Does a premium diet pay off when training your dog?
Nothing is more essential to good training than good health. And the foundation of good health is a good diet. The best ingredient is fresh meat, but it depends on your income whether you can afford it or not. Whatever you do, please do invest in a good dry food product. A good brand is not necessarily an expensive brand. From the label you can learn quite a lot...
When checking the label you'll find the ingredients are in a specific order. The more of an ingredient found in the food, the higher it is on the list. If corn is on top of the list it means that the food contains corn more than anything else.
One of the ingredients that you don't want for your dog, but found in many feed because they are cheap, are animal by products. When you see this mentioned on the label you might reconsider buying the brand. Higher quality brands might mention it on the label, but you'll find it normally at the bottom of the ingredient list.
By-Products Meals are animal parts like feathers, claws, blood that are not good for human consumption. You can find them in animal food, because it is legal to use them for animals, but they don't provide high quality energy and they don't attribute to a good health of your dog.
Check your dogs coat. If you have a long haired dog, like a Labrador Retriever, with a shiny coat and normal shedding you are probably giving him a high quality food. Your dog will not get a shiny coat by food alone, you should also brush him regularly.
Some experts believe that the proper ratio of meat, vegetables and starch should be around 40%, 30%, 30% respectively.
Common meats used are chicken, lamb and beef. These provide readily digestible sources of protein - essential to healthy coats, muscles, etc.
Vegetables provide minerals and vitamins that help produce hormones and enzymes, as well as compounds for good bone health and other functions. Carrots and squash, for example are both excellent for almost any dog.
The best starch comes from brown or integral rice. Rice is an terrific carbohydrate, unlike other cereals like corn. Starch is broken down by the dogs stomach and provides energy and aids in cell repair.
Not all dogs are made alike and thus dietary needs can vary between breeds. Take the Golden Retriever for instance. This breed is quite sensitive to wheat based foods. But what you want to avoid especially are corn based feed, because that's the hardest to digest for any dog.
Always look for good quality ingredients in a dog food. If you need more information consult your vet, because he can recommend the right diet for your dog. When you feel your dog is in bad shape, scratches, or has soft stool, talk to your vet.
If your dog doesn't like dry food try to make it moist with some water and then warm it up a little. You can add some left overs or moist dog food so he'll like it better. Most dry food manufacturers claim that dry food cleans the dogs teeth, but that is not the case for low quality feed.
Be careful with treats. Even quality treats tend to have a high fat content. This is one of the reasons dogs enjoy them so much. One or two per day isn't harmful, but go for the quality brands.
The price difference between a supermarket food and a premium food can be high. But the investment in the higher quality brand probably compensates for lower veterinary bills and a much livelier dog.
You'll see it in your dogs eyes and notice a shinier coat. His pooh will be firmer, smaller and easier to pick up. It's a small price to pay for a healthy and happy dog.