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Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog.
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

In today’s dog food market, you not only find puppy and adult foods, but also senior foods and diet foods. Also on the shelves are bags of dog food specifically formulated for toy breeds, large breeds and giant breeds. This is quite a selection of food types and can be very confusing. So, what do you do? I hope to explain the differences and remove some of the confusion so you can make the right choice for your dog. This article will give you the right information you need to make the best diet decisions for your dog.

Up until a few years ago, the only dog food available for our companions were regular and puppy formulas. The puppy food was generally coated in a white substance, which made you think it might be milk. Then senior diets came on the horizon. These typically contained higher amounts of higher fiber and less protein. A similar formula was made for weight loss diet. These also included higher amounts of fiber, less protein, and less fat.

To further confuse us, or fill us with fear, special diets were developed for large and giant breeds. These formulas, depending on the brand, contained less or more protein and less or more calcium. Moreover, while I am guessing here, the toy breed dog diets were simply made with smaller pieces of kibble designed for the smaller mouth.

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

At the end of the day, let’s put the marketing hype aside and examine some of the real facts.

  1. All dogs are the same on the inside, regardless of their size or age. In other words, all have the same jaw, teeth, digestive tract and nutritional needs. While larger dogs grow slower than toy breeds, they still have the same nutritional needs.
  2. Lower protein does NOT slow down growth or protect bones or joints. The fact is, puppies and seniors BOTH need MORE protein, not less.
  3. While calcium may be an issue, especially with too much calcium, reducing it is harmful and adding TOO much is equally harmful. All dogs have the same requirement for the proper calcium to phosphorous balance. This article offers some helpful resources at the end and emphasizes that calcium to phosphorus needs are the same for all dogs. They also emphasize the need for D3, which helps calcium absorption into the system, and to NOT overfeed a large growing puppy:
  4. Senior dogs need MORE protein than adult dogs. High quality, bioavailable protein helps protect the heart, kidney and liver function in senior dogs. You also need to avoid high fiber diets for senior dogs, as they rob them of protein and they struggle to digest fiber as dogs do not have the ability to process or ferment fiber well enough. A good article on that is found here:
  5. Toy breeds (typically dogs under 15 pounds) have the same requirements as larger dogs. The one difference is that toy dogs grow and mature faster and often need smaller, more frequent meals due to their fast metabolism. Some toys breeds can have problems with hypoglycemia on one or two meals a day. I recommend 3-4 meals daily if possible, and they need slightly more food than medium to giant dogs. The general recommendation is 2%-3% in body weight daily, but for toy breeds, it is often more like 5%. They just burn calories faster due to their metabolism.

Important points to remember:  Spaying and neutering often changes hormones and metabolism in dogs. Spayed and neutered dogs are prone to weight gain because of this. Rather than put them on a weight-loss formula, which robs dogs of valuable protein and fat, just feed slightly less – about 10% less – AND do your work by walking them daily to help keep the weight off.


My best advice is to feed a raw or home cooked diet. You can monitor the ingredients and this diet is ideal for all life stages (puppy, adult, senior) and sizes of the dog. If I want the dog to lose weight, I reduce the fat in the diet. The protein in these diets is very bioavailable and helps protect the dog’s heart, liver and kidney health and also helps senior dogs retain their muscle mass.

So, what is the answer? All ages and breeds have the same mineral requirements. All have the same calcium/phosphorus requirements. Puppies and seniors need a bit more protein for growth and organ protection. Where do you get the best protein? A fresh diet, naturally! That would be a home cooked or raw diet, or at the very least, a 50% fresh to 50% kibble diet. Need your dog to lose weight? More exercise and less fat in the meal, which is easy to do with home cooked or raw. Do you worry about joint issues in your large or giant breeds? Feed a regular diet, but do not over feed!.

Good supplements to add?

  1. Berte’s Fish Oil Capsules, one per ten to twenty pounds of body weight daily, limit of 6 for the large and giant breeds
  2. Berte’s Immune Blend. This blend contains good probiotics, vitamins A, B’s, C, D3 (great for helping with the calcium uptake and healthy bones) and E, along with l-glutamine (helps keep a healthy intestinal lining). Half dose for healthy dogs and puppies, full dose for immune compromised and ill dogs.
  3. Special vitamins for the aging dog includes fish oil capsule, acetyl carnitine and the Berte’s Immune Blend.

Please Remember, all ages of dogs get the same diet as long as the protein has high bioavailability (digestibility, which means fresh and is animal based), do not OVER FEED, and only reduce a diet by 10% to start for weight loss. For puppies and seniors, it is most important they get a lot of high quality, good animal-based protein. Raw diets that contain 50% in raw meaty bones are naturally balanced. Home cooked diets need 900 mg of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate added per pound of food served. In addition, the Berte’s Immune Blend contains D3 to help this overall balance (calcium needs D3 to be absorbed).

Please remember to walk your dog’s daily during this very challenging time! The exercise will help you both and the walk and fresh air can help clear the mind and can be calming.



Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 03-01-2020
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

Introduction by Lew Olson

In past years, we occasionally shared with you testimonial stories from folks who have seen amazing transformations after changing their dog’s diet from a commercial diet to a raw or home-cooked diet. Some of these dog owners were simply looking for a more nutritional diet to give their dogs the best opportunity for optimum health and some were dealing with significant health issues from severe allergies to cancer. This month, we are excited to bring you Kerry Ann Crossley’s story that includes her experience through the process of changing diets and the healthy benefits the change in diet made to her beautiful dog, Hopi.

For Lew, My Reasons for Raw

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

By: Kerry Ann Crossley

My reasons for wanting to switch to a raw diet for my dogs were selfish ones. I wanted a puppy. I wanted an excellent puppy. A near perfect puppy. From an amazing, award winning breeder. It just so happens, this breeder REQUIRED me to feed her puppy a raw diet for its entire life. I was so elated to be considered, it was almost instinctual, I just agreed. I hadn’t really thought this thing through all the way. What have I done?

I had fed raw before, when I had one dog. One very special dog, who came into my life at a time I needed her most. She was a stray, and her mother brought her to me. Then she brought all the rest of her pups to me, through a clearing in the woods. I’ll never forget that feeling for as long as I live. A stray mother trusting me with her newly weaned, worm filled litter. She must have been watching me, through the woods, gardening in my back yard. Perhaps she thought, there is food. The first one she brought me, I kept. I found loving homes for the other five.

We had a special bond, I dreamed her name and her name was Hopi. At some point early in our journey together, I decided to start feeding her a home cooked/Raw diet. It was a recipe from Dr. Pitcairn’s book, on holistic health for dogs. It was raw ground turkey necks mixed with cooked oats, a few vegetables, and lots of supplements. Not a lot of variety. It was pretty easy to make, and I froze and defrosted Hopi’s meals. She was so very healthy, then. Lean and muscular, she had stamina and was very happy on our walks together, every day, for over an hour. She could run alongside my bike.

When Hopi was almost four years old, I had a traumatic breakup, and I left everything behind but the dog. This caused a change in my finances, which caused a change in my free time, and so Hopi went back to kibble. Time marched on. I met a man, we had dogs and we got more dogs.

So here we are, 16 years into a happy marriage, we have a strong affection for three Brussels Griffons, and I want another. Somehow I had forgotten about the home made meals, and I thought I was doing all the best things for our beloved dogs. They got the high end kibble, 95% meat in the cans we used to top the kibble. The cookies were always grain free, limited ingredients. I supplemented with salmon oil for their coat, Glucosamine for their joints. They were on medicines for joint pain, and allergies. It wasn’t cheap. Even with online delivery service, it wasn’t always easy. I had developed a system, had a devoted shelf in the pantry. A special air tight container.

Enter the up-setter. This breeder, who had somehow, casually, turned our world upside down. I discussed this with my friends. I got an “OHH NOOO!!!” Lots of groans, and even a “WHY!?” I knew the answer, I remembered Hopi’s lesson for me. Homemade food was better. I knew the result of a healthy diet, yet I could easily have been swayed into thinking this was too much to ask, that there was an easier way. Little did I know how much our lives would change.

So, I agreed to a raw diet, quite quickly. My husband was shocked, and very dubious. I know there was tuttering and head shaking behind my back from all my friends and family. This childless woman with too much time on her hands was losing her mind, endangering her dogs. Well, as it turns out, I work 30 to 60 hours a week, and “free” time is not in my lexicon. My calendar is packed. When I do have some self-care time it ALWAYS involves walking or grooming my dogs, taking care of my house and garden. I don’t have a house keeper, or any staff.

Once I agreed to commit to a fresh diet for a potential puppy, the first thing that ran through my mind was, “It’s all or nothin’”. That’s one of my mottos. It had to be all the dogs. I began immediately. I didn’t even have any type of guarantee from this breeder that I could have one of her exceptional puppies. They were, in fact, hours old.

I began by going to butchers, grocers, and looking online. Reading newsletters and forums. Where would my sources be? I took pictures of packages of meat, much to the amusement of other shoppers. I got lots of “No’s” when it came to asking if they would grind bones, or if they had such and such. I did math. Many times over. I made notes.

I bought and read another book, a more modern version of canine nutrition and wellness. What do you know? The author of the book was a PH.D, and she was also the breeder in question. I was so impressed, and so intimidated. What on earth was I doing?

But something had clicked. I knew, that even if I never got the “reward” of the puppy, that I was changing the lives of my dogs forever. I knew that logically, fresh, homemade food just made sense, just like it makes sense for us. I also acknowledged, that any breeder with a requirement of feeding RAW for her puppies has a conviction, and anyone with a passion, a conviction, and an education was worth listening to. This was not her first rodeo. I could trust her, and more importantly, I could trust the science. Nutrition is science, and it is chemistry, for all creatures. You really can’t argue with science, no matter how lazy I felt like I might want to be.

So it began. I first thought about my husband, and he likes to take part in feeding our girls. I wanted to make it easier for us both, so after doing the math, I bought appropriate sized containers for each meal. Then I bought a freezer. All or nothing. I really don’t like to not have a bulk of food, this was even true with my kibble and cans and cookies. It makes me calmer to know I won’t be caught empty handed, with hungry mouths to feed.

I started by covering my kitchen in foil and freezer paper. I got a kitchen scale and I bought lots of proteins and I began an assembly line. I followed the same path as my breeder/nutritionist/guru and decided to go all RAW, and to feed a muscle meat and organ meal in the AM and a RAW MEATY BONE meal in the PM. After doing math over and over again, I weighed out the portions of each and placed them in individual containers, and placed those in the freezer. Then I fed my dogs kibble again. I was exhausted and frightened.

My husband had concerns over cleanliness, E-Coli and such. He also had concerns about dogs choking. These were valid concerns. If you google too much, you will find conflicting articles about every issue under the sun. Luckily he’s a very smart man, and together we found ways to appease all our concerns.  We began one night for dinner, and we haven’t gone back. I’ve given away pounds of kibble and countless cans. I’ve gifted bags of cookies.

For now we use ground Raw Meaty Bones, as our dogs are small. I changed the bowls to ones easy to clean, and I wash them after each meal. I use antibacterial wipes, I tried placemats, now I just spot mop, and I wipe their faces with doggy baby wipes after each meal.

I’m not going to say it’s been effortless. It has actually been a ton of work. It’s been nerve racking at times, when they turned their noses up, or just wouldn’t eat. It’s been stressful at times to see the digestive upsets. At one point, my husband almost called it off because his favorite girl, who happens to be 14, wasn’t showing enthusiasm at meal times anymore. This was a deal breaker!

It turns out, her digestive enzymes required a boost. Once she was on a probiotic and digestive enzyme supplement, she’s the loudest demanding dog at dinner time again.

We just kept going. It wasn’t always perfect, or easy. But I know for sure my dogs are benefitting. I will try to list the changes I have seen, after feeding RAW for only 2 months now.

  1. The first thing I noticed was the glitter in their eyes. Their eyes actually glittered. Sparkled. I’ve never seen that before. Now I can’t quite remember what they looked like before, I have to refer to pictures. The oldest one, at 14, used to have so much eye gunk in her eyes we bought special wipes for them, and it was a “thing”,” did you wipe her eyes today?” We have not had to wipe her eyes in a couple weeks now.
  2. The glossiness in their coats. We were supplementing with salmon oil in the bottle, and we switched to Omega -3 capsules, because we learned the air in the bottle oxidizes the Omega -3 making it inert. Maybe it’s the Omega-3. Maybe it’s the fresh meat, maybe both. But these girls have gorgeous coats, now. Shinier than they have ever been.
  3. Better mobility. We have the 14 year old that was on pain meds, pretty strong ones, for her luxating patella and her joints in general. When we changed her diet I didn’t want to tax her system too much, and I also thought about her upset stomach, so I suspended the drugs for a bit so that she could get accustomed to the diet. We took care to always walk her in the stroller, carry her up and down the stairs during this time. I fully intended to put her back on the pain meds as soon as she adjusted to the diet. Well, as soon as she was barking and demanding her dinner again, she was dancing on her back legs. She was trotting down the hall. She was straining at the leash to be allowed to walk further. We have not resumed the pain meds. Her mobility is better than it’s been in years.
  4. The shape of their bodies. This part is harder to describe. But I will just say, they seem more muscular. My husband jokes they are getting fat, but their ribs are still there, able to be felt. And while I may cut back on the food by an ounce or two, I feel that the change is in the squareness and the set of their bodies. They seem cobbier. More squared off. More muscled. Like they’ve been working out. I can only assume they were somewhat starved of protein before. And for that, I am deeply sorry.
  5. Their contentedness. They are, simply, more content. They sleep better. They play with more joy. They walk with more pep and nap harder afterwards. I felt that jitteriness and restlessness might have been part of the breed before. It is not. Now, every rattling bag does not send them scurrying into the kitchen. They are content.
  6. Their toileting habits. Let me just say that the time I spend putting meat into little containers is time I used to spend scooping poop. I have bags dangling from the leash handle. I have a pooper scooper rake-and-tray butler’s broom deal for the yard. These have not seen much use. They poop once a day now, maybe twice, and the poops are tiny, insignificant. They’re not as smelly, and the dogs seem to be able to make it to the rear of the yard now, and they seem to want to. Before I would have poop on the potty patch because they couldn’t make it outside fast enough. Before our littlest one would have a stool the length of her body. We were constantly amazed at that. That all seems behind us now, pun intended.
  7. The connection I have with them. This is also hard to articulate. I have often shown my love for my dogs through meal times. I suspect my husband does this too, which is why the diet change was so concerning. We used to fall for the marketing, the puppy ice cream and yogurt frosting at birthdays, the fancy labels on cans, and the cute names of meals. Always they would have treats and cookies and snacks, and I see now that, despite all this, they were malnourished. Feeding them in this new way, with fresh meat, and taking the time to portion the gizzards and hearts, the tripe and sardines, it feels even more special, somehow. I think they enjoy it more, even if on some occasions we enjoy it less. My husband hates the smell of tripe, and yet, seeing their excitement for it and hearing their eating noises somehow makes it worthwhile. The opening of a can or using the measuring scoop in the kibble was never quite as fulfilling for any of us as much as putting fresh, varied meats in their bowls and adding a scoop of a daily probiotic and digestive enzyme, and then a bit of Oil of Omega-3. It’s really not that hard. And what it does is slows us down just enough to connect with them, and their health and well-being. They know, instinctively, that we are taking more time, we are giving more care to their food, and I really, truly, deeply believe they are trying to communicate a thank you. Just like I want to communicate a Thank You to this breeder, whom I’ve not yet met, and from whom I do hope to get a puppy in just a few short days. We’re ready! And I’d also like to communicate a Thank You to Hopi, who taught me so much about unconditional love, patience, and kindness. She will forever be the barometer for loyalty and selflessness for me. I hope I’ve made her proud.

Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 02-01-2020
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

When a dog has ongoing symptoms of diarrhea, gas, and occasional vomiting, this is often diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD). The best description of this is that the lining of the intestinal tract has become inflamed. This causes the food to shoot through the digestive tract, which in turn, forces the food to pass without being digested properly. The diagnosis will occur when symptoms of diarrhea, upset stomach and weight loss have continued for several weeks or months and other causes have been ruled out. Other causes of long-term diarrhea may include the following:

  1. Internal parasites, such as whipworm, hook worm, giardia or coccidia
  2. Bacteria overgrowth, including helicobacter or SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth)
  3. Addison’s disease, an adrenal disorder due to low cortisol
  4. Ulcers

It is recommended that you take a stool sample to your vet and have a complete wellness checkup done on your dog. If the cause is not diet related, it could be a variety of things, which can include parasites, bacteria and/or inflammation of the intestinal lining.


Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

Parasites can be a common cause of diarrhea so it is important to rule these out first with your veterinarian. Parasites that can cause diarrhea are roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, coccidia and giardia, just to name a few. Once parasites are identified, proper treatment usually clears up the diarrhea.



Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)

Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) is caused by a bacteria overgrowth. This is becoming more common in dogs. This problem creates large, gassy stools, weight loss and often appetite loss.




Other causes of diarrhea to rule out include:

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

EPI is a condition where the pancreas does not secrete the proper enzymes to digest foods. This is common in German Shepherd Dogs, but is seen in other breeds as well. Testing is needed to determine and confirm the disorder and prescription enzyme medications are needed for treatment. Like SIBO, EPI has large stools with odor.

Symptoms of EPI include INCREASED appetite, fluffy, very smelly, greasy, gray colored stools, loss of weight, gas, loud stomach noises, etc. The dog’s pancreas does not produce enough digestive enzymes to break the food down and therefore no matter how much they eat, they cannot digest their food. Untreated, weight loss happens quickly and can lead to starvation and death.




Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)

With HGE there is bloody diarrhea, which is often red and clotted in appearance. Vomiting and lethargy can develop later. A high packed cell volume (PCV) in a blood panel will confirm the diagnosis. Toy breeds are more at risk, but HGE has good recovery outcomes.




When all the above are ruled out, your veterinarian will oftentimes refer you to a specialist who will recommend a series of tests. These can include using an endoscope or doing exploratory surgery to obtain a biopsy. The results will determine which part of the intestinal tract is involved and what degree of inflammation is present. At this point, several medications are usually recommended. These include steroids, immunosuppressant drugs, antibiotics and flagyl (metronidazole), or other drugs to slow motility (lomotil).


These drugs tend to mask the symptoms and do not address or treat the problem. Steroids will bring back the appetite and help control inflammation, but long term use of prednisone and other steroid drugs have numerous negative side effects that include frequent urination, diarrhea, GI disturbance, ulcers, pancreatitis, renal and liver problems, diabetes, Cushing’s Disease, thinning hair, pancreatitis, muscle wasting, bone thinning and changes in behavior.

Immunosuppressant drugs can cause bone marrow loss, anemia and a permanent loss of tears in the eye, causing dry eye.

Metronidazole is an antibiotic with some anti-inflammatory side effects. However, this drug is processed through the liver.  Long-term use can cause neurological disorders and it destroys the natural flora and fauna in the system. Tylan is another antibiotic used that also has anti-inflammatory effects, but again, using antibiotics long term can destroy the good bacteria in the digestive system and it can lead to antibiotic resistance.

Diet recommendations often include prescription dry diets of the hydrolyzed protein type, which claims to be more easily digested.

I find it amazing that when a dog’s digestive tract is inflamed and the dog is in a weakened condition, the treatment is to offer harsh drugs that reduce the immune system and have a myriad of harsh side effects. On top of that, a poor food source that is heavily processed and high in fiber is included. Besides offering poor nutrition, high fiber diets continue to irritate and keep a dog’s digestive tract inflamed. Dogs are carnivores and therefore it is easier to digest animal protein and fats. Food spends more time in a dog’s stomach and then speeds through their short and simple digestive tract. Humans on the other hand, have a longer digestive tract, designed for longer transit time. Dogs labor tremendously trying to digest diets high in fiber. While high fiber will remove moisture in the large intestine and produce firmer stools, the intestinal tract remains inflamed and continues to cause spasms and creates poor digestion.

Rather than feeding a high-fiber diet and using immunosuppressant drugs and high power antibiotics that strip the digestive tract of good flora and fauna bacteria and cause further damage to the digestive tract, ideally, a diet change would be the first treatment of choice!

This diet would never be a dry food diet such as kibble, which is more irritating to a dog’s digestive tract. Instead, this diet would be a moist diet, high in good quality animal proteins and fats. A small amount of carbohydrates would be useful in a cooked diet for a fiber source. In a raw diet, the bones act as the fiber, which keeps stools firm.

Keeping stools consistently firm is not the main part of the ‘healing’ process, but it makes the human owners more secure when they see their dog’s stool look more like their own. Canines in the wild often have loose stools. This is not a sign of being unhealthy or having an illness, as long as they are digesting and utilizing the food consumed. Diarrhea now and then is not a big problem; it is projectile or liquid diarrhea for more than a day that can cause dehydration. The idea is to reduce the inflammation in the intestinal tract, which puts the digestive tract back into good health and allows for the proper digestion of food. My best advice is to look at the overall health of your dog. What is the condition of the skin and coat? Are they at a healthy weight? Are their stools consistent? Pay less attention to the stool and pay more attention to their coat, skin and weight for signs of recovery and good health.

Diet Recommendations

If you prefer a cooked diet, I recommend the low fat, low glycemic diet. This diet is 75% animal protein and 25% low glycemic (low sugar) carbohydrates. I would use a variety of proteins, such as beef, chicken, turkey and pork. Remove the chicken skin and trim extra fat from the other meat choices. You may also use low or nonfat yogurt and cottage cheese and egg whites, as they are also low fat. Low glycemic vegetables include broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, green beans and dark leafy greens. For more recipes, see my newsletters on Low-Glycemic Diets:

Carbohydrates and Low Glycemic Diets Part I

Carbohydrates and Low Glycemic Diets Part II

You can also get information that is much more detailed in my book, Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs.”

In raw diets, I suggest using a menu that consists of 50% raw meaty bones and 50% muscle and organ meat. For raw meaty bone meal, I suggest skinless chicken necks, turkey necks and pork neck bones. For the muscle/organ mix meal, I would use leaner meats such as low fat hamburger, white chicken meat chicken (no skin), and wild game such as venison and elk, with a small amount (5% of the meal) organ meat (liver or kidney), and nonfat yogurt or cottage cheese. More fat can be introduced to the diet later, but while the digestive tract is healing, higher fat diets should be avoided.

For both home cooked or raw diets, it may be best to start with three or four smaller meals per day for the first few weeks. Additionally, adding the supplements below will help during the transition of the diet and help heal the digestive tract.


I recommend three main supplements for dogs with IBD and gastric problems. These include:


L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is helpful in healing the lining of the digestive tract. This supplement helps maintain muscle mass and helps healing after surgery or an injury. The recommend dose is 500 mg per 20 pounds of body weight daily.

Berte’s Ultra Probiotics:

Berte’s Ultra Probiotics are a blend of beneficial bacteria, which are typically found in the digestive tract. These probiotics contain the good bacteria the digestive tract needs for proper digestion. During times of stress or illness, this natural bacterium can be depleted. Adding these probiotics to the diet, twice daily with meals, is helpful in restoring the flora and fauna needed for proper digestion and maintaining a strong immune system.

Food Science All-Zyme:

Animal-based enzymes include pancreatin and pancrealipase. They help predigest fats in the stomach so that when food is released into the small intestine, less strain is put on the liver and pancreas. The fat is better digested for easier passage through the small intestine. This leads to better formed stools.

Berte’s Digestion Blend:

This supplement offers all three of the above suggested supplements, L-Glutamine, Probiotics and Animal Enzymes, as well as GAGs to help heal the gut, and ginger to help prevent nausea.

Yucca Intensive:

Yucca is a natural steroidal herb that helps control inflammation. It MUST be given with food and at no more than 1 drop per ten pounds of body weight.

DMG Liquid:

Dimethylglycine is an amino acid recommended to help support proper immune response and glucose metabolism. For dogs with allergy problems, this supplement has been found to be beneficial in helping the immune system. This supplement also helps support skin and heart health, as well as proper nerve and brain functions.

You can find more information on this subject in both my newsletters Gastric Problems and Digestion and Gastric Problems FAQ.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 12-01-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

This month and next, we will be discuss and dispel some of the common myths about feeding dogs and proper nutrition. Many of these myths we will talk about include information that circulates on the Internet and is frequently discussed among dog fanciers when the topic of canine nutrition is discussed.

  1. Stones and Crystals in the urine are all treated with the same diet, and just change the pH of the dog’s urine.


Actually, there are numerous types of stones, and all are treated quite differently. Struvite crystal and stones are caused by bacteria in the urine, or Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s). Diet has nothing to do with these, but treating the infection will clear them up. Calcium oxalate stones are most often genetic, and simply feeding low oxalate foods (most oxalate foods are in carbohydrates, such as vegetables and grains) will clear those up. Purine stones are treated by feeding a low purine diet (no red meat or organ meat), and cysteine stones are hardest to tackle. But feeding a prescription for diet (which is one diet, which is recommended for all) is relatively useless. The pH is caused by bacteria waste in UTI’s (struvite) and once you remove oxalates from a dog prone to calcium oxalates, the pH will normalize as well. You can click on the following links for more information on these stones:

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video





  1. Do not mix fresh food with kibble

‘Do not mix fresh food with kibble’ is a particular statement that is frequently seen on message boards, email lists and Facebook. However the truth is, dogs are quite capable of digesting multiple types of food at one time. It is important to understand that dogs are different from humans when it comes to digestion. When people digest food, it tends to spend a short time in the stomach and a much longer time in the intestinal tract. Dogs, however, have a much shorter and simpler digestive tract. Dogs are carnivores and therefore, their digestive system is designed to digest animal protein and fat. Food spends a longer time in the dog’s stomach where powerful gastric juices break down the food. This helps to destroy bacteria, dissolve and break down bones, fur and skin. Kibble is fine to feed with animal protein and fats, however, it is suggested that raw meaty bones be fed separate from kibble. This is because raw meaty bones are heavier and therefore, may compete for gastric juices when the stomach churning forces both against the stomach wall at the same time. Read more about mixing kibble with fresh foods here:


  1. High protein diets harm dogs

Dogs, as carnivores, require animal protein for many important health functions. Proteins help maintain a healthy liver, heart and kidney function, keep the blood sugar level, and they provide the vital amino acids a dog needs for good health.  These are not found in plant-based foods. Two important stages in a dog’s life when high protein levels are essential are during puppyhood and the senior years. For puppies, protein is essential for proper growth and development. For our senior dogs, it is essential to help maintain healthy organs and to provide the needed nutrients as the dog ages. High protein does NOT cause renal problems! When renal issues develop, the level of phosphorus MAY have to be reduced, but this only becomes necessary with chronic renal issues. You can find more information about the importance of protein in a dog’s diet and the consequences of not feeding enough quality protein here:


  1. Feed High Fiber Diets for Dogs to Lose Weight

Many diet dog foods that you see on the market reduce protein and fat and replace it with fiber such as rice hulls, grains, starchy vegetables or other plant fillers. Sometimes people will replace some of the food with green beans or other carbohydrates assuming this will cut calories, keep their dog full and satisfied, and reduce its appetite. However, these types of ‘food replacements’ leave a dog feeling unsatisfied and hungry. These dogs become hungrier because their body is craving the quality nutrition it needs. It is better to simply reduce the amount of food served. If you reduce the amount of food served, do not reduce the total amount by more than 10% to start.

If you are feeding a fresh food diet and you want your dog to lose weight, I suggest using less fatty foods. You can do this by removing the skin from chicken, using leaner cuts of meat, and using 2% yogurt rather than whole milk yogurt. In dry dog food diets, I would use a HIGHER protein diet OR, replace some of the kibble by adding in some fresh lean animal protein. If you want your dog to lose weight, their diet must still provide them the proper nutrients needed to remain healthy and feel satiated after a meal, but they also need more exercise! Carbohydrates and fiber increase your dog’s appetite and they are oftentimes MORE fattening than quality proteins and fats. Dogs need fat for energy and they need high quality protein to maintain good health. If you want to learn more, please check out the following link:


  1. Dogs Do Great on Vegan/Vegetarian Diets

Yeah? Well I don’t think so! Dogs need animal protein to maintain healthy heart, liver and kidney function. Animal-based proteins contain the amino acids that are not found in plant-based proteins. The dog’s digestive system is a simple one and it labors when it is fed a high-carbohydrate diet overloaded with grains, starches and beans. This is because their digestive tract is short and simple. It simply cannot ferment and digest these types of foods. Additionally, dogs MUST get their iron requirements from animal-based foods. They have a poor ability, if any, to get their iron needs from supplements or plant-based foods. Animal protein is essential for your dog’s organ health and to ensure your dog is healthy as it moves into its senior years. Remember, old age does NOT cause renal, heart or liver failure, but a poor diet can! There are numerous other reasons why canines should not be fed a vegetarian diet. Please check out the following newsletter for more very important information on this topic:


  1. Raw Meat Will Cause Aggression

Occasionally I hear people say they would never feed a raw diet because it will create ‘blood lust’ and aggression in dogs. The interesting thing about feeding a raw diet is that is creates the exact opposite effect. Dogs need animal-based proteins to the get the amino acids they need. These not only provide dogs the proper nutrition needed, they also provide a calming affect!

Carbohydrate laden diets, such as grains, starches and fruit all convert to sugar. As the sugar levels raise and lower in the blood, it creates mood swings and can cause a lack of concentration. A diet that contains no carbohydrates or is very low in carbohydrates creates a more stable blood sugar level in the dog’s system. High carbohydrate diets also create cravings for the protein that is necessary in their diet, which can cause anxiousness, odd cravings, the begging and stealing of food, and create destructive chewing behaviors on inappropriate things such as furniture, clothing, books and other household items.

The best remedy for dogs that are hyperactive, have anxiety separation, destroy personal objects and are nervous, it is to feed a diet high in bioavailable fresh protein. This includes meat, whole milk yogurt, eggs and organ meat. Dogs will not only be more satisfied and ‘satiated’, but it can also calm them and help stop their frantic searching and chewing of inappropriate objects! This will not happen overnight, however gradually you should begin to see a calmer temperament over a period of several weeks.

Additional information regarding raw diets and aggression in dogs can be found here:


Next month we continue with Part II of “Myths about Feeding Dogs”.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 10-31-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

I’ve written about vegetarian and vegan diets for dogs in a couple of past newsletters. First was in 2003 and then it was updated with additional information in 2014. I also wrote extensively about this topic in my book Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs. While opinions and theories change as new information becomes available, I will say that my opinion on this subject has NEVER changed. I say the same thing today that I said in past newsletters and in my book. Please do not EVER feed any dog a vegetarian or vegan diet! Dogs are not humans! They do not digest food the same way humans do and they have different nutrient requirements needed to maintain their good health.

Bramble, a Border Collie from the UK, is often used as an example of a dog that lived to be 25 years old on a vegan diet. What is oftentimes left out of her story is that Bramble was a farm dog that was able to run free daily. I can only imagine that Bramble loved the porridge her owner gave her, but she was also opportunistic and spent much of her free time foraging for small rodents and rabbits.

Dogs will certainly eat what we provide for them. They do not have a choice in what we choose to feed them and therefore are subjected to what we decide to feed them. Hunger itself will cause the opportunistic dogs to eat what we set before them. However, we need to understand and take a closer look at what dogs need to THRIVE, not just survive!

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

Humans are omnivores and have a medium length digestive tract. When we eat food, it spends a relatively short time in the stomach and the bulk the time in the intestines to complete the digestion process. Humans have enzymes in their saliva to help predigest starches. Our jaws move up and down and back and forth to chew plant material and help pulverize and prepare food for digestion.

Dogs are carnivores. As such, they have a much shorter and simpler digestive tract than we do. In the digestive process, the food dogs consume spends the greatest amount of time in the stomach. Dogs have more gastric juices than humans do because carnivores need these in greater amounts to digest bones, break down animal fats and kill bacteria. After the digested material leaves the stomach, it goes through the intestinal tract rather quickly. Because of the short digestive tract, dogs have little or no ability to ferment foods. Therefore, their digestive tract is not designed for handling large amounts of fiber (grains, starches, fruit and plant material).

Canine teeth are sharp and pointed for the purpose of hunting and ripping, tearing and chewing meat and bone. Dogs have a large mouth opening to swallow larger amounts of food than humans can. Their jaws only move up and down (never sideways) and are not designed to mash up or pulverize plant materials. Additionally, they have no enzymes in their saliva to assist in starch digestion.

Protein and Dogs

Animal protein sources contain several nutrients not found in vegetarian and vegan diets. One important nutrient is the amino acid taurine. Protein is essential to organ and skin integrity, growth, and a healthy immune system. Amino acids provide the building blocks for these components that are essential for life. Each of these amino acids is specialized, and all of them work together to keep the body healthy. In humans, nine amino acids are needed to make up a complete diet. In dogs, at least ten amino acids are needed, and quite possibly eleven. As carnivores, dogs require certain amino acids in different amounts and ratios than humans.

Taurine and L-Carnitine

Research on nutrition and the heart in canines has shown some interesting results. It has been proven that Taurine is essential to cats, but the emphasis on the need for Taurine in dogs has been neglected. New studies show that certain breeds are prone to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), such as Newfoundlands, and are oftentimes found to have a taurine deficiency. Studies on this are also being performed on Doberman Pinschers. Other breeds that are affected include Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers. While scientists previously believed that dog foods high enough in sulfur containing amino acids (such as cystine and methionine, which can produce taurine) and proteins would allow canines to produce taurine, now believe this may not always be true:


Another amino acid needed in the dog’s diet is carnitine. This study shows that a carnitine deficiency can cause DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in dogs:


Note that the dogs used in these studies were fed a dry dog food. While only animal proteins contain taurine, certain preparation of animal proteins can deplete taurine in the diet:

“Animal muscle tissue, particularly marine, contained high taurine concentrations. Plant products contained either low or undetectable amounts of taurine. The amount of taurine that remained in a feed ingredient after cooking depended upon the method of food preparation. When an ingredient was constantly surrounded by water during the cooking process, such as in boiling or basting, more taurine was lost. Food preparation methods that minimized water loss, such as baking or frying, had higher rates of taurine retention.”


Dog food companies tend to add sulfur to their commercial diets because they know the high heats of cooking the small amount of animal protein in their formulas destroys the amino acids. However, while sulfur in the diet can assist dogs in making taurine, it appears to vary in the amount needed by breed and by size of the dog. To date, not enough research has been performed to understand how much taurine is needed for a processed diet heavily laden with carbohydrates. This leads to another problem with vegetarian and vegan diets.

Carbohydrates in the Dogs Diet

Carbohydrates are comprised of sugar and most are very high in fiber. The dog’s digestive tract is designed specifically to consume, utilize and digest animal protein and fat. As mentioned earlier, it is short and simple, and labors with diets high in fiber. Even though starches and grains are more easily digested when cooked, they still afford too much fiber for a canine to properly digest. Due to their struggle in processing high-fiber foods, it results in the production of gas and large, loose stools with very strong odor. Additionally, because dogs are unable to ferment fiber, this type of diet is very irritating to the small intestine and intestinal lining. As humans, we can have a tendency to project our dietary needs on to our pets. This is why it is so important to understand the nutritional needs of dogs and how their needs are different from ours. Not only is the high fiber, carbohydrate diet irritating to dogs, the abundance of sugar in carbohydrates causes obesity, body odor and red staining around the eyes, on the coat and feet. Sugar promotes both yeast growth and tooth decay in dogs. REMEMBER, dogs have NO way to break down starches in their mouth. Therefore, the food lodges in their teeth and can result in tooth decay and gum disease.


Plant sources are also a poor source of minerals. Probably the most important mineral to consider is calcium. Plants, including grains, are a poor source of calcium. They are high in phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, but low in calcium and sodium. Furthermore, grains and many vegetables are high in phytates, which block the absorption of calcium, iron, zinc, iodine and magnesium. This fact was brought to the attention of the dog food companies in the early 80’s. However, rather than reduce the amount of grains and starches in their commercial products, they simply opted to add more calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron.

A vegetarian diet, and especially a vegan diet, needs added calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and iodine to balance the diet. The problem with adding minerals to the diet is that adding too much or adding improper combinations can be just as dangerous as getting too little. Minerals need to be supplemented in specific amounts in order to balance with each other. Most important in the canine diet, is the calcium and phosphorus balance and the zinc and copper balance. Of all the nutrients we may supplement, balancing these minerals is of the utmost importance if you are feeding a diet that is low or devoid of these minerals. A home-prepared diet with meat, eggs and dairy provides the balance of all of the minerals, except calcium, in a form dogs can readily use. Adding raw meaty bones to the diet provides the needed calcium. Vegetarian and vegan, or plant-based diets, do not contain these needed minerals in a form that can be digested AND utilized by dogs.

Remember, the phytates found in most grains, many starches and vegetables could bind calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. Oftentimes, diets high in these foods need more calcium than a diet high in animal-based food sources. Additionally, high fiber diets make iron absorption more difficult. Dogs utilize iron more efficiently from animal-based sources such as meat, eggs, yogurt and fish.


Another important area to address is vitamins and vitamin deficiencies. These include Vitamin A, B vitamins and Vitamin D.

The Vitamin A found in meat sources is called retinoid. The Vitamin A found in plant sources is called beta-carotene. Dogs, and especially cats, have a difficult time converting beta-carotene to a usable form of Vitamin A. Animal proteins provide this important vitamin in its ‘already converted’ state. Therefore, it is important to feed dogs a diet that contains animal proteins so they benefit from this important vitamin.

Vitamin A in either form requires fat to be absorbed in the intestines. Therefore, consuming a high-fiber diet can interfere with the uptake of this important vitamin.


The level of beta carotene fed dogs decreases very rapidly, compared to humans and other mammals. This is important to note, as the retinol form is usable when consumed by dogs, and they don’t process beta carotene to a usable form as effectively as rats or humans.


“These are called preformed vitamin A because they are in a form that your body readily uses.  Retinol is the most usable of the three forms and can be converted to both retinol and retinoic acid in the body.”


“Niacin [vitamin B3] deficiency is generally encountered when owners formulate their own diets for their pets and do not include meat as part of the ration. Be very careful when trying to convert a pet into a vegetarian. Riboflavin [vitamin B2] is found naturally in organ meats and dairy products. It is lowest in grains, vegetables, and fruits. The un-supplemented vegetarian pet is at extreme risk of developing a riboflavin deficiency. Dogs fed a diet deficient in vitamin B2 will have poor growth, eye abnormalities, weakness in rear limbs, and eventually heart failure.”

Vitamin D has been found to be lower in blood plasma in dogs fed a vegetarian diet. This is a great concern, especially for growing puppies. This is caused from using plant-sourced vitamin D (D2) and increased fiber intake, which blocks the uptake of this vitamin. Dogs need vitamin D3, NOT vitamin D2. D2 is plant sourced and dogs simply cannot absorb and utilize this type as efficiently. Dogs require D3, which is animal sourced. Dogs are unable to absorb vitamin D from the sun.


“In contrast, the skin of dogs and cats contains significantly lower quantities of 7-dehydrocholesterol than other species, and its photochemical conversion to cholecalciferol is quite inefficient; dogs and cats thus appear to rely on dietary intake of vitamin D more than do other animals.”


Also note, the research shows that Vitamin D2 (mostly plant based) has little effect on humans and an even poorer effect on dogs. Always use vitamin D3 as the supplement choice.


This link is full of research sources showing how much more effective vitamin D3 is for humans and other mammals:



Most vets do not recommend feeding a vegetarian diet to dogs. I personally do not believe it is possible to feed a vegetarian or vegan diet to a dog and successfully supply all the nutrition that a dog needs.

A study of dogs in Europe that were fed a vegetarian diet showed the following results:

  • Over half the dogs showed inadequate protein intake
  • Calcium requirements were not met in 62% of the dog’s diets
  • Phosphorus requirements were not met in roughly half the dogs
  • 73% had an insufficient intake of sodium
  • A high number of blood samples showed insufficient amounts of iron, copper, zinc and iodine, as well as vitamin D
  • 56% of the dogs were not getting enough vitamin B12.
  • Even the commercial vegetarian diets were found not to meet the nutritional needs of dogs.
  • Even sources that support feeding vegetarian diets to dogs stress the complexity of supplying all the necessary nutrients and the dangers of leaving them out. The better sources recommend feeding eggs and dairy, even if meat is not fed.

Before anyone chooses to feed a vegetarian diet to their dog, they should have a thorough understanding of the dog’s nutritional requirements and know how they will meet their dog’s dietary needs feeding a vegetarian or vegan diet. This includes adding which vitamin and mineral supplements and in what amounts, should be given. Additionally, no dog should be fed a vegan diet, which is incapable of meeting his or her nutritional needs.

Lastly, it is important to look at the needs of the dogs, and cats, we choose to have in our lives. While we may have our own ethical or moral choices in what we eat, we are responsible for the care and wellbeing of our pets. It is certainly fine that you eat the vegetarian or vegan diet if you believe is right for you, but it is unfair to impose the same beliefs and diet onto your pets. Dogs and cats require animal proteins in their diet to meet their health needs. To make a conscious decision to feed carbohydrates to your dog, along with a myriad of supplements to try to make up the vitamin and mineral deficiencies of a meat-free diet is unhealthy for your pet. It is also selfish and unkind. The results of a vegetarian or vegan diet results in a higher risk of obesity, and leaves you with an unhealthy pet whose palate and nutritional requirements are not met. It is very important to separate our needs from our dog’s needs and provide them with the best nutrition, physical exercise and mental stimulation that is appropriate for them and not us!


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 10-03-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

I started breeding dogs in the late 1980’s and I have shown dogs in AKC conformation and performance since 1974. I did not get real interested in breeding dogs until I had learned a lot more about my breed at the time, which was Rottweilers. At that time, I was feeding a basic commercial kibble diet and added a few supplements such as vitamin C, B complex and vitamin E. My girls didn’t seem to have trouble conceiving, but I had experienced some infant mortality, hypoglycemia in young puppies, and some reabsorption of neonates. Furthermore, I had seen some heat cycles that were generally around every 6 months, but in some bitches, as frequent at 4 to 5 months between cycles. It was obvious that those bitches with the more frequent cycles were more likely to produce fewer puppies, or come up empty. At that time, in the 80’s and 90s, there was some anecdotal remedies to try, but none of them included tips on diet other than hearing about a breeder’s particular fondness of one brand of food or another.

As with most things, favorite brands of dog foods waxed and waned over those years, with people being drawn to ‘natural’ brands, large or small dog formulas, adult or puppy foods, or even more recently, ‘grain free’ or ‘organic’. During the time I was feeding a dry commercial food, I also experienced cancer in my dogs, most commonly lymphosarcoma and osteosarcoma. It was because of the cancer incidences in my dogs that I began to research nutrition and canines and made the decision to begin feeding my dogs a natural raw diet.

Studies had shown that high sugar diets (carbohydrates, which are sugars) were the fuel to feed cancer cells, and high quality protein (not processed as in dog food, but raw or lightly cooked) helped with the dog’s immune system and were the building blocks of the organs, skin, coat and overall good health. Dogs must get iron, vitamin D, vitamin A, and the amino acids l-carnitine and l-taurine from animal based sources. The high heat used during the heavy processing of commercial kibbles can destroy these amino acids. While most of these nutrients come from red meat and organ meat, I do use raw chicken for the bones (soft, easy to consume and digest) for the needed calcium and minerals they contain.

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

Besides seeing a reduced incidence of cancer in my dogs, I began to see some other positive benefits from feeding a raw, natural diet. Some of these included not smelling ‘doggy odor’ any more, seeing my dog’s teeth remain clean and their stools turn white and blow away. I also realized that my older dogs who were dealing with joint pain and arthritis issues were more mobile as they experienced far less inflammation in their joints. An additional and unexpected benefit that I saw, was the change in fertility in my girls!

Because I had not changed my dog’s diet to a raw diet for breeding reasons, I was not quick to see the changes, nor did I immediately attribute the diet change to the breeding benefits. After just a few years on a raw diet, my girls went from cycling every 5 to 7 months to every 7 to 9 months and their heat cycles were less ‘dramatic’ in discharge and mood swings. Another true benefit was that my girls were no longer having false pregnancies! Additionally, my girls seemed to never miss ‘catching’ (getting pregnant) whether from a natural breeding or a surgical artificial insemination using fresh chilled or frozen semen. While litters weren’t ‘enormous’, they generally had at least 8 puppies. Last fall, I bred my toy dog, a Brussels Griffon, using fresh chilled semen and she had 6 puppies – all naturally born – in two hours. They were all healthy and they are all doing well today. As a result, my curiosity increased, which is why I decided to do some additional research on diet and fertility. I wanted to know how feeding a raw diet could make such positive fertility changes in the bitches. So below is some of the information I found. While most of the information is based on human studies, I believe the information on the adrenals and hormones also applies to canines.

Sugar and Insulin

When a diet is high in carbohydrates, which convert to sugar (grains, starches such as potatoes, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and simple sugars like honey, fruit, and fructose), the food causes the sugar levels in the body to increase. This, in turn, causes insulin to be released to lower the sugar levels. Then, when the sugar level drops, cortisol is released to help raise the sugar level. This reaction boomerangs back and forth which can cause insulin exhaustion. This cycle affects estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels. Additionally, when cortisol is repeatedly released in response to a high sugar diet, it competes with progesterone for the same receptors and cortisol wins this race every time. And progesterone is essential for fertility.

Commercial kibble diets typically contain 40% or more carbohydrates. Dogs that eat this type of diet have sugar spikes and drops daily. As a result, the body can become confused. The girls may start to ovulate and then stop (as with bitches whose cycles are too close together). Or, they may get pregnant, but due to the hormone fluctuations, reabsorb the litter. The sugar causes insulin and cortisol spikes to try and balance the rise and fall of sugar levels and affects ovulation, maturing of the egg, and proper implanting. Additionally, dogs that eat diets high in carbohydrates will produce more testosterone because of the continued amount of insulin released to lower the sugar levels from the spikes caused by the carbohydrates. This can prevent good heat cycles and pregnancy.

Sugar causes inflammation and as a result can affect the uterine lining. The eggs may get fertilized, however, if the bitch’s uterus does not have a healthy lining, the eggs will not properly implant. Constant inflammation of the uterine lining will eventually cause scarring, which is not only another obstacle for egg implanting, but it can cause permanent infertility. Less inflammation means less chance of a uterine infection and a better immune system during pregnancy.

Recent studies by Dr. Jeffrey Russell have proved some interesting outcomes for human fertility. 120 women who were undergoing fertility treatments were studied. They kept a log of the food they consumed daily. The women who ate the highest amount of protein and lowest amount of carbohydrates were the most successful in producing healthy, well-developed eggs and having a healthy uterine environment for conception. Dr. Russell thinks protein is essential for good quality embryos and better egg quality.


Another study that was done at Harvard University on 18,000 women over 8 years of age, showed that diets high in potatoes, grains, white bread and sugar resulted in poor fertility.


While these are human studies, the effects of insulin, cortisol, and hormones would be the same for canines. Dogs are carnivores and have no nutritional need for carbohydrates. Therefore, one might infer that carbohydrates in the diet for dogs would affect their fertility even more than humans.


While healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and fats from quality proteins (beef, chicken and lamb) are essential for canine health and a dog’s fertility, you want to avoid trans fats as they have been proven to cause infertility in people. Trans fats are fats ‘hardened’ to use be used in cooking, such as Crisco and margarine. It is likely trans fats are used in commercial dog foods. It is also important to remember that fats in commercial dog food can be rancid. Manufacturers can use the term ‘animal fat’ on dog food labels which does not tell you anything about the quality of the fat used. ‘Animal fat’ can include any fat – even generic by-products, diseased farm animals and road kill.


Further, it is important to avoid flax seed oil, soybean oil or soybean meal, and lentils and beans, as these all contain phytoestrogens, which can block estrogen and cause infertility.


My conclusion is if you remove most, or all, carbohydrates from your bitches diet, her fertility will vastly improve as long as uterine scaring hasn’t become too advanced or other physical problems are not present. Giving her animal proteins in her diet, which have high bioavailability (raw or lightly cooked meats) may well result in healthier eggs, embryos and more viable puppies at birth. The diet would include a good amount of red meat (beef, pork, lamb, wild game) and about 10% organ meat (kidney, liver).

It would seem logical to assume litters would be of good size and that the mother would have good milk production with these changes. In the case of my own dogs, it certainly was true. I am talking about at least 8 bitches, not one or two. The results don’t happen overnight as it takes a few months for hormones to; however, I think that breeders who make this change will be delighted with the results. I have helped numerous people in the past with this issue with almost all of them having positive results!


Supplements that are helpful with regulating hormones include vitamin E and EPA Fish oil capsules. Vitamin E and omega 3 fish oil work together to help achieve better fertility. I also recommend the Berte’s Immune Blend which contains the needed vitamin E, B vitamins including folic acid (helpful for preventing birth defects), vitamin D3 (for uptake of calcium), and digestive enzymes and probiotics which help with the uptake of nutrients and provide the good flora and fauna bacteria needed before and during pregnancy. Omega-3 fish should be added at one fish oil capsule daily for 10 to 20 pounds of body weight.

While this article is written primarily with the female in mind, feeding a quality diet and adding the recommended supplements are also suggested to help fertility in males. It is just as important to provide quality bioavailable animal proteins and proper supplementation to stud dogs.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 09-01-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

A question that often comes up is whether or not blood values can determine the nutritional needs of dogs. For the most part, the answer is ‘No.’ Blood work results are described as a ‘snapshot’ of your dog’s blood values at the time the blood work is done, showing if infections, disease or other abnormalities may be present. It also indicates how the body is metabolizing certain values. For instance, if a blood work test shows high calcium, it does not mean that too much calcium is in the diet. Certain diseases or ailments can cause the body to metabolize calcium so that more is circulating in the blood, and does not apply to what is in the bones (where calcium is stored).


High phosphorus levels doesn’t mean the dog is getting too much phosphorus, but rather the body is having problems filtering it and it is staying in the blood. This may indicate renal problems, but it is important to look at the blood values for more clues. The same holds true for other blood work results.

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

What blood work can do is help with diagnosis and discovery of certain conditions such as liver problems, renal issues, adrenal disorders such as Cushing’s Disease or Addison’s Disease, dehydration, infection, hypothyroidism, and diabetes, to mention a few. Some of these may require diet changes depending on the severity of the problem.

What blood work does not tell you, and can’t tell you, is what nutrients or supplements your dog may be lacking or if the diet you are feeding is insufficient. Usually, a dog will show physical symptoms of the nutrient loss (such as calcium) before it shows up in a routine blood analysis.

I will briefly explain each of the conditions and values that may require diet change, with links to explore more in depth.


Generally, some levels that show the liver may be affected include:

ALP (Alkaline phosphatase)

ALB (Albumin)

GGT (Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase)

AST (also called aspartate aminotransferase or SGOT)

TBILI (Total Bilirubin)

ALT (alanine aminotransferase or SGPT)

As mentioned before, blood work values are a ‘snapshot’ in time, and repeat tests are needed to make sure the results are consistent. And while blood work reflects the ‘normal’ for the test, some dogs (and people) may be normal at slightly high or low levels in many of these. For further details on liver blood work explanation see the following links:


If there is a liver issue, diet changes can be made that are beneficial for supporting the liver. See the recipe link below:


Renal Disease

BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen)

CREAT (Creatinine)

PHOS (Phosphorus)

There are other blood levels that can be used to determine possible renal disease, but generally these are the first three blood levels to become elevated. Renal disease can be caused by many factors, including genetics (malformed kidneys), tick borne disease, leptospirosis, chronic urinary tract infections, NSAIDs and other drugs or poison insults. It is important to get a good diagnosis from your veterinarian and to understand if the problem is acute (treatable) or chronic. Simple diet adjustments can be helpful for dogs with renal problems, especially when the BUN is over 80 and creatinine is over 2 or 3. Two simple diet adjustments that can be very beneficial are providing moist foods and foods lower in phosphorus. Moist foods will help keep the dog’s body from pulling other body fluids to the digestive tract to help digest the food. Additionally, dogs with impaired kidneys have trouble processing phosphorus, so feeding foods with reduced or lower levels of phosphorus helps reduce the strain on the kidneys. For more diet information for dogs with kidney disease, see the link below:


And for dogs with struvite or oxalate crystals and stones, the following link provides helpful information:


Please note, the biggest cause of struvite crystals and stones in dogs is a urinary tract infection. This condition doesn’t require a diet change, but rather a sterile urine culture to find the correct antibiotic to stop the infection.


AMY (amylase)

LIP (Lipase)

These are both enzymes and when they become elevated, can indicate pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is another problem that can be caused by many things and need a veterinarian’s diagnosis. These can include medications (steroids), hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, to mention a few. Low fat diets can help a dog through the healing and recovery of Pancreatitis and the following link gives some examples:


It is a good idea to do a yearly blood chemistry test on your dog, and to keep each year’s records on file in the event any issues arise. Blood work panels are a great diagnostic tool to indicate health problems that might occur, and are an excellent way to monitor your dog’s health. This is especially important for senior dogs. However, blood work does not give you information on diet, nutritional needs or deficiencies, or diet changes and/or adjustments that may be needed, except when needed in the event of specific illness.

For further information on canine blood chemistry values click on the following links:




For an interpretation of Canine Blood Test Results click on the following link:



Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 08-01-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

A common complaint and frequent source of frustration for many dog owners is when their dogs experience symptoms of itching, scratching, face rubbing and ear shaking with a discharge. They often try bathing their dogs with special shampoos, they change their food, they check for fleas, and finally make an appointment to visit their veterinarian. If the symptoms continue, pet owners then tend to head off to a Veterinarian who specializes in Dermatology. This vet visit typically starts with a variety of allergy tests and results in treatments using antibiotics, anti-histamines and steroids. Unfortunately, this cycle can continue for years. Test results often point to various foods such as beef or chicken, corn, carrots or wheat, and might pinpoint dust mites, grasses, ragweed, or other oddities that are either not in your neighborhood or to things too prevalent to get rid of. So, now what do you do?

First, it is important to note that food allergies are rare in dogs. It takes prolonged exposure (feeding) to particular foods to develop food allergies. This can happen when your dog is on a ‘fixed’ diet where it has eaten the same food – maybe the same protein daily – for an extensive period of time. This most commonly occurs when fed a commercial dry dog food diet or a cooked or raw diet that has been restricted to just one or two proteins day after day for a long time. Food allergies are not found in puppies and generally not seen in dogs until after two years of age.

Are allergy tests worth it? Can they detect just exactly what allergies your dog might have? Research shows they do not! When dogs were tested and found to be high in IgE levels, often they didn’t itch. However, dogs with lower IgE levels did.

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video


This research found results from allergy tests in dogs was MARGINAL:


Click this link to read Dr. Ron Hines full article on allergies and allergy testing, and why he finds them not useful.


Tufts University says, “As it turns out, food allergies are not as common as many pet food companies and websites may like for you to think. And while food allergies are one possible cause for your dog’s itchy skin and ear infections, or your cat’s diarrhea, there are many more likely causes which may have nothing to do with the food”. They go on to say “while allergies are often identified as the culprit for itching or gastrointestinal problems, it is most often caused by something else.”

They state the most common cause of itching is fleas, followed next by environmental allergies. They mention pollen, dust mites and grasses. Unfortunately, these are found everywhere.

The article goes on to say, “One of the most frustrating things about food allergies is that there really isn’t an easy test. While many tests – using blood, saliva, and even hair – that can be performed by a veterinarian or purchased by a pet owner online (and even sometimes shockingly, through a Groupon!) advertise that they can diagnose food allergies or “sensitivities”, there is no proof that they work.”


Further, this article states, “In fact, multiple studies, including this one just published, have shown that these kinds of tests are not very helpful in diagnosing food allergies, despite their widespread use for this purpose.


Research results presented at a veterinary dermatology (skin) conference even showed that some tests ‘diagnosed’ plain water and ‘stuffed animal fur’ as having food allergies.”

And I will say unequivocally, that SALIVA and HAIR tests DO NOT WORK. Neither of these can detect, nor diagnose, allergies. Some of these will say they detect ‘food intolerances’, but that is untrue. Food intolerances are specific to too much fat or fiber in the diet and can be easily resolved by taking a closer look at the diet and adjusting it.


Any test claiming to test for ‘allergies’ or ‘food intolerances’ by using hair and saliva are a waste of money. The links below show the results of scientists researching saliva kits to test dogs for allergies. When they sent in samples of dogs with allergies, healthy dogs with no allergies, and STUFFED ANIMALS, all test results came back positive! PLEASE BEWARE and do NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!”




Here is another link that includes more information, as the author replies to one of the ‘saliva test sellers’:



Why do some dogs get food allergies – or more commonly environmental allergies – at all, while others do not? It is because some dog’s bodies incorrectly respond to something normal in the environment. The body perceives it as harmful and therefore responds by attacking it. While the symptoms of this response tend to show up in hives, itching, itchy feet and ears, and weepy eyes, food allergies are far less likely to be the cause. It has everything to do with the state of that particular dog’s immune system. Some dogs are born with a poor immune system that could be the result of a variety of factors. It could be that the puppy came from a puppy mill or a puppy’s mom was not fed properly during pregnancy. Maybe the puppy was fed a poor diet when it was young or didn’t get enough good socialization or exercise. It could also be the result of health issues that required early surgery and anesthesia. All of these could lead to a compromised immune system.

The first step in trying to find out what might be causing your dog’s itching is to do a skin culture and sensitivity test at your veterinarian’s office. This is when your veterinarian takes a skin scraping from the affected areas and sends it to a laboratory to culture. This test determines if bacteria or yeast is present on the skin and it is the most accurate way to see WHAT bacteria or yeast is present so the CORRECT antibiotic can be given, if needed. Please be aware that antibiotic use can cause yeast to grow, so it is very important to give probiotics in-between antibiotic doses, two to three times daily.

An overgrowth of yeast is the number one cause of itching in dogs. This article, which I highly recommend reading, explains many of the causes of itching and simple steps to combat a yeast problem.




If your dog has diarrhea, check to see if your dog has too much fat or fiber it its diet. It is also important to determine if your dog just doesn’t do well on a dry commercial food diet. These diets are very high in carbohydrates and fiber and can be irritating to many dogs.


If your dog is diagnosed as having ‘allergies’ due to diarrhea, vomiting or reflux, your dog may have IBD or IBS. This is caused by an irritated and inflamed intestinal lining. That can be caused by stress, dry dog food, recovery from diarrhea or illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea, giardia or coccidia, or other intestinal upset. The best course of action is to heal the inflamed intestinal lining by feeding a moist diet, preferably a cooked or raw diet. Feed frequent, small meals and add Berte’s Digestion Blend, which contains 500 mg of l-Glutamine. L-Glutamine helps heal and reduce the inflammation in the digestive tract. Click on the link below for more detailed information:



While most of the articles talk about a food elimination diet, I think it is more effective to improve your dog’s current diet. This will also help support your dog’s immune system more effectively.

Some ways to improve your dog’s diet would be to add some fresh food to a current kibble diet:


Taking it one step further, you could change your dog’s diet to a home-cooked diet. Changing to this diet offers fresh foods which provide more nutrients and allows you to have control over ALL the ingredients you feed. This way you know exactly what your dog is eating.


Lastly, if you don’t have the time or the energy to cook, you can also offer your dog a raw diet which offers the highest level of nutrients. You can either purchase pre-made raw diets or you can make your own.


Whether you choose to add fresh foods to a commercial kibble diet, home-cook your dog’s meals, or feed a raw diet to your dog, you can find great detailed information and recipes on all these variations of diets in my book ‘Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs’. My book also includes the history of feeding dogs, the history of dog food, and the anatomy and digestive needs of canines.

I also have videos available with complete instructions on making both homemade and raw diets. These videos give you the information and education you need to proceed with confidence. You can find these at the link below and I have a great special on these running through the end of August!


To enhance and improve your dog’s diet, I recommend adding Fish oil capsules at one 1000 mg capsule per 10-20 pounds of body weight. The Omega 3 found in fish oil is wonderful for the coat and skin, it helps support the immune system, protects the heart and kidneys and fights inflammation.

Another supplement I suggest is adding the Berte’s Immune Blend to your dog’s diet. This supplement contains vitamins A, B complex, C, D3 and vitamin E, all of which help support a good immune system. It also contains probiotics, which help fight yeast overgrowth.

In cases of severe inflammation and itching, Yucca Intensive can help. It contains saponins, which can help fight inflammation and some intestinal problems. Be sure to give one drop per 10 pounds of body weight WITH FOOD. And NEVER mix with steroids or other NSAIDs.

Bathe your dog weekly with a mild shampoo. Rinse with a solution of 1/4 WHITE vinegar and 3/4 water. This solution will help kill yeast on the skin. Use Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe on affected areas during the week. The witch hazel kills the bacteria and yeast and the aloe helps cool and heal the affected areas. For feet, you can use a human athlete’s foot spray once or twice a day. All of these contain yeast controlling ingredients that are safe to use on your dog’s feet.

Using 3-4 tablespoons of Baking soda to a quart of water and using it on a rinse on your dog is also safe and effective for killing yeast.


I hope you found this article helpful. Always see a veterinarian to pursue the right diagnosis for your dog’s itching and coat problems. The RIGHT diagnosis will bring the right treatment to help your dog heal and return to normal. Improving your dog’s diet will enhance recovery and help support your dog’s immune system which can help keep the problems from reoccurring.

Don’t forget! Exercise such as walking, throwing a ball, obedience or rally classes, as well as barn hurt or nose work classes all help to stimulate your dog’s brain. Exercise helps keep your dog’s immune system strong. Keep your dog’s coat and skin clean, and don’t forget to wash the bedding where your dog sleeps or hangs out! All of these things will make for a happier and healthier dog!


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 07-02-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

Of all the questions I am asked, one of the most common is “What supplements should I add to my dog’s diet?” This question is asked regardless of the type of diet the dog is being fed. Whether you are feeding a raw diet, a home-cooked diet, or a commercial dog food, all dogs should receive the same daily supplements, with the exception of calcium! If you are feeding a home-cooked diet that does not include raw meaty bones, calcium must be added to each meal. If you feed a raw diet that includes at least 40% raw meaty bones, or if you are feeding a commercial dog food, these diets already include the necessary amounts of calcium needed, so no additional calcium is needed.

Any of these diets, raw, home-cooked or commercial foods, also include an adequate amount of the needed minerals. Manufacturing companies add minerals to their commercial diets to achieve the NRA dog nutrition standards. Raw diets contain meat, organ meat and bone, which contain balanced amounts of the needed minerals. Additionally, home-cooked meals include meat and organ meat, and with the added calcium carbonate, ground eggshell, or citrate it balances the calcium. When varieties of proteins are used, all of these diets contain adequate amounts of minerals. I do not recommend adding minerals to any of these diets without the advice and supervision of your veterinarian. However, you must add calcium to home-cooked meals to balance the important calcium/phosphorus ratio.

The daily supplements I recommend are the ones that are harder to find in foods, or are fragile and therefore lose their integrity during food processing or during food storage and handling. These include water-soluble vitamins, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and enzymes. Please note that it is important not to freeze these vitamins and supplements as freezing them can compromise their integrity.

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

Water-soluble vitamins include B vitamins and vitamin C. Neither of these vitamins store well in commercial dog food packaging and are more difficult to find in large enough levels in fresh food. B vitamins are found in meat, organ meat and dairy and are important in supporting the nervous system and in helping to build red blood cells. They also help metabolize the amino acids that are found in proteins. Raw diets are generally richer in B vitamins, as these can lose potency when heated. While dogs can make some vitamin C on their own, additional vitamin C is needed as an antioxidant for collagen repair and capillary integrity. Bioflavonoids are also an important addition to vitamin C as it helps with uptake and absorption into the body. These important vitamins are easily excreted from the body, so I recommend giving both of these vitamins to your dogs daily.

Vitamin E is a very valuable fat-soluble vitamin that is also an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals. This is helpful in fighting cancer. Vitamin E is also heart protective and helps lower blood pressure. Most sources of this vitamin are plant related so it is important to add this essential vitamin to your dog’s diet. Vitamin E also goes hand-in-hand with fish oil, as they work synergistically.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils. They are also present in plant oils such as flax and hemp, but dogs have difficulty converting the ALA in plant oils to a usable form of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are difficult to find in many food sources because most feed animals are fed a grain-based diet rather than a grass-fed diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are also very fragile and can be destroyed when exposed to heat, light and air. Omega-3 fatty acids help to support the immune system, are heart, renal and liver protective and help keep the skin and coat healthy. My general recommendation for this vital supplement is to give one capsule (180EPA/120DHA) per 20 pounds of body weight daily.

The next two supplements I recommend, offer significant benefits to your dog’s digestion system. They help assimilate and digest food better, fight gas, and they assist in forming firm stools. These two supplements are digestive enzymes and probiotics.

Digestive enzymes can be composed of either animal or plant-based enzymes. Animal-based enzymes help to pre-digest proteins and fats in the stomach, which makes the food easier to digest when it hits the small intestine.  Plant based enzymes help prevent gas.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, such as acidophilus and bifidus. These help keep a good colony of the needed ‘friendly bacteria in the gut. This helps keep the immune system balanced, helps with food digestion, reduces gas and works to produce firmer stools. Probiotics also help make vitamin B and vitamin K in the large intestine.


A final important daily supplement that I consider to be optional, is a blend of green foods. These include alfalfa, kelp, blue green algae, spirulina, dulce and Irish Moss. I consider this supplement optional, as dogs can get along without them. However, they offer valuable nutrients that are not found in the diet. These green foods supply energy; help ease digestion, and can deepen pigment and intensify coat color. Sea vegetation and alfalfa are rich in trace minerals, including iodine, manganese (helps fight inflammation and pain), boron, cobalt, and more. They are also a good source of B vitamins, specifically B12.

Daily Supplement Recommendations for All Diet Types

B-Naturals carry a wide variety of natural dog supplements that are suited for any type of diet. Whether you feed a raw diet, a home-cooked diet (don’t forget the calcium) or a commercial brand of dog food, these supplements will go a long way in keeping your dog healthy and giving you the peace of mind that your dog is getting all the vitamins and nutrients it needs.

Berte’s Immune Blend:

This supplement blend contains vitamin C, bioflavonoid, vitamin E, B complex, vitamin A and digestive enzymes and probiotics! This is a great supplement to add when you want most of everything included. My recommendation is to give the Berte’s Immune Blend at half dose to healthy dogs and give one fish oil capsule per 20 pounds of body weight daily. The dosage is recommended for raw diets, home-cooked diets, or commercial diets.

Omega-3 Fish Oil:

Because omega-3 fish oils are fragile, I recommend giving them in capsule form. This is because liquid or pump bottles can subject the oils to excess air which can compromise there integrity.

Berte’s Green Blend:

Berte’s Green Blend contains alfalfa, kelp, blue green algae, spirulina, dulce and Irish Moss. Sea vegetation and alfalfa are rich in trace minerals and are a good source of B vitamins, specifically B12. This blend of vegetation helps with energy, digestion and healthy skin pigment and coat color. A little goes a long way!

Always remember to offer your dog as wide a variety of proteins as possible! Each week you want to include at least four different protein sources, 5 – 6% organ meat such as liver and kidney, and at least 40 – 50% raw meaty bones if you are feeding a raw diet. If you are feeding a home-cooked diet, do not add more than 25% of the diet in low glycemic (sugar) vegetables for fiber and do not forget the calcium!


Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

Dog Allergies I often get requests from people wanting digestive aids for their dogs. Based on the questions I receive, it seems folks either do not understand the differences between enzymes and probiotics or they get the two of them confused. This newsletter explains the differences and benefits of both so you can make the right choices for your dogs.

Enzymes and Probiotics are two different supplements that both support digestion, but each of them work differently to support the digestive system.


Enzymes help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates into smaller units so they can be more easily absorbed in the small intestine. There are certain health conditions and diseases that hinder the body’s ability to do this on its own, so adding enzymes to the diet helps assimilate the nutrients and aids in better digestion.

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

In humans, carbohydrate digestion starts in the mouth because humans have amylase in their saliva. However, dogs are carnivores and they do not produce amylase in their saliva, so the digestion of carbohydrates begins in their stomachs, as well as some protein digestion. Hydrochloric Acid is released in the stomach, which in turn, stimulates the production of pepsin. This starts protein digestion. Hydrochloric Acid (HCI) has a pH of one, which helps kill microorganisms.

Dog Probiotics

Fats are only broken down (into lipids) in the small intestine. Bile releases and emulsifies the fats. The enzymes released from the pancreas contain pancreatin, which breaks down the fats in lipids. The enzymes released from the pancreas also include amylase, which reduces the carbohydrates to sugars or glucose. Protease helps break down proteins into amino acids. Lastly, the pancreas secretes bicarbonate to raise the pH 1 from the HCI in the stomach to a more neutral pH number.

When looking for a digestion aid, it is important to find an enzyme product that covers all stages of digestion. For dogs, this includes Ox Bile extract, which helps stimulate HCI production, and pepsin, which aids protein digestion in the stomach. For the small intestine, pancreatin and pancrealipase are important for fat digestion. Amylase is important for carbohydrate digestion. Trypsin is important for protein digestion.

Dog digestive enzymes

Papain (made from papayas) and Bromelain (made from pineapples) are plants. These two enzymes are helpful for digestion as they help control gas and indigestion. Bromelain not only assists with proper digestion, it also helps inflammation if not given with food. Both Papain and Bromelain enzymes enhance the enzymes already produced in the body by the pancreas.

Some health issues can be helped by adding additional enzymes to the diet.

If your dog suffers from allergies, adding in enzymes to their diet can help break down the proteins that may be causing the allergic reactions.

Liver issues can be helped as well! Adding in enzymes to the diet can help with the digestion of fats. This helps relieve some of the stress that is on the liver.

Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) is another common health issue with dogs and adding extra enzymes to the diet can help digest fats, proteins and starches for better digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Dogs suffering from autoimmune diseases and cancer can also benefit from extra enzymes because their bodies and organs are compromised. Adding additional enzymes to your dog’s diet can assist with the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates so the nutrients can be more easily absorbed.

If you are looking to change your dog’s diet, from a commercial food to a raw or cooked diet, adding extra enzymes to the meals helps ease the transition from one diet to another.

Lastly, if your dog suffers from inflammation issues, many enzymes help lower inflammation response.

Depending on the health condition of your dog, I recommend two supplements. For dogs needing an extra enzyme boost, there is Food Science Super Enzymes, which is a blend of digestive enzymes from both plant and animal based enzymes. For dogs with more serious digestive health issues, there is Berte’s Digestion Blend. This product contains pancreatic enzymes and amino acids, medicinal herbs and beneficial bacteria (probiotics). It also contains 500 mg of the amino acid l-Glutamine which helps heal the intestinal lining due to inflammation, assists in metabolizing proteins and sugars, and supports immune system function. This product was developed to help dogs with irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and ulcers.


The term Probiotics refers to the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. These bacteria help to keep the ‘bad’ or unfriendly bacteria in check. Common beneficial bacteria include lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which are often called acidophilus and bifidus. These bacteria are thought to produce antimicrobial metabolites, which help support the immune system and aid in mucosal conditioning. When certain factors reduce the friendly bacteria, an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria can result which can cause digestive upsets and yeast infections. Some things that can cause a reduction in the friendly bacteria include antibiotics, stress, illness, and diarrhea.

Using probiotics helps help keep the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract balanced and it can replenish the friendly bacteria lost through antibiotic use, illness and diarrhea. It helps maintain a healthier digestive tract and helps keep stools firmer. Probiotics are often a recommended supplement if your dog has Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as these conditions can be associated with bacteria overgrowths in the digestive tract. It is very beneficial to add probiotics to your dogs’ diet after any antibiotic treatment or during stressful times such as changing diets, boarding, traveling, training, or after surgery. Probiotics contains a mix of beneficial bacteria and is an excellent supplement to support the digestive system.

Immediacare GI is another recommended product that helps firm up loose stools, supports rapid gastrointestinal balance associated with microflora imbalances, garbage gut, food sensitivities, stress, age, and traveling. It is also great for whelping moms, puppies and dogs that will take a paste form better during illness than a powder. This is a great supplement to consider for your first aid kit if you are traveling with your pet this summer.

It is very safe to use both Probiotics and Enzymes together if needed. While both support digestive function, they each address different digestive issues. I hope that this information clarifies any confusion you might have had about the purpose for and benefit of these two supplements and how they support the digestive system.