Four Things You Should Feed Your Dog!

by | Breeding, Dog and Puppy Nutrition, Dog Health

Optimal Dog Nutrition Made Easy

Just walk into a grocery or pet store and you will know that dog owners face a massive number of choices when they try to figure out what to feed their dog.  Add to those options the dog foods their veterinarian sells, and it’s no surprise that you might be overwhelmed by how to feed your dog.  For those who want to study their options, there are the 51 million websites and over 40,000 books with advice and recipes for feeding your dog.

Holy cow, what is a dog lover to do?  We’ve pulled together the four most important choices you need to make when designing your dog’s diet.  These are the issues we think about, the diets we feed our dogs, and the advice that we follow to raise our healthy, stable, happy dogs.

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Feed Your Dog These Four Things for Optimal Health

Photo credit: Sue Byford -Tibetan Terrier

Feed Your Dog a High Quality, Super Premium Food

The dog food business has changed dramatically over the past decade. Years ago when they thought about feeding their dog, most people either picked up a bag of name-brand dog food from the grocery store or they cooked “people food” for their beloved pooch.

However, It is no longer a simple choice to decide what to feed your dog. Nowadays people have the choice to feed, and will even debate over, the many kinds and qualities of foods are best for their dog. These choices include kibble, commercially-prepared raw diets,  freeze-dried premixes, BPA-free canned dog foods, or home made diets. The one thing that most people will agree on is that dogs being fed a high quality food is more likely to be healthier and have more energy than those eating a low quality diet.

For more on BPA issues in dog food, Are BPA Free Dog Foods Safe or Even BPA Free?”

When making the choice of what to feed your dog, be sure three of the food’s first four ingredients are animal proteins. Your dog is a carnivore. She needs a diet with high amounts of animal protein (meat, fish, poultry), a moderate amount of fat and low amount of carbohydrates. (Dogs have no physiological need for carbohydrates, except during pregnancy, nursing and weaning.) Breeding animals, such as stud dogs and brood bitches, need at least 29% protein, while weaned puppies need a little less.  Senior dogs need for higher quality protein than younger dogs. Overweight dogs will lose weight more quickly on this high protein-moderate fat diet than the low-fat weight-loss foods on the market. It is better to feed less of a high quality food than a lot of a poor food.

There is no one food that is best for every dog. Each dog’s nutritional needs vary since no two dogs’ metabolisms and physiologies are the same. Give some thought to what your dog’s specific needs are based on breed, size, age and genetic disposition when making your decision on choosing her food.

Another concern today are foods that are nutritionally inadequate. Some of these foods have killed dogs (see the FDA website and Wikipedia on the 2007 pet food recall), while others have caused longterm health issues.

To avoid these issues. we highly recommend you rotate the foods you feed your dog, both protein sources and manufacturers, and you add healthy whole foods to your dog’s diet. Healthy foods for dogs include vegetables other than onions and raw potatoes, meat, poultry and fish. Just as your children should not eat Total cereal, with “with 100% of the Daily Value of 11 vitamins and minerals you’ll need all day long,” every meal of every day, so your dogs should not eat the same food, day in and day out.


Join a community of like-minded dog breeders seeking to breed and raise their pups using the best methods available.

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Want to know more about raising healthy, stable puppies?

Check out our 8-month, self-paced online course to raising a healthy, stable litter of pups, from before breeding until sending your pups home.

3. Novelty rules!

Remember that novelty rules during the Sensitive Period, between three and 16 weeks of age. Your pups will get the most out of their Adventure Box if you change it up regularly. Initially, when the pups are very young, just rotate the box so that the position of the sides varies. If you are lucky enough to have interchangeable sides for your Adventure Box, which I think is a fabulous idea, change the sides every few days. If you don’t move or change it, the puppies will become accustomed to stress, say, in the back right corner of their puppy pen. Instead, we want them to generalize that there are strange sights, sounds, and shapes everywhere but they are okay.

4. Take your Adventure Box on the road.

Take it in and return it to the pen every few days, putting it in a different place each time. Once your pups have time outside their pen, put the box in different rooms of the house and even outdoors. (One warning, your paint cans will rust if they get wet from dew or rain, so bring it in each night.) .

Change the location, position, and items on your Adventure Box regularly and your puppies will become accustomed to stressors happening everywhere in their world. Soon, they will take them for granted! Not only is this fun, it builds confidence.

I hope you found this series of best practices for puppy Adventure Boxes helpful. I’d love to see photos or videos of your box! As you make and/or use your boxes, make sure that you focus on safety and puppy development. If you would like more information about the adventure box, go to the adventure box page on the website.

Want to know more about raising healthy, stable puppies?

Check out our 8-month, self-paced online course to raising a healthy, stable litter of pups, from before breeding until sending your pups home.


  1. SD

    there is anecdotal evidence .. that means there is no evidence what so ever since there has not been any study to confirm the miracle drug!

    • Marcy Burke

      Thanks, Jason! Now people can read the research for themselves. Thanks for posting the comment!

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Avidog International II, LLCWe combine science, art and over 40 years of dog breeding experience to create, develop and present puppy rearing courses, programs and equipment for puppy owners and dog breeders.

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