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Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet: Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way Paperback – November 5, 2009

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Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet: Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way + Dr. Becker's Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats + Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Direct Book Service (November 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929242670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929242672
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Brown has done his homework and is able to present his case for feeding a nutrient mix that more closely matches what has been health food for hundred of generations of canines. Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet is chock full of information that supports his premise that the ancestral diet is good stuff for today's dogs. It's a good read, packed with scientifically-backed information, and it presents a practical approach for achieving the goal of helping us to make a healthy diet for our dogs. As easy as ABC. --Randy Kidd, author of Dr. Kidd's Guide to Herbal Dog Care

I find this book to be enlightening and invaluable. I especially like the fact that his guidelines can help balance canine diets no matter what the caregiver's level of commitment is to the ancestral diet. Dry food feeders can greatly enhance their pet's nutrition with just one homemade meal a week. Raw fed dogs can benefit from a balancing meal as well. --Doug Knueven, DVM, CVA, CAC

To prevent chronic disease in dogs you must get a critical balance of species appropriate foods and fats in your companion's diet. Steve Brown understands this and you can too by reading his book. --Karen Becker, DVM

About the Author

Steve Brown turned his passion for canine health into developing leading-edge products and educational programs to improve canine nutrition. He developed Charlee Bear Dog Treats, one of the best selling dog treats in the US and, in 1998, he developed Steve's Real Food for Pets, the first AAFCO-compliant frozen, raw meat-based diet. Brown is the co-author of See Spot Live Longer, and has written numerous articles on canine nutrition published in leading pet health and veterinary journals. Steve lives outside of Eugene, OR.

Customer Reviews

This book was very informative.
Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet is the only book you will need for learning what kind of well-balanced healthy meals to feed your dog.
Let me start off that it is vital to own a good pressure cooker, blender that chops ice, a spice grinder, and a kitchen food scale.
Caroline Nelson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have not been an advocate on raw feeding or the ancestral diet for dogs. Most information I've received (before finding this book) didn't base their information on much research, other than feeding off an opinion that wild wolves eat raw meat, are carnivores and never (or rarely) eat carbs; so therefore, this is how our domestic dogs should eat. --That was something that I could never swallow down too well, while considering the best possible diet for my huskies. Wild game (that generally gets hunted by wolves) and farm animal meats (even free range, organic, etc..) are different, and centuries (to thousands of years) ago, wild game was much healthier and didn't have the polutants & disease that we have today. Yet, I've always felt that dogs should have more proteins than pet foods provide...one of the many reasons I chose to home-prepare and homecook for our Sibes.

"Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet" (Brown) is one of the best books on explaining the nutritional needs of dogs, while referring to their ancestors (wolves & other wild dogs) as a guideline. The other book (also a recent find) is "Raw & Natural Nutrition for Dogs" (Olson). Both books, I'd highly recommend for anyone who is wanting to prepare, homecook or supplement their dog's nutritional needs through use of whole-foods. Brown has a slightly different view than Olson when it comes to fats. *Olson explains how fat content should come from meat sources, while Brown explains a balance between animal & plant sources of fats (and uses a little more scientific explaination for his reasons) as more optimal. It's truly hard for me to decide which one is better, since both are very well written. Regardless, neither tries to force Raw feeding and both understand one way of feeding isn't for everyone.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Guitarman on April 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was very informative. I learned a great deal from it. It was a pleasure to read a book like this that was so well researched and that shows how to balance fats and meet all the nutritional requirements that dogs need by using fresh foods.

I, however, prefer a flexible balance over time approach instead of trying to be as calculating and scientific as this author tries to be with each individual recipe.

There's nothig wrong though with feeding in such a scientific and calculated way, if that appeals to you. He gives you the recipes and feeding plans to do that, if you want to. It is not hard to do. Just follow his recipes.

I also don't feel comfortable using some plant oils like flax oil, walnut oil, and hemp oil. That doesn't seem natural to me for a dog to have, but then again, if used as this author says in his recipes, they're probalby fine and effective if your striving for perfectly balanced fat recipes for each individual meal. And there are other options that he presents for people like me who might not want to use those plant oils. Sardines, which my dog loves, work with any type of meat.

I feel that the fats balance out if you feed a wide variety of meats: I use bison, grass fed beef, turkey, chicken thighs, wild salmon, sardines, eggs, lamb, duck, goose, an egg or two each day, lots of different vegetables -- (mostly organic ingredients)....etc. to feed my German Shepherd dog. It seems sort of unnecessary to be so precise with each meal.

You have to be sure to measure out the calcium you add to bonelss meats and weigh the meat to keep that ratio approxiametly right, but other than that, I don't think that you have to be so exact with each and every nutrient in every single meal.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By kika on December 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
book is great, majority what you must know about dog's diet has parallel with ancestral diet
for me it's easier to do raw diet when I know answers for most questions about raw diet - e.g. why can't our dogs eat carbohydrates, why is important to have balanced fats, which fats are good and in what rate, why and which vegetables are good for dogs, differences between ruminant (lamb,beef) and poultry (chicken, turkey) meats...
beside the raw diet recipes, this book gave you possibility to feed your dog whit kibble and canned food but whit a little modifications...

my recommendation for this book is high
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82 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Truth Speaker on November 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I appreciate the scientific precision of Mr. Brown's work, the full-time diets described in this book are way too pricey for feeding large dogs. My two German Shepherds would need 16 lbs of 93% lean beef, a pound of fresh organ meat, four cans of sardines, four pounds of fresh vegetables, plus a variety of specialty oils and bone meals WEEKLY for his basic recipe. (And other things not mentioned.) Granted, his ABC one-day per week plan does provide a more accessible means to improve doggy nutrition -- but, contrary to what is implied in other reviews on this site, there is no plan given for transitioning between this 1-in-7 day plan and a full time break-the-bank perfect nutrition program.
Does Mr. Brown give you the tools for devising your own diets? Absolutely. But he does so with so much detail that most people would need a degree in nutrition to do the calculations. Most people --myself included -- are liable to throw up their hands after reading this, and go back to dry food with a couple of squirts of fish oil. (Example: modern feed lot meats have too much fat for ideal calorie ratios, so you need to supplement protein and fats. But, beef needs one set of fats added to it, and chicken needs 3/4 of the skin picked out and a different sets of oils added.)
This level of detail is perfect for someone looking to launch their own brand of fresh frozen dog food, but way to complicated for a home pet owner. And, as already noted, way too expensive.
I gave this 3 stars because the information is accurate and apparently well researched. But, if your dogs consume more than a can of Mighty Dog daily, your freezer isn't the walk-in variety, and you're not a multi-millionaire, this likely isn't the book you're looking for.
As a side note: I bought and read this on Kindle. The many grid/text charts do not display well or page break conveniently for easier reference. If after all I've written, you still think this book is for you, you probably need a hard copy.
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