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Improve Your Dog's Health With a Natural Diet - Health Food

Even though the Lifestyle Healthy site is all about a healthy lifestyle
for humans, it's also good to remember that our pets benefit from a
healthy lifestyle as well. And as with humans, dog health and cat
health starts with healthy food.



by Brigitte Smith

It goes without saying that your dog needs suitable nutrition to
remain healthy. Vets and pet food manufacturers often have
differing views on appropriate nutrition for your dog. Although
commercial pet food manufacturers are motivated in large part by
profits, commercially prepared foods are routinely recommended
as part of an adequate, or good, diet for your dog. Sometimes
your vet or dog breeder may approve of commercially prepared
foods as your dog’s sole diet. Many experts, however, tend to
prefer a largely natural diet which for dogs is invariably
comprised of meat and bones. Raw is preferable to cooked, as
some of the minerals are definitely lost in the cooking process.

The reason why the commercially prepared pet food is so often
fed to our dogs, is because, apart from the convenience, it can
(depending upon the quality) actually contain many of the
nutrients which are essential to your dog’s wellbeing. The key
word here is quality. There are in fact very, very few
commercial manufacturers which produce nutrient-rich food. And
they're not the brands you find in your supermarket, or even in
most pet stores or vetinarians.

Raw bones with a little dry food as well as occasional rice or
pasta, and perhaps the odd quality food scrap from your table,
will generally contain most of the nutrients which your dog
needs.

All dogs must obtain reasonable nutrition from their food to
maintain excellent health and performance. The main nutrients
required by your dog are water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates,
minerals and vitamins. Vitamin or mineral deficiency in dogs fed
a commercially manufactured diet today is not widely publicised.
But then again, the slosh and dried formulae which are readily
available from your vet or the local supermarket are not your
dog’s natural diet. If your dog was left to fend for itself in
the wild (assuming it could manage to adapt, that is), would
choose raw meat. And one of the reasons why meat, and especially
bones, are so good, is the chewing action and the teeth cleaning
function which the bones perform. Of course, there are also
commercially prepared substitutes which can also effectively
clean your dog‘s teeth and satisfy his/her need to chew.

A lesser known fact is that to feed your dog only meat (with no
bones and no cereals or other carbohydrate source) can cause
severe deficiencies: your dog is likely to become lethargic,
sick, and even death has been known to occur from an all meat
diet. But what about dogs in the wild, I hear you ask? Isn’t
meat a dog’s natural diet? Isn’t that what you just said,
Brigitte? Well, yes and no: in the wild dogs eat the whole of
their prey, not simply muscle meat - they thus obtain vegetable
matter from the digestive tract of their prey, and calcium from
the bones. As well, wild dogs occasionally, but routinely, add
to their diet with plants, fruit and berries.

Most dogs relish some raw fruit and vegetables in their diet, so
long as that's what they're used to. A dog who has been fed
commercially prepared dog food all of its life won't be used to
the taste of fresh food, so may well turn up his/her nose if you
introduce such healthy food later in life. But persevere - try
hand feeding pieces of carrot or apple to begin with. And if
your dog is still very young, all the better. Start as you mean
to go on and feed him/her some raw fruit and vegetables from
time to time. Your dog's health will benefit!

(c) 2004, Brigitte Smith, Healthy Happy Dogs

Brigitte Smith is a dog lover with a special interest in natural
health for dogs. For your free special report, as well as weekly
tips, information, strategies and resources for a healthier
happier dog, go to http://www.HealthyHappyDogs.com and submit
your name and email address. Take a look around the site -
http://www.HealthyHappyDogs.com - while you're there - you'll
find lots of useful information.




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