A wholesome diet may be the single most important factor in maintaining your dog's good health. But many pet parents are left wondering, what exactly is a "wholesome" diet, and how do we correctly put one together?
Dog nutrition is a hotly debated topic in today's world, with a multibillion-dollar pet food industry spending millions backing up various claims, and individuals on the internet and elsewhere promoting a variety of diets, many of which are frighteningly unhealthy.
However, with some solid information and a little bit of common sense, the right choices for your dog are easier than you think.
A wholesome diet for your dog is...
- fresh, unprocessed, and organic (whenever possible)
- made without additives or preservatives
- tasty, enjoyable, and satisfying
- inexpensive, quick, and easy to prepare
- has the right portion of carbs, proteins, veggies, and fats
- is a good balance of vitamins and minerals
This looks a lot like the optimal diet for humans, right? The truth is, domesticated dogs have adapted very well to eating what we eat. Over thousands of years, their genetic predisposition allowed them to enjoy and process many of the foods we eat, like grains!
The below diet is for a healthy, adult dog. If you have any additional questions or have a dog with special needs (allergies or diseases), or even a growing puppy, we can help you come up with a custom diet. Please purchase one of our plans here.
Let's get started.
Carbs - about 35% of plate
Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which supports the nervous system. They provide energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that don't exist in proteins and fats. Carbs that are good for dogs include vegetables and whole grains.
Carbohydrates are essential for pregnant and nursing dogs, puppies, and dogs with very high energy needs, all of whom benefit from the quick energy source in addition to the protein and fats in their diet.
Healthy carbohydrates include:
- Brown rice
- Whole grain pasta and bread
- Sweet Potatoes
2. Protein - about 30% of plate
Your dog's diet should contain about 30% protein. Rotate frequently or combine several to make a wholesome, varied meal.
- Legumes (beans, lentils, peas, bean sprouts, soy)
- Dairy products
- Poultry & meat
- Include organ meats (10% only)
- Use nuts and seeds sparingly
3. Vegetables and Fruits - about 20% of plate
The best source of vitamins and minerals for your dog is fresh, wholesome fruits and veggies. Feeding your dog a variety of seasonal fruits and veggies is the best way to ensure they are getting all their important nutrients.
- Winter Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet red, green, and yellow peppers
- Apples (core and seeds removed)
4. Fats - about 15% of plate
Fats, along with proteins and carbohydrates, are the main sources of dietary energy, in the form of calories. Age, breed, activity level, and neutering factors are important in determining how much fat your dog needs.
On average, we recommend 15% fat in your dog's daily meals. Young, pregnant dogs, nursing mothers, and hard-working dogs need a greater amount of energy.
- Hemp seed oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Flaxseed oil
5. Do not forget the supplements - calcium, multivitamin & nutritional yeast!
Just like humans take vitamins, a dog's diet needs to be supplemented with vitamins and calcium to be healthy. On average, dogs need about 1.25 grams of calcium per every 1,000 calories they eat (average 40-ish pound dog).
Remember that this diet is for a healthy, adult dog. If you have any additional questions or have a dog with special needs (allergies or diseases), or even a growing puppy, please purchase one of our plans here.