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SALT LAKE CITY -- Caring for man’s best friend can be just as complicated as caring for a child because they don’t necessarily come with instruction manuals either. While you may have many questions, here are 10 tips recommended by experts for feeding your dog.
Tip 1. Many commercially prepared dog foods claim to be "complete." The truth is, they often lack diversity and can also contain chemicals that many vets believe set off allergic reactions and weaken the immune system. The main reason we turn to them is for convenience. But, just like many of our human foods, you’ll find preservatives, fat and high salt content. Look for a high-quality dog food (your vet can recommend one).
Dogs need raw foods daily. Try carrots, apples, broccoli or lettuce. -Laurel Vulkovic, Natural Health Magazine
Tip 2. Laurel Vulkovic, editor of Natural Health Magazine, has several other suggestions for healthier eating. She says to keep leftover vegetables to feed your dog. Dogs need raw foods daily. Try carrots, apples, broccoli or lettuce. Grate or chop them and add a few tablespoons per 10 pounds of body weight to their food. Start slow and work up to the recommended amount.Tip 3. Avoid soy-based prepared dog foods as they can be really difficult to digest. If digestive upset does occur regardless of your dog’s diet, Vulkovic recommends that a soothing chamomile tea can relieve cramping, but try withholding food for 24 hours. Instead, give your pet lots of water and reintroduce solid foods like boiled chicken or plain white rice slowly. If the symptoms don’t subside, get help.
Tip 4. Raw eggs will create a thick, healthy coat. They are also rich in protein and minerals. Add the yolk of one raw egg to your dog’s daily ration (avoiding the egg white) and no more than one a week as this can interfere with protein balance.
Tip 5. A little natural, plain yogurt each day will keep your dog’s digestive system functioning properly.
Tip 6. Fiber is essential for cleaning out the intestinal tract and preventing constipation. Start slow and add a quarter teaspoon of wheat bran for each 10 pounds of body weight each day.
Tip 7. Keep opened cans of pet food in the refrigerator, tightly covered, and never feed your dog cooked bones as they can break easily and cause choking.
Tip 8. Avoid self-feeders. Just like with people, an all-you-can-eat buffet leads to just one thing: overeating.Tip 9. There is also a strong line of thought that traditional, bagged dog food is not what you should be feeding your dogs at all. Veterinarian Richard Pitcairn, founder of the Animal Natural Health Center and responsible for numerous publications on health and homeopathy for dogs, believes that meat-eaters need meat, not grain, as the basis of their diet. In fact, that’s why pet owners will see more advertising from dry pet food companies promoting meat as an ingredient. Even the major selling brands are moving from a corn-based to a meat-based ingredient profile. Dogs are carnivores, and so adding raw meat to your dog’s diet will help approximate the natural diet of his ancestors. Consult your veterinarian before switching, however. You may want to start with small amounts to avoid digestive upset and then decide if you want to begin an exclusively raw meat diet for your pet.
Tip 10. This should be the easiest advice of all: whatever you do, do it with love.
Coming up Wednesday, should your dogs be restrained in a vehicle or left free to enjoy the breeze? Kim Grant has written for magazines like LDSLiving, the Washington Family, Back Home, Parents & Kids and Natural Life. She has two novels with Covenant Communications. Visit her at www.kcgrant.com.