“You are what you eat” and “Food is the foundation of life” are two of my favorite quotes. Without proper nutrition, health fades. According to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, the Spleen (digestive function) must provide good nutrients for the other organ systems to function properly. The kidneys cannot produce and maintain life essence without good nutrition. The Lung system is responsible for distributing nutrients throughout the body and cannot perform its job without proper moisture. The Liver is responsible for detoxifying the body; it will have to work harder if poor quality, contaminated nutrients are supplied.

Not all pet owners have easy access to high quality food made by caring companies. While it is all well and good to recommend feeding only organic, grass fed, pasture raised, antibiotic and hormone free, non-GMO, locally sourced food, this is just not always possible. Unfortunately, with the advent of social media, it has become far too easy for well-meaning supporters of high quality pet nutrition to shower overwhelming advice on pet owners who are still feeding pet food purchased in the local grocery store.

For some pet guardians, financial constraints limit their ability to feed the highest level of nutrition to their pets. For others, product availability may be a limiting factor. Many pet owners are uncomfortable with the idea of handling and feeding raw meats to their pets, while others are unable to feed raw diets due to limitations placed by pet therapy, boarding, veterinary, or training facilities.

However, within these constraints, it is possible to improve the diet of all pets. Feeding even a small amount of whole foods, like real meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables, can bring vast improvement to pet health. There are simple ingredients that have been shown to fight cancer and improve gut health. By incorporating one or two meals made with whole foods each week or by making a healthy topper to mix with processed food, pet health and longevity can be improved.

One of my favorite toppers: (appropriate for a 25 pound dog once daily when mixed with processed food; decrease processed food portion by about 1/4 cup when adding this topper)

  • 1 egg (can be scrambled or hard boiled)
  • 1 tablespoon organic pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup chopped kale (finely chopped or sauteed) or other dark leafy green
  • 1 ounce Shiitake mushrooms (finely chopped or sauteed)
  • 1 canned sardine in water
  • Mix all ingredients together

These are all “power foods” that provide healthy vitamins and minerals. This topper could be made in larger batches and stored in the refrigerator up to one week.