Confused about human foods for dogs? Our latest post demystifies which foods are safe and nutritious for your pup. Dive in to ensure a happy, healthy mealtime! 🍎🥕🐕 #DogDiet
"Is it okay for my dog to eat this?" We’re sure you have asked yourself this question more than once, especially when you encounter those big, pleading eyes from under the dinner table. Sharing your meal with your four-legged family member may feel like an expression of love, but it can also carry a number of risks if you’re not feeding the correct thing.
When considering human food for dogs, it's important to research which items are safe and nutritious for your pet. To help you make the right choice, we’ll take a look at the nutritional benefits of certain human foods, which ones to avoid, and why sharing human food with your canine friend can be both good and bad.
As people have become more health-conscious, this change has significantly changed how we think about our dogs' meals too. Gone are the days when pet nutrition was a one-size-fits-all kibble solution. Today, more and more dog owners are turning towards fresh, human-grade foods to provide their furry companions with more exciting, nutritious diets.
This change is mostly due to owners wanting their dogs to eat a diet that benefits their health and well-being. In fact, research shows that 50% of pet parents are looking for higher-quality food that takes into consideration “humanization, premiumization, and sustainability.” An additional 19% of pet parents prefer non-GMO ingredients and 13% want human-grade ones. 1
This includes incorporating fresh human foods into their diets, which can offer benefits like improved digestion, enhanced energy levels, and a shinier coat.
While some human food for dogs, like carrots and lean meats, can provide essential nutrients, others can pose serious risks — and this is why it's important for pet owners to always research the best human food for dogs before sharing anything with your canine companion.
Introducing certain human foods into your dog’s diet can provide a variety of health benefits, serve as delicious snacks, and even aid in training as high-value treats. Other human foods can provide added nutritional value, serving as natural supplements to regular meals. They can also offer variety, keeping your dog's interest in meals high, which can be especially beneficial for picky eaters.
Here are some more human foods that are not only safe but can also be beneficial for your dog:
Just as some human foods can be beneficial, others pose a serious risk of illness or even death. Understanding these dangers can help you make better choices about what to share with your canine companion.
Here are some human foods that can be dangerous for dogs:
More and more pet owners are exploring the benefits of incorporating human food for dogs into their regular diet for a healthier lifestyle. Sharing your snack with your four-legged friend can be tempting, but as a responsible pet owner, it’s important to know what's safe and what's not.
To keep your furry friend happy and healthy, incorporating the best human food for dogs into their meals can be a wise and rewarding choice — but also a confusing one.. At Cola's Kitchen, we are stepping up to provide pet owners with peace of mind. Our meals are crafted using only the freshest, highest-quality ingredients, focusing on human foods that are not just safe for dogs but also offer substantial nutritional benefits. Our recipes are also carefully and individually balanced to ensure they meet the dietary needs of dogs, offering a convenient and healthy alternative to conventional pet food.
Looking for healthy dog treat ideas? Check out our latest post featuring 15 homemade treats made from fruits and veggies! Perfect for keeping your furry friend happy and healthy. 🍏🥕🐶 #HealthyDog
As pet owners, we always want the best for our furry friends, especially when it comes to their diet. So while there are numerous commercial options available for dog treats, nothing beats the freshness and healthiness of homemade treats.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 15 healthy treats for dogs made from fruits and veggies, each carefully selected for their nutritional benefits and taste appeal to ensure your pet enjoys a variety of wholesome, delicious snacks.
When searching for treats good for dogs, think low-calorie, nutrient-rich — and that’s where fruits and vegetables come in. These natural treats for dogs provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers that can help digestion, improve skin and coat health, and keep healthy tails wagging.
Fruits and vegetables aren't just staples in a healthy human diet; they're also superstars in the world of canine nutrition. These healthy homemade dog treats also come packed with numerous benefits:
Whatever dog treats you choose, keep in mind that treats should only make up about 10% of your dog’s total daily calorie intake.1 The amount and size of treats that are right for your dog depend on their weight, size, and calorie needs. For example, a smaller breed with a lower calorie requirement will need smaller or fewer treats compared to a larger, more active dog.
Remember, while fruits and veggies are healthy, they should be introduced gradually into your dog’s diet to avoid gastrointestinal issues. You should also be mindful of foods that are a no-go for dogs, like grapes and onions. Making a big dietary change? It's a smart move to check in with your veterinarian first to make sure that the new diet plan suits your furry friend's health needs perfectly.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your dog’s diet is a wonderful way to enhance their diet with nutrients while keeping calorie intake in check. As with everything, though, moderation is key, and you should always consult your vet before introducing new foods to your dog's diet.
For those looking for convenient, nutritious dog food, Cola’s Kitchen offers fresh dog food options rich in natural ingredients and tailored to meet the specific dietary needs of your pet. Cola’s Kitchen customers also have the exclusive opportunity to purchase some of the best dog treats in the market — our multi-purpose superfood treats. These treats are packed with nutrient-dense ingredients, delivering both exceptional taste and health benefits.
Ever wondered why your dog loves munching on grass? Our latest post dives into the surprising reasons behind this quirky habit. Unearth the secrets of your canine's grass appetite! 🌿🐕 #DogBehaviors
"Is my dog turning into a cow?" This question has probably crossed your mind once or twice when you see your pooch happily grazing on your lawn. We get it, dogs’ passion for grass-eating is a bit of a head-scratcher. After all, why do our canine pals, known for their meat-loving tendencies, suddenly decide to snack on greenery?
Turns out that grass-eating is actually very common. A survey conducted by the University of California, Davis, found that out of 1,000 dog owners, 79% claimed their dogs ate grass at some point.1 This makes the behavior quite common and “normal” rather than suggesting nutritional or behavioral problems.
So why does a dog eat grass? Let’s take a closer look into the world of canine science to figure out why our dogs have become the cutest 'lawnmowers' we've ever encountered.
Would you be surprised to hear that when dogs eat grass, it's often due to their wild ancestors? Well, that’s exactly how it is — while dogs are primarily known for their carnivorous diet, their ancestors had a more varied diet.
Studies looking into canine ancestry have found that ancient dogs were a mix of hunters, scavengers, and foragers before humans came into the picture.2 The behavior, still observed in wolves today, is not just about filling a gap in their diet but also about seeking medicinal benefits. For example, wild canids are known to consume certain plants and grasses to aid in digestion or expel intestinal parasites.3 While your dog likely doesn’t need to eat grass anymore to get rid of parasites if he’s regularly dewormed, they might have retained this trait from their wolf ancestors.
So while the sight of a dog eating grass can be puzzling, it's often just a normal part of canine behavior — a reminder of their rich and wild heritage.
While evolutionary habits play a significant role in why dogs eat grass, there are also other reasons such as health issues, nutritional needs, or psychological factors. More importantly, the reasons why dogs eat grass may vary from dog to dog, ranging from boredom to dietary deficiencies.
For example, you might have noticed that when dogs eat grass, they sometimes do it to induce vomiting if they're feeling unwell — especially if they have eaten something that doesn’t agree with their stomach.4 However, this reason may not be as common as you think. In fact, experts point out that less than 25% of dogs that eat grass actually vomit afterward and only 10% “seem to be sick before eating grass” — which suggests that nausea might not be the primary reason why dogs eat grass.5
If you notice your dog eating grass frequently, it might also be a good idea to check their diet for any nutritional deficiencies. Studies suggest that some dogs might be eating grass to supplement their diet, particularly to fulfill a need for fiber.6 Fiber is essential for digestive health, and grass is an easy-to-access source. While commercial dog foods are designed to provide balanced nutrition, some contain a low amount of fiber, which might lead to your pooch hunting for some extra in your yard.
Finally, boredom or anxiety can also lead your dog to nibble on grass — especially in dogs that are left alone for extended periods, lack sufficient mental and physical stimulation, or experience anxiety. For many dogs, the act of eating grass can become a distraction or even a self-soothing behavior.
So is it okay for dogs to eat grass? The short answer, according to experts, is that grass, in its natural state, is not harmful to dogs. However, lawns that have been treated with chemicals like pesticides or fertilizers can pose a significant risk to dogs. Many of these substances can be toxic if ingested, causing everything from mild gastrointestinal upset to more severe poisoning symptoms.
While untreated grass is generally safe, it could potentially cause stomach irritation, gastrointestinal upset or blockage if consumed in large amounts or too quickly. Plus, there’s always the risk your dog might ingest intestinal parasites that can be present in soil or on grass.
Finally, it's important to keep in mind that eating grass could be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as gastrointestinal distress or a nutritional imbalance, which might require attention from a veterinarian. Veterinarians will examine behavioral patterns to understand why dogs eat grass, considering both psychological and physical health aspects.
Observing your dog munching on grass can be a peculiar sight, but as pet owners, it’s crucial to know how to manage and respond to this behavior. This includes recognizing when to be concerned, making dietary adjustments if necessary, and providing environmental enrichment to prevent boredom-induced grass eating.
If the grass-eating behavior is something new (and it appeared suddenly), a veterinary check-up can help rule out or diagnose any medical concerns. Additionally, if your dog shows signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, along with increased grass eating, you should contact your vet right away.
Other changes you can make:
While grass-eating is generally harmless, staying vigilant about your dog’s overall behavior and health is key. Remember, when in doubt, a vet’s insight can help keep your grass-munching buddy healthy and happy!
At Cola's Kitchen, we provide nutritionally balanced, high-quality food that caters to the specific needs of dogs. Our recipes are crafted to provide a well-balanced diet that minimizes the need for dogs to seek out supplementary nutrients from sources like grass.
Discover how to delight your picky dog's palate! Our blog offers practical tips, creative feeding strategies, and the wonders of fresh food. Turn mealtime into a joyous occasion! 🐶🍽️
Finding the best dog food for picky eaters can test the patience of even the most dedicated pet parents. But when faced with a dog who snubs their nose at what's in their bowl, it's not just a matter of frustration – it could impact their health.
So how do you win your picky dog over? And how do you choose the best food to feed your dog? In this guide, we’ll look into practical solutions to encourage better eating habits. From exploring different food options to establishing a disciplined feeding routine, these changes can make a world of difference for picky eaters.
Dogs’ eating behaviors are primarily influenced by their senses. Smell, taste, and texture all play a role in how much your dog is attracted to a meal — and for picky dog eaters, it’s the right combination of these things that motivates them to eat.
A dog's sense of smell is about 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute as ours, 1 making aroma a very important factor in their willingness to eat. Surprisingly, dogs have fewer taste buds than we do — 1,700 taste buds compared to humans’ 9,000. Still, taste tests have shown that “they also prefer warm, moist foods over cold, dry foods,” according to the American Kennel Club.
Texture also contributes to a dog's eating preferences. For example, dogs are more likely to enjoy the moist texture of fresh food over the dry, duller taste of dry kibble. Keep in mind that every dog is different, and understanding these differences is key to addressing the challenges of feeding a picky eater.
When dealing with a picky dog eater, creativity can make all the difference. To make mealtime more appealing and nutritious for your picky canine companion, take a look at the following ingredients and techniques.
A bit of discipline will go a long way at feeding time — and establishing a regular feeding schedule can be a game-changer for picky dog eaters. The key is to serve your dog’s meals at consistent times each day, allowing about 15-30 minutes for them to eat. If they haven’t finished in this time, remove the food until the next mealtime.2 If you’re feeding wet or fresh food, it's best to discard any uneaten portions to prevent potential health risks. You can minimize waste by starting with smaller meal portions, gradually increasing as your dog begins to eat more consistently.
At Cola’s Kitchen, we believe in the importance of a distraction-free feeding environment. Avoid giving treats or table scraps between these structured meals, especially when working to resolve feeding issues. This approach has been successful for many of our canine customers, but keep in mind that it might take a few days for your dog to get used to it.
Bone broth’s savory aroma and taste are often irresistible to dogs. Just mix it with regular food or moisten dry kibble with it and you likely have a winner. In addition, bone broth is rich in minerals and nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, and can be beneficial for dogs' joint health and digestion. According to the American Kennel Club, incorporating bone broth into a dog's diet can also improve hydration and appetite. 3
Treats can be a powerful motivator for picky eaters but should be used carefully. In fact, experts agree that treats should not exceed 10% of a dog’s total daily calories.4 For healthier treat options, try lean meats, carrots, or apples. You can crumble these treats over your dog’s regular food to enhance flavor and texture, encouraging them to eat their meals.
Always give your picky eater dog options when it comes to their food, including different ways to eat. Puzzle feeders can turn mealtime into a stimulating game, which can be especially beneficial for dogs that need mental stimulation to eat. Choosing the right puzzle depends on your dog’s size, intelligence level, and eating habits — from slider puzzles to treat balls to snuffle mats, there’s plenty to keep your dog entertained.
Fish oil is an excellent supplement for dogs, offering benefits like improved coat quality and reduced inflammation. Plus, its strong smell can make food more appealing to picky dogs. The American Kennel Club points out that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are beneficial for canine health, plus “research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help to treat canine arthritis and chronic kidney disease.”5 When adding fish oil to your dog’s diet, always start with a small amount and increase slowly. Stop if you notice signs of gastrointestinal upset. At Cola’s Kitchen, we include high-quality organic Salmon Oil in all of our recipes.
Selecting the right dog food for picky eaters can significantly improve their appetite and overall health. Among the many options, fresh food stands out as an ideal choice for picky eaters for several reasons: it’s usually tastier, has a more appealing smell, offers variety, and provides significant nutritional benefits.
When it comes to flavor, fresh food holds a significant edge over traditional kibble. Many dogs have a distinct preference for meats and fats, which are easier to taste in fresh foods. The processing of kibble often involves high temperatures, which can degrade the natural flavors and nutrients found in the raw ingredients. Fresh foods, on the other hand, retain their natural flavor and smell, making them more appealing to dogs. For picky eaters who might be turned off by artificial flavors or the boredom of dry kibble, the enhanced flavor of real fresh food might be all they need to start eating.
Smell plays a major role in a dog's eating behavior. Dogs have an olfactory system that is incredibly sophisticated, allowing them to detect very specific details in the food they’re eating. Because fresh foods have strong smells, they are more likely to stimulate a dog’s appetite than the more subtle scent of kibble. This might be all a picky eater needs to decide whether the food is worth eating.
The moisture content in fresh dog food is a game-changer for taste and hydration, especially for picky eaters out there. Dry kibble has a moisture content of only about 10%, while fresh food can contain up to 70-80% moisture.6 Because of this, fresh food not only tastes better due to its natural moisture but also helps keep your dog well-hydrated, protecting kidneys and supporting overall digestive health.
Variety is not just the spice of life for humans – it's essential for dogs too. Fresh food diets allow for an easy rotation of protein sources (like chicken, beef, and fish) and a wide range of vegetables, offering different textures and flavors in each meal. This variety can combat mealtime boredom and keep picky eaters interested in their food.
If your dog is a picky eater, finding the right balance of nutrients and taste is essential. Fresh dog food diets provide superior nutrition compared to traditional kibble, and a recent study on human-grade dog food confirmed that by noting that whole, fresh food is highly digestible and can offer higher levels of essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and minerals, which are vital for a dog’s health.7 These diets are less likely to contain preservatives, colorants, and fillers, which are common in commercial kibble. In addition, fresh food diets can be tailored to a dog's specific nutritional needs, including age, weight, activity level, and health conditions. This personalized approach ensures that dogs are not only enjoying their meals but also receiving the nutrition they need for optimal health.
Fresh food, often considered the best dog food for picky eaters, offers a blend of flavor, variety, and health benefits, making it an excellent choice for those with a finicky palate. Add to that a few strategies – whether it’s bone broth, treats, puzzles, or fish oil – and you can make mealtime both enjoyable and nutritious.
At Cola’s Kitchen, we work hard to provide you with the best dog food for picky eaters in Canada. Our range of fresh food options is designed to appeal to picky eaters, ensuring your dog not only enjoys their meals but also receives the nutritional benefits they need.
Dive into the world of hypoallergenic dogs! Discover which breeds, like Poodles, offer allergy relief and how their care can change your life.
With an estimated 10% to 20% of the global population dealing with pet allergies, it’s no surprise that online searches for what dogs don't shed continue to grow. 1 Hypoallergenic dogs offer a glimmer of hope to those who want to share their home with a dog without the watery eyes and non-stop sneezing often triggered by traditional breeds.
But as the demand for these breeds grows, it's important to understand the truth behind the hypoallergenic label.
So what dogs are hypoallergenic? No dog is truly allergy-free, as all canines produce dander, the principal culprit behind allergic reactions. Still, some breeds produce a lot less dander than the average, which means they are less likely to trigger an allergy attack.
Let’s take a deeper look into the allure of these breeds, the myths surrounding them, and what special care (and diet) they need to thrive.
The term 'hypoallergenic' is often misunderstood. While many understand it to mean “no allergens,” it actually means the breed is less triggering for allergy sufferers. Contrary to popular belief, these breeds do shed — it's just that their shedding is not as significant, leading to a reduction in dander (the flakes of skin that carry allergenic proteins) being released into the environment.
Hypoallergenic dogs also tend to have a certain texture in their coats that doesn’t trap and spread dander as much around the home.
Proteins such as Can f 1 and Can f 2 are the primary allergens in dogs, and hypoallergenic breeds are thought to produce these in lower quantities. What makes a dog hypoallergenic is a combination of factors: a coat that sheds minimally or has hair that grows continuously like human hair, less production of saliva, and often a smaller size (simply because fewer allergens are present in a smaller dog than a large one). 2
It’s also important to keep in mind that not every person with allergies reacts the same to each breed. Some allergy sufferers might respond more to dandruff, while others have an issue with the proteins in the hair or the dander. When in doubt, make sure you spend time with a breed before bringing one into your home.
Among the dogs that promise a life with fewer sniffles and less sneezing, 'Doodles' have gained a special status. These beloved Poodle mixes — including the Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, and others – were specifically created with allergy sufferers in mind. Their popularity comes from the Poodle's non-shedding coat, which is believed to produce less dander, the main allergen affecting dog-sensitive individuals.
Designer breeds aside, what dogs are hypoallergenic? The Poodle itself, which is the foundation of the popular doodle mixes, is at the top of the list. All three Poodle sizes—standard, miniature, and toy— have the same type of hair, but they require regular grooming to maintain their hypoallergenic qualities. 4
Other breeds that don’t shed include: 5
While no dog can be considered completely hypoallergenic, these breeds offer options that may significantly reduce allergic reactions, allowing many allergy sufferers to finally enjoy the companionship of a canine friend.
Creating the right diet for hypoallergenic dogs involves carefully considering the unique needs of each dog. While a balanced diet rich in nutrients is important for all dogs, for hypoallergenic breeds, the focus often needs to be on identifying and avoiding potential allergens that could trigger sensitivities in both the pet and its human companions.
In addition, a poor diet can trigger extra production of dander, even in hypoallergenic dogs. For example, PetMd points out that “a vitamin deficiency (such as a lack of omega fatty acids)” could potentially lead to more dander, and so can allergies, low humidity in the home, and even a number of health conditions such as diabetes. 6 Foods rich in vitamins E and A can also promote healthier skin and coat and can benefit not only the dogs but also their owners.
The takeaway? Keeping your dog healthy with regular vet care and a well-balanced diet will keep your hypoallergenic dog in good health — and, as a result, keep you free of allergy attacks.
Hydrolyzed protein diets are often recommended for dogs with food sensitivities because they break down proteins into smaller components, which are less likely to trigger an immune response. These diets can include a variety of carbohydrate sources and are generally formulated to be complete and balanced for long-term feeding
But because of the complex dietary needs of these breeds, a fresh food diet might work especially well for them. These diets allow you to control what your dog eats, so you can cater to specific nutritional requirements while excluding common allergens. Ingredients can be carefully selected to avoid allergens common in commercial dog foods, such as beef, chicken, corn, wheat, soy, and dairy. Fresh diets can also be tailored to eliminate these ingredients, opting instead for novel proteins or a mix of fruits, vegetables, and supplements known to support canine health without worsening allergies or drying out the skin (which can cause or worsen dander).
At Cola's Kitchen, we offer an excellent range of food choices for hypoallergenic dogs, offering recipes that are not only free from common allergens but also enriched with nutrients essential for maintaining a healthy coat and skin, such as omega-3 fatty acids. These recipes ensure that dogs with unique dietary needs receive all the necessary nutrients without the extra work you would need to put in if you wanted to cook for your dog at home.
If your dog has a known health issue or his skin and coat have deteriorated recently, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian. Veterinary nutritionists in particular can offer invaluable guidance in formulating diets that are both safe and nutritious, ensuring that any fresh cooked meals meet all of a dog's dietary needs. In addition, regular veterinary check-ups can help identify skin conditions early on. A healthy hypoallergenic dog is less likely to develop skin issues that could increase dander production.
If your dog is healthy and you want to switch to fresh food prepared with whole, high-quality ingredients, Cola’s Kitchen has a great selection waiting for you. We customize your dog's food based on up to 11 data points to make sure every pooch gets the essential nutrients they need — no matter their size, exercise levels, and age!
Discover the reality behind homemade dog food recipes: a blend of customized nutrition and potential risks. Learn to navigate the complexities of DIY canine diets for your pet's health and happiness.
The dog bowl is evolving. Gone are the days when every tail-wagging companion dined exclusively on store-bought kibble. The trend of homemade dog food is rising, and the reasons are as varied as the breeds we love.
In this deep dive into DIY canine nutrition, we explore the complexities, benefits, and cautions of this growing practice, ensuring your furry friend’s tail keeps wagging meal after meal.
Every dog is different, and many have specific dietary needs due to health conditions, allergies, or sensitivities. By preparing your dog's meals at home, you are able to customize the ingredients that go into the bowl. Does your dog need more lean protein, fewer grains, or more antioxidants in the form of fruits and vegetables? Cooking at home means you can easily make those adjustments to the food.
Homemade puppy food also allows pet owners to avoid additives at an age when healthy nutrition is essential for growth. Processed pet food often contains additives used to enhance nutrition, safeguard against contamination, and preserve key qualities such as color, taste, texture, stability, and the ability to withstand spoilage.1 While they play an important role, there’s much controversy about the safety of many of these additives.
For example, potassium sorbate (added to pet foods as a mold inhibitor), is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant and has been shown to cause “DNA-damaging activity.” And the synthetic antioxidant ethoxyquin, commonly used in dog food, has shown “allergic reactions and skin, liver, kidney, thyroid and reproductive problems in dogs.” 2
The message? Switching to homemade meals allows you to bypass these additives and provide your dog with a healthier diet.
While homemade dog food offers a range of benefits, it also requires a significant investment of time and energy. Preparing nutritious, well-balanced meals for your canine companion is more complex than simply mixing meat with vegetables. You also need to make sure you’re meeting your dog's dietary needs, are able to prepare meals regularly, and have the space to store them correctly to prevent spoilage.
Dogs need a balanced diet with appropriate proportions of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Even with the best intentions, the average pet owner just doesn’t have the knowledge to do this properly and safely. Poorly balanced diets can cause nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that can affect your dog’s health. For example, the best homemade dog food for seniors will not look the same as homemade puppy food.
When preparing dog food at home, there is always a risk of spoilage and bacterial contamination. Proper handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent food-borne illnesses.
For many pet owners, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “kitchen-counter nutritionism” — thinking that a homemade recipe, found with a simple internet search, can provide all the necessary nutrients for your pet. But without a solid understanding of dog nutrition, this good-intentioned effort could overlook the essential nutrients your dog requires.
Consulting with an animal nutritionist is the first step in creating a balanced diet for your dog that you can prepare at home. A nutritionist can evaluate your pet's individual needs based on their age, weight, activity level, and any health conditions they may have.
From there, a nutritionist can then come up with a plan that will ensure the meals you make are nutritionally complete and appealing to your dog.
For pet owners who can’t afford the services of a nutritionist (a consultation can cost up to $500), a good compromise is to use services like Cola’s Kitchen, where you can buy balanced, home-cooked-style meals that eliminate the guesswork and time investment. Cola’s Kitchen offers the perfect blend of homemade goodness and convenience, ensuring that pets receive nutritionally complete meals without their owners having to spend hours in the kitchen.
Online recipes can be a good way to add variety to your dog’s diet or can be used as a temporary solution, but they are not meant to be the main source of nutrition long-term. Without the stamp of approval from veterinary nutritionists, these recipes might miss essential nutrients or accidentally include ingredients that aren't dog-friendly.
We have put together ten starter recipes as a brief introduction to homemade dog food. They're generally balanced and nutritious and offer an easy way to add variety to your dog's diet. But while they provide a solid nutritional foundation, they're not a replacement for a tailor-made meal plan that addresses all of your dog's specific dietary needs. If you'd like to prepare homemade dog food for your dog long-term, we highly recommend to use The Essential Nutrient Mixes of our good friends at Dog Child. Their Nutrient Mixes allows you to cook for your dog from scratch using a variety of recipes. The Essential Nutrient recipes require more ingredients, but give you complete control over your dogs meals.
You can learn more about Dog Child and their mission here.
Chicken & Rice Comfort Dinner
Beef & Veggie Mash
Turkey and Quinoa Delight
Fish & Parsley Pot
Pork & Apple Feast
Lamb & Mint Mélange
Egg & Cottage Cheese Scramble
Veggie & Liver Blend
Tuna & Sweet Pea Surprise
Duck & Blueberry Bliss
Each of these recipes provides a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, along with a range of vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and fruits. However, it's important to keep in mind that every dog's needs are different, and not every dog will enjoy or do well when fed these recipes regularly.
Here's how to use them responsibly:
Remember, these recipes are not meant to be a replacement for a diet formulated by a professional but can be used as part of a well-rounded meal plan for your dog.
Homemade dog food has many benefits, but you should also keep in mind the challenges and risks that come with it. And while the internet can provide a starting point, it is not a substitute for professional advice.
Cola’s Kitchen is where the love for homemade dog food meets the demands of convenience. As you start your journey into the world of fresh food, we encourage you to consult with professionals to come up with a plan that improves your dog's health and happiness.
Explore dog food options: kibble, wet, raw, home-cooked, and fresh. Understand each type's benefits, risks, and nutritional value to make the best choice for your dog.
One of the most important decisions you can make for the health of your dog is what to put in their food bowl. With so many options out there, choosing the perfect one can feel overwhelming — and the first step in making that decision is understanding how each type can affect your dog's health, behavior, and overall well-being.
In this guide, we'll take a look at the most common dog food types and the science and nutrition behind each to help you make the best decision for your furry friend.
Kibble is the most popular form of dog food, mostly because it’s convenient and has a long shelf life. Kibble is produced using a process called extrusion, which involves mixing proteins, grains, and vegetables and then exposing them to pressure and high temperatures. 1
The problem with this is that the high-temperature processing can affect (destroy) the nutrients in the food. According to a study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, extrusion affects vitamin concentration and is “destructive for vitamins from the B group, vitamin A and vitamin E.” 2
As a result, manufacturers end up having to add artificial vitamins and minerals to kibble to make sure it meets the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines for complete and balanced nutrition.
The main benefits of kibble have to do with convenience. When stored properly, it has a shelf life of up to a year, it requires no preparation or much cleaning, and it already comes balanced so you don’t have to worry about nutrition.
Kibble is also the most cost-effective option on a per-calorie basis. Because kibble is mass-produced, its costs are lower than other types of food. It’s also energy-dense, which means pet owners only need to feel a small amount to meet their dogs’ calorie needs. At the end of the day, this all means less costs for the owners, especially for those who share their home with large breeds with high caloric needs.
Not all kibble is created equal. Lower-cost options tend to be poor choices nutritionally, as they’re often made with fillers (corn and other cheap grains that add bulk but not much nutrition) and artificial preservatives. If you have a dog that’s a picky eater, you might also find that they don’t like kibble and refuse to eat, which can then lead to reduced food intake and nutritional issues.
Dogs that only eat dry food are also at a higher risk of dehydration. According to PetMD, “dogs that are fed a canned food or a homemade diet will receive some moisture through their food, as these are about 65-80% water." 3 If you feed only dry food and your dog isn’t a big drinker, it could be a problem.
Despite their claim for complete and balanced nutrition, it is very difficult to get the correct nutrition for a dog from kibble. Most kibble dog food manufacturers often use a single formulation for each life stage which means they don't take the specific needs of your dog into consideration. Specific attribution such as reproduction status, body weight, size, physical activity level and age that are unique from one dog to another, affect their required nutrition.
For a long time, kibble was also believed to be the best choice from a dental perspective, because pet owners felt chewing something hard could help remove dental plaque and prevent tartar accumulation. However, recent studies seem to indicate this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, a 2007 study showed that it isn’t the kibble itself but the size of it that seems to make a difference, pointing out that “increasing the kibble size by 50% resulted in a 42% decrease in the accumulation of dental tartar.” 4 So if you have a small dog eating tiny-sized kibble, the results might not be that obvious.
Nutritionally speaking, kibble is "designed" to be a complete diet, which means it provides a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. Although the proportion of these nutrients can differ based on the brand and formulation, you can confirm that a pet food meets your pet’s nutritional needs by looking for the phrase “complete and balanced” on the label. This means the food meets the Nutrient Profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). 5
While dry dog food is one of the cheapest options to feed your dog, you should evaluate both the upfront cost and the cost per feeding when looking at kibble. For example, high-quality kibble dog food has a higher price tag but can provide better nutrient density, reducing the cost per meal. On the other hand, cheap, low-quality kibble might sound cheaper at first, but could end up costing you thousands of dollars down the line in vet bills. You should also consider the potential nutritional issues with kibble and their long term effects on your dog before deciding on this diet.
Kibble is the easiest pet food to store. You just need to keep it in a cool, dry place, ideally in an airtight container to prevent exposure to moisture and air. The FDA recommends storing pet food in the original container or bag, so you have the “best by” date easily available. 6
Wet dog food is a mix of higher protein sources, like meats and poultry, along with grains and vegetables.
Pet owners choose wet foods for many reasons — they feel canned food is better quality than dry food, they have dogs that are fussy eaters, or they believe wet food is closer to a natural diet for dogs.
One of the biggest advantages of wet dog food is its high moisture content. According to PetMd, “dry food might have around 10% moisture (max.) while a wet food might have something like 78% moisture (max.).” 7
Wet food also has a richer flavor and smell than dry food, making it a great choice for senior pets and picky eaters. For dogs with dental issues, the soft texture also makes it easier to chew and swallow, while for pet owners seeking organic food for dogs, the options might be more varied among premium canned food brands.
Wet food is generally more expensive per calorie than kibble — the best-canned dog food can even cost 2-3 times more than dry food.
It’s also a more inconvenient choice in general: it's heavier to transport, takes up more storage space, and has a significantly shorter shelf life once opened. It also requires refrigeration after opening, which makes it more inconvenient.
Just as with kibble, the nutritional profile of wet dog food can be quite variable, depending on the quality of the ingredients. The best products have meat as the first ingredient, without excessive fillers or artificial additives.
Wet dog food tends to be more expensive than kibble, both in terms of the initial price and the cost per feeding. This is partly because you're paying for the water weight in the food, and dogs may need large amounts of wet food to meet their energy needs.
Some owners choose to mix wet and dry food to balance the cost while still providing some of the benefits of both food types.
Once opened, canned dog food should be used within a few days, and it must be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40F or below.8 Unopened cans have a long shelf life and should be kept in a cool, dry place.
The raw diet for dogs is inspired by what our dogs’ ancestors would have eaten in the wild and typically consists of raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables. Advocates of the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food) model argue that this diet is healthier and more in tune with a dog's natural digestive system, but the scientific community has not reached a verdict on its safety.
Raw diets can be prepared at home or purchased commercially.
Pet owners who feed raw claim the diet has many health benefits for dogs, including shinier coats, healthier skin, improved dental health, increased energy levels, and a stronger immune system.9 Some studies suggest that “raw diets are higher in antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and some flavonoids.” It’s also possible that a raw diet may improve immune function. “As 70% to 80% of each animal’s immune system is located within the intestinal tract wall, it is not surprising that food has a major influence on immunity, and therefore on disease predilection,” according to a report, which also points out this hasn’t been confirmed or proven at this time.
There are plenty of risks associated with a raw diet. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) discourages the feeding of raw animal proteins because they can contain pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli.10 There's also a risk of nutritional imbalances if the diet isn't carefully formulated — which is very likely unless pet parents seek the guidance of a veterinarian or pet nutritionist.
Another concern with raw diets is the potential for whole bones to cause choking, broken teeth, or internal punctures. 11
A raw diet can provide plenty of nutrients when prepared properly.
On the other hand, there's a significant risk of vitamin and mineral imbalances with home-prepared raw diets, especially with calcium and phosphorus (meat is high in phosphorus and low in calcium), which need to be carefully balanced to keep bones and teeth healthy. Even with sufficient amounts, though, the body may struggle to digest calcium or phosphorus if the diet's quality is poor. 12
The cost of a raw diet can vary widely depending on whether it's homemade or commercially prepared. Premium raw diets tend to be more expensive because of the high-quality ingredients used. Ideally, pet owners wanting to feed a raw diet should consult with nutrition experts, which can also be quite expensive.
Raw diets are probably the most inconvenient of all options when it comes to storage. Raw meat must be kept frozen until use and then thawed safely to prevent bacterial growth. Any uneaten food should be discarded immediately so it doesn't spoil and to prevent contamination. There’s also a high risk of cross-contamination with human foods, which means there’s a lot of cleaning to be done constantly when feeding raw.
Home-cooked meals are exactly what they sound like: meals prepared at home from fresh ingredients. Cooking for your dog allows you to have complete control over every ingredient that goes into the bowl, making it an ideal choice for dogs with specific dietary needs or food sensitivities — but also a risky one when it comes to nutritional balance.
When you cook for your dog, you can be sure that your dog is getting quality ingredients without fillers or additives and can easily make adjustments for weight management or health conditions.
Many owners find peace of mind in knowing exactly what their dog is eating, and cooking for your pet can also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.
Home-cooked meals require a considerable time investment in planning, shopping, preparing, and cooking. Nutrition is a complicated issue with home cooked meals and most home-cooked meals are likely to be nutritionally poor unless they are formulated by a veterinary nutritionist. According to the American Kennel Club, “Some of these may cause deficiencies in your dog’s diet, while others may lead to an excess of certain nutrients.” To avoid health issues down the line, they recommend avoiding generic recipes from books or online sources. 13
If properly formulated by a veterinarian nutritionist, the nutritional profile of gently cooked fresh dog food meals can be excellent. However, most home-cooked diets lack certain nutrients, mostly because many recipes are inadequate and sometimes dangerous.
Imbalances can lead to serious health issues over time. For example, too little calcium can lead to bone problems, while too much can lead to skeletal issues, especially in large-breed puppies. 14
The price of home-cooked meals can be high (if you choose organic or specialty ingredients) or low (but this often means compromising on quality). While it is possible to save some money by buying in bulk, you still need to consider the cost of supplements needed to ensure a balanced diet.
Gently cooked dog food requires safe refrigeration and often freezing in batch-cooked quantities. This means having enough space to keep the food plus careful planning (when to cook again, when to defrost) to always have a meal ready for your dog.
Freshly prepared meals are one of the newest options to enter the pet food market. They’re usually prepared with human-grade ingredients and are cooked in a way that preserves nutrients and ensures food safety. Unlike kibble or canned food, fresh diets come either as ready-to-serve meals or as pre-portioned packs that require minimal preparation.
The biggest advantages of fresh dog food diets are the quality of the ingredients used and the lack the artificial preservatives found in many commercial pet foods. The best fresh dog food can also be tailored to a dog’s specific nutritional needs, preferences, or allergies.
Fresh diets are also easier to digest and absorb. And a small study published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition found that dogs fed a freshly prepared, lightly cooked, whole-food diet showed an improvement in blood test results after just a few weeks.
Fresh diets are also very convenient: they’re delivered to your home ready to serve, saving you time and work. 15
The main drawback of fresh food is the need for refrigeration, which can be inconvenient if you’re traveling or don’t have enough space for it. These diets also tend to be more expensive due to the quality and type of ingredients used.
Nutritionally speaking, fresh diets can offer plenty of vitamins and minerals from fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits. But while fresh food diets are often marketed as being "more natural" or "closer to what dogs would eat in the wild," not all companies out there are the same. At Cola’s Kitchen, we make sure every meal offers balanced nutrition to meet all of a dog's nutritional needs. In fact, this has always been our main goal — to offer your dog great-tasting food that’s also great for them.
Fresh food diets usually cost more than kibble or canned food because of the higher cost of ingredients and the process of preparation and packaging. This cost can add up, especially for larger dogs or multi-dog households. But it's worth considering the long term benefits of tailor-made fresh dog foods like Cola's Kitchen. In the long run, you can save thousands of dollars in less veterinarian visits since the complications arising from fresh dog food is significantly less than other types of dog food.
Storing fresh dog food usually requires refrigeration or freezing, which can take up considerable space in your kitchen. Once opened, meals should be consumed within a few days to prevent spoilage.
While choosing the best natural dog food, take some time to consider your dog’s specific needs, lifestyle, and health. At Cola's Kitchen, we champion fresh dog food diets because we believe they provide the most nutritional value for your dog's unique needs. While each diet type has its place, we feel that fresh food's minimal processing and tailorable ingredients offer superior benefits for your dog's health and well-being.
After all, the most important thing is to always aim for the highest quality in your dog's diet to support a long and healthy life.
Explore the evolution of dog diets from ancestral raw foods to modern commercial kibble and the resurgence of the raw food movement. Learn about the benefits and risks of raw feeding.
Long before the age of commercial kibbles and intricately formulated dog foods, the ancestors of our domesticated dogs lived on a diet that was essentially a raw dog food diet. This consisted mostly of fresh meat, bones, and the occasional fruits and vegetables they could scavenge. It’s this ancestral diet that many still consider to be the optimal diet for today's dogs.
But this wasn’t always the case. As society shifted towards more urban living, the demands for convenience influenced many aspects of life, including how we feed our pets.
In the mid to late 20th century, as pet ownership surged and urban living became the norm, the convenience of commercial pet foods took center stage. These were diets that promised complete nutrition in a convenient package — that is, until scientists started to point out the significant links between diet and disease and question the health implications of these processed diets.
By the 1990s, the raw feeding movement started to grow significantly thanks to Australian veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst, who advocated for the "BARF" diet, an acronym for “Bones and Raw Food” or “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.” His argument was the same as others had pointed out before — our dogs can eat raw meat just as their wild ancestors did.
Today, raw feeding is not just a niche trend but a significant movement within the world of pet nutrition. Despite its growing popularity, it remains a topic of debate among veterinarians and pet nutritionists. But, with generations of dogs now raised on commercial food, how do you find the best raw dog food for your pooch?
The raw puppy food and adult dog movement are about more than mimicking a dog's ancestral diet. It's also about taking advantage of the many benefits that come with unprocessed and intact ingredients. Let’s unpack the benefits of a raw diet:
The biggest benefit of feeding a raw diet is that you will be stepping away from processed foods and prioritizing whole, unprocessed ingredients such as fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits. This means no fillers, artificial colorings, and additives in your dog’s food — things that PetMD points out offer no nutritional benefit, can cause allergic reactions, or are potentially carcinogenic.
A shinier coat and healthier skin are some of the most common improvements attributed to a raw diet. This is likely because raw diets are high in fat and rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which can have a positive impact on a dog’s skin and coat.1 This is not just a cosmetic benefit but also reflects the overall health of the pet.
Periodontal disease affects nearly 80% of dogs by age three.2 While brushing your dog’s teeth can help prevent this, the mechanical action of chewing raw bones and meat can also act as natural dental cleaners, reducing tartar and plaque. In fact, a study published in the Australian Veterinarian Journal found that chewing raw bovine bones can reduce dental calculus covering by up to 87.8%.
Studies show that up to 65% of dogs in the United States are considered overweight or obese, which can, in turn, contribute to kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and a decreased quality of life. 3
Because raw diets are protein-centric and low on fillers, they can potentially help fight canine obesity. In fact, experts believe that dogs tend to have a good, healthy body condition and aren’t overweight. “This may be due to twice daily, portion feeding, or to the high protein, low carbohydrate content,” according to a report published in The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 4
While raw feeding sounds pretty good at first sight, you should approach it carefully. From parasites to nutritional imbalances, understanding the risks of raw meat for dogs is an essential first step. Here are the most important dangers to consider:
Designing a balanced raw diet is more complex than simply offering meat. A chunk of beef or chicken is not a complete meal, and if that’s all you are feeding, your dog won’t get all the necessary nutrients to stay healthy.
Calcium and phosphorus imbalances, for example, can result in bone deformities, especially in growing dogs. Unfortunately, studies have found that up to 60% of both home-prepared and commercially-bought raw diets had multiple nutritional imbalances, including a poor calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, very low content of vitamin A and E, and extremely high levels of vitamin D.5
The reason for this? Research shows that most people (33%) design their own pet’s diet by just following other people’s advice available online. An alarming 19% follow no rules whatsoever, just throwing ingredients together without understanding if the final mix is balanced or not.6 This is a risky practice as it often overlooks the specific needs of different dog breeds and ages.
With a homemade raw diet, you will also need to monitor how your dog responds to different ingredients. Some might cause digestive upsets, while others could be potential allergens. You will also need to rotate proteins and other ingredients to make sure your dog is getting the proper nutrition. What does this all mean? It means feeding a proper, well-balanced homemade raw diet is not an easy task and it’s very time-consuming.
The scariest and most serious issue with a raw diet issue is the presence of pathogens. Recent findings revealed that nearly 60% of raw meat diets tested had pathogens like Salmonella and E. Coli in them.7 These bacteria are dangerous not only to dogs but also to humans handling the food.
Raw diets (especially those that include wild-caught meats) can also introduce parasites like tapeworms and toxoplasmosis.8 These parasites can affect your dog’s effects and can also be transmitted to humans in some cases. Although regular deworming and careful meat selection can help reduce these risks, they can’t eliminate them.
While bones can be good for dental health, they can also present significant dangers, including fractured teeth and gastrointestinal injury. According to a study published by the American Veterinary Medical Association, they can also cause obstruction or perforation of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, or colon. The study adds that “Bone foreign bodies were present in 30% to 80% of dogs and cats with esophageal foreign bodies.” These blockages can be life-threatening and require emergency medical intervention.
Quality raw dog food ingredients can stretch budgets, which is why raw diets tend to cost significantly more than commercial pet food.9 The expenses can also add up, especially in a multiple-dog household or if you share your life with medium to large-sized dogs. In addition, access to affordable high-quality raw ingredients can be especially difficult in some regions, complicating consistent feeding. For those seeking immediate availability, searching for "raw dog food near me" will show you local suppliers who specialize in raw canine diets.
Raw diets are the only pet diets that need to be handled extremely carefully to avoid contamination. For starters, storing raw food requires careful attention to prevent bacterial growth. Without the right storage temperature, bacterial overgrowth can quickly turn a nutritious meal into a toxic one. Preparation also carries risks, as raw food can easily contaminate the kitchen, making people sick.
One of the most critical aspects to consider is the safe handling of the food. Raw meat is highly perishable and it needs to be stored properly. In homes where space is shared between human and pet foods, it’s smart to also use separate containers or designated areas in the refrigerator to avoid cross-contamination.
After each meal, all surfaces, utensils, and hands must be cleaned well to prevent the spread of pathogens like Salmonella or E. coli. In fact, the FDA recommends cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces and objects that come in contact with raw pet food, first with hot soapy water and then with a mix of water and bleach.
Raw dog food diets offer a unique mix of potential benefits and significant risks. While many dog owners are passionate advocates of the benefits of a fresh or frozen raw dog food diet, it's essential that anybody considering it spends some time looking closely at all the research available. Even better, it would be a good idea to consult with your veterinarian for a better understanding of what to expect.
For pet owners who want to offer their dogs a more natural diet but are concerned about the risks and difficulties of raw feeding, there's an alternative available. Fresh dog food, professionally formulated and conveniently delivered, bridges the gap between commercial kibble and raw diets. Cola's Kitchen provides ready-to-serve fresh meals for dogs that are truly nutritionally complete, tailored to your dog's specific needs and 100% safe. It’s a great way to get all the benefits of whole, real food without the risks and challenges associated with raw feeding.
Shift from processed to premium: This guide teaches how to choose healthy dog food, decipher labels, and pick fresh ingredients for your furry friend's well-being.
Before you start reading this article, let us ask you one question:
Which one do you prefer, prevention or medication?
At Cola's Kitchen, we believe in prevention through quality food for dogs. Good nutrition is the core principle of prevention and health. As you probably have realized, many industrial dog food brands, despite their "premium," "complete and balanced," or "high protein" labels, are NOT the best source of nutrition and won't fully support your dog's health.
Some of these foods might actually harm your dog over time!
Here are some tips to help you figure out which dog food is the right nutritious dog food your dog.
What does the label on your dog's food really tell you? Does it tell the real story about what's inside the packaging?
Some of the statements on the labels mean very little.1 Legally speaking, commercial dog food producers in North America and Europe are not obligated to reveal their food formulation or the percentage and quality grade of each ingredient used. Standard information you'll find on labels includes:
Let's look at the protein part of dog food labels a bit more closely and see what is going on there:
Among all the nutrients your dog needs daily, protein is one of the most expensive ones. Does that mean that if you see statements like "high protein," "premium protein," or a BIG number for protein content on the package, you can be sure that you're getting your money's worth? Unfortunately, no.
First of all, keep in mind that what you see as protein content on the label is actually crude protein content, not the true protein content. Crude protein contains a significant amount of nitrogen (N), which is non-digestible. If manufacturers report crude protein content, they include the amount of nitrogen in the food product, not the true digestible protein content. This might make the true protein content appear bigger than it really is, even though there is no guarantee this nitrogen is coming from digestible protein and real amino acids that are actually required for your dog.
The crude protein on the label can be composed of indigestible (sometimes even harmful) substances such as feathers, hide or hoofs. Feeding this to your dog is like feeding them iron capsules containing some amino acids. The kidneys and liver then have to work harder to clean toxins from the body, leading to serious kidney and liver issues.
So before purchasing dog food, always:
Dogs are individuals with unique nutritional requirements based on their age, breed, gender, weight, physical activity, and reproduction status (castration, pregnancy, lactating). For optimal nutrition, every dog should receive a specific daily ration that caters to her or his needs. For instance:
Age: Age is an important factor in determining the basal metabolic rate and the nutritional requirements of a dog.
Breed: The BMR and mass-specific metabolic rate (MSMR) vary widely among breeds. For example, small breeds have a lower basal metabolic rate and a higher MSMR than large breeds.
Castration: Castration lowers the basal metabolic rate and the requirements for certain nutrients in a dog. A few months after neutering a dog, the basic metabolic rate begins to decrease. As a result, the maintenance energy requirements decrease. So if you continue to feed your dog the same type and amount of food, you are over-supplying your dog with nutrients (including energy), which can lead to obesity and other problems.
Reproduction status: Pregnancy and nursing increase the nutritional requirements of a dog. The pregnancy stage and how many puppies the dog is carrying or feeding should also be considered when choosing a proper diet.
Body weight and condition: How much energy a dog uses, and his metabolic rate depends in part on his current body condition (proportion of lean muscle and fat tissues) and amount of metabolically active tissues. Your dog‘s weight is an important factor in evaluating body condition and calculating the weight of metabolically active tissues.
Physical activity: The amount of activity your dog engages in regularly considerably affects its nutritional requirements. Dogs that are physically active regularly will spend more energy than dogs with a sedentary lifestyle.
Did you know that even if the food label says that it contains ingredients Y or Z, there may only be a teeny-tiny amount of ingredients Y or Z in the food, just to get through legal inspections? So always do the math yourself. Could 1 kg of "High Protein" or "Premium" food that claims only to contain high-quality turkey breast as a protein source cost 10 dollars? Could it be that cheap? If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.
Another serious issue with some commercial dog foods is chemical preservatives, which can be extremely harmful to your dog. Preservatives are added to dog food to slow down spoilage. Almost all NON-FRESH foods contain some form of preservatives. After all, that's how it can sit on the shelf for so long!
Antioxidants are used as preservatives because they slow down the fats' oxidization process and do not let them turn rancid. Preservatives and antioxidants can come from natural sources (such as vitamin E, C, etc.) or artificial sources. Natural sources can provide health benefits, but artificial preservatives like Ethoxyquin have a controversial reputation for safety.2
For example, Ethoxyquin (also known as Santaquin, Santoflex or Quinol) was originally developed to prevent rubber from cracking due to oxidation. It's also been used in pesticide production. Ethoxyquin has been linked to kidney cancer and can cause allergic reactions and skin diseases.
Other artificial antioxidants like BHT (also used in rubber products, food packaging, cosmetics and petroleum products) and TBHQ (commonly used in varnishes and to stabilize certain explosive compounds) have long been suspected of contributing to cancer and other diseases. 3
Legally speaking, if a food contains artificial preservatives or antioxidants, this must be stated somewhere on the label. However, this isn't always easy to spot. For example, they may not be listed on the ingredients list at all but instead, appear somewhere at the end of the chemical analysis in a small font.
So what happens when a food clearly states "no preservatives" or "no artificial preservatives" on the package? Can you be 100 percent sure that there are no chemicals at all in your dog's food?
Unfortunately, the answer is, "it depends." For example, the statement could mean that the food manufacturer didn't add any artificial preservatives during production. But it is possible that chemical preservatives were added to the ingredients by the supplier before shipping to the food manufacturer.
Most dog food manufacturers use extensive thermal processing for food production. For instance, the extrusion process is the most common type of processing used in kibble production, involving harsh heat treatment (temperature above 100C).
Unfortunately, the process also degrades vitamins and amino acids, so you end up with food that's lower in quality and harder to digest. For the food to be the optimal quality and as healthy as possible, it should be made up of fresh ingredients that haven't been extensively processed. 4
You should always check the ingredients list of any food you intend to buy, especially if your dog has been diagnosed with a sensitivity or allergy. Food manufacturers change ingredients and formulas from time to time, so you should always check labels to see what you're getting.
Most commercial dog food brands (canned, semi-moist and dry) are similar to human conserves, canned and fast foods. They contain harmful preservatives, they use low-quality products, and they are not transparent when it comes to specific protein types used. Some of these companies also practice harmful processing methods, such as extrusion. Instead, it would be best if you tried feeding your dog with premium fresh human-grade food ingredients and healthier cooking methods.
Ever wondered what is the best diet for dogs? It's a complicated question and as science and technology advances, the answer to this question rapidly changes.
Let‘s face it – all dog foods are not created equal, and some are healthier and much better for your dog than others. Ever wondered what is the best diet for dogs? It's a complicated question and as science and technology advances, the answer to this question rapidly changes. Here are five things you should look for in high-quality dog food when the almighty “What should I feed my dog?” question comes up. The best dog food should be:
Dogs are individuals and have different nutritional needs depending on their age, breed, gender, weight, physical activity, and reproduction status (whether they’re castrated, pregnant or lactating)1. Ideally, the best dog food should allow dogs to receive a specific daily food ration that caters to those needs, including:
Age: Age affects the nutritional requirements of a dog and the basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the minimum number of calories required for basic bodily functions. Below you can find 2 examples of the effects of age and BMR.
This means the nutritional and calorie requirements of an adult dog are higher than those of a senior dog. Most dog food producers focus only on age and weight when formulating diets for dogs. This is why you see lots of commercial foods labelled as „puppies“ or „adult dog, “ but you rarely see a focus on some of the other factors that affect nutrition, such as body condition (whether the dog is over or underweight), reproduction status (whether they’re castrated, pregnant or lactating), breed or physical activity level. These needs are equally important, as they affect the BMR and the kind of nutrition a dog needs to thrive.2
Breed: The BMR and mass-specific metabolic rate (MSMR) vary widely among breeds. For example, small breeds have a lower BMR and a higher MSMR than large breeds.3
Castration: Spaying and neutering lower the BMR in dogs. A few months after castration, the BMR begins to decrease, and as a result, the maintenance energy requirements decrease. So if you continue to feed your dog the same type and amount of food, you are over-supplying your dog with nutrients (including energy), which can lead to obesity and other problems.4
Reproduction status: Pregnancy and nursing increase the nutritional requirements of a dog. The pregnancy stage and how many puppies the dog is carrying should also be considered when choosing a proper diet.5
Body weight and condition: How much energy a dog uses, and his metabolic rate depends in part on his current body condition (proportion of lean muscle and fat tissues) and amount of metabolically active tissues. Your dog‘s weight is an important factor in evaluating body condition and calculating the weight of metabolically active tissues. 6
Physical activity: Dogs that are physically active regularly will spend more energy than dogs with a sedentary lifestyle. This means not only dogs involved in competitive sports but also dogs who regularly hike or run with their humans. The amount of activity your dog engages in regularly will considerably affect his nutritional requirements. 7
Personalized, customized fresh dog food should be formulated in a way that meets all the nutritional requirements of your dog. To do that, an expert like a veterinarian/animal nutritionist should:
The final dog food recipe MUST contain all the required nutrients, such as energy (carbohydrates and oils), vitamins (A, D, E and Bs), macro minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus ) and micro minerals (including iron, selenium, and copper, among others), essential fatty acids (from animal fats and plant oils), proteins and amino acids (from human-grade animal-derived proteins and amino acids). These nutrients must be provided in the correct quantities that aren‘t too high or too low for your dog‘s needs.
Certain nutrients negatively interact with one another, so they must be provided in the right quantity, so all are appropriately absorbed. For example, if the food is high in calcium, the dog will also need to consume higher levels of iron, zinc, manganese and copper to meet all his nutritional requirements. On the other hand, too much iron, zinc, manganese and copper can impair absorption of other trace elements like selenium.
To avoid a negative interaction between nutrients, they must be provided in the right proportions and ratios. For example, the right protein to calorie ratio, the right calcium and phosphorus balance, the right ratio of calcium and trace elements, etc.
The dog food industry relies on extrusion to produce commercial dry food. This is a process that grinds, mixes and then heat-treats ingredients. Unfortunately, the method also degrades vitamins and amino acids, so you end up with food that‘s lower in quality and harder to digest.8 For the food to be the optimal quality and as healthy as possible, it should be made up of fresh ingredients that haven‘t been extensively processed.
Despite what it might look like, dogs aren‘t technically carnivorous animals. They are omnivorous. This means they need a diet that‘s more than just meat to fulfill all their nutritional needs. This doesn‘t mean meat is less important, and any source will do – in fact, dogs will thrive when fed human-grade meat that supplies quality protein and amino acids with additional nutrients added in. Remember that not all calories are equal and that the best dog food is one that considers all of your dog's individual needs.
The ingredients in your dog‘s food must be from safe and reliable sources to ensure the final mix is safe as well.
Cola’s Kitchen fresh dog food is the first and only pet food company that creates individually balanced recipes tailored to your dog’s specific needs. We do so in a way that provides your dog all the required nutrients through Complete and Well-Balanced Natural Fresh Food. At Cola’s Kitchen, we’ll design and produce every dog’s meal in individual batches based on the individual needs of each dog and any unique conditions that might apply.
Our recipes are designed based on the profile our customers make for their dogs. These choices then allow our AI system to formulate and individually balance recipes. The concentration of each ingredient in each recipe changes from one dog to another based on the individual characteristics of each dog and their unique requirements.
Our AI formulates each diet in a way that allows all the nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, to be supplied from natural sources. This means that, in contrast to other fresh food producers, we do not need to add synthetic vitamins or minerals to our food.
Discover why variety in your dog's diet is crucial for health and happiness. Learn to mix proteins, fruits, and veggies, and consult experts for tailored, nutritious meals that keep tails wagging.
Picture this: you're served the same meal every day for the rest of your life. Sounds like a recipe for a culinary crisis, right? Well, our canine companions might relate! When it comes to dog nutrition, a happy and healthy pup is our number one priority. In this blog, we'll explore why variety is the spice of life for your dog's diet, and provide fun insights on how to add that much-needed zest to their meals.
Think of variety as the secret ingredient for a well-balanced diet. Different foods are like puzzle pieces, each carrying its unique mix of nutrients. By dishing out an array of ingredients, you're giving your dog a symphony of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to keep them tip-top. When feeding a diet that isn’t personalised for your pup, sticking to a single commercial dog food might leave your furball short of essential nutrients. Variety to the rescue!
Another compelling reason to embrace variety is to keep those pesky food allergies and sensitivities at bay. Imagine chomping down on the same grub every day; you'd get tired of it, right? Well, your dog feels the same way! Offering a diverse menu can help reduce the chances of your pup developing allergies or intolerances. It's like keeping food boredom and tummy troubles off the menu.
Eating the same thing day in and day out can lead to mealtime monotony. Your dog might start giving you that side-eye and turning up their nose at their food. Yikes! By spicing up their meals, you can keep them excited about dinnertime and prevent those picky eating habits from forming.
Variety isn't just about their taste buds; it's also about their mental well-being. Different textures, flavours, and scents can be like brain gymnastics for your pup, keeping their minds sharp and entertained. A study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science even suggests that food variety can boost a dog's overall quality of life. Woof, that's a win-win!
Now that we're all aboard the variety train, let's look at some super fun ways to make your dog's diet a gastronomic adventure:
Switcheroo time! Alternate between various protein sources like chicken, beef, turkey, fish, and lamb. Not only will this keep mealtime interesting, but it'll also give your dog a wholesome variety of nutrients.
Add a colorful array of veggies and fruits to the mix. Carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and blueberries are top-notch choices, offering a rainbow of vitamins and antioxidants.
Whenever possible, opt for fresh, whole foods. Fresh ingredients are less processed and can pack a punch of nutrients compared to heavily processed kibble or canned food.
Before embarking on a culinary journey, chat with your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist. They can help whip up a paw-some, personalized diet plan that suits your dog's unique needs. We know curating complete & balanced fresh recipes and cooking them at home can be tedious so we’d be more than happy to do all the work and deliver your pup’s personalized and portioned meals straight to your door.
So, there you have it, folks! Variety isn't just the spice of life; it's the secret sauce for your dog's health and happiness. Scientific studies tell us that a diverse diet keeps nutrition in check, allergies at bay, boredom in check, and those tails wagging.
Here at Cola’s kitchen we're all about crafting tailor-made meals with a dash of variety. Your pup deserves nothing but the best, and we're here to make sure they get it. Remember, when it comes to your furry family members, a little variety equals a lot of tail-wagging happiness!
Learn dog dental care beyond kibble: use dental chews, regular brushing, balanced diets, water additives, and check-ups to prevent health issues.
Your dog’s dental care has a larger purpose than looking down on a beautiful smile on their face. Dental disease in your dog can cause systemic disease … systemic meaning throughout the body. This can include problems like:
You might have heard that crunchy kibble is a superstar when it comes to keeping your pup's teeth clean and fighting off plaque. But guess what? Veterinarians actually have a bunch of different opinions on this. Most agree that unless a dry food is specially made to boost dental health & endorsed by VOHC, it might not do much.
Thinking that kibble is all your pup needs for dental care is a bit like saying you'd skip brushing your teeth in the morning and just munch on cereal bars. Some experts even say that chewing on kibble could lead to dental problems because those food bits can get stuck in the gums. And watch out for those sugary and simple carb-loaded pet foods – they can cause a buildup of yucky oral bacteria over time.
Here are some easy doggie dental care tips for your best friend’s gums and teeth:
Dental Chews for Dogs:
Now, here's a fun fact: dogs aren't really into chewing their food. Nope, many are all about the gnawing! If your furry friend loves a good gnawing session, you're in luck – Give your dog dental chews or toys designed to promote dental health. These can help remove plaque and tartar while providing entertainment. Look for products endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).
The real key to keeping those pearly whites in tip-top shape is doing a little prevention work at home – we're talking about regular brushings. We get it, life gets busy and brushing every single night might not happen, but it's super important to schedule those annual dentist visits for your pup's dental health. Just have a chat with your vet to figure out how often your furry pal needs a tooth tune-up.
Many claim that feeding your dog a fresh, human-grade diet can work wonders for their dental hygiene (and make their breath way better – phew!). However, a crucial caveat is that an imbalanced homemade diet could potentially lead to dental complications. When opting for a homemade diet, ensure it is meticulously nutritionally balanced and incorporates a medley of fresh vegetables, lean protein, leafy greens, and essential vitamins and minerals. You can check out Cola’s kitchen personalized meals if cooking balanced meals at home isn’t an option for you.
If you're on the hunt for other home-friendly options, check out oral care water additives for dogs. They're like little helpers that keep tartar away and keep those teeth shining bright.
Herbs like fennel, parsley, and dill – they're like nature's little toothbrushes and breath fresheners! You can sprinkle them onto your pup's regular meals, so don't sweat it if you can't always squeeze in a nighttime brushing session for those molars.
Regularly inspect your dog's mouth for signs of dental issues, such as bad breath, swollen gums, or discoloured teeth. Catching problems early can prevent further complications.
By combining these strategies, you'll not only ensure your dog's teeth are gleaming but also help safeguard their overall health. Remember, your dog relies on you for their well-being, and a commitment to proper dental care is a powerful way to show your love and care.
So, as you embark on this journey toward improved dental health for your furry friend, remember that each step you take – from choosing the right dental chews to maintaining a consistent brushing routine to choosing the best diet – contributes to a happier and healthier life for your canine companion. If you have any questions or need further guidance, don't hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian, who can provide personalized recommendations tailored to your dog's unique needs.