Healthy Diet for a Dog

by Chelsea Day
Dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy and active.

Dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy and active.

Pet owners want to feed their dog well, but are often baffled by the numerous kinds of food available. Occasionally, there are reports of contaminants in pet food, leading to even more owner anxiety. Pet owners and veterinarians alike agree that a healthy diet for a dog is natural and fresh, ideally made at home to ensure quality and safe handling of all products.

Protein

Protein helps maintain muscle quality as well as skin, fur and bone health. Protein should make up about half of your dog's diet and should be given in the form of chicken, lamb, beef, rabbit, fish, turkey or other poultry. Pork can be given occasionally, but should not be a diet staple, as it is a fatty meat and can eventually cause weight problems if given too frequently. Dogs can digest raw meat and like to eat meat off of the bone, but should be watched carefully so that they don't choke on small bones.

Eggs and Dairy

Eggs, yogurt, and other milk products are another good source of protein and calcium, and also increase healthy bacteria in the stomach. Eggs and dairy shouldn't replace meat but are a good supplement to include in small quantities.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates such as grains and potatoes help regulate the digestive system and provide roughage in the stomach to clean out any toxins. Oatmeal, cornmeal, bread, potatoes, spelt and rice are good options, but almost any carbohydrate that humans eat can also be given to dogs. Carbohydrates should make up a little less than half of the dog's diet.

Vegetables

Dark green vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus are good for dogs and have been shown to fight cancer and promote digestive health. Carrots, squash, lettuce, and corn are other vegetables that can safely be given to dogs. Many vegetables can be given raw, but it is a good idea to boil or steam the vegetables first to ensure proper digestion.

All-Natural Ready-Made Options

Feeding an all-natural home-made diet every day can be time consuming and sometimes isn't feasible, particularly when pet owners are on vacation. Healthy pre-made options include Wellness, Canidae, Natures Variety, Nutro and BARF World products.

Food to Avoid

Certain foods, like junk food and alcohol, are widely known to be bad for dogs. Some harmful foods, however, seem safe but actually contain toxins that are unsafe for dogs but are safe for humans. These foods include grapes, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, persimmons and raw yeast.

About the Author

Chelsea Day started writing professionally in 2005 and has been featured in publications such as "Beverly Hills 90210" and "The Travel Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from University of California, Los Angeles and runs the popular lifestyle blog Someday I'll Learn.