What Should you Feed Your Dog?

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I have had dogs, with the exception of three years when we lived in a flat, all of my life. I grew up with them and I knew as soon as we had our own home with a garden that I wanted to own a dog. Dogs come with lots of love and character, but also some interesting challenges.

In my adult life, I have had two dogs – one a Rhodesian Ridgeback / Great Dane cross called Boris and our present dog Florence who is a (ridgeless) Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Florence was a bit of a challenge as a puppy because she ate things she shouldn’t. Quite a few things and unfortunately had to have her stomach pumped twice.

Picture of a Rhodesian Ridgeback lying on a patio girl with a young blonde girl cuddling her wearing pink jeans

The first time my husband put his armoured cycling gloves on the radiator to dry after a wet cycle ride home from work. She ate them…. whole. After a panicked call to the vets, we were concerned the gloves would not pass through the digestive tract and had to rush her there for an emergency appointment. The receptionist still mentions it to this day, probably more because the gloves were absolutely fine so my husband asked if could take them home and wash them!

The second time was when I left a punnet of old grapes on the side ready to take out to the compost in the garden. I didn’t think she could reach the worktop, it turns out she could. Unfortunately, grapes are toxic to dogs, so that resulted in another emergency appointment.

After that, we got much more diligent about where we left things, but also learning about foods that are toxic to dogs.

What Foods are Toxic Dogs?

What Foods are Toxic Dogs? Picture of a Rhodesian Ridgeback outside with a brick background about to catch a treat that is being thrown for her

There are lots of everyday foods that we as humans eat that are actually dangerous to dogs. All of these foods are foods that should not be in your dog’s diet and in the worst-case scenario could actually kill them:

  • Grapes
  • Dried Fruit
  • Avocado
  • Tuna, and fish with high levels of mercury
  • Bulb vegetables – onions, leeks, shallots and garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Corn on the cob
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Alcohol
  • Cooked bones

What Should you Feed Your Dog?

What should you feed your dog? Image of a rhodeisan ridgeback sat down with a young blonde girl holding a treat for her

The obvious answer is of course dog food. But not all dog food is equal and there are huge variations in quality. You want to choose a healthy dog food that contains natural ingredients and also free from artificial ingredients, preservatives and colours. James Wellbeloved natural dog food excludes these and provides all the nutritional goodness your dog requires.

Their tasty recipes are made with simple ingredients and are full of goodness – because it’s only natural to want your pet to love their food and live a healthier, happier life. In 1992, two poorly Boxer dogs had itchy skin, upset tummies and a distressed owner. When they were fed simple foods that were less likely to trigger allergic reactions, the Boxer dogs got better, had more energy, and had healthier, glossy coats. Their owner then went on to develop the James Wellbeloved brand!

We feed Florence a complete dog food and she has two meals a day, morning and night. We know that it is nutritionally balanced and gives her everything she needs. We follow the guide on the feed bag which advises how much food she needs for her size. Although I often find this needs tweaking depending on how active Florence is. When you take your dog for a check-up at the vets they can advise you of your dog’s ideal weight and how to keep an eye on if they’re getting enough or too little food. A good guide is to keep an eye on their ribs, you should be able to see them, but they should not be highly visible and their waist should tuck in.

We also really limit the amount of ‘human food’ Florence has (it should only be 10% of a dog’s diet). She has a bit of a thing for leftover roast potatoes after a Sunday roast, but that’s about it.

Florence also loves her daily dental stick that helps to maintain her teeth.

Dog Treats

Dog Treat. Funny photo of a Rhodesian Ridgeback with her eyes crossed and her face contorted as she catches a treat in the air

We love treats, so it’s only natural that our dogs would love treats too. But it’s important, just like for humans, that treats are in moderation and appropriate. Never give a dog a cooked bone as they are really dangerous, but raw bones are fine (keeping them out of the way of small children and in a safe place as raw meat could make them sick).

We received a great tip from a dog trainer, when training your dog, food is a great way to reward them, but can lead to over feeding. The dog trainer advised us to take some of Florence’s dinner out with her. So she was being fed her dinner during training and it also means that we didn’t overfeed her at the same time.

Tips to Keep Your Dog Food Safe at Home

Finally, I wanted to share some tips on keeping your home food safe. Florence is a terrible food thief, as she is a very big dog, she is also able to ‘counter surf’ and reach food smaller dogs can only dream of snatching. We learned very quickly that we needed to keep our home safe from her.

Here are some of the things we do to keep Florence safe:

  • Dry small items (socks, gloves etc) that she might eat upstairs, out of the way
  • Keep worktops free of food, in cupboards and bread in a bread bin
  • Chocolate stored in sealed containers and out of reach
  • Introduced a kitchen caddy for compost
  • Our kitchen bin is now inside a kitchen cupboard where she cannot raid it
  • Keep her in a separate room when the children are eating so she cannot steal any food she shouldn’t have that they accidentally drop on the floor

I hope these tips help!

What Should you Feed Your Dog? What foods are healthy for your dog and what foods are toxic. How do you know if you are feeding them too much or too little and how to make your house safe for your dog so they cannot access foods they shouldn't have.

4 thoughts on “What Should you Feed Your Dog?”

  1. Honestly there are so many pitfalls aren’t there with dogs? Mine is one of those dogs that will try to scrounge anything she sees so we have to be really careful. I love to see your photos of Florence, she’s fabulous.

  2. Like Donna, I have never had a dog (but hope to become well enough again one day to consider getting one). I will certainly be reading everything I can before we even get close to making that decision though, so we know these things. I had no idea that cooked bones were dangerous, for example!


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