Dog Food - Which Diet is Best for Dogs?
Why The Food You Give Your Dog Matters!
If you're like most dog owners, you probably assume that commerical dog foods with brand names that are easily identifiable - Purina, Iams, Pedigree, etc. - must be good for your pets, right? After all, millions of pet owners buy them and feed them to their beloved pets, and surely they wouldn't all give their dogs something harmful. Unfortunately, this may just be the case.
Now, before I get any further along, let me make it clear that I am not a veterinarian. I do, however, have a science background and education, and I've had more dogs in my care in one year than most people will have in a lifetime. As an observant and naturally curious person, I've paid close attention in the past 20 years to the general health of my pets and those I've had in my care through a rescue shelter I was involved with for several of those years. I've also picked the brains of several top vets in my state in my quest to get to the heart of the matter concerning the best dog diet.
What has become abundantly clear is that one type of diet stands well above all others in terms of fostering good health and long life. More on that later...
I've seen dogs fed commercial foods, both wet and dry, from the cheapest brands to the so-called "premium" brands. I've also seen dogs who were fed vegan or vegetarian diets, as well as those fed raw meat and bones (known popularly as the BARF Diet). While individual dogs will do just fine on any of these widely divergent diets, what I've looked for are general trends in population subsets. How do these 10 dogs fare in their lifetimes when they eat cheap kibble every day? How about those 12 dogs who are getting a vegetarian diet all the time? And what happens to those 25 dogs who are being given a raw meat and bones diet? These are the types of questions I've asked as I've dealt with large numbers of dogs and their owners or keepers over the years.
These have in no way been controlled experiments, and I would never attempt to pass them off as authoritative or as adhering to any strict interpretation of the scientific method. In other words, take my conclusions with a large grain of salt. I'm really just out to get the wheels turning in the minds of all dog lovers who read these words.
After all of this careful observation and tracking, clear patterns have emerged time and time again...
Dogs that eat commercial kibble or wet food have lots of health problems later in life and tend to die youngest. This is even true when they've been fed "premium" dog foods, sadly.
Dogs that are fed vegetarian diets do better, but must be given large amounts of alternative protein sources to make up for the lack of it in standard vegetarian fare. A purely vegetarian diet is difficult to provide that will satisfy a canine's basic nutritional needs, but it is healthier and leads to slightly longer lifespans than any commercial brand diet.
Without any doubt (based on what I've seen over many years and hundreds of dogs), the best possible diet to feed your dogs is raw meat and bones with an occasional slop made up of vegetables, fruits, and organ meat. I've seen clear and compelling evidence that this diet leads to three amazing results: much better overall health, excellent dental health, and longer lifespans.
Countless times, I've seen dogs with repeating, nagging health issues (obesity, allergies, etc.) turn completely around on a raw meat and bones diet. And it doesn't take long to see how much whiter and cleaner their teeth become. This is actually very important (dental health), because a growing number of vets suspect a link between the bacteria produced by poor dental hygiene and internal complications as dogs age. Because dogs have to crunch through raw chicken, beef, or pork bones daily, they get and keep very clean teeth in short order.
It still amazes me to hear the feedback from a dog owner who has converted to the raw meat and bones diet. Virtually without fail, they all become true believers. In some cases, the improvement in their dogs is nothing short of startling.
A common fear voiced by many owners is the worry over the bones getting caught in their dog's throat or splintering and cutting them internally. This is a common misconception that actually does apply to COOKED bones. Never give your dog a cooked bone (especially chicken bones)! Raw bones, however, are no more of a threat than any other mouthful of food your dog chews. I have yet to deal with even one case of a dog on this diet having any kind of serious problem with the bones (out of hundreds).
Yes, handling raw meat and bones requires a commitment many are uncomfortable with. You have to get over the 'yuckiness' and embrace the benefits to your dogs! Another issue is finding a good source of affordable products. It's a good idea to locate a chicken processing plant nearby. They will often sell chicken cages (breast bones and related parts). Chicken cages are ideal because they provide a good balance of meat and bone - not too much of either in proportion to the other.
However, you should not always feed chicken. Mix things up to vary their protein sources a bit. Get some pork and some beef now and then to keep things lively and to provide your dogs with important nutrional elements that the chicken alone probably isn't providing. And don't forget to mix up a slop of green veggies, carrots, apples, bananas, and some raw livers or hearts at least twice a month. [*Note: have your pet checked for allergic reactions to any of those ingredients before trying this for the first time. Adjust accordingly.]
This is the main idea behind the success of the raw meat and bones diet: it comes closest to simulating the exact types of foods dogs ate all during their evolution. Think about it. Did dogs eat processed commercial food from bags or cans? Did they grow and harvest vegetables, fruits, and grains? Did they dine on cooked meats? Of course not! They evolved eating prey the pack took down and scavenging the carcasses of former kills. All raw!
You might be wondering, given this evolutionary perspective, why I'm suggesting that you prepare and feed a veggie-fruit slop every now and then. Good question! It's a bit unsettling to ponder, but consider the state of the prey (or dead bodies) that dogs ate all those years they were evolving. The animals they ate also ate, and more often than not, that meant their stomachs contained undigested vegetables, fruits, and other plant matter. The dogs dining on them didn't ignore that stuff - it got eaten along with everything else that could be stripped from the body.
So you see, this diet works because it mimics what dogs naturally fed on for tens of thousands of years. It really is that simple. There's nothing deep or esoteric about it at all.
Just try it. Take this challenge: give your dogs a raw meat and bones diet for 60 days. Try to find a meat and bones source that is close to a 50/50 meat-bone ratio (chicken breast cages from a processing plant are great, but you can also try pork necks or beef ribs from any grocery store). If you go the pork or beef route, give your pet plenty of time to wear down the raw bones. Chicken bones are soft and easily chewed up, but pork and beef bones take much longer. If you don't see any noticeable improvements - healthier coat, more energy, better teeth, excellent blood work-ups - go back to his former diet.
If you do take the challenge, I'm betting you'll be fairly amazed and continue. About 90% of those I know who've tried it stick with it. Give it 60 days. Isn't a healthier, happier dog who lives longer worth it?
John Schwartz has written extensively about dog health issues, safe dog products, and humane dog training practices. He is a passionate advocate for ethical dog adoptions and promotes spay and neuter education. His website can be found at http://www.puppies-dogs-supplies.com
Amazing Insights Of A Horse Training Expert From The Late 1800s!
Could a horse trainer, born about 154 years ago, teach us anything new today? Would the methods be old hat or would they be useful?
Your Cat The Hunter
Many cat owners believe that their good little kitty would not even dream of going hunting.
All Natural Dog Cookies ? Because Your Dog?s Health and Happiness is So Important
Traditionally, a doggie treat was just that, a treat that to be savored, which offered little or no health benefits. Chocolate is not a particularly healthy treat for dogs; in fact research has indicated that chocolate treats are even poisonous to dogs if fed in large quantities.Given this, it is little wonder that natural dog cookies have become all the rage! Natural Dog Cookie - The BasicsThe basics of natural canine cookies are that they use entirely natural ingredients. Ingredients are also balanced in such a way that treats can be used as part of a broader, balanced diet. Cookies are a popular choice when it comes to natural treats, but there are also several other options.Another popular choice is the natural range of dog foods. Instead of being treats, organic ranges are actually food that forms the main part of your dog's diet. By feeding organic and natural foods permanently, it is thought that your dog will have greater health and a longer life expectancy.All Natural Dog Cookie - The BenefitsBy using natural dog cookies as part of a diet, your dog can have regular treats that are actually good for him! Dog cookies can be used as part of a training regime as a reward for good behavior. With traditional treats, trainers were often reluctant to use them in abundance due to their potential health disadvantages. However, natural cookies do not have this downside and can be used much more liberally as part of any reward scheme.Bearing this in mind, natural cookies are not a treat; they are an essential as part of your dog's ongoing health care. Go on - treat man's best friend!
What You Should Know About Your Dog And Frustration
Because your dog lives with humans, he's going to have to learn to deal with frustration sometimes, because you shouldn't let things always go his way if you're to be a responsible dog owner.
Life Long Nutrition A Comparison of Dog Foods
This article discusses two foods in paticual. For the puppy stage, Eagle Pack Puppy food and for the adult stage, Royal CaninLabrador Retriever
How To Keep Your Cat Healthy - Cat Feeding Explained
Cats have a reputation for being finicky eaters, but that is usually a distortion of the truth. Cats have a very keen sense of taste and smell, and they know what they like. If you have fed your cat the same food for years, then change brands, she may boycott the new menu. If you must change her diet, do it over time, mixing just a bit of the new food with plenty of the old favorite. Slowly increase the amount of new food and decrease the old.
Puppy Basics: Potty-Training, Reprimanding, and Rewards...
Potty Training Your Puppy:
Immune System Booster for Your Pets
Many chronic diseases commonly seen in pets result from immune suppression. Diabetes, allergies, breathing difficulties, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, recurrent ear infections, and even cancer, are all examples of an immune system gone wrong.
Potty Training Your Puppy
A new puppy is a joyous addition to any home. Who can resist that cute little bundle of lovable furry fun? Wouldn't it be great if puppies were potty trained and came into our homes without any mess or bother? OK, reality check here.
Small Dogs - Different Breeds, Different Personalities
Small dog breeds are great pets, but since their personalities are all different, it's a good idea to look at their individual characteristics to see if they fit with your lifestyle.
Train Your Dog With Respect
Proper training of your dog should begin when he is a puppy. The first four months of a dog's life are very important in the training of your dog. This is when they learn behaviors that they will practice in the future.
Training Your Dog To Save a Life In Water
Occasionally watching Animal Planet does have its advantage. You can really learn how to train your dog for different situations.
Comparison of the Cost and Effectiveness of Holistic Horse Care versus Conventional Care
After years of practicing both conventional and holistic medicine for horses, I decided to compare the cost, effectiveness, and net results of managing and treating horses holistically versus conventionally.
Tips that May Help Your Arthritic Dog
Arthritis refers to inflammation or swelling in a joint. The cause can be abnormal bone or joint development, instability of the surrounding ligaments and tendons, damage or injury to the joint, an infection, or injury caused by the immune system. While anti-inflammatory medicines are popular treatments for arthritis, another approach involves protecting the cartilage in the joint and "nourishing" the joint.
Heartworms Alert - Know The Warning Signs To Save Your Pets Health!
Has your pet recently been coughing, eating less, or being more lethargic than usual? If so, it is possible that your pet is infected with heartworms and may need immediate help and attention. Heartworms may infect a host for up to 2 years before any signs or symptoms are visible, and often when they are diagnosed it may be too late for some pets.
Westie Pups - Tips for Success in Housetraining
Perhaps the best way to train your westie pups not to relieve themselves in your house is to never let the behavior start in the first place. Learning to anticipate your westie puppies need to 'go' takes time, and extra attention to your pups when they are small, but it should make the learning process less stressful for everyone.
The Truth About Dog Food
These days, it's hard to know what decisions are the best ones for our beloved pets. So much information, so many conflicting theories and opinions! When it comes to dog food, is wetter better? Or should you give dry a try?
We have all grown up with at least one hero in our life, but how many people can call their hero Duke or Spot? The answer- anyone who has had their life saved by a rescue dog.
Is Dog Obedience School for You?
Are you thinking about dog obedience school? Do you know what to expect out of it? Do you know what it costs or where to find a good school?
Do You Know About Boxer Dogs?
Boxer Dogs Information - What Are Boxer Dogs? Boxer dogs are great all around dog breeds, distinguished canine and the coolest, most lovable dog out there! Boxer Dogs are medium-built and strong breed that are so named because of its habit of standing on the hind legs to begin a fight and boxing with the front paws. By nature, Boxer dogs are working dogs. Throughout history it has been trained as: - hunting dog - police dog- seeing-eye dog for the blind- guard dog- circus dog - courier dog on the battlefields during World War I and World War II - fighting dog in the once popular sport of dog fighting. The American Kennel Club (AKC) categorizes dogs into 7 groups of herding, hound, non-sporting, sporting, terrier, toy and working. And the largest breed registered in the working dog category is the Boxer. No doubt the Boxer Dogs make for great utility dog but the greatest advantage to owning one is that Boxer Dogscan be your most outstanding companion on four legs and great source of personal fulfillment. By the way, the AKC registered over 150 different breeds totaling nearly one million dogs in 2003. To put that in perspective, the animal shelters in America rescue up to 12 million homeless dogs and cats every year and 25% of these are purebreds. Devoted and glad owners of Boxer Dogs have come up with a long list of attributes and traits of their favorite pet that include: AlertBoisterousBoundless energyBraveCanine clownCourageousDevil dogDevotedDignifiedExuberanceFamily dogFearless FriendlyHearing dogHighly trainableIntelligentIntuitiveKeen judge of characterLovingLoyalPatient with childrenPeople dogPoor swimmerPlayfulQuick learnerSelf-assured SmartSoulfulSpiritedStoicalVigilantWorking dogWonderful pet And you can add to the list? The Boxer Dog's history could be traced back to feudal Germany, where it was a small hunting dog that could tenaciously hold onto a bull, boar, or bear till the master arrived. It was also a utility dog for peasants and shop owners, and even a performing dog in circus. The Boxer Dogs as we know it today is a bigger breed ? a mixture of the German Boxer with a taller, more elegant English import. The era of this modern Boxer began in the 1880s and became really popular in the United States in the late 1930s-1940s. Handsome dog: Within the canine world, Boxer Dogs are medium-sized dog standing at 21 to 25 inches at the shoulder for a full-grown female, and weighs some 50 to 65 pounds. The male can be taller and 15 pounds heavier. It has a striking good look with chiseled head, square jaw and muscled body that make for a very handsome silhouette. The ears are cropped and erect that enhance its hearing ? the Boxer most developed sense. It is always alert and vigilant, an instinctive guard dog. The shortened muzzle makes hot and humid weather uncomfortable for the Boxer Dogs. The coat is short, hard and smooth, and possesses a natural sheen that can be enhanced with rubdowns with a chamois cloth (especially after a bath). The short coat cannot protect him well from extreme elements of the weather and thus Boxer Dogs should definitely not be kept outdoors. It is a housedog, sensitive to temperature extremes, does not enjoy the draft, summer heat or cold. Boxer Dogs come in attractive basic colors of fawn and brindle. The fawn varies from a tawny tan to an especially beautiful stag red. The brindle (clearly defined black stripes on a fawn background) can be sparse, in between or dense. A beauty standard for Boxer Dogs is that their white markings or "flash" should add to their look and may not cover more than one-third of the entire body. Some predominantly or all-white puppies (known as "check") may be born in a litter. In the US, however, the American Boxer Club members are pledged not to register, sell or use these "whites" for breeding so as to retain the beauty of the true fawn and brindle colors in the breed. Personality-wise, Boxer is a cool dog that will not bark without cause. Its expressive face ? the furrowed forehead and dark, soulful eyes - is a charming quality that sets the Boxer apart from other breeds. It can mimic the moods of its master and adopting one could bring you 9 to 11 years of joyful companionship. In exceptional cases the Boxer can live up to 15 years. Boxer Dogs As Pet Pet Boxer Dogs, although low-maintenance, require your consistent attention, exercise, human interaction, consistent obedience training and lots of love. You cannot leave them to their own design for too long or they get lonely, bored and into trouble. Being a big and strong dog as well as a highly intelligent one, Boxer Dogs need both physical and mental stimulations to keep them even-tempered and dignified while still keeping their impish spirit and fearless courage in tact. All the best!!! Warm regards,
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|