A recent study showed 70% of dog owners don’t know what’s in the food they give their dogs. Despite being someone who cares so deeply about my own health, I was unaware of what I feed my dog every day.

For the last year, I have been on a ketogenic journey where I discovered the benefits of a whole-food diet focused on good, quality fats. The restriction of carbohydrates has shown to have key benefits in preventing cancer, lowering inflammation, and reversing diabetes—all prominent diseases in our domesticated animals.

My four-year-old Pomeranian, Yoshi, was a testament to this. My vet had informed me that he was overweight, had a benign tumor, and was developing arthritis. I ran back home and checked what was in the food I was feeding my dog. The label claimed it was full of antioxidants for a healthy pet, but was this shiny label as healthy as it claimed to be? One look at the ingredients tells you a different story. To my surprise, the second ingredient listed was brown rice, and the third was grains. I was very aware of the inflammation caused by carbohydrates, which is why I chose to restrict this macronutrient. Yet, I continued feeding Yoshi dry, highly processed dog food laden with high-glycemic carbohydrates. Why is Yoshi consuming large amounts of grains and rice?

I soon learned that five conglomerate food companies dominate the pet food industry and are only loosely regulated by the USDA, FDA and AFCO. The protein source in these dog foods is from low-quality, leftover, grain-based, non-human-grade food.

Our domesticated dogs do not have any grain requirements. They do not need any grains, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, additives, chemicals, or byproducts. They require biologically correct food with high moisture and protein content, which greatly differs from the kibbles or dry food we feed them.

It is important to understand what a balanced dog diet should consist of. Dogs have requirements of calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron. A balanced meal should also include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, B vitamins, folic acid, taurine, omega-3 fatty acids, and choline. Most of these water-soluble vitamins can be obtained in leafy green vegetables such as kale or spinach; the fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E, and K—can be obtained from eggs, fish, beef, chicken, and organ meats such as liver.

The convenience of purchasing dog food at a store is not worth the expense of Yoshi’s health. I now prepare his homemade dog food and am reassured knowing he is consuming a balanced human-grade meal with proper micronutrients. If you knew you were harming your dog, would you continue pouring kibbles in his dog bowl every day?

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