Published at Thursday, May 16th 2019. by Lucile Mouton in Dog Food.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of dog owners cannot afford to feed their dogs a meat based diet so dog food producers created an affordable solution for the masses by offering a grain based diet. Though not as nutritionally healthy as meat, a grain based diet is not necessarily a bad thing if high quality ingredients are used. But this is not always the case. Cheap plant based ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy result in cheap dog foods. These dog foods do not produce healthy coats and solid stools in a majority of dogs and, if anything, shortens a dogs' life expectancy because they are unhealthy and are simply not good choices.
So which food is best for your dog? Finding that out takes time and research. The truth is, the best dog food is the one that meets your dog's nutritional requirements, which vary based upon the dog's age, breed, body weight, genetics, and amount of activity… and one that fits within your budget. It is definitely worth consulting a veterinarian to get the best advice and nutrition plan for your dog. But for those of you that want to take matters in your own hands, you will find detailed below the most important things you will need to know.
Dog food protein is essential to your dog. Dogs require more protein than humans. Interestingly enough, protein hasn't always been the focus of dog food. Wikipedia has several examples from the 1800s that show a dog food focus on cheese, milk, buttermilk, oats, barley-meal, potatoes and animal fat. Dog food has come a significantly long way. Now, dog food companies are concerned with dog food protein and the many different ingredients are needed to come up with a pet food product that matches the amino acids that a dog requires. These can all be synergised by using various different food combinations. Some feel that because dogs are direct descendants of wolves, that their protein requirement are one hundred percent meat based. Another argument is that dogs are naturally scavengers and will eat basically anything, whether it is a protein or not. Still others feel that with the domestication of dogs, and the fact that they have been living with humans for thousands of years, that they have evolved into incomplete carnivores. And there are more opinions beyond those as well. Even though dogs are built to take in more than just meat, the meats that go into regular commercial dog food are something that should be thoroughly comprehended. This subject is extremely broad, and I am going to do my best to touch on the major points. There is an incredible wealth of information on this topic and some of it is rather frightening.
Diseased and Dying Animals Are Intentionally Included As Dog Food Ingredients. Farm animals so sick they can't stand up are often picked up for the rendering plants without even being tested to see what is making them so sick. Often the animal will lay there until half rotten before it is picked up and taken to the rendering plant. Zoo animals that die of mysterious causes are often taken to the rendering plant. If you feed your dog commercial dog food, you may very well be feeding them diseased cattle, diseased horses, diseased giraffe, diseased hippopotamus, diseased lions, etc, etc. Diseased animals are fair game for the pet food industry and rendering plants will gladly accept the carcasses no matter the condition. There is no law against it so they do it because it is profitable to them to do so.
Another Important Factor – Essential Nutrients. Dogs require a balance of certain fatty acids that must be provided by their diet. Fats are needed for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fats provide energy as well as taste and flavor to foods. Fat provided by the diet also helps dogs maintain healthy skin and a shiny, healthy coat. Common fats used in dog foods include names like beef fat, pork fat, chicken fat, fish oil, salmon oil, and more. Anything listed as animal fat is very vague and not considered a quality ingredient. Fat content should be at least 18 percent.
Can your dog be allergic to his food? The most common causes of canine food allergies are caused by these ingredients which include meat-by-products, corn, yeast, sale, sugar, and chemical preservatives. They are often responsible for allergic reactions. Dogs who suffer from food allergies will experience reactions such as itchy skins, weepy eyes, ear infections, flatulence, irritated anal glands (running bottom over carpet), rashes, hot spots, and excessive bodily licking, especially around the feet and belly. Repeated exposure to large quantities of allergens in food can cause long-term chronic illnesses, infections, and behavior problems.
So, why is a high quality meat based diet so important? For dogs, meat is the appropriate source of protein and fat is the appropriate source of energy. High quality meat contains all the proteins, vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients needed for dogs to live a long and healthy life. Yet, carbohydrates have become the dominant nutrient found in most dog foods. Why is this? Because they are abundant, have a long shelf life, and are cheaper than protein and fat. What does this mean? Less expensive dog foods generally include less meat and more animal by-products and grain fillers. Is this good? Keep reading to find out.
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