Determining the dosage of colostrum for your dog or cat is not an exact science. Colostrum is a food, or in this case we may refer to it as a nutraceutical - a food with beneficial, healing attributes. Let’s learn a little more about colostrum.
Colostrum is the pre-milk fluid produced from the mother's mammary glands during the first few hours after birth (72 hours after birth for human mothers, 0-8 hours for bovine/cow mothers). Colostrum is the carrier of the immunities that are transferred from mother to infant and contains an abundance of nutrients such as growth factors, immunoglobulins, proline-rich polypeptides, lactoferrin, glyconutrients and much more.
Scientific research conducted in the last decade (in major medical research centers and universities throughout the world) has shown that the molecular combinations of the immune and growth factors in cow's colostrum are virtually identical to human. Research has also shown colostrum from a bovine (cow) is not species specific, and is up to 100-1000 times more potent than human colostrum. This means that every mammal on earth can benefit from bovine colostrum, including dogs and cats.
Choose colostrum from pasture-fed cows. They have a higher range of immunities. Be sure your colostrum comes from animals that are pesticide, herbicide, antibiotic and rBST free because this will of course be the safest and healthiest for your pet. The colostrum should also be low-heat processed because high heat can denature some of the most vital nutrients such as the proline-rich polypeptides. Colostrum in powder form, or capsules, is preferable because compression used to create tablets will cause the colostrum to be exposed to excessive heat. We recommend avoiding standardized products that often use transitional milk (the milk that follows colostrum) and condenses what they consider to be the key nutrients into a marketable product. Nature knows better than a lab in China or India. I choose the whole, original product and Mother Nature every time!
The calves' needs are always met first. Extra colostrum remains after the calves' needs are satisfied. Studies show that most calves would die or have serious health issues if they didn't get at least 2 quarts of colostrum (which doesn't do the dairy farmers any good), so our supplier ensures they get their fill and then collects the remainder.
It is theorized that strong stomach acid can damage some of the components of colostrum, such as the immunoglobulins and proline-rich polypeptides. This means that it is best to take colostrum on an empty stomach with some water so the colostrum will reach your dog or cat’s small intestine intact, with less damage from stomach acids. I do this by mixing the colostrum with a very small amount of soft food, yogurt or pumpkin, just enough to get your pet to eat it, plus a tablespoon or two of water (depending on your pet’s size) and provide this fifteen minutes or so before I feed my animals their meal.
I mentioned in the opening paragraph that colostrum is a nutraceutical, a food with important health benefits, so there is no exact dosage as with a pharmaceutical drug (and none of the harmful side-effects either!). It has been suggested that for best results, colostrum should be front-loaded (taken in larger doses initially and then lowered to a maintenance dosage after desired results are obtained). This may be fine for some animals, but with sick dogs and cats I often prefer to start at ¼ to ½ the suggested dosage and work up from there, keeping a close eye on your pet for any adverse reactions to new substances added to their diet. Colostrum is very safe but all animals are unique and I always try to take the safer course. Here are some more detailed suggestions:
Suggested Use for General Wellness:
1/4 tsp per 20 lbs daily. May be provided once before breakfast or dinner or in the evening before bed but dividing the suggested dosage into two equal doses is best, especially for debilitated animals. You may mix the colostrum with meals, however, fifteen minutes prior to meals or two hours after mixed with a little food or yogurt is optimum. I prefer to mix colostrum with a vegetable source because I feel this will not trigger the release of stomach acid as may a high-protein source like meat. However, I may just be over-thinking things so just do the best that you can!
Intensive Use for Health Challenges:
You may double the suggested dosage of colostrum to help deal with immune and numerous other health challenges for as long as necessary or as directed by a holistic practitioner. When you see beneficial changes you may then reduce to a lower maintenance dosage.
I hope this educational pet health article pertaining to the colostrum dosage for dogs and cats was helpful. We have had so mush success using colostrum for sick animals it has become one of our most highly recommended supplements. I hope you enjoy the same success with your pets!
Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Puotinen, CJ. (2000). The encyclopedia of natural pet care (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Keats Publishing.
Dekel, Dr. M. Bovine colostrum, immunity and the aging process. Retrieved from http://www.drdekel.com/content/bovine-colostrum-immunity-and-aging-process
Minton, Barbara L. New studies continue to reveal the health benefits of colostrum. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/022851_Colostrum_studies_health.html
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