What is the best food for your dog?
There are many fad diets for humans (I have tried a few!), this trendy eating has crossed over into dog food.
Along with the trend toward the raw diet comes the grain free and hypoallergenic diets. Great if you have dog with food allergies, but it is rare for a dog to truly have an allergy to grain. The only people gaining from this trend are the dog food manufacturers and those that sell it.
Please do not take feeding advice from people who are profiting from your choices, speak to the experts, your Vet, animal nutritionists or other professional!
I asked my Vet on her thoughts on feeding grain free and hypoallergenic diets and the message was very clear, Don’t! There is now evidence that dogs are suffering with heart problems as a result of zero grain diets. Check out the evidence here:
Breeds that are generally not prone to heart issues are developing problems as a result of the lack of grain in their diet. A diet fed because the owner believes they are giving the best possible for their dog. Dog owners are being fed misinformation, pun unintended!
In my youth the only dog foods available were mostly tinned or raw, next was the arrival of the complete food and now we are back to raw again! I stopped using raw back in the 80’s, the Dobermann’s I lived with came down with campylobacter, one of the few bacteria that can pass between dog and man. My dogs and my whole family had to be treated, not a good experience. That would still be one of my main reasons for not feeding raw meat to this day.
This link gives clear scientific information that grain free is not good for most dogs.
Skip passed the advertising at the top, but do notice how many dog food producers are paying to sell you the idea! Very expensive dog foods, food with large profits!
In my early days of doing my job, the main problem I came across with dog foods was the additives and colouring the producers put in the food to give a high “tail wag” factor (as it was known in the trade). The effect on the dogs was hyperactivity and crazy behaviour, much as feeding children high sugar treats. Now there is a new era and a new problem and many of them are leading to health issues, the same ones we humans suffer from too!
One of the reasons dogs have adopted us and the relationship has worked so well is because they do really well on table scraps and leftovers, the dog is a professional opportunistic scavenger, they can thrive on what they can scavenge.
The biggest behaviour issue I see today is related to over feeding high quality food and treats that the dog no longer has to earn. What dog is going to work for a living when they can kick back on the sofa and eat meat anytime they like? What treat is going to be worth working for, coming back to us for?
Couple over feeding with the another new trend, of scatter feeding and why have a dog at all, because they certainly will not be interested in being with you on a walk, why should they when all the best stuff comes along so easily!
Here is google's definition of Scatter feeding:
“Scatter feeding is a way to elongate your dog's meal times by scattering their food over a wide area such as around your garden or house and provide mental stimulation at the same time. WHY? It slows down feeding for dogs that guzzle their meals. As a low arousal activity it can calm highly strung or stressed dogs.”
Firstly with any young dog I would use every piece of their food for training, teaching my puppy to watch me to have every reason to want to be with me and learn how to sit, down, come and heel, to name a few.
Secondly if you want to calm your dog there are much better ways either by training them with food or by learning calming techniques in your handling. (See thedogcalmer.com for calming stroking video)
Thirdly why train your dog to sniff out food, is that what you want to teach them?