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Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 11-01-2017
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 am frequently asked about supplements. What supplements should I give my dog to maintain good health and which should I give to support a specific health issue? So
this month, we’re going I am going to suggest helpful vitamins and supplements you can offer your dogs that are safe for daily use and those that are beneficial for
supporting specific health conditions.


Vitamins come in two categories. Water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are easily flushed from the body and oftentimes need to be given twice daily for the best results. Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and B vitamins. It is hard to overdose on these vitamins, however, if you give too much vitamin C without building to bowel tolerance slowly, it can cause diarrhea. B vitamins can cause the urine to be bright yellow in color. However, overall they are very safe and can be given to your dog daily.

B Vitamins

B Vitamins help with nerve development, help maintain kidney function, support healthy muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract and support the eyes and the skin. B
vitamins include B-1 (thiamin), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin and niacinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-12 (cobalamin), folic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin, choline, inositol
and PABA. These vitamins need to work together and therefore work best in the body if they are all given as a vitamin B complex as opposed to giving just one or two of the B group of vitamins separately. B vitamins are found in meat, poultry, fish, organ meat, eggs, and leafy green vegetables.

B-complex vitamins should be given in the following dosages:

0-25 pounds: 25 mg daily
25-50 pounds: 25 – 50 mg daily
50-75 pounds: 50 – 100 mg daily
75-100 pounds: 5 to 150 mg daily

Vitamin C

Offering vitamin C with bioflavonoid is very important. Bioflavonoids help with the uptake of vitamin C and add to vitamin C’s antioxidant value. Vitamin C is an
essential antioxidant and immune builder, and it has many functions. It helps support the immune system, helps with collagen building (present in connective tissue),
supports capillary repair and adrenal gland functioning. Additionally, it stimulates the production of lymphocytes, fights bacteria and viruses, enhances the ability of
chemotherapy drugs, helps prevent high blood pressure and serum cholesterol, supports the production of anti-stress hormones and aids in the healing of wounds. Vitamin C also helps with allergy issues as it acts as a natural antihistamine.
While dogs produce some vitamin C, it is often not enough for dogs living with the daily stress of pollution, low physical activity, illness, and those involved in
performance training. Higher doses have also been shown to help with pain relief and immunity.
Because vitamin C is water soluble, it is flushed from the body quickly. Therefore, it is important to give this supplement with each meal or at least twice daily.
Foods that are high in vitamin C include broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, parsley, pineapple, strawberries, spinach, turnip greens and collard greens.
There are several types of vitamin C, but the most common is the calcium ascorbate type because it is buffered and easier on the digestive tract.
Bioflavonoids, which are not exactly a vitamin, are found in the rinds of citrus fruits and are an antioxidant. When taken with vitamin C, they help with the uptake and absorption of the vitamin. They help strengthen capillary walls, help with hemorrhages and prevent bruising. They are also shown to be helpful with inflammatory conditions and arthritis. Bioflavonoids may also be helpful in the treatment and prevention of cataracts. All forms of vitamin C are useful and beneficial, but make sure the type you use has bioflavonoids so you can offer the full benefit of the vitamin C.

Vitamin C should be given in the following minimum dosages:

0-25 pounds: 100 – 250 mg daily
25-50 pounds: 250 – 500 mg daily
50-75 pounds: 500 – 1,000 mg daily
75-100 pounds: 1,000 – 2,000 mg daily

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fat in the body and have a longer ‘life’ in the body. They are not easily flushed from the body as water-soluble vitamins are and
the recommended dosages are generally smaller than water-soluble vitamins. Because these vitamins are stored in the body’s fat, it is possible to overdose your dog on these vitamins, so the dosage given is very important. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamin A, D and E.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is believed to help fight respiratory infections and keep the body’s tissues healthy. It is considered to have antioxidant properties, helps maintain good eye
function, and promotes good reproduction and healthy skin. There are two types of vitamin A. The first type is found in animal sources and is called active vitamin A. An
example of active vitamin A is cod liver oil. The second type is beta-carotene, which is found in plant sources. There has not been enough research done with dogs to show the value of beta-carotene, but both types are considered helpful. Good food sources of active vitamin A are found in beef, chicken liver, eggs and dairy products.
Generally, the food sources that contain vitamin A are rich enough that supplementation is not necessary; however, more may be added for immunity purposes, respiratory problems, ulcers, skin issues and cancer prevention. I would not exceed the recommended dosages, which are as follows:
Small dogs: 1,000 IUs daily
Medium dogs: 2,500 IUs daily
Large dogs: No more than 5,000 IUs daily

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is also considered a hormone. It is not only found in food, but also sunlight. It helps with the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in the body by
increasing absorption of these in the intestines. A deficiency of this vitamin in puppies can result in rickets, stunted growth, delayed tooth development and bone
deformities. While sunlight provides some vitamin D, it isn’t always enough. Some food sources that contain vitamin D include fatty saltwater fish, fish liver oils and
fortified dairy products.

The daily intake for dogs is:

Small dogs: 100 IU daily
Medium dogs: 200 IU daily
Large dogs: 400 IU daily

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and an anti-carcinogen. It helps protect vitamin C and vitamin A from oxidation. It helps circulation, arthritis, the healing of wounds,
supports normal functioning of the nervous system, prevents cell damage, improves athletic performance and may prevent aging. It also works synergistically with omega 3 fatty acids (as found in fish oils), so you want to make sure vitamin E is given with omega 3 fish oils.

The minimum dosages for Vitamin E are:

0-25 pounds: 50 – 100 IUs daily
25-50 pounds: 100 – 200 IUs daily
50-75 pounds: 400 IUs daily
75-100 pounds: 400 – 800 IUs daily


CoQ10 is a fat soluble, ‘vitamin-like’ substance that is an antioxidant. It is found primarily in meat and fish. It helps protect the heart and protects against
periodontal disease and cancer. Dogs have the ability to produce CoQ10, but as they age, this production lessens. Studies in rats have been shown to increase lifespan.

The dosage for CoQ10 is 2 milligrams per pound of pound of weight daily.


Digestion Aids

Many dogs on dry or processed foods are missing two vital ingredients in their daily diet. These are probiotics and enzymes. Probiotics are the good, flora and fauna friendly bacteria needed for proper and healthy digestion. Enzymes are needed to help breakdown and process fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Heat over 110 degrees kills both probiotics and enzymes. During the process of making commercial kibble foods, the ingredients are subject to very high temperatures during the cooking and extrusion process. Therefore, if you feed dry or processed foods, it is important to add these supplements to your dog’s daily diet. For those feeding a fresh food diet or a mixture of fresh and dry foods, probiotics and enzymes are in the uncooked foods.


Good bacteria include acidophilus (lactobacillus acidophilus) and lactobacillus bifidus. These are also contained naturally in buttermilk, yogurt, acidophilus milk, kefir and some cheeses. Acidophilus may be helpful in detoxifying harmful substances as it has an antibacterial effect and antifungal properties. It also aids digestion and helps with the absorption of nutrients. Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder contains lactobacillus, streptococcus faecium, bacillus subtilis and amylase, protease and lipase.

Digestive Enzymes

Enzymes are needed for digesting food, they aid in the repair of tissue, and support all body functions. While the body can make its own enzymes, it must also get them
from food. As stated above, heat destroys many enzymes, so they must be obtained from raw foods. For dogs, they must be obtained particularly from raw meat and vegetables.
Enzymes help to construct new muscle tissue, nerve cells, bone and skin. They also promote oxidation and convert poisons and toxins in the body into harmless substances. The three types of enzymes in the body are amylase, protease and lipase. Amylase helps with breakdown of carbohydrates, protease with proteins, and lipase with fat digestion. Unripe papayas and pineapples are high in proteolytic enzymes, which work on proteins. Other enzymes that help work on proteins are pepsin, trypsin, rennin, pancreatin and chymotrypsin. Proteolytic enzymes are good for reducing inflammation, helping with diseases of the respiratory tract, bronchitis, pneumonia, viral diseases, cancer and arthritis. Bromelain, the enzyme from pineapple, is also helpful for the proper uptake of other supplements.


L-Glutamine is an amino acid that has many wonderful properties. It helps heal the intestinal tract lining and increase muscle mass. Used daily, this amino acid can
help stop inflammation and irritation in the gut due to IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease), IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and colitis.

The dosage for L-Glutamine is approximately 500 mg per 25 pounds of body weight one or twice daily.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Supplementing with omega 3 essential fatty acids is very important as it supports many different bodily functions. It helps regulate blood pressure and muscle
contractions, supports reproductive health, the heart, and blood clotting. It also helps reduce inflammation and offers protection against some cancers as cancer cells
cannot feed on omega 3 fatty acids.

Supplements for Daily Use – Healthy Dogs

A good prevention supplement that you can feed daily can be found in the Berte’s Daily Blend vitamins. It contains vitamin C, E, B vitamins, D and A, and also kelp and alfalfa. Along with this supplement, offering EPA fish oil capsules at 1000 milligrams per 20 pounds of body weight daily is very beneficial. If your dog experiences some stress from traveling, dog shows, performance work, etc., the Berte’s Immune Blend formula may be more beneficial in meeting your dog’s needs. The Berte’s Immune Blend has all the same ingredients as the Berte’s Daily Blend, less the kelp and alfalfa, but also contains both digestive enzymes and probiotics.
With the high processing protocol of commercial kibbles, many of the nutrients your dog needs are lost in the process. Adding the vitamins and omega 3 essential fatty
acids assures your dog is getting the vitamins and omega 3 it needs to maintain good health. Even if you are feeding a fresh food diet, the boost of these supplements is

Supplements for Daily Use – Specific to Health Conditions


Vitamin C with bioflavonoids

Arthritis and Joint Problems

Vitamin C with Bioflavonoid

Bladder and Kidney Infections

B complex




Dermatitis (flaking skin, itching and hair loss)


Berte’s Digestion
(probiotics, enzymes and l-glutamine)

Ear Infections (yeast)

Vitamin C with bioflavonoid


L-Taurine (also found in meat)
B complex


Kennel Cough

Vitamin C bioflavonoid, given often throughout the day
Echinacea and Goldenseal tincture, given three times a day

Motion Sickness

Tasha’s Traveler Tummy Formula (contains Ginger and more)


Berte’s Digestion
(probiotics, enzymes and l-glutamine)
(See July 2004 Newsletter for more information on pancreatitis and
We hope you find this newsletter helpful. Adding vitamins and supplements to your dog’s daily diet can be helpful in maintaining good health and supporting specific
health issues.

All of us at B-Naturals wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

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

May you enjoy all the good food and time with family!

(Please keep the cooked turkey bones away from your dogs!!)




Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 10-01-2017
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 was asked on the K9Nutrition Facebook page to explain why dogs get gas and what causes it? This is a question that has numerous answers, but in most cases, the answer depends on what is in the dog’s diet.

Dry dog food can be a known cause of gas simply due to the high carbohydrate content in the food, which commonly includes grains, rice, vegetables and fruit. All of these ingredients contain fiber and with the dog’s short and simple digestive tract (unlike ours), they struggle to digest all the bulk fiber. This struggle results in gas and causes larger stools with more odor. To help alleviate this, avoid dry dog foods that contain grains, beans, lentils, beet pulp, pumpkin or other bulkier starches. When feeding a dry commercial dog food, make sure the protein source is a quality protein and the amount of carbohydrates listed in the ingredients is limited. Adding fresh food to kibble in the form of animal-based proteins such as meat, eggs, yogurt and cottage cheese will cut down the amount of fiber and help reduce gas, stool size and odor.

Home-cooked diets can do the same thing if the carbohydrate ratio to protein is too high. Home-cooked diets should not be more than 25% carbohydrates and should contain a limited amount of starches, such as potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and no grains.

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

On occasion, diets too high in fat can cause gas. If you are feeding a raw diet and your dog is still experiencing too much gas, remove chicken skin and trim any extra fat off meats. Fattier meats like pork and lamb can cause gas, as well as high amounts of rich food like organ meat (liver and kidney).

Feeding too much food can also cause gas, as well as diarrhea. In fresh food diets, we feed about 2% to 3% of the dog’s body in weight of food. When you adjust the diet accordingly, the problem often disappears.

Certain medications can also cause gas. These include antibiotics, some non-steroidal medications such as Rimadyl, Metacam, Piroxicam, etc.  Always be sure to check side effects on any medication you give your dog.

A good supplement to help reduce or slow down gas in dogs, is probiotics.  These are the ‘good’ bacteria that aid in good digestion and help the immune system. This good flora and fauna help keep bad bacteria in check and also help combat yeast. It is best to give probiotics with meals. However, if you are giving antibiotics for a health condition, it is best to give probiotics in-between meals, as antibiotics indiscriminately kill most bacteria.  A good choice is the Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder, which contains a generous amounts of the good bacteria. This is a very affordable supplement, priced at $13.95 for 16 oz.

Yogurt and kefir also contain probiotics, so adding either of these whole foods to each meal is helpful as well. Adding about a teaspoon for the smallest dogs to a couple of tablespoons for large dogs is beneficial.

Another helpful tip is to feed smaller, more frequent meals. Large meals fed once or twice a day can cause gas in some dogs. Smaller, more frequent meals are easier to digest and reduce the burden on the dog’s digestive tract.

If the problem of gas continues, sometimes animal-based digestive enzymes can help as they assist with predigesting fats and proteins in the stomach. The Berte’s Digestion Blend has a good mix of animal-based enzymes, as well as probiotics and l-glutamine, which helps heal the digestive tract lining.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Be patient, as sometimes it can take your dog a bit of time to adjust to diet changes and the addition of supplements.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 09-01-2017
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. 
  • Bladder Stones – a common problem. There are a variety of bladder stones and each requires a different approach. If your dog has stones or crystals, always have your veterinarian perform a sterile urine culture as each are handled VERY DIFFERENTLY and not treated the same way! Remember, the only accurate pH reading on your dog’s urine comes from the first catch of the day!


  • Coconut oil is NOT a godsend sent to earth to save all dogs and people! It is a plant oil and doesn’t offer much to dogs. Dogs can’t get omega 3 fatty acids from plant oils as it is in the form of ALA, which dogs cannot convert to omega 3. Coconut oil is a fat and is fattening and it may help dogs on kibble or other diets that have poor fat sources, but it does NOT kill bacteria, fungus and viruses. The coconut industry has done a wonderful job of marketing and the word of mouth over the Internet has made the industry a bundle of money. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a fatty oil that raises cholesterol in humans. Lauric acid is something dogs and people need, but in only in SMALL amounts. It is found naturally in breast milk and also goat and cow’s milk, yogurt and cottage cheese.



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



  • Bone broth is nutritious, however it is NOT a ‘cure-all’ or ‘tonic’. It is delicious to some dogs, but it does not cure illness.
  • Dogs have no nutritional need for carbohydrates. Grains, fruits, vegetables and seeds are all carbohydrates. It is doubtful dogs get anything from carbs other than gas and larger, sloppy stools. If you feel carbohydrates benefit, give them dried seaweed vegetables like kelp, spirulina, dulce or blue green algae for phytonutrients, but NOT grass greens like barley or wheat.


  • When starting dogs out on a raw diet, remember half the diet needs to be raw meaty bones. Good examples include chicken necks and backs, pork necks and breast bone, pork tails, and turkey necks. Do NOT start out new dogs on chicken leg quarters as these are large AND fatty and can cause digestive upset. Cut the raw meaty bones into smaller pieces until your dog stops gulping them out of greed and joy! Dogs don’t naturally chew food; they swallow food in big pieces.


  • Variety is important! Try to use at least FOUR different protein sources over a week’s time. These can include beef, lamb, goat, turkey, chicken, venison, rabbit, pork, etc. Do NOT feed a diet of mostly chicken. Dogs get the best nutrition from red meat (lamb, pork, beef, venison), so be liberal with these meat choices over chicken whenever and wherever possible.


  • It isn’t the ‘chewing’ of bones that keep a dog’s teeth clean, but rather feeding a diet with NO carbohydrates! Carbohydrates covert to sugar and dogs have no amylase in their saliva to break down sugary foods, so they stick to the dog’s teeth and gums. It is grains, fruits and vegetables that cause tooth decay, discoloration and gum disease!


  • Allergy testing. One of the most common problems in dogs is itching, scratching and losing hair. I get a lot of emails from people giving me lists of what their dogs are allergic to and what they can and can’t eat. This is great; except that allergy saliva and blood tests are highly inaccurate. In fact, research questions whether or not testing for IgE (or the others) even mean allergies. It is speculated that dogs that show no allergies can test positive for allergies! Skin tests MIGHT be more accurate, but it means using anesthesia and shaving numerous places on your dog to get these. Please note: Food allergies are extremely rare in dogs! And if they do occur, it usually happens after a dog is two years old. At any rate, Dr. Hines explains this very well on his website. I invite you to read it, along with his sources:


Take a look at your dog’s diet. Does it contain a variety of high quality proteins (raw or lightly cooked meats, not processed meats)? Is the diet low in carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are probably one of the biggest offenders for reactions in dogs, including yeast issues on the skin. Does the diet contain omega 3 fatty acids? Good sources of omega 3’s include fish oil capsules, canned fish (salmon, sardines or mackerel packed in water) or grass fed raw meats. Until you and your veterinarian determine the root cause of the problem, diet corrections and adjustments oftentimes lead to the biggest improvements.

More here:


  • Fish Oil for Omega 3. Please use fish oil capsules as opposed to bottled oils as they expose the oil to air. Fish oil capsules should also be kept in an opaque bottle to keep light out and they should be kept in a cool place. Fish oil is fragile and when exposed to air, light and heat, the oil can lose its integrity quickly.


  • Does apple cider vinegar kill yeast? NO! ACV is fermented and contains a small amount of sugar. At best, it would help feed yeast. Use white vinegar instead. A mixture of ¼ white vinegar and ¾ water is good to use on affected feet, in ears and as a rinse after bathing. It also helps remove any residue from the shampoo!


  • Fasting, yes or no? The answer is NO. Dogs need a schedule and to fast them for a day is simply unkind. If we have food around the house or we cook and prepare a meal, the dog will smell it and their gastric juices will flow which could possibly cause gastric upset in your dog. The only time I recommend fasting is if he dog has an upset stomach, and then, I would fast just one meal.

I hope this clears up some common questions. If you have questions about other nutrition issues, please let me know. I will try and address these more often in my newsletters, so keep reading!

Everyone at B-Naturals sends out their thoughts and prayers for all affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Please keep yourself and your animals safe.

If you are looking for ways to help, please consider donating to:

Rottweilers of Hurricane Harvey

Rottweiler Rescue Foundation

SPCA Hurricane Harvey News

Hurricane Harvey Dog Rescue


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 08-01-2017
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 wrote a newsletter about l-glutamine in November of 2006, so I decided it was time to revisit this subject. This amino acid has been used by body builders to help develop muscle mass. It has also been used for babies born prematurely to assist in better digestion, and to protect and regenerate the lining of the digestive tract. It is used in cases of starvation to help in healing and for better assimilation of nutrients. Let’s look at some of the newer information and explore the benefits, and drawbacks, that have been updated.


L-glutamine is easily found in good numbers in our bodies. It is found in good amounts in dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese and meat. While it is unknown why we might suffer a depletion of this amino acid, people consuming a vegan diet may be low in this amino acid. It is known that many cancer cells use l-glutamine for energy, and when this causes us to become low in this amino acid, it causes wasting or cachexia. In most types of cancer, it is helpful to give the patient l-glutamine to help prevent this. But in a few types of cancer, it may cause the tumor to grow. But then, it is important to keep the patient as healthy as possible. More research is being done on this now. I will share any new findings that I might find on this.

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


Research shows l-glutamine can add in healing, if given three days prior to major surgery. In some cases, it is given via IV after surgery to further assist if needed. It can also help maintain and regain some muscle mass, although studies have shown it is NOT helpful to put on MORE muscle mass in a health individual.


Our bodies releases cortisol in times of stress or injury, which in turn reduces l-glutamine in the body. It has been demonstrated that giving patients l-glutamine who have suffered severe burns, or had a traumatic injury, or suffered bad infections, heal faster. It has also been used to prevent multiple organ shut-down due to traumatic injury when used in the emergency surgical centers.


Infants or adults suffering poor digestion due to starvation or immature digestive tract, benefit from l-glutamine, as it helps with weight gain and assimilating nutrients, AND healing the digestive tract lining. That was the reason for my first investigation of this amino acid and why it is in the Berte’s Immune Blend and the Berte’s Digestion Blend. Many dogs suffer inflammation of the digestive tract lining, which leads to diarrhea, gas, and poor assimilation of nutrients. This, in turn, can results in poor hair coat, poor skin, odor, and loss of weight. The inability to absorb nutrients well results in muscle and weight loss. This, in turn, can bring on a misdiagnosis of allergies and food intolerances. If this happens, the dog is often prescribed steroids and antibiotics. This further weakens the immune system and creates more inflammation in the gut. Additionally, they are given high-fiber, low-fat prescription dog foods, which do more damage to the already damaged stomach and intestines. I have seen the best results for all these issues from adding l-glutamine to the diet, along with probiotics and animal-based digestive enzymes, coupled with a moist diet.  Preferably a fresh food diet.


L-glutamine has also shown some benefits with certain heart conditions; most notably, angina in humans.


While l-glutamine has some wonderful benefits, there are also times when you should avoid this supplement. High doses can increase ammonia in the blood stream, so it should not be used in dogs with chronic renal failure or liver failure, or issues with shunts or purine stones. Extra ammonia in the blood stream is an issue for all these conditions.


Secondly, l-glutamine is not recommended for dogs that may be prone to seizures. This may be due to the fact that ingesting l-glutamine produces more ammonia in the bloodstream. It is speculated this may trigger seizures in a dog with a history of past epilepsy events.





And while l-glutamine has shown promise in humans with type 2 diabetes, it is important to understand that dogs only have type 1 diabetes, which l-glutamine has no effect in helping.





For further review of l-glutamine and research sources, here are two great articles:





For use in dogs with inflammation of the digestive tract, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, healing of stubborn bacterial infections, burns, or after a traumatic injury, I suggest giving about 2,000 mg per 25 pounds of body weight daily. I would also add the Berte’s Digestion Blend to further help with assimilation of nutrients, to help replace the good flora and fauna in the dog’s system, and to help fight nausea. B-Naturals carries both of these wonderful products. These products also help with skin and coat issues.


Please remember, a moist diet is much easier for your dog to digest and if it is a fresh cooked or raw diet, it can offer much more in nutrients!


August is upon us, please keep your dog safe in the hot weather! Keep them cool and hydrated!


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 07-01-2017
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. 

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. One of the functions of the pancreas is to release enzymes to help digest food. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it releases enzymes in excess and begins to digest its own tissue. This creates trauma and pain to the dog. Symptoms of pancreatitis include loss of appetite, vomiting, arching of the back with stomach pain, diarrhea, dehydration, and in some cases jaundice.

Blood Panel Results

While pancreatitis is hard to diagnose, blood laboratory panels will often show elevated amylase and lipase, increased glucose, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and high liver enzymes, including ALT and ALP. If pancreatitis is suspected due to the above symptoms, a trip to the veterinarian is recommended immediately. The first stage of treatment is hospitalization for several days with IV fluid therapy, treatment of pain, and withholding food and water.

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 more information on symptoms and early treatment:



Causes of Pancreatitis

Fat is usually blamed when a dog develops pancreatitis. However, this isn’t quite true. High fat diets can aggravate a diseased pancreas, but fat itself does not usually cause pancreatitis. The exact reasons for pancreatitis are not known, but research shows the following factors may contribute to pancreatitis:

  • A genetic condition called hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and/or triglycerides), often found in Miniature Schnauzers, Briards and Shetland Sheepdogs.


  • Hypercalcemia, caused by parathyroid conditions or over supplementing with calcium.


  • Drug induced pancreatitis. Some of the drugs that are known or suspected to cause pancreatitis include steroids (such as prednisone), tetracyclines and other sulfonamide antibiotics, metronidazole (flagyl), azothiaprin (imuran), estrogen, long acting antacids (cimetidine/Tagament, ranitidine/Zantac) and Tylenol. Also included are diuretics (thiazides and furosemide) and some chemotherapy drugs including l-asparaginase.


  • Insecticides (commonly used in the yard) including organophosphates.


  • Cushing’s Disease (hyperadrenocorticism), hypothyroidism, liver disease and diabetes can cause a tendency to develop pancreatitis.


  • While it has been indicated that disc disease or spinal cord injuries may cause pancreatitis, it may be more likely that steroids are the real cause, as this is the most common drug used for these conditions.




Types of Pancreatitis

Please note that pancreatitis comes in two forms, acute and chronic.

Acute is usually restricted to one incident, and often the cause can be discovered, such as a certain drug reaction or illness. Most pancreatic incidents occur only once.

Chronic pancreatitis is when several acute occurrences happen over time. This may be due to factors such as hyperlipidemia, hypothyroidism or other underlying disease conditions, or when the pancreas suffers substantial damage during an acute pancreatitis attack.

Obese dogs are more prone to this condition, so it is important to keep dogs lean and give them physical exercise daily.

Diet Factors of Pancreatitis

While fat is often not the initial cause of pancreatitis, it is necessary to reduce the amounts of fat in the diet for a dog recovering from pancreatitis so as to not to over stimulate the pancreas. The pancreas is in control of insulin production, which controls blood glucose regulation. Often dogs with diabetes can be prone to pancreatitis, and pancreatitis can lead to diabetes. In cases like these, it would also be a good idea to watch the amount of sugar in the diet. This would include high glycemic (sugar containing) vegetables, fruits and honey.

To reduce the work load on the pancreas following an attack of pancreatitis, a low fat diet is recommended and several small meals spread over the day is preferred. Smaller, more frequent meals help glucose levels remain more stable and reduce the load of foods at one serving to decrease the enzyme activity of the pancreas.

In acute cases of pancreatitis, once supportive care is given and the dog recovers fully, they can usually gradually return to their normal diet. In some chronic cases, pancreatin enzymes may need to be given for life so that food can be digested properly.

The diet recommendations I have listed below are for after the dog has recovered from a pancreatic attack, and in most cases are only needed for a few days or weeks. If the dog is prone to chronic pancreatitis, they may well need to be kept on a low fat diet all their life and fed several small frequent meals a day. In that event, if home-cooked diets are fed (absent raw meaty bones), calcium needs to be added to the diet. Give at 800 mg per pound of food served. For short term use (less than a month), this is not necessary. Please remember to follow up with your veterinarian for advice on your dog’s recovery and health needs. Periodic checkups and blood panel levels are recommended to monitor health.

50% of the diet should include low fat animal proteins such as:

– White meat chicken (which is lower in fat than dark meat), with skin and excess fat removed.

– Lean or low fat hamburger, and if cooked, drain excess fat (boiling will remove most of the fat).

– Beef heart or roast, with excess fat removed.

– Beef kidney and liver (small amounts).

– Egg whites

– Low fat or nonfat plain yogurt or cottage cheese

25% of the diet should be low glycemic vegetables, such as:

– Broccoli or cauliflower

– Summer squash, such as yellow crookneck or zucchini

– Dark leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach

– Cabbage

These vegetables must be cooked or pureed (in a food processor) in order to be digestible by dogs.

25% of the diet can be higher starch foods such as:

– Sweet potatoes, white potatoes

– Oatmeal, rice or barley. These will hopefully add calories lost by feeding a low fat diet.

These foods must be cooked, and grains are more easily digestible if overcooked a little.

To each meal, add digestive enzymes and beneficial bacteria. The Berte’s Digestion Blend is great for this, as it contains a full spectrum of enzymes including pancreatin, acidophilus and l-glutamine which helps fight inflammation in the digestive tract.


Recipe Examples

(For a fifty pound dog, to be fed in three or four portions daily)

Recipe #1:

2 cups of cooked beef heart chunks, fat drained

1/2 cup cooked broccoli

1/2 cup cooked sweet potato

1/2 teaspoon of Berte’s Digestion Blend


Recipe #2

1-1/2 cup of cooked chicken breast

1/2 cup of low or nonfat plain yogurt

1/2 cup cooked zucchini

½ cup white potato

1/2 teaspoon of Berte’s Digestion Blend


Recipe #3

1-1/2 cup of boiled lean hamburger, fat drained

1/2 cup cooked beef kidney, fat trimmed

1/2 cup of yellow crookneck squash

1/2 cup of oatmeal

1/2 teaspoon of Berte’s Digestion Blend


Recipe #4

1-1/2 cup cooked white meat turkey

1/2 cup low or nonfat cottage cheese

1/2 cup cooked Broccoli

1/2 cup cooked rice

1/2 teaspoon of Berte’s Digestion Blend

As your dog improves, you may add vitamin E, vitamin C, and B complex and EPA fish oil. This may take from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the severity of the condition. Add EPA fish oil at 1,000 mg per 20 pounds of body weight daily, plus vitamin C, vitamin E and a B complex. A fifty pound dog would get about 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E and a B-50 complex.

If these recipes are to be fed longer than a month, then add 800-1000 mg of calcium per pound of food served (2 cups of food is approximately one pound). You can use ground eggshell at the rate of 1/2 teaspoon per pound of food, or feed plain Tums, both of which are calcium carbonate. You should also include liver as part of a long term diet. Give about 1 ounce a day or 2 ounces every other day to a 50 pound dog.

Supplements that B-Naturals carry that are recommended for dogs with pancreatitis include Berte’s Digestion Blend, EPA Fish Oil and Berte’s Daily Blend.


4th of July Tips for Dogs

Many dogs are scared of fireworks so the 4th of July can be a very scary and stressful time for them. Here are some suggestions for dogs with noise sensitivity:

– Keep dogs indoors and play music or keep the TV on loud

– Melatonin, given at 1.5 mg to 3 mg every 8 hours, best given PRIOR to the fireworks event by at least 20 minutes

See www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/melatonin.htm for more information.

– Have your dog wear a tee shirt or sweatshirt that fits snug against the body. This can help with anxiety and calm your dog. There is also a pre-made garment for dogs called an Anxiety Wrap that can be found at www.anxietywrap.com.

– Spray a dilution of a few drops of lavender oil mixed with water in the air around the dog. It can also be applied to the ear leather and belly.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 06-01-2017
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. 

Two Rottweilers Lying Down Four Brussels Griffen PuppiesHow 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

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.



Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 05-01-2017
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

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



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


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


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


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

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




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


ALP (Alkaline phosphatase)

ALB (Albumin)

GGT (Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase)

AST (also called aspartate aminotransferase or SGOT)

TBILI (Total Bilirubin)

ALT (alanine aminotransferase or SGPT)


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




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




Renal Disease


BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen)

CREAT (Creatinine)

PHOS (Phosphorus)


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




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




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




AMY (amylase)

LIP (Lipase)


These are both enzymes and when the levels become elevated, it can indicate pancreatitis.

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




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


For further information on canine blood chemistry values:






Interpretation of Canine Blood Test Results:




Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 03-02-2017
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. 



Whether people feed a commercial dog food, a home-cooked diet, a raw diet, or a special needs diet for a specific health condition, I am frequently asked questions about carbohydrates. The most common question asked is, ‘Which carbohydrates are the best to add into my dog’s diet?’ While the question may appear to be a simple one, the answer is not! The subject is complex, so we are splitting this newsletter into two parts.

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


Part I addresses the many questions people ask about carbohydrates. We will look at the different types, which are best carbohydrates to feed, when they are needed, and how different carbohydrates can affect various health conditions.


Part II, which we will bring to you in March’s newsletter, addresses more health conditions, discusses the benefits of low glycemic (sugar) diets, and includes several low glycemic recipes, which benefit a wide variety of health conditions.




There are two kinds of carbohydrates: simple and complex. All grains, vegetables and fruits are carbohydrates. All carbohydrates break down into chains of sugar. However, there are differences between the sugar chains of simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Examples of simple carbohydrates that break down into simple sugar chains include white refined sugar, honey, molasses, white flour and fruit juice. Examples of complex carbohydrates that break down into more complex sugar chains include grains such as oats, rice, barley, and vegetables such as beans, lentils, and potatoes. It is important to know how these sugars affect canines and to understand what the purpose of carbohydrates are in a canine’s diet.


Commercial Pet Food


All commercial dog foods contain carbohydrates. The carbohydrates used in commercial pet foods are inexpensive, high-fiber ingredients that allow the dry food to maintain a longer shelf life and to help firm stools. Carbohydrates are a benefit in this regard; however, they are also a liability and can compromise the health and well-being of our dogs.


Carbohydrates offer less, or no, nutrition to dogs than animal proteins and fats. While the fiber helps firm stools, they also create larger, looser stools that have a much stronger odor and can cause gas and bloating. If you feed a commercial dog food, it is important to do your research. You want to select a food that contains a quality animal protein and offers the least amount of carbohydrates. Some commercial dog foods are ‘grain free,’ however; grain free foods are not carbohydrate (sugar) free! Most grainless commercial foods use either potatoes or sweet potatoes. These grainless foods can be a benefit to dogs that have certain grain allergies or gluten intolerance (which are rare), but these foods are still high in sugar and offer no nutrients.


Home Cooked Diets


Carbohydrates are used in home cooked diets simply to add fiber to the diet to keep the dog’s stool firm. Bones, which are used in raw diets for calcium and for firm stools, are not used in home cooked diets so a fiber source is needed. When using carbohydrates in home cooked diets, I recommend using about 75% animal-based protein and 25% carbohydrates. When selecting vegetables for home cooked diets, I recommend low glycemic (sugar) vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, yellow squash and zucchini. I avoid using potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, winter squash and beans. I also avoid all vegetables from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. When feeding vegetables, they must be fully cooked or pureed to breakdown the cell wall of the carbohydrates. Dogs cannot break down this cell wall or digest the vegetables in their short, simple digestive tract unless they are fully cooked or completely pureed.


Raw Diets


If you feed a raw diet, it is not necessary to add carbohydrates to the diet! Raw diets contain bone and the bone offers the fiber needed to keep stools firm. Carbohydrates do not offer dogs a nutrient value, so they are not needed in a raw diet. Some people like to add vegetables to the diet for variety. When adding vegetables to a raw diet, I do not recommend feeding more than 10% of the total diet with carbohydrates. Adding more than 10% of the total diet in carbohydrates will increase stool size and can cause gas. Again, the vegetables must be completely cooked or pureed in order for the dogs to digest them.


For further information on carbohydrates and more references, see the following link:




High Glycemic (Sugar Content) Vegetables


Dogs are carnivores and do not need carbohydrates. Their digestive system is not designed to digest carbohydrates and their bodies do not need, nor do they adapt well to, the constant influx of high-sugar foods and high amounts of fiber. Dogs get their energy from animal protein and fat, which are the nutrients they need to survive and thrive. When a dog’s diet consists of too many carbohydrates, more than 33% for example, there is a risk of protein starvation’. When you feed a diet that is 33% carbohydrates, it does not mean the rest of the diet is 66 1/3% protein! This is because there is fat and moisture in the protein, and in some cases bone and connective tissue. Dogs rely on, and depend on, the amino acids found in animal-based proteins. They are important for stamina, endurance, overall health and well-being, and are necessary for healthy kidney, heart and liver function.


Food spends less time in our stomach and a longer time in our intestines. The time food spends in the human intestinal tract allows foods to digest and ferment. Humans have a much longer and more complex digestive system than canines. Canines have a short, simple digestive tract and do not digest foods the same as humans do. Canines have more gastric juices in the stomach. As a result, food spends a longer time in the canine’s stomach to break down nutrients and kill bacteria. As a result, food spends a much shorter time in the intestines. Dogs are unable to ferment or break down carbohydrates as efficiently as humans (omnivores) or herbivores can. Because of this inability to break down the carbohydrates, it causes gas and cramps, and creates large, smelly stools. Additionally, it can irritate the intestinal tract and create intestinal inflammation.


Carbohydrates may also contribute to health conditions such as diabetes, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, infertility, low thyroid and yeast growth. They also have the ability to promote urinary tract infections and may contribute to seizure activity in dogs with epilepsy. Additionally, high sugar foods contain more calories, which can result in unwanted weight gain. In the home-cooked recipes I will bring you in next month’s newsletter, I always suggest low glycemic carbohydrates be used. Low glycemic vegetables offer the lowest sugar content.


Low Glycemic Diets


While the diseases Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, Allergies, Arthritis, Yeast Infections and Cancer are all very different, they share a common denominator. Diets that are high in sugar and starch can negatively affect these diseases. In my series on Canine Nutrition, published in the B-Naturals newsletters between August 2005 and June 2006, I explained that dogs are carnivores and their bodies are designed to best utilize and digest animal protein and fat. The advent of commercial diets in the last 60 years introduced large amounts of grains and starches. These foods are high in carbohydrates, which all convert to sugar. Besides adding unnecessary sugars to the diet, these foods also add more fiber and bulk to the dog’s system.


Sugar directly affects the blood sugar in the body. Canines are designed to make glucose from amino acids (proteins), which keep the dog’s blood sugar levels even. Feeding diets high in grains (wheat, corn, oatmeal, barley, amaranth and rice, just to name a few) and starches (potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets and carrots) cause blood sugar levels to rise and then fall. This type of action has a direct affect on diabetes, can trigger epileptic seizures, creates aggravation in the joints of dogs with arthritis, affects thyroid conditions and lastly, offers energy to cancer cells.


As stated in canine nutrition textbooks, no nutritional requirement is given for these types of foods for dogs. The Waltham Book of Companion Animal Nutrition states, “There is no known minimum dietary requirement for carbohydrates”


For more information on Carbohydrates in the Dog’s Diet:




With each health condition discussed below, be sure to get a confirmed diagnosis and receive the advice and full treatment recommendation from your veterinarian. The correct diagnosis under proper veterinarian care is the best defense for treating any disease or ailment.

Depending on the dog’s condition, there are two different types of low glycemic diets. This month we are including the “LOW FAT, Low Glycemic” diets, which are suggested for dogs with epilepsy, diabetes, hypothyroidism and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Next month, when we bring you Part II, we will bring you Low Fat, Low Glycemic Diets, a different low glycemic diet, for a few other health conditions.




While research has been done on a low carbohydrate diet for dogs with epilepsy, the results showed that these diets did not help. However, the research did not indicate the type of protein used, or the nature of the diet (dry, fresh, cooked), but the research did contain an extreme amount of fat. Additionally, the diet was inconclusive due to the loss of some participants (owners not complying) and a subsequent low number of dogs that completed the study. 1


Other factors that may precipitate seizure activity by feeding carbohydrates could be related to food allergies, gluten intolerance (found in grains) and lack of certain amino acids, such as taurine, which are lost through the process of heavily cooked diets. For more information on this, go to the link below and read the section titled, “The Possible Connection between Grains and Seizures”.




While the connection between carbohydrates and seizures is uncertain, a fresh food diet, which is medium to low fat, high in animal protein, and low in carbohydrates is worth a try, and may help in some instances. Again, removing grains from the diet reduces the chance of gluten intolerance and some allergies. The animal protein provides the amino acids a dog needs and fresh food diets offer more nutrients.


An additional supplement that helps reduce seizure activity is DMG, or dimethylglycine. Diethylglycine is a derivative of the amino acid, glycine. DMG helps the neurotransmitters in the body. It is also been found to help control cholesterol; however, this is not an issue with dogs. It also helps boost endurance and stamina. It is thought to help oxidize the blood, which is not only useful for fighting fatigue, but may also be helpful in immune problems and with certain types of cancer treatment. It may also have some usefulness in controlling glucose metabolism and be helpful with brain function.


DMG for possible seizure control in dogs:








In small animals, Diabetes is a complex issue. The type of diabetes found in cats and dogs is different. Cats often have Type II diabetes, while Type I is more common in dogs. New research has indicated that higher protein diets are more effective for cats and this research suggests the same may be true for dogs as well.


“Diet in the prevention of diabetes and obesity in companion animals”


“Conclusion – Consumption of diets with low carbohydrate, high protein, and moderate fat content may be advantageous for prevention and management of obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, and diabetes in cats and dogs. Use of low glycemic index carbohydrates and supplementation with carnitine, chromium, and vitamin A may also be advantageous.” The full article can be seen here:  http://www.vetcontact.com/en/art.php?a=1268&t


While studies on cats discuss that cats are carnivores and need protein, dogs are carnivores as well and the same is true for them. Higher animal protein diets create a more even blood sugar level in the blood stream. Fresh food diets provide more optimum nutrition than processed foods by offering a more easily digestible food with bioavailable nutrients. In addition, DMG (Dimethylglycine) is also thought to be beneficial with both hypoglycemia and Diabetes.


Hypoglycemia, Diabetes and DMG:






Dogs with low thyroid (hypothyroidism) can have issues with pancreatitis until treatment with proper medications can help bring thyroid levels back to normal ranges. Dogs with hypothyroidism tend to do better on homemade diets that are low glycemic, medium fat and contain higher protein levels. For dogs with hypothyroidism, avoid goitrogenic foods. Some goitrogenic foods include soybean and soy products, cabbage, broccoli, turnips, rutabaga, mustard greens, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, peaches, pears, strawberries, cauliflower, potatoes or corn. Fully cooking these foods will render them safe to consume for hypothyroid conditions; however, do not feed them as the majority of the diet.


“Some experts contend that as little as 30 mg of soy isoflavones will cause trouble by competing with hormones for the same receptor sites on cells. Because of that, they can cause endocrine disruptions. The endocrine system may mistake the isoflavones for a hormone and therefore may not send out signals that the hormone needs to be produced. This can be problematic if you already have lower than normal levels of thyroid hormone production.”


To find more information on the warnings about soy, read this article:




Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)


IBD has recently become a more common health problem in dogs. When a dog struggles to digest high fiber commercial foods, laden with carbohydrates, it sets up an inflammatory condition in the intestinal lining. Then, as the inflammation continues, the dog also has difficulty digesting fats. The dry food that consists of large amounts of carbohydrates and fiber aggravates this condition even further. As this occurs, dogs can also develop an intolerance to fat due to the inflamed intestinal lining. When this occurs, veterinarians will often prescribe dry dog food manufactured for this condition. Unfortunately, these foods are even higher in fiber and carbohydrates, are low fat, and often carry a less bioavailable source of animal protein. These higher fiber diets achieve nothing more than additional absorption of the moisture from the dog’s colon. This makes the stools ‘firmer’, however the irritation and inflammation continues in the dog’s digestive tract. The low fat, low glycemic diet (or a raw diet, which is even more ideal), puts less strain on the digestive tract to handle and ‘ferment’ the fiber. At the same time, it offers the dog better nutrition to help heal this condition.


Supplements that help heal IBD include probiotic powder (beneficial bacteria to aid digestion), l-glutamine (which helps heal the digestive lining) and animal based digestive enzymes (which help pre-digest fat and protein in the stomach, before reaching the small intestine). A product that contains a good combination of all of three ingredients of these ingredients is the Berte’s Digestion Blend. Taken together, these three products help in cases of poor absorption, diarrhea, and nausea and help heal the intestinal lining.


As you can see, the subject of carbohydrates is not a simple one! Please stay tuned for next month’s newsletter when we will bring you information on cancer, arthritis, allergies, incontinence and yeast overgrowth conditions and several low glycemic recipes to benefit these health conditions.


1 Publication: Patterson EE. Results of a Ketogenic Food Trial for Dogs with Idiopathic Epilepsy. University of Minnesota PhD Thesis (Chapter 4). © Edward Earl Patterson 2004.


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, in “Let’s Talk about Sugar and Dogs” we addressed many of the questions people ask about carbohydrates. We talked about the different types of carbohydrates, which ones are best to feed, which diets have and/or need carbohydrates, and how the different carbohydrates can affect certain health conditions.

For any dog, the best diets are homemade, either cooked or raw. Raw is probably the most beneficial, as it can be served with NO carbohydrates. This is because the raw bone in the diet acts as the ‘fiber’ needed to provide firm stools. For more information on a raw diet, I would refer to my book, “Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs”. A raw diet is fed in two meals per day. One meal is raw meaty bones and the other meal is a mix of muscle meat, a bit of organ meat and eggs and yogurt.

This month, we include home cooked low sugar diets and include several low glycemic recipes that benefit the health conditions we spoke about last month, which included epilepsy, diabetes, and hypothyroidism. We also discuss additional health issues including cancer, arthritis, allergies and yeast overgrowth and offer recipes to help with these conditions.

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

It is also good to know that diets high in carbohydrates (sugar) can affect fertility in dogs, both males and females. High sugar content in the diet can affect hormones in an adverse way, that lowers sperm count and a females ability to get pregnant. For more on that:  https://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/causes-of-infertility-in-dogs/

The recipes listed below are low-glycemic and reduced fat recipes. While these recipes are good for any dog for their best long-term health, they are especially beneficial for dogs with Epilepsy, hypothyroidism and diabetes.

The amount to feed is approximately 2% to 3% of the dog’s body weight.* If you do not have a food scale to weigh out the food, one pound of food 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 three to four meals per day and they need a bit more calcium; 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 all home cooked diets, you MUST add in Calcium at 900 mg. per pound of food served. Other recommended supplements include 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 all the needed minerals. However, adding in vitamins, such as vitamin E and vitamin B complex, is recommended.

For diet changes, probiotics and digestive enzymes are 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. This vitamin blend contains kelp and alfalfa, which provide trace minerals.

Do not overcook the meat! To retain more of the nutrients, lightly cook the meat.

The sample diets below will feed one meal for a 100 lb. dog, two meals for a 50 lb. dog, or four meals for a 25 lb. dog.

Sample Diet One:

  • 1 lb. low fat hamburger
  • 4 oz. beef liver or kidney
  • 1 or 2 egg whites, no yolks, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup steamed or boiled broccoli
  • 1/2 cup cooked yellow crookneck squash
  • 4 oz. nonfat milk yogurt

Cook meat, eggs, vegetables, and mix. When cooled, add yogurt.

To this, add:

Sample Diet Two:

  • 1 lb. white meat chicken with no skin
  • 4 oz. of chicken liver
  • 1 or 2 egg whites, no yolk, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Spinach
  • 1/2 cup cooked cabbage
  • 4 oz. nonfat Cottage Cheese

Cook meat, eggs, vegetables, and mix. When cooled, add cottage cheese.

To this, add:

Sample Diet Three:

  • 1 lb. beef heart, cut into small pieces
  • 4 oz. of pork or beef liver
  • 1 or 2 egg whites, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage
  • 1/2 cup zucchini
  • 4 oz. nonfat Yogurt

Cook meat, eggs, vegetables, and mix. When cooled, add yogurt.

To this, add:

Sample Diet Four:

  • One 16 oz. can of Mackerel or Salmon, drained and rinsed
  • 1 or 2 egg whites, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 cup Kale or other dark leafy green
  • 4 oz. nonfat Cottage Cheese

Cook vegetables and eggs (no need to cook the canned fish, it is already cooked) and mix. You do NOT need to add calcium to this recipe as mackerel, salmon or sardines, already contain soft, steamed bones for calcium content.

To this, add:

Dogs with cancer, arthritis and allergies also benefit greatly when they eat a low glycemic diet, however for these diseases, higher amounts of fat are better.


Cancer cells use sugar found in the body for energy. Therefore, elimination of high glycemic foods is important. Additionally, it is very important to ensure the diet consists of high quality animal protein and fat sources. Higher fat is recommended to maintain weight and help with energy. More information on Nutrition for Dogs with Cancer and diets for dogs with cancer can be found in this newsletter: http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/cancer-diet/


A primary concern with dogs that have arthritis is managing their pain. Inflammation causes pain, so it is important to do what you can to reduce inflammation. Carbohydrates can aggravate inflammation, especially grains and vegetables from the nightshade family of vegetables. These include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant.

By avoiding these foods, you can help keep your dog’s inflammation down, which helps manage their pain. Another way to help reduce stress on the joints and the inflammation that accompanies this excess stress is to make sure your dog is lean and maintains a healthy weight. The sugar content in grains and starches are high in calories and can cause weight gain and aggravate inflammation. Avoiding grains and starchy vegetables helps with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, so additional stress on sore joints can be avoided.

Commercial dog foods can be very high in grains and starches. These foods can aggravate your dog’s arthritic condition and cause your dog to gain weight.

Some supplements that are very beneficial for reducing inflammation and helping to manage pain are:

EPA fish oil: The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil help control inflammation.

Yucca Intensive: An herbal tincture made from fresh yucca that contains saponins. Saponins are a natural steroid that helps reduce inflammation and pain. Yucca should be given at one drop per ten pounds of body weight, twice daily WITH meals. (Do not give this supplement on an empty stomach!)

Willow Bark: This is a natural form of aspirin and contains the whole herb. It is thought to be safer to use for dogs, and like Yucca, MUST be given with food! You can use this supplement as needed, rather than daily.

Home cooking provides a more nutritious way of controlling what your dog eats. With the recipe suggestions offered here, you have a basis for a balanced diet (calcium to phosphorus ratio and the amounts of animal protein and fat), but you can choose the ingredients that best suit your dog. Never forget about the importance of variety! Dogs require a balance of amino acids and nutrients. This can only come by offering the widest variety of proteins and foods your dog can tolerate. Feeding the same thing repeatedly can result in not only more allergy issues, but also nutrient deficiencies.

Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help with skin and coat and can help reduce inflammation in red, itchy skin.

DMG liquid (Dimethylglycine) can also help with skin and allergy conditions. It can help support the immune system and helps ‘regulate’ the reactions to allergic substances.

Yeast Overgrowth

Low sugar diets also help combat topical yeast problems in dogs, most commonly found on the skin (feet and near the anus) and the ears. Antibiotic use can kill off and deplete the beneficial bacteria in the body. This beneficial bacterium naturally fights off yeast. When this bacterium is depleted, it provides an environment for yeast to grow. Some of the symptoms that arise with yeast overgrowth mimic allergy symptoms. As a result, the two issues can ‘ping-pong’ back and forth. A visit to your Veterinarian is the best way to determine if your dog has a yeast problem. A skin culture can be done to determine whether the problem is yeast or allergies. It is very important to know what the real issue is so it can be treated properly.

If it is determined your dog is suffering from yeast, adding a probiotic powder to your dog’s diet helps fight yeast overgrowth by adding back in to the body the healthy level of good bacteria needed. Another way to fight yeast overgrowth is to offer frequent baths with an oatmeal based shampoo and rinse with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. Olive leaf Extract and Yeast and Fungal tincture are also helpful in combating yeast issues.

For more reading on yeast problems, go here: http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/scratching-and-itching-could-it-be-yeast/


Incontinence is the leaking of urine. Chronic conditions can lead to rashes, irritation and urinary tract infections. It is thought that grains and starches may aggravate incontinence in spayed females and senior dogs. Removing grains from the diet can alleviate the problem and sometimes completely stop the incontinence without having to resort to prescription medications. The herbal tincture blend, Kidni Care, can help strengthen and tone urinary tract muscles.

For more information on incontinence and diet, see Aunt Jeni’s article:


A natural diet that offers variety is very helpful for all these conditions. Cooked diets can be made in large batches, packaged into meal-sized portions, and frozen for later use. Feeding amounts are the same as they were previously listed.

The amount to feed is approximately 2% to 3% of the dog’s body weight.

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

One cup is approximately 8 ounces, or 1/2 pound. Some dogs will do well on two meals a day; others may need three or four smaller meals a day.

As mentioned earlier, do not overcook the meat! To retain more of the nutrients, it is best to lightly cook the meat. Butter can be used for cooking to add flavor and palatability. If you are using butter, unsalted is best for dogs with kidney or heart problems.

The sample diets below will feed one meal for a 100 lb. dog, two meals for a 50 lb. dog, or four meals for a 25 lb. dog.

Sample Diet One:

  • 1 lb. regular hamburger
  • 4 oz. beef liver or kidney, cook with small amount of butter
  • 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup steamed or boiled broccoli
  • 1/2 cup cooked yellow crookneck squash
  • 4 oz. whole milk yogurt

Cook meat, eggs, vegetables, and mix. When cooled, add yogurt.

To this, add:

Sample Diet Two:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 4 oz. of chicken liver, cook with small amount of butter
  • 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Spinach
  • 1/2 cup cooked cabbage
  • 4 oz. Cottage Cheese

Cook meat, eggs, vegetables, and mix. When cooled, add cottage cheese.

To this, add:

Sample Diet Three:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 4 oz. of pork or beef liver, cook with small amount of butter
  • 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup steamed or boiled Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage
  • 1/2 cup zucchini
  • 4 oz. Whole Milk Yogurt

Cook meat, eggs, vegetables, and mix. When cooled, add yogurt.

To this, add:

Sample Diet Four:

  • 1 can 16 oz. Mackerel or Salmon
  • 1 or 2 eggs, scrambled or soft boiled
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 cup Kale or other dark leafy green
  • 4 oz. Cottage Cheese

Cook vegetables and eggs (no need to cook the canned fish, it is already cooked) and mix. No calcium is needed as mackerel, salmon or sardines already contain soft, steamed bones for calcium content.

To this, add:


While carbohydrates (sugar) are not necessary in a dog’s diet, they can be useful when you are dealing with certain health conditions. Carbohydrates are used in home cooked diets for the sole purpose of adding fiber to the diet. In dogs with certain liver or renal issues, carbohydrates are needed to add calories, absorb ammonia, and reduce phosphorus in the diet.

However, using too many carbohydrates can cause larger and smellier stools, produce gas, and cause unnecessary weight gain. Because carbohydrates convert to sugar, they can also adversely affect dogs with epilepsy, diabetes, and hypothyroid conditions, as well as dogs with cancer, arthritis, allergies, yeast issues and incontinence.

It is important to know these variables so you can make the best, most informed, decisions on whether carbohydrates can help or hinder your dog’s health. It is not a question of whether carbohydrates are good or bad. It is about making the best decision for your dog based on their individual needs.

If you find this two-part article helpful and would like more information, we recommend Lew Olson’s recently published book, ‘Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs’. This book is an easy read with more great information on diet and supplement recommendations for the various health conditions discussed in these two articles.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


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. 

Does Your Dog Have IBD? What is it, how to diagnose it and how can diet help?

By Lew Olson, PhD Natural Health


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


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

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

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


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



Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)

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




Other causes of diarrhea to rule out include:

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)

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

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




Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diet Recommendations

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

Carbohydrates and Low Glycemic Diets Part I

Carbohydrates and Low Glycemic Diets Part II

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

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

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


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


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

Berte’s Ultra Probiotics:

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

Food Science All-Zyme:

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

Berte’s Digestion Blend:

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

Yucca Intensive:

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

DMG Liquid:

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

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