UNDERSTANDING YOUR DOG’S NEEDS
In order to provide your pet with a healthy dog food diet it is important to understand your dogs needs. Your dog’s body, just like your own, is made up of cells, and like all living creatures, these cells need nutrients to function properly. These nutrients include a combination of proteins, consisting of essential amino acids, carbohydrates, fiber, fats, vitamins, minerals and lots of water. A healthy dog food diet needs a combination of these nutrients, in balanced proportions, to provide the calories that are needed to fuel their daily energy needs for growth and activity.
Protein is the most essential ingredient in a dogs diet. Renowned research scientist Dr. Barry Sears believes that dog food should consists of 40% protein, 30% fiber and 30% starch. What should the source of that protein be?
Your dog is a carnivore and carnivores need meat. What is a carnivore? A carnivore is an animal with a diet consisting mainly of meat, whether it comes from animals living or dead (scavenging is part of being a carnivore).
There are those that will claim that a dog is an omnivore because of the way man has domesticated him, but don’t be fooled. Dogs are not vegetarians. Open their mouths and you will see that their teeth are not like human teeth. Their teeth are sharp and pointed and are meant for ripping and tearing meat. They do not have flat molars, like humans, for grinding grains and vegetables.
Granted, dogs can survive quite well on a vegetarian diet, however, this is not how they were created, and a vegetarian diet is not the best for optimum health. Also keep in mind that some human foods such as chocolate, onions, apple seeds, macadamia nuts and grapes are highly toxic to their systems.
Humans and dogs do not share the same type of digestive system. Human digestion begins in the mouth. A dogs digestion begins in his stomach. All the enzymes in his system are geared toward breaking down raw meat in the stomach. By scientific definition, your dog was created a carnivore.
It takes between 4 to 5 hours for a dog to digest raw meat and receive the energy from that food into the system. It takes almost 9 hours for a dog to digest semi-moist processed food. This is the kind that is found in boxes and are shaped like hamburgers, or found in rolls and look like sausages. Semi-moist food is also high in sugar and salt which should be eliminated for a healthy dog food diet. The sugar only leads to obesity and the salt can lead to high blood pressure among other ailments.
Dry dog food takes up to 16 hours to digest. If you choose to feed your dog any type of dry, processed dog food, it will be in his stomach from morning until night. Because of this, it is best not to feed dried dog food late in the evening.
Enzymes are needed in the healthy dog food diet to enable the body to function properly. Dogs produce enzymes naturally in their stomachs to digest raw food. Both the semi-moist and dry dog food sits in the dogs stomach so long, because there are not enough enzymes being produced in the stomach to break it down. Remember, a dog’s stomach is designed to deal with raw foods.
Enzyme robbing occurs at such times when the dogs body must pull enzymes from other parts of the body, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys, to be transported to the stomach. Robbing the other parts of the body of these enzymes can have a detrimental effect on those organs. While the body is working overtime to gather these enzymes for digestion, the food just sits in the stomach until the body has gathered enough enzymes to digest it.
OTHER FORMS OF PROTEIN
Eggs are a natural and healthy food product. Other than meat, eggs are a natural, economical and convenient food source for protein. There are those who will say, “never give your dog a raw egg as raw egg whites react with the vitamin, biotin, and prevent the dog from using it.” I will occasionally mix a raw egg in with the food and have had no ill effects. The pros are that raw eggs promote healthy, shiny fur. In the wild, dogs eat them raw when they find them. After all, you won’t see anyone hanging around out there with a frying pan waiting to scramble up a batch for them.
Proceed with caution when feeding canines dairy products. Dogs are missing the digestive enzyme, that most humans have, that will properly break down the milk sugar, or lactose. When the proper enzymes are not present, the lactose remains undigested and tends to ferment in the intestine and cause diarrhea. Some dogs will tolerate small amounts of milk, while others, none at all. Often it will depend on the breed of the dog. Some dogs love cheese as a snack and will show no distress signs at all from ingesting it. If your pet enjoys and appears to tolerate dairy products, then by all means, feel free to feed in small amounts. For the most part, dairy products will do more good than harm.
When looking at the ingredients on a package or can of dog food, meat should be the first 2 ingredients. By law, the heaviest and largest amount of whatever ingredient contained in the food has to be listed first. If the first four ingredients contain grains, move on to something else.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. All dry and canned commercial dog food is heated in the manufacturing process and through this heating process, amino acids are partially destroyed. To compensate for this loss, your dog must have raw meat along with the processed commercial food that he is fed. Without the raw meat, the only way for him to get the amino acids that he needs are by you adding amino acid complex supplement tablets to his food.