Ask a Nutritionist with Patti Howard


For those of you that posted questions for our nutritionist, Patti Howard, on facebook a couple weeks back, here are your answers! Even if you didn’t post a question, I think you will find some really valuable information here. 

Patti did her best to answer the questions as completely as possible given the amount of information, but understandably, some of the questions needed more detail to be fully answered. If you would like to follow up with Patti for a nutrition consultation, you can reach her at (360) 929-1719, or check out her new venture, Your Canine Resource.

Q: Patti, what percentage of raw organic vegetable puree do you advise adding to a raw meat, organ meat, with bone mixture, e.g. 8 oz. of meat mix gets how many ounces of vegetables? Thanks

A: Hey Kim, the amount of veggie puree (aka Green Juju) is a ratio meat protein 2/3 to 1/3 Green Juju and all else (ex: oat bran, probiotic source, pumpkin, bone, etc.) Don’t forget to add just a small amount of oat bran or some such for soluble fiber!

Q: What dietary suggestions can you give me to improve my dog’s dental health?


A: By feeding a more natural diet, the enzymes in the food are active in removing plaque, and keeping plaque from teeth. Add in the benefit of raw bones and thru-the-roof for healthy gums!

Q:   I would love a clear explanation about what the nutritional differences are between kibble, dehydrated raw, and raw food to share with my clients. It is an important topic and I feel I always struggle with how to explain it. Thanks

A: Hey Sara! This is a huge topic to cover main points, and would be a great conversation over a couple of hours, but suffice to barely skim the surface that kibble is a highly processed food introduced to us in the 1950’s, fresh food is what dogs body’s are accustomed to accept over thousands of years, and dehydrated is a nice option (for a handful of reasons at least) to satisfy the marriage of nutritional balance with convenience.

Q: Patti, I would love your thoughts on protein rotation. What frequency is suggested (daily, weekly, something else)? What about rotating proteins coming from raw to dehydrated? Are there any risks associated to keep a watchful eye for? Thanks!

A: Hey Alex….Without hearing what may be described as ‘issues’ your dog is experiencing in detail, I will be quite general. Dogs have diverse tolerances, and require being offered a level of variety to satisfy dietary requirements. My dog, Yogi eats something different every meal, nearly every day. That includes his protein. One thing I am careful to do, is to feed one protein each meal rather than to mix. Not only does it help me recognize his sensitivities if they show up (which to date he has none) but also it helps to buffet his choices. Dogs with intestinal disturbance do better on ‘one protein’ diets, for a couple of weeks at a time, with supplementation of probiotics of course. Give me a call if you’d like to talk further!

Q: And what is the best way to make sure your dogs are getting probiotics? I know yogurt, what else?

A: Hey Sara, Probiotics are in fermented foods, over the counter ‘human’ probiotic supplements, raw goats milk, are just a few of the options. It is VERY important component to dog and human health alike though. Good question!

Q: I feed our dogs sardines. From the tin and in raw, Primal brand turkey and sardine. How concerned should I be about contamination like mercury and radiation from the ocean?

A: Firstly, GREAT advantages of omega 3 and calcium supplementation. When feeding sardines you do not need to add raw bones to your dogs diet that day, as that need is probably being recognized. Secondly, important to rinse as there is consideration amount of sodium generally that is used to process these fish for flavor. There is a mercury component that cannot be disputed; however, it is known to be fairly negligible compared to the benefits.

Q: Hi Patti, my 8 week old lab seems to be drinking a TON of water and having 4-5 bowel movements every day, does this seem unusual? Could it be food related? I have just started adding Juju to her food in the last day and am looking forward to seeing if it makes a difference

A: Hey Paige, Food can ABSOUTELY be the culprit, particularly if you are feeding a highly processed food with carbs as filler. Many feel as though if it is grain free, it is food with no fillers. This is simply wrong. If your dog is eating processed food, there must be more water consumption due to help digest and absorb this food. You’ll notice mixing Green Juju, more food and nutrient will be utilized thereby creating less waste.

Q: I feed completely raw organic meat, bones and organs for my dog and cat but recently read an article that stated should never feed raw pork or fish. Is this true? And what are the reasons?

Hey Brandi, Raw pork can carry parasites that can transfer to your dog, causing them illness or discomfort. Raw fish can do the same, depending on where it was caught or raised. Raw salmon, particularly, can cause potential death (salmon poisoning), so must be cooked. I choose to just steam or bake all fish I feed my dog.

Q: I can really get behind meat being the main dietary need of dogs but, with my sensitive stomached Jack Russell, I’ve found that if I up his intake of non-meat protein sources his issues reduce. Like making the veg portion of his homemade diet bigger and even adding some legumes and quinoa with the meat added in as a fraction of it all. I do not by any means want to feed him a vegan diet, but I keep searching for some info that affirms my experiments with him or gives me recipe proportions to work with that are NOT meat-based but meat-enhanced. Thoughts?


Hey Emma Rose, You ask some critical questions, and will condense it to say dogs react to the inflammation that’s in their system at the time that we introduce food, which is why we may see tummy upset or sensitive stomach. It may be the exact things your JR needs are in the food you are attempting to feed but can’t accept it without some assistance…probiotics or some such. There needs to be meat component, either cooked or raw, included in the mix. Let me know if you would like to talk further with consultation. You ask some very good questions, too detailed to go into here however.

Q: While feeding a raw/rehydrated diet, is it OK to switch up variety of styles/brands (We use Sojos but want to swap that with The Honest Kitchen–plus she gets raw meat)? If so, how often?


A: Yes, variety is good…will keep your dogs attention. Maybe one first week, and the other the second. Or a healthy digestive tract will accept every day a new food. My dog, Yogi, has very seldom had the same food 2 days in a row. When we think of it, how long would we survive on same food day after day….so I love that you are mixing it all up!

Q: I have a client dog who is waking her owners up to go to the bathroom every night (poop or pee). It started about 6 months ago. She’s had some bouts of bad diarrhea with clear fecal exams. She is an 8 year old vizsla. They have tried a couple different types of food, honest kitchen and high end kibble. I am not sure if they have tried raw yet. They have tried probiotics and digestive enzymes. They think it is an emotional or age related issue. I suspect she has food allergies or some other underlying issue. Any suggestions to give to them?

A: Hey Michelle, Hmmmmm….these are issues that can be related, but also aren’t necessarily. You ask complex questions and I need more information, is there any chance we could talk further, or would you like to talk where I can be more clear before offering advice? And yes, there are several reasons that I can think of that could be causing this chronic condition. I am not a vet; however, can offer some dietary recommendations to try upon hearing more.