Sometimes Doing the Right Thing is the Wrong Thing~ We have spent the past several weekends participating in pet events at which we introduced our product and met a lot of great pet owners. All were concerned about their dog’s nutrition and shared their stories with us. Many of them have taken action and are supplementing their dog’s diet with the same wholesome meats, vegetables and carbohydrates that they eat. Of course, we are all about homemade so we applaud that trend. However, there are some risks when commercial dog food is supplemented with human grade food. It can actually result in an unbalanced diet or promote unwanted weight gain.
Both are unhealthy for the dogs.
Commercial dog food is formulated based on the calorie content. What this means is that essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals are added to food based on the calorie needs of the dog. In other words, a dog must eat the specified amount of calories (cups or cans) suggested on the label to get the essential nutrients that it needs.
If the dog does not eat the daily required amount of commercial food then the diet will not be complete.Those adding human grade food to the diet generally reduce the amount of commercial food so total nutritional requirements are not met. Most dogs prefer the human food and voluntarily reduce the amount of commercial food they eat.
Because the human food is wholesome owners mistakenly think that it is providing the missing ingredients. As wholesome as the food is, it does not contain as much nutritional value as people think. Dogs fed this way may not be receiving enough calcium, certain minerals, certain vitamins certain amino and fatty acids and they may be getting too much phosphorus.
Overtime, this can lead to osteoporosis, anemia, skin problems and decreased mobility and activity. Veterinary vitamin and mineral supplements are not formulated to work with this type of feeding program so they are an inadequate solution.Commercial dog food feeding instructions are based on formulas of the calorie needs of dogs at various weights. Although every dog’s metabolism is different, the directions are close to that needed to support a healthy weight. If owners feed the required amount of commercial food to ensure adequate nutrients and then supplement with wholesome human food then the dog is getting too many calories and will become overweight.
Even small amounts of extra fat produce hormones and chemicals that are associated with joint disease, diabetes, certain cancers, kidney disease and respiratory problems. Owners are right to question the quality of commercial dog food.
Adding human grade food to a dog’s diet may seem like a good choice for pet owners, but is important to understand that the ingredients being added must also be nutritionally balanced. Why not just feed balanced and nutritious homemade dog food?
Dr. Ken Tudor,
THE DOG DIETITIAN