Pros and Cons of Dry Dog Food
Kibbles are not suitable for puppies under 6 months old. They do not provide enough nutrition. If you feed kibble to your puppy it will cause diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, weight loss and other health problems. Puppies fed dry food develop digestive disorders such as pancreatitis or colic. Kibbles are not suitable for dogs over 3 years old (or if they have been overweight).
Dogs fed kibble become obese.
Cons of Dry Dog Food
Dry food causes diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, weight loss and other health problems. You cannot control the amount of calories in dry food. Dry food does not provide sufficient vitamins and minerals. Dogs fed dry food are prone to diseases like cancer and heart disease. Your dog may suffer from kidney failure if he eats too much dry dog food.
Your dog’s coat may get thin if he eats too much dry dog food.
Pros of Dry Dog Food
You can control the amount of calories in dry food. Dry food provides adequate vitamins and minerals. Dogs fed dry dog food are less likely to get cancers and heart diseases than those fed kibble. Your dog’s coat may stay healthy if he eats enough dry dog food. Your dog’s urine is free of bacteria, which means your pooch doesn’t need to use deodorant or shampoo anymore!
THE TRUTH ABOUT DOG FOODS
There are many myths circulating about which dog foods are good or bad for dogs. Some of them have a grain of truth to them, but most of them are not true at all. In this article I will try to separate the facts from the fiction and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision on what dog food to feed your beloved pet.
Quick Overview of Dog Foods
Always read the labels!
The first thing you should do when deciding on a dog food, is take a look at the label. All dog food brands must print all their ingredients (in descending order of mass) and their nutritional value on the bag or can. This way, you can tell how much of each ingredient your dog will be getting.
Don’t go by the photos on the bag. You shouldn’t trust a picture of a steak or a chicken leg to know if the food actually contains meat or not.
A good rule of thumb is that if the first three ingredients are grains or beans, the food is bad for your dog. If it contains a lot of meat, fish or eggs, it’s probably a good food.
Here’s an example:
INGREDIENTS: chicken, chicken meal, cracked pearled barley
The first ingredient is the main one (makes up the most of the food), the second is the main one except for water (this is important for dry foods), and cracked pearled barley is just a filler that doesn’t do much good or bad. This food is OK.
INGREDIENTS: chicken by-product, corn gluten meal, wheat
The first ingredient is still a meat (even if it’s not as good as the first one), but corn and wheat gluten are mainly fillers. This food is BAD.
Things You Should Know About Dog Food
Some dog foods contain ground up bones. Don’t buy these. They can cause your dog to choke on the bone fragments. Your dog should get his calcium from regular food.
There are some good “natural” foods out there. These contain ingredients like peas, carrots, apples, bananas etc. These are OK to feed your dog in small quantities (not more than 10%).
Foods that say “light”, “lite”, or “low calorie” on them are just as bad as human “light” snacks.
Feeding your dog anything other than dog food is bad. This includes people food (especially chocolate!), cat food, or any other kind of food. You should be able to read the label and know immediately if it’s good or not.
Some dogs are allergic to certain ingredients. If your dog is itchy all the time or if his coat doesn’t look good, you should try a different brand of food.
What To Feed Your Dog
There are three basic groups of dog foods.
1) COMPLETE FOODS include all the vitamins and minerals that a dog needs to live a long and healthy life.
You should only feed your dog one of these. Using one as a supplement is OK, but don’t use one as a mixer.
2) STANDARD FOODS are generally not as good as complete foods.
They contain only the bare minimum of nutrition for your dog. You should only use these if you want to feed your dog only bones and fat.
3) DEMAND FOODS are the worst.
They are very bad for your dog in any situation.
BEEF FRITTERS is a complete food in every sense of the word. It contains everything your dog needs to grow large and strong.
SQUIRREL FLESH is a standard food. It doesn’t provide your dog with any extra nutrition, but it’s packed with the stuff dogs like (tasty meat!)
FISH MEAL is a demand food. It doesn’t provide your dog with any of the things he needs to survive.
Your dog needs exercise, and not just walks around the block. Dogs love to run and play. Throw the ball for him, or play hide and seek. Dogs also need mental stimulation. Give him a toy that keeps him thinking, like a Kong Toy or a stuffed animal.
Always remember that dogs, just like people, are individuals and have different needs. Some of these foods may disagree with your dog. If you notice diarrhea, vomiting, loss of energy or any other symptoms, consult your veterinarian before you continue feeding your dog that food.
Home Cooked Meals
Many dog owners today are opting to feed their dogs something they prepare themselves. These meals can be very nutritious and safe if you follow a few rules.
Your dog needs plenty of meat, fat, vegetables and fruit in his diet. Meal preparation is also very important. Keep these things in mind when cooking for your dog.
Remember that dogs have shorter digestive tracts than humans, this means that foods pass through undigested more quickly. Be sure not to give your dog any bones as these could cause a blockage.
Always consult your veterinarian before you begin feeding your dog anything new. Some dogs have special needs or requirements that must be taken into account when choosing food. In addition, some foods may disagree with certain dogs, causing stomach or intestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of energy or other symptoms. If this happens, discontinue use of those foods and speak with your veterinarian.
The Food Pyramid
This is the general guideline for feeding your dog. However, every dog is different and has different needs. If your dog is especially active you may need to feed him more, if he’s less active you may need to feed him less.
Fat: Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
All fats are not good for your dog. While essential to good health, your dog should get most of his fat from meat sources rather than vegetable sources.
These types of fat can actually help your dog lose weight. Great for dogs that are a little on the heavy side. Great sources include:
Olives and Olive Oil
Cashews and Almond Butter
Peanut Butter (Natural)
These types of fat are essential to good health. Sources include:
Fish (especially Salmon)
Oatmeal (Not instant)
Sugar and Carbs
These are the types of food that get a lot of bad press. They are blamed for many of society’s ills including obesity, diabetes and even cancer. While these foods do have a lot of calories and can be problematic if over eaten, your dog needs them in moderation.
Your dog needs carbs because they give him energy. Great sources include:
Oatmeal (Not instant)
Vegetables and Fruits
These are a very important part of your dogs diet. Not only do they provide vital nutrients, but they can help discourage your dog from begging at the dinner table! Great sources include:
Canned Food and Table Scraps
While not the most healthful things in the world, most dog owners admit to giving their dog at least some table scraps. Canned food is also a source of controversy. While not nearly as bad for your dog as many people believe, it can cause certain vitamins and nutrients to be wasted if more than 10% of their diet is from this food. While some dog owners swear by it, I would recommend making your own meaty meals and giving your dog those instead of buying the canned variety.
Treats and Chews
These are essential in training puppies and keeping older dogs’ teeth clean. While they may not be the most nutritious things, your dog won’t get fat from them if he only gets one or two a day.
Most biscuits are heavily fortified with vitamins and minerals, however they are very high in fat and calories. You should limit these treats to training sessions only and not give them out every day.
Bones are a great treat for your dog. They keep his teeth clean, provide him with essential minerals and take him away from your dinner table. Make sure the bones you give him are beef ribs or pork necks. Chicken bones can splinter and cause serious damage to your dog’s mouth and throat. Remember to supervise at all times when giving bones.
Meaty treats are a great source of protein, however most of these treats have a lot of fat in them. Once again, you should limit the amount of these types of treats and only use them as training aids.
Seafood is a great source of nutrients for your dog. They are high in protein and essential fatty acids that keep his coat shiny and healthy.
Sources & references used in this article:
Presence of pathogenic bacteria in faeces from dogs fed raw meat-based diets or dry kibble by E Runesvärd, C Wikström, LL Fernström… – Veterinary …, 2020 – veterinaryrecord.bmj.com
Feeding the Modern Dog: An Examination of the History of the Commercial Dog Food Industry and Popular Perceptions of Canine Dietary Patterns by RE Kelly – 2012 – d.lib.msu.edu
Nutritional management of idiopathic chronic colitis in the dog by RW Nelson, LJ Stookey… – Journal of Veterinary …, 1988 – Wiley Online Library
Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet: Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way by S Brown – 2009 – books.google.com
The effect of ingredients in dry dog foods on the risk of gastric dilatation-volvulus in dogs by M Raghavan, NW Glickman… – Journal of the American …, 2006 – Am Animal Hosp Assoc
Mini-review EVALUATION AND USE OF DOG FOODS by D Girginov – Trakia Journal of Sciences, 2007 – uni-sz.bg
Acceptability of Dry Dog Food Visual Characteristics by Consumer Segments Based on Overall Liking: a Case Study in Poland by D Gomez Baquero, K Koppel, D Chambers, K Hołda… – Animals, 2018 – mdpi.com
Feed your pet right: the authoritative guide to feeding your dog and cat by M Nestle, M Nesheim – 2010 – books.google.com