Feeding our pets is a subject of much myth, confusion and contention. The answer, however, is surprisingly simple.
The best quality diet you can feed your pet is RAW MEATY BONES AND HOME COOKING. There you have it – it’s that simple!
Commercial food itself is not necessarily the healthiest way to feed our pets, it is the most convenient way to feed our pets. Of commercial food available there is certainly a range of quality. We recommend that you do not use the very cheap supermarket brands. The more expensive supermarket brands are ok, especially if you are balancing it with plenty of quality home cooking. The best commercial foods include the following:
- Hills (Probably our best choice)
- Royal Canin
Which of these should you feed? It doesn’t matter. The most important thing when choosing a commercial food for your pet is that he or she must like it, and it must agree with them. I.e some individuals may be a little windy on one type of food so simply change it and try another.
Canned versus dry: Another myth! There is no difference in quality between canned food or dry food, just the quality of the actual brand. For example, there are some cheaper supermarket brands that when we open a can, we find it hard to stay in the same room it’s that smelly. This, to us, is an indication of a poor quality food. Open a can of Hills and there is no bad smell. The food itself is quite firm and looks good, this is an indication of a high quality food. So if you are using better quality foods, by all means give your pet a mix of dry and canned. They will love the choice and variety.
Pets, like us, should have variety in their diet for both physical and mental health!
Home cooking and table scraps, the good stuff!
To have a balanced home cooked diet follow the following basic rules:
1) 25% vegetables and 75% lean meats of various sorts
2) Raw meaty bones 3-4 times weekly. Ideally lamb ribs (minimum 2-3 portions and never a single rib), or lamb necks for dogs, and chicken wings or necks for cats
The above in itself is very good however in addition to this, supplements such as a few sardines once or twice weekly, the odd egg, and vitamised (finely blended) green leafy vegetables such as spinach or silver beet are fantastic.
Whether you are using home cooking entirely or just adding the occasional correct table scraps to whatever commercial food you are using, keep some of the following suggestions in mind:
- If your pet is a little prone to weight gain, just like us humans, watch the carbohydrates and fats. The biggest mistake people make is giving their overweight pets rice, pasta, bread and potatoes. These carbs go straight to the waist line.
- If a little prone to being over weight, don’t give the above, give fibrous type vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, peas, broccoli etc.
- Lean meats of any sort are great. Do not feed spicy foods or rich foods, but lean meats.
- If using commercial foods, ideally use an appropriate life stage food such as puppy, light for overweight individuals, senior etc.
- If not using a quality commercial puppy food, make sure to add a calcium supplement for puppies, unless you are feeding quality bones 3-4 times weekly. Lamb ribs (never a single rib) and necks 3-4 times weekly is actually a better source of balanced calcium and phosphorous, so supplements are only needed for puppies on home cooked diets without bones. Our strong recommendation, feed bones to puppies from 6 weeks of age.
There are lots of myths about feeding supplements such as yeasts, seaweed, vitamins etc. All of these things are unnecessary in a good balanced diet, but also aren’t going to do any harm.
So the bottom line is – keep it simple and logical, and don’t worry about using a varied diet. We always feel a little sorry for a pet when someone tells me, “I just feed him dry food because that’s all he needs”. We don’t personally quite believe what the commercial sales people tell us. Give your pet a varied diet with lots of natural raw meaty bones and table scraps. They’ll not only love you for it, but will live a longer, healthier life!