Nutrient-Dense Whole Foods For Dogs

Nutrient Dense Whole Foods For Dogs

If you’re feeding a raw diet, you’re most likely feeding whole foods. However, there may be some foods that can act as supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps. While raw feeding is beneficial to your dog’s health, it’s important to maintain variety so your dog obtains all the nutrients they need.

Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Raw Diets

The nutrients that may be deficient include:

Alpha-linoleic Acid

There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids; alpha-linoleic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid. To ensure your dog is getting enough of these nutrients, we recommend feeding grass-fed cattle rather than grain-fed. You can also add seeds and seed oils to your dog’s diet to ensure they get enough.


There are many diets, both raw and commercial, that are low in EPA and DHA. Without a sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids outweigh them, leading to increased levels of inflammation. To increase the levels of EPA & DHA, add fatty fishes to your dog’s diet. Recommended fish include sardines, anchovies, salmon, herring, and mackerel.


When incorporating iodine into your dog’s raw diet, it’s crucial to understand its significance and ensure it’s administered in the correct amounts. Iodine is essential for the proper functioning of your dog’s thyroid gland and is vital for metabolic processes. While many raw diets, especially those based on seafood like fish, naturally provide some iodine, others may be deficient.

One of the safest ways to supplement iodine is through kelp, which is rich in this essential mineral. However, it’s essential to follow dosage recommendations based on your dog’s weight and to source products free of contaminants.


Soft tissue injuries are common in our dogs and are often a result of a lack of manganese. While the fur and feathers of complete prey carry manganese, if you aren’t feeding a prey model diet, you likely aren’t including much of these. To add manganese to the diet, add blue mussels and green tripe.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning it can build up in your dog’s diet. Anything that builds up in your dog’s system should be given carefully. Fortunately, by feeding whole foods rather than supplements, you decrease the risk of over supplementation.

If your dog does need vitamin D, add herring, sardines, mackerel, or salmon to his diet. You can also add free-range eggs and grass-fed beef to help fill in the gap.

If you’re not sure if or how much vitamin D your dog needs, contact a trusted canine nutritionist that specializes in raw feeding. We recommend Hannah Zulueta with Daily DogFoodRecipes. Use code DRAKE to get 5% off of any consultation.Click here to book your consult!

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents fats from oxidizing, which is important for your dog’s health and well-being. Pastured eggs, seeds, and nuts can add vitamin E to your dog’s diet.


Zinc plays a crucial role in various physiological processes, including immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. For dogs on a raw diet, there are several whole food options that are rich in zinc.

Green tripe, often a favorite among canines, is a nutrient-dense source. Additionally, red meats like beef and lamb are particularly high in zinc. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds can also be finely ground and sprinkled on their meals as a supplemental source.

Using Whole Foods Instead of Supplements

Whenever possible, add whole foods rather than supplements. Whole foods are not only safer, but they’re much healthier for your dog.

To read further into this topic, visit:

Zinc in Dog Nutrition, Health and Disease: A Review – PMC
Rapid improvement in vitamin D status with dietary 25-hydroxycholecalciferol in vitamin D insufficient dogs – PMC
Dietary imbalances in a large breed puppy, leading to compression fractures, vitamin D deficiency, and suspected nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism – PMC
New Study Shows Dogs with Low Vitamin D Are At Risk For Cancer

Published by Amber Drake

Dr. Drake is an award-winning author and well-known cancer specialist in her field. She is best known for her extensive research on canine cancer prevention and nutrition, her dedication to help dogs live a long, happy life, and for teaching veterinary medicine. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, in addition to being a respected figure in the dog world, she has earned the respect of thousands of dog lovers worldwide.

Leave a Reply