DOG HEALTH

When you visit a breeder and evaluate pups for purchase it is best to do a careful and critical evaluation of any pup’s eyes before you make that purchase decision. Bring a penlight along and shine it directly into and at an angle to each eye. There should be no specks in the cornea, the pupil should be dark, the iris should constrict when the light enters the eye, and there should be no tiny stray eyelashes directed from the lids toward the cornea (Distichiasis).

As Friedman says “Conditions that the owner may think are trivial, may in fact be the early stages of something more serious. Often dogs are stoic and do not exhibit blatant signs of pain.” So don’t be fooled by subtle eye problems… they may not be so innocent after all. Do a thorough inspection of any new pup’s eyes and associated structures before you decide to make it a part of your “family” or breeding stock. And in any dog, if ordinary first aid provides no improvement in eye discomfort within 12 hours, be sure to obtain a veterinarian’s evaluation.

Common Home Remedies Suggested by Dr. Smith...

Ordinary Eye Wash (Sterile Buffered Saline) is proper to use in a dog’s eye to clean the eye but it will not be helpful for an inflamed, sore eye. For a red, sore eye seek veterinary attention immediately. Visine should not be used. It is not therapeutic; it merely makes the eyes less red for a short time. It can be potentially harmful in some conditions. Artificial tear drops or ointments are usually not harmful and may be soothing for some dry eye conditions, but advice of a veterinarian is urged in any case.

CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) is a foundation that certifies dogs to be free of inherited eye problems. A reputable breeder would have both the sire and dam “CERFed” before every breeding. CERF certification numbers are only good for one year since there are many late-onset diseases such as retinal atrophy and cataracts. If someone is buying a purebred dog of a breed with inherited eye problems, they should ask to see the CERF number and examination forms. Genetic testing is available for several of the inherited and blinding retinal atrophies. Some breeders may have this genetic information about their line if they have had the dogs DNA tested.

You make an appointment with your veterinarian because your dog is chewing incessantly at some wet, raw looking skin lesion. And it seems to be noticeably bigger than it was just hours ago. This is getting to look nasty. You show it to your neighbor and they say your dog has a "Hot Spot". What the heck is that, you ask?

Also known as Summer Sores or Moist Eczema, Hot Spots can seemingly appear spontaneously anywhere on a dog's body and the area involved can rapidly spread. This moist, raw skin disorder has a variety of causes but the most consistent factor is bacteria. There are a number of kinds of bacteria that can be cultured from a "hot spot" and fortunately most respond to oral and topical antibiotics. Anything that irritates or breaks the skin can create the environment for bacterial contamination if the skin surface has just a bit of moisture on it. That moisture can be present from a recently given bath, from swimming or being out in the rain, from rolling in wet grass or even from a slightly oozing sore that provides nutrients for bacteria. For some reason, cats rarely acquire Hot Spots; dermatological problems in our feline friends are far less common than in the dog.

Below is a view of a minor Hot Spot. But even this little lesion could spread rapidly and become as severe as the case above

MITES

SARCOPTIC MITES and DEMODEX MITES are often referred to as MANGE. The word mangy describes a ragged and uneven hair coat and damaged skin that results from mites affecting the skin and hair follicles. Mange is responsible for many annoying and persistent problems in veterinary dermatology. (Demodex) http://www.thepetcenter.com/exa/dem.html mites in general are less troublesome than Sarcoptic mites, cause less itching and self-mutilation, and are not seen in adult dogs as often as Sarcoptic mites. The mite known as SCABIES, SARCOPTIC MITES or SARCOPTIC MANGE are highly communicable little bugs that actually dig tiny tunnels into the skin where they cause intense itching, inflammation and hair loss. Many, many cases of skin itching (called “pruritus”) in dogs and cats have been diagnosed by veterinarians as “Allergic Dermatitis” when in fact the pet had sarcoptic mites. (See the article called (ITCH AND SCRATCH) http://www.thepetcenter.com/gen/itch.html). The difficulty lies in the fact that Sarcoptic Mite infestation really does look like an allergic dermatitis because the skin is reacting to an irritant... just like an allergy! The intense itching results in self trauma, hair loss, and dry crusty skin lesions. In some cases the dog or cat can lose large areas of fur and literally be covered with crusts and scabs. Scabies mites can affect humans, as well. A swift diagnosis of sarcoptic mites is vital to the pet’s health and the well being of the pet’s owner. Generally, in healthy humans who are not immune suppressed, the Scabies Mites do not reproduce very readily and may simply “go away” without medical treatment. If you are in doubt about human cases of Scabies, consult your physician.

A further unfortunate happenstance with the misdiagnosis is that far too often veterinarians will quickly reach for the cortisone, for example Prednisone, as a way of combating the effects of the “Allergic Dermatitis”. The cortisone is not a cure... it simply lessens the itching and scratching and the dog or cat feels more comfortable. The danger here is that IF the pet really has scabies mites and NOT an allergic dermatitis, the mites welcome the cortisone with open arms... er, ah... I mean legs! And they have eight of ‘em! The cortisone allows the sarcoptic mites to reproduce more rapidly and decreases the dog or cat’s ability to defend against the mites. The mites have a reproductive festival after cortisone products are administered

And here’s another problem... sarcoptic mites are very elusive. Ordinarily, skin scrapings are utilized to pick up mites from the skin, a few drops of solution is applied to the scraping and the substance is examined under the microscope for the presence of mites. Cheyletiella are easy to find, (Demodex) http://www.thepetcenter.com/exa/dem.html are easy to find, ear mites are easy to find... scabies mites seldom are found. Take as many scrapings as you like, even go deep into the skin, and the odds are that you still will not find the scabies mites. This has led many an unwary veterinarian down the road to misdiagnosis. After all, if no mites are found on this itchy, inflamed pet with hair loss and skin sores, it must be an allergic dermatitis, right?

Some veterinary schools who accept referrals to their dermatology specialists will not accept a pet for allergy testing until a trial treatment of Ivermectin medication is used first. Then, if the pet is still itching and scratching after a few weeks trial period, they will consider examination the dog or cat for allergy testing and treatment. That’s how common it is for Sarcoptic mites to be mistaken for Allergic Dermatitis... the specialists want mites to be ruled out first before they begin allergy testing. There is a new product, described below, available to your veterinarian from Pfizer Animal Health that may be an excellent medication for the treatment of Sarcoptic Mites.

This amazing chemical has been used for years as a large animal (farm animal) dewormer. It is also the active ingredient in the famous Heartworm preventative called Heartgard. Scientists and practitioners found out that if used IN THE CORRECT DOSE, Ivermectin, either injected or given orally, can kill sarcoptic mites! This is a fabulous discovery since dogs no longer have to endure chemical dips and sprays to eliminate scabies mites. The Ivermectin, IN THE CORRECT DOSE, can successfully treat dogs for sarcoptic mites. Now... here’s the downside: Some dogs have a genetically determined sensitivity to Ivermectin!

FROM THE WASHI8NGTON STATE UNIVERSITY VETERINARY SCHOOL website: It is well known that Collies and related breeds can have adverse reactions to drugs such as ivermectin, loperamide (Imodium®), and others. It was previously unknown why some individual dogs were sensitive and others were not. Advances in molecular biology at the Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory at Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine have led to the discovery of the cause of multi-drug sensitivity in affected dogs. The problem is due to a mutation in the multi-drug resistance gene (MDR1). This gene encodes a protein, P-glycoprotein, that is responsible for pumping many drugs and other toxins out of the brain. Dogs with the mutant gene can not pump some drugs out of the brain as a normal dog would, which may result in abnormal neurologic signs. The result may be an illness requiring an extended hospital stay--or even death. A test has recently been developed at Washington State University to screen for the presence of the mutant gene*. Instead of avoiding drugs such as ivermectin in known susceptible breeds, veterinarians can now determine if a dog is normal, in which case the drug can be administered or abnormal, in which case an alternative treatment can be given. Owners and breeders can submit samples for testing. All that is needed for the test is a cheek brush sample that can be obtained by the owner and sent by mail for analysis.

Affected Breeds

Approximately 3 of every 4 Collies in the United States have the mutant MDR1 gene. The frequency is about the same in France and Australia, so it is likely that most Collies worldwide have the mutation. The MDR1 mutation has also been found in Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties). Australian Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs, German Shepherds, Long-haired Whippets, Silken Windhounds, and a variety of mixed breed dogs.

The only way to know if an individual dog has the mutant MDR1 gene is to have the dog tested. As more dogs are tested, more breeds will probably be added to the list of affected breeds. Ivermectin is not approved to be used in this manner. So your veterinarian should let you know this prior to getting your permission to utilize Ivermectin therapy in the treatment of scabies in dogs and cats. You can retain some confidence to know that it is in common usage, and has been for a number of years, for the treatment of scabies in pets. It simply has not been tested by the manufacturer and approved by the FDA to be used in this manner. You are on your own, you and your veterinarian, in the decision-making arena regarding whether or not to use it to treat sarcoptic mites. Your alternative is to use insecticide dips and sprays. Additionally, if the wrong dosage is given, the pet can have a very serious and even fatal reaction to Ivermectin. The correct dose MUST be given and great care taken not to give too much. All pets in contact with an affected animal should be treated since there can be asymptomatic carriers (they have the disorder but aren’t showing any signs of disease) of the sarcoptic mites. Pfizer Animal Health has released a new product called Revolution that is approved for use on dogs for the elimination of Sarcoptic mites. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about this. There are a number of treatments available to eliminate Sarcoptic Mites from dogs and the veterinarian will decide which may be best for each individual case. All dogs with scabies mites need to be on a high quality, meat-based diet... and many will benefit from supplements such as Vitamins and Fatty acids. See PetFoodDirect.com for home delivery of skin specific supplements and Vitamins... plus an excellent breakdown of many pet diets and their ingredient lists. If your dog is being treated over and over (unsuccessfully) for "allergies" with cortisone products and has never had Sarcoptic Mites actually ruled out as a possible cause of the skin condition, ask your veterinarian about the advisability of a trial treatment for scabies... just in case.

THE BEST FOOD FOR DOGS

written by T. J. Dunn, Jr. DVM on Tuesday, September 15, 2009


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What is the best food to feed a dog? Every day veterinarians are asked that question by dog owners. It's a sincere question because most dog owners want to feed the Good health begins with proper nutrition.best diet regardless of price or convenience of acquisition. The content of this page is my opinion regarding the "best" dry food and how to determine what you think is "best" to feed dogs. Please understand that the entire discussion on this page relates to healthy dogs with no kidney, thyroid, food allergy or other abnormal conditions. Here is why it is strictly an opinion... there is no single answer to the question "What is the best diet to feed a dog?" Or if there is an answer it is this "It depends". Over the past 37 years I have been examining dogs and cats in my practices I have made it a point to ask the owner "What diet are you feeding?" I have gotten all sorts of answers but in every case I relate the owner's response to what I am seeing in the patient. And over the years my suggestions regarding what to feed have changed. Originally I took the pet food manufacturer's declarations as fact... that an assortment of "Complete and Balanced" pet foods were perfectly nourishing because that wording was not legally permitted on pet food labels unless feeding trials demonstrated its veracity. I eventually discovered I was mistaken in the belief that any "Complete and Balanced" dog food was appropriate to feed.

In 1978 I had an awakening. A number of clients were presenting dogs to me that had coarse hair coats and slightly greasy and flaky skin; and often these dogs (and cats!) had chronic itchy skin, hot spots, ear infections and seemed overweight. So... they were over-caloried but under-nourished. Their calorie intake was up but the food they were consuming simply... no matter that the pet food label indicated "Complete and Balanced"... was not providing a proper nutrient spectrum to the dog. Sometimes I would simply say that some fatty acid supplements "might help". I was a believer in those "Complete and Balanced" diets. One of the reasons I couldn't see what was going on regarding these dogs with poor health signals relating to diets was that some of the "Complete and Balanced" diets were resulting in well nourished dogs, partly because the owners were feeding table scraps as well. (I'll jump ahead a bit and tell you the defining element that separated the good "Complete and Balanced" diets from the poor ones was this: The poor diets were based on corn (corn was listed as the first ingredient in the ingredient list on the label) and the good diets were based on chicken or some other meat source (chicken, lamb, beef,Different life styles impact nutritional requirements poultry, etc. were listed first on the ingredient  list).

I was always instructed, and learned in the few nutrition courses in veterinary school (nutrition is much better covered in veterinary school these days) that an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in a dog's diet would lead to health disasters. This holds true today, too. I was instructed that "since meat is high in phosphorus and lower in calcium, too much meat is not good for dogs over long periods of time". (Many people still confuse the disastrous all meat diets with meat-based diets; one is not good the other is ideal.) Grain-based diets for dogs, and even more so for cats, do not make nutritional sense and that was exactly why I was seeing those patients with the dry and flaky, sometimes greasy skin and coarse hair coats. They were eating "Complete and Balanced" grain-based diets with nothing else added. Why add anything when it is "Complete and Balanced" already?

My enlightenment came one day, decades ago, when I saw another litter owned by a local Bloodhound breeder. This fellow seemed to me to be quiet and A healthy ten year old dog with a shiny coat and keen intellectunassuming, didn't act like a "know-it-all", didn't ever have to bring any of his dogs in for anything other than vaccinations. When I'd ask him what he was feeding his dogs we would get into our annual nutritional discussion and I'd keep warning him about the home-made recipe and all that meat he had been feeding his dogs for years. Funny thing was, his dogs were among the very best I had ever seen. All his litters, and adult dogs, were robust, had perfect skin and coats even at six weeks of age, and never had to come in for skin problems, skeletal dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems or oral health issues. This breeder was sending his pups all over the country and there I was trying to tell him to be careful about "feeding too much meat" and I'd talk about such things as "a 'Complete and Balanced' commercial dog food would be best, make sure you don't get skeletal problems". I wondered why I felt rather foolish instructing him because I honestly thought his dogs were in optimum health. The answer came to me, finally, on its own. It seeped into my consciousness after years of seeing a pattern. The key to the healthy dogs' diets was that they were consuming a diet based upon meat and the poor doers were eating diets based upon grain such as corn! For more on this subject read this page.

According to pet industry consultant Dave Geier of Geier Enterprises, Highlands Ranch, CO, “Pet food companies invest over $100-million each year in research and development. This includes both basic research into new and improved formulations as well as the protocols to validate their efficacy.” All this ongoing research andClick to browse the pet food and supply store in a new window! ENJOY! development bodes well for dog owners because the more we know the better we become at taking care of the dogs and puppies in our lives. Geier goes on to say that “The ingredients in some high-end pet foods have never been better.”

I have noticed that today's meat-based diets are far superior to what was commercially available twenty-five years ago. Dog owners are finally understanding the need for meat and poultryDiets rich in animal proteins do not cause kidney damage in healthy dogs and cats. products as a foundation for superior nutrition for dogs. And the myth about "all that protein causing kidney damage" has finally gone the way of such proverbs as milk causing worms and ear cropping preventing ear infections. If you need to know more about the fact that dietary protein does not harm the kidneys, read this.

Therefore, one of the parameters you need to know when you are trying to determine the best food to feed your dog is this: Is the diet meat-based or grain-based? The meat-based diets are the best choice. (Remember, we're talking about normal dogs, not those with heart, thyroid or other abnormalities.) I prefer chicken as the first (main) ingredient when I recommend a dog food because I have seen so many dogs on chicken-based diets that were in really excellent health. Lamb, turkey, fish, beef and venison all are good choices, too, but subtle nutritional variations in amino acid spectrum and the fatty acid composition contributed by the "meat" may be different when these protein sources are compared to chicken. That's just my opinion; don't stop feeding a lamb and rice diet if your dog looks and acts great!

Veterinary nutrition specialist Dan Carey is a co-author of an excellent text called CANINE AND FELINE NUTRITION, and numerous other published articles that all dog owners and breeders should read. He works in Research and Development at The Iams Company. He believes strongly that dogs should be fed properly well before any breeding activities begin. “The bitch should be at or within five percent of her ideal body weight. Excess weight is associated with increased complications and excess weight in the final third of gestation is associated with over-sized puppies. Her fatty acid status should be normalized by feeding a diet that contains proper amounts and ratios of fatty acids. If she has had previous litters, each successive litter places a nutritional drain on her. One of the nutrient types that are depleted are fatty acids. If the bitch is fed a diet without a balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (5;1), her own fatty acid index will go down on successive litters.”

Nursing dogs require a higher caloric intake of properly balanced foodWhat’s the best dog food to feed your dog? The answer is “that depends”. In truth, there seems to be no single dog food that is the best for all dogs and all puppies. So what should you look for in a high quality dog food? Here’s what I suggest to my clients: Look at the dog food labels. In the GUARANTEED ANALYSIS look for the Protein content to be at least 30 percent, the Fat to be at least 18 percent, preservatives to be via Vitamin E and/or C and look for Omega Fatty Acid to be present. Supplementation can be harmful, especially calcium supplementation to a pregnant bitch. If a good quality dog food is being fed no special supplementation should be needed. If a supplement is required to make the dog look or feel better or whelp healthier pups, you should instead change the food. Optimum nutrition demands that protein, fat, carbohydrate and micronutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and enzymes are in balance with each other. Therein lies the danger of a breeder supplementing an already properly formulated diet! Recall Geier’s statement about all that research that’s gone into the food’s formulation. How are you to know what supplement to add and in what quantity to “improve” the foods’ value? Should you be adding whole foods such as eggs, cottage cheese, or meat to the dog’s diet? Again, if a high quality, highly digestible commercial food is fed that meets the previously mentioned percentages of nutrients, adding table food may undo some of the balance and quantities of nutrients being fed to the dog. So be cautious and self-critical about supplementing a dog’s diet in the hope of improving an already balanced, scientifically established formula.

When you make that purchase decision it is best made after some critical study... on your own.

You will encounter individuals, just as I have, who will dog, ah, shall I say it... dogmatically state that XYZ dog food is THE BEST because it has ABC in it and no Ps and Qs!  And if you even think of feeding your dog anything other than XYZ you are doing your poor dog a disservice because it will develop cancer, arthritis, be immune suppressed, have allergies and won't sire or whelp healthy puppies.  Plus it will probably have a bad temperament!  I usually ask the person if they, as I have, took college level Biochemistry, Animal Nutrition, Comparative Anatomy, Genetics, Physiology, Microbiology, and so on.  I continue politely to say that with my academic background I feel well prepared to make my own judgment calls regarding what I will feed my own dogs and what I recommend to my clients.  Be prepared to defend your decision!

Let us take a look at four dry dog food labels and pretend you are at the store trying to decide which to purchase. Remember that protein, ideally, according to an experienced specialist in animal nutrition, should be listed as at least 30 percent. Keep in mind that dogs utilize fat well and some nutrition specialists think that at least 18 percent is ideal. I know which one of the diets I would pick if I have to take only one of the four. Take a look at a number of dog foods at a pet food specialty store and at the grocery or mass marketer store. Keep track of prices per pound. You will notice that the foods that are grain-based are less expensive per pound to purchase than the meat based foods. However, numerous studies have shown that the cost per feeding for a less expensive grain-based food is very near the cost per feeding of a more expensive (better quality) meat-based food because the recommended amounts to feed per pound of dog is higher (more food needed) when the grain-based foods are fed. In short... the dog needs to eat more poor quality food than higher quality food to maintain caloric needs.

DOG FOOD #1

Guaranteed Analysis

Ingredients

Crude  Protein

(min.)

24.00 %

Crude  Fat

(min.)

14.50 %

Crude  Fiber

(max.)

4.00 %

Moisture

(min.)

10.00 %

Phosphorus

(min.)

.90 %

Calcium

(min.)

1.20 %

 

Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega-3)

(min.)

.60 %

(Omega-6)

(min.)

3.70 %

Vitamin  E

(min.)

200.00

IU/KG

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

(min.)

50.00

mg/kg

Cellulase (a)

(min.)

100.00

CMCU/kg

Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, White Rice, Lamb Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract), Herring Meal, Flax Seed, Sun Cured Alfalfa Meal, Sunflower Oil, Chicken, Lecithin, Monocalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Linoleic Acid, Rosemary Extract, Sage Extract, Yeast Culture, Dried Enterococcus Faecium, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Inulin (from Chicory root), Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Fermentation Solubles, Yucca Schidigera Extract Mixed Tocopherols (source of Vitamin E), Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (source of B2), Beta Carotene, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, D-Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Dried Papaya, Vitamin B12 Supplement

DOG FOOD #2

Guaranteed Analysis

Ingredients

Crude Protein, not less than   21.0%
Crude Fat, not less than   8.0%
Crude Fiber, not more than   5.0%
Moisture, not more than   12.0%

 

Ground Yellow Corn, Meat Meal, Ground Wheat, Soybean Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of natural Vitamin E), Salt, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Choline Chloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydro- chloride, Biotin, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Copper Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Magnesium Oxide

     

 

DOG FOOD #3

Guaranteed Analysis

Ingredients

Protein  12.5% (min)   
Fat     13% (min)
Crude Fiber     3% (max)
Calcium     0.50%  (min)
Phosphorus     0.40%  (min)

Chicken, corn meal, ground grain sorghum, ground wheat, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), corn gluten meal, brewers rice, chicken liver flavor, vegetable oil, dried egg product, flaxseed, DL-methionine, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid, minerals (potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), rosemary extract, beta-carotene, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), niacin, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement).

 

DOG FOOD #4

Guaranteed Analysis

Ingredients

Protein  23% (min)   
Fat     12% (min)
Crude Fiber     4% (max)
Moisture  10%
Ash    9%

Chicken Meal, Whole Wheat Flour, Ground Rice, Lamb Meal, Poultry Fat (Preserved with Tocopherols and Ascorbic Acid), Ground Wheat, Dried Whole Egg, Lecithin, Fish Meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Wheat Germ Meal, Dried Kelp, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, DL-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source of Vitamin E), Zinc Oxide, Selenium Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper and Cobalt, Niacin, Ascorbic Acid (Source of Vitamin C), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, D-Biotin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

In my practice I tell all dog owners that they should be feeding the best dog food they can get all year long... not just during hunting season, not just during growth,Thanks for making the right choices for me! not just during the summer when the dog is more active, not just during breeding and lactation. Does it make sense to feed a poor quality of food at any time? Your dog can't make the choice so you have to. And do not fall back on the excuse that the high nutrient density meat-based foods cause a dog to "get overweight". They become overweight if you feed too much food for the dog's activity level! If you don't believe that, look here. I suggest to breeders that if you make the decision to breed your dog, you must also make the commitment to provide the best nourishment possible. Expense should not be a consideration when it comes to selecting a high quality diet being fed all year long, not just during times of stress such as pregnancy and lactation. As Dr. Carey emphasizes “Don't cut corners on the best diet you can get for the most demanding period of a dog’s life and the most important time for a good healthy start for puppies.” Does your own philosophy regarding nutrition need some updating? Exercise, optimum body weight and high quality nutrition are your key concepts to evaluate. Be critical of old ideas, be wary of potential myths, reconsider the addition of supplements, and do a little independent study to learn about current knowledge of canine nutrition. Then watch your dogs flourish.

In conclusion: I recommend that a dog owner look at the pet food label. Look at the ingredient list and a meat such as chicken should be listed as the first ingredient. Look at the guaranteed analysis to see that the protein level is at 30% or more. The fat content should be at 18% or more. And if there is a rather wide spectrum of ingredients such as omega fatty acids and Vitamin E, that's good, too. There should be NO FOOD COLORING! If you find a few diets that meet this criteria, and there are quite a few from which to choose, you just might have the confidence that you are feeding the best dog food you can get.

So that's my opinion of what dog food is best. There are a number of them but you need to be selective and you probably will have to pay more for them. Will a dog survive and do well on lesser quality foods? Maybe... a professional race car will probably finish a race using poor quality gas, too. But it will never perform to its intended and maximum potential if the fuel is poor quality. If you are feeding a generic, grain-based dog food and your dog looks and feels great, my guess is that the dog is also getting table food. Adding chicken scraps, vegetables, cottage cheese, eggs and other "people food" often upgrades the total nutrients in the dog's diet. But that's another story we will shed light on some day. In the interim, look at this page.

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