Healthy food for our dogs
You are what you eat, says human doctors. What you put in your body creates wellness or illness. Thus, we are told to choose our food well.
The same goes for our dogs. Vets have told us many times that it is important that we study what kind of food we will give or are giving to our dogs.
The Natural Diets for Dogs’ (NDD) newsletter enumerated the benefits of a natural diet:
1. It is the key to optimal health. It keeps the dog healthy and happy.
2. It helps address allergies, prevent kidney and liver problems, or lower the toxicity levels in dogs who already have kidney and liver problems.
3. It addresses digestive problems such as chronic diarrhea, gas, and constipation.
4. It makes the dog’s coat shiny and his/her skin itch- or problem-free.
WHAT TO FEED DOGS
Fresh food contains natural enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in their most natural state which is why they are easier to digest and assimilate.
It is important then to keep in mind that nutrients are preserved more in food that went through less heat or less cooking, the NDD says.
“Cooking at high heat (and pressure) reduces the potency of nutrients, including L-carnitine, and completely destroys others such as thiamine, folic acid, vitamins A and C, niacin, and so on,” it adds.
STUDIES ON EFFECTS OF WHOLE FOOD FOR PETS
NDD notes that there are 8,000 phytochemicals in whole food.
It says: “Human studies have proved that the complex mixture of these compounds work synergistically to bring about health-enhancing effects to the body. More significantly, it is not a single component but rather the interaction of complex mixtures of natural chemicals found in whole food that help prevent diseases in people.”
There are two existing studies on the effects of whole foods on pets, NDD says:
The first study showed eating any type of vegetable three (3) times a week reduced by 70 to 90 percent the growth of cancer cells (transitional cell carcinoma) in Scottish terriers.
The second study showed that older dogs developed better cognitive functions when a mixture of fruits and vegetables and additional vitamins E and C, L-carnitine, and DL-alpha-lipoic acid were ADDED to processed food formulated for senior dogs.
Due to these studies, many veterinarians have been recommending feeding raw food to our dogs.
I personally give a combination of processed food and NATURAL food to my dogs. In the morning, we give processed dog food specifically formulated for senior dogs. In the late afternoon, we give a combination of slightly cooked and fresh vegetables.
Why? Because I do not have the time to prepare home-made food every day. And that is okay. Do not feel guilty about this. We can do a combination based on the freshness scale provided by NDD.
The Freshness Scale:
1. Home-prepared diet (preferably raw)
2. Frozen raw food diets
3. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods
4. Canned foods
5. Dry kibble
A combination of these food is still good for our dogs.
I suggest you add the following to dry dog food or kibble:
1. Grated carrots (or slice the carrots into thin sticks which dogs love to hold between their paws like a treat)
2. Do the same with singkamas or Mexican turnip.
3. A leaf of cooked pechay or bok choy (once a week only)
4. A leaf of Romaine lettuce which is a good liver and kidney cleanser. (Tear it and put in the kibble or just give it to your dog. They love the crunchiness.)
5. Other vegetables that are good for dogs. (I enumerated the others in my earlier column.)
6. Raw meat if you can get it fresh from the market. (But please check your dog’s levels thru a blood test. Some dogs can not be given additional meat if the protein content of the kibble is already high. Too much protein can lead to liver and kidney problems. It is best to ask your vet based on the test results.)
7. Cooked meat if your dog has a healthy liver and kidney, and is still young.
8. Canned dog food (I suggest you also look at the protein content of the kibble and the canned dog food.)
Instead of adding the raw meat, cooked meat, or canned dog food to the processed dog food or kibble, you can instead skip giving dry dog food for one day, and give these “NEW” food on that day.
Like humans who enjoy variety in their food, our pets also enjoy something new every now and then.
“A more diverse diet is far more likely to provide complete nutrition than a ‘formulated’ diet fed over and over again. Not only will our pets get tired of the food, but also, more importantly, eating the same food repeatedly over long periods of time can contribute to the development of food sensitivities and allergies,” notes Natural Diets.
So let’s be creative and resourceful when feeding our pet. It is fun to come up with a diet that is not only good for them but something that you can actually see they are enjoying everyday.
Have a great week ahead, everyone. Namaste!