Updated: Jul 3, 2022
The most popular dog food is dry kibble because it is convenient and affordable and accounts for more than 60% of all dog food sales. Unfortunately, dry dog kibbles are far from perfect. The good news is, that you can vastly improve a dry kibble diet by making simple additions of cooked (yes I wrote cooked🧐if you are unable to deal with raw meats it's still a better option than HIGHLY processed dry food) or raw foods. Today as consumers we have many dog food choices but the kibble is the diet that most benefits from enhancement since it is so highly processed and because it tends to be high in carbohydrates, which are needed for the extrusion process. And CARBS, particularly the ones with the high glycemic index, are not what dogs were designed to eat by nature. However, if you have no other option but to feed your dog kibbles it is recommended to add animal-sourced foods such as eggs, meat, or dairy rather than plant foods such as grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables. Keep in mind that most dry foods are already high in carbohydrates and dogs have no nutritional need for carbohydrates (they simply can't digest them resulting in copious amounts of poop and an overload of the digestive system). In contrast, animal protein supports the immune system and central nervous system, contributes to wound healing, helps build lean muscle, and is required for skin and coat health.
Here is a handy guideline to follow to help improve your dog’s diet and overall health while adding enjoyment and variety:
1. Eggs. Feed eggs raw or lightly scrambled, soft-boiled, or hard-boiled. Please note that whole raw eggs are fine as the yolks contain plenty of biotin to make up for what raw egg whites destroy, but the whites are more easily digested when cooked.
☝️Eggs are one of the healthiest and easiest additions to make. Dogs weighing 40 pounds or more can handle a whole egg, so I’d recommend half an egg (or a whole egg every other day) for dogs weighing 20 to 40 pounds and proportionately less for smaller dogs (once per week).
2. Muscle meat (including heart) and organ meats. Add any kind of meat, such as chicken, turkey, or lean beef, either ground or in chunks that are small enough to prevent choking, served raw or lightly cooked (never feed cooked bones‼️). For organ meats feed the beef heart, kidneys, tripe (a bit more this one just below) and poultry gizzards they are nutritionally similar to muscle meats and can be fed in greater quantity, though some dogs might experience digestive upset if too much is fed at one time.
☝️ Please note that while liver and other organ meats provide beneficial nutrients, O would not recommend feeding fresh or freeze-dried beef or pork liver to kibble-fed dogs. Simply because most commercial foods are already high in copper and excessive copper in the diet can lead to copper storage disease.
3. Fish. Canned sardines (packed in water rather than oil), jack mackerel, and pink salmon are wonderful additions because of their beneficial fatty acids and trace minerals.
☝️One small sardine weighing less than half an ounce provides 100 to 150 mg of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Hence its recommended to feed 3 to 10 mg EPA/DHA per pound of body weight daily.
‼️Don’t feed raw salmon or trout from the Pacific Northwest (California to Alaska) because it may contain a parasite that is fatal to dogs.
4. Yogurt and kefir. Fermented dairy products that are homemade or manufactured with added probiotics – and are free of sugar or xylitol – can help with digestive issues. Whole milk, yogurt or kefir is fine unless your dog needs a low-fat diet. ☝️Goat milk is the best as it has less lactose and its proteins are easier to break down for dogs' digestion).
5. Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese. Most dogs enjoy cottage cheese and ricotta, and if the milk used to make them comes from grass-fed cattle, especially A2 milk or goat’s milk, these protein-rich cheeses are easily digested.
6. Canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix). This traditional remedy for diarrhea and constipation, is an all-purpose digestive aid. Feed small amounts, such as 1 teaspoon plain canned or pureed cooked pumpkin per 10 pounds of body weight once per day.
7. Cooked or raw pureed vegetables. Because dogs don’t chew their food enough to break down cell walls, whole raw vegetables don’t provide much nutritional value. Vegetables pureed in a food processor, juicer, or blender are more digestible. ☝️Take a note that cooked vegetables can be digested without having to be pureed. Basic recommended cooked/raw pureed veggies include carrots, celery, all types of greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, asparagus, turnips, and parsnips. ‼️ Onions are not recommended because they can be toxic to dogs, and, if your dog has any symptoms of arthritis or inflammation, avoid plants from the nightshade family, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, and goji berries.
8. Fruit. Most dogs enjoy bananas (particularly half-riped are best for the nutrients and low fructose), apples, melons, pears, blueberries, and other fresh, ripe fruits. ‼️Avocados should be avoided or fed in moderation as they are very high in fat and calories. ‼️ Grapes, raisins, apricots, cherries, plums and other fruits with seeds and pits are also hazardous (choking and suffocation) and when ingested can cause intoxication. The main problem with fruit is its sugar content, which is why it’s a good idea to offer small rather than large amounts to your dog.
9. Raw green tripe. You can buy bleached white honeycomb tripe at your supermarket, but while your dog might be interested, that portion of a cow’s stomach won’t provide much nutritional value. Your dog would greatly prefer green tripe, which is untreated and greenish brown in color and smells terrible, at least to us humans. Raw green tripe from grass-fed cattle is highly recommended. ‼️While some raw feeders serve their dog's entire meals of just green tripe, if you feed a dry diet, you should limit this treat to a maximum of 25% or less of your dog’s daily caloric intake.
10. Recreational bones. For many dogs, an after-dinner raw bone is an ideal dessert. It can clean teeth, help prevent gum disease, and provide chewing pleasure and jaw exercise.
However, bones can cause broken teeth, especially if their size and shape allow dogs to get them between their molars and crunch down. Marrow bones are a particular risk (so get the size appropriate for your breed). Knucklebones may be safer because of their shape, especially for large dogs and aggressive chewers. ‼️Bone shards can cause serious issues if swallowed. For best results, feed only raw, fresh bones and remove them once the tissues connected to them have been eaten and before they dry out. ‼️‼️Cooked or dry bones can splinter and are not recommended at all!