Canine nutrition hasn’t become as laden with diet fads as have human meal planning. But it has accumulated a number of myths which survive the ridicule of the veterinary profession. As you acquire a dog, your more experienced friends will shower you with advice, which may include some of the following affirmations:
– “A clove of garlic keeps worms away” Garlic has enjoyed a reputation for centuries in the folk medicine of many cultures as an antiseptic, a treatment for high blood pressure, etc. But if your dog really does have worms, (and most of them do at one time or another), the quickest way to get rid of them is to have your veterinarian give him a specific worming medicine under his supervision.
– “Raw meat makes a dog vicious” Raw or cooked meat is essential to a dogs nutrition. Fifty percent is the standard ration, and it may compare as much as 75 percent of his diet. If he is fed only meat, he may become high strung, not because the meat is raw, but because he is being given an unbalanced diet.
– “A sugar cube dipped in coffee is good for a dogs heart” It is particularly good for his morale, because it probably means that he is sharing your after dinner coffee with you. Give it occasionally as a harmless treat, but not as a regular “medicine”, and not as a heart remedy.
– “Dogs cannot digest starch” They cannot digest uncooked starch, but they can cope with most cooked ones such as rice, whole wheat bread, and macaroni. However, dogs do not receive much nourishment from these foods.
– “Sugar causes worms” Sugar is quick source of energy for dogs, as it is far us. Worms are caused by worm larvae. A puppy may get worms from his mother, and an adult dog may get them from infected food or drink, from the saliva or feces of an infected dog, or from swallowing fleas and lice which act as hosts to tapeworm eggs- but never from sugar.
– “Raw eggs improve dog’s coat” A raw egg yolk from time to time enriches a dog’s diet. Cooked eggs are an acceptable substitute for meat in an emergency. But the best coat conditioner is far, especially unsaturated fat, rich in vitamin E, such as linseed and wheat germ oil. The eggs reputation as a coat conditioner is probably due to the fact that yolk is mostly fat.
– “Milk causes diarrhea in an adult dog” Milk is healthy for all dogs. A bowl of milk with a beaten egg yolk and a couple of pieces of whole wheat toast or dog biscuits is a standard supper dish in many kennels. There are various causes for diarrhea, including internal parasites, indigestion, a change of diet, food poisoning, certain contagious diseases- and sometime, but not always, milk.
Knowledge and concern are important in feeding a growing puppy whose nutrition is the foundation of his future health. But common sense is all you need to feed an adult dog correctly, as his own experience will help guide you most of the way.