Adding fresh food to your dog’s kibble will make it healthier. You can substitute up to 15% of your dog’s kibble for fresh food.
Protein builds protein. And up to thirty percent of the protein your dog eats goes towards rebuilding their skin and coat. Adding fresh protein (cooked or raw) is the first food to add to your dog’s bowls.
- Eggs: Choose pasture raised eggs to add three times a week. You can feed it raw, scrambled or hardboiled. If you’re cooking it over the stove, use a small amount of coconut oil to cook it with.
- Feed a variety of meat (chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, beef, bison, lamb and duck).
- One mistake people will make is only feeding chicken because it’s cheap. Unfortunately this might aggravate a dog that suffers from allergies.
- Take whatever meat you’re cooking for yourself, and save some for your dog (cooked or raw).
- If you’re cooking the meat, don’t feed the fat but if you’re feeding it raw it’s ok to feed a small amount of fat.
- Feed a variety of meat cuts (white meat, dark meat, and other nose to tail parts).
- Different cuts of meat will offer different nutrient values. For example, your non tradition cuts (like tongue, gizzards, heart etc.) can be found at your local Asian stores.
Frequency: You can add protein to every single meal. Be sure to subtract out the amount of kibble and monitor your dog’s body condition score to make sure they don’t gain weight.
Organ meat is nature’s multi-vitamin. You can add this to your dog’s diet as a treat. Too much will cause an upset tummy as well as potentially throw off the vitamins and minerals that your dog is already eating in their kibble.
Portion size: No more than the size of your dog’s paw.
Sourcing: Liver is very easy to source but liver is only one type of organ to feed your dogs. In a fresh food diet liver shouldn’t exceed five percent of your dog’s daily intake.
- If you can find grass fed liver, feed that over non grass fed.
- Air – dried, single ingredient organ treats are great alternatives to fresh.
- Liver: Circulate two to three a month (chicken, beef, pork)
- Other Secreting Organs – Spleen and Kidney: Circulate two to three a month (chicken, beef, pork)
Feeding seafood is a great source for Omega – 3s to offset the high amount of Omega 6 in your dog’s kibble. I never feed fish oil which goes rancid fast.
Best choices for seafood:
- Salmon (red and pink)
- Green Lipped Mussels (great for glucosamine)
- Blue Lipped Mussels (great for manganese)
- Oysters (great for zinc)
Preparation: Cook all of your seafood low and slow. All shellfish and some fish contain an enzyme known as thiaminase which destroys the vitamin thiamin when it’s fed raw making it useless to the body. Cooking it destroys the thiaminase and is the ideal way to prepare when feeding shellfish to your dog.
Supplements: If you cannot feed fish, a powder alternative is through Pawsomely Healthy who carries an Omega 3 supplement in powder form.
Portion: You can feed up to fifteen percent fish a day, five percent shellfish (mussels or oysters). If you are also adding protein to your dog’s bowl, only add in ten percent protein and make the seafood portion five percent.
Don’t go over 20% seafood as that will cannibalize your protein.
Sourcing: I source fish the same way I buy it for myself. When I buy it from the grocery stores, I’ll either buy it from the butcher or in bags when each fish cutlet is frozen in individual packets. I also love to buy it from Asian markets typically from the fish section where you select the whole fish you like and then ask for it to be cleaned and cut for you.
Wild vs. Farmed: I only buy wild fish both for myself and for my dogs.
Cooked vs. Raw: Some fish and seafood have to be cooked while others can be fed raw. Read about thiaminase to understand why.
Canned Fish: Dogs that are itchy cannot eat canned food due to the high levels of histamine. But if your dog doesn’t suffer from allergies, canned seafood packed in water makes feeding fish easy and affordable.
Salmon From the Pacific North West: I caution against any salmon or even trout from the Pacific North West. Salmons can have worms or flukes. Flukes are especially dangerous if they’re infected by Neorickettsia helminthoeca … a bacteria that causes salmon poisoning.
Vegetables provide prebiotic fibers for short-chain fatty acid production in the colon. Fiber helps to keep your dog’s colon healthy by maintaining healthy elimination.
Portion size: Too much fiber will cause diarrhea. A small amount goes a long way. Look to feed a portion between two and five percent per meal and monitor your dog’s stools.
Ok to feed raw:
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Bok Choy: Avoid or feed in moderation if your dog is hypothyroid.
- Carrot tops
- Green peas
- Red lettuce
- Spring greens
- Sprouted seeds
- Wheat grass
Blanch or blend
- Broccoli: Broccoli is goitrogenic, it inhibits the body’s ability to use iodine. Do not feed broccoli if your dog is hypothyroid.
- Brussel sprouts: Brussel sprouts are goitrogenic, as they inhibit the body’s ability to use iodine. Do not feed Brussel sprouts if your dog is hypothyroid.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower is goitrogenic, as it inhibits the body’s ability to use iodine. Do not feed cauliflower if your dog is hypothyroid.
- Green beans
- Kale: Avoid or feed in moderation if your dog is hypothyroid.
- Rainbow chard
- Red beets
- Sweet potates
Fruit can be fed as a treat. Berries are the best options and a great source of anti-oxidants. Citrus can go through your dog very fast so be sure to monitor their stools when you feed a slice of orange or tangerine.