Dog owners often ask their veterinarians “What is the best food to feed my dog?” It is a sincere question, as most responsible pet owners want to ensure that their pets are fed the very best. There may be no single answer to the question. Veterinarians relate this answer to which symptoms they observe in their dog patients.
Veterinarians used to accept pet food manufacturers’ statements as fact, such as, that an assortment of “complete and balanced” pet foods would be nourishing on face value. In fact, such wording was not legally permitted on pet food labels unless approved feeding trials had demonstrated their reliability. Nowadays, however, veterinarians separate the genuine “complete and balanced” diets from the poor ones on the basis that poor diets are based on high levels of maize. These primarily maize-based diets had maize listed as the first ingredient in the ingredients list on the label. Conversely, good diets are based on meat protein, including chicken, ostrich, lamb and beef. A major concern among veterinarians is an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in a dog’s diet, which can lead to health disorders.
Therefore, veterinarians are now analysing the nutritional values of different dog foods and pay special attention to animals that are brought in for skin problems, skeletal dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems or mouth-related health issues. Veterinarians perceive that the key to a healthy diet is based on meat and poultry, as opposed to less healthy dogs’ diets based on grains such as maize and wheat.