Cooking for our Dogs and Naturopathy
By Sheila Serack
First off, I would like to say that I am not a complete expert
in this area , yet! There is far to much I have yet to learn.
However, a few years ago, becoming concerned, with the quality
of the dog foods that we are feeding our dogs, The increase in
skin and coat problems I am seeing in dogs, and generally the
increase in all health problems we are starting to see, I decided
to persue knowledge with respect to improving my dogs chances
at leading a long and healthy life, with as few visits to the
vet as possible other than for the standard vaccinations etc.
I have discovered that what we feed our dogs goes a long way to
affecting their health, when a serious health problem crops up,
I have been seeing that starting with the basics such as the food
we feed, can be the underlying culprit in quite a number of problems,
and food and supplementation with herbs and vitamins can help
control or clear up problems. Think of it this way, if it works
for humans, why won`t it work for our animals. Would we consider
eating the kind of food (Kibble) we feed our animals made usually
from poor quality meats and grains etc, day in and day out for
years? How healthy would we be after a diet like this, what would
our temperments be like? What would our skin and hair be like,
what diseases would we be prone to, what would our chances be
of surviving some of the more serious diseases or ability to fight
them based on an over processed poor quality diet? I am not saying
that a good quality dog food naturally preserved is a bad thing,
I think though that we should also be adding fresh healthy food
on a daily basis to our dogs food, or even better yet learn to
formulate a totally natural diet for them to feed on a daily basis,
when we are not on the road traveling to shows etc.
This is what I will be addressing in a series of articles over the next little while, in the hopes that it will help, I will start off by giving you a natural dog food diet to follow to start off with, and references to appropriate reading material that can be purchased from book suppliers so that you can gain further insight and information.
The basic diet that follows is taken from The complete Handbook for the Dog and Cat by Juliette Baracli Levy. Try to add variety whenever you can, quantities will need to ba adjusted according to size of your dogs. The vitamin amounts here are correct for an average 65 lb dog. Young puppies are fed differently.
Basically, feed about one third meat, one third vegetables and one third grains. You might want to feed the grains and meat separately for better digestion. Usually it is recommended to feed a midday meal and an evening meal, but this depends on your dog and your schedule, I found with my dogs , they are not interested in eating midday, and it was hard to get them to accept the grain and vegies without meat in it as well, they did, but only under protest, so I have tailored my dog food diet to suit them, which means, mixing it all together.
Cereals need to be presoaked to be easily digested. Premeasure dry cereal and bran in the morning and let it soak for at least 3-4hours. Or you can put the dry cereal into a container, fill it with water, and put it into the fridge. It will keep for a few days like this.
All food should be served at room temperature.
Vegies need some preparation. Put them thru a food processor, so they are very finely chopped. For some animals with a weaker digestion system, vegies can be pureed till they regain good digestive tone. To save time process enough vegies for a week. Add vegies to the meat meal or give with the cereal meal. Or as I said, put it all together.
Cereal Meal: Use 1 to 2 cups dry measurement of Barley flakes
and Large Oat flakes (not quick oats) of equal measure. Add 2
tblsp of Bran, and a 1/4 tsp of a Special Blend Herbal Supplement
which can be, Solid Golds Seameal or you can contact Marina Zacharias,
as she carries Levi`s supplements, or use the new Missing Link
powder put out by Udo Urasmus. 1000mg of Vit C.. Cottage cheese
to flavor, if you want or do what i do, and that is soak the grains
in a half, and half comb of buttermilk and yogurt with water.
1 tblsp sunflower oil or flax oil, or canola oil, as long as it
is coldpressed from the health food store. Goats milk can also
be used, however , if you have a dog with a weight problem, stick
with water, but you can still use the yogurt.
Meat Meal: use 12oz to 1 1/4 lbs raw meat. Marine uses poultry
with a mixture of organ parts(not liver) and flesh meat, and she
uses Turkey for poultry, as chickens are not that healthy compared
to turkey. Use equal parts turkey hearts, gizzards and ground
I also use poultry, but for the most part I use Beef, fed naturally, beef has not been a problem for my dogs and they love it. I occasionally use lamb, but they do not seem to care for it very much, The beef I get is usually unbleached beef tripe, kidneys, heart, I buy regular ground beef on sale, even chuck steak when its on sale, and beef liver. I have now adjusted to when I feed liver it is mostly always cooked. when making the basic transition, cut meat in smaller pieces of about a quarter and increase in size later so they get good chewing action. Ground meat is not as desirable as flesh meat, but it is economical. To the meat add : 2-400 iu. of Vit E. 1000mg of Vit C,, 1 tblsp of Human grad bonemeal, obtainable from health food stores, 5 tblsp of bran, 1 tblsp of wheat germ, 1/2 to 1 tsp of a Kelp supplement, ie; Seameal, ultra kelp or what have you. 1 cup of chopped carrots with 2-3 tblsp of other chopped vegies, depending on what is in season, a heaping tblsp of chopped greens( This is very important), use parsley, cress or dandelion--blend them in a food processor, l tblsp of the suggested oils, ( in the winter add an extra tblsp of cod liver oil). Add water or juice from the meat and mix. Egg yolks can be given up to 3 times weekly with meat.
Feed meat no more than 4-5 times a week if possible. For those
who need to lose weight, substitute tuna packed with water 1 or
On Saturday, feed regular cereal in the morning, but cook brown
whole grain rice for dinner. Or repeat the barley/oats but in
larger quantities. Supplements remain the same.
Sunday-- Juliette and many others insist that all animals should
be given one day of fasting. The benefits are many and if you
can overcome big brown eyes, it is a verified method of cleansing
the system. and is truly better for them in the long run. On the
fast honey, grape juice, vegetable broth, or milky meals such
as yogurt can be given. Soaked Senna pods can be given before
bed to help the cleansing process. Soak 5-7 pods in 3-5 tblsp
of water in morning. Let soak all day. Take out pods and add honey
to the liquid to give flavor and feed. Discard the pods.
At first this looks like a lot of work, but once you are used
to it, it gets very fast to do.
If you are uncomfortable feeding raw, do cook your meat, you will lose some of the benefits, but I feel that compared to feeding processed kibble, it is a great improvement. I do recommend that you do feed them some raw meat daily, they develope a much stronger digestive system that way and are able to combat contaminants and infections better, if they have a strong digestive tract, that is the whole purpose of feeding raw and natural.
I also buy them huge beef bones a couple of time a month to clean their teeth and obtain a natural source of bone meal, you can also check out your local butrchers, and ask them what they do with the bone dust, which is a mixture of bone shavings and meat and fat, and ask them to save it for you, feed that to your dogs, it is excellent baked and crumbled into their food, or thrown into a pot and boiled with vegies to make a healthy broth.
If you have to travel with your dogs or leave them in some
elses care, then in a pinch, use a good quality naturally preserved
dog food, Ie: Wysong, Flint River, Precise, Natures Recipe etc.
or get creative, and using the one third of each rule, make a
dog food loaf, add extra oil for binding, garlic, etc for flavoring,
incl the bran and wheat germ and kelp etc, and some eggs as well,
and bake , then freeze. Don`t forget to use your imagination.
I personally like to supplement about 3-4 times a week, with a good mulit-vit, mineral human comb. vitamin. I also add Probiotic cultures and digestive enzymes. Probiotic cultures are obtained at any health food store, under the term Acidopholus, bifidus etc. Digestive enzymes go under the names of DR. Goodpet, Prozyme, K-zyme. and there are probably a few others, that I am not aware of . I know that a lot of pet food stores in the states sell the digestive enzymes, such as Petsmart, but we in Canada can only obtain them through the usual pet supply mail order houses. I would classify digestive enzymes as very useful, and Probiotic cultures as extremely important.
I will end this article for now , with the following reccommendations,
Do, Do buy Juliette Baracli Levy`s book that I mentioned above,
it is a much more detailed plan with excellent advice and solutions
to problems. My other favoirte books are The Natural Remedy Book
for Dogs and Cats by Diane Stein, Let`s Cook for our Dog by Edmund
R. Dorosz, B.S.A., D.V.M.. If you have access to a mail order
book supplier for dogs and cats, these are easily obtainable.
Or check out your local booksellers at dog shows.
I have heard of the Ian Billinghurst book on diet, as well
as Wendy Volhards book, unfortunately I do not have a copy of
them, so I cannot comment on what I have not seen, but from what
I have heard, they are on the same track.
Another source of advice and supplements is Marina Zacharias, This lady has made a lifes work of this diet and supplementation and is always willing to help, she can be contacted at P.O. Box 1436, Jacksonville, Oregon. 97530. Phone (503) 899-2080 or fax her at (503) 899-3414.
In future articles, I hope to address the use of supplements and herbs, in detail, I hope you have enjoyed this one, and if you need to ask me anything, contact me at 12723-256th Street, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada, V4R 1 C2, Ph: (604) 462-8501. or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org