3 Clues to Good Dog Food – Life, Love, and Laughter with Dogs
Are you completely overwhelmed by the 40 different kinds of dog food at your local pet store? Have you read 5 different articles, each saying something different, about what you should or shouldn’t feed your dog?
The secret to finding the right dog food is actually very simple: listen to your dog! Obviously I don’t mean that literally. You can listen to your dog by observing his behavior, his physical health and his feces. These three things will tell you a huge amount of information regarding whether he is on the right food or not.
#1 – Behavior
Is your dog constantly licking his paws? Scratching his ears persistently? Does it seem like overnight he became a crazy hyper dog when a week or two ago his energy level seemed pretty average? Does he drink the entire water bowl empty three times a day? All of these can be signs that the food is not agreeing with your dog, especially if he has food allergies. It might be time to change the food!
#2 – Physical Health
Being on the wrong food can sometimes affect the physical well-being of your dog. Dry skin, ear infections, and excessive shedding can all be symptoms to a food allergy or a reaction to ingredients in your dog’s food. Consult a vet if any of these symptoms persist.
#3 – Feces
Now as gross as this is, you can tell a lot from just examining your dog’s poop. The number one rule is that the poop should be firm. On your walks if your Golden Retriever is leaving runny yellow mush all over the road than it is a good bet that it is time to change the food. Also watch out for excessive quantities of poop. This could be an indicator that there are too many fillers in the food.
Good indicators: Firm, dark, average quantities
Bad indicators: Mushy, yellow, large quantities
I’m sure that many of you have heard to avoid wheat products, corn products, and by-products when you are buying Rex his monthly bag of food. Generally speaking I would agree that these are fillers, that the higher quality foods don’t tend to include these products and that I personally try to avoid them on a daily basis but again listen to your dog. I always tell my clients to look at the first five ingredients of their dog food. These items make up a large percentage of what is actually in the food. If you don’t like what you see, don’t buy it! Our dogs don’t get to decide what they eat so we need to make an educated decision for them.
Feel free to write in if you are having a dog food dilemma! I am more than happy to help. (annie [at] fabdogz [dot] com)
-by Annie Bailey, co-owner of FabDogz, professional dog trainer and behaviorist, member of the APDT and lover of all dogs! All questions and comments are greatly appreciated!! annie [at] fabdogz [dot] com
By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).3 Clues to Good Dog Food – Life, Love, and Laughter with Dogs,