Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Review: Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats

Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats
by Beth Taylor and Karen Shaw Becker, DVM

There are clear benefits to preparing your dog's food yourself. You can use whole, fresh foods. You have control over the choice of ingredients and their quality. All these things will benefit your dog's health and well-being.

Taking charge, however, comes with responsibility.

The best wholesome ingredients won't do your dog a whole lot of good if the diet doesn't provide complete and balanced nutrition. That's where it gets tricky.

There is a total of 36 nutrients (plus water) which are considered essential for dogs.

These include 10 amino acids, 11 vitamins, 12 minerals, linoleic acid, and of course water. (There are also what are referred to as conditionally essential nutrients but we'll talk about that later). All these nutrients need to be provided at the right amounts and in the correct ratios.

People often ask what is a good source of dog food recipes.

A quality recipe will ensure that the food you make for your dog does provide everything your dog's body needs. This is important. Nutrition is the foundation of health.

There are a number of ways of getting good recipes for your dog.

The best way is to get recipes formulated by a dog nutritionist or a holistic veterinarian. This way the nutrition will not only address your dog's general nutritional requirements but also their individual needs. What your dog needs in their food depends on their age, activity level, and health status.

Jasmine's recipe is formulated around Hilary's Supplement and was formulated for her individual needs. For my US friends, a similar product is Balance IT.

There are also plenty of dog food recipe books and resources out there. I've always been hesitant to recommend any of these, simply because not everybody who will publish dog food recipes might be qualified to do so.

I can now, with confidence, recommend Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats.

Dr. Becker has a thorough understanding of dogs' nutritional needs. What I've learned, along with my instinct tell me that her approach to dog nutrition makes sense. More importantly, her book is also recommended by the dog nutrition course I'm taking.

The book explains dog nutrition basics and includes an abundance of yummy recipes.

If you're considering making your dog's food yourself, this is one of the great places to start.

Related articles:
"Natural" With Regard To Dog Nutrition (Part I): What Does It Mean And Does It Matter?
The Whole Food Philosophy And The Tale Of A Giant Sugar Beet
What Do Those Nutrients Do? Calcium
Dog Nutrition And Proteins: The Building Blocks of Life
I Want Some Bacon! Fat In Dog Nutrition
Nothing Fishy About Omega-3 Fatty Acids 
Do I Have To Eat My Vegetables? Vitamins In Dog Nutrition 


  1. This is a really wonderfully written article. I once tried feeding my dogs homemade food and never thought to do this kind of research to develop a recipe. As a pet owner, it is our responsibility to ensure they are eating a balanced diet. I am constantly amazed at the s*@! manufacturers put in their kibble. Try to get your head around something called "animal digest" - scary stuff.
    Thanks for the information.

  2. Glad you liked the article. This book is one of the places to start if you want to home-cook for your dogs.