Dog Food: Healthy Alternatives
We are a nation of pet owners where nearly three out of four households own at least one domestic animal 96 million furry feline friends and 81 million canine companions. And while we may love them , we dont feed them well.
If youre not controlling their food intake, youre allowing someone else to do it for you, says master dog chef Micki Voisard. Most of us wouldnt eat commercial dog food and chances are, if they knew what was in it, our dogs wouldnt eat it either. Feeding your animal dead, processed food, produced months before you purchased it causes more problems than it solves.
Some crunchable kibble is so loaded down with everything but the kitchen sink that I see dogs hyped up like teenagers on Red Bull.
An advocate of real food versus dead food, Voisard notes, When Hills put the word Science in front of the word Diet a few decades ago, I think we lost our last bit of common sense in the dog feeding world.
Her concerns are shared by a growing audience, one that represents a lot of consumer buying power. In a Wall Street Journal article titled May National Pet Month, it was reported that pet food varieties labeled organic now generate $2.9 billion in annual sales. Wisely, the writer did add the caveat that while organic labels are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, separate pet food standards dont exist.
Chef Voisard expresses pessimism about asking vets nutrition questions and how to feed their animals in a healthy fashion.
Best Dry Dog Food For Seniors
Typically, you might consider a senior dog food around age 6 or 7 for a large breed, and around 10 or 12 for a small, says Richardson. The right food for a senior dog depends on the specific senior and how they’re doing, says Shepherd. If they’re maintaining a healthy weight and muscle tone, their stool is well-formed, and they’re enjoying their food, you may not even need to change their diet.
That said, there are lots of dog foods tailored specifically to the needs of older dogs who may have certain health issues. “Senior diets are formulated to target some of the common ailments of older pets, such as joint health, digestive health, immune health, and possibly others,” says Swanson.
Senior dog food is usually easier to digest and may be lower in calories since older dogs aren’t always as active. Food for senior dogs may be higher in protein to help maintain their muscle, fiber to help them stay regular, and extra antioxidants to limit oxidative stress and keep their immune system healthy. You may also see omega-3 fatty acids for cognitive performance because some senior dogs suffer from cognitive dysfunction, aka “doggy dementia.”
For older dogs, a bit of extra protein is a plus. As long as your dog doesn’t have any health conditions, look for a senior dog food that’s lower in fat and calories and has extra protein beyond the AAFCO minimum of 18%.
Our senior dog food picks are protein packed and have nutritional boosters that can support an older dog’s changing needs.
Food From Your Table You Can Feed Your Dog
Here are a couple of dog-approved people foods:
Peanut butter A favorite treat of numerous dogs. Not only is it a good source of protein, however it also includes heart healthy fats, vitamin B, niacin, and vitamin E. Stuff peanut butter into a Kong to keep your dog hectic for hours. Select raw, unsalted peanut butter. Remember: Be definitely sure that youre not using sugar-free or lite peanut butter that has sweetening agents, particularly xylitol, as these compounds are exceptionally hazardous to dogs.
Cooked chicken Can be slipped into the bowl together with your dogs routine food to add a spice and additional protein to its diet. This likewise makes a good meal replacement if youre in a pinch and from dog food.
Cheese An excellent treat for a dog as long as she isnt really lactose intolerant, which a little portion are. Make sure to monitor your dogs reaction. Select low or reduced fat varieties and do not overfeed, as numerous cheeses can be high in fat. Home cheese is typically a good choice.
Carrots What else you can feed a puppy besides dog food? Carrots! Good for a dogs teeth, carrots are low calorie and high in fiber and beta carotene/vitamin A.
Yogurt High in calcium and protein. However make sure to just choose yogurts that do not consist of sweetening agents or sugarcoated. Yogurts with active bacteria can act as a probiotic and are good for your dogs gastrointestinal system.
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What Can Cats Eat Besides Cat Food
Cats are typically more finicky when it comes to food than dogs. Our pups will eat almost anything, including things we wish they wouldnt. But there are plenty of foods you can offer your cat besides their usual kibble or canned meals, like these:
- Cooked, skinless chicken or turkeyno bones or seasoning, please.
- Scrambled eggs or egg whitesleave off the salt and pepper.
- Bit of tuna packed in waterno need to add extra calories with oil.
- Lean, non-spiced, and unprocessed deli meatsfeed them small amounts only.
- Carrots, peas, green beans, or broccoliboil or steam them to make them easier to eat.
Want to get your cat to try a new vegetable? Sprinkle a little tuna water on it for a tempting flavor boost your cat cant resist.
When People Find Out We Make Our Own Dog Food At Home They Always Ask Us What About A Raw Diet So Let’s Get That Out Of The Way First
There are LOTS of thoughts and theories on feeding your dog a raw diet especially a dog that is living with kidney disease. Our vet however, was personally opposed to feeding a raw diet due to the fact that dogs, just like us, are very susceptible to food poisoning. Besides that, a raw diet can be tricky to get just right! You run the risk of giving your dog a horrible belly ache by mixing a raw diet with cooked treats, so if you decided to go raw it is important to have both raw meals and raw treats planned for your pup at all times. NO MIXING the two! Since raw and cooked foods digest at different rates any combination of the two can wreak serious havoc on your pup’s gut which can lead to some pretty unpleasant situations for you – if you get my drift.
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Healthy Alternatives To Pet Food
Many pet parents are tempted to slip their pets table scraps, but not everything we eat is actually healthy for our pets and some things can actually be extremely dangerous. If youre looking to spoil your pet with something a little special or you really just want to share your meal, here are some common human foods at make great pet food too.
Alternatives To Commercial Dog Food
June 26, 2014 –
I love my Toby turd. One may think that because I have nicknamed him Toby turd’ I don’t love him, but truth be told, I really do. He’s the most loyal pooch in the entire world, faithfully guarding our livestock all day every day.
I’m ashamed then, to say, that Toby Turd was the last animal on our farm we converted to a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet. The cow gets hay and oats. The sheep get hay. The chickens get organic, non-GMO, locally sourced grain and free range all day. The turkey and meat chickens get the same. Even the pigs get organic vegetable scraps from the garden and fresh raw milk.
And yet poor, neglected Toby got the cheapest dog food I could find. You know the kind. The kind that sits on the bottom of the grocery store shelf in a 5o pounds bag for $3.
Fine. That was an exaggeration.
But still. It’s sort of the truth.
Last summer, after moving the farm, I kept Toby on his nasty, processed dog food diet for about 4 months. And then I quit.
I quit buying it. I quit giving into the nasty, genetically modified and artificial ingredients that fill up those giant bags. Even our household pets are subject to disease and chronic health problems from bad diets and frankly, I knew better.
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Human Food Safety For Dogs
Almonds:No, dogs shouldnt eat almonds. Almonds may not necessarily be toxic to dogs like macadamia nuts are, but they can block the esophagus or even tear the windpipe if not chewed completely. Salted almonds are especially dangerous because they can increase water retention, which is potentially fatal to dogs prone to heart disease.
Bread: Yes, dogs can eat bread. Small amounts of plain bread wont hurt your dog, but it also wont provide any health benefits either. It has no nutritional value and can really pack on the carbohydrates and calories, just like in people. Homemade breads are a better option than store-bought, as bread from the grocery store typically contains unnecessary preservatives, but its best to avoid it altogether.
Cashews: Yes, dogs can eat cashews. Cashews are OK for dogs, but only a few at a time. Theyve got calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and proteins, but while these nuts contain less fat than others, too many can lead to weight gain and other fat-related conditions. A few cashews make a nice treat, but only if theyre unsalted.
Cheese: Yes, dogs can eat cheese in small to moderate quantities. As long as your dog isnt lactose intolerant, which is rare, but still possible in canines, cheese can be a great treat. Many kinds of cheese can be high in fat, so go for lower-fat varieties like cottage cheese or mozzarella. Many dogs enjoy their very own dog-specific Himalayan dog chew made of dried cheese .
Raw Yeast Dough: Cant Eat
It is extremely unsafe for dogs to eat raw yeast dough.
Raw yeast dough is a concern because yeast cells produce alcohol as they ferment, which may lead to alcohol poisoning and death if your dog consumes it .
Furthermore, dogs that eat raw yeast dough may experience severe bloating, as the dough expands in their stomachs. This can cause difficulty breathing and weakness .
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But What Exactly Is In Those Bags Let’s Take A Peek
My first search initially lead me to THIS ARTICLE. Yummy. But for me, dead chicken heads and feet aren’t the biggest yuck’ factor.
What most consumers dont know is that the pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agriculture industries. Pet food provides a convenient way for slaughterhouse offal, grains considered unfit for human consumption, and similar waste products to be turned into profit. This waste includes intestines, udders, heads, hooves, and possibly diseased and cancerous animal parts.
I knew itbut I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I rarely, if ever, trust the large food industry. I’ve seen first hand what beef cattle are fed on feed lots and of course it makes perfect sense that the cheap-is-better mentality rules all in this business.
Our dog is an important, nay, essential part of our homestead. He is irreplaceable. Why on earth would I feed him a product that could bring him to physical sickness?
What I Feed As An Alternative
From Dr. Michael W. Fox, B.Vet.Med., Ph.D., D.Sc. M.R.C.V.S.:
Regardless of the spring of 2007 largest ever pet food recall that resulted in the poisoning and deaths of thousands of dogs and cats across North America, my answer to this question, unlike many of my veterinary colleagues, I have come to believe that dogs and cats should not be fed most manufactured pet foods as their main or only source of nutritional sustenance.
I have come to this conclusion because of the dramatic clinical improvement in dogs and cats suffering from a number of chronic, debilitating, and costly health problems once they have been taken off highly processed commercial pet foods and are given naturally formulated, organic whole food diets appropriate for their species, age, physical condition, and activity level.
Scientifically formulated, manufactured pet foods are packed with chemical supplements used to fortify,’ i.e. make up for deficiencies in the basic ingredients that are slaughter house and food and beverage industry waste byproducts, and other chemical additives to flavor/taste-enhance, stabilize, preserve, color and texturize’ . According to a CNN News report on July 20, 2007, such supplements that are put into processed foods for human consumption as well as in to pet foods are not subject to any FDA inspection or oversight, and the government has no records as to country of origin of these additives/supplements.
Extra chicken and beef broth
Raw, clabbered milk
Three Rules For What To Feed Your Dog When Youre Out Of Dog Food
- Avoid excess sodium and fat, which can cause excessive thirst and tummy trouble
- Aim for a balance of lean protein and complex carbohydrates
- Consider any allergies or special dietary needs your dog may have
One of the quickest, easiest dog meals you can prepare according to the rules is plain, cooked chicken with rice. In fact, vets often recommend chicken and rice meals for dogs with sensitive tummies. But thats just a starting point! If youre vegetarian like me, you may not have any chicken on hand that doesnt mean you cant provide your pooch with a quality pantry meal.
What Foods To Avoid
Just because your dog CAN have something doesnt mean they should. What may seem as little tidbits to you, can actually add up to a whole lot of calories and fat for your dog! Sneaking your dog a small piece of cheese might not seem like a lot, but in reality, its equivalent to an adult woman having one and a half cheeseburgers!
Remember that there are some foods that shouldnt be fed to your pooch. These include
These foods can be toxic to your pup and should be kept out of reach! Keep your dog safe, its always best to err on the side of caution and do some research before sneaking them a bite of what youre having!
Arm yourself with the knowledge of dog-friendly foods! Knowing what you can share with your pet is perfect for days when you feel inspired in the kitchen and want to whip up a meal.
What can dogs eat besides dog food there are SO many options, have a look at these easy recipes for ideas on tasty, cheap, and nutritious treats you can whip up for your pet!
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Foods Not Fit For Fido
The foods that are not safe for dogs cause symptoms ranging an upset stomach to breathing difficulties and even death. Some of these foods cause an instant reaction, while others cause a delayed response that appears over time. When you have a pet, its important to keep the phone number for your local emergency veterinary clinic and animal poison control center handy. If you believe your dog has consumed a toxic food, seek medical attention immediately.
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What Do Dogs Eat Besides Kibble
My dogs eat what I eat. Veggies, meat, rice, even fruitsometimes. Remember NO CHOCOLATE NO CAFFINE No chicken bones. Fishis really good for them, it makes their fur very soft. If the fishis fresh don’t let them have the bones. A good rule is …If youwouldn’t eat it, why would you feed it to your dog?
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Cooked Chicken As A Pet Food
Often used as a main ingredient in pet foods, dogs and cats love chicken. However never feed them uncooked chicken. Chicken is high in protein and is a great replacement if youre ever short on dog food. Its also a helpful tool when training your dog to allow others near their food dish. Never give your dog chicken with bones in it as they splinter easy and can kill them. Be sure to remove any chicken bones before sharing.
Is A Raw Diet Good For My Dog
Insider Reviews spoke to veterinarians who said that even though there are some reported benefits of raw diets, they’re just too risky. They put pets at risk of nutritional deficiencies, bacterial infections, and possibly even injuries from bones in the food. Plus, there are risks to humans. Those who are immunocompromised, elderly people, and young children are at risk of bacterial infections if they live in a household where a dog is fed a raw diet. If you want to learn more, you can check out the statements from the FDA and CDC on the health and safety risks of raw dog foods.
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I Ran Out Of Dog Food: What Can I Feed My Dog
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One night I was stuck at home alone, without a car, and with two very hungry 70 pound boxers looking at me with those mournful we havent eaten allll day eyes. I hurried to the pantry only to find we were completely out of dry dog food and canned food!
This got me thinking. In times of desperation, what are the right kinds of foods to feed pups in a pinch? Lets say youre out of food and unable to get to the store, out of money, on the road, or worse, impacted by a natural disaster. Dogs still have to eat, right? So what do you do when theres no dog food to be found?
We talked to Korinn Saker, DVM, PhD., DACVN*, and Associate Professor, Nutrition, with the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. If anyone knows what to whip up for a hungry pup, its Dr. Saker.