The importance of balanced diets
Good nutrition is important for all breeds of dogs, large and small, mixed and purebred. The more nutritionally balanced the food is the better overall health your dog will enjoy and the more energetic and lively they will be. Good quality premium dry kibble is also essential for dental care for dogs as well as good digestion. Many owners fall into the trap of believing that their dog should enjoy all the variations in diets that humans enjoy. The opposite, in fact, is true for dogs. A good quality dry food will provide a balanced diet and can literally be fed throughout the dog’s life.
Finding a Good Quality Dog Food
All dog food is not created equal. Many dog foods primary ingredients include items such as meats, rice, whole grains and vegetable. The ingredients should be human quality, not some form of meat by-products or other meat derivative.
Dogs cannot digest most wheat, oat or corn meal, this is simply used as a bulking agent and a filler. Not only does the dog get absolutely no nutritional value from these ingredients but it also leads to more bulk in the digestive tract and more trips outside after eating. In addition some of the high filler low cost dog foods will lead to bloated looking stomachs as the dogs simply have to eat much more to get the same amount of nutritional value.
The labels that indicate either premium or super-premium food are usually the best value for your money. They are more expensive than the supermarket or economy brands but overall you will have to feed less which more than makes up the for the difference in cost.
To find a balanced dog food look for the following items on the label:
• Meat based protein as the primary ingredient. This can be beef or chicken or turkey or a mixture of all three. Duck is sometimes used in some of the premium foods as well.
• Grains are largely rice, as most dogs are able to digest rice and obtain the nutrients from this grain. Wheat or corn meal are mostly undigestable to dogs so are of no value at all.
• Avoid chemical preservatives in the food. Products that list a variety of chemical compounds should be avoided. Often the preservaties are the items in the various dog foods that lead to allergic reactions and problems with digestion leading to excessive gas and bloating.
Remember that dogs are omnivores, not true carnivores, and they need vegetables as well as meats in their diet for a complete balance.
There are many premium quality treats available for dogs. Some of the less expensive treats contain excessive amounts of wheat and corn meal and also have large amount of chemicals and preservatives. Try making your own treats by baking some of your own dog cookies made from rolled oats, vegetables and other nutritious ingredients. There are many different recipes for home made treats for your dog that ensure only the healthiest and freshest ingredients are used.