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Dog Nutrition Cheat Sheet: Helpful Tips & Products

Dog nutrition education Seattle Pet NutritionistThanks to everyone who came to my dog nutrition seminar on Nov.3rd ! Hope you received some valuable information. Personally, following our speaker Patti Howard‘s suggestions I started integrating raw food into my dog’s diet with a raw meal in the morning (consisting of raw beef and Honest Kitchen’s Keen dehydrated food which has tons of veggies!) and her Acana high quality dry food in the evenings. She’s made the transition with NO trouble at all and seems to love her food. She now eats with gusto and actually wants more! Apparently, she wasn’t finicky – she just had finer and more diverse taste than I gave her credit for!

So once again – Thank-you Patti!! And thanks to Melanie Carroll and everyone at Fido-n-Scratch for hosting!

Below is a quick and easy dog nutrition reference guide that covers the main topics discussed during the talk and lists any recommended products. For anyone in the area, most of the products can be found at Fido-n-Scratch either at their Leschi or Mt. Baker location.  However, if this is out of the way for you, I’ve provided links where you can purchase these products online. I’ve generally given links to smaller sizes of these products in case you’re trying them for the first time. For the frozen raw foods, you’ll need to check the freezer aisle at your best local pet food store.

If you try any of these products and/or suggestions, drop me a line and let me know what your experience was!

Super-Duper Dog Nutrition Tip Sheet

Q. What gluten-free dog foods would you suggest?

A. Gluten is typically introduced into dog food through fillers. Because dry foods generally contain the most fillers, I first recommend raw foods for people looking for gluten-free options, then wet foods, dehydrated options, then specially made gluten-free kibble. Here are some recommendations:

Raw Foods

  • Nature’s Instinct
  • Darwins
  • Northwest

Wet Foods

Dry Foods (Note: These are Grain-Free. We’ ll check in on completely Gluten-Free dry foods and add any that we find.)

  • Orijen (Orijen and Acana are made by the same company and the only dry food my dog willingly eats!)
  • Acana
  • Now

**As a general rule always try and stay away from Corn, Wheat and Soy in your dog’s diet. These ingredients mean gluten is present and they are also common triggers to allergic reactions which can cause not only physical issues, but behavioral ones as well.

Q. What foods will help you switch your dog over to a raw diet.

A. Ideally a dog’s biology makes their digestive tract capable of safely passing the bacteria found in raw food. However, due to modern feeding habits many dogs’ digestive tracts no longer have the appropriate amount of probiotics needed to handle raw material therefore they may at first have a difficult time switching over to Raw food if this is not addressed. Here are some foods you can add to your dog’s diet in order to replenish those probiotics and make the transition to raw easier.

  • Goat’s milk – Give a ¼ cup to your dog 15 minutes before or after they’ve eaten.
  • Raw Okra – Blend the okra in a blender in advance and keep in the fridge or freezer. Add to your dog’s raw meat during meal times.
  • Pumpkin – Give your dog a Tbsp. of pureed pumpkin (canned with no spices is great) with their food.
  • Aloe Vera Juice – Add a Tbsp to your dogs water, can help soothe digestive issues, as well as help balance ph.

Q. What are some options if you want to feed raw, but don’t have the time to prepare fresh.

A.

  • Frozen raw is an excellent option to the time and energy of preparing fresh food
  • Prepare your own frozen raw food for the week, in advance. Blend an array of veggie/fruit choices, chop meat and package in freezer safe Ziploc bags.

Q. Do dogs only eat grass when they’re sick?

A. My business partner, Prescott, wrote an excellent article to the Examiner, where research says no, they do not eat grass ‘just because they are sick’.  Not only does it taste yummy, but those spring grasses must be like a taste of sunshine!  For those dogs that do have intestinal upset it can help, and also has been shown to help rid them of worms with the blades of grass carrying from their intestinal tract.  Studies have also shown that if Mom-dog grazed on grass, her pups will have higher incidence of doing so themselves.   For dogs not getting any ‘fresh ingredients’ in their daily diet, it must be pure heaven to forage for the just the right grass!

Q. How do you prepare raw bones so that you can be sure there is no risk of choking?

A. We cut risk dramatically by feeding raw vs. cooked bones, and if you are feeding poultry necks, it is a good idea to pulverize them a bit with a hammer to help your dog get accustomed to chewing on those types of bones.  Poultry backs are also very popular, and can be prepared in the same way. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as ‘no risk’, however so it’s always good to supervise your dog while eating bones. Also, be aware of how your dog eats. If they aren’t a chewer and just swallow everything you may want to first try various sizes to see how your dog handles them.

Q. What are the top 3-5 supplements and/or foods you would add to an older dog’s diet to avoid typical senior dog issues?

A. To answer that question best, as all dogs are individual, we have what is called a Canine Animal Nutrition questionnaire that clients fill out for consultation, and helps to identify what areas of the body may be struggling nutritionally.  Along with this nutritional information fur mineral analysis is also a service that is available to help us better determine where your dog is now for overall adrenal, kidney, liver, digestive and muscular health.   Most vets can do a full analysis of your older pet’s health as well. Once we understand the current status of your pet’s health, we can identify with better accuracy what will be particularly helpful to bringing your dog back into balance. Having said that, here are supplements I commonly recommend with recipes I provide:

  • Animal based omega 3 fatty acids, so prepared fish oils that you are taking yourself! or salmon, mackerel, sardines packed in water and rinsed. An exceptionally high quality product is Iceland Pure Pharmaceutical Grade Salmon Oil.
  • Calcium, I use  Animal Essentials Seaweed Calcium. I also regularly give raw bones to satisfy that need in place of the powder.
  • A probiotic, especially if your dog is on antibiotics of any type.  We want to re-establish good intestinal health consistently, and this is good way to provide that.  A great probiotic product is Total Biotics another is ‘Inner Garden’ which can be found at www.gobeyondorganic.com You can also add a healthy Tbsp of PLAIN yogurt (no sugar please) in their food each day.

Q. Can my tap water affect my pet’s sensitive stomach and what can I do to find out or fix this?

A. Chlorine is an agent that can disrupt your dog’s digestion, so the rule of thumb is that if you filter your own water, do so for your animals.

Q. How much should I feed my dog?

A. When feeding raw, the standard number is 2-1/2% of their ideal body weight.  So a 100lbs dog will get 2-1/2 lbs of food per day, split between an AM and PM meal.  Take note that this amount is accurate for the ideal ratio of food, which will fluctuate with the type of ingredients that the food is composed of, exercise level of dog, breed, etc. So seek help from professional to help you set up a good standard recipe, which can be altered with seasonal ingredients, sale items, availability, etc.

Q. What should I look for when reading a nutrition label?

A. Add up protein, moisture, and fat percentages, subtract this number from 100% and that is percentage of carbohydrate load there is in the food.  The optimal amount of carbohydrates to have in a food is 12-18%, so you will quickly see how kibble disrupts the ideal balance.  A dog’s primary energy source is fat, not carbs, so this is an important number if you’re finding that there are physical or behavioral issues with your dog. Remember you can also bring your dog to a nutrition specialist to find out more about normalizing this percentage.

About Patti Howard

Patti Howard, BS, CCS has her Bachelors in Holistic Nutrition, and with her 11 years of working with dogs became certified in Canine Nutrition from Building Better Bodies with Canine Nutrition, with Dr. Ava Frick DVM as Instructor/Mentor.   Patti is a Behavior and Nutrition Specialist and COO with The Pawsitive Packleader, Inc., which services the greater Seattle area.  She consults individually and speaks publicly on Canine Nutrition.  The Pawsitive Packleader Inc., with a scientist on staff, is committed to the research and study of nutrition on behavior.  Calling all dogs to the table!

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Reminder: Seattle Dog Nutrition Expert Answers Your Questions TOMORROW Nov.3rd

SEATTLE DOG LOVERS

GET THE SCOOP ON:

DOG NUTRITION

From Dog Nutrition Expert Patti Howard of Pawsitive Packleader

Seattle Pet Nutrition Expert Event Seminar

Learn how to give your dog the best diet possible and get answers to

nutrition-related health & behavioral problems

November 3rd @ 5PM

Fido-n-Scratch  in Leschi  140 Lakeside Avenue.  Suite A

 

For more information visit BarkofSeattle.com or call 917-345-5157.

** Dogs always welcome, but we invite you to make this **

parents’ night & leave your pooch at home

 to get the most out of this informative event.

Pet Nutritionist Talks About Best Diet Options for Your Dog on Nov. 3rd @ 5PM

Nov 3 Dog nutrition expert advice seattle

Certified pet nutritionist, Patti Howard of The Pawsitive Packleader, will be speaking on Nov. 3rd at fido-n-scratch (Leschi) about how you to give your dog the best possible diet and what nutrition options are available to help alleviate common food related health and behavioral issues.

I’m actually coordinating the event and am so excited that Patti Howard agreed to speak. She is PASSIONATE about dogs and their health and is a great source of information about proper dog nutrition.

I thought of doing this event when my dog started eating dirt all of a sudden. I knew it was probably because something was lacking in her diet. Of course, my first thought was that if she actually ate her food then maybe whatever it was wouldn’t be missing. However, Pipa clearly decided that I was an idiot and that whatever food I gave her paled in comparison to dirt, sooooo getting her to eat her very, very well-balanced dog food was simply out of the question.  I asked around and was told probiotics could help her absorb the nutrients in her food better and Patti suggested that she may need more fresh foods.

Now, I used to cook for Pip all the time. In fact, she didn’t really get dry food until about 2 years ago because I was doing the cooked food thing with a professional supplement powder. That was awesome… until she stopped eating the powder. I mean what dog refuses to eat steak because she doesn’t like the sauce? My dog Pip.

Anyway, Patti suggested fresh food. I got my butt back into the kitchen and literally a couple of days later NO MORE DIRT EATING. Yeah!!!! Happy to know my cooking is better than dirt.

So if you’re here in Seattle and would like to know more about giving your dog the proper diet, what dietary changes you should make for senior dogs, what you can do for dogs with sensitive stomachs, etc. then come by on November 3rd at 5PM to the fido-n-scratch in Leschi (140 Lakeside Avenue.  Suite A.). Of course dogs are welcome (fido-n-scratch is a fab pet store!), but we’re inviting you to make this parents’ night & leave your pooch at home to get the most out of this informative event.

Also, prior to the event I’ll be asking Patti to answer some common dog nutrition questions/concerns, so if you have any questions for her, please send them my way!

Hope to see some of you at the event!!

 

 

Pet Pantry Helps Families Take Care of Pets in Tough Times

Pet Food Bank Pet Pantry Seattle Blue Dog BakeryThe Blue Dog Bakery Pet Pantry is wonderfully thoughtful program that helps stock dog treats at food pantries in selected cities around the country. People have been relying more and more on food pantries in this tough economy. With so many people needing a hand it’s easy to forget that if a family is having trouble keeping food on the table, they may also be having a hard time keeping kibble in the bowl.

Through December 2012, when you buy a specially marked box of Blue Dog Bakery treats, you send a free box to a participating food bank. So everytime you do something good for your pup, you’re making the day better for another pup out there.

This Saturday, October 6, Blue Dog and Rainier Food Bank will have their Pet Pantry Palooza in order to get more boxes on the shelves of area food banks. Check out Rainier Valley Food Bank site to find out more about Pet Pantry Palooza and to find out more about the Pet Pantry visit Blue Dog Bakery.

Awesome Treat Alert: Stella & Chewy’s!!!!!!!!

Best Dog Treats ReviewJust to start this off – Stella & Chewy’s are so crazy, ridiculously good that my friends and I call it ‘doggie crack’.

To be clear I have not personally tried Stella & Chewy’s. Not just because they are for dogs (there was that late-night Milkbone incident), but because they are a raw food. However, the trembles that go through my dog’s body and the creepy way she stares at me when I say “You want a Stella & Chewy’s?” is all the proof I need that these treats are perhaps the best treats on the planet.

I’ve got a picky dog so I spend lots of time and money buying treats that end up going moldy or going to other dogs. Plus I started researching how to properly read nutrition labels and now I actually agree with Pip’s sorry opinion of many of the treats that are on the market.  So when I came across Stella & Chewy’s a few years ago, I was tickled pink to see that these ‘treats’ were actually a primo freeze-dried dog food made from things like:

* Naturally-raised meat, poultry and fish sourced from USDA-inspected facilities
* Organic fruits and vegetables including cranberries, carrots, apples, spinach, broccoli and beets.
* Direct-fed microorganisms (probiotics)

Then on top of that, she actually took them from the person at the store!

The words “Stella & Chewy’s” bring the same level of doggie joy and excitement as “Car ride”. That says A LOT.

So quick rundown: Stella & Chewy’s can be a bit tricky to find in the store. You need to check pet stores that carry a lot of natural and organic brands. Here in Seattle I know that Fido-n-Scratch (Leschi & Madrona), Immortal Dog (Central District), and Happy Endings Urban Mercantile (Capitol Hill) carry these treats. If you have trouble finding them near you, check out Stella & Chewy’s website: www.stellaandchewys.com. You can either get the actual treats (Carnivore Crunch and Carnivor Kisses) or the Freeze Dried Dinners which come in Chicken, Beef, Duck, Lamb, and Surf & Turf. I prefer to get the dinners and break them up into treat sizes.

I strongly recommend you give these a try  – you (and your dog) will be very happy you did!