One of the most common questions I’m asked is “What do you feed your dog?” I think this is such an important question and since I’m asked it so often, I thought I would address it here.
I’ve researched and investigated so many options over the years and continue to find the best options for my dog all the time.
The most important thing to me is not what you feed your dog, but the quality of what you feed your dog. That being said, I’d like to explain what I mean. There are people who will only feed home cooked food or kibble, or raw or whatever. The key thing to look at is what are the ingredients. There are several things I try to avoid in food and that is poor ingredients, filler (like corn and soy), animal by-products, and products made in China.
The quality that goes into the dog food is more important than anything else. I’ll explain this below. Since I’ve fed a variety of different foods I’ll describe my position on each one I’ve used below.
Home Cooked Food: When I opt for home cooked I use only the highest quality ingredients. I use organic chicken and organic vegetables. I try to stay away for the common pitfalls of chicken breasts and white rice and instead opt for more nutritious and a balanced foods. The white-meat chicken alone has become a staple of rich, finicky people and has the last amount of nutritious value when you consider an animal’s need for fats. One of my favorite meals is prepared in a pressure cooker with a few pounds of chicken backs (bones and all), sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, beets, spinach and maybe some organs. I cook all of this until the bones are dis-solvable. The key thing to remember is that bones, when cooked, are very dangerous to dogs. Never feed a dog cooked bones, they can splinter and be deadly. This is not the case with raw bones, as I’ll explain below. Using a pressure cooker allows you to cook bones to such a degree that they will fall apart when handled. It is important that you ask someone familiar with pressure cookers to do this properly and also check the finished product to make sure there are no brittle bones remaining.
I do stress the importance of supplementing your dog with a high quality vitamin. There are several good ones available, do your research and add them to your dogs diet. Just like we need vitamins, so do dogs.
Raw food: I have fed raw food to my dogs for years and think it’s a very good option. Speaking with a friend of mine who owns a pet store and is very knowledgeable, he reminded me that of all the years he’s been in the business there have been countless recalls of pet foods, but he can’t remember one recall for raw. Remember that when you feed raw that you should use the best quality ingredients. Also, many raw feeders believe that dogs can live on just raw meat, I disagree. I add veggies to most meals because I think there is great value to a dogs overall health by adding good quality veggies. They can be added by putting them through a food processor, or just using the pulp extracted from a juicer. There are countless veggies that benefit a dog’s health, so why not add them. Again, I’m a bit if a stickler here, but since I only eat organic veggies, I do the same for my dog. Bottom line… My dog eats as good as me.
Some great raw meals include: green tripe, chicken backs and quarters, raw meaty bones, lamb, duck, turkey and more. As with the home cooked meals I add supplements to raw food or give it separately. Most good quality kibble and canned foods add supplements, and I believe they should be added to home cooked and raw meals. Again, I take supplements, so I think that doggie supplements are important for my dog.
Kibble and Canned Food: I left this food for last because it is my least favorite option to feed my dog but I occasionally feed it. The reason I think it is important to get your dog somewhat used to eating kibble / canned food is in the event you have to board him, travel or in the event of an emergency. Now-a-days there are so many good options on kibble and canned it is not as bad as it used to be. There are organic foods, grain free and a plethora of other foods that are so high in quality that they rival home cooked meals. It is key to avoid the pitfalls and not buy the cheapest product around. I opt for foods that are organic, contain no fillers, no “animal by-products” or “meat by-products,” no grains and I want to be able to read the ingredients. That means I want to know what is what. I don’t buy products if they’re not made in the USA or Canada. I think Canada has strict standards and the products from there usually surpass those of any other place.
Just like humans, I believe that dogs enjoy a variety when it comes to food. Be careful not to feed a hodge-podge of ingredients. Limited ingredient foods are best, so as to only contain one or two proteins and veggies that you can identify. I am a total stickler when it comes to feeding my dog. I always travel with enough food for my dog and I always make sure that my dog is fed my dog food.
When it comes to treats I would encourage you to do the same research. US made products or human foods work best. I use string cheese, lamb and rice jerky treats, hot dogs (only the best quality ingredient ones), as well as chicken, turkey and other natural / high quality foods.
I don’t eat animals, but my dog does. My dog gets fed what is best for him, his health and well-being is my primary concern. I urge you to choose carefully when it comes time to feeding your dog. What you put into your dog’s mouth is one of the most important decisions you will make – take it seriously!
All the best,