Are you contemplating whether you should get a puppy or adult dog as a pet? Have you already made your selection? Well, congratulations! You will have a friend for life!
Owning a puppy is, however, quite a responsibility! One of the first things any responsible dog owner needs to do is to make sure that their puppy has a good diet. There are many different dog food possibilities out there, ranging from dry commercial dog food, to canned food, to human food. Although we will be touching on dry food and canned food briefly, our main focus is going to be human food.
Dogs, in the wild, would have a raw food diet consisting of the muscle and organ meat as well as the stomach of their natural prey. As most dogs are family pets these days, the idea would be to feed them a diet similar to a raw food one in order for them to get the nutrients and minerals they need to stay healthy. The catch, however, is that, although most human food is great for dogs, not ALL human food is healthy for them.
Commercial dry dog food: the benefits and the drawbacks
Certain commercially available dried dog food has your puppy’s best interests at heart. They are out there and can be found if you look for them. The trick is to understand what the labels say and to do your homework!
The typical dry dog food pellets that many dog food manufacturers try selling to us, is not, generally speaking, very good for your dog. They may advertise them as being healthy and nutritious, with added vitamins and minerals. They might try selling you on the health aspects, saying that dogs eating this food are getting a wholesome meal that is actually beneficial for your dog’s health.
The truth is, very few of these commercial dog food brands are what they say they are. More often than not, they are full of fillers to give your dog a feeling of fullness while adding no value at all. Most commercial brands of dry dog food can be likened to what humans would call processed food. Remember, most processed food is bad for you, so why would it not be bad for your puppy as well? He is, after all, a member of your family.
One of the selling points is that dog pellets clean teeth. This is not so! Most dogs that are over three years of age eating dry dog food have dental problems. It might clean his teeth better than canned food, but better does not mean it cleans it properly.
Dogs that eat dry dog food are also more likely to develop bloat than dogs that do not. Due to exposure to high temperatures while being made, as well as the preservatives added, it means that most of the nutrients it could have or should have had, are destroyed.
Canned dog food
Canned dog food is food that is put into a can while still fresh. It is a great alternative for older dogs or dogs that do not like drinking water. The water content trapped in the can actually helps with hydration.
There is a negative side to canned food, however, in that it contributes to dental problems. Also, once opened, you have to finish the can because it has lost its shelf life. It is also not cheap.
Dogs and human food
‘Human food’ for dogs is actually fine. There is a lot that we and dogs can both eat. The problem, however, is that whereas dogs can eat most of what we do, there are certain foods that are toxic to dogs. Many people are not aware of this and often feed them to their dogs as treats and such. The end result is often a trip to the veterinarian, or worse yet, death. Do not kill your pet with what you think is a kindness. Rather read up on what is safe, and what is not.
Food you should never feed your puppy, no matter his age
The following is a list of human food you should never feed your puppy and why.
- Chocolate and caffeine
Chocolate and caffeine both contain methylxanthines. These chemicals are very dangerous to dogs, especially puppies. When ingested by dogs, they cause tremors, seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst, excessive urination (leading to dehydration), abnormal heart rhythm, a state of hyperactivity, or, the worst case scenario, death.
Avocados contain persin which is harmless to human beings if they are not allergic to it. In large quantities, it is poison to dogs. If you are in the lucky position to have an avocado tree, keep your dog away from it. It is not only the fruit that is toxic for your canine companion, but the leaves, seeds, and bark as well.
Giving your dog alcohol is one of the dumbest things any dog owner can do. Their bodies are not able to handle it. Besides making him drunk, it can affect his breathing, mess with his body’s acidity, and result in coma or death.
Although great for humans, these vegetables are deadly to dogs. Besides gastrointestinal problems, it also causes red blood cell damage.
Too much salt causes excessive urination and thirst. Some dogs have even been diagnosed with sodium poisoning. Too much salt in your dog’s diet results in depression, diarrhea, seizures, tremors, and death.
6. Raisins and grapes
Although the reason is unknown, these fruits cause kidney failure in dogs. It is better that your puppy stays away from them.
7. Cooked bones
Cooked bones have a habit of splintering. If these splinters get lodged in your puppy’s intestines, it could cause you high veterinarian bills, or even lead to your dog’s death. Raw bones are fine.
Too much sugar leads to obesity and other undesirable illness such as diabetes. Puppies do not need sugar in their diets. It also leads to dental problems.
Although xylitol is fine in the human diet, it is not so great for dogs. It is toxic, in fact. The smallest amount can lead to liver failure, seizures, and low blood sugar. It can even cause your puppy’s death.
Most nuts are not good for dogs. Are you nuts? 😛 They can cause toxic poisoning. Some of the side-effects of nuts in dogs include seizures, neurological problems, obstructions in their intestines, intestinal disorders, and pancreatitis. If you are unsure which nuts are safe for your puppy, rather be safe than sorry and do not give him any.
Although most human food is quite suitable for dogs, there are certain foods we eat that we cannot feed our best four-legged friend. If ever there is a situation of doubt about a food, rather do not give it, or find out whether it is safe.
Just as humans do not have to eat everything available, dogs do not either. By withholding foods you are unsure of you are not being a bad doggy parent, but rather one who cares about their best friend’s wellbeing.
Before you go, have a quick look at this relative video: