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When it comes to what we feed our furry companions, doesn’t it make sense to give them the full nourishment that their body needs? This course of action is much better than simply giving them what might be easiest or cheapest. Because of this, it helps to answer a few questions about something you may have heard of. We’re talking about holistic dog food. But what is holistic dog food, really?
What Is Holistic Dog Food (and Snacks)?
Holistic dog food is the full nutritional picture. It’s a balanced canine food product that doesn’t skimp on the quality of its raw materials or the methods used to process them. Just like humans have the food pyramid to assist in making sure a person receives all of the nutrients necessary to thrive, so too does your dog need a holistic nutrition plan.
What does holistic mean? Put simply it’s the quality of having a sense of the whole. So when it comes to nutrition, it’s making sure that all of the needs of a fully functioning canine’s body are met. To do this, it’s worth it to bump up your best friend’s meal standards. We’ll talk a bit more about how to do that below.
How Are a Dog’s Nutritional Needs Different From Ours?
Though it seems that dogs will eat just about anything, that doesn’t mean that they should. Dogs originally came to be a part of the human story thousands of years ago, when they ate the scraps that humans left over from their hunts.
When they were learning that habit, however, humans hadn’t developed much in the way of agriculture. We didn’t eat bread, corn, or sweets: we ate meat from the hunt, berries, and other foraged products. Thus our diets and that of canines weren’t all that disparate. Over time, however, our diet has changed quite a bit; yet our dogs’ needs remain the same.
Essential Nutrients Dogs Require
Dogs need a variety of healthy fats, proteins, and even probiotics for optimal health, but no carbs, or only incidental ones such as the pack might have gotten from the stomach of freshly killed prey. Of all the macronutrients, protein is the most crucial for dogs.
If possible, looking for organic labelling and supporting companies that are transparent about how they make their product is a huge plus. Dogs use a lot of energy, so finding high protein, meat based products are a good idea.
Quality and Micronutrients
When it comes to the quality to look for, remember that the closer you can get to human quality the better. This doesn’t mean feeding dogs human junk food, but it does mean that if you find a dog blend labeled ‘human quality,’ so much the better. This solves the ‘what is holistic dog food dilemma’ swiftly. Additionally, look for foods that are balanced with micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Positive Effects of High Quality Food
How can the effects of high quality dog food be described? What is holistic dog food when it comes to achieving your pet’s full potential? Well put bluntly, the healthier your dog is, the more joy and love they have to give. This comes through because their quality of life is already so high due to the care and attention you put into feeding them well. Of course, it’s also important to be sure they’re well attended to, fully exercised, and having lots of fun.
Dogs whose owners have checked into what is holistic dog food and its attributes tend to have better energy overall. This is because when the dog’s food is easier to digest, it has more energy to come out and play with you.
Every time low quality food is eaten, it impairs the body’s ability to digest because it causes strain/inflammation. Over time, this has a pile-up effect. Also, because of the healthy probiotics found in high quality dog food, gut health is improved.
Improved Skin and Eyes
Better quality food can mean skin that’s not dry. Also, the nutritional needs of dogs eyes depend on a varied, holistic diet. Better skin and eyes will also mean that your dog is more comfortable as it ages.
Dogs that are prone to weight gain may also be helped with a higher quality diet. Most dog foods that aren’t made well have fillers that can cause excessive weight gain. This in turn contributes to negative effects on the heart.
Because holistic dog foods are fortified with fish oil and vitamin E, dogs that might have difficulty dealing with allergies have a better time of it. This is because these two compounds decrease allergic symptoms in dogs.
They’ll Be Around Longer
Nobody likes to think about the opposite of this last one. But if you make a commitment to healthier dietary choices for your dog, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to enjoy their company for longer than you would have with poorer food choices. So clearly, if you can, this is the way to show that you really care for your cherished best friends.
What to Avoid
When seeking out the answer to ‘what is holistic dog food’ in practice, it’s also good to know what it’s not. These are products that are cheaply made and loaded with fillers that can do more harm than good for your dog if eaten consistently.
You’ll want to avoid the following like a plague of fleas:
- Foods whose chief ingredients are wheat and corn, soy or animal byproducts
- Foods with artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- Low quality kibbles
You’ll also want to steer clear of food made with antibiotics. Bacterial resistance can occur in animals as well and antibiotic compounds can kill the good bacteria in your dog’s gut. This can cause chronic bowel issues and do damage to the immune system.
Also in addition to colors, you’ll want to avoid artificial dyes. This is where the whole product is dyed a certain way to look appealing to humans. Dyes can be carcinogenic.
Also, avoid added hormones. These can cause weight issues and early onset puberty in animals as well as humans. Finally, avoid foods with pesticides, these harmful chemicals can hurt your dog too.
Negative Effects of Low Quality Food
What is holistic dog food when compared to non-holistic? It’s food that causes a pet to be free from the following ailments associated with eating low quality pet food:
- Dull eyes
- Low quality coat or fur
- Digestive issues,
- Excessive defecation or flatulence.
Ultimately, by feeding your dog well in the short term, you’ll most likely save on trips to the vet in the future. It’s almost cliche at this point, but the truth is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Other Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy
Investigating ‘what is holistic dog food’ is a great way to make better dietary choices for the cuddle buddy you spend time with. But it’s only one part of the story. There are other ways you can take action to show that your pet isn’t just a bystander, but part of your family. Even if that family is just you two or you and some other dogs, making sure to remember the following complete the picture of good health.
Dogs need to be walked regularly and with fervor. Especially if they’re in an area where they can’t go ‘off leash’ as often, this is even more important. A dog’s body is built to run, jump, and play. Without an abundance of these opportunities, a dog will get sluggish and experience lethargy.
A dog with plenty of social interaction is a happy dog. Other canines are used to running in packs out in the wild. Having a good deal of social interaction will be a reminder of what it’s like to connect with other beings that are similar, but different. Without adequate social interaction, dogs can get depressed.
Rewards and Affection
Dogs crave attention and interaction with their primary owner is essential. Make sure you’re spending enough quality time with the dog or dogs you call yours. In addition to being good for the dog’s health, it will most likely be great for your own mental health as well.
Keeping Safe Environments
It’s a good idea to make sure that your space is clear of anything that could be hazardous to a dog. This also applies to the places you take your dog. Don’t get caught in a bad situation where you have to leave your dog alone in a strange place. Above all, do not leave your dog in a hot car or hot enclosed space. This has caused many preventable deaths over the years.
We hope you’ve learned a lot through exploring the question of what is holistic dog food and its qualities. Remember, this article is just the beginning. There’s a whole world of holistic dog food to explore, as well as the stories of those animal lovers who make it and sell it. Go check it out for yourself!