Paleo, Mediterranean, Atkins…what are you eating? One glance at a menu these days gets the entire table talking…and we’re each absolutely convinced that our ‘wonder’ diet is the one that will keep us healthy for life. Dogs aren’t influenced by the latest trends and fads; they eat just about anything they come across including hazardous foods like chocolate and grapes. They rely on their pet parents for their very survival; they trust us to make choices that keep them healthy and vigorous.
What should we look for in the pet food we choose? What should we beware of- and how much should we feed them at all? Whether you choose, kibble, canned food, raw diet, a combination of them all or prepare homemade meals for your four footed friend, you’ll want to keep these concerns in mind:
- Potential Allergens: many dogs are allergic to corn, wheat, even chicken or beef. Others may be lactose intolerant or unable to digest egg products. (Read all labels)
- Health Conditions: While a handful of frozen green peas are a wonderful source of Vitamin A and fiber, dogs with kidney disease should not eat them. Cottage cheese or yogurt are great occasional treats. (Unless your pet is lactose intolerant.)
- Age: High quality kibble may have all the right ingredients, but for a dog who can no longer crunch dry food, the wholesome benefits are lost. An excellent canned food may be in order for your senior pet instead.
- Get nutrition advice from a trusted source. Your veterinarian knows your dog and his unique health needs. Your vet also knows Roscoe is a couch potato, while Biscuit does laps around the yard all day and may need more protein.
- Avoid dog foods with artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, ‘animal fats’ or the deliberately vague ‘meat or animal by-products.’ (Duck bills or feathers, anyone?)
- Choose foods with a whole meat protein source as one of the top listed ingredients; look for products with whole grains and vegetables rather than processed. (They are worth the price.)
Once you’ve found the perfect food and treats, don’t overfeed. Obesity is one of the leading health problems our pets face today. Feed the amount of quality food your veterinarian recommends and indulge your pet with only occasional tastes of yogurt or mozzarella cheese- you’ll both feel better.