Did you know that most food that is fed to dogs today has extremely low nutritional content? If you feed your dog commercial dog food, you may be slowly killing your dog. Perhaps you think this is a little dramatic? Think again. If humans are fed a diet of unhealthy foods, they probably won't show any adverse signs for quite some time. But fed over many years, people will become sluggish, sick, and eventually die from degenerative diseases much earlier than they would otherwise pass from this life.

The same goes for dogs.

All commercial dog food which is extruded (cooked) at very high temperatures cannot be anything but bad for our dogs, whose natural diet in the wild is mainly fresh, raw meat. Even after dogs became domesticated, and then kept as pets, for decades they were fed home cooked food and table scraps, before anyone thought of commercialising dog food and selling cans of mush, or pieces of highly questionable biscuit-looking food called "kibble".

Dogs used to live longer than they do now.

Examine baked and kibbled foods for the presence of burned spots on the biscuits. The presence of large numbers of burned biscuits indicates that the food has been cooked at such high temperatures that the nutritients are likely to be almost non-existent.

On the other hand, if dry products are damp, soft or stale, it means that they have been improperly processed, become damp in transit, become damp during storage, or that they are old.

Dry products that become damp quickly deteriorate from the action of mold and eventually bacteria. Sometimes the only indication that mold is beginning to attack a dry food is the musty odor smelled when a bag is opened. At other times it may be seen as a white, hairy beard or a bluish-green or black velvety coating over the food. Any food found to be moldy should be destroyed immediately and never fed to dogs.

Does any of this sound like food you would eat yourself???

If not, then even though it's labelled as "dog food" and could possibly have some form of nutritional content (if you're lucky), why feed such substandard rubbish to your dog? It really can be harmful over the long term. Why else do you think so many dogs suffer from degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, and more? These diseases were previously unknown in companion animals. Now they're commonplace. And the increase in incidence of these degenerative diseases in dogs and other animals has occurred in direct proportion to the practise of giving pets raw food or table scraps, to giving them commercial pet food.

The answer?

Feed your dog a raw, or primarily raw, fresh food diet. The large part of the food should, of course, be meat. If you're not a fan of raw food, then by all means give your dog home cooked food, made from premium ingredients which you would use for your own food. Of course, you can give your dog all the fat and offcuts from the meat that you don't want. Dogs need some fat (unlike us!)

And if you really need the convenience of a pre-prepared dog food, then go for a top quality dog food – NOT one of the commercial brands found on your supermarket, or even pet store shelves. Even many vets have no idea about correct animal nutrition, believe it or not, and promote commercial dog foods that are peddled to them as "premium" food, when they're nothing of the kind.

How do you know what a superior quality dog food is? Check for both the ingredients and the method of cooking. The ingredients should be primarily meat – not meat byproducts, a small proportion only of grains of all types, and preferably some fresh vegetables, fruit or herbs. As for the cooking method – the lower the heat, the better. Don't go for anything that has been extruded (which is most kibble), or canned at high temperatures. If the method of cooking is not stated, then make further enquiries of the manufacturer, or go for one that does state the cooking method – freeze dried or baked are acceptable.