The internet is flooded with so much information on what to feed your dog, from supplements to brands of dog food to do it yourself homemade food.
So much information that I get lost in the flood! And I have a feeling I am not alone!
In the span of a day I can read an article that says that kibble is terrible and will kill your dog within the year, and an hour later read an article that says kibble is balanced and anything else could cause severe health issues.
So what is the answer?
Before I give my opinion on this (and it is just that, an opinion) I will say I am NOT a vet, nor a canine nutritionist. I have been studying canine health and nutrition for the past 15 years, I read every book I can get my hands on as well as just about every online class I can take. I am not a professional by any means, I love to learn and I want to do the best I can for my dogs.
With all that being said, what do I think the answer is?
I don’t know.
I don’t know what the best food is. I don’t know what food will ensure my dog lives well into their teen years and health problem free.
I do not think that kibble will make my dogs live to be 20.
I do not think that raw will make my dog live to be 20
Or dehydrated, or cooked, etc, etc.
I personally know of dogs who have been kibble fed their entire lives and lived to be 15 and died in their sleep. I also know of raw fed dogs who lived to be 15 and died in their sleep.
There are great arguments on both sides for just about every kind of method to feed your dog.
I don’t think there is a rock solid method of feeding your dog that guarantees they will live a long and problem free life.
So what do I do?
I do the best I can.
I am sure I will ruffle some feathers with this, and I am ready with my flame suit. :-)
I live in 5th wheel and travel almost consistently, with a small fridge/freezer that has to be shared with my food, as well as my dogs food. I don’t have a consistent source for my dogs food, and order pretty consistently through www.chewy.com.
I am currently feeding a rotation of different kibble brands with added fresh foods, I will add in some dehydrated/freeze dried when I can (I tend to buy it when it goes on sale) along with fresh food like:
Eggs (I tend to use eggs a lot, great bioavailability, and great source of protein.)
Raw or Cooked meat
Fruits and Veggies
Kefir (My fav!)
All of my dogs are very active and burn through calories pretty dang fast, so I add the fresh food in addition to their commercial/kibble. If your dog gains weight fairly easy you can reduce the amount of kibble (no more than 25%) and replace with fresh food.
My menu for Ally today looked like this:
(she is a 40lb Border Collie)
3/4 cup of kibble
1/4 cup of chicken gizzards/heart
2 tablespoons of goats milk
2 tablespoons of mixed fruit/veggies (blueberries, kale, spinach, bananas)
1/2 cup of kibble
1 tablespoon of kefir
1 tablespoon of bone broth
1/2 can sardines
This changes daily and I try to mix up my proteins and veggies/fruits as much as I can. I will also replace the kibble with a dehydrated or freeze dried food when I can, usually about once a week.
I also try to do some full homemade days without any commercial when I can, as well as use a base mix (Dr. Harveys is my favorite and I use it before any others) with raw added.
I tend to do the base mix multiple times a week when I am not traveling a bunch, and have access to raw meat I can serve raw or cooked. (I do both)
I do feed some commercial raw now and then, usually when I find it on sale.
I do the best I can within my budget, the time I have, and the space I have. I am happy with how my dogs look, how they act, and their blood work looks good.
If something changes with their health and changing their food will help that I will do what I can to make those changes. If I learn of something I can add to their diet or change that will benefit them, I will do the best I can.
We have no guarantee on what will make our dogs live the longest, or what will keep them cancer free. But stressing about it on a daily basis and letting our lives be consumed by trying to keep our dogs free from health issues, or dying young, is taking away from the joy of living with your dog.
Do the best you can, enjoy your life with your dog.