Dogs, both domestic and wild, rely on many of the same nutrients that humans naturally do for optimum health and performance. They can also get many of these nutrients from the same sources humans do. A natural, balanced diet for a pet pooch should consist of proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Protein is the key ingredient in most natural dog diets. In the wild, dogs get their protein from eating the nutrient-rich organs of their prey. In most instances, a wild dog will eat the heart, liver and other organs before consuming the muscle meat. In addition to their high nutrient content, vital organs are a good source of quality protein. In premium-quality kibbles and commercially available dog foods, the primary ingredients should be proteins. These ingredients are typically chicken, fish or lamb with beef or turkey as other sources of meats. For protein snacks, feed your pooch cooked eggs, boiled fish or chicken, or organ meat.
Fruits and Vegetables
While wild dogs won't typically feast on fruits and veggies, they can get many of their needed nutrients from these sources in captivity. Most dogs thoroughly enjoy various fruits and vegetables as well. Like the human body, a dog's body benefits from the many vitamins, minerals, and fiber which fruits and vegetables provide. Carrots, broccoli, peas, green beans and sweet potatoes are generally enjoyed by dogs, and are a good source of vitamins. Stay away from avocados, raisins, grapes, onions, the green parts of tomatoes and potatoes, and most fruit seeds and pits -- all of which are toxic to dogs. Though some dogs can tolerate soy, it has been known to cause allergic reactions in a significant number of canines.
Healthy fats are ideal forms of energy for your pooch's body. Fish oils or healthy vegetable oils such as flax seed or olive can make for a delicious addition to your dog's meal. These types of oils promote different benefits, but a healthy coat and a reduction in inflammation are typically associated with healthy fats.
Again, wild dogs won't be found foraging through a field to get grains, and a domestic dog can live without them. However, carbohydrates (of which grains are plentiful) are a good source of energy and can be a part of a healthy dog's diet, albeit in far smaller quantities than protein. If you choose to give your dog grains, whole, rolled or cracked grains such as barley, millet, oats, unsweetened multi-grain cereals and brown rice are better and provide more fiber than refined wheat flour and white rice. The latter are high in sugars and should always be avoided, by both you and your pup. Corn and wheat products have also been known to cause allergic reactions in many dogs. Take note that grains are usually added to dog food as filler, so, whether they are whole grains or not, you should ensure that they are NOT one of the main ingredients of the food you select for your pooch.
By Jasey Kelly
ASPCA: Nutrients Your Dog Needs
WellVet.com: Feeding Your Dog
Classical Veterinary Homeopathy: Natural Diet for Dogs: Guidelines for Optimal Nutrition
Jeffrey Levy DVM: Natural Diet for Dogs and Cats
About the Author
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.