Dog-sports enthusiasts are often much more up on trends in nutrition than many veterinarians. That’s because they demand more of their dogs than do most of the clients a veterinarian will see. They want glossy coats on their show dogs, and energy to burn from their field, agility, or obedience dogs. They are always looking for an edge, and that makes them good people to talk to when it comes to choosing a food.
Another reason: They usually aren’t dealing with the conflict of interest many veterinarians have: Recommending a food sold in the veterinary hospital or clinic.
Bear in mind, however, that dog-sport competitors can be a little too trendy when it comes to food. They’re often big on supplementing, prepared formulas as well as vitamins, vegetables, raw meat, or herbal concoctions. And that’s just flat-out not necessary for the normal nutritional demands of a dog whose primary job is companion.
Some supplements may even be dangerous, depending on what’s being added. So here’s a little advice: If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it. Buy a top-quality food and leave it at that. And if you have questions, ask your veterinarian.
Don’t Worry About Getting Too Fancy
Don’t think it’s too dull if your pet’s food is just plain brown: Fancy shapes and chunks of meat or cheese – or bits made to look like meat or cheese – are put there for your benefit. As long as it smells good, your dog doesn’t care what it looks like. (There’s even a saying, “looks like the dog’s dinner,” that pretty much sums up the fact that our idea of unappetizing is not the same as our dogs.)
There’s no evidence these people-pleasing touches will hurt your pet unless they’re too high in sugar, fat, or salt for your dog – but they’re nothing you need to seek out, and you certainly shouldn’t pay extra for them.
Some people just can’t believe a dog can be happy with plain kibble, even of a top-quality variety. If it makes you happy, add some canned food, maybe a little water and microwave it briefly. You’ll likely get the enthusiastic response you’re looking for. (Don’t forget to cover the leftover canned food and refrigerate.)
Before you start feeding this way, however, consider this: Should you ever want to travel with your dog, or need to leave him with your veterinarian, at a boarding kennel, or with a house-sitter or friend, he’ll do better if he’s used to eating kibble.