Transitioning Your Dog to a Healthy Diet

Posted by – August 18, 2015
Categories: Excerpt Health & Healing

Excerpt from Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs, RevisedRaw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs by Lew Olson


No Quibble with Kibble

If you are one of the many people who are still on the fence about changing your dog’s diet, you are not alone. Many people are skeptical about making a complete switch to a raw or home-cooked diet. Don’t worry. Changing your dog’s diet does not have to be an all or nothing affair.

This chapter helps alleviate some of the anxieties, as we offer an easy way to improve your dog’s nutrition by simply adding in some fresh foods with the commercial diet.

Making Up for Lost Nutrients

Commercial foods are made up of processed, sterilized, and denatured foods, which simply do not offer the optimum nutrition needed for good health. The commercial diets may offer all the nutrients suggested by the pet food industry; however, they are still no substitute for whole, fresh foods. Additionally, these processed foods cannot supply the needed nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and C, and essential amino acids, because they are destroyed during the high-temperature cooking and processing. Regardless of what the product label says and how healthy and happy the dog looks on the package, commercially processed foods will not give your dog the optimal nutrition that fresh foods contain.

Fresh foods provide a variety of nutrients and flavors processed foods cannot offer. Adding fresh foods to the commercial food you feed allows you to offer better nutrition to your dog. Knowing you can increase the nutritional value of your dog’s commercial food by simply adding fresh food is very satisfying, especially when you see how happy it makes your dog.

The palatability of fresh foods also comes in handy if your dog has a loss of appetite. Whether it is from illness, travel, or stress, fresh foods can stimulate their appetite and provide the nutrition that may have been missing from their diet.

Ingredients for Mixing It Up

Commercially processed dog foods are made with an overabundance of carbohydrates. Therefore, do not add in any additional carbohydrates. If you want to add fresh foods to your dog’s commercial diet, you need to add fresh animal proteins and fat. Figure 13.1 below lists the recommended foods to add to commercial diets.

Recommended Foods to Add to Commercial Dog Food

Organ meats, such as kidney and liver, can be added in small amounts twice a week.
The sample cooked and raw diets discussed in chapters nine and ten can be used alongside commercial food, with the omission of any carbohydrates. You just need to reduce the amount of commercial food by the amount of fresh foods you want to add. Be careful not to overfeed your dog as this can lead to diarrhea, digestive upset, and obesity.

Sample Mixed Diets

To help you get started, we have added some sample diets. While these recipes offer an equal ratio of kibble to fresh food, you can vary the recipes by adding more kibble and less fresh foods or less kibble and more fresh food to equal either a three-to-one ratio of kibble to fresh food or a one-to-three ratio of kibble to fresh food. In addition, it is helpful to add digestive enzymes and probiotics to the meals to help ease digestion during the transition. While many dogs may not need these, it is good to offer them at the beginning and use them until your dog has adjusted well to the change. Feel free to mix up these recipes based on what your dog likes, which foods are available, and what you are comfortable feeding. You can use any combination of the foods listed in Figure 13.1 above.

Sample Kibble and Fresh-Food Diet

The recipes below include quantities for a fifty-pound dog.

Morning Meal

  • 6 oz (¾ cup) premium kibble
  • 4 oz (¼ cup) muscle meat (beef, beef heart, chicken, turkey, or lamb)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1,000-milligram capsules EPA fish oil
  • 1 tsp Berte’s Daily Blend*
  • 1 Berte’s Zymes tablet*
  • ½ tsp Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder*

Evening Meal

  • 6 oz (¾ cup) premium kibble
  • 4 oz (¼ cup) canned water-packed mackerel, salmon, or sardines, or beef kidney, chicken hearts, ground pork or tripe; use a variety of these items.
  • 2 tbsps cottage cheese
  • Small amount of liver every other day
  • 2 1,000-milligram capsules EPA fish oil
  • 1 tsp Berte’s Daily Blend*
  • 1 Berte’s Zymes tablet*
  • ½ tsp Berte’s Ultra Probiotic Powder*

*or you can add Immune Blend at half the dose appropriate for your size dog as an all-in-one alternative to having to add in Berte’s Daily Blend, Berte’s Zymes and Berte’s Ultra Probiotics.

Sample Raw Diet

To help you get started, the following recipes give you four days of meals that offer great variety, a blend of nutrients, and different textures. These sample recipes create a balanced diet for a fifty-pound dog.

Morning Meal:

  • 8 oz (¾ cup) green tripe (unbleached)
  • 4 oz (½ cup) beef kidney

Evening Meal:

  • 12 oz (1 to 1½ cup) chicken wings


Are You Ready?

While preparing a raw diet for your dog may take some getting used to, you will find that the effort you make is well worth it when you begin to see how happy and energetic your dog becomes after eating the raw diet for a few weeks.

Feeding a raw diet to your dog not only offers the best bioavailable protein and nutrients, it also gives you complete control over the quality of the ingredients used in your dog’s diet. This can be very satisfying, especially when you witness the health transformation in your dog. Many people end up wondering why it took them so long to get started.


Excerpted from Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs, Revised by Lew Olson. © 2015, North Atlantic Books.

Tags: Natural Pet Care Recipe Lew Olson

About the Author

Marina is the Marketing & Digital Programs Coordinator at North Atlantic Books. After living in New Orleans and Amsterdam, and exploring a couple of continents, she returned to the San Francisco Bay Area to work at NAB. She's passionate about astrology, nonfiction books, and sustainable living, as well as all things metaphysical.