A second chance in life for rescue dogs - how proper nutrition can help
Food and diet have long been linked to human behaviour, impacting the way we feel and the way we behave. Many of us might be all too familiar with the 3 o’clock energy slump held at bay only momentarily by a sugary sweet pick-me-up. Sugar is known to wreak havoc on our energy levels, fuelling quick bursts of energy only to be following by periods of sluggishness and lethargy. And how many of you remember the controversy surround blue Smarties? Linked to hyperactivity, bad behaviour and skin rashes; a result of the artificial colour Brilliant Blue or E133.
So does this link between diet and behaviour transcend to our canine friends? Whilst there is currently no scientific evidence available to support this view, veterinarians have started to speak out over their observations of such links citing allergies, intolerances, skin conditions and behavioural problems all as symptoms of poor diet and artificial additives in pet food. For rescue dogs looking for their forever home, this makes proper nutrition all the more important. Many of these dogs will have experienced difficult times and providing an environment for them to succeed in their new lives includes providing a nutritious diet that will support both their health and happiness.
Tribal Pet Foods is all about family and feeding your pet as though they are part of your family, or your tribe. Not only do our pets need a high quality food, but they also need variety which is somewhat lacking in most commercial pet foods. You wouldn’t want to eat the same thing day in day out so why should your dog? We believe that like us, dogs are healthiest when they eat a varied diet from a variety of nutrients. And indeed, studies are showing that pets fed on a varied diet develop a stronger immune system than those who aren’t. So, here are our top tips for settling your new dog into a tip top diet:
- Always buy the best food you can afford. It may seem expensive but with good quality foods, you often have to feed less of it, bringing down the daily feed cost, and can result in far fewer trips to the vets.
- Avoid foods which include “EC permitted additives”. This group includes a list of approximately 4,000 chemicals, many of which have been linked to behavioural problems and ill health in both children and our pets.
- Think protein and fat. Protein and fat are the two most important nutrients for a dog. Whilst there is a lot of attention given to the meat content in pet food, when it comes to fat, the opposite is true. Consumers are often led to believe that a healthy dog food diet is low in fat, without realising that fat is one of only two essential nutrients required in a dog’s diet. Without it our dog’s fur, skin, immune system and brain function would all suffer. In particular, fats act as the essential courier system for certain vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K. Without enough fat, a dog with even an infinite supply of these vitamins would not be able to make use of them. Look for high quality fats such as fish oils, omega oils such as omega 3 and omega 6, fats from named animal sources and beneficial vegetable fats such as coconut oils. Try and avoid anything generically labelled such as “fats and oils” as this could just be vegetable oil. One last thing to bear in mind when considering low fat dog foods is that foods low in fat will typically be high in carbohydrates which are not essential for your dog’s diet and can actually cause them to put on weight.
- Feed little and often. If your dog is underweight or malnourished, feed them little and often in order to reduce stress on their digestive system until they get used to their new diet and routine. We recommend feeding your dog in at least two meals a day, but more if possible.
- Consider supplementing your dog’s diet. There is no one recipe or formula that can satisfy your dog’s nutritional requirements over prolonged periods of time which is why we recommend supplementing your dog’s diet with beneficial ingredients, particularly those that aren’t commonly found in traditional pet foods in order to add a variety of nutrients to your dog’s diet. Our range of complementary dog treats contain a wide range of supplemental and beneficial ingredients that aren’t found in traditional pet foods and have been proven to support your dog’s health and well-being. Rewarding your dog with beneficial treats is not only a simple way of supplementing their diet but it’s also a great way to develop a bond with your new tribe member and encourage positive associations. Here are some of our suggestions for how our supplemental range can support your new family member:
- Encourage optimum condition with our Tribal Natural Health - Coconut, Banana & Peanut Butter dog treats. Coconut oil has many natural health boosting properties such as anti-viral and anti-fungal. The high quality fats found in coconut oil can also help to boost the metabolism so is great for dogs that may want to lose a few pounds but if your rescue dog is malnourished it’s also a great source of nutrients to help them get back into optimum condition.
- Promote calmness and reduce anxiety with our Tribal Natural Support - Liver & Lavender dog treats. Being rehomed can be a worrying experience for some dogs who may not know what to expect from their new home and new family members. Studies have shown that the smell of lavender promotes calmness and reduces stress in dogs. These aromatic treats are great when introducing your new dog to their new home to help provide a supporting a calming environment.
- Soothe upset tummies with our Tribal Natural Support - Apple, mint & ginger dog treats. Our combination of apple, mint and ginger contains a source of gingerols which help relax & soothe sensitive tummies. It can also help with bad breath which is often the result of either tooth decay or poor digestion (or both!). Mint has long been used to freshen breath but it also helps improve digestion.
- Support a healthy immune system with our Tribal Natural Health - Beef & Tomato dog treats. Tomato puree is one of the best sources of the antioxidant lycopene – where it is 4 times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes. Lycopene is a rare and extremely powerful antioxidant which provides a natural boost to a dog’s immune system.
Fatima Maktari is the founder of Tribal Pet Foods and has a 1st class Masters Degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Oxford.