In recent years, the health of our pet dogs has steadily declined. Our four-legged friends are getting serious diseases at much younger ages, and as a consequence are living for a shorter length of time. But what has happened to so dramatically change the health of our dogs?
Diet is highlighted as the key reason behind the majority of diseases. Dogs are primal scavengers and have evolved to eat what is available to them, and can cope with a variety of food. However, in our modern day society, more often than not this is a negative attribute of a dog’s natural instincts. Dogs are no longer able to hunt in packs like they once were, and instead they are often likely to find unhealthy or often toxic food left over by humans. The instinct to scavenge for unhealthy scraps is even stronger for rescue dogs that have needed to survive on the streets..
The hand that feeds them
People are becoming more and more aware that food is at the heart of health. If you consistently eat bad food, then it is impossible to remain healthy. Every disease that exists is magnified in the body if there is a consistently bad diet, and this counts just as much for dogs too. However, unfortunately a combination of those puppy dog eyes and ill-informed pet parents means that this is not as universally spotlighted with our dog’s diets as it should be.
In the centre of the commercial dog food industry is a desire to turn a keen profit. Unfortunately, for many of these companies advertising and tactics of persuasion are prioritised over the quality and nutrition of the food. When choosing which food to feed your dog you should simply follow one golden rule – if you can’t pronounce or don’t recognise the majority of the ingredients, don’t buy it. Natural is better.
Another reason for our sometimes uneducated society of dog owners are veterinary schools, as they tend not to provide much in the way of training on animal nutrition. This is because they are sometimes supported by the commercial pet food industry and therefore need to be a backer of these foods. This obviously suits the industry nicely, as you can now walk into any veterinary clinic and see displays of commercial pet food.
As discussed, a bad diet commonly results in illnesses which require medication. A combination of poor diet and prescribed drugs has the effect of causing liver toxicity and a low immunity. The result of a damaged liver can lead to stress and aggression, as well as digestive problems and cancer to name just a few of the potential medical conditions.
Making simple changes to your dog’s diet can quickly start to decrease toxins and improve the immune system, which will ultimately lead to a happier, more energised and healthy pet. Homemade or well-chosen food is simple to come by and although it can seem more expensive in the short term, has the potential to save thousands in veterinary bills in the long-run.
Article written by one of our lovely volunteers, Emily Hunt.