The Everyday Trainer Podcast

Unlocking the Secrets of Holistic Dog Nutrition: Fresh Foods, and Traditional Chinese Medicine for Optimal Canine Health | ft. Autumn S.

June 16, 2023 Meghan Dougherty Season 2 Episode 18
The Everyday Trainer Podcast
Unlocking the Secrets of Holistic Dog Nutrition: Fresh Foods, and Traditional Chinese Medicine for Optimal Canine Health | ft. Autumn S.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you providing your furry friend with the best nutrition possible? Autumn from A Balanced Canine joins us to uncover the world of dog nutrition and how adding fresh foods like meat, fruits, and vegetables to their diets is key to optimal health. We delve into the lower standards for dog food compared to human food and discuss the carnivorous omnivore nature of our four-legged companions.

In this enlightening conversation, we explore traditional Chinese medicine's application to dog nutrition, focusing on the concepts of Yin and Yang to determine the properties of food for a dog's diet. Discover the common issues that can arise from feeding dogs a diet too high in carbohydrates, such as yeast infections, allergies, and skin conditions. We also address the need for holistic vets to be more accepting of pet owners who may not be able to feed their dogs fresh food.

Don't miss our comparison of homemade dog food options, pre-made and freeze-dried dog food brands to help you make the best decision for your pup's health. Autumn shares her top kibble recommendations based on her extensive research and emphasizes the importance of rotating through probiotics. We also discuss the benefits of working with a professional for canine nutrition counseling and the vital role of education in supporting your dog's well-being through the right dietary choices. Tune in to learn all about our holistic approach to dog nutrition and how to ensure your dog thrives.

To work with Autumn, you can visit her instagram HERE.

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome back to the Everyday Trainer podcast. My name is Meg and I am a dog trainer. On today's episode, i'm joined by Autumn from a balanced canine. She's a dog trainer and dog nutritionist out of Richmond, virginia, so this is our nutrition episode. We're going to talk all about just the general advice that she gives to most of her owners, what she sees in the industry and so much more. So you know the drill grab yourself a tasty drink and we'll meet you back here. Hello, hi, welcome. Thank you for having me. Thanks for being here. So you are visiting Florida. This is an in-person podcast, which is always my favorite. You're visiting Florida. You're in Naples now, just on vacation, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we're just visiting family.

Speaker 1:

Cool And you came out to Orlando for the day to come to the doghouse.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, my partner really actually wanted to go see Universal too and I was like well, we're up there, you feel like bringing me to see the Everyday Trainer?

Speaker 1:

Nice, nice, is that where he's at right?

Speaker 2:

now. No, we're going to go do that later. Maybe It's just exploring, i guess.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, he's just wandering around Orlando. I love that. Well, i am super excited to have you here. I've been following you on Instagram for a while. I got really into the dog nutrition stuff for a bit. I kind of got into it because Zoe, my oldest dog, had some tumors and I took her to a holistic vet and we kind of talked about the benefits of fresh food and raw as opposed to kibble. So I would love to kind of jump into that with you, because you are a dog nutritionist so you do this all day. Every day you coach people on what their dogs should be eating. So go ahead and walk us through just like some general advice that you give to most owners, whether they're feeding kibble or looking to get into like fresh and raw food for their dogs.

Speaker 2:

So nutrition it's very specific to each dog. They all have different needs, just kind of like. We do Generalize, though. Add as much fresh food to their food as you possibly can, because the majority of the time we are feeding them kibble day in and day out, like every day of their lives. Yeah, it's like the equivalent of us, like eating cereal for every single meal forever, except that it's actually regulated much less than our cereal is. So the standards for dog food are just not that great. It's even more Sorry, let me back up the stuff there. So dry kibble is considered to be even more highly processed than our snack foods, and we know that we're not supposed to be eating. You know, rice Krispie treats all day. Yeah, and while the FDA does kind of like is responsible for regulating dog food, they're not doing it in the same capacity that they're regulating ours. The standards are not nearly as strict And there's a lot of really disgusting stuff that's allowed to make it into pet food And that's just ideally not what they should be eating for every single meal for the rest of their lives. So my general nutrition advice there is feed the best that you can within your budget. If you have, you know, larger dogs or a few dogs in the household, we're all can get really expensive, or fresh feeding even can get really expensive, and it's just not, it's not feasible for everyone. So adding as much fresh food to the diet as you can is going to help. There have actually done studies that even just replacing 10% of your dog's processed food with whole fresh foods can really benefit their health.

Speaker 1:

So Okay, and when you say fresh foods, what are we talking?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so meat, of course, because you have. While dogs are omnivores, they're carnivorous omnivores, so the majority of their diet should be made up of meat. We can see this based on the way that their digestive system works and how it processes things and the certain bacterias that they have that are living in their gut, so the microbiome, as well as the teeth too, so that their teeth were made for ripping and tearing meat from bones. So any fresh food that you can add, i like to add raw. If you have a dog that has, like, a sensitive stomach or IBS conditions, they typically don't do as well with raw You can lightly cook it for them. And then also vegetables too. So veggies, you're going to want to puree them or lightly cook them. You can give them those. Obviously, you don't want to give them any onions grapes, no, chocolate, not that that's something you might be feeding them anyway. But, yeah, you can just add stuff from your fridge to their bowl. Now, things like fruits or vegetables. You're going to want it to be a smaller amount, right? So like blueberries, for example, some people use them as training treats Really great for dogs, in the right quantity. So, like you're only going to want to feed, maybe like one to five, depending on the size of your dog or if they're going to have the runs, because it's a little bit too much fiber of going in there.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and why do we need to puree or like lightly cook veggies?

Speaker 2:

So vegetables have a their cellular makeup is a little bit difficult for dogs to process or break down. So the purée or lightly steaming them makes that cell membrane burst and it's a little bit easier for them to digest them.

Speaker 1:

Okay, that makes sense. Yeah, when I was doing meal for or meal when I was doing raw for all of my dogs, that was something that I would do is like puree a veggie blend, and then I would just Minka cannot sit still Every time we try to record a podcast.

Speaker 2:

Is that her Like? I'm not used to the headset, So it sounds like it's in another room to me.

Speaker 1:

She's so obnoxious right now She literally she's in the crate in the room with us and just can't, will not stop moving. Marcella is putting her in the other room, okay, anyways. Um, yeah, so when I was feeding my dogs raw, i would like puree, you know, veggies, and then as far as like raw meat goes, is there anything that you have like a go to, um, that you kind of recommend people, or do you say you know, like start with ground beef, or you know?

Speaker 2:

So, um, I would, most meat is fine. Um, there are a couple of ways that you can tell me be how your dog will react to one. So, um, in my nutrition counseling we use, um, traditional Chinese medicine, like energy properties for food, to kind of look at different diets for dogs and stuff. So an example of this would be like, let's say that you have a dog that's super itchy, or they look at their paws a lot or you find them kind of laying on maybe like the cold tile quite a bit. Um, high energy. They, um, they have an overabundance of Yang, So they're going to do better on cooling protein. So that might be like turkey or duck or things like that. And maybe when they eat chicken, um, that is a food the energy property of chicken is Yang also. So it's like an overabundance of that And sometimes it can exacerbate those issues. Really, um, I would just tell you to try different meats for your dog and see what they react best to. But that's just a little tip.

Speaker 1:

Okay, well, let's go into this because I love this. My holistic vet also does like um Chinese medicine, so she was kind of like lightly covering the topic and I have gotten into it for like my own nutrition. Okay, um, you know, i correct me if I'm wrong, but is this kind of along the lines of like Ayurvedic? Yes, i don't like the cooling and the warming.

Speaker 2:

I can't speak on that too much because I don't know too much about the Ayurvedic. I've always wanted to look into it more, but I don't know anything about it.

Speaker 1:

So explain like uh, you know Yang Yang Okay, yeah, okay, Explain that.

Speaker 2:

Um, so it's just like kind of like the properties. So everybody has like energy, on food energetics And I should also preface this by saying that, um, I have just gotten into TCM this past year, So I'm by no means an expert on it at all, But, um, I can give you some basics. Okay, Yes, please. So Yin is cool properties and um that people that have more Yin energy are typically colder more often. So, um, if you find that you're cold all the time, you're wearing a lot of sweaters, um things like that, And then also um damp. So a lot of dogs that suffer from like IBS and stuff like that actually have too much Yin. Now there's like lots of um, that's also an inflammatory condition, So okay, So I sometimes have too much Yang. There's like a lot of like um caveats, do it Okay? Um, so we just let's say that a dog has too much Yang and they're very itchy, maybe they have dry, flaky skin or something like that. We're going to try to balance them out by feeding them more Yin or cooling food, so things like um duck and turkey and fish and um cucumbers, blueberries, just cooling vegetables and stuff like that to try to subside some of those symptoms. And if you have a dog that has like allergies or skin conditions and can actually be really helpful.

Speaker 1:

Okay, um, what's like the most prominent thing that you see with dogs? I personally see a lot of like yeasty dogs, like getting hot spots, yeast between their toes, that kind of stuff.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, i'm glad you brought that up. The BES conditions now are probably the most that I see in dogs and the yeast really comes down to what we're feeding them to. Um, i mean, the average dog is eating like kibble and average bag of doing a lot of averages here the average bag of dry kibble has up to 50% carbohydrates in it. Um, and that's what they're getting in every single meal, and this is this is for animals and this is controversial here But, um, for animals that are supposed to have under 10% of carbohydrates in their diet and they're getting 50% or more per meal, um, they're turning that directly into sugar, sugar feeds, yeast and they've got all kinds of skin conditions and things.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and it's like the same for me. I found like I got into this because I had to change my diet for literally the exact same reasons. Like um, yeah, i see that all the time with owners And one thing that I always do, i mean, i don't know, i'll talk shit for a second like science diet. I hate science diet. I hate that like the vets push science diet because you literally read the ingredients and like the first ingredient is what? like chicken byproduct, and then it's like corn gluten, corn meal and like the first five ingredients is just like corn.

Speaker 2:

You're lucky if one of those bags the first ingredient is chicken byproduct Right. Some of them are like rice meal and stuff on the right, right.

Speaker 1:

And so you know, i get these owners who are like, well, i'm not changing my dog's food, because I get, i try to get everybody to change the food. That's one of the first questions I ask is what's your dog eating? because you and I know that when you eat poorly mentally, you're going to feel right just as bad. You know. So these dogs that are coming to me on all of this anti anxiety medications and all of this stuff and they're eating like garbage food, and I'm like, well, we put garbage in, we're going to get garbage out, you know. So I, you know, really try to educate owners of like I understand the convenience of kibble, like I'm feeding my dog's kibble right now just because it wasn't so much the money of the raw for me. It was the time, yeah, it was a whole weekend every week. you know to like prep my dog's food and I was like I literally cannot do this anymore. I don't have the time. So, like I understand the convenience of kibble, but we can still get a higher quality kibble where it's not predominantly, you know, carbohydrates.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely. I'm glad you brought that up too, because I love the holistic vet community, like that's all that I'll use. I mean, i go to holistic doctors, like love them. But one thing that I do think that they could stand to be a little bit more accepting on or helpful on is for people that like don't have the time or resources or any of that, right feed fresh. They're very like anti kibble, which I understand why, but that's just not. Not everybody's going to feed raw or fresh And there are some better options out there that they could like help educate people on, but instead they're just like no, you got to throw out the kibble. You need to switch to fresh or raw. If you're not, your dog's going to die, and I think we need to just educate people on better options.

Speaker 1:

You're at, meet people where they're at you know like I always encourage my owners, they'll be like, oh my gosh, i feed my dog people food And I'm like, good, do more of that.

Speaker 2:

You know like I'm not.

Speaker 1:

I'm not the person who's going to be like your dog shouldn't eat. Like you know when you're cooking that you shouldn't eat any you know meat or anything like that, and I'm like, no, like, please, like give that to your dog. Like anytime you can get whole foods over processed foods again, it's the same for us Like that's going to be beneficial. And also, i think, in just like the dog community, it's very like all or nothing right, like people are going to guilt you into if you're not like training your dog 24 seven, if you're not like feeding your dog fresh food 24 seven. But as far as like real life goes, like the owners that you're working with, like they're so far from doing that, from like you know I went to a nutritionist and paid for meal plans and like got everything and like measured everything to a dime. Like the majority of owners are so far away from that. So if we meet them where they're at and say, hey, you know, add a few pieces of meat to your dog's diet and a few blueberries and a few, you know, like blended broccoli or whatever it is like that's already going to be so much more beneficial.

Speaker 2:

Yeah it's all helpful. Yep, there's a couple of really popular vets like on social media that I love like following And but there I've seen them on lives like get asked questions by people that can't feed fresh food, like entirely fresh food, before like Oh well, it's too expensive. I've got a lot of dogs. You know what cable would you recommend? They're just like, oh, i wouldn't if you budget correctly, like, yeah, my God, that's a horrible thing to tell somebody. Yeah, just educate them on how they can make the cable better or what options they could pick instead, because there are some good options out there. They are few and far between what they exist And you can make any cable better by adding fresh food into it. So I just kind of like I hate that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, okay, so go ahead and give us like a spectrum of like. What's the number one? either like food, like home cooked or home prepped raw versus like a kibble, you know. Like give us the spectrum of like. Let's say somebody wants to go all in. What's the ideal diet that you would recommend for a dog?

Speaker 2:

So, like I said again, it's going to be different for every dog, especially if they have certain conditions, but I really stand by raw. So, when I say that it is not going to fix all of your dog's issues. So, for example, maybe your dog has allergies and you put them on wrong when you first put them on. They're doing so much better because you've just taken them off of a really highly processed food and put them on something great, and so their code's going to look a little bit better for a while. They're going to get used to it. It's going to even out. You're going to start noticing, maybe, allergies again. Or if your dog has I keep circling back to this but like IBD conditions, they generally cannot process raw And they're going to want to do like a gently cooked formula instead, because their body is just not able to spend all that time breaking things down. And it's the same way with kibble. They usually don't do very good on kibble either because it's hard to digest. So for them we usually like puree foods. It's in the smallest like particle form possible and it's like lightly cooked but raw. I go by trying to feed dogs as naturally as they would have eaten. Now there has been some evolution here. We've been, they've been with us for thousands of years and we've been tossing them scraps, and they can handle a little bit more carbohydrates than they could, you know, thousands of years ago, but again, it's just a little bit and just a little bit more, not the amount that we're feeding them. So I do really like raw And if they have any like health conditions that make them unable to eat raw or they don't do as well on that, or maybe somebody in the house has, you know, we can compromised immune system or something that we would go with gently cooked from there, after that freeze dried And then, following freeze dried, i guess we would go to cable. Okay, and I actually put wet food below cable, so interesting.

Speaker 1:

Okay Is are there any like pre made options that you recommend to people? So let's say they don't want to do a home cooked by themselves or raw by themselves? What's like you know, pay somebody for the convenience of it being put together. Are there any like brands that you like?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely Glad you brought that up too, so I'm going to redo that real quick. Homemade are all top. If you have a recipe that you're following from a nutritionist or something, because they have different nutrition requirements than us, if you're not feeding them correctly, they can develop deficiencies. That's generally why most conventional veterinary offices are against it And they're taught to push against.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Oh yeah. I've been shamed. I've been shamed at the vet for giving my dogs raw. They were like fighting with me. I was like damn Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And then under that, like pre made options. And the reason that I would recommend homemade first is you know exactly where everything is coming from. You can rotate through different ingredients and stuff. Um, variety is the spice of life. I love that. But, um, yeah, pre made options. There's some great ones out there right now. I think my favorite is Viva Raw It's actually the company is owned by a young couple that and they just like took off in the past like years. I've been following them, yeah, but they're still like independently owned and they're so responsive, like, if you reach out to them, like on Instagram. it is what was like a couple months ago. I know they just started hiring some people, but, um, they the owners are answering you back and they will answer any question that you have, like about their food, where they're sourcing stuff from. They take you on, like they do like reels on their Instagram of like video tours of where they're sourcing the ingredients from and everything just like very open. I like them a lot. Okay, it's also the only one that I've ever seen. They offer, um, ground formulas, because some dogs are weird about textures little dogs especially And then like chunked formulas and it's the only brand that I've ever seen where I've like pulled an entire kidney out of one of their like chunked formulas. You can see all of the ingredients that are in it. So I really like that one, yeah. And then I also like Steve's Real Food. I'm really like that one a lot. Viva, you have to order online I'll just backtrack there. And then Steve's Real Food you can usually find in like independently owned pet stores And they have frozen raw or freeze dried, okay. And they're also still independently owned And they have all kinds of partnerships to make sure that they're doing everything as greenly as possible and like offsetting emissions Yeah. And they're also very like, open about all the ingredients they use and everything. And they never use, you know, antibiotic to meet, no meat with hormones, stuff like that. So I love them at. Their food, though, i will say, is fortified and goats milk and raw goats milk is really good for supporting the microbiome and dogs that are more yen, so more cool in nature. If you have a dog that has allergies or is itchy or kind of runs a little bit more hot, you're probably gonna want to stay away from that one. Any type of like fermented products usually make that worse. Okay, and then Darwin's is probably number three for me right now And there's a vet, dr Barbara Royal. She's like on the board for Darwin's now, i think, and she's a holistic veterinarian. If you've ever seen the movie pet fooled about dog, she was in that. She runs the College of Integrative Veterinary therapies, which is what I went through to. So really like their formulas also.

Speaker 1:

Nice, yeah, darwin's is one of the brands that I recommend.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, i've also like started really paying attention to Viva Raw for the same reason of the chunked. Yeah, because every, every like raw thing that I've looked into is ground and there is like a benefit for the dog to like have whole, you know like bones and organs and things like that. Yeah, so I really liked that And I love how transparent they are about like the whole process. You know like they're like Look, we got new packaging, we got a facility. It's like that's so cool, like I love watching. you know, like these smaller companies like yeah, come up just because they run really good businesses, you know?

Speaker 2:

yeah, i am. It's like so difficult to so, before I ever recommend like a dog food brand to somebody, i always I've worked in the dog food industry to. I worked for Primal PEP foods for a while, yeah, and I always like I know what questions to ask them. So I'm like always reaching out to the companies to like ask them questions And some of them are very like they don't want to answer them. I just like write them off. At that point I'm like, if you don't want to answer my questions, like Viva, i like wrote them on their website for the first time And it was one of the owners that got back to me And he started like a whole conversation with me about like my business and like answering questions for me and everything And they're like little message box on their website And I was just like I'm immediately impressed. I love that, so it's the easiest conversation I've ever had with a dog food company before.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's awesome. Okay, so that is the pre made raw and fresh food. What are some like freeze dried brands that you recommend, maybe ones that, like are at a typical pet store that somebody can walk in and get?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So as far as freeze dried, like I said, steve's, steve's a real food If your dog doesn't have itchy skin because it might possibly make it worse, because the fermentation, if they don't, it'll be great for their gut. And then I do still like primal pet foods. I really enjoyed my time with them. They were independently owned when I worked there. They recently sold to an investment firm, which pretty much happens to every great dog company that we have. Eventually they get big enough. They have to bring on new investors. They sell. I've heard through the grapevine, like from store owners that they're making changes, but I they haven't like told us exactly what that is. And dog food companies, i think and I don't know if this has changed but they have up to like two years before they actually have to change the ingredients on the back of the label So like they can change the formula And then, like two years later, they're required to change the packaging.

Speaker 1:

So what? Yeah, two years. Wow, loose lay down. Good girl. It's not a dog podcast without dogs being annoying in the background. Okay so, primal, you worked for them overall like relatively good experience.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, when I worked there was great. I mean, at the time I thought that they were like the best on the market. I do think there's like maybe better, better options now. And also for the price point. primal is very expensive, yeah, especially the freeze dried formula, because you're paying them for the convenience of that extra process, but they're very expensive And I do think that there are like better options out there now. like I would pick Steve's real food over primal And I'm trying to think like conventional grocery store still in two years is out there. I'm not like a huge fan of them that use a lot of synthetic vitamins. I try to stay away from those because the body does treat them like medication So it breaks them down like a chemical right. But you know it's the end of the world if they eat some of them. And that is like if you don't have like independent stores near you or something or you're not looking to order, they probably sell them in like most pet stores.

Speaker 1:

So okay, that one. What about open farm?

Speaker 2:

Um, i actually really don't like open farm. So I think that, like sourcing wise, they've got some good stuff going for them. They have a lot of starching ingredients in their food And I'll just tell you real quickly. So when I'm like assessing a pet food, just like bare minimum checking them out, there's three things that I look for. So one is ingredients. So I'm going to look in the ingredients because I don't like the ingredients. Why even look beyond that? Number two is the sourcing of the food, so where the ingredients are coming from, because the stuff that they're allowed to use and dog food is crap. So most of the time if you have a good dog food that's using good ingredients, they've set those own standards for themselves. So I like it where they're sourcing the ingredients, because even if we have good ingredients, if the sourcing is bad, it doesn't matter, right. And then I look at the manufacturing process, so how the food is actually processed to get into the bag, because you can have great ingredients and good sourcing, but if you bake the crop out of the food, none of that right, right, if it's like so processed Yeah. So they don't pass ingredients. For me There's like I think it's like white potatoes and a lot of peas and they're really high up on the great ingredient list. White potatoes, like do really, they're nothing, they're just adding filler yeast problem that you have with your dog Yeah, a lot of dogs that are eating white potatoes I get like constant ear infections are dealing with and stuff. So I just don't even go past that with them, to be honest. So I'm not a huge fan. It's not the worst. If you're feeding open farm, you're doing much better than, say, feeding Royal Canaan.

Speaker 1:

Oh my God, i hate Royal Canaan. That's number one. People spend so much money on Royal Canaan and I'm like there's, there's no meat in it, like it's, this is corn pops, literally. Yeah, it looks like it looks like corn pops too.

Speaker 2:

I know, and the first ingredient on some of them is like corn.

Speaker 1:

I know, i know.

Speaker 2:

Just corn is like corn byproducts.

Speaker 1:

I know I just tell people. I'm like they're like why do you hate this food so much? And I'm like, have you read the ingredient list? And they're like no one of my new trainers he feeds his dog science diet And he's like why do you hate it so much? And I was like go read the bag. Have you read the bag? And he was like no, and I was like our dogs aren't supposed to have carbs. So go read that list and let me know what you think you know And it's just like one of those things that's. you know, i found myself in this position too. but we spend so much time with our dogs and we don't know biologically what they should be eating, which is mind blowing. You know like I had experience working at zoos and other places and I could tell you what a tortoise needs to eat and what a lemur needs to eat in its big plates of whole foods. We are not feeding kibble. We are not feeding like any sort of processed thing to a carnivore. When you go and you feed, like we had mountain lions, it's a tray of meat. It's a tray of meat and like a little like blueberries or some strawberries and like that's it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I mean, if you think about like like reptiles who have you owned reptiles You actually like go get them like insects and stuff from the store and like, but like cats and dogs are like I know it's so sad.

Speaker 1:

Literally, you've like inspired me. I'm going to go to the store after this. And even, okay, i was like talking to my friend, um Clayton. He's a dog trainer in Austin He was talking about somebody in his club has been feeding his dogs raw forever And he's like a good old boy from Louisiana, you know, and he's like I'm not going to go fucking spend $100 on this kibble when, like, i can go to the grocery store and buy chicken quarters and chicken livers and chicken hearts And I give that to my dogs and they've been healthy forever and we've never had any issues. And like I don't know it's, it's so we're so disconnected from it.

Speaker 2:

We're just, we've just gotten so used to the convenience of kibble that we've completely, you know, forgotten what our dogs are, which is, you know, predominantly carnivore, you know and I feel bad for dog and cat owners too, just because, um, the amount of like marketing that goes into dog food, i mean it's like, uh, it's billions of dot like a billion dollar business Like, and I say billion dollar, but I think it's like up to a hundred billion a year now.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that would not surprise me at all.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I look, i was looking at projections for a 2030 and I'm guessing, cause, like I don't have a photographic memory so I don't see it in my head right now, but, um, it was like up to 300 billion or something. It's projected to be out in 2030. Yeah, it is a business. They are not looking out for your dogs. They want to pump out as much food as they possibly can, as fast as they can at a low cost. And, um, again, i want to, you know, say I'm not talking about every dog food company. Just like the dog food business in general, especially kibble, i mean the majority of the brands that you go to and you see in the store it looks like you have tons and tons of options in their own by like the majority of like five large conglomerates. So, like Mars, a candy company, and like Colgate owns like a bunch of dog food brands and stuff, and it's because they just pick them all up and they're like subsidiaries of that business. So, yeah, anyway, i could go off on a tangent about that too. No, please.

Speaker 1:

Like literally just follow the money, like it's so messed up. And then we're wondering why dogs are, you know, not living as long and, like most dogs, die of cancer.

Speaker 2:

And it's like, look at what we're feeding them, you know yeah, And it sucks too, because a lot of people just don't. I mean, you're going into your vet's office. This is someone that you trust to like take care of your pet and is there to literally make sure that your pet is healthy and okay, And they're pushing real Keenan or science diet on people. I mean people just wouldn't, you know, like assume that those things were bad if they didn't look into it.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, Yeah, And your vet will also guilt you if you're not feeding those things or like the whole grain free thing They're like your dog's going to get. What is it The heart thing that they say you're going to get if you feed like the DCM? Oh my gosh.

Speaker 2:

Yes, let's tackle that, please. So I want to say that this all started like becoming a huge thing in 2018. But they, they're it's dilated cardiomyopathy is what DCM is. And in 2018, everybody was freaking out because they thought that, like, their dog food was causing DCM. And the dog food company has all really jumped on this and they're like Oh, green free dog food is causing dilated cardiomyopathy, purina, especially because they have grain in their food. So they're like return all of those independent brands that are green free, yeah. And so, like people were like rushing back to the store.

Speaker 1:

Also, didn't they pay for the research?

Speaker 2:

I don't remember, i don't. I would have to look at that.

Speaker 1:

I'm pretty sure they were the ones responsible for that research.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised. I mean, they've been responsible for literally like starting lawsuits against other pet food companies for like stuff that they do.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, just because they have the money and can, like, bring down smaller companies.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and they buy them by the way. Yeah, you know, so there's that. But yeah, so DCM I'm sorry, i have ADHD to like recover there. So they all everybody's like panicking returning their food. The FDA was asking vets to report How many cases of DCM that they had, but they only asked them to report the cases of pets on Green-free dog food. They didn't ask them to report them in any other instance, so they didn't ask them to report any cases that they had that were on green inclusive food or anything like that. So I Do think that the FDA realized that they kind of like messed this up and They, in 2020, said that they had like a hundred. They did 150 case studies and they couldn't find any direct link between DCM and Green-free dog food and they actually said that there's a lot that we do to where their pets are now that is linked to causing DCM. They just concluded their like Investigation into it, i think this year, and they said that there's there's no link and they did Admit at one point that they did not collect enough data. So, but they caused this like mass panic of green-free dog food, and there's some integrated vets that I follow I'm Dr Judy Morgan. Love her page, mm-hmm that she was talking about how she really thinks that the DCM is Linked to the sourcing of the ingredients, so not necessarily whether the food is green inclusive or legume inclusive, which is what they use in place of green. Yeah, but this actual sourcing of those ingredients because it's bad and they've got mycotoxins on them, all kinds of like mold because of The way that they're stored for the pet food industry and things like that, and just like the amount of pesticides and stuff that's allowed on them That's not allowed to make it into our food, so like things that are deemed unfit for human consumption can be sold to the dog food company. So she was talking about just sourcing in general maybe being the issue For DCM, along with, you know, all the other things that we give dogs that we just won't tackle on this, you know.

Speaker 1:

How long? how long do we have? Yeah, okay, that's I mean. Yeah, that makes sense. So what is What's like the biggest like preventative thing aside from just feeding your dog like Whole foods that maybe people can like add to their dog's diet or, you know, just like benefit their overall health? I know that there's a lot of like dog supplements out there. I'm kind of from the place of if you're not feeding whole foods, like don't necessarily bother with supplements. But I know, you know, a lot of my clients come in with like Probiotics and things like that. So how do you feel about those sort of add-ins to dogs food?

Speaker 2:

so I Really don't care that much about like supplements. I guess I would say One. If we're talking about like supplements for nutrition, i would just I try to. If I make recipes for people, for example, we do as many whole foods as we possibly can without have to add in like synthetic supplementation. If you're talking probiotics and stuff like that, sometimes dogs do need them. Your dog actually Shouldn't really be on probiotics like all the time constantly. Um, there's, there's some Evidence we don't know for sure but that when they're on probiotics constantly, they're some some dogs guts aren't? they stop trying to produce it on their own right? Um, and if you are using probiotics, you actually want to rotate through them. So lots of different strains, right? So maybe your dog is having gut issues. You're on a probiotic, you you finish that whole bottle, get a different bottle from like, a different brand or something, because probiotics are also really hard to keep alive. They're not super like shelf stable, so the like I Don't know, i guess you would say efficacy of them, maybe it's going to be different brand from brand and just like the strings, so you want to rotate different strains. But the biggest thing with probiotics that I see there being an issue for is people just give them like constantly, yeah, and then they don't make sure the dog is actually getting enough fiber to support all of those probiotics. So probiotics eat prebiotics and all that prebiotics is is fiber, and if you're not feeding your dog enough fiber, all Those probiotics you're giving them are just going to waste because they're dying.

Speaker 1:

They're starving. Yeah, you're literally starving them to the death. Okay, and let's say somebody can't do raw, they can't do home cooked, They're not doing freeze-dried. Our last option is going to be kibble. What are some kibble brands that you would recommend?

Speaker 2:

Okay, so this one's this one's difficult because The brands that I was originally recommending for kibble owners I won't get into that because I don't recommend them anymore. They sold out recently So and that was just this past year, and I like I need a kibble brand to be able to recommend to clients and everything, and when I go out of town I give kibble for our pets that are so it's like easy right to you know feed. So I'm like I need, i need a kibble option. So I went through like hundreds of different kibble brands and I mean this turned into like a whole thing on my story. You are like Sending me like name after name, which is great because I even got introduced to some that I hadn't heard of and I don't want to like sound snobby, but I know like a lot of the dog food brands. So yeah, hearing some that I haven't heard of is like surprising, like this is great. And I was just getting like I went through hundreds of brands and I did like my general one, two, three and looking for ingredients, sourcing, manufacturing, and then If they passed all those things, i would contact the company and then look into it further. If they didn't, i wasn't gonna look into that. But I did like a little synopsis of like different dog food brands on my story and everything and I came down to two options and It's a little disappointing because neither of them fully Match up to what I felt like I was feeding before. Yeah, doesn't matter now because they're sold and stuff is changing Origin but yeah yeah and so and they sold to a, an investment firm to, a few years ago and they've had like a lot of issues with their claims not matching like What's actually in the bag. So like it's time to like toss them aside. Yeah, and I found two. So one of them is essence and That, if you know, signature, that's a pretty popular brand That's. One of their other brands is essence and I think it's pets global Inc That owns them. So they're not owned by like Mars or anything like that, but it's a pretty high meat content. That's in the bag. So the bag is 85% meat and the other 15% is, you know, other ingredients, your oils, your Synthetic supplements and it does have synthetics in it, which was my downside for them. Yeah, the other downside Was that sourcing wise Origin used to be able to tell you down to the exact farm where they were getting like ingredients from this one. It won't tell you down to the exact farm, but I was really impressed with them because they were able to tell me what all of the animals ate that were in the bag. Okay, and like they even have like some meals in the bag, like not byproduct meals or stuff like that, but meals are pretty. They're shelf stable, so they're pretty. You find them in most dog food. But they were able to tell me exactly what the pork meal like, what the pork eat That was in the dog food and like everything like that, and I was like really impressed with them. They went back and forth with me for like a couple of weeks answering all my questions. Oh wow, yeah, i was. I liked that some of this essence, yeah, essence, okay. And some of the Proteins that they were able to get, like kangaroo, for example, was actually like pasture raised, which is like the best kind of like meat that you can get. You know, i Don't know if people are farming kangaroos, but they're not using farm, so I liked them. My top choices probably corn of four And I'll tell you the kind of like, the pros and the cons for kind of four or two. So, con, it is expensive as hell. So it is a dry food, but it's not like an Extruded kibble, so it's like a whole foods that are baked into like a little kibble form. So upside for them. On manufacturing process Ingredients there's like 10 ingredients in the whole bag. Like if you flip over a dog food bag, there's like usually like 30 ingredients, with like 15 at the bottom that you have to Google what they are. Yeah, there's like 10 ingredients in the whole bag. They don't use like synthetic supplements. They only use, um, usda inspected ingredients. So, okay, explain that real quick. That is not required for dog food. Um, if they claim that it's USDA inspected, that means that it is held to human standard. They are saying that you could consume their food, so the USDA has to step in and actually regulate them. Then not just the FDA and the USDA actually doesn't have anything to do with pet food but if they say that it's human grade and that it is, um, yeah, human grade food, the FDA is like okay, well, you're saying that people could consume this, so we have to come in and regulate you. So that's good Downside to them. I tried to get them to tell me an exact percentage of like, what the meat ratio is in the bag and they could not. He said that he guessed it was around 50%, so much lower than essence, right, but the, the processing and the ingredients that go into it are just like so much, so much more superior. Yeah, that I feel comfortable feeding it, as long as I'm replacing a good amount of it with, like fresh meat and things like that. Yeah, um, so that's it downside. Very expensive. So, like my um, we have an American Akita and when we go out of town we'll leave Carnot 4 for him and he has IBS, so that's the only type of dry food that he can handle and he does really well on that. That bag, i think, is like $189 for a 20 pound bag.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh, that's more expensive than raw.

Speaker 2:

So sometimes it depends on the size of your dog. for sure I have people say that, but I mean, i've never actually went out to a farm and get them. I just go to the local butcher or something. and it comes out to more expensive than buying that bag of food, but it is very close. So you are paying for maybe the convenience of it and then even still, i do recommend adding more meat to it. so, yeah, that's better to do the raw.

Speaker 1:

I'm literally going to go to the farm, like tomorrow, and do this. It's just crazy to me. And so, like when I did raw, i worked with a nutritionist. I got custom meal plans for all of my dogs. It was very, very calculated. I don't know how you do everything and obviously I'm not like an expert on this, but my take from doing that for a year, or however long I did it, was I think we're over complicating it, right, like I was measuring everything like to a T.

Speaker 2:

Yes, i have an official answer and an official answer Okay, so the official answer is I use the animal diet formulator and it calculates everything down to the percentages and it goes by like AFCO's recommendations which, by the way, afco 's recommendations were created for dry food, right, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

But that's what you have to do. I went down that rabbit hole too.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so yes, i do think you need to follow a recipe, because I've had clients before that come to me and they're like we wanted to feed fresh, so we threw some broccoli and some rice and some chicken in the bowl and you're like. And I'm like, oh my God, how long, how long have they just been eating that?

Speaker 1:

Just mussel meat, no organ meats, no bones.

Speaker 2:

And there are like general percentages that you need to follow in everything. Unofficial answer is we do definitely overcomplicate it. You and I, you know when we're eating. We don't balance every single one of our meals to that like extreme. Yeah, and dogs wouldn't eat there when they're like, if they were eating like how?

Speaker 1:

they were supposed to Right If a dog catches a rabbit like.

Speaker 2:

So, like balance over time and the biggest thing is like variety, like rotating things. But yeah, i do recommend, i mean getting like a general couple recipes to like follow and then, when you get really comfortable with it, you can just start kind of like changing things.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know like the proportions that they need and how much. yeah, that's kind of where I got, is like I didn't have to measure anything out. in the end I kind of knew like the general proportions of everything and how much like chicken feed and you know turkey necks and all of that I had to feed. But it is very important if you are, let's say, just feeding raw or just feeding home cooked, you do have to include the organ meats, the meaty bones. That is where the dogs get all of their micronutrients from. So when you get those clients who are like my dog eats fresh food, and you cringe and you're like tell me what it is And they're like well, i cook chicken and carrots and rice, and you're like okay, we're missing some like really important components here. We need some bones, we need that calcium, we need, you know, the liver, the heart. You know like all of that stuff is just as important, just like if a dog were to go and catch an animal, they're going to get all of those parts of the animal.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, i had a like training client one time and with my training clients we always go over all the nutrition stuff first and they get like a recommended feeding list and if they want to go more in depth with it, you know they can do that too. But she, when I started to go over like nutrition info, was with her. she was like, oh, we don't need to do this already now. And I was like, oh okay, what do you know?

Speaker 1:

Tell me what you know.

Speaker 2:

Like trying to politely be like yeah, let me see, do you know, do you really know? like? and she was telling me that she actually has her own business where she like makes fresh food for people and like fills out orders every week and everything. Yeah, i was like okay, i'm like intrigued and she was like telling me pretty much it was just like 50% rice, i think, is what she said, and then she had like meat and like no organs and like a veggie blend. Yeah, and then she was like I could bring you some cards you could recommend to your clients. and I had to like really figure out how to like tactfully be like no, i was like, yeah, sure, i'll take a look at it, bring me in. you know, if you want to bring me like an ingredient list for one, yeah, i'll look over it. So I did like kind of go. I was like, well, let me just go over some general stuff with you, kind of hoping that maybe that you know she would be like, oh, i'm missing a lot of stuff. I was like, since you already know, just go over the summer ice version, not telling you what to do, but yeah, so were you able to get her to like. We didn't really talk about it I gave her like some general information and then my like pamphlets and everything and I was like, yeah, make sure you look over this page here. You know, it's like talking about like ratios and stuff like that, and we just didn't, we didn't speak of it again. She was not really interested in talking about it.

Speaker 1:

Oh man, that's okay, that's okay, she'll come around. So when somebody comes to you to work with you on, you know, nutrition coaching, how does that kind of go?

Speaker 2:

So we do a consultation first. So we'll do like a virtual consultation. We'll go over all of the dog's history. I want all of their vet records. So I want anything they've ever been to the vet for you cannot give me too much information. Like I, sometimes I feel like I'm like pulling teeth from people. I'm like tell me what they're like bowel movements look like.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's all important. Tell me everything, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I'll be, like you know, one question I'll be like you know and how's your dogs, you know, skin good. How's your dogs like you know, health in general good. So I had to like start getting, like you know, a lot more specific with it and I have like on my form that people fill up before the consultation. I have like the same question word. It's like three different ways because you get different responses from people just by asking like questions a different way. But we'll do like a consultation. Go over all the history. I go over like the medical records of the dog, kind of what their general concerns are, what they want to get out of it we do. We figure out what their budget is and kind of like work within that and then where they are to because I also will go as far as helping them source stuff so in their area and then I take about like a week to come up with a plan. After everything's like set and I come up, i come up with the plan. They get like a written guide of all the plan and then we go in with another virtual consultation and we take as long as we need for that one, so that one goes from like an hour to I haven't had one go beyond two and a half but that and we cover absolutely everything. We go over like general knowledge about the pet food industry, things like that. So they kind of feel confident selecting things when they're not working with me anymore to okay they get like an ingredient list and energetics food list. So like different ingredients, what they're good for, what they might help with, and your dog has like an itchy skin or something like that. And then there's generally it's it's custom to each person so you can, we can go as deep into it as they want to if they just want like the one appointment and everything. They're just looking for a better kibble to switch to or something yeah or if their dog has, you know, some type of condition that we're trying to work on. Maybe too much yeast they're having, you know, arthritis, joint problems, stuff like that's all stuff that we can, we can work on with food, and they are always supposed to check with their vets too, and if they're not comfortable taking things to their vet, i refer them out to a holistic vet to do a consultation with you, especially if the dog has actually any like health issues too. So smart, yeah and yeah, and then we they have like follow-up calls after that with each package too.

Speaker 1:

So that's amazing. So you're really holding their hands throughout the whole process and like educating people.

Speaker 2:

I even have an. They get an app too, so it's not like my app. It was a personal training app for, like you know, personal yeah, people like it's called true coach and I used to use that for a while like for myself, and I just realized that you can actually, like, when you're the coach that's editing the programs, you can edit everything. So I was like I can use this for dog training and nutrition counseling. Yeah, changed everything. So like it's like a personal training app. That's like their entire food plan laid out day to day and everything. So that's amazing.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome. Yeah, i have some personal training friends who use that app.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I mean it's all the same. I came from like the fitness background and I have the same job, just coaching dogs instead of the people there's a brief period where I got like burnt out with dog stuff and I was like I'm gonna be a personal trainer and I like went through like the ACE program and everything and then gave up on it and I was like no, i'm the dog, so is the dog for me just a dog girl. Through and through, i do also do feline nutrition counseling too, but um no, no cat training just.

Speaker 1:

I've gotten some requests for that and I'm like I am not the cat trainer like that is not me.

Speaker 2:

I have a lot of cats, so we have like three and we're adding a fourth one. I love cats but I like don't know anything about their behavior. They definitely run, yeah, so you feed all your animals raw yes, except really when we're out of town they get kibble them for the pets. That are smart, yeah, but um, i don't know anything about their behavior. Um, they run my household. They have me trained. You know I do stuff with them sometimes where I'm like, wow, i totally just reinforced that bad behavior, like I tell people not to do with their dog oh yeah, i'm always making the joke that like my like look at my dog right now.

Speaker 1:

She just got off of place and she's like fight me, go to place, go place she's just like staring at you.

Speaker 2:

She's doing it because she wants attention.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, she just got off of place and was like wagging her tail staring at me. Tell me, tell me to get back on. Yeah, oh my gosh. Well, this has been so informative. I am so glad that you were able to come out and we're able to sit down and talk about all of this. Is there any like final things that you want people to know?

Speaker 2:

um, however you're feeding is okay, um, it's okay and you want. The one thing that I really just like, the message I don't want to send is that you're I don't want to be gatekeeping and I don't want to send the message that, like what you're feeding your dog is like killing your dog or something yeah, like you're a horrible owner, yeah, yeah yeah, what you're feeding your dog is okay, but there are like things that we can do to make it a little bit better. And if you don't have like the resources or the time or whatever to feed raw or feed fresh, that's totally fine. Just add as much fresh food to their kibble as you can. It's going to help them. That's that's it.

Speaker 1:

I love that. A very holistic approach to dog nutrition. Well autumn, thank you so much for being here. I had so much fun. Can you tell the people where to find you?

Speaker 2:

sure, so, um, on instagram you can find me at a dot balanced dot canine, and I do have like a youtube. Um, it is new, but that is also at a balanced canine nice, i need to get into the youtube world yeah, i just started recently. It's actually a lot easier than podcasting, i think.

Speaker 1:

But soon, soon, well, autumn. Thank you so much for being here. I'm really glad that you were able to come out and join me and we're able to talk about all things nutrition. Thanks for having me, yes, and thank you for listening. We will see you back here next week.

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Assessing and Comparing Dog Food Brands
Probiotics and Kibble Recommendations
Holistic Approach to Dog Nutrition