Did you know that there are dog food dangers looming where you least expect them? Aside from the occasional problems in dog food manufacturing, there are foods that your dog should never eat. Read on to find out more about foods that are unhealthy for man's best friend.
Processed Dog Foods
Walk down any pet food aisle in a local pet store or retail store and you'll be surprised at the number of dog food brands available. While some are old standards in the dog food business, there are always new brands from which to choose. How do you decide which foods are healthy for your dog, and which ones aren't?
Processed dog food should consist of approximately 10 percent carbohydrates, 40 percent meat and 50 percent vegetables. When reading the label on a can or bag of dog food, the first items listed should be meat protein, followed by vegetables and then carbohydrates. While carbohydrates do provide sustainable energy for animals, many dog manufacturers use ground meals. Whole grains are the healthiest for your pet. Keep in mind though that corn is not very digestible for dogs, so avoid foods that have a high corn or cornmeal content.
The following food items are considered healthy for your dog:
- Rolled oats
- Brown rice
Hidden Fillers and Unhealthy Foods
Most dog food manufacturers put fillers in their pet foods. Most fillers aren't dangerous to your pet, but they usually don't add any nutritional value to the food either. Fillers that are commonly found in dog food are cornmeal, oatmeal and flour. When dogs are given filler ratios that are higher than 10 percent of the total food mix, it may cause stomach upsets.
Allergens and Preservatives
Items commonly found in commercially prepared dog foods that are known allergens and preservatives are:
- White flour
- BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)
- BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
Any or all of these items can pose a health hazard to your pet. If you notice that your dog is drooling or acting extremely lethargic after eating commercial pet food, seek the advice of your vet immediately. Animals can suffer from kidney failure or other serious health problems if they have an allergic reaction to their food.
Known Dog Food Dangers
If your pet consumes any of these food items, call your vet immediately; this especially true if your dog eats chocolate.
Homemade Healthy Dog Food
For some pet owners, making their own healthy dog food from scratch is the best way for them to feed their animals. This is one way to know exactly what your pet is eating. There are plenty of books and websites that provide information on making your own pet food. Check out the following books available through major retail stores:
- Real Food for Dogs: 50 Vet Approved Recipes to Please the Canine Gastronome by Arden Moore and Anne Davis
- Raw Dog Food: Make it Easy for You and Your Dog by Carina Beth MacDonald
- Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog by Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown
- Barker's Grub: Easy, Wholesome Home-Cooking for Dogs by Rudy Edalati
Many pet owners find that preparing their own foods and pet snacks is an easy way to make sure their pets are getting the best nutrition. If you are unsure about the safety of the pet food your animal is eating, try making a few batches of pet food in your kitchen. You may find that it is easier, and less expensive, than you think!