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Cane Corso Nutrition, Feeding, and Supplements


Our dogs are fed a combination of a natural raw diet, fresh raw beef, bones, and organ meats, home cooked meals, and high quality corn-free dry kibble. We feed our dogs and pups a variety of high quality corn free kibbles including Flint River Ranch, Nature's Domain, Innova's Large Breed Puppy, Evo, and Diamond Super Premium Chicken & Rice. (Flint River Ranch kibble can be ordered direct from the distributor, and will be dropped at your door. Innova & Evo, and Nature's Domain info and dealer locations provided on our link resources page). We vary raw diet and kibble type based on protein content and the age, condition, and nutritional needs of each individual dog. We also include some supplements based on our preference for ideal dietary needs of each dog.

Your new puppy will be eating 100% Flint River Ranch kibble about a week before they go home to you. Regardless of what you plan to feed long term, start with a bag of Flint River Ranch Original Oven-Baked Puppy/Adult formula, and then if you chose to switch, you will be able to change them gradually to your preferred brand of good quality kibble. Don't make sudden changes in your pup's diet - you can easily cause an upset stomach for days with sudden changes - the best way to change is gradually.


 

Changing your dog's food type:

Start your Cane Corso on their accustomed food for the first couple days while they are settling in. When you are ready to change the kibble, on the first day add just a small amount of the new kibble, then the second day mix 1/4 of the new food with 3/4 of the original food. The third day you will mix 1/2 new food with 1/2 original food, and the fourth day mix 3/4 new food with 1/4 old food. In this manner you can change the dog completely over to your preferred food type in just 5 days, without bothering their stomachs.


 

Protein Content & Quality:

Regardless of the brand of kibble you prefer, Protein and Calcium content play a key factor in the growth of your Cane Corso puppy. As a large breed puppy your Cane Corso has the potential to grow too fast and put additional stress and strain on still maturing joints and hips if fed a diet that is too high in protein and calcium. Growing pups up to two years of age will do best on a lower protein diet designed for large breed puppies. The protein level you feed can be reached thru a combination of kibble, raw feeding, and supplements (Supplements are detailed below on this page).

Quality is extremely important in your dog food decision - a cheap food that has lots of "fillers" (corn, etc) will not be digestible or nutritional, and can actually be detrimental to your puppy's health. Many commercial foods are full of cheap fillers, by-products, and artificial preservatives. Taking corn alone out of your dogs diet will keep your dog much happier and healthier in the long run, and likely increase his life span as well. Corn is completely indigestible to dogs, has no nutritional value whatsoever, many dogs are allergic to it, and a corn based diet has been linked to the cause of many cancers, seizures, and canine health issues. As if that is not enough, the corn in our country is loaded with growth hormones to mass produce it for the demand and variety of corn based products - the quality has been sacrificed for the quantity. If your dog, cat, or even yourself, have a predisposition to cancer, those growth hormones will feed that gene, increasing the risk of the growth of cancer. Frightening when you think about it!

  • Feed your dog Well - it isn't worth saving a couple bucks on the cheap brand of kibble when you consider the loss of years to your dogs life and health, and the many pets that have needlessly died in dog food recalls in recent years.

  • Feed your dog Carefully - many of the premium labels and brands are not what they appear, are not even manufactured by the company marketing the product, and are offered by companies that put a lot more expense into marketing then they do into quality nutrition and ingredients.

 

Dog Food Quality Rating System

If you are curious about the quality of the kibble you are feeding, or simply struggling to decipher which of the many brands available would be the best quality for your dog, use this Dog Food Rating System. This is a simple way to judge the quality of kibble brands - and compare how different dog foods measure up.


 

Pet Food Recalls & Choosing What You Feed

Your choice of kibble for your Cane Corso is very important, especially in light of yet another pet food recall, and the scale of brands, families, and pets affected. Many families were shocked by the unexpected loss of their beloved pets ... many families who thought they were feeding good quality food.

Co-Packing: Most people are surprised, and appalled, to learn that all the Iams/Eukanuba canned foods are not made by the Iams Company at all. In fact, in 2003 Iams signed an exclusive 10-year contract for the production of 100% of its canned foods by Menu. This type of deal is called co-packing. One company makes the food, but puts another company’s label on it. Co-packing is a very common arrangement in the pet food industry. While not commonly known, it is often brought to light when a recall is issued, and surprisingly when dozens of "premium" private labels are involved. This practice of co-packing is used by many large and “reputable” labels such as Iams, Eukanuba, Hills, Purina, Nutro, Doanes, Diamond, and other high-end, so-called “premium” foods.
The big question raised by the co-packing arrangement is whether or not there is any real difference between the expensive premium brands and the low quality generic brands. The recalled brands in the latest recall run from the cheap walmart Ol'Roy brand, up to the high-end premium labels. Whatever the differences are between cheap and high-end food, one thing is clear. The purchase price, brand, and label of commercial pet food does not always determine whether the food is good, bad, or even safe.

Here are Dog Food Recall Lists, from the Food and Drug Administration, and the American Veterinary Medical Association:
FDA Dog Food Recall List • AVMA Dog Food Recall List


 

Flint River Ranch Dog Food

We have fed and recommended several brands of dog kibble over the years. In light of the health issues and deaths caused by extensive recent dog food recalls that caused the sickness and deaths of many dogs on the east coast, we have been especially pleased with the human-food-grade quality Flint River Ranch kibble. This is one of the best kibbles we have found to feed in our program. It is twice baked with all natural human-food grade quality premium ingredients, and no corn or fillers. As you read the FRR website you'll understand why we spend so much time and investment on excellent food for our dogs, it's because we know that your dog's future health and quality of life will be shaped by your choice in food!

We feed and recommend Flint River Ranch dog food.
Flint River Ranch, Premium Natural Oven Baked Dog Food!
A high quality, all natural, oven baked dog food made with premium healthy ingredients and no corn and fillers.
Order FRR dog food easily and quickly online using our link above. Each order is filled directly from the manufacturer, and it will be promptly dropped at your door with no additional shipping charge!

Flint River Ranch Super Premium foods contain only high-quality, all-natural, human food grade ingredients without fillers, by-products or chemical preservatives. To aid your sensitive pup's digestion, formulas also contain probiotic and digestive enzymes to aid in food digestion and nutrient absorption. A tasty nutritious diet for your dogs, FRR's protein source is high-quality chicken meal and lamb meal, neither of which contains by-products. All kibble is Twice Oven-Baked, making it highly palatable and easily digestible. Your dogs will LOVE the taste of this kibble, and because Flint River Ranch dog food products are high-density, you will find you need to feed 20-25% less than other foods. Each serving delivers the maximum nutrition without fillers, resulting in easier digestion and less stool volume and cleanup.


 

Cooking for your dogs

One or two times per week we feed all our dogs a "home-cooked" meal. I will boil a whole chicken until tender, pull all the meat from the bones, and then drop some scrambled raw eggs into the boiling broth (with the chicken pieces) before finishing up with a kettle-full of rice. The end result is rice boiled in chicken broth, with wispy pieces of egg throughout, and shreds of chicken mixed in. A little oil can be added as it is cooking as well. Your dogs will love it! This is an awesome recipe for settling an upset stomach. You can also change up the ingredients for variety, including pasta, sliced potatoes, and some assorted fresh vegetables.

We supplement all our dogs diets with Satin Balls (recipe below) a healthy and tempting recipe you can mix together and freeze for easy daily use.


 

Feeding Raw

If you start researching raw diets, you'll hear a vast difference of opinions. Personally, we have found that a natural raw diet has been nothing but beneficial to our dogs. Raw bones and food are what dogs are naturally suited to eat. Commercially prepared cooked foods & kibble lack enzymes and other essential dietary components and contain some ingredients that promote allergies and are otherwise harmful for dogs. The conventional canned and kibble dog foods are convenient and practical to handle, that's why they are so popular. After a couple of years of feeding though, they can be harmful for your dog's liver - especially the super premium types.

If you decide to feed raw to your Cane Corso, your options range from packaged medallions of raw food, to simply picking up a couple ribs at the grocery store (and explaining to the family why the dog gets ribs while dinner is spaghetti!). We stop by a small privately owned meat processing company near us once a week and pick up fresh raw beef for all our dogs, and store it in a 14 cubic foot freezer to so their feedings stay fresh all week long. Our dogs ear fresh raw beef, lamb, and goat, raw bones, chicken necks, organ meats (hearts/livers/kidneys etc), and green tripe.

  • Raw bones are healthy for your dog. Raw bones are digestible, natural, softer, and nutritional, while cooked bones will become hard, brittle and lose much of their nutritional value.
  • NEVER feed cooked chicken bones to your dog. They will splinter into fatally sharp slivers and pieces and can KILL your dog. Raw chicken bones are fine.
  • Before feeding raw game or pork meat or bones to your dog, freeze them completely for three weeks (21 days) to kill any possible parasite larva that may be present in the meat.

 

Feeding Both Raw and Processed Kibble Together

Feeding a natural raw diet has produced outstanding results in our dogs. However, depending on the individual dog and situation, there are many times when we supplement the dog's raw diet with some kibble as well. There is nothing wrong with combining raw and kibble in the same diet, as long as you feed them in the proper order. Raw is what your dog's stomach was designed to digest, as a result raw food is processed and digested quickly and efficiently through your dog's digestive tract. Commercially prepared cooked foods & kibble take longer for your dog to digest and process. If you chose to feed raw and kibble, do not feed both raw and kibble together, and do not feed kibble immediately followed by raw. This is a common mistake, following a bowl of kibble with some raw 'dessert', but when fed in this order the raw food gets backed up in the digestive tract behind the slower processing kibble, and remains in the stomach for a much longer period of time that it otherwise would. This extended time can result in a buildup of bacteria that is not healthy for your dog. Better to either feed raw followed by kibble, or to feed in separate meals - raw one meal, kibble in a se per ate meal altogether.


 

Supplements

One of the best hip / joint supplements we have found is Nupro Silver Joint Supplement, a daily vitamin and mineral supplement with Glucosamine complex, MSM and Ester-C. Give your dog the benefit of a scientifically balanced formula that is rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and essential fatty acids along with the extra ingredients to support normal joint function and healthy hips. Nupro provides the necessary raw nutrients (lacking from cooked and processed dog foods) with easily digestible whole foods, specially designed for your dog.

We also use, and highly recommend, a wonderful natural supplement for all our dogs and puppies - "Pets Alive". We wouldn't be without it for our dogs - it works that well! This supplement will help to fill in the missing ingredients that most dog foods do not have, and will give your dog a wonderfully soft and glossy coat, healthy skin with minimal shedding, protection for their eyes, joints, bones, and immune systems!

You can find additional information by clicking the link above. As I am an affiliate with Gardens Alive, when you order their "Pets Alive" supplement (or any other products from their website) by clicking through from this link on my site, you will receive $20 off any $40 purchase (that's half off a bag of Pet's Alive)! Try it for a couple weeks ... and see the difference for yourself!

We use a spoonful of mayonnaise (often thinned 50% with oil) over each dog's food once a day, and then sprinkle on the "Pets Alive" and Nupro supplement powder and stir it all up. The mayonnaise or oil will conveniently make the powder stick to the kibble. Also, mayonnaise/oil will produce an amazingly healthy shiny coat as both provide extra fat. Interestingly enough, mayonnaise makes their poop not smell as much too! We recommend either corn* oil or fish oil.
   *While dogs can not digest corn, they can assimilate linoleic acid and linoleic from the corn oil.
We often supplement with a raw egg* a day for individual dogs as well - again the added protein and fat will help if you need to add weight, and will also produce a wonderful shiny coat!
   *Please read the information below on Feeding Raw Eggs before giving raw eggs to your young puppy.


 

Natural Nutritional Extras

  • A spoonful of live culture plain yogurt daily will aid in digestion.
    Giving yogurt with every feeding is an excellent way to add back beneficial bacteria and probiotics to the stomach anytime your dog is on antibiotics.
  • A spoonful of raw pumpkin (fresh, or non-spiced pie filling) with each feeding will help firm up loose stools.
  • A spoonful of mayonnaise daily will promote a shiny healthy coat, and help prevent dry/flaky skin and hair problems.
  • A raw egg daily will promote a shiny healthy coat, and help prevent dry/flaky skin and hair problems.
     *Please read the information below on Feeding Raw Eggs before giving raw eggs to your young puppy.

The above mayonnaise, oil and egg supplements are high in protein and fat. Used correctly they will producing a shiny healthy coat, and they will help prevent dry/flaky skin and hair problems as well. Do keep in mind though, an overweight fat puppy is not a healthy puppy and is going to be more prone to hip/joint problems. When used with moderation to feed the average active pup that this is never really a problem, but pay attention. If your pup starts to get chunky, you need to slow down on the extras.


 

Satin Balls

Satin Balls are a total canine diet. They can be feed by by themselves or as a supplement, used to build up a show dog, or develop a healthy appetite for a picky eater. They will increase weight on thin dogs, build healthy soft skin and glossy coats, alleviate itching and chewing at dry coats/skin, and maintain a bright-eyed look and healthy energy level.
Again, Satin Balls are high in protein and are well used as treats and to supplement to a puppy's diet. Care must be taken not to cause the pup to become overweight by feeding too much Satin Balls to a young and growing pup.

Satin Balls Recipe and Instructions

Small Recipe Ingredients Full Recipe Ingredients
  • 1 lb. cheap hamburger (for high fat %)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups Total cereal
  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 egg (*boiled in the shell for 30 seconds)
  • 6 Tablespoons wheat germ
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons unflavored molasses
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 package Knox Joint gelatin
    (unflavored gelatin can be used instead)
  • 10 labs cheap hamburger (high fat %)
  • 1 large box Total cereal (about 12 cups cereal)
  • 1 large box uncooked oatmeal (about 15 cups oats)
  • 10 eggs (*boiled in the shell for 30 seconds)
  • 1 15oz jar wheat germ
  • 1 and 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 and 1/4 cup unflavored molasses
  • A pinch of salt
  • 10 packages Knox Joint gelatin
    (unflavored gelatin can be used instead)
Directions: Mix all ingredients together, much like you would a meatloaf. Include entire eggs, shells and all.
DO NOT COOK. This recipe is fed fresh and raw.
Mix completely, then roll into "meatballs" or "patties", store in quart freezer bags or tupperware, and freeze.
Thaw as needed, and feed raw!
*(Boiling the eggs for 30 seconds denatures the whites, while leaving the benefits of the uncooked yolks intact.)

 

Feeding Raw Eggs

We feed raw eggs to all the adult dogs at various times. Eggs are very good for dogs. In fact, they are the most concentrated, valuable form of protein that a dog can get. HOWEVER, with young puppies you never want to feed them uncooked egg whites. Raw egg yolks are just fine for pups, but pups are unable to digest raw/uncooked egg whites.

Egg whites contain an enzyme inhibitor which can make them difficult to digest for very young puppies, sick dogs, old dogs, or dogs with pancreatitis. Apart from that, unless a dog has an allergy to eggs, there should be no problem. Egg whites contain a substance called avidin, which binds with the vitamin biotin (a member of the B Complex group), making it unavailable for your dog. This has been shown in studies to not be a problem when a dog is fed a balanced healthy diet - only when a dog was fed no biotin for weeks while being fed large amounts of eggs did it begin to cause a deficiency. Also, egg yolks contain a high amount of biotin so when whole eggs are fed it is not a problem.

The yolks are healthier for the dog uncooked, but in the instances listed above, the whites are better cooked than raw. This is the reason for dropping the eggs for just 30 seconds in boiling water. It gives the best benefit from both the whites (partially cooked) and the yolk (still uncooked).

The reason you include the entire egg - shells and all - is because the shells are high in calcium, phosphorous and other minerals. You can always throw the whole egg, shell and all, in the blender before mixing with the recipe to avoid shell pieces.


 

Liver Brownies - The BEST Training Treats & Show Bait!

Liver Brownies Recipe

  • 1 lb. liver, any kind
    we usually use beef, some prefer the chicken livers for a less strong smell
    you can also substitute beef or chicken heart for 1/2 the liver
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 2 cups wheat germ
  • 1 tsp fresh minced garlic OR 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fennel or anise seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Cut liver (and/or hearts) into small chunks and grind in a food processor or blender. In large bowl, mix liver with corn meal, wheat germ, garlic, fennel/anise, and salt. Spread mixture on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes; cut into squares (while still warm).

Another variation is to add an egg to the above recipe, and then force-knead in flour (after mixing the above recipe) until the dough no longer sticks to the working surface. Press/roll this into a 1 inch thick slab with a little more flour on each side, sprinkle some garlic powder on top, and baked on a non-stick cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for about an hour until it will spring out of the pan on its own, and gives a clean hollow sound when you tap it. Allow to cool 10 minutes; cut into squares (while still warm). The result will be a crunchy crust with a chewy interior.

Keep refrigerated, and freeze what will not be used within a week to prevent it from spoiling.


 

Toys / Chews & More:

A variety of chew toys, and fun toys should always be available, especially for young energetic puppies. They provide hours of entertainment, help get through the teething process, and are much cheaper to replace than your couch & shoes. "Fuzzy/Squeaky" toys are always a big hit with pups here, but won't last long in unsupervised competition with your pup's sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Our growing pups will spend a couple happy hours chewing and shaking their new "victim" ... then bring me the gutted remains with a quizzical look when it stops squeaking. Braided fleece balls and tugs seem to be among the more durable corso-proof toys we have found. Hard chew toys/treats will help scrape their teeth, and will reduce plaque buildup. We offer a variety of chew treats, including Raw Bones, Bully Sticks, Braided Pizzle Sticks, Toobles, Deer Antler Chews, rope bones, and more.

We Use & Recommend Flint River Ranch Treats

A Natural and Healthy Treat Selection for your Cane Corso!
All natural and 100% digestible, Bully Sticks, Braided Pizzle Sticks, Toobles, and Deer Antler Chews
Click here to order Flint River Ranch Treats

A couple notes on the subject of treats:
"Greenies" have been linked to the deaths of a number of dogs due to the fact that they shatter in large chunks, get lodged in the digestive system, and even the newer formula does not soften/dissolve when pieces are ingested.
Rawhide strips are common easy to find treats, but are often laced with harsh chemicals and unhealthy for your dog. If natural chemical free versions are fed, they should be limited and ingested in moderation. If your dog ingests a large amount of rawhide at a time, it will swell in their stomachs and can lead to bloat or blockages.

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