More and more companies are creating dog food toppers, meal boosters, health mixes, elixirs etc. The common trend is to claim that they support bone and joint health, or helps with arthritis, supports shiny coat, improves vitality, enhances cognitive function, boosts the immune system, fights inflammation, detoxifies the body, fights cancer, relieves pain, Fights Glaucoma etc.
Now one issue with these is many times they just throw in a gamut of ingredients with various health benefits, “Superfoods”. There truly isn’t much thought into it. It’s let’s throw all of these superfoods and throw it into the blender.
A great comparison is the way many grain free companies launched ancient grain foods within a matter of months.
Many of them just basically swapped out whatever they were using with quinoa, oats, barley, millet etc.
That’s not to say these products are necessarily bad, but when a bunch of ingredients are just thrown together it doesn’t account for the biological interaction of those ingredients. It doesn’t account for the interaction of the ingredients together.
When evaluating these products, I personally feel that many of these products are more aptly compared to a multivitamin.
There are also herbs such as willow bark, and garlic where special attention needs to be given to the amount.
Salicin is the active compound in willow bark and is chemically related to aspirin. Meaning it is more likely than not that willow bark has the same side effects as aspirin possibly to a lesser extent. It also has contradictions with NSAIDS such as Rimadyl and Tramadol.
Dogs with sensitive stomachs should use products containing willow bark with caution while those with CKD or Liver disease should avoid entirely.
Contrary to popular belief garlic can be beneficial to your dogs. The main study used to say garlic is toxic to dogs was giving dogs 5 grams of garlic per kilogram bodyweight. For a 30lb dog this equates to a little over 68 grams of garlic per day.
I can’t say for certain that no one or no company is using that amount of garlic in a product, but I feel confident saying that a sizeable majority are using nowhere near that amount of garlic.
Now there are health conditions where garlic does need to be avoided entirely.
Now when using many different herbs, some more than others it’s essential to be aware of any contradictions with medications the dog may be taking.
This is why with some of the Infused Honey, you will receive an email or communication from us discussing the honey itself, whether one of the herbs needs to be removed or substituted because of a possible contradiction with medication or an underlying medical condition.
I feel like this was a better option than listing everything out because 1) it is more personal, and 2) it ensures that the customer has a better understanding.
The reason why the product description on the infused honey are so short is because we actually follow the rules even if the state doesn’t actually enforce them. I would love to be able to actually go into detail and cite studies showing the potential benefits of different ingredients such as, In a study conducted on rats Beetroot was found to improve delivery of oxygen to the skeletal muscles, but per the state of California I would then be making medical or health claims. We could ignore the rules, as the state is as effective at enforcing their rules as police are at enforcing the speed limit.
Another example is turmeric, a sizeable percentage of products that include turmeric do not also include black pepper. Giving your pet or even yourself turmeric is essentially useless without black pepper to increase the absorption rate. Without black pepper, you or your pet would have to consume extremely large quantities in order to actually get the benefits of turmeric.
Now Turmeric does have benefits from components other than Curcumin. Many of the j absorption, and there are some studies that show that other components of Turmeric help improve absorption. That being said the research showing consuming curcumin with fat increases absorption is vastly below that of Black Pepper.
There are also a couple of forms of curcumin that are more bioavaliable, but these are extremely uncommon.
I personally would prefer a twenty-fold increase over a six-fold increase. Especially when the absorption rate is so low.
Now Black Pepper Piperine can have some possible contradictions, with several specific medications, it can also increase the absorption of certain medication however the amount required to increase the absorption of turmeric is extremely minimal.
I have seen companies include both Bromalin and Pineapple into the same product. Bromelain is a group of enzymes from the fruit and stem of pineapples. It is one of the main components from which pineapples provide health benefits.
One publication wrote in an email that “Turmeric and curcumin together are a potent anti-inflammatory.”
Many companies are also not specific with their ingredients. Ie just listing Mint, Cinnamon, mixed berries or more galling Ayurvedic Herbs. Ceylon is the preferred cinnamon while Cassia is the most common cinnamon. Spearmint is the more common mint and doesn’t contain nearly as much menthol as peppermint. Companies also technically need to be listing the specific berries not mixed berries. Ayurvedic Herbs could mean any number of herbs.
At the end of the day It is extremely easy to make various Marketing “health” claims. Especially when the state doesn’t actually enforce their own rules.
The maintake away should be that when evaluating these products there needs to be more thought about what is included than just throwing superfoods in the blender.
Unfortunately with ingredients such as Spirulina, Gravelroot, Marshmallow, Nettle etc there isn’t much funding to actually investigate their potential as it relates to our pets specifically.
Government funding of research for our pets is almost entirely nonexistent. When the government funds research for animals it is almost entirely for animals that we consume. That means, because of the cost of research our pets have to basically rely on Nestle or Mars to fund research to prove an ingredients effectiveness for our dogs and cats. Which ultimately means Nestle or Mars have to decide they are going to include or bring to market a product with said ingredient.
This is why when discussing herbs a lot of the research demonstrating the potential benefit of various ingredients relies on human or mice studies.
At the end of the day science is still catching up when it comes to the benefits of many ingredients that have been used in traditional remedies for centuries.