By Lori Matthews
The phrase, “putting on the dog” refers to people who try to appear wealthy or more important than they really are. If you were to walk down the dog food aisle in a supermarket or pet store, the front of the bags would sound very impressive, assuring you of complete nutrition for every stage of a canine’s life. But in reality, many of these pet food companies are guilty of “putting on the dog”. Before you put anything “in” your dog, flip those bags of dog food over to read the fine print.
Do you want your dog to be healthy, obedient and live to a good old age? Scientists determined that dogs have the potential to live to 20 years, but in reality, most canine companions struggle beyond the 10-year mark. Veterinarians are seeing an increasing number of heart and respiratory disease, joint problems and diabetes. The shelters are full of dogs that left their “forever homes” because they exhibited hostile and even violent behavior.
All of these health and emotional issues could have a solid basis in the type and quality of food these dogs have been given. It’s not enough to merely fill up a bowl with any dog food so your pet doesn’t go hungry. Dog owners need to evaluate what’s going into the dog’s dish because those ingredients can mean a better life or one that is filled with health issues.
Buy a premium dog food. Generally, this type of food is not sold in supermarkets and not even at your veterinarian’s office. There are a few exceptions where you will find top quality foods at these establishments.
Before making a selection of dog food, turn the bags over and read the list of ingredients. The first 5 ingredients make up the bulk of the dog food so take note. If more than 2 of them contain grain products, like corn or wheat, the food is mostly vegetable protein, which provides less in the way of nutrition. Dogs who eat this type of food will have more bowel movements because their bodies are not absorbing a high level of nutrients and these ingredients are processed as waste.
If the bag lists “by-products” it’s best to leave it on the shelf. By-products of animals can mean the head, feet and intestines. There is practically zero nutritional value in this ingredient. Look for chicken “meal” or lamb “meal” which actually provides a greater degree of animal protein.
Avoid foods that contain preservatives, like BHT or BHA. They can be harmful to your pet’s health. Canned food often contains more preservatives because they are needed to keep the food fresh. Additionally, canned food has a high water content and that should be factored into your dog food buying decision. Dogs do very well on dry dog food alone, and the crunching action helps to keep their teeth cleaner.
If you want to give your dogs treats, the same rules apply. Check the list of ingredients. Try not to get your dog “hooked” on cheap treats with no nutritional value because that may make it difficult to offer a premium dog food that is not artificially enhanced with flavor additives.
By Lori Matthews