My dog Emmett has been a member of our family for 10 years, and in that time he’s eaten everything. Some highlights include two loaves of zucchini bread, compost straight from the pile, a box of crayons, and a stick of butter (twice). And while he’s a tough case—a chronically-hungry counter-surfer—he’s a perfect example of why dog owners are responsible for their pet’s nutrition.
When given a choice, dogs will eat anything.
Dogs face the same health problems that we do when we’re overweight. But, unlike us, dogs can’t make their own responsible food decisions. The reasons dogs eat whatever they can are varied, from genuine hunger to stress to pica (a compulsion to eat non-food items) to coprophagia (poop eating). Check in with your vet about your dog’s eating habits, then follow two simple rules to be responsible for your dog’s nutrition.
Choose healthy food.
Follow the same rules you apply when shopping for your food: Choose organic, when possible, without fillers or additives like corn and soy. Which dog food is best? There’s not a straightforward answer. Instead, figure out your budget for pet food, and purchase the healthiest possible option that fits your budget.
Be judicious with treats.
You don’t have to give your dog junk food or treats to feel like you’re spoiling her. Dogs love healthy food. Try the Isle of Dogs treat collections, which are ethically sourced and manufactured in the US with natural ingredients. Another option is to use fresh fruits and vegetables as treats: green beans, carrots, apple slices, and berries. Bonus: For dogs who need to lose weight, replace a bit of their food with fresh produce to help them feel full while slimming down.
There isn’t a treat in the world that Emmett would decline, so it’s up to me—and you for your dog—to make those decisions. We want them to live long, healthy lives, so choose wisely on your pup’s behalf!
Maggie Marton is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com.
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