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Dogs: Feeding the Furry Family Member in Your House

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Call them what you will, puppies, dogs or canines, these furry four-footed animals hold a special place in the hearts and homes of humans around the world.
According to a 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 63.4 million US households own a dog. This results in US dog owners spending over $31 billion annually just on the types of food they choose to feed this important member of their household.
For centuries, humans fed their dogs on the meat and non-meat scraps and leftovers of human existence, supplemented by anything a dog themselves could scavenge for themselves. While the domesticated dog did not always have enough to eat, what they did ingest was closer to what their wolf ancestors would have consumed. They even have the ability to digest carbohydrates easily, a key difference between dogs and wolves.
The earliest commercial food here in the United States was created by James Spratt. By 1890, he had started commercial production of the product as a company called “Spratt’s Patent Limited”.
This was followed years later by canned horse meat, introduced in the United States under the Ken-L Ration brand after World War I. The pet food offerings quickly expanded during the 1930s with the introduction of canned cat food and dry meat-meal dog food by the Gaines Food Company, creating an industry which by the time World War II ended resulted in overall pet food sales which had reached $200 million here in the United States.
Commercially prepared dog food is commonly made by combining a the various ingredients and superheating them until they turn into mush. Even if the raw ingredients included fresh meat and vegetables, the high-temperature cooking process removes virtually all of the nutrients. These foods can even contain grains, which a dog is not able to digest. In the long-term, poor quality food which does not meet your furry friend’s nutritional needs will cause irreversible health issues. 
Today, while much has remained the same, research has determined a different approach to feeding your dog will result in a healthier diet and a healthy pet.
According to Dr. Gary Richter, named “America’s Favorite Veterinarian” by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, the poor quality of commercial dog food being fed to our pets has caused a slow shortening of their lifespans over the years. Commercial dog food isn’t always a healthy option for feeding our family pet.
You can change this by switching to a healthier raw pet food diet supplemented with selected fruits and vegetables, or you can add a diet supplement to boost the nutritional value of his regular food.
Carefully selecting the dog food you use will improve the overall quality of life for your pet. Their coats will be shinier, their teeth will remain in better condition and their weight will be kept in check. 
The list of high-quality ingredients found in healthy dog food includes the following. 
• Real Meat Options – Canines are carnivores and require real meat to satisfy both their hunger and their natural hunter instincts. The label should listed the dog food contains meat or poultry, and verify what type of animal the meat used is coming from, such as lamb, chicken, turkey or beef. Some may even contain fish, like salmon, or exotic meats like wild boar, buffalo, veison or wildfowl.
• No Fillers – The dog food should not contain any fillers like cereal by-products, corn bran and peanut hulls, to list a few. These fillers are used to make your pet feel full quickly as they eat, but provide very little nutritional value plus being hard for a dog to digest.
• No Artificial Preservatives – When chemicals are added into dog food, the food may have a longer shelf life, but it is unhealthy to consume. Over time, these artificial prservatives can have a negitive impact on the health of your furry friend.
• Vegetables – Dogs need to consume vegetables just like humans do. Look for a dog food which lists some type of specific vegetable within the first few ingredients of the product. The only vegetable to be avoided is corn, typically used as a filler and difficult for dogs to digest.
In the end, it up to the humans in the house to take time to read the labels and the product reviews. Their are many healthy dog food vailable these days, so it will be easy to find one which will be enjoyed by your dog. Just as you put only the best on the table for your family, make sure only the best is placed into the bowl of your furry family member.

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