Internationally known homeopathic veterinarian, Dr. Christina Chambreau, is a lecturer and author of the Healthy Animal’s Journal. She is also the editor of the Integrative Veterinary Care Journal. Ask her a question by leaving a comment on the Animal Wellness Magazine Facebook page. She’ll choose two questions to answer every week!
Q. What supplements can I give a dog that won’t eat dog food?
A. You have a smart dog. Dog food is not the best diet for our animals, just as processed foods are probably not the best for people to eat. Some dogs actually can be fairly healthy on processed foods and they should definitely get supplements since the food is not fresh. Read the many articles in Animal Wellness by Dr. Karen Becker, or get her book, Real Food for Dogs and Cats.
The main supplement needed for dogs eating real food is Calcium. Dogs and cats have ripping and tearing teeth, bone crunching teeth, no digestive juices in the mouth, jaws that do not chew, a stomach full of acid where the food sits for 4-12 hours and a very short transit time in the intestines. Dogs and cats do not pull out a knife to de-bone their prey and do not pull out matches to light a fire to cook their meat and vegetables. Since they are eating bones, they get a balance of calcium and phosphorus. Grains are not good for most animals, but if there are none of the early warning signs and no illnesses, you can feed some grains, preferably the higher protein ones like amaranth and quinoa.
Therefore the best diet for dogs and cats is raw meat including raw bones, pureed raw and cooked vegetables. Calcium supplement (eggshells, bonemeal or Sea Calcium for dogs) is critical if no bones are eaten.
Recently, four experts did an afternoon seminar in Hunt Valley Maryland discussing the benefits of feeding a fresh food diet. The video can be purchased soon (www.christinachambreau.com – it will be on the home page).
Many dogs and cats need probiotics, especially if fed processed, dead foods or if there are any digestive disorders when eating fresh food. My current favorite is Mitomax. I have had many animals’ minor health problems clear up while using this. Unlike other probiotics, it is very stable and is ok at the low stomach pH. Green Mush is a good all purpose supplement that provides most of the vitamins and minerals that could be missing if you are feeding a cooked meat diet. Some dogs eating a raw meat diet could be helped as well. Many companies have excellent multipurpose vitamin/mineral supplements.
For your dog, try to feed a balanced “people” diet of meat and vegetables. Then the best for supplements is to first be sure you are providing the calcium, then rotate different brands until you find the one that makes your dog’s coat glow and show none of the early warning signs.
Every animal needs and wants a different combination of foods and supplements at different times in their lives depending on different stressors and health challenges, just as we do. With any food, observe each of your animals for the effect that food has on them and change if decreased energy or poor coat or other Early Warning Signs.