Feeding your dog the wrong diet will affect his health and behavior, and may even make him more susceptible to disease
All dog foods have certain things in common. To pass regulatory standards, they must contain six
essential elements but that's where the similarities usually end. These elements are:
more protein is not better. High protein diets are used for show or working dogs and a normal dog could become jittery and
hyper on this type of diet.
Second, price will tell you nothing about protein content, you must read the label. To
meet the minimum daily requirement many dog foods use vegetable proteins which are harder to digest than animal proteins.
Find a dog food that uses more animal protein and requires smaller portions to meet the MDR..
Many dogs are allergic
to grains found in dog food. The most common allergies are to corn, wheat and soy. If your dog refuses to eat his food or
his digestion seems abnormal, consult your vet and save the label from your dog's food to help identify the problem.
Vegetable sources of protein also contain high levels of carbohydrates which can be a problem for your dog to digest.
This causes digestive problems such as bloating, upset stomach. constipation, and too much stool. Make sure you pick a diet
that contains more animal protein than vegetable protein. You can do that by selecting a food that has two or more animal
sources of protein listed in the first five ingredients.
Do not buy your dog a "fat-free' food.
Dogs need fat to keep their skin and coat healthy. In proper moderation, fat gives your dog energy and keeps him cool when
it's warm and warm when it's cool. If you feed your dog a natural diet, make sure to watch the expiration date. If it spoils,
it can lead to a host of health problems for your dog.
Vitamins perform two important functions
- they unlock nutrients from food and provide energy. There are two types of vitamins, fat soluble (including Vitamins A,
D, E and K which are stored in fatty tissues and the liver) and water soluble (Including Vitamins B and C which are flushed
from the body daily.). The need for vitamins depends on your dog and his lifestyle.
The MDR for vitamins is averaged
for all dogs, meaning it's based on a beagle-sized dog so it might be wise to invest in a good vitamin supplement because
vitamin deficiencies can lead to poor growth, digestive disorders, elimination problems, weak immune system, greasy, stinky
coats, thyroid malfunction and sterility.
Like vitamins, minerals help the body in its normal
daily activities like circulation and energy production. They come in two varieties, elemental and chelated. Though mineral
deficiencies are more common than vitamin deficiencies, do not supplement your dogs diet unless directed by your vet. Adding
minerals to your dog's diet can cause an imbalance that can harmful to his health.
How much water
your dog needs depends on the level of physical activity and type of food he eats. Dry food encourages thirst because it only
contains 10 percent moisture. Your dog will need about a quart of water for every pound of dry food. Canned dog foods or home-cooked
diets will require less rinse to wash down.
Dog allergies include wool, dust, molds pollen,
cedar chips, house and garden plants and food products.
If you suspect your dog has allergies, talk to your vet to
determine what medication would be right and follow this checklist:
Use detergent soap designed for babies' diapers
when washing your dog's bedding.
Do not use any sprays in your home, yard or garden that would be toxic to your pet.
bleach and water to clean your dog's areas. Many dogs are allergic to commercial disinfectants.
Don't overuse cleaning
or parasite products. Flea sprays, powders and dips are very toxic.
A good diet should help your dog produce two to three compact inoffensive-smelling stools
a day. When looking for commercial foods here are four constants to look for.
The AAFCO's stamp of approval.
suggested daily ration. Is it realistic?
Eliminate foods causing weight loss, loose smelly stools or poor coat condition.
Respect your dog's judgment. Refusal to touch the food could be a sign of spoiled ingredients or allergies. A dog with
a very active lifestyle will need a performance food with high levels of crude protein providing lots of energy to burn. Crude
protein measures a dog foods total protein including protein from animals and grains.. A food with more cereal grains is ideal
for a more sedentary lifestyle.
Dry Versus Wet
No studies have proven either to be nutritionally superior
so the choice is up to you. Many vets suggest a combination of the two. Check the nutritional label to ensure you get a blend
of high quality proteins (from dairy and meats) and low quality proteins (from vegetables and grains).
This diet is becoming increasingly popular due to some dogs' food allergies which cause vomiting, diarrhea
and gas. If you suspect your dog falls into this category, speak to your vet.
and Raw Food Diet is based upon the idea that dogs and cats are by nature carnivores and it's healthier to feed them what
their ancestors ate. While some owners swear by its results, some say it can do more harm than good. Contact your vet for
Sarah Hodgeson, "Choosing, Training and Raising a Dog", Alpha Books, 1996
Information provided by Pets911 at http://www.1888pets911.org/