Dog Diet


Timeline Section

A Little History


The Journey

Personal Notes


Published: 2023-07-19, Updated: 2023-08-14

Important Disclaimer: Always consult with your veterinarian before making any alterations to your dog's diet to ensure it is appropriate for their specific health and nutritional needs.






You know what’s been gnawing at me like an insatiable itch? We humans boast about our fancy “unprocessed” and “whole food” diets, but when it comes to our adorable four-legged pals, we’re like, “Here you go, champ! Feast on these dry, tasteless pellets!” I mean, sure, they say it’s convenient and keeps their pearly whites in check, but come on, is that the only choice for our fur-babies? Let’s dig into the kibble conundrum and explore whether there’s a tastier path to “complete and balanced nutrition” for our furry amigos!

Timeline Section

Under construction

A Little History

Domestication of Wolves: According to DNA and fossil evidence, the domestication of wolves into dogs took place ~15 to 40 thousand years ago (as of the current year 2023). The broad timespan is attributed to the infrequent occurrence of gene mutations, which was used as the indicator for species change.

Diet Adaption: As wolves evolved into dogs and started living alongside humans, they gradually adapted to an omnivorous diet, expanding their food choices beyond their carnivorous ancestors.

Pre-Industrial Revolution: Dogs diets consisted mainly of table scraps.

Industrial Revolution: The industrial revolution and the rise of the middle class in the 19th century enabled families with disposable income to embrace domesticated dogs as companion animals.

Meat Fibrine Dog Cake: In 1860, James Spratt, an electrician from Ohio, was the first to mass manufacture dried dog biscuit food after observing street dogs eating processed cereal. This consisted of wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot, and beef blood. Initial customers included English country gentlemen for sporting dogs.

Milk-Bone: In 1908 the F.H Bennett Biscuits Co. introduced the iconic “Milk-Bone”, bone shaped dog biscuits formulated with a mix of meats, cereals, milk, liver oil, and vitamins.

Horses: In 1922 the Chappel brothers introduced Ken-L Ration, the first canned dog food in the US initially made from horse meat. By 1941 canned dog food had ~90% share of the market.

Dog Meal: In 1925 Clarence Gaines, at the helm of the Gaines Food Co. pulled from dog biscuits, canned horse meat, and other products to create “Dog Meal”, sold in 100-pound packages.

WWII: During this period, tin and meat was diverted solely for fighting the war and this nearly collapsed the canned dog food industry. Dry dog food once again gained popularity.

Kibble: In the 1950s, Ralston Purina Co. adapted the extrusion technique, initially used for creating Chex cereal, to their pet food division. By pushing ingredients through a tube, cooking them under high pressure, and puffing them up with air, they created the iconic “Purina Dog Chow.”

Super Premium: In the 1980’s companies such as Hill’s Pet Nutrition began introducing specialized diets tailored to address specific ailments like kidney or liver failure in pets. They argued that selling their products required a place where pet owners could be educated about the unique features and benefits offered.

Biologically Appropriate Raw Food(BARF): In 1993 Dr. Billinghurst’s debut book, “Give Your Dog a Bone”, lays out fundamental principles of his view on canine nutrition, emphasizing raw, whole, and readily available foods such as raw bones, meat, offal, vegetables, eggs, and yogurt.

Prey Model Raw(PMR): During the early 1990s another offshoot emerged within the raw feeding movement, championed by raw feeding enthusiasts advocating for a diet more aligned with a dog’s natural needs. These advocates firmly believed that dogs are biologically adapted to consume raw meat, bones, organs, and other components of their prey.


Why BARF? After thorough research and consideration, I’ve been drawn to the BARF diet due to its emphasis on raw, whole, and unprocessed foods, such as raw meat, bones, organs, fruits, and vegetables.

My starting point is to follow the guidelines for a raw meat-based diet as outlined in reputable sources. I’ll aim for the target ratio of ~ 80% muscle, 10% bones, 5% liver, and 5% other secretory organs. I’ll prioritize quality sourcing of raw ingredients and ensure proper nutritional balance to cater to their specific dietary needs. Since dogs are currently classified as obligatory carnivores we’ll stray away from carbohydrates. The remaining nutrients will be derived from FEDIAF Nutritional Guideline 2019.

My measurement for success will come from a combination of immune responses, coat and skin health, dental hygiene, activity levels, stool samples, and general condition. While I’m excited about the improved digestibility of crude protein compared to heat-treated alternatives, I’ll remain mindful of potential risks, such as bacterial contamination, and adhere to strict food safety practices.

The Journey

This section will serve as a living document, where I can share insights, challenges, and milestones on their diet journey.

Meet the doggos!

Beacon: English cream golden retriever, Age, Weight, Activity

Wednesday: Black Newfoundland

Individualization: neither dog has any current additional health requirements

Veterinary input: WIP

Meals: WIP

Personal Notes

Annoying lack of studies conducted on raw dog diets, might just be the result of big corporate thinking they can’t profit from educating people.




Journal(s) and Article(s)

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