Dry dog food is convenient and easy to use, but it has some drawbacks: lack of digestive enzymes that are found in raw foods, too few essential fatty acids, lack of variety, and lots of grain that many dogs are ill-equipped to handle. How to compensate? Use the very best kibble you can find, and do some of the following:
1. Add digestive enzymes.
Put a dollop of yogurt, cottage cheese, or other moist tasty food on top of the kibble, and mix the enzymes lightly in. Your dog will eat the enzymes in the first few bites, which will help digest the kibble eaten right after. Do this at every meal. Example: Good Digestion enzymes, probiotics & greens.
2. Add raw or lightly steamed vegetables.
This provides an antioxidant boost for all dogs, especially if they’re older or overweight. Raw veggies should be finely grated, ground in a blender or food processor, or juiced so the cellulose is broken down.
3. Add raw or lightly cooked meat or eggs.
Dogs evolved eating a diet of about 50% protein, which they obtained from their prey. Adding extra high-quality meat or egg protein reduces the overall grain content, and is especially good for active dogs or dogs that have become overweight from a high carbohydrate diet. Eggs can be raw or lightly scrambled.
4. Add some oils for essential fatty acids.
Salmon oil is great for all dogs, containing essential fatty acids to strengthen the immune system, improve inflammatory conditions such as allergies and arthritis, and beautify skin and coat. Examples: Animal Essentials essential fatty acids gel caps, Life Line Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, and Halo Dream Coat.
5. Add cottage cheese, yogurt or canned fish.
Dogs love extra protein. Cultured dairy proteins and canned mackerel, sardines or salmon are good choices.
6. Feed raw, meaty parts of chicken or turkey.
The bones of young poultry are soft and pliable enough to be eaten whole, including wings, necks and backs. Raw bones provide calcium and other minerals in the proper ratios, as well as proteins, fats, and many other valuable nutrients.
Puppies will benefit from both the added nutrition and the healthy chewing outlet. Examples: R.O.A.R. ground chicken backs, whole and ground turkey necks, Natural Pet Pantry whole duck and chicken necks, and chicken wings.