A weekly series about our food and sustainable agriculture.
According to Rick Woodford, author of Feed Your Best Friend Better, cooking the right homemade food for your dog helps provide a greater variety of amino acids, vitamins, and especially phytochemicals and antioxidants that “help determine the long-term health of a dog.” He points to foods like carrots, red bell peppers, and spinach as foods rich in these essential ingredients.On the subject of commercial dog food labeling and nutrition considerations, Woodford had this to say,“there’s no minimum established for things like phytochemicals, antioxidants, or even omega-3 fatty acids which are hugely beneficial to dogs. Since there are no minimums etablished, if you add a drop in a commercial food, you can say it has these things.” He advises that the only way to insure that there are meaningful amounts of important ingredients (like peas and carrots) in commercial dog food is to make sure they come before the listing of salt and other less significant ingredients on the nutrition label.
Although dogs are able to enjoy and benefit nutritionally from many of the same foods people eat, they carry a set of nutritional requirements different from that of humans. Dogs need very high amounts of vitamins and minerals, and because commercial dog foods are heavily fortified, that’s one reason the right commercial dog food is a potential benefit. In particular, calcium is one of the most needed minerals, and that’s why Woodford uses his discarded egg shells to grind into a powder to add to his dog’s prepared meals.For a complete list of good foods for your dog, read this post on Woodford’s blog: Top 10 Foods You Should Be Adding to the Dog’s Bowl
There are also some foods to avoid giving your dog, including raisins, chocolate, onions, moldy foods, raw yeast dough, macadamia nuts, and uncooked eggs.
Woodford points out, if dogs could have their way, they would just sit and chew on beef bones, absorbing small pieces of calcium as they grind away.
The simple pleasures in life…