are several reasons many pet owners choose holistic food for their
dog. Some commercial dog foods on the market include:
Poor protein sources. Protein is crucial to your dog’s health,
yet “weak” sources, such as soybean meal, corn glutens, corn meal,
whole corn, and ground or crushed corn are used in many dog foods.
While dogs do need some grains, often commercial dog foods also
use grains as a substitute for meat.
Chemical preservatives. Some scientific studies have shown that
BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are found in many dog foods and may promote
liver disease and other medical problems.
By products, which include animal necks, heads, feet, intestines,
undeveloped eggs, lungs, spleen, and liver. Since dogs would be
eating such animal parts in the wild, this may not be of too great
a concern. However, some pet foods have even been found to contain
Pentobarbital, which is a chemical used to euthanize animals.
Food coloring. This is added to many dog foods in order to make
the product more appealing to humans.
dog food on the other hand contains none of these things and instead
quality protein sources, which come from actual, high quality meat.
– Natural preservatives only.
– No by products.
– No food coloring.
Dog May Be the Best Indicator
say that your dog may be able to tell you if his food is all wrong.
If your dog:
want to eat his food
– Has large, smelly stools
– Has gas
– Has brown teeth
– Has smelly breath
– Burps frequently
– Sheds excessively
– Has a dull coat
– Has a smelly coat
– Gets ear and/or skin infections frequently
– Is lethargic
you should take a critical look at his diet.
The Need for Meat and More
are carnivores. They cannot live healthy lives without eating meat.
Your dog’s teeth are designed for tearing apart meat and his stomach
is built to break down meat into important nutrients.
– A low amount of carbohydrates
– Fat (both saturated and polyunsaturated, coming from animal fats
and vegetable oils)
– Plenty of water
deficiencies are common among dogs. Some of the symptoms may include:
skin and/or ear infections.
– Excessive shedding
– Crooked whiskers
– Lack of appetite or poor appetite
– A compromised immune system
Truly holistic dog foods are high in quality meat protein, thereby
making your dog’s chances for developing a protein deficiency very
Vitamin Deficiencies and Excesses:
need vitamin A, D, E, K, B1 (thiamin), Riboflavin, B6, Niacin, Pantothenic
Acid, B12, and Folic Acid. Some of the more common signs of vitamin
imbalances found in dogs include:
enough vitamin A may lead to weight loss, corneal disorders, skin
lesions, respiratory ailments, and increased susceptibility to infection.
Too much A leads to dehydration, central nervous system depression,
and joint pain.
enough vitamin D leads to rickets, lethargy, loss of muscle tone,
bone swelling and bending. Too much D leads to general weakness,
diarrhea, vomiting, calcification of soft tissue, excessive mineralization
of long bones, dehydration, and brittle hair.
enough vitamin E leads to degeneration of skeletal muscles, infertility,
and retinal degeneration.
enough B1 leads to stunted growth, weight loss, and neurological
abnormalities in puppies; it also leads to damaged hearts and nervous
systems in adult dogs.
enough Riboflavin may lead to weight loss, muscular weakness, flaking
skin, and eye lesions.
enough B6 leads to weight loss in puppies; convulsions, muscle twitching,
and anemia in adult dogs. Too much may lead to poor motor control
enough Niacin may lead to weight loss, inflammation of the mouth,
cheeks, and throat, excessive salivation, and bloody diarrhea. Too
much niacin leads to bloody feces, and convulsions.
enough Pantothenic Acid leads to sudden coma, rapid respiratory
and heart rates, convulsions, gastrointestinal symptoms, and reduced
enough B12 leads to appetite loss, lack of white blood cells, anemia,
and bone marrow changes.
enough folic acid leads to weight loss and a decline in hemoglobin
dog foods are manufactured so poorly; vitamins must be added to
them in supplement form. However, once the dog food is cooked down
or heated, packaged, and sold, most of these added vitamins have
been lost. On the other hand, a good holistic dog food provides
the correct level of vitamins.
Deficiencies and Excesses
only make up 2% of a dog’s diet, but in order to stay healthy, dogs
need calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chlorine,
iron, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iodine. Signs of an
imbalance frequently found in dogs include:
enough calcium can lead to secondary hyperparathyroidism, and decreases
in bone mineral content. Too much calcium leads to skeletal aberrations,
particularly in large breed puppies.
enough phosphorus leads to reduced weight gain, poor appetite, and
bowing and swelling of forelimbs in puppies.
enough magnesium may lead to weight loss, irritability, and convulsions
in puppies, and hyperextension of carpal joints and hind-leg paralysis
enough sodium leads to restlessness, increased heart rate, water
intake and hemoglobin concentration; dry and tacky mucous membranes.
enough potassium may lead to restlessness in puppies, paralysis
of neck muscles and rear legs in adult dogs.
enough chlorine leads to reduced weight gain and weakness in puppies.
enough iron leads to poor growth, pale mucous membranes, lethargy,
weakness, and diarrhea. Too much leads to gastrointestinal and tissue
enough copper may lead to loss of hair pigmentation in puppies,
and anemia in adult dogs.
enough zinc leads to vomiting and skin lesions.
enough selenium may lead to weight loss, coma, and muscular degeneration.
enough iodine leads to enlargement of the thyroid glands, and dry
and/or thin hair. Too much leads to excessive tearing, salivation,
nasal discharge and dandruff.
say that 50 to 80% of minerals are lost in the process of making
commercial dog food. Good quality holistic blend dog food provides
more minerals than is found in many commercial dog foods, therefore
you don’t need to give your pet supplements.
Other Things to Look For:
is some debate about just how much protein, grain, vegetable, etc.
should be found in dog food, but here are some guidelines:
for a brand that is no more than 50% grains. (Ideally, these grains
should be boiled or steamed, since this imitates the partially-digested
grains a wild dog would find in an animal’s stomach.) Brown rice
is often considered the best grain for dogs.
should be about 25% of the food.
(from meat sources) should be at least 25%.
you study the label on a dog food package, be sure to notice where
the protein is coming from. Is it from quality meat? Or from something
else, which is less healthy for your dog!
ingredients must be listed from largest amount to smallest amount.
Most dog foods list grains long before meat, but most proponents
of holistic dog food believe meat should be the number one ingredient
in any decent dog food.