Have you ever thought about your dog’s diet the same way you think about your own? Dogs are hardcore foodies. With their incredible sense of smell and ultra specific taste receptors, dogs absolutely adore food. While humans have the option of dining in, cooking at home, or ordering takeout, dogs rely on their hoomans to pick the right diet for them.
The right diet will depend on your dog’s size, age, breed, preference, activity level, lifestyle, and individual health requirements. You should always consult your vet before introducing a new type of diet to your furry friend. It’s great to do a bit of research before you visit your vet for advice, so we’ve compiled a short list of dog diets here to help you make an informed decision.
The traditionally go-to diet for dogs is commercial dry kibble because they’re cheap, convenient, accessible, and have a long shelf life. Most kibble contain cereals, grains, animal protein, fat, and various types of vegetables. Those ingredients will be combined and processed with high temperature to form those small, dry, perfectly shaped, meat flavoured kibble. Depending on the ingredients, kibble could pose a health threat for your pup. Some kibble brands utilize low grade ingredients or additives to lower production cost and attract customers. In addition, the extremely high heating and drying process can lower the nutritional value of kibble significantly.
The kibble diet and its health effects on dogs has been widely debated, but that does not mean that your dog should not eat kibble at all. At the end, it comes down to the quality of the ingredients and how well it matches your dog’s dietary needs.
Next up on the list is a highly controversial diet which includes raw meat, organs, bones, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. You can think of a raw diet as the equivalent of eating “clean” for humans. Raw diet has many positive attributes to dog health including better weight management, improved metabolic efficiency, shinier coat, healthier teeth, greater bioavailability and more! In contrast to the dry kibble, a raw diet can be slightly better because it’s not processed so it will contain more essential nutrients for your pup.
So what’s the catch you ask?
First of all, the cost. Obviously it will be more expensive to feed your dog fresh and safe meat everyday. Secondly, the safety aspects of raw diet has been repeatedly challenged by dog owners and dog health professionals. We’ve been taught that it’s not safe to consume raw meat because of bacterias such as salmonella, E.coli, or listeria. That’s why it can be daunting to feed your dog raw food. In addition, not all dogs should be on a raw diet because it is protein heavy. Dogs with health problems such as cancer, liver failure, immunosuppressive diseases should avoid raw food because they are more susceptible to the bacteria and have other nutritional requirements. Owners need to be extra cautious when putting your dog on a raw diet. It’s highly advised that you consult a veterinary nutritionist before making the decision to put your dog on a raw diet.
Cooked Fresh Food
If you’re looking to switch out of dog kibbles but don’t want to put your dog on a raw diet, this one's for you. Feeding your pup cooked fresh food is much like cooking for yourself. You can either purchase pre-made pet fresh food or prepare it yourself. Feeding fresh food can be beneficial for your dog’s health because it is less processed than dry kibble, meaning that it has more nutritional value locked within. However, it can be difficult to maintain a fresh diet because it is costly, time consuming, and requires the professional knowledge of a veterinary nutritionist. To combat some of those issues, companies such as The Farmer’s Dog and Nom Nom have developed delivery services for dog food so owners easily receive and feed their pets pre-portioned fresh food.
It’s important to remember that what works for other people’s dogs might not work for your pup. There is no one right diet that fits all. Just because a diet is more expensive or high in protein quality does not necessarily mean it’s good for your dog either. Please consult a professional veterinary nutritionist before making an informed decision about your dog’s diet. Your dog deserves the best diet so they can be healthy and happy.