You don't have to sneak food to your dog at the dinner table. Table foods can be the basis of a balanced and nutritious dietary plan that is superior to, and more economical than, most processed dog foods. Having control over the types and quality of foods your pet eats will give it the best chances for a long and healthy life.
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Dogs are predators whose digestive systems function best on a diet that contains meat. Richard Pitcairn, DVM, in his book, "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats," recommends that you "feed meat raw whenever possible if the animal will accept it." Raw beef and lamb are the best sources of protein. Raw meat contains the digestive enzymes needed to break down proteins. Raw meaty rib bones also provide hours of chewing activity that keeps teeth and gums healthy. Alternative sources of meat protein include cooked turkey, chicken and fish. Eggs, cheese, yoghurt, whey and other dairy foods are also acceptable for supplementation.
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Stock up on bulk organic whole grains at the local health food store. Brown rice, millet, rolled oats, whole grain or rolled rye, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa, a Peruvian grain, are all easy to prepare, and are healthy sources of complex carbohydrates. When these grains are cooked, canines are able to digest them. Dogs fare best on a diet including a variety of grains rather than a single source. Some dogs may be sensitive to rice.
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Beans and Legumes
Lentils, routinely described as a super food, are another recommended canine table food. Cook dried organic lentils with carrots and potatoes, adding enough water to make a stew. Lentils have a rich, almost meaty flavour that dogs enjoy, and they are easy on the digestive system. Lima and kidney beans can also be part of the canine diet. Split pea soup with pork cooks up quickly, and is a tasty nutritious meal. Organic peanut butter is another favourite that is healthy table food.
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Fruit and Vegetables
Raw carrots are a favourite snack -- these sweet treats are good substitutes for dog biscuits. Dogs also love butternut squash and yams. These vegetables are easy to bake and provide essential nutrients. Save the baked yam skins for treats. Other recommended vegetables include broccoli, pumpkin, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and peas. Many dogs enjoy berries, apples, mangoes and melons. Mixing them into the dog's food can help introduce unfamiliar fruits.