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  • Jody

Are you feeding your dog liver, heart, lung and other organs?

You may have noticed that I don't promote oily fish, liver, raw meaty bones, dried chicken/duck feet, heart, lung or other organs (treats or raw) as regular bowl boosters for commercial foods.

Why do I focus on lean meats/poultry, fruit, veggies and leafy greens as main daily bowl boosters?

Because kibble is highly fortified with vitamins and minerals and all manufacturers vary widely in their nutrient amounts. AAFCO has set minimums, but rarely maximums -and that is the concern. If your dog eats on the high end of recommended feeding guidelines then this is extra important.

Most commercial raw companies also use AAFCO guidelines and you then have even higher bioavailability and nutrient absorption, with the same lack of maximums in place. On top of that, remember that All Life Stage formulations must meet puppy/growth (higher) requirements!

Do I worry about water soluble vitamins that aren't stored - no. But fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D, A and minerals like copper - yes. It's untrue that you can't overdo nutrients if you feed whole food vs synthetics.

Do dogs on kibble or commercial raw need more calcium from raw meaty bones - nope. Not only does it throw off calcium:phosphorus ratios but mineral interactions come into play. For oral health choose proper recreational bones if your dog tolerates them. Remember how I've posted that high calcium can impair zinc availability? Well, zinc and copper also work as antagonists, meaning that when levels of one decrease the other increases and vice versa. Zinc should be provided in a proper ratio with copper and excess calcium impairs this. Given the recent attention to excess copper levels, we don't want to affect zinc absorption. What most kibble could benefit from is a protein boost! This is when lean muscle meats like chicken or turkey breast, lean ground beef and eggs can work well. Kibble and meat/bone diets are greatly lacking in antioxidants - this is where various veggies and berries come into play. Not only do you get the wonderful anti cancer benefits but prebiotic fiber has important benefits for your dog's gut. Oily fish is nutrient dense and most people over feed it as an addition vs a sporadic topper. Sardines are a wonderful food but people tend to be of the 'more is better' mindset when feeding it. It's also a source of a lot of extra calories. Nutrient dense foods will make up the base of homemade fresh diets but other foods make better toppers. So, be mindful of what your base food is providing and what it's lacking. Many people are feeding way too many nutrient dense organs as toppers and treats. Dogs love them - I get it! But it takes very little of these foods to meet nutrient requirements, thus they are best as part of a properly formulated fresh food diet. (BTW, I use NRC not AAFCO guidelines).

Remember that marketing comes into play, even with treats and toppers - ie.freeze dried or dehydrated lung, liver and heart. Enhance with some fresh foods like I've mentioned above that are easy for you to find - include probiotic rich foods like fermented veggies, yogurt or kefir and you will truly be boosting the bowl.

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