When it comes to taking an animal of any kind into our care, we have to hedge on the side of caution. This is true in most every facet, as we rarely have the benefit of knowing what their lives were like before they came to us.
We need to make sure an animal sees the vet for a medical check, we need to give the animal a behavior evaluation to gauge temperament and potential triggers, and we need to feed them the best possible food available in case of allergies or other unknown issues.
You may be surprised at just how many animals come into our care – even those who are surrendered by their owners – with terrible skin problems like hotspots, balding and yeast infections. What may surprise you even more is that many people don’t even register that the animal has the issue in the first place.
Lack of time or attention means it’s harder to notice that when a pet has been licking its paws, has goopy eyes or even red, irritated skin. Therefore, the first time the issue ends up noticed is when the animal enters into our care.
Since we don’t typically know the cause of any one symptom, we start our detective work with the easiest – and overall least expensive — thing to control: Food.
Our first priority is to make sure an animal in our care is healthy, and a high-quality food can often make the difference between a healthy, happy dog and one who gnaws his paws raw. This is also true for our feline charges.
Any issue might end up more complex than expected, but sometimes all it takes to fix it is a different diet (this is especially true when owners who surrender their animals note what the pet was eating previously and it’s a low-quality food).
Many Americans are getting smarter about what they feed their pets, but some still prefer whatever is cheapest the grocery store (typically that is a product which includes allergy-causing ingredients such as ground yellow corn meat by-product/meal, corn gluten meal, various dyes and additives, by-products, rendered unspecific meats, etc).
What we know for sure is that we see so many health and skin-related issues alleviated by high-quality food (rich in proteins, and low in grains and additives) what you feed your pet has to matter.
Not every dog has the same nutritional needs, but it’s up to us to figure out what those needs are. Sure, a dog could eat table scraps or kibble with corn as the first ingredient, but should they? Not if we can help it.
To find out what’s in your dog food, check out the following sites:
Dog Food Advisor
Take the True Blue Test from Blue Buffalo
Dog Food Analysis
What’s your favorite brand of dog food?
~The Motley Zoo Crew~