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The Inside Scoop on Dog Food

 

If you ate just one food a day you would want to be sure that food was safe, nutritious and healthy.  Yet, we feed our pets the same food every day without giving much (or any) thought to any of these things.  Here is a short guide to making sure that your dog’s dinner is safe, nutritious and healthy.

Safety Check recalls and product withdrawals. Check sites such as the Pet Industry’s website recall page,  or sign up for Dog Food Advisor’s notification service.   You can also check the FDA report page for a detailed list of all veterinary recalls and product withdrawals.  .  There are many complaints even among the most prestigious brands of individual cans or bags of food being contaminated or spoiled.  Do a quick visual inspection for foreign objects, signs of spoilage, or foul odor.  Finally, recognize that your handling and storage of pet food may render it unsafe.  Be sure that it is properly sealed from contamination or infestation. Keep your dog safe!


Nutrition - Having safe food for your pet does not mean that it is healthy for them.  Beyond general health value, different dogs, different breeds, different ages need different qualities to their food.   Every dog food ad claims its food is healthy and the best for your dog.  Fortunately, there is a well-regarded, independent website, Dog Food Advisor, that maintains a list of “best” foods for dogs in a variety of categories including: puppy food, wet food, dry food, grain free, raw, small breed, weight loss and hypoallergenic.  This site should be on your bookmark list for all things related to your dog’s menu.


Health –  It is easy to miss the signs of a few extra pounds from a table scrap here, treat there, or a serving size that is just a bit much.  The impact of these pounds is very real.  A large, lifetime study of Labrador retrievers reported that being even moderately overweight can reduce canine life expectancy by nearly two years.  Even small amounts of extra weight can create joint problems, diabetes, arthritis. Cancer and heart disease.  Monitoring your dog’s weight is kinder than that extra treat or last bit of steak.  Exercise is very much part of maintaining a healthy weight. If your dog is elderly, obese or disabled, consider a pet stroller and walk some – ride some to make the best experience for your pet.


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