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Standard Commercial Dog Food Compared to Healthier Options

Commercial dog food came about as a result of people's busy lives preventing them from making their own homemade dog food. It is available as kibble or in canned form, though a few butchers also sell their own commercially made dog food. Those considering feeding their dogs commercial choices should be aware that a group called the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) grades a dog food as being complete and balanced if it contains its standards for content and if the food passes feeding tests and other trials.

The problem is that these standards may well pass the feeding trials, thereby pointing to the fact that they are nutritionally complete, but many such foods contain additives that would make most humans shudder at the thought of having to eat the same. In other words, they take care of what most average canines can subsist on, but man of these foods do not fit all their nutritional needs.

For example, some of the ingredients in some commercial dog food brands seem to have been implicated in canine diseases such as diabetes, canine mammary cancer, pancreatitis, some heart diseases, kidney and bladder stones, bladder inflammation (cystitis), ear infections, inflammatory bowel diseases, food intolerance, obesity, and allergic skin diseases.

The reasons for the implications are numerous. Fungal and mold contamination of the ingredients in some commercial dog foods have caused numerous recalls. Meat and bone meal, by-products and by-product meal are often found in standard commercial dog food brands, and these ingredients vary tremendously in their composition of available nutrients. Bone meal frequently is heavily contaminated by lead. Also, even though bone meal will show through chemical analysis that it has a highly acceptable amino acid content, it may be difficult to digest and thus not provide adequate nutrition to your dog. Finally, some of the by-products have been found to contain carcasses of deceased and euthanized dogs and cats, among other animal carcasses.

Healthy Dog Food Alternatives

Holistic dog food, on the other hand, uses human grade food such as fish, lamb, turkey, and chicken. Holistic choices also contain such ingredients as brown rice and other good carbohydrates. Ordinarily these foods do not contain wheat, soy, and other various fillers.

Organic dog food is made with organic ingredients, including free-range chicken and organic grains. Remember that all products that have been labeled organic must, of course, contain 95-100% ingredients that have been certified as wholly organic.

Natural dog food typically uses human grade meats, with natural coat and skin conditioners, along with added antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and such. It doesn't ordinarily contain corn, soy, wheat, grain fractions, or fillers or by-products.

Raw dog food is just that - raw meats containing living enzymes, fruits, vegetables, as well as natural protein sources. It's the way that dogs used to eat in the wild.

Prices for holistic, natural, organic, and raw dog foods are of course substantially higher than your "regular" off the shelf commercial dog food, but the huge difference in terms of superior nutrition may well be worth it. Careful reading about each brand should help you make decisions for your dog.

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