Food Suggestions for Your Dog

Food choices are personal. Each owner must decide what they think is best for their dog. There are many good options out there for your new pup. I am pretty flexible, however, I have strong opinions regarding raw diets. Raw food can carry salmonella and E.coli. These can, of course, make your dog sick. More importantly, these bacteria can remain in the dog’s mouth and on their face after eating and be passed along to the people in the household. I have also personally witnessed dogs become sick with other diseases when on a raw diet. Because of this, I am strongly against feeding raw. Lastly, dogs are not carnivores- they are omnivores and as such need much more than just meat to remain healthy. As spelled out in your contract- all guarantees for health are null and void should you choose to feed raw in our Westchester dog training program.

I’ve taken three webinars on dog nutrition and, wow, was it boring! But my boredom is your gain 😉. I have a few takeaways regarding dog food:
  • The most important part of dog food is its digestibility. It doesn’t matter what the ingredients are if your dog cannot absorb them. Good digestibility scores are above 80% which you can usually google. The second way to determine digestibility is to see it with your own eyes when you scoop the poop. If the food your dog is eating is coming out in the same condition it went in then find another brand.
  • The second component to look for when selecting a dog food is one labeled ‘all stages’. This means you can feed it from puppyhood through their senior years. All Stages of food are required to have optimal nutrition for puppies, adults, nursing mothers, and seniors. Because that is a big task it requires the food to meet a higher standard. There are a few exceptions for All Stages food. It is not good for giant breeds, puppies who are sickly or underweight, or seniors who are obese. For our Aussies, however, it works very well.
  • Third, avoid any food labeled ‘natural with added vitamins and minerals’. This label means the food source within that bag or can is not a high enough quality to supply those vitamins and minerals. Almost all vitamins/minerals should come naturally from the ingredients themselves.
  • I recommend quality dry kibble because it’s easy and complete, however, I also add in a variety of fresh food a few times a week. Mostly this food comes from my fridge- leftover veggies, meat, fruits, etc. Adding a small handful of fresh food three times a week has been shown to improve dog health. So this is your permission to share the ‘people food’ in your home with your dog… but be sure to subtract an equal amount of kibble so as to not overfeed. And of course, google any fruit you are sharing to make sure it is appropriate for your dog. Grapes, for example, are not.
  • Lastly, when choosing a food brand check it out on Dog Food Advisor. They have simple breakdowns of the quality of almost all dog foods available.

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