Part Three of Three: Finding the right combination of supplements turned out to be more difficult than I thought. Every brand of vitamin and mineral has its own mixture of nutrients. There is no consistency and the variations were limitless. Furthermore, because human needs are different, these supplements contained dangerously high levels of some nutrients and too little of others. I was mystified that the authors of homemade recipe books could make non-specific supplement recommendations and ensure nutritional balance. I persisted in my research and found products I thought would meet the needs of dogs and tried them on Socrates, his brother Baxter and other dogs.
The results were dismal, with diarrhea being a common complaint.
My experience with bone meal did not fare any better. It turns out there are 5 major brands of bone meal with 5 different combinations of calcium and phosphorus. Calcium levels ranged from 500 to 1650mg per teaspoon of bone meal and 340 to 700mg of phosphorus per teaspoon of bone meal.
Again I was mystified how all of these recipe books could ensure certain levels of calcium and phosphorus without specifying which brand to use. Depending on which bone meal and owner bought their dog’s diet could contain excess or insufficient calcium and phosphorus.
Further research of these recipe books also indicated that most recommended amounts of meat that delivered insufficient amounts of 3 very important amino acids. And it turns out I was not alone in my assessment of the homemade recipes that were available in books and online. A 2013 veterinary study concluded that 95% of homemade recipes are deficient nutritionally. They cited the non-specificity of supplement brands as a major problem and confirmed the same amino acid deficiencies that I had encountered.
Another problem with the available homemade recipes is that they are complicated. In addition to bone meal, vitamins and mineral supplements, they require salt and salt substitute to provide the necessary sodium, potassium and iodine. What this means is that in order to make a nutritious homemade diet owners have to crush large numbers of vitamin and mineral tablets and add those to the recipe. Then add the bone meal and the salts. A lot of time and expense to provide a homemade diet that still might be nutritionally inadequate.
I had no choice. If I was going to offer Socrates quality homemade, I was going to need to develop my own recipes formulas and proprietary nutrient supplements. Nutrient laboratories require minimum quantities of an order. That type of investment is too much just to feed one dog. We decided to share Socrates’ formula with every dog.
Dr. Ken Tudor,
THE DOG DIETITIAN