Feeding Your Dog

Love Dog

In This Chapter

  • Meeting your dog’s nutritional needs
  • Recognizing the connection between nutrition and growth
  • Making your own dog food and other diet planswww.phdproducts.com.

Option 2: Beefed-up commercial food

Option 2 adds supplements and fresh foods to commercial kibble. The quantities of the respective ingredients listed in this section are for a 50-pound dog. You can adjust this recipe according to your dog’s weight. When calculating the amount for the weight of your dog, err on the side of too little, rather than too much. Some dogs eat more than their weight indicates, and some dogs less. You dog’s metabolism and the amount of daily exercise he gets determine the amount of food he needs. Use common sense and keep all ingredients in proportion.
Feed the following twice a day:

11⁄2 cups Performance Food

1⁄4 teaspoon of vitamin C

1 vitamin B-complex

1⁄8 teaspoon of vitamin/mineral mix (Wellness from PHD)

1⁄4 cup of beef (hamburger, 80 percent), or 2⁄3 meat and 1⁄3 beef liver for a total of 1⁄4 cup. You can also use chicken and chicken livers.

2 tablespoons fresh vegetables

2 tablespoons fresh or dried fruit

To the morning meal, add one Amino Acid Complex tablet (Nature Most), and, four times a week, one large egg cooked for five minutes, served with shell. Once a week substitute cottage cheese for the meat on one day, and unflavored yogurt containing acidophillus on another day.
For vegetables use carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potato, broccoli, leek, zucchini, squash, or any vegetable your dog likes. Chop the vegetables in a food processor or parboil them to make it easier for your dog to digest the cellulose. Whenever you can, use vegetables that are in season.
For treats, try carrot sticks, dried liver, broccoli, parsnips, lettuce, bananas, prunes, cucumbers, or fruit or vegetable in season.


Making major changes in Buddy’s diet without keeping track of how these changes affect him isn’t a wise idea. We recommend that you have a blood test done before making a dietary change and again six months later.

Option 3: Natural Diet Foundation formula

Option 3 is the lazy man’s way of feeding a balanced homemade diet. All the work is done for you. You need to add only two ingredients in the morning meal and one ingredient in the evening meal, mixed with a little water.
The National Diet Foundation (NDF) formula, available from PHD, is the same as our homemade diet in option 4, except that it’s dehydrated. This carefully formulated diet meets the needs of dogs of different breeds, of different ages, and of those dogs that live in different climates. It was clinically tested prior to marketing. Because no heat is used in the processing of the food, all the vitamins and minerals are unaltered by the food processing. It uses only human-grade ingredients and is the next best thing to making your own.
For the morning meal, all you add is water, yogurt, and vegetables. For the evening meal, all you add is meat. Directions for amounts to feed are on the package.

Option 4: Wendy Volhard’s Natural Diet recipe

Making your own dog food is becoming a popular option, although it’s hardly a new one. Every dog alive today can trace its ancestry back to dogs that were raised on homemade diets. The dog food industry, in comparison to dogs themselves, is young — maybe 50 to 60 years — although canned meat for dogs was sold at the turn of the 20th century. Originally, the commercial foods were made to supplement homemade food.

Why make your own?

Many dogs don’t thrive on commercially prepared rations. They exhibit disease states, often mistaken for allergies, which are deficiency diseases caused by feeding cereal-based foods. A dog in his natural state would eat meat. His prey would be that of a grass-eating animal — an herbivore. Along with the internal organs and the muscle meat, he would eat the predigested grasses and plants of the carcass. Those grasses and plants would consist of no more than 20 to 25 percent of his total diet. He would raid nests from ground-breeding birds and eat the eggs, and he would catch the occasional insect. He would maybe forage on certain weeds and grasses and eat berries and fruit.
In formulating the Wendy Volhard Natural Diet (ND) we stay within these boundaries — with the exception of the insects. Although domestication has changed the appearance of many dogs through selective breeding, the digestive tract of the dog remains substantially the same as it always was. You really do have a wolf in your living room.
The Natural Diet consists of two meals. One is a cereal meal plus supplements, which comprises 25 percent of the total diet. The other 75 percent is a raw meat meal plus supplements. In separating these meals — both of which are balanced — the digestive system uses enzymes present in the stomach and intestines to efficiently and quickly break down the food. It decreases the load on the digestive organs, which are maintained in a healthy state for a longer period of time.
For more information on how to make your own food, read The Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog, 2nd Edition, by Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown, DVM (Wiley).

Benefits of the Natural Diet

The advantages of feeding the Natural Diet are many:

The diet increases health and longevity. Diabetes, skin, ear, and eye problems are rare, and so is hip dysplasia and bloat. Teeth rarely, if ever, have to be cleaned. Fleas, ticks, and worms are almost unheard of on the Natural Diet. Overall vitality and energy are unequaled.

You can tailor the diet to individual needs. Doing so is beneficial for some breeds of dogs, especially imported dogs or relatives of imported dogs, who have difficulty in digesting corn contained in the majority of prepared commercial diets. You can also substitute individual ingredients as necessary. Dogs are able to digest and utilize the Natural Diet.

The diet contains a lot of moisture in the natural ingredients. As a result, the dog drinks little water.

Young dogs raised on this diet grow more slowly than dogs raised on commercial food. They also have fewer musculoskeletal problems.

Dogs love to eat it. A happy dog is a healthy dog.

Transferring to the Natural Diet

Unless your dog is already used to a raw diet, you need to put him on the following short-term transitional meal plan to avoid digestive upsets that may come from the switch to the Natural Diet.
Note: This diet is for a 50-pound dog. Adjust it according to your dog’s weight. And make sure that fresh water is always available to your dog.

Day 1: No food. At mealtime, feed 2 teaspoons of honey mixed with a cup of lukewarm water.

Day 2: In the morning, give honey and water as in Day 1. In the evening, give 1 cup of yogurt or kefir and 2 teaspoons of honey.

Day 3: In the morning, give 1 cup of yogurt or kefir and 2 teaspoons of honey. In the evening, give 1 cup of yogurt or kefir, 2 teaspoons of honey, and 1 teaspoon of dry or 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs.

In the fall and winter, rotate the following herbs: Parsley, nettles, corn silk, burdock root, ginger root, golden rod, watercress, rosemary, sage, dandelion root, and alfalfa.

In the spring and summer rotate dandelion leaves and flowers, borage, peppermint leaves, sorrel, goldenrod leaves, rosemary, watercress, comfrey leaves, alfalfa, and milk thistle.

Day 4: In the morning, give 2 cups of yogurt or kefir, 2 teaspoons of honey, 1 tablespoon dry or 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs, and 1⁄2 ounce (dry weight) of cooked oatmeal. In the evening, give 1 cup of yogurt or kefir, 2 teaspoons of honey, 1 tablespoon dry or 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs, 2 ounces of (dry weight) cooked oatmeal, and 1 garlic capsule.

Day 5: In the morning, give 1⁄2 normal ration of cereal and supplements as listed in the Natural Diet chart shown in Table 18-1. In the evening, give 1⁄2 normal ration of meat meal as listed in Table 18-1.

Day 6: In the morning, give the normal amount of food as listed for Days 1 through 6 in Table 18-1. In the evening, give the normal amount of food as listed on Days 1 through 6 in Table 18-1.

Now your dog is ready to follow the full Natural Diet listed in Table 18-1.

Table 18-1                         Natural Diet — 50-Pound Dog

Breakfast (Days 1–6)
Dinner (Days 1–6)
3 oz. grain mix (dry)
12 oz. meat (days 1–5)
2 teaspoons of molasses
21⁄2 oz. liver (days 1–5)
2 teaspoons of safflower oil
14 oz. cottage cheese (day 6)
200 IU vitamin E
200 mg vitamin C
200 mg vitamin C
1 teaspoon of cod liver oil
50 mg vitamin B complex
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
11⁄4 egg, small (4 times per week)
1⁄2 teaspoon of kelp
1⁄2 cup of yogurt or kefir
1 teaspoon brewer’s yeast
11⁄2 garlic capsule (325 mg)
21⁄2 bone meal
2 tablespoons of wheat germ
3 tablespoons of wheat bran
2 teaspoons of dry herbs
2 tablespoons of fruit (alternate days)
Breakfast (Day 7)
Dinner (Day 7)
2 1⁄3 oz. grain mix (dry)
200 mg vitamin C
50 mg vitamin B complex
1 cup of yogurt or kefir
4 teaspoons of honey

Give your dog a bone

Once or twice a week, give your dog a bone as a special treat. They love large beef bones, raw chicken necks, and the tips off chicken wings. If you’re not sure about how long these items have been in the supermarket case, douse them with boiling water to kill any bacteria before feeding. The side benefit of feeding bones is that your dog has beautiful, pearly white teeth that don’t need to be cleaned.

What about table scraps?

There is nothing wrong with adding table scraps to Buddy’s food, provided they don’t exceed 10 to 15 percent of his total diet. Many dogs love leftover salad, meat scraps, and veggies. In fact, for the picky eater, table scraps are often the best way to get him to eat his rations.
You do need to avoid certain foods, particularly those with a high sugar count, such as chocolate and highly salted foods.


Feeding too many bones, however, can give him constipation and hard, chalky stools. Be careful, too, to give your dog only large bones that can’t splinter.


When you give your dog a bone, leave him alone. Dogs get possessive about their bones. Bones are one of the few items that may cause Buddy to growl at you if you try to take one away from him. It’s a very special treat, and he wants to be in a place to relax and enjoy it. Let him go to his crate, which is the perfect place for him to enjoy his bone in peace. Letting him go there gets him away from other dogs or cats in the family, the children, and you. Give him a few hours just to indulge himself. Let him be a dog. After a few days of chewing a fresh bone, it loses its magic, and most dogs will allow the kids, other dogs, or you to pick it up or handle it.

by Jack and Wendy Volhard