About your dog's diet
Myths and truth about the food for dogs.
Author Anastasia Belova, pharmacist.*
Here is the title that I decided to use. And under this title I mean the nutrition.
I do not give any one recipe for all occasions, and tell you about the basic principles, the limits. Not about all the limits or principles. So, you can see here my main principle: I am against fanaticism in any of its manifestations and I am always claim to use the common sense.
As far as I'm concerned, I use dry food, but I do not consider them the only correct choice. If the dog is healthy than with high probability it will be suit both choises: natural food and dry food. And these power systems do not have any global advantages. I have no objection to natural food. I can help put together a dog's diet, taking into account the needs of the dog, preferences, abilities of the owner, seasonality. I am not even against a correct, really correct, mixed diet. It's just so that my super-premium dry food is more in line with my lifestyle and my financial capabilities. Well, the availability of high-quality products for natural nutrition plays a huge role. In general, the availability of selected food in the region. Frequency of supply. And the ability to store large amounts of food somewhere than when fed with dry industrial feed.
The brands of food were different, they were chosen taking into account a decent composition, price and ease of delivery. Well, the service. Why do not experiment with a lot of different brands of food if the most of them are suitable for dogs? There are different classes of food. Holistic, super premium and premium. By the way, super premium and premium is sometimes just a convention. Marketing. Belonging to the class is sometimes determined by the manufacturer himself. Not infrequently, a super premium may turn out to be no better than a premium. I do not call to use the feed with poor composition. I’m rather for not being guided by the beautiful name "super premium" alone, but read more about the composition of the dry food.
Now go back to the food. The first pitfall, maybe the main one: the most serious mistake is to use any opinion from not entirely reliable sources without rechecking it. I talk about the opinion of dog’s owners telling story’s on the streets next to your house or the virtual opinions from dog’s owners forums. Yes, you can find the truth there, but there it can be a lot of information that is not entirely reliable and even possibly harmful. Therefore, either we use verified sources, or we specify information in verified places. And certainly not from the forums where both types of people exist : and the connoisseurs, and people who simply claim to be at the expense of others .
Next. The nutritional information is the information that is very sensitive to fashion. Both of it: with humans and with animals. Many theories transferred from people. They easily adapt to dogs. The truth herein may be that physiology has much in common. But there are differences. It just happened historically. Every year there is something new. And usually without a normal evidence base (reliable sample). Just some research on a few people / dogs. I take two examples. The first is the theory about the damage of gluten. I will describe everything without statistics, because they can be various in different sources. The essence of the theory in a shortened form is gluten, i.e. gluten, a protein from some grains, is harmful to all living things and causes serious consequences for the body. People are afraid of bad stools, bloating, headache and general weakness. Or even more common symptoms that sometimes occur in everyone.
But in reality, celiac disease (the disease that causes gluten) is quite rare. Of course, minimizing the use of gluten or excluding the diet will not harm health. But it can cause damage to your wallet. The theory about the dangers of gluten has penetrated the dry food industry. These are foods with few grains and those without grains. The price is not the most democratic. They are needed, but with a real confirmed problem. But the number of users has grown. Everyone decides for themselves. My dogs nicely tolerated and wheat-based food. Yes, and white bread croutons were also used as a delicacy without much damage. Yes, the dogs are predators. Yes, the grain should not be the staple food. But it is used in dry food and in natural food it is not rare. Speaking of "grain", in this case I mean not only wheat, but also rice, etc.
The second example is the story that dogs are predators, wolf descendants and should eat pure meat accordingly. The meat and nothing but the meat. This is also reflected in the dry feed industry. This is a holistic class. As part of this there is a lot of meat and the most healthy ingredients. Only now do you often hear about them that the best is the enemy of good. I'm not saying you have to feed them anyway, but in most cases the usual high-quality super premium is sufficient. It is also more attractive in price, but you should not only be guided by this criterion. Again - in general there should be common sense. Dogs yes, predators. Yes, nothing but meat for them. But first of all, these are the predators who have been living with a human being for centuries and have slightly extended their diet to his example, and second, the wolf's diet is being replaced by our abilities. It is worth paying attention to the fact that the wolf does not have a regular surplus of food and that most dogs can have it. And even very often. Who has not seen chubby beloved dogs? That's why you want a wolf ration for dogs - don't forget how much food the wolf has about the irregularity of his presence. Perhaps this is the reason that "the best is the enemy of the good". And the wolf eats its prey more or less completely and not the individual pieces of meat that it has bought in the store. Only different types of meat and the different parts have different nutritional value. This must be taken into account. And look at the condition of the dog, its well-being and health.
The most important principle of a balanced diet is not to calculate the daily protein-fat-carbohydrate ratio, but the overall balance of the diet. This means: today, tomorrow, a bit different, but in total it will give the recommended result. Without significant long-term disruptions in one particular direction.
I do not specify a single standard of protein-fat-carbohydrates per unit weight, because this value is not constant. Everyone knows it depends on the age. Such a different ratio of these components is necessary for pregnant and lactating bitches. There are other cases. In general this is not a single figure, but a small range of the norm. Violation of this standard in the short term will not have any unpleasant consequences. But it's short. The body has a safety margin. But it is just like an umbrella with wind protection. With normal wind it will serve regularly, and with a hurricane it will break. And with prolonged overloads it can also fail. A prolonged and serious increase or decrease of one of some components will have consequences even for the very healthy animals.
Dry food manufacturers have already made their balance. It only remains to evaluate it. This should also happen, because the food is still slightly different in terms of composition. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to compare the composition of the feed only theoretically. It is about the opacity of these compositions and marketing, which is also actively used by animal feed manufacturers. So it only remains to try. Fortunately, the food is suitable for having enough healthy dogs. And we had a change in feed in terms of price-quality ratio (as far as it is possible to evaluate this quality in the existing circumstances), ease and regularity of delivery, and other circumstances that are not very related to the feed itself. I tried no less than 7 brands. They can all go on.
The second principle - food must not be monotonous, one-component. After all, the body needs many different substances that simply cannot be processed into a single product. And the variety in products (at least in different types and parts of the same meat) will provide the body with everything necessary. Then no additives are needed. If you want to support the joints of an older dog, add to the nutritional cartilage and connective tissue in the meat. Provide immunity - some vegetables help here. I don't write in detail specifically to prevent fanaticism here. It would be nice to just know the composition of the products, but not stick to it. Remember again that "the best is the enemy of the good".
Everything has already been charged for dry food. And according to this principle, everything is present.
The third principle - food must meet needs. In no case may there be a long overfeeding. Why does the dog have weight problems and a range of obesity effects? The man himself often suffers from this and the dog is doomed for this. There is a diet. Why does it have to be improved with the treats? I am not against this, but within reasonable limits and not on a permanent basis. And all the more not above the norm of calories. Sometimes it is not bad, but on a constant basis it is very harmful. Especially if the treats for the dog are chosen to your taste. A dog is healthier and happier with raw meat with cartilage than with smoked sausage. Glorify dog no "snacks". Industrial goodies also often cause allergic reactions in sensitive dogs.
In dry food, the manufacturer writes the average daily standard on the packaging. Slightly more difficult with the definition of the standard for an inexperienced puppy owner with natural food. Although there are rules about the weight of the dog. It would be nice to keep in mind that for puppies in the growing season a small increase in this norm is not so terrible. But you must check the condition of the animal so that the ribs can still be felt when palpated. The puppy grows up and decreases its need for calories. It will be good not to miss this moment to reduce the portion of the food slightly. In any case, the most important reference point is the condition and welfare of the animal. From experience I know that for labradors the portion is usually less than indicated on the dry food package. The Cirneco then eats more than is necessary to keep their weight in the right condition. Cirneco with a weight of 11 kg gets almost the same portion as a Labrador dog of 29 kg. Yes, I have such a bony Cirneco and such a compact, medium-sized Labrador bitch.
The fourth principle - forget "that a good dog should eat everything". This is a myth, pure sabotage. The dog owes nothing to anyone. It would also be worthwhile to say about the amount of the unusual product. What will not cause a reaction in a large dog will cause an indigestion in a small dog.
There are also really deadly foods. Bitter chocolate for example. It is bitter with a high cocoa content. A tile of 100 grams of such chocolate is even life-threatening for an average dog. You have to be very careful with this. Milk and white chocolate only provide extra calories and incorrect alignment of the ration to unnecessary simple carbohydrates. At least they are not a danger to life. And there is an interesting thing - in different sources, the list of prohibited products may be the exact opposite. For example potatoes. No sweet potato, very common. On the one hand, some sources forbid it, but on the other - it is in dry food and many dogs sometimes eat well. Here it is in the composition. It contains no gluten and lovers of "gluten-free" diets use it. On the other hand - lots of starch. So it appears that the truth is somewhere in the middle. It can be used, but taking into account its composition. ie without fanaticism. So don't be fooled by provocations. Do not throw everything at the dog, like in the trash can. I have already written that the body has a safety margin. But don't press on it for long. And even a healthy body can fail.
There are also really deadly foods. Bitter chocolate for example. It is bitter with a high cocoa content. A tile of 100 grams of such chocolate is even life-threatening for an average dog. You have to be very careful with this. Milk and white chocolate only provide extra calories and incorrect alignment of the ration to unnecessary simple carbohydrates. At least they are not a danger to life. And there is an interesting thing - in different sources, the list of prohibited products may be the exact opposite. For example potatoes. No sweet potato, very common. On the one hand, some sources forbid it, but on the other - it is in dry food and many dogs sometimes eat well. Here it is in the composition. It contains no gluten and lovers of "gluten-free" diets use it. On the other hand - lots of starch. So it appears that the truth is somewhere in the middle. It can be used, but taking into account its composition. So without fanaticism. So don't be fooled by provocations. Do not throw everything at the dog, like in the trash can. I have already written that the body has a safety margin. But don't press on it for long. And even a healthy body can fail.
Well, a very simple fifth principle - observe the multitude of food according to age and some characteristics. I will not describe it, because here too there are slightly different opinions. Even for adult dogs, the number of feeds is called from 1 to 3 times. Apparently I am a supporter of the golden mean and I usually feed dogs twice a day. It's about adults, not pregnant, no milking and healthy dogs.
Another small principle. Food must be of high quality. It is not necessary to provide the health of the products spoiled by the dog. Do not give the dog a sour soup. The high acidity of the stomach acid certainly protects against bacteria, but the protection is not unlimited. Something like that.
But we love and care about our dog. So, open your mind, find some information from reliable sources and don't be led by the wrong sources. Let's just enjoy life with the dog!
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