Whether your dog is called Zak, Lenny or Rover, he’s sure to be your most faithful friend. You want him to be in peak condition, so you care about what he eats. And we’d love to help, because a balanced diet forms the basis for his condition and his health. But what exactly is a balanced diet for a dog?
To understand that, we need to take a step back in time. About 27,000 years back, to be precise. That’s the era in which the modern dog evolved from the wolf. Although the dog’s outward appearance now differs from that of the wolf, genetically they are almost identical. Their DNA is a 99.8% match. But is that important? It most certainly is. Dogs and wolves still have the same type of digestive system.
You can tell by their jaws. Just like wolves, dogs have a ‘scissor’ bite, they can only move their jaws up and down rather than sideways as we humans do. We chew and grind our food. Dogs and wolves tear theirs and bite off chunks which they then swallow as whole.
The wolf eats the meat, the organs, the intestines and the stomach contents of its prey. The stomach is filled with grains, vegetables and fruit. Naturally, the meat is raw. And that’s a very important detail, because your dog’s digestive system is still based on that of the wolf. Whatever man’s best friend eats, it influences his digestive and immune systems. And consequently, on his health.
What do dogs get to eat? Dog owners get attracted by beautiful shapes and color of the food, they often do not spend much time reading the food ingredients and unfortunately manufacturers like to use this to their advantage.
We may not take the needed time to think, but we are not naive, and we all know that our dogs are meat eater by nature. Good nutrition is not fashion or washing powder that can be improved every year. In dog’s nutrition there are fundamentals to follow, and then you can only create new flavors and change the packaging. The only problem is that we are guided by the beautiful packaging and slogans. Dog’s happiness and health has nothing to do with the color of the packaging or the shape of the food!
On average, a dog has a life expectancy is almost 6 times lower than that of a human being, but interestingly a dog can survive much longer than a human being without food. Imbalanced diet, or a diet short of essential nutrients can cause serious harm to the dog overall health, at the same time, good nutrition alone is not enough for a dog to have a long life, but it is the basis, and at least a good start to make your dog happy!
THE SECRET TO A HEALTHY DOG:
BALANCED GUT FLORA
Dogs have a short digestive system, approximately 7 times shorter than a human. This means things can go wrong relatively quickly. Luckily, dogs have a very wide range of flora in their gut that ensures infections are resolved quickly. In terms of evolution, this was important to their survival when food was scarce. In other words, a strong immune system and good health start with balanced gut flora. Gut flora is the collective name for the trillions of good and bad bacteria whose colonies usually co-exist peacefully in the stomach and intestines.
The gut flora is like a factory that works day and night to digest food and monitor the balance between good and bad bacteria. Excess bad bacteria are killed off so that infections don’t have a chance to flourish.
If this balance is upset, the harmful bacteria get the upper hand, which weakens your dog’s immune system. What happens then? The food is not broken down sufficiently and starts to rot and ferment in the large intestine. This starts to rumble, followed by flatulence, loose stools, diarrhea or hard stools. If the problem is not resolved, it usually results in skin problems such as a smelly, dull coat and itching.
To prevent this, it’s important to give your dog natural raw food, that’s adapted to suit his nature.
HOW IS GUT FLORA CREATED?