Usually the choices in the Grocery Store brands contain :

  • too much grain and very little real meat
  • maybe full of any number of by-products, preservatives, colouring, artificial flavours, too high in carbs, etc.
  • a good commercial dog food uses quality ingredients such as:
  • lean meats - whole grains - vegetables - healthy oils in the proper proportion for the best in nutrition


  • the first ingredient in a premium dog food will be a whole named meat, such as, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or other lean protein
  • will use no grains at all or will use whole grains such as Barley, Brown rice, Oatmeal
  • AVOID any food containing wheat, soy, glutens or lots of corn
  • quality food will also list vegetables and fruit
  • Most quality food will add the essential fatty acids , Omega 3-6-9 listed as fish, flaxseed oil etc.
  • These oils are very important to optimum nutrition for your dog 

Much of the lower end dog food products are cooked at high temperatures which result in the deterioration of the food's raw ingredients

Again, the quality foods have found several alternatives to cooking their products at these high temperatures and degrading the food.

You will pay more for quality food but in the long run the investment in your dog's health, happiness and longivity are well worth the price. 


General Tips on reading the Ingredient Labels on our pet foods

You can go to the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Centre for further information.


  • Probably due to Ryker tasting the canned food he really did not want his dry so I would add a small amount of broth/ chicken or beef. I prefer to make the broth myself so I can control the salt that is added. I always have store bought with no or minimal amounts of salt added for those times I just cannot get around to cooking broth. This worked and to keep his diarrhea in check, I would also mix the dry food and the broth with  a small amount of white rice.

  • This was not the ending of Ryker's diarrhea issues.  I changed the type of canned food that I was feeding him and finally found one that agreed with Ryker's system. However, there were still bouts of diarhea on and off but nothing similar to when he was a very young pup.

  • Some 6 months later, Ryker had a real bad bout with diahrea lasting for several days despite giving Ryker Kaopectic and electrolytes. Time to visit the vet. Ryker would have been approximately 8 months of age and I was really concerned.  

  • One of my worries was Pancreatitis. Dr. Doug gave Ryker a Chemistry Screen and a Trypsin-folate/B12 blood work, a fecal test for parasites and of course an examination. Thank goodness when the Vet called me all of his tests were fine. No pancreatic worries or anything of great seriousness. We were given an antibiotic used to control bacteria.

  • Ryker got better but that is when I switched his diet. No more canned food. I cook for Ryker's main meal of the day and I still have him on Dry Puppy food for large breeds, mixed with rice and sometimes broth. This has kept his diarrhea under control although I have to be careful with the amount of oils I add to his main meal. I supplement his main meal with Digestive enzymes/ Prozymes, Bone Meal, Glucosamine and a Multi Vitamin and mineral pack.

  • I have provided additional reading material on commercial food labels and other food topics that I thought you may be interested in reading.

  • I do hope you find something here of interest to you to assist you and your devoted and most loyal Canines, whether they be German Shepherds or other breeds, mixed or otherwise they are all much loved here.

  • Please bookmark this site for future visits as we will be adding from time to time. Don't forget to click the other tabs on this site for info on Puppies, Training, Health Issues, Special Seniors and the Last Gift.

  • Since the pet food recall the pet food Industries appear to have taken notice by manufacturing more natural based products for our much loved companions. However,  pet parents with a bit more time may go a little further and have the confidence of knowing first hand what is in fact in our family member's dinner.


  • One basic of home cooking for your friend is to include the same amount of meat that you are using with the same amount of cooked pasta, potatoes or rice. For instance if you cook 2 cups hamburger include 2 cups or 2½ cups of cooked pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes or rice. Add at least ½ cup of vegetables (frozen works to). Some folks add all the veggies that their dog will eat. Of course this is dependant on your dog's weight. You would not feed a 100 Lb. dog approximately 2 cups of cooked food, but the ingredients are all relevant.

  • I always supplemented Max’s dinners with a Natural Enzyme, Bone Meal and a good quality Salmon Oil. Glucosamine supplements are always good to add at any age. As Max got older I added Vitamin E and other supplements to help with his arthritic issues which began in his 10th year.
  • On 2 occasions as Max got older and a little less active he gained about 10 lbs. I put him on a fish diet for 2 weeks and the weight was gone. He also loved fish mixed with a variety of the carbs.
  • The diet was necessary due to his large size being a German Shepherd and since he developed arthritis a little less weight makes getting around easier since there is less weight on the joints.
  • Max’s arthritis did become a major concern but at 13 years of age his Geriatric Blood Panel was perfect. He was just as bright and alert including a very good appetite as when he was an Adult in his prime.
  • Max passed on at 13 years and to read more on his story see the Special Senior's and the Last Gift Tabs on this site.
  • More news on Ryker’s diet and diahrea below.

  • I seriously believe that many health issues can be corrected on their own by changing your friend’s diet although in some cases there are genetic factors that we have no control over. Economically, in most cases the cost is your time and adding your friend’s grocery list to yours. I must state that my pets have never had that 'doggy breath.' Can brag a little.

  • I must add here that the Commercial Pet food industry has recognized the consumer wants of more natural ingredients in their pet's diet and they now offer products that meet this criteria although  you must read and know the ingredients and just as important the country of origin of the ingredients and additives. I never purchase any pet food sourced from China.

  • Should you not be able to have the time I highly recommend the Natural freeze dried and other natural pet food available with no preservatives or harmful chemicals in the ingredients included and most originating from North America. 

If you have the time to home cook and with a little planning and a lot of love anyone can do this. The rewards are really worth it. You will have less visits to the vet, your friend will have great teeth, maintain a good weight and have wonderful health benefits.


I suggest to consult with your Vet if your adult dog has special needs or health issues just like us humans who are always warned to consult our doctors prior to a diet change.

Use your good sense and base your decision of what you are going to feed your dog by doing your research and consulting with others who may offer some good tips and facts. I am happy I did.

I remember when the massive pet food recall happened and still is happening on a smaller scale, I was so fortunate that I did not have to worry about my fur kids since they were on home prepared meals and I knew exactly what they were eating.

Just a note that free feeding is not good for puppies or adult dogs.


  • These basic notes that I have provided here as a result of some of the research that I undertook to find are not intended for feeding puppies. Puppies have very specific nutritional needs to support their growth rates. Puppies must eat a larger amount of food compared to adult dogs and they require higher amounts of nutrients.

  • Since puppies have smaller stomachs they should be fed smaller meals but at least 4 times per day up to approximately 4 months of age, 3 times up to 6 months and then 2 times per day as an adult dog.

  • In order for puppy to grow with strong muscle and bones there are guidelines for a diet that is highly digestible, dense in nutrients and well balanced. Puppies need a food designed for puppies and very high quality for their breed.

  • The German Shepherd puppy should be fed a large breed formula and I suggest since generally the German Shepherds are considered mature at 10 to 16 months of age to feed this formula even up to 2 years of age.

  • Ryker came home at 8 weeks and I kept him on the same puppy dry food that the breeder / Donna was feeding. However, since I personally will not feed only dry to puppies or adults, I added puppy tin food to his meals.

  • Ryker had a really bad case of diarrhea that was of the utmost concern to me. One morning he looked very depressed and would not eat his first meal of the day. BIG TIME ALERT. I phoned Donna and the puppies that she still was looking after had the same problem. Canned food was not the culprit.
  •  I went to the Pharmacy and picked up electrolytes so Ryker would not get too dehydrated and every 2 hours I gave him Kaiopektic flavored for children. He received the amount for his weight at that time. Several days passed and by the afternoon of the first day Ryker's appetite came back or we would have made a visit to our vet.


  • ​CARBOHYDRATES: In most commercial dog food carbs are usually the major source of energy. Good sources of Carbohydrates are oatmeal, brown rice, barley, whole wheat flour products, whole grain pasta and bread, potatoes, fruit and veggies that are safe for dogs. Once carbs are broken down in the body by the digestive system and then converted to glucose which is the significant sugar in the blood that is used for energy they are the fuel supplied for activity. At the same time carbs provide fiber. When feeding carbohydrates with you dog's diet remember usually the same amount of protein with the same amount of carbs. Too many carbohydrates may cause problems with weight gain, diarrhea, gas and so forth. Grains and vegetables that you would cook for yourself need to be cooked for your dog. Variety helps to be safe against possible  toxicity and the reassurance that any nutritional deficiencies will not occur.

  • FAT:  We all need a certain percentage of fats that are a highly concentrated form of energy and supply fatty acids and carry fat soluble vitamins: A-D-K and E. Fats supply flavor and protect and stabilize internal organs and act as an insulator to the body. However, fat contains twice as many calories as carbohydrates or protein and if too many calories come from fat your dog may be deprived of getting enough necessary nutrients from other sources such as protein and carbs. To many fats may cause serious nutritional deficiencies resulting in health problems such as pancreatitis, weight issues or obesity. Dogs require linoleic acid which is the main fatty acid in a category of polyunsaturated fatty acids which is known as Omega 6. The Omega 6 fatty acid is important for skin, coat health, immune system, tissue repair and the reproductive systems. An excellent source of linoleic acid are vegetable oils such as canola and safflower. When you add an oil supplement to your dog's meals, I would suggest to do it gradually as too quickly may cause diarrhea as I am currently working on with Ryker.

  • VITAMINS / MINERALS: A human grade multi vitamin and mineral supplement is a good choice to supplement and add to your dog's diet. I recommend to check with your pharmacist and your vet to guide you to ensure that you are adding the proper supplements and to ensure that they are safe to give to your dog.

  • CALCIUM: As mentioned earlier calcium is very important to all dogs. However, when adding Calcium you must be sure of the Calcium to Phosphorous ratio which is 1.2 to 1.4 parts Calcium to one part Phosphorus.
  • This is important because if there is more phosphorus then Calcium in your dog's diet, signals of calcium deficiency can result. 
  •  I know there are certain medications that you can give to your dog but never give to your cat and so on.

The same holds true for some common foods that we humans can eat that may be extremely toxic to your K9 buddy.

  • I have listed several below as follows:
  • Onions or onion powder 
  • coffee and any related such as tea
  • chocolate
  • macadamia nuts
  • grapes, raisins including the juice or wine
  • the leaves and stems from tomatoes 
  • bitter almonds
  • seeds or pits from fruit (some pits / seeds contain cyanide)
  • avocados
  • espresso beans that are chocolate covered are very toxic
  • moldy or spoiled food / If you will not eat it
  • do not feed it to your companion
  • xylitol which is used as a sweetner in many products
  • yeast dough

  • I started home cooking for Max. I purchased several cook books that contained a lot of useful information on supplementing with Vitamins, Minerals, Bone Meal & several oils, etc. As time went on I grew very comfortable with this method of cooking for Max. On occasion when I had nothing thawed to cook I started to invent my own recipes as we went along. Max relaxed and so did I.
  • Some Vets will advise against feeding human food and sometimes this is due to their worry that the dog will only receive left overs from the table. The diet must be balanced with additional supplements depending and changing with age, weight, health issues, etc.


  • A special ratio of protein, fat and carbs with vitamin and mineral supplements are required to ensure the balance and nutrition. The main difference between our nutritional requirements and our dogs is that dogs have a much greater need for protein and calcium then we do and their physical shapes differ from ours as they have a shorter digestive tract and teeth that are designed to rip and tear their food.

  • PROTEIN:Therefore, since our dogs are totally dependent on us humans to educate ourselves for their health, happiness and well being the protein we feed them should be easily to digest to accommodate their short digestive tracts. The best form of protein for dogs is from animal sources since they are complete and easily digestible. When protein is complete that means that they contain all the necessary amino acids. Protein that meets this requirement is found in meat, eggs, poultry, fish and dairy such as cottage cheese. Our Canines need protein since the amino acids provided are vital for organs, blood, hair, maintenance and repair of tissue and for growth and muscle. Your dog's diet must supply the essential amino acids otherwise serious consequences may occur.
  • ​I brought home Max as a 6 week old German Shepherd puppy and I fed him dry and a can every evening for the first year. My Husband took Max on daily outings in the truck to the park and he started to notice that: 
  • Max would have diarrhea with blood in his stool. This was a major concern to us and as all good pet parents I started to do more research on feeding. I called a German Shepherd breeder just for some simple advice and he told me that I should have Max put down. This was not a person that I wanted to know.
  • I researched a little about feeding RAW and found a very informative book written by an Australian Vet. This guy is great, when one of my cats was very ill I emailed him and he took an interest and gave me a lot of his time. I was not seeing the Vet that I now have or I suppose I would not have sought other sources for comfort at that difficult time.
  • We began to feed Max Raw food. Raw Chicken, Turkey or Beef mixed with Vegetables and Fruit along with some supplements. I also gave him a few drops of Strawberry Extract to calm him before his outings.This was great and Max stopped having diarhea. However, ​​
  • I did not care for raw turkey or chicken left over in his dish since he could get salmonella and all other diseases from contaminated food just like we can.


  • With all the pet foods available and many Dog Food Reviews on the market today choosing one can be a challenge. This is the pet owner’s decision and in a lot of cases will depend on your lifestyle. Many feed dry food only. Of course this is very simple to open the bag, scoop out the recommended amount and Wa La your best friend is fed. Personally, and from my one on one experience I do not care for this method of feeding. However, many dogs would not have a home if we all had to cook for them.
  • Vets will recommend dry food diets for specific health issues.  Many Vets and don’t get me wrong here took very little time in their studies on Pet Nutrition. The Pet Food marketing industry has in place many incentives and have financially supported all types of various projects that cater to the Vets and in turn we have the Vets supporting the Pet Food conglomerates.
  • Commercial dog food is convenient and often nutritious but even the highest quality of commercial dog food will still lack variety. When your dog receives a variety of foods this helps to ensure that he or she is getting an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals.
  • Varied diets also help with avoiding toxicities. Feeding whole food is proving to have health benefits that extend beyond only good nutrition.
  • However, commercial food  is sometimes sacrificed due to costs and the processed food is not human grade.
  • Also preservatives and other chemical properties are added for shelf life and the effects of these chemicals on the dog's body may lead to health issues.
  • Do not let the price of commercial processed dog food fool you to the quality of the food, base your decision on the ingredient list on the label. A little homework can go along way in keeping your friend happy and healthy.
  • Some people are afraid to feed their pets fresh and wholesome food since some pet food companies and even some vets have encouraged the myth that human food of any kind is not at all good for your dog.
  • This is strictly a MYTH. Fresh food like fresh air is all good.
  • Home prepared diets can provide the best nutrition for you friend.
  • Processed is processed and whole foods may have the potential to prevent many diseases such as low energy, ear infections and a general susceptibility to generalized infections, dull greasy coat, dandruff, skin odour, runny stool... are some common issues that are associated with low quality diets.
  • There are many pet owners who have shared their experiences once they started preparing their pet's meals and many have corrected health concerns by making this transition.

I have added several pet food suggestions, vitamins and food supplements that you may view & purchase by clicking the Better Food tab below.   

Yes they are natural I have taken time to do shopping!







  • My mother has had many dogs of all breeds and they have all had very long life spans. Brandy, a female German Shepherd that my  mother and I adopted from the shelter at 4 months lived into her 15 h year which is almost seen as ancient in the German Shepherd breed. 
  • My mother would feed both dry and always canned dog food and intermittently she would cook huge pots of food for her 6 dogs she had at that time including Brandy. The pot included any one of beef, chicken, salmon, pork and on occasion venison.  She would include any one of potatoes, pasta or rice always with vegetables. Again, whatever she had available, maybe pasta one time and maybe potatoes the next. 
  • Brandy was one of the larger dogs in the pack or household and she also received a lot of raw meat right out of the freezer. My Mother always purchased Hamburger for Brandy. She then made patties, wrapped them easily in freezing paper and then put in Freezer. Everyday Brandy received 1 or 2 of those frozen patties as a snack. She ate them frozen. Brandy only visited the Vet when she was spayed and for her booster shots. She was peacefully put to sleep at home at 15 years.