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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. 

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.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 04-30-2019
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 get a lot of questions on various canine health issues, but recently it seems a lot of questions have come in regarding kidney disease.  I have written on the subject in quite some time, so this month, I decided to address some of the common questions regarding this disease.

Question: What is kidney disease (also known as renal disease)?

Kidney disease is when the kidneys lose their ability to function at 100%. Most often, it is due to inflammation and scarring in the kidneys. Usually the kidneys will function and show no symptoms until two-thirds to three-quarters of their function has been lost.

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

Question: What are the symptoms of Kidney Disease?

The signs that are seen most often include drinking more water and urinating more frequently and the urine is often clear or colorless. Other symptoms that show up later may include nausea, lack of appetite, weight loss and lethargy.

Question: What causes kidney disease?

There are two types of kidney disease:  Acute renal disease and chronic renal disease.

There are several things that can cause acute renal disease. It is caused by an outside influence or injury and the symptoms appear quickly. Some causes can include tick borne disease, leptospirosis, an ongoing urinary tract infection (UTI), certain NSAID medications such as aspirin, Rimadyl, Deramaxx or Metacam, long term antibiotic and steroid use, and heart medications such as Enalapril and Benazepril. These last two drugs are often prescribed in cases of chronic renal disease to help maintain normal blood pressure, so it is important to know that these drugs may damage the kidneys. Please note, OLD AGE does NOT cause of renal failure!

If you suddenly start seeing symptoms of renal disease, is very important to test your dog for UTI’s, tick borne disease and leptospirosis as quickly as possible because oftentimes acute renal disease can be treated if detected early enough. Additionally, check all medications your dog is taking for any potential side effects on your dog’s kidneys. Remember, early detection is key in acute renal disease, so test, test, and test!  To find out more information, click on the following links:




To understand more about why OLD AGE does NOT cause renal failure, please read more here:


Chronic renal disease, on the other hand, is generally congenital, or inherited. The dog has the disease from birth and their kidneys may be malformed or defective. Symptoms generally show up in the first year of the dog’s life and the disease progresses and continues to worsen with time and must be managed with medications, fluids and attention to the diet.

Question:  How do I know if my dog has kidney disease?

Your veterinarian will start with blood tests and a urinalysis. The three main blood levels to look at are BUN, which addresses hydration, creatinine, which addresses renal function, and phosphorus. Dogs in severe renal failure will have elevated phosphorus levels because their damaged kidneys are unable to process phosphorus.

When the BUN level is high, I have seen veterinarians say the dog is in renal failure. However, high BUN levels can also mean stress, illness, dehydration, or they just ate a high protein meal.

IF a dogs BUN level is high AND the creatinine level is high AND the dog is showing signs of weakness and lethargy, the first treatment of choice is IV fluids. Until you know whether the dog has acute (treatable) or chronic renal failure, you want to support the dog’s kidneys until you have time to run some tests (sterile urine culture, tick borne disease blood test, leptospirosis titer). This is even more important if the phosphorus is elevated as well.

The urinalysis will show the specific gravity, which is the ability to concentrate urine and why renal affected dogs often have clear urine. It will also show the pH which can help determine if there is a urinary tract infection (alkaline urine can indicate bacteria).

It is also important to review any medications your dog has been recently taken to determine if the use of the medication may have caused the symptoms. Also, did your dog ingest any poisons, such as antifreeze, weed or insect killers, chocolate or grapes? Does your dog have any gum disease or gum infections? Be pro-active in this search. A tick borne disease is treatable with doxycycline. Leptospirosis, which is a bacteria, is killed with two weeks of penicillin drugs. UTI’s are identified by doing a sterile urine culture. The results will tell you WHAT bacteria is present and the SPECIFIC antibiotic needed to kill it. Please note UTI’s are “antibiotic” specific and usually require at least 3 weeks of antibiotic use to remove all the bacteria!

Question: What other conditions ‘mimic’ kidney disease?

Some of the diseases listed below have already been covered, but a more complete list is below.

  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Tick Borne Disease
  • Leptospirosis
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) use such as aspirin, Rimadyl, Deramaxx, etc.
  • Long term Steroid use
  • Certain prescription medications (always check side effects of any medications you give to your dog!)
  • Addison’s Disease (adrenal disorder)
  • Severe Hypothyroidism (leads to poor immune system responses)
  • Gum infection or disease

Question: Should I change my dog’s diet? Can diet reverse this problem?

Due to the nature of renal disease, diet changes may be indicated for comfort. When renal disease reaches a certain point and the damage is significant, the kidneys become impaired. At this time, the dog struggles to process nitrates and phosphorus which can cause discomfort and pain. Can diet save or spare the kidneys? Not exactly, but a diet change at a certain point can offer comfort, provide better quality of life and may be able to extend your dog’s life. Generally, a diet change isn’t indicated until the BUN reaches 80 or higher and stays at that level, and the creatinine is at 3 or higher. Even then, it may not be necessary to make a diet change until the phosphorus levels go higher than the normal range. It is important to monitor these levels regularly if your dog has kidney issues OR when you notice a change in your dog such as weight loss, lack of appetite and/or lethargy.

Additionally, when blood levels reach these levels, it is time to consider giving your dog subcutaneous fluids. Sometimes administering these fluids a few times a week is enough, however, this will probably increase as time goes on. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to do this and they can write you a prescription to get the fluids, lines and needles at Wal-Mart or Costco, which can help with costs.

Another consideration when the phosphorus levels rise is to add calcium to the diet because it binds to phosphorus or you can add phosphate binders to the diet. This would also be the time to reduce phosphorus, NOT protein, in the diet, which will help reduce stress on the kidneys and alleviate any pain. The kidneys need protein to survive and thrive; a protein starving diet can be harmful to the kidneys.


Question: Are there supplements that are helpful for a dog with kidney disease?

B complex vitamins are important for renal function and health. Adding B12 can help with appetite and if you are adding subcutaneous fluids, ask your veterinarian for injectable B vitamins you can add to the ringers’ solution.

Fish oil capsules contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered renal protective. Give one per 10 lbs. of body weight daily.

COQ10 is speculated to help keep creatinine levels down. Give 2 to 3 mgs per pound of the dog daily.

Probiotics help keep the good flora and fauna in the dogs system. This helps with both digestion and to keep the immune system strong.

On a personal note, I had a Rottweiler named “Bean” who had congenital malformed kidneys. He was diagnosed with chronic renal disease at 4 months of age. I certainly went to great lengths to keep him healthy and thriving and he lived until just past the age of 5 – four and a half years longer than the veterinarian said he would live. He contracted other opportunistic issues during his illness, which is common with chronic renal disease, including numerous UTI’s and leptospirosis, twice! I gave him subcutaneous fluids throughout most of his life and I used other medications and treatments as well. I shared his story a few years ago in a newsletter I wrote on kidney diets and treatment options.  You can read and learn more here:



Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 04-02-2019
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. 

Need to Put Together a Special Diet for Your Dog’s Specific Health Issue?

Want to Start Feeding a Raw or Home Cooked Diet but don’t know where to start? 

Here is the SOLUTION!

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


For a limited time only, Lew Olson will provide you with a free 30-minute consult with the purchase of either her Cooked Diets or Raw Food Diets videos. The consult (a $60 value) can be used to help you improve your dog’s diet, help you get started and feel confident about feeding a raw or home cooked diet, or to help you put together a special diet to address your dog’s specific health issue. The consult includes recipes that offer variety and recommendations for any supplements that may be needed. The consult can be by email, phone or messaging and includes 6 brief (10 minutes or less) follow-up support consults.

This offer expires soon, so sign up today to take advantage of this personalized support by clicking on the following link and selecting either Raw Diet or Home Cooked Diet Video.


Important Note:  Once you have signed up, email Lew Olson, at lewolson@earthlinet.  She is looking forward to helping you feed your dog the best diet you can and supporting your dog’s health! But act fast, because this offer is only good through July 6, 2019!

Lew Olson began feeding a raw die to her dogs in 1994. She has fed large dogs (Rottweilers) and toy breeds (Brussels Griffon and Toy Manchester). She was a research assistant in Graduate School and has her PhD in Natural Nutrition. She has designed diets for purine stones, calcium oxalate stones, kidney disease, liver problems, cancer, heart issues, epilepsy, diabetes, pancreatitis, IBD and issues with poor or ‘sensitive’ digestion.

She is currently active in training her own dogs in performance events (rally and obedience), she is an AKC Judge and she constantly researches canine nutrition and health issues.  She is the author of “Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs”, and has owned “K9Nutrition” since 1998. K9Nutrition first appeared on yahoo groups, and is currently active on Facebook with over 13,000 members.

She is all about the health of your dog and looks forward to helping you and your dog with any nutrition problems and questions you may have.

Remember, this offer expires July 6, 2019, so don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to get the support and gain the confidence you  need to feed your dog the best possible diet you can!  Click here and sign up now!


Summer is right around the corner and while we all love the summer months, it can wreak havoc on dogs that suffer from itchy skin. Skin and coat problems are a common complaint among dog owners, BUT the answer to your dog’s problem is often easier than it seems! However, it does take some time to resolve the problem, so patience is required! Please click on the following link for a list of symptoms and some simple guidelines:

Why is My Dog Itching So Much?


And don’t forget, Omega 3 fatty acids are the best way to support your dog’s skin, immune system and it protects the heart, liver and kidneys. Confused about which Omega 3 oil is the best for your dog and how to much use? Find out more by clicking on the link below.



Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 03-01-2019
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 article is written to help you understand which supplements can best support your dog’s heart!

Dogs are a bit different than humans when it comes to heart diet, but the supplements needed to support both the human and canine heart are very similar! It is important, however, to understand that when it comes to diet, humans and canines are different! Humans need to reduce fat and often sodium, but you don’t need to reduce either of these for canines. Dogs, as carnivores, don’t develop plaque and buildup in the heart and valves like humans do. Nor do dogs develop cholesterol problems. IF your dog has high cholesterol, it generally means it is either a low thyroid problem, Cushing’s disease or Diabetes. You can read more on these issues here:


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

Some symptoms that can be observed in dogs with heart issues include swollen abdomen (moisture build-up in the abdomen), trouble breathing, not wanting to exercise, lack of appetite, weight loss and sometimes trouble sleeping. Also, coughing without an infection can indicate heart problems.

Dog heart conditions are generally diagnosed by your veterinarian listening with a stethoscope and hearing a heart murmur. Further diagnostics are then performed with blood work and an echocardiogram. Depending on the results of these tests, your veterinarian may recommend you have your dog seen by a heart specialist. For more information on the types of heart conditions found in dogs, you can read more here:


There are some supplements that assist in supporting the heart and it is important to do your research so you can sort through the good ones and those that are less credible.


This supplement is something we can produce in our bodies, but as we age, that ability decreases. Research has shown that CoQ10 can reduce blood pressure and reduce symptoms of heart failure. The dosage amounts for dogs are about 1 – 3 milligrams per pound of body weight daily. For further information on heart and COQ10, check out the information in this link:


Acetyl Carnitine and L-Carnitine

Acetyl Carnitine and L-Carnitine is an amino acid that is mostly found in red meats. Studies have shown this supplement to be helpful in COPD, Angina, depression, brain function, fat burning and increasing energy. While both are good, Acetyl Carnitine seems to have a few more benefits when it comes to supporting the heart. For more information on carnitine read the information here:


Dosage for Acetyl Carnitine from B-Naturals is:

10 lb. dog – 1/16 teaspoon daily
20 lb. dog – 1/8 teaspoon daily
40 lb. dog – 1/4 teaspoon daily
60 lb. dog – 3/8 teaspoon daily
80 lb. dog and up – 1/2 teaspoon daily



Studies have shown that adding taurine to the diet helps reduce blood pressure and improve cardiac function and diastolic function. It has also shown to help with eye sight, which is an additional bonus! For further information go here:



10 lb. dog – 1/16 Teaspoon daily
20 lb. dog – 1/8 Teaspoon daily
40 lb. dog – 1/4 Teaspoon daily
60 lb. dog – 3/8th Teaspoon daily
80 lb. dog – 1/2 Teaspoon daily

Fish Oil

Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids, which helps reduce inflammation in the heart and helps support heart function. It is important for dogs to get omega 3 (which contains EPA and DHA) from animal-based sources because dogs cannot convert the form fount in plant oils (ALA) to a usable form.  B-Naturals carries an excellent Fish Oil in capsule form. For more information on Omega 3 and its benefits to dogs click on the link below:


Berte’s Immune Blend


This supplement is a blend of antioxidants, probiotics and supportive l-glutamine, which comes in a palatable and easy-to-feed powder. It contains vitamins A, B complex, C, D3 and E. All of these help support heart health and help support the dog’s immune system. My dogs love it! For healthy dogs, I feed it at half dose. For dogs with health issues, I feed it at full dose.

Berte’s Heart Healthy Pack

The Berte’s Heart Pack includes the essentials we discussed above! It is a 5-pack product that includes Acetyl L-Carnitine, the amino acid that helps keep the heart strong, Taurine, the amino acid essential for heart health, CoQ10, the co-enzyme that is beneficial for cardiac diseases, Berte’s EPA Fish Oil, which contains the omega 3 essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation in the heart and support heart health, and Berte’s Immune Blend, which offers antioxidants, enzymes and other amino acids for optimal health.

Diet for Dogs with Heart Problems

As I mentioned earlier, dogs don’t have the same dietary needs as humans when it comes to their nutritional needs and heart problems. While humans require a reduction in fat and sodium, this is not needed in a canine’s diet. Raw and Home Cooked diets are naturally low in sodium. REMEMBER, dogs don’t get hardening of the arteries or plaque like humans do, so I continue feeding a normal diet! However, I do emphasize the need for a fresh food diet! This would include red meat, especially heart, which can be chicken, turkey, pork, lamb or beef heart. I would feed heart daily as it is rich in carnitine and taurine, and I would add the recommended dosage of CoQ10. No other special dietary needs are necessary.

SO, to recap! Feed a fresh food diet (home cooked or raw) with plenty of red meat and especially heart. If you are cooking the meats, save the juices and add them to the meal. Taurine leeches out in the juices, so to retain these. Save all the cooking juices and simply add them back into the meal. The supplements I suggest adding in are fish oil (Omega 3 fatty acid) in capsule form, CoQ10, taurine, acetyl carnitine and the Berte’s Immune Blend. All of these can be conveniently obtained in the Berte’s Heat Pack.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 02-08-2019
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. 

The title of this newsletter has become a common statement of mine over the past several years. Part of having a Facebook Page with over 13,000 members (K9Nutrition), means hearing about many of the new Internet dog food claims, supplement claims, feeding claims and even ‘cures’ for everything and anything, all rolled up into one supplement, one diet, or one magic potion.

K9Nutrition has been in existence since 1998. It first started as a group on Yahoo Groups, which was replaced by its Facebook page that started on October 16, 2013. In almost 21 years, I have seen and heard almost everything! And by that, I am referring to ‘fads and myths’ on claims for remedies and/or diets that will help dogs. These include the ‘outlandish and bizarre’ that seem to develop a ‘cult’ following of devotees and believers. To give you a small taste of these ‘amazing’ ideas, please read on as they include some of the following:

Willard Water. Water from South Dakota that claims to cure ‘everything’. Just drink it or apply it to the affected area. Even though this product was debunked by ‘60 MINUTES’ and was forced to shut down by the FDA, it continues to sell today.

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


Black Salve. This was sold as a ‘cancer cure’. What was discovered, however, is that it is simply a caustic acid, and ‘burns’ off skin tumors which is surely risky without a Medical Doctor or Veterinarian monitoring such a thing.


As time went on, other fads occurred such as bovine colostrum, which does not do much for dogs and is truly only of value to baby calves during the first 48 hours after birth. It may very well carry hormones that are great for calves, but it could be dangerous for humans.


Apple Cider Vinegar. This contains potassium and is not acidic. It actually turns alkaline in the body. It has no miracle cures and if given to dogs daily, it can erode their tooth enamel.


Newer fads and health claims include coconut oil, which has NO benefits for dogs or people when taken internally, however, it can help with dry skin when applied topically. Bone broth, while it is a tasty treat for dogs, it does not have any magical properties. Recently, other fads have come out, such as feeding dogs a lot of carbohydrates, including red and yellow vegetables, and stating that high-fat diets such as the ‘keto’ diet will cure cancer. NO! Dogs as carnivores are different than humans (omnivores), and these things do not work the same for dogs. This diet won’t ‘cure’ humans or dogs of cancer. Additionally, saliva testing on dogs does not tell you what they are allergic to, nor does it pinpoint ‘intolerances’.  It was determined by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, that IgG and IgG subclass antibody tests for food allergies does not have clinical relevance, are not validated, lack sufficient quality control, and should not be performed’. While this practice should not be used, as it is ineffective, this practice has now made its way into the dog world. Unfortunately, many of these bogus medical claims and ideas simply wind up garnering a lot of money for the sellers, but produce no results for the consumer trying to help their dogs. For more on these, check out the following links:







Before the ‘age of the Internet’, only a few products that had no scientific studies run or background to support claims, sold so well or so fast. ‘Home remedies’ have been around for a long time and many of them can be valuable, but when you see claims that a ‘single remedy’ will cure cancer, asthma, HIV, eliminate pain, cure shingles and arthritis, you are looking at ‘snake oil’. It is simply impossible for any single product to cure all these ailments and illnesses. When someone has a sick dog, they become desperate. They tend to believe the wording and claims of the advertisements and buy anything they can in their desperation if they think it will help their dog. That is how marketers reel you in. Sadly, they take your money to make their money with no concern for the consequences or health of your dog.  They may put exciting, compelling claims in their ads, such as it ‘Cures everything! Nothing else is needed! Guaranteed results! Absolute health!’ They may use testimonials and show you ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of dogs, but how do you know these are real? They may use short videos with exciting language and colors to compel you to buy expensive video sets, books, or supplements and to subscribe to their magazine or blog. They may convince you they have designed a ‘fool proof’ diet plan or premade food that contains the perfect balance. Be cautious, as these gimmicks abound for these tactics! Just check out any human health or nutrition site, particularly body-building sites or human supplement sites. Some will even get you to join Facebook pages or download free ‘pamphlets’ or ‘books’ and then use guilt and shame tactics to get you to buy their remedies or feeding techniques, or to pay to subscribe to their page, blog, or magazine.

What you generally won’t find with these marketing tactics are valid resources, citations, or other real data that supports the claims of the products, diets or remedies as being effective. I have seen some large companies show research data, but when I looked carefully at the research, I found the company paid for the research. Therefore, they got the conclusions they wanted and needed to market the product, rather than providing the full and real facts!

If it sounds too good to be true, it is indeed too good to be true! When you find a product that sounds interesting, do your research! Do a google search on the product, the ingredients or the recipe. Don’t rely on ‘opinion’ sites or blogs. Look for research articles. Well researched articles will contain citations to back up what they have found and they will describe their research techniques. Citations are generally found at the end of the article or paper. These citations are not written by the company who is selling the product or the writer who may work for, and receive money from, the company trying to sell the products. I also suggest going to the listed citations in the article, and reading them, to gather further information!

Fads, myths and old wives tales will come and go, but please don’t be fooled. There is good information that can be found on the internet, as well as information with false claims, gimmicks and sales techniques. You can check on many of these claims on my Facebook Page, K9Nutrition. We go over these all the time to find valid citations on various remedies, ingredients and foods. We post real data so you can make an educated decision! Please, NEVER rush off to buy something without doing your research first! Your dog deserves the best care possible and in today’s world, you also need to be smart with your money! Always research carefully what you put into your dog’s mouth and onto their skin and bedding carefully – just as you would (or SHOULD) do for those things you choose to use for yourself. ALWAYS check side effects of prescription medications as well.

Education is the best tool to understand the reality and effectiveness of the claims and safety of what you choose to buy for the health of your dog. Don’t second guess or hope for the best! Do your homework!


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 12-31-2018
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. 

Most dog owners understand that their dog’s need omega 3 fatty acids in their diet, but the big question seems to be what is the best form of oil to use?

To recap why Omega 3 fatty acids are important, let’s discuss what it does for your dog. It helps support the immune system. It keeps the coat and skin healthy. It is supportive of heart, liver and kidneys functions. And, it helps fight inflammation. It is, however, difficult to obtain in the foods we feed our dogs and it is fragile because it is easily and quickly destroyed when exposed to heat, light or air (oxygen).

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

Omega 3 fatty acids are not usually found in the common foods we normally feed to our dogs, so supplementation of this essential fatty acid is important. They are mostly found in certain fish. If livestock are raised on good grasses, beef can contain some of the needed fatty acids, but usually not in the quantity your dog’s needs. Omega 3 fatty acids also help balance omega 6 fatty acids, which are very abundant in the fats from animal-based foods, vegetables and grains. But, too much omega 6 can ELEVATE inflammation. This is why balancing the fatty acids is important. Adding Omega 3 counters the effects of the omega 6. Some processed dog foods claim to add omega 3 fatty acids to their products, but it is highly unlikely the valuable properties of the Omega 3 fatty acids survive the high heat required in the cooking process or the length of time spent stored in bags or boxes.

So now that you know why Omega 3 fatty acids are an important supplement to add to your dog’s diet, which one should you use?

The first big NO is omega 3 from plant oils! Plant oils, which include flax seed oil, hemp oil, coconut oil, or any other plant-based oil. Why? Because the form of omega 3 found in plant oils is ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid), and it has been proven that it is almost impossible for dogs, and most humans, to convert it to a usable form.


If plant oils are out, what should we use for our dogs? There are a few choices. One is fish oil, which is made mainly from herring, menhaden, sardine, mackerel or salmon. These types of fish are high in omega 3. There is also krill oil, which is made from a tiny, shrimp-like crustacean. Another choice is oil from algae, known as Algal oil, and lastly, squid or calamari oil. Let’s take a look at these options and compare them.

Fish Oil

This oil comes from deep water fish, most often herring, salmon, sardines or menhaden. The omega 3 in fish oil is already converted to the form needed and is easily absorbed and utilized by dogs. It contains EPA and DHA. The EPA is most useful to use for arthritis as it fights inflammation. The DHA helps with brain and eye development and also helps maintain brain health. The best way to buy this product is in capsule form. The capsules protect the fragile omega 3 from heat, air and light, which can destroy it. The fish used in the oil are also generally sustainable, and plentiful.

Krill Oil

Most of Krill is harvested in the Antarctic regions. As mentioned earlier, it is a small crustacean. It is the primary food source for many fish and whales. The omega 3 oil found in Krill is a phospholipid source, while fish oil is triglyceride based. Both have been found to be equal in absorption. Krill oil does contain astaxanthin, which is a type of antioxidant. It comes from the red pigment of the krill, which in turn comes from their diet of sea algae. Astaxanthin is also found in red salmon, crabs, lobster and of course, various sea algae including spirulina. It can help enhance color in dogs’ coats.

However, Krill has been found to be over harvested and is not a sustainable (replaced) sea life. Some krill is also thought to be dying off from ocean waters becoming warmer. In that light, I cannot recommend using krill oil, not when fish oil is just as good in the amounts of Omega 3.





Algal Oil

It has been discovered that certain algae contain good amounts of omega 3. This is good news for vegans, as they will avoid animal-based oils. Algae is especially high in DHA. However, since it is a plant, the omega 3 is ALA based, and while high in DHA, it is fairly low in EPA, when compared to fish oils. If you are using omega 3 to fight inflammation and skin issues, algae-based oils would produce the results wanted, however, the sustainability of using algae for oils is questionable.

Calamari or Squid Oil

Calamari, the delicacy people eat – often fried, is plentiful in the ocean but it is unknown if harvesting it for oil would affect its population. It is a fairly new oil on the market, so not much research has been done to date. And while it is a source of omega 3 fatty acids, it only has about half the amount found in fatty fish. It is high in DHA, however very low in EPA which is what we use to control inflammation and pain. It is also very high in cholesterol – much higher than fatty fish oil. While cholesterol is not much an issue for canines, it is for humans. In my opinion, it would be important to wait for more research to be completed. Additionally, it is not as cost productive as fish oil when you compare the low omega 3 count.

For the best comparison of which seafood contains the most omega 3 fatty acids, please refer to this chart:


The best omega 3 fatty acid choice for dogs is fish-based oils. While some people are concerned about the mercury levels in fish, most of the choices for fish oils are low mercury fish. It’s important to know that the mercury content that we are concerned about is found in the flesh of the fish, not the oil. Most all the fish used for fish oil are very low mercury, even the type of mackerel used in fish oil. Please use this chart to understand high and low mercury type fish:


I would recommend feeding one capsule of fish oil (180 EPA and 120 DHA per capsule), per 20 pounds of body weight daily. I have used as much as one capsule per 10 pounds of body weight, especially for small dogs who have a faster metabolism, dogs that are immune compromised, or dogs who have cancer. Cancer cells cannot use fat to multiply and omega 3 fatty acids fight cancer cell growth and supports the immune system. I simply open the capsules and put it on my dog’s food daily!

On a final note, if you want the benefit of astaxanthin (found in krill) to use as an antioxidant, and for the enhancement of coat color, I suggest the Berte’s Green Blend.  It contains kelp, spirulina, Dulce and Irish moss which all contain this antioxidant.



Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 12-01-2018
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. 

While it is not food related, let’s talk about yeast!  No, not candida! Dogs don’t get that. Dogs get the Malassezia strain of yeast. While this strain of yeast is normal on your dog’s skin, the problem occurs when the yeast growth goes into overdrive and ends up in an overgrowth of the yeast. This can be due to immune suppression, ill health, recent vaccinations, old age or young puppies with immature immune systems.


This has been a banner year for itchy dogs and people have been asking me if food and environmental allergies may be the culprit. They have tried using Apoquel and Cytopoint and are still having problems with continual itching and discomfort in their dogs.

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


I am addressing this because I have been battling itching in four of my adult Brussels Griffons and two puppies! AND, it took me a few days to catch on to exactly what was going on. The first symptoms I observed were several dogs itching themselves – mostly on their stomach and sides of their bodies, their shoulder area and around their ears. Some were head rubbing on my bed. I finally had the inspiration to check their ears. Two of them had a dark discharge. I then checked their bellies. The adult dogs had various shades of grey or brown spotting on their bellies AND their skin was very pink – especially in the affected and itchy areas. Some of them also appeared to have oily skin and dry coats.


I bathed all them in an herbal shampoo I had, however the itching started up again within a few hours. This dispelled the notion of an environmental allergy. After some research and talking to a veterinarian friend, I was told itching was worse when it was due to yeast – more so than allergies or flea bites. Additionally, I was told the itching could continue for up to a MONTH after I got it under control. A MONTH! Yes, a month!


So, I kicked into high gear and got some anti-fungal shampoo, an anti-fungal spray, and special wipes with ketoconazole and chlorhexidine, which are especially good for the ears! Even after bathing them every other day, using the spray and the wipes, my dogs were still itching! However, it was becoming less often. I washed their bedding and my bedspread daily and I mopped my floors and cleaned their crates with bleach and other disinfectants daily.


The puppies got it because they were nursing off their mother. Their mother got the overgrowth of yeast on her stomach, which is warm and moist and just what yeast LOVES and NEEDS to grow and thrive. The same environment also exists in the ears, around the female vulva, the males’ groin area, the anus, armpits, and in and around any wrinkles the dog might have – especially on the face, neck or back.


Some things that can help include using an athlete’s foot spray on their feet if they are itchy. You can also rinse the dog with a solution of 3/4 water and 1/4 white vinegar. Vinegar can kill yeast on contact, but it only works for the time you use it so it must be repeated.


Understand, not all dogs get this. Dogs with compromised immune systems, certain coat colors (white or red fur), lots of folds in the skin or face, and dogs that are stressed are more likely to have this problem. Yeast is opportunistic and selects the most susceptible dogs. Puppies, seniors, those on immune suppressing drugs or those that were recently vaccinated. Here in Texas, we had 90-degree weather in October and rain every day – a perfect environment for yeast to grow.


I truly believe most of the skin problems we see in our dogs is yeast. The dog may have had a prior issue that caused the itching – whether it was fleas, environmental allergies, or maybe a drug reaction that caused the problem – but even after resolving the cause, the yeast set in and stayed. If the problem gets really bad, the dog can secret an oil that causes a bad odor and seborrhea. This causes the skin to become oily – often causing drops of oil here and there on the skin – and the fur to become dry and stiff in the affected areas. I also believe food allergies are really just yeast on the dog. While both need to be addressed, I suggest working hard on getting rid of the yeast and/or bacteria on the skin.


I am getting a big tired of running the washing machine and mopping every day, but I know the end result is worth it. I suggest no carb treats as sugar helps the yeast grow! Give baths every other day for a week or two, spray them with an anti-fungal spray and treat with the yeast and bacteria killing wipes. Bacteria and yeast tend to ping-pong back and forth, so you need to be aware of both of these issues when the itching occurs.  It takes time, but you will have good results if you’re diligent and do these things. As the puppies grow, they will develop more mature immune systems. AND my puppies had just been vaccinated the week before their outbreak happened, which is not just a coincidence. Vaccinations can suppress a dog’s immune system for up to 3 weeks.


The best way to diagnose yeast is with a skin scraping and culture, which I highly recommend!  I can’t stress this enough! This test is done at your veterinarian’s office and can show both yeast and bacteria. Once a dog itches their skin enough, it can develop sores. When this happens, bacteria can set in quickly.  While antibiotics will be needed to treat bacteria, it is important to remember to give your dog a good probiotic blend, such as the Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder. Antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria, so the probiotics are beneficial for replenishing the good bacteria and they help fight yeast! Steroids may be suggested by your veterinarian, however, it is important to know that they often make yeast proliferate and grow at an alarming rate. Continue with the probiotics, the ketoconazole and chlorhexidine wipes, baths and cleaning your dog’s bedding. And remember, your dogs may itch for up to a month after the yeast is gone, so continue to treat your dog to help stop the itching and to stop new bacteria from settling on the skin.


So let’s recap!  What should you do?


  • Get a skin scraping and culture at your veterinarian’s office for yeast and bacteria
  • Bathe your dogs 2-3 times a week with an anti-fungal shampoo. Use a white vinegar mix at ¼ vinegar and ¾ water as a good clean rinse!
  • Apply a good anti-fungal spray onto your dog’s skin.
  • Use ketoconazole and chlorhexidine wipes to clean your dog’s ears once or twice daily, and around the belly, vulva, male groin area, anus and feet daily.
  • Wash your dog’s bedding and mop your floors daily
  • And when all seems for naught, carry on! It does take time to combat and finally get rid of topical yeast on dogs.


Your persistence will make your dog grateful and you relieved! Remember what makes yeast grow and get worse – hot weather, long damp rainy weather, turning on the furnace in the fall, a suppressed immune system, vaccinations, or an illness.  All of these provide an opportunity for the yeast fungus to take root!


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 Part 1, we discussed a little about the history of dog food and the process behind ‘approving’ dog food which suggests part of the approval and determination of the ingredients (maybe most) and how it is controlled by the pet food industry. In that light, it is important to understand the basic needs of nutrition for dogs and what ingredients and percentages your dog needs.

In Part 2, we discussed that nutrition isn’t an exact science. Nutrition data and tables are made based on the best research available at the time, but the parameters aren’t always exact. And not even the experts can always agree. We do know however, dogs need high quality animal protein and fat and if we are feeding our dogs our own home-cooked diet, we need to add calcium if we aren’t feeding any bone in their diet.

This month in Part 3, we let you know how easy it is to prepare a nourishing diet for your dog whether you choose to feed a home-cooked or raw diet!

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

Home-Cooked Diets

The primary difference between a home-cooked diet and a raw diet, is that home-cooked diets don’t include bone and therefore require the addition of both vegetables and calcium.

  • The amount of food to feed your dog on a home-cooked diet should be approximately 2% to 3% of your dog’s body weight daily, divided into 2 daily meals.
  • Three quarters (75%) of the recipe is made up of animal protein and fat. This includes any ground meat, heart meat, plain yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese and about 10% organ meat (liver or kidney). Many of the more common meats used include chicken, turkey, pork, beef, venison, lamb, rabbit and duck. I encourage feeding a VARIETY of different proteins – at least four over the course of the week. No two proteins are identical in nutrients (amino acids, minerals), so providing a variety of proteins each week helps insure your dog is getting all the minerals and amino acids it needs. I also recommend not over-cooking the meats. You can bake the meats in the oven, fry them on the stove or lightly cook them in a crockpot. What is important is to not over-cook the meats as high heats breaks down the amino acids. Also, SAVE the liquid from the cooking process and include it in your dog’s meal. Taurine, a very important amino acid, does well on light cooking but often runs off into the juices, so save those juices and serve it with the meal!
  • One-quarter (25%) of the meal is vegetables. I don’t recommend starchy vegetables such as potatoes or parsnips, or any grains. I DO recommend zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, dark leafy greens and cabbage. Dogs can’t digest the cell walls of the vegetables, so they must be fully cooked and mashed or frozen and thawed so they turn to mush. Dogs don’t get any nutritional value from vegetables, so their body does not need them, however, in home-cooked diets, the vegetables provide important fiber to help stools firm.
  • Mix the animal protein and fat and vegetables well. For added convenience, you can make large batches of various meat (protein) and vegetable recipes and freeze them in meal-sized portions. That way you can thaw overnight what is needed for the next day.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE! For every pound of food served, you need to add 900 mg of calcium. I recommend either calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. The meat and organ meat provide all the minerals your dog needs in the right balance, except for the calcium, which is why you need to add it. This supplement is inexpensive and can be purchased at any grocery or drug store. You also need to add D3 to help with the absorption of the calcium. The Berte’s Daily Blend and Berte’s Immune Blend contains not only the recommended amount of D3 needed, but also vitamins A, B, C, and E. Additionally, it is very important to add Omega 3 fish oil capsules to COOLED food at 1000 mg per 10-20 pounds of your dog’s body weight. Omega 3 fish oil is heart, liver and kidney protective, fights inflammation and supports healthy skin and coat. Add these supplements to the food right before serving. It’s that easy and simple!

Raw Diets

Raw diets are also served in two meals daily. However, one meal is a raw meaty bone meal and the other is a muscle meat meal that contains a variety of ground meat, heart, green tripe, organ meat, yogurt and eggs. The reason for this is that the bones in the raw meaty bone meal that makes up half of the diet provides the calcium your dog needs. Serving one raw meaty bone meal and one muscle meat meal, balances your dog’s diet!

  • The amount of food to feed your dog on a raw diet should also be approximately 2% to 3% of your dog’s body weight daily, divided into 2 meals daily.
  • Raw meaty bones include chicken necks, turkey necks (cut up), pork neck bones, duck necks (cut up), pork ribs, chicken backs, chicken wings and chicken leg quarters for large dogs. I recommend removing the skin from the chicken necks and turkey necks before serving, especially for dogs new to the raw diet. You can buy any of these already ground up if you are just starting to feed raw bones and you are a bit uneasy. I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group, K9Nutrition for suggestions on where you can buy these pre-ground foods. The ground bone in the raw diet not only provides the calcium your dog needs, it also is the key ingredient needed to helps keep your dog’s stools firm – a primary reason no vegetables are needed in the raw diet.
  • The muscle meat meal consists of ground meat, cut up meat (from roasts or briskets), any type of heart meat (chicken, turkey, pork, beef), green tripe (you need to buy green tripe from a supplier who sells meat for dogs), eggs, yogurt, and organ meat (no more than 10%), either liver or kidney.
  • The supplements I suggest be added to a raw diet is either the Berte’s Daily Blend or the Berte’s Immune Blend (at half dose for healthy dogs), and fish oil capsules at one 1,000 mg capsule per 10-20 pounds the dog’s body weight daily. You can also add the Berte’s Green Blend, for some trace minerals.

New Diet Change Tips

Any diet change can cause loose stools until your dog has adjusted to the diet change. If your dog is new to a home-cooked or raw diet, I recommend adding Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder to the menu! This digestion aid can help get your dog through the transition period as you change from your current diet to that of either a home-cooked or raw diet. This supplement helps keep the flora and fauna bacteria balanced and your dog’s stools firm.

If you are starting out on either a home-cooked diet or a raw diet because your dog has a current digestion issue, I highly recommend adding the Berte’s Digestion Blend. Start at HALF dose for the first 2 weeks and work to full dose if needed. The Berte’s Digestion Blend helps heal an inflamed digestive tract and supports what some call a ‘sensitive’ stomach.

And that is it! It is not difficult! Please contact me with your questions. I also urge you to join my K9Nutriton page on Facebook for more advice and ideas on this topic.

Lastly, if you are still feeling like this is a daunting task, my raw diet and home-cooked diet videos provide more information. They can be purchased at:


The videos are $60 each and are about a half hour long. You can also purchase the entire course, “Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs” and take the test at the end to receive a certification of completion when finished for $199!

Enjoy the fall weather and for those in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving!

Stay Active, Eat Well and Be Kind to One Another!


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. 

Last month we examined the concerns dog owners have of feeling secure about feeding their dogs a balanced diet. I addressed the issue of commercial dog food and how the labeling can reveal just how uncertain the ingredients might be and to examine the quality of the protein contents. While dog food companies often label their products as ‘complete and balanced’, they frequently change the ingredients in their foods, but are not required to update the labeling for 6 months. It is also important to remember that when you feed your dog a fixed diet (never changing the ingredients) it is FAR more important for that diet to be as complete as possible. Any mistakes could be very costly and could affect the dog’s health and wellbeing. This has been seen in the many recalls over the years, including the melamine scare in 2007.



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

Many dog owners become confused, especially in light of the all the conflicting and inconsistent information they find on the Internet and Facebook.

Feeding your dog is not difficult. It is no more difficult than feeding yourself or your family. There are, however, some nutritional differences due to the digestive system differences between humans and canines. Canines have a shorter and simpler digestive tract. They have little ability to ferment grains and high fiber diets as their system is designed to eat animal protein and fats. All of the canine teeth are sharp and pointed to tear meat. Their teeth are not flat and so they are not designed for grinding or chewing grains or starches. Canines also lack amylase in their saliva, which is needed to break down sugars and starches. Additionally, their jaws only have the ability to move up and down, not from side to side. They are designed to eat large chunks of food and gulp it down without chewing. Their basic needs are met by animal proteins and fat, with some bone for their calcium needs. Some examples include muscle meat (ground or chunks), small amounts of organ meat, eggs, green tripe, and any type of heart, yogurt, cottage cheese and wild game. We use limited vegetables for cooked diets. No vegetables are needed in raw diets. The NRC (Natural Research Council) does state dogs have no nutritional need for carbohydrates (grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits).

Nutrition is not cut, and dried, and nutritional standards and ideas are constantly being researched, debated and changed all the time. While suggested values are given in nutrition charts, human nutrition offers food pyramids more geared to percentages and what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. Mother Nature is forgiving and you and your dog can get the nutrients you need over time. It’s not necessary to consume every needed nutrient in each meal. Dogs are not unique and there is no need for breaking down each meal to check nutrients. For an example on how human nutrition guidelines are offered to people via government guidelines, read more below:

“The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines embodies the idea that a healthy eating pattern is not a rigid plan. Rather, it can be adapted to include foods people enjoy that meet their personal preferences and fit within their budget. In essence, a personalized healthy eating pattern could be considered the way or style in which a person makes healthy choices they can maintain over time. For that reason, MyPlate uses ‘healthy eating style’ to speak to consumers when referring to ‘healthy eating patterns’ that are highlighted in the Dietary Guidelines. All of the food and beverage choices you make matter. Start with small changes to make healthier choices you can enjoy and create your own healthy eating style! Find your healthy eating style with MyPlate, MyWins.


And even as we have a nutrition guideline for people, it is constantly changing:

“‘Twenty years ago, I think we knew about 10 percent of what we need to know’ about nutrition, said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. ‘And now we know about 40 or 50 percent.’”


The same is true for dogs, however far less money and research goes into studying and learning about what dogs need. And much of the information we do get comes from dog food companies and veterinarian academics linked to these pet food companies. Yes, most dogs are reasonably healthy and have survived all these years. But the amount of debate on canine nutrition abounds in articles, newspapers, magazines and the internet. And even the top human nutritionists disagree today on what is good for people and what isn’t:

“‘Ninety minutes into the meeting, we were still trying to agree what the hell a vegetable was’, said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. ‘That was a dark moment.’”


And even more interesting, is how the top human nutrition experts disagree on the newest recommendations. I suggest reading the following article.

“The highly anticipated 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released on Thursday—and they’re proving controversial, with disagreement among industry and the nutrition community over whether red and processed meat should have been called out, and whether issues like sustainability should have been included. Months before the Guidelines came out, an independent group of experts—called the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, or DGAC—proposed non-binding recommendations for the Dietary Guidelines. Some experts took issue with how the final product differs. Here, top experts in the field of nutrition provide their thoughts on the new Guidelines:”


Arguments and disagreements similar to those found on dog nutrition groups and Facebook pages are also found in human nutrition. Each expert likes to make their own opinion known, and has some desire to be the forerunner of ‘New Ideas’; it is a way to be recognized and gain fame, sell new brands of food (raw or processed), videos, and related products.

The bottom line for dogs is that they need animal-based protein and fats. As the NRC has stated, dogs have no nutritional need for plant-based foods. Meat already comes naturally balanced with all the minerals needed, except for calcium (found in bone). Some vitamins can be added that are harder to find in most foods (D3, E, probiotics, omega 3) but at least when you prepare your dog’s food, you know EXACTLY what is in it. You have control over the ingredients used and the variety added to provide a better array of the amino acids found in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Nature does NOT have exact parameters, and frankly, all life would have ceased on earth if she did. There really is no ‘magic combination’ or series of correct supplements, but a fresh, varied diet should provide your dog most of what it needs. If you are truly worried, try to source meat from animals that are pasture and free-range fed for best mineral content. My dogs have done well on regularly sourced meat. Grass fed animals tend to have better mineral content due to the minerals found in the ground, but that also depends on the area where they graze.

In Part 3, I will go into detail – in an easy to understand manner – on how to prepare home cooked and raw diets for dogs. I will provide simple steps and guidelines for feeding both of these diets, which are wholesome, healthy and balanced!


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. 

Many people who want to feed their dog a better diet, worry about whether the diet is complete and has all the nutrients needed for their dog to be healthy and thrive. And most certainly this concern is normal, as most of these people are pursuing a new concept on feeding their dog. There are even people who worry about changing from one type of commercial dog food, to another. Everyone wants to feed their dog the best, most affordable diet. But how do we overcome these fears and worries?


The standard trust and belief, of course, is that commercial dog food is complete and contains the best nutrients dogs need. For over 50 years, pet food companies have been stating that their food is ‘complete and balanced’. Their formulas are based on the National Research Council (NRC) guidelines, or the ‘gold standard’ for research and conclusions on canine nutrition. And AAFCO (Association of Animal Feed Control Officials) controls the labeling (as per what can be put on the labels), but AAFCO does not test foods. While the NRC is a Federal Government agency, AAFCO has a board of directors they answer to – many of whom are veterinarians and pet food industry members. It is a private organization that serves manufacturers and their products.

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


AAFCO has a list of guidelines for making pet food and treats. It includes licensing, ingredients that can be used, labeling and nutritional labeling requirements, and lists laboratories where food can be submitted for analysis. AAFCO only allows their list of approved ingredients that can be put in pet food.




However, AAFCO doesn’t have to follow the same nutritional needs that are put out by the NRC. It is also important to note that AAFCO is a private organization that has a heavy influence on the big pet food manufacturers that are on its board and the decisions they make.


Some years ago, NRC changed their standards for canine nutrition, however AAFCO refused to follow them. Why? NRC wanted better quality animal protein, less grains and other carbohydrates that contained phytates which block mineral uptake. Frankly, it is just too expensive to make a better quality of food that can withstand months of shelf life in a bag. Plus, the testing for pet food requires a 24-month trial of the food on 8 dogs, which is too costly and rarely, if ever, used today. Now an analysis done at a lab is deemed suitable, where the results simply tell the protein, fiber, fat and moisture content. It doesn’t test for quality, the bioavailability of the protein, or state if it is even animal protein.  Please note, a pet food company can change their ingredients at any time and they are allowed a 6 month grace period to change their labels. AND, they only need estimates for the protein and fat content – which can vary from batch to batch – with small variations being acceptable.


So, while the bulk of the public continues to maintain their trust that their dog food contains all their dog needs, please understand that it may not be the case with commercial pet foods. The food is dry, which means it has been heavily processed under high heats and the packaging contains product descriptions and labels that can be misleading or misunderstood by the average consumer. When the labels contain numerous ingredients, it becomes confusing as to just what the main ingredients are. Additionally, the labels don’t state the quality of the meat and other ingredients used, or if they are counting plant proteins as part of the total protein profile. Plant proteins are incomplete for dogs and lack important minerals that dogs need. To compensate for this, dog food companies add powdered supplements such as minerals, vitamins, etc., to try and make the dog food complete. However, in reality, the product is just a heavily processed food that relies on additives rather than the food itself. Most of us know that eating processed foods with additives is not the healthiest way to eat the bulk of our diet. It is the same for your dog!


So, my best advice to those feeding commercial pet foods is to switch brands often, as well as the primary protein source (chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, venison, and fish). I encourage people to add some fresh protein to each meal. This includes fresh meat, occasionally organ meat, plain yogurt, and eggs (boiled or raw).  In my opinion, dry dog food uses far too many plant sources in their food – about 40% or more. This includes grains, legumes, vegetables, vegetable fiber, grain flours and even fruit. Dogs are carnivores, and therefore, have no nutritional need for carbohydrates (as stated by the NRC), so these carbohydrate ingredients are just fillers. Adding more animal-based proteins and fats will at least give your dog some quality proteins that include the amino acids your dogs needs for heart, kidney and liver health. Adding some fresh fat helps the skin and coat, as rendered fats found in dry dog food is far less effective in this regard. You can add up to 50% of your dog’s daily commercial food diet with fresh foods!


Next month in part two, I will discuss balancing home cooked and raw diets and dispel the fears you may have on both of these subjects. As a teaser, I will say that dogs are no more complicated than we humans are when it comes to eating and preparing their, however dogs have some different nutritional needs. Dog food companies (and some internet salesmen), however, may want and need you to believe that dogs are far more complicated. I will work through the comments these people may make so you have the confidence to prepare your dog’s meals AND I will show you just how easy it is to prepare your own dog’s fresh food meals!!