The Dog Food Secret

It’s the last day of January. How have your New Years Resolutions gone so far? Have you kept them or did they fade as quickly as your NYE hangover?
Well today your pooch gets a second chance with our Pretty Fluffy Healthy Eating in ’11 Guide. First Up: The Dog Food Secret…

What do I feed my dog? It was the number one question I got asked on a daily basis when I worked on TV pet shows. And if you take a quick look around at all the TV shows, internet forums, magazines articles and guide books out there it’s very rare that you’ll get a straight answer. There are a lot of theories as to why – some media outlets have food sponsors that they could upset by giving a definitive answer, some do not want the responsibility of thousands of dogs’ health and diet on their shoulders, and some just don’t have the resources to devote enough research time to the topic.

But the honest answer is that there is no way a multimedia outlet can ever come up with a diet suitable for every dog out there. There are just too many dogs with too many different needs. It aint gonna happen. But do you know what? YOU can do it for your own dog. How? With something I like to call ‘The Dog Food Secret’ – a how-to guide for choosing the best chow for your pooch in 2011. It’ll take some time and some effort… ok so half of you just clicked over to the Daily Fluffy… but the rest of you left, if you follow these steps I promise you’ll have your fluffy on the road to healthy eating in no time.

{Image via Pooch Poster}

1. Work it out – What does your dog need? There are so many pet food products out there and it can get confusing deciphering which is best for your pooch. The best way to start it to look at your dog’s size, energy requirements and age. A lively Jack Russell pup has completely different needs to an aging Golden Retriever. Start reading food labels, talk to your vet, talk to other dog owners – ask them what they use and why. As you go work out what categories your dog fits into and then you can start to take a look at the products out there.

2. Decide what type of dog food suits your lifestyle. Do you have time to cook fresh food nightly for your pooch? Do you buy in bulk and need long lasting dry food? Does your dog prefer eating a mix of wet and dry food? Does your dog have sensitive teeth and can’t handle dry kibble? Asking yourself questions like this will help narrow your search.

3. Read the Labels. Yes it’s boring and confusing. But this is possibly the most important step – make sure you do this before you pass go and collet your $200. As tempting as it may be to pick the cheaper products off the shelf when you’re out doing your groceries make sure you read the labels before you buy. Even some ‘premium’ pet products are little more than doggie junk food dressed up in fancy packaging. You’re looking for a protein source (chicken, beef etc) to be one of the main ingredients and you should be able to identify most of the ingredients listed as fresh produce. Although there’s going to be a few things in there formulated by vet nutritionists, you don’t want the fresh ingredients listed to be overwhelmed by preservatives and fillers. If you get too confused try to remember a popular rule of thumb for many experts is that a dog’s healthy diet should consist of around 40% meat, 50% veggies and 10% carbohydrates. And always check the use by date.

4. Would you eat it? Now that dogs are being recognised as important members of our families, more and more pet food products are flooding the shelves with human grade ingredients and including certified organics and grains. But unfortunately higher quality products often come with a high price tag.
Found a product that checks all the boxes so far, but you’re wavering on the cost? While it can be easy to dismiss more expensive options I always go by these two rules of thumb – 1) Are the ingredients high quality enough that even I would consider eating it? (No, you don’t HAVE to actually eat it) and 2) “Get your money’s worth.” While I understand everyone has a budget there’s no use in scrimping on food every day which could lead to expensive health problems down the track. Don’t look for the ‘cheapest’ OR the ‘fanciest’ – look for value for money.

5. Introduce your dog to their new chow. Because of their keen sense of smell and taste often dogs can be picky about a transition in their food. Starting with a 10/90% ratio begin to mix your fluffy’s new food into their regular meals. As they get used to it, increase this value until you are feeding your pup 100% new food. In this time watch for any allergies, weight gain/loss, changes in coat and energy to see how your dog is reacting to their new menu. Make adjustments where you need to and never be afraid to try something new if your current food is not working. Then sit back and watch your fluffy take on 2011 happier and healthier than ever! Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Healthy Eating in ’11 Guide in coming weeks.

NB. At any stage of choosing food for your dog, always think to consult your local veterinarian about the nutritional needs your dog may have.


How do you choose your dog’s food?
What are your favourite brands?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kay Johnson, Serena Faber Nelson. Serena Faber Nelson said: How to choose a healthy dog food.. […]

  2. […] View post: Healthy Eating in '11 – Part 1 | Pretty Fluffy […]

  3. […] My new favourite fluffy blog. The most perfect weekend activity found at Puppy Tales. A healthy start to […]

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