Dog food - What's REALLY in it?
Have you ever stopped to think about the effect the food you give your dog may have on its health?
Have you ever given any thought to the way commercial pet foods are produced and packaged?
Do you read the labels to see if chemicals such as preservatives may be present?
Has the meat been treated to retain its pink colour and therefore eye-appeal on the shelf in the refrigerator at the supermarket?
Do you know the country of origin?
Has the packet of treats you are holding been made in Asia for example, by an Australian company?
What assurance is there that the ingredients are produced using safe and sanitary practices?
Are the grains, or any other ingredient present, genetically modified?
Has the fresh meat you bought come from animals fed hormones and antibiotics?
Or worse, and perhaps the most disgusting, has the meat come from say, cows (who are exclusively herbivorous and eat mostly grasses and legumes) that have been forced to eat the ground up remains of other mammals such as other cows or sheep?
That particularly revolting practice has also caused concerns in the production of food for humans.
Tricky, isn’t it?
So many things to consider.
Truth is, pet food and all facets of the companion animal sector of the business world are a multi-billion dollar industry and it’s doubtful that CEOs spend as much time thinking about the quality of the food as they do their shareholders and the bottom line. Pet food is produced at an astonishing rate and shelf-life is a big consideration.
That accounts for the preservatives that must be included to stop the food from spoiling before it may be sold. Other chemicals are added for taste appeal for the pet. Fillers are used to extend the production and are often indigestible grains such as soy. Some of the medical (and perhaps behavioural) problems seen in dogs may be attributed to diet. One of the things I see frequently is “smelly ears”, sometimes confused with “smelly dog”.
Think about this.
Here is a scenario to consider…how smelly ears can result in a dog losing its home. Client will complain that their dog “smells”. Sometimes it gets so bad that the poor dog is booted outside. The dog then complains bitterly at this dismissal and then it manifests behaviours to get attention. This might be barking, digging or escaping, just to name a few. Things get so bad that one day a neighbour complains. The owner gets fed-up with the dog and carts it off to the local shelter to rehome. Imagine if the owner took the time to investigate the bad odour emanating from their dog.
Bad smells in ears are usually attributed to yeasts and other organisms. Yeasts and other organisms are present everywhere and in all of us but usually kept under control by our immune systems. Sometimes these organisms flourish at a rate that the immune system is overwhelmed and needs help. Most of our immunity is formed in our gut, particularly in the lower bowel where most of the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients takes place. Good gut flora, or beneficial bacteria, is essential for this occur. It’s the same for dogs. So what is the connection to food, I hear you ask? The adulterated foods we feed our dogs can compromise their immune systems and may cause the inflammation that presents as ear and skin problems. The skin is the largest eliminative organ and can be working overtime. This may result in reddened looking skin and malodorous ears.
To try to prevent this from occurring, examine honestly the food you are giving your dog. Simple is ALWAYS better. By simple I mean as close to nature as possible and always, always Australian produced, grown and packaged. Again, I suggest a grain free dry food and a simple wet food with as few ingredients listed on the label as possible. It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money to feed your dog a healthy, wholesome diet.