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When Clarky Met Charlie a Shelter Dog Love Story of a Healthy Happy Dog

This Blog is dedicated by a beautiful friend of ours and her beloved Shelter Rescue, Charlie.

'Help! This was the random cry from Clarky over the phone, I have no idea what I am doing. I have never owned a dog before! What are some things I can feed her, and I know Dry Kibble is probably not the best I can feed her. What can I do to make it healthier?'

Our Friend fell in love with the gorgeous mixed breed after meeting her at a foster carers home. Charlie's diet at the shelter was, as to be expected, only dry Kibble, but because she was only around 7 months old (a guesstimate) the tell-tale signs of this limited and less than optimal diet had not begun to show. She was still healthy and looked to be in great condition - because she was so young!

So, Clarky, I was glad you asked these very common questions of new dog owners who want to provide optimum healthy options for their new family members.

So, what are the key things to know about food & the role it plays to ensure a Healthy Happy Dog?

So, let's start with why Kibble causes issues and what those problems can look like. Dog's that are ONLY fed Dry Kibble often develop some, if not all of the following symptoms:

Tartar and Plaque build up and gum disease

All commercial dry Kibble on the market (yep, also including grain-free varieties) are made using a high heat extrusion process. To hold the Kibble together some form of starchy carbohydrates are used. Usually they are Corn, Wheat, Rice, Oats, Barley in the standard cheaper varietes.

The GRAIN FREE varieties also require some form of carbohydrate to hold the pieces together. The ingredients used to enable the extrusion process to work are usually Pea Protein, Beets or Legumes (similar to beans).

In a nutshell, both traditional Kibble AND Grain Free Kibble cause issues with dogs teeth and gums because of the carbohydrates used to manufacture them. The carbs turn into Starches when mixed with the dog's saliva, the Starches turn into Sugars. So, over time, you are in effect feeding sugar to your dog every single meal, and this shows up in the form of Plaque and tooth decay.

Skin 'Allergies' and Yeast Infections, Hot Spots and Infected Ears

A Kibble fed dog is prone to all sorts of issues with their skin and coat, feet and ears.

Why? That's a very long topic for another Blog, but the short answer is their Gut Microbiome is so unhealthy due to their diet that their immune systems are stressed so much that anything like grasses, pollens, dust and all the chemicals used around their home environments will set off 'Allergies'. These can be treated topically with medications and washes, but they will always come back because their systems are so out of balance.

Itchy and constantly scratching is often caused by an overgrowth of Yeast. (Candida, yup, it is the same Thrush infections humans can get).

How can I tell if my dog has a Yeast Overgrowth?

Constantly scratching

Constantly licking the same spots

Red, Rusty marks on their skin and fur (usually on the feet, groin, underarm areas)

A funky not nice dog smell

What causes this Yeast?

As mentioned Kibble turns into starches and sugars in the dogs mouths and guts. Yeast LOVES a steady diet of sugar. Too much sugar = a Yeast Infection that is hard to cure unless you remove the sugars from your dog's diet.

So how can I add some healthy things to her Kibble to transition her off it?


Fruits and Vegetables: ideal in every Healthy Happy Dog Diet

Most dogs love fruits, and as an occasional treat they are excellent. I recommend: Bananas Apples Pears Strawberries Blueberries Melons Steer clear from Acidic fruits like Pineapples, Oranges etc as they can cause upset All sorts of lightly cooked Vegetables. I recommend: Pumpkin Sweet Potato Carrots Beans Spinach Broccoli Cauliflower Leafy Greens Steer clear of starchy vegetables like White Potatoes (starch = sugars = yeast) Add in some cooked beaten eggs (make an omelet, don't add anything to it). Let it cool and cut into cubes that can be frozen. Add a couple a day several times a week. Gently introduce some single proteins, lightly poached. I'd recommend: Cooked Chicken Cooked Turkey These tend to cause very few tummy upsets. I ALWAYS recommend Human Grade meats, pet grade meats often have preservatives added to double the shelf life in comparison to their Human Grade equivalents. DO NOT be tempted to buy the Pet Mince from the Supermarkets, they are alway a mixed combination of whatever is not fit for human consumption and if she has a reaction you will never know which protein caused it. The most important this to remember for Charlie (and all the other pet parents who want to know how to transition their dogs from Kibble). GO SLOW!! A Tablespoon a day of any new foods added to their Kibble is all you should try. Monitor her poops, it's normal for Diarrhoea at the beginning, but not excessive amounts. If Charlie is hesitant to try anything new, I have another Blog on how to tempt super fussy eaters. I simply can not wait until she has settled in and gains enough confidence to meet the big, scary outside world and let me cuddle the stuffing out of her!

Meet Charlie the Rescue Staffy cross!

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