Research has shown that, for both dogs and people, eating the same diet every day can result in missing nutrients, development of allergies, toxic kidneys and liver, and chronic health conditions.
Signs of a Nutrient-Poor Diet include:
- Dry skin, hot spots, dull coat, dandruff, and shedding. This condition invites fleas, mites, ringworm infections and inflammatory allergies
- Behaviors such as irritability, hyperactivity, nervousness and restlessness. When you change their diet, it can take a few weeks on the new regimen before this begins to change
- Stools – large, loose or yellow stools can indicate an inability to digest all of the nutrients. Stools that are anything other than chocolate brown can indicate dyes, bacterial infections, chemicals in the food, or other health problems that are developing.
These all can be addressed simply by paying attention to what you feed your dog. Your dog’s nutrition is really important to keep them healthy and happy for years to come.
Even adding a small amount of more natural foods to their diets can make a big difference. There are tons of recipes available online. I will provide the easy recipe I use for my dogs in a separate post. My dogs get a mixture of kibble and raw or homemade food with every meal. Their coats shine, they’re energetic and happy, and my vet bills are small.
Things to Know about Homemade Diet Additions
There are a few things to avoid feeding your dog. Do not:
- Never feed leftover fats or bacon grease
- No onions grapes, raisins, or chocolate
- No sauces or other rich foods – dogs have a simpler digestive system than we do and it may not sit well
- No spicy, salted or fried foods
- No sweets! The sugar is not good for them.
Here’s what you can (and should) feed them:
- Vegetables, either fresh or cooked. (Chop fresh vegetables for easier chewing and digestion)
- Fruits – dogs like fruit and it’s very good for them
- Thoroughly cooked long grained rice– not instant rice
- Proteins such as chicken or turkey
- Culinary herbs and olive oil – Herbs such as basil, garlic and other similar herbs provide micro nutrients that may be missing from their food. And the olive oil helps their coat shine.
You can make a big batch up and store it in the refrigerator for several days. Just warm it slightly before feeding to take the chill off. 30 seconds in a microwave is all you need.
Tip: Gradually move your dog from their existing diet to a home-made diet. For the first two days, give 1/4 of their diet as the new diet, then do 1/2, then 3/4s and so on.
It can be a good idea to add some basic supplements just to make sure you’ve got all of the micro nutrients and the like covered – especially while you’re first converting your dog to the new diet.
Happy experimenting! It’s fun for you and your dog will thank you!