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'Balanced and Complete' - What Does It Mean?

Part of the marketing spin on why we need to feed our dogs commercial pet food is that it is ‘balanced and complete’.

But here’s the thing…Dogs have different dietary and nutritional needs to humans, and so of course their food needs to be catered towards these needs.

Dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds will require slightly different types or volumes of food, and so there is a great deal of focus on whether the foods we feed our pups actually contain all the right vitamins and nutrients they will need to thrive.

beagle eating from food bowl

Commercial dog foods are specially created to contain the appropriate amounts of calories, vitamins and minerals that your dog needs. These elements are synthetically added to commercial dog food to enhance its nutritional value, earning it the title of ‘balanced and complete’.

However, here’s the actual truth of the situation: it takes a lot more than a few added vitamins to make dog food ‘balanced and complete’. 

A healthy dog’s diet should consist of real foods that are nutritious and stimulating for both their body and mind. 

While homemade dog food is a healthy option for many, we recognise that not everyone will have the time or resources to cook each of their dog’s meals from scratch. Which is why in this blog we will take you through the meaning of ‘balanced and complete’, highlighting some of the key elements which make up a balanced dog food, and how you can give your pup’s meal a boost!

dog looking up from empty bowl

What does balanced and complete dog food mean?

Balanced and complete dog food is a term used by commercial pet food brands in order to let pet owners know that the food contains all the required nutrients their dog needs in a meal, and therefore can be given as their sole diet.

It means that the food has been created with dog nutrition specifically in mind and should sustain your pup. 

However, different dogs will require different levels of nutrition at different ages, and in the case of allergies or intolerances, you may find you need to alter your dog’s diet to keep them comfortable and satisfied.

While commercial dog food is a good start as a baseline of nutrition, there are lots of things you can do as a pet parent to keep your canine companion’s food interesting, delicious AND nutritious.

A quick and easy way you can be sure that your dog is receiving all the nutritional goodness they need is with the addition of our Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22. This natural nutritional blend can be a beneficial boost to any dog’s diet, whether you homecook your dog’s meals, follow a BARF diet or rely on commercial dog food.

dog eating from bowl by window

If you’re unfamiliar, Wellbeing Essentials is a canine-friendly nutrient blend which has been researched and created with pups in mind. It provides vital micronutrients which can sometimes get missed in day to day meals, and can be added to wet or dry commercial pet food, but is particularly effective when used as a balancer for a homemade dog food diet.

And depending on your dog’s weight, just a spoonful a day is all you may need - Mary Poppins would be proud!

Indeed, many pup parents praise Wellbeing Essentials Complete 22 for how much goodness it packs into every scoop; antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, gut-healthy prebiotics, lignans and dietary fibre - as well as being naturally anti-inflammatory.

And the best part, most dogs find it delicious! Ideal for fussy eaters.

dog eating from bowl in kitchen

The key components needed to create a healthy diet for dogs

When it comes to creating a healthy diet for dogs, just as with a human diet, it is important to know what food groups are going to provide the best (and most balanced) amounts of goodness.

But it doesn’t need to be complicated…in fact, it can be surprisingly simple!

Whether you are adding some extra bits to commercial brand pet food or want to try cooking your dog’s meals from scratch, we have highlighted some of the food group foundations of a balanced and complete dog diet:

  • Fruits and veggies - We all know how good greens can be for us, and dogs are no different. As well as adding texture, crunch and sometimes even a source of hydration, certain fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for your pooch. Check out our blog on dog-safe fruits to get the full scoop!

    Whether cooked or raw, fruits and vegetables can be given as part of a meal or even as snacks and rewards; just make sure that if raw, you blend these fruits and vegetables to break down the fibre so your dog can digest it properly. Expanding your dog’s mealtime options can often be quite fun, as you are sharing new flavours with your pup, getting to know them better, their likes and dislikes, as well as keeping them stimulated and interested in their food.
  • Meat and fish- Dogs are known meat-lovers, and meat such as chicken, lamb and beef can be a super source of protein to keep them energised and their muscles healthy. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help decrease inflammation, making it ideal for active or mature canines. Please note that certain types of fish are not recommended for dogs, so be sure to do your research beforehand or consult your vet if you are ever in doubt.

    We even wrote a blog about it! Check out our article ‘Can dogs eat fish?’ for some further information on which fish to feed your dog.

  • Grains- A brilliant way to bulk out your dog’s meals to help keep them fuller for longer; grains are a great source of carbohydrates, giving your dog all the energy they need to run and play. Not only this, grains are also a way of getting more healthy fats and antioxidants into your dog’s daily diet. Cooked and cooled grains can also develop resistant starches, which help with improving digestive health.
  • Bones - While these should only be given as the occasional treat, incorporating bones into your dog’s diet is not only a way to keep them occupied, but they are excellent for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. 
german shepherd eating from bowl

In Conclusion: How to Create a Balanced and Complete Meal For Your Dog

Creatinga well-balanced diet for dogs can be a bit of a process, but with the right knowledge and a dash of patience, you can ensure your pooch is getting all the goodness they need.

Why not check out some of the balanced dog food recipes we have on our website and see if anything inspires you?

Also, if you’re new to home cooking for your dog, then definitely check out our blog on the benefits of homemade meals for dogs here. It breaks down exactly what advantages putting this extra effort into your dog’s diet can have (spoiler: it can help your dog to live a happier and healthier…potentially even a longer life!)

Good luck, pup parent! Whatever you choose to feed your dog, we know you’re doing the best job possible.

Dogs have different dietary needs to humans, and a lot of dogs won’t be receiving the levels of nutrients that they need to thrive. Having an idea of your dog’s basic nutrient needs and what they receive through their food should be a priority when it comes to structuring a well-rounded dog diet.

Like it or not, poop is one of the main ways we can keep an eye on our dog’s health - the colour, smell and consistency can be a first hand indicator into the health of our pups and whether something might be amiss inside.

What does it mean to be an “ethical” pet owner or have an eco-friendly dog anyway, and how can we take steps towards protecting the future of our - and our dogs’ - planet?

In this blog, we’re going to explore the evolving landscape of ethical pet ownership.