Dog Food with added VegesOctober 14 2014
Ever wondered why some dog food contains vegetables? To get a fully nutritional diet the prevalent understanding for healthy dog food is a ratio of meat (50%), raw bones (25%) and veggies (25%). Unlike people, you don’t need to stick to this ratio on a daily basis but over a longer period, like a week. It’s fine for our four-legged friends to have an all meat meal, then mix it up with either a meat and bone or meat and vegetable.
Premium dog food offers your pet a more complete and nutritional diet, which means you won’t need to add anything and your dog will be healthier. A Healthier dog has more energy to play and work (if you have a working dog); they’re generally happier and better behaved; and you’ll have less vet visits for minor illness and infection. Because the food is packed with nutrients, the amount of food you need to feed your dog is less.
One other great advantage of a premium pet food is the smell coming out the other end! All dog owners know what I mean here. A premium diet results in less poo that smells less. And let’s face it – that’s got to be worth something!
You should be able to trust that a premium commercial dog food will offer your dog a balanced diet, but if you’re making your own, here’s a few pointers.
Dogs shouldn’t eat much fruit, if at all. Certainly less than 5% of their daily food intake. In nature, they’ll eat a little, but it’s not really part of their nutritional needs. If you are going to feed your furry friend some fruit, give it too them at least 1 hour before or a minimum of 3 hours after a meat or protein meal. This is because protein doesn’t digest as quickly as the fruit, so if your dog eats both at the same time the fruit can hang around in the digestive system and may start to ferment, creating alcohol. Eaten on its own, fruit is digested and excreted quickly.
Veggies, on the other hand, are good for our canine buddies. But like kids they don’t always think so! Back before they were domesticated, and had to get their own food in the wild, dogs got their vegetable matter predigested by their prey, so presenting it to them “predigested” is often the way to go. By that we mean blitzed in a food processor. Dogs are smart, if they don’t like vegetables and you offer it to them in lovely chunks like a hearty human stew, they’ll pick them out and just go for the good stuff.
There’s not much research on which vegetables to avoid in dog food, so it’s probably best to go low risk with your beloved pal and stick to received wisdom on this one. On the “not so sure” list are: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, onions, as well as the nightshade family, which includes: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant.
Just like us, dogs need their greens. Apart from being closest to the grasses they (or more rightly their prey) would consume in nature, greens are full of essential vitamins and minerals. They’re also a great source of antioxidants and fiber as well as having pH balancing properties.
It’s a good idea to make up half the veggie portion of your dog’s food with greens such as lettuces, dandelion leaves, parsley, beet tops, carrot tops, kale, spinach, silver beet etc. The other half should be sweet vegetables such as zucchini, green beans, green peas, red beets, yams and other carbohydrate rich vegetables.
A healthy dog is a happy dog, make sure they eat well and exercise and they’ll be your best friend for the longest time.
For tips and advice on choosing the right pet food for your puppy through to adult dog, talk to one of our experienced pet people. Wallington’s Pet Supplies also stocks a great range of pet toys, dog harnesses and leads to help you and your dogs lead a healthy lifestyle.