The Top Healthiest DIY and Commercial Foods for Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

As a dog owner, you want to ensure that your pet is healthy and happy. One of the most important factors in your dog’s health is its diet. Choosing the right food for your dog can be overwhelming, with so many options available in the market. However, it’s crucial to remember that not all dog foods are created equal, and some may not provide the necessary nutrients for your dog’s optimal health.

In this article, you will learn what the healthiest food for dogs is and why it’s essential to choose the right food for your dog. We will discuss the key factors to consider when selecting dog food, including your dog’s age, breed, size, and any specific health concerns. Additionally, we will provide a list of the best dog foods recommended by veterinarians and experts in the industry, so you can make an informed decision about your dog’s diet.

Nutritional Needs of Dogs

Dogs require a balanced diet to maintain optimal health. A balanced diet includes protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Each of these nutrients plays a vital role in your dog’s overall health.


Protein is important for building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and supporting a healthy immune system. Your dog’s diet should include high-quality protein from sources such as chicken, beef, fish, and eggs. Check the label of your dog’s food to ensure that the protein content is adequate.


Carbohydrates provide energy and fiber to support healthy digestion. Good sources of carbohydrates for dogs include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, some dogs may have difficulty digesting certain grains, so it’s important to monitor your dog’s reaction to different types of carbohydrates.


Fats are necessary for maintaining healthy skin and coat, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, and supporting brain function. Your dog’s diet should include healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Good sources of healthy fats for dogs include fish oil, flaxseed oil, and chicken fat.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential for maintaining overall health and preventing deficiencies. Your dog’s diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure that they receive adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Supplements may be necessary if your dog’s diet is lacking in certain nutrients.

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Types of Dog Food

When it comes to feeding your pet, there are three main types of dog food to choose from dry, wet, and raw. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that works best for you and your dog.

Dry Food

Dry dog food, also known as kibble, is the most popular type of dog food. It’s convenient, easy to store, and has a long shelf life. Dry food can also help keep your dog’s teeth clean by scraping away plaque as they chew. However, some dry dog foods may contain fillers and preservatives that aren’t the healthiest for your dog.

Wet Food

Wet dog food, also known as canned food, is a good option for dogs who have trouble chewing or need more moisture in their diet. It’s also a good choice for picky eaters, as wet food tends to be more flavorful than dry food. However, it can be more expensive than dry food and has a shorter shelf life once opened.

Raw Food

Raw dog food, also known as a BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diet, is a controversial option. It consists of raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables. Supporters of raw food diets claim that it’s more natural and healthier for dogs, while opponents argue that they can be risky due to the risk of bacterial contamination and nutrient imbalances. If you’re considering a raw food diet for your dog, it’s important to do your research and consult with your veterinarian.

Ingredients to Avoid

When it comes to feeding your pet, you want to make sure you’re giving them the healthiest food possible. There are certain ingredients you should avoid to ensure your dog’s diet is as healthy as possible.

Firstly, avoid artificial preservatives such as Blue 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and caramel color. These can be harmful to your dog’s health.

Secondly, steer clear of pet food that contains by-products. These can include anything from chicken heads to cow lungs, and they’re not the best quality protein for your dog.

Thirdly, avoid foods that contain excess amounts of salt, sugar, and fat. These ingredients are not only unhealthy for your dog, but they can also lead to obesity and other health problems.

Finally, be cautious of any food that contains artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, as these can be toxic to dogs.

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Homemade Dog Food

When it comes to ensuring the healthiest food for your dog, many pet owners prefer to make their homemade dog food. Homemade dog food allows you to control the ingredients and avoid any harmful additives or preservatives that may be present in commercial dog food.

When preparing homemade dog food, it is essential to ensure that the food is nutritionally balanced and meets your dog’s dietary needs. A balanced homemade dog food recipe should include a good balance of lean animal protein, healthy carbs, and veggies.

According to Canine Journal, a popular homemade dog food recipe includes ingredients such as ground turkey, brown rice, and vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. Another recipe includes turkey, rice, and greens, which include ground turkey, shredded carrots, chopped spinach, and peas.

Choosing the Healthiest Food for Your Dog

Reading Labels

When choosing dog food, it’s important to read the labels carefully. Look for foods that contain high-quality protein sources like meat, fish, or poultry. Avoid foods with fillers like corn, wheat, and soy, which can be difficult for dogs to digest. Make sure the food is appropriate for your dog’s age, size, and activity level.

Check the ingredients list for preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors, which can be harmful to your dog’s health. Look for foods that use natural preservatives like vitamins E and C. Avoid foods with by-products, which are low-quality sources of protein.

Consulting with a Vet

Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your dog. They can help you choose a food that meets your dog’s specific nutritional needs. If your dog has any health issues, such as allergies or digestive problems, your vet can recommend a special diet to help manage these conditions.

Your vet can also help you determine the appropriate portion sizes and feeding schedule for your dog. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can cause a variety of health problems. Underfeeding can lead to malnutrition and other health issues.


Congratulations on taking the first step toward providing your pet with a healthy diet! Remember to always consult with your veterinarian to determine the specific nutritional needs of your dog based on its age, breed, weight, and activity level.

Choose high-quality dog food that contains appropriate ingredients for your dog’s life stage and breed. Look for foods that have a protein source listed as the first ingredient and avoid fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy.

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Consider adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet as a source of vitamins and minerals. However, be sure to research which fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs to eat and avoid giving them foods that are toxic to dogs.

Remember to always provide your dog with plenty of fresh water and monitor their weight to ensure they are maintaining a healthy body condition. With proper nutrition and care, you can help your pet live a happy and healthy life.


Can my dog eat carrots?

The answer is yes. Humans and dogs alike benefit from carrots. Not only are they packed with fiber, but they also have vitamin A which can help improve eyesight, a bonus! Aside from the nutritional advantages, carrots are good for the dog’s dental health, and if you’re not a fan of brushing their teeth, you might want to introduce carrots into their diets.

What sort of fish can you feed your dog?

It is preferable to feed your fish cold-water fish such as salmon. While that may sound expensive, it poses numerous health benefits for your canine friend. It contains vitamins A, K, and C.

Vitamin K helps in blood clotting, improving the immune system, and keeping the coat shiny. However, it is advisable to check the fish for bones. Bones can be stuck in the dog’s throat and cause them to choke.

What are the healthiest proteins I can feed my dog?

Chicken is an excellent protein that dogs can consume. It should be served without bones and unseasoned, as dogs have trouble digesting salt. It also contains vitamin B, which regulates the dog’s metabolism. The presence of antioxidants helps them fight off pests and strengthens their immune system. 

What are some of the grains that I can feed my dog?

Feeding your dog grains can be a tricky subject because the glutenous content present in grains can prove hazardous to the dog’s health. However, oatmeal is the perfect grain to introduce into their diet.

It contains Omega 6 fatty acids that maintain good skin. The fibrous content aids in digestion and the prevention of diabetes.

Oatmeal is used mostly in dog foods, but unsweetened and unsalted oatmeal can be served as well. Aside from physical health, vitamin B5 present in the oatmeal also prevents anxiety and depression in dogs.

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Are dairy products suitable for dogs?

The answer is complicated. Many dogs are lactose intolerant, but for the ones who are not, dairy can be vital for a healthy diet. The best way to mitigate a possible intolerance is yogurt. Yogurt is rich in calcium and probiotics, a strain of bacteria that is already present in their stomachs.

Calcium also enriches bones and teeth. While it is highly beneficial, only 2-3 tablespoons should be administered in their diet so they can digest it properly.

What if I want to feed my dog popcorn?

One should not easily forego the nutritional value of popcorn. It is enriched with phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc, all elements that are necessary for a dog’s health. It’s a crunchy snack and should be unseasoned, and unpopped kernels should be avoided at all costs as they prove to be a choking hazard.

How can you introduce antioxidants into your dog’s food?

The answer is blueberries! Dogs cannot consume all berries as some may prove to be poisonous, but blueberries are on the safer side of the spectrum. As dogs are exposed to much more toxins than human beings, it is important to let them consume foods rich in antioxidants.

Berries make them more active and blueberries in particular possess phytochemicals, which have numerous health benefits for dogs. They are also helpful in case your dog has some age-related concerns.

What is a superfood you can give your pup?

Superfoods are foods that have exceptional nutrient quantities. One superfood to give to your dog is pumpkin. It can be consumed in any form, as seeds or as a vegetable itself.

Pumpkins contain fire, minerals, and vitamins, and will do wonders for the dog’s health. It regulates the digestive system, reducing diarrhea due to its fibrous nature. It can also deworm the tract. Benefits aside, it is delicious and cannot be refused by any pup who likes good food!

Potatoes; Good or bad?

Potatoes, and sweet potatoes alike, can be fed, provided they are unseasoned and not raw. Potatoes facilitate energy in dogs through manganese, which aids in utilizing carbohydrates and proteins in the dog’s system. Potassium also sustains fluid management. It is not recommended to make your pooch’s diet solely plant-based though, since they prefer more animal-based foods so it is better to keep vegetable intake moderate.

Should you feed your dog rice?

Rice is the only source of carbohydrates that you can feed your dog daily. It restores an upset stomach to health and leaves your pup feeling full due to an increased absorption time.

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Some neurotransmitters present in rice can also prevent Alzheimer disease, so they are vital to the dog’s mental health as well. It is important to keep your dog hydrated as overconsumption of rice runs the risk of constipation.

What benefits will coconuts provide for your dog?

Coconuts are no less than a superfood. They are good for the skin, and the digestive tract and their extract can even be used to nourish the fur! Coconuts contain lauric acid that strengthens the dog’s immune system and fends against diseases. Antioxidants are also present. Even drinking coconut water will leave your dog refreshed and maybe a perfect summer treat.

What foods should you avoid?

While we’ve mulled over what to feed your dog, there are certain things that you shouldn’t. Chocolates should be avoided at all costs. Anything containing the chemical methylxanthine should be restricted from their diet. Avocados, nuts, and citrus fruits are also not recommended. It is best to consult a professional if you accidentally do feed them these, as the results can prove toxic and even fatal.