What are the benefits of a Natural Food Diet for Dogs?
- Better general health and wellbeing
- Cleaner teeth
- Better breath
- Less flatulence
- Better formed and less smelly poos
- Brighter eyes
- Greater alertness
- More energy
- Less inflammatory illnesses
- Fewer visits to the vet
- Happier, healthier furry friend
What is a “Nutritionally Balanced” diet for Dogs?
Dogs are essentially carnivores. They need lots of good quality animal protein balanced with the right fats to truly thrive and live long, active, healthy lives. Dogs in the wild eat a wide range of food which is also dictated by the season and what food sources are available at different times of the year.
Dogs ideally need around 60-80% of their diet to be protein, fat and bone from good quality muscle meat and organ meat from chicken, rabbit, quail, beef cattle/veal, sheep/lamb, kangaroo and fish. Eggs are also an excellent and easily digestible form of protein for Dogs. Small amounts of yogurt and cottage cheese can be added as a protein source if your dog isn’t lactose intolerant (as some are).
By adding the right amount – 20-40% of the total diet – of good quality plant matter including, vegetables and herbs, small amounts of fruit, nuts, seeds, oils and seaweed we can create a natural, nutritionally balanced canine diet.
What is meant by “recreating the prey animal”?
By “recreating the prey animal” as closely as possible, we endeavour to get the nutritional balance of a dog’s meal to mimic the nutritional balance of an animal that they would hunt in the wild, ie: their “prey animal”.
We want the right amount of muscle meat, organ meat, raw fat, raw bone, partially digested plant matter/ grasses that would be found in the prey animal’s digestive system. We can also include some seeds, nuts or fruit that were eaten by the prey animal or that dogs may scavenge from the forest floor. Learn about the Ancestral Diet.
Is it safe to feed my dog raw bones?
At Good Pet Food Kitchen we highly recommend adding raw bone to the canine diet. It helps to keep the correct calcium/phosphorus balance
Raw bones help to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Raw bones need to be the appropriate size for your dog.
Raw bones need to be fed with caution.
Always observe your dog/s while they are chewing on their bones.
DO NOT overfeed raw bones as it may cause constipation. 2-3 raw meaty bones, a day or 2 apart, per week should be adequate. Dog’s poo can sometimes go a little harder than normal when feeding raw bones but this is usually alleviated by adding the correct plant/fibre content.
If you are unsure whether raw bones are suitable for your dog, please check with your vet.
It’s a good idea to get your puppies used to chewing on raw bones from a fairly young age, usually around 3-4 months depending on the size of your puppy. Start with the small wing tip from a chicken wing or you could try half of a chicken neck. Small quail or rabbit bones are also ideal.
Very elderly dogs with few teeth or delicate digestion should also be feed raw bones with caution and in small amounts only but can benefit greatly from eating raw bone.
If you are not comfortable feeding your dog raw bones, we have created a range of products without raw bone and we have added Good Pet Food Kitchen-made eggshell powder as the next best form of calcium to add to your Dogs diet.
NEVER, EVER FEED COOKED BONES!!
Cooked bones splinter into hard, sharp little shards that can cause serious damage to gums, teeth, mouth, throat and the digestive system. Cooked bones can cause intestinal obstruction and internal damage. Cooked bones cannot be digested.
What is the best way to prepare vegies for my dog?
Our favourite way to prep vegies for our dogs is to ground the vegetables into small pieces with a food processor or kitchen aid or you could finely chop with a knife. We then add these ground vegies to a pot of house made, already strained and fat removed chicken stock. We let the delicious fresh vegies absorb the great flavour of the chicken stock as it cools.
This methods makes for more easily digested plant matter (as it would be in the stomach of the prey animal)
Lightly steamed, mashed and baked vegetables are also great. If feeding small amounts of raw vegies grating first makes digestion easier. Variety, and in the right proportion, is the key.
What foods should I NEVER FEED MY DOG?
- Onion, especially raw
- Coffee or any product containing caffeine
- Avocado – dogs are very good at swallowing the large seed whole, which then becomes lodged as a gastrointestinal obstruction. Surgery is usually required. Very small amount of the flesh of an avocado is usually safe for dogs but avocados do contain a substance toxic to dogs called persin, so are best avoided.
- Grapes, raisins or sultanas
- Fruit pits like mango seed, peach or apricot pit – these are easily swallowed by dogs causing gastrointestinal obstruction.
- Macadamia nuts
- Cooked animal fat
- Alcoholic beverages
- Cooked bones
- Moldy Food
- Raw yeast bread dough – the live yeast can swell in the warm environment of a dog’s stomach causing numerous potential problems including difficulty breathing & damage to the tissue lining the stomach. As the yeast multiples alcohol is produced causing further complications that can become life threatening
- Xylitol sweetener or anything containing Xylitol such as chewing gum, lollies, baked goods, human toothpaste
I am a vegetarian, can my Dog be a vegetarian too?
NO! Dogs need good quality animal protein to lead a long and healthy life. End of story. This can be hard for animal lovingly vegetarians to swallow! If you are a vegetarian for health reasons you need to clearly understand that our canine friends have very different nutritional needs to humans and feed them accordingly.
If you are a vegetarian for ethical reasons and you own or want to own a dog then the best you can do is purchase meat and eggs that are farmed in the most ethical ways possible. This includes all Good Pet Food Kitchen products. Pasture fed and free range are best for many reasons including the animals usually have better lives and the meat and eggs are a much higher quality.
If you still struggle with the idea of feeding animal protein then you may consider the option of owning a vegetarian pet such as a rabbit, guinea pig, rat or mouse. These make great pets and although they still need species appropriate diets, you can feed them guilt free of not requiring animal protein. Ok they might not play ball at the park as well as a dog but they can be extremely affectionate and cute to watch and cuddle.
If you have the space chickens, ducks and geese can be lovely to have around with the added benefit of fresh eggs to enjoy.
How should I transition my dog to a new, all natural, real food diet?
As with all canine dietary changes, some dogs adapt well and quickly to a new diet with no adverse effects like an upset tummy. Some dogs take a little longer to adjust and may go through a period of “detox”. It is best to err on the side of caution and change your dog slowly on to Good Pet Food Kitchen all natural, real food diet. If your dog has more of a sensitive digestive system, it is a good idea to start with feeding GPFK lightly cooked meals first and then once your dog has adjusted, move on to our raw meat meals. It’s a good idea to check with your trusted vet before transitioning to any new food if you have any doubts about it for your dog.
It is best to take 3–6 days to introduce any new food. If your dog has always eaten highly processed food, there may be a period of ‘detox’.
Start by adding 25% new diet and leaving 75% old diet for days 1 & 2
50% new and 50% old diet on days 3 & 4
75% new and 25% old diet on days 5 & 6
100% new Good Pet Food Kitchen after a week and see the changes in your Dogs energy and happiness levels.
If during anytime of the transition your dog gets an upset tummy, miss the next meal to let the runny stools or diarrhoea pass through. Ensure your dog drinks water to stay hydrated. Don’t panic. If your dog looks lethargic or generally unwell, call your vet clinic to discuss.
Otherwise after waiting 12-24 hours try feeding again. Go back to mostly old diet and add small amounts of new food.
This scenario doesn’t happen too often with diet changes, most dogs have “iron guts” but it’s good to be aware and respond accordingly.
Some dogs may take longer for their stomach acids to re-adjust to digesting raw bone. If at first you notice small bits of un-digested bone in your dog’s stool or if they vomit with small bits of bone in it. Reduce the amount of raw bone and continue slowly. This situation should right itself after about 2-4 weeks, if not discuss further with your vet.
Can I feed Good Pet Food Kitchen in conjunction with my regular dog food?
Yes, of course. If your dog isn’t sensitive to sudden changes in diet then Good Pet Food Kitchen meals can be fed as special ‘treat’ meals as frequently or as rarely as you like.
Because our meals are nutritionally balanced, fresh, real food for dogs they are a fantastic addition to your dog’s diet.
If you feed your dog twice a day you may choose to feed dry food in the morning and Good Pet Food Kitchen fresh, real food for dogs meal in the evening or vice versa.
Just remember, if your dog’s dry/commercial food contains a high carbohydrate content, which lots of them do, it can be a good idea to give less vegies/carbs and more animal protein, raw fat and raw bone.
My dog is overweight, what should I do?
If your dog is overweight and there are no underlying health issues after checking with your vet, you are probably either feeding too much food or feeding the wrong food.
Most dogs when fed nutritionally balanced real food in the right quantity will readjust to their normal, healthy body weight. They will have better energy levels and feel less sluggish from trying to digest too much carbohydrate, often found in commercial, highly processed dog food.
Dog’s digestive systems are not built for digesting too much carbohydrate especially from grains or starchy vegetables. Please check the carbohydrate content of your Dogs current food and if it is higher than 20% you really need to look at adding more good quality animal protein.
Good Pet Food Kitchen alleviates this problem by ensuring that all our doggy recipes contain the right balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate, from the best and freshest sources.
How much should I feed my dog?
TBW= Total Body Weight
If your dog is overweight or inactive, feed on lower end of scale. If your dog is underweight or very active, feed on higher end of scale. Always consult your vet if you are concerned your dog is too over/under weight to be sure there are no underlying health conditions affecting your dog’s bodyweight.
If there are no underlying health issues, a healthy weight for your dog should be more easily maintained on a natural food diet.
This chart is a general guideline for healthy dogs:
How often should I feed my dog?
In the wild dogs don’t usually eat breakfast and dinner! They are not on a schedule like us humans. It’s often feast or famine. They hunt, catch their prey, feast and then may not eat again for a number of days, scavenging bits and pieces in between.
In the veterinary world there is two different schools of thought on How Often to feed your Dog.
- Feeding 2 smaller meals a day can be helpful in avoiding GVD – Gastric Dilation/Volvulus, commonly known as bloat, especially for larger, deep-chested dogs and very active dogs. Bloat is a nasty, acute illness where the stomach inflates then rotates, often involving rotation of the spleen and then a profound vascular change affecting venous return – the way blood returns to the heart. This situation is an emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention and usually surgery. GVD can also be avoided by NOT exercising your dog for a minimum of one hour AFTER feeding and let your dog rest for a good half an hour after exercise before feeding.
- A dog’s digestive system works well having a good fed every 18-30 hours. It’s healthy for a dog to go a little bit hungry sometimes, just as it is for us humans (unless there is any issue with blood sugar levels/diabetes, etc. please carefully follow your vets advice if there is).
A decent sized, natural food meal which includes good quality muscle and organ meat, raw bone, vegetable matter and extras can be digested over a day, giving the canine digestive system time to clear itself fully before the next feed.
That said many of us are used to feeding our dogs twice a day and there is nothing wrong with this, provided you are still feeding the correct daily amount and not over feeding your pooch.
Adjust your dog slowly if you decide on a new feeding regime and don’t be afraid to mix up the feeding times, it keeps them alert and not expecting meals at set times.
Treats for Dogs?
Treats for dogs in between meals are ok, just make sure your dog has really earned the treat by doing something you have asked it to. Treats are excellent during training but dogs should also obey your commands for a “good boy/girl” and a pat.
The best treats are dried animal protein like chicken breast, beef liver, lamb and kangaroo meat and dried fish fillets or whole small fish. There are some excellent products available now.
Avoid heavily processed treats with ingredients that don’t sound like real food or are high in carbohydrate. Rawhide chews can also be very dangerous for dogs.
What about Good Pet Food Kitchen packaging?
We use only Australian made, BPA Free, Non-toxic plastics containers. No nasty phthalates or bisphenol A. Very important for your pets good health. Please recycle containers and paper wrap after use.
Because GPFK products are made with the freshest ingredients, with no preservatives, please check the Use By date and do not feed past this date. This is obviously very different from dry pet foods which sit in cupboards and on shelves for months and sometimes even years.
Can I freeze Good Pet Food Kitchen meals?
Yes. Our pet meals can easily be frozen as long as it is frozen before the Use By date. We recommend defrosting slowly in the refrigerator overnight and then feeding within 24-48 hours of defrosting.
You will find some of our stockists sell our products already frozen. The same rule applies here, defrost within 1 month of the Use By date and feed within 24-48 hours of defrosting.
All our fresh and natural products are sold by weight per kilogram. Just like at your local deli. When we secure the best seasonal produce at the best prices, we happily pass on that saving to our loyal customers by adjusting the per kilo price accordingly that week. Therefore you may see some slight variations in pricing occasionally.
The price per kilo also allows you to easily compare with your pet’s current premium product. Generally our prices range from $15 to $25 per kilo depending on market price of our base ingredients.
When will Good Pet Food Kitchen release their real food for Cats?
We are working on it! Cats tend to be slightly fussier than dogs and we want to get our products just right for them. If you have a cat and would like to be on our mailing list to be notified when our pussy cat meals are available, please send your details to us at firstname.lastname@example.org