Nutrition can make us or break us and that holds true for our pets as well. What they eat is up to us as their caretakers and guardians so why not offer better options.
Nutrition can be broken down into simple categories.
- All pets should have access to fresh, clean water at all times.
Food broken down into basic components
Offering all of your pets nutritional needs out of a bag seems convenient, easy and for the most part, cost effective but is it the best way to feed your pets? I encourage you to think about how you can incorporate healthy whole foods into your pet’s diet every day. Start by adding one or two new whole foods in small amounts to your dogs food. You can cook or offer these foods raw, puree them or offer larger pieces, or give them as healthy treats throughout the day. Make sure to monitor your dog’s reaction to the food and make sure that their digestive system can handle this new change. Most dog’s do very well but you always want to check with your veterinarian, especially if your dog has an underlying medical condition. Have a list of forbidden or toxic foods available so not to accidentally add these foods to your dogs diet.
Some foods to avoid include:
- Onions and onion powder
- Any food or candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol
- Peach or Apricot pits
- Apple seeds
- Moldy foods
**This is not a complete list so if you are unsure if your dog can eat it then do not give it to them until you can confirm that is won’t do any harm.
Some foods to include in your dog’s diet:
- Lean beef
- Skinless boneless chicken
- Organ meats (in smaller amounts)
- Most fish
- Cooked eggs
- Veggies such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, broccoli and cauliflower (preferably cooked if giving larger amounts), carrots, spinach, zucchini, lettuce, bell peppers, corn (cut off the cob), green beans and celery
- Fruits such as bananas, apples, berries, watermelon, pears, blueberries
- Legumes (beans)
- Grains such as millet, barley, rice, oats (make sure grains are cooked very well)
** (I recommend cooked meats, other veterinarians recommend raw, either way, make sure that you use good hygiene in preparing and handling raw meats/poultry and do not offer raw meats to immune compromised pet’s)
Offering these foods as snacks or making them the entire diet can be very beneficial for your dog’s health. If you do decide to feed an entirely home made diet make sure to have a veterinary nutritionist formulate the diet along with the amounts and types of added supplements and vitamins for a balanced diet.
If you are unable or unwilling to cook at home then you can look into companies that offer balanced home cooked diets, just make sure that a veterinary nutritionist is associated with the company and has approved the recipes and associated supplements.