Choosing a good food for your dog...is it really that important?
What to feed your dog is a big decision and will most likely be one of the biggest factors in how healthy and happy your dog is. Feeding your dog a good food not only increases the life span of your pet but it reduces health problems, allergy related problems such as skin, coat and ear problems and increases the overall health, wellness and happiness of your pet.
Finding a good food to feed your pet can be a tricky thing to accomplish. The reason being is that when we walk into a pet store and seek advice on what is a “good food” for our pets many times the sales associate steers us in the wrong direction. Maybe not intentionally, but the truth is that most of the people working in your local pet store know very little about pet nutrition and what makes a good pet food and only know what they have “heard” from others or have been told are good foods. I am definitely not claiming to be a nutritionist but based on a lot of time researching this subject I have found some pretty good information.
Many foods touted to be good by pet store associates, and even vets (vets get paid to sell their products by the manufactures and are trained exclusively on them in school) are horrible foods that are filled with cheap fillers, cancer causing preservatives, horrible meat sources (including those from rendered pets and diseased and rotten meat) and overall non-nutritious food for your pet. There are some GREAT resources on the web to find out exactly what kind of food you are feeding your dog and what you should be looking for and feeding to your pets.
Here are some very valuable websites that tell you more about what goes into your pet’s food:
* www.dogfoodanalysis.com – you can rate your current dog food here and look up better choices in dog food. This website is very informative and explains why each food is good or bad. I use this web site all the time to choose what I feed my dogs.
* http://www.acreaturecomfort.com- This is a very good website that tells you exactly what most major manufacturers put in your pet’s food. Very disturbing when you know what we are tricked into making them eat.
*http://www.naturalnews.com- “The true horrors of pet food revealed: Prepare to be shocked by what goes into dog food and cat food.”
*http://thepetgourmetonline.com- “Food Even a Dog Shouldn't Eat - Killing Our Pets with Every Meal.”
Examples of very poor quality foods that are commonly thought to be good foods:
| Iams (all formulas)||Purina / Beneful (all formulas)|| Nutro (most formulas, including Naturals and Max)|
|Eukanuba||*Eagle Pack|| Pro Plan|
| Science Diet (all formulas)||Wysong || Nature's Best|
| Pedigree (all formulas)|| Royal Canin (most formulas)|
*Canned foods vary in quality and are not necessarily the same quality as dry foods of the same brand. If you are interested in finding out about a canned food you can use the websites above to help you figure out the quality.
But what are some of the "good" foods?
Our favorite foods are all grain free foods as that is how nature intended dogs to eat and grains cause so many issues with allergies and are no benefit to the dog. Mostly added to provide lower cost fillers.
- Innova EVO
- Nature'sVariety Instinct
- Nature's Variety Raw/Freeze Dried
- B.G. by Merrick
- Barking at the Moon by Solid Gold
- Canidae Platinum/Grain Free Salmon/Grain Free ALS
- Wellness CORE
- Artemis Maximal Dog
- Blue Wilderness by Blue Buffalo
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By switching to a high quality food with better ingredients you can reduce your dogs weight (if overweight), increase weight (if underweight), reduce the amount of its excrement and how often they go potty, keep your dog healthier so they will have less vet visits, maintain healthy/shiny skin & coat, keep their immune system at it's strongest, keep their teeth cleaner, increase their lifespan by years and it will keep your dog looking its absolute best!
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In addition to feeding good quality kibble we strongly advocate the feeding of raw whenever possible. We do supplement raw game, beef, liver, chicken and tripe a few times a week. We also provide raw meaty bones for our dogs to exercise their jaws and provide a good source of calcium.
Kona enjoying a raw meaty bone
Dobby working on a raw chicken wing & Toki using his little jaw muscles
Pregnant and nursing moms are given additional supplements, kelp, tripett, canned food, and an increased amount of raw food in their diet in order to grow the healthiest puppies possible.
We supplement all of our dogs food with Sea Pet Omega 3+, Nupro, additional Vit D, MSM/Glucosamine/Vit. C for joint support and of course NuVet!
Our dogs do not eat people food or table scraps unless it is unprocessed meat, fruit or veggies. An overweight dog is NOT a healthy dog and we pride ourselves in our pets health and vitality which means maintaining them at their ideal weights with diet and exercise as well as providing them with the best food and supplements available.
When it comes time to introduce our puppies to solid food and if they need extra supplementation we do not feed them commercial puppy formula. We make our own "raw" formula (made with goat’s milk, egg yolk, Karo syrup & organic whole fat yogurt) as it is easiest for them to digest and is far more nutritious than any processed pre-made formula.
Puppies are introduced to puppy food when ready and are allowed to gradually wean off mom. We do not force wean them as it is healthiest for each puppy to decide when they are ready for themselves. Puppies are also supplemented with Tripett daily from 5 weeks until they go to their new homes.
We try to build up a layer of fat around the puppy's liver as small breeds do not have much fat to draw from when they need it. This helps prevent hypoglycemia in our puppies. Generally our puppies will weigh more than the average puppy at the time they go home and will slowly lose the weight as they use the fat supply we have built up for them. For more information on this, please see our Hypoglycemia page.