What You Feed Your Pet: The Good, The Bad and The Colorful
When it comes to dog food, what you feed your pet can make a world of difference – not only in their long term health, but their short term health and behavior as well. “Dog Food Dog Problems” are strongly connected. We all have choices to make in selecting our dog’s food.
The next time your purchase dog food for your dog, make sure you make the right choice. The following should be helpful in explaining why – what you feed your dog – is important.
Cheap carbohydrates and dogs
Dog food with corn as the first ingredient should be avoided. Not only is it a cheap carbohydrate, it’s hard to digest. It is also a tell-tail sign of other “not so good ingredients” in the same food like: brewers rice (a waste product of the alcohol industry), corn syrup, sugar and cane molasses (usually added to lower quality foods to increase their appeal).
Dietary sugars can aggravate health problems including diabetes. Many dog food manufacturers will promote their products with color in their food because it looks green like beans, orange like carrots or red-brown like beef. The appearance appeals to the humans as well as the dogs “happy antics” do on the commercials.
I think it’s interesting that I don’t see dog food commercials on television by the high premium dog foods. These foods are found in the specialty stores and even in some chain stores – and are flying off the shelves.
Educate yourself and learn about what bad dog food can do to your dog – more importantly what a difference a good dog food can make in your dog.
Effects of cheap carbohydrates on dogs
I have seem many dogs that continuously eat food containing cheap carbohydrates (turns to sugar) become extremely hyper which, coupled with not enough exercises (not enough owner time), begins to surface as destructiveness in the house and/or just bad behavior because there’s no where else for this energy to go.
These dog owners do not manage their dog’s energy in a constructive way with multiple long walks and regular dog obedience training resulting in unruly behavior. Because these dogs are hyped up, they are usually inattentive and sometimes aggressive.
I had a client that is an older woman with a young Jack Russell Terrier. She fed a cheap grocery store variety dog food – not one single good protein source and loaded with cheap carbohydrates. For those of you that know the breed, it can be a high energy dog. Add to that cheap dog food as she did and you’ve got one “off the charts” dog. She had scratches all over her from his destructive behavior and because of his high energy she couldn’t walk her dog.
We put him on a high premium, grain free diet and the results were nothing short of amazing! He was still high energy but about half throttle and – he was noticeably calmer. She became a believer. With just a little leash training she was well on her way to a much better relationship with her dog and fun walks as well.
Many times dogs that already exhibit aggression of some kind may have shorter fuses because of the physical irritation of allergies – a kind of “irritation aggression.”
Grains – especially cheap grains = allergies = behavior problems in many dogs
Grains are stored after they have been harvested. The length of time they are stored can create a huge contamination problem – the longer they are stored, the more susceptible the grain is to infestation by insects, mold and mites.
Many dog food companies use cheap grains which are usually (as mentioned above) by-products and rejects of the human food industry… cereal grain leftovers classified as “unfit for human consumption.” Low quality ingredients like these provide fertile breeding grounds for these molds, mites and insects dog food.
Many dogs are very susceptible to these grains and get severe allergies producing symptoms like: chronic itching, excessive licking and chewing, loss of hair and secondary yeast infections – especially in the ears. And other by-products are behavior problems. Shifting to a grain-free diet can often times create major improvements in dogs that previously were very irritated with allergies.
Our lab Sammy who is only 7 years old had his hips and elbows done at an early age (regrettably). He was suffering from arthritis starting around 4 or 5 yrs of age. Our veterinary acupuncturist advised us to get him off grain because of the amount of inflammation in his joints.
We did and within 3 weeks you could no longer feel the heat radiating from his elbows. His coat was so shiny you could use him for a flashlight and it was very noticeable that, generally speaking, he felt much, much better.
So, what’s good in dog foods?
Ideally the first ingredient should be a good protein source like chicken beef, lamb or fish. If the word meal follows the protein like “chicken meal” that’s good. The words by-products attached to any protein source – not good. Having a second protein within the first 5 ingredients is also ideal.
Other good ingredients are brown rice, wheat, barley, etc. Good veggies would include carrots, peas, sweet potatoes and spinach to name a few and of course you all should know by now – no artificial preservatives. Look for natural preservatives like vitamin E.
Good dog food always equates to a better behaved dog, longer life and more belly rubs. Give your dog a hug for me- while you’re feeding him a high quality food!
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Together We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog
Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients. Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years. One of his clients says it best: There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant. Jane Wagner
(c)Jim Burwell Inc.