- Change dog foods periodically and alternate between dry and wet food. Experts agree that you should change brands every few months as well, which will ensure any nutrient deficiencies in a particular food won't have long-term effects. Find three or four foods your dog likes and alternate between them. High meat content canned foods are best used as as a supplement to a high-quality dry food.
- Look for certification by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). An AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement is one of the most important aspects of a dog food label. A "complete and balanced" dog food must be substantiated for nutritional adequacy by one of two means: The first is for the pet food to contain ingredients formulated to provide levels of nutrients that meet an established profile; second, the alternative means of substantiating nutritional adequacy is for the product to be tested following the AAFCO Feeding Trial protocols. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of dog foods that meet this certification. Go with quality and name brands. See below about ingredients.
- Ingredients: Choose a food that has whole meat or whole meat meal (lamb meal, chicken meal, etc.) as its top ingredients. Avoid meat by-products, particualry ones in which the meat is not identified, and meat-and-bone meals. Grain sources should also be whole grains, as opposed to glutens or other processed products. Some experts differ on the use of any grain and/or corn. Do your research.
- Avoid BHT, BHA and Ethoxyquin as preservatives. Better choices would be foods preserved with tocopherols (Vitamin E) or Vitamin C (Ascorbate). Other natural products may be useful...but again...do your research.
- Observe your dog carefully when trying a new food. Some dogs will need more protein and some need less, just as some dogs need to eat more than others, depending on activity level. Watch for changes in coat and skin and monitor stool consistency. When in doubt, stop the use of the food and take your friend to the vet.
- Pet food safety is a concern. Past recalls of dog foods...because of wheat and rice glutens contaminated with melamine...have spotlighted some major issues regarding pet foods and thier ingredients. Although most foods are safe, contamination is an ongoing issue. Personally, I am not happy about any dog food that uses ingredients from China: the use of antibiotics for chickens and ducks is a major concern and the subject of pet food recalls generally. (My opinion only!)
- Trust your judgement. You are the best observer of your dog's activity, skin and coat condition, level of energey, and the brightness of thier eyes! If you see changes that concern you...don't wait! Consult your veterinary professional immediately. Your friend needs you...and you need your friend.
- Recall information can be found at the FDA Aniimal Veterinary website: FDA Pet Food Recall Information
Disclaimer: The above are suggestions and should never be taken as medical advice for your best furry friend! The ultimate responsibility for the health and welfare of your dog is yourself and we encourage you to always consult your professional veterinary doctor should you have any health and welfare questions about your dog. Definitely consult with your professional veterinary doctor should you observe any unusual conditions or changes with your pet. Do not wait!
Let's face it. The relationship between dogs and humans is well known. Dogs were the first animals domesticated by humans, over 12,000 years ago, even before sheep and cattle. Today there are over 400 million dogs in the world. Most dog owners can freely testify that their dog brings a smile to the owner's face at least once each day! The next best thing for an owner...is to do something for their dog.
An estimated 1,000,000 dogs in the United States have been named as the primary beneficiaries in their owner's last will.
87% of dog owners say their dogs curl up beside them or at their feet while watching television.
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