First we need to recognize that nutrients are not the same thing as ingredients. It’s not the combination of ingredients that determines the quality of your dog’s diet and whether or not the dog’s nutritional needs are being met, it’s the blend of nutrients. The ingredients in dog food only have to do with digestibility and palatability. A given dog food can contain certain ingredients that have no nutritional value or that can’t be digested by your dog. You can find two different dog foods that may both seem to nutritious, but one may have ingredients that are better for your specific breed of dog. You should discuss your dog’s nutritional requirements with your vet in order to select a diet that provides everything needed.
Healthy feeding habits should start as soon as you bring your dog home! Your dog’s diet influences such things as health status, appearance, development and attitude. The way you feed your dog will affect certain behavioral aspects like, potty training and begging. When your dog is a puppy, it is very important to prevent it from gaining a lot of weight, which may contribute to the likelihood of obesity and its related health problems as they age.
Since dogs come in all sizes and shapes, there are specific foods available that you should consider depending upon if it’s a small breed, large breed, puppy or adult. The nutritional needs of dogs will change as they age depending on how active they are. For instance, small dogs tend to require more calories per pound than larger dogs and thus need a dog food that provides a lot of energy.
As of late, many dog owners have become seriously concerned about the safety of commercial pet food. With all the recent pet food recalls, many more dog owners are starting to prepare their own nutritious dog foods. There is more than a little concern about how poorly regulated the pet food industry is concerning preservatives. Commercial dog food makers add all kinds of chemicals to keep their foods from deteriorating while setting on the grocery store shelves. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Official Publications lists 35 known preservatives being used by commercial dog food companies. Some of these have no restriction on amount that can be added to your dog’s food. Chemicals such as Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Ethoxyquin have controversial safety reputations at best.
Many of the commercial dog food formulations contain meat and bone meal, which has been shown to contain the remains of euthanized cats and dogs. These dead animal bodies are sent to rendering plants, along with road kill and dead live stock. At the plants they are boiled down to get the fat, which is sold to dog food manufacturers as “animal fat.” The leftover animal parts are dried, crushed and sold to the same manufacturers as “meat and bone meal.” Knowing this, many dog owners have put their pets a on raw diet or started making their own homemade dog food.
Those who advocate raw diets say it is the most natural because canines in the wild are carnivores and have survived and thrived for millions of years. They indicate that ever since commercial dog food appeared on the scene about 60 years ago, the increase in dysplasia, allergies and other health conditions in dogs has increased dramatically. However, proponents of homemade dog food say that dogs are actually omnivores and they need the nutritional benefits of grain. They intimate that dog owners who use only raw food are depriving their dogs of valuable nutrients. In addition, with homemade foods you can be creative while making your own healthy dog food. Proponents of homemade food report the activity as a fun way to feel even closer to their dogs. Especially if they really like what you make. And the debate goes on.