Americans are more concerned about health than ever before, so we should also have an equal amount of concern for our pets ... particularly with regard to the ingredients in their food. We would want the ingredients in our pets' food to be acceptable for human consumption. After all, if byproducts are not tolerated in our food, why should they be tolerated in our pets' food? We're also starting to realize that our dogs and cats need daily supplements the same way that we do, in order to take care of their bodies for the inevitable ravages of aging. In the span of an animal's life, an early start at good health ensures less vulnerability to degenerative diseases, joints that are less likely to creak with pain and a healthier heart. Naturally we want our dogs and cats to live with us for as long as possible.
Renowned holistic veterinarian Dr. Jane Bicks says that when looking at dog food, one should be weary of dyes, chemicals and artificial preservatives as much as possible. For example, BHA ... one of the most common synthetic antioxidant preservatives mainly used to prevent food discoloration and rancidity ... has been found in scientific studies to cause stomach cancer in lab rats at certain doses. In lesser doses, the preservative doesn't have a cancerous effect but there is no telling what BHA can do to the body in small doses over a long period of time.
Dr. Jane states that the maximum life span of dogs is estimated to be between 25 to 30 years, but the average dog often lives no longer than 13 to 14 years. And she says that this difference is caused primarily by inadequate nourishment. She also states that protein is a critical part of a dog's natural development so pet owners should look for foods which have whole ingredients like meat, eggs, fish and dairy as opposed to byproducts.
Harder working or more energetic dogs need additional protein and fat in their diet to maintain their stamina and form. A dog food that is complete and balanced and includes at least 26% protein and 1650 kilo calories of metabolizable energy per pound is perfect. During the seasons when dogs are not working, their energy requirements simply decrease. Feed less of the high caloric dog food, or change to a less nutrient-dense food. Unbleached rice is one of the more digestible carbohydrates and supplies a wide array of energy for your dog. Corn and wheat, meanwhile, are considerably more difficult to digest. It is also a great idea to look for antioxidants. In recent years, we have become much more conscious of our antioxidant intake, so why shouldn't we have that same attitude towards our pets?
Is Your Dog Malnourished?
by Aaron Wilmot
Aaron Wilmot is an author and researcher in the fields of human and pet health.
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