Your dog’s behavior, happiness, health, longevity and overall well-being are directly linked with what you feed him. Dogs have specific nutritional needs.
The most common and most visible symptoms of nutritionally caused deficiencies are allergies. Many commercial foods are deficient in key nutrients, the long term effect of feeding such foods makes the dog hypersensitive to its environment. Allergies can be unrecognized deficiency diseases. Recognizing nutritional deficiencies will save you a great deal of frustration and allow you to make the necessary adjustments in your dog’s diet.
Choosing the Right Dog Food
There are enormous quality differences in dog foods. The saying “garbage in, garbage out” applies with terrifying validity. There are so many choices available today that trying to make an informed decision can become an overwhelming task.
Following is a quick check list to determine if your dog is getting what he needs:
- he doesn’t want to eat the food
- he has large, voluminous stools that smell awful
- he has gas
- his teeth get dirty and brown
- his breath smells
- he burps a lot
- he constantly sheds
- he has a dull coat
- he smells like a dog
- he is prone to ear and skin infections
- he has no energy or is hyperactive
- he easily picks up fleas
- he easily picks up worms and has to be wormed frequently
- his immune system is impaired
All of these can happen occasionally with any dog, but only occasionally. When one or more of them occur frequently, or continuously, you need to look at the dog food you provide.
Dogs Need Meat
Dog are meat eaters and not vegetarians. They need meat. A dogs digestion starts in his stomach and not in his mouth. All the enzymes in his system are geared to breaking down meat and raw foods.
On the label of dog food packages you will be told how much protein is in the food. Protein content is important, but even more important is the source.
By law, the heaviest and largest amount of whatever ingredient contained in the food has to be listed first. By looking at the list of ingredients it is easy to see the origin of the protein. For example, if the first five ingredients contain 4 grains, it tells you that the majority of the protein in that food comes from grains. The more grains in a dog food, the cheaper it is to produce.
When your dog does not get enough animal protein as part of his diet, he can develop all sorts of problems.
Most working breeds, sporting breeds, toys and terriers need extra animal protein in their diets. Dogs that lead a couch potato existence can survive on food with more plant than animal protein.
The solution for excellent dog food: Prepare it yourself
Instead of leaving it to someone else, you can make your own dog food. Many people do it, and there are many recipes available. We have made our own dog food for well over 30 years now, and our dogs are living longer and longer each generation. A good selection dog food recipes can be found here.