Supplementing Your Dog’s Diet

Dog Food for Life

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Some pet owners firmly believe that standard dry dog food provides all of the essential nutrients that a dog needs to maintain a healthy body. However, they may not be aware of how harsh the cooking process can be for dry food. First we will give you some general background information on the dog food production process to help you understand why supplements may be necessary to keep your dog in optimum health.

There are two main ways in which dry dog food is produced. The first consists of blending ingredients and feeding them through an extruder. The typical “main ingredient” is usually meat by-products (such as meat and bone meal), flour, or grains. Not the healthiest choice for a base ingredient, eh? A dough is created and fed and fed through the screws of the extruder, which will use steam and pressure to help it take shape. After the dough has been cut into bit-sized pieces and given time to harden, it is sprayed with fat or other composites to make it tasty. After the kibble has cooled it is bagged and shipped off. The other common way to product dog food is to subject the food to high temperatures and then broken up into edible pieces. This production style usually does not require that additional fats be sprayed on.

The cooking process that the pre-made dog food goes through might kill essential nutrients that are needed. While most pet foods will contain the “average” amount of recommended vitamins, they do not provide additional vitamins for protection against diseases. This is before we even consider the fact that the basic ingredient of most dog food is a meat by-product, which would be anything from road kill to euthanized animals.

Not only are vitamins an important dietary aspect that your dog may be lacking, but he is most likely missing out on minerals, as well. That’s right, just like us, dogs also need calcium, small amounts of sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

When we mention supplementing your dog’s food with vitamins and minerals, we’re not talking about feeding him a pill or an injection. We mean that you should start adding certain foods to your pet’s diet to make sure he is getting enough vitamins. This could mean adding a variety of chopped or pureed vegetables to his food (make sure they are raw, as cooking vegetables causes them to lose vitamins and minerals). We recommend you consider switching your dog to the BARF diet (also known as the Raw Food Diet), as mentioned in Dog Food for Life.

There are signs which may suggest that your dog is suffering from a vitamin deficiency. Fur loss, lesions on his skin, and excessive weight loss could mean that your dog lacks Vitamin A. A Vitamin D deficiency is possible if your dog seems to be suffering from muscle loss. If you suspect any vitamin deficiency at all, schedule an appointment with your vet to determine whether your dog is indeed suffering from lack of essential vitamins. Most likely your vet will suggest that you change your dog’s food or add vegetables to his diet.

For more information about what nutrients should be part of a dog’s diet and what brands of food might not be providing them, visit Dog Food for Life.

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