Switching up your dog's food

"My dog only gets his dog food," "NO, we never give him people food," "no treats for my dog," are just a few of the responses I've heard over the years when I ask "what does your dog eat?"  "The vet says" is also something that I hear often.  I know many, many vets who tell their clients to use one kibble and that is it; no switching it up, no adding of "people food," or anything else.  

There are Veterinarians who are well educated in canine nutrition; those who have gone above and beyond what they were taught in Vet school.  If you can find a nutrition conscious Veterinarian who will give you advice in feeding a home cooked diet, real food addition to kibble or a raw diet, you are very lucky.  Most go with what they learn in school from the dog food companies.  So ya, they are going to recommend dog food. 

If you are like many other dog owners who are overwhelmed by the idea of feeding your dog real food vs. dog food, I have a step off point for you.  What about baby steps?  How about starting by switching dog foods regularly?  Maybe adding some different canned foods to your kibble?  You could buy several different types of kibble and feed something different at every meal.

There has been a big swing from canned to dry.  I much prefer canned over dry because it is what it is.  What you see in the can is what will be going through your dog.  Dry on the other hand can change immensely when it hits the dogs stomach and water is added.  If not enough water is added then it is a very dry and dehydrating food. 

Switching up your dog's food is a great way to start feeding your better.  What happens when you eat one thing and that one thing is processed to create a shelf life is that many of the essential nutrients are missing.  By feeding different things you have a better chance of covering much of what is needed.  By adding an extremely high quality canned food or real food to your dog's kibble diet you are actually giving your dog more.  

If you look at the idea of feeding your dog as a nutritional undertaking and not a just a means of sustenance, it can take on a whole new meaning.  From simply pouring that dry food into a bowl; you can challenge yourself to "how much nutrition can I offer?"  Adding extra nutrition is easy and many dog owners start with baby steps.  Chucking a sardine into the mix; add a scrambled egg, or some goat yogurt.  How about some of the chicken you had for dinner?  

The more different foods that you feed your dog; the more different foods they can eat without stomach issues.  Time and time again I see people who cannot offer their dog any change in diet because their dog eats one thing and one thing only.  One little difference and their digestion is sent into turmoil.  I love that I can feed Elsa just about anything and she is always great.  She has had a little upset lately but that has been from her antibiotics; which she is getting probiotics to help with. 

Think about how wolves eat.   

Wolves and coyotes in the wild do not eat a one critter diet.  They are opportunistic which means whatever they can find to eat, they eat.  That might mean a deer one day; a couple of baby birds and eggs the next and perhaps nothing day three.  Then on day four they might find an old fish that someone left on the shore and chow that down. 

Below information taken from www.wolf.org  

What do wolves eat?  Wolves are carnivores, or meat eaters. Gray wolves prey primarily on ungulates – large, hoofed mammals such as white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk, caribou, bison, Dall sheep, musk oxen, and mountain goats. Medium-sized mammals, such as beaver and snowshoe hares, can be an important secondary food source. Occasionally wolves will prey on birds or small mammals such as mice and voles, but these are supplementary to their requirements for large amounts of meat. Wolves have been observed catching fish in places like Alaska and western Canada. They will also kill and eat domestic livestock such as cattle and sheep, and they will consume carrion if no fresh meat is available. Some wolves eat small amounts of fruit, although this is not a significant part of their diet. If prey is abundant, wolves may not consume an entire carcass, or they may leave entire carcasses without eating. This is called “surplus killing” and seems inconsistent with the wolves’ habit of killing because they are hungry. Surplus killing seems to occur when prey are vulnerable and easy to catch – in winter, for instance, when there is deep snow. Since wolves are programmed to kill when possible, they may simply be taking advantage of unusual situations when wild prey are relatively easy to catch They may return later to feed on an unconsumed carcass, or they may leave it to a host of scavengers. Additionally, they may cache food and dig it up at a later time. Red wolves primarily prey on white-tailed deer, raccoons, rabbits, nutria and other rodents.