Would cooking meals for my lhasa apso be better than buying the dry kibble? What type of meals will be good? Should I give her rice?
Some people swear by cooking or doing raw diets for their dogs. This is not for me. I do not feel, with my schedule and cooking ability, that I would be able to provide the balanced meals for my dog. I recommend going with high-quality, nutritional, kibble.
Read the ingredients on the food you buy. Go with a high quality dog food. A grain should not be in the first couple ingredients ingredient (corn and such are mainly fillers, dogs don’t digest it well). Avoid foods that have a lot of "by products" listed.
Beware "premium" foods. "Premium" does not mean good nutritionally, and is not a nutritionally high quality food. It has the same types of ingredients as grocery store foods, just a bit better quality of those not-so-good ingredients. Premium foods are those like Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, etc..
Here are some good foods (these are just a few, there are definitely more brands out there that are quality dog food, but it will give you an idea of the ingredients to look for):
Chicken Soup Brand – http://www.chickensoupforthepetloverssoul.com/
Merrick – http://www.merrickpetcare.com/
Innova – http://www.naturapet.com/brands/innova.asp
Or check this website to find GOOD dog foods, not full of fillers and byproducts, they rate dog foods based on the ingredients, 6 being the best. I would recommend feeding only 4+ star foods. Any food 3 stars or less, I would avoid.
Here’s an ingredient comparison of not-so-good food (in this case, Pedigree), to good food (in this case, Chicken Soup brand):
Ground Whole Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with BHA/BHT), Meat and Bone Meal, Natural Poultry Flavor, Wheat Mill Run, Potassium Chloride, Wheat Flour, Salt, Carmel Color, Vegetable Oil (Source of Linoleic Acid), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [Source of Vitamin E], L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [Source of Vitamin C*], Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Biotin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement [Vitamin B2], Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Added FD&C and Lake Colors (Yellow 6, Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5).
Chicken Soup Brand:
Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, ocean fish meal, cracked pearled barley, whole grain brown rice, oatmeal, millet, white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), potatoes, egg product, tomato pomace, duck, salmon, flaxseed, natural chicken flavor, choline chloride, dried chicory root, kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberry powder, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, L-carnitine, Enterococcus faecieum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces cerevesiae fermentation solubles, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
Notice how the better food has more meats, less grain, and no by-products than the other brand? That’s where to start looking for what food is higher quality. Also be aware, just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s a good food.
Also keep in mind, with better quality food, the dog will eat less. (And that also means less poop to clean up in your yard!)
Another thing to be wary of: A lot of vets will recommend what they sell in their office. They get profit from the brands they keep on their shelves, that’s why they push it. Truth is, vet schools don’t focus a lot on nutrition. It’s not saying that a vet is a bad vet because he recommends those foods, a lot of vets just are told "this is good food", so they pass the message along without proper nutrition knowledge. Also, some dog food brands (like Hills) support vet schools, so vets have heard of it from the time they start college, which makes them think it’s good as well.
When switching foods, do it slowly. I do this over about a two week timespan:
25% food A, 75% food B
50% food A, 50% food B
75% food A, 25% food B
100% food A
Tags: lhasa apso