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Food Choices for Our Dogs

By Kim Bloomer
Updated: 2008-09-25 11:42 PM 2785 Views    Category: Food & Nutrition
 
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Just as humans who eat healthy stay healthy, dogs who maintain a healthy diet stay healthy as well. And since we can easily control what our dog eats, it is up to us to be familiar with the myriad of choices on the dog food market today--know the differences between the options and know what to avoid. If we do this--we will begin to make better choices for our pets.

There are typically 3 choices when it comes to feeding your dog, although a combination of 2 or the old-fashioned "scraps" feeding are also options. One thing I've learned in my life is that we all need options to suit our different lifestyles. The long-term health of your dog is positively altered when they get a diet their bodies were designed to eat.

The Options

1. The most popular option today is to feed kibble or commercially packaged foods. There are so many varieties and brands that it may be overwhelming to decide which one to choose. Many people listen to their vets in this regard; a word of caution regarding that: your veterinarians are taught the little nutrition they learn from the very pet food industry that stands to make the most gain from your choice. I think of my veterinarian as the person for disease treatment and not the person for disease prevention and health. If you insist on going this route, however, then I’d choose the ones with:

a. the least grains or optimally no grains at all

b. no byproducts

c. protein listed as the first source on the package

d. no synthetic preservatives

I’d also make sure I added back in enzymes, probiotics and Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and give my dog a raw bone weekly at the very least for teeth and gum health.

2. The next option is to home-cook a dog’s food. I think this is far better than any commercial food in a bag. You can cook all kinds of meat and make sure to just never feed it with raw meat as the two digest differently: raw meat digests very fast and cooked meat very slow. Many people like to add in veggies but I don’t see the need. If you want, just make sure to really pulverize the vegetables in a food processor before adding them into the food. Again you’ll need to add in enzymes and probiotics to the food since cooking eliminates these much-needed nutrients.

3. And now we're back to raw feeding. I will give some tips for a healthy raw food diet. Freeze the meat for about 24 hours prior to feeding to eliminate any possible bacteria. Then defrost and feed your dog 2 to 3% of its body weight in meat and bone per day in a 1:2 bone to meat ratio.

 Many people like to add in some scraps but make sure if you do this that no cooked bones are added as they are brittle and can splinter inside your dog.

Also cooked grease, bacon, and gravy can be far too rich for your dog's digestive system and cause pancreatic and digestive problems, so it's best to avoid these.

Hopefully now you’ve got a bit more information to empower you to make informed choices for your dog and it's diet!

 

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Dr. Kim Bloomer is a veterinary naturopath and a proficient blogger and writer on natural pet health. She is also a host of two online radio shows Animal Talk Naturally, Holistic Pet Audio.
 
 http://www.AspenbloomPetCare.com
 
 
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