What is Healthy for a Dog to Eat?

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What is Healthy for a Dog to Eat?
What is Healthy for a Dog to Eat? (Image: Courtesy of http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/dog-best-friend-1.jpg)

Dogs are one of the oldest domesticated animals. We are not sure when people first lured wolves to come in and sit by their fire, or why. But we do know that from such beginnings came one of the most unique animal/human symbiotic relationships in the world. Over the centuries, dogs have been modified in so many ways to meet human desires that they no longer even remotely resemble their wild relatives. Despite the variations in size, appearance and temperament, all canines share the same basic nutritional requirements. This article will give you some ideas on what to feed your dog to maintain good health.

Essentials

Dogs are essentially carnivores. Their main source of energy should be supplied from protein derived from meat. Whether beef, chicken, fish or other animal, the main ingredient in any dog's diet should be a meat source. Although some vegetables and fiber are welcome in the dog's diet, they are not as necessary and certainly not as palatable. Meat can be raw as long as it is fresh. There is no necessity to cook it. If the meat is not safe for humans to consume, it is not safe for a dog to eat.

Benefits

The benefits of feeding a protein diet based on animal flesh are many. A shiny coat, well fleshed-in ribs, strong muscles, solid bones and teeth and sharp eyes are all outward signs of good health in your dog. Bagged dog food is perfectly acceptable as long as there is quality protein supplied from meat sources.

Significance

The significance of a high protein diet cannot be overstated. A dog's body is made to digest protein. His entire body is developed for eating meat. From his teeth to his stomach, a dog's biology is that of a carnivorous animal. Feeding a dog properly is hugely important to their well-being and overall health. Some people who choose the vegetarian lifestyle want to impose this diet on their pets. This can be detrimental to a dog's health. These animals developed in nature on a diet of pure protein. We can modify the protein source, but being too strict with a dog's diet, trying to keep it free from animal flesh, can have serious health consequences.

Misconceptions

It is a common misconception that dogs need vegetables. They do not. The reason that dogs and wolves eat grass or other plant material on occasion is to cause them to vomit and "clean out" their digestive system. If a dog is eating grass, he is sick to his stomach and is working on providing a natural solution. In nature a carnivore that eats plants is doing so to cause itself to void, by vomiting and passing feces, not because they enjoy the taste of plants or prefer them to meat. In general, it is not a good idea to feed a dog table scraps. See Resources for an article with tips on what is safe to feed a dog from the table.

Types

Types of dog food include processed and commercially available, or natural meat sources. The most obvious and most common type of dog food is the kind that can be purchased at the store. Most dog foods come nutritionally complete, and nothing needs to be added to support optimal health in your dog. Always read the label and follow feeding directions. Do not overfeed a dog, especially with fat. Too much fat intake can actually kill your dog by causing intestinal implosion. Feed approximately 1 pound of meat per 10 pounds of your dog's weight.

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