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Dog Food or Junk Food?

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Dog Food or Junk Food?

Does it really matter what you feed your dog? Absolutely! What you put in is what you’ll get out. When you feed your dog a good quality food what you’ll get in return is a healthier pet, less visits to the vet, better dental health and more.

Many well, advertised dog foods include ingredients that are of little to no nutritional value to your dog (fillers- corn, wheat, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal) and may also be doing more harm than good. They include other sources of protein that are considered to have a lower biological value than meat protein but are used because they are cheap. As humans… we could survive on Twinkies, soda and potato chips but we wouldn’t be very healthy! So too with dogs who are served low quality dog food.




Dogs (and cats) have a natural and undeniable carnivore bias which means left to their own they would prefer meat as the major part of their diet (it’s in their dna). Their teeth are narrow and pointy. Their jaw is designed to tear and chop meat, it can only move in an up and down motion. True omnivores (and herbivores) have a jaw that can also move from side to side (like humans, cows etc) and they have flat back molar type teeth both of which allow for grinding of grains and plant material.

Is better quality food more costly? It would seem yes BUT typically with a better quality food the daily serving size is less so in many instances it evens out and price becomes a nonissue.

What is the best food to feed a dog? Well that depends on many things such as age, size, activity level and if your dog is a canine athlete (meaning they compete in canine sports) they will have different needs than the average companion animal. There are many high quality dog foods to choose from so my advice would be to do some research. A great place to start is you can search most any dog food on this site and it will tell you what’s in it, the purpose of each ingredient and how that dog food rates overall in quality.

What about raw vs dry or canned dog food? That is a hot issue but generally for the majority of dog owners dry or canned makes more sense. You really have to know what you are doing to feed a traditional raw diet. There is a lot that goes into making sure your dog gets all the necessary nutrients.

How much should you feed your dog? This also depends on a lot of factors such as age, size, weight, activity level etc. Every dog food has feeding “guidelines” and they are just that, “guidelines”. The guidelines are a good starting point but if Fido starts to get over weight then reduce his daily serving amount. Likewise if Fido begins to lose weight then increase his daily serving amount. Keep in mind that if you are like many dog owners who give their dog treats throughout the day you should feed your dog less at each mealtime to make up for the treats you are providing. A better action would be to cut back on the treats as they typically have less nutritional value than dog food. Otherwise Fido will most certainly become overweight.


Terie Hansen is Owner of Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care. Visit for more information.

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