When we rescued a puppy some years back, it became apparent that our little dog had issues. What kinds of issues? Allergies and sensitivity to some foods. When we explored these food allergies and reactions with our pet’s veterinarian, we learned that dog food companies sometimes add unhealthy and, often, unnecessary ingredients to dog food.
The results of putting these fillers into dog food varies. Some of these fillers put unneeded weight on adult dogs and puppies. Other ingredients are downright dangerous to the health of your dog. Some fillers and preservatives may cause your dog to sneeze, wheeze, itch and have other allergic reactions. Some dogs have severe reactions to these additives and need to be hospitalized.
Natural and preservative-free dog food products are increasing in number and popularity. Consult with your veterinarian and local pet supply store staff for recommendations for your puppy, dog or breed. Be sure to explain your concerns about unhealthy and unnecessary fillers and other ingredients. Your veterinarian and local pet supply store can help you think through the developmental or specific needs of your puppy or dog, and find the right mix, free from the health hazards these fillers and preservatives pose.
Experts agree that healthy dog food contains 10 percent carbohydrates, 40 percent meat and 50 percent vegetables. The first items listed on a can or bag of dog food should be meat protein, followed closely by vegetables and then carbohydrates. Whole grains are best. Corn meal can upset your dogs stomach and isn’t easily digestible. Steer clear of preservatives and known allergens, like Wheat, Cornmeal, Corn, White Flour, BHA, and BHT. These and other additives can harm your dog.
A number of companies offer chemical-free and all-natural dog food without the unnecessary fillers and additives you’ll find in stores today. For example, Darwin’s Pet makes dog food with “fresh, human-quality meats and vegetables” and “no grains or additives” at affordable, wholesale prices. The Natural Pet Market offers a toll free number and easy, online ordering of products that feature high quality, all-natural, antibiotic and hormone-free meats. Iams has long been a leader in making quality and all-natural dog and pet food. Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) is a growing, all-natural dog food movement.
For those of you on a limited budget, some of these high-priced, all natural dog food options may not be in the cards for you or your family. In that case, keep an eye on the label. Select the dog food with the healthiest ingredients. Supplement dog food with “people food” that hasn’t been processed. Your dog or puppy will love getting all-natural scraps of meat and protein. And, you’ll love giving your dog or puppy a healthy meal, free of unhealthy fillers and unnecessary preservatives.
Healthful Ingredients in Dog Food:
Meat: Chicken, Lamb, and Beef
Whole Grains: Rolled Oats, Barley, Millet, Brown Rice, and Quinoa
Unhealthy Fillers and Ingredients
Grain Fillers: Cornmeal, Oatmeal and White Flour
Preservatives: BHA and BHT
All-Natural Dog Food Resources
Natural Pet Market
Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM. Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats (Rodale Publishing, 2005.)
Carina Beth MacDonald. Raw Dog Food: Make It Easy for You and Your Dog (Dogwise Publishing, 2005.)