Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re giving your dog every day? Whether you have a huge bag of kibble tucked under the stairs, or fall back on opening cans when you realise you forgot to visit the pet shop, what we tend to pop in the bowl for dinner is often an afterthought.
For me, it was something I honestly didn’t take much notice of. It wasn’t until I was trying to fulfil my New Year’s resolution that the notion of checking dog food became a new hobby. My big goal for this year has been to try and read more at night, rather than aimlessly browse my phone in bed; something I know we’re all guilty of.
I got myself a nice big pile of books to work through, and one of them was called ‘Big Kibble’. Without spoiling it, it opened my eyes to the realisation that the kibble I was giving Sam, my Long-haired Dachshund, might not be the perfectly formulated food I thought it was. Even though I was buying feed aimed towards a specific breed, the book suggested that it shouldn’t be viewed as a primary source of nutrition.
Kibble is often made from by-products and all manner of ingredients. You only have to look at the ingredients list on the back of a bag to fall down a Google wormhole of words you’ve never heard before. Now, while the book did highlight a few changes you can make, and how to view feed, I have done something I never thought I would: started making our own dog food.
We’ve had a few furrowed brows when the family is round and sees one of us taking Tupperware out of the fridge to pop in the dog bowl, but I liken it to this. You know that a cereal bar is nutritionally sound and can keep you going during the day, but would you have cereal bars for every meal every day and expect your digestive system to be in tip-top shape?
That is pretty much what happens when dogs eat kibble for every meal. They’re getting some nutritional value, but it might not be doing their digestion any good in the long term. We’ve talked about digestive enzymes on the blog before (you can read about it here), and it is always important that you give your dog a fighting chance to balance/improve their digestive system. So how can you do it?
For starters, you can begin by reading up on using raw ingredients in dog food. Unlike all the fancy organic stuff in the supermarket, it doesn’t have to be that dear. Like most things these days, you can get meals with raw ingredients delivered. For example, the lovely folks at Bella & Duke, who develop raw dog food based on age, can help take the hassle out of trying to give your dog the right balance with their diets.
Think about it; your diet changes as you get older, so why shouldn’t your dog’s? And if you’ve ever been the victim of a dog snatching a stray burger patty or sausage sitting by a barbecue before you’ve cooked it, you’ll know that pups of all sizes love raw meat. I highly recommend giving it a go, even if it’s just swapping out a meal or two through the week for raw or grain-free meals. You could be surprised at how well your dog takes to it.
Want to test them to see how they get on with new food? Why not try making your dog some treats they’re going to find delicious with this recipe for dog-friendly cookies.