The Many Faces of Raw Feeding

Choosing your method of DIY raw feeding

There are several models and methods of feeding your dog a raw diet. However, following one specific model can be too limiting making if difficult to meet nutritional requirements without having to resort to heavy supplementation. Becoming familiar with the various raw models is an important step for knowing how best to provide for your dog’s nutrient needs.

How Should You Feed Your Dog? Carnivore vs. Omnivore

There are several models and methods of DIY raw feeding that can be followed. And behind those models and methods lie some pretty convincing philosophies and interpretations of what science has shown us about our canine companions. There are two extreme views that exist; and from my own research and education, both extremes have several shady areas that do not stand as factual. Before you can decide how and what to feed your dog, you must understand what dogs are designed to consume. Let’s take a look at these two extreme views.

Pure Carnivore
One philosophy that is hugely popular in the UK and Australia and has spread throughout Europe and to the USA is the strict carnivore model. This philosophy interprets a dog’s anatomy as purely carnivore and sees the physiology as strictly carnivore as well. While you cannot ignore the fact that a dog’s anatomy is undeniably carnivore, it isn’t quite so cut-and-dry when we examine the physiology.

Many adherents to the strict carnivore model teach that dogs do not produce salivary amylase; therefore, they conclude, dogs are strict carnivores as only omnivores produce salivary amylase. Now, in their defense, I am only part of a minute handful of people who are actually aware of the study that detected tiny amounts of salivary amylase in Beagles[1]. Herbivores, you may be surprised to learn, do not produce salivary amylase either, and yet sensitive tests have also detected it in lambs. So take both those findings for what their worth. So, yes, this is true in a sense. However, their teaching starts to go south when proponents of this view start to make claims that are clearly not proven.

It is taught that a dog’s pancreas is “strained” when carbohydrates of any kind are ingested as this requires that the pancreas must produce amylase enzyme. Carbohydrates are defined as vegetables, fruits, starches, sugars, grains, and legumes. While any organ can be strained from overwork, the function of the pancreas is to produce hormones and enzymes; therefore, normal function would not “strain” an organ. However, just like in humans, when the organ is abused (key word here) by excessive consumption of inappropriate foods, then yes, the organ will be overburdened and damage often occurs. Both the NRC and AAFCO do not list carbohydrate requirements because both know that dogs have absolutely no requirement for carbohydrates. So are the carnivore purists correct?

If this were a fact, then the high-carbohydrate commercial diets over the past one hundred years would have mass murdered millions of dogs. And since this wasn’t or isn’t the case, that in itself is proof that their claim in not entirely true. However, dogs have developed numerous health conditions, chronic disease, joint deterioration, cancer, and increased mortality at an alarming rate. So maybe there is some credibility to their claim? The answer is yes. Let’s look at the other extreme view to see why.

Omnivore
There is a large group of raw feeders and proponents of homemade cooked dog food that claim dogs are omnivores. This is the view held by the major commercial dog food manufacturers and even many veterinarians. However, the dog food companies have an agenda: dog food sales. When an agenda enters the equation, you know darn well that agendas and philosophies start to be touted as fact.

The omnivore theorists point to the fact that dogs do in fact produce pancreatic amylase. Recently, many have groped at the exhaustingly misinterpreted AMY2B gene in domestic dogs that codes for amylase enzyme. It is taught that because dogs have anywhere from four to thirty copies of the AMY2B gene, unlike their close cousin the wolf who has a mere two copies (dog DNA is only 0.2% different from the wolf), dogs, therefore, have evolved to life with humans and have turned into omnivores. Sounds factual since dogs can in fact eat high carbohydrate diets without immediate consequence (other than obesity) and dying immediately. Yet, how can we explain the rapid rise in chronic disease that just so happens to parallel human disease and the increased mortality rate in the modern canine?

The answer lies in the correct understanding of epigenetic gene expression and adaption. Dogs have simply adapted through epigenetic gene expression to survive with humans. This adaptation potential is within the DNA of ALL canines, including wolves. (Adaptation potential is actually encoded in every living being.) The exposure to high carbohydrate diets with humans turned “ON” the gene expression within dogs that codes for amylase enzyme. Each consecutive generation of domestic dog, therefore, passed the code onto their offspring until a select few breeds developed higher numbers of the gene than others. Epigenetic gene expression is common knowledge within the scientific community, but not among lay people who misinterpet scientific papers and articles (not to mention read with a biased eye). Gene expression is directly affected by diet and environment. Dogs simply adapted to life with humans. Understand that adaptation is a survival mechanism that in no way equates to thriving.

So, what was it exactly that drove the raw food movement initially? Sadly, canine disease and the increasing mortality rate. So how did this happen if dogs evolved into omnivores? Let’s be real here. Dogs are clearly anatomically NOT omnivores. This simply cannot be denied. Their teeth, jaw and jaw movement, neck, body structure, and digestive tract are in no wise omnivorous. If adaptation changed canines into omnivores, then their anatomy would have followed suit. And clearly, that is not the case. Physical (anatomical) changes are absolutely essential if something as serious as food sources has changed. One has only to look at Charles Darwin’s Galapagos Island finch study [2, 3]. The finch has coded within its DNA a genome that codes for beak shape. The finch has the adaptation ability to change beak shape entirely as a direct result of available food source and environmental conditions. The gene expression is turned “on” depend upon outside conditions. And conversely, the gene expression can be turned “off” and the beak returns to the original shape. This is observed in the offspring of the following generations as gene code expression is passed on to future generations.

Have dogs changed anatomically? Not in the least. While selective breeding plays a role in appearance and size, dogs are still structurally carnivores. They have simply adapted and increased a mere ONE gene code as a direct result of the diet offered to them by their human companions, nothing further. So what is the verdict?

Dogs are neither obligate carnivores nor are they omnivores.

Dogs are FACULTATIVE CARNIVORES. Period.

What does this mean? Biology states that facultative carnivores are “able to live under a range of external conditions” for survival purposes in the absence of their species-appropriate diet and environmental conditions.

How should you feed your dog? Like the facultative carnivore that they are!

[1] https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/…/10.…/s12917-017-1191-4

[2] https://explorable.com/darwins-finches

[3] https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/02/150211-evolution-darwin-finches-beaks-genome-science/

Should You Follow a Raw Model or Ratio?

There are several models for canine raw feeding as well as helpful ratios that can be used as guidelines for creating balanced meals. The two most popular models are Prey Model Raw (PMR) and BARF (biologically appropriate raw food). The most popular ratio guideline is 80/10/10 or 80/10/5/5 which pertains to the ratio of flesh to organ and bone in whole prey. From these original models and ratios, raw feeding has evolved. To learn more about models and ratios, read my article “Simplifying the Raw Food Models.”
https://theholisticcanine17.com/…/simplifying-the-raw-food…/

Many people tend to follow trends, the advice of friends or people close to them, or stick with what is popular. But when it comes to feeding your dog, trends, well-meaning advice, and popularity is not necessarily on the table as a good option. Nutrition is serious business. Knowing and understanding how to create meals using a model or ratio as your guide is essential to the health and wellbeing of your dog that may just have a serious impact on longevity.

While some dogs do exceptionally well on a BARF model diet, some just plain don’t. Simple as that. And where many so-called canine “nutritionists” make extremist statements such as “PMR is an unbalanced diet plan,” you absolutely cannot deny that there are generations of dogs doing exceptionally well on PMR and living to incredible ages. Also, simple as that. And, have you noticed that some dogs live to an impressively old age on kibble? As hard as that may be to swallow, it is true. Sadly, others do not and their lives are one suffering experience after another. The truth is, dogs are facultative.

Dogs are undoubtedly (and impressively) nutritionally-versatile creatures. But it is for this reason that dogs are among the most nutritionally abused animals on the planet (next to humans). The most critical question to ask is: just because dogs can be nutritionally abused without immediate consequence, does this mean they should be? I pray your answer is wholeheartedly NO.

Let me go back to the question I have posed in the section title: “Should you follow a raw food model or ratio?” What is your answer? Is there an answer? Being that my expertise is orthomolecular nutrition science coupled with my doctoral research on species-appropriate diets in humans and animals, I believe there is a definitive answer.

SPECIES-APPROPRIATE. End of story.

Species-appropriate Raw Diet

I won’t lie, I used to be a BARF model purist. As a human nutritionist, I see the value in plant-based diets (this does not mean vegetarian) and have witnessed health return to people of all ages and conditions, including stage 4 cancer. Naturally, I see incredible value in organically grown produce. How can we not share that value with our canine companions? But as time went by and my experience, research, and education expanded, I could no longer deny that PMR feeders were experiencing exceptional results and producing offspring that lived to almost unbelievable ages. Just take a look at Thomas Sandberg’s results in his own dogs and in his Long Living Pets Research Project (which, btw, my six dogs are a part of). Thomas, like myself, is a board certified holistic health practitioner and practicing naturopath…and also a PMR feeder and teacher. And he is reversing cancer! Results are results, they can’t be denied.

So what am I saying? No, I did not cross the street to the PMR purists, but nor do I adhere to BARF. I have realized that nutrition is based on each individual dog and blending the two models has produced incredible results…including cancer therapy (more on that in the future as I have an on-going study). My stance is strictly species-appropriate nutrition plans.

After reviewing the many research results on zero and low-carbohydrate diets in endurance dogs that the NRC reported on in their work “Nutrition Requirements of Dogs and Cats,” I realized that carbohydrates really do not have much value. Nor do they for humans. Since I am known as the “weight loss guru” in my human nutrition practice, I realized that I should take that same strategy to the dogs. What strategy? Low-carb nutrition plans. Since dogs have no requirement for carbohydrates, as is stated by the NRC and AAFCO, why would we need to add them when the studies showed that the zero and lowest carb diets produced the better athletic performance in the test dogs? Unlike protein and fats that have multiple vital purposes and functions, carbohydrates have but one…energy, something that fat supplies as well as protein (via gluconeogenesis in carnivores). Nothing else, no other need, and non-vital.

What do facultative carnivores eat? Prey. And when prey is in short supply, their incredible facultative adaptability allows them to survive (intended for short periods, mind you) on scavenged food, human garbage, berries and other fruit, grasses, and not much else. We need to focus on species-appropriate foods that are easy to digest, offer the highest nutrient absorption rate, and the absence of anti-nutrients that prevent nutrient absorption.

The focus of your dog’s nutrition should be species appropriate foods. Not a model, not a ratio, but foods that are best for dogs. See my article entitled “The Importance of Species-appropriate Foods for the Cultivation of Optimal Health.”
https://theholisticcanine17.com/…/the-importance-of-specie…/

Focus on your dog’s NRC nutrient requirements (which does not include carbohydrates) and create meals around those needs. Protein and fat from fresh raw mammal and poultry flesh, organs and offal, and raw meaty bones (and don’t forget fish and crustaceans!) should be your main focus. And if your dog can adequately digest, without ANY difficulties, some vegetables, seaweeds, and ground seeds in small percentages, these can offer additional value. Note, I emphasize SMALL. Fruit can be an option, but is not always appropriate. I have had enough experience to know that fruit tends to be the main cause of itching, ear conditions, and yeast overgrowth, among other issues. Fruit, like in human nutrition, needs to be offered and consumed apart from mealtime. Again, fruit should not be fed in meals, but as treats.

Never force your dog to eat vegetables and fruits. These are optional and often your dog knows that he or she cannot digest them and/or they are making them feel yucky. Be observant and examine stools. Stools are your window into the internal workings of your dog’s digestion. My six dogs do eat vegetables on occasion and once in awhile they will get berries for treats. But all in all, they don’t want them. Your dog can help you to learn quite a bit about canine nutrition. Pay attention! And when in doubt, ask a professional.

©2019 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD, BCHHP, Cert Raw Dog Food Nutritionist


Maintaining Your Dog’s Health through Daily Examinations

Regular health assessments and keeping an eye on your dog’s poop could mean the difference between health and serious illness or disease

Feeding your dog a fresh raw species-appropriate diet that is balanced and varied is the foundation for optimal health cultivation along with maintaining peak cellular performance and organ function throughout the entirety of your dog’s life. While diet is the foundation for health and health maintenance, there are numerous other factors that can contribute to the breakdown of health or inability to build health within the body. Environment, stress, chemical exposure, mental stimulation, vaccines, parasites, exercise and daily activities, fresh air, and water type, for example, all play a major role in either contributing to health or to the breakdown of health. For this reason, paying careful attention to your dog and being observant of changes is vitally important if your desire is to maintain peak cellular function and keep physical, mental, and emotional stress to a healthy minimum.

While it would be wonderful if our dogs could verbally communicate any health concerns, pain, difficulties, fears, and changes, the burden is, unfortunately, left to our observing eye. Along with yearly exams from a holistic or a functional-medicine veterinarian, observing and examining your pet daily is also important. This can be done easily while petting your dog, during regular grooming sessions, when out on walks or in the yard for exercise & “potty” breaks, at mealtimes, and even when your pet is sleeping or lounging around. Take note of any changes or unusual behaviors. Your daily observations and exams should include the following. Look for:

Skin

  • dryness/dandruff
  • redness
  • itching/scratching/biting skin
  • raised red bumps
  • raised red and inflamed patches
  • hot spots
  • hair loss
  • odor
  • oily or greasy skin
  • fleas and ticks
  • sores and broken skin
  • clear discharge, oozing or pus
  • crusty areas
  • lumps under the skin

Coat

  • dry coarse/brittle fur (some breeds have coarse fur, for this I refer to atypical)
  • oily or greasy coat
  • lackluster
  • balding whether in patches or in one particular area
  • excessive shedding
  • odor
  • flea poop
  • crusty and clumped together fur

Food

  • increase or decrease in food intake
  • sudden pickiness
  • lack of interest in mealtime
  • difficulty swallowing
  • gagging
  • vomiting after meals
  • swelling around mouth, nose, eyes
  • sudden weight loss
  • sudden weight gain  

Water

  • increase in water intake without increase in urination
  • excessive urination
  • excessive thirst
  • stark decrease in water intake
  • choking after drinking

Oral

  • tooth loss
  • red swollen gums
  • bleeding gums
  • tooth or gum infection
  • cracked tooth
  • bad breath
  • dry gums
  • difficulty chewing
  • excessive salivation/drooling
  • having difficulty eating or inability to eat

Eyes & nose

  • discharge from eyes or nose (may be clear, white, yellow, thin, or thick)
  • squinting eyes/sensitivity to light
  • excessive sneezing
  • dry nose
  • redness around eye membrane
  • stark change in eyesight
  • formation of eye cloudiness or cataracts

Ears

  • odor
  • redness
  • itching
  • shacking head consistently
  • holding head to one side
  • holding one or both ears in odd position
  • shying away when head is touched
  • difficulty hearing

Paws

  • redness on toes or pads
  • sores between toes or on pads
  • cracked or bleeding pads
  • torn, cracked, or infected nail
  • odor
  • nails that are too long (this is important for correct posture and gait!)
  • brittle peeling nails
  • lumps or growths on toes or pads

Activity

  • fatigue
  • appearing depressed or withdrawn
  • lack of energy or motivation
  • sudden decrease in daily activity
  • sleeping more
  • lack of interest in daily activities or family dynamic
  • grunting when getting up from lying down
  • sudden increase in activity coupled with hyperactivity, anxiety, whining, acting “clingy,” pacing, increased water intake

Exercise

  • refusing walks
  • difficulty maintaining normal walking distance
  • less activity in the yard
  • having difficulty running
  • limping
  • lameness
  • panting excessively (when heat is not an issue)
  • loss of interest in playtime
  • coughing, gagging

Respiratory

  • breathing heavily
  • panting excessively
  • coughing/gagging
  • wheezing
  • deep sighing
  • short quick breaths
  • mucous or phlegm discharge from mouth and/or nose

Body

  • wincing, whining, or grunting when touched or pick-up
  • grunting when getting up from lying position
  • inability to step up, jump up, or jump down
  • no longer using stairs or walking slowly up stairs
  • masses or hard lumps under the skin or in deep tissue 
  • holding head down
  • holding head to one side, stiff neck
  • joint pain or swelling
  • changes in bark or vocal sounds

Mental

  • sudden aggression
  • sudden possessiveness
  • growling when approached or touched
  • shying or flinching when about to be petted or touched
  • not wanting to be bothered
  • anxiety
  • chewing on household items
  • destructive behavior
  • peeing in or marking house or kennel area
  • pooping in house despite being house broken
  • suddenly ignoring commands
  • bullying
  • fear or sudden shyness

So what now? If you discover your dog has any of the concerns or conditions listed above, it’s time to pay close attention. Be aware of any additional changes or further developments. Some of the concerns and conditions above can advance rapidly within 24 hours while others may have been there or have been occurring for months before you noticed. Some of the more minor issues often rectify themselves within 24 to 48 hours. But how will you know if a concern is serious? When in doubt, contact your licensed veterinary professional at the earliest possibility.

One of the best ways to look for potential health concerns is by observing your dog’s stools on a daily basis. As unpleasant or disgusting as this may sound, your dog’s poop is a window into the “goings-on” and internal functioning of your dog’s body. I cannot stress enough how important it is to pay regular attention to stools. There are three indicators to observe, 1) consistency, 2) color, and 3) odor. All of these are clues that can give you important information about organ function, system health, nutrient absorption, food sensitivities, dietary imbalances, digestive issues such as incapability and insufficiency, internal parasites, inflammation, chronic conditions, cancer, and more.

Your dog’s stools should be fully formed, nearly odorless, slightly moist, and a chocolate brown to slightly “orangish” color. You should not see any undigested food or particles, mucous, a muddy or greasy appearance, parasites, blood or any other color unless something was consumed that would naturally cause color change. Nor should there be a strong offensive odor.

Consistency, color, and odor are often windows into the internal functioning of your dog’s body. These signs may be indications of an acute issue or something bigger brewing that can spell illness or disease. Let’s take a closer look at stools to learn what can be gleaned from consistency, color, and odor. The lists below begin with the most minor causes that will rectify themselves (likely with minor adjustments on your part) to the most serious that require a trip to the veterinarian.

CONSISTENCY

Oily/greasy/slimy stools

  • Too much dietary fat
  • Consumption of cooked fats (this can cause pancreatitis)
  • High consumption of plant fats (many dogs cannot digest or utilize plant fats)
  • Fat malabsorption
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Bowel infection
  • Giardia
  • Small bowel bacteria overgrowth
  • Biliary issue
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic disease

Pebbles, hard stool

  • Too much bone
  • Feeding dry kibble/food with insufficient moisture (can lead to a chronic state of cellular dehydration)
  • Not enough food intake
  • Low water intake
  • Feeding insoluble fiber
  • Feeding too much fur
  • Acute dehydration
  • Hip dysplasia and arthritis pain in hips, legs, or back can create bowel movement difficulty due to inability to hold the correct squat position (dogs in pain may hold back evacuating their bowels)
  • Obstruction, impaction
  • Chronic dehydration

Muddy

  • Dietary change
  • Consumed something disagreeable
  • Food intolerance or sensitivity
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Rectal polyps
  • Pancreatic strain or insufficiency
  • Beginning of a liver condition
  • Viral infection
  • Giardia
  • Tumor(s)

Watery, diarrhea

  • Dietary change
  • Too much organ meat
  • Transition to raw that was too fast
  • Food sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy
  • Stress
  • Consumed or drank something with pathogenic bacteria
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Giardia or parasites
  • Small intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Viral infection (parvo)
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Liver condition
  • Tumor(s)
  • Cancer

Mucous coated formed stool

  • Intestinal irritation
  • Food sensitivity or allergy
  • Bowel inflammation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Acute colitis
  • Chronic colitis

Mucous with mushy stool

  • Consumed something disagreeable
  • Food sensitivities with intestinal irritation
  • Parasites
  • Food allergy
  • Bowel inflammation
  • Viral infection, Parvo
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Acute colitis
  • Chronic colitis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

COLOR (and appearance)

White chalky, pale yellow chalk

  • Too much bone (constipation is a possibility if not reduced)
  • Too much calcium (this is dangerous if consistent)

Pale

  • Gallbladder blockage or issue
  • Biliary issue
  • Liver condition

Yellow

  • Bile, food intolerance
  • Biliary condition
  • Giardia
  • Liver condition

Orange

  • Consumed food such as carrots and pumpkin puree
  • Biliary duct condition
  • Liver condition

Green

  • Consumed foods such as spirulina, greens powder, pureed leafy greens
  • Gallbladder concern

Grey

  • Biliary condition
  • Blocked bile duct
  • Gallbladder concern
  • Pancreatic condition
  • Liver condition

Red

  • Severe food intolerance
  • Rectal fissure or injury
  • Large intestine bleeding
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (severe)
  • Internal bleeding in the lower GI tract
  • Bleeding intestinal ulcer
  • Ruptured intestinal tumor
  • Perforated bowel
  • Cancer

Black, tar-like

  • Small intestine bleeding
  • Internal bleeding in the upper GI tract
  • Parasites (intestinal) infestation
  • Intestinal infection
  • Ulcer
  • Internal bleeding in upper GI tract
  • Polyps
  • Tumor(s)
  • Cancer

Speckled (white or tan)

  • Parasites
  • Tapeworms
  • Roundworms

Food particles

  • Consuming food that cannot be digested
  • Feeding foods that are not species-appropriate

Foreign objects or particles

  • Swallowed pieces of a toy
  • Swallowed chewed-up sticks, whole pebbles, stones, etc.
  • Pica

ODOR

As strange as this may sound, the odor of your dog’s stools can indicate a very serious health condition. Now, I am not suggesting you smell your dog’s bowel movements because in the case of smelly dog poop, you do not need to be too close to get an unpleasant whiff. You will know immediately as soon as the poop hits the air. “Ode de poo-poo” will fill your surroundings with its malodorous fragrance. What can these potent stink-bombs indicate?

  • Malabsorption (very common!)
  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Consumption of a non-edible
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Worms
  • Parasites
  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infection
  • Colitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Cancer

And the not-so-obvious

  • Kidney disease
  • Heartworm
  • Gallbladder condition
  • Pancreatic condition
  • Heart disease
  • Thyroid disease

Daily examinations are a necessary part of health maintenance. While these concerns and conditions cannot be verbally expressed, the above signs or symptoms are the blaring alarm that something is amiss. The burden is left to us. Occasional changes in poop is normal and is rarely ever a need for concern. However, if stool changes have not cleared up in a day or two or is consistently abnormal, it’s time to seek professional health care advice, support, testing, and intervention. In the case of a virus, such as Parvo, or a bacterial infection, time is of the essence. If you suspect your dog may have a health concern, call your holistic veterinarian immediately to schedule an appointment. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

©2019 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD, BCHHP. Cert Raw Dog Food Nutritionst


The Importance of Species-appropriate Foods for the Cultivation of Optimal Health

Energy is Everything! Your Dog’s Life Depends On It

When it comes to fueling our canines’ bodies, there has to be the consideration of which foods are species-appropriate and which are not. Our dogs have very specific energy needs and nutrient requirements that must be supplied by the diet. This requires careful thought and planning. Energy and nutrients cannot come from just any food. The foods must be digestible, void of anti-nutrients that a dog cannot counter or neutralize, and have the correct cells and molecules that a dog’s digestive capabilities are designed to effortlessly and adequately breakdown to unlock potential energy and the nutritional components that are vital to health and life. These foods are what are known as species-appropriate. There are no other foods that need to be or should be added to the canine diet. Let’s discuss why that is imperative if your goal is to cultivate optimal health. Optimal health can only be realized with ideal nerve energy and peak cellular function.

Every biological organism and living being requires food. Food supplies the energy needed for metabolism. Quantum physics has shown us that energy is everything, everything is energy. Our dogs, like us, are energy beings. Energy, therefore, is first and foremost the most crucial factor in nourishing and sustaining the body. Physiological processes cannot be adequately maintained without the consistent supply of energy nourishment replete within species-appropriate foods. When food is not supplied, the body will utilize all stored potential energy located within the muscles and liver for basic metabolic functions and physical work (movement). This first fuel source is glycogen (in carnivores, amino acids are turned into a fuel source via a process known as gluconeogenesis). When glycogen is exhausted, the body then turns to stored body fat, a stored energy source. Fat is utilized by being converted into ketone bodies which are then burned as fuel. When fat stores deplete, the body will cannibalize itself to create an energy source by breaking down muscle and organ tissue to release amino acids that are then burned as fuel (again, via gluconeogenesis). Thus, potential energy is primary in maintaining metabolism and thus sustaining life. Potential energy must be supplied via adequate food intake for physiological processes to be optimal for the cultivation and maintenance of health. Any shortage of potential energy from food will result in the body drawing upon its own reserves. (Note, obese animals must be allowed to draw on stored body reserves for fuel in order to drop to an ideal body fat percentage; however, food intake must still be supplied to prevent malnourishment and fatigue.)

It is thus clear that energy is the foundation for everything to exist. Food for both our dogs and us revolves around energy. While food is also the vehicle for vital nutrients, it is the energy that fuels metabolism and bodily processes that allow for the breakdown and release of the nutrients that are necessary for further physiological function, maintenance, and repair. For optimal health to be realized and maintained, energy cannot be in short supply. And yet this is just what we are seeing in the modern canine as too many dogs are clearly suffering the ill effects. Understanding energy in the correct context is first necessary.

It is essential to recognize body energy in its two forms,

  1. potential energy that is produced within the mitochondria (cellular organelles where the biochemical processes of respiration and energy production occur), and
  2. nerve energy for the functioning powers of the body.

Food provides potential energy that is converted and burned (consumed) as fuel. Nerves control every part of the body including muscular action, digestion, functions of the organs, circulation, and emotions. The nerves are the grand conductors of motive power and sensory impulses. Having adequate energy for both metabolism and vital nerve function is the only way to ensure optimal health and vitality.

The holistic approach to nutrition looks for all possible sources of unnecessary energy expenditure (energy waste), most notably as a result of the diet, but also in every facet of dynamic life. The body will divert vital energy to the elimination of excessive toxin build-up (from both metabolic function and exposure via diet and environment) and to areas that require repair to damaged tissues caused by inappropriate, adulterated, and contaminated foods, excessive stress, chemical exposures, environment, and so forth. By removing these energy wasting sources, energy will be freed to allow for peak motive power available to the maintenance of optimal health, and most importantly, in crises when health is threatened by illness, injury, or trauma. This is the single most important detail for multiplying the likelihood for longevity.

Freeing-up your dog’s essential nerve energy is achieved by,

  1. providing a fresh raw species-appropriate diet (unadulterated and non-GMO) that is easily digestible, nutrient balanced (achieved by offering a variety of differing meals), and free from chemicals and naturally-occurring toxins and anti-nutrients,
  2. providing pure water that has been filtered via reverse osmosis,
  3. eliminating harmful chemical, toxin and stress exposure, and
  4. providing your dog with a safe environment complete with daily exercise in the fresh air and sunlight.

Let’s look at this another way. Excessive toxin build-up and tissue damage occur as a result of:

  • inappropriate, processed, adulterated, contaminated, nutrient-deficient, nutrient-toxic, and anti-nutrient rich diets
  • contaminated water consumption, especially tap water which contains fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, farming chemicals, flocculants, spores, cysts, and parasites
  • environmental stress and chemical exposure
  • physical stress and over-demand
  • lack of exercise
  • polluted indoor and outdoor air, lack of fresh clean air
  • mental stress, anxiety, confinement, loneliness, and depression (YES, animals get depressed!)
  • over-vaccination and the use of flea, tick, and heartworm chemicals and preventatives
  • pharmaceutical drugs
  • parasite infestation

In light of the above, it is not difficult to understand why providing only quality species-appropriate foods is vital to the adequate supply of potential metabolic energy and to assuring that ample nerve energy is available for all bodily functions and in the event of crisis. Because what you put into your dog’s body by way of food choices is so vitally important, I want to again stress what is not species-appropriate for a canine. Anything other than species-appropriate foods lead to motive energy shortage which may mean the deterioration of health and a decreased chance for longevity.

Foods that put a direct damper on overall energy output and nerve conduction are:

  • processed commercial foods full of adulterated proteins, rendered fats, contaminants, and synthetic and inorganic nutrient isolates
  • moisture-deficient dry kibble
  • diets high in carbohydrates and insoluble fibers (dogs have absolutely no need for either of these)
  • grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds (seeds may have some value if ground into a powder and if anti-nutrients are strategically counteracted)
  • plant fats and diets high in plant-based proteins (especially legume and pea protein) or vegetarian diets
  • vegetables that are fibrous and stalky, oxalate and lectin-rich, and from the deadly-nightshade group
  • cooked proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
  • raw fish containing heavy metal contaminants (as well as thiaminase)
  • high sugar fruits and fruit fed in meals with protein. Protein needs an acid bath. When proteins are consumed alongside fruit, it can potentially turn fruit into an alcohol ferment creating a toxin that must be metabolized in the liver.

Any foods that create an unnecessary need for increased energy out-put reduces over-all available energy needed for the optimal functioning of organs, systems, and immunity and daily maintenance, repair, and toxin elimination from metabolic processes and stress. Species-inappropriate and contaminated foods create an undue need for toxin removal, cause or create an inflammatory response, create an increase in pancreatic enzyme out-put (grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds) and pancreatic hormone out-put (insulin in the presence of carbohydrates and sugars), tax and overburden the liver, dehydrate the cells, block or disrupt nutrient absorption via anti-nutrients (phytates, lectins, oxalates, thiaminase, insoluble fiber), create digestive difficulty and reduced nutrient assimilation, and are cause for indigestion, gassiness, constipation, diarrhea, increased mucous production, and the potential for bloat.

Energy is essential. In reality, it is everything. When energy is optimal, functioning is optimal. When we provide our dogs with species-appropriate foods that are easy to digest, nutrient uptake is also optimal and energy is abundant and reserved rather than wasted. Feeding your dog food that is inappropriate for convenience, simplicity, or for the mere reason that it contains a nutrient molecule that your dog requires is ineffective and futile. If energy and nutrients cannot be unlocked or assimilated and it further inhibits the absorption of other vital nutrients, where is the value? The truth is, there is no value. Let’s consider some examples.

Species-appropriate foods can only be of value to those species that are specifically designed to unlock the vital potential energy and nutrients within those foods. Grass contains a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Does this mean that grass is a suitable source of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids for a dog? Obviously no, and I am quite sure most of us know what happens when dogs eat grass. And yet grass is a vitally important food for grazing ungulates. Grass is species-appropriate food for cattle, horses, deer, and buffalo that are able to create massive bodies with rippling muscles and strong bones from grasses. Consider grains. Grains contain very few nutrients, but are rich in anti-predation chemicals and toxins that are counter-productive to health. Do grains contain any useable nutrients for carnivores such as canines? In their raw natural state they are deadly. The only known species created for grain consumption are birds which have the correct digestive capacity to counter the anti-nutrients and natural toxins while also breaking down the tough cell walls in their gizzard. Since dogs, like ALL other animals, are designed to consume their food in a raw state, grains are not, therefore, species-appropriate. But what if grains were allowed to ferment or sprout, were subjected to milling, cooking, and more cooking? Would these be appropriate even then? According to the National Research Counsil (NRC) as recorded in their massive research compilation Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats, the holy grail of canine nutrition research, “there appears to be no requirement for digestible carbohydrate in dogs provided enough protein is given to supply the precursors for glucogenesis.”

Despite these above facts, man feels the need to offer their beloved canines these inappropriate foods, including feeding foods that are cooked. No other animal, besides man, consumes cooked foods. Dr. Francis M. Pottinger’s cat study [1, 2] speaks volumes as to this massive error made by man. Dogs are not people…period. (Sometimes our dogs may feel like our children, but they are not our species!) The results of this error is clearly realized by the chronic ailments afflicting the modern dog, ailments they share with their human companions. Diabetes, joint destruction and arthritis, obesity, heart disease, macular degeneration, cancer and more are common among nearly every breed. Coincidence? Hardly.

What are species-appropriate foods for your dog? Whole raw prey or fresh raw meat, raw meaty bones, organs, offal, and very little, if any, plant material. Providing your beloved canine with a diet that is perfectly suited for their anatomy and physiology is the first step in providing nourishment that effectively and almost effortlessly delivers the vital potential energy and thereby the vital nutrients that are perfectly intended to flawlessly sustain life and, above all else, cultivate the coveted optimal health and longevity that we likely all desire for our beloved pets. Energy is everything…and not to be squandered and wasted.

©2019 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD, BCHHP, Cert Raw Dog Food Nutritionist

[1] https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/nutrition-greats/francis-m-pottenger-md/

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Pottengers-Cats-Francis-Marion-Pottenger/dp/0916764060/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?crid=Q4TXFN7EUE4T&keywords=dr+pottinger+cat+study&qid=1551383777&s=gateway&sprefix=Dr+pottinger%2Caps%2C146&sr=8-1-fkmrnull


Simplifying the Raw Food Models

Which model is best? Let your dog be the judge of that!

If you are newer to raw feeding, undoubtedly you have encountered the well-established raw food vernacular, and if you have been raw feeding for some time, then likely you are quite fluent in all the terminology and raw food model specifics. Clearly, the raw food movement is branching out into numerous directions, many of which differ immensely. Which method should you choose? Or better yet, which method is best?

Many canine nutrition professionals claim their chosen model is the correct choice. But I have news for you; what you choose for your dog must be in-line with what is best for him/her. As with anything in life, there is not just one way or one path. Biological life is highly adaptable. Cells will adapt to the best of their capacity to function both efficiently and effectively to achieve the result that is required. When it comes to dogs, they are incredibly adaptable. Thus, there are many ways that you can provide your dog with fresh, raw, whole-food meals that are both balanced and health-promoting. Which is best for your dog is up to you to discover. This requires careful observation. Consider the following…

The interesting thing about science is the massive misunderstanding surrounding it. Science is about discovery, observation, and learned outcome. It is not speculative or hypothetical. That is best left in the realm of philosophy. Science is a vehicle to learning truths by way of observation and testing. No matter what man observes, examines, and tests, there will be a result. Whether that result was the expected outcome or something entirely different, knowledge is gained by what is clearly demonstrated before observing eyes. Whenever we embark on a new journey, especially one with our dogs who lack the capacity of verbal language, we are at the mercy of observation and discovery. It is up to us, the pet parent, to be cognizant and mindful of any and all outcomes, whether beneficial or detrimental, when providing for our pets’ most basic needs. Taking our dog’s nutritional needs into our own hands requires vigilant observation of what is working and what may not be.

Pet parenting is a journey of discovery and experience. Before you can truly discover what is best for your dog, having a basic knowledge of the different raw feeding models will prove advantageous. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of some of the common raw food methods. Deciding where to start may be one of convenience or ability. But we all need to start somewhere. Do your best to decide what may be best for your dog (and you!) and then observe as many details as is possible. Keep a journal if need be, but let’s journey together to discovering the best for your dog.

BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods, formerly Bones And Raw Food)

Dr. Ian Billinghurst started this model back in the late 1980s. He published his book, Give Your Dog a Bone, in 1992 and the rest is history. BARF began as a raw meaty bones (RMB) feeding plan. Dr. Tom Lonsdale was also a huge proponent for RMBs after his observations of the severely declining tooth and gum health of clients’ dogs. This led him to researching and discovering a way to resolve this serious and growing concern. He too discovered the obvious: give the dogs RMBs and observe the extraordinary changes in not only tooth and gum health, but overall health coupled with a rapid decline in chronic disease. Nine years after Dr. Billinghurst, Dr. Lonsdale released Raw Meaty Bones Promote Health.

This model was created to center around the RMBs. From 40% to as much as 60% of a dog’s daily food needs come from RMBs. The remaining dietary needs come from additional boneless meat and organs. Further, 5% to 10% of the diet consists of vegetables and fruit. The standard ratio guideline to follow is 70/10/10/10 which are the ratios closest to whole prey with the addition of vegetables and fruits. This equates to meat at a rate of 70% of the diet, organs at 10%, bone 10%, and vegetables and fruit 10%. It takes a little bit of math to figure the 10% bone requirement when feeding RMBs, but simply put, the standard recommendation of 40% to 60% RMBs averages out to 10% to 15% bone. This is an ideal representation of whole prey. While Dr. Lonsdale does not promote a heavy emphasis on vegetables and fruits, Dr. Billinghurst does. BARF, however, has evolved.

There exists several concerns with the current BARF model. Today’s BARF, in addition to vegetables and fruit, now includes nuts, seeds, yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, goat milk products, and fermented vegetables. These foods are more in line with omnivores. And that is just it. Some BARF feeders understand dogs to be omnivores; therefore, including 25% (and sometimes more) plant matter along with other foods is of no concern. So the 70/10/10/10 ratio is no longer followed by many BARF feeders. Additionally, BARF can allow for a high carbohydrate and fiber percentage due to the enormous percentage of the meals coming from vegetables and fruit. High carbohydrate and fiber diets, even from fresh wholesome fruit and vegetables, are not always conducive to a facultative carnivore’s physiological processes.

On the other hand, the variety of vegetables and fruit that can be offered in the BARF model allows for ease in meeting nutrient requirements. Just how beneficial these varietal offerings are is yet to be fully determined as many dogs simply do not do well on plant matter. Additionally, BARF model proponents also tend to be heavy handed on the supplementation.

What is most troublesome, however, is the fact that whole RMBs are being removed entirely and replaced with grinds. Grinds are meat, organ, bone, vegetables, fruits, and seeds ground together. This defeats the whole point and purpose of BARF’s original intention: to give dogs bones to chew! Dogs absolutely need to chew or dental health will decline even on a raw diet. Grinds are only ever needed for dogs without teeth to chew. And even then, giving toothless dogs recreational bones massages the gums and provides them with a pacifying and satisfying activity.

The original BARF model has tremendous value. One would be wise to go back to the original idea.

Pros:

  • There is no doubt that feeding RMBs promotes exceptional dental health as well as healthy bodies. Chronic disease rates dropped dramatically in RMB-fed dogs. Observation over several decades has shown this to be true.
  • Some vegetables and fruit have been proven in a study to be highly beneficial to many dogs; however, the study was completed on kibble fed dogs that were offered fresh vegetation as a supplement to their kibble. There was a 90% reduction in chronic disease among the kibble fed dogs offered fresh foods.
  • BARF is flexible and allows for a variety of foods to be offered to your dog.

Cons:

  • The variety of foods now being offered under the BARF model is going a tad bit beyond what is considered species-appropriate. An enormous percentage of vegetables and fruits along with nuts, seeds, and dairy/goat products are now considered BARF appropriate food choices.
  • Vegetables need to be pureed or cooked for a carnivore to benefit. The most nutritious vegetables contain oxalates which are damaging to the gut, joints, and nerves as well as reducing the absorption of calcium and iron.
  • Fruit and starchy vegetables can cause yeast proliferation in many dogs.
  • Nuts and seeds contain anti-nutrients and must be ground. They require the addition of vitamin C to counter the effects of phytates. They are also high in fat and add a tremendous amount of calories, thus can only be fed in small amounts.
  • BARF can be far too high in fiber and carbohydrates. High fiber can create gut irritation among other concerns. Numerous studies show the increased risk for disease and obesity when high carbohydrate diets are consumed.
  • If one steers too far away from the original RMB BARF model and feeds grinds, the advantages of BARF are no longer applicable. Dental health is key to a healthy body and chewing is critical for mental poise.

PMR (Prey Model Raw)

PMR is based on the understanding that dogs are domesticated wolves. It has been determined that the modern domestic dog’s DNA is a mere 0.2% different from the wolf. Anatomically, domestic dogs are clearly carnivorous. Physiologically, it is also taught that our dogs are indeed carnivores. Thus, this model feeds whole prey or a variation of prey that includes only meat, organs, and bones in a ratio of 80/10/10. The ratio is the approximate percentages of what a dog would consume if eating a whole animal. This equates to meat being 80% of the diet, secreting organs as 10% (5% liver and 5% other), and 10% bone. In reality, whole prey has an average of 12% bone, thus the idea is that the ratio is a guideline which can and should vary. No vegetation or carbohydrates of any kind are fed in this model.

There exist several arguments against PMR. For one, studies have determined that domestic dogs not only produce pancreatic amylase*, but it has also been measured in their saliva. BMC Veterinary Research has identified salivary amylase in Beagles. It has also been discovered that domestic dogs contain four to thirty copies of the AMY2B gene that codes for amylase enzyme while the wolf contains a mere two copies. So what does this prove? While it might appear that these finding indicate that dogs are omnivores, especially if one was to interpret the data through a biased mind-frame, in reality, it does not prove or suggest the evolution to omnivore. After all, anatomically, dogs are clearly carnivorous. A conclusion can only be correctly drawn by seeing the whole picture. And, one must also have a good understanding of genetics to see this accurately. What these finding show is that dogs have adapted to life with humans and their foods. Clearly, dogs have flourished. What we see here is an example of adaptation within the genes. Gene expression is turned on or off dependent upon environment and available food. It is thus clear that dogs can digest some carbohydrates with no ill effects, while some dogs may even thrive with the addition of minimal carbs. However, their carnivorous anatomy and physiology remains predominant.

PMR can appear to be very difficult to balance if whole prey is not being offered. And yet, the variety of protein options may provide the optimal platform for maximum nutrient uptake due to the consistently varying nutrient profiles and the high bioavailability of the macro and micronutrients. Nevertheless, many opponents of PMR criticize the assumed nutrient deficient meals. Trace minerals are richest in vegetables and seeds and are extremely difficult to maximize with meat, organs, and bone alone; or so it is thought. It cannot, however, be denied that many dogs are living to long ages disease-free on PMR.

Pros:

  • Simple to feed, especially if feeding whole prey.
  • The 80/10/10 ratio is a straightforward guideline that allows for easy meal creations.
  • Easily digestible with very little waste in terms of poop.
  • High bioavailability with no anti-nutrients which quite possibly allows for maximum nutrient uptake.
  • PMR is flexible allowing for a variety of protein sources or very few if whole prey can be sourced.
  • Ideal for dogs with sensitivities and limited proteins.

Cons:

  • It is difficult to meet the NRC recommended allowance (RA) for nutrients. In fact, it is often even difficult to meet the AAFCO and NRC minimum nutrient requirements if using a diet designer software. However, many pet parents using spreadsheets are able to provide balanced meals with careful planning and ingredient sourcing.
  • Nutrient profiles for animal parts that are not edible for humans are generally unknown. This often causes audited PMR meals to reflect low in nutrients. Aside from calcium and phosphorus, it is also unknown to what extent bone minerals contribute to fulfilling nutrient requirements. Further, it is unknown to what extent blood contributes to nutrient needs.
  • Whole prey can be very difficult to source and is often very challenging to feed to toy and small breeds.
  • Feeding whole prey is not for the squeamish and can be very messy.

Frankenprey (generally follows PMR, but can also be used with BARF)

Frankenprey can be very simple or very complicated. The idea is that you create a semi-whole animal out of various parts from either one animal or various animals to mimic whole prey. For example, a meal may include a chicken drumstick with skin (RMB), ground chicken, chicken liver, chicken hearts, chicken gizzard, chicken lung, chicken paw, and feathers. Or, a meal may include a chicken thigh with skin (RMB), grass-fed ground beef and beef tongue, sardines along with beef heart, turkey gizzard, calf liver and pork kidney, a duck neck or chicken paw, and a bonus of chicken feathers or a furry rabbit ear. Many pet parents are also able to source blood and will add beef or chicken blood, for example. Quail, chicken, and duck eggs may also be added.

Meals are created by following the PMR 80/10/10 ratio guideline. Or the BARF variation ratio of 70/10/10/10 with the option of adding vegetables, fruit, seeds, apple cider vinegar, and/or fermented dairy/goat products for additional nutrients and value in a small percentage generally around 5% to 10%. The idea is to mimic prey so the addition of vegetables, fruit, etc. is meant to replicate stomach contents for nutrient purposes.

Because many pet parents use additional ingredients, this model can easily meet nutrient requirements.

Pros:

  • Frankenprey, like PMR, can be nutritionally accurate to whole prey when done correctly. This model can be an exceptional choice because it provides variety and varying nutrient profiles which provides the correct platform for optimal nutrient absorption.
  • It can be very simple to create if planned properly as ratios are easy to follow.
  • Frankenprey can allow for highly digestible meals with good nutrient ratios often exceeding NRC’s RA.
  • This model can source all meat and organs from one animal protein to “create” a whole animal which is ideal for dogs with sensitivities who are limited to few proteins. Or a variety of proteins can be sourced to “create” an animal from multiple animal parts. Thus, it is very flexible.
  • These meals can be fun to create…really!

Cons:

  • Frankenprey requires careful planning and the ability to source many hard-to-find ingredients.
  • Determining the nutrients in each meal requires quite a bit of research searching for food nutrient values along with math. Or a spreadsheet calculator can be used to simplify the nutrient findings.
  • Can be very, very time consuming and takes a dedicated pet parent.

Ratio Diet

This model is just another name for following the PMR 80/10/10 ratio or another ratio such as the 70/10/10/10 ratio belonging to BARF. Ratios can vary greatly yet they are all meant to be guidelines for creating meals that most accurately represent the percentages of whole prey. Popular ratios include:

80/10/10 (80% meat, 10% organs, 10% bone)

70/10/10/10 (70% meat, 10% organs, 10% bone, 10% veg/fruit/other)

65/15/10/5/5 (65% muscle meat, 15% organ muscle, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% secreting organ). This is an exceptional ratio to follow to maximize nutrient potential.

75/10/5/5/5 (75% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% secreting, 5% other). This is also an excellent ratio for meeting nutrient requirements and to maximize nutrient absorption.

The pros and cons for this model are all dependent upon exactly how the meals are created and can include any of the above listed for each model.

Homemade DIY Meals

This model is an anything-goes type of dietary plan. Proponents of this plan are generally focused on sourcing nutrients and meeting NRC recommended allowance (RA) requirements while paying little to no attention to ratios or modeling whole prey. Meals can have both raw and cooked foods and include everything from meat and organs to oatmeal, kidney beans, fruits, lentils, vegetables, quinoa, soy, cottage cheese, nuts, seeds, peas, sweet potatoes, and on and on. Many of the pet parents subscribing to this philosophy assert that they feed a science-based diet plan. This idea is touted because they follow the nutrient guideline chart from the NRC’s book Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats which was compiled for the purpose of setting updated standards for processed commercial dog foods. However, there are numerous concerns with this free-for-all approach to choosing and sourcing foods.

For one, it is obvious that many of the above listed foods are in no way species-appropriate. Choosing specific foods simply to provide a required nutrient or two without any concern for the fact that the foods are not appropriate for dogs can be highly unfavorable or even injurious in the long run. Foods must be biologically-appropriate to be advantageous and health-promoting.

Many of the pet parents following this plan tend to be recipe driven, thus there is the concern over following the same recipe or two over and over without variation. This subjects dogs to the same nutrient profile with the same antagonism and synergism thereby greatly increasing the chance for nutrient deficiencies and toxicities and potential chronic conditions. This is the opposite of the very reason a pet parent would choose to follow this plan. Following a minimum of five recipes in a rotation is a much better option.

A major concern with following this plan, however, is the use of grains and legumes. These foods are not only inappropriate for dogs, but are not even appropriate for humans. Grains and legumes contain anti-nutrients, toxins, enzyme inhibitors, are gut irritants, increase inflammation, erode joints, greatly increase the rate of arthritis and crippling disease, and are cause for poor gut mineral absorption, among others. Legumes notably are implicated in the rapid rise in the incidences of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Proponents of this plan tend to rely heavily upon auditing programs and software diet designer programs to create meals. Unfortunately, most, if not all, diet auditing and meal creation programs do not include or account for bone. As a result, most of these pet parents are either creating or receiving recipes (from dog nutrition professionals) void completely of bone with the addition of a calcium supplement. That is an enormous step away from what is natural and species-appropriate. Having to rely upon supplementation to meet needs is completely contrary to nature. Bone is perfectly balanced and essential. Since some well-meaning pet parents understand this, they turn to bone meal as their calcium source. Bone meal is a less-than-ideal (to put it lightly) source of minerals. The high heat needed to create the product causes the minerals to be poorly absorbed with the added concern for the potential of creating an inappropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio. It is necessary for a dog, and especially puppies, to receive the proper calcium to phosphorous ratio for optimal nutrient absorption and synergy. Even worse, bone meal contains contaminants that can poison your dog and could potentially be fatal.

Because the main focus of this model is meeting NRC nutrient requirements and not bioavailable species-appropriate foods and whole-prey ratios, supplementation can be very heavy-handed. Supplements are never an ideal nutrient source. When supplements are needed, food-source nutrients (whole-food supplements) should be chosen.

And finally, due to the high percentage of inappropriate food sourcing, pet parents who are not nutritionally educated may be unaware that their meal plans do not provide the ideal platform for adequate nutrient absorption and assimilation. Dogs consuming meals following this model on a long-term basis can be similar to the unfavorable ramifications to health as seen in dogs consuming commercially produced dog food. Poor skin, yeast proliferation, chronic ear irritation and infection, weight gain, poor oral/dental health, allergies and sensitivities, joint deterioration, inflammation, hip concerns in larger breeds, hypothyroidism, tumor formation, chronic disease, and cancer are more common with this method especially if species-inappropriate foods are part of the regular diet. Feeding meals under this model requires careful observation and costly yearly blood work from a licensed veterinarian.

Pros:

  • When the sky is the limit, meeting nutrient requirements is a breeze.

Cons:

  • Feeding foods with no regard to the inappropriateness and unsuitability to a dog’s physiology is reckless and potentially harmful. Meeting nutrient requirements with foods not suitable gains no benefit. The hypothetical fulfillment of nutrients on a software program provides more benefit to the pet parent’s psyche than to their dog’s health.
  • Providing meals with no regard for the ratios of wild prey leads to meals that are unbalanced and potentially deficient in amino acids from animal flesh and organs. Dogs have a high requirement for amino acids. Adding a percentage, even small, of a cooked grain or legume reduces the species-appropriate bioavailable protein needs that dogs must receive from meat and organs. It also reduces iron requirements and reduces gut absorption of the little iron that the meals contain.
  • Vegetables need to be pureed or cooked for a carnivore to benefit. The most nutritious vegetables contain oxalates which are damaging to the gut, joints, and nerves as well as reducing the absorption of calcium and iron.
  • Fruit and starchy vegetables can cause yeast proliferation in many dogs.
  • Nuts and seeds contain anti-nutrients and must be ground. They require the addition of vitamin C to counter the effects of phytates. They are also high in fat and add a tremendous amount of calories, thus can only be fed in small amounts.
  • Numerous studies have shown the damaging effects of grain and legume consumption in both humans and animals. Grains contain anti-nutrients and toxins and must be soaked, germinated or sprouted, then cooked in a pressure cooker until mush. Legumes are simply inappropriate, period. Aside from the anti-nutrients, they are toxic, not digestible, block absorption of minerals and taurine (leading to the rapid increase in dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM), cause gut irritation, sensitivities, joint destruction, gassiness, a condition known as bloat, and so much more.
  • High carbohydrate diets have been shown over and over to have damaging effects on a dog. It puts them at an increased risk for chronic disease, obesity, cellular damage, and cancer.
  • Meals created and generated from a software program with no regard for actual nutrition science, nutrient antagonism and synergy, species-appropriate food choices, and what nature dictates as suitable for facultative carnivores will in no wise promote or cultivate optimal health, healing, or prevent disease.

In conclusion, taking your dog’s nutritional needs into your own hands requires dedication, in fact, a great deal of dedication, education, time, and determination. What it comes down to is providing the best nutrition plan that you are able. This requires observation and watchfulness. Any adverse changes in your dog must be taken into consideration and analyzed to discover the cause in order to remove it promptly. Making amendments to your chosen dietary plan or model is a necessity as your dog’s requirements will change with age, environment, stress, health conditions, changes in family dynamic, and so forth.

Understand that there is no rule that says you must follow a particular model exactly, or even that you need to follow only one. Variety is the spice of life. Be creative!

*amylase is the enzyme needed for carbohydrate digestion

©2019 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD, BCHHP, Cert Raw Dog Food Nutritionist


Sourcing Nutrients for the Raw Fed Dog

Taking responsibility for your dog’s nutritional needs is a fundamental proactive step in the holistic health care approach. With this comes the need for educating yourself on your dog’s specific nutritional requirements so that you are able to provide the best possible meal plan that covers all vital nutrients. Once calorie/volume need and nutrient requirements have been determined, sourcing the appropriate foods and ingredients is crucial. This is often the most difficult task; and a task I hope to simplify in this article. Once you have chosen your foods and ingredients, knowing how much of each ingredient to feed is most easily determined using a spreadsheet calculator or Pet Diet Designer software. If those are not available to you, using the USDA Food Composition Database or Cronometer will allow you to do paper and pen calculations (with the help of a calculator!).

All dogs require high quality protein and fats. Carbohydrates are non-essential and therefore not recommended beyond a small percentage of the overall diet. Your dog must also receive vitamins and minerals from their meals in correct and varying proportions from foods that allow for optimal absorption and assimilation. These are vital. Species-appropriate ingredients allow for ease of digestibility for adequate breakdown to release nutrients for uptake. If the meals consistently contain nutrients in poorly managed proportions, antagonism will eventually create nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. If you are feeding inappropriate foods containing anti-nutrients, you will have even more antagonism and optimal absorption cannot be attained.

Protein and fats are the easiest to source. All meat, poultry, fish, eggs, offal, and organs contain both protein and fat. You will want your meals to revolve around these ingredients. Other sources include goat’s milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, spirulina, phytoplankton, wheat grass, and barley grass; however, these “other” foods should be used as supplementary over and above the minimum requirements.

Vitamins (The following lists are in descending order from richest sources to least richest sources)

Vitamin A:

  • liver
  • mackerel
  • egg yolk

Vitamin D:

  • salmon
  • sardines
  • herring
  • oysters
  • egg yolk

Vitamin E:

  • sunflower seeds*, ground
  • egg yolk (from chickens fed flax seeds)
  • almonds*, ground (∆ contains oxalates)
  • bone marrow
  • trout
  • avocado
  • greens (∆ contains oxalates)
  • kiwi, blackberries
  • wheat germ oil

Vitamin K2 (menaquinone):

  • beef liver
  • pork
  • chicken
  • bone marrow
  • fermented dairy: kefir, cottage cheese, yogurt

Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone):

  • leafy greens, especially kale, mustard, chard, and collards (∆ contains oxalates)
  • broccoli (∆ contains oxalates)
  • cabbage (ideally fermented)

NOTE: Phylloquinone is less than 10% absorbed in humans; in dogs absorption is even less, if any. Source menaquinone vitamin K for optimal absorption.

Vitamin C:

  • acerola cherries
  • oranges
  • papaya
  • kiwi
  • red bell pepper
  • melon
  • leafy greens (∆ contains oxalates)
  • amalaki fruit
  • broccoli (∆ contains oxalates)

Thiamine (B1):

  • pork chops (lean)
  • pork tenderloin (lean)
  • salmon (wild-caught)
  • flaxseeds* (ground)
  • sunflower seeds* (ground)
  • mussels
  • asparagus

Riboflavin (B2):

  • beef
  • salmon (wild-caught)
  • yogurt (low-fat)
  • pork (lean)
  • oysters
  • spinach (∆ contains oxalates)
  • cottage cheese (low-fat)
  • eggs
  • avocado
  • asparagus

Niacin (B3):

  • liver
  • chicken breast
  • turkey
  • salmon (wild-caught)
  • anchovies
  • pork
  • beef
  • avocado

Pantothenic Acid (B5):

  • chicken liver
  • duck liver
  • beef liver
  • salmon (wild-caught)
  • beef
  • avocados
  • chicken breast
  • eggs
  • sunflower seeds*
  • pork (lean)
  • cauliflower (∆ contains oxalates)

Pyridoxine (B6):

  • salmon (wild-caught)
  • turkey
  • chicken breast
  • pork (lean)
  • beef (lean)

Biotin (B7):

  • liver
  • kidney
  • pork (lean)
  • egg yolk
  • salmon (wild-caught)

Folate (B9):

  • beef liver
  • turkey liver
  • pork liver
  • pumpkin seeds* (ground)
  • sunflower seeds* (ground)
  • flaxseeds* (ground)
  • asparagus
  • spinach (∆ contains oxalates)
  • broccoli (∆ contains oxalates)

Cobalamin (B12):

  • liver
  • mackerel
  • oysters
  • mussels
  • beef (lean)

Choline:

  • egg yolk
  • beef liver
  • turkey liver
  • veal
  • beef
  • pork

Minerals (The following lists are in descending order from richest sources to least richest sources)

Calcium:

  • bone
  • bone meal
  • eggshells

Phosphorus:

  • bone (and bone meal)
  • salmon (wild-caught)
  • pork (lean)
  • mackerel
  • chicken
  • beef

Magnesium:

  • hemp seeds* (ground)
  • pumpkin seeds* (ground)
  • flaxseeds* (ground)
  • bone
  • spinach (∆ contains oxalates)
  • chard (∆ contains oxalates)
  • mackerel
  • chlorella (dried)
  • almonds (ground)
  • avocado
  • beef

Potassium:

  • salmon (wild-caught)
  • avocado
  • acorn squash (cooked)
  • pomegranate
  • goat milk
  • yogurt, low-fat
  • pork
  • bone

Sodium:

  • canned sardines (also contains essential chloride)
  • canned oysters (and contains essential chloride)
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • blood
  • bone

Sulfur:

  • eggs
  • meat
  • poultry
  • fish
  • bone

Iron:

  • blood and bone marrow
  • liver
  • heart
  • gizzard
  • beef
  • turkey (dark meat)
  • egg yolk

Zinc:

  • oysters
  • beef
  • chicken gizzard
  • chicken heart
  • chicken thigh and drums
  • pork
  • hemp seeds* (ground)
  • pumpkin seeds* (ground)
  • bone marrow

Copper:

  • beef liver (calf especially)
  • oysters
  • pumpkin seeds* (ground)
  • flaxseeds* (ground)
  • kale (∆ contains oxalates)

Manganese:

  • mussels (green lipped)
  • hemp seeds* (ground)
  • pumpkin seeds* (ground)
  • pineapple (RICH source, but feed as treat)
  • sweet potato (cooked ONLY)
  • spinach (∆ contains oxalates)
  • ginger, basil
  • blackberries, raspberries
  • endive
  • bone marrow

Selenium:

  • oysters
  • pork kidney
  • mussels
  • beef kidney
  • pork
  • pork spleen
  • bone marrow

Iodine:

  • kelp (do NOT overdose!)
  • seaweed

Molybdenum:

  • liver
  • kidney
  • bone
  • almonds* (ground)
  • yogurt
  • cottage cheese

Silica:

  • bone
  • connective tissue
  • diatomaceous earth (DE) (food-grade only!)

∆ Foods containing oxalates can pose major health concerns. Dogs are carnivores, and despite the fact that they are facultative, consuming large amounts of plant matter is not species-appropriate. Relying heavily upon spinach, kale, and other oxalate-containing vegetables is detrimental and potentially injurious to a carnivore (and people! So imagine how much worse for a carnivore!). Oxalates reduce the gut absorption of calcium and iron as well as greatly increasing the risk for kidney stone formation and renal damage. Oxalates are also neurotoxic, corrode connective tissues, and upset the gastrointestinal tract. Please note that cooking will not destroy oxalates. Even boiling the vegetables to a mush will only slightly reduce the oxalates. Oxalates are used by paleontologists to determine diets in humans from more than a millennium past. So clearly, oxalates are not easily destroyed.

*Seeds and nuts (as well as grains and legumes. As a side-note, I never recommend grains and legumes be fed to a dog for many reasons including phytates, enzyme inhibitors, lectins, toxins, carbohydrates, and the need to pressure cook until mush, among others.) contain the anti-nutrient phytate. Like oxalates, phytates block the gut absorption of vital nutrients. However, unlike oxalates, phytates can be counteracted by adding foods rich in vitamin C or a food-source vitamin C powder which I highly recommend to all my clients who regularly include seeds in their dog’s meals. This is a simple correction to amplify the mineral-rich benefits of seeds.

©2019 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD, BCHHP, Cert Raw Dog Food Nutritionist


Naturopathic Care for Canines

Beneficial Holistic Health Care Strategies

Naturopathic health care is a distinct health care strategy with a heavy emphasis on disease prevention and the cultivation of optimal health. Natural and non-evasive methods along with therapeutic modalities and substances are employed to encourage the inherent self-healing process that is programmed into the DNA of every biological being.  The breaking of the basic biochemical laws, more often than not, results in sickness, pain, and physical degeneration. Naturopathy encourages and promotes adhering to those laws for the prevention of illness and dis-ease conditions. While it does not always exclude medically supervised drug use, it rather considers it as a last resort and not a first. Naturopathic medicine includes both modern and traditional scientific methods, most of which are empirically based. The naturopathic approach to canine health care has the benefit of an extensive array of preventative and therapeutic methods and modalities and is in no way limited to the conventional pharmaceutical and surgical veterinary approach.

There are six principles that are the foundation stone upon which stands the practice of naturopathy:

  1. Vis Medicatrix Naturae (The Healing Power of Nature)
    There is the recognition in naturopathy of the inherent DNA-programmed self-healing process in every biological being that is both ordered and intelligent. The naturopathic practitioner undertakes to identify the cause for a condition or dis-ease, acts to remove impediments to allow for healing and recovery, and assists and supplements this inherent self-healing process.
  2. Tolle Causam (Identify and Treat the Causes)
    The naturopathic practitioner pursues to first identify and then remove the underlying causes of conditions and dis-ease rather than suppressing symptoms and thereby halting the cure in-progress.
  3. Primum Non Nocere (First Do No Harm)
    A strict adherence to the following guidelines ensures the naturopathic practitioner avoids harming the patient: 1) Utilize only those methods, modalities, and medicinal substances that prevent or greatly minimize the risk for dangerous side effects. This is attained by utilizing the least force necessary; 2) Avoid whenever possible the dangerous suppression of symptoms; and 3) Acknowledge, respect, and utilize the biological being’s self-healing process.
  4. Docere (The Doctor is a Teacher)
    The naturopathic practitioner is first and foremost a teacher. They serve to educate their clients and to encourage self-responsibility for their own health and the health of their animals. 
  5. Treat the Whole Person/Animal
    The naturopathic practitioner takes into consideration each client’s individual physical, mental, emotional (spiritual), genetic, environmental, social, and additional factors to ensure healing and that the cultivation of optimal health is not hindered.
  6. Prevention
    Naturopathy emphasizes disease prevention by assessing risk factors, genetics, and predisposition to disease. Following assessment, the practitioner formulates appropriate interventions in order to partner alongside their clients with the single goal of preventing illness and dis-ease.

When considering and planning a health care strategy for your canine, the inclusion of naturopathy into the stratagem broadens the potential for dis-ease prevention and the possibility for full recovery from illness and health crises should they occur. Naturopathy employs the usage of:

  • Nutrition: Species-appropriate fresh whole food is vital for providing life-sustaining nourishment to your dog’s body AND as therapeutic medicine. “Let food by thy medicine and medicine by thy food.” -Hippocrates
  • Herbs: Herbs are nourishing foods that provide nutrients along with medicinal constituents, healing phytochemicals, and powerful essences.
  • Plant Essences: Plant essences, or Bach Flower Remedies, contain the electromagnetic energy of various flowers that, when taken into the body, intermingles with the physical and energetic body systems offering physical, mental, and emotional healing.
  • Essential Oils: Concentrated oils of plants containing the fragrances and potent healing components. These offer numerous therapeutic properties for the body, mind, and emotions.
  • Sunshine: The sun is our main source of energy for health and healing. The sun provides photons, light, energy, and warmth all of which are required for life.
  • Fresh air: Fresh, clean, pure air is essential for health and healing. Air during the early hours just prior to dawn offer the highest oxygen-saturation. Allowing your dog to take advantage of pre-dawn air is therapeutic on numerous levels.
  • Earth Grounding: Grounding allows your dog to receive a negative charge from the earth floor via the paws and body (when in contact with the ground such as when lying on grass, sand, and soil) to combat ROS*, reduce inflammation, and many other positive benefits. Grounding is essential to prevent cancer and in cancer therapy.
  • Exercise: Exercise is essential for cardiovascular health, strong muscles and bones, endurance, lymphatic massage, and oxygenating the body systems.
  • Pure water: Water is essential for hydrating cells and tissues, cleansing, and internal balance.
  • Positive mindset: Rearing a happy dog encourages the cultivation of optimal physical and mental health and healing. By providing your canine with activities they love, it encourages a moderate and composed temperament and mental poise.
  • Homeopathy: Powerful medicines that must be recommended/prescribed by a licensed and/or certified homeopath.
  • Acupressure: A therapy to free up and reestablish the basic flow of energy to benefit healing, and for the maintenance of harmonious energy flow throughout the body.
  • Acupuncture: Through the insertion of fine needles into specific acupuncture points, acupuncture stimulates pain relief, the release of anti-inflammatory chemicals, improves blood flow, increases tissue oxygenation, removes toxins, and relaxes muscles. This therapy must be provided by a licensed acupuncturist.
  • Massage therapy: Massage stimulates blood flow, relaxes muscles, improves energy circulation, releases “feel-good” hormones, stimulates healing, provides pain relief, and is a great bonding activity.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Reiki therapy are other natural therapy options.

More often than not, disease conditions are a result of imbalance within the body, mind, and/or emotions. Naturopathy serves to restore balance thereby reducing the reliance on conventional medicine and philosophies. The Holistic Canine specializes in nutrition, nutrition therapy, and natural remedies and therapies for puppies through senior adults. Naturopathy is safe, prevents and reduces the frequency of acute health crises, often results in faster recovery from illness, is a long-term solution to chronic disease without the worry of uncomfortable and/or fatal drug side effects, slows the progression of degenerative disease, cultivates balance, and eases the body, mind, and emotions of pain and stress. And the best part? It is far less stressful on your canine than having to make frequent trips to the veterinary office.

Understand, however, that while naturopathy is often a valuable and efficacious treatment strategy, it is never a replacement for licensed veterinary care, especially in the case of an emergency. A veterinarian is trained to diagnose and save your dog’s life in the event of trauma or if a life-threatening condition occurs. Always take your pet to the veterinarian if you suspect a life threatening consequence may result. Never delay! Naturopathy is a passive treatment strategy. In emergency situations, naturopathy is a supplemental ONLY option to work along with emergency after-care from a licensed veterinarian.

For more information on nutrition and natural therapy, go to our contact page and request valuable information!

©2019 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD, BCHHP, Cert Raw Dog Food Nutritionist

*ROS reactive oxygen species


Health Is In the Cells

A Critical Look at Cellular Inflammation & How to Protect Our Canines

Life is in the cells, thus, health is in the cells. Nothing can exist without cellular function. As a practitioner, my focus is zeroed in on what is happening at the cellular level. A common and growing concern in our modern age is chronic cellular inflammation in both humans and animals. When we think of inflammation, most people will bring to mind swelling, heat, pain, redness, and loss of function such as what is experienced with an injury. Cellular inflammation, however, is something entirely different; for one, it is not discernable. Truth be told, it is the leading cause of chronic disease. When inflammation of the cell membrane occurs, it disrupts cellular communication, adversely modifies cellular detoxification, and affects gene expression which often leads to a genetically predisposed disease. More specifically, cellular inflammation is characterized by increased activity within a cell as a result of an adverse outside influence which directly causes a disrupt in hormonal signaling throughout the body network.

We live in a world that is inundated with chemicals and pollutants that are directly contrary to the needs and functioning of cells. Cells receive the majority of their needs from food, water, and air. The major concern when feeding our dogs (and our own bodies) is the less-than-adequate, highly processed, genetically modified foods grown in mineral-deplete soils with a generous measure of pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides. The bodily cells of too many dogs are relying heavily upon these foods for their nutrient needs. And unless you offer water that is filtered by reverse osmosis (and possibly the addition of UV light) you can add a copious array of heavy metals and additional chemicals and contaminants to the list of cellular antagonists. And why not throw in the air pollutants? In defense, cells must do their best to protect and repair themselves for the purpose of maintaining life. When the barrage of antagonistic environmental and food factors is consistent, we are left with a chronic condition that generally spells a life of chronic disease, pain, suffering, and premature death. Our pets are left most vulnerable. Their life expectancy is far lesser than ours and thus have a greater need for being protected from environmental onslaught and inadequately supplied nutritional requirements.

If we examine chronic cellular inflammation more closely, it is not difficult to recognize that this is a very real concern. Every cell contains what is known as Nuclear Factor-kappaB (NF-κB), a gene transcription factor. When an increased activity in NF-κB occurs, the inflammatory response is activated. The NF-κB is activated by reactive oxygen species1 (ROS), microbial invasion (acute illnesses or infection), and the cells own generation of eicosanoids (signaling molecules) and their interaction with inflammatory cytokines (vital for cellular signaling; the primary cytokine that activates NF-κB is TNF- tumor necrosis factor). It has been shown that NF-κB activation is heavily influenced by diet. Thankfully, NF-κB can be controlled through a nutrition strategy that greatly reduces inflammation rather than promoting it.

One such study found that essential fatty acids have the greatest influence on NF-κB activation. Of particular note is the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA). The study found that AA activates NF-κB, while the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) does not2. More recent studies have determined that the single most influential factor in cellular inflammation is insulin. Insulin is produced and secreted by the pancreas in the presence of glucose. Glucose is the digested or broken-down form of carbohydrates. While the inflammatory response is the same in humans as well as dogs, dogs have absolutely no requirement for carbohydrates making them far more vulnerable to the effects of carbohydrate consumption, especially in the form of processed commercial foods and homemade diets that contain starches, grains, and beans (species inappropriate foods). Dr. Francis M. Pottenger’s cat study3 speaks volumes to the effects of offering species inappropriate (cooked and adulterated) inflammatory foods to animals and thereby the conditions and diseases these produce and transfer to each consecutive generation. Dogs consuming high carbohydrate diets are at the highest risk for further inflammation that occurs not only in the cell membrane, but also in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The mitochondria are the power generators of the cells. When mitochondria become inflamed, metabolic processes, defense mechanisms, health, vitality, and energy levels plummet.

For our canines, it is not enough to simply supply required nutritional needs such as through commercially prepared processed diets, homemade meals, or tap water without any regard for the probable inflammatory-producing activity the food and water may generate. This is a key explanation for why we see chronic disease and cancers in both commercially and homemade fed dogs. While processed commercial foods have shown to be a direct and leading cause for chronic cellular inflammation, homemade foods that contain inflammatory foods are in no way a better option. The vehicles (foods) by which we deliver nutrients to the body is of fundamental importance. A so-called “complete and balanced” diet is in no way complete or balanced if NF-κB activation occurs and leads to a chronic inflammatory condition thereby greatly increasing the likelihood of a diseased state. We must look at the whole picture. Food is meant to nourish the body in ways that go far beyond simply protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Foods contain a plethora of components and constituents that affect the body either positively to produce health or negatively which promotes disease. True nutrition science looks at the affects and effects that foods have on biological systems.

Gut inflammation from species inappropriate foods is often the start of a chronic cellular inflammatory condition. Offering foods that are not appropriate to a canine’s digestion and physiology are the cause for inflammatory activation within the intestinal cells. The result is irritation of the gut lining. A series of physiological actions follow hence decreasing cellular network communication most notably with the brain. The effects of an irritated and inflamed gut decreases nutrient uptake and absorption. The whole goal of nutrition is to deliver adequate nourishment to the cells. Foods are meant to provide the vital nutritional energy and components that are required to maintain life, cultivate optimal health, and amplify the ability of the cells to efficiently defend and heal. If cells become inflamed, cellular nourishment is not achieved. Preventing malnourishment begins by offering biologically-appropriate unadulterated wholesome foods that prevent inflammation. This begins with knowing which foods are implicated in inflammatory responses in canines. Inflammation producing foods are:

  • Rendered fat, rancid fat, & cooked fat (pancreatic inflammation)
  • Grains, legumes, & processed carbohydrates
  • Processed, adulterated proteins & meat by-products
  • Preservatives & food coloring
  • Starches, insoluble fibers, & fillers
  • Canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil (dogs are carnivores and require animal fats)
  • Foods that cause sensitivity symptoms as per the individual dog (any and all, especially allergic responses)
  • Fish oils
  • Proteins from animals fed grains (especially genetically modified grains such as corn and soy)
  • Toxin-heavy foods such as farmed fish and conventionally raised/grown foods
  • Commercially-raised grain-fed chicken and pork (high in omega-6 fatty acids)
  • Commercial eggs from grain-fed caged birds
  • Tap water (and conversely, offering distilled water. This will mineral-deplete your dog FAST!)
  • Heavy supplement use, especially synthetic isolates and inorganic minerals
  • Unbalanced diets & unbalanced fats

Avoiding or healing cellular inflammation begins by greatly reducing or eliminating the above listed foods. What follows is the restoration of the cellular membranes via an anti-inflammatory diet strategy. A species-appropriate balanced raw diet is by far the best strategy for a carnivore IF, and only if, the diet includes easily digestible foods that, first and foremost, do not irritate the gut and thus adequately nourish cells and discourage an inflammatory response. Adding in phytochemical and antioxidant-rich organic vegetables and fruits can also be a part of an anti-inflammatory strategy. Be sure to first discover if your dog is able to digest the vegetation you choose. And be aware that many dogs cannot have fruit as the fruit sugars can be problematic in reactive dogs thus contributing to an overgrowth of yeast. This is a prime example of an inflammatory response to healthful, nourishing foods.

While chicken and pork are heavy in omega-6 fatty acids, they should not be avoided entirely as omega-6 fatty acids are essential to the cells. However, offering your dog free-range chicken and pork is a much better option and helps to nourish cells rather than encourage cellular reaction. Knowing how to balance fats is pivotal to the prevention of inflammation. As indicated in the study above, the omega-3 fatty acid EPA prevents NF-κB activation. Including foods and whole-food supplements into meals that are rich in EPAs is essential. Because of the condition of our food supply coupled with environmental toxin exposure, feeding omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of 2:1 omega-6 to omega-3 is highly recommended. Wild-caught fatty fish (free of contaminants) are excellent sources of omega-3 fats as well as grass-fed beef and bison, pasture-raised chicken and duck eggs, marine phytoplankton, and krill oil. Raw diets that contain a variety of red meats, poultry, fish, and omega-3 supplements are the most appropriately balanced and provide the greatest protection against cellular inflammation.

On a final note, completely avoiding all grains, legumes, and starches is a vital step. Carbohydrates in the presence of fats has been shown to exacerbate the inflammatory response. In the presence of insulin, animal and vegetable fats can become inflammatory on top of the inflammatory producing grains, legumes, and starches. While these foods may be beneficial to humans when sprouted and pressure-cooked to remove toxic anti-predation lectins, anti-nutrients, and enzyme inhibitors, they are not suitable for canines. These are rich in gut-irritating insoluble fibers (even to humans) and non-essential carbohydrates that break down to useless sugars spiking insulin and resulting in inflammation, weight gain, and an enlarged pancreas. Additionally, grain and legume proteins lack the correct amino acid ratios for carnivores besides the very obvious fact that carnivores do not and would not consume grains even in the absence of prey. Carnivores lack the digestive capacity to breakdown grains and legumes for nutritional purposes.

The purpose of nutrition is nourishment and to provide the body with an energy source. Feeding the body foods that encourage cellular reactivity and are problematic to digest requires the use vital energy making more work for the body. This serves to lower vital nerve energy and create a state of enervation. Energy and vitality are the highest representations of true health and wellness.

©2019 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD. BCHHP, Cert Raw Dog Food Nutritionist

1 Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are reactive molecules containing oxygen that are produced by excess free radical formation via environmental toxins, metabolism, blood cells, emotional stress, as well as being introduced via diet that directly damage cells.

2 Camandola S, Leonarduzzi G,Musso T, Varesio L, Carini R, Scavazza A, Chiarpotto E, Baeuerle PA, and Poli G. “Nuclear factor kB is activated by arachidonic acid but not by eicosapentaenoic acid.” Biochem Biophys Res Commun 229:643-647 (1996).

3 Francis Marion Pottenger Jr., Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition, Price Pottenger Nutrition; 2nd edition, June 1, 2012.



Warring Within a Broken & Battered World

A Crusade to Protecting our Canines from Modern Living

At some point we all have to carefully consider the question, will raw feeding and a natural approach to canine health care guarantee the prevention of chronic disease, health conditions, DCM, cancer, and other issues? The truth? No. There are simply no guarantees in this life except that all beginnings will have an ending. The problem is, we live in a broken and contaminated world. There are thousands upon thousands of chemicals, contaminants, and pollutants that are warring against us and our pets. Too many people have no regard for our planet, our food sources, our air, or our water. Couple this with the modern purebred dog that has their pedigree funneled down to a tiny gene pool that no longer contains sufficient healthy DNA. We are in a literal battle for health…for LIFE. Naturally-reared and lifetime raw fed dogs are still getting diseases and dying prematurely. Everyday in my Facebook news feed I encounter anywhere from two to six posts from distraught pet parents grieving the loss of their beloved companions. Their battles were fought naturally and bravely, but with everything in this life, an end is inevitable. While it can be delayed, it cannot be stopped.

It is my wish for everyone that the understanding of just how precious and fragile life truly is would take precedence in their life. It is a gift to wake up and have another day. It is a blessing to have our pet companions by our side to add purpose and joy to our lives. We owe it to them to do the best we can to protect and defend them from this fallen and diseased world. It is up to us to educate others about the dangers of processed, mineral-deficient, chemically-laden GMO foods; heavy metal and chemical-filled vaccines; insecticide flea and tick pills, sprays, collars, and dips; toxic worming protocols; chemical and pollutant contaminated tap water; exhaust and pollution saturated air; and yards and neighborhoods sprayed and sprinkled with glyphosate, weed killers, and chemical fertilizers. When and where does this end? It can end now with each one of us making the decision to improve our world by the choices we make. Our pets depend entirely on every decision we make.

Nearly all of us understands the pain of experiencing the effects of our beaten and battered planet. We have lost pets…too young and too soon. What we thought was beneficial turned out to be not enough. We say our good-bye and wonder if what we do is even worth the effort. I want to assure you, it is! How much sooner would you have possibly said your good-bye had you not put forth the energy and effort into providing YOUR best for your dog? Press forward! Do not back down in this battle with our battered world. Nature is fighting back. We must support her!

The face of The Holistic Canine, my Siberian Husky, Damon, is facing such a battle, and I, his guardian, am all he has to provide him with an arsenal sufficient for him to move forward in battle for as long as he is able to proceed without pain and suffering. The sad truth is, bad things happen in this world. I am not ready to back down in this fight for health and for our world. Will you stand with me? Our dogs are counting on us and we need an army to rally for nature, for health, and for LIFE.

©2019 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD, BCHHP, Cert Raw Dog Food Nutritionist


Transitioning Your Dog to a Raw Food Diet

From Commercial Dog Food to Raw

Switching to a homemade raw diet is one of the most daunting decisions a pet parent will ever make on behalf of their beloved canine. After all, veterinarians, the dog food industry, and organizations such as AAFCO and the NRC make canine nutrition out to be a very complicated, multifarious, intricate, obscure, alarmingly difficult, and better-left-to-the-experts business that no well-meaning pet parent would possibly dare to take into their own hands. I am sure nearly every raw feeder has at least at one point felt that wave of concern or fear when starting out on their homemade raw nutrition journey, and even years into their nutrition strategy. And for good reason! We all want what is best for our dogs, and we especially do not want any harm to come to them because of something we have done incorrectly. While I am certainly not about to sugar coat the decision to take your dog’s nutritional requirements into your own hands, I do, however, want to assure pet parents that it is not as scary and intimidating as you might think. Thousands of people have been raw feeding their dogs for decades, many of them breeders with upwards of five generations of strictly raw fed dogs. This has given us some invaluable insight into the positive changes in epigenetic gene expression as well as to learn what works and where problems can and do arise. If you have made the decision to transition to a DIY raw nutrition plan, you have some homework to do with the added help of numerous resources to assist you along your journey. (Don’t hesitate to join The Holistic Canine’s Facebook group for resources and support, or use us for a personal one-on-one experience to give you the confidence you need.)

Assuming you have already read my blog posts Feeding the Modern Canine and DIY Raw Dog Food (if you have not yet read through parts I through V as well as DIY Raw Dog Food, it is highly advisable that you begin by reading through everything as this is a necessary step to prevent harm from coming to your dog), and have read books such as Canine Nutrigenomics by Dr. Jean Dodds & Diana Laverdure, referred to other vital books and information from holistic raw feeding veterinarians such as Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Peter Dobias, Dr. Ian Billinghurst, and Dr. Tom Lonsdale (among others), and scoured professional blogs such as Dana Scott’s Dogs Naturally Magazine, then you are prepared to start. You will notice that I am quite serious about my own nutrition and natural health practice and understanding, and even more, relaying this adequately to my clients for their practice and understanding as well. Nutrition must be in the correct context, especially for the modern canine. We call this orthomolecular nutrition. I do not recommend putting too much stock in some of the popular raw feeding websites, blogs, and Facebook groups that were started by well-meaning raw feeders who have minimal education from online certificate courses. While these courses are fantastic for the individual pet parent to receive a suitable foundation for providing their best to their beloved canines, it is not a sufficient education experience to be selling pet nutrition plans and recipes to other pet parents. I have heard enough horror stories to make even the hardest person cry. As a practitioner, I am held to the highest of responsibility when affecting another living being with my advice as well as to the people who love and care for them. I cannot stress this enough: persist with the holistic veterinarians and pet professionals who have been in this field for decades and have a plethora of results to show.

Having completed your research, the following checklist is a must to begin your raw food journey:

  • You must have your dog’s specific nutrient requirements for protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins.
  • You will need to know how much raw food to provide. Generally, we begin a raw food transition by offering 2.5% of your dog’s current body weight.
  • You should have a nutrient-profile database to which you will be referring such as cronometer or the USDA database.
  • It is helpful to have an auditing spreadsheet that will calculate the nutrients as you add ingredients. It is not, however, necessary if you are okay with doing some paper and pen calculations.
  • You must also have a food scale. You cannot “wing it” especially when first beginning to create raw meals. I still rely on a food scale. I in no way want to eyeball my amounts especially when some nutrients are difficult to source in adequate amounts and others can become toxic in too high an amount. I do admittedly eyeball the bone content. After years of raw feeding, I am confident with adding my bone in varying amounts because it balances out over a couple of days. If you are feeding a puppy, you need to weigh the bone. A puppy’s skeleton is growing rapidly. You must maintain the correct calcium to phosphorous ratio in the required amounts for proper skeletal and joint formation.
  • Be sure to take into consideration some important details about your dog. Does your dog…
  1. have food sensitivities?
  2. have a health condition?
  3. have age against them?
  4. gulp or bolt their food?
  5. need to lose body fat?

And lastly, some additional items to keep on hand if needed or required:

  • probiotic and enzyme supplement(s)
  • apple cider vinegar
  • omega-3 source such as krill oil or phytoplankton
  • Manuka honey
  • Slippery Elm Bark

Final notes before you begin: Avoid offering foods to which your dog has sensitivities. Bear in mind that you will be feeding whole foods and bone. If you have a dog that does not currently chew their food or a senior dog that has difficulty chewing, you will need to consider the type and form of meat and bone that you will be offering. I am not one who recommends grinds (a small percentage is fine, but not entire meals). A dog is meant to chew on bones. The chewing action not only massages the gums and helps to maintain overall oral health, but also stimulates the trigeminal nerve acting as a pacifier by releasing hormones that stabilize mood. Your dog’s oral health is fundamental to creating and maintaining overall body health! Offer grinds only if your dog cannot physically chew. Patience is necessary for a gulper. It is highly recommended that you teach a gulper how to chew by holding the bone and correcting their action. And finally, transitioning to raw is not the time to reduce calories for body fat reduction. Wait until after your dog is fully transitioned and doing well on a raw diet.

If you are currently feeding a premade commercial raw food, you can transition to a DIY meal easily. Just follow the guideline in the DIY Raw Dog Food post. When you are confident with your meals, simply remove the commercial pre-made raw food from the diet completely.

For everyone else feeding a processed commercial kibble or canned food diet, transitioning is often the most difficult step. Many dogs are damaged from the processed foods and must heal their gut in order to digest raw foods without an issue. This is not to say that many of my clients have not had success with a “cold turkey” switch, because the truth is, they have. I am one of those who switched two adults and one puppy “cold turkey” without a single issue. You have to take into consideration your dog’s current health and current diet. If you are feeding a brand by Mars Petcare Inc., Nestlé Purina PetCare, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Big Heart Pet Brands, or Spectrum Brands/United Pet Group, you should consider a gradual transition especially if your dog has been on these foods for three or more years and/or has minor health conditions such as digestive concerns, chronic ear infections, skin issues, joint issues, or any other condition. It is highly advised to start your dog on a probiotic, and possibly even an enzyme supplement, one week prior to the transition. You will continue to supplement throughout the process. This is especially important for dogs who have health conditions.

If you have a puppy that you would like to transition, you cannot do a gradual switch. You MUST do a cold turkey switch to a balanced raw diet because a puppy must have all their nutrients supplied in the required amounts on a daily basis. Switching to a balanced pre-made raw is my best advice for a beginner to raw feeding. Then you can gradually switch your growing pup over to a DIY raw food plan when you are confident that you can provide balanced meals.

Whether you switch your adult dog gradually or cold turkey to a raw food diet, you will want to begin with a single low-fat protein source. It is recommended to begin with chicken breast as it is easier to digest, but there is no rule or real reason why you must transition your dog with chicken. Some dogs do not tolerate chicken well. It is the lower-nutrient, more bland meats that we are going to use to transition. Read the ingredients on the bag or can or pouch of food you are currently feeding. Choosing a bland protein that your dog is already consuming in their current food is a good option. You want to make the transition as easy as possible. What is beneficial about offering chicken, however, is the ease of introducing bone. Chicken is by far the easiest bone sources for dogs just starting out on raw. Bone options include ribs, backs, necks, wings, feet, thigh bones, and drums. Choose what is appropriate to your dog’s size. Small bones for small dogs (wings, necks) and larger bones for big dogs (thighs, backs, drums). What I do not like about chicken, especially in a transition, is the high linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acids) content. If your dog already has some gut issues, you will need to supply omega-3 fatty acids to prevent the delay of healing cellular and gut inflammation. Offer your dog krill oil or phytoplankton with chicken. Turkey is another introductory meat you may wish to opt for in place of chicken. Be aware that if you choose turkey, grocery store turkey often has broth added. Check the sodium content on the package. You will not want to feed turkey with a brine solution added. Dogs do require sodium, but we do not want to over-do sodium intake, especially during a transition to raw. Quail and Cornish hens are also good transition meats with equally easy bones to offer. And it you have access to domestic rabbit, rabbit is also a good starter protein along with bones to offer (ribs, neck/back bones, and feet are good bone options).

Bone will be required on day three. Use whole cuts of meat and avoid ground meat during the transition as grinds have an increased surface area which can equate to more bacteria. Following a week of poultry, adding red meat is a necessity. Grass-fed beef or bison are highly recommended as they are nutrient-dense and contain beneficial fats. Most of these meats are easily attainable from a grocery store, farmer’s market, and even Walmart. If you know your dog has protein sensitivities, avoid offering those proteins at least until your dog has been on raw for six months to a year with noticeable health improvements. Reintroducing a protein is not advisable unless under the direction of a nutritionist or holistic veterinarian well-versed in raw food and/or TCM food therapy.

Gradual Transition for an ADULT dog: Having chosen your low-fat transition protein and bone (and determined whether or not you will be adding a probiotic/enzyme supplement to their diet), you will begin by offering a “taste” of raw meat (without bone or skin) opposite meal time especially if your dog is kibble fed. If you feed one meal per day, the transition is very simple. Feed the raw meat in the morning or evening, whichever is opposite the meal. If you feed twice a day, feed the raw meat in-between the two meals. A “taste” can be approximately one half (½) ounce, one (1) ounce, or two (2) ounces of lean meat for a small to large dog while a toy dog will begin with a training-treat size piece. Choose the introductory amount proportional to your dog’s weight. Feeding the raw meat opposite mealtime will stimulate the stomach to lower the pH in the presence of the meat and thereby greatly reduce the possibility for pathogenic bacteria proliferation. Since raw meat is a protein, the stomach lowers the pH to create an acid bath to break apart the peptide bonds holding the amino acids together along with killing bacteria. Kibble is digested as a starch which raises pH and speeds up passage into the small intestine where bacteria could enter. While a carnivore has no issues consuming pathogenic bacteria, feeding raw meat with kibble increases the risk for bacteria produced diarrhea. If you have a dog with a digestive health condition, start by soaking the raw meat in diluted apple cider vinegar for at least 10 minutes to remove any pathogenic surface bacteria. (You may opt to follow the soak with rinsing the meat in cold water before feeding it.)

If your dog is accustomed to eating fresh vegetables and fruit, you may wish to continue to feed them as you did prior to the transition. If not, hold off until you are certain your dog’s system is doing well on the transition to raw. Introduce only small amounts of pureed vegetables and berries.

Beginning on day one, offer the raw meat (without bone and skin) to your dog on an empty stomach as per your chosen method listed above. If all goes well and your dog has no digestive upset or diarrhea (semi-formed/mushy stools is not uncommon, it is the liquid diarrhea you will be concerned with), repeat the same amount of meat the following day. If liquid diarrhea occurs, take a break until stools are solid and then start again. If all is fine, on day three, double the amount of meat and add in 20% of your chosen bone as well as some skin (if you used the apple cider vinegar method the first two days, you may stop on day three). Bone helps to keep the stools firm, thus adding 20% bone during the initial few days of the transition is beneficial. Continue feeding this same protein adding an additional half (½) ounce, one (1) ounce, two (2) ounce, or treat size (whichever amount you began with) while also adjusting the bone to 20% and eventually reducing it to 15% (see chart below). Begin proportionally reducing the commercial food until you have completed one full week. By the end of 7 days, you should be half commercial food and half raw meat. If you had been feeding only one commercial food meal per day, you are now feeding half the amount of commercial food at your dog’s usual mealtime, and you will have added a raw meal at the opposite time. If you were feeding two meals per day, you will be completely eliminating one of the commercial food meals so you are now feeding one commercial food meal and one raw meal at the opposite time. Bear in mind, you have now created an imbalanced diet. We will begin to slowly create balance and remove the commercial food completely.

The following chart is an example transition using one (1) ounce of meat for a medium size dog normally fed once per day. Adjust according to your specific needs/plan.

WEEK ONE

Day 1:

  • AM: 1 oz. raw meat
  • PM: Commercial food meal

Day 2:   

  • AM: 1 oz. raw meat             
  • PM: Commercial food meal

Day 3:   

  • AM: 2 oz. raw meat* + 20% bone   
  • PM: Commercial food meal

Day 4:  

  • AM: 3 oz. raw meat + 20% bone
  • PM: Reduced commercial food

Day 5:  

  • AM: 4 oz. raw meat + 20% bone       
  • PM: Reduced commercial food

Day 6:  

  • AM: 5 oz. raw meat + 15% bone       
  • PM: Reduced commercial food

Day 7:  

  • AM: 6 oz. raw meat + 15% bone       
  • PM: Commercial food reduced to half fed**

*Begin gradually adding skin-on meat if feeding poultry.

**While dropping the kibble to half the total amount normally fed is likely less than the small amount of raw added, this is better to allow your dog’s body to adjust.

Beginning on day one of week two, if all went well in week one, adding a nutrient-dense red meat is advised. If your dog is already eating multiple protein sources in their commercial food, you can add an additional protein found in the current food. As noted above, I prefer grass-fed beef; however, bison or pasture-raised goat, pork, and lamb are also good choices. Offer the new protein the same way you introduced the first introductory protein. You are going to be adding this to the raw meal while you will work on removing the commercial food completely from the diet by the end of this week. Also notice the bone percentage will continue to drop. For simplicity sake, I will not list the commercial meal in the following chart. If you feel your dog needs an additional week with just the introductory meat, stay with that one single protein and continue to increase the amount daily as you did in week one.

WEEK TWO

Day 8:  AM: 6 oz. meat one, 1 oz. new meat + 15% bone    

Day 9:  AM: 6 oz. meat one, 1 oz. new meat + 15% bone 

Day 10:  AM: 6 oz. meat one, 2 oz. new meat + 12% bone

Day 11: AM: 6 oz. meat one, 3 oz. new meat + 12% bone

Day 12:  AM: 6 oz. meat one, 4 oz. new meat + 12% bone

Day 13:  AM: 6 oz. meat one, 5 oz. new meat + 12% bone

Day 14:  AM: 6 oz. meat one, 6 oz. new meat + 12% bone

If at any point your dog develops diarrhea, do not panic. Give your dog’s system a chance to adjust. Remove all visible fat and skin from the meat and increase bone back up to 15% to 20%. One day of diarrhea is not uncommon; however, if stools do not begin to firm by the end of day two, add a probiotic or double the amount you started with and bring the bone back up to 20% for a day or two. Give a dose of the probiotic at least 30 minutes prior to feeding the raw meal. Manuka honey is helpful as well. Give a dose according to the size of your dog from 1/2 tsp to 2 tsp. Slippery Elm Bark also ameliorates diarrhea. This can be given 15 to 20 minutes prior to the raw meal.

Depending upon the speed of the transition, week three or week four must include organs to further balance the diet. Organ meats are nutrient-saturated. The richness of these foods can cause loose stools and diarrhea. If you have already battled diarrhea during this transition, introduce organs SLOWLY. Start with liver. I prefer calf liver as a first introduction to secreting organs. Calf (and beef) liver is richer in copper than other livers and is cleaner than beef liver. You will only feed liver at 5% of the total diet if feeding daily. Add small amounts of liver each day until you are up to 5%. If the stools remain firm (you may notice darker stools, this is normal), introduce a second secreting organ such as kidney or spleen to be fed along with the liver. Beef kidney is easy to source. This too is fed at only 5% of the diet making secreting organs a combined total of approximately 10% of the daily meal(s). You will be feeding 10% to 15% bone this week.

By week four or week five, begin slowly introducing more proteins and muscle organs such as heart, gizzards, and lungs. These are fed as main protein sources at approximately 15% of the total diet. Gradually add in more vegetables, fruits, seeds, and other foods that will help increase nutrient-saturation within the meals. Your goal at this stage is to provide a balanced diet. Pay attention to stools as they are the key to how well your dog is digesting foods and either thriving or having difficulties adjusting fully.

Some dogs are what I call “lead bellies.” “Lead belly” dogs can eat anything and everything without a single issue. Even so, you don’t want to shock the system. These dogs do well with a “cold turkey” transition to raw. If you have a hardy dog prior to transitioning to raw, but a “cold turkey” switch sounds scary, you may opt to remove commercial food already after day seven. You know your dog best! Transition according to what is going to be the best option for both you and your dog.

And finally, be sure to start auditing your nutrients by either entering your meal ingredients in a spreadsheet calculator or by looking up nutrient profiles and recording your nutrient values in each meal. It will get easier as time goes by! Welcome to the world of raw feeding!

©2019 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD, BCHHP, Cert Raw Dog Food Nutritionist


Welcome to The Holistic Canine

Welcome! The Holistic Canine was created to provide
biologically-accurate and species-appropriate raw feeding, naturopathic, and natural therapy information, educational resources, and personalized services to pet parents who desire to provide their beloved canines with the absolute best of care from the holistic realm. Raw feeding and naturopathic information abounds in published literature and on the world-wide web. Much of that information is pretty darn on-point, while some is missing the mark in big ways. How to sort through the plethora of information almost requires a how-to guide in and of itself. This is where The Holistic Canine comes in. It is my goal to provide the most current scientifically-accurate information from both the world of science research and my own education and experiences as a naturopath, orthomolecular nutritionist, and canine raw food nutritionist.

Science-based information means that it is based on test studies and trials that are either conclusive (factual) or highly reliable or a strongly supported theory regarded as correct. While the former certainly wins for authenticity, factual surety, and/or is near absolute, the latter can actually be based on a completely erroneous perception, concept, or idea that is propagated to push a strongly held viewpoint. Unfortunately, the internet is filled with this type of information along with a plethora of conjecture and speculation. When well-meaning pet parents excitedly or frantically search for needed information and guidance to commence on a new raw feeding and/or naturopathic journey, there is often no easy way to know or determine whether the information that sounds “scientific” is actually based on well-researched and reliable test trials that led to certainty. Providing raw feeding and natural health care information via the internet and books is a essential to furthering a better path to dog care. It is an admirable and vital service to give to the public especially when the motive it to inform and assist for the betterment of overall health and well-being for our pets. And yet, still the advice is not always safe or the best approach. One way we can conclude if “science-based” information is accurate or hypothetically-based is if it is in-line with the harmonious “real-life” functioning of a biological system or if it is inconsistent with that reality.

Here, yet, is another quandary to consider. While “science” is the study of what we can observe and test, it does not mean that scientists and doctors always come up with correct conclusions. Much of science begins with end-points. It is necessary to accurately reverse-engineer an observed end-point to discover the true map or path that led to the end point. Many times, the conclusions are 100% erroneous. Unless we observe from beginning to end with all variables clearly considered, a conclusion leading to an absolute fact cannot truly be discovered. Science must see it “in action.” Scientists and doctors are left with making educated guesses. They can test the validity of their conclusions, but because biological systems are so individualized, and factors leading up to end-points are rarely known to a greater extent, we are left with their hypotheticals or everyone’s best guess. Much of the time, science proves that man’s conclusions are incorrect and we must begin again. We see this in the countless studies that tell us to eat this or that, or this is good for us, or be sure to practice “such-and-such,” or avoid that like the plague, when out of nowhere and often years later we learn those “truths” and warnings were erroneous, some even completely invalid. Such is the system we call “science,” a dynamic and ever growing, ever progressing method of discovering truths.

When it comes to biological systems, they are so complex that we are only just beginning to understand the true paths to health and wellness; especially when it comes to our animals. Ultimately each one of us is left with the responsibility to make crucial decisions for each of our pet’s nutritional and health care needs. Our dogs are completely in the fate of our discretion and understanding. Sometimes our research and strategy proves advantageous, and we celebrate a long life filled with vitality and joy. Then we repeat the same strategy with a our next fur-babies and something goes wrong. It is for this reason I have stepped up to the plate to offer guidance, encouragement, and best of all, real life answers and solutions.

Let’s join together is this wonder-filled and amazing world of furry and not so furry, tongue-lolling, balls of energy and affection which we lovingly call “man’s best friend.” Bring on a long lifetime of wet kisses and hair-filled houses!

©2018 Kimberly Lloyd, PhD, BCHHP, Cert Raw Dog Nutritionist