© Northland Boerboels 2012

Choosing a good food for your dog...is it really that important?

What to feed your dog is a big decision and will most likely be one of the biggest factors in how healthy and happy your dog is. Feeding your dog a good food not only increases the life span of your pet but it reduces health problems, allergy related problems such as skin, coat and ear problems and increases the overall health, wellness and happiness of your pet.

Finding a good food to feed your pet can be a tricky thing to accomplish. The reason being is that when we walk into a pet store and seek advice on what is a “good food” for our pets many times the sales associate steers us in the wrong direction. Maybe not intentionally, but the truth is that most of the people working in your local pet store know very little about pet nutrition and what makes a good pet food and only know what they have “heard” from others or have been told are good foods. I am definitely not claiming to be a nutritionist but based on a lot of time researching this subject I have found some pretty good information.

Many foods touted to be good by pet store associates, and even vets (vets get paid to sell their products by the manufactures and are trained exclusively on them in school) are horrible foods that are filled with cheap fillers, cancer causing preservatives, horrible meat sources (including those from rendered pets and diseased and rotten meat) and overall non-nutritious food for your pet. There are some GREAT resources on the web to find out exactly what kind of food you are feeding your dog and what you should be looking for and feeding to your pets.

Here are some very valuable websites that tell you more about what goes into your pet’s food:

* www.dogfoodanalysis.com – you can rate your current dog food here and look up better choices in dog food. This website is very informative and explains why each food is good or bad. I use this web site all the time to choose what I feed my dogs.

* http://www.acreaturecomfort.com- This is a very good website that tells you exactly what most major manufacturers put in your pet’s food. Very disturbing when you know what we are tricked into making them eat.

*http://www.naturalnews.com- “The true horrors of pet food revealed: Prepare to be shocked by what goes into dog food and cat food.”

*http://thepetgourmetonline.com- “Food Even a Dog Shouldn't Eat - Killing Our Pets with Every Meal.”

Examples of very poor quality foods that are commonly thought to be good foods:

Iams (all formulas)
Purina / Beneful (all formulas)
Nutro (most formulas, including Naturals and Max)
Eukanuba *Eagle Pack Pro Plan
Science Diet (all formulas)
Nature's Best
Pedigree (all formulas)
Royal Canine (most formulas)

*Canned foods vary in quality and are not necessarily the same quality as dry foods of the same brand. If you are interested in finding out about a canned food you can use the websites above to help you figure out the quality.

We believe in feeding our dogs a biologically appropriate diet. By this, we mean as nature intended them to eat and grains are not a natural part of their diet. The highest quality foods you will find are all grain free foods as that is how nature intended dogs to eat.  Grains are used as cheap fillers and  cause so many health  issues with allergies and are no benefit to the dog.

But what are some of the "good" foods?

* Innova EVO
* Nature'sVariety Instinct
* Nature's Variety Raw/Freeze Dried
* B.G. by Merrick
* Barking at the Moon by Solid Gold
* Orijen
* Canidae Platinum/Grain Free Salmon/Grain Free ALS
* Wellness CORE
* Artemis Maximal Dog
* Blue Wilderness by Blue Buffalo

*Please note*

Although the foods listed above are of superior quality they may not be appropriate for the specific nutritional needs of a growing large breed puppy. DO NOT feed your large breed puppy a  food made for puppies unless it specifically states it is for large breeds. Doing so can cause skeletal and joint malformations.

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By switching to a high quality food with better ingredients you can reduce your dogs weight (if overweight), increase weight (if underweight), reduce the amount of its excrement and how often they go potty, keep your dog healthier so they will have less vet visits, maintain healthy/shiny skin & coat, keep their immune system at it's strongest, keep their teeth cleaner, increase their lifespan by years and it will keep your dog looking its absolute best!

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In addition to feeding good quality kibble we strongly advocate the feeding of raw whenever possible. We do supplement raw game, beef, liver, chicken and tripe a few times a week. We also provide raw meaty bones for our dogs to exercise their jaws and provide a good source of calcium.