“What is the best food for dogs?” Vets are asked that every day. Since every dog lover wants a pet that is happy and healthy, they want to know how to provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet.
For years dog owners took the pet food manufacturers at their word. If the dog food package declared the food inside was a “complete and balanced diet,” they assumed they were being told the truth. Sadly that turned out not to be the case. As a result, any vets have been treating more cases flaky skin, itchy hot spots, and ear infections.
Often the animals they see are overweight. These pets are getting too many calories in their food, yet showing signs of malnutrition. Obviously the food they are being fed is not providing the “complete and balanced diet” the package claims.
In a published article one vet remarked that he never blamed the pet food industry since he saw both healthy and sick dogs dogs that ate the same brands of dog food. Upon further investigation, however, he inevitably found that the healthy dogs were also being fed table scraps.
When it comes to packaged products, the best food for dogs are those brands that provide meat as the primary ingredient —such as chicken, lamb or beef. The most unhealthy dog food brands are those that list corn, and other grains first on the list of ingredients.
One reader sent us his experience. He is a breeder of Golden Labs and his dogs were always healthy with shiny coats and never overweight. For years, he said, his vet would ask him what he was feeding his dogs. He would explain that he was giving them homemade recipes comprised mostly of meat. His vet would then chide him for “not feeding his dogs a healthy diet.”
After all the dog food recalls started making the headlines, the vet started to reconsider things and told him that perhaps his homemade recipes weren’t so bad after all. Other dogs he was seeing often had skeletal dysfunctions, problems with their mouth and teeth, and gastrointestinal disorders. His vet came right out and said: “For years I have been warning you about feeding your dogs too much meat — and yet your dogs are among the healthiest of all my patients.”
That vet is not alone. More and more veterinarians these days recognize that grains and carbohydrates are the chief sources of health problems in both dogs and cats.
It is no coincidence that the majority of the pet food recalls over the past decade have been directly caused by contaminated grains such as corn, rice & wheat. Even so, commercial dog foods that are primarily made up of grains are still widely sold because of they cost less to produce and have a longer shelf life.
Sadly it is the pets that end up suffering as a result. As one pet owner put it: “I’d rather spend money on my pet than on my vet.”
If you do feed your dogs packaged food, however, there is some good news. There are many more healthy commercial dog foods today than there were even a few years ago. People are finally beginning to understand that their dog or cat has a nutritional need for poultry, meat or fish as the foundation of their diet. All the talk of years past about too much meat causing kidney problems has finally been debunked.
The best food for dogs is a meat diet — chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, venison and fish are all excellent. Thankfully more and more dog owners are aware that the way to keep their pet healthy it a diet high in meat and low in grains.