Shawna Gray, BSc and Jorin Starcevich
If you`ve been feeding your dog a commercially-prepared food and wish to switch to a natural diet, it`s important to know how the change will affect your dog`s life
If you've been feeding your dog a commercially-prepared food and wish to switch to a natural diet, it's important to know how the change will affect your dog's life.
It's common for dogs to experience withdrawal from commercially-prepared dog food. This withdrawal is from drugs and addictive substances in the dog food. Thus it's necessary to add the natural diet gradually. In the beginning your dog's body will start to be overloaded with toxins that have been stored in the fat, glands and liver. This is often referred to as a "healing crisis." The dog may require supplementation to remove these toxins from the body and boost the immune system. This is an excellent time to put your dog on a liver cleanse (milk thistle and dandelion are good choices) to help clean the toxins out.
The natural diet can begin with cutting 50 percent of commercially-prepared food out of the dog's diet. In its place add fresh vegetables, brown rice and a protein source, such as raw certified organic meat, whey protein powder or even lightly cooked organic meat. Non-certified-organic meat may be used, but only lean cuts because toxins are generally stored in the fat and organ meats. Toxins such as antibiotics, artificial hormones, genetically altered feeds, inoculations and pesticides/herbicides are found in this meat. However it's still better than commercially-prepared dog food. You may want to continue feeding this way for a couple of months. Your dog will need some supplementation for the liver throughout the entire process.
The next phase involves cutting the amount of commercially-prepared dog food in half again and feeding this amount at the dog's morning meal in combination with the natural diet. (Commercially-prepared dog food makes up half the morning meal.) The dog's dinner would thus consist wholly of the natural diet. Continue this process for another month.
Finally your dog's diet will consist of only the natural food.
Diet Building Blocks
Here is a short list of building blocks to help you construct your dog's diet:
Non-certified-organic meats such as fish, pork, chicken and organ meats are so contaminated that they're not safe for consumption:
Therefore if you can't buy certified-organic, you should choose beef or lamb, which are somewhat better.
These tips should provide a starting point for changing your dog's diet to a natural one. There are many useful resources out here for pet owners to access and many different opinions about what nutrition is best for a dog.
It is important to remember that you know your own dog best. Ensure that it continues to exhibit signs of good health such as a healthy weight, normal energy levels (for your dog), a stable personality and healthy eyes, skin and coat. With these guidelines you should be able to feed it for optimal nutrition. A healthy dog is a happy dog!