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Easy Nutrition Upgrade for Dogs

The book Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet addresses the weaknesses of modern dog food compared to the best approximation of the wild dog diet and provides simple diet supplements to dramatically upgrade nutrition.

The primary problems with modern dog food compared  the ancestral diet  of dogs are:

1)   not enough protein

2)   unbalanced and incomplete fats

3)   no fresh foods containing micronutrients unavailable in highly processed foods

The percentage of calories ingested in the ancestral diet of dog were drawn 49% from protein, 44% from fat and 6% from carbohydrate.  Compare this to the average canine kibble 25% from protein, 32% from fat and 43% from carbohydrate while even the premium high protein diets fall short with 37% from protein, 45% from fat and 20% from carbohydrate.  Typical canned food calories are derived 29% from protein, 50% from fat and 21% from carbohydrates.  The 95% meat canned foods offer 31% of the calories in the form of protein while 68% come from fat and 1% from carbohydrate.

You might wonder why the higher protein kibbles and 95% meat diets provide only a small lift in the protein but a dramatic rise in the fats. Our domesticated meat supplies tend to be much higher in fat that wild prey meat, so just adding more meat also raises the fat in a  disproportionate way.

Proper balance and quality of fats ensure better vision, better memory and learning, lead to dogs with fewer inflammatory conditions and who are less likely to be obese.  Fats in commercial food are not the optimum balance of fatty acids, frequently containing much less docosahexanenoic acid (DHA). Many of the fats in the kibble quickly become rancid when exposed to air provided they have not already been oxidized by high temperature cooking in the pet food manufacturing process.

Fresh food inclusion in diets is extremely important. Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can be added to diets in synthetic form; however, those found naturally in food are more bioavailable.  Many other active biochemicals beside those listed in the nutrient standard charts as essential, are found in unprocessed foods. For instance immune modulating polysaccharides in mushrooms and colour creating molecules in vegetables and fruits that have cancer fighting abilities.

The great news is that by feeding a specific recipe once a week, you can shift your dog’s nutrition a long way toward the ancestral balance by adding high-quality protein using beef hearts, and eggs, balancing the fats with sardines and completing nutrition with vegetables and fruit.

The specific ingredients in the ABC meal plans were carefully chosen to augment commercial diets. Beef heart are high in protein, low in fat and are an excellent source of carnitine, taurine, Co enzyme Q-10, trace minerals and specific fatty acids. Wherever possible choose grass fed or pasture raised cattle as the meat quality will be better.

Sardines should be no salt added in water or olive oil. Do not add any other oils as the omega-6 levels will be too high.  Sardines provide DHA and other fatty acids, as well as trace minerals, and excellent quality protein.

Eggs are a perfect protein also containing essential fats, vitamins and minerals. The amount of yolk is reduced in the diet for high protein and high-fat commercial food to reduce the caloric density of the diet. The membrane from the inside of the egg contains natural glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid, which may relieve joint soft tissue pain.

Vegetables and fruits should be colourful and can be chopped, juiced or lightly cooked to improve digestion. Dark berries, red watermelon, beets, orange foods like carrot and cantaloupe, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, as well as spinach, kale and collard greens contain powerful anti-oxidants and micronutrients.

ABC 1: Plan for most dry dog food

Dog’s Weight 2.25 kg 6.8 kg 11.33 kg 23 kg 45 kg
Beef  Heart g 85 113 170 284 454
Sardines g 14 28 34 57 85
Eggs, large no shell 1/2 1 2 3 5
Vegetables and fruit g 28 57 113 170 284

ABC 2 Plan for high fat and protein fed dogs

Dog’s Weight 2.25 kg 6.8 kg 11.33 kg 23 kg 45 kg
Beef  Heart g 85 142 198 312 454
Sardines g 14 28 35 57 99
Eggs, white 1 1 3 4 7
Eggs Yolks 1/4 1/2 1 2 3
Vegetables and fruit g 28 85 113 170 284

Reference:

Brown, Steve.  UNLOCKING THE CANINE ANCESTRAL DIET: Healthier Dog Food the ABC  Way, Dogwise Publishing, 2010

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