Dog Friendly Tips: Types of Dog Food
There are few parts of any meat a dog cannot eat and digest. Hair, skin, bones, and blood have little value, but all the rest has, even the intestinal contents.
Most dog owners think meat is a must, but this is not so. Other proteins are equally good. But meat and its byproducts constitute readily procurable foods. Muscle meat is no better than organs, such as the liver, lungs, tripe, udder, brain, and in some cases is not as valuable.
Meat is less expensive when cut from poor grade animals, such as old cows and bulls, and it has almost as much nutritional value as meat from prime steers, except that there is usually less fat.
Now, as to how to feed the meat, cooked or raw. It makes little difference to its digestibility if it is cooked or raw, but boiling meat brings flavour out into the water which can then be mixed, fat and all, with other foods, such as bread and cereals. Meat in chunks small enough for a dog to swallow is digested better than ground meat.
Bones occasionally cause trouble by splintering. Raw chickens bones splinter badly, and cooked bones snap at right angles. Cooked bones and chicken bones of course should be avoided. Once a healthy dog gets a bone in its stomach the bone is quickly digested. If a dog crunches through a soft rib bone it usually pushes a good deal of tartar off its teeth, thus cleaning them. Large marrow bones are the best kind to give your dog, if you give it any. They contain worthwhile nourishment in protein, fat, and minerals, including iron.
However dogs will often drag large bones to places where they or other dogs have defaecated. Worm eggs that are in stool stick to these bones, are ingested by the dog, and infect it.
Research shows that milk is as good for dogs as is meat. Both contain a high percentage of water. Meat has about 65 per cent water and milk about 87 per cent. Meat has approximately 100 calories per pound and milk about 250 per pint. A dog, therefore, needs three times as much milk by weight as meat to produce the same nutritional effect. Milk has much more calcium than meat, and more vitamins. This is one of the very best dog foods. It does not produce worms, as too many people believe.
Raw saltwater fish fed over a long period produces a form of paralysis in dogs. Cooked fish is fully as valuable a source of protein as is meat and will keep dogs in sound health. Almost all kinds of fish eaten by humans make excellent dog food. The whole fish, including the bones and intestinal contents, is better than fillets alone, and what is left of the fish after the fillets have been removed is too high in bone content for efficient dog food, although it contains much good protein.
More fish could well be fed to dogs than is now being fed to them. Everybody wonders whether the bones will stick in the dogs' throats and, without knowing the answer, decide "when in doubt, don't feed them fish." There have been instances of fish bones that have actually done serious damage by sticking in the throat or between teeth, but such instances are not so common. It would of course be dangerous to feed a dog a pan of fish bones left over from the family meal. If it chewed and swallowed them, the stomach fluids would soften the bones quickly; the danger would be to the mouth and throat.
Fish bones subjected to the 250° F temperature of the canning process become harmless, as anyone will remember from having chewed bones in canned salmon. Whole fish with the bones embedded in the meat seldom do harm. In fact, whole cooked fish constitute a substantial part of dogs' diets in many parts of the world.
Many cereals, such as corn, wheat, oats, soybeans, barley, rice and their by-products, make worthwhile dog food when cooked.The protein of corn is zein, which is incomplete. Wheat is more nearly complete. Oats are especially valuable. Brown rice is much better, in fact, than white polished rice. All furnish calories, or heat units, and many nutritional essentials.
Bread is one of the most valuable dog foods; not by itself, to be sure, but as a large proportionof the diet it may be put to good advantage. Besides well cooked wheat or rye flour, it contains skim milk, salt, and yeast.
Since vegetables contain great quantities of water, most of them are low in caloric value, but dogs can be taught to eat large amounts. Potatoes in their jackets and other vegetables grown inthe ground can be utilized admirably if they are cooked and fed with meat, fish, or milk. Green vegetables are especially valuable as sources of vitamins and minerals and furnish some calories if they are well cooked but not overcooked.
Probably the best vegetable available for dog food is alfalfa-leaf meal.This is generally ground so fine that much of it is digestible without cooking. However, in the raw state it is very laxative, almost like rawbran in this respect, so it must be fed sparingly. Only the highest grades should be used to feed a dog, the lower grades being too laxative because of the large amounts of woody stems they contain.
Fruits are a canine luxury and more in the nature of treat foods. Dog owners delight in showing how their dogs eat even apples, pears, peaches, or bananas. Too little of these fruits is digested to make them efficient dog foods, but they do no harm.