Before delving into the world of dog nutrition, I feel like I have to acknowledge the oddity of having a dog (in clothes) alongside a book about dog nutrition. In other countries, dogs are nutrition (but that’s another discussion all together about the ethics and practices behind that). As far as the camo vest goes, to my family’s chihuahua’s defense, it’s pretty cold this time of year and he has practically no body fat, so the clothes are a comical necessity. I should also note that he was an extremely uncooperative model for this photo, but most toy breed dogs have the attention span of a goldfish, so it’s not his fault…right?
This next title deviates a bit from my usual genres of food and business book reviews, but I wanted to feature it because dogs are such an integral part of my life. They’re the best companions, and for someone like myself who knows very little about dog nutrition, I think this book is a great primer about the role food can play in a dog’s health and wellness. I will say though, I’m not a vet, and while one of the book’s authors is a licensed veterinarian, consult your own vet/animal health professional before making any changes to your pet’s diet and/or prescribed medications.
Authors Judy Morgan, DVM and Hue Grant’s new book, “Yin & Yang Nutrition for Dogs: Maximizing Health with Whole Foods, Not Drugs,” is a fresh take on old traditions. Morgan and Grant take the essential elements of Chinese Medicine Food Therapy, which have been very successful with humans, and apply it to dog dietary habits. If you think about it, there is a yin and yang to almost everything in life: sweet and salty, highs and lows, light and dark, you get the point.
In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), food ingredients are used to build diets that are capable of both nourishing and healing an animal. Vets who practice TCVM can target health issues like diabetes, arthritis, dental disease (among many others), just by changing what the animal is eating. The authors explain that when yin and yang are out of balance, that’s when harmful things like bacteria, viruses, and disease can appear.
The book has a lot of information, which could be overwhelming to someone who is unfamiliar with TCVM. I’d recommend if you’re interested in pursuing this kind of diet and lifestyle for your animal (after consulting your local vet), zero-in on what your pet’s health needs are. Does he or she have a specific ailment you’d like to work on? Are you just looking to improve their overall diet? Does he or she have seasonal ailments?
One of my dogs gets seasonal allergies when it’s really hot, so when he gets itchy, he scratches himself quite a bit. The hot spots can get pretty gnarly, and then it becomes this vicious cycle of hot spots that turn into infected areas, a steroid or two at the vet, a few weeks of reprieve, and then the cycle starts all over. It’s not an all-year thing, but when we’re in the thick of it, it’s a pretty frustrating (not to mention expensive) experience.
I didn’t find a specific section on this particular kind of aliment, but in the “Pancreas” section, there is a discussion about how this organ plays a role in digestion, and symptoms of an irritated pancreas can manifest as dry and flaky skin. Some of the foods recommended to treat this kind of health issue I readily found at my grocery store, like asparagus, kale, and shitake mushrooms. Other things like turkey gizzards and beef pancreas I couldn’t find…so maybe that’s something to consult a local butcher or meat specialty shop in your area.
If you’re hesitant to make drastic changes to your pet’s diet, you can always try a recipe as a one-off to see how your he or she likes it. This is how I learned that my dog is a fan of sweet potatoes, but strongly dislikes carrots. I’ve heard animals are a lot like children, and if you introduce them to too many new foods at once, they won’t respond well…so maybe try a new ingredient a week, and work up to integrating a whole recipe’s worth of new food in time.
The book walks you through the whole process, from how to prepare and store the food, to the specific healing and nutritional properties found in each recipe. Even if you pick up this book purely for informational purposes, I think it’s a great read packed with lots of information about alternative medicine. This could also be a great title to pick up if you’ve exhausted traditional medicine for your animal and are looking for other options.
All in all, I think this is a pretty informative book about something many dog owners probably know little to nothing about. It’s a great resource if you’re looking to supplement and/or switch your dog’s nutrition (after consulting your own veterinarian). As far as aesthetic, the book is neatly organized in about a dozen chapters, ranging form different elements that correspond to parts of the body (e.g. wood and liver support, water and kidney support, etc.). I do wish the photos were higher quality (and more of it) throughout the book, because that’s how I choose recipes for myself; I’d likely to the same for my dog. I also would have liked an index at the back to look up specific ingredients and aliments.
If you want to connect with the authors, you can find them here:
I received this book complimentary on behalf of the publisher, but all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. All photography featured in this post is my own unless noted otherwise; please seek permission before copying or reproducing the images. There are no affiliate links attached in this post.
Book Stats– Yin & Yang Nutrition for Dogs: Maximizing Health with Whole Foods, Not Drugs by Judy Morgan DVM and Hue Grant
Page Count- 245
Binding– Softcover with color photography