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Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet


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What’s It About?

There has long been a debate on what constitutes the correct diet for the domesticated dog. Today’s modern dog foods certainly do not bear much resemblance to the high protein diets their canine ancestors used to eat.

In this book, Steve Brown, an expert on canine nutrition, shows us how to include the benefits of the canine ancestral diet in your dog’s nutrition, simply by feeding him differently for as little as one day a week. Whether you wish to feed your dog a complete food, tinned meat or a more natural homemade diet, Brown equips us with the skills and knowledge to make sure we are providing our dogs with adequately balanced meals and therefore, a healthier lifestyle.

Chapter one begins by examining the diet of the dog’s ancestors. Brown explains that research shows dogs were hunters and scavengers, providing summaries from five researchers who have studied the diets of canids in the wild. He takes us through his own research on the subject and shows us what would constitute a close approximation to the canine ancestral diets using the food we have available today. Brown then moves on to looking at the nutritional analysis of the ancestral diet and explains the following four common themes;

  • Large amounts of high quality protein
  •  Moderate amounts of balanced and complete fats
  • Low in Carborhydrates
  •  Mineral and vitamin content.

In chapter two, Brown discusses the weaknesses of modern dog food, explaining the consequences. He discusses the fact that modern dog foods do have not enough protein, unbalanced fats and a lack of nutrients from fresh food.

Chapter three introduces us to the health benefits of the ABC plan which stands for;

Amount of fat, protein and carbohydrate based upon the ancestral diet.

Balance the fats

Complete the nutrition with fresh foods.

Brown explains that the closer we get to feeding dogs their ancestral diet, the healthier they will be. It takes us through some of the benefits which include: healthier cells, better brains, better eye health, stronger hearts, keeping extra weight off, less chance of common health problems and lower cancer risks.

Chapter four introduces us to the ABC day plans. Brown explains that by replacing what you feed with one of his specially constructed ABC plans just once a week , you can significantly improve your dog’s nutritional health. He provides us with two different plans, according to which type of food you feed. He also examines the ingredients you should use and how to prepare them, as well as what foods you should not feed. Finally in this chapter Brown explains the results and benefits of doing this.

Chapter five provides the three keys to making ABC recipes. This chapter is for owners that wish to feed the ancestral diet on a daily basis. Brown discusses the science behind these recipes, explaining why we should start with lean meats, how to balance fats (in a variety of different meats) and how to balance vitamins and minerals to ensure complete nutrition.

In chapter six, Brown shows us how to make homemade dog food for full time feeding that closely mimics the ancestral diet. He provides us with the key steps to follow and gives us three recipes – one based on boneless ruminant meats, a second based on bone in poultry meats and a third which contains both poultry and ruminant meats. Brown also shows us how to work out feeding amounts, based on your dog’s size, activity level and the outside temperature.

Chapter seven books at the storage of both dry and frozen foods. Brown explains that improper storage and leaving bags open for too long can cause health problems. He tells us why he believes bags of dry food should be used within 14 days of opening, adding that the following can occur if you exceed this time limit, spoiling the food:

  • Oxidation of fats
  • Degradation of all micronutrients
  • Molds and mycotoxins
  • Infestation

Brown then gives us some strategies to use help enhance the storage life of dry food.

Chapter eight explores advanced nutritional concepts, providing additional information on some of the materials presented in previous chapters. Brown talks us through an introduction to the chemistry of fats for dogs, whether wild animals produce different fats than domesticated animals, dogs and carbohydrates, kidneys and high protein diets and pet food maths.

Finally Brown provides us with appendixes,  detailing four high protein and low balanced fat recipes as well as sources of data and the analysis programme.

Packed  full of information and something of an eye opener, Doug Knueven , author of The Holistic Dog Guide, describes this book as, “ Enlightening and invaluable. I especially like the fact that his guidelines can help balance canine diets no matter what the care-giver’s level of commitment is to the ancestral diet. Dry food feeders can greatly enhance their pet’s nutrition with just one homemade meal a week. Raw fed dogs can benefit from a balancing meal as well.”


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