Many holistically minded poodle owners feel they are doing the very best for their dogs by feeding them a fresh-food diet, rather than kibble or canned. If you choose a fresh diet, you can provide great variety, thus maximizing the various nutrients your dog gets. You can reduce or completely eliminate the proportion of protein that comes from grains, a less natural component of a dog's diet. And raw food (as opposed to cooked or commercially processed food) has live enzymes, which have health benefits.
The Basic Ingredients
If you choose to prepare your dog's food, make sure you're meeting your dog's nutritional needs. The basic components usually include meat, bone, organ meat, and ground vegetables. You can also add grains, if you and your dog prefer.
You should buy the highest-quality ingredients you can afford. If you can't afford organic meat, you can buy meat from the supermarket and rest assured that you're still feeding meat that's healthier than that found in most commercial dog food. Organic vegetables aren't terribly expensive. If you can buy vegetables that haven't been grown with pesticides, your dog will be ahead of the game.
A grave mistake that some well-intentioned dog owners make when preparing a diet at home is to serve meat without raw bone or other calcium source. It's important that the phosphorous in the meat be balanced by calcium. Bone can be served whole or ground. If you cook, use bone meal or ground eggshell powder for added calcium.
Good nutrition is a key component to keeping your poodle healthy.
Raw-feeding proponents stress that variety is very important in a home-prepared diet. Different meats and vegetables have different vitamins and other nutrients. If you feed a wide variety of foods, you'll be giving your poodle a broad spectrum of nourishment. Balance over time, rather than making sure that each meal is “complete and balanced,” will serve your dog well.
Some people who feed a fresh diet prefer to cook their dog's food. Though most dogs are built to handle raw food, if you're not comfortable with the bacteria in the food, or if your dog is immune-compromised, you can cook her food before serving.
Do some research first to make sure cooking is necessary, and cook as lightly as possible. Cooking destroys many of the beneficial enzymes. It's also a lot more work than feeding raw. But done properly, it's a healthier alternative than kibble or canned.