Barking up the right diet with healthy canine cuisine

Ever sit down to a delicious dinner made from a wholesome array of fresh foods only to meet the large, questioning eyes of your dog staring at you over a bowl of the latest discount dog food? Or did you ever wonder what that food is actually made of (I don’t think you really want to know) or how you might feel eating the same thing day in and day out? As many of us continue to pursue a healthier life style, eating a variety of fresh foods and cutting down on or eliminating processed foods it’s only natural that we would want more for our beloved pets.

Commercially processed dog food does provide convenience, but questions linger about the quality, preservatives and other additives that just as with human foods diminishes and may even be detrimental to health. Fortunately, a growing number of more nutritionally balanced dog foods can now be found lining the aisles of your grocer’s pet food section. Health food stores have gotten in on the act as well with specially baked treats and chews made with 100% organic ingredients.

Still variety that prevents nutritional deficiencies can be an issue. Some veterinarians feel that to constantly change a dog’s food causes digestive upsets and fussiness about diet. Some experts feel this is only a ploy by the manufacturers to lock you into their food instead of switching around. For other less fussy pouches variety is not an issue eating whatever is presented. Many dog owners find their pooch fussing and picking when their diet is switched to a higher quality food. In human terms, it’s similar to someone switching you unwillingly, from burgers and fries to fruits and veggies. The adjustment will take time. They may complain and pout but a dog will not starve themselves.

Contrary to popular opinion scraps are good for your dog. Not the cut away pieces of skin or fat, but a few choice pieces of whatever they will eat and agrees. If you’ve never fed your animal quality grains, brown rice, vegetables and fruits you might be surprised how well it goes over. Some studies show that animals fed small amounts of a variety of these foods are more sated and will settle in latter with a quality dry food without complaints.

A high quality vitamin mineral supplement is optional but just as in human health; along with a healthy diet supplements will help keep your pet youthful and strong. Use glucosamine for joint health, garlic for coronary and immune health and fish oil for skin and coat health and depression- sometimes acted out as destructive behavior. A healthy skin and coat dramatically reduces doggy odor. Dogs do not need vitamin C as they make their own. Digestive enzymes are a must as your dog reaches into his later years. It doesn’t matter how quality a diet you feed them, if they cannot digest and assimilate it their health will fail. Enzymes also help prevent their odoriferous gas that has been known to clear the room!

Your dog’s nutritional needs will vary according to size, weight, breed and age. Sound nutritional practices started in their youth will extend their life, health and the joy they bring to your life. Till next time, Rebecca.