Diet: Which Food is Best?

How to tell the good nutrition from the junk.


I know someone who feeds her dog people food constantly.  I try to tell her that it is not good for the dog, but she disagrees with me and wants it in writing from a vet or she won’t believe me.  Am I wrong?  Is people food okay for pets?



Dr. Nichol:

Well at least she doesn’t feed her people dog food. Yech! Your question: You are right, your friend is wrong. Here is why: Dogs are a different species. Their nutritional needs and digestive tracts are different. Add to that the fact that most of us eat a preponderance of junk in our diets and, well, who would treat a dog that way? Not me.


But dog food is not just dog food. There is a huge variance in quality available to the consumer. Through loopholes in definitions and other sleight of hand, pet food manufacturers can market poor digestibility stuff as comparable to high priced premium brands. And it’s easy to get caught up in it. The ingredients and the analysis look essentially the same. But the difference is the digestibility and the amount of fillers. Those things are never on the label.


So get the good stuff. It always costs more per pound but one mouthful of good food has a lot more nutrition. Most important better diets are balanced. That’s great because you don’t need to add anything. If you do add to a balanced diet you throw it out of balance-which reduces the food’s nutritional value. Dogs who get table food are at greater risk of heart and kidney disease and, worst of all, obesity. Once your friend understands why dogs need food formulated for their special needs she will show her love by feeding dog food-we hope.