What do I feed my dog?
One of the most confusing and potentially challenging issues a pet parent faces is what to feed their dog. There are so many different recommendations. There are so many different diets. There are so many different foods. A pet parent often does not know where to begin.
These are the basic diets/food to select from:
1 - Dry food (kibble)
2- Wet food (usually in a can)
3- Raw diet (protein based with meat and poultry)
4- Vegetarian Diet (plant based protein)
5- Any combination of the above
What the experts suggest
The current argument seems to be between the raw meat based protein diet and the vegetarian plant protein based diet. I am not a nutritional expert. I follow people who I think are. The holistic veterinarians and nutritionists I follow suggest dogs are definite carnivores and a meat based raw diet is the best food for our dogs. I am a vegetarian and I feed my dogs a raw meat based diet. I also supplement the raw with fruits, vegetables, sardines, and many other healthy foods dogs can safely have. Grains and carbohydrates are not healthy for our dogs to eat in a daily diet.
The two things dogs definitely need in their diet are:
Balance & Variety.
If we feed our dogs the same dry kibble day after day it would be similar to if we ate (for example) the same breakfast cereal every day for every meal. Eventually our immune system would begin rejecting the cereal and we would experience some physical symptoms. The same thing happens to our dogs and the symptoms for them are often itchy skin as an allergic reaction. Variety is very important for our dogs. Dogs need protein, fresh veggies and fruit and fish like sardines and other foods that are healthy for them to eat. A wide variety is important. Variety keeps the immune system happy and keeps dogs interested in eating not to mention other health benefits like strong bones and internal organ vitality which are signs of good health.
We are what we eat and that applies to our dogs as well. Obesity is the number one health issue for humans and the number one health issue for dogs. Balance in a dogs diet is essential. Rotating protein and vegetables and fruit will keep a healthy balance in your dogs diet. It is important to feed foods that will provide the mineral and vitamin supplements a dog needs. Balance is best obtained with a variety of foods and a rotation of those foods. In my book "Being A Super Pet Parent" I provide a list of all the foods dogs can have and a list of all the foods dogs should NOT have.
What diet is best for my dog?
Of the diets available to select from, I think a combination may work well. I personally cannot afford to feed my two dogs a total raw diet. Since I prefer to purchase the ready packaged raw food that comes with all the mineral and supplements already in it, that can get expensive. So I supplement the raw with fruits, veggies, fish and other health foods for them that I may have available. I give them their health supplements mixed with some pumpkin after their morning meal. I avoid junk treats and make homemade treats. There are also healthy treats you can purchase ready made that are good for them.
The diet you select for your dog will be a result of how much money you can spend, how well you know your dog and how informed you are about the food choices. I encourage you to be informed and read all the labels on the food packages. Research or read the work of nutritionists in the dog world like Steve Brown.
Introduce new foods to your dog gradually. Your dog will let you know the foods he likes and the foods he does not care for. Keep food fresh and rotate the foods.
A healthy diet will promote a healthy dog who can live a robust life by your side.
Let food be the medicine and medicine be the food. - HIPPOCRATES
WOOFS & SMILES!
What do I feed my dog?