Dog Nutrition

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Feeding dogs is similar to feeding babies only in that neither has much say in what they eat. They depend on us to make the right decisions. Decision making for your dog can be difficult because you can’t apply what is nutritionally good for us, directly to dogs. Compared to us, dogs have relatively few taste buds. They are also competitive feeders. They evolved to eat whatever is available and to eat it quickly. Watch any puppy at a food bowl and it’s obvious that the drive to eat is overwhelmingly potent. Like pigs at the feeding trough, puppies are competitive gorgers. From birth each pup is in competition with its siblings for its mother’s milk and then for solid food. Eat first. Eat fast. Eat most. This is an excellent gambit when food is scarce but for dogs fed by us, this brain-driven need to eat what is available is at the root of the most common nutritional ‘disease’ today, over-nourishment and obesity.

Some dogs eat grass because they like it but grass, roots, berries and vegetables are really only emergency sources of nourishment. Dogs find it difficult to digest these foods although when they are cooked, more nutrients do become available. Meat and fat are the basis of life and contain all the essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals they need. Vitamins and minerals are essential for energy conversion, enzyme activity and bone growth. Fibre is needed to promote good digestion and solid stools. And clean water, of course, is the very essence of life.

A Living World In Your Dog’S Intestines

Until birth your dog got all its nutritional requirements ready-made from its mother. Food arrived via its umbilical cord. At birth your dog’s digestive system took over responsibility for absorbing nutrients. But digesting mother’s milk needs help. That comes from the “good” bacteria present in her milk. As your dog grew it continued to receive new bacteria from the different foods it ate. Most of these bacterial ‘guests’ were transient and died off within a few days but some stayed longer creating a stable environment for digesting nutrients from food.

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