In this exclusive
excerpt from his new book CANINE NUTRITION, author Lowell
Ackerman, DVM, Ph.D, examines the nutritional needs of dogs
throughout their various life stages and activities.
Dogs are very versatile when it comes to meeting their dietary
needs. They are not strict carnivores by nature. They do have
teeth for tearing flesh and their digestive tracts are short
and simple, but they do not have a strict requirement for
meat in their diet. Meat protein is easier for dogs to digest
and contains more optimal blends of amino acids from which
proteins are made. In the 20,000 or so years that dogs have
been man's companion, however, they have gradually become
accustomed to the foods we eat, and have lost their need to
be strict carnivores. By comparison, the cat is still a strict
carnivore and must receive animal protein in its diet.
Nutritional needs for a dog change during his lifetime. Nutrients
that are critical when he is a pup are less important when
he reaches adulthood. A bitch has different needs when she
is pregnant or lactating than when she is spayed or not used
for breeding. Finally, as your dog ages, his nutritional needs
also change. Superimposed on this is the realization that
other factors such as sporting competition, the show circuit
and disease have an impact on nutrition.
Feeding the Newborn Puppy
Soon after pups are born, they should begin nursing their
mother. Their level of nutrition will parallel that of the
dam. Pups must nurse extensively during the first 24 hours
because that is when they receive the antibody-rich colostrum
from their mother. Colostrum helps protect them from infection
for the first two to three months of life. Pups should be
allowed to nurse for at least six weeks before they are completely
weaned from their mother. Supplemental feeding may be started
by as early as 3 weeks of age.
It is critical that puppies nurse effectively. The energy
needs of growing pups are nearly three times what they are
for an adult when compared on the basis of metabolic body
size. Small or weak pups must be closely supervised because
they may appear to nurse yet can eventually weaken and die.
If they nurse ineffectively, they may ingest only air, not
milk. If the bitch has limited milk supplies, it is best to
let the smallest pups drink their fill and supplement the
larger ones with milk replacer. Weak puppies that do not improve
within a few hours must be tube fed or given some other method
of supportive therapy.
Feeding the Growing Puppy
By 2 months of age, pups should be fed puppy food. They are
in an important phase of life-growth! Skeletal development
is at its peak for the first six months of life. Nutritional
deficiencies and/or imbalances during this period are more
devastating than at any other time. During this phase, your
dog develops a functioning immune system, dramatically adds
bone and muscle mass, and he learns all about his new environment,
developing proper socialization behaviors all the while. There
is no more critical time to ensure proper nutrition.
This is not the time to scrimp on nutrition. Puppies in their
active growth phase should be fed a high-quality diet that
meets their specific nutritional needs. Purchase a food specially
designed for this growth period, and be certain that feeding
trials have been conducted by the manufacturer. Keep pups
on this diet until 12 to 18 months of age, depending on the
breed. Many large breeds do not mature until 18 months of
age and so benefit from a longer period on these rations.
When it comes to feeding schedules, most puppies do best being
fed at specific times throughout the day rather than having
food available at all times. Put the food down for 20 to 30
minutes, then remove it until the next feeding. Pups initially
need to be fed two to three meals daily until they are 3 to
4 months old. By 3 or 4 months of age, many puppies can be
fed three meals daily. Continue this schedule until they are
12 to 15 months old, then feed twice daily when they are converted
to adult food.
It is important for pups to receive regular feedings, but
it is just as important that they not be overfed. Puppies
that are overfed, especially the large breeds, are more prone
to bone diseases when they grow too fast or become overweight.
Keep pups lean and healthy during their growth phase, and
disorders such as hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis are less
likely to occur.
It should come as no surprise that the nutritional needs of
pups are different from those of adults. Even the amino acids
needed are different, and pups require much more arginine
than adults. They also require many more calories. Vitamin
and mineral imbalances can be disastrous for a puppy. Vitamin
E deficiency can cause muscle degeneration in pups, while
choline deficiency can interfere with liver function. Pantothenic
acid deficiency impairs the growth rate, and fewer antibodies
are produced when pups are exposed to viruses. Vitamin D deficiency
can result in osteoporosis, while vitamin A deficiency can
cause abnormal bone development, eye and skin problems and
a greater susceptibility to infection. All of these can be
prevented by providing a high-quality diet designed specifically
for this important growth phase.
One pitfall to be avoided is supplementing pups with protein,
vitamins or minerals. It is easy to become overzealous with
supplements, but this is not wise. Most of the mistakes are
made with supplements containing calcium, phosphorus and/or
vitamin D. You may think that these supplements will help
your growing puppy by adding to his calcium resources. After
all, children are encouraged to drink milk to build strong
bones and teeth. Why not pups? The reason is because growth
rations have been formulated with an ideal ratio of calcium
to phosphorus, usually around 1.3 parts calcium to every 1
part phosphorus. This is the optimal ratio for healthy bone
growth. This can be quickly unbalanced by providing calcium,
phosphorus, vitamin D, or combinations.
There is more than adequate proof that these supplements are
responsible for many bone deformities seen in growing dogs.
Avoid the temptation to supplement. If you really must supplement,
select moderate amounts of the water-soluble vitamins (vitamin
C and the B vitamins) instead of the minerals or fat-soluble
vitamins. If you must select a fat-soluble vitamin for supplementation,
use vitamin E rather than vitamins A, D or K.
Now is the time to ensure optimal nutrition and create proper
eating habits that will last a lifetime. Learn how to feed
pups amounts that won't make them fat, but don't deprive them
either. And, don't try to second-guess nature by supplementing
the diet with potentially dangerous nutrients, even if it
appears to make sense on the surface. This is definitely not
the time to make mistakes with your dog's nutrition.
Feeding the Adult Dog
When pups become adults, they enter a new nutritional phase
- maintenance. Once they've finished growing, the "growth"
diets provide more calories and protein than they really need.
If they continue on the growth diets, they may become obese.
The goal is to switch them to a maintenance ration that is
balanced correctly for this phase of life.
The term "maintenance" is used loosely, but it is important
to understand what is really meant by it. Dogs require maintenance
rations when they are living a comfortable and relatively
stress-free existence as a housepet. A dog staked by a four-foot-long
chain in the backyard is not being "maintained." A dog tossed
outside at night in the cold to patrol a lot is also not being
"maintained." The maintenance energy requirements can be calculated
with a mathematical formula for dogs that are not kept as
housepets. This book is dedicated to the caring dog owner,
however, and these exceptions will not be discussed.
There are many choices when it comes to selecting a maintenance
diet. Most commercially available foods are combinations of
animal-based and plant-based ingredients. The animal-based
ingredients are tastier for dogs and easier for them to digest,
but the plant-based ingredients are cheaper. To be cost-effective,
most commercial dog foods blend ingredients from both plant
and animal sources.
In general, dogs can do well on maintenance rations containing
predominantly plant- or animal-based ingredients as long as
that ration is specifically formulated to meet maintenance-level
requirements. This contention should be supported by studies
performed by the manufacturer in accordance with American
Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). In Canada,
these products should be certified by the Canadian Veterinary
Medical Association (CVMA) to meet maintenance requirements.
There are many criteria by which you might select a dog food
for maintenance purposes. A dog that is fairly sedentary,
has finished growing, is not in competition, and is not being
used for breeding can accommodate varying amounts of dietary
fat, protein, and carbohydrate. They are the classic lowess
dogs for which the maintenance requirements were designed.
These dogs do well on most commercial or homemade diets. In
fact, it is probably a mistake to feed these animals super-premium
dog foods because they tend to become obese.
Many manufacturers of premium dog foods market their products
on the basis of ingredients. Most of the super-premium diets
have a higher content of meat and meat byproducts. Most of
the cheaper brands of dog food have a higher content of cereal.
It is not always easy, however, to tell the difference by
looking at the pet-food label. For instance, the label may
read "chicken, corn-gluten meal, ground corn, ..." and so
on, leading you to believe that chicken is the main ingredient.
In fact, by dividing corn into individual ingredients such
as ground corn, corn-gluten meal, corn flour, and corn bran,
the total cereal content of the diet may be camouflaged. You
think you're feeding a predominantly chicken-based diet when
cereal is actually the primary ingredient. Canned pet foods
contain more than 75 percent water, yet this can also be confusing
when you examine the label. It may list chicken or beef as
the main ingredient but when you examine the analysis, it
lists "moisture" at about 78 percent.
There's nothing wrong with feeding a cereal-based diet to
dogs on maintenance rations, and this is the most economical
diet. Unfortunately, corn is low in certain essential amino
acids, and this must be remedied by complementation, a process
combining different protein sources to provide a suitable
blend that does meet requirements. In the least expensive
brands, this can often be done by selecting soy as a vegetable
protein source. Most dogs tolerate soy well, but some dogs
are soy intolerant and do not do well on these rations. Certain
breeds, such as the Irish Setter, the Siberian Husky and the
Chinese Shar-Pei have a higher incidence of soy intolerance,
although any breed is susceptible. Soy also contains some
sugars (e.g., raffinose, stachyose) that are not digestible
by dogs but that are digestible by bacteria. As a result,
the sugars may get digested by microbes in the colon, producing
gas. This may contribute to flatulence or "windiness" in a
dog. Other ingredients in soy can also be problematic if the
food is not processed adequately.
Keep in mind that maintenance rations meet only the minimum
requirements for stress-free house pets. There are many stressful
situations that can change a dog's nutrient requirements from
maintenance levels to above-maintenance levels. Dogs housed
outside in cold weather, dogs that are exercised extensively,
dogs that are used for breeding, and dogs that are ill often
will benefit from eating foods that provide more than just
minimum requirements. Also, most of the dogs that are first
switched from puppy foods to maintenance foods still have
some growing to do. It is therefore recommended that you feed
your dog a diet that contains easily digested ingredients
that provide nutrients at least slightly above minimum requirements.
Typically, these foods will be intermediate in price between
the most expensive, super-premium diets and the cheapest generic
diets. Select diets that have been substantiated by feeding
trials to meet maintenance requirements, that contain wholesome
ingredients, and that are recommended by your veterinarian.
Don't select a food based on price alone, on company advertising,
or on total protein content.
Feeding the Aging Dog
Dogs are considered elderly when they have achieved 75 percent
of their anticipated life span. This obviously differs for
each breed. A Great Dane may be considered old at 6 years
of age, while a Poodle may not be seen as elderly until 10
years of age. And, there is so much variability between individual
dogs that even breed generalizations are merely guidelines.
It is important to recognize the needs of these "senior" pets
before the onset of age-related problems, while nutrition
can still provide the best preventive medicine.
As a dog ages, his metabolism slows. There is a decreased
sense of thirst that can result in dehydration if not detected.
At the same time, if maintenance rations are fed in the same
amounts and metabolism is slowing, weight gain is common.
Obesity is the last thing you want to contend with in an elderly
pet, because it increases the risk of other health-related
problems. On the other hand, an elderly dog may lose weight,
and this is not good either. The older dog doesn't have as
acute a sense of smell as he had when he was younger. Dental
problems also plague him. Approximately 85 percent of dogs
over 4 years have periodontal disease. This can result in
painful chewing, infection and tooth loss. All of these conditions
can contribute to undesirable weight loss as your dog ages.
Dental health care is an important part of overall wellness.
Don't wait until your dog is old to consider the impact of
routine dental care.
As dogs age, most of their organs do not function as well
as they did in youth. In the digestive system, the liver,
pancreas and gallbladder do not work at peak capacity. The
intestines have more difficulty extracting all the nutrients
from the food consumed. The colon doesn't have the motility
that it used to have, and constipation becomes more common.
In the cardiovascular system, the heart has been beating relentlessly
for years and is more likely to show the effects of overwork.
The blood vessels aren't as flexible anymore, and the heart
valves are not as efficient. The kidneys contain a finite
number of filtering units that are not replaced as they succumb.
A gradual decline in kidney function is considered a normal
part of aging.
A responsible approach to geriatric nutrition is to realize
that degenerative changes are a normal part of aging. The
goal is to minimize the potential damage by taking appropriate
measures while your dog is still well. If you wait until your
elderly dog is ill before you change his diet, the job will
be much harder.
A geriatric diet often provides fewer calories per serving
than the growth or maintenance rations to accommodate a slower
metabolism. If the energy content of the diet is not restricted,
but a dog exercises less, then he will become obese. Of course,
this is not true for all senior dogs. If your dog loses weight
with age, you may need to increase the calorie content of
his diet. If your dog tends toward obesity, however, you will
need to reduce the fat and protein contents of the diet and
provide more calories in the form of easily digestible carbohydrates.
Older dogs benefit from essential fatty acids like linoleic
acid but have little need for saturated fats or other oils.
If you provide high-quality vegetable oils (safflower oil,
flaxseed oil), you will meet the essential fatty acid requirements.
These oils also allow for the absorption of the important
Most elderly dogs do better on diets that are easily digested.
Geriatric diets are typically low in fiber because dogs have
a difficult time absorbing fiber. There are some medical conditions
that benefit from fiber, including diabetes mellitus, colitis
and constipation, and a geriatric diet can be augmented with
psyllium (Metamucil) or pectin if your dog requires a higher
fiber content. Because the digestive system becomes less efficient
as a dog ages, a diet that is more digestible is also more
likely to provide needed vitamins, minerals, amino acids and
essential fatty acids.
Older dogs don't need more protein in their diet, but they
do benefit from better-quality protein. The protein content
of the diet is only a source of essential amino acids. Protein
is typically hard to digest and requires metabolism in the
liver and filtering by the kidneys. All of these functions
can be impaired in the older dog. Your goal is to provide
lower levels of total protein (typically 14 to 21 percent
of dry matter) but higher levels of the essential amino acids.
You need to provide your aging dog with the proteins that
do the most good. If you severely limit protein in your elderly
dog's diet, especially if he is losing weight, you can induce
protein deficiency and adversely affect immune function and
It is very important to understand the dynamics of vitamin
and mineral nutrition in the older dog. Older dogs need higher
levels of vitamins A, B1, B6, B12 and E than they did when
they were younger. Zinc is also needed to help with body repairs
and to bolster the immune system. Most maintenance diets are
much too high in sodium (salt) for the geriatric dog and the
levels are restricted in the "senior" diets. These diets also
take into account the changing dynamics of calcium and phosphorus
metabolism and slightly reduce the phosphorus content to lessen
the workload of the kidneys.
There are many options for feeding your senior dog. Ideally,
you should change his diet when he is still healthy and has
not slowed down too much or become ill. Switch him to a senior
diet when he has achieved about 75 percent of his expected
life span, or when recommended by your veterinarian. This
may stall the onset of heart, kidney and digestive disorders
by being more "user-friendly" and not overtaxing his system.
For example, a low-protein diet may not prevent kidney disease,
but it certainly is easier to handle for a dog experiencing
any impairment of kidney function. The diet should contain
ample amounts of the amino acids that dogs require and lesser
amounts of the ones deemed dispensable. A low-salt diet won't
necessarily prevent heart disease, but it is certainly helpful
in dogs with impaired cardiac efficiency.
Elderly dogs need to be treated as individuals. While some
dogs benefit from the nutrition found in "senior" diets, others
might do better on the highly digestible puppy and super-premium
diets, which provide an excellent blend of digestibility and
amino acid content. Unfortunately, many are higher in salt
and phosphorus than the older dog really needs. It is not
advisable to continue to feed your elderly dog maintenance
rations even if you cut down the amount you feed to limit
calories. Maintenance rations were formulated to meet minimum
requirements for stress-free housepets. Advancing age is a
definite stress on the system, and maintenance rations do
not optimally meet the protein, fat, vitamin and mineral requirements
of an aging dog. If you must feed this diet for economic reasons,
give your dog a daily vitamin-mineral supplement designed
for "seniors." These supplements are typically rich in the
B vitamins and the antioxidant nutrients vitamin A, vitamin
C, vitamin E, and selenium, as well as zinc. There is also
a good argument for providing high-quality table scraps to
the very senior dog that tends to lose weight. Freshly prepared
chicken, beef, organ meats and cooked grains and vegetables
can provide a tasty and nutritious treat for dogs that may
not be eating enough of their own food. At this time of life,
there is no point in being hard-nosed about the evils of table
scraps unless there is a medical reason for doing so.
Feeding the Pregnant or Nursing Bitch
Care of the pregnant or nursing bitch presents certain nutritional
challenges which must be considered and met. Prior to being
bred, the bitch should be in good body condition, not too
thin and definitely not obese. She should be in excellent
dietary status to enhance the chances of conception and then
maintained on an increasing nutritional plane as her body
strives to meet the needs of pregnancy and then lactation
(milk production). It is important to understand that the
nutrient requirements may increase as much as four times over
usual adult maintenance levels. Providing proper nutrition
to the reproducing dam directly influences the quality of
the milk she produces, the survival of the pups, and their
Usual maintenance diets are not suitable for the pregnant
or lactating bitch. They do not provide enough energy to meet
her needs on a daily basis. The diet must be complete and
balanced for this stage of life and provide at least 1,600
digestible calories for every pound of food fed. This type
of diet should be introduced before the fourth week of pregnancy
when nutritional demands begin to skyrocket. Acceptable diets
usually contain more meat than do regular diets, and only
certain super-premium and canned dog foods actually meet these
criteria. Many commercial canned cat foods also meet the criteria
and are useful in toy and miniature breeds of dogs. These
claims should be supported by actual feeding trials, not just
lab analysis. With regular maintenance diets, the bitch is
unlikely to consume enough food to meet her actual needs.
It is also difficult to "supplement" regular maintenance diets
to be suitable for pregnancy and lactation. If this option
is an economic necessity, it will be necessary to add eggs,
meat (with fat) or small amounts of super-premium canned dog
foods or cat foods to the ration.
Most bitches do not show appreciable weight gain until into
their fourth week of pregnancy (gestation). Over the final
month of pregnancy, it is not unusual for food consumption
to increase by 40 percent. As the pups occupy more and more
area in the abdomen, the bitch will appreciate being fed several
small meals throughout the day rather than one or two large
ones. During the final two weeks of pregnancy the pups, placenta,
fluids and developing mammary glands all contribute to additional
weight gain. Within a day or two of littering, however, it
is not unusual for the bitch to lose her appetite. It normally
is recovered within a day after whelping. It is important
that the bitch not be underweight or overweight at this time.
Underweight bitches may have difficulty meeting the nutritional
needs of the pups after whelping. Overweight bitches have
more trouble with delivery, have less efficient lactation
and increased risk of complications for the puppies and themselves.
After whelping, the dam has an additional nutritional drain.
She now has attentive pups hungering for her milk and the
challenge of meeting her own needs in the process. She may
not have time or inclination to leave the pups so care must
be taken to make her food and water accessible, palatable
and laden with energy (calories). As the pups grow so does
her need to provide for their nutritional needs. This reaches
a zenith when they are about 3 to 4 weeks of age, at which
time she may be consuming two to four times the amount of
calories she did when she wasn't pregnant. After this time
the pups start to take more of an interest in solid food and
demand for milk then diminishes. When the pups are fully weaned
at 6 weeks of age, the food consumption of the dam is down
to about 50 percent above non-pregnant levels and continues
Nutritional supplementation can be helpful during pregnancy
within very strict guidelines. It is much better to provide
a wholesome, well-balanced diet than to predict the benefits
of nutritional supplements. A good choice would be a "senior"
vitamin-mineral supplement that includes the B vitamins, vitamin
E and zinc. Supplements containing significant amounts of
calcium, phosphorus or vitamin D should only be given under
the direction of a veterinarian.
Feeding the Stud Dog
With so much attention focused on the brood bitch, sometimes
the stud dog gets short-changed. Males need proper nutrition
too if they are going to perform reproductively at their best.
Dogs shouldn't be too thin, or too fat, but being normal to
slightly overweight is best. Dogs that are too thin or too
fat often have medical problems that could affect their ability
to properly mate and impregnate a bitch. The amount and type
of food fed should be adjusted, before breeding, to bring
the male in optimal body condition.
Most stud dogs can be maintained on moderately priced dog
foods and do not require the energy-dense foods fed to the
brood bitch. However, check the label and make sure the ration
has been assessed by feeding trials (AAFCO or CVMA). The diet
should be fed so that the dog maintains optimal body condition,
not necessarily the recommended level on the label. Stud dogs
are individuals and some may require more or less than recommended
to maintain optimal body condition.
Currently, research is underway to examine in more detail
the role of specific nutrients in sperm development. For example,
deficiencies of beta-carotene and vitamin A have resulted
in testicular degeneration in other species; ascorbic acid
may be involved in normal sperm production; pyridoxine is
involved in the release of pituitary hormones; chromium is
important in maintaining the integrity of nucleic acids; and
zinc has been reported as a cause of testicular degeneration
in some species. However, there is not enough research done
in the dog to make any specific recommendations.
Avoid the temptation to supplement the stud's diet, although
some healthful meat and vegetables isn't a bad idea. Most
vitamin-mineral supplements will not perk up the sperm, and
some have definite adverse effects. A standard one-a-day vitamin
is fine, but high doses of specific nutrients are not recommended.
Feeding the Show Dog
The requirements for feeding a show dog are significantly
different from those for a field trial dog and also different
from the typical maintenance ration for a sedentary house
pet. The goal of feeding the show dog is to optimize the physical
characteristics of the dog, not meet its minimum dietary requirements.
Most breeders are adamant about the foods they will and won't
feed their dogs. When they sell puppies, they often provide
dietary recommendations for "what works for them." Whether
there is any scientific rationale for the choice often takes
a back seat to personal experience. Even poorly balanced diets
may produce a champion and this attests more to the resiliency
of dogs than to the intuitiveness of breeders.
Most show dogs benefit from a blend of protein, fat and carbohydrate
and do not need the energy-dense format found in performance
diets. These performance diets often provide too much fat,
and the wrong kind of fats to promote good skin and haircoat.
A maintenance ration containing "wholesome ingredients" should
be provided and it needn't be high in protein, fat or carbohydrate.
These dogs truly benefit from a "balanced" ration, not one
Most dog foods intended for show dogs are primarily meat-based.
Soy protein contains much indigestible fiber and some highly-bred
canines do not tolerate soy as well as meat. Chicken, beef,
pork and lamb are all well digested by dogs. If these ingredients
make up the protein basis of the dog food, a high-protein
ration is not needed. Meat protein provides ample amounts
of the essential amino acids that are required. If there is
too much meat in the diet, the content of saturated fat will
also increase and this is counterproductive to enhancing the
skin and hair coat. By incorporating easily digestible carbohydrates
into the diet, such as rice, potatoes or corn starch, calories
can be provided without relying on high levels of fat or protein.
Supplementation of foods intended for show dogs is commonplace
and so there is no point in recommending against it. It is
better to discuss options for sensible supplementation that
does not "unbalance" a balanced ration. If the starting point
is a good-quality "maintenance" ration rather than a performance
ration, better results will be seen with or without supplementation.
Fat and oil supplements are commonly given to dogs, and the
show dog is no exception. Unfortunately, these fats and oils
are often poorly formulated and provide more calories than
essential nutrients. The purpose of supplementing with fats
is to provide the essential linoleic acid to the diet. The
best source of this fatty acid is safflower oil or flaxseed
oil. Corn oil is only about 50 percent linoleic acid, and
the other vegetable oils contain even less. It is cheaper
and more effective to purchase safflower or flaxseed oil directly
rather than the vegetable-oil mixtures found in pet-supply
outlets. Don't overdo it - add no more than a tablespoon per
day to the food. Another fatty acid that might be helpful
to skin and hair coat is gamma-linoleic acid, found in evening
primrose oil or borage oil. These can be found in health food
stores or may be purchased from your veterinarian. Veterinary
products often combine the plant oil with marine oil for added
benefit; the combination product is not currently available
from health food stores.
Protein supplements are not needed for the show dog and can
be harmful. The real need is for essential amino acids, which
are present in the protein source itself. All protein ingested
is "broken down" first to individual amino acids. The most
important amino acids for skin, hair coat and claws (nails)
are the sulfur-containing methionine, cysteine and cystine.
Additional protein in the diet cannot be stored and will be
converted to fat or excreted by the kidneys.
Vitamins and minerals are important to healthy skin and fur,
but indiscriminate supplementation is unlikely to be beneficial.
A general "stress" vitamin-mineral supplement is helpful,
as it provides a broad spectrum of important B vitamins and
antioxidants such as vitamin A (or beta-carotene), vitamin
C, vitamin E and selenium. It is unwise to supplement with
additional calcium and phosphorus, because this frequently
results in bone deformities in growing dogs.
Many other supplements that have no scientific rationale are
used by breeders. Some of the most common are brewer's yeast
and kelp. Brewer's yeast is a good source of B vitamins, but
it also lacks the much-needed vitamins A, C and E. Despite
the contentions of many to the contrary, scientific studies
of brewer's yeast have not found it to repel fleas.
Kelp is a type of seaweed and is indeed a rich source of vitamins
and minerals. It is not nutritionally complete on its own
but does provide several useful amino acids in addition to
the vitamins and minerals. In most cases, if a dog improves
on brewer's yeast of kelp, it indicates that the food being
fed previously was not properly fortified. In this instance,
it is usually more cost-effective to switch to a better diet
than to continue supplementing with these products.
* Lowell Ackerman is a veterinarian and nutritional consultant. The past editor of Advances in Nutrition, he has authored 66 books and more than 150 articles, and lectures extensively on the subject of nutrition across the United States, Canada and Europe.
Lowell Ackerman, DVM, Ph.D