The Advantages Of Natural Dogfood For Your Australian Shepherd

By Anton Hout, author of The Guide to Aussie Training & Care

The introduction of organic, raw, vegetarian, holistic and natural dogfood brands has been a good thing for many owners. But having more choices does not make the decision process any easier.

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Owners of certain breeds must be very careful about the nutritional value and calorie content of the feed they choose. The Australian Shepherd for example is a working breed with a need for higher food intake.

To support good health today and prevent health problems in later life, it is important for any owner to choose a nutritious brand. It may also be important to choose a brand containing no artificial flavors, colorings or other additives.

The Advantages Of Natural Dogfood For Your Australian Shepherd - Photo: Black Australian Shepherd, Loki, enjoying the evening sun.

Linda Hagen

Choosing natural dogfood that does not contain artificial additives could improve your Aussie's health and reduce the risk of disease.

Loki enjoying the evening sun.

Can Natural Dogfood Help Reduce The Risk Of Cancer?

There may be a connection between an animal’s lifetime risk of cancer and the quality of the foods they eat. Some experts believe that consumption of artificial additives, which are primarily derived from petrochemicals, increases a person’s lifetime risk of cancer. The same could be said for our dogs.

The leading cause of death of Australian Shepherds in the United Kingdom was cancer, according to surveys conducted in 1998. Cancer is described by vets as the most common “disease-related” cause of death in all dogs. They say disease-related, because euthanasia is the most common cause of death in unwanted dogs throughout the world.

Choosing natural dog food that does not contain artificial additives could reduce the risk of cancer. Organic ingredients could reduce the risk even further. Some pesticides are also cancer-causing agents.

Acrylamide contamination has become a concern, because the compound is known to cause cancer in humans and other animals. Acrylamide forms when certain foods are cooked at high temperatures.

"Natural" Doesn't Equal "Healthy"

All of the meat, bone, fish and chicken meal commonly found in commercial foods are rendered using very high temperatures. Yet, those ingredients cannot be classified as unnatural. So, even when you were comparing natural dogfood brands, you would still need to compare the ingredients.

What About The Raw Dog Food Diet?

The raw dog food diet would certainly eliminate the risk of acrylamide contamination. Many owners believe raw foods are the best choice because it is closer to the way animals in the wild would eat and is therefore considered a natural dogfood.

Major health organizations do not advocate the raw diet, but they do make a few suggestions for owners who choose to go that route. The suggestions have to do with basic hygienic handling of foods to reduce the risk of salmonella, e-coli and other types of food-borne illnesses. Dogs can contract food-borne illnesses, but they seem less susceptible to them than humans.

Raw feed is sometimes described as holistic natural dog food. Not only does it address the issue of nutrition, it addresses other issues affecting the health and well-being of the whole animal. That’s what holism is all about.

Because bones are a part of the raw food diet, the dog’s teeth are stronger and naturally cleaner. Chewing bones is something that dogs enjoy. So, the diet addresses emotional well-being. Dogs fed a raw food diet may be more content. The idea is not exactly new. You might call it reinvented.

When it comes to how vegetarian natural dog food affects life expectancy, there is one example on record of a long-lived Border Collie whose owners went the vegetarian route. The collie lived to be 27 years old.

Regardless of which diet you choose for your Aussie, remember that their calorie needs decrease with age. Weight gain is as much a risk to a dog’s health as it is to a human’s health.

There are many advocates of natural dogfood. The best idea is to try it. You might become an advocate, too.

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