There are hundreds of types of commercially processed dog foods to choose from and everyone has their own favorites for one reason or another. But, you may wonder... Are all dog foods equal and are they all really healthy for my four-legged friend? How can I identify good and bad ingredients? How can I choose a nutritionally sound food for my dog? We will explore these questions in this issue of my
MAKE OR BREAK YOUR DOG'S HEALTH
The food that you feed your dog is the foundation of his/her health and longivity. Did you know that dogs are living shorter lives these days partially because they are not getting the proper nutrition needed? And, did you know that you can actually save alot of visits to the vet's office and ultimately alot of money just by feeding your dog a healthy diet? This is why it is so important to choose wisely what you are feeding your dog. There are pros and cons to feeding either "commerical dry or canned food", the "table scrap" diet or whether to feed the "raw meat" diet.
This is your choice, but for most of us the "raw diet" is too expensive, labor intensive and if you start feeding your dog raw chicken or beef, the next time he/she is near a flock of live roosting hens or a herd of cattle.... well, you know the rest of the story....they become live meat hunters! Oh, and if you have a pet bird, well.... just make sure there is an iron barrier around it's cage!
The "table scrap" diet is an option for some provided you have that many table scraps leftover (which, if you have a healthy eating family as I do, you won't have even a tablespoon of food leftover for the dog). Also, just table scraps may not contain the balanced variety of nutrients that your pet needs to maintain excellent health.
So, this leaves the "commercial dog food" diet which seems to be the best option for most of us busy families today. It's quick, easy and fairly economical. However, it can be very daunting trying to figure out which dog food to choose for your pet.
As a successful German Shepherd dog breeder I'm going to offer my advice in choosing the best commercial dog foods. My findings are based on experience, research and recommendations from several veterinarians that we have routinely used over the years. I encourage you to please make your own educated choices, however.
GOOD INGREDIENTS vs. BAD INGREDIENTS
A good rule of thumb when choosing a healthy commerical dog food for your beloved friend is to check all of the ingredients listed on the dog food can or bag. Keep in mind that the majority of dog foods contain ingredients that are actually fillers and are very unhealthy for your pet. The following is a list of bad ingredients, mainly because the dog can neither digest these ingredients, they provide little or no nutritional value or they give your dog loose stools, all of which leave the pet open to a number of health problems. **Also, you will be buying twice the amount of dog food monthly that the dog would actually need if he/she were eating a proper balanced dog food.
1. All meat by-products!
2. Wheat, Soy, Corn! (Can cause allergies, including but not limited to excessive hair &
weight loss, and vomiting.)
3. MSG or Preservatives! (Can cause allergies, including but not limited to excessive hair & weight
loss, and vomiting.)
4. Large quantities of Sodium(salt)!
5. High Frutose Corn Syrup or Sugars. (Contributes to canine diabetes & poor dental health.)
6. Anything listed on my "dog blog" from last week.(Found in Archives listed at left)
Following is a list of essential dog food ingredients that actually encourage excellent pet health and may add years to the life of your dog:
1. REAL Meat! This should be the First ingredient listed.
2. A nice variety of fruits, vegetables, and including rice, flaxseed, oatmeal, barley & millet!
3. Probiotics! This will keep your dog's intestinal tract healthy, warding off a number of contagious
transferable bacteria, that can cause loose stools, vomiting and excessive hair loss.
4. A balanced variety of essential vitamins, minerals, crude protein, fat and fiber.
I have tried and tested many a brand of dog food over the years until I was educated in the "Truth About Commerical Dog Food" from a veterinarian friend of mine. It was enlightening to say the least
to find out that what I had been feeding my dogs for years(not our German Shepherds, of course) were actually full of "garbage" ingredients which were doing them absolutely no good, contributing to poorer health, shorter life span and HIGHER VET BILLS! I also realized that when I starting feeding "Good" dog food to my pets, they actually ate about 1/2 as much food, so the cost of the higher priced dog food was actually saving me a considerable amount of money each month.
Here are a few brands of Great Commercial Dog Food that I have found to be excellent choices:
1. Blue Buff (high priced but contains all of the above essential ingredients.)
2. Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul (medium priced and contains all of the above essential ingredients.)
3. Diamond Naturals (lower priced, but doesn't have and probiotics. I stay away from the beef flavor since it seems to be harder to digest for my dogs.)
***These dog foods can be purchased at places like PetSmart, Some Home Improvement and Farm Supply Stores, and of course ONLINE at: Cherrybrook.com by "clicking" on the button at the top or bottom of this page to link to their website. This seems to be the most cost effective online store to purchase the first 2 dog foods listed above. The price is right in line and the shipping is also extremely reasonable.
THANK YOU FOR READING MY "DOG BLOG" POST THIS WEEK and I hope the information contained in it has been helpful to you and please post your comments. If you would like a free subscription to my blog, then just "click" the "become a follower" link on the upper left side of this page. AND PLEASE PASS ON THIS "DOG BLOG" LINK TO YOUR FRIENDS!!!