Sunday, March 12, 2017

Does it Really Matter What You Feed Your Dog?

My doctor likes to talk during my physical and after talking about music, we got into how Nature’s Nibbles, the natural pet food business my wife and I own, is going. I immediately asked him if he had a pet and what he is feeding it/them. His wife wanted a Schitzhu and was told by the breeder to feed Iams. He said they also feed the Fresh Pet brand pet food. I told him I haven’t done much in depth research on the Fresh Pet, but from just glancing at the ingredients, it looked fine. Then I asked him if he has read the ingredients of the Iams. I wasn’t surprised when he said, “No” and …”Iams isn’t a good food?”

I figured the best way to speak about pet nutrition, to a doctor, is logically!

Iams (as well as Purina, Science Diet, Eucanuba and other commercial pet food brands) has by-products. By-products are everything but the actual meat. Wheat and soy are in the formulas to provide the protein that by-products lack. Wheat and soy are allergens and can dry out the skin, make hair brittle, create itching, hot spots and can also cause digestive issues. Corn sweetens the formulas. I asked the doc what corn does in a system… “It metabolizes into glucose and fructose (sugar) and eventually fat.” BOOM! A light went on in his head . 
Now, all natural dry food, with no by-products, wheat, soy, corn or gluten is still the most processed of all the all-natural food choices; The furthest from the source materials that make it. Feeding mostly or all dry to a dog or cat, every day for years, can lower the Ph of a system and make that system more acidic. Acidic systems cause problems. One of the first signs of an acidic system is a urinary tract issue. Whether it’s a tract infection or struvite crystals in the urinary tract, it can get even worse with bladder or kidney stones, etc. Not to mention digestive issue, skin issues, eyes, ears, etc.

Fresh foods are key to good nutrition! Fresh foods are metabolized through a system more efficiently and a body benefits more from fresher foods than processed foods.

What are “Fresher Foods”?

Canned, Raw or your own mix…

Canned foods are fresher, cleaner and have fewer ingredients than dry foods.

There are companies that make raw meals for dogs and cats and from my research, their instinctual diets! The next best thing to making the food yourself!

“Make food myself”? It’s not as hard as you may have thought. How did these animals survive hanging around with humans since before the Mesolithic period? Even the late Stone-age? Meat, bones, etc. Our scraps!

Why do we have dry food? Well, most importantly, it’s economical. It last longer than fresher foods and it’s convenient. Scoop and pour. It also helps us, economically, feed our bigger dogs or if we have multiple animals, but even then, at least half of the meal should be the fresh alternative.

"How did you get into the natural pet food business?", asked my doctor

Our dog Gypsy was having some horrible skin allergies.  After doing extensive research on pet nutrition I found that Gypsy’s diet was the main culprit.  We were feeding her by-products, wheat, soy, corn and gluten!  I switched her food to all natural brands and, voila, her health improved and her energy level was back! Anne, my wife and I decided this is something we need to, not only supply the food, but educate pet owners that there are better options available. That’s how Nature’s Nibbles was created. We've been in business for over 11 years.

My doctor thanked me for the advice, told me he was going to change his dog’s diet and gave me a clean bill of health! “Not bad for a 52 year old…” he said.

Thanks Doc!

Chris and Anne Gabriel are the owners of Nature’s Nibbles in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia.  And while they sell high quality dry food, Chris will always tell customers that “fresh is best” and offer advice on how to introduce more fresh food into your pet’s diet.

Here is more information about introducing fresh fruits and vegetables to your pet.

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