The Complete Dog Food Program
As you roam the aisle of the store in search of dog food, it can feel much like living in a foreign country. You pick up a bag, examine the label, and scrutinize the ingredients all while wondering aloud, “is this best for Chip or the other one?” You want to consider two important needs: your wallet and Chip’s health.
All Dog Foods Are Not Created Equally
In general, it is safe to assume that formulas that can be purchased at your grocery store are far less nutritious than those found in the pet store and in the health food store. There are some odd exceptions to this rule. On occasion you pick up an unknown manufacturer’s bag, can read an ingredient list and not only pronounce all the ingredients, immediately recognize the health benefits of each item. It is rare, but it happens. Some may even include organic vegetables and fruits in their formulations. By and large, however, most grocery store dog foods contain mostly filler, meat by-products (rather than real meat) and more grains than your dog needs. The rule of thumb is that the first three ingredients should be meat. Remember, Chip is a carnivore, not an herbivore. He doesn’t need corn, excess wheat and gluten.
Conversely, if you shop for Chip’s food at a pet store or a health food store, the likelihood of finding a bag of dry food with healthful ingredients just increased exponentially! Many will still contain grains, which again, aren’t part of Chip’s dietary needs naturally (his cousin the wolf doesn’t seek out wheat or other grains), but they are balanced with meat, such as lamb, chicken and beef, and these are a part of Chip’s natural diet.
It goes without say that the higher the quality of food, the more expensive the food will be. Quality, whether in human food or dogs’ costs more than fillers, preservatives and by-products.
Pay Now or Pay Later
The unfortunate truth about Chip’s nutrition is that you may think that by buying the cheapest brand of food that you are saving money. And this is true, however, cheap food for dogs works the same way that it does for humans. If you eat fast food, fried foods, lots of meat and you almost never eat vegetables, you are exposing your body to many long term illnesses, such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. It works the same way for Chip. If you give him lots of grains, don’t feed him meat, and his kibble has filler that isn’t necessary, you are, whether you mean to or not, putting him at risk for cancer, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. So while you save money on his food, you end up paying your vet to treat illnesses that are easily preventable.
What if You Can’t Afford Good Quality Food?
Not everyone can afford to buy organic formulations for their dogs. Much as we love our pets, most of us don’t have the money that celebrities or CEOs do. And so what are your options? A good way to supplement not so healthy food is that you can cook foods that you know he will like to eat that are healthy. Baked chicken without the bones (raw bones are fine for Chip, cooked ones are dangerous), spaghetti with meat sauce (chicken, turkey or beef) and meatloaf (again, the choice of meat is yours or Chip’s) are healthy and of course delicious. Just remember that if you are going to cook for Chip, make it as bland as possible. Leave out the garlic and onions, pepper and salt. Chip shouldn’t eat nightshade vegetables, pepper is considerably hotter for Chip than it is for you and dogs don’t need sodium in their diets.
It is a difficult call to make when choosing Chip’s food. If you have any concerns, do Internet searches to see how best you can balance both your wallet and Chip’s long-term health. Bring up your concerns to your vet and see what he or she says.
You brought Chip into your life because you want him to be your companion for as many years as you can have him. You owe it both of you to ensure he stays as healthy as possible.
Learn more about Hypoallergenic Dog Food.