Do you just grab a bag of dog food from the supermarket when you’re doing your grocery shopping? After all, you probably get good people food at that store or you wouldn’t use it. They probably have quite a few shelves of dog food, all proclaiming how healthy they are. But are they?
Do you look at the labels, and have a try at reading the small print? It really does matter what you feed your dog. If you make the wrong choice, your dog may suffer from:
- An immune system that doesn’t work at its best
- Diarrhea or loose stools
- A dull coat
There could be other problems, too. In my opinion, while few if any of the grocery store foods are ideal, if you check labels, you can find something more or less okay.
What makes a dog food a good food?
One important thing to check is the kind of protein it contains. Animal protein – chicken or lamb are common – has a good amino acid balance for your dog’s nutritional needs. But since animal protein costs more that plant-based, the food will cost more. Still, while a dog can survive on the cheap foods, he won’t thrive on them compared to an animal-based food source. Also, be aware that “chicken by-products” can include parts of the chicken that offer little or no real value.
Dogs also need fat in their diet, to metabolize the vitamins in their food. Also, fatty acids help give your dog’s coat that healthy shine you want and also contribute to the health of skin.
Humans of course rely on carbohydrates for energy, but most people don’t realize that carbs are less essential for dogs.
In summary, check the labels on those bags for 18% or more protein and about 5% fat. The list should have animal protein in the top two or three spots on the list. There should be some foods that meet this description.
Giving Your Dog the Best Food You Can Manage
I’m feeding my dogs homemade food more now because of having read what goes into regular commercial dog food. For one example, diseased body parts from chickens and other livestock… ugh.
I still use good quality dry food, plus I make supplemental recipes from Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, a book I like a lot.
Sometimes I make recipes from Pitcairn that are nutritionally complete enough to be fed alone. I don’t think it costs me any more than dry dog food, though I haven’t priced it out lately.
So do give some thought to what you feed your dog or dogs. Whatever your budget is, you can likely improve on what you are doing now.