Home-Made Diet Highly Recommended by Vancouver ecoVillage Dog Trainers
This easy home-cooked diet, carefully designed by Dr. David S. Kronfeld (1928-2006), founder of the American and Australian Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Science, is given to our therapy dogs and have the following benefits:
Perfect balance of proteins with calcium and phosphurus from meat and bone-meal
Esssential nutrients rich in vitamins, minerals and fats from liver
Omega-3 oils give a shiny and healthy coat with very little shedding
Improves digestion, reduces flatulence and unpleasant odour
Improves urinary function and reduces feces as nutrients are better absorbed
Promotes strong bones and teeth with excellent joint flexibility
Reduces arthritic pain and inflammation
NOTE: DO NOT OMIT ANY INGREDIENTS - The bone meal, liver, vegetable oil and iodized salt are all necessary.
The cooked quantity to mix is one part rice to one part meat mixture.
2/3 cup (5 ozs.) Raw meat any kind, medium fat (20-25%); ground or chopped into 1 cm pieces
1/6 cup (1 oz. Liver, ground or chopped
2 - 3 tsps. Bone meal (for the minerals, esp. calcium)
1/3 cup Rice, uncooked, white or brown
Approx. 2 cups Water
1/6 -1/2 tsp Iodized salt (for the iodine)
1 tsp. Corn oil (for essential fatty acids) or Sunflower and Flax oil (see notes below)
OR Fish oil (plus vitamin E) is better absorbed - see here
Cook the rice in water until the rice is soft.
As it finishes cooking, place the raw liver in chunks into the blender, along with raw eggs or chunks of any vegetables (both optional – see below), and a bit of water. Liquefy into a puree.
Stir the mixture into the hot rice until cooked (no longer pink), only a minute or two.
Add the bone meal, salt, and the meat. Simmer for as short a time as possible, stirring as needed to prevent sticking (add water if desired) and speed cooking, a maximum of 20 minutes until the meat is cooked through. (I find 10 minutes usually plenty).
Add the oil last, when the mixture starts to cool.
Cool before feeding. (Excessive heat or length of cooking will damage important nutritional values of some ingredients, especially in the meat and oil.
Note that the meat mixture can be cooked separately and mixed with cooked rice. The meat mix can be easily frozen in portions.
Yield - 750 - 800 kcal. of available energy, adequate for the daily maintenance of a 20-25 pound adult dog. Amounts can be adjusted proportionately for larger or smaller dogs. Small dogs require more calories relative to body weight because of their large surface area. Larger dogs require less, with calorie needs not dissimilar to those of humans of equivalent weight and activity.
This diet is suitable for dogs experiencing growth, pregnancy, lactation, hard work, or stress. It is also used for cats.
Analysis: 35% protein, 21% fat, 32% carbohydrate, 1.4% calcium, 1.3% phosphorus.
For dogs with yeast infection or urinary disorders, eliminate the rice (carbohydrates dissolve into sugar promoting bacterial growth).
Notes by Marion Postgate
This diet is balanced and complete, and can be fed in combination with a commercial food. It needs no supplements. It also can be readily modified into most special prescription diets and is of at least as good a quality as those available commercially or from veterinarians. As a rule, it is cheaper, too.
I like to prepare a triple quantity of the recipe, using a Dutch oven size pot, and freeze the cooked food in plastic bags, in amounts to be thawed daily.
As you become familiar with cooking this diet, you will find yourself able to vary the basic ingredients to some extent. Remember that you must always include what Kronfeld terms the “supplement”: the liver, bone meal or equivalent, and iodine in approximately the right amounts. The liver provides the majority of the vitamins, and the bone meal the minerals. Iodine is necessary, and is variable in amounts in most foods – hence the use of iodized salt. To omit any of these ingredients will create an unbalanced diet.
Any meat may be used, or fowl, or fish! The meat can be fed raw if you are sure it is very fresh and uncontaminated by bacteria. Regular hamburger is legally up to 30% fat, medium hamburger is usually 20%. Some butchers sell regular hamburger of about the correct fat content for this recipe, for which Kronfeld recommends 20-25% fat. For my own dogs, I prefer lean hamburger, around 15%. Be careful, increased protein must be accompanied by enough fat.
Although it is not in the original recipe, I sometimes add a raw egg to the liver, for ease of blending, and the extra nutrition. Also, Kronfeld states more meat can be used in proportion to the rice, as high as 5 or 6 to 1 for very demanding nutritional requirements (e.g. Iditarod race). (I personally prefer to use a larger proportion of meat than suggested in the recipe, 6 to 1 of meat to rice, instead of 2 to 1.) Kronfeld additionally suggests using cottage cheese to supplement commercial foods if you wish to increase protein content in a diet.
While corn oil from the supermarket is cheap and readily available, better sources for linoleic and alpha linolenic acid are available at health food stores. Sunflower oil and flax oil, in the proportion of 3 to 1, or hemp oil or "Udo's Oil" alone, are among the best sources of essential fatty acids missing in commercially refined oils. The health food oils are specially pressed at low temperatures, unexposed to light and air, to prevent damage to essential ingredients; they are sold in dark glass, dated containers to preserve quality. When you purchase them you must refrigerate them. They should be used promptly, within a month or two at most. (They can be stored frozen for much longer periods.)
The bone meal is animal food quality, not garden bone meal. For sources, try farm animal food dealers. A raw pet food dealer may carry frozen powdered bone meal of good quality. Pulverized egg shells or calcium tablets may be used as a substitute, but the bone meal is probably complete and balanced in mineral content.
Other grains can replace the rice. Consult Pitcairn or Vollhard (see bibliography ff.) for approximate equivalents, since quantities required can vary in calories provided, and results.
In my city, I purchase lean hamburger from Costco, and frozen bone meal from "Simply Natural" in my neighbourhood in Vancouver. I also use some of their raw foods when I cannot cook. (In the Vancouver BC area, ground frozen steamed lamb bone meal from New Zealand is available through pet dealers selling 3P Natural products.)
In the US, powdered bone meal for pets is available for sale. It cannot be imported to Canada because of restrictions concerning "mad cow" disease transmission. While dogs do not require carbohydrates at all, some finely chopped/ground vegetables can be substituted for, or added to the rice in this diet. A nutritionist could devise a combination of common vegetables that add nicely to fulfilling a dog’s nutritional requirements. Vegetables must be cooked, or finely shredded for a dog to absorb. (Do not use onion or raisins.)
From the Wellpet site – If you are using finely ground eggshells for your calcium source, you need approximately 2/3 of a large egg shell per pound of boneless meat, or ½ tsp. I use more, the equivalent to the bonemeal required in the Kronfeld diet. I now also use powdered kelp as my source of iodine instead of salt - recent research suggests that supplementing salt in a dog's diet is not harmless.