La version de votre navigateur est obsolète. Nous vous recommandons vivement d'actualiser votre navigateur vers la dernière version.

Prochain chiots Manchesters prévus pour  2021! * Next Manchester puppies expected in 2021!

avec/with:

GCH Bayside's Little Wolf de Nanrox & Weekend Wind Willow de Nanrox

 Chiot Beauceron Puppy!

Portée  /  Litter  - 2021!

Bienvenue sur le site de NANROX  

Nous espérons que vous appréciez de parcourir notre site Web dédié aux Beaucerons et Terrier de Manchester et que vous y trouverez beaucoup d'informations utiles.

Welcome on NANROX website! 

We hope you enjoy browsing on our new Web site on Beauceron and Manchester Terrier and that you will find lots of useful information .

 

Kallil de NanroxKallil de Nanrox       

Ch. Bayside's Little Wolf de Nanrox
aka Tilou - 11 moisCh. Bayside's Little Wolf de Nanrox aka Tilou - 11 mois

NANROX  reg'd

Beauceron & Manchester Terrier

CHAPTER 5

 

Food – What is in it?

The function of this chapter is twofold.  Firstly, to give a brief review of the major nutrients in food, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins etc., and secondly to develop a list of commonly available food items which can be used to feed your dog.

The chapter does not provide an in-depth course in basic nutrition.  The aim is to provide a mini-crash-course in nutrition for those who have no training in this area, and to serve as a memory jolt for those who have forgotten.

As we work our way through the basic nutrients, various food item, will crop up as supplying each of them.  That means by the end of the chapter there will be a list of food items from which to choose when organising your dog’s diet.

Not only that, you will be able to make those choices based on a knowledge of the nutrients each food supplies.

That is why, even if you do have sound basic nutritional knowledge, I suggest you at least skim this chapter.

I shall start off with the most important substance or thing to be found in food.  That is…..  energy.

 

FOOD GIVES YOUR DOG ENERGY

Energy is fuel.  The stuff which allows your dog to run all day and not tire.  Your dog can get its energy from proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

If you do not supply your dog with enough energy foods, your dog will lose weight.  If you supply too many energy foods – your dog will become obese.  This is the beginning of the end for many dogs – and their owners!

There are certain times in a dog’s life when more energy is needed.  Usually during times of stress.  These times include :

  • Growth
  • Reproduction
  • Activity
  • Cold periods
  • Hot periods

The reason a dog needs more energy during hot periods is because its cooling mechanism – panting, uses an enormous amount of energy.

During any of these periods of increased stress, you have to supply either more food or food which is more energy rich.  If you want a more energy rich food, the obvious choice is a fat rich food.  Fat is the most energy rich nutrient available, having more than twice as much energy as a similar weight of protein or carbohydrate.

A common mistake made by a lot of dog owners is to continue feeding their adult dog like a puppy.  That is, they feed it as if it were still growing.  Disaster!  All that unneeded extra energy has to go somewhere.  The end result is a fat, immovable lump of a dog, doomed to a host of problems.

So do think about how much energy your dog requires.  If your adult dog is getting too much energy in its food, he or she will get fat.  If your dog is not getting enough, weight loss will occur.

This is the basis of deciding how much food to give your dog.  That is, you look at it and/or weigh it, then feed it accordingly, to keep it at a constant healthy weight.

 

A Quick Run Through The Energy Nutrients – starting with –

Carbohydrates – Mostly Not Needed

Carbohydrates are the foods produced by plants.  These include, the soluble carbohydrates or simple sugars as found in fruit, honey, commercial dog foods, sugar cane, the sugar bowl on the table etc...

They also include the insoluble or complex carbohydrates known as starches, as found in grains and vegetables such as the potato, pumpkin etc., and also found in commercial dog foods.

  • There is another type of carbohydrate.  That is, the indigestible but highly important substance called fibre.  Fibre has a unique role to play in the health of your dog, particularly the soluble fibres found in vegetables.

In an evolutionary sense, carbohydrates are important to man as a source of energy, but not to dog.  Unfortunately, modern dogs are forces to eat a lot of starch when they eat commercial dog food or homemade grain-based diets.  Most commercial dog foods have loads of starch because they have grains as their main ingredient.

Many commercial dog foods also have heaps of simple sugars, another food which dogs have never eaten in abundance.  These are added to act as a preservative and to make the food more appealing or appetising.  This helps sell the product.  People buy the food which their dog will eat!

Commercial dog foods and many homemade diets contain varying amounts of fibre, also coming mostly from grains.  This type of insoluble fibre, like sugars and starches, has not figured prominently in the dog’s diet before the advent of commercial dog foods.

As you might be gathering, starch, simple sugars, and insoluble fibres, are not foods a dog’s body is designed to handle in large amounts for long periods.  Yet that is precisely what we ask our modern dog to do when we feed commercial dog foods and some home cooked diets.

Modern man feeds these products to dogs from the standpoint of convenience and least cost.  Dogs are not fed this way because it is best for them.  In fact, not only does the dog not require starch and sugar to stay alive and be healthy, there is mounting evidence suggesting that modern starch and sugar-rich dog foods are hostile to their health.

There is only one time a dog actually requires carbohydrates.  Research has shown that pregnant bitches need some carbohydrates if they are to produce a healthy litter.  Even here, because the research was done with processed foods, such conclusions are suspect in terms of a dog on its natural diet.

Although wild dogs are not programmed to eat masses of grains rich in starch, they regularly eat carbohydrate-type foods.  They eat the intestinal contents to their prey.  This food is rich in carbohydrates, such as a variety of sugars, small amounts of starch, and lots of soluble and insoluble fibre.

Our modern dogs should be getting their carbohydrate in a similar manner and balance.  The best way to do this is to feed dogs lots of fresh, whole, raw vegetables.  Vegetables contain lots of soluble and insoluble fibre, some starch and simple sugars.

If this is to be successful, the vegetables must be properly prepared.  That is, they should mimic the intestinal contents of a dog’s prey.  They must be completely crushed.  In that way the nutrients in the vegetables become available for digestion, and therefore useful to the dog.  More than that, they promote health, so that their consumption is to be encouraged.  Refer to chapter 10 for details.

On the other hand, grains, and products such as pasta should be limited severely.  Particularly rice, wheat and corn.  More of that shortly.

 

Fat – Your Dog Needs It!

This is the most energy-rich nutrient available for your dog.  Pet dogs which do not have to work hard for their food like wild dogs, do not require a lot.  Excess causes obesity leading to disease and possibly death.

However, your dog needs some fat in its diet.  Fat, especially animal fat, makes food more palatable.  Fat provides insulation, including the insulation of the body’s wiring system – the nerves.  It provides physical protection and padding.  It enables the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K.  It is an essential part of the structure of every cell membrane in your dog’s body.  Fats give rise to hormone like substances called prostaglandins.  Some fats contain essential fatty acids.  Your dog’s body cannot manufacture them.  They must be supplied in the diet.

 

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are like vitamins.  Without them disease occurs.  They are part of every cell membrane in your dog’s body.  If absent, their place is taken by non-essential fatty acids.  This causes disease.

Essential fatty acids are used to produce a group of hormone-like molecules called prostaglandins.  Prostaglandins help regulate every aspect of a body’s functioning.  With a fatty acid deficiency, that regulation goes badly wrong producing disease.

Dogs fed on processed and cooked foods often lack essential fatty acids.  This causes those inflamed itchy skin conditions seen daily in veterinary hospitals throughout the western world.

Their lack also causes growth problems in puppies, fertility problems in both sexes and in involved in all the degenerative conditions of old age.

Dogs fed a diet rich in saturated fats such as beef tallow, or monounsaturated fats such as olive or canola oil, are more likely to develop a deficiency of essential fatty acids, than dogs fed a diet rich in chicken fat or lard, or one of the polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, soya bean oil, or corn oil.

Dogs fed a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats will have problems if an antioxidant such as vitamin E is not fed as well.  This is because the fat will literally go rancid in the body.

WARNING:  do not feed our dog margarine.  The fatty acids it contains, although made from plants have been changed to a form foreign to the bodies of most mammals.  There is very good evidence that the extensive use of these products contributes to an increased incidence of cancer.

 

There are Two Families of Essential Fatty Acids

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

This group of essential fatty acids are found in the vegetable oils, poultry and pig fat.

Diets which are lacking in these essential nutrients produce skin problems, reproductive problems and growth problems.  The diets involved include practically all dry dog foods, most other commercial dog foods, and most home cooked diets based on rice and beef with no oil added.

Commonly available sources of the omega 6 fatty acids, include safflower oil, sunflower oil, soya bean oil, corn oil and cotton seed oil.  Safflower oil has one and a half times as much as the other four.  Peanut oil has about one third the level of safflower oil, while linseed and olive oil have on fifth and one sixth the amount respectively.  Pork fat and chicken fat have about one third the level of safflower oil.

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

The second family of essential fatty acids is known as the omega 3 family.  Their lack will cause both nervous and vision problems and learning difficulties in puppies.  Male animals require them to be fertile.  The most common source is fish and fish oils.  Most modern diets also lack sufficient levels of this group of essential fatty acids.

They are available to wild dogs in brains, eyes, raw eggs, faeces and the plant material in the rumen of their prey.  Wild dogs eat much more of this group of essential fatty acids than modern dogs fed on processed foods and poorly constructed homemade diets.  That is why modern dogs suffer from so many allergic and inflammatory skin problems, arthritis, and other ‘’allergic’’ conditions.

Plant foods rich in the omega 3 group of essential fatty acids include linseed oil – the richest non marine source, followed by rapeseed oil (one fifth the amount), followed by soya bean oil (one seventh the amount), then corn oil and all the other vegetable oils with small amounts.

WARNING:  the linseed oil you feed to your dog must be ‘’food standard’’.  Buy it from a health food store.  Linseed oil as used to treat timber etc. is totally rancid and therefore poisonous to your dog.

Other plant sources are lamb’s liver and rabbit.  These have the highest levels, with other meats having small amounts.  Surprisingly lean beef has higher levels than lean chicken.

Fish liver oils should not be used as a source of these essential fatty acids because of the danger of overdosing with vitamins A and D.

  • If all of this sounds confusing… do not be alarmed.  Just include in your dog’s diet a broad range of the foods I have mentioned which contain the omega 6 and omega 3 groups of fatty acids.  That is, lots of raw, meaty, chicken bones, eggs, brains, lambs liver, rabbit, green leafy vegetables, oats, mushrooms, baked beans, spinach and bananas, together with an appropriate vegetable oil supplement.

Of the oils you might use note that both corn oil and soya bean oil contains a good balance of the omega 6 and the omega 3 family of essential fatty acids.

  • THE IMPORTANCE OF VITAMIN E

All oils fed to your dog should be fresh.  They are best stored in air-tight containers in the dark.  This is to minimise rancidity.

Similarly, it is not wise to take used cooking oil and feed it to your dog.  There is a distinct danger of poisoning them with already oxidised (rancid) oils.  In this respect, the hard facts are safer.

 

Proteins – Give Your Dog the Best!

Apart from being a source of energy for your dog, proteins, together with fats form the basic structural material which makes up your dog's body.  That is why your dog has to have a lot more protein in it’s diet when it is growing, than when it is an adult.  When your dog has stopped growing it only needs enough to replace what is lost through wear and tear.

There are two exceptions to that rule.  The first exception is when your bitch is pregnant.  Then, she needs extra protein to help the pups inside her grow.  The second exception is when she is feeding those pups on the mild she produces.  At that stage she needs even more protein than when she was pregnant.

Protein also functions in a whole host of ways as that most important molecule called an enzyme.  Enzymes are molecules found in every cell and every part of your dog’s body.  Their role is to enable the chemical reactions which are the basis of your dog’s life, to proceed at the proper pace and ibn the proper manner.

Just as fats are made from fatty acids, and there are particular fatty acids which are essential and therefore have to be included in the diet, so it is with proteins.  That is, proteins are huge molecules consisting of many thousands of amino acids, some of which are known as essential amino acids.  These are the ones your dog’s body cannot manufacture.  This means it is far more important that our dogs get the correct balance of essential amino acids rather than a given amount of proteins.

For the record, the following amino acids have been designated as essential for the dog.  Threonine, valine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, histidine, tryptophan and lysine.

Those names are given for information only, please do not let them confuse you.

 

Protein Quality

Protein quality is governed by two factors.  The presence or absence of essential amino acids, and the ability of that particular protein to be digested and absorbed.

Thus a poor quality protein can be deficient in two areas.  It can be poor quality because it lacks one or more of the essential amino acids, and it can be poor quality because your dog is unable to digest and absorb it easily.

A common example of a poor quality protein, deficient in both ways is the protein present in a dry dog food or any diet constructed mainly from cereals.

A lot of commercial dog foods contain protein that has low levels of certain essential amino acids and is not easily digested.  Manufacturers get around this is by supplying excessively high quantities of this poor quality protein in the product mix.

Another way of thinking about proteins is that they are the main nutrient found in meat and eggs and cheese and milk.  That is a great way to think of proteins.  When you think of those particular proteins, you are thinking of good quality proteins.

To balance up the protein in cereals, feed a legume food in equal amounts to the cereal food.  E.g. – add baked beans.

Better still, switch to a properly formulated diet based on raw meaty bones which have an excellent balance of the essential amino acids.

 

The Results of a Protein Deficiency

These include a failure to grow or reproduce properly, anaemia, poor hair coat, weak thin muscles, a poorly functioning immune system, bones that do not grow properly, in fact, any part of your dog would be badly made and function poorly.  It is common to see this in puppies raised on poor quality dry dog foods or poor quality cereal based homemade diets.

Most modern dogs on commercial dog food suffer a protein excess.  I have already spoken about the protein excess problem and pointed out that the problem may lie with constantly high protein diets caused by attempting to make each meal a complete and balanced one.  I pointed out that the more natural way to feed a dog is to achieve balance over time.  By doing that, many meals will be low in protein giving the dog’s kidneys a rest.

So how much protein do dogs require?  If the protein was of first class quality, a growing or lactating dog would do quite well on about 18% protein.  A non-reproducing dog would suffer no deficiencies if fed a diet containing 8% - 10% good quality protein.  The only problem with food contains the lower levels of protein would be reduced palatability.

  • Protein of high quality includes the protein from egg, cottage cheese or lean beef etc.
  • The protein in most dog foods is derived from poor quality plant protein, so that much higher amounts are required.

That is why most of the commercial dog foods have up to 4 times the amount of protein that dogs actually need.  That poses no problem for the lactating dog and the growing dog, but if an adult dog is maintained on that level of protein for its entire life, given at every meal, as when commercial dog food is fed, it will eventually suffer kidney problems.

There is in fact much controversy on protein levels.  As dogs age, they lose the ability to utilise it efficiently so that they actually require more in their diet.  However, the vast majority of dogs eating commercial dog food, because of constantly high protein levels throughout life have damaged kidneys.  To control that damage requires low protein diets.

  • This has resulted in scientists who study ageing and nutritional requirements in dogs recommending that older dogs, particularly those with declining kidney function be fed smaller quantities of better quality protein.

All this research has been done with dogs eating processed foods.  My own limited research and extensive observation of dogs fed primitive diets where high protein meals containing high quality proteins have been fed intermittently all a dog’s life, suggests that this way of feeding may allow higher protein levels to be fed and not cause kidney problems.

In other words, a more logical approach is to prevent the problem in the first place by copying nature and providing high quality protein for a dog’s entire life, but not at every meal.

If your dog’s diet is based on a wide variety of raw meaty bones, with those bones and their attached meat making up about 60% of the diet, you can stop worrying about proteins.  Your dog is getting the best!

 

MINERALS – Bones Make it Simple

A variety of minerals must be supplied in your dog’s diet in correct balance and sufficient amounts if he or she is to grow properly and stay healthy, and in the case of breeding dogs, be able to reproduce.

The two needed in greatest abundance are calcium and phosphorus.  These are found mainly in bones.  They give bones their strength.  There are many more minerals such as zinc, magnesium, manganese, iodine, selenium, chromium, iron etc., which your dog requires as an essential part of its body’s structure and functioning.

Wild dogs relied principally on raw meaty bones as their source of a balanced complement of minerals.  Our modern dogs can do no better than follow their example.

Do realise your dog will not, cannot, suffer mineral deficiencies, imbalances or excesses, when raw meaty bones make up the bulk of its diet.  This applies to dogs of all ages, including puppies.  And I don’t just mean puppies of the smaller breeds.  I mean all breeds of puppies, including most definitely the giant breeds.

This is because bones are the storehouse of all the minerals your dog requires in perfect balance, and in the perfect from for optimal absorption with no excesses or deficiencies.  Of course this is hardly surprising.  It is natural for dogs to eat bones.  A dog’s body is designed to use bones as its main source of minerals.  This is what dog’s bodies have been doing for millions of years.

Feeding dogs in any other way is courting disaster as is testified daily by the problems, including mineral imbalances seen in dogs fed without bones, particularly where calcium supplements are used instead.

Modern dogs fed without bones, suffer a multitude of mineral imbalances.  These include:

 

Calcium Deficient Diets

Dogs fed on homemade diets, such as table scraps but no bones, or mostly meat diets suffer from a deficiency of many minerals, but most particularly, they suffer a deficiency of calcium.  This used to be a common problem.  However, the pendulum has swung the other way.  The most common mineral problem suffered by modern dogs is an excess of calcium.

The Excessive Calcium in Commercial Dog Foods

The most overwhelming problem with modern processed foods so far as minerals are concerned is their huge excess of calcium.  That excessive calcium produces very poor availability of minerals such as zinc, iron and copper, and many other vital trace minerals including chromium and selenium.

 

The Excessive Salt in Commercial Dog Food

The second major mineral excess in Commercial dog foods is salt.  Most commercial dog food in Australia contain way too much salt.  This is part of the reason many of our dogs suffer hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

 

The Excessive Phosphorus in Commercial Dog Foods

The third major mineral excess in commercial dog foods is phosphorus.  That too causes its share of problems including a large proportion of the old age kidney failures we vets are forced to treat.

Every dog consuming processed dog food, or cooked food as the bulk of its diet is suffering one or more of these mineral imbalances to a greater or lesser degree.

 

The Problems of Mineral Supplementation

Supplementing a dog’s diet with minerals can be an extremely hazardous affair.  In the case of a puppy, the results can be instantly disastrous, with skeletal problems and skin problems and growth problems following rapidly.

In older dogs, the problems can take longer to develop, but it is not uncommon for many arthritic, skin and internal problems to be a direct result of a lifetime mineral imbalance.  That is, the result of being fed a commercial dog food or poorly formulated homemade diet, or diets which have been indiscriminately supplemented with minerals, particularly calcium.

Another mineral causing increasing concern is zinc.  Many people, having heard that zinc is important because a lack of it will cause a myriad of problems, begin supplementing their dog’s diet with zinc.  The results of a zinc overdose are equally disastrous as any other mineral imbalance, particularly in the growing pup.  This can happen with any mineral you might choose to supplement in isolation.

 

Bones – The Only Logical Way to Supply Your Dog With Minerals

Bones, together with the other dietary elements recommended in this book are in fact the only truly logical way for your dog to get its correct balance of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals, particularly the growing pup.

The other dietary elements which help bones to supply your dog with its correct mineral balance include foods such as fresh, green, leafy vegetables, a variety of fresh meats – lamb, beef, chicken, organ meats, dairy products, seafood’s, eggs, brewer’s yeast, kelp powder or tablets and small amounts of whole grain foods.

By feeding such foods in addition to the raw meaty bones, you are making doubly sure your dog is getting all the minerals needed in perfect balance.

 

VITAMINS

Please read this section.  It is perhaps the most important part of this chapter.  Vitamins are crucial to your dog’s health, and there is an incredible amount of miss-information regarding vitamins and the modern dog’s requirements.

Most modern dogs do NOT need supplementing with minerals, particularly calcium.  But often receive them in abundance to the detriment of their health.  On the other hand, dogs which do require vitamin supplementation for maximum health, often receive none at all.

 

First – What are Vitamins …..?

There are approximately sixteen organic substances or chemicals recognised by science as vitamins.  Chemically, most of them are completely unrelated.  However, every one of them is an essential component of the normal chemistry of the body.

Without them, bodily functions do not proceed, and neither, eventually, does life.  Most unprocessed raw foods contain one or more of them.  If insufficient vitamins are present in an animal’s diet, disease in inevitable.

Their common names reflect the order in which they were discovered early this century.  Hence vitamin A, B, (complex), C, D, E etc.

 

Vitamins Have a Much Wider Role in health Than Many Suppose

In Australia, the addition of nutrients to breakfast cereals goes back some thirty or more years.  This is because thirty years ago, deficiencies were detected in the Australian population.  So it came about that Australian foods could be legally fortified with vitamin A, C and D, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and the minerals iron, calcium, phosphorus and iodine.

These laws are being revised, and it is being proposed to no longer allow the addition of calcium, riboflavin, vitamins A and C, and to reduce the amount of iron that can be added.

The argument in favor of these reductions is that by no longer allowing the addition of vitamins and other healthy additives to foods, manufacturers of junk foods will be unable to make unsubstantiated health claims for those foods.  Sounds a bit like commercial dog food doesn’t it?  You know, unsubstantiated claims based on the presence of certain nutrients.  But actually – that is not my point.

The point I am coming to is that leading nutritional scientists are very much in opposition to reducing vitamins in foods, and argue that we humans ought to be consuming more rather than less vitamins.  Modern veterinary literature is advocating exactly the same thing.

Until recently, vitamins were thought of as substances whose only function was to prevent deficiency diseases.  To do this, only very tiny amounts of each vitamin are required.  We now know they have many more functions which require them to be present in the diet at much higher concentration.

To help you understand this let me introduce you to the concept of …..

 

The Five Possible Levels of Vitamin Supply

The First Level is the ‘’Not Enough’’ Level.

This will result in severe deficiency symptoms such as blindness with insufficient vitamin A, or the disease scurvy with not enough vitamin C.

 

The Second Level is the ‘’Barely Adequate’’ Level.

This is the level which is sufficient to prevent any signs of the classical deficiency diseases.  For example, no scurvy due to a lack of vitamin C.  No blindness due to a lack of vitamin A.

If your dog eats one of the better brands of dog food, most of the vitamins will be at this second level.  The barely adequate level.  Insufficient vitamins for maximum health.

 

The Third Level is the ‘’Present in Abundance’’ Level.

Dogs in the wild usually receive their vitamins at this level.  They have access to a wide variety of plant, animal, and mineral materials.  These foods contain an abundance of naturally occurring vitamins.

This level sees vitamins present at concentrations many times greater than is necessary to simply stop obvious signs of a classical vitamin deficiency.  They could vary from 5 – 100 times the amounts present at the second level.

At this third level, the vitamins act as a buffer against stress.

They promote:

  • Health
  • Stamina
  • Reproductive ability
  • Disease resistance
  • Longevity.

They allow:

  • Hard work
  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation
  • Growth.

They support 

  • The proper functioning of the immune system.

They help

  • The body remove toxic chemicals.

These toxic chemicals are derived from an increasingly polluted environment.  These pollutants cause problems during growth and reproduction and hasten many of the degenerative diseases of old age.  Vitamins that fight pollution include vitamin A and C.

  • The third level allows for individual variation in the amount of vitamins required.

While some dogs may do reasonably well at the second level, others may not function properly until the vitamins are present at this third level.

In other words, for optimum health, our dogs should receive their vitamin supply at this third level.  That is, in abundance like their wild ancestors.

 

The Fourth Level of Vitamin Presence is the ‘’Pharmacologic Level’’.

Here, massive but nontoxic doses of vitamins are given to achieve drug like effects.  Hence the name pharmacologic dose.  These levels can be used to treat disease problems.

 

The Fifth Level of Vitamin Presence is the Toxic Level.

For some vitamins, e.g. the B complex group, and vitamin c, it is almost impossible to get to the fifth or toxic level, whereas for other vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin D, toxic overdose is a distinct possibility.

 

Modern Dogs Lack Sufficient Vitamins

Most modern dogs fed on either commercial dog food or home cooked food receive most of their vitamins at the second or barely adequate level, and in some instances, at the first or not enough level.

This is of major concern because it is a cause of much ill health.  Rarely do we see the total absence of any of these vitamins, although very occasionally we do.

More often, what we see is a state of chronic poor health.  Nothing major, nothing you can diagnose as a definite disease problem, just a dog that is not as active or as bright or as happy as it could be.

All of these dogs are more prone to infectious disease, to parasites such as fleas and worms.  However, what starts out as a series of apparently minor problems eventually progresses to serious disease.  Such dogs age early, and they suffer a multitude of degenerative disease problems such as cancer, arthritis, skin diseases, kidney disease, heart disease etc.  If the dog is owned by a breeder, it will have problems reproducing.

The question you have to ask yourself is why do these dogs lack sufficient vitamins for top notch health?  In other words, what is wrong with modern foods?

 

Why Do Commercial Dog Foods Lack Vitamins?

There are at least five reasons why commercial dog foods lack vitamins in abundance.  Why they have vitamins at the second level only.

  • The first reason is because most commercial dog foods are made from a limited number of ingredients.

The commercially fed god is eating a product containing mostly cooked grain and grain by-products, cooked animal and animal by-products, plus vitamin and mineral supplements.  This is in contrast to the wild dog which scavenges amongst a broad array of food stuffs.

  • The second reason is because many vitamins are destroyed by heat.

Even if the food was originally rich in vitamins, once it is processed, many vitamins are lost.

  • The third reason in because when the food is mixed together, many vitamins are destroyed by the presence of the mineral supplements.

This effect is make worse by cooking.

  • The fourth reason is that when the dog food companies add extra vitamins, they do not add enough to allow the vitamins to be present at that third level of abundance.

They add just enough to get their product to that second level, where in theory there should be no symptoms indicating a vitamin deficiency.

  • The fifth reason is that in the case of dry dog foods, the vitamins are quickly lost if the product is not consumed soon after manufacture.

This is made worse by poor conditions of storage, including heat, light, moisture and being left open to the air.

 

Why Home Cooked Foods Lack Vitamins

The reasons are much the same as for commercially produced products.  That is, they are often made from a limited number of ingredients, many of the vitamins are destroyed by heat, and with the home cooked product, and usually no vitamins are added back in to the product at all.

The net result is that modern dogs are left with no protection, no buffer to shield against stress.

I regularly witness improvements in the health of dogs supplemented with extra vitamins.  This is particularly so during critical periods such as growth, reproduction and old age.  I see these improvements with dogs eating commercial dog foods, home cooked foods, and even dogs on so called natural diet following vitamin supplementation.

 

The Vitamins Themselves

I now want to take you for a quick tour of the vitamins themselves.  I want you to get an idea of what they do in your dog’s body, the sorts of foods that they are found in, and the levels at which they may be safely and usefully supplemented.

It is not important to memorise or even fully understand this information.  Instead, I want you to get a ‘’feel’’ for the vitamins.  To become aware of how important an adequate supply of them is to your dog’ health.  To understand that their role goes way beyond the mere prevention of deficiency symptoms.  To realise the wide ranging health promoting roles they have to play in the normal internal workings of your dog’s body, when they are supplied in adequate amounts.

 

Types of Vitamins

There are two broad groups of vitamins.  The so called water soluble vitamins and the fat soluble vitamins.

The water soluble vitamins are vitamins C, and the B complex group.  The fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K.

 

The B Complex Group of Vitamins

These are ALL water soluble vitamins.  They are the ones the body is supposedly unable to store.  However, that is not true.  The body stores all of them to a greater or lesser degree.  It can take weeks or months for a deficiency to occur when they are lacking in the diet.

The reason I make this point is because many people are under the impression that if these are not supplied on a daily basis, ill health will result.  That is of course nonsence.  It is part of the myth which says each meal you feed an animal has to be totally balanced.  Let me emphasise and reinforme the importance of achieving a balanced diet over time - weeks, not at each meal.

  • On the other hand if you give your dog a huge amount of any of these vitamins, the is no problem.  One hundred times the recommended dose of any of them is quite safe.  Whatever your dog's body does not need and cannot store will be piddled out with absolutely no harm done.  On the contrary, you will be making sure that your dog is receiving adequate amounts of these most essential nutrients.

The B Complex Group – Their Function

The B complex group are vital for energy production.  They take part in all phases of the conversion of fats, carbohydrates and proteins into energy.  Without adequate B vitamins, no energy is produced for your dog’s normal bodily functions, for activity, for growth, etc...  Insufficient amounts of B vitamins produces a weary, lacking-in-energy, growing-obese dog.

They are essential for the proper functioning, development and maintenance of the nervous system, including the production of neuro-transmitters.  (‘’signals’’ within the nervous system).  They have a generally calming effect.

Without adequate levels of the B vitamins there is poor development, reduced functioning and inadequate maintenance of the immune system.  They are involved in such things as the production of antibodies and the proper development of the thymus gland which is the master gland of immunity.

Many of them function as anti-oxidants.  That is, they are responsible for preventing ageing and degeneration of tissues, including the elimination of dangerous molecules produced inside and outside the body, called free radicals.  They are involved in preventing the degenerative process called cross-linking.

The B vitamins are involved in dealing with stress, including the manufacture of bodily cortisone – the anti-stress hormone, and the production of vitamin C, a major anti-stress vitamin.

The B vitamins are involved in all phases of growth, reproduction and repair of body tissues.  They are vital for all stages of blood production, and are necessary for the health of the entire body including the production and maintenance of healthy skin, hair and sweat glands, the maintenance of internal organs, and for the health of sense organs like the eye and tongue.

They are involved in, and essential for, all aspects of the body’s functioning including such diverse activities as production of fatty acids, controlling hunger, controlling blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, stabilising blood sugar, assisting in the normal functioning of the thyroid and adrenal glands etc..

  • Let me emphasises once again that it is not necessary for you to understand or remember all of those functions.  Just realise that all those bodily functions are vital for the normal functioning of your dog.  In other words, the B complex vitamins in adequate amounts are of absolute importance to the health of your dog at every stage and in every phase of its life.

What Foods Contain These Essential B vitamins?

Modern foods rich in members of the B complex include brewer’s yeast, whole grains including brown rice and oat flakes, wheat germ, wheat bran, wholemeal bread, muscle meat, the organ meats – heart, brain, liver and kidney, eggs, especially the yolk, raw chicken, cheese, yoghurt, milk, fatty fish, green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, peas and potatoes, molasses, dried fruits and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Of the above, only brewer’s yeast and liver contain close to the whole range of B vitamins.  In other words, to ensure your dog receives plenty of these essential nutrients, feed most of those common foods to your dog – for all of its life.

As I will emphasise continually, it is not necessary for each meal to contain all the vitamins.  In other words, feed all of those foods over weeks or even months.  The way balance will occur over that period.  This is normal and healthy for all animals.

I also want you to realise how much more available the B complex group of vitamins are in fresh whole foods, and that the more food is tampered with by processing, particularly cooking, and the more foods are mixed together during cooking, the greater the chance of one or some or all of these vitamins becoming deficient to a greater or lesser degree.

What you will see when dogs are not fed properly, and where one or more of the B complex are in short supply, will be a multitude of vague health problems which to date have never been assigned any particular cause.  The sort of vague problems with no particular name, seen daily in vet surgeon’s offices.  The problems that occur as forerunners to one or more of the more serious and more developed and therefore more diagnosable disease conditions.

The good news is, all these vague problems are totally and easily preventable when your dog is fed a properly balanced diet based on raw meaty bones, and including plenty of vitamin-rich foods an mentioned above.

If in any doubt at all about the adequacy of the diet you are feeding your dog with respect to the B complex group of vitamins, supplement that diet with a balanced mix of all of them.

This can only be beneficial to your dog.  These can be obtained from a chemist, a health food store, a supermarket or from your vet.

  • B vitamin supplements are best given with food, otherwise they can be irritation for your dog’s stomach lining.

Just remember, it is almost impossible to give your dog an excessive amount of the B complex group of vitamins.  As a rough guide, anything suitable for a child will be suitable for a dog.

To emphasise how safe they are, realise that it would be quite safe to give a toy poodle a human adult dose of B vitamins.  Not only would it be safe, you would be ensuring that they were being supplied at that third or super abundant or health promoting level.  In other words you will be increasing the possibility of owning a healthy dog!

 

Vitamin C – Your Dog Needs Extra!

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin.  Like the B group of vitamins, vitamin C is often thought of as a vitamin the body is unable to store.  However, as with the B complex that is not true.  Your dog’s body does store vitamin C.  In other words, just as it is not essential to supply the B vitamins on a daily basis, so it is with vitamin C.

However, as with the B complex group, large amounts of vitamin C on a daily basis are not toxic.  What your dog’s body does not need and cannot store will be piddled out with absolutely no harm done.  On the contrary, you will be making sure that your dog is receiving a super abundant supply of this most essential and non-toxic vitamin.

Ask most modern ‘’experts’’ about dogs and vitamin C, and you will be told that dogs do not need vitamin C in their diet because they are capable of manufacturing it.  That is half true.  Yes they are capable of manufacturing some of their own vitamin C, but for maximum health they should also be fed food rich in vitamin C, or at least be given vitamin C as a supplement.

Wild dogs receive much more vitamin C in their diet than domestic dogs.  It is present in the fresh organ meant and in the stomach contents of the animals they prey upon.  The berries and fruits they constantly scavenge are rich in vitamin C.  Because they eat foods rich in vitamins and other nutrients, they also make more vitamin C than the modern unhealthy dog fed on cooked and processed foods.

That is why for all round good health, our dogs must receive far more vitamin C than most of them can presently manufacture or is supplied in their commercial dog food or cooked food often has very little.

In other words, modern dogs miss out in two ways.  Firstly they receive a diet with little or no vitamin C in it, and secondly, because of the general poor quality of their diet, they are unable to make large amounts of it, particularly during stressful periods when more is required.

 

Vitamin C is the Anti-Stress Vitamin

Stress is the major factor causing an increased need for this vitamin.  During periods of stress, your dog’s requirements of vitamin C rise sharply.

Stress Situation Which Respond to Extra Vitamin C.

TOXIC INSULTS Vitamin C is a major weapon in the fight against poisons.  It helps eliminate the poisonous heavy metals from the body.  Things like arsenic and lead, all too common in our modern world.

DISEASE STRESS Mega doses of vitamin C are of benefit in resisting and fighting various infectious diseases, including viral diseases.

SURGICAL OR TRAUMATIC STRESS Vitamin C concentration increases in the tissues which surround a healing wound.  This is because it is actively involved in the healing process.

TRANSPORTATION STRESS This includes moving house, going to dog shows, or to a vet, or a boarding kennel.

REPRODUCTIVE STRESS Extra vitamin C prior to, during and after mating will promote your dog'’ immune system and boost its general resistance to disease problems.  Vitamin C during pregnancy aids in promoting an easy, rapid, stress-free birth.

THE STRESS OF LACTATION            When she is feeding pups, a female dog is under tremendous stress.  Extra vitamin C ensures both her continuing health and the health of the puppies.

WEANING This is a time of great stress, particularly when it is combined with finding a new home.  Extra vitamin C is definitely indicated at this time.

GROWTH STRESS Rapid growth is a stress which responds to additional vitamin C.  Vitamin C is essential for the production of the protein collagen which is the major structural component of all living tissue.  Bone problems caused by rapid growth often respond to supplementary vitamin C.  Of course the growth should be slowed as well!

PHYSICAL EXERCICE Vitamin C helps fight fatigue, and ensures rapid repair of tissues worn and damaged during heavy exercise.

OLD AGE AND DEGENERATION Ageing is a process which is slowed down remarkably by the addition of vitamin C to the diet.

WEATHER STRESS              Sudden heat, cold, rain, or being hit with strong winds etc. causes stress.  Dogs faced with any of these should receive extra vitamin C.

How Much Vitamin C in Needed?

Like the B complex group, vitamin C is completely non-toxic.  Sensible supplementation of this vitamin can only be of benefit.  As I have already mentioned, any not needed is passed out of the body – in both the urine and the feces.

Large amounts of vitamin C will cause diarrhea in the dog.  This is not dangerous.  Reduce the dose and the diarrhea stops.

  • Use this method for determining the maximum dose of vitamin C.  This is called the bowel tolerance method for determining the dose of vitamin C.

If you follow my recommendations of feeding fresh whole foods including plenty of green vegetables, the normal daily requirements of vitamin C will be always available both from the diet and because your dog will manufacture plenty of it.

However, as with the B vitamins, there is no harm in supplementing your dog’s diet with extra.  Particularly during periods of stress.  On the contrary, you can only benefit the health and longevity of your dog by adding extra vitamin C to the diet.

Of course there will always be individual animals which will require constant dosing with vitamin C.  This is also true where dogs live in pretty contaminated environments, such as big cities, near busy roads, next to factories and so on.

Recommended Doses of Vitamin C

A daily supplement of vitamin C at the rate of about 50 to 100mg per kg will do no harm and can only ensure the continuing good health of your dog.  As your dog’s stress levels increase, so you should increase the amount of vitamin C given.

SLIGHT STRESS – 100 mg/kg

MODERATE STRESS – 200 mg/kg

HEAVY STRESS  -  300 mg/kg

VERY HEAVY STRESS – 350 mg/kg

As you increase the dose rate of Vitamin C, it is important to divide the daily dose.  That is, do not give the whole dose all at once.  In other words, for slight stress, divide into two doses, with moderate stress, divide into four doses, and for heavy to very heavy stress, divide the total dose into about six doses.  You may use the ‘’Bowel Tolerance’’ method as described at the top of this page for determining the maximum desirable dose of vitamin C to give.  As the stress passes, gradually reduce the dose back to the non-stressed dose rates.

Use the non-stressed dose rate for the dog eating a diet based on raw meaty bones etc..  That is, a primitive or natural diet containing plenty of vitamin C.  For the dog eating a predominantly commercial dog food diet, or a mostly cooked diet, the minimum amount recommended as a supplement is the level for moderate stress, that is, between 100 and 200 mg/kg daily.

  • In severe stress, you may give your dog the top level of vitamin C or even more, up to the point it causes diarrhea.

Forms of Vitamin C

Vitamin C exists in several different forms.  Vitamin C itself is ascorbic acid.  The two common sort of vitamin C are sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate.  There is another form of vitamin C called ESTER C.

Mostly it does not matter which form you use.  However there are some exceptions.  For example, it would be better to give a dog with arthritis either calcium ascorbate or ester C or perhaps sodium ascorbate rather than ascorbic acid.

You would not give sodium ascorbate to a dog with heart problems because of the presence of sodium.  In a young dog with hip dysplasia due to calcium excess, you would not give calcium ascorbate.

 

The Fat Soluble Vitamins

The fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K.  These vitamins have much wider roles to play in the health of our dogs than many people realise.  With the possible exception of vitamin D, they are all anti-oxidant or anti-ageing type nutrients.

However, unlike the water soluble vitamins which are almost completely non-toxic, the fat soluble vitamins require a little more care.  They are much more readily stored in your dog’s body, and particularly in the case of vitamins A and D, there is the potential for toxicity if they are supplied at grossly excessive levels.

This problem of potential toxicity has scared many people away from supplementing their dog’s diet with fat soluble vitamins.  Half-truths are always dangerous.  Sensible supplementation with all of these vitamins at the appropriate dose and at the appropriate time has the potential to be immensely beneficial to most modern dogs.

 

Vitamin A or Retinol

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin with anti-oxidant or anti-ageing properties.  It affects and is required by every part of your dog’s body and practically every process in it.

It is essential for normal vision, the proper functioning of the immune system, the maintenance of all mucous membranes, skin health, and normal functioning of the adrenal glands and hence stress resistance, all stages of reproduction in both sexes and for normal growth including bone growth.

The addition of this vitamin to the diet of dogs with numerous health problems has proved to be highly beneficial.

Problems are more likely to appear when dry dog foods are being fed.  Dry dog foods are notoriously low in vitamin A, particularly if they are not fresh or have been stored badly.

 

Minimum Levels of Vitamin A Required by Your Dog

Quantities of vitamin A are usually expressed as international units.  One international unit of vitamin A is equal to 0.3 ug of retinol... which is another name for vitamin A.

Dogs being fed a typical middle-of-the-range popular sort of commercial dog food, receive approximately 50 to 100 iu of vitamin A per kg of body weight per day.  This means that a 10 kg (22lb) dog receives approximately 500 to 1000 iu of vitamin A per day, while a 50 kg dog would be receiving 2,500 to 5,000 iu per day.

These amounts are at the second level of vitamin intake.  The just adequate level.

 

Safe Supplementation with Vitamin A

A safe supplement would be 100 to 200 iu of vitamin A per kg per day.  That means a 10kg (22lb) dog would be given an extra 1000 to 2000 iu per day, while a 50kg (110lb) dog would receive between 5000 and 10 000 iu of extra vitamin A per day.

The only time you do not need to supplement is where you are feeding vitamin A rich food such as liver on a regular basis, say once or twice a week.  In that case, your dog is probably receiving sufficient vitamin A.  Another possible situation where you may need to be careful would be where a canned dog food was being fed which advertised itself as being rich in liver.

In my experience, by adding vitamin A between 5 and 10 times the commercial dog food rate, no problems are encountered with toxicity, and the results in terms of improved health, improved reproduction etc. etc. are dramatic.  In this case you are adding vitamin A at the rate of 250 to 500 iu per kg of dog per day.  This is the third level of supplementation.

This means a 10 kg (22lb) dog would be receiving between 2 500 and 5 000 iu of vitamin A per day.  A 50kg (110lb) dog would receive between 10 000 and 20 000 iu of vitamin A per day.

For periods of 1 to 2 months, for an average dog, such levels are totally safe.  Another way to safely supplement at this level is to supplement at this rate for a month, then during the following month give no extra vitamin A, than in the third month supplement again etc..

 

Situations Where Additional Vitamin A Should Not Be Added

  • Severe kidney or liver disease.
  • Where a diet is already rich in vitamin A, for example, a diet containing a lot of liver.
  • The rare occasion where an individual cannot tolerate the higher levels.

I have not come across such a dog yet, but it is theoretically possible.  The only way you can discover such an individual is when signs of toxicity develop. These are listed below.  Fortunately it usually only takes a few days to a few weeks for the signs to be reversed.

Authorities agree that generally safe levels for dogs are 4 - 10 times the currently recommended levels, but that these levels can quite safely be exceeded for short periods of time.

Most of the harmful effects have been obtained by feeding over 100 times the daily requirements for many months.

 

Signs of Vitamin A Toxicity

The signs of toxicity include skeletal malformations, spontaneous fractures, cartilage loss, internal haemorrhage, increased blood clotting time, loss of appetite, slow growth, loss of weight, skin thickening, suppressed keratinisation reduced red blood cell count, enteritis, conjunctivitis, congenital abnormalities, and problems with the liver and kidney such as degenerative atrophy, fatty infiltration and decreased function.

 

The Dog’s Natural Sources of Vitamin A

The richest sources of vitamin A are fish oils. Vitamin A will also be found in milk fat, egg yolk, and liver.  These are all rated as rich sources of vitamin A…. but it DOES depend on the diets the animals they came from were being fed!

Most people rely on supplements such as cod liver oil or more commonly synthetic vitamin A in capsules.

Provitamin A or Beta Carotene is another course, particularly where large quantities of green vegetable material is being eaten.  Wild dogs eat plenty of this, and so should your dog.  Your dog’s intestines convert Carotene into vitamin A.

All green parts of plants are rich in Carotene.  The degree of green gives you a rough idea of the carotene content.  Carrots, corn, sweet potatoes (the yellow one), pumpkin, squash and green leafy vegetables are all a good source.  All of these are highly recommended as part of your dog’s balanced diet.

 

Vitamin E – the Age Fighter !

Your dog’s body is continually attacked by molecules it produces called free radicals.  If this is not stopped, it results in ageing and associated degenerative diseases, such as cancer, strokes, arthritis etc.  Free radicals are commonly formed when fat in your dog’s tissues becomes rancid.

  • To survive these attacks by free radicals, your dog relies heavily on vitamin E.  Vitamin E, in this it’s major role is called an ‘’anti-oxidant’’.  In fact vitamin E is one of the principal anti-oxidant or anti-degeneration vitamins.

Because of its role as an anti-oxidant, vitamin E plays a major role in retarding the ageing process, treating heart disease, preventing blood clots and therefore strokes in older dogs, disease resistance, healthy reproduction and in protecting against the toxic effects of heavy metals.  It is also important in energy production in cells, and in the production of vitamin C.

 

How Much Vitamin E do Dogs Need?

This depends very much on the diet.  That is, if the diet includes unsaturated oils such as corn oil, cod liver oil, sunflower oil, linseed oil etc. the need for vitamin E can increase up to five times.  This need is even greater if they are going rancid at the time of ingestion.

Because vitamin E is destroyed when it prevents fats from going rancid, feeding a dog lots of cod liver oil, or any other oil high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and low in vitamin E, will eventually result in a vitamin E deficiency and subsequent tissue degeneration.

The stress of infection increases the need for vitamin E, particularly if polyunsaturated fatty acids are being fed.

A 25kg dog requires 1 to 5mg of vitamin E are daily.  This is the amount required to bring the vitamin E supply to the second or barely adequate level of intake.  However, at least five to ten times more are required when the diet contains lots of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly fish oils.  This is because most plant oils do contain some vitamin E, while fish oils have none.

  • A safe abundant supplementary dose for a dog would be from 10 to 20mg per kg.  That is, for a 25kg dog, 250 to 500mg per day.

Natural Sources of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is found in green plants.  The vegetable oils have the highest levels of vitamin E, with wheat germ oil having the most, then cottonseed oil, safflower oil, soya bean, peanut etc.

Eggs, whole grains, the germ of grains, liver, legumes and of course all other green plants are all good sources.

Most animal by products contain small amounts but not a lot.  Milk is a variable source.  Butter is good.  Eggs, particularly the yolks are usually a good source, depending on the diet of the hen.

Most animals will benefit from extra vitamin E!

 

Toxic Effects of Vitamin E

There are virtually no known side effects caused by massive doses of vitamin E.  One exception is high blood pressure.  Sudden large doses cause a further temporary rise in blood pressure.  They will benefit from extra vitamin E, so increase it slowly.  That is, give low doses to start with, working up gradually to the required dose.  This is best done in conjunction with your vet.

  • A dog with rat bait poisoning should not be given high doses of vitamin E.  Do not gives iron supplements with vitamin E, they have the effect of cancelling each other out.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin.  Your dog can get all it needs by spending 15 minutes in direct sunshine daily.

Inside dogs need it in their diet.  E.g. from cod liver oil.  Sunlight which has come through a window pane does not produce vitamin D in your dog.  Clouds, mist smoke and air pollution all block the production of vitamin D.

 

What does Vitamin D do for Dogs?

Vitamin D ensures strong bones containing plenty of calcium.  It makes sure the calcium needs of the rest of the body are met.  It does this by controlling the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestines and their deposition and withdrawal from the bones, together with regulating their loss or retention via the kidneys.

 

Requirements

  • A young and healthy dog on a well-balanced diet based on raw meaty bones receiving plenty of sunlight will not need additional vitamin D.

 

Dietary Sources of Vitamin D

  • Fish liver oils are the best source of vitamin D.  It is also found in salt water fish such as herring, salmon, sardines etc...  Opening a can of sardines occasionally for your dog is a great idea.  Milk and butter do not contain much, nor do most meats.
  • Egg yolks can be a good source of this vitamin if the diet of the hen contained plenty, or if it had spent plenty of time in the sun.  On that basis you would have to think seriously about buying free range eggs!

 

Supplementing Your Dog’s Diet with Excessive Vitamin D

After vitamin A, vitamin D is the vitamin most likely to be toxic if you give too much.  Excess vitamin D causes excessively high levels of blood calcium.

The result is widespread deposits of calcium throughout the body, disrupting normal bodily functions.

 

Upper Safe Levels of Vitamin D

These are 4 to 10 times the currently recommended levels for periods in excess of 60 days, and up to 100 times the currently recommended levels for periods of less than 60 days.

The currently recommended levels are 22 iu per kg of dog daily for a growing pup.  This means that a level of 100 iu per kg per day would be a good safe but abundant level.  Hence a 5kg puppy could receive 500 iu per day, or 3500 iu per week.

Cod liver oil has about 10 000 iu of vitamin D per 100 gm (approximately one hundred ml), this means that 35 ml would supply a 5 kg puppy’s weekly requirements, which works out at about one teaspoonful daily.  However, that dose would be excessive for vitamin A, so only give one teaspoon per week of cod liver oil.

 

Effects of a Vitamin D Deficiency

Rickets, or weak bendy bones will occur in young pups if they do not get adequate vitamin D.  This problem is made worse by insufficient calcium in the diet.  The first sign will be poor growth, loss of weight, and reduced appetite.  Next you see problems with the bones, including curved, bent, easily fractured bones plus enlarged hock and knee joints.  That typical bandy-legged appearance.

The adult counterpart of this disease is Osteomalacia.  With this disease, the bones gradually get thinner and weaker.  It usually takes years to develop.  The main symptoms are muscular weakness and bone pain.  Eventually there are bone fractures.

The practical circumstances where this would occur are in old dogs that have lost the ability to manufacture vitamin D, dogs that are on a poor diet such as dried or canned dog food or an all meat diet, and dogs that are rarely in the sun.

  • Dogs kept constantly on a healthy diet based on raw meaty bones, spending plenty of time in the sun will not develop this problem.

 

Vitamin K

This is known as the antihaemorrhagic vitamin.  It ensures your dog’s blood clots following cuts and scratches.  It helps the liver produce various blood clotting factors.

It is also one of the many anti-oxidant or anti-ageing nutrients.  Recent research suggests it also has an essential role to play in reproduction and growth, particularly bone growth, and in the production of healthy skin.

Vitamin K is made by bacteria living in the large intestine of your dog and also in most other animals.  This means that dogs which eat faeces usually get plenty.  It can also be absorbed directly from the bowel, meaning that for most healthy dogs a deficiency is unlikely.

Dietary sources of vitamin K include green leafy plants, and on the animal side, fresh liver and fish.  It is particularly rich in fresh dark green vegetables such as the outer leaves of lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and spinach.

Dogs takin lots of antibiotics, particularly sulphonamides, may have reduced bowel production of vitamin K.

Vitamin K is basically non-toxic, particularly the natural forms.  However, the synthetic forms can be toxic with the toxic dose being in excess of 100 times the recommended dose.  The recommended oral dose is .05 to 1.0 mg per kg of body weight.

It should be noted that vitamin K is the antidote of choice when your dog eats warfarin-based rat baits.  These baits have an anti-vitamin K effect.

 

Supplementing Your Dog’s Diet with Vitamins

I put forward the following thought for those of you who are still sceptical about adding vitamins to your dog’s food.

There is an equation used in determining public health policy for humans...  it reads as follows…  ‘’If there is a fifty percent chance of doing some good, and a one hundred percent chance of doing no harm, then that justifies some action.’’

  • I hope by now that you are convinced that the addition of vitamin supplements to your dog’s food if done properly, has an almost 100% chance of doing no harm and has much more than a 50% chance of doing some good.

WATER – WORTH SOME THOUGHT

I don’t know if you have thought about it, however, we and our dogs, in fact any land mammal can only go for a few minutes without air, a few days without water, but many weeks without food.  In other words, next to a plentiful supply of fresh air, the most important and essential nutrient your dog needs constantly is water.

Unfortunately, tap water is one of the ways modern man is polluting himself and his animals.  The major problem is that the chemicals used to clean our drinking water, by destroying the bacteria are now thought to be reacting with natural substances found in water to produce chemicals which may cause long term genetic damage and possibly cancer.

A major problem for Australia is that we do not have a uniform set of rules governing the protection of our nation’s water.  The rules vary between States and between regions within states.  Another major problem is that many of the so called safe levels of faecal and chemical contamination are based on levels set for Europe, which was heavily contaminated before the rules were set.  What this has meant in practical terms, is that the authorities in Australia have given private and government bodies a licence to pollute our waterways, and our drinking water.

This I give you as food for thought.  Obviously we all need water.  Our dogs are no exception.  It is quite possible for the water your pet drinks to cause it some problems.  Probably not from the bacterial content, our dogs, particularly our healthy dogs will deal with that a lot better than us.  The main danger is the masses of chemicals of be found in the water.

Water treated by water filters may be a very good idea for chronically ill pets, or pets having reproductive problems or growth problems.  If the water where you live is such that you need to do that for yourself, then it will also benefit your pet.

The provision of truly clean water as another aid in producing a healthy dog is worthwhile thinking about.

 

ANTI-OXIDANTS AND ANTI-AGEING FACTORS

Natural whole foods, which is raw, unprocessed foods contain a lot of natural molecules which fight the processes of degeneration and ageing.  That is, they contain anti-oxidants and other anti-ageing factors.  Most of these molecules have not been identified.  Unfortunately many of these elusive molecules are destroyed by heat and other food processing activities.

This means, that for your dog to attain maximum health, you either have to add these substances back into the food, or alternatively, feed the raw primitive foods which have not lost them … e.g. lots of fresh fruit and vegetable, together with raw meaty bones.

The good news is that apart from those as yet largely unidentified compounds, many vitamins, the ones we have already discussed have strong anti-ageing/anti-oxidant properties.  This is particularly so in the case of vitamins A, C and E.

  • In other words, it is not a bad idea to feed the primitive diet AND add vitamin supplements as a way of giving your dog a diet high in anti-ageing/anti-degeneration nutrients!

The subject of these nutrients and the ageing process is discussed more fully in the last chapter.

 

THE LIST OF FOODS SUITABLE FOR FEEDING NORMAL HEALTHY DOGS

If you read through the above carefully, and pull out all the different foods containing all those different nutrients, you end up with a surprisingly short list of nutritious foods suitable for feeding dogs to produce maximum health, work, reproductive capacity, longevity and optimal growth.  That list reads somewhat as follows ………..

Animal Products

  • Raw meaty bones from chicken, lamb, beef rabbit, pork
  • Muscle meat from chicken, lamb, beef, pork
  • Organ meat – liver, kidneys, heart, brains
  • Eggs, especially the yolk
  • Cheese and cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, butter
  • Seafood – any fatty fish, herring, salmon, sardines etc.

Plant Products

  • Fresh, green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, outer leaves of lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprouts, etc.
  • Corn, sweet potatoes (the yellow ones), pumpkin, squash etc.
  • Mushrooms, root vegetables, potatoes, carrots etc.
  • Fresh and dried fruits – any of them, legumes – peas and beans, baked beans etc.
  • Whole grains including brown rice and oat flakes, wheat germ, wheat bran, wholemeal bread

Miscellaneous

  • Brewer’s yeast, kelp powder or tablets, molasses

Oils

  • Cod liver oil, corn oil, soya bean oil, wheat germ oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil

From that very simple array of commonly available foods, you can devise a diet for dogs that will make and keep any dog healthy, active, fertile and long lived.

The next chapter deals with the importance of separating and combining these foods.