Dogs are omnivores, like people. They are not “all-meat” animals, or carnivores, like cats. Their diet has a bit more leeway. But they do need quality ingredients to be healthy.
We know one lab/husky who developed hip problems in old age. That dog’s vet advised feeding the dog, Rosie, regular grocery store kibble for breakfast and a home cooked meal of brown rice and carrots for supper every evening.
That dog came to know when rice is ready by sound & by smell – her humans only needed to wait for her to bark “it’s ready” before nuking the sliced carrots to stir into the rice and then give her the bowl.
Being sure that all the ingredients in your dog’s food are safe does not mean that they are the best for dog’s health. Dogs need a proper combination of nutrients, moisture, protein, fibre, and moisture in their diet.
With the right ingredients in the right combination, dogs can avoid a lot of food-related health issues.
One thing is clear! Dog food should be chosen for its ingredients and not for weasel marketing words such as premium, super-premium, natural, complete, balanced, which are not based on any standard.
Many ingredients can’t be labelled “bad” or “good.” Some are simply controversial. Beet pulp is a common binding agent in pet foods and most experts agree it should be avoided even though there is no conclusive evidence of that.
Balance is most important – If you don’t have the luxury of consulting with a vet, then here is a basic rule most people follow:
The nutrient ratio for your dog should be decided in consultation with your vet at different stages of your dog’s life. For example, if your dog has liver issues, protein content should be lowered. But, again, in consultation with your vet.
Meat should be the first ingredient listed! And you don’t want these in the first five ingredients: Corn, Soy, Wheat, Grain, Flour.
Regardless of the type of food your dog prefers, quality ingredients and balance are the most essential considerations.
If your dog already has engrained food preferences, there may be nothing you can do. But dogs are much easier to change than cats.