Choosing the best food for your dog can be an overwhelming decision. Just doing basic research can make your head spin with all the differing opinions on what a healthy diet looks like. Raw food, wet food, dry food. How do you make a decision without feeling like a bad dog mom?
One of the newer options in dog feeding is the fresh food diet. You might be curious about what a fresh food diet is and what makes it different from raw food or wet food. Is there any benefit to fresh food feeding? How do you find the right food for your dog?
We’ll answer those questions and tell you why we think a fresh food diet might work for your dog. We’ll also give you tips and tricks about how you can incorporate more fresh foods into your dog’s current diet. Let’s jump in and talk about how to feed your dog fresh food.
What Is A Fresh Food Diet?
A fresh food diet is specially prepared dog food made with whole foods and minimal preservatives. It looks like real food because it is real food. If you’re thinking it sounds like something you can make at home, you can! If you’ve ever prepared your dog a meal of chicken and rice, or given her some green beans as a snack, you’ve introduced her to fresh food!
A fresh food diet should not be confused with a raw food diet. A raw diet is mainly composed of raw animal products, including organ meats and bones. Raw feeding is controversial because of the chance of passing along pathogens and bacteria in raw meat. For immunocompromised people, feeding a raw diet can be dangerous as they’re handling the food… and maybe even have a dog that likes to give puppy kisses!
A fresh food diet does include cooked meat. It also has fruits, vegetables, and grains that have been shown to play a role in canine health. Dogs thrive on an omnivorous diet, and a fresh food diet is designed to meet all their nutritional needs.
Benefits Of A Fresh Food Diet
If you’re wondering if there are any real benefits to feeding your dog fresh food, the answer is yes! This is especially true if you are feeding your dog a customized meal plan.
Here’s what you need to know about feeding fresh:
They can help your dog maintain a healthy weight- The vegetables and grains in a fresh food diet provide your dog with healthy dietary fiber. This helps keep your dog feeling satiated after eating. If your dog is making the transition from free feeding to a meal schedule, this will help make the change easier.
It can help digestion- That fiber we mentioned that helps keep your dog full will also help with those poops. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and combined with the easily digested ingredients, will keep things flowing smoothly.
You know exactly what’s in it- Instead of having to look up every ingredient to see what it is, you’ll only have a short list of recognizable foods. Even better, since you are making the food, or you have a customizable plan, you can be 100% certain you are avoiding your dog’s allergens.
Your dog will have a shiny coat and supple skin- Fresh food diets contain ingredients that are plentiful in omega-3s. These are the fatty acids that help keep skin healthy. More importantly, they help maintain heart health and support the immune system.
Adding Fresh Foods To Your Dog’s Routine
If you aren’t certain about making the change to a completely fresh diet, you can find ways to incorporate more fresh foods into your dog’s meals.
Instead of commercial biscuits, offer fruit as snacks. Blueberries are a sweet and tasty treat that most dogs love. Carrots are a great crunchy training treat. Sliced apples also make a healthy snack for dogs. Fruit and veggies treats are a great way to reduce the calories your dog consumes and add some extra nutrients.
Fish oil is great for your dog’s coat. Offer your dog the occasional fatty fish, like salmon, or add some anchovies to her dish. Look for the ones packed in water, dehydrated, or frozen.
Pumpkin puree makes a great mix-in, especially if your dog has tummy troubles. A little bit of pumpkin provides water and fiber and is gentle on the stomach. Just make sure when you grab that can, you get pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.
Why Choose A Custom Fresh Food Diet?
Sure, you can make a fresh food diet at home, but you will need the help of your vet along with a veterinary nutritionist. This is absolutely necessary to avoid any dietary gaps. You need to know your dog’s caloric needs and learn how to adapt recipes to meet them. Unfortunately, many dog owners think that they can just throw together some delicious fresh food and serve it on up. But there are specific vitamins and minerals you want to make sure your dog is getting in each and every meal.
Most of us are running on caffeine and barely have time to make ourselves a nutritious meal. That’s why we recommend using a fresh food service for your dog’s meals. Our personal favorite is The Farmer’s Dog.
Meal plans with The Farmer’s Dog are highly customizable for your dog's specific needs. They work with a certified veterinary nutritionist so they can guarantee your dog will get complete nutrition without any gaps. Recipes are designed with breed, life stage, and even a dog’s lifestyle in mind.
What really seals the deal for us is the way The Farmer’s Dog sources their ingredients. They use local farms and USDA-certified suppliers for their ingredients. Dog food is regulated by the FDA and ingredients only need to be feed-grade, which means it's not recommended for humans to eat it. Food made by The Farmer’s Dog contains only human-grade ingredients.
Here’s our two cents! Give fresh foods a try! Even if it just starts with a few blueberries, you’ll see what fresh food can do for your dog!