What diet is best for your dog?
What is the healthiest meat to feed your dog?
Choosing a healthy food for your dog can be time consuming but a good place to start is to consider the meat component. As facultative carnivores dogs don’t strictly need meat to survive but they do thrive best on a high-meat diet. In this article we will cover everything you need to know about the healthiest meat to feed your dog.
Why meat is best – meat as protein vs vegetables as protein
Before we get into which meat is best its important to understand why we believe a high-meat diet is best for dogs.
Dogs have evolved on high-meat diets for millennia and their digestive systems have adapted to get the most from this sort of diet. One of the main reasons being that dogs need a high-protein diet – proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of life, being involved in generating energy, building and repairing cells and muscles, and generating hormones and enzymes.
Meat is generally a better protein source than plants because they generally have higher levels of more essential amino acids – something that can be measured by a ‘biological value’ (see below).
Dogs’ digestive systems also generally rely on an acidic environment to help kill nasty pathogens, digest their food including tougher materials like bone, and keep the development of diseases like bladder stones and urinary tract infections in check. Meat, particularly red meat, helps create a more acidic stomach whereas plants are generally alkalising.
Of course its not to say meat should be the only protein source – plants, seeds and grains help provide lots of other nutrients and milk and eggs are great sources of protein too. It is also possible for dogs to survive on a vegan or vegetarian diet but its a lot trickier to make sure they’re getting everything they need.
Picking the best meat for your dogs – things to consider
There are many factors pet owners need to account for when picking the best meat for their dog and below are a few of the main ones. To help you decide we have created a brief list for you to follow:
One of the biggest factors is going to be ‘does your dog love it?’. If your dog is not a fan of certain meats it may not be worth trying to feed them instead of their preferred flavours. Often dogs prefer stronger smells as they do most of their tasting with their noses.
Healthiness and your dog’s specific needs
Obviously a big factor is how healthy the meat is and we’ll explore more of that in this article. Its important to realise that some dogs, either because of their genetic build up or a medical condition, may be better suited to some meats compared to others. Dalmatians for example need meats with low levels of purine, while dogs with renal disease may benefit from lower phosphorous meats such as red meats. If your dog has an existing health condition, asking a vet or nutritionist can help avoid any difficulties.
Environment and ethics
You may consider the ethical and environmental impacts when thinking about which meat to feed your pet. Different owners for example might favour fish meats for their pooch while others may be concerned about overfishing of certain stocks and choose a farmed meat. In terms of environmental effects kangaroo meat has a significantly smaller footprint than beef or another type of meat would.