According to holistic veternarian Dr. Jane Bicks, the maximum life span of dogs is estimated to be around 25 to 30 years, yet the average dog generally lives no longer than about 13 to 14 years. She says that this deficit is due largely to poor nutrition. For example, canned food is about 75 to 78 percent moisture, which leaves very little room for nutrition.
In addition to containing what is generally considered the bottom of the barrel ingredients in terms of nutritional density, most conventional dog food products contain especially large amounts of sodium to make them palatable, as well as dairy, by-products, chemical preservatives, artificial colors and other potentially harmful ingredients. The carbohydrate ratio is too high in some dog food brands as well, eventually leading to obesity, which is increasingly becoming a serious problem with dogs. In fact, obesity is one of the greatest health concerns facing our dogs; it can cause unnecessary suffering and a shortened lifespan
Renowned research scientist Dr. Barry Sears believes that dog food should have about the same 30-30-40 ratio as the human Zone diet. This means a relatively small amount of carbohydrates. Not only do many dog food brands have a particulary large amount of carbohydrates, they are mostly grain based, which are exactly the ones the Zone diet tries to minimize.
Another problem, according to the USDA Agricultural service, is that mites often get into dog food pellets, which can cause a number of problems such as disease. They recommend keeping dog food cool and dry, and vacuuming in the places where the food is stored the food is stored a least once a week. In addition keep the area around the dish where the dog food is served clean. Also, do not leave any dog food in your pet's bowl on warm, humid days.
It should be noted that harder working dogs require more protein and fat in their diet to maintain stamina and good body form. A dog food that is complete and balanced and includes at least 26 percent protein and 1650 kilocalories of metabolizable energy per pound is ideal. During the seasons when dogs are not working, their energy requirements decrease. Feed less of the high calorie food or change to a less nutrient-dense dog food.
What's In Your Dog Food?
by A. M. Wilmot
Dr. Jane Bicks has been honored on many occasions by the veternary profession and is the author of several books inlcluding 'Thirty days to a healthier, happier dog' and 'Dr. Jane's Natural guide to a healthier, happier dog'. She has been involved in many advisory boards including Canine Companions for independence and has served as the President of the Veterinary Medical association of New York City.