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Dog food myths
Premium Dog Foods
There seems to be an abundance of information on the internet and other sources when it comes to dog food and it's understandably so, our dogs are just as much a member of the family (to some degree even more so) as anyone else we are supposedly related to. And if you love your little "furbabies" as much as I love mine, then you want to make sure that everything you give them is top notch. Obviously the subject of "dog food" and the myths that surround it is a lot of ground we can cover- So I am just going to assume that since you're reading this that I don't need to talk about this topic from the most basic point of view- being that there are a lot of garbage dog foods and dog treats on the market, but I will make a small mention of the some rather obvious but still commonly unknown concepts floating around before I head into the more detailed and lesser known myths.
Dog are carnivores
All domesticated dogs come from the wolf and while that fact is some what common knowledge it still remains a frequent misconception that dogs are scavengers. It's also well known that wolfs are hunters (carnivore) if not some of the very best predatory animals in the world. While some dogs are found in the wild to be scavengers, in no way is this an optimal diet for them or your precious dog at home. Dogs live longer and healthier lives with a diet where the calories primarily come from Protein and Fats with some calories and nutrients coming from some select carbohydrates. In short, dogs are carnivores and live a healthier life when they stick to their dietary roots.
Big Brand Dog Food is a Healthy and acceptable option
This is by far the most prevalent and most dangerous myth out there. Most people say something along the lines of "Oh it's been fine for Fido all these years, whats wrong with it?" There is plenty wrong it! Your typical kibble you buy at your local grocery store. First off, most big brand foods are corn based. Last time I checked I didn't see my dog drooling over an ear of corn. Aside from the fact that they are corn based, the little meat they do have in them is generally not meat at all, but by product of some sorts. So when the word by-product is used that means- whats left over the given animal has been stripped of all real meat. So usually this means, beaks, tendons, intestines, connective tissues... Not much quality fats and proteins.
Over the past ten years or so the veterinary field has become more aware of the consequences of feeding dogs a low quality carbohydrate based food. While dogs in the wild don't live as long as domesticated pet dog, most dogs fed cheap food live far shorter and unhealthy lives than they could have if otherwise given a proper food based on a proper dietary needs. It has become far too common and it's becoming more frequent that we are seeing in dogs the same dietary induced illnesses we are used to seeing in humans- such as diabetes, pancreatic cancer, malignant tumors, gastritis, glaucoma, and a host of other diet related diseases.
Dry dog kibble is okay bye itself
Dry dog kibble is obviously the most common type of dog food out there- categorically speaking. This does not mean that it's like this because this is the best option for our pets. The reason this kind of food dominates the shelves at the store is that its the easiest to make, store and ship. And when I say easiest I mean cheapest, cause in all reality in the corporate world the cheapest route of production is the most profitable. Lets be honest too, as an owner it's a lot easier to have a 40lb bag of food sitting in your home and all you have to do is scoop out a bit every day and dump it in a bowl.
So- What's wrong with it. Nothing is really "wrong" per say, but a life long practice of it can be harder on a dogs teeth and gastrointestinal tract than need be. Let's face it, where in nature is a dog going to encounter a food source that's totally dry? They aren't. That's why this kind of dog food is hard on a dogs system, they simply are just not adapted to eating it. The constant grinding of dry food on the teeth of a dog is very very taxing and it is quite obvious in an older dog who has had the unfortunate life of having to eat only that for their life. Aside from the wear and tear on the teeth, the digestive system of dogs and almost all mammals are designed to digest food that has a high moisture content, at least much higher than dry kibble.
Options, well there are a lot of options. You could completely abstain from using dry kibble, or you could augment it and supplement it with wet food. Another trick that is easy and pretty familiar to most is to moisten it before you let your dog eat the kibble. Adding a small amount of water to the kibble and then letting it sit for a few minutes before you let your pup feed will help soften the food and also help fill them up as well. Other options exist as well, such as semi wet / solid foods and we'll cover that in a bit.
Fruits and Veggies are okay? Right?
Yes and No- Let me start with the No part. There are countless every day foods that we eat that would seem harmless to dogs but in fact they can be quite toxic and fatal in certain situations. Below you'll find some of the do's and don'ts of human food.
Unsafe Human Foods
- Apple Seeds
- Macadamia Nuts
- Yeast Dough
- And many many more... so always do some research first
Some of the SAFE foods and treats you can give to you dogs, and remember that moderation should always be practiced. Although you have to remember that these are not substitutions to a proper diet.
- Lean cooked meats
- Slices of apples (no seeds!)
- Cooked Potato
- Cooked Yams
Premium Food is too expensive
While most people who care for their pets would want to give them the best quality food available, most owner feel that high quality premium food is too pricey and not an option. This idea was some what true in years past when options were limited and high quality foods were only found in high end pet shops and boutiques; but now days it's quite easy to come by good quality food at a good and even comparable price to some of the "big brand" foods. This is due to the increase in demand and availability of quality foods that have emerged on the market in recent years. Even Walmart carries high end grain free options now at a reasonable price. As well as whole sale stores such as Costco and Sams.
I am going to make two list, the first being high quality dog foods that are available at most national pet and select feed stores and they tend to be at the upper end of scale of dry kibble.
- Wilderness by Blue Buffalo
- Before Grain by Merrick
- Evo by Innova
- Instinct by Natures Valley
- Core by Wellness
- Organix by Castor and Pollux
- Pinnacle Hollistic by Pinnacle
- Nutrisca by Dogswell
- Orijen by Orijen
Quality foods at non premium prices
- Basic 6 by Rachael Ray
- One Beyond by Purina
- Natures Domain by Natures Domain
- Max by Nutro
- Pure Balance by Ole Roy