What you are feeding your dog?
No matter what your favourite food is, if you were given the same food day in day out it would become pretty old pretty fast. Yet for a lot of our dogs, that is exactly what they get!
Anyone who has gone into a pet store to look at dog food will have been completely overwhelmed with the variety of products available. If you have tried to read the ingredients it is often like a foreign language. What food choices are there out there? Most commonly we have kibble (dry food biscuits), wet food (pouches and tinned), fresh home cooked and raw food. Confusing isn’t it, so how do you know what to feed your dog? We need to be aware that our dogs’ bodies are made up of two third’s water. For your dog to function and learn they need to be hydrated and depending on what food you feed could mean that your dog needs more water to keep their body properly hydrated!
Puppies do not always understand when they need water, and they actually need more water than adult dogs of the same size, so it is critical with young dogs that they have free access to water at all times.
Gut health is critical to everyone - not just for dogs but for us.
The gut is known as the second brain and the health of the microbiome impacts all aspects of wellbeing for dogs and all animals. That is why we have all these products now offering to improve your ‘good bacteria’.
Who cares about dog food I hear you cry! What if I told you that your dog’s diet can have a huge impact on their behaviour? That in many behaviour cases a change in diet has seen an improvement in unwanted behaviour?
The more varied our dogs microbiome is the healthier they are.
Their microbiome is improved by them eating a varied and fresh diet.
Did you know that dogs need fruit and vegetables in their diet?
That by adding leafy greens to a kibble diet three times a week could not only improve your dog’s health but also reduce the risk of them getting cancer.
You can go on an independent website and learn what is the nutritional score of the food you are feeding your dog now. Do it, find out what is inside your dog - www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk.
I am passionate about Canine Nutrition because I want my dog to live a long and healthy life alongside me, and currently one in every two dogs dies from cancer, yes read that again, that’s one in every two. Although some of that is down to genetics, a lot of it is down to the food that we put into their bodies, as the old saying goes ‘we are what we eat’.
For years people have been told that feeding their dog human food is the wrong thing to do, they need to eat biscuits to clean their teeth. Giving our dogs biscuits to clean their teeth is like us eating a packet of crisps to clean ours. If you want to give your dog something to clean their teeth, give them a frozen carrot.
Puppies need different nutrition to adult dogs, and it is important to ensure that you are getting the right number of calories, vitamins and minerals for them to grow at the right rate and healthily, so ensure you choose your food carefully.
A fantastic fun thing to do with your puppy and adult dog is a taster plate, you can use a chopping board or muffin tin and put small amounts of different foods for the dog, but it is giving your dog an eating experience, different colours, flavours, textures. Your dog may choose berries on one taster plate and leave them on another, this is absolutely fine.
This is a choice in that moment in time and they may select foods that they know their body needs and leave them another time.
This doesn’t have to be a one-time experience, giving a dog a taster plate once a month is a fun thing to do.
So, what are you looking for in a food? I never recommend a specific brand to anyone, I don’t know people’s lifestyle or budget, and often if someone is recommended a specific brand, they are getting a financial inducement to do so. I prefer to help owner make an educated decision.
My advice to all is to choose the best quality you can at the price that works for you, to be adventurous with your dog’s diet and allow them the opportunity to try new and interesting textures and flavours. I have known a dog that would pass raw steak to get to cauliflower, so don’t second guess what they will like, let them show you.
Why not have some fun and actually cook for your dog?
Recently Daisy and I did a cook-along with a lot of other passionate dog lovers with Emma Rutherford, a Functional Companion Animal Dietary Consultant.
Take a look at her website www.thenaturalcaninekitchen.com where you can get some fantastic balanced recipes that will provide your dog with the nutrition they need.
If you have a question for Yvonne, email [email protected]