I work with a good number of dog owners that would like to feed a healthier diet but are concerned with higher costs that are often times associated with healthier food.
Bottom line, I get it, I have months where money is non-existent for fancy extras or high priced anything, but always keep in mind that were you choose to spend your money counts.
In my household I will spend a bit extra on healthier food for my children and dogs, because if I don’t purchase better nutrition I will most certainly purchase expensive doctor or veterinary visits in the not to distant future. So choices count, and for me it makes sense to spend my extra money on good healthy food, than a lot of money I don’t have on over priced medical care. Something to think about, because after all, we are what we eat, literally.
But fear not, there are ways to make food healthier for your dog, while you transition to an over all species appropriate diet, that are sustainable and affordable, and totally doable. And I know from what I saw when I was transitioning over 16.5 years ago, it was a profound moment where I finally felt like I was truly and honestly nourishing my dog, not just feeding my dog.
“Health is more than the mere absence of disease, it’s the presence of a superior state of well being, a pizzazz, a vitality that has to be worked for each and every day of your life. Its got to be gotten through diet, exercise, rest, recreation and attitudes of mind working all together every day of your life” – Doc ‘Dorian’ Paskowitz
Lets begin –
If you are feeding kibble, please feed a kibble that isn’t high in carbohydrates and starch, and just so we are clear, ‘grain free’ doesn’t mean starch and carbohydrate free. If the kibble comes from a big box store, on-line pyramid marketing set up, or the hardware store, it is best served as fodder for your trash can. Visit a pet nutrition store or call one, and they can recommend the better brands within your price point, but please make your price point reasonable. And remember if you want to feed a dog kibble that is pennies on the cup-full, then you will be spending thousands of dollars on each veterinary visit. So again, where you spend your money counts.
Top Dressing is adding whole, mostly raw, nourishing foods to the kibble you are feeding to bolster the quality of nutrition, and hopefully making what your dog eats more bio-available, meaning they can absorb more nutrients. Add one or more of the following ‘top dressings’, or rotate throughout the week for variety, variety is always good. This is just a starter list, please don’t use it as ‘this only’, please keep adding!
RAW GREEN TRIPE – 1/8 – 1C each day. If you want to add just one thing to your dogs food to start with, let it be raw green tripe. Not dehydrated, not canned, not cooked, but raw green tripe. It is SUPER affordable, SUPER nutritious, and the perfect balance of calcium and phosphorous. If you cannot find it at your local store you can order direct through GREEN TRIPE There are other companies so please do your research as to what works best for you where you live.
RAW EGG – 2-3 times per week – if it is farm fresh you can use the shell and all.
WHOLE FAT PLAIN YOGURT – every day – raw is better if you have that availability.
WHOLE FAT PLAIN KEFIR – every day – raw is better if you have that availability.
BANANAS – 1/4 of a banana – 2-3 times per week
DARK LEAFY GREENS – 1/4 cup every day – dandelion, chard, spinach, tot soi, parsley, etc, blend until mushy for better absorption.
SWEET POTATO – 2-3 times per week – 1-3 T – cooked and mushy is best for absorption.
LACTO-FERMENTED VEGGIES – 2-3 times per week – 1-2T – you can make your own or purchase from the grocery store (cabbage, beet, cabbage/apple, cauliflower, etc…) Blend until fairly mushy.
CAMELINA OIL – every day – 1-2tsp – Omega 3-6-9 with naturally occurring vitamin E.
CANNED OR RAW SARDINES – 2-3 times per week – 1-2 sardines.
DIATOMACIOUS EARTH – 1tsp-3T each day – great for parasite control, trace minerals.
SPIRULINA – 1/4 tsp – 2-3 times per week – because it’s awesome
CHAGA MUSHROOM – 1-3tsp – 2-3 times per week
RAW CHICKEN/DUCK/TURKEY NECK – each day
RAW GIZZARDS – 2-3 – each day
RAW BEEF LIVER – 1-4T – 2-3 times per week
and on and on and on …
And I would venture to guess that once you start seeing the changes in your dog, their overall health, that transitioning off of kibble to a more species appropriate diet won’t be so daunting, and you will find that it is not the ‘huge’ expense you once thought it was.
So small steps forward for better nutrition, but steps forward each and every day.
All the best, Nancy
psst – the photo of Story I chose specifically for this post because he is 13 years old, has never had a health issue in his life, is all raw fed, and has no arthritis. A naturally reared dog, and I am grateful every. single. day.