Dog Food – Some Things to Consider

It is best not to assume that any commercial dog food is fine for your pet. Just as with humans, dogs have their own unique tastes and digestive idiosyncrasies; and as with human food, some is healthier than others. Here are just a few suggestions of things you might look for when deciding what to feed your dog. Hopefully it will give you some ideas to consider when purchasing dog food.

You might consider dry food, called “kibble” versus canned food. The dry food has a significant amount of fiber in it, but is mostly carbohydrate based with corn and/or wheat. If you are a person who considers organic food for yourself, you may know that most corn and wheat are now genetically modified. If this is a concern, be aware that unless you buy organic kibble, this is mostly what your pet will be eating. If it is not a concern to you, know that as with humans, corn and wheat are not well tolerated by many and tend to produce digestive upsets.

Kibble food is not nearly as messy as canned and it is considerable less expensive to purchase. Also because of its hardness it massages the gums and is less prone to produce tooth decay. This cannot be said of the canned food.

The down side to canned food is that it has hardly any fiber in it, is quite expensive, and can easily promote tooth decay.

Be aware of pet food recalls. For a while many brands were recalling their food due to chemicals and certain preservatives that were harming dogs. Some even died. At this point those issues have been remedied as far as I know, and most pet foods are currently safe according to their standards, which currently are much higher than they once were. Before buying any dog food though, read the ingredients and compare one to the other. If a brand’s top ingredients are chicken by-products (feet, beaks, nasty stuff), while another has “chicken” without by-products, go with the chicken. The first few ingredients should tell you quite a bit about the food, even if you don’t understand what all the ingredients are.

I cannot stress enough, do not feed your pet junk food. Consider that what is bad for you, is even worse for them. Sugars and sweets are terrible, not only on their digestion but also on their overall health. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, so please don’t even go there. White bread and heavy carbohydrate diets increase fat production, and excessive fat is as harmful on a dog as it is on a human.

Raw meat and bones were once the food of wild dogs, but the dogs of today have hundreds of years of domestication in their genes. They no longer can digest raw meat and bones like their ancestors. Chicken bone especially, splinters and can rip the esophagus and intestines. Many a dog has chocked and died on pieces of bone lodged in the throat.

One last suggestion is to make your own homemade dog food. This is quite expensive but is probably your best bet in terms of a healthy diet, if done correctly. There are certain supplements added to commercial food that must be supplemented when making your own dog food. If you choose to go this route, please do thorough research first on what is the best recipe to make, being sure to include all necessary nutrients. You can find many such recipes on the internet.

Hopefully this has given a little direction in helping you choose the correct dog food for your pet. Both kibble and canned food have their pros and cons. Please be stringent as to any human food you feed your pet, being especially careful not to feed sweets or a diet of white carbs. Making your own dog food is always a good consideration, as long as it contains all the necessary nutrients.