Eating right

In addition to losing weight, eating healthier foods is often a resolution for people. Is it also a resolution for your dog this year? A good diet can lead to better health and better behavior.

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Most dogs will eat anything you give them. They depend on you to make good choices on their behalf.

Yes, behavior can be altered by food. Picture a young child all sugared up from a party. There is certainly extra energy being burned off. The same scenario can be seen in dogs who eat the wrong foods. Some dogs become more hyper after eating foods with potato or white rice. These simple carbohydrates offer a boost in energy. Prior to a long hike or an agility competition, this can be a good thing. Whatever activity is planned, your dog will need to burn off this excess energy. Perhaps you should look into a food with more complex carbohydrates if you are more of a couch potato.

When selecting your dog’s food, read the ingredients. You should see a protein as the first ingredient. Check for the sneaky ways some companies manipulate the order on the ingredient list. Often corn will be broken down to allow it to be split into separate smaller listings, rather than the first listed ingredient as it deserves: corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal, or the sneaky “preserved with ground yellow corn” added to a protein.

Watch out for “natural” foods. There is no government regulation on the word natural in dog food, so it means nothing to see it on the label. Some foods that are good will include the word natural, but so will some poor quality foods.

Clever shapes and pretty colors don’t belong in dog food. Dogs are motivated by smell more than anything. Those shapes and colors are there to attract the human purchasing the food. A food with good quality ingredients doesn’t need to rely on gimmicks.

The type of food to purchase for your dog is another consideration. There are several options: kibble, canned, and raw. Kibble is the most convenient for the humans serving it. Many dogs do well on a kibble-only diet. Canned food contains a lot of moisture and has a stronger smell. It is a good choice for dogs who don’t routinely drink enough water, or those missing teeth. Raw is a more controversial option.

Raw dog foods routinely come as frozen or freeze-dried. The controversy comes from the possibility of salmonella (which would be killed when food is cooked) exposure for the humans feeding it. Many commercially prepared raw foods are complete balanced meals. A supplement can be added to the diet to be sure all nutrient needs are being met. We carry several lines of raw diets in the boutique at the lodge. Please direct any questions you have on introducing raw food to your dog to Cold Nose Lodge. It isn’t right for everyone, but we have seen some amazing improvements in skin condition and weight control.

See our earlier post about exercise here.