In the 1970s, dogs such as Golden Retrievers used to live to 16 or 17 of age. So, why are they now only living to 10-14? Medicine has made leaps and bounds ... so, what is going on?? Maybe it's the food we're feeding our them? You may easily think that you are feeding your dog healthy supermarket food, but you might not be for two reasons.
1. The industry has standards that require representation from basic food groups, but does not have rigorous testing processes or strict regulatory enforcements.
2. What might look like “complete and balanced” food at first glance, is probably not. Brands are very good at designing attractive packaging with all sorts of seals of approval and claims. The real information is on the back, and good dog parents need to learn to scrutinize the nutritional information provided.
Learn to read pet food labels!
Ingredient lists and nutritional information are must-haves on the back of every dog food product. When you're checking out the back label, pay attention to the 6 key points below.
1. Look for high-quality real meat proteins, such as chicken, beef, lamb, fish or even organs listed as the first ingredient. Generic terms like 'meat meal', 'poultry by product' or just plain 'poultry' are low-quality sources of protein that were deemed as not for human consumption. Why would you give this to your dog?
2. Do you see whole food ingredients you recognise such as, sweet potatoes, carrots, or rice? Bonus points, if they’re organic 🙌
3. Watch out for vegetables and grains being used as sources of protein. Dogs should get their protein from real meat and not peas, soy, corn, gluten, or grain. Don't be fooled by misleading labelling and remember that these are carbohydrates and not proteins. Dogs in the wild eat very low carbohydrates, and a high-carb diet will eventually bring on chronic health problems.
4. No chemical names!!! BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Glycerol Monostearate, and Propylene Glycol are toxic to pets. MSG, artificial colours, and added sugars like golden syrup, maize syrup, or glucose-fructose syrup might also creep up. These are all not good for you, and also not for your furry friend!
5. Watch out for common allergens like corn (one of the biggest allergens known to dogs), wheat, soy, white potato, powdered cellulose, or their derivatives. Remember, that if these are in the top few ingredients, it’s likely the product contains a high amount of these allergens.
6. Slow-cooking is the best cooking process as it retains nutrients, so your dog gets max nutritional value from each bite.
Fresh dog food is by far the best choice
Hands down, lightly cooked homemade dog food made with quality human food and balanced recipes is the best choice, because it's real food -- and not shelf-stabilised! This might sound daunting, but it’s actually easy and will save you money along the way 💰. You just need to build it into your own supermarket and cooking routine.
- Shinier coat and healthier skin
- Better digestion, gut health and breath!
- Smaller, firmer and not so smelly poop! 💩
- More energy
- Better quality of life
- Peace of mind ☮️
Fresh dog food made with human-grade ingredients such as whole meats, vegetables, fruit and healthy carbohydrates can alleviate skin issues, digestive problems, allergies, food intolerances, and even obesity and diabetes. These ingredients are easy for your dog to digest and lack the processed carbohydrates, grain fillers, thickeners and preservatives found in traditional dog foods.
Not only are fresh dog foods better for your dog's health, but they also tend to be more appealing, especially for picky eaters with delicate stomachs. Most fresh dog food meals are high in protein, low in unhealthy fats, and free of grains, making them a great option for dogs trying to shed a few pounds. Fancy giving at go yourself, check out our recipe below.
This recipe is super easy, takes 30 minutes to cook and can be done using just one pot or pan. Freeze it in containers if you make more than 5 days' worth. Ingredient quantities can be adapted, but a good recommendation is a minimum of 40% real meat, 50% vegetable, and 10% starch (e.g., rice).
Basic dog food recipe
Prep: 5 mins Cook: 30 mins Level: EASY
Meat; beef, chicken, liver, fish (mix it up - dogs like variety too 😀)
Broccoli (roughly cut into florets) / courgette (chopped roughly)
Carrots (chopped in 2cm bits)
Sweet potatoes (chopped into quarters)
- Boil the hard vegetables (sweet potatoes and carrots) for 20 minutes in a large pot.
- Add any softer vegetables like broccoli and courgettes for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the meat at the end for a final 5-10 minutes depending on the meat you used.
- Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and mash it all together with a hand masher – or leave it in bits depending on your dog’s preference.
- Add any vitamins your dog might require such as omega 3 fish oil or spices like basil and turmeric.
- NOTE: You may want to pour off some of the water, but this has now turned into a healthy broth, will provide excellent hydration and make mashing easier.
- NOTE: Mince is the easiest to mash or if you use chicken or meat bits, cook them separately and add them at the end.
Check out this beginner guide to making dog food and a full list of which human foods are dog safe and their benefits. For example, bananas are good for older dogs because of their magnesium content that supports bone health. Carrots are another great example. Chewing on them helps remove plaque, promotes better oral health, and is a great source of vitamin A, which supports the immune system, skin and a healthy coat 🥕 ,
What is the best supermarket wet dog food?
We want the best for our dogs, but time and money come into play for them as much as for us. Canned food is the quick and cheap option in supermarkets and better than supermarket dry kibble. Let’s look at canned labels and chose the best of what’s on offer.
Here's a quick summary:
- What to look for when choosing a good dog food brand
- What to avoid
- What brands are best
- Where you can find them in your go-to supermarkets (like Tesco, Sainsbury's and more!)
And it's free to download. Click this icon to see it 👉📑
On mobile? Click here instead 👉📲
@tonichealth Supermarket dog food 🐶🐾 With so many varieties on the shelf, have you ever taken a closer look? Do you know the meat content or the type of meat used? We’ve taken a deeper look for you 👀🐾 #fyp #foryourdog #dog #doghealth #dogfood #trend #trending #viral #viralvideos #supermarket #feedingyourdog #rawdiet #diet ♬ original sound - Tonic Health 🍊
Also remember, that you can always supplement self-stabilized supermarket food with real meat scraps at home. Feeding as little as 20% real, whole food can have a positive impact on your dog’s health according to veterinarian Dr. Barbara Royal, Founder of The Royal Treatment Veterinary Center and Author of “The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets.”
Vet Dr. Richard Palmquist added, in an interview for The Truth About PET Cancer, that feeding as little as 20% meat scraps lowers inflammatory markers. Worth a try!
Finally, some young start-ups are bringing custom meal plans to your door step. They offer human-grade, grain-free meals without fillers, thickeners or preservatives tailored to your dog's age and nutritional needs. Check out the differences between Different Dog and Butternut Box, but note that these services come at a premium price.
What these services definitely prove, is that smaller pet food manufacturers often use higher-quality ingredients than large consumer-goods companies.
More on TikTok this week
This week we are looking at ‘what we feed our dogs’ on our TikTok channel. Look out for reviews of supermarket dog canned foods, kibble and treats, plus Sunna will shop and cook for his dog, Micha! 🐶
If you have questions, email Sunna on firstname.lastname@example.org.