Today I’m going to be talking about all natural dog food and what the difference is between that and your average everyday dog food. Also, I will go into a little bit about some of the benefits of natural or organic dog foods.
What makes natural dog food natural?
First, let me remind you about a very important organization in the pet food industry. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). In 2001, The Pet Food Committee gave the AAFCO authorization to set up suggested guidelines and standards for the processing of pet foods. They use the term natural to describe the rendering process, which is where the real difference comes in. Natural pet food is physically processed, not chemically synthesized. This is done with high heat and high pressure, not by adding artificial or chemically synthesized ingredients for color or flavor. The less processing, the better the food is for your dog as it won’t remove all the natural minerals and vitamins. The less processing also keeps the dog food as close to it’s natural form of the ingredients that you feed your dog. Natural pet food is solely derived from plant based, animal based or naturally mined sources according to the AAFCO. When reading your dog food label, the first thing to check for is AAFCO approval on the bag.
Most, if not all, vets will tell you that natural diets will provide for shiny coats, problem free skin and also help with digestive issues. Natural or organic diets will also aid dogs with allergies as well as kidney and liver issues. They will probably also advise you that variety is important too. Just like us humans like a variety in our diets, dogs like a little change in their menu from time to time as well. Feeding them the same thing every day can lead to your dog developing food allergies or insensitivities.
Complete and Balanced-what does this mean?
Complete means that all the required vitamins, minerals and nutrients are contained in that particular food. Balanced means that the required vitamins, minerals and nutrients are proportionally correct. However, don’t be fooled by this on the label. This only means that the minimum requirements outlined by the AAFCO have been met, not that you can’t find more of the required ingredients can’t be found in another pet food brand such as a labeled “all natural” brand might supply your pooch. Your dog needs proteins and fats, both, to sustain a healthy life. Sometimes you may find yourself wanting to add supplements, but be careful, too many can be bad for your best friend. Let’s read on to find out more.
So what does Fido need?
Dogs are basically carnivorous, therefore their diet should be high in proteins and fats. Their beginning was basically of the wolf family and hunted for their food in the wilderness. They got what they needed from hunting wild game, birds and other smaller animals as well. Good meats for protein are beef, chicken, turkey, pork and lamb. Other good sources are eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt and fish. The proteins found in the aforementioned are good for building and maintaining his organs, muscles, brain and overall body in so many ways. You also want to find out what kinds or proteins and what the sources are in your dog food from the label. They also need fats, so let’s look at those next.
Plump up with fats – good or bad?
Your furry family member does need fats, but not the wrong kind and not too much of them. Fats are good for your dog because most of the fat content they get is used primarily for energy and thus burned off during exercise or normal day to day activity, such as playing in the yard or even going for a good walk or a good romp in your local dog park with his favorite toys or even other dogs he may get along with. Now, you want to be careful what kind of fats he gets. He needs to get essential fats or fatty acids. These are broken down into two groups. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 is good for pregnant and nursing adult dogs. It improves the neurological development in the puppies as well as learning and memory. Omega 6 also support brain function. However, along with that is that they help to reduce cholesterol, help in fighting against diabetes, maintains bone health, supports the reproductive system, reduces nerve pain and regulates metabolism. The balance of both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids is important. They compliment each other as Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation when necessary, while at the same time Omega 6 fatty acids will increase inflammation when needed. Using supplements of these two is fine, just don’t over do it. As I said, they need to in balance to provide the best for your dog.
I hope I have been able to help answer some questions you may have had concerning natural dog foods, what to look for and how they are better for your dog versus the regular, everyday kibble you might feed him. While the regular food might be a little cheaper, isn’t your dog worth the few extra pennies to ensure his health and well-being?