Have you taken a look at how many dog foods are available for purchase? It’s almost worse than braving the cereal aisle at the grocery store! There are so many choices….and each food claims that they are the best! Yikes!! Do we really need that many different types of dog foods? And treats? Good golly!! It can be choice overload to be sure!!
When it comes to things we’re feeding our dogs, quality definitely matters! Just as we want to eat foods that will break down to be the building blocks of good health for us, the same is true of our dogs. We want our dogs to live forever, so it’s important to give them the proper food to help in that process.
I don’t recommend any particular brand of foods, since there are many really terrific brands on the market. What I generally do is refer folks to a great website called “dogfoodadvisor.com.” It’s a non-scientific site that rates dog foods from one to five stars in terms of quality. They break down the guaranteed analysis, and ingredient list, telling you about anything controversial. It’s much easier to compare dog foods online than running from one store to the next, or one aisle to the next!
In my opinion, you don’t have to feed a five star food to feed a great quality food! I always tell my clients to look at three stars or better. Stay away from one and two star food. It’s just not the best quality at all. Often you’re feeding much higher volume to offset the quality, and your investment is laying out in the yard, versus building a healthy furry friend! You often get what you pay for, so be sure you’re feeding something good!
The other thing that’s really great about “dogfoodadvisor.com” is that you can sign up to be on their email list for any recalls. I get emails for any recalls of food or treats, so I can make sure that Rugby is getting quality and safety in his diet.
When it comes to food and water, I’m a big fan of using stainless steel bowls. Ceramic or plastic ones are cute, but they can harbor bacteria….especially if there are any cracks. Stainless is perfect to go right into the dishwasher, and they last forever!
In warmer weather, I try to keep water outside for Rugby, because he spends more time out playing and poking around. I always make sure that his bowl is fresh and clean, and free of leaves and dirt. I also want to check flowerpot saucers and downspouts to make sure that they get regularly dumped so that Rugby doesn’t decide to drink water that could be harboring bacteria.
When it comes to treats, I like to have a small variety of different types and values. I have some biscuit type treats all the way up to dehydrated meat, and everything in between! Most of my day to day training at home with Rugby is done with his dog food kibble, so I save actual treats for something more special or difficult. When I train him at home in the front yard, or out and about in a social setting that is really difficult for Rugby….I make sure the value of the treat is much higher. I want him to know that I understand how hard he is working, and I want to be sure to reward him for the effort he’s putting forth.
I don’t dish out treats unless Rugby earns them. When I do a weekly nail trim, Rugby gets a very special treat, because I know that he really doesn’t want to endure that process. He earns a dehydrated chicken foot, or some sort of small jerky treat that takes a little bit to eat. It’s a big deal for him, and the excitement that he shows when he gets off the grooming table is so fun! He usually runs right to the cabinet that holds his treats, and bounces and barks until he gets his prized treasure treat!!
In three years, Rugby’s weight hasn’t shifted more than 3-5 ounces one direction or another. I’m very pleased with that, because I try very hard to provide a good, healthy life for him. I typically give him a bit less food in the morning and at night, because I know I’ll be doing some training or puzzles and he’ll get extra food then. I want to make sure that he gets what he needs, and not a whole lot of extra, which will pack on unnecessary pounds. I should be so particular about my own weight!
Feeding high quality food and treats will leave your dog feeling like a million bucks….and isn’t that what he’s worth to you?