Dog nutrition is a controversial topic today. Research has demonstrated that good nutrition may be the most important factor in maintaining a dog's health. Many health problems can be traced to dietary deficiencies. We are besieged with advertisements from the pet food industry making impressive claims about their products and vying for our hard earned dollars.
But, what to believe? What is a wholesome diet for our dogs?
Many myths exist regarding the optimal diet for your dog . Here are just a few of them.
- People food is bad for dogs and dogs shouldn’t eat fruits and vegetables.
- Dogs should eat the same food everyday. Would you want to eat the same meal three times a day, seven days?
- Commercial food is complete and balanced.
In an effort to provide the best possible food for your dog you visit a local pet store and start reading commercial food labels looking for a high quality food. Confusion sets in.
As a health conscious individual you strive to eat a variety of fresh wholesome foods. You avoid foods containing additives and preservatives, and understand the benefits of eating organic. Isn’t that what you want for your canine companion?
We have been led to believe that the best way to feed our dogs is a commercial dog food that is “100% nutritionally complete” and many commercial products make this claim. Labels can be misleading. Labeling does not help us understand the quality of the dog food. In reality, there is no single diet or commercial food that is 100% nutritionally complete. To maintain optimal health and wellness dogs need a varied diet.
Many commercial dog foods contain chemical additives. This is done to improve their appearance and flavor and provide a long shelf life. Food quality is also a concern. Much of the nutritional value of the foods is lost during processing. Many commercial dog foods also contain inferior ingredients. Terms like "by product", "animal digest", "meat meal" likely mask a waste product that you would never consider feeding your dog. These terms can refer to ingredients like poultry feathers and beaks, ground gristle, and fecal waste from poultry and other animals. These ingredients are cheap and boost the crude protein content of the food but provide little nourishment.
Having said this, we are not suggesting that all commercial dog food is bad. Very high quality commercial foods exist and can make up a healthy component of your dog's diet. Check out
our recommendations when selecting commercial dog food.
A great option for improving your dog's diet is to supplement commercial food with fresh foods. Replace some of your dog’s commercial food with "people food". Carrots and apples make great snacks as do
A simple way to supplement is to make a little extra when preparing your own meals and feed it to your dog. Most commercial foods are high in carbohydrates so avoid adding more of these. Try adding vegetables, cooked meat or eggs. Don’t feed your dog anything you wouldn’t eat.
There are certain foods that are not safe for dogs.
Be sure to do your homework before supplementing. Just remember to cut back on the portion of commercial food or you will be feeding too many calories. Excess calories will be converted to fat.
A final option to consider when improving your dogs diet is to prepare fresh homemade meals. Yes that’s right, cook for your dog. As we said before, it is a myth that the food we eat is bad for dogs. Many dog owners are embracing the benefits of a
More and more dogs are enjoying improved health and well-being from homemade food.
Have we got you thinking? Want to learn more about dog nutrition and a homemade diet for your dog? Before you dive in it is important to do some homework.
Check out these great resources which provide solid information on feeding a fresh food diet to your dog. As always, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian before making these changes.
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