and they’re also formed when your dog is exposed to chemicals, pesticides, processed foods, pollution, radiation and toxins.
Once free radicals form in cells, their single electron makes them very unstable and they react quickly with other compounds to capture a second electron to make them stable again. They usually just attack the closest stable molecule and steal its electron and the damaged molecule with the missing electron becomes another free radical and a chain reaction is set in motion.
This process is called oxidative stress and it causes damage to the cells, proteins and DNA in your dog’s body. A 2015 study at the Guangdong University of Technology discussed how oxidative stress activates inflammatory pathways leading to many chronic diseases, including cancer. Their research suggests that “curcumin can play a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammation diseases.”
So move over variety … turmeric is the new spice of life!
Say YES to turmeric for dogs …
Thank you Dana Scott at Dogs Naturally Magazine for this article!
If you’re a horse person and read equine publications or have shopped for products for your horse, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a thermal image. But what is a thermal image really? What is it used for and does thermal imaging really have benefits?
An infrared thermal imaging camera identifies temperature distribution on the surface of a horse’s body based on metabolic processes that occur beneath the surface. So what does that mean? All objects emit energy, most of which is not visible by the naked eye. Thermal imaging cameras make the invisible visible by displaying thermal patterns.
A thermal scale starts at black, which indicates cold, and then progresses to white, which is the hottest point of the scale. When imaging a horse, the most common colors you’ll see are red, yellow, green, blue, purple.
What do we look for when interpreting thermal images?
When doing equine thermal images, we look for three primary things:
Inflammation – There will always be areas of red and even white on a horse’s thermal image. That’s because horses are obviously living things that have vascular flow, muscles, nerves, bones, and other soft tissue. There are areas on a horse that should show red or white on a thermal image, perhaps because it’s a vascular area or a part of the horse’s anatomy where the coat or skin is thinner. However, when there are areas which display red or white which are not supposed to display that thermal pattern, it’s a red flag, potentially indicative of injury.
Insufficient Circulation – As there are areas of a horse’s body that should be warmer, there are also areas where it’s appropriate to see a cool pattern. For example, there is very little blood flow in a horse’s legs, so they typically show up purple and blue on a thermal image. For this reason, a horse should be mildly worked either on the lunge line, in a round pen, or under saddle so that circulation is pushed through the legs to see a pattern with better blood flow to identify issues. There are times where there are areas that should have good circulation, and the thermal patter runs blue or purple regardless. This is another red flag because it means that blood flow is being constricted and warrants further investigation.
Asymmetry – The third and most important thing to be identified in a thermal image is asymmetry. Horses are generally symmetrical creatures – what you see on the right should be present on the left. When looking at thermal images, left to right are always compared. If a horse displays inflammation in an area on one side of the body and not the other, it is indicative of a potential issue. For example, horses infrequently suffer suspensory ligament injuries in both front legs at the same time (although it certainly can and does happen), so when imaging a horse, if inflammation is seen in the left suspensory and not the right, it would be indicative of an injury. If the inflammation is seen in both, the interpreting veterinarian would determine if the thermal pattern were a normal pattern or one that is of concern.
When should thermal imaging be used?
There are four primary applications for thermal imaging:
If a horse has a lameness or injury that is in need of diagnosis, thermal imaging can be used to narrow down or diagnose an area of injury. There are many diagnostic tools out there and the question about what makes each one different is often asked. Below is a table that outlines the most common diagnostic tools, their benefits and disadvantages, and relative cost.
What to look for in an equine thermographer
Thermal imaging is a science, and therefore the images need to be taken and interpreted by a trained professional. The thermal imaging process is akin to when a person gets an x-rays. When getting an x-ray, usually an x-ray technician takes the images and those images are then sent to a Doctor of Radiology (Radiologist) for interpretation. With thermal images, a Certified Infrared Thermographer (CIT) will take the images and send them to a veterinarian who specializes in interpreting thermal images. That veterinarian will then write a report with all of the findings. There are some vets that are certified in thermography and offer this service, but usually the person taking the images is different than the vet.
A few things are key in the process and should not be ignored:
.Essential oils are becoming more popular for us because they are so beneficial to you, They are beneficial to the horse receiving them and even barn mates or herd mates will benefit from inhaling the oils on their neighbor. In my experience, if you raise the vibration of even one member of the herd, the entire group gets healthier. If you are interested in using essential oils on yourself, your dogs or your horses, I recommend you consider Raindrop Therapy.
Bringing the Body into Balance
The basic principle of balance is to realign the spine and help the horse or dog achieve equal standing on all four feet. I like to see my patients with “four on the floor”. With pelvic imbalances or asymmetric shoulders and/or front feet, the spine often compensates and the horse or dog adopts habitual stances. You’d be surprised how many horses and dogs have difficulty standing “square” for even 30 seconds. This is why I start the Raindrop treatment with the essential oil blend called Valor on the sacrum, withers, poll, sternum, and all four bulbs of the heels.
Valor balances the physical and electrical energies of the body and has been touted as a “chiropractor in a bottle”. The intention of guiding the body into the frequency of balance and harmony is the foundation of the treatment.
Boosting the immune system
The next step involves applying a sequence of anti-viral, antimicrobial, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory oils to the insides of the hind legs, stimulating the Spleen, Liver and Kidney meridians. These are the most influential acupuncture meridians of the immune system. This opens the channels for easy elimination of toxins and inflammatory residues.
The third step involves moving up to the spine. Be sure to have something safe and stable to stand on. The same six oils as well as Marjoram are dropped like raindrops along the spine from 6” to 9” above, moving from the sacrum forward to the withers (thus the name “Raindrop Therapy”). It is wonderful to feel the vibration and energetics of each oil,
Before these oils are dropped on the spine, a mixing oil is applied generously over the spine to help diminish the heat of the Thyme and Oregano, and to help the oils travel down the hair shaft and into the skin.
Aroma Siez is the last oil applied to either side of the spine on the paraspinal muscles, so they can relax while the spine rearranges itself. A myriad of ligaments and connective tissues are found between and surrounding the vertebrae. I believe these oils go deep and release the tension – which can be physical, chemical and emotional – around the vertebral bodies.
Once these techniques have been done, a hot moist towel is rolled onto the horse’s or dog's back. A dry towel is placed over that to hold the heat in and absorb excess moisture. Sometimes it only takes a deep breath from the horse or dog for the spine to give way to a more comfortable, supple and straighter alignment. Once I have taken the towel and blankets off, I like to let the horse move around by himself in a soft sandy pen or a well-bedded stall, so he can roll.
Signs of Toxicity
If toxins come out of the spine, you’ll see areas of raised hair that looks like hives. It’s proposed that viruses, bacteria or fungi hibernating in the spine cause many misalignment and some types of scoliosis. These pathogens cause inflammation, which generates dis-“ease” and imbalances in the spine. These raised areas may persist for two to three days, so do not do your first Raindrop before an important event like a show or parade.
Thyme and Oregano oils have a high phenol content, which can cause skin irritation or reactions. This is mostly in horses or dogs with underlying toxicity in their systems. It is also important that the horse’s or dog's back be kept out of direct sunlight for at least eight hours after the treatment, as some of the oils can cause hypersensitivity with sunlight.
Balanced Horses and Dogs
I recommend a thorough evaluation of the horse before doing a Raindrop. The feet and jaw must be balanced before the horse can achieve a long-lasting change in posture from the treatment. It is best if he can see his massage therapist within a week of the Raindrop treatment. Quite often the horses are so loose that they can adjust themselves Chiropractically with stretches and rolling, and no manipulations are necessary.
Not only is Equine Raindrop Therapy great for sore backs, it’s also fabulous for boosting the immune system. You can do just one horse in a trailer load of six or eight horses traveling long distance, and the other horses will all benefit from inhaling the aromas of the oils. Or, if you are at a show and the neighboring horses are coming down with influenza, you can Raindrop your horses and not only protect them, but build a wall of defense for the rest of your barn.
Information form Dr. Heather Mack
Regular massage has been shown to reduce the output of stress hormones like ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) and consequently aids in developing a resistance to infection in later life?
In a young dog, it has been shown to promote the
development of nerve pathways in the cortex and subcortex of the brain, which can result in an increased rate of learning?
Massage aids in digestion, one of the most important functions of the dog’s body. Digestion can, quite literally, determine whether life continues or not. The stimulation of the vagus nerve through massage positively impacts digestion by:
*Improving gastric motility
*Decreasing gut permeability
*Increasing availability of nutrients from food
*Regulating blood insulin levels
*Promoting weight gain and growth rate
*Improving the outlook for puppies suffering from failure to thrive
Massage also has the potential to help older pets with digestive problems such as:
*Post-operative ileus (temporary paralysis of a portion of the intestines after abdominal surgery)
*Megaesophagus (a condition in which the muscles of the esophagus simply don’t work and don’t move food or liquid into the stomach)
Inflammatory bowel disease
*Studies of obese rats indicate long-term vagal nerve stimulation through massage can lead to a reduction in food intake. This suggests the vagal nerve network is capable of sending satiety (‘I’m full’) signals to the brain, effectively
reducing appetite. From this we can assume regular massage has the potential to:
*Reduce food cravings in your pet
*Stimulate desire for more physical activity because his or her body feels better
Massage is wonderful tool for nervous or anxious dogs. The slow, relaxed touch can help a stressed dog relax.
Using certain areas to affect the parasympathetic nervous system are always a great place to start massage with nervous dogs.
In the same way, you can calm down a hyper puppy or a reactive adult dog.
Free Motion Animal Massage is always happy to teach owners a modified calming massage, so the owners know who to calm their puppy down when playtime is over, or calm a anxiety filled dog. It works great and both dog and owner full the increased bond it give them.
An integrative wellness plan for a dog or horse will help maintain their health, address issues naturally, and optimize their performance and disposition. Free Motion Animal Massage will work with you to develop a custom program for your dog or horse based on their needs.
Canine and Equine Sports massage therapy includes the use of trigger-point therapy, and compression massage. Additional stretching exercises will provide a unique and beneficial experience for your dog or horse.
Robyn has been riding and showing horses for 19 years, competing at local shows and the Appaloosa Circuit. Her love for horses led her to the career of Equine Sports Massage Therapy. She is also a Certified Canine Massage Therapist. Robyn’s goal is to improve the relationship between you and your pet.
Robyn was certified by Equissage of Roundhill, VA in 2015. The 50 hour training was all hands on and very intensive. It is her hope to provide horses and dogs the best service possible and also tools to make your relationship with them the best possible.
Benefits of Canine and Equine Massage
A dog and horse will benefit from massage in many of the same ways we do as humans. Canine and equine athletes performing to their limits, those that have had injuries or illness, those under stress or tension, and elderly dogs or horses can all gain from the experience of a therapeutic canine or equine massage. The best practice is to incorporate a preventative maintenance schedule to help avoid injuries, but a dog or horse can also be treated after an injury has occurred to expedite the recovery process.
The muscles response to overuse and over stretching is first tightening, then shortening, then ending in spasm. Muscle spasms will interrupt the free flow of motion in your horse or dog. If the spasms are left unattended they will often lead to larger injuries.
In order to perform the bio-mechanics of motion, muscles are arranged in pairs and each muscle has two functions: Contraction and Release. When one muscle contracts (shortens), the bone or joint is moved in the direction of the contraction. The muscle must then release in order not to interfere with the opposite contraction. Spasms interfere with a muscle’s ability to release completely and this is where problems begin.
For example, we ask our horses to “move up” in dressage, on a hunter jumper course, or push for a few tenths of a second off the clock, we tax the horse’s muscular system to achieve the new goals. When asking this much of your horse, you increase their ability and performance level, but you must be careful. We really don’t know how much strain and exertion is required for maximum performance or when we have reached it. Indicators of underlying issues are; resistance to one side, shortened stride, switching or refusing leads, restricted bending, sore back, jumping flat.
Massage during canine or equine injuries
Many times, when a dog or horse gets injured is exactly when and why people contact their canine/equine massage therapist. Massage therapy can help expedite the healing of an injury in many cases. However, there are times when massage is not a good fit and could cause additional pain and suffering. Free Motion Animal Massage will be able to guide you and help determine the best course of complimentary care based on your veterinarian’s diagnosis and your dog or horse’s condition. Massage therapy should never be used in replacement of veterinary care.
Equine and Canine Sports Massage is a 36 step massage that covers the animals entire body. Six strokes are used in sports massage; cat paw, zig zag, palpation, direct pressure, compression and cross fiber. At each step the muscle is opened, treated, and then closed. This allows the therapist to locate the muscle spasms and treat them directly.
For the first-time client, we will generally speak with the owner or trainer, asking questions to learn more about the dog’s or horse’s specific condition, situation and any immediate concerns. Many also like to watch the dog or horse move and visually assess their condition. This will allow us to watch the animal move and identify where they are labored in movement. This is what makes the method of sports massage so unique; we go to where the cause of the problem is. For example the dog or horse may have a shortened stride, but the cause may be behind the shoulder at the withers. It might hurt in the poll but it stems from the muscles in the hocks. Motion is a wave, it starts in a hind leg and the wave travels all the way to the poll. If any place of the body where there are tight muscles, it interrupts the wave. The objective is to create ease of motion.
We work head to tail on both sides of the body; carefully assessing their head, moving to the poll, down the neck and through the shoulders, then moving to the back, belly and hindquarters down through the legs.
I believe massage therapy is a way to give back to our pets. Like regular services such as vet care, chiropractors, training, and more, massage therapy is reasonably affordable, even as a regular treatment, and you will find the results very beneficial. You will notice they are more relaxed in training; they will regularly feel good. They will get more out of life.
Prices and Packages
Free Motion Animal Massage offers free evaluations for all clients and non-clients. The evaluation will give you a quick idea of reactive areas on your dog or horse. Each massage will include an evaluation chart for visual reference. Full body equine massage is roughly one hour. Canine massage time will vary based on the size of the dog.
We offer special packages for Kennels and Groomers, Equine Training Facilities and, adopted and foster dogs. Call for our promotional materials.