Everyday, we discover more and more about advances in pet nutrition. Modern pet parenting engages us more into the lives and well being of our pets.

For the past decades, we have seen changes in how we treat our pets, from being mere household additions to being actual members of the family. We then have seen progress in learning new ways of caring for our pets.

One of the most essential and foremost concerns that we face everyday is pet nutrition. We are seeking more knowledge about what and how to feed them that will be most beneficial for their health. We have learned that the diets of dogs and cats are very specific to their species and it is important that we feed them the correct nutrition. “You look like what you eat” is a phrase we hear getting thrown around. More often than not, it’s actually quite accurate, especially for our pets. We aren’t just content that our pets are healthy, of course we also want them to look good. The best way to achieve that is also thru their diet. Aesthetic upkeep like proper grooming is important, but if we want them to have good skin and coat, we have to feed a diet that will reflect that in the long run.

Proper vitamins and nutrients found in the food they eat is essential in the overall health of our pets. However, we have to wonder how much of those vitamins and minerals are being absorbed by the body. This is where we start looking at antioxidants and the role detoxification plays in the absorption of nutrients in food. For humans, we see and hear antioxidant rich foods and detox diets everywhere. Is it a trend? Is it necessary? This writer’s opinion is yes. With all the toxins and chemicals found in the way food is grown and processed nowadays, finding a balance between proper diet and eliminating toxins is very important. Where do we find toxins anyway? It is easily found in the most basic things we consume daily like the mercury in water we drink, soil our food is planted on, and all the substances our protein is injected with. We then ask ourselves, should we not want the same detoxification we deem is essential for our pets if we know it is beneficial?

Antioxidants can be found naturally in food and substances from the earth. There are so many ways of consuming this beneficial element. From fruits and vegetables we can supplement our pet’s diets, to naturally occurring minerals found in the earth. The most efficient way we can give antioxidants to our pets is thru zeolite. Zeolite is a natural mineral found in volcanic rocks. It is a microporous aluminosilicate mineral formed throughout years of volcanic activity. What is it and how does it work?

Zeolites are among the most important inorganic catioon exchangers that are biologically neutral. The aluminosilicate structure is negatively charged and attracts cations that come to reside inside the pores and channels. They have large empty spaces, or cages, within their structures that can accommodate large ions such as Na+, K+, Br+, and Ca2+which are essential minerals that the body needs.

HOW DO THEY WORK TO DETOXIFY THE BODY? – The ion exchange that occurs when zeolite is consumed is reversible, allowing for adsorption of ions and molecules, at the same time, trapping and eliminating negative cations and harmful elements. Thus making zeolitesuseful as filters for dust,a key element for toxin removal and a chemical sieve.

Zeolites are already in use in the food industry. Beer is stabilized with zeolites, which adsorb the proteins responsible for further degradation of ingredients. Zeolites are also included in the formulation of toothpaste.

There are over a hundred varieties of zeolite found in the earth. However, there are only two that are safe for human consumption. One of them is called clinoptilolite. Of course we would only want the zeolite we would consume ourselves to give to our dogs and cats. Clinoptilolite is a natural zeolite comprising microporous arrangement of silica andalumina tetrahedral or CaAl2Si7O18

How did it start getting included in human and pet diet? It started with the discovery that clinoptilolite is a powerful component for fighting against anti-radioactive properties. In pig farms, they studied that pigs had more weight gain and are less subject to disease than pigs fed normal diets without clinoptilolite. They also showed better digestion and more efficient bowel movement. Further researches showed that zeolites remove toxins and create changes in enzymology and immunological responses.

In human medicine, clinoptilolite have been used as antidiarrheal remedies and in kidney dialyses for the removal of ammonia ions from body fluids. Clinoptilolite incorporated into the diet can reduce the harmful effects of aflatoxins because it can trap the molecules and eliminate them in the waste. Clinoptilolite incorporated into the diet at 1.5- 2.5% was evaluated for its ability to reduce the harmful effects of 2.5 mg total aflatoxin on chicken farms. Free radicals, heavy metals, pesticides and toxins that can easily found in the environment can cause various problems for pets. Many studies have shown that clinoptilolite absorbs toxins and helps to eliminate pathogenic bacteria and bacterial toxins from the body; At the same time increases the absorption of nutrients which normalizes metabolism, improves nutrition and aids digestion.

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s December 2017 issue.