When I see people loading their carts with Pedigree, Ol Roy, Beneful and the other grocery brands, I cringe and feel great sadness for the poor dogs who have to eat this stuff. It's the same as if you ate potato chips every day for all your life.
Nutrition is important from the time life is conceived, this is for all beings on earth. Dogs with clear eyes, beautiful coats are not by chance. Like humans who eat good food, natural, organic, fresh fruits, vegetables, etc. they look younger, are less heavy, have beautiful skin, hair, etc.
So, let's begin with food dogs SHOULD NEVER CONSUME:
Alcohol. this is a no brainer but there are people who let their dogs drink beer, etc. This is not only cruel, but dangerous.
Avocado is wonderful for humans but a problem for most animals.
Chocolate, caffeine and coffee: they containe methylxanthines which in pets can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, and other very unpleasant, and dangerous conditions.
Citrus, stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seed can cause irritation and even central nervous depression. It's okay in tiny amounts but I have never met a dog that wanted an orange.
Coconut flesh and oil. This one was tough for me because it makes my skin and hair silky and beautiful but not for dogs. Can cause tummy upsets and we don't want that. Use Wild Salmon oil in their food, but we'll get to that later.
Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.
Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, hyperthermia. In other words, it's a no no.
Milk and dairy. Most beings are lactose intolerant, including humans. It is a fallacy that cats love milk: they don't and it gives them gas, pain, diarrhea, etc. the same symptoms we and our dogs get . Plain yoghurt, preferably homemade, recipe will be published, is allowed.
Nuts, all nuts are a no no and can cause pancreatitis, which can be very common in little dogs
Onion, garlic, chives. Again tummy issues though many people, including myself, give their dogs some raw garlic in their food because ticks don't like the taste of garlic when they suck the blood. Maybe it's an old wives tale but I have stopped giving my dogs garlic and we have no ticks so I guess it's a fallacy.
Raw/undercooked meat, eggs and bones. You are probably thinking I must be batty but no and the reason is the following: We have domesticated dogs to the point they are eternal puppies and quite incapable of fending for themselves unless they are strays and belong to a pack. However, dogs that are feral (wild) can and do attack and eat fresh flesh but it is a clean kill and the wild animal they eat has no antibiotics, or ate any of the junk farmers feed their animals. I know of one farmer who bought tons of candy from a factory that was closing and fed that to his cows!!! Cows need grass, hay but in factory farms they are fed junk, including fecal matter, which you also consume if you eat beef. Pigs are fed their ground up babies, plus fecal matter and lots of garbage. Pig farmers put a spout to pour sewage into pigs on the way to slaughter so they weigh more. This is a horrendous industry, evil and cruel and the reason I am vegan. Even if you care nothing about the suffering of these animals, you should care about what you eat.
So when you buy any type of meat, you are buying old meat, full of junk I wouldn't feed a rat but it can make your dog very sick unless it is prime flesh and from a butcher you trust. Dogs have a shorter digestive system so they are less likely than us to get salmonella but they can and do get parasites from raw flesh and eggs. You can scramble organic eggs and mix with their organic, holistic, non grain kibble but not raw eggs unless they come from your own chickens.
Salt and snack foods aren't healthy for anyone.
Xylitol is a sweetener in many goods, mostly candy and toothpaste.. It can cause insulin release in most species, which leads to liver failure. If you brush your dog's teeth, and you should, you'll save a lot on veterinary bills, you need to buy special toothpaste for dogs and just buy a toothbrush for tiny human babies or bigger if your dog is a large breed.
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in the digestive system which causes intense pain and can cause bloat, a life/death situation. Dogs don't need bread.
On this note, if you have a large chested dog, never let him exercise right after eating as it causes bloat and this means the stomach turns on itself and is very quick to kill a dog. If you suspect bloat, rush your dog to the vet. If your dog seems to aspirate his/her food, get one of those bowls that are specially made to make the dog eat slowly. They usually have little things sticking up so the dog is forced to eat around these inserts.
Okay, so you're asking what CAN I feed my dog? I personally feed a mixed diet of homemade food and premiun, organic, holistic, grain free kibble. Acana, Orijen, Natures Variety Prairie is a favourite with my dogs, it has a freeze dried coating they love. Natural Ultramix is also wonderful as is Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe with chicken and turkey. These are my recommendations based on what my dogs like and I get no endorsement or any benefit from my recommendations. I also rotate the kibble; I don't give them the same thing continuously but switch and if I find a new one, like Ziwi which is wonderful but very expensive, we try it. It's a fallacy your dog will get diarrhea from switching kibble; unless they have sensitive stomachs and need a limited diet, you can switch good brands all the time and your dogs will be happier and healthier for it.
So I use kibble as my base and because it is convenient but I never give my dogs dry kibble. If I did, I would have a rebellion. I make toppings, basically dog food to mix in with the kibble and ensure my dogs are getting all the nutrients they need to be healthy and beautiful. I make my own yoghurt but you can use plain yoghurt though comercial yoghurt has a lot of "stuff" that I don't want and yoghurt is so easy to make. I will post recipe in newsletter.
So, I buy beef hearts because they are the cleanest part of the animal. I cook these chunks with vegetables that have colour: pumpkin, carrots, red pepper, butternut squash or sweet potatoes. I use two colour vegetables and just let it simmer till veggies are semi soft. Let cool. Then the fun and creative part starts. You can mix a tin of plain sardines, spinach or broccoli, or both, depending on the amount add 1-5 tablespoons of diatomaceous earth. This has many uses, from keeping your pool clean, to putting it on your dog's coat to kill parasites inside and out. You can place it on your lawn and it helps with pests. I also add Brewer's Yeast and Chlorella or Alfalfa or spirulina powder. Dogs benefit from berries, just like us. Use blueberries or raspberries into the mix. You blitz this in a high power blender and dole it into amounts you will use into plastic containers or baggies and freeze. You mix the thawed topping and mix it with yoghurt. Depending on the size of the dog or how many you have, you just put this topping on their kibble to coat it and they love it. You can make your own recipes using other meats but don't use liver as it processes toxins. Heart is easy to find or you can ask for it. Try to use two colour veggies and one or two raw green veggies, Chard, spinach, kale, there are so many and so beautiful etc. It might inspire you to eat them yourself and you will see and feel a big difference. If you don't put the sardines or mackeral in, add Wild Salmon oil. I tend to use vegetables in season and the veggies they eat, I eat as well, except I don't eat any animal products.
My husband is not a hunter, mostly because of me, but if you are, then you can get that fresh meat instead and you can use the organs because all wild animals eat the organ meat first as they are the most nutritious but only if they are wild animals, not the supermarket stuff.
These are guidelines. I will post recipes for more toppings and recipes for treats in the newsletter. Dogs need veggies and you can add blueberries or raspberries to the topping. My dogs' treats are raw pieces of kale, chopped organic apples, romaine lettuce, carrots, broccoli in lieu of high caloric treats. Plus eating raw carrots and apples help keep their teeth clean.
Bones: I buy hocks bones and simmer them. Then I take the bones out and use the broth to make my topping. There is marrow in those bones which is highly nutritious.
So this is a tiny article on a fascinating subject. I have studied nutrition since I was 11 because I refused all animals products but was a professional ballet dancer from 8 to 21 and ballet is one of the most disciplined and demanding physical, and mental professions. I have never been anemic or had low protein levels. I look 20 years younger than I am because of the way I eat. I have had cancer twice and gotten rid of it through nutrition, eating tons of guanabana, or sour sop, a known anti carcenogenic. Food is an absolute must for any beings good health as is good, clean water. The healthier we eat, the less time we spend at the doctors. Same goes for your pets. It's cheaper to feed them well and healthy than go to the veterinarian. Just one thing, don't overfeed. Obese animals suffer as much as obese humans.
Let me know if you have questions or wish to comment on this article.