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.
My dog, a 25-pound mixed breed, happens to love popcorn. Is there any reason I shouldnt give it to her as a treat?
While a home-cooked diet can be a healthful alternative to commercial pet food, it can be very time-consuming and expensive to make sure it meets all your dogs needs - and should never be done without help from a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.
The reason efforts to slim down an overweight dog often fail is not because of a nutrition problem like too many calories per serving. Rather, most dogs have weight problems because of emotional issues - yours, not theirs.
Many tend to think of consumption of dog meat as something still going on only in undeveloped, far-off nations. But the import, export, and slaughter of dogs (and cats) has been legal in 44 states.
Tufts veterinary nutritionist Cailin Heinze, VMD, is only too familiar with scenarios like the following: We had this little dog who needed surgery to remove bladder stones made of calcium oxalate, she says. After that, she was prescribed a diet that would make the stones less likely to recur. Even so, the stones kept coming back. She had to undergo two more operations to remove more stones. We asked the owner what was going on. Well, Im feeding the diet you recommended, he said.
You love your dog and dont mind giving him table scraps here and there. But it has gotten to the point that every time you sit down to eat, hes there - begging, nudging, drooling, and beseeching with wide eyes for some of your meal. How has something that you thought was cute and tried to be nice about - and loving about - turned into such a persistent, annoying problem?