With a vast amount of information available on how to best feed your dog, it can be difficult to know the difference between the good and the bad. Below, you will find posts on the subject of nutrition, as well as basic information to get you started when searching for the best diet for your friend.
Posts on Diet
Is Spoiled Meat OK for my Dog?
Is Corn Really Bad for your Dog?
What to Look for in a Commercial Dog Food
Are Euthanized Pets Really in Commercial Dog Food?
Don’t Feed your Dog Evanger’s Dog Food!
By-Products in Dog Food: The Good and the Bad
Homemade Diet Series
What to look for in a book on homemade diets for dogs?
Homemade Diet Series: Protein in the Diet
Homemade Diet Series: Carbohydrates in the Canine Diet
The Best Diet for your Dog:
Each and every dog is unique and special in their own way. This principle extends to what diet will best serve them. Some dogs do very well on raw, meat based diets that contain very little plant based foods, but many dog do equally well or better when fed starchy carbs and grains in addition to animal products. One size fits all normally doesn’t apply when it comes to feeding your pet, and finding the right diet for your dog can be a process of trial and error.
Commercial diets are an extremely convenient option when feeding your dog. If you choose to feed a commercial diet, make sure you do research into the pet food company, the ingredients, and recalls on the pet food brand. Also, check out the listed blog posts to help you guide your choice of commercial food.
What to Look for in a Commercial Dog Food
Educate yourself on dog nutrition:
Reading at least on book on the subject of homemade diets is essential when feeding your friend from the kitchen. What to look for in a book on homemade diets for dogs? is a post that can help guide you when figuring out what books to buy and what books to avoid.
Recommended books (quick reviews of these books can be found in the above mentioned post on homemade diet books):
- Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
- Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats
- Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs by Lew Olson
- Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food by Ann N. Martin
- This book has lots of interesting info on commercial pet foods, but is grossly inadequate on accurate guidelines of how to feed a dog properly formulated fresh food diet. The recommendations on how to supplement calcium are very vague and not reliable.
- The Whole Pet Diet by Andi Brown
- This book offers some nice recipes for soup, but does not provide a good outline on how to create a balance homemade diet for your dog. As with the above book, the recommendations on how to supplement calcium are very vague and not reliable.
- Natural Dog: A Holistic Guide for Healthier Dogs by Deva Khalsa, VMD
- Dr. Khalsa recommends way too many grains and vegetables in proportion to animal products. Her guidelines on proportions are to feed 1/5 protein, 2/5 vegetables, and 3/5 grains. These guidelines are not appropriate for animals that are designed to live primarily on a carnivorous diet.
- Little information is given on how to supplement calcium, but she does recommend using a multivitamin/mineral supplement.
- The author gives some recipes for special conditions, including recipes for dogs with kidney problems. No information is given in these recipes on how to add enough calcium to balance out the phosphorous (essential to any canine diet, but EXTREMELY important for dogs with kidney disease), and the diets use very little to no meat. Having cared for a dog with kidney disease, I can assure you that dogs suffering from chronic renal failure often have horrible appetites. I can’t see any of the recipes she recommends for dogs in this group being appetizing in the slightest, as they rely heavily on beans and rice. Dogs with kidney disease often experience muscle loss, and protein from grains and beans isn’t going to help them hold onto their muscle tissue since plant protein is harder for dogs to digest.
Use an online calculator to analyze your recipes:
Using an online nutrition calculator, such as http://www.nutritiondata.com, can really help you see areas your dogs diet may be deficient.
Calculating how much your Dog Needs to Eat when Feeding a Fresh Food Diet:
When feeding a fresh food diet, it can be tricky to figure out how much you should feed your dog daily. Many books on the subject have recommendations, so if following a specific diet plan using the guidelines provided can be very helpful. If designing your own diet for your dog, aim to feed your adult dog between 2 – 3% of his body weight daily. These recommendations may be higher or lower depending on the amount of fat in the diet, the activity level of the dog, and the size of the dog (extremely small dogs tend to have higher metabolisms compared to very large dogs)
Using the above formula, lets take a look at how much food a 40 pound dog would need to eat on a daily basis. I find it easiest to convert the pounds of the dog to ounces. To do this, multiply the pounds by 16. Then, to find the amount you should feed, multiply by either 0.02 or 0.03. Mathematically, this look likes: (40 x 16) x 0.02 = 12.8 or (40 x 16) x 0.03 = 19.2. So a dog weighing 40 pounds would need to eat between 12.8 and 19.2 ounces daily. The below chart has more of the calculations included.
|Dog’s Weight (in pounds)||Low Amount (in ounces)||High Amount (in ounces)|
Some people prefer to determine how many calories their dog needs on a daily basis. This is an especially useful way to determine how much to feed if you use a website such as nutritiondata.com to analyze the recipes you prepare. There are many ways to calculate your dog’s daily caloric requirements. The calorie calculator on The Ohio State University’s Veterinary Medical Center’s website is very helpful (https://vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/our-services/nutrition-support-service/basic-calorie-calculator).
Remember to always pay attention to your dog’s body condition and adjust how much you feed accordingly.
More info on homemade diets can be found in the blog posts under “Homemade Diet Series” at the top of the page.