Should you be feeding dogs kibble, cooked, raw or vegan? People often ask me what is the right diet for a dog. My answer usually is based on a few factors; budget, health of animal and owner compliance. So assuming the owner wants to try and give their dog the best they can what do these diets look like?So here’s some scenarios I get from my clients…
- Raw or home prepared foods are too expensive so they want to stay on kibble. Well yes the cheapest kibble is well cheap. But it is also mostly made of poor ingredients like GMO corn and other fillers to make up the bulk but provide little nutrition. In my view we either pay a little more during the life of the animal early on or we pay A LOT on Vet bills attempting to fix it. In my eyes it is cheaper to make sure nutrition is right than to to shorten the dogs’ life span and create diseases that are not only difficult to treat but also expensive.
- The client can’t afford fully raw so wants one meal to be a ‘good’ quality kibble. This is possible for HEALTHY animals – not older or sick animals as more often than not they have food sensitivities or allergies that will not be fixed nor prevented with kibble – BUT if the dog is healthy and fairly young this may be an option.
- Wants to feed raw but dog can’t handle it or the owner doesn’t like to feed raw for whatever reason. If it is for squeamish issues of handling meat – we have to get over that part if it is truly better for the dog. If the dog has been on kibble most of its life and has a particularly sensitive stomach or just simply does better on cooked (this is the minority but it happens) then we can do a home prepared diet of variety of cooked meats, veggies, some fruits and healthy oils plus added supplements to make up for the losses (ie. bone content, enzymes etc.). 60-75% cooked meat, 20% – 45% or so of veggies, 4% fruit and rest healthy oils.
- They want to feed a specie appropriate raw food diet. This could be 80% raw muscle meat from a variety of animals, 5% organ meats (the more variety the better here as well), 5% bones. I find as with any diet – adjustments to the particular dog are necessary. Some dogs definitely need more bone – others need different amounts of organ meats. Working with a Dog Nutritionist or a Holistic Vet can be very helpful.
- I’ve had some clients come to me regarding putting their dogs on Vegetarian or Vegan diets. My first reaction is that dog’s need meat BUT because dog’s aren’t obligate carnivores like cats – some may need either a temporary diet such as this when dealing with allergies and some may even thrive on it IF properly balanced. However I think this kind of diet is best left to people that really do their homework and work with a Holistic Vet that does hair and blood tests to monitor proper nutrient levels and overall health.
One has to find what works best for their dog. Ideally I think a varied whole food organic diet that includes meat, bones, organ meats and veggies/fruits healthy oils and possibly some legumes whether it be cooked or raw is best way go to for the majority of dogs. But individualizing to the animal is most important!