Lake Tahoe Wolf Rescue

 Feeding Your Canine

All canines (and felines) benefit from a natural diet of real food, raw meats and vegetables and a little bit of pureed organic cooked legumes and root vegetables - but Wolves and Wolfdogs are especially susceptible to the diseases and digestive problems often seen when processed commercial food is fed exclusively. So I am trying to give a broad and basic formula for feeding your canine. You can do variations, but this will give you a good idea of where to begin. See my Turkey Recipe for a good place to start.

Very Important! Remember, when feeding a real-food diet exclusively, you must add in vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, minerals and bone meal to create a well-balanced meal. Otherwise, your dog can suffer from vitamin and nutritional dificiency.

FLUORIDE WARNING! Combined with the high amounts recently found in 8 out of 10 pet food brands, a 10-pound puppy would be exposed to 3.5 times the EPA's standard for this toxic mineral. Larger pets would get even more. And more is not good as excessive exposure may be linked to bone and other cancers as well as 16 other serious conditions. Check out this link for more information:

The main benefit of feeding fresh food is that it isn’t processed. High-heat processing of pet food – especially kibble – creates potent carcinogens like acrylamide and heterocyclic amine. Needless to say, these cancer-causing by products of processing won’t be listed on any pet food ingredient list. But they are extremely dangerous, even in small amounts. When this food is fed day in and day out I feel there’s a definite connection between these carcinogens and the rising rates of cancer in today’s pets.

The guidelines used for the production of commercial pet foods are those that will be adequate for maintenance. "Adequate for maintenance" means basically - sufficient to live! Such food provides enough to maintain an already healthy animal, but sometimes it can cause a healthy animal to become weakened. But let's briefly take a look at what goes into commercial pet food. Most grocery-store pet foods start off with the term "by-products" which are obtained from slaughterhouses, and are listed on the INGREDIENTS label as chicken by-products, beef by-products, etc. By-products are all the parts of the slaughtered animal that are not fit for human consumption, i.e. beaks, feathers, hooves, diseased organs, tumors and rancid scraps and sawdust swept up from the floor, etc. Some are benign. Others can contain toxic materials. Shockingly, some 140,000 tons of poultry are condemned annually, mainly due to cancer and salmonella. It is prohibited for use by human consumption, but used regularly for pet food! These "slaughterhouse wastes" are often loaded with drug residues from antibiotics and growth hormones given to the livestock to help them fight the diseases of poor living standards. The other source of "meat" bought by pet-food manufacturers is obtained from Rendering Plants. That's where all discarded animal carcasses are taken and processed ... i.e. road kill, downed farm animals, euthanized pets from Animal Control Shelters, etc. (upon observing the carcasses being lowered into the giant meat grinder/processor, I noticed that the plastic bags that contain the carcasses of the euthanized animals are also thrown into the mix, along with other debris that is scooped up with the decaying bodies). One never knows the reason for the deaths of these animals. They could have died from poisoning or disease. Here are just some of the elements found by laboratories in processed commercial pet foods listed as "by-products":

Slaughterhouse Floor Wastes

Toxic products from spoiled foodstuffs

Heavy-metal contaminants

Drugs used to euthanize shelter animals

Sugar, sucralose, xylitol and other artificial sweeteners

Pesticides and herbicides

Drug residues from farm animals

Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Bacteria and fungi contaminants

Rancid foodstuffs from being stored for long periods of time in discount warehouses.

Plastic from packaged, expired meat from grocery stores

Plastic from bags of euthanized animals from shelters

Pentobarbital in euthanized animals from shelters

Non-nutritive fillers -i.e. beaks, feathers, fur, dirt

... all good reasons to supply your beloved pets with a healthy, "real food" diet. By feeding various toxins and pollutants it actually increases the body's need for high-quality nutrients necessary for combating and eliminating these very contaminants! These toxins put stress on the kidneys, liver and other organs. Food allergies and other sensitivities are often caused by the stress these inadequate foods put on the immune system and the elimination system, and frequently disease doesn't show up for months or even years. Pancreatitis, much more common now and which is on the rise lately, is completely curable by changing to a proper diet (unless of course, it was allowed to progress to a fatal degree). Hot spots - that are diagnosed as sensitivities to heat or allergies - often clear up soon after the animal is put on a high-quality more nutritive diet.  [Often vets recommend bathing the animal often with  "special  shampoos"  which only dries out the natural oils on the dogs' skin making it more vulnerable to parasites and other skin irritations]. So Bathing the animal less frequently often yields better results over the long run. Feeding Omega 3 oils helps these conditions considerably. You can give via capsules or feed Sardines or Mackerel. Avoid Tuna and other large fish as they are very high in mercury and heavy metals.

Basically, processed food is still processed food, whether it is expensive or cheap, for humans or for pets. The meat in dry food [kibble] is boiled, baked, and baked again until there is nothing healthy or real about it. Then it is sprayed with vitamins to help "enrich" it back to a food product. It then goes on long journeys in trucks traveling nationwide in hot weather; sits on shelves in the warehouses; sits on shelves in the grocery stores - how fresh is this? Feeding fresh, human-grade food from your grocery store is healthier and often less expensive if you buy when on sale. You can make enough for a month and freeze it. And remember - you can feed less volume because this food contains more nutrition!

All processed foods (both pet and human) - whether sold in cans, bags or frozen packages, from either supermarket chains or local health food stores - are missing something that seems to me to be the most important "nutrient" of all... Life Energy! It all has to be pasteurized and/or homogenized - which means heated until all bacteria is killed - along with all live enzymes, vitamins and nutrients. That is why they have to spray those supplements back on the food but it's not quite the same [usually synthetic or man-made vitamins which expire or oxidize once exposed to the air]. Nor are they as complete. If you prefer the convenience of commercial pet foods then Frozen Raw, dehydrated or freeze dried pet food is better than canned, and canned is better than dry kibble. Dry kibble is high-heat processed and is dehydrating for the animal, making them drink more water - which puts more stress on the kidneys. Cats should avoid dry food altogether.

Switching over. Sometimes it's difficult to switch our dog or cat over to a healthy diet because the pet is fussy and won't eat it. That is often because commercial pet foods are filled with flavor enhancers (yes, there is MSG in some which is labeled "natural flavoring"). I've seen ingredients such as sugar, molasses, honey, artificial colors, sorbitol, sucralose, xylitol and sodium nitrate in pet foods, especially treats. So it's just like trying to get our kids off French fries and greasy but flavorful hamburgers and getting them to eat their [bland] broccoli and carrots. Not easy! I sprinkle some Bone Dust (bone meal) on top and they love it.

Speaking of carrots, many dog lovers give their pets raw, whole carrots for treats thinking they are doing them a favor. Remember, carrots convert to sugar and there is a higher incidence of diabetes in dogs now than ever, simply because many of their foods and treats contain molasses, sugar, grains and other carbohydrates [which convert to sugar]. Carrots are also high in natural vegetable cellulose and are difficult for them to break down and digest. Raw carrots therefore put a burden on the dog's digestive system over time, and are especially hard on senior dogs. Raw carrots are best pureed and mixed into their dinner for maximum nutrition and digestibility and in very small amounts - i.e. a teaspoonful. They should be avoided with pets that have diabetes. You can also find freeze dried or dehydrated carrots in some of the better pet foods which are easier to digest.

One of the most important things is getting rid of most of the carbohydrates in the diet. Dogs and cats are carnivores – meat-eaters - though many people believe dogs aren’t true carnivores because their bodies can process grains and starches but with difficulty. The fact is that while a dog’s body can process biologically inappropriate food, it’s not a diet that allows him to thrive and they actually makes his system work harder. Why feed the beloved animal in your life food that doesn’t help him to thrive? Why deliberately feed food his body must adapt to, when you can feed a diet of adequate, Species-appropriate meat protein that is easily digested, along with a moderate amount of raw fat, and fewer chemicals and preservatives? For dogs that have liver or kidney problems, keep the protein content lower using free-range poultry, a small amount of pureed organic vegetables and greens rather than red meat, grains and carbs. More smaller meals is also better rather than one or two large meals.

See my Turkey Recipe if you would like to get some ideas and learn how to make your own nutritious and healthy food for your dog. Check out a few of the books I've recommended for some other great recipes. Very often - just by putting your dog on a healthy diet - disease clears up and a new life energy appears. you just have to be patient as natural remedies work slower than drugs but the lasting affect is a thriving happy animal.

Again - Very Important! When feeding a home-made diet exclusively, you must add in vitamins, minerals and fluoride-free bone meal to create a well-balanced meal. Otherwise, your dog can suffer from vitamin and nutritional dificiency. Google some healthy supplements. I like Fidonutrients by K-9 Health, SPIRUGREEN by Mercola, and Dr. Bob Goldstein's Health Nuggets. Proboitics and digestive enzymes must be added, as well as Fish oils (Omega 3) is a good start!

I often refer to many holistic books to help treat an animal and put them on a healthy regime. Much of this information is obtained from them as well as 25 years of research in nutrition and holistic approaches.

Some to start with ... Dr. Royal has written a new book called The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets. I also like Dr. Karen Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats; and one of my favorites Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats  -  be sure to get the latest version of each because not only do they contain guidance for feeding, but some have lots of holistic and homeopathic remedies for healing as well as recommendations for injuries, whelping, raising litters and more; and the Manual of Natural Veterinary Medicine by Susan Wynn and Steve Marsden is also great to add to your arsenal. A great book to learn about healing with essential oils is ADR II (The Animal Desk Reference 2) by Melissa Shelton DVM/Holistic Veterinarian. These books are great for the beginner as well.