Kennel Cough and the KC vaccination
Kennel cough or Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, is a hot topic of discussion, the bane of boarding facility owner's lives and certainly the cause of many a sleepless night for me since setting up Happy Dogs Aigle. It is a nasty, highly contagious illness most similar to a cold and/or bronchitis in humans but it is important to know that most dogs recover within 2 weeks without serious side effects.
According to the AKC: "dogs commonly contract kennel cough at places where large amounts of canines congregate, such as boarding and daycare facilities, dog parks, training groups, and dog shows. Dogs can spread it to one another through airborne droplets, direct contact (e.g., touching noses), or contaminated surfaces (including water/food bowls). It’s highly treatable in most dogs but can be more severe in puppies younger than six months of age and immunocompromised dogs."
The particular challenge with kennel cough is that there are dozens of bacterial and viral agents which cause the infection. And according to WSAVA, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, kennel cough is NOT an illness that lends itself to prevention by vaccination. In fact, the vaccination only covers a few of the agents that cause kennel cough so it's efficacy is limited, which probably explains why it is not part of the routine vaccinations issued by vets. And, very importantly, dogs can easily catch kennel cough from recently vaccinated dogs, something we have experienced first hand at our boarding facility which has led us to recently amend our vaccination guidelines.
Our approach to kennel cough and to the kennel cough vaccine here at Happy Dogs Aigle is to try and maintain a balance between science, holistic health and the protection of the large numbers of dogs we look after. We do NOT mandate the vaccine, preferring to have a more individualistic approach to the matter. Here is our guidance taken from the vaccination section of our website:
As you can see, not a black and white response because Kennel Cough is not a black and white issue unfortunately. For further reading on the symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment of Kennel Cough, here are two highly informative sources which I trust. The first here is from friend and colleague Dr. Conor Brady at Dogs First and the second is from the always informative Dogs Naturally website here.
Finally, please take note of the extended waiting time between administration of the Kennel Cough vaccination and coming to Happy Dogs Aigle. Previously the guidance was 7-10 days between vaccination and boarding/daycare to avoid exposing dogs here to the live vaccine. This has been extended to one month in an effort to further minimise the risk of exposure & possible infection for other dogs. Please be sure to contact me with any comments or questions!
Those of you with dogs who board with us will almost certainly know Lou & Nicola, our Irish family here in Switzerland. Coco is a beautiful 4 year old shepherd mix recently adopted by them from the SPA in Ardon, Valais.
Since her adoption 3 months ago, Coco has had intermittent and ongoing stomach issues, alternating between normal poos and a runny tummy. She looked skinny and was always hungry and searching for food. At that time, she was eating a mix of quality kibble & tinned food with about 20% fresh food added. About a month ago, frustratingly, her digestive issues markedly disimproved. The vet felt she might have a form of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) but wasn't totally convinced. She gave 5 days of antibiotics and advised an easily digested diet. If things didn't improve, further tests would be carried out.
So without a definitive diagnosis or an acute illness, we decided to follow the Hippocrates principle "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". Nicola had always intended to feed Coco a raw diet but wanted to get her gut as robust as possible first. There were a couple of issues to consider. Obviously we knew nothing about Coco's previous life, health and nutrition. Additionally, along with her ongoing runny tummy, antibiotics have a tendency to disrupt the gut microbiome (micro-organisms, both good and bad that live in the digestive system). Both factors pointed to a need to replenish and rebuild Coco's gut health if we could.
With that in mind we immediately switched her off all dry and tinned food and onto fresh. For the first couple of weeks, Nicola fed a lightly cooked diet. White meat is generally easier to digest than red so we started there. We introduced easily digestable meats gradually and in the following order: turkey, chicken, low fat beef mince, low fat pork, tinned fish and eventually a little cooked liver, heart & kidney. We slowly and gradually added in poached courgette (great for hungry dogs), poached pumpkin (brilliant for gut issues), porridge oats cooked in water (filling and easy to digest) and scrambled eggs (a superfood for dogs and us). We also added in home made bone broth (a tablespoon per day), probiotics (a sachet of fortiflora per day) and StoolRite seaweed blend (2 teaspoons per day). Finally we gave goats milk yoghurt and cottage cheese occasionally, both reputed to aid good gut bacteria. This diet seemed well tolerated and Coco was certainly happy.
One of the best and easiest ways to judge how digestion is going in dogs is to evaluate their poo. Here's a helpful guide with plenty more information on that. Over the course of those weeks, Coco had consistently and improving poos every day (the poo emoji was very useful at this time!). And equally importantly, her coat became visibly shinier, she gained 1/2kg and she began to play for the first time. It was abundantly clear that things were going in the right direction.
At this point, Nicola had a decision to make. She could have switched Coco back to kibble & tins with some fresh food added. She could have kept Coco on the home cooked diet provided it was modified to make it nutritionally correctly balanced. Instead she decided to progress to raw. Two weeks ago, she began Coco's transition to raw food with the help of Babarf and, happily, things are going perfectly. While it's early days, both she and I wanted to share this story to give hope to anyone who might be going through a similar situation. If your dog isn't acutely unwell but has ongoing occasional digestive disturbance, I would strongly recommend trying the following steps. Bearing in mind that this is our personal experience with one dog and we are not medical professionals, here's a summary of what worked for Coco in a nutshell:
These steps are only recommended as a short term measure to give the gut a chance to recover and function correctly. If you see improvements and decide to continue feeding your dog a fresh food diet, whether raw or cooked, you must properly balance nutrients to ensure the correct ratio of fat, protein, vitamin & mineral. This is not as daunting as it might sound and I'd refer you as always to Lew Olsen's Raw & Natural Nutrition for dogs book or contact me for more information. I would like to also acknowledge the Raw & Holistic Cat & Dog Support Group on Facebook as an invaluable source of information and advice.
Dealing with digestion issues in dogs is frustrating and slow but it's very rewarding to see progress especially without resorting to long term medication and/or expensive prescription kibble. Here's the last word to Coco's brilliant mum Nicola: "We adopted Coco to give her a loving home but felt very helpless when we couldn't figure out why she was unwell for so much of the time. Aileen suggested the best option would be to get her gut right and try cooking her food, After just a week of cooked food with probiotics and bone broth, Coco was already a different dog! The feeling of watching her play with Zuma now that we have (hopefully) solved her tummy issue is like no other; happy and proud are words that come to mind, but we are also excited to see her flourish, somthing that seemed impossible until now."
Why do dogs eat.....Dandelions?
We first noticed our Gracie seeking out dandelions in the aftermath of her major health crises in January this year. Having an interest in Applied Zoopharmacognosy (animal self medication), I guessed this wasn't purely random. And indeed it wasn't. If you ever notice your dog eating dandelions or digging up and eating the roots, don't stop them! Here's why:
As you can see, this humble weed is in fact a powerful addition to your dog's diet. So the next time you notice your dog snacking on one of nature's superfoods, instead of stopping them, wish them a bon appetit from us!
"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." (Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs by Lew Olsen PhD)
There are many ways to maximise the health and nutrition of your dogs without breaking the bank or frying your brain. Here are your options listed from the freshest food for dogs to the most processed:
Whether you decide on a home cooked or raw food diet for your dog is a personal choice. I feed Zuma and Perro raw and I cook for Gracie. Some people jump straight into feeding raw, others are happy that home-cooked is good for their dog and do-able for their lifestyle. And many people begin by simply adding fresh food and gradually reducing kibble or tinned.
Two common concerns about switching dogs from processed to fresh food are the cost and the complexity.
Taking cost first; meat is definitely more expensive than kibble, particularly here in Switzerland. So yes, your dog's food will cost more. But there are ways to reduce the costs and ultimately, your vet bills should be far, far lower in the long run. My biggest advice is to figure out when your local supermarket discounts short dated meats and buy up as much as you can. In my case it's Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Migros sells fresh meat for dogs at CHF10/kg but because its very short dated, I often get it at half that price. Get to know your butcher. Add lower cost ingredients such as tinned tuna, courgette and eggs to bulk out meals for hungry dogs. And of course, keep any leftovers from family meals (no onions, seasoning, potato or cooked bones).
In terms of complexity; feeding your dog a fresh food diet is no more challenging than feeding your family a fresh food diet, despite what the pet food industry would have us believe. There are online forums, books, DIY options, pre packaged frozen complete meals and home delivery services. There is an initial learning curve and you will need freezer space, but once you're up and running, you will see how easy, cost effective and rewarding it is. And you will have a healthy, happy, slim, fresh smelling dog with a shiny coat, good teeth and just the right amount of energy.
If you think raw food is the right option for you and your dog, here is some more information on getting started. If home cooking is your preferred route, I really recommend buying my book of the month as a starting point. And if dry or tinned food is the right option for your dog, or you're not ready to make the switch to fresh food for whatever reason, here is some practical, easy advice on maximising the nutrition of kibble.
Boosting the nutrition of dry or tinned dog food:
Why not boost the kibble or bite the bullet entirely?! Feed your dog fresh food for three months and see for yourself? You can always switch back if you don't see the benefits. PLEASE let me know if you take up the challenge! And IF you want to jump directly to feeding raw food please read this article next.
A short history of kibble
"Why would I sit down to homemade soup and give my dog processed food?! It has only taken me 3 years to cop on to this." That was a text from an owner following my September blog on nutrition. I must admit, it took me a lot longer than that to consider what I was feeding my dogs. I only became really interested when our second dog Bruno died at the age of 9. I was shocked to learn that cancer rates are sky rocketing in dogs and cats, along with auto immune diseases, allergies and degenerative diseases.
It is difficult to source unbiased, accurate information due to a lack of routine reporting on the subject, but according to "The truth about Pet Cancer", there is an "epidemic of cancer... and in younger and younger animals". Processed pet food is widely blamed for this, along with vaccines, parasite preventatives and environmental toxins. I believe that Bruno's death was due to the well known supermarket brand I had been feeding him, exacerbated by chemical tick & worm prevention. I have been studying canine health and nutrition ever since and whilst I can't bring Bruno back, I can share what I have learned in his name.
"Fake industrial food...works to the detriment of cats and dogs producing a pandemic of degenerative disease. This pandemic began following the introduction of processed pet foods to the lives of our pets" (Dr. Ian Billingham, Pointing the Bone at Cancer In Dogs, Cats and Humans.)
Could you imagine if we were told to feed children a diet of dry nuts to balance their nutritional needs? We know that a diet containing excessive amounts of potato chips, breakfast cereal and fast food would not be good for our long term health and contributes to obesity, diabetes and other illnesses and disease. The same applies for our pets. Kibble is convenience food and while some brands are better quality than others, (click here to compare), it is important to recognize it as such. Click here for some specifics about the issues associated with feeding kibble in the long term.
Most people today don't remember a time pre-kibble, but processed pet food only exists since the 1930's when it was marketed as the ideal, low cost alternative to feeding dogs meat. It was a great way to commercialise nonhuman grade meat and waste products from grain mills and slaughter houses. Initially the sales pitch for kibble was an economic one, but gradually the industry became bold enough to claim that processed food was the only way to feed dogs a nutritiously balanced diet, further enhanced in the 1950's with the introduction of scientific, prescription dog food. Pet food manufacturers such as Hills even wrote the nutritional textbooks used in veterinary colleges. Over the decades, marketing became more and more sophisticated with TV advertising, celebrity endorsements, food dyes to make nuts look healthier and special diets for different breeds and body types. Today's buzz words are organic, grain free and natural, but the reality is that kibble is still predominantly comprised of sub standard meat or meat meal, grain, fillers, starches, fibres and grain by-products cooked for far too long.
"The pet food industry continues to write and publish pet nutrition textbooks for veterinary colleges. Aspiring vets are taught to tell their clients that only processed dog foods are scientifically proven to meet their dog's nutritional needs." (Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs by Lew Olsen PhD)
In truth, industry controls what our pets eat and also what we understand about their nutritional needs, thanks to the marketing power of pet food manufacturers. Happily this is now changing, as more and more pet owners and vets are demanding healthier nutritional alternatives, for ourselves and our pets.
If this has got you thinking and you'd like to learn more, I'd encourage you to watch the eye opening Pet Fooled documentary on Netflix. And if you're feeding kibble, it is never too late to improve your dog's health and well being. There is so much you can do from simply adding in some supplementary real foods (click here for more information), to completely switching your dog over to a raw diet (click here for advice).
Last word for now to Dr. Olsen, auther of my book of the month, Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs: "It is not easy to disregard what we have been told over the years. However, if you look at what is good for you nutritionally, it makes just as much sense to feed your dog whole, fresh foods as it does to feed yourself and your family the same.... If you want your dog to live a longer, happier life, it is time to start looking at canine nutrition differently and bring back the common sense approach to good health and nutrition".
Raw food made easy thanks to Babarf
If you believe that raw food is best for dogs but lack either the time and/or the knowledge to do so, I recommend Babarf.ch/en. I first met Babarf when they attended our Natural Dog Seminar 2017 and having recently switched Perro onto their food, I visited the manufacturing facility in Bussigny where Megan & Morgane (below) showed me around and explained their philosophy. I was so impressed with their ethos, quality and service that I have agreed to partner with Babarf to spread the word amongst dog owners.
What is Babarf?
Babarf is a Swiss company based in Bussigny that prepares balanced complete raw meals for dogs delivered directly to homes. They are in fact the only company currently offering this service in the area. Meals follow BARF principles (biologically appropriate raw food) and comprise muscle meat, meaty bones, organ meat and lightly cooked veg with a little fresh fruit. Balanced meals are delivered frozen and pre-prepared into daily portions, personalised to each animal's needs and adapted to their ideal weight on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis depending on the preference of customers.
The production facility (see photos above) is impressive. Spotlessly clean and extremely well organised, it was great - and reassuring - to see first hand how the process works. The meat & fish comes in from Switzerland, France and Belgium and the fruit and veg comes from the farm down the road. Menus are specifically devised to ensure seasonal fruit and veg with a good mix of white & red meat proteins and meats are rotated on a monthly basis. Everything is fresh and there are no chemicals, preservatives or additives.
The all-important price issue:
Babarf portions and pricing are based on the ideal weight of your dog. There's a simple calculator on the website here so you can work it out yourself. For Perro (30kg), the cost of Babarf is CHF7/day or CHF218/month including delivery. That's double the price of Orijen kibble, one of the better dry foods on the market. That's fine by me because I believe that fresh food means happier, healthier, longer living dogs and lower vet bills. But surprisingly for me, the cost of Babarf is the same as my DIY raw solution and cheaper than the frozen complete mixes I had been buying from local pet shops for the past number of years. And best of all, the Babarf solution is totally hassle free, all the ratios of meat, bone, veg, fruit & organs are worked out for you on a daily basis. All you need to do is open the bag and serve!
Advantages of Babarf over DIY raw or pet shop pre-mixed completes:
Interested in switching your dog from processed to raw?
If you would like to transition your dog yourself, here are the basics of raw feeding in a nutshell and here is a step by step guide to follow. I recently used this Perfectly Rawsome online guide with Zuma, it is really helpful. But be warned, there is an initial learning curve and a lot of weighing and measuring. If you want to take a much easier route, Babarf has a lot of experience in switching dogs to fresh and raw, and they offer the transition service at no extra cost. All you need is freezer space. Whichever route you choose, please, please, please transition from processed to raw food carefully and slowly otherwise you will have a dog with an upset tummy to deal with. This is because his gut acidity will need time to adjust to digesting raw food.
If you do switch to fresh food, you should see noticable improvements in your dog's energy, weight, coat, teeth, breath and poo within a matter of weeks. Please keep me posted, I would love to hear from you! Oh, and if you decide to subscribe to the Babarf service please be sure to tick the box on their website acknowledging Happy Dogs Aigle as the referral site, let me know and I will send you a bag of our brand new happy dog healthy treats as a "welcome to the club" gift!
One of the positive aspects of the Covid 19 situation is that we get to spend a lot more time home with our dog. However, unless handled carefully, spending all this time together could potentially lead to issues with separation anxiety down the line. As we return to work/school/external life, our dog will be expected to stay home alone for periods of the day. I'm keenly aware of separation anxiety, probably because it's one of the issues I routinely look for with new (especially young) boarding dogs. Dogs with separation anxiety get stressed, upset, loud and/or destructive if left alone. It can can lead to behavior change, illness, psychological issues and neurotic behavior (like obsessive paw licking, tail biting). There are simple steps you can and should take to make sure your dog becomes - or remains - well adjusted and happy when alone.
Most importantly, don't let everyone smother the dog with attention all the time
Doing this will cause an unnecessarily dramatic change when you are apart. If you think about it, most dogs regularly spend time alone and and it's really important that they don't lose the ability to do that. Give your dog time alone, even (or maybe especially) when the whole family is at home. Let him relax on the other side of a baby gate, in another room or outside in the garden while you're in the house. This will diminish the contrast between human presence and absence. Be sure he doesn't see it as a punishment, leave a kong or treats for him but do let him chill alone from time to time.
Physical & mental exercise:
Providing plenty of physical and mental stimulation is a vital part of treating many behaviour problems, especially those involving anxiety. Exercising your dog’s mind and body can greatly enrich his life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal dog behaviors. Additionally, a physically and mentally tired dog doesn’t have as much energy to expend when he’s left alone.
Here are some well accepted suggestions:
Kongs and brain games:
Those of you that follow the adventures of Happy Dogs Aigle know we love kongs and snuffle mats to keep dogs occupied during hot/rainy weather, recovery from injury or home alone time. A Kong stuffed with something really tasty like chicken, doggy peanut (peamutt) butter, tinned tuna, tinned dog food and/or some healthy treats like Archies Bonbons or RiRaw is a godsend. I highly recommend freezing the Kong so that getting all the food out takes even more of your dog’s time and energy. Change what's inside frequently and be sure to remove the Kong as soon as you get home so that your dog only has access to them - and the high-value foods inside - when he’s alone. You could feed your dog breakfast or even all of his daily meals this way. Keep in mind, though, that this approach will work best for mild cases of separation anxiety because highly anxious dogs usually won’t eat when home by themselves.
Another option is a snuffle mat (purchase here) which forces the dog to use his nose to seek out the food, thereby tiring and relaxing him. Alternatively a simple, zero cost idea that works well is to put your dogs favourite toys into a box and throw a handful of treats in. They will have great fun using their brain and nose to find the food and that is actually as good, if not more so, than a stroll for a dog from time to time.
Finally, I often scatter a handful of treats or dry kibble in the garden (don't do this if your dog is a digger but sniffers will have a lot of fun!).
Ensure your dog CAN sleep alone: it's ok to share the sofa and/or bed with your dog if that's your preference, but making sure that he/she can actually sleep alone happily is also important. Some day your dog is going to need to stay without you, perhaps at a boarding facility or a friend's house or the vet. Crate training, whilst controversial in Switzerland, is (in my opinion) a great way to provide a safe, enjoyable space for your dog to relax. I find that crate trained dogs usually settle really well at night in my boarding facility. There is lots of advice available online on how to crate train. It's really important to do it correctly, otherwise you can make things a whole lot worse and have a very distressed and/or destructive and/or noisy dog. But whether in a crate or not, you should ensure your dog is capable of sleeping alone, because some day he may need to.
If all else fails and your dog cannot stay alone happily, it would be worth considering the professional guidance of a behavioural expert, the sooner the better. Good luck!
Caroline Ingraham, founder of Applied Zoopharmacognosy and a leading expert in the field of animal self-medication, did a fascinating experiment with 5 of the delegates at our Swiss Natural Dog Seminar last year where she got them to dip their finger into a pot of licorice root powder and taste it. See photo below: from left Jenny, Conor, Julia, Anne, Marga and Caroline. All said it tasted sweet on the first round. Some found it turned bitter on the second taste, some on the third, some it was on the fourth taste that the licorice became bitter on their tongue. Licorice root powder is good for adrenal fatigue (among other things), so as Caroline explained, those that found it sweet longest actually needed more of it. When they'd had enough, the taste became bitter. It was amazing, like watching magic unfold in front of us.
That's the underlying principle behind Applied Zoopharmacognosy. Animals are capable of self selecting what they need to heal themselves - if we allow them to. I saw this firsthand with our Gracie when she was gravely ill in January. I've written about her seeking out dandelions (good for the liver and kidneys) in my blogpost here and luckily I had attended a weekend training seminar on AZ with Caroline so, in the week she was critically ill, I offered her a selection of essential oils. I wasn't expecting much to be honest, she was not eating or drinking at this stage and was really very weak but I figured we had nothing to lose. I offered her lemon, lime, oregano, wild orange and rose. When I say "offered" I opened the bottle and left it on the ground near her, then observed. Gracie clearly chose lemon, known for its' antiseptic and antibacterial properties. She inhaled for a couple of minutes then turned her head and fell into a deep sleep. A friend with me at the time could not believe her reaction which was subtle but unmistakable. That's the thing I find about AZ - it really does have to be seen to be believed. In my mind AZ, along with excellent veterinary care at Medivet plus acupuncture from Dr. Victoria Unt (Vet Equilibre) along with Gracie's determination to survive helped her turn a corner that week.
So how does it work? I've taken this quote from Caroline's website: "Ingraham Applied Zoopharmacognosy (IAZ) enables self-medicative behaviour in domesticated or captive animals by offering plant extracts that would contain the same, or similar constituents to those found in an animal’s natural environment. The practice encourages and allows an animal to guide its own health, since unlike their wild counterparts, captive and domesticated animals rarely have the opportunity to forage on medicinal plants."
We were lucky enough to welcome Caroline as a speaker at the 2019 NDS in Montreux and luckier still that she has agreed to return for our next event, whenever that will be. Caroline has fascinating case studies on her Facebook page, including a recent one involving a horse that was the victim of an acid attack and survived thanks in no small part to her input. She is also offering webinars and online training courses which, speaking from experience are fascinating. If you're interested in learning more, I'd really encourage you to follow her here.
I get asked for my opinion on dog food A LOT. Luckily, it's a subject that really interests me. I am not a nutrition specialist or a vet and my opinions are just that, my opinions. I do however spend a lot of time with dogs as well as reading, learning and researching about their nutritional needs, so this article is a summary of my beliefs and practices. Please note - this is an enormous topic summarised into one short blogpost. I will list numerous reference websites for further reading or contact me for more information and/or questions. I hope you find it to be "food for thought".
IMO - in a nutshell - the less processed the food, the better. For dogs and for us.
I want my dogs to be lean, healthy, shiny and fresh smelling with great teeth and the right amount of energy for their age, so I feed them fresh food. Perro & Zuma get raw muscle meat (80%), raw meaty bones (10-20%), organ meat (5-10%), some fruit and lightly poached vegetables (5-10%). Read more about raw feeding for puppies and dogs here and here. This option sounds daunting but it's really not. Ready mixed frozen complete meal options of chicken, turkey, rabbit, beef, lamb, kangaroo, ostrich & duck can be bought from quality pet stores such as Petfriends and Meiko. There are also companies such as Babarf who deliver customised and frozen complete meals in a bag to your door once or twice per month, it couldn't be easier. I buy as much human grade meat as possible from supermarkets when it's on sale as well as tinned tuna, sardines and mackerel (in water, not oil or brine) and I buy frozen chicken hearts, stomachs, backs, feet & necks and sardines & mussels from my local Portuguese supermarket. A couple of times per week I add hemp seed or coconut oil, seaweed powder, cottage cheese, raw eggs, bone broth and probiotics. That's it in a nutshell.
For Gracie who is a grand old dame (and for Siddy who died this year aged 20), my preference is cooked food, the same ratio as above but everything very lightly poached. I personally believe it's easier for really old dogs to digest cooked food. I realise many raw feeding advocates would disagree and that's fine but my golden oldies thrive on this so I intend to continue. I also mix in a little quality tinned senior food from time to time (Terra Canis, I order online here) and for upset tummies I highly recommend having a few tins of Recovery Recipe in the cupboard.
I do not feed dry kibble to my dogs and definitely not to senior dogs. Dry kibble is the most convenient dog food but is also (IMO) the poorest of all the options. Here's some additional reading on kibble. Some dry foods are better quality than others (this is a good comparison site). For kibble fed dogs, I really recommend adding as much fresh food as possible (and reducing the dry food accordingly). It is advised that up to 20% fresh food can be added to kibble/tinned diets without disturbing the nutritional balance. Here's a throw back to my blog post on how to make frozen power cubes for dogs. Important not to mix kibble with raw food as that plays havoc with digestion but you can significantly increase your kibble fed dogs' health, longevity and happiness by adding eggs, sardines, poached veg, leftover meat or porridge, blueberries etc as often as possible. Read this for some great tips. Next month I will touch on some of what not to feed dogs (dentasticks and rawhide bones will definitely make that list).
Cancer rates are through the roof in dogs. Highly processed dry food is seen as a major contributor by many proponents of fresh food. Purdue University did a study on the effect on rates of bladder cancer in Scotties with the addition of fruit & veg and concluded "that consumption of certain vegetables may prevent or slow the development of TCC (transitional cell carcinoma) in Scottish Terriers." Dogs don't need a lot of fruit & veg (5-10% max), but a little really does go a long way to a healthier life.
Dr. Conor Brady, PhD, Author, Blogger, Lecturer and all round expert in canine nutrition shared a recipe for home made power cubes at our Natural Dog Seminar in Montreux in 2019. Publishing an updated version here with his permission:
A large sweet potato boiled (with skin on) or some porridge oats can be added for hungry dogs. Lightly boiled courgette is also a good, healthy filler for hungry dogs. I play around with the ingredients depending on what I have to hand but roughly follow the principles and it will be great. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, blend using a hand blender, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Voila - just pop one on your dog's food daily for a tasty, easy vitamin and mineral boost.
Aileen Woulfe, Irish expat, lifelong animal lover, Swiss qualified with a diplôme cynologique in breeding, grooming and kennel management and owner of Happy Dogs Aigle boarding and daycare in Vaud, Switzerland.