They Are What They Eat

It’s not news that the quality of food we eat affects our health. The same is true for our dogs. It is possible however to get too much of a good thing, obesity is a serious health issue which can also impact a dog’s quality of life.

Here are a few simple ways to improve your fearful dog’s health.

1. Purchase the highest quality of dog food you can afford. Research a raw food diet for your pet and the availability of raw foods in your area. You may be surprised to discover that raw foods may cost the same or less than prepared kibbles or canned food.

2. Add a probiotic to your dog’s meals. Probiotic bacteria help to synthesize certain vitamins and support the immune system.

3. Provide your dog with a high quality fish oil supplement. A deficiency of DHA, which is found in fish oil, has been linked with aggression and depression. DHA is essential for brain function.

4. Keep your dog’s weight in its normal range. An easy way to help cut calories is to use your dog’s meals as treats throughout the day.


9 comments so far

  1. Laurie on

    Great topic Debbie!

    I bit the bullet last spring and switched to raw after months of research. It was a bit of a “white knuckle” experience at first but we’re now well into the swing of things. She eats a large variety of meat and bone, plus various organs and liver (her favorite), tripe and so on.

    Her coat gleams, her teeth are pure white and best of all, her stool is about 1/4 the size it was on kibble (because they absorb the majority of the nutrients).

    The most amazing results were seen in both cats simply by taking them completely off kibble and onto high quality canned to start. I will never return to kibble as a full time diet for any of my animals.

    • Debbie Jacobs on

      Thanks for sharing that Laurie. I have always ‘felt’ so much better feeding my dogs ‘real’ food.

      I loved discovering Billinghurst’s book on feeding bones and raw food. I can’t recall the exact title and I’ve apparently lent it out again!

  2. jo on

    Great info Debbie! One of the reasons that higher quality foods are better for a dog us their lack of low-quality proteins -the best foods don’t have corn or corn products. Given the possible links between corn and serotinin problems, this kind of a switch is one that all owners of fearful dogs should consider.
    Note: folks should remember that Billinghurst’s book is a guideline – while the diet advice is great for many dogs, just as many have different dietary needs, just like people. Some of the ratios in the book can be dangerous for dogs with metabolic disorders. I’m all for raw feeding – but with professional advice from a canine nutritionist who bases dietary requirements on YOUR dog, not EVERY dog…

    • fearfuldogs on

      Thanks for commenting Jo and reminding us that nothing replaces professional advice for many things involving our dog’s health & behavior.

  3. Laurie on

    That is great advice. Unfortunately, “canine nutritionists” here are more in the “mythical creatures” category.

    The vast majority of vets here have no training in animal nutrition and therefore tend to recommend (and sell) kibble from companies that funded their vet college.

    Most are very anti-raw, citing the various myths that typically circulate about this diet, and especially the supposed high risks of bones, handling raw meat, their feces, etc. Yet these same vets are very complimentary about her teeth, coat, health and overall condition.

    It is very challenging to do the right thing for one’s dog since we’re often left to our own devices.

    • Jo on


      There are actually some amazing canine and feline nutritionists who will work remotely. Please check out: Teri Roche of Canine Nutrition (both cats and dogs) at ; Monica Segal at and Cat Lane at I have worked with all three; I prefer Teri because she’s even more A.R. than I am (which is quite a trick!). If you contact Teri, be aware that she will ask for bloodwork before working on a diet for you.

      • fearfuldogs on

        Thank you so much for sharing this information!

  4. Laurie on

    I have to say I would be very uneasy about working on health or diet issues with anyone remotely. Much can be gleaned by their physical appearance as well. I note that Teri’s site is heavy on supplements and is a supplier of commercial food. Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t see anything about raw feeding (but perhaps that wasn’t your point)

    For the average healthy raw-fed dog or cat, supplements should not necessary, altho again, I do add salmon or cold water fish oil to her diet. For commercially-fed animals, great caution must be taken with supplements to ensure they are not overdosing their animals on supplements that are already in the food.

    • Jo on

      Teri does something I admire greatly — she understands that not everyone is willing to create their pet’s diet from scratch or feed raw, and sells certain brands (Wenawae, Natura) of food on which to base a diet on.

      Supplementation is carefully calculated and changes over time due to blood work, condition, etc. Many necessary nutrients are either not available in the foods we have in our area, or a pet won’t eat them (ever try to make someone eat a food they don’t like?) So, sometimes, supplementation is necessary, and is usually adjusted on a regular basis. I know this because of what she did for my pets.

      Because of my own research and background, there is one thing that I have a problem with concerning the “average raw fed dog or cat” – and that’s the ratios of the nutrients, in particular calcium to phosphorus. If this one is not correct (and in many ‘average’ raw fed pets it’s not), you can end up creating other problems. So, even though it’s MUCH better for the nutritionist to see the pet (which Teri prefers to do), it’s still helpful to get advice from a pro, especially when there is a health issue.

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