One of my interests is monitoring the dog food business in Europe because it brings several things to light. Italy is an interesting example because they're seeing a "slowly declining popularity of dog food that is prepared at home." (Euromonitor.com) which is arguably the same as here. My "Kibble Plus" consultations continue to grow for this reason and there's far more to them than "just add some fresh food", but there's a lesson here that we can put to really good use.
Some dog owners say that while the dog seemed to have more energy and looked better when they first switched from kibble to a home-made raw, or cooked diet things didn't stay that way, and new problems popped up. Internet chat groups were quick to blame the dog owner for not doing things right, not providing enough variety, etc. Basically, the message was that the diet would have been fine, but the owner messed it up. I'm here to tell you that it's probably not true. Unless you're using the National Research numbers for dogs, or are feeding a whole prey diet (not a pretend whole prey, but an actual whole animal) feeding a variety of foods can create a honeymoon period that doesn't last. Here's why:
Say you have a dog with flaky skin. You feed a variety of foods that end up creating a diet that's high in fat, calcium, and provides a lot of copper. Both fat and copper can be helpful to the skin, and so you might very well see improvement. Minerals interact though, so this diet can make the absorption of zinc (a critically important mineral with roughly 300 roles in the body including promoting skin health) quite poor. You will see the result of lacking zinc over time. It doesn't happen overnight. When this same dog starts to show problems that can be attributed to a zinc deficiency, the diet may be changed, but the owner is blind to the cause of the problem, so it's simply a stroke of luck if the deficiency is truly addressed. It's because of a hit, or miss approach that many people become frustrated and start adding herbs-of-the-day, and so-called superfoods (oh, I'm all for feeding some kale, turmeric et al to a healthy dog that's eating a balanced diet, but if the diet itself is lesser-than, all the top dressings in the world aren't going to change it)
Some honeymoons last longer than others. It can take years for problems to show, and not everyone recognizes a problem that's related to nutrition. Why wait? Why not balance the diet from the beginning? There are some good books to help you, and mine are among them, but I hope that whatever you decide to read is based on solid facts rather than opinion. My own Zoey needed me to have the info, and your dogs do too.
Seminar: The Care Conference
Date: Oct. 14th and 15th, 2017
Location: Montreal Canada area
My Subject: Canine Nutrition http://careconf.org/
Several presenters; all of us in our own rooms with our own schedules. Attendees will be able to choose their area of interest (nutrition, grooming, reproduction, physics and forces on the performance dog, SNAP testing and thyroid OFFA on site) and join their chosen speakers for 1 session, 2 sessions, or full days...the choice will be yours. You can make your own schedule to take advantage of you time. This is a unique opportunity to have many recognized experts in their fields under one roof. I'm honored to be a part of the weekend. Join us!
Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. —Max Eastman