How to feed your dog real food 34



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We all love our dogs. Perhaps even too much (if such a thing is possible). Why oh why can’t we offer them a real diet?

For many of us, it’s simply a matter of time and convenience. It’s simply easy just to grab a bag of meal and a few dog food tins from the supermarket. Voila – Fido’s dinner is sorted.

I used to be guilty as charged… until nature intervened. My then eight-month-old border collie had a severe reaction to something in the garden and went mad scratching. A dose of cortisone fixed the problem, but unfortunately also knocked out the good bacteria in his gut, leaving him with stomach issues. He  turned into an extremely fussy eater and went off almost everything.

In desperation I went to a holistic vet, who essentially told me to throw everything I was feeding him out the window and start again.

Before too long, my dog and I were eating almost the same dinners!

My dog’s diet changed from meal and canned dog food to cooked Basmati rice, lightly steamed vegetables and a probiotic supplement to help populate his gut with good bacteria. Those Aldi dog treats – so full of salt and sugar – were replaced with pieces of cooked chicken or liver.

Three years on, I can’t pretend I feed the diet recommended by the vet exclusively, but I do try and feed my dog a much more balanced diet. His eating issues are now just a distant memory.

Here are some of the things you can add to your dog’s diet to make it a little healthier:

Cooked rice is great when you can manage it, but even if you use meal as a base, you can make his dinner more balanced with a little thought. Make sure it is a good-quality meal to start with though. My vet recommended IAMS.

I found sticking a list of suitable additives on the fridge helped remind me to give them to him whenever they were available.

I started adding a good quality mince to his meal or rice on a regular basis, but rotating the type of mince. Every time I cooked veggies for us, I also added some for my dog and mixed them with his meal, and this included sweet potato.

My vet also recommended are eggs, canned salmon, sardines and chicken necks.

Other additives nutritionists suggest are cottage cheese or plain yoghurt, alfalfa powder and a good multi-complex, plus calcium and fish oil.

Fresh bones are also good as a treat, although more as something to chew on during the day than part of their dinner.

Be sure to introduce any new foods slowly and keep a close eye on your dog. My other border collie started getting hotspots when he was fed beef mince, so that had to be dropped from the menu.

Oh, and don’t forget: keep your dog away from onions or excessive garlic, which means you won’t be able to share that pot of spaghetti bolognese.

Of course, this all comes with a major caveat: every dog is different, and advice will often vary. Be sure to discuss your dog’s diet with a trusted vet before committing to any major changes.

What do you feed your dogs? Which ingredients has your dog most enjoyed – and which have you had to avoid? Share your tips with the Starts at 60 community below!

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  1. My furbaby used to eat canned food until 5 years ago she got tummy trouble, vet told us to make her dinners ourselves of chicken, rice and veges so now we make a months supply at a time and bag them up put in freezer

    9 REPLY
    • Me too Beverley. Due to bowel problems, my little girl has hers cooked. Brown rice, vegies with either chicken breasts, chicken hearts. lambs fry of cows kidneys …… I like to give her a variety ! Cooked up fortnightly and frozen. They’re worth it 🙂

    • Was cooking chicken fish & vegetables for my little girl ,then all of a sudden she just wouldn’t eat it, the only thing she will eat now is the My Dog gourmet & their biscuits , she is nearly 14 now & loves her food , so I just give her what she wants 🙂

    • I noticed your dogs are getting on in age too ….. mine is nearly 12 with arthritis, I give her the oil out of a fish oil capsule daily with her meal, she no longer limps.

    • She has a lot of health issues which I have been dealing with for some time , ATM she looks good her coat has improved, she is more active & as she is on heart meds So I’m pleased with that , & her weight is really good , I asked her vet, she said if she is eating it & doing better ,then go for it . 🙂

    • Jess also has arthritis Victoria but since we changed her diet she no longer limps she used to be really bad a few years ago could hardly get up but she’s good now

    • Thank Goodness lilly isn’t too bad with arthritis, she is a bit slower , but then again so am I lol Lilly is a rescue dog that I have had now of 7 years I love her to bits , & unfortunately she had a lot of medical problems when I got her due to not being cared for , She has an ongoing ear problem , Thyroid problem a skin problem Her eyes need help & she has developed a heart problem , which is common in King Charles Cav , ,she is the sweetest dog & brings so much to our lives 🙂

  2. Our dog has never had tinned food she is fed Eukanuba sensitive joints as Rotties are pron to joint problems so only the best for our beautiful girl.

  3. No tinned food for my boy at all, pet meat, vegies, grain free dry food, and sometimes sardines, salmon or mackerell

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