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Thread: What type of food do you feed to mantain a good heart function?

  1. #1

    Default What type of food do you feed to mantain a good heart function?

    Being relatively new to the breed, but having had Yorkies at home for over 30 years now, I’m always eager to learn from longtime experienced breeders.

    A common question on Dutch forums is ‘What do you feed your dog?’. Opinions differ a lot, but of course most people on these forums are (relatively new) Cavalier owners, not breeders.

    What do you feed your Cavaliers? Some claim kibbles are the most complete and other claim this is like fast-food for dogs. There is quite some tailor-made nutrition now who claim to have beneficial ingredients to support heart function. But if I look at some kennels with some golden oldies with clear hearts, I wonder what their secret is? Of course not everything can be brought back to environmental things like food, but I do believe you can 'influence' health by giving a well-balanced food. On Cavalierhealth is suggested that dietary supplements like l-carnitine, taurine, q10, omega 3-oil, vitamin E can be beneficial for the heart. I know there a lot of breeders on this forum who have long living dogs with excellent hearts and I would appreciate it, if they could share some of their knowledge for well-ballanced good heart ‘diet’…

    Christophe

  2. #2

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    Salut Christophe,

    The French club held a seminar after the World Show, and Dr Haroutunian spoke about hearts. He said that, although he could not explain it, dogs owned by breeders tended to develop heart problems later in life, on average, than those owned in single or two dog families. One person in the audience suggested nutrition, but he said that didn’t seem to be the simple answer. Some breeders who fed kibble had healthier dogs than some private owners who fed whole food diets – and some breeders who fed whole food diets had healthier dogs than private owners who fed kibble.!

    There is a lot of difference in good quality kibble and “fast food” in that the kibble is developed by trained nutritionists to give all the elements required for a healthy diet; a far cry from McD.

    I am well aware of Royal Canin's specialised foods, and I do feed Royal Canin Cavalier.

    Having talked to another breeder whose dogs have really nice coats, I started to add some Shih Tzu. She said it had improved the coats of her dogs. My finding is that, after having been on a mixture of the two for a while, their coats are getting rather greasy and not as silky as they should be, so I will stop the Shih Tzu and revert to just Cavalier.

    I admit that I do give table scraps – odd bits of vegetables and meat (not potato) and cheese – and there HAVE been times when I’ve not been attentive and they’ve helped themselves to olives, nuts, wine and once had a tub of ice cream.

    There is no doubt that the heart is about 75%, or more, a genetic problem, but we should not forget environmental factors.

    I have in the past, fed green tripe – this is the unbleached stomach of a cow; probably all four stomachs. It is a truly excellent food, being totally natural and pretty much what a dog would eat in the wild, AS LONG AS you can get it from a reliable source. I stopped feeding it when I bought a batch, directly from an abattoir, and it made the dogs ill. I wasn’t prepared to risk that again and so haven’t dared feed it since.

    There are lots of recipes for all sorts of diets, and most are very good.

    Jane

  3. #3

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    Hi Janelise

    Thank you for your very extensive answer. It's not my opinion that kibble is fastfood, but it is a statement that is often made by people who feed whole foods. Actually the last 4 years we've fed Royal Canin Cavalier too. Back at home we always fed kibbles too and table scrabs and my parents Yorkies lived a ripe age. It also is easy. But now having a different breed and 'working' with dogs on an other level, I've become more critic, taking a special interest in feeding regime.

    Once a week they also get fresh green tripe (outside, because it has a terrible smell! ) Some say kibbles is "dead food", because it is heated at such a high temperature, that it becomes sterile and fats are heated too much, plus they have artificial flavours and preservatives. Then there is the story about expanded and pressed kibbles. Which one is better?

    We also have frozen meat in the freezer, which should be a more natural way of feeding. But I always wonder if this is as complete as a tailor made kibble if you see the list of ingredients of some kibbles. I spoke to a man this afternoon, who said that natural occurring amino-acids, vitamins, minerals in whole foods are more beneficial than added supplements.

    I started with a dietary supplement called Bio-Cardio from Thorne, because it's suppose to help and maintain a healthy heart function, they also get an omega-3 fish oil supplement (quite an expensive one, because it's for human use). Of course I understand that healthy hearts are in the first place genetically inherited. Only having three dogs at the moment this is reasonable, but I can imagine if you have more this is impossible to maintain because it would become really expensive.

    I hope I get some more reactions to this topic. I know there is no holy grail or the ultimate food to give, but I'm interested in what breeders give who have long healthy living dogs. Thanks in advance!!

    Christophe

  4. #4

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    I fogot to say that my dogs also eat quite a lot of vegetables raw; if I'm peeling carrots, trimming broccoli or other brassicas, the dogs do eat them. They shouldn't, as the brassicas are supposed to be harmful to dogs, but it doesn't seem to hurt them.

    My dogs don't live as old as Veronica's; 15 is the oldest; but I have two very sprightly eleven year olds at the moment. They are on no heart medication .

    Jane

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janelise View Post
    I fogot to say that my dogs also eat quite a lot of vegetables raw; if I'm peeling carrots, trimming broccoli or other brassicas, the dogs do eat them. They shouldn't, as the brassicas are supposed to be harmful to dogs, but it doesn't seem to hurt them.

    My dogs don't live as old as Veronica's; 15 is the oldest; but I have two very sprightly eleven year olds at the moment. They are on no heart medication .

    Jane
    Mine either. I hope Veronica will chime in here and tell us what she feeds her dogs
    Sue

    Susan Shidler
    AKC Breeder of Merit
    SevenWoods Cavaliers
    Mettawa, IL USA

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SevenWoods View Post
    Mine either. I hope Veronica will chime in here and tell us what she feeds her dogs
    Of course I know that it's not just diet, but good breeding that makes for longevity and health.
    Sue

    Susan Shidler
    AKC Breeder of Merit
    SevenWoods Cavaliers
    Mettawa, IL USA

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SevenWoods View Post
    I hope Veronica will chime in here and tell us what she feeds her dogs
    For my large family of Cavaliers it's a recipe of raw ingredients ... just as nature intended. I've never been an advocate of complete kibble and feel it's the most unnatural way to feed any dog. The canine digestive tract is designed to break down raw food, and I've always felt that's the best guide for me to follow. I'm sure complete is easier to manage and a lot quicker to distribute, but when I hear owners saying 'I feed half a cup twice a day' I do feel really sorry for the dog. Mine love their meat, whether it's raw beef, raw chicken wings or necks, mixed with raw green veg for the folic acid, raw carrot for the beta-carotene content which the body converts into vitamin A, an essential vitamin for healthy vision and a boost for their immune system. I put fish oils into the mix, a couple of fresh cloves of garlic, and mine also get a dessertspoon of live Bio Yoghurt on their dinner every day. With this raw mix I do put a small quantity of wholemeal mixer for the fibre content, and add a little boiled organic brown rice.
    Would a scoop of kibble be easier … you bet it would… but feeding it to my dogs would give me no satisfaction at all.
    Apart from the issue of feeding, I'm paranoid about keeping teeth clean and can say hand on heart that in 34 years I've never had to book one of my Cavaliers in for a dental, and I've never allowed any to become overweight at any age, whether neutered or entire…
    To keep skin and coat nice all my dogs are bathed in a good shampoo and well conditioned at least every 3rd week.. although show dogs would of course be bathed more often, and a final point is that I’ve always bred for longevity and never had much interest in the latest top winner when it comes to using them for stud.

    Kind regards,
    Veronica

  8. #8
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    Veronica, I feed almost exactly your diet, although they get their grain from treats I buy for them. I've been told by some "experts" that my diet isn't "balanced" and that I should change it to meet AAFCO or other standards. Sometimes I wonder about that, but not too often <G>. I think my dogs' vet reports tell the story. They don't get sick, so I must be feeding them OK~

    Sue
    Sue

    Susan Shidler
    AKC Breeder of Merit
    SevenWoods Cavaliers
    Mettawa, IL USA

  9. #9

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    Thanks to all suggestions, I kind of was secretly hoping that Veronica would join us. Thank(

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica Hull View Post
    For my large family of Cavaliers it's a recipe of raw ingredients ... just as nature intended. I've never been an advocate of complete kibble and feel it's the most unnatural way to feed any dog. The canine digestive tract is designed to break down raw food, and I've always felt that's the best guide for me to follow. I'm sure complete is easier to manage and a lot quicker to distribute, but when I hear owners saying 'I feed half a cup twice a day' I do feel really sorry for the dog. Mine love their meat, whether it's raw beef, raw chicken wings or necks, mixed with raw green veg for the folic acid, raw carrot for the beta-carotene content which the body converts into vitamin A, an essential vitamin for healthy vision and a boost for their immune system. I put fish oils into the mix, a couple of fresh cloves of garlic, and mine also get a dessertspoon of live Bio Yoghurt on their dinner every day. With this raw mix I do put a small quantity of wholemeal mixer for the fibre content, and add a little boiled organic brown rice.
    Would a scoop of kibble be easier … you bet it would… but feeding it to my dogs would give me no satisfaction at all.
    Apart from the issue of feeding, I'm paranoid about keeping teeth clean and can say hand on heart that in 34 years I've never had to book one of my Cavaliers in for a dental, and I've never allowed any to become overweight at any age, whether neutered or entire…
    To keep skin and coat nice all my dogs are bathed in a good shampoo and well conditioned at least every 3rd week.. although show dogs would of course be bathed more often, and a final point is that I’ve always bred for longevity and never had much interest in the latest top winner when it comes to using them for stud.

    Kind regards,
    Veronica
    Thanks to all suggestions, I kind of was secretly hoping you would join us!

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