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Better Dog Nutrition Tips

Better Dog Nutrition Tips

If you would like to gradually improve your canine companion’s diet but are not quite ready to cook a doggie stew every few days, here are a few easy changes to make.

Water: One of the easiest things to change is your dog’s water supply. Author Pat Lazarus strongly recommends buying a water filter to attach to your faucet.

Veggies and Fruits: These should equal one-third of the daily diet. Use raw or cooked veggies: beans, split peas, lentils, carrots, zucchini, and broccoli are good. Add raw, cut-up fruit occasionally. Organic, unsprayed produce is best.

Garlic: Garlic is used widely for animals with various conditions. It can help build the immune system and is a good flea and worm repellent, but it may cause anemia if given for long periods of time. Adding a crushed clove of garlic to your dog’s food every day is appropriate.

Dairy: Raw eggs and cottage cheese. Other possible additions are yogurt and cheddar-type cheese. All provide protein and iron.

Grains: Cooked grains should equal one-third of a dog’s diet. A few appropriate choices are barley, brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, cornmeal and, even, crumbled whole wheat bread. These provide carbohydrates.

Vitamins: Lazarus would add more of vitamins C and E to a general multiple supplement. In fact, many dog specialists recommend additional vitamin C. Vitamin B is also vital for a healthy immune system and can be found in brewer’s yeast, another possible daily additive. However, adding arbitrary supplements of vitamins or minerals is generally not recommended without consulting your veterinarian.

Oil: Many veterinarians and breeders recommend a tablespoon or two a day of vegetable or canola oil, especially for a dry coat or skin. However, oil may add calories.

Meat: Lean, organic meats are best. Turkey, liver, mackerel, chicken, and lamb top most vets’ lists. Some recommend raw liver; many recommend raw meat in total. Meat (or some fish) should represent one-third (perhaps a bit more) of the dog’s daily diet.

Homemade Dog Bone Recipe

Read more: Everyday Pet Care, Pets, , ,

Adapted from The Healthy Pet Manual: A Guide to the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer by Deborah Straw (Healing Arts Press, 2005).

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


+ add your own
9:19AM PST on Jan 6, 2013

Just like everything - so many opinions. My 2 cent-worth opinion is most commercial food is junk/empty calories, use common sense in trying different things till you find what works best for your animals.

1:21PM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Thank you

2:20PM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Good information. Thanks!

11:54PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

Thanks for the info.

11:58AM PDT on Oct 18, 2010


1:57PM PDT on Sep 27, 2010

I also do not agree with some of the suggestions listed. For years I have cooked for my 8 dogs and will not feed them raw eggs, garlic or raw meat. My Veterinarian gave me several articles about the dangers of feeding raw meat to my dogs, which can also be harmful to the dog's owner as well through contact with their dog.
As mentioned earlier, raw eggs and garlic are on the ASPCA's list of foods to avoid feeding dogs because they are not healthy for them.
I do think filtered water is a great idea and that is what my dogs always drink.
My recipe is: brown rice, lentils, oatmeal, bananas, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, blueberries, cooked boneless chicken, cooked eggs, ground up egg shells (for calcium, often lacking in home cooked diets), canned salmon and olive oil. I make up a large batch once a week and use a little dry food with it. My 11 year old beagle acts half her age and I get compliments all the time how great my dogs look. I joke they eat better than most kids, but they really do.

12:37PM PDT on Sep 27, 2010

Thanks, but you have to watch what you put in as some healthy things for us are toxic to pets: grapes, onions, etc. Please check with your vet before making your own food

9:45AM PDT on Sep 27, 2010

I am a former vet tech, and I can safely say that garlic and onion should never be given to dogs.

8:30AM PDT on Jul 6, 2010

It is extremely unlikely that a healthy dog would get Salmonella or E. Coli. Dogs can eat road kill, lick their butts, eat bones they buried in the dirt and they still never get sick - they have MUCH stronger bacteria in their guts than we do. Good kibble without wheat, corn and other grains is good. Raw food like eggs and meaty bones is way better. Just research it on the 'net if you're not convinced!

3:35PM PDT on Jul 5, 2010

I disagree with some of the suggestions for example raw eggs can expose your dog to bacteria like Salmonella or E. Coli. Plus contrary to folklore: raw eggs can actually cause skin and coat problems. You can visit Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA) website for more information.

I feed my dogs Pure Woof Gold. It is a kibble with no chemicals, preservatives, fillers or anything else that would be harmful for your dogs.

I started feeding Pure Woof Gold to Sadie and Rusty over a year ago and have noticed huge health benefits.

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