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  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.

« Your Dog Can Talk To You | Main | DOG SOCIALIZATION – WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW? »

December 07, 2011


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Ericka - Treadmills

"To go back to my question: should dogs stay on the same diet day after day?"

In my humble opinion....absolutely not! Both health and happiness are two clear reasons.


The argument about a dog's palate being different than a humans, while true is irrelevant here.

A varied diet will provide any mammal with more nutrients. Just think about it if you eat the same thing everyday your gonna be deficient in many nutrients and amino acids. Same thing for a dog, especially considering that in the wild they would eat a variety of food.

Sure certain things will make them sick just like us but the more natural the diet the better.

My puppy is so picky and won't eat the same thing after a few days. So to keep him healthy I have started feeding him fruits, veggies, and lean protein with some whole grains mixed in. It's not "human" food it's the same diet of a wild dog. Don't forget the origin of the dog.

My pet's care

I have long believed that dogs need and want variety in their diets. It is so great to read this blog and see that someone else has observed this and gone so far as to experiment with his own dog and his meal planning. It is true that dogs in the wild hunt for whatever they can find that will sustain them. It is also true that the predecessors of the domesticated dog ate grasses and other greens. Their small front teeth were designed for grazing on grasses - something that modern dogs still do. So why not vary their diet while we have them in our homes? I often supplement my dog's food with green beans. A good source of fiber and it helps to fill up your dog. Treating them to a little leftover chicken or fish is a great change of pace for them. I have to add my funny story regarding dogs and eating habits. My 15 y.o. lab mix became quite persnickity as she aged regarding her dinner. We tried a million different tricks. There was actually a time we had to add ketchup to her dinner or she wouldn't eat it!! True story - who could make up something like that??

Donna Hill B.Sc. B.Ed.

Also by alternating what you use as training treats, you keep a higher interest in the training. Higher value foods are more motivating for other difficult environments or as jackpots for more complex tasks.

Donna Hill B.Sc. B.Ed.

One of the benefits of feeding a variety is that your dog develops a 'stomach of steel'. Right from the time a dog joins our family (puppy, adolescent or adult) we feed a variety of foods, not just kibble either. As scavengers and hunters, they eat fruit, vegetables, beans, raw bones and yes and even the higher protein and easier to digest grains like oatmeal so that if and when we run out of food, or they find something they shouldn't out on runs, their intestinal system is more adaptable and they have no problem switching over to anything we might have at hand in an emergency (such as travelling etc-nothing worse than travelling with a dog with the runs). By the way, we now feed raw which means rotating between at least 4 meat types. You also find that you don't have picky eaters as they relish everything given to them.


We shouldn't be comparing our way of eating with that of an animal. It's ok if we give the same food to our pet everyday. I give my chihuahua the same food everyday since 5years and he is healthy and happy.

Jude Morris

I don't think we should confuse human palates with canines. Dogs eat to live, not live to eat like most humans. I showed dogs for 20 years and fed the same high quality dog food daily. The dogs ate it with relish evey day. No picky eaters and very rare stomach upsets. I had clients whose dogs refused to eat on a daily basis. They only needed to be reprogrammed by their meal "disappearing" a few times after they had refused to eat within 5 minutes of its being offered; after that they ate readily and without stress. We love to spoil our dogs, but I tend to think that a high quality food supplemented with a few raw veggie treats is just fine. Dogs will eat garbage with relish, but that doesn't mean we should give it to them.

Marika S. Bell

Use it or Loose it might also be relevant here. When people switch from a processed diet to a Raw diet you will sometimes get a bit of loose stool for the first week. The explanation for this is that the dog is not manufacturing the enzymes needed to break down Raw foods because with processed dry or canned foods they simply haven't needed those enzymes! In fact many people are schooled to switch a dog over immediatly rather than a long drawn out process when switching from processed to Raw because it is actually easier on the system to digest Raw (once the enzymes and bacteria are in place).

rick smith

if the diet is nutritious, i'm not sure it needs much variety.
i happen to be a raw feeder, so i vary between chicken, beef, turkey and pork, so my dogs do have some variety there. only occasional mulched veggies

if you look at the animal world you will find thousands of species that have evolved to eat one specific food source. since domestic dogs are basically scavengers that has opened the door a bit, but i still feel meat based is best for them

i often think dogs that are picky eaters are sometimes conditioned to be that way by their owners.

K9 digestive systems are much different from ours and if they eat something that doesn't agree with them a quick puke is all that is usually needed

they also can do pretty good on junk food - just look at the feral studies. so all in all i'm not too concerned with their menu rotation. some dogs do fine all their life eating very cheap commercial kibble so go figure :-) but that often shows up as bad teeth/gums in senior years tho, so u better brush their teeth/gums for them if they don't have a way to chew them clean :-(

actually i'm not what you would call a three squares a day feeder, and my dogs never know when their next meal is coming and still seem to have extremely high food drive no matter what is being served. their health is my overall concern, and its up to me to make sure they get the proper amount in the proper time, and it has sure helped in all aspects of training. fresh water is always available tho


I think it depends upon the dog, and the basic feeding he is recieving. I have a Sire, who breaks the allowances among breakfast, lunch and dinner. The former and the latter are equal, and it seems that very tasteful (blend of two pet foods plus special bread). On the other hand, lunch is different every day: like ours, human food: fish, meat, vegetables, etc...

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