How to Improve Your Dog’s Diet!
Every dog owner wants to make sure he/she is doing the best for their dog. With all the information available, it can be difficult sometimes to know what is best. A general rule of thumb is to provide some fresh animal-based protein and keep the carbohydrates to a minimum. For those who may be uncertain, carbohydrates are plant-based foods such as grains, starches, fruit, beans, lentils and vegetables. While humans need and enjoy those foods, dogs have no dietary need for them. So what is the best way to improve your dog’s diet?
Improving Kibble Diets
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
Dry dog food (kibble) has some disadvantages. It is, of course, dry. Dogs do best on moist diets. Dry foods are high in carbohydrates, which convert to sugars. Carbohydrates are necessary to create a longer shelf life for the product, however, they are simply inexpensive fillers that create larger stools with more odor. If you do feed commercial kibble to your dog, one way you can improve your dog’s diet is to mix fresh animal protein with the kibble. Fresh proteins can include ground meats such as beef, pork, turkey or canned salmon, sardines or mackerel packed in water and whole milk yogurt and cottage cheese. You can add as much as 50% of the diet in the fresh protein. You simply remove half of the kibble and replace it with the fresh proteins. The addition of fresh food will keep the kibble moist and makes the food easier to digest!
Improving Home Cooked Diets
The best formula for a home cooked diet is 75% animal-based protein and fat (meat, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese and organ meat) and 25% low glycemic (low-sugar) vegetables. Some low-glycemic vegetables include zucchini, broccoli, dark leafy greens, cauliflower and cabbage. It is important to make sure you fully cook and pulverize the vegetables or freeze and thaw them before feeding them as dogs cannot digest raw vegetables! When feeding home cooked diets, you MUST add 900 mg of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate per pound of food served. Be sure to use a variety of proteins and vegetables.
Improving Raw Diets
The best way to improve raw diets, which include raw meaty bones, is to use a VARIETY of raw meaty bones and meats! Some people get stuck in a rut and feed primarily chicken bones. You can also feed other raw bones such as pork, turkey and duck necks as well. Do not feed a raw diet that is contains predominately one kind of meat either. You want a variety here too. I try to feed at least four different meats per week. Some good meats include ground pork, beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, venison, fish, rabbit and green tripe (unbleached tripe or cow stomach). One-half of the diet needs to be a variety of raw meaty bones for the calcium and the other half should be a variety of at least four ground meats and eggs, yogurt or cottage cheese with about 10% organ meat.
What Supplements should Be Added?
All three of the diets discussed need omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil. Omega 3 fatty acids help support the heart, liver, kidneys, joints and the immune system and help with inflammation. Give one 1,000 mg gel cap per 10 to 20 pounds of body weight daily. We suggest fish oil in gel cap form as the bottles of the liquid oil lose potency quickly as air gets in the bottle each time it is opened. Dogs are not able to utilize omega 3 fatty acids from plant-based oils such as flax, hemp, olive, corn, chia seeds, etc. The omega 3 fatty acids found in plant oils is in a form dogs cannot convert into a usable form. Therefore, it is necessary to offer your dog omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil.
The necessary vitamins you need to add to the diet include vitamins A, B complex, C, D3 and E. These antioxidant vitamins support the immune system and help maintain good health. These vitamins, as well as kelp and alfalfa, are all found in Berte’s Daily Blend. The same vitamins with probiotics and digestive enzymes are found in Berte’s Immune Blend. Probiotics, the friendly bacteria, is helpful in maintaining good digestive health and firm stools and support the immune system. Digestive enzymes help with the digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Berte’s Ultra Probiotics is also a great addition to any dog’s diet!
Remember, calcium must be added to your dog’s diet IF you feed a home-cooked diet. Calcium must be added in the form of calcium citrate or calcium carbonate at 900 mg per pound of food fed.
It is simple and easy! For the best appetite and satisfaction, be sure to feed your adult dog twice a day and puppies four times a day.
Canine Influenza or H3N8 is the newest topic of interest for dog show folks. I have seen a lot of information on it and most of it is incorrect. Canine flu popped up in the early 2000’s, mostly at Greyhound racetracks, and this flu seems to pop back up every couple of years. It spreads via saliva, so barking, sneezing and coughing can spread the disease. Symptoms include a high fever, about 105 (102 is the normal temperature for a dog), lethargy, lack of appetite, runny nose and coughing. I had two dogs contract Canine Influenza in the last ten years. Both dogs were sick about 3 days and recovered, but I got them IMMEDIATE attention (i.e., antibiotics and fluids, if they were needed).
Dogs exposed to Canine Influenza may get it, but show very few symptoms. Mortality rate is low and intensity of the symptoms can vary. Those most often affected are puppies, senior dogs and immune-compromised dogs. Immediate treatment is needed (antibiotics, NSAIDs and cough remedies) as the illness can turn into pneumonia in younger or senior dogs.
My dogs did not contract Canine Influenza at the dog show, but at the hotel. Sick dogs can spread it through heating and air conditioning vents.
People have asked me about the vaccination for Canine Influenza. The vaccine does NOT prevent a dog from getting the disease, but it is thought to help reduce symptoms and the incidences of passing it on to other dogs. It is important to remember that vaccinations can suppress the dog’s immunity temporarily, so take the proper precautions if you choose to get the vaccine. Additionally, I avoid taking young puppies and/or seniors on these trips, as they are the dogs likely to be most susceptible. However, you know your dog the best, so finding the right answer for your dog is up to you.
Below is additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What is canine influenza (dog flu)?
Canine influenza, also known as dog flu, is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs. These are called “canine influenza viruses.” Dog flu is a disease of dogs. No human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported.
There are two different influenza A dog flu viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus.
What are signs of canine influenza infection in dogs?
The symptoms of this illness in dogs include cough, runny nose, and fever. However, not all dogs will show signs of illness. The severity of the illness associated with canine flu in dogs can range from no signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death.
How serious is canine influenza infection in dogs? The percentage of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small. Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no signs of illness), while some have severe infections. Severe illness is characterized by the onset of pneumonia. This is a relatively new disease in dogs and nearly all dogs are susceptible to infection.
How is canine influenza spread?
Almost all dogs are susceptible to canine flu infection and the illness tends to spread among dogs housed in kennels and shelters. Canine flu can spread to other dogs by direct contact with aerosolized respiratory secretions (coughing and sneezing) from infected dogs, by uninfected dogs being exposed to contaminated objects, and by moving contaminated objects or materials between infected and uninfected dogs. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not expose their dog to other dogs. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.
Is there a test for canine influenza?
Testing to confirm canine influenza virus infection in dogs is available. Your veterinarian can tell you if testing is appropriate.
How is canine influenza infection in dogs treated?
Treatment largely consists of supportive care. This helps the dog mount an immune response. In the milder form of the disease, this care may include medication to make your dog more comfortable and fluids to ensure that your dog remains well hydrated. Your veterinarian may prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected.