The reason we are reviewing this topic is that it appears that dogs overall are less healthy, seem to be living fewer years, are contracting illnesses or debilitating physical conditions much earlier in life, and are behaving as if they were much older and having less energy well before entering their “senior years”. If you want to see the list, check Wikipedia provides a list of dog diseases, some are genetic (hereditary) but most are environmentally-caused.
Today’s blog is Part I, reviewing the general concept of feeding your dog commercial processed dog food versus providing your dog with your own formulation of balanced wholesome foods. Part II will take a closer look at commercial formulations and how you may be able to prepare healthier alternatives your dog.
Our dogs are one of the most important members of our families. We should therefore take extra care to insure that we are feeding them the best diet we are able. Dogs offer faithful companionship and unconditional love, and are completely dependent upon us for everything in their lives. What and how we feed our dogs will impact their health and longevity.
We should do our best to insure that the foods that we are feeding them are wholesome, complete with all the needed nutrients, and are free from inferior ingredients such as byproducts, pesticides, GMO’s, and excessive grains and fillers. Most commercial dog foods contain ingredients that you would not want to eat yourself.
Dogs are all members of the same species, Canis familiaris, whether or not it’s a Chihuahua or a St. Bernard. Animals within the same species could be mated and produce a viable offspring.
All dogs originally came from wolves. Wolves as carnivores get all their nutrients from eating raw meat (and bone) from their prey species. By consuming the whole animal, including the bones and marrow, they have sufficient nutrients to live and to thrive. However, dogs have evolved thanks to us to be dependent upon diets of mixed vegetables and meat, adapting to a mixture of carbohydrates from vegetable sources. Since most dogs no longer feed on whole animals, a diet that is strictly meat, would now be lacking in many of the minerals, especially calcium, found in bones. (A rawhide bone is not a source of minerals.)
During the last 20 years, the creation of genetically-modified foods -thank you Monsanto- has filtered into our commercial dog foods as grains – soy/corn/ wheat/and rice; and also through the meat or meat byproducts being fed to the animals that supply pet foods, primarily beef and poultry. The GMO’s also contain a wide variety and higher concentration of pesticides, since that is GMO science — to manipulate the genes of these vegetable crops to make them more resistant to higher doses of pesticides.
In addition, there has been a proliferation of foreign-sourced ingredients, mostly from China, that may or may not be correctly labeled or even quality-controlled, since these are for animal-consumption. This problem far exceeds the China melamine scam of 2007, which boosted the proteins in commercial dog food and killed hundreds of U.S. dogs.
Even if some of the ingredients started out as wholesome, the extra processing, drying, extruding and preserving the commercial foods require the manufacturer to add premixes to make up for the vitamin, mineral and enzyme losses due to over-processing.
So when you see your best friend getting sick, having allergies (especially skin allergies) growing deaf, and dying at a much earlier age than you had expected, there are steps that can be taken in their care and feeding that can reverse this trend. Dogs have relatively short lives as a species. The average lifespan is 11-12 years. However, with proper care and feeding, they should reach 15-16 years or even higher for the smaller breeds and lead quality lives.
It is so strange that Nature saves its most brilliant colors for landscapes beneath the sea, where few of us will ever have the opportunity to enjoy them. This tube coral and the background where is sits on a reef are typical of the brilliant colors that can be enjoyed underwater with a little effort and a tank of air.