This post is written by our holistic veterinarian at "I and love and you", Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT.
There are many campaigns that discourage people from feeding their dogs kibble, and I get it. Ideally we would all (pets included) eat a diet of whole foods without packaged or processed components. For both people and dogs, this can be unrealistic depending on lifestyle and budget. While I would love to see every single one of my patients on a home prepared, fresh whole foods diet, there are so many reasons why a small percentage of my practice eat this way. These reasons include cost, lack of time resources, food allergies and digestive issues.
If you are feeding your dog kibble, it’s ok. It really is. We are all doing the best we can.
If you want to take your pup’s nutrition to the next level, but you are feeling some level of limitation, I’ve got good news. There are a lot of easy and fun ways to add fresh whole foods to their diet, while not breaking the bank or quitting your day job.
What Is a Healthy Diet for a Dog?
Here are a few strategies I use with my patients.
- Eggs. Add an egg a day! Eggs are a superfood jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and good fats. Hard boiled or scrambled eggs are fun snacks or toppers to your dog’s breakfast.
- Berries. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are full of antioxidants that will help fight free radicals. If you want to get bonus points you can ferment the berries to add probiotics to their diet. You got this!
- Leafy greens. Greens are good for everyone! The fiber helps digestion and they contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, magnesium, and iron. Try steaming some chard and topping it with a little bit of fish oil. Kale chips can also be a big hit if your dog enjoys some crunch and you’re feeling extra fancy!
- Dehydrated raw. This is a great way to add less processed foods to your dog’s diet. If you can’t afford to feed dehydrated raw all the time, you can add a meal in here or there. Many of my patients eat half raw and half kibble diets. I and love and you’s Stir & Boom is one of my favorites.
I’ve got a few other good tips for saving money while feeding your pup a healthy diet here.
When adding food to your dog’s diet here are a few things to consider:
- Watch their waistline. You are adding calories, so be sure you are not causing your pet to become overweight.
- Keep their diet balanced. When you add components to your dog’s diet, keep it less than 15% of their total calories. You can estimate this. For example, I don’t recommend feeding your pup only blueberries for breakfast as a replacement of their kibble. If you feed your dog twice daily, this would mean that blueberries would account for 50% of their diet. This could lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Instead, use the blueberries as a topper or a snack between meals. Adding a balanced dehydrated raw food like Stir & Boom is completely safe as it is balanced with vitamins and minerals already.
- Go slowly. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or has food sensitivities, start slowly. Instead of adding an entire egg, start with a couple of bites and gradually increase.
What do you feed your pup? Do you add whole foods to a kibble diet? Leave a comment below!