Usually the choices in the Grocery Store brands contain :
- too much grain and very little real meat
- maybe full of any number of by-products, preservatives, colouring, artificial flavours, too high in carbs, etc.
- a good commercial dog food uses quality ingredients such as:
- lean meats - whole grains - vegetables - healthy oils in the proper proportion for the best in nutrition
- the first ingredient in a premium dog food will be a whole named meat, such as, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or other lean protein
- will use no grains at all or will use whole grains such as Barley, Brown rice, Oatmeal
- AVOID any food containing wheat, soy, glutens or lots of corn
- quality food will also list vegetables and fruit
- Most quality food will add the essential fatty acids , Omega 3-6-9 listed as fish, flaxseed oil etc.
- These oils are very important to optimum nutrition for your dog
Much of the lower end dog food products are cooked at high temperatures which result in the deterioration of the food's raw ingredients
Again, the quality foods have found several alternatives to cooking their products at these high temperatures and degrading the food.
You will pay more for quality food but in the long run the investment in your dog's health, happiness and longivity are well worth the price.
HOW I BEGAN FEEDING RAW AND THEN COOKED MEALS
General Tips on reading the Ingredient Labels on our pet foods
You can go to the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Centre www.aspca.org/apcc for further information.
DOG NUTRITION BASICS, DOG FOOD REVIEWS and COOKING FOR YOUR DOG
- One basic of home cooking for your friend is to include the same amount of meat that you are using with the same amount of cooked pasta, potatoes or rice. For instance if you cook 2 cups hamburger include 2 cups or 2½ cups of cooked pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes or rice. Add at least ½ cup of vegetables (frozen works to). Some folks add all the veggies that their dog will eat. Of course this is dependant on your dog's weight. You would not feed a 100 Lb. dog approximately 2 cups of cooked food, but the ingredients are all relevant.
- I always supplemented Max’s dinners with a Natural Enzyme, Bone Meal and a good quality Salmon Oil. Glucosamine supplements are always good to add at any age. As Max got older I added Vitamin E and other supplements to help with his arthritic issues which began in his 10th year.
- On 2 occasions as Max got older and a little less active he gained about 10 lbs. I put him on a fish diet for 2 weeks and the weight was gone. He also loved fish mixed with a variety of the carbs.
- The diet was necessary due to his large size being a German Shepherd and since he developed arthritis a little less weight makes getting around easier since there is less weight on the joints.
- Max’s arthritis did become a major concern but at 13 years of age his Geriatric Blood Panel was perfect. He was just as bright and alert including a very good appetite as when he was an Adult in his prime.
- Max passed on at 13 years and to read more on his story see the Special Senior's and the Last Gift Tabs on this site.
- More news on Ryker’s diet and diahrea below.
- I seriously believe that many health issues can be corrected on their own by changing your friend’s diet although in some cases there are genetic factors that we have no control over. Economically, in most cases the cost is your time and adding your friend’s grocery list to yours. I must state that my pets have never had that 'doggy breath.' Can brag a little.
- I must add here that the Commercial Pet food industry has recognized the consumer wants of more natural ingredients in their pet's diet and they now offer products that meet this criteria although you must read and know the ingredients and just as important the country of origin of the ingredients and additives. I never purchase any pet food sourced from China.
- Should you not be able to have the time I highly recommend the Natural freeze dried and other natural pet food available with no preservatives or harmful chemicals in the ingredients included and most originating from North America.
If you have the time to home cook and with a little planning and a lot of love anyone can do this. The rewards are really worth it. You will have less visits to the vet, your friend will have great teeth, maintain a good weight and have wonderful health benefits.
I suggest to consult with your Vet if your adult dog has special needs or health issues just like us humans who are always warned to consult our doctors prior to a diet change.
Use your good sense and base your decision of what you are going to feed your dog by doing your research and consulting with others who may offer some good tips and facts. I am happy I did.
I remember when the massive pet food recall happened and still is happening on a smaller scale, I was so fortunate that I did not have to worry about my fur kids since they were on home prepared meals and I knew exactly what they were eating.
Just a note that free feeding is not good for puppies or adult dogs.
PUPPIES AND DIETS
- These basic notes that I have provided here as a result of some of the research that I undertook to find are not intended for feeding puppies. Puppies have very specific nutritional needs to support their growth rates. Puppies must eat a larger amount of food compared to adult dogs and they require higher amounts of nutrients.
- Since puppies have smaller stomachs they should be fed smaller meals but at least 4 times per day up to approximately 4 months of age, 3 times up to 6 months and then 2 times per day as an adult dog.
- In order for puppy to grow with strong muscle and bones there are guidelines for a diet that is highly digestible, dense in nutrients and well balanced. Puppies need a food designed for puppies and very high quality for their breed.
- The German Shepherd puppy should be fed a large breed formula and I suggest since generally the German Shepherds are considered mature at 10 to 16 months of age to feed this formula even up to 2 years of age.
- Ryker came home at 8 weeks and I kept him on the same puppy dry food that the breeder / Donna was feeding. However, since I personally will not feed only dry to puppies or adults, I added puppy tin food to his meals.
- Ryker had a really bad case of diarrhea that was of the utmost concern to me. One morning he looked very depressed and would not eat his first meal of the day. BIG TIME ALERT. I phoned Donna and the puppies that she still was looking after had the same problem. Canned food was not the culprit.
- I went to the Pharmacy and picked up electrolytes so Ryker would not get too dehydrated and every 2 hours I gave him Kaiopektic flavored for children. He received the amount for his weight at that time. Several days passed and by the afternoon of the first day Ryker's appetite came back or we would have made a visit to our vet.
- CARBOHYDRATES: In most commercial dog food carbs are usually the major source of energy. Good sources of Carbohydrates are oatmeal, brown rice, barley, whole wheat flour products, whole grain pasta and bread, potatoes, fruit and veggies that are safe for dogs. Once carbs are broken down in the body by the digestive system and then converted to glucose which is the significant sugar in the blood that is used for energy they are the fuel supplied for activity. At the same time carbs provide fiber. When feeding carbohydrates with you dog's diet remember usually the same amount of protein with the same amount of carbs. Too many carbohydrates may cause problems with weight gain, diarrhea, gas and so forth. Grains and vegetables that you would cook for yourself need to be cooked for your dog. Variety helps to be safe against possible toxicity and the reassurance that any nutritional deficiencies will not occur.
- FAT: We all need a certain percentage of fats that are a highly concentrated form of energy and supply fatty acids and carry fat soluble vitamins: A-D-K and E. Fats supply flavor and protect and stabilize internal organs and act as an insulator to the body. However, fat contains twice as many calories as carbohydrates or protein and if too many calories come from fat your dog may be deprived of getting enough necessary nutrients from other sources such as protein and carbs. To many fats may cause serious nutritional deficiencies resulting in health problems such as pancreatitis, weight issues or obesity. Dogs require linoleic acid which is the main fatty acid in a category of polyunsaturated fatty acids which is known as Omega 6. The Omega 6 fatty acid is important for skin, coat health, immune system, tissue repair and the reproductive systems. An excellent source of linoleic acid are vegetable oils such as canola and safflower. When you add an oil supplement to your dog's meals, I would suggest to do it gradually as too quickly may cause diarrhea as I am currently working on with Ryker.
- VITAMINS / MINERALS: A human grade multi vitamin and mineral supplement is a good choice to supplement and add to your dog's diet. I recommend to check with your pharmacist and your vet to guide you to ensure that you are adding the proper supplements and to ensure that they are safe to give to your dog.
- CALCIUM: As mentioned earlier calcium is very important to all dogs. However, when adding Calcium you must be sure of the Calcium to Phosphorous ratio which is 1.2 to 1.4 parts Calcium to one part Phosphorus.
- This is important because if there is more phosphorus then Calcium in your dog's diet, signals of calcium deficiency can result.
- I know there are certain medications that you can give to your dog but never give to your cat and so on.
The same holds true for some common foods that we humans can eat that may be extremely toxic to your K9 buddy.
- I have listed several below as follows:
- Onions or onion powder
- coffee and any related such as tea
- macadamia nuts
- grapes, raisins including the juice or wine
- the leaves and stems from tomatoes
- bitter almonds
- seeds or pits from fruit (some pits / seeds contain cyanide)
- espresso beans that are chocolate covered are very toxic
- moldy or spoiled food / If you will not eat it
- do not feed it to your companion
- xylitol which is used as a sweetner in many products
- yeast dough
I have added several pet food suggestions, vitamins and food supplements that you may view & purchase by clicking the Better Food tab below.
Yes they are natural I have taken time to do shopping!
I CARE WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND FOR ALL OUR FUR KIDS!
GERMAN SHEPHERD CANINE