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Quality Food – An Important Component to Your Dog’s Health

Just the other day, a friend of mine who used to work in the veterinary field and knows quite a bit about dog nutrition got into a bit of a Facebook squabble with someone about dog food and food quality.

My friend posted that he was cooking for his dog because for years, the dog couldn’t gain weight. Now he is. My friend did his research and worked with a vet to come up with a formula that helps his dog gain weight.

A recent vet school graduate commented on his post that he shouldn’t be doing this because other companies like Hills and Purina had done the research, knew what they were doing, and were putting out good food. After all, their food is AAFCO certified for required daily nutrients and has the blessing of a PhD veterinary nutritionist.

So it must good, right?

Not necessarily.

To say that a particular processed dog food is good for your dog just because it’s AAFCO certified and has the minimum daily requirement for nutrients is like saying that breakfast cereals laden with sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, GMOs, soy, and more are good for children because they meet some minimum daily standard for nutrition.

Not good for your kids, not good for your dog!

To keep your dog in top shape, I believe you need five things:

  • Consistent, proper exercise for your dog’s breed, age, and physical ability.
  • Regular veterinary check-ups and care.
  • Regular mental stimulation.
  • Emotion support – lots of love, attention, and affection.
  • The right kind of food.

The right kind of food can vary depending on you and your dog.

It can be canned, kibble, raw, home cooked meals, or a combination of these, but at the least should be something that contains whole foods.

What your dog doesn’t need! Your dog doesn’t need corn, corn gluten meal, powdered cellulose, soy, by-products, added sweeteners, generic fat sources, natural or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, or most anything else that you can’t pronounce. Look for foods that don’t have these ingredients.

To find a good food for your dog, read the ingredients in whatever you buy.

Pay most attention to the first 5 ingredients.

These first 5 ingredients should contain:

  • A named animal protein, or meal, such as chicken, lamb, duck, etc. In most cases this should be the first ingredient.
  • Whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Quality whole grains if grains are in the formula.

Ideally, a limited ingredient formula is a good bet, just because you limit possible allergens.

And if you decide to give your dog a homemade diet, please do your research and perhaps solicit the help of a holistic vet to make sure what you are feeding is balanced and not lacking in key nutrients.

The bottom line – educate yourself on what the ingredients are before deciding on what to feed your dog.

Think for yourself and don’t let anyone including your vet talk you into a food that may not be right for you or your dog. Learn from your vet, holistic pet food stores, holistic vets, the internet, and wherever else to make sure you’re giving your dog the best food you can afford.

And if you would like to learn more about how to take care of your dog in a more natural way, visit Dr. Karen Becker’s website

She has partnered with well-known Dr. Mercola, and is the veterinarian behind Mercola Health Pets. Their goal is to give pet owners an online pet health resource and in my opinion they’ve done an excellent job. I encourage you to check it out and even sign up for her newsletter. Lot’s of great information there.