One of the most common questions among new Blue-Tongue Skink owners is the question as to whether or not they can eat dog food. Dog food?! Wait…what??

Here’s the thing…

Dog food is not only one of the best foods that you can give a skink, if you had to select one food, and only one food only, to feed your little bluey for the rest of his or her life, wet, premium dog food would and should be your top choice.

Yes, it really is that good for them!

And by the way, when I talk about dog food here, I am talking about the wet kind. The good ole’ canned stuff.

Allow me to explain a little.

A Blue-Tongue’s Native Diet

Blue-Tongue Skinks, in their native habitat, are little more than scavengers.

Think about it like this.

Blue-Tongues have short limbs and are very poor climbers. Out in the wild, this means that that they are unable to climb up any trees and reach hanging fruits or any smaller creatures that hide up there, or even tall flowers for that matter.

They are also rather slow. This means that they are only able to catch other smaller, slow-moving prey. And being it as there aren’t that many smaller, slower-moving prey for them to eat, this forces skinks to…

…eat whatever they can.

Practically, what this means is rotted, dead carrion. So, think dead rats and rodents, dead birds lying on the ground, vegetables and other flowers that have fallen or started to die from lack of water….

Basically, all of that nasty, disgusting stuff that you would never in a million years consider eating.

Well, these guys live on that stuff. In fact, they thrive on it.

Now, can you think of any other popular, common pet that will eat practically anything you give it?

Think about it.

The…

…dog!

Dogs, just like skinks, are considered to be “omnivore generalists”. Basically, that is a fancy term to say that both species eat plants and animals, and can eat practically anything.

Why Dog Food is the Perfect Food

Ideally, you would want to give your skink a diet that best replicates the diet that they have in their native habitats.

The problem, is that you would be feeding them some really disgusting things!

This is where dog food comes in.

Take a look at what comes in the can of one of my favorite premium canned dog foods, from Zignature, specifically, their Kangaroo blend.

The ingredients:

  • kangaroo
  • broth
  • peas
  • carrots
  • chickpeas
  • sun-cured alfalfa meal
  • vitamin E supplement
  • niacin supplement
  • calcium supplement
  • vitamin D3 supplement
  • folic acid

…among many, many others.

Unless you put a ton of effort into any homemade-blend that you concocted for your little bluey, you would be hard-pressed to find an easier, stress-free food that packs such a nutritious punch.

But that’s not all.

A lot of the meat that comes inside wet dog food are whole meat products. This is stuff like the bones from the animal, the organs, the skin, all of that good stuff that the animal would gnaw, chew and swallow out in the wild.

In fact, believe it or not, a skink that was fed whole-meat products would invariably be much healthier, over the long-term than a skink that was fed “healthy” lean-meats, or any “home-brew” that you could make yourself.

Dog Food Disadvantages

As I’ve pointed out above, dog food is overall, the best food that you could give to a skink. Ideally, dog food should be a staple in your bluey’s diet. A core around which everything else is supplementary.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any disadvantages to it however.

There is one that is fairly important; quality.

If you were paying close attention to what you read in the first few paragraphs, you should’ve noticed that I said “premium” dog food. I didn’t say “generic” or “cheap” or anything else.

I say premium, because simply put, you want to be feeding your skink good stuff, and by good stuff, I mean dog food that is accidently laced with anything toxic or dangerous.

Unfortunately, dog food blends can get recalled quite frequently. If you don’t believe, just look at the table below showing the last 4 dog food recalls as of early June, 2018, from the FDA.

Date

Brand Name

Reason

Company

05/23/2018

Castor and Pollux

Potential elevated thyroid hormone

Merrick

04/20/2018

OC Raw Dog

Potential listeria monocytogenes

OC Raw Dog

04/20/2018

OC Raw Dog

Possible clostridium botulinum

OC Raw Dog

04/17/2018

Trudog

Potential salmonella contamination

Trupet

As you can see, it happens all the time.

The only real way to be safe is to purchase dog food from good, reliable brands that have an excellent track record when it comes to recalls and food safety.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Zignature. Nature’s Instincts is also a great brand.

Dog Food Ingredients Do’s and Don’ts

Last but not least and like I just pointed out, not all dog foods are equal, not just in quality and track record but also ingredients, of course!

Before you go out and buy just any brand, you’ll need to first look at the label and make sure that the dog food DOES NOT contain any:

  • fish (or any fish oil)
  • rhubarb
  • spinach
  • starchy vegetables such as potatoes
  • any grains

If not, you’re now in the clear!

And on a final note, I also wanted to point out that if your skink is a baby, you might want to start off with cat food instead of dog food, at least for the first months as cat food has a higher protein content, and babies need more protein.

To summarize:

  • wet, premium dog food is the best overall food to give to blue-tongued skinks
  • make sure you only use reputable, reliable brands
  • make sure your dog food doesn’t contain any of the above mentioned bad ingredients

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