Breed Specific Considerations

German Shepherds, Labradors, Boxers, Bull Terriers, Newfoundlands and many other working or herding breed dogs will need an amino acid boost. This would be added at the morning meal, unless you’re feeding eggs with that meal.

Dalmations, Westies, and some Bedlington Terriers will struggle with nitrogen in a beef fed diet. In fact, they may have difficult with high animal protein diets in general. Using more fish, eggs, chicken or yogurt for these dogs will them with lower nitrogen waste. These dogs may also benefit from an amino acid and a Vitamin C.

I recommend AminoWise from Young Living. And Vitamin C from Young Living.

Reference Holistic Guide to A Healthy Dog, Wendy Volhard — Order Your Own Copy

Transition Instructions

You have a few choices to successfully transition your dog to Volhard.

  1. Some of you will have been instructed to do a Cleansing Diet for a 3 week period prior to beginining the Volhard foods. Once you have completed the cleanse diet, you can easily just begin feeding Volhard as the complete meal for your pet.

  2. If you are coming off of a kibble-based diet, most of you will want to take a slow 10-day transition.

    1. Days 1-3 feed 1/4 of new food and 3/4 of old food

    2. Days 4-6 feed 1/2 of new food and 1/2 of old food

    3. Days 6-9 feed 3/4 of new food and 1/4 of old food

    4. Day 10 make a full transition to only Volhard food

  3. Depending on the dog’s current health (i.e generally good health with no major issues), we sometimes do a Fast Start transition.

    1. Skip one full meal — fasting.

    2. 2 meals of Whole Fat Yogurt with a little Fresh Raw Honey

      1. amount depends on the size of your dog

      2. consider about 3/4 cup yogurt and 1 tbsl of honey for a 50# dog

    3. The 4th meal is fully transitioned to the new food

The issue we’re trying to address here is tummy upset as the food is transitioned to something is far more nutrient rich that previously provided.

If often use a little bit of Young Living Digize Essential Oil during the transition phase as well. Digize is a blend of 8 different essential oils targeted at digestive health.

Do I Need Supplements on NDF2 or AM/PM


Most of the time the answer to that question is no for additional vitamins, minerals, probiotics or digestive enzymes when we feed Volhard products as suggested. . Most of what we need in terms of digestive enzymes, probiotics and vitamins and minerals are already included in your mix and fresh raw meat. So the large majority of folks find it be to all they need.

Where we may find a need to supplement NDF and AM/PM includes:

  • Senior Citizens who are having more difficulty with digestive enzymes and nutrient absorption. (The same issue is true for you!)

  • Unwell pets who may have some underlying issue that inhibits their vitamin and mineral absorption or processing.

  • Recovery from illness, injury, or surgery may lead us to want to support the body at a time when it is depleted or working extra hard.

  • Life stages that include growth and development, reproduction, etc

  • Boosting Vitamin B in the summer to further aid in Flea and Tick deterrents.

  • Joint Supplements — I suggest this for most every dog that has reached maturity, especially dogs that are prone to hip and joint issues.

It’s potentially as hazardous to your dog’s health to provide excess vitamins and minerals as it is to deplete them. Sometimes overdoing one area will cause another area to struggle. So before you start adding supplementation — be sure you know why you need it and what you’re looking for in results or risks.

It’s important for you to have base line blood work for your dog, and to monitor bloodwork each year, especially with our senior dogs or our unwell pets. Sometimes we will want to have blood work done more often. Not only are you looking for things to be in normal range, I encourage you to keep copies of your blood work and compare them, looking for trends within range at each testing period. It could give you an early indicator or a health issue.

Volhard has a few great supplements to choose from. I use many other supplements based on individual need (including my own) from Young Living.

Endurance Supplement

You will NOT need this product if you are using NDF2 or AM/PM.

This is an amazing supplement for folks who are feeding a home-prepared diet even if it’s raw or folks who are feeding kibble based diets. It’s like adding a great multi-vitamin for your dog.

Some improvements you may see include:

  • dense, shiny coat

  • clean teeth

  • clear ears, skin, eyes

  • enhanced pigmentation

  • minimizes shedding

  • reduces body odor 

How does it work?
Adding Endurance ensures the correct acid/alkaline balance for your pet’s digestive tract which counteracts stress by replacing the nutrients that are lost in the cooking and processing of commercial dog and cat food.

Vary Your Proteins

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.

Lightly Cooking Your Protein and Veggies

Some of your dogs will not eat food raw. For some it may just be during an initial transition until they are healthier. For others, it may be preference or easier on their digestive system.

If we have a dog who has been on kibble, dx with cancer, and trying to transition to raw, a light cook may be appropriate for digestive / bacteria related issues. Most dogs will tolerate the typical bacteria of Raw Meaty Bones and uncooked meat products with no issues. But if it’s a concern, a light cook is ok.

We also typically lightly cook fresh / frozen fish as well.

Lightly cooked means a steam, blanch, or saute lightly. The more you cook anything, the more nutrition is cooked out and possible carcinogens will be present. So as little cooking as possible.

Remember with your veggies when you use them for AM/PM, or even if you’re adding just a few to the bowl for a variety or 5 Element Theory — you’ll also want to run them through the food processor a time or two, or chop finely. The moisture and the chopping will help start the digestive process, mimicking eating vegetation from within the belly of prey.

Many people will include roasted veggies for their dog instead of steamed or sauteed. That’s fine. Just remember less cooking is typically a better option.

Raw Meaty Bones

Some of you area going to be a little worried about giving a Raw Meaty Bone. It’s no question that there can be some concerns. These might include ingestion, getting stuck in the mouth / over the jaw, breaking a tooth, or even a resource guarding issue with some dogs / multiple dog homes.

Never feed your dog a cooked bone of any kind. Bones should be Raw.

You can use beef, pork even chicken bones.

It’s important that your dog be appropriately sized for your dog and that you understand your dog’s chewing style, and that you supervise. Examples:

  • Short Rib / Spare Rib bones may be good for many small, mid-size dogs if they gnaw and do not crunch through them quickly.

    • As any bone is reduced in size due to crunching or gnawing, take it away from the dog when it appears to be small enough to swallow.

    • As bones are reduced in size, they can often get caught across the pallette of the upper mouth between the teeth. This MUST be supervised to avoid, but it does happen. If you can’t remove it, it becomes a medical issue.

    • If your dog is crunching through them, the shards can be problematic for ingestion.

  • Leg bones/ Femur of large are extremely hard. These are the one’s most likely to break teeth, though any bone could. You could also break your tooth on a piece of candy. Still with Femurs, have them cut.

    • Cutting long ways would give you an opportunity for a marrow bone with some knowing, but you will be missing the meat, tendons, cartilage, etc that requires your dog to gnaw, tear, strip and shred. Which is really the whole point.

    • If they are cut into “circles” be sure that when the marrow is removed that it is not large enough to slip over your dog’s lower jaw and get hung behind the teeth. That would become a surgical procedure.

If your dog hides bones, you need to know where, so that you can supervise chewing it when he gets it out next.

Generally speaking, take bones away after about 15-20 minutes for most dogs. If it’s unfinished, freeze it for using tomorrow. Keep them only 3-4 days before throwing away.

If you have never given your dog a bone before and do not know his chewing style, you may want to introduce the bone to him slowly and also teach the “out” command. When I give a new dog a bone, we are in a smaller space that he can’t run off and hide from me. I hold the bone to start and let him sniff, start to lick, or gnaw with me holding it. I’m looking for any signs of behavior I should be concerned about, and the ability to teach the dog I will take the bone away. (Be SAFE and do ONLY what you are comfortable and confident with for your dog!) Where needed the dog is crated or gated when they are given a bone.

AM / PM Diet

This food option is more customized and is a good choice small dogs, unwell dogs and the aging senior. It’s it required for these dogs — not always — but there are some benefits.

AM/PM separates out protein delivery to having meat only 1 time per day. And it separates out carbohydrates (yes they are in there) from the meats. Protein and Veggies/Carbs are digested differently within the body at different rates of speed. They will get yogurt and veggies at one meal and meat at the second meal. This helps the digestive system function more efficiently (less work) for these dogs with special needs.

It also also you to control your veggie choice with a lot more precision. This allows you to use seasonal veggies from the farmer’s market which are fresher and often cheaper. You can rotate veggies with the season — that follows beautifully with 5 Element Theory.

If your dog is determined to have some unique needs to accommodate 5 Element Theory or address some specific issue you have much more control of what’s in the bowl.

You can give PM meal in the mornings if you prefer — some do this because the dog is more active during the day and needs more protein to get through these activities.

What you should NEVER do is give only PM or only AM as your meal. You will be missing key nutritional requirements.

Yes, it’s a bit more labor intensive than NDF2 for preparing the veggies — but it’s totally doable in bulk. Just Roast or steam your veggies, whir them in the food processor and bring them out as you need to mix them in. It’s really not that difficult or time consuming.

You can do this!