Deciding what to feed your pet can be a daunting task. A stroll down any pet food aisle can be overwhelming when you're confronted by the vast array of foods being offered. Pet owners must decide between dry foods, wet foods, raw foods and more.
The raw food diet in particular has become more popular in recent years, but many veterinarians are wary of this trend.
Proponents of raw diets report their pets have shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, higher energy levels and smaller stools.
However, feeding your dog a raw diet comes with risks and may give rise to various health issues if it doesn't receive a properly balanced and nutritious diet.
Consider the following:
* Raw meat contains bacteria, which can harm you and your dog. Also, meat alone can't provide all of the nutrients that your dog needs. This is why leading companies include vegetables and various supplements in their pet foods. Doing so increases the chances your pet will experience and maintain optimum health.
* Bones are often a big part of a raw diet, but they introduce the risk of choking, breaking teeth or causing intestinal problems.
Some pet owners also feed their pets table scraps. This is risky when considering many foods that are fine for humans are toxic for cats and dogs. Foods that are toxic to pets include, but are not limited to chocolate, coffee, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, yeast dough, onions, garlic, and sugarless gum. Your best bet is to keep the "people food" on the table and give your pets treats that are specifically designed for them.
Talk to your veterinarian if you're considering a new diet for your pet. They, after all, are the experts in animal nutrition.