Good nutrition is the foundation for good health. As a rule of thumb always feed your pet (and yourself) as much unprocessed, fresh food as you can afford. Many experts agree that the best choice is a raw or cooked homemade diet. But you want to make sure it is nutritionally balanced. For instance, if you want to make a nutritious meal for your dog, combine:

  • 1 1/2 cups of raw or cooked chopped meat (such as beef, bison, chicken, turkey, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup vegetables/fruit (lightly steam or puréed)
  • 1 tablespoon fish oil or flaxseed oil[1]
  • Vitamin/Mineral supplement

If you prefer to buy your pet’s food, opt for a commercially available balanced raw food diet or cooked diet.

The next best choice would be human grade wet food, followed by human grade dry food. You want to make sure your pet is getting the same quality ingredients as you, which is why it is important to check the ingredients list. You should be able to recognize (and pronounce) the ingredients. Choose brands with no artificial preservatives, additives and cheap fillers that are also wheat and corn free.

I recommend that my clients do a combination of the above. Beyond the financial aspect, between running from work to your child’s soccer game, to an evening event, etc., it’s just not feasible for most individuals to cook for themselves and their pets every day. But you can still add in these fresh foods on a regular basis.

Another great way to do so is through healthy fresh food treats. For instance, instead of the traditional high-carbohydrate biscuit, give your pet some crunchy vegetables or fruit. Such as:

Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus) are full of antioxidants and protect against disease.

Carrots are high in fiber, beta carotene/vitamin A and antioxidants. They also help maintain strong teeth and act as a polishing agent.

Bell peppers are a fabulous source of vitamin C, not to mention vitamins A, E, and K, with loads of healthy fiber.

Cucumbers can lower blood sugar, help fight cancer, kill bad breath and improve diabetic symptoms. Plus they make a great treat for overweight pets.

Berries are super fruits that are high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which help fight chronic disease, cancer, lower blood pressure and reduce heart attack risk. Berries are also low on the glycemic index, making them super great for weight management because of their high fiber and liquid content.

Apples clean residue off your pet’s teeth, which helps to freshen his or her breath. Apples are also a good source of fiber, as well as vitamins A and C.

Bananas (on occasion) are a good source of potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, biotin and copper.

Watermelon is a great treat on a hot summer’s day because it’s full of water.

[1] Omega-3 fats are not only beneficial for cancer prevention and a healthy immune system, but they provide energy, are necessary for the normal development and function of body cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues. They also reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis, conditions of the bowel, and help prevent heart problems and high blood pressure.

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