A dog’s diet

Pressure Kukur
11 min readOct 22, 2021

Part 2: Meat-based diet components and more

Dogs may have evolved to digest human food better but cannot eat everything that goes on our plates. Their diets need to be balanced to provide optimum nutrition and maintain gut health. Diet affects every aspect of your dog’s life — even behavioural issues or skin problems may be tied into the diet! This is why it is necessary to feed your dog a balanced, meat-based diet specific to the dog. No two dogs can benefit equally from the same diet — the diet should take the dog’s breed, age, activity, etc., into consideration to provide her with the best nutrition.

Without going into specifics like portion sizes, etc. (which you can get from a qualified nutritionist — there’s a list at the end of this blog), let’s look at the main components of a dog’s bowl:

Before we begin, if you want to feed your dog a vegetarian/ vegan diet, here’s what you should do: don’t get a dog! If you need a companion animal, get one that will thrive on a vegetarian diet, but please don’t get a dog (or a cat; they are obligate carnivores!).

Note: Certain breeds of dogs require specific diets and cannot be fed certain ingredients. Always ensure you feed your dog items that are safe for consumption for her breed.


Dogs require meat as the main component of their diet. Meat can be given boneless or with bones. Bones are an essential part of the dog’s diet, so unless advised against feeding them, you should add them to the bowl. Ensure that you do not add cooked bones to your dog’s bowl. If your dog is on a lightly cooked diet, make sure the bones aren’t cooked along with the meat. For a raw diet, you can add meat on the bone to the bowl directly.

Dogs can eat a variety of meat such as Chicken, Goat, Lamb, Beef/Buff, Pork, etc. You can add novel proteins such as Duck, Turkey, Quail, Rabbit, Emu too. Rotating meats — changing the protein source in the bowl — is beneficial for your dog. You can rotate meats between every meal, or on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, depending upon what works for you and how you plan your dog’s meals. It is advisable not to feed the same protein for more than a month. Continuing with the same protein for extended periods can cause intolerance, resulting in itching or vomiting/ nausea when you feed that protein.

When selecting a source of protein, try to get one that has no antibiotic residue or is free-range. Always introduce new proteins (or a protein your dog has not eaten in a while) over a transitional period where you gradually increase the amount of new meat in the dog’s bowl. Failing to do so can cause stomach upset in your dog. It also gives you a chance to see if the new meat suits your dog.


Organs are packed with nutrition and elevate the quality of your dog’s diet when added to it. They can be muscle organs such as the heart, gizzard, tongue, lungs and tripe, or other organs like the kidney, liver, spleen, intestines, and brain. Ideally, your pet’s bowl should have both types of organs, and you should rotate the organs just like you would the meat. For novelty, many pet owners like to add eyeballs and testicles too, but it’s okay even if you work with the more common organs available. If you are feeding whole prey such as quail, keep in mind that the organs will go in with the rest of the animal.

Organs should supplement the main protein in the diet. If your dog has health issues, check with a nutritionist to see which kind of organs would suit her better.

Fish and seafood:

Often overlooked because of smell or personal preference, fish adds excellent nutritional value to your dog’s bowl. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can help decrease inflammation. These fatty acids cannot be produced in the dog’s body and come from the diet. Fish is an alternative to meat for dogs with food allergies and can benefit your dog’s heart, brain, skin and coat, and eyes too.

You can feed your dog freshly caught or farmed freshwater fish. Generally, the smaller the fish and its lifespan, the better it is. It will have lower mercury and toxin concentrations. The best options for your dog are anchovies or sardines, though many pet parents feed mackerel and salmon too. Smaller fish like Anchovy or Sardine can be fed whole and raw. Their bones are soft, so they do not harm the dog. If you want to cook and feed fish to your dog, make sure you either remove the bones or make a paste out of the cooked fish so that the bones do not cause issues.

While dogs benefit from eating crustaceans and molluscs, which are a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and some essential minerals, they should be fed shellfish with caution. Shellfish are filter feeders and can contain high levels of toxins such as heavy metals. If fed shellfish, dogs should never be given the shells as they can be hazardous if ingested.


Perhaps the most significant evolutionary change in the dog’s gut was the ability to digest fibre. Dietary fibre can be soluble (forms a gel in the gut and allows nutrient absorption through the small intestine) and insoluble (helps excrete food waste). Fibre can be conveniently provided by adding fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet. Apart from being a source of fibre, vegetables and fruits provide your dog vitamins, minerals and poly-nutrients. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Fruits fall in the ‘treats’ category, and their portions are small. We’ll discuss them in the next blog.

Vegetables can be a part of your dog’s bowl every day. Dogs can safely eat several vegetables such as Pumpkin, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Carrots, Peas, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Beetroot, Sweet Potato, Beans, Gourds, Green leafy vegetables, Celery, Zucchini, Potato, etc. While some vegetables such as carrots and peas can be fed uncooked, it is always a safe practice to steam and mash/blend/mince vegetables before adding them to your dog’s bowl. Doing this makes them more bio-available. Certain vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage may cause flatulence in some dogs and should be replaced with other vegetables.

Just like meat and organs, vegetables should be introduced slowly and can be rotated. Your dog might leave chunks of vegetables in the bowl — mashing them up tackles that problem. Your dog may not like certain vegetables, in which case you can try others. You can introduce vegetables to your dog when she’s hungry (don’t starve her!) so that she has the motivation to eat food and is less picky.


Fats provide dogs with the most concentrated form of energy and help their body on a cellular level. They are a source of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K). They help your dog maintain her beautiful skin and coat, make your dog’s food taste (or smell) better, and help with the production of prostaglandins in your dog’s body. Prostaglandins are hormone-like lipid compounds that are involved with inflammation and blood flow.

As discussed earlier, your dog’s body cannot produce essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 (present in marine sources) and Omega-6 (present in animal and vegetable sources). Fish oil (do not give cod liver oil) is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and Chicken and Turkey fat is a good source of Omega-6 fatty acids. You can also add fats through oils, such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil, wheat germ oil, etc. Make sure the oil is pure and preferably cold-pressed. Dogs can be given ghee every once in a while too, but ideally should not be given butter. It is advisable to feed your dog lean meat so that you can add beneficial fats to her diet later. If, for some reason, you are giving your dog fatty meat, reduce the fat intake through oil.

Eggs are also a great source of fats and nutrients, but because they are often used to substitute meat protein in the diet, we’ll file them under treats and cover them later.

A note on grains:

Grains such as oats, rice (brown/ white/ red), wheat, barley, etc., play a vital part in human diets but do not offer much value for dogs. They provide dogs with carbohydrates, which are converted into sugar and absorbed into the blood. This sugar does not bring any nutritional value to the dog. Since they offer no value to the dog, these grains are commonly called ‘fillers.’ They are used to bulk up your dog’s food intake, leading to fullness and can be eliminated from the diet without much consequence.

A diet with fillers can lead to skin issues in several dogs, while other dogs do absolutely fine on it. Even if your dog is doing okay on a diet with fillers, it is prudent to keep an eye out for any spikes in her blood sugar.

Now that we have covered the basic building blocks of your dog’s diet, let’s look at what else can be added to make it better for your dog:


Herbs like Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary and Parsely can be added fresh or dried. If you are using dried herbs, make sure they are not mixed with other spices. Please do not use pizza seasoning instead of herbs.

Herbs contain antioxidants and help with issues related to inflammation. They also help control bad breath in dogs. Just a pinch of herb in your dog’s bowl is good for a day.


Chopped ginger can be added daily to your dog’s bowl. Ginger tea is used to tackle acid reflux and nausea in dogs. You can read more about it on Georgina’s Kitchen’s Instagram page here.


We’ve already covered the benefits of garlic as a tick and flea repellent in our blog on natural tick and flea prevention. While adding garlic, make sure you do not go overboard. Consult a nutritionist if you are unsure of how much to use for your dog. Remember that certain breeds cannot be given garlic, so always check if it is safe for your dog.

Apple Cider Vinegar:

ACV with mother was featured next to garlic in our blog on natural tick and flea prevention. However, it has many benefits beyond keeping pesky critters off your dog. When consumed, it helps maintain the pH balance of the dog’s system, helps rid the body of bacteria and yeast infections and makes them unattractive to ticks and fleas.

As mentioned in our earlier blog, it should not be fed undiluted.

Golden Paste:

Golden paste is indeed golden for dogs! It is made from coconut oil, turmeric, water and peppercorns, and you can add it to your dog’s bowl every day. Curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric has a host of beneficial properties for your dog. Cooking turmeric with pepper to make golden paste increases its ability to be absorbed by the body.

The most popular recipe for Golden Paste is by Dr Doug English. You can read it here.


Cinnamon has antioxidant properties, helps with immunity and digestion, and is used to lower blood sugar levels (if you have been feeding your dog sugary stuff and fillers, you need this) and reduce the risk of heart disease. Sri Lankan Cinnamon powder is the best option for your dog. Your dog needs just a bit in her bowl every day.

You can add it to Golden Paste as well. In this case, it should not be added to the bowl separately. You should feed cinnamon in controlled amounts. For the exact amount suited to your dog’s needs, please consult a nutritionist.

Natural Supplements:

Depending upon your dog’s age and health, you may be advised to add natural supplements to her bowl. Different supplements like Spirulina, Green-lipped mussels, Kelp powder, Milk thistle, Hawthorn berry extract, bee pollen and other superfoods are given for various conditions. Supplements may come as powders, capsules or tablets.

Depending upon your dog’s health, she may be advised a natural dewormer or something to clear out her anal sacs.

It is okay if your dog is not on any supplements. Not all dogs need to take supplements, and those that do, require targeted supplements for their issues. It is, therefore, not advisable to add nutritional supplements to your dog’s bowl without consulting a professional canine nutritionist. Please do not use natural supplements to bypass veterinary treatment — you may cause more harm than good.

Prebiotics and Probiotics:

Your dog’s gut biome affects her digestion, which affects her overall health and behaviour. The gut biome can benefit from good gut bacteria. These are already present in the gut and can be introduced through various foods.

Probiotics provide the body with a colony of healthy gut bacteria and help digest food and balance the digestive environment to prevent diseases. Natural probiotics include curd, kefir, fermented veggies, ACV and Tripe and Intestines.

Prebiotics, in simple terms, are food for probiotic gut bacteria. They also aid in the fermentation of food in the digestive tract and help the body absorb nutrients. Bananas and Tomatoes are good sources of prebiotics.

Since your dog requires a minute quantity of prebiotics and probiotics, they can be given as treats instead of larger meals.

Sources for meal plans:

The internet is a weird and wonderful place and can be a source of limitless information when it comes to your dog’s diet. Unfortunately, this vast information is hard to go through and can be conflicting at times. Sometimes, it might not apply to your dog at all!

Here are a few sources that you can follow for information on dog nutrition and reach out to for customised diet charts:


Georgina’s Kitchen | https://www.instagram.com/georginaskitchen.blr/?hl=en | For more information on balancing meat-based diets and extra additions to your dog’s bowl

Canine Craving | https://www.instagram.com/caninecraving/?hl=en | For comprehensive posts on proteins, vitamins, veggies, antioxidants, prebiotics and probiotics, and more. They are certified nutritionists as well.

Bridger Animal Nutrition | https://bridgeranimalnutrition.com/blog | Their blog has good content on natural supplements, beneficial oils, grain-free diets, etc. They write about many animals beyond dogs so you might have to browse a little.

DogsFirst | https://dogsfirst.ie/the-nutrient-profile-of-popular-dog-food-ingredients/| A handy table with the nutrient profile of dog food ingredients. Good for parents of dogs with specific dietary needs (please get a professional consultation as well). Explore their website for other informative articles too.



Pressure Kukur

A blog to take the Pressure out of all things Kukur. Taking care of your dog doesn't need to be stressful!