What to look for in dog food and food dogs must not eat
By Heinz Bitza
Human food poisonous to dogs
I’m going to tell you a bit about what to look for in dog food to keep us active, healthy and give us a long happy life. With this in mind, lets start by looking at things you must NOT feed us. There are lots of things that we dogs will just eat because they are there! We don’t really know what will make us sick or ill so please have a good look at this list.
Table of foods you must not give to a dog
Surprised? There are a few things here that you humans don’t think about and some that we dogs love like chocolate which is a is a big “NO”. Dairy Products might be another surprise because most dogs love cheese as a treat. Some cheeses are OK because they don’t contain lactose, ( lactose, (have a look here) which is the thing in dairy products that most of us have a bad reaction to.
I think most of your human vets say that raw meat bones are the best bones for a dog but there are some who say that dogs shouldn’t have any bones at all and it’s best to give us made up chews from the store. These store treats look like bones and are yummy but I like the real thing! I think if you are concerned you should speak to a vet and make your own mind up. One thing for sure, real bones or made-up chews are good for us and help to keep our teeth clean.
No chicken or pork bones for dogs
Chicken and pork bones as well as all cooked bones of any kind splinter into shards. These shards cause choking and serious damage to our mouths and throats. They can even puncture or cut our intestines after we swallow them. A dog bone is not a dog meal so it’s best to give us a bone after a meal. Just let us chew for 10 to 15 minutes then take it away. Put it in the fridge and just like your own human food, throw it out after three or four days.
The bone you give to a dog should be bigger than the length of its mouth. We can’t swallow a big bone whole, so make sure it’s a BIG bone you give to big dogs, like a beef shank. Always watch us while we eat in case we get into trouble.
What to look for in dog food – the best dog food
Me and my buddy really enjoy dry kibble. Its tastier than wet canned food we think. There is usually not much wrong with wet can food because they all have good stuff, (nutrients), we need. You must also know that not all foods are right for all dogs. What is good for us when we are puppies is usually different to what we need when we get older. We are all different.
Dog food regulations
You might know that good quality dog food is regulated by laws in the USA and in Australia and they have been tested. While some are still better than others at least you know they are not likely to cause us harm. It’s good to read the label because by law it has to tell humans eight most important pieces of information. ( issued by the FDA read here for more information). By reading the label in Australia, check for Australian Standard for the Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food AS5812:2017
What must be on a dog food label and what is in dog foods?
We dogs don’t just eat meat but it is a very important part of our diet. We do like grains, fruits, and vegetables and these things contain some really good stuff. They are not just there to bulk up the food you buy (fillers) but they are often what gives us the vitamins, minerals, and fiber we need for a good diet. Good dog food usually contains quite a lot of meat, grains, vegetables and even fruit and the best use high-quality ingredients that are best for us dogs.
Limited ingredient dog food – Grain Free Dog food
I think some humans get ideas about what is best for them in some new trend and then decide it might be good for dogs too. I don’t know enough to tell you about how good “grain free” is or how bad “grain free is”. You should know that some humans think it might not be such a good idea and they are doing what they call “studies” on grain free diets at the moment. Vets have issued a warning which you can read more about here – grain-free dog food. I know some dogs that do very well with a grain free diet, because of allergies to some foods. If you are interested in grain-free dog food its best you speak to your vet.
Animal by-products in dog food
Some humans also have a thing about using dog foods with animal by-products like hearts, lungs, kidneys and entrails. I think they have a problem because they wouldn’t eat these things themselves. It’s a fact that these things can have better stuff in them for dog’s health than good muscle meat that humans usually eat. A lot of people think we dogs should only eat meat fit for humans. Again, you should speak to a vet if you are worried about any of these things.
Breed specific dog food
Find out about your breed of dog to find out if there are any special diet needs you need to know about, also, speak to a vet and have a look on the internet. The first thing to do when you are buying dog food is look at the label where it should say, “(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.” This means the dog food is up to the standard set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to make sure it is giving a balanced diet for your dog.
Hypoallergenic dog food
Us dogs, just like humans, can have allergies and some things we eat can upset our stomachs so we need a special diet. If you have a dog that gets upset by some foods, GO TO THE VET, don’t try and sort it out yourself. Feeding dogs with special diets can be tricky so go and look for professional help.
Dog food allergies
We’ve just talked about that big word, hypoallergenic dog food, well dogs with food allergies really come under the same thing and so its the same answer. You just shouldn’t mess around, take your poor little buddy to the vet and get a proper diet worked out.
Best dog food for small dogs
Small dogs and big dogs have different food needs just as puppies have different food needs to small dogs. Small dogs usually burn up their food quicker than big dogs. This means that small dogs need to take in more calories in the same amount of food than big dogs. That’s why small dog food is usually more calorie rich than big dog food. it’s very important to stick to the right amount of food prepared for the size of the dog. Be careful because big pieces for big dogs are not good for small dogs and big pieces of kibble can cause a small dog to choke. Also, all dogs of all sizes also have different food needs as they become older, so what’s best for a small young dog is probably not the best thing for an older small dog.
Dog food for older dogs
All the old dogs I know, specially bigger dogs, get arthritis, so a special diet formulated specially for older dogs is important. The diet for older dogs usually has stuff like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to help with their joints. Big dogs usually need some antioxidants. You humans must buy a dog food that is made specially for each stage of our dog lifes and on the trips to the vet for shots or anything else, talk about your dog’s food. Make sure you are feeding him the best stuff for his age and size.
What is a good puppy food?
A puppy needs a different type of food to an older dog, just like you don’t give steak to a human baby! It’s important to get the puppy food right especially for fast-growing big dogs as you need to keep a close eye on them to stop bone and joint problems happening in the future, but most puppies do OK on store “puppy food” but always think about the puppy’s size and breed. The AKC give some good advice on when to change from puppy food to proper dog food but again, you’ll be taking a puppy to the vet quite often for his shots so talk about his food while you’re there.
- PFIAA – Pet Food Labeling – Keeping up the standard
- Pet Food Labels General FDA
- How to switch puppies to adult dog food.
“It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” – John Grogan
Please, if you are thinking about getting an awsome dog buddy, have a quick read through the page also written by Heinz Bitza “Best dogs for first time owners – healthiest dog breed”.
Heinz knows what she is talking about when it comes to dog breeds (she has so many part breeds in her). She begs you, as we all do on the team, to look at the number 1 choice. If you want to know the healthiest and easiest dog for you, Heinz will help you with the answer.
by Bull Staffy.
Bull talks about the 7 most important things you must do and must know to have a healthy happy dog.
Bull talks about the most basic things you must give a dog like love and security but also looks at the very practical things you need like food, water, collars and leashes and beds.
You should find Bull’s advice a great help if you are a first time dog owner, read it here.