Nutritional Philosophies

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

There are many different nutritional philosophies – in human nutrition there are ketogenic diets, paleo, pescatarian, Mediterranean, vegan, vegetarian … the list goes on. So, it’s no surprise that there are different philosophies when it comes to feeding our dogs.


In dog feeding circles, there are various feeding percentage ratios from 80/10/10, 80/10/5/5 to 50/40/5/5 and others, then there’s raw vs cooked, 100% balanced meals daily, balance over time – and is balance obtained by a ratio or by AAFCO or NRC?


Whether you look at feeding philosophies for yourself or your dog, it can be so overwhelming that we can have a tendency to give up and eat or feed whatever we want because nobody can agree on anything. Please don’t give up -diet is one thing we can actually control and it’s been shown to be one of the biggest contributors to health and longevity in our dogs.


My own philosophy in feeding my dogs has evolved over the past 20 years. I have fed based on various ratios, generic recipes, commercial raw, homemade cooked and raw but it wasn’t until I started using the National Research Council guidelines in my dog’s diets where I was really able to tailor their diets for their uniqueness. Dalmatians need low purine foods – this means that organ meats and oily fish are out – among others. If I feed by ratios, then I’ve lost a whole segment of the equation – whether it’s 5% or 10% or what have you.  Now what?


It’s not just Dalmatians that have genetic uniqueness, all breeds- including mixed breeds -have some sort of genetic predisposition. Within the breeds are individuals who have even more defined needs.


Personalized and targeted nutrition that addresses the whole dog is at the core of Our nutritional philosophy. We believe there is no one diet that works for all dogs.


Personalized means we consider the individual dog and can proactively focus on areas relevant to them such as eye health, skin barrier protection, or heart and skeletal support. Targeted means we have actual nutrient targets (ie calcium, zinc) not estimated feeding ratios. Having worked professionally with Monica, for over a year, I have witnessed some remarkable changes in dogs with this approach– even when dogs were being fed varied, fresh food diets.


Ultimately, the way you feed your dog is your choice – we can’t force you to accept our philosophy.


As you explore the various feeding methods and go through all the (overwhelming) information please remember that initially almost any change from processed food to fresh food may show up with positive external results – shiny coat, firm stools, and perhaps better energy. Fresh foods provide powerful nutrition and that means even an unbalanced diet is going to look great- at first.


The following questions are important to consider when making feeding choices:


Do you have peace of mind that the chosen feeding philosophy will proactively support your dog’s health long term – from puppy to adulthood and their senior years?


Do you know what your dog’s predispositions are and does the feeding philosophy effectively address them?


If your dog’s health status changes, will the feeding philosophy apply?


If your dog has food intolerances or certain food preferences that translates to some type of restricted feeding, does the feeding method address the potential nutrient imbalances?


Jody Zesko