Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog

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Diet and health might be perpetually hot topics when it comes to men and women, but concerns about canine nutrition aren’t far behind (though perhaps not quite at the level of the 5:2, Hay, or color-coded bracket just yet). Indeed, quite a few dogs probably eat better than most owners these days, given the human adoration for fur babies (i.e. replacement children) and booming trends for raw feeding and homemade dishes (instructions and recipes for which have propelled Amazon book and Kindle sales no end). Yet, what should your dog actually be eating? These publications and many websites are overflowing with often contradictory information, fierce debate raging over particular foods (tomatoes and garlic, for instance, really seem to fire up forum and comment vitriol). Nevertheless, basic sense goes a long way in finding what suits your pet. Just as with humans, a particular diet is not a health panacea for all breeds.

Forbidden Foods

Very few dog owners don’t know which foods are absolutely toxic to their pets. For the avoidance of doubt, however, these are chocolate, onions, pitted fruit (nectarines and avocados, for example), citrus fruit, grapes and raisins, coffee, and it need not be said what should be done to those who think it amusing to drink a beer with their dog. Nevertheless, given the tendency (perpetuated by movies) to think peanut butter is acceptable, many owners might not realize that that peanut butter must be salt free and wholly natural to be side-effect free. Further, peanuts are actually legumes (think beans and other pulses). In fact, all proper nuts are toxic to dogs, particularly macadamia nuts.

Contentious Ingredients

Although the internet is replete with Top Dog Tips that can be accessed at the click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger across a Smartphone screen, it is also worth knowing about “borderline” products which some schools of canine nutritionists consider suitable for inclusion in dogs’ diets, while others predict if not a slow death from such consumption then at least resultant health problems. These are coconut oil, milk and other dairy, eggs, yeast products, and the tomatoes and garlic previously mentioned. Tomatoes having a skin similar to grapes and sharpness of flavor, and garlic being of the allium family shared with onions, questioning whether or not to share a slice of (yeasty, cheesy) pizza with your pooch isn’t especially hard to answer.

Planning and Preparation

At the end of the day, are veterinarian-consulted and approved complete pre-prepared dry and canned dog foods and even canned really all that bad? Every dog is unique, just as each owner has a personal routine in which to make time for caring for their pet, to the best of their ability and budget. Therefore, though raw bones and similar feeding plans obviously don’t require cooking time, defrosting these products and (if you are without a garden or outside area) cleaning up after these have been eaten is a rather lengthy (and unappealing) process. Similarly, unless you’re later altering a basic meal rustled up for your pet for your own enjoyment (or even sharing the very same dish), then cooking for a dog from scratch is a pursuit really only suitable for non-professionals. The choice isn’t Fido’s, it’s yours.

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