What do I feed with my Lyka Half Bowl?
We all like flexibility in our lives and the freedom to make choices. It’s no different at Lyka, and it’s why we offer two options for your pupper:
- Our Full Bowl plan offers complete and balanced deliciousness so that you don’t need to add anything more to your pup’s meals.
- Our Half Bowl plan is just as the name suggests – half sized portions which provide all the goodness of our vet-designed recipes, but you make up the other half with food from home.
If you do opt for the Half Bowl, you still want great nutrition for your pupper. So, what should you add for your half? We’ve asked our in-house vet Dr Matthew Muir to take you through the basics of good nutrition, so that you can make sure you’re not taking away from the benefits your pup gets from Lyka with food you prepare at home.
Here are the benefits your pup gets from Lyka
With Lyka, you know your pup is getting fresh nutritious food, designed by our experts for health and vitality.
- Meals are complete and balanced – that means every nutrient your dog needs for health is included and more. In designing Lyka meals, we’ve specially focused on omega oils, and balancing mineral and amino acids for optimal health, as well as including antioxidants and phytonutrients – ingredients that just aren’t a priority in mass-produced wet and dry dog foods.
- Our in-house vet Dr Matthew Muir, with input from other veterinary nutrition experts, has set nutritional specifications for Lyka meals that exceed AAFCO requirements (those are the American dog food standards).
- We use human-grade meat that’s lightly cooked to retain nutritional benefits while minimising risk of exposure to pathogens (like bacteria and parasites).
- Lyka meals do not use artificial supplements to meet AAFCO requirements. Instead, natural fruits, vegetables, fish, superfood powders and oils are added to provide additional nutrients to meet standards, that meat alone can’t provide.
- You won’t find simple carbohydrates in our meals as these can be inflammatory.
- Moisture content is as nature intended to support health (Lyka contains roughly 70% moisture vs kibble which contains as little as 6% – that’s key to helping prevent dehydration).
- Finally, taste! Lyka is delicious. Compared with tinned or dry food, it’s a bit like having a la carte rather than a canteen meal!
Now, design your half
Ideally, if you’re feeding a Half Bowl, the other half will come from home-prepared wholefoods that are nutritious, complete and balanced. We know this may not be easy – after all, it’s taken us a lot of time and research to know what to put into our Lyka meals to give puppers the best nutrition for health. So let’s look at the options: fresh food or kibble, plus some supplements you can add to boost the nutritional value.
Feeding fresh food with your Lyka Half Bowl
- 30-50% of the home-prepared half should include lean cuts of skinless meat, rotating between white and red meats. You want enough, but not too much, protein. We recommend baking the meat at a low temperature, with no added seasoning or oil.
- Sardines can make up about 20% of the home-prepared half, as they’re an important source of calcium, salts and omega oils. We recommend MSC-certified, BPA free-canned sardines in spring water, with the spring water rinsed off.
- Add to these protein sources plenty of colourful ‘above ground’ veggies (rather than root ones), that can be blanched, then mashed, pureed or finely chopped. Up to 50% of the home-prepared half can be vegetables, but if they cause flatulence, diarrhoea or even weight loss, readjust the amount. Avoid adding more than 5% spinach or kale.
Go slow with these nutrients!
- Limit omega 6 as it can disrupt the healthy balance of omega 6:3 that your pup is getting with their Lyka Half Bowl. You can add very small amounts of flaxseed oil, fish, calamari or krill oil, or hempseed oil, as they contain a balanced omega 6:3 ratio – but keep in mind that the maximum amount for the largest dog is a teaspoon daily, so scaling down according to size means just half a teaspoon or a drop or two if your dog is a mini.
- Avoid simple carbohydrates (for example, anything sweet or that’s absorbed very quickly) and ensure the following low GI carbs form no more than 20% of the home-prepared half:
- cooked quinoa
- butternut squash mash or chunks (for texture)
- sweet potato mash/chunks (purple preferred for phytonutrients)
- steel cut oats
- brown rice
Variety is key with carbohydrates, but never feed these raw.
- Limit additional offal to less than 10% of the home-prepared half. Offal (like liver) is very rich and contains fat-soluble vitamins that can be toxic in overdose. If adding offal, make sure less than half is liver.
- Bones can be useful for teeth cleaning, but more than twice a week risks disrupting the calcium: phosphorus balance that’s important for skeletal growth. Before giving your dog bones, discuss with your vet who can advise on bones that are suitable. Never feed your pup cooked bones
- Common herbs and spices, such as parsley, turmeric and basil, from your kitchen can be used to spice up your pup’s meal – just a pinch!
Avoid these foods when preparing meals for pupper:
Onion, grapes, and chocolate are toxic to dogs. Take care with garlic too, however as it’s a dose-dependent toxin, discuss with your vet if you feel you want to consider using it as a functional food.
Feeding a puppy?
Take advice from your vet nutritionist if you want to design your own meals for a growing puppy – that’s up to 12 months for a small-medium breed and 24 months for a large-giant breed – as it’s particularly critical not only that their diet contains the required nutrients to support overall health, but that the high nutritional needs for growing pups are satisfied.
Feeding kibble with your Lyka Half Bowl
At Lyka we’re strong advocates for fresh food – and if you’re feeding pupper Lyka Half Bowl we know you are too. But we’re also realistic and know that for some people convenience wins over home cooking. So, if you’re choosing kibble to add to your Lyka Half Bowl, here are some tips:
- Aim for a low-GI kibble with no beet pulp, grains and limited legume content to avoid causing inflammation. These kibbles are likely to contain sweet potato.
- Check the balance of omega 6:3 and avoid kibbles with a ratio of 7:1 or more.
- Look for kibble that contains prebiotics such as fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), mannan oligosaccharides (MOS), inulin and chicory. Prebiotics are functional ingredients in foods that support the health of the microbiome by that encouraging growth of beneficial microorganisms in the digestive system.
- If your kibble contains antioxidant-rich foods like turmeric, rosemary and parsley, that’s also a bonus.
How to feed kibble
Wet the kibble to bring the moisture content more in line with that of fresh food. It’s a common misconception that crunchy kibble cleans your dog’s teeth. In fact, the opposite may be true, as the carbohydrates in kibble is likely to cause dental plaque and calculus that’s hard to remove. We recommend daily dental brushing as the best way to protect your pupper’s teeth, but if this is difficult, discuss other options (such as gels, supplements or professional cleans) with your vet.
And finally, to add a little more zing to your pupper’s kibble, garnish with wholefoods where you can – like a sprinkle of parsley or pinch of turmeric!
Should I give supplements to my pupper?
Nutritional supplements may be necessary, especially if your dog has a specific health condition. Synbiotics, for example, may help pups with gastrointestinal issues, green-lipped sea mussel is a useful supplement for osteoarthritis and tryptophan can be helpful for dogs with behavioural issues.
Keep in mind that if you’re feeding home prepared meals to your pup, and not adding bones, sardines, eggs and offal, you’re likely to need to add a micronutrient supplement. This adds extra expense and is one reason the Lyka Full Bowl may be a better option for you.
Discuss supplementation with your vet, especially if your dog has a chronic health condition. A vet who offers additional therapies such as herbal medicine, food therapy and naturopathy has specific training in nutrition and may be your best source of knowledge and advice.
Adding to your Lyka Full Bowl
Our Lyka Full Bowl is complete and balanced nutrition, but if you want to add beneficial ingredients such as turmeric and parsley, you can – just don’t overdo it. If you want to add more food to a Lyka Full Bowl, be cautious as it’s important to keep pupper at a healthy weight.
What about bones?
Check with your vet if you want to give your dog a bone once or twice a week and remember – definitely no cooked bones! Please let us know if you have questions about what to feed your pupper.
Lyka’s top recommendations
- Your best option – Lyka Full Bowl plan. You get the benefit of all our research that ensures your pupper receives the optimal combination of nutrients for tip top health.
- If this isn’t possible, then choose our Lyka Half Bowl Plan. You feed the other half, but monitor your pup’s progress.
- Consider getting advice from a holistic vet, who’s experienced in nutritional counselling.
All Natural Vet Care in Sydney offers in-clinic and tele-consults if you are interested in nutritional counselling for your dog. They have an individualised approach to feeding, and consider both commercial brands and home food preparation strategies that fit around your lifestyle when designing a feeding plan for your pup.
Ready to start giving pupper the goodness of fresh food? Head to our website to see whether our Half Bowl plan is right for you, or if you’d like to get the full benefits of our food with our Full Bowl plan, and start building your box today.
Safety always comes first
Lyka meals are developed under the guidance of a registered vet and through extensive research and experience to ensure they are nutritious and safe for your pup. So take extra care when making meals at home. We cannot guarantee that following our tips on home food preparation is best for your dog, as all dogs are individuals and may have different needs. If concerned, please discuss with your veterinary team. Consider working with a vet that is experienced with devising natural feeding if you want to take this approach.