What is a “Real Food Diet For Dogs”, Really?

What is a “Real Food Diet For Dogs”, Really?

They call it a REAL FOOD diet for dogs? Isn’t all food real? Is this just the latest “fad?” Don’t you just go to the pet food store and buy a bag of whatever’s on sale?

For many, I believe the above is true for them. They don’t know any other way, and just continue doing what they’ve always done, and feed dry, processed food to their dogs. With that said, research shows that 96% around the globe are still feeding dry commercial dog food, with many of those people having no desire to make any change.

So what the heck IS REAL FOOD, really?

Truthfully, a Real Food diet has a couple different names that really mean the same thing. You may hear people refer to it as a Whole Food diet, or, the most popular, a Raw Food diet for dogs. The true meaning of all three would be a wholesome and nourishing, human grade food as it’s found in nature, unprocessed and unaltered. Examples of these foods would be:

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Organic or locally grown if possible
  • Dairy Products – Organic, pasture raised, unsweetened
  • 100% Whole Grain products
  • Wild Caught Seafood
  • Humanely raised Local Meats
  • Natural sweeteners – Pure Maple Syrup and Honey
  • Nuts, popcorn, seeds and dried fruit – Organic, raw and unsweetened

So Why Does The Food Need To Be “Human Grade?”

Because in the human food industry, they use only about 50% of the animal for human consumption.

The leftover parts, or the remaining 50% are called the by-products of heads, feet, and bones, blood, organs, intestines, feathers, even unborn fetuses and are what they use in our pet foods.

So… if it’s not human grade, and you wouldn’t feed it to a family member, then you don’t want to give it to the dog you love. After all, they are family too 🙂

How Would I Ever Know Where To Start?meat-and-veggies

Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! This is where people get so overwhelmed and quit. Stop….take a couple deep breaths (I’m breathing with you!) and here we go!

The great thing here is that you have total control over what your dog is going to eat! Doesn’t that feel great! Their diet will make such a big difference in their overall health, you’ll see!

  • Start with a recipe that is approved, and/or created by an expert in dog nutrition. This is absolutely critical as feeding an unbalanced diet can have devastating consequences to the health of your pet. I can’t say enough about Dr. Karen Becker‘s book Real Food For Healthy Dogs and Cats She has some VERY, I mean VERY simple recipes to get you started!

Real Food is the most informative, educational, practical and helpful book I have ever read on homemade diets for your animal companions. It offers all the information you need to prepare the healthiest diet possible for your kindred spirits. Follow the directions and you will offer your cats and dogs one of the healthiest possible diets.”Allen M. Schoen, MS, DVM, Author, Kindred Spirits, How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live

  • Always follow the recipes to make sure proteins, organ meats, vegetables, carbs, and oils are balanced. You will learn with time how to switch ingredients of equal nutritional value if needed. To start, make it easy on yourself.
  • You’ll need a Food Scale. I use one like this. You will definitely need one of these to measure out your dog’s food as It’s much more accurate than a measuring cup.

Remember it’s VERY important that you don’t just switch over to a Real Food diet cold turkey. This is something you need to do slowly, otherwise, you could cause a lot of gastrointestinal upset. Rodney Habib, Pet Nutritionist, wrote a post on why adding Human Food is SO important. If your dog has never had fresh food before, this may be a great place to start!

What Kind of Health Benefits Can We Expect From This Diet?

A Real Food diet truly offers endless benefits to your dog’s health and wellness. A highly processed, commercial dog food, no matter how superior they claim it to be, could never provide the benefits that a fresh, real food diet does.

“You are what you eat.” A saying that rings true for humans, as well as for dogs. Unfortunately, many commercial dog foods are not as nutritious as we’d like them to be. Andi Brown, author of The Whole Pet Diet and a pioneer of holistic pet products, says, “If you’re eating 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. It’s the very same thing with animals on a commercial diet.” She continues: “Just because a dog food is labeled ‘holistic’ or ‘all-natural’ doesn’t mean it’s necessarily any better than anything else out there.”

So what ARE the benefits of this Real Food diet for dogs, really?

  • Disease Prevention
  • Supports Brain Health
  • Higher Energy Levels
  • Weight Management
  • Healthier, shinier, softer skin and coat
  • Improved Digestion
  • Age Defying
  • Fewer Allergies
  • NO hidden ingredients!

Those are some pretty wonderful benefits if you ask me! What really amazes me is that back in the early 60s, the pet food industry came out with a huge campaign to push their new commercial dry pet food. They told everyone how terrible table scraps were for dogs, and that you should never feed them anything but their balanced, commercial pet foods. So for many years, we were taught to never feed our dogs from the table, right!! Now, 50+ years later, and after seeing cancer at an all-time high in our dogs, as well as many other ailments and diseases, Veterinarians and expert pet nutritionists have come forward and are now taking a stance for our pets!


I am SO excited to be able to share information with all of you on something I am so passionate about. If one person reads this and switches their dog to a healthy, Fresh Food diet, I have succeeded! There is nothing that would make me happier! 🙂

I am here to help if you need it, so please don’t hesitate to leave any questions or comments below!

Be sure to check out my page on Homemade Dog Food with Tips on How to make it for more information!!

Marlaina 🙂







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