Whole Food Diets for Dogs

Carrots are not only safe for your pet, they're nutritious.
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If your dog drools over table scraps, you may have considered switching Fido to whole food. While time and higher cost are drawbacks of a whole food diet, advantages include knowing exactly what Fido eats, avoiding known allergens and offering healthy whole foods.

Approved Foods

Your dog can enjoy meats, vegetables, grains and even fruits as part of a healthy whole food diet. Foods safe for canine consumption include cooked meats and fish such as chicken and salmon, eggs, peanut butter, oatmeal, apples, banana, green beans, carrots, cheese, yogurt, pumpkin and rice. Avoid seasoning food with salt, which dehydrates, or spices. Raw and cooked meat camps have advocates; discuss the pros and cons of each with your vet, then decide.

Foods to Avoid

While there are many whole foods dogs can enjoy, some people food can poison pets. Toxic foods to avoid include onions, garlic, raisins, rhubarb, grapes, walnuts and avocados. Avoid accidentally giving your pooch the seeds or pits of apples, apricots, cherries or peaches. Since caffeine is bad for dogs, don't offer coffee, chocolate or tea. Other foods to avoid include artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, raw yeast dough, candy, hops, leaves and stems from potato or tomato plants and moldy food. Avoid feeding cooked bones since they can splinter in Fido's throat; raw bones are okay.

Creating a Meal Plan

Balanced meals are just as important for Fido as they are for you. Combine grains, greens and meats for a healthy meal or feed meet and the morning and grains and veggies at night. Aim to feed your pup 2 percent of his body weight daily; a 30-pound dog would require 9-1/2 ounces of food per day. You might offer 5 ounces of cooked, shredded chicken in the morning and and 4-1//2 ounces of oatmeal with apple slices or cooked brown rice with boiled carrots in the evening, for example. For a raw diet, you might try a 5 oz. portion of steak on the bone and a 4 oz. mixture of raw egg and juiced kale.


If you're considering switching your pet to a whole food diet, talk to your vet for tips on safe transitions. As you incorporate fresh foods into your pet's diet, watch her reaction. Signs the diet is working well include a shiny or glossy coat, clear eyes and appropriate energy level. As older dog may not be as rambunctious as a 2-year-old pup, but a decrease in either's energy is cause for concern.