Sunday, April 24, 2011

Organic Dog Food and Treats - Why You Should Make the Switch

Most dog food and treats on the market are loaded with chemicals, questionable meats and low quality ingredients. If you wouldn't eat food of this quality, why would you feed it to your dog? Dogs (and people) who mostly eat a diet filled with chemicals often experience many illnesses, allergies, skin problems, and tend to live shorter lives. Switching to an organic diet can greatly improve the health of you and your dog.

In this article, we are going to discuss a few of the reasons to avoid typical, mass-produced dog food and treats, reasons to switch to organic food, and suggestions on how to implement changes in your dog's diet.

Why avoid the typical dog food diet

Have you ever considered what goes into your dog's treats and food? Take a look at the labels. What do you see there -- animal byproducts, some form of sugar, food coloring, preservatives that you can't begin to pronounce? What exactly is animal byproduct? Icky! Does your dog really need sugar? Why is the food coloring in there? Your dog doesn't care if his food is red, blue or brown. Most mass-produced dog food and treats are filled with chemicals, weird mystery meats, and stuff that leads to chronic diseases.

These are some of the most important ingredients to avoid in dog food (Or people food!):

* chemical additives
* chemical fertilizer
* fillers like wheat or corn
* chemical preservatives
* artificial colorings
* animal byproducts
* if you can't pronounce it, it shouldn't be there

Why switch to organic food

A natural diet, filled with quality, organic dog food and healthy treats can tremendously improve the general health and well-being of your dog. Here are just a few of the great benefits you might see:

Increased energy
Less digestive issues
Proper weight maintenance
Reduction in skin issues and allergies
A stronger immune system
Increased life expectancy

Making the change to an organic diet

Making the switch to an organic diet can be easy. Begin by reading labels. Look for the organic label. If organic is cost prohibitive, look for natural brands that don't contain any of the above listed ingredients. Keep in mind, the word natural on the front of the bag or box does not mean anything. You always need to read the label.

Where can you find organic products? If you're lucky, your local supermarket might carry a few organic brands. Most cities and towns have dedicated pet food stores, stocked full of organic options for every budget. The staff in these stores are usually exceedingly knowledgeable and resourceful in helping you pick the right food for your dog. If you live in a rural area, feed stores often carry quality pet food products. You can shop online as well. Shipping prices for big bags of dog food are pretty spendy, but many online retailers will ship yummy, organic dog treats for free or cheap. If you're really ambitious, you can make your own dog food. There are lots of great websites with recipes and suggestions!

Make the switch slowly. If your dog is used to a chemical filled diet, he may go through a detox period. This can cause him to feel ill, as the toxins flush out of his system. In extreme cases, nausea, diarrhea, and passing worms may occur. By changing the food very slowly, you can minimize his discomfort. Try adding just 25% of the new food to each meal for a week, then increase to 50% for the next week, and so on. If your dog does become ill, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away.

Here are a few suggestions for extremely healthy, quick, natural treats:

* Many dogs love carrots. Keep a bag in the fridge for you and Fido to munch on.

* Broccoli is another super healthy treat.

* Natural nut butters are great for dogs. They are full of beneficial fats that are great for their skin and coats.

* Small pieces of apples are tasty and healthy.

* Before you try a new vegetable or fruit for your dog, be sure to do a bit of research to make sure they are safe. For example, onions and grapes are both toxic to canines.

I hope you've been encouraged to consider making the switch to organic dog treats and food. Your four-legged friend will thank you!

Visit for great shopping resources, recipes and suggestions.

Julie Coburn is passionate about helping you and your pets live vibrant and healthy lives!

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