What you put into your dog is exactly what you’ll get out of him! This goes for training, socialization, breeding and of course his diet. The food he ingests, absorbs and uses to allow his body to function is the foundation of his overall health. So how do you find what is the right food for your dog? There are literally thousands of different brands, even more different formulas along with kibbles, canned foods, freeze dried and frozen. With so many choices, how do you know what is best for your pooch?
Know your dog’s needs
No two dogs will require the exact same caloric amount or ingredients. You have aspects to consider when finding the right food. Age is just as important as size and work load. Do you have a young and growing puppy or a senior couch potato? Does your Border Collie work hard in the Agility ring, or is your Chihuahua a purse puppy? The larger the work load, including if he is growing or adult, will judge on just how rich in proteins, fats, oils, and even carbohydrates your dog can use.
Ideally, no dog will ingest grain based carbohydrates. This includes corn, soy, rice, and wheat. The reason for this is that, while they do contain the genetic make up to break down these types of nutrients, their bodies do not necessarily use them in the way a human body does. Humans will use up both carbs and proteins as a source of energy. This is why you may see a lot of athletes swallowing whole raw eggs, as the protein count in such a superfood is phenomenal. The canid body, from Golden Retrievers to their wild wolf cousins depends on proteins and fats for their energy.
If your dog is high energy, a worker, jogging partner or a growing pup then a high fat, high protein diet will be needed. That’s right, fats are important, too! Fats provide organs the nutrients they need to function like a well oiled machined and give energy for your dog to get his job done, either in the competition ring or on the farm! Puppies will use up more energy than a lazy house dog simply due to their bodies growing and changing.
Know your ingredients
It doesn’t take a nutritionist to understand what ingredients are good for your pooch. Meats such as beef, poultry, rabbit, boar and pork are all wonderful. The type of meat you use should depend primarily on your furry friend’s palate preference. Some dogs love their red meat while others go nuts for chicken. Senior dogs may benefit more from the natural glucosamine found in chicken, but this is best absorbed through a fresh, raw diet for any real results. Some dogs are susceptible to food-related allergies and they require special hypoallergenic diet.
If choosing a kibble, you have homework to do! First, call the company and question them on their ingredient sourcing. If they source outside of your own country, run away! They are taking great risks to your dog’s health to save pennies. Even some companies that source their meats within their home countries will still obtain a synthetic vitamin mix from overseas. Be sure to question them before you buy!
If you are going with a canned diet, again make sure all ingredients are sourced as close to home as possible. Look over your label for any BPA free claims, as aluminum cans are notorious for this carcinogen getting into food. Does the canned diet use real meat chunks, or processed meat chunks? The more whole foods included the better. If the food is too processed, it would be like eating a TV dinner for each and every meal. Imagine what your health would be like on a diet like that!
The freeze dried and frozen diets are probably the safest and healthiest of all commercially available dog foods on the market today. The ingredients are whole foods, minimally processed or not processed at all, and usually free of all harmful grains. Many owners, though, do not like the involvement of using warm water to prepare their dog’s food or the price tag that comes with these healthier choices and decide to go with a high quality kibble instead.
If you want the absolute best nutrition for your dog and are willing to put in the time, a fresh and raw homemade diet will give him unmatched nutrient density, quality, and flavor. Remember, what you put into your dog is what you get out of him! Make his fuel count!