It is imperative that you select foods that are healthful for your pet. Starting with fresh, natural ingredients will result in great tasting, safe pet food. Dogs, just like humans are omnivorous and need a balance of protein, grains and some vegetables. While our dog's ancestors ate a basic diet of raw meats their meals included grasses and grains which constituted the diet of their prey.
Dogs fed only protein are susceptible to imbalances in their phosphorous and calcium ratios which can lead to joint problems, bone disease as well as other health issues.
Basic Nutritional Needs
Here is a chart which breaks down the basic nutritional needs for dogs. Remember proteins (primarily) come from animal sources, meats, fish, poultry dairy. Fats can be found in animal products as well as whole-grains. The main sources of carbohydrates are vegetables and grains.
Recommended Content of Dog Foods
Adult Young Adult
Working or Stressed Adult Puppy or Lactating Bitch
Protein 16% 20% 24%
Fat 10% 12% 14%
Carbohydrate 44% 38% 32%
Calories from protein 20% 24% 28%
Vitamins and minerals A B C
A - Values recommended by the National Research Council
B - Values for "A" plus 10%
C - Values for "A" plus 10%
Chart from Dr. Ben E. Sheffy, James A Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University
Foods To Avoid
There are some ingredients which have been shown to cause illness (or death) in some dogs. Included in that list are:
Artificial sweeteners or artificial fats
Some of these foods may be fine in small "seasoning" quantities but to be sure, always consult with your pet's veterinarian and follow his/her advise.
*Raw Meat - Raw meats and poultry can contain bacteria, salmonella, or parasites or viruses. Your dog can suffer from food poisoning just as humans can. Only cooking will make these foods safe for consumption.
Nutritious Foods For Your Dog
These are a list of some basic healthful foods to include in your pets diet. Please consult with your veterinarian prior to making significant changes to your pets diet.
Organ meats, liver (don't overuse)
Cultured dairy products such as yogurt, buttermilk, cheese
Complex carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, beans, legumes
Fiber sources such as bran, fresh vegetables, whole-grains