How does it work?

Finding out what works the best for your dog is a process of trial and error.  Every dog is different and getting the diet perfect takes a little time.  We recommend starting out slow.  If you have been feeding your dog a commercial diet for a number of years it will take a couple weeks for him/her to adjust to a whole foods diet.  The intestines will need to repair themselves and learn how to absorb nutrients from whole foods. If your dog is showing signs of an ingredient intolerance please give us a call.  Symptoms may include throwing up or refusal of the food.  Diarrhea or loose stool is normal when switching diets.  This should dissipate over the first week of feeding whole foods.

How Do I Change Diets?

Changing your dog’s diet needs to be done over time.  We suggest putting your dog on a strict meal plan for the transitional period.  Most dogs will adapt rather quickly to the new diet.  It really depends on what your dog was eating and what kind of health issues he or she may be experiencing.  The chart below lists the standard protocol for changing a dog’s diet.

Week 1.  Replace one-half of the dog’s typical food and serve with whole foods.  Loose stool is normal                                                  during the transition stage.

Week 2.  If the stool is firming feed 100% whole foods.

Week 3.  Monitor your dog’s progress.  If everything is great then keep feeding whole foods.  Contact the Deli if you suspect an ingredient intolerance.

Week 4. You should notice improvements in your dog’s condition.  This skin and eyes should be clearing up.  The coat should appear soft and smooth.

During this process it’s very important to monitor your pet.  Loose stool is the most common problem when switching dogs over to whole foods.  Usually this goes away within the first week.  The dog’s digestive system needs time to adjust to healthy foods and to purge itself of preservatives and additives.  Remember to take it slow and do not feed your dog anything outside of its normal diet during the transition period.  This is critical as we want to use your dog’s transition time to observe for any health issues such as food allergies or adverseness to grains, etc..

How Much Do I Feed Daily?

Whole foods are more digestible than commercial pet foods.  The daily serving size may to be smaller since the foods are more nutrient dense.  We use these percentages of body weight as a starting point and then adjust for your dog accordingly.

2% Body weight for seniors

2-3% Body weight for adult

5%  Body weight for puppies 8 weeks to 1 year

6-8% Body weight for puppies 4-8 weeks

What to do if your dog’s stool is loose?

Whenever there is a change in diet expect loose stool.  Depending on age and general GI health the transition can take anywhere from one to six weeks.  During this time the body is learning how to absorb nutrients from whole foods, expelling toxins, and healing itself.

If your dog has been eating whole foods exclusively for over a month and he/she experiences diarrhea it is most likely due to an external cause and not food.  “Garbage gut” is the result of a dog eating something that he or she is not supposed to and it will generally pass in a day or two.  If it doesn’t go away in this time please contact your veterinarian.  It may be helpful to feed your dog our Digestive Reset Formulation which is designed to be digested easily and help heal the digestive tract. More information about our Digestive Reset Formulation is available under the therapeutic page or simply call the Deli.

The addition of a probiotic supplement can help with many issues such as diarrhea.  We recommend Dynamite brand TNT (Total Nutritional Top Dress) and is available in one pound bags for $10.00 or five pound bags for $50.00 in the deli.  We can ship TNT anywhere in the US. Just give us a call to make shipping arrangements.

Can I mix whole foods with a kibble?

Yes!  If your dog eats a kibble based diet and you are looking to enhance their diet our standard formulations are a great addition.  We would recommend a 50/50 blend.  If you have a special needs dog or a dog that requires a special diet please contact a deli associate for assistance.  (407) 505-2839.

Sometimes my dog skips a meal.  Should I be worried?

Don’t stress over this.  Dogs are just like people and sometimes they are distracted or simply not hungry.  Things like weather, mood, activity, etc., all have an effect on diet.  If this happens for more than two to three meals you may want to contact a veterinarian.

Are those eggshells in my dog’s food?

Yes.  Eggshells are quite nutritious.  We use a proprietary process to grind hard-boiled eggs with the shells on which eliminates any sharp edges and makes digestion much easier.  About 95% of the eggshell is calcium carbonate.  The average eggshell aslo contains about 0.3% phosphorus, 0.3% magnesium, and traces of sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, iron, and copper.  Apart from the added elements in the eggshell, assimilation is no different from calcium carbonate tablets.

Do you offer after hours collection?

Yes.  We understand your schedule is complicated.  If you need to make arrangements to collect after hours please call the deli during business hours at 407-505-2839.  We have a freezer located outside the building where we will place your order until you can collect it.  We offer delivery service in the Orlando area for $10.00.

How do I store the food properly?

Treat your dog’s food like you would treat your own.  We package the food immediately after preparing it and freeze it to -10 degrees.  When thawing it is recommended that you place the food in the refrigerator and allow it to come up to serving temperature.  If you need to thaw the food faster placing it in the sink full of cool water will help speed the process.  Frozen food is good for up to one year from freezing.  Food stored in the refrigerator should be consumed within 5 days of thawing. Food can be refrozen although the FDA frowns upon this practice.  If you refreeze your dog’s food make sure to use the refrozen food within 30 days.  Always follow the golden rule.  When in doubt throw it out!  If you have a question about your specific situation such as how to travel or storing food long term please give us a call.

Can I heat up the food for my dog?

Yes but we recommend not doing so.  We use the heating process as a secret weapon when we need to get a dog to eat. When a dog is not feeling well he will tend to shy away from food.  By heating up the food and releasing the aroma of it you have a better chance of getting your dog to eat.  Try to avoid the microwave.  It changes the molecular structure of the food and it essentially cooks out all of the good nutrients in the food.

Where can I find nutritional information on your diets?

All of our products are labeled to meet FDA label laws.  The Guaranteed Analysis and ingredient list is featured prominently on each package of food.  If you would like a more in depth analysis of your dog’s food just ask.  We can provide a complete nutritional breakdown of your dog’s diet.

My dog seems hungry.  Is he eating enough?

Most commercial dog foods are not designed for taste.  In the past your dog was just eating for sustenance. Now your dog is eating for pleasure and taste as well as sustenance.  We serve your dog real food.  Of course they are going to ask for more!  When feeding a whole foods diet it is very difficult for your dog to become overweight as there are no fillers in the food.  Feel free to give your dog a larger portion every now and then. We will make more!

Should I give my dog a vitamin supplement?

It depends.  Just like you, your dog should get all of the nutrients he needs from food alone.  A quality vitamin supplement will help if your suspect your dog has a deficiency.  Some dogs metabolize food differently than others and the additional supplement may help alleviate any deficiency.

I heard grain free diets are the way to go?

We subscribe to the philosophy that grains are perfectly fine for dogs.  Dogs have been eating grains for thousands of years.  In fact as long as dogs have been at man’s side they would have been eating what we ate which includes grains. Dogs are omnivores meaning they eat from all food groups.  Grains, vegetables, and especially meats, fish, and eggs are all great for dogs.  Our own proprietary research is indicating that the problem associated with grains lies within the quality of the grain and not the grain itself.  When we feed a dog human grade grains with a suspected grain allergy 99% of the time the dog’s allergy symptoms disappear.  This leads us to believe there is a preservative or a toxin in the grains reserved for animal feed which is causing the health problems associated with grains.  Of course if you would like us to prepare a grain free formulation for your dog just ask.

Should I feed my dog a kibble to help clean his teeth?

No.  Kibble does not clean your dog’s teeth just like a granola bar does not clean yours.  In fact kibble can cause more damage by getting lodged between the tooth and the gum line causing an infection.  Dogs that eat kibble exclusively usually have compromised immune systems causing the gums to be inflamed and allowing for the kibble to lodge between the tooth and gum.  To maintain clean and healthy teeth feed whole foods to your dog.  Whole foods with strengthen the immune system and help your dog maintain a healthy mouth.

What should I ask my vet about feeding whole foods?

Most vets in the Orlando area are familiar with our services and products.  With each custom order we provide a nutritional data sheet which lists all ingredients and breaks down the nutritional components of the meal.  This is a very detailed report and it is comprised of data taken from the USDA nutrient database for accuracy.  We encourage you to take your form to the vet with you so he/she can see your dog’s diet.  If your vet would like us to adjust the formulation just let us know.  It is very common for us to adjust protein or fat percentages for example to meet your dog’s dietary needs.  If your vet has a specific question just have them give us a call or drop us an email.  Our goal is your dog’s health and all parties involved need to be informed and “on the same page.”

The food has ice crystals forming on it.  Is that freezer burn?

No. We freeze the food in an IQF (Individual Quick Frozen) fashion. We prepare the food, spray it with a fine mist of water, and then blast freeze it to -10 degrees. The fine mist of water freezes quickly forming an outer shell which locks in the foods natural moisture. When the food is thawed it will appear fresh and full of life. Freezer burn is the exact opposite of this process where moisture is wicked away from the food leaving it in a dehydrated state.

How do I thaw my dogs food?

If you have a custom order most likely your dog’s food has been separated into individual servings.  Place the “brick” of food in a Tupperware container and leave it in the fridge until thawed.  The IQF bricks do not need to be covered.  If you desire faster thawing place the brick in the dog’s bowl and leave out on the counter for an hour or so until it comes up to room temperature.  If you are really in a hurry feel free to place the brick of food in a Ziploc type bag and then place it in a sink full of cool water.  The brick will thaw to room temperature in about twenty minutes.