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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What about feeding your dog in a more healthy way

I think I am lucky. I think this because I have two loving animal companions that are dogs. I also have a cat and he is very loving too.

My dogs, Belle(11)and Buddy(5), are both rescued. Belle is a Golden Retriever and Buddy is an Aussie-Corgi. They get very wholesome and sometimes raw food. I add herbs and nutritional supplements and use super premium baked kibble. I make much of their food and actually find it quite easy to do.

Purchase super premium pet food or order recipes for my basic mix and a healthy 'cookie' are available for a donation to CHI, the tax exempt, non-profit organization that brings you Natural Health News.

I advise people to avoid feeding only dry food.

From the VRP Pet Corner comes a similar concern -

What’s In Our Dogs’ Food? (Part I) By Gary L. Ailes, DVM

There seem to be many conflicting thoughts about dog food even today. It is an important topic and one that warrants a longer discussion. Therefore, I will devote the next four Pet Corners to this topic.

Consider dry dog food, which tends to be what most people feed to their larger dogs. Some people think that the baked form of dry food is the best. However, baking can take place with temperatures as high as 425 degrees. Extruded dog food, on the other hand, may be processed at temperatures closer to 115 degrees or as high as 212 degrees using a steam method. When trying to preserve the foods’ natural benefits such as vitamins and antioxidants, the lower temperature may actually be better. Is one way of cooking dry food better than another? I honestly do not know and have yet to see either way proven in a scientific method. If either one has black or burned areas, I would put that particular food in an unfavorable light as eating burned anything has a carcinogenic effect.

The ingredients of dog food should be evaluated in a thoughtful manner. Trying to understand exactly what the manufacturer is putting in the food is done by the way the ingredients are listed on the bag, box or can. The first listed ingredient will make up more of the final product than any of the others. The ingredients are listed in order from the first one, which has the largest percentage, to the last one, which makes up the smallest percentage.

What are the ingredients? I prefer to have meat then meat by-products listed first, which should be the primary source of protein. By meat, I mean beef, fish, chicken or lamb. A dog that is consistently fed a diet of lamb and rice may be deficient in taurine. Therefore, I suggest supplementing with 250 mg daily of taurine. The meats should be followed by the carbohydrate source, which will usually be corn, barley, oats, rice or wheat.

The third ingredient we need to know about is fat. Adequate amounts of fat are very important and it adds to the metabolic water in the body. However, it has twice the calories per gram and the total calorie intake must be kept to an amount that does not produce excess weight gain. Usually, the listing doesn’t specify the amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fats in the food. Most animal fats are higher in omega-6 fatty acids and need to have some supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids. The nutritionists I have consulted feel the optimum ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is between 5 to 1 and 10 to 1. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important to help decrease inflammation. This action is helpful in decreasing allergies, osteoarthritis and skin inflammation. These may be times when more omega-3 fatty acids are indicated. Neptune Krill Oil® can be added to the dog food as a way to increase the omega-3 content.

The next article will discuss the protein fraction of dog foods and what that really means.

© 2008 VRP

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