Q: My four-year-old, 2.3kg Yorkshire Terrier enjoys his kibbles with boiled sweet potato or potato, followed by five to 10 wolfberries soaked in warm water as dessert. He also eats pineapples, apples and banana in between meals. Are these foods good for him, and do they contribute to a healthy diet?
A: When preparing a homemade diet for your dog, there are important things to take into consideration, such as whether the proportion of ingredients (combined together) makes for a balanced diet. Kibbles are generally designed to be fed on their own, so when ingredients like potatoes or sweet potatoes are added, we risk creating a nutrient imbalance in the food. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are quite high in carbohydrates, so adding it will increase the carbohydrate level of your furkid’s overall diet. This is alright if you are using high quality kibble that has a significantly high protein content, but it could cause problems if the potatoes are mixed with lower quality kibble, as they are usually already too high in carbohydrates. If you are only adding a small amount, however, it is unlikely to throw your pooch’s diet too far off balance.
Wolfberries are an extremely healthy treat, as they contain potent antioxidants with high levels of beta carotene and have been shown to improve vision. These antioxidants are also of great benefit to your dog’s skin, liver and kidneys. The addition of vegetable matter and fruits (including apples, pineapples and bananas) all contribute to a very healthy diet. Most dogs eat fruit off the ground when it has fallen ripe from the tree, so it is not a bad idea to give even overripe or mushy fruits to your pooch, so long as they haven’t gone bad.One thing to consider when planning a healthy dog diet is to introduce some fresh meat as well. I encourage pet owners to use 50 percent kibble and 50 percent raw meat as the basis of their diet. The fresh meat, combined with the potato and sweet potato, will create a natural balance. Green vegetables bring with it high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. So include some fruits and vegetables in your pet’s bowl for a fantastic homemade meal.