These days we are fairly well aware of what constitutes a healthy diet for a human being – five or seven fruits and vegetables a day, low sugar, low fat, high fibre etc. – but when it comes to feeding man’s (or woman’s) best friend, it is not quite so straightforward.
Unfortunately, the most successful brands of dog food in the UK have two major things in common – low grade ingredients and unnecessary additives. Here are a few simple things to think about when choosing a healthy, balanced diet for your dog.
1. HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD MY DOG FOOD CONTAIN?
A good food will contain 25% – 30% of animal protein, so look for something within that sort of range. An even better food will be specific about the kind of protein it contains. Steer away from ingredients which are non-specific in their description;the pack might say ‘dehydrated poultry- based protein or ‘dehydrated pork based protein’…or a mixture of both. Some foods just list an unidentified ‘meat derivative’ within the ingredients, which you should be aware, may change from batch to batch. This tells you that the quality of the meat in the food is not the best and can be the reason that some dogs eat a food for a long period and then suddenly go off it. Good foods will be typically labelled as containing ‘human grade meat’ and list exactly what type of meat is included.
2. ARTIFICIAL COLOURS AND PRESERVATIVES
Brightly coloured dry dog food gives a clue that it is not the most nutritious choice! The colouring isn’t put into the food to satisfy the dog; it’s there to appeal to the human eye, and designed to simulate vegetables and chunks of meat. In people, artificial colourings have been linked to food allergies, behavioural problems in children and even cancer. Many of these dyes have now been banned in human foodstuffs, but some are still used in pet food. I am not suggesting that these foods are necessarily directly dangerous for dogs but consider this; artificial colouring has no benefit to your dog. A natural brown or grey is the best colour to go for.
3. IS WET FOOD, RAW FOOD OR DRY FOOD BEST?
There are definite pros and cons for all of the above options. Good quality wet food or a raw diet can be more palatable, but it is more costly. Many customers of ours are shocked at how much sugar is contained in some of the top brand wet dog foods. A good quality wet food can be given, but it can more readily cause tartar build up on your dog’s teeth, so if this is your choice, try supplementing it with a dental stick or better still, regular brushing. This will avoid costly dental bills with the vet in the future. A complete dry food is a good choice, as providing they are the right size for your dog, the kibbles (chunks to you and me) will clean their teeth as they eat. It is also a good idea to change your dog’s diet every now and then to help ensure that they get all of the vitamins and minerals they need. Swapping from a fish based diet to a chicken or turkey based one is a sensible precaution.
If you would like a friendly, practical and honest assessment of your dogs diet, look no further than arranging a in person or ‘online’ assessment of your current food. Appointments or enquiries can be made by emailing email@example.com and we are always happy to help!