Along with being your partner and your companion, your dog is an athlete and requires a high protein, quality diet. Did I just say your dog is an athlete? No matter what breed, all dogs really are athletes. They typically love to run, play and go for walks. If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise. It’s up to you to provide your dog with needed exercise. The amount of exercise depends on the energy level of your dog. All dogs should at least be walked daily. Pugs, for example, need a lot less exercise than Australian Shepherds. I am often asked, “How do I know my dog is at a good weight?” You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs at rest with your hands, or see their ribs when they are running.
Dogs are not unlike humans. What do our doctors often tell us? We need to exercise more, eat a healthier diet and that processed foods are bad. It is no different for dogs. If you are feeding dog food from the grocery store, it is no different than eating fast food every day. Traditional dog food is processed food.
Nutrition is a big deal when it comes to your dog. We all agree that processed foods are not good for us, and they are not good for dogs either. We love our animals and want to do what is best for them. Here are some statistics when it comes to our beloved pets:
- Dogs have the highest rate of cancer among mammals
- Diabetes for dogs has gone up in Europe by 900%
- Dog obesity in the United States is up 60%
- In the 1970’s, the average life span of a dog was 17 years- now it’s 11
- 40% of Cancer can be avoided by proper diet
- 10% -20% of dogs have food allergies
So what are my recommendations?
Feed your dog as much fresh food as you can. I am not saying to stop feeding kibble, but it needs to be high quality and grain free. I feed our dogs Victor grain free dog food because I believe it’s the best on the market. Here’s a good resource to explore more options.
What is safe to feed your dog?
You can feed raw protein such as chicken, beef, fish, and eggs. Dogs can eat uncooked bones. Femur bones from cattle are too large, but they can eat raw chicken bones, duck necks and beef ribs. Raw bone provides your dog with needed glucosamine and chondroitin and also helps keep teeth clean.
Fruit that dogs can eat:
Apple, apricot, banana, blueberries, cantaloupe, mango, orange, pear, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon.
Vegetables that dogs can eat
Asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, pumpkin, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
The more fresh food you can provide your dog, the better. The pet food industry is a billion dollar business and the pet food producers are certainly not going to tell you to feed fresh. Dog food is processed food and not good for your dog. Pet food stores are now beginning to offer some options for a raw diet. They are in the freezer section of your local pet store. The benefits of feeding fresh are:
- Improved behavior (less anxious)
- Longer life expectancy
- Healthier happy dog
Everyone needs to make their own decision on what is best for their dog. My dog Titus turned 8 this year and he is obviously slowing down. He is the best dog I have ever owned and I cannot imagine losing him. I love that boy and want to do what is best for him. That is what motivated me to start researching this topic- for the love of my dog.
I believe it’s a good idea to rotate dog food. Rotating dog food makes sure your dog isn’t eating the same thing throughout his/her entire life. No food is perfect, so varying his/her dog food may help eliminate any negatives that one type of food may cause.
Feeding your dog quality food can extend your dog’s life and providing a healthy diet can help avoid a variety of health issues. I think Mother Nature helps avoid these issues. Remember, you are what you eat. We love our animals as family- let’s do what’s best for them.