First, there are as many ways to feed your whippet as there are to feed yourself. Most whippets are easy keepers and will do well on a variety of foods. There is no one “right” way to feed your dog. Anyone who tells you “you have to feed raw” or “you have to feed Brand X” or “whippets only thrive on home cooked food” is full of what comes out of the south end of a whippet. There is no singular diet or brand of food that is “the best” for every dog. Some people treat certain diets like a religion and will preach the virtues and magical properties of it and convince you that anything else you try and feed is akin to poison. Just smile and nod and remember not to ask that person about feeding ever again.
There are some diets that are better than others. The best you can do for your dog is feed the best food you can reasonably afford that agrees with your dog. This is important because the most expensive food is not always the best for your dog. If you’re paying $45 for 15lb. bag of kibble and your dog has diarrhea and horrible gas, you are wasting your money. If your dog is eating a grocery store brand and looks good, with firm formed stools, a glossy coat and rippling muscles then obviously that is the better food for them. Go with what your dog thrives on and try to get the best ingredients you can.
The main difference between grocery store kibble and premium kibble is the quality of ingredients. Premium kibbles have ingredients that are more easily digested and have less filler. Using a premium kibble you will be able to feed much less. As an example, my 55lb greyhound only ate 2 cups of Innova Adult per day. When on a cheaper brand of food I had to feed 4 cups a day to keep her at the same weight. Be aware that some premium kibbles seem to be too rich and may cause gas and loose stools. You may have to try a few before you find one that works. Some dogs have no issue with diet changes and you can just start with the new food. It’s always a good idea to make diet changes gradually, over 3-5 days by mixing the two, in case you have a dog that will get sick from a sudden change. There are plenty of sites that rate kibble by its ingredients, see Dog Food Analysis and Dog Food Advisor. Get the best food you can afford that agrees with your dog.
Raw diets can be very good, but should not be undertaken lightly. You can’t just decide to switch to raw and pick up some hamburger meat from you grocery store. Well you could, but chances are your dog will suffer from an imbalanced diet. If you want to try feeding raw, do some reading first. There are tons of books out there, I read Raw Dog Food: Make It Easy for You and Your Dog and THE BARF DIET. Feeding raw takes a lot of effort and becomes more of a lifestyle than a dog food. You find yourself buying a meat grinder, becoming well acquainted with your butcher or even joining a raw food co-op. If the idea of sifting through a 40lb box of chicken necks swimming in blood makes you gag – you may want to try one of the pre-made frozen diets like Bravo or Nature’s Variety. Be aware that these diets are very expensive, upwards of $5/lb.
Dehydrated Raw Diets
These are diets that you mix with hot water to reconstitute, like Honest Kitchen, Nature’s Advantage and Grandma Lucy’s. These diets are also expensive, although Honest Kitchen has a range of diets and prices. these diets have the advantage of not having to be refrigerated and are completely balanced, so need no additions. I have pretty much settled on Honest Kitchen as my diet of choice. It is made of all human grade ingredients and completely balanced, so I don’t have to worry about nutrient levels and variety like I would feeding an all raw meat diet.
What I Feed
Let me preface this by saying over the past 13 years I have tried A LOT of foods. Just some that I can remember off the top of my head, Pinnacle, Flint River Ranch, Innova, Regal, Wellness, raw, and Honest Kitchen. For a long time all the dogs ate Innova (adult and senior). I was very pleased with their kibble and if it hadn’t gone up so much in price I probably would have stuck with it. Right now Lemmy eats Honest Kitchen Embark or Thrive mixed with Blue Ridge Beef’s raw mix. Nemo couldn’t handle the raw food at his age so he got Honest Kitchen Keen mixed with Wellness whitefish kibble.
AM – 1/2 cup Honest Kitchen mixed with 1/2 cup hot water
PM – 1/3 cup Honest Kitchen mixed with 1/3 cup hot water, 4-6 oz Blue Ridge Beef’s beef diet
AM – 1/3 cup Honest Kitchen mixed with 1/3 cup hot water
PM - 1/3 cup Honest Kitchen mixed with 1/3 cup hot water,1/2 cup Wellness whitefish kibble
There is nothing sadder than a fat whippet. Please, please do not allow your whippet to get fat. At a good weight you should be able to see a few vertebrae, hints of hip bones and a rib or two. Whippets should not look like labs, they should have narrow little waists and a defined tuck-up. Be careful if you feed kibble – the recommended amounts on the bag are usually way more than your dog actually needs. The worst thing is that people with fat whippets are usually completely devoted to them, but just can’t see that the extra pounds are taking years off their life. Joint damage, metabolic disorders, liver and kidney disease are all possibilities in a fat dog’s future.