The Importance of Quality Dog Food

Nutrition is one of the most important issues that needs to be addressed when considering the health of your dog.  If you want your dog to live a long, active, and happy life, free from the common health problems associated with modern dog foods, then you should be feeding your dog home-made meals every day.

Just like humans, dogs need a balanced diet that includes the proper nutrients for continuous growth and tissue repair.  A lack of these nutrients in a dog’s diet can cause stunted growth, poor healing after injury, and a shorter lifespan compared to dogs who are receiving optimum nutrition.

Proteins are one of the most important nutrients in a dog’s diet.  They are necessary for all aspects of growth and development, and are very important in structural make up and the immune system.  Plus, proteins are burned as calories and can be converted to, and stored, as fat.

Although the intake of fat is generally looked upon negatively in the human diet world, it is a very important nutritional requirement in a dog’s diet.  Fats are actually concentrated forms of energy.  Fat is also needed for normal kidney processes, and to help your dog  maintain a healthy coat and healthy skin.  In addition to proteins and fats, carbohydrates are needed in a dog’s diet as well.  Since dogs are generally active, they need a clean source of carbohydrates that can easily be used for energy.

Many pet owners might be fooled into thinking that pet food companies are supplying the very best nutrients for dogs in their brand of food.  The listing of the protein level on bags of best high protein dog food is not a listing of the percent of digestible protein.  The digestibility in quality foods is between 70 and 80 percent.  In lesser-quality foods, the digestibility could drop to 60 percent or less.  Chicken byproduct or other meat byproducts, which are what many dog foods are made with, are acceptable but not high in quality.  On the other hand, meat and bone meal, which also plays part of dog food, are lower qualities of meat hence less digestible.  If grains are listed on the ingredients label, they are not good digestible sources of protein either.  They are just contributing toward the carbohydrate load.

By feeding your dog a healthy, home-made meal, you are able to carefully monitor the nutrients you are giving your dog.  Well, you can properly give them the correct amount for their dog breed.  In addition, you can steer your pet away from things like preservatives, additives, and artificial flavouring.  Many home-made dog food recipes call for healthy foods like bananas, honey, peanut butter, vegetables, apples, and pumpkins — plus nutritious meats such as fresh beef, chicken, turkey, and fish.  While some people choose to give their dogs home-made meals because their dogs have been diagnosed with a health condition, require a special diet, or are in competition training, many simply understands that the manufacturer’s dog food is nothing more than processed, low-quality food added or sprayed with fat to make it more appetizing for dogs.

Dog Food Ingredients – The Ugly Truth

The reality is that the pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agriculture industries.  Pet food provides slaughterhouses and manufacturers with a convenient way to turn waste products into profit.  This waste includes grains that are considered unfit for human consumption.  Slaughterhouse waste includes parts like intestines, udders, heads, hooves, and possibly diseased and cancerous animal parts.

Dry dog food is made by a machine that blends the materials used in accordance with a recipe created by a computer to provide the proper nutrition set up by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).  The mixture is heated and made into dough, and then cut into pieces.  Once the dough gets to the normal air pressure, it expands or “puffs” into its final shape.  It is then allowed to dry. Then it is sprayed with fat or other compounds to make it more appealing.  Once it is cooled, it can be bagged.  Although the cooking process kills the bacteria in the ingredients, the food can still pick up bacteria during the drying and coating process.  Some experts say that getting dry dog food wet will allow bacteria on the surface to multiply and make pets sick.  They warn not to mix dry food with water, canned food, or other liquids.

The better brands of dog food — such as the super-premium, natural, and organic varieties — do not use byproducts.  Their labels list meats such as turkey or lamb as the first ingredients.  However, these meats are still mainly leftover scraps.  In the case of poultry, bones are allowed.  The “chicken” mentioned in some dog food labels are actually backs and frames, spine and ribs, minus their expensive breast meat.  Many of these meat products are not even used fresh; they are rendered.  Rendering is a process that involves extracting oil from fat, blubber, etc. by melting it.  In other words, the raw materials are dumped into large vats and boiled for several hours.  The rendering separates the fat, removes water, and kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other organisms.  But these high temperatures can also alter or destroy natural enzymes and proteins found in the raw ingredients.

Once the dog food industry is put into perspective, it is no wonder that dog lovers choose to give their pets the best nutrition possible by creating healthy meals for them.  Our dogs need proper nutrients in order to live long and healthy lives, and they’re not receiving them from the dog food industry.  If you want your dog to live free from the common health problems associated with modern dogs being fed the wrong food every day, then offering your dog a natural diet is the right choice for you.

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