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Dog Food For Thought [Part II]

03 Nov 2014 | by Anoopa Anand | Posted in: Wag News

If the adage ‘you are what you eat’ were to be applied to our dogs, we’d be horrified to note that, in a lot of cases, our dogs are humans. ‘Dog food for thought’ is a series of posts aimed to help you feed your dog what’s right.

dog-food

Last week, we talked about a few key things to keep in mind whilst deciding what your dog should and shouldn’t be eating, the fact that dogs are primarily carnivores, and that chocolate is definitely sinful – even fatal – for canines. This week, let’s take a look at what dairy products mean to dogs, how it’s important to vary their diet and why a 100% packaged food diet isn’t the best idea.

No milk today? No problem. 

Is your dog often gassy? Is he or she prone to loose stools and vomiting? The answer to these questions may often be directly connected to the answer to the question, “does your dog have a lot of dairy products in his/her diet?” Just like people, dogs can be lactose intolerant to varying degrees. Lactose intolerance stems from the digestive system’s inability to break down a specific nutrient in dairy products called lactose. A body’s ability to break down lactose is directly related to the production of an enzyme called lactase. As it turns out, most dogs do not produce enough of the enzyme to successfully break down lactose. The only milk that is produced solely to suit a dog is its mother’s milk. Once a puppy has been weaned off its mother, there is no real nutritional value in cow or goat milk that often finds its way into a dog’s diet.

That said, milk and milk products are neither toxic for dogs nor entirely indigestible. The level of lactose intolerance is related to just how much lactose there is in each dairy product. Observe the table below:

dog food

Source: www.dogfoodadvisor.com

Besides milk itself, and ice cream and curd, several dairy products are not just “safe” but also good for dogs. Most types of cheese contain lactose as a minuscule component. Several dogs love the smell of cheese and this makes for a great treat, lure or cheeky disguise for unpalatable but essential medication! If your dog is capable of tolerating a larger dosage of lactose, yoghurt acts  as a great natural coolant during hot summer months. However, milk itself is not a dog’s best friend.

Dogs need variety, just like you

Imagine eating a dinner consisting of a cucumber and tomato salad, rotis with dhal and a subzi, topped off with a cup of yogurt. Sounds pretty good? Now imagine eating that every day, for every meal for the rest of your life. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather die in a big bowl of pasta with creamy sauce than eat the same thing every day. 

While we don’t have to resort to either extreme, we know that we love variety and ensure that we get a little bit of everything we like and that’s good for us, in our diet. The same goes for dogs. The only problem is that they haven’t been able to choose what they eat since we took them out of their natural hunting habitats and put them in our living rooms. So be merciful and give your dogs something to look forward to. 

A nutritious doggy diet should include proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. So consult your vet, use your imagination, mix things up, and find the way to your dog’s heart through his or her stomach.

A packaged food-only diet is a no-no

Every dog food brand will insist that their kibble or wet food has every single nutrient that a dog needs, and absolutely no other food is required. Don’t be fooled. First of all, the “every single nutrient” claim is slightly off the mark, at best, and hopelessly terribly false, at worst. There is always a little too much or too little of some essential nutrient, but packaged dog foods all have one thing is common and abundance: preservatives. If you’re aware that a diet based on canned food and instant noodles is no good for you, please know that the same holds good for your dogs. There’s absolutely no harm in having a big bag of branded dog food around for those days when you simply can’t throw together a fresh, healthy meal for your dog, but doing it every day is inviting acute health issues in the long run, and a bored dog who doesn’t have a surprise to look forward to at mealtimes. 

Look out for more editions of Dog Food for Thought. We’ll keep them coming on a weekly basis.

Image Source: www.csmonitor.com

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