What to Feed Your Dog

The recent pet food scare has most pet owners wondering if they should start feeding their pets homemade food instead of commercial pet food. The idea in concept is a great one and if we were trained pet nutritionists it would be a very acceptable way to go.

However, most of us would not know a vitamin from a mineral if we met one on the street and that is where the problem lies. Cooking up a batch of chicken and rice with a few carrots thrown in is a great meal for your dog, once in awhile. On a long-term basis it is not giving your dog all the nutrition it needs for proper growth and good health.

Dogs, like humans, need the proper amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water in their diets. Home cooking, unless you are following a recipe that has been formulated by a pet nutritionist, will not have all those things in proper amounts in it.

Dogs actually need 38 different nutrients daily. Most home cooked foods contain too much protein (and not enough calories, calcium, vitamins and minerals) that in the long term will cause your dog harm. And if the truth were known may be even more harmful to your pet than commercially prepared foods.


When cooking at home for your pet you are less apt to be conscious of proper food safety precautions and food can become contaminated, contain food-borne bacteria and/or toxins. Plus the fact that cooking for your pet takes times and costs a great deal more than commercial pet food.

If you are thinking of feeding your dog organic food and cost is no object that is one way to go. However, there is currently no proof that organic pet food can guarantee you that your pet will become healthier by eating it. The difference in organic food and regular food is the way it is grown, handled and processed. By law, foods bearing the “USDA Organic” seal must be grown by a set of standards determined by the Department of Agriculture and be hormone and antibiotic free. Having the USDA seal does not mean that the food is more nutritious or safer than commercially prepared pet food. So what is a pet owner to do? Even though about 100 different brands of pet food were contaminated, there are many brands that are safe and have been for many years.

In spite of the problems we have faced, commercially prepared food does contain all the nutrients our dogs need. It is our job to do some research (the Internet is a great place to start) on the companies that have not had any problems and to place our trust in them. Buying the best food that you can afford is the first place to start, read labels, and become aware of foods that have the wrong kind of preservatives. The information is out there for you to read all you have to do is put forth some effort.

Feeding your dog a home cooked meal once in awhile is great and feeding your dog leftover people food once in awhile is an acceptable treat. But, if you want to know that your dog is getting all the proper nutrients it should have, the surest way to go is with commercially prepared food. Buying the best food you can for your dog will provide him/her with all the proper vitamins and minerals needed. Do some research on the Internet on natural foods and commercially prepared foods. Find foods suited for your dog’s lifestyle and size, become a knowledgeable food provider for your dog, and you

Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.

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