Health & Nutrition

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This page is a work in progress, so please forgive the limited content.

Welcome to the Health & Nutrition Information page of the GSRSV Website. This is a page that is only about 18 years overdue (as long as the GSRSV Website has existed)! I feel that information on this page is more important than any of the other content in this Website. After all, whether it applies to your children or your pets, what's more important than good health? The only thing that has kept me from creating this page sooner is that it is a daunting task--and my main mission of  rescuing and rehoming dogs is a full-time job in itself.

There is so much misinformation out there about what's best for your dogs' health, much of it propagated by the industries that profit from the sale of their drugs and other products that are potentially harmful to your dogs. Sadly, some of the misinformation about what is good and what is not good for your dogs' health is passed along by veterinarians who either have not been exposed to non-traditional--yet factually based--ideas and information, or who simply feel that what they've learned in veterinary school is gospel. 

There are also many natural supplements and remedies that are not only safe alternatives to their traditional medicinal counterparts, but are just as effective and often much less expensive. I hope that this page will introduce you to some of these supplements/remedies and help you maintain the good health of your dog(s) with the fewest risks to their longevity.

I want this page to be as interactive as possible, so if there is some info that you would like to see provided on this page, please let me (Brian Foran) know about it at bab43@msn.com.

This page was last modified August 15, 2018.

General Health
The Natural Approach: Effective and Safe!
Recently I discovered the Website for a holistic veterinarian named Deva Khalsa, DVM ("Dr Deva"). After thoroughly reviewing Dr Khalsa's Website, I am confident enough to simply refer people to her site for much of the information that I would like to provide on this page. Why re-invent the wheel? Dr Khalsa has done an amazing job of amassing natural, safe and effective health advice for companion animals into her Website. Please visit Dr Khalsa's Website, and pay particular attention to the section on "Combating Cancer" and to the video "Are Vaccines Dangerous for Your Dogs?" under the "Pet Health Videos" section.

Another good online resource for natural/holistic veterinary information is the "Education" page of Hemopet.org. This page contains numerous posts written by Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM, and focuses on vaccines, nutrition and thyroid issues. (Thanks to Dianna Cheung for informing me of the Hemopet.org Website.)

Bloat (Gastric Dilitation/Volvulus)--every GSD owner should know about this condition! Several of my adopters have lost their GSDs to bloat!
Gastric dilatation/volvulus, more commonly known as "bloat", is an all-too-frequent, often fatal event for German Shepherds. Basically, gastric dilatation refers to a condition in which the dog's stomach fills up with air due to various reasons, the main ones being eating too fast or eating large quantities of food (such as when a dog gets into a full bag of kibble). The dog's abdomen becomes visibly "bloated", and can cause great discomfort. If the bloat persists, often what happens next is volvulus--the stomach literally rotates on its intestinal axis, shutting off the blood supply both to and from the stomach. At this stage, the dog usually has only hours to live, and the condition must be treated surgically. The sooner the dog is treated, the better its chance for survival and full recovery. 

Learn how to avoid bloat in your dog, and how to recognize the symptoms. Please click on this link to open a very informative Webpage about bloat. I recommend printing the article and placing it where you can immediately access it if you suspect that your dog is experiencing bloat. Click on this link for a printable MS Word version of the article.

Obesity in Dogs: Just as Harmful to Dogs as to Humans
"Keeping Your Dog Thin is a Lifesaver"--Click the link at left to download an excellent article about the beneficial health effects of keeping your dog thin (not just "normal") by Denise Flaim, Whole Dog Journal, Jan 2014.

Geriatric Issues
(coming soon)

Nutrition
Dog Food
I have found the Whole Dog Journal to be the most comprehensive source of information about what makes a dog food "good" or "bad", and for ratings of all kinds of dog food, including pre-packaged, refrigerated or freeze-dried raw foods. While the Whole Dog Journal does tend to lean towards the very top-shelf dog foods, which are great but cost an arm & a leg, they also cover the less expensive good-quality dog foods.

Raw Dog Food
There is a ton of information (and misinformaiton) out there about the pros and cons of feeding you dog raw food. (I, for one, am a huge advocate.) An excellent, inexpensive reference on the nutritional benefits of raw food for dogs is the book Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: the Ultimate Diet by Kymythy R. Schultze. This paperback book only costs about $12-15 new, and used copies can be found online for just a few bucks!

Supplements
No other company that I've encountered manufactures so many highly effective nutritional supplements for dogs (and horses), at reasonable prices, as Springtime, Inc--an independent company based in Maryland. I have been feeding my dogs several of Springtime's supplements for years, and believe in them so strongly that I provide a one-month supply of one of them ("Bug-Off Garlic") to every one of my adopters, and include their product catalog in all of my adopted dogs' adoption packets.

Springtime, Inc is the ONLY company that I endorse on my Website, and I do so voluntarily with no "kickback." Springtime, Inc does provide GSRSV with a 10% discount on their products, but they have done so without any knowledge of my endorsement.

Parasite Prevention
(coming soon)