Ask Me Anything: Canine Nutrition with Surabhi Venkatesh

Ask Me Anything: Canine Nutrition with Surabhi Venkatesh
Photo by Karsten Winegeart / Unsplash

“Khaane mein kya hai?”

One would think this is a thought that only plays on our minds. But as pet parents, we know for a fact that this daily dilemma applies to our dogs too. Afterall, even they need wholesome, balanced meals that are equal parts healthy and yum!

And to help you get your dog’s nutrition right, we had canine nutritionist, Surabhi Venkatesh answer the community’s doubts and queries while suggesting the best ingredients, meal preps and feeding tips out there.

Let’s chomp right in and get a recap of what was learnt!

  1. Fresh Food First

When it comes to feeding your dog, the fresher the ingredients, the better! Kibble unfortunately doesn’t fulfil your pooch’s nutritional needs. Therefore, integrating fresh foods like egg in your puppy's kibble and then gradually shifting to a fresh food heavy diet is the way to go.

For vegetarian households, adding paneer chunks, diced veggies, eggs and yoghurt to kibble can work just as well.

2.   Grains That Are Good For Your Pet

You’ve done your homework and you know that gluten isn’t the best addition to your pet’s diet. So now that wheat is ruled out, what grain can be included in their meals?

According to Surabhi, quinoa, millets, oats, brown rice and barley are not just okay, these are great additions! Just make sure to consult a nutritionist to know the right quantities for your dog, and you’re good to go.

3.   A Berry Good Idea!

Ever wondered if feeding your pet berries is a good idea? Well, our expert gives a go ahead to adding cranberries, strawberries and blueberries. However, not all dogs are accepting of the taste and texture. So it’s advisable to look out for natural freeze dried powders instead, as at times dogs prefer that to whole fruits.

While there are a variety of ways to incorporate berries into their snacks and meals, adding them to cold yoghurt or in their summer treats is a good way to start. Bear in mind that many dogs may still not like the taste of berries and if your dog is one of them, do not try force feeding.

4.   Leafy Greens For Them Too

Yes, you heard that right. Even our four-legged babies need their leafy greens! And just like kids, they are more likely to accept these veggies when blanched and pureed. So bring out some spinach, kale, mustard leaves and methi the next time you start meal prep, because these nutrition rich foods are wonderful for your dog’s health.

5.   Seeds and Roughage

If you’re all set to add seeds to the mix, then soaked flax seeds is a top recommendation. These can be served in many ways. Grind them up or soak them to improve digestibility. You can also opt for cold pressed flax seeds if that’s how your furry baby likes it. And if you want to add chia seeds to their food, be sure to soak them before.

Confused about the quantities? Surabhi suggests sticking to half to about a teaspoon full for each serving. Adding seeds to your dog’s meals is completely optional, therefore you needn’t add them in every meal. The choice is yours!

As for roughage, pumpkin is a great choice to increase your fibre intake. Green leafy vegetables are also nourishing options. Additionally, adding psyllium husk (isabgol) to their meals is a good idea if you see them struggling to poop. If, however, the problem persists, you should contact your local vet or connect with a canine nutritionist to examine your dog’s diet.

That’s it for this time’s recap. Stay tuned for our upcoming AMA Sessions with canine experts that help you make dog parenting easier and better.

Until next time, keep learning!