Client Information Sheet





Written by Dr Douglas Wilson BVM&S PhD VetMFHom MACVSc


What kinds of food are best for my dog ?


Natural foods are best.



What is a dog’s natural diet ?


Wild dogs eat mostly meat, bones and offal (liver, kidneys, etc) together with the stomach contents of animals which they hunt. This usually contains ground up grasses, grains and fruit etc.



Can my dog eat the same types of foods as wild dogs ?


Yes. Domestic breeds of dog may look very different from wild dogs but their digestive system is basically the same.



What is wrong with tinned and dry dog food?


Both tinned and dry dog foods are made from cheap animal or cereal bi-products, which are heated and processed to prevent the going off.  This allows them to be stored and transported without deterioration. Unfortunately, processing also breaks down most of the nutritional value, so vitamins and other nutrients have to be added.  Some additives cause skin problems, allergies and other health related conditions.  There is also a higher incidence of tooth decay in dogs fed only commercial processed food.


What should I feed my dog ?


Most of the diet should consist of




These can be chicken, turkey, lamb, kangaroo, beef, pork or rabbit.  Lamb off-cuts or chicken carcasses (chicken frames), or chicken necks are often suitable. Large bones can be sawn in half to expose the marrow, but remove any excess fat.  Small dogs usually love chicken wings. You can also feed whole or filleted fish.



Will bones harm my dog ?


Cooked bones tend to splinter and may become lodged in the dog’s throat or intestine. This is rarely a problem with raw bones, so always feed them raw.  Chickens are now killed when their bones are still soft, so it should be safe to feed them providing they are not cooked.  Feed free-range chicken frames if possible.


All bones should be free from parasites if they are bought from a butcher.



What else should I feed my dog ?


Dogs normally eat the stomach contents of animals, which they hunt. Consequently, part of your dog’s diet should consist of



– especially green leafy ones (although carrots are also good). Remember that dogs cannot chew, so the veggies must be finely grated or crushed in a juicer or food processor before feeding. You can also give some cooked grains – like porridge oats or rice.



Should I vary my dog’s diet ?


Yes. Try giving different types of bones. You should also give crushed ripe FRUIT as well as the veggies. Try mixing some liver, kidney, table scraps, cottage cheese, yogurt, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, or a raw egg with the finely grated raw veggies. You could also add a crushed clove of garlic or fresh/dried herbs to increase the flavour of your vegetable mix.


It isn’t necessary to feed both the bones and veggies on the same day. You can give only bones for one or two days then give a meal of veggies & fruit the next day.


Also, try feeding your dog at a different time each day. Many dogs benefit from fasting one day a week.



Is there anything extra I should add to the food ?


Not really, but you could supplement occasionally with Brewer’s Yeast (for B vitamins) or a Kelp tablet (for Iodine, which is deficient in many parts of Australia).



What should I do if my dog keeps burying his bones ?


This usually means that he is getting too much to eat – so he tries to hide the bones for later. He may also be overweight. You should feed nothing for 24 – 48 hours then try him with less food.


Some dogs prefer their bones to be slightly “off” and dig them up later.



How much should I feed my dog ?


This depends on the type of dog, age, activity, health and metabolic rate. Please make an appointment with Dr Wilson to determine the amount he or she needs in order to keep fit and healthy.



Suggested Reading




The Barf Diet                       by Ian Billinghurst


Give your dog a Bone          by Ian Billinghurst


Grow your Pup with Bones  by Ian Billinghurst




available from the HolisticVetOnline


Dr Douglas Wilson BVM&S PhD VetMFHom MACVSc


Page last edited: Mar 31st 2010

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