The purpose of food is to supply nutrients to the body and brain to support cellular health and regeneration. The process of digestion and the things that are digested will effect behaviour with dogs as well as people. As with people, a good diet for dogs is a diet unprocessed food. This is difficult for most people to manage on a daily basis, but there is a good compromise; a good quality dog food, replacing one mean every other day with fresh unprocessed human food, or to feed your dog a raw diet. Note that a raw diet shouldn’t be mixed with cooked food, wet food or kibble for optimal health.
The dog food industry is huge. As with human food the quality and ingredients vary greatly. I don’t know enough about dog nutrition to be able to make a really informed decision as to what constitutes a good quality dog food, so I refer to a great website, allaboutdogfood.co.uk if I need an idea of how good a certain brand of dog food is. At its simplest, it’ll give the food a nutritional rating, which you can then use to compare with other foods. You’d be surprised at how poorly some of the well known brands are rated, and if you’re feeding supermarket own brand then, don’t! Personally I wouldn’t feed anything with less than a 90% nutritional rating.
The dog food ingredients are listed in order of weight.
Ideally the food should be 65-80% animal, and that should be the first ingredient in the list. Avoid the term ‘animal by products’, ‘derivative’, ‘meat’ and ‘meal’, they’re too vague.
There’s no evidence to suggest that you should stick to one type of dog food, or to wean a dog off one food before changing to a different one.
Dogs love human food! Historically dogs would have been fed the humans’ leftovers and scraps. There are certain foods that you should avoid feeding your dog, but other than that, feeding your dog fresh, unprocessed food not only reduces the chances of your dog developing cancer by up to 90%, but it gives the dog variety, rather them having to eat the same thing, day in, day out, even if it is good quality dog food. Variety encourages good gut health. Poor gut health can effect behaviour.
Using muffin tins will help slow the rate of eating and will allow you to try small portions of different things to see what they like and what they don’t. Pups are more likely to try anything and everything than an older dog that hasn’t tried a particular food before.
This meal consisted of a little bit of Eden’s kibble (dog biscuit) in mushroom juice and mushroom starter. The main course was chicken, roast veg and noodles. Dessert, or ‘afters’ as it’s known here in Wales, was mashed banana and Greek yoghurt, melon balls and Greek yoghurt, and pumpkin puree.
A word of caution; I wouldn’t normally feed my dogs in this close a proximity. If you have multiple dogs, they’re best given lots of space, or better still being fed in separate rooms to avoid confrontation.