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    • Size, age, activity level, and breed of your buddy. Why breed? Some breeds are more active than others. A Great Dane is, by nature, less active than a herding dog. That’s one reason why they make terrific apartment dwellers. 
    • Benefits of Grain Free dog food. There are reams of info on grain-free pet food. Just for starters, did you know that almost all dogs are allergic to wheat?
    • Impact of wheat, corn, gluten, and rice on dogs – many scientific articles suggest that corn gluten (even in small quantities) may harm your dog’s organs and, to make matters worse, GMO corn is often used in pet food.
    • When it comes to feeding your pets, the more you know – the better. Making the internet work for you just makes sense.

Just like dogs, dog food formulas come in endless sizes and shapes. There’s dry dog food, commonly called kibble; there’s canned dog food; there’s raw dog food found in the refrigerator section … and then there is “Mama’s Ala Carte Home Cooking” … Mama being you. From a cost perspective, dry food and home cooking are the least expensive.

While pups like veggies and fruit for variety, they are carnivores – meat eaters – and genetically require the proteins a meat based diet offers. This is why dog food comes with the standard choices of beef, chicken, turkey, and fish. A few lines offer venison and/or kangaroo; both are excellent, although a bit pricey, options if your pup has negative reactions to the more normal fare.

You’ve probably wandered the dog food aisles to discover the range of labeled pet food designations run the gamut from puppy food to senior diets; generic brands to name brands. Now add in the “Premium” versions of dog food and the recently introduced “Limited Ingredients” line of some premium brands. It can get a bit confusing. And reading labels can only get you so far …

The Limited Ingredient designation is the ‘new kid on the block’ and means there is essentially nothing in the product beyond the 5 core ingredients listed on the label. It is normally organic as well. Limiting the ingredients makes this ideal for sensitive tummy and/or allergy prone dogs. The cost differential between dog food brands Premium and Limited Ingredient labels is close to negligible. As a side note, it’s usually around 3 years old when dogs seem to develop both food and environmental allergies.

WebMD has a dog food segment that explains exactly how to read and decipher dog food ingredient labels. 

Your Doggie Food Checklist

  • Read labels
  • Buy organic
  • Raw veggies and fruit are great for dogs
  • Raw green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and kale can be added to any meal for health and variety
  • Sweet potatoes (cooked and cooled) make a great ‘pill-pocket’ for vitamins, etc
  • Blackberries, sliced apples, pineapple, mango pieces, sliced cucumber (peel included) are all loaded with healthy properties
  • Sliced strawberries and bananas make marvelous additions, but limit the amount, as both are high in sugar
  • Baby carrots and dried apple or banana chips (no added sugar) are super snacks or treats when you are walking or training your pet. They have no odor and won’t stain your pockets

While you’re web surfing, take a moment to check out what not to feed your dog.  The more you know, the better you and your pup will feel. 

The Internet is great for finding dog-healthy recipes for everything from cookies to complete easy-to-make meals for daily use. Most of the full meal recipes are crock-pot “turn it on and go” and come with freezer instructions.

Other Resources

One of the most informative and current discussions on feeding your dog is from the RSPCA Australian knowledgebase. The side bar menu offers more detailed info on feeding companion animals. The site might have less color than what you are used to – but it is very informative.

One of my favorite dog food sites is Dogs Naturally. It is superbly informative with easy to digest information and some great tips.

Lastly, when it comes to dog food, sign up for the Dog Food; it’s an invaluable tool. The site sends out alerts for any products being recalled. Equally important and more germane to finding the best food for your pet, the site has a comprehensive and scientific-based analysis of all dog food brands and their ratings that are updated consistently. Dog Food Advisor neither accepts nor allows paid advertising from pet food manufacturers. This ensures all their evaluative ratings are not skewed. An added bonus – they never email you except for alerts.


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