Feeding your dog

dog waiting to eat at table laid with cutlery

Palatable advice for Dog owners to digest

Dry food, wet food, raw food, cold pressed food, home-made food, organic food, natural food, smart food, super food….WTF FOOD!!!!!

Feeding our dogs has become a puzzle even the cleverest of collies would find exhausting. With table scraps now a thing of the past and the science behind our dogs food becoming an ever increasing presence in advertising it begs the question how does the average dog owner chew through the fat to get to the juicy stuff???

The pet food market in Britain is worth over 2.7 billion pounds today and in the UK alone we have 51 million pets living in our homes. The most popular pet of course are our canine companions with over 26% of people owning a dog. That’s a lot of dogs!!! 8.7million to be precise! And they come in all shapes and sizes Large breeds, small breeds, working breeds, floppy eared breeds, squishy faced breeds and really really ridiculously cute breeds!! We sure are a nation of dog lovers but with an industry that is making it increasingly hard for us to understand what is in our dogs food we have pulled together a few tips that may help you make the right decision when it comes to your dogs dinner.

1. MEAT COMES FIRST

When looking at the Ingredients in your dogs food its very important to look at the COMPOSITION. This gives you a list of every ingredient in the recipe and the most important thing to remember is like in all foods ITS IN ORDER OF QUANTITY. Meat should always be the first ingredient! As this should make up the majority of the food. The second ingredient will be your carbohydrate – Potato/rice etc and this is the filler that will make sure your dog doesn’t get hungry when they are running around in the park with their mates. After that you will find your veggies, fats, oils and other bits that make it taste good as well as your joint supplements and other nutritional extras depending on the product.  So steer clear of products that do not have meat first as it is very likely to be poor quality.

2. WET AND DRY

Just to break this down for you the majority of wet foods on the market are made up of approximately 80% water this means its really difficult to get all your dogs nutritional needs in a wet food. Dry foods are de-hydrated so contain very little water which may mean that you end up filling that water bowl more often. This is a great sign because it means your dog is drinking fresh water and absorbing all the nutrition the dry food is offering.

3. PROTEIN

You may have heard many dog nutritionists talk about the importance of getting the protein content right for your dog. Protein plays a vital role in the health of your dog, it provides energy, builds muscle, it assists to create hormones and power the immune system keeping your dog strong and well. But, there is another side to protein when a dog has too much. Protein is high in calories and can lead to weight gain, It can also create an abundance of energy that your dog may not know what to do with if they don’t get the exercise they need to burn it off.  So be wary of very high protein levels in your dogs food and seek advise if you are concerned about it.

4. VARIETY VS CONSISTANCY

Something that many dog owners become concerned with is whether their dog actually likes his/her food. Should I change their food regularly to make sure they enjoy it and spice it up a bit. The truth is a dogs taste receptors are far less potent than humans which is why something that may make us gag a dog would happily have a chew on. Dogs enjoy consistency in all aspects of their lives, it helps to create lasting bonds between humans and owners and what they eat is no exception. So next time you are thinking of changing their food maybe asking yourself whether you are doing it for your dog or to make yourself feel better.

In short choosing a food for your dog is easier when you arm yourself with knowledge.  Our dogs don’t get to choose what they eat so its important we make the right decisions for our them and we can see through the marketing quips and tricks to the heart of the matter.  A well-fed dog is a happy dog and ultimately that’s what we all want.

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