You’ve been doing some research on your dog’s diet, and you’ve decided to give your pooch a dinner upgrade. There are lots of different diet fads out there for people and dogs are no different. To help simplify your doggy diet, we’re going to help you find a few applicable things to feed your dog so you can spend less time researching and more time with a happy and healthy dog.
Doggy Nutritional Needs
Dogs’ nutritional needs shouldn’t be too unfamiliar since you need similar nutrients, but it might be a bit technical. You can read this section now and then refer back to this section at your discretion as you read the foods we suggest.
Just to make your life a little easier, here is a brief overview of some important vitamins and minerals and what they do. That way you’re more informed and can easily spot what your doggy needs in its diet. Essential vitamins for dogs are: vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, and some important minerals are phosphorus, calcium, chloride, sodium, and potassium. There are other important vitamins and minerals but for simplicity, we’ll leave it to these to keep this doggy anatomy lesson from getting too complicated. For example, an extremely important nutrient for dogs is choline but it’s in many foods like chicken, salmon, and eggs. So unless your vet said to give more to your dog, it’s unlikely you’ll need to know more about choline.
Vitamins and minerals are all serving some pivotal functions in your dog’s body. Vitamin B6 is a crucial vitamin because it helps with your dog’s red blood cells and nervous system. Naturally, you will want to ensure your dog gets vitamin B6 because these functions are so vital to your dog’s health.
Vitamin A rather famously helps with good vision and eye development but also has other benefits. It helps with your dog’s cells’ ability to divide and your dog’s immunity. Vitamin C helps with your dog’s ability to grow and repair new skin. Perhaps even more importantly, vitamin C helps the creation of new blood vessels. Vitamin D helps your dog absorb the minerals phosphorus and calcium into its bones. It keeps your dog’s bones strong.
The minerals potassium, sodium, and chloride are electrolytes. So, they help immensely with the nervous system because they carry electrical signals through the body. Proper amounts of potassium and sodium mean your doggy’s body and organs can function properly!
And one more thing. There are essential proteins and fatty acids your dog needs. These essential proteins can be simplified to omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-6 is an essential fatty acid your dog needs to survive. It promotes heart health and a healthy body! Omega-3 is a little different. It’s unclear if a dog needs it to survive but it does help promote joint health and helps heal inflammation problems. You probably won’t need to make sure your dog is getting enough Omega-6 since it’s in most meats but Omega-3 can make a great addition to a healthy dog diet.
Phew! That might have been a lot to learn in one go. But now you can refer back to this so you can understand why these foods are nutritious for your fuzzy buddy!
Salmon & Chicken
One easy and lean protein you can feed your dog is salmon. Salmon is famous for being an anti-inflammatory and helps with joints. Sound familiar from the previous section? Salmon is anti-inflammatory because it has the important omega-3 proteins which keep your dog’s joints healthy and strong. So, salmon is a great option if your dog has joint problems since it nourishes joints and helps with joint inflammation. But it also has both omega-3 and omega-6 proteins so your dog will have healthy skin from salmon too!
Another healthy protein option is chicken. Chicken is another great source of lean protein which helps keep your dog’s fat to protein ratio correct. Chicken contains a large amount of fat and omega-6 in its thigh, but chicken breast is really lean. You can also find Omega-3 chicken which is still a normal chicken, but it was fed foods high in omega-3 content. Omega-3 chicken makes the best option for your dog since it balances out the fatty proteins but if you can’t find it chicken breast is still the go-to option when it comes to lean protein.
Salmon and chicken also act as a great treat if you want to give your pup a big reward!
Sweet Potatoes & Carrots
Sweet potatoes are another healthy alternative for dogs. They, like salmon and chicken, are also low in fat which keeps your dog lean and athletic. Sweet potatoes are a staple in most dog foods due to their nutritional value. They contain several important vitamins for dogs like vitamin B6, C, A, and potassium. Just make sure you feed your dog cooked sweet potatoes because all raw potatoes contain solanine which is toxic to dogs. But after a good steaming or roasting, it’s completely gone and healthy for your pup again.
Carrots are another staple in many dog foods. It’s also loaded with vitamins and even fatty acids! Carrots contain vitamins A, K, E, B3, and omega-3 fatty acids. These essential nutrients keep your dog’s coat shiny, skin happy, and bones strong. omega-3 proteins are also the same proteins present in salmon making carrots a good anti-inflammatory as well. Another big benefit is that they can make good treat ingredients since they are low in calories and chewing on a crunchy carrot can help with those doggy gums!
Basil & Turmeric
Basil and turmeric share similar benefits. Basil has anti-inflammatory properties and is full of antioxidants that help keep your dog’s cells healthy. But Turmeric has even more beneficial uses. It’s probably the most famous natural anti-inflammatory in the world but it can also help if your dog has an upset stomach. Feed your dog a little turmeric if it seems to have eaten something bad or has joint problems. As with all foods, make sure to check how much your dog’s breed can have before feeding them these herbs. But they help complete a healthy doggy diet.
Apples & Fruits
This one is even more fun. Fruits aren’t necessarily great as a main food source, but they make great treats that can complete their diet. Apples and apple slices can help with your dog’s teeth and the fiber can help with their digestion. Just make sure you take the pits and seeds out of fruits that have them. Dogs have a hard time digesting them.
Other fun fruits are blueberries and bananas. Blueberries make great treats, but they also are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Bananas are high in potassium making them a great source of electrolytes for your doggy.
Oranges can be good as well, but they are high in sugar and citric acid which can hurt your dog’s digestive lining. A good alternative to oranges is peaches. These are also high in sugar but much less acidic. But if they are given in moderation, they both make good treats if you give them the fleshy and juicy parts.
You can always try giving your dog healthy treats as a fun alternative to kibble. If they are healthy enough, they can even act as a supplement for a complete diet. Some treats contain salmon, chicken, and sweet potatoes which all were nutritional alternatives for kibble. Not all treats are created equal so it’s important to check the ingredients list. But if your dog contains salmon, chicken, and sweet potatoes as the main ingredients, they are probably very healthy! So, give in to those puppy eyes and have some treat time with your dog!
Give Them a Try
These foods will help bring some variety to your dog’s diet. The right balance of these foods could even make a complete doggy diet. So, whether you are just trying to spice things up or are beginning the journey to a kibble-less diet, these foods should be happy, healthy, and fun for you and your dog. Mix, match, and try different foods and your dog will eventually get a little extra pep in its step.