Today we have an interview with Kate Solisti, who has graced us with wonderful info about dog diets and nutrition and has written numerous books about Pet Communication… welcome…
tell us a little bit about yourself including how many dogs you have or have had and other pets, experience with pets, and so on…
I have been an animal communicator since 1992. Over the years I’ve written 4 books and edited an anthology, “Kinship with Animals.” My books have been published in 7 languages and focus on interspecies communication, teachings from the animals, dog & cat nutrition, flower essence support and more, addressing the whole companion animal — body, mind and spirit.
My beloved dog Mollie, a sheltie cross, is in spirit and I currently have three wonderful feline companions, Azul, Simon and Lily.
is there any specific diet that you recommend for pet parents that is the best for dogs optimum health or does the diet depend upon different factors? (age, size, weight, breed)?
I believe in meeting guardians where they are in terms of time, budget and level of commitment to their animal’s health. There is no “one perfect” diet for all animals. Breed, age, activity level, stress level, individual food sensitivities etc. are all critical pieces to take into consideration when counseling a guardian in nutrition and meal planning for their companions. Of course, the fresher, more “whole foods” in the diet, the better. Highly processed, inexpensive dry food is not nutritious and will not support a dog or cat in living a long, healthy life.
guidelines for nutrition?
Again, the freshest foods are the best. Many animals thrive on a raw diet, but some, especially older animals, need their fresh foods lightly cooked. The next best, is high quality canned foods and a little dry with eggs, real meat and healthy “table scraps” added in proper proportions’. A diet of all canned or all dry is not ideal. Dry food is not okay by itself. Do not be fooled by advertising or pretty packaging. You need to READ the ingredients to be sure they are real meats and vegetables. Avoid any type of gluten, soy, corn, sugars, like maltodextrin and corn syrup and all by- products, colorings and additives like BHA and BH (known carcinogens). Remember, if you wouldn’t eat it, why would you feed it to your dog?
are there supplements that you recommend for dogs?
Two of my favorite stand-bys are digestive enzymes and probiotics. I can safely say that all animals eating dry or canned foods exclusively need these to help break down the food and absorb nutrients. Most animals, especially elderly and rescued animals, really benefit from these two supplements. Animals eating raw foods get live enzymes from their fresh food. Enzymes are destroyed in the cooking process. Any dog who has been on antibiotics and medications needs probiotics to help rebuild good, healthy gut bacteria that is essential for absorption of nutrients and a healthy immune system. Some dogs need to be on these all the time, others during times of stress.
are there factors to consider in regard to feeding your pet?
Yes, each animal must be understood as an individual and fed according to their needs.
do you find that most pet parents feed their dogs/pets kibble and canned foods or does it vary?
Yes, most do simply because they and their veterinarians are uninformed about what dogs & cats need to eat to stay healthy. I often learn that prescription diets are fed for too long and never reevaluated. As I said above, dry food is not okay by itself. Would you want to eat dry cereal every day? Would that be good for you? Well it isn’t for most dogs either.
do most dogs love peanut butter, bacon, cheese?
It seems so. I believe that they are attracted to the fat and salt in these foods.
what is the weirdest food a dog you have spoken to liked?
Oh my. There have been too many to list. Dogs are part of Nature’s cleanup crew, so they will try almost anything!
are dogs carnivores?
Yes, dogs are carnivores. All you have to do is look at their teeth to see this. They are almost omnivores, but again, their teeth put them plainly in the carnivore crew.
does that mean a raw diet of meat is best ?
a raw BALANCED diet with muscle, organ, connective tissue, blood, and VERY importantly bone is best for SOME dogs. The key to a balanced raw diet is to “build a bird or mammal.” Many people think mixing up a batch of ground meat, chopped veggies and a little cottage cheese is fine, but it is not balanced. A raw or cooked homemade diet MUST be balanced correctly or it will cause dangerous deficiencies in the dog or cat. There are a few excellent supplements that can be added to a homemade diet if you can’t grind up bone and know you have the right amounts of proper vitamins and minerals.
should dogs eat grains or a grain-free diet?
Again, this depends on the dog.
is a grain free diet healthy for dogs?
For most dogs, grain-free is best. But others do better with some cooked grains in their diet. I usually prefer quinoa over most other grains. Rice is beneficial when there are digestive issues, but not necessary once the digestive tract returns to normal.
is there a flea free diet? itch free diet? a diet that repels fleas, ticks and other bugs?
I am not aware of a “diet” per se, but adding a small amount of garlic and nutritional yeast is often a very helpful flea and tick deterrent. As for itching, there are many causes of that. One simple thing to give to see if it helps is the right essential fatty acids. This would be fats from meats, fish (salmon, trout, sardines) or fish oils or other marine lipid oils. Some dogs do well with coconut oil. Be careful. Many fish oils, especially the generic and inexpensive ones, can be rancid and unhealthy for your companion. I have done a lot of research on the subject and recommend a specific, sustainably grown and harvested marine lipid supplement. It is the cleanest source I know of and has more anti-inflammatory properties than fish oil.
what do you feed your dogs?
If I had a dog, she would most likely eat a raw diet with lots of variety just as my cats do.
this is senior dog month, what age is a dog considered senior?
In my opinion, senior is as senior does! I read someone’s blog the other day and his dog is 11 years old and he considers his dog a senior Some say that my dog, just turned 7, is becoming a senior… does age depend upon breed? diet? Well gosh, 11 is 77 in dog years and 7 is only 49! Yes, condition is key for me in determining a dog’s “senior status.” I have watched dogs with all the symptoms of old age, literally age backwards with a correct diet and the right supplements — specific supplements that I have come to focus on due to their exceptional benefits in a short time.
is there a consensus from dogs on any of the above? what do the dogs have to say about dog food?
Of course we all know “picky” dogs, but most dogs LOVE food, most foods. I will say though that the biggest “consensus” is around nourishing food. Dogs want and need to be nourished first and foremost. Without proper nourishment, they cannot accomplish their missions with their people and lead fulfilling lives. (Just like us.)
anything else that you would like to share?
Thank you CeliaSue for your good questions and devotion to helping people learn about good nutrition for their dogs. I am available for private phone consultations on diet planning, health and behavior. Please visit my website, www.akinshipwithanimals.com for all the details. Looking forward to hearing from you all and helping you create the ideal diet for your dogs (and cats too.)