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With the recent pet food recalls

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					With the recent pet food recalls, I want to start my dog on an all natural diet that I prepare for her. I have several books that discuss this option and have gradually started introducing her to some of the foods that are mentioned. My question is what ratio of protein, grains, and veggies do you suggest? Also, is it enough just to give my dog a multivitamin along with her natural diet or do I need to give her other things such as olive oil, flax, extra fats, etc.? Thank you! You are starting down on of the most rewarding journeys of your life. Feeding your dog what her physiology and anatomy have designed her to eat is a big step towards great health. First, there are no "correct" answers. There is no "the best" way to feed because every dog is different. As you know, there are hundreds of different approaches to food for people - high protein, high fat, vegan, food separating, avoiding certain foods, focusinig on others. Eat this supplement, don't eat that. Eat at these times, not those times. Cook the meat or vegetables or eat raw. Sprout or do not sprout. The same is true about feeding animals. To help you be more comfortable with the choices you make, I suggest the following key points. 1. Pay attention to where you get the ingredients. Try to buy from local farmers, especially ones that have free range (meaning living outside, eating grass and enjoying the sun and air) livestock, feed all or mostly organic and raise vegetables organically. If not available, then fresh from the grocery will be better than processed. Venison is a great source of meat for most dogs that can often be obtained for free from the farmers whose crops are being consumed by the deer. Call local butchers and hunting clubs. They may sell you the discards at a low price. Call the hunters to ask them to bring you the "innards" usually discarded. Take the bag to the butcher who will freeze it, then cut it into chunks for you. Join with others to form a dog meat buying club and sharing freezers or meat lockers. Use Craig's list to find inexpensive freezers. Get vegetables left over from making the produce look good in the store. Call CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) because they often raise too much of something their memebers do not like and would sell it inexpensively. They are organic. There are an increasing number of supplement companies. Make sure they are using sources for ingredients that are sustainable (help the planet) and organic if possible. Although I prefer natural to synthetic vitamins and minerals, other veterinarians may differ. 2. Know the anatomy and physiology of the dog digestive system - they have ripping and tearing teeth, one set of bone crunching molars and they do NOT have teeth to grind up vegetables, grains or meat (so ground meat is not as normal). They have a small, very muscular stomach and short digestive tract of very high acidity. They are designed to eat whole prey and rotting carcasses: muscle, bone, organ, intestine filled with predigested vegetables and pelt. Their prey rarely eat grains like rice, oats, wheat so dogs do not normalls have grains in their diet. They do not have the teeth, nor the long digestive tract to absorb grains or nutrients from whole vegetables.They do not pull out matches, build a fire and cook the meat. They do not pull out a knife and debone the prey nor vomit up bones undigested. They may eat some whole vegetables, graze on grass or herbs (sometimes to cleanse their system) or eat herbivore stool. 3. Know your dog's health status before you switch. Make a list of the ailments your dog has currently or in the past, especially ones related to the digestive tract (diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, thirst). Go to the Early Warning Signs of Illness (www.ChristinaChambreau.com) and record any of those. On a scale of 0 - 10,

measure your dog's eneregy level and emotional state. This is important because some foods are better for some dogs than others, so you need to have a clear "what's so" before you change the diet. The Healthy Animal's Journal makes this very easy, but any notebook can do. 4. Do your research and know some options. Good nutrition guides include Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, The New Natural Cat, It's for the Animals "Cook" Book, Cat Care, Naturally, and Reigning Cats and Dogs. The Whole Dog Journal is excellent and has feeding related articles in every issue. Many other good books, tapes & web sites are available Do you use just one cookbook or nutritional guide? Your animals need the same individualized consideration. An excellent tape on commercial pet foods and the raw meat diet is by Jean Hofve of API when she spoke at the Holistic Veterinary Medical Association's Annual conference in 2000. Initially decide how healthy is your dog? If not that healthy you want to change slowly, not feed grains, and introduce new foods one at a time. If, or when your dog becomoes healthy, you can introduce grains (see Dr. Pitcairn's newest edition) as grains use a lot less energy than meat to produce, so helps heal our planet. Grains no grains? Cooked meat - raw meat? Purchased raw meat diet - make your own? Chunks of meat - ground meat? Type of meat from a Chinese perspective - some meats are warming and some are cooling and your dog may do better with one or the other (Four Paws, Five Directions). Supplements? 5. Supplements - The major supplement is to feed is Calcium if you are not feeding whole bones that your dog is eating. This can be egg shells, bonemeal, Merritt Naturals Sea Calcium or Wysong's Call of the Wild (has other good ingredients, too). This is critical for health since muscle meat has high phosphorus that needs to be countered by the Calcium or illness will result. A second often needed supplement, though not as critical, is a good digestive enzyme/probiotic. There are many excellent brands. Ask your integrative veterinarian what brands she carries or recommends. For all other supplements there is much debate. Try one or a few or a recipe that you feel is good (or that your intuitive says is good for this special dog). Then track the symptoms she started with to see if she has more energy, more emotional stability and the early warning signs improve. If they do not, try some other supplements. I suggest changing supplements periodically, often finishing one bottle and changing to another. You may have 3-5 favorites you switch among. Every fresh feeding person and practitioner has specific opions as to which other supplements are needed. If there are skin problems then oil combinations designed for dogs are excellent (the ratios differ between people and animals). If there are possible joint issues, then certain herbs and nutrients are good. If there are mucous membrane problems there are specific supplents (glucosamine and others) to address these from a dietary perspective. Personally I think it is good to give Vitamin C and some oils to all animals and CoQ10 to older or compromised animals. You WILL need more supplements if you are using lower quality meats. Many studies have shown higher nutrient content in organic and pasture products. 6. Proteins - every dog is different and variety will help you balance the diet. Dogs need 25% - 60% protein, and a few can be healthy with a vegetarian diet.. As mentioned before, raw meat is the best since cooking destroys enzymes and denatures the proteins rendering them less digestible to dogs. Feeding chunks of meat lets your pet exercise jaw muscles, form saliva and enzymes in the stomach (most animals swallow their food relatively whole) needed to digest food properly. Ground meat is passable for most animals, but Juliette de Bairacli Levy said, "minced meat is lethal to animals". You can buy in quantity and freeze in portions. (Freezing only slightly decreases the nutritional value, kills parasites but not bacteria at certain temperatures). An excellent meat is heart meat (good price, too). A must to read on the topic of raw meat is Pottinger's Cats.

An M.D. in the 1930's kept 3 groups of cats in large outdoor enclosures. He found that feeding raw meat, raw milk and cod liver oil produced great health, including reproductive and offspring's health. When either the milk or the meat was cooked, health deteriorated rapidly. We rarely see illnesses from Salmonella, E. coli, and toxoplasmosis due to the intestinal flora of dogs and cats. Fish, dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, rabbit, venison, organic pork can all be fed and it is best to rotate them as is best for you and your dog. 7. Vegetables and more. As already discussed, low carbohydrate vegetables need to be pureed (using a juicer is even better - feed the pulp and the juice) for absorption. Fruits are great. Grains (I put corn in this category) are not as good for most dogs, though better for the environment. They do need to be overcooked for better absorption. For snacks, whole pieces of fruits and vegetables are great. 8. How much to feed? Start with the same VOLUME you have been feeding. 1 C of dog food equals 1 C of meat and veges. Stools may be smaller because she is better absorbing her food. If the dog is too hungry increase the amount, increasing weight - decrease the amount. TOO MUCH INFORMATION. TOO HARD. TOO COMPLICATED. TOO EXPENSIVE. TOO MANY DIFFERENT OPINIONS. WHAT DO I REALLY NEED TO DO? My personal recomendation is to start with 50% meaty bones/other proteins and 50% pureed vegetables and 0% grains/corn. Buy the protein. Put your food processer or juicer on the counter. Evdery time you cut a hard or bad art off a vegetable, put it into the processor. Pour in the water from steaming your vegetables and then add your leftovers (even rice, potatoes, etc). Puree at meal time and unwrap the meaty bones. Feed both. See, that was easy. If your dog is healthy (see the Early Warning Signs list at www.ChristinaChambreau.com), you can try adding some grains. If not feeding bones, supplement with Calcium. Add a few supplements if you wish. Have this be 70% of the diet. Have the rest be table food. Dr. Christina Chambreau Homeopathic Veterinarian Holistic Educator www.ChristinaChambreau.com www.HealthyPetsBlog.com www.HealthyAnimalsJournal.com HealthyAnimals@aol.com 410-771-4968 908 Cold Bottom Rd Sparks, Md 21152 LEARN HOW TO USE HOMEOPATHY TO KEEP YOUR ANIMALS HEALTHY - Prince Georges Feral Friends sponsors homeoapthy classes in Bowie, MD www.HomeopathicAnimalCare.org


				
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