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We are often reminded “you are what you eat”.  We are encouraged to read labels, avoid saturated fat, sodium, refined sugar, preservative laden food, hormone enhancement and the list goes on, and on.  It is a small leap from monitoring our own nutritional needs to monitoring those of our dogs.   There is no one commercial or “home cooked” dog food concoction that is “one size fits all”.   It is true for us and true for our dogs that age, weight, activity level, breed (well, maybe not so much so for us), allergies (YES, dogs do occasionally have allergies!), and health issues, are among the considerations in making appropriate food choices for our dogs. 

Good gauges for whether our dog’s diet is working for him are healthy weight, glossy, healthy coat and skin, temperament (YES, again, food absolutely can be linked to  temperament and behavior issues) and, delicately put, his “output” – the volume and frequency of his bowel movements.

A healthy, nutritionally sound diet will usually result in less “poop scooping” ,one of our least favorite tasks, because he is digesting and utilizing his food, rather than depositing its mostly useless components.  Poor quality, though not necessarily cheap, foods are often loaded with grains and highly questionable animal “by product”.   Whether your dog is eagerly eating his meals, or not, can also be indicative of food quality, or a symptom of extremely inflated feeding instructions on the product . . . way too large a portion.

Reading labels, educating yourself regarding your dog’s dietary needs will contribute to ensuring a long, healthy life and an ability to focus, train, perform and participate in family activities.

“What does your dog eat; how frequently; and does he finish his ‘meal’ eagerly,” are among the first ‘get acquainted’ questions I pose to new clients.  It is often an “ah ha” moment when, together, we read the labels and talk about the ingredients, preservatives, dyes and sugars reflected there.

Diet changes should take place gradually, but the effects are often realized very quickly.

Become familiar with local sources of quality dog food and treats (YES, treats count, too!) and discuss feeding concerns with a knowledgeable proprietor.  Quality dog food and treats are NOT cheap, but they are way less expensive than veterinary bills.  Good food is an investment in your dog’s life and health. 

See my recommendations page for sourcing great quality food and well versed advice on dog (and cat!) nutrition.  Check it out!

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