Food & nutrition

There is much debate about the best diet for dogs.  Many learned people and eminent organisations have strong and conflicting opinions. Be wary of ‘experts’ who are trying to sell a product to you. Wild dogs were healthy before humans fed them, and existing wild dogs still do OK without us. The science is that a dog’s digestive system is not a human digestive system, and a dog’s teeth and mouth are not the same as human teeth and mouth. These recommendations are from our experience and opinion, without sponsorship by pet food companies.

Over the decades we have tried raw, home-cooked, commercial preparations of both raw and processed foods, and have found the best diet for our standard schnauzers to be a simple combination of foods.

  • (If you want to cook) home-cooked kangaroo, chicken or turkey mince with mashed sweet potato and brown rice (probably about 60% meat, 40% veggie),
  • or
  • Prime 100 SPD rolls (Single Protein Diet) and
  • Dry food – Black Hawk Puppy Lamb or Chicken.
  • and
  • Raw chicken wings (or chicken frames)

For those who have bought a pup from us:

When you get your pup, they expect three meals a day till three months of age, and down to twice a day by six months of age.

We’ve been feeding your pup a combination of foods – covering a range of both homecooked and commercial, wet and dry.

Our grown dogs have three main components to their diet; Prime 100, biscuits and chicken wings in equal proportions. The idea is to transition your pup to a grown dog diet.

Prime 100 is a meat loaf looking product kept in the fridge section of stores like City Farmers, Pet Barn etc. Prime 100 (in a variety of flavours, including Chicken or Beef & Vegetables) is what I’ve fed Nina for years, and is a favourite among breeders for its quality. I dice it into (relatively) small cubes, say 8mm, and, if using for pups, do find it a bit dry for them so add some filtered water. There is a serving guide marked on the pack. They eat around 50g each of this per meal (either this or the homecooked recipe below).

In terms of dry food, I use and recommend Black Hawk. Buy small bags at first and experiment with flavours. Biscuits can be a personal preference for dogs and owners, and we find some varieties will upset a pup’s stomach and cause diarrhoea.

One of the biggest determinants in the long term health in dogs is their teeth, and ‘meat on the bone’ is a simple and effective way to keep teeth healthy. We feed our grown dogs chicken wings (one wing a day). Introduced correctly, your dog will savour it as the best part of the meal. I recommend serving it outside as it can be a little messy. Do not try giving a chicken wing until at least 5 months of age and only under close supervision. Do not try this if your dog is a very fast eater as they may not chew as thoroughly as necessary. Give your dog a smaller-than-usual meal first so they’re not ravenously hungry, then offer the wing. Be prepared to intervene if necessary.

Your pups have been eating raw chicken frames (shared with their litter mates) since 7 weeks old. It’s amazing to watch! Even puppies can crunch bones the size of a finger(and get the valuable bone marrow), chew and tear their raw food as they would have done since dogs first evolved. Apart from the fun of eating something interesting, raw bones (like chicken wings or even brisket bones) in a diet promotes a lifetime of good teeth and gums.

We’ve tried dental chews and other products, but they don’t seem to provide the same workout for the jaw and teeth, and are a choking hazard to pups. In my opinion, ‘teeth brushing’ is great for humans, bad for dogs. ‘Pigs ears’ are a good chew toy.

Feeding is a personal matter – you may decide to change their food. If you do so, please just do it gradually otherwise your pup is likely to get diarrhoea. Not good for anyone!! And do be mindful of them getting good, balanced nutrition.  Check the protein and fat content information and prioritise quality food over those with cheap fillers.  Although more expensive, there is good evidence it will keep your schnauzer in better health, reducing the risk of disease and complications.

Our food recipe

Sometimes the puppy eats something that disagrees with them, or the change of diet is too sudden (introducing raw kangaroo for instance), or the food is too rich (treats still upset Ari’s stomach). They may get diarrhoea or seem to lose interest in their food but still be hungry. As a starting point, this is a good basic recipe to set their digestive system back in balance, and can be their everyday food forever.

(serves approx 4 meals)

  • 1 kg meat (kangaroo, chicken mince or turkey mince)
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • Cooked brown rice (2 cups before it’s cooked)

Cook the brown rice. While it’s cooking, cut the sweet potatoes into small pieces and put in saucepan, cover with a little water. Boil until almost soft. Add the mince, lower the heat and simmer. When cooked (15 mins), add the cooked rice and let cool. Serve on the cool side of warm (room temperature), take care to not serve hot (or straight from the fridge cold) food to your puppy.