What do you feed your dog? And why?


The other day, I happened to go into a pet supply store that I had never been in before, and was looking at their collection of leashes, toys, treat bags, and, of course, food, when I overheard a conversation between a couple who were in the store with their new puppy. I had crossed paths with them several times, and had smiled at and ogled the puppy each time, but they both had frowns on and were looking only at the products as they walked up and down the food aisles. Finally, they flagged down a store employee. Throwing up her hands, the woman said, “You don’t sell the food that breeder told us to get! We don’t know what to get! It’s too much!”

Unfortunately, I had to go; as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t stay to hear what the store clerk told the couple.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. If you knew nothing – how would you know what to buy, where to start?

Pet supply store or veterinary clinic employees: I’d love to hear from you. How do you advise people who are looking for food and don’t know what to buy?

Dog owners: How did you choose what you feed?

I’ll go first:

I feed my dogs dry foods from three different companies, mostly. I tend to buy similar formulas – a chicken-based, “all life stages” food – from each of the three companies that I am familiar with and feel good about, and I usually switch which company’s product I buy with every single bag. Why chicken? I am not a huge fan of beef or lamb, as dog foods made with these tend to be lower in protein and higher in ash than high-quality chicken-based foods. And I don’t like the smell of fish-based foods – but more importantly, fish-based foods tend to be volatile (they go rancid quickly, especially at our summer temperatures, even indoors).

Dry food is not all they eat, though. I don’t make a big point of it, but if there are healthy leftovers from the family table that I feel like they would enjoy, they get those.

Also, if a dog food company sends me samples of something new, I often feed that to my dogs, whether it’s a canned, frozen, or dehydrated diet. I’m curious to see what different products look and smell like, how the dogs like it (how palatable it is) and how it comes out the other end (how digestible it is).

Neither Otto nor Woody is sensitive to any particular food ingredient, and neither seems to have digestive trouble if there is a spike or a dip in the amount of fat or protein they get. I’m lucky! Nevertheless, I go with the three main foods I feed because they are all in the same approximate ballpark in terms of protein and fat levels. One food has 25% protein and14% fat; the next has 23% protein and 13% fat, and the last has 26% protein and 15% fat. These levels seem to maintain my dogs at a healthy weight, coat, and energy level with a reasonably sized portion.

So, that’s us. I’ll repeat the question:

How did you choose what you feed your dogs? If you advise others about diet, what do you ask them about their dogs? How would you recommend that other people choose their dogs’ foods?


  1. What three brands do you use ? I normally feed mine dry with some meaty toppers now and then .
    My Doberman is sensitive to chicken so I have to stick with lamb or fish but my two chihuahuas can eat anything

    • So sorry about the chicken allergy! My last dog, a Border Collie named Rupert, was highly allergic to chicken. It’s hard to find food, treats, and supplements without chicken! I know exactly how lucky I am with my non-allergic dogs now.

      The three brands I tend to buy: Avoderm’s Chicken & Brown Rice, Canidae All Life Stages Chicken & Rice (I’m keeping an eye on Canidae, since the company sold not long ago), Instinct Be Natural Chicken & Brown Rice.

      • Nancy, I didn’t know about Canidae. We use the Pure Real Duck and Sweet potato for my Vizsla with allergies and he’s finally stable. How will I know if something major changes with their food or it’s quality after the sale? What should I look out for?

      • I did not know about Canidae. I have been feeding Life Stages for over 15 years. I hate to hear they sold. How would I know the changes? Many times it not clear that it’s differet

    • I feed my Dane Tuscan Natural Simply Pure Lamb Dry Dog because he has multiple food allergies as shown in multiple blood test results. You cannot buy this in a typical store, but only in a dog specialty shop. My little Xolo I feed a raw diet.

  2. I trained early in the 80s with Wendy Volhard and learned then to read ingredients, be aware of what’s filler, and what is a good protein. And, I can only tell you as a former employee, for 12 years, at my vet clinic, I could not tell clients what I recommended, but what the clinic recommended of the big three manufacturers that we carried. Currently, my Gordon Setter is on Fromm’s Salmon, which I alternate with their duck kibble. With that I supplement with Missing Link Hip and Joint powder since my dog has a bad hip. I also make what I call a chicken goulash that goes with the kibble – into the crock pot goes chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, spinach (frozen), and snips of fresh parsley. I gave up trying to convince dog showing friends to feed better than the food they buy cheaply in bulk.

  3. This is interesting and something I struggle with. My dog is allergic to chicken. That makes it really hard to find a good quality food. She also has an extremely sensitive stomach to change. Finding a puppy or all stages food with grain and without chicken has been very difficult. Currently she’s on open farms salmon but it is grain free. However; she tolerates it and she’s growing. I’ll probably switch her to something else after a year but the struggle is real.

    • That is REALLY challenging. Been there, done that. Chicken is ubiquitous. When I had a Border Collie who would chew his skin practically off overnight if he ate something with chicken in it, I finally found a food that didn’t contain chicken and his coat grew in. I fed JUST that food and was careful with treats and food from the kitchen. Then, all of a sudden, he broke out again. I thought it was fleas, couldn’t find any…. finally read the ingredients label on the food he had eaten for years without trouble: they changed the formula and added chicken. ACK!

      • Similar problem. My Ramses developed a chicken allergy when he was about 10. The Vet said that dogs will often do this if on the same protein year after year. Doesn’t matter if you change brands. Here in the U.S. it’s chicken because that is a cheap protein source for dogs. In Australia it’s…lamb. After a very expensive vet bill for an ear hematoma and a month of eating every chuck roast in my freezer, Ramses got his stitches out and i searched for another dog food. I started with a fish based, no chicken. I also had to be careful with the treats as even the beef ones would have chicken. He got plain Milk Bones for a while. After a year I was able to rotate him on to a lamb with no chicken and then a beef with no chicken but the struggle was hard. It was harder with treats. I had to carry them with me at all times as if a store employee wanted to give him a treat, they had to use one of mine. But no more ear shaking. He lived to be 14 years and 9 months.

    • You might check Merrick Ancient Grains line of kibble. I find it at Petsmart or Chewy. My vet strongly recommends against grain free foods and they can be difficult to find.

    • There are several hypothesis for why so many dogs are allergic to chicken. One is that given that so many dry foods are chicken based that statistically speaking, most pups are weaned to a chicken kibble when they still have GI issues such as worms and/or giardia and/or coccidia. The combination of the leaky, irritated gut with the chicken protein puts these pups at higher risk to reacting to the chicken. Second hypothesis is all the vaccines (grown on chicken embryos). Third and least likely hypothesis is that allergy susceptible dogs will react to chicken because it is the most common ingredient in dog food. That is not a great hypothesis because it is not the case that many of these allergy “prone” dogs then go on to have a lamb or beef, etc. allergy when the food is switched to having just these other meats. The fourth hypothesis that I can think of is that most dogs are on chicken based kibble and most of these kibbles contain many bad ingredients that irritate the heck out of the gut. The combination of chicken proteins with carageenan and/or artificial flavors and preservatives, coloring agents and all the other chemicals necessary to turn rendered, extruded protein and carb into something palatable sets the stage for the chicken allergy. It is true that the fatty acid profile of chicken is high omega 6 and so pro-inflammatory in general. Who knows.
      My 14 1/2 year old miniature poodle is terribly allergic to chicken and gets bloody colitis if she has even a small amount. She cam to me as an 8 week pup weaned onto a chicken kibble and she had a very significant case of giardia that took various medications and weeks to finally clear. I assumed it was the irritation of the giardia and also the irritation of the medications (poisons) that conspired to precipitate the allergy.

  4. Great blog about food. I do something similar although I switch between salmon based food and chicken based food. My dog (Siberian Husky) does really well on these. I also sometimes add Honest Kitchen to these and give fresh veggies like zucchini and carrots (which he LOVES). I wish that there was a way for us dog owners to get small samples of food like you do. I patronize a small family run pet store chain (only a few stores in my county). I used to see samples out on the counter years ago.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post Nancy!

  5. I feed V-Dog, vegan food for dogs (the taurine source is synthetic). As omnivores dogs don’t need meat and considering the health effects of meat on people and how biologically similar we are, I prefer to feed plants. That being said, I do occasionally give a tbsp of wet food as a topper (mainly when on meds in rare cases), but mostly top with green beans, fruits and other veggies which they love. We use their kibble for foraging activities and even training, except in tough or new situations (one of our dogs is leash reactive) I do use cooked chicken cut into tiny bits. Lots of plant-based treat options we like better. The difference in their coat and overall health is amazing after just switching from vegetarian food (which I fed a long time before switching over to Natural Balance vegan now V-Dog) to vegan.

    • Natural Balance is a poor food in my opinion based on the ingredients and I can’t imagine feeding a vegan diet to carnivores. True, dogs are not obligate carnivores like cats so can sustain themselves with some meals of vegetation when they can’t catch a rabbit. The evolutionary study of wolves and all other canines species in the world proves that dogs need meat. A synthetic bag of chemicals mixed with vegetable material is not what they evolved to eat. All other arguments aside, it is a scientific fact that canines did not evolve to eat vegan.

      • Absolutely. Just look at their teeth. They were evolved to eat meat and some grains and vegetation. I consider dogs more omnivores, like bears. Bears will eat leaves and berries too but if it’s salmon season they are on an all fish diet and they won’t turn their noses up at a deer carcass either.

  6. It feels like I’ve had the fear of kibble drilled into me and my current integrative vet is strongly opposed to dry dog food, even though my dog seems to prefer it (Acana, Farmina and Stella & Chewy’s). She’s also allergic to chicken and highly sensitive to even the smallest changes in her diet. We’ve tried all the fresh frozen brands (Farmers Dog, Ollie) which she initially likes, but then she loses interest after a few weeks or months. She’s currently eating Nom Nom but I can tell it’s also losing its appeal.

  7. Well, if someone asked me what to feed anyone alive on this planet, no matter how many legs they have, my answer would certainly not be ‘highly processed foods’… What would you think if someone told you that you had to eat that cooked to shreds stuff out of a bag, twice a day, for the rest of your life? Would you think that a healthy diet for you? No? Well then… Most assuredly it’s the same for every other living being.
    You’re doing your dogs at least a small favour by feeding them your table scraps. It’s undoubtedly the best they’re getting.

    • You’re right. Kibble isn’t as natural as canned which isn’t as natural and healthy as a home-prepared or commercial fresh or frozen diet. But the vast majority of domesticated dogs eat kibble. If it was as deadly as some purists make it out to be, we wouldn’t have a pet overpopulation problem.

      I used to be more of a purist but I don’t like to judge the food choices other people make. Kibble is convenient and as long as a dog does well on it — long life, good condition — what’s the point in saying it is not “healthy”? If I had small dogs, or maybe just one dog, I would likely feed more fresh food. Feeding a higher-quality, “real food” diet is not practical for many owners. It would be prohibitively expensive for me, with two large dogs — and take more time than I have to shop for and prepare if I made it from scratch.

  8. I feed my border collie a human grade dehydrated food and a frozen human grade raw patty. Also I like Tylees frozen food from Chewys when it’s available. I add a green powder supplement. I rotate the protein sources. My dog’s coat is absolutely gorgeous. People stop to ask all the time what I wash him with and I have to say “it’s the food!” He doesn’t get a lot of table scraps because I put onion in too much of my own food. He came to me with a thin dull coat and digestive issues, which are gone now. If I had more than one dog this could be cost prohibitive but I have just one.

  9. How can I reply to Nancy Kerns’ 5/5/21 article about how i decided what to feed my puppy? I would like to respond.

    I have also been a satisfied subscriber for at least 20 years, referred dozens of people to WDJ, and given many subscriptions as gifts.

  10. I give my 70# German Shepard a dog food called Beaver Creek. I picked it because Dog Food Advisor gave it really good reviews. It is also made very close to home and is always fresh with long use times on it. He also gets low fat yogurt with his dog food for breakfast and boiled chicken with his dinner. He might get some leftovers, instead of the chicken, if it’s healthy. That is how I vary his dog food, with the additions. Some other dog food gave him the runs, or made him itch. He gets lots of snacks, cheese, charcuterie, turkey, carrots, steak..of course not all at one time. Needless to say, our dog eats very well. But we do watch his weight very carefully. He is happy, his coat is shiny and beautiful and his poops are small and good shape so he is metabolizing everything very well. I am happy with his diet.

  11. Farmina chicken and pomegranate. His breeder recommended it and after studying the nutrition content and researching the product against other brands it was Farmina for the win. My Belgian Shepherd loves the stuff, and I supplement with fresh veggies – goofball is partial to asparagus and broccoli and don’t expect to eat the green bans on your plate without sharing – plus some canned food: Weruva, Merrick or whatever I see that meets nutrition standard of quality food. Better food = fewer health problems. And I want him with me and healthy as long as possible.

  12. My ten year old GR was rescued at age five, and developed IBD shortly thereafter. Having a firm stool has never been a constant with her. Along with her oral and injected B12 , enzymes, and pre- and probiotics, I feed her 2/3 freeze dried (usually turkey or beef) and 1/3 kibble, occasionally changing brands of both. I tend to change with the stool change, figuring that maybe she was becoming sensitive to one or more of the ingredients in the current fare.

  13. Hi Nancy,
    I could not help but respond to this article. I normally choose my dog food based on the
    Dog Food Advisor’s ratings. I always go with a food they rate as 5 as this is their highest
    rating. I also use chicken base all life stages food. I have 3 large mix breeds.
    If you are not familiar with The dog food advisor check them out at
    Thanks for all your helpful advise.
    Gene Mathews

    • The “Dog Food Advisor” is apparently a dentist and his qualifications to rate dog foods in my mind is questionable. So after reading about him, I no longer use his site. I suppose any of us could initiate a web site to rate foods! I guess the best foods are the ones that work for your dog. All my dogs have always had “high end” dog foods, but I still lost most of them fairly early at ages anywhere from eight to eleven. Then I speak with people who feed cheap kibble and their dogs live much longer. So go figure!!

      Herb Kaufman

      • Herb, I have also noticed that many of my friends’ dogs who get what I consider to be poor diets (and the same meal day in day out) like Iams, Purina, etc. live as long as my dogs that get a rich variety.
        The best advice on dog food, in my opinion can be found on Dr. Karen Becker’s podcast. Her video library is on MercolaHealthyPets.com and many also can be found directly on YouTube. Be sure to check out her new, version two “Best and Worst Pet Foods” and her recent interview with Steve Brown. Steve is one of the leading experts on dog foods. Sorry to maybe disappoint you but he is not a veterinarian but I think a retired software engineer. His qualifications are that he is brilliant and passionately interested in feeding his own pets healthy foods and helping all pet dogs. He started Steve’s Real Food For Dogs company but is no longer with that company. He wrote one of the most practical and factual books about dog nutrition “Unlocking The Canine Ancestral Diet”. Note: The first half of this book is practical advice for improving a dog’s diet with the addition of specific, super foods weekly. The second half gets into amounts, math and the biochemistry and is not for the layman. The book is short and I recommend the first half for all dog owners.
        My dogs love the variety of healthy foods I give them and they all have very healthy teeth, coats and GI tracts. So, I will keep reading, learning and making their meals interesting. One of the saddest things I think is for a dog to have to eat the same cardboard kibble day in and day out all the while smelling all the delicious things that the human pack gets to eat. Dogs are smart and they know that is unfair.

  14. I too feed my dog three different types of high quality kibble mixed together, supplemented with fresh meats, vegetables and fruit from my own meals. He loves it! I feed a variety of proteins, and he has no food issues! I have a question for you. When I look at protein content and the ingredients (I always read the labels!), there are usually a lot of legumes, which increase the protein content! I can’t wrap my head around the idea that my dog should eat lentils, peas and other legumes in such quantities. It seems dog food manufacturers have found a cheap (and hopefully benign) way to increase protein content. What is your opinion on the prevalence of legumes in dog food these days? Yes! I find choosing a dog food confusing too! Thanks!

  15. I have 4 dogs, each with different energy levels, and dietary requirements so I often need to change foods for some or all. Cheap big-box-store foods tend to give them all diarrhea. I do monitor their poop quality. My mixed Aussie (6 yrs old, was 10 lbs overweight) developed pancreatitis a few months ago so he is on a low fat, healthy weight product Purina Pro Plan, canned and dry. My 12 yr old German Shorthair, 2 yr old Red Healer, and 6 yr old female Aussie mix get Blue Buffalo dry. I used to free choice the dry food but stopped when the older dog started gaining too much weight. I try avoid foods that have any kind of corn as the first or second ingredient. I live on a farm so the dogs supplement themselves with horse poop, road kill and the occasional wild animal. So far, so good.

    • Good for you for recognizing that all your dogs have different needs! Lots of people feed all their dogs the same diet no matter what. I’ve been lucky with my two so far, but have had dogs on different diets before. It’s more work but of course necessary!

  16. Never just kibble – its too processed. I do add it in the mix but put in cooked ground turkey, a little steamed broccoli, and a couple spoonfuls of a hydrated freeze-dried food (either Sojos or Honest Kitchen).

  17. I generally choose a readily available dry kibble that shows up on WDJ’s “good” list, but then fed through my own bias. for example, I don’t trust Blue Buffalo, because of the way they’ve handled their sourcing, recalls, and customer interactions. I currently feed Wellness (usually Wellness Core original or Wild, but I’m not anti-grain, so their Super-mix is fine as well). They add taurine, a suspected deficiency in most non-grain foods, which is nice. They also handle their recalls very well. I remember them recalling one batch of puppy food because it didn’t meet their moisture parameters. There were no incidents, no customer complaints, and they didn’t have to be transparent, but they were. EVERY manufacturer, boutique or Old Roy, will have the occasional issue. Short of actual negligence or extremely poor judgment, it’s how they handle those issues that matters to me.

  18. Hi,
    I feed my 3 year old German Shepherd a wide ranging mix of foods. The bulk (about 70%) is from fresh and often raw
    chicken with bone, beef/buffalo usually raw but not always, ground turkey usually cooked, fresh egg once/twice a week,
    cooked fish including salmon and different whitefish. Beef or buffalo liver once a month, cooked lightly. In addition
    she gets some lightly cooked veggies like asparagus, brocolli, spinach (small amounts). Once in a while brown rice, or
    whole wheat pasta like penne in small amounts, a few blueberries tossed on top of the rest. Pre and pro biotic powder
    to help with digestion. Once in a week a 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Mixed with the above is a cup of high quality kibble like Dr Gary’s (made in Ohio) or Orijen. Sometimes, instead of a prepared bowl, she gets a meaty beef bone with nothing else that day.

  19. I read–probably in your journal–that it is a good idea to rotate different brands. I asked my vet, and since she agreed, that’s what I do. I asked two vets at that practice for recommendations when my dog was a pup, and I used your dry dogfood reviews to narrow that down. A couple of these seemed as if they might be too rich for my shepherd-lab mix, so that further reduced the selection. So, now we rotate between about four brands, giving more turns to the ones he finds most palatable. He gets lots of treats for reinforcing behaviors as we hike in the woods, and biscuits in the morning. It seems to be working well, he is in excellent shape and has plenty of energy.

  20. We’ve talked about legumes a lot in the magazine. You could search for “legumes” in the WDJ site search bar.


    We note in our annual dry dog food review which foods have a preponderance of legumes in the formula. When legumes are used in a formula, we would prefer to see just one (certainly not three or more) and low down on the ingredient list, so they play a minor role — not constitute a major protein source.

  21. I feed raw, simply because I feel it is the healthiest option. My mother-in-law is a nutritional therapist and so I married into a family that lives on a very strict diet (which I have adopted) and I have learned a lot. It was only logical to apply much of this knowledge to my pets. That has led me to research that points out just how massive the impact of diet is on health (for people, dogs, and really all animals); “let food by thy medicine”.

    I don’t judge people who feed kibble because I am very well aware of the cost and effort that goes into feeding raw. I just feel lucky to live in an area where I can source meat directly from small farms at extremely affordable prices and I have the circumstances to handle all the extra work that goes into it (my wife has Lyme disease and mental illness – so I understand that taking on this extra work isn’t possible for everyone).

    • Agreed! And very well said.
      I too feed my American Bulldog a raw blend 80-10-10.
      Her vet says her health is excellent.

  22. I use a combination of high quality dry food with home cooked dog food added at every meal. I typically get Merrick, Earthborn or Wellnesss. I select their brands that have not less than 34% protein I believe it is healthier to switch dry food brands rather than stick with just one. I vary between beef, chicken and buffalo as the main protein ingredient. My dog is a highly active 57 pound standard poodle – gets lots of exercise daily so needs a lot of protein. He eats only when he is hungry – and that depends on his activity level. The home cooking includes: 85% lean burger, boneless chicken breast, mackerel, quinoa, rice, sweet potato (cubed), pumpkin, and eggs (including the shell crushed) – all cooked in a crock pot for about 7 hours. About 2 weeks worth; I freeze and take out as needed. I use lots of small training treats when out hiking/playing.

  23. I use the same brand (Purina One) of dry dog food that my Cairn Terror’s (sic) breeder uses and recommends, usually in a low-fat/weight maintenance formula, since our girl is total chowhound and we want her to maintain her figure. With our Golden Retriever, who will turn 2 in June, we started with the same brand as the breeder suggested but found that around six months of age she became very picky and often would not eat for several days, so, at our vet’s suggestion, we switched to a “higher quality” brand, namely Merrick, which Layla loves. As a matter of fact, she now enjoys her Merrick food mixed with Diva’s Purina and is no longer a picky eater. Of course, both our girls occasionally enjoy high quality human leftovers as well.

  24. My 14 year old Spinone is allergic to fish and potatoes, including sweet potatoes. They add fish oil to most dry dog food. Chicken consistently will make her itch. I have turned to Honest Kitchen dehydrated Nut and veggie and Tuckers raw beef patties. She loves it. I also throw in a raw egg or organic chicken heart that come in whole chicken gizzard bags sometimes.

  25. My 7 yo female Boxer, who is my PTSD Service Dog, was just diagnosed with lymphoma. From birth I have fed her raw meat, alternating proteins, mixed with grain free Honest Kitchen rehydrated; kibble that is highly recommended by Dog Food Advisor and Whole Dog Journal and a small amount of canned approved by the above. She also gets raw meaty bones, ie chicken neck and wing, turkey neck, lamb chop, beef neck bones. She has a fantastic coat, energy, good poops etc. However, I am switching to all raw with a base that is low carb, low glycemic because of the starchy carbs in kibble. Cancer craves sugar. I have her on Pet Well Being Life Gold for cancer support and Mushroom Immune. Hoping to give her the best support possible.

  26. I feed my female 95lb American Bulldog an 80/10/10 raw food diet. To this blend I sometimes add fruits and vegetables that are lower in carbs and mostly organic. My dogs latest physical was great, her blood work came back as excellent. She is in good health with a super soft shiny coat and her body composition is full of lean muscle. I believe a raw or home cooked diet, if nutritionally balanced, is superior to anything commercially prepared. Real food is best. I don’t eat a diet of processed foods So why should my dog?

  27. With my present dog this has been an ongoing issue .He is now 5 but when he was a year old he had telescoping intestines which was an awful ordeal and needed intense surgery.After that he had to eat Hills ID time passed and after Hills had its recalls we tried blue Buffalo GI .I had an senior adopted dog who I got at 10 and she died of a heart murmurs few years later so I am not a fan of legumes in dog food and there is some in his present formula but overall it works I feed him canned and dry combined . I am hoping to switch him to a food without the chickpeas etc.the trick in his case is keeping the fat low and the protein down too.He never liked dry food and as a puppy he hated eating it I regret that I tried to feed him so many premium foods they were just too rich for him.He eats a can a day and I supplement with about 1/2 cup kibble and add a little chicken eggs or canned tripe .I have learned he can only have one add on a day.Strangely he does well with lean ham ( courtesy of my mother )and not so well with organic boiled chicken.I don’t think he has a food allergy but I find he does better when there is less chickenthough his food is chicken based.Yesterday I gave him small bits of chicken ham some baked wild salmon a teeny piece of aged cheddar cheese in addition to his food and he had a little issue this morning so I know I overloaded him .If I saw that couple I would tell them to stick with what the puppy was given and when he is over a year old make changes .My dog was fed Eukanuba and I thought it wasn’t good enough but I think I would have been better off keeping him on it he obviously has difficulty with high fat high and protein that those highly touted premium foods had .The vet agrees it is very tricky but a food high in fat will set him off.Someone once said to me think of what it would be like if you had to eat steak and heavy foods all the time you wouldnt feel well .I think the high protein and fat values and the rampant chickpeas and lentils are the issue.This is an ongoing problem for me and it has still not been solved completely though he has done well the past few month

  28. My pack includes a 13 yr old poodle-pom and a 9 yr old ShiTzu Chihuahua mix. The 13 yr old has allergic reactions to every dry food and canned food that I have tried on him. Consequently he eats Darwin’s Raw food in addition to his treats of broccoli, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes and kale stems. I rotate the protein source and occasionally other brands. He is very fit and active. The 9 year old thinks she should have the same delicious food and who am I to argue. I am simply the chef!

  29. I search for food that has no chicken MEAL or any kind of meal , lamb ,fish, meat, chicken in the product. I Researched HALO on line. Delivered free from Chewy.
    NO table food. They may not be able to tolerate any other ingredients in the Table food. I am always asking Alexa about food. Many different fruits are good in moderation, NO grapes. Many different Vegetables are good. I sometime make their food.

  30. I have three dogs, a German Shepherd, an Irish Terrier mix and a Pug Shih Tzu mix. The German Shepherd scratches like mad if she gets chicken so that is off the diet for all of them. I feed them Honest Kitchen food at night and kibble in the morning. I rotate three or four kibble brands that state clearly they are 75% or higher animal protein. Wellness Core is one and Nulo is another. Within those brands I alternate between their fish kibble and beef kibble. They also get table food if appropriate; veggies, fruit and if we eat meat they get some of that too.

    As to your question about how I chose those foods, I use your guide and also research things myself. To advise others, I refer them to your guide so they will learn what to look for and not blindly choose a dog food.

  31. When we got our Lemon Dalmatian puppy, breeder recommended Life’s Abundance All Life Stages food. After experiencing inconsistent quality i.e. dogs wouldn’t eat some shipped product, and other issues that led to vet visits, the vet inquired about food. He suggested Royal Canin Dalmatian or a sensitive formula. Our Dals are from HUA lines so low purine food is essential. So many products now include pea protein which I need to avoid among other ingredients too numerous to mention. Both dogs have done well with the Royal Canin product. I have been frustrated by the lack of availability recently, but I know the supply chain has had difficulty this past year. I mostly make my own dog treats with simple ingredients such as banana, pumpkin or grind-my-own peanut butter and brown rice flour. Both Dals have had done well with this approach plus a scoop of Probiotic Miracle with meals.

  32. I have one dog that’s sensitive to fowl in general. So I feed her Only Natural Pet Max Meat Beef since it’s just beef, pumpkin and vitamins/minerals. My other dog is on Farmina N&D Ancestral Grains Lamb. They also get single sourced canned fish, rabbit or pork along with fresh veggies and fruits. I also add probiotics and enzymes.

  33. I feed no kibble. I use a ground beef pet blend and a ground turkey pet blend from slankers grass fed beef. All are lower fat and have added organ meat as well as ground bone. I Also I get a minced pacific salmon from them. From northstar bison I get a bison pet blend W organ meat and bone as well as a ground pet blend chicken. The vegetable component comes from Dr. Harveys. My dog is a 5 year old choc lab about 85# and I feed her 1# of the protein per day divided into 2 meals. Our Aldi’s has grass fed 85/15 organic burger, on sale less than 5.00 /lb. so I will add that to the beef and bison blends to save a little. And from Kroger I will use their ground turkey to add to the pet turkey mix. To the salmon I add 1 large can of salmon , again to help with cost. All are prepared the same. 1 cup of veggie mix for each lb of protein. Beef and bison I make up in 6# batches, the chicken, turkey and salmon are 3# batches. Put the water and meat into a stock pot and heat it until it turns color but not boiling 145 to 160′. Then add the veggie mix, turn off the heat and let it hydrate for maybe 15 to 20 min. Mixing well. Place about 2 1/2 cups into a container and that makes 1 meal. I use 3 cup glass pyrex containers with lids. So if I’m making a 3 lb. batch that is 6 containers.
    Into the freezer. I keep 6 thawed in the fridge, when I’m down to 2 I get 4 more from the freezer. I feed her a mix of these throughout the week. She was a rescue, we got her at 1 1/2. This is how I have always fed her and she is healthy.

  34. My feeding rotation is a work in progress. I have raised and bred field bred Labradors for over 35 years which I use to hunt upland game-birds. I also take my dogs to the woods with me where I work as a Forester. My dogs are active and I feed foods which have a minimum of 30% protein and 18-22% fat. I like high protein, moderate fat, and lower carbohydrate foods. I’m currently feeding six Labs ranging from 9 months to 12 years in age. They ALL eat the same foods. I simply adjust the amount I feed each dog according to their needs and body condition.

    My current rotation includes six formulations from three different manufacturers. Not only do I like to rotate brands, I like to vary the protein, fat, and carb sources as well. I don’t see as much advantage in feeding three different Chicken and Rice formulas, other than the obvious benefit of switching up the vitamin/mineral premixes. My mainstays have been Farmina N&D Prime Chicken and Pomegranate Puppy, N&D Wild Boar and Apple, and N&D’s Herring and Orange from their Ocean Line. I am also currently feeding Dr. Tim’s Glacier and am going to audition Sport Dog’s Tracking Dog & K-9 Hero. This rotation includes protein from Chicken, Wild Boar, Herring, Water Buffalo, Pork, Catfish, and Ocean Fish. Carbohydrate sources include Sweet Potatoes, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, and Millet. Fat sources include Chicken Fat, Herring Oil, Coconut Oil, and Salmon Oil. They say variety is the spice of life!

    Feeding six Labs out of the same bag means I switch formulas every 5-9 days, depending on the size of the bag. Bags don’t get stale waiting for me to finish feeding it. I switch cold turkey; no transition, and with no digestive issues.

    I also supplement my dog’s diets with toppers including canned sardines, canned salmon, canned oysters, eggs, chicken and beef liver, chicken and pheasant necks, and beef heart. The dogs also supplement their own diets with grass, dirt, tree bark, twigs, mice and other small critters they catch in the woods and fields, and the occasional bone or rank deer leg they find in the woods. Why do I allow them to eat those things? Because they are DOGS! That’s what dogs do! They are natural scavengers.

    I haven’t always fed a rotation. My feeding philosophy has evolved over time as I’ve studied and learned. Whole Dog Journal has contributed to my knowledge base, especially with the wisdom of a feeding rotation. I may have upped the ante a bit by striving to vary the protein sources, fat sources, and carbohydrate sources, but it makes sense to me.

    I guess the proof is in the pudding. In over a third of a century of raising genetically related dogs my shortest lived Lab died at the age of twelve. That was back in the days when I fed the same popular mainstream sporting dog food full time. Over the years the median age for the Labs I’ve owned is fourteen. My most recent old-timer passed last summer at the age of 16 years, three months, and six days. She was the granddaughter of the very first Lab I got in 1986! Not bad for a Labrador in my opinion.


    Plus adding fresh Green Beans, carrots

  36. Our Boxer/Pitt cross gets Tractor Supply 4-health chicken-Rice, lamb and rice, and beef and rice flavors . We also get the 4-health chicken rice dry. She is doing well and no problems. This was recommended by out Vet.

  37. I pretty much stick to a bell curve approach with feeding my little 4 pack of old dogs. I don’t feed the most expensive food and certainly don’t feed the bottom of the barrel foods either. I stick to middle of the road higher end kibble and switch it up from time to time. I also feed appropriate table scraps. My 15 year old pug mix not only has CHF now but some kidney disease as well so he is on Science Diet prescription food. I’ve been lucky with no food allergies and am grateful.

  38. I feed my 3 dogs Canine Caviar kibble, rotating the protein sources. I add some cooked meat, canned food, eggs, or fish for the evening meal. I like that Canine Caviar has several protein sources so that makes it easier to rotate.

  39. I’ve become so dazed and confused with all the different thoughts, warnings and recalls about dog food. One of my current dogs has severe allergies (facial and ear flap swelling/hives and bloody diarrhea to rice, pork and poultry) and my last dog died from DCM, so honestly, I am literally scared to feed my dogs. It’s ridiculous. For the last year and a half, I’ve been using the Balance It website recipes and supplement to home-cook for my Weimaraner and German Short Haired Pointer. It’s a monumental task. I cook once a week and refrigerate/freeze the meal portions for the rest of the week. On Saturday, I cook up 20 #’s of ground beef and a colossal stock pot of organic oats or sweet potatoes (takes about 3 hours). On Sunday, I dice about 4 different organic fruits and vegetables and mix everything up and divide into serving portions (takes about 4 hours). I had to buy commercial/restaurant size mixing bowls, ovenware etc., a spare fridge and an extra freezer. It costs me $300-$500 per month depending on what I feed. Yes, I’ve lost my mind and I’m broke but I haven’t had any emergency trips to the vet, no steroids, no Benadryl; so I keep doing it.

    • Make sure you feed raw bones for calcium/phosphorus.
      If you’re okay feeding raw, you can by premise chubs of raw 80/10/10 which is 80% meat, 10% bone for calcium and 10% organs for vitamins and minerals. To this you can add the fruit and vegetable combinations as needed.

  40. I am a owner/handler/breeder of Champion Polish sheepdogs, and an avid reader of WDJ. I look forward to the new food issues every year. After a lot of research on foods and to see what my dogs and puppies have done well eating, I have used Nutri Source successfully for many years as the foundation of my dogs’ diet. I did feed grain free but went back to grain and saw no allergic reaction, even though we do have some other allergies. I change up protein sources but I don’t buy chicken. I also will occasionally rotate brands, but always come back to Nutri Source. I add veggies and Stella & Chewy’s and raw bones to improve the quality of what they eat. The only problem I have ever had is feeding any of the big 3 that are recommended by vets. Treats are mostly kibble but also some high-end freeze-dried liver treats.

  41. I wish you guys would do an article on appropriate diets for puppies — especially large-breed puppies. It seems that most puppy foods out there are too high in protein and CA:ph levels for big, fast-growing pups. There are so many opinions out there, and most manufacturers don’t even include CA:ph ratios in the guaranteed analysis on their labels. Thanks for all your wonderful information!

  42. I recently adopted my dog (labrador retriever) and she had been digging on her face after she would eat and chewed her paws incessantly and her eyes will run. I had her allergy tested and she is allergic to many environmental things but as far as food she is allergic to chicken, salmon, rice, oats, corn and tomato. So it has been challenging finding a new food. I am testing out Essence limited ingredients diet right now and will probably alternate with other foods such as Zignature limited ingredients and Earthborn. I am also going to try Stella & Chewy as a topper and also feed her canned from Essence, Weruva . She also gets veggies and a few blueberries with each meal or as a treat. She has been on a weight reduction plan (was 81 now 67), so it has been easy to feed kibble for training treats and putting it in food toys, but further in the future, I’d like to feed more non-kibble foods. Thank you for your article and all the comments.

  43. I fed Nature’s Logic for yrs because I liked that they didn’t sorce the added vitamins and minerals from China. A few months ago I came across a family owned company in TX called Muenster Milling Co. I liked that they bought, when possible, all their ingredients from their local farmers. One of the owners even ate nothing but their dog food for 30 days. All 3 of my dogs are 75-80 lbs and my 15 yr old has had pancreatitis so she has to have a food less than 12% fat. Nature’s Logic did not have a food for her. Munster’s Milling did. Their pork is 10% fat. Nature’s Logic is more expensive and if I switch I will go back to it but for now the dogs and I are happy with our family owned company’s food. They also offer free shipping over $49.

  44. With the price of Kroger chicken often hovering near $1/lb in my area (Las Vegas), I feed my gorgeous 4-year-old Siberian Husky a raw thigh every morning. In the evening, he gets a scoop of Victor Hi-Pro, a quality kibble at a reasonable price, when ordered online in a 40-lb bag. I mix that with a couple of ounces of whole milk and/or a couple of tbs. of canned dog food, just to increase palatability for my picky eater. Plenty of high-quality protein for a budget price.

  45. This is a little off topic perhaps. I feed Holisitic Select chicken or the anchovy salmon as part of the diet for my Golden. I noticed in February’s issue that the brand is no longer on your list of preferred brands. I used to also feed the lamb, but it now has peas as the 3rd ingredient, and I do avoid food with legumes. Would you tell me why Holistic Select is not longer on your preferred list? Thank you!

  46. I am shocked that you feed your dog kibble. From what I have read over the years in WDJ, kibble would be the last choice I would expect you to make. My cardigan Corgi eats raw from three manufacturers. I rotate brands and proteins. Her treats are single ingredient freeze dried tripe, duck, beef. Still hoping WDJ will rate raw foods.

  47. I feed Stella and Chewys raw patties to my two dogs A husky and GSD Also feed them each a half can of sardines daily to up their omega threes and a lightly cooked pastured egg They get raw chicken livers occasionally and steamed broccoli which by the way they love. Started this after reading Brown book the Ancestral diet of dogs

  48. I feed at least three different dry kibble brands/multiple proteins to my 7 dogs – not at the same time – rotating. I also add cooked meat or eggs to every feeding. Depending on the dog’s size the amount each one gets is 1/2+ cups to 3/4 cup a day of meat. I add fresh fruit/vegetables,or canned pumpkin and yogurt. I don’t feed kibble that’s less than 30% protein. I supplement fish oil, gloucosomine/chrondroitin, enzymes for their teeth. I buy treats occasionally that look to be healthy – the dogs love the variety. 🙂

  49. I rotate between 3 kibble companies, and rotate proteins between turkey, fish and beef, I top with canned or honest kitchen, and again rotate beef, pork,turkey and duck. my dogs (Malinois) have no GI problems. I fiqure we humans eat a variety for health, so should my dogs. I avoid chicken only because it is in many dog foods anyway, and is also (according to chinese medicine ) a hot food, which my very active dogs do not need.

  50. Very interesting blog. We have been concerned about our newest rescue which we adopted at 8 weeks and is now 6 months. She is a 10 pound MinPin and a poor, picky eater. Vet recommended Purina Pro Plan One puppy kibble which she will not eat ( have tried their wet puppy food also). After trying any and all puppy formulas, dry and wet, we resorted to Weruva Paw Licken Chicken which our 15 year old Miniature Rat Terrier loves, along with a homemade diet of ground chicken or turkey, carrots, spinach, quinoa, turnip all cooked in a crockpot. Her coat is great, poops twice a day look great also. They get cheese, yogurt, dehydrated chicken and salmon treats, scrambled eggs and any table food we are eating. Hopefully, she is getting enough nutrition for a young pup, but we do worry that she’s not getting everything she needs.

  51. I am an Animal Science major, so know basic nutrition principles. I have spent the last 19 years researching dog foods IN DEPTH, so I can feed my furry companions the best food possible. Many, many, times I have left a store (or shut down the computer) with an overwhelming sense of WHY ARE ALL THESE BRANDS FULL OF (CRAPPIE) INGREDIENTS THAT MY DOG CAN”T EAT? ( AND< THAT I WOULDN"T FEED TO ANY ANIMAL!) I am very gratefull for the in depth information that both Whole Dog Journal and the Dog Food Advisor have provided, but it shouldn't be that difficult!! Dry foods have WAY too many carbs, but most people can't afford to feed a large dog canned food. (And freeze dried or "raw" is even more expensive!) Well meaning folks are resorting to "homemade" diets because they are overwhelmed, and scared of, commercial foods. Then the animal suffers because the food is not nutritionally balanced. The entire pet food industry needs MUCH more oversight, but sadly that will probably never happen.

  52. For many years I cooked for all four animals – two cats, two toy dogs. I did a great deal of research before taking the plunge, and based their food on a good quality complete ground meat (80:10:10), varying the protein sources, including some oily fish, and adding a smallish quantity of mixed vegetables for the dogs. One dog is still fed this way; one dog was diagnosed with acute liver failure 18 months ago, and now gets Royal Canin canned hepatic food with home cooked chicken breast for extra protein. The cats, now both 18, have early CKD so get whichever renal food they have decided is edible this week and home cooked adapted by replacing bone with ground eggshell to reduce phosphorus levels.

    When Poppy was first diagnosed with liver failure and was very ill she refused the Royal Canin; I worked out a diet based on oats, chicken and eggs that she liked and showed my vet the spreadsheet analysis, asking him if it was OK to feed it in the short term. He said it looked fine to him, but given how much research I had put into it I probably knew more about the detail than he did! One thing I really like about home cooking for them is that it can be adapted to individual needs – one dog cannot tolerate turkey; one always needed low fat; as they have aged they have all needed fewer calories but plenty of high quality protein.

  53. When I rescued my last dog, a Chow mix, in 2012, she had only been fed kibble at the shelter, and she wasn’t too eager to eat it. So I started mixing it with some canned food, and no more problems! I didn’t know about WDJ at the time, so I consulted the Dog Food Advisor site and started her on some of their hightest rated foods. She passed from cancer in 2018 at age nine. My current rescue, a Beagle/Lab mix gets most of the same foods, just smaller portions. She generally has dry and canned foods from Merrick. I started rotating her kibble after reading WDJ; lately she’s had Merrick, Wellness, and Stella and Chewy’s. She also gets occasional beef and chicken scraps from our dinners, and she loves baby carrots. Her vet’s only criteria is not to feed grain-free food. My husband and I grew up in the 60’s and recently discussed the foods our parents fed our dogs back then – they were definitely different!

  54. My 6 month old, miniature poodle puppy came to me weaned on Royal Canin Puppy, Small Breed Kibble alternated with Freeze Dried Stella&Chewy’s Duck-Duck-Goose raw patties reconstituted with goats milk and cooked, pasture raised/finished ground beef ( 1 to 2 Tablespoons cooked and mixed with the Royal Canin kibble twice a week). I immediately tried to get him on a kibble from a company that did not have the history of recalls but could not find a similar, tiny kibble that he liked. He hated the higher end varieties such as Fromm because, I speculate, they don’t contain as many artificial flavors and flavor enhancers. Open a bag of higher end kibble and smell it and compare to the more chemical laden stuff and you will find that the better brands that claim to have no artificial ingredients smell like cardboard whereas the chemical brands like Royal Canin, Purina, Hills at least smell like the school/prison cafeteria and so resemble the smell of stew.
    Ideally, I would feed 100% raw but that never seems to work out for my 4 dogs because of various ages, needs, and tastes. I have settled into a routine of rich variety for all of them that is mainly freeze dried raw alternated with fresh, frozen commercial raw. For my pup who is now 6 months, he gets mainly freeze dried raw because he does not like the taste of commercial frozen, fresh raw altho I sneak it to him mixed with other things (Small Batch– One of the only brands, only on the West Coast that does not pressure pasteurize their raw so the frozen patties are unadulterated ground meat, bone and organs). I did persevere in finding a small kibble that puppy likes that is higher end (I hope) because I want the option of boarding and training for him and the trainer requires kibble– Stella&Chewy’s baked, small breed size, chicken, “Raw Coated Kibble”. It smells good to me too and is not made of any byproducts. It is a fact that all kibbles have to be supplemented with fresh fatty acids as that is a nutrient that cannot be supplied fresh in a kibble. Once the bag is opened, things start going rancid (even before the bag is opened)– The sprayed on coating of fatty acids oxidizes rapidly and goes rancid especially in the presence of the catalyst of iron/zinc/copper spayed on in the vitamin coating. The baked kibbles seem to be more stable since the vitamin/mineral mix is blended in vs. sprayed on the surface (the high temp extruded kibbles have to be sprayed with the vitamins as a later step so they are not destroyed by the heat).
    This is what my puppy eats: Stella&Chewy freeze dried raw patties alternating all meat varieties and alternating with fresh frozen raw Small Batch brand various meats; Canned King Salmon with bones and skin one meal a week; Canned, unsalted sardines in water with bones and skin one meal a week; Soft cooked egg yolk added to two meals a week; Full fat Greek Yogurt, tsp or two added to one or two meals a week; His kibble about two meals a week; Cooked pork, lamb or chicken about once a week mixed with Mercola vitamin/mineral canine mix with steamed vegetables. I also supplement with fish oil capsules (Nordic Naturals variety– The pet specific version capsules do not contain the lemon oil). He also gets cheese and beef for training treats because I can’t find a convenient, commercial product he likes.

    • Lucky dogs. I feel raw frozen patties and will not buy pressure treated food. I use Raw Bistro and Steve’s pork and Lamb/emu combo. Love the Bones and Co but fat too high. For treats I use single ingredient freeze-dried tripe, duck, beef.

  55. I feed my rescue plotts hound mix Hills Science Diet Healthy Mobility or Purina Pro plan. My dog has had both her rear ligiments repaired (TPLO). For the first couple of years we feed her Natural Balance Fish and Sweet potato but change about 2 years ago after reading about DCM in many dogs that had eaten grain free or limited grain. I contacted them and asked if they were looking into the fact that many dogs were being diagnoised with heart issues and when they changed their diets they improved . There answer did nothing to calm my fears so I decided to change to a Purina or Hills dog food brand. I also give her fish oil with her am food . I also add a small amount of moist food. She has never had a weight issue,

  56. For convenience, we feed our 3 dogs dry in the morning and switch between several brands – Blue Buffalo being the primary and offen add in a can of chicken & rice or beef/vegetable soup or plain yogurt or canned pumpkin. At night they get Honest Kitchen and maybe leftovers from our meals.

  57. PWD’s are often allergic to chicken. Breeding dogs can be adversely affected by the phytoestrogens contained in legumes which are common in grain free dog foods. That doesn’t leave one with many choices. I haven’t seen you address this topic in the WDJ. Please do. Cheryl

  58. I am so thankful for WDJ!! You have helped tremendously in dog food choices over the years with our many different breeds. At the moment, we have two puppy mill survivors who were so malnourished we were frightened just having to pick them up. When they first arrived we fed them organic Paul Newman Chicken and their PN Beef. They wouldn’t touch anything else. As time progressed, we went to raw. All different kinds of raw made by many companies. Lately, I have felt they were not terribly excited about “supper time” so decided it was time for a change. WDJ recommend Honest Kitchen’s new human grade pate. We got the variety pack and they love it! They will be on this for a few months, then it will be time to switch again. They are beautiful, happy, still a little crazy, and well fed. My husband says. Along with their own HK, they get our good food and WE get the leftovers! Lol Oh so true, tho. Still fed by hand as dishes are still an issue! Thanks Nancy, we love you, all your articles, stories and dogs!!!

  59. It would be interesting and knowledgeable to have WDJ comment on Volhard Dog Nutrition. It is in the raw diet category but appears to be very well balanced. Apart from being relatively expensive, It seems to provide one of the best nutritious options out there. Nevertheless, I never see it mentioned as an alternative to other quality dog foods on the market. How many of your readers are using it?

    • First I heard of it. Daughter about to get a puppy and I know she will feed kibble. Looking for best there is in kibble.

  60. There’s no dry food in this house. My 4 very small dogs also get food from three different companies, but not the same as yours: The Farmer’s Dog, Just Food For Dogs, and Tolliver’s Kitchen. The last one is me, retired veterinarian. I make either the beef or chicken recipes in my crockpot, with the nutritional supplements from Just Food For Dogs. My belief is that dogs (or cats) that eat only dry food are always a bit on the dehydrated side. Look at how much water your dog has to drink to process all those “crackers.” Because my dogs’ food is moist, they drink very little water. I think they would look at me in disgust if I offered them dry food. Remember: dry food was originally made for human convenience, NOT for canine health.

  61. I do NOT feed commercial dry, “complete” dog food.
    I have in the past — with mixed results. There was one that was purported to be he food htey fed the Antarcitic Huskies. it was OK. When we first moved to a rural town I fed my dogs “Bonnie” dry food, made with Kangaroo meat. Over the years I my dogs were losing condition, and having bowel upsets. It was then I discovered that Bonnie had been bought out by a USA company, and the formula changed several times. Though they still lead consumers to understand that it was stiil made from Kangaroo — label had a small addition (“with”) and I suspect that it was mostly abattoir rubbish.
    So now they again get raw Kangaroo meat, with some cooked cereal grain and pulse, as well as supplements and whatever veggies are going cheap.
    They are doing brilliantly again

  62. PS Each dog also get a piece of kangaroo tail each day. And IF I am out of Kangaroo meat, they get some “tuna for cats’ instead

  63. Q: How did you choose what you feed your dogs?

    A: I read recommendations from the Whole Dog Journal, Dr. Karen Becker, and reputable sources. My dog’s vet does not recommend feeding grain-free kibbles, but I still feed them to my dog. My dog is a 6-year old rescue from Butte County. He was in foster care for 18 months before we adopted him so there is no telling what he ate then. He is a very picky eater so his diet has changed multiple times since I adopted him almost two years ago. I used to cook all his meals with fresh meat and poultry, fresh veggies and some whole grains. I use Balance IT’s recipes and supplement. He often turns his little nose away from the food and refuse to eat it. A month ago I started feeding him kibbles for lunch and home cooked meals for dinner to cut down on the prep work. I buy the smallest bag of kibbles and keep it in the fridge so it won’t go rancid too rapidly. I switch brands and protein with each purchase. The usual brands are Orijen, Instinct, Acana, and a few others. At times, he is so picky that unless I hand feed him, he won’t touch his food. Overall, he is a very healthy dog and not overweight. He zoomies around the yard and throughout the house.

    Q: If you advise others about diet, what do you ask them about their dogs?

    A: Good question… If the opportunity comes up, I would ask about the dog’s age, activity level, general health and whether the owner has done any research.

    Q: How would you recommend that other people choose their dogs’ foods?

    A: I always recommend that they do research from reputable sources such as the WDJ. Commercials and ads can be misleading. At the pet stores I see what others buy for their dogs and sometimes it is all I can do to remain silent.
    Thank you for all your wonderful articles and photos in the WDJ!

  64. Chicken is an inflammatory food. Dogs should not eat, nor should humans. Stick to turkey. It has tone of protein, vitamins and minerals.

  65. I bred Airedales for 15 years along with Standard Poodles – just Standards now and two Norwich so I have always fed a pack. Nevertheless I have always felt dogs need real, quality food so they get mostly meat. Since I can’t get low fat venison, I cook the beef, pork, chicken with kale and other greens, cool and get rid of the fat. I mix with Honest Kitchen or other raw, dehydrated food. They also get hard boiled eggs and raw, meaty beef rib bones.
    To be honest, they also get bites of whatever people eat and clean the dishes from dinner predishwasher. After 60 years I am pretty relaxed about food.
    I show and breed a litter a year and have a long list of people waiting because the
    dogs do so well in Agility, hunting. They have to eat well cause they’re not just
    laying around. Also Poodles are not “foodies” like the Norwich and won’t eat if
    they don’t like it.
    The proof of the diet is in the dogs; They are never sick, they live till 15, 16 17 years
    Norwich, late teens or early twenties. Of course it’s not all food. It’s less stress and more fun. They are well trained and live in the house as family.
    i wouldn’t feed kibble, or most canned if they paid me. Dog food needs to be regulated but given the state of human food, I’m not holding my breath.
    As far as cost is concerned good food is less than vet bills. If you can’t afford to feed a dog well, don’t get one. if you are willing to a little work feeding a dog is not expensive.

  66. My previous dog, Ramses developed an ear hemotoma and the vet told me he was likely allergic to chicken, a plentiful and cheap food source in the U.S. (In Australia dogs develop an allergy to lamb.)

    While he was recovering I cooked every chuck roast in my freezer so he was on a steady elimination diet of beef. No problem. I also cooked him some freezer burned pork chops. Also fine. When he got his stitches out the vet said good, no more chicken. Then came the hard part, finding some food and treats without chicken. The food was easier. I put him on a limited ingredient fish based kibble first and boy he loved that. Rotated him to lamb and beef. The treats were the hardest as even those that said beef would have chicken in them too. I became obsessive about reading ingredients and origins. (Nothing from China) Milk Bones are wonderful as they have no protein in them at all. I would buy the little mini ones for tiny dogs and use those as treats so he could have more per day.

    Lesson learned. Currently Diana pawPrints is on beef. When I adopted her the rescue gave me some of the food she was on. I read the label. Chicken based garbage. And she had diarrhea and some vomiting. So I gradually switched her over to a beef base puppy and she was fine. At 1 year old I moved her up to the adult beef based. This birthday she will be switching to another protein. Lamb, Fish or Chicken. She will be switching proteins every birthday on a rotational basis. I’m hoping this will prevent any food allergies. Same with the treats. She will get a lamb, chicken or beef-based treat, plus there are the occasional Milk bones and bully sticks. And for special treats she can have a raw rib bone from my local butcher. I also make her treats by buying raw liver (from the same place) and dehydrating until it is completely hard. She loves those and organ meat is a nice supplement treat for her. She’ll also get the occasional cheese but that’s high value and I reserve that for scentwork. I’m hoping in this way I can keep her healthier or at least avoid food sensitivities. I do not avoid grains in her diet but I do avoid corn, lentils, soybeans and other legumes if I can. The legumes seem to give some dogs problems so I make sure if they are in her food they are near the end of the ingredients and not up front. Same with the treats. Her coat is shiny and she’s healthy and doesn’t scratch or shake her head so hopefully she isn’t eating anything that is aggravating an allergy.

    I also use a topical flea/heartworm treatment, not an oral one, but that is a whole other story.

  67. Each of my three dogs gets a different protein source, such as Canine Caviar kibble. For evening meals, I will add cooked meat, eggs, or canned food. There are several protein sources in Canine Caviar, which means I can rotate it much easier.

  68. We feed Fromm. When our girl was a puppy it was the first brand that didn’t cause “liquid gold” as we called her BMs. We just stuck with it after that. For most of her life we switched between the flavors. Now we feed the senior, or weight management version. She also gets fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and eggs on a daily basis.

  69. About how I chose what to feed my dogs: I began raw food or natural food diet in the 90’s – I read everything I could find on the benefits, risks and recommendations for a well balanced diet. My dogs now eat what I call my “rotation diet” a meal may be fish, or chicken backs, or a veggie mix or kibble. I began rotating foods years ago after I noticed my dogs who ate different foods didn’t have gastro upsets when they were given a new food. I added kibble to the rotation for 2 reasons: kibble is easier to take to dog shows and it is easier for puppy buyers to deal with. I agonized over what to do about introducing my new litter to food. Knowing that my puppy homes would not be willing or able to feed a home made diet, I researched and chose a good kibble.
    Regarding my advice to others about diet: I occasionally have someone ask for information. I am careful not to lobby for my approach. Instead, I ask why they are considering it, How much time are they willing to devote to finding the right “recipe” ( combination of foods and supplements that will provide complete and well balanced diet). How many dogs will you be feeding? I have fed as many as 7 Labradors at a time – the numbers definitely make the preparation time consuming. I find the investment of time is worth it but many people will not.

  70. I started cooking for my 12-year-old German Shepherd and I’m delighted with the outcome. No kibble. 1/3 meat, 1/3 rice, 1/3 cooked vegetables. The meat is cooked and ground in my food processor. Lately there’s been a lot of venison but when that runs out I’ll go back to buying an assortment. Vegetables, also chopped in my food processor, can be carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green peppers, purple cabbage, etc. The rice is cooked in the broth from cooking the meat and the vegetables. He also gets various supplements. I dehydrate his training treats out of oatmeal, sweet potatoes and carrot peels and cans of salmon. His treats are dehydrated fruit, frozen in a Kong yogurt, celery with peanut butter, pumpkin, an egg or anything that I may be eating. His coat is better and he’s more regular. He’s a happy camper as am I.


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