We try to carry the best dry foods on the market, but it’s important to realize that even the best ones are still a heavily processed food. Some ingredients are put through multiple layers of processing, and the whole batch is baked or more often extruded, which can damage nutrients, enzymes, and valuable amino acids that have important jobs to do in the body.
Most pet owners find one kibble that works and just stick with it, but this really limits the number of nutrients available to your pet. Some pet food companies say you should never ever switch your dog’s food, but that doesn’t make much sense (they just don’t want you to feed someone else’s food!). Why should you sometimes switch your pet’s food? No matter what, even the best brands of kibble are highly processed foods that lack whole food nutrients and enzymes that can help their bodies thrive. Topping off their kibble diets can make a huge difference for their health! Even the nicest raw food diets can be lacking nutrient diversity – no matter how thoughtful and knowledgeable we are, we couldn’t make a single meal for ourselves that we could eat every single day of our lives and not have a deficiency or excess of something for our personal nutritional needs. We can certainly say the same for our pets! Variety over time creates nutritional balance. Adding whole food toppers are a great to help to round out their meals, especially if you rotate through different ones! Just like for people, a diet for pets made entirely of processed foods with no fresh whole food nutrients is a recipe for chronic illness. With the rapid rise in chronic illnesses like cancer, we should (in our opinion) be doing everything we can to boost the diets of our precious, short lived pets to try to take advantage of whole food nutrients. But what to give?
This is where whole food toppers come in handy. Most kibbles rely heavily on synthetic vitamins and minerals to make sure that valuable nutrients that are damaged by cooking are not missing. However, whole foods have valuable qualities that trump any single synthetic vitamin. For example, a carrot has valuable Vitamin A, but to quote http://www.whfoods.com, “carrots actually contain a fascinating combination of phytonutrients like betacarotene and other carotenoids (especially alpha-carotene and lutein); hydroxycinnamic acids (including caffeic, coumaric, ferulic); anthocyanins (in the case of purple and red carrots); and polyacetylenes (especially falcarinol and falcarindiol). Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids). In addition, they are a very good source of biotin, vitamin K, dietary fiber, molybdenum, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. They are a good source of manganese, niacin, vitamin B1, panthothenic acid, phosphorus, folate, copper, vitamin E and vitamin B2″. WOW! Just trying to isolate single vitamins makes you miss out on the incredible complexity of nutrients that were designed to work together. So, we don’t recommend getting a supplement made from synthetic vitamins, we recommend rotating through a variety of Whole food toppers one at a time to help to cover all of their nutritional bases.
We’ve decided to create a tag called “Whole Food Toppers”, and to add a series of articles about our favorite whole food toppers for pets. Some will be things you can make or just add from your own fridge, and some will be our favorite ready-made commercially available toppers that you can look for at your favorite local pet supply store. Most will be for dogs, but we’ll point out what would be appropriate for cats of course.
The most awesome thing would of course to switch entirely to a fresh, minimally processed diet. Over and over we see chronic illnesses and conditions solved by doing this. However, many people are not able to do this for themselves, let alone their pets. There’s a lot to be said for the convenience and price effectiveness of kibble. But as I always say, whole foods don’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. Any amount of whole foods in our own diet is a good thing, and the same goes for our pets.
- Introduce all new things slowly. If your dog is tiny (and of course this goes for cats), start very small and build up to the suggested serving size. It’s a good rule of thumb for all foods and supplements. What if your pet had an allergy you didn’t know about and you heaped on something new? You can’t “un-give” it if they’ve started to show a reaction to it. What if your pet’s digestion is affected by something new? No one likes a blowout.
- Use something for a few weeks to get a sense of its long term benefits, and then rotate into something new. Or if it’s a fish oil, try a new kind of fish for your next bottle. (Been on salmon oil for a while? Try anchovy or sardine.)
- Always try one new thing at a time, so you can see whether it does or doesn’t agree with your pets- Watch your portions. If more than 20% of their meals are something you’re adding, you may need to consider if it’s balanced. Variety does help to create balance over time, but regularly adding even a little whole food to your kibble will create benefits. Sprinkle stuff on. If you normally add a few spoonfuls of canned food for variety and flavor, that’s great. Maybe try to introduce other things in the same amount to your dog’s kibble. Added perk: they’ll almost always be less expensive than canned foods.
Here’s a great product that we love. We sell a ton of Answers brand raw goat’s milk from our freezers, but these have added nutritious benefits and travel well when you’re on the road with your dogs
FREEZE DRIED RAW GOATS MILK FROM STEVE’S
These are supercharged with Mother Nature’s most powerful superfoods! No matter what, even the best brands of kibble are highly processed foods that lack whole food nutrients and enzymes that can help their bodies thrive. Topping off their kibble diets can make a huge difference for their health! Even the nicest raw food diets can be lacking nutrient diversity – no matter how thoughtful and knowledgable we are, we couldn’t make a single meal for ourselves that we could eat every single day of our lives and not have a deficiency or excess of something for our personal nutritional needs. We can certainly say the same for our pets! Variety over time creates nutritional balance. Adding whole food toppers like these (or the Green Juju we featured in the last newsletter) are a great to help to round out their meals, especially if you rotate through different ones!
Each freeze dried goat milk enhancement made by Steve’s Pet Food is packed full of carefully chosen superfoods that are designed to alleviate specific health issues. They package it in a reusable glass milk bottle, so all you need to do is fill it with water, shake, and pour over your pet’s food, or give it to them as treat or bedtime snack. When you run out, you can buy their 8 oz. refill containers and reuse the milk bottle to make another batch of your favorite enhance product. Here is a description of the three amazing flavors:
CannaGurt is a raw cannabis product that takes raw goat milk yogurt and infuses it with high-quality hemp oil. With 2.9 mg of CBDs per oz, CannaGurt is designed to help to dogs (or cats) with seizures, anxiety, pain, cancer, cognitive disorders and a suppressed appetite. CannaGurt has three simple ingredients that pack a big nutritional punch. First, the goat milk, which is incredibly nutritious and healthy for pets. They have added hemp protein which is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also high in fiber, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes and maintains energy. The bonus is that hemp is a sustainable crop that thrives without pesticides, and purifies and enriches the soil around it. The third ingredient in our powerhouse CannaGurt is Hemp Oil. Hemp oil contains Cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not alter the mind but safely contains incredible medicinal benefits.
DogNog is a recipe that takes raw goat milk and boosts it’s health properties by infusing it with whole, freeze dried eggs. They then add turmeric and yucca to heighten the anti-inflammatory powers, making it ideal for pets with mobility issues, allergies, or pets with inflammatory diseases such as IBD. It supports the urinary tract by providing high levels of Vitamin C coming from both Yucca and Cranberries. Cranberries also contain flavonoids comprised of a complex profile of anthocyanins and pronthocyanidins. They perfect the enhancement by adding bromelain, a protein extract derived from the stems of pineapple, which acts as a binder to help with the absorption of the turmeric & yucca and also provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
CarnaForage is a super green smoothie that is perfect for dogs with digestive issues. It is packed with a wide variety of greens that provide high levels of L-glutamine, a conditionally essential amino acid that the body uses in large amounts. L-glutamine is primarily responsible for digestive health and can ease symptoms of IBD, diarrhea and leaky gut. We compliment the tummy soothing raw goat milk with liver supportive dandelion, known for its high levels of Lecithin and Vitamin A. We finish this digestive enhancement with milk thistle, cilantro, and spirulina to strengthen and protect the liver from toxins, making it perfect for those pets with a sensitive stomach, chronic indigestion, pancreatitis, or GI tract inflammation.
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