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.

Cooked Diet

Putting It Together (Cooked)

By Lew Olson • April 2006 Newsletter
For those just joining us now, I suggest you read the first seven segments of this 12 month course to help catch up. You can find these first seven segments in the B-Naturals Newsletter Directory or click on the following links:
History of Dog Food, August 2005
Digestion & Anatomy of the Canine, September 2005
Protein in the Diet, November, 2005
Carbohydrates in the Dog’s Diet, December, 2005
Fats and Fatty Acids January, 2006
Minerals, February, 2006
Supplements and Uses, March 2006

These first seven articles lay the ground work for understanding nutritional needs of dogs. This month’s article focuses on understanding the concepts and preparing home made meals for your dogs at home.

Remember these rules:
1) Always balance a home cooked meal with calcium. You cannot feed cooked bones to dogs safely, and when you are feeding a diet without bones, you need to add either 900 mg of calcium per pound of food served, OR 1/2 teaspoon of ground egg shell. Save eggshells and dry overnight, and grind in a clean coffee bean grinder.
2) Use variety when preparing meals. Each protein type contains different amounts of amino acids. Good variety would include beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb and fish as well as eggs and dairy. You can bake fresh fish or used canned, such as mackerel, salmon or sardines. These types of canned fish contain steamed bones that are safe and so you do not need to add calcium when feeding these.
3) Use organ meat for about 10% of the diet. Organ meat includes liver or kidney.
4) Use animal protein sources for at least 50% of the diet, preferably 75% of the diet. Animal protein sources would include meat, organ meat, dairy products (plain yogurt or cottage cheese) and eggs.
5) Use vegetables for the rest of the diet. Vegetables must be fully boiled, steamed, frozen, pureed in a food processor or mashed into a mush. Dogs cannot digest vegetables unless they are cooked or pulverized, as they are unable to digest cellulose, which makes up the plants cell walls. Variety also applies to vegetable choices. For dogs with arthritis, it ‘s best to avoid the nightshade veggies (white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers), as these can be irritating.
6) If you want to use grains, please make these less than 1/6 of the diet. Grains will increase bulk of the stool and some dogs have intolerances to some forms of grain. Remember that dogs have no nutritional need for carbohydrates, and that grains have been linked to a number of health problems, including arthritis, allergies, seizures, etc.
Now that you have a few simple rules to follow, we will look at how to make some basic recipes. The basic formula I like to follow is 75% animal protein and fat sources, and 25% vegetable. In certain health conditions, this can vary but I will address that in a future article on special needs. Please remember that a diet of 75% meat, yogurt, eggs, etc is not a diet that is 75% protein. These foods also contain moisture, fat and some fiber. Also remember as discussed in the prior protein article, a healthy dog cannot have too much protein, in fact it is more important than to feed too little. Dogs, as carnivores need animal proteins for organ integrity and health.
For the animal protein percentage of the diets, use a variety of this selection of foods:
Muscle meat (meat can be ground or in pieces):
– beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, canned mackerel, salmon or sardines.
Note: Heart is considered a muscle meat nutritionally and should be included in the diet.
– Yogurt, cottage cheese
Organ meat (10% of the diet)
– Beef, chicken, lamb or pork liver and kidney
– Eggs, canned tripe, healthy leftovers
For the vegetables, use a variety of this selection of vegetables:
Broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, cauliflower, spinach, sweet potato, carrots, yellow summer squash, kale, mustard greens
Remember, variety is very important. A recipe can be made up in bulk, and frozen into meal sized portions and thawed the night before meal times.
A quote from Dr Mike DVM says
”I think the major problem with owner prepared diets is an attempt to satisfy the needs of pets by making one recipe and not varying it. I strongly suspect that if pets were fed a variety of foods that approximates the food triangle suggested for humans that an adequate diet would be obtained. On the other hand, trying to formulate a single recipe that meets the needs of pets long term is very difficult to do. I do not know about other vets but I think that the major reason to stick with pet foods is the incredible ability of pets to train their owners to feed them unbalanced and/or unhealthy diets. A great many of the pets I see who are fed primarily home-made diets or table scraps eat only a few items consistently. Feeding pet foods helps avoid this problem. I am not particularly uncomfortable with the notion of people feeding a variety of foods in an attempt to meet dietary requirements as long as they are aware of the pitfalls and avoid them. ”
The amount to feed is approximately 2% to 3% of the dog’s body weight. Basically this breaks down into this:
(one pound equals approximately two cups)
100 lb dog = 2 lb to 3 lb daily, or two meals of 1 to 1-1/2 lbs each
75 lb dog = 1-1/2 lb to 2=3/4 lb daily or two meals of 12 oz to 18 oz each
50 lb dog = 1 lb to 1-1/2 lb daily, or two meals of 8 oz to 12 oz each
25 lb dog = 8 oz to 12 oz daily, or two meals of 4 oz to 6 oz each
Smaller dogs often have higher metabolisms, and *may* (not always) need more than the 2% to 3% of their body weight, and often do better with three smaller meals a day, especially toy breeds.
** Puppies under the age of six months require more frequent meals (three to four a day) and need a bit more calcium, at about 1500 mg per pound of food served while they are growing. Puppies will eat about 10% of their body weight at 8 weeks of age or 2% to 3% of their anticipated adult weight
For supplements, calcium is needed at 900 mg per pound of food served. I would also recommend the EPA fish oil capsules at one capsule (180 EPA/120 DHA) per twenty to thirty pounds of body weight daily. Do not add minerals, as the variety in the diet will provide this. Do add vitamins, such as vitamin E, vitamin C and a B complex. For diet changes, probiotics and digestive enzymes may be helpful. Berte ‘s Immune Blend contains vitamin C, vitamin E, B complex, enzymes and probiotics. For a daily vitamin blend without enzymes and probiotics, there is also Berte ‘s Daily Blend that contains kelp and alfalfa which can provide trace minerals.
Let’s look a recipe formula as an example for a typical 50 pound adult dog:
3/4 lb hamburger (12 oz)
1/4 lb plain yogurt (4 oz)
2 oz liver
6 oz pureed sweet potato
1350 mg of calcium
2 EPA fish oil capsules
1-1/2 teaspoons Berte’s Immune Blend
This recipe makes two meals. Divide the recipe in half and feed two meals daily.
Another recipe could be:
3/4 lb chicken (12 oz)
1/8 lb cottage cheese (2 oz)
1 egg (approximately 2 oz)
2 oz beef kidney
6 oz mix of cooked cabbage and zucchini
1350 mg of calcium
2 EPA fish oil capsules
1-1/2 teaspoons Berte ‘s Immune Blend
For a 100 lb dog, double the amounts above, and divide into two meals. For a twenty five pound, cut the recipe in half and divide into two meals. Just remember, calcium is added at 900 mg per pound of food served.
In place of the hamburger or chicken selection, you can use canned salmon, canned mackerel, turkey, lamb, beef heart, or ground pork.
Vegetables can be mixed and matched from broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, cauliflower, spinach, sweet potato, carrots, yellow summer squash, kale and mustard greens.
If you are out of dairy products or eggs, add more meat. When you use canned fish, do not add calcium, as mackerel, sardines and salmon already have steamed bones.
I would suggest using as much variety as possible, and making large batches in advance to freeze for each meal. That way, the meals can be taken out of the fridge at night and thawed for the next days use. Do add the supplements right before serving, as freezing can compromise their integrity. Always keep canned fish (mackerel, salmon or sardines) on hand, as well as canned tripe and dairy to feed *if* you forget to make meals in advance. These are also good to take on road trips, when boarding or when you have a pet sitter.
You can adjust the amount of vegetables to a higher percentage if needed, but remember- the more fiber, the larger and more odorous the stool. And if you are just changing diets now, you may want to get the Berte’s Ultra Probiotic and Berte’s Zyme to use for a few months for the diet change adjustment.
I hope you find this helpful, and if you still have questions, please join our K9Nutrition list where you can get many of your questions answered. I know your dog will enjoy a fresh food diet, and Bone Appetite!
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