“Ask Honey!” – Can I add human food to my dog’s diet? And when does the DROOLING start?

‘Ask Honey!’ is a series of posts where we answer questions from the public on the blog. Due to the huge volume of messages we receive, I’m afraid we can no longer reply to people individually but we will select some questions to feature here on the blog from time to time.

* Please note: I am not a professional dog trainer or behaviourist and can only give advice based on my own (limited) research & experience. It’s often best to consult a professional who can assess your dog in “real life” because many problems are too complex to advise over the internet.

~ Hsin-Yi


This is one of the questions we were asked in July:


(this is from a new reader, Radha)

I just found your blog today, and literally spent the ENTIRE day browsing it. Hsin Yi, thank you so much for this fantastic blog. It’s a wonderful storehouse of information for Dane owners, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for it. :) Now, I’m going to be adopt a gorgeous Dane from a person who bought it without researching the breed. She was apparently ‘too much to handle’ even though she’s only two months old!

I have two questions:
I know you feed Honey on raw meat, but that’s going to be quite a problem for me. You see, due to religious beliefs, no one in my house in comfortable bringing raw meat, especially beef or lamb or pork inside the house. Honey is such a beautiful girl, and, as mentioned in some of your previous posts, is healthy because of her diet. I’m not going to deprive my girl of any meat, but I think she can have only chicken or fish once a week or so. So can you recommend a good diet for her. I’m really not sure I want to feed her on dog food only, and my dad believes that dogs should eat some proper food, i.e, human food like rice or something. But I’m really stumped. Any suggestions?

And at what age exactly did Honey start drooling like CRAZY? :D Just want to be prepared. :P And also, I read somewhere that you can train your dog to lap up their drool. Have you heard of this? And what’s your opinion on it?
Oh, and what camera do you use? Because the pictures you take are of really amazing quality. :)
Thanks again for the lovely tips, and I’ll be following your blog from now on, Honey!


Hi Radha,

Thanks so much for your nice words and I’m so pleased you find Honey’s blog useful! :-) Congratulations also on your new puppy! About your questions -

Choosing a food for your dog

I’m afraid I can’t “recommend” a specific diet for you – only a vet or pet nutritionist is really qualified to do that. I can only tell people what we do with Honey and put all the information about her Raw Diet on the blog (you can see the link in the menu above) – and hope that people might find that useful. Every dog is different and as you said, every household & situation is different, so what works for me might not work for you or anyone else. I’m afraid it might be a bit of trial and error for you to discover your own “best diet” for your puppy.

All I can say is that whatever you decide to feed, please check the Ingredients list and use that as your guide – don’t go with the marketing blurb on the front of the packet or whether it is “recommended by vets” or emotive phrases like “moist, meaty flavour”…trust me, I used to work in advertising and one of my accounts was actually a dry dog food and it was our job & skill as writers to find ways to use words that could trigger certain emotional responses in people, to get them to buy things! ;-) So don’t trust anything it says on the packet – just look at the cold, hard facts – which is the list of ingredients.  The true test of any food is what is actually in it.

We fed Honey a premium dry dog food for the first 3 yrs of her life and she did very well on it. But we chose one which had some kind of “meat” as the first ingredient on the list (eg. in the form of “chicken meal” or “lamb meal”, etc). The first ingredient listed is usually the one in the highest quantity and often, a lot of companies will use a grain as the first ingredient because it is cheaper and is therefore a “filler” – they might just add a bit of fat or meat meal later, to give it more flavour. Most of all, avoid anything that says “by-products” – like I once saw a very well-known, international brand list “chicken by-products” as its first ingredient. Ugh. This often refers to things like feet and beaks and feathers…things with very little nutritional value. The dry food we fed Honey had “duck meal” listed as its first ingredient, followed by “brown rice” (for the grains, I prefer healthier, whole grains like brown rice to things like corn.).

In general, if you look at dog foods in a pet store, there will be the big, commercial, well-known brands and then there is usually a section of the more “natural” or “holistic” brands which are often more expensive but may have better quality ingredients. But again, please check the ingredients list and compare – don’t just go on the name. I have seen brands with names which are a variation on the word “organic” and a picture of green forests & wildlife on the front but there is nothing organic about them or better in their ingredients! :roll: They are just marketing the same product differently. In advertising & marketing, we called it “niche” placement. Unfortunately, there is no law against choosing a misleading name like that – so use your common sense and check the ingredients.

There is also now a range of commercial dry dog food which is “grain-free” – I haven’t fed these myself and I don’t know if they would be available where you are. I know they are popular in the US, as there is a growing feeling now that dogs – although omnivores – are fed far too much grain than they are designed for (because of course grains are cheaper than meat to use in pet foods) and this is the cause of a lot of modern pet dog problems, such as digestive issues and skin problems, etc. I’m not saying this is true or not – but I do personally feel that in the wild, a dog would have evolved to eat more meat in his diet than grain (since he would not be hunting biscuits! ;-) ) – therefore a diet which has a higher proportion of high quality protein (in the form of meat, eggs or fish) is a better one.

In Honey’s case, since she is on the Raw Diet, most of her food is protein – with a small proportion of fat, bone, vegetables and grains. Some people on the Raw Diet do not believe in adding grains but I believe in balance – so we do add some whole grains to Honey’s diet, in the form of oatmeal or rice (preferably brown). But it would probably only amount to about 20% of her diet in total, as opposed to being the main proportion – which is often what happens with commercial dry dog foods.

Some people do feed a mix of commercial dry dog food and raw meaty bones, such as raw chicken wings or necks – and their dogs do fine on it and it is really beneficial to their teeth and for providing fresh nutrients. Other people believe that you shouldn’t mix raw and dry dog food because it makes it harder for the dog’s stomach to cope with the constant changes (they say the dog’s stomach needs different acids to digest the raw and adapts to that – then gets messed up when they switch to dry biscuits at the next meal) – I think it all depends on the individual dog, so you have to just try and see.

I have to say that I am quite “relaxed” about things and don’t follow extreme rules – so  I’m quite happy to switch Honey temporarily back to a high quality dry dog food for convenience – for example, if we’re going away with her on a doggie holiday for a few days or like when we were staying in that B&B in Newcastle when we were still househunting for a place to rent. We just switch her back to the Raw Diet when we’re back to normal routines. To me, it’s no different to us humans eating a slightly different diet when we’re on holiday.


Adding human food?

With regards to adding human food, I think it’s fine if you want to supplement your pup’s meals with healthy human foods from time to time (ETA: obviously except for the things which are actually poisonous to dogs – see Life of Riley’s comment below). Again, there are different opinions – some people believe you should never feed human food of any kind and the pet food companies always warn you about upsetting their “complete & balanced” dog foods by adding anything else. I have to say, I’m sceptical about that – I believe in “everything in moderation”, rather than in extremes. Also the Raw Diet philosophy is about “balance achieved by variety over time” – therefore we don’t believe in one food being “complete & balanced” – unless you’re an astronaut in space, eating those weird vacuum-packed bars! ;-)

So if you want to give your dog a bit of cooked chicken or fish (or even other things) from time to time, I don’t think that’s going to cause a disaster (make sure NO COOKED BONES though, especially chicken ones. They are very brittle and sharp and dangerous. Chicken bones are fine raw as they are soft but they can be lethal when cooked).

We add “healthy leftovers” to Honey’s dinner all the time – it might be a bit of leftover mash potato one day or some roast chicken the next or some leftover vegetable soup or a bit of leftover rice or some old fruit or leftover sardines from making a sandwich….basically, anything that’s not too heavily spiced or sauced or too oily (although I do confess to giving her bacon drippings on her food sometimes! :P )

Also, you have to see what your own dog is like – this is what I meant about trial & error. Some dogs have much more sensitive stomachs (and unfortunately, a lot of Danes are renowned for this) – and can’t cope with much variety and need to stick to bland foods. Honey has a stomach like a nuclear reactor ;-) – she can pretty much consume anything and have no problems. I’m lucky this way as I like to be able to “share experiences” with her and so I sometimes let her taste things or give her some human “naughty” foods as a treat – but I wouldn’t be able to do this so easily if she had a sensitive stomach.

I always remember taking her up for a daytrip to the Sunshine Coast when we were living in Brisbane and on that day, she had: fish & chips, bread buns, calamari, raspberry ice-cream, potato crisps, waffles, several dog treats and a LOT of sea water when she was playing at the beach. I was convinced she would puke up in the car on the way home – but she just carried on as normal and ate her dinner with gusto and was fine the next day as well. We were quite shocked! ;-)  But of course, I am not recommending that you give such things to your dog on a regular basis! Honey only gets these things as a treat when we’re on holiday or on special trips. I feel that if your normal diet is healthy, fresh, nutritious & balanced, then it’s fine to be “naughty” occasionally – if your stomach can cope with it!


What about the DROOLING??

Um…I have to say that Honey has ALWAYS drooled like crazy! ;-) No seriously, she didn’t drool so much as a tiny puppy perhaps but I think that was only because her droopy jowls weren’t so developed! :lol:

Honey at 8 weeks…only mini-droopy jowls!

I do think that it is pot luck with it comes to Danes – not all of them drool like Honey – she’s probably one of the worst! :P I think especially if they are the “finer” type of Dane and have “tighter” faces – ie, not such heavy, exaggerated jowls, then they probably wouldn’t drool as much. Honey is an European-style Dane so she has more mastiff-type features – a more solid body and a much more pronounced “Dane head” with the sharp blockish profile, wrinkles on her forehead and big, droopy jowls. I personally prefer this look and wouldn’t trade it for anything – despite the drool! But having said that, there are also Danes with heavy jowls who don’t drool as much as her – so I think it may be an individual thing. I guess you just never know until your Dane grows up – you might be lucky!

Also, I must add that some people believe training with treats encourages drooling – and this is probably true. Honey can start drooling terribly at just the thought of food – if you’re rustling a plastic bag and she thinks there might be treats, there will be a puddle forming around her ankles. And you don’t want to see the flood on the floor as she is waiting for her dinner to be prepared…! :roll:

But again, I personally wouldn’t NOT train with treats, just to prevent the drooling. It’s just a fact of life that I’ve got used to, living with Honey.

In any case, she drools at other times too – such as on walks, when she is too hot – or when she gets excited or stressed – she even drools in her sleep! :D

We just have lots of slobber towels handy around the house and resign ourselves to having dried slime on our sofas and on our walls (I go around periodically and scrub them off! ;-) ) and I wear “dog clothes” most of the time and only put on my nice clothes when I’m on the way out the door!


Can you train your dog to lap up their own slobber?

I have to say, I have never heard of anyone training a dog to lap up their own slobber. I’m a bit sceptical – but if you know how to do it, then please do tell me! ;-) Of course, I’m not saying it can’t be done – I think almost anything can be trained if you have the time & patience and figured out a way to communicate to the dog what you want…but I personally think it would be a huge challenge. Mostly because Honey isn’t even aware she is drooling most of the time – she’s not bothered about it, the same way dogs are not bothered or aware of mud on their paws or dirt on their faces – so I would have a hard time communicating to her just what it is exactly she should “clean up”. It would be like teaching dogs to pick up their own poo, I guess – a VERY useful skill! But first you’d need to convince a dog that it’s not OK to just leave a poo lying there on the ground! A hard concept to get across, I think, since it goes against a natural behaviour. ;-)

On the other hand, Honey will happily eat up her own vomit – a lovely fact that I only discovered one day when she regurgitated her breakfast in the corner of the room (dogs will sometimes regurgitate things if they haven’t chewed them properly or eaten it too fast) and when I rushed back with all the cleaning materials, I found that she had already done the job for me and eaten it all back up! :-? One of Honey’s grosser habits – but I have to say, very handy! ;-) So now I just leave her to it.

One of the negatives of the raw diet is that dogs will sometimes regurgitate the raw meaty bones (eg. chicken wings) if they haven’t chewed them properly – it’s no big deal, they just have a 2nd go at it. Honey does this from time to time – usually straight after the meal. So now we’ve learnt our lesson and we leave her outside in the garden for about 10mins after her meal (she is fed outside in the mornings, when she has her raw meaty bones such as chicken wings; in the evenings, she is fed indoors because she has BARF patties which have ground up bone and so are less likely to cause regurgitation).

She is actually also quite good about telling me if she feels “pukey” – and will go to the front door urgently and ask to be let out. If I’m not around for some reason or miss her signals, she’ll do it right by the front door – or go to a corner of the room. Very thoughtful! ;-)

I find her habit of eating up the vomit quite handy because if she does, then I know it’s just normal regurgitation and nothing to worry about. But if she doesn’t, then it means that she really isn’t feeling well and is puking because she is having stomach troubles or whatever. This has only happened about three times in her lifetime so far.

But I certainly didn’t “train” this behaviour – it’s just something she does naturally!

~ Hsin-Yi

* I’ll have to tackle your camera question in another post! :P


Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to “Ask Honey!” – Can I add human food to my dog’s diet? And when does the DROOLING start?

  1. Hi Honey,
    Thanks for your long post. It was interesting to read. Just my opinion about feeding dogs human food, but I don’t do the “everything in moderation is OK” as certain foods (including chocolate, onions and food cooked with onion, garlic, grapes, rasins and raw eggs) can be harmful for dogs. So I don’t feed those foods (even in small quantities) to my dogs. I also don’t feed raw unfrozen lamb, due t hydatits but do give them raw beef, including beef canon bones. My two dogs do get some table scraps to add to their commerically prepared dog food. They also get little bits of human food for training.

    Everyone has their own opinion (this is just my opinion from information from the breeders of my Golden Retreivers, in books and on the web and talking to people). Raw eggs is controversial – to be safe I feed cooked eggs. It is personal choice if people want to feed the any type of human food to thier dogs in moderation or in larger ammounts – but making an informed choice beforehand (looking for more information on what human foods can be dangerous from thier vet, the web, books, etc) about which human foods are OK and which might do damage to their dog can’t hurt.

    Kind regards,
    Riley’s mum

    • bighoneydog says:

      Oh yes, sorry – I thought that was obvious! :-) When I say “everything in moderation”, I don’t mean anything that is actually POISONOUS to dogs. Of course, you wouldn’t consider that!! I mean things like giving hamburgers or pizza or cookies or cake…the sort of “junk food” which people normally worry about. It’s like in humans – everything in moderation would apply to eating junk foods or having a bit of alcohol or having dessert for dinner…all the naughty things you like to do from time to time – but obviously not things like doing drugs!!! :lol:

      So yes, we don’t feed Honey any of the things you mentioned, such as chocolate, raisins, grapes, etc…not even in moderation!!! But they are POISONOUS to dogs and so in a different category. That’s not what I was walking about. But there are some people who worry even about adding a bit of cooked chicken to their dog’s food – that’s the sort of thing I’m referring to. (Obviously, if there is onion on the pizza, pick it off!! :P )

      But actually, you’re right in that some people may not be aware of these things being poisonous to dogs so thank you for mentioning it! :-)


    • parlance says:

      Hsin-Yi, and Riley’s Mum,
      Do we had hydatids in Australia? I sometimes feed human-grade raw lamb. Might that have hydatids?

      • bighoneydog says:

        Parlance – I don’t know about hydatids in Australia. You can probably Google it to find out. I have to say, though, that there is some disagreement over the risks of feeding of raw lamb so you just have to do what you’re personally comfortable with. We have always fed Honey raw lamb, even back in NZ. We asked the vet who helped guide us on the raw diet and she felt that the risks from feeding human-grade lamb are minimal. This applies to the meat & bones – not the organs/offal. If you’re worried about feeding lamb liver, etc – then cook it thoroughly. That’s what we do – or feed raw chicken liver instead. We don’t have a problem personally with feeding Honey (& Muesli) raw lamb and have been doing it for 6yrs now – but not everyone will agree with this. So do what you’re comfortable with. :-)


        • parlance says:

          Thanks for the helpful answer, Hsin-Yi. I’ll try to do a little research. I might simply ask my butcher.

          • Hi Parlance,
            As Hsin-Yi said it is all about doing what you are comfortable with. In NZ I grew up staying on farms with my cousins, so this is the sort of information they give farmers.


            I live in the city and the recommendations by the Dog Control (where we register our dogs) have been to cook well or freeze lamb (other raw meets like beef or chicken are fine). The regular worm tablets, that our vet gives us for our dogs, is also to treat the hydatids worm. However there is a very low incidence of hydatids in NZ now (our country has been declared provisionally free from hydatids) but I continue to cook the lamb I give my dogs (just in case the butcher’s knife has cut through the offal parts and then transferred anything onto the other cuts of meat I buy). I’m an overly cautious type, and don’t like the idea of any worms transferring to me.

            I Googled and found this Australian government article about how hydatids gets into domestic dogs, dingos and foxes in Australia. It can even get into kangaroos.

            The best place for you to check would be to ask your vet, or to ask the local dog control as they will know if there are any risks to your dog, and then you can decide if you want to cook your lamb first or not.
            Riley’s mum

  2. PS The raw eggs is not because of sallmonella, but because some people say it stops the absorption of some vitamins from other food. I still feed eggs each week for protien (good for thier coats!) but hard boiled and mashed through thier kibble. It is one of thier favourite meals!

  3. Samson and Delilah's Mom (Lynda) says:

    What a great response! I love reading your blog and all your responses you are complete and so make me laugh every time…in a good way..lol.
    Have the 2 great danes now we have found a food that is very high in protein and low in grains. We researched a ton and found a great food made her close to us named Orijen. It has something for everyone we find and our dogs are doing great on it. I completely agree though, you never know what your dog is going to like and react to so try a few different foods and see what works the best.
    I pretty sure drooling starts at about 6 months now as our 3rd dane now has began to drool at this time. I have never heard of anyone licking their drool either but I have taught our dog lick thier lips when the have a drink..well one so far. Like you said though it takes a ton of training but if you have patience they will figure out anything pretty much. Smartest dogs I’ve ever owned. Or is it just me…hahahahah.
    Thanks Honey for the big smiles. Talk to you on your facebook page later.

  4. Sam says:

    Wow! That’s a wealth of information. I keep referring to your blog too in my quest to improve what we are feeding our boys. When I am in doubt it gives me courage that it is the right thing to do and that Honey is proof of what a successful switch this could be.


  5. Nida says:

    That question really needed to be asked, because it got us such an amazing response – such a lot of information!

    My Labs are both on a mixed kibble/homecooked food diet at the moment while we move to 100% homemade food. They will be getting minced beef (made specially for dogs where I live, with a mixture of animal body parts) and steamed/boiled vegetables, with the veggies being about 10% of calories or so from September. This has gotten rid of my younger labs skin issues, and the older one has a much glossier coat as well. They also get meaty beef bones once a week.

    But it is definitely something the vet needs to prescribe. My dogs have a very conservative vet, in that he does not like dry foods or even giving them medication without testing them first. I moved over from another, shoot from the hip, vet who would prescribe medications without looking at the animal and I can only say I’m sorry I didn’t make the move earlier. Some vets sell pet kibble at their stores, so you should always be wary of their saying “kibble is the best food”, because they are basically moving inventory.

  6. Mina&Maks&Mo says:

    Honey, I totally agree, moderation in general and think before you act. It is essential that every dog owner read back cover of any dog food, and learn what some ingredients mean and what food is good for their dog.

    I feed mainly raw diet (raw meat and bones and barf) to my dogs, but also they get some left overs and dry food occasionally, and my younger dog is also fed with some chicken’s breast salami or liver pate while we are in training session. They have both shiny coat and clean teeth and their breath doesn’t stink, so for me that is first sign their doing well.

    I must add to your post, something I’ve read for many times .. .When having a giant breed, especially puppy, and when they are fed (super)premium dry food it is also very good to look and study analytical ingredients. Of course in ingredients should be on first or first two places meat and better without corn, but for giant breeds proteins should be around 25%, better not over 30%, so the bones can grow and develop slowly and not to get too stiff too soon (I’m not good in explaining that and haven’t got time to look it up on the internet). Also fat percentage shouldn’t be too high.

    Well, all this is something that any owner must take time to look and understand and find what is best for their dog that fit into household budget .. Best of luck to new owner!!

    Take care,

  7. Aj says:

    That was a great informative post Honey! Did you read? In one of my previous comments I did mention about bringing home a 2 month old Great Dane (Bambi), he’s been living with me for the last 3 weeks and is almost 3 months old now. With regards to your post I think Ms Radha too is from India and I know how difficult it is to bring up a dog that too an exotic breed in the Indian circumstances. So I hope my comment would be a bit of help for Radha as I have spend some quality time researching on the dry dog foods available in India and also some best feeding habits for Great Danes, but yeah I just got a month of experience practicing this diet so please do consider different opinions.
    I have been giving Bambi the Eukanuba All breeds puppy dog food (NOT PUPPY STARTER), mixed with raw egg or boiled egg and Honey once every two days + Royal Canine Baby Dog Milk powder along with his dry food for the morning meal at some 7:30 (I know calcium supplements aren’t really recommended for Danes, but I think in Indian conditions you might have to supplement calcium in their diets) The calcium supplements I give are ‘Ostopet and Verol’ twice a day along with his food (Make sure your puppy sleeps 30 min before and atleast 1 hour after his meal). Then his next meal is at 12:45 which is pretty much the same except for egg and honey but I give him the salmon oil to develop a good coat. His last meal of the day is at 6:15 and that is Rice+ boneless meat pieces+ yoghurt, Beef, chicken, fish and mutton are the meat base. I also feed him a vegetarian diet at least once a week. (All meat is slightly cooked with olive oil, make sure NO BONE, and the vegetables are pulverized, NO ONIONS, GRAPES AND RAISINS also I give yoghurt everyday). One day of the week I give him the homemade Chicken stock mixed with vegetable soup and Indian cottage cheese, very less quantity compared to his normal meals for him to not back off the food once he is bit older.
    I do not know if this was of any help to you, but so far Bambi has been doing extremely well and has been putting on some 150-200 grams everyday and is looking in a great shape (a little skinny but thats fine) also his stools are quite healthy (healthy feces are very important for a great dane puppy for it to have a consistent growth).
    Please do check out this link as it gives a very detailed feeding info for giant breeds in Asia (India), http://www.greatdanelady.com/articles/feed_program_for_overseas.htm
    Apart from Honey’s blog Greatdanelady.com has really helped me for structuring Bambi’s feeding habits, I am pretty sure you will find it useful.
    Thank you very much!

    • bighoneydog says:

      Thanks so much, Aj, for sharing all this. It’s very kind of you to take the time! And congratulations on your new puppy (yes, I remember your previous comments) – I just LOVE the name, Bambi! :P


      • Aj says:

        Haha..!! Thank you for your reply and your wishes. Looking forward to Honey’s next post…!! (Bambi’s bed time stories these days) :p


  8. Mango says:

    That drool comment reminded me of something that happened yesterday. We had some people over here to help setup for the wedding and one of the teenage girls asked to meet Mango.

    I put Mango in the yard and told her to come in through the garage door. She stepped into the yard, Mango came up to her and very gently touched his nose to her belly, leaving a giant slobber. She immediately went back out and closed the door behind her.

    I don’t think you can prepare people for what it means to have a slobbery dog. Of course lovers of giant dogs, like us, learn to take it as part of life. Slobber happens.

    Mango Momma

  9. sara, oreo and chewy says:

    What an informative post!

    Not much slobber here, but we make up for it in dog hair.

  10. Nicki says:

    This may have been covered in comments but -

    Our Drake wasn’t much of a drooler. I think i’t s luck of the draw but he was older and when we rescued him and I specifically asked for one that didn’t drool too terribly much. Now the eye mucus is totally different story, we always had a small towel, tissue or something to wipe his eyes.

    You may need to try several different types of dry dog food before you find the right one. I don’t believe Drake had been feed a good diet much of his life before we got him. The reason I think this is because of the gas. We put him on the healthiest, expensive food we could find. I am not joking when I say, he literally ran us out of the bedroom one night with the nose burning smell. So if the first dog food you try doesn’t work, just keep searching but pay attention to your puppy’s body.

  11. Melanie & Grendel says:

    Great post as usual, Hsin-Yi! Lots of food for thought :-). (Sorry, just couldn’t help myself….)

    I got a big laugh at the question of when do they start drooling…..The day we drove the 9-week old Grendel home, I spent most of the 7 hour trip sitting in the backseat with him. Within the first four miles my thigh was COATED in drool :-). I was a little freaked out that we’d wound up with a major “wet mouth”. Turns out I think he was just nervous, as he’s grown up to be just moderately drooly. Unless it’s feeding time, or unless he’s hot, or unless he’s excited….But you’re right — it’s just something you learn to live with ;-).

    Hugs & slightly inferior slobbers from Melanie & Grendel

  12. What a great post! I clean up my regurgitated meals too. Why let them go to waste?!

    Love ya lots,

  13. Angi says:

    Great post! I would also add that, according to our vet — who is a family member, too, so I know how much she puts into educating herself, and I trust her very much — raw meats for dogs are dangerous for the same reasons they are for humans (she has personally seen dogs die of food poisoning, NOT a pretty death either). If you feed raw, know that you’re taking that risk. And it’s also a risk for the human(s) in the household who are handling the raw foods, especially if anyone has a compromised immune system.

    She says there’s no reason not to give the same diet — and she doesn’t question that a diet of natural foods is probably healthier than kibble, as long as you do provide variety and balanced nutrients — but COOKED. Some people cite “enzymes” as the reason for feeding the foods raw rather than cooked, but in fact there is no scientific evidence of these enzymes making any difference at all. Whatever enzymes are there in the food are all broken down quickly in the stomach, anyway. Cooking does break down some vitamins in vegetables, but it doesn’t destroy nutrients in meats. You can feed the veggies raw, or add a vitamin supplement if you’re worried about that.

    She has also seen dogs injured and killed by bones, including the ones that are supposed to be “safe” given raw. And I’ve given our dogs raw bones that were sold for dogs, only to have to take them away when I discovered that the dogs were breaking them up into very SHARP shards! Sharp enough to cut my hand and make me bleed when I picked them up, even — WAY too sharp to be safely swallowed. If you want to give your dogs the nutrients in bones, you can cook them in a pressure cooker or crock pot until they’re mush. (I’ve done this with chicken and turkey bones by accident when I was trying to make stock, and I left them in the slow cooker too long. It ruins the stock because the bones fall apart and there’s no way to separate them from the liquid, but it’d be great for dogs.) For healthy teeth, you can give rawhide dental chews, and you can brush their teeth.

    So, there IS a way to give your dog a healthy, home-prepared diet, WITHOUT any of the risks or downsides of feeding raw. Just feed pretty much the same diet, only cook it. Dogs won’t be particular about HOW it’s cooked, or about what temperature it’s served at, so you could easily just toss everything into a big pot or slow cooker, then refrigerate or freeze in meal-sized portions.

    • jet says:

      Rawhide gives my boy the runs, strange but true! Also dogs are pretty resistant to salmonella…. you should see what kind of rank stuff they will eat without getting sick when they are half-feral in the Aussie outback.

      • Angi says:

        Dogs are more resistant than people, but like our vet says, that’s no consolation if your dog is the one that dies. She has seen dogs die of salmonella. I’ve had food poisoning, too, and I live with several kinds of chronic pain, and I have to say, the pain of food poisoning is one of the most horrendous kinds of pain there is. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone! And I imagine that for every dog that dies of it, there are many who experience it and don’t die.

        Plus, the original post was in response to someone who had an issue with raw food in the house for religious reasons. I wanted to remind them and others that there is an alternative that gives the same nutrition. Just cook the food.

  14. Angi says:

    Oh, yeah, I forgot — I saw a video of a bearded dog who had been trained to wipe his beard on a towel after he drank. I’m sure you could do the same with a drooly dog, but I don’t know that you could teach them to actually notice when they’re drooling a bunch and go wipe up then. More likely you’d just have to teach them to do it after doing certain things (eating, drinking, walking into a room) and/or on cue.

  15. Hi Hsin-Yi, great imformative post and lots of great comments. We have always fed our danes and spaniels on a good quality dry food with table scraps added. They have all grown well, their coats have been good etc. We were told by our Vet that if you have a good quality dry dog food you don’t need to add calcium, or vitamins to the food. As for the drool, we have had four danes, all drooled heaps but some were more ‘slimey’ than others. Rory has stretchy, slobbery drool but we tell everyone its a good moisturiser hehe. If you get a big dog, expect big drool. Take care all. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

  16. melinda says:

    I am laughing so hard right now, the drool remarks are hilarious. I don’t recall the “flinging drool” mentioned. Just wait until she shakes her head, everyone take cover, I have come across dried drool on the walls near the cathedral ceiling, ah the good ol days!
    We feed “Taste of the Wild”, dry, nice coat, digestion and stools. We have tried mixing in canned but it caused runny stools so dry only, with a few leftovers for fun.
    It was gross but very informative about the vomit.
    I too, have been doing some Honey blog browsing on puppy training and behavior tips, it’s easy to forget how much work a new pup requires; but, investing time early pays off later. Thanks for having so much material readily available on your site. Rex and new furbaby Lyric

  17. WoW great post again Hsin-Yi. I will skip past all the food stuff because there seems to be so much controversy and go to the fun part about drooling. Well what fun would dane ownership be if you didn’t need a step ladder to wipe drool off the ceiling. Seriously how do they get it everywhere. I also find crating my dogs when I change to go to work or they will still sneak in a little drool somewhere…as noted by someone behind me pointing to slimy substance on back of shoulder.

    As for Maxine she only drools when hungry or when she eats and drinks. We are finding out that Rocco our new dane probably didn’t make it a day in his life without drool. Faucet never turns off there.

    We also agree that the more wrinkled and drooly the dane the better. Cheers and keep those jowl towels handy.


    Maxine and my drooly new “brother” Rocco

  18. Radha says:

    Thank you so much Hsin Yi! It must have taken you quite a while to put together such an informative post.
    I think it’s good for a dog to have a bit of human food once in a while. I knew one who had eaten a certain brand of food her entire life. She turned out to be such a delicate darling – she got sick after eating a small biscuit, poor thing.
    Anyway, about the drool training thing, I’m trying to search for the article, but I can’t find it. It was a Yahoo! article I think, but the person who wrote it just mentioned it. He had a mastiff, I think, and would tap his nose when he wanted the dog to lap up his drool. I don’t know how he did it!
    Thanks again!
    Radha :)

  19. Radha says:

    My old dog used to puke out his food sometimes, and every time he tried to eat it again, my mother would FREAK out and drag him away from it, lol. It absolutely disgusted her.
    And I visited a Dane owner a few days back. The dog’ name is Rocket, and he is so adorable. He’s just seven months old, and it’s quite obvious he’s a European style Dane. Drools constantly. I just touched his face for a second and my fingers were covered in slime. And them when I was walking back home, my friend, who was next to me started laughing. I had a huge streak of saliva from my shoulder blade to me lower back. And it was in my HAIR. -__- A pain to remove, since my hair is waist length. But he was so adorable, I forgive him. Plus he was a total klutz. Bonus points! :D
    They’re so gangly and uncoordinated at that age. And his tail! Kept wagging it and ended up breaking four small pots!

    Now I’m done. :)

  20. Jacquie and "Lady" says:

    Hi Honey! It must be great having an iron stomach. My young stomach is still sensitive when my human changes up the diet too much. I like my chicken necks and backs, occasional ground beef with eggs and veggies, and chicken liver. I’ve tried canned mackerel twice, the first time it went right through me! My human dad, Julio, caught some fish today at the lake while we were out swimming and boating so I am going to try fresh fish for breakfast.

    Look forward to your next post! When you have time stop by my human Jacquie’s Facebook page and check out how big I am getting….


  21. sprinkles says:

    Whether you have a Great Dane or not, the information you provided about commercial dog foods is really good advice! I’ve been trying to make sure my boys eat healthier.

    I rarely feed them human food, but one of my neighbors likes to drop her leftovers over the fence for them. I try to pick it up as quick as I can, when I see it. Sometimes she feeds them cooked chicken bones. She does the same thing to her other neighbor. She’s been asked repeatedly not to do this, but she doesn’t listen.

    I love that picture of Honey as a puppy. So cute!

  22. Laura F (and Piper Pup) says:

    Thanks for such the long post! I know they take a lot of time to write! Piper is on a grain-free food called Orijen which we love. She was originally on Canidae, but we switched, and her coat is already much glossier. We also feed her raw meaty bones or chicken feet a few times a week when she is bored in her crate, and she gets a hard boiled egg once a week. :D We are definitely fans of the grain-free diet, our cats have gotten so much healthier ever since we switched, and even though the food is expensive, we believe that it really does save money in the long run, because our pets are much healthier now (less vet visits).

  23. jet says:

    i think upset stomachs happen if you are inconsistent, and only with sensitive doggies – mine used to get chicken necks with their kibble every night with no issues…. but we haven’t been doing that so much lately so it’s just been boring old kibble… but if you give Bender something 100% completely different, even change kibble brands, then he will have a bit of a loose stool when we are out on his walks… it’s happened a few times when we’ve run out of kibble :) but it doesnt really bother him and it doesnt effect his overall health. I really agree with the idea about not being too regimented or fixed in your ideas about what a dog should eat unless it has specific health issues – Barbie even got her own soft serve ice cream after the Million Paws Walk.

  24. Nightshade says:

    We’re a little behind on reading and answering blog posts because of the holidays, but here we are trying to catch up. :)

    Really interesting post about the food and drooling with Great Danes!
    As you know, Killian is on a diet of raw meat as well; we gradually put him on the diet when he came to live with us as an 8-week-old puppy. Now he’s 15 months and doing great on this diet! He has grown in to a nice looking guy and enjoys his meals.
    He eats about everything we give him, but has his favourites of course (like salmon and deer). Every now and then we add “human food” such as vegetables, a cooked potato, some pasta or a little bit of rice. Nothing too spicy or no cooked bones just like you already mentioned in your post.
    On a hot day, Killian might even enjoy the pleasure of eating an ice cream. As long as it’s with moderation, it won’t harm him.

    The only weird thing and something we don’t want to encourage is that he will try to drink beer if he gets the chance. We usually say to visitors that if they’re drinking beer, they should keep their glass out of Killian’s reach (easier said than done when you have a Great Dane ;-) ), but if he can reach it, he will drink it! O_o

    About the drooling: my experience is that one Dane drools more than the other, it depends really… and it seems to come with the age. As a puppy, Killian hardly drooled at all, but when he was getting bigger, he started to do it more often. He gets his food and drink outside, so inside the house it’s all down to a minimum, although the slobbers can come up when we’re eating something he would like to have as well. ;-)

    Greets, Karolien
    & Slobbery kiss, Killian

  25. irene says:

    Do you also feed Muesli on the Raw Diet as well? I have a cat called Diesel who looks almost identical to her in colour and markings – except that Diesel has white tips on her ears. Cats being obligate carnivores, that means they must have more meat in their diet than dogs, right?

We'd love to hear your thoughts... (You can comment using your Facebook or Twitter account too!)

  • * Don't worry if your comment disappears - it's probably gone into the Spam folder but we'll fish it out!