A new piece of research suggests that we may not be aware of what is in the food we give our dog. In fact the research even suggests that not all ingredients are listed.How worried should be be?
Dogs need to eat a mixture of meat, plants and carbohydrates. This should then provide them with all the nutrition they need. It is important to note that many foods that we eat as humans are dangerous to dogs. These foods include chocolate, onions and garlic. In addition it is crucial that you do not over feed your dog. In fact half of dogs in the UK are overweight which could ruin your dogs life and severely shorten it.
Here we examine what you will find on the shelves of most pet food shops and supermarkets.The market has widened considerably over the years so the choice available to you as a dog owner is now huge..
Complete foods tend to be the ones most dog owners buy and these can only deserve the label 'complete' if they contain every nutrient a dog needs for it to be healthy. For a food to be complete it has to follow the current guidelines as set out by the European Pet Food Industry Federation. Complementary foods are usually wet or raw foods and do not contain the full range of nutrients required.Usually you would use these alongside other foods like mixer biscuits. As far as the latter is concerned mixer biscuits are basically cereal biscuits with added vegetable and herbs. They shouldn't be given to your dog on their own but used alongside other foods.
Dry food is extremely popular with British dog owners.For many people they are easy to store and easy to use. Dry foods are prepared by either extrusion, baking, cold pressing,air drying and freeze drying. Extrusion can be controversial as many belive the process removes many nutrients, others belive the process kills parasites. This highlights that every process has its critics and its supporters.
Wet food has lost popularity over the years but some still buy it. They are mostly sold in tins, trays and pouches.By definition they contain more water than their dry competitors which can be better for some dogs but others argue that they work out more expensive.
These are popular with some dog owners as they do not include any synthetic vitamins and minerals. But others argue that they do not adhere to the guidelines for complete foods and should therefore be avoided.
With the choices available it is easy to see why some dog owners get really confused. Our advice would be to choose a dog food that suits your budget and lifestyle. For example you may find dry food simply easier to deal with. The second consideration is to work out what your dog actually enjoys. Talking to your vet may also be a good idea as some breeds may suit certain foods.
Dogs with flatter faces like pugs and bulldogs can get serious breathing issues if they are overweight so it is crucial that their weight is closely monitored.Other dogs can get serious hip problems if they put on weight so while obesity is not good for any dogs, some can suffer more than others.
So whilst the research highlights that not all producers are putting all ingredients on the labels it is still prudent to look at labels and check that you are happy with what you are feeding your dog. If you have any questions you could also contact the manufacturer.