photo by Illona Haus
© by Dr. Kim Bloomer
Just as for human health, what we feed our dogs will determine if they will be healthy or diseased. It is up to us to not only know the difference in the myriad of choices on the market today but what we should avoid. Also understanding what a dog is as regards their needed food to thrive, we will begin to make better choices for them. Keep reading here:
There are typically three types of choices for feeding your dog although a combination of some of these, and the old-fashioned “scraps” feeding are all options. One of the things I’ve learned is that people need options that suit their lifestyle.
I raw feed my own dog meat and bones as I’m convinced that is not only the absolutely best way to feed a dog as they are scavenger carnivores (they have not evolved into omnivores contrary to popular belief) which means they’ll eat what they need to, to survive. I feel that feeding a raw meat and bone diet helps dogs to thrive and not just survive. However, not everyone is going to opt for that nor maybe feel they can afford that. So I do offer options although I do stress that the long-term health of your dog is far longer and better quality with a diet they were designed to eat.
1. The most popular option today is to feed kibble or commercially packaged foods. There are so many varieties and brands today it may be overwhelming just deciding which one to feed. Many people decide to go with what their veterinarian says to feed. A word of caution regarding that: your veterinarians are taught the little nutrition they learn from the very pet food industry that stands to make the most gain from you feeding commercial pet food. I always think of my veterinarian as the person for disease treatment not the person for disease prevention and health. If you insist on going this route for convenience sake and feel that because “your veterinarian says” must be the golden rule, then I’d choose the ones with:
a. the least grains or optimally no grains at all
b. no byproducts
c. protein listed as the first source on the package
d. no synthetic preservatives
I’d also make sure I added back in enzymes, probiotics and Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and give my dog a raw bone weekly at the very least for teeth and gum health.
2. The next option is to home-cook my dog’s food. I think this is far better than any commercial food in a bag. You can cook all kinds of meat and make sure to just never feed it with raw meat as the two digest differently: raw meat digests very fast and cooked meat very slow. Many people like to add in veggies but I don’t see the need. If you want, just make sure to really pulverize the vegetables in a food processor before adding them into the food. Again you’ll need to add in enzymes and probiotics to the food since cooking eliminates these much-needed nutrients.
3. Lastly is raw feeding, my personal favorite. You only need to freeze the meat for about twenty-four hours prior to feeding to eliminate any possible bacteria. Then defrost and feed your dog 2-3% of your dog’s body weight in meat and bone per day in a 1:2 bone to meat ratio. For more details on feeding you can refer to my article Canine Cuisine: The Scavenger Carnivore.
Many people like to add in some scraps but make sure if you do this that no cooked bones are added as they are brittle and can splinter inside your dog. Also cooked grease, bacon, and gravies can be far too rich and cause pancreatic and digestive problems in your dog so avoid these. Hopefully you’ve got a bit more information to empower you to make informed choices for your dog.
Note: Before switching your pet to a raw meat and bone diet, especially if if your pet is not in good health or is a senior animal, please set up a consultation with me or seek the advice of a veterinary naturopath, holistic veterinarian or a qualified natural pet health care consultant.
Aspenbloom Pet Care does offer ONE food that is grain and potato free, organic and actually layered with freeze dried RAW food instead of being sprayed with a synthetic mixture after processing. You can learn more about it HERE.
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About the author:
Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author. This article is for educational purposes only. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader.
Dr. Kim Bloomer is a certified animal naturopath and published author, consulting on canine nutrition and wellness. She hosts the internet radio show, Animal Talk Naturally with colleague Dr. Jeannie Thomason. The two are also the Founders of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy. In addition, Dr. Kim is a proficient blogger and writer on natural pet health, having co-authored the book Whole Health for Happy Dogs and authored the book Animals Taught Me That. Dr. Kim’s articles have been featured in various publications such as Animal Wellness, Natural Horse, Dogs Naturally, NM Breeze, Raw Instincts, and the Pet Connection magazines. Website:www.AspenbloomPetCare.com
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