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Understanding Proper

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What to do, when the Food you are Feeding, just isn't Enough
By: Jane Bicks D.V.M.

Tiny is a Chihuahua that only eats chicken and rice. If its owner is lucky, she will swallow a few spoonfuls of cereal and milk. Her coat is very scarce, she tires easily, has no teeth at the age of 3 and her little legs don't seem to hold her up any more. Lulu is a cat that only eats tuna fish, made for humans not for cats. Her skin is full of oily patches of dandruff, her breath smells all the time, and she seems to get more easily annoyed these days. Jimbo is a Mastiff mix that eats off brand supermarket food. He is always hungry, sheds like crazy all year long, and his eyes are always running. All three animals have a common problem that can play havoc on their health and become very serious-they aren't getting proper nutrition.

Proper nutrition in a dog or cat means a balanced diet of food formulated specifically for either dog or cat. It is impossible to supply adequate nutrients to a dog or cat simply by feeding him your same meals. It is sheer foolishness to think that a mostly meat diet (chicken, beef, etc.) would supply your pet with enough back up nutrients for good health. A canine or feline diet is considered balanced when the pet food bag, can or box reads something like "This product is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog or cat food nutrient profiles" OR your home- made diet has been balanced by an animal nutritionist to meet at least the AFFCO standards. Combining a vegetable with a carbohydrate & some type of protein just doesn't give your dog or cat everything it needs.

Please note that I am not saying all dog or cat foods that claim to be balanced and 100% nutritional really are delivering everything your pet needs. In order to get the 100% nutrition promised (which is minimal nutrition rather than optimum), your animal must eat the recommended amount as per feeding directions. You can cut down by 15-20% at the most. Since every food contains different nutrients and calories, every food will have diverse feeding directions. If it seems like an awful lot of food, it probably means that the food's quality is just not that good and that it really takes that amount of food to deliver what the body needs. Recommended feeding amounts are never made higher than they need to be just to sell more food!

Of course, there are differences in foods and food companies. Generally speaking major brand supermarket food companies have a philosophy of health that makes sure the dog or cat gets the nutrients it needs to keep every thing functioning well from a well-balanced, scientifically studied food. Their goal is to make dog or cat food that will keep an animal healthy but keep feeding costs down at the same time. That generally precludes expensive ingredients such as chicken fat, lard, and meat proteins.

The problem with low-quality foods is that they simply don't have the additional nutrients to develop a long silky coat, muscles that firm easily from exercise, a healthy skin, and mentally alert attitude. Breeders, veterinarians, and other animal experts will generally feed a food sold in pet shops, kennels, grooming facilities or other alternative markets because these ALTERNATIVE foods are catering to a more selective group of pet owners. These pet food manufacturers know that in order to achieve "more than average results", better ingredients must be added.

Whether you choose to feed supermarket, alternative, or home made food, any one of those diets must be 100% nutritional. Unfortunately that 100% nutrition, no matter what type it is, doesn't deliver everything your dog or cat may need. Think about it, besides breed variation, every animal is unique and must have diverse nutritional needs. While one dog may require more zinc (common in Huskies) another may need more chromium, and EVERY animal requires antioxidants that simply are not available in dog and cat foods yet-at least not in doses that would protect the animals. Thus, every pet requires some type of supplementation, but is has to be done properly.

The following is a short list of common problems in dogs and cats. I've listed my nutritional and healthy suggestions to remedy these problems:

A picky eater whose owner started spiking meals with a different tasting human food every day. At this point, NOTHING tastes good enough and rarely does the dog or cat eat more than a little commercially prepared food. The rest is human, non-balanced food.

This type of animal requires a multi vitamin/mineral great tasting treat (e.g., my DR. JANE BREWERS YEAST & GARLIC with Zinc and antioxidants, Pet Tabs).
Add the human food to an alternative major brand puppy food. It will supply more nutrition per spoon that does adult food. 

An animal that doesn't have the same energy it once did. After reaching middle age he or she just seems to have lost the zest for life, yet the veterinarian yearly checkups tell the owners everything is fine.

Make sure you are feeding a major brand alternative food at the recommended amounts, and/or Add a supplement with Fatty acids, protein, and vitamin/minerals. If in treat form, you don't have to worry if it will upset the dog or cat food balance. If feeding an alternative food than the supplement must be a "whole food" such as bee pollen, spirulina, or wheat grass. A whole food will not upset the balance of a better food. If feeding supermarket food then a synthetic supplement can be added directly to the food, and

Add a vegetable enzyme to the food such as Florazyme or DR. JANE BEEZYME (bee pollen & vegetable enzyme) or Prozyme, and/or

B vitamins must be included in the supplement or Brewers yeast can be added directly to the food or bought in treat form. 

The skin is dry and flaking, while the coat is dull and brittle.

Feed an alternative quality food, and/or

Add a fatty acid supplement directly to the food or in a treat form, and/or

Add a supplement with protein, B vitamins, and Vitamin E for skin & Coat. That supplement must be in a treat form or added as a "whole food " to the dog or cat food. 

Hard stools, and/or constipation.

Add canned pumpkin to the food. If a cat start with 1/8 teaspoon mixing really well. Small dogs start with 1/4 teaspoon. Increase the amount of pumpkin until stools become looser.

Lots of fresh water

Lots of exercise, increasing SLOWLY and never exceeding your pet's capabilities.

Add a digestive enzyme to the food.

Add B vitamins (synthetic mix or brewers yeast) to the food or as a treat.

Thus, as you can see from this sample of problems, supplementation can really play a part in a pet's health. A few word of advice: if in doubt ask. Never add more than one supplement at a time to any food (unless you know they don't compete), and always wait at least 1-2 weeks before introducing another new supplement or food to your pet. If there is a reaction to something new and you've added it all at the same time, how will you or your veterinarian know what caused it?

Here's a picture of Panda who acts like this every morning
when her human companion brings out the
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