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Try Something New to Add Variety

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Try Something New to Add Variety

Providing fresh food to your dog’s bowl does not have to be challenging. As you shop for groceries, many routine purchases can be shared with your dog. Just as you enjoy variety in your meals, so will your dog. Variety is crucial to providing a nutritionally balanced diet.

The Benefits of Diversity

Whether you are transitioning your dog to a completely fresh diet or simply want to spruce up her kibble with some toppers, adding a variety of fresh foods offers a wide range of nutrients. Every food has a unique nutrient profile. So, adding various items will provide the nutrients needed for your dog’s body to function correctly.

Nutritional balancing over time is an approach to ensuring a balanced diet for dogs that involves offering a variety of ingredients and recipes over time rather than relying on detailed nutritional analysis and spreadsheets for every meal. This method considers that individual meals or recipes may not be perfectly balanced. Still, by providing a variety of ingredients and recipes over time, the overall nutritional needs can be met.

Foods to Add to Your Dog’s Meals

You have a range of options to add to your dog’s meals! But remember, like people, dogs have taste preferences. Do not get discouraged if your dog does not like everything you offer. 

Seafood

Small, fatty fish are an excellent addition to your dog’s bowl. They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like EPA and DHA, which benefit a dog's skin, coat, brain, and overall immune system. These fatty acids support heart health and can help reduce inflammation.

Seafood is an excellent source of high-quality protein, essential for muscle development, growth, and repair in dogs, and it contains vital vitamins and minerals like vitamins D, B12, and selenium, which contribute to overall health, bone strength, and immune function.

Omega-3s found in seafood aid in joint health and mobility, which is particularly beneficial for older dogs or breeds prone to joint issues. DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid found in seafood, plays a role in brain development, making it beneficial for puppies' cognitive health.

Types of fish to feed include sardines, anchovies, smelt, capelin, and mackerel. Avoid tua and other large predatory fish due to the potential high mercury levels. 

Raw Meaty Bones

The key word is raw. Air-dried, freeze-dried, and dehydrated bones are also acceptable to feed to dogs because they have not been subjected to high temperatures. Never feed cooked or smoked bones. 

There are two types of bones: edible and recreational. The bones from birds and small prey animals are hollow and non-weight-bearing and are easily consumed and digested by dogs. These bones are high in calcium, phosphorus, and trace elements, making them essential to your dog's raw food diet.

Raw meaty bones provide natural dental health care. The connective tissue surrounding raw meaty bones mimics dental floss as your dog gnaws on it. They also offer amino acids and essential fatty acids.

A recreational bone provides jaw exercises, mental stimulation, and oral care. These are knucklebones, rib bones, and small femur bones. Dogs will spend extra time gnawing outside, licking, and chewing at the center to extract the marrow. These bones should be discarded after the chewing session. All chewing sessions should be supervised.

Organ Meat

Organ meats like liver, kidney, and spleen are nutrient powerhouses, packed with essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, B vitamins (especially B12), and vitamin A. These nutrients support dogs' overall health, energy levels, and immune function. Organs also contain natural enzymes and co-factors that aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, supporting a healthy digestive system in dogs.

Adding organ meats can enhance the taste and palatability of a dog's diet, introducing variety and making meals more appealing for picky eaters. They can be served raw, gently cooked, or air-died. Real Dog Box has a great selection of air-dried organ treats and a 50/50 blend of ground organs , making adding it accessible to your dog’s meal.

Muscle Meat

Chicken breast, ground turkey, pork loin, and beef stew meat are great additions to your dog’s bowl. Muscle meat is a primary source of protein, essential for muscle development, repair, and overall body function in dogs. It provides amino acids that dogs need for numerous bodily processes.

Muscle meat provides specific amino acids supporting a dog's overall health, including skin, coat, and muscle strength. It tends to be flavorful and appealing to dogs, enhancing the taste of their meals and making it more enjoyable for them to consume. 

Generally, muscle meats are easily digestible for dogs, making them a reliable and efficient source of nutrients. Muscle meat can be served raw, gently cooked, air-dried, freeze-dried, or dehydrated depending on your dog's preferences. 

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Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetables and fruit offer beneficial compounds that enhance a dog's overall health. They provide nutrients that the dog’s wild ancestors would have naturally consumed from ingesting 

grasses, berries, nuts, or vegetation within the stomach contents of small prey. However, they should be supplied in small quantities, approximately 5% of the overall diet, to prevent gastrointestinal tract distress. 

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which help combat free radicals in the body and support cellular health.

Fruits to feed your dog include apples, blueberries, strawberries, mango, and avocado. Vegetables to try are leafy greens, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Refrain from being alarmed if your dog refuses to eat some fruits and vegetables. Every dog has its own preferences!

Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that aid in restoring a dog’s gut microbiome. They are supplied in fermented foods such as yogurt or kefir. Not all dogs can tolerate dairy. Goat's milk is preferred over cow’s milk because it is more easily digested.. The tastiness of the goat’s milk may stimulate your dog’s appetite.

Do Not Be Fearful of Variety

Many dog parents have been encouraged to feed their dogs the same food day after day throughout the dog’s life. Veterinarians will tell you that switching up food can lead to intestinal distress. 

However, food variation promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria within the gut. It offers a wide range of nutrients, including antioxidants. The nutrient profiles vary for all foods. 

Including a variety of fish, raw meaty bones, organ and muscle meat, fruits, and vegetables in your dog's bowl will enhance your dog’s overall health and well-being.

Takeaway Bites

  • Adding a variety of food can enhance your dog’s health and well-being.
  • Every food had a different nutrient profile. Offering different foods benefits to your dog. 
  • Adding variety to your dog’s bowl will balance the nutrients over time.

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