We tend to talk about doing 80/20 beef for 5 days, a Day of fish, a meal of whole fat yogurt or cottage cheese and a fasting meal for most dogs. We won’t fast a puppy or an unwell pet. In this protocol, we also do Raw Meaty Bones a couple of times a week.
Even within that protocol, it’s ok to vary your proteins more often. Occasionally a day or meal of turkey, eggs, rabbit, duck, or venison is ok. Maybe even chicken — ideally organic. I’ve even been known to use tuna, when I have failed to make it to the market before meal time.
Remember we don’t choose chicken often as it’s such a common inflammatory and allergen source. So I tend to not recommend it often — but some dogs will do fine on chicken. You just have to know your dog.
It really is important to vary protein sources from time to time.
In the “typical” protocol listed above,
beef is a neutral food that most dogs will do well on. It’s “neutral” in terms of 5-Element theory of warming and cooling foods.
we chose 80/20 ratio of beef because it gives us a good protein to fat ration for your take. When prepared with the mix, we come in around 17% fat.
We choose whole fat yogurt and cottage cheese again, because your dogs is getting protein and fat in his diet.
We choose a days of fish to help balance the Omega 3 needs of your dog. If your dog has a fish allergy - we have to find a source of Omega 3 for your dog. Camelina oil can be a good one. Chicken for example only gives Omega 6 (inflammatory).
Yogurt or cottage cheese are used to give the digestive system a chance to take a break for a couple of days from processing all that rich muscle meat, and to get some essential nutrients that are more readily available in these dairy products. It’s all about letting the digestive system try to mimic more of what would happen in nature.
Many of you will struggle with the fasting meal. Using that time for a Raw Meaty Bone usually satisfies most dogs. But, if you can’t or won’t fast your dog — it’s ok :-) The fasting is about giving the digestive system time off the clock.
If you end up feeding fish a lot more often or instead of the beef — you may find that you need to add a source of fat. We often us a small pat of Grass Fed Butter or unrendered beef fat from the butcher. How much is based on the total amount of food you’re feeding at that meal. Fish is much leaner than the 80/20 beef and could lead to weight loss.
You still want to stay within about 15-20% Fat for the meal
The calculation is generally as follows
(# lbs x 16 oz x .18) — where pounds is the pound of food not your dog’s weight.
When you do use turkey, you’ll want to use dark meat and some of the skin!! Same is true for chicken. White meat is ok once in a while, but again, when you start depleting the fat content often, you may see health issues or weight loss, unless you add a fat supplement.
Likewise if you have a dairy allergy, we can look at other options.
By now you might be even more confused. Don’t panic. Be sure to schedule your first wellness review with me to make sure we review any unique considerations for your dog to help maximize the nutritional benefits. We can discuss the 5-Element theory, which proteins make the most sense for your dog and if any special considerations are needed when you do make a rotation.
You see we are trying trying to help get the diet optimized for your dog’s needs and to address underlying health issues if they exist. Customizing the food plan can help you do that!
Occasional variance is encouraged! It’s when you start making it your normal or only source of protein you need to consider more detail.