When you feed your dog all natural food, you get the peace of mind of knowing exactly what Fido's getting. And Fido gets minerals, vitamins, fiber and protein. Mix and match pet-safe foods to compose a balanced diet, cutting back on or eliminating commercial pet food to avoid overfeeding.
Creating a Balanced Diet
Combine different types of food to create a balanced diet for your pet. Generally speaking, 18-22 percent of your dog's diet should be protein. Feed the lesser amount for maintenance and the higher amount if your dog is growing. Carbohydrates compose up to 50 percent of your dog's diet and fats make up 5 percent. Vegetables round out the meal. Your veterinarian can advise you on how much food per day is appropriate for your dog based on weight, as well as special considerations when switching to natural foods.
Acceptable protein sources for dogs include chicken, fish such as salmon or sardines, eggs, yogurt, peanut butter and cheese. When feeding fish or meat, be sure to properly cook the meat and to remove bones before feeding. The former kills any harmful bacteria and the latter prevents potential choking and internal puncture wounds.
Whole grains offer nutrients, vitamins and minerals and work well as natural carbohydrates. Grains safe for dogs include oatmeal, brown rice, white rice, wheat berries, millet, bulgur and cornmeal. Since dogs are not capable of digesting raw grains, cook grains by following the directions on the package before feeding.
Vegetables and Fruits
Veggies add a pleasing crunch, as well as vitamins and minerals. Choose from carrots, cooked sweet potatoes and pumpkin, cooked greens like spinach or kale, zucchini, broccoli, sliced apples, bananas and blueberries. Do not feed grapes, raisins, onions or garlic and do not feed the pits of any fruit.
Putting it Together
Combine these food groups in the appropriate amounts to compose a natural meal. You might try unsweetened cooked oatmeal with blueberries and a dollop of yogurt, cooked greens with cheese, chicken and millet, or sardines with brown rice and broccoli, for example.
- Hartz: A Dog's Daily Diet
- "Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats"; Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M. and Susan Hubble Pitcairn; 2005
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