Well, most of you wouldn’t be reading this article or you wouldn’t have subscribed to this newsletter if you hadn’t considered changing your dog’s diet or you already have!
Most of us look to improve our dog’s health and want to learn to feed the best diet we can. This may include switching dog food brands, trying new supplements, adding fresh food to their dog’s food or taking the ‘plunge’ into a home cooked or raw diet. This month, we will look at all of these options to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Commercial Dog Food
Most people started learning about the differences in pet food back in the 1980’s. Marketing hit a high note on dog food, and people became better ‘consumers’. The internet helped to reach a new ‘plateau’ in learning, and people learned to know the difference in labels, ingredients and learned to understand protein and fat content.
For those still learning how to understand and evaluate commercial food, here are some good websites to help you on this subject:
With this in mind, note that commercial pet food is advertised as “complete and balanced,” as it is designed to be the ‘sole diet’ for that dog. With more media on recent pet food recalls and pet illness, many are realizing it may not be safe to limit a dog to one food source as one food source does not offer a dog a variety of proteins and other foods. Variety in foods offers different proteins so there is better amino acid diversity, along with a broader selection of minerals, vitamins and fats. Even if a dry food is the only way you can choose, then it might be suggested to change brands of foods or the type of protein with each new bag. Perhaps begin with feeding a chicken based food with one purchase and then switch to a beef or lamb based food with the next purchase. Before the food runs completely out, buy the new brand, and mix the two together for one week before changing over completely to the new food.
Some people worry about digestive upset when switching foods. This seems to occur more with commercial foods. To help with the switch, add the Bertes Probiotic Powder and the Bertes Zymes. Probiotics help keep the good flora and fauna in the digestive tract for firm stools and less gas, and the animal based enzymes in the Bertes Zymes help with fat and protein digestion in the stomach.
Mixing Fresh Food with Commercial Food
For those feeding commercial dog foods who are considering switching to a home cooked or raw diet, a good stepping off point is to add fresh food to the commercial food. When you add fresh food to processed dog, the best way to start is to add animal protein and fat. You don’t want to add grains, vegetables or fruit, as the commercial pet food is already high in carbohydrates. You can add up to 50% of the diet in fresh food without adding calcium. More than that would require adjusting the diet with additional calcium. For complete information and recipes on this you can view my article on adding fresh food to kibble here: https://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/mixing-fresh-food-with-kibble/
Home Cooked Diets
If home cooking seems like a good idea, but you don’t know where to start, you can find directions and recipes here: https://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/cooked-diet/
For healthy dogs and puppies, switching to a home cooked diet is usually a smooth transition. But if you are changing diets due to health issues, you can add home cooked to kibble (commercial dog food) gradually and ease your dog into the change. Again, using the Bertes Ultra Probiotic Powder and the Bertes Zymes can help during this change. Both of these will help with the digestion of the new food and help prevent gastric upset. As with switching dog food brands, slowly add some home cooked foods to the dry food and each day gradually add more fresh food and less kibble. The digestion aids can probably be phased out after two or three months after the change.
Raw foods can be added to either commercial food or home cooked foods during the transition to a raw diet. The only exception would be the raw meaty bones, which should be fed separate from dry dog food. While many dogs do fine with this, some dogs don’t do quite as well as the bones compete with the digestion of the dry food.
As with the home cooked diets, most dogs have no trouble moving right over to a raw diet. I have taken in several rescue dogs and since all I have is raw food, everyone is fed this diet. All of them have taken to it quite readily, with no gastric problems. But, if you want to move more cautiously, you can move slowly as outlined above.
Remember, the biggest error made when switching to home cooked or raw is over feeding. Most dogs enjoy it so much, we tend to over feed. And over feeding is the number one cause of diarrhea. Secondly, watch the fat content on the switch in diets. It may be wise to cut off or drain extra fat in the beginning as this is the second most common cause of diarrhea.
Happy Valentine’s Day and may the Groundhog bring us an early Spring!
Remember . . . Keep your dogs away from chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to dogs!
Buck wishes everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day too!
What’s New at B-Natural’s
Updated Newsletter and Product Labeling Information
First, we would like to thank all of our customers for their support of B-Naturals throughout the past year. As we move into 2008 you will start to see some running changes in several areas. Most notable will be shopping cart updates, e-letter delivery, and label format.
We are working on making your shopping cart more reliable, especially in the “sign in” area of existing accounts needing to update information and handle forgotten passwords. If you have any problems, please contact us so we can help you and stay apprised of non-working aspects of the shopping cart.
Also, Lew wants to make it easier for all of you to find information on past newsletters so to accomplish this, we completely updated our newsletter program. If you are not receiving the monthly e-letter now, or if you were receiving it and haven’t received one lately, let us know and we will get you added back onto the mailing list. Also, if you have any subjects you would like to see addressed in an e-letter let Lew know.
Finally, we are in the process of updating the formatting on our Berte’s labeled products so they can more uniformly conform to the requirements in the states and the countries we are privileged to serve. The areas you may see change on the Berte’s labels will depend on the product and may be in the units of measure, adjustment to the placements of ingredients, the description of the ingredient, and product name changes, just to highlight a few. When a product has been changed based on ingredient content, we will keep you all posted via a supplemental e-letter or we will give you notice in a normal e-letter newsletter.
Notable Product Changes
Berte’s Immune Blend has been re-named Berte’s Daily Blend Plus. When you place your order, note the product code #3208 for the 1# container and #3285 for the 5# container remains the same as it did.
Berte’s Green Blend no longer includes Spirulina Powder due to it not being an AAFCO recognized ingredient.
What’s Coming Soon?
Lew is putting the finishing touches on a powdered Flexile that will compliment the current capsule Flexile offering.
For those who have been asking for a more user friendly method to dose Berte’s Zyme, we will be changing over to a capsule form and eliminating the current tablet application.
Copyright 2007 Lew Olson. All rights reserved.
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