Dog Food For Thought: Talking to Pet Parents About Fresh Food Diets
Recently I was the guest speaker on dog nutrition at a weekend retreat for families and their dogs. One of my favourite questions to aks when I meet a dog parent is "what do you feed your dog?", so I loved hearing about the food these very dedicated pet owners feed their dogs.
What I found incredibly encouraging about this group of dog people, was their strong desire to learn about how to feed fresh, healthy food to their dogs. This is remarkable considering the intense marketing tactics from pet food manufacturers, and warnings from some veterinarians, that dogs should only eat processed food such as kibble or canned food. I discovered that many of the dog owners in my workshop feed raw diets, or a combination of raw and kibble diets. Others feed kibble, but are very creative in their food bowl additions; everything from ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, leftover veggies from dinner, eggs, a dollop of spaghetti sauce, canned fish, fresh fruit, and one person even said her dog enjoyed leftover curry from time to time - not that I would recommend you give your dog curry, but... the point is that we shouldn't be afraid to feed our dogs fresh food.
Research shows that a variety of fresh food - and not the same processed food on repeat month after month - creates a strong and diverse microbiome, which is the foundation of good health.
A 2005 Perdue University study on Scottish Terriers showed that the addition of green leafy vegetables, and yellow-orange vegetables reduced transitional cell carcinoma of the trigone region of the bladder by 90%, and 70% respectively. This is powerful information. As pet parents, we can use these incredible results as evidence that our pets benefit when they are proactively fed a fresh, species appropriate diet - including vegetables - to defend against inflammation and disease.
Two of the questions that came up frequently during the workshop were "can my dog eat..?" and "how much can my dog have of...?" You'll find lots of information on my site about foods you can, and really should, give your dog.
What can be a little tricky for many pet parents is knowing how much of these foods can be added to the diet.
Currently, one of the recommendations is that up to 20% of a healthy, adult dog's kibble diet can be replaced with fresh food. Or, you can add the fresh food on top of the kibble, or feed fresh food in place of store bought treats. Even better is to feed a properly balanced, species appropriate fresh diet to your dog.
Would your club, group, or organization like to know more about raw diets for dogs, dog nutrition, and foods that promote good health and longevity? I'd love to hear from you! Use my contact form, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about my availability.