If you’re thinking about switching your dog’s diet to freshly prepared food, veterinary research says you’re making the right move. Fresh dog food, formulated as part of a balanced diet, can have a positive impact on your dog’s health, wellness, and life span.
A commercial dog food labeled as nutritious and wholesome may lead you to believe that the diet can help keep your dog healthy and energized. However, these buzzwords are misleading. “Just because a dog food is labeled ‘holistic’ or ‘all-natural’ doesn’t mean it’s necessarily any better than other foods,” says holistic pet product pioneer Andi Brown, author of The Whole Pet Diet.
Learn how to decode dog food labels
As with humans, dogs are what they eat. However, many commercial dog foods are the equivalent of burgers and French fries. “If you consume a steady diet of fast food every day, you’ll look and feel one way, and if you eat healthfully and thoughtfully from your own kitchen and garden, you’ll look and feel a whole lot better a whole lot longer,” Brown notes. “It’s the exact same thing for dogs who are fed a commercial diet.”
Why is fresh dog food healthy? According to University of California, Davis researchers, 95% of homemade dog diets don’t meet canine nutritional requirements. Dogs “need a meat and vegetable diet,” Brown explains, “generally a 50-50 blend, with little to no grains or starches, and no byproducts, fillers, preservatives, or artificial chemicals.”
When feeding dogs, it’s important to consider both macronutrients and micronutrients. Improper balance of micronutrients, like excess calcium, can harm dogs’ health. Fresh food must be kept fresh to avoid illness and maximize nutrient value. At Ollie, we prioritize proper preparation and storage for your pup’s well-being.
A fresh dog food’s benefits go beyond buzzwords and slick marketing campaigns by delivering tail-wagging vitality. Veterinary research and expertise back Ollie’s healthy meat and vegetable mix. Learn the 10 powerful ways fresh food has a positive impact on your dog’s health and wellbeing.
Fresh dog food diets rich in immune-boosting antioxidants and high-quality protein help ward off several ailments. “In my 30 years of experience working with thousands of animals, I’ve noticed that many disease signs can be turned around when the animal is given the correct nutritional support,” Brown states. For example, a Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) study reported that Scottish terriers who consumed green, leafy and yellow-orange vegetables three times a week had lower urinary bladder carcinoma rates than their counterparts who did not eat vegetables.
On the flip side, many commercial dog foods contain low-quality ingredients rejected for human consumption. The reasons for their rejection are startling: “The animals were [likely] dying or disabled when they arrived at the slaughterhouse, or the grains were dirty from falling on the floor—making them unacceptable for human use, so they’re sent to pet food plants,” Brown explains. “They’re garbage.” When combined with dyes, fillers, preservatives, and synthetic vitamins, “You’re setting your pet’s body up for warfare,” she says. Your dog has to “battle those foods just to process them.”
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is almost always within your control. According to a Preventive Veterinary Medicine survey, veterinarians reported that only 3% of obesity cases in their care could be attributed to dog-specific factors (e.g., a genetic abnormality, illness). Of canine obesity cases, 97% were attributable to their diet and exercise regimens.
Commercial dog foods lead to weight gain because they are overabundant in starches, Brown explains, adding that these are the same ingredients manufacturers use to cut costs. “Many pet foods contain inexpensive fillers (e.g., corn, wheat, rice, potatoes) so that the manufacturers can make more money,” she says. “It’s exactly the same as for humans: Starch-heavy diets lead to weight gain.”
Fresh or prepared dog food, on the other hand, contains a healthy balance of lightly cooked but nutrient-dense ingredients such as kale, sweet potato, turkey, lamb, and organ meat. Balanced diets, such as the ones formulated by Ollie’s team, prevent excessive weight gain and ensure every bite of your pup’s food is packed with good nutrition, not unnecessary fillers. If your dog is underweight, feeding them an Ollie diet can help your pup put on the necessary pounds in a healthy way.
According to one study, dogs who were fed a fresh diet lived an average of 13.1 years, while those fed commercial, canned dog food lived an average of 10.4 years. In other words, a fresh food diet could help you and your dog enjoy an additional 2.5 years of love, laughter and licks.
Many commercial dog foods’ added starches, dyes, preservatives, and synthetic nutrients can steal precious time with your beloved pal by taking a cumulative toll on your dog’s health. “Humans could live on potato chips and beer alone, but not long or well,” Brown points out. “It’s the same thing with animals on a commercial diet. Sooner or later, it catches up with them.”
A balanced vegetable and meat diet is critical to maintain your dog’s gut health. Such a regimen has endured. Domesticated dogs’ wild, feral ancestors took down small animals, such as rabbits, birds, and squirrels. Wild dogs ate the meat and the prey animal’s stomach contents, Brown says. Because small animals are generally herbivores, a wild dog consumed meat and nutrient- and fiber-rich vegetables, which helped keep their digestive system humming smoothly. A domesticated dog’s fresh food diet provides this nutritional balance, offering the same positive digestive health benefits.
Pet parents who feed Ollie consistently report that their pups’ poops are smaller, less frequent, and less stinky! By feeding your pooch whole ingredients, which make up our delicious fresh food, your dog will have more consistent and smaller bowel movements. The fiber that helps keep your furry pal’s digestive system moving along is also responsible for this dog owner-pleasing phenomenon.
A healthy canine digestive system’s additional positive side effect is more restful sleep. “If your animal gets up in the middle of the night, sighing, breathing, and switching positions, that’s a sign that the digestive system is upset,” Brown says. “When you’re putting the right ingredients into the body in proper proportions, the dog’s rest is pure and restorative.” Your dog will feel better and healthier overall when they regularly have a good night’s sleep.
A healthy diet can actually enhance your dog’s brain health. According to a Journal of Veterinary Medicine study, cognitively impaired senior dogs who were fed an antioxidant-enriched diet had higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which may slow cognitive decline.
This logic is similar to how an antioxidant-rich (i.e., fresh, colorful produce) diet seems to help prevent humans’ cognitive decline. These benefits aren’t limited to seniors. A fresh, wholesome diet also fuels younger pups’ learning and alertness, Brown explains. “When you feel good, you’re sharper, have more energy, and can tackle more tasks,” she says.
Skin problems, such as itching, rashes, and scabs, have become increasingly common in dogs. Frequently, an affected dog is treated with cortisone shots and reaction-reducing steroids, which come with their own potentially risky side effects. “Pet owners are told it’s an allergy when it’s often just a deficiency,” Brown explains.
This dietary deficiency stems from unbalanced, filler-laden commercial foods that don’t supply the nutrition a dog needs to remain healthy. Because of its cooking and processing methods, dry food is likely to deprive dogs of the healthy fats and oils they need for a lustrous, moisturized coat and skin.
A few days after switching your dog to a fresh, natural, and balanced diet, “shedding, itching, scratching, dry skin, a rough coat, and other skin problems will start to correct themselves,” Brown says. Dog owners will “really notice a difference.”
If your pup’s itchy skin and dull coat don’t improve when you feed them fresh food, a true allergy may be to blame. Dogs commonly have a chicken allergy or sensitivity, which is why Ollie dog food recipes contain a single protein source. Therefore, if chicken is an issue for your dog, don’t fret. Ollie offers other equally tasty recipes featuring turkey, lamb, and beef.
Regular exercise is critical for dogs of all ages. Whether you choose a brisk walk through the neighborhood or a sport, such as rally obedience or agility, your dog will need nutritious food to fuel their workouts.
A fresh food diet’s high-quality protein provides ready-to-use energy, so your dog feels strong and happy while they exercise. Fresh protein promotes muscle recovery, ensuring your pooch is prepared for their next adventure.
The right whole-food mix can transform your dog into the athlete or walking companion you’ve always wanted.
Fresh food entices picky pups with its appealing aroma and flavor, promoting consistent and enthusiastic eating.
Older dogs also appreciate the soft texture, which requires less chewing than traditional dry food. As an added bonus, fresh ingredients contain more water than dry dog food, helping keep your dog hydrated throughout the day. If your pup is picky, offer them a few different Ollie recipes to determine their preference.
At Ollie, we totally get your enthusiasm to see the pawsome transformations fresh food can bring to your dog. But hey, slow and steady wins the race! Take it easy and transition over a seven-to-ten-day period. Mix in more fresh food while reducing the old diet until you’ve made a complete switcheroo. If your furry buddy experiences any tummy troubles, no worries! Just go back to the previous mix and give them a gentler introduction to the fresh goodness. Remember, we’re in this together, fur-real!
Our Ollie team makes introducing your dog to a fresh food diet easy. You can change shipment dates, skip shipments, or change recipes at any time. If your dog has begun eating a fresh food diet, tell us about the positive changes you have witnessed!
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