Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Your Dog The Omnivore

Chapter #2: The Daily Dietary Requirements for Dogs
Dog Food
Unlike other predators, dogs are omnivores and require more than meat for daily nutrition. They have a poor sense of taste, having far fewer taste buds than humans, and are willing to consume almost anything that might offer nourishment. The lack of fussiness is accompanied by a requisite sensitive vomiting reflex, which permits them to reject foods after eating if they are unpalatable or dangerous.

The dog is also a natural gorger. In the wild, dogs gorge themselves of any food available, and then live off that nourishment for several days. This is possible because the dog has a large stomach and short intestinal tracts. Food breakdown starts in the stomach, but most of the digestion takes place in the intestines.

The lack of fussiness, the gorging behavior, and insufficient exercise combine to create an environment ripe for obesity. Per John M. Simon, D.V.M., author of What Your Dog is Trying to Tell You, obesity is the number-one canine health disorder seen in veterinarian's offices. As many as 25 - 44% of all dogs are overweight. Obesity is defined as weighing over 15% more than the standard accepted weight for the dog's height. Per Dr. Simon, "a portly pooch is at increased risk for musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, respiratory, immune and reproductive disorders, including cancer." (p. 97)

Besides obesity, there are other visible indicators that a dog is not getting proper nutrition. Most obviously, an inadequate diet is reflected in the skin and coat. Other indicators include large, malodorous stools, chronic gas, dirty and brown teeth, bad breath, and a poor immune system -- which manifests itself in susceptibility to ear and skin infections, worms and fleas.

All of these indicators can and most likely will happen with any dog, but only occasionally. When they happen in unison, and frequently or continuously, it is time to examine the diet and make some changes.

Dog Food


Anonymous said...

You read like a dog food product label. However, I agree with you in totality. My question is....is there any particular dog food you recommend? We have been using Eagle Dog food which is very little know in our area. We once owned a pet store where we featured Eagle due to the naturalness of the product. No stool odor, better coat/teeth, etc. I'm open to suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Nobody in my family understands the importance of finding a good dog food. I hope that reading this may help them. Also, Bilbo (my year old beagle) is about five pounds overweight- for a regular house pet. We take Flyball classes and I know I have to get him fit before even thinking of entering him in a team or competitions. I have been trying for some time to convince my family not to feed him scraps and to help me get better food, but they won't.

I can get a job this summer, though, so I was wondering what you'd suggest for a currently overweight beagle (who may receive scraps against my wishes) that'll be doing Flyball practice once a week.