Why Should My Dog Eat Fresh?
If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that our dogs are members of our family.
Just like we would cook a wholesome dinner with fresh, unprocessed ingredients for our loved ones, why not allow our dog the same experience? When it comes to good nutrition, our dogs are just like us; the better they eat, the better their mind and body. By giving your best friend the best food, you can help them have a longer, healthier life – and they will love you for it!
Dogs thrive on balanced diets rich in proteins, minerals, fruits, and vegetables for vitamins and essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 & 6.
Everyone needs energy to function; to run, to play, to work, to socialise. Fats are what keep our dogs warm on a cold day and maintain us on long walks. Walking around and exercising the body first draws from the calories you have consumed that day, but if you are running low, it will draw from fats stored in bones and under the skin. It is not just stored for emergency energy boosts! Fat is important to keep the skin and foot pads in shape and the coat shiny. In the body it helps ship certain fat-soluble vitamins around, ensuring all organs have what they need. Also. Fats are delicious; they add and carry flavour, making our dogs enjoy, and more likely to eat, the meal! Just like us, when we crave a bacon sandwich. The major components of fats are called fatty acids – some of those, such as Omega 3 & 6, can not be produced by the body itself, so it is important that those ‘Essential Fatty Acids’, or ETFs, are included in a balanced diet through animal fats, seeds and vegetables.
An EFA deficiency can show through dry skin, a dull coat and cracked foot pads. EFAs are vital for brain function and help the re-generation of cells. Certain oils contain important fatty acids. Some fish oils have been found to facilitate the visual development in puppies and further down the line, those EFAs help the immune system and even have anti-inflammatory properties. Because of their importance for the immune system and their role in keeping organs healthy, they are especially useful for our city dogs that are exposed to air pollution more so than country dogs. To get those essential fatty acids, our chef always adds goodies such as salmon oil and flaxseeds to the Talula Eats food because, as a canine nutritionist, she knows how vital they are.
Fresh vegetables and freshly-cooked meats don’t just supply certain EFAs, they are also incredibly rich in vitamins! Vegetables supply the body with Vitamin A and C while the meats supply Zinc – the immune system depends on them.
A good immune system not only helps your dog feel better every day, it can also mean fewer trips to the vet, consistent energy levels, and a better ability to deal with environmental circumstances!
Vitamins are a mixed assortment of organic compounds all grouped together. Doggie diets don’t need a huge amount, but since vitamins aren’t produced in the body (except vitamin C), they are still an important part of it. Much like EFAs, vitamins support the immune system in a multitude of ways – from wound healing to cell regeneration. They are also needed for metabolising foods and keeping bones healthy. Even high doses of naturally occurring vitamins are generally non-toxic. However, excessive amounts of synthetic compounds, such as vitamin additives in most commercial dog food, have shown to be toxic to humans, dogs, rabbits, and mice.
Naturally-occurring vitamins are consumed in the context of other foods and that is a more important aspect than is commonly known!
When your dog eats real food, they’re not consuming a single isolated nutrient, but a whole range of vitamins, co-factors, minerals, and enzymes that help each other be absorbed and used in the body. So when the dog eats the fresh food and gets all those vitamins and EFAs together, the stomach can recognise the composition and is able to absorb and utilise them more effectively. On the other hand, when taken in form of additives, the body struggles to absorb some artificial vitamins fully and successfully as it doesn’t recognise their shape without the context of the other goodies. To visualise this, think of the nutrients as pieces of Lego; an apple is made out of many small pieces, but if you only see the one piece you are unlikely to recognise what it represents.
Bioavailability is the rate of nutrient absorption from the food you eat – basically, how much of the nutrients in the food actually get absorbed by the body. Fresh foods have a higher bioavailability than those made with highly processed ingredients, so the dogs’ digestive system gains more nutrients from fresh than from processed foods.
This is also true for minerals the dog needs to maintain their health. The four major minerals a good doggie diet should contain are Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium and Sulphur. Minerals are important for many bodily processes, especially so for proper bone development and maintenance. A lot of processed food, especially dry food (Kibble), contain mineral supplements as the naturally-occurring nutrients have been sacrificed while the food was being processed. However, dogs absorb considerably fewer amounts of minerals from those processed foods than they do from fresh food.
Fresh dog food has traditionally been challenging to feed, not only because preparing it can take up a lot of time. The research that is needed to design a recipe that combines all the protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc. in a way that achieves the optimal nutrition for your dog is extensive and you need to know which fresh vegetables, meats, fruits, herbs and the lot can guarantee your dog gets all they need!
Our canine nutritionist has been designing and perfecting the Talula Eats recipe over 15 years and now makes it easy for you to purchase fresh dog food, so your pet can receive the best nutrition possible without any additives! All our ingredients are fresh, human-grade, and locally-sourced. Our nutritionist is always happy to answer any questions you may have and we are so excited to work with you and your pooch!