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Everyone agrees on one point. Go for the best quality you can (generous donors who drop off food at WAG take note!). But whats quality? Here the debate begins to simmer.
Some dog owners swear by cooking up their own dog food from a variety of people food, including meat and vegetables (dogs, like bears, are omnivores; cats are carnivores). This can be a good thing. But unless you follow balanced recipes and supplement with vitamins and minerals, cautions Dr. Val Dirdala of Squamish Veterinary Hospital and Animal Health Clinic of Whistler, you could be doing your dog a disfavour. He recommends quality dog food like that available at veterinary clinics.
Others, like Kathleen at Tailwagrrrs, swear by raw food for their dogs. But caution flags go up there, too. Raw meats can spell trouble. For instance, dogs can cope with E. coli and salmonella, but these bacteria can harm people. And while some dogs thrive on raw food, others dont and are better off on commercial dog food.
"Its complicated," notes Dr. David Lane of Coast Mountain Veterinary Services. "The food is geared toward a typical statistical dog, but each dog has its individual needs. Whatever youre feeding them, you have to stand back and evaluate how your dog is doing."
That means checking out typical indicators like how dense and shiny your dogs coat is, her mouth health and her activity levels some bad dog behaviour is caused by the wrong diet. And keep on evaluating your dogs diet throughout her lifetime. Their needs change just like ours do.
Just because dogs will eat anything doesnt mean you should let them. If you want to do the right thing, invest 50 bucks or so in a visit to your favourite vet and get some sound advice on what to put in your dogs mouth. That might include these biscuits:
Whistler Wish Bones
(Courtesy: Kathleen Duffey of Kathleens Tailwagrrrs)
2 1/2 c. organic whole wheat flour
3/4 c. milk powder
1/4-1/2 c. olive oil
2 tbsp. organic honey
2 vegetable bouillon cubes dissolved in 3/4 c. boiling water
1/2 c. carrots
1/2 c. fresh or dried parsley
1 large or 2 small fresh cloves of garlic crushed