|Credit: Tony Alter|
A balanced diet for dogs is indisputably important. Pet lovers and pet sitters alike need to educate themselves before taking on a new animal. So how do you know whether or not the food you are feeding your dog contains all of the necessary nutrients he needs for optimal health and energy?
For Starters, Learn What The Labels Mean
Foods labeled “completely balanced” or “nutritionally complete” meet the nutritional requirements for either maintenance (adult dogs) or growth and reproduction (puppies and pregnant or lactating mothers). Most of these labels should have been set as guidelines by the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia.
Many pet lovers find dry food the most convenient. Dry food is the cheapest commercially available dog food. It's bulky and takes longer to eat than other foods, so it's more filling when eaten. And the crunchiness of non-moistened dry food helps keep a dog's teeth healthy by reducing the accumulation of plaque. Informed pet lovers would also know that it massages the gums.
You will find that canned foods cost more than dry foods, but if you own a small dog then this price difference should not be a major concern. However, when you are feeding a Rottweiler or Great Dane, then the difference could be phenomenal. Canned foods are a great choice for any canines that are underweight or those recovering from surgery or illness.
Then you have frozen pet food. Frozen foods have the same advantages of canned food products, however, frozen typically costs a bit more than the canned variety. What I like is that you can find both cooked and raw forms of frozen dog food.
Watch Out For Human Foods
There are common foods that are in just about every household that can make your dog or puppy very sick, or worse, cause death.
1) Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine (a substance related to caffeine), which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures and abnormal heartbeat in dogs. Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of theobromine.
2) Macadamia Nuts: While delicious to eat, these nuts can cause weakness in dogs, vomiting, depression, and other signs. The agent that causes it is unknown. Amounts as small as 2 teaspoons per 450g of body weight have caused toxic signs.
3) Onions: Both raw or cooked onions contain a substance that causes rupture of the red blood cells, which can lead to severe anemia. Garlic can also produce similar signs, though not as severe. A toxic dose is about 28g to 140g of raw onions.
4) Raisins and Grapes: These foods can cause kidney failure in some dogs. The toxic agent has not been identified. According to the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center, toxicity has occurred following ingestion of amounts ranging from a single serving of raisins to more than 450g of grapes.
So pet lovers and pet sitters everywhere - make sure these are stored where your pal can't get to them and avoid the risk of making an unfortunate trip to the vet.
Pet lovers everywhere need to educate themselves of proper nutrition for their dogs. Find out what human foods can be harmful to your dog.