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Feeding our dogs (Part III) a more natural diet

This is the third and final part of this series on feeding your dog and how to affect their health and longevity by the food that they eat.

Part I – Feeding Commercial Dog Food vs. Real Food reviewed how the use of over-processed ingredients, GMO-based grains and fillers, and foreign-sourced low-grade ingredients (from China) may be causing your dog to be more susceptible to disease, allergies, skin problems, and a shorter lifespan.

Part II  dealt with the 140+ recalls of commercial dog food in recent years (both voluntary and by FDA order) for problems including contamination with plastics, bacteria, pesticides, or decomposition of ingredients, or mislabeling of ingredient content, or the use of unapproved antibiotic or antiviral agents – which may also contaminate your hands or surfaces in your kitchen that come into contact with those ingredients.

So this brings us to the problem of given the above, now what are you supposed to do.  You want your dog to live longer and be healthy. However it is going to take an investment in a lot of your time and some money if you are going to try and prepare a balanced wholesome diet. Most likely it will have to be prepared yourself from real ingredients. It will also extremely more difficult and expensive to do this for a large dog. Add kids, mortgages, car payments, day to day living expenses, and family trips and the decision to set aside a budget to take good care of the dog becomes hard.

Happy puppy

The dog in the picture above weighs 12 lbs. and is one of the most finicky creatures to ever walk the earth. But he is also the nicest and happiest dog we have ever had.  The diet provided below is just an example of what we are doing.  This is not a cookbook of steps that you should do nor recommendations. Inevitably, it will be your time, budget … and most important- the size of your dog that will combine to influence your decision.

Typically this dog eats twice a day:

Morning

2 fish liver oil caps 250 mg softgels (for omega-3’s)

1 Multi-Vitamin tablet for dogs

1/2 Joint Support tablet (we use Dr. Mercola’s) sometimes this requires a small dab of cream cheese to entice him to chew it.

A half cup of one of the following: chicken with skin; or left-over meat; or liver mixed with other meats; or an occasional egg with 1/4 tsp 600 mg calcium powder mixed into the meat. Preferably the calcium is from a bone-meal source not a mineral mined from earth which can contain contaminants and be deficient

Misc.: a piece of banana or apple; tiny piece of bagel; a real bone to chew

Night

Vegetables (raw or cooked) peppers, cucumbers, broccoli or brussel sprouts in whatever combination or alone.

Meat 50-75% of the meal: Left-overs; fish or canned fish like sardines; or chicken; or liver; or fish; pork; or gizzards and hearts or other animal parts from your butcher; and ground beef to name a few. Add 1/4 tsp 600 mg calcium powder mixed in (for a 10-20 lb dog). Don’t give too much liver. Preferably mix some in with other meats because it is so concentrated with nutirents.

1/2 Mercola Joint Support tablet

1 fish liver oil softgel

1 or 2 tbsp of pasta (spaghetti or other carbs for energy)

a small amount of probiotic powder to aid digestion

Usually the meat is two-thirds of the meal. The carbs are one-third or less. Cooking the meat is usually advisable as these modern dogs are not used to raw meat diets. Non-GMO grains and organics are preferable, both from the standpoint of not feeding genetically modified food and also eliminating the pesticides. Calcium is very important since these dogs do not consume many bones so as not to have a calcium deficiency. Calcium from an animal source (bones, bone meal, eggshells, or even canned fish that contain cooked bones) or marine seaweed in powder. Vitamins are important because people food may not provide the full compliment of vitamins. Variety is good. Dogs get bored eating the same thing over and over. Leaving a small bowl of organic kibble for them to occasionally munch on will round out the diet and also keep them from going entirely off good commercial dog food in case you need to travel and there are not too many choices of things to feed them as you might have in your own kitchen. Don’t overcook the meats so as not to destroy the nutrients.

Eventually you will work out a system so that this is not so overwhelming.  You will also take the dog’s fussiness into consideration. However at the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to overfeed the dog and end up with a tubby canine.  Regular exercise is important.  A regularly scheduled walk about a half hour after it eats is ideal to burn off some energy and also so it gets used to a time of day for its regular bowel movements.

Every meal does not have to be perfectly balanced. We don’t eat that way. However, overall you want your dog to be getting a balanced diet of good wholesome food.

If you still want to give him a treat, try a real bone that he can chew for the marrow but that will not splinter off like chicken bones or small pork bones. If you are tempted to provide a treat, think again before you reach for the rawhide bones. Take a look at Planet Paws’ video on how rawhide bones are made: .facebook.com/PlanetPaws.ca/videos/1338278949580317/

Sometimes this can be very overwhelming. It is a lot easier just to pour some dry food out of a bag that you purchased from your local big box store and hope for the best. However, if your dog begins to develop skin rashes, joint problems, digestive problems, blindness, senility, or acts old before it is even 10 years of age, maybe it is time to become more proactive with its diet.  When this gets to be too much, you can always leave him for a few days with your significant other and let them take care of it while you go looking for sharks.

Shallow reef shark

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