When you buy food for your dog, its easy to be overwhelmed by all the choices you have, and on top of that you have to worry about all the negative things you hear and read about commercial dog food products. This has left many dog owners confused and stuck when it comes to picking a good diet for their pets, and it makes them wonder about the perfect healthy diet for their furry family members … is there one?
Is it as simply as knowing what should go into your dog? Yes it is, and it's nutrients. A dog needs a mix of protein, carbohydrates, good fat, vitamins, minerals and water. You can check this on the label of a dog food product or you can make the meal right at home on your own. As long as your dog is getting these important nutrients, its close to the safe side.
The next step is to make a decision on the ingredients. You can get enough nutrients from meat, vegetables, starch and fruit. Your good choices of meat are lamb, poultry, fish, lean beef and pork, depending on what's available. Also depending on your budget, you can choose organic vegetables or what is easy to find.
For your starch, the browns are good. Brown rice, brown pasta oatmeal and potatoes are okay, but stay away from grains. Dogs can not digest grains well, and grains have unnecessary nutrients. It's best to pick whole-wheat products for your dogs so they get the extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals that they need.
Some commercial dog food brands have the above in a cute little package. Some commercial dog food brands on the other hand may not be too good for your dogs. This is because they mix byproducts in the food such as bird beaks and feathers, meat organs, and other undesirable ingredients. The rule that most dog owners have followed and continue to follow is not to feed your dog something that you would not eat.
The rule though does not work the other way around; your dog can not and should not eat everything that you can. Some of the things you eat can be toxic to your dogs, such as chocolate, raisins, grapes, garlic and onions, so do not go feeding your dog your left over food or share your midnight snacks with it. Your dog may beg and plead, but it's in his best interests not to take in what could be toxic to his health.
So now that you have learned the 101 on feeding your dog, next is the type of food diet your dog will be following. You have 3 choices. The first is commercial dog food, which is what you will find in the pet shop or on display in the supermarket. These are usually cooked up to fit your dogs' stages of life, kind of like babies milk. A choice of organic commercial food is also available (for a price of course), but this is expected since the cheap brands of dog food do not always have the right healthy ingredients you're looking for your dog.
BARF is up next. This stands for Bones And Raw Food. The fact here is that that's what dogs in the wild have to eat and some people will insist on it. They have a point, but having a point does not convince everyone. If this is your pick, just be careful, and get all your facts straight.
Lastly, you can choose a homemade diet for your dog. Here you can feed your dog cooked meat, fresh veggies, some starch, and fruit. Its pretty much what we ourselves would eat. This does not have any certificate of proof behind it, but some dog owners who prefer giving their dog a natural food diet will tell you that their dogs are in good shape, happy and also live longer lives.
These tips, along with your good judgment, should keep your dogs at their prime.