Bon Appetite’!

Garbage in, garbage out. It is an old cliché that applies to data processing systems, but it is also happens to apply to the food you feed your dog. As with the food you and I eat, there are some very healthy choices that will keep your dog in great shape...and some choices that really are not going to be good for their health in the long term. I'm not going to mention any brands specifically, but you should keep the following in mind. 
 
Human Equivalent
 
To understand the importance of the type of food you give your pup, let's look at a couple of hypothetical humans to understand why this is an important topic. In our example, the first person is fed low fat protein and unprocessed foods such as vegetables for 10 years. The second person is fed candy, processed foods and fast food for 10 years. What do you think each person is going to look like at the end of the test?
 
The answer is obvious. Our first candidate who ate well is going to be thin and in good health. Our fast food eating second candidate is going to be fat and suffering from any number of health problems. 
 
This comparison is just as true for your dog. A family pet fed with poor quality food or excessive treats is going to be a dog with health issues later in their life. Garbage in and garbage out. If that doesn't make you feel guilty, just consider the additional medical bills you will be paying. Feed your dog quality food!
 
Tastes Good
 
Dogs were once wild animals before becoming domesticated. Despite being family pets, they still carry a natural urge to eat as much as they possible can. It's an old survival instinct. This is why one finds dogs willing to eat just about anything. The fact something tastes good to your dog does not mean it is good for them. Don't make this mistake. "He likes it" is not the correct test to determine whether a food is good for a pup. 
 
Coat Tests
 
Dog food companies pump out some amazing marketing pieces. If you give them a close read, you would swear the food will not only keep your puppy healthy but have them doing your taxes as well! As with most marketing, the truth is slightly different. 
 
There is really only one true test of the quality of a dog food you can use without hiring a laboratory. The test involves your dog's coat of hair. The hair never lies! I quality dog food is going to produce soft hair with a good bit of color. A dog with washed out colors and straw like hair is a dog being fed poor quality food.  
 
Dry vs. Wet Food
 
What about dry versus wet food? It is rather shocking how fired up dog trainers can get over this issue. The truth of the matter is it doesn't really matter if the food is wet or dry. What matters are the nutrients in the food. Either a wet or dry food with quality ingredients will be fine for your dog. 
 
There is, however, one instance where feeding a dog wet food makes sense. Some dogs are easily dehydrated and do not drink enough water. If your vet has identified this as a problem with your pup, then choosing wet food makes sense as it will help provide the pup with fluids. 
 
The one other thing you should know about wet and dry dog food is the issue of consistency. Don't switch back and forth between the two foods. This will cause your dog intestinal distress eventually and they will create a mess that will make Satan himself weep. 
 
Quality Ingredients
 
So, what ingredients should you look for in dog food? This can actually be very difficult to determine because dog food producers are not required to follow particularly specific listing guidelines. You may read that the first five or seven ingredients make up the majority of the ingredients by volume. This is incorrect. 
 
My personal view is you should look for specifically named meat products in the food. Chicken, beef, liver, duck and so on are good signs. Fillers such as corn gluten and soy are not. Why? Can you imagine a dog eating corn if it was wild? How about soy? Yeah, me neither. 
 
As a general rule, organic dog foods are better than their lesser cousins. The issue is not so much that the food is organic, but that fewer chemicals are used in formulation process. 
 
I own a pup and my personal approach to dog food is pretty simple. I switched up foods when I first got her until I found one that she readily ate and made her coat glow. I suggest you take the same approach with your dog.
 
In Closing
 
As with the food you and I eat, the quality of the food you feed a pup is going to largely predict their future health. Paying a bit more for quality food now is definitely worth it when you consider just how much a trip to the vet can be these days. 
 
Annie Klacks

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