A Natural Diet Will Improve Your Dog’s Health
by: Brigitte Smith
It goes without saying that your dog needs suitable nutrition to remain healthy. But just what is suitable nutrition for your dog?
It’s difficult to know just what natural dog food is, because vets and pet food manufacturers often have vastly differing views on what is appropriate nutrition for your dog.
Why are commercially prepared foods routinely recommended as part of an adequate, or good, diet for your dog? – particularly in view of the fact that commercial pet food manufacturers are motivated in large part (or wholly) by profits.
You may be in a position where your vet or perhaps the dog breeder you purchased your dog from may approve of commercially prepared foods as your dog’s sole diet.
Many experts in dog nutrition, however, tend to prefer a largely natural diet for dogs, which is invariably comprised of meat and bones. Raw is preferable to cooked, as some of the minerals are definitely lost in the cooking process.
There are very, very few commercial dog food manufacturers that produce nutrient-rich food for pets. And of the few that do have some nutritive value, they’re not the brands you’ll find in your supermarket, or even in most pet stores or veterinarians.
All dogs must obtain reasonable nutrition from their food to maintain excellent health and performance. The main nutrients required by your dog are water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Vitamin or mineral deficiency in dogs fed a commercially manufactured diet today is not widely publicized. But then again, the slosh and dried formula which are readily available from your vet or the local supermarket are definitely not your dog’s natural diet.
If ever your dog was left to fend for itself in the wild (assuming it could manage to adapt, that is), s/he would choose to eat raw meat. One of the reasons why meat, and especially bones, are so good, is the chewing action and the teeth cleaning function which the bones perform. Of course, there are also commercially prepared substitutes which can also effectively clean your dog’s teeth and satisfy his/her need to chew. Some of these are better than others. There are some very good treats that can help clean your dog’s teeth.
A lesser known fact is that to feed your dog only meat (with no bones and no cereals or other carbohydrate source) may result in quite severe deficiencies: your dog could become lethargic, and sick. It is said that even death has been known to occur from an all meat diet. But what about dogs in the wild, I hear you ask? Isn’t meat a dog’s natural diet? Isn’t that what you just said, Brigitte? Well, yes and no: in the wild dogs eat the whole of their prey, not simply muscle meat – they thus obtain vegetable matter from the digestive tract of their prey, and calcium from the bones. In addition, wild dogs will occasionally add to their diet with plants, fruit and berries.
Most dogs relish some raw fruit and vegetables in their diet, so long as they’re used to eating those types of foods. A dog who has been fed commercially prepared dog food all of its life won’t be used to the taste of fresh food, so may well turn up his/her nose if you introduce such healthy food later in life. But do persevere – you could try hand feeding pieces of carrot or apple to begin with. And if your dog is still very young, all the better. Start as you intend to go on – feed your puppy some raw fruit and vegetables from time to time – natural dog food.
Remember, though, meat should be the staple of your dog’s diet. Preferably raw meat – natural dog food. But certainly not over processed food that barely looks or smells like fresh meat any more.
Your dog’s health will benefit!
(c) 2007, Brigitte Smith, Healthy Happy Dogs
|About The Author
Brigitte Smith is the author of HealthierDogs.com and HealthyHappyDogs.com. For more information on healthy food for dogs, click here.