Dog Nutrition Guide
How to keep your dog healthy
Guides written by our Chief Nutritional Officer, Rowan Sanderson. We look at dog nutrition, what constitutes a healthy canine diet and the food your dog should avoid. On this page you can learn about the basics of dog nutrition, the perfect starting point if you want to improve your dog’s diet.
Click Here to jump to in-depth articles about specific dog nutrition topics.
Dog nutrition quick links
Dog Nutrition - The basics
德国赛车This dog nutrition guide will help you build your knowledge of dog nutrition. We show you how to optimise your dog’s diet to help improve their health, rather than simply avoiding illness.
What is dog nutrition?
Nutrition is a word bandied around everywhere these days. We are told that certain foods are nutritious, but do we really know what that means?
The describes nutrition as:
德国赛车The correct nutrition for you and your dog will result in improved health, wellness and longevity.
德国赛车The incorrect nutritional approach can compromise immune systems and increase the likelihood of illness or disease.
Common conditions linked to nutrition
There are a host of undesirable dog symptoms which stem from a sub-optimal nutritional approach, such as:
德国赛车Optimising nutrition for your dogs and putting vibrancy into their lifespan is what we are all about at Bella & Duke.
We want you and your dogs to thrive, rather than merely survive.
Our dog nutrition philosophy
We see our nutrition 德国赛车philosophy as both unique and driven by one key underlying motivation
To bring you the very best in nutrition. That’s it. Simple. How do we do this?
We consult the latest research, speak with ground-breaking scientists and thought-leading vets, look at clinical feedback and listen to the valuable feedback of our amazing customers.
If you want to see us interviewing some of the best of the best in these fields then head to our podcast hub.
Right now we believe there is overwhelming evidence suggesting the very best nutrition for your dog is a raw diet that fits their evolutionary biology.
Along with the addition of nutrient dense muscle and organ meats, quality ground bone and some select vegetables and fruits to bring soluble fibres for their gut micro-biome, vitamins and minerals with their natural co factors for optimal function and highly resilient immune system.
We also further enhance your pet’s likelihood for a longer life with some select super-foods with potent antioxidant powers.
For those diehards who point out to us that dogs didn’t eat Spirulina in their evolutionary past, we would kindly reply they didn’t evolve walking around at exhaust pipe level either. If we believe it will help your pet, we include it in our meals.
德国赛车As we learn more, and as the science evolves, so will our food.
If we discover that sustain-ably harvested flamingo toenails, clipped gently and harvested seasonally will prolong your pet’s health, you can expect to find them in your next delivery.
We stay ahead of the curve so you don’t have to. We want to revolutionise the way we treat our dogs’ nutrition.
Every cell in your dogs body is made from the food they eat and the water they drink, so let’s put the best we can in to get the best out.
What should dogs eat?
Given the rocketing rates of dog diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and pancreatitis, highly processed foods are simply ill-adapted to a dog’s digestion.
We believe that dogs should eat according to their ‘ancestral template’.
This means eating what they have evolved to eat: a raw, predominantly meat-based diet.
We can improve on this template when we listen to cutting-edge scientific research to determine what to add to our dog’s meals. Some vegetables and select fruits bring a lot of benefits to your dog’s health.
Superfoods, like animal sources of Omega 3, are an incredible addition to your dog’s diet too.
We have seen countless success stories from raw feeders (Read some raw food success stories here). We are eager to improve dogs’ health and happy to help lead the charge for improved wellness.
What to put in your dog's diet
Human-grade, high-quality meat
Meat is the base essential for all dogs’ diets. Dogs are carnivores, and they have teeth designed to rip flesh, like their ancestors; the wolves.
德国赛车Meat is filled with protein-rich amino acids which help:
- Cell replenishment
- Heart functionality
- Immune system functionality
- Brain growth
Organ meats are some of the most nutrient-dense superfoods on the planet. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals & healthy fats to combat inflammation.
These often-overlooked cuts of meat are an essential and entirely natural component in your dog’s diet, especially if it is to thrive and flourish.
For example, the heart is packed full of vitamins and minerals including:
- Vitamin B12
Raw bones are brimming with nutrient-dense benefits for your dog. These include ensuring adequate calcium and phosphorous levels, which are essential for healthy growth and maintaining your dog’s existing skeletal structure.
德国赛车Those throughout the world of veterinary and pet wellness are increasingly promoting the use of vegetables in a dog’s daily diet.
There are three very simple reasons for this:
- Dogs can produce amylase, which helps them to digest starch. This allows them to access the beneficial plant compounds (phytonutrients) and antioxidants contained within vegetables. It is true, a chihuahua is a long way from their distant grandfathers, and all the better for it. They have plenty enough amylase to digest some vegetables, which is an added bonus.
- Antioxidants bind and neutralise to ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) which promote ageing. ROS, in excess, can promote disease.
- The soluble fibres in vegetables can improve and regulate a dog’s gut motility whilst feeding a dog’s microbiome, immune system enforcers. The microbiome is the community of bacteria within your dog’s gut that help it stay healthy. Feed them sugar and you get destructors and inflammation. Feed them lower sugar content vegetables and you get friendly, energetic dogs with immune support and lowered inflammation.
Fizzing with nutritional benefits are the superfoods.
德国赛车Simply put, a superfood is one which is particularly dense in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or other benefits, for example, those which have anti-inflammatory properties. Some examples include:
Omega-3 rich oils
Dogs are very poor at converting Omega 3 found in plants into highly beneficial fats (EPA and DHA). Instead, they eat animals that are able to convert them and have already done so. This way, it is much simpler.
It is a little more complicated than that. Several animal sources traditionally used over the centuries, such as those found in cod liver oil, are now contaminated due to the pollution levels in our oceans. Well-meaning pet owners often feed a contaminated fish oil without realising they are endangering their beloved pet with heavy or toxic metals.
Always ensure you are confident in the source of the oil, making sure that it is not rancid or oxidised. As a rule of thumb, fish that eat marine plants are less likely to be contaminated than fish that eat other fish. Great options include fresh sardines, anchovies and mackerel
德国赛车Check out about Omega 3 from dogs naturally.
What shouldn't dogs eat?
This is the all-important question and source of much debate. One thing is for sure, they must never eat chocolate. There are several foods currently fed to dogs which are similarly toxic to chocolate, but in different ways. Grains, corn, potatoes, peas and other starchy vegetables, lectins (as much as we possibly can), dairy, completely cut out any fillers, genetically modified foods, supposed ‘healthy sources’ of plant-based oils, especially rapeseed (canola), sunflower or peanut, peanuts of any kind. Read more about the dangers here
德国赛车Grains have a highly toxic protein in them which is part of the lectin family. You may wonder why this hasn’t been noticed or mentioned until now.
The effects are largely internal and more chronic than immediate. (By the way, gluten is a type of lectin and you will have heard of that!)
- The effects of eating grains can create inflammation in the gut lining and body, as well as the joints in particular. We believe it is a significant contributor to arthritis in dogs.
- Grains are highly processed sources of starch, causing a spike in a dog’s insulin levels. It may be a significant cause of the rise in pancreatitis in dogs. Read more about Pancreatitis in Dogs, or see Dr Karen Becker discuss pancreatitis .
- If this isn’t enough, grains are often contaminated with fertilisers, pesticides and mould, all of which are not pooch-health friendly.
As with grains, corn is a highly processed, starchy carbohydrate which plays havoc with your dog’s insulin levels.
It leads to:
- Weight gain (Dog Weight & Obesity – Everything You Need to Know)
- A host of insulin-related illnesses
Aside from the above, corn is one the most sprayed and genetically modified crops in the world. We avoid it at all costs.
Starchy vegetables & rice
These sound healthy but dogs simply aren’t adapted to assimilate starches healthily. They can eat them but, importantly, it doesn’t fit their evolutionary template.
Some dogs may seem to improve when switching from a grain-filled food, to some grain-free starch-filled alternatives. This is to be expected as they are ‘relatively less harmful’.
德国赛车Starchy foods are far from optimal and will not be contributing to the health of your pet. They will simply not hurt them quite as much.
德国赛车The sugar in starch feeds bad bacteria in your dog’s gut. This is called its microbiota, or sometimes its microbiome. The microbiota can represent as much as 70% of your dog’s immune system. Ensuring you have the right bacteria on your side is essential. (You can read more about potatoes and starch in this ).
Sugar is a major cause of insulin problems, decreased immune function, weight gain and diabetes in dogs. (World-famous pet wellness blogger, Rodney Habib, explains more ).
Please be aware that even ‘healthy’ forms of sugar, for example, fructose, have a similar effect. This is exactly why we only include a few select berries in our food, for their antioxidant superfood benefits, without affecting the blood sugar of your pet.
Lectins, particularly peas
Lectins are gaining much more publicity in the media as people begin to realise that, for their own health, a lower lectin diet can resolve multiple health issues.
You have already encountered gluten, but lectins are present in a number of vegetables.
An African Elephant study showed that lectins bind to the gut lining, creating:
- Leaky gut
- Artery damage
- Heart disease
Why is this relevant to your pooch? Elephants carry exactly the same gene as most western breeds of dog, meaning dogs (and humans) are also susceptible to these toxins.
德国赛车Dr. Stephen Gundry, a world-leading cardiologist, recently published his ground-breaking work ‘The Longevity Paradox’, explaining how he has seen countless health transformations with a reduced lectin diet. ().
Dr. Karen Becker also corroborates this angle, noting that she has seen a rise in dogs with Dilated Cardio Myopathy (DCM), who are consuming diets which include a lot of peas. .
德国赛车It’s virtually impossible to avoid lectins entirely. Lectins are even present in meat because the animals we feed our dogs eat plants.
We have made our meals as low in lectin as currently possible. We are constantly innovating to improve our dog food range as we learn more.
This divides much of the dog ownership community, as dogs LOVE cheese. It’s a fantastic sensation for powerful pooch noses.
德国赛车Unfortunately, the reality is that dogs struggle to digest most forms of dairy, whether it is milk, cream or cheese. Dogs simply haven’t been weaned by cows and are ill-equipped to deal with casein or lactose (the protein and milk sugar found in dairy).
德国赛车Symptoms associated with dairy consumption include itchy skin, allergies and leaky gut. An exception to this is kefir. It contains beneficial probiotics, without the downfalls of lactose. Goat’s milk, kefir, however, is is not a panacea to all dogs.
We choose to keep it simple by ensuring dog diets are dairy-free!
Dog nutrition topics
Can dogs eat peanut butter? Our Chief Nutritional Officer explains the top 5 reasons you should avoid including this dangerous treat (and peanuts in general)
In this “Can my dog eat…” article we tell you what you need to know about coconut oil for dogs. We will look at exactly
德国赛车To begin this post it’s important to clarify that at Bella and Duke, our mission is to get as many dogs off Kibble (see the