What and how we feed out dogs are passions of mine. I love the conversation and I am always eager to learn more about how I can get the most of the twice a day experience of nourishing my dogs.
Notice I didn’t say feed my dogs.
Feed isn’t quite food and unfortunately most commercial dog foods are classified as former. AAFCO, the private regulatory body that sets the rules for pet food actually considers your pets food a feed.
The same label as feed for livestock.
Feeding is a must and we can all do that. We can offer our pets most all the basic vitamins and minerals, proteins, and fats and still not give them what they need to actually thrive.
That’s the difference I am trying to make. As much as the picture of the wild Husky on your dog food says it, thriving really isn’t the main goal of the dog food manufacturer. They have a bottom line too and this is a profit game.
My goal here is to offer several easy to start solutions to keep your pets in peak health by just manipulating a few food ingredients.
Add a sardine
A single sardine added to the diet is an easy way to buff up the Omega-3 content (anti-inflammatory) as well as vitamins B3 and B12 (cellular energy/ DNA formation) as well as calcium/phosphorous content and the antioxidant Selenium (thyroid function)
I get my sardines at the local market which are in water with no salt.
You can also get a case for cheap here.
Add sunflower seeds (shelled and salt free)
You probably weren’t expecting this one but it goes right along with the sardines.
It actually helps protect the omega-3’s from sardines while offering itself as a natural antioxidant for the rest of the body. Vitamin E is great for the eyes, skin/coat and cardiovascular system. Consider adding about a teaspoon to a tablespoon every other day or so depending on the size of your pet.
Add unpasteurized goats’ milk
I prefer unpasteurized to the heated alternative and look for a brand that is naturally fermented to replace the pasteurization process. It contains an extensive list of naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals, probiotics, enzymes, fatty acids, and so much more and is super palatable. I recommend the “Answers” brand for this reason. It is sold locally in Orange County or you can look look here for a local retailer.
1-2 oz a day for smaller dogs and 2-4 oz a day for larger dogs seems to be a great measure.
Green leafy vegetables
This is actually very easy to accomplish with a little help from a small food processor.
You don’t have to cook the veggies if you process the pieces small enough. I generally get about equal parts of Kale, celery, spinach, parsley and even un-leafy zucchini and toss coarsely chopped pieces into the processor for a few seconds. It comes out pretty fine and I they transfer it to a Tupperware that I keep in the fridge for about a week max. I add a tablespoon or two to my large dogs’ diet and a few teaspoons daily to my smaller dogs and they love the stuff.
Add a raw (or cooked) egg
Served raw, eggs are one of nature’s most perfect proteins and an inexpensive and safe food source. They’re highly digestible with a full range of essential amino acids – the building blocks of protein – Vitamins, and minerals including Vitamin A, Riboflavin (Vitamin B), Folate, Vitamin B12, Iron, Selenium and Fatty Acids, making them a nutritious food for dogs.
No worries if you’re uncomfortable feeding raw
You can get most of the same benefits from a cooked egg as well. If a whole egg is to much for your dog you can crack/stir in a bowl and serve half or just cook it to make it easier.
Now after all these suggestions I want to add two more suggestions.
First, don’t feel like you have to do all of this daily. While all of these are great additions they can be staggered and offered every other day or you can rotate supplements like I do.
One day I drop in an egg. The other gets a sardine. One week we add chopped veggies and the other we have goat’s milk on hand. Rotation is natural and what your dog would naturally experience if on his own and didn’t have someone to make sure he gets feed twice a day on time like a human.
Lastly, if you do this every day and your adding higher calorie items like eggs, milk and sardines, you may want to cut the base food mix by 10-15% just to offset some of the calories, although an extra walk per day will cover your bases as well.
I would love to hear feedback on what you do to offer your dog extra nourishment so feel free to email me with comments.
Be well and wag tail!