The Ingredients Dogs Need in a Real Food Diet

A real food diet is made up of human grade foods.

A real food diet is made up of human grade foods.

There are two primary methods of feeding your dog real food. One is the raw diet consisting of different combinations of meat or meaty bones, raw vegetables, fruits, sprouted grains and/or supplements. The other is home cooked meals of roasted meats, steamed vegetables, grains and/or add supplements.

Protein

Veterinarian Dr. T.J. Dunn as cited by petMD.com says dogs are omnivores – meaning they can survive on both plants and animals. Dr. Dunn adds that in order to thrive, meat should be your Trixie’s primary source of protein. Muscle meat and organs like liver, kidneys, heart and spleen are easily digested plus have more complete essential amino acids than grains. Trixie needs a variety of beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, duck, Cornish game hens and lamb to ensure she gets the most nutrition. Other protein sources include eggs, cottage cheese and cheese. Cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir offer the added benefit of good bacteria for her digestive system.

Fat

Trixie needs fat in the form of animal fat and oils derived from seeds to provide concentrated energy. These fats supply essential fatty acids which cannot be made by Trixie’s body and are needed for cell development and function as well as absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. To keep Trixie’s skin and coat healthy, feed her a variety of canned salmon and tuna (packed in water), fish oil, meat, eggs and whole milk yogurt.

Carbohydrates

According to Natural Dog Health Remedies, dogs don’t require carbohydrates. However, there are beneficial vitamins and minerals found in vegetable and fruit carbs. The National Academy of Sciences suggests that soluble fiber such as oats and barley boost immunity and regulate blood glucose levels. If you decide to feed Trixie carbohydrates, limit the amount to less than 25 percent of her total diet. Veggies that can be served raw by pureeing or blending them include: alfalfa sprouts, beet roots and tops, red bell peppers, celery, cucumber and zucchini. Clean raw carrots make a treat to clean teeth and gums. Veggies that should be lightly cooked or steamed are: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, green beans, peas, summer squashes and leafy greens. Starchy veggies such as sweet potatoes, potatoes and winter squashes should be cooked and given in small amounts because they don’t provide as much nutrition as meat does. Fruits like apples, bananas, papayas, mangoes, berries, and melon can be served in small amounts; however seeds from fruits, grapes and raisins are toxic and should never be feed.

Minerals and Vitamins

There are 12 minerals that the National Academy of Sciences states are essential for dogs. Calcium is extremely important for Trixie’s bones and skeletal development and for her parathyroid to properly function. If you don’t offer a calcium supplement, add finely ground eggshells to her food at the rate of ½ teaspoon per pound of food which equals 900 mg of calcium. Trixie also needs phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth; magnesium, sodium and potassium for her central nervous system along with selenium and copper to assist enzymes. The minerals chlorine, iron, zinc, manganese and iodine support other cell, enzyme and hormone functions and regulate metabolism. In addition to minerals, Trixie also needs vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E & K. You can use vitamin and mineral supplements, but you should talk to your vet to determine the proper amounts for her health, breed, size and age.

 

About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Sandy Vigil has been a writer and educator since 1980. She taught high school and middle school English and drama for 11 years. Vigil holds a Master of Science in teaching from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in secondary English education from the University of Central Oklahoma.

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