Dog foods – What the dog should really eat

Dogs are carnivores. However, this term is somewhat misleading as the dog not only eats the flesh of its prey but the entire animal, warts and all. In this way the dog gets all essential nutrients from the prey. This includes the minerals and vitamins contained in blood, bones and internal organs as well as any plant matter present in the prey’s stomach. A food portion consisting of meat only is therefore not to be regarded as adequate. The dog’s maintenance metabolism energy requirement varies greatly and depends on the dog’s age, activity level, length and density of hair, the amount of subcutaneous fat, living conditions and whether or not she is pregnant.

Three categories of ready-to-use dog food are available: Wet or tinned food with a moisture content of 70 to 80 percent presented in tins or small dishes. Dry food, where up to 90 % of the moisture was removed and available as flakes or pellets. And finally semi-moist food whose moisture content is fixed at 14 to 30% by moisture binding substances and which is processed to stick, ring or cube shaped products. All three categories are nutritionally balanced complete foods differing mainly in their moisture content. Apart from complete foods, there are co-called mixers to which, if they are rich in proteins (such as dried meat), you will need to add grain in form of oat flakes or rice, or, if they are rich in carbohydrates (such as cereal flake mixers), meat and other meat products, in order to provide a complete meal.

Wet food more popular than dry food

How easily a food is accepted by a dog depends on various sensory inputs such as smell and taste. Usually, wet foods come out first before semi-soft and dry foods in a popularity contest. This is mainly due to the fact that the appetizing odours and flavours are more apparent in moist foods. The variety of so-called supplementary foods is almost inconceivable. It is available in form of biscuits, strips, chunks, rolls etc. and particularly palatable to the animals. However, this does not necessarily mean that it is particularly “healthy” or should be given as complete food. It is suitable as a treat in training or to satisfy the dog’s need to chew. Such additional treats need to be included in the daily energy intake.

Bones are problematic

A word about the controversial feeding of bones to dogs. Do not feed venison or poultry bones as they are brittle and splinter easily. Even feeding pig and beef bones is not without danger: Bone segments or smaller bones may lodge in the dog’s gullet if swallowed hastily or cause a bowel obstruction. Feeding bones can often be accompanied by a changing consistency of faeces. The faeces become “bone-dry” and the dog has difficulty defecating or is completely unable to do so.

You will then need to go to your vet in order to rid your animal from this ballast. However, the teeth cleaning ability of bones is undisputed. You can achieve the same effect by offering less dangerous commercially available raw hide bones or chew toys.

Call into your local Maxi Zoo store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Pet Experts.