Which would you feed your cat? 3 tips for a healthy urinary tract

Supporting a healthy urinary tract system is critical for our feline fur babies. You probably have or know of a cat with Urinary Tract Infection right now. We want to do the right thing but it can be confusing. Some urinary tract foods contain salt. That can’t be good, right? Right! Keeping your cat healthy should not be this difficult. We have made it easy. If you are the sort of person who just wants to cut to the chase, scroll down for the 3 easy tips. If you want to understand what makes a healthy urinary tract, read on!

There are four major goals to a healthy urinary tract system.

  1. Flushing the UT system.
  2. Decreasing the pH.
  3. Eliminating bladder irritation.
  4. Decreasing infection.

Urinary tract health starts with your cat getting enough water and, this is important, flushing their systems. This is why salt is not a good answer, it will make your cat thirsty but they will retain the water and make the problem of a stagnant system worse. A stagnant urinary tract allows dangerous bacteria to incubate and grow, fast. Once their system gets plugged with bad bacteria, 50-75% of these cats will have the same problem over and over again. You can solve this problem with dandelion root, a powerful diuretic. Your cat will drink and flush frequently. And, dandelion is an excellent source of potassium, naturally resupplying the loss of this important mineral. The next thing you want for your cat’s system is a decrease in pH. Cranberry acidifies the urine which helps control bacteria and acts as a barrier to keep bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall. Never use sweetened cranberry as the sugar will exacerbate the bacterial growth. Now that we have addressed acidification and flushing, let’s look at bladder irritation and infection. Bladder irritation can cause a nerve reaction that leads to spastic contractions and pooling of the urine which is an environment for infection and stone formation. Demulcent (soothing) herbs such as marshmallow root contain a high percentage of mucilage which forms a protective film over the mucous membrane of the urinary tract. Another powerful herb, yucca root sends in anti-inflammatory saponins. This soothing film and anti-inflammatory action stops irritation and creates a healthy environment in the urinary tract. The next step is decreasing infection by providing a natural antibiotic action with organic prebiotics. Prebiotics, such as organic inulin from the agave root, selectively feed the beneficial native bacteria and starve out the bacteria that lead to infection.

Flow is a unique product for feline urinary tract health that works with the cat’s physiology to combine dandelion root, cranberry extract, marshmallow root, yucca root and organic prebiotics to naturally support UT health. After formulating Flow, we spent 14-months in palatability tests to get the perfect flavor and consistency that makes even the most discerning feline run to you when you shake the bag.

The 3 easy daily tips to support your cat’s UT health:

  1. Provide fresh water.
  2. Keep a clean litter box.
  3. Give Flow daily.

Not all “clinical studies” are created equal

It’s not hard to find a pet supplement claiming to be “vet tested,” “clinically tested,” “clinical proven,” has “clinical results” or some other variation, but not all “clinical studies” are created equal.

Survey studies: Some companies play fast and loose with their testing claims, while there was nothing “clinical” or “scientific” about their “study.” Many of these so-called tested supplements simply provided free product to a group of consumers and then asked them to complete a survey about their impressions of the products. This method is wrought with flaws. It is subjective. Responses can easily be influenced. This approach relies on solely on perception and not on any scientific measure.

In vitro studies: Studies that are conducted “in vitro” are experiments conducted in test tubes or petri dishes — not in an animal. Based on the results from these tests, conclusions are drawn about the performance of the supplement within a living animal. Alternatively, studies conducted with living animals are known as “in vivo.”

Non-species-specific studies: A vast number of companies test product performance in animals other than what the supplement was intended for. In the pet industry, this means pet supplements may be tested on mice or humans, which does not offer concrete evidence of how the supplement will react when given to a dog or cat.

Small population studies: Supplement study claims may be based on results seen in only one or a few pets. These studies are open to errors because they didn’t involve enough animals to represent the wider population of dogs and cats. An effective study should include, at a minimum, 30 animals.

Scientifically sound but morally questionable studies: Unfortunately, some sound scientific practices involve crossing or blurring the line of what is humane and moral. One example is the use of Beagle dogs. These animals live in cages and are destroyed once testing has been completed. Another practice employed by a popular joint supplement involved utilizing homeless dogs who were injected with a painful chemical to create joint disorder.

In Clover’s gold standard studies: In Clover utilizes only scientifically sound research to develop our world-class supplements. This extra level of care ensures the In Clover supplements you give your canine companion or feline friend have the highest probability of success.

Just one example of the research behind our products is the clinical study of our Connectin joint supplement. Connectin was clinically tested by a group of independent researchers at an internationally renowned veterinary university. The study population was comprised of more than 80 household pets who had been diagnosed with joint disorder by a veterinarian. To avoid any bias, the dogs were divided into two groups: one group received a daily placebo while the other group received Connectin daily. The animals’ mobility and comfort were measured using state-of-the-art force-plate analysis. A force place measures the amount of pressure applied to each limb. Stride length and reactions to palpation (touch) were also monitored. Using humane practices, measurable results and sound scientific methods, this gold-standard study illustrated that the pets who were given Connectin showed statistically significant improvements in mobility in an average of 15 days.

While studies like these are certainly more labor and cost intensive than some other methods, we think your pet is worth it!

What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?

Probiotics are “good” or “friendly” bacteria that reside within the gut (intestines) of mammals, including humans, dogs and cats. Probiotics are living organisms that act as little “factories” that produce essential nutrients the body needs to function.

Each animal has his or her own unique, preferred strain of probiotics. The preferred strain is the one that will be at the highest level when the animal is healthy. If there are three dogs playing in a park, it’s unlikely that any of them will have the same preferred strain of probiotics.

Think of our animals’ digestive systems like vehicles. While they all take fuel to run, there are certain types of fuel that work best for particular vehicles, whether that’s high-grade gasoline, diesel, coal or electricity. To help that vehicle run, you need to give it the fuel its “body” prefers.

Probiotic supplements contain living bacteria, generally sourced from cows, goats or sheep in a dairy form. When you give a probiotic supplement to your pet, you are introducing a foreign strain of bacteria into the system. In our fuel example, this is like putting a low-grade gasoline into a high-performance car. Sure, it’ll get the car moving, but it won’t allow the vehicle to perform at its best.

Prebiotics are an ideal food source for your pet’s native, preferred strain of probiotics. Prebiotics cannot feed (penetrate the cell walls) unwanted bacteria.

Prebiotic supplements work to quickly shift the balance of beneficial bacteria to a healthy, natural state. Prebiotics will double your pet’s friendly bacteria every 20 minutes. So, in just three hours, 1,000 bacteria become over 5 million! This targeted feeding allows the beneficial bacteria to multiply, thrive and line the intestinal walls, while undesirable bacteria starves, has nowhere to attach and flush right through the system.

How do antibiotics interact with prebiotics and probiotics?
Antibiotics are intended to kill harmful bacteria in the pet’s system. Unfortunately, they often kill the beneficial microbes as well, including any introduced through a probiotic supplement. However, because prebiotics are not living, they are well-suited to support the digestive tract even during antibiotic use.

In Clover remains ahead of industry demands

In 1999, In Clover’s Connectin became the first joint support product proven to show significant improvements in mobility in an average of 15 days as evidenced by gold-standard clinical trials. Independent veterinarians from an international leader in veterinary research conducted an eight-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that included nearly 50 pets, age 6 months to 19 years. State-of-the-art force-plate analysis measured how much weight the animals could bear on each limb. Stride length and reactions to palpation were also monitored. In an average of just over two weeks, dogs showed statistically significant improvements in affected joints, and – surprisingly – showed better use of joints unidentified as problematic, which illustrates Connectin’s proactive joint protection capabilities.

In the last several years, hoards of supplements and supplement-like products have saturated the market making claims about being clinically tested. Further investigation revealed many companies were “testing” their products by providing free samples to customers and compiling surveys. Other “trials” included small populations — sometimes as small as a single pet.

In an effort to curb customer confusion and raise accountability for pet supplement companies, in 2014, the FDA announced that all products claiming to be “clinically tested” must conduct double-blind, placebo-controlled studies like the studies conducted in 1999 for Connectin.

Hot on the heels of this announcement, Petco publicized in early 2015 that it would not sell any pet supplements that did not display the National Animal Supplement Council’s (NASC) Quality Seal. The NASC is a non-profit industry group dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals throughout the United States. NASC conducts audits of companies’ manufacturing processes and pulls finished goods from shelves for purity and quality testing. To earn the NASC Quality Seal, a manufacturer must pass these rigorous audits and adhere to adverse event reporting. The Seal is a way for consumers to know that when they buy a product, they buy from a reputable company committed to best practices and product safety.

In Clover was among the first three companies to earn the NASC Quality Seal in 2005. The company’s founder and product is also an active board member for the NASC, demonstrating a commitment to elevating the entire pet supplement industry.

To learn more about In Clover’s dedication to going above and beyond regulations and their full line of scientifically formulated natural pet supplements visit their website at inclover.com.

How much is enough? 3 things you should know about your glucosamine supplement.

By: Rebecca Rose, biochemist and founder of In Clover

It is tempting to pick a joint supplement for your pet with the highest glucosamine amount and not look any further, but is this the best approach to your animal’s joint health?

Our pets’ bodies are designed to turn nutrients in their food into building blocks to cushion and lubricate their joints. When there is an upset in the system due to injury, aging, diet or genetic factors, the system breaks down and the result is joint disorder and discomfort. To protect joints against wear and tear or to support a pet exhibiting joint discomfort symptoms, you may seek out a glucosamine-based joint supplement. Here are three things you should know about glucosamine supplements:

1. Not all glucosamine is created equal.
Most commonly derived from sea mussels, glucosamine is the joint building block that provides the cushioning for the joint. Not all glucosamine is the same; there are varying qualities of this ingredient. Greater amounts of glucosamine in a product often points to a cheap, low-quality ingredient. Make sure the supplement label shows indicates the glucosamine is 99%+ pure.

2. The carrier matters.
Once you’ve determined a quality glucosamine was used in the product, you’ll want to focus on the glucosamine carrier. When you give your dog or cat a glucosamine supplement, it has another ingredient attached to carry it into the body. This carrier takes up space and replaces some of the glucosamine claimed on the label. The less expensive brands use large carriers. Product using glucosamine HCl will deliver 28% more glucosamine than those using a sulfate carrier.

3. Go beyond glucosamine.
Glucosamine is only one of three essential joint building blocks your pet’s body needs to maintain joint comfort and health. While glucosamine cushions the joint, chondroitin provides joint elasticity and hyaluronic acid lubricates the joint. Providing glucosamine alone is like filling your car with gas but never changing the oil or inflating the tires.

With joint disorder comes inflammation, decreased circulation and increased free radical activity. These symptoms need to be overcome for the joint building blocks to be delivered. The most complete joint supplements will contain glucosamine HCl, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid plus a delivery system containing anti-inflammatories, circulatory stimulants and anti-oxidants.

Looking for complete and proven joint care?
Connectin joint supplement is the only joint supplement clinically tested in double-blind, placebo-controlled university studies to show results in just 15 days!

Help for Hairballs

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

If you have ever watched your cat wrenching to expel a hairball, or if you have stepped on a hairball in the middle of the night, you have experienced the discomfort of hairballs. Hairballs are known in scientific circles as trichobezoar and are very common in cats, especially in long-haired cats (although they occur with any length of hair). They are more common during warmer seasons and climates.

Studies have shown that cats normally spend as much as one-third of their waking hours cleaning and grooming themselves. Because of the structure of their tongue, a majority of this hair becomes consumed during grooming.

Cat hair is made up of keratin, a type of protein. When the cat is unable to break down and digest the hair, it forms into a hairball in the digestive tract. It is this hairball that causes the discomfort.

OptaGest gets to the root of hairballs with protease, the enzyme that digests proteins. OptaGest works to break down the hair so it can easily pass through the system. With daily use of OptaGest, hairballs will be a thing of the past.

Watch the active enzymes in OptaGest digesting a cup of oatmeal: In Clover Enzyme Test.