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How and what to feed your dog.

Dogs Should Eat Raw Meaty Bones

Bullmastiff_00116freesmDogs are very clever when it comes to finding things that are good to eat. They’ll often be eating things that crawl, creep, swim, run, fly and wriggle. However, it’s rare for you to discover whole animal carcasses you can feed to your dog. Hence the need for raw meaty bones.

As with anything new, the more knowledge you have, the simpler the task becomes. If you have ample information, you don’t have fears. Fear is the acronym of False Expectations Appearing Real. Dogs rarely fear the same things owners do and will happily scoff the first raw meaty bone you give them.

Quality.

Be as natural with food as you can. A whole carcass would be perfect but if not possible, get large raw meaty bones from whatever animals are available. Wolves often only eat one species of animal (e.g. deer) and many dogs will have chicken as part of each meal.

Quantity.

Your goal for raw meaty bones should be 70% (or more) of your pet’s diet. The rest can be offal, big meat pieces and more raw bones with meat on them. Fortunately, nature is kind in supplying lots of healthy food choices for dogs.

How much food a dog eats can vary. If looking at a body weight percentage, larger dogs eat less food than their smaller counterparts. Active dogs and active, growing puppies need more than lazy dogs who sleep or watch TV all day, alongside their owners.

As a rough guide, you should feed your dog 2% – 3% of his body weight per day or 10% – 15% per week. If your dog weighs 10 kgs, he’ll eat 1.5kgs – 2 kgs of raw meaty bones every week.

If you’re feeding a puppy, follow the guide and feed him as though he’s an adult dog and feed him 2% – 3% of his anticipated weight.

How often do you feed?

Wild dogs eat when they have food so they may gorge at times and starve at other times, going for days between meals. Feeding your dog, once a day is usually often enough. Smaller dog breeds usually require twice daily feeding. This is good because evening is an ideal time because you’ll be preparing your own meal so you can also watch your beloved pet enjoy his food.

Give him big lumps of raw meaty bones so he spends time chewing and gnawing, both good for dental care. It’s also the best way to avoid him swallowing a smaller piece whole and choking on it.

It’s healthy for dogs to fast for a day or two each week. Studies reveal that slimmer dogs live longer, healthier lives. Old and/or sick dogs and puppies shouldn’t fast.

pekingese puppyWhere do you start?

Start simple at first. Stick to one source for the first couple of weeks. Chicken is cheap and easy to get. Smaller dogs like thighs and wings. Bigger dogs might need to eat a whole chicken. Chicken frames are also great to eat. Gradually you add offal and raw meaty bones from different animals.

Your dog will need a bowl in which his food can be put. Bigger items can just be given to him to eat. He may like eating on the outside lawn. If he eats inside the house, it’s best to feed him in the kitchen, laundry or shower. Put newspaper, a mat or towel down and it will be easier to clean up.

Have fun but also take care.

Raw meaty bones work as dental floss, toothpaste and a toothbrush all in one. Dogs with bad breath or sore gums can become better through eating such food. If the problem is more severe, you may need to take your dog to a dental vet. Dogs can get overprotective of bones you give them. They may bark at other dogs or small children if it appears their bones will be removed. Your dog trainer can give you ideas on how to handle such situations.

The very first time you give your pet a raw meaty bone can be a big or small act, depending on how you see it. However, it will become a different way of life for you and your dog. If you love mementos, take some photos for your scrapbook because you may enjoy showing your grandchildren how well you and your dog got along.

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The Key To Reading Dog Food Labels

dogIf you understand how to properly read labels on dog food, you’re a step ahead in your goal to feeding your dog a high quality commercial diet.

I’m a person who carefully analyses human food labels to work out what I’m eating so it’s logical that I would do the same for my dogs.

While it may sound easy, trying to find the ideal food may take a lifetime of analysing labels on a full time basis, a luxury nobody can afford.

I know my dogs would be healthier and happier if I could feed them a high quality diet that was economical and simple to serve up. So I started reading all labels to learn what manufacturers of dog food put on labels.

This article covers kibble, the dry food that we feed our dogs.

There are a minimum of seven parts of the label you need to study when choosing the best options.

Guaranteed Analysis.

This is the part that lists the minimum amounts of fat and protein and maximum amounts of fibre and moisture. However, it’s complicated when you try comparing different food types such as tinned food and kibble. Fat and protein levels are listed on an “as-is” basis and this also includes water.

Every dog food may have different amounts of moisture and that affects how much nutrition is actually in the food if dry-weighed. Comparing these two labels needs a little math:

1. Find the % of the nutrient (e.g. protein) on the label.
2. Find the % of moisture on the label.
3. Subtract the % of moisture from 100 to get the % of dry.
4. Divide the number from number 1 by the number in 3 and multiple by 100.

For example: A bag of dry kibble for puppies:pomeranian dog

Crude Protein – 27.0%.
Crude Fat – 16.0%.
Crude Fibre – 4.0%.
Moisture – 10.0%.

I subtract 10% from 100 and I get 90% dry. I divide 27 by 90 and multiple by 100 to get 30% protein on a dry basis.

Food for adult dogs shouldn’t have under 18% protein and, for puppies, the figure is at least 22%. In our example, the amount of 30% is obviously higher than the minimum needed.

Ingredient List.

As with human food, manufacturers of dog food must list all ingredients in the food in a descending order based on dry weight.

This may prove tricky in some cases. Manufacturers have sneaky methods for avoiding this requirement which means they can give the false impression that the food is more nutritious and more visually appealing than what’s listed on the label.

As an example, if corn was the principle ingredient in a dog food, the manufacturer might list it as corn bran, corn flour, corn middlings or corn germ meal. If chicken is the main ingredient. If chicken is in the food, it may be listed as chicken by-products or chicken as the first on the list. High quality food will usually list two different sources of animal protein among the first few ingredients.

Just to make everything more complicated, manufacturers of dog food have their own peculiar jargon. Here are just a few of the most common terms listed on labels of dog foods:

Animal by-product meal – This is any part of the rendered animal. It can be any animal that won’t fit another category. However, it can’t include hooves, horns, hide, hair, manure or contents of intestines.
canine
By-products – These are any non-human grade forms of protein that come from the carcass of the animal. This is where your imagination can go crazy. By-products aren’t always bad. Prior to dogs becoming domesticated, the animal was killed and all of it was eaten. However, in a dog food that’s high quality, the main form of protein must be real, not “leftovers” that usually get thrown away when foods go through processing for people to consume.

Meat – This is much simpler to understand. It’s the clean flesh from slaughtered mammals such as cattle, swine, sheet or goat. It comes from the tongue, diaphragm, oesophagus, muscle or heart.

Meat Meal – This is the rendered meal made from the tissues of animals. However, it’s forbidden to have intestinal contents, horns, hooves, hide trimmings, blood, hair or manure. It can’t have over 14% of indigestible scraps. While this may not sound pleasant for humans, it actually has more minerals than meat.

Meat by-products – This is the non-rendered, fresh clean parts of the animal once it has been slaughtered. It doesn’t include meat but it does include blood, brains, spleens, kidneys, livers, stomachs, fat, bones, lungs and intestines. It’s not allowed to have hooves, hair, teeth or horns.

Meat and Bone Meal – This one is similar to the meat meal but bones can also be added.pomeranian dog

Poultry, chicken or turkey by-product meal – This is made from the clean, rendered, ground bits of the poultry carcass. If it’s only chicken, it’s only made from chicken bits. It can have feet, intestines, undeveloped eggs and necks. Feathers and beaks aren’t permitted.

Poultry, chicken or turkey by-products – This is all non-rendered parts of turkey, chicken or poultry but can’t have foreign or faecal matter.

Product Names.

Here are more words and definitions to assist you in understanding labels on dog food packaging. Some of the manufacturers use words including: premium, ultra-premium, super premium, gourmet and holistic.

There aren’t any guidelines when it comes to dog food labels. Consumers need to know that labels such as those listed above don’t actually mean the food is better than any of its competitors. It’s just a marketing trick.

If a food is organic, it must be legally certified as such and must be created and processed without the use of synthetic fertilisers, chemical pesticides, antibiotics or hormones.

If it’s claimed that the food is “natural,” it shouldn’t have chemical additives and food colourings.

There’s a 95% rule that states that all products must have 95% of the named ingredient. This doesn’t count “condiments” and water. For example, if it’s said to be chicken dog food, 95% of its weight has to be chicken. If it lists two main ingredients, the combination must be 95% of the weight.

Guidelines for Feeding Your Dog.

Guidelines on labels of dog food advise owners how much to feed their dog based on its weight. A significant difference between high and low quality food is how easy it is to digest. This is the quantity of the ingredients the dog can break down properly and readily absorb.Belgian Tervuren

If a food is easy to digest, the dog doesn’t need as much to eat to get the same amount of nutrients. If food is difficult to digest, the dog must eat more of it to guarantee the same quantity of nutrients. Because of these points, high quality food that’s more expensive may actually be more economical in the long run because less is needed per feed. The old adage is applicable here as well. What goes in must come out. So if less is going in, there’s less mess to clear up later.

Net Weight.

The net weight of products is a vital factor when it comes to choosing the best foods for your dog and comparing similar foods. Because manufacturers tend to use various forms of trickery such as filling a bag with extra air instead of product so it still looks full. Always compare the net weight listed on the labels.

Weights may alter over time so it’s vital to know how much dog food you’re purchasing. In recent years, a trend is appearing where people are buying smaller bags than ever before.

Manufacturer’s Information.

All dog food labels must have the name, address and phone number of the manufacturer. Many also add a website and email address which they also add to the label.

There are lots of dog foods sitting on supermarket shelves that are not made by the company or brand doing the selling. A statement appearing on the label will reveal the manufacturer of the food so you’ll know which company to be doing your research.

Always try to buy food manufactured in your home country. Avoid buying products that have had recalls if possible.

Expiry date – Last but not least, is the expiry date on the food. Most dry foods expire one year after it has been made. However, the date won’t say if the ingredients were stored properly or not, before being turned into dog food.

Even after the food has been made, the nutrients may not be as good as possible if the food has been kept in a humid, warm environment. You only know when the food was made and then you have to make your own decision.

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Dog Food Contain Carbohydrates as Energy Sources

dogsAlmost all commercial dog foods contain carbohydrates. The focus is usually on fat and protein content in the food and people forget that carbohydrates also contribute to the quality of food you feed your dog. Carbohydrates are the cause of numerous health concerns, if not used properly. This article’s main focus is on non-fibrous carbohydrates and there will be a different article that covers fibre in more detail.

What function does carbohydrates provide in pet food?

Nutritionists debate how much value carbs have in dog food. Regardless of the debate, most dry commercial dog foods contain 30-70% carbohydrates. If you analyse wild canines that are similar to domestic dogs, you’ll learn that they do eat some calories but it comes from intestinal content of their prey and also from berries. However, this type of food comes nowhere near the 30% mark. So the question then becomes this: why are domestic dogs being fed such a large amount of carbohydrates when it doesn’t seem to be a natural food source?

Dogs can eat large amounts of protein which they convert into both energy and muscles. They can turn numerous sources of carbohydrates into the same energy. This innate ability to use protein and carbs as energy sources is why you can feed your dog large amounts of carbs, especially the easy to digest foods. This means that your dog gets his protein through the meat he eats. He gets his fibre and energy needs from carbohydrates instead of the protein sources wild dogs use.

This has major benefits for manufacturers and the end consumers. Carbohydrates are cheaper to buy and is more accessible as a form of energy than proteins. They’re a vital ingredient in the production of dry dog food. The starchy carbs add texture, structure and form to the kibble, making it a stable product that’s simple to feed. Without carbs, dry food couldn’t be made in today’s current forms.

Carbohydrates used in dog foods.

Carbs used in dog foods usually include the starchy part of a plant that’s easily broken down in a dog’s digestive tract. Soluble carbs are found in large amounts in cereal grains including: oats, corn, wheat, barley and rice. The extruded or cooked types in the majority of dog foods are rapidly and easily digestible. However, not all types of starch can be easily digested by cats or dogs. Raw cereal grains digest much slower in the animal’s intestine. Certain starchy carbs such as: bananas and raw potatoes can’t be digested.dog

Health problems associated with carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are an essential element of commercial dry pet foods but there are times when they can cause medical problems including maldigestion and obesity. Obesity happens if the dog’s energy needs are exceeded. The extra glucose that’s created made by the carbs getting digested is then stored as fat. Too much protein, fats or carbs may cause obesity, with carbs being the most commonly formed energy source and it’s easy for it to convert to glucose.

Symptoms of maldigestion will vary from mild to severe. Diarrhoea, bloating and too much gas often happen. While carbohydrates travel through the dog’s digestive tract, certain enzymes such as sucrose, maltase, disaccharides, lactase and amylase break them down so they can be used more easily. If an animal has a deficiency of any of the enzymes, the carbs won’t be broken down properly. Those carbs that aren’t digested will ferment and bacterial overgrowth will occur and lead to excess water and the creation of gas, thereby causing maldigestion.

In some animals, the lack of enzymes may be due to an actual deficiency, in others, infections or inflammation in the intestinal tract may result in a breakdown of the normally available enzymes.

Lactose intolerant is a common type of maldigestion. Young animals have lactase enzyme that breaks down lactose, the sugar contained in milk. When animals start aging, their body can cease lactase production. So if milk is consumed, maldigestion occurs as lactose isn’t digested. Animals can have different levels of tolerance to the amount of carbs they’re able to digest. Most can tolerate existing levels but some will develop maldigestion due to this intolerance. The solution is to feed a smaller amount of carbohydrates or to add an enzyme supplement so they can tolerate normal levels.

Summary.

Soluble carbohydrates are an affordable food with good calorie levels. They’re crucial in manufacturing dry dog food. Dogs can’t ingest a large amount of carbohydrates but, if prepared the right way, they can generally be tolerated by the majority of animals. If animals have a carbs intolerance, natural enzyme supplements or a low carb diet can be used instead.

 

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