Reading labels and trying to figure out which product is best is not always simple. A lot of ingredients such as 'grains', 'by-products' and 'corn' have often been vilified but as we'll explore in the series a lot of these ingredients are not actually harmful for a healthy dog and there is often absolutely no reason to feel guilty if your chosen food contains them!
As a canine nutritionist, my job is to provide nutritional information for dog owners. I don't promote any specific method of feeding although I do prefer home-prepared, raw or cooked, diets.
The relationship between diet and disease is complicated. However, studies have shown that particular dietary conditions are strongly associated with specific diseases. Certain breeds of dog are also more susceptible to certain conditions than others. Clearly the chance of developing the disease is greater when a known risk factor or more than one risk factor is present.
Most cases of dietary indiscretion are mild and do not have lasting consequences beyond an upset tummy. As long as your dog is still active and there are no other symptoms that point to something more serious then you don't need to panic.
There is a lot of hype surrounding antioxidants - they are often mentioned in TV advertising for various products or in glossy magazines. But what exactly are they, what do they do, are they important and should you give your dog antioxidant supplements to ensure he gets enough in his diet?
The current health status of your dog should also be considered when making diet choices. Does your dog have gastrointestinal problems, arthritis or is your dog taking any medication? Existing health conditions are likely to warrant specific dietary requirements.
When a dog food is low in carbohydrate it is usually exchanged for fat and not all dogs can tolerate too much fat. It's really important to consider the entire picture and the whole dog - not just the condition.
We've all been there... huge, imploring eyes looking up at us at the dinner table, desperate for the tasty goodies on our plate. What's the harm of a little nibble now and then - right? Or maybe you're tired of seeing infographics or reading lists of all the foods your dog can't eat but don't really know which of our foods they can eat.
It can be distressing when our dog stops eating and continually refuses their food. Before long we start to panic and try and tempt them with goodies from our own plate. Whilst understandable it's probably not going to help and may actually end up making matters worse.
Recently, while meandering through my local pet store I walked through the dog food aisle. Both my dogs are on a home-cooked diet so I don't frequent this aisle but I stopped to have a look and couldn't help reading a few of the nutrition claims made on the labels.