Feeding a species appropriate diet to Dalmatians
Dalmatians are what they eat
Read all about how you should feed your Dalmatian Puppy
The Species appropriate or BARF diet for Dalmatians
In many ways Dalmatians do not differ so much from human beings. Like humans, dogs do not do as well on overly processed foods, which all commercial dog foods are. This is why we opted for a species appropriate diet consisting of raw meats, bones, vegetables, fruits, herbs and dairy products. Sounds expensive and difficult? Not at all. It is as simple as feeding yourself and your family and it can be as expensive or affordable as you feed yourself. It also avoids the need for expensive vet bills to have your dog’s teeth cleaned or its anal glands cleared out.
Feeding commercial dog food to your Dalmatian
As outlined above, commercial dog food is nothing but overly processed fast food for dogs, labelled as health food! If nothing I say and write can persuade you to feed your Dalmatian a species appropriate or BARF diet, then please follow this advice.
Change your Dalmatians kibble often
If you MUST feed kibble, add at least one cup of water a day to reduce the risk of stone formation by 70%! Change your kibble often. None of them are perfect and you are keeping more digestive enzymes alive by providing a challenge to your dog’s digestive system.
Yeast + Starch = Itchy Dalmatian
Avoid modern day grains and corn. They are nothing but fillers, eventually leading to sensitivities and allergies. If you cook from scrap for your family, do add table scraps in the form of steamed vegetables. Do feed some fruit cuttings as a treat, do feed a bone a week so you avoid the need to have your dog’s anal glands block or worse – find your dog under anaesthesia due to the fact that his teeth need cleaning.
Let me break it down for you:
Google is a great place to acquire knowledge but if you are insecure on where to start, it becomes a mind blowing jungle. If you were bringing a human baby home instead of a Dalmatian puppy nobody would have to tell you, that it would be best to avoid processed foods and to provide as much variety as possible. You would also have a food pyramid, guiding you towards a balanced diet. The rest is common sense or as much science as you would like it to be.
The Dalmatian Food Pyramid
What about the Purines?
A Dalmatians need for Variety:Purines or no purines a Dalmatian is still a canine and therefore still needs the taurine provided in beef and the vitamins contained in offal. So please do not listen to old fashioned believes that a Dalmatian should only eat poultry! Your Dalmatians health WILL suffer in the long run. Feed at least five different sources of protein. Some examples are: beef, bison, chicken, turkey, quail, lamb, goat, deer, fish and whatever else you can get your hands on.
So how do I balance those Purines?If you research a species appropriate diet or BARF (bones and raw meat) you will come across many different opinions. You will read about prey model diet, vegetables or no vegetables, grains or no grains and also dairy or no dairy as well as fruit or no fruit. Dairy products happen to be rich in proteins and contain almost NO purines! Bingo, there is your natural produce to balance the purines in your Dalmatians diet.
Which dairy products do we use?We use goat’s milk. Did you know that the goat is the only mammal that cannot become ill from cancer? Did you also know that holistic doctors and veterinarians use goat’s milk to tread allergies and that allergies and cancer can go hand in hand? We also use quite a few eggs per week. After all what can make a whole chicken has to be an excellent supplement. That’s right, put the eggshells in too for their wonderful and balanced mineral content.
The Budwig Diet for DalmatiansHave you ever heart of the Budwig diet? The Budwig diet is a human anti-tumor diet which utilizes Cottage Cheese as a vital part. Well, we also feed Cottage Cheese to our Dalmatians.
Kefir, a natural source of ProbioticsLast but not least, we feed Kefir: Milk kefir grains are live active cultures consisting of yeast and bacteria existing in a symbiotic relationship. Adding the kefir grains to fresh milk yields a probiotic drink in about 24 hours. We prefer Kefir to commercially produced Yoghurts for its larger content of probiotics as well as the fact than we can easily produce it at home and without added sugars or vital fats being removed. We can also use goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk.
Fruit and Vegetables:Like dairy produce fruit and vegetables are a no-brainer for us and our Dalmatians diet. We actually believe that all canines need some vegetables and some fruits. Wolfs will digest the content of their prey’s stomach who may well have been a plant eating mammal. They will also pick up some berries whilst wondering through the wild. For a Dalmatian adding fruit and vegetables means that you are adding vitamins, fibre, variety AND more water, all leading to good health and a well hydrated Dalmatian, which will easily flush out crystals.
More Variety and some CheatsOnce or twice a week we add some berries to our cottage cheese/kefir and egg mixture. Other fruits like apples are fed in little quantities and as a treat whilst we eat our fruits for the day. Vegetables and herbs are either liquidized (portioned and frozen), steamed left-overs from our meals and sometimes we even cheat and buy the Honest Kitchen Preference mixer. “Preference” is an all-natural dehydrated mixer and contains all whole foods.
Sauerkraut and other fermented Vegetables:Sauerkraut is nothing but fermented cabbage and can be easily obtained from all local Supermarkets. Many years ago our German countryside Vet recommended to me, to teach all my dogs to eat the Kraut as it was a brilliant way of dragging out what your Dalmatian should have never eaten in the first place. The structure as well as the milk bacteria in Sauerkraut will break down and wrap itself around any object in the canine gut, that shouldn't be there in the first place, often avoiding an operation. This is not the only reason we feed Sauerkraut. It is again a food suggested by many nutritionists and health professionals in anti-cancerous diets and has many other benefits.
Supplementing your Dalmatians Diet:Another topic of discussion among raw feeders. If you are feeding a varied, natural and organic diet you probably only need to ad oils such as coconut oil or salmon oil. Here at Caprilli we buy most of our food from the organic range BUT not all. Our general rule of thumb is 80% good and 20% all relaxed about matters so we sometimes add supplements but only those made from whole food ingredients like the Bio Star or Standard Process range. We also like to spice our Dalmatians food with some Turmeric which has great anti-inlfammatory benefits.
How much of what goes into your Dalmatians food bowl?Working out the amounts and percentages of different food types for your Dalmatian is actually not that difficult. Canines in the wild, do not eat a perfectly balanced diet daily, and our own domestic Dalmatian dogs, do not need to either. Of course manufacturers of commercially prepared diets would have us believe otherwise but since we are all capable of feeding ourselves and our own human babies without breaking into a sweat, we are quite capable of applying the same common sense to our Dalmatian Puppies.
Calculating the amount to feed to your Dalmatian dailyAn adult Dalmatian dog eats on average 2% to 7% of their ideal body weight. 2% is equivalent to 20 grams per kilogram of body weight and 7% is equal to 70 grams per kilogram of body weight. Usually 2% is ideal for a dog of a large breed and 7% for a small breed.
Example: If your Dalmatian weights 20 kg it should eat 30 grams per kg of body weight = 20 kg x 30 g of feed (20 × 30) = 600 grams of food per day.
Percentages of food types to feed to your DalmatianThe diagram below will show you the percentages to feed for balanced nutrition. If you feed this way and no other, you’re Dalmatian will not only thrive but remain as healthy as possible. It is important though that you do not feed the same meaty bone each day, nor should you feed the same muscle meat if you do. Remember at least five different types of animals should be fed as all of them have a slightly different meat to bone to cartilage and fat ratio. If you stick to the five different types, there is no need for you to work out these percentages.
The Science and your Eye for a well fed Dalmatian
Due to my professional experience in feeding a variety of animals I do not even think about percentages anymore but if you are just starting out, it is important to train your eyes for the right amount and the percentage. You also need to develop an eye for the right look of a well fed Dalmatian puppy.
Feed your Dalmatian Puppy by calculator and then LOOK at the result
So you have worked out the exact amounts to feed to your Dalmatian puppy and now you need to take a close look at the result. Young Dalmatian puppies need spare nutrition for their development. On Average a Dalmatian puppy will gain 1 kg of weight per week up until they are six month old. At five months of age, the gaining process is beginning to slow down a little.
A Dalmatian puppy needs feeding as soon as its tummy line (look at it from the side) it tucked up. A Dalmatian puppy should always have a rounded belly and not a defined waistline like an Adult. Three year old children, also do not have a waistline like a Model. A roly-poly Dalmatian puppy is great but if you see fatty deposits turning up on your Dalmatian puppies shoulder, it is time to cut down a little bit.
For an adult there is a simply rule of thumb. You should always be able to feel the ribs but not see them.
Our personal tweaks to optimize our Dalmatians diet (and our lifestyle)
The diagrams on the previous page displays complete nutrition for your Dalmatian dog but we all know that variety is key and that lifestyles are busy so here is what works best for us:Every other week we feed the full amount of daily food in Tripe. In the week where we do not feed the full amount in tripe, we feed the full, daily amount of food in organ meat.
To balance the high amount of purines we feed the full amount (percentage of body weight) in organic, full fat Cottage Cheese and Eggs with shells, did a mix of Berries and feed on the day following our Organ or Tripe days.
Those are the AM meals for two days per week. In the PM we will feed the harder variant of bones to provide a natural toothbrush for our Dalmatians. Harder varieties of bones are for example lamb or turkey necks.
Variety is key to feeding a species appropriate diet to your Dalmatian
The five remaining days of feeding a species appropriate diet to our Dalmatians:AM: Vegetables, this could be our own home prepared, liquidized mix, sometimes the Honest Kitchen Preference mixer or left over vegetables from our table. Throw in some Sauerkraut twice a week for some roughage.
Mix those with minced muscle meat. As many different varieties as you can get hold off, feeding one variety at a time, 2 – 3 x a months I will exchange the muscle meat for fish or seafood. If you cannot get hold of good fish, use a can or two of Sardines.
Add some oil and sometimes a wholefood supplement or some herbs and you are done.
PM: Meaty bones such as chicken duck or turkey carcasses, chicken wings, chicken or duck necks
Can I not feed my Dalmatian in a less complicated way?It depends what you call complicated. You could simply feed the Veg and minced meat mix one day and the meaty bones on the following. If you mean by complicated that you cannot keep track easily of what you have fed the last few days you CAN make the daily meals completely balanced. Give it your own tweak, which is the best part of feeding a species appropriate diet to Dalmatians.
So what about those extras for our Dalmatians?Did you ever hear me mentioning treats? Well, there we go our Dalmatians will have some Goat’s Milk Kefir with raw honey a few times a week. On top of the Berries which we feed once a week we will share some of the fruits we eat, with our Dalmatians. A rainy evening could be made sweeter by crunching on a carrot and if we have to leave our dogs home alone we give them a lovely big beef marrow bone.
Training treats for your Dalmatian PuppyWell you could go along with preparing your own natural jerky treats for your Dalmatian or you can do, what we chose to do. We use kibble to train our Dalmatians! Yes you heart right. Out of all the people, we suggest kibble. Here are our two main reasons. First of all I do not like stinky treats in my pockets when I work with our Dalmatians. The second reason is that emergency which we hope will never occur.
Exceptional circumstancesSome of us have been there, some fortunate once have not. A family member or friend needs to go to hospital and needs our help and the only dog sitter available is frightened of feeding a raw and species appropriate diet to your Dalmatian. You need to respond now and there is no time to order an Honest Kitchen complete diet.
This is why we feed kibble as training treats. We want our Dalmatians to be used to digesting kibble and not respond with terribly upset tummies. Do be aware of the additional need for water though if you’re Dalmatian ever has to remain on a kibble diet for any number of days. Dalmatians are sensitive and if you are not around, could respond by drinking less. Add the fact that kibble fed dogs need more water and then you have your explanation why so many Dalmatians block when they are at a boarding facility.
Pros, Cons & Resources of feeding your Dalmatian on a raw, BARF Diet for Dalmatians
Where does it all come from?
Our “dog food” comes from a variety of sources. Chicken backs and organs come from a local supermarket, chicken wings from another. Tripe and muscle meat from beef, lamb and goat comes from an online source (Raw Diet USA), who deliver all produce frozen to our doorstep. Many items like duck and turkey necks come from local ethnic food markets and some more variety of meat is delivered every two weeks to a small town near to us. Fruits and Veg again come from local supermarkets and markets and Trader Joe’s is a firm favorite for their goats milk with full fat content as well as their raw honey and organic salads and some sprouted seeds.
Help, I am totally overwhelmed:If this is the first time, you are reading about a species appropriate diet, I do not blame you at all. I have not forgotten my beginnings in 2001! It is a lot of information to take in. Let me assure you, that it is not complicated at all once you get going and that we will provide you with detailed feeding instructions and walk you through it step by step.
What about cost though?We feed two good sized Dalmatians and one English Cocker Spaniel for 250 $ per month. Keep in mind that we do buy as much organic produce as possible. If you cannot afford the cost of a raw diet, may I suggest that you might struggle with possible vet bills too?
Will raw food not make my Dalmatian ill?
The opposite is the case, it will keep your Dalmatian well and happy. If you are concerned about bacteria and contamination, I’d like to point out to you that all canines are scavengers by default and can easily deal with foods, even if they have gone off! Assuming you also prepare real foods for your family, you should not be concerned about contaminating your own environment. Common sense and good hygiene will keep you and your family safe.