Creating a Healthy Diet for your Dog 

3 min read
Jan 13, 2022

Your furry friend is like a family member, and they deserve that level of treatment. If you want to keep their tail wagging, you should set aside time to determine the best diet for their health and energy, learning which foods to include in their meals and which to avoid. Knowing the difference is crucial to their comfort.

Sudden changes in your brand of dog food or too many table scraps can cause digestive issues. Some dogs are more sensitive than others, and you have to pay special attention to what you feed them. The dry foods you find at your local pet store are fine, of course, but a little diversification is important.

To guide you in the right direction, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to create a nutritious diet for your dog. As long as you follow the suggestions below, you'll ensure the happiness of your pal for years to come. Consider including these four food items and supplements in your dog's diet.

1. Raw Meat and Fish

While we're far more comfortable eating our meat cooked, we're the only species on the planet which takes that extra step. It isn't necessary for dogs, and you shouldn't shy away from feeding them raw meat. In fact, protein should account for 20 percent of their overall diet, and cooking meat only reduces its nutrients.

As for the type of meat you should choose, it's best to buy lean meats with no more than 10 percent fat unless your dog gets intense exercise regularly. You should also feed them dark meat poultry without skin, and take time to cut off separable fat. As a general rule, never feed them cooked bones.

Concerning fish, you can choose canned fish with bones. The following species are safe:

  • Pink salmon
  • Jack mackerel
  • Sardines in water, not oil

Meanwhile, you should remove the bones and cook the following types of fish and avoid feeding them to your dog raw:

  • Trout
  • Pacific salmon
  • Related species

The total amount you should feed your dog should equate to one ounce of fish per pound of other meats.

2. Fruits and Vegetables

Dogs don't need fruits and vegetables as part of their evolutionary diet, but they provide a valuable source of fiber for their digestive health. Fruits and vegetables with deep coloration are ideal, containing antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients. Starchy vegetables are particularly important for maintaining weight.

The next time you're at the supermarket, consider picking up these vegetables if your dog is skinny or overactive — and make sure to cook them:

  • Potatoes
  • Legumes
  • Pumpkins

If your dog is overweight, you should limit the quantities of starchy vegetables you feed them. As for fruits, the following are safe for consumption:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Papayas
  • Melons

As you've likely heard before, grapes and raisins are dangerous for dogs and cause kidney failure in some cases. If you're hesitant to add something to your dog's diet, do further research on the foods you're unsure about. You'll feel far better if you check multiple sources for confirmation.

3. Grains

Grains are somewhat controversial, as they may contribute to inflammation from allergies, arthritis and IBD, as well as seizures and other problems. However, many dogs have no issues with grains, so you should include them in their diet based on your pet's personal history. Consider these grains:

  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Pasta

Grains and starchy vegetables should make up no more than half of your dog's diet. Grains can also serve as a solution to an upset stomach, and white rice overcooked in extra water is particularly effective. On that note, it's essential to cook every type of grain thoroughly.

4. Vitamin Supplements

Visit your local pet store and browse for vitamin supplements. They're essential to maintaining your dog's overall well-being, accounting for the nutrients you're unable to cover with their daily meals. As an example, you should pick up vitamin B, which contains coenzymes involved in energy production.

As you organize your dog's diet and schedule supplements, you should also consider other details. For example, always ensure your dog doesn't eat too quickly, but in small, measured meals. With the right nutrients and structure, you'll avoid common digestive problems pet owners have dealt with in the past.

Consider Investing in Dog Insurance  

Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Get your free quote today. 

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.