Feeding Your Dog

A healthy diet for your dog should include about 55% protein to make sure he can keep his body tissues healthy and 14% carbohydrate. Some fat is necessary to keep your dog healthy so never feed your dog a low-fat diet unless he has specific health problems that indicate it.

A healthy diet for your dog can include beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, rabbit and even fish or eggs from time to time – just as long as it makes up about 55% of the total diet. What other items make up a healthy diet for your dog? Some experts feel that your dog should also be fed portions of grains and carbohydrates like fruits or vegetables.

These grains are usually made up of brown rice and other grains like barley or oatmeal for variety and a range of vegetables which should include greens like broccoli, peas, beans and orange vegetables like carrots or squash. These items are critical in a healthy diet for your dog.

Why are vegetables important in a healthy diet for a dog? These plant foods contain valuable antioxidants that boost your dog’s immune system and can help fight against certain cancers. Just as these foods keep us well they are also part of a healthy diet for your dog.

Particularly beneficial in a healthy diet for your dog are broccoli stalks, dark green lettuce leaves and asparagus spears. You can mince these up finely and add them to your dog’s food. These foods contain chlorophyll that can help your dog fight cancer causing free-radicals and are an essential part of a healthy diet for your dog.

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For the same reason your dog should be allowed to munch safe grasses outdoors if he chooses to do so as they will help him to maintain the correct bacterial balance in his intestine. In doing so, fresh grass becomes essential for a healthy diet for your dog.

Other experts feel that a raw meat and bone diet is the only healthy diet for your dog. Many pet owners feel that feeding their dogs raw meat and bones will be bad for their dogs and expose them to bacteria from the meat or injuries from splintering bones. Bones (like chicken bones) only splinter once they have been cooked. When fed raw they form part of an essential and healthy diet for your dog.

This means that your dog can be fed a variety of bones in their raw form quite safely. Both their teeth and their digestive systems (which contain a super concentrated form of stomach acid) are able to contend with the raw food of their wild ancestors. A healthy diet for your dog should include all those portions of the animals they might have fed on in times gone by.

Many dogs who have been diagnosed with health problems like allergies, arthritis and other problems have recovered when fed on a diet that is as close to nature as possible. A healthy diet for your dog is one which closely resembles what a dog would have eaten out in the wild as he either hunted in packs or scavenged food he found in nature.

Many packaged foods do contain protein but these are mainly from plant sources (corn, wheat etc.) so while your dog may look well he may not be getting the nutrients that will keep him from becoming ill in the future. While these foods are cheap to produce they are not a healthy diet for your dog, who is a carnivore! Stick to a healthy diet for your dog that is as close to nature as possible and reap the rewards of a healthy pet! A healthy diet for your dog is one that tastes good and supplies all the nutrients your dog needs to live long and stay healthy.

What not to give your dog

Here are some common foods that should never be offered to your dog, as they can cause big problems.


  • Eating excessive onions can cause red blood cells to “burst” and lead to anaemia in your dog (what we call haemolytic anaemia)
  • It’s easy for a dog to eat a lot of onions – especially off a momentarily unmanned BBQ!


  • Excessive amounts of chocolate can cause overstimulation of your dog and lead to seizures, convulsions, hyperactivity or even death by toxicity to the heart
  • Dogs can die from a heart attack as a result of eating too much chocolate
  • The danger is the amount of cocoa consumed relative to the size of your dog
  • Cocoa is especially high in dark chocolates, pure cocoa powder, dark chocolate cakes, etc.
  • Feeding a small amount of milk chocolate occasionally is unlikely to harm your dog, but they will acquire a taste for chocolate
  • Be especially careful around festive seasons where chocolate is rampant
  • At Easter many dogs end up eating chocolate Easter eggs, foil and all!

Macadamia nuts

  • In some dogs, neurological signs such as muscle spasms, unco-ordination, collapsing can occur
  • Exactly what macadamia nut toxins do is still not very well understood

Raisins and grapes

  • In some dogs, renal failure has been known to occur
  • How this occurs is largely unknown

Fatty foods

  • Can cause obesity
  • In some dogs (usually overweight older dogs), a syndrome called pancreatitis can occur after a fatty meal, where the pancreas becomes inflamed
  • Inflammation results in the release of enzymes within the pancreas, surrounding area and blood stream
  • Not only is this extremely painful but, in some cases, complications can develop and lead to death.

Foreign bodies (corn cobs, skewers, string)

  • Be careful with the garbage, and never offer your dog food from a skewer. They will often eat the entire skewer, which can pierce through the gut wall, causing a lot of pain and severe consequences
  • Corn cobs often get stuck in the small intestines and have to be surgically retrieved
  • Cooking strings used to tie up a roast often smell very attractive, but they can get stuck in the intestines, bunch up tightly and rip through the intestinal wall
  • Plenty of other “foreign bodies” have been retrieved from dog’s intestines, so always be careful about what you offer your dog, and how you dispose of any edible garbage.

Surf the net for recipes ideas

Cooking or preparing food for your dog is very rewarding as they looove a home prepared meal.

This recipe requires a little bit of preparation (20-30 mins), but is well worth it for the food value and the health of your dog. It is not expensive in the long run because frozen, it lasts for many meals, but your dog will enjoy a good meal that is not introducing preservatives or food that has been altered to make it palatable.

Yummy Doggy Dinner

2 x BBQ chooks (use a large can of tuna instead of one chicken if you like).
1.5 kg of raw meat (any meat that is on special ).
2 cups of uncooked brown rice.
1/2 a large pumpkin (skin on), microwaved and mashed, retain cooking water.
1 medium sweet potato (skin on) prepared as above.
2 medium carrots, same as above. Add frozen peas if you wish.

Cook the rice until tender
Break up chickens taking care to remove bones
Cut up meat if not using mince
Mix all ingredients, including the vegetable cooking water, on the kitchen bench as a bowl may not be big enough.
Using sandwich bags, fill with mixture, flatten with hand and stack in freezer ready for the weeks ahead.

Serve with appropriate dried dog nibbles.

Liver Treat Dog Biscuits

500g raw liver
750g white flour
250g Rolled Oats
3 stock cubes, (beef or chicken flavoured)
Approx. 1 cup water
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 175 degrees c
Grease 3 baking trays.
Chop the liver finely, by hand or in food processor.
Mix flour and oats, crumble in the stock cubes.
Add the eggs and the chopped liver and enough water to make a firm but slightly sticky dough. Spread evenly on the trays about 1cm thick. Dip a small biscuit cutter in flour before cutting out each portion. Remove uncut parts, spread out on another baking tray and repeat. Bake for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. These biscuits will keep for approximately 2 weeks.

Local dog trainers

Barco – community dog training based in the north of Byron Shire. Email barcodogs@gmail.com  Phone 0429 518 817 or 0447 975 201.

Barco is a voluntary not for profit organisation who run dog obedience classes to teach people how to be responsible dog owners. Training sessions are each Sunday morning starting at 9am at Brunswick Heads sports fields.  If you are fostering a Byron Dog Rescue dog the training is free for that dog.  For all other dog owners, once the $20 yearly registration fee is paid, the only other cost is only $5 each time you attend training.