What we feed our pets is super important for keeping them both healthy and happy. With the rise of the 'furbaby' different dog feeding trends have grown in popularity. Whilst many of us have heard of these trends, not everyone knows what they mean or involve. Never fear, we are here to help! The following will help provide some insight which may assist you in making an informed healthy choice when feeding your furry family member.
Raw Food / Biologically Appropriate
As the name suggests, raw feeding involves giving your pet uncooked and unprocessed meats and bones, fruits, vegetables, eggs and some dairy. Citing an evolutionary basis, pundits state that the digestive anatomy of our domestic pets remains unchanged from their 'wild ancestor' the grey wolf. The theory behind this diet is that the food we give our dogs should mirror what they their bodies naturally evolved to eat.
This involves removing all grains from your dog's diet. Supporters of this diet cite 'biological appropriateness' as central to the view that grains aren't required as part of a dog's natural diet. This said, it is worth noting that there are several beneficial nutritional elements that are associated with grains.
One thing to also be mindful of is that it is not the grain but rather the starches that can adversely impact your dog's health. Starches are not just found in grains. Yeast is one culprit that, when the gut is not in a healthy state, can thrive off starches and cause allergic reactions such as itchy skin.
Vegetarian / Vegan
A vegetarian diet involves feeding your pet foods free from animal products. This is borne out of the philosophy that rejects the idea of using animals as a commodity. One thing to consider is that, whilst dogs are omnivorous, the digestive tract of a dog is different than that of a human. This means that their ability to process and absorb nutrients from a plant only diet may not have similar outcomes as they do for us. A vegetarian diet may suit a person's lifestyle, however care needs to be taken to ensure that your pet is receiving the appropriate nutritional intake.
Therapeutic / Condition Specific
These are diets or foods that are designed to address specific health conditions that your dog may be experiencing. Some conditions may include, sensitive stomachs, allergies, joint conditions, the list goes on… If you suspect your pet may have an ailment or condition, in the first instance, it is best to see your vet before prescribing a condition specific diet.
This is the idea that different or specialty diets should be consumed during different life stages. For instance, a puppy needs food with a different nutritional profile to an adult dog. Research suggests that this appears to be more of a marketing tactic than a solution to your dog's particular nutritional needs.
Our pet's can't tell us their food preferences and are beholden to what we provide as their care givers. More often than not, owners project their own diet preferences onto their pets. Regardless of your personal preferences, the choices you make should have your dog's health at heart.