You love your pet just like they are a member of your family. Your pet provides love and companionship. So the last time you fed your pet… were you thinking about what was in the food? Perhaps you did? But many of do not think about what makes up our pets food. We think because it was “cooked-up” by a pet food manufacturer that it must have all of the necessary ingredients to make a well balanced and healthy meal. When in fact… that is not the case! Why you say. Well, let’s explore an answer to that very question.
Did you know that your dog’s body functions a lot like your own? Whether you’re a “dog-person,” “cat person,” or love a house full of pets, it’s important to you that your furry friends live a long, happy, and healthy life. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest dog that ever lived was 21 years old. Translate that to “people years” and that’s over 140 years old! That’s quite impressive. Its owner surely must have been doing something right. Just like people, your beloved companion needs a balance of mental, social, and physical health to be at its peak. Your pet’s body will be most ready to resist fleas, ringworms, mites and other diseases if its overall health is balanced. Stress, fatigue, and lack of essential nutrients can all play a part in making your furry friend more susceptible to chronic and serious diseases.
To help keep your pet emotionally and mentally healthy, it needs to have a steady diet of happy, social encounters. This means both human-to-pet interactions and pet-to-pet interactions. Most likely there’s no shortage of human-to-pet interactions, but if you’re a one-dog family you may want to think about ensuring that your dog also has healthy encounters with its own kind. During your daily walks try to meet up with a friend or neighbor that also has a dog so the two can run and play together. You could also find a dog park near your home where he/she will have a great opportunity to socialize with others. Animals get lonely just as humans do for social interactions and relationships of their own kind. Be sure to give your dog or pet these opportunities for a good mix of relationships and social health.
We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat” but did you ever think about it applying to your pets as well? Just as we need a balanced diet and fresh vegetables so do your pets (even though dogs and cats are mostly carnivorous); with dogs requiring a higher percentage of raw vegetables than cats. Unfortunately, even though the food label on the pet food you buy may list a number of vegetables, it’s most likely that those vegetables aren’t giving your dog or cat all the nutrition that you think it is, as some vitamins are destroyed when the vegetables are cooked. Vitamins are organic substances that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables, eggs, fish, poultry, and meats. Fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) as well as the B vitamins are essential for dog health and must be obtained through their diet. While a dog’s body actually produces its own Vitamin C, it also needs A and E to help fight against the risk of getting sick. Together these vitamins team up to form an antioxidant barrier that helps to guard against illnesses.
So what can you do to be sure that your furry one is getting the right nutrition? The first step is to read the labels on the food you buy. Compare the nutrients of the various bands, and resist the temptation to buy the cheapest brand. If you have a large dog, It’s understandable as your large dog goes through a big bag of food quickly, but choosing low-quality foods will compromise your dog’s health. If you have been buying lower-quality store-bought food then you can start supplementing your pet’s health with powdered multivitamins. They’re easy to mix in with the food, and are very efficiently absorbed. The powdered versions are more effective than capsules, and are a great way to jumpstart their body towards better health.
Ideally, the best option is to give your pet a variety of fresh foods every day, just like yourself. Consider meat, vegetables, grains like barley, buckwheat and rice and even legumes such as pintos, kidney, and red beans and lentils. All of these foods are safe and healthy for your furry one. Just be aware not to give raw broccoli to your cats or dogs. And if you are preparing a raw diet at home, remember not to make too much food as raw food has a few short shelf life and can cause health problems if not served fresh.
You can purchase high-quality dog food at the store, you can make it at home, or you can do a mix and add some home-made food to the store-bought food. Any problems with weight (overweight or underweight) should be corrected with this type of diet. Your pet’s health will thrive on a natural diet of high quality foods and treats, and it will be on the right path towards being your long-lasting companion and friend.