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Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog.
Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 12-01-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

This month and next, we will be discuss and dispel some of the common myths about feeding dogs and proper nutrition. Many of these myths we will talk about include information that circulates on the Internet and is frequently discussed among dog fanciers when the topic of canine nutrition is discussed.

1. Stones and Crystals in the urine are all treated with the same diet, and just change the pH of the dog’s urine.

Actually, there are numerous types of stones, and all are treated quite differently. Struvite crystal and stones are caused by bacteria in the urine, or Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s). Diet has nothing to do with these, but treating the infection will clear them up. Calcium oxalate stones are most often genetic, and simply feeding low oxalate foods (most oxalate foods are in carbohydrates, such as vegetables and grains) will clear those up. Purine stones are treated by feeding a low purine diet (no red meat or organ meat), and cysteine stones are hardest to tackle. But feeding a prescription for diet (which is one diet, which is recommended for all) is relatively useless. The pH is caused by bacteria waste in UTI’s (struvite) and once you remove oxalates from a dog prone to calcium oxalates, the pH will normalize as well. You can click on the following links for more information on these stones:

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


2. Do not mix fresh food with kibble

‘Do not mix fresh food with kibble’ is a particular statement that is frequently seen on message boards, email lists and Facebook. However the truth is, dogs are quite capable of digesting multiple types of food at one time. It is important to understand that dogs are different from humans when it comes to digestion. When people digest food, it tends to spend a short time in the stomach and a much longer time in the intestinal tract. Dogs, however, have a much shorter and simpler digestive tract. Dogs are carnivores and therefore, their digestive system is designed to digest animal protein and fat. Food spends a longer time in the dog’s stomach where powerful gastric juices break down the food. This helps to destroy bacteria, dissolve and break down bones, fur and skin. Kibble is fine to feed with animal protein and fats, however, it is suggested that raw meaty bones be fed separate from kibble. This is because raw meaty bones are heavier and therefore, may compete for gastric juices when the stomach churning forces both against the stomach wall at the same time. Read more about mixing kibble with fresh foods here:

3. High protein diets harm dogs

Dogs, as carnivores, require animal protein for many important health functions. Proteins help maintain a healthy liver, heart and kidney function, keep the blood sugar level, and they provide the vital amino acids a dog needs for good health.  These are not found in plant-based foods. Two important stages in a dog’s life when high protein levels are essential are during puppyhood and the senior years. For puppies, protein is essential for proper growth and development. For our senior dogs, it is essential to help maintain healthy organs and to provide the needed nutrients as the dog ages. High protein does NOT cause renal problems! When renal issues develop, the level of phosphorus MAY have to be reduced, but this only becomes necessary with chronic renal issues. You can find more information about the importance of protein in a dog’s diet and the consequences of not feeding enough quality protein here:


4. Feed High Fiber Diets for Dogs to Lose Weight

Many diet dog foods that you see on the market reduce protein and fat and replace it with fiber such as rice hulls, grains, starchy vegetables or other plant fillers. Sometimes people will replace some of the food with green beans or other carbohydrates assuming this will cut calories, keep their dog full and satisfied, and reduce its appetite. However, these types of ‘food replacements’ leave a dog feeling unsatisfied and hungry. These dogs become hungrier because their body is craving the quality nutrition it needs. It is better to simply reduce the amount of food served. If you reduce the amount of food served, do not reduce the total amount by more than 10% to start.

If you are feeding a fresh food diet and you want your dog to lose weight, I suggest using less fatty foods. You can do this by removing the skin from chicken, using leaner cuts of meat, and using 2% yogurt rather than whole milk yogurt. In dry dog food diets, I would use a HIGHER protein diet OR, replace some of the kibble by adding in some fresh lean animal protein. If you want your dog to lose weight, their diet must still provide them the proper nutrients needed to remain healthy and feel satiated after a meal, but they also need more exercise! Carbohydrates and fiber increase your dog’s appetite and they are oftentimes MORE fattening than quality proteins and fats. Dogs need fat for energy and they need high quality protein to maintain good health. If you want to learn more, please check out the following link:


5. Dogs Do Great on Vegan/Vegetarian Diets

Yeah? Well I don’t think so! Dogs need animal protein to maintain healthy heart, liver and kidney function. Animal-based proteins contain the amino acids that are not found in plant-based proteins. The dog’s digestive system is a simple one and it labors when it is fed a high-carbohydrate diet overloaded with grains, starches and beans. This is because their digestive tract is short and simple. It simply cannot ferment and digest these types of foods. Additionally, dogs MUST get their iron requirements from animal-based foods. They have a poor ability, if any, to get their iron needs from supplements or plant-based foods. Animal protein is essential for your dog’s organ health and to ensure your dog is healthy as it moves into its senior years. Remember, old age does NOT cause renal, heart or liver failure, but a poor diet can! There are numerous other reasons why canines should not be fed a vegetarian diet. Please check out the following newsletter for more very important information on this topic:


6. Raw Meat Will Cause Aggression

Occasionally I hear people say they would never feed a raw diet because it will create ‘blood lust’ and aggression in dogs. The interesting thing about feeding a raw diet is that is creates the exact opposite effect. Dogs need animal-based proteins to the get the amino acids they need. These not only provide dogs the proper nutrition needed, they also provide a calming affect!

Carbohydrate laden diets, such as grains, starches and fruit all convert to sugar. As the sugar levels raise and lower in the blood, it creates mood swings and can cause a lack of concentration. A diet that contains no carbohydrates or is very low in carbohydrates creates a more stable blood sugar level in the dog’s system. High carbohydrate diets also create cravings for the protein that is necessary in their diet, which can cause anxiousness, odd cravings, the begging and stealing of food, and create destructive chewing behaviors on inappropriate things such as furniture, clothing, books and other household items.

The best remedy for dogs that are hyperactive, have anxiety separation, destroy personal objects and are nervous, it is to feed a diet high in bioavailable fresh protein. This includes meat, whole milk yogurt, eggs and organ meat. Dogs will not only be more satisfied and ‘satiated’, but it can also calm them and help stop their frantic searching and chewing of inappropriate objects! This will not happen overnight, however gradually you should begin to see a calmer temperament over a period of several weeks.

Additional information regarding raw diets and aggression in dogs can be found here:


Next month we continue with Part II of “Myths about Feeding Dogs”.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 11-01-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

I’ve written about vegetarian and vegan diets for dogs in a couple of past newsletters. First was in 2003 and then it was updated with additional information in 2014. I also wrote extensively about this topic in my book Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs. While opinions and theories change as new information becomes available, I will say that my opinion on this subject has NEVER changed. I say the same thing today that I said in past newsletters and in my book. Please do not EVER feed any dog a vegetarian or vegan diet! Dogs are not humans! They do not digest food the same way humans do and they have different nutrient requirements needed to maintain their good health.

Bramble, a Border Collie from the UK, is often used as an example of a dog that lived to be 25 years old on a vegan diet. What is oftentimes left out of her story is that Bramble was a farm dog that was able to run free daily. I can only imagine that Bramble loved the porridge her owner gave her, but she was also opportunistic and spent much of her free time foraging for small rodents and rabbits.

Dogs will certainly eat what we provide for them. They do not have a choice in what we choose to feed them and therefore are subjected to what we decide to feed them. Hunger itself will cause the opportunistic dogs to eat what we set before them. However, we need to understand and take a closer look at what dogs need to THRIVE, not just survive!

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

Humans are omnivores and have a medium length digestive tract. When we eat food, it spends a relatively short time in the stomach and the bulk the time in the intestines to complete the digestion process. Humans have enzymes in their saliva to help predigest starches. Our jaws move up and down and back and forth to chew plant material and help pulverize and prepare food for digestion.

Dogs are carnivores. As such, they have a much shorter and simpler digestive tract than we do. In the digestive process, the food dogs consume spends the greatest amount of time in the stomach. Dogs have more gastric juices than humans do because carnivores need these in greater amounts to digest bones, break down animal fats and kill bacteria. After the digested material leaves the stomach, it goes through the intestinal tract rather quickly. Because of the short digestive tract, dogs have little or no ability to ferment foods. Therefore, their digestive tract is not designed for handling large amounts of fiber (grains, starches, fruit and plant material).

Canine teeth are sharp and pointed for the purpose of hunting and ripping, tearing and chewing meat and bone. Dogs have a large mouth opening to swallow larger amounts of food than humans can. Their jaws only move up and down (never sideways) and are not designed to mash up or pulverize plant materials. Additionally, they have no enzymes in their saliva to assist in starch digestion.

Protein and Dogs

Animal protein sources contain several nutrients not found in vegetarian and vegan diets. One important nutrient is the amino acid taurine. Protein is essential to organ and skin integrity, growth, and a healthy immune system. Amino acids provide the building blocks for these components that are essential for life. Each of these amino acids is specialized, and all of them work together to keep the body healthy. In humans, nine amino acids are needed to make up a complete diet. In dogs, at least ten amino acids are needed, and quite possibly eleven. As carnivores, dogs require certain amino acids in different amounts and ratios than humans.

Taurine and L-Carnitine

Research on nutrition and the heart in canines has shown some interesting results. It has been proven that Taurine is essential to cats, but the emphasis on the need for Taurine in dogs has been neglected. New studies show that certain breeds are prone to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), such as Newfoundlands, and are oftentimes found to have a taurine deficiency. Studies on this are also being performed on Doberman Pinschers. Other breeds that are affected include Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers. While scientists previously believed that dog foods high enough in sulfur containing amino acids (such as cystine and methionine, which can produce taurine) and proteins would allow canines to produce taurine, now believe this may not always be true:


Another amino acid needed in the dog’s diet is carnitine. This study shows that a carnitine deficiency can cause DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in dogs:


Note that the dogs used in these studies were fed a dry dog food. While only animal proteins contain taurine, certain preparation of animal proteins can deplete taurine in the diet:

“Animal muscle tissue, particularly marine, contained high taurine concentrations. Plant products contained either low or undetectable amounts of taurine. The amount of taurine that remained in a feed ingredient after cooking depended upon the method of food preparation. When an ingredient was constantly surrounded by water during the cooking process, such as in boiling or basting, more taurine was lost. Food preparation methods that minimized water loss, such as baking or frying, had higher rates of taurine retention.”


Dog food companies tend to add sulfur to their commercial diets because they know the high heats of cooking the small amount of animal protein in their formulas destroys the amino acids. However, while sulfur in the diet can assist dogs in making taurine, it appears to vary in the amount needed by breed and by size of the dog. To date, not enough research has been performed to understand how much taurine is needed for a processed diet heavily laden with carbohydrates. This leads to another problem with vegetarian and vegan diets.

Carbohydrates in the Dogs Diet

Carbohydrates are comprised of sugar and most are very high in fiber. The dog’s digestive tract is designed specifically to consume, utilize and digest animal protein and fat. As mentioned earlier, it is short and simple, and labors with diets high in fiber. Even though starches and grains are more easily digested when cooked, they still afford too much fiber for a canine to properly digest. Due to their struggle in processing high-fiber foods, it results in the production of gas and large, loose stools with very strong odor. Additionally, because dogs are unable to ferment fiber, this type of diet is very irritating to the small intestine and intestinal lining. As humans, we can have a tendency to project our dietary needs on to our pets. This is why it is so important to understand the nutritional needs of dogs and how their needs are different from ours. Not only is the high fiber, carbohydrate diet irritating to dogs, the abundance of sugar in carbohydrates causes obesity, body odor and red staining around the eyes, on the coat and feet. Sugar promotes both yeast growth and tooth decay in dogs. REMEMBER, dogs have NO way to break down starches in their mouth. Therefore, the food lodges in their teeth and can result in tooth decay and gum disease.


Plant sources are also a poor source of minerals. Probably the most important mineral to consider is calcium. Plants, including grains, are a poor source of calcium. They are high in phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, but low in calcium and sodium. Furthermore, grains and many vegetables are high in phytates, which block the absorption of calcium, iron, zinc, iodine and magnesium. This fact was brought to the attention of the dog food companies in the early 80’s. However, rather than reduce the amount of grains and starches in their commercial products, they simply opted to add more calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron.

A vegetarian diet, and especially a vegan diet, needs added calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and iodine to balance the diet. The problem with adding minerals to the diet is that adding too much or adding improper combinations can be just as dangerous as getting too little. Minerals need to be supplemented in specific amounts in order to balance with each other. Most important in the canine diet, is the calcium and phosphorus balance and the zinc and copper balance. Of all the nutrients we may supplement, balancing these minerals is of the utmost importance if you are feeding a diet that is low or devoid of these minerals. A home-prepared diet with meat, eggs and dairy provides the balance of all of the minerals, except calcium, in a form dogs can readily use. Adding raw meaty bones to the diet provides the needed calcium. Vegetarian and vegan, or plant-based diets, do not contain these needed minerals in a form that can be digested AND utilized by dogs.

Remember, the phytates found in most grains, many starches and vegetables could bind calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. Oftentimes, diets high in these foods need more calcium than a diet high in animal-based food sources. Additionally, high fiber diets make iron absorption more difficult. Dogs utilize iron more efficiently from animal-based sources such as meat, eggs, yogurt and fish.


Another important area to address is vitamins and vitamin deficiencies. These include Vitamin A, B vitamins and Vitamin D.

The Vitamin A found in meat sources is called retinoid. The Vitamin A found in plant sources is called beta-carotene. Dogs, and especially cats, have a difficult time converting beta-carotene to a usable form of Vitamin A. Animal proteins provide this important vitamin in its ‘already converted’ state. Therefore, it is important to feed dogs a diet that contains animal proteins so they benefit from this important vitamin.

Vitamin A in either form requires fat to be absorbed in the intestines. Therefore, consuming a high-fiber diet can interfere with the uptake of this important vitamin.


The level of beta carotene fed dogs decreases very rapidly, compared to humans and other mammals. This is important to note, as the retinol form is usable when consumed by dogs, and they don’t process beta carotene to a usable form as effectively as rats or humans.


“These are called preformed vitamin A because they are in a form that your body readily uses.  Retinol is the most usable of the three forms and can be converted to both retinol and retinoic acid in the body.”


“Niacin [vitamin B3] deficiency is generally encountered when owners formulate their own diets for their pets and do not include meat as part of the ration. Be very careful when trying to convert a pet into a vegetarian. Riboflavin [vitamin B2] is found naturally in organ meats and dairy products. It is lowest in grains, vegetables, and fruits. The un-supplemented vegetarian pet is at extreme risk of developing a riboflavin deficiency. Dogs fed a diet deficient in vitamin B2 will have poor growth, eye abnormalities, weakness in rear limbs, and eventually heart failure.”

Vitamin D has been found to be lower in blood plasma in dogs fed a vegetarian diet. This is a great concern, especially for growing puppies. This is caused from using plant-sourced vitamin D (D2) and increased fiber intake, which blocks the uptake of this vitamin. Dogs need vitamin D3, NOT vitamin D2. D2 is plant sourced and dogs simply cannot absorb and utilize this type as efficiently. Dogs require D3, which is animal sourced. Dogs are unable to absorb vitamin D from the sun.


“In contrast, the skin of dogs and cats contains significantly lower quantities of 7-dehydrocholesterol than other species, and its photochemical conversion to cholecalciferol is quite inefficient; dogs and cats thus appear to rely on dietary intake of vitamin D more than do other animals.”


Also note, the research shows that Vitamin D2 (mostly plant based) has little effect on humans and an even poorer effect on dogs. Always use vitamin D3 as the supplement choice.


This link is full of research sources showing how much more effective vitamin D3 is for humans and other mammals:



Most vets do not recommend feeding a vegetarian diet to dogs. I personally do not believe it is possible to feed a vegetarian or vegan diet to a dog and successfully supply all the nutrition that a dog needs.

A study of dogs in Europe that were fed a vegetarian diet showed the following results:

  • Over half the dogs showed inadequate protein intake
  • Calcium requirements were not met in 62% of the dog’s diets
  • Phosphorus requirements were not met in roughly half the dogs
  • 73% had an insufficient intake of sodium
  • A high number of blood samples showed insufficient amounts of iron, copper, zinc and iodine, as well as vitamin D
  • 56% of the dogs were not getting enough vitamin B12.
  • Even the commercial vegetarian diets were found not to meet the nutritional needs of dogs.
  • Even sources that support feeding vegetarian diets to dogs stress the complexity of supplying all the necessary nutrients and the dangers of leaving them out. The better sources recommend feeding eggs and dairy, even if meat is not fed.

Before anyone chooses to feed a vegetarian diet to their dog, they should have a thorough understanding of the dog’s nutritional requirements and know how they will meet their dog’s dietary needs feeding a vegetarian or vegan diet. This includes adding which vitamin and mineral supplements and in what amounts, should be given. Additionally, no dog should be fed a vegan diet, which is incapable of meeting his or her nutritional needs.

Lastly, it is important to look at the needs of the dogs, and cats, we choose to have in our lives. While we may have our own ethical or moral choices in what we eat, we are responsible for the care and wellbeing of our pets. It is certainly fine that you eat the vegetarian or vegan diet if you believe is right for you, but it is unfair to impose the same beliefs and diet onto your pets. Dogs and cats require animal proteins in their diet to meet their health needs. To make a conscious decision to feed carbohydrates to your dog, along with a myriad of supplements to try to make up the vitamin and mineral deficiencies of a meat-free diet is unhealthy for your pet. It is also selfish and unkind. The results of a vegetarian or vegan diet results in a higher risk of obesity, and leaves you with an unhealthy pet whose palate and nutritional requirements are not met. It is very important to separate our needs from our dog’s needs and provide them with the best nutrition, physical exercise and mental stimulation that is appropriate for them and not us!


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 10-03-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

I started breeding dogs in the late 1980’s and I have shown dogs in AKC conformation and performance since 1974. I did not get real interested in breeding dogs until I had learned a lot more about my breed at the time, which was Rottweilers. At that time, I was feeding a basic commercial kibble diet and added a few supplements such as vitamin C, B complex and vitamin E. My girls didn’t seem to have trouble conceiving, but I had experienced some infant mortality, hypoglycemia in young puppies, and some reabsorption of neonates. Furthermore, I had seen some heat cycles that were generally around every 6 months, but in some bitches, as frequent at 4 to 5 months between cycles. It was obvious that those bitches with the more frequent cycles were more likely to produce fewer puppies, or come up empty. At that time, in the 80’s and 90s, there was some anecdotal remedies to try, but none of them included tips on diet other than hearing about a breeder’s particular fondness of one brand of food or another.

As with most things, favorite brands of dog foods waxed and waned over those years, with people being drawn to ‘natural’ brands, large or small dog formulas, adult or puppy foods, or even more recently, ‘grain free’ or ‘organic’. During the time I was feeding a dry commercial food, I also experienced cancer in my dogs, most commonly lymphosarcoma and osteosarcoma. It was because of the cancer incidences in my dogs that I began to research nutrition and canines and made the decision to begin feeding my dogs a natural raw diet.

Studies had shown that high sugar diets (carbohydrates, which are sugars) were the fuel to feed cancer cells, and high quality protein (not processed as in dog food, but raw or lightly cooked) helped with the dog’s immune system and were the building blocks of the organs, skin, coat and overall good health. Dogs must get iron, vitamin D, vitamin A, and the amino acids l-carnitine and l-taurine from animal based sources. The high heat used during the heavy processing of commercial kibbles can destroy these amino acids. While most of these nutrients come from red meat and organ meat, I do use raw chicken for the bones (soft, easy to consume and digest) for the needed calcium and minerals they contain.

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

Besides seeing a reduced incidence of cancer in my dogs, I began to see some other positive benefits from feeding a raw, natural diet. Some of these included not smelling ‘doggy odor’ any more, seeing my dog’s teeth remain clean and their stools turn white and blow away. I also realized that my older dogs who were dealing with joint pain and arthritis issues were more mobile as they experienced far less inflammation in their joints. An additional and unexpected benefit that I saw, was the change in fertility in my girls!

Because I had not changed my dog’s diet to a raw diet for breeding reasons, I was not quick to see the changes, nor did I immediately attribute the diet change to the breeding benefits. After just a few years on a raw diet, my girls went from cycling every 5 to 7 months to every 7 to 9 months and their heat cycles were less ‘dramatic’ in discharge and mood swings. Another true benefit was that my girls were no longer having false pregnancies! Additionally, my girls seemed to never miss ‘catching’ (getting pregnant) whether from a natural breeding or a surgical artificial insemination using fresh chilled or frozen semen. While litters weren’t ‘enormous’, they generally had at least 8 puppies. Last fall, I bred my toy dog, a Brussels Griffon, using fresh chilled semen and she had 6 puppies – all naturally born – in two hours. They were all healthy and they are all doing well today. As a result, my curiosity increased, which is why I decided to do some additional research on diet and fertility. I wanted to know how feeding a raw diet could make such positive fertility changes in the bitches. So below is some of the information I found. While most of the information is based on human studies, I believe the information on the adrenals and hormones also applies to canines.

Sugar and Insulin

When a diet is high in carbohydrates, which convert to sugar (grains, starches such as potatoes, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and simple sugars like honey, fruit, and fructose), the food causes the sugar levels in the body to increase. This, in turn, causes insulin to be released to lower the sugar levels. Then, when the sugar level drops, cortisol is released to help raise the sugar level. This reaction boomerangs back and forth which can cause insulin exhaustion. This cycle affects estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels. Additionally, when cortisol is repeatedly released in response to a high sugar diet, it competes with progesterone for the same receptors and cortisol wins this race every time. And progesterone is essential for fertility.

Commercial kibble diets typically contain 40% or more carbohydrates. Dogs that eat this type of diet have sugar spikes and drops daily. As a result, the body can become confused. The girls may start to ovulate and then stop (as with bitches whose cycles are too close together). Or, they may get pregnant, but due to the hormone fluctuations, reabsorb the litter. The sugar causes insulin and cortisol spikes to try and balance the rise and fall of sugar levels and affects ovulation, maturing of the egg, and proper implanting. Additionally, dogs that eat diets high in carbohydrates will produce more testosterone because of the continued amount of insulin released to lower the sugar levels from the spikes caused by the carbohydrates. This can prevent good heat cycles and pregnancy.

Sugar causes inflammation and as a result can affect the uterine lining. The eggs may get fertilized, however, if the bitch’s uterus does not have a healthy lining, the eggs will not properly implant. Constant inflammation of the uterine lining will eventually cause scarring, which is not only another obstacle for egg implanting, but it can cause permanent infertility. Less inflammation means less chance of a uterine infection and a better immune system during pregnancy.

Recent studies by Dr. Jeffrey Russell have proved some interesting outcomes for human fertility. 120 women who were undergoing fertility treatments were studied. They kept a log of the food they consumed daily. The women who ate the highest amount of protein and lowest amount of carbohydrates were the most successful in producing healthy, well-developed eggs and having a healthy uterine environment for conception. Dr. Russell thinks protein is essential for good quality embryos and better egg quality.


Another study that was done at Harvard University on 18,000 women over 8 years of age, showed that diets high in potatoes, grains, white bread and sugar resulted in poor fertility.


While these are human studies, the effects of insulin, cortisol, and hormones would be the same for canines. Dogs are carnivores and have no nutritional need for carbohydrates. Therefore, one might infer that carbohydrates in the diet for dogs would affect their fertility even more than humans.


While healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and fats from quality proteins (beef, chicken and lamb) are essential for canine health and a dog’s fertility, you want to avoid trans fats as they have been proven to cause infertility in people. Trans fats are fats ‘hardened’ to use be used in cooking, such as Crisco and margarine. It is likely trans fats are used in commercial dog foods. It is also important to remember that fats in commercial dog food can be rancid. Manufacturers can use the term ‘animal fat’ on dog food labels which does not tell you anything about the quality of the fat used. ‘Animal fat’ can include any fat – even generic by-products, diseased farm animals and road kill.


Further, it is important to avoid flax seed oil, soybean oil or soybean meal, and lentils and beans, as these all contain phytoestrogens, which can block estrogen and cause infertility.


My conclusion is if you remove most, or all, carbohydrates from your bitches diet, her fertility will vastly improve as long as uterine scaring hasn’t become too advanced or other physical problems are not present. Giving her animal proteins in her diet, which have high bioavailability (raw or lightly cooked meats) may well result in healthier eggs, embryos and more viable puppies at birth. The diet would include a good amount of red meat (beef, pork, lamb, wild game) and about 10% organ meat (kidney, liver).

It would seem logical to assume litters would be of good size and that the mother would have good milk production with these changes. In the case of my own dogs, it certainly was true. I am talking about at least 8 bitches, not one or two. The results don’t happen overnight as it takes a few months for hormones to; however, I think that breeders who make this change will be delighted with the results. I have helped numerous people in the past with this issue with almost all of them having positive results!


Supplements that are helpful with regulating hormones include vitamin E and EPA Fish oil capsules. Vitamin E and omega 3 fish oil work together to help achieve better fertility. I also recommend the Berte’s Immune Blend which contains the needed vitamin E, B vitamins including folic acid (helpful for preventing birth defects), vitamin D3 (for uptake of calcium), and digestive enzymes and probiotics which help with the uptake of nutrients and provide the good flora and fauna bacteria needed before and during pregnancy. Omega-3 fish should be added at one fish oil capsule daily for 10 to 20 pounds of body weight.

While this article is written primarily with the female in mind, feeding a quality diet and adding the recommended supplements are also suggested to help fertility in males. It is just as important to provide quality bioavailable animal proteins and proper supplementation to stud dogs.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 09-01-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

A question that often comes up is whether or not blood values can 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, showing 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).


High phosphorus levels doesn’t mean the dog is getting too much phosphorus, but rather the body is having problems filtering it and 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.

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

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 does not tell you, and can’t 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 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. And 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:


And 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 doesn’t 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 they become elevated, can indicate pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is another problem that can be caused by many things and 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 and 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 to 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 click on the following links:




For an interpretation of Canine Blood Test Results click on the following link:



Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 08-01-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

A common complaint and frequent source of frustration for many dog owners is when their dogs experience symptoms of itching, scratching, face rubbing and ear shaking with a discharge. They often try bathing their dogs with special shampoos, they change their food, they check for fleas, and finally make an appointment to visit their veterinarian. If the symptoms continue, pet owners then tend to head off to a Veterinarian who specializes in Dermatology. This vet visit typically starts with a variety of allergy tests and results in treatments using antibiotics, anti-histamines and steroids. Unfortunately, this cycle can continue for years. Test results often point to various foods such as beef or chicken, corn, carrots or wheat, and might pinpoint dust mites, grasses, ragweed, or other oddities that are either not in your neighborhood or to things too prevalent to get rid of. So, now what do you do?

First, it is important to note that food allergies are rare in dogs. It takes prolonged exposure (feeding) to particular foods to develop food allergies. This can happen when your dog is on a ‘fixed’ diet where it has eaten the same food – maybe the same protein daily – for an extensive period of time. This most commonly occurs when fed a commercial dry dog food diet or a cooked or raw diet that has been restricted to just one or two proteins day after day for a long time. Food allergies are not found in puppies and generally not seen in dogs until after two years of age.

Are allergy tests worth it? Can they detect just exactly what allergies your dog might have? Research shows they do not! When dogs were tested and found to be high in IgE levels, often they didn’t itch. However, dogs with lower IgE levels did.

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

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This research found results from allergy tests in dogs was MARGINAL:


Click this link to read Dr. Ron Hines full article on allergies and allergy testing, and why he finds them not useful.


Tufts University says, “As it turns out, food allergies are not as common as many pet food companies and websites may like for you to think. And while food allergies are one possible cause for your dog’s itchy skin and ear infections, or your cat’s diarrhea, there are many more likely causes which may have nothing to do with the food”. They go on to say “while allergies are often identified as the culprit for itching or gastrointestinal problems, it is most often caused by something else.”

They state the most common cause of itching is fleas, followed next by environmental allergies. They mention pollen, dust mites and grasses. Unfortunately, these are found everywhere.

The article goes on to say, “One of the most frustrating things about food allergies is that there really isn’t an easy test. While many tests – using blood, saliva, and even hair – that can be performed by a veterinarian or purchased by a pet owner online (and even sometimes shockingly, through a Groupon!) advertise that they can diagnose food allergies or “sensitivities”, there is no proof that they work.”


Further, this article states, “In fact, multiple studies, including this one just published, have shown that these kinds of tests are not very helpful in diagnosing food allergies, despite their widespread use for this purpose.


Research results presented at a veterinary dermatology (skin) conference even showed that some tests ‘diagnosed’ plain water and ‘stuffed animal fur’ as having food allergies.”

And I will say unequivocally, that SALIVA and HAIR tests DO NOT WORK. Neither of these can detect, nor diagnose, allergies. Some of these will say they detect ‘food intolerances’, but that is untrue. Food intolerances are specific to too much fat or fiber in the diet and can be easily resolved by taking a closer look at the diet and adjusting it.


Any test claiming to test for ‘allergies’ or ‘food intolerances’ by using hair and saliva are a waste of money. The links below show the results of scientists researching saliva kits to test dogs for allergies. When they sent in samples of dogs with allergies, healthy dogs with no allergies, and STUFFED ANIMALS, all test results came back positive! PLEASE BEWARE and do NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!”




Here is another link that includes more information, as the author replies to one of the ‘saliva test sellers’:



Why do some dogs get food allergies – or more commonly environmental allergies – at all, while others do not? It is because some dog’s bodies incorrectly respond to something normal in the environment. The body perceives it as harmful and therefore responds by attacking it. While the symptoms of this response tend to show up in hives, itching, itchy feet and ears, and weepy eyes, food allergies are far less likely to be the cause. It has everything to do with the state of that particular dog’s immune system. Some dogs are born with a poor immune system that could be the result of a variety of factors. It could be that the puppy came from a puppy mill or a puppy’s mom was not fed properly during pregnancy. Maybe the puppy was fed a poor diet when it was young or didn’t get enough good socialization or exercise. It could also be the result of health issues that required early surgery and anesthesia. All of these could lead to a compromised immune system.

The first step in trying to find out what might be causing your dog’s itching is to do a skin culture and sensitivity test at your veterinarian’s office. This is when your veterinarian takes a skin scraping from the affected areas and sends it to a laboratory to culture. This test determines if bacteria or yeast is present on the skin and it is the most accurate way to see WHAT bacteria or yeast is present so the CORRECT antibiotic can be given, if needed. Please be aware that antibiotic use can cause yeast to grow, so it is very important to give probiotics in-between antibiotic doses, two to three times daily.

An overgrowth of yeast is the number one cause of itching in dogs. This article, which I highly recommend reading, explains many of the causes of itching and simple steps to combat a yeast problem.




If your dog has diarrhea, check to see if your dog has too much fat or fiber it its diet. It is also important to determine if your dog just doesn’t do well on a dry commercial food diet. These diets are very high in carbohydrates and fiber and can be irritating to many dogs.


If your dog is diagnosed as having ‘allergies’ due to diarrhea, vomiting or reflux, your dog may have IBD or IBS. This is caused by an irritated and inflamed intestinal lining. That can be caused by stress, dry dog food, recovery from diarrhea or illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea, giardia or coccidia, or other intestinal upset. The best course of action is to heal the inflamed intestinal lining by feeding a moist diet, preferably a cooked or raw diet. Feed frequent, small meals and add Berte’s Digestion Blend, which contains 500 mg of l-Glutamine. L-Glutamine helps heal and reduce the inflammation in the digestive tract. Click on the link below for more detailed information:



While most of the articles talk about a food elimination diet, I think it is more effective to improve your dog’s current diet. This will also help support your dog’s immune system more effectively.

Some ways to improve your dog’s diet would be to add some fresh food to a current kibble diet:


Taking it one step further, you could change your dog’s diet to a home-cooked diet. Changing to this diet offers fresh foods which provide more nutrients and allows you to have control over ALL the ingredients you feed. This way you know exactly what your dog is eating.


Lastly, if you don’t have the time or the energy to cook, you can also offer your dog a raw diet which offers the highest level of nutrients. You can either purchase pre-made raw diets or you can make your own.


Whether you choose to add fresh foods to a commercial kibble diet, home-cook your dog’s meals, or feed a raw diet to your dog, you can find great detailed information and recipes on all these variations of diets in my book ‘Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs’. My book also includes the history of feeding dogs, the history of dog food, and the anatomy and digestive needs of canines.

I also have videos available with complete instructions on making both homemade and raw diets. These videos give you the information and education you need to proceed with confidence. You can find these at the link below and I have a great special on these running through the end of August!


To enhance and improve your dog’s diet, I recommend adding Fish oil capsules at one 1000 mg capsule per 10-20 pounds of body weight. The Omega 3 found in fish oil is wonderful for the coat and skin, it helps support the immune system, protects the heart and kidneys and fights inflammation.

Another supplement I suggest is adding the Berte’s Immune Blend to your dog’s diet. This supplement contains vitamins A, B complex, C, D3 and vitamin E, all of which help support a good immune system. It also contains probiotics, which help fight yeast overgrowth.

In cases of severe inflammation and itching, Yucca Intensive can help. It contains saponins, which can help fight inflammation and some intestinal problems. Be sure to give one drop per 10 pounds of body weight WITH FOOD. And NEVER mix with steroids or other NSAIDs.

Bathe your dog weekly with a mild shampoo. Rinse with a solution of 1/4 WHITE vinegar and 3/4 water. This solution will help kill yeast on the skin. Use Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe on affected areas during the week. The witch hazel kills the bacteria and yeast and the aloe helps cool and heal the affected areas. For feet, you can use a human athlete’s foot spray once or twice a day. All of these contain yeast controlling ingredients that are safe to use on your dog’s feet.

Using 3-4 tablespoons of Baking soda to a quart of water and using it on a rinse on your dog is also safe and effective for killing yeast.


I hope you found this article helpful. Always see a veterinarian to pursue the right diagnosis for your dog’s itching and coat problems. The RIGHT diagnosis will bring the right treatment to help your dog heal and return to normal. Improving your dog’s diet will enhance recovery and help support your dog’s immune system which can help keep the problems from reoccurring.

Don’t forget! Exercise such as walking, throwing a ball, obedience or rally classes, as well as barn hurt or nose work classes all help to stimulate your dog’s brain. Exercise helps keep your dog’s immune system strong. Keep your dog’s coat and skin clean, and don’t forget to wash the bedding where your dog sleeps or hangs out! All of these things will make for a happier and healthier dog!


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 07-02-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

Of all the questions I am asked, one of the most common is “What supplements should I add to my dog’s diet?” This question is asked regardless of the type of diet the dog is being fed. Whether you are feeding a raw diet, a home-cooked diet, or a commercial dog food, all dogs should receive the same daily supplements, with the exception of calcium! If you are feeding a home-cooked diet that does not include raw meaty bones, calcium must be added to each meal. If you feed a raw diet that includes at least 40% raw meaty bones, or if you are feeding a commercial dog food, these diets already include the necessary amounts of calcium needed, so no additional calcium is needed.

Any of these diets, raw, home-cooked or commercial foods, also include an adequate amount of the needed minerals. Manufacturing companies add minerals to their commercial diets to achieve the NRA dog nutrition standards. Raw diets contain meat, organ meat and bone, which contain balanced amounts of the needed minerals. Additionally, home-cooked meals include meat and organ meat, and with the added calcium carbonate, ground eggshell, or citrate it balances the calcium. When varieties of proteins are used, all of these diets contain adequate amounts of minerals. I do not recommend adding minerals to any of these diets without the advice and supervision of your veterinarian. However, you must add calcium to home-cooked meals to balance the important calcium/phosphorus ratio.

The daily supplements I recommend are the ones that are harder to find in foods, or are fragile and therefore lose their integrity during food processing or during food storage and handling. These include water-soluble vitamins, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and enzymes. Please note that it is important not to freeze these vitamins and supplements as freezing them can compromise their integrity.

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

Water-soluble vitamins include B vitamins and vitamin C. Neither of these vitamins store well in commercial dog food packaging and are more difficult to find in large enough levels in fresh food. B vitamins are found in meat, organ meat and dairy and are important in supporting the nervous system and in helping to build red blood cells. They also help metabolize the amino acids that are found in proteins. Raw diets are generally richer in B vitamins, as these can lose potency when heated. While dogs can make some vitamin C on their own, additional vitamin C is needed as an antioxidant for collagen repair and capillary integrity. Bioflavonoids are also an important addition to vitamin C as it helps with uptake and absorption into the body. These important vitamins are easily excreted from the body, so I recommend giving both of these vitamins to your dogs daily.

Vitamin E is a very valuable fat-soluble vitamin that is also an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals. This is helpful in fighting cancer. Vitamin E is also heart protective and helps lower blood pressure. Most sources of this vitamin are plant related so it is important to add this essential vitamin to your dog’s diet. Vitamin E also goes hand-in-hand with fish oil, as they work synergistically.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils. They are also present in plant oils such as flax and hemp, but dogs have difficulty converting the ALA in plant oils to a usable form of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are difficult to find in many food sources because most feed animals are fed a grain-based diet rather than a grass-fed diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are also very fragile and can be destroyed when exposed to heat, light and air. Omega-3 fatty acids help to support the immune system, are heart, renal and liver protective and help keep the skin and coat healthy. My general recommendation for this vital supplement is to give one capsule (180EPA/120DHA) per 20 pounds of body weight daily.

The next two supplements I recommend, offer significant benefits to your dog’s digestion system. They help assimilate and digest food better, fight gas, and they assist in forming firm stools. These two supplements are digestive enzymes and probiotics.

Digestive enzymes can be composed of either animal or plant-based enzymes. Animal-based enzymes help to pre-digest proteins and fats in the stomach, which makes the food easier to digest when it hits the small intestine.  Plant based enzymes help prevent gas.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, such as acidophilus and bifidus. These help keep a good colony of the needed ‘friendly bacteria in the gut. This helps keep the immune system balanced, helps with food digestion, reduces gas and works to produce firmer stools. Probiotics also help make vitamin B and vitamin K in the large intestine.


A final important daily supplement that I consider to be optional, is a blend of green foods. These include alfalfa, kelp, blue green algae, spirulina, dulce and Irish Moss. I consider this supplement optional, as dogs can get along without them. However, they offer valuable nutrients that are not found in the diet. These green foods supply energy; help ease digestion, and can deepen pigment and intensify coat color. Sea vegetation and alfalfa are rich in trace minerals, including iodine, manganese (helps fight inflammation and pain), boron, cobalt, and more. They are also a good source of B vitamins, specifically B12.

Daily Supplement Recommendations for All Diet Types

B-Naturals carry a wide variety of natural dog supplements that are suited for any type of diet. Whether you feed a raw diet, a home-cooked diet (don’t forget the calcium) or a commercial brand of dog food, these supplements will go a long way in keeping your dog healthy and giving you the peace of mind that your dog is getting all the vitamins and nutrients it needs.

Berte’s Immune Blend:

This supplement blend contains vitamin C, bioflavonoid, vitamin E, B complex, vitamin A and digestive enzymes and probiotics! This is a great supplement to add when you want most of everything included. My recommendation is to give the Berte’s Immune Blend at half dose to healthy dogs and give one fish oil capsule per 20 pounds of body weight daily. The dosage is recommended for raw diets, home-cooked diets, or commercial diets.

Omega-3 Fish Oil:

Because omega-3 fish oils are fragile, I recommend giving them in capsule form. This is because liquid or pump bottles can subject the oils to excess air which can compromise there integrity.

Berte’s Green Blend:

Berte’s Green Blend contains alfalfa, kelp, blue green algae, spirulina, dulce and Irish Moss. Sea vegetation and alfalfa are rich in trace minerals and are a good source of B vitamins, specifically B12. This blend of vegetation helps with energy, digestion and healthy skin pigment and coat color. A little goes a long way!

Always remember to offer your dog as wide a variety of proteins as possible! Each week you want to include at least four different protein sources, 5 – 6% organ meat such as liver and kidney, and at least 40 – 50% raw meaty bones if you are feeding a raw diet. If you are feeding a home-cooked diet, do not add more than 25% of the diet in low glycemic (sugar) vegetables for fiber and do not forget the calcium!


Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

Dog Allergies I often get requests from people wanting digestive aids for their dogs. Based on the questions I receive, it seems folks either do not understand the differences between enzymes and probiotics or they get the two of them confused. This newsletter explains the differences and benefits of both so you can make the right choices for your dogs.

Enzymes and Probiotics are two different supplements that both support digestion, but each of them work differently to support the digestive system.


Enzymes help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates into smaller units so they can be more easily absorbed in the small intestine. There are certain health conditions and diseases that hinder the body’s ability to do this on its own, so adding enzymes to the diet helps assimilate the nutrients and aids in better digestion.

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

In humans, carbohydrate digestion starts in the mouth because humans have amylase in their saliva. However, dogs are carnivores and they do not produce amylase in their saliva, so the digestion of carbohydrates begins in their stomachs, as well as some protein digestion. Hydrochloric Acid is released in the stomach, which in turn, stimulates the production of pepsin. This starts protein digestion. Hydrochloric Acid (HCI) has a pH of one, which helps kill microorganisms.

Dog Probiotics

Fats are only broken down (into lipids) in the small intestine. Bile releases and emulsifies the fats. The enzymes released from the pancreas contain pancreatin, which breaks down the fats in lipids. The enzymes released from the pancreas also include amylase, which reduces the carbohydrates to sugars or glucose. Protease helps break down proteins into amino acids. Lastly, the pancreas secretes bicarbonate to raise the pH 1 from the HCI in the stomach to a more neutral pH number.

When looking for a digestion aid, it is important to find an enzyme product that covers all stages of digestion. For dogs, this includes Ox Bile extract, which helps stimulate HCI production, and pepsin, which aids protein digestion in the stomach. For the small intestine, pancreatin and pancrealipase are important for fat digestion. Amylase is important for carbohydrate digestion. Trypsin is important for protein digestion.

Dog digestive enzymes

Papain (made from papayas) and Bromelain (made from pineapples) are plants. These two enzymes are helpful for digestion as they help control gas and indigestion. Bromelain not only assists with proper digestion, it also helps inflammation if not given with food. Both Papain and Bromelain enzymes enhance the enzymes already produced in the body by the pancreas.

Some health issues can be helped by adding additional enzymes to the diet.

If your dog suffers from allergies, adding in enzymes to their diet can help break down the proteins that may be causing the allergic reactions.

Liver issues can be helped as well! Adding in enzymes to the diet can help with the digestion of fats. This helps relieve some of the stress that is on the liver.

Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) is another common health issue with dogs and adding extra enzymes to the diet can help digest fats, proteins and starches for better digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Dogs suffering from autoimmune diseases and cancer can also benefit from extra enzymes because their bodies and organs are compromised. Adding additional enzymes to your dog’s diet can assist with the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates so the nutrients can be more easily absorbed.

If you are looking to change your dog’s diet, from a commercial food to a raw or cooked diet, adding extra enzymes to the meals helps ease the transition from one diet to another.

Lastly, if your dog suffers from inflammation issues, many enzymes help lower inflammation response.

Depending on the health condition of your dog, I recommend two supplements. For dogs needing an extra enzyme boost, there is Food Science Super Enzymes, which is a blend of digestive enzymes from both plant and animal based enzymes. For dogs with more serious digestive health issues, there is Berte’s Digestion Blend. This product contains pancreatic enzymes and amino acids, medicinal herbs and beneficial bacteria (probiotics). It also contains 500 mg of the amino acid l-Glutamine which helps heal the intestinal lining due to inflammation, assists in metabolizing proteins and sugars, and supports immune system function. This product was developed to help dogs with irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and ulcers.


The term Probiotics refers to the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. These bacteria help to keep the ‘bad’ or unfriendly bacteria in check. Common beneficial bacteria include lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which are often called acidophilus and bifidus. These bacteria are thought to produce antimicrobial metabolites, which help support the immune system and aid in mucosal conditioning. When certain factors reduce the friendly bacteria, an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria can result which can cause digestive upsets and yeast infections. Some things that can cause a reduction in the friendly bacteria include antibiotics, stress, illness, and diarrhea.

Using probiotics helps help keep the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract balanced and it can replenish the friendly bacteria lost through antibiotic use, illness and diarrhea. It helps maintain a healthier digestive tract and helps keep stools firmer. Probiotics are often a recommended supplement if your dog has Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as these conditions can be associated with bacteria overgrowths in the digestive tract. It is very beneficial to add probiotics to your dogs’ diet after any antibiotic treatment or during stressful times such as changing diets, boarding, traveling, training, or after surgery. Probiotics contains a mix of beneficial bacteria and is an excellent supplement to support the digestive system.

Immediacare GI is another recommended product that helps firm up loose stools, supports rapid gastrointestinal balance associated with microflora imbalances, garbage gut, food sensitivities, stress, age, and traveling. It is also great for whelping moms, puppies and dogs that will take a paste form better during illness than a powder. This is a great supplement to consider for your first aid kit if you are traveling with your pet this summer.

It is very safe to use both Probiotics and Enzymes together if needed. While both support digestive function, they each address different digestive issues. I hope that this information clarifies any confusion you might have had about the purpose for and benefit of these two supplements and how they support the digestive system.


Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 05-01-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

I get a lot of questions on various canine health issues, but recently it seems a lot of questions have come in regarding kidney disease.  I have written on the subject in quite some time, so this month, I decided to address some of the common questions regarding this disease.

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

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

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

Question: What are the symptoms of Kidney Disease?

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

Question: What causes kidney disease?

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question: What other conditions ‘mimic’ kidney disease?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 04-02-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

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

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

Here is the SOLUTION!

Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Why is My Dog Itching So Much?


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



Filed Under (Dog Nutrition) by B-Naturals.com on 03-01-2019
Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog. 

This article is written to help you understand which supplements can best support your dog’s heart!

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


Want to Feed the Best Diet for Your Dog, But Don’t Know How?

Now there is a fast and easy way to learn! Check out Lew Olson’s easy-to-follow, on-line course videos! Read on to learn about Canine Nutrition and preparing Raw and Home Cooked Diets! Click for Video

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

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


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


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


Acetyl Carnitine and L-Carnitine

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


Dosage for Acetyl Carnitine from B-Naturals is:

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



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



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

Fish Oil

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


Berte’s Immune Blend


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

Berte’s Heart Healthy Pack

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

Diet for Dogs with Heart Problems

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

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