Good Food and Intestinal Health – Is There a Connection?
After dinner in my home there is always ample amounts of leftover food. Rice with curry, steak with ground pepper, pumpkin pie, and spaghetti are examples of a typical plate of leftovers. These leftovers are usually put in seal-able containers and enjoyed the following day for lunch. Sometimes however when I am able to sneak a plate of leftover food past mom the “people food police”, Duke and Daisy end up getting an extra special treat. The question I ask myself time and time again is “can I give this to my dogs Duke and Daisy?” It is way too tempting to give “people food” to my dogs because of how much they enjoy it. I can almost see Duke smile when he realizes I am about to make him his own platter full of delicious human food.
No matter how many times I wind up staying awake all night with one or both of my dogs having severe vomiting and diarrhea, I never seemed to commit to the idea that the food I eat is not necessarily good for my dog. What made me finally commit was when Daisy got extremely ill and would not get better for several days. She got dehydrated pretty badly, began to lose weight, and barely had enough energy to get up and walk around. After that illness, I began taking notice of the food I fed my dogs and in a short period of time I could see a definite improvement in gastrointestinal health and in overall health. The coat looked healthier, they both had more energy than usual, their expressions seemed more alert and there was no more middle of the night emergency walks.
The important things to look for in a good dog food is a high level of digestibility, meaning the food is made in such a way that allows at least 85% of it to be absorbed and used in the body for its intended purpose. The food should not contain hormones and unnecessary artificial preservatives and colors. Protein content should come from good sources and be readily digestible. A good quality food should also not contain too much fat and too many unhealthy varieties of carbohydrates. It is also beneficial for the food to contain Omega 3 fatty acids which contributes to good gastrointestinal health. Here are some foods that I found to contain most if not all of the necessary ingredients for good health: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dog Food, Natural Balance L.I.D. fish and sweet potato formula, and Eukanuba Adult maintenance dry food.
If a dog or cat has special health concerns, it is very important to discuss these with a veterinarian because many foods address specific concerns. Kidney disease and stones, liver disease, gastrointestinal illness, and diabetic pets for example may require a special diet. There is not enough space here to cover all the advantages that the different foods have over one another. The one thing that is worth mentioning again is that good health starts with good nutrition and certain “people” foods are not at all healthy for our pets. If there is no way around giving your dog leftovers, at the very least learn to recognize the foods that are healthy from the foods that are harmful. As always it is very important for our pet’s health to develop and maintain a good relationship with a veterinarian and to know that a 1800PetMeds pharmacist is more than happy to answer any questions or concerns that you may have.