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Dogs/Nutritional food and Training treats for Min Pins


I have Owen Min Pins for 32 years. Lost my last baby due to old age in October. My vet gave a talk on aging dogs and care at a dog show in Florida. Bottom line is she used my Bella and I as examples, and because of this, I as a 67 yr old woman have decided to adopt two retired at 5 yrs of age champion show dogs. Both girls and litter mates. Very sweet, travel well and kennel trained. My question here is their diet they are on Pedigree Nutritional for small dogs. Is that good my other dogs were on Taste of the Wild. My main concern is a training treat for I am having to train them for come, stay and potty Help.

ANSWER: Hi Patricia,

Thanks for reaching out to insure your pets are getting the best nutrition. I will be happy to provide some information and you can take it from there.

Firstly, what has been a proven fact and we've seen it over and over is that many dogs become allergic to certain grains or other ingredients and/or the chemical process producing these grains/ingredients.

The worst of all that cause problems with dogs are wheat, corn, soy, by-products, chemical preservatives, and artificial coloring's. This is just a partial list but they are the main culprits.

So look to your ingredients for starters. Learn what is in everything you feed, including treats. Make sure NONE of these ingredients are in any of it.

Like most commercial dry pet foods, the Pedigree Nutritional for small dogs contains about every one of these. It is mostly filler type ingredients with very little real proteins or nutrition.

This type of diet destroys a dogs immune system. Once their immune system is weak, that's when allergies, arthritis, organ failure, cancers and all sorts of bad things take over. This is a very bad food for any dog. You just have to see how that makes sense.

Most people don't realize this and trust what a national brand food says when it says it is complete nutrition. But this is a marketing lie. These cheap foods are what destroys so many pets lives. We've seen it hundreds of times when people come into our store looking for help because their dogs are doing so badly or having allergic reactions or other issues.

Even our vets are not nutritional experts, they are medical experts, but we look to them for nutritional help. All what they have learned about nutrition is from what the reps come into their office and sell them. They will get kick backs on foods that they push.

The best diet in the world for any dog is what nature intended them to eat and thrive on. That has to make sense as well. When we start going against nature, that's when we have problems. As we see with the American diet these days.

Our dogs need a diet that is high in moisture, good quality fresh proteins and fats, bone for calcium, organ meat for vitamins and minerals.

This is the prey model diet or what some call a raw food diet. This type of diet provides ALL aspects of what our dogs need.

Most all commercially prepared canned and dry food are NOT complete. This is because they are missing certain co-factors that are found in "live" foods. The two main ones are enzymes and probiotics. These two vital nutrients are found naturally in raw foods but are destroyed when you cook foods. Therefore any processed canned or dry foods that have been cooked do not contain the very much needed enzymes and probiotics.

Also, no dogs should ever be on a dry food only diet. They need a high moisture diet. They are meat eaters which is 70% moisture. Dry foods have very little moisture. A dog that is only on dry will actually live in a mild state of dehydration. This affects their internal organs and their skin and coat.

We found that dry food only diets have a much higher risk of producing cancers and especially kidney failure as the kidney has to work very hard to process dry foods. Dogs that are on dry food only diets tend to drink a lot more water in an attempt to compensate for the lack of moisture in their diet. Unfortunately drinking water does not make up for the lack of moisture in the foods.

The Taste of The Wild dry food your were feeding is a good grain free food that we sell in our store as well. But I hope that is not all you were feeding because a high protein grain free food is really hard on the kidneys.

Don't get me wrong, grain free is the way to go but the dry food should only make up a small part of their diet. The rest should be grain free fresh, canned, lightly cooked or raw foods.

Other great dry foods include Orijen, Accana, Before Grains, Wilderness, Natures Variety Dry, and one newer one in our store that is super premium is called Natural and Delicious, this is a very good dry if you have to feed dry.

We tell most people that have small dogs that if you don't have to feed dry, don't. Even the best dry food in the world is still the worst diet for dogs. It's void of moisture, heavily processed and very hard on a dogs digestive system. Dry foods take around 12 hours to digest where moist foods take around 3-4 hours.

Small dogs are easier to afford feeding moist foods to if cost is a factor.

There are many pet food manufacturers that produce raw foods that are complete. They grind bone and organ meat with everything to make them complete. They mostly come frozen and are available in nuggets, patties or chubs. This make feeding this type of diet very convenient.

We feed raw exclusively to our dogs and cats. We rescue some dogs from kill shelters that come to us with many different health issues. We transition them to a raw diet as fast as we can and they tend to heal very fast.

If you are interested in this type of diet, write back to me and I'll help you transition your dogs to this diet and discuss it further.

So a raw food diet is the best, the next best is lightly cooked foods then a canned food diet. The more you cook or process foods, the worst it is for dogs or us. That's why dry foods are on the bottom because they are the most processed and have all the synthetic nutrients stray coated back onto the kibbles.  

If you feed anything but raw, we recommend highly that you add enzymes and probiotics as a supplement with every meal. It's easy to do as most come in a powder form that you just sprinkle a little on each meal.

Animal Essentials makes a good one that we sell a lot of. There's contain both the enzymes and probiotics in one powder to just sprinkle a pinch on each meal.

I tell people adding enzymes and probiotics to each meal is the number one thing you can do for your pets diet. These are essential and vital to the digestive system that makes up most of their immune system.

There is a food on the market that is lightly cooked. They cook it to about 170 degrees. This is the next best thing to a raw diet. We are selling more and more of this to people who do not want to or cannot feed a raw diet. I believe you should still add digestive enzymes and probiotics to it. The food is called My Perfect Pet. Look it up and see if they sell it in your area.

The next best is canned foods. I would still look to go grain free and try to make at the very least half of their diet in canned. And like you should always do, add the enzymes and probiotics.

Other good supplements are salmon oil or canned sardines for skin and coat, joints, eyes and brain function, green powders like kelp for antioxidants.

So like I said in the beginning, I would provide some basic information and you have to take it from there. You have to see what fits in your life style and budget when deciding what best to feed your dogs.

If you don't already, look for the smaller independent pet food suppliers in your area. They have more of the premium pet foods and most carry several of the raw food diets. Go talk to them and see what they have to offer.

After you go through all this, please feel free to write back with any questions, concerns or if you want additional information about any of this.

My wife and I are both certified in canine nutrition and we live it every day. It is our passion and what we are good at. We've helped hundreds of people regain great health with there dogs.

Let me know if I can do anything else.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


As I said I adopted these dogs which the diet of Pedigree came with them. As for my previous Min Pins they were on the canned Taste of the Wild and also salmon and probiotic supplements. I was not aware of the Raw and partially cooked foods that are available. I would love to know about them as in brands to look for along with your recommended enzymes, probiotics and salmon supplements for these small dogs. Only then would I know the amount you feed dogs on such a diet, and the amounts of supements. I would love your help with this, and a reccommeded training treat. Please send more info on these foods and I will see if in my budget for the girls.
Thanks so much for your help.
Patricia Davis

Hi Patricia,

Sounds like you have already been doing pretty good with your pets diet. That's great.

Let's start with the lightly cooked food and go from there.

It's called My Perfect Pet Foods. Their website is at This is a great food. My mom does not choose to feed raw so I provide this food for her dogs. She adds the enzymes and probiotics, some type of greens and some salmon oil. She will also mix things up occasionally with some other canned foods, eggs, ground turkey or chicken, some veggies. This just adds some good variety in their diets.

MPP also provides a few special formulas for various diseases, such as kidney or pancreas. These diseases call for special diets and this makes feeding a lot easier for people having to go through this. They also carry a good variety of proteins to rotate through.

The cost is probably equivalent to feeding higher priced canned foods. So it would be a little more expensive than what you are feeding.

The thing however with lightly cooked or raw foods is that you can feed less. The less processed foods are the more absorbable they are. This means more stays in the body and less waste in the yard. So you would probably feed a little less than what you are with the canned food.

It comes frozen in small one pound bars that are individually wrapped. I believe there are 7 bars in a bag. Bags run around $20-$25.

You just pull out a bar or two and keep them in a container in your refrigerator to thaw and pull them out to feed.

They are a smaller company looking to grow. They have a great story behind them. You would need to see if anyone in your area carries it by calling them or I believe you can order right from them and have it shipped.

If you are thinking you might feed raw at some point, this would be a good stepping up place to go. You could then gradually go to less and less processed foods then eventually to raw.

There are probably other lightly cooked foods available I'm just not as familiar with them. Get to the local small pet foods specialty stores and you can learn a lot.

As for raw foods, there are many smaller companies that provide more regional distribution. There are a few bigger companies that distribute nationally.

One national one we carry is from Natures Variety. They also manufacture canned, dry, and freeze dried raw.

Their website is at They have a locator on top of their website where you can put in your zip code to find the nearest place that carries their foods.

If you do choose to go raw at some point, this would be a good product to start with. It cost a little more than locally produced raw foods but has some advantages.

Their formula is 95% meat and 5% fruit and veggies. It's balanced and complete with the ground up bone and organ meat.

The reason I say it's a good one to start with is because they use a high pressure pasteurization process on their foods. What this does is destroy any bad bacteria and is supposed to leave the good bacteria you get from raw alone. We sometimes wonder about this but their experts and testing seems to prove it.

So this means it is a safer raw to feed that will not over power a dog with a weaker immune system with bad bacteria. This makes a good food to feed older dogs or ones with ailments.

It also comes frozen and in medallions, patties and bigger chubs. For your small dogs the medallions would work well.

Like any new food to transition into a raw diet you would start by feeding very little mixed into their current food. You slowly day by day increase the raw and lesson the other. Eventually over a week or so they would be totally on raw.

We always advise people to supplement with probiotics for a week or two before starting the process of transitioning to a raw diet. Sounds like you have already been doing this so that is great.

If you go this route, you can also start looking for local suppliers of raw foods. They are more likely to be a little less expensive.

But as I mentioned before, you would be feeding less. With a couple of smaller dogs, it should not make too much difference in your feeding budget.

We are big believers in the raw diet as this is the way nature intended dogs to eat. We've seen the benefits of it first hand in many circumstances. Dogs were never meant to eat a cooked food diet. But we bring them into our homes, sleep with them and see them as our kids. You would not think of feeding your kids raw foods. Many people are shocked when we start talking to them about it.

But it can do wonders for a dogs health and well-being. It gives them the best chance at living a longer, healthier life.

Here's another website where you can read and learn more about the raw food diet and what it can do for your pet. There are many vets testimonials on there as well. It's at

As for the supplements, you are already giving a probiotic, I would look to add a digestive enzyme as well. It's important that we give our dogs good digestive support. Most all the raw food manufacturers use muscle meat in their production. There are some but not a lot of digestive type enzymes in that. Most all the digestive enzymes that dogs would naturally get from the prey model diet comes from the pancreas and the intestinal track. Neither is available in quantity for production purposes. So adding a good enzyme is essential even when feeding a raw food diet.

As mentioned before, Animal Essentials makes a good one that contains both the enzymes and probiotics. This makes giving both easy. You can find them at most small independent pet food stores or on Amazon. You can look to their website for more information. They also carry some other supplements that are high quality. You can check them out at

We rotate between omega sources. Sometimes we might use a little salmon oil but most of the time we use canned sardines. You can get them pretty cheap in grocery stores. Get the ones that come in water.

They are a whole food and contain a full chain of omega 3's and 6's. Plus dogs usually love them.

Other than that you might give a little green powders like kelp or spirulina. Any good antioxidant is good to give and it helps keep free radicals down that cause diseases.

You can find many good small training treats at the local pet food stores. Get the good ones that do not contain any of the bad ingredients discussed before. I think Source Naturals is a good one we sell but there are many. We also tell people that they can just use a good kibble as well. They will be less expensive and the dogs will still like them. Get a small bag of good grain free food and that will work just fine.

As for the amounts of products to feed, the supplements will have directions. The food itself will have to be adjusted to their particular needs. All dogs have different metabolisms and different exercise routines so you can't just say "feed this much." Just watch the weight. If they are getting too skinny, add more food, too heavy, cut back a little.

With overweight dogs you can add more green beans or other high fiber veggies that helps give them a fuller feeling with very little added calories.

Keeping your dogs healthier and out of the vets office will save you a lot of money down the road. So putting a little extra in the diets now will reap rewards. The best one being that they will be with you longer.

Learn about vaccinations as well. Only get what your dogs are required to by local law. Over vaccinations cause a weaker immune system and other problems.

The same with flea treatments. Don't use the chemical ones unless you have a bad infestation. Using them monthly will ruin an immune system.

There are natural ones but if you have a real problem, there is one that is easier on the system that's called Comfortis. You have to get it from your vet. It's comes in a pill form and is a little easier on their system than chemical treatments on the skin.

One last thing, the vets. We use a local vet as needed. But if we have a dog that has been diagnosed with an ailment, we will take that information to a holistic vet. These vets are trained to heal naturally from the inside out and not just prescribe pills. If there is no other choice, they will give you the options. They are trained just as regular vets but have taken further classes on healing your pets naturally and holistically. There are not near as many of them as regular vets but it's worth your time to find one if needed. You can try to google them for your area.

Sorry to be so long winded but it's a lot to cover. Please feel free to write back with any other questions on any of this you may have, I'll be happy to help if I can.



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Roger McLeskey


Can answer all nutritional information for all dogs. Common problems with food, supplements, weight control, allergies, fleas, etc. Questions regarding raw food, homemade food, skin & coat issues, ect. Can't and/or will not do medicinal type questions that the vet takes care of.


I am certified in Dog Nutrition. Over 6 years now I've owned a natural pet food retail store. I've worked with hundreds of dogs and there owners to achieve better health. We promote a healthy balanced species related diet. This is the way nature made your pet to thrive. Fortunately for those who cannot or wish not to feed a raw based diet, there are alternatives with supplements and cooked food. Just don't let processed food be there only diet. Food is the most powerful medicine. Heal the core of the animal and the rest will take care of itself. We've turned the lives of many dogs around. There parents come back into the store and comment to us on how there dog acts like a real dog again. Our business is thriving and we continue to help many.

We work with Second Chance Companions, Must Love Dogs, members of ASPCA, HSUSA and started our own personal "Red Head Rescue" (non chartered) for stray dogs and rescue dogs from high kill shelters. We've been able to heal the many health ailments these dogs have and place them in good homes.

Dog Food Decoded - How To Choose A Health Diet For Your Dog and Your Budget - Available on Amazon in Kindle format or Paperback. Various articles for in store and web.

Certified - Canine Nutrition Level Three. Last 7 years I've been working with veterinarians, holistic veterinarians, attending seminars and best of all, real life experience with hundreds of customer dogs and cats. I've seen what works and does not work. Feeding a proper species appropriate diet works for most ailments. We've taken away our petís natural diet and caused most of todayís problems.

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