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Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet: Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way

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Ancestors and canine cousins of our dogs didn’t eat “krunchy kibble” or “meat ‘n gravy in a can.” They ate what they found or caught... and it wasn’t cooked or “enriched” either! It was high in protein, with balanced fats, and usually included a few fruits, vegetables and grasses. Steve Brown, an expert on canine nutrition, shows how you can bring the benefits of the canine ancestral diet to your dog by feeding him differently as little as just one day a week. And no, you won’t need to lead a pack of dogs on a hunting expedition! Just follow Steve’s well-researched and easy to follow ABCs to make improvements to whatever your dog currently eats. BONUS! Raw food or home prepared feeders will learn how to balance nutrients more precisely, especially fats, for optimum health.A dog diet to get wild about!-Learn about the latest research on the importance of protein and healthy fats in your dog’s diet.-Find out why commercial foods can’t include these fragile-but-crucial nutrients, and how you can make sure your dog gets them.-Just one day a week, or more frequently if you choose, follow the simple recipes that balance the nutrition in the commercial food you are feeding—wet or dry!

144 pages, Paperback

First published November 9, 2009

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Steve Brown

246 books5 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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5 stars
39 (35%)
4 stars
43 (39%)
3 stars
23 (20%)
2 stars
4 (3%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Rochelle Saldaña.
119 reviews3 followers
February 14, 2021
This book is extremely thorough. It also has some practical methods for all types of dog feeders. I’ve failed to give it 5 stars simply because I felt that it was too technical.
December 30, 2014
Very thorough explanation of why his recipes are the way they are. He shows how he gets all the required nutrients to balance. The ABC days are something that are easily implemented one day a week to improve long-term health. Most people who criticize any book on homemade diet for pets say it's too complicated, too expensive, requires difficult ingredients, etc. I think most people hope a recipe will just tell them to use hamburger and rice and everything will be fine forever!

Yes, these recipes take a tiny bit of sleuthing to find the right ingredients. And it does take some time to prepare the recipes. However, I like these plans better than many I've seen just for the fact that they don't use processed foods and are low in carbohydrates. They also don't require very many exogenous supplements, even for daily use.

The book has lots of interesting info about the ancestral diet of wolves and dogs. Whether or not you want to always feed your dog like a wolf, it's helpful to understand these concepts.
10 reviews
January 20, 2023
I read this book as part of my Canine Nutrition Course. I found it to be quite informative on what made/makes up the ancestral diet of dogs and how you can use that information to enhance your pet's diet. I have been in the pet food/nutrition field for about four years now. But I have always had a passion for animals my entire life and a love for science. In particular I enjoyed how this book, and its author broke down and explained some of the more heavy science behind what makes up the nutrients in your pet's diet and how they interact with each other and with your pet's body. The recipes in the book seemed like they would be quite easy to fallow, and explained how it would meet all needed nutritional requirements for dogs during all stages of their life. The ABC diet is easy to implement once a week to your pet's current diet to improve their overall health, or if you would like you can fallow recipes further in the book to feed more regularly.
While I did not agree with all of the information or opinions provided in the book, I was able to understand the reasoning behind it. This book is also 13 years old, so it can be assumed that more has been learned since it was first published.
6 reviews
December 30, 2019
On one hand, there were some good recommendations. On the other, some worried me and at times there seemed to be little solid basis for the recommendation. The suggested amount of salt to add to various recipes (ranging from one to two teaspoons) is excessive. Much of this book is overly technical. It wouldn't suit a reader who is looking for an easy introduction to raw feeding but is for the person who already has some knowledge of this topic and can judge for themself how valid the recommendations are.
Profile Image for Liz Etnyre.
639 reviews3 followers
January 6, 2022
Interesting information on improving your dog's diet. Not sure if the premise that all dogs should ideally eat as wolves eat is all that sound - both have been on different paths for quite some time after all - but judiciously adding variety and quality ingredients to an otherwise highly processed diet can't be a bad thing. - and the wolf model isn't a bad one. Good information, possibly a wee bit dated in spots, but still useful.
527 reviews1 follower
January 21, 2018
Informative, but too many charts, too technical and complicated for someone who just wants to start the raw journey with their dogs.
Profile Image for Michel.
56 reviews
December 29, 2020
Repetitive but overall useful. His approach and recipes are comprehensive and now serve as the basis for my dogs diet. It's too bad she doesn't seem to enjoy the food without bribes and coaxing.
Profile Image for Becky Herrera.
85 reviews2 followers
January 7, 2019
This is a great book for anyone who wants to improve their dogs diet. It isn't an all or nothing approach like some books tell you. Steve Brown, the author says that even if you choose to feed a primarily kibble or canned or even commercial frozen raw diet, you can improve that diet with just one day a week of real fresh food. Your goal is to help make whatever your current diet is better by increasing the amount of real protein, balancing the fats and completing the diet with fresh veggies and fruits. The recipes to do this are simple and can be done by anyone. They aren't meant to be fed everyday, but are meant to give whatever commercial diet you feed a boost of real whole nutrition. He then goes further if you want to go ahead and feed a homemade diet he gives you recipes for that and the reasons behind each food added. Third he gives you tips on how to best store your current food he best you can i.e. Keep the bag closed, keep the food in the original bag and use it up quickly i.e. Two weeks for best freshness. The author is the creator of the first commercially available raw food to hit the market two decades ago. He knows a thing or two about what really needs to be in and out of a dogs diet. Heck he was feeding raw before it became popular. Anyways, I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in feeding their dog a better diet either by going fully homemade, or simply adding real wholesome food to the commercial diet they already feed.
Profile Image for Kimberly  Dinga.
15 reviews
January 19, 2022
I chose Unlocking the Canine Diet because my dog is 12 years old and I recently discovered she suffers from arthritis. I wanted to learn how to properly feed her. I believe that if I properly feed her, she would feel better. This book is really detailed when it comes to nutrition - it is over my head. I'm now working with a nutritionist on my dog's diet, and I'm comparing what she says to what Steve Brown says, and so far everything lines up. I believe I discovered the book on Amazon.

I discovered that my dog need eggs, egg shells, oysters, and a variety of meats and proteins. This was stated in both the book and by the nutritionist.
Profile Image for Amanda .
448 reviews85 followers
January 6, 2012
This book is my new bible! Its exactly what I needed to form recipes for people who ask in practise. This book should be mandatory to every dog owner.

Most commercial dog foods are totally inadequate when it comes to providing a dog with a proper balance of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and essential fats.

If you own a dog then you need to read this book!
Profile Image for Lisa Sipe.
17 reviews
July 8, 2013
Interesting. Not sure what I think yet. I need to check the footnotes, but much of it makes sense - fresh food has micro-nutrients that shelf-stable, prepared, dry food doesn't. Seems like an informed way to start adding fresh, healthy foods in balance to a dry food diet. The recipes are great.
Profile Image for Don.
127 reviews30 followers
May 3, 2010
Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet by Steve Brown is recommended reading for anyone remotely concerned about what to feed their dog.
December 20, 2014
Good info, specially for starter diet on raw foods, I am however a little hesitant to take all recommendations I need a little more research on the subject.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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