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Canine University 71 Clinton St. Malden, MA

Have a Great Dog!

Natural Health Corner: A Wholesome Diet Essential fatty acids, vegetables, yogurt........ adding quality food to a high quality diet.

Our dog's diet is so important to their overall well being. A dog that doesn't feel well can't tell us and since we decide what they eat and how often they receive veterinary attention, it is very important to keep current on the most recent literature concerning their diet and health related needs. As I read and seek more knowledge in my effort to keep my own pack healthy, I realize that feeding dry dog food day after day is just not enough to keep my dogs in good health.

Though alot of the literature talks about feeding dogs a raw diet of raw meat and veggies I know that I have limited time and resources and I'm not ready yet to take this step. What I have done, however, is made some changes in what I do add to my dogs' dog food. Several times a week I add raw fresh veggies, carrots, broccoli, green beans, whatever we have in the fridge or freezer. I grind them up in a food processor or blender first though, since dog's can't digest them and get the nutrients they need unless the vegetables are totally crushed (much like the stomach contents of a wolf's prey).

I also add a scoop of Source micro nutrients (see review last issue), a tablespoon of yogurt, a teaspoon of Lipiderm, and a hard boiled egg several times a week. Lipiderm is the brand name of a fatty acid or oil supplement that is essential for healthy skin and coat.

I have found that some breeds can't produce the essential fatty acids they need and therefore must rely on the food they eat. Most high quality diets contain fatty acids in them but it evaporates out of the food no matter how carefully you store it. Dog's need the essential fatty acids from a plant and an animal source, for instance safflower or flax seed oil, and cod liver oil. The safflower or flax seed oil should be cold-pressed which is a fairly pure form of the oil and can be purchased at Wild Harvest or any other large health food store.

I normally use a product called Lipiderm simply because it's easy to have on hand and I have limited counter space. Lipiderm can be bought at most pet stores, through catalogs or at Canine University (we've begun to carry it for your convenience). I found that the absence or presence of the oil in my dogs' diet, combined with Source, had a direct effect on the health of their skin and whether or not we had hot spots and lots of scratching or restful nights.

For a while I wasn't giving them oil and though we didn't have any skin irritation their coats were not as shiny and even looked a little dry. After some research I found that Golden Retrievers in particular do not produce some of these essential fatty acids and must rely on supplements. So, I started to get more consistent about adding lipiderm everyday and I think we're doing much better.

So far, I have had good luck with this mixture of a high quality dry dog food, yogurt, crushed veggies, lipiderm and an occasional egg. Your dog's dietary needs may vary slightly from what I do for my dogs, you may want to change one thing at a time and watch how it effects the skin, coat and overall health of your best friend !

Next issue I hope to give you a review of Innova Dog Food, a high quality dog food that my dogs have been eating since August. We've been so impressed with it that we are thinking of carrying it at the training center. We want to feed it for at least 6mths though before deciding if it's as good as we think it is. No matter how good things look on paper, the dogs show us just how good it really is, don't they?

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