Feeding Buddy

This section provides you with four options for feeding Buddy — from the easy way out, to using a beefed-up version of commercial dog food, to making your own. Only you can decide which option is best for your lifestyle and your comfort level.

More than 30 years of breeding, raising, working, and living with dogs of several breeds have had a profound effect on our way of thinking. Even so, we're realists. You're a busy person and may not even cook for yourself, much less be concerned about what goes into your dog. Fortunately, you can take some shortcuts to safeguard your dog's health.

Option 1: The easy way out

Option 1 consists of feeding commercial kibble enhanced by one supplement. This option is the simplest method of adding the nutrients lost in processing commercial kibble.

For people feeding their dogs commercial kibble, sprinkling a whole food additive onto the food and mixing it with a little water adds those nutrients lost in the manufacturing process. The product we suggest is called Endurance, which contains liver and natural vitamins and minerals. It aids digestion, reduces shedding, and increases vitality and longevity. Endurance is available from www.phdproducts.com.

Option 2: Beefed-up commercial food

Option 2 adds supplements and fresh foods to commercial kibble. The quantities of the respective ingredients listed in this section are for a 50-pound dog. You can adjust this recipe according to your dog's weight. When calculating the amount for the weight of your dog, err on the side of too little, rather than too much. Some dogs eat more than their weight indicates, and some dogs less. You dog's metabolism and the amount of daily exercise he gets determine the amount of food he needs. Use common sense and keep all ingredients in proportion.

Feed the following twice a day:

1)2 cups Performance Food /{teaspoon of vitamin C

1 vitamin B-complex

/8 teaspoon of vitamin/mineral mix (Wellness from PHD)

X cup of beef (hamburger, 80 percent), or 23 meat and 33 beef liver for a total of cup. You can also use chicken and chicken livers.

2 tablespoons fresh vegetables

2 tablespoons fresh or dried fruit

To the morning meal, add one Amino Acid Complex tablet (Nature Most), and, four times a week, one large egg cooked for five minutes, served with shell. Once a week substitute cottage cheese for the meat on one day, and unflavored yogurt containing acidophillus on another day.

For vegetables use carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potato, broccoli, leek, zucchini, squash, or any vegetable your dog likes. Chop the vegetables in a food processor or parboil them to make it easier for your dog to digest the cellulose. Whenever you can, use vegetables that are in season.

For treats, try carrot sticks, dried liver, broccoli, parsnips, lettuce, bananas, prunes, cucumbers, or fruit or vegetable in season.

Making major changes in Buddy's diet without keeping track of how these changes affect him isn't a wise idea. We recommend that you have a blood test done before making a dietary change and again six months later.

Option 3: Natural Diet Foundation formula

Option 3 is the lazy man's way of feeding a balanced homemade diet. All the work is done for you. You need to add only two ingredients in the morning meal and one ingredient in the evening meal, mixed with a little water.

The National Diet Foundation (NDF) formula, available from PHD, is the same as our homemade diet in option 4, except that it's dehydrated. This carefully formulated diet meets the needs of dogs of different breeds, of different ages, and of those dogs that live in different climates. It was clinically tested prior to marketing. Because no heat is used in the processing of the food, all the vitamins and minerals are unaltered by the food processing. It uses only human-grade ingredients and is the next best thing to making your own.

For the morning meal, all you add is water, yogurt, and vegetables. For the evening meal, all you add is meat. Directions for amounts to feed are on the package.

Option 4: Wendy Volhard's Natural Diet recipe

Making your own dog food is becoming a popular option, although it's hardly a new one. Every dog alive today can trace its ancestry back to dogs that were raised on homemade diets. The dog food industry, in comparison to dogs themselves, is young — maybe 50 to 60 years — although canned meat for dogs was sold at the turn of the 20th century. Originally, the commercial foods were made to supplement homemade food.

Why make your own?

Many dogs don't thrive on commercially prepared rations. They exhibit disease states, often mistaken for allergies, which are deficiency diseases caused by feeding cereal-based foods. A dog in his natural state would eat meat. His prey would be that of a grass-eating animal — an herbivore. Along with the internal organs and the muscle meat, he would eat the predigested grasses and plants of the carcass. Those grasses and plants would consist of no more than 20 to 25 percent of his total diet. He would raid nests from ground-breeding birds and eat the eggs, and he would catch the occasional insect. He would maybe forage on certain weeds and grasses and eat berries and fruit.

In formulating the Wendy Volhard Natural Diet (ND) we stay within these boundaries — with the exception of the insects. Although domestication has changed the appearance of many dogs through selective breeding, the digestive tract of the dog remains substantially the same as it always was. You really do have a wolf in your living room.

The Natural Diet consists of two meals. One is a cereal meal plus supplements, which comprises 25 percent of the total diet. The other 75 percent is a raw meat meal plus supplements. In separating these meals — both of which are balanced — the digestive system uses enzymes present in the stomach and intestines to efficiently and quickly break down the food. It decreases the load on the digestive organs, which are maintained in a healthy state for a longer period of time.

For more information on how to make your own food, read The Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog, 2nd Edition, by Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown, DVM (Wiley).

Benefits of the Natural Diet

The advantages of feeding the Natural Diet are many:

^ The diet increases health and longevity. Diabetes, skin, ear, and eye problems are rare, and so is hip dysplasia and bloat. Teeth rarely, if ever, have to be cleaned. Fleas, ticks, and worms are almost unheard of on the Natural Diet. Overall vitality and energy are unequaled.

^ You can tailor the diet to individual needs. Doing so is beneficial for some breeds of dogs, especially imported dogs or relatives of imported dogs, who have difficulty in digesting corn contained in the majority of prepared commercial diets. You can also substitute individual ingredients as necessary. Dogs are able to digest and utilize the Natural Diet.

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