COOKING FOR CANINES - Entry #2 (The Combination Diet)

February 21, 2010

You may want to feed your dog a homemade diet. But you might be hesitant because you don't have the knowledge or resources, or even the time to figure out the proper nutritional combination for your dog's breed and weight. The good news is you have another option: The combination option! You can improve your dog's nutritional intake, as well as give her a tastier variety, simply by mixing commercial food with fresh foods.

The first thing you need to do is decide what combination ratio you will feed. This will help you determine how much fresh food to feed your dog per day. You can replace up to 1/4 of your dog's diet without really having to worry about balancing the foods that you add. This is probably the best option for individuals with limited time.

If you decide to substitute 1/2 of your dog's diet with fresh food, you'll have to feed a variety of different foods to provide needed vitamins and minerals. Foods such as meat, eggs, dairy, fish, and small amounts of liver, along with various fresh fruits and vegetables is a good start. It is important to remember that if you substitute 1/2 of the diet, you will have to add additional calcium (1,000 milligrams per pound of added fresh food / 80 milligrams per 1.6 ounces of fresh food).

To estimate what 1/4 of your dog's diet is, you will need to multiply your dog's weight (in pounds) by 8. Then, divide that number by 100 to get the ounces of fresh food to add. In other words, if your dog weighs twenty pounds, use this formula: 20 x 8 = 160 ÷ 100 = 1.6. So, for the average 20 pound Japanese Spitz, 1.6 ounces of fresh food would be 1/4 of her diet. 3.2 ounces of fresh food would be 1/2 of her diet. It is important to remember that this is just an average. If your dog is extremely active, you'll want to add a little more. If your dog lays around all day, you'll want to add a little less.

Freshly prepared foods provide added nutrients and a variety of flavors that your dog is sure to appreciate, especially if your dogs are as finicky as mine.

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