The Healthy Hound - Good Hound's Guide to Nutrition
Updated: Aug 25, 2020
Raise your hand if you have been publicly shamed for sneaking your dog “human food” from the dinner table 🙋🙋♂️
Today, most pet owners feed a commercial dry diet labeled “Dog Food”. And why would you feed anything else? Right? It has all you could ever need sealed into a pretty, shelf-stable, no expiration date convenient little bag.
But what if I could tell you a little chunk of history that could sway you into sharing those carrots with your furry friend?
In 1964, the Pet Food Institute, a lobbying group for the pet food industry, created the “Ban All Table Scraps from your Pets’ Bowls” campaign. This campaign, spread through newspapers, magazines, and radio, warned the public of table food scraps and the importance of feeding processed food. Up until about World War 2, domestic dogs DID eat table scraps, fresh food, and whatever they could find. 50 years later and you have a $72 billion dollar industry.
So, you may ask yourself, is this processed diet all it cracks up to be? Well - according to ongoing research, maybe not. Currently, the cancer rate in dogs is 1 in 2 (1, 2). Commercial pet foods are processed so heavily, that the amount of aflatoxins consumed and heterocyclic amines produced in the guts of dogs who eat these foods are carcinogenic (3, 4). Not only are they carcinogenic, but often the effects show up after damage has already been done. Dogs and cats are in and out of the vet suffering from countless maladies like kidney disease, pancreatitis, allergies, UTI’s, and obesity-adjacent illness. We want our pets to live as long as they can and we want them to THRIVE, not just survive so they can live healthy and painless until their final days. So why are we feeding them the most processed diets on the planet?
Dry commercial pet foods that we recognize have only been around for less than 70 years. Did you know that dogs actually do not need carbohydrates to have a complete and balanced meal? (6) I bet not. Turn around 95% of the bags in your pet store and you will find ingredient labels 2 inches long filled with tasty morsels of up to 40-50% carbohydrates, artificial preservatives, dyes, and rendered meats - all popped out at over 500 degrees F with a nice vitamin pack sprayed on top. Tasty right?
Every single animal on the planet eats a fresh, whole foods diet rich in moisture, antioxidants, and Omegas - why don’t our favorite family members?
Although not in the headlines, there are studies showing that dogs fed homemade diets consisting of high quality foods and bioavailable nutrients have a statistically significant increased life expectancy of almost 3 years! That’s 21 doggy years! (6).
So, what are some things you can do to spruce up your dog's bowl?
Oily fish(https://www.mypetcarnivore.com/shop/fish/whole-sardines/) or Fish oil (https://ultraoilforpets.com/) supplement: This is one of the easiest additions to boost your bowl. Studies show that obtaining more omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is beneficial for the heart (7), skin (8), and joints (9). Omega 3 fatty acids are highly sensitive to heat (10). A ratio of around 4:1 to 2:1 omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to be the most beneficial (11,12). Most dry food typically contains a ratio of 7:1 to 10:1! EEK! Because these oils are sensitive, you want to add your fish oil right when you serve your meal!
Goats Milk/Kefir: This one is a double whammy! Goat’s Milk/Kefir (they are different but very similar) is an AMAZING whole food source of probiotics and moisture. Goat milk is rich in vitamins, fatty acids, enzymes, antioxidants, protein, and electrolytes. Compared to cow milk, goat milk has 13% more calcium, 25% more vitamin B6, 47% more vitamin A, 134% more potassium, 3 times more niacin, and 27% more of the antioxidant selenium (13). AND, since goat milk has a smaller fat molecule size and a less lactose than cow milk, it is much easier for your dog to digest – even dogs with digestive issues or sensitive stomachs (14). Kefir and Fermented Goat Milk (https://www.answerspetfood.com/portfolio-item/fermented-raw-goat-milk/) are great sources of probiotics, which increases the immune system and allows your dog to better absorb nutrients.
Dog-Safe Fruits and Veggies: Simply by adding some fresh, whole fruit and veg to your dogs bowl can decrease their risk of cancer (15, 16, 17, 18, 19). Why? Because foods like kale, spinach, parsley, and broccoli are rich in natural antioxidants that can decrease oxidative stress on the body and restore vital organs. They also are great prebiotics - promoting the “good” bacteria in the gut (20)! Be sure to blend or steam your veggies before you feed them as to make them easier to digest for your dog (21). A pre-made option here (https://greenjujukitchen.com/)
Premium treats: The treats you give your dog are important, too! Check out the protein-packed turkey jerky, chicken, and beef heart treats that Good Hound offers on our site that help dogs with energy recovery after a hard day of play. These lean, high protein treats are great for building muscle and are also very helpful in helping dogs lose weight. Coming from 100% pasture-raised chicken and turkey, these dehydrated jerky treats are humanely raised to support regenerative agriculture. Beef heart is especially high in B12, which is great because it must be present for several enzymes to perform their jobs. Organs, commonly referred to as a superfood offer some of the densest sources of nutrients like B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, copper and magnesium and are rich with the most important fat-soluble vitamins; A, D, E and K.
So go ahead - build that bowl! And don’t be afraid to tell those haters what you have learned - it could save their dogs life!
13. Haenlein GFW, Ace D. Extension Goat Handbook. United States Department of Agriculture/USDA
By Roberta Donaldson, contributor
About Good Hound Company
Good Hound Company was founded in 2017 by Brit Kruesel while she was living in her quaint, one-bedroom apartment above a pub in Shorewood, Wisconsin. Started with pets, their owners and sustainability in mind, many of Good Hound Company’s goods are made from recycled or vintage materials, including our packaging which is made from 100% recycled fabric. Each product purchased contributes directly to supporting a local dog rescue and protection organization. We’re driven by community and often team up with small businesses we love and other-like minded individuals. It is our goal to invest back into the community that has given us so much support.