It’s a very important question as the diet of your Doodle is as important as yours. They require proteins, fatty acids, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. They will need a different diet at different stages in their life and each dog, like us, will have individual needs.
Each dog’s dietary requirement will be individual. This will be based on their breed, weight, age, lifestyle, and metabolism. It may take some fine-tuning to find the right balance and method, but all dogs should have a nutrient-rich diet. Be wary of ‘empty’ calories and read the packaging carefully.
In this article, we will look at the general dietary requirements for dogs and discover why they need them. We will also outline the different food options and investigate their pros and cons. Our aim is to arm you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision as to what is the best way to feed your Doodle.
Table of Contents
Calorie requirements will vary based on many factors. Breed, energy levels, and stage of life are just a few. However, a good starting point is to calculate 25 to 30 calories per pound of weight.
There are six basic and essential nutrients that your will dog needs to provide them with a well-balanced diet. A good diet is crucial in sustaining a healthy and happy pooch:
Dogs need water to keep hydrated. A hydrated dog is one that will function better, from their brain to their major organs. There will be little success in the rest of these nutrients being absorbed properly if your Doodle isn’t getting the water they need. Generally speaking, dogs will need 1oz of water for every 1lb of body weight.
Protein is made up of amino acids and is one of the most important nutrients for your Doodle. Amino acids are responsible for growth, development, and building the immune system. There are 22 amino acids that your pooch requires but they can only produce 12 of them themselves. This means that the other 10 needs to come from their diet. These are referred to as essential amino acids.
The levels of amino acids in different protein sources and the ability for them to be broken down within that source determines its quality. The science is comprehensive and complicated, and whilst we here at Know Your Doodles have a vision to arm you with all the knowledge you need, we are not scientists and are not qualified to delve further into the specifics.
The amount of protein that your Doodle will need to maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet will vary depending on their age, activity level, and, if your pooch is a bitch, whether she is pregnant or lactating. However, the average adult Doodle will need their diet to be around 18% protein.
Not all fats are ‘bad’ fats and are needed in a well-balanced diet to provide energy, help with the maintenance of healthy skin and coat, encourage the absorption of certain vitamins and add that all-important flavor. Omega 3s and 6s are essential for the development of the brain and eyes.
Your average adult Doodle’s diet should contain a minimum of 5.5% fat of which some should be Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Dogs don’t really need carbohydrates; a diet of protein and fats would be sufficient for them. However, as Omnivores they can use carbohydrates as an energy source. However, this doesn’t mean that their intake should be excessive which is likely what you will find in poor-quality dog food. Overdoing the carbs can bring with it its own issues including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Minerals & Vitamins
Vitamins can be found in many fruits and veggies which is why you are likely to find these on the ingredient list of your dog’s food. They are an important part of their diet and help to keep them healthy. Deficiencies can also cause lots of issues.
Vitamin A is an important factor in keeping their skin and hair healthy and a deficiency can cause skin lesions, heighten their vulnerability to infections, and affect their vision just as a few examples. Vitamin E aids in the maintenances of their immune system but a shortage can lead to fertility, skeletal, and eye problems. Some vitamins need a fine balance. Whilst Vitamin D is crucial in the correct dosage too much can prove toxic.
Some minerals, whilst necessary are only needed in tiny amounts, and like some vitamins, an excessive amount can lead to problems. Other minerals are needed in larger quantities but still need to be balanced. Calcium for example is important in keeping teeth and bones strong but too much can cause skeletal abnormalities.
Check with your vet that the food you are using contains the right balance of vitamins and minerals. If you follow a raw or homecooked diet you will need to find out if supplements are required. This is all information that needs to be provided by your vet or nutritionist.
Our best advice, remembering that guidelines will differ based on many variants, is to feed your dog the best quality dog food you can afford, read the labels making sure that it meets the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), and speak with your vet or nutritionist.
How Can I Tell if my Dog is the Right Weight?
You won’t be able to feel the ribs of an overweight Doodle and there will be visible evidence of fat deposits on the base of their tail and back. Their profile view will show no abdominal tuck, there will be no visible waist and you won’t be able to see the distinction between the two.
Obesity can lead to osteoarthritis and diabetes amongst other ailments. Small dogs and older dogs are both more at risk of piling on the pounds and being overweight is more common in neutered pooches.
The perfect weight is basically what you can / can’t see in an over or underweight dog. You should be able to feel the ribs effortlessly. Their abdomen should be narrower than their chest with a clear abdominal tuck.
If your Doodle is underweight then you will clearly be able to see their backbone, pelvis, and ribs. You may notice a loss of muscle mass and won’t be able to feel any fat on their bones. Being underweight can cause many problems including the risk of bacterial infection and osteoporosis. A nursing bitch may not have the ability to nourish her litter and an underfed puppy may result in stunted growth.
What is the Best Food for my Doodle?
Kibble is a dried food that comes in pellet form. All the ingredients are processed together and then cooked. Whilst there are many different brands of kibble it is necessary that they all meet the dietary requirements of your Doodle. Ingredients include meat, grains, and vegetables and this method of feeding is great for your dog’s teeth.
The crispy texture of these dried pellets helps to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar on your Doodle’s teeth. You may notice that kibble fed dogs might have a much more pleasant aroma on their breath than those fed on wet or raw food.
Have a good read of the packaging before you decide on which kibble to buy. The ingredients should be well balanced, nutritious, and not padded out with preservatives and other byproducts.
Nutrients will likely be listed as a percentage as opposed to grammage, but a simple calculation can help you to convert proteins and other nutrients within the food:
- Portion weight (g) x percentage listed = Grams of protein (or another nutrient)
Canned food is a wet food and can help to keep your dog hydrated. Especially if you find that they are not big drinkers. Being hydrated is important for the all-round health of your Doodle and can also help to prevent UTI’s (urinary tract infections).
Purina dog food manufacturers suggest that one can of 3oz wet dog food is required per 3 – 3.5lbs of body weight per day. This should be split into 2 or 3 portions depending on the age and feeding routine of your dog.
Some owners do mix the dry with the wet and it is important to adjust ratios to ensure that you are not overfeeding. Quantities should also be adjusted based on your Doodle’s own individual needs.
Wet food doesn’t provide the crunch of dry that helps your dog to keep the plaque and tartar at bay. It would be more important to follow a separate oral hygiene routine with your Doodle if they have a wet food-based diet in order to keep their teeth and gums at the optimum health.
Most canned dog food is more palatable than kibble. It generally contains less processed proteins but be careful of by-product substitutes in those which are not high quality. Typically, there are fewer carbohydrates in canned food but boy, its smellier than dry. It is also usually more expensive, so this is something worth nothing if the cost is an issue for you.
More and more dog owners are choosing to feed their dogs a raw diet. Raw takes your pooch back to their ancestral diet, typically contains less processed ingredients and little to no preservatives or additives. Raw feeding is accredited to a noticeable improvement in health for many dogs. Shinier coats and healthier skin and teeth are all attributed to a raw diet.
Raw fed Doodles also generally poop less – now there’s an advantage! Dogs absorb more of the ingredients that are in a raw diet which in turn means that less fecal matter is produced. What is produced is also typically less smelly.
Raw can take a lot of room up in your freezer so you may have to shop often, although may suppliers do deliver. You may also choose to have a separate freezer for your dog’s food if you have space. It is also extremely important that it is kept frozen and then fully defrosted before giving it to your dog.
It is not advised to mix kibble with raw as you can with canned wet food. Raw and kibble have very different digestive times (raw 4-6 hours and kibble 8-10 hours) so this can lead to tummy upsets and diarrhea.
There is also a concern with regards to an unprocessed raw diet carrying pathogens which can be harmful to humans. Don’t allow your dog to lick you after they have eaten, always wash your hands after handling their food, and should any member of the household be immunocompromised, we would suggest that you take further, professional advice before beginning the transition to a raw diet.
Homecooked or home prepped raw can be both time consuming and expensive. However, you do know exactly what is going into everything that your Doodle is fed, and you are in complete control. However, you are quite likely to need to offer supplements. There is a risk of not providing them with a complete and balanced diet without fully researching canine nutrition.
Can Dogs have a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet?
Dogs, like humans, are omnivores. This means that they can meet their dietary needs by eating both meat and plant-based food. The quality and ease of digestion of the required protein and fats in a dog’s diet are more important than the actual source of these elements.
So yes, carried out correctly then most Doodles can thrive on a vegetarian diet that is balanced right. However, like homecooked feeding, it is important that you do your research around canine nutrition and even speak your vet or a nutritionist for further advice.
How much Should I Feed my Doodle & Should Treats be Limited?
Fundamentally, for a starting point, you will calculate how much to feed your dog based on their weight. Weights will be different for different methods of feeding so always check the labels or check with your vet. Age, metabolism, and lifestyle will also need to be factored in but ultimately you will get to know your dog and their needs. The necessities are that you are not over or underfeeding and that they are eating a well-balanced diet.
Treats are fine, we all love a treat, but these do need to be factored into your Doodle’s daily intake. They are great for training and also for a tasty snack between meals, but too many can lead to obesity which brings with it a host of other health risks.
Most dogs are greedy little gremlins and will eat anything, regardless of whether it was designed to be eaten or not. This means that you have to be super careful with what you leave lying around. No access to the trash can (and remember they can be clever), no sneaky sausages within reach on the countertop, and no food cupboards left ajar.
What Foods are Toxic for Dogs?
There are many things that we have as humans that are dangerous to your Doodle. Some things, like chocolate you may be aware of but others may be more of a revelation. Xylitol for example. You may wonder what it even is. It’s an active ingredient in many things including candy and toothpaste which is why it’s so important to use doggy specific paste on your pooches’ teeth. Ingestion can cause a drop in blood pressure and liver failure.
Onions in any form can cause anemia in your Doodle as they kill the red blood cells. It’s not just onions that need to be avoided but anything from the allium family. This includes garlic, leeks, chives, shallots, and leeks.
Avocado is another no-no for dogs. Not only is the seed a chocking and obstruction hazard but they contain a compound called persin which is toxic to your Doodle. Persin is contained within the avocado itself and also the leaves, seeds, and bark.
We have already mentioned chocolate and while you might know that you shouldn’t give it to your Doodlem you may not know that it’s because it contains caffeine. Caffeine is really dangerous to dogs and if you think that yours has digested any then you should seek the advice of your vet straight away. Caffeine is also found in tea, coffee, energy drinks, and some sodas such as Coke and Mountain Dew.
Other foods likely to cause sickness, diarrhea, or other problems in your Doodle are macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, milk, peaches, persimmons, and plums. You can read more about what foods are poisonous in our sister article can my Cockapoo eat apples.
Allergies and Sensitive Stomachs
Some Doodles, like us, have allergies and sensitive tummies. Triggers will be different in different sufferers and it may be a simple intolerance or a more significant allergy. If you suspect or notice any kind of a reaction in your dog please do not hesitate to contact your veterinary practice to get advice. Further information regarding sensitive stomachs can be found by reading do Doodles have sensitive stomachs.