Your dogs diet and dog nutrition is the single most important thing you can do to help them be healthy and to provide them with the best type of life possible. We all know how important good foods are to us all but the past few years have shown us again and again that diet is key in keeping your dog healthy and helping to prevent disease - rather than our usual "wait until they get something and then treat it" frame of mind.
Diet is probably the one main thing that can easily be linked to almost all common dog diseases today that we encounter. It's amazing when I think just how sick we are making our dogs by trying to feed them the best foods available - but the pet food companies don't seem to have the same thought in mind when it comes to making their foods. We assume they are doing the best for us and our pets but it has been proven many times that that is simply not the case.
Just think about the most recent things concerning dog nutrition that prove this to be correct - such as the dog food scare back in 2007. Remember how manufacturers used contaminated wheat gluten to boost their measured protein levels in their dog food products? And remember how many thousands of dogs became sick and died - and no telling how many others were forever affected with kidney disease because of this contaminated dog food?
Do you have any idea some of the crazy things that can be found in commercial pet foods? It is scary to say the least but suffice it to say that most are things you would never want in your own food - and I'll bet the CEOs of most pet food companies would never eat anything made by their plants that included all of these additives and mystery sources of proteins that they so easily pass off to our pets on a daily basis.
Concerning diseases caused by diet, there are many and lets talk about them for a minute. Things like allergies, kidney disease, dental disease, urinary problems, diabetes and even many kinds of cancers are very common today. And many of these issues are food based.
- Allergies. Many pets are allergic to things found in their foods such as corn, wheat, eggs, chicken, beef, milk, soy, etc.
- Arthritis - diet and dog nutrition is very important. Do not let your dog become overweight. Also, lots of Premium Holistic pet diets have added anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids, Glucosamine and other supplements which can help in the treatment and prevention of arthritis.
- Dental Disease can happen because the dog is not getting enough abrasive food materials, like bones, to chew on regularly. Dogs in the wild frequently get to crunch on raw bones.
- Kidney Failure. Often caused by terrible protein sources found in commercial dry foods as well as the amount of toxins to which the pet is exposed to daily.
- Urinary Infections. Often caused by eating a dry, high carbohydrate diet, day after day after day.
- Chronic Vomiting or Diarrhea. Often happens because the proteins found in grains (which are often found in commercial quality foods) are much harder for the dog to digest than are animal proteins.
- Immune Disorders. The dogs immune system gets run down and weakened eventually because of poor dog nutrition causing allergies and other chronic immune problems to develop.
- Diabetes or Pancreatitis. Often happens as a result of these high carbohydrate commercial diets and poor dog nutrition fed over long periods of time.
- Seizures. Most "supermarket" foods are loaded with all sorts of chemical dyes and preservatives such as ethoxyquin, BHT, and BHA - all of which should be avoided like the plague because these ingredients can cause seizures. Do your best to buy the best high quality kibble made that you can find and afford - "human grade" ingredients are what you'd want if at all possible.
- CANCER. Many things found in commercial grade pet foods have been found to contribute to Cancer. Here are a few of them: Ethoxyquin (a preservative), smoke flavor, "Red 40" - an artificial color, sodium nitrite, BHA (a preservative) and many artificial flavors.
So what is a dog owner to do? There are many things you can do if you're really serious about stopping this cycle of bad health in your dog and improving your dog nutrition. It just depends on your own situation and circumstances and how truly comfortable you are making your dogs own food.
First, you could move your dog to an entirely raw diet. Now this is not something many owners would do because of handling raw foods, etc. Not everyone would be capable of doing this but of those that do, many report just how much better health their dogs are in now than before the raw food diet was started.
Next, not quite as severe but still very helpful concerning improving dog nutrition, you could cook for your dog, or provide them raw foods for one or two meals per week. Even this small change can make a big difference and your dog will loooooove it. And here is one pet recipe from Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM that you might want to try with your own dog:
"Chicken and Rice Recipe (based on a 75 lb dog)
White long grain Rice (or brown if no allergies), cooked – 5 cups Vegetable oil (or Olive oil) – 6 teaspoons Cooked chicken breast – 2 cups Adult Multivitamin/multimineral Supplement – 2 tabs Posture® caplet (600 mg elemental calcium) – 5 caplets Morton Lite Salt Mixture – 1 1/2 teaspoons
Cook protein and carbohydrate (and vegetables if added).This recipe represents the amount to be fed per day and can be fed in multiple meals. More than one day’s worth of the food can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks.
Prior to serving each meal and after warming, add the appropriate amount of supplements to the food and mix thoroughly. Heating supplements that contain vitamins can destroy their effectiveness.
The amount of supplement(s) shown above is the daily amount. Therefore, divide the amount listed by the number of meals given a day."
Lastly, buy the best quality pet foods that you can afford. You may not be able to afford a holistic or organic dog food brand for each and every meal but maybe you can get a bag or can of one of these types of foods occasionally to feed your pet. And if you do have to buy a commercial grade dog food, please take the time to read the label and avoid foods with the additives that we discussed above.