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Canine Nutrition - Dog FoodCanine Nutrition - Dog Food


This article by breeder / Judge Sharon Newcomb is guaranteed to solve appetite, diarrhea, and gas problems!  It isn't just about raw food or home-cooked vs commercial dog food, it is the type of kibble and how you combine the food.  Feeding a dog is about understanding a dog's digestive system, not dog food marketing.




Sharon Newcomb - Aug. 2005


I have been interested in canine health for over twenty years. Thirty years ago when I was breeding German Shepherds, I began to wonder why someone always had diarrhea. It occurred to me that diet might have something to do with it but my dog food salesman assured me that German Shepherds just had a “bad” digestive system and got diarrhea easily. I wish I had known then, what I know now.


I currently feed large (Anatolians) and small (Chihuahuas) dogs at my house.  I use a baked biscuit, “Flint River Ranch”. (Remember the Kennel Biscuit that the old breeders and handlers used?)  When dog food is made into pellets it is heated to a higher heat so that it will go thru the extruder to make the shape. Baking does less damage to the nutrition in the ingredients. The more you heat and cook food, the more you lose the “life” in it. Feeding “closer to the chain of life” gives your dogs’ better nutrition.


I feed some fresh frozen “raw”. I use Nature’s Variety Prairie and it comes in Beef, Venison, Turkey-chicken, Lamb, etc.  I also feed some fresh, “raw” chicken. (I am such a maniac that I get these at the local heath food store so they do not contain antibiotics and steroids.) Choose necks, backs, wings, etc, size appropriate for your breed.  NEVER give cooked chicken bones. The cooking makes the bones brittle and they will splinter. I take the skin off the necks the first few times until the dog is accustomed to the food and then I leave it on, as the fat is good for them.


Alternate “kinds” and “types” of foods at different meal times. Don’t’ mix kibble with raw. It takes different kinds of enzymes to digest different types of food. One is acid and one is alkaline and it slows down digestion to mix the two.


Feeding in this manner gives you exquisite condition and health. Harder muscle, more coat, larger litters (whelped naturally) and more cheerful, outgoing temperament and stools that resemble coyote scat.


I am amazed at how often people tell me that their dogs “won’t eat” and “don’t like” food. They have to “trick” them into eating. (Often with canned food.) The refrain goes something like this: I buy the BEST, most EXPENSIVE dog food and then I have to put “canned” on top or he won’t go near it. I have tried every thing he is just a ‘Poor Doer’. Or (the other side of poor nutrition) he is “hungry” all the time and never seems satisfied.


Many of the most popular brands of dog foods have rendered dogs and cats in them. (Along with the euthanization serum and the flea collars on the dead animals.) I am told that the vets now use a much larger dose to euthanize because animals have built up such a tolerance from ingesting the drug that is in their food by way of the rendered dead animals. You might read, “Food Pets Die For” by Ann N. Martin. (Amazon .com)


Many of the best advertised, popular brands are made palatable by using sugar and fats to get the animal to eat it. Think, “McDonalds.” Will your kid eat it, you bet! Is it nutritious? Unh-unh! With poor diet (and vaccines, but that is another story) comes allergies, licking and chewing of the feet and belly, scratching, ear infections, runny eyes, too fat, too thin, no appetite, voracious appetite, and (near and dear to every show person’s heart) temperament problems. All this is diet related??? You bet.

Put down canned dog food and in a separate bowl, fresh steamed green beans with a touch of butter and see which your dog prefers!

About The Author - Sharon Newcomb, forty-three years in dogs, breeder, owner handler, professional handler, trainer (obedience and one field trial lab), AKC judge whose breeds span Toys, Herding, Working, and Hounds.  Mrs. Newcomb has bred or owned: Weimaraner, Min. Poodle, Shetland Sheepdog, Pom, Peke, German Shepherd, Papillon, Anatolian Shepherd, Pointer, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Chihuahuas.



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