Here at Rick's Dog Deli, we believe in only providing the most wholesome, nutritious food for your canine companions. So we asked Dr. Deneen Fasano of Animal Healing Solutions to share her thoughts and advice on pet nutrition and feeding. Dr. Fasano has been a practicing holistic veterinarian for more than 20 years.She graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. Over time she started incorporating holistic practices, then became certified in Veterinary Acupuncture in 2000 and Veterinary Spinal Manipulation in 2007. She opened Animal Healing Solutions in Altamonte Springs, FL in 2011 where she practices acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, diet, and nutrition for her patients.Q. Do you have a favorite tip or advice that you like to give dog owners?Answer: I think diet is the key to almost everything. Q. With so many dog food brands on the market, how do you suggest the best ones for your patients? And how do I know I picked the right one?Answer: I'm a fan of homemade diets.If I were looking for a food in the stores, I would look for something with natural, human-grade ingredients, no preservatives or colorings, low carbohydrate, and preferably not a dry food.Q. What are the top things you recommend not to give your pet?Answer: Dry food; too many vaccinations; too many chemicals (there are natural options such as my line of PawromaTherapy products); combination flea/tick/heartworm/dewormer medications (I prefer separating them and only using what's needed); not shot-gunning them with a bunch of chemicals they may not need; and other medications/drugs where there may be a suitable natural alternative, such as using acupuncture for arthritis pain.Q. Can a dog's diet cause personality changes? Answer: I have definitely seen hyperactivity and sometimes lethargy with dogs on high-carbohydrate dry foods. I have also seen hyperactivity in dogs on foods containing preservatives and colorings.Q. I heard a raw diet can prevent or solve health problems in pets. Is that true?Answer: Anytime dog owners eliminate dry dog food in favor of raw or cooked diets, I see a tremendous improvement in their health problems.I think raw diets can be good for some dogs but not all dogs. It is great for young, healthy dogs. Older dogs seem to have trouble digesting it and sometimes do better on cooked diets. Q. I read the ingredients list on dog food bags, but what should I be looking for?Answer: Look for human-grade ingredients with an emphasis on meats and non-starchy vegetables. For carbohydrates, I prefer root vegetables over grains and beans. Organic ingredients are ideal but cost can be a factor and as always, we don't want any chemical preservatives or colorings.Q. What are your thoughts on human-grade prepared food for dogs, with whole ingredients and no preservatives?Answer: I am a fan of human-grade prepared food for dogs. It is what I recommend to my clients. I show them how to do it themselves or they can use a company like Rick's Dog Deli to prepare it for them.Q. Is it okay to give my dog bones to chew on? And if so, which ones?Answer: Bones can be a tricky subject. You should never, ever give cooked bones to dogs. These can splinter and get lodged in the intestines. Raw bones such as chicken necks, turkey necks, and soup bones can be given safely to most dogs. They should be supervised to make sure they don't crack off large pieces or swallow them whole. There is an article on my blog discussing this subject.Q. I want to feed my pet human-grade food, but I'm afraid to tell my vet. What should I do?Answer: Feel free to visit my practice in Altamonte Springs, FL. I am am fully on-board with eliminating processed diets in favor of whole food and I am currently accepting new patients. I also have a natural pet blog with holistic pet tips and nutrition information along with my line of homemade natural pet products and my favorite vitamins and herbs for dogs and cats.