Nutrition

2 minutes reading time (469 words)

Healthy food - happy dog

Plenty of advice on how to provide your dog with a healthy diet is found in the dog food ads and on the cans and packages. Your vet, family, friends and neighbors will add their own advice. Let's go to the basics and see if we can't come up with some great home cooking ideas for your pet.

When buying dog food you want a product that breaks down to a ratio of 40% meat, 50% vegetables, and 10% grain, or something close to that. The meat component should be listed first and is commonly chicken, beef, or lamb. If you buy a cheaper product that doesn't have these ratios or ingredients you're not doing your pet any favor. Go after the best quality you can afford and you'll have a happier companion as a result.

Some pet owners are starting to also examine the preservatives used in commercial dog food. BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin are common preservatives that many consider toxic - ethoxyquin is even classified as a pesticide. While the jury is out on the effect these small amounts of preservatives have on the health of your dog, some owners are turning to more natural alternatives and developing their own dog food recipes.

You can find a dog food recipe on the Internet, but the basic ingredients and ratios should be the same as they are for commercial food - 40% meat, 50% vegetables and 10% grain. Meat should be fully cooked and free of bones. Popular grains are brown rice or cooked oatmeal.

Once you know the basic ratios, you can experiment until you find a combination of ingredients that your dog will love. Remember not to salt the food, and that some ingredients - chocolate, garlic, onions, avocados, grapes, raisins and mushrooms - are actually dangerous for your pet and should never be used. Make certain that your healthy dog food is also safe!

Can you feed your dog a purely vegetarian diet? Most experts say that you can, but dogs are carnivores and they really are in top form with meat included in their diet. There's also the danger that your dog will grow bored with a vegetarian diet and become a finicky eater.

If you don't feel up to standing over a hot stove to cook for Fido you might check out your local health food store. Many have organic dog foods in stock. The Internet is also a good source of organic or holistic pet foods.

Proper diet then is of primary importance in ensuring your pet is happy and healthy, Take the time to check labels for proper ratios of good ingredients or make your own or, if that's too much work consult with your vet or health food store to see what they recommend. Your best friend will thank you.

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