The American Animal Hospital Association has a chart listing things that get in the way of your pets weight control. The number one item: begging. Owner guilt is up there, too.
Your dog has to go on a weight management diet, or a prescribed diet to cut down on the risk for kidney stones, or a special diet for heart or kidney disease. You might think that because so many dogs will scarf up any food in sight, all you have to do is stop feeding the food he has been eating and start feeding the new one. That does work in some cases, but much of the time, a more gradual transition is necessary to avoid the unpleasant symptoms of gastrointestinal upset - gurgling, excess gas, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. How gradual?
How do you measure your dogs food portions? With the bowl you happen to put her food in? With your hands? Simply by eyeballing it as you pour the kibble out of the bag? If you use any of these unreliable methods, youre not alone. More than one out of five people participating in a study about the best way to measure dog food reported using one of these three approaches.
There is no shortage of warnings on the Internet that corn is bad for your dogs health.
Its very possible that a renal (kidney) diet is in your dogs future. Kidney disease is one of the most common illnesses of aging canines, with more than one in 10 pets developing it at some point, usually when theyre older.
Many dogs eat extremely fast, and they do so for a number of reasons. One of them is that they simply dont taste food as well as we do, so theres no benefit to chewing it longer. While we have about 9,000 taste buds on our tongues, dogs have only about 2,000.
Youve seen the ads on TV - dog foods meant specifically for your dogs breed to provide the best nutritional advantage. But are these benefits for real? Can you really improve your dogs health by feeding her kibble marketed just for, say, poodles or Labrador retrievers, or German shepherds? Its a question worth answering, since breed-specific foods dont come cheap. A 17-pound bag of dry food for Labs that we found online costs $45.00.
I know youre not supposed to give your dog raw food because it can contain live bacteria that can make your pet sick, and cooking will kill all the harmful germs. But what about a raw bone?
Ive come across some dog food with labels that say human grade. Is that a better bet for my pet?
As the popularity of raw-meat diets for dogs has increased, so have their levels of dangerous bacteria. When researchers in the Netherlands tested 60 raw-meat products intended for dogs, more than half of them had levels of bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter that exceeded the maximum threshold set by the European Union. The products were made in Scandinavia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, all of which have hygiene standards comparable to ours. E coli, found in about a third of the samples, can cause serious illnesses, and even death in some cases.
Almost a decade ago, the Canadian Veterinary Journal published a seminal study on probiotics for dogs showing that of 25 commercially available products tested, only two met criteria for quality control. Ten did not even list the bacterial counts in their merchandise, a critical point because probiotics are all about good bacteria flooding the GI tract to help calm a dogs diarrhea or other gastrointestinal signs. Of the 15 that did list bacterial counts, only one in four actually contained what the label said. Some products mentioned bacteria that dont exist, while others had bacterial counts that were too low to effect any beneficial changes in the gut.
For puppies and older dogs especially, and also for dogs who are pregnant or nursing, meals prepared by you in your own kitchen can be extremely dangerous.