Healthy Food – Happy Dog

by Jolie Mitchel

Plenty of advice on how to provide your dog with a healthy diet is found in the dog food ads and on the cans and packages. Your vet, family, friends and neighbors will add their own advice. Let’s go to the basics and see if we can’t come up with some great home cooking ideas for your pet.

First, if you purchase commercial dog food, you should keep some basic guidelines in mind. A ratio of 40% meat, 50% vegetables and 10% grain is ideal. Check the packaging label closely to ensure a similar ratio when purchasing commercial food. While you’re checking the label make sure that a meat protein is listed first on the label – usually chicken, beef or lamb. Keep in mind that buying cheap commercial dog food often results in cheap ingredients. Pay a little more for higher quality and your dog will thank you!

Many pet owners, concerned over the types of preservatives used in some dog food are resolving the issue by cooking their own pet food. Preservatives such as BHA, BHT, and oxyquin are believed to be toxic an large amounts. The problem is, how much is large and is the effect these preservatives may have on your best friend cumulative over time?

There are many sources for dog food recipes. Your vet may have some and the Internet certainly is a good source. Of course there are good recipes and some not so good. Follow the 50-40-10 ratios found on the packaged foods and you should be all right. Make sure the meat is fully cooked and free of bones. Brown rice and oatmeal are excellent choices for the grain component.

Once you know the basic ratios, you can experiment until you find a combination of ingredients that your dog will love. Remember not to salt the food, and that some ingredients – chocolate, garlic, onions, avocados, grapes, raisins and mushrooms – are actually dangerous for your pet and should never be used. Make certain that your healthy dog food is also safe!

Many people consider a vegetarian diet to be the most healthy. That may or may not be true for humans but dogs are carnivores and in their wild state would subsist mainly on a diet of meat. Your dog is apt to grow tired of it’s meals if meat is a low percentage ingredient or absent altogether.

If you don’t want to spend time cooking for your dog you might check with your local health food store or look to the Internet and you’ll find a variety of organic dog foods available which may well fit your needs.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to providing a healthy diet for your best friend, from checking the label of commercial food to developing your own delicious recipes to going organic. Your dog’s health starts with his diet so it’s worth the extra effort to make sure he’s in top form and will be able to give you many years of love and companionship.

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