I often get asked about dog food; which ones do I recommend, what do I feed my pack, what is best for dogs with allergies? All good questions! First let’s cover how to choose a high quality food. Can’t you just picture yourself standing in the aisle at the pet food store trying to read that tiny type on the side of the bag?
(Label pictured is for Kirkland adult dog food.)
Let’s start with looking at the first ingredient. The first ingredient should ideally be the main protein that you intend to feed (such as chicken, lamb or white fish). I like mine to be whole chicken….no chicken meal or chicken byproduct. But I will offer a word of caution, most dogs that are allergic to a protein source it will be chicken. I’m just lucky and my three dogs all do just fine on a chicken based food.
Next I look at the grains used in any perspective food. I avoid soy, corn and wheat. These are the top three dog food allergens. I am usually looking for things like brown rice, millet, barley or quinoa. These are higher quality grains with more fiber. Always avoid all foods that contain sugar or salt! There is no reasons to have these non-nutrient ingredients in you pups food.
Lastly I’m looking for things flaxseed for good omegas and fruits and veggies for taste and natural nutrients.
If you find a food with these basic components you will likely have found a good quality kibble for your best friend. Also I like to think you should be able to find food with quality ingredients and a agreeable price.
If you are looking for a limited ingredient or customized food there are more choices out there now than there has ever been! I was pleasantly surprised by some of these foods that can be made to order based on your dogs breeding, age, weigh and exercise levels! Here are a couple fun sites that have interesting concepts. I can’t vouch for their products as that I have not tried either of these but I love the idea.
It seems like everywhere we turn these days there are fun looking treats made just for our canine best friends. They are in every grocery store, farmers market and in mass at every aisle of your local pet store. We all love our pets nearly more than ourselves so it’s terribly hard to say no to them. But as with us, too many empty calorie treats equal bulging waists. Did you know your dog is supposed to have a waist? Well, let me tell you, they are! They should have a intent at their waist and you should be able to feel their ribs (not see them just feel them).
So with this bit of information the question is what can I give my buddy to eat that’s both delicious and healthy? Well, I’m so glad you asked! There are lots of great options of healthy delicious snacks for your pups! Some of them are so simple, inexpensive and likely already in your kitchen you’ll be shocked! Things like apples, carrots, lean cooked meat, plain yogurt, cooked sweet potatoes, bananas, cooked green beans, peanut butter (in limited amounts) and scrambled eggs. Here are a few more fun options; pineapple, Popcorn, oatmeal, peas, rice and pumpkin! Just make sure there isn’t any added sugar or salt. So with all these great options why buy expensive store bought junk food? I love giving my dogs a apple slice with a dab of peanut butter on it (also one of my favorite treats) as a treat for good behavior. This brings up a good point, one of the best things you can do for training a happy dog is make him or her work for you. What kind of work? How about a nice sit, stay or down? Dogs like to be praised and get treats, you like a well behaved dog, let’s call it a win win!
Here are some fun recipes;
Yummy Oat, apple, peanut butter treats
2 mashed bananas
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup of natural peanut butter
In a large bowl mash up two bananas with a fork until smooth, mix in the other ingredients. Mix until oats are moist and everything look consistent.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Put one large spoon of the mix in your hand and roll it like a meatball. Put them on a lightly oiled pan (pan or olive oil work well). Put them in rows with about 2 inches between them. Cook them for about 10 minutes or until they look slightly brown on top. Let them cool then treat that good dog!
Cool apple sauce, yogurt treats
2 cups of unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup of low fat PLAIN yogurt
1 chopped apple (whatever you have)
Put into a 1/2 cup single serve dish/bowl/cup and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Let your dog enjoy this yummy fun to lick treat.