We all recognize that nutrition is critical to our own health. But what about the health of your dog? Many people don’t realize that having a healthy dog means giving it the best food which is most suited to it’s breed and a variety of other factors. So before you pour another bowl of generic, supermarket-bought kibble for your dog, ask yourself whether its the right dog food for your pet.
What makes a healthy dog food?
One of the hardest parts of being a dog owner is choosing the right food for his or her health. Being dogs, they’ll eat almost anything you put in front of them, whether it’s actually nutritious or not. They’re just acting on that survival instinct after all, and can’t exactly tell you in English that it might not have been the best choice for their health. In fact, a survey of 900 American dog owners found that over half of them felt that their dog’s nutritional needs weren’t being met by their current diet.
As always, your best approach is to do your research and observe how your perfect pooch responds to different types and brands of food. Do they develop a shiny, thick coat when you put them on a certain brand? Do they seem to enjoy eating certain foods over others? Do some foods give them digestive issues or diarrhea, whereas others don’t? These are all important things to look out for.
The healthiest ingredients for your dog
Beyond these observations, however, there are certain attributes you can look for in dog food which we know to be good for their overall health. These are as follows:
- MEAT: above everything else, you must remember that your dog is a carnivore. This means that meat comprises by far the largest proportion of their diet, implying that they get the most nutrition from plenty of whole, unprocessed meats. Wolves, their close ancestors which we can still observe today, take down live prey and also eat dead and decomposing animals (tasty!)
- Whole, unprocessed ingredients: essentially, the more processed your dog food, the less healthy your dog will be. Like us, dogs need food which is as close to natural as can be found. This means occasionally supplementing their store-bought dry food with fresh, whole foods.
- Other foragable fruits and plants: research shows that up to 30% of the diet of wild dogs is made up of plants, vegetables, fruits and other organic matter which can be foraged. Common examples are blueberries, nuts (our border collie LOVES walnuts, and walks below walnut trees cracking the tasty nuts out of their shells), certain seeds, and grains.
For more information on what your dog should and shouldn’t be eating, check out this article.
Choosing the best dog food
As the above article indicates, the best diet for your dog is one which you prepare yourself, out of carefully researched, whole foods. Unfortunately, this can become quite expensive and time consuming, so our approach is to supplement our dog’s regular store-bought foods with occasional whole-food meals, at least a few times a week. Our favorite foods to give the pooch are lamb and beef bones with some of the meat and sinew still on (never chicken bones, however, as they’re too brittle and can damage their throat!), home-made bone broth, organ meats (liver, heart, kidney, etc), and certain vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, apples, blueberries, and occasionally nuts.
Once again, a reminder: make sure you do your research before you go dishing out food to your dog! Certain foods which we eat aren’t digestible for dogs, so you need to know your stuff. If in doubt, ask your vet.
For your dog’s everyday meals, stick to low-grain, low-carbohydrate dry foods such as those found in our dog food store. Also consider giving your dog wet food on a regular basis, as dry food can be very low in moisture content and make your dog dehydrated. We also have some great wet food choices in our store!