Does your dog have a hot spot that never seems to heal? Does he scratch all the time even though your certain he doesn’t have fleas? How about dandruff, cracked pads, runny eyes, etc.? Is he irritable or prone to diarrhea and vomiting?
Maybe Fido has food allergies
It is actually quite common for dogs to be allergic to corn, soy, wheat, or even chicken in some cases. An elimination diet can rule out the culprit if you don’t mind cooking for him for a while.
If you choose to switch commercial foods instead, you will find there are more choices than the traditional Lamb and Rice hypoallergenic formulas these days. Duck and potato, or Beef and Rice for example.
Even if your dog doesn’t have allergies, it’s about time you had a look at the side of that bag of dog food to see exactly what’s in there. You will be amazed at what you find.
You may think premium food is too expensive, but it is an investment in your dog’s health that will pay off in the long run. There is a very good chance that your dog will not be sick as often and you will save considerably in vet bills. If your dog food costs $40 per month, then that is only $1.43 per day. That’s about the price of a large coffee. Surely your dog is worth that. And, if you can’t afford to spend that much on your dog what will you do when he does need to go to the vet?
Dr. Jennifer Bishop of Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives on Portland St. had this to say about nutrition for pets:
“When commercial foods are fed, we recommend foods from companies that do feeding trials, use human grade food ingredients, use natural preservatives, and contribute through research to our understanding of feline and canine nutrition.”
So, what can you do to ensure your pooch is getting the best diet you can provide?
Just avoiding certain ingredients can go a long way to ensuring that your pal lives a longer and healthier life.
If corn is in the first three ingredients, be wary. Corn is difficult for dogs to digest and of no nutritional value to them at all.
Avoid chemical preservatives such as BHT or BHA, propylene glycol, and ethoxyquin. The long-term build-up of these chemicals has not been thoroughly studied and may be harmful.
Instead, look for mixed tocopherols, or vitamins E & C as preservatives.
Ingredients listed as animal by-products are not required to include actual meat. They may consist of organs and parts either not desired, or condemned, for human consumption. Chicken by-product may include intestine, chicken heads, feathers, bone, beaks, and feet.
If the meat source isn’t specified, be very cautious.
Meal is okay, as it’s just dehydrated meat. Again, be sure it has a name. Chicken meal is acceptable for example. Meat meal. Well, what is that anyway? What kind of meat? If it doesn’t specify then it’s probably rendered “mystery meat”. Yuck!
Horrifyingly, tallow and meat meals may contain dead dogs and cats, or road kill that has been processed in rendering plants. The Food and Drug Administration and medical groups such as the American Veterinary Medical Association confirm that pets, on a routine basis, are rendered after they die in animal shelters or are disposed of by health authorities and the end products find their way into commercial pet foods.
Back in the days before commercial dog food was introduced, apparently Fido ate table scraps and lived a lot longer than today. It is a myth that human food is bad for dogs. It just depends on what kind of human food you feed him. No, he shouldn’t be eating donuts and potato chips, but neither should you!
Whether you choose to feed commercial dog food, or cook your own, the same basic ingredients should be used. Proteins (chicken, beef, etc.), carbohydrates (rice, grains, potatoes, etc), and cooked vegetable matter (raw veggies are too hard to digest) are the building blocks for a healthy dog.
Please invest in your dog’s health. You will be rewarded with an active companion that will be around for many years to come…
- Angela Granchelli