|Our Four Legged Family Members thrive on a Natural Allergen Free Diet|
I am often asked “What should I feed my puppy/dog” since my child has food allergies or sensitivities?” Read on to find out what the best diet is for Fido and Fluffy…
Turn on a T.V. or read a magazine and you will see commercials or print ads for Pet Food. Happy dogs (and cats); and claims that if we give our pet this food, they too will be happy and healthy. Just as we’ve become bombarded by the media with snack food and fast food commercials we have seen the rise in commercials for pet food. But how do you choose a diet that will keep your pet happy and healthy and your food allergy family members safe with the hundreds of products in your grocery store or pet retailer? First and foremost we must remember that our domesticated dogs are descendants of wolves. Wolves like humans are carnivores and need a meat based diet. Dogs do not have opposable thumbs, therefore you would not expect to see a dog in a corn field shucking an ear of corn for a meal. The question then becomes why feed your dog corn or grains? Think to yourself “what would my dog eat in the wild?” The answer of course would be meat.
Preparing dog food from scratch is the best diet for your pet. You can control what goes into the food and avoid allergens, while providing your dog a healthy diet. My Father began preparing dog food in the 1970’s which I now realize correlates to the date commercial dog foods introduced corn in their dry foods. Dogs can not digest corn, so it doesn’t make sense to feed it to them. Corn and other grains (carbohydrates) also elevate serotonin levels in dogs, which can lead to excitability and rowdy or aggressive behaviors. Several times a week I was responsible for making a “dog stew” which consisted of ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, peas, carrots, apples, blueberries, tomatoes, etc. Our dogs were happy and healthy and most lived to see their 14th birthdays and beyond. There are resources on the web that provide recipes for homemade dog food, so for those who are willing to invest the time and energy these would be a good place to start. Most importantly if you want to start your dog on a homemade diet talk to your vet. Certain breeds have specific nutritional needs and a good veterinarian can direct you to a proper feed for your dog.
Since the majority of us don’t have time to prepare food, an alternative would be a raw (typically sold frozen) or dehydrated food diet. These foods are typically found in health food stores, pet stores or can be purchased on line. Raw or dehydrated foods are typically made from meats, vegetables and fruits. Brands include: Natures Variety Grain Instinct Free Frozen Raw Food, Raw Advantage, Primal Pet Foods, Bravo!, and Natures Logic. Again, talk to your veterinarian if you choose this type of diet as specific breeds have specific nutritional needs.
Commercially available dry food is probably the most popular, and while I supplement my own dogs with homemade foods, it is what we feed. Several years ago I switched all of our 4 legged friends to a more natural, meat based dry food which is free of all grains (our allergen). Label reading will be important when selecting a dry food for your puppy or dog. There are now many companies who are producing healthy dry foods. A list of some of the healthier foods include: Taste of the Wild, Orijen, Addiction, EVO, Before Grain, Petcurean, Nutrisca, Wellness CORE, Acana, Blue Buffalo, and NOW brands.
Just remember, you are what you eat, and that saying applies to our 4 legged family members too!