Corn, wheat, soy, chicken beaks, intestines, feathers, feces… do these sound like ingredients that your hunting partner can thrive on? Not at all! We will start with saying that dogs are carnivores, therefore; they should be eating meat, not loads of grains! The three main grains that you want to keep out of your dog’s food are corn, wheat, and soy. Dogs cannot process these ingredients. They oftentimes produce shedding, itching, dry skin, hot spots, ear infections, eye drainage, throwing up, diarrhea, and allergies. Consuming grains can also make your dog become overweight. These things don’t just happen overnight. When you feed a low quality food without all of the nutrients you dog needs to prosper, it slowly wears them down and their body systems start to deteriorate.
How do you know what to feed? The main thing you want to look at in a food is the ingredient list. The ingredients are always listed in descending order by weight. You always want your first few ingredients to be specific meat or meat meals such as chicken meal, duck meal, or salmon meal. If it is listed as meat meal with no specific protein source, you want to stay far away from it because you have no idea what they are using. The other fact that you need to be cautious about when picking a food is it containing animal by-products. These are simply the parts of an animal that are of such low quality they are rejected for human uses. They can be beaks, feathers, hooves, skin, feet, undeveloped eggs etc. Other things to check for in your food are chemicals preservatives (BHA, Ethyoxoquin etc.). These are known carcinogens.
The surprising fact in the pet food world is that a lot of the very well-known name brands are absolute garbage. Just because a company can put on an awesome commercial, does not mean that they produce a quality food (Despite what their commercial may say). If you can, stick to an all-natural food made in the USA or Canada. Big box stores and grocery stores are not the place to get your pet food. Seek out somewhere that carries all- natural and grain-free options.
The actual purchasing of a higher quality food may be a little more expensive, but dollar for dollar it actually ends up being the same price or cheaper per serving then a low quality food. You will not have to feed as much of foods that are loaded with the protein, fat, and nutrients that dogs need. Your hunting pal will be utilizing the majority of the food, so he won’t have to eat as much. For the same reason, he will also have a lower stool volume. You will ultimately have lower vet bills because your dog is getting all of the correct nutrition that he needs to be a healthy member of your family.
We have just touched on a few things that are important in choosing a quality pet food for your working dog. Go take a look at the ingredients in your dog’s food and see if any changes need to be made. A simple switch in dog food can help your dog live a healthier, more energetic life. It may also make problems that seem impossible to fix like reoccurring ear infections just disappear. Nutrition is very important and plays a large role in the well-being of your working dog.
By Bre Krueger
Professional Dog Trainer