Natural dog nutrition: all about the proper diet

Dog Food

Straight food for dogs is one of the food options approved by veterinarians. It has its advantages and disadvantages, with which it is recommended to get acquainted before choosing the type of food. Considering all the features, you will be able to create a balanced and healthy diet that guarantees your pet’s health. 

Features of feeding natural food to dogs 

Natural dog food should not be mixed with dry food. If you choose this type of food, you will have to stick to it for an extended part of the pet’s life, if not its entire life. 

Advantages of natural dog food over dry food 

The menu is based on a similar set of products, so basic cooking skills are sufficient for preparation. Furthermore, Self-cooking eliminates the presence of harmful ingredients because you study the appearance and composition at the time of purchase. 

All incoming proteins and fiber are natural and more accessible for the body to digest. This is beneficial to the stomach and intestines. In addition, thanks to the possibility of combining hard and soft foods, the health of the teeth is preserved. Hard food prevents tooth decay, and soft food is gentle on the gums. 

Because of the simplicity of the recommended menu, the cost of food for large breeds is more petite than dry food. Furthermore, the diet is easier to adjust in the case of the disease since most therapeutic diets include conventional foods. 

Another argument favors natural food – many owners like to feed their pets raw food. And the owner’s psychological comfort is no small matter.

Natural dog nutrition: all about the proper diet

Disadvantages and disadvantages of natural dog food

The disadvantages include the difficulty of following the Nutritional Values and cooking duration. In addition, to make up for the lack of vitamins, you have to buy special supplements, the cost of which can be pretty high. 

The pet will have to be fed only fresh food, complicating long journeys. In addition, temporary transfer to dry food is detrimental to the gastrointestinal tract, leading to diarrhea or constipation. 

Small breeds are the most common problem. These dogs are fastidious and do not need large amounts of food. Because of this, the owner spends a lot of time looking for suitable food and constantly throws out leftovers. 

What foods to include in the ration 

All of the recommended foods are served as a single dish. However, they are mixed thoroughly after cooking. This is necessary for comfortable digestion because homogeneous words of similar temperatures are digested simultaneously. 

The basis of the diet is protein, that is, meat, by-products, and fish. 

Natural dog nutrition: all about the proper diet
  1. Depending on the dog’s age, weight, and breed, at least 50% of the meat component. 
  2. Then go cereals – 30%, and fruits and vegetables – 10%. 
  3. Dairy products and other additives (bran, oils) account for 5-10%. 

Meat, fish, and by-products for dog food

Natural dog food does not do without animal proteins. What foods contain them in large quantities: 

  1. Lean meats (beef, rabbit). Serve them raw and boiled, giving preference to the former. Give poultry with caution since it often causes allergic reactions. Meat, rich in B vitamins, is necessary for growth and muscle strength. Before serving raw meat, it is advisable to scald it lightly with boiling water. 
  2. Fish (pollock, trout, and others), cleaned of bones. River species are served strictly after boiling to avoid helminth infestation. Marine species are safer, so they can be given raw or ground into minced meat after clearing scales and refuse. Frequent fish consumption slows down a dog’s growth and causes digestive problems and dandruff. Don’t add it to the menu more than twice a week. The exception to the rule is dog breeds bred in Japan.
  3. By-products (liver, heart, tripe). Internal organs are helpful but require mandatory heat treatment. To be safe, they can be pre-frozen. The sudden temperature change is guaranteed to kill all parasites. Subproducts are fed no more than three times a week. 

The listed animal proteins should not be fed together. Instead, meat forms the basis, and fish and by-products are served as replacements several times a week. On such days, the usual amount of protein component is increased by 1.5 times. So, for example, if you give 100 grams of meat, then on a fish day, you should provide 150 grams of the protein component.

Additionally, you can give cooked soft-boiled quail or chicken eggs and a protein omelet. Abuse such a treat is not recommended. The use of more than two eggs a week is fraught with the development of diathesis. 

Dairy products for dogs

When feeding the natural dog food, make sure to include dairy products in his diet: sour milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir. Also, choose products without additives with a short shelf life and low-fat content. This will avoid dangerous preservatives and stool problems. 

Dairy and meat products are served separately from each other. For example, a little bran can be added to kefir or yogurt to stimulate the bowels. 

When feeding the natural dog food, make sure to include dairy products in his diet

Cereals for dogs

Good nutrition doesn’t do without cereals. Rice, buckwheat, and herring are good for dogs. However, you have to be careful with the last cereal. Whole grains should never be used, and herring should never be given too often as it may cause inflammation of the perianal glands. 

Kashi should be boiled in water or meat or vegetable broth until soft and smooth. Before serving, meat, vegetables, and some vegetable oil (linseed oil or olive oil) should be added. 

In addition to porridge, the pet can be fed with a small amount of gray bread (50-100 g per day). White bread is harder to digest, so it is given only in croutons and more as a treat. 

Fruit and vegetables 

Unsweetened fruit (apples, pears) or dried fruit are served to the pet as a treat. They are not the main course but can be used as a reward. Of the vegetables, it is recommended to give: 

  • Carrots; 
  • Tomatoes; 
  • Pumpkin; 
  • Cabbage (raw, boiled or sauerkraut); 
  • Beets; 
  • Zucchini; 
  • Potatoes (strictly raw). 

In addition, include in the menu fresh greens: salad leaves, dill, parsley. If the dog freely walks in the garden beds during the cottage season – the number of plant components will have to be controlled. An overabundance of them can lead to diarrhea. 

Can I give bones to my dog?  

Bones are good tartar preventative. The cartilage they contain is rich in collagen, essential for healthy joints and ligaments. Despite the apparent benefits, there are some crucial nuances to eating bones. 

When chewed, well-cooked tubular and rib bones break into many small fragments, injuring the esophagus and intestines. In addition, intestinal obstruction can occur due to the abundance of gluten that occurs after cooking. 

Only porous and spongy bones (shovel, brisket) in raw form can be added to the diet. Therefore, limiting your diet to chewing toys or artificial bones from pet stores and pet stores is even safer. 

Natural dog nutrition: all about the proper diet
Bones are a good tartar preventative, but not all

Foods banned for dogs

Feeding your natural dog food is not always safe. Some foods should be avoided. These include: 

  • Smoked foods and spices (only salt, which normalizes the water-salt balance, is acceptable); 
  • Onions and garlic, which cause anemia; 
  • Pork, which causes obesity and helminth infestation; 
  • Sorrel, which causes acute gastritis; 
  • Pulses, barley, and millet, which provoke flatulence due to poor digestibility; 
  • Fruits and berries with bones, which can cause gastrointestinal problems; 
  • Citrus fruits, semolina, and pastries, which often cause allergies; 
  • Mushrooms, grapes, and raisins, which can lead to acute intoxication and kidney failure; 
  • Pasta and pastries, which cause rapid weight gain; 
  • Tubular and small bones, which can injure the walls of the esophagus or intestines. 

Remember that milk is contraindicated for adult pets. This is because, after one year, they develop lactose intolerance. 

How to feed your natural dog food correctly 

For a healthy pet, it is essential to watch the frequency of feedings and portion size. Too little and too often may mean gastrointestinal problems, and too much may mean he gains weight. 

You can use the chart below to calculate your portion sizes. You can use it to quickly create a weekly menu based on your dog’s dietary needs. 

Feeding regimen 

Adult pets over 1-year-old are fed twice a day: in the morning and the evening. During the free hours, the stomach has time to digest all the food, eliminating heaviness. A more extended break is not welcome, as the dog will begin to experience an acute feeling of hunger. During the therapeutic diet, the frequency of feedings is increased to lower the volume of single portions. 

Puppies are fed much more frequently: 

  • 6-8 times before two months of age; 
  • 5 to 6 times from 2 to 3 months; 
  • 3 to 4 times from 3 to 6 months; 
  • Three times from 6 to 12 months. 

The daily portion is divided into the required number of meals in equal or unequal proportions. Here it is better to be guided by the preferences of your pet. For example, many people like to eat a big meal after a night’s sleep to make the morning portion a little larger. 

Giving food right before a walk is not recommended. The weight will make it uncomfortable for your dog to move around and exercise. And naughty dogs prone to running away will be deterred by hunger. Instead, it’s safer to take an hour’s break after a meal or feed your dog immediately after returning from the street. 

Calculating the portion size of natural food for dogs and puppies

In addition to health, portion size is influenced by age and weight. Puppies should eat 6-7% of their body weight, while adult dogs should eat 3-5%.

In addition to health, portion size is influenced by age and weight. Puppies should eat 6-7% of their body weight, while adult dogs should eat 3-5%.

Regarding calories, veterinarians recommend taking into account either age (in puppies) or breed (in adult animals). Example

  • 220 kcal per 1 kg before 2 months,
  • 265 kcal from 2 to 3 months,
  • 201 kcal from 3 to 4 months,
  • 136 kcal from 4 to 8 months,
  • 100 kcal from 8 to 12 months; 

Example of caloric content by breed

  • 53 kcal per 1 kg for giant breeds,
  • 60 kcal for large breeds,
  • 69 kcal for medium-sized breeds,
  • 84 kcal for small breeds,
  • 110 kcal for dwarf breeds. 

Example: The average values can be used to calculate the nutritional value of a half-year-old puppy weighing 15kg and a dog weighing 25kg as an adult. 

AgeWeight (kg)Meat (55%) Fermented milk products (30%) Cereals (10%) Fruits and vegetables (5%) Total calorie content of the daily portion
Puppy15 1122 kcal 612 kcal 204 kcal 102 kcal 2040 kcal 
An adult animal25 949 kcal 517 kcal 173 kcal 86 kcal 1725 kcal 

You can easily calculate your pet’s calorie or gram total with simple formulas. Please note that the calculations only serve as a general guideline and can be changed as directed by your veterinarian. Depending on your pet’s issues or lifestyle, they may reduce or increase calories and change the ratio of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. 

A sample menu of natural food for a dog for a week

Feeding dogs natural food with a pre-selected menu makes food selection and preparation easier. In addition, you can get ideas for breakfast and dinner from the table. 

Day of the weekBreakfastDinner
Monday Stewed beef with pumpkin and carrotsStuffed chicken and rice
TuesdayBeef heart with rice and zucchiniOatmeal with rye-cream
WednesdayBoiled perch with raw cabbage and potatoesCottage cheese with dried apricots
ThursdayChicken meatballs with buckwheat porridge and boiled beetSauerkraut with salad of fresh carrots and cabbage dressed with linseed oil
FridayRabbit with rice and tomatoesMeat broth with turkey meatballs
SaturdayBuckwheat with boiled mint, dressed with olive oilOatmeal with Russian yogurt or kefir
SundayRibbit with rice and stewed pumpkinBoiled liver with stewed cabbage
Breakfast and dinner ideas for feeding dogs natural food

Try to keep the diet as simple as possible despite the possible variety. Otherwise, the pet will become finicky. The chosen menu can be followed for the rest of his life. 

Also, try not to introduce new foods on the same day of the week. This will help track down the source of allergies or digestive problems if you suspect this.

Features of Feeding Straight Puppies 

Puppies up to 2 months of age are fed mother’s milk. After that, the use of the ready-made formula is acceptable only if breastfeeding is not possible. Mixes can be purchased in pet stores and pet stores. Please note that cow’s or goat’s milk can be used only as an emergency option for a couple of days – the milk of these animals differs from dog’s milk, so it lacks some of the vitamins necessary for puppy health. 

The first complementary food is given at three weeks of age. All food (cereals, meat, vegetables) should be mush. Dairy products are introduced after 1.5 months, giving them several times a day. Homemade cottage cheese made from milk and kefir strengthens children’s bones. 

From 4 months of age, yogurt, cottage cheese should be given no more than once a day. Also from this age are allowed to provide fresh cabbage. Until then, it must always be boiled. Additionally, you can include sea fish in the diet. 

Until six months of age, be sure to grind herring grits before serving. After teeth change, be careful when giving out bones – sharp molars can break them into small fragments. 

Monitor weight gain at all times. If it is too high or too low, reconsider the diet. 

Vitamin supplements and complexes 

Among natural ingredients, fish oil, raw seaweed, ground eggshells, wheat sprout flour, and brewer’s yeast are recommended. These popular vitamin sources normalize gut microflora, strengthen bones, and improve coat quality. 

The amount of vitamins your pet needs is checked with your veterinarian after tests are done. In addition to the above options, you can pick up vitamin complexes in tablet form. They will help balance the number of valuable elements missing from the food. 

What are the nuances of natural nutrition for different breeds of dogs? 

Pets often have different diets. Dwarf breeds, known for their accelerated metabolism, are recommended high-protein foods. Often suffering from musculoskeletal problems, Giant breeds should be given plenty of proteins.

Natural dog nutrition: all about the proper diet
What are the nuances of natural nutrition for different breeds of dogs?

The Japanese Akita and Shiba Inu breeds will need more saltwater fish than their four-legged counterparts from the West. This is because these aboriginal dogs have lived on islands since ancient times, so they are used to getting most of their vitamins from seafood. 

When feeding English bulldogs, dachshunds, and basset hounds, one must constantly monitor weight to prevent obesity. Owners need to choose low-calorie but nourishing foods to keep them in good shape. 

All the nuances regarding breed specifics can be clarified with the breeder. Think in advance about all the disadvantages and make sure you are ready to feed natural food. Remember that the chosen type of food will have to stick for life. 

This article is only a recommendation. Contact your veterinarian!

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