I'm A Dietitian — Here's Exactly What I Feed My Dog In A Day
I'll admit that when we got Pumpkin, I had little to no idea which foods were good for dogs and which foods were not.
As a registered dietitian, I felt silly not knowing where to begin when it came to dog food (in my defense, Pumpkin was the first dog I've ever had!), but the minute I saw his sweet little face, I knew I wanted to give him the very best food I could to keep him happy and healthy for life. After all, that is my mission when it comes to human nutrition and an integral part of why I chose to become a dietitian. It's so important to choose foods that keep me healthy, help me exercise, and allow me to feel my best, and I truly believe it should be no different for your dog.
Since taking Pumpkin home, I've learned a lot. We've had good days full of snuggles and bad days with trips to the emergency vet, and I wouldn't change any of that because of all of the things I've learned along the way.
Through the growing pains, we learned more about each other's personalities (he acts like a cat sometimes and hides under the bed just out of arm's reach just to get treats; I like to dress him up in clothes that correspond with the season) and can just tell when the other is not feeling their best.
Feeding my picky eater.
I can tell right away when he's unenthusiastic about the food he's eating, and it makes me sad to see. He walks away from it, and there's really nothing I can do once he's made up his mind.
With my nutrition clients, I'm always striving to offer solutions that not only up the nutritional quality of their diets but that are also things they like to eat—that's the key! Pumpkin can only really show me what he likes through lots of tail wagging (or not). For a few months, he'd enjoy his food; then one day, he'd simply be over it. This would happen over and over until I discovered Nulo.
Their line of grain-free dog food provided a balance between food that nourishes Pumpkin, fuels him, and satisfied the cravings for food he loves to eat. With Nulo's Mix-It-Meals, I can create a custom recipe that he looks forward to eating every day—and I feel so good knowing he's getting the nutrients he needs to be healthy for life. As a dietitian, I love creating my own recipes, so putting together the different ingredients in a recipe for Pumpkin feels just right.
One of the first things I always encourage my clients to incorporate into their daily routine is a probiotic—who knew that dogs need them too?
Pumpkin's favorite is the Salmon & Peas kibble mixed with the Chicken, Salmon & Carrot in Broth pouch and the freeze-dried raw Salmon & Turkey Recipe with Strawberries recipe sprinkled on top. Here's what I love about this hearty, flavor-packed meal:
- Bone broth helps to protect a dog's joints and also provides them with minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- Healthy fats keep Pumpkin's coat shiny and regal.
- Probiotics in Nulo's kibble and freeze-dried raw foods protect Pumpkin's immune system. There is so much emerging research on the benefits of probiotics for the immune and digestive system as well as the brain, and I swear by my own probiotic!
- Low-carb and low-glycemic ingredients provide stable energy and help Pumpkin maintain a healthy weight.
Pumpkin has brought so much joy into my life, and nothing makes me happier than his puppy snuggles, watching him sprint around the apartment in circles or mischievously looking up at me with toy fluff in his mouth when he's ripped a hole! I know that the foods he eats are a major reason he feels so good and is a happy guy all the time. I can't wait for the many more years of activities, companionship, and love.
Maggie Michalczyk is a Chicago-based registered dietitian specializing in seasonal recipes and millennial nutrition for women. She received a B.S. in dietetics from Michigan State University, and is a regular contributor to numerous health and wellness outlets. Michalczyk shares her attainable wellness tips and seasonal recipes on her blog Once Upon a Pumpkin.
She strives to empower women to love their bodies and have a positive and confident relationship with food. Through her love of cooking and baking she aims to help her community further their knowledge of the foods that make them feel good and see that food is so much more than calories in and calories out. When she's not whipping something up in the kitchen, she is exploring the food scene in Chicago and abroad with her husband.