It is already a cliché that for all of us who have dogs, food is one of the fundamental priorities and that a good decision in this area can make your joint happiness greater and longer lasting.
Another issue is knowing how to choose your main food since the volume of information (and misinformation) is overwhelming, although it is true that most want their friend’s nutrition to be as natural as possible.
Natural is a word that gives rise to many interpretations as we see more and more products adding it to their packages, names and advertising, that is why we want to help you identify 100% natural products by giving you a few small clues.
What is a natural food?
Without pretending to be a professor, we can consider a natural food both for its composition, that is, without artificial additives, and for its state, that is, that it has undergone the least possible processing. In this way, a product that contains natural ingredients will not be the same as those that claim to be 100% natural. Likewise, we could think that a product that goes through a process that alters its properties, such as heating, would be less natural than a product that does not undergo any alteration.
It is possible to distinguish between a natural product and an ecological product . Ecological goes a step further by ensuring that raw materials have not been exposed to the chemical agents (neither in their growth nor in their process phase) to which non-ecological products are exposed. Note that we are not talking about zero exposure.
How can I be sure that a food is 100% natural?
The food regulations for companion animals, as well as food for humans, is not as transparent as we would like , but it does allow us, through labeling, to obtain some interesting clues:
- Recognizable ingredients : in the product, be it a feed, a can or fresh food, the ingredients and their components should be clearly described and be recognizable as natural.
- Clearly chemical ingredients : little to say, if the label of the food, in any of its parts, names elements that you do not know what they are, it is not a good sign.
- Nutritional additives: this entry in the formulation is clearly indicative of artificial additives
- Clarification of origin: sometimes, certain additives do have natural origin, but then it must be indicated as such, for example, vitamin E when it is tocopherol.
Finally, if the label does not clarify it, in the age of communication there is nothing better than a phone call. Any brand that wants and knows how to confirm those doubts on the phone could be a good candidate as the best option for your furry.
If what you want is 100% natural indeed… there is a way!
As with people, often the best way to know that something is 100% natural is… to do it ourselves!
If we talk about natural foods that are also not processed (not even heated), an option that you may find interesting is raw diets. It is basically about choosing the ingredients between meats, vegetables, fruits and other elements, making a mixture according to some basic instructions and giving them raw to your dog.
There is a lot of information for and against these diets, but the truth is that more and more people practice them and recommend them both in blogs and Facebook groups . What is extremely important is that they are complete and balanced, that is, that they have the variety and the basic ingredients so that no nutrient is lacking.
What are the different types of raw diet?
Although there are various theories about how to prepare a complete raw diet, these are the most common:
- BARF diet : its rationale is that dogs are opportunistic and often supplement meat with other things they can eat, such as vegetables and fruits. Therefore, its composition is as follows:
- 60 to 80% meat, of which:
- 10-20% are viscera (with at least half liver)
- 10% is pure bone (raw)
- 70% -80% is muscle meat (with 15-20% fat)
- 20-40% of vegetables and fruits of which:
- 70% are vegetables
- 30% are fruits
- Nutritional supplements. To complete with the nutrients that are not in meat and vegetables, it is always interesting to include a good source of omega3 acids such as fish oil or phytoplankton as well as a source of B vitamins, such as algae.
- 60 to 80% meat, of which:
To ensure that the diet is complete, it is always important to ensure the variety of ingredients and, if you can, that you base yourself on what is written on the subject.
Where do I begin?
There is currently a lot of literature about raw diets both on the internet and on social media, including specific groups that share recipes, trends, information on where to get ingredients, as well as the latest studies, etc.
In addition, they will help you to organize yourself so that you invest the right time and necessary to make large batches that then freeze and take out little by little.
What if I don’t have time or don’t dare to create my own diets?
Fortunately, there are already some commercial brands that sell products mixed in the correct proportions and ready to serve . Just find out, read their labels to make sure they are 100% natural products and, why not, call them to explain what you are buying.
At the end of the day, it is what your little one is going to eat every day and they are what we care about the most, right?