Please excuse the big gap between blog posts, Capable K9s Dog Training has been in the process of relocating! We are now based in Northern Victoria so a whole new area for us to discover.
So, today's blog post is all about Dog Nutrition. I am not a canine medical professional but I am a conscientious dog owner and wanted to share with you some of my opinions regarding dog food but as always do your own research and ask your treating vet if you have any concerns.
People can be pretty defensive about what they choose to feed their dogs, so unless I am specifically asked I rarely offer my opinion on client's pet food choices. When I first got my own dog, I thought all dog food was the same, just the package and the price differed. Pedigree PAL had the best advertising and sponsored dog shows back then, so that is what I fed my dogs, thinking I was doing the best for them. Since then I have done a lot of learning and research about dog food. I want to wrap some of that learning up in to this blog post.
The very best diet you can put your dog on is a Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet. However, for your dog to actually benefit from this you must source and carefully weigh out all the components – feeding your dog a steak or a tray of mince every night is not BARF. It is important to ensure your dog gets the correct balance of vitamins, minerals etc that can only be obtained by feeding very strict ratios of bones (10%), organs (10%), and muscle meat (80%). Many people lack the time and knowledge to do this correctly, I am not an expert on BARF feeding for this reason and this is best researched with advice from people more knowledgeable on the topic than myself.
I feed a super-premium dry food as the main diet with plenty of meat and bones as treats. Back when I was feeding PAL I never knew how to read a dog food ingredient label, or what ingredients were important. Rather than droning on for paragraphs and giving you a wall of text to read I found a video from YouTube that covers this topic. Dr Karen Becker has an informative video explaining pet food labels here:
Another great resource to check your current pet food against is Pet Food Reviews Australia Generally I choose to feed Ivory Coat, or on weeks when finances are tighter Black Hawk is an acceptable substitute for my boys.
Next time you go to purchase dog food stop and read the ingredients label and see how your choice compares to the other options. As a general rule, anything you can buy in the supermarket is going to score badly but than again, some of the big names - even those recommend by vets, can also score pretty awfully too.
If you are feeding something that doesn't stack up, that is ok - no one told me this stuff either when I first took responsibility for feeding my own dogs and it is never too late to change, and a healthy dog will not starve itself, so do NOT give in when transitioning to the new food, a few days of resistance (and an empty tummy) then your pooch will be gobbling up the new offerings just as quickly as the old. Many of the super premium foods also have a money back guarantee - so if your dog really doesn't like it you can take the open bag back for a full refund (check your retailer before purchasing for confirmation)!