The natural and holistic path with my pets' health first started when Sam was diagnosed in November 2012 with Puppy Strangles (also called Juvenile Cellulitis). He came down with it just two short weeks after bringing him home from the shelter. Puppy Strangles is an autoimmune disorder that (in my opinion) was caused by too many vaccines for a puppy in a short amount of time. When he was adopted, he was given a set of shots, then when taken to our vet, he was given another round of vaccines.
Long story short, I've learned that what I feed my dogs and cats plays an important role in their overall health (us too!).
Since Sam's prostate cancer diagnosis in November 2022 (and way before) I've been paying more attention to what he eats. Cancer feeds on sugar and starch so I made sure to stay far away from any foods that were high in those. Even his treats!
So what the heck does he eat?
Well, it's not easy, and it's a heck of a lot of work, but totally worth it. Kibble manufacturers use carbs and starch to bind their ingredients together so we stay far away from highly processed foods. At the core of his diet is a base mix that ensures he gets all the vitamins and minerals he needs. It also takes all the guesswork out of balancing it on my own. We chose a white fish as his main protein source to keep it easy on his gut. The base mix requires the addition of a healthy oil so we went with fish oil for the addition of the healthy omegas.
The base mix is dehydrated, so it allows us to meal prep for him a few days at a time and helps to keep us consistent with his portion size for each meal. The last thing we want is for Sam to gain a bunch of weight.
Sam's Meal Prep:
Dr. Harvey's Paradigm - low carb, low starch, low glycemic base mix to make sure Sam gets all the nutrients he needs and to balance out his meals.
Wild Cod - We found that the frozen Cod from Costco did not have any preservatives added like the local grocery stores do.
Turmeric Paste - I make this at home with coconut oil and not only give it to Sam, but I put this in my morning smoothies. It's full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant goodness and can help treat cancer.
Broccoli Sprouts - A rich source of sulforaphane that may prevent cancer. They're super easy to grow and it's another supplement I share with the fur kids.
Blueberries and Cranberries - I freeze batches of small paw print molds of pureed blueberries and pureed cranberries (separately) and add them to his prepped meals. Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants and cranberries are known to help the urinary tract.
These supplements are added in during meal time, either both meals or once a day:
Dr. Harvey's Health & Shine Fish Oil - Oils of mackerel, sardine, herring, and anchovy for healthy skin and coat, and omegas for healthy joints. Sam is allergic to salmon so we avoided this oil.
Chinese Herbs - Wei Qi Booster, Prostate Invigorator, Stasis Breaker that we get from our holistic vet.
CBD Oil - for its calming, anti-inflammatory, and arthritis goodness. All my cats and dogs get this!
Vitamin D - Sam was deficient after a test ran last year. Fun fact: dogs don't get their vitamin D from the sun as we do.
Digestive Enzymes - Helps to ensure the body is breaking down the food to absorb all the nutrients.
Joint Power - Green-lipped mussel is great for hips and joints.
Winpro Joint Supplement - Another great mobility supplement that helps with inflammation and joint stiffness.
Psyllium Husk Powder - Helps keep Sam regular. He has a history of GI issues/colitis and the powder can relieve both constipation and diarrhea.
Phyto Synergy - A marine phytoplankton that is absorbed by the body before it gets to the gut. It's a whole food supplement that provides a ton of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Dr. Harvey's Runs Be Done - A digestive supplement that contains all natural herbs and ingredients to help with occasional stomach upsets from his medication.
Goats Milk - All my cats and dogs love this! Unlike dairy from cows, goat's milk is highly digestible, contains less lactose, and is another source of healthy probiotics. I give this to my dogs first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to prevent vomiting.
Probiotics - Helps keep a healthy amount of good bacteria around to ensure a healthy GI system. This is added to the goats milk in the morning.
Bone Broth - Another great all-around source of goodness for my dogs and cats. Sam gets this as a bedtime snack so he doesn't go to bed on an empty stomach. The fur kids have their own crock pot because of how often I make this.
Bocce's Bakery Treats - These are the treats we leave behind for client dogs with the B shape. Their crunchy treats have only 3 or 4 ingredients and are Sam approved.
Vital Essentials - Their freeze-dried nibs are my go-to for Sam's vet appointments. He's incredibly food motivated and these make for great distractions and rewards.
We try to shop locally when we can. Radfords in Richmond, IN is a great source of bones for bone broth. We make the short trip to Youngblood's in Wilkinson, IN for his Dr. Harvey's food and many of his supplements.
If you made it this far, I'm sure you're a bit overwhelmed at all he gets. This just didn't happen overnight and getting to this point has taken a lot of time and research on my part. Sam hasn't always eaten this well and at one point was a kibble fed dog. This transition has taken years and the last thing I want to do is overwhelm you.
Start small. Make a batch of bone broth to hydrate your dog's kibble. Puree up some steamed broccoli and top your dogs dinner. Canned sardines in water and eggs (raw or cooked) are other great and easy additions to supplement kibble. Your dog will thank you!