We all know that food is very important to dogs. Most dogs bubble over with excitement or at least with drool, when they see you filling their bowl. Mealtime may be the most eagerly anticipated part of your canine companion’s day, right behind nap and play times.
Providing your dog with a healthy diet is one of the most important ways to care for him. Good nutrition helps prevent disease, ensure proper growth and development, and increases his chances of living a long and pain-free life. Determining the optimal diet is not as simple as going to the store and buying a food labeled “premium” however. All sorts of factors come into play in our selection of the correct food: The age of your dog, the size, the breed, allergies and other medical conditions, and any digestive issues he may have.
You want to provide your dog a balanced, nutritious diet. Cats are pure carnivores, but dogs in the wild ate a variety of foods depending on what they could find. Dogs are omnivores like people and bears. Similarly, the modern domestic dog likes a diet that contains a mixture of meats, vegetables, grains, fruit, and of course vitamins and minerals.
Today, we have an incredible number of choices of commercial pet foods available at both the grocery store and specialty pet stores. This is a mixed blessing for the pet owner because it is difficult to determine which food(s) are best for your dog’s individual needs, and just as importantly to verify the quality of the ingredients that go into the pet food. You can’t simply pick up a bag of kibble at the grocery store and assume because it has a well-recognized brand, colorful packaging and a picture of a healthy dog roaming in a beautiful green field on it, that it is truly the best food for your dog. And that is the goal of every pet owner—to provide our friends with the best foods we can find.
Concerns about the quality of commercial dog food have led many pet owners to begin adding homemade food to their dog’s diet, augmenting or even replacing the commercial food in his diet. The most radical of these new diets is called B.A.R.F. for “bones and raw food” which attempts to emulate the diet dogs’ canine ancestors would have had in the wild.
Whether you choose commercial pet food or go the homemade route, you need to do your homework to find the type of diet that gives your dog the highest chance of enjoying a long and healthy life.