Let’s talk about food for your puppy or adult dog. First off, let me preface this by saying, I’m not a nutritional expert or a vet (duh) but just a concerned dog owner who reads and researches lots of topics.
I’ve talked about this before, but in my opinion the best food for you dog is a quality, balanced raw diet. What’s better than feeding them closest to an ancestral diet?
Now, I will add that most traditional veterinarians will disagree with my choice. If you’re thinking about going a more natural route with your pet you might search for a more holistic-type vet for you puppy or dog, or at least someone that is more open to other options when it comes to food (treatment options, vaccines, etc).
Just to put it in perspective think about it from a human standpoint. Do you think your child would be healthier on processed foods with lots of additives, coloring, flavorings, “vitamins” added in or a well balanced diet with “real” food like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and some farm fresh eggs and organic meats? (Okay, I’m vegetarian, but if I was eating meat I would raise my own or buy locally from someone raising healthy animals 😛 ).
I’m sure there are a lot of people that do raw feeding with recipes to make sure the meals are balanced with all the proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It takes commitment and time, plus the freezer space to keep your different meats. Raw feeding is not cheap, but I think it gives our pets the best chance at having a long, healthy life. And who doesn’t want that for your pet? Investing in a quality diet might be more costly on a daily basis, but if it keeps your pets healthier in the long run then you need to weigh out the cost over years and see that it’s not really that much more expensive when compared with the costs of extra vet expenses from a high sugar/starch processed food diet.
For a less complicated way, there are lots of quality commercially prepared raw diets out there; Answers Pet Food (is probably tops in my opinion), Darwins, Northwest Natural’s, Primal, to name a few. I have a friend and fellow breeder on the east coast is super happy with Albright’s Raw Dog Food (which we are not able to get on the west coast, unfortunately.)
Some people decide to cook their own dog food. Which would might be another good option, but it needs to be balanced so your dog is getting the proper nutrients in the right quantities.
I would highly recommend checking out Dr. Karen Becker or Dr. Judy Morgan online to learn more about home-made, balanced raw or home-cooked diets for your pets.
We have decided because of space, time and convenience to feed our dogs and puppies a quality commercial kibble. Honestly, if I had the time and freezer space (or even the space for another freezer) I’d love to have them on raw. Although I do supplement them with some home-cooked meals (more on that later).
If you can’t raw feed or choose not to, look for the best commercial kibble that you can afford. I would avoid “grain-free”.
Look at the ingredients list, the more natural “real” food the better. (Remember canines are carnivores).
We have been happy with Fromm Classic Puppy Food and Fromm Gold Puppy Food (which is easier to find for our puppy families). And during the “stay-at-home” order we made the decision to switch our adults also. Instead of supporting a large chain store which was two hours + away. We are supporting our local feed/farm store and getting a better quality food in the process. Our adults have been switched and are now happily eating Fromm Gold Adult food.
We also supplement our moms and puppies with NuVet supplement (and mom’s get extra calcium while nursing pups).
(Here’s more info on https://pinewoodcavapoos.com/health/nuvet/)
Now, even though my dogs get a high-quality kibble, I still like to give them some yummy “fresh” food whenever I can to supplement their daily diets.
We are blessed to live on some acreage where we can keep a flock of chickens which provide us with many more eggs then we could ever use. So the dogs are fortunate to get their share of fresh eggs (and yes, sometimes they are fed raw). At one point we had a couple of milk goats. It was wonderful to have fresh goat’s milk for the puppies. But the extra work of milking everyday became one too many chores to keep up. I would love to have goats again someday…
This week I cooked up some of our farm fresh eggs. But before scrambling them up I sauteed some fresh swiss chard and kale from the garden in some bone broth (and just a little bit of coconut oil) along with some shredded carrots.
I scooped this into a large mixing bowl and added some frozen blueberries early enough before dinner that they had time to thaw a bit. Then before serving, I added several cans of sardines (packed in water). I mix it all up and it was ready to serve.
I don’t always put the same veggies in it, but it usually always includes eggs and sardines. Sometimes I cook chicken or beef and add it to the mixture. And a lot of times I buy Kefir and add that too right before serving.
So basically I’m a dog chef some days, but most nights they just get their Fromm. When I do get creative in the kitchen it might be just an addition to their kibble or it might be the whole meal for that day. I don’t do it every week and have no set schedule, there are many days they just get their regular food. But boy, do they enjoy when they get a special dinner!
And once again, I’m not a dog food “professional” these are just my thoughts and opinions.