One of the most important aspects of caring for a pet dog is feeding them. Your dog’s diet can affect their health, their development, their mood and perhaps most importantly, your mood, because it affects how often your dog has diarrhea! There are all sorts of environmental dangers you have to be alert for when you’re walking your dog, but if they have a healthy diet, you’ve done the best you can to set a good foundation for their health.
Meat or Kibble?
There’s a lot of debate about whether a purely kibble diet is healthy for dogs, and fortunately, dry food will provide everything your dog needs nutritionally – with certain caveats. Make sure you buy the right food for your dog’s age group. Dogs need different nutrients in different amounts as they age, and different species of dog reach developmental milestones at different times. Talk to your vet so you know when your dog will be moving out of the puppy stage, or when you need to make adjustments as they enter old age. As long as you’re using the right kibble, your dog will be getting a nutritionally balanced meal.
This doesn’t mean you can’t vary your dog’s diet! Treats, meat and even some vegetables can provide more interesting and stimulating flavours and textures for your dog.
Meat and Your Dog
You can add some meat to your dogs diet as long as you’re careful and thoughtful:
- Use human grade meat
Some pet-meat contains preservatives and other chemicals that could affect your dog’s health! If you use meat sold for human consumption, you can feel more confident about feeding it your dog.
- Check for bones
Some big bones are good for a dog to gnaw on, but if they’re too small, or they don’t chew them thoroughly enough they can get stuck in a dog’s throat and cause them to choke! Take special care with chicken and fish, as these can both contain fine bones it’s easy to miss until too late.
- Beware of cross contamination
If you’re handling raw meat for your dog, or cooked meat that you’re storing separately for your pet, you need to be very careful about contamination: wash your knives and chopping boards carefully immediately after you’ve prepared your dog’s meal – the risk of transferring bacteria and giving either yourself or your food poisoning is far from remote and you need to be alert for it!