Dog Food or Table Food: What Do You Feed Your Dog?
As a dog owner, you may find yourself facing the dilemma of deciding whether to feed your pet commercially available dog food or table food. In this article, we will explore the benefits and concerns related to both options, considering factors such as cost, nutritional benefits, dietary requirements, and cautionary considerations.
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Dogs are omnivores. They require a balanced diet that includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and plant-based ingredients to support their growth, development, energy, and overall health. Keeping these in mind will guide you in evaluating the appropriateness of the different feeding options. So, let’s dig in to find the best food for your dog.
Commercial dog food can come in the form of kibbles or wet food. It is a convenient option for dog owners because it does not require additional effort in preparing. It is also readily available in pet shops, groceries, and online stores. This can be particularly beneficial for busy individuals or those with limited time for meal preparation. Moreover, it promises a well-balanced diet tailored to meet the specific needs of dogs.
Many brands even have specialized formulations for different life stages (puppy and adult), dog breeds, and flavors. There are also hypoallergenic and grain-free formulas for dogs with food sensitivities, weight management diets for overweight dogs, and prescription diets for dogs with specific health conditions. With commercial dog food, you can effortlessly provide your pets with a consistent and nutritionally balanced diet that supports their optimal health.
In addition, commercial dog food offers the advantage of a longer shelf life compared to perishable table food. This means there is a reduced risk of food spoilage, resulting in less waste and potential cost savings for dog owners. Moreover, commercial dog food usually provides clear feeding instructions based on your dog's weight, which helps to minimize the risk of overfeeding and ensures that your pets receive the appropriate portion sizes for their needs.
One criticism of commercial dog food is the quality of ingredients used as they may contain fillers, by-products, and artificial additives that may not provide any nutritional benefits. It is important to carefully read labels and choose reputable brands that prioritize quality ingredients. On the other hand, high-quality dog food comes with a premium price, which may pose financial challenges for many Filipino dog owners.
The kibble type usually comes in 1, 5, 10, and 20kg packs. One kilo of dog food typically ranges between Php 75 to Php 329. When evaluating the cost of dog food, it's important to consider the size of your dogs and their daily feeding requirements. Larger dogs will naturally consume more food compared to smaller dogs. Also, the frequency of feeding, whether it's twice or thrice a day, will definitely influence overall consumption and cost.
Many Filipinos find table food as more budget-friendly than dog food brands. Some choose to cook meals specifically for their dogs, while others prefer to share leftovers. Usually, these meals are rice-based, mixed with leftover food and scraps to enhance the taste.
But while table food can be appealing to dogs, it is crucial to be cautious about what foods are safe for them. Some human foods, such as chocolate, onions, grapes, and certain spices, can be toxic to dogs. There are also food ingredients like fish and seafoods that can potentially trigger allergies. Make sure that your pets have no food sensitivities before sharing any human food with them.
I remember a friend’s Siberian Husky, who had an allergic reaction to fish. He lost most of his fur and developed red, itchy spots all over his skin. In the meantime, his vet advised against feeding him dog food in order to remove any allergen sources and minimize further aggravation of his condition. So for a few months, his diet consisted only of rice, potato, and carrots. In this case, feeding him table food was the best course of action for managing his diet and overall health.
The main criticism for table food is that it lacks consistency in terms of nutritional content, making it challenging to establish a stable and balanced diet. Constantly switching food without proper transitioning can lead to digestive issues. Rapid changes in their diet may result in diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal discomfort.
Although commercial dog food may seem relatively more expensive upfront compared to table food, it does offer the advantage of being a nutritionally balanced diet. On the other hand, table food can provide variety, but requires caution, planning, and preparation. Remember, every dog is unique. What works for one may not work for another. Regardless of your chosen feeding method, always prioritize the specific needs of your dogs. Ensure that the food you provide is nutritionally balanced, safe, and free from ingredients that can be harmful to them. Your veterinarian is your best resource for guidance on the optimal diet for your dog.
Additionally, feeding dogs table food can lead to behavioral problems, such as begging, food aggression, and selective eating. Dogs may become more demanding and persistent in seeking human food, which can disrupt your mealtimes and create an unhealthy dynamic. Watch this.
How about you? What do you feed your dog? Comment below.