If you have a dog you’ve probably heard these debates: should I feed my dog raw food or should I feed my dog kibble? Which one is better? Who’s right? Who knows? Who can say? They both claim to be right but then you hear good and bad about both sides. There is so much confusing information. Who knows what you should do?
The truth is that people who feed both kibble and raw food diets can have healthy, happy dogs but making sure your dog is getting the proper nutrition on either diet can take a little effort.
Feeding dry food or canned food may seem like an easy solution but there are so many different kinds of foods these days that it can be difficult to choose wisely for your dog. You can buy every kind of dog food from gourmet to food made from the cheapest filler ingredients. Your dog’s health can have a direct relation to the ingredients in the food you feed.
The best way to judge if what you are feeding your dog is good for him is by your dog’s health and appearance. Does your dog look good? Is he a good weight or is he too fat or too thin? Is his coat shiny and healthy-looking? Does he have greasy-looking coat or bald patches? Does he have dandruff? Does he itch and scratch or otherwise seem to have allergies? Does he have ear infections? Are his eyes clear? Does he have good energy for his age?
If you have any concerns about any aspect of your dog’s health or appearance you should look at what you’re feeding your dog. If you’re feeding a kibble (dry food) you should read the label. Check the ingredient list. What are the first five ingredients? Do you see named sources of protein among the first several ingredients? Protein sources like chicken meal, lamb meal, fish meal, and eggs are good sources of protein for dogs. Since they are named protein sources you know exactly what your dog is eating and your dog can digest these protein sources easily, getting maximum nutrition from them. Other protein sources, such as “animal meal” and “animal digest” are sketchy and can include many undesirable parts of unnamed animals. Corn is often used as an inexpensive protein source but it is not as easy for dogs to digest. Dogs can only digest about 54 percent of the nutrition in corn. The rest passes through them to be deposited as waste in your yard.
Many people have become interested in feeding raw since the pet food recalls in 2007. They like having the feeling that they are controlling what their dogs are eating and that they are fixing the food themselves. They can assure themselves that the food comes straight from a butcher or from the meat counter of their own supermarket — the same places where they buy their own food.
On the other hand, feeding dogs a raw diet does require some extra effort. In order to keep costs down it’s often necessary to buy in bulk. This means, for many people, that they need to purchase a small extra freezer to store meat. Feeding raw also means that you may need to purchase a meat grinder to grind meaty bones for your dogs. You may have to make some investment in these appliances if you wish to continue to feed your dogs a raw diet.
In order to make sure your dog is having all of his nutritional needs met you will also need to provide supplements to his diet. Your dog can’t live on protein and the calcium in bones alone. He’ll also need vitamins and minerals.
As you can see, there is no one right way to feed your dog. Your dog can receive good nutrition from both a kibble diet and from feeding raw if you are prepared to go some research and make the effort.
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