Balance, Variety & Moderation
When we cook for ourselves and our family, we follow three fundamental principles of nutrition. We don’t have to think about them and the chances are we’ve never been taught them. But we follow them all the same. In terms of feeding our dogs, they’re known as the three fundamental principles of dog nutrition.
Long before science intervened in the manufacture of dog food. Way before the Industrial Revolution made possible the mass production and extended shelf life of food. Dogs flourished and breeds were selectively enhanced using those principles. Sadly, since large scale manufacturing became a reality and extended shelf life a possibility, self-serving manufacturers have wrongly convinced dog owners that those principles are no longer important.
As professors Marion Nestle and Malden C Nesheim say in their best selling book Feed Your Pet Right. “It is extremely difficult to induce a nutritional deficiency in animals – or people – who follow those principles.” Those principles are Balance, Variety & Moderation. They’re the fundamental principles of dog nutrition. The key to their success is that you have to follow all three principles at the same time. You do that for yourself and your family. There’s no reason why you can’t do the same for your dog!
Balance entails getting all the nutrients required by your dog into his or her diet and in the right proportions. Those nutrients are obtained by balancing the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, whole grains, calcium and supplemental herbs and spices.
As the word suggests, variety necessitates getting as much variety as possible into your dog’s diet. The more varied the diet, the wider the range of nutrients you give your best friend. The wider the range of nutrients, the healthier his or her diet is likely to be. Different protein sources offer different nutritional benefits. Different fruits and different vegetables do the same. Add them all together and you get a complete range of vitamins and minerals. Without artificial supplementation with man-made, chemical-based and unnatural supplements.
Moderation entails feeding just the right amount. So that your dog maintains a healthy weight taking into account his or her age, lifestyle, overall health and activity level.
The commercial dog food industry doesn’t like being reminded of the fact that mass produced commercial dog food is little more than 150 years old. Even then, prior to the end of the Second World War some 70 years ago, most dogs in the UK were home fed to a greater or lesser extent.
For hundreds and in the case of some breeds, thousands of years, dogs flourished and breeds were developed and improved on homemade food using the principles of Balance, Variety and Moderation.
The Afghan Hound, the Akita Inu, the Alaskan Malamute and the Basenji are thousands of years old. So are the Chow Chow, the Lhasa Apso, the Pekinese and the Saluki. Many of our favourite modern breeds are hundreds of years old. Every one of them was selectively bred and enhanced, not with commercial dog food, but with homemade dog food. And by owners and breeders who followed those three basic principles of dog nutrition, whether they were aware of it or not!
If you need help in improving your dog’s diet, perhaps one of my plans may help.