We get asked a lot about the diet we feed our dogs. We meet a lot of people through pug rescue that are looking for some answers to their dogs’ issues, and we try to share things we have learned over the years. I have always meant to write something up for this blog to share with people (and I even took photos to share a couple of years ago) but I’ve never quite gotten around to posting the information. But today that changes and I’m going to do a walk-through of the diet and supplements we give our guys. This is by no means an answer for everyone, but this is what we have found works for our furkids.
- 1/3 cup Natural Balance Fish & Sweet Potato, add water added to soften & make gravy (most dogs on a dry food diet do not get enough water)
- 3 tablespoons of our homemade mixture of rice and steamed vegetables (I use the large bags of frozen veg from the supermarket; I was using the mixed vegetable bags until I discovered one of my guys is allergic to corn so now I use a peas & carrots mix along with cut green beans. Any vegetables will be fine as long as it is not a stir-fry mix that includes onions)
Additions include scrambled eggs, sardines and yogurt – rarely all at one time, usually one of these are added at a mealtime for additional nutrients. The eggs and sardines are excellent sources of protein and Omega oils; the yogurt is a natural probiotic which helps keep “good” bacteria in the stomach which prevents stomach upset, gas and can even help prevent yeast infections. I prefer Greek yogurt as it is higher in protein but lower in carbs and sodium.
And of course the old stand-by of canned pumpkin every now and then to keep stools firm and prevent anal gland issues.
The diet has changed a bit over the years, as I’ve found new things to add and dropped some things from their daily diet. I used to make my rice, and then add it to a large skillet to stir-fry eggs into the mixture.
As we discovered the Natural Balance kibble worked well to provide the basic protein for our dogs’ diet, we dropped the eggs from their daily meals. Now they just get scrambled eggs as a treat every now and then, or if I have run out of dry food. If any of my guys get an upset stomach, I skip the kibble at their next mealtime, feeding them the rice mixture with scrambled eggs – the simpler protein seems to help soothe their tummies.
I use basmati rice, simply because it doesn’t clump together and is easier to dish up at dinnertime. However, any white rice would do. I would highly suggest investing $20 or so for a rice cooker though, as it is a great timesaver and is very easy to clean up.
Now, to the plain rice I add the steamed vegetables. Any vegetables are good, as long as they are simply veggies with no added sodium or sauce of any kind. Over the years I have used chopped spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and lima beans. But the basics have always remained: carrots, peas and green beans. Just remember – NO onions!
I always make a big batch once a week and divide it up in Tupperware containers. They can easily be frozen if you want to make up a bunch to last for more than just a few days.
We give our guys several daily supplements. Some of ours have specific conditions that we are trying to treat, so not everyone gets the same.
Lecithin granules – a pinch (approx. 1/8 tsp.) in everyone’s bowls every morning. This was recommended by our vet to help prevent/combat anemia. Lecithin helps red blood cells live longer, thus keeping the red blood cell count higher.
Flaxseed – a pinch in everyone’s bowls every morning. It is loaded with Omega 3, lignans (antioxidants) and fiber.
Salmon Oil – 1 squirt over food every morning. Contains natural Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids – excellent for skin & fur, also helps immune system. http://www.petco.com/product/106293/Petco-Salmon-Oil-for-Dogs.aspx?CoreCat=firstinresult_PETCOVitamin
Multi-vitamin – 1 tablet every morning. I get Petco’s own brand. As they are a bit large, I break them in half for my guys. They eat them like a treat right before breakfast. (I need to get a picture of my guys all lined up every morning waiting for their tablets – they think it’s treat time!)
Brewer’s Yeast tablet – 1 tablet every morning. I get the ones made especially for dogs, they are meat flavored and our guys take them like a treat before breakfast. It helps prevent flea infestations; my guys haven’t needed a topical treatment in years.
Bladder Support – 1 tablet (broken in half) for Maggie every morning to help support her bladder function (she has urinary incontinence controlled by prescription medication – this is just a supplement to prevent deterioration) She takes it as a treat right before breakfast. http://www.petco.com/product/108271/NaturVet-Senior-Bladder-Support-Time-Release-Tablets-for-Dogs.aspx
Joint Supplement – I have 2 supplements I use:
1 tablet (broken into 4 parts due to size) taken every morning by Maggie to combat arthritis and joint deterioration. I prefer the Petco Level 3 as it has Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Cetyl M and Hyaluronic Acid as well as green-lipped mussels – it seems the most complete for the money. http://www.petco.com/product/105698/Petco-Joint-Support-III-Tablets.aspx?CoreCat=firstinresult_PETCOVitamin
¼ oz liquid joint supplement poured over Denny’s food every morning (he used to take the same tablet as Maggie but started refusing it suddenly last year, this is the best liquid I could find as it contains Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM http://www.petco.com/product/111107/NaturVet-Joint-Health-Supreme-Level-3-Hip-And-Joint-Supplement-for-Dogs.aspx )
Cranberry capsule – 1 capsule in Phoebe’s bowl with her food every morning. As she is prone to UTIs, we give her this to lower her urine pH and help prevent infections. We use the ones for humans sold at any pharmacy; I prefer the higher concentrated ones (4200mg cranberry) with added Vitamin C http://www.naturesbounty.com/product/004349
Those are all of the daily supplements my guys take. I also use assorted herbal and homeopathic supplements for specific ailments, but those are only on an as-needed basis.
What are the benefits of all of these things? It’s hard to put into quantitative terms, as I don’t have a dog that hasn’t been getting these things to compare with, but I really believe it has made a difference over the past few years. Phoebe has only had about 3 UTIs since we’ve had her (6 1/2 years) compared to the multiple infections she had before she came to us. Maggie’s urinary incontinence is well controlled and she hasn’t had any side effects of her medicine in the past 4 years. All of my guys have gorgeous, soft coats and do not suffer from itchiness. They are not gassy at all (defying the common myth that ALL pugs are gassy!) And of course Denny’s and Charlie’s allergies are controlled completely without using any steroids.
Their diet may not work for every dog, but it has worked for them. Hopefully this will inspire others to do some experimenting and see what works for their furkids.