Doggie Diet Trends: What’s New on Your Dog’s Plate

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You’re all aware of the diet trends that rock the human food world about every couple of days it seems. All of your friends want to know are you eating Paleo, Keto, or Adkins? Does this come in organic or all natural? It’s no surprise that some of these diet trends have spilled over into the dog food market, but are these dog diet crazes healthy or even safe for our furry friends?,
Grain-free
Probably one of the most popular or sought after diet for our dogs is grain-free. The recent upswing in gluten-free alternatives for human foods has led some pet parents to thinking that gluten may be harmful to their pups as well. The truth is, for most dogs, grains are easily tolerated and a great source of fiber and carbohydrates for our four legged friends. That’s not to say that there aren’t some dogs out there with grain or gluten allergies that do need these types of diets, just not all dogs. There has actually been some discussion by the FDA about the role of grain-free diets and a form of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM. It’s more important to know what types of grains are in your dog food and the amount. Be sure to talk with your veterinarian before deciding to try a ‘free’ option of any dog food.
Novel Protein

Chicken or beef are no longer your only options for dog food flavors. The dog food palate is ever expanding with new and differently sourced proteins. If you’ve ever wondered if your dog would like kangaroo, now there’s a dog food for that. Novel protein diets are everywhere because of the potential risks of developing food allergies or intolerances to those decades old recipes. There is definitely a place for these dog foods from an allergy standpoint, however, caution needs to be exercised as some of these new protein sources haven’t been properly researched and analyzed to be sure they are providing a complete and balanced diet. There is also some concern when pet parents decide to try rotating their dog through these different and new flavors. While they think that they’re keeping their pup out of a food rut, constantly switching dog food could cause gastrointestinal upset.

Raw Feeding

While a raw diet may be more closely related to a dog’s natural diet in the wild, it’s not as easy to feed as most pet parents would imagine. Just to use caution when choosing to feed a raw diet to your best friend. Raw diets definitely have their benefits in providing whole food nutrients that are fresh and unprocessed. However, it’s important to do your research to make sure you are feeding a complete balanced diet. Dogs need more than just meat alone to get the necessary nutrients to keep them healthy. Bacterial contamination is another concern of raw diets. Make sure to properly store your raw foods and prevent cross contamination with other foods when preparing and feeding this type of diet.

Small-batch
Most of you want to support the small businesses out there, just maybe not in the dog food market. Small-batch dog foods do provide a more customized and even maybe local experience, but there’s a reason why larger pet food companies can do what they do—money. That money provides research to ensure that their products are safe, complete, and healthy for your canine companion. Small-batch dog foods aren’t totally off limits, just be sure to do your research first to make sure you’re giving your pup a meal that is above all safe and that meets their nutritional guidelines.
Ketogenic Dog Foods
That’s right, keto isn’t just for humans anymore. This diet, which focuses on higher fat and lower carbohydrates, promotes a natural state of fat burning called ketosis. It has shown to be useful in controlling seizures in epileptic dogs and the benefits in dogs with cancer are under further research. A keto diet can be troublesome in dogs on insulin for diabetes and there are risks of other health concerns, like pancreatitis, with any high fat dog diets.
Doggie Diet 3
Organic and Natural Dog Food Diets

Before jumping on the organic or natural dog food train, it’s important to first understand what these terms mean. Ingredients in organic dog food can not be raised with the use of ‘synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.’ Genetically engineered ingredients and synthetic hormones are out as well. That doesn’t mean that fertilizers and pesticides aren’t used, in fact natural forms of these products can be used in unregulated quantities. There is also little regulation to the label of natural. This term just implies no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the ingredients are raised. This is not to say that organic and natural food isn’t healthy, it just might not be what you’re expecting or what you think you’re paying for.

Trends in dog food diets tend to follow those in humans. While you might be onboard with trying anything new to achieve a little weight loss or new level of healthiness for yourself, it might not be what’s best for your dog. Always discuss any dietary changes with your veterinarian first to be sure that your pup is receiving the nutrition that they require to live a happy, healthy life with you for as long as possible.

 

Sources & Citations

www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/cvm-updates/fda-investigating-potential-connection-between-diet-and-cases-canine-heart-disease

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