Thank you to Alyse Siegfried, for the informational article on Dogs and Nutrition!
Are Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs Being Met?
According to Gallup, 44 percent of American households contain at least one dog. These loyal, four-legged pets may be man’s best friend, but are we taking proper care of them? For example, have you ever stopped to consider the ingredients in their food?
Humans who regularly ingest poor quality ingredients are much more susceptible to health issues such as diabetes, obesity, depression, heart disease and cancer. However, you have the power to make smarter decisions for yourself that can reduce your risk of developing a serious disease. Meanwhile, your dog can only rely on the type of food you choose to provide for them.
The Health Complications of Poor Quality Dog Food
Your dog needs more than simply high-quality ingredients. After all, you know that broccoli and apples are good for your health, but if that’s all you ate, you would quickly start experiencing some nutritional deficiencies. In other words, the dog food you buy could have good ingredients but still be harmful if the mixture is not correct.
Studies have shown that dogs with a poor-quality diet are at a higher risk of obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, bloat, lack of focus and bad temperament. Some veterinarians and other pet health experts also believe that inferior ingredients increase the risk of cancer. It’s estimated that 20 percent of all dogs are currently battling cancer, which represents a large increase in pet cases since the early 1900s.
The Role of Food Recalls in Dog Health Problems
Finding a dog food brand you can trust is more complicated than merely looking for a good ratio of quality ingredients. It’s also prudent to check out the brand’s recall history. Even if you find a seemingly great choice that does not have any previous recalls, you will still need to remain alert for any future issues.
A prime example is the Evanger’s dog food recall from early 2017, which was prompted by the discovery of a euthanasia drug in canned food. Sadly, at least one dog died as a result of the company’s negligence. This disaster was Evanger’s first recall in 82 years. As you can see,
even the best history does not mean you can let yourself become complacent in regards to your dog’s health.
FDA Guidelines for Dog Food May Not be Good Enough
In 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of thousands of pet owners who believed that their beloved pet became sick due to poor quality ingredients in Beneful dog food. Expert testimony indicated that Beneful most likely contributed to numerous cases of kidney failure, but a judge decided to dismiss the case. Even though it was proven that toxins are present in each bag of Beneful, the amount of these potentially poisonous ingredients has been deemed acceptable by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
During the pretrial hearing, an expert witness indicated that the FDA was not taking into account the cumulative effect of daily exposure to toxins. This argument was not enough to convince a judge that there might be a very real issue with Beneful, and it remains on store shelves as a result.
What Ingredients Are Needed in Dog Food?
Dogs must have the correct combination of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, fats, and minerals daily, along with constant access to clean water. If you look at most dog food bags, you’ll see that these much-needed nutritional components are listed. However, they may be too far down the list or provided from very low-quality sources. Additionally, you are likely to see numerous ingredients that do not fill any of these vital categories. Dogs, much like humans, should steer clear of overly processed food that’s stuffed with unnecessary fillers.
What Are the Benefits of Proper Nutrition?
Not only will proper nutrition reduce your dog’s risk of certain diseases and mental health issues but it will also provide them with several benefits. If you are feeding your dog a high-quality food, they will most likely exhibit proper muscle tone, a shiny coat, healthy teeth and bones, energy and the ability to fight off infections. Each individual ingredient serves a very specific role:
1. Protein – If a protein source isn’t one of the first three ingredients, buy a different brand. Protein assists with building and maintaining muscles. It’s also integral to the repair and development of cells.
2. Omega-3 and Omega-6 – Both of these fatty acids need to be present in your dog’s diet to provide a shiny coat and a reduction in itching.
3. Carbohydrates – Without carbohydrates, your dog won’t get the necessary amount of fiber to help them digest their food. Dogs that produce a large quantity of stool are most likely not getting the proper balance of quality carbohydrates and other necessary nutrients.
4. Vitamins and Minerals – A lack of vitamins and minerals will lead to illness. These essential nutritional building blocks work together to regulate your dog’s metabolism and keep their immune system functioning properly.
Ingredients to Avoid
There are a lot of filler ingredients in most bags and cans of dog food. Avoiding the following ingredients may help your dog’s health in the long run:
What to Look For:
If possible, purchase dog food that is made in the U.S.A. and contains human-grade ingredients. Food with no preservatives is ideal, but if preservatives are present, they should only be from natural sources such as vitamin C and vitamin E. By sticking to these guidelines, you can help ensure a longer, happier and healthier life for your dog. As always, keep an eye out for food recalls, take your pet in for regular checkups and pay attention if they suddenly stop eating their food because it might be contaminated.
If you’re looking for a great overview of dog foods that meet all these guidelines then Reviews.com has an in-depth guide featuring 10 different options that you might want to consider! You can find their guide here: https://www.reviews.com/dog-food/