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How to Get Diet Right for Dogs

10 April 2015

UK - As people become more aware about what goes into their own food, so too are pet owners becoming more conscious of what they are feeding their pets.

Pet owners are not only more conscious of what is good or bad for their pets, but they are also becoming more and more aware of some of the health benefits of various products and additives.

For dog owners in particular the trend has been for owners to turn away from generic dog foods to foods with higher meat contents and lower cereal contents as they realise that dogs want a diet rich in meat.

According to Guy Baskey, the founder of dog food and supplement company Pooch and Mutt, speaking at the recent PATS show in Surrey, when dogs fed a healthier, grain-free diet were diagnosed by vets with specific conditions, the vets were quick to offer prescription foods to help. Many of these foods were high in cereals and low in meat.

However, he said that this was not what the dogs or owners wanted. To tackle the problem, the company has devised a condition appropriate nutrient feeding system for dogs that starts by determining the nutrients the dog requires according to how they live – their activity level, physical and medical disorders and their home environment.

The age of a dog also has to be taken into consideration when determining the best diet. While a total meat diet might be best for dogs of a certain breed and age, it might not be suitable for all dogs.

Some dog foods are produced according to the breed of the dog and on the surface this appears to be a system that should work as the dog food would appear to be manufactured according to the specific characteristics of the dog. However, this also can be too simplistic.

According to Pooch ad Mutt, three Labradors, for example, could have completely different living conditions.

One could be an active dog spending most of the time outdoors working, another could be a young dog that spends most of the time indoors going for long walks and playing with the pack and a third could be an older dog, less active and solitary.

Each requires a different diet according to the conditions it is living in. Pooch and Mutt says that the protein source of any dog food is the most important ingredient and most high quality foods have it as the number one ingredient, while lower quality foods often have it as a flavouring with cereals as a major part of the food.

However, the type of protein can vary and have different nutrients so chicken, pork, beef, lamb or fish will have different functions in the food. Salmon is rich in omega 3, which is beneficial for mobility, turkey is rich in l-tyrptophan, an amino acid that aids calming, fish is easier to digest compared to other meats so is useful for digestive issues, chicken is a low fat protein and is rich in l-carnatine to aid weight control and it has a low scent, which aids breath odours.

Matching diet to the dog’s health and condition, however, is not just a case of adding nutrients but looking at the whole diet and forming a complete food to specifically treat and match specific conditions from the primary ingredients through to the added neutraceuticals.

Chris Harris

Chris Harris

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