In 2008, holistic pet food sales reached $15 billion. When prepared properly, this type of pet food will improve a dog’s health, behavior, longevity, and temperament. Mark Poveromo, founder and owner of the largest holistic pet food retailer in the Northeast believes nutrition is the foundation of a dog’s health. In his new book,
To Your Dog’s Health! Canine Nutrition and Recent Trends Within the Pet Food Industry
(February 2010; Poor Man’s Press; Distributed by Emerald Book Co.)
He explains it does not negate the importance of vet visits, but it does help limit them. Mark explains, “Recently, holistic pet foods have appeared at the forefront of the commer cial pet food industry. However, their idea of health food for dogs leaves a lot to be desired.” Grades of pet food break down along four areas: economical (usually contain allergens); premium (reduction of fillers, allergens soy products); super premium (contain few byproducts but some aller gens may be present); and holistic (foods of human grade that is, exemplary proteins, whole grains, complex carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), and none of the commonly recognized allergens. Holistic can also refer to raw diets that contain specific meats (including offal and bone), fruits, and vegetables, but no grains.
In To Your Dog’s Health, Mark reveals how to keep your dog healthy through holistic nutrition including: The pros-cons of a raw food pet diet. How dietary improvements could eliminate or decrease the need for vaccines, flea-tick medicine and heartworm treatment. A diet for dog’s with cancer or kidney disease. How to get an overweight dog to drop some pounds and stay fit! So why is good food for dogs hard to find? “The national pet store chains tend to sell only the big four manufacturers: Eukanuba, Nutro, Purina, and Science Diet,” says Mark. “That’s because the multitude of pet food manufacturers makes it unfeasible for many stores to carry all of the products that are obtainable. Suffice it to say, however, that the best foods are found on the shelves of your independent dog and food retailer. Thankfully, at those independents you can become educated as to the foods and supplements that will give your much-loved pets the best nutrition.” Mark emphasizes that all foods are not created equal or are they digested equally, which impacts a dog’s health. Additionally, most pet foods are fried or baked at such high temperatures that the good parts are destroyed – vitamins, minerals, good bacteria.
In his book Mark reveals what exactly is in our pet food and shares with us:
Which brands -- even super premium ones -- are lacking nutrients.
What to look for when reading dog food labels.
Which processed dog foods are okay to use.
When it’s time to change your dog’s diet.
Why homemade cooking is the best thing for your dog.
How to transition from one diet to another.
How to add enzymes – nature’ s catalyst – to your dog’s diet.
“Unfortunately, all cooking processes used in producing pet food have a detrimental effect on the beneficial bacteria and digestive enzymes commonly found in meat and vegetables,” says Mark. “Therefore, you might consider adding a digestive enzyme mix such as Totalzyme or Nyzmes to your pet’s food.” “It is very important that you, the consumer, make a wise food choices based upon your dog’s age, breed, and weight – as well as the ingredients contained,” says Mark. “And when you choose a food for your pet, be forewarned that influences such as the marketing of the product, brand-name recognition, and word-of-mouth endorsements may affect your decision. Consider that most of the brand-name foods (Iams, Nutro, Science Diet, and Pro Plan) spend a lot of their profits on advertising – not the product itself. Some relatively unknown holistic foods (Go or Now, Taste of the Wild, Mulligan Stew, Horizon Legacy, and Orijen) invest a significant amount of their profits in research and development. He also recommends:
Choose a grain-free dog food to help avoid cancer.
Use an organic food that blends meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Serve dog food with chelated minerals (they bond to proteins to increase their absorption).
Feed your dog food that contains probiotics, which stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in
the digestive system and keep them healthy.
Serve food with probiotics, dietary supplements that help the body utilize foods more efficiently
by restoring “friendly” bacteria to the digestive system.
When it comes to educating dog owners on proper nutrition for dogs, Mark makes it clear there is a choice involved as well – your wallet or your pet. “There’s no question a proper, balanced diet for your dog takes more money and more time to prepare,” says Mark, “but your Fido and Fifi should be worth it.”
Mark has owned 17 dogs over the years, including 11 Labrador Retrievers at one time! His book is also based on hundreds of hours of original research. He’s conducted hundreds of seminars , as well as one-on-one consultations with dog owners, dog training facilities, pet hospitals, veterinarians, and other dog care providers. He earned a Master’s in Environmental Science from Southern Connecticut State University. Mark was a high school physics and environmental science teacher for 18 years. In 1988, he was awarded The Safari Club’s International Science Teacher of the Year in Connecticut. Mark served on an advisory board for Mulligan Stew, a dog food company. He had been featured in local and national media, including Associated Press, USA Today, USA Radio Network , MSNBC.com, sarasotadog.com, WFSB (CBS TV) Hartford, and WTNH (ABC-TV) Hartford, for a story relating to being swindled by a building contractor who had been hired to construct a building for his pet food business. He resides in a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut. For more information, please consult: www.thomastonfeed.com
You Can Decrease or Avoid Vaccines and Heartworm Treatment With A New Diet!
“Throughout my 18 years in business, no question has been asked of me more often than that regarding
the need of heartworm medications and treatment,” says Mark Poveromo, author of a new book, To
Your Dog’s Health! “I have always been a proponent of the holistic approach. Many a veterinarian has
raised an eyebrow upon hearing my belief!”
So why does he believe heartworm disease can be averted without preventive medicine? “Heartworm,
disease is a geographical and seasonal disease,” notes Mark. “This means the disease is restricted to
those regions where the ambient temperature remains above 60 degrees for 30 consecutive days. If this
does not occur, the maturity of the mosquito larvae (heartworm disease carrier) cannot manifest, which
all but eliminates the need to treat your dog for heartworm year-round.
“I have never treated my dogs for heartworm; rather I have chosen to supplement their raw diet with
immune system boosters.”
When it comes to vaccinations, Mark is no less controversial. He believes in avoiding most
vaccinations. He limits, if not totally disregards, vaccines for parasitic infestation: Lyme, fleas, ticks,
etc. Instead, he uses an all-natural flea and tick repellant called Grrlick and a supplement-Immuno
DMG from U.S. Animal Nutritionists – that builds the immune system.
One of the reasons he avoids many vaccinations is because a puppy’s health is undeniably based on the
antibodies it absorbs from the colostrum of its mother’s milk.
“I stop all vaccines after the first set of shots for all of my dogs and have had significant success with
other means of disease prevention generally handled by vaccination,” says Mark. “I do not believe in
playing health roulette with my dogs. Therefore, I supplement their food with:
CoQ10 (100-300 mg per day); Colostrom (follow dosage on bottle); Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and
MSM (follow bottles dosage); and liquid vitamin and mineral mix (follow bottle dosage per weight of
Whether your pet requires a multivitamin or a thyroid supplement, consider introducing it in liquid form,
which is by far more readily absorbed in your dog’s system.
“This regimen,” says Mark, "including a raw diet, has contributed significantly to the longer -than-
average lives of some of my Labradors.”
Preparing Food for A Dog with Cancer
As an owner of a dog with cancer, Mark Poveromo knows firsthand the importance of a good dog diet.
Here is a sample recipe for a 70-pound dog’s daily consumption when battling cancer:
1 cup of tofu or quorn (soy substitute made of mushrooms)
2 cups of lentils or kidney beans
3 cups of boiled (with skin on) sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons of hoki, sardine or salmon oil (add after steaming)
1/3 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon liquid multivitamin
This diet should take a total of 30 minutes to prepare and cost about $35 per week.
In conjunction with this recipe, add the following supplements to your dog’s daily diet. (Note: adjust
the supplements appropriately for your dog’s ideal weight, not its actual weight. The supplements listed
here are for a 70-pound dog.).
Vitamin E-1000 i.u. per day
Selenium 300 mcg per day
Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A) up to 2500 i.u. per day per pound of food, or 2 raw carrots, grated, if the dog
Quercetin (500 mg per day)
Omega-3 fatty acids
Antioxidants are also good for preventing and treating canine cancer and should be, at the very least,
including with some kind of multivitamin liquid preferably. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from
damaging healthy tissues. Free radicals are widely accepted as being a major cause of aging and the
development of symptoms leading to cancer, strokes, and heart disease. Arguably the best antioxidant
for your dog is Omega 3 (found in fish oils).