|Barked: Sat Dec 1, '12 1:55pm PST |
|Find "the spreadsheet" on this forum. I don't have it bookmarked, but I bet Maxwell or someone else will chime in with a link.
The spreadsheet will tell you what your dog's nutritional needs are based on weight, activity level and age. You then plug this into ND.com under "My Preferences" as "Individual Daily Values." (The default is the standard Daily Values for humans.)
Once you have entered your dog's IDV, you can then begin creating recipes. Go to "My ND," then "My Recipes," and click "Create Recipe." Here, you will search all the various foods and supplements (if applicable) that your dog was fed over a period of time. When I evaluate Duke's diet, I usually do a week at a time, just to keep it workable. I don't analyze his diet every week, just every so often when I get the urge to see some numbers that reassure me everything is balanced.
In order to get the analysis reasonably accurate, you will need to record EVERYTHING your dog eats over a week, month, whatever you're analyzing. I record Duke's intake right down to the tenth of an ounce when I know I'm going to plug it into ND. I include supplements like fish oil. If you supplement with other things (like kelp, Missing Link, coconut oil, etc.), you might have to make a "custom food" and enter the nutritional analysis from the product's label.
You will probably have to play around with the tool to get used to it. Once you have created a recipe and searched out your protein, click the " " sign to add it to the current recipe. The cursive "e" allows you to edit a saved recipe. You can either "Save" just to save the recipe, or "Save & Analyze," which gives the full nutritional analysis.
Be sure you adjust the units on your recipe items! It will always default to 1 unit, but you have to pick lbs, ounces, grams, etc. from the drop-down. If you don't keep it consistent, your analysis will be way off. I do everything in ounces. So if Duke had 28.4 ounces of beef in a week, I enter "13.4 units" and change the drop-down to ounces. That seems intuitive, but it can be easy to forget and throw off your analysis.
It is a ton easier if you combine the week's food before entering it into a recipe. So I will go through Duke's "diet diary" and add up all the beef, tripe, goat, rabbit, pork spleen, beef liver, etc. to get a weekly total for each. Then I enter each item just one time with the total ounces eaten for the entire week.
In the example of using one week's worth of food, when you go to analyze, then you are looking for everything to be ~700% (remember that your analysis is combined for 7 days--ie., 100% for each of 7 days).
Also, I believe Vitamin K isn't always accurate. I remember Maxwell mentioning it once when I posed the question...I don't remember details. I do not get too worked up when Vitamin K is low.
Keep in mind that this is a tool, not an exact science. You are really only evaluating ~90% of the diet, as the bone portion is not included. Bone is not in the USDA database. Nor are some organs or whole prey. And with beef, for example, you will have to pick from a huge list of cuts and fat contents. I don't know about you, but I don't always know what cut I fed; I just know that it was beef. So I sometimes guess. Be sure you are picking raw and not cooked!
NOTE: For whatever reason, some browsers are not compatible with the search function--you will do a search and the list doesn't display at the bottom of the page as it should. I've had this happen with IE. I currently use FireFox and it seems to be most reliable on the ND website.
It's not perfect, but it gives a pretty good idea if you are a geek like me who likes to see the numbers.
Edited by author Sat Dec 1, '12 2:01pm PST
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