Welcome to the truly NATURAL method of feeding your dog REAL “species-appropriate” food and not a diet of ingredients and fillers intended to be a “substitute” for the historically carnivorous diet that biology demands. This guideline gives you options to feed your dogs, whether puppy or senior, large or small, healthy or not, that will set them on a path to the best health and condition possible. We can customize this diet for dogs with special health concerns like digestive or stool problems, IBD, kidney, liver, or heart issues, diabetes, urinary tract or anal gland issues, Cushing’s or Addison’s Disease, dental issues, pregnancy, joint or mobility problems or for dogs recovering from abuse or illness.
One of the most common issues that we continuously consult on is a vast majority of dogs dealing with a systemic yeast infection, which prompted us to create a specialized Yeasty Dog Diet. Due to the majority of commercial dog foods, regardless of type or pricing, containing a 50% or higher carbohydrate makeup, today’s companion and show dogs are being fed harmful fillers of grain or potato that are not species-appropriate and as a result are causing serious health problems including weight gain, inflammation, and systemic yeast infections. These yeast infections lead to repetitive itching and chewing, hot spots, and misdiagnosed allergies. Due to the continuously growing number of clients that have dogs with this yeast issue, we created and publish a specialized yeasty dog diet that has an enormous amount of success with the thousands of dogs that have made the switch. Systemic yeast infections are primarily caused by diets that are extremely high in carbohydrates, a nutrient that dogs need zero of in their diet.
The majority of commercial dog foods, regardless of type or cost, are usually around 50% carbohydrates and being given to animals that have no requirement for it. Fillers, whether grains or potatoes, are readily available and cost-effective for the pet food industry, however, the health toll on the animals ranges from weight gain and inflammation to more serious issues like diabetes and organ failure. By making the switch to a homemade diet, you can not only assist and improve a compromised system but prevent the issues from even occurring.
Whether your dog is a beloved companion or the top dog on the show circuit, we are able to customize diets and supplement plans that support the nutritional needs their biology demands that Mother Nature intended. We follow Mother Nature’s lead and designed our Homemade Diets with species-appropriate food, which is quite simply, the food your dog was designed and adapted to eat from the time when they hunted food in the wild through the centuries to the present day, where the hunt now takes place in a grocery store or butcher shop. Our homemade diets are also designed with you in mind, making it as simple and affordable as possible, while still being restorative to the health of your dog. You are not required to make large quantities of food at a time, as you would just adjust your normal cooking schedule as if you were adding an extra person at the table.
We take away the worry that you are not balancing the food properly by providing the perfect supplement list specified for your dog’s individual needs. Top quality dog foods are needlessly expensive as commercial pet food companies struggle to make it seem as if they are using the most nutritious ingredients available while still making an enormous profit. These expensive foods are attempting to duplicate what you can do with a simple, sensible, homemade, properly supplemented diet for typically a much lower cost. You buy the food, we provide the balance supplements. We always work directly with you until you feel confident to fly solo. You can use us as your personal consultants for all questions and your co-pilot. We are a vital resource for guidance on how to get started. Utilize us! We can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cooked Or Raw?
Your choice is to feed all raw, partial raw or cooked food. Many like to feed raw beef, lamb or
Bison, but prefer to cook poultry and pork. Venison is debated regarding whether or not to cook because it is possible for venison to contain parasites that could harm dogs and cats. Some people are nervous about feeding raw meat and we understand that. If you can’t bring yourself to feed raw, remember that until the marketing of processed, grain-based dog food, it was always considered normal to feed dogs and cats raw meat. The animals haven’t changed to make it somehow dangerous to feed raw meat or eggs, but the marketing certainly did to steer pet owners to buy commercial pet food.
The important thing about raw meat diets is that you need to use the same sensible storage and preparation methods you would for your own food. You can’t leave raw or cooked food down all day because it will spoil. The good thing is that almost every dog that is fed meat in their diet will eat the food readily and quickly and you won’t need to worry about leaving it out. Just put any leftovers in the refrigerator before you leave for work. You can use those leftovers (usually there are none) to add to the next meal so long as it is still fresh enough. Just add the supplements for the second meal with the leftovers as usual. Even though raw meat and fat is more natural and digests better, homemade cooked meats are still FAR BETTER than dry foods. Natural food diets are usually about 70% moisture, which is normal for most mammals and this helps digestion.
Dogs and cats were never expected to eat daily dry, low moisture diets made of mostly PLANT proteins and carbohydrates. Yes, some animals can survive and even do well for a while on these types of foods but there is research saying that certain chronic illnesses are possibly caused or accelerated by these foods. If your animal has problems, it is wise to go back to good, old fashioned meat based home-cooked or raw foods. Back in the ’80s and 90’s we were one of the very few voices recommending this sensible feeding program. After all these years it is good and rewarding to finally see the trending towards smart diets that are truly natural and can prevent or solve health problems in our pets.
2/3 Proteins (or can be changed to 3/4 proteins or other amounts as needed)
Beef, poultry, pork, lamb, cottage cheese, eggs, bison, and venison are usually the proteins used, as they are easily available. Free range, organic is obviously the best (no GMOs or chemicals) but they are expensive and many people cannot take advantage of them. Most buy the same quality protein foods they feed their family. This makes it best to take advantage of sales and stock up the freezer if possible for future needs.
Beef is the most expensive and can be used separately or mixed 50/50 with chicken to cut cost. If the cost becomes prohibitive, just feed beef occasionally. You can add heart, liver and healthy kidney to your meat mixes. Use organs for about 10% of the meat portion of the meal. Some people feed tripe. We don’t recommend it. Use the “dark meat” poultry which is the leg, thigh or wing. It is more nutritious and has better fat content than “white” breast meat and is much less expensive too! White breast meat is lower in fat and recommended to be used if the dog has pancreatitis, liver disease or digestive problems.
Cooked pork is safe and dogs love it. It is "red" meat. Today, trimmed pork loin is fairly lean meat. It is often reasonably cost-effective and a good choice to vary the diet for most dogs. Pork shoulder can be fatty, so trim well and pour off fat after cooking. I do not recommend feeding any poultry bones other than the spine, neck or just the knob ends of leg or thigh bones of chicken or other poultry. If you feed chicken or turkey necks, make sure you feed them cut up in sizes that will not choke your dog. Dogs have died eating whole necks, no matter cooked or raw. Rib bones of beef, pork, lamb or bison could all be considered a danger as they can crack and become very sharp shards of bone to swallow and possibly cause blockage or puncture. In the wild, bones are consumed with meat, skin, and hair attached, which cushions the bone pieces to some extent and provides “roughage” to push bone pieces along. I recommend big joint “knuckle” bones of cattle that are a round shape and the dog can safely grind off small amounts and this chewing provides the added benefit of being the best toothbrush your dog has. Steamed knuckle bones are clean and can be washed between chew times. We have these available for purchase on the website. Raw is messy but perfectly fine if fed outside. Pick them up, wash and refrigerate in a bag to keep fresh enough to keep chewing. A general rule to follow is if they smell bad, toss them.
1/3 Ground Vegetables (or can be changed to 1/4 vegetables as needed)
FROZEN VEGETABLES are easiest to use because they are already cleaned and trimmed and have no waste. Obviously, if you have a garden, your homegrown produce is great to use. Organic is best but not an option for everyone due to cost or availability. All vegetables, whether frozen and thawed or fresh, steamed or sautéed should be ground in a food processor or blender or finely chopped. This helps the dog digest and utilize the nutrients in the plant cells more efficiently. Store enough in the fridge for a couple of meals ahead of time and replenish as needed. Just remember to smell them before use, as raw vegetables can spoil in a short time. They can be fed either raw or cooked, or you can alternate between raw and cooked for more of variety. It would be best to use whatever your dog likes or seems to be digesting easier. Raw would be preferred for the most nutritional value.
We also have an optional supplement called CORNUCOPIA, which is a highly concentrated blend of many RAW, ORGANIC fruits and vegetables in a fine powder form. THREE TABLESPOONS of this concentrate is the equivalent of ONE POUND of raw or frozen fruits and vegetables. This can be used if your dog refuses regular raw ground vegetable mixes or if time is short and you need a shortcut. It could also be used exclusively as the vegetable/fiber source. Due to it’s concentrated form, there is not as much bulk of vegetables, making it the perfect choice for those dogs that do not want to eat regular ground veggies. In diabetes or severe yeast cases, however, you might need to avoid the fruits in this concentrate. Call and we will discuss your best options.
The meal is made up by volume of 2/3 meat/protein mixed with 1/3 by volume vegetable mix. The meal may be adjusted to 3/4 meat mixed with 1/4 vegetables by volume if desired. There are others who suggest using rice in the diet, but we suggest using it occasionally not daily. There might be some special digestive problems or other issues when you might need to use a relatively bland food like rice, but those times such as with diabetes, liver disease or IBD are the exception. We prefer you include sweet potato or pumpkin as a fiber and a moderate carbohydrate, plus some combination of vegetables. It doesn’t have to be added to every meal, a few times a week is sufficient. If the dog begins to gain weight, we would suggest you cut down on the sweet potato and adjust the greens and fat levels. You can contact us if you need help.
The diet can be adjusted if 1/3 vegetable volume seems to be too much fiber for that particular dog. You can adjust the meal from 35% vegetables/ 65% meat to either 30% vegetables/70% meat or 25% vegetables/75% meat according to tolerance of the vegetable fiber. Contact me if any questions on this, especially if you see looser stools. This doesn’t usually happen, but every dog and situation is different.
Supplements And Probiotics:
Probiotics suggested: Nature’s Farmacy PROBIOTIC MAX. Use this supplement according to label directions for weight unless I have directed you to use a larger amount depending on the dog’s condition. You can also use either of our other DIGESTIVE ENHANCER products, but usually, you should start with PROBIOTIC MAX. Each of our probiotics, whether Probiotic Max or Digestive Enhancer (whey based) or Digestive Enhancer (egg base) contains 10 added plant enzymes so you will not have to buy a separate enzyme product. The only other separate enzyme product needed is our Pancreas Support product for cases of EPI (pancreatic insufficiency). If you have small dogs and have purchased a large jar of our Probiotic Max, Cran-Tri-C, or Digestive Enhancer Liquid Dissolvable (blue label/lid), we recommend finding a small jar like a baby food jar or food storage baggie that zips closed, in which you can open often for daily dosages, allowing you to keep the large jar closed to prevent humidity from causing clumping. Natural organic ingredients are not treated with preservatives and are somewhat moisture sensitive. Contact us for any questions or additional suggestions.
We also offer our CANINE PROBIOTIC PASTE for many situations. This is excellent for times when a dog is gassy when traveling with dogs and at stressful times like dog shows. It can settle a stomach, get a dog eating if they have refused food due to upset and is perfect for use during bouts of diarrhea as a quick way to settle the gut. Administer this before or after stressful times like showing, going to the vet, dogs that are stressed from heat cycles or being exposed to females in heat. Whelping mothers benefit greatly from a couple of doses before whelping and after periodically. Always feed the Probiotic Max to pregnant mothers and during lactation and if she is not eating well, give the paste 3 times daily to help lactation and restore appetite. If you have dogs that are prone to gas or bloating, give this after eating. If a dog has been on antibiotics or medications, give this between meals 2 or 3 times a day.
Calcium/Phosphorus: Most people are using bone-free meats. We have a special calcium product to add to boneless meat that correctly balances the calcium to phosphorus ratio. Meat is naturally higher in phosphorus than calcium. Recommendations are to adjust calcium to phosphorus levels to the 1 part calcium to 1 part phosphorus or somewhere within 1:1 to 2:1 range. The product for this is KA CALCIUM. This adds calcium ONLY and no phosphorus since we need to adjust the calcium to a higher level than the existing phosphorus in the meat or eggs. It is simple to use by adding 1 teaspoons for each one cup of boneless meat (or eggs) being fed. Remember that in this case we are not dosing by DOG size but are just dosing each cup of MEAT, which makes it easy to measure and calculate. For example, if you are using 4 cups of meat, you add 4 teaspoons of KA Calcium and mix into the meat. Choose the amount of meat needed for the meal and add the vegetables. It will not matter what size dog you are feeding or how much meat is being fed because the meat is now balanced after mixing in the KA CALCIUM. Contact us if any questions.
Vitamins/Minerals/Omega 3/Healthy Fats: We formulate our vitamin supplement DOGZYMES ULTIMATE to correctly add all the needed vitamins and typical minerals to a home diet, a commercial frozen meat diet or to fortify a dry food. This means it is correctly adding the needed nutrients in the correct balance and ratios. We do the tricky part of balancing the food with our special vitamin and mineral supplements. All you do is provide the food as directed. ULTIMATE is providing major nutrients the diet needs to correctly deliver healthily, broad-based nutrition in all diets, whether homemade or purchased. Many raw, frozen meat diets do not add the vitamins and minerals needed, although the meat mix may contain ground natural bone, in which case you should not need to add KA CALCIUM. Dogs and cats will also get calcium to some extent from the vegetables, and if you choose to mix cottage cheese or plain yogurt to the meat for protein, you will also be supporting the calcium needs. Call if you have questions.
How Much To Feed?
There is a guideline of how much food a dog needs daily. The NRC guideline suggests 4% of bodyweight in total food fed per day. In general, this seems to be a little too much for a dog that is not doing a lot of hard work and exercise. We suggest starting with 3% daily and if the dog still seems hungry after a couple of days, then increase it by a half percent per day until the dog seems more satisfied or starts gaining excess weight. Do not give more than the 4% level and get into overfeeding, as this could cause problems with digestion or stools. Exceptions would be if a bitch is pregnant or lactating, or if the dog is doing strenuous work or working in extreme cold.
There are some dogs that just don’t seem to know when to stop, so you need to be the “food police.” Many things can determine how much food is needed, so we suggest you approach this as a trial amount and if you don’t think the dog is holding weight well, or is getting too heavy, contact us and we will review and adjust.
Meat Preparation: You can use ground beef from 80/20 to 93/7 fat content. It can be ground, chopped or chunked. If you find a great price on chuck, round or sirloin you can simply cut in chunks and use. Preparation is easier using your oven to bake chicken, turkey, lamb, or pork or put in the crockpot or pressure cooker. Be sure to pour off extra grease and freeze extra meat for later use. Cook all poultry to a well-done stage that makes it easy to debone. Make sure to pull the sharp little rib bones off split breasts and pick out any small bones. Boiling it on the stove top is messy and we find the baking or slow cook methods are easier because there’s no pot to watch or risk boiling over. Best of all, the meat tastes better. However, if there is a reason to boil some of the fat from the meat for health reasons, then boiling is the right method.
Vegetable Preparation: You can feed vegetables separately and use a variety over the week. Another option is to combine a package of frozen greens like collard greens or kale, in a 50/50 ratio with a bag of another frozen vegetable option such as mixed vegetables, collard greens, kale, zucchini or yellow summer squash. The important aspecet of this to find the combination that works for your dog. Grind them up in the food processor or blender. Baking sweet potatoes is easy… just mash and feed. You can bake pumpkins or buy PLAIN canned pumpkin.
Storage: You can store them in a container or package into daily use bags and freeze if you won’t use it all in the next 2 days. It can be helpful to have the prepared vegetables frozen ahead and ready to use in the next meals. Frozen vegetables are easy, already cleaned, usually a lot less expensive unless from your own garden, and there is no waste like with fresh vegetables that need cleaning. However, if you have an organic garden with fresh produce, USE it. That is always going to be the best option. There are many good tips you probably have yourself, so if you have an idea to make this easier, we would love to hear from you and share that with other customers. Your input is always appreciated. Thank you!
"Do Not Feed" Foods:
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener in gum, candy, cough drops, etc.)
- Raw yams (these are toxic to dogs and cats, however raw sweet potato is different and is ok)
- Avocado, whole or the pit
- High sugar foods
- Alcohol, Coffee or Tea, or stimulant drinks like Red Bull
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Bones that splinter like chicken legs, chop or steak bones
- Persimmon, peach or plum seeds (these contain cyanide if chewed and eaten, but the peach and plum flesh are fine)
- Raw egg white without the yolk (this disrupts the absorption of B Vitamins)
- Raw fish like trout, salmon, shad, sturgeon (these could carry a parasite that causes illness… always cook and debone fish)
- Raw bread or yeast doughs and even large amounts of baked bread (these can cause stomach swelling and bloat)
- Any food high in salt content
- Baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg spice (these are toxic to dogs)
Thank you for considering this diet for your dog. We have watched for at least 30 years how this can transform the health of so many dogs. It might seem complicated when you first read through the instructions, but once you have practiced a bit, it becomes easy. There are many cases where a dog can just no longer tolerate commercial dog food products. It isn’t the dog’s fault if he can’t eat what is not normal for his body. This plan allows you to take small steps to test what works best in your dog’s case. You don’t need to invest in a package of expensive food that you might not be able to use. You can do an elimination diet by simply starting with one or two ingredients and find exactly what your dog can tolerate or not, and what it takes to get to recovery and true health. This is one of the best things you can ever do for your dog. He will show you how much he agrees! We are here to guide you if you need us.
Jeanette Pickett, Founder, Nature's Farmacy Inc.