Wise Food Choices. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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What’s more important to your dog than food? Chances are, not much.

The experts do not agree about nutrition, however, Dr. Doug Knueven, veterinary lecturer on dog nutrition, tells us that poor diet is the biggest obstacle to achieving canine health: Many illnesses, skin, and behavioral problems are directly affected by diet. Here’re some “greendog” guidelines:


Poor diet is the biggest obstacle to achieving canine health. Photo Courtesy of Julie and Archie

Diets. Home cooking is great if you eat healthy, and you avoid foods that are toxic to dogs. Alternatively, choose a super-premium quality dehydrated, freeze-dried or kibble feed. A more natural diet includes raw meat, organ meat, raw bones, vegetables, and fruits. An excellent resource that investigates and reviews food may be found at http://www.WholeDogJournal.com

Ingredients. Read the labels. Look for a specifically named meat or fish as the first ingredient and natural preservatives. Avoid by-products, sugars, artificial colorings and flavorings.

Protein and Carbohydrates. High-protein diets are often linked to high performance, and high simple carbohydrate diets to obesity. Dr. Lynn Honeckman, DVM, tells us, “Medical problems that result from obesity include diabetes, hip dysplasia, cancer, degenerative joint, respiratory, skin and autoimmune diseases.” Monitor intake.

Rotation. Rotate between and within brands. Transition gradually. A balanced diet requires variety. Local resources for healthy meals are: Dexter’s Deli, Pupologie, Three Dog Bakery, and the Zoom Room.

Processing. High-temperature processing destroys essential nutrients. Stay as close to natural and organic as feasible.

Supplements. Err on the safe side and provide a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement, fish oil, and a probiotic.

In case of illness, always consult your trusted, nutrition-savvy veterinarian.

Linda Michaels, “Dog Psychologist” M.A. and Victoria Stilwell-licensed Del Mar dog trainer and speaker, can be reached at (858) 259-9663 or email: LindaMichaelsPositively@gmail.com  for private obedience instruction and behavioral consultations in or near Del Mar or the San Diego Coast. Visit us at DogPsychologistOnCall.com


Linda Michaels, M.A. Psychology, Del Mar Dog Training, serves clients in Del Mar and San Diego County from La Jolla to Carlsbad, plus Rancho Santa Fe, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. Linda Michaels was recently rated one of the top ten dog trainers in the United States, by Top Ten Magazine. Linda has a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology (Hons), and is the creator of the Hierarchy of Dog Needs™ (HDN). She focuses on the psychological aspects of dog behavior that often mirror human psychological conditions, such as: fear, separation/attachment disorders, and aggression toward humans and other dogs. She also teaches private, customized basic manners/obedience lessons for dogs of all ages and every breed.

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