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  • Writer's pictureKari Bastyr, MS, CDBC, CPCN

Dog Nutrition: Build your Dog’s Food Bowl

If you had to eat the same thing day after day after day for your ENTIRE life, do you think any of the following things would occur:

  1. Would you grow tired of consuming the same thing every single meal?

  2. Would you possibly start to eat other things like garbage, poop, socks, wood, dirt, plants, etc. to make things exciting and feel satiated (well, maybe not poop)?

  3. Would you have a balanced diet?

  4. Would you be missing key vitamins and minerals?

  5. Would the chances of you developing a food intolerance increase?

  6. Would you have a depleted microbiome with little diversity in your gut bacteria?

The short answer is YES to all of the above, and more. Dogs are no different.  I am here to shout from the rooftops that it’s okay to switch up and rotate your dog’s diet, and in fact, you want to!  There is an old wives tale, (rumor has it the old dog food companies started it), that you should never switch your dog’s food. Hmmmm.

Dogs, just like us, crave variety. They get bored quickly. They love meat. They are ‘fulcutative carnivores‘. They love to have a lot of aromas and smells to choose from. While some dogs don’t like their food touching other foods, most do really well with a few different things in one meal. I am a huge fan of enrichment feeding, but for the sake of this post, I am going to talk about adding variety with something called ‘Build your Dog’s Bowl’. It is super fun and really rewarding to watch your dog enjoy mealtime!

I use a few different varieties of food to build a bowl. First, I start with a base. This is primarily the food they are getting the majority of their nutrition and calories from, like dry food (kibble), dehydrated raw, or raw. Then I typically add bone broth (homemade or store bought-must be for dogs), probiotics/supplements, veggies, fruits, and things like sardines, tripe, minnows, dehydrated raw, etc.

These are all meals I have fed to my dogs. They are all different. Sometimes I plan ahead, and sometimes I just look in the fridge and see what I have. I am lucky that my dogs have a balanced microbiome and are able to tolerate the different things they eat. They can eat anything, which is actually why their microbiomes are so healthy and they don’t get sick when I switch things up. It’s okay to experiment to see what your dog likes and doesn’t like. You can add 1 thing, or add 3 or 4. As long as you stick to your dog’s daily caloric intake ( I can help you calculate that if you want), then add a few toppers to each meal. I promise you get the biggest smile on your face when you see how much your beloved dog enjoys it!

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