🐕 Optimal Nutritional for Dogs 🐩
Top nutrition for humans' best friends
Do you want your best friend to live a long and healthy life? Nutrition is the best preventative medicine.
Dogs actually aren't wolves, as some food brands would have you believe. Our domestic canines have been humans' best friends for at least 20,000 years. These opportunistic omnivores have evolved to live with us, begging with their cute eyes and eating our leftovers for millennium.
Because dogs traditionally ate their humans' geographically-based diets across the globe, and because they evolved for specific jobs, their nutrition needs vary slightly. For example, busy working dogs typically should have higher protein than professional snugglers.
However no matter what the breed, age or size... dogs do best with whole, varied and balanced food, made with quality ingredients. Sure, they can survive on just about anything. But dogs thrive with healthy, whole foods.
Whole foods are best for dogs
Just like humans, dogs should have whole foods that aren't highly processed. Fast food kibble is ok for treats or travel, but homemade or whole ingredient commercial foods really are best for every day fuel.
When examining the ingredients list, the first three ingredients should be specific meats or a vegan protein (or if raw, should be a majority of the food.)
You should recognize all the ingredients in the food. Avoid "meal" ingredients: these are high-heat, rendered animal product known to be carcinogenic. Stay away from that stuff.
You will know your fur kid's food is balanced, with appropriate macro and micro nutrients in addition to those fine ingredients, if the food either meets AAFCO or NRC guidelines, or has been formulated as a homemade recipe using balanced vitamin and mineral supplements.
Special for puppies, large and small
Puppies benefit from being exposed to a number of proteins, to avoid the development of allergies when they grow up. It's also crucial that puppies are exposed to a variety of foods and raw meats so their gut biomes support healthy, growing immune systems.
Large and giant breed puppies (over 60lbs as adults) lay down bone mass slowly as they grow. It's important that jumbo pups grow slowly, and have lower amounts of calcium than their mini friends, to avoid hypertrophic osteodystrophy, hip/elbow dysplasia and calcium deposits.
Irregardless of size, all fur babies should be eating puppy or food appropriate "for all life stages" until their growth plates have closed and they have reached their full adult size.
A word on sub-optimal dog kisses. Many small breed dogs develop horrible plaque and gum disease, necessitating teeth to be removed, and many large dogs get nasty breath.
One contributor to dental disease developing is the continual presence of sugars in the mouth all day, and the other is a lack of agitation. Feeding whole foods focussed on meat, fats, veggies, vitamins and minerals avoids the build up of sugar bugs.
Providing your dog with safe chews, either raw bones or toys designed for their size, enables food particles to be brushed from the teeth. Raw food is full of enzymes that enable digestion and ingredients that feed good gut bacteria.
Ok, let's check your dog's food!Have a look at the checklist below. How does your bff's current food stack up? You can do a simple 10 point check by answering the following questions.
Ideally, you should answer "yes" at least 8 of the 10 points - that's a food for healthy, happy dogs!
If your dog's food scores 6 or 7 - it's likely time to up their nutrition game. (Don't worry, we can help.)
If their food scores 5 or lower - let's get them on a better food! Time to make a switch...
- Tasty - Do they like eating it?
- Balanced - Does the food have vegetables, vitamins and minerals?
- Whole Food - Are the ingredients minimally processed?
- Good Ingredients - Is it dominantly meat or fish? Watch out for 'meal' - yuck
- Species Appropriate - Is the food low in carbs, and high in protein?
- If your dog is a puppy, or has health concerns, is the food Age & Condition Appropriate?
- Is the food Fresh or freshly frozen?
- Is the food Raw, or if not, does it have added digestive enzymes?
- For the sake of the planet, is the food locally sourced?
- Are the meats in the food Humanely farmed, Sustainably fished and/or Organic?
Dr. Jason's top food choices available at Pandosy Village Vet
Is your dog eating a diet more geared to convenience than nutrition? Want to ditch the fast food of dry kibble? Here are some fantastic options available in our Pandosy Village Vet shop:
- Pets 4 Life raw frozen - extremely tasty! Made with steroid/hormone-free Canadian meats. Available in small medallions for small dogs and big patties for large dogs, with lots of protein and veggie variations to keep it interesting. Top of the line nutrition!
- Big Country Raw frozen - this affordable, locally made balanced raw food comes in tubs for scooping. Highly recommended for high cal, high energy dogs with big appetites. There is also a meat/organ/bone option for those that want to add their own veggies and vit/min mixes.
- Homemade recipes - want to make fresh food at home for your dog? Use Hilary's cookbook/supplements, or a recipe formulated by veterinary nutritional experts, to prepare cooked or raw food at home. It's the most affordable way to feed fresh food. Just book a vet appointment to have a recipe tailored for your fur kid!
- Farmina N & D dry food - if you want the convenience of a dry food (at least some of the time!) there is no better option than Farmina. Formulated at the University of Naples, made in Italy from all sustainable ingredients, according to our patients - very yummy. Lower in carbs and higher protein than most kibbles.
Dr. Jason feeds his own dogs...
One of the most common questions to a veterinarian is "what do you feed your own pets?" So we asked Dr. Jason what he feeds his three dogs:
Dr. Jason answers: "we actually have three dogs - two 10 pounders and a 100 pounder. Our dachshunds and our Irish Wolfhound basically eat the same thing, though. Just in different quantities. The boys, Kaldi and Kolo, eat 2-3 little Pets 4 Life 1 oz medallions noon and night. Kolo has pica (he eats anything!) so he will jump up on the table and finish our breakfast too, though, if we aren't careful! For this reason, he's always a little chunky.
Ragna our fit and trim wolfhound eats the same food - just around 3lbs of it a day, so she gets the larger 1/2 lb patties. We also give her a raw turkey neck every day so she has something to chew on. If she doesn't finish it and leaves it outside, the boys will do that for her!
All three of them also get fruit and veg food scraps - I know that sounds a bit funny coming from a vet, but if we have leftover vegetables from dinner, salad, mushy bananas... we throw it on top of their dishes and they munch it up. That varety is very important for their overall health."
Looking for a nutritional upgrade?
We have lots of food options in our Pandosy Village Vet shop - from raw frozen, to raw dehydrated, from cooked soft food in tetra packs to crunchy kibble.
We can help you make the best choices for your best friend, that fit your lifestyle and budget.
If your dog is healthy - just stop by to browse the shop, or, if you are a veterinary client and would like one of our knowledgeable nurses make a recommendation, just send us an email and we will reply with a suggestion the next day!
If your dog has any health concerns and you'd like to use nutrition as part of their therapy, or they haven't seen one of our vets in the last year, we are happy to book you an appointment with one of our vets to do a health check and prescribe an appropriate food!