Human food:
Have you ever fed your dog from the kitchen table without thinking twice about it?  Do you give your dog “treats” for anything and everything that it does?  If so, you’re not the only one.  Many people overlook the fact that just like humans, proper dog nutrition is necessary too.  They can suffer diseases that come about solely from their diet—such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and even food allergies!  In fact, some common foods that humans eat can be extremely dangerous for dogs to ingest and should be completely avoided in their diets. I know it is tempting to let them eat off your dinner plate when they look at you with those cute eyes; but in truth, most people food is not good for pets. 

Food labels:
Just like with human food, you should always check dog food labels.  Make sure that you know what all of the ingredients listed are.  If there’s something in the food that doesn’t sound familiar to you, then it’s probably not something your dog should ingest.  Certain food additives in dog food can cause issues with digestion and a number of other unfortunate health issues.  If you’re really unsure about an ingredient, it would be beneficial to talk to a veterinarian about it before giving it to your pet. 

Protein, carbohydrates and fat:
Protein, carbohydrates and fat are essential in every dog’s diet to provide them with energy, maintain their health and several other functions in the body.  Depending on their breed, size and energy level, their needs for these macronutrients will be different.  Your veterinarian can help determine how much your dog needs of each.  They can also help you decide what to feed your dog.  Several commercial dry foods contain substances that are hard for dogs to digest.  Therefore, they do not get all of the nutrients that the package claims they will get.  This is why some individuals choose to feed their dogs raw or organic diets.  However, this choice is up to you and again, a veterinarian can help you to choose which diet would be best for your pet.

Giving your dog a daily probiotic will help to maintain their digestive tract which does a world of good to overall  nutrition. Probiotics increase the absorptoin of nutrients, aid in digestion and boost the immune system. An inexpensive option is Fortiflora which can be purchased from your vet or a number of pet health stores. Fortiflora can also be used to treat occurances of diarrhea, as well as when a dog has been taking an anti-biotic to feed back into the system healthy bacteria.

Foods to avoid altogether:
There are certain foods that should never be consumed by dogs because their bodies do not work the same ways ours do.  Examples of foods that should never be ingested by dogs include:

•    Bones from fish, poultry and other meat sources
•    Cat food
•    Caffeine containing foods, such as chocolate and coffee
•    Fat trimmings
•    Fish
•    Grapes or raisins
•    Macadamia nuts
•    Milk and other dairy products
•    Mushrooms
•    Onions or garlic
•    Raw eggs or meat
•    Sugary foods
•    Xyilithol—artificial sweetener found in gum

All of these foods have their own reasons for being dangerous to canines.  Other substances such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana are harmful to dogs, which should be obvious to the typical dog owner.

To sum it up, you can provide proper dog nutrition and avoid health problems by feeding the right foods, avoiding the wrong ones and considering a daily probiotic such as Fortiflora. Doing so may not prevent every single health condition but it will definitely benefit their bodies and potentially prolong their life.  If you have any questions about your dog’s nutrition, ask a vetinarian.  They are the most reliable source for this kind of information whenever you are in doubt. 

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