Stories from a holistic veterinarian: 10 Ways to Connect with Your Dog #6: Fido’s Feast
“Stories from a holistic vet” is the blog of Dr. Laurel Davis, a holistic vet and “animal interpreter” with a clinic in Asheville, NC and also offering intuitive animal health and lifestyle advice for animal companions and their human friends across the USA.
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Want comprehensive or detailed dog or cat advice? Schedule an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype consultation.
“Sam has been going off his food lately. He comes to breakfast sooo happy, stares at the bowl and then walks away. He might go back later and eat some,” Candace said, sighing heavily. Sam, an 8-year-old black Labrador Retriever mix, was busily rummaging through the Sunvet toy basket, scouting out a choice stuffed animal to gnaw on.
This familiar scenario plays out surprisingly often with my newer clients and their furry partners. Of course, as a holistic veterinarian, I want to make sure there is no underlying organic cause for Sam’s reluctance to chow down. A thorough exam and some bloodwork indicate that, on the whole, Sam is a healthy dog. As I check in with clinical kinesiology, he reveals that he is just “plain and simple” doggone tired of the dry, dull lumps that forever line the bottom of his bowl.
So, you doggie people, here are some techniques to help you create the ultimate eats for your healthy pup. Your pal will be salivating right down to the last sloppy stroke of his tongue.
1. Always include something moist with what you feed: Water, broth, or simply use some moister foods. Dry food literally sucks moisture from your friend’s body as it is digested and metabolized.
2. People food is fine to add to your 4-legged’s meal. In general, I recommend adding only meat and veggies at a ratio of 70% meat to 30% veggies. Remember to subtract some of the commercial dog food so you are not feeding him or her too many calories.
3. Inquiring minds want to know: Dog food, here’s how I rank ‘em:
Home-made meals are the best.
Freeze dried organic meals
Freeze-dried non-organic meals
Higher protein, lower carbohydrate organic canned
Higher protein, lower carbohydrate organic dry
Higher protein/ lower carbohydrate non-organic canned
Higher protein / lower carbohydrate non-organic dry
No corn, wheat, soy organic canned
No corn, wheat, soy organic dry
No corn, wheat, soy non-organic canned food
No corn, wheat, soy non-organic dry
Low end canned food
Low end, mostly grain dry food….yuck.
This may not be ranked perfectly, but you catch my drift. Homemade is the best, and the best book for learning how to make it is sold in our store here.
4. Rotate! Start from a young age and vary the foods you feed. Biggest reasons for this are to feed diverse nutrients and to create a dog whose digestive system can handle any food challenge. Most of you are familiar with the ‘sensitive stomach’ dog. Many times, this comes from only feeding one kind of dog food for periods of time.
5. Do not over-feed. Your pooch should come to a meal just hankering for her repast. Keep your pal on the slimmer side. You should be able to feel her ribs through a small amount of body fat.
6. Watch the treats. Feed the same quality treats as you would food, and again, don’t over-feed.
If you are curious about doing some supplementing with homemade food, there are several venues to explore. Many companies make homemade food. In Asheville, here at Sunvet Animal Wellness Clinic, on Haywood Street downtown, we sell Fudd’s raw beef-, chicken- and duck-based dog foods. Kristi King’s company, Green Earth Pet Foods www.greenearthpetfood.com/ sells organic dog and cat food through Greenlife Grocery. Here at Sunvet Animal Wellness Clinic, we sell the book Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats by well-known veterinarian Karen Becker. This book can be used to simply get a feel for how you can play around with combinations of food …or to go hog wild and start making your own food.
Above all, have fun. The effort and love flowing from you into Fido’s feast will be evident in the bright eyes, wagging tail and smiling face as he dances at your feet in anticipation!
Order Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats book now.
Order our Critter’s Choice food products online or come by our Asheville NC clinic for a larger selection.
Dr. Laurel Davis is a holistic vet offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere.
Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinic.
Read more patient stories.
Get to know Dr. Laurel by reading her blog.
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