Comedian Dave Barry once wrote, “”You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, ‘My God, you’re RIGHT! I NEVER would’ve thought of that!’” That sentiment is so true. You could ask your dog if he wanted to try a healthier brand of pet food or if he’d like to go rooting through the neighbor’s trash and he’d give you the same response.
Check the Ingredients
If your dog eats a name brand pet food, then your pet might not be getting all the vitamins and nutrients necessary for a healthy diet. Just like with human food, you can’t go by the brand name alone. It’s important to look at the fine print on the labels to know what the ingredients are and how much nutrition the food actually provides.Scanning the ingredients on a bag of commercial pet food reveals a lot about how healthy it is for your pet. Ideally your dog’s pet food should have a ratio made up of about half meat and half veggies, with no grain, wheat, corn, or other cheap fillers. Meat should be the first thing listed in the ingredients. The higher an ingredient appears in the list, the more of that item there is in the product.
Why Fillers Aren’t Filling
It might seem like grains are a great source of energy that dogs need to get through everything they need to do in a day’s time. After all, it takes a lot of work to dig holes in the backyard, shred the neighbor’s petunias, and chase away the mailman! But when dog food manufacturers add these ingredients as fillers, then they are no different nutritionally than by-products or empty fillers.That does not mean that all grains are bad, though. When used with proper ratios that respect how much meat and vegetable ingredients are also used to produce the pet food, grains such as barley, brown rice, and rolled oats can boost the food’s protein value. This is especially important for dogs required to have a meat-free diet.According to a blog post on the website of Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, it is okay to feed your dog table scraps but only if they are dog-approved by a veterinarian or other professional. Some foods safe for dogs include peanut butter, cooked chicken, baby carrots, yogurt, salmon, pumpkin, eggs, and apple slices. You can even use dog-approved foods to either supplement or completely replace your dog’s regular food.
Switching to a Healthier Food
Have you ever tried out a new brand of food for yourself only to find that it disagreed with your digestive system? Your dog is no different! When switching to a new dog food, it is important to make the switch gradually to prevent your dog from suffering from an upset tummy. Here is one way to switch your dog over to a new food.
WEEK 1 – 1 part new food to 5 parts old food
WEEK 2 – 2 parts new food to 4 parts old food
WEEK 3 – 3 parts new food to 3 parts old food
WEEK 4 – 4 parts new food to 2 parts old food
WEEK 5 – 5 parts new food to 1 part old food
At the end of five weeks, your dog should be completely transitioned over to the new food. But as with humans, dogs have unique requirements that make them different than others of their kind. If you are having trouble finding a healthy diet plan for your dog, check with your veterinarian for advice.
Even if your dog seems healthy before the transition to a new food, he might experience some kind of digestive upset. Never assume you know the cause of your dog’s tummy troubles because weight loss, losing his appetite, or having ongoing vomiting and diarrhea problems could be a sign of something more serious, like liver disease. Left untreated, it causes cirrhosis of the liver.A healthy liver helps to detoxify things like pesticides, chemicals, and any other toxins in things they eat. Fortunately natural supplements, such as milk thistle for dogs, have no known side effects, and are safe to use over a long period of time. If your dog does not have liver disease but takes a prescription for some other health problem, then milk thistle for dogs could help the liver detoxify the chemicals associated with those medications.
Dogs Won’t Eat Everything
Contrary to popular belief, dogs won’t eat just anything. A friend once bought her dogs a very expensive bag of treats made from organic ingredients. The dogs turned their wet little noses up at the goodies! My friend said she would have had more luck offering them two circles of cardboard held together with a slathering of peanut butter. So that’s just what she did – in a manner of speaking.
After searching around online and checking with her veterinarian, my friend selected some recipes and began making healthy treats for her dogs from her own kitchen. The best rule of thumb is that if it’s not something you would feed yourself or the human members of your family then it is not something you should feed your dog.Freelancer Rick Mercado is a successful writer and online marketer. He uses spare time between assignments to read other interesting topics. For example while writing this article he spent some time reading about healthy pet products at amazon.com which offers items for both dogs and cats. Rick loves getting outdoors, especially when it allows him to go hiking or kayaking.