The topic of nutrition is too broad to be discussed at only one page, so will try just to point out our philosophy.
Please use common sense when feeding your dog and seek the advice of your veterinarian. Doing that keep in mind not all vets are educated enough to provide adequate support if you go with species appropriate diet. (We are lucky to have an excellent vet!) Also, remember not all dogs are the same, and they have their individual needs.
As previously mentioned, our dogs are fed species appropriate diet; raw if we get our hands on farm fed meat, cooked if not. If feed kibble, we stick to verified breeders brands (low grain, high meat content).
BARF is an alternative raw diet designed to provide dogs with a modified homemade diet that consists of raw muscle meat and raw meaty bones, as well as vegetables and fruits. Here are Regals and Royals we feed various fresh meat (beef, lamb, chicken, horse), fish, steamed veggies, cheese, eggs…
We never feed fresh (or cooked) pork, due to Morbus Aujeszky (pseudorabies, more info here. )
Raw model diet is the most common and popular raw diet for dogs. The diet can be home prepared with multiple ingredients to provide recommended allowances for essential nutrients. Adding vegetables, seeds and nuts, and fruits to a dog’s diet provides many benefits, but prove useful when formulating a complete and balanced raw diet.
The key to raw diet is to balance it over time – one meal could have more bone content, another more meat or organ. The approximate ratio to aim for overall should be 80% meat, 10% edible bone, 5% liver, 5% other organ meat. (Feeding whole carcass provides the best results).
Also, keep in mind that the raw food diet is not right for every dog. If you choose to feed raw, take the time to learn to do it correctly.
More about raw can be red here.
HOME MADE DOG FOOD
Cooked diets are another option, we choose to cook when we do not have farm fed meat or fresh caught fish. We started cooking after a bad experience with human grade quality grocery store meat, that was treated with hormones and/or antibiotics. At that point our vet (very gently) stated that dogs should of course eat meat, but – if that meat is mass produced and if there is no proof of it’s quality, meals should be lightly cooked.If you choose to feed only cooked meals, you should supply the calcium from other sources, but it is hard to know exactly which other nutrients present in fresh bone might be missing in a bone-free homemade diet.
Not to be forgotten, cooking also destroys or reduces certain nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, and taurine. Cooking in water also leaches out minerals, though this can be resolved by feeding the water the food was cooked in. Light cooking at lower temperatures has less effect on nutrient value than cooking foods until they are well done.
More about cooked dog diet can be red here.
DRY DOG FOOD
There are so may pros and cons when it comes to kibble, we are going to name just a few..
PROS /// Dry dog is convenient and easy to feed, easy to store and to travel with (this is one of the main reasons we use it). Kibble is also a good training bait, as it is easy to carry in a pocket. Feeding kibble is simplified, most dog food labels provide feeding guidelines.
Kibble comes in various variants, there are recipes adapted for puppies, adult dogs, active dogs, as well as special veterinary diets that meet very specific needs. There are some really great kibble foods with great formulations, you just need to take the time to find what suits your dog.
CONS /// To be honest, some kibble brands are garbage. Some believe that dry dog food and cereal based food are associated with bloat in certain breed dogs. Poor brands of kibble can contain questionable animal parts, dead or diseased animal parts, binders, chemicals, preservatives, additives, processing agents, food colouring, dies & more. No grain dog food is at the moment advertised as the next best thing, but is it relay so? The FDA is investigating a potential dietary link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and dogs eating certain grain-free dog foods.
The foods of concern are those containing legumes such as peas or lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes listed as primary ingredients.
If you choose to go with dry dog food you should learn to read the ingredients. Choose a food with a meat or meat meal as the first ingredient. “Meat” can include skeletal muscle of an animal as well as tissue from the heart, diaphragm, and oesophagus, among other things. It may also include fat and gristle just as meat destined for human consumption might.
“Meat by-product,” on the other hand, is the non-rendered parts of an animal sans meat, and can include the lungs, kidneys, brain, blood, bone, and more. Ensure that the first ingredient is not a grain, tuber, or vegetable, such as ground corn. Just because corn (when ground) is digestible, does not mean it has high nutritional value.
If you think you need to switch to a grain-free diet because you suspect your dog has a food allergy, visit your vet prior any changes. From our experience, grains are not bad for dogs. When choosing a dog kibble formula we stick to “healthier” options like fish + rice based recipes.