Now before you think this is a yoga blog piece and I’ll start talking about the balance of the mind (which is important btw) however I’m refering to the balancing of your pets meals!
Now everyone who knows me, should know I’m a firm believer of “balancing over time” and a great advocate for “intermittent fasting” where possible.
Now you’ll see all over social media groups many and different views on this balance malarky and all I can say is relax! So many people are stressing about hitting nutritonal figures set by some organisations , but everyone’s forgetting that these are just a guide! A guide that’s been done under the law of averages! I’ve even seen people slagging others meals off because it’s not balanced (well it doesn’t look balanced) yet they’re using a spreadsheet to balance their meals using nutritonal databases from other countries, therefore their spreadsheets flawed!
Example: A commercially reared cow in the UK will have a different nutritonal profile compared to a commercially reared cow in the US, epigenetics being the driving factor of this!
Many of these people hell bent on balance in the UK are using Google (US Data) or other official free US databases to “formulate” their meals, therefore aren’t using the correct nutritonal analytic data for the foods they’re feeding. If you’re in the UK you’re best off using McCance and Widdowson and even this isn’t that great for a DIY raw feeder.
I did touch on this topic slightly in respect of balance by the NRC, FEDIAF, AAFCO or the WSAVA etc here : https://mkabcaninenutrition.com/2019/10/18/nrc-aafco-fediaf-nutritional-guidelines-do-they-apply-to-fresh-foods/
These guidelines as a whole are a great starting point and shouldn’t be ignored , they should be used as a guide and tweak to suit, unfortunately if you just copy what other raw feeders are doing, you maybe unknowingly causing a Deficiency/toxicity on a dietary basis, you also have to remember that these guidelines have been set in respect of dry foods/tinned meat, using crude proteins, fats/oils, fibre, carbs, ash etc. It’s not really a great stand point in respect of whole foods.
Dr Ian Billinghurst once told me that balancing with whole foods is easy, no maths or spreadsheets involved just follow an Evolutional Feeding method and nutrients look after themselves , it’s like balancing on a platform, it’s hard to be unbalanced, but feeding fake foods in respect of dry foods balanced with synthetic vitamins and minerals it’s like balancing on a tight rope, very easy to become unbalanced! Disclaimer: This method is for an experienced raw feeder who already knows the basics of what foods provide what to a dog! This is by no means of saying you can just chuck a store bought chicken to a dog everyday and all will be fine… Purchase one of his books and all will become clearer (no affiliation) click here
Do all dogs require the same nutrients? Why yes they do! But do they all require them in the same balance/ratio, hell no! Every dog is different, their individual bodies adapt to their surrounding and diet etc so your dog as an individual is different, even to their siblings, how ever if we use these guidelines to help us provide enough of the nutrients they require, a healthy dog will balance their own intake, senior dogs will need a little more tlc and understanding as their bodies may start to utilise less (malabsorption) in respect of certain nutrients, this would then have to be factored in, supplements etc will help.
You’ll be keen to know how to spot Nutritonal Deficiencies as dogs do have tell tell signs such as selecting odd sources of “food” , stones for example, dogs can smell minerals and certain stones provide sodium, ever had a dog that licks your sweaty legs/arms? This is another indication that their dietary sodium is low or their electrolytes are out of balance.
Keep you eye out for the next blog on deficiencies and toxicity…