Holistic Wellbeing, Healthy Lifestyle and Nutrition for our pets – especially dog
I don’t pretend to know everything about doggy nutrition, holistic wellbeing and health but I do know all about shit food and healthy nutritious food. I understand about the dangers of processed foods and the need to eat a biologically appropriate diet (BARF), it is the same for humans as it is for dogs (pets). We have not evolved internally from hunter gatherers, our gut and digestion and nutritional requirements are still the same and this applies to our pets.
I will focus on dogs as this is my area of interest and who I spend most of my time with. Dogs are hunters and scavengers, they would have eaten smaller animals and scavenged anything they found from bins no matter how disgusting it might be. The vegetable/fruit they would have eaten would have come from the stomachs of the small animals they ate and they would have dined out on the whole animal – meat/bones and all.
Dogs stomachs have an acidity level of PH1, so they are going to kill any nasties they may come in contact with. Dogs would never have eaten grains or a high level of carbohydrates, the main staple of a dog’s diet is bone / protein / fats.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to a dog’s diet is as follows:
10% from carbohydrates from vegetables and fruit
60-70% from protein
10% from organ meat
10% from bone
Dr Conor Brady has some great information on his site on the Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding (BARF) Diet. As well as lots of other interesting resources on keeping your pet healthy. I have recently just purchased his book Feeding Dogs the science behind the dry vs raw debate. I also have Dr Ian Billinghurst book the BARF Diet which is small and easy to digest to start with. (All links will be at the end of the blog to do your own research and reading)
Before I started Doggums Premium Home from Home Stays, I was a Personal Trainer / Health Coach so I am fully up to date with nutrition, health and wellbeing for 2 legged things……….. The most important thing for man/woman/girl/boy is nutrition (diet), exercise, stress management, sleep and community (tribe). If we have not got our shit together then this will reflect on to our dogs (pets).
As humans we should not be eating convenience / processed foods, why would this be any different for our four legged friends. Think of kibble / dried food as convenience / processed foods. Humans should be eating MEAT, fish, vegetables, fruit, everything that is grown from the land, trees, seas and seasonal, I do not think our dog’s needs are far from this. They need different amounts and can eat raw but they still need meat/fish, fat, vegetables, fruit; real food, not fake or over refined products.
We all need a good variety of these foods and not the same thing every day. Our dogs need to eat a variety of foods, no one meal can be complete or balanced, we get the balance and completeness from what we eat over a day, week and month.
Our poor pets are suffering the same ills that we are – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, skin issues, gut issues, olfactory problems etc. Why? Because they eat the same shit poor diets that we do. It is all about eating biologically appropriate diets. For dogs this is raw and if not raw then at the very least wet foods without any nasties, additives or preservatives. You will find when you feed yourself the right food (diet) your energy levels increase, you sleep well, you’re calmer, well rested, you’re less stressed, you do not have a mid morning/afternoon crash, you’re fuller for longer, you’re focused, you’re not bloated, and on top of all that your hair, skin, eyes, nails look amazing and your waistline will decrease. This is exactly what will happen for your dog. We should not reduce what we are eating but maybe look at WHAT we are eating?
We must do our research if we want to buy commercial food products for our pets, checking exactly what is in this and the compositions, the same as we check what is in our foods. A great site for this which, one of my doggy’s owners shared with me is All About Dog Food – I have had loads of fun on this site, playing around with the protein/carb/fat ratio and removing any nasties like additives, preservatives, grains, palm oil etc. Hours of fun here……. Check what you are feeding your dog at present to see what is in it and the ratios. It gives you cost per meal etc, as well so feeding your pet quality food does not have to break the bank.
For myself I cook just about everything from scratch, to ensure there are no hidden nasties in my food and we can do the same for our dogs (pets), but if this feels like too much then there are ready made alternatives that you can buy, see above link.
Our wellness, as well as our dogs (pets) starts in our gut. The gut is the second brain, and we need to feed it so it can ensure we stay well. The gut microbiome is of the utmost importance, we have billions of microbial in there, some good and some not so good but if we are eating the right things then this should all be easily kept in balance. We and our dogs (pets) are so far removed from our biological appropriate diets that we have to really think about what we put into our bodies to keep the balance right. As well as the meat, fish, veg, fruit we need to ensure we are eating prebiotic, probiotic and antioxidants foods as well. This would be easy if our food was fresh, local, non-toxic, and had no chemicals, preservatives or additives added. Even when we eat a good diet we have to think about supplementation and the same thing can be needed for your dog. Not necessarily in every meal but to play a role in the dog’s diet over time. Again, Dr Ian antioxidants book and the online resources below from holistic veterinarians will talk about this and the options you have.
The bottom line when it comes to our dogs (pets), ditch the kibble and start feeding them fresh/raw foods. Dogs get most of their hydration/water from their food, if they are eating kibble then this is not so. If your dog is on kibble, start adding water to it or better still bone broth, then look to move your dog over to wet/raw food. Yes, there will be some transition where your pet might have a dodgy tummy or snub the food (I doubt it) but I would preserve with this. Always be careful when changing your dog’s diet, do your research and read the recommended books to make sure you do the transition to get the best outcomes. Please do speak with your veterinarian if you are unsure, this is my opinion on the information I am reading but ultimately it is your decision for your pet.
One thing some people have said is my dog prefers kibble, if they have only known this then they know no better, but a dog will not starve so give it raw/wet food only or add a bit more to the kibble and take more of the kibble away as you do this then they should become accustomed to the new foods. Think of kibble as the candy and raw/wet food as the steak, think of the dog as a 2-year-old and not a full-grown adult, given the choice most children will go for the candy (as they know no better and the candy will give them the fake chemical stimulation of enjoyment and addictiveness but there is no nutritional health benefit to be had and they will need more and more candy to feel satiation but at the same time will be getting fatter but are nutritionally starved), take that away and give the steak only, they will eat that over not eating at all and eventually come to enjoy it and feel more satiated by it.
If you are unsure, talk to your veterinarian about raw/wet food, my only hope is that they are open to what the evidence is suggesting and they are about holistic wellbeing and not all about making money and listening to the corporations trying to sell their shitty kibble and meds.
This is what I have taken from what I have learned so far from reading the following and listening to many holistic vets.
I will keep sharing what I learn and if you have any questions please do feel free to ask, I am not a vet, just an interested dog lover who can see what is happening to our beloved pets and can very easily connect the dots, the same as I have done with human health. We have an innate knowing, follow your intuition, be a critical thinker, do your research and always ask questions. Never just take things from one source.
I would highly recommend reading/listening to the following people who are Doctors of Veterinary Medicine, speakers to empower you and give you all the information you need to know when it comes to your dog (pets) nutrition.
The BARF Diet – book and more (AUS)
RAW food diet – blog (AUS)
The Forever Dog – book – co-wrote (UK)
The Forever Dog – book – co-wrote (USA)
Planet paws – website
Dr Nick Thompson – Holistic vet (UK)
Dr Matthew Muir – inflammation in dogs fed kibble
Pure animal collective podcast – various veterinarians talking about all topics related to animal wellness
This is not an exhaustive list, I am sure there are many more amazing people who I have not come across yet. I will keep searching up and continue to share for your dogs holistic well being, health and nutrition.