There are a wide variety of canned foods on the market, but most are meaty and high in protein. These are often best served with crunchy dry food. How much you’ll need to feed your dog will, of course, depend upon it’s size, but a helpful rule of thumb is about one can for every 20 pounds of their body weight. Feeding dogs whenever they beg is not such a good idea as they learn very quick to do this out of habit, especially if they’re bored.
Complete dry foods have about four times as many calories as canned food, so lesser quantities will be needed. The caloric content of semi-moist food is about three times as much as canned, and also makes a complete meal in itself. It usually has a shorter shelf life than the other two varieties, its high carbohydrate content makes it ideal for active dogs, however it has more sugar and salt than is needed for a healthy animal.
Dog meals should be served at room temperature, and never offer spoiled food. Cat food is too high in protein to be suitable for dogs on a regular bases.
Commercial dog food can be supplemented with fresh food, which is a healthier way to go. Remember to read the labels on the packaging before making your purchase. Meat, not animal by-products, should be the first two ingredients. Avoid foods with soy beans and excessive amounts of corn. Brown rice, barley, oats or millet are better. Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, green vegetables, blueberries and cranberries are full of nutrients and are a better source for fiber and carbohydrates.
Avoid foods containing the chemical preservatives, BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin or propyl gallate. Instead choose foods preserved with tocopherol (Vitamin E) and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), garlic and rosemary.
Usually, but not always, your premium brand dog foods are the best, just be sure to read the ingredient labels, not the packaging ads. Holistic pet foods are usually the way to go with ingredients that are 100% natural, but again read the labels.
A Note on Preservatives in Dog Food
Preservatives in dog food are a necessity for a long shelf life. If the product you are buying says “no preservatives added” this only means that the dog food manufacturing plant did not add “any more”. Preservatives are added to the food in the rendering plants before it gets to the manufacturers.
Once the manufacturer gets it from the rendering plants they then have choices on how to preserve the fat in the food to prevent it from becoming rancid.
They can use the chemicals BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin or propyl gallate. If a fat is preserved with these chemicals, it will have a long shelf life and be little affected by heat and light, however they can have lasting damaging effects on your dog. If you see these ingredients, especially ethoxyquin, listed on your packaged food, move on to a healthier brand.
The manufacturer also has the choice to use natural preservatives, such as ascorbic acid, otherwise known as Vitamin C and tocopherol, which is Vitamin E. The down side is a shorter shelf life, no more than six months. Oils of rosemary and clove are also natural alternatives to preserving the fats in their products.
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