Veterinarian Reviewed on May 27, 2012 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
There are a number of acceptable alternatives for a healthy dog diet. One of the main concerns you should have is what food is most suited for your breed. While most major brands will have different diets for large or small dogs, this is about as specific as they get. Choosing the correct diet for your dog involves considering not only the size of your dog, but also its age, activity level, and any special dietary needs it may have. A good dog diet should include meats with bone, offal, some kind of vegetable or plant matter, and supplements but this can be achieved in many ways.
Raw Dog Food Diet
Many owners are starting to consider the benefits of a raw diet for their dogs. Although controversial, the theory holds that in the wild, dogs would be eating raw meat from the animals that are their prey. The raw food diet is based on this theory and dogs are fed raw meat and bones. The hope is that dogs will receive all the nutrients they require from a natural diet and there is some evidence to show that this kind of diet helps to maintain healthier teeth and gums.
If you’re planning on trying this diet, there are a number of tips to follow. Firstly, buying bulk meat is often cheaper so if you have a large freezer to store the meat you’ll likely save yourself a lot of money. There are also freeze-dried and frozen meal options for dogs if you’re thinking of going this route.
Home-made Dog Food
If you’re keen to treat your dog like a full-fledged member of the family, than preparing home-made food for your dog might be ideal for you. Some might consider this pampering your dog and arguments to this affect abound, but some owners need to be considerate of the ingredients their dogs are consuming for health reasons. Allergies, and other health issues, may limit the food options available for your pet.
You can make dog food from ingredients found at your local grocer or there are organizations that will prepare and deliver this food for you. Obviously, the latter option is going to be somewhat more expensive, but also more convenient. One major concern about home-made dog food is maintaining a healthy diet that includes all the necessary nutrients. Discuss these issues with your veterinarian before making home-made dog food. Obviously, one of the major benefits of making your dogs food yourself is that you are aware of all the ingredients that went into the meal.
Dry Dog Food
This is the most common and usually cheapest option for feeding your dog. Dry dog food can be found everywhere and is the easiest to prepare making it the most convenient. Most dry dog foods, especially popular brands, will be specially designed to maintain the dietary requirements of your dog. The quality of dry dog foods can vary significantly, by the way, so do a bit of research before you choose your brand. Cheaper foods are made from cheaper ingredients and some of the necessary supplements may be overlooked.
Dehydrated Raw Dog Food
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan