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Wellbeing: Choose Wisely to Get the Best out of Your Dog’s Diet

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At the London Pet Show earlier this year we met with Alison Daniel, Co Founder and Pet Nutritionist for Din Dins - a company which specialises in natural pet nutrition for dogs and cats. Their philosophy is simple: you are what you eat, and the same goes for your dog.

Just like us two-legged folk, feed your dog poorly and you run the risk of them suffering from a wide range of conditions such as bad skin, poor digestion, obesity and bladder infections to name just a few. Prevention is better than the cure so it’s important to do all you can to optimise your dog’s diet and nutrition.

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When it comes to choosing a diet for your dog, there are so many choices - organic, raw food, homemade, as well as supplements such as Dins Dins but for a vast majority of owners commercial, off the shelf pet food is the most popular choice. No matter what you choose, Alison advice is keep it simple. If you don’t understand the ingredients on the content panel of your pet’s food packaging, don’t feed it to them, as it is most likely of poor quality. She shares her expertise to help you make an informed choice.

First off, if the price is really cheap or the food smells really bad, this usually means the ingredients are poor so you are advised to give it a miss.

Review the food’s composition:

  • Nutritional panels display ingredients in order of volume so always choose food that has meat at the top of the list. For this reason, avoid food that lists cereal or carbohydrate sources such as brewers rice, corn, grain fermentation products, maize and soy flour as their first ingredients.
  • Look at how the protein content has been beefed up. Anything of vegetable protein origin, soy protein and wheat protein is no a substitute for meat.
  • Try to avoid dry food, as it is void of any enzymes and moisture and is more difficult to digest.

Ingredients to avoid:

  • Meat meal, bone meal, offal meal, or digest, meat by-products, fish by-products and meat derivatives. These really aren’t meat at all.
  • Corn gluten and wheat gluten are used to raise the protein content and bind pet food. These are biologically inappropriate and can cause food intolerances in almost all cases Alison has seen.
  • Fats such as vegetable oil, animal fat and mineral oil.
  • Fillers or Fibre such as beets, cellulose, corn bran, oat and peanut hulls.
  • BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin or Propyl Gallate, which are known as chemical antioxidants, although these ingredients are slowly being removed from the EU market.
  • Although on the surface you may think this is a good thing, avoid EC/EU permitted additives and preservatives unless they are natural for example ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

Good stuff to look for:

  • Essential fats such as fish oil and flaxseed oil rather than vegetable fat or animal fat are always preferable.
  • Pick natural preservatives such as tocopherol (Vitamin E) or ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and not synthetic E numbers.
  • Foods advertising they are lightly cooked in small batches often means they are less processed.
  • Companies that produce raw pet food following BARF (Bones and Raw Food). These companies are few and far between but offer the most biological appropriate foods for your dog.
  • Choose whole food descriptions that you understand such as lamb, quinoa, carrot and blueberry rather than meat digest and vegetable protein origin for example.
  • Certified organic and locally sourced produce. Look out for the Organic Growers and Farmers certification meaning good quality produce and environmental policies.
  • Organic or antibiotic free meats are best, as hormones found in poor meats may cause food intolerances and lead to bad health.
  • Healthy cereal options such as quinoa, millet or spelt that provide nutritional value as opposed to maize and corn that provide little nutrition and can cause food intolerances.
  • Anything that BAHNM approved (British Association Holistic Nutritional Medicine).

So go forth and choose wisely! Visit Dindins.co.uk for more information about diet and their canine supplements.

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