Proper Feeding Of Dogs
Nutrition of dogs was approached in my last article; now the knowledge will be put to use. Knowing dogs need a protein, fats, carbohydrate, minerals, and enzymes to function and have a healthy life. DON’T ASSUME that all dog food companies are making healthy diets. Not only are the ingredients important, but the ratio of those ingredients AND from where they came, as well as other food or chemical additives.
Reading labels on dog foods(as well as human foods) can be tricky. The FDA does establish animal feeds for name and address of manufacturer, proper ingredient listing, net quantity, and proper identification of the product. This does not appear to cover any quality issues. Some states also enforce a labeling agency, AAFCO, Association of American Feed Control Officials. They over-see and the food product name, guaranteed food analysis, adequacy, calorie statements and feeding directions. This still seems minimal for our beloved friends. AAFCO does go further than the FDA, but their object is to clarify the ingredients, content analysis, nutrition “adequacy statement”. None of these make a clear statement of the dog food quality. AAFCO requires only 8 dogs to run a study, and only 6 have to finish a 26 week test trial.
After understanding that there are major regulations on dog food, it is up the the dog owners to fathom out the nutritional factors. As with human foods, the order listed on the ingredient panel is in order of weight in the food, before processing. For instance, if whole chicken is listed first, that was before the moisture was cooked out of the meat. Generally, that moisture may reach up to 80% of the chicken, making it a much less dense part of the ingredients. Appealing to the human consumer, whole meat sounds more appealing, but chicken meal has up to 300% more protein since it is weighed in a meal form, with little moisture to add as useless weight. If the “meal” is specified as “meat”, rather than WHAT type of meal, that should be avoided. As the meat is not designated, it could be any mixture, and as difficult as it is to say, some of these meat mixtures include animals that died for unknown reasons, and the worse is euthanized pets from shelters and clinics. This is not only a chilling concept, but these animals have drugs injected into them before death.
Corn is frequently a major component in dog food manufacturing.Corn not only is not easily digestible, but corn is one the most frequent vegetables genetically modified. GM food stuffs should be avoided for our pets and ourselves.
Rice, if whole grain, is a fine ingredient; if it is brewers rice or rice midlings, these products are basically the residual rice parts left over from brewing, or scraps left over from other purposes. Needless to say, the value is minimal at best.
Fats are an essential part of your dog’s diet, but again the fat should be designated, such as chicken, salmon, etc. Generic labeling of products should put up a caution flag.
Most of us are aware of the high allergen factor in gluten’s, whether it be corn, wheat, etc. They should be avoided.
Carbohydrates are a necessity, as we know. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, kale, berries(especially blueberries, a great antioxidant, are a few of the better carbs.These also add to the fiber intake, keeping the dog happy and healthy.
Preservatives in the product should be natural( such as vitamin E). You will see, however a additive of BHA. BHA has been indicated in cancer development, so much so it is not allowed in human foodstuffs. Another health hazard often in dog food are dyes. First, do we really think the dogs need colorful foods? Of course not! Dyes are unsafe, especially red dye #40, and are being used to appeal to the human.
Here are a few words on packaging, we, the humans, go to the store to buy food, wet or dry, for our dogs. Marketing has dictated that dog food bags or cans must look like a meal WE would like to eat. Colorful products, pictures of happy dogs, all sell the product to unknowing humans. Names we know, in which we feel confident, lead us to the checkout register. Grocery stores carry Purina in all sorts,Alpo, Little Caesar, Beneful, Bil-jack, even Iams. None of these food get even three stars on the dog nutrition scale. Science Diet, Eukanuba, Natures Balance, Diamond, Life’s Abundance, and many more are considered upscale foods, yet reach only a three to three and a half stars.
The products must be spectacular, they look good enough for US to eat!! Keep in mind the views of fast food burgers one TV commercials, have you ever seen a burger that looks that good in their establishment? And the health factor in these”meals” is close to zero. Good marketing does not equate to good nutrition.
One other form of dog feeding can be of great benefit if approached wisely. Raw diets are gaining momentum in the dog world. There has been numerous dog food recalls, and dog food related illnesses and even deaths due to ingredients in some dog foods and treats. I do STRONGLY recommend no chicken treats. Almost all chicken treats come from China and have brought bacteria and foreign substances causing more deaths and illnesses than I care to mention. Raw diets consist of uncooked meats,vegetables, berries. Vitamins may also be added. This diet is natural for dogs, with no loss of vitamins during a cooking process. It must be created with all the proper nutritional values that were outlined in the previous article on nutrition. Preparation is time consuming, but the benefits ca outweigh the negatives. Keep in mind to buy fresh meats and and fruits and veggies. .The other information that needs to be mentioned regarding fresh chicken and bones, bones do not become brittle unless the are cooked. Raw chicken with bones are a good protein source and calcium, with the tooth cleaning benefit off the bone. Be cautious of genetically modified foods and all foods are quality. Meat bones should be given once a day, for the natural basic chew, the benefit of the minerals and marrow. Ground turkey burger, chicken burger, buffalo burger, venison, pork, lamb, make a great base for “raw balls”. In the ground meats, add peas, sweet potato, vitamins, berries, carrots bits,kale(chopped) organ meats, green tripe, and salmon oil(wild caught, only). This mix can be formed into meat- balls in appropriate sizes according to your dog. For time utility, make a large batch and separate into plastic bags or containers in meal size portions, freezing them to thaw out daily. Adding eggs or egg white protein powder is of great benefit also. This is a process that takes some regimentation and practice creating balanced meals, and working out the budget , but this could be the food style for your dog.
There is so much to discuss on the subject of Proper Feeding Of Dogs keep in mind that wild animals fed on natural and healthy diets, are virtually free of cancer and have a strong immune system. Do the best for your dog, which starts at nutrition, “you are what you eat” .
If you have suggestions or questions, please leave a comment.
HeartAndSol American Bulldogs