The Healthy Hound: Raising a Nutritarian Dog

January 17, 2018 by Joel Fuhrman, MD

Attention, dog owners: We are launching a Nutritarian communities thread (membership required), as a new member benefit, that will give you the opportunity to learn techniques, and share advice, on the best ways to train, nurture and ensure the nutritional excellence of your pets. The aim is to help those who follow a Nutritarian lifestyle to extend this health and longevity-promoting eating style to their furry friends.

We also want to initiate data collection for a study on the lifespan and health of Nutritarian dogs, and encourage you and your dog to participate. Please keep track of what you feed your pet, and all health and lifespan parameters. Each year, send us a detailed description of your dog’s diet and his health.

A Nutritarian human eats 0 – 10 percent of calories from animal products, and strives for over 90 percent whole natural plant food.

A Nutritarain canine eats 15 – 30 percent of calories from animal products, and strives for over 70 percent of calories from whole natural plant foods.

In this Nutritarian eating style for canines, animal products are more restricted, compared to most popular and mainstream dog feeding advisors. That is because moderately restricting IGF-1, which comes from animal protein, slows the aging process in all species, including predatory animals. In addition, increasing phytochemical and antioxidant exposure in dogs, while simultaneously and moderately restricting calories to maintain favorable lean body weight, is critical to disease resistance and lifespan enhancement. As with commercially-produced human food, commercial dog food lacks sufficient phytochemicals and antioxidants, and therefore, is lifespan shortening.

However, a few companies produce natural, raw dog food that is primarily made from raw animal products and some plant foods. These are recommended, as they are convenient – and can be used as the source of meat or animal protein, to be mixed with the recommended vegetables, grains and legumes. These recommended frozen, meat-based dog foods typically contain 70 to 90 percent of calories from animal products. If using those foods, mix 1/3 with double the amount of plant food mix that you can make following the guidelines below.

Acceptable Commercial Meat-Based Raw Dog Foods Include:

Answers Detailed
Aunt Jeni’s Homemade
Bravo HomeStyle Complete
Northwest Naturals
Fresh is Best
Wysong Archetype
Primal Patties
Bravo Balance
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Bites

Make sure if using raw frozen dog food, that the food is removed from the freezer the same day as it is served, to reduce risk of salmonella or other harmful bacteria. Chop and mash, mixing in with the other plant foods.

Do not feed your dog onions, garlic, grapes or raisins. He cannot eat your food if it is made with onions or garlic.

Animal products should be mostly raw, and include soft bones and cartilage; they should not be limited to muscle meats. Any wild or organic animal products are acceptable; chicken is favorable, since it is inexpensive, and even small dogs can safely eat raw wings and necks without splintering.  Since chicken is high in omega-6 and deficient in omega-3, omega-3 supplementation for dogs is recommended, too.


Foods to Use:

  • Avoid pits and seeds found in fruits, as most are toxic to dogs. Wash fruits thoroughly, and remove rinds and inedible skins before serving. I no longer recommended brown rice for dogs due to arsenic contamination.
  • Steel cut oats and quinoa are acceptable grains; however, also use starchy vegetables, such as butternut squash, carrots, peas, parsnips, rutabaga and green vegetables so the meals are not predominantly grains. Frozen wild blueberries are highly recommended, due to their high antioxidant content.
  • Think about steaming or microwaving your cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, as they are more difficult to digest when not cooked. Foods in the Nightshade family, such as tomatoes and eggplant, should be avoided or be peeled and seeded before being given to dogs. Cooked tomato products are okay in small amounts. Remove the seeds of red peppers; never use hot peppers.
  • Leafy greens: blended into a puree or finely chopped and mixed with food, such as: lettuces, dandelion, parsley, arugula, cilantro, beet tops, carrot tops, kale, cabbage, sprouted seeds etc.
  • Consider the purchase of a baby mill grinder to prepare the vegetables for a small dog.

Plant Foods For Moderate Use:

Do not feed a dog a diet predominantly of only one plant food, but mix some others in there.

Apples, no core or seeds
Almonds or almond butter
Avocado (no pit or skin)
Beans (cooked or canned)
Broccoli Stalks
Corn (no cob)
Eggplant (cooked)

Pear (no seeds)
Nuts* (except macadamia and walnuts)
Seeds (flax, chia, sunflower)
Tomatoes (acceptable, in small amounts)

*It is best to grind nuts, or use nut butters and mix with the veggies, grains and animal products. Too many nuts may cause indigestion.

Suggested Nutritarian/Fuhrman veggie mix for dogs — to mix with their raw meat mix

Use some or many of these items below in your plant mix, or vary and rotate them.

  1. Take one of the following cooked root vegetables or squashes:
    Sweet potato, carrots, beets, rutabaga, turnips, parsnips, butternut, acorn or winter squash
  2. Mix with a cooked green vegetable:
    Broccoli, string beans, zucchini, cabbage, snow peas, okra, frozen peas
  3. Mix with a small amount of raw vegetable (finely chopped or blended):
    Kale, lettuce, cabbage, arugula
  4. Add: Some beans or tempeh, mash in well.
  5. Add: Some nuts and seeds, ground or as nut butters  (smaller amounts)
  6. Add: Some frozen or fresh fruit (smaller amounts)
    Use a food processor or blend the above into coarse slurry and mash or mix in with raw meat mix.
  7. Add: A small amount of ground flax seeds or chia seeds and a full dropper of Dr. Fuhrman’s DHA-EPA Purity.

These are foods one should NEVER feed to your dog:

Cat food
Coffee, Tea and other caffeine
Dairy products
Macadamia Nuts
Milk and other dairy products
Xylitol (artificial sweetener)

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435

  • Dog owners guide to nuts and seeds
  • What veggies are good for dogs by Dr Peter Dobias DVM: March 09, 2016
  • AKC Kennel Club>health>articles December 3, 2015
  • Trupanion>Pet Care>Fruits and Veggies for Pets:
  • Canine Journal www/
  • Toxic and Dangerous Food Your Dog Should Never Eat
  • Anna Maria Gardner DVM

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, seven-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
For over 30 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.


Comments (0):



01/17/2018 10:58 PM

I think some nutritarian recipes for dogs would be helpful.  


Dr. Fuhrman replies:

01/18/2018 09:38 AM

I hope that we can discuss what we are all feeding our dogs in the member center in the feeding your dog thread.

I dont follow recipes, but use what I am using for my family and is in the fridge.  My dog does love mashed string beans, raw peas, quinoa and almond butter mashed with half a hard boiled egg, for example.  Let's discuss further.


01/23/2018 04:48 PM

Great info, thank you!  What about cats?


vaporz replies:

01/23/2018 05:11 PM

Donna, post your question here:

CaliforniaVegan replies:

01/23/2018 05:49 PM

Donna, I feed my cats about 2/3 nutritarian (with the VegeCat supplement) and 1/3 dry cat food (meat-based). I've been doing that for almost 2 years--so far so good. I should add that I add a fair amount of TVP to the food I cook for them (primarily beans and carrots).


01/23/2018 05:20 PM

Thank you so much for the information my pups will benefit.


01/23/2018 05:29 PM

I love this idea.  I am confused a bit and would like clarification... You say in the directions above "mix 1/3 with double the amount of plant food mix that you can make following the guidelines below"     Does this mean we should use 1/3 of the daily recommended amount of meat based product we buy, like 1/3 of recommended amount of Nature's Instinct Raw Bites?  For example if I am supposed to fee my dog 1/3 cup of raw bites per the package instructions, then I would feed my dog and additional 2/3 cup of the nutritarian veggie/seed/fruit/bean mix you mentioned above?



01/23/2018 05:29 PM

Every veterinarian source I find says never feed avocado. Why should some be ok?


Minirider replies:

01/23/2018 05:45 PM

I am a vet tech and have done research in animal nutrition. My understanding is that the potential toxin in all of the avocado called persin is not poisonous to dogs and cats but is for birds and large animals like horses and cows. The “flesh” is ok in moderation. The pit poses a choking/intestinal blockage hazard and should not be fed to any animal.

This reply was last edited on 01/23/2018 05:48 PM


01/23/2018 05:47 PM

Yay, this is so cool! Finally, info for nutritarian dogs and their people!


01/23/2018 05:51 PM

This is interesting!  I would love to feed my dog a more healthy diet, but I thought all the research pointed to the fact that dogs are carnivores and the best diet should be mostly raw meat.  Is there science out there somewhere pointing to feeding dogs a plant-based diet?  (I have not read any dog-related research in years, so I'm pretty sure I'm behind the times, lol!)


wholefoodsvegan replies:

01/23/2018 06:04 PM

Dogs are omnivores, not carnivores.


01/23/2018 06:04 PM

I've already been making and giving our dog what my son calls "nutri-paste" instead of canned meat.  The batch I made last night (enough for a week or so) included cooked sweet potato, steamed cauliflower, chickpeas, baby kale, and a little peanut butter.   I've always wanted to include mushrooms in her diet because of the anti-cancer properties, but every other list I've ever read regarding foods dogs can and cannot have listed mushroom prominently in the cannot have column.  Are they really safe for dogs??

This comment was last edited on 01/23/2018 06:06 PM

Faith M.

01/23/2018 06:36 PM

What are your feelings about commercial dry all vegan dog foods? I have been feeding V-Dog for a while now and my dog seems to do well on it.


01/23/2018 08:02 PM

Our family, including our Westies Gus and Truman Newman, have been eating the Nutritarian way since 2010. In time, Gus and Truman got over their leaky gut related issues. Although Gus died a few weeks short of 12 years old, Truman is going on 14 years!  

 Since Gus and Truman were 10 weeks old, we put them on Primal frozen meat nuggets. After a while, it didn’t seem like enough to satisfy them so we added raw fruits and  vegetables, and then in 2010 we learned about the book Eat To Live and the rest is history!

Thank you Dr. Fuhrman for helping us and our pets eat the most healthful way possible!!

This comment was last edited on 01/23/2018 08:18 PM


01/23/2018 08:17 PM

My dogs have been vegan, eating VDog with some whole plant foods, they seem to be doing great.

MegVeg replies:

01/23/2018 08:24 PM

 Dogs and cats are carnivores and need to eat a raw meat/ bone/ organ diet for optimal health. 

This reply was last edited on 01/23/2018 08:25 PM


05/15/2019 11:06 AM

You might be careful to supplement with taurine.  I found out too late that my beagle may have had a taurine deficiency which could have cause her enlarged heart condition which took her life last year.  



01/23/2018 08:18 PM

I just started making a balanced cooked meat and veggie food for my dog.  I started giving him cooked sweet potato as a side for some reason - can't remember why that - as a meal extender.  The older he got (11 y/o Jack Russell) he needed about half as much less dog food.  Also have been giving him a warm raw carrot for years after meals as a "toothbrush".  Now nobody in the whole house can eat a carrot in front of him without him going berserk!  I like the idea of giving him less meat. Raw chicken wings seem so fatty!  I'm not sure about raw for an old dog.  I heard chicken necks were, good, too for raw. He gets a multivitamin mineral mix RX Vitamins for Pets - Canine.  I've googled the mushroom question, too.  Found that any mushroom a human can eat, a dog can eat.  I followed Judy Morgan DVM on YouTube.  I think she's in New Jersy, too maybe. My dog likes raw berries and fruit, but doesn't like smoothies!  I've tried to put a tablespoon or so in his dish and after one lick, he's done!


This comment was last edited on 01/23/2018 08:23 PM


01/23/2018 08:32 PM

Dogs are carnivores not omnivores. I switched my dog at age two from kibble to raw fed. You aim for 2-3% of their weight for the amount of food fed, 80% meat,10% bone, and 10%organ. She's now 11 and just got a clean bill of health at her annual checkup. 

vaporz replies:

02/25/2022 05:29 PM

No, historically dogs like humans were foragers so they were onivores not carnivores.


01/23/2018 09:03 PM

Aaarrrgh!!  Where did you get your veterinary degree?  There is a website called Balance IT ( that is run by VETERINARY NUTRITIONISTS and can help you make homemade food.  There has been a lot of research over the years on the ideal diets for dogs and cats, please use the knowledge that is out there.

As far as cats - CATS CAN NEVER BE VEGAN!!!

And before the attacks begin, I am a vegan, I have NEVER gotten any kickbacks from the petfood industry, and my dog and cats eat commercial diets and are quite old and quite healthy.

JPBell replies:

01/24/2018 02:10 PM

I'm  a vegan too. I totally agree with you. I think it's a form of cruelty to force cats to eat a vegan diet (i.e. no meat at all). Also it's  harmful to their health. 

This reply was last edited on 01/24/2018 02:11 PM

ash8921 replies:

01/25/2018 02:43 PM

Take a moment to re-read this. No one ever said anything about being vegan. It says to feed your dog 15% to 30% of calories from meat. Obviously, any responsible owner would do more research before switching their diet. Including the website is a good step. When I asked my sister-in-law about it, she recommended the same website. Nutritarians aren't necessarily vegan...this isn't a vegan website.

savannahwelnacertACN replies:

02/28/2019 08:55 PM

I agree with this statement. Many dogs would not do well with 15-30% of calories from animal products. It is super important to understand the differences between dogs and humans. I think picking up Small Animal Clinicial Nutrition and Canine and Feline Nutrition by Case would have improved this blog post a lot- as would reading the collective studies in NRC Nutrient Requirements of Cats and Dogs.
The statements anyway are too broad and can really cause some wildly imbalanced recipes- as can happen even if 100% of ingredients from animal products.

savannahwelnacertACN replies:

02/28/2019 08:57 PM

Also this:
"These recommended frozen, meat-based dog foods typically contain 70 to 90 percent of calories from animal products. If using those foods, mix 1/3 with double the amount of plant food mix that you can make following the guidelines below."

Replacing 33% of a commercially balanced food with unbalanced formulations is NOT a good idea for any dog.


01/23/2018 11:14 PM

It was my understanding that yogurt was good for dogs as per my vet. Am I incorrect? 

Keep posting,  I glance often. 

Especially like now laid up in bed with a flu virus. 

Thank you

Brenda Barrett 


01/24/2018 07:13 AM

My vet (a cat specialist) told me that my cats should eat only raw meat and NEVER eat any cereal or plant foods. So I've been trying to buy the super-clean cat foods which are breaking my bank. But my cats love to eat grass or flower leaves when they get outside which tells me me they want some plant foods despite what my vet says. I'd love to know what Dr. Fuhrman says about cats - what the ratio of animal foods to plant foods would be for the ideal diet. Any ideas from you guys? 


01/24/2018 07:59 AM

I fed my dog an organic raw meat mixed with steamed pureed vegetables and some fruit such as blueberries.  my dog, a Jack Russell started getting warts and my son said he read that the raw meat carries the virus for warts and my kids made me stop feeding the dog a raw diet.  The vet said the diet has nothing to do with warts..  

Questiions:  ARe some vegetable ok to serve raw?   Any information on warts and dogs? 

i would like to find a vet that is more nutritionally trained.  Any recommendations.


This comment was last edited on 01/24/2018 08:00 AM


01/24/2018 01:06 PM

I agree with some recipe suggestions to help kick start  the change in my dogs diet.

Thank you Dr Fuhrman ! It is very conflicting to eat healthy as a Nutritarian and then feed your dog bagged dog food


01/24/2018 02:12 PM


I love the idea of making my dog's food.  I'm wondering though, if meat is raw, veggies are cooked, greens are cooked and blended and fruit is soft, where will the 'kibble' part come in?  Only from neck bones? How do they get the crunch to clean their teeth?  She already eats raw carrots and loves them.  I'm thinking they need more 'crunch' to help clean their teeth.


Randi Carbone

01/24/2018 02:28 PM

Further questions and answers about feeding dogs, as well as dog training tips with our resident expert ,will take place within the member center forums.

For more about membership please go to:


01/25/2018 07:06 AM

I am also wondering about cats? We have 3 and feed them a raw food diet. One of our cats loves fruit and some veggies. Is it ok to feed him this?



02/05/2018 04:05 PM

Should dogs eat cherries ? Without the pit of course. I made cherry ice cream with banana, almond butter and vanilla and would like to share with my dog 😀


02/17/2018 12:32 PM

I'd like to shift my dog's diet over. I have added beans to what he was eating before (freeze-dried meat and grain free low ingredient kibble). I'm looking at the Darwin raw food website. Their "meals" consist of 75% raw meat and 25% vegetables. Can you suggest a conversion I can follow to use their meals with veggies and grains from our meals at home to get the proper 30% - 70% ratio you are recommending? 



05/16/2018 02:59 PM

Hi Dr Furhman

My labrador puppy seems to be thiving on this regime, but I'm the only person I know whose feeding their dog quite such a high proportion of plant based food to raw meat. Could I ask if you've always fed your family dogs this way, and what experts got you into this way of feeding a dog - it seems to be BARF with lots more vegetation.  



08/24/2018 08:14 AM

Dr. Fuhrman.  Would you please offer guidance on the questions below?

We will be picking up a new puppy the last weekend of August (he'll be about 10 weeks old) and we'd like him to join us in eating a nutritarian diet.  We converted 6 years ago and never looked back.  And considering that meat wasn't even necessary, we opted to eliminate it entirely.  The benefits of doing so are huge - for us, the animals, and for the planet as a whole.

But when I saw that you recommended between 15 and 30 percent calories from meat for canines, it got me wondering.  

15% is such a low number.  Is meat really necessary for him, or is it advisable and/or even possible to safely consider eliminating meat from his diet altogether?  If so, it would be great to completely eliminate animal products from our home. Compassion circle offers a great supplement for dogs which are vegan (VegePup, VegeDog), and those products specifically were recommended by Dr. Pitcairn in his latest revision of his book - Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.  Heck, he even mentions you in his book (as well as Eckhart Tolle).  That made my day!

Secondly, what adjustments, if any, would you recommend for puppies?   

P.S. I saw in one of the posts a reference to a more detailed feeding guide that was supposed to be pinned somewhere, but I have yet to find it.  I was hoping it would clarify your general feeding recommendations published in the corresponding article. Could you provide a link to that?


09/09/2018 09:45 AM

I feed my pup your food recomendations daily but would like to find out what to do in an emergency when there is no refrigeration.  I may be affected by the coming tropical storm/hurricane.  Is there a dry dog food that would be recomended?  Thank you for your help.  


01/02/2019 05:43 AM

Anyone considering this, please look up Dr. Karen Becker. As much as I like Dr. Fuhrman and follow his advice,  she is a real veterinarian with excellent information and books on what to feed your dog, and it is much more than 30% animal products. Dogs are dominantly carnivores. While their protien requirements are not as high as a cat, it is still very high. Their digestive system is completely different than ours. They do not absorb nutrients from plant foods as effectively as us due to their shorter digestive tract. The ph level of a dogs stomach acid is also far more acidic than ours as humans, allowing them to eat raw meats just fine. The ideal diet for your dog is more like 80% low fat beef, 10% organ meats, and 10% fresh veggies greens and fruits that have been close to puréed so they can absorb the nutrients. They absolutely do benefit from vegetables and fruits, sweet potato...Also include the occasional egg or sardine. Use bone meal for calcium. Never feed a dog cooked bones, though raw is ok. 



05/15/2019 11:22 AM

I had two beagles who lived to be 16 and 17 in good health until the last month of their life.  Jack, unneutered (regretably) died of prostate cancer, Katie of kidney failure (I also found out too late that the raisins I gave her could have harmed her kidneys.  I did not know they were harmful then.)  For most of their life I fed them a homemade diet of a mixture of cooked oats/barley/rye flakes, carrot juice or veggie puree, and raw meat.  They also enjoyed fruit treats, (apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.).  I fed them what my limited budget could afford.  Their eyes sparkled and they exibitied boundless energy and took daily hikes with me for miles.  They were also lean and not overweight.

However I made a mistake of not giving my next beagle meat and did not know to give her taurine supplementally.  She developed an enlarged heart (which took her life way to young).   

I think that researching and giving a homemade diet benefits our dogs.  I feel like giving dried kibble is like grabbing a bag from a fast food drive through, with ransid oils and over cooked ingredients.    I now use a meat/bones/organ meat mixture I purchase with the vegetable/legume/sweet potato mash and DHA..  I hope my present family if beagle kids lives long and well like Katie and Jack.  And, lots and lots of long hikes and outdoor time running in the yard!


08/06/2019 06:04 AM

I like the recommendations and agree with most of them, but SORRY, ACOCADOS ARE HIGHLY TOXIC for dogs!!! Please remove from the list of recommended food.

Dr. Fuhrman

08/06/2019 12:55 PM

Sorry, but stating that in capital letters does not make it true.  They are not highly toxic for dogs and only recommended here in small to moderate amounts. You should keep dogs away from avocado trees where they can eat the whole avocados with toxic skins, pits and stems and too much avocado, but a small amount in their food is perfectly safe.  


06/02/2020 06:46 PM

I have a 5 year old cockapoo.  She has always crawled on her belly. I made it a trick: comando! At about age two she had crusty eyes and I realized comando and itchiness were allergy reactions.  The Veterinary Allergy specialist said he did not believe food allergies in dogs.  I could test different proteins on my own.  I began with Halo Garden of Vegan kibble style food. Now I use Honest Kitchen* Fruit and Veg Dog Food Base. It is dehydrated fruits and vegetables.100% human grade, no GMOs made in the USA I add 2oz of raw organic beef or Bison 90/10 (or 85/15 if I can't get 90/10) twice a day. So far, she is allergic to everything poultry (eggs, chicken white or dark meat, turkey, duck, chicken ofal) and peanuts.  The allergy medicine did nothing for her until one day I fed it in a dot of almond butter instead of peanut butter and the medicine was effective.I have  been giving her 1 tsp of Hemp Oil.  I will try DHA/EPA

It has been a very long road. anyone with ideas for Sweeti Pi and me would be greatly appreciated. Her eyes are better, her itchiness is better but not great.  Apoquel worked somewhat, new vet suggested that Zyrtec would work as well. Dr. Galland's "Allergy Solution" (for people) suggests that broccoli works like Benedryl and strawberries are good for seasonal allergies. I use them rather than exceed the medicine dosage.




04/19/2022 09:13 AM

My Aussie, Panda, is 13+ years old and our vet has prescribed kidney disease specific diet by Purina.  Is the Nutritarian dog food plan appropriate for Panda?