On occasion, I come across some commercial cooked food for dogs as well as certain recipes and idea on how to feed dogs, that are baffling to me. Most have far too many carbohydrates and too little animal fat. I believe most of the inventors of these foods or recipes mean well, but what I see is many people using human nutrition needs mixed up with canine nutrition. What many forget (or even don’t know) is that dogs are carnivores and humans are omnivores.
This means dogs have a shorter, more simple digestion tract than humans, and have reverse methods of digesting and breaking down foods. In humans, the food leaves the stomach quickly and lingers in the intestines. Dogs digest food the longest in the stomach and then the food passes quickly through the intestines. They are not designed to digest fiber well (starches, vegetables, and fruit) so the stomach does that work for them.
There is no scientific data for food combining. “Proponents of food combining believe that proteins and carbs are digested at different rates, so it’s harder for the body to process them when they are consumed together. They also suggest that different foods respond to different pH levels in the digestive tract. So if two foods requiring different pH levels are combined, they can’t be digested together. Neither of these beliefs is based on scientific facts.” – Very Well Fit
For more on how canine anatomy and digestion works, go here: Anatomy of a Carnivore
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Dogs need animal fat first and foremost. It helps keep them hydrated, gives them energy, and helps for good coat and skin. Any dog on a low-fat diet will have issues with skin and coat, and good mental clarity. See Yes, Dogs are Carnivores.
Second, dogs need animal-based proteins. Animal proteins contain all the amino acids dogs need, while plant sources are lacking in taurine and l-carnitine, both important factors for healthy hearts in dogs. If the protein amounts feed to dogs daily are low, long term health issues could happen with the heart, kidneys, and liver. These 3 organs need animal protein to survive AND thrive! We also feed a variety of animal proteins, as each protein source can be more diverse than another, so this helps cover all the nutrients needed by canines.
Almost all the home cooked commercial diets for dogs are too low in protein. They make their formulas up with large amounts of starches. These are a poor choice for dogs as these are the hardest for most dogs to digest, cause large stools due to high fiber and offer little or no nutrition. And on top of that, the fats in many of these formulas (and kibble too) and too low in animal fat. Often plants fats are added but dogs get little from those. And dogs need vitamins from animal sources, such as vitamin A and D3. Plant sources of Vitamin D (such as D2) can’t be utilized by dogs, and it is the same with beta-carotene. For more information on why high carbohydrate diets and plant oils are poor substitutes for animal proteins and fats, and why animal fat and proteins are superior for dogs: Why Vegetarian and Vegan Diets are Not Recommended for Dogs
And here is information on the importance of Taurine in a dogs diet, and how to get the most in your dog’s diet: What’s All This About Dogs and Taurine?
If you opt to feed a ready-made cooked diet, or kibble, it is wise to add fresh animal protein including eggs, yogurt and meat. You can add more protein, up to 50%, of fresh protein to the ready-made foods.
I recently saw a newer gimmick where the website owner claims dogs need to take care on food combining. To learn more, you can order an eBook for $20 AND pay extra monthly to be on a special access to her articles and blogs. As with most ‘new’ things I find people touting for dogs such as hair analysis (bogus and considered unethical to use in human medicine), or elaborate complicated recipes, food combining also came from past human ideas and articles. No, dogs and humans can digest combinations of carbs and animal protein. No, don’t reduce fats for dogs, that is very dangerous. They need fat. For more on fat and canines: Everything You Wanted to Know About Fat in Your Dog’s Diet but Were Afraid to Ask
The thesis is that dogs can’t digest proteins and carbs together, but nothing could be further from the truth. Also, dogs rarely if ever (unless starving) will attempt to eat foliage, vegetables, or fruits. Dr Mech in his well-respected books on traveling and watching wolf packs confirms this. In winter the first things wolves eat after a kill is the fat. This helps keep them warm and gives them energy. Next is the muscle meat and the organ meat. They do NOT eat stomach contents that are very bitter from gastric juices.
One explanation I saw on one website was dogs need protein only once a week as wolves fast. This is also absurd. Yes, wolves must fast if they can’t find game, BUT when they do hunt and kill, they eat about 22 lbs at a time. Trying to feed dogs plant-based food for days is protein starvation and will certainly harm the kidney, liver and heart. I find these kinds of websites with the owner trying to find a gimmick can harm dogs.
So remember. Dogs need animal protein and fat, daily. If I feed a raw diet, I feed NO carbohydrates. 25% of non-starch vegetables are needed in home cooked meals to add fiber for formed stools. In raw diets, the bone fulfills this need. But no homecooked diet should use less than 75% animal protein and fat to 25% non-starch vegetables. Here is an article on calcium needs for dogs on home cooked diets: Calcium and the Dog: How Much is Enough?
And for more information on the importance of protein and variety of proteins for dogs: Protein and Variety in the Diet
I recommend you buy my book, Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs (link goes to Amazon). It has an index and sources for the material you will read. It is a great recourse! Remember to give your dogs animal protein and fat daily, and my book has several recipes. If you are still confused, I do consults for $65 a session and for more information, email me at email@example.com
Fireworks and Noise Phobia
It is important to keep dogs and cats INDOORS during fireworks. Turning up the TV or radio can help block some of the firework noise. Other helpful remedies include:
- Melatonin, which is an amino acid found at most health food stores and can help calm dogs. This is given at 1mg to 3mg about 1 hour before the expected stressful event.
- DAP collars or infusers made from the hormones of lactating dogs can help calm dogs during fireworks. These need to be used 3 days before the expected event for the best results.
- Thunder jackets are also helpful. Thunder jackets are a tight-fitting garment made for dogs that help calm and soothe them when they are frightened. These can be found online and come in a variety of sizes for both small and large dogs.