A client recently asked me what I feed my dog and as I explained to her all the different foods I feed, it made me acknowledge the “WHY” behind my food choices. I feed my pets a plethora of brands and types of food which means I keep a variety of food in my pantry and refrigerator. This can sound cumbersome or a source of frustration at feeding time but it is actually super simple and takes less than 10 minutes to feed 2 dogs and a cat.

To give you a quick rundown, my cat eats strictly canned food, a variety of proteins, from 2 different brands (he’s picky so favors Wellness and Tiki Cat). My dogs eat a mix of prepared frozen raw food (Darwins), home cooked crockpot food, and a variety of proteins from 2 different canned food brands (Wellness, Fromm). The puppy in the house is a growing dog eating a lot of food so I will also supplement his diet with dry kibble but use at least 3 different brands of food (Evangers, Wellness, Wisdom), switching with each bag. Some have grain, some don’t. I do not care since my pets have no major food sensitivities or medical concerns.

So yes, explaining what I feed my dog can be a little confusing. But here is the WHY!

First of all, I believe a healthy immune system and a healthy pet starts in the gut. It is an old wives tale that pets should be fed one food life long. A variety of proteins and ingredients keep the gut healthy. Now, this obviously does not pertain to animals with inflammatory bowel disease or true food allergies, but most of our pets can handle feeding a different food at each meal. This makes their guts strong, their biome healthy, and leads to overall wellness. Another old wives tale is that people food is bad for dogs. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I will forever argue that lean meats and veggies are always healthier than processed food.

My second reason for feeding a mix of foods is from a large dog food recall in 2007. I was a young vet and saw cases of kidney failure that ended up being due to chemicals inadvertently put into Iams dog food. I found that the dogs who strictly ate this food were significantly more ill than dogs who occasionally ate this food. Even today, Purina has been in the news for possible food contaminants but it is difficult to find worthy news sources to know what is true. I do believe food companies are big business in the vet world and a lot of money goes into keeping their food on shelves. So I decided I wasn’t going to place all my trust into one brand of dog food! Grain free diets have been a huge source of concern regarding heart disease in a small percentage of dogs. Current research at Tufts University has shown some dogs react to the biochemical compounds in peas and lentils. Do my dogs eat pea based diets? Sometimes!

But not every single meal for years on end so I am not concerned about heart disease in my pets.

I get that this may not work for every cat or dog but I think there is value to keeping a mix of foods in your home. If you are mixing it up, there is way less pressure that you get it perfectly right. In regards to recent concerns with Purina foods, you won’t see us grabbing bags of food off the shelf any time soon until it is all sorted out and more is known. Since we feel this way for our own pets we feel the need to share this info with you so you can make your own choices for your pets.