Getting to grips with your dog’s food

Posted by Dr Dog. March 12th 2014.

You may have seen a program recently that highlighted and discussed feeding dogs alternative diets – raw and vegan diets for example. It caused a talking point with many opinions following on from the show.

Puppy eating

In my quest to keep pet care sensible, simple, yet 21st century, here’s my (professional and personal) view on this to add to the pot, as I feel we need to keep this real!

This argument around feeding – commercial, raw, vegan, homemade and the rest – has been around for years and I dare say will continue.

Commercial (ready made) pet food became available back in 1860 embarking on its own monumental journey ever since. Domestic dogs and cats will always need to be fed so there is always going to be a huge market for this. It will continue to adapt and improve just as veterinary medicine has done over the ages… it’s a natural progression.

I don’t really believe that manufacturing companies are producing pet food to harm our pets; why would they do this? Their goal is essentially the same as the pet owners… to feed the best they can within the budget. Pet dogs are not wild anymore, therefore diets have to be adapted just as the canine itself has had to adapt.

Humans have the sliding scale of nutritional content and cost of food available and so does the pet market. As a rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. Clearly the cheaper brands use cheaper ingredients, which often change with the batches made, and the quality is lower. Premium diets (the more expensive ones) use more expensive ingredients, and the quality is higher. It’s a simple concept, there’s no ulterior motive! My recommendation to you as an owner is to feed the best diet you can afford.

The problem with owners choosing raw, vegan and homemade foods

1) The pet owners are not trained professionals, so how do they calculate and ensure all the correct ingredients and requirements are given to their pet daily? Have they studied pet nutrition to a level to produce such confidence? I couldn’t do it, and I’ve worked in the profession for twenty years! It’s very specialised knowledge.

2) WHY are they doing it? When you listen to these pet owners it is generally their own beliefs and their own choices as a human being they are enforcing on to pets. Owners make themselves feel better by doing this, all helping in the human self-battle of trying to feel significant.

3) I cannot condone feeding meat-free diets to pets that are carnivores for a reason. Do the pet owners even understand the anatomy and physiology of pets, or the consequences of getting it wrong?

We want to love our pets and include them in our lives as part of the family, but there are many other ways to express your care and love for them rather than altering their diet to suit you.

By Annaliese Morgan, a former veterinary nurse and now professional writer.

 

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