THANKSGIVING. You know what that means… holiday traditions, family time, and a fabulous FEAST. You may be looking forward to a perfectly roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes with savory gravy, or your favorite pie. You know you’ve been looking forward to that pie! While all of these delicious thoughts are swirling around in your head, have you also taken the time to think about what your four-legged bestie is going to eat?
Nutrition is a key factor in your dog’s overall health and it may surprise you that it also affects its behavior. When you have training goals in mind, it is important to consider the whole dog, including mental and physical well-being. Both aspects of your dog’s wellness are impacted by its nutritional intake.
Just like humans, if greasy hamburgers, pizza and soda are consumed for every meal, there’s a good chance we are going to feel sluggish, have digestive issues and experience a lack in motivation. Similarly, when you feed your dog a low-quality dog food that’s full of low-grade protein, fillers, preservatives and colorings, you elevate the chance for behavior challenges because your dog doesn’t feel its best.
Health and Wellness Issues Created By Poor Nutrition
•Lack of motivation to train
• Irregular sleeping patterns, which impacts all aspects of your dog’s wellness
•Lack of satiety, so scrounging for food
•Multiple bathroom stops filling up your yard and garbage can
Points to note as you browse the nutrition panel on your dog’s food:
PROTEIN – There are multiple forms of meat-based protein used in dog foods. You will see terms such as: chicken, chicken meal, or chicken by-products. A listing such as chicken is the whole meat of the animal including the moisture from this tissue. The moisture is calculated into the nutritional percentage and water typically makes up 70-80% of the total weight. Chicken-meal is the same type of meat except the moisture has been cooked out or rendered. The result is a highly concentrated protein powder. Finally any protein by-product source is down right awful! This is referred to as slaughter house waste and includes parts of animals such as beaks, feathers, hooves, etc.
• Protein source should be listed as the first ingredient. Additional sources can be listed further down the list, but the first item on the nutritional list needs to be a protein source.
• Whole meat or meat-meal ingredients are best with your highest concentration of protein coming from the meat meal.
• Stay away from foods that include any amount of by-product.
• Protein listing should include the specific animal source such as chicken, beef, lamb, or venison, NOT generic terms like animal, meat, or meat and bone meal (this is a disguise for deceased animal parts. Disgusting!).
• More than one animal protein source in a food provides a broader range of nutritional benefits.
CARBOHYDRATES – This macronutrient also comes with its own confusion and can lead to a source for inadequate nutrition. Carbohydrates are graded on a glycemic index. This index factors in the ability to influence blood-sugar levels. Also, some carbohydrates will play a role in hormone levels. Why are these nutritional elements important to consider? Healthy blood-sugar level creates motivation for your dog to work hard and produces an abundance of energy. Hormones also play a direct role in your dog’s energy level and its emotional state.
• Corn is THE number one filler ingredient used in dog food. It is worthless; and it should be avoided in any amount in your dog’s food. Dog food manufacturers use corn because it’s inexpensive and makes your dog feel full. Your dog may feel full, but only temporarily because there is no nutritional value to sustain energy levels. You will end up feeding your dog higher quantities of food and creating higher volume of output in the yard! Corn is very starchy, just like in humans, it metabolizes into sugar and raises blood sugar levels which, in turn, spikes your dog’s energy level. For most owners, training is focused on creating calm within their dogs. This is a tough goal to achieve if you are pumping sugar into your dog during mealtime. Corn ingredients include corn meal, wholegrain corn, corn gluten, etc. All derivatives of corn should be avoided.
• Soy is another carbohydrate to steer clear from in your dog’s food. Soy will influence hormone levels and many dog’s have allergies to this ingredient.
• Higher quality carbohydrates, include: whole-grain or brown rice (brewers rice is a cereal-grade fiber that should also be avoided), sweet potatoes, oatmeal, pea or pea derivatives, lentils, chickpeas and beans.
There are a variety of nutritional components to consider when selecting a quality food for your dog. Starting with the correct ingredients puts you on the right path to narrowing down the right food for your dog.
To make your dog-food selection even easier, here are some suggestions for foods to avoid and foods we recommend.
* pawTree® brand foods meet all the criteria listed above with a variety of high-quality protein sources including chicken, lamb, and fish, so you are sure to find a flavor your dog will devour. Also, we love pawTree for the unmatched customer service, offering a 100% money-back guarantee if their products don’t meet your expectations or your dog’s taste bud preferences. Their autoship program makes it simple to have products dropped at your door on a routine basis.
* Victor® brand food is another quality option. Specifically, Victor Hi-Pro is packed with the proper ingredient ratios for dog’s to thrive. The higher protein sources are great for active dogs, while also creating a nutritional line-up of food, from puppies to seniors. Victor can be purchased locally at IFA Country stores or through online retailers such as Chewy.com.
FOODS TO AVOID (despite your vet’s recommendation):
If you want your dog to enjoy an abundance of well-being, nutrition is the first place to start the journey. When it comes time to making the choice of a high-quality source of nutrition, Full House Dog Training welcomes your questions! Let us guide you through the transition to insure you are helping your furry friends be their best!