Monday, January 24, 2011

Healthy Hound Series Part II

The Basics of Selecting a Food Plan for Fido! Part II

Written by Reggie and Gemma's Adoptive Mom

3. Beware the “Healthy Halo”: When you see a dog food label that says “Low Fat,” it may not necessarily be what it's promising. In order to be truly “low-fat” a dog food will have 310 calories per 3.5 oz of dry food or 90 calories per 3.5 oz of canned food. The same sort of rules apply with “low-carb” and “high protein.” If these labels are promising you a healthy pet food without following the basic rules highlighted above, they fall under the “healthy halo” effect which is designed to trick consumers into buying higher priced food that doesn't deliver.

4. Keep treats to a minimum and don't forget the rules!: Don't give treats for “just because.” Make them a reward for what your dog does to be a “good boy.” Superfluous treats lead to a lax philosophy on how they may be affecting your dog's weight. Remember to follow the rules about meals, proteins and the “healthy halo” even when you're selecting your dog treats.

Always consult your veterinarian first to be aware of your specific dog's health needs and a target healthy weight. Feed your dog according to their weight specifications and be aware that the portions dictated on the bag are sometimes too much for your little Cairn. It's best to consult with a nutrition guide for your breed and to have a talk with your vet about target weight for your specific pet. Our dogs' veterinarian, Dr. Scott Miner, recommends no more than ½ cup of dry food in the morning and ½ cup at night for our Cairn terriers in good health.

Col. Potter has several volunteers who are helpful to it's members and fosters in the areas of weight reduction, management and nutrition.

Finally, a good rule-of-thumb is to shop at discount pet stores instead of the grocery store. Employees of pet specialty stores will be much more knowledgeable about their products and they'll be able to help you select the foods and treats that will be best for your dog.

Next in the series: People Foods aren't always just for People.

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