Diet and the delicate digestive system of the dog
In addition to the progress of veterinary medicine and the health of today, a decisive change is also evident in the diet of our dogs.
Due to the fact that in the present time, humane nutrition has been in the forefront of healthcare and even therapy and has proven to be successful, thinking about the diet of our dogs is also changing.
A well-balanced diet, adapted to different stages of life, to age, sex, race and health, has a positive effect on the health and life expectancy of the dog.
Theme: Stories and facts about the diet of the dog
"Dog food promotes allergies." "Crude waste is inferior." "Raw food is the healthiest." The diet of dog and cat knows many myths. But only rarely are the statements sufficiently supported by facts or scientific studies. Often half-truths even prevent the animals from being fed appropriately and healthily. We want to clear up the most common prejudices here.
Story: Homemade food is best
- Our pets also need a balanced diet. But finding the right ingredients and nutrient mix is not easy. Whoever prepares the feed rations for his four-legged friend himself, should therefore deal extensively with animal nutrition and feed science. Often, owners do not even know the needs of their pets. As many studies show, homemade animal meals are not nutritionally balanced. For example, in a study published in 2013, US scientists analyzed 200 dog food recipes for after-cooking. Result: 95 percent missed the nutritional requirements for at least one vital nutrient. This can be dangerous especially for puppies in growth.
Story: Raw feeding is harmless
- If pet owners are not careful about hygiene and cleanliness in the kitchen and when buying food, there is a risk that they will infect themselves and their animals with crude food containing parasites and pathogenic germs. This has been repeatedly confirmed by studies. Also, some studies in frozen meat and ready-to-binge feed, as often offered in online shops, have demonstrated an unusually high level of germination. Not infrequently, multidrug-resistant salmonella was also discovered. Although healthy dogs seldom suffer from Salmonella infestation, they can transmit the bacteria to humans through their excretions. Whereby infection can be dangerous especially for infants and old people.
Story: Slaughterhouse waste is inferior
- Nearly every ready-made food declares under ingredients also: "animal by-products". According to feed law, the collective term covers all parts of the slaughter animal that are not used for food production. First and foremost are the innards such as liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, tongue, udders and tripe, but also blood, claws, bones and skin. With a slaughter pig, by-products can even amount to as much as 42 percent. Raw materials that are far too good for carcass utilization because of their sometimes high nutritional value or taste. For example, scientific studies prove the nutritional value and good digestibility of offal.
Story: Cereals cause allergies
- Grain is blamed in animal nutrition for many diseases and ailments. Among other things, it is supposed to trigger allergies. This is not true in two respects: first, there is no allergy to grain, but at most one against the proteins of individual cereals. Wherein gluten, that is wheat protein, is called in this connection. However, in the dog no gluten hypersensitivity is known; only a 35-year-old case of an Irish setter is on record.
- Second, the likelihood of developing allergy to a cereal protein is no greater than reacting allergic to another vegetable or animal protein. Because allergies are not innate, but gradually develop through repeated contact with the allergenic substances. Many animals are sensitized already at puppy age. So if the four-legged friend always gets to eat a lot of a protein source, his immune system can react to this protein over the years. The most common allergens in dogs are milk, beef and chicken proteins.
Story: Wheat is just a filler
- Again and again, grain is vilified as worthless filler. Wheat contains many valuable nutrients, vitamins and trace elements that the dog's body needs: digestible protein, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Story: Grain contains too many carbohydrates
- It is true that cereals such as wheat or rice consist mainly of carbohydrates. These are important energy suppliers and stored in the form of starch. But giving up grain does not necessarily mean giving up carbohydrates. Because many cereal-free dog food contains ingredients with a very high or even higher starch content: potatoes, sweet potatoes or tapioca. Often, the animal consumes even larger amounts of carbohydrates than with cereal-containing feed.
Story: Wheat causes digestive problems
- Dogs are not herbivores, argue advocates of grain-free food. Dogs have never been strict carnivores. Their ancestors, the wolves, have regularly supplemented their diet with herbal foods. Basically healthy dogs can therefore tolerate wheat. If the starch has been previously disrupted (e.g., in soft-cooked noodles, extruded food), the dog's gut can even make the most of the carbohydrates. This digestibility characterizes the quality of the feed.