Healthy Adult Diet

Commercial dog food is not the best food to give dogs with seizures, and grocery store brands are sometimes are even worse in quality. Many commercial kibbles containing the herb rosemary may, in a few cases, lead to seizures. One of the things we learned, despite what pet food companies tell us, is that we can do so much better for our dogs nutritionally by home cooking for them.

There is more and more literature to support the fact that kibble, this somewhat recently invented "convenience food", is harmful to our pets for several reasons. For starters, the dried kibbles are harder to digest because they are dry and sometimes very old. They also contains too many grains, and the ingredients are usually shockingly inferior and very low grade in quality, high in calories, and so forth. In addition to this, many of today's kibbles either contain various chemicals for various reasons, or are preserved with chemicals that are known to cause seizures. The most common chemical preservatives are BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin. Since all three preservatives, and these (especially ethoxyquin) are harmful and may have a link to seizures I would discontinue feeding any foods containing any of these chemicals to your pup.

Susan Wynn DVM, who is a recognized pet nutritionist, has this to say about home cooking:
"Here is my take on meat. Dogs evolved from Canis lupis - the wolf. Wolves eat caribou or the like, but if they are forced, they will eat smaller game. They have been observed to graze on grass, eat berries, etc, but only when they need to. This is our lesson in canine nutrition - they are omnivores who do well with fresh meat, the vegetation they get in a caribou stomach (which is mostly green), and a smattering of other stuff if they are hungry.

Food companies have, in the main, revolutionized pet nutrition for the average pet. Our concern, however, is not for the average pet. It is for the sick pet. Dogs with epilepsy have a compromised immune system. If epileptic animals have a disease with even a small nutritional component, wouldn't we want to deal with it? Is your epileptic animal showing other signs of allergies? If s/he is chewing feet, scratching ears, having anal gland problems, vomiting bile seasonally, etc etc, etc, one may want to consider dietary changes, including hypoallergenic diets, if appropriate.

I think that the main benefit of feeding real food - meat and steamed veggies - is to provide stuff that is killed in the kibble extrusion process. If you or I were to eat a diet of Wheaties, yogurt, VegAll, and Spam day after day for 20 years, would this be enough? I don't know, but it makes me uncomfortable. I think our pets need a more varied diet and a fresher one than we can give them with commercial kibble."

If you want to consider switching your pup to homecooked food, as many of our Angels have, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover that your dog's health has gradually improved dramatically with the change. I believe that homecooking is the very best way to feed our dogs because it is so easy to know exactly what is going into their diet, and is especially good for dogs with allergies, and sensitivities.

Below is a very simple diet for healthy adult dogs with canine epilepsy. It is easy to make, and is also very balanced.  And if your dog has a weight problem, you will find the weight loss diet at:

Healthy Adult Diet

Below is a very simple diet for healthy adult dogs with canine epilepsy. It is easy to make and is also very balanced nutritionally. There is a success story at the end of this article. There are two ways of making this recipe.

1. Using a crock pot which cooks while you are at work or at night while sleeping.

2. Cooking all the ingredients separately.

3. For full supplementation, please read the list of supplements in the article "Supplements For Home Cooked Diet".

And if your dog has a weight problem, you will find the weight loss diet at:

1. Healthy Adult Diet - Crock Pot recipe

This can be put together in approximately 20 minutes and ready 8 hours later. It requires a crock pot or slow cooker, which can be purchased at any department store or discount chain. You can also order one through the internet for $25. Model# 3040-BC (4 quart) or Model # 33551-FW (5 quart) Here is the link:

Click on "Traditional Slow Cookers" and select the one best for you. Or, call The Rival Co. Consumer Help number is 1-800-557-4825.

You will need the following ingredients:

4 halved boneless, skinless chicken breasts - frozen (use any reputable brand that you would feed your human family). They are usually around $8.00 for a package of 10. Or you can use 4 cups frozen fish, or 4 cups frozen lean ground meat (about 2 lbs).

1 cup zucchini sliced thickly
1 cup sliced carrots sliced thickly
1 cup string beans cut up
1/2 cup white potato cut in 2" pieces
1/2 cup yam or sweet potato cut in 2" pieces

Combine all ingredients (leave chicken breasts frozen) in crock pot along with 4 cups of water. Put crock pot on "Low" setting and cook all day while you're at work or all night while you're sleeping, approximately 8 hours or until everything is tender. After the mixture is cooked, put it in the refrigerator overnight.  The next day, skim as much of the fat off the top as you can with a spoon.  Then you can mix and mash everything together so that the meat and veggies are well blended together.  (If your crock pot has a removable liner, put the whole thing in the fridge - if not, you can transfer the cooked food to another container to sit overnight.)  Once you have mixed everything together well, you should refrigerate the food - either in the container you have it in or divided up into individual meals.  Do not leave it in the refrigerator for longer than three days - if you have more than you will use in three days, please freeze the extra portions.  Be sure to reheat each meal in a microwave or at least bring it to room temperature.

2. Healthy Adult Diet - cooked separately

4 cups skinned and boiled chicken or fish or ground meat
1 cup zucchini (if zucchini is not available use summer squash)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped string beans
1/2 cup white potato
1/2 cup yam or sweet potato

Skin a whole chicken (or 2 or 3) and put in a large covered pot with water almost to the top of the chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Drain the chicken in a colander and save the chicken soup in a bowl.
Put the chicken soup in the fridge and skim the fat when cold. You can add a little of the heated chicken soup to each meal. This gives trace minerals to the diet. Meals should not be eaten right out of the fridge but either brought to room temperature or warmed in a microwave.

Scrub the potatoes well and cut them up crosswise into 2" pieces so the skin circles the potatoes. OR, you can peel the potatoes before you cook them. Simmer the white potatoes in a covered pot for 30 minutes and then add the yam/sweet potatoes and cook both for another 30 minutes. When cooled, remove the skins.

If using ground beef, simmer in a frying pan with a very small amount of oil.  (If you dog is more sensitive to fat, you can also boil the beef, discard the liquid and then rinse it well with hot tap water.)
If using fish, simmer/poach in a frying pan with a small amount of water until the fish is white.

Wash the zucchini (or string beans/summer squash), carrots and celery and cut up and steam or cook in a covered pot until very tender.

Mix all the above ingredients together until it is well blended. This will give you approximately 8 cups of food. Depending on the size of your dog, you can double or triple the recipe. One recipe can be made with chicken and the next time you can make it with ground meat for variety. You should only need to make this recipe once a week.

Try and feed in 3 or 4 small meals (depending on your schedule), the last one being at bedtime. Smaller meals spread apart will burn more calories. Put one meal portions in baggies and freeze what you won't use in 3 days. Then you can put them in the fridge the day before and they will be thawed out. You should be able to cook once a week and freeze what you don't use. This recipe will stay fresh for 3 days in the fridge.

For supplementation, use an Infant's liquid multi vitamin (use the dose for the body weight recommended). Or alternatively, you can give 150 IU's of Vit E and some raw calf or beef liver. 1 oz for each 10 lbs per week. Cut the liver up and freeze it and give pieces as a treat. Not more than 1 oz per 10 lbs a week. This gives lots of natural A and B. Or for full supplementation, please read the list of supplements in the article "Supplements For Home Cooked Diet".


W. J. Dodds, DVM
Healthy Pets - Naturally newsletter

*Dodds WJ, Donoghue S. 1994. Interactions of Clinical Nutrition with Genetics. In: The Waltham Book of Clinical Nutrition of the Dog and Cat, Pergamon Press Ltd., Oxford, England.

If you are switching from kibble, and/or canned dog food, to home cooking and your dog is on potassium or sodium bromide, please be aware that there is considerably less sodium (salt) in home cooking than kibble or canned (which can have large amounts of sodium). Sodium, or salt, in the diet "uses up" the bromide and less salt in the diet could raise bromide levels substantially which would cause bromism. After switching over to home cooking, if your dog has weakness in its legs, gets "wobbly" or loses it's balance, your vet can reduce the bromide dose slowly and in small amounts. W. Jean Dodds, DVM, recommends reducing the dose of bromide slightly or by 1/3 to see if the signs of bromism go away or are lessened. In a month, have the bromide levels checked to make sure they are in the therapeutic range. Don't worry about lowering the bromide as long as it stays in therapeutic range. Less bromide and home cooking will be healthier for your dog in the long range.

Home Cooking Has Reduced Bear's Seizures by Mary Kearney

Bear stole my husband's heart. At the animal shelter, Dan saw Bear going through his obedience commands and fell in love. We took Bear home on January 18, 2001, and he promptly stole my heart too. Bear had his first seizure in September of the same year. The vet said it could be a 'one of," so we waited. We hoped that the terrifying Grand Mal was a 'one time only"; no such luck. A cluster of 2 GMs, a month after the first, had us back in Dr. Shelton's office and Bear starting on Phenobarbital. All this time, we were feeding him Science Diet. Bear began to gain some weight on the Phenobarbital, so we switched him to Science Diet Weight Control Formula; the seizures just kept coming. We fell into a 7 to 10 day routine, with some variation, but not much.

I found the Guardian Angels website. After a lot of reading, I decided to try the homecooking. I put him on the Healthy Adult Diet. What an amazing change! He went from a seizure cycle of bad clusters every 7 to 10 days to a 43 day stretch seizure free. At the end of that 43 day run, he had one, only one, GM. That was just the beginning of the benefits Bear has reaped from this diet. That extra 5lbs that we couldn't get off him just melted away, he stopped grazing and now licks his bowl clean, and his coat is puppy fur soft and so glossy. Bear's vet says that Bear eats better than he does.

Mary, Dan, Taryn and Bear (Shepherd mix epi)