What is healthy dog food?
Healthy dog food can help your dog be more, well, healthy. But how is it different from just any old dog food? If I’m being totally literal, dog food is food for dogs. Sounds simple. But is the food that keeps your dog alive good enough for your dog?
As humans, we’re supposed to eat a balanced, healthy diet. Generally, we’re supposed to get enough variety to provide our energy, vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, fluids, etc. We have lots and lots of resources for getting these foods.
Dogs have needs similar to ours. However, they don’t have as many available options, so they depend on us to make sure they get a balanced diet.
What’s wrong with dry dog food, also known as kibble?
Chances are that your dog isn’t getting what they need if they’re eating dry dog kibble.You can feed “dog food”; dry, brown chunks of food that’s fed for every single meal. Different brands promise they’ll make your dog healthy. The dogs eat them and stay alive. Good enough, right? A lot of dog parents make this mistake. Read my post, Dog parent mistakes.
One problem with bagged dog food is recalls. With social media, the internet and more education, we hear about one company or another that has had to recall their food for some contamination or other problem. These issues might have caused dogs to become seriously ill or die.
Another problem is that the contents of the food can be pretty questionable. Are the manufacturers actually using quality, easy to digest and useful ingredients? Or are they using the scrapings or dregs from some other process and calling it something attractive? You don’t know.
Finally, there’s the question of balance. Is the food formulated and balanced to meet all the dog needs? How is it balanced to feed the same thing every single meal? People like some variety. So it stands to reason that maybe dogs don’t enjoy eating the same thing all the time either.
What choices are there for healthy dog food?
There are lots of opinions out there about what is the best food to feed your dog. I’m not sure what is the absolutely correct way to feed your dog. There is probably no single correct answer, but instead a range of healthy options that improve the health of your dog.
It’s important to feed
- enough protein
- the right amount of fat
- the correct combination of vitamins and minerals
- appropriate calories for fuel and energy
- antioxidants, essential fatty acids, etc.
I’ve heard about feeding a raw food diet, home cooking foods, buying specially prepared foods from the store, adding additional ingredients on top of standard dog food, etc. There are probably tons more, but one thing I know for sure; it can make your head spin!
How do you know if your dog is healthier?
I’m no expert. I’ve read about choices out there and what other people feed their dogs. Based on what I found, we decided to cook human grade food for our dogs. Making this decision to improve their diet has helped our dogs immensely! Their fur is shiny, they have a good body weight, their teeth are nice and white and they have energy.
I’m sure other diets can help dogs be more healthy and happy too. And, like humans, it’s probably rare to feed them perfectly all the time. However, improvement is the goal. If your dog has a shinier coat, more energy, the right weight, etc., that’s an improvement. Improvement is a great thing!
How does it improve the life of your dog?
You can see from your dog’s appearance and behavior that they feel better. When better quality food is fed, your dog looks healthier, has more energy and has less vet visits required for problems.
Bottom line, you want the best food for your dog. Any improvement you can make in their diet can help and might make a big difference. Like going from an almost completely fast food diet to cooking dinner at home for people.
Feeding a dog can be a bit complicated, but worth it. Read more about quality feeding on the Dog Naturally Magazine website. For more about dog health, read my posts about heatstroke and dog coats. If you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong with your dog, read this post.
What do you feed your dog? Please comment below so we can have a discussion. I’d love to hear from you!