Q & A: Can dogs eat fish, salmon and seafood?

Our question today comes from Leanne and her chocolate Labrador Bailey, 32kgs of pure joy



Question: “I have a question I have been meaning to email you and ask. Can dogs have seafood? Salmon and basic white fish? Do you think dogs get allergies to that type of thing?

Most Dogs love fish and most kinds of seafood too in my experience.  There are no reported allergies and white fish is often recommended for dogs that do have allergies.  It is often high in zinc which is great for skin.

For food safety, unless you are sure of the freshness and the source, I recommend that seafood is cooked. However you do need to be aware of bones. I run my fingers over raw fish and it is pretty easy to feel bones and remove them – often just pulling them will get the bones out. Salmon tail doesn’t usually have bones, so I like to buy it to share with the fur kids.

The bones in sardines and other tinned fish, salmon, tuna, mackerel are fine to eat as they are softened by the extreme heat required in the cooking of tinned fish and still are a good source of calcium. Try to buy low salt when possible in the tinned variety. I often have tinned fish as a standby when not sure what we are having for dinner or a good quick breakfast.

Dogs also like calamari, white bait – whole tiny fish – is another quite affordable fish and available frozen in the fish mongers usually. Smoked salmon, nom nom nom, is a delicious treat and something I have resorted to when it is particularly nasty medicine to get down. Read more about “Q & A: Can dogs eat fish, salmon and seafood?” here.

5 Essentials For A Happy Healthy Dog

  1. basket of foodSound nutrition. What you provide for you dog to eat is the major factor in their long term positive health, more than just the absence of disease, ageing well without suffering is what we want for our beloved dogs. Good health starts with good food, real food, made with love
  2. Exercise. Whether a lounge lizard or a working dog, all need some exercise, for the body and the mind. Healthy dogs need to be out with you exploring the world, and remember if they are left to exercise themselves it will probably involve getting into mischief.holidays and sam poodles 072
  3. Safe and secure. Dogs need both a physical place in your home to call theirs, a bed, a special mat, that is out of the way of feet and human traffic. And they need to know their boundaries of how you want them to behave. There is only one way to teach a dog anything and that is with love. A ‘canine companion’ knows the 5 basic commands, sit, down, stay, heel, recall(come to you when called). I like ‘give’ (or drop) too. With these essentials your dog will be confident of themselves and you will have a companion who is a joy to be with. “Give a dog a job or they become self employed.” That is up to you.
  4. sleeping-pupPlay. Dogs are the very essence of spontaneous fun and joy and are ever ready for a game, for play, even if that is watching the sunset together. They can bring out the child in us, the sheer delight in being alive. Fun toys, squeaky toys, smart toys, toys to catch and toys to cuddle needn’t be expensive. (and a toy box!)
  5. You.   The most fundamental essential that a dog needs to lead a happy healthy life is your love and your companionship. They give so freely of themselves, they open our hearts, giving our love back freely is the greatest joy for both you and your dog.Soulful eyes





5 of the biggest problems with dog food – and what to do about it!

  1.  10% moisture.slide_278011_2048850_free

Kibble, as commercial dry dog food is called, has almost all the water removed, it is dehydrated so that it keeps, it’s cheaper to transport (less volume) and easier for you to store at home. Nothing in that system is about the end consumer, your dog. The dog’s internal system has to re-hydrate the kibble in order to break it down and utilise it, the kidneys work the most, and the moisture must be taken from somewhere in the body.

  • Solution? Re-hydrate it yourself before feeding it to your dog. For every cup of kibble, add at least a cup of water or stock or milk. Whatever your dog likes most. It isn’t necessary to soak it, although that is better, the dog often won’t eat it once soaked as the intensity of flavour from dehydration (and flavour enhancers) makes it more appealing to the nose of the dog. Yes most dogs will drink water later, but not usually until the kidneys tell the dogs body that they desperately need water. By then damage is done.

       2.  Highly processed food is pro-inflammatory.

Simply put it doesn’t matter how expensive or how fancy it is, it is still a highly processed food and we know that highly processed food humans eat ie ‘fast food’ has long term consequences. We refer to these highly processed foods as ‘empty calories’ meaning it is converted into ‘energy’ for the body, but not the true nutrition that we think of with food and its complexity.

Read more about “5 of the biggest problems with dog food – and what to do about it!” here.

Love and Loss of Dogs

Aka Captain Curly Pyjamas, Sparky, Squeaky, Boo

Aka Captain Curly Pyjamas, Sparky, Squeaky, Boo

My darling boy Marley passed away – I had to make that terrible decision and let him join the angels.

He was a magical little entity, much bigger in life than his tiny frame would suggest. Bringing this little puppy into my life almost 15 years ago changed my life forever, is the reason for the business of Wellbeing for Dogs and the guiding light in my heart, where he remains.

He will remain the company mascot and our logo as he always did represent everything this company is about. Joy, integrity, fun, health, generosity, loving and kind. He epitomised love.

He was smart, had an insatiable curiosity, goodness was in his heart, and he made everyone his friend. A new little soul for a star was created, angel dust indeed.

I know many of you will have suffered this kind of sadness at loss – to have a dog in your life inevitably means losing them, and the pain of that can be unbearable. My heart goes out to you.

For me though, the joy I have experienced from that one little soul makes up for the pain I endure at its loss. I think the angels are rejoicing, a favourite has returned.

My Motivation for Real Food for Dogs

WhymiepuppyWhen I was at uni, back during the late 70’s and early 80’s, (and I had a Weimaraner) studying Psychology at the University of New England (NSW –Australia), the Agricultural Sciences students (the farmers of the future) had to do a chemical analysis of a leading brand of Pet Food (canned). They found among other things that it contained nicotine.

Now you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that nicotine does not have a nutritional value, its main property is that it is addictive. To what purpose would a pet food company add nicotine? I will leave that to you to decide, but their tag line in advertising was that dogs preferred their brand.

As it happens, my childhood family dog was fed this particular brand, my mother believing the advertising that it was better for the dog than the wonderful food that she made (and had lots of leftovers). This little dog was eventually diagnosed with throat cancer and had to be put down.

In that era, it was a complete shock to me, to realise that corporations were not actually interested in the animal, but focused on their bottom line, getting more sales was the priority, not the health and wellbeing of their customers.

Read more about “My Motivation for Real Food for Dogs” here.

Calcium is Essential for Dogs

No Bones about it -Calcium is essential for dogs!Raw Bone

The primary and most significant dietary difference between humans and dogs is the need for calcium. In a nutshell humans need more phosphorus in their diet relative to calcium and dogs need more calcium than phosphorus. So feeding a dog just human food is not going to meet your dog’s dietary need for calcium. This is especially important with puppies. They require a calcium rich diet to grow, and can suffer greatly if that is not provided.

Bones are the simple answer to providing calcium, they are naturally made from calcium (and phosphorus) and generally dogs love them. Bones need to be consumed not just gnawed, for the calcium to be obtained.

Veterinarians generally recommend bones three times weekly, and they should not be given in my view without supervision. Although ‘natural’ for a dog to eat raw bones, they can splinter, break, get caught in the teeth or mouth or throat, and that is before they are swallowed! Read more about “Calcium is Essential for Dogs” here.

Fluoride Toxicity and Dogs Drinking Water

Bailey Cute as Pie

Bailey Cute as Pie

When I was writing to Ann Tomlinson and her beautiful little dog Bailey about kidney and bladder stones which poor Bailey suffers from terribly, the first thing I recommended was that Ann filter the drinking water for Bailey with a water filter that also alkalises the water. Getting Bailey’s PH balance correct for him is one part of the strategy that Ann uses to keep those calcium deposits at bay.

Now although I know that dogs will drink the most weird and vile water, out of the (toilet) bowl, dirty, muddy water and from the strangest of places, the water we provide for them doesn’t have to be like that. I have filtered the water for my dogs (and for myself) since I realised Marley was having a reaction to fluoride in another product (doggie toothpaste). I did some research, talked to my vet, and found out that fluoride is far more toxic to dogs than humans (and it isn’t good for us either!).

Read more about “Fluoride Toxicity and Dogs Drinking Water” here.

Recipe – Cooking for the Fur Kids – Chicken Stock

Stock (or Bone broth).

I keep chicken stock in the fridge or freezer all year but in winter it is a staple in almost everything. I use it to cook vegetables, Stock ingredientsgrains that are cooked by absorption method, soups, gravy, casseroles, you name it, all dishes are improved with stock.
And did I mention, dogs love it!

Stock is easy-peasy deliciousness, using leftovers (mostly) and time.
Next time you have a whole chicken save the bones and cartilage, any juice or tasty bits, into a pot (a slow cooker is ideal) and add any or all of these:
Small amount of onion is ok (I sometimes use the top/green part of leeks for instance)
Mushrooms – I use shitake dried mushrooms from the Asian section
Bay leaves
Spoonful of Apple Cider vinegar

Read more about “Recipe – Cooking for the Fur Kids – Chicken Stock” here.

Q&A: My dog is a fussy eater – can I cook Wellbeing Essentials?



Maria Sambanis and Tiffany
I cook my dogs meals and as she is a fussy eater I am concerned that if I sprinkle Wellbeing Essentials on her food she wont eat her meal – so can I actually cook the Wellbeing Essentials product without ruining the vital nutrients & also can I coat her meat/chicken with it & grill it?
Thank you.

Thank you for a really good question Maria and how gorgeous is Tiffany.   Unfortunately Wellbeing Essentials isn’t suitable for being cooked into food, or heated above warm. The oils in the nuts and seeds don’t like to be exposed to high heat such as cooking (warming is ok). Once we grind the nuts and seeds we expose the oils so that the dog’s digestion can utilize them, but this makes them more fragile to heat. Further the Probiotic which we import from the US, is stable at room temperature but again, not at higher temperatures as that effectively destroys the bacteria (which is what the Probiotic is)

The good news is that Wellbeing Essentials is designed to appeal to fussy eaters, it really is quite delicious (to dogs!) and many dogs think it is a treat. It has ingredients that they like and texture they like and this covers the taste of the things they don’t like so much. If in doubt start slow by adding half the amount that Tiffany will eventually be given for her weight. That allows her to get used to it.

Read more about “Q&A: My dog is a fussy eater – can I cook Wellbeing Essentials?” here.

Giving Leftovers to Your Dog

Fat Cat Obesity articleI read some alarming and very sad news on the weekend (The Age – Good Weekend –Up Front). It concerns the obesity issue with our companion cats and dogs. Obesity in itself is sad, but the trend was the worst of it.

It appeared in the article that the blame was laid at the bowl of feeding leftovers, and that this behaviour had decreased, (48% of fed leftovers in 2009 to 42% in 2014) with an increase in Petfood only diet.

When did leftovers get to be evil? Dogs and cats have been fed our leftovers since the dawn of our (symbiotic) relationship with them, but now it appears that this is being blamed for the crisis in pet health. (Note that obesity increases while leftover consumption decreases – might be something in that!)

In my view it is the Petfood that is the culprit in the obesity epidemic, not the leftovers. Sure, some leftovers are just crap, fat, poor quality stuff we don’t want to eat, but intentional leftovers, where we cook enough to feed the dog from our table of plenty are by far the better food.

Read more about “Giving Leftovers to Your Dog” here.