While some experts insist that you should feed your dog only commercially prepared kibble to ensure he gets the proper nutrients in his diet, others promote the health benefits of feeding your dog wholesome, unprocessed food. If you've been scared off from preparing your own food by the prospect of having fresh meat for your dog, you will find feeding a real food diet easier than you may have imagined.
Like us, dogs are omnivores and flourish on a varied diet. Although wild canids such as wolves, coyotes and dingos spend a lot of time hunting, you'll also see them snacking on wild berries and fresh green vegetation. When prey is brought down, the contents of the stomach are often the portion first consumed, with meat, bones and skin devoured afterward. Many of the foods we already have in our kitchen are suitable for consumption by dogs and puppies and easily can be combined for complete nutrition.
Real food diets for dogs and puppies vary from raw meat and vegetables to a cooked or raw mix that includes brown rice or potatoes. While most dogs take readily to a real food diet, you can test what foods your dog enjoys by adding a few foods to his dry kibble. This can be desirable in young puppies as a food causing a digestive disturbance can be spotted quickly and eliminated.
The basis of the real food diet for puppies and dogs is quality protein. Choose from fresh liver, fish, chicken, eggs, lamb or beef to supply the bulk of the diet and mix in pet-friendly vegetables and fruits along with some brown rice, cooked potatoes or oats. Mix the food with cottage cheese or yogurt and sprinkle food with brewer's yeast, wheat germ or powdered kelp. Rotate ingredients to provide variety and supply trace nutrients your dog's body will need.
Puppies given a variety of real food are less likely to develop food allergies as adults. Commercial dog foods have about 50 percent of their total bulk as carbohydrates in the form of corn, soy or other grains, which are less digestible for dogs and can cause inflammatory disease in the body. You can adjust the diet to eliminate grains if your dog has chronic disease or is overweight to reduce both inflammation and obesity.
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