HOW TO MAKE THE FOOD YOU FEED BETTER

Most, if not all, diseases and conditions can be affected by diet.
— Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition. Wiley.
dog food bowl.png
  • Variety/Rotation

  • Protein

  • Vegetables (which vegetables)

  • Omega 3’s (how to choose)

  • Nutrition Courses

  • Research & Studies

  • Videos

First start by selecting the best food you can afford.

Eating an adequate diet is not the same as eating an optimal diet. Eating less processed foods and more fresh foods is better for both us and our dogs. “Dogs, like people, need some fresh whole foods.” “many long-term studies have shown that vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from whole foods are more nutritious than the synthesized or refined forms found in most dog foods.” [1]Dry dog foods have two significant nutritional limitations, both of which are easy to correct: they contain unbalanced and, at times, rancid fats, and they require the addition of fresh foods for “complete” nutrition.” [1]

“Dogs, like people, need some fresh whole foods.”.jpg

Dog owners need to be aware that the meat used in most modern dog foods almost always comes from commercial feedlot animals.” “Even most dogs fed homemade diets do not eat the proper balance of fats because modern feedlot animals have different amounts and balance of fats than do wild prey animals. Poorly balanced fats are one of the major weaknesses of almost all commercial and most homemade dog foods. Fortunately, it’s easy to correct.” [1]

Research is showing that when dogs have fresh foods (vegetables) added to their diet it improves their microbiome. “The gut microbiota of dogs is significantly influenced by diet type (i.e., natural diet and commercial feed). Specifically, dogs fed a natural diet have more diverse and abundant microbial composition in the gut microbiota than dogs fed a commercial feed.” [2] (See studies listed below)

Adding fresh vegetables to a dog’s bowl three day a week has been shown to reduce cancer risk between 70-88% in one study.

Our goal is to rotate and feed a variety of differing proteins and brands of food over time to help correct for any excesses, insufficiencies, or imbalances. Select several quality foods with a with a similar protein, fat, and calorie content to compare and make a decision on what to feed. With the Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet you can run the math to analyze and compare any type of pet food.  Dry kibble, canned food, baked kibble, freeze-dried, raw, etc. You can get a copy of the Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet here.

Start by feeding a recently made and properly stored food. [1]

Some have expression concerns with mixing fresh food with dry kibble due to digestion concerns. Knowledgeable professionals say for healthy dogs it is fine to mix fresh foods with kibble. Dr. Becker DVM answers the question here: https://www.facebook.com/rodneyhabib/videos/10155026287262028/?t=627

5 Steps to Enhancing Your Dog's Store-Bought Dog Food (Whole Dog Journal)

Rotation & Variety

The goal for healthy dogs is to rotate and feed a variety of differing proteins, roughage (vegetables) and brands of food over time to help correct for any excesses, insufficiencies, or imbalances. Select several quality foods with a with a similar protein, fat, and calorie content to compare and make a decision on what to feed.

With the Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet you can run the math to analyze and compare any type of pet food.  Dry kibble, canned food, baked kibble, freeze-dried, raw, etc. You can get a copy of the Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet here.

Watch the video below to see how to improve both dry kibble and raw/fresh food diets.


Protein

Steve Brown - Recommendations to add to food.

Fresh & Raw Frozen

Video - Steve Brown’s recommendation

  • Mussels

  • Canned Salmon

  • Kelp (just a pinch)

Dry Food (kibble)

I would select a high protein, low carb food with quality ingredients and then supplement it with these recommendations. Evaluate foods with the Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet.

Video - Steve Brown’s recommendation

  • Sardines (water or olive oil)

  • Dog’s Weight 3.75-oz can sardines
    5 lbs 1/4 can per week
    15 lbs 1/2 can per week
    25 lbs 5/8 can per week
    50 lbs 1 can per week
    100 lbs 1 3/4 cans per week

    A 3.75-ounce can of sardines has about 200 calories, so reduce the amount of dry food given on “sardine days” accordingly. Rule of thumb: One can of sardines in water has about the same number of calories as ½ cup of most dog foods

Dr. Karen Shaw Becker -

Inexpensive recommendations to add to dry food. (Video)

Dry Food (kibble)



Fresh Vegetables

Research is showing that when dogs have fresh foods (vegetables) added to their diet it improves their microbiome. “The gut microbiota of dogs is significantly influenced by diet type (i.e., natural diet and commercial feed). Specifically, dogs fed a natural diet have more diverse and abundant microbial composition in the gut microbiota than dogs fed a commercial feed.” [2] (See studies listed below)

Adding fresh vegetables to a dog’s bowl three day a week has been shown to reduce cancer risk between 70-88% in one study.

Dogs were grouped by how often they consumed the following vegetables: green beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, carrots, corn, peas, celery, various squashes, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, turnip or mustard greens, iceberg or head lettuce, romaine or leaf lettuce, green peppers, garlic (fresh or powdered), and tomatoes.

“study detected no distinctions between consumption of raw or cooked vegetables”

Evaluation of the effect of dietary vegetable consumption on reducing risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers”


CANCER 70% LESS LIKELY

CANCER 78% LESS LIKELY

CANCER 88% LESS LIKELY


Omega 3’s

Emerging evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may provide some health benefits to dogs and cats, especially during growth and development (Bauer 2006). Specifically, benefits may be derived from docosahexaenoic (DHA, 22:5 n-3) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA, 20:5 n-3) acids. While alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 n-3) is often supplied in products by ingredients such as flaxseed or canola oil, dogs and cats cannot efficiently convert alpha-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA, so fish, krill, or algal oil sources are required (NRC 2006).[4]

Most dogs do not eat balanced fat diets, and consume little, if any, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), probably the most important fat for the brain and eyes. Even most dogs fed homemade diets do not eat the proper balance of fats because modern feedlot animals have different amounts and balance of fats than do wild prey animals. Poorly balanced fats are one of the major weaknesses of almost all commercial and most homemade dog foods. Fortunately, it’s easy to correct. [3]

 GREAT VIDEO EXPLAINING DIFFERENCES IN OMEGA 3 OILS

GREAT VIDEO EXPLAINING DIFFERENCES IN OMEGA 3 OILS

150 mg epa/dha day per 10 lbs

  • Phospholipid     90-95% absorption

  • Triglyceride       80-90% absorption   

  • Ethyl Esters       60-70% absorption

Eggs have only a small amount of EPA/DHA; a 50lb dog eating 1500 kcal day would need to eat to meet min requirement:

  • 5 grocery store eggs

  • 2.5 free range eggs

  • 2-5 tsp phytoplankton

  • ¼ - 1 tsp algae oil

Packaging

  • Glass (Amber) (not plastic)

  • Oxygen degrades oil

  • Exposed to air will go bad in 7-days

Choose a product that uses 3rd party testing – especially for pet grade. Consider using a human grade product recommended by ConsumerLabs.com

“some dry foods, most often premium puppy foods, do include fish oils, a primary source of omega-3 DHA. The problem is that DHA is very fragile—think fish kept at room temperature. Although the original DHA content of the food is listed on the bag, it is not necessarily the amount of DHA that is in the food when you feed it to your dog.” [3]

Don’t over dose; more is not better.

“Side effects to consider,” says Dr. Linder “include diarrhea and, in extremely high doses, bleeding problems” because omega-3s “thin” the blood. Admittedly, the occurrence of such problems is on the rare side, but to insure your dog stays safe, give omega-3 supplements to your dog with your vet’s knowledge so she can monitor her for any untoward effects. Tufts Cummings School’s HeartSmart website advises that for every 10 pounds of body weight, a dog should get one gram of fish oil that contains 180 milligrams of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 120 milligrams of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The site also advises choosing a brand from ConsumerLabs.com, which does testing for quality. Don’t give your dog fish oil in the form of cod liver oil. It can be tox

http://www.tuftsyourdog.com/issues/21_5/features/Canine-Diet-for-Heart-Disease-339-1.html


ABC Plan One Day A Week

Steve Brown offers a simple ABC plan to feed your dog one day a week a fresh foods and skip the kibble in his book “See Spot Live Longer the ABC Way.”

Health Considerations

recommended resources

pet Food Recalls and Alerts

Dog Food Recall Alerts

The Magnitude of Pet Food Recalls

Canine Nutrition Course

My Healthy Dog, the hub for the canine nutrition courses created by global dog nutrition experts Dr. Jean Dodds and Diana Laverdure-Dunetz, MS. The self-paced online canine nutrition courses will enable you to take control of your dog's diet once and for all. From the basics of your dog's nutrient requirements to creating cooked or raw diets with confidence to selecting the absolute best commercial foods, you'll learn everything you need to know to ditch the doggy diet stress and ROCK your dog's diet! Proper nutrition is essential to a long, healthy life, so let's get started optimizing your dog's diet and health today.

ROCK YOUR DOG’S DIET CRASH COURSE

Busy dog parent? No problem! This course reveals the essential diet strategies you need to optimize your dog's health...

COMPLETE CANINE NUTRITION

The Master Class in canine nutrition for serious home feeders and dog care professionals.

 ROCK YOUR DOG’S DIET CRASH COURSE

ROCK YOUR DOG’S DIET CRASH COURSE

 COMPLETE CANINE NUTRITION COURSE

COMPLETE CANINE NUTRITION COURSE

Research & Studies

Protein

Pet food safety: dietary protein

Effect of dietary protein intake on the body composition and metabolic parameters of neutered dogs

Understanding Animal-Based Proteins in Dog Foods

Omega 3’s

Quality analysis of commercial fish oil preparations

“This study found that over half of the supplements did not meet their label claims for EPA and DHA, and a quarter exceeded recommended limits for peroxide value.”

Effect of neuroactive nutritional supplementation on body weight and composition in growing puppies

Evaluation of cognitive learning, memory, psychomotor, immunologic, and retinal functions in healthy puppies fed foods fortified with docosahexaenoic acid-rich fish oil from 8 to 52 weeks of age.

This Helps Heal Many Pet Disorders

Should I give fish oil to my pet?

Improving Dogs’ Arthritis Pain With Diet

Effects of feeding a high omega-3 fatty acids diet in dogs with naturally occurring osteoarthritis.

The effect of dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on owner's perception of behaviour and locomotion in cats with naturally occurring osteoarthritis.

Vegetables

Evaluation of the effect of dietary vegetable consumption on reducing risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers

Independent effects of the broccoli-derived compound sulforaphane on Ca²⁺ influx and apoptosis in Madin-Darby canine renal tubular cells.

The effects of sulforaphane on canine osteosarcoma proliferation and invasion 

microbiome

How a dog's diet shapes its gut microbiome

Differences in the gut microbiota of dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) fed a natural diet or a commercial feed revealed by the Illumina MiSeq platform

Raw meat based diet influences faecal microbiome and end products of fermentation in healthy dogs

Key bacterial families (Clostridiaceae, Erysipelotrichaceae and Bacteroidaceae) are related to the digestion of protein and energy in dogs

Effects of the Dietary Protein and Carbohydrate Ratio on Gut Microbiomes in Dogs of Different Body Conditions

WALTHAM Research Highlights the Influence of  Dietary Protein Levels on Gut Bacteria in Kittens

Deep Illumina-Based Shotgun Sequencing Reveals Dietary Effects on the Structure and Function of the Fecal Microbiome of Growing Kittens

Faecal microbial populations of growing kittens fed high- or moderate-protein diets

Altering the Intestinal Microbiota during a Critical Developmental Window Has Lasting Metabolic Consequences

Can antibiotics make your veterinary patients fat?

Weight Control

Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs

“Median life span was significantly longer for dogs in which food was restricted. The onset of clinical signs of chronic disease generally was delayed for food-restricted dogs.”



No One Method Is Best for Feeding Dogs or Cats Pets can flourish eating just about any foods (with a few caveats). In mulling over this conclusion, we realize that we should not have been surprised to make this discovery. After all, we know perfectly well that humans grow, reproduce, and live to ripe old age on diets that differ enormously in what is considered normal and acceptable to eat. As long as the diet includes sufficient amounts of a variety of minimally processed foods—meat, dairy, fruit, vegetables, grains (or their substitutes)—the needs for essential nutrients and energy will be met. The same goes for dogs and cats. As we have said, it is extremely difficult to induce a nutrient deficiency in a person or animal eating enough of a variety of foods. This means that you have lots of options for feeding pets healthfully. You can choose a feeding method that not only meets the nutritional needs and preferences of your particular animal, but also—and we think this is an important consideration— one that fits comfortably with the way you live and with your personal dietary beliefs and preferences. If this concept seems as surprising to you as it did to us, it is because nobody would ever know this from surveying current books on how to care for pets. The books that are out there tend to cite every bit of research or experience they can muster to argue that you must feed your pet only one kind of diet—only commercial pet food, only one or another alternative pet food, only meat, only grains and vegetables, only raw foods, or only home-cooked foods. Humans don’t eat only one way. Pets don’t need to either. Any or all of those methods, singly or together, can promote excellent health in a dog or cat.” Nestle, Marion. Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat). Atria Books.